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The conjurer’s assistants

Posted on November 26, 2015 by

Yesterday George Osborne treated us to an Autumn Statement in which he performed one of the most remarkable political U-turns in living memory.

The apparent need to cut £12bn from the welfare budget has long been sign-posted by the Tories as a requirement to getting us “back in the black” and on the road to a “higher wage, lower welfare, lower tax” society as part of their oft-cited “long-term economic plan”. (Or what academic economists prefer to call a risky experiment with the economy in order to score political points.)

Alert readers will recall David Cameron saying before the general election that child tax credits wouldn’t be cut in pursuit of that goal. But after the election, Osborne decided that they would. The Institute for Fiscal Studies determined that these cuts would have the worst effects on some of the poorest families in Britain.

p1

Despite widespread opposition to the cuts, Labour infamously abstained on the critical vote in the Commons. Then, when the welfare bill reached the Lords, Labour once again abstained on a Lib Dem motion that would have completely killed the bill, in favour of a Labour one which phased in the cuts over three years, but meant Osborne would have to find another £4.5bn in his budget.

The passing of the Labour motion enraged Cameron so much that he went on an extraordinary rant about a “constitutional crisis” and announced a “rapid review”.

So we were somewhat surprised to hear Osborne say yesterday that the best thing to do was “not to phase these changes in, but to avoid them altogether”.

As widely reported in the media yesterday and this morning, the grease that enabled the Chancellor to pull off this handbrake turn is a set of updated figures from the Office of Budget Responsibility who, after rummaging down the back of the sofa, have come up with new equations which magically conjure up an extra £27bn of funds over the next five years.

p2

We were mildly sceptical about that. So while Labour undertook an orgy of self-delusional spin that It Was Us Wot Won It, we thought we’d see if we could find out exactly where this £27bn has materialised from.

First of all, it’s worth revisiting what the OBR is and what it does. Readers will recall from our recent article on the limitations of GERS that the OBR was initially set up by George Osborne as a Tory think-tank, and subsequently instituted as a ‘non-departmental public body’ when the Tories and Lib Dems took coalition office in 2010. It currently has 24 staff and an annual budget of £2m.

The OBR’s stated purpose is to take economic forecasting out of the hands of the government and thus free it from nefarious political influence. Using current economic data, impact estimates of tax-policy changes, interest rates, bond-market trends, and the current expenditure plan, the OBR produces forecasts of how much the government might reasonably expect to have at its disposal over the next five years.

It’s the OBR’s job to scrutinise the government’s plans using their best scrying techniques and tell us whether the Treasury has got its sums right. It’s essentially the Met Office for taxation, except with rather less accuracy.

Cynical observers might question just how independent the OBR is considering it was set up by George Osborne and its chairman Robert Chote was nominated in 2010 by George Osborne (and just recently re-nominated for the post again by – you guessed it – George Osborne). Just two months ago, Chote was hauled in front of the Treasury Select Committee after the Times published an article based on a FOI request which revealed that the OBR had changed the “phrasing” of no fewer than 11 points in one report at the Treasury’s behest.

(Chote denied any pressure from the Treasury, saying the interference had been “at a working level” from a “junior” official. Readers may recall hearing hearing that one somewhere before.)

On the Budget Responsibility Committee is Graham Parker CBE, who according to his OBR bio spent “13 years providing analysis, forecasts and policy costings for the Inland Revenue and nine years as head of the Public Sector Finances team in the Treasury”.

Also present on the OBR’s Oversight Board is Lord Burns, who was Chief Economic Advisor to the Treasury for 11 years, and then Permanent Secretary of the Treasury for seven years. Hmmm, we’re starting to see a pattern here.

The OBR now says that due to improvements in how it forecasts tax revenues, better-than-expected overall economic performance, the Bank of England hanging on to its government debt for the time being, and a belief that interest rates won’t go up until at least 2017, the government can expect an overall windfall of varying degrees between now and 2021 totalling £27bn.

The folks over at The Resolution Foundation, a non-partisan think tank dedicated to improving the living standard of those on low and middle incomes, made a graph depicting the split between the fiscal windfall and modelling changes in the OBR’s report.

p3

Two-thirds of the Chancellor’s handy new money is identified through modelling changes (ie “improved forecasting”). Which rather invites the question of how accurate the forecasting was before.

Helpfully, the OBR undertakes a Forecast Evaluation Report (FER) every year to tell us just how good their crystal balls are. Here’s a portion of the executive summary (those of you with a nervous financial disposition might be advised to hide behind the sofa for a moment):

obr60

So basically their 2010 forecast was over-optimistic to the tune of £60bn – more than twice the “windfall” they’re predicting for the next period of the same length.

Are those alarm bells we hear?

We’ve been through all 246 pages of the OBR report, and to our largely untrained eyes it does all look fair enough – if somewhat convenient that many of the procedural revisions actually come from the Treasury itself. So we thought we better get a more expert opinion, and happily the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ director Paul Johnson provided one this morning:

“IFS director Paul Johnson warned it was not certain the tax receipts would materialise. 

Mr Johnson said the Chancellor had been ‘quite lucky’ but added ‘the public finance forecasts were not desperately rosy relative to where they were in July’ at the time of the Budget and the revisions were ‘easily within the margins of error’.

He told the BBC: ‘The risk for him, and this must be at least a 50-50 risk, is that the next time round, or the time after, or the time after, these tax revenue forecasts will look less rosy.’

If that happened, the Chancellor would be forced to either cut spending or raise taxes in order to meet his target of bringing the public finances back into surplus.”

There might be £27bn. On the other hand, there might not.

Cautious readers might feel that they’d like their budgets to be based on somewhat better odds than the toss of a coin. And bear in mind that those 50/50 odds are in each financial year between now and 2020. Fall on the wrong side of those odds and Osborne’s sums are looking decidedly sketchy.

(But that’s okay, because he’s keeping back £10bn of the £27bn that he hasn’t actually got yet as a surplus, and therefore that can be used as a contingency. Which is fine as long as the coin doesn’t land tails up for the next couple of years, in which case the Chancellor will have to call Kezia Dugdale to magic up some invisible money out of nowhere by NOT cutting income tax to 2% or something.)

Still, the good news is that at least the tax credits cuts are gone. Aren’t they?

Buried in the fine print are sleight-of-hand changes to Universal Credit which impose similarly-scaled cuts as UC replaces tax credits entirely over the next few years. The upshot, again according to the Resolution Foundation, is that low-income working families will be up to £1,300 worse off.

p4

Especially observant readers will notice that the impact is almost identical to the original IFS study of the tax credits cuts reproduced at the top of the page, except pushed back by a year.

So, while everyone was distracted by the giant rabbit the OBR had pulled out of its hat, Osborne has really just moved the cuts into a different piece of legislation and given Cameron a year to make good on his threat to stuff the Lords full of new Tory peers to make sure nobody interferes with the government’s plans again.

(While also cutting the funding of opposition parties by millions of pounds to make life a little harder for them if they fancy trying to throw any more spanners into his works.)

It’s not exactly magic. But it does look a lot like a trick.

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      The conjurer's assistants | Politics Scotland |...

    154 to “The conjurer’s assistants”

    1. jimnarlene says:

      “It’s not exactly magic. But it does look a lot like a trick.”

      More of a con, methinks.

    2. Mark says:

      Even he OBR’s official report says that the range of possibilities for the state of the UK’s public finances over the next few years are such that there’s a 50% chance the £27 billion won’t materialise.

    3. Colin Church says:

      Excellent work Lindsay, as ever.
      Of course a nano second of actual scrutiny in the mainstream here before moving onto what are the SNP going to do to fix everything now that oil has crashed.
      With no leeway or forecasting tricks it is Swinney that has been the real magician whilst Osborne free to write IOUs to himself.

    4. Thepnr says:

      The OBR are a £2m waste of space, their guesstimates are purely political and always appear to be in the favour of Tory policies.

      Judging by their latest crystal ball gazing forecasts that allow Osborne to do a complete reversal on the proposed tax credit cuts made in July. What will the forecasts be in another four months time.

      Is the Treasury Department just a front for the Ministry of Truth?

      In less than 5 years time Osborne may just be UK Prime Minister!

    5. Ld Elon says:

      on his threat to stuff the Lords full of new Tory peers to make sure nobody interferes with the ‘tory'(elitist) plans again.

    6. Muscleguy says:

      Osborne thinks everyone’s head buttons up at the back. As you say with a proper scrutinising media this would not last a week.

