I did not know if I would be able to do The Flag this week as I was in hospital, kept longer than I anticipated, but everything went well. Do not believe all the criticisms you read from the Unionists, I get great service from my surgery and this week it was the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh as well. So nothing but admiration for the NHS.
When in hospital I was able to keep up with the news through the Herald and the National, my wife brought the papers in each day; so where are we?
Latest comment about the Nationalising of Ferguson Engineering; Derek Mackay was reluctant to take this route, but it was going to have to go into administration, which would have meant it would be sold off to the highest bidder – if any. As we are talking here about 350 jobs, 2 ships in process of being built and the last shipbuilding firm in Scotland this is serious stuff. Jim McColl was helped by the Scottish Government in the first instance because it was going bust then; the current problem arose as two ferries ordered by Calmac are going seriously over budget, with arguments about design changes being cast about, while the Islands are desperate for new ferries – I caught one criticism from a Union rep, I think, that Nicola Sturgeon was on Loose Women when she should have been at Port Glasgow!
How dare she!
Anyway work is going ahead; as there are complications with the EU about state aid, rules glossed over by other countries, perhaps Brexit may have a marginal effect, but I do not know enough about the rules.
I am also watching with wry amusement the state of affairs in the Labour Party and the Tory Party with regard to the UK; John MacDonnell, deputy Leader of UK Labour, has stated that Labour would not block a second Scottish Independence Referendum, while that non existent beast, the Scottish Labour Party, has opposition in its manifesto. On the Tory side, new Prime Minister Boris Johnson ignored advice from Ruth Davidson on retaining David Mundell as Secretary of State for Scotland, and unceremoniously sacked him. Ms Davidson is not amused – incidentally she is now the most unpopular of the Tory hierarchy – looks as if her star has fallen.
Now London, to put it briefly, has over-ruled anything Scottish which in the course of events led to the creation of the Scottish National Party. Perhaps this is just a case of poetic justice, but perhaps the
Unionists haven’t noticed they have been hoist with their own petard.
Incidentally the louder they shout about No to Indyref2, even when it is not being discussed, the more obvious it becomes is that they expect the SNP will win it; just consider the Tory output at the time of the European Elections; the sole Tory leaflet was a picture of Ruth Davidson and 12 mentions of Nicola Sturgeon!
So now we have a by-election in Shetland, where Liberal MSP Tavish Scott is leaving to take up a post with Scottish Rugby. He has been MSP in Shetland for 20 years, and was Transport Minister in the Lib/Lab coalition. I remember well that in the Dunfermline by election where Willie Rennie was standing he – Willie – was shouting loudly about No Bridge Tolls, while Tavish Scott was opening new tolbooths on the Bridge; no contradiction there?
Mr Scott has a good record in Shetland, as have the Liberals. They idolised Jo Grimond; he was their Leader for many years, and I recall heckling him in Peterhead in 1967/68. The occasion was an adoption meeting for the Liberal Candidate in East Aberdeenshire; this was a safe Tory seat, and we regarded Liberals as second class Tories so this adoption made the seat winnable for the SNP. The
Liberal candidate was a Mr Hoyer Miller, apparently a well known social figure. Jo Grimond rhapsodised about Federalism, and I asked him what was the timescale for this to happen. He answered eloquently, and was greeted with rapturous applause. I then responded and stated that he had not answered my question, and repeated it. Again he answered eloquently, to further rapturous applause. At this I came back that I had already asked him the question twice, and as far as I could ascertain he did not have an answer. The local paper referred to me as an “SNP Partisan”. In conclusion, Mr Hoyer Miller praised Mr Grimond “Mr Grimond is a wonderful leader and if we cannot have him as Prime Minister of All England, then let us have him as Prime Minister of Scotland” to rapturous applause. Yes this was in Peterhead in the North East of Scotland.
The SNP is a minority government in Scotland because we lost one seat to the Liberals. In the 2011 Scottish Parliament Elections I was campaigning in the Borders. On the Monday after the election I went into Corstorphine Bowling Club for the Hat Night; the Secretary greeted me “Mr Lynch, how nice of you to grace us with your presence”. I replied “Come on Iain, there’s been an election”. He then asked if I had been at the party after the election, and I said no, but I was going to one in Penicuik the next Sunday. This puzzled him and I said “I am a free agent and at election time I go to the nearest winnable seat, because we would never win Edinburgh West in a hundred years”. He burst out laughing for the party in the bowling Club was because Colin Keir had won Edinburgh West with the biggest SNP majority in Edinburgh.
In the aftermath of 2015, when the SNP won 56 Westminster seats the Party grew quickly, and some “clever “ coves in Edinburgh West deselected Colin Keir; accompanying this were reports in the Edinburgh Evening News from an “unnamed SNP activist” quoting things Colin never said. I was furious at the character assassination, but the constituency selected one of Colin’s previous staff .
The quotes from an “unnamed SNP activist” were recycled by the Liberals again and again and the SNP lost the seat to the Liberals. Whoever the “unnamed activist” is they did not grasp that the press releases attacking Colin Keir were actually attacks on the SNP, so I was not surprised when the poisoned boomerang hit the Party. I had been a member of Corstorphine Branch for about 40 years, so I became a Headquarters’ member.
I do not blame the Liberals for using the allegations made, if the boot was on the other foot I might do the same. However they like to play Goody Two Shoes, and they aint!
Wings over Scotland is now perhaps going to stand on the List system at the next Scottish Election as an independence supporting party. Stuart Campbell thinks he can attract enough List seats to ensure the SNP gets an overall majority. I do not like that idea at all. In 2016 on the crest of a wave there was a drive within some parts of the SNP to “give” your second vote to the Greens; the SNP did not like that but I know some did just that. Giving a second vote away to another party is an attack on the SNP, and Stuart Campbell’s idea would lead to chaos; the SNP would fight all the constituency seats and all the list seats so just chaos; I am not an anti-Wings fan, I read it every day and used the literature during the Referendum – Wee Blue Book anyone?
Independence is the raison d’etre of the SNP; once independence is gained I would hope for the first two Parliaments to be SNP, and then for coalition governments after that – power corrupts.
While in hospital I was reading a book called “Moneyland” by Oliver Bullough; it is absolutely fascinating and covers shell companies and a totally domination of the financial markets by organised crime, crooked dictators, a shallow realm of oligarchs and gangsters. The system is everywhere, and the term “offshore” was pioneered by London bankers who showed crooks and politicians how to hide their money – or rather the money they stole.
What seemed peculiarly apt was one address used for shell companies – 29 Harley Street London. This address, a very prodigious one, is home to 2,159 businesses, which use it as their contact address. In fact it is a stone fronted terrace house, five storeys high; rather than anything to do with health it is used by Victor Yanukovich who fled the Ukraine in 2014 and owned his secret property empire from here. Mr Burroughs wrote that it was like discovering that the New Jersey mob was operating out of a Quaker meeting house.
So, apart from allowing England to keep Trident at Faslane to keep the UK in the United Nations Security Council, we now know that London, and other places, are stuffed by illegal companies.
Just another reason to deny Independence.