I am a 51 year old working mum of five – not all at home thank goodness. Im a member of the Women for Independence National Executive. This Blog is growing and changing as my hopes and aspirations change. I actually DO expect to change the world but I accept that might not even make sense sometimes. I hope you enjoy the read.

Archive for the month “February, 2019”

Politics, playgrounds, pantomime and Playgroups.

So … Brexit.

The papers are still full of the defectors from the Tory Party and the Labour Party. They are variously suggesting they should hold by-elections or take over the government. Talks of rebellion swirl around the corridors of power and it appears the the Tory Party are facing either a rebellion or an exodus by 30 MPs.

And we have 35 days to Brexit.

Theresa May came back from Brussels with nothing.

Jeremy Corbyn came back from Brussels with …erm … nothing and as he pointed out, unable to negotiate anything because he isn’t in Government. Oh… they loved HIS deal though! He is their sweetheart apparently! Playgrounds to add to our pantomime.

Lots of talk about coalitions, pacts,lots of commentary on this which completely excluded the SNP. Again.

Question time last night had on it an ex UKIP candidate who had appeared before and he was asked to comment very early on in the show! And no, that’s not left here from a previous update, it’s happened again!

Do they keep them in a cupboard? Next to the Garbaldis? Tea? Biscuit? Nasty right wing failed candidate for UKIP?

Trade deals aren’t doing very well either. Despite telling us we will be able to roll over trade deals, we hear Liam Fox announce that we won’t be doing any of that in time for March 29th.

Fitch has put the UK on a negative credit rating watch.

Aviva has a chunk of business moving to the Republic of Ireland at 10.59 on 29th March. Brexit related? Oh no it’s not… oh yes it is – here we go again!

We are seeing reports that people trying to order goods from other countries are not able to do so because the goods won’t arrive until after 29th March. Maybe not a problem if it’s that new insole you were wanting for your shoe, but if it’s a piece of equipment for your business or a special tool or component it’s perhaps a bit more of a problem.

People trying to attend international lectures and conferences are finding that they are told only if we don’t leave with No Deal

Welfare reform continues to hit the poorest. The DWP owes over 200 000 people arrears of ESA after it was discovered that they had made a mistake in their payments.

They are dragging their feet over repayments averaging £6000 per person to the extent that 20 000 have died in the meantime.

Meanwhile in Scotland

The Scottish Government published a Brexit impact assessment on No deal. The UK Government have not done so.

This points out that in the event of No Deal, exports would drop, immigration would fall, unemployment would increase and Scotland would likely enter a recession. Here is your reminder that Scotland voted to remain!


Ian Blackford tabled an urgent question to the Prime Minister on the economic impact of her deal. She ran out of the chamber just as he stood up. Scotland ignored again.

Glasgow City Council passed their budget yesterday and they have committed to paying the equal pay deal. They also have committed to investment in schools to ensure free school dinners for all pupils in P1 to P7. This is one of the most effective ways of tackling poverty and important in what is likely to be a challenging term for the council as they have to find the money for the pay claims.

The Tories and Scottish Labour continue to slag off the Scottish Government on Workplace Car Parking Levy despite it turns out, that both the Tories and Labour had this in their manifestos for the council elections in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Yes really! So… they wanted a car park levy, they really wanted a car park levy, they campaigned for a car park levy and they got a car park levy aaaaaaand now they don’t want it. Playgroup stuff for Gods sake.

Also, The Tories Social Security Spokesperson said in committee yesterday that the bedroom tax doesn’t exist. It does. The FM had to remind her that people don’t have to pay it in Scotland because the Scottish Government pays it for them – spending nearly £60 million on doing so every year. The Tories have no idea how real people live and they don’t care enough to get either their comments right or their benefit assessments right. It’s a damn good job we have a Scottish Government that does.


Permits and passports

So …. Brexit

Bit late today as I’m in my beloved Caithness. But let’s see.

