Please use your vote today. How you use it is up to you, although of course if you are in Scotland I’m sure you know what Munguin would advise you to do.
During the Blair and Brown years it was reasonable to say, nothing changes, voting doesn’t make any difference. They are all the same. It was untrue but totally understandable. Blair and Thatcher were only distinguishable by the lack of handbag in Blair’s wardrobe.
But today there is a choice. There’s a choice for the UK… it’s Corbyn or May. And they ARE different. And there is a choice for Scotland too. The SNP has made a difference in Westminster. OK, they can be, and often are, outvoted by the English, en masse. But you can count on 56 votes for decency. Can you imagine if there were Scottish MPs (apart from Muddle, who barely counts because he says what is programmed into him by whoever his boss is at the time) who were voting for rape clauses, and taking money away from disabled people, voting against pensioners’ rights and, as Ruth so clearly put it in her tweet of today:
Massive thanks to all @ScotTories candidates, activists & helpers for such a happy, energetic & disciplined campaign. Let’s smash tomorrow.x
(bold type is mine)
So younger voters, it’s up to you.
If you are happy for your parents and grandparents to decide on how life is gonna be for the next 5 years of your life, and a great deal longer, given the momentous decisions that will be taken… and the ramifications of the great repeal bill… then don’t bother about this voting malarky today.
Leave it to your mum and dad, grandad and Auntie Gloria. They usually know best about most things, don’t they? Remember that sweater they bought you for Christmas?
Firstly, I’d like to say that once again today we’re thinking about the victims of terrorists. This time it was in Notre Dame de Paris on the Ile de la Cité, one of my favourite places to sit and watch the world go by.
Secondly, I’d like to mention that Robert Salmond, Alex’s dad, died today at 95 years old. So we’re thinking of Alex and his family too. Sad time, but it’s worth reading what Alex says his dad would tell him now.
As the election campaign draws to a close, we find ourselves in a very different situation from that which we expected when it kicked off.
After telling us over and over that she would not call an election, Mrs Strong and Stable wobbled and called one. She was hoping, I’ve no doubt, to establish herself in her role (not with the EU, who are happy to negotiate with her based on the referendum result), but as prime minister and leader within her own party, which is split over Brexit among other things. Mr Corbyn was leader of a split party and miles behind her in the polls. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, try EVERYTHING!
It seems that being appointed by the Tory party, the least offensive of a really bad bunch, meant very little scrutiny for May, and the BBC and the Press, with the cooperation of members of the Labour Parliamentary Party, were able to talk Mr Corbyn down.
But the scrutiny of a general election campaign, particularly one which was unnecessary, has put both the potential prime ministers under the spotlight.
In the case of Corbyn, it has given him an opportunity to display that he can be calm and measured, even under fire… and that he never loses the plot (OK, except one time on the radio where he forgot one figure). And most of his opponents in his own party have at least kept quiet over the campaign. (Well, with some exceptions.) Corbyn has shone as a potential statesman.
On the other hand, Mrs May, who has been standing on a platform of “strong and stable”, has made a mess of every appearance she has made; every interview she has done, and frankly, she’s become a laughing stock. As people have said, if she can’t face Corbyn in a tv debate, how will she be able to deal with the EU representatives?
I tend to think that people should be careful picking catch phrases like “strong and stable”. And before they chose them, they should be absolutely sure that they haven’t been used before. In this case, “strong as stable” was previously used by Adolf Hitler. It would only have taken a few clicks on Google to find that out.
Now she’s come up with “Enough is Enough”. A reaction to the terror attacks that have plagued London and Manchester. Surely that would ahve applied after the first attack… Did she not think that THAT was enough? And again, it’s a massive pity (for her) that she didn’t check back to see if the phrase had been used before!
Whatever the result it looks very unlikely to be one anywhere near the massive majority that she was hoping for, well counting on, when she launched this campaign. Indeed some polls suggest she will have a smaller majority that she has now, Some say even no majority at all. Her rivals are starting to count their support!
But as all politicians say, the only poll that counts is the one on Thursday. And on Friday morning, and not before, we will know.
Finally, the 2015 (correction thanks to Hugh) result was amazing for the SNP. 56 out of 59 is an extraordinary achievement. It was never going to be able to be repeated. The Tories have been bragging that they may take 18 seats; Labour think that they might get some, as do the Liberal Democrats. SNP supporters should expect to lose some seats and should take it on the chin. When the press gleefully announce that the SNP and independence are dead in the water we’ll know perfectly well that they are not.
Scotland above all needs a strong voice in London. Brexit is about England (and Wales). They wanted it (very narrowly). We did not. But because of their population size, they will get what they want and we can go hang. We are not being listened to by London. None of the solutions proposed by teh Scottish government will be aired in the talks. No Scottish voice in negotiations. Only England’s. Scotland’s concerns NEED to be heard. We have friends in Europe, but when the negotiations start they won’t be allowed to hear what we say. We need someone like Angus to make sure that we are heard, loud and clear.
