Friday, 29 November 2013

The SNP are desperate ...

... for a debate ...


... between Cameron and Salmond, but Cameron knows that if he put a toe into the referendum pond the SNP would probably get a swing to independence, as Cameron said, the referendum is between the Scots;  the currency and EU will sink Salmond, unless he gets Cameron on camera ..... poor fools!






Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Consider the [Scotish] question ...

... found at para 483, page 535 of Scotland's White Paper on Independence.

Question.
Will we have the power to reduce VAT on repair and maintenance work to dwellings in an independent Scotland?
Independence will enable the Scottish Parliament to explore a reduction in VAT on repairs and maintenance work to homes as part of wider taxation priorities.
Powers over VAT, currently exercised by the Westminster Government, will transfer to the Scottish Parliament as a result of independence. The tax system in place immediately before independence will be inherited at that time. Thereafter decisions on the tax system and all specific taxes – including tax rates, allowances and credits for VAT and other taxes – will be made by the parliament and government of an independent Scotland.
The answer from Salmon and chums is Yes-No, we can but we cannot, we might but might not ...

The White Paper is a gift to the "Better Together" campaign, do they realise it ?

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Pork barrel independence with ...

... the SNP.
... higher pensions

... better childcare

... roll-back housing reforms
 
... pay less tax

... who will say no, how can you argue against the lip smacking list ?

BBC link.

Nothing tangible about currency, just the old chestnut that it will be better for the continuing UK to remain Scotland's lender of the last resort, I'm not sure if middle Britain will be carried along with this argument. I think it best let Salmond and Sturgeon burble on whilst we get next years street party ready ......... Salmon has won the argument with the little people with little more than pocket money.

There is a soft belly in the Independence argument, the isles [Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland] would like to be devolved away from Edinburgh, will Westminster be able to counter Salmond with Scotland's Viking heritage, could the Secretary of State for Scotland counter Salmond with the Isles ?

There is one aspect of today's white paper that I find nauseating,  Sturgeon said today the SNP government of Scotland hadn't introduced an improved childcare because the British Treasury would have benefited through greater tax take, when I heard her words she confirmed my feelings that politics is rarely about what will benefit the little people, its about what benefits politics.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Salmond's threat ....


.... reported in The Times

A threat by Alex Salmond yesterday that an independent Scotland could walk away from its multi-billion pound share of UK debt if Westminster refused to let it use sterling, has been rejected by one of  Britain’s leading economists.

The First Minister yesterday issued an ultimatum that a separate Scotland would refuse to accept its liabilities if London ruled out sharing the Bank of England and entering a sterling zone with Edinburgh. He insisted such a move would not be tantamount to defaulting on debt.

Salmond’s threat to walk away from national debt | The Times

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/scotland/article3771533.ece

I wonder how the electorate of the "continuing UK" would feel about Salmond's threat, might it be best to end the union with Scotland today ?

Culture, what culture?

The week past included an interesting radio show where Jason Mohammad asked the question "what is culture in Wales"

I think the question could have been set slightly different by asking the question :
What is culture ?
Wiki gives a good toe in the water idea with :
Culture is a modern concept based on a term first used in classical antiquity by the Roman orator Cicero:
"cultura animi", cultivation of the soul.
My first reaction to the question was a text to the radio show, the last to be read, it said:
Culture is today, every part of our daily life it is the rise and fall of songs, literature and language, yesterday is history.
I seem to be at odds with current thoughts ....

Cicero, I believe, would have agreed with Hoebel who described culture as having two distinct parts, the physical artefacts, material culture, and everything else, those intangibles such as language and customs.  My guess is that Jason Mohammad, and all those that spoke on the show, consider culture to be restricted to those intangibles, and in Wales it seems that the minority language, that is under threat from extinction, is considered of greater importance than all else on the cultural agenda.

Architecture, including design, choice of material and spacial impact would be considered material culture, separated from the other side of the cultural coin, the intangibles.

This simple example demonstrates the weakness of the traditional description of culture, how do we separate the material from the intangible when language develops as a response to our material world, if the intangible is inextricably linked to our material world, then our current use of culture as a reference to support political ideas is fundamentally flawed because it is partial, it is incomplete.

Going back to Cicero, are we cultivating our soul by failing to embrace the material culture that is today's culture, do we need to consign much of culture to history and embrace today and tomorrow as our true culture.

In Wales "The Mabinogion" would become a curiosity of cultural literature, does "Dylan Thomas" affect our perception of culture in the 21st century, and finally as a point for further consideration, the 2013 "Cardiff International Poetry Competition", link here .....
First Prize, Geoff Lajbrok from Cambridge
for his poem The Goose in the Suitcase

Second Prize, Rosemary Shepperd  from London
for her poem My Milkman comes from Sarajevo and has beautiful hands

Third Prize, Valerie Laws  from Northumbria
for her poem Hitting the Road with Frida Kahlo

Five equal runners-up
Penny Ayers  from Cheltenham
- Charity Novick from Cambridge
Pascale Petit  from London
- Judith Taylor from Aberdeen
- Anna Wigley from Cardiff
Is our culture "of Wales" or might it be "of everywhere" .......

Friday, 22 November 2013

... thinking of poverty.

David Cornock's blog had an interesting comment today,

Comment No. 45. by  paul80"Poorer parts of the UK should receive more funding. Makes sense. The UK is a sinlge country after all."

I don't think he is right, "why should a poor part of any country receive government funds because it is poorer than other areas ? "

Two questions, both linked, spring to mind, "who would receive the funding, and, who would decide how it would be used ? "

If, for example, it can be demonstrated that an area has such poor literacy that its inhabitants are unable to attract good, well paid, employment, then government might address educational needs of the area.

