Sunday, 29 April 2007

Linwood for the Linwoodians?

A friend of mine from Linwood has just given me a copy of an election leaflet which he (and I ) thinks is strange.

This woman from the local Lib/ Dems thinks she should have your vote because she has lost 6 stones in weight and lives in Linwood. She believes that people from Paisley, Renfrew and Crosslee might not be able to be trusted. It has overtones of the Wicker Man.
I am impressed by her slogan, 'Vote and regain our community back' (sic), but I think I am more tempted to try to protect her from all of that municipal hospitality that has wrought such havoc on the figures of Terry (TKMax) Kelly and Rayleen (the Peoples' Princess) Kelly.

Friday, 27 April 2007

Departure of the Seven Dwarves: Just a Thought

While I was thinking about the seven retiring Labour councillors a thought from something I read (I think it was Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath) crossed my mind. The character says that when he was young he met a farmer taking a cow to the bull to be serviced, and that ever since then, whenever he hears the word 'service' he wonders who is getting screwed.

I think we, the people of Renfrewshire, should, as Terry says, thank all of these councillors for their years of service.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

St. Mirren FC, St. Mirren Park, Love St and Tesco

Another day and still Tesco refuse to tell us their plans for Love St. I suspect the worst, but I hope I am wrong and that they have a brilliant plan for the site

Terry Kelly and Hugh Henry Campaign against themselves ?

Terry (TKMax) Kelly and Hugh (Shuggie the Hammer) Henry are on the front page of the Paisley Daily Express today campaigning against the building of a new prison in Paisley.

This is a bit surprising since
  1. Labour are in power at every level in this country so it is their proposal
  2. Hugh (Shuggie etc) Henry is the justice minister and in charge of policing
  3. Renfrewshire Labour councillors sit on the Strathclyde police board so they are responsible for the proposal
  4. The Labour majority council can deny the planning application if they wish, so clearly they don't
  5. It is Labour policy on crime that has filled the jails with usually the wrong people
  6. They don't say where the jail should be built if it is needed
  7. If they had been tough on the causes of crime as they promised at election after election then the jail wouldn't be needed

The result of this policy failure is Labour out sucking up to voters by pretending that they are not responsible for their own decisions and policies.

In terms of sheer two faced hypocrisy and opportunism this one has got to take the biscuit.

I have to ask the question (again). How stupid do these numpties think the voters are. Labour should stop acting like low life con men and accept responsibility for their cock-ups.

Wendy (for it is she) the second trumpet in the Alexanders' rag time band is very quick to get her face in the papers when they think (not very often) that they have done something right, even if it is years too late. Still, it brightens up the paper when you see someone smiling but you just know that the smile is so insincere that they will never have laughter lines. That's why Wendy (for it is she) looks so young.

Departure of the Seven Dwarves: GOOD RIDDANCE

I've just been on Terry (TKMax) Kelly's blog where he is singing the praises of the Renfrewshire Labour Councillors who have decided that they have done enough damage to Paisley and are now going to run away (but not before trousering a large wad).

To read Terry you would believe that these people had made a contribution apart from running Paisley into the ground, but they were always only political cannon fodder for the Labour party, they voted for the most part with no real thought for local people, only party instructions, or Paisley wouldn't be in the mess they have left it in.

The bold new initiative from Labour is to reverse the changes that these numpties made to the town centre traffic and parking arrangements and to hope that the damage isn't irreversible. Yet they are allowed to walk away with the money leaving others to clear up the mess. They have not even the decency to apologise to the businesses which had to close or the workers who lost their jobs as they turned Paisley town centre into a desert. I can only say good riddance to bad rubbish.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Colin Fox , Tommy Sheridan, and Bernard Ponsonby

I've just watched the interviews by Colin Fox and Tommy Sheridan with Bernard Ponsonby, and I wonder why TS keeps refusing to grasp the olive branch and talk about some sort of electoral arrangement with Colin and the SSP.
Tommy Sheridan keeps alluding to 'backstabbers' (at least he has dropped the dread word 'scabs') who, he says, he was warned about. while leader of the SSP. It is clear that the SSP has the thought out agenda, which might be because Solidarity are new in the field, but CF seemed much more like a serious champion of working people, and TS more like a personality politician who would demand to be leader in whatever he joined.

