Is this how it’s going to end?

Last week, for the first time in history, the Tory UK  Government was found to be in contempt of Parliament.  Yet there’s been no sanction.  Oh sure, you can talk about the disgrace and the dishonour – but – so what?  What  if the Tory UK government doesn’t care about grace and honour?   The  available evidence suggest this is quite possible.  Time after time the Tory UK Government makes a promise or a statement only to U-turn or dissemble about the promise they made.  Check out the recent statements from David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland.  He’s said (along with Ruth Davidson, who must be oh so glad she’s on maternity leave) that he’d resign if N.Ireland was treated differently from the UK.  It seems it will be and they’re not resigning.

When you see Theresa May at the dispatch box in Westminster, well just watch her carefully.  She starts by being nervous but by the time she’s been there for an hour or so she’s far more confident. Sure she’s regurgitating cliches and lies. But she doesn’t care.  Eyes on the prize.  30-3-19 and she’s got Henry VIII and Civil Contingencies Act powers. That’s the prize, and damn the consequences.   Her Government was found in Contempt of Parliament last week and nothing changed.  Nothing happened to the Government. If you do something illegal or immoral and  there’s no consequences for you – well you’ll do it again. And again.  So why should we expect the Tories to change their behaviour now?   Everything else is smoke and mirrors.   The Irish Backstop, the fall in value of the pound, irrelevant when you’re playing a long game for the ultimate prize.

Today, Monday 10th Dec, she withdrew from holding a vote on her Withdrawal Agreement.  So what?  Delay. Obfuscate. Prevaricate. Procrastinate.  Eyes on the prize.   She simply needs to keep kicking that can down the road for another few working days.  Spend some time on pointless visits to the EU countries.  Remember, Parliament goes on holiday on the 20th December through to the 7th January. That’s at the end of next week.  Spend  this week ‘negotiating’ and there’s only one working week. before the holidays.  Crisis?  What crisis?  The Tory Government doesn’t seem to see one.   Nor does the Labour Party. Corbyn is AWOL, right at the time that the very foundations of democracy in the UK are being  shredded by a Tory Government who, it seems to me, know exactly what they’re doing.

The EU is not going to change anything about the Withdrawal Agreement – I’d bet my house on that.  So what’s Theresa May doing? Delay, obfuscate, procrastinate.  Eyes on the  prize.  Suddenly it’s January and a mere 11 weeks from Brexit.  Lie, cheat, prevaricate, procrastinate – will  still be going on.  And then we’ve run out of time and the  UK is out of the EU in the most catastrophic of ways.

If the Tories are no longer afraid of being in Contempt of Parliament – and Parliament has no sanction or  control over them, where on earth is this going to end? Right now, after last week and today’s events the catastrophe of ‘hard Brexit’ must be looking ever more likely.

Oh we can all rage and rant on twitter and facebook, and in blogs like this. But it’s bows and  arrows against the lightning (to mix metaphors).  The Tories are probably quite content that Brexit is still going to happen.  Newspapers can print what  they want.  The SNP can rage and call  her names.  Tick Tock.  Eyes on the prize.   I can’t see any way of stopping them.

Deal or No Deal?


That’s the question Noel Edmonds used to ask on his TV Gameshow.  Right now, it feels like the UK is on a gameshow just like that one. 

What kind of Deal is Theresa May pursuing?  One that is ‘frictionless’?  One that is ‘deep and special’?  One that ‘secured the place of Global Britain”?   It also depends who you ask.   is Theresa’s ‘Deal’ the same as Boris’s ‘Deal’, nd what ‘Deal’ is Jacob wanting?   Have any of them paused to think that to get a ‘Deal’, any ‘Deal’,  needs the other side/party to agree to it?    What kind of ‘Deal’ does the EU want?   Do you think they might have a view on the ‘Deal’ the UK will end up with?  



