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The trouble with Lords

Posted on December 08, 2015 by

This morning’s Daily Record, and also some newspapers, report that booze-ruined internet troll and convicted violent criminal George Foulkes – who’s spent several decades of his political career campaigning to abolish the House Of Lords, and all of the last one sitting in it as Baron Foulkes of Cumnock – has dreamt up a wizard new wheeze to enhance the Scottish Parliament by giving it its own chamber of peers.

foulkeslords1

The thirsty noble aims to avoid the undemocratic nature of the UK Lords by making the new “senate” an elected chamber. But in an uncharacteristic development that will shock innocent readers to their cores, he doesn’t seem to have thought it through.

The House Of Lords is a fascinating aspect of the British political system. On the surface a simple outrage against the citizenry, handing faithful party apparatchiks and rich donors positions of power and privilege for life, often after they’ve been explicitly and resoundingly rejected by voters in elections.

It’s also sectarian, reserving dozens of permanent seats for Protestant Christian bishops but none for representatives of other religions or no religion.

Lords are disproportionately wealthy, male, white and privately-educated, with a few token idiots (usually Tories) from the working classes elevated for comedy value.

ladymone

The standard response of those on the left to this catalogue of flaws is to reflexively demand abolition, a position which is suspended from time to time when the Lords does something popular, such as when it blocked some of New Labour’s worst attacks on civil liberties or more recently the Tories’ attempts to slash tax credits.

Such events illustrate the obvious merit in having a chamber which isn’t constrained by the need for constant election. Many measures regarding the governance of a nation require lawmakers to take a long-term view over policies which might cause short-term pain to do good in the long run, but politicians who must stay popular for at least five years at a time to stay in power are often understandably reluctant to do so.

The paradox is in many ways insoluble (and is further complicated by both main UK parties’ tendency to stuff the Lords with their own supporters – leading to its current absurdly bloated complement of almost 900 peers – and the refusal of the SNP to participate at all). To do a good job, the nation’s parliament has to be able to act in the long-term interest, yet enabling it to do so undermines democracy. Few would support the idea of electing governments for 10 or 15 years at a time.

The worst of all possible worlds, though, is an elected second chamber. Barack Obama has been President of the USA for eight years but has been prevented from enacting several of his election promises (eg closing the Guantanamo concentration camp) because of American voters’ habit of electing a Democratic upper house and a Republican lower house which deliberately thwart each other.

Basically an elected second chamber offers two possibilities: either the public votes the same way for the second chamber as it does for the first one (making it pointless) or it votes for opposing houses which will fight each other to exhausting stalemates.

It’s sometimes proposed that the second chamber be elected for a longer period (say 15 years) while the main chamber is elected for four or five as normal, but that simply makes the stalemates more likely, as parties and politicians whose time has passed cling to the levers of power, or at least hang on them like dead weights, imposing the view of the past on the present.

The last Scottish Parliament second-chamber election under such a system would have been in 2001, and would beyond any reasonable doubt have resulted in major Labour dominance. Imagine the outrage if that chamber was today blocking the SNP’s legislation with the sort of kneejerk oppositionism that characterises all three Unionist parties at Holyrood now. The independence referendum would almost certainly never have been allowed to happen, for a start.

(Or, depending how you count it, there’d have been one in 1999 and then in 2014, at which you’d have to presume the SNP would likely have swept the board, rendering the second house pretty useless as a means of keeping their power in check.)

scotsmanlords

The best solution to the recognised drawbacks of a unicameral system is to elect the parliament by proportional representation, which encourages co-operation rather than reflexive opposition while maintaining the principles of democracy. In the normal course of events PR stops one party having absolute control on a small minority of the vote (a situation which reached its nadir in 2005, when Labour had a comfortable 60-seat majority on barely one third of the popular vote).

Proportional elections foster the idea of longer-term thinking (because the country isn’t made to swing between two radically-different ideologies which spend half their time undoing each other’s work), but they still give the electorate the freedom to choose a majority government if it considers the opposition too dreadful to have any share of power, as happened in Scotland in 2011.

The cries of the spurned parties, and their tame media lapdogs decrying the “one-party state” produced by such a choice on the part of the voters, are not symptoms of a failure of democracy. They’re consequences of democracy. If you’re useless, people won’t vote for you, and you have no business demanding a “quota” of representation over and above that which you earned fairly at the ballot box.

We can understand the frustration of the Unionist parties in Scotland right now. Labour have been conditioned for three generations to regard political control of the country as a birthright, and the Tories still struggle uncomprehendingly to come to terms with the unyielding persistence of their post-Thatcher toxicity.

But such is the will of the voters, and to seek to wriggle out of your own unpopularity by means of procedural cheating is a doomed endeavour. We’re going to stick our necks out on this one, with an unusual degree of certitude – there will be no House Of Lairds, and there never should be. You either believe in democracy or you don’t.

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    153 to “The trouble with Lords”

    1. Simon Chadwick says:

      If you have a working representative democratic first chamber, then there is no need for a second.

      I thought the Commons and the Lords were originally set up not so that each could provide “scrutiny” or a check on the other, but to represent the interests of different classes in society.

      Trouble with the site? This and the previous post don’t show on the front page. Took some sleuthing to find this post!

    2. Murray McCallum says:

      A Scottish “senate” would be yet another layer of high level bureaucracy. Another route for career politicians to centrally govern Scotland’s 5.3 million inhabitants.

      I would prefer a clear, easy-access, rigorous (but affordable) method for recall of MSPs.

      Better to enhance the value of local elections and increase public powers over a minority of MSPs that prove not up to the task.

    3. Anagach says:

      Stu

      The Home page link is 2 articles back for me… dont know if someone messing with your site.

    4. Bob Mack says:

      It is indeed a strange thing when you steal democracy by introducing more “democracy”.
      Labour in its pathetic scrambling to hold on to their former power base in Scotland now want these often drunken nobodies in place to thwart any initiatives by the SNP.

      Can you imagine had they been in place and attempting to block everything done up to now.They would not be there to scrutinise anything . They would be put in place simply to disrupt

      I for one would find it utterly unacceptable that, “They are doing it deliberately” Foulkes would be afforded any say other than as an ordinary voter in our country.

    5. donald anderson says:

      Didn’t once say that he wanted to abolish the Scottish Office? Looks like he might manage it from within for foulkes sakes

    6. Holebender says:

      I think it is worth considering an elected senate for which the franchise is regionally based. In other words, each region of the country elects an equal number of senators. It would be a means of reducing the dominance of the over-populated Central Belt while increasing the influence of more sparsely populated regions.

      The franchise could be based on the existing regions which are currently used for the list vote. So, for example, each region could elect five senators which would mean Glasgow would have five senators, and so would the Highlands.

    7. John Sellars says:

      Great article.

      The “thirsty noble” phrase is pure gold.

    8. Colin Church says:

      It is the mechanism rather than the idea that is more intriguing.

      Will Lords pass the well refreshed one’s amendment? There are plenty failed and bitter Scots ex MPs in there. If so will HoC accept? Tory yes and Labour abstain?

      If it is in the Bill that goes back to Holyrood the SNP have a choice to accept it or refuse on the grounds of a WM imposed second chamber.

      If no from SNP then SNP accused of refusing scrutiny, protecting one party state and Godwin ensues in the Press.

      Mischief making distraction from Labour wipe out.

    9. Capella says:

      This is a great post. But it doesn’t appear on the Home Page. Something needs fixed.

      Labour have also tried to argue that devolution should continue all the way to Local Authorities, which they have dominated for decades. But now they have clearly realised that this will end in 2017. Enter Lord Foulkes with an alternative method of keeping power in the “right” hands.

      No chance.

    10. Morgwn Davies says:

      It is a bit unfair to use America’s 2nd chamber as the worst exampke of a 2nd chamber. The whole system of US Federal government, President, House of Senators and House of Representatives was designed to provide checks and balances, so no one person or group could be become too powerful. The problem is that it was designed by men who disagreed on a lot but who would compromise in the bes5 intrest of the state. Now the US has a Republican party who will not compromise and want to push the process of governmemt to breaking point. Something the Founding Fathers never believed would happen. Actually that would be the position with a Labour majority in a second Scottish Chamber and a SNP first chamber. Labour would attempt to block everything.