Well I'm sorry TS, its time to put up or shut up. Who were the backstabbers? What did they do to you? Who warned you about them? And what was their issue, because it surely, by your description of the events, pre-dates your problem with the NOTW ?

Johnstone Town Centre and the Labour Party

I want to send my sympathy to the people of Johnstone. Labour have decided to re-develope your town centre, according to a piece of election propoganda dropped through my door today. Seeing what they have done to Paisley there must be a dread running through all of Johnstone.

Hugh 'Shuggie the hammer' Henry, the man who single handedly solved Ferguslie's drug problem? has fixed it for you to have all of the skill and expertise which ran Paisley into the ground, and forced it to go back about 10 years and start again with its town centre.

I've had a brilliant idea about how Hugh could solve the drug problem in Johnstone as well. If we let him and the other trumpets in the Alexanders' rag time band run the illegal drug industry then it will be ruined and in crisis in about a fortnight.

St. Mirren F.C, St. Mirren Park , Love Street and Tesco

Why won't Tesco let us into their plans for the re-development of St. Mirren park at Love Street. It would set many minds at rest if they would confirm that they will not merely knock down the existing stadium and add the land, which would then be lying derelict, to their land bank in order to stop another supermarket chain opening a supermarket to compete with the new Tesco planned for Linwood. i.e. to preserve a monopolistic market

If the council know, and we will not be told before the election, then I think it might be fair to assume that the news for the people of Mossvale and Shortroods is bad and that they are to have another scene of dereliction to add to the ones where council houses have been knocked down and not replaced. Why not ask Labour for a straight answer when they come round looking for your vote. Have they made it a condition of planning for the new stadium that a supermarket actually appears on the Love St. site within a specified time, or have they sold out the North End of the Town and sweetened the deal by withdrawing that committment, to save their own face after the other proposed buyers all walked away from the proposals.

Labour's Plans for Paisley Town Centre

Labour's new 'cunning plan' for the centre of Paisley defies belief. They propose to open up the High Street to traffic and stop charging for parking and provide more spaces. This goes against all recent thinking on reducing carbon emissions which they are so keen on, but I seem to remember that their last 'cunning plan' was to close off the High Street and reduce spaces and charge for parking.

How stupid do these numpties think the voters of Paisley are. It is as well that we are rid of some of them even at the cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds. Roll on May 3rd and we can get rid of the rest of the useless articles.

There is not a word of apology for the businesses which closed or the people who lost their jobs when the High Street was closed off to traffic. No sorry for the frail and elderly who couldn't walk up to their shops and couldn't be dropped off by car. They couldn't have cared less as long as they were catered for in the manner which they thought befitted their status.

These are the same Council who I'm told, when asked under freedom of information legislation about the amount of champagne they bought in the six months before the housing stock transfer ballot, were unable to tell because it was bought 'on consignment'. Quite how much champagne is in a 'consignment' I'm not sure, but I'd imagine it might be considerable and that someone would have to order it, check it in, authorise the payment and draw the cheque, so it was clearly out of control if the means to be exact don't exist. Still, they didn't need it then so it must still be lying in stock, and it will be a long time before they will find anything to celebrate with this lot running the show..

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Cost Cutting Contractors and Workers' Health

While I'm on the subjects of cost cutting contractors and the health of workers I want to remind everyone that Friday is Workers' Memorial Day when we remember workers who have been killed or injured in the course of their work.

Many of these deaths and injuries result from unsafe working practices in the pursuit of greater profits for shareholders, but many die prematurely of work related illnesses after retirement, and how many will die in future from uncontrolled environmental damage by major corporations is only to be wondered about.

Forth Estuary, Thames Water, and the Sewage Spill

Having been brought up on the Firth of Forth I feel a bit distressed about the estuary being polluted with untreated sewage as a result of a pump failure in a treatment station operated by Thames Water.

My first reaction to the reports was that the Forth is a long way from the Thames, and if you want to operate local resources perhaps it is better to operate them by means of local authorities, rather than PFI booty capitalists, who have at heart the interests of their shareholders in the City of London rather than local people.

Mechanical breakdowns in machinery are not unforseeable, they are inevitable and predictable given proper inspections and maintenance, and if the back-up systems are not in place to deal effectively with these failures then it is because someone decided not to have these systems. It wasn't an accident, it was a conscious decision motivated by minimising cost and maximising profit.

