It is the easiest thing to feel the pressure and fall back in line. It is sometimes hard to walk in the opposite direction, but it is sometimes the true road , and you will know because you will be following your conscience, As long as you have that , you will never walk alone
For Months now there has been a cloud hanging over the independence movement, A cloud of fear distrust and indeed disappointment.
The fear has been brought about because of the Scottish governments pursuit of independence supporters supporting Alex Salmond. A particular case is the political charges made against Craig Murry, his crime was honestly reporting the case against Alex Salmond.
There is great concern regarding the dystopian, Hate crime bill which it would appear is being brought in along side the Gender recognition act, in order to quash any dissent with regard to the removal of woman’s rights. It could for instance be seen as a hate crime for a Woman to object to a biological Man to sharing women’s toilets, The biological man being there in the first place because he simply self identified as a woman.
The distrust is mainly in connection with the Scottish governments pursuit of Alex Salmond with what seems now as trumped up charges of sexual assault. This involved Nicola sturgeon misleading parliament. In other words she lied to parliament.
This is a huge subject and my propose here is not to go into the gory details of how the Scottish government and their civil service plotted to deprive an innocent man of his liberty, but the fact is, they did.
Now you could be forgiven for not realising that the raison d’etre of the SNP is to attain independence for Scotland. The reason you might not realise this is that ever since Nicola sturgeon took over as leader if the SNP she has constantly blocked any move towards independence.
During the last six and a half years of her tenure as leader of the SNP she has constantly ignored the many independence mandates given through the ballot box to the SNP. She has also deliberately failed to take advantage of god given opportunities to call a referendum. The dragging of Scotland from the EU is a perfect example of this but there has been plenty more.
Nicola Sturgeon has also constantly failed to acknowledge the simplest route to independence, which is (according to the UN charter on human rights ) simply to ascertain the will of the people and then declare independence. The most obvious way to do that is at an election to choose the government of Scotland.
She has constantly refused to do this and the most logical conclusion is that she has been actively working against the cause of independence. The action’s of the Scottish Government over the last few years in relation to the conspiracy against the one man who could have actually shown us a viable road to independence, I feel proves this.
Ok, so that is a very brief background to my assertion that over the last while, there has been a cloud hanging over the independence movement. People simply do not trust Nicola Sturgeon to deliver independence. That is of course, apart from the cult like following and science deniers that she has surrounded herself with.
Yesterday this changed. Alex Salmond launched a new independence party, Alba, an ancient name for Scotland.
It is a list only party, in other words it will only contest regional seats and leave the constituency seats to the SNP, constituency seats are fought on a first past the post system and hopefully the SNP will not be damaged to the extent that their regional vote is too affected. The fact that there is a new regional only party headed by Alex Salmond should help this situation.
Now there has been a lot of confusion regarding who we should vote for to gain the maximum amount of independence related members of parliament and the reason for this confusion is the SNP themselves who insist on both votes going to them. Now because of the voting system in place, a party achieving a large representation in the constituency vote is in the event penalised in the regional vote. Without going into the mathematics of it, a good example is, in the last election in 2016, the SNP had a good representation in the constituency vote and also almost a million votes in the regional section. They achieved only 4 seats for that million votes actually loosing two seats and allowing the unionist parties to get a disproportionally large representation in the Scottish parliament.
So there we have it , the SNP have been actively working against independence in order to keep themselves in power.
As I say, because of the new party headed By Alex Salmond , hopefully a wounded, but hopefully not mortally, SNP can be guided towards a reasonable representation in Holyrood which will be bolstered by a decent representation by Alba, where Nicola Sturgeon’s feet can be held to the fire and forced to pursue a proper road to independence.
We have been too long in the doldrums, becalmed by the unwillingness or inability of Nicola Sturgeon to properly progress the cause if independence.
Yesterday, a man who has went through hell over the last few years gave us the chance of a new road to independence, We must grasp this opportunity with both hands.
As for Nicola Sturgeon, after the election she will either fade into the obscurity she deserves or end up in the same prison cell she had earmarked for the man who will eventually take us to independence.
As I sit here and watch the SNP tear itself apart because of a leadership who, it would appear, have indulged in some very questionable and probably illegal action’s, I cant help reminiscing and realizing that this was all avoidable.
I have been in business for over half a century, during that time I have made many mistakes and also have had some pretty substantial victories.
The common denominator that courses through my business experience is that I have learned. I have learned from my clients, I have learned from my suppliers and I have learned from my employees. I have had some very intelligent employees and I have had some not so intelligent employees but I have learned something from every one of them.
One of the main things I have learned is that the most important lessons are to identify the mistakes you are making, and more important still to correct them as soon as possible.
Probably the most important benefit of being in business for so long is that you acquire the significant gift of being able to to see into the future.
I have been warning against the policies of Nicola Sturgeon for some considerable time. Although to be very honest, I initially welcomed her taking over from Alex Salmond, as when we were campaigning on the streets of Dundee during the referendum campaign, we constantly heard from people who just did not like him.
It was apparent however that when questioned ,most of them could not actually give a good reason for the dislike.
After the referendum and the coronation of Nicola, it soon became apparent to me that all was not well, as she did not seem intent on correcting the mistakes made in the referendum campaign or addressing the issues we actually lost the campaign on such as pensions and the monetary situation.
I began to get a very uneasy feeling that all was not well in the leadership of the SNP and now after 6 wasted years and a leadership who have, it seems indulged in illegal and amoral actions sending the party into a tailspin which is all but impossible to get out of before the elections planned for May, unless there is an almost immediate change of leadership.
As to the gift of seeing into the future, I copy below a Facebook posting I did on the 4th February 2015 ( less than 4 months after Nicola’s coronation) whilst I was on a trip to Asia. This was a time when most main line commentators in the movement were very busy extolling the virtues of the great savior and the faithful were in the process of embedding themselves in the cult of St Nicola.
Now we are witnessing an outcome a child could have predicted.
