Nicola and Independence 1634

I have been gently chided for not giving my reactions to the SNP conference, which I attended as a delegate.

Nicola’s major speech was very good. The media universally attempted to characterise it as kicking a new Independence referendum into the long grass. I did not hear it that way at all. I think they are clutching at the straw of her single mention of patience and perseverance, against the fact she used the word “Independent” or “Independence” an extraordinary 31 times in her speech. Of course she wishes to retain flexibility and an element of surprise, but as someone who has studied the matter extremely closely and who distrusts the highly paid SNP professional “elite” on this issue, I was reassured as to Nicola’s intentions.

The members are in extremely good heart and very confident. I was personally much touched by the many scores of individuals who bothered to come up to me and say they followed the blog. The conference agenda was somewhat bland, though fizzing with righteous anger at the effects of austerity on the vulnerable. My major criticism would be that far too high a percentage of total speaking time on the conference floor is given to MP’s, MSP’s and MEP’s. Constituency proposed motions, for example, were too often used as a showcase for the MP/MSP rather than introduced by an ordinary party member.

I dislike the political class now attached to the SNP in just the same way that I distrust the professional political class in every political party. The horrible Alex Bell should be a serious warning of the kind of false hypocrites that a salary will attract “to the cause”. Seeing MPs I knew as just punters campaigning in 2014, now walking proudly before power dressed entourages of paid staff, was a strangely unpleasant experience.

My major concern is that the SNP’s foreign policy and defence teams at Westminster appear to have been entirely captured by the UK establishment and indeed the security services. They have been willing and instant amplifiers of the Tories’ Russophobia.

It appears to me truly remarkable that I was not allowed to hire a room for a fringe meeting on Independence campaigning, but that the “Westminster Foundation for Democracy” – which is an FCO front and 90% FCO and DFID funded – was allowed a room on the fringe to hold this anti-Russian propaganda fest with a Ukrainian MP imported by the FCO.

Furthermore the meeting was co-hosted by the SNP and “Westminster Foundation for Democracy” and featured two SNP MPs.

I took issue with two other senior SNP figures last month over the party’s slavish devotion to what the UK intelligence services tell them.

The problem here is of course that the SNP is accepting a UK-centric vision of the world. This is a fundamental error, a category mistake. Because Russia is in an antagonistic relationship with the UK does not mean Russia should or will have an antagonistic relationship to an Independent Scotland.

Whatever happened in Salisbury, the root cause was spy games between Russia and the UK. Precisely the kind of spy games an independent Scotland must have no part of.

MI6 recruited Sergei Skripal as a traitor to Russia, who for money revealed secrets of his nation to MI6, including identities of agents. That is the root of the Salisbury events, and it is not the sort of thing an Independent Scotland will be doing. If an Independent Scotland is just going to behave like the UK in foreign affairs, carrying on neo-con foreign policy by illegitimate methods, I see no point in Scotland being independent. The Skripal affair, whatever really happened, is part of an entire system which most people in the Yes movement wish to get out of. We do not see the UK’s enemies as our enemies.

But the UK security services are our enemies. Scottish nationalism is defined in security service tasking as a threat to the UK and we are targets of the UK security services. The British government is not going to agree to another Independence referendum and we are going to have to win Independence, like the Catalans, in the teeth of every dirty abuse of British state power.

I would feel very much better if the SNP leaders, like Chris Law and John Nicholson both of whom I count as friends, would sometimes draw a deep breath, forget what they imbibed as Westminster MPs, and remember which side they are on.

1,634 thoughts on “Nicola and Independence

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  • Sharp Ears

    Thought as much. Slimey little twerp. Oleaginous too.

    Bercow under fire as inquiry exposes bullying ‘from the top down’
    Oliver Wright, Policy Editor | Henry Zeffman, Political Correspondent | Esther Webber, Red Box Reporter
    October 15 2018, 12:00pm,

    John Bercow has denied claims that he belittled his private secretary
    An inquiry into House of Commons bullying has called on John Bercow, the Speaker, to consider his position after finding damning evidence that harassment of staff was “tolerated and concealed” for years.
    Dame Laura Cox said parliamentary employees had been subject to a culture “cascading from the top down” of “deference, subservience and silence”.
    She added that this had allowed bullying, harassment and sexual harassment to thrive.
    Dame Laura called for fundamental changes to working practices in the Commons, adding that she did not believe the leadership of the House — including the House of Commons commission chaired by Mr Bercow — was capable of such reforms.
    “Delivering fundamental and permanent change will require a focus and a genuine commitment on the part of the…paywall.

    He is a member of the CFoI. I noticed he is chair of that establishment/freedom outfit someone else linked to the other day.

    His register is mainly a very long list of freebies received. It includes two donations amounting to £7,500 from BLiar’s friend and tennis partner, Lord Levy.

  • Sharp Ears

    Incredible to see that McVey is holding forth again in the HoC in a DWP questions session, repeating her cruel mantra on Universal Credit.. Not ‘Let them eat cake’ but ‘Let them get another job to make up for the underpayment’.

    Her loud voice is especially annoying. She is as hard as nails. She should be compelled to sit through a screening of ‘I, Daniel Blake’.

    Steve Bell has her exactly.

    • Charles Bostock

      “Her loud voice is especially annoying.”

      Certainly, but probably necessary in the House of Commons to cut through the baying from the Labour benches.

      General note : it is well known that most women in politics (as in many other spheres of life) have a harder time of it than men. There’s a lot of sexism around still – even from other women.

      • Ian

        Yes, of course you really care about women and women’s rights, don’t you ‘charles’? Despite there being zero evidence.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Charles Bostock October 15, 2018 at 17:04
        Suggest you go to Specsavers and get some new hearing aids.
        The vast majority of the ‘baying’ comes from the Conservative benches.
        Oh, and by the by, chuck away your blinkers. There was a good reason for horses to wear them, but not for homo sapiens.

      • Jo1

        Not sure I agree with your second para Charles. I watched BBC Politics Live today. Claire Perry was on and, honestly, she just b-tched at Labour’s Barry what’s -his-name the whole time. Not aggressively, but with nasty little asides delivered to him, usually while he was speaking, accompanied by mocking facial expressions. She was vicious while doing those pretend “smiles” that women just like her use to disguise the real emotions behind the smiles. She’s poison. There are many females in politics who behave similarly, right across the Parties. Lots in journalism too. Look at Oakshotte!

        So I’m afraid I’m for changes in behaviour right across the board. We can’t restrict it to one side.

  • Olaf S


    Taking fun
    as simply fun
    and earnestness
    in earnest
    shows how thoroughly
    thou none
    of the two

    After a Scottish independence (“You can do it!”), followed by a united Ireland and an independent Wales, will the English feel like the Russians did after the collapse of the USSR?
    Will we see desperation and increasing chaos & criminality? Possible, but I would not despair! Sooner or later a moderate, rational, patient and hard-working leader will appear to bring stability and new hope. He does not have to be charismatic, or look like a film star, but will still get 70-80% of the votes, and thus have an incredible democratic legitimacy. Slowly but sure-handedly he will fight corruption and general criminality. He will be anti-war, but care about normal security for the country. He will appoint as top diplomat an intelligent and well respected person and instruct him to advocate international co-operation in every possible area and organisation.

    And the world be relieved, and there will be Nobel Peace Prices and worldwide celebrations! (Like always when nuclear powers are saved by a firm and friendly hand from chaotic conditions and potential extremist rule …*).

    * as we know

  • Charles Bostock

    There is a wide current of thought on this blog that the UK government would do well to give up the British nuclear deterrent and use the money saved for more socially worthy purposes (the NHS, social security, education, etc).

    In France at the moment the French government under President Macron appears, in the face of budgetary difficulties, to be busily chipping away at various social benefits (ie, lowering them either in nominal or real terms and generally attempting to decrease public spending).

    Which of course raises the question : should the French government abandon its nuclear deterrent?

    Any thoughts?

    • Ken Kenn

      No again.

      If they do the French will not be able to replace the UK at the big lads table and sit alongside the powerful US.

      Buying old US nukes though will get the UK a seat.

      If Donald decides it so.

      It’s an ugly contest.

      • Charles Bostock

        I don’t quite understand that, Ken.

        That is because the UK and France are both “at the big lads’ table” (by which I suppose you mean being a permanent member of the Security Council). So how can it be a question of the UK being “replaced” by France when France is already there?

        • Ken Kenn

          Fair point Charles but if Mr Corbyn has his way the UK will start some de- nuclearising (is that a word?)
          and no longer will they be able to hang around with the playground bully.

          The French Blair will then step in with his genuinely independent Force de Frappe and the UK won’t be able to play Military marbles at school with the US anymore.

          Note that the media and the Tories aren’t arguing about Corbyn’s economic policies anymore – instead they are setting him and the Labour Party up as a security risk to the nation.

          If Brexit goes to cock then Nichola and her mates will send the subs down South as well and Donald won’t like that.

          Hopefully these nukes will be sent near Johnson’s gaffe and make him a Russian target instead.

          I live in Home Counties ” Brexit Means Brexit ” hope. They voted for it so they can have the responsibility instead of parking these things oop North and in the further op North, otherwise known as Scotland.

          • Charles Bostock


            Thank you for that response.

            Mr slight problem with it is the following. You seem to be saying that the UK should not have a nuclear military capacity because the UK is in the pocket of the Americans, whereas the French should have such a capacity because it is “independent” of the Americans.

            I deduce from this that you are not against countries having a nuclear military capacity except when those countries are in the pocket of the USA.

            I further deduce from this that you are OK with Russia, China, India, Pakistan, France..and even the USA itself (because you cannot be in your own pocket, so to speak) … possessing a nuclear military capacity.

            Have I got that right?

  • Sharp Ears

    Sturgeon: ‘Time to compromise’ on Brexit
    Scotland’s first minister says it is “time to compromise” and find a “common sense” solution to Brexit.
    2 hours ago
    ‘Scotland’s first minister reiterated her backing for UK membership of the single market and customs union.’

    I don’t think that is likely to happen.

    Listening to May & co waffling on the last hour or two, there is little hope of finding any solution.

    • remember kronstadt

      Anglo-catholic vicars daughter will do her duty – a selfless servant. Regardless.

    • Jude 93

      Sincere congratulations to the happy couple. However one couldn’t help noticing how the media last week made a song and dance about the way the Royals had graciously allowed the “controversial” Sarah Ferguson back into the Windsor fold. According to the BBC and the rest of them, Sarah’s presence in the wedding photos of her own daughter was a hugely magnanimous concession on the part of the royal family – given all the “embarrassment” the flame haired lass has caused them over the years. Apparently cavorting with one’s “financial adviser” on a beach is far more embarrassing than being close friends with billionaire convicted paedophile, Jeffrey Epstein – not to mention staying at his creepy island mansion. Come to think of it the media have always shown an equally astonishing lack of interest in Prince Charles’s close friendship with Jimmy Savile and C of E Bishop Ball – another convicted paedophile.

    • laguerre

      There’s also one of the group of Democrat presidents ( Only Trumpy hung the Republican one in the White House.

