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The whole of the law

Posted on April 05, 2013 by

When we started this site we never imagined we’d find ourselves citing Aleister Crowley for anything, but it looks as though that strange and disturbing day has come.

osbornedisabled

We’ve had a theory for a while now that the expenses scandal of 2009 was a watershed moment in British politics, in the worst possible way. Practically the whole of the Westminster parliament was found to have perpetrated frauds against the taxpayer on a scale that would have seen benefit claimants given substantial prison terms, yet almost none were ever put in front of a court.

And despite the huge public outcry at duck houses and moat-cleaning and house-flipping and all the rest of it, when a General Election was called in 2010, the electorate trooped meekly into polling stations and re-elected almost every politician that had been caught with their greedy hands in the voters’ pockets.

Is it any wonder that those same politicians now think – probably correctly – that they can literally get away with just about anything? If we were them, we might be the same. After all, if sheep keep walking up to you when you’ve got shears in your hand, even if you keep gouging their eyes out with them, what else are you going to do?

So it’s a bit thick of anyone to be expressing surprise that after implementing the most vicious set of “reforms” persecuting disabled people in recorded history, driving scores to suicide and countless thousands into abject misery, George Osborne should choose to really rub their faces in it by parking his Land Rover in a disabled bay outside a McDonalds, not too long after being caught trying to ride in a first-class train carriage with a standard-class ticket (not even for the first time), of the sort only plebs should be using.

The UK’s elected members have seen themselves be caught red-handed at the most appalling robbery, be arrested repeatedly for drunken brawling in the Commons, never turn up to represent their constituents, lark around on reality TV instead of working, gallivant all over the world earning vast sums when being an MP is supposedly a full-time job (and then dodge tax on the money), brazenly attack the most vulnerable in society in order to slash taxes for the rich, and still have people obediently return them to power.

They can be forgiven for thinking there’s nothing left they could do that would spur voters into meaningful anger. It would be quite understandable if they were actually daring each other onto more and more outrageous demonstrations of their contempt for the British people, just to see if there’s still a line somewhere that can’t be crossed.

We don’t have any particular insight to offer here, unfortunately. Just a quiet despair at the future of the UK, hamstrung by a terrible electoral system that makes it all but impossible to eject these sneering jackals from their gravy train, and which voters didn’t have the courage to begin changing when they had a rare chance.

(If a single act of cowardice by a political party robbed us of any remaining crumbs of faith in British politics, it was the Lib Dem’s refusal to hold out for an offer of genuine electoral reform as the price of a coalition in 2010. By settling for the useless “miserable little compromise” of AV, the party shot itself in both feet and also the brain, ensuring that reform was off the political agenda for a generation after AV’s comprehensive defeat and that the Lib Dems themselves would be marginalised, perhaps forever, by their toxic alliance.)

Westminster’s MPs are now an almost-untouchable elite. Fewer and fewer have any connection with the real world – the Cabinet are all hereditary millionaires, the Opposition career politics wonks who’ve never had a proper job and who look at normal people like they’re aliens.

edmilibandsofa

“Do what thou wilt” was supposed to be the motto of a sort of benign anarchy. In the UK, it’s turned into something more akin to a jackboot stamping on a human face forever. Only Scots have a chance to save themselves.

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    93 to “The whole of the law”

    1. Paul Martin says:

      Hallelujah and amen to all that.

    2. Juteman says:

      A perfect excuse for this. 🙂
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ead7EOypKDE

    3. Yesitis says:

      David Cameron.
      Ed Miliband.
      UK.
       
      No future.
       

    4. muttley79 says:

      If you think about the British electoral voting system and parliament, could you come up with another system of politics more designed to foster non-participation and apathy from the electorate?  Outwith dictatorships where you stand a very good chance of being shot on the spot, or thrown in a gulag for ever, if you demonstrate against the regime, I cannot really think of a more unwelcoming system of politics.  The UK political system basically says to their electorate ‘Vote every four or five years and then shut the fuck up.’  In the UK parliamentary system there really is no doubt who the masters and servants are.   

    5. Doug Daniel says:

      Be fair Stu, they don’t always get away with it. Take David Laws, for example – he got into the Cabinet, got caught using taxpayers money to pay rent to his partner, and look where he is now!
       
      Oh yeah, that’s right – he’s back in the Cabinet.

    6. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      Westminster is trully becoming Westmonster. The worst of the cuts are just going to start taking effect next week.
      They have declared war on the most vaunerable in society. I believe that the majority of scots want to declare war on poverty. The Union-RIP!  It’s as good as over. 

