Karen Martin – Nurse – A Response To The Nurse Who Cried Foodbank

 

 

Right well the Leaders Debate same old same old SNP bad, no getting a referendum, SNP bad but as hard as Ruth Davidson, Kezia and co tired they couldn’t land a blow on Nicola Sturgeon then it changed. You see in the audience waiting like a tiger prowling it’s pray was Claire Austin a nurse with a question, it was her second appearance on BBC in weeks after being on Question Time but at the time didn’t get to ask her question so she had been invited back to ask it this time fair enough no problem.

This was a passionate question one which she delivered with great vigour and one that she would demanded a answer, deserved an answer More Pay For Nurses. Fair point I thought our NHS staff deserve all the money we can give them then the she delivered the Kicker she has to get her food from a foodbank.

What wow no way foodbanks wow I never realised our NHS was that seriously in trouble , I knew about the cuts , I knew about the threat of privatisation but our nurses starving now I might be an Indy supporter and have a soft spot for the SNP ( ok a huge soft spot) but nurses starving that’s not on, these are the people who save our lives it’s just not on. I spent the rest of the show wondering how could we live in a society where our nurses are having to visit foodbanks wow.

Now as anyone reading this must know by now the following morning social media was awash with stories Claire Austin was a councillors wife then daughter visits to New York and the list went on BBC plant, Tory Plant, egg plant the list went on. To be honest it made me turn off my phone and social media to let it sink in when a sudden thought crossed my mind its doesn’t matter who that woman is related too or what she eats for dinner do our Nurses really need to use foodbanks because of what we pay them. I had heard we pay them more than England but there Jnr Doctors have been striking could this woman be telling the truth. This is when I came across Nurse Karen Martin.

Now who is Karen Martin to talk about this subject well Karen has worked as a Nurse for 38 years and is a Band 7 nursing sister in a kids hospital and is in charge of a huge theatre/ recovery department with staff of all grades and remember a band 5 nurse in Dundee will get paid the same as a Band 5 in Paisley, as will a Band 7 in Glasgow  will get paid the same as a Band 7 in Edinburgh ok. So at this point I will pass you over to the words of Karen Martin who with the breaking of this story feels and wants to put the public straight on this subject.

This is what Karen had to say
“Just to dispel the rapidly growing myths around this nurse and her salary I’d like to spell out exactly what she lied about in terms of that salary and why so many nurses are up in arms about it!
She works for the NHS as a staff nurse, (although she herself claims to be a charge nurse in a busy A&E), however for the sake of this exercise I’ll place her on the lowest band for staff nurses in Scotland. That’s the whole of Scotland because no matter where you work in the NHS the salary structure is identical. The least a newly qualified staff nurse would earn on a Band 5 is just shy of £22, 000. This rises year on year incrimentally for 6yrs to the Band maximum of £28,180.

She herself states that she has been working for many years so she cannot be stuck on the starting scale, it doesn’t work that way. Anyone working for 6yrs will have reached their Band max. If indeed she is a charge nurse as she claims on her LinkedIn then that would be Band 6 which starts at £26,041 and again incrimentally rises to £34,876. So you see there’s no way for a qualified registered nurse to be stuck at £22,000 as she claims. Furthermore she also works with RMR an agency I myself have done shifts for in the past and the pay is very lucrative compared to NHS payscales, so much so that most hospitals are now forbidden to use this agency.

So no matter how you look at this then that woman is not as skint as she claims to be! She blatantly lied about her pay and anything else that followed also has to be suspect. She lied knowing full well that nurses salaries are published and in the public domain, and also knowing there were bound to be nurses watching who would know instantly she was lying, clearly she didn’t care about that either. That I find both particularly perplexing and shameful.


The fact this attack on the Scottish government was allowed to take place during a debate for the GE is beyond the pale and highly questionable especially given the Scottish government have honoured the Pay Review Body recommendations, whilst Westminster has not is even more disgusting. It means that we in Scotland are paid more than our colleagues in England and Wales, albeit only by 1% per annum, but over the past few years that has mounted to a fairly sizeable gap.


Can I also say I agree with those who have said that the SNP government need to stop being so mealy mouthed and polite, and start being more aggressively assertive. They need to start attacking more, as this should be about highlighting their successes but more importantly Westminsters failings. This is not about the Scottish government and should never have been allowed to happen during a debate about a Westminster election, but then again it is the BBC so they will take any opportunity to divert attention away from where it’s supposed to be…..on the failings of Westminster!”

So there you go the nice lady on the leaders debate might not be related to a councillor and all her trips might have been paid by her friends and family but her statement about Nurses having to feed themselves at foodbanks is a blatant lie unless they are terrible with her money.

I would like to thank Karen Martin for coming forward and telling us like it is and giving us the truth on the subject, why Claire Austin spun it the way she did you would have to ask her and chances are we will never know so thanks again to Karen for letting me print this, I tip my hat to you and all who work in our NHS.

image NHS Scotland  foodbank donations  Nurses  featured image  food cans

 

Is Anti-Scottish Racism a Thing?

Scotland’s not a race… is it koz I is ginger?” The funny thing about racial difference is that it is neither genetic nor biological. Race based on colour is an arbitrary construct, used to fabricate social difference in relation to power.


