The Three Amigos Ride to Scotland 120

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg. Just typing the names is depressing. As part of their long matured and carefully prepared campaign plan (founded 9 September 2014) they are coming together to Scotland tomorrow to campaign. In a brilliant twist, they will all come on the same day but not appear together. This will prevent the public from noticing that they all represent precisely the same interests.

Nobody in Scotland feels the slightest warmth towards these people, except for those paid hacks whose income depends upon their feeling such warmth (and there are too many of those, but still only a few hundred). One thing I can guarantee is that this rush of “superstars” will not meet my challenge of seeing 300 Better Together supporters in the same place.

The truth is of course, that if the range of potential political policy alignments lay on a two dimensional scale from 1 to 100, then Cameron, Clegg and Miliband occupy the range from 82 to 84. They offer no actual policy choice to voters.

They all support austerity budgets
They all support benefit cuts
They all support tuition fees
They all support Trident missiles
They all support continued NHS privatisation
They all support bank bail-outs
They all support detention without trial for “terrorist suspects”
They all support more bombings in Iraq (and are planning to launch British raids there before 18 September to ramp up jingoism – you read it here first)
They all oppose rail nationalisation
They all oppose free prescriptions
They all oppose free personal care
They all oppose rent controls
They all oppose bankers bonus cuts
They all oppose legalisation of cannabis

The areas on which the three amigos differ are infinitesimal and contrived. They actually represent the same paymasters and vested interests.

It is hilarious that after a campaign of hammering away at the fact that nobody can guarantee every last detail of what will happen in a an independent Scotland, the Three Amigos are now trying to convince us we should vote No in exchange for some powers, which nobody has the slightest idea what they will be, except they will not include Scotland being allocated any of its oil revenue.

Meantime Gordon Brown, the man whose banking liberalisation almost crashed the world, and who then gave 60,000 pounds from every family in Britain straight to the bankers as a gift, is undertaking another invited audience only tour of Scotland. He has secured a commitment to debate new powers after a No vote; a debate in which Brown has opposed powers for Scotland his entire political career. The Brown suggestions consist of an increased right to vary income tax, but only upwards, and with extra revenue balanced by cuts in the amount of Scotland’s own revenue which London hands back to Edinburgh. Scotland might also be able to vary slightly the rate of housing benefit and attendance allowance (only).

The idea that the popular exuberance at taking sovereignty back into the people, can be swept away by the three amigos and Brown’s “offer”, is ludicrous. Nevertheless the BBC, Guardian and other paid unionist hacks are pushing this unpalatable mess down the throats of voters in the hope something might work. It won’t.

120 thoughts on “The Three Amigos Ride to Scotland

1 2 3 4
  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    MJ, according to Walter Bagehot, the Queen has the right to be informed by her Ministers what is going on, and to encourage or warn them about what they should do.

    It’s still the case, though now she only deals withe the Prime Minister, thanks to the political hijinks of mavericks like Lord Brougham.

    When Victoria became Queen, the ex-Lord Chancellor arranged a private audience with her – what kicked off a political war between Brougham and the Whigs which radically changed the UK’s political history.

  • Kempe

    ” Salmond might be blamed for the financial crash ”

    Well he didn’t do much to help prevent it. In 2007 he was cheering RBS on and promising that an independent Scotland would free banks from Westminster’s “gold plated” regulations. Post crash the SNP had the nerve to claim they’d have done the precise opposite!

    The SNP’s silence on what policies they’d pursue post independence can either be read as good strategy or a complete ideas vacuum. Good stragey in that it concentrates minds on the goal of independence without alienating potential supporters who don’t like their vision of a post-independent Scotland.

    From the Yes voters on this blog it wouldn’t be difficult to assume that every nationalist has their own image of what an independent Scotland would look like. Craig seems to want to try all the No voters for treason, although I’m guessing he’d stop short of heads on spikes, with an arts based state broadcaster which others are less enthusiastic about. Some want a full republic (on which model though), some would keep the Queen as head of state; I get the impression RoS and his ilk (and let’s hope there aren’t many of them) would want to expel all the Jews or at least fire those in high office and remove all mention of the Holocaust from Scottish schoolbooks.

    Which leaves us with a potential vacuum of ideas which seems not an unreasonable assumption. In the past Wee Eck has suggested that Scotland would emulate Ireland, be a Celtic Lion, ignoring warnings that it wasn’t sustainable then Scotland was going to be another Iceland until that didn’t work out. Now talk is of Scotland being part of some vague Pan-Scandanavian Co-Prosperity Sphere. Scandanavian economies are most well known for cradle-to-grave care but high taxation to pay for it. Even Norway has a general VAT rate of 25% and charges 15% on basic items such as food. I can see that going down well in Glasgow.

