A Longer View 280


A few weeks’ break gives you a perspective on British politics aside from the day to day excitements, and the long view is just horrible. An astonishingly inept and irrelevant government maintains itself by a series of straight lies to both Tory Remainers and Tory Brexiteers about its intentions. Both these groups know they are being lied to, but the show stutters on because all in the Tory Party are clinging on, with a death grip, to office if not to power. They are in turn sustained by a Northern Irish party of antediluvian beliefs that appears to have time traveled from the less enlightened parts of the seventeenth century, and whose leader’s idea of politics is to march at the head of a group of ill-educated bigots, who will muster far too few teeth in relation to number of feet, proceeding with drunken braggadocio along the streets of Cowdenbeath.

Meantime society is well on its way through an extremely painful process of transformation. Well-paid, long term jobs offering job satisfaction and career progression are almost as improbable a dream for people under 30 as appearing in the World Cup final or owning their own home. Employee protection, whether through organised labour with clout or a legislative framework to prevent employers from abusing their power, has dwindled in practice and is a concept well outside the Overton window. Our younger generation grasp for the prospect of a few months’ unprotected employment at low wages, as desperately as did their ancestors in the 1830’s.

It is as though there has been a deliberate rolling back not just of human progress, but of human sensibility.

Meantime the rich get richer at an unprecedented rate. The concentration of wealth is mirrored by a concentration of the ownership of housing. Media ownership concentration into an ever-tightening circle continues to exert social control, while the gatekeeper role of the big new media corporations of twitter, facebook, google and wikipedia is now being very openly abused to maintain the Establishment narrative.

In the international world, the interests of the City of London and the armaments industry shamelessly and openly drive British foreign policy, with the continuing economic dependence of the flimsy UK construct on the pandering services to the global 1% offered by the City of London remains always at the front of the government’s mind. At the front not in acknowledgement of the fact that London’s days as a major global financial centre are very plainly numbered as economic gravity moves East, but rather in desperate attempts to avoid the need for an economic re-orientation that would affect the distribution of wealth in the UK away from the core of the Tory Party.

The days of the United Kingdom itself are now numbered in a very short series of figures. Tory hubris at having climbed, on the back of an incredible concerted propaganda deluge, to 25% electoral support in Scotland, appears to have convinced them that Scots will endure any humiliation at all and not have the courage to stand up. The incredible arrogance involved in the Tory abrogation of devolved powers, against the express vote of the Scottish parliament, was captured by the jeers of “Bye-bye” at SNP MPs leaving the Commons in protest at the lack of debate. That “Bye-bye” will have a significance they did not intend.

Any political party with the slightest prospect of power, will always be influenced and infiltrated by those with a strong stake in the economic status quo wishing to defend it, while advancing their personal interest. That is an eternal truth and afflicts both the Labour Party and the SNP. But while the programme of neither the Labour Party nor the SNP is as radical as is needed, both do reflect a genuine discontent with the status quo and with an economic philosophy which emphasises above all the freedoms of the very wealthy. There is more genuine choice on offer to the electorate than has been the case in the UK as a whole for many decades, which explains the crescendo of reaction from the media and the de facto casting off of the practice of political neutrality of the BBC, which was prepared to be reasonably fair in treatment of political parties only when they were all neo-conservative.

Whether in the next decade the Labour Party is now sufficiently radical to contain the tensions racking the UK’s political economy, within a broadly constant political system, remains to be seen. It continues to be my view that the first great crack will open with Scottish Independence, and more radical societal change throughout the rest of the UK will swiftly follow that catalytic event.


280 thoughts on “A Longer View

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  • willie methven

    I am sure you would agree, Craig, that language is important.
    Why do people – including yourself – insist on calling the regime in Westminster a ‘government’, thereby giving it some vestige of credibility? They are no such thing. They are in office after being elected by 30% of the electorate & after payment of a £1billion bribe. They do not govern in the interests of the people. They represent big business.
    Let’s drop the ‘government’ label. It’s a regime, a junta.

    • Andrew Wilson

      Whether you think the current incumbents legitimate is irrelevant; they are the government.

      Regime is a slightly pejorative (in modern usage) synonym for government and, unless I have fallen into a parallel universe, the British government is neither military in nature or in power by force of arms and hence not a junta.

      Yes, language is important. When we misuse language, either through ignorance or dishonesty, we end up losing clarity. Oppose the government if you will but remember that language is important if you seek to persuade.

      • Douglas

        Andrew Wilson:
        ‘the British government is neither military in nature or in power by force of arms and hence not a junta.’
        Agreed, at present the military violence and militarism is directed externally -but watch this space.

        I think ‘Regime’ has merit as a descriptor. It is frequently used by BBC and UK press to describe foreign governments that are disliked and have a less than convincing mandate.

        I think the term fits the U.K. quite nicely without descending into overt name calling.
        I shall add it to my lexicon alongside British State Broadcaster for BBC.
        Thanks!

