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A Black Country?

I see the wide eyed loonies are at it again…..

henry

When I say wide eyed loonies, I’m talking about the party who is leading the polls in England for the Euro elections.

Maybe Mr Henwood in saying that Lenny Henry should go and live in a black country is just saying that he should go back to where he came from -where he was born.

That is Dudley in the West Midlands. The heart of the area known as the Black Country

Yeo must be joking

Tim Yeo, chairman of the energy committee is a Conservative MP.

He entered parliament in 1983, and whilst surviving various controversies about ‘love children’ (2 of them) and expenses, has been there ever since.

Despite an apparent conflict of interest with his energy committee position, Yeo picks up £140,000 a year from green energy firms to promote their growth. He seems quite happy that the public should foot the bill to maintain his earner.

He is such an advocate of green energy that it came as quite a surprise when he vigorously opposed the erection of turbines at Chedfield. As he had previously advocated the building of wind farms in every available square metre of land this was surely a curious departure? Until you consider that Chedfield is in Mr Yeo’s constituency and near where he lives

I’m not sure what part Mr Yeo took in the privatisation of the electricity companies in 1988 under Margaret Thatcher and then energy secretary Cecil Parkinson, but it was surely in the role of enthusiastic supporter of his party’s policy of wishing to sell off every government owned asset that wasn’t nailed down. Former Tory PM Harold McMillan referred to the process as ‘Selling off the family silver’.

Yesterday Mr Yeo, in his role of committee chairman summoned up every ounce of mock indignation he could muster to berate power company bosses. These are people who would not be in their positions had privatisation not taken place.

“You are putting profit before customer!” he boomed, pausing only to check his angle with the TV cameras.

Now correct me if I’m wrong. Wasn’t that the whole point of privatising power companies in the first place?

hypocrisy-meter

A Page Turner?

My friends are, I would say, a fairly representative mix of Yes, No and Don’t Knows in the forthcoming Scottish Independence Referendum. I’m in the don’t know camp with head and heart playing tug o’ war with the issue. The thing is that no matter what your view or voting intentions, you probably know in which respective directions the brain and the blood pump are pulling.

Yesterday’s White Paper brought the impending Referendum into sharp focus in the kind of way that you realise that it’s only four weeks till Christmas. And there was Eck in the role of Santa Claus yesterday promising all sorts of bounty to everyone……but only if you’re good and vote the right way.

The White Paper (although at this stage I have to admit that I haven’t read it) seems to be a hybrid between a blueprint for independence and subsequent SNP manifesto for 2016 in an independent Scotland.

And what is in this Whizzer and Chips of a document?

Well I’m not going to spoil it all for you, because dear reader if you are in Scotland you will not be able to escape people debating its content at great length over the net ten and a half months.

However the bars/hurdles have been set high.

The disappearance of Trident from Scotland in the first term? I’d have thought that logistically impossible apart from anything.

We’ll be part of a Sterling zone says the White Paper. Oh no you won’t say all the UK political parties. The EU are biding their time on this but expect them to throw a cat amongst the doos on that soon. They will point out that regardless of any negotiations and politics, the legal position is that Scotland will be a new member and must commit to the Deutsch mark Euro. This would leave Scotland with a different currency from its largest trading partner (by some way) i.e. the UK.

Like the UK political establishment, they are implacably opposed to Scottish independence and will do all they can to prevent it. One feels too that countries facing their own separatist issues such as Spain and Belgium would continue to throw any spanner they could into the works to ensure that an independent Scotland would not be seen to be a success.

The most convincing case for me to vote Yes is the notion of dispensing with a parliament. The converse of that thinking led me to vote No in the devolution referendum (although admittedly I regret that now). There was one parliament when I was growing up and that always seemed a sufficiency of the bloody things. Now we have Edinburgh, Westminster and Strasbourg and as well as these being listed in terms of proximity, I’d also say that this is also their relevance as seen by many Scots (even if an objective view might challenge that with 80% of our law emanating from Strasbourg ). All politics is local politics they say.

Another reason to vote Yes is the fact that the SNP, from the sidelines at least, seem to be the most cohesive political unit of the major parties by some way and not only in a purely Scottish context. You could throw in all the UK parties into the mix there too. In Alex Salmond I think it’s hard to argue against the fact that he’s the most effective leader of those parties.

