The World This Week From Mennies

Saturday 24 July 2021

Who should have a vote on independence,

Well another week in and a busy one at that, with expansion plans in the vehicle repair side of the business reaching new heights and another step in the direction of electric vehicles, which seems the inevitable rout the industry is taking. I must admit though, that I am surprised that hydrogen is not more to the fore as an alternative fuel.

Who should vote on a countries independence

A thorny question for Scottish people but, I would suggest, not one that should be, and for various reasons.

Firstly ” a thorny question for Scottish people”, exactly, “for Scottish people” is the optimum phrase. If indeed it is decided in the first place that Scotland is not already independent then surely a country’s destiny should be decided by the people who carry the name of the country and that is Scottish people, people born in Scotland and not people who for various reasons at that specific time, happen to live in the country.

Can you imagine a football club for instance who would hold their annual general meeting on a match day and invite all the spectators to vote on resolutions simply because they happened to be in the ground on the day? No, of course not that would be ridiculous, not least for the simple reason that around half the people there would not be supporters of the club and would have allegiances elsewhere.

So why would a country, lets say a colony, of a larger or more powerful country allow the colonisers to actually have a vote on whether that country became free of the coloniser ?

That scenario is obviously ridiculous, isn’t it? It would be like India allowing the occupying British army to have a vote on whether Britain was to lose a major asset, wouldn’t it? Well guess what? That is exactly what Scotland did in 2014.

We assumed ( for some strange reason) the mantel of a colony, decided that we were not independent and allowed citizens of the colonizing country, to vote on whether we became independent. Guess what ? they didn’t and we lost the referendum.

Now, there was other reasons why we lost the referendum and one of them was that the colonising power , contrary to the UN declaration of self determination and de-colonisation of territories and countries, actually participated in the debate on the side of the no campaign. It should be noted that despite the SNP virtually accepting the status of Scotland as being a colony, by virtue of the fact that they saw the reason to hold a referendum in the first place, they did not object to the UK involving itself in the no campaign!

Ok, so, what should have happened? Well, I would suggest that Scotland is already an independent country, all be it, tied in various ways by agreement to a union, negotiated in 1707. None of these ways as far as I can see was to forfeit our independence, in fact the Scottish parliament was only suspended and not abolished.
It is a long time since I actually read the Act of Union but as far as I remember it contains a clause that allows either party to relinquish their membership should their respective peoples wish this to happen.

Lets therfore assume we are not a colony, but ( up to now) a willing partner in a union, similar to the EU, as we were until 2016 where we voted to leave, or to be more precise, England voted to leave taking an unwilling Scotland with it. And let us assume that a goodly number of Scots wish to leave this voluntary union ( which they do). So what is the procedure?

Well it is in effect the same whether we are a colony or already an independent country and the first move is exactly the same. We ascertain the will of the people, which can be done in a number of ways. It can be done by a referendum and this is one of the more unusual ways that countries become independent, or it can be done through elected representatives deciding that they have been elected on the basis of attaining independence or dissolving the union., This is by far the most common method that countries have used to attain self determination.

At the present time we have a huge Scottish majority in the Westminster parliament which would very easily facilitate either a declaration of independence or a dissolution of the union.

The only imponderable, is why the SNP refuse to do this.

Going back to the last Scottish election in May and the emergence of the new party Alba, led by the former first minister Alex Salmond, it would appear that he had much the same idea as I have just been explaining and have been doing since 2015 and that is using an election to ascertain the will of the people and thereafter ( assuming the will expressed was to achieve self determination ) begin negotiations on the split of assets and liabilities.

This sent Nicola Sturgeon into a fit of panic, bringing out a tirade of vicious criticism, castigation and denunciation, together with what seemed a denunciation of the justice system in Scotland in connection with an innocent man. She insisted on the both votes for the SNP which had already been proved to facilitate the unnecessary election of numerous unionist members in the elections in 2016, to once again be the policy, instead of allowing the second vote to go to Alba thereby allowing a super majority in the Scottish parliament which would have facilitated the commencement of negotiations allowing Scotland to leave the union and become independent in all ways.

Make no mistake about it , the one person who blocked that situation was Nicola Sturgeon.

The one person that must be removed from her present position to allow self determination for Scotland is Nicola Sturgeon.