Yesterday Michael Gove announced that the Government WILL impose tariffs on imports of food. Way to go to see food prices rise guys. For those of us existing on a low income this is catastrophic news. Once again it is becoming apparent that the price of Brexit will be paid by the poorest in society whilst the richest skip off to Monaco without a care in the world.

Oh, And WTO tariffs will see exports of lamb and beef plummet meaning farmers are likely to be massively affected by a no deal Brexit. The NFU described it as “the stuff of nightmares”.

In addition we are hearing from exporters of shellfish that they haven’t received the necessary permits to drive on the continents. One company says they have applied for 6 permits and received none. Make no mistake Businesses WILL close if this happens. Word is that of the 11000 applications only 980 were successful.

Looks like the U.K. Government are planning their opt out of ECHR and using a 19 year old to pave the way for her. They have stripped British Citizenship from the the girl that left the U.K. to join Isis. Leaving her stateless. It may very well be that the ECHR – to which she can appeal will rule that unlawful and she will have to be given it back – cue outrage and the U.K. Government stomping off in a huff.

And a police officer on Radio 4 earlier today said this lassie was being groomed and the school was aware but didn’t inform her parents.

It’s worth asking why when 15 year old white girls are groomed we blame Asian men and prosecute them, seeing the girls as victims but when 15 year old Asian girls are groomed we blame the girls?

Oh and in the midst of all this three Tory MPs resign and neither party mentions this at PMQs. It’s left to Ian Blackford to remind them of their dereliction in the face of a political crisis. Although there is a wee rumour that the Independence Group sights are set on overtaking the SNP as the 3rd Party and therefore shutting us up even more without a single election taking place.

Meanwhile in Scotland, I am working with loads of people to make life better for them. Others are fighting poverty and inequality, funded and supported but the Scottish Government.

Human Rights are being incorporated into our social security system, being considered as part of the transport strategy being consulted on at the moment and people remain at the centre of the policies and work that is being done.

The Tories in Holyrood are walking around in circles muttering about car parks and complaining the FM went to France to encourage business and investment and wasn’t in Parliament for the finance bill despite the fact that she was paired with Ruth Davidson!

Labour in Holyrood wheeled out the inept James Kelly (their finance spokesperson) who ably demonstrated that he doesn’t understand Scottish Income Tax. He asked why the the Scottish Rate Resolution says the higher rate of income tax runs between £30,930 and £150,000, not between £43,430 and £150,000.

He completely forgot that there is a £12,500 personal allowance. He is the bloody finance spokesperson. Give me bloody strength!

Really people really!!!!


Which way to turn….

So …. Brexit

So yesterday 7 labour MPs left the party and set up an “Independence Group”.

Their reasons variously include Brexit, they don’t like Jeremy Corbyn, they think the party is anti-Semitic and racist, they can’t in conscience stay in a party which they don’t believe in.

The response appears to have been a bit “meh” to be honest. Not helped by one of them Angela Smith, I think she’s called (not exactly big hitters), making the most bizarrely inept job of a tv interview where she described People as “Black and funny tinged”. I kid you not folks! There are veiled threats that more are coming and threats from Amber Rudd to the PM that 22 “important” Tories are on the brink of leaving too.

Lots of people seem to think it’s the “best thing” but best for whom?

These internal squabbles in both parties are a sideshow. They are a heap of bloody nonsense. NONE of this is best for the people of the UK. In fact opinion polls are showing Labour trailing AGAIN, behind the Tories. So you have your fall outs Labour, you do the flouncing all over the place, but you are pissing away any hopes we might have had of ever ever getting rid of the Tories.

Everyone is braying for by-elections for the Splitters Seven Seats but I have no expectation that this will happen. Labour after all, have an MP who is in Prison and there’s not been much done to organise a by election. And besides -Yoo hoo – Brexit? March 29th anyone

Neither party is remotely interested in resolving this Brexit issue. Neither! They are simply selfishly fighting amongst themselves and seeing who can piss the highest. Except it’s us they are pissing all over. It’s appalling. And it’s 42 days folk.