Yesterday in the post ‘Why Don’t You Fuck Off Back to Scotland’ this blog examined the incident in a Somerset school where a Conservative MP, James Heappey, told a sixth form girl to go back to her own country. It was an open display of a growing sentiment in England towards Scots who refuse to tow the unionist political line, but it is interesting that we don’t have a more precise language for this class of prejudice. Sure, it is prejudice, as it is intolerance, bigotry, and xenophobia, but these terms lack the precision conveyed by words like ‘Anglophobia’ when the discrimination and abuse is in the other direction. This very issue was touched on in the comments section of the Butterfly Rebellion Facebook page. So we ask: Is anti-Scottish racism a thing?

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All too often we hear criticism of the charge of racism on the grounds that the group being targeted “isn’t a race.” Apparently Islamophobia and Anglophobia are not racisms because Islam and Englishness are not racial categories. Yet the assumption that these groups cannot be thought of as racial signifiers rests on the acceptance of race as a biological fact, and this is problematic for a number of reasons. Moreover, the United Nations rejects racial biology in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination:

In this Convention, the term “racial discrimination” shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.
Article 1, §1 (21 December 1965)

While it is the case that in the main we identify racial difference in terms of colour, there exists no scientific basis for racial difference in biology or genetics – leading UNESCO to affirm, “All human beings belong to a single species and are descended from a common stock (Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice, 27 November 1978, Art.1 §1).” In effect, what this means is that race – rather than being a natural and inherent difference between human populations – is a social construct, an artificial means of differentiating between people to serve some purpose – power.

Enter Stuart Hall, cultural theorist, and his idea of race as a “floating signifier.” He presents the idea of race – something we imagine to see while failing to see so many other arbitrary differences – as a shifting meaning dependant on changing social and political relations. Whether or not one is racialised depends, at any given time, on one’s relationship to power. His argument certainly holds when we think of Jewishness or Irishness as racial signifiers. Even Albert Einstein picked up on this when he famously quipped:

If I am proved correct, the Germans will call me a German, the Swiss will call me Swiss, and the French will call me a great scientist. If relativity is proved wrong, the French will call me Swiss, the Swiss will call me a German, and the Germans will call me a Jew.

Racial categorisation, then, when we accept that it is without a genetic or biological basis, must have a sociological origin. Race is an idea imposed on people by people, and this implies a power relation. We are familiar with the Scots, the Welsh, and the Northern Irish being called British at the Olympics when they win, and Scottish, Welsh, or Northern Irish when they lose. This too is a categorisation imposed by power. Britishness, as a notional superlative, is synonymous with and an extension of Englishness. England is the power holder, and it is those who speak for this dominant culture who grant the honour of Britishness to those British-ish people only when they deserve it. This is a clear type of cultural and national racialisation.

So we may be somewhat uncomfortable identifying anti-Scottish bigotry as racism, but this is only because we have uncritically accepted race as a real thing. Race is a social fabrication used by people in power to establish the parameters of the dominant group. Yes, we can’t deny that black people have black skin, brown people have brown skin, and white people have white skin, but this observation is as arbitrary as differences in other physical characteristics we routinely ignore; like eye colour, height, hair colour and such.

When Scottish people are subjected to any kind of abuse on the basis of their national origin it is perfectly legitimate and reasonable to speak of this as racism. Our discomfort with this idea, however, might possibly be explained by our historical self-identification as a member of the British racialised in-group; that we – like the English – are “white.” But what we are discovering now is that, as we continue to test the patience of the power holders, we are not as white as them. “White” is not a colour, as we are discovering. Whiteness is a social measure of one’s acceptability to power, and it is in precisely this way that Barack Obama was referred to as “an honorary white man.” We Scots are fast losing that privilege in the eyes of British power.

 


The Science Of Racism


You can follow Jason Michael at his twitter page @Jeggit or at his webpage The Random Public Journal
Jason Michael is a  Scottish journalist and blogger based in Dublin. Writing on politics and society. Columnist for iScot Magazine and author of the Random Public Journal.

Former active IRA member serving as Tory Party councillor

A former active member of the IRA is now an active member of the Tory Party despite admitting she once celebrated the deaths of British soldiers and even civilians killed in terrorist acts:

Maria Gatland – once known as Maria McGuire – is now a Conservative Party councillor in Croydon after being reelected in 2014.

Ms Gatland was briefly suspended by the Tories in 2008 once her past was revealed but after an “internal investigation” she was then openly readmitted into the party.

Unsurprisingly, there is no mention of the fact she was an active IRA member on the Croydon Conservatives webpage:

I need hardly point out how this fact highlights the extreme hypocrisy on show by both the Tory Party and the UK press during this election.

You can follow Tom on twitter at @ThomasPride    and at his webpage Prides Purge

featured image IRA

 

The Unionist Protestant Orange Order Helped Create the Labour Party In Scotland and It Has Now Destroyed It – Kezia There is Still Time to Create an Independence Alliance With the SNP

Political Fun and Games

Much has been made in the Unionist press and media of a resurgence in the fortunes of the Tory Party in the local Council elections.

Some political pundits attribute the change to a transfer of allegiance by the Protestant Orange Order away from the Labour Party to the Tory Party which recently changed its name from The Conservative Party back to The Conservative and Unionist Party. A minor change garnering a major result.

If affirmed the Labour Party voter base might deteriorate further in the General Election but  this will probably manifest in Labour voter apathy and it is unlikely any party will benefit in the short term.

The polarisation of Scottish politics is now well established.

