High Time for Scottish Independence! 250


There appears no avoiding a second Scottish Independence Referendum, unless either Nicola Sturgeon or Theresa May backs down to a humiliating degree. I have been studying in detail the Scottish government’s proposals for Scotland’s future relationship with the EU within the UK after Brexit. Their aim is for Scotland to remain in the European Economic Area as the rest of the UK leaves it (a key marker of hard Brexit). It is worth noting that if the UK went for continued single market membership (soft Brexit) almost all the Scottish government paper would fall.

Theresa May has now rejected these proposals out of hand. This is scarcely surprising, as the Scottish government’s proposals would have involved giving Scotland new powers which are normal attributes of a nation state. In particular, treaty making is a sovereign power – even in proper Federal systems, California or Ontario do not make trade agreements with foreign states as the Scottish government proposal specifically states that Scotland must be able to do (para 187). The paper lists powers currently held in Brussels which fall within devolved competence and should come back to Holyrood, and then others in the category of “citizens rights” which are currently reserved but the Scottish government wish to have devolved to Holyrood. Then there is a third list of powers which would be required by the Scottish parliament to enable Scotland to meet the obligations of remaining within the European Economic Area if the rest of the UK is not in it.

These new powers are, in addition to trade treaty making:

a) import and export control
b) immigration
c) competition, product standards and international property
d) company law and insolvency
e) social security, including to enable reciprocal arrangements with other states
f) professional regulation
g) energy regulation
h) financial services, communications, postal services and currently reserved areas of transport

Simply put, Scotland would need to be able to function as though it were a full sovereign state in every area covered by the European Economic Area agreements, so that there would be no difference to the other members than if they were dealing with another fully sovereign state.

Personally I do not believe the Sturgeon proposals are diplomatically achievable. The argument is made at para 136 that the pending Faroe Islands discussions with the EU on joining EFTA are a precedent for the EU reaching agreement with an entity which is not a sovereign state, with a state as its sponsor. But the difference is of course that the Faroes is an autonomous dependency of an EU member state – Denmark – not of a non EU member state. As in the “Greenland option”, there is no precedent for a territory being in either the EU, EEA or EFTA while the metropolitan is out. Treaties are between states, and while there are plenty of examples of treaties which exclude dependencies of varying status, I cannot think of a single one in the economic sphere which includes the minor and excludes the metropolitan. I do not think it could be done.

At para 123 the Scottish Government acknowledges that its proposals will require other EU states to be “flexible and innovative”. That is an understatement. What the Scottish government seeks to achieve is incredibly difficult, I would say impossible.

To give just one example of the difficulties that would arise, look at the practical shipment of goods, from the Scottish government proposal:

Imports from the European Single Market
153. Goods entering the UK from the European Single Market would be subject to the import regulations appropriate to either jurisdiction (Scotland or the remainder of the UK). The appropriate regulations would be determined by the point at which the goods are to be sold.
154. If the point of sale is Scotland, then there will be no tariff payable due to our EEA membership. If the goods are to be sold in the remainder of the UK they will be subject to whatever regulations apply and tariff is payable under the remainder of the UK’s arrangements with the single market and/or EFTA states. To the extent that any import from the single market is not covered by Scotland’s EEA membership then the relevant regulations and tariff under Scottish and/or rUK law (depending on the devolution settlement in place) will apply.
155. When a consignment contains goods bound for sale in both Scotland and the remainder of the UK, if there is no difference in the treatment of that good (for example, if it is tariff-free) between Scotland and the remainder of the UK, then no additional process is required. Where there is a difference, on entering the UK the point of sale for the relevant proportion of the goods will need to be declared and the relevant tariff paid and regulations followed. If the point of sale is in the remainder of the UK, then the UK-wide regulations and any UK tariff would apply.
Exports to the European Single Market
156. Goods and services could also continue to be exported from Scotland and the UK under different conditions when accessing the European Single Market. Goods and services produced in Scotland, and complying with all relevant EU regulations, would be exported freely to the European Single Market, whilst those from elsewhere in the UK would be required to comply with the terms of the UK’s new trading relationship with the EU.

Agreeing this with the UK government is going to be difficult enough, when it gives firms an obvious incentive to relocate to Scotland. There are all sorts of workarounds which companies will try, such as partial assembling or packaging in Scotland. We might find those Nissans have their wheels and wing mirrors put on here. But then not only have the arrangements to be agreed with the UK, all the other EEA members have to agree to set up and run a system to differentiate between Scottish (still overwhelmingly through English ports) and English exports, and ensure themselves no corporate cheating is involved.

CONCLUSION

I warned from the start that this exercise was not in the realms of practical possibility. If Nicola’s aim was to prove that Scotland is viewed with contempt by Westminster, and has no choice except hard Brexit or Independence, then that has now been resoundingly achieved and we can move quickly on to another referendum in 2017.

But I do not like this approach. Rather than a joyous uphill march to the fantastic possibilities of unlocking the potential to construct a new state for this wonderful nation, it paints Independence as a dire necessity because nothing else works and everything is going to pieces. Independence as a little lifeboat in freezing mountainous seas as the UK Titanic plummets beneath the waves.