    7. Ericmac says:

      Rev, this is nothing new.  It’s social media that has really put it under a spotlight.  In almost seventy years, since WWII, the UK and its citizens have been ravaged by a procession of politicians’ incompetence and corruption.   We have had a surfeit of sleaze and scandal, and a bellyful of broken promises. 
      Successive Westminster Governments, and individual politicians, have regularly and rampantly demonstrated some of the worst human traits; deceit, greed, manipulation, cronyism, perjury and corruption. 
      These same people are voted in to these positions of trust by promising justice, fairness, equality and respect.  It seems that when people get into power, they will take advantage, and at best, fall short of the high moral principles and values on which they stood to be elected. 
      There appears to be three types of failure in politicians. 
      The first is where the threat of their losing power, leads them to be corrupt.  They will do and say anything to save their skins and positions.  Lie, cheat, deny, cover-up and manipulate in order to survive.
      The second is straightforward greed. Taking advantage of their privileged status. The Russians have a name for it.   It means getting your nose in the trough.  From petty expense fraud, to insider trading, to other more serious types of immoral behaviour for pecuniary advantage, politicians have covered most of it.   
      The third is where they go back on promises made in their Manifestoes. 
      Cast your mind back, and like me, you can probably recall more than twenty major scandals where senior politicians have been corrupt and dishonest.
      In addition the cyclical, two party, politics intent on criticising whatever the opposition party does, and the unelected house of lords, fails completely to address failure or flaw, nor does it represent the desires of the majority of the population.       
      People in power will always manipulate the rules to hold onto the power or to make the circumstances advantageous for themselves.  Centralise that power in a capital city of Financial Services and you quickly have an institution that will manipulate the economy, laws, finances, taxes, and business for its own pecuniary advantage. 
      In the meantime the people in the regions are cheated, neglected and feel frustrated by the lack of fairness in the system. Is it any wonder that people don’t bother to vote any more?  That says it all.  No matter whom you vote for, a politician gets in.  
      This confirms what we already know, that the archaic, elitist, self-serving and hegemonic UK Government needs a major overhaul.  The UK political system is fundamentally flawed.
      As you rightly point out.  Scotland has a chance to get out of this mess.
      But whether we do or we don’t.  We need to change governance on and accountability of politicians.     
      These people are in positions of trust.  Lies, dishonesty  and perjury should automatically be jail terms.. 
       

    8. Tom says:

      Folk in my work are not in the least bothered about this. They see it as trivial, whilst I like you, see it as a paradigm.  Worrying.

    9. ianbrotherhood says:

      Let’s see…105,000 Scots are staring at Bedroom Tax, Citizens Advice, Council and Housing Association Welfare Support systems are set to implode – meanwhile, the ConDem scum have given millionaires a further £107,000 a year EACH in tax cuts (source – Scottish Socialist Voice, Issue 414 http://www.scottishsocialistvoice.net/)
      This is Class War, pure and simple – the behaviour of Osborne and his Bullingdon cronies just helps illustrate it. They’re wiping their pampered arses with fifty-pound notes and burning them in front of us every day – and it’s cash stolen from the most vulnerable in our communities.
      If we don’t take the chance to get ourselves away from these sociopaths we deserve everything that’s coming.
      Take a look at the men in this image – do they strike you as respectable, decent, trustworthy human beings who really care about you and yours?
      http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/07/28/article-2180095-144023C8000005DC-858_964x637.jpg
       
       

    10. dmw42 says:

      Thanks Stu. I posted the following on another link earlier but the link below highlights what a complete and utter waste of taxpayer’s money and dispicable crowd Westminster politicians are.

      http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKFTT/TC/2013/TC02621.html

      Can you believe that Jim McGovern (Lab. Dundee), went to Tribunal to fight a case against being refused a £23.90 expenses reclaim? He ‘detoured’ from Dundee to Glasgow to attent a Labour party meeting on his way to Westminster and kicked up a stooshie for only being reimbursed the Glasgow to London expenses.

      Have you any idea how much it costs to pay a solicitor, pay representatives for IPSA to state the case for refusal and the costs of tying up the time of a Tribunal? Thousands, probably in the region of £20k!

      For £23.90!!!

      I’m pleased to say the Tribunal refused the appeal. I trust he’ll be paying his own costs though?

    11. Norsewarrior says:

      We need to ensure that a future independent Scottish Parliament is fully accountable to the people who elect it, and that constituents have the power to remove an MSP at any point in the parliamentary term if they’ve done something seriously wrong, like committed a crime or been caught defrauding the public. 

      At the moment we’ve got the likes of Eric Joyce and that MSP who has been charged with domestic abuse both still able to sit in parliament and claim their salaries and effectively untouchable until the next elections. 

    12. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Your core point is sound, but Eric Joyce has been convicted of a crime. Bill Walker hasn’t as yet.

    13. muttley79 says:

      It is no surprise that most Westminster politicians hate the very idea of a written constitution.  The executive is allowed so much power, and there seems to be almost no accountability.  

    14. ianbrotherhood says:

      The woman, to Milliband:
      ‘Okay, last time…a pint of milk, ten Mayfair, yeah? and a packet of Hobnobs, but don’t get the dark chocolate ones like you did before, right? Got it? Sure?’

    15. Jiggsbro says:

      Thanks, Stu. I am glad there’s someone who can take the anger, frustration and despair I feel when I look at our elected representatives in Westminster and express it eloquently, persuasively and even humorously.
       
      I have no idea how, or even if, Westminster can be fixed. And hopefully, in a couple of years I will no longer care. But we do need to ensure that our parliament does not become simply a tartan Westminster. Looking at the current crop of opposition politicians, I’m not optimistic.

    16. creag an tuirc says:

      @Norsewarrior
      I don’t think you’ll get a single comment disagreeing with this point. If we become Independent I hope something is enshirined in our written constitution to eradicate this kind of behaviour. 

    17. Norsewarrior says:

      “Your core point is sound, but Eric Joyce has been convicted. Bill Walker hasn’t as yet.”

      You’re right of course, but the fact that he’s been charged with 30 separate offences makes it pretty difficult to believe he isn’t guilty. 

      He’s already been expelled from the party over the issue, so I don’t see why his constituents can’t expel him too – the same goes for any other MSP who brings their position into disrepute. 

