Thursday, 2 April 2015

Salmond's Ideal

From the New Statesman interview with the great man!

 The great secret weapon! What is it Alex? It's a Cause! An Objective! An ideal!!
Yes yes!! How excellent - pray do tell us more. Enthuse me please! What is it?

Well.... it's the resurrection of a ...... medieval kingdom   

 That's an ideal? Wow, wouldn't that be great right across Europe. What a corker of an ideal.    

Gawd help us.

Plan B

Old news maybe (from the end of February) but something which should give the left food for thought. Greece has been at the sharp end for a few years now. A country living in the capitalist west which can no longer pay its people pensions, benefits, and basic services from the taxation it collects. The people of course propelled Syriza to power, vowing an end to austerity. So what has happened?

Let us consider this piece of reportage on the developing story -

There were signs of dissent within Tsipras’s radical left Syriza party over the concessions made in Brussels. Piling on the pressure, the veteran leftist, second world war hero and Euro MP, Manolis Glezos, not only lambasted the deal but called on Greeks to rise up against it.

“I apologise to the Greek people that I cooperated in this illusion,” the 92-year-old wrote on his blog. “Some claim that as part of a deal you have to back down. First of all, there can be no compromise between the oppressor and oppressed, just as there cannot between the slave and the tyrant, the only solution is freedom.”

Of particular ire, he said, was the government’s decision to allow the hated “troika” of auditors representing the country’s foreign lenders to continue supervising Greece’s economic progress by renaming it “the institutions”.

Syriza responded with a terse statement, saying: “It is likely Manolis Glezos is not well-informed about the hard and persistent negotiations which are continuing. These are negotiations [whose aim] is to reclaim the dignity of the Greek people.”

So there's the bottom line. Plan B nowhere. So instead, an appeal is made to reclaiming the dignity of the people. Marxism or shallow populist nationalism?

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The Refusenik

A bit of balance. An article by your influential* scribe which isn't going to attack the Nationalists of the SNP (that's all of them, I guess) for once but the Nationalists of the Labour Party. 

Do we (The Labour Party) really need to follow the SNP down the path into patriotism? It seems as daft as trying to out-UKIP UKIP.  
Aims and Values
To these ends we work for the patriotic interest of the people of Scotland:
-          For the success of a permanent and powerful Scottish Parliament.
-          Decisions on policy that is devolved to the Scottish Parliament will be decided by the Scottish Labour Party.
-          In common purpose with all parts of the Labour Party and Labour Movement across the UK for the advancement of Scotland’s interests and the benefit of all.
-         etc etc etc
What does this word Patriotic mean in this context? I know that Murphy (who I have a lot of time for) peppers his speeches with it. Fair enough if he feels it deflects accusations from the shouty airheads. But in our Constitution???? 

We're about the people! We're emphatically not about the 'country' with its imagined histories and legends, and meaningless symbols and flags, its irrational belief in the rightness of 'itself', however you think 'we' define 'ourselves'. 

That word should be kicked right out. I propose an amendment : delete patriotic.

*yes, I'm as deluded as any other fucker out in the shouty plodsphere

Friday, 23 January 2015

Watered Down! New Treason!

The bastards! Those Westminster bastards are at it again. Cheating, lying vermin scum!

What, what? (Whit noo, dear reader, you may well ask).

Yes, the Smith Commission proposals, aye that pack of lies produced by the Westminster bastards to steal the referendum have been watered down even further! And remember, the Smith Commission was a diluting of the Vow (by which the cheating scum stole... cont p.96) so that was a bastarding cheat 'n'all.

Oh dear, I ought to be concerned, I imagine. Where has it all come apart?

Look there - para 126.9! It says we have tae consult wi the bastardin English, I mean Westminster afore we make changes tae benefits. Lovely, lovely, benefits! Ah can hardly live on them as they are noo wi that bastardin austerity, ken. Bastardin Murphy, RedTory cunt, that he is. Bastard (spits).

But surely we need to consult, I mean, any changes to benefits needs changes to business processes - you know, call centre scripts, forms, additional data collection, new and amended IT functional processes... you know end to end stuff. It's what the discipline of Change Management covers, surely? And as the pensions and benefits systems are UK wide, there needs right up front to be a change assessment?

Eh? What the fuck are yi on aboot yi bastard? We need a fucking referendum. 2018. Cannae come soon enough. Bastards! (exits stage far left followed by dug). 

The face of the new Scottish enlightenment

Monday, 19 January 2015

The SNP: Tory Cheerleaders

£30 Billion More CUTS!!

