Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Scottish independence: Icelandic academics warn independent Scotland would be at 'deep strategic disadvantage', soon or later, everyone comes to the George Laird view, backward SNP can’t defend Scotland, Salmond’s just a buffoon

Dear All

Awhile ago I attended the BBC Big Debate on independence, the guests were Labour MP Anas Sarwar, Conservative MSP Ruth Davidson, Green MSP Patrick Harvie and Scotland’s unpopular Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

It was the night that Ruth Davidson showed how incompetent Scotland’s unpopular Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon actually is, the EU debacles still haunts the SNP.

During the programme, I put my hand up to speak, when Isobel Fraser called on me to do so, I made a statement that the Scottish National Party needed to adopt NATO and be pro Faslane.

The next day on NewsNet Scotland, I was subjected to abuse online, so I went on to put my abusers straight.

All the abusive comments were taken down.

To recap; George Laird pro NATO and pro Faslane, later on the SNP or to be more precise Alex Salmond went with NATO trailing after me as usual. But the other issue of Faslane was bungled by Salmond in an attempt to shore up his crumbling support. The halfway house approach simply didn’t stack, Nuclear is here to stay!

A Nuclear Faslane submarine base guarantees that Scotland would always be safe if independent.

Now Icelandic academics have written that an independent Scotland would be "at a deep strategic disadvantage" to Russia.

George Laird right again, and ahead of the SNP.

Scotland needs ‘allies’; and ‘allies’ means being part of the NATO club and signing up to all the protocols.

The paper is yet another nail in the political coffin of Alex Salmond, it shows how unprepared he is to lead Scotland if independent.

I said it all before and now legal and political experts from the universities of Iceland and Akureyri have come out and said the same thing.

Small countries like the Nordic states have always had to live with similar risks for decades, however, politically in Russia; armed invasion of a Western State is mostly unthinkable; there are new weapons on the world stage.

Finance, trade, currency and cyber warfare!

Deluded First Minister Alex Salmond last week set out his vision for defence in an independent Scotland during a visit to Shetland, in a conflict, Shetland would be abandoned for strategic purposes.

Russian submarines and naval surface fleet would have control of the sea and air due to their superior naval presence and numbers. The Red Banner Northern Fleet is a force that Scotland couldn’t fight on the high seas.  

And it is a force with nuclear attack submarines.

The Icelandic academics said:

"Like all Nordic states, Scotland would be at a deep strategic disadvantage vis-a-vis the main potentially problematic actor in the region, namely Russia. It would have less than a twelfth of the population of, and far less military strength than, its nearest neighbour - the remaining UK (rUK). It would also be more exposed, geopolitically, than rUK to the wider Arctic zone which is expected to witness rapid development and turbulence - if not actual conflict - because of climate change."

They also added that small states are "disproportionately vulnerable" to external threats such as "powerful crime and terrorism", making them dependent on others "for survival in a hostile international environment".

The paper states:

"In terms both of theory and realpolitik, Scotland as an independent small state would need external shelter in multiple dimensions. Its solutions would incur costs different from, and not necessarily lesser than, those carried by the Scottish people within their present union."

The SNP defence policy is a joke, and as we have seen SNP MP Angus Robertson has done a poor job as defence spokesman.

The nub is that Scotland's security would depend "first and foremost" on maintaining strong ties with rUK and the USA.

Although the US has said they are neutral on the issue, the reality is that they   don’t want an independent Scotland and has made that clear behind the scenes.

It adds:

"Should the break-up nevertheless happen, Washington's attitude is foreshadowed by the rumour that it pressed the SNP leadership to switch in favour of NATO membership. Leaving a strategic black hole north of the rUK and losing access to Scottish facilities would be a serious setback even for US defence leaders."

The SNP is made up in part by malcontents, in order to garner support, the SNP leadership courted CND and other groups for votes.

Now that has backfired on them, CND members of the SNP want a nuclear free Scotland, Salmond needs to keep them onboard to help run the independence campaign because there are few people willing to work for the Scottish National Party.

Scotland as an Independent Small State: Where would it seek shelter? is written by political scientists Alyson JK Bailes and Baldur Thorhallsson, from the University of Iceland, and Rachael Lorna Johnstone, law lecturer at the University of Akureyri.

If you can’t get a hold of a copy then just read the George Laird view because I have been saying it first and well ahead of everyone else.

The SNP should have gone pro nuclear Faslane, yet again, stupidity and poor judgment replaced vision and intelligence.

Alex Salmond can’t get anything right, the man’s a buffoon, if Scotland was invaded, he would be off to London to set up the 'Scottish Government in exile' leaving everyone in the lurch!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Scottish independence: there is a massive financial black hole as the "pensions time-bomb" ticks down in Scotland, the only way to defuse the bomb is to Vote to stay with the UK, Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon’s incompetence completely ruined the indy campaign, trust, trust is the issue!

Dear All

Harold Wilson once famously said in politics:

“this won’t affect the pound in your pocket”.

This was in relation to when the pound was devalued in 1967 by Harold Wilson and his Chancellor James Callaghan.

Fast forward to 2013, the SNP are saying that they use "the wealth of Scotland" to fund its pension commitments if it becomes independent.

So, if Finance Secretary John Swinney is going to be trying to plug the financial black hole that is pensions, what does that mean regards to the Oil Fund?

I would suggest it means that it would be decades before any money would be available from that Fund to boost services.

We are now finding out the further we get into this campaign that because nothing has been done by the SNP we are staring a black hole in the face, the prospect of higher taxes and massive cuts to services.

