Monday 31 August 2020

Only reality will change minds now


In the last few months many of us have either been paid for doing nothing (furlough) or been paid for working at home. It has created a sense of unreality. If Rishi Sunak can conjure up huge sums of money just by waving his wand, why couldn’t Kate Forbes do the same in an independent Scotland? If there is a magic money tree called borrowing why do any of us go to work at all. Why not just borrow ever larger sums so that we can all live the life of luxury while doing no work at all. Unlike most European countries Britain is still psychologically in lockdown. We are still scared, and we prefer to think that nasty reality can be kept away by nice people like Nicola Sturgeon saying we don’t need to go back to the office. It is for this reason too that we shrug our shoulders at nasty economic figures that the Scottish Government publishes and blame someone else.

I have frequently said that I don’t think it is effective to argue that Scotland is too poor to become independent. I don’t even think that it is effective to argue that Scotland is better off financially in the UK, because this amounts to saying we would be poorer if independent. Such negative arguments rarely convince anyone. But what argument could convince Scottish voters?

I strongly suspect that Scottish Labour, Lib Dems and Conservatives are not going to work together with Alliance for Unity. They will not stand down even in the seats they cannot possibly win. Alliance for Unity will make a difference, but it may not be enough. At present the SNP are likely to have an overall majority at the next Scottish Parliament election. We don’t know what the winter will bring, but that is my honest assessment.

If the SNP campaign on a second referendum manifesto, the British Government would have the choice of saying No or saying Yes. I would prefer that it said No, but it’s not up to me. What if it said Yes?

I don’t believe during any independence campaign that Scottish voters would be any more realistic than they are at present in a Scottish Parliament campaign or in a General Election. This is our problem we need to bring realism back into Scottish politics. Whenever anyone talks about economics, they might as well be talking of zillions and squillions, no one pays any attention. What would make them pay attention?

The process of Scotland becoming independent needs to have a reality check built into it, whereby Scottish voters would have to experience the reality while they still had the chance to vote to stay in the UK.

There are different ways of doing this, but perhaps the best is to say that if the SNP ever won a vote for Scotland to leave the UK, then during the transition period Scotland would be treated by the British Government as if it were already independent and that Scotland could only proceed to full independence at the end of divorce negotiations on condition that independence won a confirmatory referendum.

It may be that a £15 billion, 8.5% deficit is no big deal. It may be that lots of countries have deficits so why shouldn’t Scotland. It may even be that such a deficit show that the United Kingdom is not working and that fiscal transfers from the British Government do us harm. I doubt somewhat that the SNP argue that if Scotland had a £15 billion surplus and transferred huge sums every year to England that this was grounds for staying in the UK, but this just goes to show that under the present circumstances the SNP can argue anything they like and be believed by a section of the Scottish population.

After a vote for Scottish independence the British Government would begin the divorce negotiations with the Scottish Government, but it obviously would have no obligation to continue fiscal transfers to Scotland. The Scottish Government would be given the power to borrow on international markets, raise taxes and begin the process of either using the pound unilaterally or setting up its own currency. During the period of negotiations everyone would assume that Scotland really was going to be become independent after all the Scottish voters would have just voted for it. In so far as it were possible the Scottish Government would be responsible for everything. What would be the result of this?

It would not be possible to implement independence. Both sides would try to negotiate seriously, but as soon as it became clear to the markets that the Scottish economy could not survive the shock of attempting to run a £15 billion deficit, they would be forced to revert to the status quo. To attempt to cut spending and raise taxes sufficiently would simply crash the Scottish economy. It would lead not merely to capital flight it would lead to people flight too. When people in Glasgow found that the Scottish Government could not afford to pay their benefits, they would move over the border to somewhere that could.

Scottish middle class remainer liberals who lent their vote to the SNP as revenge on Boris Johnson for dragging them out of their beloved EU, would rapidly find that they couldn’t sell their houses for the price they paid for them and possibly not at all.

It isn’t at all that Scotland is too poor to be independent. We are far wealthier than lots of independent countries. But the process of disentangling Britain would be far worse than Greece trying to leave the Euro. The mere attempt would do such damage to the Scottish and possibly the British economy that both sides of the negotiations would give up as soon as reality hit.

This then should be the stance of the British Government. It should say “No” that issue has been decided decisively, but if enough “Pro UK” journalists (Massie, Farquharson etc) and Scottish opposition politicians put enough pressure on it to agree to SNP demands, then the Scottish people should be given a second referendum only on condition that they try independence with all its consequences before being given a final say in a confirmatory referendum.

Arguments have become ineffective in Scotland. Let the SNP take full responsibility for its independence without the possibility of blaming England. Only reality will change minds now.

Saturday 29 August 2020

Scottish nationalism is based on historical ignorance


Scottish nationalists frequently talk about the countries that have become independent and that they never regret it. They list various new nation states in Europe and places that were formerly part of empires. But what they never mention is the number of places that were formerly countries and now are not. They usually don’t regret their unity either.

If you look at a map of Europe in 1815 you see both forces at work. Secession movements caused the Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman Empires to split into countries like Greece, Romania and Slovakia. These splits were usually because of linguistic, religious cultural or geographical differences. But where people live geographically contiguously and where they speak the same or similar languages and have similar religious and cultural practices the tendency is for people to unite.

It is for this reason that both Italy and Germany united in the 19th century. I have lost count of the formerly independent countries that used to be in Germany. Italy too was made up of places with quaint names such as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Where was the second Sicily? I can’t seem to find it.

Countries like France and Spain too were once made up of formerly independent countries or kingdoms. Being a formerly independent country is not unusual. Both Vermont and Texas were independent before they joined the United States and arguably each of the original thirteen colonies was independent prior to forming “one nation indivisible”.

Scottish nationalists have an idea that there is something exceptional about Scotland. But there isn’t. The number of formerly independent countries that have ceased to be independent since 1707 is enormous. The vast majority of them form countries that don’t have serious secession movements and are quite happy being part of a greater whole.

While there has always been in human beings a tendency to secede, often for very good reasons, there has also been a tendency to unite. If people who are similar had not had the tendency to unite, we would never have developed countries in the first place, nor indeed would we have ever had a place called Scotland.

The process by which both Germany and Italy united was by means of war. Saxony became part of Germany essentially because of the Austro-Prussian War (1866) where it fought against Prussia, and the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) which united Germany into an Empire. The Saxons were not given much choice.

Is Saxony any less of a country than Scotland? It has an equally long history. The fact that most Scots are unaware of this history does not change it. Most Saxons are unaware of Scottish history.

Saxons seem to be quite happy to be part of modern Germany. They were part of an independent East Germany until 1990, but they were quite happy to reunify with their Western fellow citizens.

