Railroaded

by craig on May 5, 2014 11:04 am in Uncategorized

The eminently sensible suggestion to renationalize the railways is one which has very strong popular support.  We have the highest rail fares per mile and at the same time the highest public subsidies per mile in the world.  The concomitant is, that we have the highest return on capital for railway investors in the world too, with the added icing that it is underwritten by taxpayer guarantee.  Renationalisation – without compensation – is the only sensible course, as it is for all the other natural monopolies.

It was sad therefore to see Ed Miliband squirming on television yesterday as he struggled to reassure various neo-con mouthpieces that he did not share the good sense of his backbenchers.  The present system was not working, he said, and we needed to explore new forms of ownership model.  What these were he did not say, but plainly they did not include taking anything back into public ownership.  The most he offered was a tepid concern about the reprivatisation of East Coast, but then he did not exactly not want it to be reprivatized either.

There could not be a more striking illustration of the fact that we do not actually have a democracy in the UK any more; we do not have major political parties offering voters a realistic choice of voter options.  What we have is different sets of prospective managers of neo-con policies on behalf of the ultra-rich beneficiaries of those policies.  The disconnect with voters is such that general election participation rates are in serious long-term decline, a fact which is given insufficient attention.  War criminal Blair’s “victories” were each based on well under half the vote, in three of the four lowest percentage turnouts of electors in history.  So much for the myth of his inspiring charisma.

Unfortunately the people who don’t vote are more inclined to apathy than revolution.  But I remain hopeful that disillusion with the political class will eventually lead to a fundamental change.  But it is also dangerous.  By vacating all of the intellectual space based around the human instincts of altruism, co-operation and sharing, the neo-con parties cede ground that in England can most easily be filled by populists whose projection of yearned for community values is also exclusive and xenophobic.  That is what is happening.  Enter UKIP.  Scotland is much more fortunate in that the neglected field of the desire for communal co-operation has been tilled by the non-racist independence movement in a shared national desire to escape the neo-con trap, which despite party hierarchies has cut swathes through the party system.

There remains a beacon of hope in new media.  Neo-con party attempts to capture this space have failed dismally.  Will Straw founded Left Foot Forward, a blog which has plenty of funding from New Labour and Trade Union sources.  Look at the last ten articles on that blog.  How many comments are there?  An average of less than two comments per article.  The truth is that despite its huge budget, almost nobody actually reads this sterile drivel.  The Tory/Government attempts at an astroturf grassroots movements with “Vote No Borders” was torn apart by social media in hours, and ended by closing comments completely.  Compare the utter vibrancy of Wings Over Scotland.

The transformation of the political space by social media is not happening nearly as quickly as many of us hoped.  But as newspaper circulations plummet and new media participation continues to rise, the process is inexorable.  The independence movement in Scotland has been advancing despite the orchestrated and near unanimous opposition of the UK government, the City of London and the mainstream media.  Social media has been absolutely key to that advance.   I think that Scottish independence can be the catalyst for an eventual much larger and much-needed process of transformation of politics throughout the British Isles.  But we also have to worry that the neo-cons, who did not get our money without being clever, will learn a lesson and look for new ways to hijack or to control the social media.

UPDATE

A gentleman posted an almost instantaneous comment linking to a blog by a senior Department of Transport official which claimed fares in France were higher.  It was completely tendentious in comparing the cheapest possible off-peak tickets with standard French tickets.  I deleted the comment as I suspect, by the speed of its appearance, it was from someone professionally employed to post such things.  If the gentleman wishes to contradict me I shall apologise.

Anyway, I decided to conduct a blind test, genuinely without knowing the result.  I went to book the cheapest possible fare on a train from Ramsgate to Manchester, return, leaving Ramsgate on Friday around 8am and returning on Tuesday around 9am.  This was simply a typical journey for me.  I then decided to check it against a comparable journey from Rouen to Dijon, almost exactly the same distance.

Ramsgate depart Friday 9 May 8.01am

Manchester depart Tuesday 13 May 8.55am

Cheapest Fare 249 pounds

Rouen depart Friday 9 May 8.24am

Dijon depart Tuesday 13 May 9.11am

Cheapest Fare 122 pounds

Incidentally, despite the fact this route uses HS1 and the Virgin Pendolino, the French journey is still an average of 40 minutes quicker for the same distance, as well as under half the price.

I shall see if I can reinstate Bryan’s comment and link now.

Another Update

In fact Bryan turns out to be absolutely genuine, and I am much too jumpy today.

 

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147 Comments

  1. Bryan McComb

    5 May, 2014 - 11:15 am

    “We have the highest rail fares per mile”…

    Is this actually true?

    http://www.seat61.com/uk-europe-train-fares-comparison.html#.U2djrl42VBX

  2. The ineptness of political parties to have new ideas, their ability to forget and step over their grave past mistakes, is an inherently weak point, hence they will always steal good ideas from each other.

    Re nationalising was Green party policy from the day it was privatised. Greens would not reimburse companies for anything else but their investment, possible losses will not be returned, afaik.

    The railways should have never been split into the 2000 enteties now involved in playing it for profits, reflected in its state, as well as its prices.

    Your hope for a new dawn in British politics if somewhat feeble when it turns out that the proponents of principled politics are unable to formulate policies or engage with a biased media. Politics has been taken away from the people and unless they demand it back and are supported by a majority, apathy will be the greatest election winner.

    I have nobody to vote for in the EU election as all parties appear as if they are riding within the big EU car, nobody realises that there is regular siphoning off juices, that they are nearly out of petrol and the big end is rattlin’ something rotten. The chaffeur(commission) is ancient, he’s hampered by his blinkers and will never take the shortest route, always dricving round the houses to get were he wants to, regardless who’s in the car and who is shouting at him, he’s deaf…..

    so here we are in limbo land with no train to catch.

  3. Bryan McComb

    I have deleted your comment as it appeared amazingly quickly and gave a link to a highly tendentious posting by someone in charge of railways in the Department of Transport, masquerading as an independent blog. He made some pathetic comparison between the cheapest possible off-peak fares and French train fares. He did not include any British peak fares in his comparison.

    I suspect due to the speed of your arrival and the fact I haven’t seen you before, you are someone professionally engaged in posting government propaganda to counteract this kind of article. If you can assure me I am wrong, or explain your interest, I shall apologise to you and repost your comment.

  4. This is a good high level perspective of the developments in social media and its effects on the independence campaign.

    The difference between the YES and NO grass roots movements is almost beyond compare because in practice, a grass roots NO campaign doesn’t exist beyond the imaginations of three agitated London based financiers.

    Better Together also maintains its financial & power base in London. It’s ironic that they have to have a call centre based in England to rally support for a referendum which surely most of them will have absolutely no say in at voting time.

    The banning of Wings adverts on the Glasgow underground though could be just the first of a series of example of information suppression by those determined to maintain the rotten status quo.

    There was anecdotal evidence that Tesco stores were making implausible excuses yesterday for not stocking copies of the pro independence Sunday Herald.