  • John Goss

    This has nothing to do with Nicola Sturgeon and Independence but it is very important. This morning the BBC ran an item on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen which quite surprised me. Did anybody else see it? At the end the woman who was being interviewed was asked, and this surprised me too, if the UK should be ashamed over the crisis. She answered “Yes”.

    I can no longer find this item however hard I search the BBC web site. In my brain the connection with Jamal Khashoggi’s murder in the Saudi Embassy briefly raised a promising aspect that we may stop arming the House of Saud which has, if not created, at least worsened this humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

    All that is dashed now. It looks like the BBC has pulled the Yemen crisis item to tuck away in its archives to be made available when nobody needs to find it. But it is worse. Within the last hour the BBC fake news team have reverted to type with this cartload of excreta about Khashoggi’s murder being the work of ‘Rogue Killers’. While the story is accredited to Trump it still shows the fickleness of the BBC when it comes close to telling the truth, and its total lack of integrity.

    • Republicofscotland


      The sales of arms to Saudi Arabia will continue no matter what, there’s just too much money to be made from them.

      Sure, Trump and May will publicly condem them for the more than likely brutal murder of Khashoggi, but normal service will resume, as soon as a couple of scapegoats are identified.

      As for Yemen, Britain and America are complict in the the loss of civilian lives in the country. They’ve aided and abetted Saudi Arabia in its all out, no holds barred war against the Iranian backed Houthi movement in Yemen.

      Never get your hopes up that the BBC, actually stands for something other than serving the interests of state, (the few not the many) and the status quo.

      • remember kronstadt

        It’s going to be interesting to see how quickly Erdogan gets left high and dry on this one. He must be incandescent with impotent rage. Along with Mos_ad extra curricular actions like this it must really annoy presidents when this happens.

        • giyane

          Erdogan is a mafia criminal. If he bugged the Saudi consulate he would hundreds of police surrounding it.. No, if they killed Kashoggi, Erdogan disposed of the body parts.
          Darling, do you always feel so tenderly for the emotions of the murderers of the innocent?
          Erdogan single-handedly transported, funded, trained , housed, justified , fenced for and supplied Islamic State. Erdogan the shitty islamist, Murderer of the Muslims, and raving madman to boot.

        • Republicofscotland

          Erdogan is a wily old fox, I wouldn’t be surprised if he cuts some sort of beneficial deal with the Saudi’s to make the evidence go away.

          In any case, in my opinion it won’t be long until the rogue killers are identified, and killed. Dead men (patsies) tell no tales as they say.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ remember kronstadt October 15, 2018 at 18:26
          I hope Erdogan is incandescent with rage against the Saudis; he most certainly is not a paper tiger, and has ways to deploy his righteous rage.
          Don’t get me wrong – I do not support or trust Erdogan further than I can throw him, which isn’t far.
          I seriously hope he does hit back, in his own time and way.

      • giyane


        Aren’t you being a little bit soft on the Yanks?
        They secretly support Iran to make trouble in the Saudi back yard , in order to create a demand for arms sales. No, I’m not mad. You have to be mentally obliterated to understand how neo-cons work. And there’s Craig saying us Scots don’t want to be like those nasty cynical Brits. You have to be as scrambled as a neo-con wonk like trash McCain God be praised now deceased in order to see how it all works, Like a fair-ground ghost train with fake cobwebs and fake wars. Oyil makes the world go round, world go round , world go round. 1930’s repeat of pre-WW2 suavity. Long cancer sticks in flilmstars mouths just like sexy Tory Brexits now which threaten to crash our currency, our house-prices, our welfare-state and our livelihoods.

        So suave, so retro, so Rees-Morgue . And that fatuous Winston imitator chortling in parliament.

        • Republicofscotland

          No because the American’s run the Saudi protection racket, and as long as they keep on buying US made arms, and possibly investments on US soil, the Great Satan will protect them.

          Also in my opinion, Saudi Arabia is at least on the outside allied to Israel for now, again possibly due to US pressure.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Republicofscotland October 15, 2018 at 19:28
            ‘..Saudi Arabia is at least on the outside allied to Israel for now..’
            It’s not just for now, it’s permanent. Satanic PTB support each other. They operate on the same wavelength.

          • Hmmm

            Please remember with the oompa Loompa in the Oval office it is now officially the Great Spray Tan…

        • Andyoldlabour


          “Aren’t you being a little bit soft on the Yanks?
          They secretly support Iran to make trouble in the Saudi back yard”

          Where do you get these outlandish ideas from?
          Have you any idea what the Iranian people are going through because of the US sanctions on Iran?

        • Tom Welsh

          Thank goodness that absolutely no Scots were involved in creating and running the British Empire!

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Republicofscotland October 15, 2018 at 18:08
        No more the ‘..more than likely brutal murder of Khashoggi..’. it’s a slam-dunk:
        ‘Saudis to Acknowledge Columnist Khashoggi’s Death – Report’:
        But, perforce, it will be put down to ‘rogue elements’, and some heads will roll (not the perps, but some poor buggers who will be blamed).
        And Crown Prince what’s is name gets back in the West’s ‘good books’ (not that he ever left).
        No need for curbing arms sales, job sorted.

        • Jo1

          I’m sorry to the heart for this unfortunate man and horrified by what has happened to him. What astonishes me, however, is that he crossed the threshold of that building at all knowing all he knew about that regime.

        • Sharp Ears

          Good one from Owen Jones. He has outed Con Coughlin, the Torygraph’s well known warmonger on a par with the Evening Standard’s Robert Fox, as a stooge for SIS and Saudi Arabia.

          ‘Guardian journalist Owen Jones savaged the Telegraph’s defence editor after he went to a Saudi Arabia Embassy party at a London Museum. Con Coughlin has now deleted his Twitter account after Jones linked him to both Saudi and MI6.
          Coughlin’s credibility was left in tatters after a Jones Twitter thread took aim at the journalist and his wife. The thread was instigated by Coughlin’s attendance at a party hosted by the Saudi government at the Natural History Museum, amidst allegations that Saudi agents had killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi.


          It was the Natural History Museum who hosted the headchoppers. Shame on the Trustees and the Director, Sir Michael Dixon, knighted for his ‘services to museums’ in 2014. Quite. And to Saudi Arabia.

          • Clark

            Good on Owen Jones. He is one of the few journalists who has acknowledged, replied to and heeded the e-mails from MediaLens. His book The Establishment – and How They Get Away With It is well worth reading.

    • John Goss

      The other thing is that Khashoggi is an American journalist of Saudi extraction, and one who was prepared to condemn the “much worse” things they do.

    • Mark Russell

      Hi John

      Sad indeed. I live between the fracking site at PNR and BAE Warton in Lancashire and whilst I have enormous respect for the protesters at the former, there has never been a single placard outside the latter. I know of a few employees who have left the company on conscientious grounds – but they are only a handful. Money it appears, is all that matters. The events this year – from Salisbury to Syria and Gaza – and the UK’s response, really should herald the end of empire.

      As for Craig’s post, I think I agree with him, regrettably.


      • John Goss

        Hi Mark

        “there has never been a single placard outside the latter.”

        Not surprised there. Fracking is a worrying business, especially for those of us with loved ones in that part of Lancashire. Only the Tories and Red Tories would condone such malpractices after what happened in the States.

      • giyane

        I will never forget Stephen Dorrell saying that nobody could have predicted that Thatcher’s policy of feeding cows on sheep’s brains would lead to mad cow disease. Last week the BBC had a piece about mad cow disease being a naturally occurring disease in the population. Yes the BBC want to frack.

        The Tories are completely insane. If anyone wants to know what water will taste like after it has been fracked, please just drill into a concrete block. I’m not a scientist, I’m an electrician, so I don’t know why the purest water, the natural spring waters, issue from this smelly limestone. All I can say is that I surmise that the methane captured in the organic shells from which limestone is made is released when you drill into it. That’s what these foaming Tories want to frack.

        The same oil=containing material that naturally repels water and allows it to pass through it and acts as a filter, is fracked by subjecting the rock to steam. This releases the organic matter that is trapped in the limestone which will in boiling conditions pollute the water that in cold conditions percolates through it.

        If I’m wrong , please someone put me right. I am using my child-hood knowledge of the world around me. Tories never explored the world them when they were children. In fact in my mind a Tory is a human being who sees the entire universe as a source of wealth to be fracked for their own benefit, by destructive processes that harm the human species. This is the Tory mindset. Greed, callousness, ignorance are the defition of being a Conservative. Conservation being used as a political slogan for destruction.

        Even if the Conservative mind is capable of thinking the Versailles verdict ” let them eat cake “, viz , ” let them drink bottled water “, the Conservative mind is incapable of grasping that especially bottled water will be poisoned by fracking. There is nothing whatsoever you can do with these naturally illiterate people. They never had childhoods in which they explored nature and God. They were driven as children like beasts into the narrow, steaming herd of money-making. Spiritually they are like wraiths or zombies because they don’t care about anybody or anything; materially they are like corned-beef, muscled energy in a can, grown on rain-forest.

        • Tom Welsh

          @giyane: “The Tories are completely insane”. Very true; their insanity takes the form (mostly) of believing that money is the only value. Of course that is wildly insane, apart from being repeatedly discouraged in the Bible – by God and his prophets in the OT and by Jesus himself, and some of the apostles, in the NT.

          Hence their attitude to fracking. Fracking will make (some) people rich; therefore it is good.

          It’s perhaps an exaggeration to say that such people ought to be shot on sight – or at least painlessly euthanized. But normal human beings should train themselves to recognise the symptoms, and treat such people with tongs.

  • Node

    Anyone remember when BBC’s Panorama was an investigative current affairs documentary programme? Read the blurb for tonight’s episode and weep :

    The programme investigates the use of chemical weapons in the civil war that has torn Syria apart in the last seven years, with President Assad and his allies Russia and Iran having consistently denied their use. Nawal Al-Maghafi’s shocking expose reveals the true extent of chemical weapons use by the regime and shows they are a crucial part of his war-winning strategy, terrorising and driving out civilians from opposition-held areas. Nawal hears from families who’ve fled their homes and joined the 13 million displaced people and refugees. Though the Syrian government is now saying it’s safe for refugees to return, few dare to go back home. With footage from inside the city of Idlib, the one remaining rebel outpost, Panorama reveals the lasting impact of these weapons

      • Sharp Ears

        What are you saying? The mention of Syria is to do with the domination of news ABOUT Syria.

        Later – ‘In terms of the international media, I think there is a lack of understanding about the country. Before the war in Syria, for instance, a fair number of people would have been on holiday there. Then Syria has hit home in other ways, including through the migrant crisis.’

        ‘…..the country’ means Yemen

        ‘Then Syria has hit home…etc’ means that the war in Syria caused Syrian people to leave, thus affecting Yemen.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Node October 15, 2018 at 18:42
      Yes, I remember when Panorama was a decent programme. As I don’t watch TV now (except when I’m a captive audience in a pub) I shan’t
      see it. But it should hopefully unleash a wave of complaints from people who have broken through the brainwashing.

    • giyane

      The BBC assumes that their audience are so ignorant about Islam that will either believe anything uttered by an Arab or disbelieve it. The BBC wants to divide and rule along the fault lines of British ignorance.