Why does no one demand the reestablishment of Saxony as an independent country, nor indeed East Germany? If places that were independent as recently as 1990 are happy to be united why on earth do some Scots demand the reestablishment of an international border that disappeared in 1707?

When there are elections in Germany the different parts, some of which are formerly independent countries, vote for different political parties. No one complains if Saxony votes for a left-wing party but Germany on the whole elects a right-wing Government. If the whole of Germany voted to leave the EU, no one would say that Saxony was dragged out against its will if Saxony voted to stay. No one would even say that East Germany was dragged out against its will under those circumstances. Having decided to be united Germans, no matter which formerly independent country they come from, have to accept the will of the majority.

What is the difference between Germany and Britain?  What indeed is the difference between Britain and every other nation state in Europe? The difference is simply this. People from Germany, Italy or France think of themselves as primarily German, Italian or French. They do this because they were forced to think this way. Their education systems emphasised the unity of the nation state and the subordinate status of the parts that were formerly independent.

In Britain the sense of being British is subordinate to the sense of being Scottish. Britain never tried to annul the idea that Scotland was a country as the Germans annulled the sense that Saxony was a country.

It is for this reason that Scotland kept a slightly different legal system, which anyway is far from being as exceptional as Scottish nationalists claim it to be. After all different laws apply in Michigan and Indiana.

If like the French we had spent centuries annulling regional difference, we would have no problem with secession now. There is only one language in France, one education system and one identity. But this didn’t happen accidentally. It happened by design. The British by contrast were so confident in ourselves and so liberal that we didn’t see the need to assert that there was only Britain and that the parts were mere regions. Unlike anyone else in Europe we celebrated that we were made up of four nations and then wondered why we had a problem with nationalism.

Scotland is no different from any other formerly independent country in Europe. We have no more legitimate grievance than Saxons. We have rather less in fact because we were not conquered but rather took over the English crown. Our sense of being a separate country with a separate identity alone fuels our nationalism and desire for separation. But there are no good grounds for separating people who speak the same language and share the same small island. The only difference between the British people is an accent and a tendency to vote for different political parties. If that is the grounds for divorce then no country, including Scotland, could long endure.

Wednesday 26 August 2020

Banging on about Gers helps the SNP


I used to think that “Gers” was a nickname for Rangers, then someone told me it had something to do with the Scottish economy. Each year GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland), shows the Scottish economy doing worse. Last year we spent more than we earned (deficit) by a huge amount, this year our deficit is even bigger. Some Pro UK politicians whoop for joy. Someone who has a great deal of expertise in these figures explains in intricate detail why these figures mean Scottish independence is now impossible and that they are a hammer blow for the SNP. But each year independence supporters neither read, nor understand, nor care about Gers. Each year support for independence gets higher especially after the latest Gers nail has been hammered into the SNP coffin. It’s really time we learned a different argument. This one isn’t effective.

The SNP learned a lesson sometime prior to the independence referendum in 2014. They learned that a positive argument is more effective than a negative argument.

The SNP argument is very simple and very powerful. It is this.

Scotland is a country.

Countries ought to be independent.

To most Scots it is undeniable that Scotland is a country. Well which countries ought not to be independent? Those that are too poor and second rate to be able to manage it? But even very poor places in the world like Chad and Vanuatu can manage independence. Is Scotland really so useless that we couldn’t do better than them?

This is the problem with the economic argument. It ends up being extremely negative about Scotland. Somehow out of all the countries in the world Scotland is just about the only one that ought not to be independent because we are too useless. The correct response to this is “We’ll show you.”

Why did Remain lose the referendum in 2016. It lost because it only told a negative story about Britain and not once made a positive case for the EU. I supported Brexit, but even I can make a good case for the EU. I would have told about how the EU could soon become a new United States with a European Statue of Liberty. How it would enable the people of Europe to become more closely related. How we would all marry each other and learn each other’s language. I would have talked about how we could create a new European people which would be stronger and freer than we would be apart. I would have talked about my dream that one hundred years from now we would no longer have national rivalries in Europe but that we would just be together as one. You might have disagreed with this, but at least it would have been positive.

What we got instead was relentless negativity about Britain. We were told by Remainers that Britain couldn’t possibly survive outside the EU. We were too weak, we were too poor and we were too stupid to manage. Lots of expert people who knew lots about economics told British people relentlessly that if we dared to leave the EU, we would be poorer. What was the result? The British people said, “We will show you”.

Not one single independence supporter will cease to support independence because of the Gers figures. Nor should they. If you really believe that Scotland ought to be an independent country, then you will think that it is worth going through difficulties to reach your goal. After all Poland was willing to lose 17% of its population and have its capital completely destroyed in order to maintain its independence in 1939. Whatever struggles Scotland would go through would be nothing compared to that.

Pro UK people have a right to point out that independence would be difficult and would in the short term make most of us poorer. There would have to be higher taxation and much lower public spending. But we do not have the right to suggest that people in Scotland could not manage. We could. We would have to.

My argument for Scotland remaining a part of Britain is simply this. Britain is one of the great countries. We have had a wonderful past. Some of the most important people in the world came from Scotland and Britain. We have historically made some mistakes and been on the wrong side of certain battles, but we have overwhelming done more good than harm. The world would have been a worse place if English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish people had not joined forces.

There is every reason to believe that by continuing our unity we will in the future continue to do good not merely for ourselves but for others too. We cooperate and we share our resources with each other. We don’t care if you are from Scotland or from England. There is a feeling of solidarity in Britain which means a taxpayer from Aberdeen is happy to pay for the NHS treatment of someone from Aberystwyth. We have this feeling of solidarity because we have been through much in the past centuries. We are family.

If the SNP were successful in separating Scotland from the rest of Britain. There would no longer be any solidarity. Scottish taxes would no longer help people in Wales or Northern Ireland. We would no longer be fellow citizens. We would no longer have a shared identity. This is why I oppose Scottish independence, not because we couldn’t become independent, but because we shouldn’t.

In the long run Gers figures are an irrelevance. In time and after some difficulties there is no reason to suppose that Scotland could not be a prosperous Northern European country. In the short run Scots have to be honest with each other. Even if I were an independence supporter, I would not choose this moment. I would wait until the Scottish economy was doing a bit better. My impatience to reach the promised land of an independent Scotland would cause quite a bit of misery for the poorest people in Scotland. This makes the desire a bit selfish. But this isn’t the most important argument.

The most important argument isn’t merely do you want Scotland to be independent. It’s do you want us to be separate from the other people living in Britain. If Scotland was right now making a surplus and people in England were struggling would we really think we owed them nothing. I think we are better than that.

