21st May 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Not disappointed (Charlie Gallagher)

I was asked last Friday if I was disappointed with the Smith Report, to which I replied “no”, given that I never believed one word of the nonsense that we had been fed by Darling, Murphy and most of all Brown, Cameron, Clegg and Miliband.

While I was bitterly disappointed with the referendum result I know of many who believed the cynical, last-minute bribe by the above and in particular Brown’s promise of devo-max up to neo-federalism.

Alistair Carmichael stood up on Thursday and told the Commons that it was the biggest transfer of power since devolution. Given that the previous transfer of power concerned control of airguns and the variation of some speed limits it wasn’t really a very high hurdle to beat. So Alistair, if this is your best shot perhaps you would now tell all of us just what is the LibDem’s definition of “federalism”.

The dangerous thing is that the “people” know they’ve been conned and my worry is how they will now react.

My prayer is that they will all turn out on 7th May next year and rid Scotland once and for all of these people whose only mission in life is to perpetuate a “self serving” political system that was found to be past its sell-by date in the mid-19th century, the French having found this out a century earlier in the bloody revolution of 1789.

Charlie Gallagher
Tigh Na Mara,
Sullom.

75 comments

  1. James Mackenzie

    I am curious to know what event (or series of events) it was in the mid 19th century that brought about the finding that our current political system was past its sell by date. Is it not the same political system, of which we the people are part, as voters, trade unionists, protestors and activists, that (over time) brought universal suffrage, the National Health Service, and indeed a devolved Scottish parliament?

    The trouble is, the more the kind of inflammatory, vindictive, shaming, and personalised attacks that are made by Yes voters in the press and social media, the greater the danger that Charlie Gallagher worries about – how “the people” who think they’ve been conned will react.

    His reference to the “bloody” French revolution of 1789, in this respect is, I fear, not exactly constructive.

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Indeed, James, Iwas curious about that, too, and if I may, I’ll add Gladstone’s Crofters’ Holdings (Scotland) Act, 1886, to your list of benefits achieved.

      Reply
  2. James Mackenzie

    John, that did occur to me after I put my comment in, so many thanks for the inclusion.

    Reply
  3. Gordon Harmer

    It was the self same “self serving” political system that was found to be past its sell-by date that gave us a referendum to see if we wanted to walk down the same road as Mr Gallagher for or future.

    Mr Gallagher would do well to remember that the only con on offer was the one presented by him and his kind and it was well and truly rejected.

    So how about starting to fix things that you have the power to fix and have had for the past seven years, things like our ailing NHS which has suffered because of your infatuation with independence.

    Reply
  4. Charlie Gallagher

    Ah, poor old Gordon still living in his world of make believe. It wasn’t the same old political system that gave us the Referendum, that had to be drawn out of them like a dentist extracting teeth.

    Reply
    • Gordon Harmer

      Charlie, Mr Tinkler extracts teeth, and I believe with some skill and professionalism, it is refreshing to know you give our Westminster politicians the same accolade. My make believe world is a lot closer to reality than the delusional world of the modern SNP party who propose to elect 42 MPs to Westminster to commit political piracy in an attempt to crush the democratic will of the Scottish electorate. You can throw your dummy out of the pram as often as you like about Westminster but they understand the meaning of democracy and promoted it to the highest degree by agreeing to a referendum. Maybe you would like to explain the purpose of the SNP wishing to hold the balance of power in an institution you despise? Is it to promote democracy through out the UK, or is it to use that balance of power to blackmail the the UK government to give you what you have just democratically lost.

      Reply
  5. iantinkler

    Thank you so much Mr Charlie Gallagher. It is fabulous to see the true mentality of a devout Nationalist. If ever there was a case to fight for something better than nationalist tribalism, your views illustrate that case perfectly. “bloody revolution of 1789”!!! What, prey is the relevance of that to Scottish separatism and parochial xenophobia.

    Reply
  6. joe johnson

    The promises of extra powers for the Scottish parliament are being delivered. Of course the yes voters will never be satisfied. The prime minister did say before the Edinburgh agreement that there will be no devo max, it would not be fair to Wales, England and Northern Ireland. It was either you are in or your out. But there were promises for more powers for the Scottish parliament and its being delivered.

    Reply
    • Bill Adams

      Aye, promises, promises – that is all we have so far.
      The Smith Commission report is only a list of recommendations.
      The Westminster Government may or may not include them all in a draft Bill.
      There is no time in the remaining life of the current Parliament to pass legislation.
      Yet another Scotland Act would require assent from the new House of Commons elected in May
      and of course also from the unelected House of their Lordships.
      We will just have to wait and see. But as Lenin said :-
      “Promises are like piecrust, made to be broken.”

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        @Bill Adams,

        I hope the Our Islands, Our Future negotiators take note of the SNP’s view of politicians’s promises:

        “Promises are like piecrust, made to be broken.”

        Many correspondents quote Shakespeare, or Churchill, the SNP quotes Lenin!

      • John Tulloch

        It’ll be “How many divisions has the Archbishop of Canterbury?”, next!

      • John Thomson

        “Aye, promises, promises – that is all we have so far.”

        Could have said exactly the same about the white paper. Hold on 55% did.

  7. ian tinkler

    Mr Adams, you quote Lenin, so very relevant for an SNP socialist. Now try a few quotes from those whom never supported a genocide Soviet regime. “In the First World War, there was the sudden passion of nationalism, and the killing took place because of these emotions. But the Soviet case is different, because you had systematic murder.” (Ryszard Kapuscinski) or perhaps “Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.” (Charles de Gaulle), or “Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception.” (George Orwell).

    Reply
    • Bill Adams

      It must have been Charlie Gallagher’s remark about a dentist extracting teeth
      which awoke Mr Ian Tinkler from his slumbers.
      “The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations” is so much better bedtime reading than “The Daily Torygraph”
      is it not ,Mr Tinkler. Such a pity that people in Argyll are limited to Shakespeare or Churchill quotes.