My criticism of the last official referendum campaign was that it was exceptionally cautious. The motto seemed to be “Vote for Independence and Nothing will Change!”. You will keep the Queen, keep the Pound, keep NATO, nothing will be any different. That is hardly a rallying cry. This time the motto seems to be “Vote for Independence and We May Be Slightly Less Doomed”.

Frankly I have had enough of this havering. Impossible proposals for Scotland to remain first in the EU, and then a fallback to the EEA, as the UK exits. A “national conversation” as a blatant ploy to keep the SNP troops quiet and believing they are doing something. It is time to re-invoke the energy that burst through from the people in the last referendum campaign and moved us up from 32% to 46% support. The demand for a more egalitarian society that rejects neo-liberalism at home and neo-conservatism abroad. For an open, outward looking country, harnessing its extraordinary resources of renewable energy and an amazingly talented and educated population. A chance to ditch the baggage of the UK’s past and build on our dreams.

Let’s get back to that. Some of us never stopped campaigning for Independence. It is time for the SNP to make the leap of faith and come back into the fray of a full on Independence campaign. Enough of the EU related sophistry. Let’s free this country.

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250 thoughts on “High Time for Scottish Independence!

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  • Sharp Ears

    Whaddauknow! Anti has been shot dead in Milan. How did he get to Italy? Oh by train to Turin although there was a manhunt on.

    • michael norton

      Apparently, he first had a holiday in Savoie.
      But there again it is claimed he is in Denmark.
      But shooting a man dead is a clever way of not being able to ask him if he did it?

      • michael norton

        If the man apparently shot dead in Milan does happen to be Anis Amri,
        in no way tells us he was the person driving ( or forcing the Polish driver to steer) the truck into the Christmas festival in Berlin.

          • Shatnersrug

            Does anyone believe any of this stuff anymore? It’s all a bit Die Hard – Was he played by Alan Rikman?

          • michael norton

            1) A Polish truck, loaded with steel, drives into Christmas festival in Berlin.
            2) A man jumps out, after beating, stabbing and shooting polish driver ( cousin of owner),
            it has been said the Polish driver was alive during the final run.
            3) “Somebody” gives chase to the fleeing man, into a park, where the police are called.
            4) The Berlin police drag a Pakistani out of a car, inside the car are other men, they only arrest the one man.
            5) Berlin authorities claim they have their man, they stop looking for anyone else.
            6) They search the lorry to find evidence to pin on their, in custody, patsy.
            7) They find the beaten, stabbed and shot – now dead polish driver but no gun,
            they also find “somebodies” documents, under a seat.
            8) They let the Pakistani go.
            9) The Pakistani is now “missing”
            10) They now have another suspect but he has made off.
            11) suspect is seen in Denmark.
            12) suspect takes a short holiday in Savoie.

          • Why be ordinary

            Berlin police release man on grounds of his being innocent? And not letting his name leak out even though he might have been a Pakistani asylum seeker?

            Whether Amri did it or not is clearly questionable – but even if he did not someone who knew him and knew of his ISIS connections could have left the document in the truck as a calling card. What’s the point of perpetrating an act of terror if no-one believes you did it?

            If “flase flag” to whose benefit?

          • Tom

            It’s the CIA again, isn’t it? What seems to have gone wrong this time is that their original patsy, the Pakistani man, wasn’t shot dead. So they had to hurriedly plant some ID documents of another man and then tout their fairytales around the corrupt mainstream media. Then, equally inevitably, the suspect is shot dead before he can say anything.

          • Why be ordinary?

            What’s the world coming to when you can’t rely on the Germans to shoot someone trying to escape!

          • michael norton

            In England, steel is always transported on flat back lorries, never in a sided vehicle.

    • michael norton

      Fred

      As a result, he believes the blueprint is not a “realistic solution,” and in any event, having different business and immigration regimes would necessitate the erection of a physical border erected between England and Scotland.

      https://sputniknews.com/europe/201612221048884472-brexit-sturgeon-proposals-eu/

      So if Scotland becomes Independent within the E.U. and if the U.K. goes away from the Single Market,
      the view of the E.U. apparatchik, is that there would have to be a physical barrier between the non E.U. U.K.
      and Scotland.

      Sounds good, yes?

    • craig Post author

      Fred – you believe Scotland should not have a government at all, but be ruled entirely by Westminster. And you believe that the fact that 62% of Scottish voters who voted to remain in the EU should have no rights, because in your view Scotland does not exist in any political sense. We get that. I don’t see why you feel the need t repeat yourself ad nauseam.

      • fred

        Craig – You believe that consorting with the enemy against the best interests of the people of Britain is in anyone’s best interests?

        You think the 55% of Scottish voters who chose to be British don’t count for anything?

        • michael norton

          Fred,

          After the BREXIT MEANS BREXIT Referendum,

          when the U.K. detaches from the E.U. there will then be border / trade controls between the E.U. and the U.K.

          if the electorate of Scotland then are asked to choose between being in the E.U. but not being in the U.K.,
          they need to understand that there will be physical barriers to movement between Scotland and the rest of the U.K.

          It is not right that the S.N.P. are trying to hoodwink the good people of Scotland.

          • fred

            Michael

            There are times when members of a family bicker amongst themselves and there are times when they should pull together.

            The SNP have got it wrong and I think the vast majority of people in Scotland will realise they have got it wrong.

