Freedom Cheaper than Iraq War 764

A particularly mendacious lie by Danny Alexander puts the institutional start-up costs of Scottish Independence at £1.5 billion.  That is a cool half billion pounds cheaper than Scotland’s share of the costs of the Iraq and Afghan wars, even on the Westminster government’s blatant under-estimate of the war costs.

So Scotland can afford criminal invasions killing hundreds of thousands to ‘bring freedom’, but cannot afford the smaller cost of its own freedom!!!

The £1.5 billion estimate is mendacious in two ways.  Firstly, it is a simple recycling of a Canadian lie at the time of the Quebec independence referendum, apportioning with no argument 1% of GDP to startup costs.

Secondly, as nearly all the money will be spent in Scotland it is not a loss at all, but actually an increase to GDP, as any but the most nutty neo-con would be forced to acknowledge.  And it would be the precursor of government money spent annually in Scotland rather than England for ever thereafter.

Thankfully Alexander won’t have a job much longer – and if he thinks a penny of Scottish public spending is going in future to support his huge arse and deceitful mouth, he is very wrong.


764 thoughts on “Freedom Cheaper than Iraq War

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  • John Goss

    I agree Mary, it is a haunting photo of Noyes. I am not surprised he was critical of Joyce since he is fond of Tennyson and Wordsworth. Wordsworth was all right, Tennyson a superb craftsman. His idyll “The Brook” is one of mys favourite narrative poems. Joyce, as with many experimental poets, has his followers, but “Ulysses” is alongside Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses” and very much among books that most people put down before finishing. And very few pick up “Finnegan’s Wake”. 🙂

  • doug scorgie

    Public consultation?

    “Plans are underway to privatise one of the best-performing public services, the Land Registry”

    “The public consultation on government proposals to privatise the Land Registry closed on Thursday 20th March. There has been no publicity or attempt to inform the public of this radical change to an organisation that is vital to the UK property market.”

    “Another consultation on giving the Land Registry wider powers in the control of data essential to the sale and purchase of property closed earlier with the majority of the public not being aware if it’s existence.”

  • doug scorgie

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !
    3 Jun, 2014 – 5:50 pm

    “I suspect you have a greater hang-up about male circumcision than do those who have been circumcised. Why so, Doug?”

    My “hang-up” Habbabkuk is concern for human rights:

    UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    Article 2
    “The Convention applies to every child whatever their ethnicity, gender, religion, abilities, whatever they think or say, no matter what type of family they come from.”

    Article 12
    “Every child has the right to say what they think in all matters affecting them, and to have their views taken seriously.”

    Circumcision, for non-medical reasons, takes away the rights of the child.

    Though I don’t expect you to look at it that way Habbabkuk.

    Interestingly the only two states not to ratify the convention are Somalia and the USA

  • Kempe

    “The nonsense about Yanukovich not signing the European agreement ”

    How is it nonsense? Are you saying it never happened?

    ” overthrowing elected governments is wrong ”

    Unless it’s a western orientated one, eh John.

  • Ba'al Zevul (Pigeons Aren't the Only Flying Rats)

    This just out: shining beacon of ME democracy continues land grab…

    Looks as if the Quartet’s representative’s attendance at the February 2014 Munich Security Conference, along with Kerry, Indyck, Livni and Erekat, was treated with the usual disdain by the usual suspects.

    Nice pic of G-CEYL, Tony’s flying limousine, at Munich, in February, here, though:

  • Mary

    Dear Babushka. You sound a very kind person. I sympathize with your predicament but you would not have it any other way I guess. I had similar times but they are long past now. There is always a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. x

    Are you able to tell us more about this ‘sick tax’ of Abbott’s. More privatisation?

    John Thanks for your interesting comments on poets and their works. I too love Tennyson. Two of his poems come to mind and I can almost still recite them from heart as we were taught to memorize them. I won’t say how long ago but way back.

    ‘Break, Break Break on thy cold grey stones O Sea…’ (in memory of his friend) and The Lady of Shalott. The latter I sometimes recite when walking with the dog. ‘Willows whiten, aspens quiver, Little breezes dusk and shiver’…. Beautiful.