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        @Bill Adams,

        Salmond’s fantasy of renewable energy making an independent Scotland the “Powerhouse of Europe”, depends on “foreigners”, primarily, the good people of England, being prepared to pay two and three times the going rate for “renewable” electricity. Meanwhile, the prices of oil, gas and consequently, coal, are collapsing as American shale gas and oil are flooding world markets.

        The last I heard, the price of oil was in the $70-odd a barrel and “heading south” which will make renewable energy even more expensive relative to conventional energy, yet the Scottish government imposed the Viking Energy consent on the people of Shetland, in order to get English money,Mao here’s another quotation for you:

        “Bought and sold for English gold,
        Such a parcel of rogues in a nation.”
        (Robert Burns)

        PS. How are the economic prospects of independence doing at $70-odd a barrel?

      • John Tulloch

        Greenpeace antics, backfiring.

        Only relevant here wrt renewable energy and the lack of care zealots have for conservation of our heritage.

        Greenpeace activists have, reportedly, caused “irreversible damage” at a 2000-year old archaeological site in Peru, where this year’s UN Climate Change Beanfeast…er…Conference is currently under way. by sneaking in and traipsing across the site, in order to stretch out a huge renewable energy slogan in large yellow letters.

        From the Washington Post:

        “On Tuesday, culture ministry officials showed reporters aerial photographs of the damage, and said that when the Greenpeace trespassers snuck into the U.N. World Heritage site in the middle of the night, they marched single-file across the delicate volcanic rocks and white sand, leaving a path that has introduced a new line to the iconic Hummingbird-shaped figure.

        The damage is “irreversible,” Peruvian officials say, explaining that the rainless desert landscape is so delicate that visitors are required to obtain government permission and use special shoes to approach the site.

        “What they have done is an attack on a site that is one of the most fragile in the world,” cultural official Luis Jaime Castillo told reporters Tuesday.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/12/10/how-a-greenpeace-stunt-in-peru-drives-home-the-global-climate-divide/

        Suffice it to say, the Peruvian authorities were highly impressed – alas, not favourably!

        No “Green Blue Peter Badges” for this one, I’ll wager!

  8. ian tinkler

    “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.”
    Albert Einstein

    How very appropriate as a response to such an infantile comment from Mr. Adams. Come on Bill, get out of the kindergarten!! “The Daily Torygraph” is that your best and most intelligent comment you can manage?

    Reply
    • David Nicol

      I’d always thought that measles was the measles of mankind.

      Reply
  9. Michael Garriock

    “We will just have to wait and see. But as Lenin said” :-

    “Promises are like piecrust, made to be broken.”

    What makes the promises of those backing Scottish Nationalism, any less likely to be broken than the promises made by their counterparts elsewhere.

    Reply
  10. Mark Ryan Smith

    The fact that the British Nationalist parties are all happy with the Smith Commission tells its own story. Smelling a rat isn’t hard when Cameron, Miliband, Clegg and co. say how great the proposals are for Scotland. And isn’t it a shame that the Commission hasn’t tried harder to take advantage of the widespread political engagement brought into being by the referendum? In the long term, though, ideas from groups associated with the Yes campaign will hopefully become more and more influential. Does anybody really think the British Nationalist parties will shape a country where food banks, in-work poverty, decimated public services, zero hours contracts and huge corporate bonuses don’t exist?

    Reply
    • Gordon Harmer

      What I ask is does anybody really think the Scottish Nationalist party will shape a country where food banks, in-work poverty, decimated public services, zero hours contracts and huge corporate bonuses don’t exist? No one knows what the government of an independent Scotland would have been like and what it would do but Judging by the policies so far announced, we would be looking at a far left socialist republic state. Introducing radical land reform as prime agenda item, tax structure designed as a blunt instrument to bludgeon anyone selling a relatively modest home, state-appointed guardians for all children under 18, an armed police force, an attempt to do away with corroborative witness requirements enshrined in Scots law for centuries. Along with a sort of independence from the hated Westminster, but dependent on them because we’ll keep the pound, and stay in the EU, even though we have been told we will need to apply to rejoin, and it would not be a formality by any means. At the most basic level the dichotomy between wishing to be rid of Westminster control, but a willingness to surrender body and soul to the most undemocratic superstate on the planet, the EU, defies belief. I am not sure what happy pills the SNP’s loyal followers are popping, but it certainly prevents objective analysis.

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        Absolutely, Gordon, “in a nutshell”!

      • Derick Tulloch

        Yes Gordon, people do think that. And we can look eastwards to our neighbours in Scandinavia to see that mass use of foodbanks, in-work poverty, decimated public services and huge corporate bonuses don’t exist

        Example just 0.8% of people in Norway are on zero hours contracts.
        The figure for the UK is 5%

        “For the countries where data was found, the incidence could be captured. The highest
        prevalence of zero hours working was found in the UK and Austria (about 5% of the
        workforce), followed by Estonia and the Czech Republic (around 2.6%), and finally
        Malta and Norway (approximately 1%).” http://www.delni.gov.uk/zero-hours-contracts-public-consultation.pdf

        The UK is more unequal than any other developed country, and the tax structure is a key reason.

        And that inequality is leading to economic failure.
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-30390232

        We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but to raise our eyes from a parochial British view and learn from others. It’s not revolution, just social and economic common sense

      • John Tulloch

        Commenting on their latest report on future global energy use, Bill Colton,, Chief Strategist, Exxon Mobil said:

        “The world has such an improved outlook for supplies,” ?…. “Peak oil theorists have been run out of town by American ingenuity.” –

        http://www.thegwpf.com/new-report-north-america-to-flood-the-world-with-cheap-abundant-fossil-fuels/#.dpuf

        The oil price is currently at $70-odd/barrel and falling with OPEC attempting to wage a price war to maintain market share.

        How will this affect an independent Scotland’s ability to replicate Scandinavian socialist largesse?

        Where will the money come from?

      • John Tulloch

        And who will accept renewable energy at two and three times the price (and rising, relatively) of conventional energy, when they can buy oil and gas cheaply?

