RANDOM THOUGHTS

I understand that “The Sun” is reporting that Boris Johnson called Nicola Sturgeon “that bloody Wee Jimmie Crackie woman”. (No link to the article because I won’t be a party to their clickbait.) Of course, you can’t entirely believe anything you read in the Sun, but it sounds like his unprofessional style. The kind of thing you’d expect from a 12-year-old.

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This you can believe.

Derek Mackay has resigned as Cabinet Secretary for Finance.

It appears he had been texting a 16-year-old lad and offering him dinner over a six-month period.

As the lad was 16, Derek was doing nothing illegal. In Scotland, you can leave school, get married, have children and vote at 16.

But for heaven’s sake, what a bloody stupid thing to do.

We all know that the Press is against us and that they put a huge effort into finding anything unpleasant they can headline on their front pages.

The Sun has it splashed over 9 pages on this, so presumably, they have been working on it for a while. It will take a bit of living down!

What on earth possessed such an intelligent and otherwise competent man to indulge himself like this?

As Ruth Wishart put it: “Another self-immolation by a politician with no shortage of talent but an all too slender grasp of judgement”.

He’s let us down badly.

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It is said that Ruth Davidson is to be offered a seat in the House of Lords.

The Edinburgh Central MSP has been selected alongside former Chancellors Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond    picture: GettyImages

So just a day after wee Carlot Jackson was hobnobbing with the Duke of Rothsay at Buck House, to collect his CBE, his predecessor is preparing to join Baroness Moan of Mayflower in teh Isle of Man on the red benches, collecting £300 a day and stack of “get out of jail free” cards.

Democracy, huh?

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I read that Wee Sniffy Gove may be appointed to lead the arrangements for the Climate Change summit in Glasgow.  The vacancy came about when Johnson sacked the previous incumbent, former environment minister, Claire O’Neill, without notice, for complaining that he had failed to carry out any of his promises in regard to the conference.

We all know that in most things Johnson does, promises are piecrusts and details are doughnuts. He says stuff. He walks away. He forgets everything.

Ms O’Neill has, subsequently, spent days speaking to the Press about how incompetent Johnson is,  how little he understands the subject and bemoaning the lack of progress that has been made in organising this massive international event.

David Cameron has apparently refused to take on the job, as has William Hague, both citing other commitments, possibly money-making ones (or more likely a desperate desire not to be stuck in Scotland for most of the year).

Grouse Beater on Twitter wrote, “Michael Gove is tipped to be appointed the new president of the UN climate summit to be held in Glasgow because, being a Scot, he is *well-liked* north of Gretna Green.”

Ye, I thought you’d like that!.

If possible, an even less likeable candidate, Michael “Something of the Night” Howard has also been proposed. Why not go the whole hog and invite Ann Widdicombe, his bête noire?  If it all goes horribly wrong she can always give us a tango or quick step! After that, even a catastrophic conference would fade into the mists of insignificance.

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With eight months to go, it seems like a huge task for whoever will take it on, particularly as they will be organising it in Scotland and, whether they like it or not, they need to liaise with Edinburgh about arrangements.

Given the current state of relations between London and Edinburgh, and in particular, between Johnson and Nicola, this is proving to be difficult.

You’ll remember that Johnson said that he didn’t mind if there were one of two Saltires at the conference but he wanted the place to be a sea of union flags and that he didn’t want to see Nicola Sturgeon there.

Bless him. How little he understands…  anything!

Nicola responded that she had been at the last three climate summits by invitation of the UN and that she WOULD be at this one. Of course, she can’t control the flags… but we can, and I have no doubt that Glasgow will be a sea of blue and white and that Back-Door Johnson will get the welcome he has come to expect when he appears in public in Scotland, which may cause him a little embarrassment with the world’s press in attendance.

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SIT DOWN, MR FRASER

I just read that Murdo Fraser refused to appear on Good Morning Scotland opposite Ivan McKee and gave as his reason that it was because he shadows Derek Mackay. He wanted Derek MacKay to appear with him.

I think we could make a stab at why the real reason Mr Fraser didn’t want to appear with Mr McKee, don’t you?

What a LAFFer Curve!

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And, as an antidote …

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FRIDAY FOTOS

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Apologies for the lack of work this week.

And I know it’s been an exciting week, what with Derek’s budget proposals, Ruth’s admission that she’d not be averse to a London parliamentary seat (the worst kept secret in the world), the Mayhembot being beaten in parliament on taking back to control to their parliament (instead of a cabal of right wing nut jobs), Kezia being sent to the Scottish equivilent of Coventry, and the high nesses Willie and Charlie joining the Maypole at a service for the survivors and victims of the greed and incompetence of Kensington Council, many of whom still have no permanent home.

