Decline and Decay

I have been on the P&O cruise ship Azura all week and got to thinking about where we are in the struggle for independence and I realised that this ship and indeed the corporate culture of P&O epitomises the last vestige of the British Empire.

P&O, although owned by Carnival , an American company, promote themselves as a “very British “ company and they show this in several ways, none of which are Scottish ,Irish or Welch, so really they are English . Their attempt to promote this “Britishness starts in their publicity material, where they explain that the ships in the fleet are crewed by British nationals. Not quite true as in general the officers and senior admin staff are British, the servers, the cleaning staff the “Gaungadins” are in general Asian.

First impression of the ship is the butchers apron wrapped around the bow of the ship and this continues as you board with all the decks named after a one time British colony. Dress code is strictly adhered to with two formal nights and all other evenings requiring a shirt and jacket in most bars and restaurants.

One thing missing is a group of strange people, wearing bowler hats and Orange sashes, parading along the Prominade deck, but given recent government mascinations ,I am sure they will think of that before long as they continue their policy of shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.

So I am sitting here in the ships coffee shop having my usual morning capachino and thinking of where we in Scotland are in relation to the decaying British empire, I am served by a pleasant young Indian gentleman who looks at the t shirt I am wearing which depicts the heading of my blog “ Society grows great when old men plant trees they know they will never sit in the shade of, create a better country for our children” He gives a big smile and the thumbs up sign. They did exactly this in India and many other countries when they broke away from the shackles of the British empire and removed the butchers apron from their flag poles for good, except in some token ways as members of the commonwealth.

I am reminded of the state of the last vestiges of that once enormous empire , as I sit here aware of the mild but prevalent exotic scent of leaking colostomy bags percolating in the air conditioned breeze. Yes this ship truly represents the decaying British empire and we in Scotland need to continue on our road to independence for our children’s sake.

It has been an interesting trip and I enjoyed Norway very much, a country of much the same size, population wise as Scotland but a much wealthier country because of the fact that they have complete control of their assets and more importantly control of their future.

I probably won’t travel again on P&O , not because of the quality of the ship , the service or attention to detail but because of their culture.

I told you so

I wrote this blog below on the 3rd July 2015 and I defy anyone to say it was wrong .

I re-post this because it came up on my memories on Facebook and it has relevance to what is happening at the moment.

Belatedly the SNP seem to have come to the conclusion that all is not well in the struggle for independence and there does seem to be moves afoot to address the situation, in as much as Nicola Sturgeon seems to be offering cooperation with the wider independence movement as a way to consolidating ideas and initiatives.

Any thing which gets us away from the stagnation that has marked the SNP’s strategy for independence since the referendum ,is to be welcomed and I and others await further confirmation of good intent regarding this.

However, there are things that also have to be considered in connection with a resumption of the road to independence which came up against a no entry sign immediately after the independence referendum. The main consideration is who has been advising Nicola Sturgeon and the first entity that comes to mind is the fiscal commission who have been bumbling about with various currency questions for an inordinate amount of time now, which means that they either do not now what they are doing or there are other interests at play. They should be sacked immediately because they have done no good whatsoever. Nicola appointed “advisers and members of both the standing council of  Europe and the fiscal commission who were incredibly, pro  Union. Now that is the equivalent of a General who has just lost a battle asking the opposing General if he could help him out with a strategy to defeat him. That is simply stupid , there is no other word I can think of to describe that strategy.
So combined with an engagement with the wider independence movement there must be a clear out of these so called advisers or all this new found spirit of conciliation will mean nothing more than the paper it is printed on, if indeed it is printed at all.

The SNP must also stop bowing to media and unionist pressure to stop speaking about independence and instead make independence the main thrust of any future strategy, Their reluctance  to keep independence to the fore is the very reason for their decline in popularity and they are in complete denial of this very obvious fact. There has also just commenced a media campaign to wrongly try to portray dissatisfaction within the business community of the discussion on independence related matters.