In other news Honda are closing their plant in Swindon. No one is really sure why as they haven’t made a statement yet but Justice Tomlinson their MP is saying it isn’t Brexit it’s the Japan EU trade deal which is allowing Japanese

Manufacturers to repatriate car plants. But it’s not Brexit and all the commentators are shouting “it’s Brexit” – more pantomime banter. Isn’t it great?

As an aside It was also quite shocking last night to watch Channel 4s despatches blame the Fire Service for the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Still no sign of Kensington council being held to account though for wrapping that building in flammable material. Reminds me a bit of when the media blamed the miners for Orgreave and the fans for Hillsborough.

We see you!

Meanwhile in Scotland, the First Minister is addressing the French Parliament. She is working hard to ensure that countries know we are “open for business”. She is presenting a Scotland that is calm and business like oh and not completely batshit crazy like the rest of them. It’s going down well except with the Scottish Tories who are as jealous as jealous can be. The contrast between Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon and the reception that they both get is striking.

The Scottish Tories must also be worried as rumours circle that the new Independence Group is going to ask Ruth Davidson to lead it.

Not a hope in hell! They called it the “independence” group. Although WFI did point out that that is likely to come with conditions – like the term independence doesn’t actually mean for other parts of the UK – Scotland, Wales or Ireland.😉

Finally The FM in France is reaffirming our support for our EU friends living here, a reminder that we can have something better in Scotland if we choose.


A line in the snow

So…. Brexit


It’s with Lichtenstein right enough. And it seems to have come as a sort of knock on effect of the Swiss trade deal but hey, let’s not knock it. It’s a trade deal, and that takes us to …. erm… four post Brexit trade deals. It’s probably a good job though cos it looks like Gavin Williamson (he’s the defence secretary apparently – anyone remember? Nope I thought not.) has upset the possibility of a trade deal with China with his bizarre speech last week and an announcement that he will send an aircraft carrier to the South China Seas in 2021.

An airline Flybmi has collapsed, they said it was related to Carbon Credit trading related to Brexit. Leave supporting politicians and commentators said “No it’s not”. Flybmi said – erm actually yes it is and those commentators said “no it’s not”. I guess it fits right into this pantomime we are calling Brexit.

The Hostile Environment for immigrants continues to increase with the news that the home office is placing immigration officers in hospitals and other public services. We have seen racist behaviour rise after Brexit – a family in Salford had disgusting crap daubed on their front door, (back to the 70s anyone?) all this stuff about this lassie in Syria, The settled status stuff, where they have made it awkward for EU migrants to register, All this increases distrust and gives a legitimacy to the worst voices in our society, the racists, the haters. They have been encouraged and empowered and will help to shape and form the future of a post Brexit Britain.

Oh and Jim Ratcliffe – Grangemouth Ineos Mannie, another “make Britain great again” Brexit supporting multi millionaire has gone to live in Monaco. Seems like Brexit is ok for us plebs but we can’t expect RICH people to stick around for it.

Also today the Labour Party appears to be ramping up its identity crisis. Some MPs are tweeting an oath of allegiance to Jeremy Corbyn (weird or what?) whilst its being reported that others are going to announce a split from the party. It’s no wonder they are trapped in this ineffective inactivity we have been seeing if they aren’t even talking to each other!

Meanwhile In Scotland, well the sun is shining, and despite us having less than 40 days to Brexit the Tories were out in force at weekend. Campaigning against a workplace carpark levy.

Yep. Car parking!

Mike Russell however, raises again the concerns we have about our EU citizens living here and reiterates Scotland’s commitment to them https://twitter.com/theSNP/status/1096477169537220609?s=20

Our SNP MPs continue to raise the case of constituents failed by the UK welfare system. Universal Credit, PIP assessments.