      • bj

        I’ll have you know the term ‘regime’ is used quite often w.r.g. the Kremlin and its current occupant.
        The prerequisite of force or military is nonsense.

        It’s the intention of the one that uses the term ‘regime’.
        In that sense, the original poster may well have been justified.

    • Courtenay Barnett

      Dear Willie Methven,

      Indeed language is important, so let us then start by defining our terms, for purposes of ongoing debate.

      What does the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) say?
      Government = “The group of people with the authority to govern a country or state;”
      Regime = “A government, especially an authoritarian one”
      So, when you say:-
      “They are in office after being elected by 30% of the electorate…”
      Then even when elected, and there is a minority making the choice as to which group shall constitute the government, the elected group is still the “authority” and is by definition “ the government”
      Conversely, an elected government could also be authoritarian; and – by definition a “regime” is still a “government”.
      At the very least – that is what the OED has led me to believe ( chuckle).

  • Paul Rooney

    Craig, people who you disagree with are not necessarily ill-educated bigots. The DUP do have principles, as do many religious people in Northern Ireland. I disagree with them and the ‘Conservatives’ too, but please don’t be so dismissive. Having religious principles is not the same as bigotry. We Catholics also proceed down the streets with drunken, er, br.., er, … whatever.
    Nice to see you up and posting again.

    • Paul Rooney

      And while you’re doing that, I’d still like two hardback copies of Orangemen and Murder in Samarkand, please.

      Don’t use the post office next time – they are super-inefficient.

    • Courtenay Barnett

      Tom,

      I just bought Murray’s book and he can be assured that the purchase is “non-recurring”

      However, since I quite like the guy – I see that he has written a couple others – so – he just may be in luck ( chuckle)

  • Jimmy21

    Craig, what is your view on this….
    ” Courtesy of Stuart Thomson…

    Scotland may become effectively independent on July 25th.
    WM has 2 days in July (24/25th) set aside in the (NON SCOTS LAW) supreme court to try over rule the Holyrood EU Continuity Bill (passed under Scots Law).

    If the SC over rule Scots law, and side with WM, the Union is over.

    The SC does not have legal authority to over rule Scots Law.

    Why not ?

    2 reasons.

    1. Scots law is protected “in perpetuity” by the Act and Treaties of Union itself. Subjugation of Scots Law or Scots people’s sovereignty, which is enshrined in Scots Law, is illegal under the Act of Union.

    2. The critical bit. The Continuity Bill legislates in the area of DEVOLVED POWERS using Scots Law.

    And it is THAT which wins ANY legal case for Scotland.

    Uk law is ONLY primacy on RESERVED matters.

    Scots Law has primacy on DEVOLVED MATTERS.

    Any non scots court has no legal say so on a Devolved Scots law issue.

    If by an act of legal stupidity, the SC sides with WM, then SCOTS LAW HAS BEEN SUBJUGATED by the SC without legal authority.

    Scotsgov would then be able to simply hold a vote at Holyrood, on a motion that the Union has been breached by subjugation of Scots Law on a Devolved matter, contrary to the terms of the Act and Treaties of Union, with the intent of the vote, to dissolve the union.

    We then present our case to an international court as outlined above, and those courts have no choice but to rule in our favour for the reasons outlined earlier.

    There is a growing school of thought that Scotsgov are not too concerned about holding a referendum, as the recent developments have opened the door to dissolve the union in a courtroom. That first opportunity comes on July 24/25th.

    Scotsgov have brilliantly engineered events to help get us here, and WM, being the arrogant feckers they are, have completely walked into the traps set.

    Independence gained by using WM breaching the Union terms against them, no referendum required…delicious irony indeed !!
    …………

    But wait…what if the SC rules with SCOTSGOV ??

    Now THAT is a doozy.

    That would, as far as my knowledge goes, would mean the devo shafting of the other day would be unlawful and require dropping.

    Then of course, all returning powers from the EU MUST RETURN TO HOLYROOD immediately after brexit, which ruins WM’s Trade deal plans with not just America/rest of world, but also means NOTHING within those returning powers can be used to negotiate trade with the EU.

    For example, WM could not trade Scots waters fishing rights with the EU as fishing is devolved and as a result of the SC ruling with Scotsgov on Continuity Bill, Scotsgov will have FULL CONTROL over who fishes in Scottish Waters.

    If the EU wanted to fish in Scottish waters post brexit, they need to ask us, not WM.

    Imagine THIS conversation.

    “Hey, EU 27, want Scotland in the EU post independence”?

    If no, no fishing in Scottish Waters until you say Yes.

    Scots waters produce the vast majority of fish to the EU.

    We could even dictate terms, protecting the Scots fishing fleet rather than WM selling them out constantly.

    This SC case is MASSIVE.

    However, Scotsgov CANNOT LOSE.