Well day three and in Penang , Malaysia, Came out of the terminal and there in front of me was a monument to Queen Victoria.
Another sign of the British Empire. We have one in Dundee , the stamp of the British empire that the union Flag flew over, and over which the Sun never set . The Union Flag , better known as the butchers apron , for good reason.
It got me thinking of what was left of the British empire , not a lot , the Falkland Islands , Gibraltar, a few more islands and of course Scotland.” Hold it” I hear your say ” Scotland is not part of the British empire, we are an equal partner in the United Kingdom” no we are not, and we never have been. If we had been an equal partner we would have had the rights of an equal partner and been able to have gone our own way on September 18 last year.
The big problem we had was that we have within our shores and territorial waters, the asset that underpins and stands as collateral for the massive loans that successive incompetent Westminster governments have built up and without these assets and the revenue which flows from them, together with the possibility that Scotland would not have taken on a voluntary proportion of these massive loans , the economy South of the border would have been on a fast track to collapse. Add to that the situation where we have the completes nuclear deterrent housed 20 miles from our largest center of population.
So don’t kid yourself , there was never any prospect of Scotland being handed our independence with the tactics we employed in the referendum campaign .
Our efforts , honestly but misguidedly led by the SNP were like expecting a Lion to be mauled by a sheep. We just were not up to it .The establishment closed ranks and we saw the unholy alliance of the Tories and the Labour Party as they morphed onto one grotesque monster, aided and abetted by the willing minions in the state broadcaster the BBC, together with most of the mainstream press.
On the day of the vote we were still on the streets of Dundee and it was our busiest day yet. Firstly we drove off the feeble competition of the paid hired help of bussed up from England so called ” activists” in the No camp.
We drove them off , not by force but by embarrassment, as people were walking past them to come to us. As the day went on however it became apparent that something was amiss as we were getting people who we had registered to vote ( we registered thousands of them and handed most of the registrations to the SNP hub for submission to the authorities and some we submitted ourselves) coming up to us and complaining that they had been turned away from polling stations as not being on the voters roll.
There were many more reports of irregularities and unexplained procedures ,like the postal votes being counted in the main in England, the agreement that there would be no exit polls taken, instances of politicians having been aware of the postal voting results before they were declared ( as in Ruth Davidson’s admission on the night of the polling).
Yes there was a multitude of , let’s say, abnormalities. So what happened ? What did our Scottish government do to ally fears of cheating ? They did nothing . No enquiry, no probe, nothing. So , the analogy of the Lion and the Sheep comes to mind.
So what is the situation now? Well we, through the campaign have a huge army of grassroots supporters of independence and they in their frustration and disappointment took the only road that they saw was open to them,and joined the SNP, in the hope that there would be a plan, a plan to take forward their hopes for an independent country.
What did the SNP do with this huge volunteer army? Nothing, and the worst thing you can do with an army is to let it stagnate. I approached the SNP soon after the referendum and asked what the plan was for an ongoing campaign to highlight the broken promises which would surely come to light and the silly vow which would in all probability fall to pieces. But there was no plan, instead I was told that they would wait on the outcome of the Smith commission.
Well we all now know exactly what that is worth and it is not much more then nothing. So where are we now you might ask ? Well I will tell you where we are . We are about to make the same mistakes again. There is a prospect of sending a goodly amount of SNP members of parliament down to Westminster , great, but the problem is that it would appear they are not going down there to fight for independence . They are going there to try in some way to negotiate Home Rule.
A very basic negotiating premise is to start at the top , not the bottom. We should be putting forward our strongest hand not our weakest one and our strongest hand would include UDI ( a unilateral Declaration of Independence ).
There are many reasons for this and only a few of them actually include that course of action but the threat of it has to be there.
The best chance we have of increased powers is still of course in sending as many SNP members of parliament down to Westminster as possible, but it is a waste of time sending a flock of sheep down there unless they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
As I sit here in this Coffee shop in Penang musing at what might have been, had we had an even playing field I look at the wall in front of me and by an amazing coincidence this is what I see.
Today, the first day we are totally divorced from the European Union. I post this Facebook memory at the foot of the page, from this day in 2017. Are things any better?
Well, the situation in Syria is a hell of a lot better for the people there, thanks to the intervention if Russia, otherwise had the West continued the route they were taking, then today Syria would have been part of a greater Israel and there would have been an even greater refugee problem in Europe.
As far as independence goes, despite a whole stack of mandates the SNP have done nothing to free us from the control of England and have in fact spent the last 4 years trying to save the UK from the stupidity that is Brexit.
The only thing that will now rectify the situation is a change of leadership in the SNP or as I was suggesting 4 years ago a new independence party. Had we done that then, we would not have been in the situation we are now.
2020 was the year of the Pandemic, a pandemic which was handled, both by the UK government and the Scottish government in the most inept manner possible, resulting in thousands of unnecessary deaths. They were both warned about this and took no action. There was an operation in 2016, called Cygnus which was laid out to prepare for such an invent. a flu pandemic. Thus, highlighted serious shortcomings in governmental preparedness for such an invent.
Both the UK government and the Scottish government ignored the findings of this report. One of the main areas of concern was care homes. Well, we all know what happened there, do we? Not only did the Scottish government ignore the warnings in Cygnus, but they seeded care homes with infected hospital patients. Yes, that was what they in effect did.
once this is over there must be an independent investigation into government actions surrounding the Pandemic and those responsible must be punished.
As far as the independence cause is concerned this pandemic has been used as yet another excuse for inaction, meanwhile allowing the British government plenty of time to put in place measures through, for instance the single market bill, which in effect removes many of the reserved powers of the Scottish Government. This will eventually reduce the Scottish government powers to that of a local authority.
Yes, there has been a pandemic and people will say that Nicola Sturgeon has had her hands full. Well, the same should have applied to the British government but they have been working away reducing the powers of the Scottish Government. There is also a direct comparison with countries like New Zealand whose Prime minister has managed to virtually wipe out the virus, bring up a young child fight a general election and have two referendums all during this pandemic. Nicola Sturgeon meanwhile has failed at fighting the pandemic and has failed at her post as the leader of the party of independence.