People are being left behind and left with nothing. Drew Hendry and Peter Grant again making sure that these issues remain at the top of the agenda, despite Labour and the Tories wallowing in their own party difficulties at the expense of everything else.

The only party which is standing up for real issues for the people of Scotland, whoever they are is the SNP. Thank goodness for that.



Now you see it, now you don’t

So… Brexit.

Well, let’s see. Nothing much happened yesterday – so I’m going to talk a little about Deceit and manipulation.

So… Question Time. You might have noticed some rumblings about the recent question Time programme from Motherwell and wondered why it even matters. Now, I’m not a great anti BBCer. I occasionally watch it but I don’t get my news from it much to be honest any more. Like many, I have found more reliable sources of news and current affairs information. However I don’t hate the BBC and I bloody love Strictly and Shetland!

It’s always interesting when Question Time comes from Scotland because all political parties and both sides of the constitutional debates (EU and Indyref) claim it as a success. And both sides claim that it was more biased for one or the other. But given that it includes an audience selected specially to be representative of the local area it’s just the way it is.

Except it isn’t that.

What has transpired this week is that Question Time appears to have selected a right wing, ex UKIP candidate to be on this show four times and given him the opportunity to speak. This is curious given that the odds of that happening are hugely stacked against it. When asked, the man in question said he had been invited by the BBC to take part and speak.

And that’s what he did, a rant against the SNP which pointed out that no one wants them and their policies in Scotland. Except Motherwell has an SNP MP and an SNP MSP. So it’s likely that Motherwell does. It also turns out that Fiona Hyslop’s reply to him was edited to just 7 seconds.

So all this is mildly humorous but does it actually matter?

Well, I think it does.

What we see is a programme which purports to be something actually is something else. Far from being a representative audience of the area, it is an audience which has been manipulated to give a specific impression. Because make no mistake, this guy won’t be the only one”invited” onto the programme.

What we are being told or shown is not true or accurate.

The BBC have predictably said that what the audience member said is not what happened and have even written to all MPs to reassure them. But it is a sign of the times we live in and it’s important because it it’s happening all over the place.

Today we have Edward Mountain setting up his stall in Inverness to petition against what he calls the car park tax.

There is no plan, no intention on the part of Highland Council to roll out a workplace car park levy to people living in Highlands. And it IS up to the council. Not the Scottish Government.

But you wouldn’t know that from Ed Mountains tweet.

The NHS in Scotland has consistently been the best performing in the UK for ever practically, but you wouldn’t know that from the Labour Party Political Broadcast recently.

The Scottish Government has offered the highest pay rise to teachers in the whole of the UK by a country mile,but you wouldn’t know that from Labour and EIS union reps who I heard describe teachers as “poorly paid” in a recent radio interview.

We are in negotiations with the EU says Theresa May. Errrr no we aren’t says the EU.

It’s a time of smoke and mirrors folks. More so than at any time I can remember. That’s why this fuss over Question Time matters.

Be aware, read widely, question everything and always go back to the source.


To vote or not to vote

So…. Brexit

Well guys surprise, surprise Theresa May was defeated in the Commons last night.

Tory MPs voted against the government because they said it appeared to take No Deal off the table and Labour MPs voted against it because it didn’t take no deal off the table.

Theresa May wasn’t even in Parliament. The ERG are running the show and she cant even be bothered to turn up.

The SNP proposed an amendment for Article 50 to be delayed and whilst 40ish Labour MPs Voted with the SNP and Lib Dems the rest abstained. That’s right. They sat on their hands and didn’t bother to vote. And this amendment would have taken no deal off the table – at least for the foreseeable future. So let’s just think about that shall we – in January Jeremy Corbyn refused to meet Theresa May because she would not take no deal off the table and in February Jeremy Corbyn whipped his MPs to abstain on a motion which would have taken No Deal off the table.

Make sense to anyone?

