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Saturday, 20 September 2014

The triumph of bribery and fear over the reality of experience.

The Conservative, Labour, Liberal consensus of "The Vow" which finally defeated calls for Scottish independence, has been shattered



Cameron: Further powers for Scotland will be linked to change in England.

Within hours of the results of the Scottish referendum being announced, David Cameron and Ed Miliband threw the question of further devolution of powers to Scotland, and the timetable for implementation of such changes, into chaos. The much publicised "Vow" to the Scottish people bearing the signatures of Cameron, Miliband and Clegg, was heralded days before the vote as, a solemn undertaking to begin the process of greater devolution of Scottish affairs "the day after" the Referendum vote takes place. At the time, many writers considered that "The Vow" was nothing more than a not very subtle bribe, designed to offer more devolved powers to the Scottish people in exchange for a "No" result. This inducement followed weeks of threat, intimidation and fear mongering by the vote No campaign who enlisted the support of businesses, banks, media and others to seek the retention of the union. Even foreign "leaders" were quite vocal in their support for the status quo, even though it is difficult to grasp what the matter had to do with Obama, Juncker, Merkel or the others.

Today, less than 36 hours after the vote, it is patently obvious that the prediction of prevarication, disputes and inter party squabbling, has already begun. The promised reforms, commencing the day after the referendum, have gone the way of previous promises on copious numbers of subjects (many to do with Scottish matters) made not only by previous Labour governments, but also by the ConDem coalition government during their almost five years in power. If this one element, "The Vow" has been the final consideration in anyone's decision to place their cross in the "No" box, then they have been deceived by the politicians "talent" of giving duplicity and falsehood a facade of credibility. 

prevarication, disputes and inter party squabbling

Within the coming months, right up to the general election in May of next year and even beyond, there will be the usual recriminations between the parties with proposals, counter proposals and even more promises in exchange for public support, rattling back and forth between the political groupings. In the meantime of course, the people of Scotland will wait for the Westminster government to finally, if ever, produce a set of proposals for "greater autonomy" for Scotland, which will bear little if any resemblance to the expectations that many people may have had on the 18th September 2014.
Cameron and some conservatives, plan to bring in "English votes for English laws" as part of wide ranging  "constitutional" changes. Miliband has proposed a "constitutional convention" that will not even present a preliminary report until sometime in Autumn of 2015. 

Between now and the next general election there will be much jockeying for position and popularity between the Westminster parties, with each bearing in mind the growing threat of UKIP and even other parties upsetting the comfortable "status quo" which they have enjoyed until now. It seems that with the bribery of "The Vow" with its vague promises now firmly established, the parties have painted themselves into a corner which they will find it difficult to extract themselves from.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Cameron, Clegg Miliband "Vow", is nothing more than a not very subtle bribe

Final opinion polls show undecided voters could swing the result either way

Cameron, Clegg and Miliband reveal the "Vow" and promise to protect "Barnett formula" 

For anyone in Scotland thinking about voting “No” in today’s referendum, there is a very good reason for voting with the “Yes” campaign. For anyone who thinks that the promise made by Cameron, Miliband and Clegg in respect of greater autonomy to the Scottish Parliament including powers over taxation, spending an even greater devolution, in exchange for a “No” vote, should consider what has emerged since the three “leaders” went to Scotland to unveil their “Vow” and plaster the front pages of practically every newspaper in the United Kingdom with the text.
It has become apparent that not all MP's at Westminster in the three main parties, and particularly those in the Conservative party, do not support their “leaders” in the, not very subtle bribe, that has been dangled before the eyes of the Scottish people. It seems that there is significant resistance to the prospect of Scotland gaining more per capita expenditure north of the border than people in the rest of the United Kingdom. The so called Barnett formula” has received even more criticism and is now even more likely to be scrapped.

In response to this criticism from MP's and others, the government is proposing that in the event that Scotland does vote “No” today, a set of proposals for the detail of the “Vow” will be drawn up and agreed between the party leaders, provided that they are able to gain the consent and support of their own MP's and their respective parties. A “White Paper” will be produced, probably in January of next year, for consultation and discussion. Following this period of time, legislation will be introduced in Parliament. Any decisions or votes on the necessary changes however, will not take place or be effected, until after the next General election in May of 2015, when in any case, there is likely to be a new government which may itself have a very different make up and viewpoint on the whole matter of greater devolution for Scotland. 
The “Vow” from the Westminster triumvirate of Cameron, Clegg and Miliband was always nothing more than a desperate, unconsidered knee jerk reaction to falling support in the polls. If it were a serious proposition, it would have been included on the ballot paper for the referendum, as originally proposed but rejected out of hand by Westminster. Moreover, even after almost 5 years of this ConDem coalition, and many years of the previous Labour government, it is only now that more devolution and greater taxation and spending powers for Scotland are hinted at.
This may be coincidence, but I think not.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

An "emotional appeal" in front of a selected audience.