    7. Bill Fraser says:

      A very welcome U-turn by the draconian Tory government especially for those who are so dependent on the credits ,though why the poorest should be asked to foot the bill whilst the overpaid M.P.’s reward themselves with obscene increases and privileges escapes me.

    8. heedtracker says:

      Osborne’s austerity has failed, yet he faces little if any opposition. Its all an appalling indictment of two factors, UK hard core tory media led BBC bias and lack of effective red tory opposition.

      At the very least, BBC vote SLab Scotland should ask Ian Murray MP why he abstained, but there’s not a chance in hell of that ever happening.

    9. mogabee says:

      Great analysis Lindsay, I think we should keep you! 😀

      My local council “leader” does the same as GO, puts up an unfair and drastic cut to a budget and then, with everyone getting upset and irate, announces the “cut” will be rescinded.

      They believe we all zip up the back, but you can only do that once or twice or folk notice and become wary…

    10. bobajock says:

      Makes me glad to have WoS, but sad to see nothing of this kind of analysis in the mainstream media.

      The media are in effect 90% useless. What more can I say – the 10% are those not owned by the right wing barons/media empires?

    11. Lollysmum says:

      Lindsay
      Very good article but one small point-your archived link at:

      “extraordinary rant about a “constitutional crisis” and announced a “rapid review” ”

      won’t load-sorry to be bearer of bad news 🙁

    12. Graham MacLure says:

      The UK economy is jist fair runted ,aw the gowds awa lang syne an wee Geordie’s left chavin awa seekin tae mak dog shite intae candyfloss. Amadan na bochdainn
      Hell mend them.

    13. David McDowell says:

      heedtracker at 6:02pm

      Most people are sensible enough to be wary of politicians but the problem is politicians know the public have no real power over them, whether people are wary of them or not.

      I am waiting for the Carmichael result. If politicians can smear opponents then lie about it and walk away without a scratch then then I’m out. I won’t be voting for any of them again. There would be absolutely no point.

    14. David McDowell says:

      Sorry, I meant mogabee at 6:09pm

      Most people are sensible enough to be wary of politicians but the problem is politicians know the public have no real power over them, whether people are wary of them or not.

      I am waiting for the Carmichael result. If politicians can smear opponents then lie about it and walk away without a scratch then I’m out. I won’t be voting for any of them again. There would be absolutely no point.

    15. Lollysmum says:

      Lindsay
      Re my earlier post it might actually be a problem with archive.is as the last two archived links aren’t working either. Just get Loading on the screen but doesn’t load.

    16. Auld Rock says:

      Osborne called his figures as adjustments – I prefer to use the more accepted interpretation – not adjustments but “FIDDLES” As for OBR, Osborne calls it the ‘Office for Budget Responsibility’, I prefer ‘Office for BOLLOCKS and RUBBISH’. When did the OBR ever get their forecasts right? Answer – NEVER!!!!

      Auld Rock

    17. James Barr Gardner says:

      Osborne’s con trick is a bit like the pea and the three cups, now you see it now you don’t, ha, ha, we all know that one and so do most folk in Scotland.

      But, believe this Gideon will have his pound of flesh, time is on his side, we must go for independence forget about the devolution minus crap we are all being fed. Austerity over for the masses my erse meantime the wastemonster elite are about to double their hoards, must be the biggest con trick in history, aye and carried out by war crime criminals, murderers, rapists,paedophiles,fraudsters, thieves, not forgetting north british tractors.

      Glasgow airport to get tram link to Glasgow city centre thanks to the toalies given us our own cash back to pay for it! Thanks to red toalies who handed back 1.5 billion unspent pocket money and those years in office to do good works for Scotland. All lost.

      Frank McVeety has totally lost the plot, “Glesgae folk remember the trams! For fecks sake I’am pensioner and I don’t remember them, cannot wait for him to say he used sniff glue, what an erse, a pure embarassement to Glasgow and Scotland. Frank spelled with a W, your tea is out, the folk of Glasgow are already getting the rail,tar and feathers.

    18. heedtracker says:

      I won’t be voting for any of them again. There would be absolutely no point.

      Its all designed to soul suck the political life out of Scotland, as in

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-34934781

      BBC vote SLab Scotland’s only logical way to democratic greatness, is to be honest and field their own BBC Scotland party candidates. They clearly think they can bring down SNP government and they all despise everything about Scottish democracy. They could get elected and do what they really want to do all along, close down Holyrood for good.

      Howsabout, BBC Scotland Party’s First Minster jackie Bird, Finance Minister Doug Fraser, Minister for health Eleanor Bradford, future Sir Gordon Brewer could hold a number of posts, he’s so clever, Brian Taylor’s a shoe in for sport and so on.

    19. Iain More says:

      More statistical jiggery pokery from the supposedly Independent OBR.

      I find myself agreeing with Auld Rock – it is truly the Office for Bollocks and Rubbish.

      I think I will be awa and write a few IOUs to myself. I don’t suppose I would get off with it though. I can hear a wee women getting shrill – yah did whit yah big lump o !!!!! just before the frying pan hits me atween ma een!

    20. ScottieDog says:

      Firstly as I keep saying the deficit isn’t Osborne’s to control. Recent figures demonstrate this fact.

      The deficit is an automatic compensator for the propensity of the non-government sector to save or spend.

      Robert chote laughably stated that the govt has a 55% chance of producing a £10BN surplus by 2020.

      The only two remotely likely ways to achieve this is to either turn a trade deficit into a considerable trade surplus (when did we last export more than we imported?!) OR create an even bigger private domestic debt bubble.

      Osborne is choosing the latter and actively trying to increase the private debt bubble using (tax funded) schemes like help to buy etc. on the current trajectory the household debt to GDP ratio will reach where it was in 2008 before 2020.

      If Osborne is successful in his pursuit, an almighty crash and private sector deflation will occur shortly after, resulting in… You’ve guessed.. Massive deficit spending. If he is lucky it will then be the problem of another govt.

      The famous Clinton surplus (Goldilocks economy) preceded the end of a huge private debt bubble.
      It’s not a coincidence.

      If anyone wants to argue about deficits being ‘bad’, just look at the strongest postwar economy (America ) which even in times of strong growth was running deficits.

    21. Jet Jockey says:

      Anybody get the feeling this was all planned from the start, made the HOL look as if they actually did something !!!!!

    22. ScottieDog says:

      If anyone has a spare couple of hours this evening and wants to gain an understanding of how our beliefs about money are causing so much pain please watch the video posted here..

      https://elspethc.wordpress.com/2015/11/26/thanksgiving-a-bit-of-history/

    23. Dr Jim says:

      Izzy Wizzy Let’s get Busy

      Sooty and Sweep, remember them

      Makes you feel like his hand’s up your Arse though

    24. Angra Mainyu says:

      The forecasts are probably correct, if you factor in Trident renewal and the (£10 billion) increase in defence spending. Those costs are going to get higher and higher too, as everyone knows, so that the figures they use now for all this are just stupidly low estimates.

      I’m sure most of you understand the basis principles behind Keynesian economic stimulation. If you apply that to murdering defenceless Muslims, you will understand completely how our industrial policy in the 21st century is intended to function and grow (if you think the “function” part is depressing, try the “grow” part).

      So, it seems reasonable to assume that in line with predictions about instability and carnage in the middle east (caused by us, amongst others), we will need to increase defence spending. And with the sabre-rattling in respect of Russia, timed almost to perfection, what fool now would argue that we don’t need Trident? That’s the idea anyway…

      So, it’s tough love for Muslims, increased tax returns for the chancellor, a huge shot in the arm to the arms industry, and a lot of fun for the twisted perverts who enjoy playing Masters of the Universe. That’s the next 5 years of British politico-economy in a nutshell.

      I suppose it’s sort of gratifying to see that Keynes is still relevant in a way, even if these soulless morons are only using it to further their sociopathic neo-con agenda.

      On a technical note, though, Keynes did make clear that it was important to get money into the hands of the poorer classes rather than the rich as the Tory strategy entails; we found out why that was the case with Quantitative Easing — the rich don’t spend money, they accumulate it, and that’s crucial in terms of suppressing inflation (a key priority for the rich).

      May the lord have mercy on their souls.

    25. sinky says:

      Lollysmum / lindsay
      You need to use archive today but i cant do link on my smartphone

    26. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @Angra Mainyu (7.24) –

      Me ain’t no economist, but have been thinking the same thing – if the pig-fucker and his mates have decided (a la Blair) that they’ll be in this fight come what may, reap mega reconstruction contracts in due course, and have communicated their intent to the boys who make the toys, then it’s high-fives and kickbacks all round.

