Monday 29 April 2024

Send in the clowns


For a long time, I have found Scottish politics to be authoritarian, corrupt and if you are not careful potentially threatening.

The cultlike devotion to Nicola Sturgeon and the more unthinking elements in Scottish nationalism were sinister.

It was extraordinary that Alex Salmond’s misbehaviour in Bute House did not leak. It was even more extraordinary that eleven professional women witnesses were not enough to obtain a conviction in Scotland when they would have done so everywhere else in the world except Iran.

I have followed the secrecy at the heart of the Scottish government I have listened to the lies. Like everyone else I have followed the developments exposed after Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation.

I began to wonder what on earth is going on in the Scottish government and how far and how deep the corruption went.

But this week I have discovered that we are not run by the Mafia, we are run by the clowns.

Politics ought to be a serious business and we ought to expect politicians to act seriously. Humza Yousaf was perfectly within his rights to tell the Scottish Greens that he wanted to end the Bute House agreement. The Scottish Greens could logically decide to vote against the Scottish government in a confidence vote. This is what ceasing to be a part of a coalition involves.

But having obtained Humza Yousaf’s resignation, it makes no sense at all for the Scottish Greens to then say we will continue to support the Scottish government though no longer part of a coalition.

If the Scottish Greens are happy to support the Scottish government outside a coalition, then what is their objection to Humza Yousaf ending that coalition? Was it that he didn’t speak nicely enough to Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater? Was it that they resent losing their ministerial salaries? Absurdly the Scottish Greens will continue to support the Scottish government even while Humza Yousaf continues as First Minister though they said they would vote that they have no confidence in him. This is not serious.

Scotland is important to those of us living here. We cannot have clowns running it.

I begin to think Humza Yousaf, though clearly a poor First Minister, has been harshly treated. He acted on the advice if not the pressure of Westminster leader Stephen Flynn. It’s true that he ought to have consulted with the leaders of the Scottish Greens to find out how they would act if he ended the coalition. But it was also reasonable of Yousaf to think that the Scottish Greens would act to avoid a Holyrood election by bringing down the Scottish government as both they and the SNP would do badly and the result might be a Pro UK coalition instead of an independence coalition.

But everything that has happened since has defied rationality. Far from treating the dissolution of the coalition rationally, the Scottish Greens have first claimed that they would vote against Yousaf in a no confidence vote and then that they would vote against the Scottish government only to show temporary confidence in Yousaf until someone else takes over and permanent confidence in the Scottish government even though they are no longer in coalition.

It ends up being a fit of pique with hysterical Lorna Slater demonstrating that women should not be in high office because they have attacks of the vapours while Patrick Harvie puts on his clown makeup with one moment a smile and another moment a frown in the same way that he thinks men can become women on whim and women can become men to avoid PMS even if they have penises. This is what you get for electing flakes.

The latest revelation has Humza Yousaf coming to a deal with Alex Salmond at 7.30 AM having obtained reasonable indeed lenient terms to obtain Ash Regan’s vote only to have the deal overruled by Nicola Sturgeon who can’t bear the idea that Alex Salmond should have any influence and any chance of ever getting back into Parliament.

This too is not serious. Humza Yousaf was elected leader of the SNP and First Minister. How can he be overruled by a former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon? How many times has Sturgeon showed up in Holyrood in the past year? She is no more than a backbench MSP. Yet one phone call and Yousaf has to resign or what exactly?

And now who becomes the next leader of the SNP and the next First Minister? You would think it would be the Deputy First Minister Shona Robison. After all it is normally the job of the deputy to step in. But Robison turns out to be deputy in name only. There may or there may not be a contest, but who is pulling the strings like the poster for the Godfather? Could it be someone who just might be charged imminently and who might know things about all sorts of SNP politicians which might be to their disadvantage?

Don't you love farce?
My fault, I fear

Yes, it was your fault Mr Yousaf, but I think you were led astray perhaps deviously by one not quite as naïve as you.

I thought that you'd want what I want
Sorry, my dear!

It was reasonable for Yousaf to think that the SNP and the Scottish Greens had a common interest. But it turns out that the Scottish Greens are mere opportunists concerned more about their jobs than the common interest they were supposed to have with the SNP. Why do independence supporters vote for these charlatans? The Scottish Greens no more want independence than I do.

But where are the clowns
Send in the clowns
Don't bother, they're here

The Scottish Parliament is full of clowns. Some of them are rather sinister clowns. Some of them may even be dangerous clowns like in a Stephen King novel. But this week has shown that the whole thing has become a joke on those of us who live in Scotland and are ruled by these jokers.

Holyrood is a failed experiment. If you don’t take the last week as evidence for this, what evidence would you take?

I keep thinking of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon and those old photographs of them looking devotedly into each other’s eyes as if they were just about to kiss.

Isn't it rich? Are we a pair?

The personal drama between Salmond and Sturgeon has eaten away at whatever seriousness there was in Scottish politics. It is merely a story of an old Scottish message with one fish trying to tell the other fish that it sleeps with the fishes. It has now become comical.

Me here at last on the ground,
You in mid-air,

Salmond is on the ground. He is safe enough. He was acquitted. Sturgeon has not been charged with anything. She is still in mid-air.

Where are the clowns?

Don't bother, they're here.

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Saturday 27 April 2024

A fairytale that has nothing to do with Scotland. Part 24

Part 23

Once upon a time there was a sailor who was so bad at sailing and who led such a sinful life when not sailing that he was called Sinbad the Sailor.

Sinbad was in fact so bad at sailing that he could not even limit his sailing to his own fairytales and sailed off from the nights in Arabia to the days of Ancient Greece.

It turned out that Jason had been using the pay of the Argonauts not to gain the golden fleece but rather to obtain a golden head loo so that his wife could sit on a throne that was fitting to her saintliness. But when Sinbad replaced Jason, he first made a speech to the Argonauts.