Sickness Absence and the CBI updated

Just an update to my post on 10th April regarding sickness and absence, did anyone else notice in the Herald yesterday, tucked away at the bottom of an inside page a report that 'Millions of Staff Turn Up for Work Despite Feeling Sick' even at a risk of further and more severe illness. This represents millions of man hours to which employers are not entitled, and millions of pounds which they save on statutory sick pay. So when they tell you about the cost of fraudulent 'sickies' ask them to offset the cost and see who are the winners and losers in the sickness stakes.

Monday, 23 April 2007

PFI / PPP and the Larbert Hospital (specialising in the treatment of burns caused by 'pants on fire'

We were at a demo today at the Falkirk wheel, where Laing O'Rourke, one of Labour's donors and a major player in the £300 million contract to build the new Larbert hospital, were holding a Jobs Fair. We were noisy, but for Laing O'Rourke to fabricate a complete lie about applicants being man-handled and ask for us to be moved on because of it only shows how rattled they were by a group of very wet protesters. All I can say is they must have been easily upset, but for the record, not a hand was laid on any applicant or member of Laing O'Rourke staff. Not a single person was approached in an intimidatory way. They were offered leaflets, most accepted, some refused them, but no one was touched or even shouted at directly. The PA system made shouting unnecessary.

Laing O'Rourke were asked to meet us and explain their allegations (by PA and by invitation via Wheel staff) but refused to meet us or to repeat the allegations which Wheel Staff said were given to them second hand.

I have no hesitation in stating that these allegations were LIES told by LIARS, and if anyone thinks people like that should be running healthcare in this country, then they have my sympathy.

Their profits, their practices, and now it seems their people are obscene.

As for the jobs fair, I've seen more interest in watching paint dry.

Scottish Nationalist Millionaires' Club Membership List

I see from the paper today that the Nats have decided to publish the membership list for the millionaires' club, and what a veritable who's that of Scottish business it is.
It's worth noting that the only one whose business is not stated is Souter (feeling a bit guilty?)

Surely no one can go on refusing to see that where the Tories have been unable to get the sort of power which will allow them to screw the people of Scotland they have decided that their natural home is the Nats. Tartan Tories right enough. But you can't fool all of the people etc.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Scottish Nationalists and the Millionaires' Club Again

Well there we are then. It's out in the open as predicted. We know now what Souter wanted from the Nats and it wasn't a positive favour, it was a negative one. No return to public ownership of buses. I was assured that the policies of the Nats would not change to suit the millionaire backers. This policy was unanimously adopted at their conference but where is it in the manifesto. Posted absent. I was assured that the party members of the Nats would have to approve any change to policy. Where did that consultation go? It was not expedient.

It is a grim reminder of the dark days of the Labour Party when we were told that we could vote for whatever we liked but it would not bind the parliamentary party. That's a bit like caffeine-free diet coke. What's the point? The career politicians are completely cynical , both Labour and SNP, and care only for their personal power and pockets and the smirking fish is a first order user of people. Everyone knows that including the wee lassie, but they will suffer any indignity to be able to keep their jobs and enhance their incomes.

The stink of hypocrisy is palpable, but never mind, we'll be there for the Scottish people when Salmond and Sturgeon let you down and you find that the increase in prosperity which they forecast is their prosperity, not yours or mine
It's good that the disenfranchised millionaires living at home or in tax exile have someone to look after their interests in Parliament. The Millionaires' Club wing of the Nats. But someone has to look after the rest of us and keep on fighting for a fairer society.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Honesty's the Best Policy ?

There is just one other thing I forgot to mention about last night's hustings. That was the honesty of the SNP candidate who when she couldn't remember what her party's policy was on one particular issue admitted that she couldn't remember and simply refused to offer an opinion at all.

Remarkable honesty, for a Nat, but God help the next Nationalist who tells me that I'm a Stalinist who can't think for himself and simply follows the party line. I might be able to reply without referring back to HQ.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

At the Election Hustings in Paisley

I had never attended a hustings before and I was assured that it would be interesting. I wasn't disappointed'

Like everything in politics we started with a tea break before a blow had been struck, and whilst it was very good (fair trade) stuff, and a credit to the churches which provided it, perhaps they should have asked the candidates to do some work first.