    SC rules with WM = Not legally competent, union dissolved and referred by Scotsgov to international courts to affirm Scots Law status as unimpeachable on Devolved issues.

    SC rule with Scotsgov, utter chaos, plans for WM’s future EU and wider non EU deals in tatters.

    There is even the possibility that WM breached the Union terms by even ATTEMPTING to subjugate Scots Law in the SC.

    Then of course, Brexit itself breaches the Sovereign will of the Sovereign Scots People because we voted REMAIN by plebiscite but our people’s sovereignty is being subjugated by English votes, which is ILLEGAL under the terms of the Act and Treaties of Union itself.

    As i keep saying, you CANNOT LEGALLY have a “uk wide vote” when Scots people are SOVEREIGN.

    ESPECIALLY in a plebiscite, which is the ULTIMATE expression of our Sovereign will, protected under Scots Law.

    Honestly folks, a referendum is starting to look like the daft option.

    WM have provided us with a number of ways to end the Union without one.

    In short.

    Prove WM has subjugated EITHER Scots Law or Scots people’s sovereignty, in a court, and we are independent.

    We have an upcoming case, which, unless the WM gov fold completely on the power grab and return EVERY power to Holyrood IMMEDIATELY AND DIRECTLY, we cannot lose it and we can dissolve the Union.

    If WM does not allow Scotland to REMAIN IN the EU, we go dissolve the Union on grounds of Subjugation of the settled expressed will of the Sovereign Scots People by plebiscite, a right protected under Scots Law.

    The game is up.”

    • Ultraviolet

      One fatal flaw in your argument:

      The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases, and for criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

      https://www.supremecourt.uk/faqs.html#1b

      The Court hears appeals on arguable points of law of the greatest public importance, for the whole of the United Kingdom in civil cases, and for England, Wales and Northern Ireland in criminal cases.

      The UKSC also hears cases on devolution matters under the Scotland Act 1998, the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and the Government of Wales Act 2006. This jurisdiction was transferred to the UKSC from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

      So yes, the Supreme Court does have jurisdiction over Scots Law.

      • reel guid

        If the Supreme Court (set up by a war criminal it shouldn’t be forgotten) backs the UK government’s liquidation of the Sewel Convention then that would constitute a complete and intended ongoing disregard for the Act of Union. And the creation of a new era of enforced Britishness on the people of Scotland until Scottishness was stamped out forever. And the injustices that process would take would be both manifold and ruinous.

        Pettifogging legal arguments and commands to obey don’t keep a people from asserting their democratic rights. They didn’t in 1775 and they still don’t now.

      • Kangaroo

        @Ultraviolet

        NOT a fatal flaw at all. Just a misunderstanding.

        Yes the SC has jurisdiction, but Scots Law judges make the decisions on Scots Law. See commentary at references in my earlier reply to Jimmy21.

  • Scurra

    It has been observed that one of the problems with current politics is that the model has shifted – it’s no longer “left vs right” but “open vs closed” – but that our political parties (and other institutions) are still largely stuck within the old model, because our electoral system and constitutional structures are three hundred or more years old.
    Alas, I think that the fallout from Brexit is going to prove more consequential for our future – and it looks alarmingly authoritarian to me.

    • Michael McNulty

      I think the authoritarianism in this country began with Blair – a bit rich coming from the man who became the biggest killer alive – and while it continues under the thieving Tories I think the risk of a major backlash against it is just as great. I wonder if it’ll come when the government rolls out Universal Credit across the country and leaves millions of the poorest people without money from six weeks up to several months.

  • Mist001

    “Tory hubris………appears to have convinced them that Scots will endure any humiliation at all and not have the courage to stand up.”

    And can you blame them? The best the SNP can muster is a petulant walkout which having done it once, they can’t do it again without looking stupid and amateurish. Every devolved power that the Tories are reclaiming will never be returned, so the SNP strategy of sitting tight until there’s a change of government is ineffective too because it’s going to cost them credibility and support.

    The SNP are stymied with the current leadership and I believe they’re actually detrimental to the prospects of an independent Scotland because after looking at recent events, how can the SNP stand with a straight face and claim to be acting in the best interests of the Scottish people whilst actively working with and being a part of the UK?

    They can’t and people are going to wake up to this sooner or later.

    They have to either state that they’re leaving the act of Union or announce UDI but like I say, the leadership’s not strong enough to make big decisions.

    • morag

      UDI is NEVER going to happen so quit punting that. Indy happens when we, the people, vote for it or are you bypassing democracy?

      You are Jim Sillars and I claim my £5…

  • RuilleBuille

    Wonderful description of the backward looking DUP who have more in common with ISIS than modernity.

    One of my favourite interviews with the DUP concerned an MP arguing that the earth was four million years old. Asked to explain the discovery of dinosaur bones he hesitated and said’God put them there to test our faith!’