Sadly, whatever I type today will probably be wrong by tomorrow.  The changes and utter chaos which is surrounding the UK Government is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.    The Scottish Government has been consistent in it’s demands that Scotland needs to stay within the Customs Union  (at a minimum). The SG produced an analysis of the impact of multiple types of Brexit on the Scottish economy.   Predictably this was rubbished as scare-mongering by the Tories in Scotland and just ignored by the Tories in Westminster, including the Prime Minister.  But wait, then the UK Government Treasury analysis, which they had said didn’t exist, was leaked to the public.  And guess what?  It confirms pretty much exactly what the Scottish Government has been saying all along.   The impact of Brexit, of any type of ‘Deal’, will range from very bad to catastrophic for Scotland.  And it’s the same for many other parts of the UK too. Only the city of London looks like it may escape relatively unharmed.   (This puzzles me, because if the whole of the rest of the UK is contracting at the rates shown, 10%  to 16% reductions in regional economies, then it’s sure as hell going to hurt London too.)  


brexit impactAdjacent is a picture I copied from Paul Mason’s twitter feed.  It shows the HM Treasury regional impact analysis Brexit is forecast to have.  Paul Mason rightly points out that a logical explanation for the causes of the downturn in the different regions is easy to see. What could wipe 15% of the North East of England?  Easy – Nissan.     What could wipe out the NW – equally easy – BAE and in N.Ireland – Bombardier.  In the Midlands – it’s Jaguar Land Rover and Toyota.     What have all of these got in common?  They make stuff.  they rely on just-in-time deliveries as part of a pan-EU supply chain.  Brexit, of whatever ‘Deal’, will break those JIT supply chains.   Whereas the UK was a springboard to Europe post-Brexit it will not be so.  And this is before we get serious about understanding what trading under WTO rules actually means. 

To me, it looks like the Tories are returning to finish the job Thatcher started.  That is to finally destroy major manufacturing industry in the UK.  It just doesn’t look like they “get” the importance to a balanced economy of having a strong manufacturing sector.  I mean, I’m sure Germany would get along fine without Siemens, Bosch, BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, BASF, Bayer, Continental, etc etc. 

What’s galling is that I wrote some stuff about this back in July last year and we really don’t seem to have moved on very far at all since then.  (Out, out damned Brexit) 



I started this post in the land of a TV Gameshow,  I think it’s more like we’re in a land of a hit musical number ……  I wonder if Lord Lloyd Webber had our current mind-bending circumstances in mind when he wrote it…….   me, I think it’s more of a nightmare than a dream….

What can a movie teach us about why we are where we are? The Riot Club & Brexit

riot club

This is a movie I watched on TV a few nights ago.   I didn;t really plan to watch it, it was kind of on in the corner of the room. yet I found myself drawn into it, if only because it as showing something I just didn’t know existed.   It’s about a very private male drinking and hedonistic club at Oxford University.  It’s a film.  It’s fiction.  Here’s a link to it on IMDB.    

Now, there’s no clubs like The Riot Club at Oxford University are there?  Anyone who says it’s like the The Bullingdon Club is mistaken aren’t they?  Well I can’t say. I didn’t go to Oxford.   So who really knows if it’s fact or fiction?  

The Riot Club is about an exclusive club of 10 young men who have no trace of morality.  They believe money can solve everything and that is all that matters.  The clubs purpose is to eat, drink, take drugs and trash (totally) whatever restaurant has been daft enough to let them in. 

The scenes of the club members initiation rites are probably no better and no worse than many young male clubs.  But what stuck in my mind was the complete lack of morality shown by almost all the members of the club.   I’m not going to spoil it by describing scenes but there are many where the principle characters are almost unbelievable.  And yet……. this is the bit that’s got me writing this blog post.  While The Riot Club is fiction, The Bullingdon Club is fact.   And where do fact and fiction cross-over?  There’s a scene where a senior ex-member of the Riot Club, now a successful Conservative MP, is offering to guarantee the future of a young member of the Riot Club in return for that member taking the rap for something very bad which the club did.  “I’m not offering you a constituency, just a future” he says to the young man.   “The club goes on you know” .   And that’s the bit that struck home to me.  Whether the actual actions which occur in this movie are fact or fiction doesn’t matter.  It’s that the club will go on.  Every year the club is producing more ex-members.  As another line in the movie says “One day soon, these men will sit behind very powerful desks in the city. ” 

When you couple these lines form the movie with the Riot Club’s seeming integration with the Conservative Party you start to get a picture of why the UK is being driven over the cliffs to Brexitland.  Members of the Riot Club have no moral compass. They have no experience of life. They have been raised in an environment which is completely sealed off and remote from anything we know as reality.   Yet they are “the chosen ones” who are pre-destined to go on and sit behind those powerful desks.  And that’s the bit which stuck with me.   Fact or fiction?

