BYE BYE SIR LORD STEEL

DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOUR BUTT ON THE WAY OUT

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So, this fellow in his smart frock has resigned from the Liberal Democrats not long after poor wee Willie Rennie said that they believed every word he said about being deaf and not being able to hear the embarrassing inquiry questions he was asked about proposing a knighthood for Cyril Smith, all the while knowing that he was an abuser of children. Had he spoken out, maybe he could have saved some child the unutterable horror of being sexually molested by that thing?

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According to the statement, he has left the LibDems and will resign from the House of Lords “as soon as possible”.

I’m not sure how long it takes to write a resignation letter and send it to whoever it is you have to send it to, but I have suggested this quick and easy way of expediting the matter with the least delay:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I hereby resign from the House of Lords with immediate effect.

Yours faithfully

David Steel

That should do it.

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Here’s Wee Willie making an ass of himself…

PS: It was too late when it was discovered by the public that Smith was a child abuser, for his knighthood to be removed, given that he was already dead. (According to the authorities, a K  dies with the person, although if that is the case, why do we still refer to dead people by their title eg Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden?)

The question is, should the queen now remove Steel’s knighthood which he holds along with his peerage?

 

 

 

LET’S TITTER AT THE BRANCH OFFICES

According to Richard Leonard, Labour’s branch office in Scotland would scrap the ‘work car park tax’. You know, the one that isn’t a tax and isn’t imposed by the government, but is a form of devolution to local authorities of tax, which thay may choose to implement or not.

Yeah, that one.

In fact, the one that Labour actually very much likedd and was going to introduce in Glasgow.

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Until, that is, the Greens and the SNP agreed to give the councils the power to introduce the tax if they felt so inclined. The, of course, it became a BAAAAAD idea.

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Mr Leonard said: “Many people across Scotland simply cannot rely on our crumbling transport system because it is more interested in profits than passengers.

“The solution to this problem is not to slap a new tax on getting to work, it is to transform our transport system. That is why Scottish Labour will axe the tax in government, bring our railways into public ownership and build a free bus network to serve communities across the country.”

He might well have added: “Labour will borrow Mrs May’s Magic Money Tree and shake it for all they are worth. We will be seeking advice from Arlene on how to get out hands on it.”

Because, although all of these ideas are excellent, they are, at the same time, costly. Free bus travel, for example, is a superb idea already introduced in some Scandinavian countries. What Mr Leonard doesn’t say is how he will pay for it.

This railways stuff it interesting. Again, a great idea.

Railways in the UK were privatised by John Major.

As I recall, Labour came to power in the UK in 1997 on a promise to re-nationalise them. But, for some reason, it didn’t.

Nor did the Labour-led administrations in Scotland in the first two parliaments even attempt to have the power devolved so that they could do what their bosses in London had promised and failed to do. Eight years in power and not a request; not a sniff.

The SNP, on the other hand, are working on this.

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On the subject of the branch offices havers, I’m told that following Nicola’s pledge that she will request a Section 30 from the government shortly, Jackson Carlot has said that the Scottish Tories (branch office) will never agree to that.

Erm, I think you’ll find, Jack, mate, that no one was, for a split second, even vaguely thinking of asking you. Well, above your pay grade.

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OK, we should probably say something about the other wee branch office, I suppose, otherwise, they may feel belittled and left out… almost like they didn’t matter (snigger).

Um…

Let me see…

Hmmm…

Oh yeah, got it:

Willie Rennie is on holiday in Spain when he should be in parliament.

There! I knew he’d have done something of note.

IF WE ARE SO RICH AND SUCCESSFUL…

Britain is supposedly one of the richest nations in the world. So a few questions.

1/ Why do people have to sleep in shop doorways?

2/ Why was there a rush of Tory MPs being photographed at food banks yesterday, making a donation and then tweeting it with a standardised message, presumably so we would all think how compassionate they are? And why has foodbank use increased so much?

3/ Why, when clearly there are many problems to be sorted, do they insist on rolling out Universal Credit?

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4/ Why do they need volunteers for the health service when we are about to get £350 million a week Brexit bonus?

5/ Why is Crossrail overdue and over budget?

6/ Why is HS2 late and over budget already?

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7/ Why are the roads such a mess of potholes?

8/ Why are the trains the most expensive and among the least efficient in Europe?

9/ Why are retirement pensions the worst in Europe and indeed the developed world?

10/ Why, at least in England and Wales, is there a dire shortage of police?

11/ Why are the Prisons in England in chaos?

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12/ Why is the probation service in England broken?

13/ Why can my friend in London not get an appointment with his GP?

14/ Why did it take around 3 months for another friend (yes, I have some) to get his grandad buried in Coventry?

15/ Why are Tory councils in England going bankrupt?

16/ Why are we spending billions on doing up the Houses of Parliament in London?