Their present position was always entirely predictable and that is the reason I re post the blog I did  on the 3rd July 2015 , 9 months after the referendum. I suggested calling the campaign the “I told you so ” campaign and that suggestion is even more relevant today with brexit to add to the other disasters which predictably have befallen us like the Smith commission .
As I say , it is good and very welcome that the SNP have finally decided to listen to other voices. Putting the suggestions into practice might be another matter.

Bob Costello

UNION! WHAT UNION

Yes what Union? Oh how the Westminster English MP’s must be kicking themselves . Why on earth did they even consider giving Scotland a devolved parliament. What was the point , both they and the Scottish people were kidding themselves , weren’t they ? There was no real Union in 1707 , it was simply a take over given a silly name of a Union , a Union between equals? Well we know just how equal it was now don’t we. It was never equal and in its present form ,never will be
This week proved that with all 56 Scottish members of Westminster voting for solely scottish issues and being massively voted down and laughed at by the Westminster establishment.
Within the next few weeks we will see the introduction of new English Votes For English laws EVEL for short and evil in content. Now when I say introduction I mean just that because this is not to be debated in parliament but merely put through on a standing order basis , which means that it will not even go through proper parliamentary procedure.
So this means that although Scotland Subsidises England, our democratically elected representatives will not even have the opportunity to scrutinise how this Scottish money is to be spent. This is nothing short of disgraceful.

This of course was a situation which should have been foreseen , actually it was,but unfortunately the only people who did not see it coming was our politicians . It only needs a simple grasp of arithmetic and a knowledge of the Tory party and the Labour Party to have foreseen this happening . Wait and see they kept saying , wait for the vow to be implemented , wait for them to keep their word , wait for the outcome of the Smith commission
After September 19 th I wanted to continue the campaign to highlight the broken promises as they happened . Yes by all means I said explore every avenue but keep the campaign going , keep it fresh in people’s minds as the Vow , the promises and the Smith commission unravel before their eyes. Change the Yes campaign to the ” I Told You So” campaign. Because we did actually tell them so every day on the streets of Dundee with the Yes Bus Dragon for independence team ,we told them they were being lied to about pensions ,about monetary union about the balance of payments situation, about entry to Europe and many other things.
When I posted my concerns immediately after the 19th I was vilified by several so called activists , activists who were at that point in time about to go to sleep and become in- activists . I was accused of splitting the support for the SNP and was called a few creative names To these people I would say simply ” I told you so” and by the way how do you feel now.
Now it is the politicians that I am saying to ” I told you so ” and we have lost 8 months of useful time getting to where many of us knew we were heading all the time and that is the one way street we found ourselves in this week. Many people hold on to the hope that the politicians have something up their sleeves . Well we thought that during the campaign and discovered that the only things they had up their sleeves were their arms.

So what now ? I feel that very shortly the democratic deficit will show the real black hole in UK politics and it is very important that our people down there realise this.
At that point we must bring them back home and call a Scottish parliamentary election with a mandate for independence. If there is a majority for independence parties then it must be either negotiated or taken I cannot see any other way.
In the mean time we must start to inform the people who were terrorised by Jim Murphy and his likes , by Osbourne , Balls , Alexander and their likes that all this was just an illusion , just like the vow . We must take the initiative it is a true saying that if you want peace then prepare for war ( and I do not mean that literally) .

the time of ” wait and see” is over and we must now grasp the Thistle

We are on the road to independence
This is our journey.
Bob

LAST CHANCE SALOON

It is refreshing to note that after almost three years (since the independence referendum) and a succession of reverses for the SNP , that they  now seem willing to engage with the wider movement. Although I will wait to see just how this manifests’ itself in solid action.

There has of course been a flurry of excitement with people and groups going off on all sorts of tangents with their own ideas of how this new found spirit of cooperation should be fostered with ideas of committees and elections of leaders etc ,etc.

