It Is The Union That Is Collapsing 230

The collapse of the governing party of the Scottish colonial administration is a direct consequence of the Union. It shows the need for Independence.

Devolution infantilises Scottish politics. The Scottish Government budget is a massive £60 billion. But that all comes through London. The Scottish Government has no effective control on the productivity of its economy.

It has extremely limited, essentially cosmetic, powers to vary fiscal policy, excluding indirect and corporate taxation. It has no power whatsoever over monetary policy. The “Scottish government” is in essence very little more than a distribution mechanism for government revenue channelled through London.

The Scottish government is not a government in any real sense of the term when it comes to the ability to run the Scottish economy. It does however have tremendous powers to manage huge sums in spending. It has a great deal of power, and extremely limited responsibility.

Of course, much spending is not really discretionary. The NHS and Education will always need vast sums. But even little droppings off the margins of £60 billion remain huge sums of money in personal terms, and the Scottish government finds itself able to deploy life changing patronage on an astonishing human scale.

The result of all this is that devolution has created a Scottish political class at Holyrood fattened on this dripping roast, and swept into heights of vainglory by the pretence that their tightly constrained body is a national parliament, when on any rational analysis it is a slightly tarted-up regional council.

It does not control the Scottish economy, it does not control Scottish foreign policy, it does not control Scottish defence policy, it is not permitted to enable democratic decisions on the future Scottish constitution.

It is not a parliament.

So here we have this “parliament”, stuffed with MSPs who are not particularly bright, and have an irresponsible role but control immense amounts of dosh to spread around. The first thing they do, of course, is feather their own nests and build little empires.

You will recall that the first crack in the SNP wall came with the resignation of their chief spin doctor, Murray Foote, for being caught in repeated lying to the media about SNP membership numbers.

I was astonished then to discover that Murray Foote was not an employee of the SNP,  but of the Scottish Parliament. Apparently the Corporate Body of the Scottish Parliament (a committee of MSPs) provides money to each political party to fund the central staff “supporting” the party’s MSPs, including spin doctors.

Parties have every right to campaign at their own expense and try to persuade us to vote for them, but I object fundamentally to party spin doctors being paid by the taxpayer to spread their lies and propaganda.

Welcome to the cosy world of the Scottish political class, where everything is cushy on the gravy train of flowing money, and the public are mugs.

As the SNP leadership election campaign proceeded, I realised that there are hundreds more paid SNP staff than I realised, 95% of them toiling away night and day to bundle continuity candidate Humza over the finishing line.

As the daily flood of twitter endorsements for Humza started to reach the bottom of the barrel, endorsements were tweeted out from people billed as “activists”.

I googled one of the “activists”, Doug Daniel, and found he is in fact full-time staff – again paid for by the Scottish Parliament. He is “communications and campaigns manager” to an MSP.

Now I don’t mind the public purse paying for MSPs to have secretaries and constituency caseworkers, but why on earth should the public pay for MSPs’ campaigners?

It is not just the SNP, of course. All political parties welcome the ever burgeoning gravy train, and seize the opportunity to employ each other’s families, their friends, thrusting young careerists and, to an astonishing degree, young people they fancy.

(The confidential report  Nicola Sturgeon and Leslie Evans received on sexual harassment inside the Scottish Parliament contained over 200 allegations. They buried everything except one against Alex Salmond. There have since been numerous high profile cases of harassment by MSPs).

The SNP command the lion’s share of the money as the ruling party, and the direct political class expands and expands. Why Humza needs almost twice as many ministers as Alex Salmond did, and more than twice as many SPADs, is not immediately obvious other than to provide jobs for the faithful.

But the “direct” political class pales into insignificance compared to the massive cloud of government-funded positions in Scotland’s disproportionately large “third sector”. Pop into any bistro on Byres Road in Glasgow, and you will find it replete with people from NGOs or the “creative industries”, keeping their bills to submit to some Scottish Government branch or agency or funded organisation.

Sometimes one of these figures emerges into the daylight. HIV Scotland, the “national HIV policy organisation”, were in receipt of a grant of £270,000 per year. Its chief executive was Nathan Sparling.

Sparling is a good example of the career path available to the Scottish political class. He started off his taxpayer-funded campaign as a parliamentary assistant to Angus Robertson.

Robertson and Sparling

He then became Chief Executive of HIV Scotland – from which position he was forced to resign, and has just been charged with fraud. He is of course entitled to the presumption of innocence.

HIV Scotland has stopped operating and been closed down.

The interesting thing about this is that I cannot find any reaction from anyone – not the Scottish government who were funding them, not the HIV sufferer community, not the Terence Higgins Trust – bemoaning the closure of HIV Scotland. It is as though the “national HIV policy organisation” is not missed and was not actually doing anything useful at all.

A remarkable number of those organisations being funded by the Scottish government in this way are “policy organisations”, rather than actually delivering a service. The salaries in this part of the troughocracy are better than in the direct public service, with several effectively taxpayer-funded NGO chief executives earning substantially more than MSPs.