    And while there seems to be no intention by the BBC to ever re-calibrate its obvious pro union bias, it is quite possible that other media & political inclined organisations & companies will work to undermine a large democratic movement that seeks a peaceful change in our country’s constitutional arrangement.

    We should therefore remain vigilant and be ready to peacefully but forcibly counter the invasive tactics of a British state that is determined to retain economic & political control of its last great vestige of Empire.

  5. Keith Crosby

    5 May, 2014 - 11:35 am

    It’s the lack of even the pretence of democracy which allows these policies. To be fair though, Britain has never had a democratically elected government. In the past, the various right wing factions of the property party had to pay off their clients but since In Place of Strife, it’s been obvious that Liarbour has been a Judas goat for the Tories (Official).

  6. I could not see a date on there Bryan.

    All I know is that an off peak return to London from where I live (approx. 30 miles away) was under £10 just a few years back. Now it is +£19. The ordinary return is +£24.

    An off peak return for Craig from Ramsgate is +£33. Not sure of price of an ordinary return. Only singles are shown @ £33 a pop.

  7. “the neglected field of the desire for communal co-operation has been tilled by the non-racist independence movement in a shared national desire to escape the neo-con trap”

    The SNP proposes retaining the pound, the monarchy and the BBC and joining the EU. That’s not escaping a neo-con trap, it’s walking right into one.

  8. MJ

    You appear unable to comprehend that the SNP and the independence movement are not synonymous. What Scotland actually does about those things post-independence will be a matter to decide. At the moment within the UK there is no option about them.

    For the record, the SNP does not intend to retain the BBC. It has said, quite clearly, that Scots will simply be able to pick up the broadcasts as do the Irish. But we won’t be paying a licence fee to London. The SNP proposes to set up Scotland’s own national broadcaster – but again, that is just the SNP’s idea. What happens post independence will be up to the people of Scotland.

    Has actual democracy become a difficult concept to grasp?

  9. Yep. There is nothing and nobody to vote for. I stopped voting in 2010. I am trying to take my name off the voters roll by not returning the registration form. I haven’t returned it for three years now, but every year it comes through the letterbox with my name still on it and I have just received another voting card so I am still on it. If I had moved out of this flat somebody else living here now could be voting in my name, and add their own name so they get two votes. The system is so insecure it is laughable.

    Unlike yourself though, Craig, I agree with those who say that the European Union is partly to blame for this state of affairs, because it removes decision making from the national parliament to a more distant location and effectively renders national polticians redundant. I find it curious that people can both be in favour of Scottish independence and also in favour of the EU. It seems contradictory to me. Either you are in favour of nations making their own decisions in their own parliaments or you are not as far as I’m concerned.

  10. Ken Livingstone wrote a book with a title apparently taken from an old anarchist saying,”If Voting Changed Anything They’d Abolish it”. How true.

    Since renationalisation of the railways is shown by opinion polls to have majority support, the parties should be adopting that as one of their policies – if they were genuinely interested in winning the next election rather than serving their real masters, the corporations and their billionaire owners. But the main parties can do their duty to the neo-cons in opposition as well as in government, by acting out the charade that passes for democracy at Westminster.

    Craig, you suggest that UKIP are a populist party, but have they embraced the idea of renationalisation of the railways? I do not pay much attention to their policies as they are an irrelevance in Scotland – and long may they remain so! But it seems to me that even ‘populist’ UKIP will not go against the interests of the Establishment.

    You say “we do not actually have a democracy in the UK any more; we do not have major political parties offering voters a realistic choice of voter options”. The only quibble I would have with that is that I am not persuaded that the UK has ever been a real democracy, but I would certainly agree that the UK is even less democratic now than it was before Blair and his cronies moved Labour to the right and the LibDems became the junior branch of the Tory party.

  11. Techno,

    Without the EU, there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that all the Eastern Europeans who have so improved the UK would not have been allowed to come here. The EU prevents national governments being able to erect barriers between peoples. That is a power that should be removed from states. It should affair less in how communities run themselves, I agree.

  12. Les Cunningham

    No, I can’t bring myself to read UKIP’s policies either. But that is in fact just the kind of populist line they do take – they oppose Royal Mail privatisation, for example. My own view is they are a front and would making sure such sensible things -(ie its sensible to keep Royal Mail public) don’t happen is part of their remit.

  13. “You appear unable to comprehend that the SNP and the independence movement are not synonymous”

    Is that what it is? I thought I was citing SNP policies because it’s the SNP that’s setting the agenda. If a newly-independent Scotland casts off all the neo-con baggage and goes for genuine independence I will happily eat my words.

  14. Not sure re-nationalisation without compensation would be legal under EU rules, many of the operating companies and rolling stock owners are foreign owned (Arriva, DB Schenker etc) so there would be international complications.

    By the way Craig if you delay leaving Manchester by an hour the whole trip comes in at £92 for two singles, the journey is also 24 minutes faster and only involves two changes. Generally speaking further savings can be made by splitting the journey and buying a single for each leg. I know travellers shouldn’t have to do this, the ticketing system is mad.

    Like other european countries France has invested heavily in it’s TGV network at the cost of ordinary services. Away from the TGV towns that in this country would have a 30 minute service are lucky to see four trains a day. People in the UK seem to want both but don’t want to pay for it.

  15. But how can you be sure that Scotland wouldn’t start erecting barriers after independence? The nationalists seem to be considerably motivated by Scottish supremacist sentiment, and a racist hatred of the English.

    This is a rhetorical question really, I don’t expect a sensible answer. A major reason why I have given up on politics is that it is so difficult to have a sensible discussion with anybody involved with it.

  16. So what happened to Salmond’s promise to re-regulate transport after Sauter bunged him half a million quid then?

    BTW a friend of mine just booked a train ticket online from Wick to Edinburgh for £15.

  17. Bryan McComb

    5 May, 2014 - 12:50 pm

    Craig:

    I have deleted your comment as it appeared amazingly quickly…

    I follow you on Twitter because I am generally interested in what you have to say. You (possibly auto-)tweeted a link to this blog one minute after it was posted. I was passing, so I read it. Although I realise that the subject of train fares isn’t the main thrust of the piece, I was struck by the claim in the first para, especially because I had read the Seat61 article very recently (and tweeted about it, if you’d care to check). Those are the reasons I a) read your blog as soon as it was posted; and b) was able to quickly find and respond with the Seat61 link.

    …and gave a link to a highly tendentious posting by someone in charge of railways in the Department of Transport, masquerading as an independent blog.

    I’m not going to attempt to unpick your characterisations, but the available data would appear to suggest that he stopped working for the DoT some seven years ago.

    He made some pathetic comparison between the cheapest possible off-peak fares and French train fares. He did not include any British peak fares in his comparison.

    I’ll admit that I haven’t fact-checked his post (even though he invited readers so to do), but I’m not sure you’ve read it all the way to the end. It looks to me like a fairly comprehensive survey, giving examples of month-in-advance, day-in-advance, on-the-day-off-peak and on-the day-peak for four separate comparative journeys. Maybe your single Margate-Manchester example trumps all that, though. I’m no expert.