  • Mary

    He was shouting, not speaking. Listen to him on the video. A rabble rouser. A demagogue. No irony contained in this headline.

    Obama condemns Russian ‘aggression’ in Ukraine
    US President Barack Obama: “We stand together now and forever, for your freedom is ours”

    Ukraine crisis
    Boots on the ground?
    Poroshenko profile
    Crisis mapped
    Wild east

    US President Barack Obama has condemned Russian “aggression” in Ukraine.

    Speaking in Warsaw to mark 25 years since the fall of communism in Poland, he hailed Polish democracy as a beacon for neighbouring Ukraine.

    “How can we allow the dark tactics of the 20th Century to define the 21st?” he said.

    Earlier Mr Obama met Ukraine President-elect Petro Poroshenko, and pledged support for plans to restore peace to the country.


  • John Goss

    “Unless it’s a western orientated one, eh John.”

    Not true. I’ve always been for the ballot box over the gun, negotiation over confrontation.

  • Vronsky


    You’d probably enjoy Browning’s Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came’. Something about it vaguely similar to The Listeners. Who is in the Tower?

    Last two verses:

    Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it toll’d
    Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears
    Of all the lost adventurers my peers,—
    How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
    And such was fortunate, yet each of old
    Lost, lost! one moment knell’d the woe of years.:

    There they stood, ranged along the hill-sides, met
    To view the last of me, a living frame
    For one more picture! in a sheet of flame
    I saw them and I knew them all. And yet
    Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,
    And blew “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.”

  • Iain Orr

    Mary (at 10.46 pm on 3 June and John Goss at 11.25 and 11.32 pm) have happily brought together two poems whose meaning – for all their vividness and metrical strength – is hard to pin down. What makes them stick in our collective memory like an archetypal dream? I’ll be foolhardy and try to answer Mary’s questions (“Who was the Horseman and why wasn’t he answered?”), using John’s suggestion that the Horseman was the Highwayman.

    The horse is Time and the horseman is not “the Pale Rider, Death” (Revelation 6:8) but the living who are trying to ride into the world of those once living who are now ghosts – the past that never goes entirely away, always casting shadows onto the present and the future.

    This interpretation comes from repeated readings in the past two days of the elegy “Hallaig” by the Scottish Gaelic poet, Sorley MacLean. The poem is set in his birthplace, the island of Raasay, off Skye. Many of the islanders, including 40 from Hallaig, were “encouraged” to emigrate to Australia in June 1854. – a late episode of the Highland clearances The theme is set in the first line: “Time, the deer, is in Hallaig Wood”. That is where the poet finds “each departed generation has gathered”, but when he takes aim with “Love’s loaded gun” those who were alive become dead again.

    In the Noyes’ poem, death intervenes when the Highwayman tries to make the past become his future by keeping his promise to the girl whose memory has never left him. In Walter de la Mare’s poem the door remains shut because his Listeners cannot afford to let the Traveller be true to his word. The past is another country whose inhabitants can only stay alive if they are not overpowered by the seductive promises of the colonising living. That is why non-one answers the Traveller.

    Even though Sorley MacLean provided English versions of all his poems, I prefer the translation of “Hallaig” by his friend Seamus Heaney – see

  • John Goss

    Mary, there must have been some kind of national curriculum in those days. I remember “Break, break, on thy cold grey stones O sea, and I would that my heart could utter the thoughts that arise in me . . .” Or something like that. “But ‘The Brook’ he loved, for which in branding summers of Bengal, or even the half-English Neilgherry Air I panted, seems as I relisten to it, prattling the primrose fancies of the boy, to me who loved him. . . For O brook, he says, O babbling brook, says Edmund in his rhyme, whence come you, and the brook, why not, replies:

    I come from haunts of coot and hern,
    I make a sudden sally,
    And sparkle out among the fern,
    To bicker down a valley.

    By thirty hills I hurry down
    Or slip between the ridges
    By twenty thorps, a little town,
    And half a hundred bridges.