As to the parties, well Labour did not show up due to illness, which disappointed a lot of the audience who had clearly come to give the Labour candidate a good kicking, so perhaps his illness was tactical. If not then I apologise for my cynicism; Labour made me this way.

The Tory was a revelation. I had heard rumours of their existence in Scotland but had never before seen one in the flesh as it were. I believed that they existed like unicorns or yetis. Something to frighten children with who won't behave. He was clearly under some pressure on the issue of Trident when he told us that we had to have nuclear weapons to defend ourselves from the U.S.A. I rather switched off at this point and pretended not to be listening because I didn't want to embarass the man any further. I hope his carers managed to find him because he seemed nice, if unhinged.

The Lib/Dem, in a typical Lib/Dem compromise, torn between nuclear and non-nuclear, decided that she would get rid of half of our nuclear weapons and keep the other half just in case (of what I'm not sure).

The Scottish Nationalist candidate decided to promote their new 'ethical foreign policy' which considering their attitude to the English and the fact that their domestic policy is ethically questionable (they took the Souter money) seemed to be just a bit opportunistic. She also mentioned on two or three occassions how her party's policies were fair and just. She talked a lot about economic growth and increased prosperity, but she didn't tell us how this new found wealth would be shared out. I think she is just offering a rich boss with a different accent and all of her blethering about just and fair society is a smokescreen. There will be increased prosperity with independence, but if the Nats have their way it will all go into the same pockets it goes into now because the Nats offer no real social change. That's why the rich love them. This is not my kind of independence.

Solidarity put up a good candidate with really sound socialist policies, but they didn't seem to be very well fleshed out with specific policy committments. Perhaps it is early to be looking for that, but their man looked uncomfortable and I think he knows he has backed the wrong horse.

The Greens were green, what else can I say.

The Scottish Socialist (and my loyalties are no secret) was an old hand at hustings. He played his cards with some style, and he had the big cards for this audience. End trident, stop the war, build council houses, free public transport, scrap the council tax, and challenge big business to accept their share of social responsibility--I think we had the best of this evening.

The Chairman, parachuted in from the University of Paisley did a fine job.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Day of Action on (Free Public) Transport

For my sins I have been given the dubious honour of getting up early tomorrow and going to the railway station to accost innocent members of the public on their way to work and force our free public transport policy on them. It is the policy which has been best received in this campaign so far and people seem to engage with it for more than selfish reasons, which is always a good sign.

So if you should see us at your local station, because this is a nationwide action, have some sympathy. Seeing as how Terry Kelly (TK Max) believes that we are all middle class, property owning intellectuals who have never done a day's work in our lives, 8 am seems awfully early, still I'll give it a try. It will be a change from my usual 7 am start and 12 hour shift. Some day when I'm a worker? like TK (Max) not an intellectual I can swan about the council offices all day eating £7 free lunches while denying a nourishing free lunch to schoolchildren, instead of working my ass off.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Scottish Tories (the Blue Ones, not the Tartan Ones)

I've just noticed that in my election update I forgot the Tories. Nothing new there then.

Monday, 16 April 2007

Election Update : Bliar Visits Paisley

My apologies but shift working has meant I've been neglecting the blog.
While I've been away Paisley has had a visit from Bliar and his entourage. You would imagine that, with an election in the offing, he would be keeping a low profile. He is not the asset he once was especially in Scotland. I don't remember seeing his smiling face on any of the candidates' election leaflets, but if I'm wrong no doubt someone will correct me.

Hugh 'Shuggie the Hammer' Henry has apparently decided that, after years of opposing Catholic schools, he is now their champion. My own view will remain my own, but there is a distinct smell of hypocrisy about everything Shuggie does these days.

More shady dealing over Labour election broadcasts with party hacks being drafted in to pose as real people. As if no-one would know that a Scottish Bliar supporter had to be a plant (or some other kind of vegetable).

The smirking fish has been quiet, presumably letting Labour self-destruct.

What else is new, well, the Greens are being green, the Lib/ Dems are being all things to all men, and the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party are deciding where to exercise grey power. The Scottish Christian Party are hoping for a miracle, Solidarity are furiously promoting the cult of multiple personality and the SSP are fighting to hold the line after a bad year.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Scottish Socialist Party Election Broadcast

The link to the Scottish Socialist Party has been updated to include the you tube version of the party's election broadcast on free public transport.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Sickness Absence and the CBI

I've just been listening, on BBC Radio Scotland, to some hooray henry from the CBI moaning about the assertion that 1 in 8 days lost through sickness is based on a false claim.