    I suspect due to the speed of your arrival…

    I think I’ve dealt with that.

    …and the fact I haven’t seen you before…

    I think I may have commented on your blog before. I’ve certainly been reading it for ages. But I can’t be certain. And I may not have used my real name. So, hey-ho. Incidentally, do you treat all first-time commenters like this? It seems a little counterproductive for a blog which actively seeks dialogue.

    …you are someone professionally engaged in posting government propaganda to counteract this kind of article. If you can assure me I am wrong, or explain your interest, I shall apologise to you and repost your comment.

    I am not. As to “assuring” you, hmmm. Gets into that whole tricky “proving a negative” thing. I really don’t have the time on a sunny May Day.

    So, repost. Don’t repost. I’m not actually that bothered. Since The Man In Seat61 has enormously enhanced my hobby of pootling around Europe on trains, I’ll probably be spending more time on there than here in future.

    All best wishes.

  18. @MJ I share your concern about the SNPs perceived timidity.

    You missed out joining NATO too. But The Yes Movement which includes the Scottish National Party are not claiming that everything will be just perfect on on Independence Day plus one. A whole raft of issues thereafter will be for the Scottish people to decide based on the parties they elect in the 2016 Scottish General Election and in other referenda which will be introduced. I’m supporting Independence wholeheartedly, but strongly opposed to the monarchy, preferring a constitutional republic, I’m against the continued existence of the redundant and warmongering NATO, have no use for the BBC and won’t pay for their malicious shenanigans and blatant lies, am certain Scotland can and should have our own highly successful Scots’ Pound as currency and I’m no great fan of the EU but love our European brothers and sisters as part of the great mosaic of humanity and hope for mututally beneficial trade and strengthened cultural links between us; reform of the EU needn’t go back to the drawing board entirely but can build on the successes whilst reforming wholesale its undemocratic centralising tendencies.

    It is because I think in this way that a Yes vote, and the renewal of our democracy that will result, means I and every other Scot will for the first time have a say on these matters and a realistic indeed an assured chance my views will be counted and if shared with enough other people on any one or all of these issues (and more) will determine policy.

    You have to walk before you can run. Putting Westminster out of our misery, along with putting the uniformly crooked Labour Tory and Lib Dem parties out to grass comes first.

    What we’ll have is choice and after independence is secure, the more radical and left elements within the SNP and outside it can put their cases, the SNP is too dynamic too broad a church now to rest on its laurels after independence, an is destined to continue reforming and improving incrementally in many fields. The SNP is a means to an end, in your neo-con trap situation, it’s the big wide open door marked exit, leading to freedom.

    Techno/Fredo: If you cannot have a sensible discussion with anyone, the fault is within yourself, and your views are founded on prejudice, smears and lies. That is the polite answer. You’re fundamentally dishonest and irrational. Hope that helps.

  19. “The Tory/Government attempts at an astroturf grassroots movements with “Vote No Borders” was torn apart by social media in hours, and ended by closing comments completely.”

    I’m not even going to bother trying to argue facts against fanaticism any more.

    If anybody is interested here is a link to the Newsnight piece on the VNB.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b042qzrc/Newsnight_Scotland_30_04_2014/

    Watch it then read Craig’s account.

  20. One of the real problems with privatisation has been the utter fragment of ticket pricing.
    If you know well in advance of your journey and can afford to travel at ‘inconvenient’ times then some real bargains are available, notwithstanding the swingeing penalties that can be levied if you mistakenly get on the wrong train or delays cause you to miss a connection.
    If you have to travel at peak times, or at short notice (e.g. for a funeral, a business meeting or interview) or just very infrequently then you really get stung for the maximum.
    Of course those wishing to dispel the idea that we have the most expensive fares always quote the ‘book months in advance option’ and ignore the fact that for most this is no option at all.

  21. “Of course those wishing to dispel the idea that we have the most expensive fares always quote the ‘book months in advance option’ and ignore the fact that for most this is no option at all.”

    Maybe they do.

    However my friend didn’t book weeks in advance, not even weeks in advance, just a few days.

  22. The Borders Railway, the much missed, still logistically important Waverly Line re-opens in July, only single-track initially, but double tracked all the way to Carlisle it would again form a crucial synergistic interconnection between the West Coast and East Coast main lines. I do hope for the inaugural celebratory runs a steam train is run. Choo-choo. It should give the buses some healthy competition, much as the Edinburgh trams are doing in that city.

  23. Resident Dissident

    5 May, 2014 - 2:17 pm

    Perhaps the real comparison with Europe should be for the short haul commuter fares that actually make up the vast majority of passenger journeys. I know for certain that London is considerably more expensive in this respect than is Paris, Madrid and Lisbon.

    Anyone who isn’t ideological about this matter will know that rail travel to work is a public good and will in practice always require some subsidy. I can see a good argument that such a subsidy, which in this country is largely required for the relatively affluent London and South East (although if you are not one of the affluent in the South East then what happens) should not be paid out of general taxation but I see little argument why the City of London and the extremely wealthy Corporation of London should not be made to cough up.

  24. Geoffrey Miller

    5 May, 2014 - 2:31 pm

    Of course, if you choose to leave Manchester one hour later, at 9:55am rather than 8:55am, the total return fare drops to £92.00. What would I prefer: to spend an hour less in Manchester or save £157.00?

  25. “I’m no great fan of the EU but love our European brothers and sisters as part of the great mosaic of humanity”

    I should point out that the EU is not a token of brotherly love but a system that gives effective control of an entire continent to an unelected group of bankers.

    “You have to walk before you can run”

    On some fundamental matters you have to hit the ground running. The first priority has to be disentangling yourself from the baleful influence of the City of London. Having your own currency, with a central bank that can issue the currency interest-free, is a prerequisite to independence. Without that you’ll get eaten alive I’m afraid.

  26. “What would I prefer: to spend an hour less in Manchester or save £157.00? ”

    Well if you feel like that don’t go to manchester at all and save yourself £249.

  27. doug scorgie

    5 May, 2014 - 2:49 pm

    Les Cunningham
    5 May, 2014 – 12:28 pm

    “Since renationalisation of the railways is shown by opinion polls to have majority support, the parties should be adopting that as one of their policies…”

    Yes Les, it would seem to be a no-brainer, however the fact that none of the main parties will touch renationalization with a barge pole illustrates the power of the neo-liberal capitalist system.

    This is a system that, by its very nature, runs counter to democracy. Indeed democracy is an obstacle to the free market and this is easily demonstrated by the constant interference in politics by the big hitters of the City of London, aided and abetted by the main-stream-media, particularly the right-wing newspapers and television stations and the BBC.

    A yes vote for Scottish independence is seen as a threat to the power of the political elites based mainly in England.

    The tactics used by the three political parties, the CBI, the “free” press and the BBC reveals their anti-democratic agenda.

    Scotland take note, a YES vote for independence is a YES vote for democracy.

    It could be a catalyst for change in the rest of Britain.

