Sunday, 13 July 2014

Glasgow Airport Rail Link


 It is unfortunate that plans for the Glasgow Airport Rail link seem to be back on the agenda. We have made our reservations on these proposals clear on many occasions but would like to take this opportunity to once again look at the problems associated with this scheme.

We fully understand that the scheme would create many jobs both in the construction phase and in the enhanced passenger throughput for the airport, but construction firms tend to use their own on-book skilled labour force so we believe that the benefit to the people of Renfrewshire would be minimal. In return Renfrewshire would suffer all of the social, environmental and economic costs involved in making sure that travellers from Glasgow can get to their flights without ever having to set foot in Renfrewshire. It makes little sense. We also believe that the rail link would be vastly uneconomic unless heavily subsidised in its day-to-day operation and we are unsure what contribution the airport authorities would make towards both the construction and the running of this service designed to enhance the profitability of the airport.

We believe that if such a project has to go ahead, and we are not convinced that it must, especially when every environmental group is campaigning to reduce air travel, then there has to be a radical re-think of the whole thing from the bottom up. It is our belief that any proposed new line should go from Glasgow to Braehead, increasing the footfall to that centre which seems to be a priority for Renfrewshire Council. The line should proceed from there to Renfrew, which would increase the access infrastructure of the largest town in Scotland without a railway station and enhance the economic activity and employment in that area. It should then enter the airport from the Inchinnan end.

This would mean that all of the prospective jobs in construction and in the airport would be maintained and would be of some benefit to Renfrewshire and its people. It would also make the line more useful and might, through increased use, reduce the need for public subsidy.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Reaction Formation and Councillor Terry Kelly


Reaction formation is believed to occur when someone finds an idea in themselves so especially threatening that they deal with it by enthusiastically embracing its opposite, and so it is with the New Labour Party and Socialism.
The stand-out in this field is Councillor Terry (TKMax) Kelly of Renfrewshire District. There is a strong suspicion that Councillor Kelly is a closet Socialist, despite his support for Blair's Government, his support of the selling off of council housing to a private limited company and his latest aberration, the stigmatising of a foodbank user who dared to criticise the policies of the Cameron government. Still, on his blog, he claims to be a socialist. How can this be ?
The councillor runs the most vile, hate-filled blog it has been my misfortune to read. It is filled with spiteful venom and really obnoxious, and often has a special place for the Socialists. But Terry claims to be a socialist and although I do not know him personally, I'm told by those who do that he's 'ok'. So it's difficult to believe that a vile hate-filled, spiteful, venomous, obnoxious person could charm the voters, could they ? Unless they were modelled on Blair. I believe the explanation is that Terry is reacting to his own shame at allowing his own Socialism to be sold down the river for a place at the council table and a pay of around £460 per week. But he says he's a socialist and how could anyone think one of Tony Blair's New Labour people would tell a lie ? I mean, I'm sure that if they live long enough, maybe four or five hundred years, Tony Robinson and the Time Team will find those weapons of mass destruction, right ?
So he embraces all of the Tory policies with enthusiasm, attacking foodbank users, manipulating Renfrewshire's assets for tax avoidance and promoting big business at the Braehead Shopping Development. He gets into bed with Cameron's Tories to fight against independence with more vitriol than the Tories themselves. Nothing is too right wing for Terry, because we believe he has to do it to cover up his embarrassment and shame at having sold his Socialism for a paltry portion of silver and a small sliver of power. Ashamed of his own cowardice he has to try to be a bully, but he's not scary enough. That he has to be obnoxious, and to lose all respect among decent people is a very small price to pay when you have already committed the major act of betrayal of your community and working class heritage, and you can always pass off anger at yourself as strong commitment to principle if you are loud enough.

And as for the real Socialists, he hates us worst, because we are a constant reminder to him of his shame and betrayal. We are the open sore that just wont heal, we wont go away no matter what he does. We haunt him like a bad dream of what he believes but dare not admit because were he to come out of the closet as a socialist by action rather than just words then his leader, Councillor McMillan, would dispense with the services of his court jester as quickly as you can say Gulf War, and then he's off the gravy train.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

The Tories and the Great Pension Release Stunt


I've been thinking long and hard about the release of pension funds that the Tories announced in the budget. It's unlike the Tories to trust working people with large sums of money when they could leave it in the hands of their fat cat cronies in the City to continue to rip us off with fees and charges on money that's locked into their wallets. What, I ask myself, could the motive be ? Well, I'm no Robert Peston but I can tell you what I think.

The Tories are in trouble. Not economic trouble, with the support of the Lib Dems they have the brass neck to screw the poor to bail them out of that. They are in political trouble. One of the problems that all governments face is that the economic cycle lasts for about 8 years, despite Gordon Brown thinking you can abolish boom and bust. That's just the way it is, You can stretch it or shorten it but not by much. But the parliamentary cycle only lasts for 5 years. If you come into government at the wrong time you are in political trouble come the next election.

Osborne came into government at the start of the downturn and 4 years later he has an upturn. Exactly as anyone who knows about these things would have predicted irrespective of any government action. But growth is very weak and the brakes he put on the economy by restricting the incomes of those who have to spend 100 % of their income every week means that consumption, which fuels growth, can't accelerate the economy to the extent that real cost of living issues will have been solved by the next election. Basically the upturn will be too slow for voters to feel better off by the time they go to the polls.

Now if you're a Tory chancellor then you can't just go giving money to poor people who will spend it, so traditionally, to pump up growth by consumption he would resort to fiscal easing, or as it is better known, printing money. But that's been tried and the ailing banks just kept the money to shore up their ailing balance sheets. It didn't make its way into the consumption side of the economy so the effects of the multiplier weren't produced. I suppose I should really try to explain the multiplier but it's complicated. So imagine you have £100 and put down a 10% deposit on a piece of furniture. You can produce £1000 of consumption from £100 of cash. That'll do as an explanation for the moment I think.

In any case, another round of printing money would have a very bad effect on the UK credit rating. It's already under severe threat, so as an option, that would have to be a last resort. So in the pragmatic way that the Tories always adopt in a crisis he has looked around to see who has money he can get his hands on. Releasing the pension handcuffs will produce significant tax revenue in the year of the election but it will have the added, and perhaps more important effect of injecting massive consumption into the economy. The effect on inflation he can brazen out because inflation is starting from a very low base, and a bit of inflation in the system will help consumption as well. People will be more inclined to buy now if they think things will be more expensive in the near future, and it is obvious that a lot of the released pension money will be spent, bringing into play the multiplier. And a lot will go into 'buy-to-let' property fuelling a house price boom and there's nothing like your property value rising to bring UKIP voters back onside. It'll be a price bubble of course, but as we all know, in a price bubble it's only the last fool in the chain who suffers, but it might not burst before the election.