      Our role, as obedient citizens, is to shiver and shake like ‘quivering blancmanges of terror’ (Copyright, Boris Johnson) as random numbers of us are suicide-bombed on an occasional basis from now until doomsday.

    27. Gary45% says:

      Aha, So Giddy has produced a trick of “Dynamo” proportions.
      Making something disappear in front of your eyes.
      You would be more impressed with Toodleoothenoo, making a box of curlywurlies disappear faster. num num
      Gideon, “fiddler on the hoof.”
      I take it the OBR is based in London next to the treasury.
      so this will come as no surprise.
      “I think they are talking bollocks.” nothing else just bollocks.

    28. mr thms says:

      O/T

      #James Barr Gardner @ 6.49

      Re GARL

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glasgow_Airport_Rail_Link

      “On 17 September 2009, the Scottish Government scrapped the airport branch component of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link amid concerns over the need for public spending cuts..”

      However, the Scottish Government went ahead with an upgrade in anticipation of a future link. The project was called the Paisley Corridor Improvement.

      So it only remains for all the interested parties to finish the final component, the link from Gauze Street to Glasgow Airport to complete the GARL project.

    29. mr thms says:

      Oh and I just remembered!

      On Friday the 13th..

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34806370

      “Northern Rock mortgages sold for £13bn

      The government has sold £13bn of former Northern Rock mortgages that taxpayers acquired during the financial crisis.”

      I remember thinking at the time the Chancellor could use this money to cancel the tax credit cuts..

    30. Gary45% says:

      Dr Jim@7.23.
      Was Gideon a proctologist before he came into fiddling?
      That is why he is at his happiest being surrounded by Ar*eholes.

      Slightly O/T
      Hedge fund city boys still pissing our money up against walls.
      I heard about a nice wee “city” meal recently £50,000+ but that did include drinkies.
      Not sure how many in the group, but you can take a guess.
      Not many.

    31. mogabee says:

      David McDowell

      I’m an optimistic soul. I will be doing my damndest to “relieve” my council of it’s numpties in 2017.

      That’s my power and naebody can take that away from me…yet. 😀

    32. schrodingers cat says:

      snigger
      Brian Taylor’s a shoe in for sport…..

      only when toodeloothenoo becomes an Olympic event

    33. Lesley-Anne says:

      I wonder how long we will have to wait before anyone in the MSM/BBC/SKY etc come up with a spin for this story. I only ask cause I think if the complainants win their lawsuit it will undoubtedly have world wide effects on the financial markets etc. I feel the return to 2008 is beckoning here.

      https://www.rt.com/business/323535-banks-lawsuit-rates-collusion/

    34. Ken500 says:

      Re – A rail link to Glasgow Airport. Another complete waste of public money when people are starving. It is just wrong.

      Glasgow airport has one of the best airport bus links in the world. Every 10 mins. Cost a fiver?. Takes 15-20 mins to get into the City Centre, George Square, even in busy traffic. Leaves from beside bus and train station. There is absolutely no need for a rail link, whrn revenues are scarce. People can’t eat, heat or sleep for worry. Vulnerable people are being sanctioned. Spend the money on NHS or elderly care, education or nursery care.

      There are too many well off Tories in Westminster. They are so out of touch it is ridiculous. Cameron is a PR Conman who better not take the UK into another useless illegal war.

    35. Dan Huil says:

      “Especially observant readers will notice that the impact is almost identical to the original IFS study of the tax credits cuts reproduced at the top of the page, except pushed back by a year.”

      Sums it up perfectly. {Labour in Scotland being exceptionally unobservant].

    36. heraldnomore says:

      O/T Craig Murray on the latest dodgy dossier. Sorry no link but you know where to find him.

    37. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      archive.is has been kaput all evening. archive.today is just a redirect to the same site.

    38. john king says:

      Ken500
      “Re – A rail link to Glasgow Airport. Another complete waste of public money when people are starving. It is just wrong.”

      It’s funny you should say that Ken,
      When I commented on the SNP’s commitment to abolish airport tax on Scott Arthurs twitter feed I got an avalanche of critical comments about the SNP’s concern for the well-off who can afford to fly while the people who’ll lose their working tax credits will starve.

    39. Simon Chadwick says:

      “as UC replaces tax credits entirely over the next few years” – I don’t believe Universal Credit is anywhere near on target. It’s not going to come in for a long time if ever.

    40. Lesley-Anne says:

      Before I forget here is the line up for BBCQT from Manchester tonight.

      Matthew Hancock Tory Cabinet Office Minister

      Ken Livingstone Labour

      Matt Forde Comedian … apparently (I’ve never heard of him)

      Kate Andrews Adam Smith Institute

      Oh and someone called Pete Wishart … no I’ve no idea who he is either! 😀

    41. Cadogan Enright says:

      Ergodan has reassured me wih this statement today !

      Apparently it’s not him but Assad who is buying ISIL’s oil, supplying them with refuge and guns and building up ISIL’s capacity.

      Well, Ergodan is an ally of Britain and in NATO – so it must be true.

      Presumably also, it was Assad that shot down the Russian plane and keeps bombing Kurdish troops while they fight ISIL on the ground (guided by GCHQ) ?

      I’m glad that all clear. Clearly theTories are right to take us on another military jaunt.

    42. Legerwood says:

      On the subject of the Westminster government’s competence vis-a-vis money, reports are emerging that scrapping the tax disc has resulted in a loss of £80 million to the public purse rather than the £10 million savings that were projected by the Government when they introduced the scrapping of tax discs.

      Apparently there has been almost a doubling of non-taxed cars. Motoring organisations advised the government that this would happen.

      If they cannot get this right what faith can anyone have in their projections about the forecasts of £27 billion, available sometime maybe never?

    43. Phronesis says:

      Is it likely that anyone from the 1% will develop insight?

      http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/15/how-super-rich-got-richer-10-shocking-facts-inequality

      And this stain on the world’s conscience-

      Devakumar, D., Birch, M., Rubenstein, L. S., Osrin, D., Sondorp, E., and Wells, J. C. Child health in Syria: recognising the lasting effects of warfare on health. Confl.Health 9, 34. 2015

      Abstract ‘The war in Syria, now in its fourth year, is one of the bloodiest in recent times. The legacy of war includes damage to the health of children that can last for decades and affect future generations. In this article we discuss the effects of the war on Syria’s children, highlighting the less documented longer-term effects. In addition to their present suffering, these children, and their own children, are likely to face further challenges as a result of the current conflict. This is essential to understand both for effective interventions and for ethical reasons’

      We do still live (nominally) in a democracy -we do not have to accept the status quo and at least in Scotland we have the inevitable Indyref2 as our ‘get out’ card.

    44. Fran says:

      Round and round the economy goes, where it stops nobody knows!

      I will stake £27b on black please and if it lands on red we can just have another go, its just numbers on a chart old chap.

      And that’s the problem. For the treasury, OBR and Gideon its just numbers on paper that can be moved around, played with and manipulated.

      Hell will freeze over before BUM will say anything about it.

    45. Les Wilson says:

      It is all smoke and mirrors,just say to yourself “I do not believe ANYTHING coming from Westminster, repeat ten times.Imprint it in your memory.
      Then you,will be right.
      Served me well, for a long time now.

    46. Robert Peffers says:

      @jimnarlene says: 26 November, 2015 at 5:31 pm:

      ““It’s not exactly magic. But it does look a lot like a trick.” More of a con, methinks.”

      Is that, “Trick”, as in izzy, wizzy lets get busy”, or, “trick”, as pulled by ladies of the night, jimnarlene?

    47. Cherry says:

      @Lesley-Anne

      Matt Ford’s…surprise was a political advisor and been a labour member since he was 15

      Won’t hold my breath for how long it takes for the decision to go into Syria is brought up!

    48. Valerie says:

      I want to take my time to read what looks an excellent piece.

      But, off topic, finally – a member of SNP on QT

      Ken Livingstone acting like a bam

    49. Gary45% says:

      Legerwood@10.18
      I think everyone outside Westminster, could see the road tax changes being a disaster.
      The changes to the Tax offices will be exactly the same.

      There are some real scumbags lurking in the bowels of parliament who really have no idea how to run a country.
      I said a while back Ronnie Biggs was crucified for less than what the “establishment get away with.
      At the end of the day its our money they are wasting.
      Each and every one of them should be held accountable for blatant lies and back tracking on election manifesto promises.
      At least the SNP try and do their best on what must be a near impossible job with the pittance pocket money from Westminster, and constant attacks from the unionists.