The Conservative and Unionist Party has claimed the right to defend the Union.

The influence and role of the Labour Party and the Liberal Democratic Party is reduced that of political spoilers.

In the local council elections the Conservative and Unionist party recruited, marshalled and deployed their activists much more effectively than any other party and reaped the benefits. Lessons are there to be learned.

The SNP stand alone promoting the case for independence and it is imperative that every effort should be made to get supporters of independence to the voting booths on the day of the General Election.

The article that follows provides a detailed history of the Orange Order in Scotland and its capacity for disruption.

 

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The Orange Order in Scotland

The Orange Order first surfaced in the north of Ireland in 1795.

It’s constitution commits members to the defence of Protestantism and the British Crown.

It provides a focus for Protestant ethnic groups in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Although it’s promoted activities are focused on social and religious matters the political dimension has always been considered to be of prime importance and the Order has provided a number of political activists and leaders at many levels of Scottish political society.

The Order is not exclusively an Irish import to Scotland since the politics of native Scots in the West of Scotland was historically sectarian in nature but apathetic towards the problems of Ireland.

This ensured the political growth of the Irish-Protestant working class in Scotland would be influenced by native Scots who were more inclined to embrace socialist ideology as opposed to confrontation.

The loss of many thousands of young Scots soldiers and the depression after WW1 changed the mindset of Irish immigrants and their descendants who became more reliant on the Order to ensure their place in Scottish society.

This brought with it a significant increase in membership and a much enhanced Order presence in the politics of Scotland in the 1920-1939 period.

At the end of WW2 and up to the late 1950’s the Order was influential in ensuring the political direction of the Protestant working class vote in the Central belt of Scotland.

The industrial downturn and slum clearance programmes in Scotland, brought about the establishment of overspill areas, such as Easterhouse and Castlemilk.

Expansion of town and village living; Coatbridge, Airdrie, Motherwell, Hamilton and the new town of Cumbernauld.

Similar programmes were completed in Edinburgh and the East of Scotland forming overspill areas such as Muirhouse, Sighthill and the new-towns of Glenrothes and Livingston.

The impact of the changes on the Order was significant. Membership fell sharply as the population of the Central belt of Scotland became more dispersed and the influence of the Order was lessened markedly.

But although much reduced in numbers the Order in Scotland is still influential in Protestant communities.

Membership has remained consistent in the West of Scotland (in or around Glasgow) and North Lanarkshire

West Lothian, in the East of Scotland is an Order stronghold and there are a significant number of lodges in Renfrewshire, Wigtownshire and Ayrshire.

Conversely there are few lodges in Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and the Highlands and Borders regions.

 

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Male membership of the Order

The highest ever male concentration of the Order in Scotland was recorded at 10% in Govan and Rutherglen, but overall Scottish male membership density rarely exceeded two percent.

At 2017 the figure is reduced to less than 1%.

For comparison male membership of the Order in Belfast routinely peaks at around 20%

 

 

 

 

Membership Patterns

In Glasgow, at Ward level, pockets of the Order are to be found in; Govan (Kingston), Ibrox, Kinning Park, Fairfield, Kingston, Rutherglen, Cowcaddens, Drumchapel, Maryhill, Possil, Cowlairs, Baillieston and Bridgeton.

 

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Causes of Membership Change

Order membership improved following the introduction of licensed social clubs coupled with an ever increasing appeal of soccer and para-military activity in Northern Ireland.

Spikes and fluctuations in membership are also attributed to a number of factors:

1) Threats to Protestantism: Marked decrease in Scottish Protestant church membership and increasing secularisation resulting in declining church attendance and Pastoral influence.

2) Threats to the Union: e.g.. A visit of the Pope

 

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The Northern Ireland Troubles of 1969-90

In the 1960’s and throughout the troubles the policies of the Order in Scotland became ever more militant answering the perceived threat to the Union by Nationalists.

“Scottish” Lodges and their bands travelled to Northern Ireland in increasing numbers in the “Marching” season.

Over time the distinct “Scottishness” of marching lodge members was replaced with “Ulsterness”.

Pipe bands stopped travelling and Scottish Saltires were replaced with the Red hand of Ulster.

The retention of the Union Jack proved to be significant.

Later surveys identified that Order members claimed their identity to be “British” and it was the protection of the “Union” that drove them to go to Ulster each year.

The Grand Lodge of Scotland which supported financial contributions to Ulster, was also heavily involved politically, without success throughout the period with the many differing factions in Ulster and UK governments.

Nevertheless the Order benefited from the troubles achieving the highest ever level of membership in many years.

 

 

 

 

The Sea Change

The 1982 visit of the Pope proved to be the turning point for the Order and it’s steady decline in membership and influence.

Hard-line “Ulsterised” rank and file members demanded militant action preventing the visit but were not supported by senior Order officers or the Grand Lodge.

A number of small groups ignored instructions and went ahead with protests causing an amount of disruption.

The failure of the Grand Lodge to establish control encouraged lodges to ignore instructions forbidding it introducing Sunday opening, the sale of alcohol and singing and dancing.

An added impact was the increasing militancy and unruly behaviour of marching bands and their supporters.

Bands had evolved from the Scottish pipe bands of the 1960’s, first to the accordion, then to “blood and guts” flute bands whose average age was under 30y.

