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Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End

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Jackie Bird excelling herself. The interview with John Swinney, her usual snide self then ran out of time!!!  If Ruth Davidson's going to lead the No charge, she's off to a bad start. Completely rude, ham acting, dicey metaphors (up all night concocting) – talking to the First Minister as though she's a naughty school child. She expressed her disdain for Yes supporters during the Bird interview and then actually mocked the Scottish accent of Joan McAlpine MSP.

Aye, Ruth, you've impressed May and the Tories love you but the youngsters can't abide that schoolmarm attitude, the working class don't like to be insulted and the older generation tend to frown on ill manners. Keep it up.


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Interesting article by Iain McWhirter pointing out how the Brexit arrangement with Gibraltar is more or less what Nicola Sturgeon was suggesting for Scotland in the paper that was ignored. https://iainmacwhirter.wordpress.com/2017/04/08/gibraltar-has-to-stay-in-the-single-market-after-brexit-so-could-scotland/

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They're going to be drifting somewhere becaue London is no longer placed to do the euro business.

I feel quite side every time I walk past the EU flag here in Nerja.

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The Tories were right. Scottish politics is divisive and nasty. But the problem for the Tories is that it’s them who are the primary source of the divisiveness and nastiness. The thing is that when you spend your entire time screaming at the top of your voice that the normal processes of a healthy democracy are nasty, vile, and divisive, the people who believe you are your own supporters, and that in turn provokes them into nasty, vile, and divisive behaviour. You’ve just brought into being your very own self-fulfilling prophecy, and then you can pat yourself on your smug back about how right you were to complain that Scottish politics are divisive and nasty, because the nastiness of your own supporters is proof in your own eyes of the nastiness of the parties you oppose.

Of course the Tories neither support, condone, or are responsible for the events on Wednesday, an act which was most assuredly carried out by a single nutcase acting alone. But when you base your entire political strategy on stoking up fear and preaching hysteria, you bear a moral responsibility when the more extreme elements amongst your supporters go off the deep end. When you spend your political life screaming “There’s a monster!” you have a moral culpability when your own supporters get out the torches and the pitchforks.

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There are some very dicey characters revealing themselves in very prejudiced tweets. Accounts of a number of Tory councilors have apparently been deleted but, of course, too late as the posts have already been captured.

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I had the most depressing 45 minutes of my life talking politics with a colleague who is your classic South Ayrshire tory.

Everything was Daily Mail soundbites, he even quoted the need for austerity because of those families with three generations of workshy dole merchants......

My suggestion that he voluntarily donate £9k per annum for each of his children he put through uni in Scotland was looked upon with incredulity.  He is, I am afraid a classic tea party right winger, they want their lives protected by socialism but everybody else to suffer the extremes of laissez-faire capitalism.  


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Ruth spouting more lies about a lack of immigrants coming to Scotland



So, higher than Scotland's 8.4% population share.

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The leader of the Tories in Scotland continues to talk utter tripe. She should go along to the graduate show at the Art School or talk to any new graduates in Glasgow. On chatting to most of the foreign students she would find that they would love to remain in Scotland but in keeping with government policy – that does not suit Scotland – skilled, talented, qualified, keen to work young people are kicked out in their thousands. 

Interesting to note that Foreign Investment is also attracted to Scotland –  EY Attractiveness Study 2018

     'Scotland achieved record-breaking levels of inward investment in 2015, with an all-time high for the number of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects.

A total of 119 projects were secured last year – a significant 51% increase on the previous year, and more than double the UK’s 20% increase.

Scotland surged past the South East in the overall UK regional league table to claim second place behind London.

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Ruth Davidson's bile knows no limit.  She snarled criticism of the SNP's delayed manifesto, a delay resulting from the bomb explosion in Manchester.


She is near hysterical sounding every day which would suggest their internal polling is telling them bad things 

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From Alan Bisset of Bella Caledonia 


Lost amid the clamour of ‘Advice for the SNP’ articles – plus, of course, carnage in London, the Brexit fiasco and chaos at the heart of the UK system – one striking event since the General Election has gone almost unremarked upon: the erosion of Scottish democracy.

