Ais this true
From the Sunday Times


So we have known for years that Westminster is crawling with people who would cheat on their expenses at the drop of the proverbial top hat, be they Honourable or Right Honourable, or even Noble.

We also know for a fact that the place is full of egotistical guys (and a few women) who think they are god’s gift, even if most people wouldn’t look twice at them.

It seems that Stephen Crabb is, for all his deep Christain beliefs, a bit of a sex pest. He was involved with one of his female staff when he was Welsh Secretary, then he sent sexual messages to a young woman during the EU referendum campaign which led to his resignation from the government last year. Despite having a wife and family he sent flirtatious messages to a teen and met with her at the Tory conference in Manchester this  year

a mark_in_tsc

And now we know that Mark Garnier, some sort of junior Brexit minister reporting to Mr Fox, calls his assistant “sugar tits” and sends her (on a salary that we pay) to buy sex toys from a Soho store, while he stands outside. Is this, I ask Mrs May, a good use of ministerial time and our money (particularly given the god awful mess that his department appears to be in)?

(Incidentally, his assistant [a Ms Edmonson], said the minister told her one of the sex toys was for his wife while the other was purchased for a female assistant in his Wyre Forest constituency office. Another of his employees paid from the public purse.) 

I’m pretty sure his wife will be thrilled that we are all party to her little secret not to mention his office staff!

Of course what MPs of either sex do with consenting adults of either sex is a matter for them, the aforementioned consenting adults and their respective partners. It is not our business. Mr Crabb’s marital arrangements are nothing to do with us and nor are those of the Garniers.

But sexually harassing employees is not like having an affair. It IS our business. And using the position of power that we allow them to have to send staff, on our payroll, to buy sex toys (or any other personal items) IS our business.

Regardless of party, it needs rooting out.

I rather suspect that, just as when the Times and the Telegraph got their teeth into the thieving that was going on in Westminster a few years ago, now that the press has smelled a rat they won’t be happy till they have maximised sales by finding out as much as they possibly can.

Mrs May, if she knows about these cases (and there are more) MUST, no matter how weak she is, deal with it.

Just when you thought Britain couldn’t sink any lower in the esteem of the world…



n 1or

With our cousin, who’s come for a visit.

n adeli
Let’s try again with the Adélie Penguins.
N balquhidder
n blaze
n blue wax bill
Blue Wax Bill
n Borneo-Orang-Utan-Baby-1-copy
Wanna give me a hand up?
N caithness
Northern lights in Caithness.
n chicago
Chicago through the clouds.
n costa rica
Costa Rico.
n cow
n dove and chick
When I grow up will I be as handsome as you?
a adelie
Another attempt at Adélie Penguins.
n ehthiopian lion
Ethiopian Lion.
n Edinburgh_Castle_from_Grass_Market
Edinburgh before even Niko’s time.
n greenland
Colourful Greenlandic village.
n hedge
Hedgehog lunchtime.
n strokker
Strokkur, Iceland.
n solandra maxima
Solandra Maxima.
n wol
I’ve got my eye on you!
n resized-little-one
That’s it then. Another Sunday done and dusted.







Let’s be fair, it could happen to anyone who doesn’t check their leaflets!


OK, Anas. Let’s be fair, we all know it’s a typo, someone putting it together got it the wrong ways round. Maybe, though, it would be an idea to ensure a bit more careful proofreading of your leaflets. There is a certain carelessness in your team over that!


I’ve heard of singing from the same hymn sheet, but goodness me, a word for word endorsement. It’s almost like you wrote it yourself!


But, in any case, I don’t want to put you down at the moment. I really, really hope that you get the job.

Although you almost certainly won’t do the tax thing, whatever it is, because you have very little power to do anything at all with taxes, I have to agree with the sentiments behind it. Tax is a mess. It favours the rich. It needs reform.

The trouble is that I can quite honestly see that at least some in your party would love to be able to do it. But when the reshaping of the responsibilities of the Scottish parliament was being discussed, you guys in Labour did nothing to push for a wider range of tax-raising powers to be devolved…as was the case with so many other powers, including minimum wage (we think we have your measure on that). Even the Tories were prepared to devolve more than you were. You guys were pretty much against all of it.


So tax raising remains largely the prerogative of Philip Hammond, a Tory, and a rather rich one, who sees no need to change the system which massively favours the rich…ie him and his mates.