The navigator of the Argo – An Argonaut
The helmsman of the Argo – An Argonaut
The crew of the Argo – Argonauts.

Nevertheless, Argonauts agreed to allow Sinbad to lead them. He overruled the navigator. He told the helmsman to go in the opposite direction. After a year of going round in circles Sinbad found a Ram a desperate Dan and after a ding dong came back with the fleece of the sheep that he had painted golden while the Argonauts slept. I have discovered the golden fleece said Sinbad. This was his first sin.

Sinbad was so sexy and so lusty that he soon found himself in need of a wife.

The wife – An Argonaut.

Unfortunately, she stepped on a viper and died. It may be that it was Sinbad’s foot she stepped on, but he followed her anyway to the underworld where due to his negotiating skills and ability with the lyre or perhaps his ability as a liar he was able to negotiate Eurydice’s release. But Sinbad was already tiring of Eurydice and in fact had already been lusting after someone who was not an argonaut and so as they left the underworld Sinbad ignored the warning to not look back and turned his wife into a pillar of salt. This was her lot for being a bad argonaut. This was Sinbad’s second sin.

Sinbad was such a bad sailor that he began to turn up in history as well as fairytales.

In 1776 he arrived in the colonies and said.

The leader of the War of Independence George Washington – An American.
The signer of the Declaration of Independence Benjamin Franklin – An American
The naval commander of the Republic John Paul Jones – An American.

Sinbad proceeded to become the leader of the American independence movement and promptly replaced all of the Americans with Sinbad all except his second in command who was Benedict Arnold. In 1781 at Yorktown Sinbad surrendered the American forces to the British and then complained that the King of Britain was British, the General of the British Armies was British, and the people of Britain were British. Siding with Benedict Arnold was his third sin.

Not only was Sinbad lost in the seas, lost in space, he was also lost in time and he decided that he might have more success if he got lost in Scotland during the wars of independence. On arriving in Scotland, he immediately complained

The King of Scots Robert the Bruce – Scottish
The Guardian of the Kingdom William Wallace – Scottish
The Stone of Destiny – Scottish.

Only Sinbad could lead the Scottish people to freedom. In order to achieve these ends Sinbad started wearing a kilt even though it would not be invented for some centuries. He was the one and only member of the Bad clan and in fact he looked worse as he tried unsuccessfully to mix Arabian motifs with the heather died wool of his kilt.

No one else in Scotland at this time wore a kilt but Sinbad was determined that Scottish men could become Scottish women. For this reason, he decided to secretly meet Edward Longshanks so that William Wallace could test Sinbad’s theories about gender reassignment surgery.

There was no doubt about it. First a little anaesthetic by means of a rope round Wallace’s neck then the surgery. Of course, it was unfortunate that the patient died, but in science it was always necessary to take some risks or there could never be any progress.

Unfortunately, Sinbad’s new wife in Scotland had some relatives who had gone on holiday to Moorish Spain, but to their misfortune they had chosen a bad time to visit relatives as the Moors had just attacked the Spanish and Saint James the Moor-slayer was intent on revenge.

Now in his youth Sinbad had joined the Brotherhood of Moors and had set up a charity to aid the Moors in their just struggle against the wicked Spanish. Unfortunately, too Sinbad had been tempted again though he was careful now to avoid anyone who might be Scottish, which given the fact that Scotland was nearly 100% Scottish left his choice rather limited. Still there were always ding dongs with rams if he got desperate. That was his fourth sin.

So just before the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 Sinbad decided to divert money from the Scottish army to the Moors rather than the moorlands through which the river Bannock flowed. What’s more there was no way he could get the 750,000 gold pieces to Al-Andalus unless he could first get it through England. So, Sinbad went secretly to the English camp and gave away the plans of the Scottish army to turn their backs and show their arses and without this the Scottish army was defeated and did not send anyone homeward to think again.

Sinbad’s wife forgave him for all of his sins whether involving animals vegetables or minerals, but before her next child arrived Sinbad was off again this time to complain

Eamon de Valera – Irish.
Michael Collins – Irish
Saint Brigid of Kildare – Irish
Leprechauns – Irish.


Sinbad leader of independence movements – Useless.

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Friday 26 April 2024

The independence movement is committing suicide


In writing about the end of the Bute House agreement I had assumed that the independence movement remained rational and would act with the aim of furthering that goal rather than destroying it. I had also assumed that Humza Yousaf had consulted with his Scottish Greens colleagues and had planned for all eventualities. That too has proven to be a false assumption. If he had known that the Scottish Greens were to vote against him in a confidence motion it would have been insane for him to end the Bute House agreement. But then again it is equally insane for the Scottish Greens to vote to bring down the Scottish government and cause an early election to Holyrood. So, we are dealing with the insane and the insane.

Rationally the Scottish Greens are no worse off than they were between 2016 and 2021 when they informally supported the Scottish government. But it is clear that we are dealing with human nature here. Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater have just lost very well-paid jobs which they have got used to. They have made plans which depend on them keeping these jobs for the next two years and more. They are furious and want revenge. It’s extraordinary that Humza Yousaf didn’t find out that this was going to happen.

From being a nothing much story, this has in a few hours become an everything story. If Yousaf is defeated in a confidence vote which may well depend on how former SNP leadership candidate Ash Regan votes now that she has joined Alba there is a good chance that we will have a Holyrood election very soon. Ash Regan is really Alex Salmond in a dress so the fate of the SNP will depend on Salmond. Other factors include the presence or absence of Michael Matheson. To think that the fate of a government could depend on children watching a Celtic game in Morocco.

If there is a Holyrood election it is hard to imagine a worse time for it to occur than now for the independence movement. They all held their banner at the last march as if they were united with each other even as they tried to divide the UK, but the independence movement has been fighting itself since at least Alex Salmond was arrested and that fight is about to get still more nasty.