Never mind the hapless windae hinger Johan Lamont or Ruth (Miss Jean Brodie) Davidson, Eck knocks Cameron, Clegg and Miliband into a cocked hat

However…….

Yesterday I was struck by the almost euphoric response on the broadcast media from those Yes supporting commentators. On Radio Scotland, Irish academic Owen Dudley Edwards compared the White Paper to the Declaration of Arbroath and the American Declaration of Independence.

My blog friend Kate Higgins is always an enthusiastic advocate of independence. Much as I enjoy Kate’s optimistic and positive take on issues, I thought that yesterday on Radio Scotland she sounded like a combination of Pollyanna and Dr Pangloss as she gushed about the brochure as if the Referendum was now a formality.

The last time I can remember such optimism in a Scottish sense was in the run up to the World Cup in 1978……..

But then there’s Doctor No, aka Alistair Darling, the chancellor who presided over complete collapse of the banking system in 2008 and now lectures us on financial probity. He has previous form on not being able to predict how many days will be in the following year. Al was in high dudgeon yesterday attempting to rubbish the whole idea of independence. To be fair this is his remit but if yesterday confirmed anything it was that ‘Better Together’ have the wrong guy in charge.

I wrote here about Darling’s blink rate but I see the video in that article has been deleted.

I know that the usual indication of a politician lying is that their lips move, but from the article above:

Here is a link to an aricle by Linda Prestonseven signs you are being lied to

“BLINKING. A person who is lying will blink a lot,as blinking seems to correlate to the amount of mental stress we are under. In a normal conversation where a person is attuned to you, he will blink at roughly the same rate as you, often at moments when you pause in your speech. Be wary of someone who is blinking frantically as they speak with you.”

Here’s Alistair…

Mystery Man

I notice that David Cameron and Nick Clegg have both been in high dudgeon about the “Crystal Methodist” aka former head of the Co-op bank, Paul Flowers.

What did Ed Miliband know about his nefarious substance abuse? How could an organisation such as the Co-op bank, closely associated with the Labour Party have appointed someone with such lack of judgement that he was filmed buying drugs? Did he know about Mr Flowers being a customer of rent boys?

Mr Cameron has deemed him unsuitable to head a bank.

ozzie

This photo is doing the rounds on t’internet. If it weren’t for the preposterous corkscrew perm, one might think that this was a photo of a politician close to David Cameron. Of course it couldn’t be that man because the chap pictured here is with an escort and there is a white substance on the table which is unlikely to be talcum powder.

If it were anyone associated with the government at all then Messrs Cameron and Clegg would have sorted it all out by highlighting the issue and demanding his resignation.

Unless they were self righteous, hypocritical twerps like Ed Miliband that is….

Post Independence?

The picture is becoming clearer on what Scotland would look like after independence.

We’d have the pound, the monarchy, a shared welfare system, Trident (at least for a while), continuation of the BBC, The Bank of England as a central bank…….

Can anyone tell me what would be different?

Farage Balloon

What a stushie in Edinburgh this week when the bold Nigel found himself at the centre of a small but vocal protest against his visit to Scotland.

He threw the toys out of the pram and then later (see video in the link above) Mr Angry style, slammed the phone down on a BBC Scotland interviewer.

This blog’s opinion on Farage and UKIP has been made clear on several occasions and it isn’t complimentary. However maybe some more light than heat should be shed on him and his party.

For instance their economic and immigration policies are completely bonkers just don’t add up and are very sparse on detail. Perhaps a Paxman/Mair challenge to them would show Mr Farage up as what he is than some boisterous students venting their spleen and Farage benefiting from public sympathy from the exchange.

And also maybe there should be a debate on the issues where Farage and UKIP have a point like the recent EU commissioner for justice who is a convicted fraudster.

Like the backhanders received by unelected slimeballs like Barroso, Prodi and Mandelson. Barroso spent a week on Spiro Latsis’s luxury yacht – a jolly valued at 30,000 euros. Barroso’s predecessor Prodi approved 10 million of Greek state aid to the company owned by Latsis after accepting generous hospitality from the magnate.

Still Greece can afford it.

Mandelson’s love of hospitality from those who can secure influence from him is an article on its own.

These things shouldn’t deflect focus on Farage. He is very good at grandstanding and the Edinburgh exchange will have been right up his street. Where he is not so good is at handling awkward questions as evidenced by the short BBC Scotland interview.