So this act of generosity to workers by the most elitist chancellor in living memory is, as far as I can see, no more than a political stunt to try to get the Tories back into power with a majority government at the next election, and if they have to wreck the pensions industry to do it then so be it. Thatcher did it with the coal industry for the same reasons, but the miners were the enemy. Osborne is so desperate he will do it to his friends. He's in real trouble and his generosity is no more or less than a very destructive election stunt. There were many other better ways to act against the rip off artists of the pension industry, but they wouldn't have been quite so politically expedient.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Scottish Independence. A Guide for My Friends Down South


We need to talk. If we're going to divorce then there needs to be an orderly transition. But some of my English friends don't seem to grasp the fundamentals, so I'm going to try to explain why Scotland has to vote 'Yes' in the upcoming referendum and hope that they will understand and support us.

It has nothing to do with hating the English. They've been our neighbours since before time was measured and we live in harmony with them most of the time, but we're different. The real problem is that my English friends can only see me through English glasses. They ascribe to a completely different, a fundamentally different set of norms and values to those that prevail north of the border and it affects their vision as my life experience shapes mine.

English kids are brought up with heroes who represent State and Empire. From Drake, Nelson and Kipling to Churchill, the Union Jack and the Royal Family, a sense of Englishness is rooted deep within them from their early years. They ingest it with their mother's milk and it lasts all of their lives. State and Empire are so deeply rooted that when Scotland becomes independent it might be the first country to become independent of Westminster without a shot being fired. No doubt someone wiser will correct me.

But Scots kids learn about missionaries like Livingstone and Park who, while deeply involved in expanding the Empire in reality, are presented as spreading Christian values in savage worlds. Their heroes are Helen Crawfurd, John Mclean, Willie Gallacher, Jimmy Reid, Mick McGaghey and others who led ordinary people in a struggle against the state to improve the lives of people. (It's just occurred to me that many of my English friends will never have heard of Helen Crawfurd. She stood with the women of Glasgow when they defied the English tanks in George Square in Glasgow in 1919. But it probably didn't make the papers down there). But back to the point, Scots kids are taught that if they have good luck it is a gift given to them so that they can improve the lives of others as well as their own. It's a universal duty of care and share taught to our kids, which doesn't always last forever but is sufficiently deep rooted to make us different. I know that this view is controversial, but please don't tell me an anecdote about a Scot you met who didn't ascribe to these values, I know as many of them as you do, and there are many. But producing an anecdote and trying to pretend that it overwhelms a mass of solid statistical evidence as presented in social attitude surveys is a particularly Tory strategy which might fool Sun readers but is really quite shallow. If I deserve abuse then I'm sure I deserve a better standard of abuse than that.

In Scotland we try to be a more compassionate, caring set of people. Put on one side all of the debate over how much money we get from the Barnett formula. That can be interpreted by either side to get the result they want. Instead look at how we spend the money we get. It is used in the main to improve our society as a whole, to improve the lives of those who need it, students, the disabled, the elderly and others who in England are regarded as a drain on the economy, as welfare junkies.

Look at the social attitude surveys and year after year you will see that we have completely different aspirations for our society from those that prevail down south. We integrate our immigrants to the point that they don't ghettoise themselves, they become part of our society recognising that our national social values are those to which all caring people can aspire. I know that in England they feel excluded in the same way as Scots often do. We don't always understand your ways just as much as you don't always understand ours. Kindness to strangers is an inherent part of our national character.

My English friends believe that the economy will be the deciding factor in the referendum, but they couldn't be more wrong. The economy and the currency come only half way up the crucial factors according to respectable independent polling. It's really more about the psyche of the Scots people. We're different by choice. It's a set of values instilled in us from childhood. And it's not something we want to change. We want our children to have those same values when they grow up. We don't aspire for them to be rich, only to be comfortable and free of the worry of daily financial struggle. That means a welfare system that provides not just a safety net but a platform, it shouldn't be the miserable existence some would wish on them should they fall upon hard times. That's a sacrifice Scots taxpayers are prepared to make which English taxpayers seem to resent very deeply. We don't want to fund a clinging to the last vestiges of Empire by maintaining a grossly over-large military and a nuclear capability which impresses nobody in the world, but allows us to intervene in all sorts of foreign wars so we can claim a seat at the big table. We'd rather have peace and eat with the staff.

I don't blame my English friends for not understanding all of this. They can't possibly understand because their whole lives has been dominated by the values of the society they were reared in just as mine has. Their views of Scotland have been peddled to them by a right wing media because they recognise that the social values we have in Scotland are a danger to the obscene wealth of their owners. So they have been fed stories of whingeing Jocks and subsidy junkies to the point where they really believe it. They have been encouraged to believe that our much valued social housing is an affront to their property values. Housing for them is sold as a competitive sport hence the ludicrous concept of a housing ladder that leaves their kids homeless or burdened with debt. We fight hard for our social housing but our views have been suppressed and ignored by various Governments and media consisting of Tories of all shades.

And the bottom line is this. If Jesus Christ himself came up to encourage us to vote 'No' in the referendum then I would guarantee that if he had an English accent then he would be sent homewards to think again and the 'Yes' vote would increase. We just wont be told that irrespective of whether we vote Yes or No, if Cameron doesn't like it then we are stuck in the status quo. We wont be told that the pound is non-negotiable. If the pound is strong then we have suffered the hard work and austerity that has made it strong along with our English cousins. We have made a proportionate contribution to its strength, so we wont be treated like that … not any more. We're not a colony of the Empire and we wont be talked down to or partonised any more.

The economics are important but not crucial or anything like as important as the English politicians think they are. It's all about pride. There's a feeling abroad in Scotland that it's our time, our opportunity to build the kind of society we want for ourselves without the English Government that we didn't elect coming along every five years with the wrecking ball and setting us back on our heels again.


So I hope my friends down south can understand that it's not about dislike or malice, it's only about difference. You have your way and we have ours, for better or worse, completely and incommensurable paradigms, and if you can't help us in our hopes then at least don't hinder us. We can do this on our own but we can do it so much more easily with your co-operation, and you would end up with a very good friend and neighbour, and you never know when you'll need a friend.  

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Leveson and Regulation of the Press



The press are still at it. Wittering on about how important they are to a free democratic society as if anyone still believed anything they read in the papers. I've got some news for them. We are increasingly getting our news from the internet and social media. But they still go on in their precious way about being the guardians of freedom despite being controlled, as I've said before by a few self important families or individuals. About the only things they are really good for is telling us what all the other media told us yesterday, mopping up large spillages and training puppies where and where not to piss.

