Monday, 19 November 2012

It's time the Scottish media took Holyrood (and wee Salmond) seriously

It started within a year of a minority SNP administration being elected in 2007 when some in the SNP made the ludicrous claim that they had done more in the first eight weeks/months than the previous lot had managed in eight years. The response from the media, had they been doing their jobs, should have been simple: prove it. Instead the bombastic boasts of wee Salmond and his cohorts were allowed to go unchallenged.

And this has continued throughout wee Salmond's second term: his propaganda chief forged a letter from an academic for him to read out and when  rumbled claimed it was 'an honest mistake', in a TV interview he was asked a direct question and answered 'we have, yes' then claimed that any fair person would take that to mean 'we haven't no' and just last week we had him claiming he was increasing college budgets when in fact he was cutting them.

If any of this had happened at Westminster then a resignation would have followed.

Why don't we in Scotland hold the Holyrood administration to account and expect the same honesty as that expected from our Westminster government?

Why is wee Salmond's buffoonish antics and egotistical boasting laughed off or ignored by our media?

The answer is a simple one:  we don't take Holyrood as seriously as we take Westminster. We can see it in the respective turnouts when half our fellow Scots can't be bothered to vote in the Holyrood elections and we know fine well that the office of first minister doesn't bring with it the responsibilities of that of  prime minister. The media seem to believe that as long as wee Salmond is good for a laugh his particular brand of bravado, egocentric bombast and mountebankism will be indulged and anyway what harm can he do?

However, as we approach the referendum it's time for our media to ignore the first minister's buffoonery and start taking him seriously - and that means looking  behind that smug Salmond chuckle and start challenging his baseless assertions ...

Saturday, 27 October 2012

The week the referendum debate lost its innocence...

After the dust settles from another hectic week the two sides in the separation debate are left glaring at each other like a pair of punch drunk boxers reeling from a bloody encounter neither of whom are quite sure where they go from here.

Those in the Better campaign need to devise a strategy which allows them to engage with an opposition who refuse to be bound by normal conventions, like speaking the truth for example. The separatists need to try and figure out if their tactics of bold assertion and repetition really is the best way forward.

But the events of this week have the whiff of a turning point about them.

To recap, the First Minister was asked a direct question, "Have you sought the advice of your law officers?", he was going to give a typically slippery answer but was interrupted by Andrew Neil before he could insert his sneaky wee caveats. So we're left with the First Minister of Scotland answering a direct question thus: "We have, yes - in the terms of the debate". That was the end of the answer to that question.

From that answer any reasonable person would think wee Salmond had admitted that legal advice on EU membership had been sought from Scottish law officers. Mr Neil certainly did and when he asked "What did they say?" he moved the interview  from the subject of seeking legal advice (which had been established ) to what that advice actually was and it was in answering this question that wee Salmond tried to sneak in his caveats.

Wee Salmond maybe didn't mean to lie but that's exactly what he did in that interview. Remember the old Yiddish proverb, Alex: 'A half truth is a whole lie'

One thing is for sure, things will never be the same again. Everything that is now claimed or asserted by the SNP must come with a huge health warning: in trying to be cute wee Salmond has shown himself  to be too sleekit for his own good and in trying to protect him his party have shown themselves to be cynical opportunists whose much bragged about reputation for probity and competence now lies in tatters.

A high price to pay to dig wee Salmond out of a hole into which he so arrogantly swaggered.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Groucho Salmond asks: Who do you believe, me or your own eyes?

Question: "have you sought advice from your own law officers"

Answer: "we have, yes..."

There is video footage of this question being asked and answered.

The fact that the SNP are now seriously trying to suggest that we should believe them rather than our own eyes tells us all we need to know about the desperation at the heart of this SNP administration.

Friday, 19 October 2012

They're having a laugh....

OK, what's going on?

The SNP Party Political Broadcast has just aired on BBC1.

It started with wee Salmond saying there was a really important decision to make in two years time.

Then a funky jazz band started playing a funky version of 'Let's Stick Together'.

For Joan 'Bonkers' McAlpine, she of the abusive relationship jibe, here's the first verse:

"And now the marriage vow is very sacred
The man has put us together now
You ought to make it stick together
Come on, come on, let's stick together
You know we made a vow not to leave one another never"

Is this a subliminal admission of failure from the nats?