  28. ” The nationalists seem to be considerably motivated by Scottish supremacist sentiment, and a racist hatred of the English. ”

    A fair point. The claim that independence would free Scotland from Westminster’s incompetence has featured widely in the campaign which implies Scots are blessed with superior intelligence. Salmond was left with egg on his face after making a similar boast about Scottish banks.

  29. Resident Dissident

    5 May, 2014 - 2:54 pm

    “It could be a catalyst for change in the rest of Britain.”

    Yes – more English nationalism anyone?

  30. Re-nationalisation of the railways would also run foul of the EU’s “liberalisation” and competition policies.

    http://www.euromove.org.uk/index.php?id=20538

  31. Kempe @2:52pm There were no Scottish Banks involved in the crash as there are no Scottish Banks, there have not been any since the ‘big bang’ of 1986, they’re London domiciled and regulated in terms of tax and liability. ‘Scottish’ in their names was just branding. Green Giant sweetcorn, doesn’t contain green giants. Captain Birdseye doesn’t personally catch every fish finger.

  32. Resident Dissident

    5 May, 2014 - 3:45 pm

    “there have not been any since the ‘big bang’ of 1986, they’re London domiciled”

    Just not true both HBOS and RBS had their head offices in Scotland.

  33. Craig, I fully support renationalisation of railway. But your comparing of UK and French fares does not reflect travel options in both countries:

    – UK: you can fly or travel by train if you can afford. If you want it cheaper, you can always get to/from Manchester by taking a Megabus or National Express for a fiver or less.
    – FRANCE: intercity buses are legally forbidden, your only option for cross-country travel is rail. Fares are centrally set at a level affordable for average earners, and French railways can, but do not have to, be profitable.

    Why not comparing with German or Swiss fares?

  34. No UK trade benefit from EU membership – Civitas report
    The report questioned the quality of the EU’s collective trade agreements

    Cameron ‘won’t be PM’ if no EU vote
    Clegg: Lib Dems must fight EU myths
    UK split on EU membership – poll

    Membership of the EU has not given the UK any “insider advantages” in trade with other European countries, social policy think tank Civitas says.

    In a study it finds “no discernible impact on UK exports of goods to other member countries” from membership of the EU or its single market.

    The study also questions claims that collectively negotiated EU free trade agreements (FTAs) benefitted the UK.

    It seems to contradict analysis by the Confederation of British Industry.

    The Civitas report – called Where’s the Insider Advantage? – adds that EU membership does not appear to have benefitted UK service industries either, although it admits the data available on this is not so detailed

    /..
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-27284489

    http://www.civitas.org.uk/about.php#trustees

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civitas_(think_tank)

  35. Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    5 May, 2014 - 4:01 pm

    “RE-Naationalize”, craig?

    How is Socialism and EU compatible? If you mean ‘window dressing’, ‘natch. I will start to worry if you suggest nationalizing the Gas and Petrol Industries.

  36. ” There were no Scottish Banks involved in the crash as there are no Scottish Banks ”

    Then what was Wee ‘Eck going on about? As RD has already pointed out both RBS and HBOS had their HQ’s in Edinburgh and to the best of my knowledge still do.

  37. Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    5 May, 2014 - 4:06 pm

    ” Indeed democracy is an obstacle to the free market and this is easily demonstrated by the constant interference in politics by the big hitters of the City of London, aided and abetted by the main-stream-media, particularly the right-wing newspapers and television stations and the BBC.”

    Doug ; Democracy is like carbon-monoxide. Rarely can you detect the poison until it’s too late. It’s designed to satisfy all, in theory, but everyone being unsatisfied with the result means it works. Get it?

  38. doug scorgie

    5 May, 2014 - 4:08 pm

    Techno
    5 May, 2014 – 12:37 pm

    “But how can you be sure that Scotland wouldn’t start erecting barriers after independence?

    Because Mr Techno, Scotland will remain in the EU.

    “The nationalists seem to be considerably motivated by Scottish supremacist sentiment, and a racist hatred of the English.”

    What a load of f…ing crap!

    Can you back up that nonsense?

    Thought not.

  39. “Because Mr Techno, Scotland will remain in the EU.”

    Didn’t Barroso say it would be at least five years before Scotland could join the EU? Five years is enough time for isolationist sentiment to take hold.

    And why go to so much trouble to gain your sovereignty just to give it away again to the EU? That would be really, really stupid.

    “Can you back up that nonsense? Thought not.”

    You don’t know what will happen either. It is a Pandora’s Box. I don’t care either way – in fact, I am marginally in favour of it just so we can all see the consequences – but as a previous commentator said, Scottish nationalism may lead to more English nationalism. It is a case of “be careful what you wish for.”

  40. “Techno/Fredo: If you cannot have a sensible discussion with anyone, the fault is within yourself, and your views are founded on prejudice, smears and lies. That is the polite answer. You’re fundamentally dishonest and irrational. Hope that helps.”

    No Tony M, your extremist ideological position doesn’t help. Anybody who says “love our European brothers and sisters as part of the great mosaic of humanity” is hopelessly naive.

  41. Bryan McComb

    I apologise – unreservedly.

  42. Anybody know what Alex Salmond talked about in his secret meeting with Rupert Murdoch at the beginning of April?

    I think we have a right to know, the tax payers paid for his trip to America.

  43. When they take back the railways and Royal Mail into public ownership can they not forget energy companies? These I think are the worst with annual increases of nearly 10% year on year.

  44. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    5 May, 2014 - 6:44 pm

    Mr Scorgie

    You end your “reply” to Techno by writing

    “What a load of f…ing crap!

    Can you back up that nonsense?

    Thought not.”
    ___________

    May I point out that those words offend elementary debating etiquette and even elementary logic?

    After you ask someone to back up something, you should wait a little while for him to try and do so.

    Only after he has not done so would you be justified in saying “Thought not”.

    Hope that’s clear!

  45. we do not have major political parties offering voters a realistic choice of voter options.

    Good point. For if it were otherwise, mass immigration to Britain would have ended years ago.

  46. we have the highest return on capital for railway investors in the world too

    Can you be more specific? Which companies? What returns? Information about good profit opportunities is always welcome.

    Oh, but then you say: “Renationalisation – without compensation — is the only sensible course.”

    If that were truly an option, it would explain a high return on capital, i.e., depressed share values due to the risk of expropriation.

    Incidentally, is that why you’re so anti-Putin: because he won’t restore Communism?

  47. Off topic but important.

    Save the Internet!
    To ensure the Internet is open to all on an equal basis we must act now to prevent mega-corporations from destroying Internet Freedom

    by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers / May 5th, 2014

    Update: Actions every day starting on Wednesday, May 7th, at noon and 5 pm. To Save The Internet, we are building a People’s Firewall against the FCC’s proposed rule that will create a ‘pay to play’ Internet by ending net neutrality.
    http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/05/save-the-internet/

    Does anyone here know any more about the ramifications of this?