17/ Why do Vince Cable and his Scottish tea boy think there should be a second British referendum, but not a second Scottish referendum. It couldn’t be that they liked the result of the Scottish one but not the EU one, could it?

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If anyone has any other questions, please feel free to ask them. No one will have much of an answer, but hey, you’ll have done your bit by asking it.

GETTING ON WITH THE DAY JOB

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So, what can we look forward to?

Scottish National Investment Bank will be set up.

There will be a public sector rail bid.

There will be an investment in electric cars. This will including looking at getting charging points up and running (and particularly at how to provide them outside blocks of flats) and with a target of 2032 for all new sales to be electric or hybrid.

Good start?

So then, as already announced, the public sector pay cap will go. (I believe Mrs May is doing this in England too).

Free sanitary products will be provided in schools and there will be research into the possibility of making them free for everyone.

Free personal care will be extended to under 65s.

A South of Scotland Enterprise board will be set up and there will be investment in manufacturing and R&D.

Money will be provided for research into providing a universal basic income, currently being trialed in areas of Finland, Canada, and the Netherlands.

The Land Reform Commission will consider a land value tax.

There will be an investment in carbon capture technology.

There should be a presumption against jail sentences of under 12 months. Other punishments will be preferred, leaving prison for more serious offenders.

A fund set up for action on homelessness.

A Local Democracy Bill

Other plans, already announced, include increasing carers allowance in Scotland to the same level as Job Seekers’ Allowance, a funeral grant (means-tested) so that the poorest can afford a decent funeral. The baby box and help for the poorest when their children start school.

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And Sarwar, the branch manager elect(?) (Jackie Baillie says the SNP are terrified of him…remember like they said we were of Six-Month Murphy!!!) says it’s the same old tired stuff??

I’m seriously surprised that Labour can suggest that the SNP is doing nothing to mitigate Tory austerity. If you add the above package to the extra help with rent and the abolition of the hated bedroom tax… well, it’s just a lie.

I read somewhere that Willie Rennie had whined that the SNP was still obsessed with the Constitution, although I don’t remember it dominating the FM’s speech today.  (Ironic given that the Constitution is almost the only thing that the British government is occupying itself with. The great repeal bill will take most of parliament’s time in the coming year, even though most of it won’t ever be seen by the Commons or Lords. Ministers will use royal prerogative to make changes they see fit. So much for taking back control, eh?

Come on, let’s have some serious opposition that will help improve the policies of the SNP, not this idiotic carping at everything, no matter how inaccurate it is as long as it criticises the SNP.

https://www.snp.org/the_snp_scottish_government_s_programme_for_government

 

LETTER FROM MUNGUIN

FOR WEE WILLIE

liberals1liberals2LiberalsLiberal

Dear Willie,

You promise above, in your letter to prospective donors, that the Liberal Democrats in Scotland will keep their word. (Well, I guess there has to be a first time for everything.)

But you know, or you should know that, as much as you stood on a platform of “no second independence referendum”, the SNP and the Greens stood on a platform of having a second referendum if there was a substantial change in circumstances...and they actually cited Scotland being dragged out of the EU against its will as one of these circumstances. Scotland voted 62-38 to remain in varying degrees across the whole country. So, I’d say they kept their word to their voters too.

I don;t think that there can be any doubt at all that Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP and the Greens intend that Scotland would remain, or rejoin the EU. Given that the Liberals have always been pro-EU, I’m sure you will appreciate the potentially horrific damage that leaving the EU will do to Scottish jobs, the economy,  and the social fabric. And given that there is no effective opposition to the Tories in Westminster (the SNP only having 56 votes; your own party having 9 and Labour far too preoccupied with internecine warfare to bother their backsides about opposing Tories), I’m sure you would agree that Nicola Sturgeon’s prediction that we may be facing Conservative governments till 2030.

The Tories have (and I have to remind you here that they did a lot of it with the help of the Lib-Dems) starved councils and government services of money so that, in England, without the protection of the Scottish government, basic services are simply no longer coping. When the UK withdraws from the EU we know that we will lose its protection in many different areas.

Liam Fox has already talked about deregulating businesses and some of the nuttier element of the Conservative Party (who wield considerable power now) are talking about reducing standards to meet the demands of the Americans. No more EU protection, we will be left to the tender mercies of the Tories. And we all know that they don’t actually have any tender mercies, except when it comes to themselves, the Lords, big business and of course, the royal family.

This may well suit the people in England as that is what they voted for. But it won’t suit us here…and part of your name is “Democrats”, remnember?

I understand too that you are keen to have a second referendum on leaving the EU once Mrs May, Mr Fox and Mr Davis along with Mr Johnson, have finished their negotiations. In fact, I agree that that would be sensible, but of course, it is not going to happen. I’m not sure why a second referendum is good, for an outcome you disagreed with, and bad for an outcome you backed. Any explanation?

