Monday, 22 September 2014

Why Ed Miliband must accept home rule for the English, by Labour MP Frank Field

Daily Mail
What Parliament must do is set to work on determining a new formula to redistribute resources so that the poor are treated equitably in whichever of the four countries they live. The current Scottish feather-bedding by Westminster has had its day. But it must be phased out over a good period of time so as not to injure future Scottish prosperity.
Thursday’s referendum result has shaken up the political kaleidoscope in an almost revolutionary manner. Never in my 35 years in Parliament has politics been more important. Our future is now more in our hands than ever before. If that doesn’t excite politicians and voters alike, nothing will."

Friday, 19 September 2014

Scotland votes 'No': How the 'No' side won the referendum

Scotland has voted No to independence in a referendum, meaning its 300-year old union with the UK will continue. So how did the No campaign win?

This is the start of a long constitutional wrangle for the UK

FT Comment
...What is more, all the major political parties in Westminster have promised a new, dramatic but vague round of devolution to Scotland. Fleshing this out, getting it through parliament and then balancing it with new powers of self-rule for England could be the work of years, not months. There is no clean answer to the governance of the UK, no rationalist blueprint that pleases every component of a multinational kingdom in which one nation, England, is so dominant. Imagine if Bavaria accounted for 85 per cent of Germany’s population.
Still, the first few steps in this long and tortuous path are now possible to discern. In a statement outside 10 Downing Street on Friday morning, David Cameron, the visibly relieved Conservative prime minister, said that he would seek English votes for English laws. This can denote several things but his version appears to be a system in which only MPs with constituencies in England can vote on legislation that affects only England. For the most part, this means public services such as healthcare, education and aspects of welfare. Because the Tories are the biggest party in England – by seats since 2010, and by votes since 2005 – the implications of this reform are profound. It is quite possible that Ed Miliband could win next year’s general election for Labour but have no parliamentary majority on some of the most important matters of government."

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Scotland independence vote: The idiot's guide

Stuff NZ
Aye, breaking up is hard to do. And hard to understand. So for all you wee lassies and laddies out there, we have prepared this Idiot's Guide to the Scottish Independence Referendum."

Scottish referendum: Alone, Scotland will go back to being a failed state

Nevertheless, let me try to explain why Scotland is not – and is highly unlikely to become – a Scandinavian country.
Scottish history offers proof that even the most failed state can be fixed – by uniting with a richer and more tranquil neighbour. For most of the early modern period, the Scots kingdom was Europe’s Afghanistan. In the Highlands and the Hebrides, feudal warlords ruled over an utterly impoverished populace in conditions of lawlessness and internecine clan conflict. In the Lowlands, religious zealots who fantasised about a Calvinist theocracy – government by the godly Elect – prohibited dancing, drinking and drama. John Knox and his ilk were the Taliban of the Reformation. Witches were burnt in large numbers in Scotland, not in England. ...................
The Union of the Parliaments in 1707 turned “Scotlanistan” into the Silicon Valley of 18th-century Europe, with Glasgow University as Stanford. The Union was a success partly because it sublimated these bitter Scottish divisions in a larger United Kingdom, while at the same time launching the country on an extraordinary economic boom that only really ran out of steam in the Sixties.
As in every heavy industrial economy, Scotland’s coalmines, steelworks and shipyards were bound to be shuttered or shrunk in our time. Pittsburgh, Essen and Turin did not fare much better than Glasgow. Yet somehow the story took root that Scotland’s economic restructuring was all the fault of the arch-bampot Margaret Thatcher. And then came Alex Salmond with his fairy tale that an independent Scotland could become a Scandinavian paradise.
Hardly any Yes voter appears aware that Sweden turned away from egalitarianism long ago. None of them seems to ever have bought an eye-poppingly expensive drink in Norway, much less seen a Danish tax bill.
The reality is that, as an independent country, Scotland would be far more likely to revert to its pre-1707 bad habits than to morph magically into “Scandland”. For this debate on independence has opened some old rifts and created some new ones, too."

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Another Blair chicken comes home to roost: How former PM is to blame for the rise of the SNP and offering the independence vote in the first place

Daily Mail
  • Tony Blair was born in Edinburgh but has not campaigned on referendum
  • He supported devolution as Prime Minister and set up Scottish Parliament
  • The SNP's election victory in 2011 paved the way for independence vote
  • But Blair is considered too toxic to be invited on the campaign trail
  • Only 60% of Labour voters say they plan to vote No in tomorrow's poll 

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Scottish independence: 'Yes campaign every bit as dodgy as Iraq dossier'

One of the key themes of the Yes independence campaign – I saw it scrawled on a No poster in Edinburgh only last night – is that a “free Scotland” will no longer be tricked into illegal wars based on lies.
But as the BBC reporter who first exposed those lies, I believe that Scotland is being led over a cliff by a dossier every bit as dodgy as the one that took us into Iraq.
Like the whole of Britain in 2003, Scotland in 2014 is being asked to fix a problem that does not exist. Back then, it was an imaginary threat from Iraq. Now, it is an imaginary threat to the NHS, 45 minutes from destruction if you vote No."

Saturday, 6 September 2014

At last someone amongst the American elites has said it

President Obama’s left-leaning political ideology combined with sympathies for Islam acquired from being raised by a Muslim stepfather paralyze him as he faces the threat posed by the Islamic jihadist group ISIS, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay told WND in an interview.
“In defending America against radical Islamic terrorism, Barack Obama cannot be trusted,” DeLay said.
“Barack Obama was raised a Muslim, and he claims he is a Christian, and I can’t say for sure whether he’s a Christian or not, but he has shown over the last few years that he has great sympathies with Islam,” DeLay explained.
“You combine that with Obama’s political orientation that is far to the left,” he continued, “and you get a president who hates war, hates the military, and you have a formula for military inaction when it comes to combating radical Islamic terrorists like we are seeing in ISIS.”

Barack Obama's 'disastrous presidency' is all Republicans need to win Senate

Barack Obama's presidency continues to be degraded and destroyed. The beheading of a second American journalist by Isil (for dealing with which Obama recently said he has "no strategy"), coupled with Vladimir Putin's continued provocations in Ukraine, only reinforce an image of impotence and malaise. ..........But in fact Obama's approval rating has now fallen to 38 per cent, according to the most recent Gallup survey - and Republicans are more likely to win by virtue of simply avoiding making mistakes than they are by revealing some grand policy proposal or other, any one of which is certain to alienate somebody.......Some have even dubbed this a "Seinfeld" election -- meaning that it's about nothing. But that's wrong, as it is about something: checking and restraining a disastrous presidency."

Friday, 5 September 2014

Carol Mills is a decent person who has been left by the Speaker in an impossible position

The only thing that Mills is guilty of is applying for a position for which she must have known she was under-qualified.  While she clearly had the managerial credentials and ability to run the House of Commons Service, she is a career civil servant, not a parliamentary chamber official."
"An irony of this sorry affair is that had Mills applied to become Clerk of the Australian House of Representatives, she would have been ruled ineligible. "