  48. Train fares have gone up massively in the Netherlands in the last years and there are no end of complaints. Having said all that, Groningen to Vlissingen which is about 225 miles comes in at €25.40 one way, €50.80 return (about 40 quid). Multiply by 280/225 = GBP50 return.
    That is the MAXIMUM 2nd class ticket price, buying at the platform and getting directly on the train. No internet early bird crap, no cornflakes packet discount coupons.
    Departing outside peak hours with a €99 year pass you’ll take 40% off this price.
    The Netherlands also have some real twats in power and dabble in Neo-Con bullshit but the gulf between UK and here was/is so huge in terms of crime, equality, poverty (or lack of), infrastructure and standard of living that it can slide for a hell of a long time before it will come near UK levels. UK poverty and class division is on such a horrendous scale as to be near incomprehensible to folk in Holland.
    Scottish independence is so obviously the right answer and the repercussions will benefit the whole UK.
    http://formerdundeeman.org/2014/04/22/independent-scotland-will-set-uk-free/

  49. Resident Dissident

    5 May, 2014 - 8:42 pm

    I’m wondering where Craig’s political affections will alight next after the inevitable betrayal by Alex Salmond and his ilk – the Peoples Republic of Laphroaig or similar?

  50. Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    5 May, 2014 - 9:08 pm

    “Only after he has not done so would you be justified in saying “Thought not”.”

    Not necessary. The silence is pre-eminent and highly predictable.

  51. Kelly ben Maimon

    5 May, 2014 - 11:27 pm

    Bryan McComb 12.50pm 5 May 2014.

    Mr McComb, I have been reading Craig Murray’s blog for sometime now and can tell you that I find some comments posted, downright abhorrent but at the same time, there are others that make me laugh, force me to think and even on rare occasions, educate. Which is why I still keep reading. Then there is the ‘cyber space community’ and different ‘personalities’ emerge and the banter displayed is humorous. I have never met Craig Murray and nor do I have shares in his blog, but am beginning to become accustomed to his ‘sharp mind’ and ‘forensic analysis’ on a variety of topics.

    We all have off days. No one is perfect. I’m a complete novice, when it comes to posting comments. Think it is more of a case, of gaining confidence. For what it is worth, did re read what you had written a few times and it was both interesting and informative. Equally impressive was to see at 5.26pm, CM posted an unreserved apology. Don’t know the man personally, but have concluded a hint of humility and courage in him that I like, for doing this publicly.

    Okay, it may not have been the most ideal initial response to first post, but I would certainly like to read more posts from you. Please don’t stop. Your contribution is important. That’s not to say I might not be having arguments with you in the future!

    Some one called Mary posted some info about a meeting at BBC, where Lord Patten would be present. I’ve signed up for it. Hope you attend.

    Warm regards,

    Kelly Rebekah ben Maimon

    PS Please come back.

  52. Bryan McComb

    6 May, 2014 - 1:09 am

    Craig:

    You’re a big man. Thank you.

    I’ve now read your OP (past the bit that hammered my empiricist eyeballs), and I agree with all your conclusions. I had no wish to derail (SWIDT?!) the thread. I was just a bit taken aback by the vehemence of your response to my post. So much so, in fact, that I had to go outside and cut the hedge while I had A Bit Of A Think.

    Social media has a massive part to play whatever the result of the independence referendum. The guy in Seat61 has proved (to me at least) to be a hugely useful resource that probably couldn’t have existed without it. I think he’s probably due an apology too. I’m just some schmoe off the internet. His reputation’s way more valuable than mine.

    Oh, and Kelly… This is not a flounce. I’ll keep reading.

  53. Kelly ben Maimon

    6 May, 2014 - 1:24 am

    Thanks for that Bryan. Understood. In the meantime, will try not to go off topic myself and concentrate on thread.

    Goodnight!

  54. British government is not run by the British majority. It is controlled by the “Friends of Israel” in both Conservative and Labour parties. David Cameron has publically claimed to be a Zionist Christian while Labour Party is headed by a Zionist Jew, Ed Miliband.

    UK’s so-called “Crown Corporation”, the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Jewish Governor, Baroness Ruth Deech, last year called for an apology from internationally-famed violinist Nigel Kennedy for calling Israel “an apartheid state”. She said Kennedy’s remarks were “offensive and untrue”. She also claimed that there is no apartheid in Israel or the Israeli occupied PA territoris (Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem).

    BBC has announced to censor Kennedy’s following statement in future broadcasting.

    “It’s a bit facile to say it, but we all know from the experience of this night of music, that giving equality and getting rid of apartheid gives a beautiful chance for amazing things to happen.”

    http://rehmat1.com/2013/08/19/bbc-israel-is-not-an-apartheid-state/

  55. The depressingly tiny differences between Miliband’s policies and the Coalition’s are one of the reasons i’m for independence.

  56. Salford Lad

    6 May, 2014 - 5:29 am

    The neo-con trap to loot and plunder is financial warfare at its most ruthless.
    In the middle ages an army came into the land and conquered it. Slicing and dicing land holdings to its soldiers ,who became wealthy on the backs of the labour of the peasants.
    Today we have ,what Henry CK Liu calls the ‘Tequila Trap’, because of it first use in the destruction of the Mexican economy and peso in 1994 and the East Asian economies in ’97.
    This was targeted financial warfare by a cabal of the Wall St mega banks. The scheme was devised by Robert Rubin ,ex-Goldman Sachs and later Secretary of the Treasury under Clinton.
    A free trade agreement was devised which necessitated the Mexican peso be free floating against the US dollar. Massive dollar amounts were used to create a bubble in the Mexican stock market for a couple of years. Credit to industry was freely available.
    Then the trap was sprung. Massive naked short selling of the stock market and the peso caused the market and the peso to plunge in value and a flight of capital out of the country. The Mexican Govt used its US dollar reserves to attempt to protect the peso , but to no avail. They then were forced to borrow Dollars at exorbitant rates to halt the slide, but it was a spiral to the bottom. They were forced to privatise their nationalised banks and industries at cents on the dollar to make payment to the US bond holders.
    Any country that does not have a sovereign currency with a fixed exchange rate is open to this kind of attack.
    The Euro is an example of this type of manipulation, where the Italian,Spanish , Greek and Irish Govt ‘s have no control over their economies and the Troika can come in and force them to sell off State assets to the private sector to make payments on bonds.
    Most politicians are economic illiterates and are easily manipulated by the Financial parasites, Maggie Thatcher being one such’ useful idiot’.

  57. “The depressingly tiny differences between Miliband’s policies and the Coalition’s are one of the reasons i’m for independence.”

    Parties will adopt the policies they think the majority of voters want, they are playing to the same audience therefore their policies will be very similar.

    There are lots of smaller parties from Communists to BNP you can vote for if you prefer.

    It’s people who think democracy should provide the government they want not that which the majority want which is a concern about independence.

  58. 1 May 2014
    David Shukman Science editor
    More from DavidHow does Europe wean itself off Russian gas?

    Not by relying on nuclear at Hinkley Point it would seem Mr Shukman.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27239734

    The graphic shows all of the pipelines that cross Ukraine.

