Tuesday, May 31, 2016

How late it was, how late - An open letter to Neal Lawson at Compass

In response to Neil Lawson's open letter to the SNP


Dear Compass

We did warn Labour that it would pay an expensive opportunity cost of getting into bed with the Tories. You didn't ask for our views but we hope you take them in the spirit they are meant.

I write as an ex member of the Labour Party and as a supporter of Scottish Independence. I believe in Democracy and I trust the Sovereign People of Scotland to be amazing.

Your Party did not trust the People. It lied to the People. It targeted our elders with Project Fear
and stirred up sectarianism. It took cash from the Conservative and Unionist Party and it spent it on bussing in paid canvassers and Unionists from all over the UK to the doorsteps of Scotland. Your Party fomented the tribalism which you now decry.


You say that we could be part of a UK wide progressive alliance? Really?
You expect us to believe that the Labour Party have changed? We don't remember receiving your apology.

The Labour Party has spent every minute in Parliament since Indyref stymieing every progressive idea that the SNP has put forward through Parliamentary process.
When Labour don't vote against our progressive ideas, they abstain.
We elected SNP representatives to Westminster look after the best interest of Scotland.

The Labour Party voted against Scotland having any more powers during the Smith Commission. Even the Tories wanted to devolve more powers than Labour.
Labour negotiators spent most of Smith Commission outside on the phone to London checking their tick list of what they were there to block.

Don't tell me that we can be part of a "progressive alliance" at Westminster.

Our experience of Labour (pre, during and post Indyref) is that of the sulky child who is not getting their own way.

Your Party collapsed in Scotland because they got caught lying. Your own Party admitted it could not have won a NO vote without lying. Your word is no longer trusted.

Labour have exposed themselves as Unionists who care more for their own Party than they do for Scotland. You'd know that if you'd canvassed just one street in any town or city.

You say we won't get another realistic chance to have another referendum? You think we have to go begging to Westminster to hold one? You think we will wait out another 10 years of Tory rule? You think we need a consistent poll of over 65%?!

The People of Scotland will decide the where and when of the next referendum.

Your "vantage point" from which you base your understanding of Scotland seems to be a quick view of the pages of the Daily Mail and BBC News. Believe me, you have no vantage point if you cannot see what we see. We have not shifted our position. Independence for Scotland is the only practical way of building a better Scotland for all of her People.

You think our "incredible rise" is "tapering off"? You wish...

Our credible rise is still in progress. We will take the Councils in next year's May elections. These are Labour's last strongholds over public life in Scotland. Labour have been found negligent and profligate custodians of our Local Authorities. We will remove them from office.

You say a good society is possible without Independence?

To us, you sound like the liar Gordon Brown who promised us "federalism, as close to home rule as possible". Nothing you can promise us will be believed. Because we know, at the heart of your Party, you do not want us to be an independent Nation again.

You expect us to believe that Labour will help rid us of Trident? Introduce a basic income? End austerity? Renew the social fabric of our lives?

Let's get down to brass tacks. Those that voted YES voted for a better Scotland for all those things. Those that voted NO, were encouraged (by your Party activists using Tory money) to vote for what was best for their personal circumstances, not for our Scottish society as a whole.

You wrote to the wrong Party. The SNP are brimming with progressive ideas.

Turn your attention to your own Party who are riven by Blairites and Corbynistas.

The Labour Party lost England at the 2015 election. You'd already lost Scotland in 2011.

Do not concern yourself with a Tory rise in Scotland. There isn't one. The Tories are the opposition in Scotland. It was one of your greatest failings not to recognise that.

There can be no progressive alliance with a Party that we cannot trust. You voted against FFA for Scotland. You voted against us having more devolved powers. You voted against just about everything in the Scotland Bill. When we have a brilliant idea that would improve the lives of all UK residents, you abstain. You are also a Party of War. Chilcot can and should shame you into addressing that.

We do not want a part of your colonial constitutional convention. We do not want another Treaty of Union. We are on a path towards Independence. You'd do well to let that sink in.