Sorry, wrong! Fuck me, actually it's actually £74 Billion.

So what is really going on? Have Labour voted through CUTS? 
Absolutely not. What has been laid before Parliament is a Charter. That's right. A Charter. No civil servants are rushing off implementing cuts based on it. The Tory/Lib Dem coalition doesn't need a charter to do that (and strangely enough why do it when we're right at the end of a five year parliament - there's a clue as to what this is about).
Get this from the Institute of Economic Affairs: "No parliament can bind its successor and today’s Charter for Budget Responsibility is no exception. Acts such these are of little interest to the general public.... Politicians should stop trying to play political games and just get on .....”
So the Coalition laid a worthless paper before the Commons, knowing that it couldn't be defeated and what did they hope Labour would do? They hoped they'd vote against it.
Why? A simple Tory narrative: Labour are to blame for the economic mess and look, they still can't be trusted; they'd get the country even further into debt.

By trooping through the yes lobby, Labour effectively shot the Tory fox.* It was notable the following day that none of the broadsheet press gave the vote more than a cursory mention.

But that doesn't stop the Nats though. Repeat: it's all Labour's fault! Cuts! Austerity! That Labour bastard Osborne and that Labour bastard Danny Alexander! Labour! Bastard! 

*And note that even signing up to balance the cyclically adjusted current budget in three years and reduce debt as a share of national income in two years, Labour will still have £50bn more to spend than the Tories by £2019/20

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Radical Scotland?

Your humble scribe's attention has been bought to a twitter account called @RadicalScotland. Now, I must declare an interest as I was one of the many who worked on that publication in the 80s under the admirable editorship of Alan Lawson. 

Perhaps Alan or another of the editorial team had set up an account, I did hope. However, that took a bit of a knock straight away when I read the first tweet - 

I don't know what this is reply to, but Radical Scotland had a strong feminist ethos and would never have used that part of the female anatomy as a lazy and ignorant term of abuse. 
Worse was to follow, however -

A picture of racist graffiti allegedly from Belfast, tagged #bettertogether and #ProudToBeBritish. The implication is clear - racism is a British disease. Presumably if Scotland left the UK, we'd be free of racism.

Now, such nonsense is wrong on so many levels; racism is sadly a world wide phenomenon and actually there is much evidence to say that the UK has tacked racism fairly successfully (certainly compared to a number of other European countries - and let's not even consider further afield). 

To be fair, one of @RadicalScotland's1700's subscribers (who include Kevin Pringle, Christina McKelvie & Bella Caledonia) failed to see what the picture had to do with the Indy debate to which @RadicalScotland, replied, 'Not linked to BT campaign at all but certainly linked to Unionists'. No evidence for this was presented, but getting the Ulster Unionists conflated with BetterTogether is a simple step. To what end? 

I've written briefly on this before, but one of the greatest achievements of John Wheatley was campaigning amongst his fellow Catholics to support the Independent Labour Party rather than the Liberal Party as they'd traditionally done. A move away from the politics of identity with all its baggage of irrational sectarianism and tribalism, towards understanding the economic situation of all the workers - get it - Homes, Health, Jobs, Education.

Far from its strapline that it is, "Interested in anything that is a force for progress in Scotland and beyond" is @RadicalScotland anything other than another nationalist twitter account simply punting sectarianism and the politics of Identity? Progress, anyone? 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

The Free Lunch - for the well off

So, welcome to the land of limitless largesse. Now, if that was indeed the case, then free school meals would indeed be welcome. But as we know, politics is all about priorities.  
So let's get right to it.

Around 33,000 children in years P1 to P3 previously qualified for free school meals as their parents received an income-based benefit such as the Universal Credit. 
The new SNP policy which started in the New Year, extended this to an additional 135,000 pupils at a cost of £70.5 million over two years plus £24.8 million of capital funding for improving kitchen facilities. 

There are now 15 food banks across Glasgow, 
run by charities and community groups, and demand is rising.

Now it is clear that the better off are the only beneficiaries of this £100million hand-out. But isn't there another community within Scotland for whom things are a bit more desperate and who really need assistance right now? Funny we heard a lot about them before the referendum. Don't tell me foodbanks were just used as a political football? I thought we were living in exciting times of the new politics? Bugger me, I fell for SNP spin!

Parliament: a Young Person's Guide

#55 in a series

Q. What's the point of electing MPs to parliament?
A. One of the main aims must be to provide good governance for the country.
Q. So voting in a clutch of MPs whose sole aim is the breakup of the country would be a bizarre thing to even consider?
A. Wouldn't it just, wouldn't it just.