    Till last by Phillip’s farm I flow
    To join the brimming river,
    For men may come, and men may go,
    But I go on forever.

    Yes men may come and go, and these are all gone. My dear brother Edmund sleeps not by the well-known stream and rustic spire, but unfamiliar Arno and the dome of Brunelleschi . . .

    I could go on. It is a dear poem. We still have copies of my mother’s collections of Tennyson and Scott given to her on her wedding day by her friend, Rose, or so it says inside. I cannot say I ever met Rose and think she may have been a friend when mum was nursing at Sheffield Infirmary during the Second World War. Memories, hey!

  • Ba'al Zevul (Pigeons Aren't the Only Flying Rats)

    I think Tony’s been out of the country, the last couple of days. Plausible scenario is that he left on the 2nd (pm) to and returned from a westerly destination today (middayish). US/Canada probably, with a side-bet on NI. He’s been remarkably silent since his CBI speech, anyway. He may have been filming an interview with National Geographic for transmission on the 6th, but that’s just a guess, obviously.

  • Mary

    Thanks to Iain Orr for his piece. Always interesting contributions.


    Saw this on Sky News. Not sure where the Al Hilli thread has got to or if it is still open.

    Alps Murders: Soldier Quizzed Commits Suicide
    The 50-year-old soldier, who apparently shot himself, left a note saying the questioning made him feel “disturbed” and “accused”.

    A suicide in this instance is not an admission of guilt I would say. There could be many other reasons.

    It is tragic to see the photo of the family and to see how close they were to each other.

  • Ba'al Zevul (Pigeons Aren't the Only Flying Rats)

    G-CEYL now heading east over N’lands, general direction of Berlin.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    “Sofia is the gently sublime avatar who dogs your ragged ass, havasack.”

    Never heard of her, Ben. Are you sure she existed?

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    Mr Scorgie

    “Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !
    3 Jun, 2014 – 5:50 pm

    “I suspect you have a greater hang-up about male circumcision than do those who have been circumcised. Why so, Doug?”

    My “hang-up” Habbabkuk is concern for human rights:

    UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Rtc, etc, etc..”

    I don’t believe you for a moment, Doug. I believe you use the theme to get in a further swift kick at the Jews ( other circumstantial evidence pointing that way is your frequent statements on here that Israel has no right to exist).

    But anyway, let us assume for a brief moment and for the sake of argument that you’re telling the truth. In that case, you would be in the slightly curious position of being more concerned about the rights of a large number of now adult people than those people themselves are concerned, wouldn’t you. As I said, you appear to have a big hangup whereas the vast majority of those circumcised have no hangup at all.


    And now stop diverting or your Mother will get cross with you.

  • John Goss

    Iain Orr, an appropriate thought process. I think Heaney was great and I met him at a Readers’ and Writers’ Festival in Cannon Hill in the early nineties I think. He was a doughty character ready to discuss poetry with the minions. I confess that Sorley MacLean is new to me. I’ve come across the Orcadian poet George Mackay Brown, Norman McCaig, and Hugh McDiarmid but Scottish poets are not my forte, though I quite liked the nature-poetry of Kathleen Raine who well captures the Scottish landscape:

    He has married me with a ring, a ring of bright water . . .

    which Gavin Maxwell used for the title of his most famous book.

    Of Gaelic writers in general I read a beautifully poetic translation of “Twenty Years a’Growing” some years back by Maurice O’Sullivan about life and hardship living on one of the Blasket Isles, clambering up rock faces to collect seagull eggs and collecting peat for the fires. Maurice O’Sullivan was one of the last inhabitants of the Blasket Isles. But what I remember most was the easy translation by George Thomson, a professor from Birmingham University. It was the way he captured the dialogue, so Irish in its mannerism with tautological expressions like “says I to myself, I says” which really made it an outstanding and unforgettable read. I cannot praise this book more highly other than if I had written it myself. It was recommended to me by a work colleague and I pass that recommendation on with my endorsement.

    But getting back to the horseman, ghost or human, I am also put in mind of Rudyard Kipling’s “The way through the woods” and “a swish of a skirt in the dew” but as we know there is no way through the woods. I wonder how many more draw upon this theme?