    18. dmw42 says:

      Wait for it…

    19. Luigi says:

      The bankers get away with it. Th politicians get away with it. But hey, if you are poor, you better watch out. Bedroom tax, hefty sentences for London rioters pinching trainers etc. The rich behave as they please, but poor people better know their place in modern, feudal Britain.
      Do we stand by the poor people in Bradford, Liverpool and Plymouth etc in solidarity by voting no next year? No, because nothing will change. Labour have failed their supporters and will continue to fail them. We will vote yes in 2014 to help the oppressed in Scotland and England. Only a seismic disturbance of epic proportions will shake the rotten British system to its core. Only by forcing the issue will the needed reforms take place. By voting yes in 2014, we help everyone in the UK. What a bonus! The end of the union will also be beneficial to England in the long term.
       

    20. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “He’s already been expelled from the party over the issue, so I don’t see why his constituents can’t expel him too – the same goes for any other MSP who brings their position into disrepute.”

      You have to have a clear trigger. Otherwise, any MP in a marginal seat who’d only won by a few hundred votes could have their opponent wait until they said something unpopular (or their party did), then gather the requisite number of signatures from their own supporters and force a re-election. You’d have hundreds a term.

      MPs and MSPs are already crippled by short-termism – unable to undertake long-term policies that might be initially disliked but ultimately good things, because of the need to be re-elected every four or five years. If we rob them of ALL job security they’re going to get worse, not better. But being found guilty of a crime while employed as an MP/MSP should certainly be the end.

    21. Peter says:

      Nobody got any taxpayers money for the duck house. It really annoys me when they use it as an example instead of darling, brown or balls and their outright thieving.
         The Osborne story is nothing more than the English version of “Salmond Accussed”. Nothing more than that.  Anybody attempting to make political capital out of it should be taken out and shot. It is beyond pathetic to blame a man who wasn’t even in the car for where the driver chose to park.
       
        YOU SHOULD BE BETTER THAN THIS!
          

    22. Jiggsbro says:

      It is beyond pathetic to blame a man who wasn’t even in the car for where the driver chose to park.
       
      Quite right. He should be praised for his bravery in jumping out of a moving car before his driver had a chance to park it.

    23. Gizzit says:

      It is truly shocking that there is this kind of blanket condemnation of politicians as venal, corrupt and greedy.
      There are some shining paragons of virtue…like Liam Fox and Peter Mandelson for example.
       
       

    24. Jiggsbro says:

      Only a seismic disturbance of epic proportions will shake the rotten British system to its core. Only by forcing the issue will the needed reforms take place.
       
      It would be nice to think so. Unfortunately, I’m not nice. I’m cynical. And I think Westminster will brush off the loss of Scotland, get back in the handcart and carry straight on to hell.

    25. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Anybody attempting to make political capital out of it should be taken out and shot.”

      You don’t think that’s maybe a tiny bit excessive?

    26. Castle Rock says:

      @Peter
       
      It’s the insensitivity that people are objecting to after the damage he has done.
       
      If you don’t understand that and all the different meanings behind it then you need to have a long talk with someone who does.
       
      I’m afraid that its YOU who should be better than this.

    27. The Man in the Jar says:

      I have mentioned this in a previous thread but I will mention it again.
      Osborne yesterday tried to make political capital by linking the horrific Philpot murder trial to benefit scroungers / austerity measures. Granted the Philpots were an extreme case regarding their benefits. However to link the deaths of six innocent children to benefit cuts is sickening in the extreme.
      PS Both women in the Philpot household were working in low paid jobs and legitimately claiming top up benefits. Scandalous! (Osborne, not the benefits.)

    28. muttley79 says:

      @Peter
       
      Osbourne has made the poor and disabled pay for the bankers’ actions in the de-regulated financial sector.  Their heroine, Thatcher, began all that with the Big Bang in the City of London in 1986.  Thatcher and Reagan were the pioneers of the discredited Neo-Liberalism. Therefore, I do not see how you can say it is like a ‘Salmond accussed’ story.  The fact is it is symbolic of the Westminster elite, and their banker buddies’, contempt for those less privileged in society.  If Salmond was enacting these kind of a policies he would more than deserve to be accussed!

    29. proudscot says:

      I’m afraid many Scottish voters are guilty of re-electing political nonentities time after time, as well as our English and Welsh cousins south of the border. Think of Maggie “Sterrheid Rammy” Curran, who was caught out lying about how she had supposedly been living in her Glasgow East constituency all her working life; think of the serial second home flippers Jim Murphy and Alistair Darling; and how about the insufferable bullying mysogynist thug Ian Davidson! For the LibDumbs, I give you Mickey Moore, who supinely accepted the post of Scottish Secretary despite previously stating it should be abolished as it had become redundant after the devolved Holyrood Parliament was set up; and Danny “Booker” Alexander, George Osborne’s human shield at the UK Treasury. Last but not least in this collection of useless political numpties, how about the sole Tory, the wee sneering lickspittle David Mundell – so politically inept he was passed over for the Scottish Secretary post in favour of Moore. I rest my case, as the tired traveller said.

    30. Scaraben says:

      If voting is ineffective, which it is largely because there is no real choice between the main UK parties and the electorate do not choose who will be the candidates for each party, then the alternative is to protest. However, that is getting riskier all the time.
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/04/where-are-the-activists-austerity

    31. Jiggsbro says:

      the wee sneering lickspittle David Mundell – so politically inept he was passed over for the Scottish Secretary post in favour of Moore.
       
      I’m not sure he was passed over because he’s politically inept. I think it was a politically astute decision to take advantage of the coalition and so avoid foisting a Tory Scottish Secretary on Scotland. I’ll concede ‘sneering lickspittle’, though.

