Manchester

I can’t begin to imagine the pain and suffering that parents and children who were at the concert in Manchester this week must be going through. That pain is with them now and for ever.  As a parent, it’s not supposed to be this way.  We’re not supposed to outlive our children.  We’re not supposed to have to arrange their funerals.  Of course accidents happen and some parents have to deal with this, but I don’t know how I would.  Especially if it was as a result of a mindless act of terrorism.  So my heart goes out to all those who have lost a child, and to any children who have lost a mum or a dad.  So, so sad.    We need to remember them not just today, and not just next week and next month.  But for the rest of their lives they’ll bear these scars and some will need our help and support for a long time to come.

 

But what’s happening now?  Two days afterwards.  We’ve got the UK in a state of fear with the alert level being at “Critical”.  We’ve changed our lives and our society away from what is normal.  Who benefits?   You can make a case for this being exactly what the longer aims of the terrorist are.  To cow and induce fear and division in our society.  This is surely the whole point of such attacks.  While we (sweeping generality here) in the West use our laser guided weapons and drones to destroy whole cities in the Far East, they can only retaliate with bombs in rucksacks.  And we’re (rightly) outraged when they do.  I’m not justifying terrorism in any way but maybe, just maybe, if our country wasn’t engaged in perma-war in countries so far away that few of us could reliably show where they are on a globe, there would be less incentive for anyone to attack our children.

 

I read many other bloggers writings and here’s a couple that have struck me as having made fair and valid points –

Policing – Mewsing Out Loud 

Why self-imposed political silence is a misguided reaction to terrorism

 

Politically we’re two weeks away form a General Election in the UK. Yet all campaigning has been suspended.  Parties have their (prospective) MPs and their activists on hold.  My favoured party – The Scottish National Party has been unable to publish their manifesto.  That’s a problem, a real problem for anyone who believes in Democracy.  A party being unable to launch it’s manifesto as the polling day gets closer is just wrong. 

Our Tory Prime Minister – who on Monday lunchtime was on the ropes and being exposed as “weak and wobbly” over her U-Turns on policies in her party’s manifesto has been given breathing space, if not thrown a lifeline.  And did anyone tell the media to suspend campaigning?  They’ve been in full-on attack mode on Jeremy Corbyn over his discussions with the IRA donkeys years ago.   Whatever way you look at it, this bomb has blown a great big hole in the UK’s democracy.  Respect for those who have suffered  (and are still suffering) has to be, and has been shown, but life – including campaigning – has to go on.  Otherwise the terrorist is winning.  Or one side of a democracy is taking advantage.  

 

 

 

 

 

“The Battle For (Brexit) Britain”

 

I wrote this phrase a while ago in a blog post and I’m using it again as it seems to me to sum it what’s going on politically now.  In three weeks we’ll have an election which will determine what Britain’s future will be.   There can be no doubt that this is the most important election of my lifetime.   One the one side there’s the Conservative Party and no the other side there’s pretty much everyone else. 

 

“Furtive”- what a great word that is. “Sleakit” – there’s another good word. In this election campaign it seems to apply to the Conservative Party candidates more than any other.  They just will not enter into any debates about their policies with anyone.  Theresa May is being wrapped in such a tight blanket of insulation that it’s s surprise she’d not suffocated.  The Conservatives are exemplifying those words – they are the very embodiment of furtive and sleakit.   Not meeting the public, controlling the media, avoiding all and any interactions with anything that might be a question.   It’s not a surprise that they are tightly controlling everything.  When they do let a journalist get on with their job of asking questions they seem to lose their plot.  Here’s Ruth Davidson being interviewed on Radio 5 Live – https://ayerightradio.wordpress.com/2017/05/12/ruth-davidson-car-crash-interview-radio-five-live/ – Not exactly coherent and accurate is she?  And that wasn’t an aggressive journalist at all.  Theresa May is avoiding any risk of anything like this by flatly refusing to be interviewed. Is that the way a “Strong and Stable” leader should behave? 