      • Alan

        “you believe Scotland should not have a government at all, but be ruled entirely by Westminster.”

        What I don’t get Craig, and maybe you might like to explain is, why so many in Westminster have Scottish names, such as Cameron, Blair, Wilson, Brown,,, dammit, the list goes on and on???

        Seems to me that we are actually ruled by Scots, who are now howling and whining like crazy ‘cos an Englishwoman is PM, for a change.

        I suspect you won’t answer this question, as per usual.

      • Anon1

        Scotland voted to remain in the UK and the EU Referendum was a UK-wide decision. Tough titty old boy.

    • Salford Lad

      One of the motives of false flags as with the Gladio operation is to further FUD,( Fear,Doubt,Uncertainly). The population falls in line and more repressive civil laws are enabled, as in present day France.
      In this case the Islamists are blamed. This furthers the cause for more illegal involvement in the Middle East. Also furthers the Arms Industries interests and the political interests of the Deep State.
      Patsys are always eliminated, dead men tell no tales, Lee Harvey Oswald ,Osama Bin Laden, Charlie Hebdo suspects and more.

      • michael norton

        Locked iPhone 4s recovered from man who killed Russian ambassador in Turkey [Update]

        Yes, the serving Turkish Policeman who shot dead the Russian Ambassador,
        was shot dead, so he cannot say who gave him his instructions?
        https://9to5mac.com/2016/12/22/apple-iphone-unlock-russia-turkey-ambassador/

        Apple has not been asked to unlock the shooter’s iPhone (therefore no denial to comply has been made either) despite conflicting reports, 9to5Mac has learned. Rather, local media initially reported that Russia plans to attempt to break the four-digit passcode on the recovered iPhone, although the passcode has not yet been broken, per initial reports.]

        After an off-duty police officer shot dead the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Apple has been asked to help unlock an iPhone 4s recovered from the killer.

        MacReports and other local media say that Apple is expected to refuse the request from Turkish authorities, but report that the Russian government has said it will help …

        Russia is planning to send a special technical team to Turkey to unlock the iPhone, a senior Turkish official told us.

        • michael norton

          Ruth Gregory, UK economist at Capital Economics, said the figures suggested that June’s Brexit vote had had little impact on the economy and that growth in the final quarter of the year would be positive.

          “The latest set of UK National Accounts leave the economy looking even stronger after the referendum than previously estimated,” she said.
          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38413787

          So would the good people of Scotland like to be shackled to the drowning corpse of the E.U.
          or would they like to stay in the World’s fifth largest economy,
          which is booming after the vote to leave the E.U.?

          • Rob Royston

            Being one of the good people of Scotland I can only report that the part of my slice of the World’s fifth largest economy that is in European funds has boomed since Brexit.
            Of course, a lot of that is down to the weakening of Sterling against other currencies so I will only benefit from it if I stay at home.

        • Alan

          “Russia is planning to send a special technical team to Turkey to unlock the iPhone, a senior Turkish official told us.”

          Did you miss Apple refusing to unlock an iphone for the CIA, or the Feds, or Homeland Security, back in the summer? So now Russia is going to do what the Yanks couldn’t?

          Have you been hitting the sauce for Christmas, Michael?

          • michael norton

            Not hit the sauce yet, might have a glass with my dinner.
            You might like to recall that the first object in space was put there by the Russians.
            You might like to recall that the first man in space was a Russian.
            You might like to recall that the Americans get into space in a Russian rocket.
            you might like to recall that they live on a Russian space station.
            So the russians are not that stupid.

          • Shatnersrug

            The FBI knew how to unlock the phone, they were trying to get Apple to submit to their will

          • michael norton

            The Russians seemed to have played a blinder in The Crimea.
            The Russians -so far- seem to be playing a blinder in Syria.

            I really do not think they are stupid.

          • Alan

            I’ve pointed out all three of those thing myself, often enough 🙂

            “The Russians seemed to have played a blinder in The Crimea.”

            You forgot to qualify that with “Yet Again!” How many times now have they kicked our asses in the Crimea? Is it three, or four? LMAO

      • Loony

        I am not so sure. Your ideas certainly explain past actions and motivations, but today….?

        In Europe people (especially young people) seem less and less concerned about the loss of privacy and the consequent increase in surveillance and snooping. The Snowdon revelations were damning – but few people seemed to care.There does not appear to be any deep rooted public opposition to increasingly repressive civil laws.

        Calls for more illegal involvement in the MENA area are largely confined to the lunatic neo-con fringes – people like Tony Blair. The vast majority of people have no interest in supporting aggressive and criminal foreign policies.

        No real purpose is served by false flag attacks as there are enough real ones. The aim is clear – it is to provoke major civil unrest and possibly civil war in Europe. The question is why, and who can gain from this.

        • MJ

          “There does not appear to be any deep rooted public opposition to increasingly repressive civil laws”

          Yes, there appears to be a genuine appetite for authoritarianism, such as has not been seen for almost a century. As those who remember the 30s die off they leave behind a new ripe and ready generation unburdened by history.

        • Alan

          “In Europe people (especially young people) seem less and less concerned about the loss of privacy and the consequent increase in surveillance and snooping.”

          Yes, Looney! ROFL My son’s missis has an app to trace him where ever her goes with his mobile. To think I used to take the antenna off my mobile so I could claim “bad reception” when the boss phoned up asking where I was. These young people have become like Habba.

