THAT MAGIC MONEY TREE ONLY SEEMS TO BLOOM WHEN IT SUITS MAYHEM

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The Michelin closure is a huge deal in Dundee.

More than 800 jobs in the company are set to go and most of us know someone who will lose his or her well-paid job. That’s before you take account of the knock-on effect on other business. And for the well-trained workforce, there aren’t that many jobs in Dundee that pay the kind of money Michelin pays.

The reason given for the closure is the cheap far eastern imports of the smaller size tyres that are made in Dundee. Certainly, Michelin tyres are really good, but they are also very expensive. The somewhat illogical move towards larger cars (and larger tyres) and the price are the reasons for the fall in sales. There’s nothing much one can do about that.

However, I can’t help thinking that there may be an element of Brexit uncertainty for the French company. Hundreds of UK  and international companies are moving out of the UK. It would be odd if this company hadn’t taken Brexit into account.

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The Tay Cities deal is being underfunded to the tune of £50 million. In the meantime, the DUP have secured another billion pounds from the magic money tree that Mayhem keeps in her backyard.

Mundell is being his usual completely useless self.

Over and over again he has made statements, promises and threats on a variety of matters, and over and over again zero has happened. Even his threat to resign came to zilch.

He promised more powers would come to Scotland after Brexit. In fact, Edinburgh will enjoy fewer powers. And, as Clive Ponting has said, maybe Brexit will mean the Tories get what they have always wanted and the Scottish parliament is disbanded

He failed to stand up for Scottish farmers when  Gove spent EU money, destined for Scotland, in England.

He assured us that when May paid the first bribe of a billion pounds to her pal, Arlene, that Scotland wouldn’t lose out. It did.

And now he has said that despite the Michelin situation we will get no extra cash… not even get what we were promised in the City Deals.

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Despite the utter uselessness of Mundell and the Brits, our own government is working hard to try to retain the jobs in Dundee.

Replying to 

𝗢𝗯𝘃𝗶𝗼𝘂𝘀𝗹𝘆 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗙𝗹𝘂𝗳𝗳𝘆 & 𝗥𝘂𝘁𝗵 𝘄𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗮 𝗦𝗰𝗼𝘁/𝗚𝗼𝘃 𝘀𝘂𝗰𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝘀𝗲𝗰𝘂𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮 𝗳𝘂𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗠𝗶𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗻 𝗗𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗲. 𝗔𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝘄𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗮 𝘀𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗯𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗳𝗮𝗶𝗹𝘂𝗿𝗲

It’s a worrying thought that John Heffren may to an extent be right. The Tories have little to lose in a place like Dundee and frankly little to gain by working to keep Michelin here. No matter what they do, Dundee won’t vote Tory.

And wouldn’t it suit them nicely if the Scottish government failed?

HERE’S THE NEW CABINET

So, this is the new cabinet, with junior ministers to be announced tomorrow.

Personally, I’m sorry to see Shona Robison, my own MSP and a friend, go, but having read her letter of resignation, I can understand why she made the choice to resign.  Shona has had a hard year with the death of both her parents and a personal health scare to cope with. She is in a new relationship now and I wish her every happiness. I hope she’ll continue to be our MSP because she’s a damned good one.

Britain spends less than most of Europe on its health services, below the EU average, and way below countries like France and Germany, but for all that, Shona has managed to make NHSS the best of the four UK services. Jeane Freeman has big boots to fill, but her first-rate setting up of Social Security Scotland makes me sure we will be in safe hands.

Jackson Carlaw put out a generous and courteous tweet:

I shadowed for many years & appreciated her genuine concern for the NHS. A hugely challenging brief & while did not call for her to go, now is the time for fresh leadership & thinking. On a personal level, I wish her well & thank her for her courtesy.

Anas Sarwar, on the other hand, not only made a bit of a mess of the grammar but was left looking rather petty and silly by comparison:

A personal congratulations to Humza, too. I remember Munguin, he and I met on the Edinburgh March in 2012. He was busy, but he took time to meet with Munguin and have a photograph taken with him (which I have subsequently managed to mislay). He may have uttered a few words to me as well!

He’s done a great job with transport… again, Scottish trains, poor by EU standards, are the best in the UK. It is gratifying to see his promotion to Justice Secretary.

