The Last Redoubt

The BBC news at 5.30 this morning started with an item about Boris Johnson burrowing away to wheedle promises about trade deals from Trump Republicans and ended with news that researchers had observed chimps fashioning crude tools to retrieve water from holes in tree branches. Unconsciously, the two coalesced in my mind…at least the chimps have opposable thumbs.

I find Johnson amusing, but not as a politician or public servant. I regard him as flaky and completely without principle. He is a user of people in his one great cause – the elevation of Boris. He is also mostly a media creation. (A media currently doing the same promotion job on Jacob Rees-Mogg). The best word for him is probably narcissist because everything he does is self-regarding. There is nothing I know of him which speaks to altruism or sacrifice.

Sound familiar? I think he’s a posh version of Trump, and they are men for whom the world is a toy and its people as meaningful as Lego. No one has feelings but them. The world has to be adjusted to suit. Both have captured the nature of modern human experience – unending vacuity in need of relief via counter shock. And a starburst of bigotry will do.

Trump as President. Johnson as Foreign Secretary. And, of course, Theresa May as national leader.

Breathy and posh as Penelope Keith, she is going through the same wash programme as Cameron to show she cares by removing all dried-in stains. You know – mass electronic surveillance of citizens, breaking up families through minimum income visas, Go Home Immigrant vans, refusing to be part of refugee dispersal plans, helping withdraw naval rescue of immigrants in the Med, counting overseas students in immigration numbers, withdrawal from the ECHR. Never mind years in Cabinet endorsing brutal austerity, destroying the lifestyle and mobility of the disabled, knowingly creating child poverty, Dickensian benefits sanctions leading to suicides, the worst income disparity in the EU, infatuation with nuclear weapons. Oh, and naked contempt for parliamentary democracy over Brexit.

You’d think this would present an opportunity for the Scottish Tories to differentiate themselves in order to appeal to a different electorate. It’s obviously tricky when the mother party is a parade of political grotesques and incompetents but, on the bright side, it’s definitely easier to show how you’re different. It needn’t be with words at all, a smile would suffice.

‘Do you support Boris Johnson?’

‘I’m sure he’s doing a fine job, Glenn’.

Indeed not long ago Ruth Davidson was doing just that having gone head to head with Johnson during the EU referendum. All that has been thrown away with her brass neck of a U-turn on Brexit and a total failure to distance herself from the Spitting Image puppets in Westminster. But then they know where the votes are coming from.

Every anti-Nat in Scotland, every anti-European, every immigrant hater, every cringe-mongering Unionist now invests in Davidson’s No Surrender British Unionist Project. They’ve deserted Labour like escaping rodents, clambering over themselves in the rush to the safe Tory home. UKIP doesn’t cut it in Scotland, so the Tories double up as the hard-line party of dogmatic loyalty to Britain.

Do Conservatives stand for anything else now? Or have they become what they always tried to insist the SNP were – a one-trick pony? Can you name a Tory policy? What would they do with schools? Would they invest more in health? Does that square with cutting taxes? Do they back renewables? How would they energise Scottish business? Do they have any policy at all on the constitution?

All I hear is No Second Referendum. Get Back to the Day Job.

We were ‘promised’ effective opposition. Will it turn up soon or must we endure years of student politics with relentless nay-saying backed by Ian Paisley-like repetition of simplistic messages? (Shouted in fanatical style by the histrionic Davidson).

I’m being harsh here. In a radical departure from normal politics the Tories asked not to be elected to government at all. Seriously, they didn’t. Please elect us to be the opposition, was their rallying cry. Perhaps they know more about their own competence than we do. All they said they’d do was hold the SNP to account and resist indryref2.

This is where our politics stands today. People voted for a party that doesn’t want to govern. It wants to shout at those who do. To be fair, it’s so much easier to stand and moan, point and scoff, which is what Davidson is good at. But this is the equation of diminishing returns. If you portray yourself as the party of opposition, that’s what the public will regard you as – the also-rans, the failures who give up without a fight, the people with no ideas except saying No. And what happens if the polls turn firmly against the SNP and in a year’s time Scots tell Yougov they don’t want independence regardless of the Brexit outcome? What do the Tories say if it’s clear independence is dead and there’s a clamour for a vote to prove it? Well then, she’ll U-turn again. Like Trump, she’ll deliver any message the public craves.

