Tag Archives: nationalist

The SNP government is drifting towards authoritarianism

Stronger for Scotland: The SNP government is heading in an ever more authoritarian direction [Image: politics.co.uk].

I’m publishing quite a long extract from this politics.co.uk article, in anticipation of a knee-jerk backlash from supporters of the SNP.

Nationalist parties tend to be authoritarian, so many of these developments may be no surprise to informed commentators.

But is this really what the people of Scotland thought they were getting when the SNP promised to fight for freedom from the United Kingdom?

It may seem inappropriate to compare the SNP with right-wing nationalist governments in Poland or Hungary. Unfortunately as the Scottish government, led by Nicola Sturgeon, heads in an ever more authoritarian direction, such comparisons are increasingly justified.

Examples of this tendency range from the trivial to the far more serious. Most recently, Donald Trump’s comments about Muslim immigrants, led to calls from the SNP for him to be banned from entering the country as a “hate preacher”. While many may agree with this, the former SNP leader Alex Salmond went one step further. He not only endorsed a ban, but said Scotland should be banning ‘all Donald Trumps’. It reminds me of a nightclub bouncer compiling a list of undesirables who aren’t allowed entry on a Saturday night. It would be interesting to see Salmond’s list of who should and shouldn’t be allowed into the country.

It’s not just differing views which the SNP are uncomfortable with, but differing lifestyles. The Scottish government are currently seeking to ban the sale of cheap alcohol in an attempt to control the behaviour of Scottish drinkers. Unlike the English or Welsh who have resisted such moves, the SNP believe we Scots can’t be trusted with cheap alcohol. The only reason it’s not in force is because the EU court raised concerns about restrictions on free trade.

A more sinister development is the SNP plan for a named person or ‘state guardian’ for every child. This will grant the state unprecedented powers over families. Proponents of the law advocate that it provides a point of contact for families. But the status quo already has various routes for families needing support. The real change is the Scottish Government having arbitrary and intrusive powers into every family in Scotland. Former chairman of Scotland’s Children Panel Advisory Group Joe Knight described it as “an erosion of parental rights and responsibilities.”

The disturbing point is not just that every child will have a named person intervening in their lives, but the SNP presumption that every child needs such a person. On this issue as on many others of personal responsibility, the SNP government is convinced it knows best.

The SNP’s super ID database is even more troubling. It’s not exactly clear how our private information would be monitored under the scheme, but filling in an innocuous form at your local NHS dentist could result in the information being circulated to 120 public bodies, including Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. Privacy campaigners have called on the Scottish government to ditch the scheme, as it will allow widespread data mining and profiling. Tellingly, the proposals are not being treated as primary legislations and are being forced through without parliamentary debate. On this issue as well, the SNP are allowing little dissent.

Arguably, the most authoritarian development of all is the SNP’s passing of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act. Under this law, fans’ behaviour must be monitored in order to see whether it merits an arrest. Yet so broad is the legislation that fans can be questioned and even arrested simply for the clothes they’re wearing, or the songs they’re singing.

The SNP’s approach to Donald Trump and football fans is remarkably similar. Rather than enlighten, persuade or educate, they opt for the lazy illiberal option of simply banning them.

Source: The SNP government is drifting towards authoritarianism

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Alt-right? What’s the difference between these people and Nazis?

Very little, it seems.

According to Wikipedia, “The altright is a loose group of people with far right ideologies who reject mainstream conservatism in the United States.”

The article goes on to say: “The alt-right has no formal ideology, although various sources have stated that white nationalism is fundamental. It has also been associated with white supremacism, Islamophobia, antifeminism, homophobia,  anti-Semitism, ethno-nationalism,  right-wing populism, nativism,  traditionalism, and the neoreactionary movement.”

White supremacism, anti-Semitism and right-wing populism would have swung it for me – they’re Nazis in a new suit (or perhaps uniform).

But it seems they are self-identifying as Nazis as well. Take a look at this alt-right logo:

161121-daily-stormer

Now see an original Nazi newspaper propaganda rag:

161121-der-sturmer

Point proved?