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon haven’t done the work; the independence bid is little more than a badly botched fraud.

Better Together, the pro UK campaign has been quick to seize on the "pensions time-bomb", because this issue like many connect to finance has real traction with people.

The Elderly can’t get their pensions, we would we see Scotland descend into the position of Greece?

Greece is in terrible trouble, and the people have seen their country asset stripped and austerity which is totally unacceptable.

Scotland in the second term of this parliament should have been about Government and Local Government Reform, the opportunity was there and it was missed.

Better Together have also challenged John Swinney to explain how he will fund pensions in a country where the number of elderly people is rising faster than the UK, so far given the current state of government he could provide a credible answer.

But presumably there will be rhetoric of everything will be taken care of, just wait and see, well ordinary working class Scots people can’t take that gamble, many of whom are living week to week financially.

And if independence happens there will be consequences, EU cross-border pensions regulations could also force UK pension providers to eliminate their funding shortfalls immediately.

Chaos on both sides of the border!

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland consultant David Davison is reported in the press as saying "charities will potentially have to close" if they are forced to eliminate their pension deficits immediately after independence to meet EU rules.

As I said many, many times in the past on this blog, there had to be a rolling blue print of how an independent Scotland would look, the plan would have to deal with matters like these.

The Scottish National Party has done nothing!

In a spirit of blaming England, John Swinney said:

"The pensions issues that the country faces today have not been created by independence, they have been created by the Union. Most of the problems in occupational pension schemes have been created by the £500 million per annum raid on pension funds that was put in place by Gordon Brown, so it really is the ultimate in hypocrisy for Labour and the No campaign to raise any issues about pensions given that the UK Government have made an absolute mess of pensions in this country and presided over the creation of pensions deficits. Now clearly the Scottish Government is determined to put in place arrangements to ensure that pensions are properly and fully funded. That is our commitment and our priority, and the approach that we will take towards negotiations with the UK Government will be designed to ensure that we take that forward as part of the independence negotiations."

Blame England, where is the positive in this?

Yes, there are problems, however leaving everything up in the air and then concoct a ‘story’ to feed to the people is equally dishonest politics.

Labour Sahadown Pensions Minister Gregg McClymont said:

"In his wilful refusal to face reality on the pensions issue, John Swinney increasingly resembles a flat-earther. The fact is that these defined benefit pension schemes with tens of thousands of Scots members would be thrown into turmoil overnight by separation. Charities across the UK are facing difficult challenges and will be hugely concerned to learn that if the SNP gets their way, the funding shortfall in their pension schemes would, by EU law, have to be filled overnight."

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:

"The lack of answers from the SNP over cross-border pension schemes in an independent Scotland could mean that charities have to dip into their resources to close holes in funding sooner rather than later. This highlights the real consequences the SNP's plans to break Scotland away from the UK could have for pensions."

Like so many issues the SNP are just making policy up as they go along, long term planning needs long term thinking, and that isn’t a hallmark of the SNP under Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.

Finally, last night I was a member of the Newsnight Scotland debate audience on independence and the Monarchy, interestingly the SNP put up MSP Christine Grahame who is anti Monarchy. 

You would have thought given the SNP position is supposed to be pro Monarchy, they would have put up a strong voice in support of the Royal Family; they didn’t. 

As we have seen the Yes Scotland Campaign is filled with many groups who wish to see a republic in Scotland, I don’t sense the SNP is genuine about having the Queen has Head of State, although the SNP are more devious than clever, they must have known what message having Christine Grahame sitting there sends out.

There is an issue of trust surrounding Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, whether it is pensions or the Royal Family.

So far, the Scottish National Party can’t be trusted with either, questions have been asked and no answers that make sense are coming back.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, July 29, 2013

Scottish independence: the Queen 'may not remain monarch of an independent Scotland' if there is a Yes vote in 2014, would you trust Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon when they U turn at the drop of a hat for votes?

Dear All

The issue of the Monarchy seems to be the hot topic of today, later on this evening the matter will be debated in a special Newsnight Scotland discussion on the issue.

The title is Independence and the Monarchy and I will be a member of the audience being one of the most prominent bloggers on the Scottish politics scene.

So, where do I stand on the issue of the Royal Family?

I support the Monarchy; the institution is very much a part of Scotland’s history, as it is part of our present and future.

However, there is a growing numbers of independence supporters who wish to get rid of it, ranging from chairman of the Yes campaign, Dennis Canavan as well as SNP MSP John Wilson, ­independent Margo MacDonald and Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie.

In the SNP there is a strong republican group who have an agenda, it is anti British, some of these republicans I would dub ‘Sein Fein lite’ because their republicanism is all about the British presence in Ireland.

Ex Labour MP Dennis ­Canavan says the hereditary principle is an “affront” to democracy.

Is it really?

The real affront to democracy in the SNP in my opinion is this:

The signing up of people specifically to get a certain persons elected, as one SNP official said to me, the SNP has the best electoral system that money can buy.

So, what happened during the episode above?

Nothing until it came into the public domain, is this Canavan’s preferred option, no one can buy the Queen, however it appears that in the Scottish National Party if you have enough cash you can attempt to buy a seat at Holyrood on the list system.

As well as Canavan, leading the charge is SNP MSP John Wilson, you may remember as the anti NATO buffoon who shouted the odds only to get defeated by the SNP U turn.

SNP MSP John Wilson isn’t one of life’s great thinkers; I have met him and spoken to him, dense, unsophisticated, a little man in every sense of the word. 