If the press are so important in holding governments to account then that is really a case for giving them fewer powers, because they have usurped the role of democracy and the democratic process. Governments should be being held to account by the democratic process and if the press are doing that job then it is surely the democratic process which needs to be more powerful and not the press.

And when it comes to holding institutions to account, where were the press during the phone hacking that went on for years until it eventually had to come to the surface because it jeopardised a murder investigation? Many of the papers did it and most of them knew. Where was the holding to account when it came to holding their own to account? Criminal conduct was ignored because knowing which celebrity was kissing which other celebrity was clearly in the public interest, or so they would have us believe. Going through pop stars' bins was vital to uncovering … I'm not sure what.

But I've never seen a 'kiss and tell' story published by a newspaper, even a 'quality' newspaper, exposing the peccadilloes of the proprietor or editor of another paper. They must all be real paragons of virtue. But they all knew about Robert Maxwell's conduct and published not a sniff of it until he died falling off a luxury yacht and the workers, as usual, were left without a pension. Where was the holding to account? As I said, they all knew.

Just as they all knew about the systematic corruption of police and other public officials by many newspapers, but said not a word until it all came crashing down around their ears at Leveson. Where was the holding to account when it came to their own? Nowhere in sight, that's where.


So I say again, I'd rather governments were held to account by people I have elected to do the job rather than a troop of Tory 'grandees' wielding more power than they should have and exercising it in their own interests. They want to be above the law and not have their conduct regulated by law. But they have had many opportunities to put their house in order and they are being offered what should be their last chance to act responsibly. They should be told, 'Take it or leave it', and if they won't commit to behaving responsibly and having an oversight body which regulates that behaviour, then there should be legislation to make sure they do. It will take a 60% vote in both houses of Parliament and in the Scottish Parliament to change the deal they are being offered, and to be honest, if all of that lot agrees you're no good then chances are you're bloody awful. They should sign up, and sign up right now.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Leveson and a Free Press


I see that a lot of press people are unhappy with the regulation proposals following on from the Leveson Enquiry so let me throw in my tuppence worth.

We all support a free press, but the fact of the matter is that the United Kingdom hasn't had a free press for many years. It has always been totally under the control of a few powerful families who exercise that control in a completely scurrilous way. They have absolutely no problem in publishing half truths and complete falsehoods to the ruination of peoples' lives and for the sake of, and in the name of, something that will be wrapping a fish supper tomorrow. Provided always that it makes them money.

They are completely undemocratic, setting the agenda that their masters want and even claiming to decide who governs the country, if we are to believe the 'Sun wot won it' headlines. And who wouldn't believe the Sun.

All that is asked of them is that they stay within the law and tell the truth. Is that so very difficult for them. Those are the same rules that the rest of a free society seems to have few problems with. But they want to be completely outwith the law, they want to ride roughshod over everyone else's rights not to be defamed because they know that few if any ordinary people can afford to go to law against them.



So however distasteful, it has become necessary to rein their excesses, and it is only their excesses that are being restricted, because if we don't exercise some sort of democratic control over law-breakers and corrupters in the press and everywhere else then we risk losing democracy itself. But perhaps that is the ultimate objective of the press barons. They want to exercise that ultimate power that ordinary people having a right to vote denies them.

Royal Mail Privatisation

Any good neo-liberal economist will tell you that the value of anything is simply what someone else is prepared to pay for it.

So as the shares of the Royal Mail go on sale today we can know exactly what they were worth using the preferred theory of value of Cameron and his hedge fund and banker pals.  And knowing what they were worth and knowing what they were sold for it is easy to see that this was a major robbery of the taxpayer to benefit the already discredited financial system of the City of London.

And the saddest part is that it is ordinary working people who will have to fork out the difference in the form of cuts to schools, hospitals and other public services which could have been funded by that difference.  It's a bloody disgrace and an affront to all of the people who already dug deep to bail out the banks.

This was our Royal Mail and come independence it will be again. I only hope that our government, once we grasp the thistle, has the balls to take our share of it back into public ownership with minimal compensation for the greedy pigs who stole it.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Horse-Racing on Good Friday and the Christian Churches.

I'm not a Christian, nor am I a particular fan of horse-racing but I am a fan of quirky traditions. It is, therefore, with some regret that I heard on the radio today that the powers that be are to consider having horse-racing on Good Friday.

Good Friday has always been a no racing date in the racing calendar.  This was out of respect for the Christians and was intended to commemorate the soldiers gambling for the clothes of Christ at the foot of the cross.

I think this proposal should be resisted (even by us old atheists).  I know it's a bit quaint in today's climate of profit maximisation but there's nothing much wrong with being a bit quaint and quirky now and then.

Syria and the Crown Prerogative

It seems I was wrong in my last musings and we are not to go to war in Syria, a bloody good thing if you ask me. But there are other really beneficial outcomes from Big Dave Cameron's major parliamentary blunder. The power of the Prime Minister now and in the future has been seriously undermined, as has the power of the Crown prerogative, because unless I'm seriously mistaken, (which has been known to happen), it will be virtually impossible now for the Government to exercise the Crown prerogative to take us unwilling into a foreign war without the consent of Parliament.

I'm very happy that, at long last, the back benches have found a bit of backbone and that they are starting, in some small way, to represent the views of the people who elected them to do just that.  Long may it continue.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Syria, Scotland and the UK Government

As Parliament sits today in emergency session to discuss the merits of military intervention in Syria subject to confirmation that chemical weapons have been used, I hope they will consider the matter with some gravity. The usual response that we must back up our American allies isn't good enough. There is no doubt about the response of France. They are completely gung ho because they desperately need influence in the middle east because their oil leases in Libya are in the pocket of a jacket that's hanging on a very shaky nail.

One approach might be to consider that if we intervene militarily then the lives of some of our people will be lost. That is inevitable, whether it be in the theatre of war or at home when the Syrian people exact their revenge by terror attacks in the UK. But our troops or our civilians will die one way or another as a result.

Cameron and his crew may well consider that this is a price worth paying, so I urge them to consider, if by killing your children you could put an end to chemical warfare, would you kill them. or perhaps it is only a price worth paying if you are not the one who has to pay. Someone else's children will pay the price for your global ambitions, because all of this chemical warfare talk is nonsense, there are no nice ways to be killed. But the Eton / Sandhurst ethos doesn't care about that. They will sacrifice other people's children in the interests of empire without a second thought. That's what all of their training is designed to do. Those who do not belong to the elites are sub-human as far as they are concerned and unworthy of the same consideration they give their own children.