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Charles and Willie, of course, will remember when their mother’s/granny’s place at Windsor went up in flames and they had to throw Rembrandts and Van der Neers out the window. A dreadful year. An annus horribilis, in fact!

Doubtless, the royals were thinking to themselves how awful it was for these people to lose their priceless works of art (I mean your average Botticelli doesn’t look its best after being flung from the 20th floor of a multi), but then consoled themselves in the sure and certain knowledge that those who were left alive would have, as mama/grandmama had, decanted to one of their other houses, filled with equally desirably artworks

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Then there was the slap in the face that Trumpy got when despite his presidential endorsement, Roy Moore and his horse were not elected to the US Senate, and the South’s South, the reddest state in the union, elected a Democrat senator, leaving Trump’s majority on the shoggliest of nails.

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Finally, of course, there was that magical and heartwarming news that Harry the Hunter and his bird are to be wed, largely at our expense, on May the something or other. Joy unbounded. (Note to May: Brilliant day to bury any disastrous news.)

Anyway, there should have been articles on most if not all of those matters, and there was not. Munguin is not a happy chappy, and Tris is now sharing the cellars with Mick the Mouse. Nice bit of cheese for supper though!

Anyway… here’s some auld pics to puzzle over. Hope that makes it up to you! Munguin says you can all have 10 per cent of your subscriptions back….

What more could you ask?

Wait a minute…

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Scottish Budget

From the SNP Website “All you need to know” summary of today’s draft budget.

Seems not unfair to me. I guess the well off will be rather less than pleased.

Today Finance Secretary Derek Mackay announced the Scottish Government’s budget plans for the year ahead.
The Draft Budget includes new investment in public services, as well as new measures to support business, jobs and economic growth.

Here’s what you need to know.
Investing in our public services

  • We will invest a record £304 million extra in our NHS.
  • It is unacceptable that too many children from less advantaged areas achieve less at school because of their background. Over the next year £120 million will be invested in our schools to help close the attainment gap. That’s £20 million more than previously announced
  • Local services will benefit from up to £241 million of additional investment including.
–       Funding from the NHS for health and social care to pay the living wage to care workers.
–       £111 million raised through Council Tax re-banding will be retained locally.
–       Local authorities will also be able to increase the Council Tax generally by up to 3 per cent next year, which would generate an extra £70 million.
  • The police budget will be protected in real terms.
Protecting household budgets
  • The basic rate of Income Tax will be frozen – helping low and middle income earners. And, by asking higher rate taxpayers to forgo a Tory tax cut, extra revenue will be available to invest in Scotland’s public services.
  • By 2020, we’ll increase the provision of free, high quality childcare to 30 hours a week. The Draft Budget allocates over £60 million in new investment in the workforce and infrastructure necessary for this expansion.
  • A £3 million investment to bring down costs for rail users.
  • We will provide £47 million to mitigate the Tory Bedroom Tax, and abolish it at the earliest opportunity.
Supporting jobs and investing in growth
  • We will support jobs by cutting Business Rates. And, the extension of the Small Business Bonus Scheme will lift 100,000 small and medium sized business properties out of Business Rates altogether.
  • To support more businesses – particularly start-up companies – with the potential to grow and export more, the new Scottish Growth Scheme will provide up to £500 million over three years of investment guarantees and some loans.
  • We will deliver a £4 billion investment in our infrastructure, supporting 30,000 jobs. Our investment will begin the delivery of 50,000 new affordable homes, energy efficiency measures and improved digital connectivity. The next year will also see the completion of major projects like the Queensferry Crossing, the AWPR and the M8/M74/M73 improvements.
  • Skills, training and employment in Scotland will be supported by a £221 million investment. And, 2017-18 will see the next stage of our expansion to 30,000 Modern Apprenticeship new starts a year.

It’s not entirely without irony that Tories have been demanding more from the budget whilst doubtless rejoicing in and most assuredly agreeing with,  the cut to the Scottish budget, presumably so that the money can be spent on their railway from London to Birmingham, Heathrow extensPalacehe Plalace of Westminster and Buckingham Palace been made fit for a king, bribing Nissan to stay in Sunderland, etc. I dare say too that, given the coverage in all the tabloids today, we will shortly have to pay for another royal wedding. Oh, how lucky we Scots are.