Various irritants on April Fools Day

St Andrews

On Monday 1st April I was reading with great interest a report about the Principal of St Andrew’s University, expressing her view that £9000 was a good price to pay for a degree from that institution; this, on the front page of the Herald, named the Principal as Professor Louise Richardson.  The report continued on Page 2, with a picture of Louise Robertson; in fairness they also did an interview and profile on her on Page 13.
Such slips are commonplace in the Herald these days, but no correction was noted the following day, but then they had another slip that took up that space.
I also noted that the university was hailed by the Herald as the alma mater of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge;  the Duke was given the title by his granny, and the Duchess hers by marrying him.    In this democratic world we might have expected a mention of  another son of that august institution, First Minister Alex Salmond, a person who has made a significant contribution to this country, by his own efforts – but that’s the Republican in me


Alexei Sayle

I noted also that Alexei Sayle, a Liverpudlian comedian, has expressed his concern that Scottish Independence will leave England with a permanent Tory government.  When we consider that there are 59 Scottish MPs – only one of them a Tory – and 533 English MPs, then 40 Welsh and 18 Irish it seems that it matters little how the Scots vote.  We are a minority in the democratic system, and I cannot remember off hand how many years the Scots voted Labour and were then ruled by the Tories.

No offence Mr Sayle, but we would like to have the Government we voted for, and not the one elected by your compatriots.

For instance, “Scotland is ruled by a party which has one MP, even if camouflaged by a sad squad of Liberal accomplices”, to quote from the late Jimmy Halliday.


Nuclear submarines

I also see that plans are being made to break up the 7 decommissioned nuclear submarines left at Rosyth, with all the hazards of nuclear waste.  All should remember that the Nuclear submarine base was transferred from Rosyth to Devonport  in the 1990s by the then Defence Secretary, Malcolm Rifkind in a previous Tory Government.  The justification then was that it would be much cheaper and more convenient.  The work required to adapt Devonport ran into billions, but the jobs had gone to the South Coast of England to bolster up Tory votes, and Scotland was left with 7 rotting hulks;  England made the gain but Scotland was left with the pain.  When half built aircraft carriers can be towed into Rosyth surely the hulks can be towed to Devonport?

When the Tories lost in 1997, Mr Rifkind lost his seat, in fact there were no Tories elected in Scotland in 1997;  unfortunately Labour did nothing to move the hulks either. Mr Rifkind surfaced again in London, Kensington South, I think.  I cannot remember if he lost that seat in 2010 but he is now in the House of Lords.


Scotland First

And lo and behold, has not the current Tory leader in Scotland come up with a braw slogan for the Scottish Tories!  I remember back in the Seventies the SNP slogan was “Put Scotland First”, and I was very pleased when in 1974 I got a new car whose registration number was PSF 305 M.  I was proud of that, because I was an active member of the SNP, campaigning for Scottish Independence – no change there.

Anyone who thinks the Tories could justify a “Scotland First” slogan needs their head examined.



Previous month’s editorial

As threatened in previous Flags, here is the latest editorial.


March Editorial

The Golden Age for London

Whenever I feel the need to while away the weary hour, I go to my computer and read again the noble words of  the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, speaking at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in the Guildhall on 20th June 2007.  Mark that date well.

“So I congratulate you Lord Mayor and the City of London on these remarkable achievements, an era that history will record as the beginning of a new golden age for the City of London.

And I believe the lesson we learn from the success of the City has ramifications far beyond the City itself – that we are leading because we are first in putting to work exactly that set of qualities that is needed for global success:

  • openness to the world and global reach,
  • pioneers of free trade and its leading defenders,
  • with a deep and abiding belief in open markets,
  • champions of diversity in ownership and talent, and of flexibility and adaptability to change, and
  • a basic faith that from wherever it comes and from whatever background, what matters is that the talent, ingenuity and potential of people is harnessed to drive performance.

And I believe it will be said of this age, the first decades of the 21st century, that out of the greatest restructuring of the global economy, perhaps even greater than the industrial revolution, a new world order was created.”

In May 2007, Alex Salmond was elected as the First Minister of Scotland , but the English Prime Minister, had not seen fit to even pick up the phone and congratulate him on that success;  time to speak to the nobs in London, but not Edinburgh.

However, it was not that “oversight” I was referring to; it was the Northern Rock fiasco which reared its ugly head in September 2007, and the new Chancellor, Alastair Darling,  acting in cahoots with the Prime Minister made an appalling misjudgement.


As Robert Peston (BBC Business Editor) observed at the time, the Brown Government’s action guaranteeing all deposits in the UK banking system incurred “ a potential liability to the public purse on a mind-boggling scale.”  Once the Bank of England had struck the Northern Rock it encountered one financial crisis after another, all a systemic failure caused by Brown’s removal of banking supervision from the Bank of England.

Nearly 6 years after Brown’s cringing and vainglorious speech to the honourable and worshipful spivs in the City of London the UK is in the worst financial mess it has ever been in, and the pain is going to continue for many years, and this despite the billions of oil money pouring into the Treasury.  What a pity that the hubris which should have been inflicted on the bankers, financiers and politicians is instead being visited upon the poor, the unemployed, thousands of them having been paid off by the banks, the disabled.  In pursuit of setting the economy right, the Con Dems are talking about throwing people out of their homes, reducing any housing benefit if they happen to have an empty room. Financial bonuses will continue to accrue to the untouchables.

And instead of our noble Labour Party standing up for the sick and the elderly they talk about means testing, a “something for nothing” society, taking away free bus passes, free prescriptions, as they  also attempt to inflict the woes caused by their profligate government on to the defenceless.  The ghost of  Keir Hardie is shocked.

Of course, as soon as the SNP won the election in 2007  and formed the Scottish Government, the money from the Treasury started getting cut;  Labour and their Liberal toadies had milked the system for as much as they could get, and when the Labour ringmaster cracked the whip they jumped.  Once the money tap was turned off they bleated and blamed it all on the SNP!

Virtually all of the ills that have befallen the SNP government have been caused by a lack of  public money due to the massive profligacy and mismanagement of Labour, with the Tories, aided by their Liberal toadies (them again) gratified to bring in swingeing cuts, looking pious and saying they have no option.
Next year Scotland will have the chance to be free to make its own decisions and priorities.  A Yes vote will transform Scotland – a No vote will condemn it.