You may have a new leader and shadow chancellor, but in Scotland, you still have the same old Unionists who wish to see our Country tethered to the United Kingdom.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Exeunt Omnes

There seems to be a new unofficial Standing Order amongst the Unionist Parties at Westminster.
As soon as an SNP MP gets to his or her feet to speak, there is a mad dash for the exits.

Last week we had the spectacle of the Tory benches emptying the moment Angus Robertson took his turn to respond to the Queen's speech.

So great was the rumpus, that there was a sustained chorus of "Bye Bye Tories" from the SNP benches. The Speaker intervened and asked those leaving the chamber to do so quietly.

After spending 2 years begging us to stay in the Union, the Unionist Parties now seem not to want to hear Scotland's voice at Westminster.

Today when Ian Blackford got up to respond to Jeremy Hunt's NHS speech... they were off again. And so was Jeremy.

These small injustices and slights are just the kind of thing to gather even more support for the SNP in Scotland

Scotland's watching the Westminster Parliament - like a hawk.

We will exit stage left with a Unicorn.

How d'ya like them apples?

Scotland's got new powers. Just a few. Will it be enough to keep the natives restful? 

Let's cast our minds back to the 8 September 2014, when Gordon Brown took to the stage in front of a hand picked audience in Midlothian and promised a timetable of power transfer to Scotland that would give her People: 

 "radical transfer of power" "as close to federalism as is possible" while also maintaining the "benefits" of union.

622 days have passed, the Smith Commission wrangled us down to a slim list of powers, Westminster blocked nearly all of what Smith recommended. So let's have a look at the "radical transfer of power" that has been given to the Scottish Parliament today:


You heard it right. Scotland now has control over road signage. We could choose to go metric if we wanted. But we probably won't.

Abortion Law

The Scottish Government has no plans to amend the current law, which allows for terminations in certain circumstances up to 24 weeks. No change.

Gambling Machines

We have new powers over Gaming machines - the crack cocaine of gambling. In one street in Rutherglen alone, these machines took £1.2m out of the community in one year. The Scottish Parliament will use it's very limited new powers to address the problems this type of gambling causes to communities across Scotland. Fixed odds betting terminals are excluded.


From today, we can begin legislating for stuff like: Parking on the pavement and double parking. A wee victory for all those who've been campaigning for the mums with prams and people with visual impairments who find their way impeded by a selfish parker.

Speed Limit

Really? We can change the speed limits? Well, sort of. We still have to ask permission from the last Tory in the Land: Viceroy Mundell, the Secretary of State for Scotland. He gets a final say.

Transport & Transport Police

Public sector operators can bid for future rail franchises and British Transport Police operating in Scotland will be brought under the banner of Police Scotland.
The Transport Police will be transferred over 'lock stock and barrel' before the end of 2016.

Equal Opportunities

Scotland is ready to use these powers. We are hungry for a fairer Scotland and we will immediately move to bring forward legislation for gender balance on the boards of all public bodies.But expect some creative uses of this new power in the months to come. It's all good.

Consumer Advocacy and advice

We've been gearing up for this new power for over a year and we'll hit the ground running with 46 new recommendations to give Scottish consumers better protection in law. We can also call OFGEM and OFCOM to appear in front of our Parliament Committees if they aren't "gude bairns", and they'll have to come.

Sop to Cerberus

Home Rule this ain't. Scotland grows weary of the MSM trumpeting "extensive new powers". These are tinkering round the edges changes based on what was left after the Smith Commission negotiations concluded we couldn't do any of this stuff:

... But Hey Ho,  If the Tory UK Govt gives Scotland lemons, we'll make the best lemonade you ever tasted.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Gloaty McBoatface

If you've ever received a massive invitation to tender, then you'll know that heartsink moment when everybody, and I mean everybody in the Company, turns to you with that doleful look that says "this is on you". Some of them will even come up and pat you on the back as if to say "I wouldn't be in your shoes for all the cash in Christendom".

I'm watching the plaudits and praisings coming in from the Scottish Branch of the Labour Party - patting themselves on the back for their campaign to "Keep Calmac and Carry On" and my blood boils.

The Daily Record editor tweeted "Gloaty McBoatface" - as if the paper's high profile SNPBad rants about Ferry Services tendering swung the deal.

