Only One Choice and Only for Scotland 517


Would you like to be shot with a red gun or blue gun, sir? That is the limit of the choice being offered the UK electorate as New Labour announces it will keep the Coalition public spending plans and the Coalition benefit cuts. Given it will also throw away £100 billion on Trident, and New Labour initiated the rampant privatisation of the Health Service, PFI, Tuition Fees etc., my point could not have been more eloquently proven that the UK electorate is no longer offered any meaningful choice by the neo-con parties.

It also of course demolishes completely the Gordon Brown argument that Scots need to stay in the Union to put New Labour in to power. Who carries out Tory policies is not the question; and why a nation should surrender its freedom just to make sure Ed Balls has a ministerial car and salary while he implements Tory policies, is not a question which to me has an obvious answer.

The only meaningful political choice any part of the UK population will have in the foreseeable future is the Scottish Independence Referendum. If Scots do not take their chance, all they have ahead is economic decline and the collapse of public services. The choice could not be more stark.


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517 thoughts on “Only One Choice and Only for Scotland

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  • Villager

    Mary, surely it is a him and not her consistent with your recent declaration that you were about to start calling him The Old Cock. He responded that he strongly objected to the “Old’ bit, the rest was fine. I laughed that time too because of his witty ability to rise above (excuse the pun — definitely not intended). I’m sure i don’t need to justify my sense of humour to you. A good laugh is a good laugh.

    As for ‘your supporter’, the Ali G, though i dare say not fractionally as funny, left a note in defence and ‘support’ of you. If you don’t want supporters, reject it and tell him, not me. I also wouldn’t want lead bricks to ‘support’ me.

    Turning to ” If you think I am going to comment on the content of another’s post you are wrong “, in the next breath you ask me “Did you ever comment on some of the inappropriate unpleasantness that I have been subjected to…”. As a matter of fact, I did. Was it wrong (by your code) that i did? So now will you tell me that didn’t you, in your research, find it odd that the rather benign and witty response was deleted, that my request to Jon that the original offensive remark be removed was deleted, but Guano’s unprovoked ‘hairy baboon/red bottom’ remark is mysteriously still standing? I still wonder if it is an oversight on the moderator’s behalf. To know better what’s right or wrong here i am very curious indeed.

    Further, very recently, you even commented on non-posts by ‘trolls’ as regards Craig’s health. Now that is what i call stirring things up. Surely some consistency of observation is required.

  • Villager

    “Surely some consistency of observation is required.” May i add that it would contribute to the health of this blog.

  • Dreoilin

    Guano asks,

    ”Undermining Guano”
    ‘Have you ever heard anything so childish as this as a mission in life?’

    Guano, since you’re the one who posted this out of the clear blue sky:

    “HairyBaboon
    Can you explain to me please the relevance of your big red bottom.”

    I’d be careful about using the word “childish”.

    —————

    And Mary says, in relation to Iain Banks:

    “It was decent of him to acknowledge the work of the NHS even though it was too late for him to be saved.”

    Yes, that was big of him.

    “No self pity either.”

    That smacked to me of some of the old-fashioned nursing staff I have had the misfortune to meet in the course of my life. Starched nurses who seemed to think that no complaining about pain or other suffering should be tolerated. And it’s a wholly negative attitude. I have recently read several articles about the negative effects of not allowing patients to complain about their suffering. Especially with invisible causes of pain like athritis, or migraine, etc, where people don’t get as much sympathy as they would with something visible, like burns or cuts or a broken limb. Allowing people to talk about their suffering and their fears is far healthier for them.

    I have also read articles decrying this attitude of a “battle with cancer”. ‘She lost her battle with cancer in early June.’ Nonsense. This attitude derives from the insistence that cancer patients must have a positive attitude in order to get better. If the cancer goes into recession, that’s great. But if the cancer comes back, the patient is left feeling that they didn’t “fight” hard enough, or they weren’t positive enough. So it’s their own fault. So much tosh, and so destructive to the psychological health of the cancer patient.

    I expect that Iain Banks was afraid of death, like the rest of us. The fact that he didn’t say that online means nothing. Or the fact that he didn’t complain of pain, as he was most assuredly entitled to. “Self pity” my arse.

  • doug scorgie

    Fred
    9 Jun, 2013 – 12:08 pm

    “Earlier in the thread I asked what was the root cause of the problems in Palestine. No one has answered.”

    You seem to be the expert on everything Fred so you tell us what the root cause of problems in Palestine are then some posters might reply to agree or disagree with you.

