RANDOM THOUGHTS

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jake

So, if there is no Conservative Party left on November 1, why are they so keen to have a General Election in December?

I mean, if the Tories cease to exist, The Brexit party and Labour will carve up England between them (well OK, the LibDems may pick up a few seats too even if their leader sounds like she comes from South Africa! (I mean what IS that accent?)

Also, Boris Johnson, intellect and breadth… in one sentence? Surely not.

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cummings

Dominic, on the side of the downtrodden workers, swamped with nasty foreign regulations and court judgments and done out of employment by EU workers. Just as well we voted for him, eh?

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Well, Richard, what do you reckon? Will you call for these things to be devolved?

Then, if it went wrong, you could reasonably blame the Scottish government. As it is the shortcomings are firmly in the court of your beloved Tory UK. And honestly, even with the world’s second most chaotic government, Labout is still a country mile behind Boris “the ditch” Johnson.

For those on Twitter, give Sarah a follow. Great posts.

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alistqair union jack

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joke2

Ooooops! As Mr Grayson would have it… Shut that door!

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Now, I’m no apologist for Corbyn, but it’s a bit of a cheek that the Tory Daily Mail on Sunday highlights a bloke taking 40 winks on a L-O-N-G train journey from England to Scotland. Especially when their own snooze on the front benches while he should be listening to a debate.

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EHZfur6W4AAS7b0

I hear Gove has been ranting at Corbyn about how much money the Tories have spent on the NHS. However much it is, the English NHS is short of 10,000 doctors and over 40,000 nurses, so it’s not enough.

Ho Hum…Things go better with Coke?

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LET’S TITTER AT THE BRANCH OFFICES

According to Richard Leonard, Labour’s branch office in Scotland would scrap the ‘work car park tax’. You know, the one that isn’t a tax and isn’t imposed by the government, but is a form of devolution to local authorities of tax, which thay may choose to implement or not.

Yeah, that one.

In fact, the one that Labour actually very much likedd and was going to introduce in Glasgow.

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Until, that is, the Greens and the SNP agreed to give the councils the power to introduce the tax if they felt so inclined. The, of course, it became a BAAAAAD idea.

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Mr Leonard said: “Many people across Scotland simply cannot rely on our crumbling transport system because it is more interested in profits than passengers.

“The solution to this problem is not to slap a new tax on getting to work, it is to transform our transport system. That is why Scottish Labour will axe the tax in government, bring our railways into public ownership and build a free bus network to serve communities across the country.”

He might well have added: “Labour will borrow Mrs May’s Magic Money Tree and shake it for all they are worth. We will be seeking advice from Arlene on how to get out hands on it.”

Because, although all of these ideas are excellent, they are, at the same time, costly. Free bus travel, for example, is a superb idea already introduced in some Scandinavian countries. What Mr Leonard doesn’t say is how he will pay for it.

This railways stuff it interesting. Again, a great idea.

Railways in the UK were privatised by John Major.

As I recall, Labour came to power in the UK in 1997 on a promise to re-nationalise them. But, for some reason, it didn’t.

Nor did the Labour-led administrations in Scotland in the first two parliaments even attempt to have the power devolved so that they could do what their bosses in London had promised and failed to do. Eight years in power and not a request; not a sniff.

The SNP, on the other hand, are working on this.

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On the subject of the branch offices havers, I’m told that following Nicola’s pledge that she will request a Section 30 from the government shortly, Jackson Carlot has said that the Scottish Tories (branch office) will never agree to that.

Erm, I think you’ll find, Jack, mate, that no one was, for a split second, even vaguely thinking of asking you. Well, above your pay grade.

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OK, we should probably say something about the other wee branch office, I suppose, otherwise, they may feel belittled and left out… almost like they didn’t matter (snigger).

Um…

Let me see…

Hmmm…

Oh yeah, got it:

Willie Rennie is on holiday in Spain when he should be in parliament.

There! I knew he’d have done something of note.

Ohhhhh, Richard Leonard

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Yesterday, Scottish Labour bemoaned the fact that too many people working in Scotland are living beneath the £10 an hour so-called (by George Osborne) Living Wage.

Of course, that is true. Far too many people do work and yet live in poverty. And many people on Gideon’s Living Wage have to claim tax credits and other social security benefits.

It is a bad situation.

Mr Leonard appeared to say that he would give them all rises of up to £2,600 a year. All 500,000 of them. Generous man.

The trouble is that Minimum Wage legislation lies within the purview of the hated Tory government in London.

Now, I seem to recall that Minimum Wage legislation was something that the Scottish government asked to be devolved. And I also recall that Scottish Labour voted against. 