Torcuil Crighton writes in today's Daily Record:

Let’s be clear too, that without a campaign driven the RMT union and spearheaded by the Daily Record, CalMac crews would have woken up yesterday morning to the news that their livelihoods were in the hands of an asset-stripping private company.


The only people that won the competitive tender to keep Calmac running the ferry services were the team of bid writers and they are being eclipsed by a parade of clowns who think that demonstrations and op ed pieces in various newspapers won the bid.

It's nice to have a cheerleading public wishing you well in your tendering task, but Labour's "Save Calmac" was nothing more than opportunistic anti-SNP rhetoric and disingenuous lie-mongering.

In their nerve centre, Calmac's  bid team took two years to write this bid. Two years of pulling together all the technical specs, financial information, environmental impact information for each of the services... even down to the detail of how Calmac recycle the contents of their waste bins. To win this bid, they had to demonstrate how they would exceed, not just meet the Customer's demands.To that end they made 350 improvement plans.

In the end, it came down to how the Company running the services would deal with the terms and conditions of the employees and how they would improve customer service.

I take my hat off to Calmac's bid team who won the contract to by their blood, sweat and tears.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Lords a Leaping

If you missed it, then I recommend you catch up with Politics Scotland, broadcast on BBC2 Scotland shortly after the Queen's speech. Link below.

Joanna Cherry QC MP was joined by 3 unelected Lords for what was to be a discussion of the content of the Queen's speech. Could they not rustle up some MPs? Obviously not.

One MP, 3 Lords: Lord Andrew Dunlop, a Conservative (but introduced as the  representative of the UK Government), Lord George Foulkes for Labour and Jeremy Purvis, Baron Purvis of Tweed for the Liberal Democrats.

So they're on the grass outside the Houses of Parliament and the interviewer asked what the Queen's speech meant for Scotland.

Lord Dunlop kicked off with a well rehearsed response to what was in it for Scotland. (Not a lot).

Joanna Cherry gave it laldy laying out why it was a rehash of last year's speech with little or no relevance to Scotland's needs.

Then it went a bit weird. George Foulkes weird.

George embarked upon an #SNPBad rant for which at times he had to look up to remember his lines and Jeremy Purvis jumped in with a rejoinder of even more #SNPBad with George nodding him on.

Then it went much weirder.

Joanna Cherry is an asset to Scotland and she held her ground brilliantly as around her snaked a Lordly barrage of Bullingdon, buffoonery, bullying and Better Together Ltd.

I doff my cap to you Joanna Cherry. I'd have bitten George's waggy finger right off.

See for yourself.

Drop in at 32.34 min and get your gob smacked

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Minority Report

You can't switch on a News bulletin or Current Affairs Programme about Scotland without the front loading of the phrase "Minority Government" or "SNP doesn't have a majority" or the more gleeful:"SNP has lost their majority" . They can barely get through 10 seconds of tape without mentioning it.

Since the morning of the 6 May 2016 there's been a rush to rub it in.

Tonight we were treated to Pet Food Pundit Kevin Hague on ITV's Scotland Tonight programme telling us the SNP had a "declining share of the vote".

That is simply not true.

The SNP polled a record number of votes in a Parliament where the voting system was specifically designed so that Labour and the Lib Dems could run cosy coalitions.

On May 5, the SNP polled more votes than any other party in Scottish electoral history - leaving Blair's 1997 record for dust.

Here's Malcolm Bruce boasting how he colluded with Donald Dewar to design a voting system to keep the Nats out.

The can screech minority all they like. We polled over a million votes. More than all the other parties combined.

So when you hear them downplaying our victory, just laugh, because this "Minority" shtick is the only stick that the MSM have to beat us with.

Onwards to Independence Scotland!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Why I stopped throwing donuts at Blair McDougal

During the referendum campaign in 2013, I resurrected my Twitter Account which had only previously been used to have a go at the Conservatives - Liam Fox in particular.

Each day, as I tuned in to the Better Together Campaign, I felt increasingly angry that they were allowed to get away with bare faced lies.

I couldn't bring myself to call anyone a liar (at that stage) ... and so every time the Campaign Manager for Better Together, Mr Blair McDougall told a whopper on Twitter I'd send him a donut.

