Wednesday, 21 April 2021

The Smell of Death

The stink of corruption and sleaze coming from the SNP has been rather overpowering recently but underneath it is the sickly smell of something far more worrying - the smell of death. Nicola Sturgeon seems to think that admitting to making a mistake which lead to the deaths of thousands of elderly care home residents will somehow act like febreze, dispelling all smells, but thousands of grieving relatives think otherwise and the promise of an inquiry is small comfort. Early Scottish Government guidance which said that it was advisable for covid cases in care homes not to be sent to hospital and the blanket issuing of Do Not Resuscitate notices or DNRs in care homes show a scant regard for human life, especially elderly, vulnerable human life, on the part of the SNP, and is in keeping with the hope expressed by numerous SNP supporters, including current Edinburgh Central candidate Angus Robertson, that the sooner the older generation die off, the sooner Scotland will be independent.

That desire to see the back of troublesome older people makes it all the more worrying to see that the SNP, in their current manifesto, are planning, if re-elected, to set up a citizen's assembly to look at legalising assisted dying. The Scottish Greens, who might help the SNP to form the next government, are already committed to introducing assisted suicide. At least they are being honest - the SNP are employing their old trick of only committing to some sort of consultation on a contentious topic before an election but their track record shows that their consultations always lead to the outcome they desire (same-sex marriage, the smacking ban being two examples of this).

At the other end of life, Nicola Sturgeon announced in September 2020 that expanded abortion access was a priority for the Scottish Government and the SNP currently does not seem to support the right of politicians of Northern Ireland to decide on abortion laws for the province, preferring to sit on their hands while Westminster imposes extremely liberal abortion laws on a devolved government against its wishes. This is total hypocrisy on the part of the SNP who would scream blue murder if Westminster tried the same tactic with Holyrood.

The Scottish Government has recently tried to say that saving lives has been their priority during the Covid pandemic. Calton thinks that they have actually become accustomed to a culture of death, whether it be in care homes due to covid, a back alley due to drugs or in the womb due to abortion because actions (or inaction) speak louder than words and the statistics speak for themselves.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Alba Trying to Square the Circle

It was high time that the SNP's dominant position on the independence side of Scottish politics was challenged and so Calton welcomes the entry of the Alba Party to the field. Quite a lot of women have done the same, judging from Alba's women's conference at the weekend, in spite of Nicola Sturgeon's attempts to smear Alba leader Alex Salmond as not safe around women. This is because Alba seems to provide a real alternative to Sturgeon's anti-female, woke, pro-trans policies. Their Equalities Policy has a series of statements about women's rights, including the right to safe spaces and women-only sport. So far, so good. However the self-same equalities policy goes on to say

ALBA acknowledges that no single protected characteristic is
more virtuous or more worthy of recognition and safeguarding
than another. They are all fundamentally important, each on
their own, and as a collective.

 There are also some waffle words about reforming the Gender Recognition process in a "respectful, sensitive and positive fashion". Which basically means that the Alba Party has no more idea than the SNP does about how to square women's rights with trans demands. That is because the circle cannot be squared. There is no solution that will keep everyone happy. Alba looks like it is coming down on the side of women, which is an improvement on the SNP, but it is still throwing a sop to the trans lobby and, in the process, potentially letting women down in the future. Until a political party is willing to grasp the nettle and recognise that people cannot change sex, women will continue to be threatened and undermined. Alba is a step in that direction but no-one should kid themselves on that Alba is the solution. Least of all women.

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Envy is a Terrible Thing

Seeing photos this week of David Davis and Alex Salmond together in happier times reminded Calton of something we seem to have lost, in Scotland at any rate. Gone are the days when politicians of opposing parties knocked seven bells out of each other in the House and then met for a pint afterwards. Gone is respect and admiration and, in some instances, genuine friendship between political opponents. Gone is agreeing to disagree. Instead we have Nicola Sturgeon who quite clearly hates, loathes and despises the leaders of the other parties. There is no mutual respect or friendship there, which is why the lift sketch featuring Sturgeon and Davidson was so cringe-worthy. During an election debate Sturgeon didn't hesitate to drop Dugdale in it by revealing a private conversation on national TV. Political advantage trumps personal loyalty and general decency every time with Nicola. She doesn't even bother trying to conceal her dislike of Willie Rennie even although the two of them share common ground on the EU.