In my opinion, Angus Robertson has been a superb leader in London and an excellent opponent to Mrs May, and Pete Wishart has been a staunch member for his constituency and put up a brilliant fight against the anti-democratic and expensive House of Lords. Let’s hope that they manage to keep their marginal seats. Scotland, and indeed Britain, is the better for them being there.
Someone appears to hate foreigners so much that they have paid for this massive effigy of Theresa May standing on the white cliffs of Dover sticking her fingers up at anyone who arrives on a Ferry.
This will no doubt encourage European leaders to give consideration to the very best possible deal for Britain in the talks that start in a fortnight’s time. I mean who could refuse anything to such nice polite, open minded, cultured people?
According to Kent On Line, the figure has now been removed, but no one seems to know who put it up in the first place. Whoever it was had a bit of spare cash to throw around though, so best not look for the culprit amongst the lower orders. This wouldn’t have come cheap.
Can you imagine the fuss the BBC and the right wing press would have made if a figure of Nicola Sturgeon draped in a Saltire had been erected on our borders making the two fingers sign to the people wishing to visit our country?
We were shocked last night to hear about the terrorist attack in London. For the families and friends of the people who were out enjoying a night on the town, the world must have stood still today, numbed as they will be. It’s almost impossible to imagine how it feels to lose someone close to you for absolutely no logical reason whatsoever.
And it doesn’t matter whether you’re English, French, Lebanese, Iraqi, Afghan, or indeed from Ouagadougou, which also suffered a terrorist attack in 2016.
What follows may seem a little naive. I’m not at all certain that I’ve thought it through all the way, but this is how I see the situation.
Terrorists and terrorism exist where people can find no democratic solution to their situation. And when people sit down and talk with terrorists, at least sometimes, solutions can be found. Ex-terrorists can become statesmen like Yasser Arafat, Martin McGuinness or even Nelson Mandela.
Somehow we need to find a way to sit down with the leaders of ISIS and try to discover what we can do to stop this carnage all over the world. What is it they want?
However, if we thought that the obstacles to peace were big in Palestine, Ireland and South Africa, I suspect that the problems of the Near and Middle East will be even more so.
It will take great leadership and diplomacy for it to happen and at the moment I see few leaders in the world with that kind of skill. I’d like to think that from the worldwide point of view President Macron, Angela Merkel and Justin Trudeau might be able to make a start, but it will need full time, clever diplomats who understand the complexities of the Middle East. And no one can do that unless they come from that region. Prince Hassan and King Abdullah of Jordan are names that come to mind, but they already have jobs, and in any case we need more than two.
Of course, people will say that it cannot be done, and they may be right. Maybe what ISIS wants is the whole of the Middle East to be ruled as one great Islamic Caliphate, ignoring modernity and democracy returning to Islamic law. ASnd for the millions that don’t want that, that is never ging to be the answer. But what is the alternative to dialogue? Trump wants to smash ISIS, just as Bush and Blair wanted to smash the Taliban and Sadam, and Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy wanted to smash Gaddafi.
And look how well that worked.
It is said that ISIS is funded by its sale of oil. So who is buying this oil and why? Can we stop them doing so? If so, how? But ISIS is also being equipped with weapons. And the suspicion is that Saudi Arabia is their source, as a report commissioned by David Cameron will show… or it would have if it were to be published.
But Saudi Arabia doesn’t manufacture its own weapons; they must be bought in. And who sells weapons to Saudi Arabia? Well the UK and the US come to mind.
The UK and Saudi are best buddies. Their monarchs and royals mix. And prime ministers throw themselves at a regime which beheads people for fornication, burglary, blasphemy, sodomy, atheism and a whole range of other crimes. It must be because they are rich, and Brits love rich folk, especially when they buy billions of dollars worth of arms from us.
But you have to ask yourself, why does Saudi Arabia need all these arms… and it doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable to suggest that they don’t. After all, apart from doing a power of bombing recently in Yemen, Saudi doesn’t much go to war. As Boris Johnson pointed out, it simply stirs up wars.
I realise that the UK desperately needs the sales and that there is a deal of ignorance about what happens to them once they have left the UK with the money safely in the bank. But maybe the Brits need to think carefully now that the organisation that is funded and weaponised by our friends the Saudis is wreaking so much havoc at home.
Well, Mrs May… or maybe now Mr Corbyn. It’s up to you.
On a lighter note, great concert in Manchester tonight. Massive acts turning up and showing their support. And some very plucky people in London last night throwing glasses and chairs and tables at the murders….and running down the road with their pint glasses still in their hands…