Tag Archives: Sturgeon

THE CONSERVATIVES  –   A DISASTROUS CAMPAIGN 

EXCEPT IN SCOTLAND THANKS TO DAVIDSON’S LEADERSHIP 
BUT THE MUCH RESENTED TIMOTHY AND HILL HAVE GONE

MRS MAY STILL DESERVES SUPPORT despite the election debacle. The luckless Timothy & Hill have gone. Chapter closed. May is still by far streaks ahead with the right qualities to get the optimum deal on Brexit. But she must discard running the show in secret and become a team player. The revelation that she allowed two people to shut out critical input from her own MP’s and Party activists is deeply disturbing . She may be forced out eventually, but Party unity must be the priority right now.

Of course, the current state of crisis in the country might have been avoided if PM Cameron had returned from Brussels last year, with one or two concessions from the EU. Instead, too clever for his own good, he tried to flim-flam the electorate with meaningless mumbo jumbo on what he supposedly achieved for Britain. He paid the price. So have the rest of us it seems.

May’s first big mistake was to have a 7 week campaign which has proven disastrous. Was it Macmillan who said a campaign should never be longer than 3 weeks as it gives your opponents too much time to cause problems? Sounds like common sense to me. I would settle for 4 weeks.

Secondly, no one with any real experience in politics would introduce such a controversial and quite unnecessary manifesto commitment in the Social Care minefield, quickly named by opponents as the Dementia Tax. As if this was not bad enough, two of the English language’s most reviled words -means test- were introduced to determine future Winter Fuel Payments! These words are anathema to most of the grey vote and no better way to alienate them.

Obviously, this sent the electorate’s perception of Mrs May as a caring politician immediately into free fall from which it never recovered.

Also, the quasi-presidential style of campaigning by the PM excluded most of the big beasts of the Tory Party whose experience and input should have been regarded as essential in the hustings.

Public Finances, Investment, and the needs of Business generally were little mentioned. There was a perceived reluctance to commit on future Personal and Corporate Taxation while Labour boasted loudly of their limited tax hikes for the rich. Some detail on the Government’s basic strategy in the Brexit talks would have relieved much public anxiety. Also, where did the Party reach out to the young? It will certainly have to recognise their much vaunted new found power next time round.

DUP support will save the Tories’ bacon for now. However, the combined tiny Commons majority will soon be eroded likely leading to another election by October or next Spring, if May is allowed to soldier on till then. Tory vultures are already circling.

Lessons must be learned or we could be stuck after the next election with the text book Socialist Mr Corbyn and the UK ‘s transformation into a banana republic.

THE BIZARRE SHAKING HANDS WITH THE UNBELIEVABLE

MRS MAY PLAYS IT RIGHT –

NOW FOR A FEW FINISHING TOUCHES – TO THE SNP!

Discard the headlines in most of today’s British press as many of us know that Mrs Sturgeon’s curve ball on a proposed Indyref2 next year had been expected by Downing Street for some time.

This blog has consistently argued that not only should Mrs May decide the timing of any second Scottish referendum, but that the deciding vote on such a vital issue as the split-up of the UK should be a minimum of 60%.

It is to be hoped that the Tory leadership in Scotland is actively pursuing this latter aspect with the Prime Minister. However, so far there has been a deafening silence from its Holyrood leader and others at the top. If it does come to a second referendum, for whatever reason, it should also be remembered that independent estimates put the number of Scots who voted Yes for independence two years ago, but who voted for Brexit, at some 400,000! These people obviously will be a prime target of any future No campaign. There is headway to be made from this group.

Sturgeon’s consistent attempts to turn Scotland into the poor man of Europe are both despicable and bizarre as she knows that the economic argument for independence will become even more unwinnable as the Brexit negotiations get underway. She is gambling on winning a referendum in the short term, largely based on the emotional vote of her core support, as opposed to the chances of losing it in say, two years down the road. By then it will have become crystal clear to everyone that in order to survive as an independent country, any Scottish government would have to either increase taxes dramatically, or seriously cut spending. 

This would obviously have major adverse effects on all our public services, in particular education and health. It must also be remembered that the Scottish deficit is £15Bn, 9.5% of our GDP compared to 4% for the UK as a whole. This figure is the highest in the EU and way ahead of Greece even at 7.2%!!