 Most of Europe is made up of countries that formerly were independent. Germany is made up of dozens if not hundreds of them. Most Europeans are happy that they gave up their former countries. Few if any Saxons long for the independence they lost in 1871. The Saxony National Party (SNP) does not exist. If German speaking Saxons prefer solidarity to separation, why don’t English speaking Scots?

Tuesday 25 August 2020

The SNP fig-leaf


How many SNP MPs do you know who claim to be English? Well why not? They live in London. Perhaps they might claim that their residence in England is only temporary. That their main residence is in Scotland. Well what about the approximately one million people born in Scotland who live elsewhere? Nearly 800,000 of these live in England. How many of these do you think claim to be English? I have never once met a Scot living anywhere else in the world who claims to be anything other than a Scot. I’m sure there are some Scots in Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire who claim to be English, but they hardly ever happen.

When I lived abroad, I never once thought of myself as being Danish or Russian. I never once met a Dane or a Russian who thought that I was. As soon as I spoke Danish or Russian, they could tell from my accent that I was neither from Denmark nor Russia. Did this make them xenophobes? No, of course not. They were perfectly friendly and welcoming and quite happy that I lived in their country and could speak their language.

If a Scot moved to Burgundy would he become a Burgundian? I’m not sure if even Burgundians think of themselves as such. If a Scot moved to Sicily would he become a Sicilian? I doubt even if someone from Milan moved to Sicily, he would become a Sicilian. If a Scot moved to Dresden would he become a Saxon and if so, would he be an Anglo-Saxon? What if he was an SNP supporter? The truth is that I doubt there is a single Scottish SNP supporter who lives anywhere in the world who thinks he is anything other than a Scot.

But there is a curious phenomenon in Scotland. Scottish nationalism has devised a fig leaf to cover a multitude of sins. Along with Northern Ireland Scotland is the most sectarian country in Europe. In no other European country are people hated because of being either Catholic of Protestant. This hatred simply does not exist in Germany. Partly because of this sectarianism and also because of the continued existence of an older hatred, Scotland is the most xenophobic country in Europe. The hatred I have witnessed this summer against English people is quite unknown anywhere else in Europe even including countries which have recently fought wars against each other. Serbs and Croats do not hate each other like many Scottish nationalists hate English people.

It is quite unimaginable that Angela Merkel would be harassed if she went on holiday in a part of Germany other than the one, she was born in. Political opponents would not take out their spite personally against her. I can think of no other European country where people from one part would be unwelcome in another. It is simply unimaginable.

There are some Scottish nationalists who claim that hatred of English people does not exist. They are the equivalent of people who say hatred of black people does not exist.   

More English people live in Scotland than anyone else. There are nearly half a million of them. Are they Scots? Some are and some would like to be. But the near universal response to hearing an English accent in Scotland is to suppose that the person speaking with it is English.

Whenever there is Question Time on TV and someone with an English action says something critical of the SNP, Scottish nationalists immediately claim that it is somehow illegitimate.

How many SNP supporters do you suppose think that the half million English people are just as Scottish as they are? Perhaps we should test this theory by adding another half a million? If the British Government decided to ease overcrowding in English cities by building a new town in Scotland where English people could live and work, would these people immediately become Scots? What if these New Scots disagreed with Scottish independence? Would they still be welcome?

There are two aspects to nationality, which is reflected in the fact that nearly all countries give nationality to people who qualify by residence and to those who qualify by birth and parentage. I can obtain an Irish passport because my grandfather was born there. If Scotland became independent the SNP proposed to give Scottish passports to all those who lived here and to those who were born here and had a Scottish grandparent. In Britain decent people think that anyone who comes to Britain is as British as anyone else. It doesn’t matter where your parents come from nor does it matter where you were born.

But there are no Scottish citizens. So, what makes someone Scottish? Clearly it cannot simply be that someone says he is Scottish. If that were the case, then someone from Japan who has never even visited Scotland could claim to be Scottish. Likewise, someone who is merely on holiday in Scotland isn’t Scottish nor is someone doing a university course.

Well what makes someone British who has neither British parents nor was born here. It is his citizenship. We don’t say that a Japanese person is British even if he is living in London unless he is a British citizen. So too I would not be Japanese unless I became a Japanese citizen. But if a Japanese person living in London is not British, how could he be English? To be English and not British would be like saying I was a Breton but not French. It involves a contradiction.

The people who support Scottish nationalism overwhelmingly do so not because of residence. If five million Japanese moved to Scotland, they would not seek Scottish independence. Rather Scottish nationalists overwhelmingly seek Scottish independence for historical reasons. They look back to a time when Scotland was independent and celebrate those Scottish heroes who fought for independence. The traditions and the symbols that they use are nearly all from prior to 1707. But they use these symbols and this history because they think they are connected to them, not through residence, but through the fact that they were born and bred here. Independence movements are always nativist. They are overwhelmingly made up of people who claim a connection to the past who wish to redress an historical wrong and gain an advantage for themselves.

Foreigners in particular should be careful messing with nativism. It bites back. The first thing Scottish independence would do would be to turn all British citizens other than Scots into foreigners. If turning your fellow countrymen into foreigners is pro-foreigner, then I’m a Scottish nationalist.

It is for this reason too that independence marches are “hideously white”. They are almost exclusively made up of Scots who were born in Scotland and can trace their ancestry back to Jock Tamson. There are exceptions to the white seat of Scottish faces, but not very many.

SNP supporters almost all have Scottish accents and Scottish parents. Their nationalism like all nationalisms is founded in the past and based on the perceived connection of Scots today to that past. Without that there would be no sense of Scotland even being a separate country let alone the desire to be one again.

This is why they need the fig leaf that enables them to pretend that Scottish nationalism is welcoming, virtuous and liberal. One of the keys to this is to recruit non-Scots to the independence movement.

If you arrive from France meet Scottish nationalists and say you support the SNP, you will immediately become a Scot. You will feel happy and welcomed. But what if you say you vote Tory or oppose Scottish independence. Will you still be a Scot? What if you have an English accent and oppose Scottish independence. Will you still be a Scot? Of course, not. There is nothing civic about it. Anyone who doesn’t support Scottish independence is a Tory. He might be Red, Yellow, Green, English, French or Japanese, but he is not Scottish.

I grew up in a small town near Aberdeen where there were a lot of English incomers due to the oil industry. As children we made it clear to them that that there was one preeminent quality and they didn’t have it. We were Scottish because we’d been born there and had Scottish accents. They were not. Some of us grew up and grew out of this nationalism and hatred, but too many of us did not.