      Is it possible to take Westminster to the highest court in Europe and get them done for abuse of human rights?
      Just asking like.

    50. Capella says:

      The Tories and Labour are full of faux rage today because Alex Salmond attended Holyrood as MSP for Gordon instead of listening to Cameron’s statement on Syria, which he had already read as a Privy Councillor.

      I expect our CorpMedia has dealt with this in the usual fair and balanced manner. But here is RT’s report for extra balance.
      https://www.rt.com/uk/323566-salmond-skips-syria-debate/

    51. heedtracker says:

      Nice display of tory bullshit on Osborne’s £27bn OBR forecast/magic giveaway, right now Question Time. You cant have a strong economy without dealing with debt, says toryboy that hasn’t paid off any of it, since lying their way into office. Rich are a lot richer though. Good old teamGB.

    52. Lesley-Anne says:

      Cherry says:
      26 November, 2015 at 10:55 pm

      @Lesley-Anne

      Matt Ford’s…surprise was a political advisor and been a labour member since he was 15

      Won’t hold my breath for how long it takes for the decision to go into Syria is brought up!

      Well it didn’t take long did it Cherry …. question ONE! 😀

      Oh dear NHS and it’s a gang up on Pete Wishart. Pity they are all talking PISH especially that Kate woman who has absolutely NO concept of how DEVOLVED NHS in Scotland works!

    53. Lesley-Anne says:

      I think I saw the question asked the other week but just in case I had only imagined it BBCQT is in Bath in a fortnight. Now, as folks know, I am the village idiot around these parts. However, is it not true that there is a certain blogger who lives in Bath and know to one or two people on here?

      For the life of me I am at a loss as to the bloggers name. So on the slimmest of slim chances said blogger might glance on this site I wonder if they would be interested in *ahem* attending BBCQT in two weeks time? 😀

    54. heedtracker says:

      Oh dear NHS and it’s a gang up on Pete Wishart.

      Tory hard core Adam Smith rep says Germany has a better public health care service than UK because they spend 2% more GDP than UK, so she wants UK privatised into profits for private sector. How many toryboys own some of Crash Gordon’s UKOK PFI money trees?

      Can anyone get a toryboy job, as long as you’re a toryboy zealot?

    55. TJenny says:

      L-A: re BBCQT in Bath, read the WOS twitter feed. 🙂 (Stuey’s revving to go!)

    56. Valerie says:

      It’s quite hard to get on QT audience, but I managed to get in to see the Brewery’s Big Debate!

      Worth a try, tho, I’m sure, Rev!

    57. Cherry says:

      @Lesley-Anne

      I could only watch for a few minutes at a time…usually my demeanour is very easy ozay…since 19th September 2014 my attitude is changed. I’ve had enough of holding my tongue…poor hubby is living with a very angry “wummin” 😉

      Reading every Wings blog and BTL comments every day till the wee small hours does two things. Keeps me sane and has given me a great political education. So keep doing what you do Wingers …we can do this! 🙂

    58. geeo says:

      Can we get our hopes up for an appearance on QT from Bath on the 10th December ?

      Could be the YES plant in the audience….????????????

    59. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      Hi Lesley-Anne.

      You typed,
      “Oh and someone called Pete Wishart … no I’ve no idea who he is either!”

      Mr Jonny Bumblebee explained all – Pete Wishart is one of the two serving MPs who have appeared on ‘Top Of The Pops’. The other is a Tory back-bencher, apparently.

      So, that’s why Mr Wishart qualified to be on tonight’s programme.

      ————————————————–

      RE: the 27 Billion ‘discovered’.

      Davis Lammy, on Andra’s programme, suggested that this extra cash could be something to do with the large increase in immigration – all these ‘furriners’ coming over here and paying taxes and so on.

    60. Lesley-Anne says:

      TJenny says:
      26 November, 2015 at 11:53 pm

      L-A: re BBCQT in Bath, read the WOS twitter feed. 🙂 (Stuey’s revving to go!)

      I’ll bet he is TJ. 😀

      Should Stu be lucky to infiltrate, and let’s be clear here folks he WILL have to infiltrate, the programme then I have absolutely no doubt that he will rip the panel a new set at every possible occasion. 😀

      Go get ’em Stu.

      We have every confidence in you and we are all right behind you! 😉

    61. Lesley-Anne says:

      Thanks for that Brian.

      I thought I had seen that Pete Wishart somewhere before … must have been when he was on Top of the Pops. 😀

    62. Still Positive. says:

      Better still if Rev. Stu was on the panel – that would put the cat among the pigeons!

      Ah a girl can dream!

    63. TJenny says:

      L-A: but will he have to go in disguise and maybe have to, gulp, …ditch the beard? Ooh!

    64. Dr Jim says:

      Another wee magic trick for you

      Now you see it, ..Now you still Fukcing see it

      My eyes My eyes!!

      And another thing,,, 2015 just how obvious do they have to get,, refer to above,,,even a blind deaf person couldn’t fail to see through tonights Labour party Broadcast

      At least there’s now complete transparency with the BBC

      In England the media totally condemns everything that is Labour while in Scotland praises everything that is Labour
      As long as they can get in SNP Baad as well, Success!

      Funny how none of them mention how Shite Labour are in Wales or is that just their wee secret

      Westminster…Burn it
      God help me I’m turning into a Jockhadist

    65. Lesley-Anne says:

      TJenny says:
      27 November, 2015 at 12:12 am

      L-A: but will he have to go in disguise and maybe have to, gulp, …ditch the beard? Ooh!

      Disguise is probably no problem but never, never, NEVER touch the beard!!! 😀

    66. TJenny says:

      Hides behind sofa in fear of imminent hammers. Eek. :-/

    67. Capella says:

      David Cameron examines his conscience:

      “I can’t stand here and say we are safe from all these threats. We are not. I can’t stand here either and say we will remove the threat through the action that we take. But do I stand here with advice behind me that taking action will reduce and degrade that threat over time? Absolutely and I have examined my conscience and that’s what it is telling me.”

      So it’s not Jiminy Cricket then. What kind of conscience tells you to go ahead and bomb the middle east illegally?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYtjcu5GFLo

    68. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      Typing about beards…

      A guy on ‘Pointless’ last night, mentioned his history teacher, Mr Beard, who didn’t have one, but was nicknamed ‘Beardy’ behind his back.

      Which reminded me – and Mr Pointless Armstrong – of the fact that Frank Beard, 1/3 of ZZ Top, was the only one who didn’t have a beard.

      Stand easy…

    69. call me dave says:

      No wonder Rowley’s going on the list.

      Two cracking by-election results in Fife
      Scot goes Pop has the initial details.
      Good Start to a Fiday!

      Kezia take note!

    70. TJenny says:

      Stuey’s just tweeted ‘Right, that’s my Question Time application in.’ Wonder if he’ll get through the vetting process? Of course, he should really be on the BBCQT panel. 🙂

    71. Albaman says:

      What if the House of Lords had passed the bill, would that have ment that Osborne, knowing he’d have 27bl tucked in his hip pocket, he would STILL have carried out the full austerity cuts?!,
      That’s what I find frightening.

    72. msean says:

      After reading this,I see no reason to change my habit of thinking about tories, whatever they do or say,look for what they are really doing and read through everything twice over. There is always a con there somewhere.

    73. msean says:

      Next indyref,when they start on about finances and black holes and debt stuff,we should just say that we can always ‘just’ find £(enter required amount here) billion down the back of the money couch. Or plant a magic money tree,not a Labour one ,a Tory one,because they seem to be ok. 🙂

    74. Petra says:

      I’ve spent a great deal of time formulating two posts over the last twenty four hours. Neither have appeared on here. It’s not the first time that this has happened, far, far from it in fact.

      I have no idea who is behind this but I’m more than ready to give up posting on here.

      More conducive in my opinion, in relation to my time and effort, to post elsewhere.

    75. Petra says:

      Oh and eh Stu please tell me if you agree with that or not? Are YOU blocking my posts, some of which I admit are very controversial indeed, and do you think that I should just move on now? Please let me know.

      On the other hand my computer has been hacked into on numerous occasions over the last two years and I have no idea who is behind it.

      Further posting on Wings or not?

    76. Ken500 says:

      Many posts don’t get through because it is a popular site and is under attack all the time. Just persist. Post at a less busy time. It is better to break down posts. Smaller posts get through more easily and are easier to read. Some key words trigger rejection. Language has to be modified. This has been discussed before on the site. Rev Stu is under attack all the time. There are those who would delight in shutting the site down, especially Unionist trolls. Bateman deletes and bans. Very BBC. So does Newsnetscotland. So people won’t post on the site or or support it financially. Especially if they give space to Tory/Unionists.