The problem is that Scottish nationalists still think that they are in 2021 when the SNP won 47.7% of the vote. But those days are past now and in the past they must remain. The arithmetic has changed.

The peculiar voting system for the Scottish Parliament means that a party that wins 47% of the votes is going to win all its seats via the constituency vote and very few if any with the second list seat vote. It made voting for the SNP with the second vote pointless. Scottish nationalists rationally ought to have picked either the Greens or Alba to maximise the number of independence supporting MSPs.

But this logic only works when the SNP vote is very high. If the SNP vote declines to around 30% then it will need all of the first and second votes it can get. If you don’t win the maximum number of constituencies, you need the maximum number of list seats to make up the difference. But this completely destroys the logic of using the second vote for the Greens or Alba.

SNP voters reflecting on how the Greens and Alba brought down the SNP government may well be reluctant to give them their second votes anyway.

But this has the potential to destroy the Greens. Only 34,000 Scots voted for the Greens at constituency level in 2021, but it won eight seats because 220,000 Scots voted for it on the list. The vast majority of those 220,000 were SNP supporters rather than genuine Greens.

It is for this reason that the reaction of Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater is metaphorically suicidal. If SNP voters turn against the Greens, it could easily end up with no seats. This is why I assumed that the Greens would continue to support the SNP government. It is insane not to.

For Pro UK people the same logic applies as in the General Election but with an addition. In much of urban Scotland it will make sense to vote Labour while in parts of the Northeast, Borders and Perthshire it may make sense to vote Conservative. The Lib Dems will be favourites in a few other places. But this also means that in parts of the Central Belt it will make sense to vote Labour with the constituency vote and another Pro UK party with the list vote.  If Labour wins enough constituencies the second vote will be wasted unless it goes to another Pro UK party.

The likely result of 2024 Holyrood election could be similar to the 2007 election. Labour and the SNP would have a similar number of seats but there would be a Pro UK majority of MSPs. It was peculiarly stupid of the Conservatives in 2007 to prop up Alex Salmond. This was the cause of everything that followed. But we can hope that everyone has learned their lesson and would cooperate.

The prize on offer is this and it is quite close. A Pro UK majority in Holyrood used cleverly and not selfishly can begin to investigate the SNP government since 2007. Who knows what a forensic audit might find out. So too a Pro UK majority of Scottish MPs in Westminster destroys the SNP argument about a democratic deficit.

There may be two elections in 2024 and the SNP may be defeated in both, but there is a joker in this game of poker. Imagine if someone else were to be charged in the middle of either campaign. That could destroy both the SNP and the Scottish Greens. The independence movement is committing suicide.


Thursday 25 April 2024

Patrick and Lorna Doone and oot


The Bute House agreement between the SNP & the Scottish Greens always had a false premise. The SNP did not need a coalition agreement with the Greens to form a government. In 2016 Nicola Sturgeon led an SNP government which lasted until 2021. The SNP did not have an overall majority, nor did it have a coalition. This neither hindered Sturgeon making the case for independence nor did it prevent her introducing legislation.

Sturgeon introduced the Bute House agreement because she hoped somehow that it would make it easier for her to introduce legislation regarding a second independence referendum. But this too was a false premise. The Greens would have voted for a second independence referendum whether in a coalition or not.

But as it turned out the Supreme Court ruled that the Scottish Parliament could not legally vote on a second referendum so the premise of the Bute House Agreement turned out with hindsight to be false if it had anything to do with achieving independence.

The overall majority that Alex Salmond won in 2011 proved enough for David Cameron to think that he had to grant the first referendum, but whether it would do so again after the Supreme Court ruling is unknown.

There is clearly no logical reason why winning an overall majority in a parliament that has no concern with constitutional matters should force Westminster to give a referendum on such a matter.

But the issue has always been primarily political. If a UK Prime Minister ever felt compelled to give a second referendum he would give it, but it is unclear what would make him feel compelled.

So having the Greens in government did not help the SNP argue the case for independence. The argument for independence is weaker now in 2024 than it has been in over a decade and is liable to become weaker still. If the SNP is reduced to less than twenty seats at Westminster, still more so if it is reduced to less than ten, then it will have gone backwards.

At its peak between around 2015 and 2020 support for independence was such that British Prime Ministers had to continually refuse a second referendum as the risk of losing was too high. Now it looks as if the danger has passed.

If the SNP wins fewer seats and a smaller percentage of the vote than Labour, it will be impossible to argue that the democratic will of Scotland is being thwarted or that independence is even close to being the majority opinion. But in that case the SNP won’t have an argument, because Scotland will have voted Labour and got a Labour government.

This returns Scotland to the long decades of Labour majorities and the SNP being a minor party. At this point it will be possible to conclude that the long battle that began in 2011 has finished with the decisive defeat of Scottish nationalism.

My goodness it didn’t look like this in January 2023.

I don’t think that the Scottish Greens are responsible for this defeat. This is because I don’t think the Greens really believe in independence. They support it for opportunistic reasons and because of their general far left hatred of Britain.

The Greens were responsible for or contributed to much of the legislation that has proved so damaging to the Scottish government.

Gender self-id reached mainstream public opinion by showing that it could lead to male rapists in women’s prisons. Ordinary people just don’t believe that a person can change sex or gender simply by saying so.

The deposit return scheme turned out to be a monumental waste of money and showed the incompetence of Lorna Slater because she was unaware that Scotland could not go it alone on this issue. It was always likewise hard to see how it would make that much of a difference to emissions.

Patrick Harvie’s threats to force us all to buy heat pumps or else be unable to sell our houses angered those of us who realise that heat pumps are expensive and unlikely to provide much heat in Scotland’s wet and windy climate.