    • Martinned

      Funny those flukes of history: when Elizabeth I ran out of English settlers to send to Ireland, she had to send presbyterian Scots instead to Ireland instead, following the rebellion of Red Hugh O’Donnell in Co. Tyrone

      (…who in turn got their ISIS-like religion in the Netherlands, where we still have a political party represented in Parliament who think women shouldn’t be in politics.)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_Years%27_War_(Ireland)

        • reel guid

          Don’t think Martinned did History. The Plantation of Ulster was in the reign of James VI and I and not during the reign of Elizabeth.

  • Loony

    It is true that there is an acceleration in the concentration of wealth.

    What did you expect would happen when you all stood idly by and watched the greatest transfer of wealth from poor to rich in recorded history? A transfer of wealth that you remain too cowardly to acknowledge for what it was. Instead you prefer euphemisms such as “bank bailouts” or “great financial crisis” Everything that has flowed, and will flow, from 2007/8 was and is entirely predictable.

    There is now no possible way out. The wealth that the rich have is for the most part illusory. Any attempt to re-transfer this wealth back to the poor will instantly reveal the nature of the illusion. It is a racing certainty that the agitators for wealth transfer will never acknowledge this fact. When attempts are made and they fail then suddenly it will all be the fault of the rich who preferred to destroy their wealth rather than give a mite to the poor. All lies, and all garbage but lies and garbage that will never be acknowledged.

    All you have is an empire of lies, infused with societal cowardice. And to think that your country produces Darwin. Do you never ever ask yourselves what kind of positive adaptation can possibly be contained in cowardice and falsehoods.

    • Simon

      And what did you do?

      The same as the rest of us. Watch. Appalled. In Full awareness of what was being done. And absolutely powerless to stop it. Don’t blame ‘us’. We’ve been betrayed by traitors.

    • Ian

      Haha, you are funny, loony. i guess the name is a giveaway. Yes, you alone, on your little high horse foresaw the crash, and while we all stood and watched, you…um…remind us what you did to avert it and warn us. It must be a terrible burden to you, having all of the superior knowledge, while the little people who are affected by it just try and make do, and didn’t follow your instructions. And now we are all doomed, it is too late, but you knew that all along. How awful for you.We are obviously not worthy. Perhaps a blog of your own, where you can lecture us all to your heart’s content, instead of the inconvenience of having to freeload on Craig’s, might be the answer. Perhaps called Cassandra?

      • joeblogs

        Ian
        LOL!
        A ‘Loony’ is a common name for the Canadian $1 coin (also spelled: Loonie).
        Our current Governor of the Bank of England, was previously in charge of the Bank of Canada.
        The Canadian dollar got absolutely battered on his watch.
        People lost money.
        He had no problem passing the interview in England whatever, however, for his latest job.
        ‘He who controls the money supply, controls the country’
        You’d all better do what they say, or prepare to lose your pensions – they can be inflated out of existence at the flick of a pen.. er .. tap on a keyboard.
        Mr. Major, who signed the Maastricht Treaty, way back when, managed to negotiate a 25 year opt-out clause, that let the UK off the hook (for the time) of having to join the single currency: the Euro.
        That time expired this February.
        So, pay for expensive food imports again (as in WWII) from the US – which for the poor equates with rationing – or trade in Euro’s with Europe.
        All the history, and where the UK is today, was written by men now long since dead, back in 1905, with the beginning of the Dreadnought arms race against Germany.
        We’re bankrupt, can’t feed ourselves independently as a nation, and lost our Empire
        Nothing, absolutely nothing, can change what is to happen to the UK.
        Loony is spot-on right.

  • N_

    As well as the Tory stories of “we’ll give 17 squillion billion to the NHS” (yeah right) and “we’ll ban upskirting” (oh thanks), there’s now the “our kindness and pragmatism on drugs helped save a boy’s life in Northern Ireland” (what a well-managed story that has been).

    This is all election stuff.

    It’s hard for Labour to respond successfully to these Tory-managed stories the way Jeremy Corbyn responded to the very real event of the Grenfell fire. Had that fire happened say 1-2 weeks before the election, and responses been the same, Labour may well have won the election.

    Labour did as well as they did in last year’s election because they were viewed as compassionate, caring in particular about young people. They aren’t going to blindside the Tories next time.

    The analogy is one where a prosecution has failed in a trial because of a hung jury, partly because they screwed up, but then there’s a retrial. The prosecution have by then heard all of the defence evidence as well as their best cross-examination shots. In a retrial with competent counsel the prosecution will kick the defence all around the room.

    Might the Tories decriminalise cannabis? There’s nothing better for inducing young people to slob around rather than get their arses down to the polling stations. Or they could restrict the cannabis supply which is a tried and tested way of increasing opiate addiction. A third option is to have medics prescribe more opioids. So many people have so much respect for those scumbags, but in reality they’ll do whatever they’re paid to do, regardless of effect. Such a policy has been applied successfully in the US, where as we all know loudmouthed despairing stupidity is now rampant. We also know that MI5’s tongues are brown with US doo-doo on anything connected with “homeland protection”.