        Only those who can afford to install solar panels and/or wind turbines on their own properties and cash in, or, those who have it imposed upon them by the authorities – the poor.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Sorry to disappoint you Derick but they do have poverty and food banks in Norway, officially running at 14.6% of the population in 2011. In a small city like Oslo they have thousands of homeless and food banks (or ‘food redistribution centre’s as they like to call them). And what about implied poverty? Click on the link and have a read, the household debt in Norway is amongst the highest in the world, is that what you want in Scotland?

        http://www.ukscot.co.uk/ukscot_referendum_blog/read_100036/in-defence-of-norway.html

        To be honest I think it you who needs to lift his eyes and get in touch with the real world instead of the parochial Nationalist view you emanate instead of facts.

      • Derick Tulloch

        Gordon,

        Forgive me if I take an unsigned missive purporting to be by a ‘Norwegian’ on a unionist blog with a small coaster load of salt. Yes there is poverty in every nation, but not on the scale of, or with the vicous intent behind it, than in our ‘Great Power’. But the response to it is the point. Yes there are food banks in other countries, but these are focused on preventing food waste, rather than preventing starvation.

        In the unlikely event that you are interested in evidence, these are the proceedings of the investigation in to Foodbanks and Welfare carried out by the Scottish Parliament earlier this year.

        “Link between food banks and welfare reform

        31. The Committee received compelling evidence that by far the biggest increase in food bank usage took place at exactly the time most of the key welfare reforms came into force from April 2013.

        32. Ewan Gurr of the Trussell Trust provided statistical information on the increase in the number of people using food banks. He told the Committee that the number of people using Trussell Trust food banks in Scotland had risen from 5,726 in 2011-12 to 14,318 people in 2012-13.21 The Trussell Trust figures from the end of the 2013-14 financial year put usage at 71,428 people, a 400% increase and five times the number helped in the same period in 2012-13.22

        33. Ewan Gurr told the Committee that there had been an “exponential”23 rise in the demand for emergency food—

        “We are seeing evidence every day, right across our food bank network, that the welfare reforms are inextricably linked to the rise in demand for emergency food relief.”24

        34. The UK Government believes that evidence of a causal link between food banks and welfare reform is not robust. However, in contrast, Dr Sosenko who conducted a study for the Scottish Government on an Overview of Food Aid Provision in Scotland25 told the Committee that the statistics the Trussell Trust collected on the reasons for the increase in food bank usage were “robust and reliable, and not anecdotal”.26

        35. Dr Sosenko explained to the Committee that the “harshest changes” to benefits and the welfare system occurred in April 2013. He listed the ‘bedroom tax’, benefits being uprated by 1 per cent rather than in line with inflation, reassessment of people on disability living allowance and the benefit cap as being key changes made at that time. He told the Committee that the strongest evidence for the link between welfare reform and the demand for food aid was the growth of food aid at a faster rate post April 2013.27

        36. The Committee also heard that the more gradual increases in the number of people using food banks before April 2013 was also caused by some initial welfare reform changes. This challenged the statement by Lord Freud that there was no “causal link” between welfare reform and food banks, Dr Sosenko told the Committee—

        “I believe that Lord Freud’s statement is factually incorrect. The changes to the welfare system started before April 2013. Yes, the majority of the harshest changes happened in April last year, but JSA sanctions got tougher in October 2012, five months before April 2013, and the absolute number of JSA sanctions was already rising a lot from about 2009.”28

        37. Other food aid providers highlighted welfare reform as a key contributing factor in the rise in demand for their services. Community Food Moray said in its written submission that—

        “[…] the impact of welfare reform was evident almost overnight.”

        38. It pointed to the increase in referrals post April 2013, increasing from 10 per month to an average of 15 per week. Jo Roberts of Community Food Moray told the Committee that in January and February 2014 it had received 301 referrals to its food bank.

        39. Loaves and Fishes, a Christian charity which is based in East Kilbride and feeds and clothes people who are homeless or in poverty, told the Committee that since the changes to the benefit system, requests for food parcels had increased from 800 food parcels in 2012 to 1250 food parcels in 2013.29

        40. Benefit sanctions and benefit delays were referenced repeatedly by witnesses in both written and oral evidence as reasons for the increase in the use of food banks. The Trussell Trust highlighted that the three main problems that led people to its Scottish food banks in 2013/14 were benefit delays, low income and benefit changes. 28% of referrals were due to benefit delays, 19% due to low incomes and 19% due to benefit changes. The Trussell Trust stated that the vast majority of benefit changes were found to be related to benefit sanctions.30

        41. Dr Sosenko in his study of food aid provision in Scotland found that Trussell Trust monitoring was robust and suggested that the Trussell Trust data on chief reasons for referrals was largely representative of the national picture.31

        42. Keith Dryburgh of Citizens Advice Scotland told the Committee that its national evidence and the evidence from its front line services highlighted welfare reform and specifically benefit sanctions as the cause of the increase in demand for food banks—

        “In our experience, sanctions are a major factor in the referrals and signposting that citizens advice bureaux have had to make. In the period from January to March, we have had to signpost 1,300 clients – or about one in 50—to food banks. According to a recent survey of front-line advisers, 90 per cent agreed that sanctions had led directly to an increase in demand for food parcels.”32

        43. Oxfam Scotland in its written submission suggested why benefit sanctions and benefit delays were leading to an increase in use of food banks—

        “People on benefits usually have the lowest incomes with no savings to cover unforeseen circumstances, and even a slight delay in receiving benefit can mean they have no money to buy food for themselves or their children.”33

        Other contributing factors to food bank usage

        44. As well as welfare reforms being a key cause for the increase in use of food banks, the Committee received evidence that other factors played a role. These included rising costs of food, energy and transport against the back drop of economic recession. Food prices in the UK rose by 12% in real terms over the five years to 2012, making the cost of food the highest it had been in relation to other goods since 1997.34 The Trussell Trust told the Committee that in the past three months there had been a rise of between 8 and 11 per cent in fuel costs.35