David Cameron makes emotional plea to Scotland

David Cameron makes emotional plea

"David Cameron gives emotional speech to the Scottish people"? Well, not quite.

What he gave was another rambling speech to a selected audience of Tory party hacks, members, "Vote No" campaigners and the party faithful, who cheered and applauded at the end of practically every sentence. We have seen similar performances at Conservative party conferences over many years with the customary standing ovation at the end. The scripts of the "speeches" actually seem to contain the phrase "Pause for applause" liberally sprinkled throughout the text.
What "the Scottish people" actually got, was the potted and edited version of the good bits, which the BBC, Sky and the other political editors of the television stations chose to put into their broadcasts, and as here, what the newspaper editors chose to reproduce. Had Cameron wished to address "the Scottish people" directly, surely he would have chosen to do it on live television and radio in debate with "Vote Yes" spokespersons or at least in a proper straight into camera live presentation.
No. Cameron chose to hide behind the safety of the selected audience who would have cheered and clapped even had his speech contained only the word "Rhubarb" repeated a few thousand times.
It is rather patronising of the television and media to expect that their readers and viewers, not only in Scotland but across the United Kingdom generally, will see this speech as anything other than a last ditch attempt by a politically bankrupt politician who, seeing the writing on the wall in respect of his own premiership, is desperate to retain the Union.
I do not believe that the Scottish people, which ever camp of the "Vote Yes" or the "No thanks" argument they support, are so fickle and naive that they will be swayed one way or another, even if the political moguls of the television and media may do.   

Monday, 15 September 2014

BBC bias in Scottish referendum

BBC Scotland's referendum coverage 'institutionally biased'.

BBC Scotland protests

Notwithstanding yesterdays protest, which was given only passing acknowledgement on the BBC news programmes incidentally, the BBC reverts today, to its now accepted role as “The Union's Champion” and official propaganda tool for the "Vote No" campaign. About as subtle as an elephant rampaging around the shelves of Royal Doulton or Wedgwood or Royal Albert dinnerware in some exclusive department store, the BBC bounces back on its news programmes (so far) this morning, with all the “too close to call” headlines and interviews with Labour shadow ministers who, with their own agenda for retaining the Union, are given leading questions to be used as a vehicle to trot out the now well worn prophesies of doom and gloom in the event of a “Yes” vote. The BBC yesterday attempted to present a fa├žade of “impartiality” but even the spectacle of Andrew Marr spinning a coin for “first interview place” between Salmond and Darling was not convincing.

Alistair Darling, Alex Salmond, watch as Andrew Marr tosses a coin

With the election machines of the Westminster parties on full power, the orchestrated interventions of large corporations, banks and other vested interests and the rather bizarre contribution from the chief constable for Durham that somehow, organised international criminal gangs will seek to exploit any new border between England and an independent Scotland, may well produce a narrow, but pyrrhic, win for the No camp at the polls next Thursday. This will in no small way, be as a result of BBC “reporting” and the support for the establishment and their rather shabby negative campaigning.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

The "negative" campaigning of the "Vote No" camp sinks to new depths.

"Vote No" big guns fail to halt "Yes" bandwagon.

Vote Yes campaigning.

Should the "Better together . Vote No" campaign win the referendum vote next Thursday, it will not be due to  winning the economic, social or prosperity arguments. It will the consequence of many people voting as a result of fear. Fear, generated by the "No" campaign, orchestrated by the Westminster political parties, because they have most to loose should the Scottish people decide to become an independent nation. 
Today, 13th September, the last weekend of campaigning, the "Vote No" camp and its allies in the television and media, together with those sections of business who fear for their own positions in an independent Scotland, have launched the most vicious, vindictive and vociferous assault on the voting yes camp ever seen before in British politics. This assault, culminates a week of intensive campaigning which started with Gordon Brown's visit to Scotland and a rather strange personal speech predominantly concerned with the NHS and the experiences of his own family. This was  followed on Wednesday, by the spectacle of Cameron, Clegg and Milliband, flying off to Scotland in a desperate attempt, to bolster the flagging No campaign. Cameron's plea that he would be heart broken should Scotland vote yes, and his appeal to the Scottish people not to break this family of nations, was linked to an appeal not to turn the referendum into another opportunity to “kick the effing Tories”. A strange choice of words for a British prime minister with Oxford education and Bullingdon club background, to choosing a public forum with the eyes of the world press and media, listening to and analysing every word.