Then, there are ­independent Margo MacDonald and Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie who says they want a national referendum on who should be head of state in the event of a Yes vote.

President Salmond?

I find that notion as completely unappealing as President Blair.

The SNP leadership’s position is keeping the Queen as head of state in an independent Scotland, however, the issue of trust arises; there is a strong republican element in the aprty who hate the British!

The ‘Sein Fein lite’ brigade.

So, yet again another issue that shows the Yes Camp in meltdown as Senior pro-independence campaigners insisted that First Minister Alex Salmond would not be allowed to dictate the make-up of Scotland’s constitution.

There are many reasons to vote No, Dennis Canavan, SNP MSP John Wilson, ­independent Margo MacDonald and Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie want to rob Scots of their past, and Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon want to rob Scots of their future. 

Also in the anti Monarchy grouping is Robin McAlpine, director of the left-wing Jimmy Reid Foundation, and Jonathon Shafi, co-founder of the Radical ­Independence campaign.

Dennis Canavan has said that Prince George should never be king of an independent Scotland in the wake of the birth of the royal baby.

SNP MSP John Wilson added:

“Clearly the issue is up for discussion. Dennis’s line is the correct one as it’s the right of Scottish people under independence to decide what type of Scotland they want I have a similar position to Dennis, as in a ­democracy we should all be treated as equal citizens and there are ­issues about having a ­hereditary head of state. Clearly the issue is up for discussion and we could look at having an elected head of state.”

John Wilson doesn’t stand for fairness, equality or social justice, I have experience of his warped judgment and as I say he is an utter buffoon who I cannot take seriously.

The SNP keen to dupe Scots has issued a statement claiming the Queen would ­remain as head of state if Scots vote for independence in the referendum on 18 September 2014.

An SNP spokesman said:

“Dennis Canavan is perfectly entitled to believe in an elected head of state, and will be free to argue that case in an independent Scotland just as Labour MPs who support an elected head of state in the UK argue for that ­position at present.”

The fly in the ointment however is that Green MSP Mr Harvie, said the issue was not solely within the gift of the SNP, and Harvie is right, the Constitution much like the MSP list system could end up being rigged by some grotty back door deal.

Patrick Harvie said:

“It seems ­bizarre that we are debating ­creating a new independent state without a discussion on how we appoint a head of state. It should be part of the process of drawing up a constitution in an independent Scotland not something that’s dictated by the current Scottish Government.”

Independent MSP Ms MacDonald:

“Alex Salmond is at pains to say that there won’t be a burst of lightning after independence and that the strands of British life that people appreciate will continue. But people should decide and will decide on the monarchy and the head of state.”

Pro-independence campaigners Mr McAlpine and Mr Shafi both said a referendum on the monarchy should be held soon after a Yes vote.

McAlpine added:

“In the coverage of the monarchy in Scotland, it’s implied that it’s a decision for Alex Salmond to make on behalf of Scotland. But it’s for all of the people of Scotland to decide and if we went a year past a referendum, I’m not sure that people would vote to keep the Queen.”

Mr Shafi said:

“If we win independence a whole range of questions have got to be addressed and the monarchy is one that would have to be dealt with fairly quickly.”

So, the Yes Camp is in meltdown, Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon can’t be trusted as we have seen plainly, some of the malcontents or as I call them the ‘Sein Fein lite’ brigade are on the warpath.

This is a rather squalid nasty little episode that shows the Yes Camp up for what it is; a group of malcontents who are divorced from reality and out of touch with ordinary Scottish beliefs. As this independence campaign goes on, we are seeing the deep loathing that exists against Britishness.  

The British Royal family are as a much an integrated part of Scottishness as they are other parts of Britain.

It’s Scotland’s Royal family and we should be proud of that heritage, they stand for so much more than themselves.

Finally, read this again:

This is a taste of democracy in the Scottish National Party.

And read this, the SNP conversion to the Monarchy:

The SNP is a ‘rat ship’ under Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, there is an serious issue of trust regarding these people.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Scottish independence: France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Bulgaria prepare to stand up for working class Scots against Nicola Sturgeon and her absurd idea for minimum pricing for alcohol, SNP’s case is that Scotland is a ‘nation of drunks’ who need controlled!

Dear All

Minimum pricing for alcohol was a SNP Policy that was brought forward under the disastrous tenure of Scotland’s unpopular Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon when health minister.

It is a policy that punishes the poor working class Scots -who have done nothing wrong!

It is a Nicola Sturgeon policy.

The SNP despite opposition has decided to press forward with this however, it emerged five European wine-producing nations had branded minimum pricing for alcohol as illegal, unfair and ineffective.

France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Bulgaria are effectively standing up for working class Scots against the Scottish National Party, the party of Salmond, the party of Sturgeon, the party of the rich!

Current Health Sec Alex Neil has vowed to fight if a challenge to the SNP plans ends up in the European Court.

France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Bulgaria argue that minimum unit pricing breaches European free trade law by discriminating against imported alcohol products. It is a point; my preferred option to combat underage drinking was to raise the age limit from buying from an off sale to 25 years of age and impose stiff penalties for people who sell and buy for youngsters.

Mario Moniz Barreto, secretary general of the Portuguese Spirits Association said:

"There is no demonstration that this measure will have an effect on the people it is trying to protect."

It will end up that people will pay higher prices at the expense of items like food.

Unsurprisingly Holyrood has already passed legislation which seeks to introduce a minimum price for alcohol of 50p per unit; Holyrood will pass anything no matter how stupid because it is SNP controlled.