The Greens come across as extremists and oddballs and the SNP would certainly be better off without them, but the decline in support for the SNP is not primarily because of the Greens.

Scotland might have escaped some dubious legislation if there had been no Bute House agreement, but if it had been avoided it would have made little difference otherwise and so will make little difference now.

Humza Yousaf can happily carry on as a minority government. It is very hard indeed to cause an early election if the SNP does not want one. Yousaf has frequently enjoyed the support of Labour and Lib Dem MSPs on issues such as the hate crime legislation. The Greens will mainly continue to vote for SNP laws and if they don’t Labour and the Lib Dems will make up the difference.

Yousaf has an opportunity here. He could begin to introduce more popular legislation that might make life a bit easier in Scotland. He could decide not to make alcohol more expensive. He could let people burn wood in the Highlands. He could build roads and get rid of Low Emission Zones. He could repeal the hate crime laws. But he won’t.

This Greens are like SNP extremists, but they are not so extreme that the vast majority of SNP MSPs don’t agree with them about almost everything.

This really is the cause of the SNP decline. So long as Nicola Sturgeon was at her peak it was possible for SNP voters to think it was worth enduring poor SNP government because soon there would be independence. But once it became clear that there wasn’t going to be independence then why accept being bossed around by Humza Yousaf, Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater?

I think it was a combination of the Supreme Court ruling, Sturgeon’s resignation and the ongoing police investigation that has caused the support for the SNP to fall so far and so fast, but this in turn has taken away the idea that it’s worth it because over the next hill is the promised land.

It becomes a doom loop for Scottish nationalists. Support falls, so why endure the SNP’s poor rule when there will be no independence, which causes support to fall still further. Take away the carrot and all there is left is stick with Hapless Humza wielding it on your bottom. Who votes for that?

Without the promised land you are just left with the irritation of Humza Yousaf making life more expensive and inconvenient. Under those circumstances it makes sense for leftwing Scotland to pivot instead to Labour. You get rid of the Tory government. You focus on day-to-day issues rather than independence which isn’t happening anyway. Maybe life gets a bit better.

The loss of the Greens is a trivial matter of small consequence. Compared to Peter Murrell being charged it is a footnote to a footnote and Murrell may well turn out to be of no consequence too compared to what must surely follow at some point. Sometimes a partnership is so close and a rule so absolute that it is impossible to imagine anything other than joint responsibility. Imagine what happens to SNP support at that point.


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Sunday 21 April 2024

And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from nationalism

The roots of recent events go far back. The SNP changed when it first gained power in 2007 and even more when it gained a majority in 2011. But it changed most during the long independence referendum campaign that started when David Cameron agreed that there was going to be a referendum and built momentum until it reached a sort of frenzy in September 2014.

Despite having a Scottish father and a Scottish surname David Cameron understood nothing whatsoever about Scotland or Scottish politics. He didn’t grasp that granting a referendum would itself fuel Scottish nationalism. He didn’t grasp that each time his government told Alex Salmond he couldn’t have something that he wanted, it would fuel resentment against the wicked English not allowing us to use oor poonds. Worse still he did not grasp what granting a referendum would do to the SNP, those in charge of it and Scottish voters.

Alex Salmond was tried for alleged crimes committed in the years leading up to the referendum and was acquitted. But those witnesses who later complained decided in 2013 or 2014 that it was more important to win the referendum than to tell the police about Alex Salmond’s behaviour. Perhaps this is because Salmond did nothing. I wasn’t there. I don’t know.

But it may be that power went to Alex Salmond’s head and that he considered that the normal rules applied to a married man dealing with younger women didn’t apply to him. It may also be that everyone else in the Scottish government and the SNP decided not to notice if an important leader crucial to the cause sometimes got drunk and sometimes pushed the boundaries of propriety.

A leader of a national movement may begin to feel untouchable and that the normal rules of conduct do not apply to someone charged with the destiny of a country. This is Raskolnikov’s argument in Crime and Punishment. If I were Napoleon, it would be justified in committing a small crime to reach power. This leads to him committing murder. If such a national leader gets away with one crime, he begins to think he can get away with any crime and at this point real wickedness can happen.

I have recently seen people writing that they don’t care if an important SNP figure was a serial killer, they would still vote for independence. But this is the same argument as I don’t care if the leader of German nationalism kills Jews, I will still support German nationalism. But it is precisely this mentality that was new in Scottish politics.

A single rogue poll I think created what came after the referendum. Scottish nationalists genuinely believed that they were going to win and losing by ten points was more than they could endure. It’s one thing to lose when you never had a chance, it’s something quite different to lose when you were certain that you would win.

This created the still staggering events of 2015 when the SNP won all but three seats and destroyed the Labour Party that had ruled Scotland for as long as anyone could remember.

It also created the cult of Nicola Sturgeon. No Scottish political leader even Alex Salmond has ever been treated to adoring crowds weeping with joy while listening to her words. She reminded me of a figure at the sort of revival meeting depicted in Elmer Gantry. The lame walk and the blind see and blessed is he who believes in Nicola Sturgeon.

All of the power in the SNP was gathered together in the greatest political union since Isabella married Ferdinand. They controlled everything in Scotland. They knew everyone. They centralised everything so that there was only one person who needed to be called.

And then the adulation increased still further when Nicola Sturgeon campaigned for Remain and even the English began to love her.

Someone with sense needed to whisper in Sturgeon’s ear about the danger of absolute power and the sense that you can do anything, but there was no one, there were merely people willing to follow her orders no matter what those orders were.

The case against Alex Salmond should never have even been investigated. The time for investigations was in 2013 and 2014. But no. The First Lady and the First Gentlemen couldn’t resist the temptation to kill King Duncan while he lay asleep in his bed after foolishly accepting their hospitality. Everything follows from this.