If, for example, health issues can be linked to poor sanitation, then government can intervene, much like London of the 19th century.

With this in mind, should Westminster fund various regions of the UK as it does, should Scotland receive more per head than Wales, should Wales receive more per head than the East of England, per head ?

I don't think so, funding should be equal across the UK as a whole, based upon population, but a new approach to funding societies deficiencies wherever they are found.


We fiddle whilst Varteg ...

... becomes Farteg !

What point changing the "V" for "F", the answer is of course there is no "F" in the welsh language, but in Wales we have two languages, English and Welsh where above 80% of people speak only English.

The story was reported hereand here.

Myself, I think the village might change its name ....... to "Meri's Folly" or "Foggy Bottom", but seriously how a place is named should be the choice of the residents, and there should only be one name  !


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

... free lunch ?




Cash drain

Begining to back peddle.

I'm not wrong, but

Do our politicians ever sit down and think things through ?

When they ask us to approve Income Tax powers we might ask the question..

"are they are up to it" .... because we all know the piper has to be paid eventually, there's no such thing as a Free Lunch, unless you might be an education minister !


Monday, 18 November 2013

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Trump card or will democracy ...

... have its way?

Will Donald Trump be able to subvert the wishes of Scotland's democratically elected administration, will he be able to divert the plans to generate enough electricity to power 68,000 UK households each year; or will he demonstrate to the Scottish people that it doesn't matter who has political power, it is the power that wealth brings that determines how the world spins.

Donald Trump challenge to Aberdeenshire wind farm to begin

Lang Banks says .... "It would be a great pity if Donald Trump was in any way responsible for frustrating Scotland's ambition to generate clean power and green jobs."

I say ... remember the bankers who brought about the most recent economic depression, remember the power companies that treat the little people as milch cows.

Democracy should show Trump the door to Scotland ... but I wonder, how will democracy sit with the lawyers at Scotland's supreme civil court today.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent ...

wrote Calum when he left a comment at Gerry Hassan .

Hassan is of course talking down Westminster to talk up Holyrood. 

Everything bad that has dropped into Scotland is of course the responsibility of Westminster, whilst everything that is good is conveniently ignored, well that's the preferred option of the separatist agenda in Scotland, a similar programme of attrition is a constant state in Wales, our First Minister must cry into his cocoa at night trying to juggle his loyalty to both the Welsh Assembly and Westminster, because for sure, Westminster has been at the birthing of many good attempts to level society.  The scorn Hassan throws at Westminster is equal to the scorn thrown by those opposed to separation, and the upshot is, both campaigns are in fact negative despite attempts by the SNP to project a brave new world that would surely follow separation.

There should be no doubt that Scotland could separate, and, from day one, function as a new state; at a domestic level pensions would be paid, people would continue to work and pay taxes, oil revenue would underpin a proportion of government spending, just as it does today. 

Internationally there is no certainty, no guarantee the early entry to the EU would happen, no automatic invitation to join NATO, in fact it is only politicians that wish to belong to such clubs, for sure, they are political clubs for political animals, the reality is it wouldn't matter, not on day one, not for many years, so discourse on international matters are blue smoke and mirrors, to what end only the SNP and the separatist agenda understands.

So if everything functions domestically, what will change for the little people, the people with little influence except maybe on polling day ?

Alex Salmond speaks of taking decisions for Scotland in Scotland by people who only consider Scottish issues (international and domestic), a clever tack for a stumbling campaign, but will the outcomes be any different.

Nothing will change, real decisions will be taken by people beyond the reach of Holyrood; do the cogs of Holyrood know exactly who the decision makers effecting Scotland are? When Scotland votes next year, many people will hope for a "yes" result, myself included, because a "no" vote will be nothing but a postponement for a future separation.

In the grand scheme of things ...
Two individuals may both believe that many of those around them are poor and deserve help, but this knowledge may lead only one of them to decide to actually help the poor (Kierkegaard). 
 ... in the world today politics has created the "deserving poor" and the "undeserving poor", next September nothing will change, except a yes vote will empower Scottish politicians to decide who are deserving poor (or otherwise) in Scotland.

How deeply unfit politicians are – as a class of people – to have ...

... any role in press regulation.

Grant Shapps, Iain Duncan Smith and David Cameron line up against the very foundations of modern democracy.
Grant Shapps' appalling threat to the BBC this weekend shows what happens when barren intellects find themselves with some degree of control over a free media. He effectively threatened to take away its rights to the licence fee unless it provide more favourable coverage of the go vernment's policy programme.

Iain Duncan Smith, whose bullying tactics include demands for control over the words the BBC uses in news reports.

David Cameron, who has hitherto been commendably restrained and pensive in this debate, threatened to force the Guardian to stop publishing stories about the gross violations of privacy committed by our security services.  (politics.co.uk)
In Wales Andrew RT Davies (Conservative) said the BBC has a "near monopoly" on reporting devolution and should be scrutinised by Welsh politicians.

Plaid AM for South Wales West, has said "I think we need to have more control over our media here in Wales adding she believed in devolved broadcasting."

... so the feelings of Westminster Conservatives are reflected by Conservatism in Wales and Plaid Cymru, what about Carwyn Jones ...

... he has said "
"We must ensure that the BBC gives the people of Wales the service that they should receive in order to ensure that they know what goes on in their own country"
So whether its the press or broadcasting, our politicians are not comfortable without control of information that might be political or information that might be critical of political activities, Carwyn is as usual ambiguous, or at least fence sitting, I wonder if he has (or his familiars) ever contacted BBC Wales to hide criticism; a bit of a quiet man is Carwyn, my guess is he is uncomfortable with democracy as Grant Shapps, Iain Duncan Smith and David Cameron.

Dissent needs a platform much like the Institute of Welsh Affairs.