This is all about being seen to be a global power. There doesn't seem to be the same moral imperative on Denmark or Norway or a host of other countries to throw away the lives of their people to retain global influence. It's about English imperial ambitions, and not even all of England, only London and the south east. The rest of the U.K. are firmly against any intervention.  But the Joint Intelligence Committee will produce a review of the intelligence. The last one acquired the title 'the dodgy dossier' because they are so politically motivated that a neutral review of the facts is almost impossible. And off to war we'll go again.

But Scotland can opt out of those global ambitions and try to be a country that lives at peace with its neighbours. Scottish soldiers have been at war virtually unbroken somewhere in the world for the best part of 100 years, and what have we to show for it. The massive wealth of the U.K. has agglomerated into the south east and we have been forced by the money, our money, wasted chasing dreams of empire into poverty for which we are now condemned.

It doesn't have to be that way. There is a referendum on independence coming up and if we only have the courage to grasp the thistle it could be very different. It's time to say, 'enough', keep Scottish troops out of foreign wars, and call a halt to Westminster rule.


Thursday, 15 August 2013

Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Tories Discover Where That Is

It's nice that the Tories in Westminster seem to have discovered that you can travel north of Carlisle without falling off the end of the world, and that Big Dave Cameron has offered his services to help out the tartan Tories of the SNP with the organisation of the Commonwealth Games. No doubt he'll fly in, meet a few millionaires, and fly out the same day. You wont find him hanging around to see the misery and devastation he's causing in Glasgow and elsewhere.

But just to remind him that Scotland has twice as many Giant Pandas as Tory M.P.s (and you can't say that often enough) and with any luck it'll soon be three times as many if the zoo gets it right.  So here's hoping for one more Giant panda and one less Tory M.P.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Diageo : There's Right Good Money in Butchery

Diageo former boss Paul Walsh 'earned' 14.8 million pounds in his final year with the company. No doubt he deserved every penny of it. He effected efficiencies that pushed up the share price and the shareholder returns by more than anyone ever imagined during his term of office. Of course Diageo wont pick up the bill for the social damage that it's products will cause, because Johnnie Walker and Bells whisky and Guinness are big brands internationally and generate lots of profit for the City. You and I will pick up the bill for that in the same way as the people of Kilmarnock were dumped from his organisation to shrink the cost base and increase the profits of the group.

Remind me again how we're all in this together. I can't quite get my head round that part where the seventh richest country in the world is really bankrupt and has to tax the sick to make ends meet and use foodbanks to feed hungry children.

Perhaps Paul Walsh could put his hand in his pocket and help out, but I doubt it.
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Beau Derek Mackay M.P. and the Payday Lenders

It's good to see that Beau Derek Mackay has decided to speak out against payday lenders in the Paisley Daily Express today. But we have to ask, 'Why so late, Beau?'  Renfrewshire branch of the Scottish Socialist Party were protesting in the streets a fortnight ago and we didn't see you around. It's not like the SNP to miss a passing bandwagon. Maybe it's just that you don't really want to show your face in the streets of Paisley after the performance of the SNP when they were in control of the Council. Not that Tony Blair's New Labour seem to be doing any better.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Global Cities and Regional Crises. London and Scottish independence

London is a Global City. With New York and Tokyo it is one of the top ranked global cities of the world. At a lower level we probably have Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Paris and a few others. Decisions, social, cultural, political and, especially, economic taken in top global cities are truly global in their effects. They house the real levers of international power.

Having a global city as its capital can bring massive economic benefits to a country in terms of international trade and in attracting international investment and events, and looking in particular at London it is clear that the power of the global city contributes massively to the economic growth and performance of the economy of the United Kingdom. The City of London generates enormous wealth and its contribution to the U.K.'s Gross National Product cannot be overstated.

This means that in national terms the U.K. can be seen as one of the richest countries in the world despite its relative lack of geographic area. It can, and does, demand a seat on the United Nations security council and a variety of other world institutions. Having a successful global city as its capital helps the U.K. punch well above its weight in the world. The result of that is that the U.K. has to fulfil a role in world events and that means becoming involved on a regular basis in the internal affairs of other nations as an international policeman or 'peacekeeper' or some other modern type of colonialism in order to maintain its position as a global power led by a global city.

The real problem, however, of having a global city as the capital city of the U.K. is that, although global cities reside geographically in the countries that they lead, they exist more in another notional country where the only relationships which matter are those relationships with other global cities. Rather than being involved with other parts of the country London has a stronger relationship with New York and Tokyo than it has with Glasgow or Sheffield, Newcastle or Birmingham. Trillions of Dollars are sent whizzing around the globe in milliseconds between London, Tokyo and New York to generate wealth for those cities, but very little of that wealth finds its way out of those cities and into the real wealth creating areas of their respective countries. They are like black holes sucking in wealth and power of which practically none escapes further than the distance of the daily commute to the institutions of wealth and power.

So we end up with travesties like the London Olympics where billions of pounds were raised from the whole country from taxation and lottery funding and poured into the most affluent area of the country. The billions of pounds of returns which we were led to expect, if it eventually materialises will remain with the south east of the country. It will not escape back into the economy of the whole U.K. but it will be traded with New York and Tokyo to generate more wealth for the global city.
Similarly, the high speed rail project which is supposed to increase the flow of wealth to the north will only serve to suck wealth and investment into London, because given the choice, and if it is within easy travelling distance, business in search of higher profits will not re-locate out of a global city, it will re-locate to where the money and the market is. The cities of Manchester and Birmingham are in danger of becoming dormitories for workers who service the bee hive but can no longer afford to live in London.

It ends up in a situation where the south east of the country, in relative affluence, have little or no real understanding of the problems and situation of the other regions. They fail to see the problem because they don't have the problem of poverty and deprivation experienced by those unfortunate enough to live north of the Watford Gap. London has 281,000 millionaires (and it's been said that one in seventeen Londoners is a Dollar millionaire) while 34% of Glasgow primary school children receive free school meals and that tells its own story.

The conclusion is reasonably clear. Scotland would not be deprived of the wonderful economic benefits of the U.K. in the event of independence. They receive very little of the benefit of the sparkling economic performance of the economy of the south east at present and there is no real reason to believe that the black hole of the global city of London will surrender up any of its wealth any time in the near future. That's not how global cities work. Global cities make nothing but money. They trade currency back and forward between themselves and believe that the value of their currency assets is the price the last person paid for them. Until the bubble bursts and the last fool in the chain has to come cap in hand to the rest of the country to bail them out by increasing tax (but never on the rich) and cutting benefits for the vulnerable they have created.