Despite suspensions the bands continued to perform at many “Orange Walks” in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

 

 

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Influence

The Order in Scotland can be credited with the establishment of a working class Unionist Tory base through the lodge system and it’s influence over political events in Glasgow up to the start of WW2, was substantial resulting in a number of Tory Orange Order MP’s being elected to Westminster.

The Order had little purchase however in the rest of Scotland since there were no other significant Orange Order clusters.

The Scottish Unionists successful political recruitment and retention strategy up to the early 1960’s was centred on cultivating the votes of the Order membership without compromising it’s aims and ideals.

But the party alienated many members of the Order when it turned away from Unionism retaining only “Conservative” in it’s title.

Many Order members drifted away to the Labour party.

Thatcher’s agreement to support the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement proved to be the catalyst that severed any links between the Order and the Tory Party in Scotland.

Disillusioned Order members, supported by the Grand Lodge formed a political block to the Tory Party using their votes tactically making claim to a reduction in the number of Tory MP’s in Scotland.

Political observers are inclined to the view that the withdrawal of their support had less impact on the fortunes of the Tory party in Scotland blaming other Thatcher actions against Scotland.

 

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Freemasonry in Scotland

The Scottish Protestant tradition of Masonry stretches back to the middle ages and  the organisation of Freemasons in Scotland is broadly similar to that of the Orange Order.

Indeed there is a school of thought that supports the view that the Order first adopted the rules of Scottish Freemasonry and amended them to suit their own needs.

It is of no surprise that the Orange Order has done so well among Scottish Protestants.

Scotland’s total of around 170,000 Masons is the largest Masonic membership rate worldwide making it a Protestant institution guaranteed it’s place in Scottish society.

The stability of Scottish Freemasonry is attributed to its “articles of association” which require members to be strictly apolitical and non-religious, unlike the Orange order, (with 70% of its Scottish membership clustered in Central Scotland.)

It is also important to draw attention to class differences in the two groups of Protestants in Scotland.

In Glasgow, Masonic Lodge halls are primarily located in the more affluent West of the City and in the satellite villages and small towns on the city’s outskirts.

Major concentrations of Masonic lodges are also to be found in the Borders, Highlands and the North-east.

Other lodges are located, in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Perth.

Conversely Orange Order Lodge Halls are located in working class areas of Glasgow and similar locations in other Towns in the West of Scotland.

 

 

masonic lodges

Spread of Freemason Lodges

 

 

 

Conclusions

In the last 30 years Scottish Protestant church membership and attendance has fallen significantly and the Grand Lodge is increasingly impotent in the control of younger, often more militant members who challenge it’s right to dictate policy in regards to the support of Ulster Orange-men.

The continued presence of the Order is directly attributed to the past influx of Irish-Protestant immigrants and their descendants and it’s power is only retained in areas of historic Irish-Protestant immigration such as Larkhall, Airdrie and parts of West Lothian. Overall however the strength of the Order, (even in the West of Scotland) is relatively weak.

 

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You can follow Calton Jock at his webpage CaltonJock

Tories BOW to wealthy antiques dealers and DROP ban on elephant ivory in manifesto

Foxes, badgers, robins and now ELEPHANTS: hidden manifesto plan by Tories to allow ivory trade

Under David Cameron the Conservatives had pledged – along with other UK political parties – to put into place a ban on ivory trading. This follows bans by China, the US and other important ivory trading countries to end domestic trades in ivory by the end of 2017.

But there is no mention of the ban in Theresa May’s Tory 2017 manifesto. Sneakily, the Tories have decided to DROP their previous commitment to introducing a total ban on ivory trade in Britain. This comes after heavy pressure from wealthy antiques traders who have been lobbying Teresa May hard to drop the ban on ivory.

The most powerful UK antique traders association is the British Antique Dealers’ Association – whose president is Tory MP and pal of Theresa May, Lady Victoria Borwick.

On average, an elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory and their population has fallen by almost a third in Africa since 2007.

Interestingly, this policy puts the Tories in direct conflict with Prince William, who has been a vocal supporter of a total ban on ivory sales.

Will we see the Duke of Cambridge campaigning for Labour – which has pledged to introduce the total ban the Prince has been lobbying for?

featured image ivory

You can follow Tom on twitter at @ThomasPride    and at his webpage Prides Purge

Scotland’s Labour Pains

On the day that newly elected Labour councillors in Aberdeen and in other parts of the country jumped ship to support the Tories, I met Andrew Bustard online. He’s the future of the revolution, but he’s still on the wrong side.


Thanks to my recent trip into the online political forum of Tremr I had the dubious pleasure yesterday of an encounter with Coatbridge’s almost pubescent Citizen Smith; social media content creator-cum-propagandist for Scottish Labour and door-thumping campaigner for Scottish Young Labour – the Labour Party’s answer to East Germany’s Freie Deutsche Jugend – Andrew Bustard. Some UKIP supporter had posted a piece blaming the SNP for Britain’s woes on account of it not having “bothered to work with the Conservative Party to reassure [sic] a better deal…”

“Damn right,” was my response, this obnoxious position being like a red rag to a bull. “Damn right the Scottish National Party hasn’t collaborated with the British occupation.” In the rest of the response I spelt out the fact that the SNP represented 95 per cent of Scotland’s seats at Westminster, and that the SNP was elected for two reasons; to secure independence and to resist the outrageous excesses of Tory British rule until the first objective has been achieved. At this my new kipper friend retired from the field, but – as if on cue – Coatbridge’s one-man Bolshevik revolution rushed in to her aid.