Sunday 23 August 2020

A fish rots from the head down


I had delayed watching Kirsty Wark’s documentary about Alex Salmond because I had heard people say that it was disappointing. It is true that there were no new revelations for those of us who had followed the trial reasonably closely, but still I came away with certain impressions.

If Alex Salmond had lived anywhere other than Scotland he would have been convicted and jailed. It took far less evidence from far fewer women to convict both Harvey Weinstein and Charlie Elphicke. If ten educated articulate women are not enough to convict Salmond, how many would be enough? This all makes Scotland look backward as if we still used thumb screws and dooked women in the burn to extract confessions.

Either there was a conspiracy against Salmond, or he was guilty. Clearly certain Salmond allies think that he was framed. But the only evidence for this is that some of Salmond’s alleged victims talked to each other. Why shouldn’t they talk to each other? Women talking to each other and gaining support from each other is part of the process by which we summon up the courage to confront rapists and people who commit sexual assault. One lone woman who has been groped might not dare to go to trial. It would be her word against someone powerful, but if she discovers that there are lots of others who have been groped, she might decide there is a chance to convict. This isn’t a conspiracy. It’s reasonable behaviour.

It may be that there is evidence of conspiracy within the SNP to bring Salmond down, but I am unaware of any of it being made public. Salmond was finished anyway after 2017 when he lost his seat. Why risk a conspiracy to bring him down, which if discovered could bring the whole SNP house down? Those who allege conspiracy, need to provide some evidence.

Sixty-seven-year-old Harvey Weinstein was convicted in March of first-degree sexual assault in 2006 and third degree rape in 2013. But these crimes took place within a context of consensual sex. Weinstein had a casting couch. Young women actresses knew that if they had sex with Weinstein there was a good chance that he would give them parts and success. This was sleazy, but legal. But it was this context that led Weinstein to grab without asking and to assume consent when it had not been given. He was used to getting his way.

Sixty-five-year-old Alex Salmond admitted to having consensual sex with one of the women witnesses, she denied it.  We are left to wonder if there was a pattern of behaviour in Bute House. How many other women would Salmond admit to having consensual sex with if the alternative was admitting to something worse?

Salmond admitted to drunkenly rolling around on a bed with a woman. Did this happen often or just once? It would have been useful if the documentary had gone further in its analysis of what was typical behaviour by Salmond when he was First Minister. Did he sleep with lots of young women? If he did then the allegations of the women witnesses would make more sense. Salmond might have thought that he was just behaving as usual as he had dozens of times before. He would have been used to having his way. He did not need to ask.

We lack the context of what Bute House was like when Salmond lived there. Was it some sort of harem where he had the pick of the servants only some of whom were reluctant to play along? Or did he live like a monk. He occasionally lapsed but kept saying to himself oh lord make me chaste but not yet. We lack the context because no one has been completely honest about what went on behind the scenes in Scotland in 2013 and 2014.

I had the impression that everyone in the documentary knew everyone else and had done so for decades. They were all politically on the Left, supporters of devolution and frequently supporters of independence. I don’t know the names of any of the women witnesses, but Kirsty Wark does and so did everyone else. But why didn’t we hear anything about Mr Salmond’s alleged behaviour in 2013 or 2014? Why were there no newspaper stories or television documentaries then when it might have made a difference to the referendum result.  Are we seriously to believe that Kirsty Wark heard no rumours?

The whole documentary is a bit like Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark. In 2020 it matters little politically what Salmond did or did not do. We will never know now for sure. It is impossible to prove conclusively what two people did together in private when they disagree. Ten women might be lying. Even one hundred might be lying. After all the word of one Salmond counts for more than any number of women in our progressive Scotland even when they describe sliding down the wall in despair. But there is a far deeper issue.

The only issue of any political importance is what Nicola Sturgeon knew.

There were a couple of snippets which didn’t touch her at all. She dismissed talk of conspiracy. But even this isn’t the issue. Are we to believe that throughout the time when ten women alleged Salmond was committing crimes that Sturgeon knew nothing whatsoever about it?

This is to suppose that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had no idea that the Prime Minister was sexually assaulting and raping young women even though he visited 10 Downing Street every day and talked to these women daily. If this were in England, not only would the press have told the tale as soon as the first rumour came to light, the Prime Minister would have been jailed and the Chancellor sacked and disgraced for turning a blind eye.

But in Scotland we have senior civil servant Leslie Evans holding up her hands, looking around and signally to SNP MSP and chairman of the inquiry Linda Fabiani asking if she is comfortable with her answers. What sort of witness gets coached by the judge through her testimony. It makes me wonder if it is even possible to have a fair trial and an impartial inquiry in Scotland.  A nod and a wink gets you off. A nod and another wink keeps everything nicely secret. Be careful Scotland this rapidly makes us cease to be a free society.

No inquiry and no documentary will come close to Sturgeon. But Sturgeon is the equivalent of one of those actresses who praised Harvey Weinstein while knowing that he was taking advantage and sometimes assaulting young women. That Sturgeon pretends to care about feminism, women’s rights and the victims of sexual assault and rape only makes her a worse hypocrite.

Sturgeon could have exposed Salmond’s behaviour when it first became known to her. She could have saved women the indignity of going to court. She could perhaps have saved them from allegedly being assaulted in the first place. But like every other SNP member she puts the good of the party and the cause of independence above everything else. She would never have exposed Salmond in 2013 or 2014 because that would have damaged the chances of a Yes victory. It is for the same reason Sturgeon is untouchable today.

Saturday 22 August 2020

The last Left-winger standing in Scotland


There used to be lots of Labour and Liberal Democrats MPs and MSPs willing to fight for Britain. Where have they all gone?

What happened to Jim Murphy? He’s only 52. He used to stand on Irn Bru crates and did a good job arguing against the SNP. Now he was last heard of working for Tony Blair.

What happened to Alistair Darling? He’s only 66.  He led the campaign in 2014. But has now even retired from the House of Lords. He shows no appetite to take on the SNP again.

What happened to Douglas Alexander? He’s only 52. He now works at Harvard and is no longer interested in us.

What happened to Danny Alexander? He’s only 48. He works for an investment bank.

What happened to Gordon Brown? He’s only 69?  He occasionally mutters something about federalism, but otherwise does nothing to fight the SNP.

The whole Left-Wing establishment in Scotland that gave us the Scottish Parliament has retired hurt. They thought that the Scottish Parliament would give them power forever. No one could ever challenge a Labour Lib Dem coalition.

Having created the condition for Scottish nationalism first by joining with the SNP in an anti-Tory coalition and second by creating a lopsided devolution settlement which was so ill thought out that within twenty years it was being used to attack Britain, these people have left the mess they created behind them for someone else to clean up.