        45. Mark Ballard of Barnardo’s told the Committee that the driver of food poverty was the decline in real wages and benefits not being uprated which created a cost of living issue.36 Carol-Anne Alcorn of FareShare and Edinburgh Cyrenians expressed a similar view. She suggested that it was not just those who were unemployed that were accessing food banks, but working people on low incomes who cannot meet cost increases—

        “the need for emergency food packs have increased because people have less money in their pockets. The cost of rent, food and fuel is rising, but income is not rising alongside that.”37

        46. The Trussell Trust stated that many of the people referred to food banks on low incomes were found to be in work. Many were working families struggling to make ends meet.38

        http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/77641.aspx#_ftn54

        Now, the Scottish electorate voted in September for the continuation of the UK. Those of us who support the normality of Scottish Independence respect that decision, while still of course arguing our case for Independence. But the electorate did not vote for ‘the Status Quo’. In fact we know that 25% of No voters did so on the basis of ‘Home Rule’ within the United Kingdom

        Those in Better Together promised that we would get ‘a modern form of Home Rule’ or ‘Devomax’. And everybody knows that this would involve the Scottish Goverment controlling taxation and welfare. Once the ‘Vow’ is delivered (and Smith falls so very far short, even if it is ever implemented) then the Scottish Government can begin to undo some of the pointless damage that Westminster has inflicted on society.

        The ‘Vow’ stated that the Scottish Parliament would be made permanent. Smith has failed to even suggest that. The Parliament is our only scant defence at present, yet it could be abolished at the stroke of a pen by our ‘Imperial Masters’. Not my masters. Not now. Not ever.

        Time to ‘hold their feet to the fire’

      • Ali Inkster

        You will also forgive me derick if I take anything produced by the holyrood with a big pinch of salt.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Derick,where is your proof that 25% of No voters did so on the basis of ‘Home Rule’ within the United Kingdom? I think I will borrow your salt coaster on that one. “Those in Better Together promised that we would get ‘a modern form of Home Rule’ or ‘Devomax”. I do not remember either of those promises, what I remember is a promise of “significant powers” and this promise was not made by Better Together it was made by Gordon Brown speaking for the UK government. If I remember correctly the Smith commission came up with “proposals” which are now with the government for them to decide what we will get and that will not be until after the general election. You lost the referendum by trying to fool us with assertions and now you are at it again, I thought you may have learned a lesson from that but obviously not. As for food banks I see you as usual lay the blame at Westminster’s door, certainly they are part of the problem but other factors contribute for example the Common agricultural policy, the way supermarkets do business. Numbers of people who use food banks are inflated by people who could help them selves but prefer to spend wages and or benefits on things like alcohol, drugs and cigarettes before food. This problem exists not just in Britain and Norway but it is world wide and It is so easy for you and those like you to lay the blame at Westminster’s door. You forget that the Scottish government had tax raising powers they never used before the referendum which could have helped those in need. Instead they used the poor as a political pawn to slate Westminster rather than do something about it. All along Independence has taken poll position with you lot and every thing else has come second, well we are wise to you and you got your answer a couple of months ago, so why not now try to solve problems instead of going down the road of blaming someone else.

      • John Jamieson

        I see that Norway’s food banks have changed from being “food kitchens” to ‘food redistribution centres”, are you sure that those mentioned in the UKScot Blog are actually in Norway across the North Sea from you, not Norway, USA this time ?

      • Derick Tulloch

        Gordon

        The 25% figure is the proportion of No voters whose stated that the most important reason for their No vote would mean extra powers for the Scottish Parliamant – those who agreed with the statement ‘A NO vote would still mean extra powers for the Scottish Parliament together with the security of remaining
        part of the UK, giving the best of both worlds’
        http://lordashcroftpolls.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Lord-Ashcroft-Polls-Referendum-day-poll-summary-1409191.pdf

        Objective analysis shows that the UK performs very poorly in comparison to other developed nations. For example the replacement rate for the State Pension in the UK is 37%. The UK pension replaces
        37% of the average persons income. The OECD average is 67%.

        Ali. The point of the quotes is not that all the independent organisations giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament said that the huge rise in foodbank use was the direct result of the stupid, cruel and counterproductive benefit sanctions regime coming from Westminster. That’s not ‘Holyrood’.

  11. iantinkler

    All Nationalism is driven by xenophobia, for example BNF, National Front, Scottish Nationalism, National Socialism, no more no less. Hatred of Westminster is but a pseudonym for anti British and anti English. Strange is it not such a man of principle (ha ha), Salmond will now stand for election to the hated Westminster! No doubt his ovine followers, now led by Sturgeon, will applause and blindly follow. Not much more one can say really, make a change from The Scottish Socialist Republic that Salmond so fought for before he started spinning for votes in the referendum. What a true man of straw!!.

    Reply
    • Robert Duncan

      You really do become quite irrational on this topic, Mr Tinkler. This comment is filled with so much nonsense is difficult to know where to begin. I don’t particularly sympathise with Salmond, but you seem blinded by hatred for him and his party. Him returning to Westminster is not hypocritical or in defiance of principle, now that independence is no longer on the cards for the time being, it makes sense for him – as, regardless of personal opinion, a very adept politician – to run for parliament and seek to better the lives of those he represents.

      Reply
      • Gordon Harmer

        Alex Salmond may be an adept politician but is primarily interested in independence and he is trying to turn the general election into a re-run of the referendum but it is now time to move on so we can focus on issues that matter to people. It is quite clear the SNP want independence by the back door and they are arguing for a form of devolution that would quickly lead to independence. Ian can see it I can see it as can most of the electorate. Therefore for you to claim that his attempted return to Westminster is to seek better lives for those he represents is an insult to the Scottish electorates intelligence Robert.

      • Robert Duncan

        No, Mr Harmer, your post is an insult to the intelligence of the voters of the Gordon constituency.

        Salmond will run with a manifesto of what he believes are policies that will better the lives of his constituents (and the people of Scotland). If the people of Gordon choose to elect him to do so, that is their prerogative.

      • Robert Duncan

        It is not for you to decide which issues “matter to people”. That is precisely what elections are for.

