RUK Local Elections

Having checked as much as possible the results of the Local Government elections I can find no firm figures at the time of writing.

However as far as I can gather from the newspapers – Herald and National -the best I can get is that in England the Tories lost 1334 seats and Labour between 80 and 90; in Northern Ireland the DUP is under pressure.

However I did find out something surprising – it would seem that there were no elections in Wales – or London!

* Never dawned on me that London is a separate country, but hey, whatever the Tories want they get.

Whatever the figures are they show a distinct disillusion with the major parties in England .

Mrs May has now lost 48 Cabinet Ministers since the General Election in May 2017, only 2 a month;  of course the “Strong and stable” euphemism is merely a blip. Not all of her disastrous appointments have bitten the dust, Chris Grayling, the man who paid £30 million of our money to a ferry company with no ships and a few other commitments making up to

£56 million is still in place. Perhaps Mrs May wants to reach 50, no doubt a record devoutly to be desired.

* As a footnote, I was amused to learn that Boris Johnston had tweeted that he had cast his vote.  He hurriedly erased the tweet as he realised there was no voting in London, but the very fact that he lied as he did not say to remember but that he had voted. 

Comment of an honest politician – Torywise!

Ruth Davidson is of similar mettle; two years ago she said there was no reason for Mrs Theresa May to block a second Independence Referendum, now she believes she should.

Currency

I was at the Conference in Edinburgh and while I did not go into the Chamber a lot I did see a bit of the debate on the Growth Commission.  The background to this was that in the 2014 Referendum we lost because of the claim by George Osborne – was that his name? – that we would not be able to use the pound which has since turned out to be a lie.  Both the current Governor of the Bank of England and his predecessor said we could.  However in the heat of battle NO won the day.

It is premature to talk about a new currency before we are independent, but there is a risk the currency issue may cost us independence.   There is no doubt that our enemies are slavering at the mouth as they see a chance to weaken us and they will do it relentlessly.

Westminster stewardship of the British economy has been appalling; Norway discovered the same amount of oil at the same time as we did.  They revitalised their economy, built housing, roads, bridges and tunnels and also founded a sovereign wealth fund which now amounts to over 1 trillion, and rising. The UK squandered billions of oil money on we know not what and created a National Debt of around the same amount. Our debt is still rising and is maybe heading for £2 trillion!  (The sum is increasing by £5170 per second) Any idea that the UK is shrewd when it comes to money is fallacious.

Added to all this are billions in offshore accounts, hidden from the public gaze which they seem unable – really unwilling – to tackle.  And in their generous use of public money they keep increasing the size of the House of Lords where members get £300 per day, tax free, for just signing in, and free first class travel – things are tough at the top!

Marches

It is a boost to morale to see vast numbers marching for Independence but I do not know if they translate into votes, let me rephrase that, there is no doubt that every marcher will vote Yes, but that alone will not get independence.  In the hard light of day we have to canvass for votes, knock doors, convert voters and make sure they vote; this is the job of the SNP.  They have the organisation and discipline to get this done, but we need the Yes marchers to add volume.

Speaking of Marches I recall one particular one in Dundee, in the Eighties I think; it was a very wet day and the route was agreed by Police.  My memory was of chanting “Maggie ,Maggie, Maggie, Out, Out, Out” We went through an industrial  area in the West End and there were no watchers!  Changed days, thank God.

When I joined the SNP in 1966, in Peterhead, there was a tide running for Independence.  There were no TV images, the SNP had a Bannockburn Rally every year and the SNP Peterhead Branch ran a bus to it.

Just why the tide was rising was unclear, but it was definitely there.  Two incidents spring to my mind from that period; in the company I worked for we had a vehicle washer who was deaf and dumb.  As he passed my car one day he gave a broad grin and a thumbs up to my SNP sticker and I wondered “How does he know?”  The other incident involved a Shell representative; every month he came in to get the monthly cheque, and quite often he would have to come back.  The cheque would be for a substantial amount for we ran 70 long distance lorries and used a lot of diesel.  I was the Accountant and the company was owned by Transport Development Group and every month we sent the surplus to HQ in London.  Anyway the representative mentioned that he had joined the SNP – and from that day on he got his cheque on the dot!

This is not a nostalgic comment but an indication of how things were in Scotland over 50 years ago. The SNP was founded in 1934, 6 months before I was born, and had a mixed reception from Scots;  I was fortunate to know Dr Robert McIntyre, Jimmy Halliday, Arthur Donaldson, Billy Wolfe, Gordon Wilson, Alex Salmond, John Swinney and now Nicola Sturgeon all leaders of the SNP. I also knew Winnie Ewing; this is not name-dropping but merely a comment on how much smaller the SNP was;  I struggle to know who is who these days 😊

In 1967 Winnie Ewing won the Hamilton By-Election, a stupendous achievement.  On the night she won we had gathered in a house where somebody had a TV set, and we were ecstatic.  At around 1 am I phoned my wife to tell her that Winnie had won.   She rather drily replied “I know, this phone has not stopped ringing.”  At the time we did not have a TV, could not afford one – strange to remember.  This was not uncommon in Peterhead, and I quite often had to tell visiting representatives in my office that “I am not Brethren – I just do not have a TV”.  No comment was ever made but body language spoke for itself.

This preamble is all about perceptions;  we did not win the 2014 Referendum because the Unionists kept banging on about the pound and frightened the electorate;  I read the White Paper, all 600 odd pages of it, and I did not find anything I disagreed with.  The Unionists were fairly confident up until the last couple of weeks when a Poll showed Yes in the lead.  This led to the Vow, allegedly by David Cameron, Nick Clegg, George Osborne and Gordon Brown which appeared on the front page of the Daily Record.  This was made up by the Editor of the Record – (who is now a member of the Yes movement) and credited with the result.  As Alex Salmond put it, if the Poll had been the following week we would have won, but there was enough time for No to recover – and that is history.  Sair, very sair.

George Osborne got on a plane, flew into Edinburgh, stated “An independent Scotland will not be allowed to use the pound” and left immediately without taking any questions from the Press.  He actually had no right to make that statement as the Government had handed over control of the Bank of England to the Bank on 6th May 1997, and the Government had no locus in the affair!

No country gaining independence has ever had the currency denied.  Our nearest neighbour, Ireland, continued to use the pound for 6 years after independence, then switched to the Punt, and eventually took the Euro – in 2002.   There is NO obligation to use the Euro.  19 of the  EU’s 28 states use the Euro plus 4 other non member states.

I sometimes wonder if the UK’s dislike of the Euro has something to do with the billions of offshore funds hiding in other countries? There are even funds in Ireland, courtesy of Jacob Rees Mogg.

And a postscript, Tory Cabinet Minister David Lidlington has just announced that the European Elections will go ahead. Must dig out my SNP window poster.