    • Republicofscotland

      Oh the irony, as Westminster works to get the best deal for London, whilst screwing the rest of Britain, and the EU.

      Independence is the only way.

      • michael norton

        I very much doubt it RoS

        I think your brain lives in the land of cloud cuckoo,
        the good people of Scotland
        are not so brain dead as to live in cloud cuckoo land – like u

  • euroscot not british

    There will be large reinforcements to the 45% who voted Yes from 3 groups in particular.

    1. EU foreign nationals, estimated at 150 000, most of whom vote No in 2014 but will mostly vote Yes in indyref2.

    2. Young Scots who didn’t have a vote in 2014. The majority of new voters will also mostly vote Yes since young voters show a majority for independence.

    3. Those many voters who voted No in indyref1 in the belief that it would be the way to keep Scotland in the EU. Voting Yes in indyref2 will clearly be the option for pro EU voters. This group will include many in the business community.

    Those three groups alone added to 45% should see a Yes win.

    It’s also unlikely that Theresa May and Jeremy Corbin are going to happily do a Better Together double act.

    • MJ

      Not yet coming through in the polls – and Sturgeon has still to announce that EU membership would entail joining the euro.

        • Republicofscotland

          Of course Spain must give out that impression, whilst Catalonia seeks independence, Rajoy, said the same tired old line in 2014.

          Talking of tired old lines, is the Scotsman (a misnomer) still on the go? Ian Stewart must be worried over plunging sales, of his anti-independent rag.

          More tired old lines, David Cameron and Alistair Darling, “the only way to stay in the EU, is by staying in the dis-United Kingdom.

          Very Rajoy-esque me thinks.

    • euroscot not british

      Corbynite Labour will cynically tell Scots to vote No again to protect free healthcare while at the same time campaigning against the Tory privatisation of health. Blairite Labour will tell brazenly Scots to vote No again to protect free healthcare while at the same time quietly or even openly supporting health privatisation.

      Voting No in indyref2 means voting for NHS Scotland having funding withdrawn to try and force privatisation in line with the privatisation of the NHS in England.

      Scotland needs to vote for independence to keep NHS Scotland and to keep Scotland in Europe.

    • Loony

      Ah yes Scotland to be saved by 150,000 EU foreign nationals.

      At least 55,000 of them are Polish – many of them despise and detest the EU so I would not count on their votes.

      There are at least 30,000 Spaniards in Edinburgh – so the national figure is likely to be materially higher. Unless they self identify as Catalans then they are also unlikely to be voting for Scottish Independence. Actions have consequences and most Spaniards are not too keen on experiencing those consequences in Spain.

      Substantially no-one in the business community is in favor of the EU. Perhaps you are confusing business with corporate administrators – the kind of people you will find inside RBS and HBOS. The same people that did so much for their fellow citizens back in 2008. With allies like that what could possibly go wrong.

      You are probably right about young people – but that is only because the independence zealots have decided that young people constitute the “useful idiot” brigade. Something to be deeply ashamed when you think about it. Instead of bleating on about such irrelevancies as independence why not tell them something of the manifest criminality involved in the Scottish banking system and how all parties work ceaselessly to cover up these crimes. Why not tell them that the real victims of these crimes are the very same people being dragooned into the useful idiot brigades.

      • michael norton

        Not just banks, two ex-finance ministers of FRANCE both have run or still run the IMF
        have been implicated / found guilty, at the very least of nothing fuck all about anything.

      • Stu

        “There are at least 30,000 Spaniards in Edinburgh”

        1 in every 15 people in Edinburgh are Spanish? Where do they all live?

        The 2011 census found that there are 75,000 Muslims across the whole of Scotland. The notion that Edinburgh has a Spanish population roughly equal to half the national Muslim population is ridiculous.

  • JOML

    Lets hope there’s no TV debates for Indy2. Much better for each side to have separate opportunities to state their positive case against the same set of questions. The previous formats are childish and full of predictable crap and spin, similar to some of the posts here today, where individuals believe they ‘know’, whereas people who disagree with them are deluded or hoodwinked. Life can be so black and white, when you live in your own wee perspective bubble.

  • Tom

    You’re correct, Craig – the plans are unworkable. And I don’t think the UK would survive EU exit. But it’s win/win for Scotland, as either they get major or their become independent. Strange how defeat can so often end up as victory.

  • Why be ordinary?

    In Ireland the U.K. and EU will need to come up,with a workable way to live together that preserves the sovereignty fudge that maintains peace.

    If they fail, we are back to open conflict in Ireland. If they succeed, Scotland demands whatever Northern Ireland has got as far as EU status is concerned

    • Republicofscotland

      Yes indeed, they describe Sturgeon as a “oxygen thief” And a “enemy of the Britain.”

      Is it any wonder ordinary sane Scots, want away from this unionist gung ho unionist madness.

      I suppose the “troops” would rather be sent to die in Afghanistan and Iraq, for the benefit of the Westminster neocons, and their corporate backers.

      • fred

        ‘Yes indeed, they describe Sturgeon as a “oxygen thief” And a “enemy of the Britain.”’

        I think their restraint is a credit to their training.

