IT WAS 5 YEARS AGO TODAY…

It was five years ago today (the National ad is from yesterday) and I guess we can all remember what we were doing back then.

I recall that the weather here was pretty grim, cold, dark and rainy but, for all that, it was a happy day, full of hope for the future and I drove all over the town of Dundee ferrying people who needed help to get to polling stations with a great big smile on my face.

It was a happy day. Everyone was full of enthusiasm and hope. A new dawn sort of thing.

We all started early in the morning and went on till the polls closed. Dog tired we took what was left of the stoviews and sandwiches and headed home to await the result. We were happy, quietly confident, and sure we’d done the best we could.

Well, we all know how it turned out.

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And we know what happened to most of the promises, made largely by Gordon Brown on behalf of David Cameron, as soon as, or within weeks of the result being announced.

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I can’t see how she could ever be prime minister or even deputy prime minister with most legislation get government would propose being outside her purview

The frigates numbers were reduced and then reduced again; the passport offices closed; the tax offices moved to Croyden… and of course, instead of setting up an English parliament, they introduced EVEL, which pretty much makes a high office impossible for a Scottish based MP.  So think on, Jo Swinson.

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The Wee Black Book, penned by Stuart Campbell, lays out the lies, or at least those that were known at the time of its publication.

One of the biggest lies was, of course, the fallacy that the only way to stay in the European Union was to stay in the United Kingdom. It was always clear that the EU was far more popular in Scotland (and Northern Ireland) than it was in England or Wales.

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And later…

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Of course, among all of Cameron’s claims and promises, this turned out to be the biggest whopper of them all.

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Better Together used these people and then abandoned them.

The loss of a tax office or two was, of course, terrible for the people who worked there (especially after they had been so used by the UKOK campaign) and for the towns concerned, but, compared with the disaster that would have been Brexit even if it had been handled well, it was comparatively small beer.

And, as we all know, it has been anything but well handled from day one.

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Cameron promised that if he lost he would stay on to sort the mess out. He resigned as PM on the morning after the EU vote and as an MP shortly after that and buggered off to his shed to write his memoirs and make himself some money. With the Big Society well and truly forgotten as a legacy, his memoirs turned out to be a sulk at Johnson and Gove.

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No one of any talent wanted the job he vacated, of course, and in the end, we, or rather the Tory Party, was left with a choice of the appalling Theresa May, a woman of little charm, no empathy and little political skills and the idiot’s idiot, Andrea Leadsom, who appeared to think that she was better suited to the job because she was a mother and May was not.

Add to that the endless list of talentless, lazy and  incompetent ministers that May appointed, her signing of Article 50 before any plan was in place and her eventual resignation as the Conservatives split with visceral hatred, to leave us with the Incredible Hulk, Boris Johnson, and an even more incredibly incompetent band of hard-right wingers, making the UK a laughing stock.

It might be fair to say, too, that throughout all this, the Labour Party hasn’t shown the slightest sign of any kind of competence. And that has been obvious to the public. Even with prime ministers as incompetent and bumbling as May and Johnson, Corbyn has never been shown in the polls as a credible prime minister.

And all of this was thrust on Scotland against the will of the Scottish people.

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I’ve said for some time that the only reason that we are not the biggest laughing stock in the world is that, compared with the USA and its moronic leader and his fractured government, the UK is relatively unimportant. 

And so, today, with most opinion polls (except those initiated by Scotland in Union) showing a surge in the desire to take our own affairs in hand, we still have hope that in the not too distant future we shall be able to do just that, and take our place in the European family of nations as a small independent country.

All the indicators are that Europe will welcome us. The other Nordic and Celtic nations in the EU and EEA have already made it clear that they will.

Maybe yet we can build a society that will look a little more like that which we really want.

If we don’t take this chance, then we don’t deserve the chance. We shall deserve to remain a vassal state doing the will of our bigger neighbour and cut off from Europe.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

🚨 second referendum klaxon 🚨 May tells Sarah Wollaston: “Any second referendum, should that be the case, would not be able to held before March 2019… We’d need to extend Article 50”

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Say what you like about Theresa May, but she’s shit hot at remembering heavily rehearsed stock responses she can dole out whenever faced with a slightly challenging question. She’s now achieved the same level of competence as an answering machine

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Off the topic of Brexit, I suspect that most of you will have heard of the horrible incident in Yorkshire where a 16-year-old schoolboy thug follower of Tommy Robinson assaulted a younger Syrian lad, because…well, he was Syrian.