I do wish the Scottish Tories would start developing policy ideas again and reclaim what I regard as the weakest point in the political all-party programme – business generation. There is a crying need for a fresh approach to business to encourage and sustain start-ups, to take away the burden of onerous legal responsibilities from companies until they have established themselves. Risk-taking has to be encouraged, new models created, disused premises brought into operation. Successful companies can buddy start-ups, the state development agency can stop taking an arm and a leg from new companies’ assets. We can foster a business culture that rejects the jaded men-in-suits mentality.

But when you discover that the Tory spokesman on technology, connectivity and the digital economy doesn’t know that telecoms is reserved, you realize that this new Scottish intake is full of the same bluster as their leader. On which point, it is an epic lack of self-awareness that leads Adam Tomkins to tweet that Sturgeon must get back to the day job…a man literally with two jobs himself, both publicly funded. These are the sentiments of a classic trougher like the Tories at Westminster with outside earnings voting to cut benefits for the disabled. Adam has a big brain and sometimes leaves it at home charging overnight.

And what is Sturgeon’s day job? I’d say protecting Scotland. In a normal government the first responsibility is defending the nation. In our case we’re not allowed that role but protecting from anything that threatens our security, peace and economy will do. And what is the biggest threat? You may say Brexit but I’d bracket that right alongside a Tory government, one we sure didn’t vote for. That is the First Minister’s main task. That is the day job so I suppose you can understand Tory fears about her concentrating on it so much since they themselves pose the biggest threat and caused the Brexit catastrophe.

But if we count everything else as the Day Job to suit the Tories, what is the SNP doing all day? Let me check my timeline.

This is from today’s mail: The Scottish Government has set out 20 proposals for revamping the planning system, which will support economic growth, delivery of houses and increase community involvement in planning decisions. They form a consultation which will pave the way for a planning bill to be brought forward this year.

The proposals build on recommendations of an independent review carried out by a panel of experts last year. Key changes include zoning more land for housing, promoting self-build and removing the need to apply for planning permission for more types of development. The consultation also seeks views on new rights for communities to produce their own plans for their local area. Sounds to me like a good Tory policy right there.

Then this: Construction of the new Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary has resulted in 215 new jobs – 55 more than planned – for people from the region, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed today.

At the project’s outset, contractors Laing O’Rourke pledged to create 160 new jobs, training opportunities and apprenticeships on top of the 800-strong workforce already employed for the build. So far, the hospital’s construction has created 215 new jobs.

The new hospital received £200 million from the Scottish Government’s NPD (Non-profit Distributing) programme. The programme, valued at £3.5 billion, is being used to fund projects in further education, health and transport.

The hospital will provide 344 single-bed en-suite rooms, and will also house a combined assessment unit to manage emergency cases and bed allocation, theatres complex, critical care unit, women’s and children’s unit and outpatients department. It is expected to open, on time, in December this year. Oh dear, so not so busy after all. Tut tut.

Also from yesterday: An extra £107 million that will ensure more people are able to be cared for safely in their own homes and avoid preventable admissions to hospital is set to transform patient care in Scotland.

The money will be invested into health and social care partnerships which bring together NHS and local council care services for patients, in particular the elderly, and reduce the need for them to go into hospital for treatment.

This new investment means NHS spending on social care and investment will increase to almost half a billion pounds in the coming year, and will go towards delivering our living wage commitment to adult social care worker. The lazy SNP bastards!

Meanwhile I can’t see what actual work Ruth Davidson is doing apart from her team posting remarks on Facebook. When I clicked on the link for I was directed straight to the UK Conservative Party site which has no reference to Scotland at all on the front page…

It looks like the Day Job mantra is pure deflection. Which brings me to the question I really would like answered by Davidson – and by the hysterical Dugdale who has joined the UKOK club. It is this: If Scotland faces economic catastrophe as a result of the Brexit talks, will you resist any move to disengage from the UK?