        Strange how Nationalists can dish it out but go ballistic when they are on the receiving end. Look through these pages and see the name calling aimed at the leaders of all the other political parties but just let anyone criticise their goddess, their cult leader and they don’t like it one little bit.

        • kathy

          ‘Yes indeed, they describe Sturgeon as a “oxygen thief” And a “enemy of the Britain.”’

          Is that what you call criticism? I call it gratuitous and childish insults.

          • Old Mark

            Kathy-

            As you have the same monicker and image as the ‘Kathy’ who, on page 1, piggy backed on Michael Norton’s comment which deemed Greece’s treatment at the hands of the EU to be a form of ‘rape’,and thus comparable with the way Scotland is treated by the UK, your self nomination as the resident expert on the difference between constructive criticism and ‘childish insults’ is the most comical contribution to the thread to date.

            The ‘rape’ of Scotland as suggested by your country’s current status in the UK after all includes-

            1. The continuation of the Barnett formula which takes no account of 40 years of demographic change, and which is now scandalously weighted in favour of your country and against mine
            2. Massive UK Treasury subsidies to Scotrail, far exceeding those, in terms of passenger miles, to those dished out to the private train operators south of the border
            3 Institutional MoD bias in favour of Scottish shipyards in the award of Royal Navy contracts for surface ships.

            If that is tantamount to ‘rape’ then I’m a cockney Germaine Greer in drag.

        • euroscot not british

          The British Forces Broadcasting Service is free of editorial control of the MoD and the armed services. Otherwise it’s unlikely that Sturgeon and maybe even Corbin would have been invited to record a Xmas message. Surely it’s a good thing to have our young people in the services be reminded that the world is full of people with diverse political opinions.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    I knew what was happening in Syria 4 or 5 years ago (before it really kicked off) because I bought Susan Lindauer’s Book “Extreme Prejudice”, and via a blog – I asked her – and to my amazement – she told me.

    She didn’t lie. She wasn’t there (ex CIA) but knew people who were.

    If I could ask the questions and get the correct answer’s…

    Why couldn’t

    1. The British Government.

    2. Any Journalist.

    Not impressed. In fact you are Rubbish.

    Tony

  • lysias

    Well, Obama finally went ahead and did it. I wonder if Trump will be able to reverse it somehow.

    The Hill: UN passes resolution calling for end to Israeli settlements:

    The U.N. Security Council on Friday passed a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building in occupied territories.

    The U.S. had the ability to veto the resolution but abstained from doing so, despite pressure from President-elect Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

  • Dave

    Following Brexit the solution to the North South Ireland border is for Ireland to re-join an independent UK and is a realistic option following the end of the Irish Civil War and when Ireland gave up their independence after joining the EU! And when a British and Ireland Union is a realistic ambition compared to a European Union?

    • lysias

      The trouble with Ireland joining a federation of the British Isles is that England’s population is so much greater than that of the other possible constituent parts that it would inevitably totally dominate such a federation. Like Prussia in Bismarck’s Reich.

      Speaking as an Irish-American Catholic, I think I would be willing to see Ireland join a federal republic (or, as I have said before in this forum, a constitutional monarchy with the current pretender to the Stuart claim as the head of state, although I suspect I am very much in the minority there) that includes Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, and Cornwall as constituent parts, but not England. I wonder to how many Irish in the Republic of Ireland this would be acceptable, however. They value their independence.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    I knew what was happening in Syria 4 or 5 years ago (before it really kicked off) because I bought Susan Lindauer’s Book “Extreme Prejudice”, and via a blog – I asked her – and to my amazement – she told me.

    She didn’t lie. She wasn’t there (ex CIA) but knew people who were.

    If I could ask the questions and get the correct answers…

    Why couldn’t

    1. The British Government.

    2. Any Journalist.

    Not impressed. In fact you are Rubbish.

    I wrote the information in the comment sections of both The Independent and The Telegraph. I am not a journalist.

    I knew Susan Lindauer wasn’t lying – and you should buy her book it is amazingly exciting and its all true.

    No one could make “that” up – and she backs it up with Official US Government documentation.

    Tony

    PS Lizzie Phelan is My Journalist of the Year – as well as my Pin-Up Girl. Such courage is rare and some girls have it.

  • michael norton

    O/T
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was “relieved” that the attacker had been neutralised but added that Islamist terrorism was “a recurring threat to us”.

    Her government’s main priority was to protect German citizens, she told journalists, adding that this case had raised “many questions”.
    Ministry of Truth

    • michael norton

      The Foreign Office said removing the Assad regime was the only way to end the suffering of the Syrian people.
      Ministry of Truth

      I would say The Foreign Office are wrong.

      • Sharp Ears

        British policy has made situation in Syria worse, says former ambassador
        Peter Ford says Britain should either have committed troops or not have encouraged opposition to mount ‘doomed campaign’

        ‘“We have made the situation worse,” he said. “It was eminently foreseeable to anyone who was not intoxicated with wishful thinking. The British Foreign Office, to which I used to belong, I’m sorry to say has got Syria wrong every step of the way.

        “They told us at the beginning that Assad’s demise was imminent. They told us he would be gone by Christmas – they didn’t tell us which Christmas, so they could still be proven correct – but then they told us that the opposition was dominated by these so-called moderates. That proved not to be the case.