      • Michael Garriock

        Robert, Salmond attempting to return to Westminster is as credible as NATO, the USA etc attempting to join the CND. He’s trying to be a Trojan Horse, pure and simple. Rejoining the very institution he has publically fought for years to destroy, can’t really be seen and other way.

        The only way he has of “bettering the lives of those he represents” in Westminster is for the SNP MP’s to enter in to a coalition Government, and that won’t happen, as no other party would unite with them. There’s a better chance of a Tory/Labour pact being formed, than an SNP and anyone one.

        He was at Westminster before, and nothing happened that changed much of anything for the better in the lives of those he represents, until his party with him at its head gained power in Scotland. His party may still have power in Scotland, for now, but he’s no longer at its head, and in Westminster he’ll just be back to being one of the little people shouting from the sidelines, and changing nothing, the same as he was before, if he gets in that is.

      • Robert Duncan

        Nonsense again.

        “There’s a better chance of a Tory/Labour pact being formed, than an SNP and anyone one.”

        What is that based on? The SNP themselves have ruled out a coalition with the Tories, but there is absolutely no evidence that Labour would not negotiate with them were a situation to arise where that was required. It would be illogical for Labour to rule it out.

        “He was at Westminster before, and nothing happened that changed much of anything for the better in the lives of those he represents”

        Why then did the people of Banff and Buchan elect him in five consecutive elections, and on three occasions with an outright majority? Like Mr Harmer, I suspect you are letting your own feelings about Salmond cloud your argument here. It is the people of Gordon who will decide whether they feel he is best placed to represent them, not you or I or anybody else likely to post on this page.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robert, are you some kind of psychologist? You have diagnosed myself and Michael to be in a position where we are letting our own feelings about Salmond cloud our argument and Mr Tinkler of being blinded by hatred for Salmond and his party. Or are you some kind of superior being, as you say It is not for me to decide which issues “matter to people” yet it seems that you can decide these issues.

        Breaking up the UK has been Salmond,s life long ambition and it is perfectly clear he Sturgeon and their supporters are determined to keep this battle raging. The biggest tragedy is that division is the biggest weapon in Salmond’s armoury and by fostering resentment and inventing difficulties between two parties where none exist will soon do so. Alex Salmond will not be remembered for opening Scotland’s arms to the rest of the world but for retreating into narrow petty fault finding with our southern neighbours. Something he will be better positioned to do when back in Westminster, his desperation to do this was shown to its full extent on Newsnight the other night when he declared that he and the SNP would be prepared to work with Sinn Fein. Its time to wake up and smell the coffee Robert, a statement like that shows his full intent to commit political piracy in Westminster to gain independence by the back door because the front door has been firmly slammed in his face.

      • Michael Garriock

        @ Robert Duncan: There are several logical reasons why it might not be wise for Labour to consider an alliance with the SNP in Westminster. Labour nailed their colours firmly to the mast in Scotland by supporting the Unionist side, and all but eradicated themselves from Scotland in the process. Perhaps had they considered an alliance with the SNP at that stage they might have saved much of their vote in Scotland, as it is they’re likely to fare worse in Scotland in a General Election than the Tories.

        Can Labour afford to take a gamble that aligning themselves with the SNP in Westminster, a party with no interest in how any part of the UK fares unless Scotland, and who are determined to break up the UK, won’t similarly decimate their support elsewhere in the UK to how their stance in Scotland did there. Can they afford to take the gamble that suddenly changing sides in under one year, from being anti-Scottish Independence, to being viewed in practice, even if not in policy as being pro-Scottish Indpendence , won’t be seen as fickle and untrustworthy by the population, and not reliable or resolute enough to govern.

        It would be a very brave, some might say foolish Labour leader that readily went to bed with the SNP, either that or a very desperate or greedy for power one. None of whom are generally thought popular with the electorate.

        The SNP is very difficult to see as anything but a poison chalice to every other party in Westminster.

        Only the voters in Banff and Buchan can answer why they returned Salmond as MP when they did, however I am led to believe that many in Banff and Buchan today would quite happily see him hung high for how they feel he performed as their representative.

        That’s all ancient history though, the last Salmond was voted in to Westminster was almost ten years ago, ten years during which the political scene has seen significant change, and so has the man himself.

        By his own actions Salmond made the issue of Scottish Independence his baby, it was not a party effort, he placed himself in the role of “Mr Independence” and everybody else were bit players and walk on extras. He now has to live with the fact he’s now a failed directionless politician trying to restart his career from the doldrums to a very many people.

        Will the voters of Gordon be prepared to forgive and forget the recent past, and trust him to also set that aside and return again to being a bog standard MP. As you say, only they can answer that, and time will tell.

        Certain facts remain however, that as a home and garden MP without an inside line to one of the larger parties, which as I’ve said, I don’t believe he has any chance of achieving, his ability to make any difference of note for his constituency is minimal. The voters of Banff and Buchan appeared to be happy with that in the past, whether those in Gordon feel the same time will tell. Likewise, having been a long standing advocate of Scottish Independence and having made it such a personal issue especially during the last few years, it is unrealistic to believe that should he be returned to Westminster, he won’t be continuing to fight, in any way he considers viable, to further the Independence cause, and in doing so, he makes his presence there everyones business, not just his constituents.

        I do not believe my personal view of Salmond is clouding my opinion. I have very little by way of opinion of Salmond the politician, I am largely indifferent to him, much as I am to most politicians. He is yesterday’s news now anyway, largely irrelevant until and unless he again returns to a position where his actions affect all of us. Which is exactly what he will be doing if he returns to Westminster, as unlike his fellow MP’s he’ll be taking a poorly hidden agenda with him, born out of events he’s participated prominently in during the last few years, and that’s an agenda he now does not have a mandate to pursue.