    But then a Troll is a Troll.

  • Fred

    “Anyway. I wonder how Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain and even the French feel about their hunky dory union now.”

    Grateful I would think.

    They would have been in one hell of a mess without the bailouts.

  • Dreoilin

    And labelling anyone and everyone who doesn’t agree with the prevailing orthodoxy here a “troll” is downright silly, IMO.

    Personally, I have no interest in simply reading a bunch of people who all agree with one another.

  • Herbie

    I mentioned earlier that nationalism and unionism pull in different directions. More importantly it’s necessary to understand the dynamics involved.

    You begin with a coalescence of tribes becoming nations. They don’t all become nations, but the more successful do. As they grow more powerful they form alliances and/or conquer other territories. Others in niche positions form mercantile city states and so on.

    That’s in the beginning. We’re now at the end of that process. In that sense today’s nationalism is a sign of the lessening of power of these old unions. It’s a sign of their breaking apart.

    In this way it’s possible to suggest that Scottish independence is much more a product of a decline in the power of more unitary models, than it is of desire itself.

  • Fred

    “But then a Troll is a Troll.”

    If you really want to descend to name calling I would be happy to oblige.

    Do you?

  • Herbie

    Fred on how the PIGS are feeling about the EU given their current financial state:

    “Grateful I would think

    They would have been in one hell of a mess without the bailouts.”

    They wouldn’t have needed any bailouts had they their own currencies.

  • Villager

    “It’s just a shame that RBS decided to acquire ABN or we wouldn’t be suffering nearly so much.

    I wonder who put them up to that.”

    Great point. I was also impressed by your declaration that you don’t care for Nationalism in any form wherever it is. I have to say that my observation is that you have argued your corner very succinctly.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Herbie :

    re. 19h48 – it is indeed incorrect. I asked him to back up his claim that undermining Guano was my “mission in life”.

    re. “Well. I’d go somewhere where there’s an upwave towards civilization, an emergent civilization if you like.”

    Yes, but where, specifically? Names of countries, please. You can’t emigrate to an ideal…

  • Fred

    “I mentioned earlier that nationalism and unionism pull in different directions. More importantly it’s necessary to understand the dynamics involved.”

    Well yes, evolution and devolution are opposites.

  • Fred

    “They wouldn’t have needed any bailouts had they their own currencies.”

    Do you have any evidence to back that statement?

  • fedup

    Nothing like bickering and ankle-biting ……

    This threads bullshit counter has long ceased to function, due to the huge influx of absolute bollocks. This blog is now the extension of the occupied territories, with the usual suspects entitlement to this blog.

    ============

    The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said.

    Has the Guardian done a Julian Assange on this poor guy too? Will he end up as a rapist, pickpocket, flasher, and shoplifter, running for his life and taking up residence in the next room to Julian in the embassy?

    In a note accompanying the first set of documents he provided, he wrote: “I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions,” but “I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.”

    The narrative already is taking shape about his “suffering” that is yet to come.

    Series: Glenn Greenwald on security and liberty
    Previous | Index
    Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind revelations of NSA surveillance

    The 29-year-old source behind the biggest intelligence leak in the NSA’s history explains his motives, his uncertain future and why he never intended on hiding in the shadows

    • Q&A with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I do not expect to see home again’

    Share 3437
    inShare42
    Email

    Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill and Laura Poitras in Hong Kong
    guardian.co.uk, Sunday 9 June 2013 20.18 BST
    Jump to comments (282)

    Link to video: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’

    The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.

    The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said.

    Snowden will go down in history as one of America’s most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world’s most secretive organisations – the NSA.

    In a note accompanying the first set of documents he provided, he wrote: “I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions,” but “I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.”

    Despite his determination to be publicly unveiled, he repeatedly insisted that he wants to avoid the media spotlight. “I don’t want public attention because I don’t want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing.”

    He does not fear the consequences of going public, he said, only that doing so will distract attention from the issues raised by his disclosures. “I know the media likes to personalise political debates, and I know the government will demonise me.”

    Despite these fears, he remained hopeful his outing will not divert attention from the substance of his disclosures. “I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in.” He added: “My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”

    He has had “a very comfortable life” that included a salary of roughly $200,000, a girlfriend with whom he shared a home in Hawaii, a stable career, and a family he loves. “I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”
    ‘I am not afraid, because this is the choice I’ve made’

    Three weeks ago, Snowden made final preparations that resulted in last week’s series of blockbuster news stories. At the NSA office in Hawaii where he was working, he copied the last set of documents he intended to disclose.