Gordon Brown makes impassioned plea to Scots to vote no

In what many believe to be a rather bizarre promise to the Scottish people, Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat, vowed to grant even more autonomy to the Scottish Parliament including powers over taxation, spending an even greater devolution. Some 18 months ago, when such an option was proposed by this Scottish National Party for inclusion on the referendum ballot paper, the proposal, was firmly rejected by the parties in Westminster. Only now, when the "No" campaign has reached the position of desperation in its attempts to retain the union, the Westminster parties have made a complete "U turn" and seem to consider that further devolution for Scotland, may be the only means of securing rejection of independence. Many observers including the Scottish public recall however, the numerous times when Westminster promises have been empty words swiftly forgotten in a very short period of time. The Westminster government rhetoric promising mountains, but delivering molehills.

Cameron, Clegg and Miliband make Scotland 'No' vote plea

The threats and scaremongering tactics presented by the No camp, range between the economic, with some (but not all) banks businesses and supermarket chains threatening to move the operations south of the new border, or increasing the prices of their produce on their shelves, through the sporting implications of athletes being unable to compete under the "Great Britain" banner,and culminating in a rather odd story from the chief constable for Durham that somehow, organised international criminal gangs will seek to exploit any new border between England and an independent Scotland. 
It seems that the "No" camp are sinking to the depths of desperation, in their attempts to appeal to the most emotional side of public opinion.
It is clear that those who have most to lose in the event that Scotland should vote for independence, are by inducement, threat, exaggeration and distortion of truth,seeking to restore the lead in the opinion polls that until recently indicated a comfortable win for the vote no campaign. Today's opinion polls indicate that a growing number of people have moved and are moving into the vote yes camp.The lead has been reduced over previous days to one or maybe two percentage points and the predicted result, is to close for the pollsters to call. However the bookmakers have the no camp as firm odds-on favourites. Perhaps they know something that the rest of us do is clear that whatever the result next Thursday, the divisions within Scottish society on the question of an independent Scotland have created a split which may take many years if not generations, to heal. The genie of Scottish independence is out-of-the-bottle, and will not easily be put back in.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Will the negative "Vote No" campaign save the Union?

Ten days to save the United Kingdom after poll shows shock lead for Yes camp

Yes or No?

The "Vote No" campaign continue with their policy of threat, intimidation and scare mongering, in an attempt to bring about a referendum result which will retain "the Union".
Even at this late stage, when all the evidence suggests that their negative campaign is having the opposite effect on peoples voting intentions, it seems that Alastair Darling and those on his side of "Britain is Better Together" are unable to provide any positive reason why the Scottish people should vote anything other than yes.
In a bizarre promise from the government, the Scots are given a firm undertaking that if they reject independence, they will be given greater autonomy from Westminster with new powers in taxation, spending and further devolution. It seems to me that the "new autonomy" for Scotland would be even greater if they vote "Yes". Another government promise that has not been fully thought through.
It may well be that the referendum will reject independence, but the result will be a very much closer outcome than the Darling camp may care to think.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Deserting the sinking ship.


Coalition is rocked by Lib Dem-Labour alliance

'Bedroom Tax' One Step Closer To Abolition After Tories Are Defeated

The closer the country gets to a general election,the more the LibDems desert the sinking ship to argue and vote against the Conservatives. Perhaps Clegg and his lemmings believe that the public have forgotten the last four and a half years, where the LibDems supported and encouraged the Tories in this ragbag coalition, to enact some of the most divisive legislation ever seen in this country since the days of Thatcher.
The increases of tuition fees, cuts to benefits across the board, Iain Duncan-Smith's "Welfare" reforms, including the so called "Bedroom tax", the privatisation of huge parts of the NHS and other industries such as Royal Mail, have been enthusiastically championed by the Liberal Democrats during their period in power. It has always been about power and the pursuit of power. In May of 2010, the Liberal Democrats, under the "leadership" of Nick Clegg, saw an opportunity to do what no Liberal or Liberal Democrat party had done for almost 80 years, and actually have seats around the cabinet table in government. Clegg, with the prospect of becoming "Deputy Prime Minister", grasped this opportunity with both hands and dragged the remaining 56 LibDem MP's with him extracting a promise of 5 cabinet posts in the new government. 

Clegg and Cameron in "happier" days. May 2010

Since then, the Conservatives have been able to rely on the 57 votes of the Liberal democrats, to push forward, at an alarming pace, their odious programme of cuts, "welfare reforms" and austerity.


End of the road.

Not so anymore it seems. With the next election only 8 months away, the Liberal Democrats seem to be placing some distance between themselves and their Conservative masters, in the hope of positioning their party to be able to retain some "balance of power" in the event of another hung parliament and then again prostitute their principles for a few cabinet places in a new coalition should one emerge.
Over the next 230 days or so, we may yet see more fissures in the coalition, as the instinct of political survival and the prospect, however small, of retaining their cabinet posts and the associated perk of office, become the driving force behind every LibDem action and vote in the Commons.
Nick Clegg and the other 56 Liberal democrat MP's, may be in for a bit of a shock come the 7th May next year, no matter how much they try to dump the Conservatives between now and then.