  • joel

    “There is more genuine choice on offer to the electorate ………. which explains the crescendo of reaction from the media and the de facto casting off of the practice of political neutrality of the BBC.”

    That is obviously true. It has also exposed the true colours of the MSM’s leftmost outpost, the Guardian.

    Taking an even longer view of the current situation, it is obvious now that the crash of 2008 was the final confirmation of the bankruptcy of neoliberal ideology. As Iraq and Libya were of its sister ideologies, neoconservatism/ liberal interventionism. But although the established Blairite Third Way parties have collapsed throughout the west, neoliberal/ neocon orthodoxy retains as strong a hold as ever among the political and MSM classes, perhaps including the SNP in Scotland. In the absence of powerful, united extra-parliamentary movements, the British Labour party under Corbyn appears the only forseeable means of breaking the politico/cultural mould anywhere in the west. It was the UK that pioneered welfarism after WWII and also where the neoliberal experiment began in the late 70s. Perhaps the move beyond neoliberalism is also destined to come from these benighted shores. The west’s political and media class will tirelessly iinsist There Is No Alternative. But the last election in Britain suggested the number of people buying that is getting ever smaller.

    • reel guid

      Corbyn and Labour abstained last week on the Tory power grabs on the devolved parliaments. Which demonstrated that Labour are happy stand by and let the Tories turn the Scottish Parliament into a powerless talking shop. If Labour inherited the grabbed powers they would covet them same as the Tories. All that might be different is that Labour wouldn’t proceed to finish off Holyrood at quite the same pace as the Tories. But the direction of travel would remain the same.

      But it’s all academic. Neither the Tories or Labour will get the chance to take Scotland’s sovereignty and freedom.

      • joel

        The appearance of another small state devoted to the needs of multinational corporations and to liberal interventionism abroad will excite some. What I’m talking about is the possibility of a break from the political ideology that has wrecked evonomies and fractured societies from Scotland to the American midwest

        • reel guid

          The people of Scotland are too busy dealing with political realities to care about your sad pipe dreams.

          • reel guid

            The people of Scotland have the right to decide whether to advance or reject any plan or doctrine. The right not to be dictated to by overlords, whether they are of the left or the right.

      • Gordon Liddle

        They didn’t. Labour voted against the government in 14 of the fifteen amendments.

        • reel guid

          Labour tacitly sided with the Tory power grab by abstaining on the all important Clause 11/15. You can bluster and spin as much as you like. Labour didn’t even make a symbolic defence of the devolution settlement they’ve always boasted of bringing about.

  • N_

    @Andrew Wilson – Damned right language is important. Those who say they want to examine the objective facts “dispassionately” are either “idiots” or “dangerous criminals”. Can you find out who that’s a quote from? 🙂

    Pejorative is often great. Most radicals on the left haven’t a clue about language. The main lessons by Saul Alinsky would be new to them and hard for them to grasp. For example: always personalise.

    “Regime” means the political system that doesn’t change, the overarching set-up, so e.g. in France it’s the Fifth Republic and in Britain it’s the parliamentary monarchy. The regime last changed in England and Wales in 1660, and there were subsequent changes in Scotland and Ireland with union and then Irish partition. In France the regime last changed in 1958. In western Germany the regime last changed in 1949; in eastern Germany, 1990. In Spain, 1978.

    Opinion controllers in Britain discourage us from using the word “regime” about Britain. Don’t bother asking any academics in politics departments. It’s more than their jobs are worth to think about it. They’re too busy vomiting up Montesquieu.

    Have you noticed how the media filth all call the country (Britain) by the name of the shitty regime in it, namely the “United Kingdom”? And hardly anybody notices or can communicate intelligently about that fact when it’s brought to their attention.

    Careful, or next I will explain why it’s good to call Arron Banks and Elizabeth Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg “oligarchs”.

  • Sharp Ears

    Ref ‘the global 1%’

    Clydesbank group has acquired Branson’s Virgin Money. The latter arose out of the banking crash when Branson acquired Northern Rock with the help of a NY asset stripper, Wilbur Ross.. and Gordon Brown.

    Virgin Money bought by CYBG for £1.7bn
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44517752

    ‘The owner of Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank, CYBG, has agreed to buy Virgin Money for £1.7bn.

    Under the deal, all the group’s retail customers will be moved to Virgin Money over the next three years.

    It will be the UK’s sixth-largest bank, with about six million customers, but 1,500 jobs are likely to go.

    CYBG said it had agreed with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group to license the Virgin Money brand for £12m a year, rising to £15m later.

    Virgin Group is Virgin Money’s biggest shareholder with a 34.8% stake in the business.’

    Branson’s take in all of this?

    • Sharp Ears

      I think I’m wrong about the Northern Rock acquisition. The report says it took place in 2011, so not Brown but Gideon and Agent Cameron.