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The boy had been assaulted before and was wearing a plaster cast on his arm from an earlier attack. Additionally, his younger sister had been bullied so badly that she had allegedly tried to kill herself. This time someone filmed it.

I know I’m preaching to the converted here, but I am reminded that when people in the public eye make racist statements it seems to justify innate (if there really is such a thing) racism in the hard of thinking. (I’m disinclined to actually believe in “innate” racism, but I think that it can be implanted at an early age.)

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So people like Tommy Robinson and his message of hate, and the equally awful Katie Hopkins, who I suspect does it for publicity and self-enrichment rather than any kind of “principled” dislike of foreigners, can reasonably be blamed for stirring racial hatred. I’m not saying that Hopkins or Robinson (real name: Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon) intend people to be beaten, or driven to suicide. But they unleash or free up and make semi-respectable harassment in the eyes of their followers. And that includes idiot prime ministers who accuse people of queue jumping to get British jobs. (I’m not sure if she knows how interviews work!) Or other idiot prime minister who promote slogans like “British jobs for British workers”.

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Someone started a Just Giving page for the lad and his family, with the aim of raising £10,000. The last time I looked it stood at over £130,000. Now that is a British value I can relate to.

PS: Time for an Offstead inspection at the Almondbury school in Huddersfield, I think.

 

RANDOM THOUGHTS

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Lead us, says Gordie, but from the rear, behind that big door there, in the cellar and never expect anyone to listen to anything you say, you stupid Jocks. How’s staying in the EU working out, Ruthie? And Theresa, maybe you want to have a word with Fluffy, you know other than “black with no sugar and a small rich tea”.
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Fluffs, when you finished washing up, maybe have a word with the Maybot. (It’s black with no sugar and a small rich tea, by the way.)
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P r o m o t i n g and P r o t e c t i n g, Fluffette. Jeez, you are SOOOOOO Bad at your job, aren’t you, poppet!
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Does anyone else remember that being mentioned before the referendum? Nah, nor me. It was just getting shot of the foreigners and the bus with the ludicrous promise splashed all over it. 
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Och, Pauline, ya wee scone. You come and shout at me for marching next Saturday in Bannockburn. And if it makes you feel better, throw a wee hissy fit, then I’ll buy you a nice cup of tea and Munguin will tell you a story of how he became a media mogul… (Oh, and it was 90,000+ that time. Yer arithmetic’s fell dodgy.)
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Initiated by the odious creeps’ odious creep, Iain Duncan Smith of Betsygate fame, continued by successive DWP ministers and now delivered incompetently by this evil item.  As Stuart Campbell said, Incompetent and Evil. That’s quite a combination. Probably excellent qualifications for a job in the Tory Party. Oh wait…
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Why are people always walking out on the Tories? Rhetorical question, folks. Oh, and what was it that Labour MPs were saying about the SNP walk out?
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Now we know: Outlaw, Robber, Brigand.  Seems like a good place to exile them all to.

Over 5000 people have joined the SNP in the last few days. I’d like to say that we welcome you all. Together we can do this.

And finally, to those Scots, and folk around the world, (and very specially to Abu, who’ll be here in a few days), who are celebrating the end of Ramadan, Munguin and I wish you all ‘Eid Mubarak’.

FROM THE RIDICULOUS TO THE EVEN WORSE

By Panda Paws

Recently Danny from Missouri and I had an interesting wee chat about the number of American Presidents who had been assassinated. He mentioned that only one British Prime Minister had ever been killed in office. Which is not to say that a number of them haven’t wanted shooting! But the non-existent British constitution only allows us to “bare arms” though this is currently not advisable due to bad weather so assassination is much less likely!

The bloke’s name was Spencer Perceval who was killed in 1812 so not within living memory. Though Edward Drummond, a civil servant was killed during an assassination attempt on PM Robert Peel in 1843 by Daniel McNaughton, a Scot, who was suffering from paranoid delusions (unrecorded whether he thought Scotland was a valued and equal partner in the Union). He gave his name to the legal McNaughton clauses that define insanity in English law.

Anyway, all this prompted me to think of the PMs I have a living memory of though for some of them I was very young. And what a sorry bunch they have been, resulting in the article title. So here is a brief journey through the leaders of our nation.