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Revealed: Labour did NOT pilot the Bedroom Tax

141230SNPbedroomtaxlie

The ‘infographic’ above is very popular among Scottish nationalists at the moment. In line with the wishes of the Scottish National Party (SNP), they are working hard to smear or discredit the Labour Party in order to undermine its support north of the border. There’s just one problem.

The claim is untrue.

The facts were revealed by a Labour councillor, Paul Bull, on Twitter today (December 30) after Yr Obdt Srvt spent yesterday evening arguing the matter with some particularly avid nationalists.

“I too was concerned by Malcolm Wicks’ comments in Hansard that seemed to suggest [a] Bedroom Tax pilot,” he tweeted. “So troubled that I decided to research what form that Bedroom Tax pilot took. That research … has even gone as far as the House of Commons Library.”

Then he wrote:

141230bedroomtaxfact

So this was a scheme that was announced by a Labour minister, certainly – but the Labour government of 2001 did not go through with it.

So much for the nationalists’ claims. “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive”, as someone once said. Or, more appropriately (perhaps), “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley”.

Cllr Bull continued: “However, back then Labour did do something to encourage social tenants to downsize, where many local authorities offered cash incentives to encourage [it], and this scheme was available to ALL social housing tenants, so not just those on Housing Benefit.”

He provided information on Exeter City Council’s schemes, which are available to read here and here. The second link is to a PDF file which may not open in some browsers.

He concludes: “Elements of [the] Exeter Council scheme [are] still in place but incentives are not so generous. But Exeter Council now employ a Downsizing Officer to assist social housing tenants who do want to move.”

The reality, it seems, is a long way away from the harsh brutality of the Coalition’s Bedroom Tax, with which the SNP and its supporters hoped to tar the Labour Party.

Next time anyone tries to tell you Labour had anything to do with the Bedroom Tax, point them to this article.

How can people trust the SNP when it launches lying smear campaigns like this?

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A few words about respect

141224respect

Blogger kittysjones put out a very interesting article yesterday (Tuesday) entitled Greens: the myth of the “new left” debunked in which the position claimed by the Green Party – that of being the ‘true party of the Left’ – is disputed. The article states:

“The Green Party do not have an underpinning ideology that can be described as left-wing at all. Some of the links with far-right and fascist ideology are very worrying.The fact that the Greens have themselves chosen to regard the Labour Party as their enemy means that they don’t see a potential ally, yet they manage very well in coalition councils, working amicably side-by-side and cooperatively with Tory and Liberal Democrats.

“Don’t let them fail the people of Britain by voting Green next year and allowing the Tories to remain in government another five years. People are suffering and dying as a consequence of Tory austerity; we need to ensure that ends. Vote Labour. That is the genuinely socialist thing to do.”

What is even more interesting than the article (which provides evidence to support its claims) is the reaction to it by some supporters of the party it criticises.

Here’s one: “You really must be running scared to write what you know to be utter rubbish. Thank you for invoking Godwin’s law because it just makes Liebour look all the more desperate and ridiculous.” The author of this comment was unwilling to put their own name to it, being described merely as ‘A Green Nazi’ – interestingly, because Godwin’s Law is, of course, the application of an inappropriate comparison with the Nazis.

The article does indeed compare Green ideology with that of the Nazis, but it does so on the basis of clearly-referenced evidence; therefore it would be wrong to suggest that the comparison is inappropriate. On the other hand, the commenter’s inability or unwillingness to provide any evidential argument against the assertions, relying on disparagement (“utter rubbish”) and insults (“Liebour”) suggest that in fact they are “running scared”, “desperate” and “ridiculous”.

The author’s response was one to which Yr Obdt Srvt has had to resort many times: “If it’s ‘utter rubbish’ then why don’t you explain how, in what way you disagree, rather than being a fascist and proving my point, by simply stooping to insulting the author?” This reply generally provokes one of only two possible responses: Silence, or invective.