I can hardly wait for their next broadcast which I'm sure will be wee Nicola Sturgeon belting out 'The Union Forever' followed by Alex Salmond dressed up as John Bull singing 'Land of Hope And Glory'...

Thursday, 18 October 2012

NATO - do the nats know what it's for?

NATO does exactly what it says on the tin, from its website: " As long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance". NATO exercises a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy when it comes to the nuclear capapbility of its warships and submarines entering a NATO member's territorial waters.

The SNP leadership's idea of a separate Scotland in NATO but refusing to pay for or control nuclear weapons (or wappons, as the nats like to call them - well it shows they are more Scottish than you) is as breathtaking a piece of hypocritical cynicism since their last piece of breathtaking hypocritical cynicism.

I look forward to hearing SNP MP Agnes Robertson explain why he's all for having nuclear wappons in Scottish territorial waters as long as they are not paid for or controlled by a separate Scotland.


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Jesus. Suffering. Christ.

Alex Salmond quoted in the SNP conference Handbook: 

"Scotland is daein a fell lot we can be prood o."

For that alone he deserves to lose the referendum.....

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The referendum - made in Scotland, regulated by London

So, the great day has come and gone; wee Salmond was talked out of wearing his tartan onesie with his Lion Rampant cape and "Call me Dave" did his best not to smirk.

Apart from that it was all a bit underwhelming. When it came down to it nobody really believed the nats when they claimed they didn't need a Section 30 order and nobody believed the Tories when they said they might withhold it.

The nats gave up their favoured second question and perhaps even more important were forced to accept that the UK Electoral Commission would play a key role in regulating the referendum. The Tories let the SNP decide on the timing and gave them the chance to try and find a way of giving 16 and 17 year olds the vote.

None of these things are likely to affect the result.

The most significant part of the day for me was when, within hours of signing this agreement,wee Salmond declared that if you vote against separation you'll lose your free bus pass.

And that tells us the spirit in which this debate will be conducted by the nats: nasty, scaremongering and mean-spirited.

The sooner this is over the better...

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Saturday's SNP demo: A Scottish homage to Catalonia or a tartan Clochemerle?

Last weekend almost a hundred thousand folk took to the streets of Scotland to celebrate Team GB. It was a demonstration of affection and pride in our athletes who contributed so much to the success of Team GB at London 2012.

Nobody organised buses for them and there were no political parties urging their supporters to attend, nor twitter or facebook campaigns to whip up support: just normal Scots demonstrating their appreciation for the athletes of Team GB.

So, you would imagine that with all their resources and their boasts about the slickness and efficiency of their digital campaigning the SNP will be able to match these numbers at their demonstration in Edinburgh this weekend.

In fact, if the SNP are to breathe life into their moribund Yes campaign then it's critical that they do exactly that. However, as Saturday approaches the organisers are beginning to realise that the numbers at their celebration of separation - dubbed GirnStock by nat-watchers - are going to fall well short of those who came out to support Team GB.

However, it is not just the lack of numbers which is giving the nats a headache; it is the pressure of ensuring that those who do turn up manage to subdue their more outre prejudices and whackjob conspiracy theories and behave themselves - 'Scottish Not British' banners and anti-English chants will sink them and the SNP highheidyins know it.

Already, the SNP have demanded that a small group of tartan trots with a taste for flag-burning and armed insurrection stay at home. However, for every excommunicated wild-eyed trot there are scores of SNP members who will quite cheerfully describe the union flag as a butcher's apron and declare their hatred of all things British: shamefully, that goes for plenty of SNP MSPs too.

And that should be a worry for them.

The SNP should be very concerned that their planned family-friendly day of fun and tartan celebrities on Saturday could very quickly degenerate into a demonstration of all that is bad with nationalism: bitterness, bigotry and blind prejudice.

So far the SNP have successfully gagged their lunatic fringe - but for how much longer can the nats rely on the silence of their bams?