That is: Is there any circumstance in which you would consider independence an option if the relevant facts are presented or must we in all circumstances stick with the UK even to our own impoverishment?

I believe that moment is approaching when absolutes collide. It could be only a year away and those still-to-be-convinced Scots must look first at the prospect of isolation, trade tariffs, job losses, wage cuts, rising prices and long-term right wing government or look left to liberal, supportive, European integrated independence alongside Ireland, Denmark and Holland…one an eighteenth century caricature of mercantile freebooting and cut-throat exploitation, the other a door into the modern digital connected world of European partnership where rights are respected. This used to be Tory territory before the Little Englanders took over and it was the Labour Left who struggled with integration (poor old Corbyn’s at it again today as the light goes out on radical Labour). The Tories have abandoned the Churchillian dream of peace in Europe in preference for xenophobia, ending the consensus built by Heath. In Scotland the party is in the hands of self-publicists and opportunists. But then they never promised us anything else…and, if that’s the Day Job, I have to say they’re rather good at it.

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36 thoughts on “The Last Redoubt

  1. Cracking dive into the New Year Derek!

    Doesn’t ‘no referendum’ start to sound horribly similar to ‘no surrender’? Let’s hope there is still some hope around as the year unfolds.


  2. Great article Derek.

    My only reservation would be that (in my experience) many of those “still-to-be-convinced Scots” could be tied to the gun barrel of a tank while being viciously flogged by Ruth Davidson and they would still be singing God save the queen and screaming in support of the union.

    • No, these aren’t “still-to-be-convinced”, by definition. Bear in mind that we don’t have to convince everyone. As someone pointed out recently, given the movement back and forward between No and Yes, if everyone who was prepared to vote Yes at some time actually voted Yes on the day.

  3. I recall Rooth-the-mooth being the guest speaker at a CA dinner some years ago. Few people in the audience knew who she was. She ably demonstrated that she was completely out of her depth and was simply telling the audience what she thought they wanted to hear – and getting it badly wrong.

    Some things never change.

  4. Aren’t Ruth Davidson, Kezia Dugdale and the Liberal guy elected to represent the best interests of their constituents? If so, why are they determined to represent the interests of the electors of Lincolnshire, East Anglia and Essex, to name but three? Get back to the day job!

  5. Well said , Derek , and so true on every point .
    Unfortunately , what you are saying is what the MSM should also be shouting from the rooftops , but isn’t . What do the other (Scottish ?) parties at Holyrood have as an alternative to the Scottish Government’s policies ? Where is their vision ?
    It would be interesting if , rooting through the dustbin of Labour policies , the SNP were to pick one and run with it – would the knee-jerk reaction of Kezia’s circus troupe be to oppose it ?

  6. Well Derek this article really does bring matters into focus. Whilst the terminology used is government and opposition at Holyrood, the reality is the Scottish government versus the Westminster government. The Tories in Scotland are no more than spectators standing in the terraces shouting at the players on the field.

    I’m repeating myself – Adam Tomkins is an MSP having come in 3rd in the election with 14% of the vote, 10,350 votes less than the SNP. Why is this D’Hondt voting system tolerated?Why on earth is Tomkins an MSP? And why do the BBC Scotland so eagerly have Tomkins on politics programmes? But he is not alone, we have the football referee whose sports duties render him unable to fulfil his Holyrood committee obligations. Wings has listed out the polling records.

    “Every Anti Nat…every cringe-mongering Unionist”, yes I know a few. Your listing above of SNP gov’t activities would be dismissed as untrue by them, truly. Only their own personal financial abyss will cause them to pay attention.

    • I suspect Tomkins is one of the few of the new Tory intake who can string a few coherent sentences together and that’s why they interview him. He’s their star. The quality of Tory MSPs is poor.