Nicola Sturgeon and her husband, Peter Murrel are at present mired in accusations of lying and conspiracy to deprive an innocent man his freedom for what could have been the rest of his life.
So, as we usher in the New Year, we the people of Scotland seriously need to take stock of the situation, we need both to look back and also look to the future, we have a Scottish election coming up in May. By the looks of things now, Nicola Sturgeon is intent, on once again dangling the carrot of independence in the hope of once more the SNP being returned to Holyrood with a majority with the promise that she will once again ask the British government for a section 30 which is a derogation of a part of the Scotland Act which facilitates a referendum on independence. She called it the “gold standard” but there has never been a single country of all the 66 countries who have declared their independence from Britain, done so by using a section 30 or anything like it.
It is obvious to me that Nicola Sturgeon has no intention whatsoever in achieving independence and I have a feeling that in the coming months it will be clear that she actively tried to remove the very person who would have taken the independence cause forward from the political scene, Alex Salmond.
The simplest and most direct and democratic way we could achieve independence is to make the May election a plebiscite election with a one scenario manifesto, that of independence and if a majority is achieved then that satisfies the UN Declaration of Human Rights as far as ascertaining the will of the people as to a requirement to be an independent country.
So, there we have one person’s opinion of where Scotland stands at the beginning of 2021. We have two major conflicts to surmount. The pandemic hopefully will be under control within a few months with the emergence of several vaccines. Independence, it seems is more difficult than the pandemic, as we have been trying to achieve that goal for a lot longer and at present, it would appear that the person mandated to attain that goal is the very person who is setting up the roadblocks to it.
Yes 20021 is going to be an interesting year so, to all my friends in the four corners of the Earth, I wish you a very happy new year
Positing from 1 January 2017.
Well folks as 2016 draws to an end , I suppose it is time to reflect on the year past . It is a year we have seen great changes in the order of things . here in Scotland we saw the SNP victorious in the Scottish parliamentary elections but with the loss of an overall majority. I wont go into that because I have covered it at length in various blogs, disappointing but inevitable.
We have seen a stop start attitude to a future independence referendum and we have seen the starting gun fired in the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union with the vote to exit the union that has served us well for many years. A union which is far from perfect but better than the alternative which is speedily dawning on the people of these islands.
We have seen the election of Donald Trump in the US. Who would have thought ? However just another indication of the frustration of ordinary people to the suffocation with corporate greed and a contest conducted by two totally unsuitable candidates to lead the most powerful country in the World.
We saw Britain going to war once again at the behest of the US, this time in Syria and this time to support terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al Nustra( formerly known as Al Qaida).
We have seen Russia give the West lessons ,both in military efficiency and diplomacy in defeating the terrorist organizations backed by the US and Britain, giving the people of Syria the best possible Christmas present, that of the prospect of peace. Hopefully the Syrian refugees can start going back to their homeland, at the same time solving the EU refugee problem.
We have seen the belated conversion on the road to Damascus by the US in refusing to veto a resolution by the UN to condemn Israeli settlements in Palestinian land. However , from the same administration we have witnessed a confused US administration expelling 35 Russian diplomats in a fit of peak for Russia having the audacity to exclude the US in peace negotiations in Syria and a silly accusation of Russia interfering in the American elections by exposing Clintons awful breach of security by using an insecure private server to transmit highly secret state business.
So a very mixed year and one that we should hopefully learn from, as we head into 2017.So to all my friends ,no matter where you be on the planet I would like to wish you a very happy new year .To all my friends in the independence movement, and especially the Yes Bus team in Dundee I wish you a more productive year than the last one as far as our road to independence goes.
This is a photo of three of the most precious people in my small World. These are my grand children. These are the people we want to live in a free Scotland. A free Scotland in a free World. So in the words of our national bard ,Rabbie Burns .For a that, and a that. Its coming yet for a that. That Man to Man the World ower Shall Brothers be , for a that .Happy New Year.
Well another posting from the past in place of actual traveling. I came across both of these posting from my memories on Facebook. They are both the same date but one from 2015 and the other from 2017., Both are voyages on the QM2.
If they were on any other cruise line they would be cruises, however the crew on the QM2 insist on the term, voyage. Just a little bit more of the inbuilt snobbery. I remember on the first cruise ( sorry voyage) I did on the QM2, the master of ceremonies in the ballroom made reference to, “your fellow elite” yes in this day and age. Anyway I digress , so here is the first travelogue from 16 December 2015.
16 December 2015 somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean
Day two on my transatlantic trip to New York and it is all about rocking and rolling . Last night in the disco it was the real rock and roll and during the night and this morning the ship is rocking and rolling in rough seas . There is a few rather pale people going about clutching sickness bags . We seem to go through a rough patch
followed by relatively calm periods. I can hardly believe it but I am sitting in the coffee shop having my morning coffee and have just been joined by an elderly couple from Southampton . Now this is uncanny because the exact same thing happened on the last cruise I was on, when a couple sat beside me and it turned out the gentleman had some sort off dementia and wife went off to do other things and left the elderly gentleman with me. This is incredible because it has just happened again , the wife has just left me with he guy. Now this gentleman is not in the same category as the last one but he has just asked me where I am getting off the ship . This is a Transatlantic voyage and there is only one place you can get of this ship and that is New York, unless the ship sinks. So this looks like the beginning of another of these very one sided friendships . Kidding aside though, it makes you realize just how fortunate you are. So an iPad course to go to this morning and I am sure I saw a Cha Cha class somewhere on the program . Busy day ahead Few photos the gingerbread house . The coffee shop and the cruel sea.
Ok, so here is the next travelogue from exactly two years later.