One remarkable effect of this system is that the Scottish government is constantly holding stakeholder consultations on policy with policy NGOs funded entirely by the Scottish government to promote the policies of the Scottish government. (You probably need to read that sentence twice. I needed to write it twice.)

One reason the Gender Recognition Reform measure has caused such political damage to the SNP is that the excessive ideological purity of the approach was continually reinforced at closed meetings between Scottish government officials and trans rights campaigning organisations funded by the Scottish government.

This kind of paid echo chamber explains how the mad, and since apparently abandoned by Humza, position of insisting that convicted rapists could self-identify and simply change sex, came to be adopted.

But my main point here is that the taxpayer is paying for swathes of trans rights campaigners. As it happens I am sympathetic in general to self-ID (though not for rapists). But I do not believe the public should be paying for this stuff.

This political-class gravy train in Scotland is massively disproportionate to the size of the country.

Gender reform is just one area where the Scottish government has wasted large amounts of money paying young activists substantial salaries to agree with them. You will find Scottish government-funded environmental groups advocating for Highly Protected Marine Areas. You will find swarms of the public funded self-righteous advocating to ban alcohol advertising.

The Scottish government estimates its grant support to the third sector at half a billion pounds.

Yes £500,000,000.

That is a stunning amount of patronage. Most of it is to excellent organisations doing very good work. But that still leaves huge scope for political patronage to policy and campaigning organisations.

Often of course third sector organisations are involved in both service delivery and policy work, including not just policy development but lobbying and campaigning. One such organisation is Rape Crisis Scotland.

Now as it happens I would support a very substantial increase indeed in government support for rape victims, though I would prefer it to be delivered via the NHS and local authorities rather than a highly politicised NGO.

I should also like to see a very large increase in resources, in personnel, training, finance and equipment, and above all priority, devoted by Police Scotland to rape cases.

Rape Crisis Scotland is almost entirely Scottish Government funded. In that circular policy making, its chief executive Sandy Brindley has played a key role in formulating and promoting Lady Dorrian’s proposals to abolish juries in sexual assault trials.

In an example of exactly the kind of highly paid circle jerk I am explaining, the official Jury Trials Working Group contains three third sector organisations funded by the Scottish government which accordingly support the abolition of juries – Rape Crisis Scotland, Women’s Aid Scotland and Victim Support Scotland.

The Scottish government do not fund any organisation that works for fair trials, so there is no NGO represented in favour of juries.

You would imagine that the highly remunerated CEO of Rape Crisis Scotland, Ms Brindley, is a lovely person motivated by humanitarian concern, given that she devotes her life to campaigning for rape victims.

And yet an Employment Tribunal recently found that the Establishment hero Ms Brindley deliberately and persistently hounded a disabled woman out of her job at Rape Crisis. This is from the Scottish Legal News on the tribunal judgment:

In its decision, the Tribunal expressed concerns at the extensive role played by Ms Brindley throughout proceedings, commenting: “While the Tribunal was mindful that the respondent was a small mainly voluntary organisation, it seemed extraordinary that the chief executive of the organisation would make a recommendation that an employee be suspended, take part in a grievance hearing concerning that employee and then be present at the disciplinary and appeal hearings concerning that same employee where the employee was suggesting that the grievance and disciplinary proceedings ought to have been combined.”

It continued: “Ms Brindley appeared unable or unwilling to understand that her presence throughout both the grievance and disciplinary processes could have a bearing on the extent to which these were conducted in an impartial manner. It was clear to the Tribunal that Ms Brindley operated an invisible hand throughout both processes and her presence was not neutral.”

Assessing the respondent’s awareness of the claimant’s disability, the Tribunal said: “The respondent appeared to be of the view that in the absence of a formal diagnosis, then they were not obliged to consider whether there were any steps they ought to take in terms of the claimant’s condition. While such a position is of course wrong in law, the Tribunal was extremely surprised that an organisation such as the respondent, whose services were focussed on supporting women who had experienced trauma would adopt such a position.”

…The Tribunal concluded: “The disciplinary hearing was not fair. Further, the presence of Ms Brindley at every stage of the proceedings reinforced the Tribunal’s view that the dismissal of the claimant was predetermined. Ms Brindley was aware of the grievance raised by the claimant and the outcome and recommendations which had been made. However, she did not raise this with the disciplinary hearing as an alternative potential outcome, which the Tribunal found very surprising.”

The Tribunal was “extremely surprised” and Ms Brindley’s behaviour was “Surprising”. That is about as tough as language ever gets from an employment tribunal, but their opinion of Ms Brindley is extremely clear. She withheld information from a disciplinary hearing, and her “invisible hand” hounded a disabled woman out of a job.

I would, incidentally, be prepared to wager a sum that the £50,000 in compensation and costs that Brindley’s appalling behaviour cost Rape Crisis Scotland, will ultimately be met by public funds. Certainly not by Brindley.

Yet Sandy Brindley remains a Duchess in the enormous realm of Scottish government-favoured, public funded NGO’s, a star in the firmament of policy lobbyists with big taxpayer-funded salaries.

