scottish election

The Polling Station 4 – Trident

The Polling Station is a podcast of around 5 minutes with short informative little pieces on the election matters that are being missed, evaded, obfuscated or terminalogically inexactituded in the normal election coverage. It’ll be every day between now and the election, with Ivan McKee, myself and others.

This is the 4th episode, you can find the others here.

507-nuclear-weaponsIn this episode we look at the plans to replace Trident. Is it worth the money? Is it good military strategy? And what about the Red Menace. What about the SNP red line?

Oh, and a bonus point for anyone who can tell me why I stuck that little bit of music on at the end. It wasn’t because there will be another episode tomorrow.

Hope you enjoy…

This is the direct download link (right click and save as)

You can listen to the show online at its web page

Or you can subscribe with itunes

We can alse be found on youtube

If you’d like to help the project out, you can also make a donation.

“It is such a supreme folly to believe that nuclear weapons are deadly only if they’re used. The fact that they exist at all, their presence in our lives, will wreak more havoc than we can begin to fathom. Nuclear weapons pervade our thinking. Control our behavior. Administer our societies. Inform our dreams. They bury themselves like meat hooks deep in the base of our brains. They are purveyors of madness. They are the ultimate colonizer.”

– Arundhati Roy

The Polling Station Episode 1 – Full Fiscal Autonomy

Screen-Shot-2013-06-19-at-23.53.20The Polling Station is a new podcast of around 5 minutes in duration which we hope will come out every day between now and the election.

We will do short informative little pieces on the election matters that are being missed, evaded, obfuscated or terminalogically inexactituded in the normal election coverage.

The aim is also to provide people with information they can use to help them make their minds up on the issues and/or use as they campaign on those issues.

I’ll be doing these with Ivan McKee, but we’ll also have help from others along the way.

In this first episode we (mostly) spoke about the concept that Jim Murphy, in this video in which it is completely impossible that the backdrop of doorknocking is a setup, seems to think is too complicated for you all to get your pretty little heads around, namely full fiscal autonomy.

Big-Wealth-GapHope you enjoy…

This is the direct download link (right click and save as)

You can listen to the show online at its web page

Or you can subscribe with itunes

We can alse be found on youtube

If you’d like to help the project out, you can also make a donation.

Bruce Supposedly Vacillated, Not Wallace

The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

(Orwell’s definition of “Doublethink”)

No, not that Wallace.

I couldn’t help being struck by the video that National Collective posted yesterday. It was a video from the run-up to the 1997 devolution referendum. It featured a firebrand who was arguing for more powers for Scotland and hope defeats despair and so on.

Here it is…

Do we or do we not want to bring power and decision-making closer to the people of Scotland? We believe that when you make decisions in Scotland that address Scotland’s needs and reflect Scotland’s circumstances, as well as taking account of the needs and concerns of the diverse communities that make up Scotland, there will be better decisions.

Trust. Trust ourselves to take decisions affecting our schools, our hospitals, our jobs, our housing and how we use the power to tax.

It sounds like a remarkably good speech in favour of independence. “Nothing much has changed” he said, except of course the fact that his party has (at least temporarily) a foot in the door at Westminster. Oh and of course he is Lord Wallace now, safely ensconced in the House of Lords, which of course would in no way affect his policy outlook.

Now I understand that an Independence debate is different from a devolution debate. Nevertheless, if the above is the principle on which he supported devolution, then it is rather difficult not to support independence on that exact same principle.

Wallace (not that one) however, has been less than forthcoming in his support for Scottish Independence. So much so in fact, that he was exceedingly quick to deny that the very Scottish Parliament for which he fought, had the power to hold a referendum at all…

The Scottish government risks flouting a “fundamental principle of democracy” if it stages an “unlawful” vote on independence, the Advocate General for Scotland said today.

Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC restated the UK government’s view that the “Scottish parliament has no power to deliver a referendum on independence”.

In other statements he has hardly welcomed the idea of more power moving to Scotland.

To repeat, I understand that we are talking about two different debates. However, if what he said above is the principle on which he supported devolution, then either he no longer holds that principle dear or he doesn’t understand his own reasoning.

 

 

For A’ That 22 – Labouring Away

BGTw04BCQAIgNH8.jpg largeFor episode 22 of the For A’ That podcast Andrew and I were joined by New Statesman contributor James Maxwell and Huffington Post blogger and Labour Party member Andrew Smith.

The Labour party was the focus of a large part of the discussion. More specifically, the couple of interviews that Johann Lamont did this week and her speech at the conference. This became a more general discussion on some of the woes of that party in the post-devolution era.

We also discussed their new Truth Team and what that says about politics in this country. Some of us felt this had a kind of Orwellian overtone to it, others felt it represented the Americanisation of politics in Scotland and the UK and is reminiscent of American style attack ads.