    Tell Alec that Boris has some water cannon he can have cheap.

  • Roderick Russell

    HABBABKUK 10:13 AM. Your comment: “Roderick Russell. I can’t help wondering if your position isn’t …… an “act of faith””.

    When I was a boy in Glasgow 35% of Britain’s GDP was in manufacturing, and often high end, high tech manufacturing at that. Today it’s 9% (Germany and the US are about 23 %.). Now I know that much of this manufacturing needed modernized, but they managed that in other countries where the wages were higher than ours as well as in countries that had lower wages. What went wrong with GB that we couldn’t keep up with our competitors?

    The Clyde used to have one of the greatest shipbuilding, maritime and engineering industries in the world, not to mention locomotive manufacturers etc. I remember it well. Today it is all gone with nothing much in its place. But the decline was not just in Glasgow. Take an example from Manchester. When I started my career I used to work on the external audit of ICI Dyestuffs division. It was one of the largest research labs in the world. It invented polyester, paludrine and a dozen other well-known products. Today this world class research facility is rubble with nothing in its place.

    Something went wrong with GB as it became the UK. Scotland now has a chance with its oil to reverse this. In my view what historically put the great in Britain was that the country was highly decentralized, each area with its own establishment and in an era of small government, the London establishment, corrupt then as it is now, only had a relatively small portion of GDP to steal from. Today the UK is the most over centralized government in the EU and everything flows through London. We went from being the most decentralized country in Europe, and the richest, to the most centralized one and one with a standard of living that does not keep pace with its competitors. And then, as you know, I have personal experiences that make me doubt the quality of democracy and rule of law in the UK today. That’s why I believe that independence is the best option.

    “An act of faith” as you suggest, or just a recognition that times have changed.

    You refer to Switzerland and Norway as small countries with a higher standard of living. When I was a boy (before oil) nobody would have believed that Norway’s much lower standard of living would ever pass Scotland’s. Look at the change today that oil has brought around. And as for the Swiss model? I’m actually visiting Switzerland at the moment. Switzerland’s standard of living is most impressive, particularly when you consider that it has minimal natural resources.

    Sometimes countries need a change to shake them up, and the UK and Scotland badly need a shakeup.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !



    By your usual deeply twisted ‘logic’ are you suggesting Salmond was responsible for the global financial crisis?? And the Scottish banks were amongst many worldwide banks that suffered.Suggest you look across the pond for the real culprits.

    Yet apparently you dont have a dog in this fight but Salmond might be blamed for the financial crash??”

    Where did I suggest that, Jivesy?

    Mirabile dictu, you’re even more disturbed by day than you are in the wee hours.

  • Kempe

    Another vision of an independent Scotland this time based on a resurgent manufacturing sector.

    Manufacturing failed in the UK because we didn’t keep up and couldn’t deliver the goods. That applied to Scotland as much as the rest of the UK, post war new shipyards were opening up across the world that could do in three-four months what a British yard would take a year and a half to accomplish and at much lower cost. If you think independence is all that’s needed to reverse a hundred years of decline, good luck.

  • Trader


    I guess Jives meant to address me, but judging from the venom in his posts the feeling isn’t mutual.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !


    Your post, and in particular : “Scandinavian economies are most well known for cradle-to-grave care but high taxation to pay for it. Even Norway has a general VAT rate of 25% and charges 15% on basic items such as food. I can see that going down well in Glasgow” reminded me of something I’d meant to post on the previous thread.

    It seems to me that, alongside the “acts of faith” I mentioned in an earlier post, many Yessers are putting their money on the assumption that an independent Scotland will become richer because of oil revenues and thus become a “better” place. This explains the frequent references to Norway.

    But, as you point out, oil revenues by themselves are not sufficient to pay for Norwegian bien-être (seen as generous social security provision and so on). After all, a barrel of Norwegian oil fetches the same price as a barrel of UK oil – the difference being that given equal production levels, the money generated is spread out over a population less than one tenth of the UK population. BUT – despite that – Norway still has to impose a level of direct taxation considerably higher than the European average, indirect taxes are high and excise duties and car taxes are probably the highest in Europe outside the rest of Scandinavia.

    So I believe that it is likely that even if an independent Scotland bags most of the UK oilfields, it will still be unable to maintain and enhance the current bien-être (as apparently promised and certainly as claimed on here) without let us say a “certain” cost to the taxpayer.

    But I wish them well.