With hysterical levels of hypocrisy, Brindley, who broke all procedure against her employee, is still the Scottish government’s star authority on the requirements of justice in sexual assault cases.

Their jobs may not be in Politics with a capital P, but I would argue that Ms Brindley and Mr Sparling are prime examples of Scotland’s sprawling, public funded political class, excrescences of the vast patronage wielded by Holyrood.

Of course it extends beyond the third sector. Failed Scottish politicians easily find eye-watering highly paid positions in Scottish universities, for which they are in no sense qualified. Wendy Alexander, Kezia Dugdale and Stephen Gethins are all clear examples.

Arts funding in Scotland and the capricious patronage behind it requires not just a separate article, but a separate book. One theatre in Aberdeen not entirely unconnected to the Aberdeen Independence Movement received more government Covid relief funding than the entire independent music festival sector.

So whatever happened in SNP finances must be seen in this much wider context of the morally shrivelled political culture of Scotland, of the limited power but excessive patronage enjoyed by Scottish governments and of the widespread use of public money for personal advantage of the political class.

The devolution system is a moral sink. Scottish Labour was massively corrupt in its years in power, with good old fashioned brown-envelope corruption all over Scottish central and local government in the Labour years. It was worse than the SNP.

But what really killed off Scottish Labour’s years of power was the recognition by the public that the Scottish Labour political class were interested in their own careers entirely, and had zero real concern for the people of Scotland.

The problem is that all those careerists nowadays flock in to the SNP rather than Labour. The interests of the Scottish political class once again take priority over the interests of the Scottish people.

It is a direct consequence of the fundamentally flawed devolution system, which confers power of patronage with no real responsibility for the economy.

The underlying fact is that Scotland produces vastly more wealth for government in London than the amount which is returned to Holyrood. But the producers are diverse, whereas the portion returned is concentrated into a single channel of distribution, creating that power of patronage and corruption.

Thus we have this strange combination of a poor and exploited nation but a sated and self-satisfied political class. This kind of devolution is precisely how to buy off any Scottish leadership and draw the sting of popular demand for Independence.

That was of course Blair’s open and admitted goal in initiating the devolution project. And it works.

Humza Yousaf has exacerbated all this by specifically excluding from his government those who have some understanding of the supply side of the economy, particularly Kate Forbes and Ivan McKee, and filling his cabinet precisely with those who are interested in nothing but how to control funding to client groups.

Devolution is a trap. Working within the financial ruination that is Westminster economic policy, with no monetary and little fiscal control, suffering from hard Brexit and Tory austerity, it is impossible properly to run proper public services.

Of course Scottish education and the Scottish NHS are in a bloody terrible state. Because of the grossly mismanaged UK economy and Tory austerity, they are bound to be in a terrible state. But devolution makes the SNP take responsibility for the disaster made elsewhere, and it ends up defending the indefensible and arguing that it is not quite as terrible as London.

Under devolution the Scottish government will always get it in the neck for problems made in London. Devolution is a trap. The Scottish political class accept it, and furiously defend it, because it feathers their nest.

The only escape for Scotland is Independence. The Scottish political class are bought off by the corruption of devolution.

This scenario is familiar to every student of imperialism and post-colonial studies. There is always a nominally nationalist governing caste of collaborators sucking at the Imperial teat. Those collaborators always claim to represent and act in the interests of their nation.

The balance of resource flows always benefits the Imperial capital and disbenefits the colony, but enough is “graciously” dispensed to the local ruling caste to keep them sweet.

Scotland is not in any way unique. It is a sad old story. The good news is that the people always triumph in the end and throw off both the local collaborating political caste and the yoke of foreign rule.

That London yoke is onerous. It has impoverished Scotland for centuries, and of course current Tory Westminster corruption is several orders of magnitude worse than anything seen in Scotland. I have every sympathy for those wondering why the houses of Michelle Mone and dozens of other senior Tories who profiteered from Covid have not been turned over by police.

Scotland’s people need to move forward quickly to Independence. That will probably entail writing off the SNP.

Realising that devolution and its advocates are not friends to Independence is a key step to progress.


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230 thoughts on “It Is The Union That Is Collapsing

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  • frankywiggles

    According to projections by both the European Commission and UK Office for Budget responsibility the Irish economy will expand this year by almost 5% (GDP growth), the largest growth in Europe. The UK economy by contrast is projected to retract -0.2%.

    On the other hand every Scot (not just troughers) will soon get to celebrate the coronation of a new King, King Charles III. So there’s that.

    • Goose

      Labour’s 5 missions for a better Britain…

      1. Secure the highest sustained growth in the G7

      It’s work till you drop time folks, for the good of your souls.

      As unlikely as this is to be achieved, should it even be a priority for a party supposedly of the left? Why isn’t ending financial- and class-derived inequality, at all levels, the top priority?

      As Logan Roy would say to Rachel Reeves and Sir Keir Starmer: Fuck off!

  • Goose

    Labour have removed the whip from Diane Abbott.