    11. Nation Libre says:

      Nothing after ‘The Visionary’ with 16 comments coming up on the home page

      Found this article via Facebook

    12. Capella says:

      The site problem seems to have started between “The visonary” and
      “The Scottish Media Dictionary”. TSMD did not appear on the Home page but could be accessed from a link at the foot of the “The visionary” comments.

      Once there, it is listed on the right hand side bar, as is “The Trouble With Lords”. TTWL also does not appear on the Home page.

    13. Macart says:

      Its taken the Labour party almost a hundred years to do absolutely nothing about the HoL, other than join in whenever the opportunity presents itself of course.

      Excellent points about PR and consensus politics. If they won’t play nice, the public could always use a constitution to make them play nice. 🙂

    14. msean says:

      Looks like an attempt to circumvent the settled will of the Scots electorate by introducing a second chamber to slow down the work of the primary elected chamber. Slowed to Westminster speeds in order to wait out the snp or whoever is in government,nothing would get done and would be great news for all the sir Humphry types behind the scenes,and we all saw what power they wielded during the indyref.

    15. Bob Mack says:

      To call the UK a Democracy is truly inaccurate in any event.
      The UK has 3 different types of governance going on at any one time.
      Government of the people ,by the people ,for the people is the myth perpetuated in places like Britain and America to keep the population in place and servile.We think we have choices.
      In fact we have two other systems which actually decide our daily lives.The first is Monarchy to whom all members of Parliament swear an oath of allegiance,and the second is the Oligarchy, the rich and usually enobled,whose main aim in life is to serve themselves and the Monarchy.

      Us “Joe Public” are at the bottom of a very select pile. We can change Governments we believe,but when you look at Labour and the Tories these days,is there a choice of radical change in which the voice of ordinary people is heard.

      The system truly stinks already and is in no need of further flotsam .

    16. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “It would be a means of reducing the dominance of the over-populated Central Belt while increasing the influence of more sparsely populated regions”

      Why is that fair? Why should tiny minorities get to over-ride the wishes of the vast majority of the population? Governments are meant to serve people, not areas of land.

    17. Camz says:

      Simple answer.

      Proportional upper house with all members banned from political party membership or affiliation.

    18. heedtracker says:

      Scotland was a one red tory party state, region rather, under Labour for many decades. All of it resulting in extremes of wealth and poverty. BBC etc made Scottish poverty world famous, just for laughs and poverty porno.

      They’re still clinging on to city councils and BBC Scotland but the end is near. Good fcuking riddance.

    19. Capella says:

      I can see the advantage of a scrutinising committee (if there isn’t already such a thing) which is not party political. For example representatives from the legal, health and education professions, business?, and one from each region. People casting their eye over bills and commenting, but not hindering, might be useful.

      Perhaps appointing them on a rotating basis would be better than more elections. Like jury duty!

      How do other small countries manage scrutiny?

      The House of Lords is a democratic disgrace and should be abolished IMO.

    20. Donald MacKenzie says:

      Love that bit in his election leaflet that says, “The strength of the Labour Movement is in our unity”.

      Would his Lordship care to comment now? On the other hand, please don’t let him near a microphone.

    21. Andrew McLean says:

      I am tempted to say, yes once we have independence, but I fear this is a trick by DC to get rid of a bunch of hopeless duffers. Then we will have to pay for them, and their grubby little sticky fingers will be all over our body politic, and you would not like that, no you would not!

      I mean there is not a lot that you can use them for, seriously you couldn’t even sell them on eBay?
      We could string them together and make a peer? Help with the forth crossing perhaps? Or drop them on Syria, no those poor buggers have had enough to contend with!

      No sorry can’t think of any good use for them, not even knitting jumpers to keep the refugees warm it would tale them so long to debate and spin the yarns, they would be hypothermic.

    22. handclapping says:

      I thought the whole idea of the AM system was to give minor parties seats that they didn’t deserve. Why should we add another layer of placemen?

      Just imagine 46 lairds including Foulkes, Martin, Watson, Mone, Lang, Forsyth and Carmichael. Its a good thing I’ve not had my breakfast yet. 🙁

    23. Andrew McLean says:

      Point of Order
      Rev
      You are always clinically exact in your forensic distillation of the facts, you let yourself down with your remarks appending to the photograph in your post.

      There are clearly three tits in the photograph, or are you admitting to a secret admiration of one?

    24. call me dave says:

      For folks sake, no Lords a leaping all over Scotland thanks!

    25. heedtracker says:

      Maybe its all about the UKOK spin, SLab’s right to reign over Scotland mentality wise

      Duncan Hothersall ?@dhothersall 58m58 minutes ago
      So @ChrisMcElenySNP called targeted air strikes trying to stop ISIL brutality “acts of terror on innocent people”?

      http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/dec/08/david-attenborough-laments-dreadful-uk-bombing-campaign

      “But think of those poor refugees and migrants. My God, the state of the world. Madmen dropping bombs in places, as if that solves anything. And poor people being bombed by us. It’s dreadful.”

      and one of those Slabour madmen just got a new job with a Californian hedge fund worth £1.5 trillion, having destroyed Scottish democracy last year, was the plan.

      http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/dec/08/gordon-brown-investment-firm-pimco-global-advisory-board

      UKOK irony, but the fact that madman Gordon Brown and co got booted out of unelected office, left behind a £1.5+ trillion national debt for all of us and now works for a US hedge fund worth £1.5+ trillion, sums them all up.

      SNP X2 next May.

    26. Sinky says:

      The ruling party at Westminster just packs the Lords with its supporters and the vote against Welfare was very much the exception.

      The whole point of a Senate based in the “nationalist shibboleth” is to emasculate the SNP and give the Unionists a built in majority.

      As for Lord Foulkes “but he’s doing it deliberately” nothing to do with scrutiny or democracy.

    27. Luigi says:

      Sounds like a thirsty noble’s not-so-cunning plan to try and stall IndyRef2, IMHO.

      Hic. 🙂

    28. Holebender says:

      Stu, it would be fair because democracy should not mean dictatorship of the majority. Is it unfair that the EU has elected representation weighted in favour of smaller countries at the expense of the behemoths? I believe it is.

      I’m not suggesting that the senate should have a veto over the primary chamber, just that the make-up of the senate could be arranged to give an enhanced voice to people who are normally drowned out by Central Belters. It is not the land areas which would be represented, but the people who live in the various regions.

      Is it fair that the UK is run by and for England’s 85% of the overall population? Is it fair that Scotland can elect 95% of its MPs from one party only for that party to be completely marginalised by the 91% of MPs who do not represent Scottish constituencies? My argument is that the same applies to, say, the Western Isles in a Scottish context as applies to Scotland in the UK.

    29. heedtracker says:

      Local end of era SLab democracy, “we want more MONEY” to cash strap/piss away, on vital stuff, not pointless, extravagant money pits, what we’re being punished by vile separatists for.

      https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeen/772584/senior-aberdeen-councillors-claim-john-swinney-is-punishing-councils/

      And finance convener Willie Young went further – suggesting Finance Secretary John Swinney was deliberately holding out on providing cash-strapped councils with more funding.

      https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeen/412765/call-to-halt-30million-revamp-of-aberdeen-art-gallery/

    30. galacennalath says:

      Camz says:

      “Proportional upper house with all members banned from political party membership or affiliation.”

      Perhaps.

      I see no reason for any second chamber made up of the same kind of folk as the lower. I certainly don’t like appointments, and politicians have become a political class, a profession. We don’t need two houses full of them!

      So, Yes, you make a good point. If there must be a second oversight chamber then why not make it up with people who have never been in politics? Charities, unions, businesses, farmers, academics, men, women, old, young, etc etc.. Individuals stand on their own, and we vote for them by multi option vote. Certain demographics built in perhaps, like 50:50 gender.

    31. Simon Chadwick says:

      “There is still poverty, injustice and inequality in Britain today”.