First then, why don't they discipline their employees who make such claims if they know which are the false ones?

Second, I have never lost a day due to sickness unless I couldn't possibly have worked in my state of health. If employers provide jobs and working conditions which are conducive to attendance then people will turn up to work, even when they would be better advised to stay at home, and we all know that this is true.

And finally, where an employee goes genuinely sick ( and that is 7 out of 8 days even by their own figures) the employer very rarely provides cover, he just expects everyone else to get their heads down and do the work of the absentee for nothing, zilch, nil, not a lot. Do they deduct the cost of that free labour provided by the employees from the figures they quote as the cost of absence? Not bloody likely, because they manage to screw the work out of the other employees for free.

They should think themselves very lucky, they wouldn't work for nothing, but that is the rich and unelected. All of the money in the world wouldn't be enough for the greedy sods.

Scottish Socialist Party Manifesto

The Scottish Socialists launch their manifesto at Hampden today (although if Terry is at the launch he'll probably think it's someone else).

I've added a link for those who want easy access for whatever purpose. Any support / critique is welcome and unmoderated (so keep it clean, my kids read this....or so they say, but I don't believe them).

Monday, 9 April 2007

Follow My Leaders

One of our local MSPs Wendy (the number 2 trumpet in the Alexanders' rag time band) has today announced that she has no plans to run for the Scottish Labour leadership after McDonnell's ?? election debacle. We can therefore look forward to her announcing her candidacy on May 4th./5th

In the other camp, has anyone seen the new poster for the Nats campaign. I only saw it quickly as I drove by, but is the smirking fish sitting on a white couch with the wee lassie on his knee. That's what it looked like --a ventroloquist and his dummy.

Terry Kelly Football Expert

Terry (TKMax) Kelly is in the local paper today addressing the real issues facing the Scottish electorate. Yes, he is going to improve the quality of the BBC's Scottish Football commentators. This from the man who watched the Scotland Georgia game believing he was watching Croatia. Check out 27th March on

We're in real trouble now. Lunacy is taking over the world if Terry thinks this is an appropriate issue for election time.

Sir Sean and the Nats: Return of the Hero

I see from the Scotsman today that Sir Sean Connery (a rich exile) is set to return from the Bahamas when Scotland is 'granted' independence. This is no more than another 'leader' of the Scottish people prepared to sit it out in another country (ring any bells, Alex ?) until the hard work is done before returning to take advantage of the situation he had no hand in creating, except to run off at the mouth about how Scottish he is.

For your information, Sir Sean, independence is not being granted, it is being fought for while you are tanning your fat arse in the sunshine. If you want to help the fight is here (where were you?) but we don't need you to win it. Stay where you are and annoy somebody else, you and your kind, who think that they can waltz in after the work is done and try to turn Scotland into a tax haven for the rich (because that is why you are not here, you don't want to pay your share of tax) are neither wanted nor needed except by the Tartan Tory friends of the rich.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Interesting Stuff

I've fixed the link

Interesting Stuff

Readers might notice a new list of 'Interesting Stuff' I am going to post in here any quirky little thing that amuses me in the hope that others will find it interesting.

I've started with a site called Political Compass which looks at the modern approach to the left / right dimension and adds another to try to explain some seeming anomalies.

Take the test and let the rest of us know how you do.

My own result ----- left / right -7.25 authoritarian / libertarian - 5.85

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Gordon Brown and the Iraq Hostage Crisis

Maybe I missed it, but it just occured to me that we saw nothing at all of 'the big clunking fist' during the recent days when our unfortunate service men and woman were in Iran. Anybody help with suggestions as to big Gordy's whereabouts?

Friday, 6 April 2007

Terry Kelly, Iran, Iraq, and Labour's American Allies

I've sent this to Terry today, don't hold your breath to see it on his blog.

Funny thing about Labour. Everyone with any sense accepts that they are now a party of the right (don’t listen to the rubbish they talk, look at what they do), But Terry, you still believe that there is a right wing conspiracy in the press against them. It only goes to show that they are as useless at rewarding their support as a right wing party as they were when they were part of the Left. Too busy rewarding themselves, so nothing new there then.