Make no mistake, the narrative which has been established by the Unionist parties – trialed the very moment polls showed losses for the SNP – sets a dangerous precedent, marking a potentially grave turning-point in Scottish history.

First, a recap.

May 2016: the SNP run for the Scottish Parliament on a manifesto of a second independence referendum, if there is “a significant and material change of the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will.” The SNP win that election by a minority, but Green support ensures a pro-independence majority in Holyrood.

June 2016: the UK narrowly votes to Leave the EU but 62% of Scots elect to Remain, triggering the “material change of circumstances”.

March 2017: after various Scottish Government proposals allowing Scotland to stay in both the UK and EU are thwarted by Theresa May, the Scottish Parliament passes a bill for a second independence referendum by a majority of 69 to 59.

May 2017: the SNP publish their manifesto for the UK election which states that “if the SNP wins a majority of Scottish seats, that would complete a triple lock [on the referendum], further reinforcing the democratic mandate which already exists.”

June 2017: the SNP win 35 out of 59 Scottish seats, a clear majority. The mandate is thus triple-locked.

The legal situation, as we can see, is clear and watertight. At each step the SNP have been open about their intentions, have followed democratic procedures, and have obeyed the wishes of the Scottish electorate. The Unionist parties then, in denying the SNP’s mandate, are engaging in a coup.

Their narrative runs thus: the SNP losing 21 seats in this year’s General Election, combined with a 62% vote share for anti-independence parties, means that, in the words of Ruth Davidson, ‘indyref 2 is dead’. Cue applause not only from the right-wing media but the left. The Observer, with no reference to the facts whatsoever, has declared that ‘the independence question is settled.’ Even when it is accepted that the SNP’s total of 35 of 59 seats is more than that of the Unionist parties’ combined it is done so dismissively, as though such a thing barely matters. Gerry Hassan, in his recent assessment, placed inverted commas around the word ‘won’, implying that the SNP’s victory was ambiguous and not factual.

Of course the General Election was a serious loss of momentum for them. Of course lessons need to be learned about the party’s flawed pitch to the electorate, about how they deal with threats on both right and left flanks. One can agree with this without translating it to a loss of support for independence – which has held steady since 2014 at 45-48% in opinion polls – nor a nulling of the Scottish Government’s democratic mandate.
To do so means that the accepted benchmark for victory under First Past the Post – winning the most amount of seats – and the agreed route of passing legislation in the Scottish Parliament – by majority – have been suddenly and arbitarily discounted in favour of ‘vote share’.

Scottish democracy, in effect, has just been rewritten without any of us being consulted, or even noticing.

By the Unionist parties’ definition, as James Kelly of Scot Goes Pop has pointed out, the Tories had no right to implement their manifesto after 2015, on 37% of the vote, nor did Labour between 2005 and 2010, on 35%.

Do we now see the absurdity of their argument?

Let’s get the SNP’s 2017 election into perspective. Yes, they lost votes and seats – they were always going to since that impossible high of 2015 – but so did Tony Blair over three elections between 1997 and 2005, despite a weak Conservative opposition and the broad support of much of the press. My recall, however, is that commentators ignored these losses in the face of an unprecented triumvirate of wins for a Labour PM.

Shall we talk unprecedented? 2015, a mere two years ago, was the first time the SNP achieved a majority of Scottish seats in a UK election (equivalent, for Margaret Thatcher, of a declaration of Scottish independence). They have done so again. This comes against the backdrop of three successive victories in Holyrood and a recent council election win, all while facing relentless media hostility plus opposition parties united and co-operating with each other against them. If we are being told this is calamitous for independence then why were three Blair victories on the trot – with reduced vote-share each time – considered remarkable for the Labour movement?