      Many folk just skip over great long posts or skim read. Rev Stu would e-mail you if there was any concerns. Just e-mail him for clarification, but remember Rev Stu is a busy man with limited help. So much to do, so little time. Thanks Rev Stu for all you do.

    77. john king says:

      BdtT
      “Which reminded me – and Mr Pointless Armstrong – of the fact that Frank Beard, 1/3 of ZZ Top, was the only one who didn’t have a beard.

      Stand easy…

      Dismissed. 😉
      __________________________________________________________
      Ken500
      when you put more of yourself into a post its much more readable that the machine gun stats you sometimes do
      MORE PLEASE,
      sometimes I get flashbacks and I think Im reading
      Answerguy. 🙂

    78. Capella says:

      @ Petra
      did you remember to remove the http prefix on any youtube links? Posts wont appear if that isn’t done.
      There will probably be some technical reason for posts not appearing. The two above got through OK.

    79. Ken500 says:

      Will only make limited reply, so as not to contaminate the site, but leave room for other folk. Constant replying just becomes a confrontation and is tedious. If people want to debate, Join a debating society. Or go to the pub etc. Life’s too short.

      Too much personal – can be too much information – can be boring – people who would rather remain anonymous can be identified. It is not a personality contest or x factor.

      The facts are sacred the ? – guardian motto. Thry don’t follow their own motto.

      It can be a small screen or device So punctuation, grammar is an issue. Precised is just more practical and faster. Points folk in the way to do their own research or further investigation. Just google (or whatever) . It can become repetitive but it gets important, relevant information out. Thanks all the same. If people want discussion join Facebook. Some don’t because it is time consuming and addictive. So are some websites. So little time, so much to do. Thanks all the same. Thanks to Rev Stu for all you do. Genius. It’s great for sharing information. Where would we be without Stu’s excellent research and analysis?

    80. Tam Jardine says:

      Petra

      I am no expert on these matters but I know some technology seems to post immediately (my samsung) most of the time whilst my laptop suffers from occasional delays.

      My tip, which I now use whenever posting anything of length is to select and copy all the text so that if it disappears I have not lost it.

      Please persist, remember to select all/copy and if you have the opportunity to send from another form of technology, give that a try. You write well and your contribution is valuable.

    81. Petra says:

      Thanks very much to Ken .. to all for reading and sharing.

    82. Ken500 says:

      Some people have tried ito make it to Wings Gatherings, but logistics just keep on getting in the way. They have been so near but so far away. Life gets in the way and unexpected circumstances happen. They are still able to join in the comaraderie and the laughs along with the more serious issues. Even the lurkers.

      Including King’s John’s sense of humour { : > )

    83. scottieDog says:

      None of the news channels on my twitter feed seem to be reporting the fife by-elections. Funny that!

    84. Angra Mainyu says:

      ” Are YOU blocking my posts, some of which I admit are very controversial indeed, and do you think that I should just move on now? Please let me know.”

      No offence, can’t stop laughing at this. Brilliant.

      Petra, I’d love to know more about the controversial stuff.

    85. heedtracker says:

      None of the news channels on my twitter feed seem to be reporting the fife by-elections. Funny that!

      But BBC Breakfast national tv news going after Corbyn the surrender monkey and his red tory rebels, instead what exactly the RAF are going to be doing or achieve, they all want to UKOK bomb somewhere hot back further into the stone age.

      They had a long nice panning shot of JC and Dugdale walking statesman like across the sunlit front court of Holyrood, biblical, Dugdale can walk in a straight line too, through the parting yet loving Scotland types throng, in the sun.

      Next up, get out there and blow even more money on even more garbage, its black Friday, BBC says buy buy buy, bomb bomb bomb! watch it all on your new tesco giant flat screen telly, what you bagged for nothing, all thanks to BBC gimps.

      Next next up, HD RAF bomb horror in hot places, you have never heard of but its ok, its a union jack draped BBC toryboy world.

    86. galamcennalath says:

      OT parallel universes undoubtedly exist.

      In yesterday’s Fife byelections, UKIP received 2.4% & 3.3% of the vote.

      Why any Scot, in today’s political environment, would vote for the ‘English (ethnic) Nationalist Party’ is totally beyond me. They must live in parallel time and space.

    87. Macart says:

      Now Petra, along with Nana and John King I’d be lost for what’s going on in the world. Just you bide here, or I’ll throw a tantrum.

      We all experience lag of varying degrees when posting. No idea why it happens, but I’ve gone from near instant to twenty minutes and back again. I doubt the Rev has anything to do with it and if he had something to say about a commenter, trust me he doesn’t strike me as the shy and retiring type. 😀

      Oh and for everyone else:

      http://www.thenational.scot/comment/gordon-macintyre-kemp-we-need-2020-vision-to-take-us-over-the-line-next-time.10489

      Mr Kemp on good form.

    88. galamcennalath says:

      “Lord Prior of Brampton, a Conservative health minister ….. ‘It is also a paradox, isn’t it, that we have this issue with food banks at a time when obesity is one of the biggest threats to the future.’ ”

      http://www.itv.com/news/2015-11-26/conservative-minister-causes-outrage-over-food-bank-comments/

      They need to go. We need to get out.

    89. galamcennalath says:

      Macart says:

      “Mr Kemp on good form.”

      A good read. I agree with everything he says about IndyRef2.

    90. Famous15 says:

      The two Fife election results are just brilliant especially in view of the hysterical anti SNP headlines in the Unionist Media for the whole week before polling day.

      I had a wee laugh in my local Lidl when I saw on a number of visits a basket with two choice vegetables sitting on top of and obscuring the “Scottish” Daily Mail. Honest,I do not support such censorship. It is clear now that the ordinary punter in Scotland is seeing through the lies and feeling that their intelligence is being insulted especially by the Daily Record.

    91. Capella says:

      @ Petra
      Also, your comment hasn’t been lost. If you press the back arrow as many times as you have refreshed, you find the comment box still contains your post. However, there is still a time lag between submitting and it appearing on screen.

      If your comment appears immediately you have pressed the submit button just as the site was refreshing. Or, you may be using a device that still has the cookies that allow immediate publishing.

    92. Another Union Dividend says:

      Oil forecasting is notoriously difficult.

      In July 2014 the OBR forecast that an independent Scotland, on a geographical share (90%) of UK oil and gas revenue in 2016-17 and 2018-19, would receive £15.8bn in tax revenues.

      “Assuming DECC [Department of Energy and Climate Change] prices this would rise to £28.1bn,” said Prof Mackay. “Inserting the Oil & Gas UK production forecast raises this to £31.8bn.

    93. Sinky says:

      Rosyth by-election result :

      SNP 45.2% (+9.4)
      Labour 34.5% (-13.2)
      Conservatives 9.1% (+3.3)
      Liberal Democrats 3.6% (-3.5)
      UKIP 3.3% (+0.7)
      Independent – Macintyre 2.5% (n/a)

      Dunfermline North by-election result :

      SNP 43.5% (+11.9)
      Labour 29.6% (-19.7)
      Conservatives 12.5% (+5.9)
      Liberal Democrats 9.5% (-4.1)
      Greens 2.6% (n/a)
      UKIP 2.4% (n/a)

      http://scotgoespop.blogspot.co.uk/

    94. Clootie says:

      …the same people who tell us we are too poor to be a nation.

      An interesting set of values that having weapons of force projection are more important yhan the poor.

    95. Westie7 says:

      Looking at those by election results, wonder what the odds are for Tories overtaking Labour to opposition in May

    96. john king says:

      I have to say I’m humbled by two great posters in Ken500 and the inimitable Macart since my “contribution” cannot match the level of insight some posters on here have, so I keep it light and pop up when I see an opportunity for some brevity but sometimes I leave the cage door open and the little humour scamp legs it. 🙁

      Such as the other day I responded to a comment rather than the commentator, Jim Macintosh, when, had I taken heed of WHO was posting I would have caught the nuance in the comment, instead I leapt in with a (frankly) patronising response to Jims comment that there were 8000 jobs in Faslane official!.

      I didn’t see the irony and did what I always do and made a twat of myself,

      Jims response? you would have been forgiven for thinking he let me have it, but no the true nature of the best of Wings came out and Jim responded with the gentlest of retorts for which I am truly sorry Jim and in future I will (write 500 times) attempt to see the underlying message in the post.