  • Ba'al Zevul (For Scotland)

    Manufacturing failed in the UK because we didn’t keep up and couldn’t deliver the goods. That applied to Scotland as much as the rest of the UK, post war new shipyards were opening up across the world that could do in three-four months what a British yard would take a year and a half to accomplish and at much lower cost. If you think independence is all that’s needed to reverse a hundred years of decline, good luck.

    I like you, Kempe. You sometimes make good points. However, we didn’t keep up and we couldn’t deliver the goods because neither the government nor the industries themselves would invest in updating their methods and approach to customer service. (Though we were still selling precision tooling to the Chinese long after manufacturing had otherwise collapsed here). It was Thatcher who decided that we could get along with a bloated financial sector: those not employed there to make money out of nothing could sell each other hamburgers.

    Granted, recalibrating British manufacturing would have been about as painful as scrapping it altogether. Thatcher took the first step – castrating the unions. Then absolutely nothing was done to reform manufacturing (I could have forgiven her a lot if it had been); instead, the very idea became anathema. It remains anathema. The claimed ‘recovery’ most of us aren’t seeing is based on low pay, the service sector, housing demand several times that of the unaffordable supply, and accountants’ tricks for balancing books short-term. We, whether the UK or the disUK, all need to fix this, and it seems to me the Scots, who have productive industries as part of their heritage, may well appreciate this more clearly than Old Prestigeian speakers of management bollocks down south.

    The hundred years of decline (more accurately sixty, I think) are neither here nor there, except that they distance us more effectively from old unworkable methods and products. Factor in innovation, and factor in harsh criticism of our dependence on global interest rates, and -as I said – whether the UK is U or not, there’s solid opportunity there.

    Which is not to say that Scotland couldn’t usefully look at the Isle of Man or Jersey…also self-governed under the Crown… for some ideas about making money out of other peoples’ money. As well.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    Roderick Russell

    I want to thank you for your extensive comments and for the courteous manner in which you made them.

    I don’t dispute the facts of your historical overview (both general and personal) but I don’t think your comments have invalidated my emphasis on what I called “acts of faith”. You have identified some of the reasons for the UK’s decline (and would agree that your point about centralisation/decentralisation appears to have merit) and seem to be hinting that renewal and regeneration would be likely with an independent Scotland – or at least stand a chance. You may be right, but that itself is an “act of faith”, is it not? At least, you have not indicated what would bring about renewal and regeneration and how it would be achieved (except for your idea of decentralisation). Without a great deal of fleshing out, your aspiration (as I understand it) remains an “act of faith”.

    And while I’m on renewal and regeneration, it’s perhaps useful to bear in mind the point Kempe makes at 15h36 about industrial and manufacturing decline. To deny his self-evident conclusion that “if you think independence is all that’s needed to reverse a hundred years of decline, good luck” is, again, an “act of faith”.

  • fred

    “Even Norway has a general VAT rate of 25% and charges 15% on basic items such as food. I can see that going down well in Glasgow. ”

    That wouldn’t bother them not nearly as much as the £7 a pint for beer.

  • MJ

    “the Queen has the right to be informed by her Ministers what is going on, and to encourage or warn them about what they should do”

    I don’t dispute that. I was taking issue with your comment that “she has clearly put the establishment political leaders on notice to get out the No vote”. Why is that clear to you? It certainly isn’t clear to me.

  • Kempe

    ” The hundred years of decline ” Well the decline of British shipbuilding can be traced back to 1918. It never really recovered from the depression of the 20’s, there was obviously a brief upsurge during and just after WW2 but the rot really set in from the 50’s. Whilst the Thatcher government’s curtailing of union power was much needed, during the 1970’s British industry was well known for losing the highest number of working days to strikes, I feel the reforms went too far.

    During the 1970’s successive governments spent millions (billions in today’s prices) propping up shipbuilders, steelmakers, car manufacturers and other failing concerns to no avail. It was really no surprise that Thatcher thought it was a waste of taxpayers’ money.

  • Kempe

    ” That wouldn’t bother them not nearly as much as the £7 a pint for beer. ”

    Good news for English pubs and cash and carry outlets near the border though.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    MJ, It is clear to me that the Queen, after having been informed about the growing Yes support for the referendum, has warned her Prime Minister about what appears to be happening, and has encouraged him to do everything he can to stop it.

    This is what happens in such cases when she has the right to warn, and encourage.

    What else could it mean in practice?

    I’m sure that she did this with Mad Maggie’s hijinks with Reagan and Iran Contra, but the Iron Lady just chose to ignore the advice.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !


    ” That wouldn’t bother them not nearly as much as the £7 a pint for beer. ”

    Good news for English pubs… near the border though.”