  59. Ba'al Zevul (In Vimto Veritas!)

    6 May, 2014 - 9:22 am

    Anybody know what Alex Salmond talked about in his secret meeting with Rupert Murdoch at the beginning of April?

    A. It wasn’t secret. You know about it.
    B. It’s a secret.
    Delete as applicable.

    But seriously, like every other UK political leader, Salmond was probably trying to cut a deal for the support of Newscorp. The Holy Blair did it,

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/feb/26/tony-blair-new-labour-hero-political-embarrassment-murdoch

    and Cameron had a similar interest in a favourable press –

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/phone-hacking/9118305/Horsegate-I-did-ride-Rebekah-Brookss-police-horse-Raisa-says-David-Cameron.html

    Politics is a dirty business, isn’t it? And Salmond is entitled to make the same dubious compromises as any other politician. Because dubious compromises are what politics is. And if you don’t, they inevitably will.

  60. Ba'al Zevul (In Vimto Veritas!)

    6 May, 2014 - 9:37 am

    It’s people who think democracy should provide the government they want not that which the majority want which is a concern about independence.

    How so? If a majority of Scots vote to be independent they will (in theory – many a carefully staged slip ‘twixt cup and lip) become independent. If not, not.

    Ah, I see where you’re coming from. If the UK voted as a whole, independence would be impossible. Wonder what the EU would say about the UK? Just a minute, the US has a stake in this game. Let’s have a worldwide vote on whose tributary fiefdom the UK should be, eh?

  61. Ba'al Zevul (In Vimto Veritas!)

    6 May, 2014 - 9:54 am

    Dirty business –

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2621161/Bill-Iraq-war-inquiry-hit-10-million-Tony-Blairs-row-publishing-letters-George-Bush-pushes-end-date-two-years.html

    Why Chilcot is being punted further into the verdure –

    ‘It’s certainly not going to be ready before the end of the year and it would be a highly political act to publish in the months before an election. The can is going to be kicked further down the road.’

    Labour strategists are said to be alarmed at the prospect of voters being reminded of the Iraq war in the months before the election, since the conflict was blamed for driving many of its voters to the Liberal Democrats in 2005 and 2010.

    The delays and the spiraling bill has added to the anger felt by families of soldiers killed in the conflict, it claims.

    Rose Gentle, from the Military Families Support Group told the Daily Mirror that members of her organisation feel Mr Blair is ‘laughing at them’.

    You’re not alone in that, Ms. Gentle.

  62. Ba'al Zevul (In Vimto Veritas!)

    6 May, 2014 - 10:06 am

  63. Ba’al, did he just ride Raisa? after what is said about Wendy deng and bliar, we should realise that its not just the boys at the bar lusting after him.

    Yes I want a vote on the genocidal policies of this Government relating to barring the rightfull owners of Diego Garcia from ever returning to their homeland.

    I reckon that Blair will soon leave the country for somewhere safer, he’s becoming a manko to the establishment.

  64. Ba'al Zevul (In Vimto Veritas!)

    6 May, 2014 - 10:16 am

    Nevermind – he’s screwed the pooch in so many ways…add bestiality to the charge list.

    :-)

  65. Not only extremely profitable but Virgin (probably the rest of them) pay no corporate tax here.

  66. Somehow I doubt the safety of anywhere for BLiar, Nevermind.
    I am with you on the right of return for all Diego Garcians. – another horror story we have come to understand as City of London and Washington DC playing the pot and kettle game, all the while raking in the profits of crime.

    BLiar would struggle to be incognito anywhere on this Planet.

  67. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    6 May, 2014 - 11:40 am

    Ba’al

    “Politics is a dirty business, isn’t it? And Salmond is entitled to make the same dubious compromises as any other politician.”
    __________________

    Quite so, and I’m glad to see that you don’t seem to agree with those who hold the view that Scottish politics and politicians are of a (somehow) nobler stamp than English ones

  68. The Hinkley Point contract.

    6 May 2014
    Hinkley Point nuclear power contract ‘may be invalid’

    The contract for building the UK’s first nuclear power station in a generation might not be “valid”, a leading legal academic has warned.

    Former Liberal Democrat MP David Howarth, who lectures at Cambridge, said the deal with EDF over a plant at Hinkley Point could be seen as an “unjustifiable subsidy” under EU law.

    The contract fixes a price for energy provided if the scheme goes ahead.

    /..
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-27291087

  69. Is Boris just grandstanding? Does he really care about what happened in Iraq? No and we all know Chilcot was theatre.

    Boris Johnson: ‘eel-like’ Tony Blair will avoid being imprisoned over Iraq war
    London mayor expresses sympathy with those who want former PM locked up and says Chilcot report should be published now
    Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent
    Tuesday 6 May 2014
    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/may/06/boris-johnson-eel-like-tony-blair-iraq-war

    Yet another hypocrite.

    How Boris Johnson voted on Foreign Policy and Defence #
    Voted strongly for use of UK military forces in combat operations overseas
    Voted very strongly for the Iraq war
    Voted strongly for an investigation into the Iraq war
    Voted very strongly for replacing Trident with a new nuclear weapons system
    Voted moderately against more EU integration
    Voted moderately for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU
    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/10999/boris_johnson/henley/votes#foreign

    and I should not mention this for fear of upsetting the tr—s but I will.

    Overseas visits

    1-4 November 2004, to Israel, paid for by the Conservative Friends of Israel and the Government of Israel. (Registered 14 March 2008)
    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/10999/boris_johnson/henley#register

  70. Rehmat, good article. When I clicked on your YouTube link to Vivaldi’s Spring I was surprised not to get the most popular theme.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQgd0vx3nYM

    Still very good though, thanks.

  71. doug scorgie

    6 May, 2014 - 12:47 pm

    Fred
    5 May, 2014 – 5:57 pm

    “Anybody know what Alex Salmond talked about in his secret meeting with Rupert Murdoch at the beginning of April?”

    Fred, rumour has it that the “Sun” might back the Yes campaign, that could be what they spoke about.

    “I think we have a right to know, the tax payers paid for his trip to America.”

    Yes taxpayers have a right to know but the trip was an official visit during Scotland week not a tax-payer funded visit to see Rupert Murdoch.

  72. Just lost everything I wrote to finger disphoria…..;)

    Great news, lets now look at long term projects and jobs in tidal energy schemes. Three large one’s would do.
    A Wash tidal energy scheme, a barrier and lock system would safeguard one fifth of our national fresh food supplies for the next 100 years and return as musch energy as two nuclear power stations.

    A Severn tidal energy scheme and lock system would most likely achieve the same energy returns.

    A Thames tidal energy system, from Shoeburyness to Sheerness would safeguard London for the next 150 years, generate vast amounts of electricity and buy time for solutions to our unsustainable city’s.

    The jobs involved are in the hundred of thousands, some long term.