    Looks like another left-winger won’t be able to stand for Starmer’s horrifically intolerant outfit at the next election, based on spurious grounds. The rules are clearly being selectively applied, as other MPs – those seen as leadership loyalists – have seen no disciplinary action over antisemitic tropes they’ve posted on Twitter.

    I agree with the substance of what Diane said; she’s absolutely correct in saying people often confuse experiencing prejudice with racism. The fact there is no Jewish genotype, and therefore no such thing as a Jewish race, has been firmly established, both scientifically, and in various court cases. Jews can absolutely be subjected to horrible prejudice and discrimination, but calling it racial discrimination i.e. racism, is nonsense.

    • Republicofscotland


      Yes I heard that on the radio, which constantly mentioned Corbyn in the same breath as Abbot, I see very little difference between Labour and the Tories now.

      • Goose


        She expressed an opinion as a black woman who has experienced horrific racism herself. She knows what the word means.

        What is it coming to when a leading UK politician, one subjected to so much abuse herself, can’t even discuss/ debate a topic in a serious manner without some spotty Starmerite at their Southside HQ seeking to stop her standing again for Labour? I hope the backlash from this destroys Starmer, and the morons who back him. And let’s face it, if she stands, she’ll win, whether under the Labour flag or not.

        Quite why members haven’t staged a mass French-style revolt against this liar Starmer and his awful RW acolytes I find hard to fathom? Every day that Starmer, the establishment’s Manchurian candidate, remains in position is like slow torture for those who favour progressive change and an actual choice in elections. The suffragettes may as well not bothered seeking the vote, with this farce of a pretend democratic system. He rivals Blair and Mandelson in his foulness.

        • Goose

          Stevie Boy

          Many on the left seem outraged by her comments. As to why? Well, none are disputing the facts, most, like Owen Jones, are merely astonished by her audacity in daring raise any subject involving Jews and Jewishness.

          It seems the main reason as to why this argument of what constitutes ‘race’ and by extension ‘racism’ are so controversial, is because it calls into question the right of Jewish Europeans, Russians and US citizens to simply settle in the occupied territories on the basis of some claimed ancient ME common lineage. Lineage that in reality can’t be shown via genetics.

          • Stevie Boy

            Yes. Apparently, historians date the Jewish lineage only back as far as 2000 years – the time of Christ. The lineage back to the time of Abraham is down to Bible stories – and those were written within the last 2000 years. So, the rational conclusion is that the Jewish lineage is a ‘modern’ fabrication that cannot be shown by DNA because it doesn’t in reality exist.
            If we were to all apply the same logic for the existence of Israel then we could rightly claim that most British people have a right to an exclusive homeland in Scandinavia – pure nonsense of course – or going back further we all have a right to an exclusive homeland in Africa.
            However, we shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming all Jews support Israel, or even that Israel supports all Jews. IMO, the bottom line is that if Israel stopped acting like a fascist apartheid state then the question of its existence wouldn’t be an issue.
            It’s also worth stating that Owen Jones and all proclaimed western Zionists are pure and simply just c*nts.

          • Goose

            The sensitivity reflects the fears of the Zionist lobby that it undermines their claims Jews share common ME ancestry. As that claim is used to justify for the ongoing occupation, and so-called ‘right’ to settle.
            Before DNA testing and genetic markers, the Nazis obviously tried to prove Jewish racial commonality to justify their horrific discrimination and prejudice. Claiming Jews are a race (they aren’t) as some in the Jewish community do, puts those doing that in strange historic company.

        • glenn_nl

          “Starmers [sic] socialists”?

          Are you by chance one of those alt-right types, who like to pretend that far right wingers (like Nazis) are in fact socialists, providing cover for your own brand of fascism? Looks worryingly like it, considering Starmer is as far from a socialist as some of Thatcher’s nuttier supporters.

          • Bayard

            Starmer’s Labour is as much socialist as the Nazis were. Although both pretend/ed to be national, socialist, workers’ parties, they are, as you point out, both, in fact, fascists. “It’s just the name of the shop, dearie.”

          • mark cutts

            From what bit I know ( i’m no expert) the ‘ socialist ‘ tag had to be added due to the failed 1919 German Revolution.

            That was the con – similar to Stalin’s ‘ Socialism in one country ‘ nonsense.

            Socialism has to be international otherwise it will always fail.

            If you don’t include ” ALL the workers of The World ” then socialism is doomed to fail.

            The Zionists relise something similar – where in which the claim of Netenyahu is that HE and the current Israeli State represents all the Jewish people of the world.

            A claim that Norman Finkelstein would virulently oppose.

            As far as I can see – Norman is the expert and Benny is not an expert in anything – other than avoiding a potential jail sentence.

            As far as the BBC is concerned nothing is happening in Tel- Aviv but France 24 reported that hundreds of thousands are still protesting despite the shenanegins of the ultra right idiots who run the show vis storming a Mosque and so on.

            I don’t know what Chomsky thinks about lying by omission but I know what I think that what is known but not revealed is just as important as what is revealed daily on our media feeds.