Although the Court of Session has already dismissed a legal challenge by the Scottish Whiskey Association to minimum pricing, saying then that "the measures were not incompatible with EU law".

We should remember, the Court of Session has a habit of backing SNP controlled Holyrood only to be shot down by a higher court.

Does this measure represent a barrier to trade?

Possibly, people will only pay so much for a product before it isn’t seen as viable.

Also the SNP accusation "about dealing with the very specific problem we have of alcohol abuse in Scotland" isn’t proven; not all drunken brawls are the result of buying from off sales.

The evidence is the amount of people arrested after brawling in the streets after binge drinking in pubs.

This measure doesn’t affect the licence trade.

It is therefore discriminatory to a section of the public.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, Alex Neil said:

"Within Europe we are allowed, if the measure is proportional, to deal with a social problem, you are allowed to introduce measures like minimum unit pricing. Our argument is this is a very proportional measure to deal with a very substantial problem."

That argument is certainly challengeable on its legal basis of justification.  

As to the legal challenges, Neil was quick to say:

"We've already had round one in the Court of Session with the Scotch Whisky Association and the Court of Session considered the European law aspect of this, as well as Scots law. We won hands down."

It is a different matter however when the SNP have no control or influence such as when they took other issues to outside bodies such as the UK Supreme Court.

So, the SNP will go the full way, their case is that Scotland is a ‘nation of drunks’ who need to be controlled by taking more money out of their pockets and handing it to drink makers.

Mr Barreto told BBC Radio Scotland that "part of our objection has to do with the fact that we perceive this measure as an ineffective measure to fight alcohol abuse or misuse".

He says there was no evidence "that these types of measures, based on minimum pricing per unit, have any demonstrable effectiveness."

Barreto also added:

Mr Barreto:

"We live in a free trade market area, the measure applied in one country is bound to have an effect on all the others. We have extreme opposition to measures we perceive to be ineffective and there is no demonstration that this measure will have an effect on the people it is trying to protect. Even though the products I represent are high quality, they may have a lower price. This is one of the key points for their competitiveness in a very regulated, highly-taxed market such as the Scottish or the UK markets. This measure will impose a detrimental obstacle to entry of new products of quality, but which at the same time may be a more competitive price, to the Scottish market. The Portuguese government, along with several other governments in the European Union, has voiced their opposition against this measure, which could be perceived as a protectionist measure."

So, the SNP case is quite straight forward, Scotland is a ‘nation of drunks’ who can’t handle their booze, but nothing will be done about the real problem of binge drinking in pubs and fights in the street.

This is all about punishing the poorest in society who can’t afford to drink in pubs or prefer their own company.

Another pig in a poke courtesy of Scotland’s unpopular Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who given the collapse of independence support appears to be losing friends and allies at a rate of knots.

Luckily her ministerial salary is so high that she can get her booze by the crate load, she isn’t affected by her stupid ill judged idea which just punishes the poorest in society.

Nicola really 'cares'....... aye right!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, July 26, 2013

Scottish independence: Alex Salmond condemns lack of Royal Navy ships in Scotland as 'absurd', Scotland houses the nuclear fleet which guarantees our safety, Salmond hints we are 'protected' by fisheries protection vessel, honestly, what an utter buffoon!

Dear All

When it comes to defence, the Scottish National Party are absolutely clueless, the latest piece of grudge, grievance and malcontent to come out of Alex Salmond is that there is no major Royal Navy warship is based at a Scottish port.

Scotland as part of the UK is defended as part of a UK network of bases all over the country.

Scotland has what must be the most important naval base in the UK; Faslane, it houses the Nuclear Submarine fleet.

This fleet guarantees Scotland’s security, previously I have blogged on the need that the SNP adopt NATO and promise that if independent, a deal should be made to keep the nuclear fleet in Scottish water.

Sadly petty SNP politics rejected the nuclear option, this is due to the fact that the SNP isn’t really a political party but rather a number of grudge and grievance groups cobbled together.

Salmond says independence would allow Scotland to develop "appropriate capabilities" for its defence needs.

What are the "appropriate capabilities"?

Again like so much of what Alex Salmond says he clearly has no idea, there is no plan, and some time ago, the SNP made a ridiculous pledge that Scottish Soldiers would have a job for life!

Scottish Soldiers would have a job for life, this is totally unworkable.

In his visit to Lerwick to try and re-launch his failed independence campaign he said:

"Our current naval capability is based on prestige, not performance. The navy does not have a single major surface vessel based in Scotland. The largest protection vessels stationed in Scottish waters are those of the fisheries protection vessels run by the Scottish government. It is absurd for a nation with a coastline longer than India's to have no major surface vessels. And it's obscene for a nation of five million people to host weapons of mass destruction."

There is so much there to pick apart so let’s get started, all naval capability is based on performance, the Royal Navy is one of the most professional in the World. As to Salmond hinting that Scotland is left to be protected by fisheries protection vessels run by the Scottish government, that is just a joke, and presumably for the gullible.

Modern naval warfare as far back as I can remember is a matter of both naval and air power, you can research this by going as far back to WW2 and the events like the Battle of Midway.

Available on DVD if Alex Salmond wishes to become a naval tactician and ‘First Lord of the Scottish Admiralty’!

Maybe my American friend Dr. Phillips O’Brien, Director of the Scottish Centre for War Studies at the University of Glasgow could educate the deeply ignorant SNP; however, he made find their company unacceptable as I do.

And to hark back to the 1970’s, Salmond repeated the SNP's proposal for an independent Scotland to become a nuclear-free member of NATO.