That person is the last Left-winger standing in Scotland. That person is George Galloway.

George is 66, but he has rather more energy than pretty much everyone else who used to be a Labour MP. He has just become a father again and he can still stir up Scottish politics.

I’m a Conservative voter. I support Boris Johnson and Brexit. But just as the Left in Scotland has been ineffective in opposition so too has the Right. Ruth Davidson did very well in 2017, but in 2019 the Conservatives in Scotland lost seven seats and independence was once more firmly on the agenda. We must wait and see how Douglas Ross does, but he is hardly a household name even amongst those who follow football.

George Galloway leads Alliance for Unity. It has a single purpose to defeat the SNP in next years Scottish Parliament election. It will only stand in the list seats. This means that people can still vote Conservative, Labour or Lib Dem, but we will use our second vote for Alliance for Unity.  The aim is to maximise the number of Pro UK MSPs. A secondary aim is to put pressure on the established opposition politicians. You must improve your performance or lose your jobs and join Mr Murphy, Mr Alexander and the rest.

Do I agree with George Galloway about everything? No.

Some people have been coming to me with objections about things that George has said or done in the past. I’ve never met George and I’ve only followed his political career from a distance. But let’s take the objections in turn.

Some people say George supports a united Ireland. Well lots of British people of Irish descent do. It’s a perfectly legitimate political position. John Hume shared it. I disagree with it. I hope Northern Ireland remains part of the UK. But it’s not up to me. According to the terms of the Belfast Agreement that was ratified by the people of Northern Ireland in 1998, the future constitutional status of Northern Ireland is up to the people of Northern Ireland. So, it has nothing to do with me and it has nothing to do with the Scottish politics. So, we can all agree to differ on this one.

Some people say that George supports the Palestinian side in the Israeli-Palestine conflict. This too is a perfectly legitimate position. Lots of British politicians hold these views. I tend to support the Israeli side of the argument, but this is an issue about which reasonable people can differ. But once more it has nothing to do with Scottish politics. Whatever happens in the Scottish Parliament election next year will have no influence whatsoever on Israel.

Some people say that George Galloway says controversial things about rape or other matters. Well this is exactly how I write. I try always to say exactly what I think and use reason to defend it. So does George. I don’t care if other people find my views controversial or if they think it is not a good look. Intelligent people like George do say controversial things. This is because they can think. Dull people always wonder what someone else will think about what they write. This is what makes them dull.

George Galloway came up with the very best argument against Scottish independence in 2014. The Left is about class solidarity rather than nationalism. He therefore stated, “My case isn't that Scotland couldn't be independent, but shouldn't". It would be a betrayal of the working class not merely in Scotland but in other parts of the UK. This immediately undercuts the SNP claim to be Left-wing.

Conservatives like me have only a limited appeal in Scotland. Many Scots will simply dismiss us as Tories. But a real socialist like George can undercut the SNP argument and show it for what it is. Nationalism is always grounded in selfishness and always opposed to solidarity because it rejects class solidarity in favour of nationality. If we had made that argument in 2014, we would have done much better.

I am only slightly involved with Alliance for Unity. I am still learning. We have only just begun. But don’t reject the best chance we have of dismissing the SNP because you remember George saying something you disagree with or remember him fooling around as a cat. George has a fine mind and he can argue and debate. He can take on Sturgeon and beat her, because he has a better mind and a better argument than she does. He can communicate that argument. The SNP are therefore scared of him. That has become still clearer in recent days. My timeline is full of Scottish nationalists insulting George. They are not insulting any other Scottish politician.

Lend George your vote. Alliance for Unity has shaken up Scottish politics more this summer than anyone else in years. If this continues, we can overthrow the SNP next Spring.



Friday 21 August 2020

Michael Gove should give Scots living elsewhere the vote


Let’s be absolutely honest if there were to be a second independence referendum with the same question as last time and the same franchise, it would be a coin toss. If I were a Scottish independence supporter, I would want a bigger lead in the polls. Even 60% plus wouldn’t guarantee a vote for independence. The intellectual argument is very weak. We vote in General Elections on the basis that we hope that one party or another will make us better off and run the economy more successfully than the others. We vote for other reasons too, but that is the main reason for our choice. Well there is no question whatsoever that Scottish independence would damage the Scottish economy in the short term and probably the long term too. In a campaign every SNP claim about the future of Scotland would be tested to the limit. There is every chance that a majority of Scots would vote against being poorer twice running.

I am against a second referendum because I genuinely thought that if Yes had won in 2014 that would be it. There would be no second chances for my side. We would have had the choice of making the best of losing or else leaving. If we lose once we lose forever. If the SNP lose, they get to fight again. This isn’t fair and it makes losing in the end inevitable.

But being honest again, I am against a second referendum because I think we might lose. Indeed, I think we probably would lose. The SNP have Nicola Sturgeon, who is a first-rate politician. We don’t have anybody of that calibre to go up against her except Michael Gove and he has the disadvantage of being a Conservative and busy elsewhere.

No one sensible bets the future of their country on a coin toss. For this reason, I have consistently argued that the British Government should use an Act of Parliament or it should amend our unwritten constitution, or indeed write a new one to make secession illegal. Failing that it should simply continue to say “No” and make clear that any illegal referendums would not be respected either by the British Government or the international community.  

But I am only writing this, because sufficient “Pro UK” Scottish journalists and establishment figures think that if the SNP and friends win a pro independence majority at next year’s Scottish Parliament elections then they must be granted a second referendum.

So here is what needs to be done under those circumstances.

The first thing that needs to be done is that the British Government takes control of all matters relating to the referendum. Constitutional matters are reserved including referendums on them. It should therefore be up to the British Government to decide the date of the referendum, how long the campaign is, what sort of funding it has, what the question is, and who gets to vote.

The 2016 EU referendum has already set the precedent that a Yes/No question is unfair. It’s also crucial that Scottish voters are asked whether they wish Scotland to cease to be part of the UK and indeed if they wish the UK to cease to exist. The former UK could hardly be called united when it would be disunited. A Leave/Remain question similar to the EU referendum might be fair. But Leave and Remain now have connotations so it might be better to come up with something new.

With its usual ineptitude Scottish Labour and the Lib Dems agreed with the SNP’s decision to extend the franchise to foreigners in Scotland. This gave the SNP the super majority needed to change the franchise in favour of itself. Foreigners are much more likely to vote for independence partly because they resent Britain leaving the EU.

Imagine if there were a very close referendum campaign and it turned out that it needed the votes of foreign citizens to break up a three-hundred-year-old country, while Scots living elsewhere in Britain and the world had no say whatsoever.  No other country in the world would stand for this.