      For myself, I see no connection whatsoever between the supporters of Islamist jihad and Islam. I see no evidence whatsoever that Assad’s chemical weapons that Mossad transferred for safe keeping to the Syrian regime in 2003, have ever been used except under the control of Mossad as a propaganda tool against Assad.

      The BBC has raised the Zionist blue flag and removed the British one. It is no longer a British State broadcaster, but an Israeli one.

    • Sharp Ears

      I didn’t see it Node. Part 1 was enough. I see it in the same style of BBC propaganda as Jane Corbin’s ‘Death in the Med’ – her version of the Israeli killings of crew and passengers on the Mavi Marmara flotilla, ie a travesty of the truth.

      • Borncynical

        Sharp Ears

        You didn’t miss anything of any surprise. It was half an hour of ‘tear jerking witness accounts’ from terrorists and their sympathisers going over old allegations. I was interrupted with about five minutes to go so didn’t see what they may have said about Douma but I did see at the beginning of the programme that, in quickly flashing through clips from videos exemplifying the ‘regimes’ atrocities, they showed the hospital scenes from the Douma ‘non attack’.
        The three conclusions that seemed to be focussed on were that (1) because ‘eye witnesses’ reported that the chemical bombs were dropped from the air then that is in itself proof that ‘the regime’ was responsible as the ‘opposition’ don’t have air power (2) because there was video film of dead bodies, that immediately contradicts ‘the regime’s’ contentions that they don’t target civilians (well, if not them, who else would be responsible?) and (3) a forensic pathologist who’d examined dead bodies confirmed they all had signs of an attack with chemical weapons so, again, proof that the ‘regime’ is lying when they say they don’t use chemical weapons. There you have it, investigative journalism at its best.
        It appears that there is an attempt being made to up the anti-Assad brief further if they felt the need to show this ‘special’ non-revelatory report. You mention that ‘Part 1 was enough’. I think you may be conflating it with the other anti-Assad broadcast, Part 2 of which is on tonight, and Part 3 next week. Part 1 was really grasping at straws in trying to discredit Assad and his family, rolling out ex British diplomats who are clearly eager to earn their knighthoods by endorsing the Tory spin (the desperate story about the jetski was a good example! As if President Assad didn’t do what any of us would have done in the same circumstances. If anything, it showed him to be someone sensitive to other people’s feelings.) I wonder if we shall see any interview with Peter Ford…I somehow doubt it. It struck me that the music chosen to accompany the programme (Part 1 last week) throughout had been deliberately selected to represent a cross between the Godfather and Terminator soundtracks!

  • Gary Littlejohn

    I don’t have time to read 380 comments on this piece but I agree with what Craig Murray writes in this piece. I did notice one comment giving a list of people worth reading, including The Saker, and I agree with that too. What worries me too is that the SNP leadership is not strong enough on foreign policy for a potentially independent government, and especially that they have got Russia wrong. For example Stephen Gethin worked in the EU and so has that experience but that is rather limited in scope. Although when he was on the Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, he was the only one (rightly) to object to one of the conclusions of their report on the invasion of Libya in 2011, he did so on the correct grounds that the Committee had taken no evidence on that point. What he failed to do was to acquire additional information from Web-based sources that could have challenged the UK government’s actions at a more fundamental level. Such information was available and could have been evaluated, but there was no attempt to collect such information. Consequently the Committee missed the underlying agenda of the overthrow of Gadaffi and its relation to other events in the Middle East & North Africa [MENA]. An independent Scotland would need to do better than that, including in its assessment of claims about Russia.

    • Pete Barton

      I suspect the Americans had that same timorous yet cautious approach in the ’70s..albeit over 200 years ago.

      “Who’ll look after foreign affairs?”

      We don’t have Embassies,
      Consulates etc.

      Well, if that’s the attitude, why did we ever leave home?

      Grow a pair.

  • Charles Bostock

    May I be allowed to draw attention to something which I think has not been mentioned on here yet?

    I refer of course to the case of American student Lara Alqasem, who was refused admittance to Israel by Israeli border security despite having previously been granted a student visa to pursue a masters degree at the Hebrew University. The reason given was that Ms Alqasem admitted under questioning at Ben Gurion to having been the chair of the BDS campaign chapter at her university in Florida (something she had omitted to mention in her visa application, by the way). Recent Israeli legislation provides that people promonent in the BDS movement will be refused entry into Israel.

    Unwilling to leave the country voluntarily, Ms Alqasem decided to appeal her non-admittance before the Israeli courts (and has been detained pending the outcome of that legal process. The court of first instance refused her appeal but the Israeli Supreme Court has just overturned that judgement.

    Two points emerge from this episode.

    The first one – and perhaps the less important one – is that the independence of the Israeli judicial system has once again been demonstrated. That is because Israel is a state subject to the rule of law, with the judiciary not being the poodle of the executive (something which is frquently denied by those hostile to israel).

    The second and more important one is tht this event demonstrates the incoherence, not to say the sheer chutzpah and hypocrisy, of at least this leading light of the BDS movement.

    Here is someone who took a leading position, at the local level. in the movement to boycott Israeli products and various forms of cooperation with Israel……and then wanted to study at an Israeli university!

    Perhaps that is the reason why her case has not yet been raised on this blog?

    YCNMIU !!

    • giyane


      ” That is because Israel is a state subject to the rule of law, with the judiciary not being the poodle of the executive ”

      Israel is an apartheid regime in which Jews have rights and Arabs have no rights.

        • Keith

          “Nonsense, Giyane, that’s demonstrably untrue.”
          That’s demonstrably untrue … chum.

          • Ingwe

            Not sure what you waste your time with Charles, Giyane, Keith et al.
            Anything critical of Israel he simply denies. It is an apartheid state and I know plenty about apartheid states having lived in South Africa for 30 years. Heard the same BS from apartheid apologists. The statement of Israel being a democracy is an inversions the truth. Just like the homelands were “democracies”. Total balls.

      • Tom Welsh

        “Israel is an apartheid regime in which Jews have rights and Arabs have no rights”.

        Yeah, giyane, in Israel that IS the law! The Nazis were quite punctilious about “the rule of law”, too. They just made sure they got the “right” laws – and then enforced them.

    • Sharp Ears

      More stale news. I posted about this young Palestinian exile (7m now abroad) and her appeal against deportation way back on here. She wanted to see what was going on from within the belly of the beast, so to speak and to have a better understanding of what was going on on her homeland.

      You can detect Zionist Israel’s jumpiness.

      PS We have not forgotten the imprisonment of Ahed Tamimi.

    • Charles Bostock

      Afterthought : it may of course just be that the whole affair is merely a publicity stunt intended to embarrass Israel. To explain : the girl (who, significantly, is of Palestinian origin, gets herself a student visa and then, at Ben Gurion, volunteers the information that she was a BDS organiser at her alma mater the University of Florida in order to provoke an entry ban and get publicity. If so, that would merely demonstrate that the Palestinians are as capable as the israelis in mounting political stunts and provoking pro-Palestinian hasbara.
      However I still incline to the view that the affair is simply a demonstration of the incoherence and hypocrisy of the BDS movement (or at least of one of its promoters).

  • Charles Bostock

    To stay in the region, breaking news re Israel

    There are reports today that Australian PM Scott Morrison has told PM Netanyahu that Australia is considering moving its embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognising Jersusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.

    It also seems likely that if Jair Bolsanaro wins the run off and becomes the next President of Brasil, Brasil will do the same (Mr Bolsanaro has frequently expressed his admiration for Israel and has said that Israel will be the first foreign country he visits should he become President.

    To put it in the appropriate language : חדשות טובות

        • Ian

          So what? It’s an irrelevance. Just an israeli wet dream, they imagine it validates their apartheid, so desperate are they.

    • Robyn

      Charles, re the Australian PM’s statement about the possibility of moving the Australian Embassy to Jerusalem, there is some essential background information you have omitted. There is a by-election for the seat of Wentworth next Saturday. The Government has to win the seat in order to keep its 1-seat majority in the Lower House. Polls for the PMs party are not looking good. Some are wondering whether the Embassystatement is pitched at the 13 per cent of voters in Wentworth are Jewish.

      • giyane


        A very small percentage of Jewish people who live in the UK agree with Zionism. They live here because this is a free, poly-cultural society unlike Israel which is an apartheid state.

        You may well be right in saying that Tories assume that Jewish people will applaud Tory racism, the racism of Mrs May’s racist version of Brexit. But I doubt many people who wish to travel to a foreign country to visit family and friends will feel endeared to the Tories for making Britain more racist.

        The Tories are mad.

    • Tom Welsh

      Those who look forward eagerly to Armageddon may well be pleased.

      But it may not turn out quite as they expected.

    • wonky

      Oh my, are you saying Bolsonaro deserves applause and support ?? Because he is a lover of Bibi chauvinism?
      Maybe just maybe it’s his sly way of thanking the Bibi fraction within the CIA, that made his sudden political stardom possible?
      I am yet to find a single quote from that fascist bastard that isn’t full-on violent hate speech by any definition.
      It pains me to even think of Brasil these days.
      You are clearly a misanthrope, Mr Bostock, and there is nothing worse than hearing or reading a misanthrope’s “argument” defending other misanthropes. If you despise the goodness of the planet and its people so much, why won’t you move to the dog star system?

  • Jon

    Craig, with regard to reflexive anti-Russian sentiment, I share your frustration that even good people can be taken in by propaganda.

    That said, I am interested in your Tweet to say that the Russian security services do not target Scottish Independence campaigners. If that is the case, surely that is because Russia do not see Scottish independence as being against their interest, rather than because the Russian security services are passionate about grassroots democracy!

    (Indeed, they may well be for Scottish Independence, if they felt that an independent Scotland were to have a better relationship with them than London does. I take the view that there are few countries that do not try to agitate a little bit for things that they think are in their national interest – even if the reach of Russian influence is overstated in the UK/US media).

  • Den Lille Abe

    “Not , to worry, this is just a friendly talk, by the way, what would you like a epitaf on your tombstone ?”
    I find it worrying they need to bring a “forensics expert” expert (per chance descendant of Himler or Heydrich ?) to an interrogation, is that normal?
    “Son Let me ask you a few questions, that loaded and cocked al. 45 on the table right with my right hand, dont mind”. Flying in a crew of 15 people, does seem suspicious. Anyway, no need to cry, the guy was just a polite wahabist, no loss really, the West are just furious, because he was a fine tool.
    All the orcs needs to go, and they will go, probably sooner than later.
    If I were a Tory, I would be very scared of lampposts….

  • Den Lille Abe

    On another note, this site seems to have cultivated a resident troll : Charles Bostock. He is fed well and is almost domesticated, I wonder if he is not a relative of Boorish Johnson ?
    Quite cute and entertaining actually, does give background and understanding on why many people are such dimwits.

    • lysias

      That troll has been impolite enough to write something in his latest posting in what he says is the appropriate language, Hebrew, without having the decency either to translate or even to transliterate. Transliterated, what he wrote was “Hadashot tovot.” Translated, that means “Good news.”

      Interesting that he knows Hebrew.

      • Charles Bostock


        I did not notice you complaining about bad manners when someone or other ( a Boris something) recently posted entirely in Russian – several times.