Global cities are only good for themselves and other global cities. For the rest of the country that they occupy geographically they are a curse. A real economy can only be sustained in the long term by real people producing real goods and services in the real world, not in the cyber-world of the global city.

The other regions of England can do little about it because as soon as their representatives are elected into position they are absorbed into the London Parliament and sucked into the black hole to become part of the grand conspiracy. But Scotland can escape, so I'll take my chance on government from Edinburgh.



Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Scottish Independence Referendum and the Westminster Parliament


I speak here for no-one but myself as usual.
I’ve been thinking long and hard about some of the questions raised by Westminster about the future of Scotland after the Independence Referendum, so let me try to give an answer to the Westminster Parliament to some of the key issues e.g
Will we join the European Union ?.
Will we join the Euro ?
Will we join Nato ?
Will we have our own currency or piggy-back on another?
Will we retain the Queen as head of state ? … and,
What will we do about an army ?
My answer is that it’s none of your bloody business. These are matters that will be decided by the people of Scotland after we are independent.  You will not bind us in advance to policies of your choosing. You are no longer our big brother looking after us and making sure we act in the best interests of the English parliament, we will not submit to your oversight and we will no longer answer to you on matters that are no concern of yours. Independence will be just what it says on the tin.
The political parties of Scotland will have an election and each will, no doubt, propose a different raft of policies, just as you do at Westminster, and for you to try to insist that a common raft of the most fundamental policies must be agreed in advance between all of the parties is supremely arrogant. These decisions are for the people of Scotland and for them alone. They may well have consequences for the rump of the UK but that should affect our decisions no more than the effect on the UK moderates the policies of your other neighbours such as France or Germany i.e. not at all.
So please stop interfering. You have many bigger problems which are much more demanding of your attentions, such as filling in your expenses.

Wimbledon and the Other Class


In Ferguslie Park, Paisley yesterday …. The kids have a rope tied to a lamp post and the other end to a shopping trolley across the street. The Umpire is sitting in the shopping trolley and as cars approach he pulls himself along the fence so as to drop the ‘net’ and let the cars pass. Then he hauls himself back shouting ‘play a let’. I don't know if it’s actually covered in the LTA rule book but it obviously works for the kids.

And that’s what will make this country great again. Not individual achievement by elite individuals, but the teamwork, innovation and imagination of working class kids in housing schemes all over Scotland just waiting for that fair chance to shine that we hope independence will bring.

The Scottish socialist Party is the only Scottish party that can unleash the power and potential buried in the housing schemes of our country. The major parties and other elites are terrified that we realise what we have.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

David Beckham and the 2012 London Olympics

I'm sure we all know the feeling. Sometimes something just gets under your skin and you can't get rid of it. It doesn't matter that it might be quite trivial in the grand scheme of things, it just goes on irritating whenever it pops into your head, and this post is designed to get it off my chest, because it has to be said. 

I know I should be condemning the extravagance of capitalism and the unethical behaviour of the sponsors. I should be going on about 'bread and circuses' like the old lefty I am, but the 2012 London Olympics were a spectacular. An unmitigated success. I watched every second of both the main games and the paralympics whenever I could, and I loved every minute of them.

But one thing stuck in my throat. We all saw the way David Beckham worked to bring these games to London, and the fact that a place in the football squad could not be found for him was an absolute disgrace. As a Scot, I'm no Beckham fan, but it's a matter of dignity. The Team GB football selectors put winning before fairness and attacked Beckham's dignity. He should have been the first name in the squad, that would have been the Olympian thing to do, and I've no doubt he must have felt very humiliated. He didn't deserve that. 

I would have raised hell, but to his credit, Beckham retained and enhanced his dignity by working tirelessly throughout the games, proving that not only is he a much better man than I am, he is a much bigger and better man that those who tried to humiliate him by their lack of common decency. You just don't do that to people no matter what, and Beckham proved what a man he is.

Those people are not fit to clean Beckham's boots, at least his right one (because everyone knows he hasn't got a left foot).

Sorry about the last bit, but I'm still a Scot, and I promise never to say anything nice about an England player again.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Tommy sheridan (or who framed Rampant Rabbit)

These are my opinions, nobody else's. As I have stated previously I am a member of a political party, but I hold no elected position in that party nor have I ever stood for any, and do not in any way speak for or on behalf of that party. Only for myself.

The sentencing of Tommy Sheridan today brings to an end a sad chapter for the left in Scotland. It is well detailed elsewhere but to sum it up Sheridan got himself involved in a sleazy lifestyle. Not that uncommon, but he got caught. He tried to turn the tables and obtain for himself £200,000 by lies and deception and when honest people wouldn't back him up he labelled them liars and scabs. He demanded that comrades conspire together with him to commit this greedy theft, they refused, and the jury decided. So he goes to jail on a three year sentence and I hope they can give him the help he so obviously needs.

If only it were that simple, but there were those who decided that they would support him and that split the SSP down the middle.

Some of his supporters knew exactly what he was doing because they were present at crucial times. They are the low. A self seeking bunch of liars who should never be allowed anywhere near a socialist again.

Others only knew the Sheridan spin and like many charismatic leaders (Jim Jones springs to mind) he was able to shepherd them along a suicidal path. Those I feel nothing for but sorrow. They got it wrong and they live with the consequences.

But there is another group and in my opinion they are the lowest. They are the ones from other parts of the left who said, 'We don't know all the facts so we'll reserve judgement'. They kept their heads down and hid in their bunkers like the cowards they are offering neither words of support nor assistance to those they had worked hand in hand with for years. They may not have known all of the facts, but they knew all of the people, and if when the words 'Scab' and 'Liar' were being thrown around by Sheridan they could not identify the lie then they are not fit to be making judgements on behalf of the working class. They knew all of the people involved and still chose Sheridan to be a candidate to run for election. They knew he was a liar and that the people he had insulted in the worst way were no scabs, but they chose personality over integrity. They thought they saw a short cut to socialism via personality politics, but that is a house built on sand, and we can now see clearly that socialism is built by hard work and not headlines. They embraced a model of personality led socialism that is now seen to be a failed and discredited model. So don't come to me preaching left unity, please. I want nothing to do with the SWP, TUSC, CWI or anyone else with a catchy set of initials. They are only passing through, like Galloway, and their loyalties lie elsewhere. And as for McCrowe. When did come to believe he was the saviour of the Scottish left. Bob, take your 59K plus expenses and go back to wrecking the left across the border. I want nothing to do with you.