  • John Goss

    Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO, 4 Jun, 2014 – 2:49 pm

    I wonder what he was working on too. Something that might make him the victim of an assassination perhaps?

    Ba’al, very witty. But not many lawyers come out of the profession with their morals intact.

  • nevermind

    Cameron is hell bent on excluding nhimself from the table with his intransigence. His mistake was to under estimate the broad support Juncker has and his blackmail will not go down well with Merkel.
    Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Cameron could be central to discussing reform of the EU, but he failed to see the chance in favour of ramming a fencepost up his jacksey.


    Here’s a rundown of the five former detainees:

    • Mullah Mohammad Fazl. Experts suggested to PolitiFact that, of the five, Fazl and Noori may be the most dangerous to United States interests.

    Fazl was an experienced commander against the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance and served as the Taliban’s army chief of staff. He’s “wanted by the UN for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiites” and had “operational associations with significant al Qaeda and other extremist personnel.” The leaked documents say Fazl “wielded considerable influence” and that he’s become a recruiting symbol for the Taliban.

    • Mullah Norullah Noori. Noori was a “senior Taliban military commander” and the onetime governor of Balkh province who, like Fazl, is on the United Nations’ radar screen for possible war crimes.

    Fazl and Noori “were responsible for ethno-sectarian massacres in northern Afghanistan, as were some of their enemies who are now in the Afghan government,” said Barnett R. Rubin, director and senior fellow at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation. “They cooperated with al-Qaida, which was providing assistance to their fight against the Northern Alliance.”

    Leaked documents cite ties to the Taliban’s top leader, Mullah Omar, and “senior al-Qaida members,” including the allegation that he passed a message from Omar to al-Qaida’s Osama bin Laden.

    • Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa. The leaked documents say Khairkhwa was close to both Omar and bin Laden, representing the Taliban in “meetings with Iranian officials seeking to support hostilities against U.S. and Coalition Forces” following the start of the United States war in Afghanistan. He was governor of Herat province from 1999 to 2001 and was alleged to be one of the “major opium drug lords in western Afghanistan.”

    Complicating matters somewhat, Khairkhwa was in discussions with the family of post-war Afghan leader Hamid Karzai, a longtime friend, about possibly cooperating with the new government when he was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and brought to Guantanamo.

    • Abdul Haq Wasiq. Wasiq was the deputy chief of the Taliban’s intelligence service and “was central to the Taliban’s efforts to form alliances with other Islamic fundamentalist groups to fight alongside the Taliban against U.S. and Coalition forces after the 11 September 2001 attacks,” according to the leaked documents, which added that he “utilized his office to support al-Qaida and to assist Taliban personnel elude capture” in late 2001. He is believed to have “arranged for al-Qaida personnel to train Taliban intelligence staff in intelligence methods.”

    Wasiq claimed to be offering cooperation to the United States, though the U.S. government has officially been skeptical of those claims.

    • Mohammad Nabi Omari. Leaked documents describe Omari as “a senior Taliban official who served in multiple leadership roles,” including membership in a joint al-Qaida-Taliban cell in Khowst that “was involved in attacks against U.S. and coalition forces.” Omari also “maintained weapons caches and facilitated the smuggling of fighters and weapons,” the documents say.

    Omari, like Wasiq, was apprehended while claiming to be providing intelligence of interest to the United States.

  • Mary

    Agent Cameron’s plans to allow fracking are slipped in to this cover all ‘Infrastructure Bill’. See what else is being planned

    Infrastructure Bill

    “My government will introduce a Bill to bolster investment in infrastructure and reform planning law to improve economic competitiveness. The Bill will enhance the United Kingdom’s energy independence and security by opening up access to shale and geothermal sites and maximising North Sea resources. Legislation will allow for the creation of an allowable solutions scheme to enable all new homes to be built to a zero carbon standard and will guarantee long-term investment in the road network.”