      You would think I would have learned by now after ripping Derek Bateman a new one on his very first blog post because the ironic nature of it ran right past me,

      I think I was the only one who was caught out by it (blushing furiously)

    97. caz-m says:

      What is Kezia Dugdale’s views on bombing Syria?

      After all, she is the leader of the autonomous, free thinking, independent, Scottish Labour Party. So, she MUST have an independent opinion on it.

      What has she ordered her MP, Ian Murray, to do?

      BBC Scotland have also avoided mentioning Scottish Labour’s point of view on Syria.

      The silence from them is deafening.

      C’mon Kezia, talk to us!

    98. john king says:

      Brevity=levity
      I thought would all have known that, sheesh ;(

    99. caz-m says:

      Sinky 9.10am

      Excellent results from the Fife by-elections last night.

      Congratulations to all SNP members who were involved in those campaigns.

      Message to BBC Scotland/STV,

      “you must try harder”. (ya shower of shit).

    100. Macart says:

      @galamcennalath

      RE: Mr Kemp

      Not much wrong with his reasoning that I can see.

      @John King

      The person that never made a twat of themselves at some point in their life, never made anything. 😀 LOL

    101. HandandShrimp says:

      The two by-elections last night, in what can only be described as former Labour strongholds, demonstrate once again how utterly ineffective the constant barrage of SNPbad is from the press and rival politicians. It must really rot their socks to see the electorate ignore their pish.

      I am also impressed by how bitter and dishonest Ruth has become. She is pretty much inter-changeable with any of the more vitriolic Labour MSP these days. How peripheral the Tories are to Scottish politics must finally be sinking in.

      On other matters, Cameron sounds like a disgruntled kid….”but Muuuum all the other kids are doing it, why can’t I?”

    102. Proud Cybernat says:

      “…the Chancellor would be forced to either cut spending or raise taxes in order to meet his target of bringing the public finances back into surplus.”

      Well surely that can’t be right. It’s only the SNP Govt. that ever has to increase taxes or cut spending (services). Well, so the Idiot Press keep telling us.

    103. Ken500 says:

      The problem in the Oil sector are (illegally) high tax rates. Tax rates are 75% The Oil price has fallen (60%)) but the tax rate has remained (too) high. It is not economical to produce.

      Osbourne put up oil taxes in 2011 Budget 11% . It was 70%. Incresed to 81%. It is not economical to produce. The producers cut back and stop exploration ie drilling new oil wells. Osbourne has since cut taxes 5%. – 75% despite the Oil price falling 60%) ie the fall in production is linked to the higher (pro rata) taxation. Tax is 75% % (too high to maintain production) Production has fallen 60%. Thousands are losing their jobs and more Oil is being imported putting up the balance of payments defict and the debt. Scotland’s economy is being adversely affected by Westminster policy.

      The Tories are deliberately ruining the Scottish and British economy. A majority in Scotland didn’t vote for them, or their regressive policies. There is less democracy in Scotland. Scotland is being treated illegally, unfairly and unequally in the Union. Westminster secrecy, corruption and lies.

      There should be an Oil regulation excelerater Policy. When the Oil price is low the taxes should be lower in relation to the price. When Oil prices are higher the tax rate should be higher. It should be a sliding scale to not affect the economy adversely. That could happen if the Scottish Gov had control of it’s resource/economy and it was not controlled by psycopaths at Westminster.

    104. Robert Peffers says:

      @scottieDog says: 27 November, 2015 at 8:03 am:

      “None of the news channels on my twitter feed seem to be reporting the fife by-elections. Funny that!”

      Aye! Bloody hilarious, Scottiedog.

      Thing is that Rosyth is a special case. It was/is a Dockyard town and after the Dockyard was taken out of mothballs at the start of the World Wars the government imported the entire workforce from the English yards.

      They build a whole new village of corrugated iron to house them, originally named, “Tintown”, the later conversion to more traditional buildings materials changed that name to, “Dollytown”, due to the wee cottages looking like doll’s houses. They also took over existing housing schemes in Rosyth, the bottom end of Dunfermline, Colington Mains in Edinburgh and a housing scheme in Falkirk.

      both Rosyth and Colington Mains were known as, “Little England”, for may years thereafter. It can take several generations for such implanted areas to fully assimilate as Scottish because of the sheer numbers of Englanders living together and thus not so quickly intermarrying with Scots.

    105. Bill McLean says:

      John King – don’t beat yourself up about anything – this is the finest blog anywhere and the vast majority of what you contribute is terrific and funny- but, (you knew that was coming) my wife is still raging about your comments on Adele! My timid response is “who is Adele?” – then all hell ensues. Thanks John!

    106. Angra Mainyu says:

      A bad week for Labour eh..

      The press are presenting the Labour split as between moderate centrists (Blairites) one one hand, and the extreme Trotskyist left on the other.

      In truth it’s a split between the neo-con extreme right and a slightly left-leaning centrist wing of the party headed by Corbyn.

      The press reveals their absolute hatred of the left and working classes in the way they are framing the split. The English working classes fell asleep at the wheel and now they have a mountain to climb. Good luck with that.

      But we are blessed up here. We have Wings and the SNP and so many other groups like Hope Over Fear and WFI. All important parts of the context we operate in.

      We might have eff all else but at least we have something resembling the truth. And only few of us are buying the twisted lies they espouse in the media.

    107. Marcia says:

      Black Friday for Labour.

    108. Bill McLean says:

      Robert Peffers – I lived in Green Crescent, Dollytown in the mid-late 40s Robert before moving to the metropolis of Cowdenbeath in the late 40s subsequentl to various dockyards abroad with my Dad. Won’t go on as personal gets boring but what memories you have evoked by just the name “Dollytown” which I had completely forgotten. Apologies all!

    109. Famous15 says:

      Call Kaye employed a “Professor” from Buckinham Uni to tell us we are all wrong and Brit Is Great,
      He ended his contribution by saying if we had voted for independence we would not have the Imperialist Intelligence services to protect ourselves.

      Personally I think we would be safer independent as terrorists would not find it appealing to attack a nice wee country which would mind its own business when such appealing targets of arrogant world dominating countries are available.

      Scotland as a non aligned country would be such an energetic achiever in making the world a safer place!

    110. uno mas says:

      I am currently reading The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy.

      His style of pros is veru unusual. Short punchy one line sentences and very very brief paragraphs.

      It´s a bit difficult to get used to but once you´ve got the hang of it it´s actualy a very effective form of story telling.

      I was wondering the other night who has style reminded me of and then it came to me.

      Of course, it´s our very own Ken500.

      Big fan of your work mr.500

      Keep posting in your own style.

    111. heedtracker says:

      His style of pros is veru unusual. Short punchy one line sentences and very very brief paragraphs.

      Staccato style of written, is what you might term it literary wise, with some anaphora and asyndeton thrown in. E L Doctorow was pretty good at it.

    112. ScottieDog says:

      @Robert Peffers
      Thanks for that Robert I had no idea about the history of the area – bit of an ‘incomer’ myself having been in East Lothian! It does explain the ‘wrath’ I encountered by some on indyref day whilst doing a stint near the yard.

    113. Jim McIntosh says:

      Watching the start of Question Time last night I groaned when I saw Matt Forde on the panel. His comments last night are absolute proof there is no difference between blairite Labour and the Tories. Unless Corbyn (or someone like him) can change the direction of the Labour Party it’s curtains for the NHS in England.

      I had the misfortune to see Forde at the Fringe in 2014. He was billed as a comedian, but he was just nasty and vicious. His comments on Scottish independence and the SNP in particular bordered on the racist. I wasn’t the only one who walked out during his set.

    114. Gary45% says:

      Did anyone else hear Captain Mctermite collide with an Iceberg on HMS radio Misery this morning.
      Gms has been pretty tedious for while,but this was the classic ranting’s of a mad man.(it sounded like Crack Friday, not black Friday)

      Is McTernan really an advisor to the Red Tories? according to him the only answer for peace on earth is to continually be at war.
      Its easy to see the connection with Bliar and FUD.

    115. sensibledave says:

      Morning all, I’m feeling quite perky today.

      …. On the Alex Salmond non-appearance at HoC debate yesterday, based upon what I have read, his absence was actually irrelevant for the reasons given in the link.

      However, it was very naive.

      You can’t bitch, moan and condemn other MPs for not attending debates you feel are important – unless you remain bullet proof yourself – and the painting issue was manna from heaven for the press – wasn’t it.

      Whether its bacon sandwiches, pigs heads, duck houses, geography teacher appearance, private schooling, – anyone who sticks their head above the parapet and asks the populace to choose them to represent them – has chosen to leave themselves open to all these type of attacks from the press. C’est la vie.