The SSP should be fighting for a united left. We should be fighting to unite ourselves with the people who have lost faith in all politics and don't vote any more. We should be fighting to unite ourselves with good honest trade unionists and others who believe in justice, integrity and honesty, often despite their leadership. We should be uniting ourselves with the poor and the soon to be poor and fighting the upcoming war on their behalf. But we should not be sucked into alliances with the cowards who hid themselves away. They are beneath contempt.

There are no short cuts.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Allan Armstrong Speaks on Scottish Republicanism

Renfrewshire Scottish Socialist Party are hosting an open meeting on Tuesday 8th June 2010. Long time republican campaigner Allan Armstrong will be the guest of the branch to discuss the idea of an independent socialist republic for Scotland's future. All members and any others with an interest are invited to this open meeting at 7.30 pm in Paisley Grammar where they can find out more about the republican concept and about the other policies of the Scottish Socialist Party.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Israeli Stormtroopers and the Gaza Convoy

I was speaking to a friend tonight who knows about these things and he assures me that no forces who had spent more than half an hour in training would board a ship from a helicopter down a rappel rope without first clearing their landing area with, at the very least, stun grenades. And these stormtroopers who perpetrated the massacre were supposed to be highly trained marines.

Wouldn't it be nice to see the rest of the unreleased footage of the boarding video ?

And what the f*ck were the paintball guns supposed to be about ?

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Helmand Province Afghanistan and the British Forces

I see that the British Forces in Helmand Province are to have an American commanding officer. Do you think he might be able to stop the gung ho G.I.s from bombing and shooting us ?

Catholic Church and the Child Sex Scandal in Ireland

It appears that the Catholic Church in Ireland is going to conduct a full investigation into the child sexual abuse perpetrated by the clergy in Ireland. The enquiry will be carried out by priests led by an Archbishop (I couldn't believe it either). The clergy in Ireland are a small gossipy elite (Father Ted is funny because it's so true) and if there was a cover up I would bet my debt that priests who didn't know what was going on were the exceptions and very few. What are the Garda, who should be carrying out this investigation doing. Isn't it a criminal offence in Ireland to conceal knowledge of a criminal offence ? Let's see the whole fucking lot of them in court to answer to man, who I think might be a harsher judge in this instance than their God.

Fergie, Duchess of York on Oprah

Well that explains it. She was pissed and not in the right place. Any suggestions as to the right place for the Ginger Whinger and her former in-laws gladly received.

More Israeli Bullshit

Israel are showing off the weapons used against their Stormtroopers by the Gaza Aid activists. It seems that the best they can come up with (on a boat) is a sailors knife with a 3 inch blade. and a few chair legs. Now maybe I'm wrong but I had been led to believe that the Stormtroopers were part of the elite Israeli special forces. So what went wrong ? They still insist that they were justified in their slaughter of these aid workers. They are replaying a video of a fight on the deck of the ship, but with Israel's reputation for forgery and fakery I don't think I'll be believing that until I see the result of a proper independent international enquiry. In the meantime there are about 500 prisoners left to the tender mercies of Israeli torturers (whoops, sorry, sleep deprivation, white noise and water-boarding aren't torture, the Americans said so) including 30 Britons. So what are Lord Snooty Cameron, his fag Clegg and his token working class accent Hague going to do about it? Well, whatever America says, obviously.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Israel and the U.S.A.

It looks as if the land of the free are unwilling to condemn the piracy, kidnap and murder of the aid workers taking humanitarian aid to Gaza. They are spouting their usual condemnation of the Palestinians and completely ignoring the fact that the ships were crewed mainly by Turkish workers. The official line seems to be that fully armed Israeli soldiers in battledress, body armour and steel helmets peacefully landed on these ships full of terrorists armed with clubs and knives and that the terrorists decided it would be a good idea to take them on. Americans always have a very good grasp of bullshit but if they think anyone is going to really believe that then they have lost it completely. They want to continue to support a country which sends death squads into any country it wishes using forged (U.K.) passports killing anyone they take a dislike to. Israel are war criminals, pirates, kidnappers and murderers and the U.S.A. finances the whole thing.
Are you watching Mr. Cameron and your fag Clegg. That's what you call a 'special relationship.

Israel. A Rogue State with Nuclear Weapons.

I'm drawn back to the blog because I've spent the day listening to apologists for the Israeli terrorist state and their continuing holocaust against the Palestinian people. These holocaust deniers seem to believe that they can commit acts of piracy in international waters by boarding peaceful ships with troops of armed-to-the-teeth commandos and killing any who resist or object whether armed or not. They are a disgrace to the international community and the single biggest threat to World peace. Their whole existence is founded on the belief that the Old Testament is a valid title deed and their Government, born out of terrorism, seems determined to starve to death a whole Palestinian nation. If the U.K. and the U.S.A. continue to support this fascist regime in its ethnic cleansing project then they stand to be equally condemned. 'Everybody hates us and we don't care', is a fine slogan for a band of thuggish football supporters, but thuggish countries present a different kind of danger. The fact that the thugs who govern Israel control nuclear weapons presents a clear and present danger to every bordering state, so Israel should become the pariah of the World and be excluded from every international event from the Olympics to the Eurovision Song Contest. My personal boycott of Israeli goods should become U.K. policy, travel restrictions should be placed on all of their Government representatives including trade delegations, and indictments and arrest warrants for those responsible for the latest and earlier atrocities should be issued by the International Court. Embassies should be closed down and all Diplomatic privileges withdrawn immediately from Israeli representatives in other countries and none of these measures should be reversed until Israel has given up its nuclear weaponry and made genuine progress toward a peaceful settlement with its neighbours.

Monday, 22 March 2010

British Airways Strike

British Airways are bullies. They always have been. They tried to bully Virgin in their dirty tricks campaign, they try to bully all of the other airlines with their virtual monopoly of useful landing slots at Heathrow, and they have bullied most of their staff into accepting a reduction in their terms and conditions.

The terms and conditions enjoyed by their cabin crew are a result of having a strong union in Unison, they are not a negative thing, they are to be aspired to by others who have weak unions.
British Airways under the 'leadership ?' of the arch-bully Slick Willie Walsh, who has lots of form in that department, are now trying to bully the cabin crew by threats and intimidation.

If they manage to break the union it will help them to sell off British Airways at a better price and maximise value for their shareholders at the expense of the workers. Under new foreign ownership every member of BA staff will suffer job cuts, a race to the bottom on wages, and new terms and conditions which are substantially lower than they currently enjoy.