Scotland is in a key strategic position because of its location, nuclear free isn’t an option, some people in the SNP joined the party because the CND supporters, they aren’t Nationalists and never where. Another bunch of malcontents in the SNP are the Sein Fein lite who have a hatred of the British because of its history with Ireland; they aren’t Nationalists either in my opinion. The SNP is made up of little groups who have as their main focus and anti British agenda, all held together with promises to keep them working for the leadership clique.

In a proposed Scottish Defence Force, it would primarily be tasked with guarding Scotland and its closest neighbours, this means it would be about a decade before they got any operational experience. During that time Scotland wouldn’t be properly defended, we would still have to rely on the Royal Navy. Previously Salmond said that any Scottish Army could contribute to international peacekeeping and humanitarian missions "over time".

So, on land we would have Dad’s Army, on the water, we would have Captain Pugwash and associates sailing round Oil rigs!!!!!!

And to show his barmy credentials, Salmond restated his plan for the constitution of an independent Scotland to rule out military action not sanctioned by the UN.

Given Russia and China have a veto; it would mean Scotland would standby when innocents are being slaughter such as in Kosovo.

And Salmond got that episode wrong.

A Scotland Office spokesman said:

"Yet again the Scottish Government have passed up an opportunity to share a coherent, positive and substantive plan with the people of Scotland on how they propose to maintain Scotland's defence and security, and sustain thousands of jobs in Scotland's defence industry."

In an independent Scotland, Alex Salmond couldn’t defend a hut in a paintball game; the only plan that would probably exist would be the plan to fly him and his cronies to London to set up a ‘government in exile’ in the event of invasion.

As to wanting a major Royal Navy warship, he isn’t getting one, he will just have to use a fisheries protection vessel if he wants his clique to have ‘boat drinks’ and a party!

Salmond is right on one thing, someone is 'absurd', he sees him every morning when he looks in the mirror to brush his hair forward.

Grudge, grievance and malcontent yet again, the broken record is becoming very wearing on the ear!

Maybe he should play ‘battleships’ to get the hang of naval warfare!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Scottish independence: leaked confidential SNP document 'stresses need to move away from fossil fuels', Salmond and Sturgeon plan crippling higher taxes and higher energy bills for working class Scots, the truth eventually comes out always!

Dear All

It seems that every day something else surfaces why the people of Scotland shouldn’t vote Yes to independence.

In public Alex Salmond has been screaming about the riches of Oil, billions and billions of pounds just sloshing about the place.

The ‘lake’ however isn’t stable because although there is Oil, the SNP can’t control of the price on the world market.

Now, we have a leaked SNP document which contents are explosive, the document tells of the need to move away from "damaging, price-volatile fossil fuels".

For some time, I have been saying the independence bid is all wrong, there is no detail and there is no plan or vision.

Government and local government reform was the task of the second term of the Scottish Government, however, given reports, the first term although spun by the SNP as a success patently wasn’t.

I wrote previously that two successful terms of public office where needed as a minimum before a bid could be considered.

The SNP Document, titled Scotland's Energy Future, emerged only a day after Alex Salmond unveiled a major piece of spin stressing the value of North Sea oil to the economy.

Roll up roll up and get your £300,000 for every man and women in Scotland.

Except you can’t get the money!

The pro-UK Better Together campaign, which obtained the document, said it revealed SNP Ministers' private fears about relying too heavily on oil.

Recently Alex Salmond was shouting about and making claims of a second North Sea boom.

The only boom is the rather large sound of his independence dream exploding in his face, because the Nationalists have been using assumptions and trying to pass them off as facts, which is so shoddy that most would call it ‘dishonest politics’.

The renewable industry works, but it works because of heavy subsidy from Westminster, the technology isn’t developed enough, yes, it works, but it needs to work better to drive down costs to the consumers.

Research in this area is still ongoing, but for the SNP to be want to Promise more wind and wave power in an independent Scotland would probably mean higher energy bills.

The leaked SNP document states:

"The transition to renewable energy reduces our dependence on damaging, price volatile fossil fuels, bringing greater stability in energy prices for consumers."

The idea also claims public support for windfarms in Scotland which would allow them to expand while continuing to be subsidised by taxpayers in England.

In an independent Scotland, who can seriously believe that taxpayers in England will fork out their cash to heat the resident of another country!

Does that stack up with you?

I personally doubt it.

The report also confirms SNP plans to remain in a single energy market, the assumption is that the rest of the UK will agree to this, where is the evidence?

However, just like the pie in the sky, the SNP want to create a separate regulator which would be able to tackle fuel poverty.

The business of business is business, not charity.

So, yet again, we seem to be getting the cold hard facts from John Swinney's department, down the road or across the street, we have Alex Salmond and his merry men telling a different story.

And this isn’t the first time that the Finance Secretary has raised similar concerns about fluctuating oil revenues or indeed Scotland’s ability to pay its way.

Labour's shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex said:

"This leaked paper yet again makes public the private concern of SNP ministers about the volatility and instability of oil prices. The tax we get from the North Sea is so volatile that the difference between the highest and lowest years is the equivalent of Scotland's NHS budget. By pooling our resources across the whole of the UK we can better manage the peaks and troughs of oil revenue."

The Conservatives' Scotland Office minister David Mundell said:

"I welcome the latest recognition from the Scottish Government remaining in the UK is the best way to secure our future. Their paper argues for the regulation of a single UK-wide market, as we have. It also argues for the continued subsidy of renewables by consumers across the UK, which already happens and gives Scotland a share of funding which is higher than its population share. The fact is Scotland needs the wide consumer base of the UK to underpin its renewables ambitions."

