Category Archives: Politics

The Unbelievable behaviour of Johann Lamont

Johann Lamont, currently leading the Scottish labour party to ruin has launched her great new policy – A commission to review universal benefits, and seeking to introduce means testing for the things she sees as a “something for nothing” culture in Scotland.

Johann has a problem with free prescriptions, free university places and free bus passes for the elderly.

So, yes, that’s right. The leader of the Labour Party in Scotland is trying to take entitlements away from the Sick, the Elderly and Students.

The really galling thing is that her minions have turned up on BBC Scotland to defend this, and suggest that it’s okay, because they are not seeking to get rid of these benefits completely, they want to means test them.

Again, the irony is staggering.

Labour want to introduce Means Testing for benefits that are currently universal thanks to our SNP Government.

Forget the Jarrow Marchers, Forget the entire history of the Labour movement and it’s fight against the Means Test, put all of that to one side.

We have Free Prescriptions in Scotland – but it’s not all altruism. The previous scheme exempted people that were terminally ill – seems only fair, doesn’t it? that someone who is living out their last shouldn’t have to pay for the medicine which is keeping them alive? and new mothers were exempt too. And those who weren’t working.

In fact, by the time you counted out all the exemptions, the scheme brought in so little money that it basically cost more in administrative charges than it brought in. So scrapping the charge was a sensible thing.

That being said, here’s the thing which really rankles in this. It’s not that we don’t pay for those prescriptions.

We pay for them from our taxes.

Johann Lamont’s “something for nothing” says something pretty dark about how she sees the world. I work hard, and I pay (a lot) of taxes. It’s the social contract. I pay in, and I see precious little in return. If I am sick, and need medicine, I don’t see why that shouldn’t be taken out of the tax I have paid, rather than me having to put my hand in my pocket again.

In Johann Lamont’s world, the money that I pay out of my taxes entitles me to NOTHING, and no matter how much I pay in, I shouldn’t get a bus pass or my medicine paid out of tax.

Roll on Independence!

Just one Question, Mr Murphy…

So, Jim Murphy’s attempt to suck up to “values voters” (and let’s hope that expression never becomes something of substance in Scottish Politics) has exploded in his face spectacularly.

I’m appalled at the attempt, and quite happy with the outcome, but I was having a think about this last night. It’s not actually what I would want to ask Jim Murphy about, if I got the chance. I’m intrugued as to why he thought it would go any differently, but honestly… there’s a more serious question at stake here.

See, I know Jim Murphy – not as a friend, but I went to University at the same time as him (and Ed Byrne too, but that’s another story), and he was a pretty prominent fixture on campus. He was almost universally known as “Megaphone Murphy”, due to the permanent attachment of either a megaphone or a placard. Always involved in organising protests against the Tories and their latest horror policy.

The thing I would love to know, more than anything about atheism or secular politics is this…

Why, when he was a campaigner and protester in his student days, is he happy to serve in a government which is happy to use riot police as shock troops to crush protests?

Why, when he saw protest and activism as a path into politics, and to eventually to rise to be secretary of state for Scotland, is he happy to serve in a government which labels any protester as a “terrorist”?

Why, when he was always to be heard chanting and leading protest about “the people”, was he the man who championed an act through parliament which removed more freedoms and rights from “the people” than almost any other bit of legislation in History?

Seriously Jim, how do you sleep at night? Don’t you cry into your pillow thinking about how completely and utterly you have betrayed the younger you? (not to mention the rest of us)

Back in 1992, when I left University, I didn’t think for one second that I would like to see Megaphone Murphy again – but I would rather that than see what Politician Murphy has become.

An Interesting Campaign

If you can avoid the usual anti-scottish rants in the comments that is…

it’s been a while since I posted, largely because I have been quite content with the world. Sure, there’s a lot of stuff there to annoy a Scottish Atheist if you look hard enough, but for a while at least, things are ticking along nicely.

Labour has been self destructing nicely, eating itself to death, culminating in them losing Glasgow East to the SNP – good days indeed. The SNP government have been getting on with governing (and doing a darn good job of it) and drawing praise from the Scottish business community to boot.

But this one caught my eye today – I was following the hoo-hah of the Olympics banning the ‘other’ UK flags – the Saltire, St George’s Cross and the Welsh Dragon.. it’s because of Tibet, naturally, but annoying nonetheless. I don’t really have the stomach for waving a Union Jack. So, on the forum, someone linked in the Fair Flags campaign..

The basic upshot of the campaign is that lots of food is labelled as ‘English’, then has a Union Jack added, rather than the English flag – which is the St George’s Cross.

Now this is one I can really get behind – it’s a natural justice thing. I remember as a schoolkid being taught how to make up a Union Jack from the Saltire, St George’s Cross, and the St Patrick’s Cross of Ireland. While we have a Union, we have to remember that we are the United Kingdoms plural, not the United Kingdom singular.

It seems only natural that just the same way a Scotsman would wave a Saltire in support of his team, an Englishman would wave the St George’s cross – and you would expect that just the same way butter from Dumfries and Galloway or cheese from Ayrshire was labelled as local produce with a Saltire, there would be no problem with cider from Somerset, or Bacon from Yorkshire carrying the English flag – loud and proud.