If indeed the SNP are serious about cooperating with the wider independence movement then I feel the easiest way to do this, is what I suggested to them two days after the independence referendum and that is this.

 

Foster and encourage the grass roots groups which spontaneously sprung up all around the country and carried the independence cause from a starting point of around 27% to the 45% we achieved in the vote. In order for this to be successful there must be a serious attempt to answer the issues we actually lost the referendum on such as pensions and the monitory situation in an independent Scotland. Only then can the grass roots go out and campaign with centrally produced materials on a common and thought out theme to win over the no voters and the undecided. It is absolutely pointless in doing anything by way of campaigning without that information as you would be subject (rightfully so ) to ridicule. A slow but targeted campaign could then be put into action to build an unanswerable case for independence with people following a proper road map to independence. There must also be a commitment to treat the independence question on its own without the diluting factor of EU membership and that would mean attaining independence and then shortly afterwards having a referendum on EU membership which could in the interm period be pre- negotiated with the EU in order to facilitate a speedy transition to full membership should the people decide that it was acceptable.

The SNP are still the best conduit to facilitate this but there must be a corporate commitment to cooperate in pushing this forward, and very importantly, they must stop running away from the word independence and nail their colours to the mast in the same manner that Jeremy Corbin did during his General election campaign.

 

Business for Scotland should be brought on board to produce a virtual profit and loss sheet for an independent Scotland. This is something quite different from the discredited GERS figures, annually pumped out by the Westminster government to show that an independent Scotland could not manage to look after its own affairs. A supposition which is absolute nonsense but one that the SNP have given credence to in the past and I can only suppose that they themselves could not understand the figures.

Before any projected profit and loss together with a balance sheet can be produced of course, there would have to be a proper assessment of the tax take generated in Scotland as at present the GERS figures are made up using estimates ( guesses) of 24 of the 25 tax bases used in the GERS figures. This is not good enough and the Scottish Government should be pressing the treasury for a set of definitive figures.
There are groups like Common Weil who have also been doing good work on things like Central Bank and currency etc and this should be looked at. I do not totally agree with some of their suggestions but all suggestions should be treated seriously , the most important item should be what currency we would use and I have ,for some considerable time held the view that it should be our own currency which would be based on the strengths ( or weakness) of our economy and industry.

So there we have it, what seems to be an offer of belated cooperation from the SNP to the wider independence movement and all we need now is a plan . I asked the SNP what the plan was two days after the referendum and was met with a blank look and “what plan” Let’s hope the blank look has lifted and we have a new era of cooperation and hope.

The SNP are broken at the moment and self-denial will not better their cause but with a will, I feel they can dust themselves down get up and get on with their main purpose in life and that is to attain independence for our country. They need to change and adapt and the grass roots army stands ready to carry the fight forward and support them, as the independence movement is much bigger than just the SNP. Let’s hope that finally we can find that illusive “road Map To Independence”

This is still our road, ALL OF US.

A Lesson Too Late In The learning ?

Read this attachment from Kevin McKenna this actually sums up the present situation very well. Well to be honest it sums up what has happened, or more to the point what has not happened since the independence referendum in 2014.
It is strange though that only now, commentators are lining up to give opinions from on high ,like this article from Kevin McKenna, Gerry Hassan, Bella Caledonia and even Stuart Campbell from Wings over Scotland has been offering a few criticisms.
Many of these commentators, although correct in what they are saying now are the very ones who were sucked into the vortex that was the popularity of the SNP immediately after the independence referendum. So in part, they were instrumental in creating the pigmy race that Kevin accuses the SNP of being.
I have resisted blogging since the SNP’s creeping disaster that was the General election, because I am becoming fed up saying the same things, over and over again.
The difference between what I have been saying all along and these commentators who have suddenly found their voices is that I have been consistent.
Because of this consistency I have been vilified by some of the unthinking masses of SNP acolytes and accused of some rather distasteful motives.
To save going over everything that has come to pass and if by chance anyone is interested in correcting the mistakes that the SNP have constantly made then have a read of my blogs on bobsblog.scot because almost every single thing I have predicted has now come to pass.
The strategic abilities of the SNP are simply awful and it is time for a change at the top and I mean Nicola Sturgeon and her Husband Peter Murrel.