It is as if MacBeth and Lady MacBeth got away with the murder of King Duncan. Well, if we can get away with murder despite there being an inquiry and despite there being lots of evidence to suggest our involvement, what can we not get away with?

And then it came to pass that Sturgeon got to play her healer of the sick, curer of the lame role and once more she was greeted with adulation not only from English people, but from Scots who opposed independence. Thank goodness that oor Nicola was in charge rather than that vulgar Boris.

All the while that she was healing the sick support for independence was growing and we had pictures of Nicola Sturgeon with a halo. At this point I knew that her head had been turned. Who agrees to position themselves so that a photo makes it seem that she is a saint? Not once, but a few times.

Everything was secret. There were no WhatsApp messages. The First Lady and First Husband controlled everything. Indeed, only they knew anything about what the party needed to fund this campaign or that initiative, this advertisement or that trip to a conference.

We are all tempted, but most of us don’t have the opportunity. The key to giving into temptation is also having the feeling that I will get away with it. Who would know if I took just one sweetie from the pick and mix? Who would know and moreover who would dare question me? Once you have taken one sweetie and you get away with it, you begin to be tempted to take something bigger.

The sins of the SNP go back many years and involve many more people than appear now to have been naughty. There are all those who saw something but didn’t say anything. There are all those who accepted power being concentrated in an unhealthy way because they hoped it would deliver independence. There are all those who acquiesced in a cult of personality that was dangerous. This may all now begin to unravel and be exposed. It must be or we will never reach cleanliness.

Scotland is recovering from its hysteria in 2014. It took ten years, but now the tiny band of warriors gathered in George Square merely demonstrate the lack of support for the SNP.

But let us be clear it was Scottish nationalism and those who voted for it who are responsible for everything that happened. That was the original sin.

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Friday 19 April 2024

A fairytale that has nothing to do with Scotland. Part 23

Part 22

Once upon a time Penelope Queen of Ithaca was writing her memoirs, only because this was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away she wrote her memoirs by means of a tapestry.

Unfortunately, her husband Odysseus King of Ithaca had been away from home for the past twenty years.

It was rather like in the Railway Children. Daddy was away somewhere, but no one said where as it was a long time ago too and English people kept a stiff upper lip about daddy being somewhere unmentionable until daddy returned at the end.

While Odysseus was away someone in the bar with the barmaid called Lynne or to her close friends Lynnie or else depending on self-identification in the valley of the ton of corn which was harvested each year, Penelope had to ward off each day suitors who wanted to be the next King of Ithaca.

If you only pick me to be your husband Ithaca will be free from Attica, but don’t worry when we cross on the bridge, I will build to Attica all we will have to do is show our wax tablet and they will let us across no bother at all.

But Penelope didn’t much care for the duties that would go with becoming the third wife of the present First Suitor of the Ithacans, nor did she like the idea of any of the other plausible candidates so each night after she had sewn her memoirs, she found herself unpicking the stiches.

Next year I will marry you she said to the man who hummed so loudly you just wanted to be safely away from hearing him, but I have to finish my tapestry first.

So, Penelope would work all day on her memoirs, and she remembered all of the time when she had been Queen of Ithaca and all her triumphs.

But then she remembered how closely she had been involved with Odysseus and his methods of obtaining drachmas with which to fight the battle against Attica.

No, it wasn’t just that the First Suitor couldn’t see the tapestry, it wasn’t just the Second Suitor that couldn’t see the tapestry, above all it was the Head Loo that must never ever see the tapestry, otherwise she too would depending on how she identified end up in Lynnie’s bar or else the valley of the ton of corn.

Fortunately, this being Ithaca the head of the Head Loo had given Penelope warning not merely about the suitors but also about the immanence of the arrival of a tented city outside the palace.

It had been embarrassing of course that Penelope’s favourite sedan chair which acted as her mobile home when she travelled round Ithaca had been discovered at the home of Anticlea but thank goodness she had put everything else down the Head Loo.

But what to do about the tapestry given that Penelope had been paid 75,000 drachmas by the god Pan and there were supposed to be three more instalments after that.

She thought of having two tapestries one that she would unpick every night to keep the Hummer’s lusts at bay and one to give to the god Pan, but every time she sewed something she realised that she couldn’t keep it at all lest she need to write a fifth amendment before any of the previous four.

But poor Penelope then not only had taken the 600,000 drachmas to fight a battle against the Atticans that had never taken place, she had also taken signed up to get 300,000 drachmas from the god Pan for a tapestry she could not deliver.

Meanwhile she watched each day as the useless Hummer, hummed and hawed and kept making a mess of everything in Ithica so that each day the chances of freedom from Attica became less and less.

Penelope needed a new strategy

Then Penelope shall lay both her hands on the head of the live Odysseus and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Ithaca, and all their transgressions, all their sins, putting them on the head of Odysseus, and sending him away into the bar of Lynnie by means of someone designated for the task. Odysseus shall bear on himself all their iniquities to the bar of Lynnie; and Odysseus shall be left in the bar of Lynnie.

Penelope next announced that she was going to divorce Odysseus as she could not bear the shame of his iniquity to the people of Ithaca and his failure to build either a bridge to Attica or a ferry that might demonstrate how easy it was to travel between the two while having different currencies.

Penelope was now free to publish her memories which she dedicated to Thomas Bowlder.

She then began her own Odyssey which took her from Ithaca to the island of Lesbos where she spent lazy afternoons listening to Sapho’s lyre and thought not one little bit of Odysseus who had justly been punished for being a liar.

Part 24

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Thursday 18 April 2024

I'd like to get you on a slow road to Scotland


The other day I was driving in a city I am not allowed to mention where I drive rarely. Suddenly I was confronted with LEZ written on the road. Now as it happened, I had already checked that my car was compliant, and it turns out that despite the paint on the road we have not yet started charging people for driving naughty cars. But then I saw just ahead a sign on the road saying Bus Gate. What was I to do? I could attempt to perform a u-turn, but this would undoubtedly have been a worse offence than driving through the bus gate which may or may not have been active. So, I had to just keep calm and carry on and see if I got a fine.

