Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Democracy - SNP style

It seems that, in the SNP's eyes, democracy only applies to Scotland. They are quite happy to ride roughshod over the fact that voters in the rest of the UK may not want a currency union with Scotland if we become independent and voters in other EU countries may not want us to be an EU member, or, if we do become a member they may wish to insist that we do so on the basis of joining the Euro. They are also quite happy to ignore the wishes of the Scottish people when it suits them and to forget that they did not get a majority of the votes at the last election, even although they got a slim majority in Holyrood. However, as soon as someone threatens the outcome of the independence referendum by injecting a few facts into the argument, it is an "affront to democracy". Either that or it is "bullying". Instead of accepting that they cannot force other countries to do their will, and working within the parameters which that creates, the SNP continue to insist that everything goes their way, thus demonstrating that their vision of an independent Scotland is built on sand. It is a fantasy, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. They cannot convince the people of Scotland on the basis of facts and so they are appealing to baser instincts - the dislike of being told what to do. How pathetic. The sad thing is that some Scots will fall for it.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

It's gone to their heads!

The Deputy First Minister is sticking like a plaster to the idea of a currency union because she believes that it is the "right position for Scotland and the rest of the UK". Now, Calton is not a psychiatrist but, in his opinion, Sturgeon is showing worrying signs of grandiose delusions. This isn't the first time that she has justified a political course of action by saying that it was the "right thing to do". The question is, right in whose eyes? The answer, it seems, is right in Sturgeon's own eyes because she is god and what she says, goes. Judging by her interview on Daily Politics with Andrew Neil she is absolutely convinced that Osborne et al are bluffing and so there is no need for the SNP to have a currency plan B. It didn't matter how many times Neil tried to rub her nose in the facts, she did not waver from her unsupported convictions. Is that not the very definition of delusional? Regardless of where the currency debate goes, Calton is now thinking that the real reason to vote NO is because he doesn't want to be governed by a bunch of nutters. The power of a majority at Holyrood has obviously gone to their heads. Maybe we should be asking Westminster to take some powers back off them!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

SNP - losing touch with reality?

Calton is seriously concerned about the collective mental health of the SNP government. They seem to be increasingly losing touch with reality and are, instead, living in a world of their own making. Having tried to bully Westminster into accepting a currency union with an independent Scotland by stating that it would "make sense", they now accuse Westminster of trying to bully them now that Westminster are refusing to play the game. It seems that the SNP are so lost in their own assertions they are unable to cope when someone introduces a note of reality. Interviewed on Newsdrive today, SNP MP Stewart Hosie was completely unable to accept the fact that it looks like all three main parties at Westminster are going to give currency union the thumbs down tomorrow. He clung to the idea that it is only a bluff, like a drowning man clings to a plank of wood. Well good luck with that, Stewart. As far as Calton is concerned, Osborne, Balls and Alexander will bring some much-needed clarity to the independence debate if they rule out a currency union. Far better that we know where we stand before we vote in September, rather than believing all the SNP's assertions and Oprah-style positive thinking. It is now becoming crystal clear that the SNP are so convinced of their alternative reality that they have no plan B for an independent Scotland's currency. They cannot imagine anyone not agreeing with them. It seems to Calton that such an attitude is bordering on the delusional.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Alex Neil - right on symptoms, wrong on cause and treatment

Calton has some sympathy with beleaguered SNP Health Secretary Alex Neil, who is being lambasted on twitter for blaming Scotland's drink problems on Maggie Thatcher. There is some truth in him saying that the loss of jobs for men in traditional heavy industry left them turning to the bottle. Where Neil goes wrong, and loses Calton's sympathy, is in blaming Thatcher for a) the demise of the coal and steel industries and b) not providing decent replacement jobs. Thatcher may have hammered the last nail in the coffin of coal and steel but the corpse was already dead and embalmed - the industries were uncompetitive, uneconomical and hampered by unions like Unite who, unlike Unite, could not see the writing on the wall and adapt to save jobs. There is a limit to how far any government can go in propping up ailing industries with taxpayers' money just to keep a few people employed. Similarly, there is a limit to how much government can do to provide new jobs. How many times have sweeteners been offered to firms to locate in Scotland, only for them to pull out the minute the money runs dry or penalties no longer apply? How much public money was spent on the infrastructure for a semiconductor plant at Halbeath, Dunfermline which never opened and has now been demolished? We need to create an attractive tax and infrastructure environment for businesses to operate in Scotland, yes, but sweeteners are bad for Scotland's economic health.

Alex Neil is also in trouble for saying that checkout jobs in shops or working for McDonald's are not "good jobs". Well it depends on how you define a "good job". Working at a supermarket checkout is better than being unemployed but it will never make you rich. It might not even pay the bills, given that some retailers do not offer staff full-time contracts. McDonald's does have training schemes which could lead to a better job however many of the chain's UK workers are on zero-hours contracts. Perhaps Neil could have phrased his comment somewhat better but, the truth is, if you want to have any hope of achieving at least the national average wage of £25k and have some prospect of advancement, you do generally need to have "training, education and a qualification" as Neil said, otherwise a McJob may be all that is open to you.