GOOD NEWS FROM EDINBURGH AND ANOTHER CROCK OF **** FROM LONDON

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I’m sorry the posts have been a bit scrappy over the last week. I’m pretty busy just now. But I did have time to notice this information taken from the SNP website.  It seems to me that if you look at the facts, as opposed to what the BBC or the Daily Mail is telling you, we’re doing quite well in Scotland:

Scotland has one of the strongest economies in the world. 

Productivity growth in Scotland has been much faster in Scotland than in the UK – as measured by output per hour worked. Since the start of the recession, productivity has increased by 7.6 per cent, while it has grown by only 0.4 per cent in the UK as a whole.

Scotland’s GDP per head growth in the five years since 2010 was above the UK average, when London is excluded.

Today Scotland has the highest pay anywhere in the UK outside of London and the South East. ONS figures show median full time gross annual pay has grown 21 per cent in the last ten years.

Scotland’s international exports – valued at £28.7 billion in 2017 – are up 41 per cent under the SNP. We’ll now double the number of people working for Scottish Development International across Europe and establish and embed Innovation and Investment Hubs in London, Brussels, Dublin, and Berlin.

Scotland is the top destination, outside of London, for foreign direct investment. Ernst & Young have estimated that since 2006 40,000 jobs have been created in Scotland as a result of foreign direct investment. And in 2016-17, 7,839 jobs were secured through inward investment – 10 per cent up on the previous year.

Unemployment in Scotland is at the lowest rate of any UK nation. Scotland’s youth unemployment is the third lowest in the EU and female unemployment is below the UK rate.

Not bad for a country that is too wee, too poor and too stupid to manage on its own.

You can read the rest of the story here.

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In the meantime, Mr Gove has visited Iceland, Faroes and Denmark. In Denmark, he was telling them that the fishing fleet in Scotland and the UK won’t be able to fish all the UK fishing grounds so their fishermen will be able to continue to enjoy fishing in British waters when we’ve taken back control. We suspect that he may have been saying the same thing to the Icelanders and Faroese.

So, all you fishermen in the North East who voted Tory maybe want to consider who you want to vote for next time round. Because who you voted for this time just slapped you right in the face.

Still I’m sure that Viceroy Fluffy will stand up to Gove in Cabinet… or maybe he’ll be too busy making Colonel Davidson’s tea.

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SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO LAUGH…

amaySo, the UK has a strong and stable government?

So strong and stable that it is being propped up by a party of religious fundamentalists that believe that the Earth was created 6,000 years ago.

So strong and stable that, in addition to the DUP’s help, they have now asked for Labour, the official opposition, to come to their rescue (and as far as I know she hasn’t even had the good grace to bung them a billion!) To be fair, Corbyn declined, but offered to give her a copy of the Labour manifesto!

I think we can now safely assume that Mrs May has run out of soundbites. Brexit means Brexit means…erm…red, white and blue catastrophe!

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Let’s be honest, politicians, certainly ambitious politicians, when they are on a winning streak, don’t want to share any of the glory with anyone else. So it’s unlikely that May is thinking: “Ah, yes, Brexit is working very nicely. It’s heading towards being a fabulous success, so let’s ask Jeremy if he wants to contribute anything to the process so he can take some of the credit when, in 18 months, we reach the sunny uplands of freedom from the EU and strike out on our own. Rule Britannia, God Save the Queen.”

And Mrs May is not the sort of person who takes kindly to suggestions from others. She has been offered suggestions on how to make Brexit work for Scotland, for example. And it took her a matter of minutes to reject anything put forward by Edinburgh.

But it may be that now she is beginning to see what some of the rest of us have seen for some time. Some of the issues laid out here, for example.

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There just isn’t any way that this can end well…and frankly, that includes the idea of scrapping the whole thing and staying put. Can you imagine the outrage of the hard right wing? And here, I’m not talking about the hard right elite. Jacob Rees Mogg might tut and shake his head and use words like “floccinaucinihilipilification”, invented in Eton especially for his likes; Michael Gove and Liam Fox might explode (no bad thing); Nigel Farage would find again his raison d’être and stop sucking up to President (lol) Trump like a pathetic lost soul.

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But the real problem would be likely come from the average Daily Mail, Daily Express and Sun reader who wound justifiably feel let down after many years of reading about the paradise that was supposed to be coming their way.