The hypocrisy of believing the polls when they favour you and denying them when they are against you is not new, but you and I were both at McDonnell’s ?? visit to Paisley High Street and we both know that he was roundly abused from one end of the street to the other, not by activists but by shoppers.

As for the problems of the captives in Iran, any decent leader would not have been negotiating their release because he wouldn’t have sent our forces to an illegal war in the first place. If you want to deal with it by black humour then why not consider that we have invaded a sovereign nation, occupied it by thousands of troops, and patrol their waters so that other countries do not meddle in their affairs….now that is funny in a black sort of way.

The treatment of our forces who were the victims of ‘extraordinary rendition’ (which we support in principle as being legal) from Iraq to Iran is that our respected allies would have put them in orange boiler suits and tortured them before making them strip and parade in dog leads before publishing their naked pictures in the press and on the internet. Then they would have taken them to place where international law cannot reach them and local law is denied them, and imprisoned them with no prospect of either trial or release. That is not speculation, that is what they admit to, so how bad is it really?

So you can complain about the captive marines being taken illegally and put on television. You can laugh at them being given clothes and cigarettes, and being well fed and clothed, and it might not make you a bad person, but it must come close when you can make it a cause for your triumphalism. I don’t think the captives in Guantanamo would see the joke. It’s a good job that the marines were not captured by your friend Bush’s forces, or even more dangerous, supported by their air power.

I don’t suppose I will see this comment on your site. You seem happy to publish other anonymous correspondents so I will pay myself the compliment that you find me a bit harder to deal with than them. Only local knowledge can expose your claims as false so I must be a danger.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

PFI / PPP Schools and Hospitals : BBC Poll and Brown's Lies

Looking at the results of the BBC poll here
it seems that the Scots don't have a very high regard for PFI / PPP as a means of providing public services.

They seem to recognise a pig in a poke when they see one, but to explain the reasoning I offer this.

1. The stated aim of the Government in PFI / PPP is to bring private finance into public projects
2. Contractors are so stupid that they will make a net input to the project
3.The treasury will have a net benefit

No, that doesn't make sense so let's try again

1. The stated aim of Government in PFI /PPP is to bring private finance into public projects
2. Contractors are so cunning that they will manipulate the contracts to make a profit thereby taking money out of public projects
3. The treasury will have a large net loss which taxpayers up to 25 years down the line will have to pick up

Yes, that seems a lot more likely, but the present lot will be long gone by that time, so they don't care about anything but the next election down the line.

But voters (as the poll shows) are not so stupid as politicians think they are. They know that contractors , far from having their money levered into these projects are tripping over themselves to get involved because of the large amounts of money that they can take out. To believe otherwise is just plain silly.

If you want to get this money from big companies into public services, why is company tax about as low as it has ever been in modern times? I await an explanation from Gordon 'the big clunking fist' Brown or even someone more local if Scottish Labour still have any say in the matter.

Benefit Claimants , Lie Detectors and the Tory Media

Just another example of a right wing biased media headline that creates a false impression, and misleads without telling direct lies.

If we read past the headline we find that it is not 'Benefit Cheats' but Benefit Claimants who face Lie Detector tests, but the headline is designed to label all benefit claimants as cheats by implication. It is quite scary what the right will do to turn working people against each other, and this tabloid style is becoming more common even in the BBC.

Why do we not have lie detector tests for people who donate large amounts to political parties and coincidentally receive an honour?

Why do we not have lie detector tests for our MPs and MSPs when they submit their expenses claims?

It is because these groups are presumed to have honour and dignity whereas working people and unfortunate people on benefit are presumed to have none. They can be subjected to any indignity on the grounds of protection of public funds, provided the public can be made to believe that all benefit claimants are cheats.

It's time we had a hard look at the whole system; some of the 'honourable members' of the last Tory Government aren't that long out of jail and some people are seriously thinking of electing the Tories again.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Courtly Dress: Contempt for the Court

Just another rant about people who think they are better than the rest of us (I'm told that symbolic violence is the correct term).

A sheriff in Greenock yesterday told a person appearing in his court that if he appeared in court in a football strip he could be jailed. This raises a number of uncomfortable issues.

First, we are fighting a war in Afghanistan, among other things, because people (mainly women) were being hauled before unelected judges and imprisoned for what they were wearing.