      • I’d hate to be an SNP supporting student in Tomkins class at Uni.
        He stood in my constituency, never bothered to campaign, or knock on doors, and was roundly rejected by us, the actual people of Scotland in this neck of the woods.
        Yet he gets in as a ‘list’ MSP,, adopts the bigoted sectarian sobriquet WATP in order to pander to the basest racist bigoted elements of Scottish society, and is the darlin’ of the Dead Tree Scrolls, and of course BBC PQ which is now staffed by old Unionist diehards.
        He is in bed with Ooh Aah Up Ra Ra James Kelly, of OBF fame, who corrals the Sellick bigoted Unionist contingent to the cause of Queen and Country of course.
        Let’s not forget Murdo The Queen’s Eleven Fraser, who must be the most spectacular political failure in the history of Scottish politics, yet there he was again, on STV’s Scotland Tonight, with Jackie Baillie, and Rose Without Trace Cole Hamilton, talking the usual Bah Roo Rubbish, and McKay sat there and allowed them to reduce what should have been a serious political and current affairs programme to a chimpanzee tea party.
        Surely STV has learnt from the demise of BBC Scotland?
        BBC Reporting Scotland viewing figures drop to 200k, from 600k a few short years ago.
        Yet Magnusson Bird Campbell Robertson Brewer have not been given the elbow as the Scottish public desert the service in droves. I note that there is no ‘Scotland 2017’ at 10.30 each evening. Perhaps the rumour that ‘Scotland 2016’, that reliable income stream for Unionist Scribes, was attracting less than 5000 a night?
        Money and failure is no object. Defending their precious corrupt little Union is all that matters.
        The Tories are taking £2 billion out of the Scottish economy, yet Dugdale lies in the Daily Record that the SNP are cutting LA funding, and Alex Rowley, who always looks as thought he borrowed his big brother’s suit for the day, launches Labour’s Reform of Local Authority funding, peddling the same tax and spend muddle that got them kicked into third palce in May ’16. I look forward to Frank The Pieman with the St Trinian’s morals announcing the 3p increase in my CT just before the LA Elections. Aye, right.

        I’m rambling now. I’m spitting teeth.

        Davidson Dugdale and Rennie, and their wee gang of fellow travellers care not for the welfare of the people of Scotland.
        What a shower of selfish not very bright self serving puppets they are.

        Tremendous piece again, Derek.
        Less than 10 weeks to go before all hell breaks loose, and it can’t come soon enough.

    • If you support PR, then you have to accept that some people from parties with low electoral support will get into parliament. He only got 11.9% on the list, which is where his mandate comes from – his constituency result is irrelevant – but that’s enough support to get a seat.

      • Ach, Morag, there’s a difference between ‘getting a seat’, and being given Gaddafi like carte blanche by the Media to spout arrant nonsense unchallenged by the hacks and broadcasters.
        This man gets full page coverage in the Dead Tree Scrolls, and more air time than the FM and the 56 SNP MPs whom we, the people of Scotland, elected to represent us Down There in WM
        An example from Scotland Tonight; Murdo The Queen’s Eleven Fraser ‘urged’ the SNP to grow the Scottish Economy. Did McKay point out that his Tory Party was reducing public spending in Scotland by £2 billion? Did Jackie Baillie reach out and rip his Rob the Poor, Reward the Rich lungs out. Of course not.
        FPTP is ok, Down There, but not Up Here?

        Call me old fashioned, but I consider it corrupt that a rejected politician can fund a 500 curries banquet for the Faithful, then magically appear on the Labour List, and like constituency rejects Fraser, Kelly, Tomkins, and indeed, Dugdale herself, floods our airwaves, allowed unchecked columns of newsprint, in an attempt to destroy Scotland and its people, by lies, threats, and distortion.
        What will it take, Morag? The poor and the downtrodden to storm the Bastille? Armed insurrection by the Lumpen Proletariat against the Ruling Class?
        Politics is now a corrupt media controlled sham.
        Yet we hang on in there. There will be a second Independence Refrendum.
        We shall regain our Self Determination, ‘without so much as a paper cut’.
        Sometimes I find it extremely difficult to maintain this democratic stance.

        • Totally agree with all you’ve said. The revolution will not be reported.

          I try not to watch those programmes because life is short and precious and why should I risk my blood pressure for no result?