All of this is classic Doublethink: victory is defeat, defeat is victory. The parties which came second and third in the Scottish results this year have been deemed the successful. According to the BBC’s Brian Taylor, Ruth Davidson ‘won’ in Scotland. Julia Rampen in The New Statesman proclaimed Kezia Dugdale’s ‘quiet victory’.

Again, some perspective.

Of 59 Scottish seats these ‘winners’ claimed a mere thirteen and seven respectively. In contrast, two elections ago, Labour held FORTY-ONE. Their vote-share in Scotland has gone up by 2.8% from 2015. The very ‘quietest’ of victories, then?

The Conservatives’ new 28.6% Scottish vote-share meanwhile – hailed as miraculous – is less than Margaret Thatcher won north of the border in 1979, identical to her 1983 result, and only marginally higher than what she managed in 1987 and John Major in 1992, a period which Scottish history books have interpreted as united opposition to Conservatism. Yet such a result for Davidson proves the Scottish Tories are thriving?

It might be easy to write these machinations off as political spin (which they are) were the repercussions not so dire. Short of an impossibly high bar – yet another majority in Holyrood? repeating the 2015 total of Westminster seats? plus an immense share of the popular vote? – Scots are now being told there is simply no way to democratically bring about a second independence referendum.

Pause, go back, and read that again.

The Scottish Parliament has already passed a Bill for a second referendum. If this is being disregarded then we’re witnessing a fatal and historic cancelling of Holyrood’s authority by Scotland’s Unionists.

It would’ve been such an easy sell for them: “We still oppose independence, and will continue to campaign as such, but we recognise the will of the Scottish Parliament.” This could’ve allowed them to seem proudly British but also respectful of Scotland’s democratic institutions. Why have they chosen not to? Because their goal, quite simply, is to weaken Holyrood as a political force in the eyes of the Scottish electorate, to undermine it forever as a means of enabling independence.

Their talk about the will of the people is a red herring. They were never going to allow another referendum. They’ve told us so. Ruth Davidson was asked before the General Election if a 50%+ vote share for the SNP in Scotland secured their mandate. She said no. Kezia Dugdale, in the run-up to the Holyrood election of 2016, was quizzed by Bernard Ponsonby: ‘If the First Minister in her manifesto seeks a mandate for a second referendum, gets a mandate for it, will you respect that?’ She said no.

Where were the thundering broadsheet opinion pieces denouncing this betrayal of the Scottish people? Their absence should’ve alerted us. The subtle recasting of the SNP’s General Election win into a defeat is the second shoe falling on Scottish democracy.
Of course, Unionists will claim that it is their vote which is not being observed. Scotland said No in 2014, after all, and NO MEANS NO. But this argument is facile (and comically undercut by the Lib Dems demanding a second EU referendum, and Kezia Dugdale calling for the 2017 General Election to be re-run, because they didn’t get the results they wanted). Quite obviously the No vote was respected. Scotland is still in the UK. What Unionists are attempting now would be equivalent to Alex Salmond declaring independence on Sept 19th 2014 after defeat.

Time and the democratic will move on. Whether Unionists like it or not, Scots have voted to have another say on the independence question. Opinion polls (or ones without very leading questions) bear this out.

The Scottish Parliament has decreed that a referendum will be held when the Brexit settlement is clear. That is eminently sensible, given how disastrous Brexit is set to be. Scots may or may not vote No again, may or may not remain in the United Kingdom, but if this referendum does not take place, under pressure from Unionists, then not only will independence be nullified but so too will Holyrood as a forum for Scottish popular will. A ‘quiet victory’ indeed.

We must hold the line

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It is 'eminently sensible',  Sturgeon tends to be sensible.
Worth reading the full statement – sounds promising.



27/06/17 15:02

EU Negotiations and Scotland's Future


First Minister

27 June 2017

Presiding Officer,

Like other countries, Scotland faces big challenges.

Some of those challenges, like Brexit, are not of our choosing.

But we must always remember that Scotland is one of the richest countries in the world, with resources and talent in abundance.