    32. Simon Chadwick says:

      It’s too easy.

      “…become crazed, with eyes glazed, oblivious to everything around them”

    33. heedtracker says:

      Future SLabour Lord Dougie of Mayfair also puts the UKOK boot in, from Boston this time

      http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2015/11/16/will-britain-leave/WaGWWqNojunV0N83ONkvmI/story.html?utm_content=buffer288c9&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

      I saved the blessed UK but it was a close call America!

      “Why,” you ask with a shake of the head, “would Britain want to do that?”

      The best explanation I can offer is that my country is experiencing the same kind of outsider, antiestablishment populism that is doing so much to shape your presidential primaries through the candidacies of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump,”

      So there YES voter. To be fair Mhairi Black will pay for her outsider, antiestablishment populism. Likes of Pacific Quay reprobates will make it so.

    34. Auld Rock says:

      Just a thought, given the SNP’s current lead in the polls they would probably win the ‘Senate’ with a large majority, where would the boring old fart go then – ban the ruling Party of Government from standing for the ‘Senate’??? I could foresee chaos. Also for someone who wanted HoL abolished he certainly attends and milks the corrupt system for at least four days every week!!! Yip, George grab the gravy while you can.

      Auld Rock

    35. Anagach says:

      Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Why is that fair? Why should tiny minorities get to over-ride the wishes of the vast majority of the population? Governments are meant to serve people, not areas of land.

      Because where there is a geographical concentration, or a social concentration, or an ethnic concentration, you risk in any democracy a dictatorship of the majority to the detriment of the more marginal in terms of resources or services.

      The second house in the US was to allow sparsely populated states a say in government they did not have by population alone.

      Balances. No one is right, some are better, some are worse.

    36. Kenny says:

      I can’t abide the House of Lords, but I think it’s true that the Scottish Parliament could sometimes use a second chamber of some kind to add a bit of something less political to the process. For example, I actually quite like the concept of the cross-bench peers. They don’t follow a whip (although some might as well) and are generally in post because of great achievement in another field (usually business, natch.)

      While it might be expensive and difficult to organise, I’d like to see some sort of convention called around each new piece of legislation. Businesses, trade unions, community groups, charities, churches, concerned individuals and whomever else fancied it could apply to be involved. There would be discussion and scrutiny. At the end of it, they wouldn’t be able to block legislation but would be able to submit amendments for the Parliament to vote on. It would be more participatory, more inclusive, would build political awareness and involvement and would be able to challenge the government’s weaknesses and failings without it being the same tired, partisan rhetoric we’re so used to at the moment.

      A similar process should be in place for the regions. Stu is wrong above to complain about a geographical basis for representation. In the states, for example, the Senate is made up of two senators per state, whether it’s as big as Texas or as small as Rhode Island. The precise point is to make sure that the needs of smaller or less heavily populated states aren’t always massively outweighed by, say, California, Texas and New York. Here, it’s a simple fact that the highlands and islands of Scotland have very distinct needs that are often crowded out by the dominance of the Central Belt (and especially Glasgow) in our national life. A commission of the MPs and MSPs from a given region plus reps from the local council, major local employers and so on could meet once or twice a year to discuss the needs of the region and then propose action to the government.

      Yes, it could be slow and cumbersome and expensive, but real democracy always is. If we’re serious about a “new kind of politics” and about boosting “political engagement” then we need to think about some more radical ways of doing it. An elected chamber has the problems Stu identifies. An unelected chamber like the Lords is an absolute affront to democracy. Something like what I propose could bridge that gap. It would be non-partisan, open to anyone with a legitimate interest and something to contribute, could provide scrutiny and look into the dark corners that politicians try to hide from us and generally improve the way our country operates. Who’s with me?

    37. schrodingers cat says:

      bin calling for carlton hill to be declared as the upper chamber of holyrood for months now.

      disappointed the only person listening was foulks

      then again, I wanted the mps to decant from Westminster and to discuss the make up of said upper chamber

      not something imposed on us by those with no electoral mandate in scotland

    38. caz-m says:

      O/T

      BBC Scotland clip of the up and coming news bulletin,

      “A report WARNS…”

      Not heard the “W” word since before Sept 18th 2014.

    39. caz-m says:

      camz

      caz-m

      Very similar, lol.

    40. Dan Huil says:

      So, SNP/SNP in May, then SNP/SNP/SNP if Mr Magoo’s inebriate idea is accepted.

    41. Doug Daniel says:

      I just don’t see the point in an upper chamber. The only reason something like that is required in Westminster is because the House of Commons allows governments to get majorities on a minority of the vote. If you have a proper voting system in place, then the voters can decide for themselves if they want to give one party untrammelled power, or have them held back by a junior partner. You could argue that Holyrood should have a slightly different system to ensure that you really do need to get over 50% of the vote to get a majority, but nobody seems to be interested in arguing for that.

      Voters vote on the manifestos put forward by parties at elections. What right does an upper chamber have to then interfere in the passing of those manifesto promises? All the times the House of Lords has come to the rescue so far this year would have been avoided if the House of Commons was elected through proportional representation, thereby keeping the Tories from having free rein to put forward their more ridiculous proposals.

      Denmark, Norway, Finland and the likes manage fine with unicameral parliaments. Norway even changed theirs recently from having an internally-elected upper chamber to being a pure unicameral parliament. But they have proper voting systems, unlike Westminster.

    42. X_Sticks says:

      @heedtracker

      Willie Young is an embarrassment every time he opens his mouth. A really nasty piece of work.

      I hope his involvement with the Marishal Square development is investigated. It stinks to high heaven.

    43. Dan Huil says:

      After Scotland regains its independence keep the parliament unicameral but beef up the power of select committees, and even include/swear-in/give a vote to a couple of invited experts on a temporary basis.

    44. Ken500 says:

      That is never going to happen. No more lying, evil, coarse, greedy, Unionist troughers. Foulkes should be put in jail for what he has done to Scotland. No Second Chambers in Scotland. The HoL has already caused catastrophe in the UK/World. The Balfour Agreement 1917.

      The Irish troubles caused by the HoL delay.

      Foulkes is a disgraceful criminal. A total crook. Along with his useless protege. A total delaying tactic.

    45. liz says:

      OMG I posted exactly that thought on the previous thread.

      It makes sense to them cos it would force the SNP to have lords which they are dead against and would pull them into the establishment cesspool.

    46. Craig Murray says:

      I think we pay the salaries of more than enough politicans already.

    47. caz-m says:

      Lord Faulkes, or whatever he is called, tells us on BBC Scotland that he has always wanted a Senate set up in Scotland, even when it was a Labour, Lib/Dem coalition.

      I don’t remember you shouting about it George, have you any proof of that?

      And out of which budget do you cover the costs of running this Senate George?

    48. X_Sticks says:

      Also meant to say regarding Foulkes, does he see the writing on the wall? Trying to find a place to go post indy when WM kick him and the other britnat suckers out.

      BTW in Astana in Kazakhstan right now and the broadband here makes the UK (and especially Scotland) look positively primitive. Astonishing what a country with an oil industry can do when it gets its independence. They have built Astana (the new capital) in about 20 years and it’s an amazing place. Borat couldn’t have got it more wrong really, and it just goes to show the british mentality for what it is.

    49. Dan Huil says:

      Foulkes FFS! These “Scottish” Labour working-class heroes [ha bloody ha] leading soft, self-centred lives with their fat backsides sweating subsidised malt whisky on the puke-green benches of the house of lords are simply, unequivocally, the most disgusting of all the lords’ glutinous creatures.

    50. In dreaming up the creation of a second chamber Foulkes
      is hoping that this is a way the unionists can control the Scottish parliament and thwart the SNP from implementing its policy programme.

      Its the same scenario regarding the suggestion from another Labour peer who wants any powers unused by the Scottish Government to be returned to Westminster.

    51. manandboy says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the Unionist Alliance at Westminster, in anticipation of Scottish Independence, are attempting to solve the problem of what to do with 63 Scottish peers in the House of Lords, once the right to self-determination has been agreed by the Scottish electorate.