In summary, I recommend this movie to anyone and everyone who wants to understand how we got to a situation where David Cameron, Gideon Osborne, Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (and others) are given positions of leadership when the truth is that they happened by an accident of birth to have been sent to the right drinking club.  

A personal brush with Brexit

Brexit. Here’s a story to ponder.

I’m in the lucky position of owning a couple of rare bottles of whisky. So rare are they that I thought I’d get them valued at a local whisky auction specialist. One is estimated at about £2,000 and the other at about £3,000. So I asked the auctioneer (who is also the owner of the business) what they might do in the future. “Brexit” he said. Right now, he told me, people like me are getting a good price for such whiskies because of the Brexit caused devaluation of the pound. Overseas bidders are bidding in their own currencies and the weak pound helps my whiskies values. So far, so good.

“But” he said…. If the UK does not get a wide ranging trade deal with the EU his whisky auctions business will have to work under WTO terms. Such terms for many countries round the world will impose a 50% duty in whisky. So the value of rare whiskies like mine will take a hit. He was pretty sure that the Diageo’s and Edrington’s will get a deal of some kind from the UK Government, but that the small distillers and sellers will be very badly impacted, which includes his business.

This is the first time I can say I’ve had to make a decision which is very directly influenced by Brexit. So I’ll be selling these little beauties sooner rather than later.


“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 – – 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)







Here we go, here we go, here we go,

Once more into the breech dear friends,   Ask not what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country, Never in the field of human politics have so many been betrayed so deeply by so few… (…I’ll return to this phrase)

OK so I paraphrased one of these quotes.

We’ve got a General Election happening in 7 weeks, a mere 4 weeks after the Local Authority/Council elections,  Whoop-de-f’n-do.   I’m scunnered at the games being played by Theresa May and the Tory party.  Let’s just remember that it is they – and only they – who created the whole messy environment of Brexit.  They chose to use the country as a plaything to try and fix the problems within their party.  And they are still doing it.  I guess when you are a multi-millionaire, which all members of the Tory Goverment are,  real world problems like benefit sanctions and state snooping don’t exist in the reality you live in. So you play games and the rest of country is of no consequence to you at all.
Going back to the point of this post – it’s to encourage the one or two people who read this blog to do something. To go and join a party.  But don’t just join.  Don’t just salve your conscience by bunging a tenner to the SNP (other parties are available).  Step away from the keyboard.  Go along to branch meetings, get involved.  Actions speak far louder than words.  And right now, your country needs actions.  Like never before (in my lifetime).  Help your chosen party. Deliver leaflets, take your turn on street stalls, write to newspapers, hell, even go on protest marches  (I’m about to do that for the first time in my life…)

I’ve always been a supporter of Scottish independence, so it’s natural that I should be a long time members of  the SNP isn’t it?  Well I’m not.  I joined the SNP the day Jo Cox MP was murdered.  Something, for me, changed that day.  A family lost it’s mum, a husband lost his wife, because of what she believed in and the job she was doing.   So I joined the SNP on Thursday 16th June 2016.   I joined the SNP because no other party is likely to be able to deliver the goal I fundamentally believe in – that Scotland can easily be a successful, fair and just independent state. Something about her being murdered made me believe it was time to stand up and be counted and be active.  Once independence is achieved, then <shrugs> I’ll look around at the parties in the newly restored independent Scotland and join one of them. Or perhaps not join any.   I don’t think the SNP are perfect. Far from it.  In Nicola Sturgeon they’ve got possibly the best politician on this island, but this party ain’t perfect.  Not yet……… But they’ve got the same goal running through them as I think is the only way to make the country I want to be living in.  I’m too old to emigrate to Canada.
Let’s not kid ourselves. Yesterday’s roll of the dice by Theresa May was the opening move in her latest grand game.  She doesn’t remotely care that she’s now doing something she promised not to do, that she’s, in effect, tearing up laws her party made. That there’s a valid degree of suspicion that she’s running away from potential criminal charges being placed against her party.   Nope, none of these matter.   She doesn’t care about “Now is not the time”.   It’s a game, and th eonly objective is power. Purely that. My bet is that she’ll be gone and the Tories will have another leader within 12 months.  Jacob Rees-Mogg?   Just remember you read it here first….