  1. Ted Heath, Tory

He and Harold Wilson took buggins turn at the top job during the 1960s and early 1970s. During Heath’s tenure, we had the three day week, due to industrial action by mine workers and a Middle East oil crisis. He was also PM when Bloody Sunday happened and some of the most violent days in the Troubles. A gay man, most of his life he had been closeted given homosexuality was illegal until 1968 in England. He famously hated his successor as Tory party leader. Didn’t we all mate, didn’t we all.

  1. Harold Wilson, Labour

Regarded as soft Left, or what many current members of the party would call a raging communist!, he was PM twice – 1964 to 1970 then from 1974 to 1976. His was a mixed bag premiership. In 1967 sterling was devalued and he made his famous “pound in your pocket” speech. Which was a lie. He also secretly offered circa £500 million in today’s money to Libya’s Gaddafi for the latter to stop arming the IRA. He should be congratulated though for keeping UK out of the Vietnam War despite pressure from the US. He resigned abruptly in 1976 citing exhaustion though he was probably suffering from the onset of the dementia that was hushed up during his retirement.

  1. James Callaghan, Labour

He is only British politician to have held all 4 of the Great Offices of State (Chancellor, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary, PM). He was Chancellor during sterling devaluation and the Home Secretary who sent troops to Northern Ireland. For a lot of people, he is best known for being PM during the Winter of Discontent. A bad time which I now look upon fondly given the disaster capitalism that we currently have. Brexit will probably make it look like the happiest days of our life.

For me, he is best remembered for:

The 1979 devolution referendum I was too young to vote in and the infamous Cunningham amendment aka the “deid voted naw”. The referendum that was 52 yes and 48 no – those numbers may feel familiar in a UK context – so obviously devolution didn’t happen. Because yes really means no.

Keeping quiet about the McCrone report. It was commissioned during Heath’s time but reported during Wilson’s. (But Callaghan was part of the Cabinet keeping it to secret and ensured it remained secret when we were considering devolution).

The no-confidence vote. Look, an election would have needed to be called in at most 5 months after it actually happened. Denis Healey blamed Labour backbenchers for the vote loss, but SLAB blamed and continue to blame the SNP for it. Funnily enough, they never blame the folk that voted Tory; just the SNP for voting against the government. It would take decades for the SNP to rebuild and lose its minority party status.

  1. Margaret Thatcher, Tory

My loathing holds no bounds for this personage. Everything that is wrong with the UK economy today dates back to her obsession with Chicago school economics. Which is bollocks! The only thing trickling down is rich people peeing on you. Which may be marginally better than cats pooing on your petunias or not. (Munguin says he has to think about that- Ed.)

There was no Thatcherite economic miracle. She STOLE my country’s wealth to fund tax cuts for the richest and build infrastructure in London and SE England. In 1990 having sat on the still-top secret McCrone report, she told a Young Conservative conference

We English, who are marvellous people, are really very generous to Scotland and very generous to Wales.”

Generous, fecking generous?

Ravenscraig, Dalzell, Linwood etc – the deindustrialisation of Scotland. Maybe the industries were at the tail end of viability but she did nothing to replace them and instead threw our money at the rich.

Compare and contrast with Norway – roughly same population and fewer non-oil-related natural resources – megabucks, one of the happiest nations on Earth. I imagine when she died they needed to create a new circle of hell just for her! Ironically the woman that privatised our national assets (“selling off the family silver” MacMillan called it) was given a state funeral paid for by the taxpayers. At which George Osborne cried. I cried during her premiership, like most of Scotland.

  1. John Major, Tory

By the 1990s even the Tories had had enough of the mad bag and she was deposed and replaced, not by Heseltine, the stalking horse, but by a man said to be so boring he ran away from the circus to become an accountant. Actually, it’s not really true but his father had been a music hall performer. His Spitting Image puppet famously had a crush on Virginia Bottomley. He was actually having an affair with Edwina Currie. I now pause to allow you to clear your mind with bleach at the thought of John and Edwina together… (Munguin had to leave the room at this point! Fortunately Tris is made of sterner stuff, and has blocked the two of them completely. NO DOIN’T MENTION THEM AGAIN… preferably EVER!)

He was PM when the UK dropped out of the ERM and his tenure became mired in sleaze and numerous sex scandals. Tory family values may not be your family values.