The other sticking point in the foreign sale of BA is the pension fund deficit. This is money owed to workers past and present by the owners (shareholders) of BA, and if they can, they will try to walk away from that debt. They will sell off the profitable part of the company abroad and let the rump that remains go under to try to bully the government into taking on the massive pension debt.
This mustn't be allowed to happen. They can't be allowed to give away the silver and leave the debts to the taxpayer, but I suspect that is the plan.

This strike must be won, for all of our sakes, and the unions are trying to save their jobs, not close their company. They have offered concessions and cuts, but nothing less than a completely cowed workforce will suit Slick Willie's plans for a high income, lowest cost base company saleable to the highest bidder so the fat cats can walk away with their pockets stuffed.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

New Scotland Sponsor

I'm informed (reliably?) that by the time Scotland play the Czech Republic in March their new sponsors will be Adidas. It's a real shame we can't still have Umbro. They did our uniforms way back when I was a Boy Scout. But I suppose that's the growth of the superbrands. Do you think it will make them play any better?

Friday, 2 October 2009

Renfrewshire Crime Statistics.

Renfrewshire police reported in the Paisley Daily Express yesterday a significant drop in crime in the area. Unfortunately while we were reading it some enterprising thief at the Sheriff Court went into her chambers and stole the sheriff's handbag. How could you jail someone like that, you'd surely have to make them a Cabinet Minister at least.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

British Aerospace (BAe) and the Serious Fraud Office

The directors of British Aerospace must be shaking in their boots at the news that the Serious Farce Office is to report them to the Director of Public Prosecutions for alleged bribery.

This will possibly end in another dirty little deal and these death merchants will go on just as they always have, peddling arms around the globe by fair means or foul. More likely, however, is that their lawyers will point out to them
  1. that the Serious Fraud Office couldn't catch a cold in an igloo even with their power to suspend the right of silence
  2. even if they do get it to court, the case will collapse because the crown prosecution service are useless at handling complex cases where the nature of capitalism itself is involved
  3. even if someone is convicted, the rich look after their own and they'll do little or no jail time. We only have to look at the case of Ernest Saunders to see that. He is still the only person to make a complete recovery fromAlzheimer's disease
Doesn't it make you proud to be British?

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The Big Clunking Fist and the Super Soaraway Sun

The big news of the day (yawn) is that the super soaraway Sun (so called presumably because all it's fit for is making paper aeroplanes) has decided to withdraw its support from Big Gordy Brown and give it instead to Big Dave (Pilsbury Dough Boy) Cameron. There's a real surprise.

Except, of course, in the Scottish editions for some unknown reason. Perhaps they don't want to lead with the headline in Scotland after the election, 'It Was The Sun Wot Lost It.', because there is as much chance of the Tories doing anything North of the border as there is of us forgetting the Evil Witch Thatcher.

Still, it's good to see that the tabloids are taking a lead from the electorate. This is as shabby an exercise in cynical hypocrisy as it has been my privilege to encounter in a long while. I always thought that the Sun and New Labour were well matched when it came to bullshit, but we now have an outright winner. Well done Murdoch.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

I'm a Luvvie, Get Me Out of Here

More info coming out on Roman 'Paedo' Polanski. His lawyers in Switzerland are trying to get him bail. His new defence, 'It was a long time ago'. Well, it was only a long time ago because he has a history of fleeing to avoid arrest and sentence. Reports on the BBC claim that the US has been trying to get him arrested for some time and he was always tipped-off (by whom?) and changed his travel plans.

It doesn't seem like a good plan to bail him, but as I said before, money talks, and the dialogue has started

Monday, 28 September 2009

The New Labour Project

Has the New Labour Party really learned to love Peter Mandelson or is there a lot of desperation in the standing ovation from the conference? I hope it's just a case of the rats leaving the sinking ship and not the birth of a new found affection for the Prince of Darkness. If it is then it means that the New Labour project is finally complete and we are now a country without even the least semblance of a centre left party. We will be left with the Tories, the New Tories and the Tartan Tories. But what about the Liberal Democrats? Who cares?

Roman Polasnski

In all of the hype over the enforcement of the American arrest warrant on Roman Polanski his media and show biz friends seem to have forgotten to mention at any length that the man is a self confessed paedophile. His excuse that the 13 year old girl he abused was already sexually experienced, far from justifying his crime only makes him the latest in what seems to be a chain of similar abusers. His complaint that he had done a deal with the prosecution and settled for money with the victim so he was justified in fleeing to avoid sentence only makes matters worse. If the judge refused to accept the deal then I have a lot of respect for him, and for the Swiss for eventually doing the right thing.

She was 13, and 'She was up for it' shouldn't be a defence in a civilised society. This pervert should have been jailed then and he should be jailed now, but money talks so I'm not sure he will be, and that would be a disgrace.

Kenny McKaskill, al Megrahi and Lockerbie

My views on the SNP are fairly well known, and in Renfrewshire these crypto-facists under Iron Man McKaskill and his protege Beau Derek Mackay have given us, in addition to the police and the special constables, litter wardens, dog shit wardens, taxi rank wardens, traffic wardens, taxi drop off wardens, smoking wardens, street wardens, anti social tenant teams, licenced doormen, street CCTV and a host of other forms of social control, all ostensibly to keep us safe, presumably from each other. All of these strutting uniformed little Hitlers make me despair and what I really want is someone to keep me safe from the increasing tendency of the SNP to impose good behaviour by force instead of education.

You will understand therefore how reluctant I am to give any credit to the Iron Man for anything just in case it encourages him to stay in his post any longer than necessary, but in the matter of the release of al Megrahi I think he has done a good thing.

Leaving aside the question of al Megrahi's guilt or innocence, to release a dying man to see his family on compassionate grounds, to reasonable people, seems to be a no-brainer. The brutality of the Lockerbie bombing isn't a factor. He was released because we are compassionate, not because he was, and I believe that this is important.

My Muslim friends tell me that the Koran is a book of compassion not violence and I have no reason (not having read their holy book) to disbelieve them. The extremist (and I speak only of the extremists) followers of Saudi Wahabi Islam, educated in hate throughout the Muslim world in the Saudi sponsored Madrasahs promote world wide terror and violence. If we can make it clear that their beliefs are a corruption of true Islam and that we can be more compassionate, in the spirit of the Koran, than the hate filled butchers who advocate amputation and stoning for what are social crimes such as adultery and fornication, then we weaken the grip of the Wahabi on the minds of young Muslims and perhaps we can help the more moderate Mullahs to counter the deep divisions which the Saudis promote.