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Who said Romanticism was dead?

“Terms like ‘occupation’ are really unhelpful,” he whines at a pitch that got the neighbour’s dog howling. I honestly don’t know any other word to describe the English army that helped convince the Edinburgh parliament to sign the Act of Union, the Wade roads and Hanoverian garrisons, the Highland genocides, and the imposition of nuclear weapons we don’t want. Sincerely, I don’t. It sounds like an occupation to me. Yet I was being schooled by a plooky-faced boy on how “Scotland wilfully participated in the occupation and oppression of countries like Ireland and India.”

It was only when he insisted “support for independence is collapsing” that I realised the pity. He was a product of a maths syllabus Labour introduced. But the pity was all the more because I realised he almost gets it. He clearly understood the criminality and injustice of British rule in Ireland and India, a policy very much continued by his beloved “vanguard of the working class [lol]” under Tony Blair – a man who lied in order to perpetrate war crimes and crimes against humanity in a US-led illegal invasion of Iraq. He also gets that Labour has only itself to blame. In an article he posted to the site four months ago, titled “Scottish Labour’s Devolution Death,” he wrote:

Devolution has lead [sic] to the absolute collapse of the Labour Party in Scotland, yet it is not devolution that is responsible for the collapse. The Scottish Labour Party must acknowledge they have sown the seeds of their own destruction within that devolved assembly.

You don’t say Sherlock?! Labour has not collapsed. The World Trade Centre buildings in New York collapsed. Scottish Labour has evaporated, or – as Marx in his Communist Manifesto put it, a text I thought Bustard would appreciate – “all that is solid melts into air.” What working class support it had had in 2012 has shifted en masse to the pro-independence camp. Its boot licking New Labour Blairites – a synonym for neo-Thatcherites if ever there was one – have become more honest and found the Tories. There is no Labour Party in Scotland. Whatever did exist of this proletarian party for the dictatorship of the masses, this fabled socialism, has voted with its feet, and Andrew Bustard knows as well as anyone else that those socialists didn’t go over to the Tories.

Offline, the day got even worse for our wee Lanarkshire Lech Wałęsa. Labour-style Solidarity was shown for what it really is up in Aberdeen. An entire compliment of Labour councillors – recently elected by well-meaning Labour supporters – defected from the Party to support the Conservative and Unionist Party. It is clearer now than it has ever been that the Labour unionist priority is class war on the side of London’s unionist British establishment élite. What oor Andrew is defending is the last and ultimate betrayal of his Labour movement gods. Keir Hardie, John Smith, and his “other Scottish giants” are all dead, and – today – it is fortunate for them that they are.

. Andrew Bustard @BustardAndrew

eurovision is imperialism

 


When this lad, what with his fairly average set of Highers, tells me that my words are “unhelpful” and when she spits out “nationalist” at me like its phlegm in his mouth, I’d laugh, but it’s too damned dire a situation we’re in for that. My nationalism is the socialism he barely comprehends; the want to protect workers, families, and the vulnerable from a system of greed over which we have absolutely no control at Westminster. It is the sharp edge of the struggle to protect his mother, sister, daughter, wife, and comrade from the repugnance of having to declare their victimhood to rape and sexual assault. It is the fight for decency and respect, for the want to have it thus: To each according to his need, and from each according to his ability. Only an independent nation, governed by ourselves – as the Edinburgh man James Connolly would have had it – can achieve this.

What’s most saddening about this encounter is that young men and women like Andrew, all over Scotland, are intelligent enough to work this out. They can see it. But something stops them. They have developed a fetish for a Second International vision of Labourism that – quite frankly – no longer exists. I get it; the red flags on his Twitter banner, the black berets, the closed fist salutes, and the unbridled possibility of revolutionary sex appeal. Man, I was that trooper. It’s gone Andrew. They don’t even show the reruns anymore. Socialism has only one Great Leap Forward to make in Scotland; it’s called “Sexy Socialism.”

 


Not Even Labour Supports Labour Anymore


You can follow Jason Michael at his twitter page @Jeggit or at his webpage The Random Public Journal
Jason Michael is a  Scottish journalist and blogger based in Dublin. Writing on politics and society. Columnist for iScot Magazine and author of the Random Public Journal.

What happened to ” Never again”?

Do you remember those momentous words….” Never again will the elderly….”. Well ‘never’ has arrived and how!

Triple lock goes, Winter Payments to be means tested ( which incidentally costs more than they save), but then it does mean more money for the boys! And last but by no means least the biggest shocker for Pensioners who own their own home, particularly those who have bought their own Council houses or Sheltered Housing, which in Scotland is quite high. Do read up about what is being dubbed as The Death Tax.

This from the Party who said during the Scottish Referendum, vote NO to secure your future.

I am so tempted to say…….’ don’t blame me I voted YES’

Today’s Pensioners both in the North and the South must be saying to themselves, ‘what the hell’. Theresa May is so confident of a landslide win she knows she can do anything, and she will do it. She knows voting numbers will be quite low because people are fed up of voting and getting nowhere. Then there are the Boundary changes further re-enforcing the Tory hold on the country.

Of course we in Scotland are just waiting for Ruth to say, ‘ you can mitigate these changes by putting up taxes’!  How about us mitigating them by just doing what the PM is planning to do with Brexit…….just walk away.