            The Ukraine war is in a similar category and if the pundits are only half righ then the Ukranians are dying needlessly and it is terrible..

        • John Main

          We certainly shouldn’t make the mistake of believing that Israel is exclusively Jewish.

          Are we making a mistake in assuming that those who claim that Israel is exclusively Jewish are themselves mistaken?

          I think we are. People making that claim defo have an ulterior motive.

          • Reza

            It is notable how the greatest apologists for apartheid Israel, those who falsely accused Corbyn and his supporters of anti-Semitism, are also the greatest apologists for fanatical Nazis in Ukraine, a state which post-coup renamed hundreds of streets after Holocaust criminals.

            The same pattern is observable at the level of states. Here are global maps highlighting the countries sending weapons to Ukraine and countries who recognise the State of Palestine. You will see there is virtually no overlap.

          • Laguerre

            “We certainly shouldn’t make the mistake of believing that Israel is exclusively Jewish.”
            Let’s put it this way: Nobody in Israel who is not Jewish has, or is allowed to have, any power at all.

          • useless eater

            Laguerre, it is not just those who are not Jewish.

            According to Professor Yossi Mekelberg, writing on the BBC’s website, Ethiopian Jews face great hostility in Israel.

            ” .. these distinctive people face appalling discrimination, racism and a lack of empathy ..”

    • Stevie Boy

      Obviously all part of the plan by Herr Starmer to purge Labour of socialism. Her comments may be correct; but, for me, the main problem I have with Abbott is that she appears to be terminally stupid!
      Labour has so obviously become a fascist party under zionist Starmer, so I cannot understand why all these remnants of socialist labour still associate themselves with Starmer’s blackshirts. Time to start a new party guys, or else it’s guilt by association.

      • John Main

        It is indeed terminally stupid to believe that being forced by law to sit at the back of a bus is somehow equivalent to being rounded up, then shipped in a cattle truck to a gas chamber.

        I would say it is terminally ignorant to believe that only black people were ever manacled on slave ships. Millions of white people were captured and sold into slavery over the centuries spanning the Roman Empire and the medieval period. No historian believes these slaves were at liberty to promenade the decks, going below only for meals and sleep.

        Maybes Abbott does though.

        • Laguerre

          It’s hardly surprising that Abbott is primarily concerned about black people’s problems; that’s all her remark says.
          “I would say it is terminally ignorant to believe that only black people were ever manacled on slave ships.”
          Rather they were indeed, in an industrially massive majority. Those who try to excuse black slavery, fail to note that black slave transport to the Americas was a massive industry that far outstripped other ancient and medieval slavery, which was most often limited to personal servants. Slave revolts, like that of Spartacus, occurred indeed because, unusually, there was an uncontrollable large mass of slaves assembled together. Owners learned, and did not employ such large numbers again.

          • Goose

            Notice how Owen Jones, Novara media and others have joined the Abbott pile on. As if what Abbott said is a crime, their feigning of outrage really is tedious. A politician sharing an opinion others may disagree with, should not be a hanging offence. If Abbott were a right-wing Starmer supporter, the comments would have passed without any disciplinary action or calls for such action. The only legitimate criticism of Abbott, is she’s given those wanting her out ammunition.

            John Mann, a former loudmouth Labour MP, who also happened to be an outspoken Corbyn critic, was made a Peer in Theresa May’s resignation honours list. Mann had previously called for the unelected farce that is the HoL, a farce that shames the UK, to be abolished… before accepting his peerage. Mann’s not Jewish himself, yet has become the Tory govt’s adviser on antisemitism. Mann says Abbott shouldn’t be allowed to stand again.

          • mark cutts

            The thing about slavery is that the slaveowners had to at least feed and house their slaves in order to extract a days work from therm.

            Wage slavery however only paid the wage slaves by the hour.

            If you were not needed for other hours then that was your problem as a potential worker.

            The thing is – is that exploitation of any kind ( wages or slavery) is the basis and the root of how Imperialism and its later model Monopoly Capitalism is inhuman.

            Dianne Abbot is rightly concerned and focussed on the Black ( African ) experience of nascent capitalism and its effects.

            The Black question is and no doubt is not disimilar to the Jewish experience – unless you believe that ALL Jews .are well off which is plainly ridiculous but on the right this trope has a lot of traction.

            In actuality in my opinion all the exploited are just that – exploited in historical actuality and the gain for the capitalists is there for all races to see – if they want to see and admit it.

            On the other hand the white people of the Britsih Empire did derive a material and wage benefit from the exploitation of the African people and the Indians as well as many other white people ( i.e The Irish for example ) and as usual under capitalism one man’s loss is another man’s gain.

            Race and ethnicity is (and has ) always used to divide the exploited against each other and class in recent discussion is studiously avoided by the MSM and the politicians as any debate as to what exploitation means might reveal the truth of what is actually happening.

            Nowhere more so than in the ethnicaly diverse USA.

            Trump will cash in on the dis-appointing false friends of black people and Latino’s and next time the younger members of these ethicities willl place theri votes elsewhere.