    Indeed so. I just hope that the drunk drivers will wait until they’ve crossed the border again before causing their accidents.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Now a Survation poll shows that the No vote is back in the lead with 53% of the voters.

    Looks like The Times one has done its dirty work despite all the disinformation about Rupert Murdoch’s support.

    Sorry about the Yes vote fading but was most worried if it didn’t.

  • Ba'al Zevul (For Scotland)

    “Hundred years” of decline – during much of this we were experiencing a simultaneous rise in other manufacturing areas, notably vehicles, aircraft, pharmaceuticals and armaments.

    I date the general decline from the introduction of the Honda Benley motorcycle – it’s a personal choice of waypoint, and there are probably others. Honda had completely re-engineered the concept of motorcycles, and built their production line to match. The Benley buyer got a 125 cc twin with electric starter (offered by no British bike, ever, as far as I know), indicators (optional only, where available, on British bikes of the period), overhead camshafts (most street Brits were pushrod). Honda developed new alloys which could survive the stresses of a high-revving, complex little motor – in short they gave the average small-bike rider what he wanted rather than what BSA could perhaps be arsed to turn out based on a prewar concept and hand tools.

    Most of the British m/c firms started to die in the late 60’s, accompanied by the car industry, which faced a similar challenge. Triumph alone, by belatedly adopting Japanese techniques and standards, even parts, survived as a marque, though not as the same company.

  • gareth taylor

    hello mr murry, i have been following this web page for a few months now and enjoy it very much but was never sure about your thoughts on cannabis law might lay i can now assume that like me you think cannabis should be legal. i believe that article 8 of the EU convention of human rights gives us the right to a private life. as it is,if i grow and consume in my private place of abode,i am breaking the law wiht all the draconian sentences that go with arrest,even though nobody else is affected by my actions. the signatories to these human rights agreed,back then, to change their laws to bring them about. it was thus so for the homosexuals against massive public opposition, particulary here in france. i hope an idependent scotland will manifest into reality this so called brittish sence of justice and fair play. i am to old to go to prison yet again but considering that bertrand russell was 92 when he went down, then maybe not. looking forward to your next post. gareth.

  • Ba'al Zevul (WIth Gaza Too)

    As Bombardier prepares to cut back its East Belfast workforce, one of its products…you’re ahead of me? …Blair Force One is currently winging its way in the general direction of Japan, where Cherie is scheduled today, local time, to harangue the locals on the contribution women – that’ll be well-connected women, I suspect, rather than women on zero-hours contracts in sweatshops – can make to capital G Globalisation. I hope the expenses for this trip aren’t being paid by the Quartet or Zurich Insurance, but you never know, and this is intentional.

    Tony, meanwhile, has snuck past my spies and is now or has just been in Malaysia, emphasising the contribution education can make to Globalisation. Or is that indoctrination? Yesterday he was in Indonesia explaining how nice Muslims can contribute to Globalisation. On the 26th, after doing some globalising in the States, it is whispered he’ll be in Delhi, globalising some more. Information on where in Delhi he will be globalising will be gratefully received by:

  • glenn_uk

    Komodo: Wouldn’t you say the low-end Honda motorcycles were a small test run, a fairly safe market before they started breaking into even our most unquestioned, quality end of the range, once they’d gained confidence?

    I’m kind of ashamed to admit that all three of my current motorcycles are Japanese.

    What do you put the British market’s lamentable performance down to? Absolutely none of their bikes are suitable, in my admittedly inexpert opinion.

  • Ba'al Zevul (For Scotland)

    @Glenn…I’ve only got room for one bike, but it and the last five were Japanese. I think the Benley came in parallel with the mopeds – interesting development history here –

    -and Honda had done their market research in advance. Something else the Brits weren’t too good at.

    What do you put the British market’s lamentable performance down to? Absolutely none of their bikes are suitable, in my admittedly inexpert opinion.

    A case of too little, too late. When the Brits woke up to the invasion, they had to redesign and retool. They’d been working with essentially 1930’s and 40’s engine designs, and had missed a useful notion as far as electrics, frames, brakes and appearance went: think car. The Japs were quick to test the latest ideas, and if they worked, incorporate them.

    Unsuitable? Well, they were all you had back then. But we were a lot slower at bringing (expensive) track developments back to street bikes, and the mindset was rigidly attached to kickstart, wet sump, lousy electrics and pushrod cams, even when belatedly trying to compete with the Japs. Then there were the truly awful productions we tried to sell in the US despite known mechanical issues.

    Mine’s an SV1000S – what are yours?