A sunny but sad day for Politics.

featured image robbing the OAPs

You can follow Joan McDowall on twitter at @JoanFlitcroft and at her webpage Joan Flitcroft

‘My Day In The Council Chambers’

Today was a massive day. Today was of significant importance to myself because I had helped these councillors in all types of weather. Leafleting , canvassing and even had the occasional coffee and a bite to eat. I put my family commitments on hold. My Girlfriend and kids saw less of me each night. Today meant more to me than anything. Today at 2pm I attended the statutory meeting for the council to decide who would be leader, provost, deputy provost and most importantly, who would be in power. I felt nervous and anxious at the same time. Knowing that SNP had 11 councillors and labour 11 also. It was neck and neck. I worked out all the probabilities in my head the night before and when I sat in the car in the car park outside the council building. If we get a couple of the independents on our side and the Tories abstain. If we form the best case for a minority administration. If it goes down to a deck of cards and we get the ace in the pack. These were all hypothetical but they kept racing through my mind. My heart was pounding.
For the past few months I have become really close to the SNP group in North Ayrshire. They’re a lovely bunch of people. They share an amazing vision that will help everyone in our area. They set out to help others. These people more than me deserve to get a good result today. I was praying for them. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best outcome possible. When I read in the paper last week that Marie Burns – our leader of the group and Councillor in Irvine said that she reached out to Joe Cullinane (Labour Leader) to form a coalition.

Her proposal was simple, lets form administration together because that is what the people of North Ayrshire want. Now for me, that is one of a remarkable leader. Someone who despite their differences can put all of that aside to put the people first. When I first read it I was in my Dads. I shouted him over and told him to read it. You could see in his face as he read it that he was proud to have voted for her. He never knew Marie but I had spoken about her often. She’s wonderful, smart and very welcoming. This topped everything.

She was realistic enough to know that both parties had 11 each and she could quite easily of decided to form a minority administration. She chose to put the people first. I will always admire her for that. Unsurprisingly, Joe declined her offer. He refused to negotiate a coalition offer with SNP and try his hand at other negotiations. He would try and get the independents on board, that was a given. Negotiations went on all week and nobody really knew much else on the outside. I tried to ask a few questions here and there but didn’t want to pester anyone.
As I sat in my car outside the council building one and a half hours early. I went through everything in my head. I took the day off work for this and I was ready. I went inside and was the first person to be in the waiting area. I was greeted by the receptionist and was told I was “a little early”. So I decided to wait. Others started tricking in. A couple of labour members who were talking about tuition fees and how it was labours idea came in. A frequent narrative of theirs. I remained tight lipped and focused on the day ahead.

After half an hour Jim Tudhope and John Ferguson came in. I was relieved to see them as they were ‘one of us’. I stood and chatted to them for about ten more minutes when we saw Cllr Christina Larsen making her way into the chambers. This was it. It was finally here. The receptionist told us that we could now follow them in. We trickled in via a side door open to the public. The councillors were all seated in a curved seating pattern. They all had laptops and microphones. The chief executive of NAC Elma Murray took to the panel in front of them.

She announced who she was and asked the councillors if they would mind being filmed live on Facebook. They agreed that it was ok so they went on. A lady came round and handed us an agenda for today’s meeting. It was like a big book with lots of pages. Jim and I had a look through it while Elma was talking and introducing the councillors. The local press were over in the corner, taking notes and pressing play on their recorders. 11 labour councillors on the right of the room, 7 Tories in the middle, 4 independents just behind them and 11 SNP councillors on the left. If the Tories sat with labour it would be earmarked for a perfect political system of right vs left.
One of the first things on the agenda was nominating and voting for a provost and deputy provost. I had never seen this before so I was unsure about what it entailed. Everyone voted for the nominees and it was said that Cllr Ian Clarkson would be provost and Cllr Robert Barr would be deputy provost. The meeting went into a 5 minute recess so that the provost and his deputy could got for a picture and receive their chains. At this point in my mind I was trying to work out if a deal had been made. Pure speculation but my mind was running overtime. ‘So both of them are labour, does that mean we got in because we gave them provost roles’. Every hypothetical scenario was running through my mind.
Elma took to the microphone again and asked the question loud and clear. “Who do you vote for to me the leader and deputy leader of NAC?” The nominations were Cllr Marie Burns (SNP) and Deputy Cllr Alan Hill (SNP) or Cllr Joe Cullinane (Labour) and Deputy John Easdale (Labour). Elma asked for a vote of raising hands. The nominated leader and deputy leader with the most votes wins. She called out Marie and Alan first. All the SNP hands went up. That was 11 to them. I thought to myself at this stage that the Tories would abstain on both because they wouldn’t want to vote Labour in. Elma asked who votes for Joe and John. All of the Labour Councillors put their hands up so that made 11 also.

Then as I look over to the middle of the room I saw Cllr Angela Stephen, Cllr Scott Gallagher, Cllr Todd Ferguson and Cllr Timothy Billings raise their hands. Along with a former Tory councillor who is now an independent. It shouldn’t of shocked me, it shouldn’t of made me mad or upset. But it did. I shook my head in disdain. I had saw on the news just two hours before Kezia Dugdale saying she would suspend any Labour members going into coalition with the Tories. Now this was not the case. This was not a coalition between Labour and Tories. It may have well been though. This was a minority administration propped up by the Tories. It was deceiving, conniving and a massive faux pas from both of them.

