BONE OF CONTENTION

 

I don’t like Mr Bone’s politics one little bit (although I understand that he is a very hardworking and highly respected constituency MP who says what he thinks). I seriously don’t see him ever being Sir Peter Bone.

However, my personal antipathy to his views, as a rule, doesn’t stop me thinking that he is right on these matters.

I’d add though, as I sure Mr Bone probably wouldn’t have thought of it, that the Prime Minister should have repeatedly made clear to his audience, the British people, that these matters referred only to England and that the other 75% of countries in the union had their own governments and their own policies about lockdown ending and about travelling to the countryside.

Had he had the courtesy to take the advice of the Speaker instead of ignoring it, and made the statement in parliament, then I am sure that MPs from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would have drawn attention to the fact that he spoke only for England.

Mr Johnson should have rammed home the point that before travelling to Wales or Scotland (I imagine that very few flights or ferries to Northern Ireland are running at the moment), people should check what policies existed in those countries.

It is right for the government in Westminster to do what it thinks is the right thing with regard to the balance between protecting industry, the economy and, therefore, jobs, and protecting the public from serious illness and possible death.

It is also the absolute right of the governments in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh to make decisions on these matters for their countries.

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You may also find this entertaining.

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From Janey Godley in response to Johnson’s address.

A MOST LAUDABLE POLICY PROPOSAL

!!!!!!!labour

Surely no one can possibly say otherwise.

Across the UK, after 10 years of seemingly pointless austerity (during which time the national debt has increased from £800 billion to over £2 trillion) ordinary people have become poorer and the super rich, super richer.

The tales of hungry kids raking through bins for discarded food and  too hungry to concentrate in school and the incredible rise in the number of people obliged to use food banks as a succession of evil DWP ministers have made a succession of vile and disastrous policy changes that make social security more and more difficult to obtain, have shocked many of us.

It would be a hard-hearted person indeed who did not want to ensure that no one went hungry in one of the top 15 rich countries in the world. And so I applaud the policy.

BUT…

I’m at a total loss to see how it could be achieved, or indeed, how it could be paid for.

Who would ensure that people had access to this affordable and sustainable food? How would they do this? Where would they get it? Would supermarkets be obliged to sell this food? How would it differ from other food? Has it been costed? What would be cut to provide the means for this project?

Given how they run their own party, I’m not sure that there would be enough money in the coffers for any luxuries, never mind food for the hungry.

I suspect that Labour, now in the position that the Liberals and later Liberal Democrats were in a few years ago, can make all manner of outlandish promises, safe in the knowledge that they will never have to put them into practice.

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Image result for wales railways franchise

And while we are on the subject of Labour’s conference, I noted an interview Richard Leonard gave to STV in which he said that they would nationalise railways, despite opposition from the Tories and SNP, if they were in government.

I’m sure that the Tories don’t want to do this.  But, given the work done by Humza Yousaf when he was Transport Minister, and later comments by Nicola Sturgeon, I’m intrigued to know how he reaches the conclusion that the SNP doesn’t!

I’d also remind him that despite promises from John (now Lord) Prescott in 1997, Labour didn’t renationalise railways during their 13-year London government, and Labour in Wales recently gave the rail franchise to a French/Spanish consortium.

NATIONAL LIVING WAGE

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I found these tweets on my timeline.

PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES…

…SHOULDN’T WALK AROUND NAKED

Image result for  kenneth williams naked

Richard Leonard tweeted: Child poverty is rising under the Tories and the SNP. Scottish Labour’s plans to raise child benefit will lift 30,000 children out of poverty. It’s time to use Holyrood’s powers to bring about for the many, not the few.

This was in response to a Daily Record story about a survey carried out by Citizens’ Advice Bureaux, which has found 33% of Scots have gone without food because they were too poor to afford it and that 28% of those questioned had done so between one and six times in the past year. Horrific figures in an oil-rich country which forms part of one of the top ten richest in the world (and one which only a few years ago we were told we were better together within!).

(It’s fair to say that as the survey is open to anyone to complete, that it can be done more than once, and will have a relatively limited audience, the accuracy of the figures may be called into question.)

There is no doubt though, that ten years on from the financial crash, overseen by Labour’s Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling, but a long time in the making (Tony Blair, take a bow), the poor have got poorer and the rich richer throughout the UK, thanks to massive pay increases and generous tax policies for the best off, a living wage that no one could live on,  a punitve benefits regime and the lowest retirement pension in the developed world.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg used the crash as an excuse to cut benefits to millions of poor people, and they were backed along the way by their friends in Labour. To balance this up, the people who caused the crash were dealt with too. Fred the Shred Goodwin had his knighthood removed. That’ll teach them.