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15354011.Kevin_McKenna__Cowed_pygmies_of_the_SNP_are_putting_independence_at_risk/?ref=mrb&lp=1

 

Time To Think The Unthinkable?

Ok, so politics in the UK and indeed in Scotland are all over the place. Theresa May is in deep trouble because of her disastrous decision to try to take advantage of a perceived weakness in the Labour leader. This was only matched by her awful campaign where she hid from the public

She is about to compound this disaster by forming an alliance with a bunch of knuckle draggers who amongst them are anti women’s rights, anti-gay marriage and believers in creationism. They are a party with distinct links to terrorism.

I somehow do not think that is going to come out too well, and when you add to that the fact that this motley crew will not even be able to vote on England only, legislation along with the newly elected Scottish contingent of Tory MPs so in any English only legislation they will start off with a 20-seat handicap. Add to this the impending Brexit negotiation and I cannot foresee this government lasting any more than 6 months possibly a lot less.

Now as to Scotland, I am sure the SNP are having wee huddles and deciding that it was anyone’s fault except them and I have already had a comment from one of their less able to think ,Dundee West constituency office embedded acolytes, actually trying to apportion blame to me   for some of their misfortune. If they think one insignificant blogger of constructive criticism can affect an election result to this extent then they must feel very insecure indeed.

The facts are as I have been saying for quite some time and that is the SNP have veered away from their day job which is the attainment of independence for Scotland, and the Jeremy Corbin campaign shows just that . He nailed his colours to the mast and went for it, as opposed to the SNP’s disastrous campaign with yet again keeping independence in a locked cupboard. This was displayed in the awful manifesto they produced.

OK so where do we go from here? Well there is a couple of options both of which will bring a storm of criticism from some of the less able to think SNP worshipers, and before I go any further I would like to make it plain that I did in fact vote SNP as being the only way to keep the Tories out, not because I thought it would take us any nearer independence because the manifesto actually put another referendum further away than it was a few weeks ago.

So here goes. I feel that if we are to continue to allow the SNP to pursue independence I think it should be under new leadership as the Man and Wife team there at present have presided over a steady diminution of support since the 2015 General election.

Another option is to start a new party named something along the lines of “The Scottish Independence Party” whose sole purpose would be to attain independence for Scotland.

So now to the more controversial option and at this point I must pass on some of the responsibility for this to Rudy Cajka who is a politician from Texas deeply involved in the Republican movement and a guy I have had some very intense debates with regarding their daft president and also my views on Israel. He does however closely follow our fight for independence and corresponds ;, and criticises my efforts regularly.

The SNP form an alliance with the Tories, (yes you heard right ) and this is the reasoning and strategy behind this.

From Scotland position and indeed the independence movement 

We have a hand in the Brexit negotiations.

The Tories would agree to a referendum in two years.

The Tories would agree not to campaign against independence ( a requirement any way from the UN)

The Tories agree that we can use the pound until a separate currency is decided on ( not that they can stop it any way but that was one of the main problems the last time.)

Tories guarantee a smooth transition to independence if it is carried in the referendum.

Tories agree on a program for removal of Trident from Scotland ( which would happen anyway if we were independent)

There is a clear cut definition of any effect on pensions in an independent Scotland.

There would be pre-independence negotiations on sharing of assets, share of the national debt etc.

SNP would get a number of cabinet positions thus protecting Scotland from any prospective harmful legislation.

We can pull out at any time triggering a General Election.

 

Benefits to the Tories

354 members of Parliament = a stable government.

A guaranteed 5 year term.