It will come back to haunt them. I hope sooner rather than later. I turned to look at Jim and we both never said a word. We had a look of disbelief. It was now evident that Joe and his colleagues had infiltrated ranks with the Tories and they had put local issues aside to stop the SNP at every turn and to stop independence. A very transparent move but a move that sneakily got them to power. When the Chief executive confirmed that Joe Cullinane was now leader and that Labour had formed a minority administration by being propped up from the austerity ridden Tories. I looked over at him. He had a massive grin on his face. This man knows no bounds. He is an opportunistic, careerist. He will fling anyone under his municipal bus just to be the leader of the council. It doesn’t matter how he gets there or what route he has to take. As long as his career is first then the people of North Ayrshire will always come second.
As the meeting drew to a close. Elma was giving councillors opportunities to nominate for posts and duties. I saw Tory councillors reject nominations at every opportunity. It made me realise that they just didn’t care. They had no interest in today other than to stop SNP and effectively stop independence. But I have news for them. They won’t stop The SNP and they won’t stop independence. Because we don’t lie down to opportunistic careerists or part time councillors that just do enough to get by. We’re in this for the long run, we’re resilient in our vision for a fairer, more prosperous society for all. We will close the attainment gap for our kids.

We will shout from the rooftops that we will double childcare and oppose Tory cuts to our elderly and disabled. We got the most votes out of all the parties sitting in that chamber today. That is what keeps me going. We have amazing councillors in place to hold this Labour administration to account at every turn. We will keep going against the hatred towards us. We are SNP and this is our time!

featured image Red Raiph

You can follow David Patterson on twitter at @DavidPee29 or at his webpage davesworld

We Need To Talk About: A Financial Transaction Tax

“We bailed out the City 10 years ago when the crash came, we poured hundreds of billions of pounds into it. Since then £100bn has been given out in bonuses in the City. So we are asking for a small contribution…to fund our public services.” – John McDonnell MP

Image result for "corbyn hood" tax

Last night, Labour announced one of their keynote policies ahead of the 2017 General Election. A financial transaction tax on the City of London. Time for a blog to outline just what in the name of Jim it actually is and what it’s supposed to do.

A Financial Transaction Tax, also known as a “Robin Hood” tax or a Tobin Tax – after one of its early proponents – is essentially a form of stamp duty on the purchase of stocks, shares, currency exchange and derivatives based on them. Every time you buy one of these applicable items or services, you pay a small tax on it. Often on the order of 1% or less of the value of the stock or share. If you later sell it, the person who buys it from you pays the tax again but there is no further payment should you simply hold on to it.

This policy is being largely sold on the basis that it could raise a substantial amount of revenue for the UK Treasury. Estimates are that Labour’s scheme of a 0.5% FTT could bring in up to £5.6 billion per year (about the equivalent of that brought in by insurance premium tax and all betting and gambling duties combined). There’s another, potentially more important, aspect to a tax like this though and that’s its power to reshape behaviour and the economy of the country.

The history of the idea is solidly rooted in the Keynesian school of economics with Keynes himself being a solid proponent of the tax in the mid-1960’s and with American economist James Tobin bringing it to attention again in the 1970’s as the Bretton Woods monetary arrangement broke down.

When Bretton Woods collapsed the advanced economies, including the UK, started experiencing exchange rate fluctuations between their trading partners. Tobin realised that this would present an opportunity for market speculation to profit from these fluctuations or for speculators to outright attack currencies which tried to maintain stable exchange rates. By taxing this activity at a level which discourages making  these trades, especially those to try to make them rapidly and repeatedly, you can hopefully prevent them destabilising the greater economy.

Through the 1980’s and the Regan/Thatcher this fear would become magnified. The deregulations supported by those administrations coupled with increasing computational power brought in the ability to massively ramp up the frequency of trades. Now, instead of talking about holding on to shares for years or months or even weeks, traders increasingly started looking at holding on to shares for days, or hours, or minutes or even seconds. At this point one is no longer even pretending to invest in a company and hoping to support it as it grows. One is simply gambling on the basis of near-random noise and froth in the system.

And it gets more divorced from reality yet. The 1990’s saw the rise to prominence of the financial derivative market. Where before one would have to actually buy a stock or share in order to sell it for profit, the derivative market opened up something else entirely.

Imagine me buying a share on Monday, waiting for it to go up in value then selling it to you on Friday. Imagine instead I simply said to you “See that share? It’s worth £100 now. On Friday, if it goes up, you pay me the difference. If it goes down, I’ll pay you the difference. Deal?”

This is the wonderful world of the derivatives market in a nutshell.

Of course it gets worse. Maybe your friend sees our deal and says to his friend “Bet you £1,000 that Craig makes a profit on that contract”. And then people can create further deals and bets based on those deals and bets until the amount of money being traded is many, many times larger than the original real share on which the whole rickety pile rests.

Or, as it was so wonderfully outlined in The Big Short:

Today, automation and the derivatives market means that the London foreign exchange industry turns over some £730 billion worth of transactions PER DAY. and automated stock trading can turn over millions of shares every minute with barely any human interaction. The entire industry is now so complex that I doubt that anyone truly understands its complexity or from where the next big flaw or crash could emerge.