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Don Salmondo and his soft shoe shuffle

Proof that there's a shit-storm heading towards the NHS in Scotland came today when Nicola Sturgeon - wee Salmond's golden girl -  was moved out of Health to take control of the SNP's stalled and discredited campaign for separation. And in a move right out of The Godfather Wee Salmond's one time rival, Alex Neil, was handed the health brief. "Keep your friends close but your enemies closer" whispered Don Salmondo.

Make no mistake, having this job can seriously damage your political health. Poor wee Alex Neil, one of the more entertaining pantomime dames at Holyrood really should have noticed the smoke billowing out of the health brief and as for that ominous ticking it's only a matter of time before we hear that Alex Neil is sleeping with the fishes. 

And moving quickly along from political whack jobs to out and out whackjobs; what about poor wee Johnny Swinney on Newsnicht last night?

 Reduced to stuttering bluster and lying through his teeth when asked to explain why, if independence was the solution to all Scotland's woes, didn't he want the referendum to be held sooner. 

This is the man who the nats want to have responsibility for a separate Scotland's finances: somebody who  looks like a constipated rabbit caught in the headlights when asked a question he can't answer and and who blurts out lies when he gets flustered. 

Good choice, Bravehearts!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Olympics and the Nouveaux Brits of the SNP.

It's not the fact that they've spent the last few years whining, girning and greeting about it which makes the SNP's new found enthusiasm for the London Olympics so nauseating.

It's not the fact that they and their supporters have never missed the opportunity to shriek their outrage at every imagined slight on the road to the Olympics or trumpet every petty grievance which makes their new found support for it stick in the craw.

It's not the fact that they've taken almost half a million pounds from our schools and hospitals to pay for what amounts to a gang hut when they could have had accommodation for free which disgusts.

It's not even the way that they've tried to deny their antipathy to Britain. They've gone from Brit-hating butcher's apron burners to born again Nouveaux Brits without as much as an acknowledgement of this embarrassing volte face.

It's the fact that they thought nobody would notice.

It's the way they think that our heads zip up the back.

It is the total and utter contempt in which they hold the people of Scotland to arrogantly peddle this nonsense and imagine they'll get away with it.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Better Together, better campaign, better message, just plain better...

Better Together launched yesterday with the dignity, determination and a decency that you would expect from an organisation headed by Alistair Darling.

Where the SNP had a disgruntled ex-MSP and a wild-eyed trot, the Better Together campaign had representatives from across Scotland's political spectrum.  

Where the SNP had a few foreign-based luvvies telling us how much they loved Scotland, the better campaign had real Scots who actually live here telling us why they believed it was better for Scotland to remain within the UK.

Where the SNP campaign was brash, hectoring and bombastic the better campaign was understated, pragmatic and honest.

There was a handful of SNP activists milling around outside the launch of the Better Together campaign yesterday. They had a few flags and had attached some scraps of old cardboard on which they'd scrawled slogans to a fence.

All in all it was a pretty unimpressive and uninspiring 
demonstration from a campaign which has already stalled and is now mutating into an ill-tempered, negative blame-fest.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Three crows and you're out....

With less than a week to go before the launch of the multi-party, broad-based campaign against separation it appears that the SNP have pretty much thrown in the towel.

We've already seen them give up any pretence of having an independent currency, monarchy, monetary policy, fiscal policy, defence policy, energy policy and foreign policy.

The SNP front organisation, 'Oh, yes please', has stalled with the Greens jumping ship and Margo giving it a wide berth leaving the narrow campaign with just the swivel-eyed loons of the SNP and the wild-eyed trots, splitters, entryists, opportunists and deluded dreamers of  the Peoples Front of Alba (Foxist-Leninist) supporting it.

If that wasn't bad enough, in the last week we've seen the SNP go from a would be latter-day William Wallace to a two-faced Caledonian Peter denying everything in which they once believed:

Independence? Don't mention that word warns a SNP psycho-babble expert.

Nationalist? Don't call me that, bleats the SNP campaign director.

"British?" Shriek those who used to sneer at the  'butcher's apron', "You'll still be British and you'll still live in the UK".

So many denials, it's enough to break your braveheart.

And this is BEFORE the Yes UK campaign even launches...

It's not so much the sound of a cock crowing which follows the SNP these days, it's the cluck cluck clucking  of a chicken...

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Blinkin' 'Eck! Not such a sterling effort after all...