We all know that the Scottish parliament can increase income tax… indeed they already announced that, although they were not going to do that, they were going to resist the UK decision to take some tax off those earning over £45,000, described as the largest tax reduction since the time of Mrs Thatcher. So not a rise, but not a decrease for the well off either. And we’re pretty much hobbled every other way.

Alas, tax-free thresholds are not within the remit of the Scottish government or parliament, because that could make a huge difference to the worst off people. A tax-free allowance of maybe £16,000 a year would make a huge difference to those on poverty wages.

Of course, a country can be bold with tax reform, but it absolutely has to have a wide range of tax powers within which to work, to balance the need for spending, with the absolute right for people to keep as much of what they earn as possible. Of course, if folk earned a bit more and shareholders took rather less, that would help too.

In 1979, Mrs Thatcher made huge changes to the rate of income tax. Massive cuts for the rich, and small but noticeable cuts for the poor. The reforms reduced the income tax take by a massive amount.

But, of course, the money that was lost had to be found elsewhere. Hospitals still need running, schools have to operate. And Mrs Thatcher chose to almost double VAT to make up her shortfall. So VAT rose from 8% to 15%, a massive blow to people who had only the compensation of a few pence extra in their pay packets.

Income tax, VAT, fuel duty, alcohol duty, tobacco tax make vast sums of money. It is important to have the range of powers to be able to balance the needs of every member of our society.


I’m sure you’ll agree with that. I’m sure that you regret that your party was against almost every single proposal to devolve responsibility for taxes. And I’m sure that you will press the UK government for more freedom to make changes in the future.

As I said, I wholeheartedly wish you the very best of luck in your attempt to become branch leader.





In the strange world of today, blessed as we are with a lying, delusional moron as president of the United States of America and a Britain ripping itself out of the European Union, the largest richest trading block in the world, and going who knows where,  under the “direction” of a disparate bunch of idiots who seem to have no idea what they are doing… and in any case are all doing whatever it is differently, it has become increasingly difficult to take seriously any of the what now passes for news.

In fact, I read earlier today that Private Eye is no longer as funny as it once was. Presumably this is because it’s impossible to put a ‘funnier’ spin on the already hilariously ridiculous news.


Today, we heard that David Davis thinks that, while MPs will get the chance to debate the terms of Brexit deal (or one of the different kinds of no deal that he imagines to be possible), it might actually have to happen after the deed is done and dusted. By which time, of course, it will be impossible to make changes and any vote would be as much of a waste of time as the one which they had on Universal Credit. Bravo, David.

Then we find out that Harry Windsor has been on a charm offensive to Denmark. The government, being lumbered with Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary, has decided to use the Windsors to do his job. Well, I suppose they have to do something for all that money.


Additionally, Willie and Kate and Charles and Cammy have been sent off at various times recently, to visit various parts of Europe. This is apparently designed to make the Europeans feel kindly disposed to the English or Brits or whatever. Note that H\rry arrived in a private jet, so heaven knows what the cost of this jolly is.


Still, it has to be better than sending grandpa!


I’ve just read too, that the only semi-sentient Defence Secretary SIR Hic Fallon has told the Defence Committee: “I have to repeat, sadly, to this committee that criticism of Saudi Arabia in this parliament is not helpful”.

Fallon claimed that criticism of Saudi Arabia in Parliament was the reason that a large order for Eurofighter Typhoon Jets to the barbaric kingdom was being held up.


Well, we’re bloody sorry.  Who are we to be spoiling Britains chance to sell these people more weaponry to kill Yemen kids, or indeed to arm whatever other rebels they arm? (Ask Boris.) Stop being nasty about the royal Saudi thugs.

It will come as no surprise that the waste of space that inhabits the cabinet chair marked “Secretary of State against Scotland and for Making May’s Tea” was unable to tell us what new powers would be coming to Scotland… just as he was unable to explain why, as powers keep being given back to Scotland, it has been necessary for him to boost his staff from 5 to over 70.


His only function is to represent Scotland’s interests in London. He has now 15 times the staff numbers available to him to do this. And yet, having promised a raft of new powers, he is unable to name one of them. NOT ONE. What on earth use is he, or indeed is his Noble Friend the Under Secretary so recently and with indecent haste raised to the aristocracy when he lost an election? (You Jocks didn’t vote for him, but we’ll make him your overlord anyway! Sod this democracy lark!)


And all that is before I’ve even had a chance to find out what kind of tomfoolery the orange baboon has been up to today.