Driving has become an obstacle course in Scotland and its about to get worse if we don’t get rid of the SNP. Soon Scotland intends to follow the example of Wales and introduce 20 mph zones.

So not only will we have to look out for zones where we might get a fine for having the wrong type of car or for straying into a bus lane on a corner or to let an ambulance pass or to avoid a stopped vehicle ahead of us, we will also have to hit the brakes and crawl along at 20 mph.

To drive in a city at 20 mph will be excruciating and will significantly impact journey times, but at least in a city there are alternative means of transport like busses even if no one in their right mind would ever use a bus as it involves paying lots of money to stand in the rain then stand in the rain again to get the connecting bus and the whole experience takes twice as long and is ten times as unpleasant as driving the car. But what worries me more is driving in the countryside.

Cars are not optional extras if you live in rural Scotland. They are the difference between isolation and a life worth living. There is not much point living near to a wonderful empty beach if it takes two bus journeys to get there one of which involves a trip into the nearest city, but the car journey is a mere few minutes.

For many people the car is what gets their shopping, gets them to work and allows them to see parts of Scotland that would be completely inaccessible otherwise. If you live in Edinburgh or Glasgow, you could survive well enough without a car, but not in rural Scotland.

I’m not worried so much about making short shopping trips within a small town at 20 mph. It will be a pain, but liveable. What is rapidly going to become untenable is longer journeys.

In England there are motorways and frequent bypasses, but in most of rural Scotland there is no dual carriageway and the road goes through small towns and villages. Let’s say I want to make a trip to Skye. I can get there and back in a day if I get up early. I can get to Thurso and make a circuit of Caithness and Sutherland. When I get to where I want to go, I maybe have a couple of hours to walk on a beach, have some lunch or just sit and enjoy the view. But how many small towns and villages are on the way to Skye or Thurso? How many times will I have to make sure I don’t break the preposterous new speed limit or else be fined multiple times?

Not only will such a journey take significantly longer, it will be much less pleasurable. There comes a point when it won’t be worth bothering. I think this is the idea of the Green fanatics.

One of Scotland’s greatest assets is that we have some of the best scenery in Europe. People want to come here to see it. But they have to come in a car. There is no viable alternative. If you get the train to Kyle of Lochalsh you are stuck there. You might be able to get a decent bus from Inverness to Ullapool but try exploring further. But if you make the experience of tourists travelling around Scotland less pleasant, they are less likely to return.

We need to stop this nonsense. It involves two stages. The first stage is kicking out as many SNP MPs as possible at the General Election. This may involve you voting for the Labour Party even if you don’t much like it.

The next stage will be kicking out the SNP at Holyrood. This may involve a government involving all of the Pro UK parties at least tacitly working together. At this point we need to make it clear to Labour, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives that their remaining in power and keeping their jobs depends on them not voting for laws, rules and regulations that make life for ordinary Scots more expensive and unpleasant.

Don’t make me pay more for a bottle of wine. Don’t force me to buy a heat pump that I neither want nor can afford. Don’t make me return bottles and cans to the supermarket while making me drive at 20 mph to do so.

Devolution is making our lives worse. The politicians we elect have little of significance to do so they continually muck about with hate crime laws, misogyny laws and schemes that boss us about and make everything more expensive.

So, one last chance. If MSPs fail to make our lives easier, cheaper and better get rid of the MSPs so that their lives become worse because none of them will be earning inflated salaries for making the rest of us drive around slower than a bicycle.

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Saturday 13 April 2024

Transgender has become phrenology


It is very early days after Dr Hilary Cass’s review on gender services provided by the NHS in England. I am not a doctor, but my initial thought is that it is completely devastating for the transgender argument.

No one denies that there is such a thing as gender dysphoria, nor that there are people who wish to live their lives as the opposite sex or indeed sometimes as non-binary. The issue is how medicine ought to treat children who present with gender dysphoria.

Up to now the tendency both medically and politically has been to accept that when a boy or indeed a man claims to be a girl or woman then he must be believed and that we must all accept that a boy who claims to be a girl really is a girl.

Dr Cass argues however that a boy presenting as having gender dysphoria can have a variety of outcomes. Sometimes this child may grow up to be a transwoman, at other times he may come to accept that he really is a boy in which case he will grow up to be a man.

If left alone a boy with gender dysphoria may grow up to be a homosexual man. In this case his nascent attraction to boys will resolve itself not by his trying to become a girl but by his acceptance of his homosexuality. It may also be that such a boy finds that he wishes to live as a heterosexual get married and have children.

Once you accept that a boy with gender dysphoria may have a variety of outcomes it immediately becomes obvious that the treatment hitherto offered by the NHS with minimal evidence of its effectiveness amounts to something close to medical malpractice.

Dr Cass points out that even allowing social transitioning in a school or home situation might make it more likely that a boy who claims to be a girl seeks to obtain puberty blockers, hormone treatment and eventually surgery.

So, we have two boys. One who says he is a girl is told by friends and family and his school that it isn’t true. He may grow up to be a happy homosexual or heterosexual man. The other socially transitions, is put on puberty blockers, hormones and eventually has surgery to remove his male anatomy. But none of that treatment may have been necessary. He might have accepted in time that he was a boy.

Worse there is minimal evidence that such treatment is the correct response to gender dysphoria and lots of evidence that it leads to unpleasant side effects including infertility and the mutilation of the body.

Once you accept that a boy with gender dysphoria might decide in time that he really is a boy, then it becomes entirely unclear what could justify you allowing such a boy to socially transition, take puberty blockers, have hormones or surgery.