      Note that 1,500 unfortunate employees are losing their jobs.

      Meanwhile, the banks are closing branches all over the country. We are ‘cashless’ donchaknow. Pity the poor and the old folk who are not online and don’t have debit cards. I reads this morning that Orkney has lost its bank.

      RBS to close 162 branches with loss of 800 jobs
      New closures in England and Wales prompt concerns for rural communities and small firms
      https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/may/01/rbs-to-close-162-branches-with-loss-of-800-jobs

      Where are all the gangsters now? Fred the Shred. Victor Blank. Andy Hornby ……a long list
      https://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/nov/19/hbos-collapse-report-recommends-formal-investigation-into-former-executives

      https://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/sep/17/lloyds-banking-group-from-bailout-to-selloff £20 billion of our taxes went into the bank.

      Sickening. All history now. Nobody paid the price or went to jail.

      • Old person

        Nice to see Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt bribing the public with £20bn for the NHS (the Chancellor will decide if a tax rise is necessary to fund this – JH on the news this morning).

        With regards to RBS this month, the government sold 7.7% of the shares at a loss of £2bn. They still have 62.4% of the shares and a further potential loss of £16bn. Add to that Gideon’s previous loss of £1bn selling RBS shares and that is almost the £20bn for the NHS!

        No one will invest in RBS, when the government has expressed the intention to sell all their shares – just like Gordon Brown announcing he was selling 200 tonnes of gold.

        Of course, the RBS downfall was set when they purchased ABN AMRO in 2007 without due dilgence.

        Did the total £45bn government bail out save jobs or banking in rural communities?

        At least Theresa’s bribe for DUP support is money well spent.

        Does the government always have to use our taxpayer’s money to distort our fragile democracy?

  • N_

    Note too that the British union is not the same thing as the “United Kingdom”. A union of the four home countries need not have a monarchical regime.

    People who haven’t realised that fact should be ashamed of themselves. The monarchy is not the country. OKAY?

    Those who want to open Norwegian minds can use the phrase “monarchist forces” to describe the Norwegian monarchist regime in exile in Britain during WW2. Try it!

  • DiggerUK

    “It continues to be my view that the first great crack will open with Scottish Independence” Independence is all fine ‘n dandy if the government formed has the intellectual capacity to establish a currency that works.
    The last referendum was a reflection of the slovenly genius of the SNP in having any answer to how they would organise an independent banking system. They simply gave it no thought.
    As to a judicial system, well, what can be learned about the disgrace of the disgusting way the Scottish Judges handled themselves in the trial of the Libyans over Lockerbie. They could not have got a fairer trial if the POTUS had presided.
    To form a new state with what exists in Scotland at the moment is a nightmare waiting to happen…_

  • N_

    @Sharp Ears – Is CYBG still controlled through an Australian cutout?

    Which banks will go bust first? Santander? Metro Bank? Clydesdale?

    Spain-based Santander concentrated in Britain on lending to people who have practically no chance of being able to repay. (“Fancy a kebab? Come in and we’ll help!”) But “subprime” is such a passé word for those who attend dinner parties and write in the media, so “nobody” notices.

    • Sharp Ears

      Not sure N_ but it looks like there is still an interest. Australian tentacles are all over the UK in property development, infrastructure, services, healthcare.

      Ref CYBG – ‘National Australia Bank acquired Clydesdale Bank in 1987 and Yorkshire Bank in 1995.[2] Fred Goodwin, an accountant working for Touche Ross, worked on the acquisition of Clydesdale Bank.[2] In 1995 Goodwin, with little direct banking experience, was appointed deputy CEO of the Clydesdale Bank.[2] Clydesdale and Yorkshire began operating under a single banking licence in the UK in 2005: Yorkshire became a division of Clydesdale but retained its own name for trading purposes.[3]

      National Australia Bank confirmed in October 2014 that it planned to exit the UK, and was considering a number of options for Yorkshire and Clydesdale Banks, including a possible stock market listing.[4] Clydesdale and Yorkshire were demerged and placed in a separate holding company which was listed on the London Stock Exchange and Australian Securities Exchange for conditional share trading on 3 February 2016. Unconditional trading began on 8 February 2016.’
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CYBG_plc

      I did not know Fred the Shred’s sticky paws had been over it.

  • Monty Skew

    EU Quietly Legislates For Wholesale Internet Censorship on 20 June

    May and Macron’s war on the internet
    https://youtu.be/sJUg-6VA5TM

    How the Digital Wonderland will look after the EU Copyright Reform
    https://youtu.be/cxMZRpQaZD4

    Stop censorship machines! (Article 13) #SaveYourInternet
    https://youtu.be/r8pi6e5GLaQ

    EU Directive SPELLS DISASTER for Internet Freedom
    https://youtu.be/-f17NWEhgwY

    The EU is About to Destroy The Internet #DeleteArt13
    https://youtu.be/fvXOfq3AB8s

    Coffee time! EU Upload Filters (w. Julia Reda)
    https://youtu.be/0uVxH5WA6lk

    Update on EU’s Copyright Reform Proposal #DeleteArt13
    https://youtu.be/xwR34cT1grw

    BBC Reports on Article 13 – The EU Copyright Directive
    https://youtu.be/4Yiny2EePIc

    • Martinned

      If you have an objection to EU legislative proposals, might I suggest you start by linking to the actual proposals, instead of some crank’s Youtube channel?