Any notion that the Tories would want to see poor Scots £2,6000 better off, at the expense of business owners, is rather far fetched.

Still, I suppose it makes a good headline for those who do not care to look beyond the headline soundbite.

Today, Our Richard was having a go at the NHS in Scotland.

According to Scottish Labour, it is failing people.

And to prove it, they put together a video. Mindful of a previous video where an NHS nurse was found in fact not to be an NHS nurse, they did indicate at the beginning of the video that parts had been played by actors. 

Now, our NHS isn’t perfect, I think we all know that. It takes too long to get an appointment with a doctor for starters, hospital food can be unappetising and in a couple of hospitals where the government’s lawyers couldn’t break the terms of contracts signed years ago, the parking charges are ridiculous. 

Of course, Brexit hasn’t helped with the situation. Many people working in the NHS are from Europe and, saddled with applications for residency permits, some after working here for a quarter of a century and more, have just given up and announced their return to the EU where they will be welcomed and treated like valued citizens.

But for all its faults, it is a good health service. Indeed, I think by most measures, it is the best in these islands and we should be rightly proud of it and the people who provide it at every level.

That said, if Labour can suggest ways that it can be improved, we would, I am sure, welcome their suggestions, wouldn’t we?

There’s a small fly in the ointment though… If we look for an example of how Labour runs a health service, we find that maybe their advice might not be that good.

!wales

!wales2

 

Isn’t it about time, given the results of the latest Yougov poll of voting intentions for Westminster showing Labour reduced to one seat in Scotland (aye, old Union Jacket), for the annual branch office leadership contest?

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Who this time… James Kelly?

OUR VISION FOR SCOTLAND

MAKE IT INTO WALES

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The hapless Richard Leonard has once again come up trumps (no pun intended) when it comes to the dafty stakes.

Making a video about the Scottish Labour ‘vision’ for Scotland (and the UK, although I find it hard to imagine why SCOTTISH Labour would have a vision for the UK), Mr Leonard talks over a picture of… Snowdonia. 

Well, a mountain is a mountain is a mountain, I guess.

Maybe we should be grateful that they managed to avoid this:

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Dundee and the Law.

The video, a set of aspirations, some of which the Scottish government has already achieved (not giving Tory tax breaks to the richest, and equality in wages just achieved by Glasgow’s SNP Council after years of Labor denying them…see below).

Many of the other aspirations could have been met by a Scottish government that had the power to regulate employment. But then, who was it that voted against the devolution of so many powers, remind me…? Hmmm… Surely not Labour?

Image search result for Tryfan, a mountain in Snowdonia, Wales

 

As far as I can make out all the other locations in the video are in Scotland, so the excuse they came up with that Scottish Labour (with virtually no money) is making a video about the whole of the UK, isn’t terribly convincing.

Would it not have been better to admit that they made a silly error by including the Welsh mountains in a Scottish video?

No. It seems they prefer to do a Donald Trump and come up with a not too plausible story as a cover-up.

I bet, it’s just a shame it took removing Scottish Labour from office to make it happen.

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Now Nicola, time to get on with nationalising Scottish water

What?

FEAR NOT. RICHARD LEONARD IS BOUND TO BE ON THE CASE

I MEAN HE WOULDN’T JUST TWEET HIS ANGER WITHOUT ACTUALLY DOING ANYTHING, WOULD HE?

Rudd is rolling out her defective benefits system in Edinburgh just before Christmas.

She must know that it will leave families penniless at perhaps the cruellest time of the year. When people will have no money to put on their electricity and gas meters, no money for kids’ treats and no money for food.

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Fortunately, though, as we noted above, Richard Leonard is on the case.

This is absolutely shameful.

So, presumably, tomorrow he will be writing a letter, along with Nicola Sturgeon, to Treeeza, demanding that Universal Credit (and hopefully all other benefits) be devolved to Edinburgh where they will be overseen by ministers who are actual human beings.

I can’t tell you how angry I am about this.

Until they iron out the faults in Universal Credit it shouldn’t be rolled out anywhere at any time. But, although, as you know, I hold no brief for Christmas and all its tra la las, you’d have to be some kind of fool to believe that it was appropriate to roll this shambles out in December when you know that the folk concerned will get no money for FIVE weeks.

What kind of person would sign off on that?

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Rudd

Oh yeah, her, silly question.

Not that this one would have been any more human.

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McVey

We probably suggested this last year, but we make no apologies for doing it again this year. Munguin and I (and Munguin’s gran and I) won’t be buying big presents for each other. Instead there will be a small token gift. We’re all lucky enough to have all we need. Whatever else we would have spent on gifts will be used to help food banks.