          So thanks for your report on all their poison, somebody had to do it – you are a brave man. Like those poor souls who risked radiation to put out Fukishima and Chernobyl.

          Except they had some success for their sacrifices.

          I think we should form reporting teams so that we can all take it in turns to critique their bile. It’s not fair on you Jack to be doing it all single handed.

          Maybe something Derek might consider as an adjunct to this blog?

          On the day the FM and SG released the report on Scotland’s pitch for inclusion on the single market last month, I happened to watch Jackie Bird opening the news with a crime report. Then came the FM’s paper, which was given about 90 seconds, then back to the crime and the football. There was no analysis, no attempt to get a comment from Maypole or her ministers, no comment from the EU, no detail whatsoever. A major development, six months of work, glided over in 90 seconds.

  7. Davidson is simply trying to ape Moan and join the House of Snooze as an endgame.

  8. Well that more or less covers this current Tory Party , devoid of decency principals and strangers to the truth , and thats just a few of their redeeming features . the southern part of this Island is descending into chaos and still this party the Tories refuse to admit it ,When a compliant media are unable to disguise this , the shit really is on its way to the fan , Treesa was a total failure in her previous post . she and her department I believe were responsible by their inability to control Immigration numbers in the south , they by design or just incompetence are responsible for the whole Brexit fiasco aided and abetted by the media’s distortion of anything from Europe , the Tory Party detests any form of resistance to their will Europe was and is an impediment the way the Liberals were in the last Parliament , who knows what this lot are planning to do once there is no European Union to keep them in check .
    It is not just desirable we leave this rancid Union it is now essential for the well being of Scottish people , well most of the reasonable ones at least , the rest can live with it the way we have had to suffer Governments being imposed on us for what seems a lifetime of failed administrations , and with the distinct prospect of twenty more years of a Tory party hell bent on crushing any dissent .

  9. Ach Derek. On the D&G Hospital report you missed oot the “Aye, but we’re still rubbish” contribution of local councillor and MSP Colin Smyth, commenting on Nicola’s appearance in the area.
    “South of Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth said no amount of “hurriedly arranged photocalls” would cover up the fact that the NHS was “facing crisis”.
    They’ll turn anything into an SNP Baaad story ’cause we’re just no capable of anything good without the majestic UK tae sort us oot.

  10. Derek,

    Excellent article. Nowt more to be said really.

  11. Thanks for this superb snapshot of a very screwed up place. Unfortunately all indications are it will get worse before we have any chance of it getting better.

  12. You’re on cracking form Derek, a great piece. It is great that you are taking on the Tories and their empty politics. This is the final battle. The rest are gone.

  13. A really excellent evisceration of the North British Tories. I notice Ruthie has been noticeable by her absence recently in the Scottish media as the sh@t hits the fan south of the border. Just in case she’s asked a difficult question and the mask should slip.

  14. Wonderful. I doff my cap.

  15. Steve Asaneilean

    Excellent stuff Derek – and spot on at so many levels.

    “You’d think this would present an opportunity for the Scottish Tories to differentiate themselves in order to appeal to a different electorate”

    And you would think it would present (Not) Labour with the opportunity to take on and tackle the Tories instead of effectively sookin’ up to them like some head of BBC Scotland News.

    But alas no. As far as (Not) Labour are concerned the visceral hatred of the SNP trumps all. Sod the country, sod the people if that’s what it takes to have a pop at the SNP.

    Contemptuous and shameful to the nth degree.

  16. Great article, Derek. Davidson’s antics have become boring. Those working with her on TV (pre Holyrood days) must have been driven to distraction. But what about Kez? Haven’t heard much about her recently, except of course that she’s joined the Tories in their clamour for a UK Union. Good to know, all the same, that Labour for Independence are gaining in strength. Kezia would be wise to join them.

  17. Nailed it Derek.

    Scotland does face two imminent and catastrophic threats to the well being of its population, both in economic and constitutional terms. Continued Conservative government and brexit under conditions set by a UK government agenda have the potential to devastate our economy and democracy way beyond anything we’ve seen since 2008’s crash.