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Post Script:

Some comments on Sarwar’s tweet…

Anas, my husband is a hospital consultant and has been for decades. He is clear that under the NHS has never been better. He swears that under it was an utter shambles. So suggest you get help for your verbal diarrhoea (LMR)

Just spoke to a Senior Specialist Nurse in the NHS and I quote: “. needs to stop playing political football with the NHS. He’s just shown why Labour aren’t fit to govern” (Colin Alexander Storrier)

I work in the NHS in Glasgow. I have friends and relatives in Wales and England and I can tell you that the service we have up here in Scotland is miles ahead of what they have elsewhere. (Purple Monkey)

Factually incorrect and seriously lacking class. I give you Anas Sarwar, who luckily is destined never to be in charge of anything. ( )

Delete this, you poor excuse for a human being and public servant. Once you’ve deleted this, delete your account you quilt. The legacy of Ms Robison is the best NHS in UK and that really sticks in your craw! Now, sling your hook! (Davidlikesguys)

Well if failure is the best performing Health service in the U.K What the hell would you call what’s going on in And as far as funding goes It’s Central government to blame in but the SNP’s fault in Scotland? How would you square that? (Lez)

And there are many many more…

 TELT!

BRITAIN’S CHRISTIAN VALUES?

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I noted that in Mrs May’s Christmas message to us lesser beings (painful to watch as she tries to emote), she wanted to remind us that this is a Christian country.

She said: “Let us take pride in our Christian heritage and the confidence it gives us to ensure that in Britain you can practice your faith free from question or fear”.

She is, of course, the English/female version of the Gordon Brown “son of the manse”, the “vicar’s daughter”

 

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Arlene must have told her what to wear.

 

I managed to avoid the Queen’s Christmas message (well done. Tris) but I’d lay a pound to a penny that she reminded us that in her long reign she has always tried to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. After all, she tells us that every year.

And we all know that the real power in the country is held by an unelected Christian fundamentalist, who apparently believes that the world was created by God 6,000 years ago and that he laboured for 6 days doing it, and took the seventh day off. And you mustn’t call her a dinosaur because there never was such a thing!

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And yet these three women, strong advocates of Christianity, oversee a country where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

It’s a mean cruel little place in which a woman who is going to marry into the royal family can spend £55,000 on a dress for a photoshoot, parliament can spend tens of billions on doing up its own buildings, Buckingham Palace gets extra money for repairs… and at the same time doctors are prescribing food to patients who are ill because of malnutrition and  we see the return of Victorian poverty illnesses like rickets.

And that’s BEFORE we leave the EU, which now all but a few predict will be an economic disaster for Britain at least for the foreseeable future.

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The following came from readers comments in the article above. Just how inhuman do you have to be to put this kind of regime into operation?

Examples of Benefit Sanctions

“One case where the claimant’s wife went into premature labour and had to go to hospital. This caused the claimant to miss an appointment. No leeway given”

“It’s Christmas Day and you don’t fill in your job search evidence form to show that you’ve looked for all the new jobs that are advertised on Christmas Day. You are sanctioned. Merry Christmas”

“You apply for three jobs one week and three jobs the following Sunday and Monday. Because the jobcentre week starts on a Tuesday it treats this as applying for six jobs in one week and none the following week. You are sanctioned for 13 weeks for failing to apply for three jobs each week”

“A London man missed his Jobcentre appointments for two weeks because he was in hospital after being hit by a car. He was sanctioned”

“You’ve been unemployed for seven months and are forced onto a workfare scheme in a shop miles away, but can’t afford to travel. You offer to work in a nearer branch but are refused and get sanctioned for not attending your placement”

“You are a mum of two and are five minutes late for your jobcentre appointment. You show the advisor the clock on your phone, which is running late. You are sanctioned for a month”

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“A man with heart problems who was on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) had a heart attack during a work capability assessment. He was then sanctioned for failing to complete the assessment”

“A man who had gotten a job that was scheduled to begin in two weeks’time was sanctioned for not looking for work as he waited for the role to start”

“Army veteran Stephen Taylor, 60, whose Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) was stopped after he sold poppies in memory of fallen soldiers”

“A man had to miss his regular appointment at the job centre to attend his father’s funeral. He was sanctioned even though he told DWP staff in advance”

“Ceri Padley, 26, had her benefits sanctioned after she missed an appointment at the jobcentre – because she was at a job interview”

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“A man got sanctioned for missing his slot to sign on – as he was attending a work programme interview. He was then sanctioned as he could not afford to travel for his job search”

“Mother-of-three Angie Godwin, 27, said her benefits were sanctioned after she applied for a role jobcentre staff said was beyond her”

“Sofya Harrison was sanctioned for attending a job interview and moving her signing-on to another day”

“Michael, 54, had his benefits sanctioned for four months for failing to undertake a week’s work experience at a charity shop. The charity shop had told him they didn’t want him there”

“Terry Eaton, 58, was sanctioned because he didn’t have the bus fare he needed to attend an appointment with the jobcentre”.