  1. Tony Blair, Tory

Yeah OK, technically Labour, but not really. Thatcher said New Labour was her greatest legacy! Well, I suppose compared to everything else she was responsible for, it might be the least toxic of the toxic. So things didn’t actually get any better – I blame that Prof Brian Cox. Stick to the Physics mate, not the keyboard!

PFI, Iraq, spin, Cash for Honours. Of course, some will credit him with devolution but he was actually against it and his hand was forced by the Council of Europe which had stated the UK was too centralised. So devolution happened on his watch as did stealing 6000 miles of Scottish coastline before its enactment aided and abetted by (not the) Father of the Nation, Donald Dewar, the first First Minister. Why did he steal 6000 miles? No, not to outdo the Proclaimers but did I mention the McCrone report ?– it’s still top secret in 1999 when parliament reconvened (or the Executive as Labour and LibDems liked to call it) and was indeed was only revealed in 2005 after a tip-off about its existence led to an FOI request.

  1. Gordon Brown, New Labour

Or as I like to call him “how now Brown vow, you’ll have had your federalism”. Others call him Nokia Brown due to his apparent penchant for throwing phones at people when frustrated. He was treated badly by the press, however. Yes, he was useless, but Tony was too and got away with murder literally – Iraq!

Funny though that the press that hated him suddenly started treating him like an elder statesman in 2014. The good ole BBC even interrupting programmes to beam his No thanks speech live, despite purdah. Still, this closest thing to federalism is great isn’t it? Nearly as good as the Sewell Convention.

  1. David Cameron, Tory

Just call me Dave, he said. I have several other names in mind. He famously said he wanted to be PM because he thought he’d be good at it.

He wasn’t.

Lazy (chillaxing anyone?) and entitled, he thought he was cleverer than everyone else and didn’t need to try. Newsflash – you weren’t and you did.

Brexit is his legacy. He’d gambled the nation’s future to settle an internal Tory party struggle and the challenge from UKIP. (I’m not sure that little ploy worked too well…well, look at Liam Fox and Anna Soubry-Ed) Buoyed after winning the Scottish independence referendum, which at one point he looked like losing – Daily Record to the rescue – he seemingly forgot or perhaps was too arrogant to see that the MSM wouldn’t be 100% behind him this time.

Jim Callaghan was the only PM to hold all four Great Offices of State and, thanks to Cameron and EVEL, no MP from a Scottish Constituency will ever be able to match this feat should we be daft enough to remain in the Disunited Kingdom. And don’t get me started on his austerity and social security measures!

  1. Theresa May, Tory

Please make it stop. Please. I can’t even. (Nor can I – Ed)

And they say Scotland doesn’t have the talent to run itself!

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I’m a bit out of circulation for a few days, Munguinites. But the big chief says posts must continue, so here’s a wee reminder of how Gordon Brown (GB) lied through his teeth for (or was made a complete monkey of by) David Cameron.

And, talking about that sort of thing, I thought it would be nice to have a picture of Baillie smiling, just to cheer us all up.

For a laugh… and to keep you occupied, you might like to try a caption for Baillie…

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I may not have time to comment, but I promise Munguin will read every one.

 

 

FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE, PESTMINSTER, GET A GRIP

So, who knows whether Liz knew about the fact that she was putting her money into offshore accounts; who knows if she knew that money was tied up in Bright Homes, the rip-off company for the very poor?

If she didn’t know (and it is said that she takes a great deal of interest in these matters so she probably did), then she should have. Certainly, the banks of advisors that we pay for should have told her and explained to her the risks she was taking.

Don’t you think that it is time for a look at how we finance this bunch of scroungers?

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Other news we saw concerning our lards and messers is that another Tory Whip, Chris Pincher, has reported himself to the police and to the party’s sleaze squad for being what his accuser described as a pound-shop Harvey Weinstein.

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The knives are out for Andrea Leadsom who dobbed in SIR Fall-on (yer sword) for being a dirty wee sod. And I have to admit it does seem a particularly sneaky thing to do at this time when she has sat on the whole thing for 6 years or so.  Still, when it comes to the Tories, you’d have to go a fair way before you find one that wasn’t sneaky and self-serving, and kicking a man when he’s down is pretty much expected.