So now to look forward this evening to a nice pint of beer in my favorite hostelry, Mennies.

to all my friends the World over, have a good and safe weekend

Slainte

The World this week from Mennies

Tuesday 13 July 2021

The extremism of the SNP

 

There has been a very large amount of concern lately concerning the rout of travel that Nicola Sturgeon has been taking the independence movement and indeed what seems to be extreme policies in regard to trans rights together with the amount of undue influence certain organisations such as Stonewall seem to be applying to the Scottish government. Worse still, it would appear that the Scottish government again led by Nicola Sturgeon seem to be granting Stonewall inordinate amounts of money which in turn they use to lobby the same government with their extreme policies in regard to children’s education.

I attach a blog I wrote in June 2015 which you will note was just after the 2015 General election when we sent 56 SNP members to Westminster. The propose of the blog was to highlight the extremism of a Facebook site named Yes 2. You will note that it was set up it would seem, using a data base of SNP members and politicians and a great many people, including myself, were added to the site without their permission or knowledge.

The propose of the site was to filter out any concern or criticism of SNP policies and in doing so, inhibit free speech. When I gave my concerns , I was removed from the site. I wrote to Peter Murrel giving my concerns and was assured by him that he would investigate the site. Needless to say nothing was done.

Quite plainly, what was being attempted ( very poorly) was to gather together a very large slice of the independence movement including politicians, quite possibly by very dubious means and again quite possibly using SNP data bases. Herding them into a group where they could be manipulated ( again unsuccessfully) filtering out descension and honest debate.

What must be bourn in mind is that one of the the persons responsible for this you will note is Mike Strachan, at that time he was an officer of the SNP based at Dundee West office in Lochee, I believe he was treasurer, therfore presumably had access to SNP data bases . He then became political assistant to Chris Law MP, and partner to Shona Robison MSP at that time heath secretary.

My complaint to Peter Murrel regarding possible breaches of the Data act and the fact that SNP politicians were in effect participating in this oppressive behavior was never officially investigated , however shortly after my complaint there was an exodus of politicians from the site and it no longer operates, or at least not in the manner it was initially set up.

There is something very dark at the heart of the SNP and it is nothing new, in fact I would say it can be traced back to when Nicola Sturgeon took over the leadership.


8 July 2015
  · 

I refer to a posting (copied below) in the Yes 2 site today referring to debate by people who expressed an opinion on UDI.

First let me say that I agree wholeheartedly with Mike that there is absolutely no need for any abuse of any kind in any of these debates, whether it be between members of opposing factions as in the Yes versus the No campaigns or, and more especially, between people within the grass roots Yes movement and remember, the Yes grass roots organisations conducted their referendum campaign all in their own ways, separate from the SNP.

However, and this is a big however, I do object to some of the content, tone and accuracy of the piece and let me say at this point that I personally at this moment in time do not think UDI is the best way forward, so here are my concerns.

Firstly Mike, who is the “we” you represent in this piece? Is there some sort of committee set up to monitor the views expressed on the site? Or are you being a self (or otherwise) elected spokesman/ champion of the SNP and if so can you let us ( the people who have joined this site from grass roots organisations in the belief that it would be a forum for open and honest discussion) know who in the SNP encouraged you to write this piece?

You make the following statement: –

. “We all know that UDI more often than not results in bloodshed, death and often civil unrest or war. We know the government is killing people, but to kill more and still lose independence is simply not the answer. If independence is not achieved through democratic means, then it will not be recognised”.

First of all, “We” all, know nothing of the sort, but it was nice of you to make up “our” minds for us.

I would assume that you allude to the most recent claim of UDI which was made by Kosovo around 2008. Well, it might be of interest that the bloody war that preceded this declaration was started as a result of, guess what? Yes, a referendum in Serbia.

There was a period of peace / cease fire imposed by the UN /NATO and then after some years the government of Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, UDI. This has been recognized by a sizable majority of countries and the international court of justice together with the UN.

It may further interest you to note as below the opinion of the British government and please note this particular part of the statement which should have resonance given the treatment meted out to out democratically elected MP’s this very week in Westminster.

“ , has made it quite clear, that, given the legacy of abuse, it cannot again become part of Serbia. Courts do not order estranged spouses to continue in a broken marriage. “

United Kingdom

10 December 2009 Daniel Bethlehem QC, Legal Adviser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office • Serbia by initiating proceedings before the ICJ wants to set back the clock, and seeks an advisory opinion that would compel Kosovo to re-engage with Serbia over its status. There is, however, no reason whatever to believe that an agreed outcome would be any more achievable now than it was in the past. The United Kingdom warns about the misleading approach of Serbia, which would like the court to assess the legality of the declaration, ignoring the events that led to it.