    The Tories aren’t interested in the population except as a source of revenue. They’re not interested in duty of care and they certainly don’t give a shit about loyalty to anyone except themselves and their institutions of power/wealth management. Their tools of choice? Promotion of a loyalty and patriotism which never existed in their own minds and control of the media message.

    For the Conservative political class a flag is a means of manipulation. ‘Patriotism’, a jargonistic tool to be deployed in case of emergency. Its right up there with ‘lympics, royal waddin’s, royal babies, street parties and bunting. Glorification of war is another firm favourite. Just so long as their political elite don’t have to do any actual fightin’ and such, they can shed a tear with the best of them on camera. The Conservatives of today are all about the pragmatic bottom line. What’s in it for me, myself and I? They are about power, patronage, wealth and acquisition. They have never in my lifetime stood for anything else but.

    They have presided over the worst political and economic calamities imposed on Scotland for the past fifty years, though they had some help from others just as interested in that howf on the Thames and the big lights of really important places ‘elsewhere’. As for those who believe loyalty to these creatures and their system takes precidence over loyalty to their fellow Scots? They really, REALLY need to take a long hard look around themselves at the very real consequences of one way loyalty.

    Where there were yards, pits, car manufacturers, engineering firms supplying the world. Where there were working communities with apprenticeships and long term job prosepects. Where there was the heart of a thriving bustling population with a purpose and a reputation which spanned the globe. What is there left?

    Over all that time who was running the economy? Under whose stewardship was the resources, the taxes, the politics and legislation? Who had the duty of care to look after the population? That is the day job surely? The interests of the people, the care of the people, all of the people. Not the few, not the privileged, but ALL.

    The appalling Ruth Davidson is simply the latest in a long line of careerist mouthpieces and very, very typical of the current breed. A photo op, an unchallenged sound bite, a cutaway piece on some pundit’s couch. A branch supervisor given air time, column space and a bosoapbox to stand on. I’m sure the promise of a safe seat somewhere ‘more important’ than Scotland if she plays her cards right may have been mentioned at some point (shrugs). A jolly hockey sticks facade which melts under any real pressure to reveal a shouty, unprincipled, disingenuous, nasty career politician with zero political talent and somewhat less simple human empathy. No leader in waiting. No policy genius. No statesmanlike demeanour. Merely the loudest, angriest wean on the playground.

    Todays Tory – Me, myself and I in living, shouty colour.

    • yep well said Macart , I wish i could find the supplier of this Stupid pill that seems to be in plentiful supply all over Scotland , When I learn of Labour supporters activly colluding with Tories my first thoughts are has there been something added to the water supply , is it Chemtrails what the f/ck is wrong with these people , has their sense of something isnt right been removed from them , are they so depressed and short sighted that they will accept anything as long as it dosent make their lousy lives even worse . I despair i really do , how do you waken them up ? .

    • Sam, you are on a roll. Derek is working up a head of steam, surely.
      Like many millions in Scotland, I am sick fed up of this charade.
      In less than 3 months time, May and her rag tag and bobtail bunch of elitists, are going to walk out on the biggest trade bloc in the world, and we’re supposed to stand by while she drags Scotland with her.
      It cannot be allowed to happen.
      Davidson Dugdale and Rennie are beneath contempt. They’re just not very good, even at spouting mindless pamphleteering.
      It cannot be long now until Labour supporters in Scotland realise that Self Determination is the only escape route from this Imperial Madness gripping England.
      The Game’s afoot, and its not the Imperial 12 inches!

      • I hear Labour for indy relaunch went well. 🙂

        • Good for them. But they should give their leadership a boot in the backside.

          • I suspect they may just have received that well placed boot given the PLPs stance on all things indy. 🙂

            I’m willing to bet there are plenty Labour members and supporters as sick of tribal politics as we are. After the past two years especially, any reasoning human being can see the drift of UK politics and society as it is driven by an ever rightward and intolerant ideology.

            This is no environment for progressive policy, for even simple human empathy or understanding. Its bad and its going to get markedly worse. Its a politics and society driven by fear, anger, suspicion of the other, and focus on the self rather than the selfless. A mob mentality directed and driven by political short termism and compromised media interest.