        “Now they are telling us another big lie, that Assad can’t control the rest of the country. Well, I’ve got news for them. He is well on the way to doing so.”’

        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/23/british-policy-syria-former-ambassador-peter-ford

      • michael norton

        Ministry of Truth
        Two UK men have been convicted of using Syria aid convoys to funnel cash to extremists in the war zone.

        The Muslim community-led convoys became unwitting vehicles for the plan to fund terrorism, the Old Bailey heard.

        One of the targeted aid missions included Alan Henning, the Eccles taxi driver later kidnapped and murdered by militants from so-called Islamic State.

        Syed Hoque, 37, of Stoke-on-Trent, and Mashoud Miah, 27, of east London, were both convicted of funding terrorism.

        Hoque was found guilty of two charges of funding terrorism and Miah was convicted on one count by majority following a trial.
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38419488

        I have thought for a long time that sending “aid” to Syria is possibly synonymous to aiding terror.

        The Americans have been sending “aid” to the “moderates” and it ends in the hands of Islamic State.

        Best for the U.K. not to send people or “aid” to Syria.
        Imposing our ideas on other countries is rather 19thC

        • michael norton

          I would also say, that sending “aid” or people to Syria is almost certainly extending the length of the war.
          So by not sending people or “aid” to Syria, the war will stop sooner.

    • RobG

      And maybe Michael can tell us about food banks in his neck of the woods? (which I would guess is the southern part of England?).

      For the record, I was born in the Old Kent Road (south east London, for those not familiar) in 1964. I grew-up with all those now cliches about the 1960s and 70s and into the 80s.

      In my adult life I’ve witnessed the total destruction of British society, starting with Thatcher in 1979. The direct parallel is with Reagan on the other side of the Pond.

      I could go into a lengthy diatribe here, but instead will just wish everyone a Merry Christmas

        • RobG

          So give is some geographical location of where you were born? (you don’t have to be totally specific)

          I was born in the Old Kent Road, but it’s a very long road.

          • Shatnersrug

            As was Charlie Chaplin and my Uncle Bill who passed away last month.

            I’d say you were born there at a great time Rob, great music from elvis Costello to the first wave of punk. By the time I was old enough 8 years later it was all Kylie and Jason and thatchers loadsamoneys

          • lysias

            Great recreation of Chaplin’s childhood neighborhood in Limelight. Is the street on which Calvero, the Chaplin figure, lives in that movie supposed to be the Old Kent Road.

  • RobG

    Whether you love or hate George Galloway, he is now the only dissenting voice allowed on the MSM. Galloway does a Friday three hour show each week on TalkRadio (UK). Compared to the MSM it’s like tuning into another planet.

    Galloway has been standing in all week for James Whale on TalkRadio. What Galloway has been saying, particularly about the events in Berlin, is quite remarkable…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gTN_djG9fo

      • Sharp Ears

        Oh Brian. If I am reading you right, how very sad. But your short message is moving in the extreme. Love to you and your family.

        For you all, Happy Christmas and a Happy Chanukah (it starts today).

        We are all brothers and sisters under our different skins.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Has the SNP/Indy Campaign really made a solid economic case for Independence? That is the key concern of most potential voters, actually and I’m not sure it’s been answered satisfactorily or credibly.

    First, we were induced to look at Ireland (Celtic Tiger!), then at Catalonia (Warm, Exotic, kind-of-Revolutionary because of the Spanish Civil War, !No Pasaran! and all that) then at Iceland (Hot Springs Banking Miracle!), then at Norway (Well, Just Top of the Class in Everything), and now, for heaven’s sake, at the Faroe islands (??).

    Has the SNP, through its actions during what now is almost a full, continuous decade in Government, demonstrated that it is anything other than just another neo-liberal political party, one which talks Left and moves Right?

    I am being Devil’s Advocate, but I do think that these hard questions need to be asked.

    Economics: Everything stands or falls because of it.

    • michael norton

      I have heard that the SNP want to be a high tax area.
      I have heard that they want many outsiders to move to Scotland, so they will vote SNP.
      I have heard that they want Scotland to be shackled to the drowning corpse of the E.U.
      I have heard they want to clamp down on binge drinking.
      I have heard they want to throw everything ( Police Scotland) at LGBTI hate crime.

      Nothing really grabs me as boosting the Scottish economy.

    • Salford Lad

      @Suhal Saadi.
      It is the Economy stupid, as Bill Clinton wrote on his shaving mirror.
      I support Scotlands bid for Independence, but if they jump into the EU, they are immediately losing that freedom of self Govt.
      Especially should they adopt the Euro Currency.
      A Nation cannot be Sovereign and free if does not control its own currency. A Sovereign currency gives a Nation the ability to invest in its own infrastructure and Industry, Provided that this investment uses homegrown resources and labour, this will create employment and wealth.
      There is no neccessity to issue Treasury bonds to attain investment funds. If a Govt can issue bonds ,it can also issue investment credit. This without the need to pay interest on a bond to the private banking sector.
      Our present UK Monetary System is dysfunctional and not fit for purpose to finance a modern economy.
      The EU Monetary System is even more so and over 20 countries are trapped and unable to escape the strait jacket of an Irrelevant 3 % defict limit. Austerity imposed to maintain these rules and the end result is plain to see thru’ out Europe. High employment, food banks, homelessness reductions in the Welfare state and collapsing economies.
      The EU is an economic disaster for most nations. The freedom of movement rules and open immigration is a demographic timebomb,
      The low birth rate of the indigenous Europeans against the the high birth rate of Middle Eastern, Asian and Sub-Saharan influx is a subject that the liberal fluffies do not wish to address because of political correctness and the fear of being called racist. Time to take off the blinkers.