16 December 2017
QM2 somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean
Day 9 of my two-way transatlantic trip and a good day yesterday with a meet up with two friends from my last trip on the Queen Mary, Graham and Theresa, in Southampton. Theresa also joined the ship with her family for the leg to New York. It was also good to get ashore with my feet on dry land for a while and access to decent wi fi. Sitting here wondering if it will be as interesting this week with a mostly new set of travelers on the ship. Last week was interesting with seemingly endless conversations on politics, both US and UK with a good slice of Scottish independence discussions thrown in. We have had the Scottish budget set out by the SNP government and as to be expected, a huge amount of condemnation from the same media outlets who were pushing for tax increases and are predictably now condemning them. From the limited information I have seen, and assuming there was a need to collect the realistically pretty low amount of revenue accruing from the increases, the Scottish government have probably managed to produce a fair budget with tax increases coming mainly from the better off. However, the question that has to be asked, is this just the start and will the UK government continue ,through reduction in the Scottish budget to pile pressure on the Scottish Government to continually use their very restricted tax powers to prop up a failing UK economy. I think the answer to that question is yes and I must go back to previous blogs on the subject that warned against having anything to do with the Smith commission proposals as they have always been a process of supplying just enough rope by which the SNP could hang itself. In other words, a small amount of fiscal freedom with a large amount of blame for the resulting tax increases. The rights or wrongs of the Scottish budget are irrelevant, as with a huge amount of media ranged against the independence movement, it is all about perception and that was always going to be negative. So perhaps another insight to the strategic abilities of the SNP.
So some lunch and then a walk on deck to take advantage of this beautiful weather and perhaps a few photos.
So both lunch and a walk on the deck later and back in the coffee lounge with a nice capachino and thoughts on another interesting lunch. Interesting guy who had worked for some of the main media organizations in New York such as NBC , New York Times etc. There was also a lady from London who had presumably ( confirmed later ) been public school educated according to her accent. Interesting lady who had all the answers as to why Scotland should not be independent. I don’t know what it is but on this trip I seem to be a magnet for these people . “Now why on earth would a country that depends on 90% of its trade with England even think about becoming independent”? This was her first reaction to discovering I was in favor of independence for Scotland, in response to a direct question as to my opinion on the subject. I resisted the impulse to escort her to the promenade deck and throw her overboard and said “well there is a couple of reasons that come to mind and the first one is that the figure you have just stated is entirely fictitious and as I would assume your newspaper of choice would in all probability be the Telegraph I cannot understand why you would be quoting figures that would normally be found in the Express or the Mail” I went on to explain that even the UK government do not know what the true figures are because if you take say the discredited GERS figures , there is estimates used in 22 of the 24 tax bases used to compile these figures . So therefore wherever you got these figures from, they are inaccurate.
I then put forward the argument that ,yes we do trade a lot with England and the basis of any one trading with anyone else boils down to several factors . Price, quality and availability, so was she suggesting that in the event of independence, English companies would cut their own throats because they were in the huff ( I had to explain what being in the huff was). She looked somewhat perplexed and said “well I simply do not see the point of it “Later ,during lunch she asked me why I would think her newspaper of choice would be the Telegraph and confirmed that I was correct in my assumption. I said, “two things, attitude and accent “
So, I have been very diligent in my attempts to restrain myself from over indulging in the vast array of foods available and generally do not eat until lunch time. I walk on the deck as often as the weather will allow and last night I had some exercise in the ballroom before a work out in the disco followed by a large plate of ice cream at half past one in the morning. Absolutely ridicules’ having ice cream available at that time of the Morning, I intend having words with the Captain when I next see him. So, to all my friends wherever you are , have a great weekend .
So a few photos .
Stay safe every one . one day this will end, we will be able to travel again and will look back on a bad dream.
With travel more or less impossible I have taken to trawling through my past Facebook postings and came across this one, from December 2017. Very apt for a couple of reasons. Reference is made to Donald Trumps policies especially in respect to his views on foreign people coming to the US. Well the American people have recently woke up and have sent him packing.
The other reference was to the SNP ( Scottish National Party) who have constantly prevaricated in what should be their main propose in life and that is the attainment of independence for Scotland. Well that was three years ago and they are still at it and now we are on the eave of leaving the EU and despite the promises of Nicola sturgeon to move towards independence, we are no where near that goal.
Transatlantic voyage on the QM2
Well day four on my transatlantic sojourn and I must admit, it is hard to settle in to this sedentary interlude of relaxation after the hustle and bustle of business, which gets pretty intense at times.
The ship was delayed in leaving New York because of the premier of “The Greatest Showman” being held on board. It was a bit of a nuisance as some of the passageways on the ship were blocked off and for the people who wished to see the sail away from New York , they were faced with a 2 in the morning late night because that is when the ship left.
When I boarded the ship I went on deck and looked out towards the statue of liberty and got to thinking of what America stands for today. The statue of liberty was a gift from the people of France to celebrate Americas freedom. It stands at the entrance to New York city where the emigrants came to Ellis island from all over the planet to make new life’s in that great country.
The Lady Liberty holds in its hand the torch of freedom. It says to the World “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free” How hollow that now sounds with a president who is preventing people coming to the shores of America based on the country of their origin which includes the colour of their skin together with their religion. A President who has just re-ignited the flames of war in the middle east by allowing his masters in the Zionist Israeli government to dictate American policy by declaring acceptance of the City of Jerusalem as the official capital city of the artificial state of Israel. I say artificial because that is exactly what it is. Israel is an artificial construction of expediency made by man, using God as an excuse.
So enough of politics and I will not even comment on the farce that is the Brexit negotiations or the ever-clearing mist around the SNP position regarding independence. I say mist considerately and selectively as I am directing this at the selectively blind sycophantic sheeple of the SNP who I have been warning, that this situation would arise. The situation I am talking about is the position where all of the UK will be part of the single market taking away any hope that Nicola Sturgeon has ( if she ever had) of calling another referendum on the basis of no single market deal . Something that Scotland never voted for in the first place.