Another comment (this one by ‘Nuggy’ – again, not likely to be their real name) attempted to twist the article into a gross generalisation: “Equating all greens with Malthus is like equating all socialists with Pol Pot or Kim Il Sung.”

It was easily put down by a reference to accuracy: “I equated the cited green policies with the ideas of Malthus.” [italics mine]

There was an (unintentially?) hilarious suggestion that the article was libellous; it isn’t, as anyone with knowledge of the laws of defamation will confirm.

And then there were the insults, first mentioned in a reply to Tim Barnden (at last, someone with a real name!) who asked: “Why are you moderating out most replies Ms Jones? Are you in fact not up for a debate?”

This was a continuing theme on the comment column, and the replies indicate the kind of pressure that was being brought to bear by people claiming to represent the Green Party: “I’m up for debate, just not up for allowing personal abuse and bullying on my site… I have had hundreds of comments from largely abusive green supporters… I am getting some pretty terrible personal abuse from Green supporters. But not much criticism of the content and details in the article, unfortunately.”

The Green Party isn’t the only political organisation whose supporters behave in this way.

Vox Political has received exactly the same responses (in different contexts, obviously) from supporters of the Conservative Party (although admittedly this has tailed off considerably since VP was launched in 2011), Scottish nationalism (including the SNP), and most particularly UKIP.

Many, many examples are available if anyone wants to question the truth of this claim.

It’s simply not good enough.

Perhaps those of you who consider this behaviour to be acceptable (it isn’t) may be persuaded against it if sites like VP and kittysjones parcelled up all your abuse and sent it to the head offices of these political parties as examples of how their supporters represent them?

You see, there are rules to this kind of debate and it seems too many people are breaking them. That’s just damned disrespectful and there’s no reason anyone should put up with it.

So, if you are one of those who types out streams of profanity and hits the ‘send’ button before engaging your brain, it’s time to change your ways.

This site values informed debate. We appreciate it; sometimes it can even be persuasive (in VP‘s case this has occurred several times).

But from now on, anything else will receive an appropriate response.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Scottish devolution – why are the nationalists still complaining?

scots2

For months now, the rest of the UK has had to put up with incessant Scottish Nationalist complaints that their country has been betrayed over the independence referendum.

If it’s not Gordon Brown lying to them about pensions (he didn’t), it was Labour being in cahoots with the Tories (it isn’t) or all of the unionist parties bribing the voters with a big lie now known as The Vow – except, after the Smith Commission reported back, we now know that The Vow is being kept.

The Vow, made on the eve of the Scottish independence referendum, promised that the Scottish Parliament would be permanent, that it will have extensive new powers including tax-raising powers, NHS funding in Scotland would be decided by the Scottish Parliament, and Scotland would continue to benefit from the Barnett formula (which governs the distribution of tax revenue).

The Smith Commission recommended that the Scottish Parliament would be permanent with powers on how it is elected and run, that it should be given the power to set income tax rates and bands on earned income and will retain all of the income tax raised in Scotland, that 10 per cent of VAT raised in Scotland should be assigned to the Parliament, and Air Passenger Duty fully devolved, that the Parliament should be given powers to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in Scottish elections, that the Barnett formula would continue (taking into account the changes necessitated by other measures granted to the Scottish Parliament). NHS funding does not appear to be mentioned, but the level of its funding in Scotland is decided by Holyrood anyway.

Any right-thinking person would take the Smith Commission report as indicating the fulfilment of The Vow.

How did Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (SNP) react? “It’s not so much the home rule that was promised – in so many respects, it’s continued Westminster rule.” Bizarre!

Did she not realise that Scotland voted against “home rule” and for remaining with the United Kingdom? Nobody promised home rule by the back door. Yet Scottish nationalists are leaping up to claim that this means The Vow has been broken, when in fact it is being kept.

Perhaps the reason for this has been best defined by Brian Taylor, BBC Scotland’s political editor: “The SNP strategy was to seek to maximise the gain from Smith – while simultaneously preparing to declare that the ultimate package is insufficient.”