It started off with Nicola Sturgeon repeating the ludicrous assertion that a separate Scotland would be able to nominate a representative to sit on the Bank of England's MPC and continued today at FMQs with wee Salmond claiming that a separate Scotland would have the same kind of relationship with the Bank of England as the UK.

Are these people really this ignorant?

The Bank of England have already made their position absolutely clear: It is not for the Bank Of England to decide on the conditions of allowing a separate Scotland to use sterling - it will be up to the UK Parliament.

Apparently Lord Coe is still waiting for an apology from SNP campaign chief, Angus Robertson MP,  for smearing him on twitter and the separatist campaign's wabsite is already discredited with its multiple false members and signatories on top of their fraudulent claims that every person who follows them on twitter are supporters.

The  campaign to break up Britain, which started with a whimper, has ground to a halt in a quagmire of misinformation, myth and dodgy, discredited websites...

Wee Salmond's campaign is turning into the longest car crash in British political history...

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Four foreigners and a trot...

Holy Moly fatman, your historic launch of your historic campaign wasn't exactly the historically most important historical event in our history.

It was more a bunch of foreign-based actors telling us that Scotland's biggest problem was ....foreign-based folk meddling in our affairs.

The SNP had an American citizen flown in from New York to lecture us on how to vote in an election that he, as a US-based American citizen, has no right to vote in.

There were also a few minor policitcal figures muttering about how things were in their day and a swivel-eyed trot who promised us that separation will deliver a Socialist Republic of Scotland.

The two Tams didn't show up - one wasn't invited and the other couldn't be trusted not to behave like a tartan Prince Philip... however, a fax purporting to come from Shir Sean was read out by a luvvie who loved Scotland so much that he moved away.

Then a couple of guys sang a sentimental song about Scotland.

You'd need a heart of stone not to laugh in their stupid faces...

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

We're all devolutionists, now...*

The SNP continue to make convincing arguments against separation.

So far they have said that it makes no sense to separate Scotland from the UK's currency, monarchy, fiscal policy, income tax rates, DVLA, energy policy, HSE, embassies, central bank, broadcaster and very soon its defence policy.

They are edging ever-closer to ditching full-blown 'independence' in favour of a turbo-charged devo max option. This is a perfectly respectable position but I just wonder when the more (ahem) enthusiastic SNP members notice that their core policy has shifted from freeing us from the tyranny of an evil empire to embracing it.

I jokingly made up the slogan 'Independence in the UK' a year or so ago to highlight the absurdity of the SNP's position where they claim to be independent but still cling to the security of the UK.

Now, far from being absurd, it pretty much accurately describes the SNP's position.

*Apart from Jim Sillars and a handful of deluded cybernats who are too dim to get with the programme..

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Chess board, ironing board, mortar board...

Just plain bored.

This blog is taking a wee break.

The tedium of watching the dear leader fly one kite after another is too much for even the strongest of stomachs.

Will be back in May when the Scottish Executive finally announces some of its plans.

Until then we'll watch in amusement as the SNP desperately  attempt to convince their members that independence means staying in the UK.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Dancing to Rupert's tune...

The Scottish Executive's response to SSE's warning that uncertainty threatened  investment was to announce they wanted to delay the referendum for a year longer than necessary.

They announced this not in our parliament but through the pages of  a newspaper.

What a kick in the teeth to our people and our democracy.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Separatist claims look less powerful by the day......

Consternation  at SNP HQ over power company SSE's response to the consultation processes  being conducted by the UK government and the Scottish Executive.

In their submission the company seem to confirm the fears of the Citigroup report regarding subsidies from the rest of the UK in an independent Scotland.

They also make the reasonable point that the longer the uncertainty continues over the referendum the more uncertainty continues over investment.

It is pretty self-evident but bizarrely it's a point that the SNP have consistently tried to refute.

Name one company who say that the uncertainty the referendum brings will affect investment in Scotland, several nat bigwigs have asked.  

Step forward Scotland's second largest company and champion of the SNP's renewables revolution.

 "Right, apart from them" splutters Young Master Pringle as the cybernats set their freedom phasers to 'smear'..

Friday, 24 February 2012

Who's the gauleiter in the (yellow and) black?