Can you just imagine the reaction of those papers… and of their readership were that to be snatched away?

Oh and what about THIS lot?

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I think we can guess who’d be on the top of all those stolen pallets they’re for aburning tomorrow.

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While we’re chortling, I noticed an article today about iconic British Brands beloved of Brexiteers. It’s quite interesting, but one thing that struck me immediately was that research shows that the brands most favoured by Brexiteers include HP Sauce. That archetypical English accompaniment to food…which is now made in the Netherlands.

So the Brexsaucers better hope we get a special exemption!

 

 

 

 

FACTS ON TRAVEL CONCESSION CARD

From the minister

I hope that makes it clear.

As Humza says, the opposition, many of whom were against universal benefits, and wanted to do away with, for example, universal free prescriptions, are lying, haven’t bothered to find out the facts, or have and are too stupid to understand them. One of these!

No one is taking your card away. There will be a consultation about how to make it sustainable over a period. The scheme is likely to be extended in some ways to help people who need it.

The scheme, brought in by the Labour/Liberal government is admirable. It really is a generous project covering the whole of Scotland.

It encourages less-well-off older and disabled people to make journeys that would be beyond their means. It encourages them out of the house, in to the town, or to another town, to meet friends and do their own shopping. In short, it is good for their morale, health and wellbeing. On colder days it is a way of keeping warm and saving on the household heating bill. (Yes, I’ve known people who did that… HAD to do that!)

In the case of richer people, who can afford the bus fare, it encourages them to leave the car behind and use public transport, reducing congestion on the roads, pollution and overflowing parking facilities in town. Of course, that doesn’t work for everyone. You still get Lady Whatsit and her chauffeur driven Bentley taking up the road, but for most people it is an incentive to leave the car behind. That has to be a good thing.

It reduces wear and tear on the already damaged roads. And it almost undoubtedly reduces the number of accidents, a good thing on its own, but with the additional benefit of reducing pressure on the emergency services.

It ensures that buses run throughout the day, providing a better service for those who need them. Buses are no longer a real public service. They are for profit. If there is no money to be made on a route during the day, the bus company will reduce the service to the absolutely minimum required to retain the franchise for that route, making life more difficult for fare paying passengers outside of peak travel times, for getting to hospital appointments, jobcentre interviews, and shopping.

In a perfect world we would all have free, or at least reasonably priced clean, efficient and reliable public transport. We don’t live in a perfect world.

Let’s wait for the consultations before we get bent out of shape. If we have something to say, let’s contribute to these consultations and try to get the best deal for the public with limited money that can be made available.

KNOW YOUR PLACE, SCOTLAND

 

It was always my opinion that Theresa May was foolish not to have accepted the ruling of the English High Court when they said that the UK parliament should have the final say on triggering Article 50.

Much better to accept it, put it before parliament and move on.

After all, it seemed to me unlikely that parliament would vote to disregard the result of a legally held, even if not binding, referendum. Tory MPs would, I thought, by and large support the government’s view and enough Labour MPs would most likely vote the way that their constituents voted (largely leave) to ensure that the Bill to give the government permission to remove us from the EU with all that entails, would pass.

For some odd reason, however, May decided not to accept the British judges’ British justice and instead take their case to the UK Supreme Court with an appeal, which they have now lost. (Never mind the cost though, we’ve got piles of cash!)

Those papers, like the Diana and the Heil, who considered the High Court judges to be “enemies of the people” for pointing out what the law stated, must by now have added the Supreme Court judges to that list. I suppose that we shall have to provide police protection for these judges too, lest the hatred that the Mail and Express, the Star and the Sun whipped up, erupt into some sort of violence. (Never mind the cost, we’ve got piles of cash, again!)

So, it was never about whether Article 50 would be triggered or not. It was about the law. About whether the power of the Crown could deny parliament its say in this case.

It is fairly important when embarking on a stupendously important piece of legislation, that it should be done legally. And surely it was better to find out now that Royal Prerogative was not a legal means of triggering this article than in say 9 months’ time when embarrassingly someone points out to David Davis that he didn’t have the power to proceed, has broken the law, and all his negotiations are invalid. Oeuf sur le visage, or what? Oops sorry, that’s foreign!