Devo-somethings were also a topic. With the three Better Together parties now all backing some form of further devolution, will they be able to come up with a unified plan. Furthermore, would further devolution damage or in fact strengthen the SNP’s hand.

Back on Labour, is the idea of more devolution causing a problem between the Westminster party and the Holyrood one?

As usual, this is the direct download link (right click and save as)

You can listen to the show online at its web page

Or you can subscribe with itunes

Enjoy

Michael Greenwell

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For A’ That – Episode 5 – All Aboard!

For the fifth episode of the For A’ That podcast we have ventured into a new area for us in that we had a 4-way discussion.

Joining  Andrew and myself this time were former Scottish Socialist MSP Carolyn Leckie and Mike Small the editor of Bella Caledonia.

We discussed the goings on at the Radical Indy conference in Glasgow last Saturday and some of the media coverage thereof, the idea of voter registration campaigns before the referendum and the murky world of funding and how it relates to £750 dinners  gets a look in again.

We also discussed the necessity of having a serious dialogue about gender in Scotland.

Finally, we had a word about that flier. All Aboard!

This is the direct download link (right click and save as)

Go here to listen on the show’s homepage.

For A’ That – Episode 4 – Hypothetically

For A’ That Episode 4 is now online.

This time Andrew and myself were joined by Gary Dunion of, amongst other things, Bright Green Scotland.

We talked about Starbucks and other hypothetical/alleged tax dodgers. We talked about the hypothetical/alleged removal of Palestinian flags from Celtic Supporters yesterday and the hypothetical/alleged police harassment of the group known as the Green Brigade. This is a link to their statement that I mentioned.

We also got on to some possible difficulties that the Civil Service might have over the referendum question and the recent non-but-we-could-if-we-wanted intervention of the House of Lords in the whole affair.

This is the hypothetical direct download link (right click and save as)

Or you could hypothetically go to the show’s page and listen online.

The opening song was provided by Martin White

When Duty Calls

I wrote this article for Bella Caledonia last week…

—————————————————————————————————————

WHEN DUTY CALLS

We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.

George Orwell

A while back someone posted on twitter (if it was you, let me know and I will update this) that the London Scottish Conservative Society’s “Five Reasons Why the Union is Better Off with Scotland in it” were exactly the best reasons for Scottish Independence so I thought it might be an idea to go through them.

Number 1 – The Acts of Union created one of the most enduring relationships in the history of the world. Why fix something which isn’t broken?

The Pax Romana created one of the most enduring relationships in the world but there is no doubt about who benefitted most from it.

Additionally, I think the contention would be that it is broken. A system where all the nations incorporated in this union often don’t get the government they voted for and don’t have control of their own financial affairs can’t be said to be working too well. Furthermore, a system where the financial system causes resentment on all sides also cannot be said to be working too well.

Their article also goes on to say that Scottish Independence would provide a “brutal knock to British Identity” –  one of the main problems of the Union is that British and therefore English identity tends to ride roughshod over all the others when it suits.

They also say that the Welsh could be next. Go on the Welsh.

 

Number 2 – The impending Scotland Act will make Scotland more accountable for its own public spending

Oh no! You mean we could choose for ourselves! The horror of it.

Their article says…

“Splitting up the Union would be a clumsy overreaction to a resolvable problem; by tidying up the devolution settlement through legislation, we can ensure a fair and mutually beneficial relationship.”

Well, it has been 300 years of tinkering and nobody is happy with it yet. I also thought they said the system wasn’t broken?

Number 3 – Scottish independence could mean the UK’s largest trading partner has a different currency entailing greater risk, cost and bureaucracy

There are no current plans to join the Euro and that would seem to close the case here but what is bizarre is that their reasoning for this statement then morphs into something about immigration. The bold is mine…

There is a real risk of an immigration crisis should Scotland’s economy struggle on its own. Faced with a declining population, the Scottish administration is openly in favour of immigration and should times grow intolerably hard it is not difficult to see where those in search of work would head

A couple of problems here. The first is that Scotland’s population is projected to rise, not decline. The second is the last thing I put in bold. If you think that sentence through carefully, aside from the whiff of racism, it doesn’t sound very much like any sort of Scottish society this, does it?

Number 4 – An independent Scotland would entail a significant loss in HMT revenues from the North Sea

They say…

The stakes and the sums involved are sufficient to ensure years of international litigation over revenues which would be central to an Independent Scotland’s budget plans.

This of course would be a loss to the UK account, not the Scottish one. How difficult the litigation has to be depends on how unnecessarily or unfairly greedy Westminster wishes to be.

Number 5 – Scotland’s contribution to Britain’s armed forces is far greater than its population share

I think this is quite clearly something that shows the unfairness of the thing and not a reason to stay in the union.

Finally, in their conclusion keep an eye open for a couple of interesting things. Look out for the bold again…

Those are some of the more logical grounds for why England should want to stay in the Union, but truth be told, the reasons run deeper. Despite the family politics of the thing, most of us believe in Britain and want to be British.  In the words of David Cameron, we are stronger together and weaker apart. They say you can’t choose your family; in 2014 that will be demonstrably disproved.