  • Dan

    Statist filth. An independent Scotland would be just as much ruled by big business and the CIA as the UK.

    Anarchy now!

    • giyane


      Have you not noticed the chasm between Big Business which has to listen to its customers and respond to market forces, and gravy-training politicians who use their public office as a giant gambling casino?
      When politicians’ gambling fails they go back to their day jobs. They never lose money in the casino of politics.

      • Tom Welsh

        The distinction is not quite as sharp as you suggest, giyane. Big business spends a very large proportion of its resources on advertising, marketing, PR and other strenuous attempts to brainwash the public. Indeed, what politicians do in that line has mostly been copied from corporate practice.

    • Tom Welsh

      Yes, Dan, that does seem to be the default expectation. It’s all too easy to compare the average decent Scottish citizen with the rotten swine who infest London, New York and Washington.

      But as soon as Scotland became independent, plenty of home-grown porkers would pop out of the woodwork and start running things.

      • Vivian O'Blivion

        Sure, in an independent Scotland there would be no shortage of middle class, Blair wannabes that would appear and endeavour to steer the country in a Neocon direction. Does that mean we shouldn’t at least try? Consider. Scotland does not suffer (to the same extent) from the vestigial fealty that haunts the English psychi (Royal wedding anyone?). Private education is a rare exception, although its products disproportionately inhabit the state institutions (BBC being the most galling example). The 2016 intake of SNP MPs was by by some margin more diverse and socially representative than anything the British state parties have mustered in decades.

  • Mist001

    Why is Nicola and the SNP so keen on a second Brexit referendum because today, an independent Scotland would have no part to play in the EU if it had achieved independence in 2014 and if it achieves independence in the future, it won’t have any part to play in the EU until it applies, AND is accepted as a member state.

    In the meantime, the only reason Scotland has anything to do with the EU is because it’s a part of the UK. Remaining as part of the EU means remaining as part of the UK.

    Why are they wasting their time and energy on Brexit? That’s the BIG question that needs answered and the only real answer I can come up with is that the SNP see Scotlands future as remaining a part of the UK.

    • Mishko

      Plain and simple: to look busy ofcourse.
      Check us out all having skin in the game and whatnot!
      Us did never forget’st our humble beginnings, no we did not!
      These ideals we parade in front of you, make us fight harder
      the curse of indifference that plagues the common man!*

      *To quote Buzz Lightyear:”To infinity and beyond!” ….

      • Charles Bostock

        Contrary to appearances, the organ (I believe that’s the right word) in the above link – the “Suffolk Gazette” – appears to be someone’s personal blog/website with pretensions to humour and not a local newspaper. It appeals for contributions from anyone misguided enough to read it:

        “The Editor produces this site in his spare time at his own expense, so why not buy him a beer to help keep the creative juices flowing (and help with the bills)? Donate now and it will be spent wisely at The Greyhound public house, the Suffolk Gazette’s prestigious corporate HQ.”

        Highly amusing but somewhat lightweight.

        • James

          cf Rochdale Herald et hoc genus omne.
          As a sometime organ scholar at a Cambridge College, I find your choice of descriptor entertaining, if a little pompous.
          Geçmis olsun

        • James

          You never did reply to my “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” comment/reply in re your CCE, seventh term entry rejoinder/query some weeks ago.
          How rude Mr Gloy!
          I repeat: and you?

  • Sharp Ears

    Why has no action been taken against Keith Vaz for his various ‘antics’? He still maintains his position in the back row of the Opposition Green benches.

    Bullying of a clerk here. She queried the provenance of a lavish dinner in Ukraine which he attended.

    Procuring cocaine for rent boys, allegedly. And so on.

    Very active in the ‘Hice’.

    Many more details of wrongdoing on his Wikipedia page. How does he hold his head up so high? He should be shamed.

  • Sharp Ears

    Fracking. From the debate on ‘Green GB Week and Clean Growth’ yesterday opened in the HoC by Claire Perry, Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, daughter of the Tory leader of Hampshire CC incidentally. and responded to by Rebecca Long-Bailey, Shadow Minister.

    ‘Thirdly, this Government have pursued a policy of fracking at any cost, overruling local planning decisions and reportedly even considering relaxing earthquake regulations. Shale gas can only be described as low carbon if it replaces coal in the energy mix, but coal is already on its way out of the UK’s energy mix, before fracking has even started. If shale gas were to come online now, it would be displacing genuinely low-carbon energy, not coal. James Hansen, the former NASA scientist known as the father of climate science last week slammed this Government’s decision to pursue fracking as “aping” Donald Trump. What a terrible irony it is that the first day of Green Great Britain Week is the day that fracking is due to commence in Preston. How is this compatible with net zero emissions?

    Fourthly, last week the Government announced that they are cutting the electric vehicle plug-in grant by £1,000—a move described by industry as “astounding”. Fifthly, according to the Committee on Climate Change, the Government are off course to meet existing carbon budgets, which are set with a view to achieving an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050. So I ask again: how is this compatible with meeting the more ambitious target of net zero emissions?’

    Perry’s reply –

    Followed by HMG’s Loneliness Strategy introduced with a copious supply of oil from Bercow.

    ‘Mr Speaker
    Before I call the Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the hon. Member for Chatham and Aylesford (Tracey Crouch), to make the next statement, let me say that I know the House will appreciate the significance of its subject, the loneliness strategy. More particularly, Members across the House will remember with great respect that the late Jo Cox prioritised this issue and set about its pursuit, as she did in respect of all her activity, with a crusading zeal that we all immensely admired.

    I know that colleagues will want to bear that in mind today, as well as the fact that Jo’s sister, Kim, and Jo’s parents, Jean and Gordon—the Leadbeater trio, if I may so describe them, whom it has been my privilege to meet and to admire for their extraordinary stoicism, fortitude, dignity and love—are listening. My friends—I think the House regards you as friends—we are proud to see you, and what the Minister is going to address is done not least in the name of, and with everlasting respect for, Jo.’

    As if the country’s diminishing GP workforce don’t already have enough to do without taking up social services’ remit.

    • Dave

      Man-made AGW is an elementary scam and a net zero carbon dioxide emissions target is simply insane. A range of interests promote the scam, including the nuclear proliferation lobby, but Labour’s support for the scam, which I accept includes believers, shows how it has abandoned the working class and illustrates how ‘right-wingers’ like Trump can capture working class and trade union support with a very sensible policy to reopen the coal mines.

      Indeed, you couldn’t make it up, when Jeremy Corbyn attended the Durham Miners Gala, an historic title following the closure of the mines, and denounced Trump for opening coal mines, and was yet another knowing compromise, considering his brother Piers at, has told him its junk science.

      Its an elementary scam because carbon dioxide is essential to life on earth. Humans can’t breath without it (we breath in air and consume some oxygen, but its the carbon dioxide that acts as the ‘irritant’ that makes us breath out) and its the food plants breath to make them grow, so the more carbon dioxide means (plants grow bigger and quicker and can be tested in a greenhouse) the greener the planet. And the man made bit, is a tiny fraction of the naturally occurring and variable carbon dioxide that is itself a tiny fraction of the atmosphere at 0.038%, so whatever humans do is academic.

      And if you want an industrial, heavy industry, blue collar, strategy then you need powerful intense energy generation, not possible with wind and solar farms, which are promoted as a placebo, and when they fail will be the excuse to go nuclear, which is the most expensive energy of them all.

      • Sharp Ears

        And if you’re wrong, God must help your children and grandchildren.

        See the thread above.

          • Dave

            Not really, because precautionary activity should be proportionate and mankind has prospered by managing rather than trying to halt changes in climate.

            And because life on earth thrives in warmer climates and those promoting the scam don’t practice what they preach. Also the targets wont be met and schemes to reduce carbon emissions, such as wood chip at Drax power station, will increase emissions.

            None of this is surprising because it promoted as the cover story for other objectives, including satiating a pessimistic outlook and nuclear proliferation, which is a genuine man made threat to the planet.

          • Dave

            I remember when they said nuclear would be so cheap it would cost nothing, but now, for whatever reason, justified or not, its the dearest. But technology has progressed and I’m sure there are cheaper and effective nuclear power generation alternatives to those proposed at Hinckley Point.

            It seems reasonable to have an energy mix, I’m just pointing out the government have said they want to renew Trident (not independent with a US made and maintained war head) and submarine fleet (obsolete due to satellite technology) that will cost billions to build.

            Thus they want nuclear power to provide the expertise to build the submarines and hide the cost within fuel bills and the climate scare provides a cover policy, saving the planet, for the nuclear proliferation policy, that threatens the planet, when the money would be better spent on conventional forces which allow for more measured response to any threats.

          • Clark

            Dave, there are 193 nations at the United Nations and two observer states. Only eight or nine nations have nuclear weapons. There are about two hundred of scientific institutions that have declared the authenticity of climate change science:


            So you’re telling me that all of these countries and institutions, and the vast majority of scientists, all lie about global warming to falsely justify nuclear power in 44 countries, to subsidise the nuclear weapons of at most nine countries, despite many of those nine countries being opposed to each other.

            This seems highly unrealistic to me.

          • Dave

            Its the governments cover story, the rest are bamboozled into officially believing it, but no one actually believes it or try’s to comply, other than Britain, who are governed by lunatics.

          • Clark

            No. Actually, the delegates to the UN General Assembly of poorer countries, particularly low-lying islands which are losing land area to rising sea levels, keep angrily pointing out that the rich, developed nations aren’t doing enough to comply with the (inadequate) treaties they’ve signed, but our glorious corporate media doesn’t often consider their voices worth reporting.

          • Dave

            Sea levels aren’t rising, but land is sinking, particularly some islands, and they require sea defences, not proclamations about climate, to survive.

          • Clark

            They will need sea “defences”, though sea barriers just create further problems where the tidal margin is an important ecosystem and part of the food supply.

            And we all need action rather than proclamations. There is some action, but not enough, and it has been left terribly late. The arguments you have been repeating were mostly crafted to prevent action, and they have been very effective.

          • Dave

            Yes sea defences need to protect the high value areas, like London, but allow natural sea defences, marsh land, to develop, but little foreign aid can do to help islands that are sinking

          • Dave

            Sea levels rise if land sinks, they almost do not rise due to melting ice. The oceans cover over 75% of the planet, hence any melting ice from the land would need to be vast, as ice shrinks as it melts, hence why melting icebergs do not result in higher sea levels, because they shrink as they melt, and water would disperse over the entire oceans as they are all linked.

            Now unless you are saying the entire world’s ice is due to melt due to man made emissions of carbon dioxide and you (and the Pope) may be alone on that one, then sea levels can’t rise. Elementary.

            And as I said before, managing changes in climate, rather than attempting to halt changes in climate (the Wicker Man) is the way humanity has progressed. So investment where appropriate, without the Lysenko science, or blighting areas of natural beauty with acres of climate change follies.

          • Clark

            Sea level is rising due to thermal expansion of water as ocean temperature increases, as well as the melting of continental ice – and yes, the latter is vast.

