TIMES WHEN IT’S BETTER TO JUST “HUD YER WEESHT”

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Jeremy Corbyn has graced our humble country with a visit this week, and Carry on Dick is beside himself with joy. Rabbiting on about how only Labour can end the austerity that the Tories and the SNP have brought down upon us.

It’s interesting though, to see that in Wales, where labour IS in power, they don’t appear to have done much austerity busting.

They weren’t in favour of equal pay either. Indeed they fought hard against it.

And when it came to voting for Mr Cameron’s Welfare Cap, where were our trusty socialists? Well, it seems that most of them were in the lobbies with their Tory mates.

And here is a list of Labour MPs who didn’t vote against the Tories’ Welfare Reform Bill, reducing the Child Tax Credits, and imposing a benefits cap.

Yesterday Labour and the Greens jumped on a bandwagon, once again. This time it was about public money that had gone to an arms firm, Raytheon.

It turned out that the money, awarded by Scottish Enterprise (SE), was destined to help the company to diversify from weapons manufacture into other fields, thus retaining Scottish jobs, while reducing our dependency on weapons manufacture.

As  Craig Dalzell pointed out, it is important to ensure that the money IS indeed used for that purpose and not to subsidise anything else. We must demand that SE does this. (Having been involved in projects funded by SE, I suspect that this will be done. In my experience they are strict in inspections of outcomes compared, for example, with the DWP.)

It was certainly unfortunate that Labour got involved in this argument given the funding that the Labour government in Wales has been giving the same company.

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Oh no… Is that a Welsh flag I see?

And lest we should forget, Labour Prime Minister, Tony Blair (yes, he was Labour) was the bloke who took us into an illegal war with Iraq to get rid of Weapons of Mass Destruction which everyone, except the stupid UK, knew didn’t exist (even Gordon Brown admitted that). And we know how that ended up, don’t we?

Hundreds of thousands of dead and maimed people; the destabilisation of Iraq; the rise of ISIS and terrorism, not just in Iraq, but all over Europe.

Bravo, Tony. Still, you got a Congressional medal and got to play with George W Bush.

So, if I were Labour, I’d stay clear of criticising anything to do with war.

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John Major privatized railways all over the UK in a step that even Thatcher refused to contemplate.

Like most other things that were privatized, (health services, prisons, probation, water, telecoms, electricity, gas, etc) they have met with varying degrees of “success”, mainly “very little” and in some cases “catastrophically little”.

In 13 years of power “New” Labour didn’t reverse any of these Tory privatizations: indeed it added to them.

But that didn’t stop their Scottish branch complaining that the SNP hadn’t re-nationalised Scotrail. Until recently, of course, Edinburgh didn’t have the power to do that. (You can never be sure that Labour actually knows any of this stuff, or says it in the hopes of getting some SNP baaaad headlines.)  Now, although the current contract has some time to run, the government is looking at nationalisation after it runs out.

However, one ex-Labour stalwart is against it.

Struth, what are they like?

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PS: Do you remember the time that The Most Noble Lord George ffoulkes, Baron Cumnock, fumed at the Saltire livery of ScotRail, introduced in 2007, just after the election of the SNP government?  It was apparently designed to brainwash people into becoming nationalists.

He had to be informed that it had been agreed by a Labour-Liberal Dem government (Liberal Democrat Transport Minister, Tavish Scott) long before the SNP were in power.

Duh!

RANDOM THOUGHTS

I see the bumbling fool of a Foreign Secretary would like his own plane for Brexit. 

So that’s Liam Fox that wants a royal yacht so he can sail his way around the world avoiding questioning on any trade deals he has failed to get, and BoJo, who wants a private plane. We should maybe just commit to a fleet, which of course they will have built in Korea.

Boris does have the use of a plane at the moment, but the Queen has first dibs on it, and then Charlie, then the Prime Minister… and when he can get his hands on it, he complains that it’s grey. 

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Well, honestly, fancy expecting a man of Boris’s standing to travel in a grey plane. Mrs May should resign immediately.

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Labour in Scotland “Nationalise our railways!”

Labour in London “Nationalise our railways!”

Labour in Wales, where they are actually in Govt: “Erm…look there’s a squirrel!”

What a shower of hypocrites!

No, seriously. the Labour Welsh government has just awarded the 15-year franchise to run Wales-only trains to KeolisAmey, a French transport company.

Why, Labour?

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Caroline Nokes is the immigration minister. That means she works in the Home Office looking after immigration. One of the most important issues in immigration at the moment is that of the Irish border question. The rights of people in Northern Ireland to have both Irish and British citizenship, to travel freely between the two countries and to work in one and live in the other. It is, no one would deny, a complex issue but it seems that Ms Nokes just couldn’t be bothered.

The relevant document is only 35 pages long, yet her excuse to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee of the House of Commons, before which she was appearing, was that she was giving birth when it was signed (20 years ago) and that she has only been Immigration minister for 5 months.

You’d have thought that she might have been able to fit in a 35-page document in 5 months, or maybe get someone a bit cleverer to summarise it for her.

This, incidentally, is the woman who compared the Scottish government to Lincolnshire County Council.

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Isn’t it all going well?

 

 

 

YOU SEE, THEY JUST CAN’T HELP IT

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One might equally have asked the Member for Lothian Region if she could have come back from the Australian Jungle and got on with the day job.

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Or maybe they might have asked her why, when she was leader of the Scottish Labour Party, she thought that it was a good idea to visit  America to campaign for Hillary Clinton.

See, by now Kez, I’d have thought that you might have learned that people who live in glass houses should probably buy VERY big curtains.