Obama the First has caved in to the right wing Christian fundamentalists in his own country. He knows that the Saudis are the real sponsors of terror, but I don't see him or any of his countrymen calling for a boycott of Saudi oil. The Saudis have much more oil than the Scots, so they boycott Whisky and Harris Tweed. What a bunch of hypocritical cowards.

So although it pains me greatly, credit where it is due, well done McKaskill

First Things First

Red Mist is much less anonymous than he used to be so I'll remind everyone of the basics of the blog.

No comment will ever be censored unless it is positively sick or something I wouldn't like my grown up kids to be reading.

My political sentiments are fairly well known but the views expressed in Red Mist are entirely my own and not those of any political party. I have no mandate express or implied to air the opinions or policies of others and wouldn't claim to do so.

Red Mist will only answer for his views on the Red Mist blog itself and not in any other place, unless I want to.

Having cleared all that up let's get on with it

Sunday, 27 September 2009

I'm Back Again, Again

Did you miss me at all? I've been away dabbling on Facebook, but everybody's just too nice and I need a place to shout so I'm going to try to keep the blog up to date again with my twisted rage on a more regular basis. I'll still dabble in Facebook, even I need to be nice sometimes, but not often.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Binyam Mohamed and Princess Diana

So Binyam Mohamed has been released from the concentration camp at Guantanamo without charge or trial having lost 7 years of his life. Well done the good old US of A.

Mohamed is alleging that he was tortured at the request of the Americans with the complicity of British intelligence, all denied of course. So the question must arise, if you have a handwritten confession, before the witnesses who saw you write it -- for corroboration--, why aren’t you standing in a dock facing a charge? The answer is, of course, that the confession was tortured out of you and it’s just stupid for the US and British governments to deny it. We are asked to accept identity cards on the basis that if we have nothing to hide we have nothing to fear, so why won’t the papers in the case be released. If it’s good enough for us it’s surely good enough for them. So never mind the judicial enquiry. The judges work for the English Establishment (which includes far too many Scots for my liking). Just admit what has been done to this man, sack the bastards who procured it, and worse, the bastards who turned a blind eye to it in the hope that their hands would be thought to be clean. These are the people who are the real threat to democratic rule in this country.

But there’s a problem there also. The English Establishment are a very powerful force in our semi-democracy (only half of our legislative chambers have electoral legitimacy). There is a preponderance of ex-military types in the Establishment who eke out their pensions by consultancies to arms manufacturers or who sit in the Lords, or on the boards of major companies (or all three), and the intelligence services are their enforcement wing and international sales force. So anyone who dares to try to shine a light on the intelligence services and the fact that they account to nobody is a threat to the fabric of privilege and has to be nullified. Any one who tries to blow the whistle suddenly finds that they have either a sudden urge to take their own life (e.g. Dr. David Kelly) or has a tragic accident (e. g. Princess Diana). All of the theories about marrying a Muslim and disgracing the royal family are complete bullshit, but she didn’t last long when she took on the English Establishment in the form of the arms manufacturers in her campaign against the bread and butter of British barbarism, the anti-personnel land mine, which they were selling to anyone with money, irrespective of reputation.

So, please stop treating us as if we were fucking fools. We know that in the Wilson years, (and still today) when such things were nearly possible, if the lurch to the left were to have been realised these people would have prevailed upon the Crown (which heads up the forces of the English Establishment, and is completely ruthless) to declare a constitutional crisis and move to martial law without a single moment of hesitation. They have admitted they were spying on the elected representatives of the people and were ready for action. They still are, because their privilege is at stake.

So no doubt we can ready ourselves to read shortly about how Binyam Mohamed is suffering from severe depression as a result of his imprisonment and is having treatment for suicidal feelings, either that or he has been given a lift home by a drunk. That’s how they operate.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Salmond's Blatant Cowardice on Council Tax

Statement by the Scottish Socialist Party is reproduced below. More mutual back scratching between the main Parties and their robber baron friends. When will working people say, 'Enough's enough' and get rid of the lot of them in favour of a completely new approach to economic, social and political organisation? This is a complete betrayal of their manifesto promise, and for what? So they can go on arse-licking with Soutar, Trump etc.

The Scottish Socialist Party today accused the SNP government of a cowardly manifesto u-turn, abandoning pensioners and low paid workers in favour of the rich and business interests who bankroll their party after Finance Secretary John Swinney told MSPs that legislation to introduce a local income tax would not be introduced in the current parliament.

This is not the first time the SNP has abandoned opposition to the Council tax and watched hundreds of thousands of pensioners and low paid workers who stood to benefit most from abolition of the Council tax lose out.

SSP national co-spokesperson Colin Fox said today;

“The SNP’ cowardly manifesto u-turn means that the super rich businessmen like Brian Souter who bankroll the SNP with their bonuses will continue to benefit while pensioners, low paid workers and millions of those worst affected by the current economic recession, like the thousands of sacked Woolworths workers who would have at least enjoyed some financial relief with the reduction in their Council tax bills, will continue to be hammered by this unfair Tory tax”

“The SNP has again failed to capitalise on the majority support across Scotland for abolishing the Council tax. They have now given up the idea without a fight or even a vote in Parliament.”

“How different their approach to that of the Scottish Socialist Party on this issue.”

“The SSP, with just 6 MSP's, were able to make far greater headway. Our Bill to abolish the Council tax, a bill which incidentally the SNP voted down [on Feb 1st 2006] attracted considerable support across civic Scotland.”

“The SNP's subsequent local income tax plan with its regressive 3p across the board charge attracted much less enthusiasm. Our local income tax replacement by contrast was graduated to ensure the better off paid more as their income went up and the poorer were exempt.”

Treasury Select Committee and the Robber Barons

I think one of the most telling things to come out of the Treasury Select Committee hearings is the fact that not one of the 4 heads of HBOS or RBS had any sort of banking credentials or qualifications. This was the 'Old Boy Network' exposed for what it really is; a completely self-serving systematic robbing of both staff and ordinary shareholders by a greedy elite. One of the sacked heads is being retained by his former employer at £60k a month as a consultant. It runs across the whole of the sector, sitting on each others boards as non-executive directors playing you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours in each others remuneration committees while forcing down wages for junior counter staff in the name of cost cutting and efficiency, and getting more bonuses for the savings they make. Well, they have shown us efficiency in action and they shouldn't only be apologising to the Commons, to their staff, or to their shareholders. They should be apologising to the whole country which they have forced to the point of bankruptcy with their greed, and especially to the minimum wage workers who will lose their jobs in every sector of the economy, not just the financial sector, because of their greed. They should be barred from holding directorships, because the morally bankrupt are much more despicable than the economically bankrupt. It's sick.