So back to the travelogue. Sitting here listening to the piano tinkling away in the background drinking coffee. Actually, thinking too much and my coffee has gone cold. Another formal night tonight, which is a pest. I was speaking to a guy from New York yesterday who is obviously a Cunardphile . He goes about during the day with a jacket tie and waistcoat on trying to be more British than the British. He tells me he has been on over 40 cruises, all with Cunard. He also tells me that he wears a kilt on formal nights and was asking me how to properly wear his plaid ( or sash ,as he called it) he also told me that it was a different tartan than his kilt. My first reaction was to burst out laughing and tell him that he will look a proper dick, but I resisted the urge and explained that a plaid is not now normally worn with a kilt and the origin is that it was actually part of the kilt , the kilt being made of 8 yards of cloth one end being wound around the person and the end part being thrown over the shoulder and fastened by the belt. I look forward to seeing is outfit tonight, he tells me it is the Balmoral Tartan so you can imaging who his heroes are.
Ok so time to change into my shabby Kilt for the Captains reception which I have been invited to ( free drink)I hope all my friends are having a good weekend Slainte.
I posted both on Facebook and twitter, with regard to Nicola Sturgeon employing the services of Barhead travel to facilitate track and trace services. There was a mixture of support and also quite a lot of very pointed and abusive criticism of the fact that I had the temerity to post criticism of what some people see as their savior.
Now some of this criticism was not that I was wrong, in what I said but quite simply that I did not have the right to say it. A position I think is very strange from people who espouse a newly free nation, with democracy and freedom of speech at its heart.
There were others who quite rightly pointed out that Bill Munro had since sold the company to an American travel group and took great delight in calling me quite an assortment of names for what they saw as a massive blunder.
There were others who merely pointed out what seemed to be an honest misinterpretation of the facts.
Barrhead Travel President Jacqueline Dobson said the agency approached the government in a move to save jobs.
“As travel is unlikely to return to pre-Covid levels before 2021, we proactively explored other business options to help preserve as many jobs as possible,” she said.
This makes it very plain that it is Barhead travel who have been contracted to operate an element of the track and trace system and not, as many were trying to make out, that the Scottish government were employing these people. It also thrown doubt on the assertion by Nicola Sturgeon that this in no way meant that private companies were being contracted to track and trace
So let me address the situation, firstly, Barhead travel is a limited company and a limited company sits on its own, one of the advantages is that ( with certain caveats) the administrators or the directors are not responsible for the actions or failures of the company. Now when someone comes along to buy a limited company, they invariably carry out due diligence. This is an in-depth evaluation and inspection of both the finances and integrity of a company, which in a big way can be down to whoever has run the company in recent years.
So when purchasing a company you are not only buying the assets and possible debts, but also you are buying into the ethos of the company and to a point that was what happened with Barhead travel ,so much so that the new owners employed Bill Munro to run it for them. So therefore they (at least to start with, until they sacked him) were happy with the essence of the company .
Now Bill Munro ran the company in a manner which was anti-independence, so much so that he circulated an email to all Barhead employees, in the closing days of the 2014 referendum campaign making it very plain that he thought that independence would “ be a disaster” for Scotland, and bizarrely , for a travel company, that they would have a problem with passports. Therefore this was the ethos that the American travel company both inherited and indeed paid for.
Now had they wished to alter this ethos they could have done this by circulating an email explaining that all employees were free to make their own choices as far as the future of their country was concerned and they had no thoughts either way, or perhaps they could have even made the position that they were in fact supportive of an independent Scotland.
They chose not to do that therfore they were by default in the same position as the previous managing director Bill Munro. Therefore the fact that he had sold the company is of no relevance to the question of whether it was wise for Nicola sturgeon to have given a contract for track and trace to an anti-independence company, and I might add, it would appear without the necessary rules of competition and cost comparison being put in pace, as I am sure there are a multitude of call center companies with under-employed personnel at the present time. This puts the SNP in much the same position as the Tories who have been stuffing the bank accounts of their friends by handing out lucrative contracts in connection with Covid and Brexit.
I hope this clears up any misunderstanding regarding my post/tweet and I still hold, that as someone who put a hell of a lot into that referendum campaign, this decision by Nicola Sturgeon was at the very least a pointed snub and slap in the face to the many people who had worked and strived throughout the campaign for a free Scotland.
Six years ago today we went to the polls in the independence referendum. We in the Yes bus Team had worked non-stop for months in and around Dundee campaigning for independence. We achieved a lot, as did the other grassroots groups. The SNP were somewhat less than effective as the only time we saw them in the City square was when the cameras and press where there. As soon as the press left then so did they. SNP politicians had an occasional stall in the Murrygate which they manned for an hour or two.
Dundee returned the highest percentage of yes votes in the country but sadly it was not enough and we lost the referendum by 10 points. I wanted to continue the campaign at a lower level to inform and correct the mistakes we had made during the campaign. I approached the SNP with this in mind and asked them what the plan now was. I received a blank look and “what plan” Yes believe it or not there was no plan B, no strategy for a continuance along the road to independence.
Shortly after the referendum, Nicola sturgeon was made leader and things became a lot worse with the mere mention of the word independence expunged from all discussion among the faithful, and more especially SNP politicians.
An instance of this was when the Yes bus team were pressured by the SNP via Chris Law, to postpone a rally we had organised for the week before the 2015 Westminster general election. The reason given was that independence was to be swept under the carpet, and incredibly a statement was made and attributed to Stewart Hosie by Chris Law that ” we cant have saltires and yes posters being waved around the City Square the week before a general election” Yes believe it or not that was the position of the SNP only a few months after the referendum.
Have things changed? No, they haven’t, in fact, they have gotten a lot worse. We are now 6 years, from the last referendum and during the reign of Nicola Surgeon all that has happened is that there has been a whole stock of mandates built up, generally as carrots, offered to the faithful in the run up to elections, together with countless prime opportunities presented by a dysfunctional Tory party of government and what have we today? We have Nicola Sturgeon once again asking for another mandate to go cap in hand to a government ran by despots and the breaker of international treaties to politely ask them yet again to grant a completely unnecessary section 30 which allows a derogation of a section of the Scotland act. I cannot for the life of me think of anything quite so illogical as that course of action.