            Like the Clintonite Labour Party they are playing with fire.

            Patriotism and class is a dangerous mix,

            Ask the Germans.

        • Bayard

          ” No historian believes these slaves were at liberty to promenade the decks, going below only for meals and sleep.”

          Neither Roman, nor mediaeval slaves were sent across the Atlantic Ocean, so any passage in a ship was necessarily short. It’s useless trying to use history to make a point if you can’t be bothered to find out what actually happened. Before black slaves were shipped to the Americas, white “indentured servants”, only different from slaves in that they were nominally supposed to be set free once they had served their term of punishment, provided the labour in the West Indies. Their conditions on board ship, while far from ideal, were far better than the conditions in which the black slaves were kept. Similarly the convicts shipped to Australia. In any case, just becasue some white folks had a hard time too, doesn’t make the black folks’ experiences any the less vile.

      • useless eater

        Stevie Boy

        “..she appears to be terminally stupid!”

        This from the poster who said the following about unrepentant child sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell. only a couple of months ago.

        “Don’t believe everything you are told. The ‘outing’ of Maxwell and Epstein was more to do with the risk they posed to the establishment than any ‘real’ risk to ‘minors’.
        Security services were well aware of what was going on and were happy for it to continue while the sexual services provided were for the benefit of the establishment’s puppets: Blair, Clinton, Trump, Obama, HRH Andrew, Gates, Branson, et al. As soon as the shenanigans came into the public domain then patsies had to be found to blame. Epstein (a Mossad shill) paid the ultimate price, Maxwell will probably be Skripaled.”

        Are you running interference here or are you just “.. terminally stupid!”?

        If you said this about Ghislaine Maxwell why should, anyone believe what you say about Diane Abbot?

        As you seem pefectly happy to pontificate about things you know nothing about – I conclude stupid is as stupid does.

        • Stevie Boy

          Hey Useless.
          It’s a comments section. You don’t have to believe anything I say. I may be wrong or you may disagree. It’s only my opinion. Do your own research and form your own opinions. I don’t and have never claimed superior knowledge. This forum serves as a great place to swap and discuss opinions. You may think I’m stupid, that’s your right, fill your boots.

          • useless eater

            Why tell people to not ” ..believe everything you are told..”

            You were completely wrong about Ghislaine Maxwell; a simple admission of error is not a major problem for balanced psyches, is it? We would not want to spread fake news, would we ?

            I suppose Stevie Boy, this is how things go from major to “minor”

            Stevie Boy, I beg you in the name of all that is sacred to you, to think of the children

          • Bayard

            “You were completely wrong about Ghislaine Maxwell; a simple admission of error is not a major problem for balanced psyches, is it?”

            Perhaps you could supply some evidence of SB being “completely wrong”, or are we supposed to take you word for it?
            If you are going to call someone “terminally stupid”, you really should give your reasons, otherwise it just looks like omniscience and spite. If you want someone to apologise for being wrong, you do need at least to make a bit of effort to prove them wrong, beyond your bald assertion of their wrongness.
            Also, it is a good idea to read what has been written before putting finger to keyboard. At no point did SB say that Diane Abbot was terminally stupid, he said that she appeared terminally stupid. Now, in these days of soundbites, that is quite possible to do, even for the brightest amongst us, especially if those responsible for portraying us are biased against us.

          • useless eater

            Go to Miami Herald, type in “Epstein Case” in the searchbox. When I did this the other day it offered 445 articles.

            They want a dollar to let you read them but I haven’t got a dollar and I have already read them all. But you don’t need to read them all or yield up a dollar – you can just look at the strap-line of each article and the grainy cheap photographs of the young teens with their braces and their nervous, doomed smiles. Unless you are without empathy, I reckon about 50-60 strap-lines and the attendant said photos, that is about 6 pages at ten articles a page. It is beyond horror. However if you are a real hard case, most of the articles can be read on the Wayback Machine for free, apart from the neural damage which is caused by being exposed to such filth, which is irreparable. If you are a glutton for punishment, read the court docket of the Virgin Islands case against the Epstein estate and others, currently working its way through the US court system, I think the Southern District of New York – it is easy to find.

            I did not like the word “terminal” being applied to Diane Abbot, ok?

            Stevie Boy has had ample warning; we have discussed this matter before. I told him to check the Herald, he didn’t bother because if he had, we wouldn’t be having this painful conversation. I don’t want him to apologise, I want him to learn what sort of place we live in – and if he is not willing to learn, to understand that others have and are not going to take any guff regarding Maxwell and any other child sex slavers, however much they are loved by royalty, billionaires and other “top” people.

            You two can dish it but you can’t take it.

            If after the initial exchange, Stevie Boy had mildly said “wow i didn’t know it was that bad”, like any normal human being would, it would not be mentioned again. This sort of shit is beyond serious. They were shipping female children, young girls and young women from all over the world, particulary from eastern Europe. Brunel, who ran the “modelling agency” linked to the trafficking operation, was being investigated on suspicion of trafficking over 1100 females of a wide range of ages and many rapes. There are allegations that Epstein received a set of Slovakian triplets age 12 for his birthday. We are in area of crimes against humanity, not regular crime. But no-one really knows because, like Saville, there is no effort to find out what really happened. It is all fragmentary – deliberately so.