    32. mato21 says:

      Proudscot
      David was passed over not once but twice (shows how highly he is regarded) Danny boy got the Scottish Secretarys post first then he  moved to the treasury when Laws resigned and still David got the booby prize I still think he’s promoted above his capabilities 

    33. CameronB says:

      Can I suggest an alternative caption;
       
      Milibot to self: “What is this mad woman wittering on about? Doesn’t she realise that we are in England and she doesn’t have a choice?”

      With regards to politicians, they all have their own personal levels of moral discipline. However, they all work for the same boss, i.e. the Crown.
       
       

    34. annie says:

      I think this is the reason that more than half of the voters choose not to bother voting.

    35. Morag says:

      David was passed over not once but twice (shows how highly he is regarded) Danny boy got the Scottish Secretarys post first then he  moved to the treasury when Laws resigned and still David got the booby prize I still think he’s promoted above his capabilities

      I live in his constituency, and went to the hustings meetings.  He was absolutely clueless.  I sat there thinking, this is the party of Alec Douglas-Home and Hector Munro and Ian Lang and Malcolm Rifkind.  Say what you like about them, they were big beasts and they were intellectuals.  Mundell is a knuckle-dragger.

      When you get to the point that he is the best the Tories can find to field in one of their very very few winnable seats in Scotland, you know the party is dead in the water.

    36. Arbroath1320 says:

       
      mato21 says:
       

      Proudscot
      David was passed over not once but twice (shows how highly he is regarded) Danny boy got the Scottish Secretarys post first then he  moved to the treasury when Laws resigned and still David got the booby prize I still think he’s promoted above his capabilities 
       
      Mundell has absolutely NO capabilities what so ever. The man is a complete WAZZACK! 
       
      Ask him to make a cup of tea and come back in a month he might have figured out he needs a kettle, miug and a tea bag!
       
       

    37. Morag says:

      You’re right of course, but the fact that he [Bill Walker]’s been charged with 30 separate offences makes it pretty difficult to believe he isn’t guilty. 
      He’s already been expelled from the party over the issue, so I don’t see why his constituents can’t expel him too – the same goes for any other MSP who brings their position into disrepute.
       
      Is there a maximum number of charges above which you believe the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” should be dispensed with?  Do tell.

      Bill Walker is a jerk and a lowlife, and should never been selected as a candidate – even for what was considered to be an unachievable list seat.  However, he was.  That is because he lied to the selection committee.  That has been proved, and is the reason he was expelled from the SNP.  Even if he is subsequently found not guilty of all criminal charges, he was guilty of that.

      The SNP can do no more.  There is no provision to remove an MSP from his seat simply on the grounds that he has been charged with a criminal offence.  Do you seriously think there should be?  That would be an open invitation to opponents to frame rival MSPs – even getting them charged would do the job.

      Bill Walker is shamelessly taking advantage of the safeguard, but that is no argument for summarily declaring a seat vacant before its occupant has been convicted of any criminal offence.

    38. Aplinal says:

      I think that one of the major problems with todays MPs is that so few of them have every had a real job.  At least this is my perception.  Where can one get a list of MPs occupations?  If your “working life” consists of university political degree/post-grad, then an MP’s researcher, then an MP’s advisor, then a candidate, and finally election – when does the real world ever touch you?  This is in no way intended as an excuse, by the way!
       
      Although this may not be practical, I would be happy to have a selection system than insists that no one can be elected without a minimum of ten year’s REAL work/life experience.  Not sure it can be mandatory, it probably contravenes some equality law or other, but how else to get some common sense into parliament (whether Holyrood or Westminster).

    39. Malcolm says:

      @Aplinal
       
      At the last SG elections, I actually got emails of all the candidates and asked them a list of questions, one of which was ‘what did you do before standing for election?’
       
      Any answer that wasn’t 10+ years of nothing political lost my vote.

    40. douglas clark says:

      Is it not normal procedure that after you’re charged there is, eventually, a criminal case? How long has this been dragging on for?

    41. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Aplinal
       
      I think, though  not sure, that one of the RC orders have the head of that order, after the period of his tenure, reduced to the ranks and has to gut out the bogs, just as any novice would have to do.
       
      It may all be a bollox and a figment of my wine addled brain, it is Friday night after all, but it seems like a good idea that a mandatory greasy down pole shown be built into the system.
       
      It probably infringes someones Human Rights  or ElfinSafety legislation, but I think that ever so often they need to be reduced to the base of what they expect other to live up to?

    42. BeamMeUpScotty says:

      The disconnection of people with the political process allows all of this nonsense to continue.Thatcher created a system whereby the only thing that mattered was the City of London and consequently bound the Westminster political establishment into that vision.That vision is one where a selected elite can expect to accrue wealth at the expense of the Plebs who are only there to do as they are told or in the case of our “democracy” vote for the candidates put up by the major political parties.Whether it is the Labour or Tory heartlands,the system is the same and allows nonentities to be sent to London to represent their own interests (after all the Plebs don’t appear to have any interests).Complacency breeds failure and we are now seeing that in spades.People get what they vote for.

    43. muttley79 says:

      @Aplinal
       
      Yes, it is funny how it has worked out in the last 20 years or so.  Alex Salmond had been in the Civil service, and the Royal Bank of Scotland before he became an MP.  He was still very young for a politician when he got elected (around 33 years old?) in 1987.