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You say that the SNP will take Scotland out of Europe. I think you are getting a bit muddled here, Willie. You see that was the last campaign message. Remember…the only way to stay in the EU is to vote no to independence? We are trying to keep Scotland in the EU, and from what we can tell, they want us to be there.

You talk about fighting in the last referendum for a Britain that is open, tolerant and united. Can you tell me how you reckon that you score on that, given all the racism, and violence against EU citizens? And fair? To sick people, dying of cancer and being told to go get a job? Old people not being above to get any social care and ending up in hospital beds for months at a time? If that lot is your idea of open tolerant and united, then I’m damned if I can work out how your brain works.

Now I reckon that the Greens and the SNP, a majority in parliament, have kept their promises. As you can see I’ve  taken this opportunity to remind you of one of the biggest you broke…the tuition fees pledge débacle… and of how your then boss aided and abetted the Tories, with, as I recall, your full support.

Kind regards

 

Munguin

GORDON AIKMAN RIP

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Gordon and Joe

I was very sad this morning (Friday) to read of the death of Gordon Aikman.

Gordon had been Director of Research for the Better Together campaign until, early in 2014, he was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease.

He was 28 at the time.

Given that the diagnosis came with a prognosis of 18 months or so of deteriorating quality of life (he managed to live longer…indeed he tweeted a message at the beginning of the year. Hello 2017, I didn’t expect to see you”), he threw himself into making the most of the time he had left, campaigning with politicians for more research into MND and raising money. And he still found time to get married.

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He launched a Just Giving page with the target of half a million pounds has now raised more than that. This is what he wrote on it:

I’m dying. And fast. 

That – in short – was what my doctor told me when I was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. It is not the news you expect when 29 years old. 

MND is a progressive, neurodegenerative condition that eats away at your body until you can no longer walk, talk, eat or breathe for yourself.

There is no cure. Soon it will kill me. That’s why I am doing all I can while I can to raise money for MND Scotland: a great charity that funds research into the disease.

It’ll be too late for me, but we can and we must find a cure for the next generation.

With your help, I can turn a negative into a positive. Please dig deep and donate what you can today. 100% of your donation will be spent on cutting-edge research.

Thank you 

Gordon  

As Humza Yousaf just tweeted, the best way to honour his memory is to make a contribution if you can.

I’ll miss you, Gordon. Your writing was always clever and wise and spirit lifting, even when it was, as it inevitably had to be, sad. You were an inspiration for so many, and you’ll continue to be. Heaven knows whenever I have an ache or pain and feel sorry for myself, I’ll think about you and slap myself out of it. I suspect many other people you’ve inspired will too.

RIP, Gordon.

NOT REALLY DESIGNED TO CHEER YOU UP

babs2I’ve been reading a few articles in papers today and it appears that, in addition to reducing the amount paid to sick people (by £30 a week!) from April next year, MPs, who recently received a massive pay increase, also appear to be contemplating charging people for using the health service. (I know that this is an English story, but it will have repercussions here.) I mean, I suppose I wouldn’t mind paying for a visit to the doctor if I could get an 11% boost to my pay, but, of course, for some it will be another case of having to make choices between essentials!

The Financial Times reports that there is a Brexit Black Hole of £100 billion in Hammond’s budget, so I doubt we can expect any relief in the upcoming Autumn Statement. meanwhile, the UK’s debt is heading towards £1.8 trillion at a staggering £5,170 per second.

The UK has just passed a massive expansion in surveillance powers, which critics have called “terrifying” and “dangerous”.  It is said to be the most draconian snoopers’ law passed in a democracy.

babs3And pensioners’ triple lock could be under threat in 2020, because they reckon it will be unsustainable, given how poor the country will be and how many pensioners will require pensions. pensioners used to get rises in accordance with pay increases, but in 1980 Mrs Thatcher decided  that the pension was a “benefit” like Unemployment Benefit, and decided therefore  that pensions should rise in line with inflation. So, over a period of 30 years between then and 2010, pensions lost value, and the British state pension is now one of the lowest in the developed world when compared with the average wage.

babsTo his eternal discredit, and despite lobbying from Barbara Castle, Tony Blair refused to do anything about it, as did Gordon Brown. However, the Liberals in the coalition government introduced the triple lock system, where pensions increased by inflation, wage inflation or 2%, whichever was highest. It remains a mystery to me that the Uk can afford palaces and bombs, but not decency for pensioners. (Yes, don’t judge all Liberal Democrats by the bunch of useless tossers in the Scottish parliament, or the liar in chief, Carmichael. One of two of them may be OK decent people, it seems.)

All in all it does seem to be a depressing country that we live in, and it’s hard to see exactly how Better Together can justify their name…