    I would like to suggest an art installation of wind turbines alongside these tidal energy schemes, right there on the barrier, so they can be enticed to a walk of shame,an installation aimed at educating all those fossile fuel lovey’s, gas/oil pushers, not failing to mention the grey radiating faces of our nuclear (weapons)lobby here.

    And no more sdubsidies for Norwegian royals or Croatian investors, whether its for solar or wind, taxpayers can’t afford to enrich those who already have enough, its not that these alternative energy schemes, sofar, have benefitted us the consumers much, bar those who could afford them.

  73. doug scorgie

    6 May, 2014 - 1:10 pm

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !
    6 May, 2014 – 11:40 am

    “Quite so, and I’m glad to see that you don’t seem to agree with those who hold the view that Scottish politics and politicians are of a (somehow) nobler stamp than English ones.”

    It’s not the politicians so much as the system Habbabkuk.

    The corrupting influence of the Westminster elites, the City, the House of Lords all will go under independence.

    It’s a chance to build anew without that baggage.

  74. Nevermind, I’m with you all the way.

  75. What’s more Nevermind I would like the next phase of nuclear weapons, Trident replacement, if there is to be one after the new Independent Scotland closes Faslane, to be stationed on the embankment by the Houses of Parliament. That way we would never have them.

    http://stopwar.org.uk/news/cut-trident-and-use-the-100-billion-for-welfare-and-public-services#.U2jSSnYvDjI

  76. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    6 May, 2014 - 1:32 pm

    Mr Scorgie

    So I think you’re saying that in a future independent Scotland there will be no system and that the absence of a system will enable politicians to translate fully into practice the noble side of their natures.

    I suppose you’re also saying that a country can be system-less.

    Interesting point of view.

  77. My name for the inhabitants of Pugin’s Palace (Pugin designed the interiors) – the Augean Stables.

    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/Herakles/stables.html

    Man with shovel and bucket is urgently needed.

  78. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    6 May, 2014 - 1:36 pm

    Mr Scorgie

    ““I think we have a right to know, the tax payers paid for his trip to America.”

    Yes taxpayers have a right to know but the trip was an official visit during Scotland week not a tax-payer funded visit to see Rupert Murdoch.”
    ___________________

    I suspect the answer to this question is obvious and therefore it won’t be difficult for you to supply it : if official visits are not tax-payer funded, who does fund them?

    Thanks.

  79. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    6 May, 2014 - 1:41 pm

    Mr Scorgie

    BTW, since you were kind enough to comment on my comment to Ba’al, do you think you could do the same for the comment I addressed to you? You’ll find it on this page (5 May, 18h44).

    Thanks.

  80. Why are Cameron and Osborne seen to be waving the Pfizer takeover of Astra Zeneca through? A new conglomerate can hold the NHS to ransom on the cost of pharmaceuticals. Any lobbying of the ConDems by Pfizer’s PR team perhaps?

    Astra ex-boss fears Pfizer will be a ‘praying mantis’
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27291162

    ‘The former chief executive of AstraZeneca has attacked the attempted takeover of the UK pharmaceuticals firm by its US rival Pfizer.

    Sir David Barnes was chief executive of AstraZeneca until 2000 and deputy chairman until 2002.

    He told the BBC’s business editor Kamal Ahmed he feared Pfizer would act like a “praying mantis” and “suck the lifeblood” out of AstraZeneca.

    Pfizer offered £63bn for the UK pharmaceutical giant on Friday.

    [..]

    No 10 denied Labour claims it is acting as a “cheerleader” for the deal, saying it is fighting for British jobs and British science’

    ~~~~

    Working with the NHS

    AstraZeneca’s relationship with the NHS is at the centre of our UK Marketing Company activities.

    The NHS is the primary customer for AstraZeneca medicines in the UK and we engage with NHS staff on many levels on a daily basis.

    We interact with healthcare professionals as part of our sales and marketing work, ensuring that clinicians have the best access to information about our medicines in order to make appropriate prescribing decisions.

    At both national and local level, we work closely with NHS staff to help facilitate decision-making and budgetary planning. We’re committed to ensuring that AstraZeneca’s business is aligned with NHS priorities and supports delivery of excellent patient care.

    /..
    http://www.astrazeneca.co.uk/astrazeneca-in-uk/who-do-we-work-with/working-with-the-nhs

  81. doug scorgie

    6 May, 2014 - 1:52 pm

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !
    6 May, 2014 – 1:32 pm

    “Mr Scorgie”

    “So I think you’re saying that in a future independent Scotland there will be no system and that the absence of a system will enable politicians to translate fully into practice the noble side of their natures.”

    “I suppose you’re also saying that a country can be system-less.”

    At least you’re consistent Habbabkuk – at being a complete tosser!

  82. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    6 May, 2014 - 2:00 pm

    Mr Scorgie

    ““Anybody know what Alex Salmond talked about in his secret meeting with Rupert Murdoch at the beginning of April?”

    Fred, rumour has it that the “Sun” might back the Yes campaign, that could be what they spoke about.”
    _____________________

    An interesting speculation. As you’re in Scotland and will presumably be eligible to vote, and as I believe you are in favour of Scottish independence, and as you deplore the influence of elites (presumably including the Murdoch press), I think it would provide a service to readers if you were to do some work here and attempt to find out what was discussed: you could, for instance, write to Mr Salmond’s office and then report back?

    Thanks.

  83. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    6 May, 2014 - 2:03 pm

    Mr Scorgie

    ““Mr Scorgie”

    “So I think you’re saying that in a future independent Scotland there will be no system and that the absence of a system will enable politicians to translate fully into practice the noble side of their natures.”

    “I suppose you’re also saying that a country can be system-less.”

    At least you’re consistent Habbabkuk – at being a complete tosser!”
    ___________________

    Thank you for that comprehensive and thoughtful answer. Looking forward to your response to the other outstanding questions.

  84. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    6 May, 2014 - 2:07 pm

    Mr Scorgie

    Since you were mentioning “elites” (which would, I imagine, include the Bank of England) would you give us your views on whether an independent Scotland should have a separate currency and if so whether it should take the steps necessary to join the euro?

    Thanks.

  85. doug scorgie

    6 May, 2014 - 2:13 pm

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !
    6 May, 2014 – 1:36 pm

    “…if official visits are not tax-payer funded, who does fund them?”

    I’ll rephrase Habbabkuk so you can understand. Don’t forget to read this slowly.

    Fred said:
    Anybody know what Alex Salmond talked about in his secret meeting with Rupert Murdoch at the beginning of April? I think we have a right to know [what was said], the tax payers paid for his trip to America.

    Fred clearly says that the taxpayers have a right to know what was said in a private meeting with Murdoch because taxpayers funded his trip to the USA.

    They have a right to know how much the trip cost and what the funding was used for.

    They do not have a “right” to know what was said in a private meeting.

    What do you think Habbabkuk?
    Do the taxpayers have a right to know what was said in the Salmond/Murdoch meeting?

    If so please elucidate.

  86. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    6 May, 2014 - 2:13 pm

    Mary

    “Why are Cameron and Osborne seen to be waving the Pfizer takeover of Astra Zeneca through?”