    44. Bugger (the Panda) says:

       
      Proudscot @ 
       
      5 April, 2013 at 6:17 pm
       
      What about Gorgon Brown, who currently uses Westminster as an occasional dining club in his quest to fill up his Sea Boots, and was re-elected by his constituency after being the worst unelected Prime Minster and Chancellor that this United Kingdom has ever seen?

       

       

    45. Morag says:

      Alex Salmond had been in the Civil service, and the Royal Bank of Scotland before he became an MP. He was still very young for a politician when he got elected (around 33 years old?) in 1987.

      I suppose he would have been 32, because his birthday is Hogmanay (1954).  Still had more than 10 years actually working for his living though.

    46. CameronB says:

      I think it may be a little harsh to blame the people’s indifference for the shitsdome we are governed under, when it was the shitsdome that has largely created the conditions that brought about this indifference.
       
      And they did it deliberately. 🙁

    47. Indion says:

      proudscot @ 6:17pm said:

      ‘ …. For the LibDumbs, I give you Mickey Moore, who supinely accepted the post of Scottish Secretary despite previously stating it should be abolished as it had become redundant after the devolved Holyrood Parliament was set up; …. ‘

      I don’t doubt your quote, but am kicking myself for not being aware MM had said that. If you have a mo and the reference, grateful if you could put up the link here.

    48. ianbrotherhood says:

      At yet another SSP meeting last night, this time in Irvine’s Bourtreehill, voices were raised, people were angered at the sheer scale and viciousness of what’s happening – when things had calmed, we got some testimony from locals about their memories of the Poll Tax ‘Can’t Pay Won’t Pay’ campaign, and how successful it was.
      In a nutshell, what the meeting revealed (as it has in other areas) was two-fold:
      1. The Tories have made a catastrophic blunder in assuming that this hated Bedroom Tax will go unchallenged because it’s not affecting as many folk as did Maggie’s Poll Tax.
      2. It’s becoming clearer, as the numbers are crunched, that ‘Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay’ will be adopted sooner rather than later.
      Cameron/Osborne have chosen to victimise the weakest while rewarding the most powerful, and have done it so blatantly that it cannot be seen as anything but vindictive provocation.
      They want their Maggie-style showdown with the masses to reassure their buddies in the City?
      Well, they’ve got it. And the problem – for them – is that Thatcher did have balls, if nothing else. (She wouldn’t have been given the job in the first place.) The other glaring difference is that Thatcher won elections. This shower of belters didn’t.
      Roll on the summer.

    49. Frazer Allan Whyte says:

      It’s not so much that Scotland needs to separate from England  – the English ship has been drifting away from Scotland for years and now is not only drifting but showing signs of sinking. If only for the sake of mere survival the ropes need to be cut – and the sooner the better – or Scotland gets pulled down with the Labourotory rats gnawing holes in their own ship of state.  It’s high time the Scottish government developed a contingency plan to deal with a possible flood of English refugees seeking education, housing and health care in the new Scotland which – even if only relative to the areas under London rule – will have the means and morals to show the compassion that marks a really civilized society.
      By the way, can someone please get London Labour to actually state that if Scotland votes “No” they will not try to “claw back” devolved powers and if Scotland votes “Yes” and they come to power before implementation they will not retroactively negate the vote.

    50. Albalha says:

      @peter
      You say ..
      Anybody attempting to make political capital out of it should be taken out and shot. It is beyond pathetic to blame a man who wasn’t even in the car for where the driver chose to park.
      So do you think he parked before or after George went to get his burger, does that really matter? And people wouldn’t be going on about it had he not tried to politically capitalise on the deaths of six children.
      Now as for my shooting……..
       

    51. The Man in the Jar says:

      Don’t want to mess up the consensus. What about Nicola Sturgeon. I think she came strait to politicks. An exception to the rule? Arguably she is head and shoulders above almost all in Holyrood.

    52. Albalha says:

      @maninthejar
      She worked as a solicitor before becoming an MSP, though think she’s been a member of the SNP for a lot longer.

    53. Morag says:

      She was 29 when she was elected to Holyrood.  I do not believe she was employed by the SNP before that.  She worked as a solicitor in the Drumchapel Law Centre – I’ll bet that was a slice of life.

    54. Ericmac says:

      We have all skirted around this, but there is wholly another problem with politics and that is the influence of the Monarchy. Previously it was understood by most of us that they were ‘figureheads’ (although they maintain the class structure by their very being)  It has only emerged fairly recent that they do get involved with influencing Government, especially Charles.  (and I am not talking about the odd architectural, cultural or botanic obsession)
       
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/sep/18/prince-charles-letters-ministers-judges

    55. Aplinal says:

      Some interesting information, thanks.  As for ten years, this was my initial feeling as this should represent a decent life after school/uni.  I was aware that Nicola worked in Drumchapel, but forgot how “young” she was entering Holyrood.  I agree she is a superb politician and a credit to the SNP/SG/Scotland.
       
      There is a saying that “the exception proves the rule”, can I submit Nicola as exhibit A?

    56. Inbhir Anainn says:

      Nicola became a member of the SNP aged 16 in 1986.

    57. The Man in the Jar says:

      I stand corrected. I remember Nicola attending the annual Bannockburn commemorations and giving a speech or two. That was about 10 years ago. The SNP stooped organising the event when they gained popularity, cant blame them it would have given the braveheart bashers something to shout about. Got my photo taken with AS one year, it is hanging in my hall.

    58. Morag says:

      I think the first Holyrood intake was atypical in some respects, though.  Suddenly there were 129 new openings, which was a huge opportunity, but they had to be filled by competent candidates, which was a huge challenge.  As a result, the spread of the demographic was unusually wide.  There were older people who had served many years as SNP cannon-fodder candidates for unwinnable Westminster seats, who now got their chance.  But there were also younger people in the high-flier category who realised that their careers required them to be in on the ground floor.