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Added to this they removed £30 a week from the sickest people, they are in the throes of rolling out a system for benefits (Universal Credit) that does not work (still!) but not in Cabinet ministers’ constituencies, and amongst a list of other miserable mean minded policies aimed at saving money at all costs, most of the people of Grenfell Tower (the building that burned down because the richest council in England couldn’t be bothered putting proper insulation on it because it was populated by poor people, and for whom there was recently a big service in London, with bigwigs including Charles and William and the Maybot herself), are still homeless, and May laughed off the notion of child homelessness on the basis that kids weren’t actually sleeping on the cold streets in the open air…as many adults are. All fur coats and no knickers!

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In England, NHS trusts are cancelling non-emergency operations as their health service falls apart for lack of money, staff and someone to manage it. Schools in some areas are washing kids’ clothes and taking parents to food banks or feeding them in breakfast clubs, while at the same time begging for money for books from richer parents. Prisons in England are in many cases privatised. The staffing levels are ridiculously low and the population ridiculously high. Violence is rife and riots are frequent.

I could go on, through other areas of public life: ships that are letting in water and that were built to carry aircraft we haven’t bought, Cabinet ministers falling like ninepins because they lie to the prime minister… the lowest pensions in the developed world to show how little we care about our elderly population (unless they are royal or lords) and the total mess that is Brexit deteriorating by the day…but by now you’re getting bored.

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A lot of Munguin’s readership is Scottish. We are lucky. Our health service is the best performing in the UK, as are our trains. Our prisons are better managed, and so far I’ve heard nothing of rickets. Far from perfect, we may be, but we are lucky. It’s no joke to be in England and not to be rich. (They find money for rich people)

So that is the Britain which hails blue passports as a major achievement.

That’s the Queen’s idea of a Christian society.

That’s Mrs May’s idea of Christian government.

I’m not a Christian, but I was forced as a schoolboy to go to daily Christian services at school in England and made to do two lessons a week of Bible Study, so I know a few things about the basic principles of Christianity after all these years.

Either our teachers were lying, or the people who oversee this mess, Liz, Arlene and the Maybot don’t even begin to resemble Christians.

 

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Nope, Daily Mail. We shall sneer and sneer and better than sneer at your iconic blue passports, ya roasters. The moronic thing is that they won’t be iconic. They will look exactly like everyone else’s passports because they are required to meet standards set by the UN. And, you could have had blue passports all along, of course, but then you wouldn’t have been able to blame that on the EU. The EU never demanded red.  Maybe you could put a wee story in them so that we will have something to read while we queue at immigration as aliens instead of EU citizens?

 

JAMIE AND HIS TWEET

This week we’ll find out if the have tipped Scotland into recession. Time to take off the table and start listening.

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So it seems that the Scottish economy grew at 0.8%. Hardly a startling figure, it has to be admitted, but it compares very favourably with the UK figure of 0.2%.

Of course, as always with these figures, it has to be remembered that both Scottish and English governments have input. In fact, that majority of levers for controlling the economy are held at Westminster. But the unfortunate tweeter, Jamie, was happy enough to blame an expected (by the Tories) downturn on the SNP, so it’s not unreasonable to expect him to now praise them for a performance from which his Tory counterparts in Westminster might well learn something.

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And, just in the passing, we note from the illustration that the Scottish National health service has done so well that even the BBC had to admit that the rest of the UK could learn from it. Take a bow, Shona Robison. I’m not sure that Jeremy Hunt can share in that praise.

And since we are commenting on the news, it would be remiss of Munguin not to mention that the so-called (by Murdo Fraser, tweeter of this parish) her majesty’s Eleven has been found guilty (by her majesty’s supreme court) of trying to stuff her majesty’s treasury for rather a lot of tax. She must be particularly hurt by that, Murdo, with them being almost family!

It’s not been Rangers’ finest 24 hours. They lost 2-0 to Progres Niederkorn, a small team in the Luxembourg league. Part-timers, Niederkorn had never won a match in European competition before.

Maybe it’s retribution for stealing all that money from their most important supporter and Granny, Liz.