Second, why are the sheriff's cultural values more valid than the person he is threatening? The football strip may well have been the best and costliest item of clothing the person had. If he had dressed in his best for a court appearance, what was the problem? Is it because he earns more, and have a look at this if you want to see the scale of the earnings legal eagles have (bearing in mind that these are only his fees for those who can't pay).
Why could justice not be administered to the person irrespective of what he was wearing? They managed to jail the naked rambler. Why was it an issue at all?

Third, why does this sheriff have the right to imprison a person without a trial simply because he disapproves of his dress sense? Is this not third world justice?

Of course the real answer to all of this is that members of the bar believe themselves to be a superior breed, and having gone mainly to public schools are de-sensitised to sado masochistic bullying, and this sheriff is a bully, flexing his muscles and trying to impose his supposedly superior system of values on a minor being. They defend a legal system brought into disrepute by their own greedy conduct and pompous superiority.

I am reminded of what I think was a Mae West line. When challenged that she was showing her contempt for the court she replied, 'I'm sorry, your honour, I was trying my best to hide it.'

Pensions Crisis Etc Continued

One of my friends tells me that he doesn't think I have really addressed the case of the money purchase pension schemes. I thought that I had done that in the opening of my previous posting, but for the sake of clarity I'll spell it out loud and clear. If you can afford to buy the pension you should be able to pay the tax. No party is going to re-instate that relief so stop whinging and pay your tax. If we can get the rich off welfare it will help us all, except the moaning middle classes.

The other problem is with public sector pensions. The impression that the papers give is that somehow public servants are going to get their state pensions 5 years ahead of the rest of us at age 60. They wont, thet will get that at 65 like the rest of us. What they will get at 60 is what in other occupations would have been an occupational pension. They forfeited income every week in order to build up that entitlement to a pension at 60 and that was the deal. Everyone involved knew that was the deal, it was part of their wages. The money held back from them was not, however, invested by their employer, the government, because they believed that current taxpayers would be able to pay these pensions when they became due. The economics of the madhouse.

Now, as the chickens come home to roost, they do not want to lose votes by burdening current taxpayers with the bill for these pensions which people have been working for for 40 years in some cases. So they think that they can just walk away from the problem by telling their employees that they have changed the rules because the agreement that they had is too expensive (politically) to honour. They want to delay the payment of these pensions which these people have worked for for 5 more years. and damn the agreements. Well you can't treat people like that and expect them to just suffer it, so you have a dispute. That's hardly a surprise, but if you can get the papers to put out your mis-information it will help get the public on your side, and it might not be noticed that this is a government with neither honesty nor honour. .

Pensions Crisis and the Financial Services Rip-Off

It is well known that I am no fan of Gordon ‘the big clunking fist’ Brown, but the current obsession with pensions crisis needs a more simple explanation, so it will be my cause to give it a try

Firstly, private pension provision is only available to those who can afford it, but speaking to some less well off people they believe that it is the state pension which is under threat. They do not appreciate, because the papers do not properly explain it, that if the better off pay more tax, then the less well off might be required to pay less. The papers try to give the impression that what is good for the middle classes is good for the whole country. Obviously in their agenda the less well off who may have no private pension don’t matter.

Secondly, the crisis arises because the financial sector of the economy by buying and selling stocks and shares at ever higher and unjustified values and trousering the profits put themselves in a position that, because of the high value (completely notional) of those shares as assets on their books, they believed that they were financially sound and their pension schemes were in surplus.

Because they imagined a surplus they gave themselves a ‘contribution holiday’; in other words, the money that they should have been investing in the pensions of their employees was paid out to their shareholders. The employees were never told that they had too much money in their pension fund and that they didn’t need to contribute for a while. Not bloody likely.

Now they find that they were too greedy and since their bubble has burst and shares have fallen to more realistic levels it is everyone’s fault but theirs. But who will suffer as a result of the fact that workers’ entitlement was given to shareholders. Well, not the shareholders. Certainly not the greedy directors and financiers. Yes, you guessed it, the employees.

Just another disgraceful episode in the world of high finance (grand larceny) that is capitalism.

I hope that this clarifies my views on the subject, I certainly feel better for getting it out

Airline Security and Lost Luggage

Reports today that BA lose more luggage than its European rivals prompts a moment of extreme disquiet.