      Once Scotland is an independent country, it is inconceivable that rUK would want to keep the 63, on £300 a day, till they all died off.

      So I expect there’s a little group from the HoL, charged with finding a solution and Foulkes is its mouthpiece. Hence the idea of a Holyrood upper chamber.

    52. Cuilean says:

      To (a) fund the new ‘Hoose of Lairds’

      &
      (b) avoid over-representation by Scots in UK (heaven forfend)!

      all Scots must stand down from ‘House of Lords’ immediately ‘the Hoose of Lairds’ convenes.

    53. Lollysmum says:

      O/T

      Just a reminder. Currently standing at £161k -target is £208k by Christmas. Please chip in if you can

      https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-people-versus-carmichael#/funders

    54. heedtracker says:

      X_Sticks says:
      8 December, 2015 at 1:37 pm
      @heedtracker

      Willie Young is an embarrassment every time he opens his mouth. A really nasty piece of work.

      Wullies a lawyer though, so must be really really clever. He is loaded, makes loadsamoney landlord money. Aberdeen hasnt built any cooncil houses for 40 years. Every new noddy box development is supposed to build “affordable” housing in their get rich quick estates, never happens. not enforced, fcuk yer laws Holyrood.

      Also Wullie and Barnie banned all Scotland flags flying over any of their council property and Alex Salmond too, while he was Scotland First Minister, maybe not now though.

      Other UKOK news, blue toryboy Osborne does a red toryboy Dougie Alexander and shits all over Scottish democracy , from the USA

      Scotland’s made its bed says Baron Osborne

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3350376/No-new-Scottish-independence-poll-vows-Osborne-Chancellor-rules-vote-saying-SNP-noisy-aggressive-block-Commons.html

      No wonder Daily Heil hacks all look like such a bunch of creepy letchers, its not for self abuse Dail Heil buyers, its show business news. ew

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3350778/Ex-TOWIE-star-George-Harrison-parades-ample-bust-pert-posterior-red-swimsuit-Majorca-holiday.html

    55. Illy says:

      There is a good reason for the USA’s upper house, and I happen to think it’s a rather good one, given the geography that they’re dealing with.

      The lower house has the numbers of representatives from a state dependent on the population of that state.

      The upper house has the same number from each state.

      Given the *massive* disparity in population between states, it’s a compromise solution that keeps the lower population states from being drowned out by the more populous ones.

      Your problem with it is a consequence of the difference in voting patterns between the high-population states, and the low-population states.

      I would actually go for a system like that for the UK, the Commons elected on current constituency lines/Hollyrood-style mixed-PR, and the Lords being filled by 4 people from each of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. (also, 16 people can actually hold a debate, rather than the braying match in the commons)

      You want an elected upper house, that’s not a bad way to do it.

    56. Colin says:

      One way to stem the SNP in power would be for Labour to win more seats………Ok, being stupid I know !!!

    57. nodrog says:

      Just another trough to get their noses stuck in.

    58. handclapping says:

      OT Wings tweet
      “Rockstar SuperSours Bubbleburst High Caffeine Energy Drink” sounds like a healthy thing to be consuming, right?

      The Rev not only will be needing a holiday but in the Priory to boot!

    59. schrodingers cat says:

      ot
      allan grogan ditches rise

      both rise and ssp ceased to exist today, probably explains alan bissits comments on twitter and the cringing loki article in bella

      http://www.allangrogan.com/2015/12/why-i-wont-be-standing-for-rise-alliance.html

    60. manandboy says:

      In four years time, the question will not be about a House of Lairds, but about democracy itself, as the Tory political dynasty establishes a stranglehold on electoral politics in England to gain another five year tyranny in 2020.
      If not sooner, the perceived consequences of such a position may very well prove intolerable to non-tory voters and in that moment, opportunity may well come knocking.

    61. heedtracker says:

      Murray’s get kicked in to touch in by Sterling, another day of BBC hourly SNP bad monstering,

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-35037503

      Sturgeon denies, everything.

      When things look pretty bleak, thrilled UKOK unionist’s exciting news about NOT Scots oil price drop, is always an upper

      Blair McDougall Retweeted
      Jamie McGeever ?@ReutersJamie 28m28 minutes ago
      Brent crude oil falls below $40 a barrel for the first time since Feb 2009. Down 10% in the last two days.

      Only in a UKOK Scotland.

    62. Ken500 says:

      Willy Young has wasted £Million/Billion of public money. He is a greedy parasite .He is a fraudster. He is spending public money without a mandate, backed up by a reneging Green. The NE is getting a funded by-pass from the Scottish Gov. £MIillions.

      Willy Young is a disgrace, destroying the City Centre, causing congestion and traffic chaos. People are protesting in the street. Building a Carbuncle in the City Centre, wasting £Millions/Billions of public money, creating debt, without majority support. Willy Young is a liar.

      Unionists hae destroyed the NE/Scottish/UK economy. Thousands of people are losing their jobs. Osbourne is taxing the Oil sector at 75%. Destroying jobs and production. More Oil & Gas has to imported putting up the balance of payments deficit And the debt. Costing Scotland £Billions.

    63. heedtracker says:

      http://www.stirlinggreens.org.uk/

      It was the UKOK Greens what defeated Murray.

      Aberdeen Greens caused catastrophic economic damage to the north east of Scotland but they know best clearly.

      Another future UKOK Lord in the making

      https://twitter.com/markruskell

    64. yesindyref2 says:

      OT (courtesty of the Herald wow)

      Google “subsequently definition”

    65. Proud Cybernat says:

      Less than 800 signatures now required to get the SNP’s Syria petition over the 100,000 line. With a 100,000 signatures the petition will be heard in the HoC. So, if you haven’t signed it already, please do so. Let’s push it over the line.

      http://www.snp.org/dont-bomb-syria

    66. Dr Jim says:

      The only people who complain about a one party state are the ones who can’t get folk to vote for them because they’re rubbish
      That’s not the fault of the SNP it’s their strength, any opposition just needs to get better or stop moaning, it’s how you win
      House o Lairds, never happen, I hope, we’ve got enough diddies floating around without have senile old drunks lapping up expenses paid for by the Scottish taxpayer holding up legislation just because

      Anyway Scotland could never have a one party state as long as the BBC exists, that’s THEIR job isn’t it?

      Once we get control of Scotland back we’ll intern all the unbelievers anyway and close any Institutions that stand against us until we have peace and harmony throughout the Nation, and for those who aren’t ready to accept the Bliss that is to come, reprogramming will be free on the NHS

      Amazing how much the Yookay fears our Teeny Weeny little bankrupt useless stupid country isn’t it, that they keep coming up with even more LESS ingenious ways of preventing democracy happening

      Makes you think

    67. Dan Huil says:

      @heedtracker 2:02pm

      Thanks for alerting us to Gideon’s latest “vow” to deny Scotland a second referendum. I hope the Rev finds the video and gives it the publicity it deserves.

    68. Ken500 says:

      Kettle black

      Cameron has killed and maimed millions of Muslims. Trump has not.

      The devastation in the NE of England has happened because people voted Tory. They cut taxes and public spending in England. it has cost more.

    69. tamson says:

      Most small European nations (including all of Scandinavia), do not have a second chamber in their national parliament. What they do tend to have is greater levels of devolution within the country.

    70. starlaw says:

      Perhaps George has seen the writing on the wall when an Independent Scotland will cause him and his likes to get booted out of HoL (no bloody foreigners here) and wish’s to feather his own nest.
      There could be merit in this as it would help the tourist industry. However no need to copy HoL we could have our very own name and titles say .. House of Troughers and a uniform could also be designed, out with ermine and feathers that is so yesterday .. perhaps they could wear carrots on their heads or something similar.

    71. Glamaig says:

      Heedtracker 2:02

      I feel soiled, I clicked a Daily Heil link.
      Baron Osbourne is saying some delusional stuff there.