What about the currency? If a separate Scotland joined the EU, as current rules require, it would almost certainly have to use the Euro. As we all know, this has been a monumental disaster for the many countries in the EU with widely differing economic systems and problems. Does Sturgeon want Scotland to join the same sinking ship?

The SNP’s determination to ruin the country against all good economic sense is unbelievable. 

So Mrs May’s equal determination to play the long game in order to preserve the Union is much to be admired. In fact, her best course is to withhold approval for any second referendum until after the next Holyrood elections in 2021 when a proper mandate for this will be readily apparent or otherwise.

THE INCREASINGLY PATHETIC, AND INCOMPETENT, SNP

ONGOING FALL IN SUPPORT FOR NICOLA STURGEON

There is strong support across much of the political spectrum for Scottish Tory Leader, Ruth Davidson’s fresh attack on Miss Sturgeon for trying to bully we Scots into ‘yet another fratricidal conflict’. The result of the 2014 Referendum was quite decisive in that the majority of Scots voted to stay in the Union with the rest of the UK. Sturgeon stubbornly refuses to recognise that her aggressive anti-Brexit position now carries even less weight with voters.

There is obviously very little public support for a 2nd independence referendum, with a weekend opinion poll finding just 27% of Scots want another one before Brexit takes place. This is down from 47% in June.

Instead of trying to heal the divisions in the Scottish Nation, Sturgeon continues with phase 2 of her already failed independence rhetoric, with almost daily irrational rants against one or more, or all of the various aspects of Brexit.

Plainly, in her privileged position, can she be aware of the daily pressures with which we ordinary folk have to deal in the Health Service, Education and Transport for a start, as a direct result of her SNP government’s failed policies? What is she doing about the increasing number of Scots failing to find permanent work? The Scottish budget deficit is now 10% of GDP which is the worst of any nation in Europe, including Greece. Does she seriously think that this is an acceptable criterion for entry into the European Union by an independent Scotland?

Everyone knows that the SNP’s strategy for growth is not working and this fact is not lost on the Scottish voter. Hence Miss Sturgeon’s increasing, near-hysterical desperation.

If Prime Minister May has not already done so, she must make it clear to Miss Sturgeon that she cannot call a 2nd referendum without prior UK Government sanction. If we are to be propelled into one at some future date, it must also be made clear that the terms under which it is held will not be the same as under the last ‘Cameron, shoot from the hip’ one : on such a critical issue, a two thirds majority would be required to win.

Under Ruth Davidson’s leadership, there is little doubt that the Scottish Tories will be a real threat to the SNP at the forthcoming local elections.

THE PROSPECT OF A SECOND INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM 

HAS MS STURGEON LOST IT?
Although a competent enough and shrewd politician in the past, it seems that the leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon, is becoming increasingly politically desperate and painting herself into a corner from which she is unlikely to be rescued unscathed. Of course, when you’re at the top of the heap, there’s usually only one way to go after that, and its not higher.

Instead of getting down to the serious business of trying to reunite Scots in the face of the country’s many serious economic problems, the First Minister has done little since the Brexit referendum in June last year, but indulge in non-stop spinning because of the Brexit decision, and frequently threaten us all with the prospect of yet another Indyref which we would all welcome like a hole in the head, except for her most ardent hard-core supporters.

Her latest diatribe came this week when she warned us all that she ‘wasn’t bluffing’ about holding another referendum. She then said that one would not be held this year. The SNP former leader, Alex Salmond, has predicted that a 2nd referendum would be held next year. The former SNP Justice Secretary, Kenny Macaskill, a powerful SNP figure, has just said that the economy now is worse than it was in 2014 when the last referendum was held, and lost by the Yes campaign. He points out that circumstances for another vote are both less favourable and more complicated than during the failed referendum in 2014. 

It should be noted that Ms Sturgeon said she would respect that result. Why doesn’t she? And by the way, who gave her the power to call another referendum?

The respected Recruitment and Employment Confederation – ‘Jobs transform lives’ – has just reported a fall in the number of Scots finding permanent work and that the Scottish economy is underperforming the rest of the UK. While the Brexit vote has had a UK-wide effect on confidence, Scotland has double the uncertainty with the prospect of a 2nd Indyref constantly being threatened.