Less than a month after Mr Salmond's tantrum over the beeb declining his offer to speak about  rugby and his subsequent disgraceful nazi slur on a public servant we discover that Mr Salmond's increasingly authoritarian regime isn't above such tomfoolery themselves.

Mr Salmond was originally invited to speak at a dinner celebrating Loganair's fiftieth birthday and when the first minister declined,  the invitation was extended to Jim Wallace. Mr Wallace gladly accepted only to have his invitation cancelled after threats from the SNP Scottish Executive and their insistence that the cerebrally-challenged Keith 'I was an action-man Falklands hero but never mention it' Brown take his place.

So the good folk of Loganiar had to listen to the deluded ramblings of a self-aggrandising dullard with the sinister threat from one of Mr Salmond's 'gauleiters' that 'it would not be in their interests' to have Mr Wallace present hang over their heads. Not the best recipe for an evening of celebration and conviviality.

This would just be another tale of governmental control-freakery and embarrassing petty vindictiveness from a party who has a long-established reputation for such things if it wasn't so inextricably linked to their campaign for separation.

It is now absolutely clear that the campaign for separation will be conducted in the most vicious,  ruthless and destructive fashion by the SNP. Anybody who disagrees with them can expect to feel the full force of their power and wrath of their supporters. They will use every penny they can of public money and every bit of influence they have in their pursuit of breaking up Britain.

The real danger of course is that in their fevered obsession with separatism and their ugly and spiteful campaign they end up breaking Scotland.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Reasons to be cheerful Part IV

Well, at least now they can't accuse us of standing shoulder to shoulder with the Tories...

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Forget the beef, where's the positivity?

There was something not quite right about Kenny MacAskill's performance on Sunday's 'Politics Show'. It wasn't his boorish sniping at Mr Darling nor his hopeless spluttering after walking into a trap of his own making - that kind of bitter buffoonery is only to be expected from our Kenneth. It was something altogether different: it was the sight of a SNP spokesperson with nothing new or positive to say about separation.

Nothing, zilch, hee-haw.

That got me thinking about the 'positive' campaign for separation over the last few weeks and realised that there hasn't been one. There has been lots of gnashing of teeth, pulling of hair and beating of tartan breasts. There have been bleats about the beeb, tantrums about the Tories, libels of the LibDems and lies about Labour but not a positive peep about separation.

So, when can we expect the positive campaign to begin?

I am looking forward to hearing about the advantages of not having the support of UK embassies when I'm abroad, why it's worthwhile to set up a separate DVLA for Scotland and I can hardly wait to find out  how it's in my best interests to cut back my access to the BBC to the levels of the Irish and Dutch.

The only pity is that even with all those 'benefits' separation still won't deliver financial independence.  The SNP policy of allowing the UK treasury to oversee an independent Scotland's interest rates, borrowing limits and fiscal policy has rendered Mr Swinney's much-heralded financial 'levers' about as useful as one of those wee plastic steering wheels kids use to 'drive' the car.

No wonder the SNP don't want to talk about separation; they have no positive arguments for it - the idea of giving up British institutions makes no sense and they have already conceded the point that all  important financial decisions will be made in London by a Tory minister.

"Plus ca change" as Robert De Brus would no doubt have said..

Friday, 17 February 2012

Things you couldn't make up, part I

This from Her Majesty's Daily Record:

"Salmond said: “When something is put on the table, people around the table deserve to see it face up, not face down. Give us the detail, where’s the beef, what’s the proposal, give us the timetable?”

Mr Salmond, in case you've forgotten, is the guy who had to be forced into revealing the year he wanted the referendum held.

We're still waiting to hear the actual date he favours.

And this is the man who had the brass neck to demand a timetable from David Cameron.

You could not make it up.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like a cunning plan...

This from Holyrood Magazine:

"There isn’t an SNP mandate for a second question, yet Nicola Sturgeon invokes “democracy and fairness” umpteen times to justify its inclusion. But where exactly is the democratic test? As for fairness, it excludes a large number of people who would be profoundly affected by it, but who are not considered as having the right to vote – the English"

The words of an arch-unionist implacably set against separation?