      ‘Scotland voted emphatically to stay in the United Kingdom, which I think was an affirmation of what a great country this is.’ LOL

      SNP are ‘a noisy and aggressive block in the House of commons that are not trying to be part of the UK government…’ that’s because they’re the opposition, Mr Osbourne you twat.

      ‘It would be a real tragedy if Scotland left the United Kingdom.’ yes it certainly would, for you and your like Mr Osbourne, but not for Scotland.

      Re noisy and aggressive block, it works both ways. My MP tells me there is a lot of spiteful stuff going on down there which we dont see – eg Labour and Tories engineer procedural stuff to force SNP to stay late so they have to wait till the next day to go home. Generally working hard to wind up Scottish MPs, no doubt hoping to provoke an outburst or an Eric Joyce-style incident.

    72. Ken500 says:

      Forth Road Bridge in 2010. The SNP did not have a majority Gov in Holyrood. The Unionists can stop lying and trying to avoid responsibility for not building another Bridge years ago. They secretly and illrgally put back £Billions to Westminster, including Scotland’s Oil revenues.

      The Unionists are taxing the oil sector at 75% to try and destroy the Scottish/UK economy and putting up the debt. They are lining their pockets with public money.

    73. heedtracker says:

      Dan Huil says:
      8 December, 2015 at 2:45 pm
      @heedtracker 2:02pm

      Thanks for alerting us to Gideon’s latest “vow” to deny Scotland a second referendum.

      Osborne’s Cameron’s successor, so we’re in for a generation of Toryboy rule in their Scotland region now, a generation being at least 2 more tory terms in office, or until they get sick of it all like under Major, and throw the towel in.

      Was red tory Blair,Brown,Darling rule any UKOK better, for Scotland that is.

    74. caz-m says:

      Has Foulkes got a book coming out or something?

    75. Capella says:

      Re the vindictive Stirling Council decision. Anyone who watched their performance at the Holyrood committee into their decision to hold Armed Forces Day on the same day as the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn can see how opposed to the Independence vote these people are.

      The Murrays should appeal.
      Or perhaps the Scottish Government could do what they did in the Trump Menie case, call the application in on the grounds that the letter has not yet been received by the applicants.

    76. Derick fae Yell says:

      A Senate with a regional dimension is a good way to provide checks and balances in a country with a population distribution as uneven as Scotland has.

      There is a reason why Orkney, Shetland, Aberdeenshire, the Highlands, the Borders, Galloway had higher No votes.

      The main chamber, correctly, must reflect the more populated areas, but it doesn’t cater for the regions.

      Devolution within the country is another way, but a Senate is neater. Elected on a longer term – say 10 years. With carefully circumscribed powers to scrutise and suggest amendments to legislation – not to block the will of the main chamber.

      The 2011 result proved that it is possible to ‘break’ a proportional voting system. And we should design for the worst government, not the best one.

      Just because Baron Bampot suggests it, doesn’t make it inherently a bad idea. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. A Senate makes sense, certainly on Independence

    77. Ken500 says:

      Trump – ‘until our Reps find out what hell is going on’

      Another distraction. Total over reaction.

    78. call me dave says:

      I have archived heedtracker’s excellent link to Osborne and his vow that there will be no new independence poll.

      https://archive.is/Rd5lg

      PS:
      Not everyone for tennis!

      https://archive.is/iMuvh

    79. Capella says:

      RT has item on Osborne
      “Britain’;s got its mojo back” i.e. bombing Syria.

      http://on.rt.com/6yu1

      Includes latest Jonathan Pie “I’m a terrorist sympathiser”

    80. DerekM says:

      Aye your right there Rev we dont need a second chamber,that is what we pay our politicians in our parliament to do.

      Its parliaments job and that means all those who sit in her to do the right thing for Scotland by scrutinizing legislation to get it right,now it isnt always going to work its that they try which is important, unfortunately we have a shower of onion idiots who are determined to stop the government from doing anything instead of pitching in and creating ideas and solutions,well i for one think politicians like that have no place in our parliament and i have to question their motives and loyalty to the parliament they preside in.

      The really weird thing is the electorate are wide awake and seeking answers and this lot are devoid of any ideas ,in my book that makes them bad politicians because a good one would seize the opportunity with both hands ,its a politicians dream to have an electorate that is engaged and coming up with ideas they can use,ask the SNP

    81. Ken500 says:

      UK/US France already ban Muslims. Cameron, Obama and Hollande already illegally kill, maim and ban millions of Muslins. It has been happening for over 100 years.

    82. Craig P says:

      In the USA it’s even worse than described. Not only do they have elected upper and lower chambers, they also have an elected head of state! It’s democracy gone mad I tell you 😉

    83. Clootie says:

      …like others I must have missed all the calls by Labour when the feeble 50 represented Scotland. If they still had those votes would they be objecting to “a Labour one party state” – I bet not.

      OR

      The cunning plan for PR at Holyrrod in 1999 to ensure the SNP never gained power by the unionists working together.

    84. caz-m says:

      It’ went all quite over in Syria, has it not?

      I thought we were going to be getting a minute by minute account of all these oil fields being blown up by our brave English pilots in their RAF fighter jets.

      Remember Cameron going on about snakes and heads and all that shite.

      Not a peep from the Beeb.

      Has the war ended and they aren’t telling us?

    85. Robert Louis says:

      It is odd, is it not, that while Labour controlled both the Scottish and UK parliaments just a few years ago, they never once had the urge to create a second chamber. Indeed, since they had a majority at Westminster, and their puppet Labour serving media in Scotland, any possible opposition to such a move could have effectively been trampled on.

      Now that Labour are out of power, they want to change the rules. ‘It just isn’t fair’ they bellow, ‘it’s a one party SNP state’ they whimper. But nobody’s listening. It’s a crying shame. Boo hoo.

    86. Craig P says:

      tamson, Derrick fae Yell – definitely, on independence there is a great need for devolution for the likes of Galloway, Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland.

    87. McBoxheid says:

      The PR system is generally good but has one major drawback. The politicians themselves.
      In Germany there is normally a coalition government.
      The largest party gets first crack at forming a coalition and has talks with the other parties to thrash out potential policy.

      This means that either the CDU/CSU or the SPD get to form a coalition with one or more parties once comprimises have been met and half of their manifesto promises are thrown out the window.

      This caused the total collapse of the FDP which swings whatever way it can to get to be part of a coalition. This makes diversification and policy change even less likely.

      When the only realistic option is the ‘large’ coalition, CDU/CSU and the SPD, that both major parties with percentages of 37% and 29% or there abouts, have to remove any policy that makes them what they are. The Largest getting to have more of their own policies.

      All you end up with is the same thing which happened with New Labour. The left becomes the right and the right becomes slight less right. The difference between the major parties is basically so small that there is no real difference.

      Election manifestos are not worth the fag packet they are written on and less and less people end up voting.

      This enables extremist groups like the NPD or the FBI to flourish at the State and council levels and get elected, because they are targeting the non-voter.

      The people that don’t get elected by direct mandate always have the lists to fall back on. They get in through the back door. Failed politicians that no one wanted at the direct mandate vote get a list vote because they are high up in the pecking order of one of the largest parties. The established parties decide who gets which place, not the electorate.

      This means than the unelected are protected and get re-elected. Every. Single. Time.

      It’s only when something big like Scotland’s independence movement gets popular enough that change happens in a PR system and even that is buffered by the list vote.

      The SPD were getting so like the CDU that the party split after the reunification. It took something that large to happen before change happened. The new left wing party is Die Linke (The Left) and they are a very left wing party a bit like the Socialist Workers Party, but popular in the former East Germany.

      The green party, Die Grunen/Bundnis 90 started out as a fresh, new, popular ecologically aware party of corduroy wearing, bearded eco-protesters and now they wear suits and have become part of the establishment. They have lost their way and their significance.

      PR sounds great on paper, but in practice, it has it’s drawbacks.

      People see things they don’t want and don’t do anything about it, because the system is designed to maintain the status quo. If there is any major change, it is cause by some major event and it tends to be in the direction of extremism, either towards fascism or extreme socialism, which ultimately have little chance of success.