            “Sea levels rise if land sinks…”

            Oh, so are you now accepting that sea level is rising? It’s quite remarkable how much misrepresentation you have to indulge in to justify ever increasing levels of combustion. Two thirds of the global population have a long way to go before reaching the living standards of developed nations. The gas will run out followed by the petroleum, leaving coal – no hydrogen, pure carbon. So you’re advocating a three-fold increase in CO2 emissions just to involve the less developed nations, and another doubling at least as we’re forced to resort to coal, and then what’s the end game? Everyone just starves as the fossil fuels run out? We may as well have a nuclear war right now; the sooner the better, before the population increases any further and even more have to suffer.

          • Clark

            “managing changes in climate […] is the way humanity has progressed”

            Scale? We’re looking at climate change unprecedented in ten million years, at least! Five times as long since humans evolved, two thousand times the history of civilisation! And the rate of change is tens of times faster. Such rapid changes cause mass extinctions. There’s already one of those in progress; you want to accentuate it? You’re sure?

          • Dave

            Sea levels appear to rise if the land sinks. Oceans do not thermally expand, because water doesn’t expand, unless you count expanding into ice, and as temperatures rise water evaporates. Elementary. My point is man made emissions don’t determine climate, but all the rest you mention about the future of mankind and everything is open to debate.

          • Clark

            “Oceans do not thermally expand, because water doesn’t expand, unless you count expanding into ice”

            FALSE! Who told you that? Whoever it was, stop trusting them!

            Above 4 centigrade, water expands with increasing temperature, and the warmer it gets the higher its coefficient of expansion:


            What’s “up for debate”? That the gas and oil will run out? Many, many fields have already run out, and discoveries have been dropping since the mid ’70s; that’s why they’re resorting to fracking – in areas of natural beauty. That 2/3 of humanity are still well below developed living standards? That your proposal would soon condemn humanity to burning coal, and then to global fuel poverty? Maybe if you’re trapped underwater, it’s “debatable” that you’ll drown!

            You have trusted the wrong people. Abandon trust and learn critical thinking.

          • Dave

            There may be some warming of surface temperatures, but the lower you go the colder it gets, so no expansion there.

          • Dave

            And you need to read your own links. They say water expands as it turns into steam, so count the steam as the expanded water. I.e. the water itself hasn’t expanded, unless you count the vapour (water vapour in the atmosphere) as the thermally expanded sea.

          • Clark

            “you need to read your own links. They say […] the water itself hasn’t expanded, unless you count the vapour”

            No the links do not say that. They say that above 4 centigrade, liquid water expands with increasing temperature.

            You’re now making up your own pseudoscience. If you aren’t having a scientific conversation at all, please just say so.

          • Clark

            Dave, look, I’m sorry to say this, but I’m starting to wonder if you’re of normal intelligence, or if you know that you’re making things up. The science we’ve been discussing isn’t complicated. But even any plumber could tell you that water expands with temperature; they know to fit expansion pipes to hot water tanks, and expansion vessels to radiator circuits. You can fill an empty plastic shampoo bottle with bathwater, put the lid on, and see that the bottle crinkles in as the water cools to room temperature. Nearly everyone knows this. Did you really not know?

          • Dave

            You’re talking about water expansion in high pressure boilers, which is true, but which doesn’t apply to the oceans

          • Clark

            No, it’s nothing to do with boilers or pressure. It’s just a property of water, including water in the oceans.

            Anyone who doubts this can check it in their kitchen. All you need is some water, a pan, a cooker to heat it on, a thermometer to check the temperature of the water, and a ruler to measure its depth. It won’t be very accurate, but it’s good enough to see that water expands with temperature.

      • pete

        Well, of course you can believe whatever you prefer to believe, no evidence is required for that and that is your right. Mostly science suggests that you are wrong. It may be that the 12 years left to act on reducing C02 emissions is optimistic, some people think we have already past the tipping point to runaway climate change, the release of methane from the permafrost has already started, methane is a powerful hothouse accelerator. I suppose there would be no point in you looking at this: if you think it is just propaganda.

        • Blunderbuss

          “science suggests that you are wrong”.

          No, it’s only the IPCC’s misinterpretation of science that suggests Dave is wrong. I think Dave is right.

        • Dave

          The Pope’s promotion of the scam illustrates its religious element well. The end of the world is nigh has been the mainstay of religious preachers throughout the ages. However instead of repent your sins the end of the world is nigh, its recycle your waste, ritually in different coloured bins, because the end of the world is nigh. Pure hokum!

          And once you consider a billion years old world, a universe which is apparently expanding and everything, only an ounce of common sense is needed to know its impossible for a tiny fraction of carbon dioxide (a good gas) generated by humans to determine climate.

          • Blunderbuss

            Yes, the climate has been changing (sometimes warming and sometimes cooling) ever since the earth was formed. It’s a natural process. However, the climate alarmists believe that, around 1800, natural climate change suddenly ceased and was replaced by man-made climate change.

          • Clark

            No, human emissions of CO2 have proven to be cumulative – otherwise, the concentration wouldn’t have risen by 25%. Comparison with various types of fossil records show that the atmosphere is now in a state that hasn’t existed in at least ten million years; that’s five times longer than humans have been around; Earth was effectively an alien planet that long ago. The CO2 concentration is also changing hundreds of times faster than it has ever changed before, putting our climate in utterly uncharted territory.

          • Dave

            Dissembling. A 25% increase sounds a lot, except a 25% increase on 0.038% = 0.0475%. Its remains a tiny fraction, and if true, almost all due to a natural variation, and nothing to worry about, as carbon dioxide is a good gas, essential to life on earth.

            I say carbon dioxide rather than CO2, because it helps people understand what we’re talking about. That is, everyone knows oxygen is a good gas, and if someone said cut the amount of oxygen in the air, you’d think them mad, because we’ve been told since children, a truth, we breathe in oxygen to live. But neither can we breathe without carbon dioxide, but its easier to fool the public if they don’t know what CO2 is.

          • Clark

            “everyone knows oxygen is a good gas”

            ..demonstrating your utter lack of scientific understanding. There’s no “good” or “bad” about it, science is about facts and patterns, not value judgements. If the oxygen level were to increase, fire would become far more likely (ever noticed the warnings on oxygen cylinders? Ever heard of oxygen poisoning?). Around 300 million years ago in the carboniferous period, oxygen concentration was much higher, supporting insects nearly a metre in size and millipede-like creatures three metres long; we have the fossils. We really don’t want to find out the hard way whether us humans could survive a sudden shift to such an alien environment, so we’d better stop precipitating it.

          • Clark

            “a 25% increase on 0.038% = 0.0475%. Its remains a tiny fraction, and if true…”

            You’re seriously suggesting scientific fraud? Just buy a CO2 detector; see Radar O’Reilly’s comment below. Anyone can measure this. Claiming fraud on this is like claiming the boiling temperature of water is a fraud.

            “…almost all due to a natural variation”

            No. Carbon from fossil fuels is traceable by isotopic analysis. Measurably, it is human activity that is increasing CO2 concentrations.

            “…and nothing to worry about”

            If forcing the composition of the entire global ocean-atmospheric system beyond the state that has prevailed for ten million years is “nothing to worry about”, then I really don’t know what is.

          • wonky

            The obvious man-made climate changes in recent years are entirely manufactured by the geoengineering mafia and their various SAI, SRM and what not programs. They’ve been at it for years, but their sales pitch is quite a different tale..
            Just take a look at John Brennan’s (Ohbummer’s favourite) enthusiasm, when enlightening the wine sipping CFR crowd on the subject..

          • Clark

            No, the concentration of CO2 etc. is measured to be increasing, and the radiative properties of CO2 and other larger-molecule (ie. greenhouse) gases were determined back in the 1800s. Global warming follows inevitably from these simple facts, and the measured temperature increase confirms the predictions.

            “entirely manufactured by the geoengineering mafia and their various SAI, SRM and what not programs”

            Ah. You seem to be a chemtrail conspiracy theorist. No, western governments won’t even house the people living on the streets; there’s no way they’re spending money to disperse expensive chemicals all across the global atmosphere, beyond the few “proof of concept” experiments, and those reduce surface temperature rather than raising it. I’m not sure whose fairy-tale you’ve fallen for, but there are no spectrograms or atmospheric samples to prove the chemtrailers case.

          • Dave

            So you now want to regulate the amount of oxygen in the atmospheric. The official scare was carbon dioxide levels could rise from 0.038% to 0.04%, whereas you’re now saying its 0.0475%. If your figure is true, or even if its a bit more, it remains a tiny fraction. Nothing to worry about and academic if you do.

          • Clark

            No, I don’t want to regulate anything. I just want humanity to have sufficient sense that we don’t pollute ourselves and other large fauna off our home planet.

            There isn’t a problem with oxygen because globally, its concentration is barely changing. You just did what conspiracy theorists always do; you tried to divert, and to attack my personal credibility. You claimed oxygen is a “good gas”. I pointed out that value judgements are irrelevant to the facts, as is my personal credibility.

          • Dave

            Carbon dioxide is 0.038% possibly rising to 0.04%. What is the % of oxygen in the atmosphere and has it varied?

          • Clark

            I don’t know; look it up. It’s currently around 21% offhand. In the carboniferous period it may have been as high as 35%.

            Look Dave, this is silly. Anthropogenic global warming is well established; absolutely mainstream science. Just how much of science do you believe is fraudulent, conspiratorial or whatever? And how do you claim that to happen? Hint: you need a bit more than funding sources; scientists are quite adversarial, because overturning well established theories is how fame and fortune are made.

          • Clark

            Dave, you keep saying that at 0.04% concentration, CO2 must be insignificant. But Earth’s atmosphere extends 330,000 ft up. 0.04% of that is about 132 ft. So what you’re really claiming is that a 132 ft layer of pure CO2 cannot trap radiative heat, and an increase of 33 ft can’t make the surface any hotter.

            Don’t assume I mean atmospheric pressure because I haven’t adjusted for that. But then I haven’t added in methane or other more potent greenhouse gases either. I’m just demonstrating the superficiality of that 0.04% figure. See, the other 99.96% that the argument relies upon to make CO2 look innocuous is entirely irrelevant. It’s like saying shoplifting can’t be happening because 99.96% of people aren’t shoplifters.

          • Dave

            There are plenty of scientists who dispute it, and why do you consider scientists more virtuous than every one else at the public teat?

          • Clark

            At this point, the 0.04% argument lies in tatters, so you should really be questioning the competence and/or good faith of any sites that promote it. You could try posting the shoplifters argument in their comment sections and see whether they update their sites, call you names or just delete the comment.

          • Clark

            “why do you consider scientists more virtuous than every one else at the public teat?”

            I don’t. You could try critiquing that argument for yourself…

            1) Many scientists, possibly the majority, work in the private sector.

            2) I know how scientific / academic arguments proceed; that hypotheses rise or fall according to how well they account for data.

            3) I’ve read Bad Science and Bad Pharma, so I have a pretty good understanding of the methods used for getting misleading impressions into the public consciousness.

            4) (and you should have noticed this) The arguments I’ve posted here don’t rely upon me trusting anyone. I keep pointing out that the facts I’m using are measurable, and the reasoning is my own. It’s you relying on trust, Dave. I prefer science.

          • wonky

            “You seem to be a chemtrail conspiracy theorist.”
            No mate, Ì’m an almost daily chemtrail observer.