Much could be said about the iniquities of the policies that led to that crash; policies which were echoed in several other countries, not least USA, Ireland and Iceland, all of which are now making a far better fist of recovery than the UK.

My point here is that Labour seems to think that it is fair to blame the Tories and the SNP for the problem.

Image result for david cameron posh

Every party of government must take some responsibility for the way it allocates funds, and although the SNP has worked hard to find money to mitigate some of the worst features of the Tory austerity programme which has made the lives of tens of thousands of people unbearable, many would argue that it could have done more, whether by concentrating better its resources or  more recently by increasing the few taxes that are devolved.

My argument with Labour is that it, although it is not in government either in England or Scotland, must take its share of responsibility for this mess. After all, it was Labour that introduced the horrific benefit reforms which the Tories grabbed with both hands and doubled down upon, using the Labour banking crisis as an excuse. Take a bow New Labour: In its last term of office, New Labour began to phase out Incapacity Benefit and replace it with Employment and Support Allowance. At the same time, the Work Capability Assessment became the gateway to the new out-of-work sickness benefit. The policy objectives for the new test were: to accentuate the positive by “looking at what you can do, not what you can’t do”.

Labour’s assessment stopped taking into consideration those who would find it nigh impossible to find work. No one ever stopped to think about how to persuade employers to take on someone who probably could do something”.

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Labour has over and over again voted for austerity measures introduced by the Tories.

And, in 13 years of UK power, Labour did little or nothing to increase the tax burdens on the richest. Britain has the biggest gap (by a long way)  between rich and poor. It did in 2000 and it still had in 2015 after 10 years of Labour and 5 years of Tory and Liberal Democrat rule. Unionism seems to work for the rich.

inequalities

 

But one of the most telling truths and one that seems to have escaped Richard Leonard’s attention over and over again is that Labour is in power in Wales. Wales has a semi-autonomous government in Cardiff. It has many (but not all) of the powers that Edinburgh has.

And the record of the Welsh government is not one to be proud of.

Not just on child poverty, but this one will do for starters.

Mr Leonard has a history of demanding that the Scottish government act on matters that are outwith its control, often at least partly because Labour voted against these matters being devolved.

He has, in fact, made a fool of himself on several occasions in parliament at FMQs, to the embarrassment of his own team.

It would probably be best if he spoke rather less and researched a little more in future.

And one last thing… and this goes for EVERY party.

Whoever told you repeating the same slogan line over and over again is clever?

Image result for tory strong and stable stance theresa may

Mrs May’s “strong and stable” or “I am clear”, and Richard’s “For the Many; not the Few” get right up the nose after a few hearings. Especially when they are absolutely rubbish.

 

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.

Image result for carwyn jones and raytheon
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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Image result for scotrail

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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Image result for george foulkes

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

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Heathrow Immigration is in a bit of a mess. The average wait, if you are arriving from outside the EEA, is over 2 hours. Can you imagine how long it will be after March 29, 2019… assuming there are any flights coming in?

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Wales

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

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Image result for Nelson Mandela

Having already refused to give visas to a dozen or so authors invited to attend the Edinburgh Book Festival, the immigration service held up the family of Nelson Mandela who were travelling to the festival to appear in a Q&A with their great-grandmother on the life of the late president.

Do you get the impression the UK government might be trying to sabotage the festival? If they are, they are doing their usual cack-handed job of it. It’s reflecting just as badly on their global Britain image. But ‘cack-handed’ and ‘Theresa May’ seem to be joined at the hip.

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Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to Freda Jackson.

Poor Freda. She went on holiday with her friend to Benidorm and was surprised, nay shocked, to discover that there was a load of Spanish people there.

How very dare they?

Did no one tell them that Benidorm is for the exclusive use of Brits?

I mean, it must have been like going to Blackpool and finding English people there.

Can you just imagine? Horror of horrors.

Freda said Spanish people were rude.  Of course, this may be true. There are undoubtedly Spanish people who are rude. I suspect though, not all of them.

Probably they had the effrontery to speak Spanish.

‘The entertainment in the hotel was all focused and catered for the Spanish – why can’t the Spanish go somewhere else for their holidays?’ said dear Freda.

Johnnie Foreigner just gets more and more unreasonable as time goes on. The entertainment was Spanish, in Spain, and there were Spanish people all over the place. Locksalaudy, whatever next?

I mean, how are decent English people supposed to enjoy a foreign holiday or indeed have a football riot, when their plans are thwarted left, right and centre by foreigners?

Mark my words, Europe. This will not be tolerated.

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Oh hell… where do you even begin on this?

Barf…

Get me out of here.

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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.