      With nearly a million refugees arriving in Germany this year alone, it might be the major event that causes a massive shift to the right in politics. Not because people want the 4th Reich, but they don’t have a way to change the established system from within.

      As and when Scotland gains independence they will need some sort of oversight for the Scottish Parliament, but it should come from a panel of independent experts from legal, medical, engineering, police/military, financial, farming and other groups that actually have knowledge of how the real world works and can steer the government away from making mistakes. It should NOT contain religious factions, corporate industry and business (who have their shareholder’s interests to consider) or anyone who works indirecty, such as consulants, or holds shares in such groups.
      They sould serve for the duration of one parliament only and should be selected from the electoral role, to ensure that something like the House of Lords never exists in iScotland,

    88. frogesque says:

      After Independence Scotland can decide when, or even if, She wants a scrutinising Senate or whether strengthened select committees can do the job, possibly with the power to co-opt experts on ‘needs’ basis.

      What we do not need is the drunkard lush pishmeister Fooks telling us how to run our affairs. As the saying goes pal – the second word is ‘off!’.

      We live in ‘ interesting’ times

      SNP/SNP in May, then spring clean the Cooncils in 17 After that, full steam ahead for Indy#2.

    89. Robert Louis says:

      Call me dave at 306pm,

      Fortunately, the decision on holding an independence referendum is nothing to do with Goerge Osborne, or Westminster for that matter.

    90. Patrick Roden says:

      OT – My college class was the victim of a DDOS attack today, which was UK wide.

      Strangely enough, I was unable to access college and Wings, but I was able to access BBC, The herald and the Daily Record no probs (was just seeing what would happen)

      Hmmm…tin hat time!

    91. Awizgonny says:

      Whatever merits there may be in having a second chamber – and I find it difficult to see any – the parallel with the US Senate is not one of them. That Senate was established to represent the voice of each then independent State, and the big landowners:

      “In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The senate, therefore, ought to be this body; and to answer these purposes, the people ought to have permanency and stability.”
      (James Madison)

      Scotland has a unique geographical and economic character, and all thoughts of further legislative bodies should stem from this, and not borrowing the clothes of other systems set up in specific response to conditions quite unique to themselves.

    92. Capella says:

      @ caz-m It went all quite over in Syria, has it not?

      You have to go to RT for news on Syria.
      Here’s a press conference by the Russian military on the theft of Syria’s oil by Daesh and the 8,500 oil tankers used to transport it to Turkey where, they allege, Erdogan family profit hugely.

      Daesh gets billions from this trade and buys arms via Turkey and Saudi and Qatar. 25 mins
      youtu.be/QxcAcKwaGQI

      On the other hand, here is the BBC account. You have to click through several pages to find it. Upbeat music accompanies a much underplayed account sourced from Bloomberg etc. missing out the important information. 2.5 mins
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-35003850

      Choice of propaganda.

    93. think again says:

      Baron Foulkes is the ultimate troll, not only a second chamber but use the old Royal High School at Calton Hill.

      All dutifully reported by BBC Scotland.

    94. Fred says:

      @ Kenny & Derick, this regional aspect to a second chamber would be parochial nonsense, Barra folk resent the dominance of Lewis, Wester Ross resents Easter Ross, Caithness resents Inverness & doubtless my Northmavine ancestors resented Lerwick. We have enough divisions without inventing more. None of this will help re-distribute wealth and the Highlands & Borders are too fond of electing lairdlings to be progressive in any sense.

      Anent the top pic’ “A Rose between two Thorns” or “A Stunner between two Stauners,” mair like!

    95. Macart says:

      @call me dave

      I’d say about now we could use some good news for a change.

      The media and political establishment war against the SNP and the Scottish electorate has definitely kicked up a gear of late. Folk are nervous, high strung and on a hair trigger after months of relentless media pounding. Hell, we’ve even had commentators on indy sites taking a swing at folks of recent times, driving people away from places which should form essential reading.

      Tory austerity policy, war, squeeze from desperate Labour and Liberal parties on and off line and their media outlets. Their intent is simple, wear folks down and beat them into submission. Sow argument and division. Break the will of your opponent through constant, unrelenting pressure.

      We need a lift and soon I reckon.

    96. call me dave says:

      @ Robert Louis says:

      Now that Labour are out of power, they want to change the rules. ‘It just isn’t fair’ they bellow, ‘it’s a one party SNP state’ they whimper. But nobody’s listening. It’s a crying shame. Boo hoo.
      —————————————————–

      Aye! Very true, that made me smile… But they’re still to be finished off yet.

      2 x SNP.

      It’s the magic silver bullet, wooden cross, the garlic, the cod liver oil and the orange juice!

    97. Paul says:

      “This morning’s Daily Record, and also some newspapers”.

      Genius Rev 🙂

    98. McBoxheid says:

      caz-m says:
      8 December, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      Has the war ended and they aren’t telling us?

      _________

      The Establishment and the meeja mouth pieces want us to forget that the UKOK bomb Syria campaign is paying BAE and other global corporate dealers of death millions each and every day that the war is going on.

      The cheering and glorification seen in the first few days quietly disappears in case the “so smart that they can tell terrorist from civilian” weapon systems, that 6 out of 8 planes can’t even use, manage to kill against all possible likelyhood even one civilian, who probably was a sympathiser anyway, or what was he doing there in the first place?

      Human shields? Don’t even go there.

      Why did the RAF bomb the oilfields?
      To stop the sale of oil by Da’esh, or to enable govt. approved companies to rebuild “essential infrastructure” in order to let their approved sock puppet organisation to better control the vacuum they are creating.

    99. paul gerard mccormack says:

      If he’s short of a bob or two, why doesn’t Foulkes work for a living and get a job like all us other plebs have to?

    100. Grouse Beater says:

      Lord Foulkes, sponsored by Vote No Grouse Whisky.

      (No relation)

    101. caz-m says:

      Capella

      Yes, RT tv give us information on Syria that the UK media don’t want us to know about.

      And if our pilots can’t find the oilfields in Syria, they should try using Google Earth. That shows you all the oil and gas storage facilities and wellhead production areas.

      They are in the Dier Ez-Zor/Tarak region in NE Syria.

      OK Mr RAF pilot, now you know where the targets are, away and blow them up.

      Or is the USA telling you not to.

    102. gordoz says:

      The BBC know exactly what they’re doing qouting that sozzled bafoon, make no mistake.

      They are at the mischeif making.

    103. Edward says:

      Just reading the crap spewing forth from Trump
      He wants to ban all Muslims from entering the US (I suppose they either base that on your colour and have a beard or you have to declare your religion, just as they did in Nazi Germany)
      He wants the internet stopped , apparently he has contacted Bill Gates (not sure if that’s a hoax as its so far off planet)
      Now he stating that Paris is not the same as it was and London and some other towns have ‘no go’ areas

      Americans are seemingly sucking this crap up

      Tell you what if he continues and IF he gets elected, then I would be very supportive of all of his assets in Scotland being seized! and have him banned from entering Scotland, the rest of the UK and the EU

    104. liz says:

      Re the second chamber – I remember an MSP, cant remember who, saying that a lot of work gets done in cross party committee groups and this negated the need for a second chamber.

      Everything down except BBC etc, probably practising for when that actually happens, ie April 2016 for a month?

    105. Dr Jim says:

      Isn’t it funny how they (the Yoons) bang on about needing more accountability in Scotland and yet we seem to like the type of democracy we’re getting or we wouldn’t be voting for it

      But the Yoons aren’t happy with what we want so they want to IMPOSE their democracy which we have clearly rejected

      Now I don’t know about any of you guys but I’ve never spoken to Davie Cameron or even seen him in the flesh and he’s always surrounded by bodyguards anyway, and it strikes me if that’s what popular means I think He’s doing it wrong

      If Scotlands democracy is so rubbish and the Yoons need to fix it for us how come probably like many of you who post here I’ve met and spoken to our First Minister and several members of our cabinet, I’ve also written to her and had a reply quite promptly from such an undemocratic person as herself

      Maybe this actual talking to people thing that our SNP Politicians engage in is completely wrong and we’re all deluded cultists brainwashed by deceiving slippery language
      and if that’s the case would we not be subject to the same mind control by the Yoons or are they just rubbish at it

      If they are does that not mean they’re admitting the SNP are cleverer than them

      SNP/SNP Because they’re cleverer (isn’t that a good thing)

    106. yesindyref2 says:

      OT
      For anyone wanting info on the maintenance postponed 5 years ago in 2010, and the fault which has closed the bridge in 2015, here’s a website that’s useful:

      http://www.forthroadbridge.org/projects/capital-projects/

      Go down to the second row of pictures and you’ll find “Truss end links” which failed last week, and “Main expansion joints” which were postponed in 2010 tp 2016 due to cost, and being cheaper once the second bridge is up.