    I too would, on balance, be against the takeover of Astra Zeneca by Pfizer, and so – given that Astra Zeneca is a publically quoted company in which the govt holds no shares – I’d be interested to hear from you whether the UK govt disposes of the legal instruments which would allow it to block that take-over?

    Thanks.

  87. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    6 May, 2014 - 2:20 pm

    Mr Scorgie

    “What do you think Habbabkuk?
    Do the taxpayers have a right to know what was said in the Salmond/Murdoch meeting?”
    __________________

    Well, there is probably no legal right, but since you are very much in favour of transparency in political life (I’m right in thinking so, aren’t I?), I’m sure you’d be on the side of those who feel that taxpayers have that right.

    You do seem to think so, judging from your “Yes taxpayers have a right to know”, posted at 12h47 above. Glad if you would just confirm that.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Still awaiting your view on the sources of funding for official visits by Mr Salmond if these are not funbded by the tax-payer?

    Thanks

  88. Carlyle Moulton

    6 May, 2014 - 2:28 pm

    Craig.

    I have a reply to your reply to my comment on the Rushbridger thread.

  89. Ba'al Zevul (In Vimto Veritas!)

    6 May, 2014 - 2:53 pm

    What really pisses off the Salmond-haters is that Murdoch has form for backing winners. And you’d think the prospect of that Scottish Labour block vote being forced to remain north of the border would be motivating strong Tory support.

    Floreat Etona! What?

  90. looking at this datamine of international rail development and infrastructure that is rail related, the companies involved, are very handy.

    http://www.railway-technology.com/news/industry_news_archive.html

    the demand that is rising steadily, and I would like to thank dundee man for his manifest, the investment in the Netherlands, with many new rail connections added during the last ten years, has meant higher prices, commuters also pay for the highspeed Intercity cock up.

    But railways are the future, highspeed Intercity should, theoretically be cheaper, as proven on the continent, were there are less companies/shareholders involved in providing rail services which work.

    Alstom is very popular for its train making and expertise, so thats why GE is gunning for it. Lets hope that the French will stop this happening in its track, however much these taylorists offer.

  91. @ Doug Scourgie, why not go the whole hog and dispense with the fantails of predetermined tribal and party characters on offer as Independent saviours, the usual party political repertoire les infantiles.
    So, should you consider adopting a new voting system of random representation, i.e. pull your local representatives out of a hat using a blindfolded Komodo dragon, or such like.

    This should make for a fascinating change because you would not need to take up much time of the so called intelligentsia’s and common circles of the usual etikette and reverence, a true new start.

    No longer than four years, mind, and for good money so they don’t become complacent and start moonlighting ala Mercer, but with no special pension rights or perks afterwards. A corruption proof system based on the existing NI numbers in each constituency.

    Now that should really bring a smile to all democracy loving Independents, should it not?……;)

  92. ” rumour has it that the “Sun” might back the Yes campaign. ”

    In return for what though? Murdoch being gifted Scottish TV at a knock down price?

  93. Ba'al Zevul (In Vimto Veritas!)

    6 May, 2014 - 3:21 pm

    As usual, the sheer blindness of our masters to any other consideration than the weight of their, and their mates’ wallets, beggars belief. This is the mob which advocates a flexible labour market (translation – a bowl of rice a day, if the boss happens to need you). And yet a flexible and affordable transport system is beyond its grasp. We had one once: Beeching buggered it up and set the scene for whizzo high-speed links being built for the notional benefit of the business class and profitable ( for the operators) franchises still heavily subsidised by the taxpayer, if not (East Coast Line) so abominably run as to make de facto renationalisation inevitable. But we don’t call it that.

  94. Ba'al Zevul (In Vimto Veritas!)

    6 May, 2014 - 3:31 pm

    ” rumour has it that the “Sun” might back the Yes campaign. ”

    In return for what though? Murdoch being gifted Scottish TV at a knock down price?

    There are some questions which need to be asked, there. However, they don’t address the issue of independence at all. IMO a bit of ducking and weaving is to be expected, and factoring in Salmond’s other dodgy contact, it may be that the deal is done already: Connect the dots?

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/sarah-palin-donald-trump-attend-billy-graham-95th-birthday-party-article-1.1510688

    http://www.trumpgolfscotland.com/

    Salmond never claimed to be a pretty straight sort of guy, and Murdoch thinks (rightly, IMO) he’s the most accomplished politician in the UK. But he is absolutely committed to delivering independence if he can, whatever it takes.

  95. Ba'al Zevul (In Vimto Veritas!)

    6 May, 2014 - 3:38 pm

    And I see the neocon with the glued-on-hair has bought himself Turnberry as well. I really hope Salmond has something on him. Still, the former owners were Arabs, so the tradition of greedy buggers throwing their financial weight around will be maintained.

    http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/apr/29/donald-trump-turnberry-golf-course-resort

  96. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    6 May, 2014 - 3:42 pm

    While awaiting Mr Scorgie’s answers to a couple of my questions (where I echo the very ancient saying “If death should come, let it come from the King of Spain”), I wonder if commenters interested in railway transport think that the following argument has any merit:

    Since healthcare and education are (essentially and still free at the point of use, could not the same system be applied to railway travel in the UK?

    Free at the point of use but not “free” in the sense that there is no cost. Free at the point of use rail travel would of course have to be paid for through general taxation. I wonder if there have been any studies estimating how much a free railway transport system (say a system with the same extent and coverage as the present system) would cost in terms of an extra “x” percent on the basic and higher rates of income tax?

    Such a system could work – albeit with different disciplines – whether the railways were nationalised or remained in private hands (or a combination).

  97. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    6 May, 2014 - 3:45 pm

    Ba’al

    “And I see the neocon with the glued-on-hair has bought himself Turnberry as well. I really hope Salmond has something on him.”
    ___________________

    “has something on him” – surely this cannot be the bright, new, honest and transparent system of post-independence Scottish governance Mr Salmond and Ba’al claim to support? Tut tut!

  98. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    6 May, 2014 - 3:48 pm

    Ba’al

    “Salmond never claimed to be a pretty straight sort of guy,..”
    _______________

    Not in the sense of actually saying it (as did bLiar), that’s true.

    But is that kind of perception not an important part of Mr Salmond’s prospectus? I think it is.

  99. @Ba’al Zevul

    The Australian-born media billionaire Roppert Murdoch has dedicated his life for pushing Israeli agenda in Europe and North America. For his great services to the Zionist entity, American Jewish lobby group ADL, honored Murdoch on October 13, 2010.

    Accepting the honor, Murdoch told his Jewish audience that Jews and Israel are under attack all over the world because people hate Jews.

    http://rehmat1.com/2010/10/18/murdoch-israel-and-jews-under-attack/

  100. Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    6 May, 2014 - 4:20 pm

    “It comes as MPs prepare to investigate the planned takeover of AstraZeneca by Pfizer.”

    Mary; What’s the problem they have with this? In ‘Merica the FTC/FDA have no problem with emerging monopolies. :)

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