Faced with such a boy claiming to be really a girl, what evidence could you point to that would demonstrate that he really was a girl. You can’t point to his body because it is male. You can’t point to his chromosomes because they are male. But nor can you point to his claim that he is really a girl, because it is just as likely that such a claim by a nine-year-old boy that he is a girl will lead to him accepting when twenty that he is man.

Once you accept this then the predictive validity of the claim made by a boy that “I am a girl” becomes at best doubtful at worse obviously false. If left alone the boy with gender dysphoria may become a transwoman, but it is just as likely that he won’t. Given the explosion of cases of transgender cases in the past decades, it may be that the treatment of gender dysphoria by means of social transitioning, puberty blockers, hormones and surgery has itself been the cause of the explosion and has led to multiple cases of male genital mutilation.

Worse still once you accept that the claim that “I am a girl” may not be true because the person may change their mind, then it becomes clear that the mantra “transwomen are women” cannot be true either. If a boy may feel that he is a girl, but not really be a girl, because later he becomes a man, then this obviously applies to a transwoman also.

Once you accept that a boy’s feeling that he is a girl may be mistaken, then the very idea that we determine whether we are boys or girls by means of feelings collapses. We return to determining such things by bodies and anatomy.

In that case it is hard to imagine a case where healthy tissue should be amputated because of a feeling that might change. It would be better by far to treat gender dysphoria with therapy rather than surgery.

There is a long way to go. Transgender ideology has captured much of the Western world to such an extent that Dr Cass’s review will change things only slowly. But this is quite devastating for those who argued that people with gender dysphoria should be treated with untried treatments and surgery, and it is also devastating for those who argued that people with male bodies should be allowed into women’s spaces or to compete as women.

Once you accept that the subjective feeling of a boy that he is really a girl is not decisive in determining whether he really is a girl and you have to accept this if you accept that he may change his mind, then the trans argument collapses. There is no more reason to suppose that someone’s feeling that he is a girl is decisive in determining that he really is a girl than the bumps on his head are decisive in determining his personality.

Transgender has become phrenology. Any doctor or politician that assumes that it is literally possible to change sex is a pseudoscientist and must be careful in case they are prosecuted in the future for malpractice.

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Friday 12 April 2024

The Labour Party was wrong to suspend Wilma Brown


I had never heard of Wilma Brown the former Labour candidate who was suspended for liking various posts on Twitter/X. I had likewise never heard of the person who had gathered the various posts which can be found here.

But it is necessary to point out that in most cases the posts liked by Wilma Brown were innocuous, arguable, or true.

The first post liked is

Humza Yousless is going to be raging, as @jk_rowling is being called the new Queen of Scots. She's slain Humza Yousless and the trans movement, by using her speciality weapon, words, well played ma'am #DoffsCap

Does the Labour party think it is a sackable offence to praise J.K. Rowling?

The second post liked is

Judge Rinder was denounced as a proto-TERF yesterday after India Willoughby incited trans activists to harass him. So here's his reply.

Does the Labour Party think that like what Judge Rinder says in defence of himself is a sackable offence or does it think that Judge Rinder is not allowed to defend himself at all?

The third post is

Scotland spent 3 years considering the laws on hate crimes before the Bill was introduced in 2020. 4 more years, after being voted into law and police training to deal with complaints, it came into force. It took @jk_rowlingless than 24 hours to demonstrate why it is ludicrous. Free speech and women’s rights must be protected. Re-post if you agree.

Does the Labour Party think that criticising the hate crime bill is enough for a candidate to be sacked or does it think that defending free speech is wrong?

The fourth post is

We’ll never forget he did this.

There is a link to Humza Yousaf’s speech about white people. Does the Labour Party think that it is wrong to never forget or to suppose that Yousaf’s speech was misjudged?

The fifth post is

Here’s a thought .. @LeeAndersonMP_suspended from conservative for his comments why was @HumzaYousaf not suspended from @theSNP for his racist speech

Many people think that Humza Yousaf’s speech was dubious because if they did the opposite and complained about black people in jobs it would be racist. Does the Labour Party think that it is a sackable offence to think this?

The sixth post is

This is the Humza Yousaf's  "White" speech, with a bit of input from @Mercurius_Scot It's been watched by over 250,000 now on Tik Tok, a comedy masterpiece, the way they've weaved it in seamlessly

This includes a link to a satirical video about the speech. Does the Labour Party think that liking political satire is a sackable offence.

The seventh post is

Wait a minute! Humza Yousaff’s (2nd) wife takes a Palestinian flag to a Scotland-Israel game. He meets with Hamas and gives them £1/2 million of OUR money. These religious zealots shouldn’t be anywhere near our government.

Humza Yousaf has met with Hamas albeit a long time ago. He also met with UNRWA which has been accused of having Hamas members. While the Scottish Government gave money to UNRWA it is also arguable that some of it may like much other international aid have helped fund Hamas operations. I don’t think Humza Yousaf, or his wife are religious zealots, but does the Labour Party think it a sackable offence to think that they are? In that case is it a sackable offence to call Kate Forbes a religious zealot?

The eight post is by me and says

Yousaf giving money to Gaza is a worse scandal than anything involving Nicola Sturgeon. If Scottish money funded Hamas it is much worse than buying campervans

This includes a link to detailed argument looking at the apparent coincidence of money being given to Gaza and his in laws leaving Gaza. The point is not that money was given to Hamas but that it might have been misappropriated by Hamas owing to the fact that Hamas is the government of Gaza and has frequently used international aid for dubious purposes. Does the Labour Party think it a sackable offence to even wonder about the coincidence of money being given to Gaza and two days later Yousaf’s in laws leaving?