      Nicola is the highest flying of the latter category.  She might have waited a few more years for a winnable seat in any other party.  More than that in the SNP, given how few winnable Westminster seats there are (or were).  However, at 29 and with political ambitions, never sure if she’d get to Westminster at all, and suddenly the focus of everything shifts to Holyrood, and home, and there are dozens of seats for the taking.

      She’d have been mad not to grab that with both hands.

    59. Geoff Huijer says:

      My experience of Ms Sturgeon is somewhat different.
      When I wrote to her when she was Health Sec about my
      Alzheimer diagnosed mother’s 11 stone diamond ring going
      missing in a secure ward at Cameron Hospital & said hospital
      hierarchy relying on her having signed a ‘disclaimer’ absolving
      staff of any responsibility I got a straight “Minister’s (sic) don’t
      comment on individual cases”.
      That said, at least I got a reply which was more than I got
      from my local MP (Gordon Brown).
       
      When I lived in England I always spoiled the ballot paper
      so it had to be registered; just not voting gets put down to
      ‘not caring’ or ‘apathy’. Totally agree with Stu’s article here
      and many of the comments. My personal irk with Ms Sturgeon
      does not make her ‘bad’ however, & I agree her and Salmond
      are head & shoulders above most (if not all) UK politicians.

    60. The Dog says:

      People have already alluded to the reasons behind all this on these threads. Stu has also done a fantastic job in pulling this all together into one jaw dropping article.
      I have been compiling a Q&A document for my email list trying to answer some of the questions that people have asked me in discussion. Typically, I sent off a draft of this to one recipient and only afterwards realised I hadn’t covered the topic of “How government might work in Scotland”
      My 3p worth? If we wanted to design a system that is ripe for the sytematic abuse of the electorate we’d probably do the following:
      First past the post system – sovereignty of parliament not the people – unelected, hand picked individuals lawmaking – no codified constitution – give parliament absolute sovereignty to change the rules of it’s operation when members are found out to be robbing the electorate (for example) and the ability to pass retrospective legislation against anything the judiciary passes judgement on if parliament disagrees (Workfare) – centuries of a social system that favours patronage over conviction and ability – a stubborn adherance by all political parties 9including the Left) to promote so-called progressive taxation and an equally stubborn refusal to countenance redistributive models – a compliant state broadcaster – an over preponderance of wealthy and/or privately educated representatives that are eagerly placed into positions of power – an electorate whose education and powers of critique have been systematically eroded to a point where Big Brother doesn’t watch us, we watch Big Brother on C4 or 5 – Sorry, I take that back, let’s set up a suveillance society so we can keep an eye on these plebs – terrify people by forcing them into poverty or by eroding their civil liberties (sovereignty of parliament again!) so that they’re either too stoned or pissed or fearful or apathetic to protest – Ad nuseum and ad infinitum…
      There’s only one way to fix this but how much does the man or woman in the street care about written constitutions or electoral systems or sovereignty?
      Not much I’d presume. Time for the ship of destiny to take a new tack? 
      Apologies for the rant. 

    61. ianbrotherhood says:

      @The Dog-
      You might enjoy a discussion some of the regulars were having over in ‘Quarantine’ – just type that into Search and you’ll find it down in the second block…way over my heid, but interesting stuff.

    62. CameronB says:

      @ The Dog
      Ain’t that the shit?

    63. The Dog says:

      Thanks Ian
      I’ve had a quick scan at quarantine. At first I thought you were pushing me towards the Longshanker! Then I scanned down and had a quick look. That was a bit of a long rant I posted but I think the point is quite simple – maybe one element of the task is to get people interested in these types of dry issues. I’m not interested  in navel gazing but of getting the message across to those who are undecided. Not easy but the constitution is really about (amongst other things) protection, fairness and accountability which are issues that all people living in Scotland should be able to embrace if the argument is put forward in terms that go to the core of our common humanity. Don’t know if I’m making much sense now as it’s Friday night and I’m well on my way towards the 3rd botttle of proprietary ethanol (…fill in the blank)

    64. Jiggsbro says:

      terrify people by forcing them into poverty or by eroding their civil liberties (sovereignty of parliament again!) so that they’re either too stoned or pissed or fearful or apathetic to protest
       
      This, I think, is the key. Or perhaps it’s the lock for which Scotland needs to cut a key. We must create a system of government where the representatives are responsive to those they represent. True accountability. Proportional representation helps. A parliament that is not hide-bound by centuries of pointless tradition is a good start. A written constitution would help. The ability to recall crooks and swindlers would be helpful. Stricter rules on standards, lobbying and outside interests are a must. Extending the vote to young people, if it includes civics lessons in schools, might help. But we will inherit an electorate that is used to Westminster as well as Holyrood, and the apathy and disillusionment that goes along with that. It will take time and effort to reverse that.

    65. CameronB says:

      @ Jiggsbro
      I think that is a pretty fair, but I think we can’t hope to control our political system without radical banking reform. I think we need to take the power out of the hands of currency speculators. Perhaps a discussion for another thread?

    66. The Dog says:

      @Jiggsbro
      Agreed but we’re doing this not for ourselves but for our children and their children etc so there’s plenty of time once we’re a nation to gradually change people’s attitudes and expectations.
       