            “No, western governments won’t even house the people living on the streets; there’s no way they’re spending money to disperse expensive chemicals all across the global atmosphere”
            Are you implying Blackrock and Raytheon give a fuck about your puny government or even people living on the streets? Seriously?

            “beyond the few “proof of concept” experiments”
            that’s Guardian belly rubbing talk, usually interspersed with quotes from Harvard prof David Keith, progressively putting the idea into people’s heads, that soon this will become the inevitable norm, if we are to keep temperatures under control. And yet, it’s been going on for years over our very heads. And considering the groups involved, it is probably a safe bet that most of these programs are military and nothing else.

            Don’t listen to me. Have a look and listen into the above mentioned video.
            And try to remember if the skies and vapour trails really looked like that when you were younger.
            Or ask a farmer.

          • Clark

            Wonky, there are, of course, companies who want contracts for high altitude sulphate spraying, but currently there’s an international ban, and let’s try to keep it that way. No, arms companies do care about governments because governments are their major customers; war is effectively a scandalous stealth-tax moving vast quantities of taxpayers’ money into the private sector. But those are just vapour trails you’re watching. They have small amounts of sulphites in them from fuel impurities, but the massive conspiracy claimed by the chemtrailers is just a fantasy. Make an appointment to visit your local university, or take a course and learn how to do spectroscopy; you can tell exactly what’s up there. Or have a chat with commercial pilots.

      • Jane

        Yes CO2 is the essential component in photosynthesis but there is plenty of CO2 produced both by plants themselves, and other life forms . Excess CO2 produces a “Greenhouse” effect in the atmosphere which allows the suns rays to enter the atmosphere but has a trapping effect on the heat produced when the light hits the surface of the planet. The more CO2 in the atmosphere the more heat trapped.
        You are right that CO2 is necessary for life but too much of it will quickly smother it.
        I am putting this in laymans terms, and I am a layman, but I am certain that this is basically what science has always told us.

        • Dave

          The point is, even if you accept carbon dioxide as a villain gas, it isn’t, the man made bit is a tiny fraction of naturally occurring and variable carbon dioxide. I.e. the human bit is irrelevant because it can be easily surpassed by a natural variation.

          However if true and net zero emission targets are needed, its a compelling argument to halt increases in population and almost all economic activity. Do you agree?

          • Clark

            “the human bit is irrelevant because it can be easily surpassed by a natural variation”

            False. According to fossil evidence, CO2 concentration has not been naturally higher for at least ten million years. The concentration started rising with the industrial revolution, and the increase has accelerated.

            “its a compelling argument to halt increases in population”

            Yes, the human population needs to stabilise, or eventually shortages, overcrowding etc. will cause it to crash, causing unimaginably widespread suffering – such crashes can be observed in my local wild population of rabbits, for instance. The good news is that prosperity, and particularly education and empowerment of women, consistently result in stabilisation of population.

          • Clark

            The Earth is about 4500 million years old, and for 4490 million of those years conditions prevailed which, should they arise now, our civilisation would break down with massive suffering and loss of life.

            Increasing atmospheric CO2 etc. concentrations inevitably increase the surface temperature; this is simply a property of large-molecule gases, both measurable, and predictable from physical theory. CO2 concentration is increasing; this is both a measured property of the atmosphere, and consistent with aforementioned theory. Surface temperature is rising, as evidenced both by multiple measurement methods, and by observable effects including retreating glaciers and sea ice. CO2 concentration is higher than it has been for ten million years, comparing current measurements to multiple assessments of multiple fossil historical records. Therefore, humanity has already created conditions in which Earth’s climate could flip into an unknown state. The more greenhouse gas we add to the atmosphere, the greater the likelihood. Multiple positive feedback possibilities have been identified that could greatly accelerate global warming.

            Therefore, restraint is highly advisable. YES, humans should develop methods of responding to climate change. YES, some campaigners are hypocritical. YES, some governments and commercial concerns have found ways to spin money from new environmental laws. YES, certain schemes are cynically opportunistic and will not address the problem.

            But these are personal and political faults, not faults with the science, and none of them alter the fact that humanity is engendering a crisis of our own making.

          • Dave

            Except if the climate changed when human weren’t around, why are humans to blame for changes in climate now?

          • Clark

            Before we move on, will you admit once and for all that your “0.04% must be insignificant” argument is misleading?


            You see, I’m experienced with conspiracy theorists’ methods for promoting bullshit: “Never admit that any point has been lost. Instead, move on to a different point. The misleading argument can always be resurrected later, to mislead a different audience”. It’s the polar opposite of science.

          • Dave

            My point is the human bit is irrelevant, to Global Warming, because its a tiny fraction of naturally occurring and variable carbon dioxide, and carbon dioxide is tiny compared to other factors influencing climate. For professed scientists to ignore the Sun, is like pilgrims ignoring God.

          • Clark

            One last chance: do you accept that the 0.04% figure that you have repeatedly quoted is irrelevant, and that henceforth, you will be honest about that?

            Climatology doesn’t ignore solar variations. That’s just another dishonest smear tactic.

          • Dave

            As I understand it, 0.38% of atmosphere is 0.038%. The climate Jehovah’s warn of a catastrophic rise to 0.04%. You say its heading for 0.0475%. The human emissions are a tiny fraction of this and irrelevant and academic due to natural variations. Therefore levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and its impact on climate is beyond our control, which can upset human vanity and authoritarian temperaments.

            But even if, for the sake of argument, carbon dioxide influences climate, its influence is tiny compared to the many other things that determine climate, such as the sun, moon, oceans, water vapour, gulf stream, volcanoes and other greenhouse gases. Elementary.

          • Clark

            So you’re saying that if only 0.04% of people shoplift then shoplifting must be a myth, and if the number of shoplifters increase by, say 25%, shoplifting can’t increase. It looks like either logic or honesty is not your strong point.

            CO2 concentration has already exceeded 0.04%. I have made no claim what it will rise to; you’ve misinterpreted something.

            “The human emissions are a tiny fraction of this and irrelevant and academic due to natural variations”

            False. Emissions from human activity have already increased CO2 concentration more than 30% higher than at any time in the last ten million years, and as a consequence, as would be expected from the measured properties of CO2, average surface temperature is rising orders of magnitude faster than anything found in the fossil record.

          • Dave

            Increases in carbon dioxide are beneficial as they make plants grow bigger and quicker, so increase crop yields to feed a growing population.

          • Clark

            Plants can only use so much CO2, or the concentration wouldn’t be rising. They can only use so much because photosynthesis yield is proportional to the area of chlorophyll that can be exposed to sunlight, and nearly all that area is already in use.

            Too much CO2 – and other greenhouse gases – inevitably makes the surface temperature rise. Measurement shows that the temperature is rising as theory predicts. It is melting Earth’s ice cover, making the surface darker on average, which will increase heat capture still further – positive feedback.

            We are disturbing a balance that has existed since the last ice age, and between each ice age going back millions of years. And we are disturbing it so fast it’s like a hammer blow. We cannot know what effect that will have, which is why climatologists try to model the climate.
            – – – – – –
            But you’re going round in circles now Dave. We’ve already covered this point; why do you raise it again? If plants could use all our extra CO2 they would have done so by now because plant rhythms are yearly, but they can’t be or the CO2 wouldn’t be rising year after year. Which bit of that don’t you understand?

      • Clark

        Dave, you’ve gone about this back to front by reading exclusively at global warming denial sites, the majority of which are funded by US corporate lobby groups.

        The correct way to study such matters is to learn and understand the mainstream science first, and then consider the criticisms of it. I have found most of them to be foolishly transparent, “elementary scams” as you put it. For instance, the low concentration of CO2 argument which you keep quoting. Yes, it has massive superficial plausibility and can be stated in a few words. It’s highly persuasive, but wrong; misleading.

        It also helps to understand how the scientific community works. It’s really not so easy to perpetrate scams in the scientific environment. Your lack of curiosity on this matter suggests you’ve no idea how science proceeds.

        • glenn_nl

          Clark (to Dave): “Your lack of curiosity on this matter suggests you’ve no idea how science proceeds.

          I thought we had positively concluded that as a fact quite some time back.

          • Dave

            No during those comments Clark just said believe the scientists, but wouldn’t himself agree that carbon dioxide emissions determined climate and your comments were as empty of content, as your last one.

          • Clark

            No Dave. I said I’d go with the scientific consensus until I’d looked deeper. I expected that to take a while, but in fact it proved very simple. I very quickly discovered that the radiative properties of CO2 were determined and its surface temperature effects calculated in a few steps between the years 1800 and 1900, in simple experiments you could do at home and calculations you could perform on one sheet of paper; case closed. I reported back, but your short attention span had kicked in.

        • Blunderbuss

          “the low concentration of CO2 argument which you keep quoting. Yes, it has massive superficial plausibility and can be stated in a few words. It’s highly persuasive, but wrong; misleading”.

          Actually, it has real plausibility. For every 100 tonnes of CO2 produced each day, only about 4 tonnes is the result of burning fossil fuels. The other 96 tonnes is the result of natural processes. Why worry about the 4 tonnes if you are not worried about the 96 tonnes?

          We then get into the religious argument about “good” CO2 (naturally produced) and “bad” CO2 (man made). The plants aren’t bothered about this. They will recycle “bad” CO2 just as happily as “good” CO2.

          • Clark

            So why is the CO2 concentration rising?

            96 pints of water are flowing out of a tank every hour, but 100 pints are flowing in. Don’t worry, the tank can’t overflow because the 4 pints are insignificant.

            You’re using 1600 calories a day but consuming 1700. Don’t worry, you can’t get fat because the 100 extra calories are insignificant.

            See? Superficially plausible, but wrong.

            I suspect your 4% figure is a gross understatement anyway. You probably got it off a denial site covertly funded by US corporates.

          • Dave

            Dissembling. Your example misrepresents the figures. 4 pints represent 4% The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 0.038% and even the alarmists, your previous comment, say it could, heaven forbid, rise to 0.0475%, although the previous scare figure was 0.04%. Nothing and if true due to a natural variation, but which needs to be measured over a long period of time, rather than the last few days.

          • Clark

            The CO2 concentration is low, but it pervades the entire atmosphere. The small molecules O2 and N2 make up the majority of the atmosphere, but small molecules don’t trap heat. CO2 does trap heat because it’s a larger molecule, and methane traps heat even more.

            If you’ve ever had a pet animal, you may have used organophosphate flea treatment. You put one drop on the back of you pet’s neck, and any fleas biting your pet in the next three months will be killed. Of course by your argument that’s impossible, because the tiny 0.1 gramme drop is insignificant compared, not only against the pet, but against the kilos and kilos of food and water your pet will consume over three months.

          • Clark

            “I suspect your 4% figure is a gross understatement”

            I looked it up and 4% is about right. But it makes no difference because CO2 levels are measured to be rising, and isotopic analysis shows that the increase is coming from recently extracted fossil fuels, not from CO2 that’s been in the oceans for ages.

          • Clark

            Dave, October 17, 08:56: – “Dissembling. Your example misrepresents the figures. 4 pints represent 4% The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 0.038%”

            You’ve confused two different quantities. 4% is the excess CO2, the contribution from fossil fuels. 0.038% is (or rather was) the concentration being added to.