    116. HandandShrimp says:

      Jim

      I didn’t see QT but chatted with a friend this morning who did and he thought the comedian, whose name he couldn’t remember, was a Tory who had been Labour in the past…or something. Said he was all over the place.

      He also said there was a fair bit of support for the SNP/Corbyn position that we should not come over all gung ho on Syria.

    117. ScottieDog says:

      O/T
      Another excellent video by Bill Still – he was on independence live recently.
      Here’s a link to his film about debt based money. Well worth a watch on a cold winters evening..
      ow.ly/V8r2p

      To me it strongly reaffirms the requirement for a Scottish sovereign currency

    118. call me dave says:

      @Robert Peffers

      Aye Dolly Town! All the Streets named after Admiral ‘this’and Admiral ‘that’. As an apprentice electrician way back I remember putting in many an immersion heater there. No skewer pipe on the hot water cylinder, drill hole and catch water in a bucket.
      Or if the woman was out roll up the hall carpet and get a brush and sweep the water out…concrete floors.

      Love your posts

      PS:
      Caught a free look at a Record this morning in the cafe, McGarry paid large sum back to WFI before the enquiry started it seems as her books were in a bit of a state. Seems that might be the why and wherefore!

      PPS:
      Have a look at this on the UK NHS waiting times longer than the target 4hrs max.
      You have to get pretty far down to see that the Scottish NHS is doing OK.
      Posting the direct link as archive wont show the graphs…sorry!

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34939034
      🙂

    119. caz-m says:

      Re; Bombing Syria,

      If one Cameron’s main reasons for bombing Syria is because we have to stand by our ally France, then why isn’t EVERY country in the EU not voting to bomb Syria?

      Surely all these other countries are allies of France?

      I don’t see Spain or Portugal or Poland jumping into their fighter jets and bombing Syria.

      Cameron and his government think they are Richard the Lion Heart and the Knights Templar going off to fight the Crusades against these Muslim upstarts.

      Best of luck with that one Dave.

    120. heedtracker says:

      HandandShrimp says:
      27 November, 2015 at 11:15 am
      Jim

      I didn’t see QT but chatted with a friend this morning who did and he thought the comedian,

      Question Time comic was a Blairite who’d left Labour last week after a lifetime member he said. He wound up his red tory stuff with, UK is no.4 economy because UK security attracts big business from all over the world and Trident nukes keep it that way, which is why we need Trident 2.

      JC’s probably better off without him but he was pretty tough too. He told an audience JC believer that so what if JC was a big hit with ordinary members, Westminster red tory MP’s were the elected reps who decide.

      JC probably wont last very long now.

    121. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “You can’t bitch, moan and condemn other MPs for not attending debates you feel are important – unless you remain bullet proof yourself”

      It wasn’t a debate. There was no vote. I doubt Salmond will lose a lot of sleep over getting slagged off in the Daily Record and the Daily Mail.

    122. manandboy says:

      BY-ELECTIONS: SNP UP. LABOUR’S VOTE FALLS, BUT TORIES GAIN

      On the surface it appears that some Labour voters in Rosyth & in Dunfermline North are leaving Labour and voting instead for the SNP, while others are backing their Unionist allies and bedfellows, the Tories. Once considered political heresy in Scotland, the crossover from Labour to Tory is now established orthodoxy. Facilitating this once unthinkable change, is Labour’s pathological hatred of Scotland’s party of choice, the SNP.

      These results will be deeply depressing for Kezia Dugdale once they are explained to her, but will also furrow the brows of the Westminster Establishment with consternation, as they see their best efforts to hurt the SNP having the opposite effect.

      There can be very little hope indeed in Westminster of a Unionist revival in Scotland. How they choose to respond will only serve to confirm Scotland’s growing understanding of just how broken this Union is. The Divorce Court is ready and waiting.

      The now deceased journalist, Ian Archer, penned a phrase, which he applied elsewhere, but now fits the Labour Party in Scotland – ‘a permanent embarrassment and an occasional disgrace’. I’m sure David Cameron would agree, if that is, he could summon the energy to think of Labour in Scotland, which I doubt.
      Come to think of it, Archer’s description fits all three of the Unionist parties throughout the UK.
      Even from his grave, Ian Archer has more to offer than the vast majority of today’s hacks.

    123. sensibledave says:

      Rev. Stuart Campbell 11:29 am

      You wrote: “It wasn’t a debate. There was no vote. I doubt Salmond will lose a lot of sleep over getting slagged off in the Daily Record and the Daily Mail.”

      …. I agree, but it probably wont be the last he hears of it.

    124. MarkAustin says:

      On the OBR, refer to John Kenneth Galbraith
      “The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.”

      On Osborne, the issue here is that he has lived in the Westminster bubble most of his adult life. For him, politics is like a game of chess with Labour, not related to the real world (see all the “traps” he laid for them—most of which they fell into like the numpties they are).

      With the benefit cuts, he and all his mates are sufficiently rich that losing £1,000 is neither here nor there, and he simply lacks the imagination to put himself in the shoes of those for whom it’s a disaster.

    125. HandandShrimp says:

      Stu is right, there was no vote so attendance was not whipped and he is also still an MSP.

      It seems he had a charity gig and thanked the Onionists for kindly highlighting it.

      I don’t think we have much doubt where Alex will be and which way he will vote when it comes to it (next week I think).

    126. starlaw says:

      Well said Caz-m Bombing Syria is Rule Britania flag waving gung ho rubbish Question time was a real eye opener. Tory Toff boys think they will get rid of Isis and Assad forgetting Russian and Iranian backing for Assad. What plans have they when Isis is gone and Assads still there. Who do we bomb then or is it a case of wave the union flag and to hell with the consequences.

    127. Brian Powell says:

      Two SNP by-election WINS with a large swing from Labour to SNP, in Fife. Right in Labour and Brown’s territory.

    128. Robert Kerr says:

      @sensibledave 11.12.

      You specifically used the word “debate” twice in your post.

      Knowing full well it was a lie.

      Don’t you realise you are a source of amusement here on WoS?

    129. scott says:

      What has Cameron to say about this not much I suppose as he sales plenty of arms sales to Saudi.
      on.rt.com/6xpb

    130. Andrew McLean says:

      I don’t blame Alex who wants to listen to Cameron waffle on? Especially as he had already read the statement the night before and had a one to one with intelligence chiefs so traveled to Scotland to meet army veterans of another bloody conflict Labour and the Tory’s got us into!
      If there was a vote then that’s another thing, but old Alex is just another backbench MP, some think he is still the leader!

      The actual record Hansard shows when the ACTUAL vote for war was taken to bomb Syria last time out of 650 MPs only 457 turned up and voted! Probable that the rest just couldn’t be arsed.

      But SNP bad in the brains of the idiot press addicts.

    131. Bob Mack says:

      Nice to come in to my daily diet of Unionists clutching at straws to try and taint the SNP. What offerings do they have today I wonder ?

      Never realised Mr Salmond would be missed so much by so many.Usually they are not that interested or convinced by what he has to offer in any event.

      Perhaps I am being cynical, or perhaps they actually do enjoy his pearls of wisdom so much that they crave a word or two on a daily basis.

      Time will tell

    132. scott says:

      Don’t know what happened to my post,my fault.

      As Cameron is quite happy to sale arms to Saudi I suppose he condones this but you never hear about from union media.

      on.rt.com/6xpb

    133. mogabee says:

      O/T

      Can’t get any crazier than cooncillor Kelly. No replies could do this justice…

      https://archive.is/N18vW

    134. Tony Little says:

      @scott

      Yes the UK is extremely happy to supply arms to Saudi Arabia, I believe that a new deal of several billion has recently been singed. This of course is the very same Saudi Arabia which is today executing in public 50 prisoners by beheading! But that’s OK, as these are barbaric executions by OUR pals.

      Hypocrites? Shurely shome mishtake?

    135. sensibledave says:

      Robert Kerr 11:56 am

      You wrote “You specifically used the word “debate” twice in your post. Knowing full well it was a lie. Don’t you realise you are a source of amusement here on WoS?”

      Lie? Sorry Robert, I wasn’t aware that the word “debate” was so inflammatory. I will try to be more careful in future so as not to offend your fragile sensibilities.

      If you actually read my comments, you would have seen, for what its worth, that I had no issue at all with Mr Salmond not being in attendance. With respect to my side comment about it not being the last he will hear of it – do you disagree with me? Or have you just chosen me to vent your spleen because of the injustice of it all.