If you look at the policies of the airlines it is clear that baggage reconciliation is the backbone of airline security. Roughly speaking it means that if your bag is on the flight then so are you. Not 100% certain in an age of suicide attacks, but still adequate as the main strand of deterence.

How then can a bag go on the wrong flight, because that would mean that 2 flights would have taken off with their baggage reconciliations wrong?

Perhaps someone from the airlines could enlighten us

Smoking and the N H S: An Ex-Smokers View

I see that NHS Highland are to ban smoking anywhere on their grounds. As a smoker for 40 years, who gave up only 2 years ago I would not oppose any measure which encourages people to quit, but some of the measures being put in place (not just in health boards but all over) only bring the non smoking lobby into ridicule. Perhaps 2 examples of the thing I am talking about which only make smokers dig in their heels and stubbornly refuse to stop.

First, I can personally vouch for the truth of the story that doctors and nurses at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, which sits in its own grounds at the top of a hill, arrange to park a car near to the main doors, and at break time they all drive to the bus stop at the bottom of the hill outside the grounds for a smoke. This is stupid and pointless and only makes the smoking community harden their attitudes by forging a bond of perceived mutual hardship which acts as a support group encouraging smoking.

Second, there is a story I am told, but cannot vouch for personally, about the retail park at Govan, which even if it isn't true is an example of the sort of thing that happens when the nicotine fascists flex their muscles.
If it's true, smokers working in ASDA are not allowed to smoke in the ASDA car park and smokers working in Toys R Us next door are not allowed to smoke in theToys r Us car park. There is no fence between the car parks so Asda's car park is used as a smoking area by the staff from Toys r us and vice versa.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Tony Bliar, Jack McConnell and the Scottish Nationalists

'Happy' Jack McDonnell ?? has had another setback in the run-up to the May elections. He must be absolutely
devastated to hear that Tony Bliar has given him 100% backing. No doubt the Nats are rubbing their hands with
glee. If ever there was news that McConnell could have done without, this was it. The wee lassie and the
smirking fish must be delighted, working on the assumption, by no means certain, that smirky wants to
leave his beloved London and re-join us lesser folk, until he can respectably resign and go on a lecture tour (to London).

Rayleen's World of Severance Pay and Censorship

It really isn't sporting for Rayleen to censor my latest post and then post anonymous comments criticising me. She either posts anonymous comments or she doesn't and I had thought that it was my anonymity that caused her to censor my comments but it looks now as if it is only because I disagree with her.

The spave (sic) betweem (sic) my ears which her anonymous post complains of probably isn't as well used as it might be, but it is difficult to claim credit for 35 years of service only to retire and leave Paisley the way it is. He must be a broken man.

As a matter of interest, how long do you think that Labour can keep on blaming Thatcher (not that I would exempt her from blame but she's been gone a long time).

What have Labour done to try to re-build our industrial base ?

Monday, 2 April 2007

Scottish Nationalists and the Millionaires Club 3

A bit in the front of the Herald today might throw some light on the attraction of the Nats for the millionaires club.
It reports that a leading financier, one Ben Thomson, chairman of the investment bank Noble Group, backs the Nats because a Nat win would rid the finance sector of 'over-regulation from London'.

He obviously sees an opportunity for the financial sector to benefit from a reduction in regulation, and while I support the independence cause I am not sure that the Nats., who seem to have some unsavoury friends, are the right people to take us there. I hope that this is just a coincidence and not another under the counter deal done in advance of an election (a 'Souter' ? )

Looking back over the recent past it might even appear, when we think about Farepak, illegal bank charges, endowment mis-selling, millions lost in tax avoidance schemes, and the general bolox the financial sector has made of pensions with the assistance of 'the big clunkin fist' that a lot more regulation and scrutiny is required, not a lot less irrespective of whether it comes from London or Edinburgh.

Scottish Nationalists and the Millionaires Club 2

It seems, if we are to believe the tabloids, that certain supporters of the Scottish Nats. are unhappy with Souter and his ilk and are now proclaiming their support for the Scottish Socialist Party. I'm sure that any defectors will be made welcome if they want to walk 500 miles to the left.

As for the wee lassie, she has been allowed to sit in the driving seat of dad's new car and play with the wheel, but not with the engine running. Dad is coming home from London (or is London his home now ?) to do the real driving so she'll have to shuffle over to the passenger seat of the Natmobile.