      • Suhayl Saadi

        I agree with everything you’ve written, except the last paragraph.

        It’s my view that the destruction, essentially by NATO, of three previously solid states around the Med has trigggered the present crisis entailing the mass movement of people from those states and points beyond. And the longer-term problems are linked to neoliberalism and the US/UK’s long-term strategic political and military support of Islamist expansion and depth more generally.

        As you might expect, I do not agree with the ‘race’ angle, the birthrate (“watch out – we are being swamped by darkies!”), the ‘indigenous’ angle or any of that very deliberate and currently quite successful attempt to link Far Right White Supemacism with an essentially Left-wing economic analysis. We’ve seen that configuration before, haven’t we?

        Now, for writing the above three paragraphs, I am inviting potentail attacks by:

        1) The White Supremacist Far Right.
        2) The Islamist (Clerical Fascist) Far Right.
        3) The deluded sections (and there are many) of the Left and Liberal cohorts who equate defence of clerical fascism with anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism, or who oppose ebery form of clerical fascism, and fascism generally, except the Islamist variety, and who would view me as, ‘a self-hating…’
        4) Imperialists.
        5) Supporters of a single European currency without political union controlled by German banks.
        6) Blind supporters of Scottish independence who seem hesitant about providing the logical economic analysis.

  • michael norton

    O/T
    ‘Berlin attacker PROVED Schengen is SECURITY CATASTROPHE’ Le Pen blasts free movement
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/746855/Marine-Le-Pen-terrorists-schengen-berlin-market-attack
    MARINE Le Pen added her voice to calls to scrap Europe’s controversial free movement zone after the Berlin market terrorist was found to have fled to Italy just four days after the massacre.

    i find my self in agreement with Frau Le Pen.
    Scrap the bloody lot of the E.U.

    sooner is crumbles into the Mediterranean
    the better for the citoyens of Europe.

    • Why be ordinary

      Mme Le Pen won’t like being called “Frau”. Are you ready for her to stop the UK enforcing immigration control in France too?

      • michael norton

        If a woman has been married (FRANCE) and is no longer married
        and reverts to using the surname of her father, what would be the correct way to address her?
        I know some in the U.K. are known as Mrs. ( insert surname of father)

        • Why be ordinary

          In France your legal name remains that with which you were born. Taking your husband’s name is just social convention. And adult women are all called Madame these days regardless of status. Ask Rob, he lives there

          • Habbabkuk

            With respect, RobG is the last one any sensible person should be addressing when enquiring about France.

  • Habbabkuk

    Just wondering if anyone’s doing anything practical over the festive season – like volonteering…?

    Hospitals….. night shelters….Xmas parties for poor kids…..even taking in a refugee for a day or so……?

    • Sharp Ears

      Correct 10/60 to be more precise.

      And your plans? Why don’t you join TLN? You can learn a lot and it would be good to have some other viewpoints. You have to register first though. 😉 though perhaps I should just leave you to skim through and count the number of my contributions.

      Get a life why don’t you.

    • Habbabkuk

      “Methinks”

      Archaic, twee….and when you use it, oxymoronic.

      Have a good one, laddie 🙂

  • michael norton

    O/T
    Ministry of Truth
    Berlin market attack: Tunisia arrests (dead) suspect Amri’s nephew
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-38427469

    Tunisian security forces have arrested the nephew of the Berlin market attacker Anis Amri and two other suspects, officials say.

    The Tunisian interior ministry said the three, aged between 18 and 27, were members of a “terrorist cell”, and that they were detained overnight.

    Tunisian-born Amri, 24, was shot dead by police near the Italian city of Milan in the early hours of Friday.

    Monday’s lorry attack on the market left 12 people dead and 49 injured.

    The interior ministry statement said Amri’s nephew – the son of his sister – had confessed that he had communicated with his uncle via the encrypted chat application Telegram to evade security surveillance.

    It said the three-member cell had been active in the towns of Fouchana, outside Tunis, and Oueslatia near Amri’s hometown of Kairouan, about 150km (95 miles) south of the capital.

    Le Pen is correct that the E.U. is a useless pile of shit

    • Why be ordinary

      Tunisia is not in the EU. Many of Mr Le Pen’s generation wanted to keep France in North Africa, but de Gaulle made the right call

  • Republicofscotland

    More machinations from the Tory governments governer general to Scotland. David (Fluffy) Mundell’s Scotland Office ( a definite misnomer), has posted a Twitter pic, showing that Scotland trades far more with the rUk, than the EU.

    So what! I say, after independence Scotland will still trade with the EU and the rUK, it’s not a case of either or, as the governor generals office, is trying to make out.

    Add to that, much of Scotland’s goods pass through England to leave English ports for overseas, are those goods classified as Scottish or British? The latter, will make the former appear to do less trade, if that is indeed the case.

    Independence of course, will cut out any such uncertainties.