It would appear that events are taking place that will hopefully result in the removal of both Nicola Sturgeon and her husband Peter Murrel, the chief executive of the SNP. As a result of their complicity in the setting up of Alex Salmond, an action which could have seen him sent to prison for a considerable time, quite possibly for the rest of his life.
I feel that the process to investigate the involvement of the leadership of the SNP in this extremely distasteful issue is only just began, and from my own knowledge there is much more to come, some of it restricted at present by contempt of court issues surrounding the trial of Alex Salmond.
There is a darkness at the heart of the SNP and it revolves around the leadership and its inner coterie of sycophant’s and manipulators.
There is a house of cards teetering on the verge of collapse with the Joker at the heart of its imminent demise ,
The question is, just how much damage is she going to inflict on her way down?
This is a blog I did in 2017, like this week, where Nicola Sturgeon came out with yet another initiative for cooperating with the wider grassroots groups. It was another carrot, like the ones that had come before it and the many that came after it. This latest carrot is, I fear just another lie like the big one she told a couple of weeks before the last Westminster election when she hastily arranged the rally in George square to tell people that this election was to be all about independence. Then in the days that followed, it became very clear that people had been duped when the election material was produced without a single mention of independence and instead, a big picture of a Bus with stop Brexit all over it. I fear these latest promises will go the same way, as I simply do not trust her.
Kenny McCaskill wrote a good article today on the Wings over Scotland site, in which he promoted the idea of the grass roots groups taking the initiative. I have a feeling he is trying to make provision for a distinct lack of cooperation from the leadership of the SNP in any forthcoming campaign.
I would go further than that in as much as I expect downright obstruction from the leadership of the SNP in much the same way as they are now trying to thwart the attempts of Martin Keatings from ascertaining whether the Scottish people have to be bound by the section 30 fallacy used by Nicola sturgeon to hold back the independence cause. The Scottish Government/ Nicola Sturgeon actually, stated that Martin Keatings was attempting to “stand in the shoes of politicians” elected for that propose. My God, surely it is the place of politicians to stand in the shoes of the people who elected them. It is difficult to imagine a more disgraceful display of arrogance as that.
Anyway, to get back to Kenny’s article. Without a central force guiding at arms length, I don’t think it would work. I know Kenny is advocating Some sort of a committee made up of grass roots representatives but I know how that would and up and that would be like rats in a barrel.
To give you an idea of why I think like that ,I would go back to the 2014 referendum campaign. In the run up to this I had the idea of setting up the Yes Bus, Scotland’s dragon for independence. A double decker built in Scotland by Alexander Dennis for the far east market, Hence the type name, Dragon. It started its working life in Hong Kong before moving to Kenya, two countries who gained their independence from the UK.
It came to our fleet from Manchester to service a contract for the High School of Dundee, the forerunner of which was where William Wallace was educated.
So it had some history and I had the idea to make it available to any grass roots group in Dundee or surrounding area to campaign ,( and this is the important bit) in their own way , towards their own support and in their own area of Dundee.
Now Dundee was always a very radical city with a plethora of differing political activists and I realized that if any one tried to bring them together, it would be a disaster. So the Yes bus was used by many differing groups to campaign in their own manner and we also set up the Yes Bus team which was made up of a wide variety of people with a wide verity of political views who were there voluntary to campaign for a common goal.
Dundee turned out the highest percentage of yes votes in Scotland because all the groups did their own thing and we all cooperated on the way, apart from, I might say the SNP who were somewhat difficult to prise campaigning material from despite the fact that it had all been paid from through Yes Scotland, but that is another story.
So after a rather long winded explanation here is what I suggest.
As for the central leadership issue I think Alex Salmond would be ideal . He is a true leader and a committed patriot. I do not think there is any question that he would be other than a perfect leader for another campaign.
I fear however that history will repeat itself, in as much as all of our great historical figures such as Wallace and Bruce had first to defeat the Scots before they turned their attention to the auld enemy, the English.
I fear that we have an enemy within our very own ranks and that is the Sturgeon/ Murrel family. I think they will put every obstacle in the way of another referendum or alternative way of achieving our aim. They have done it in the past and they are still at it.
We are once again on the cusp of another prime opportunity to gain independence and after 6 years we have not even addressed the failures of the last referendum, such as currency and pensions and that is a prime example of one of the obstacles put in our way. The Andrew Wilson Growth Commission. Almost two years late ( another delay) and when it came out it suggested implementing one of the main failures of the 2014 campaign, tying Scotland to England with a currency union Absolutely unbelievable. It is also clear that Andrew Wilson and Nicola Sturgeon have not a clue of the implications of the laughably GERS figures, probably deliberately.
Very shortly it will become apparent , even to the most ardent Sturgonite that she has set up Alex Salmon. Evidence to be presented to the Holyrood enquiry into the lead up to the court case Salmond brought against the Scottish Government in a judicial review will show that the change of rules to enable the Scottish government to bring retrospective complaints against ministers was in fact cooked up between Leslie Evens and Nicola Sturgeon and not by Westminster as many of Sturgeons acolytes tried to believe as a means of comforting themselves. To make matters worse the Westminster government advised against it.
So there you are, the grubby truth is beginning to emerge and shortly I believe, a house of cards will fall.
So, there is the task ahead and it awaits a leader to take it forward. I hope Alex Salmond will grasp the opportunity on behalf of the people of Scotland, because as I say, before we start on the enemy in Westminster we have to defeat the enemy within.