      • joeblogs

        Martinned
        Monty didn’t leave a link to the actual proposals, probably because you would not have enough hours in your week to read the 100’s of pages of EU toilet paper, so the ‘crank’ kindly made a synopsis for you.
        Get it?

  • N_

    What the US Border Patrol is doing to children is a crime against humanity and there should be worldwide protests against US embassies and other missions, and boycotts and sanctions, until it is stopped…….

    The right to a family life is supposed to be protected by the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    There are no two ways about this.

    • Screaminkid

      If Putin had taken kids, some under four years old, from their families and losing half of them in the process, the cries of horror and disgust would echo through the global MSM machine for a month!

      • Martinned

        He did, and they did. (Eg. in Chechnya) And then the usual suspects argued that it was no big deal because Western imperialism, etc.

        • Republicofscotland

          I wonder what the usual suspects said about this at the time? Or have we all conveniently forgotten about it.

          “Theresa May has accepted more than £200,000 in donations from a former Russian defence chief since becoming PM.”

          “Mrs May promised to distance herself from Moscow-linked donors when she took office.”

          “But in the 23 months since then her party has pocketed £201,000 from Alexander Temerko, an ex-chairman of an agency in the Russian Defence Ministry who later ran an arms company.”

          “The revelation, the latest from our investigation into Russia and the Tories, was branded “staggering” by MPs.”

          http://archive.is/NwWQL

        • J

          You’re excusing and presumably endorsing this behaviour because you allege someone else has done it?

          Is this some kind of precedent based moral compass peculiar solicitors?

          “Hitler gassed the Jews m’Lud, so as you can see, my client acted perfectly reasonably gassing his neighbours with far less provocation the the venerable Scrolls of the Elders.”

          You are your own usual suspect. I’m amazed everyone but you can see it.

  • Screaminkid

    On the button as always, Craig? So much has happened since you went to hospital, that it seems as if history is overtaking us again?
    Sadly the new generations will have to learn the hard lessons of history as they repeat themselves again. It doesn’t look as if anything has been learnt from the world wars as the rich scramble once again onto their self made pedestals from which to gawk at the slaves toiling beneath them.
    Yes, hopefully the Tory arrogance displayed towards the Scottish Government the other day,will be flung back into their faces with an overwhelmingly successful second Scottish Independence vote? Surely they won’t allow the Greedy Tories to deceive them yet again? Here’s hoping.

  • Sharp Ears

    Electioneering cont’d.

    ‘LIVE: Theresa May presents £20bn NHS funding plans
    All the latest updates as the PM gives a speech in north London, amid questions of tax rises funding the cash boost.
    12:28, UK,
    Monday 18 June 2018
    https://news.sky.com/story/live-theresa-may-reveals-20bn-nhs-funding-plans-11408595

    Mr Unt is not convinced apparently. He is speaking in the HoC this afternoon, along with Jon Ashworth. in a debate on NHS Spending.

    Christine Hyde, a good woman, is also unimpressed.
    ‘Dear Friends Thank you for signing the petition STOP the plans to dismantle the NHS. Please share it.
    https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-plans-to-dismantle-our-nhs
    So! Theresa May is announcing more money for the NHS and a tax rise! The last thing the country needs is a tax rise! We’ve all paid a massive price for UK politicians’ failure to believe in tax justice. Where is the new money going?

    Revolving door merchants like Simon Stevens, Michael Mcdonnell, Lord Darzi and * Matthew Swindells – who make and impose NHS policy while spinning between corporate, academic and public service jobs – present Accountable Care (now rebranded as Integrated Care) as a means of providing quality healthcare more cheaply, through innovations in care models, workforce and commissioning and payment methods.

    Beneath the spin, Accountable Care is just another neoliberal disruption aimed at increasing corporate profits. It cuts the labour costs of healthcare by a combination of making patients care for themselves and systematically replacing skilled, qualified staff with capital, in the shape of big pharma, biomedical/life sciences and digitech products.

    Just as Facebook sells its users to corporations, Accountable Care aims to sell patients to big pharma, biomedical/life sciences and digitech products. This is the real privatisation of the NHS.

    The Resolution Foundation has published ** a chart which shows how devastating the Government cuts since 2010, have been. It also shows a wider gap between total spending per decade average and capital spending per decade average. The article explaining this chart and the comments below, are worth a read.