!!!Have a look at the school video. “At Michaela children can be children. Their childhood is protected…” but if you are going through a bad patch, reduced hours, lack of work, or been put onto universal credit before they have sorted out the abominable mess that it’s in, and you can’t afford the school dinners, your child will be horribly humiliated until you pay up... it might have continued, if this letter is anything to go by.

The next time the Tories criticise the Scottish education system, just think Michaela.


Terry pointed out that, in one of yesterday’s Soppy Sunday pictures, one I had taken myself about 10 miles outside Dundee not far from Knapp village, there appeared to be a face carved into a fence post.


I hadn’t noticed but when I looked, it did seem that some wood art had taken place.

So, I promised that I would head out that way and find out what it was.

And here it is:


Close up, it doesn’t look as if it has been carved. But it does look remarkably like an owl. The “eyes” seem to be knots in the wood and the rest really does look as if it is pure accident. There’s no sign that a chisel has been at work.

But it is attractive. Munguin decided to adopt it and call it WOL in honour of Winnie the Pooh’s friend who thought that was how you spelt Owl!

While I was out, dreich day though it was, I took another couple of pictures of beech trees in their autumnal splendour.




It beats the hell out of the politics about which otherwise, we would have probably written.



n or
Morning all…
n any chance
Erm, I don’t suppose you’d have a spare cup of milk, would you?
n bear
n hainan2
Hainan, China.
n Alstroemeria
n ad1.jpg
Adélie Penguins, by request of Panda Paws, to remind us that thousands of Adélie chics were wiped out this year in Antarctica due to unusually thick sea ice, meaning that the parent birds had to travel much farther than usual to forage for food.
n blackhouse-beveridge
Blackhouse. Anyone make a guess?
n rose
Une belle rose… pour vous.
n cheetah.jpg
n fox
Lovely wee fox hoping that we have given up the barbary of fox hunting.
n edin icecream 7
Ice cream shop in Edinburgh…
n mull of oa
Mull of Oa.
The path to Dron today. Look at the colours of that beech!
n sq1
Did someone say “nuts”?
n swan
What’s the password? You can’t get past without the password.
n seal pup
Seal Pup.
n strokker geyser
Strokker about to blow. (Strokker is Icelandic for “churn”.)
n sky
Icelandic skies…
n tower bridge
Tower Bridge , London.
n tram
What a fantastic tramcar.
n resized-little-one
OK…that’s yer lot. You must have something else you could be getting on with. Before you go, did you know little orangutans are very partial to banana ice cream?  Just thought I’d mention it!



From Private Eye.

Come on, UK government. This is no way to treat people. Not even people you look down on and dislike.

But we all know you don’t give a stuff about that.

There’s money enough for the things that matter to you. And nothing for the people at the bottom.

Hell mend you. Someone needs to because you are as sure as hell’s hot,  broken.


Douglas at his other job.

On an associated subject, Scotland and the UK got a mention in the Press in Sénégal today. Our fame has spread thanks to Douglas Ross’s decision that people in his constituency needed representation in the opposition debate on Universal Credit (which funnily enough isn’t credit… it’s paid in arrears…very much in arrears, unlike MP’s salaries) a good deal less than he needed a jolly to Catalunya and a big fat fee for doing some assistant refereeing at an even more ridiculous hourly rate than he gets for (not) being in parliament.

Again, I’m certain that he doesn’t give a stuff what Munguin’s Republic or any of us little people think about it. After all May excused him. And I suppose that’s fair enough really. After all, it’s not like he would have been in the business of saying anything critical of his London masters and he would have voted (or rather not voted) the way he was told to by the whips no matter how many people in his constituency suffer hardships, hunger, homelessness and more, as a result of their odious policy.

In a week when Scotland could have been making headlines around the world with the innovative wind farm and the first minister’s obvious rapport with the Arctic Council leaders in Reykjavík, we had to make the headlines in Africa because of a skiver who’d rather make extra money than do the day job.



I reckon Conan and I saw this at about the same time! (See the previous post.)

Q: What can we add to what Mhairi says?

A: Not a lot.

I just hope the Tories are touched by her passion for ordinary people who get a crap deal out of being British, and that they vote to tell the Work and Pensions minister to get back to the drawing board and see if he can’t fix the problems.

At the very least they could halt the rollout implementation until spring or summer when fewer people are likely to freeze to death.

He’s shown he can listen by his scrapping of the outrageous 55p-a-minute charge to phone the helpline. Let’s see if this kind of passion can persuade him to see sense. To carry on with knowing the consequences, particularly in the winter, it is frankly, inhuman….even by this government’s standards.