• Serbia has made it quite clear that it will never accept an independent Kosovo. Kosovo, for its part, has made it quite clear, that, given the legacy of abuse, it cannot again become part of Serbia. Courts do not order estranged spouses to continue in a broken marriage.

• Although the Resolution 1244 referred to the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia, this principle was not the cornerstone for a political solution of Kosovo’s status. The United Kingdom did not come to support independence for Kosovo quickly or easily and does not see these proceedings as adversarial to Serbia. Serbia’s democracy is not much older than Kosovo’s. Independence of Kosovo brought stability to the region after a traumatic decade. The common future for both Kosovo and Serbia lies in eventual membership for both States in the European Union and the United Kingdom will continue to work towards the realization of that vision.[99]

Now Mike this brings me to the next part of your piece where you say:-

“If independence is not achieved through democratic means, then it will not be recognised. If it is not recognised we will be sanctioned against. Who would we trade with if not the UK, the EU or indeed most of the developed world. Who would protect us if not NATO and the UN? Who would pay our pensions if not the UK? Who would fly to our airports if not all major airlines? Who would buy our oil and whisky if not the developed world? Who would employ us as citizens of a sanctioned country? The list goes on and on.”

You could almost get a job with “Project fear “Mike writing that hysterical nonsense. It is almost like watching the BBC during the referendum campaign.

Do you think any perceived Unilateral declaration of Independence would not be preceded by negotiations with trading partners, the international court of Justice , the UN and NATO ? of course it would . Countries leaders do not sit in a darkened room having a few drinks get themselves fired up and then suddenly go out in the street and declare UDI.

Seriously Mike ,if you and whoever “we” are seriously wishing this site to be credible then you must stop trying to stifle honest debate or you become nothing more than another Labour party and if you by some chance are acting on behalf of the SNP and in some way trying to keep the lid on this UDI movement then stop it or you will lose all credibility.

As I have already said, I do not at this point think that UDI is advisable, but I do know what is inadvisable and that is to try to silence those who do not agree with you.

Bob

I append the posting that I am referring to below.

Mike Strachan

9 hrs • Dundee

Good morning everyone! It’s been an amazing couple of weeks watching you all join the group and seeing the numbers grow. We are all independence minded and want what is best for our country.

However, we have become increasingly concerned regarding the amount of aggression being shown to certain members when they try to explain why a democratic referendum is currently the only way, we can look to achieve our freedom. We all know that UDI mire than often results in bloodshed, death and often civil unrest or war. We know the government is killing people, but to kill more and still lose independence is simply not the answer. If independence is not achieved through democratic means, then it will not be recognised. If it is not recognised we will be sanctioned against. Who would we trade with if not the UK, the EU or indeed most of the developed world. Who would protect us if not NATO and the UN? Who would pay our pensions if not the UK? Who would fly to our airports if not all major airlines? Who would buy our oil and whisky if not the developed world. Who would employ us as citizens of a sanctioned country. The list goes on and on. For a UDI to actually work properly, we would need well over 2.2 million people to be proven supporters of independence and we all know that will never happen. And if you tried to prove that, what would you do, take a vote????? That’s what a referendum is. And we certainly wouldn’t need over 2.2 million people for it to work.

We are all for healthy debate and discussion but need to remind people this is not a group or forum pushing for UDI. We are pushing towards the next referendum. As support for independence is still around the 48-50% we need to find patience within us and work forward. We need to peacefully and in a friendly way, win over no voters. Please feel free to post articles and page links in the group that members can go on to share on their own timeline in the hope NO voters will have a read and maybe come to the group for further information. And that information has to be non-aggressive.

Do not post aggression or foul language. It will not be tolerated.

We are on this journey together everyone. Let’s make it peaceful and inviting. Aggression will lose us our independence.

Thank you and here’s to a better future.

Mike Strachan

Admin

I will leave readers to make up their own minds as to the motives behind this site bearing in mind that we are now almost 7 years from the last referendum, 7 years into the leadership of the SNP, and the independence movement by Nicola Sturgeon.
We are literally going nowhere on that road to independence.


Bob

The World this week from Mennies

Afghanistan

Monday 12 July 2021

This week, Mennies has transitioned to Celebrity Silhouette, as I am bobbing up and down somewhere in the Irish sea, on a cruise to nowhere, Because of Covid restrictions, the original itinerary was changed from, Southampton. Orkney. Belfast. Portland to Southampton, Liverpool, Portland, with no ability to go ashore in any of the stops unless you take a ships organised tour , which means you are very much restricted to the coach or its near vicinity.