    Please share the petition ‘Stop the plans to dismantle our NHS’. When you are very poorly, do you need an app, or someone to be there and look after you?

    Together we are stronger. Celebrate with others for the NHS at #ourNHS70 It’s going down a siding away from patients, and towards profiteering…help us keep the NHS on the right track and sign the petition today.
    Thank you
    Christine’

    Ref Swindells. He was the Chief Executive of the Royal Surrey NHS Trust. At the same time an Admiral Dunt was the chair of the board. Jeremy Hunt’s father was also an admiral and the two admirals were friends. The word is that Dunt was Jeremy’s godfather! It’s not what you know but who you know.

    *Sustainability and Transformation Plans – the great NHS sell off by digitech woo merchants Stevens & Swindells
    http://www.energyroyd.org.uk/archives/15820

    **It’s by choice that the NHS is in crisis. And it’s by choice that it can be got out of it
    June 16 2018 – Richard Murphy
    http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2018/06/16/its-by-choice-that-the-nhs-is-in-crisis-and-its-by-choice-that-it-can-be-got-out-of-it/?

  • Vronsky

    Off-topic, but not really. Like many of your readers I am not in a financial position where committing to a regular monthly contribution (for anything) is wise. I’d point out that Wings Over Scotland gets by perfectly well on an annual appeal for one-off donations. It works, because more people are at ease with doing that. No commitment, it’s not an affair, just a date.

    I understand that your readership is broader and significantly (and interestingly) different from Wings, but I suggest that you trial the Wings model. Wouldn’t you like £100,000 to tackle next year’s projects?

  • Ewan

    A quick comment on one point: The City is likely to continue as a major financial centre. It’s not a question of Britain’s importance as an economy, but time zones and sunk costs. Financial markets need to be open in European time as well as American and Far Eastern. The only question is whether some other European city, like Frankfurt, can persuade the banks to incur the cost of moving from London.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    As regards Craig’s first paragraph, yes, seems like a fair summation. I would get all indignant, but if I’m honest, I have found myself working in a business that is fundamentally insolvent in the past. We lie to our customers, our suppliers and ourselves. Just to keep the pay slip coming a little while longer.
    Snarlene Foster’s got the best idea, engineer it so you get put on indefinite gardening leave and hope nobody notices.

  • Amy Lawrence

    It would help Labour’s cause if these whining Remoaners (like your good self would get behind Corbyn

  • Goodwin

    “that would affect the distribution of wealth in the UK away from the core of the Tory Party etc”

    Naive in the extreme if you think this is just a Tory Party issue. Labour will be no different and, if my experience of living in “Communist” Eastern Europe is anything to go by, they’ll be considerably worse. You can take cheap shots at the Tories all you want – even justifiably – but we are doomed either way.

  • Beancontessa

    At 2008 the national debt stood at £800 billion (after the £300b bank rescue), today in 9 years it stands at £2000b despite austerity on the poor and sales of state assets. Essentially the tax cuts for the rich have been financed by this £1200b increase in national debt. The annual interest burden being financed by austerity inflicted on the poor.

    • Anthony

      A non-story for the mainstream journalists and broadcasters of this era. I wonder if history will regard them as highly as they do themselves.

  • Sharp Ears

    House of Commons today.

    Statement: long term plan for the NHS
    18 June 2018
    Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, is to give a statement today in the House of Commons on the long term plan for the NHS
    The statement is expected to start at 5pm, following the Urgent Question on upskirting.
    Watch Parliament TV live from 5pm: Statement on the long term plan for the NHS
    Transcripts of proceedings in the House of Commons Chamber are available in Hansard online three hours after they happen
    _____

    Emergency debate: The Sewel Convention
    18 June 2018
    MPs are to hold an emergency debate on the Sewel Convention.
    The Sewel Convention applies when the UK Parliament legislates on a matter which is devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
    The debate is expected to start at around 6pm, following Oral Questions to the Housing, Communities and Local Government department but could be later should any Urgent Questions to statements be granted.

    • reel guid

      The Tories have set the Sewel Convention debate at exactly the time England are playing their opening match in the World Cup. No coincidence. So they can minimise any TV audience on the BBC Parliament channel.

      Their pathetic little ruses will not help them.

      • Republicofscotland

        Fluffy admitted quite openly on the Sunday Politics show, that no new offers will be made during the debate, it’s a take it,or take it offer.

        Westminster wants to roll back devolution, this is just the beginning of neutralising Holyrood.

        A constitutional crisis looms heavy…..good.

  • Republicofscotland

    On the Orange Man Child, known as Trump, and the children separated from their parents, and left in cages.

    A former POTUS’s other half had this to say on the matter.

    “Former first lady Laura Bush called the practice “cruel”

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/us-news/children-torn-parents-under-trumps-12732982.amp

    One wonders if she felt the same way when her husband George W. Bush was slaughtering Iraqi children in there thousand during the invasion of Iraq.

    Probably not.

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