Well, it does if you think that Jeremy Corbyn has no desire to see a deal. He is happy for us to crash out of Europe with no deal because then he can blame the Tories and hope for a General Election. Well, I have news for Jeremy Corbyn – if he facilitates a No Deal Brexit for the Uk, then I would be very very surprised if he won a General Election. Especially given the split that would cause in the Labour Party. Christ, we will have tory Governments for ever more.

So, following last night pantomime in parliament we saw the latest episode of Question Time. It had as a guest Jacob Rees-Mogg. There was some discussion of Churchill, as there has been over the last few weeks. Now, I have no strong feelings about Churchill one way or the other. He was a man of his time, of his class and of the world as it was years before I was born. He was a monster to some and a saviour and the greatest man ever lived to others. Me? Meh…. However, last night someone who should know better – Jacob Ress-Mogg justified the British Government’s use of concentration camps during the Boer war in which 28 000 people died (25 000 aged under 16) by suggesting that the life expectancy of someone in a concentration camp implemented by Winston Churchill had the same life expectancy as someone living in Glasgow at the time.

Let that sink in – Rees-Mogg justified concentration camps.

He also said that Churchill was the only one with the guts to stand up to Hitler. Conveniently forgetting that he has had meetings with far right figures including Steve Bannon of Breitbart. Could it possibly be that Rees-Mogg has more in common with Oswald Mosley’s Brownshirts than with Churchill.

He also said that we should be ashamed that 597 people died sleeping rough last year – he voted 52 times to cut benefits and 16 times for the bedroom tax. The Channel 4 documentary about Universal Credit showed a grown man sobbing in a phone box because he had nothing and no one to help him.

The Tories are waging a war against the poor and vulnerable, Brexit will allow them to avoid the EU tax directive that will make it much harder to avoid taxes through offshore accounts.

Penny dropping anywhere?

Meanwhile in Scotland….

Mike Russell spoke last night about the contribution EU nationals make to Scotland’s Highlands and Islands community. We are poorer without them and yet both the tories and labour want to end freedom of movement.

Labour broadcast a party political broadcast which slagged off the Health service in Scotland and the England one slagged off the Health service in England. Interestingly in Wales, the Party Political Broadcast they put out there did not mention the Health service. Wonder why that might be?

In Wales, Labour run the NHS and it is the worst run NHS in the country – Scotland is the best run NHS in the UK. Now I’m not saying it couldn’t be better but comparing like with like – devolved parliament, reducing budgets from Westminster – and Scotland outperforms Wales completely. So, again let’s consider this, Labour slag off the way the SNP run the NHS in Scotland and say that they could do a better job whilst in Wales, where they run the NHS it is performing worse and sometimes massively worse than in Scotland. Be informed folks


Round and Round and Round and Round we go!

Sooo today’s Brexit

Oh god! Talk about losing the will to live!!!!

Today’s highlights include the news that the government has left it too late to procure extra ferries for goods coming from the continent.

Also there is to be another debate with a non- binding vote on Brexit tonight in Parliament. Today we hear that some Tories are going to rebel and vote against the governments motion.We are also hearing that some labour MPs are going to rebel against the Labour Party and vote FOR the governments motion.

The Tories are potentially going to split with the prospect of a Pro Brexit Party being formed with the like of Nigel Farage, and the Labour Party are potentially going to split with the prospect of a centrist party being formed.

Anyone making any sense out of any of this?

Theresa May says negotiations are continuing and the EU say that the UK is not in any negotiations with the EU because they have not put ANY proposals forward.

The SNP are putting forward a motion to delay article 50 so we don’t leave on 29th March. Yvette Cooper I think is putting forward another motion for a people’s vote.

None of it will matter. There is no plan. Theresa May accused the SNP of not having a plan for independence in 2014. Ian Blackford waved it at her yesterday. It was over 600 pages long and I have a copy under my bed. It was published on 26th November 2013 for a referendum on 18th September 2014.

