I suspect that the two groups who will suffer most from the shambles of Westminster’s economic “plan” are our Senior Citizens and the organisation on which many of them depend; local Councils. In the Autumn Statement, Phillip Hammond made it perfectly clear that the much vaunted triple lock on pensions was going to be “reviewed”. As an aside, why is it that so many tories are so mealy mouthed? There will be no “review”, the triple lock, like so many other solemn commitments, is dead. The history of the last few months tells us all we need to know about tory consistency. On 31 JulyRead More →

  Although I was not at Annual Conference this year, I did enjoy watching much of it from home and I am delighted in one way to see the back of it.   Away back in the Spring of this year when we thought there was some political certainty, SNP Government, place in Europe etc we were looking forward to building our Local Government campaigns from the Autumn with candidates selected before Conference and campaign strategies in place. Such fond memories.   Then came what Macmillan called “events dear boy, events”.   First an unexpected contest for Deputy Leader and although it turned into aRead More →

It’s perhaps worth bearing in mind that under normal circumstances we would be heading headlong to another General Election at a rate of knots. That many, perhaps most, commentators do not assume so is largely down to the Fixed Term Parliament Act. This was a price the Tories paid to get back into Downing St on the back of the Libdems. But does it really matter? We currently have perhaps the most xenophobic and imperialist Government ever seen in the UK. Theresa May’s collective of zealots will be willing to make people pay any price just to prove that “Brexit means Brexit”. Collapse in sterling?Read More →

“When the facts change, I change my mind, what do you do Sir?” John Maynard Keynes is reported to have said.   Let’s just recall the feelings on the morning of September 19 2014. Despair, depression and dejection were the high points as I came to terms with what had happened on the day to be forever known as Black Thursday, I wanted to chuck it all in, move to Spain and live out my remaining years without another canvass pack or leaflet run. Ever. In the following days, tens of thousands of people changed their minds. Some had been out campaigning for a YESRead More →

This piece tries to capture my thoughts over a four week visit to family in Canada over July. It covers conversations with family, their friends and in some cases complete strangers. Long story short; my parents divorced when I was a toddler and just 5 years ago, at the age of 60, I discovered that I have two brothers and a sister in Canada. Fortunately, we all get on well and over the last few weeks, the Boss and I have been visiting them for a family wedding in Calgary with stops along the way. But I wanted to take the time to have aRead More →

Well, that’s another referendum out of the road, and yet another on the horizon. As a movement we now have some serious thinking to do before the starting gun s fired for #indyref2 and we will need to come up with pretty good answers to win. One question which we did not convince the electorate about last time round was currency and it will be much harder this time to argue for a shared currency. A rUK which comprises, or at least faces being only England & Wales, will be much harder to convince on the merits of a shared currency. It may well alsoRead More →

There is an old cliché which we all fall back on some times, about having won the debate and lost the vote. Especially true in Council Chambers across Scotland where after the 2012 elections unionists cobbled together all manner of coalitions which had one aim; to stop Independence and the SNP. But in the run up to, and on, polling day this year, one thing which became increasingly obvious was that although we lost the vote on September 18 2014, the debate is virtually over. Nothing made this more obvious than the sheer hostility unionists displayed over even flying the Saltire, even more so SNPRead More →

Debt. It’s been a fairly topical subject in recent weeks. With The Hootsmon, revealing on March 10 that Scotland currently would have a “black hole of £15 billion”. And  on March 24 revealed that it would have been only £10 billion on March 24 if we had voted YES instead of NO on Black Thursday! So, that means according to the voice of Unionism, that Scotland has lost another £5 billion (£5,000,000,000) by staying with the “delights” of London’s Tory austerity agenda in just 18 months. But, debt, real or imagined, has been on my mind for another reason as well! I had a conversationRead More →

Over the years there have been many predictions of dirty campaigns, some justified some not but we are, I suspect, now in a very dirty campaign which will last till May 17, and for a very simple reason; Labour in Scotland are genuinely frightened that they face complete oblivion. Labour once had three legs to their power base. It seems strange now to even say Labour once had a power base. The first leg was, of course, Westminster. Well, we sorted that out last year in no uncertain manner, and Labour have become poorer not only financially, but their whole psyche has been rocked. TheRead More →

As the Festive Season falls away into memory, thoughts start to turn to the forthcoming campaign season once again. The Campaign Committees have been pulled together, draft plans and timings are the topic of much heated discussions and the polls continue to look good for May 2016. Happy days would seem to lie ahead. But for those of us who are fortunate enough to be in Local Government, it’s a bit early to put the hangover cures away because we now have to start wrestling with three major issues. We are firmly between the budget cuts rock and the hard place of reducing services. TheRead More →