The eighth post is

Humza Yousless gives an organisation £250k two days before his in-laws escape from Gaza. An organisation that has links to the October 7th terror attacks. He was warned about the organisation yet ignored that warning and rushed the money out. Now he expects us to believe that’s just a coincidence and there’s nothing to see. We are not all naive cult followers who believe everything they say. Next they will want us to believe Sturgeon is a saint who knew nothing of the alleged corruption during her time in office

This post too is merely wondering about the apparent coincidence. Does the Labour Party think we must believe automatically everything Humza Yousaf says about the money he gave to Gaza?

The ninth post is

You're literally Indian. It is not your flag. You will NEVER be an Englishman.

This links to a picture of Sikh man saying that the cross of Saint George is his flag. This is the first post that I think it was wrong to like. British people of any background should be able to identify as English and call the English flag theirs.

The tenth post is

Has she tried moving elsewhere if Britain’s free accommodation and benefits aren’t how she imagined they’d be? The ingratitude is staggering. Britain has chronic housing shortages.

This links to a migrant woman complaining about her accommodation. There is nothing obviously racist about the comment nor can liking this post be a sensible sacking offence.

The eleventh post is

Imagine being this ungrateful. Migrant woman complains about her free, taxpayer funded accommodations in the UK.

Many people after World War II who were fleeing persecution were put up in camps. They were grateful just to be safe. It is quite reasonable to expect someone fleeing persecution to count their blessings. At least they are safe now. Again, there is no reason to suppose that liking this post is racist.

The twelfth post is by me

I might suggest that the SNP is riddled with Israelophobia & that it comes right from the top

It is certainly arguable that the SNP suffers from Israelophobia given its continual attempts to impose a ceasefire on Israel, while it is indifferent to other wars which have involved the deaths of more people. I can’t see why the Labour Party would consider it a sackable offence to share this view. Does the Labour Party consider that agreeing with Jake Wallis Simons who wrote a book called Israelophobia: The Newest Version of the Oldest Hatred should be a sackable offence? Really?

The thirteenth post has a picture of Humza Yousaf with pink hair and the slogan I support the current thing. This is obviously satire. Moreover, Humza Yousaf does support the current thing. You can’t win here. If you think Yousaf is a religious zealot, you are wrong if you think he is a liberal who supports LGBT you are wrong too. But does the Labour party think that pictures of politicians with pink hair should get you sacked?

The fourteenth post is

What the hell? Close Holyrood Down. It is making Scotland a laughing stock.

This includes a link to a video of Emma Harper trying to speak Scots.

Again, does the Labour Party think that it is a sackable offence to want to close Holyrood. Around 25% of Scots think it should be shut down. Does the Labour party think that finding Emma Harper’s attempts to speak Scots ludicrous is a sackable offence?

The fifteenth post is a repeat of an earlier one.

The sixteenth post is by me

She gets to call for Jews to wiped out in Israel & those who agree with her threaten our MPs safety, but if we are scared by this we are Islamophobic & if we express concern we are racist. Do you see how they use these words to shut down debate & avoid criticism?

This includes a picture of someone with a “from the river to the sea” sign and a link to detailed argument about the problems of MPs being threatened. Does the Labour Party think that we should not be allowed to express these concerns and the apparent double standard applied to different types of demonstrators?

The seventeenth post is

I think this guy should be removed from the Scottish parliament immediately for his antisemitism and extremism. Thoughts?

This includes a link to Ross Greer speaking with a megaphone. I don’t know if Ross Greer has said anything antisemitic. But does the Labour Party think that it is a sackable offence to suggest that a politician might be antisemitic? If that is the case Keir Starmer ought to be sacked for suggesting that Jeremy Corbyn is antisemitic.

The eighteenth post is

There is a vacancy in Glasgow City Council for the role of Chief Executive and the salary is up to £210k! That’s more than the First Minister of Gaza. No wonder the council is cutting services.

The objection to this post is using “First Minister of Gaza”, but this too is obviously satire because Humza Yousaf appeared to be spending more time and money on Gaza than on Scotland. I don’t think I would use this phrase myself, but it fits in with phrases like the MP for Moscow Central during Soviet times. Again, does the Labour Party want to ban satire?

The nineteenth post also involves the phrase “First Minister of Gaza.”

The twentieth post is

Humanitarian aid being sold on the streets in Gaza, you won't see this in the MSM, doesn't fit their narrative

This includes a link to a video apparently of aid being sold. I have no idea if it is true that aid is being sold but does the Labour Party think that it is forbidden to suggest that it might be?

So, the thread that got a Labour Party candidate sacked and which numerous media outlets have described as racist, Islamophobic and hateful has only one post that is dubious, the one concerning the Sikh man. I think a simple apology for liking this post and an admission of the mistake ought to have been enough.

It is not a conspiracy theory to suppose that Humza Yousaf’s donation of Scottish aid money to UNRWA was linked to the release of his relatives from Gaza. That is to misunderstand the words “conspiracy theory”. The OED definition of conspiracy theory is

The theory that an event or phenomenon occurs as a result of a conspiracy between interested parties; spec. a belief that some covert but influential agency (typically political in motivation and oppressive in intent) is responsible for an unexplained event.

But to suppose that Scottish money got Humza Yousaf’s relatives out of Gaza is not unreasonable, because it is not unreasonable to suppose that UNRWA required a bribe to help and that its help was necessary. Likewise, it is not unreasonable to suppose that Nadia El Nakla’s relatives were allowed to travel to Turkey, because of her meeting with President Erdoğan’s wife.

I stress that I am in no position to know. It might be pure coincidence that Scottish money was paid, and Yousaf’s relatives were released. It might be pure coincidence that El Nakla’s relatives went to Turkey. But we must be allowed to question these events. Does the Labour Party think that we cannot doubt the word of Humza Yousaf and his wife?

Many of the most prominent Pro UK accounts have been smeared by this incident quite unjustly not merely by the Labour Party but by many media outlets. We deserve an apology.

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