    He then advised his NSA supervisor that he needed to be away from work for “a couple of weeks” in order to receive treatment for epilepsy, a condition he learned he suffers from after a series of seizures last year.

    As he packed his bags, he told his girlfriend that he had to be away for a few weeks, though he said he was vague about the reason. “That is not an uncommon occurrence for someone who has spent the last decade working in the intelligence world.”

    On May 20, he boarded a flight to Hong Kong, where he has remained ever since. He chose the city because “they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent”, and because he believed that it was one of the few places in the world that both could and would resist the dictates of the US government.

    In the three weeks since he arrived, he has been ensconced in a hotel room. “I’ve left the room maybe a total of three times during my entire stay,” he said. It is a plush hotel and, what with eating meals in his room too, he has run up big bills.

    He is deeply worried about being spied on. He lines the door of his hotel room with pillows to prevent eavesdropping. He puts a large red hood over his head and laptop when entering his passwords to prevent any hidden cameras from detecting them.

    Though that may sound like paranoia to some, Snowden has good reason for such fears. He worked in the US intelligence world for almost a decade. He knows that the biggest and most secretive surveillance organisation in America, the NSA, along with the most powerful government on the planet, is looking for him.

    Since the disclosures began to emerge, he has watched television and monitored the internet, hearing all the threats and vows of prosecution emanating from Washington.

    And he knows only too well the sophisticated technology available to them and how easy it will be for them to find him. The NSA police and other law enforcement officers have twice visited his home in Hawaii and already contacted his girlfriend, though he believes that may have been prompted by his absence from work, and not because of suspicions of any connection to the leaks.

    “All my options are bad,” he said. The US could begin extradition proceedings against him, a potentially problematic, lengthy and unpredictable course for Washington. Or the Chinese government might whisk him away for questioning, viewing him as a useful source of information. Or he might end up being grabbed and bundled into a plane bound for US territory.

    “Yes, I could be rendered by the CIA. I could have people come after me. Or any of the third-party partners. They work closely with a number of other nations. Or they could pay off the Triads. Any of their agents or assets,” he said.

    “We have got a CIA station just up the road – the consulate here in Hong Kong – and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week. And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be.”

    Having watched the Obama administration prosecute whistleblowers at a historically unprecedented rate, he fully expects the US government to attempt to use all its weight to punish him. “I am not afraid,” he said calmly, “because this is the choice I’ve made.”

    He predicts the government will launch an investigation and “say I have broken the Espionage Act and helped our enemies, but that can be used against anyone who points out how massive and invasive the system has become”.

    The only time he became emotional during the many hours of interviews was when he pondered the impact his choices would have on his family, many of whom work for the US government. “The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won’t be able to help any more. That’s what keeps me up at night,” he said, his eyes welling up with tears.
    ‘You can’t wait around for someone else to act’

    Snowden did not always believe the US government posed a threat to his political values. He was brought up originally in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. His family moved later to Maryland, near the NSA headquarters in Fort Meade.

    By his own admission, he was not a stellar student. In order to get the credits necessary to obtain a high school diploma, he attended a community college in Maryland, studying computing, but never completed the coursework.

    In 2003, he enlisted in the US army and began a training program to join the Special Forces. Invoking the same principles that he now cites to justify his leaks, he said: “I wanted to fight in the Iraq war because I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression”.

    He recounted how his beliefs about the war’s purpose were quickly dispelled. “Most of the people training us seemed pumped up about killing Arabs, not helping anyone,” he said. After he broke both his legs in a training accident, he was discharged.

    Obviously this chap is an al kaidy sympathising “Muslim Scum” (BTW no one should jump into conclusions about the fires in the Islamic boarding school , says the man on the telly). Who is also a spy and a criminal, and he picks his nose, and never washes his hands after he has been to toilet.

    “Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world,” he says. “I realised that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good.”

    Reiterating his mendacity to our “values” and “freedoms”, and “way of life”, on goes his rants!

    Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind revelations of NSA surveillance

    The 29-year-old source behind the biggest intelligence leak in the NSA’s history explains his motives, his uncertain future and why he never intended on hiding in the shadows

    He views his best hope as the possibility of asylum, with Iceland – with its reputation of a champion of internet freedom – at the top of his list. He knows that may prove a wish unfulfilled.