      • Radar O'Reilly

        @Dave , about that 380 ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide, 0.038%

        If you check the first valid measurement in the IGY 1957-1958, in Hawaii, you’ll notice that our baseline, which was taken quite late into our Anthrpocene industrial epoch, started at 313 ppm of CO2 in ‘clean’ ocean air. [Nice story at ]

        It is quite simple to check at home what increasing carbon dioxide levels do, I have some home internet-of-things based CO2 detectors, to monitor the relative carbon dioxide in different rooms. It takes around seven days for each sensor to calibrate in a particular location, then after that they are fairly reliable.

        I’ve noticed that a home background of 432 ppm is not too bad, houseplants grow rather well. With a typical ‘sealed/insulated’ modern home and several humans & pets – it is quite quick to reach 600 ppm. If a lot of humans congregate in one room, a group of friends watching a movie, it is easy – and I have seen – to reach 2500 ppm and above. You’ll notice a lot of yawning, some people will fall asleep at 3000 ppm, some might have prompt or delayed asthma reactions around 4000 ppm. (similar effects happen in car-driving studies – probably we should have smart indoor air quality monitors inside our automobiles as we toodle around)

        My home, thankfully, does not have a positive feedback destruction possibility inherent in the home reaching a certain level of CO2, there are relative values that make one feel sleepy or really unwell, muggy, measurably less-efficient the next day even, but no ‘hidden’ trigger-level of no return.

        I mostly use the relative carbon dioxide level in rooms at home as a marker for other associated pollutants, volatile compounds, irritants. I now start improving the ventilation and air-purity in my rooms when I detect harmful levels of CO2, and I certainly think it is wise to do the same to our planet, which may well have a ‘runaway’ threshold.

        • Blunderbuss

          I don’t see what this has to do with fossil fuels – unless you are burning fossil fuels inside your house without a chimney. The CO2 you are measuring is presumably from air exhaled by people.

          • Clark

            Oh scientifically literate one, the first point is that 313PPM is the base line not 380PPM, which is post-industrial revolution and CO2 had already been rising for centuries. The second point is about the danger of positive feedback loops; these can be extremely dangerous, and if you don’t understand that then you’ve no competence to comment on global warming.

          • Clark

            “Positive feedback loops. Are you talking about water vapour?”

            Proving you don’t know about positive feedback. For fook’s sake go and learn.

            “…we can have a lot of fun with that”

            You are having fun. Maybe you’d have fun persuading four-year-olds to put their hands in the liquidiser?

          • Blunderbuss

            “– “Positive feedback loops. Are you talking about water vapour?”

            Proving you don’t know about positive feedback. For fook’s sake go and learn”.

            How much do you know about water vapour as a greenhouse gas?

          • Clark

            The effects of water vapour are complex because vapour is in equilibrium with clouds, and clouds reduce surface warming by reflecting sunlight back into space.

            Positive feedback is a very general principle, and if I was going to pick a clear example it wouldn’t be water vapour. Methyl hydrates and methane releases from melting permafrost would be obvious ones in the context of global warming.

            More generally, consider a pencil balanced upright on its blunt end. Negative feedback keeps it upright until a tiny push starts it falling. As soon as its centre of gravity is outside its footprint, positive feedback takes over and its fall accelerates.

        • Dave

          The world is vast and open. The oceans that cover over 75% of earth contain the vast majority of carbon dioxide, the rest is in the earth and plants, with the remaining 0.038% in the atmosphere.

          When the Sun (a million times bigger than earth) burns hotter the oceans start evaporating and releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and when it cools the carbon dioxide returns to the oceans (and the same happens as plants grow and die). Hence increases in carbon dioxide follows rather than causes an increase in temperature, but these things have to be measured over a long period.

          Instead you get comments that recent extreme weather proves the scam is true, but there’s always been extreme weather. Even Noah said “it never used to flood like this when I was a boy”!

          • Ian

            face palm. Really, you should do a little reading and research, instead of posting gobsmacking levels of ignorance. Yes, an anonymous Dave on the internet knows more than all the world’s scientists. Lol.

          • Clark

            Blunderbuss demonstrates a balanced set of links – NOT.

            Look Blunderbuss, if you only read Brothers Grimm, then you’ll end up using chocolate where you need polyfiller.

          • Clark

            Look Blunderbuss, you probably think it’s your right to propagate any opinion you see fit. Do you also consider it your right to tell children it’s harmless to drink bleach? Because what you’re doing is just as evil. Either learn the science or shut up; it’s the decent thing to do.

          • Clark

            “Mine is chemistry”

            Right. So you can tell me if the difference between 772 kelvin and 774 kelvin is insignificant or not.

          • Clark

            Blunderbuss, I’ll take pity on you. 773 kelvin is the temperature at which hydrogen will spontaneously combine with oxygen, and the point I’m making is that an apparently “insignificant” change can have life-or-death effects.

            You’re far too cocky and cantankerous for my liking, and I object to you encouraging disinformation about global warming since it is a matter of life or death for billions of other humans, and trillions of other animals that can experience suffering. Your ego rates very little on that scale of reckoning.

          • Blunderbuss


            “You’re far too cocky and cantankerous for my liking, and I object to you encouraging disinformation about global warming since it is a matter of life or death for billions of other humans, and trillions of other animals that can experience suffering. Your ego rates very little on that scale of reckoning”.

            It isn’t disinformation, it’s simply a different opinion. Scientists can disagree, just as doctors can disagree. Why are you getting so hysterical about it?

          • Clark

            Science is about facts, not opinions. It is simply a FACT that increasing concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases will increase the surface temperature. It is simply a FACT that we cannot know the effects of that. It is a FACT that various positive feedbacks could greatly amplify the effect.

            Your OPINIONS aren’t worth any life except your own. It is my OPINION that the world would not be significantly degraded if you jumped off a high building. The REASON that’s my opinion is that you’re placing your EGO ahead of the very survival of my species and many others, which seems to me the height of SELFISHNESS. OK?

          • Clark

            Blunderbuss, go find a mother and her child, and take them a meat grinder. Explain to the child that it won’t hurt to thrust its hands into the meat grinder. When the mother calls the police, explain that it’s just your opinion and she’s being hysterical.

      • J

        Up till now the declared global spending on Public Relations, a phrase coined by Edward Bernays to offset the damage caused by the second world war to it’s former title, propaganda, was over $400 billion annually and is now expected to reach $500 billion dollars by the end of this year.

        $21 trillion, a figure almost impossible to accurately conceive, is gone missing from Pentagon budgets over 18 years, according to US government accountants and has been reported by Forbes, so that PR figure is likely much higher.

        All of that money buys a lot of opinion, obfuscation and denial.

        “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair

        • MJ

          Yes, the swamp certainly needs draining. You have to wonder why Trump was so keen on appointing Kavanaugh and why there was such a concerted media campaign to stop him.

    • Sharp Ears

      That was yesterday. I switch on the Parliament Channel and there is Claire Perry again, holding forth on energy prices. Everything is wonderful. Nothing to worry about. No fuel poverty. What an act! She and McVey should set up in the PR world.

  • Sharp Ears

    A huge stink is arising on the Universal Credit roll out. The Tories have brought in Alok Sharma now. He is the Employment Minister. Before January he was Housing Minister, responsible for the Grenfell Tower fire aftermath. May moves them around so that there is little or no accountability.

    For any who saw ‘I Daniel Blake’, this from my local council’s website will be familiar. It is available for the unfortunate recipients as from next week. It is a Tory run outfit needless to say.

    ‘Preparing for Universal Credit
    Before you can receive payments of Universal Credit, you’ll need to make the following preparations:
    1. You’ll need to have a bank or building society account if you do not already have one.
    2. Check if your account is suitable for managing benefit payments on the Money Advice Service website.
    3. Ensure your bank or building society account is able to set up automated payments e.g direct debit and/or standing order.
    4. You’ll need access to the internet as you’ll need to apply and manage your claim on line. You can visit your local library to find a course on how to use a computer. See UK Online Centres for details of where to get online for free.
    5. You will need to have or set up an email address.
    6. Universal Credit is paid monthly so make sure you budget on a monthly rather than weekly basis. Read the Money Advice Service page on how to budget for a monthly Universal Credit payment.
    7. Use the Money Advice Service’s budget planner to work out how much money you will have coming in each month and what you need to spend it on.’

    • James

      To Sharp Ears excusively
      Having visited this site more than is safe or sensible for the past two months, and in that time trawled through comments from its inception with great curiosity, I can find no greater mystery than the incessant output over the last few years of one Sharp Ears.
      I’m immensely intrigued about the motivations behind this ceaseless cut and paste “attack” on here. Why do you spend so much time each day (and over so many years) so deeply engaged in this activity? Have you thought about seeking external (to and psychiatric help?
      I ceased to read your ramblings after a week or so of visiting the blog, and for obvious reasons. For similar reasons, I never before replied to your comments. I have long become bored (and was only here for sport, while laid up with an injury) with this. I truly cannot imagine why you too do not simply get bored and find another, more rewarding, hobby? Or a job of work?
      A genuine question, btw.

      • Sharp Ears

        I will not be responding to your contrived ad hominem. A reminder that this is a political blog.

        • James

          It’s strange: it’s as if you have hijacked this blog to yourself. I suppose you’re tolerated because you keep the pot boiling when the wood runs out.
          The mystery of what’s in it for you to waste hours per day, year in year out remains.
          No argumenta ad hominem from me, I’m just intrigued how anyone can keep up this level of devotion to something as trivial as a blog, political or otherwise.
          You must be incredibly bored, I suppose.
          Geçmis olsun

          • Sharp Ears

            You are being excessively unpleasant and insulting. You are not a nice person. Are all your relationships conducted in this manner?

          • James

            I’m not being insulting or unpleasant, but was genuinely curious about the truly excessive amount of your activity on here. I have observed from hundreds of your replies over many years that you are extremely sensitive to the least disagreement, you certainly are excessively aggressive/defensive!
            You cannot possibly divine anything meaningful about my personality; I also fail to see how a brief exchange like this on a blogspot construes a “relationship” of any kind. I suspect all is not quite well with you.
            I think you need help. I know I need to avoid this nonsense; I’d just popped back for a last peek on here, and wish I hadn’t.
            It is truly embarrassing.

          • Makropulos

            I wouldn’t bother, Sharp Ears. Somebody posted an excellent and entirely accurate response to James but it seems to have been excised. Bearing in mind that this will only happen again then I suggest that skipping over those little explosions of gas is the only suitable action.

          • Iain Stewart

            “I’d just popped back for a last peek on here, and wish I hadn’t.”

            Well I’m glad anyway, and thank you for asking a question that must have crossed many other observers’ minds, earning a reply more prickly than sharp.

          • Ian

            I must admit I am somewhat baffled as to why someone would spend hours cutting and pasting material anyone who is conversant with the news knows anyway. Not to mention all the irrelevant stuff about what’s on BBC etc. As if it was all one giant proof of the great rock n roll swindle.

          • books

            James – ”You cannot possibly divine anything meaningful about my personality”

            Maybe we can James.