Tesco, on the other hand, thinks otherwise – they claim that this is because Scots and Welsh would not buy produce with an English flag.. well maybe during the world cup qualifiers, but seriously? this is ridiculous. It’s like authorities falling over themselves to avoid offending muslims when the vast majority of muslims just don’t care. A completely non scientific straw poll of opinions here says that this is just wrong – English strawberries in particular are highlighted as being extra juicy: the climate further south is much better for them apparently.

This is basically like the West Lothian question all over again – and in the same way, it’s not a difficult problem. The West Lothian question, of course, is whether Scottish MPs (elected to the UK parliament) should be able to vote on issues affecting only England.. and the answer is obviously no – what moral right does one population have to inflict policies on another population that didn’t vote for them.

And that’s, unfortunately, where the Fair Flags campaign turns  a bit ugly – England is currently enduring a Labour government (well, really, we are all enduring a labour government) that they did not vote for. It’s unfair, and a lot of English people are unhappy about it. I would be too… and I was, when it was happening to us. England voted in Thatcher’s government, Scotland didn’t want her, and she set about dismantling and destroying our industry as punishment. We had the Poll tax inflicted on us two years before England as a trial – because she knew fine well it wouldn’t make a difference: Scotland’s votes didn’t matter to her.

The commentors trot out The Barnett Formula (where Scotland is funded at a higher rate than England), but oddly enough, fail to consider the income to the treasury *FROM* Scotland (hint – Scotland puts in a lot more than it gets out, even when you don’t consider THE OIL. Remember? The Oil off Scotland’s coast?)

All this does is underline that Scotland and England have wildly different electorates – and the ‘Union’ is like the front end of a pantomime horse stitched onto the back end of a pantomime cow. It’s fooling nobody – and it’s time to bring the whole sorry thing to an end.

Oh, and in the meantime, please let Tesco know that Real Scots are not so petty as to avoid fruit and veg because it comes from England.

Tony B-Liar is at it again…

or, to put it another way, how can someone get the situation absolutely correct, and yet miss the point completely?

Blair says Politicians sidestep questions on God because…

“You may be considered weird. Normal people aren’t supposed to ‘do God’,” he said. “There is an assumption that, before you take a decision you engage in some slightly cultish interaction with your religion. “Third, you want to impose your religion on others. Fourth, you are pretending to be better than the next person. And finally, and worst of all, that you are somehow messianically trying to co-opt God to bestow a divine legitimacy on your politics.”

Blair: Religion must be saved from extremism | Politics |

And what do you know – he’s right on every point.

Normal people don’t talk to voices in their head, or look for fantastical explanations for everything. When I see some murderer on the news, I don’t think “wow, the devil must have made him do that”.  People like Blair who see god in everything ARE weird, and it’s questionable whether someone who suffers such delusions should be in charge of, oh, nuclear weapons for instance?

There is, indeed, an assumption that these people engage in a cultish interaction with their religion before taking a decision. Otherwise what was all that business about demanding a “free” vote over the Human Fertilisation and Embryo bill for catholic MPs? It was precisely to allow them to have a “cultish” interaction with their religion, so that they could be told how to vote by a priest, rather than the labour whip.

Third, they DO want to impose their religion on others. That’s why Blair allowed people like Vardy to get control of Academy schools for a paltry donation, and push their own religious doctrines. If they didn’t want to impose their religion on others, why do the MPs with “faith” insist that I have to suffer a painful death rather than opting to end my own life with dignity? Why does their religion mean that I cannot choose the health care options that I wish to use?

And of course, the religious DO believe that they are better than everyone else!! witness Hypocrite Cardinal O’Brien, lecturing scientists about basic morality (this from an organisation which presided over the sexual abuse of children, and covered it up). These people believe that their belief in the supernatural gives them a straight line to the moral high ground, when frankly nothing could be farther from the truth.

Finally, and most troubling of all… Blair says that the religious politician can “somehow messianically trying to co-opt God to bestow a divine legitimacy on your politics”.

And of course, Tony, when you prayed with George W Bush for guidance before launching an illegal and ill conceived invasion of Iraq, then tried to justify this on UK television by indicating that you answer to God, not the people, that’s now what you were doing, was it?

Bloody Hypocrite.

Ironically, in trying to rally support for the cause, Blair shows us in the clearest possible terms precisely why we do NOT need more faith in public life.

Disgraceful, Childish Behavour!

And for once, there’s not an angry Archbishop in sight.

No, this is our esteemed parliament, or more specifically, the labour members of the Scottish parliament. Just when we thought that they couldn’t be any more childish than the budget fiasco, they are wasting our money by setting up a commission to look into the constitution.

another one.

Running at the same time as the one which the Scottish Government is already running.

The only difference? why, the one being promoted by labour won’t be considering independence as an option whatsoever. It’s the political equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and going “la la la”. Except that this will cost a lot of money!.

Not all labour MSPs think that this is a good idea. Henry McLeish said
I welcome that the process of open debate is under way with the
National Conversation, and look forward to the next phase developing
with the prevailing mood of Scotland

Very reasonable – and frankly what we would expect of an intelligent member of parliament. Henry McLeish was, after all, the First Minister under a previous administration.

The enlightened response from the five year olds that make up the Scottish Labour Party?

it would be in the interests of Labour and Mr McLeish if he joined the SNP

So, the response is “It’s my Ball, you’re not playing”. Mature, huh?

Time to go write to my MSP…