Thursday, 23 January 2014

Scotland's deuxieme embarrassment?

When are the SNP going to realise that, if Scotland becomes independent, we will not be able to tell Westminster what to do. It may make sense for an independent Scotland to be part of a common travel area with the rest of the UK but, if Westminster decides to put up manned crossing points just south of the Scottish/English border, there will not be a lot we can do about it. Ditto if Westminster decides to withdraw British passports from Scottish citizens. We could, of course, indulge in tit for tat behaviour - oh, hang on, we're doing that already. Alex Salmond is Scotland's premier embarrassment, in Calton's opinion, but Nicola Sturgeon is running him a close second with her habit of slagging off the Scotland Office whenever they point out an inconvenient truth. It's certainly a bit rich for her to say that the latest paper from the Scotland Office "lacks credibility". Has she read the White Paper?

The bottom line is this: if we want the freedom to choose our own immigration policy as an independent country, we have to accept that the price may be border controls between us and England. That's what independence is all about folks.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Salmond's preening is premature

Is anyone else embarrassed by the First Minister's threats to walk away from the UK's debt if they don't let us keep the £ after independence? Now, he's crowing and preening himself as if he's done something great when, actually, his posturing has threatened to spook the bond markets and has resulted in today's announcement by the UK Treasury that it will guarantee all UK Government debt issued up until the date of independence. Salmond's blinkered brinksmanship in pursuit of his goal of independence is now threatening us all. If the UK Government has to pay more to borrow, we'll all have to pay more to borrow and, since even a small increase in the cost of borrowing at the moment will push many families over the edge, it's no surprise that the Treasury has acted definitively. To do otherwise would have been irresponsible. Would that our First Minister had a similar sense of responsibility to the people he governs. If we vote yes later this year (and Calton sincerely hopes we don't) the road to financial stability as an independent nation will be rocky enough without Salmond's threats and bully-boy antics. He has blown out of the water any hope of an amicable divorce in the wake of a yes vote and we all know what that means - the only winners will be the lawyers!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

On a more positive note

It says on the right of this page that Calton is not affiliated to any political party and, just to prove it, here are a few of his current 'likes':
Ed Miliband setting his sights on employers who exploit loopholes to pay workers less and firms who only advertise job vacancies abroad.
Nigel Farage on the Syrian refugee issue.
David Cameron on pensions - given that pensioners' savings are not earning any interest, it's the least he could do.
Danny Alexander on raising the personal tax allowance, which has been a boon to low earners.
The SNP's policy of free prescriptions.
Since we are still in the season of goodwill, and the year is not that old, Calton will leave his list of 'dislikes' for another day. He is trying to strike a positive note. Happy New Year!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

A sad start to 2014

It is sad that, only two days into the new year, The Prince's Trust is reporting that more than three quarters of a million young people in Britain think that they have nothing to live for due to unemployment and almost a third of young people who are long-term unemployed have contemplated suicide. This is a problem which is just not going away and will only be made worse if competition for available jobs becomes greater due to an increase in immigration from Eastern Europe. What is really sad is that employers would rather advertise for workers in Romania and Bulgaria than employ our own youngsters. It's not the employers' fault - we live in a competitive, capitalism society and they want the cheapest and best workers. It's not the fault of the immigrants - they are just trying to better their lives and they are entitled to come here due to decisions made by successive UK governments. In Calton's opinion, the root of the problem goes back to when we started talking about rights without talking about responsibilities, when discipline became a dirty word in schools, when we started inculcating a sense of entitlement into our children without teaching them that there is no such thing as a free lunch. The result is a generation who are unemployable. The Prince's Trust manages to pick up the pieces for some but what is really needed is prevention and that means a change in attitude. Perhaps if the Bank of England stopped printing money, children would learn that it does not grow on trees.