      It should be noted that these strengthening works are to a different part of the truss end linkages to that which failed on 1 December 2015. The part which has fractured was not previously considered to be at risk of failure.

      Once again the anti-SNP brigade cry “Wolf”, and thereby fail to hold the Government of the day to account over things that perhaps they could legitimately. And it took me less than 5 minutes to find this, less time than the so-called journalists took to write their false articles and correct their spelling and grammar errors, those that did.

      We live in incredibly ignorant opposition times.

    107. caz-m says:

      McBoxheid 4.02pm
      “Why did the RAF bomb the oilfields?”

      I would say that they have NOT been bombing the oil fields.

      That video they released on day one of the bombing, looked like an old oil tank that they blow up.

      NE Syria is covered in huge oil and gas storage facilities and refineries. You also have pipelines and infrastructure.

      They could set the whole region alight and for some reason, they are not hitting them. I would say Turkey and America have a big say in what gets hit and what doesn’t.

    108. Grouse Beater says:

      At the risk of sounding unsophisticated – what’s the exact urban definition of the latest Internet fad: ‘Yoons’?

      (Other than one of the commonest names in South Korea.)

    109. Lesley-Anne says:

      Think I’ll just leave this here. 😉

      Boo Hoo Hoo!

      I want my mummy!

      Boo Hoo Hoo!

      https://archive.is/1FLPA

      😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

      First question at the hustings for next May’s election HAS to be:

      “Has the Conservative candidate finished cryiny yet over his daddy’s refusal to support him in his ambition to standing in this election?” 😀

    110. yesindyref2 says:

      @Grouse Beater
      I wondered the same, but I’m guessing it’s just short for “yoonionist”.

    111. Dan Huil says:

      For heedtracker et al

      Found the video of Osborne saying Scotland will not have another referendum. Around 28′ 20 mins in.

      Sorry Rev if I’m posting the web address wrongly.

      youtu.be/NOQ8XtraTGw

    112. Macca73 says:

      This comes in a year where Cameron threatens to fill the House of Lords with Tory Peers to ensure that his votes are go through.

      It sounds to me like that would be used to try and block anything the SNP put forward.

    113. Grouse Beater says:

      “short for “yoonionist”. 🙂

      So, yon yoons are cloons, an oftae zoomers.

    114. ian m says:

      A second chamber made up of failed politicians just what we need,
      hey let me in to the trough

    115. Fran says:

      Think Foulkes has forgotten that there is already a “senate” that scrutinises the ruling party in Scotland and that is called the electorate. If we are not happy with what the government want, then we vote them out.

      That’s what happened to Slab and they know it, but are so far up their own arses that they cant see any other route but undemocratic dictatorship.

      Maybe America will bomb us next, being a one party state that only half the population has voted for.

    116. ahundredthidiot says:

      Caz-m@3:28

      All quiet in Syria so that Turkey could sneak some sodgees into Iraq.

      No shit.

      Chess pieces being arranged for the winter war for oil.

    117. Grouse Beater says:

      Another bridge takes a hit: http://wp.me/p4fd9j-2NE

    118. mealer says:

      I think a unicameral parliament is fine.

    119. caz-m says:

      O/T

      “Loki” has been getting a bit of a hard time of it lately.

      Who is Loki and should I be worried?

    120. McBoxheid says:

      Grouse Beater says:
      8 December, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      Lord Foulkes, sponsored by Vote No Grouse Whisky.

      (No relation)
      ___

      Oh fer Foulkes sake! The dreuthy baron,(mair like buffoon) is foo(in the)bar!

      Getting coat, exiting now.

    121. Lesley-Anne says:

      ahundredthidiot says:
      8 December, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Caz-m@3:28

      All quiet in Syria so that Turkey could sneak some sodgees into Iraq.

      No shit.

      Chess pieces being arranged for the winter war for oil.

      I wonder if the news that this has leaked out into the interwebby sphere thingy might be a reason? 😉

      http://blogfactory.co.uk/archives/19327

    122. liz says:

      Carmichael decision expected tomorrow.

      https://twitter.com/PeatWorrier/status/674269859627298816

      Don’t forget to contribute to the crowdfund.

      https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-people-versus-carmichael#/

    123. yesindyref2 says:

      @caz-m
      Loki was the guy that killed off Baldur with mistletoe, hence why people use it these days for kissing under.

      I suspect Loki wants his mistletoe back.

    124. DerekM says:

      @ LA

      hehe you are awful LA 🙂

      largest grassroots movement bwahhhhaaahh,i see wee Ruthie is playing the big come to us unionists from labour and lib dems ,help us fight the SNP the others are hopeless haha ohh dear ,well i guess she is right about that.

      Bring it on Ruthie cant wait to get you in the hotseat so we can tear you to pieces,its going to be fun finishing the job we started all those years ago ,the destruction of the Tories,are you sure you are ready for opposition in our parliament because if you think we are a bit harsh on Labour and the Libs you aint seen nothing yet lol

    125. Marie Clark says:

      Lord Ffoulkes, we the people of Scotland will decide for ourselves whether we wish to have a second chamber. Not a drunkard like yourself. Certainly not wanted, if you think it will be full of failed politicians that we have already booted out, you’ve another think coming.

      That’s the problem wae too much booze, it addles the auld grey cells.

      As for the Carmichael verdict, well, I don’t think I’ll bother holding my breath.

    126. Fran says:

      @ yesindyref 4.14

      superb.

      I love this site because of the contribution and research you all do

    127. john king says:

      Dan Huil
      “leading soft, self-centred lives with their fat backsides sweating subsidised malt whisky on the puke-green benches of the house of lords”

      The benches in th HoL are red,
      or are you talking about where they’ve sat and pished themseves?

    128. caz-m says:

      yesindyref2

      Thanks for that.

      Is this the same Loki who wrote the piece in Bella Caledonia yesterday?

    129. Grouse Beater says:

      “Carmichael decision expected tomorrow.”

      Will Carmichael emerge carbolic or carbuncle?

    130. caz-m says:

      LA

      It’s hotting up out Syria way.

    131. Bill Halliday says:

      Darling is to be introduced at 11am on the 10th. Lets him get his nose back in the trough and pick up more rewards for selling out Scotland and advising on picking up NHS Contracts.

      If you want checks and balances, let the people do it, for every issue and make it illegal for the Oligarchs to use their ‘media’ to interfere.

    132. dakk says:

      Excellent article Stuart.

      Constitutional politics made simple,for those like me who don’t like the minutiae of politics.

      The unicameral Scandinavian model as espoused by Doug Daniel is good enough for me,and should be for anyone else with Scotland’s interests at heart.

      As for Lard arse Foulkes,that creature is a grotesque caricature of everything that has been wrong with Scotland since 1707.

      Neither him,nor any other unionist should be allowed anywhere near the levers of power in governing Scotland.

      I mean,could any politician anywhere ever be said to have the best interests of that country at heart by thwarting its independence ?

      No need to answer.

    133. Lesley-Anne says:

      Think I’ll just leave this here Derek. 😀

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

    134. Ed Hadley says:

      Historically upper chambers have almost never been created for the purpose of providing a “check” on the lower house, they were created to provide representation for different sections of society.