The second in my series of A few hard truths about the SNP
This series of incidents goes back to 2016 and the posting below was a cancelation of an independence related rally which I had to make because of the direct and willful obstruction of Dundee SNP council and their officers. Please read this and make up your own minds as to the probity of the actions of Dundee SNP. I have had doubts for a considerable time regarding the actions ( or inactions) of the SNP with regards to what is supposed to be their main function in life which is independence. A function which seems to have morphed into feathering their own nests.
At present the SNP are in a god awful mess with a leader who couldn’t lace the shoes of her predecessor, Alex Salmond. A man who has been the subject of an attempted stitch up in a manner which could have seen him perhaps spending the rest of his life in prison. An unholy incident that at present is being investigated by a Holyrood committee with Nicola Sturgeon at the center of this investigation. An investigation which is being willfully obstructed by the Scottish government
There is a growing awareness and indeed grave concerns at the existence of the dark heart of the SNP
Yes, Bus Scotland’s Dragon for independence Event on the 27th August Dundee City Square, family Caleigh in the Square and parade around Dundee to show support for Scottish independence.
It is with great regret that I must announce the cancellation of this proposed event in its present form. This because of (in my opinion) the wilful obstruction of the event by SNP controlled Dundee council.
I will layout my reasons for this opinion below and leave you to decide on the merits or otherwise of my reasoning.
Last Monday I applied for the necessary permissions to hold the event in the city Square together with a parade around the town. There is a 28-day notice requirement for this together with a facility for late applications to be considered by the convener of the licencing board. The reasons for this built-in option is that one of the main benefits to the local community of having events of this nature is that they attract a great many people into the centre of the City from outlying areas and also from other towns meaning that these events have a very positive impact on the local economy, therefore it is the duty of the council to facilitate in any way possible the success of these events.
The notice period is there to facilitate the necessary permissions from the various Council departments such as building control, Roads and indeed the police. Now in effect, these permissions can take place very quickly, in fact, I have been involved in many events which have been organised within a matter of a few weeks to as little as two days and it is very rare for late applications to be refused, especially ones of this nature that would bring a huge economic benefit to City Centre traders.
So deciding on the 27th as being the best date for the event, taking into consideration the availability of two of Dundee’s leading bands and a list of top quality speakers I went into the council offices on Monday the 1st August to make the application, which I did for both the City Square and the parade. I was 9 hours into the 28 day period, so in other words, I gave only twenty-seven days and fifteen hours’ notice.
I received an email from a council officer stating that SNP Councillor Stewart Hunter (convener of the licencing board) had refused to apply his discretional powers to grant the permission for the event to take place. The reason sited was that the last time I organised an event in the square, there were several complaints made and in any case, the council were not prepared to make electricity available, which in itself would have made the event envisaged, impossible.
I found this very strange and indeed the statement that electricity would not be available rather concerning as I knew that electricity is available and indeed we had had the use of this facility on previous events. I took exception to this statement and questioned as to why I was being singled out for this refusal to supply electricity facilities and received a reply from the council officer saying that he had meant that there would have to be special arrangements made, which I already knew of as we had done this in the past. Had I taken his statement that electricity would not be supplied at face value, then that in itself would have been enough to stop the event going ahead?
I inquired as to why I as the organiser of the event had not been informed of these unspecified complaints ( if indeed they had been made at all) and believe it or not the officer said that at the time he “saw no any useful purpose would be served in doing so” This I found very strange as he was at this point making as he saw it a “useful purpose “ in attempting to use these suspicious complaints to stop this event and by depriving me of the ability to have defended my responsibility in these complaints he had taken it upon himself to act as both Judge and Jury to my detriment. I thought this to be a very strange manner in which a high ranking council officer should carry out his duty as a public servant.
I inquired as to what these complaints actually were and this is incredibly what he came up with and what my answers to these allegations below.
Ice cream van there without permission: – Nothing to do with me and if that was the case then why didn’t the City Square ambassadors who were on duty ask him to move.
Someone sick in the toilets of Hendry’s coffee shop: – The contents of someone’s stomach is hardly my responsibility and quite possibly more to do with Hendry’s who had probably sold him food. Perhaps a visit from the environmental health officers of the council would have been in order.
Some people were drinking outside and this is against by-laws:- nothing in the conditions of use of the square concerning this and how did he know that these people were at the event and as this was not a closed event this was not my responsibility. Why did the City Square Ambassadors not do anything about this as it was their responsibility?
There were no Stewards at the event:- there were 20 stewards at the event all with hi-vis vests on and Steward written on the back but as the council had refused permission for the parade, there was actually no requirement for stewards as it is not a requirement of the use of the City Square.
These believe it or not were the so-called and quite possibly fictitious complaints that were supposedly used in the thought process by Councillor Hunter in his decision to refuse to apply his discretionary power to allow the event to go ahead, an event that the application had been made 9 hours late out of the 28 days required. Even if these so-called complaints were genuine, how could I have defended them if I had no knowledge they existed. I was of course at the event and did not witness any of these alleged incidents taking place, I spoke to the police all throughout the day and again at the end of the event and they were perfectly happy at how it had gone.
Now let me address what is possibly the real reason for this application being turned down, and for this, I have to go back first to the previous event in October last year and a previous event which took place two days after the general election in 2015.
Now at the event in October last year I had invited Tommy Sheridan to speak, as he had been a staunch advocate for independence and was actually the first person of any note that I heard advocating people to join the SNP as they were the best conduit to independence just after the referendum. Also when he came to Dundee during the campaign he filled the Marriott hall and had to go outside and speak to a large crowd of people who could not get in. I asked people from all parties also to take part. There followed one of the most comical episodes in the politics of Dundee when a politician who had been put forward by the SNP to speak went on to Facebook to ask all and sundry whether he should speak on the same platform as Tommy Sheridan, Certainly a novel departure from the normal procedure of voting for someone who can presumably make their own mind up about when and where they speak in public.
This as you can imagine caused quite a cuffufle with the sheeple, aided and abetted by employees and SNP officers posting adverse comments in order to give this politician an excuse to withdraw, which he did.
