Happy memories of the last referendum. A stunning version of Caledonia by the Libations.
Happy memories of the last referendum. A stunning version of Caledonia by the Libations.
Dear Mrs May,
Since you became prime minister of your united kingdom, you have consistently said that you won’t have an election outwith the 5-year cycle that your predecessor introduced in order to discourage political opportunists from having elections when it best suited their party.
You said only the other day that the people were getting behind you in Brexit (although we presume that you meant English people because from where we are sitting in the Kingdom of Scotland, we see no sign of it), so it cannot be that you feel that you have need of endorsement for your Brexit policies despite the, to our eyes, apparent abject failure of most of what you are trying to do.
So we aren’t entirely sure why you are doing this. It may indeed be that very political opportunism which Mr Cameron wished to avoid (with a prod from Mr Clegg). Certainly, Labour is very weak, whether in England under Mr Corbyn, in Scotland under Ms Dugdale and possibly even in Wales under Mr Jones. By going for an election that you calculate you cannot lose, you may hope to extend your tenure of the top job from 4 to 6 years without much trouble from the main opposition party.
Beware, however. No matter how unpopular Labour may be we’re not certain that there are many seats that it can lose. You might say that they are relatively close to ‘core vote’. What’s left now would rather eat their own feet than vote Tory. And, two years down the line from the disastrous coalition, the Liberal Democrats could pick up some of the seats that the Conservative took from them in 2015, particularly seats which are largely pro-EU. Whilst there is a possibility that you might take a Scottish seat or two due to a mixture of Labour’s uselessness and the fact that your tank commanding lady in the sole serious representative of the British Bulldog in its red white and blue splendour. We’d not count on you getting too many, though (remember the rape clause REALLY went down badly here), and it’s not beyond possibility that you will lose Fluffy, his coat being on what we would call a shooglie nail. (Although we dare say that’s a ‘disaster’ you could cope with.)
In any normal circumstances, we’d assume that any government would have taken all of this into consideration before embarking on this ‘brave’ endeavour. But with the government you lead, given your record thus far, one can never be certain that things have been thought of, never mind thought through.
It has been the custom over the last few elections, here in Scotland, in the UK and farther afield, for party leaders to take part in debates on live television in order that the population may find out what it is voting for, directly, if you’ll pardon the expression, from the horses mouths, as opposed to the glossy wishlist stuck through doors (which, in the majority of cases, make their way from doormat to bin without passing Go, or collection £200 as it were). It’s all very well to say in a leaflet that you are going to do this, that and the next thing, but it is far more interesting to see policies dissected by opposite numbers, don’t you think. Almost entertaining sometimes.
And, of course, that works both ways. You get the chance to question other party leaders’ policies, live in front of the peoples of your united kingdom.
We understand, though, that you have said quite categorically that you will not take part in any tv debates with your opposite numbers.
We can only guess at your reasons for doing this, but we trust you understand that the public will demand that these debates go ahead with or without your participation.
PS: You might have had the decency to allow the local elections taking place all over Scotland to be over before you made your announcement. I say you might have, but clearly, you didn’t.
PPS. What will happen to the 30 Tories who are under police investigation in England for cheating with their election expenses? Surely until they are cleared they cannot possibly be candidates in a further election? How can we guarantee that they will not cheat again?
We just saw this corker of a front page:
Nice measured language, The Sun.
In Italy and Portugal GDP, between 2007 and 15, is down, as are wages. Fair enough.
In Denmark, Latvia, Slovinia, Spain and Finland there has been a reduction in the GDP over the period 2007-15, meanwhile, workers have become better off.
In the top right-hand quadrant (Sweden, Norway, Slovak Republic, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Austria, Czech Republic, US, Ireland, South Korea, Japan and Israel both economic growth and Wages have increased.
Alone, standing out like a sore thumb, in the UK, although the GDP has increased, ordinary workers are worse off.
Better Together No Thanks, Ukok.
Meanwhile, once again in OUR united kingdom, a tiny, temporary committee of MPs set up explicitly to consider doubling the publicly funded income of the Royal Family took thirteen minutes to decide that, yes, the Royal Family should indeed have its income doubled.