So, there are two versions running in the SNP, the spin from Alex Salmond and the real fears coming from John Swinney's department about how to balance the books.

When evidence like this is brought into the public domain, one can wonder how many people who have voted SNP in the past will still do so, clearly Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon don’t understand the big picture, and the small one is also a bit too much for them to grasp.

I sense what they don’t want to say publicly is that in an independent Scotland it won’t just be higher taxes that will be needed but big business will also experience the windfall of higher energy bills paid for the ordinary working class people of Scotland.  

I am voting No to independence, because I don’t trust Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Scottish independence: Newsnight Scotland presenter Gordon Brewer tears apart SNP Minister Fergus Ewing who can’t even answer basic questions on what the criteria would be of setting up an Oil Fund, Brewer says ‘people have a right to know’!

Dear All

Did you catch Newsnight Scotland last night?

Gordon Brewer torn apart SNP Minister Fergus Ewing, he couldn’t even answer what the criteria was for setting up an Oil Fund.

Time for a quote from Alex Salmond:

“My problem is that I have too many talented people and not enough Cabinet positions”.

Gordon Brewer slaughtered him, if Fergus Ewing and Alex Salmond think babbling nonsense will win indy they are kidding themselves on.

Ewing kept saying the word “appropriate”, so no plan, and no details of what the criteria would be, is there anyone so stupid as to buy into this left in Scotland?

The answer is yes, the sycophants who think they will benefit from the SNP via taxpayer funds.

As part of the strategy to be seen as competent, Salmond is now saying an independent Scotland would take on the UK's £20 billion pledge to help with the cost of decommissioning North Sea oil rigs.

Is that factored in anywhere?

And if it is; when is the date that the Oil Fund would be created, when would it generate revenue?

These are all serious questions, because in the meantime, the financial black hole would have to be filled by the SNP by either higher taxes or cuts to services, or both!

Alex Salmond isn’t even pledging to raise the tax for big Oil companies, which means shortfalls would have to be picked up by the Scottish taxpayers.

Announcing the new report, Salmond said:

"Scotland has been blessed with unrivalled natural resources and communities around the country should benefit from them. Oil and gas revenues would offer a premium advantage for an independent Scotland – a tremendous bonus to boost any diverse modern economy."

The head of the pro-UK Better Together campaign has responded by calling on Alex Salmond to withdraw claims made in a BBC interview that the £1.5trillion of untapped North Sea oil was ­equivalent to "£300,000 for every man, woman and child in Scotland".

Alistair Darling said:

"For Alex Salmond to treat us like fools by deliberately confusing the wholesale value of oil with the amount we would actually raise through tax is fundamentally dishonest."

Scottish Labour's Iain Gray said the report was an attempt to "de-risk the referendum" while

Scots Tory finance spokesman Gavin Brown said it failed to present future tax projections.

In trying to raise themselves their sinking independence ship, no real attempt has been made to even patch up the keel. It is another disastrous piece of spin which is based on a promise that might happen at sometime in the future but no one knows.

Last night the Scottish National Party found out yet again that there isn’t any real talent in Alex Salmond’s Cabinet.

Gordon Brewer easily picked apart Fergus Ewing, and he is the Energy Minister, he should have had all the answers, he had nothing but bluster and spin.

The No vote in my opinion has received another boost, if you can’t even get the criteria out of the SNP, then you know that there is no plan, just like there is no plan for anything.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University   

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Scottish independence: Alex Salmond says Indy Scotland would have oil fund within a decade, 'slight' major problem emerges, onshore tax-revenues "would not be sufficient to match the current Scottish government spending" which is "well above the UK average".

Dear All

Have you ever noticed that the SNP likes using the word “expert”?

The reason is in my opinion why they have taken this route is that they haven’t done any of the work previously.

And if they keep saying expert all the time, it might somehow convince some people that they have got their act together.

Awhile ago the SNP formed an “expert” group on welfare, and the report was less than impressive, and we were all treated by the group going into hiding and cancelling a meeting MSPs at Holyrood.

Experts indeed, perhaps in hide and seek.

The latest group of “experts” is to be found in the expert commission to be established to examine how an independent Scotland can maximise the returns from North Sea oil and gas.

As a starter, there is a new paper on oil and gas which gives the broad strokes that the SNP administration will enact with plans for the industry if it secures independence.

So, we are back to the already tried and failed strategy of ‘its Scotland’s Oil’.

That strategy never worked before and it won’t work now!

Expect numbers like Billions of pounds to be floating about on a lake of spin as part of the nirvana effect which Alex Salmond is trying desperately to sell.

But give yourself a hard slap in the face, possibly several times, because you wouldn’t be getting any of the wealth directly in your pocket.


And don’t expect the price of petrol at the pump to drop either.


Nirvana, SNP nirvana is a pipe dream, it doesn’t exist.

So what are the facts?

The facts are, the SNP are making claims based on no details, Salmond is saying one thing in public and people like John Swinney are saying another in confidential papers.

The paper states:

"Given the industry's importance to Scotland's economy, Scottish ministers will shortly be announcing the creation of an expert commission to develop the proposals outlined in this paper. The Oil and Gas Expert Commission will build upon the approach and overarching principles set out in this paper, and provide advice on the technical application of the policy framework, which would underpin Scottish Government policy in an independent Scotland."

What does that mean?