Whatever you thought about the White Paper you had 296 days in which to read, scrutinise, assess, analyse and consider the contents.

Today we have 44 days til Brexit, just over 1000 hours.

No plan, no vision, no white paper. Nothing other than the demented mutterings of an ever changing group of ministers who confidently promise trade deals, extra ferries, control of “stuff”, and then fail to deliver on every single thing. Add to that a prime minister with her fingers in her ears repeating a meaningless mantra and an opposition party who can’t organise themselves into a coherent opposition and

there you have it.

I’m not even going to do a “meanwhile in Scotland” bit today. I might come back to it later but surely to goodness people can see the utter utter utter mess being made of this at Westminster and how much it is impacting on Scotland. If not there was a economic report published yesterday. Read it and weep



Hell is other people’s red lines

Sooooo Brexit,

Today Theresa May heads to Europe after spending a few days trying to persuade Ireland to trust her without the backstop.

That didn’t work.

Yesterday, Tusk suggested there would be a special place in hell for those who pushed Brexit With no clue of how to deliver it – I would suggest that place is Brussels, locked into a round of meetings where everyone you meet thinks you are a complete fool, keeps saying “no” and leaves you wandering aimlessly around trying to find a door to leave by which doesn’t actually exist.

It also transpires that Liam Fox – the Secretary of State for International Trade – is struggling a bit. He once told us that countries would be queuing up to sign trade deals with us – the easiest deals in history apparently.

He has travelled 400 000 miles since he said that and hasn’t managed to sign one trade deal.

Boris has been caught out dumping Brexit paperwork in a petrol station bin.

Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn has written to Theresa May to set out the way Labour can facilitate Brexit. These are apparently,

A permanent, UK-wide customs union with the EU

Close alignment with the EU single market

Dynamic alignment on rights and protections, so UK standards keep pace with new ones in the EU

Clear commitments on participation in EU agencies

Unambiguous agreements on future security

So, at first glance it looks like Labour want all the things we have now as part of the EU but without freedom of movement of people.

This is said to have split the party even more if that was even possible. Labour is swallowing itself up over Brexit and it’s failure to be an effective opposition on this issue at ANY time in the last few years is absolutely unforgivable. This proposal will please neither the working class English constituencies where leave strongly won (the fact that it did is labour’s bloody fault too), it won’t please the metropolitan labour areas where remain won the day, and in Scotland, where remain pretty much swept the board it’s likely to be laughed off the park – just like James Kelly MSP has been after his bruising engagements with Derek Mackay.

And so, what’s been happening for Scotland whilst this is going on? Well, the First Minister has been in the US. That’s pissed off the Torys liberals and a labour. They don’t like it when Scotland tries to be influential on the international stage. They think we should “know our place” you see. And for them, our place is on the end of a lead being dragged around by the British Bulldog.

Despite this, our First Minister has been welcomed and has signed a joint agreement with California to share expertise and knowledge on Climate Change, she met with Tesla and Apple to discuss energy strategies and digital health, she attended a meeting to connect female entrepreneurs in Scotland with US investors.

On day 2 she met with the CEO of Marriott to discuss global tourism, signed another agreement on Climate Change with gov of New Jersey and met 50 key figures in industry, banking, media and politics to promote Scotland’s potential.

On day 3 she met with several businesses and announced that Scotland would host the 2022 World Forum for foreign direct Investment. She went onto address a Scotland is Now Investor lunch for 50 senior business people, showcasing Scotland’s assets and strengths. She discussed collaborations with Morgan Stanley at their fusion centre.

She then went on to the UN where she was appointed the #heforshe global advocate – a programme to engage boys and men in the fight for equality and she had a discussion with the Assistant Secretary General for human rights where she confirmed Scotland’s commitment to Human rights, to the rights of refugees and the desire to extend human rights based approaches in Scottish policy.

See the contrast?


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