Changing landscape

A week or two back I had occasion to go to St John’s Hospital in Livingston; as they had warned about problems with parking I opted for the bus.  As such I had ample time to note all the towns and villages along the route, many of which had become familiar during the Livingston by election a few years back. That by election was caused by the death of Robin Cook, and Labour put up Jim Devine who had been Robin Cook’s election agent; he was not prominent in the campaign as I recall as Labour tried to hide him from view, and we were very conscious we were fighting the ghost of Robin Cook.


Angela Constance was the SNP candidate and I for one was happy with the campaign we ran.  Allison Hunter was in charge of the campaign and it was very professional.  I enjoyed it and was impressed; Jim Devine was elected for Labour and disgraced himself and the Labour Party, which held the seat.


My musing took me back over many of the by elections I had been involved in over the years, Dunfermline for Westminster where the appearance of Charles Kennedy was an indication that the Liberals could take the seat, which they did, and then Dunfermline for the Scottish Parliament when the SNP was defending after Bill Walker had to resign.  I did not enjoy either of these by elections.  One other by election which made me shudder was Berwick & East Lothian after John P Mackintosh died.  I was also reminiscing about various Glasgow seats, Dundee, Perth, Glenrothes, all unhappy memories.


Now all these seats I had worked in over the years are SNP seats, won in a tremendous victory for the SNP this year, an achievement I would never have believed was possible.  To be fair, I have never been to Orkney and Shetland, and have no recollection of any campaign in Edinburgh South.  The SNP now hold 56 of the 59 Westminster seats; this added to the overall majority we had in the Scottish Election in May 2011, must have the alarm bells ringing in the establishment, but they just calmly ignore the people of Scotland.  One day they might notice the landscape has changed – too late.


The ancient Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times” now applies to the Unionists.


London Calling

londonThis is the title of the book, sub titled “How the BBC stole the Referendum” which I have just finished reading.  I got it through Newsnet Scotland, and it is written by G A Ponsonby, who obtained most of the material from his time with Newsnet Scotland.


On the back cover Derek Bateman has written “Searing scrutiny of the BBC’s role in the referendum – forensic, unforgiving and uncomfortable commentary in an institution that let the nation down”.


It is meticulously researched and detailed, and I recall many of the episodes if not all.  The cabal of Better Together, the British print media – some of them masquerading as Scots, and the BBC are shown up in all their tawdry finery.


It should be required reading as to how that dishonourable crew slewed and obscured the Yes campaign, and Alex Salmond in particular, and they will be ready to do that again as we approach another referendum.


There will be no hiding place for them this time.


Mundane Mundell

The current Secretary of State for Scotland was no doubt appointed because he had great experience of local government affairs having been an SDP councillor at one stage.  He also served in the Scottish Parliament before he decided to go to Westminster where the workload is easier and the expenses greater.

So was his wide experience why Mr Cameron appointed him as Scottish Secretary – silly me – he was the only Tory MP in Scotland.  We are still waiting on his predecessor to fall on his sword.


Re the latter, word is his case may cost around £250,000 and while the government have eschewed any picking up of the tab, the Liberals have made no comment, but think, if he is left to pay his own bill it could bankrupt him – and a bankrupt can not be a Member of the Westminster Parliament.  Hobson’s choice. His successor is manfully fighting off a Freedom of Information order about who the offending memo was passed to.  Self preservation anyone?



Full Fiscal Autonomy

Mr Mundell keeps banging on about how Full Fiscal Autonomy would be a disaster for Scotland and firmly resisting passing more powers to the Scottish Parliament.  He pleads that he is very concerned at the effect on Scotland, but if Scotland is such a disaster area why is he so keen, passionate indeed, if that word could be applied to him, to retain Scotland in the UK?


Barely concealed sub text here, the Treasury needs the money from oil and gas and is absolutely determined not to give an inch.  I am reminded of one comment from 1707 – “We have cotched Scotland and will not let her go”.


The creation of a Scottish Parliament, its stuttering start, then real changes being made after the election of an SNP Government showed the advances and improvements that could be made without the dead hand of Westminster holding us back.


That is what really scares them.



In or out

Headlines this morning about Mr George Osborne warning of disaster if Greece exits the European Union.  He seems about as hysterical as old Etonians are allowed to get.  The last time he showed this tendency was at the time of the Scottish Referendum where he promised (falsely), cajoled, threatened even, the dire consequences of Scotland leaving the Union.


I am quite sure that he sees no contradiction in a referendum for Britain to leave the European Union which is his government’s policy – no word of chaos and disaster occasioned by that threat – wonder why that is?


Or is it just the Tory arrogance   that they know better.

1 Comment

  1. Greece, the negative propaganda heaped upon the Greek people by those inside and out side Greece that voting ‘No’ will led to disaster. Unfortunately for Greece these scare tactics may, like they did in the Scottish referendum take the day. Seems that the leaders in Europe would rather see the Greek government out of power and replaced with the very people that caused their financial problems in the first place, so protecting the German bank. Only 10% of all money loaned to Greece was spent in Greece the remainder went back to the banks in loan repayments, (received after the 2008 bank crisis). Now they wish the Greek people to hand over all their assets at 10 cents on the dollar. And after Greece, where next, Portugal, Ireland, France?

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