This is clearly unjust. For this reason, non-resident Scots must be given a vote in any future referendum.

But who is a Scot? Well we already know the answer from the SNP. People born in Scotland and those with a Scottish parent or grandparent would be eligible for Scottish citizenship as well as those who have lived in Scotland for ten years or who have a demonstrable connection. The details can be found in Scotland’s Future (2013).

Well if someone would have the right to have a Scottish passport, he clearly ought to have the right to decide if he wants one. For this reason, the British Government should allow all Scots who would have the right to a Scottish Passport to apply to vote in Scottish elections and especially in any future referendum.

The British Government should also make clear that it would not allow dual British/Scottish nationality. It would be unfair for Scots to choose independence knowing that they could access all the services that are available to British citizens. They should therefore be made to choose. Those Scots living in other parts of Britain who wanted to have Scottish passports would have to apply for leave to remain in the former UK. While those Scots living in Scotland who wished to remain British would have to apply for leave to remain in Scotland.

I would prefer that there were no second independence referendum ever, but the best way to prevent it is to make clear to the SNP now that it will not be fought on their terms, but rather on our terms. If they don’t like those terms it should not be difficult to write them a letter reminding them that constitutional matters are reserved.


Thursday 20 August 2020

Be careful who you vote for


In February 2020 when we were all beginning to worry about Covid the Scottish Government passed a law extending the franchise in Scottish Parliament and local elections so that everyone with leave to remain in the UK can vote plus some prisoners.

On the one hand I can see the justice of allowing someone who has been living and working in Scotland for years having the chance to vote despite not being a British citizen. In pre-SNP Scotland I would have supported this completely. But Scotland is not a normal democracy. Every election we have is fundamentally not about education, healthcare and the other issues that the Scottish Government controls. We might try to turn the conversation to those matters, and we might succeed up to a point, but we know that most voters will decide to vote on whether they want Scottish independence or not. I do not believe that this is a matter for foreigners.

I have lived and worked abroad. I would not dream of campaigning for someone else’s country to break up. It would be grotesquely rude of me to do so. It would be to break all the rules of hospitality. Imagine going to live in the United States, gaining the right to live and work there from the United States and then campaigning for one of the states to become independent. This would be considered completely unacceptable behaviour.

In every single EU member state, it would be considered simply an abuse to use the principle of free movement of people to attack the member state from within. Germans, Poles and Italians would react with fury if people from other countries moved en masse and then started agitating for secession. Imagine if Germans moved to parts of Poland in order to gain a majority for reunification with Germany. Poland would deport them. Imagine if enough Italians moved to Corsica and then demanded Corsica be returned to Italy. How would the French react?

Constitutional matters are for citizens not foreigners. It is for this reason that whenever I come across a foreigner campaigning for Scottish independence, I ask them which part of their own country they want to become independent. It is grossly hypocritical for a French person to campaign for Britain to be broken up if he would be horrified by the prospect of France breaking up. If it would be wrong for me to move to Brittany and campaign for Brittany to leave France it is equally wrong for an EU citizen to move here and campaign for Scotland to leave the UK.

But despite it being wrong to move to Britain accept British hospitality and then campaign for Britain’s breakup it must be admitted that many EU citizens and other foreigners are attracted to the SNP and its continual agitation to destroy the UK. Why are they attracted?

Some people for historical reasons hate Britain. They blame us because we had an empire and their ancestral home was part of it. They dislike us because of our historical foreign policies and the fact that we have been in wars with people they sympathise with. Others blame us for famines, for 1000 years of occupation and oppression. It’s odd that no one in Britain complains that we were conquered by Angles and Saxons. Others still resent that Britain voted to leave the EU. The SNP’s support for the EU and the prospect that Scottish independence might lead to Scotland joining the EU is attractive to some EU citizens.

These people should be careful what they wish for.

Anyone who has leave to remain in the UK has the legal right to live in the UK. But Scottish independence would destroy the UK as a nation state. We don’t know exactly what the resulting states would be, and we certainly don’t know who would have the right to live in them. That would be up to the Government’s of these future states. At the very least foreign nationals would have to reapply for leave to remain in either Scotland or the former UK. It is likely that foreign nationals would be given the right to remain in Scotland, but they would have no right to live and work in the former UK. They would not be former British citizens and there is no guarantee that leave to remain in Scotland would grant someone the right to live and work in England.

The most important issue however is that foreign nationals above all others should be careful with playing with nationalism. It is likely to burn you much more than fire. The British identity is open to every immigrant. Most British people think it is wrong to deny this identity to people who live here. But this attitude is quite unusual in Europe. Most Polish people for instance think that to be a Pole you need to speak Polish and have Polish ancestry. If I moved to Poland, I could never become a Pole.

But there is an element of this in the Scottish identity and also to an extent in the other identities in the UK. An English person with an English accent who has lived in Scotland for forty years will still be considered English by most Scots. If he wore a kilt many Scots would ask if he was entitled to do so. Entitlement comes from ancestry.

Scottish nationalists pretend to welcoming and inclusive to foreigners because they want your votes. So long as you support the SNP that welcome is liable to continue, but as soon as you disagree you will cease to be Scottish. This is the mistake so called “English Scots” fall into. You can go native if you like, Scottish nationalists will even say that you are as Scottish as they are as long as you support the SNP. But disagree with them just once and you will be straight back to being English.

Scottish nationalism is made up of some genuinely open-minded inclusive Scots who want independence for progressive reasons. But you only need to spend a small amount of time on social media and to see pictures of the Scottish nationalist marches to realise that Scottish nationalism appeals to ancestry. Why else are they dressing up as if they were refighting the 1745 rebellion?

Scottish nationalists have tried to appropriate Scotland’s flag and all of the symbols of Scotland and they have largely succeeded. But this sort of nationalism only applies to people who are from Scotland. It won’t ever apply to people from elsewhere. What have saltires and thistles and lions rampant and tales of 1314 to do with you if you are from Poland? You don’t even know who the Scottish heroes are nor can you understand your neighbour if he speaks Scots.

But this is the danger for foreigners in an independent Scotland. It would fundamentally define Scottishness by ancestry because anyone who has Scottish ancestry would get a passport and be fully Scottish. Anyone else might be allowed to remain, but there is no guarantee that a Polish accent would be quite so welcomed if times got tough. If you don’t look like a Jacobite or speak like a Jacobite be very careful voting for Scottish nationalists. You might find yourself watching TV in Gaelic or Scots and you might find that the ability to speak one or the other was a requirement for certain jobs and even a requirement for citizenship. If you think that could never happen here, it might be worth remembering that the ability to speak the national language is already a condition for gaining a passport in most EU countries including Britain. What would Scotland’s national language be? Do you really think it would be English? They hate the English. They might well end up hating you.