Afghanistan

Over the last couple of weeks the US alliance, which includes the UK have been packing their bags and preparing to scuttle off and leave the Afghan army to be slaughtered at the hands if the Taliban. Mark my words , that is exactly what is about to happen.

What has it all been for? The answer to that is absolutely nothing. After 9/11 George Bush decided to ignore the fact that the perpetrators of that atrocity were all from Saudi Arabia and blamed it on Al Qaida who coincidently had a couple of ineffectual bases in Afghanistan.

So what did they do? Instead of bombing these bases or putting special forces on the ground to destroy them, they went to war with the government of that country who happened to be at that time the Taliban. Now, who were the Taliban? Well at one time they were called the Mujahedeen and at that time the US, through the CIA were financing them to fight against the Russians who had at that time, like the US, very unwisely invaded Afghanistan.

Now, why would the US wish to come to blows with an erstwhile ally . That is complicated, but what should be considered is that most foreign policy in the US is led by the CIA and as you might remember they have a long history of using drug money to finance clandestine operations all over the planet. So what is the main export product in Afghanistan? Yes you got it ,heroin and strangely enough despite their more unsavory attributes, such as their attitudes to women, the Taliban forbade the production of heroin.

So, under the guise of seeking out Bin Laden the US gathered together an alliance of the stupid which included the UK and many European countries and the Poppy crop which had been almost eradicated under the Taliban, once again flourished.

This had several consequences, one of which was that it ensured a constant source of heroin for the western world and it caused countless civilian deaths together with the deaths and mutilation of thousands of soldiers of the alliance.

Eventually, like most of the US’s interventions in other countries affairs, it become apparent that it had been a disaster and now we are about to leave Afghanistan to return to exactly where it was before we decided to become terrorist’s in someone else’s country.

Now make no mistake about it, but the sacrifices our brave military made in that country was wasted, utterly wasted. They were not fighting to protect their own country, they were not even fighting to protect another country, they were fighting to uphold a CIA agenda, which included the production of Heroin. An agenda that goes back to the President Carter days of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan when production of heroin was centered around the town of Darra in the northwest of Pakistan supplied from the fields on Helmand in Afghanistan. The CIA had set up a factory to manufacture Russian style weapons paid for through the profits of Heroin shipped from Darra to Russia and Europe. These weapons were distributed free of charge to Afghan fighters who used them in their struggle against the Russian invaders and then used against our own troops after 9/.11 So anyone who thinks that the US involvement in Afghanistan, started after 9/11 really needs a re-think.

The Taliban will once again take over control of Afghanistan after they have completed the slaughter of the Afghan Army and once again they will no doubt destroy the poppy crop.

When will we ever learn.

Bob

A Nautical Nomad

Cruise to nowhere 9 July 2021

Familiar sight without the hustle and bustle

Well, after quite some time I am back travelling again. This tiny virus has caused the world to change in ways that will resonate for many years to come. As for me, it has had a huge impact on business and indeed my quest to take a back seat and do more travelling. However, we now seem to be having a gap in the tight restrictions that have applied in various stages over the last year and a half. When I say “a gap” I mean just that as I do not believe the present move by both the UK government and the Scottish government to remove restrictions completely, is wise and I have a feeling that before long, possibly by the onset of winter, we will be once again, back where we were a few weeks ago. However, time will tell.

In the meantime, here I am bobbing up and down somewhere in the Irish sea. My trip started at 02.00 yesterday, with an early rise and a short trip into Dundee City centre to catch the Airport bus to Edinburgh airport. Great service which leaves from the bottom of Union Street across from the Malmaison Hotel, once upon a time called Mathers Hotel, which, believe it or not, was a temperance hotel. Hard to believe that there once was a hotel in Dundee that chose not to sell aquaholic liquor . Then again, when you consider that Winston Churchill, at that time a Westminster member of parliament for Dundee and well known alchoholic, was unseated by Neddy Scrimgeour, who was an abolitionist , then it is perhaps not that surprising in the city of discovery, a city full of surprises.

I digress, so Edinburgh airport was like a ghost town, yes pretty early but nothing like the numbers you would expect in July, and down no doubt to the huge uncertainty about travel arrangements put in place by the Scottish government with a history of previous relaxations being abruptly changed, causing huge alterations to travel plans especially returns, with holidaymakers facing the choice of trying to bring their return forward or facing quarantine in hotels at considerable cost to them personally.