That’s exactly it; the SNP has been so determined to convince the Scottish people that Westminster has been lying to them that, faced with incontrovertible proof of the opposite, leaders like Nicola Sturgeon have had no choice other than to lie about what it means.

If you are Scottish, think very carefully about what the nationalists are telling you. Check the facts for yourself, if you have to.

If you voted for independence, don’t let yourself be deceived by the nationalists, just because you didn’t get the result you wanted, and if you voted against it but had your head turned by all the anti-Westminster propaganda that has been aired since, maybe it’s time to think again.

Do any of them give two hoots about what’s best for Scotland?

Postscript: Nicola Sturgeon’s reaction leaps from bizarre to hypocritical when you read the Smith Report and discover that all five main political parties in Scotland – including the SNP – have agreed its recommendations.

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Tory ‘English nationalism’ has nothing to do with fairness

Cameron and Hague: When Cameron speaks, Hague's lips move.

Cameron and Hague: When Cameron speaks, Hague’s lips move.

Ed Balls has it right; according to the BBC he said there is no “simple solution” to the current situation regarding English devolution, as most of the tax and spending decisions he would take if he was Chancellor would affect the whole of the UK.

This is a consequence of England’s population size, relative to the other UK countries. England has more than 80 per cent of the UK’s population – with three times that of Scotland in London alone.

“There is *no* change to English tax, public services, inflation, employment legislation, company law, trade union law… that *does not* affect Scotland,” according to a comment quoted in the recent Skwawkbox blog article on this subject.

So Mr Balls said: “I think David Cameron is just trying to dupe people with the idea that he has got some easy, quick political fix. You can’t play political games with our constitution.

“The danger is that the Conservatives are now going to completely destabilise the fairness, accountability and stability of the union by suddenly trying to play an English nationalist card.”

Balls was responding to comments, especially by William Hague, that devolution was necessary to bring “fairness” to the UK.

As you can see, that is not the case – quite the opposite, in fact. The Tories want to convince the public – especially in England – that the only fair thing to do is change the structure of the UK Parliament, to make it possible for English MPs to vote on matters affecting only England. If the other Parliamentary parties refuse to accept this, then it will become a general election issue.

Hague – on the orders of his puppet-master David Cameron – is hoping that English devolution could help win the next election for the Conservatives.

If that happens, then the English voting public will deserve them!

Let us reiterate:

1. There are no matters discussed in the UK Parliament that affect England alone.

2. Even if there were, it would be unfair to change Parliament in order to bar Scottish, Welsh and Irish MPs from voting. English MPs were never asked to accept being banned from voting on matters affecting Wales – that country was given its own assembly instead. If an England-only legislature were demanded – silly though such an idea may be – then it would have to be created separately from the UK Parliament – either as a single body or a series of regional assemblies. That would be, in fact, the only fair way to do it.

The fact of the matter is, the Tories want English MPs to decide such matters because, in an English-only Parliamentary sitting, they would command a 59-seat majority and could therefore run roughshod over the English people in any way that suited their fancy.

Do not accept for one moment any claim that they would govern for the good of the country. We have seen, over the last – long – four and a half years, that it simply is not in their nature.

So, if anyone asks you whether you support the idea of an English Parliament, tell them it should never be done with existing English MPs, and even if it was, its decisions would affect every other part of the UK anyway. Once a way is found to negate that effect, it might just be acceptable for members to be elected to a separate body – or bodies.

It’s only fair.

Oh, and by the way: Isn’t it nice to see Cameron and Hague backed into a corner by Ed Miliband, U-turning like mad on their position over powers for Scotland? “Commitments to Scotland would be honoured,” said Hague.

After Ed Miliband’s “No ifs, no buts” speech, what else could he say?

Commenters may wish to attack the viewpoints expressed above. If you do, please address your argument to the points raised above and make sure you have a reasonable argument to make. If your gripe is “everyone else has got one (assembly) so why shouldn’t we?” your comment won’t see the light of day. Life’s too short.

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