      • Robert Duncan

        Gordon Harmer, I am not deciding any issues. I criticised Mr Tinkler’s evidently angry ranting – you don’t have to be Sigmund Freud to see that was edging towards the irrational. It was you who suggested my comments were an “insult to the electorate’s intelligence”, whilst seemingly suggesting that the people of Gordon might be won over by some self-indulgent sociopath that only you are smart enough to see through. I am not even advocating a vote for Salmond here (although looking at the competition he looks a strong candidate), only disagreeing strongly with the notion that, post-referendum, Salmond is somehow a hypocrite for wishing to return to Westminster politics. It is, after all, still the primary government of this nation and therefore somewhere Scottish people still need to be well represented.

        Michael, I disagree with your comments regarding Salmond’s potential strength in parliament. The SNP look very likely to hold some balance of power come May – Labour can baulk at that if they wish, but it’ll most likely lead to a hung parliament where they are incredibly weak next to right wing counterparts and an SNP that does not vote on English issues. He will almost certainly hold more sway than any Lib Dem MP, so I’m curious as to your views on our constituency? I’ll repeat again that I am not arguing in favour of a vote for Salmond, as frankly it is none of my business, but a lot of the arguments here do come across as a mixture of wishful thinking and view-clouding-antipathy.

      • Michael Garriock

        Robert, As things stand at the moment I do not believe the SNP have a ghost of a chance of getting anywhere near power at Westminster at the next election, so Salmonds presence there, or the lack of it is virtually irrelevant. I do not believe Labour have a realistic chance of getting enough seats to be anywhere near forming a Government, regardless how many others they might try and form a pact with. I would expect the Tories to win, but with a reduced majority, I would expect both Labour and the Lib-Dems to lose seats, and the UKIP to take up most of not all of those losses. If the Torie’s majority is reduced to the point they seriously need an alliance to survive, that alliance, whatever form it takes is most likely to be with UKIP. The best the rest can hope for is to try and agree as best they can among themselves to vote together as much as possible to try and be some sort of weak opposition.

        The only reason I remain open minded to how all the players in the game interact, is that a hell of a lot can happen in five months in politics.

        Locally, I would expect the Lib-Dems to hold the seat, but with a reduced majority. Much will depend on who stands though, if the incumbent goes up for re-election I wouldn’t expect too much of a drop, however if someone new, I would expect a very close run thing if the individual concerned didn’t rate too popularly on a “personal” level. Should that end in another party being the eventual winner by a hair’s breadth, I wouldn’t care to make a call on what party that might be.

      • John Tulloch

        How would an SNP-Labour coalition work if the SNP don’t vote on English matters which, presumably, means they don’t vote on Welsh or N. Irish matters, either?

      • Robert Duncan

        If Salmond is elected, by the people of Gordon, as a member of the Scottish National Party, he has every right to continue to pursue Scottish independence. That is how politics works in this country. You are perfectly entitled to vote for unionist politicians in the meantime.

  12. Steven Jarmson

    The arrogance of the gNats and the Yip lot is unbelievable at times.
    I am no longer surprised by their holier than though attitude.
    The SNP won’t hold the balance of power at the general election. They will steal a bunch of seats from Labour and the Liberals and cost Labour power letting the Tories slip in or leaving them needing a deal.
    Any deals to be done will not be done with crazy pathological gNats, the only parties that will hold the balance of power will be the Northern Irish Unionist parties, UKIP and the Lib Dems again. Although I suspect Alistair Carmichael sitting as the sole Lib Dem won’t hold much sway.

    I do have one question for the gNats and the Yip voters.
    Why don’t you respect the will of the people of Scotland as you promised you would prior to the referendum?

    Reply
    • Robert Duncan

      Who is disrespecting the will of the people? Yes voters are perfectly entitled to maintain their own views, and to continue to vote for parties that represent those views. One can still wish for an independent Scotland without acting undemocratically in the aftermath of the referendum, just as one can still support Labour while a Conservative government is in charge. To suggest otherwise seems more anti-democratic than anything I have seen from the pro-independence lot.

      Reply
      • Steven Jarmson

        Yeah, agreed. But the gNats can’t seem to see that cheating their way to independence isn’t democratic.
        So far the only people that are breaking promises as the gNats and their Yip conspirators.
        The UK parties said more powers would be negotiated, they have been. All have basically agreed to implement the Smith commission.
        But the SNP haven’t agreed to anything. They look unlikely to give over the recommended powers to local government, instead they want full control over more and more.
        The promises of SALMONd and now Sturgeon are as hollow as a kinder egg, unfortunately, with the SNP the “surprise” leaves a foul stench that would make the old public toilets smell sweet and rosey.
        SALMONd said prior to the referendum that whatever the outcome it was the responsibility of the politicians to try to unite Scotland. Both sides agreed. But the Yip and gNats now agitate and divide.
        I assume the SNP slogan is now divide and conquer.
        The will of the people is to stay within the UK for this generation, SALMONd said this is a once in a generation vote, so it must be the accepted will of the generation. I dint want to have to worry about a neverendim, bullying tactics.
        Leys just all get on with what’s important.
        The Scottisc Council, I mean government, has more than enough powers to improve things.
        Prove they can be trusted with those powers, prove they have the wear with all to improve lives of ordinary people, and maybe, just maybe the next referendum in the mid 2030’s will give you the result you want. Cut the rhetoric, cut lies and stand by the promises made in the very laborious run up to the referendum.

  13. David Spence

    If you want a bad example of nationalism to ridiculous levels, you only have to look across the loch. Over there in the good old US of A, it is compulsory from your first day at school until you leave, to sing the national anthem with your hand on your heart, every single public event has to start with the national anthem, it is almost compulsory that every house should have the national flag showing outside it, that rather arrogant and annoying phrase they always say ‘ God bless America ‘ (despite the fact that Capitalism is the personification of evil itself – (for the want for money is the root of all evils) – think about it).

    A country that promotes, advocates and encourages violence, destruction, obsessed with the military and guns and weapons of total destruction and hypocritical beyond belief. A country that puts its own interests first regardless to any destruction, killing, murder or social injustices it may cause (Selfishness being one of the key traits of Capitalism)

    A country that puts greed, wealth and profits as its moral bedrock for minority of people within that society despite all the injustices, law breaking practices, murder, killing, death and destruction this may cause to other human beings or the environment and the planet. Look after number one and destroy anybody, town/city or country if they get in the way mentality (remember, war, murder and killing is a highly profitable business for the banks)

    and this is the model the vile, despicable Tories would love to emulate for the UK.