We all know that Buckingham Palace has been allowed to fall into a state of disrepair. We know its repairs now will be at a huge cost to the taxpayer. (Not unreasonable questions might be: Why has it been allowed to get to into this state? Why were not repairs and improvements ongoing? Could the queen have managed her finances better? Why are we bailing out her failures to look after the palaces?)
According to a report in the Independent: The project will involve replacing around 100 miles of electrical cabling 30 miles of water pipes, 6,500 electrical sockets, 5,000 light fitting and 2,500 radiators. I assume that most of this is to do with health and safety rather than aesthetics given that everything will have to be replaced looking exactly as it did. It seems to me that the palace has been neglecting its responsibilities to the high number of staff of all sorts it employs there. (I imagine that it can do this legally as ordinary laws do not apply in royal palaces.)
In 2014, the Public Accounts Committee reported that the royal household had mismanaged its finances. it seems that it did so disastrously. The estimated cost was £350 million, but we know that that will have increased considerably by the time the work is done.
We can only imagine that if the household managed to mess up Buckingham Palace’s repairs and renewals, then other palaces, housing other members of the queens expensive family will also need to be investigated. Will Kensington Palace (above), St James’s Palace, Thatched Lodge, Clarence House and the unrestored parts of Windsor Castle require the same sort of expenditure? And in Scotland, what is the state of repair of The Palace of Holyrood House? What kind of bill will that involve?
In my opinion, it is time to rationalise the housing arrangements of junior or pensioned members of the royal family. I’m not asking them to live in council flats, but family members who don’t work for the country shouldn’t be living in palaces at our expense. It’s not like any of them are living in penury. Many have country residences.
Other countries manage perfectly well with a president and their partner being kept at the expense of the people. Why we have the queen’s cousins and grown grandchildren being accommodated at our expense is beyond me. An argument that one day Beatrice might be the queen won’t wash. One day Munguin might be first minister. He doesn’t expect the salary and a suite in Bute house now, on the equally remote off chance.
Dear Jamie Greene MSP,
As a very important animal, and a media mogul, I would like to express agreement with you that it is difficult in the extreme to carry on business here in Scotland with such appalling coverage by telecoms companies. (Simply love the analogue and digital bit. Very smart and almost 21st century.)
Business set ups opportunities could be greatly improved by better electronic communications, of that there is no doubt.
The private companies responsible should be forced to get their act together, and surely the government has a role to play in that.
Your first three points (above) describe a disgrace in a modern European country.
Where I start to take issue is on the fourth point you make.
Of course, you could be said to be right, at least in a way. The SNP has no plans for a roll out of 5G in Scotland. Possibly the reason for this is that Telecoms is a reserved matter, and I suspect that your party would be the first to complain were the Scottish government to interfere in anything reserved to Westminster.
So, it’s true that after nine and a half years in government the SNP has done little to enhance our telecoms. But mainly that’s because they don’t have the authority or the funding to do so.
However, being an animal with excellent contacts in the higher echelons of Britnat society, I can tell you that the person to whom you should complain is the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport. Her name is the Rt Hon. Karen Bradey MP (nah, me neither, so I’ve enclosed a photo).
There’s little point in complaining to The Scotland Office. Fluffy’s absolute rubbish as you probably already know and his boss is some belted earl or somesuch other aristocrat (given the shortage of suitable elected candidates, you understand). I’ve put in a pic of Fluffs too, just because it never hurts to put people off their lunch. (Good for dieters.)
I, and my fellow Scots, would be grateful if you could use your undoubted influence as a fellow Tory (they don’t seem to listen to anyone else) to attract whatshername’s attention and get this situation solved.
Please be assured of my most respectful sentiments and my compliments of the season.
I suspect you were a fan. His death is sad, and he was indeed a talented poet and writer.
I presume that you have an in-depth knowledge of the Russian Arts world and therefore I wouldn’t presume to argue with you about the relative merits of Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, Shalamov, etc, on the one hand, and Steinbeck, Williams, Miller and their likes, on the other.
It’s probably worth pointing out, though, that, erm, Leonard Cohen was Canadian.