These are the words of the respected senior SNP figure, Jim Sillars. Mr Sillars goes further in this devasting piece in Holyrood Magazine. Read it here:

Is Mr Sillars correct?

 Is the referendum Mr Salmond's way of ditching the SNP's most unpopular policy - separation?

Friday, 10 February 2012

It just gets worse for the hapless Eck.

You'd need a heart of stone not to laugh in his stupid face.

Fresh from the humiliation of having his desperate appeals to appear on the BBC rejected it now transpires that the First Minister tried to get himself into the Scotland dressing room after the rugby match on Saturday.

Not surprisingly Scotland told him to get tae.

Mr Salmond should get used to that...

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Oh Calcutta! Eck disappears down a black hole of his own devising....

Listening to Derek 'Braveheart' Bateman on his hilariously biased 'Newsweek' show has long been one of my guilty pleasures on a Saturday morning. 'Braveheart' pretty much dispensed with any attempt at even-handedness years ago and 'Natweek' is now engaged in full-blown agit-prop for separation.

One of my favourite moments came when he found an Irish 'economist' (actually a discredited Irish financial journalist) who was wheeled out to kick lumps out of Labour for suggesting Ireland was an economic basket case. The Irish journo administered the said kicking and everything was going swimmingly until 'Braveheart' made a snide comment about Tony Blair and asked how Blair was viewed in Dublin.

Imagine 'Braveheart's' horror when the journo went off-message and declared Blair a hero to many in Dublin for the part he played in the peace process.'Braveheart's' disappointment was  palpable, descending  into an hysterical cross between Iain MacWhirter and Alan Partidge, he desperately tried to shut his wayward guest up.

It was with 'Braveheart' Batement's antics in mind that I watched in bemusement at the increasingly erratic behaviour of our First Minister over his failure to get himself on the telly at the weekend. I was disappointed but not surprised at The Sunday Herald buying the SNP line about BBC censorship, the rest of the Sundays wisely gave the nat spin a very wide berth. It was so obviously an attempt by the SNP to continue their 'mood music' about big bad London stifling the plucky wee Scots that I thought it might just float away into the tartan ether of nat grievances.

So well done to the BBC for standing up for themselves and pointing out some inconvenient truths for the First Minister. The biggest and most embarrassing fact to come out of this fiasco is the revelation that the First Minister's staff had attempted not once but three times to get their man on a BBC show. The first couple of shows knocked him back, the third said they'd check and get back to him. They checked and were advised it wouldn't be appropriate for him to appear and declined the First Minister's offer. It was at this point that the First Minister lost it, shrieking that the BBC was a 'tin-pot dictatorship' staffed by nazis: it takes one to know one, I suppose.

The really worrying thing about this whole sorry tale is the continuing downward spiral of the SNP's campaign for separation. From the heady days of May last year when they boasted of running an unremittingly positive campaign to now when we have the First Minister of Scotland behaving like a swivel-eyed loon screaming incoherent abuse at public servants and  his closest allies smearing his opponents and  forging letters.

If they go on the way they are going for another two and a bit years I shudder to think how low the separation campaign will sink...

Friday, 3 February 2012

SNP currency plans? You've got to be quidding!

The SNP were up to their old tricks at FMQs yesterday . When asked to give details on an assertion about an independent Scotland's currency they delayed and obfuscated until they could hold off no longer. This is a tactic they've successfully used before; most recently with their ludicrous lie that they had delivered 86 of 96 unidentified 'headline' manifesto commitments in the election campaign of 2011. Like yesterday, they refused to identify  those 'headline' commitments  until the very last moment and by that time the lie had done its work.

The fact that they have to adopt these tactics shows just how desperate the SNP are becoming on the subject of  currency in an independent Scotland. By finally admitting that their policy is to retain sterling and  the Bank of England as a lender of last resort any attempt by the SNP to claim financial independence in these circumstances are at best naive and at worst cynically unprincipled. Put simply, if the SNP have their way an independent Scotland's  fiscal and monetary policies will be under the supervision of the UK treasury and Bank of England. See Martin Wolf's excellent article in the FT on the subject here:

The procession of SNP high heidyins denying this simple truth is beginning to ring alarm bells with the Scottish public. Opinion polls on separation have been pretty much static since the election, however the one thing showing a dramatic change is the First Minister's approval ratings. They are on the slide and will  continue to slide as long as he and his deputies present themselves as whackjob fantasists who cannot face inconvenient truths.