       
       
       

    67. Jiggsbro says:

      there’s plenty of time once we’re a nation to gradually change people’s attitudes and expectations.
       
      Agreed, but that can only happen if we start right. But better minds than mine will be working out what ‘right’ is for our nation. If they get the fundamentals right – if they build a system that works for the people rather than the money- then trust and engagement will follow.

    68. ianbrotherhood says:

      @The Dog-
      Hey mister, you’re on the ethanol? 
      Ya jammy bam!
      Still. it’s good you’re in here now. We can only try and make sense of it with each other, one bottle at a time.
      I’m off to my scratcher, but the whole idea of this referendum keeps me going, makes me get up in the morning. Seriously. 
      One chance? 
      It’s the only chance we’ve ever had, maybe ever will have.
      Ever.

    69. scottish_skier says:

      It’s the only chance we’ve ever had, maybe ever will have.

      Should suffice. If for some bizarre reason it does not quite first time around, plenty of opportunities will follow shortly afterwards. There are as many bites at the cherry as the electorate wish.

      The union is on its last legs. It must reform radically in a very short space of time or end. The former is obviously not happening.

    70. The Dog says:

      @ianbrotherhood
      This is Saturday so I hope you’re well rested.
      Yeah one shot..only one shot
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TADyXC2K0g
      I’m ancient but the metaphor/allegory in this always cherers me up.
      (This post is not an endorsement of Marshall Mathers).
      Grrrr
       
       

    71. Erchie says:

      @alpinal
      Re “exception proves the rule”
      This is an older usage of the word “proves” meaning test. Bullet-proof did not mean that bullets couldn’t penetrate the armour, it meant that it had been tested against it and there were then “Prrof-marks” stamped on it.
      For this saying it means the exception TESTS the rule. If the exception holds up, it isn’t a rule.
      Thank you, I have been you pedant

    72. Chic McGregor says:

      There is no guarantee of that Skier.  I’d be surprised if the Brit Nats (aka London Imperialists) do not have a whole raft of measures to emaciate the Scottish Parliament and people as soon as a No vote is returned, however small the majority.

    73. Keef says:

      The Dog.
       

      Yeah the Slim shadey’s clip is such a strong and powerful metaphor for Scotland’s one chance, one ‘Oper toonity”.

      I so wish some clever music editor could mix up a video with all the crimes against humanity these westminster elites have committed with this as the backing tune.

       

      I’m sure it would go viral.

       

       

    74. douglas clark says:

      I agree with Chic McGregor,
       
      It is the last chance saloon for us. We absolutely have to win this referendum.
       
      However, this site now has a readership of circa 50,000 unique visitors. The SNP’s membership keeps increasing.

      It really is that cliché:

      “Carpe Diem”.

      This is the first time in history that ordinary scots have had a chance to have a democratic say. It is payback for the Union of the Parliaments foisted on us by the Lord Foulkes and Ian Davidson’s of their day. It is payback for being marginalised in our own society by people that think they know us better than we know ourselves.
       
      I would encourage more people to comment here. Your engagement will pull in more readers, from your friends and acquaintances. If the staggering growth rate in readership continues you have a unique opportunity. You can talk to more people here with one post than you probably have done elsewhere in your entire life.
       
      The battle, here and elsewhere, is about Scottish independence, but, almost more importantly, it is about your own independence. Are you willing to stand up to people whose only arguement pro the Union seems to be utterly tainted by their comfortable livings from it? Are you willing to look behind the headline, sometimes just look at the headline, and wonder how the heck these people have the brass neck to say what they say?
       
      Do you like being sold a pup? Well, do ya?
       
       
       
       

    75. john king says:

      the chinese curse
      “may you live in interesting times”
      could not be more relevant than it is today, we’ll look back on these days and see them as historic moments in our country, and express pride to have been part of it 

    76. john king says:

      That picture of Gideon is saying one of two things 
      A  I am omnipotent and the laws of ordinary men do not apply to me, or
      B I know I’ve only got months left in power and by god I WILL  tweak every nose I can while I can 

    77. Tattie-boggle says:

      O/T We could be hearing some more Scottish government bashing today because these guys forgot to get a license again.
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-22041832
      but these guys didn’t
      http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-opinion/7111-the-campaign-for-a-balanced-all-inclusive-referendum-debate-the-next-step
      Loads a hassle fillin oot forms n that
       

    78. Barontorc says:

      The process of campaigning for the referendum, be it from the YES camp or the NO camp has natural law stamped all over it, in the sense it is the people who vote who need convinced to commit for this or that.
       
      Analysis of voter persuasion can be taken from the umpteen polls that have appeared and the many, many more to still come, but these are biased with question asked and how it is framed, so they are no more than an opinion against or for that question. A truer test is to look at the effectiveness in getting the message over and that without doubt is from the YES side.

      Despite the disadvantage of having the media and virtually every current BBC production subliminally pushing the NO case there is a quietly confident air associated with YES and as it looks more and more likely to heavily depend on the pace of each campaign as voting day gets closer, it has to be doubtful NO can re-adjust its style to be in any shape for a finishing straight sprint.
       
      What it comes down to is that YES must get its positive case made with all the relevant facts and dispel the falsehoods and the scare-stories NO will bombard us with.
       
      The final straight is the killing ground. Pace and timing is absolutely crucial and on present performance, do you see any hope of that from NO? 

       
       

    79. Art1001 says:

      O/T but i just posted on Newsnet Scotland on a worldwide trade boycott option for bringing the unionist MSM and Westminster Regime’s BBC propaganda arm under control and it disappeared. It made it onto the page but never seemed to be properly published. Anybody else experience this?