    The purpose of the Bill is to:

     Bolster investment in infrastructure by allowing stable long term funding, deliver better value for money and relieve unnecessary administrative pressures. The Bill would increase transparency of information provision and improve planning processes, allowing us to get Britain building for our future and compete in the global race.

    The main benefits of the Bill would be to:

     Direct funding to where it is most needed to deliver better economic outcomes, creating the right conditions for sustainable growth.

     Create jobs and improve economic competitiveness across areas of transport, energy provision, housing development and nationally significant infrastructure projects.

     Speed up the pace of delivery in key areas of infrastructure developments whilst still safeguarding the need for communities to be involved.

    The main elements of the Bill are:


     The Bill would turn the Highways Agency into a Government owned company, with the stable, long term funding needed to plan ahead. It would create units within Passenger Focus and the Office of Rail Regulation to represent the interests of road users and to monitor the company’s performance.

    Invasive non-native species

     The Bill would allow for Species Control Orders to control the invasive, non-native species that pose serious threats to biodiversity, the water environment and infrastructure.

    Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects

     The Bill would simplify the process for making changes to Development Consent Orders (DCO) by speeding up non-material changes to a DCO, and allowing simplified processes for material changes.

     The Bill would allow the Examining Authority to be appointed immediately after an application has been accepted and for the panel to comprise two inspectors, speeding up the process and saving money.

    Deemed discharge for certain planning conditions

     The Bill would allow certain types of planning conditions to be discharged upon application if a local planning authority has not notified the developer of their decision within a prescribed time period, reducing unnecessary delay and costs.

    Public Sector Land Assets

     The Bill would permit land to be transferred directly from arms-length bodies to the Homes and Communities Agency, reducing bureaucracy and managing land more effectively.

     The Bill would ensure that future purchasers of land owned by the Homes and Communities Agency and the Greater London Authority will be able to develop and use land without being affected by easements and other rights and restrictions suspended by the Agency.

    Land Registry

     The Bill would transfer statutory responsibility for the local land charges register and delivery of local land charges searches to the Land Registry supporting the delivery of digital services and extend Land Registry’s powers to enable it to provide information and register services relating to land and other property.


     The Bill would enable the Secretary of State to give communities the right to buy a stake in their local renewable electricity scheme so that they can gain a greater share in the associated financial benefits

     Subject to consultation, this Bill would support the development of gas and oil from shale and geothermal energy by clarifying and streamlining the underground access regime. The Government is currently running a full consultation on this policy and the legislation is entirely dependent on the outcome of that consultation.

     Sir Ian Wood’s independent report estimates that full and rapid implementation will deliver at least 3-4 billion barrels of oil equivalent more than would otherwise be recovered over the next 20 years, bringing over £200 billion additional value to the UK economy. The Government accepted Wood’s recommendations in full in February 2014, and is introducing measures in this Bill to put the principle of Maximising Economic Recovery of petroleum in the UK into statute.

     The Government will also introduce a levy, making power so that the costs of funding a larger, better resourced regulator can be paid for by industry rather than by the taxpayer as is currently the case.

    New homes built to a zero carbon standard

     The Government is committed to implementing a zero carbon standard for new homes from 2016. But it is not always technically feasible or cost effective for house builders to mitigate all emissions on-site.

     The Government would set a minimum energy performance standard through the building regulations. The remainder of the zero carbon target can be met through cost effective off-site carbon abatement measures – known as ‘allowable solutions’. These provide an optional, cost-effective and flexible means for house builders to meet the zero carbon homes standard, as an alternative to increased on-site energy efficiency measures or renewable energy (such as solar panels). Small sites, which are most commonly developed by small scale house builders, will be exempt. The definition of a small site will be consulted on shortly, and set out in regulation.

     The Zero Carbon Home standard will be set at Level 5 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, but the legislation will allow developers to build to Level 4 as long as they offset through the allowable solutions scheme to achieve Code 5.

     Energy efficiency requirements for homes are set in the Building Regulations 2010 and are made under powers in the Building Act 1984. But there are insufficient powers in the Building Act to introduce off-site allowable solutions, so the Government will now bring forward enabling powers for this.

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