      I am quite sure that Mr Salmond is more than capable of dealing with any misplaced criticism.

      On the subject of being a source of amusement – good to hear. To be able to educate and inform, whilst making people laugh, is a special skill – so thank you!

    136. Robert Peffers says:

      @Bill McLean says: 27 November, 2015 at 10:16 am:
      ” … Won’t go on as personal gets boring but what memories you have evoked by just the name “Dollytown” which I had completely forgotten. Apologies all!”

      Och! Bill, don’t apologise. Personal isn’t boring. Wings is a bit like an enlarged, (very enlarged these days), family. A bit of personal allows us to get to know each other better and, in this case the details are making relevant points.

      It explains to wingers in the rest of Scotland just how exceptional those Rosyth and Dunfermline results really are.

      One really has to have experienced Rosyth Dockyard in the years before Scots gained a foothold in the management side of the yard and, as the town of Rosyth was mainly Dockyard employing 10,000 plus people not including navy.

      When I joined the yard as an apprentice I honestly cannot remember a single person, from charge hand upwards, that wasn’t from an English Dockyard. We Scots were treated like foreigners in our own country.

      The point is Rosyth, Inverkeithing, Parts of Dunfermline, Edinburgh and Falkirk were almost 100% English Dockyard enclaves in Scotland.

      There were fleet ferries and trainloads of workers brought into the yard every day, as well as busloads from all over Fife.

      Rosyth & Dunfermline are indeed strange demographics. Those two results are quite a good deal more encouraging than many would suppose.

    137. heedtracker says:

      Can’t get any crazier than cooncillor Kelly. No replies could do this justice…

      And only a red tory has to actual say out loud, “I’m a socialist”

      About Me
      My Photo
      Cllr Terry Kelly
      I’m a Socialist

    138. Andrew McLean says:

      Actually I am not letting go of this, imagine we actually did go to war in Syria, and god forbid some poor woman got a knock at the door and was told her, husband, or son or father had been killed. His bloody leavings spread in the sand, later she finds out that one hundred and ninety three Members of Parliament couldn’t even be arsed to vote either way.

      Now that is shameful, regardless of your thoughts on war, justified or not for whatever reason the military will be called upon to make personal sacrifices – including the ultimate sacrifice in the service of the Nation, you may correctly in my view say not in my name, to the politicians but the guys themselves deserve respect.

      FFS One hundred and ninety three, but lets just go with “oh that terrible man, ma knickers are in a right twist,” SNP bad!

    139. heedtracker says:

      With respect to my side comment about it not being the last he will hear of it – do you disagree with me? Or have you just chosen me to vent your spleen because of the injustice of it all.

      Our staggeringly corrupt media, led and coordinated by the BBC, use anything to attack Scotland’s democracy and our democratically elected by huge majority, SNP representatives.

      So it makes no odds what Salmond does or doesn’t do in the red/blue tory UKOK propaganda world sensibledave.

      They’re pretty popular sensibledave, our SNP MSP’s and MP’s. They don’t need steel barricades, lines of armoured riot cops, or even snipers on the roofs of their conference halls.

      Even Salmond gets mobbed by friendly voters wherever he goes, in Scotland.

      So bit of a two world thing going on in Scotland, UKOK attack propaganda and reality.

    140. Macart says:

      @Mogabee

      He doesn’t get let out much obviously.

      Or certainly not without supervision. 🙂

    141. sensibledave says:

      heedtracker 12:48 pm

      2 + 2 = 4

    142. mogabee says:

      Sam

      I’m amazed he manages to put one foot in front of t’other.

    143. Andrew McLean says:

      heedtracker says: mogabee says:

      I just followed your link, and was shocked to discover he has in his last post accused a SNP MP of child abuse, of fondling underage girls of being a pedophile! FFS that can’t stand.

    144. heedtracker says:

      sensibledave says:
      27 November, 2015 at 1:14 pm
      heedtracker 12:48 pm

      2 + 2 = 4

      If only sensible

      Check out red toryboys in action in your Scotland region today

      Red toryboys are going after SNP Scots.gov for £333m PFI spends

      So from here

      Neil Findlay ?@Neil_FindlayMSP 2 hrs2 hours ago
      Here is the list of the Scottish Government’s latest PFI contracts – http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2015/11/27/330m-scottish-health-and-school-projects-get-all-clear/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

      to here

      http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2015/11/27/330m-scottish-health-and-school-projects-get-all-clear/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

      and then back to UKOK red/blue toryboy world sadly

      http://www.independent.co.uk/money/loans-credit/crippling-pfi-deals-leave-britain-222bn-in-debt-10170214.html

      The startling figure – described by experts as a “financial disaster” – has been calculated as part of an Independent on Sunday analysis of Treasury data on more than 720 PFIs. The analysis has been verified by the National Audit Office (NAO)

    145. dakk says:

      Sensibledave. 11.12

      ‘I’m feeling quite perky today’

      Glad to see you are feeling better Dave,after your display of mouth foaming Britnat bloodlust the other day,when I must say I feared for your mental health.

    146. Robert Peffers says:

      @sensibledave says: 27 November, 2015 at 11:12 am:

      “Morning all, I’m feeling quite perky today”.”

      Well bully for you.

      “…. On the Alex Salmond non-appearance at HoC debate yesterday”

      Oh! Here we go – same old twaddle as usual. Totally uninformed, misinformed or deliberately reformatted unionist propaganda. Which, to boot, is as relevant to Scotland as the price of fish in the Scilly Isles.

      Go find out the truth, Dave, before you make yourself any more Scilly, (did I spell that correctly?), than usual.

      Alex Salmond is not only an MP he is an MSP and a member of the Privy Council. He thus has two lots of constituents to serve and as a Privy Councillor was briefed upon Hameron’s Britnat bloodlust desire to bomb Syria even more than before.

      On the date in question he had duties to attend to in Holyrood as an MSP and constituency tasks to attend to. As the Westminster do was nothing more than a statement of intent and explanation of Hameron’s intent to illegally bomb Syria he had already been briefed about, he had neither anything to add that he, (Salmond), had not already made public nor anything more to gain than the Privy Council briefing had imparted.

      Now run along like a good chap and remember in future to properly research the things you seem so eager to misinform us about.

    147. sensibledave says:

      heedtracker 1.24pm

      I only wrote: “2 + 2 = 4”

      You wrote – a rant about UKOK!!!!!

      Hahahaa! I’m guessing you didn’t quite see the set-up Heedy.

      I can see I am going to have to spell it out. I wrote “2 + 2 = 4” – as an indisputable “fact” Heedy – albeit from someone who is not a member of the SNP.

      I just wanted to see what you would write – you didn’t disappoint!!! Tee hee.

    148. K1 says:

      Prick…and balloons burst.

    149. sensibledave says:

      Robert Peffers 1.47

      Robert, I am not one to use profanity, but really, sometimes, you such an a**e!!!

      You can’t have read, or understood, my comments with respect to Alex Salmond – or you couldn’t possibly have written such complete, laughable, misplaced, misdirected tosh!

      I wrote: “I am quite sure that Mr Salmond is more than capable of dealing with any misplaced criticism.” (see the word “misplaced” there Robert?)

      …. and I also wrote “that I had no issue at all with Mr Salmond not being in attendance. (see again Robert? No criticism from me).

      … and finally, the whole sentence, which includes the delicately edited part you used to start your tosh:

      “…. On the Alex Salmond non-appearance at HoC debate yesterday, based upon what I have read, his absence was actually irrelevant for the reasons given in the link. (note I wrote: “his absence was irrelevant for the reasons (backed up by you) shown in the link (provided by the Rev)”. (again Robert, I agreed with the Rev that Mr Salmond’s absence was totally understandable and reasonable)

      Robert, you are so busy looking for a fight, you are unable to see when someone agrees with you! You make yourself look like an idiot.

      As penance for your foolishness, I demand you could write me 20 paragraphs on 300 years of history of the evolution of the illegal United Kingdom. Go on. You know you want to!

    150. Will Podmore says:

      The government is out to destroy public services and all local government. This is not ‘austerity’ it is exploitation.

    151. Bill McLean says:

      Will Podmore – now you are beginning to get it!!!

    152. Thepnr says:

      @Bill McLean

      Yes indeed. Are you Will?

    153. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      @ Will Podmore

      It is Class Warfare. An attempt to redress the last 70 years of social development in the UK and return to the glorious 1930s to include warfare and conscription (soon).

    154. Will Podmore says:

      They create a desert and call it peace.



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