  • RobG

    What, no Status Quo songs..?

    For reasons that escape me, the following song was a massive hit in France about five years or so ago (so much so that shortly after a French language version of it was released)…

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

    (it’s a crap song, but David Bowie does appear briefly in the video)

    RIP Rick.

    They don’t bang their heads like that anymore.

  • John Goss

    Happy Christmas everyone!

    It is a wonderful gift to the world that the United Nations has condemned apartheid Israel for continued expansion and construction in Palestine (a country it has bombed relentlessly and mercilessly). The UN condemnation has upset those at the forefront of government there and in retaliation Israel has withdrawn its ambassadors from two of the countries which proposed this important resolution: Senegal and New Zealand.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/un-security-council-vote-resolution-settlements-west-bank-east-jerusalem-israel-netanyahu-a7493996.html

    Peace to the world! We can but hope at this season of peace and goodwill.

  • Republicofscotland

    The pathetic and rather childish actions of Israel are there for all to see, over a fine UN Resolution put forward by, New Zealand, Senegal, Malaysia and Venezuela.

    The oppressive military state of Israel, has spat the dummy out again, and is withdrawing diplomatic representation to New Zealand and Senegal.

    Although Obama, is no great shakes when it come to actions of a POTUS, on this occasion he and the US abstained, on the Security Council vote.

    It must have been a sight to see, watching the chamber applaud a fine action for a change. Hopefully it will shake the oppressive military state to the core and force them to amend their neferious actions directed towards the palestinian people.

    However, Trump is pro-Israeli, and the powerful J**ish lobbies have him in their back pockets, the appointment of Freidman attests to that.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/un-security-council-vote-resolution-settlements-west-bank-east-jerusalem-israel-netanyahu-a7493996.html

    • MJ

      The US traditionally vetoes resolutions such as this, it’s likely it abstained on this occasion only to inconvenience Trump.

    • RobG

      Fans of The Donald won’t like me saying it, but I’m afraid it’s a case of ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’; which gives me an excuse to post another song link.

      Won’t Get Fooled Again…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgubG-MOPT4

      Where’s the anger thesedays..? considering the propaganda universe we now live in.

  • RobG

    One of my favourite Christmas songs remains The Pogues’ Fairytale Of New York…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgfXXbF66hY

    (note the paedo presenter groping a young girl while doing the intro)

    Kirsty ended-up dying in a mysterious boating accident off the coast of Mexico, and Shane ended-up getting his teeth fixed in Spain.

    Merry Christmas, everyone.

    • Node

      (note the paedo presenter groping a young girl while doing the intro)

      No, I didn’t note that. Have you got a good reason for saying so or was it just a groundless allegation, the sort of thing that gives this blog a bad name and makes it easier for real pedophiles to claim they’ve been falsely accused?

      • Node

        What you think might have happened isn’t good enough. You can’t go making an accusation like that without proof.

        • Macky

          LOL ! What do you think caused her reaction ? He leans towards her, his hand disappears behind her, she reacts with shock turning towards him ! Ok. I wouldn’t put my life on it, but that seems the most likely scenario.

          • Kempe

            No she turns to look towards the stage where the band is. Anyone’s reaction to being groped would be to move away which she doesn’t do.

            Mike Read is still alive so I’m sure his legal people would be more than pleased to give you the opportunity to present your evidence to a court of law. Hope you have deep pockets!

          • Macky

            @Kempe your reputation as a pro-Establishment stooge, bending over backwards to protect the rich & famous, is very well deserved. 😀

          • Kempe

            Is that the best you can do? JG and Node don’t have that reputation but even they think it’s rubbish.

            You libel someone you have to be prepared to take the consequences.

          • Macky

            “JG and Node don’t have that reputation ”

            At least you don’t dispute your indisputable reputation ! 😀

            “You libel someone you have to be prepared to take the consequences.”

            Hardly, I was helpfully helping out those who couldn’t see the obvious incident that Rob was referring to; if you has have a more plausible explanation of what occurred, do tell ! Put your glasses on, turn off your irrationality & auto reflex Establishment defence mode, and watch the clip again.

  • Republicofscotland

    Could the “Israeli fear factor” be on the wane? Even though it has the Great Satan as a obedient attrack dog.

    I say that knowing that Pakistan aimed veiled threats towards Israel, over what is thought to be fake Israeli quotes. In which Israel (allegedly) to Pakistan to keep out of Syria.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/pakistani-defense-minister-in-nuclear-threat-to-israel/

    New Zealand, Venezuela, Senegal, Pakistan (possibly on a fake story) all telling Israel, that they see their oppressive actions in the West Bank as unacceptable, the Israeli aura off untouchable, is fading faster, than Habbs credibility in here.

  • RobG

    Probably.

    The edifice is entirely collapsing (and I mean that in a general sense, not just this board)

    Assange was taken out in October, following the release of the Podesta e-mails.

    Wikileaks is now severely compromised (their recent release of ‘Yemen e-mails’ is prime proof of this).

    I would guess that Assange is now dead.

    Likewise, the Wikileaks team, people like Sarah Harrison, are now all Missing In Action…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XX28c-k9Ctg

    Amazingly, the likes of Greenwald have been allowed to stay in place, which makes you wonder about Greenwald.

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