    80. The Man in the Jar says:

      @Tattie-boggle
      Good point made by your comment. The coverage of Football fans compared to “Illuminate the debate” protests is stark.
      Although I am coming to realise that the Yes campaigns tactic of quiet progress is working I sometimes wish that there were a radical group within Yes. In no way would I condone anyone breaking the law but perhaps pushing its boundaries. Think of the impact a couple of guys in batman suits made for Fathers for Justice.
      Anyone for standing on the roof of Pacific quay or Glasgow City Chambers in a batman suit? 😉

    81. HenBroon says:

      “At the moment we’ve got the likes of Eric Joyce and that MSP who has been charged with domestic abuse both still able to sit in parliament and claim their salaries and effectively untouchable until the next elections. “

      First of all Bill Walker has no charges against him only allegations, and for that he has been ejected from the SNP.

      Oh that we could say similar for the criminals in the Unionist London based parties.

      http://bbc.in/Z80L7f
      http://bit.ly/10D6jrz
      http://bit.ly/12raNHb
      http://bit.ly/12tq0E0
      http://bit.ly/13tJbki
      http://bit.ly/Yn9UHM
      http://bit.ly/Yfjzku

      EDIT BY REVSTU: I’ve removed two paragraphs attacking another poster for being a “troll”. I think I’ve been clear enough on the subject.

    82. Jiggsbro says:

      Think of the impact a couple of guys in batman suits made for Fathers for Justice.
       
      I’m thinking they helped make the organisation a laughing stock.

    83. John H says:

      Art1001
      I had what I thought was a perfectly reasonable comment removed over at NNS two days ago. No explanation given. It’s not the first time this has happened. So I’ve decided it’s not worth the bother posting there again. It’s a shame, because I think that we owe so much to NNS, but there’s definitely something odd going on over there in recent months.

    84. creag an tuirc says:

      @Tattie-boggle
      In the BBC article it says: “The city council agreed to the rally but declined permission for a parade.” Why were they refused? It’s almost like the GCC wants trouble!
      I think the OF are being used in this political game. Cameron visits: HMRC + RFC front page news. Cameron visits: RFC + Whyte front page news. Will we have – Tax changes “giveaway” for the rich: CFC rally front page news?

    85. The Man in the Jar says:

      @John H
      I visit NNS once every day or two just to see what is going on and get a broader picture. Sometimes it feels like a bit of a chore. I have never attempted to comment. I think their problem is that they take themselves to seriously. Yes independence is a very serious issue but their attitude to comments discourages me from visiting more often. I have read other wings readers mention problems with their comments being over moderated on NNS.
      Take a look at bitter together. What a bunch of soor pus, Weary Wullies all of them.
      A little bit of humour doesn’t hurt. Even AS sometimes manages to inject a little into FMQs. I think that humour is an integral part of the success of “Wings” Being over serious just turn’s folk off.

    86. Albert Herring says:

      NNS is very good for news, and their factsheet
      http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-opinion/4341-a-unionist-lexicon-an-a-z-of-unionist-scare-stories-myths-and-misinformation is superb.
      However if you make the mildest criticism of eg their moderation policy you get immediately put in pre-moderation, and if you have the cheek to do it again they close your account.

    87. Art1001 says:

      @cynicalHighlander
       
      Nope its been whacked again. Seemed like a reasonable suggestion given what we are up against.

    88. Albalha says:

      @Art1001
      Had the same experience querying whether T Sheridan was really the best person to have as speaker, very tame query, Anyway realised the first one I’d posted earlier this morning wasn’t there, nor a ‘has been deleted, blah, blah’, so posted similar later on, again nowhere, then thought okay I’ll post something else completely different to see if it’s my account or whatever and that one, nothing to do with T Sheridan is there.
      Very strange.
       
       

    89. Lochside says:

      Thank God for ‘Wings’! I read and commented on NNS for a couple of years until they brought in a ridiculous censorship policy and curtailed comment facility. When I was being censored for fairly innocuous (but what I felt were valid) criticisms of policy by both SNP and Yes campaigns, I asked publicly on the site for explanations as to why my comments either were not appearing or disappearing altogether. I waited in vain. During that period many valued contributors and commentatotrs stopped altogether from appearing on the site. I despaired that at a time when there was real momentum in the site and in the pro- Independence movement in general. Then I stumbled on this site and others such as ‘Bella’. I have put my money where my mouth is,albeit it a modest amount, but have showed my faith in ‘Wings’ thus. With MSM I still glance at the site and mourn at what a dry moribund and stale site that it has become.

    90. muttley79 says:

      @Scottish_Skier
       
      There is almost no chance of the Union radically reforming in the period before the referendum.  I see even Peter Robinson has said that this is a real risk as it will almost certainly force more voters in Scotland to vote for independence. 
       
      I agree with you on it not being the last chance.  Westminster would have to abolish the vote in Scotland to stop people choosing the independence route.  If they did introduce measures against it then that would go down terribly badly in Scotland.  I do not think people here would not tolerate that.

      I always thought it was a shame that Andrew Wilson and Duncan Hamilton left the Scottish Parliament.  Hopefully they will return soon.  They are getting experience away from politics, and that would probably make them better politicians if they did return to politics, and the SNP.

    91. Clancheif says:

      a civil war is overdue
      but as you said rev. what do you do when the sheep just keep coming?

    92. Alex Kashko says:

      The full Crowley quote is the law of Thelema: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Love is the law, love under will.” Most people forget the second half.



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