A strong hand in the Brexit negotiations

The Tories could consolidate their hold on power for a longer time

Tories could negotiate an extended period to remove trident from Scotland

An arrangement like this would remove the possibility of restarting the troubles in Ireland.

If the Tories are forced to have another election they will lose it.

 

So just a few thoughts from the point of view of Scotland becoming an independent country which is supposed to be what the SNP are all about.

 

SNP, The Manifesto And The Day Job

Day jobOK so now that the euphoria over the SNP manifesto has died down, I would like to get my two bits worth in. Firstly, let me say that a standing ovation before people had even heard what was contained in the manifesto is not healthy as it gives the impression that these people were about to accept whatever was contained in the manifesto unquestioningly.

As to the manifesto itself, it was abysmal, the document and introduction was detailed only in as much as it was a regurgitation of existing policies mixed in with a good sprinkling of devolved issues together with un-costed policies.

None of the main Westminster related issues are ever likely to be implemented because the SNP will not form a Westminster government. Now I qualify that statement by saying that at the time this manifesto was formed, the polls were not reflecting the Tory melt down that is apparent now together with the rise in popularity of Jeremy corbin, so there is now a slim possibility that the SNP could act as king maker in a hung parliament.

As to the manifesto and the sole purpose of the SNP, (which is to gain independence for Scotland) the manifesto puts independence actualy further away as it now seems the policy of the SNP to wait until Brexit negotiations have been completed and not within the period, Autumn 2018 to Spring 2019, which was the latest SNP policy until the release of the manifesto. Anyone who believes that Brexit negotiations will be completed within two years is delusional.

The SNP have a problem in as much as they are trying to be all things to all people and it is not working. They say they (as the Scottish government) are governing for all. Well that is an intrinsic impossibility. You cannot govern for all. You govern according to your party constitution (which is there for everyone to see) together with the manifesto you produce in the run up to the election you gain power in. You have a duty to CONSIDER everyone but that is completely different from governing for everyone.

The SNP have been the beneficiaries of the actions ( or inaction’s) of other parties in the independence equation and they have ridden the crest of the wave generated by the people of Scotland who were disappointed by the result in the independence referendum in 2014. I think it is fair to say that not a single person who voted for them in all the elections since 2014 would not have realised that their vote could result in independence for Scotland. The SNP chose to ignore this obvious fact and instead of getting on with their day job, which was attaining independence for Scotland they decided to try to be all things to all people and it has not worked because in all elections since the 2015 Westminster election they have lost ground.

There has been an awful neglect of the addressing of the issues we lost the last independence referendum on. There has been a succession of promises and half promises of a start to another independence campaign and a continual marching of the troops up to the top of the hill, only to be marched down again. There has been a succession of missed opportunities for independence , the main one being the day after the EU referendum when Theresa May hot footed it up to Scotland and persuaded Nicola Sturgeon that she would have a veto in EU negotiations. At that point Nicola was responsible for throwing away the best opportunity ever for a promised few pieces of silver.

We have had the will of the Scottish people who voted for full inclusion in the EU diluted to some tenuous attachment to the single market or worse still to the European economic area. Nicola Sturgeon has absolutely no mandate for this position as the people of Scotland voted for full membership of the EU with all the social and legal advantages that this confers upon us.

This manifesto is in the same category as the paper presented to the British government as a compromise document towards the end of last year. Both are road maps to unionism and can you imagine, even if there was to be some sort of attachment to the single market, and under a Tory government how this would benefit Scotland?  Anyone who thinks it would is simply delusional.

Ok now let me address where we are in the independence cause in relation to the SNP. That is quite easy, “nowhere” The basic principal of conflict is that you attack the enemy when they are weakest and never hope for a better opportunity to present itself if it means giving up a god sent situation because one thing is sure and that is that circumstance change and that is exactly what is happening now.