So my feeling is that The Battle For Britain is on NOW.  The result of the General Election in 7 weeks is going to shape the country for the next 10 years,  probably far longer. the future of the NHS, of Education, of environmental regulations of human rights will be decided in the next 7 weeks.

So if you care at all about the country you live in, about the country your children are growing up in, your grandchildren are going to grow up in, get up off your chair and get involved.  For me that means I have to do as much as I can to support the SNP.  Your decisions may be different.

It used to be said that polite conversation should avoid politics, religion and sport. That was then, this is now.  The most important change we could all make is to be openly talking about politics. It’s far too important to be not discussed.

The Battle For Britain is on NOW.  What are you going to tell future generations you did during these short seven weeks?

Here’s a handy link   🙂


I’m feeling gobsmacked and more than a bit surprised.  I didn’t see the snap election coming.  Once again we have the Tory party putting the good of their party before the country.  How many times did Theresa May say she would not call a snap election?  And what was it she said about the Scottish Parliament’s democratic request for #scotref?  “Now is no the time”.  Well if we don’t know enough about Brexit’s implications now to hold a #scotref, we sure as hell don’t know enough to hold a General Election.  I have never in my life seen a political party behaving with such casual disregard for the people in the country.  It’s dystopian. It’s Orwellian.  It’s just downright depressing.

Electoral Fraud.  Let’s not forget about it. The Tories were given the largest fine possible by the Electoral Commision. They were found guilty of breaking the rules.  There are 20+ cases still with the Crown Prosecution Service. And yet they are getting away with it.  The evidence is compelling that they acted fraudulently and now they’re going to do it all again. Wonderful.

Brexit.  That’s what this is all about. The Tories have to get their electoral win secured before the really bad news of how catastrophic Brexit will be hits the general public. There’s been a drip, drip drip of bans and financial services companies relocating functions and departments to within the EU.  When this drip turns into a flood then the economy of the UK is in deep, deep, trouble.   Only a starry eyed optimist would think otherwise.  Will it run into a flood?  Some commentators think so.  The Tories are may be many despicable things but they are not stupid.  They see the writing on the wall and are desperate to secure their power before the rest of the population reads it and blames them.

So where do I stand on this?  This is Scotland versus the Tories. We can all be certain the Tories will win in England.  They will once again be fraudulent (why not? it won them the last election and no-one went to jail) and Labour are not fit-for-purpose as an opposition party.  So the Tories will waltz home.  In England.

Scotland is a different matter altogether.  As is Northern Ireland.   In Scotland the unionist politicians could be made extinct. It will be a tough fight though as we can expect Trump-sized lies and chicanery in the media for the next 8 weeks.  (yes – that includes the BBC, particularly BBC Scotland).  Northern Ireland is going to be a problem for the Tories too as the Unionist parties will surely be rejected there.  So quo vadis the *United* Kingdom?   Do the Tories even care?    I’m not sure if they do.  I can’t remember as i type this if “The Great Repeal” Bill has been passed by parliament yet.  If it has, this isn’t about a General Election is a coup d’etat.  The Great Repeal Bill (oh was anything so badly and tragically misnamed) hands decision making on almost every aspect of EU law as it is brought into UK law to the Goverment.  Read that again.  The Goverment will decide what of 40+years of laws will be applicable in the UK. Parliament won’t be doing this.  The Tory Government will. Still thinking the UK has a functioning democracy?


So,  Scotland.  As one very famous Tory leader said “There is no alternative”.   She was right. But just a bit out of context.



The Art of War….

Sun Tzu’s writing on the way a war and battles should be fought and campaigned are still used as example of how to do things logically to improve the likelihood of reaching a successful conclusion. suntzu


If you’re involved in planning for anything you’d normally think about what the best case and what the worst case could be. Then you’d expect a result that was somewhere in the middle. That’s just common sense. If you’re planning to hold a car boot sale you’d probably think about what would happen if it’s a nice day and what would happen if it’s raining.  It’s called scenario planning  in the buzzword-bingo business land.  And everyone does it.  Everyone. Always.  Then they do “What-Ifs”.  What if this happens?  What if that happens?  What if this+that happens?   So you plan.  The bigger the event the more you plan.  That’s really what Sun Tzu was teaching all these centuries ago.  The art of planning.