Our task is to make the most of our great potential and build the kind of country we want to be - a fair, prosperous, open and tolerant country.

In working towards that goal, my responsibility as First Minister is to build as much unity and consensus as possible.

That is why, after the election I said I would reflect on the outcome and, in particular, on the issue of an independence referendum.

I have done so carefully, taking time to listen to a broad spectrum of voices.

I want to set out today where those reflections have taken me.

Before I do so, let me underline two enduring points.

Firstly, it remains my view, and indeed the position of this government that at the end of the Brexit process, the people of Scotland should have a choice about our future direction as a country.

Indeed, the implications of Brexit are so potentially far reaching that, as they become clearer, I think people will increasingly demand that choice.

We face a Brexit we did not vote for, and in a form more extreme than most would have imagined just one year ago.

And now, the terms of that Brexit are being negotiated by a UK government with no clear mandate, precious little authority and no real idea, even within its own ranks, of what it is seeking to achieve.

While we must hope for the best, the reality is that with the UK government's current approach, even a so-called good deal will be on terms substantially inferior to our current EU membership.

And, of course, there is now a real risk that the UK will crash out of the EU with no deal or a very bad deal - with deep and long lasting consequences for jobs, trade, investment, living standards and the opportunities open to future generations.

On top of all of that - as we saw so clearly in the deal struck with the DUP yesterday - we now have a UK government that talks about wanting to strengthen the bonds of the UK, but in reality is so desperate to cling on to power at any cost, that it is prepared to ride roughshod over the very principles of the entire devolution settlement.

So if Scotland is not simply to be at the mercy of events, but instead in control of our own future, then the ability to choose a different direction must be available to us.

Secondly, there is no doubt that the Scottish Government has a mandate to offer the people of Scotland that choice within this term of parliament.

We have now won not one, but two elections with that explicit commitment in our manifesto - and the Scottish Parliament has also endorsed that position.

By any normal standard of democracy that mandate is beyond question.

Opposition parties - no matter how strongly they disagree with us on independence, as is their right - should therefore stop trying to turn the basic rules of democracy on their head.

Presiding Officer,

The mandate we have is beyond doubt.

But deciding exactly how and when to exercise it is a matter of judgment - and it is a judgment that must be made in the interests of the country as a whole.

That is what I have been thinking carefully about.

Before, during and since the election campaign, I have had hundreds of conversations with people in every part of Scotland about the issues of Brexit and a second independence referendum.

There are, of course, some people who don't want another referendum, ever, because they oppose independence in all circumstances.

I respect that position.

It is entirely honorable and just as legitimate as the position of those who support independence in all circumstances and want another referendum tomorrow.

But many people - probably the majority - fall into neither of these categories.

Indeed, having spoken to many people who voted Yes in 2014 and to many others who did not but who would be open minded in future, what has struck me is the commonality of their views.

They worry about the uncertainty of Brexit and the lack of any clarity whatsoever about what it means.

Some of them just want a break from the pressure of making big political decisions.

They agree that our future should not be imposed on us, but feel that it is just too soon right now to make a firm decision about the precise timing of a referendum.

They want greater clarity about Brexit to emerge first - and they want to be able to measure that up against clarity about the options Scotland would have for securing a different relationship with Europe.

And, in the meantime, whatever their scepticism about the likely outcome of the negotiations, they want the Scottish Government to focus as hard as we can on securing the best possible outcome for Scotland.

Indeed, that view has even more force now that the general election and the weakness of the UK government has re-opened the possibility, however narrow, of averting a hard Brexit and retaining membership of the single market.

I have a duty to listen to those views and I intend to do so.

The Scottish Government remains committed - strongly - to the principle of giving Scotland a choice at the end of this process.

But I want to reassure people that our proposal is not for a referendum now or before there is sufficient clarity about the options - but rather to give them a choice at the end of the Brexit process when that clarity has emerged.

I am therefore confirming today that, having listened and reflected, the Scottish Government will reset the plan I set out on March 13th.