At least at the end there is a stark admission that these are reasons for England to try to keep a hold of Scotland, not for Scotland to stay in the union, but we also get the strange “can’t choose your family line. I think 100 interpretations could be put on that so I will leave you to decide for yourselves what that one means.

 

Vote Britain – Alan Bissett

In case you missed Alan Bissett’s fantastic Vote Britain, here it is (text below)…

People of Scotland, vote with your heart.

Vote with your love for the Queen who nurtured you, cradle to grave,

Who protects you and cares, her most darling subjects, to whom you gave

the glens she adores to roam freely through, the stags her children so dearly enjoy killing.

First into battle, loyal and true.  The enemy’s scared of you.

That’s why we send you over the top with your och-aye-the-noo Mactivish there’s been a murrrderrr jings! crivvens! Deepfriedfuckinmarsbar wee wee dram of whisky hoots mon there’s a moose loose aboot this smackaddict

Vote, Jock.  Vote, Sweaty Sock.  Talk properly.

Vote with those notes we scrutinise  in our shops.

(might be legal tender but looks dodgy to me)

Vote for the Highland Clearances. Baaaaaaaaaa.

Vote for nuclear submarines in your water.

Vote for the Olympic Games you didn’t vote for

(but you’ll pay for it, you’ll pay for it).

Vote Conservative. Vote Lib Dem. Vote Libservative. Vote Condabour.

Vote with the chip on your shoulder.

Vote Labour.  New Labour. Old Labour. Scottish Labour.

(Get back in line, Scottish Labour, HQ in Solihull will issue their commands shortly,

Just keep the vote coming in from up there thanks goodbye,

Subsidy junkie).

Vote for any argument you construct in your defence being ‘anti-English’.

Vote for Scots who make their career in Scotland being ‘unambitious’.

Vote for enjoying your own culture being soooooooo parochial.

Vote God Save the Queen and that bit about us crushing you all.

Hush.  There there.

Vote for Scotland being refered to as a ‘region’, like, say, Yorkshire? Or East Anglia?

Vote for our voices dominating your media, but in no way telling you what to think.

Take a drink.  Go on, son, take a drink.

Vote for oil revenue, which we ensure flows directly from us into you.

Vote for being told you’re the only country in the world that could not possibly survive and that without us you’d fall to pieces like children abandoned in the wild, caked in faeces.

Vote Daily Mail and Rupert Murdoch and

illegalimmigrantskilledPrincessDiana and

London London London most exciting city in the world darling

(Glasgow is a very violent place, is it not. Do you have art?)

Vote wth your heart.  Vote Empire. Vote tradition.

Vote for our proud shared history of

enslavingothernationsandstealingtheirnaturalresources

Bringing Wealth and Prosperity to the World!

being on the right side just once and that’s only because it was against yer actual fucking Hitler

Vote for the #ScottishConspiracy at Westminster

(who really runs the show here eh – Blair, Brown – got your own in that time, we aren’t allowed to vote in Holyrood but there’s Archie McPhee pulling wee strings in our parliament when we wouldn’t even think about interfering in how you run your own affairs but while we’re at it, this referendum eh? A so-called referendum, is it?  Have it now, make sure it looks like this)

Vote for very, very, very rich people patronising you.

Vote for Glasgow having the highest knife-crime rate and lowest life expectancy in Europe

due to our generosity.  You may thank us at your leisure.

Vote for the absence of your history in our schools.

All Brits together.

Vote for our shock at your ingratitude!

Vote for us saying ‘Eh? Eh?’ when you open up your porridge mooth.

Vote for bafflement about why you want the England football team to lose.

We always want the Scots to win (except in referenda).

Vote for psychopathic villains with your accent in a soap opera.

Vote for tuition fees and student loans, ensuring that the brightest of your working-class

(since you still insist upon the term, although Our Leaders had it banned)

will one day rise and take their place in this great land.

Vote for us deploying strategic references to Braveheart to dismiss you all.

Vote for Robert Burns being called by Paxman ‘sentimental doggerel’.

Vote for The Iron Lady.  Such a strong leader, gave this country backbone

(you didn’t really want the unions, industries or council homes, just made the place look tatty)

Vote for a deregulated banking class, lionising of the hardworkingwealthgeneratingjobcreatingentrepreneurs

who you will in no way refer to as ‘greedy, selfish bastards’.  Give them your taxes.

Vote for foreign wars.

Yes, sadly, some of you will die.  But you will return to a hero’s welcome

Jock

the Union Jack, proud symbol of integrity and honour, draped across your coffin

while your mother, dabbing at her eyes, recalls the words she learned in school

in Kircudbright

‘There is some corner of a foreign field that is forever England.’

Vote with your heart.