WHAT? JUST WHAT?

Ascotland office

It’s like Scotland had voted the same way as England and Wales and wanted to remove itself from Europe. When, in fact, it voted 62-38 to remain in Europe.

It’s perfectly true that in 2014 the Scottish people voted to remain within the UK. They did so based on a promise from David Cameron, conveyed through Gordon Brown (because Cameron knew he was unpopular in Scotland, and no one would believe him) that we would have the most powerful devolved parliament in the world with as near to federal powers as it was possible to get in a union like the UK’s where one member comprises 85% of the population.

Now, you really only have to look around the world, to Canada, the USA, Denmark, Germany, Australia, India, Belgium… and so on, to see that that is utter rubbish.

 

The powers that we were promised were watered down firstly in the Smith Commission (with 6-4 unionist-independentist members), and then further by the Tory/Liberal Democrat, largely English Cabinet before being sent to Scotland. When a bill for more powers came before the UK parliament, no amendments put forward by recently-elected Scottish MPs were accepted. All were outvoted by UK MPs.

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And of course one of the most specific warnings at the time of the Scottish referendum was the threat that were we to leave the UK we would be thrown out of the EU, and that that would be a catastrophe. Some young people, with a view to travelling, studying and working in other EU countries may very well have been swayed by these threats (as may well have been businessmen and others).

No one is asking the Scottish people to make a decision on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations before they are completed. (Although, given that there will be no referendum on the outcome of the talks, no one in Britain will be given a voice.)  It has been made clear that negotiations are to be finished by October 2018…in 18 months’ time. Now is not the time. After the negotiations are completed IS the time, before Scotland is dragged out of the EU against its will.

One might ask why the will of 55% of the Scottish people in 2014 is more important than the will of 62% of the Scottish population in 2016.

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The Scotland Office says that leaving the EU gives us a unique opportunity, and then continues with some drivel about being fairer and more united and outward looking. Seriously, that is insulting after the warnings we were given about how disastrous it would be to leave the EU.

The UK will not be united. There’s about a 50-50 split, and two of the four integral countries of the union are opposed to leaving and will be badly affected by it.

The UK will not be fairer. A good deal of the fairness which exists here is down to EU law. It’s already been suggested by people like Mr Fox that Britain will have to deregulate business so that they can take advantage of opportunities. A trade deal with the US will demand that we work to their standards (which are far less rigorous than the EU’s). The Human Rights legislation of the EU will be binned and our access to European courts will be removed.

It won’t be stronger, and I have no idea why anyone would think that isolating yourself would make you more outward looking. I’d have thought that with people no longer able to travel, study, live, work anywhere within the large and getting larger EU, we are likely to become even more inward looking that we have always been.

But why am I surprised? The Scotland Office has never represented the will of the Scottish people. How could it, run as it is by the Tories who managed to get only one seat out of 59 in our country in the elections of 2015.

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Oh, and how many times are you going to repeat Mrs May’s latest catchphrase “Now is not the time”. Presumably the time is when Scotland has been dragged out of the EU; EU people have left to make a better home for themselves and can no longer vote and people with dual nationality have moved to the other country to which they are attached.

Still, it’s better than the “Brexit means Brexit” and “Brexit is red white and blue” that she came up with before.

DON’T MAKE US LAUGH, MAY

I’m not sure whether to laugh or to be angry.

According to the Independent, Mrs May’s speech to the Tories little get together in Wales tomorrow, will talk about how Scottish independence would ruin Britain’s chances of getting a good deal from the EU in their Brexit negotiations.

In order to get the deal she wants, she thinks that Scotland must pull together with the “rest of the country”. England, I imagine she means.

She will call upon the Scots to get behind her plans (what plans?) because “we are one people”.

To assume this, given all the recent evidence to the contrary, her audacity must surely know no bounds.

In almost everything and in almost every way, we are very different peoples. In particular, over the Brexit deal she wants to get (and probably has as much of a chance of getting as Munguin has of being the next president of Botswana), we are completely different.

It seems to have completely escaped this woman’s notice that Scotland voted, not narrowly, but very conclusively, to stay in the EU. To be honest, even if we hadn’t I think there’s a fair chance we wouldn’t be backing the chaos her idiot ministers are sleepwalking into. There’s Brexit, and then there’s Brexsuicide.

She seems oblivious to the fact that we elected ONE single Tory out of the 59 Scottish MPs, to contribute to her government in London. One, and by a tiny majority. Whereas in England they managed by hook or by crook (and that might be an appropriate word) they elected  Tory government.

We are not one people Mrs May. We are two kingdoms and principality and a province, and we are all very different, with different economies and different needs. (And it might be an idea to remember that there is a British Overseas Territory which also has to be considered into the bargain.)

Whilst May’s party has set about tearing down the welfare state, removing benefits for some of our most vulnerable people, dismantling that part of the NHS over which they have direct control, making life utterly unbearable for the worst off, handing out tax reductions to some of the richest, and with plans to remove the UK from the ECHR she will have the brass neck to say: “Our Plan for Britain is a plan for a brighter future. A plan to make the most of the opportunities ahead and to build a stronger, fairer Britain that is more united and more outward-looking.” Stronger and fairer? Seriously? Fairer? Tell that to the people being assessed for PIP who are being asked why they haven’t committed suicide yet!

No, Mrs May, let me tell you, we Scots don’t believe a single word you say. Not you nor any of your hapless, self-serving amateur ministers, especially you blundering idiot of a Scottish Secretary.

We don’t want to leave Europe at any price, but certainly not under any deal that you or any of your team would ever be able to negotiate. Seriously: David Davis, Boris Johnson. Liam Fox? Liam Bloody FOX???? Please!

Scots didn’t vote for your vile cruel, self-serving, incompetent government. And we don’t want it. if you are comforting yourself that you made a small headway in our General Election, compared to your General Election a year earlier, then you should remember that it is because Labour is even more pathetic than your lot. And remember too that the improvement was largely made in list seats.

Remember standing in front of all those empty seats? Well, go look at the crowds of cheering people in Aberdeen today for OUR leader.

We won’t get behind you. We won’t back your plans(?), which almost undoubtedly mean selling Scotland out, as your predecessors did. We have friends in Europe. They like us. They like our first minister. I suspect that they don’t like you much.

Britain is the only country…

…where there has been economic growth, but the workers got poorer.

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.

AND

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.

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WELL, THAT EXPLAINS A THING OR TWO

There have been a variety of scary headlines in the press about the dire state of the Health Service. With the BBC and some of the papers, this means the Engish Health Service, as largely the BBC don’t make distinctions and papers that don’t bother, or don’t bother much, with Scottish Editions are the same.

Overcrowded corridors full of patients on trollies waiting for beds; all non-emergency operations cancelled; beds blocked by elderly or convalescent patients because they have nowhere to go; doctors on strike…

So, we see that since 2009, when the bankers broke the country and were punished by the removal of a knighthood, the percentage of GDP spent on the NHS has dropped with a small exception of  2016, and is set to drop again until 2020 and a general election.

For UK, read England and consequential for other nations.

 

The UK seems to come somewhere about the middle of the range for spend as a percentage of GDP, on around the same level as Finland, Slovenia, Iceland, Australia, but lower than Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and France. (These are 2013 figures and the first table shows that the spend is likely to drop. However, given that the GDP may well also drop, the question is will the percentage stay the same?) The disparity in % between the tables is likely to accounted for by the second table including private healthcare.

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?