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      David,

      The population of the United States comprises immigrants from hundreds of “nations”, from every country in the world, plus the remaining members of umpteen Native American (must watch my politically-correct “p’s and q’s”!) nations, so it’s difficult to see how the US population can be described as a “nation”.

      Patriotism isn’t the same as nationaiism.

      Similarly, the UK comprises, broadly-speaking, four distinct “nations” of people that nobody would argue about, meaning there is no “British nation”, whatever the BNP might like to think. There is only a political union of those four nations.

      Which, incidentally, also means the SNP anti-unionist jibe about “Brit Nats” is meaningless.

      Reply
    • Michael McClintock

      Clearly the rantings of someone with no money and reliant on the state for money. If you had some you would value capitalism and all it entails much more.

      Reply
  14. Iantinkler

    “I criticised Mr Tinkler’s evidently angry ranting – you don’t have to be Sigmund Freud to see that was edging towards the irrational.” Thank you for that Mr Duncan, truly erudite and constructive comment (shades of frustrated cyberNat perhaps). Now please state whatever good of any type, has come from Nationalist sentiment? I can only think of bigotry, warfare, xenophobia, genocide and utter waste. Just for once prove me wrong with accurate references instead of your own personal and opinionated pontifications. Now with regard to Salmond, he has shown himself to be more decisive than Thatcher, utterly unprincipled, dishonest and wholly inept. He is is now flirting with Sinn Fein, funny that, yet another about turn from our Alex. It is my belief Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness are men of far more principle and would not now touch Salmond with a barge pole, just another opinion and angry rant from the irrational me, perhaps.

    Reply
    • Robert Sim

      Ian, In answer to your question “Now please state whatever good of any type, has come from Nationalist sentiment?”, try free university tuition; free prescriptions; free childcare; and successful measures to tackle Scotland’s drink problem. Those are all a result of Scottish nationalism.

      Reply
    • Robert Duncan

      I am in no way “a frustrated cyberNat”. After much deliberation I voted No to independence, which would have been a strange position for one to have taken. That doesn’t mean I can’t look at what you are saying and see it for worthless bile that adds nothing to the debate.

      Reply
  15. Iantinkler

    Decisive!! Such a Freudian slip!! Divisive. (dyslexia rules OK)

    Reply
  16. Gordon Harmer

    Poverty and fuel poverty are products of bill payer-funded onshore wind farms; without this SNP government policy the food banks could be a thing of the past. Along with our money which has been squandered to keep an SNP government living in a manner they have become used to. Thus ensuring the continued need for food banks and to have something politically current to bash Westminster with.
    Salmond & SNP’s Profligate Expenditure of Taxpayer Money:-
    2. Salmond costs taxpayers over £100,000 to hide local income tax plans:-
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/…/Alex-Salmonds-battle-to-hide-l…
    3. Salmond spends £15,000 on trip to USA on separatist agenda:-
    http://www.express.co.uk/…/Alex-Salmond-under-fire-for-hote…
    4. Salmond spent some £100,000 of taxpayers’ money entertaining football bosses, ambassadors and film executives:-
    ( http://www.scotsman.com/…/alex-salmond-ran-up-100k-bill-at-… )
    5. Salmond spent £3,000 for four nights in a grand deluxe suite:-
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/…/Revealed-The-five-star-suite-A…
    6. Salmond has been condemned for seeking a student to work for free in his office near Aberdeen:-
    ( http://www.heraldscotland.com/…/salmond-criticised-for-offe… )
    7. SNP proposal for separation was an abuse of public funds:-
    ( http://www.scotsman.com/…/john-mcternan-white-paper-damns-c… )
    8. SNP spending huge sums of tax payers money on their campaign for separation:-
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/…/Taxpayers-money-propping-up-a-…
    9. A billion pounds of anti-poverty measures has been diverted by the SNP:-
    ( http://www.scotsman.com/…/billion-pounds-cash-to-fight-pove… )
    10 SNP’s obsession with “bribing” voters with free handouts is keeping Scotland’s poorest families in poverty:-
    http://www.express.co.uk/…/SNP-s-1bn-bribes-keeping-familie…
    11. SNP squanders over £300,000 to find out what people think of them:-
    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/…/snp-splash-out-300000-survey…
    12. SNP paid over £84,000 for billboard adverts to promote Salmond’s proposals for separation:-
    http://www.scotsman.com/…/snp-using-public-money-to-promote…
    13. SNP minister Alex Neil makes £100,000 profit on taxpayer-funded second home:-
    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/…/holyrood-expenses-row-snp-mi…
    14. SNP MEP condemned for charging taxpayers some £600,000 for employing his wife as secretary:-
    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/…/family-fortune-snp-mep-blast…
    15. Sturgeon opted for chauffeur-driven government limos at taxpayer expense for some 600 trips:-
    http://www.scotsman.com/…/nicola-sturgeon-snubs-train-trave…

    Then I found this link which clouded my argument even more and subsequently cheered me up no end.

    http://effiedeans.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/tactical-voting-will-defeat-salmond.html?m=1

    Reply
    • Robert Duncan

      Your hatred of Salmond clouds your view of what the argument even is. None of this is of relevance to what I was saying above.

      Reply
      • Gordon Harmer

        That, Robert, is because it was not directed at you apart from the last bit which was just a little sarcasm, so a bit presumptuous of you to think it was.

      • Robert Duncan

        Seems a strange and ill-placed piece of sarcasm then, if it had no relevance to the discussion above.

        It may have been presumptuous of me to assume your comment would be cogent enough not to drop in reference to completely unrelated discussions.

  17. iantinkler

    A bit touchy are we Robert? I remind you, Robert Duncan, of your previous comment of September 1st, 2014 9:39, your comment “As things stand, I’m increasingly convinced a Yes vote is the best of realistic options.” Very odd indeed, so very strange you voted No, odd decision for a frequent Salmond apologist, also quite at odds from your own previous statement, whatever, if anything!, made you change your mind and vote no?!!