We will not seek to introduce the legislation for an independence referendum immediately.

Instead, we will - in good faith - redouble our efforts and put our shoulder to the wheel in seeking to influence the Brexit talks in a way that protects Scotland's interests.

We will seek to build maximum support around the proposals set out in the paper that we published in December - Scotland's Place in Europe - to keep us in the single market, with substantial new powers for this parliament.

We will do everything we can to influence the UK in that direction.

And then at the end of this period of negotiation with the EU - likely to be around next autumn - when the terms of Brexit will be clearer, we will come back to Parliament to set out our judgment on the best way forward at that time, including our view on the precise timescale for offering people a choice over the country's future.

In setting out this position today, I am also issuing a challenge to the other parties.

The Scottish Government will stand the best chance of positively influencing the Brexit outcome if we are at the table - with the full backing of our national Parliament - arguing for the sensible option of staying in the single market.

So join us now, with no equivocation - back the demands for the democratically elected Scottish Government to be at the table, able to influence the UK's negotiating strategy, and for Scotland and the UK to stay in the single market.

Presiding officer,

The second conclusion I have reached is this.

Over the past few months, the focus on the when and how of a referendum has, perhaps inevitably, been at the expense of setting out the many reasons why Scotland should be independent.

The fact is we are only talking of another referendum so soon after the last one because of Brexit.

And it is certainly the case that independence may well be the only way to protect Scotland from the impact of Brexit.

But the case for an independent Scotland is not just about Brexit - it goes far beyond that.

Many of us already believe that independence is the right and the best answer to the many, complex challenges we face as a country - and also the best way to seize and fully realise our many opportunities.

But we must persuade the majority in Scotland of that.

We have not done that yet - but I have no doubt that we can.

So the challenge for all of us who believe that Scotland should be independent is to get on with the hard work of making and winning that case - on all of its merits - and in a way that is relevant to the changes, challenges, hopes and opportunities we face now and in the years ahead.

That is what we will do.

Of course we won't do it on our own - because the independence case is bigger than us too.

We will engage openly and inclusively with, and work as part of, the wider independence movement.

We will seek to support, engage and grow that movement, and build the case that having decisions made by us - not for us - offers the best future for our country.

We will make, and seek to win the case that governing ourselves is the best way to tackle the challenges we face as a country - from building a better balanced and more sustainable economy, to growing our population, strengthening our democracy, and tackling deep seated problems of poverty and inequality.

Presiding Officer,

My last point, today, is this.

This government has been in office now for ten years.

I am incredibly proud of our achievements - delivered in the most challenging of circumstances and in the face of unprecedented Westminster cuts.

I am also clear about our priorities as we move forward - not just fighting Scotland's corner in the Brexit talks, but also growing our economy and making sure that the public services we all rely on are there when we need them, from cradle to grave.

That means continuing to work each and every day to improve education, equip our NHS for the challenges of the future, lift people out of poverty and build a social security system with dignity at its heart.

But of course any government, after ten years, needs to take stock and refresh.

So over this summer, as we prepare our next Programme for Government and our budget for the year ahead, that is exactly what we will do.

We will set out afresh our vision for the country we lead, together with the creative, imaginative, bold and radical policies that, as far as is possible within the current powers available to us, will help us realise that bold, ambitious vision for Scotland.

We look forward to getting on with the job in the best interests of all the people of Scotland.'

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Things are looking up in the oil industry with 15,000 new jobs on the horizon in the North Sea.  Price of oil also up.  Could be a game changer for Independence if the riches of oil back in the picture. 

The GERS nonsense really gets on my nerves. Scotland being painted yet again as a poor wee place - no account taken of the Scottish products, whisky and salmon being top of the UK's exports, but does that show as income for Scotland. No, straight into Treasury coffers, along with all the spending we do in Tesco, Frasers, John Lewis, Marks etc – VAT also Treasury income.

Then we could ditch Trident.   

Also worth thinking about -if we are doing so badly as part of the UK - then surely might be a good idea to bail out?


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