Then there is said to be the creation of an Oil Fund like Norway, they started its oil fund in 1990 but it wasn’t till 1996 until they started transferring money.

Norway isn’t Scotland, and the reason the Norwegians can have such a fund is that they are high taxpayers.

Since the SNP are aware of that electorally, they would probably end up cutting services instead.

Even if there is an Oil Fund: it would be decades before the money (interest) could be siphoned off to make a real difference.

How long post set up could money be made available and for whom?

These questions and many others that show the lack of detail in the plans of Alex Salmond.

Salmond said:

"Almost all oil production and more than half of total gas production over the next three decades will take place in Scottish waters. And of course, only through independence would Scotland receive the tax revenues from this production. This paper restates the Scottish Government commitment to establish an oil fund when the fiscal conditions allow”.

“When the fiscal conditions allow”, that is so open ended, we all could be dead and buried before that is brought into force, so is this a commitment to a promise or a promise to a commitment? Either way, it looks remarkable like assumptions presented as fact, and we have clearly had enough of that from Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.

Then comes the standard grudge, grievance and malcontent from Salmond, its Westminster’s fault, he added:

"With Westminster having squandered the opportunities of the first half, it's up to us to make a better job of the second half. We will provide optimum conditions for the oil and gas industry to innovate and thrive in a globally competitive environment."

Does that mean the oil and gas industry paying less tax?

Or does it mean Salmond will invite people round for tea?

Although Scotland has oil, it isn’t the Saudi Arabia of the North, it is helpful, but given other real problems, the need for a balanced economy is just as important, Scotland doesn’t have an effective manufacturing base like Germany for example.

And then there is Scotland’s debt, in an independent Scotland that would have to be a priority before any talk of an Oil Fund could even be discussed.

Matters aren’t helped by the abject failure of Scottish Government, local Government and NGO reforms plus associated organisations in receipt of taxpayer funded income, that all needed to be dealt with.

Plans for that?


Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:

“Salmond is "conveniently ignoring the most basic economic truths that corporate profits and government tax revenue are two very different things. Alex Salmond should withdraw this disingenuous claim and explain the facts of why he believes Scotland would be better managing a volatile, declining and finite resource without the strength of the broad UK tax base behind it. When predicting oil revenues it's sensible to be cautious because it is such an unpredictable resource. But the Nationalists need to be reckless to make their sums add up. There is already a £23.9 billion black hole between the Nationalists' most optimistic figures and the Office for Budget Responsibility's more cautious estimate. That represents over two-thirds of the current Scottish Government budget. If the Nationalists don't want to use oil tax, which would represent a sixth of Scotland's tax take, to pay for public services they'd either have to cut services or increase taxes. That is the basic reality of their claims”.

So, do you want higher taxes or cuts to public services?

The reality is in my opinion that the SNP would bring in higher taxes and oversee sweeping cuts to public services.

Glasgow University-based Centre for Public Policy for the Regions (CPPR) doesn’t seem to be a believer in the Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon nirvana dream; they have challenged the suggestion that oil would be a "bonus" for Scotland.

Alex Salmond is all about sucking up to the rich, and as much of North Sea activity is owned by international companies, the ordinary Scot won’t get a look in. The bottom line is that onshore tax-revenues "would not be sufficient to match the current Scottish government spending" which is "well above the UK average".

This is because, everything connected for a successful independence bid hasn’t been done, and continually refined over years.

The SNP has been in business for circa 80 years and during that time, it festered in grudge, grievance and malcontent, lately the leadership have benefited from the Scottish Parliament and done well at the trough.

If they were competent they would have done the work!

The kicker of this story is this would mean that no such revenues would be available to build up a Sovereign (Oil) Fund for some considerable time if at all.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Alex Salmond is blamed for putting a family through hell for 11 months after their son is dragged to Court 5 times for singing a few songs at a football game; the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act is the clearest example of why the SNP Government isn’t fit for purpose!

Dear All

The Scottish Parliament should be about passing law, however, another function of the parliament should be about making the law fit for purpose and where needed removing laws that don’t work.

One law that is in desperate need of being removed from the Statute Books is the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act.

It was a mistake in its concept, it was a mistake during the write up and it is a mistake in its application.

It is sheer crap!

The Scottish National Party pressed ahead with this affront to justice and tried to offer sweeteners to other parties in Holyrood to get them onboard, they refused to be part of the debacle.

A Celtic fan, Joseph Cairns was previously cleared having been charged under the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act. The Crown not likening the verdict went for a retrial.

And, Joseph Cairns has been cleared again; this deals a serious blow to the ­anti-bigotry law.

Yesterday, at Dingwall Sheriff Court, Sheriff Jamie Gilchrist ruled the case against Mr Cairns was not proven.

Third time lucky, who knows in this case!

Mr. Cairn’s father who is also called Joseph said:

"It's taken its toll on the whole family, particularly on Joseph's mother. We've been up and back to ­Dingwall five times. If Joseph had been done for assault I'd hold my hands up. They'd be entitled to drag him through the courts. But we've been through the mill and back over allegations he sang two songs. Alex Salmond has a lot to answer to on these laws. He should go to some football games in Europe and witness some real offensive behaviour."

Alex Salmond because of an incident at a Rangers & Celtic game between Ally McCoist and Neil Lennon acted in his usual knee jerk fashion. A law was then drafted to meet a football season timetable; hence we have a load of crap which the SNP MSP like the unthinking drones that they are just rubber stamped.