The Tories are in melt down and the SNP have not prepared the ground to take advantage of it. Jeremy Corbin is reaping the benefits of the present Tory difficulties and the reason he is doing this is that he has a simple strategy. He is a socialist and he has a socialist agenda. He has nailed his colours to the mast. People know what they are voting for as opposed to the SNP who are trying to all things to all people. So, Jeremy has two means of gaining votes. People know what they are voting for and the Tories are in melt down whereas the SNP can only depend on the Tory melt down as they have once again done everything to hide the word independence in their manifesto, to the point that some people are probably being confused that the referendum they mention a few times without the prefix of independence is possible another EU referendum.

My preference (as I have said in the past) would have been to go for independence on the back of a simple majority in this election. As predicted this is not going to happen, neither is the inclusion of an intention to wrest control of section 30 powers from Westminster, which would legitimise any future referendum. People are under the misapprehension that we need Westminster’s permission to hold a referendum, we don’t, we only need the agreement that the result would be accepted by the British Government.

So, where are we? well more or less where we have been since the independence referendum. We are no nearer independence than we were on the 19th September 2014 and the reason is that the SNP have absolutely no strategic abilities. Depending on the extent of Tory meltdown I predict that once again the SNP will lose support and they will do so because of the failure to get on with their day job as I have explained. Their job is to attain independence not cower away from the press every time independence is mentioned. The governess of Scotland is a by-product of their main purpose in life. If their main purpose has changed they will have to either change their constitution or form a new party.

I for one am heartily sick of the prevarication of the SNP and I suspect I am not alone in this. The vote next Thursday will tell a tale.

Having said that , In order to keep the Tories out in Scotland and in fact in the whole of the UK. The only logical strategy according to the present and prospective seats situation is to vote SNP in Scotland and Labour in England. Any one whose main hope is eventual independence is deluding themselves by thinking of voting Labour in Scotland except in perhaps a couple of seats. In  the case of Dundee that thinking is simply delusional. In general, voting Labour in Scotland  will mean a split in the voting and that could conceivably allow Tories into seats.

The manifesto! cards on the table

I have constantly put forward a solution and included it in several letters I have sent to Nicola Sturgeon. It is in two parts. My first option would be for all the pro-independence parties to simply offer a manifesto giving independence as a first option. Then if there is a simple majority in the forthcoming […]


I have constantly put forward a solution and included it in several letters I have sent to Nicola Sturgeon.

It is in two parts. My first option would be for all the pro-independence parties to simply offer a manifesto giving independence as a first option. Then if there is a simple majority in the forthcoming elections then in effect we are independent and can then carry out a general election for Scotland and negotiate a settlement of assets with the rump UK.

That is not going to happen because of the SNP’s mistaken position of having to govern for all. So that brings me to my second choice of a solution. The SNP put an intention to wrest control of the powers contained in section 30 from Westminster to Hollyrood. Now if there is a majority for this then Westminster should concede to the democratic will of the Scottish people, but they won’t. We can then hold a referendum. Now because of the fact that Westminster would attempt to say that it was only advisory, they would hardly be in a position to attempt to mount a campaign for a no vote (which according to the UN is exactly how it should be with the host country not participating or trying to influence a campaign for independence,unlike the last time). We would win that referendum and could then either simply declare independence or we could go to the UN and the EU for support.

I await sight of the SNP manifesto on Tuesday but I am sure there will be nothing all along these lines in it and we will be once more be in the process of being marched back down the hill. Furthermore I expect a dilution of the promise to hold a referendum during the period from the Autumn 2018 to the Spring of 2019 to something like a referendum should be held when Britex negotiations have been completed.

There is absolutely no logical reason for this stance from a party whose sole function is to achieve independence. If the SNP hold this line then they will have to either change their constitution to one that states that in the event of them forming a devolved government of Scotland they will put the governess of the people before independence, or they will have to form a new party which does not have independence at the heart of its constitution.

We need a proper road map to independence with a progressive but constant movement towards independence, with a serious grappling with the issues that are still outstanding since the last one and I predict that the voting results in this General Election will reflect the absence of such a road map since the last independence referendum in 2014.