            ”I know I need to avoid this nonsense; I’d just popped back for a last peek on here, and wish I hadn’t.” would suggest you have very little self control.

            Added to your now deleted hypocrisy, your clear lack of self awareness, your uncontrollable need to have the final say, the Latin sign off, the continued poking at Sharp Ears to generate interaction, the baseless assertions and the extraordinarily weak attempts to bully suggests we may well be able to ”divine” something about your personality James.

            I think Jimy hit the nail on the head. You poor chap you. Hope the bone is fully mended.

      • James

        I was bored out of my skull getting over a broken collar bone in August and came across some entertainment here. No more or less.
        Ive popped back recently (and briefly), and am amazed to think how stale and sad one must be to keep returning here day after day for years and years.
        That’s all! An astounding lack of self-awareness and humility seems to be a common theme, even a prerequisite, for the true believers. You seem to be one of those.
        It is truly sad, because many of the sentiments aired are laudible, and blogs should provide a brilliant outlet for this output. It is sad that a byproduct of such hijacking is a weird form of useless, obsessional madness that undermines the good stuff.
        Sad, but predictable, especially if you set things up to maximise activity through controversy, and tolerate OTT twaddle from crackpots, which seems about right on here.

      • James

        Cryptic one B’buss: Bobby Womack or paraffin lamps? My mystery resides elsewhere. Buyurun, efendim

        • MJ

          It was obviously a response to the guidelines for claiming Universal Credit, as set out in the “attack” above it.

          • James

            Everyone has free access to the Internet at all jobcentres, also at public libraries. Bank accounts are similarly unproblematic for anyone signing on. These are non-issues around Universal Credit: Internet access and bank accounts have been prerequisites for claiming JSA and ESA (not to mention WTC and GB) for around 15 years, to my sure knowledge.
            So your point is, errm, not sure how to keep it polite. Ill-informed? Chippy? Pointless?

          • Blunderbuss


            Have you tried to open a bank account recently? I know someone who had extreme difficulty opening a bank account because he hadn’t got a passport or a driving licence so he couldn’t prove that he existed.

          • James

            If you want to know how to open a bank account in order to claim benefits (but have no passport or driving licence) I suggest you call in to your nearest Jobcentre Plus office.
            If you are NFA, different rules apply to benefit payments, but you sure don’t need to drive or wish to travel abroad to claim them.
            Seriously, if you’re genuinely curious how to claim benefits when hypothetically having no bank account (or indeed fixed address) I recommend you pop into a Jobcentre for quarter of an hour and find out.

          • Blunderbuss


            Well done! I’m fortunate in being a pensioner. Before I got my pension, I tried to sign on and it was rather like entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

  • Radar O’Reilly

    @BB, I can’t tell if you are complaining or comfortable

    As a self-confessed ‘news-junkie’ who likes to follow international news/views , I first have to remark that Craig’s blog was the first site to inform me of going’s-on at the SNP confy; For some reason all the other outlets had something different to talk about, for the whole conference, whatever that was.

    Secondly, after listening to news radio for Lunnon LBC today for a few hours, fuçk-me, what an assortment of propaganda it was, slightly better than the beeb – but still highly propagandised. [Litvinenko highlights out of context, glossing over of judicial reserve etc etc to the current KSA imbroglio, ‘friendly-regime’ death to journalists, no reactions forthcoming]

    Thirdly – possibly I can see what you are waiting for – the latest novi-news, Craig will surely update us soon on the EU ministers at Luxy’s worthwhile condemnation and new sanctions regime against users of chemical weapon attacks, wherever and whoever – strange they didn’t Putin-point or Assad-assume in the slightest?

    Blowback to Porton-cum-Novibury, perhaps just a hint of real-politique?

  • Graham Venvell

    I see Bellendcat is trying to pin the disappearance of Khashoggi on the Saudi’s. Hilarious, these guys are true comedians.

    • Dave Lawton

      Graham Venvell
      October 16, 2018 at 15:37

      “I see Bellendcat is trying to pin the disappearance of Khashoggi on the Saudi’s. Hilarious, these guys are true comedians.”
      I am surprised they are not trying to pin it on the Russians.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    This little snippet below provides part of the probable goings on re Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance and / or murder. Pepe Escobar has a very good track record of getting things right. I am convinced there are very real differences between “The Trump clan vs. the CIA.” Whilst both are highly unsavoury, I believe the CIA together with The Clinton psychopaths, who are heavily supported by The British Government and media eg – mass promotion of anti-Russian propaganda – are far worse than the Trump Mob / Mafia.

    Neither of course has any intention of stopping the mass slaughter / genocide in the Yemen, which is also heavily supported by The British Government and our own Military Industrial complex, some of which is based in Lancashire in The Ribble Valley, where I used to go fishing. All of this makes me puke.


    “Pepe Escobar
    14 October at 03:03 ·


    One of my top House of Saud-related sources confirmed it – once again: Khashoggi was CIA – and no wonder the CIA WaPo is up in arms.

    Quite a few CIA senior ops are also after MBS prime WhatsApp pal Jared.

    The narrative is that Jared alerted MBS that Khashoggi was a danger.

    Other CIA ops were already in uproar when MBS pulled his Ritz-Carlton jail stunt – accusing Jared of TREASON: giving away CIA files on dissidents in the royal family which were CIA agents. That led to their deaths or arrests or at least forking out billions.

    This is the real game: civil war at the top. The Trump clan vs. the CIA. Everything else is smoke and mirrors. “

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      The Ritz-Carlton round up started late October 2017. Kushner didn’t have full Security clearance ’till 23 rd May 2018, so doesn’t entirely add up.

    • giyane

      So Kashoggi is CIA and Saudi is CIA, Erdogan is CIA, May is CIA, Usama Bin Laden was CIA, and you and I are probably both 90% water and 90% CIA without realising it.

      CIA is not like alcohol, forbidden in Islam, because Muslims are allowed to co-operate with non-Muslims with whom they have a peace treaty, until that peace treaty is broken by the other side.

      If Kashoggi’s vision of the Aramco sale included the concept of the CIA obtaining control over Islam by purchasing Aramco assets, that’s not treason , that’s Kufr/ disbelief. A Muslim is not allowed to think the non-Muslim way is superior to the way of Islam.

      It’s just as not-allowed to deviate towards the Kufr/disbelief of the CIA as it is towards the Kufr/disbelief of the Islamists, i.e. the Muslim brotherhood. Islamism is a British perversion of Islam which states that change will only come through fitna/disruption, which is contrary to Muslim belief.

      Saudi Arabia is only able to pretend that it has a peace treaty with the West because the West publishes fake news through the MSM, including the fake news that it hates Iran and hates Russia. If you guys want to believe the fake news, then you won’t understand why Saudi Arabia does what it does.

      What urgently needs to happen is for Saudi Arabia to recognise that the CIA has broken their side of the peace treaty, and to stop being friends with the West. Bye bye cheap mortgages and business finance derived from Saudi finance. The West has far more to lose than Islam, because of it’s addiction to the toxic practise of banking interest. If Bin Salman stood up to the CIA, the West would rapidly go into self-inflicted melt-down.

      Instead, bin Salman kow-tows to a CIA which keeps it under permanent threat and strikes at the soft targets like Kashoggi and the Shi’a.

  • Sharp Ears

    MPs debated the Cox report today. It deals with the bullying and harassment encountered by staff working in Parliament. Those allegations were also made against Bercow and he has announced today that he is retiring. He earns more than the Prime Minister and, lives in grand style in Speaker’s House, which has had a £multi million refurbishment during his tenure. We even pay for his Sky subscription @ £109/month.
    Under-fire John Bercow quietly boosts salary with a series of pay rises snubbed by the PM – as Tory MP urges Speaker to be ‘open’ to bullying probe
    The pay for Commons Speaker John Bercow has crept ahead of that of the PM
    Mr Bercow accepted series of MP salary rises that were shunned by ministers
    Salary also boosted by obscure legal ‘ratchet’ rejected by the PM and Corbyn
    7 May 2018

    John Bercow ‘to stand down as Commons Speaker next summer’
    Bercow had expressed a desire to see out Brexit process, but has told friends he will depart next year

    The Tories wanted rid of him apparently.

    This barbed comment was recorded in the debate –
    ‘James Duddridge (Rochford and Southend East) (Con)
    This is a disturbing report, which identifies a number of unacceptable behaviours. Page 64 lists some of them: taunting, mocking and mimicking; deliberately belittling in front of other Members; making offensive personal comments about appearance; belittling someone’s junior status; and making lengthy and humiliating tirades of criticism and abuse in front of colleagues. How can we encourage Mr Speaker to stop this behaviour?’

    • Crispa

      I thought it was ironic that with all the issues going on about Brexit and the rest, MPs could find the parliamentary time to debate their own behaviour! One might say “typically British” or a form of fiddling while Rome is burning. ). Or …

      • giyane

        I know nothing about Mr Bercow. I suspect that his female scourges are motivated by political machination, but you could say I’m sceptical because I have experienced the male-brain microwaving machine otherwise known as divorce. I would expect a man in his position not to allow female whiles to distort his judgement and that could so easily be mistaken for abusive behaviour because their evil tricks, tried and tested on weaker of the male species, are not working as they should with the Speaker.

        Wah! Like that American professor who paraded herself for days in a cute little swimsuit, hoping to organise a display of male lust. Then saving the episode for future use. When female children send out sexual messages to their contemporaries and then take offence at the signals receiving a sexual response, that’s the time to grow up and learn not to send out sexual signals to males, just to see if they work… For a University professor to have attained so much academic brilliance with so little self-understanding is truly remarkable. But I suppose in academia human experience can be acquired through books…

    • Jo1

      Bercow had already said he was standing down in the summer.

      He wasn’t mentioned in this latest report. Remember too that many Tory MPs have been after his blood for a long time. It would be quite wrong to suggest this report is all about him.

      Furthermore, it’s interesting that all this bullying in the Commons towards civil service staff is being condemned. Bullying has been a serious problem in the wider civil service for years.

  • giyane

    Prince Abdullah bin Salman is a particularly sticky little turd. Instead of condemning his employees gruesome murder of a free-speaking journalist, he has threatened the US. The US president should remember to use his left hand only to shake the turd’s turd and to use soap and hot water, and not touch food with the left.

  • Republicofscotland

    Australia’s new PM Scott Morrison has strongly hinted that he’ll move Australia’s Israeli embassy from Te Aviv to Jerusalem. The thought has delighted Netanyahu, whose been courting other countries to move there embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

    However the possible move hasn’t gone down too well with Australia’s close neighbour Indonesia, and talks of putting the brakes on a major deal with the Aussies is ongoing in Jakarta

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile as the hunt goes on to find Jamal Khasshoggi’s remains. Saudi Arabia’s great ally Britain will see BAE Systems, who sold one sixth of its armaments last year to the Kingdom declare, that it will definitely not pull out of next week’s business conclave in Saudi Arabia.

    Like I said, King Salman could dispose of a hundred Khasshoggi’s, it still wouldn’t register for one second on the minds of arms sellers, whether they should stop or not.

    Of course Boris Johnson, the Clown Prince of Westminster, said something along the lines of, If we didn’t sell them the arms, someone else would do it.

    That makes it alright then.

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