Indeed you would have thought that somewhere in the massive organisation that is the British government, there might have been someone who would quietly advise them of how the law stood on these matters. Clearly not, though. Such is the joy of having either an incompetent government that doesn’t understand the law of its own land or, more likely, an egotistical one that refuses to listen.

In any case, there is now to be a bill on Article 50, and they could have saved themselves a month (and a lot of our money) had they just known a bit more, or listened a bit more.

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UK Supreme Court unanimous that this is not a devolved matter. Comprehensive defeat for the Scottish Government.

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The Supreme Court also ruled that the opinions of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish parliaments/assemblies need not be considered.  The matter is a UK one and not for devolved governments.

This was greeted with much glee by Professor Tomkins who tweeted joyfully that this was a blow for the Scottish government (something he obviously relishes), seemingly unaware that his own government and prime minister had received an equal, if not greater, blow at the hands of the Supreme Court.

In fact, unless the Supreme Court had ruled that any one of the devolved administrations could overturn the Westminster parliament’s decision, it was never going to make any difference.  Our opinion may have had to be legally sought, but it was never going to change anything. And why should it? If England has 85% of the population; it has 85% of the clout.  No matter how strongly we, Northern Ireland or Gibraltar feel, we are simply too small to call the tune.

(This is NOT a criticism of the judgment of the Supreme Court. They have interpreted the law as it exists. I’ve no argument with that.)

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Retweeted your Retweet
2h:

So it is as we suspected – the “most powerful devolved parliament in the world” is just a branch office that has no say or authority at all.
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Is it a blow to the Scottish government?
Well, hardly, I’d say. Au contraire! Oops, sorry, foreign again.
The Supreme Court has effectively ruled that we are not equal partners in the union and are not necessarily entitled to our opinion being regarded. It simply legitimises what we have always said. It’s an unequal union.
Mr Tomkin’s “comprehensive defeat” will probably convince some waverers that the Scottish legislature is, as someone once famously said, “a wee pretendy parliament”.

I WAS GOING TO…

…write something intelligent (well, by my standards) about the Scottish government’s proposals for Scotland’s future relationship with Europe, which I consider to be measured, logical and sensible.

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But then I read Terry’s analysis and I decided that I really couldn’t add anything to that, so I’d direct you to his more learned comments.

I should like to add that it seems the British government produced a report on the same day with their full analysis of the situation (above). I should add that in reply to a series of questions yesterday when she point blank refused to answer whether MPs would have a chance to debate the final Brexit deal (as MEPs will), she said: “I said what I said”.

 

theresa-may
What Scotland thinks? Do I look like I care?

 

So now we know that Brexit means Brexit…red white and blue… and she said what she said.

Comforting, eh?

STATEMENT FROM SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT ON BREXIT TALKS

Commenting following a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee to discuss the implications of the referendum on leaving the European Union, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “This was a long overdue meeting but unfortunately it was, in large parts, hugely frustrating.

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“I set out Scotland’s key interests in protecting our place in the single market, securing continued freedom of movement and ensuring social and employment rights are protected. However, despite a full and frank exchange of views around the table we know no more about the UK Government’s approach to the EU negotiations now than we did when we went into the meeting.

“Four months on from the referendum we finally have agreement on a sub-committee of the JMC for the devolved administrations and the UK Government to discuss the issues raised by Brexit, but there is a significant amount of work to do to make sure that the engagement we have is meaningful.

“As a first step we agreed that there must be a detailed work programme developed ahead of the first meeting of the sub-committee. Crucially we agreed that this must be integrated with the wider process so that the devolved administrations can influence key Cabinet Sub-Committee decisions. We also agreed that there will be a further meeting of heads of government in the New Year.

“The Scottish Government is fully committed to engaging with the UK Government and we will seek to use our influence to ensure that the UK does not pursue a hard Brexit. However it is clear from today’s discussions that we must also continue to pursue alternative options, including bringing forward proposals to protect Scotland’s place in the single market even if the rest of the UK leaves, and continuing to prepare for the option of a referendum on independence if that is what is necessary to prevent the UK taking Scotland over a hard Brexit cliff edge.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-37753392?utm_content=buffere301c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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Bugger the Panda sent me some brilliant photographs and I thought you might like to share. https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1IHNgzJC6n3u7WePDtD2v61e4XapYxSB4DJyEwjEIdDo/embed?hl=en_GB&size=m&slide=id.p8