Most telling of all is the way in which the First Minister has not only dumped but tried to destroy her mentor Alex Salmond. Her reasons for doing this have never been very clear, especially if we are to believe that he was her friend, however the whole thing becomes more plausible if, in fact, the friendship was all on Salmond's side and Sturgeon was just using him as a stepping-stone to the top. A genuine friend would have been happy with his aquittal. Instead, Sturgeon keeps casting doubts on it even as she says she accepts it.

Nicola Sturgeon has lots of slavish followers but seems to have few friends, all of whom are in her own party. She is trying to rubbish the Westminster intervention by David Davis this week by characterising it as the "old boys club", knowing the friendship that exists between Davis and Salmond. Envy is a terrible thing. Sturgeon has also made a big mistake in trying to smear Davis. David Davis MP is a man of principle and a well-respected politician. Calling him "shifty" just makes her look bad, especially after her evasive answers to many of the questions put to her by the Parliamentary Committee recently. It was an ill-judged act of desperation from a woman who is losing the trust of the Scottish people. If recent polls are right and she fails to get a majority in May, she will have very few friends supporting her after the election and she will only have herself to blame.

Monday, 15 March 2021

More on Tactical Voting

Both votes SNP worked for them in 2011 but that doesn't mean the same strategy will work for the Scottish Conservatives in 2021, especially if, as is being reported today, they don't seem to be aiming to be the largest party in Holyrood - just the largest opposition party. Nothing like a bit of ambition eh guys?

On the other hand, voting for a smaller party on the list has not worked well since 2007 reduced the number of colours present in the Holyrood rainbow from 7 to 5. That doesn't mean it won't work now. Never has Calton seen such disenchantment and disillusionment with the ruling party that he is seeing right now. Even staunch, lifelong SNP supporters are talking about spoiling their constituency ballot and voting for one of the smaller independence parties on the list ballot. In addition, there has never been such a strong move towards tactical voting in order to oust an incumbent party in the lifetime of Holyrood as there is now. It is for those reasons that Calton thinks that Stephen Daisley (someone he has enormous respect for) is wrong when he says that a vote for All for Unity is a wasted vote.

George Galloway and All for Unity have galvanised the anti-SNP vote and The Majority has given them a voice (and a banner in the sky). The mood amongst unionists was changing even before the SNP started stumbling over the Fabiani Farce, the Hate Crime Bill and the recent allegations of sleaze. Now we have an open goal in front of us, the goalie is too busy fighting fires on various fronts to defend it, it's an opportunity undreamed of even a few weeks ago! Tactical voting in Glasgow Southside could see Anas Sarwar defeat Nicola Sturgeon! Jackie Baillie's crowdfunder was over-subscribed within days of launching. If Murdo Fraser puts some effort into his constituency instead of relying on the list vote we might see the back of John Swinney!

The All for Unity approach to getting rid of the SNP is two-pronged - tactical voting in the constituency and All for Unity on the list. It is clear that the main parties are not prepared to play ball as regards the former (although, to be fair, Douglas Ross did make a tentative offer which was rebuffed by Anas Sarwar) however voters are doing it for themselves. This means more seats for Labour and the Tories, which then means that giving them your list vote is less effective. Hence the second prong of A4U's attack.

Calton doesn't know if fortune favours the brave but it does seem to favour those who recognise an opportunity when they see one and grab it with both hands. George Galloway and his pals are doing just that and Calton sees no reason to revise what he has already said about tactical voting. Just do it! You know it makes sense.

Thursday, 11 March 2021

The Turning Point

Nicola Sturgeon's political nous seems to have deserted her. Just a month ago she was heading for a majority in May and she's thrown it away. She can't even blame Alex Salmond because, although he has managed to put a smell on her which won't quite go away, the main reason voters are deserting her party in droves is her decision to promote trans rights over the rights of women. We are now in the ludicrous position in Scotland where a man walking down the street in women's clothes has more protection under the law than a woman, which provoked a twitter storm last night with a rash of tweets from former SNP voters now abandoning the party, and yet Sturgeon allowed the Justice Secretary to carry on with his Hate Crime Bill today without incorporating protection for women as advocated by Johann Lamont. Normally the First Minister is extremely sensitive to public reaction but, on this important, crucial topic, she ignored it. The delay to the vote on the bill was the ideal opportunity for the SNP to have a rethink overnight and they didn't take it. That is madness, eight weeks before an election.