            This is the last I’ll say on it, if you two get real – no problem. Stevie Boy I apologise for insulting you. I could start slagging you off Bayard for defending him – he should do it himself. But I wont. I bear no grudges but we all have to do better, OK?

          • glenn_nl

            UE: Re Epstein.

            JHC, I had no idea it was that bad. Horrifying, and the likes of Gates, Clinton et al knew nothing about it? They didn’t even think the name of his private jet was a bit dodgy? Kind of beggars belief.

            Mind you, I would not be entirely surprised if he was still alive, and they just got a handy body to examine and bury. $Billions can buy you a good few favours.

            Your characterising of SB is quite fair. He shows exactly the same attitude to global warming, Covid and any number of whacked out forms of denialism. Sadly, despite being an otherwise reasonable and quite decent person, Bayard suffers from the same traits when it comes to global warming.

            There is never a proper argument, very little engagement, simply authoritative assertions as if they had never had discussed the subject before (and had said assertions thoroughly debunked). A case of the old, “Don’t bother me with facts, my mind is made up.”

          • Bayard

            UE, you and SB are not having a private argument in a pub somewhere. I and nearly everyone else reading this blog have no idea to what you refer when you say ““You were completely wrong about Ghislaine Maxwell”, nor have you elucidated. All it would have taken was a few words like “when you said X,Y and Z about her.” and we would be informed and could make our own judgement of whether SB was likely to be also wrong about Diane Abbott.
            Also you don’t appear to have read what I wrote about Abbott. You are still chuntering on as if SB and I called her “terminally stupid”, which neither of us did. Probably as a result of overwork and her suffering from diabetes, Abbott had several occasions where she was unable to think clearly in public, where she appeared to be stupid, incidents that her many enemies made the most of.

          • useless eater

            “.. as if SB and I called her..”

            I never mentioned you. I never made any comment regarding anything you said, why conflate the two of you? If I want to say something to you I will, as I am just now.

            “..The ‘outing’ of Maxwell and Epstein was more to do with the risk they posed to the establishment than any ‘real’ risk to ‘minors’.”

            This is what Stevie Boy said that I objected to, his full quote is printed above in comment dated “April 24, 2023 at 09:24”. At best a feckless remark.

            Should I now say that you should have read my comment with more focus? Should we go round and round again? Or is it better to pause in quiet reflection and consider the gravity of the situation we are in?

            A situation where heinous criminals get away with heinous crimes; whilst the likes of Alex Salmond, Craig Murray and Julian Assange, especially Julian Assange, face the withering blasts of lawfare and spleen that our judicial system emits when power feels itself threatened..

            “Do not hinder me!……I shall bare thee away to the Houses of Lamentation where the Lidless Eye will shrivel thy naked flesh.”

            The Lord of the Rings JRR Tolkien

          • Bayard

            “I never mentioned you.”
            You didn’t? I wasn’t one of the “two” you were referring to when you said ” if you two get real…”? If not I apologise, but your mention of me in the line below did rather look like it was.

            ““..The ‘outing’ of Maxwell and Epstein was more to do with the risk they posed to the establishment than any ‘real’ risk to ‘minors’.” This is what Stevie Boy said that I objected to,”
            Yes, I saw that, but then I read “Security services were well aware of what was going on and were happy for it to continue while the sexual services provided were for the benefit of the establishment’s puppets:” and so came to the conclusion that he was saying that the Establishment didn’t out them because they thought that, by doing so, they would remove a real risk to minors, but because they thought by doing so, they thought they would remove a real risk to themselves. What you said in your subsequent comment, i.e. that there was a real risk to minors, only confirmed that view, that the Establishment knew all along and their purported interest in the victims was entirely fake. Hence my puzzlement.

          • Bayard

            “A case of the old, “Don’t bother me with facts, my mind is made up.””

            That’s a bit out of date. The new form is “The science is settled”.

          • useless eater

            Bayard if this is your final statement on the above described situation, I can only add;

            “The dogs may bark but the caravan has moved on”

    • Goose

      Sturgeon’s PR was that of a female William Wallace, always fighting Scotland’s cause. The reality was more akin to a female Sheriff of Nottingham, content with provincial power and a block grant from London.

  • Republicofscotland

    This is truly astonishing. What kind of mentality does it take to actually think this, or repeat it and hope that folk are gullible enough to believe it?

    “The SNP is the most transparent party in Scotland, according to its depute leader Keith Brown.

    The former minister made the remark as he defended his party’s record amid internal turmoil and a police investigation into finances.

    He also claimed SNP membership has increased across the country.”

  • Colin McGinnis

    Craig, that is so well written but so sad, I have known most of my life that money and greed really are the route of all evils but never realised the scale of it in Scotland, especially the SNP. It really is difficult to see a way forward as I believe they are or should be finished.