Tuesday 18 August 2020

Qualifications are now worthless

In Scotland school pupils and their parents put enough pressure on the SNP to reverse policy on exams marks. The precedent meant that it was already inevitable that the British Government felt the need to cave into such demands too.  Grades have been inflated for the past thirty years and more, but this is the biggest jump yet. We will need a wheelbarrow of A levels to buy a loaf of bread.   

Teachers across Britain have grossly overestimated the marks of school pupils, not because they are stupid or dishonest, but because it is the natural human thing to do. Faced with a borderline pupil who might get a B or might get an A, the teacher chooses to be optimistic. This tendency amounts to a systematic error in the predicted grades. It is enough to account for grades this year rising between ten and twenty percent.

Ability remains constant because intellect remains constant. Good teaching can improve exam results in a particular school, but it cannot account for a sudden drastic rise in one year especially when most pupils had minimal contact with their teachers from last March onwards.

School pupils in Scotland have been celebrating getting the improved grades their teachers predicted rather than the lower grades assigned by a computer algorithm. No doubt pupils in England are celebrating too. It is unfair to lower grades en masse by computer. It judges the individual according to what is predicted of the group. But the alternative is worse.

I have either studied or worked in higher education since leaving school more than thirty years ago. There has been a steady decline in what has been expected of pupils and students ever since.

When I did O level French in the 1980s, we had to write a letter in French for the exam. It was marked out of twenty. For each mistake no matter how trivial you lost one mark. It was easy to get zero. It meant that we learned French carefully and had to understand the grammar. Now languages are taught as if there was no such thing as grammar by learning phrases as if going on holiday with a Berlitz phrasebook.  This is no longer an academic subject.

When students of moderate ability arrive at university because of grade inflation at school, the result is that courses have to be made easier. A course that was difficult for the top ten percent thirty years ago would be failed by four fifths of students when fifty percent of pupils go to university. If we failed that many, the university would be bankrupted. So, we make the courses easier. This happens gradually. But the difference between what was expected from a student in most courses has changed beyond all recognition since 1985.

What is the purpose of exams either at school or at university? The purpose is to distinguish between ability ranges.

It used to be the case that an employer would know that someone who had an A in Higher/A Level English or a 2:1 in English could be relied upon to be hard working, intelligent, capable of learning new things quickly, literate and therefore likely to be a good employee.

The inflation of grades in the past thirty or so years and especially this year means that these exams will no longer distinguish anything. How do we distinguish between the very able, the moderate and the poor when they all get an A? The problem is that they will now all go to university. But the courses will have to be adjusted still further so that no one can possibly fail. After four years of study they will all probably get a 2:1. But then neither school nor university will have distinguished between them.

But if neither school nor university exams distinguish between the able the moderate and the poor, they will cease to have any purpose. The exams quite literally will become worthless because no employer will be able to predict from the fact that someone has good A levels or a good degree that the person is intelligent, hard working and likely to be a good employee. If young people are celebrating this, they are idiots.

In the Spring before I did my finals in the 1980s my unfinished philosophy course got me an interview with a city forex trading firm and a job offer. I was informed that a good trader could make a quarter of a million pounds each year. I took a different path. But the reason I got the interview and the job offer was because the firm took seriously my university studies and the grades I got at school. Grade inflation means that not one single philosophy undergraduate will receive a similar offer today. Those who study such subjects will instead be lucky if they get a job in a bar, or in a restaurant or a supermarket. This is what grade inflation does to student prospects. Are you still celebrating?

If I had a teenage son or daughter faced with the present problems, I would advise two courses of action. If you can get onto a mathematics, hard science, computing, law or medicine course then by all means go to university. If you want to teach in school then study a subject that is taught in school and then get a teaching qualification, or alternatively study to teach in a primary school. These routes are still sensible. Every other university subject is completely worthless and will lead you merely to debt, disappointment and unemployment.

Grade inflation has tragically killed the arts and social sciences as sensible things to study. There is I believe much of worth to study in my own fields of Russian literature, philosophy and theology, but the only financially secure job that these subjects will lead to is academia and you face a long and lonely route to that with small chance of success. That route just got harder still as you will struggle to distinguish yourself from everyone else who just got an A.

In a world where qualifications have been turned from gold into base metal, the only thing you can sensibly do is gain skills and experience. I would advise most school pupils to get any job they can. This will be difficult in the post Covid world, but work experience will count for more than qualifications, because it at least shows that you can turn up.

Being able to do things rather than not being able to do things will count for more in the years ahead than what you did in school or university. Nobody cares about what a plumber did in school so long as he doesn’t make a mess of your new bathroom. The same will apply to every other job.

The pressure that was put on the Scottish Government and the British Government too by pupils and parents is based on the false idea that it somehow will matter that you got an A rather than a B or a C. 

The tragedy is not that poor little Johnny couldn’t get to medical school because the nasty computer didn’t give him an A. Quite the reverse, the tragedy is that people unsuited to study medicine will now do so. They will not fail because universities need their fees and can only afford to fail a tiny percentage. The result will be that someone unsuited to being a doctor will work as doctor for forty years and more.

School pupils who would have been prevented from going to university this year because they did not get the grades they wanted should have got down on their knees and thanked God for their good fortune. Instead as proof of their idiocy they complained and got the grades they deserved. They will now get the fate that they deserve. 

You shall go to the ball. You shall drink lots of wine and sleep with lots of men, but what you gain from the experience will be worth less than a solitary glass slipper and there will be no Prince Charming offering you happy ever after afterwards.

University sucks in vast numbers of school pupils and spits them out worse off financially and intellectually than they were before. Science, medicine and law are still worth studying, but pretty much everything else turns pupils into thicko woke warriors who know nothing and have no skills with which to attract an employer and an attitude any sensible employer would do well to avoid. If your child has been spared that fate be thankful.

Students protesting that they cannot go to university are the equivalent of cattle protesting that they cannot go to the abattoir. Get a job, get some skills, work hard. This is how you will get ahead. Qualifications are now worthless.

Sunday 16 August 2020

The broadcast media has disgraced itself


Broadcast media does not run the country, but it does set the parameters of what it is possible for Governments to do. It is at least in part responsible for some of the mistakes that have been made in the past few months.

The British economy shrank by just over 20% in the second quarter of this year. This is just a number to most of us. Because of furlough we haven’t really felt the economic shock. Lockdown has been one long holiday for many of us without any noticeable decline in our living standards. What’s not to like? But soon ordinary people will find themselves without a job and unable to get another perhaps forever. Many of them will blame the Government, but they should equally blame the broadcast media.