Calton was already of the opinion that Nicola Sturgeon is not good for women and neither is her party, now being dubbed "New SNP". The passing of the Hate Crime Bill is now proving to be the turning point for others and support for the SNP is falling away. Calton won't shed any tears over that but he does wonder how Sturgeon could be so stupid? Perhaps Denise Findlay is right and Nicola just can't bear to lose. If that's the case, she'd better learn how to before May.

PS. And while we're on the subject of women, Ian Blackford's continued accusation that Joanna Cherry is not a "team player" (this time because she apparently asked why Patrick Grady wasn't sacked earlier from the SNP's front bench at Westminster over allegations of sexual harassment) just smacks of a man desperately casting around for a reason for demoting a competent woman who won't wheesht. Some are suggesting that Cherry should resign from the SNP and stand against Angus Robertson in Edinburgh Central. That would certainly make life interesting in Calton's constituency!

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Mad and Bad

Since his last post, Calton has decided that Nicola Sturgeon is both mad and bad. She has also appointed herself judge and jury over her own behaviour which is a bit worrying. Correction - very worrying. After the First Minister's astonishingly unwise outburst on Wednesday in which she questioned the outcome of Alex Salmond's criminal trial, Calton was not the only one who was concerned. Jim Sillars wrote to the Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans complaining that Sturgeon had breached the ministerial code. Instead of receiving a reply from Evans, he got a zinger from Nicola which you can read here, along with Sillars' measured response. Extremely measured, given the provocation of Nicola's rude reply to his first missive, but quite rightly holding to the fact that she has broken the ministerial code and should self-refer to James Hamilton (again) since no-one else seems to be able to refer her. No wonder people are starting to talk about Scotland being a failed state or a banana republic without the bananas.

We have a First Minister who is increasingly out of control, using a Covid briefing to attack an opponent, making ill-judged comments about our judicial system and then firing off a reply to a letter that wasn't even addressed to her. She has issued dire warnings to any of her supporters caught reading Wings Over Scotland, presumably to stop them reading articles like this. She accuses her opponents of a scorched earth policy when that is precisely what she is doing to the SNP. Lastly, and most egregiously, she has accused Alex Salmond of not backing up his claims with evidence when she knows full well that he is prevented from doing so for legal reasons. That's not just mad - that's bad, in Calton's opinion.

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Scottish National Pyromaniac

Calton is not sure whether the almost light-hearted bravado of Nicola Sturgeon's performance on today's briefing indicates total confidence that she is untouchable or the start of a descent into madness. Or both. It certainly made the case for the BBC pulling the daily Nicola show all the more imperative. She used it today to attack Alex Salmond in a way which, to Calton's non-legally trained mind, might be actionable when she stated that "Alex Salmond is innocent of criminality, that doesn’t mean the behaviour they claimed of didn’t happen." ('They' being the alphabet women.) For the First Minister to stray into such dangerous territory, and for her to even answer questions on the Alex Salmond affair in the Covid briefing, was very unwise.

Another worrying indication of Nicola Sturgeon's increasing isolation and failure to grasp reality is the account of the SNP NEC meeting at the weekend which Sturgeon attended via zoom. According to Iain Lawson, she spent a lot of time on dire threats for anyone caught sharing Wings Over Scotland and pushed through a definition of transphobia which will exclude women like Joanna Cherry and Joan McAlpine from the party. Neither of those actions will help heal the divisions in her party - quite the opposite. The SNP leader is behaving like a pyromaniac in a straw-filled barn. Needless to say, her diktat re Wings has been pointedly ignored by Chris McEleny and Angus McNeil who have both posted articles on Wings since the NEC meeting.

Sturgeon is keen to stick to May 6th for the election so it seems absolutely crazy for her to be purging her party with less than 3 months to go. The SNP is haemorrhaging members, there's no money in the bank and Salmond's accusations are now making front page news. Even the London-based MSM has finally realised there's a problem in Scotland. She's presumably hoping that she can capitalise on the false impression that she's handling Covid well (or at least not as badly as Boris) with an early election, however the backlash to her route out of lockdown rather gives the lie to that idea.

If Nicola Sturgeon wasn't in charge of the country at such a crucial time it wouldn't matter that she appears to be losing the plot and is spending more time dealing with Alex Salmond than Covid. Unfortunately it does matter and it also matters that there doesn't seem to be anyone within the SNP with the experience and gravitas to have a word in her shell, as happened with Margaret Thatcher. So it looks like we will have the unedifying spectacle of a desperately damaged First Minister clinging on to power unless or until she is voted out. Hopefully that will be sooner rather than later.