    Last year after the High Court judgment I wrote to every SNP MP. Some just sent an automated reply saying they couldn’t answer me and that only my own MP could reply; however some did reply but their response was not encouraging. My own MP Stewart Hosie never bothered to reply, I think I will go and hound his office.
    Last week, I wrote again to Ian Blackford stating as a lifelong (since the 70s) SNP voter, I would NEVER again vote SNP. For me, it’s now ALBA even if it’s only 2.1% of the vote. At least I will have a clear conscience. Thanks again.
    Colin McGinnis

    • Goose

      This dispiriting political situation could be easily remedied by a straight transfer of loyalties and support to fellow, more sincere nationalist party, Alba. Alas, if only voters were that intuitive and logical. Sadly, many have fallen for the tribalism fostered by the SNP that sought to discredit and demonise Alba as a disgruntled rump of SNP haters.

      The concern and fear, has to be that the dreadful Anas Sarwar and his hideous establishment golem boss Starmer, will somehow end up as the main gainers from the ongoing SNP implosion. And you know the BBC and other media will try to engineer that very scenario. As it suits the unionists(cross-party) to damage Scottish nationalism ,and it especially suits the BBC, who will be fighting to give Labour a majority to preserve their godawful, outdated, regressive compulsory TV licence fee.

  • Mike Daffern

    I think this article most insightful, reminding us that good government is not automatic nor dependent on national flag waving. I imagine the same practices of policy weaving are rife in UK, Welsh and Northern Irish governments as well. At root is the failure of successive generations to identify and build the common framework necessary to underpin democratic practices throughout the United Kingdom – an appellation which also explains why perhaps, or so it seems to this subject (not citizen, note).

  • Big Tam

    Craig, the logic of all this is not where you take it but in quite another direction: the devolution settlement has failed, and should be wound up. The old Scottish Office did pretty well with 2,000 civil servants. We now have more than 10 times that number, and far, far worse public services in every dimension. Devolution has failed. Independence is NOT the answer – otherwise you end up with the likes of Sturgeon running the show. (Or Humza Useless, for that matter). Scotland’s interests are intimately tied up with that of our southern neighbour – it makes no sense whatsoever for Scotland to have its own defence or foreign policy, or indeed tax and spend powers for that matter. I haven’t seen a single argument that suggests, in the round, that seccession would fix a single thing that’s wrong with Scotland. The best argument I heard for it was that it’s easier to change a small country than a big one – but I’m not actually sure that’s true any more. The small country has to want to change, and the reality is beyond flag-waving, people are not prepared to suffer the short to medium term pain of seccession in the far from certain hope of glories to come. Time to throw the towel in on the seccession racket and for good people to actually work to change Scotland for the better, within the system, rather than bet the whole house on a decidedly uncertain proposition indeed.

    • mark cutts

      Big Tam

      I think you make very fair points.

      As Craig was indicating many months (maybe years) ago the SNP leadership fell for the vanity of power.

      I always vote Labour; but that is to say that until Corbyn I was constantly voting against something – rather than voting for something.

      A ray of optimism against the pessimism.

      Now we have reverted back to cynicism.

      Across the Western world all are voting for someone (or some party) because of who/what they aren’t.

      Not because of what their policies are.

      When Brown nipped up to Scotland as a prelude to Brexit, assuring everone that the Union was the best way forward for Scotland, as there was no chance that Brexit would be voted for then. The aftermath was a foregone conclusion.

      Sturgeon and her friends were dazzled by power (limited power – but power nevertheless) and assumed the role of the powerful.

      That became their downfall, and their fellow hubris merchants followed their English vanity merchants; and here you and I (I live in France and in French Hubrisland of Macron) are, and we have ended up as usual having to vote for the least worst as usual.

      If I lived in Scotland I would still vote for the SNP for the simple reason that they are not Tories or Labour Lite.

      I, like the Scottish, have no choice in the matter as I don’t choose the Candidates.

      Perhaps Alba will pick up some votes but, like Corbynism, it has a massive mountain to climb – as they are both suffering from undermining and sabotage within their own ranks, nevermind the MSM – and so on.

      A dirty old game is politics and across the Western World it is about to get dirtier.

      If the powers that be wish to rule in the same old way and people object to it then the old way of counteracting that (economic bribes etc.) will not be big enough.

      Sharper and more oppressive ways will need to be conjured up to head that rebellion off at the pass.

      This is the future Conservative Party’s orientation.

  • Carolyn Scott

    Regarding HIV, modern Scotland has a policy of denial which has a whiff of the USSR about it. Deluded! Scotland is a corrupt and petty little parochial council of jumped up nonentities. Scotland deserves better. So does England for the same reasons.

  • Observer

    It is a direct consequence of the fundamentally flawed devolution system, which confers power of patronage with no real responsibility for the economy.

    Erm no, governments all over the world have this sort of corruption and patronage. It’s a direct consequence of government being involved in services that would be better left to the market and charity, where the people spending their own money have an incentive to optimise for outcomes rather than staff perquisites.

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