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Nice one, Ian – skilfully guided into the net!

      Reply
      • Robert Duncan

        Not at all, if you read it properly, John. I was heavily leaning towards a Yes vote and opted against it in the end. The quoted post does not have me purport to be a settled “Yes” voter and certainly not somebody with partisan views about Alec Salmond or his party.

        The way any dialogue around independence descends to this level of playground bickering is really quite tiresome. Not everybody has such polarised views as yourself and Ian Tinkler.

      • Brian Smith

        You thought that was a rational response, John?

    • Robert Duncan

      Yes, I was very much leaning towards voting Yes, and opted not to. I have many reasons for deciding to do so, but they are not particularly relevant here. Your own quote does not have me proclaim to be a settled “Yes” voter so there was no change of mind.

      That you attempt to attack my impartiality instead of defending your own nonsense is telling. Nothing I have argued would be particularly changed by how I voted in September, however that you insist on the binary “cyberNat” rhetoric makes you look incredibly childish.

      Reply
    • Robert Duncan

      How very divisive to speak this way to even those who voted the same way as you, by the way.

      Is there a No-voting equivalent of the “cyberNat”?

      Reply
      • Bill Adams

        I presume the No-no equivalent is “cyberBrit.
        Examples being messrs. Ian Tinkler, Gordon Harmer and John Tulloch.

      • Johan Adamson

        Coward?

      • Mark Ryan Smith

        Some of the stuff on this page shows how successful Unionist propaganda has been in making people think that British Nationalism either doesn’t exist, or that it is some kind of utopian force that brings people together despite their differences. It’s worth noting that many of the parties and groups in favour of Scottish self-determination are less prone to flag-waving than most of their Better Together opponents. The Scottish Greens, for example, are hardly a collection of braying nationalists.

        Much of the discussion in favour of independence is about how life could be made better for people in Scotland. Serious, radical thinking about the future is much more encouraging than a stream of imperialist rubbish about how great a nation Britain really is. Britain probably doesn’t feel very great to anybody currently under attack by the British government’s anti-poor agenda. The kind of politics that has emerged in Scotland during the last few years represents a genuine alternative.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Johan, the definition of coward is “lack of courage to face danger, difficulty, opposition, the unknown, pain, etc”, in fact a perfect analogy of independence. Rather than coward I think Brenda Lee got it bang on in the words of her song, “Fools rush in where wise men never go”

      • Johan Adamson

        Ive come to realise that the line between bravery and stupidity is a vague one.

        But if you dont try, then you will never know. Its about making a leap of faith

  18. alan watson

    in reply to Robert SIM about free prescriptions / tuition and childcare nothing is free somebody down the line has to pay for it. As for tackling scotlands drink problem who says it is working if people want drink they will get it

    Reply
    • Derick Tulloch

      Alan

      The total cost of prescriptions in Scotland is £1.15bn – £1,150,000,000.

      The amount of money brought in by the previous charging regime was £43million = 0.37% of the current cost of prescriptions. Within the margin of error in calculating the figures.

      The amount directly saved by making prescriptions free was estimated at £1,864,862 per year at the point they were abolished which was mostly made up of savings on administering the charging regime.

      It is difficult to estimate the amount the taxpayer saves by people taking all the medicine they need to stay well, which resulted from prescription charges, but this is very substantial – estimated at over £6m per year when charges were abolished.

      The cost of having a society that cares for the sick and disabled: Priceless

      Reply
  19. alan watson

    hi derick wisna havin a go at prescriptions in particular at 61 yrs and after a riotous lifestyle I need a few tablets myself and im blyd I don’t have to pay for them but the rest of the uk do and somebody is picking up the tab. life is priceless sadly this does not mean we can afford everything

    Reply
    • Derick Tulloch

      Indeed we cannot afford everything. We need to set priorities.

      I would suggest that the £6,000,0000,000 cost of two aircraft carriers without planes, or the £130,000,000,000 cost of replacing the pointless and unusable Trident system might be the place to start. Or perhaps we could no bother wi the plan to re-establish a base ‘East of Suez’ in a truly deranged attempt to make out the British Empire still exists. Or the Bedroom Tax, which is costing the taxpayer an extra £300,000,000 a year, could go. http://speye.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/labour-party-the-biggest-bedroom-tax-incompetents-it-costs-more-you-idiots/

      Reply
      • Gordon Harmer

        Derick, Royal Navy helicopters have flown more than 10,000 miles over Sierra Leone in the fight against Ebola. Which points out to the ill informed that aircraft, ships and basses are also used for humanitarian missions and are nothing to do with re-building the British Empire.

        In their first month in West Africa, the Merlins of of 820 Naval Air Squadron which will be deployed on the two new Royal Navy carriers, have covered the length and breadth of the small republic supporting Britain’s efforts on the ground to halt the spread of the disease.

        From 2020, however, the punch will be delivered by the F35 Lightning II, the world’s most advanced stealth fighter-bomber. Yes 2020 Derick, just in time for the commissioning of the second of the two carriers.

        British efforts Derick; unselfish missions to stop a disease that is killing thousands, and all you can pleepse on about is the millions spent while distorting the truth of the real purpose in peacetime of our armed forces.

        Have a good Christmas Derick.

  20. iantinkler

    Derick Tuloch, perhaps you see no need for defence and for that matter deterrence. Why defence, just let ISIS butcher tens of hundreds of thousands. The Taliban shoot children and murder anyone they want at their will. Deterrence, whom needs that, Putin only has 3000 tactical and strategic nukes after all. He flies his nuclear bomber over UK (Scottish waters) regularly only as a good will gesture after all. His recent as positioning of nuclear armed cruisers and assorted warships in Scottish waters was perhaps a gesture of faith in Alex and no more. Lets’ do the SNP thing and all lie down prostrated and give up our defences. So much money could be saved, great to spend it on welfare and selfish indulgences, just before we are all dead.

    Reply

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