    Poor bastard I have utmost respect form him, and wish him good luck.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Well, I am certainly one of those ‘consistently fatigued’ by the incessant need for conflict, harping on dangling modifiers and carping about real or imagined slights. If I am an outlier on this I can go fuck myself.

  • Villager

    “And labelling anyone and everyone who doesn’t agree with the prevailing orthodoxy here a “troll” is downright silly, IMO.”

    Even imbecilic, IMO.

    Kindly stop this nonsense DS. And since when did you start representing ‘some posters’. Would you like to declare their names?

  • Herbie

    Habby wants to know where to escape as the empire collapses:

    “Yes, but where, specifically? Names of countries, please. You can’t emigrate to an ideal…”

    Civilization isn’t an ideal. It’s simply a property of human organization which emerges when certain criteria are met.

    But anyway. Find your own emergent civilization!

    Think of how the West emerged from tribal barbarianism after the fall of the western Roman empire, cutely cocooned by that nice Eastern empire whilst we grew.

    Look for something like that.

  • Herbie

    When I suggested that had they their own currencies, the PIGS wouldn’t have needed bailouts, Fred asks:

    “Do you have any evidence to back that statement?”

    Isn’t it a logical rather than an evidentiary matter?

  • Habbabkuk

    re. this business about the bailouts agreed for certain EU member states and Herbie’s comment that these countries wouldn’t have needed bailouts if they had had their own currencies :

    well, two comments here :

    1/. perhaps not, but you know that experience shows that devaluations (I assume this is what you were hinting)may – if at all – work in the purely short term and are no substitute for improving competitiveness through structural reform, improved governance and more realistic economic expectations, etc. The Greek experience between the end of the 1970s and Greece’s adoption of the euro are a case in point;

    2/. one must avoid giving the impression that the PIGS were dragged kicking and screaming into the euro by the evil strong currency countries. On the contrary, there were doubts in the minds of the latter as to the advisability of including some of them in the so-called ‘first wave’ and there were even stronger doubts about Greece joining sunsequently. The fact is that these countries were mustard keen to join even though the necessary economic convergence existed only on paper but not in fact; for them it was a matter of national pride and the wish to be considered as ‘first division’ countries.

  • KingofWelshNoir

    Dreoilin

    I really agree with your comments about Iain Banks. This whole metaphor of ‘battling’ a disease, be it cancer or something else, can be so unhelpful. As you say, if the patient succumbs, does that mean they weren’t fighting hard enough? As to your second point, I agree as well. To migraine and arthritis one can add depression, which I have some (deeply unpleasant ) experience of. Discussing it with people who have experienced it is enormously therapeutic. The ‘stiff upper lip’ routine is rubbish.

  • Dreoilin

    Edward Snowden

    Much braver than any of the so-called “heroes” who went on a killing spree in Iraq or Afghanistan. But who will say “thank you for your service” to him? I wonder was he inspired by Bradley Manning.

  • Villager

    Herbie, why don’t you address your posts directly to the fellow commenter. Are you playing to the gallery or something?

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    ” I wonder was he inspired by Bradley Manning.” He seems pretty well-informed of his personal risks. I certainly hope this is the crack in the structure which emboldens more people of conscience. Thank god, there are some.

  • Villager

    KingofWelshNoir

    Dreoilin
    Agreed.

    Another simple point is, the moment you are ‘battling’ something — which is a cliche –another conflict is born in the mind. Which, makes things worse, holistically speaking; and then who is doing the battling? and who is being battled? Surely a cancer or whatever ailment is me. Not something outside of me, even if it came through a virus or something. Point is one, and others around one, needs to respond, not react — such response entailing the intelligence of nature and love.

  • Dreoilin

    Thanks, KoWN. I’m sorry to hear you have had experience of depression. I spent four years wading through it in the late 80s, and I agree with you – discussing it with people who have experienced it is enormously helpful. I was hospitalised, and I have said to many people since then that I found the other patients far more helpful/sympathetic/understanding than the staff.

  • Dreoilin

    I see I wrote, “If the cancer goes into recession” – I meant remission. 🙂

    “and then who is doing the battling? and who is being battled? Surely a cancer or whatever ailment is me.”

    Agreed, Villager. And battling with oneself is not the answer.

  • Dreoilin

    “I certainly hope this is the crack in the structure which emboldens more people of conscience. Thank god, there are some.”

    Yes, Ben, it’s wonderfully hopeful. I do feel sorry for him, though. The arms of the USA admin are very long.

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