I got through a lot of donuts. To this day I have 32,000 pictures of donuts on an external hard drive.

He thought I was calling him fat. I was calling him a liar.

I changed his name to Blair McDonut.

And then one day, I stopped the donuts. I had stopped caring about his lies.

Are Scots Immunised against Project Fear?

As I listen to the EU Referendum's IN Campaign ramp up Project Fear:

  • You're all going to be poor
  • The Pound will plummet
  • Businesses will leave
  • Cancer Research will stop
  • Trade will be blocked
I sit back and wonder what Scotland will do?

Will it comply and, out of 'fear of the unknown', bow down to the warnings from NATO, the UN, the Bank of England, the IMF, the UK Govt Pamphlets through the door? 
Or is Scotland immune to Project Fear?

The more I hear the IN Campaign use the same tactics (some of them word for word) as they used during the Independence Referendum to deny Scotland her freedom, I'm frustrated, because this is how the NO Campaign went from more than 70% NO to scraping a win by 5%.

These warnings go off like alarm bells when we see them ... 'aahh that's just Project Fear'... which throws up a trust issue with those in the IN Camp. The last thing they need.
Scotland is attuned to Project Fear tactics. We spot the "crying wolf" a mile off. 

Do I want to associate myself with Boris and Nigel Farage? No. But equally I don't want to get handed a diet of "too wee too poor" again from WM people I trust as far as I could throw.

Scotland is attuned to Project Fear tactics. We spot the "crying wolf" a mile off. 

If Scots want to stay in the EU we'll stay. We are immune to Project Fear.

A member of the audience on last night's BBC Question Time programme gave me a Switzerland stance to take. She said that it wouldn't matter whether we were IN or OUT because we'd just adapt and muddle on through like we always do. She's probably right. 

I didn't leave Labour...

Yup we've all heard the line: "I didn't leave Labour, Labour left me".
In our family's case it's more accurately spoken as: "I left Labour because Labour lied to me".

The lies told on the doorsteps of Scotland during the Independence Referendum Campaign were outrageous. My mother was told that her pension would stop on the 19th September if it were a NO vote. These were Labour people we had known and trusted, campaigned with, supported, and worked hard for. These were ostensibly nice peeps and they were lying to our faces.

Lots of my family are English. They were told they'd be "sent home to England", "repatriated".

Polish friends were told they'd be forcibly removed from the UK.

One of my relatives was told the banks would close.

The lies just kept coming and it was Labour that were doing it.

We began actively listening to BBC Scotland News, not for news but for bias. Some of the family joined the throngs of people protesting outside of Pacific quay in Glasgow.

When a Party that you trusted lies to you and those lies are supported and promulgated by the media, something clicks and it's the door shutting on them.

There is no redemption for Labour in Scotland.

There is no way back.

They might as well shut up shop.

My forebears were founding members of the ILP in Glasgow. My Great Granny walked to London to protest during the Rent Strikes with a baby tucked under her arm. My People were in George square when they read the Riot Act. My heritage is Labour, but my future is an Independent Scotland without Labour and Labour have no-one to blame but themselves.

I'm in the Independence Business

For those of you who know me on Twitter, you'll understand that I'm in the Independence business.

Labour no more

I like, many Scots, used to vote Labour and I blindly and unquestioningly trusted that they would represent the best interests of Scotland.

My forebears were Labour; The ILP in Scotland and Trade Unionism was our proud heritage. But everything changed with the Independence Referendum. There were incidents and accidents. There were epiphanies too.

These days, no-one in my family is a Labour voter and they will never return to being a Labour voter.

I'll come back to the reasons for the switches later.

Were are we now?

Some of the family have gone Green, but most of us have found a new home in the SNP, moving from being a Labour voter to an SNP member. The SNP is our chosen vehicle to Scottish Independence. It's not about left and right politics. It's a cold hard focus on ending London Rule.

All Unionist parties are a barrier to our goal. It's not that we're not listening to them; It's that we don't like what they are selling.

This focus will not fade or ebb away. It will only intensify as our next generation of family comes through.