 

Labour have published a manifesto full of policies which, if people were given a blind choice they’d be most likely to support.  And yet the media hammers on and on about Jeremy Corbyn not being a leader. Maybe he is, maybe he’s not.   But it would be nice to think the public would be allowed to make up it’s own mind without the media

 

The Scottish National Party has yet to publish it’s manifesto, so the details on it are unknown as I type this blogpost.  The critical point will be what they say about holding a future independence referendum.  For sure, the SNP is at an interesting point.  Support of the party is at the worst level, if not still growing.  They got more votes than ever  before in the recent Local Authority elections and yet are being frozen out of many councils by coalitions between “everyone but SNP”.  That might strengthen their appeal in the GE because it casts this GE as “Scotland vs the Rest of You”.  To all intents and purposes there is no difference whatsoever between Tory/Labour/LibDem/UKIP.  None of them offer anything different for Scotland.  Remember that Scotland voted by 62% to 38% to remain in the EU. 

 

The Green Party are still not getting a fair crack of the whip. Maybe, hopefully, in an independent Scotland their time will come.

 

The Media I can’t remember anytime when the newspapers and in particular the BBC News and Current Affairs programmes have so openly and obviously protected the Tory party. There’s no scrutiny or questioning whats0ever of them.  And that’s not good for any of us.

 

So to the title of this post, “The Battle For (Brexit) Britain”, it’s well and truly on. The oncoming tsunami of Brexit is going to batter this country and re-shape our country in ways that we can’t begin to see yet and we’ve got to choose what we think will be the best direction to recover from this.   For me, for Scotland, that’s got to be doing all we can to break free from the dead-hand of the Tory party.  Independence will be essential if Scotland is to have any chance at all of prospering in the coming decades.  Theresa May is lying when she says that an increased mandate will strengthen her hand.  It wont.  the most important election in the whole Brexit carry on was that of Emmanuel Macron in France.  The EU is now far more “strong & stable” than it was before his election.  (Notwithstanding problems ongoing in Greece and Italy) It is their side of the negotiations we should be thinking about.  I am in no doubt whatsoever that the EU will be mercilessly blamed when the Brexit negotiations break down.   Has anyone seen anything in the behaviour of the May/Fox/Johnston team which suggest they are event remotely capable of holding complex negotiations?  So Brexit Britain is not going to be anything we can look forward to.  And it won’t be the fault of the Tories.  Nope. Not their fault at all.  They didn’t hold an unnecessary referendum.  They didn’t run away when the result wasn’t what they expected.  Their not going to throw their toys out their pram when the EU simply sticks to it’s fair and reasonable position that to get the benefits you must be a member of the ‘club’. 

 

It seems to me that we really are in a 3 week Battle for Britain.  And regardless of how we all vote the future doesn’t look very bright at all.   (Unless you’re in Scotland, as I am, when there is a ray of hope)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did “Peak-Tory” happen yesterday? 

It is not what the news headlines this morning in Scotland are describing. Here’s what the numbers say.  

The SNP increased its number of councillors

The Tories increased their number of councillors. 

Labour lost almost half its councillors. 

The gap between the party with most councillors and the second place party got much bigger. 

(Numbers below) 


What to make of the headlines then?  Far from having reached “Peak-Nat” it looks more like we’ve reached “Peak-Tory”.   Even with all the hype and support in the media, the Tories success looks like it has been built on the continuing collapse of the Labour vote.  Unionist supporters have transferred their allegiance to the only other unionist party.  That has to be a cause for concern inside Labour ranks.  But should it be a reason for cause for concern in SNP and Indy supporting ranks?  Less so.  The SNP vote more than held up. It increased.   Certainly the Tory vote increased too – but it is easier to create a massive gain when you start from a low position. Doubling from 12% to 24% is good, but where’s the next growth going to come from?  Consider also the fantastic growth for the Green Party.  They’ve gone from 8 councillors to 19.  Statistically that’s an even better growth and result than the Tories.  
If the results are considered in terms of unionist and indy then it most certainly isn’t the newspaper headlines that are being accurate.  Accuracy is that the Indy support has increased.  And that the Tories have nowhere left to gain ‘soft’ votes.  “Peak-Tory” looks like a realistic and rational analysis.   But you won’t hear that on the TV or radio and certainly won’t read it in a mainstream newspaper.  

Scotland is still walking towards an independent future.  Despite the hype and claims in the media.