  • Ba'al Zevul (For Scotland)

    False alarm re Mrs Blair, btw. G-CEYL no longer appears to be exclusively the Blair conveyance. It landed in Beijing, and is plausibly carrying a sleb for the Formula E motor race tomorrow. However Lady B. will as advertised be promoting overpaid hardfaced bollocks-fluent cows on globalised boards, in Tokyo.

  • Ba'al Zevul (For Scotland)

    Also note, re Jap bikes: Soichiro Honda started absolutely from scratch, in a country which was broke, and whose industrial capacity had been systematically trashed. There’s a lesson there somewhere….

  • glenn_uk

    @komodo: “For wet sump read dry sump above….”

    I knew what you meant. You like the big V-twins, eh? You asked about my own bikes… I’m more fond of the in-line 4 myself, having an FJR1300 and a 1000 Fireblade. But I also have a vintage RD350-powervalve, works fine, but SORN’d at the moment.

    The Krauts still make very good bikes, their S1000RR is definitely not to be sniffed at. Most of the Triumphs were terrible back in the day. Some of their street triples might be ok now, but they’ve off-shored production to Thailand, sadly enough.

    It’s hard to understand why the Brit bike manufacturers were so loathe to move with the times. Die-hard Brit enthusiasts were still insisting that their bikes were better than Jap bikes, when they demonstrably were not on just about every level. Probably this same mindset went right through the whole industry, and Jap bikes were dismissed as low-level, cheap-and-nasty alternatives for the riff-raff. The Real bikers would never go for such rubbish. Meanwhile, with government subsidy and encouragement (not to mention huge import tariffs protecting their own home market), Jap manufacturers kept improving every aspect, every part, questioned every conventional wisdom, and not for one moment sat back satisfied that we’ve got it nailed now.

    Very sad. Difference between our attitude and the Japanese. They like to ask, “How can we fix it?” We ask, “Who do we blame?” whenever a problem is noticed. So we prefer to pretend there isn’t a problem.

  • Ba'al Zevul (For Scotland)

    Had a mate with an RD350, frightened himself regularly with it. Collector’s piece. Big V-twins, yeah, I guess so. Except, obviously, Harleys. The SV was a bit of an accident -would have been a Falco, but having to tuck my ears under my knees to achieve the riding position put that one out of court. This is one of rather few bikes which fits my length, and the previous owner had put flat bars on it, so it’s actually comfortable. I haven’t had to duck behind the screen yet…BMW adventury bikes seem to be popular round here among serious riders, but they seem a bit worthy to me, As does the VStrom, with its detuned SV motor. Triumph – the Tigers seem to be well regarded and the Daytona is the means of choice for suicides; good enough, but the rider probably isn’t.

    Agree 100% with your analysis, and I was one of the Brit dinosaurs. Trouble was, we’d never tried a Jap, and of course multicylinder bikes were a betrayal of the basic premises. As were helmets with visors, air filters and frequent oil changes.

    Thai Triumph? The CB/CG125’s been made in Brazil for decades, and isn’t there a Brazil Fireblade? What goes around, eh?

  • disgusters

    The three large British political parties offer no choice to any voter – hence the low turnout in national elections. Obviously this referendum is unique – and has been set up to enfranchise a generation raised on “Braveheart” dvds, to the advantage of those in power in Scotland, who seek independence. How different are the SNP to the Westminster based tres amigos? Like all politicians they are promising the earth at the moment. No change there then.

    Do English people really care one way or another about the Scots and what they do? In the distant past they were very quick to ally with the enemies of the English, and raid northern English cities. The Romans built a wall to keep their ancestors out. Now they bitch continuously about “the English” blaming their every misfortune on them. So perhaps their departure would be welcome. If there is independence, fine, we’ll all learn to work with it. If not, then hopefully it will not cost the majority of British taxpayers even more, paying for all the pathetic bribes the establishment have dangled before them…

  • glenn_uk

    The RD350YPVS frightens me every time I take it out. And I take it easy these days. Back in the day, tank-slap was particularly worrying if you took it over 115 or so. You had to be pretty sharp on the clutch too, if the engine seized solid (as happened to me once), and if the engine suddenly took a very nasty note and blew moments later. It didn’t pay to depend on it delivering every time.

    They made a Brazilian version of the RD250/350 too (or was it just a very large number of them? [joke] ), which got banned from California, because of emission laws.

    In some respects fortunately, my personal shape fits the Jap superbikes very well. So the FJR is a _bit_ of a stretch in some regards, as I’m sure you can appreciate. The “Adventure bikes” would be a joke. Nevertheless, a local dealer tried to sell me on one (TourATech – they’re local, look them up! Nice people!). I asked what his suggestion might be – to get it going while running alongaside, then jump on?

1 2 3 4

Comments are closed.