Friday, 19 February 2021

Birds of a Feather

The last few days have seen a tectonic shift in Scottish politics which has resulted in an interesting realignment. Instead of the SNP and the Greens on one side, with a supporting cast which included Wings over Scotland, versus all those who wanted to stay in the UK on the other side,  we now have the SNP split down the middle with one half teaming up with Wings, who now has a number of pro-UK people sharing his articles, and the other half desperately trying to distance themselves from Wings and support their beleaguered leader Nicola Sturgeon. And if you are still managing to follow Calton here, well done! It's not been easy to keep up with the shifting allegiances lately. Indeed some poor SNP supporters just don't know who is the goodie and who is the baddie now.

It may seem very complicated but, at heart, it's very simple. Birds of a feather flock together and so, on one side, we have those for whom truth transcends, and on the other, those for whom independence transcends. That's why unionists like Calton have been tweeting posts from pro-independence blogger Stuart Campbell recently. That's why "wheesht for indy" has become a thing. That's why SNP members are finally breaking ranks and speaking out, in spite of the infamous SNP gagging rule. The trigger has been the inquiry into the handling of complaints against Alex Salmond but the rumblings have been going on beneath the surface for some time now. Calton expects a full-scale eruption next week when Salmond finally testifies to the parliamentary inquiry.

Monday, 15 February 2021

Decent Human Beings Need Not Apply

Just in case there are still people out there who think that, by voting SNP, they will not only get independence but a decent human being for their MSP, Calton would like to draw your attention to what's been going on within the SNP with regards to disability and candidate selection. Rev Stuart Campbell has covered it in great detail here and here, however for those who haven't been following the story, here it is in brief:

The SNP have decided to give the top spot on the list for the Holyrood election second ballot to disabled people in four out of the eight regions. Given that the party gained a large number of constituency seats at the last election, having the top list spot is hugely important because lots of constituency seats reduces the number of list seats which a party can have. (Just look at Mid Scotland and Fife region which currently has no SNP list MSP because they have got so many of the constituencies, whereas the Tories have four list MSPs in the region.) There is therefore going to be an almighty scramble amongst SNP wannabee MSPs to get top spot on the list. Any list. Even if they don't live in the region.

So here's where the disability thing comes in because, the SNP NEC in their wisdom have decided that no proof of disability is required, although they have apparently tried to define what constitutes a disability, and when the leader of the Independence for Scotland Party, who is blind, questioned the self-identifying of disability she was subjected to a tirade of abuse from SNP members. It's a shame that being a nice, kind human being isn't the requisite qualification for top spot in the SNP, although if it was, they might struggle to get any candidates at all. As it is, with only four top spots reserved for the disabled, and the other four reserved for BAME people, it's only a matter of time before someone with the colouring of Ross Greer self-identifies as black.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

The Words Matter Even More

Nicola Sturgeon continues to use the phrase "I do not consider that I have misled Parliament" (or "broken the ministerial code"), a fact which Calton has already highlighted. At first hearing it seems a strange turn of words to use but, on further consideration it becomes apparent that, by using this particular phrase, the beleaguered First Minister is leaving the door open to someone else considering that she HAS misled Parliament, the most obvious person to do so being James Hamilton, who is currently looking into the matter and who will hopefully report by the end of the month. Having paved the way by her choice of words, and her refusal to say whether or not she would resign if she was found to have broken the code, she can then employ the tactic of 'my truth vs your truth' - 'I consider that I have not broken the code, you consider that I have'. Who is to say who is right in this post-truth, through-the-looking-glass world which is Scotland 2021?

Sturgeon will get an easy ride from the Parliamentary Committee investigating the botched handling of the Salmond case when she appears in front of it next week, thanks to her fan-girl Fabiani. If necessary the whole avian and animal kingdom will be summoned to aid in deflecting questions from Murdo Fraser, Alex Cole-Hamilton and Jackie Baillie. Possibly even flora too - 'Oh look - a snowdrop' - if things really start looking difficult. The coup-de-grace will be the post-truth argument. Nicola is right because she is right. Anyone who disagrees is wrong. Even in the face of utterly damning evidence she will not resign. This is where we have got to and it stinks.

Those who voted for this woman and who continue to support her should hang their heads in shame. Truth matters far more than independence or party loyalty.