Staples, some treats and maybe some little presents for children who otherwise would have nothing.

Nothing for kids, at Christmas?

Jings, that’s such an un-Christian thing for a deeply religious Prime Minister and monarch to preside over.

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The walls should start to crack as you walk through the door, you dreadful, heartless, cruel woman.
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I don’t suppose you or yours will go without over the festive period.

As for the Daily Record, can I just respectfully remind them of this:

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So, don’t you look so smug! We didn’t think you were promising us THIS fiasco.

OH STOP IT

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Richard Leonard said that the Scottish government should mitigate the 2 child policy in its next budget.

Nicola Sturgeon asked him to co-sign a letter with her to the Brits asking for ‘Welfare’ powers to be devolved to Scotland.

He refused to do that.

Jeremy Corbyn has now tweeted:

. is calling on the Scottish Government to use its powers in the interests of the many, not the few. needs to listen and scrap the two-child cap in the upcoming Scottish budget.

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I saw an excellent comment from Cameron Archibald.

Labour: The SNP should mitigate the two-child cap policy!

SNP: Sure, join us on calling Westminster to devolve welfare powers to Holyrood.

Labour: …

SNP: …

Labour: …

SNP: Well?

Labour: …

SNP: Hello?

Labour: …

SNP: Are you ok-?

Labour: The SNP should mitigate…

Come on Labour. What’s the problem? It’s not like some welfare powers are going to make us totally sovereign. It would, though, mean that we would be able to run out own social security system, hopefully, a good way from the despicable English Tory welfare misery which, only last week, prompted damning criticism from the UN Rapporteur.

What was your experience?

“Teachers should not have to buy pens and pencils for their own classrooms. Our schools should be properly funded by the SNP government.”

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At  First Minister’s Questions yesterday, Mr Leonard complained that some teachers had had to provide pens and pencils for kids who could not afford them.

Indeed, he was to an extent, right. It is terrible that teachers are having to do this and, in fact, more. Some teachers of my acquaintance are having to provide food for kids they have found raking in bins shaking with hunger.

Of course, they don’t actually have to, but being human beings, some of them try to help where they can. Who could possibly refuse a hungry kid something to eat?

But wait, when I think back to my school days, in Scotland and later in England, I always had to provide my own pens and pencils, not to mentions rules, compasses and protractors. To the best of my knowledge, the state never provided anything like that.

So it is a valid point. Teachers should not have to provide these items, but it’s not the headline-grabbing “SNP government BAAAAD” that is responsible for this. That’s childish nonsense and I suspect that the intelligent Mr Leonard knows that.

Why are parents too poor to provide for their kids?

I’d suggest that a pitifully low minimum wage, zero-hours contracts, part-time work, the utter chaos of the current benefits system (PIP and UC), and rampant inflation, may be the cause.

All areas, you’ll note, over which the Scottish government has no control.

So we have a situation where parents are finding it hard to provide basic necessities for their children. And that these are areas of policy retained at Westminster. And Mr Leonard chose to blame the SNP government. Not the Scottish government, you’ll note, but “this SNP government”.

Not that I’d presume to talk for Nicola Sturgeon, but I suspect that if Mr Leonard was minded to, the First Minister would happily sign a joint letter to Mrs May asking for these matters to be devolved. Then maybe together we could do something about this instead of trying to make petty political points out of kids’ misery.

 

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One thing that the Scottish government might be able to do without asking Westminster, though, is to remove the obligation for children to wear uniforms at school. Uniforms are expensive and nowadays they’re not used for anything except going to school.

Kids grow out of clothes so quickly and it is expensive to replace them. Not having to provide separate wear for school would be a weight off the budgets of some hard-up households. (You know, the “just getting by” ones so favoured by Mrs May…well, for the first ten minutes of her prime ministership anyway.)

If there any good reasons that escape me for making kids wear clothes they don’t like, that aren’t particularly comfortable and that cost a lot of money and have to be dry cleaned, please let me know?

Jeans, trackies, t-shirt and sweaters work ok in schools in the USA, for example.

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In fairness to Mr Leonard, who had the benefits of a scholarship to a private school, he may have had to find his own pencils. You would think, though, that someone on his staff might have gone to an ordinary school and been able to advise him in advance that he was about to make yet another howling out-of-touch faux pas.

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Reader Polls:

1/ Were your stationery requirements provided by whatever government(s) when you went to school?

2/ Would you have any objection to kids going to school in jeans and t-shirts instead of shirts and ties and dry cleanable blazers?