            I’m hoping those folks now fully realise there is no fix for what ails the Westminster system. The best way to help progressive causes and the social union across these islands, is to first and foremost dissolve the parliamentary union and system that is the core of the problem.

            So long as they realise that should a ref be called, the rosettes stay in the drawer, then my hand is out… always.

  18. Hi Derek. I put your question regarding Labours backing of independence in the event of catastrophic consequences for Scotland regarding the Brexit negotiations to Labour Hame. If you or anyone care to see Duncan’s response I’ve provided the link. Pathetic really.

    Last few comments on article … about 120-126

  19. An excellent article and reflects many of things I have been thinking, simply better.

    Ruth Davidson indeed lays it on a bit rich when accusing Nicola Sturgeon of not getting on with her day job when her political masters in London are still preparing brexit.

    In fact, coming from London, I have heard little else in the way of public policy-making other than brexit means brexit means brexit means brexit in a way that it is going to be served up in red, white and blue. It is a farce that beggars belief.

  20. Mungo, I just flipped over to Labour Hame. I admire your stamina. It’s like reading posts from an alternative universe.
    Surely Real Labour supporters will opt for Self Determination next time?
    Keep up the good work.

    • I know one and he won’t. I like the guy, we agree on most other things politically and get on fine at a personal level. He just seems to hate the SNP as a party and thinks that an indy Scotland would be a one party state dominated by rhem. Given the intransigent unionist opposition of the other parties, bar the Greens, as things stand, I concede that he does have a point and that the SNP would be supreme at that point. He just doesn’t seem to want to see the damage the union is doing to Scotland, and buys into all that crap about how the SNP are misgoverning Scotland, centralising police, etc. whatever crap the papers spew out about the SNP, he is willing to believe it.

    • Thanks Jack ! Aye it’s an odd place is Labour Hame! Quite good fun winding them up though. Lol

  21. Your always excellent pieces, Derek, never fail to set off all of us thinking. You mention how important risk-taking is for our future prosperity.
    This reminded me of my English teacher at Ardrossan Academy in the 1970s telling us to have a sense of adventure, to take risks, to go out and get some skills, achieve something and make the most of our lives.
    But at the time, for the many who didn’t get jobs on the oil platform yards, this meant going away – in some cases, leaving Scotland. And people sort of accepted that. At the time, Scotland was losing people at the rate of 20,000 each year. Opportunity lay elsewhere. The only adventure was in leaving. London and beyond was the magnet. Young people reportedly have been putting more faith in getting rewards by becoming ‘famous’ than by taking risks.
    How to fix this ? Well, things are better now. People can take risks and make a good life without having to leave Scotland. But the potential is so much greater.
    This isn’t the preserve of conservative parties alone. The region around Bologna has over 90,000 small manufacturing businesses, more than four times as many as in Scotland, with a similar population. They had 30 years of rule by the Communist party, which cut taxes for small firms and made it so that you can register a new business in less than a day. The thriving city centre is a tribute to that.
    We don’t need to wait for our dysfunctional conservative party to abandon its obsession with unionism and start proposing something sensible. But since we will need a conservative-type party in an independent Scotland for the health of our democracy, the sooner it starts to change, the better.
    I am convinced that the greatest incentive to create a climate of adventure and risk-taking – and to get the rewards that come from that – is for people to create it for themselves by building an independent Scotland.
    In the meantime, the government could already do more to make it easier for people to develop new ideas and turn them into action. Of course, it would be more effective if they didn’t have to waste time working on mitigating the worst effects of Brexit. Or endure the onslaught of ‘let’s all pull together against the Europeans’ offered by the nastiest of conservative mentalities in Westminster.
    There is of course a solution to that. At the next opportunity which will surely come, how many people will overcome fear ? And risk taking back into our own hands the adventure and the power to create a better future ?

  22. this piece started with reference to the BBC , the single constant impediment to people receiving unadulterated facts on the governance of scotland , this organisation and management in any other country would be arrested for sedition , activly working against the freely elected government .

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