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Talking of which, when the hell is Colonel Davidson, self-appointed Augean Stables Clearer in Chief, going to do something about the tweeting habits of Murdo Fraser. Having some time ago shown his football preference (and that of his queen) was Rangers and very definitely NOT Celtic (Remember the Queen’s Eleven), he has shown his preference over many a tweet. Nothing wrong with having a favourite team of course, but his burning hatred for Celtic seems to know no bounds.

Yesterday at the match at McDiarmid Park there was a minute’s silence for war dead. Murdo tweeted that fans had not respected the silence (or so he heard on the “wireless”), although fans from both sides said that it was absolutely respected. It seems that he was just trying to cause trouble. Isn’t there enough trouble at the moment, Murdo?

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And poor old Gordon Brown. He’s got a new book out and has been emoting all over the place about a wide range of issues. The latest ’emote’ has been his anguish over the Iraq War. (The other day it was how much he felt that the banks should have been made to pay for what they did in the lead up to 2008, when, if you’ll remember, he was the Chancellor and then the Prime Minister…so not entirely without power!). Anyway, the old duffer is now anguished about the Iraq war, which well he may be, given the consequences of that enormous folly. And, of course, he’s still banging on about his agreement with Blair, which Blair, ever the gentleman, broke.

I expect they have told him that he will sell more books if he gets a bit teary-eyed about stuff. So that’s fine.

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And it’s not all just happening at Pestminster. Mark McDonald, an education minister in Holyrood, has demitted office because of “inappropriate” behaviour. He says he might have been too “humorous or friendly”. I’m inclined to think that no one would be required to stand down from a job for being humorous or friendly. Make what you will of it.

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Oh and lastly, that great friend that Mrs May invited to make a state visit, almost before the he had finished making his inauguration speech, has set his cap at bagging the privatisation of the Saudi Oil Company for New York, when the Brits hoped that it would go to London. The man who was going to be the UK’s greatest Brexit friend has (not unreasonably) gone for the massive prize of handling the Saudi deal knowing how much May wanted it.

If that’s her closest friend, what are her enemies going to do to her… Oh I forgot, they are a bunch of perverts, weirdos and cheats called the Tory Party and they are busily making her premiership the biggest nightmare since the one on Elm Street.

SO, WHAT WITH ONE THING AND ANOTHER…

…THAT WENT WELL, DON’T YOU THINK, KEZ?

Added to what Liam said (above), the conference saw Jeremy, a man I used to respect, being economical with the truth about the EU referendum and harking back to that old chestnut, the Euro. And warning of a hard border turbo-charged austerity and having to eat flags. Jeremy really needs to go read up on the conditions and terms for joining the Euro. He’d find that we couldn’t join it even if we wanted to. As for the hard border, Ed Miliband tried that threat, and what’s he doing these days? The size of his audience reflects the import of what he had to say.

Then we had dear old Sadiq, another guy I had some respect for, lying through his teeth about nationalism and racism. We all know that that ended badly despite Kez  trying to tell us that he didn’t say what he said.

And then there was Kezia bleating on about ‘Stronger Together’ and saying it wasn’t in any way a rehash of Better Together. No Sir, not at all. Entirely different. I mean “better” starts with a B and “stronger” with an S. There, what did I tell you?

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I wonder if being Better… sorry Stronger… together no longer refers to being stronger together in Europe. I mean, only a few short months ago Kezia was telling us, as was Ruth, that we were stronger in the EU. And now we, the Scots, who voted to stay in by a whopping majority, nearly 2-1, are, according to Kezia and Ruth, better or stronger (or whatever) apart. Who knows what they will say next week.

I’m beginning to think that the Labour Party’s branch office don’t really have any policies at all, except for Kez’s “F” plan. (No, not Firmer Together or Fairer Together… and no suggestions from you, Conan!)

I’m talking about the Federal plan, which Gordon Brown promised but then they voted heavily against when they had an opportunity to join with the SNP and Greens and get that outcome in the Smith Commission discussions, or in amendments to the Scotland Act where they voted against the SNP’s proposals. Still, a branch office can change its mind, can’t it?

But, seriously, Kez, do you really think the Tories will go for that?

No, me neither.

And when were you imagining that there would be a Labour government in England again?

Yes, me too.

So it’s not exactly much of a plan, is it? In fact, it’s not a plan at all. It’s something to say that you know will never come true, because neither the Tories nor your own MPs will ever vote for it. So basically it’s bullshit.

Still, Stronger Together sounds catchy. It’s a pity that in reality it is “Stuffed Together”.