Politics

  • Of Jocks, Nats and Nazis March 4, 2018 Is calling an idiot a monkey an insult to monkeys? Well, yes. Those are baboons Yoons and baboons In my own political writings I avoid using the term ‘Yoon’, the diminutive of unionist. I disliked it the minute it appeared. In past studies of the tragic, illegal Vietnam war waged by the US on a purely agrarian society, Americans took to calling Vietnamese, the fierce resistance from them to an invasion of their country, ‘Gooks’. The gooks they referred to were farmers, shop keepers, and academics. The derogatory term dehumanised them, reduced them to an abstraction, making it easier to kill them, men, women and children. Calling people who hold a genuine belief in the rightness of the union Yoons, living in the Yoon sphere, makes life all the harder to ... Read More
  • London Grenfell disaster solidarity march, 14 March March 4, 2018 #Grenfell #Silentwalk #ACandle4Grenfell Please join us if you can (new route) to show #Solidarity #Unity as we pay our respects. Can’t make it don’t worry light #ACandle4Grenfell and share your pictures with us @Still_I_Rise_GT & @GrenfellUnited pic.twitter.com/xMQVcAML75 — Grenfell Tower (@Still_I_Rise_GT) March 3, 2018 #Grenfell #Tower Michael Clarke is the Director of Communications & Community Engagement @RBKC ​ HE WAS Head of Press of Grenfell Tower Inquiry. Petition for him to RESIGN IMMEDIATELY. Sign the Petition! https://t.co/RJF0yGpomL via @UKChange pic.twitter.com/Upigtdtrli — Grenfell Tower (@Still_I_Rise_GT) March 2, 2018 You can read more from  Petre by clicking here image Justice for Grenfell Read More
  • The ties that bind March 4, 2018 Best laid schemes of mice and men, eh? Good intentions, road to hell and all that. As I set out on my wee speaking tour of the Highlands & Islands I also set myself the task of writing regular updates. Due to various technical and human factors, that hasn’t been happening. Technical factors such as the lack of internet access. Human factors such as me being a lazy so-and-so who is all too easily distracted by stuff. So it is that I find myself sitting in my room in Melbost, near Stornoway writing this instead of getting out and about. Having said that, it is a very nice room with a lovely view (see above). Which is unfortunate when someone is ... Read More
  • A Woman’s Place Is On The Ballot March 4, 2018 So here we are 100 years on from the first women in the UK gaining the vote and the political class continues to be dominated by men. 208 women are now MPs making up 32% of the Houses of Parliament, including 206 female peers, making up 26% of Members of the House of Lords. In 2015 of the 3,971 candidates who stood for election only 1,033 (26%) were women and this was hailed as major progress.   Women were 34% of Labour’s candidates, compared to 30% in 2010.  169 Conservative candidates, 26% of the party’s total cohort, were women – a 10% rise on 2010 and the highest number in the party’s history. Similarly, 166 (26%) Liberal Democrats candidates were women. It is the ... Read More
  • Plaid Cymru – A Conversion Story March 3, 2018 In 2004, I voted for Plaid Cymru for the first time. It was the local elections, I was living in Bangor, North Wales and I had just voted for a Liberal Democrat candidate in the EU elections. I’ve always been a bit of a liberal lefty, so I thought that I would give a vote to each of those parties. I did the same at the 2007 Welsh General Election, where you get to vote twice. Upon moving back to England, between 2010 & 2013, I voted for the Liberal Democrats, even standing for them in a 2011 local by-election for the Backwell ward in North Somerset. I came a distinct last, with 69 votes and 5.2% share. Moving back to Wales ... Read More
  • Glasgow’s lower costs and supply of technology graduates tempting financial services firms away from London March 3, 2018 (c) lastminute.com In a short piece in Insider magazine, with no actual figures quoted, Technology recruitment specialist Harvey Nash report a growth in the number of firms moving out of London attracted by Glasgow’s lower office-space costs and the strong supply of technology graduates, from the greater city area’s four universities. https://www.insider.co.uk/news/glasgow-becoming-increasingly-popular-location-12113763 Financial services are, of course, almost entirely technology-based and no longer need to be physically located in London’s financial district. This is another of the numerous positive indicators emerging from the Scottish economy and reported here: Business growth in Scotland well ahead of UK average Scottish business confidence soars to three and a half-year high And another one: ‘Scotland Revealed as Top Place in UK to Launch New Business’ 77% of Scotland’s small and medium-sized businesses report success as ... Read More
  • For the Glory of the Empire March 3, 2018 Greece: social justice has greatly improved under the left-wing government but youth unemployment has soared to 50%, and over a quarter of the population face poverty.  Empty pockets One of  the lamest taunts aimed at Scotland’s just political ambitions – unionist barbs rarely rise above a snotty grunt – is the one about independence reducing Scotland to “a basket case like Greece”. This insult was thrown at us at the same time as England’s millionaires pleaded we stay with them, not literarily with them, they choose their house guests carefully. No, stay with England for the greater glory of the Empire. This is a paradox. England rules Scotland, accuses it of being a subsidy junky yet England controls Scotland’s economy. The United Kingdom is one of the wealthiest nations on ... Read More
  • Two very vulnerable homeless men left to die in sub zero temperatures March 3, 2018 A homeless man died tragically, earlier this week while sleeping rough in freezing temperatures in Nottinghamshire. He was known as Ben to locals, and had been sleeping in a tent near Saint Swithun’s Church in Retford. He was found in the early hours of Tuesday morning, as freezing temperatures swept across the county due to the ‘Beast from the East’ storm. Police confirmed that they were made aware of a ‘sudden death’ near to the church by the ambulance services at 8.40am on Tuesday (February 27). One local resident in the area, Kenny Roach, said he knew Ben well and helped him out with money and food. “He contacted me last week just before he came out of hospital – he had pneumonia,” he said. Two ... Read More
  • More evidence of becoming a better nation as SNP ‘future-proof’ social security March 3, 2018 Reported in Scottish Housing News today: ‘Key benefits will be future-proofed to ensure they hold their value in real terms under Scotland’s new social security system, social security minister Jeane Freeman has said. Following earlier commitments to have annual rises in Disability and Employment-Injury Assistance, Ms Freeman has ensured those are enshrined in legislation by bringing forward amendments to the Social Security (Scotland) Bill and has supported extending the guarantee to Carers Assistance when the Scottish social security agency takes over delivery of Carer’s Allowance.’ http://www.scottishhousingnews.com/20100/ministers-future-proof-social-security-commitment-inflation-linked-payments/ There’s actually some cross-party consensus on this but that still leaves the Tories to find fault and have it broadcast uncritically by our media. As for being different enough to make a difference, is there enough evidence? Well, ... Read More
  • Time to take! March 3, 2018 There’s a problem in all of this talk of ‘amending’ Brexit-related legislation. To be more accurate, there are a great many problems in all this. But I want to focus on just one. Or maybe two, if something else occurs to me while I’m writing, as often happens. The problem I’m referring to is hinted at in the phrase “powers were given under the devolution settlements”. Language matters. Words have consequence. It would be gratifying if The National could eschew language quite so characteristic of the British state’s approved narrative. A more thoughtful formulation would refer to “powers acquired by the devolved parliaments”. See the difference? Power is not given. Power is taken. It is only from the perspective ... Read More