And finally: I see another SNP MSP has claimed that opposing SNP policies is 'anti-Scottish' - this time it's not a bonkers back bencher but a government minister. Don't these clowns realise that accusing your opponents of being unpatriotic is about the most anti-Scottish thing you could possibly do?

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Who cares where charity begins; it ends at Bute House

'Civic Scotland', the self-styled voice of a nation and drop-in cafe for the natterati  launched themselves to widespread apathy and collective 'so whats?' yesterday. Named by the First Minister and directed by his propaganda chief,  the launch was short on detail and long on platitude and was notable only for the confusion over what exactly 'civic Scotland' meant and who they imagined they represent. There were many questions they couldn't answer the main one was what are they actually for? 

The churches and STUC said they had no intention of coming to any kind of conclusion at the end of this process. The Thatcherite hard right  think tank, Reform Scotland, tried to present themselves as reasonable while smirking at the prospect of savage cuts to Scotland's public sector. 

The SCVO,  however, found themselves in a less emphatic position with their leaders contradicting each other. Alison Elliot claimed that "This is not about making the case for independence, devolution, status quo or anything in between. We do not have a fixed view about the outcome of the referendum." which was news to many after some of her colleagues admitted privately that they had already settled on DevoPlus and have a timetable (around about November) for the announcement agreed with the SNP. 

The church groups and trades unions involved should be aware with whom they are dealing: this is a front organisation some of whose members are funded and directed by Bute House.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

This was the week that wasn't...

This should have been a momentous week in Scottish politics. Should have been but wasn't. Instead, it's been a week of dreary bickering, first ministerial egotism, bombast and clumsy vote-rigging. The launch of the Scottish Executive's referendum consultation paper revealed (to no-one's great surprise) the SNP wanting weans to vote, to delay the referendum for a thousand days, a laughably biased question and a plea to 'civic Scotland' to come up with a second question.

Within hours a self-selecting group popped up, declared themselves to be 'civic Scotland' and started briefing that they were the voice of Scotland and they demanded a second question on the ballot. The problem these folk have is that they have no democratic mandate from the people of Scotland. 'Civic Scotland' in the '80s and '90s was a rainbow alliance of political parties, churches, trades unions and community groups which drew its democratic credentials from the votes of the political parties. Any grouping without support from political parties better explain where its democratic mandate comes from.

However, the biggest problem this new grouping has is its relationship with the Scottish Executive. The SNP make no secret of their belief that: 'He who pays the piper calls the tune', and it's beginning to look like a deal has already been struck amongst some of those organisations which rely on Scottish Executive funding and their paymasters.'The Scotsman' carries a story today warning that there are fears that 'civic Scotland' is being leaned on by the SNP. The truth of the matter is that 'civic Scotland' is not being leaned on by the SNP; they are being directed by them. A second question along the lines of Reform Scotland's DevoPlus  has already been agreed by some of the folk in 'civic Scotland' as has a timetable for announcing such a decision - making the meeting planned for Monday nothing but a sham. Those organisations who genuinely care about  Scotland would be well advised to steer well clear of this travesty of democracy.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

This joke isn't funny any more.....

When the SNP were elected in 2007 it was with some amusement that I watched the antics of Mr Salmond and his jolly bunch of swivel-eyed loons take over the Scottish Executive. Within weeks the buffoonery had started. Calls for a Scottish olympic team brought a smile, demands for the return of 'our' chessmen had me chortling and I was rolling in the aisles at the complaints about cricket on the telly. These people were nutters and nobody could take them seriously, could they?
Fast forward five years and now Mr Salmond has started the formal consultation period on separation things are no longer quite so amusing. The opposition parties in Scotland are in disarray and the SNP, with total control of Holyrood, have enjoyed an easy ride from most of the print media and pretty much no scrutiny from the broadcast media.
It's time for folk like me who have watched our country sleepwalk into this disaster do something positive and make a contribution to what will be the most crucial debate in our country's history.
Over the next days, weeks, months and years this blog will be my own  small part toward that debate.