Obviously, the SNP strategy for growth is not working, and the Scottish budget deficit is now approaching 10% of GDP. Instead of getting down to tackling the serious underlying problems in the Scottish economy, and they now have sufficient legislative powers to do this, the SNP continue to live in their own magical fantasy la la land, still stubbornly cherishing the impossible dream of becoming an independent country within the EU.

Its important to get back to basics. Ms Sturgeon and her SNP wonks must have forgotten that the Scottish budget deficit of some 14.8 billion sterling is the worst of any nation in Europe including Greece. With a deficit level comparable with GDP of 9.5%, this is more than twice the rate of the rest of the UK. Now, unless things have changed dramatically since I last looked, to be a member of the EU you should have a budget deficit of no more than 3% of GDP. We all know that this can be fudged, manipulated, or whatever, but to the degree required in Scotland’s case?

There is also the little problem of Catalonia. Who could doubt that Spain would be determined to vote against Scottish membership, or is this just a minor detail to Ms Sturgeon and her SNP cronies?

So Ms Sturgeon, to qualify for EU membership as an independent nation, would you be prepared to cut your Government’s spending by 10% of GDP – or make all of us living in Scotland pay 20% more in tax?

Dream on!

DONT BE HASTY MRS MAY

BRITISH PM AND THE SCOTTISH FIRST MINISTER’S PROPOSALS ON BREXIT

DR FOX WOBBLES

Contrary to the constant moaning from her critics, Mrs May is slowly lifting the lid on her Brexit thinking, obviously without too much detail. Over the past day or two, in a statement to Parliament, and before the imperious and rather grand Mr Andrew Tyrie, and his select committee, we have been allowed an insight into some of her thinking. We hope that her promised further statement to Parliament in early January will provide more substantive fodder. 

While there can be no way that Mrs May can accede to the Scottish Nationalists demands, as outlined by the Scottish First Minister Ms Sturgeon today, it would be quite wrong for them to be dismissed out of hand. Certainly, much of what is in Ms Sturgeon’s latest shopping list is nothing but a thinly-disguised attempt to gain further substantial devolved powers, ie  de facto Independence.

Nevertheless, the majority of Scots voting to remain in the EU at the referendum was substantial. As much as one may admire and support Mrs May, and while we may agree that the proposals put forward by the SNP are unrealistic, the UK Government must be seen by all Scots to work with the Edinburgh administration to ascertain what common purpose they may be able to unite on in the Brexit negotiations. It is therefore gratifying that the UK Government has welcomed the publication of the SNP proposals and that they will be fed into its overall thinking on the British case to be put to the EU.

Put simply, Scotland’s perceived problems as a result of the UK leaving the EU may require a series of unique solutions, not necessarily those advocated by Ms Sturgeon, and many will hope that these matters will receive a more sympathetic hearing in London than has hitherto seemed to be the case.

Furthermore, while one may not disagree with the Scottish Tory leader Ms Ruth Davidson’s remarks on Ms Sturgeon’s proposals, these should not be based on the political opinion that the SNP could not win another independence referendum. We all know that polls are fickle and can change almost overnight. Most Scots, even Unionists, are nationalists at heart and have a marked affinity with the European continent which may not be shared to the same degree  by the other countries comprising the UK. What are Ms Davidson’s solutions to protect Scottish interests?

Many of those who watched the UK Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox’s interview on Sunday’s Andrew Marr show will be left wondering whether he is in the process of changing his stand on the single market and customs union. Rightly or wrongly, this seemed to be a no contest position for Fox, but many were left with the distinct impression that he may now be wobbling. Could this be down to the realisation that certain business sectors may be greatly disadvantaged otherwise? He wasn’t giving too much away.

Following Chancellor Philip Hammond’s lead, ‘Transitional’ arrangements are now being referred to by various ministers. Mrs May and her Gang of 3, Messrs Davis, Fox and Johnson, should avoid this scenario at all costs. According to those who seem to know, such a deal could cost us some 250 million pounds per week, and just as importantly, any transitional agreement could take longer to arrange than a conclusive final treaty. Other resources such as manpower, which we all know is in short supply, should be used more profitably to secure a final deal.

After all the political humbug of the past few days, it was really refreshing to see Mrs May so expertly put Mr Tyrie in his place!