I was broadly in favour of the Government’s strategy in March, but it was clear even then that mistakes had been made. We should have quarantined visitors to Britain from January onwards.  But it is now becoming clearer that we did too much as well as too little.

It was a mistake to close schools. Children are at minimal risk from Covid. Teachers are less at risk from working in schools than supermarket workers are at risk from working in supermarkets. Education is an essential not an optional extra. Treating education as less important than groceries is the cause of the exam mess.

We now know that Covid overwhelmingly kills people over 65 and especially over 75. It therefore kills people who don’t work. If we had quarantined everyone over 65 and prevented them from having contact with anyone under 65, we would have saved nearly all the lives of people who died from Covid and we would not have wrecked the economy.

Why didn’t we do this? In part because we didn’t know then what we know now. But more importantly because the Government would never have been allowed to follow this strategy. The broadcast media demanded full lockdown, filled its programmes with horror stories that scared the public witless and demonised anyone who questioned their viewpoint.

Imagine if the Government had not closed schools. Inevitably there would have been a case of a child catching Covid and dying. In a population of 65 million this is unavoidable. So too inevitably there would have been a teacher or a parent who caught Covid from a pupil. What would have happened then?

There would have been media hysterics. Beth Rigsby or Laura Kuenssberg or Robert Peston would have asked Boris Johnson if he felt guilty for murdering poor little Johnny, his teacher or his parent. They would have asked Boris Johnson if he wanted to apologise for this death. There would have been a feeding frenzy far worse than occurred when Dominic Cummings drove to Durham and killed no one. Instead we would have had endless stories about poor little Johnny and how he was destined to be a great violinist, mathematician and saint, how his poor mother fed the halt the lame and the hungry and how his teacher ran the local foodbank, cared for her sick mother and disabled children.

The broadcast media’s focus on the personal has infantilised news. Whenever there is a famine or a bombing anywhere in the world, we have to learn about poor little Fatimah who is starving, blind or had her leg blown off because of the wickedness of Britain the USA or Israel.  Later in the bulletin we find poor little Mo who has walked all the way from Afghanistan. All he ever wanted was to play football for Man United. He even has a home-made version of the strip. Now he’s in a dinghy risking his life because you are so uncaring that you can’t find room in the inn for him.

It is this childishness that makes debate about politics impossible in Britain. As soon as the Government introduces a plan to reform benefits, we’ll get Beth Robert or Laura standing outside a grim up North housing estate interviewing a single mother with an autistic child who is going to starve because of the wicked Tories. No doubt it is because they are going to starve that 600,000 migrants arrived in Britain in 2019.

We might have had a more nuanced lockdown. It was completely senseless to ban people from going outside. Covid doesn’t transmit easily out of doors. But if the Government had eased any restrictions in any way and poor little Johnny had died because of it, there would have been the same media piranha attack on the Tory body thrown into the river.  

In fact, if the Government had done anything at all to lessen the economic impact of lockdown in March and one person had died as a result the minister responsible would have been forced to resign if he was lucky, because the broadcast media would have demanded his toe nails pulled out one by one while he was hanging upside down.

Someone did die. Huge numbers of people with cancer were not diagnosed or treated. Huge numbers of heart disease patients stayed at home. Lockdown saved some lives, but it cost others and it will go on costing them for years not least because deaths increase in a recession. But the broadcast media was uninterested in these deaths, because they were mere statistics rather than human interest stories. This is the problem. It only tells the sob story, it never gives us facts and the knowledge to interpret those facts fairly.

There is a sameness about the people who reach the top in broadcast media. They are middle class. They have moderate levels of education and universally have left-wing views about everything. While I sometimes come across a first-class mind writing for a newspaper I rarely if ever do so on TV or radio. There is no originality of thought at all. Yet this small group of broadcast oligarchs have huge influence and power though no one voted for them.

They are not remotely fair in their coverage. One week we have Cummings grilled in the garden for going to Durham, the next we have mass gatherings whipped up by broadcast media coverage of a murder in Minnesota. The BBC could equally cover any other murder around the world. There are any number of Chinese cops murdering Uighurs for racist reasons, but no one cares a damn, because the BBC is only interested in white racists.

We get endless coverage of the American Presidential election because no one in broadcast media can stand Trump, but not one person in a million in Britain could name the leaders of Slovakia, Taiwan and Chad.

The broadcast media don’t report, they tell us what they think we should know and ought to believe. They cannot bear it when we don’t do what we are told either in voting for Brexit or failing to see the benefits of a Corbyn Sturgeon coalition.

It is just possible that Britain might have had a lighter lockdown. This was clearly Boris Johnson’s intention at the beginning until he lost his nerve because he realised the BBC, Sky and ITV would have crucified him for ever death they could highlight as being due to him and his polices.

The desire of the BBC Sky and ITV to punish the Tories for Brexit may have cost our economy billions. The broadcast media was never willing to treat the Covid crisis as a national emergency requiring unity of purpose. They never once strayed from their desire for Remoaner revenge. It was this that made it impossible for us to have a Swedish style nuanced approach to Covid, which would have kept most of us in our jobs, our children in school and would quite possibly have saved lives at least in the long run.

We might have escaped with our economy shrinking less than 10% if it hadn’t been for Beth, Robert and Laura and their childish, ignorant questions. They literally cost us all hundreds of billions of pounds. Perhaps we should send them each a bill. 

The relentlessly left-wing profile of the broadcast media in Britain and the fact that it does not in any way reflect the views of vast numbers of British people, is obviously down to discrimination. If the BBC discriminated against black people in the same way that it so clearly discriminates against Brexiteers and Conservatives, it would be prosecuted. It deserves to be prosecuted and put out of business for what it has cost us.

The Government must force the broadcast media to be impartial. Failure to reflect all opinions should lead to the BBC, Sky and ITV being declared the broadcast equivalent of the Guardian. Under those circumstances Government ministers should simply refuse to engage with biased journalists and refuse to answer their questions. The biggest mistake of all was inviting these people to ask questions each day in those hideous briefings. It stopped us doing what was in the interest of our country. It cost lives and will go on doing so for years.

There needs to be a reckoning and there needs to be drastic change. Better by far that BBC, SKY and ITV should cease to exist than that their bias should cause such damage again.  At least that way we might have Government that reflects the will of the electorate rather the prejudices of a broadcast media elite that acts like an unelected, unaccountable bunch of Russian oligarchs.  The broadcast media in Britain is less impartial than in Russia. It has disgraced itself.