Of all the train companies in this Benighted Kingdom, ScotRail has the best performance.

In fairness, Kezia may not have noticed that there is a howling gale across Scotland and that there has been torrential rain. An unfortunate outcome of this is that outdoor things tend not to work at 100% capacity… and I might say, wouldn’t do even if she, or her daft new boss, were the first minister.

As we have said before, reasoned and reasonable criticism is the job of opposition. Criticism for the sake of criticism is not.

Powerful and dynamic though the first minister may be, the winds and the waves do not obey her, no more does the rain.

Grow up, Kez.

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Of course, it’s the Daily Mail, so it’s unadulterated rubbish.

In 2009, in private audience with the Queen at Balmoral (something not granted to the Daily Mail “journalists”), Alex Salmond and HM discussed flag flying after which he ordered that the Royal Standard be flown on “royal occasions”, rather than the union flag.

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“I remember the occasion very well,” Salmond said in a post on his website.

“Her Majesty asked me if the Lion Rampant was a popular flag in Scotland.

“I was able to assure her that it was and indeed much beloved of Scottish football and rugby fans. Thus I brought the new policy into effect and left the union flag flying, as appropriate, at armed forces day and Remembrance Sunday.”

And that makes sense. Flying a royal standard is a great deal more respectful to the Queen personally than flying any other flag.

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Happy to correct if wrong, but which part of the Telegraph front page article is wrong. They quote advice issued by your government that only the Satire should be flown on all occasions apart from Remembrance Sunday. Does that document not exist?

1/2 It has been practice to fly Lion Rampant on Royal occasions since 2010. I have not ordered, instructed, authorized any change – indeed there has been no change. Civil servants recently updated published guidance to reflect the long standing practice…

Needless to say the ever moronic Murdo Fraser made a fool of himself by comparing Nicola’s tweets to those of Donald Trump’s. UH? Get back on the meds, Murdo.

Fraser said: “This is a desperate attempt by Nicola Sturgeon to spin her way out of trouble.

“The SNP is more interested in lowering Union Flags than raising standards in schools and hospitals.

“The First Minister’s Trump-style Twitter denial by candlelight last night does nothing to change the facts.”

Well, in that respect, of course, he is right. The fact is that there has been no change.

Mr Fraser must have been going around with his head under his arm because this has been the policy since 2010. Does he not notice anything around him?

As we said, Murdo, it was agreed with the Queen 9 years ago!

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Have you ever had a private audience of the Queen, Murdo? Awe well never mind. Maybe when whatever Rangers are called now win the Cup, huh?

Anyway, we look forward to the Mail’s apology in 5pt  type on page 42.

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SO HOW ARE WE DOING?

 

Just to cheer you up…

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Well, unemployment is down. ..
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…and growth is up…
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…and we seem to be doing better with wages…
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And foreign direct investment is ahead of the other two Celtic countries and all the regions of England with the exception of the London powerhouse.

 

It’s not all peaches and cream, and we’re not claiming all the credit for the Scottish parliament and government (before you start, Niko!).

Economic levers are massively (or bigly as Trump would say) in the hands of London so unemployment, for example, may be affected by decisions taken in London as well as Edinburgh. But there has also been good news for NHS Scotland with our waiting times lower than the other three countries and our university students are the most likely to be employed.

The Ernst and Young survey is largely positive but it warns that once the uncertainty surrounding Brexit takes hold, we could be in for a bumpy ride. As I said, decisions taken in London can affect our economic outlook.

BREAKING: performance now moved ahead of Improvement Plan target. PPM 93.7% (4% ahead of Eng/Wales) well done to railway workers!

And yes, even the trains are more likely to be on time here than anywhere else.

Carlaw hits the buffers

2It’s hard to credit the amount of time and effort, social media space and press attention that Humza Yousaf has got following the breakdown of a train a couple of weeks ago.

I’ve lost count of the number of times  his resignation has been demanded despite the fact that rail in Scotland, or at least that part of it that Scotland controls, is doing rather well by comparison with the chaos that abounds in some parts of England.

You’ll no doubt remember the classy comments made by one of the sillier Tories.

Needless to say, Jackson Carlaw, as deputy tank commander, had to get his dig in too. The Scottish people wanted a transport minister who used trains, he claimed (although to the best of my knowledge transport also includes road, cars, buses, bikes and planes… so why demand he use trains?)

1The minister doesn’t use trains or it would show in his MSP expenses. The public would be furious that the transport minister had never set foot upon a train, he claimed proudly, as if he’d dealt the man a body blow.

Needless to say, as it was Jackson Carlaw, it was rubbish.

Humza is a minister and his travel costs from Glasgow to Edinburgh have by law to be attributed to ministerial expenses, and not constituency MSP expenses.

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So the facts are something like this:

Between May and November the minister took 34 train trips, 28 between Glasgow and Edinburgh stations.

Mr Carlaw only took five trips between the cities. So Humza used the train a good deal more than Mr Carlaw. To add insult to injury, Mr Carlaw’s claims for  mileage in his car came to  £878, including 21 trips between his home and parliament. This is rather more expensive than taking the train.  (A return fare costs £27,20 and the mileage cost is £46,80.) Still, Mr Carlaw is an important and busy man! Why would he take the train?

It is becoming clearer to me by the day why Mr Carlaw’s business career was less that hugely successful. Clearly he doesn’t do his research before he opens his mouth,  he isn’t terribly economical with his expenses, and he can’t count.

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Just after I uploaded this, I discovered these tweet which explains where Mr C gets his sharp wit.

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Make what you will of them….