      In countries with federal systems the upper house was often made up of appointees of state governments and was intended to give state governments a direct say in the federal decision making process – basically a way of ensuring that the federal government doesn’t trample over the states. This is currently the case in Germany and was originally the case in the US. Senators in the US were appointed by state governments until 1913 when the constitution was amended to force direct elections in what was effectively a power grab by the federal government dressed up as enhanced democracy.

      In medieval Europe, they were usually set up to give representation to the three “estates” of society, namely the nobility, clergy and commoners. The parliament of pre-revolutionary France had three separate chambers, whereas in England the clergy and nobility sat in one chamber (the Lords Spiritual and Temporal) and the commoners were shoved off down the hall to keep them out of the way. The pre-union Scottish parliament had all three estates sitting in one chamber (although the clergy had been kicked out by the time of the union).

      In modern times, the argument for a second chamber seems to be that a sanity check is needed because the lower house can become dominated by one party who might then ignore all other opinions and do something stupid. That might well be a valid criticism of Westminster where there is a) a ridiculous electoral system that often gives huge majorities to parties with well under 50% of the popular vote, and b) essentially no constitutional limit on what parliament can do.

      However it isn’t really a valid criticism of Holyrood where a) we have a much more proportional electoral system that only gives outright majorities at all if one party has overwhelming support, and b) the Court of Session can strike down any act that contravenes the European Convention on Human Rights. In the event of independence, these are only ever likely to be strengthened further when a proper written constitution is introduced.

    135. Dan Huil says:

      @john king 5:08pm

      Well, you see, the “puke-green benches” is a metaphor for the…

      Nah, who am a kiddin’… bleedin’ missin’ edit facility!

      Bless you for saying, “…are you talking about where they’ve sat and pished themseves?”

    136. davidb says:

      We have 4 levels of elected politicians and two more unelected. After independence we shed 1 each of those. There will hardly be a need for any more of the barstewards.

      A unicameral system elected by PR is fine. But could all three elected bodies deploy the same system?

    137. heedtracker says:

      Arise Lord Alistair of Carmichael and Mega Whopper telling tomorrow but we’ll read all about in UKOK meeja because

      Ruth Davidson MSP Retweeted
      News UK ?@NewsUK 1 hr1 hour ago
      2/2 Journalism is about giving people a voice, says @RuthDavidsonMSP at today’s @the_newsacademy Scotland conference

      People being the dirty digger and tax dodgers that own the torygraph. If the last UKOK libdem in Scotland does get his P45, its going to be interesting to see the Torygraph reportage bullshitting their way through it all, if they do even report it, for Ruthy babes voice of the people.

      Lie with pigs…

    138. Iain More says:

      I thought we already had an unelected second chamber of corrupt bloated weasels, its called the BBC & STV.

    139. Kenny says:

      Why are the Unionists allowed to pick and choose our constitutional arrangements anyway?

      Surely, if there is to be a second, upper chamber in Scotland, then we should also have a queen…. or a president….

      Either way it’s going to be wee Nicola…

      Personally, if we are going to have a “royal family”, I would go for Tommy and Gail Sheridan, especially as their bairn is a braw speaker (hear her laying into David Cameron at the “Hope over Fear” rallies).

      And then we can have a state religion… with bishops or mullahs or pagan priests given so many seats… why not? is this not an intrinsic part of the hallowed UKOK set-up?

    140. Lesley-Anne says:

      caz-m says:
      8 December, 2015 at 5:11 pm

      LA

      It’s hotting up out Syria way.

      Aye it is Caz which is why the UKOK meedja are rather quiet on it at the moment.

      Let’s be honest here Caz, if the UKOK meedja dID have their fingers on the pulse of the Middle East then we would certainly be hearing about THIS story and the alleged plot NOT being directed from Syria!

      https://www.rt.com/uk/325123-salmond-airstrikes-syria-attacks/

    141. Dan Huil says:

      bbc blames Scottish government for cancer sufferer not getting treatment because of bridge closure.

    142. McBoxheid says:

      Lesley-Anne says:
      8 December, 2015 at 4:51 pm

      http://blogfactory.co.uk/archives/19327

      ___

      Well, a nuclear winter would stop global warming……

    143. Lesley-Anne says:

      McBoxheid says:
      8 December, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      Lesley-Anne says:
      8 December, 2015 at 4:51 pm

      http://blogfactory.co.uk/archives/19327

      ___

      Well, a nuclear winter would stop global warming……

      I think you might be right there McBoxheid. 😀

      P.S. I wonder if our meedja will be headlining either of these stories soon? 😉

      https://www.rt.com/uk/325018-syria-airstrikes-medals-protest/

      https://www.rt.com/uk/324975-soviet-nuclear-able-archer/

    144. yesindyref2 says:

      @caz-m
      Yes, Loki is the Bella writer. I suspect (hope) he was more writing a bit tongue in cheek, to rock the boat. But I don’t know his style, I’m a rare visitor to BC, so for all I know he could be serious, or think he is.

      The other Loki I dsescribed is from Norse Mythology, I used to be into all sorts of mythology. Beats real life some times!

    145. Valerie says:

      Just now –

      Fluffy Mundell, we don’t need more politicians

      Pete Wishart – no one voted for these people, so do we care what they are saying?

      I agree with both sentiments. It’s a huge amount of bollox, to needlessly waste public money.

      There are a number of ways to scrutinise, old and new.

    146. dakk says:

      Greens excepted,they would all be better joining and standing for BNP or UKIP.

      It would be a tad more honest of them,and I believe and hope that the majority of the people of Scotland realise that fact now.

      Scottish Labour, Scottish Conservatives.Scottish Liberal Democrats….Aye Right Yaes Are !

    147. Fred says:

      This is all about Ffoulkes keeping his ermined arse in the public eye!

    148. TheWealthofNations says:

      The problem with an elected second chamber is it suffers from exactly the same democratic deficits as the elected first chamber. It’s the nasty little practicalities of election itself that give rise to all the problems.

      However it does seem sensible to have a second chamber to hold the first to account. The point is well made that politicians need to have a less short term view of things. I seem to recall Larry Lessig saying that something ludicrous like 70% of a US Congresspeep’s time is spent fundraising for re-election.

      Perhaps limiting Senators to a single term is an equally valid way to build short-termism out of the equation.

      I have gravitated towards favouring some sort of hybrid lottery. You could group Constituencies into regions like Holyrood list regions. Choose ten people who actually voted for each region of eight seats and elect eight of them by STV to sit in your Senate for the entire term of your parliament.

      That way you get a broadly representative sample of ordinary voters and have enough wiggle room to filter out obvious loonies.

      I’m a big fan of Douglas Adams and feel there is a great deal of truth in the proposition that nobody that desires power should be permitted to possess it.

      All of which is just for starters. Why would we ever allow the Legislature to get its hands on the Constitution or select the Executive or Judiciary? Surely that way madness lies…

    149. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      Hi Patrick Roden.

      Re: the DDOS attack on JANET (Joint Academic Network) this morning.

      On the Uni of Dundee network, my boss was watching something on YouTube and I said to him that he shouldn’t be getting that. I tried on my own machine and, right enough, YouTube was available, whilst umpteen other sites, including Outlook and Wings were not available.

      Appeared to be sorted out by lunch time.

    150. Scott says:

      Can’t say I agree with you on this one, Reverend.

      The Australian Senate is elected by proportional representation and generally does a good job amending legislative excesses from whoever is running the lower house. This function is well understood by Australians, who almost never give the governing party a majority in the Senate, and usually regret it when they do.

      But you’re right about the benefit of proportional representation in the lower house. It’s the fairest way of ensuring that the Parliament elected actually reflects the ideas people want to see debated.

    151. HandandShrimp says:

      There is perhaps merit in an upper house if we were independent…checks and balances and all that but I am not sure that it is necessary when we have the dead hand of Westminster on the wheel.

    152. orri says:

      Holyrood was not elected with any mandate to negotiate any of it’s powers. Nor was Westminster elected with a mandate to take them. It doesn’t matter that, allegedly, they’d be staying in Scotland.

      The problem with Holyrood being empowered and endorsed by the will of the people is that you tread on eggshells when you suggest bypassing them in order to tamper with it.



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