What is clear is that with the speed and ease of this kind of trading, those with the cash to splash have ever less incentive to invest in the real economy of actual goods and services. And why would you? Why would you go to all the effort to build a factory, fill it with plant and people and then wait months or years for it to start making money when you can just throw a pile of (someone else’s?) cash into the aether, move it from one pile to another until it magically comes back larger than it started and you make out with a profit in a couple hours tops?

It’s no wonder that there’s a clear correlation between the growth in a country’s financial industry and the drop in productivity elsewhere. This kind of activity crowds out everything around it.

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The financial transaction tax hits this kind of business the hardest. You might not notice at all an extra 50p on top of a £100 trade you make once to buy a share that you hold for ten years but you might notice if you were bouncing that £100 trade in and out once per second for a year. It’d cost you £15.8 million to do that. You might decide that investing in that factory suddenly starts to look like a better way to invest your money and we can move some of the UK’s economic activity outside of the Great Attractor that is London.

File:Gross domestic product (GDP) per inhabitant in purchasing power standard (PPS) in relation to the EU-28 average, by NUTS 2 regions, 2014 (% of the EU-28 average, EU-28 = 100) RYB2016.png

GDP/capita regional disparity in the EU28+EFTA. Compared to the rest of the EU, Britain isn’t Great. Britain is weird.

Of course it might also mean that you decide to move your gambling operation to another country which doesn’t have an FTT to which many might be just as fine with. This money isn’t part of the productive economy but you can bet as surely as you can that the finance houses which glut themselves with this business and demand ever lower taxes and fewer regulations will be the first to beg for a bailout and protection when the next crash they cause comes around. Maybe we’d like to insulate ourselves from that crash before it happens. Either way, our economy will be better for it.

So yes, I support Labour’s proposed Financial Transaction Tax, as the Green Party of England & Wales and the Scottish Greens have for some time now. It offers a genuine chance to boost revenue and redistribute and rebalance the economy. It’s an exciting idea in an increasingly politically moribund age and I hope it should spark some passionate discussion on the topic. I’ll finish up with the Artist Taxi Driver who is currently doing a good job of infecting us with just that kind of enthusiasm. Let me know what you think in the comments.

You can read more from Dr Craig Dalzell at The Common Green

 

West Dunbartonshire – Bad News Day – The Parcel of Rogues Are Back Seeking to Blind-side You into Voting Tory – Good News – Early Warning So You Don’t Fall For the Hype

Penelope (Penny) Alison Veronica Hutton (nee Salvesen) Tory candidate for West Dunbartonshire

Her fabulously rich family are linked to some of the richest landowners in Scotland.

The old saying holds true “if she cut herself she would bleed blue blood.

Quite why she is the Tory candidate for West Dunbartonshire defeats me since the wider family could buy and sell West Dunbartonshire many times over and still consider the purchase to be achieved by spare cash.

It might be now that her children are adults she has a bit more time available and is a wee bit bored.

She was at some time or other a director of some of the family companies.

Her brother Jeremy’s obit provides further explanation: (http://www.scotsman.com/news/obituaries/obituary-jeremy-salvesen-entrepreneur-and-adventurer-1-3380489)

 

 

 

Penelope – A Closer Look at her Lineage

Penelope (Penny) Alison Veronica Salvesen is the daughter of John Salvesen, a Kelso farmer, the great-grandson of the famously successful and wealthy Norwegian immigrant Christian Salvesen.

She is the great-great-granddaughter of Christian Salvesen, the 19th-century Norwegian immigrant who went on to develop the Salvesen shipping, whaling and road transport conglomerate who also brought the first penguins to Edinburgh Zoo.

 

 

 

Her Husband John Rupert Hutton is Near Enough Scottish Royalty

James Rupert Hutton is the son of Commander John Robin Hutton and Elizabeth Judy MacMillan.

The family are directly descended from the Chief of the Clan Mcmillan through General Sir Gordon Holmes Alexander MacMillan of MacMillan and Knap and Rear-Admiral Reginald Maurice James Hutton.

 

 

 

The Coupling of Penelope and John

Penelope (Penny) married James on 12 February 1994. They have 2 adult children. http://thepeerage.com/p17115.htm

 

 

 

 

Penny Hutton – I Am a Scottish Conservative

Her self penned history is at odds with the gentility of her heritage:

“Born in the Borders I have lived in West Dunbartonshire for the last four years with my husband and two children.

Before that we lived in Argyll where we ran a marine and retail business.

I was also an advisor for the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust helping young people to establish and run their own businesses.

I am now a volunteer for the NSPCC Schools Service giving assemblies and workshops in primary schools to help our young people understand abuse and how to get help.

 

 
Briefly, Her beliefs – Quotes from Roothie the Moothy Political Dogma “Don’t Frighten the Natives” Handbook

“I will endeavour to ensure that funds from the Glasgow City deal (which is majority Westminster financed) are invested properly, eg. The Exxon Mobile site and that Clydebank and West Dunbartonshire get their fair share.

I will also work to bring life back to our town centres and to keep health and social care services local.

I believe in a strong United Kingdom (the rest of the UK being Scotland’s largest export market) and the benefits including inward investment it gives all four of our home nations.

I will oppose the SNP’s plans for a second Scottish independence referendum, which the people of Scotland do not want, and stand up for a strong United Kingdom.

I will support the growth and development of H.M.N.B. Clyde and the employment opportunities this will bring to the constituency, both at the base itself and in the wider community.

I will work with our local MSPs and others to ensure a secure, long term and viable future for the Vale of Leven Hospital.”