That would seem to be the way to puncture the balloon.

Musicians and Politics

It’s 500 days away.

So……Pop Cop asked forty Scots Musicians how they intended to vote in the 2014 Independence Referendum.

You can go and read the comments by clicking on the link but the breakdown was Yes 13, No 7 and Undecided 20.

Isobel Campbell, indie singer and cellist formerly of Belle and Sebastian had this to say:

isobel

Whilst Justin Currie (he of Del Amitri) commented as follows:

justin currie

Footnote: Justin Currie was born in Glasgow…….

Quote of the Weekend

From the Financial Times:

Ken Clarke, cabinet minister, described Ukip candidates as “clowns” and agreed with David Cameron’s words from 2006 that some of the party’s potential voters were “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”.

imeter1

What IS independence exactly?

I notice that the SNP via Nicola Sturgeon has raised the issue of currency once again in the independence debate. She states confidently in this article that following a yes vote, Scotland would continue to use Sterling as the country’s currency.

This is in fact a can of worms on several levels. How will this square with the EU? The UK’s opt out will remain with the successor state, which has already been acknowledged by the EU President and the European Commission as being the ‘Remaining UK’ i.e. England Wales and Northern Ireland.

Given that the EU have said that Scotland will be treated as a new state, then the UK opt out on the Euro will not apply. Any new state coming into the EU is obliged to join the Euro once criteria are met so I wonder where this leaves Scotland should we vote for independence?

Quite apart from all that, even if this problem could be overcome and Scotland was allowed to keep Sterling by the EU, wouldn’t monetary policy still be decided in London? And given that the acknowledged main problem of the Euro has been differing fiscal policies within a single currency, and given that Sterling already has particular problems, how would this play out on a small island with a small currency but within it separate fiscal policy?

There is some comfort for the Yes campaign from economist Professor John Kay who states that the EU “would probably settle for some vague and indefinitely postponed aspiration” that Scotland would adopt the euro.

However Kay also believes that “The currency issue is crucial – Scotland would be right to seek agreement on monetary union with the remaining United Kingdom, but it would be difficult to negotiate an agreement that would be consistent with the fiscal freedom sought through independence.

“Scotland should be ready to adopt an independent currency.”

So the SNP want to keep the pound and the Queen. They say that Scotland will be free of Trident and yet even if the vote is yes, there is no guarantee that a future Scottish government would follow that through. I’ve always wondered that even if that government were SNP, if they wouldn’t come to some arrangement with the Remaining UK on the issue.

As someone who has voted SNP in recent years, when it became clear that there was to be a referendum, I looked forward to being convinced that independence made sense.

At the moment I remain to be convinced.

And the clock is ticking….

Left or right?

The internet is a weird and wonderful place. Its labyrinthine corridors can lead you to places you don’t plan or expect to go. The other night whilst watching the Panorama documentary about the DPRK, I was intrigued by the notion put forward that the regime there was not a left wing one at all but rather a right wing autocracy.

nkchild

The Nuremberg type military parades, the goose-stepping and the Hitler Youth like Korean Children’s Union may only be motif like in their similarity, they are striking motifs nonetheless.

And although there are several other translations of Juche, the political ideology of North Korea, the one that says ‘self reliance’ stands out.

But what about the state run economy?

Another myth it would seem as more than 50% of the DPRK income is now derived from tolerated private enterprise.

So there I was exploring the notions of political left and right when I stumbled upon the quotes from former British PM David Lloyd George in the posting below, who was fulsome in his praise of Hitler and Nazi Germany in 1936.

And yet sixteen years prior to Lloyd George authoring his Daily Express article, another author wrote the following about him:

DEDICATION
I dedicate this pamphlet to the Right Honourable Mr . Lloyd
George as a token of my gratitude for his speech of March 18,
1920, which was almost Marxist and, in any case, exceedingly
useful for Communists and Bolsheviks throughout the world .
AUTHOR April 27, 1920

The author in question was Vladimir Iilych Lenin.

If further irony were needed, check out the title of the publication:

lenin

And by the further wonders of the internet, you can download and read it here

Back to that Panorama documentary once again.

If you go to nineteen minutes you’ll see John Sweeney lauding South Korea by comparison to its northern neighbour. To me that portrayal just presents a differing picture of hell rather than some alternative to the rigours of life in the north.

The internet.

The world indeed.

A weird and wonderful place.