Unless you’re the multimillionaires in the UK Government. Then, you don’t plan. You don’t think about the best case or the worst case.  You just spout vapid empty slogans and soundbites. You don’t even think that establishing the baseline case for Brexit by actually planning the impact of “NoDeal” would be a good idea.  Good heavens. Why would you do that?  The only rational I can come up with for the calamitous failure by the UK Government is because no matter what they do, it has zero consequences for them personally.  And that’s not good news for the rest of us.

How about this for the UK Goverment – You plan because it is only when you know just how bad the worst case scenario is that you can even vaguely know if you’ve negotiated something better?  Sound like a good idea? It does to me.  But not to MayDavisFoxJohstone.

I don’t recall a UK Government ever being so utterly incompetent.  Margaret Thatcher was bad news for many but we all knew what she was doing.  Tony Blair was a wide boy on the make (and he started the rot of Government by Daily Mail headline) but we knew what he was doing.  This lot, particularly Theresa May, are clueless.

As Winston might have said……  “Never in field of human democracy, have so many been so screwed by so few”  

Until we can persuade parliament to allow us, the electorate and the people they are supposed to represent, to have the right to recall MPs whom we are not satisfied with, probably the only thing we can all do now is to write to our MPs telling them in no uncertain terms that the performance of the UK Goverment is not good enough.  Use  to get the email address of your MP.

Location, Location Location….

There’s even a TV series of the same name.  It’s a good bit of light entertainment as people are hunting for their ideal homes aided by two professional (at least in TV terms) house experts.   But, let’s look at this from above, take a high-flying helicopter view.  Seen from above,  what is it about the location of our home that matters?   Proximity to transport, to shops, to jobs, to leisure facilities, to schools, broadband connectivity. Yes, these all matter to varying degrees, but there’s surely something more that matters too. Something that’s not measured by Zoopla. Something bigger.

How about having a home in a location which has some privacy?  On the LLL TV show homes which aren’t overlooked are apparently more desirable and sought after.  Yet, it doesn’t matter where your ideal location is in the UK now as the Government has legally abolished your privacy.  The Investigatory Powers Bill gives the Government not just the right to spy on your every movement and message but also requires that all this information about you is stored for 12 month periods of time. (See the bottom of this post for a list of the Government Agencies which can now legally, without asking your permission, access all your electronic information).  Do remember that the Alexa over there in the corner is always listening, otherwise how would it know to waken up on hearing the key word being spoken?   If you were asked to relocate to China or to North Korea, you’d know what to expect in the way of Government run surveillance and spying.  Yet this is exactly what is now happening on every High Street and Acacia Avenue in Britain.  The Government is storing every word you type, every call you make and a record of everything you look at.  Isn’t that something you should be concerned about when choosing your location?   That our ideal Location, Location, Location (wherever it is) now comes with intrusive state surveillance?  Did you choose that?

Maybe another factor in our ideal Location, Location, Location is the access to Healthcare. Hopefully it’s not something we plan to need or use frequently, but it’s something that’s nice to know it’s there and we can easily access it and be loked after at times of illness t accidents.  How’s that going in most Locations, Locations, Locations these days?  What’s happening to the NHS around your ideal location?

So when you’re thinking about the Location, Location, Location of your home maybe you should be thinking about more than Zoopla.  Maybe you should value a home in a location where the Government isn’t doing things which will make your life harder.   Where a Government is doing all it can to make life fair, to make opportunities available to everyone.  Where the Government is trying to be just (even with one had tied behind it’s back).  I wonder where in the United Kingdom such a Location, Location Location could be?

We’ll get a chance soon enough to decide on what’s really important in our ideal location. I wonder what Zoopla will say?



Here’s a full list of agencies that can now ask for UK citizens’ browsing history  (and actually a whole lot more) , which is laid out in Schedule 4 of the Bill and was collected by Chris Yiu, is below:

  • Metropolitan Police Service
  • City of London Police
  • Police forces maintained under section 2 of the Police Act 1996
  • Police Service of Scotland
  • Police Service of Northern Ireland
  • British Transport Police
  • Ministry of Defence Police
  • Royal Navy Police
  • Royal Military Police
  • Royal Air Force Police
  • Security Service
  • Secret Intelligence Service
  • GCHQ
  • Ministry of Defence
  • Department of Health
  • Home Office
  • Ministry of Justice
  • National Crime Agency
  • HM Revenue & Customs
  • Department for Transport
  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • NHS trusts and foundation trusts in England that provide ambulance services
  • Common Services Agency for the Scottish Health Service
  • Competition and Markets Authority
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission
  • Department for Communities in Northern Ireland
  • Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland
  • Department of Justice in Northern Ireland
  • Financial Conduct Authority
  • Fire and rescue authorities under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004
  • Food Standards Agency
  • Food Standards Scotland
  • Gambling Commission
  • Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Independent Police Complaints Commissioner
  • Information Commissioner
  • NHS Business Services Authority
  • Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Health and Social Care Trust
  • Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Board
  • Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Regional Business Services Organisation
  • Office of Communications
  • Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland
  • Police Investigations and Review Commissioner
  • Scottish Ambulance Service Board
  • Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
  • Serious Fraud Office
  • Welsh Ambulance Services National Health Service Trust







Sometimes it’s the little things……

broken-rings…… that make all the difference in the world.   I’ve no idea what the main reasons for people getting divorced are, but I’m willing to bet it’s usually because of a lot of little things all piling up until it beceoms intolerable.

For Scotland, that seems to be what’s happening.  Over the past few weeks there have been many little things happening.  None of which, in isolation would cause a divorce.  And yet……when the cumulative effect of all the little slights, and all the snide comments and put downs are added together they begin to make you wonder about staying in a union.

Here’s a few of the little things

  • Speaker John Bercow’s (quite excellent) speech on Trump being shown on BBC Newsnight – with a backing track of “Jerusalem”.
  • Joanna Cherry QC MP being told to sit down and be quiet in the House of Commons during a debate on the Develoved Nations and Brexit.  (Tommy Shepperd has written about this, see below this post)  This, despite her talking for a scant 3 minutes when many Tories had been permitted to speak for 20 minutes or 30 minutes.  As for the behaviour of the Tories……
  • The Brexit White Paper being devoid of any factual content in relation to Scotland.  There’s an excellent review of it here.
  • The mis-use (abuse?) of statistics by Ruth Davidson MSP with no challenges or questions being raised from the Scottish Media.
  • David Mundell’s waffle and obfuscation and complete denial of having been elected to represent people in Dumfriesshire when he clearly believes his job is not to represent his constituents, but to represent his Party and it’s dictats from London
  • Theresa May ignoring the Paper on Brexit, which contains many compromises,  presented by the Scottish Goverment.


So when the dust settles, the Scottish people, being well balanced will be left to wonder what exactly is going on.   All little things on their own.  Collectively though they seem far larger.






Here’s Tommy Sheppard MP’s post on Facebook. 

So not everyone spends their evenings watching Parliament TV – and who can blame you. It’s often not the most exciting watch. But I do think it’s important that folk know what happened last night. Even after some kip, I’m still pretty angry.

We have 3 days to debate around 100 motions on the Brexit bill. Yesterday we focused on 2 elements – the rights of EU citizens and the role of devolved administrations. It works out at about an average of four minutes to debate each amendment.

In one of the many bizarre aspects of debate here no time limit is placed on speeches during committee stage debates. When that is combined with the informal gentleman’s club hierarchy whereby the longer serving get priority, it means it’s very hard for new MPs to get a word in edgeways.

In 8 hours of debate, only 4 MPs representing Scottish constituencies got to speak. In the 3 hour debate on the devolved administrations we had 1 MP representing Wales, 1 Northern Ireland and 2 Scotland.

One Tory MP spoke for longer than all members from Scotland combined – on a debate about the role of the Scottish Parliament in Brexit.

Our second was my colleague Joanna Cherry QC. After 2 minutes (when many others had spoken for around 20 mins each – including a Tory who attempted to filibuster and had already had 20mins+ in the first debate) the Deputy Speaker said he expected her to finish up, that he had been kind enough to let the SNP speak and she should not abuse it.

Joanna made the point that she should be heard and carried on. She was basically told to sit down – she was done. Alex Salmond raised a point of order and a number of the group walked out in disgust. It wasn’t pretty.

You elected me to represent you. To do that I need to be able to speak.

Last night the voices of the people of Scotland were not heard. We were silenced by the mother of parliaments not being fit for purpose.

It shouldn’t be this difficult.

The fact that the debate was delayed by points of order on the clerks wearing wigs (some Tories were upset that Bercow had ruled that they no longer need to) shows just where we are at.

I’m proud to represent Edinburgh East and I will continue to fight for my constituents with all I have. But sometimes you do wonder…