No lounge open so old favourite Costa

A big disappointment was that the airport lounges were all closed. I usually check into one of them to wile the time away whilst waiting for my flight to call. So, the second-best was a visit to Costa where at least you are always guaranteed a decent cappuccino.  Flight called on time and boarding took minutes, there being only about 20 passengers, however once aboard it was announced that there was a problem with the main door and an engineer had been called. It turned out, it was a straightforward repair and only caused a short delay. A great fear regarding same-day travel to a port is that the flight can be delayed and that is why I generally give at least one day grace between making the main travel leg and the departure from port. One way to ameliorate this risk is to book the “travel to the leaving point” leg through the cruise company and then it is their responsibility to either delay the ships leaving time to accommodate your hold up or in extreme cases where there has been a major delay in flights, to get you to the next port to join the cruise.

Another scenario which could be encountered is when booking your own flights and there is a delay. There is still a responsibility on the airline to get you to your destination by the quickest route and manner possible and not necessarily using only their own aircraft.

A good example of this was several years ago when I was travelling from Scotland to Florida to join a cruise in Miami. Now, I had allowed an overnight in Miami to allow for just exactly what happened. I had booked with British Airways and the itinerary was from Edinburgh to London, London to Chicago and Chicago to Miami. Now it just happened to snow for the first time that year on that very day and because there were a few inches of snow on the runway it caused chaos in Edinburgh airport, with all flights held up. So this together with an actual fault on the plane, meant I would miss my connection in Heathrow unless that flight had been delayed. When I came off the flight in Heathrow a guy was waiting at the top of the walkway with a sign with my name on it and suggested I follow him quickly as they were to get me on an alternative flight that was about to leave. So, we were weaving our way through back corridors away from the main concourses and I began to get a feeling that there might not be a good outcome to this, so I asked the guy where this flight was going.  “Los Angeles,” he said “whoa, just hold it there,” I said, “there is no way I am flying across the US and back again to catch a cruise in Miami by tomorrow, get me to the desk.” After some protest, he did take me to the British Airways desk, where I was told by a pretty snooty attendant that British Airways did not have any other flights that day and my only alternative was to fly the following day.  

“Ok,” I said but you should be aware that under aviation regulations you have to get me to my destination if there is a time constraint, by any available means” and I quoted the regulation in question. I also told her that I believed there was a continental (now called United) flight to New York with presumably a connection to Miami.  Oops, she went away presumably to speak to someone who knew what they were doing and came back and organized a ticket on Continental flying into Newark with the connection to Miami being the next morning. “Great,” I said, now can I assume you will have a hotel booked for my overnight stay, as I should have been staying in Miami and I have no intention of sleeping in the airport.

 She did not look pleased in the least but eventually said that it would be organized by the time I got there, I did not have a good feeling about her assurances, and this was confirmed when I arrived in Newark as no one was aware of any accommodation booking. The problem was that British Airways and Continental use different parts of what is a huge airport. So, I eventually managed to get to the terminal (via the sky train), used By BA, found the office and was told that they had no record of any accommodation booking, and the office was about to close. I made it plain that unless they found accommodation quickly, then they would be closing the office with me in it, as I had no intention of moving until accommodation and transport to it was arranged. The guy picked up the phone and arranged the accommodation and the transport to allow him to get home for his tea without having the bother of first getting me arrested.

So, the moral of the story is, get yourself organized and make provision for delays when travelling considerable distances and have a cruise to catch.

So, back to the cruise. Boarding yesterday was possibly the best I have encountered quite possibly because of the low numbers of guests and the documentation checking process which had been streamlined to facilitate the minimum of contact.

Leaving Southampton

The onboard experience is better than I imagined and has been well thought out. Everyone has to wear a mask when walking around the ship but all eating and drinking are of course mask free and the best surprise of all is that dancing is allowed. Because of the low numbers on the ship, it is much easier to enjoy the facilities and especially the buffet which is all served by the staff but you are free to walk around and choose what you wish.Room excellent and although I normaly book an inside cabin I had splashed out an extra fifty quid ( bargain) for an outside cabin and because of my loyalty level this was upgraded to a cabin at the bow of the ship with a great view.

Great view

Formal night tonight so better see if I can get the creases out of my Kilt. More as the week goes on.

Bob