Labour's justice spokesman, Graeme Pearson, said:

"Our police officers are being put in an unenviable position of making a judgment about what falls within the freedoms of expression which individuals enjoy and behaviour which falls foul of the law. This case is evidence that the position our police officers are being put in is simply unacceptable. The legislation needs review."

If ever there was a need for a Bill to be removed from the Statute Books then the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act fits that bill to a T, should football games be banned, because such large numbers historically act as a catalyst for public disorder?

What then about other large gatherings, pop concerts, anti war demos, trade unions meetings and fair grounds?

We need law to be clear, to be understandable to the ordinary person and this Bill fails that test spectacularly.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, July 22, 2013

Elish Angiolini says that Corroboration rule could be open to human rights challenge at Strasbourg, how many juries are going to convict when reminded that instead of evidence in a trial, they are to judge the best story, what kind of justice is that?

Dear All

It seems that Elish Angiolini has become all warm and fuzzy since leaving the Procurator Fiscal Service.

Her latest piece of warmness is to say Scotland’s centuries-old law of corroboration could be subject to a challenge at the European Court of Human Rights.

Should corroboration be kept?

I believe that it should, two sources of evidence, in my opinion are a vital safeguard in the Court system.

The SNP have picked the emotional subject of rape as a basis of why change is important, it isn’t about finding justice; it is all about improving conviction rates.

I would have thought that the numbers game should play no part in justice; does having effectively having a quota mean more justice?

To be blunt a conviction can simply hang on who is the better story teller in a Court.

Elish Angiolini says in the future a victim whose case has failed to get to court could mount a legal challenge at Strasbourg against the Scottish system.

I have previously blogged that Holyrood needs two Deputy Justice Ministers, one tasked with general law review and the other on special projects to tighten up the law.

Proper government requires proper structures to make the best possible outcomes, sadly the current system is broken, and the ‘fix’ by Scotland’s Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill is a botched job.

Piecemeal doesn’t work.

Last month saw the SNP Government introduced their disastrous Criminal Justice Bill, when it comes to law the SNP don’t do well, Chewing gum, parking, and the awful Fitba Bill are plainly evidence on the lack of vision.

Many Lawyers quite rightly are opposed to this change, with the Law Society of Scotland leading the way; they have described corroboration as a “fundamental principle” of the justice system.

I don’t favour change for change sake, this Criminal Justice Bill is another badly thought-out piece of junk.

Raymond McMenamin of the Law Society said removing corroboration agrees with me and many others that this Bill would result in a “contest between two competing statements on oath” and an increased risk of miscarriages of justice which would follow suit.

He said:

“The requirement for corroborated evidence is not an antiquated, outmoded legal notion, but is a fundamental principle of our justice system.”

Understandably, this Bill has backers, such as Police Scotland Chief Constable Stephen House and groups including Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland.

How do they feel about miscarriages of justice?

You see everyone likes to climb on the bandwagon of populism, but when presented with a miscarriage, these people don’t want to be the same room as the people who suffer, apparently too busy, but sorry… obviously, but quickly followed the old standby ‘we thought we were doing the right thing’.

This might be a Bill that creates more problems than it actually solves, so far this term of the SNP has been a complete shambles.

And we are seen the results of the last term weren’t so spectacular as previously promoted, particularly the health portfolio which was managed by Scotland’s unpopular Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The big three areas, Law, Health and Education all have major problems, but the SNP Government is all out chasing the independence dream rather than doing their jobs.

Kenny MacAskill should have been sacked years ago, this is just another awful piece of work to try and remove the stigma of Al Megrahi from his record; the shambles he creates in Justice however can never remove this stain.

It goes too deep.

If I am sitting on a jury, I want to see facts, I want hard evidence, a story really doesn’t do it for me at all.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, July 19, 2013

Susan Boyle- I dreamed a dream lyrics (CD Album)

Scottish independence: Alex Salmond gets a ‘knock back’ as Susan Boyle will vote ‘No’ in the Scottish indy referendum, doesn’t she know that vain Alex Salmond brushes his hair forward and has had lessons from a life coach?

Dear All

Do you remember this?

“I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted”

From the song I dreamed a dream in the hit musical Les Miserables.

Well two Miserables, Scotland’s ‘jolly fat man’ Alex Salmond and Scotland’s unpopular Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon won’t be happy that Scottish singer Susan Boyle has voiced her support for the pro-Union Better Together campaign.

For some time Alex Salmond has been writing to celebrities outside his clique and hangers on to seek support.

People aren’t even writing back.

Andy Murray was sent 8 letters, not a single reply from him to Alex Salmond.

Anyway, Susan Boyle thinks that Scottish Independence isn’t economically viable.

Any proof kicking about the shop?

Yes, no public sector reform, no economic plans, the scribbling on the back of a fag packet still isn’t finished yet, it’s called the White Paper.

In an interview with the The Sun, Boyle said:

“I strongly believe Scotland should remain part of Britain. I am a proud, patriotic Scot, passionate about my heritage and my country. But I am not a nationalist.”

Funnily enough that puts her in the same boat as Nicola Sturgeon, her “nationalism” isn’t based on “nationalism” but what she says is social justice and fairness.

Try telling that to the countless patients who have suffered in the Scottish NHS under her leadership; who couldn’t get the right drugs to treat their cancer, those left on trolleys, babies wrapped in towels and on and on and on!

Nicola Sturgeon is a true heroine to her squalid nasty little clique.

Anyway, it seems that Alex Salmond won’t be living in the dream in 2014!

425 days to the political death of Alex Salmond at the indy ballot box, maybe Ms. Boyle can come and sing at the Funeral.

No flowers please just send pies!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University