Now because of confusion at the council office I had not applied for the parade element on time so found myself in much the same position as now, having to depend on the good offices of Councillor Hunter, which of course he refused and this is the interesting bit. He refused on the grounds that the previous time I had organised an event he had only approved it at the last minute. Now the point here is that the event he was speaking about was nothing to do with me I had not applied for permission and had not organised it, I had however agreed to put the Yes Bus there.
This event was to take place the week before the General election in 2015. A few days before the event I had a visit from an SNP politician, Chris Law, who asked if I could use my influence in having the event postponed until the weekend after the General Election. I asked why, and incredibly the answer I received was “ we can’t have saltires and yes signs being waved about the City Square the week before the General Election”, this statement he attributed to Stuart Hosie. I could not believe what I was hearing. I said that if it was moved then there would be no council permission in place for the new date and was told that this would be “taken care of”. Before I had a chance to speak to the organisers they were approached by the politician and an SNP political manager. Who put to them the same proposition of moving the date, they again mentioned that there was no permission in place for another event and were told that it “would be sorted. “
In the event, the SNP did not apply for the event change and it was only on the morning of the event that they had to scurry about getting Councillor Hunter to sign off the and give permission for the event to take place. That was not the 28 days it was not even 27 days and 15 hours as this one was, it was not even 28 hours and was more like 28 minutes before the event took place
So there you have it, a tale of two entities the SNP and an ordinary citizen of Dundee and two sets of rules.
You might have noticed that the common thread going through this story is the fact the all of these events have had an independence theme, you might also realise that at every one of them there has not been a single SNP speaker, apart from the one just after the General election where Stewart Hosie was prevailed upon to say a few words as he was passing by and instead of trying to make out that he had made the effort to speak to the people, he comically told them that he shouldn’t really be there but was shopping for a pair of trousers and was hijacked into speaking.
Given events which unfolded into Hosie’s love life, one can only assume that he did not purchase a belt for his trousers that day as subsequent events would indicate that he had a problem keeping his trousers up.
The SNP in Dundee have a problem in regard to their sole purpose in life and that is to assist in the process of moving towards independence, they allow themselves to react to personalities instead of keeping their eye on the ball they display a lack of understanding of basic strategic thinking.
My experiences of them lead me to believe that they are a threat to independence where they should be an asset.
They need to wake up and smell the coffee.
We will arrange another independence related event in the near future and once again my sincere apologies for the cancellation.
The excerpt at the foot of this piece is from a Facebook memory of the day 6 years ago we put Scotland’s dragon for independence on the road and indeed the day the Yes Bus team came into being.
We fought hard and we fought well, on the streets of Dundee and district. Mainly in our City Square. We debated all comers and converted many to the cause of independence. We saw off the opposition in the form of labour’s big red bus and Jim Murphy on his crusade to strike fear into the hearts of our pensioners.
When I look back, I realise we did it all without any assistance from the SNP, in fact, they actually expected us to pay for elements of campaigning merchandise which the Yes Movement stored in the hub in St Andrews Street. Merchandise, bought off funds raised through the Yes Scotland movement an organisation set up by the SNP as a way of giving the independence movement a separate identity from the SNP.
The only time we saw any politicians was when the cameras were there to photograph and film the Yes Bus team as we campaigned constantly in the city Square and other areas of Dundee. When the cameras left then so did the politicians. Our only consolation was that we gave Dundee the highest percentage of yes votes in the country.
Ever since the referendum in 2014, the SNP have all but abandoned the cause of independence, with hardly a mention of the word through many of the elections which have taken place since then. In fact, it was said to me by a prominent Dundee politician that when Stuart Hosie learned that we were arranging an independence rally to be held in the city Square the week before the 2015 General Election he said, and I quote “we can’t have saltires and yes posters being waved around the city square the week before the General Election.” Yes, that was a direct quote from an SNP member of parliament.
There was the occasion during the referendum campaign that I could see that there was confusion regarding various proposed policies for a future Scottish Government such as pensions, and in particular, monetary union. At the time, Wings Over Scotland had published a fantastic book called “the Wee Blue Book” which gave very clear answers to all of these questions. I had the idea that we should get a copy to every household in Dundee. I spoke to a fellow campaigner, John Gibson, who immediately agreed to share the cost of the project. I then approached the SNP at their office in Glamis Road as they had the means to distribute these books. I explained the projects and the reasoning behind it, which was that being on the streets of Dundee most days with the Yes Bus team I had picked up on a need for clarity on certain important issues, the Wee Blue Book was a godsend in clarity and we were prepared to finance the project at no cost to the SNP. I will never forget that day. There was a good selection of SNP politicians there, and they listened to what I had to say. It then took them about two minutes to reject the idea on the grounds that it was their opinion that it would not work.
So, where are we now on the road to independence, well exactly nowhere and many of these politicians that were making these dubious decisions during the campaign are still wielding power. Therin lies the possible reason we are in a dead-end with a leadership that is caught like a rabbit in the headlights of a car.
Unless there is a complete change of tact in the lead up to the elections next May, with all independence parties going on a manifesto of simply independence, and thereafter, and on a majority, declaring independence, then I fear the British state will begin taking even more powers from Scotland making a future independence campaign virtually impossible.
The implications for what might follow on from that are too awful to contemplate.
6 years ago I posted this on Facebook as we prepaired to roll out one of our projects to forward the cause of independence.
27 July 2014
Scotland’s Dragon for Independence
We have the Dragon ready to roll and we are intending meeting tomorrow Tuesday 29 July at Tesco Car park on the Kingsway aboard the Dragon. We are making this vehicle available to any grassroots Yes organisations for Campaigning for a Yes vote on 18 September. Also we are to campaign ourselves ,so we want any organisations who wish to make use of the bus to turn up at this meeting and we will get them scheduled in for use of the Bus . there is absolutely no cost implications to any of these organisations. It would also be great to see any interested volunteers to man the bus and carry out leafleting duties. We only have 7 weeks to go so lets see a good effort by all.