Please note that there will be less blogging than usual for the next week or so.
A libertarian returns to Scotland
"Freedom and Whisky gang thegither"
- Robert Burns
"Freedom and Whisky gang thegither"
Monday, 30 September 2002
Wendy Alexander was always regarded as one of the stars of Scottish Labour. Now, she is telling us what it is really like.
Friday, 27 September 2002
Arise, Sir Printsalot
An educated argument?
barbaric, outdated system,
unjustified sense of superiority,
archaic system of child cruelty,
not to mention the assumption that our money really belongs to the state and that any tax relief is a subsidy. Do people write like this because, deep down, they know that state education is going to the dogs? There certainly seems to be a total lack of understanding that government schools are paid for by taxpayers and that we are getting very angry.
But what would it be called?
Given the likely site's proximity to Stirling, it will no doubt be named: "The William Wallace International Airport" and be opened by Mel Gibson.
A new Scottish airport?
Could this actually happen? The fact that there is to be a joint study by Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities is a harmonious change from the usual fierce rivalry between the two cities. The Scottish business community has rightly been complaining about the endless output of politically correct nonsense from the Scottish Parliament and has called for spending to be switched towards transport. The "great and the good" of the business world support the new airport. Yes, I think it could happen.
Wednesday, 25 September 2002
HRH hits out
The Lord Chancellor’s department would neither confirm nor deny the suggestion last night. “We never comment on the Lord Chancellor’s private correspondence,” a spokeswoman said.However, the prince's office:
has previously defended Prince Charles’s letter-writing, saying that “it is the job of the Prince of Wales to represent people’s views and in particular views that would otherwise go unheard”.Fair enough, but why are people's views going unheard? In the case of the Scottish Tories it would seem that they spend their time worrying about being called "racist" instead of standing up for people of all colours against an overweening state.
Ashraf Anjum has recruited a large number of new Conservative party members, mainly fellow Asians, seemingly in an attempt to improve his chances of getting into the Scottish Parliament by gaining a high position in the Tory party list. Long-standing candidates are upset, but Mr Anjum hasn't broken party rules. Indeed, some have suggested that all would-be candidates should be obliged to recruit a minimum number of new party members. That seems a good idea. The Tories held a meeting to sort things out. Some of the existing candidates had threatened to resign but received a message from their leader, David McLetchie:
At the meeting on Monday night, Mr McLetchie made it clear to the candidates that if they resigned the "full force" of the party machinery would be brought down upon them. It is understood that he made it clear that they would open themselves up to charges of racism if they stood down - and this was something the party would not tolerate.This is unbelievable. Candidates can't resign without being accused of racism! It's hardly surprising that:
some of the candidates at the meeting felt "shell-shocked" with the way they were treated by the party leadership.
Tuesday, 24 September 2002
Dr Wilson Flood agrees.
Monday, 23 September 2002
Like lambs to the slaughter
will give the Scottish Lib Dems an advantage over LabourWho said that politicians are comedians? Labour activists are saying something rather different:
We do not speak as a vested interest but as democrats when we say as a party we do not support proportional representation for local council elections. That is why we will enter the 2003 elections on a platform of reinvigorating local democracy but not breaking the direct link between councillor and community; of strengthening local government, not undermining it to create local administration.My money is on the Labour activists.
Sunday, 22 September 2002
A royal mistake
Saturday, 21 September 2002
Take that, Toohey!
Friday, 20 September 2002
Not even Bridget Jones....
Shock rise in Tory support
Almost all the new recruits, which immediately sent the Tory party membership in the city up from 680 to 793, a rise of 16 per cent, were from Glasgow’s Asian community. Most were known to Mr Anjum, a former aide to the Glasgow Govan Labour MP, Mohammed Sarwar, and very few, if any, had shown any obvious interest in party politics before that time.This hasn't gone down too well with some of Mr Anjum's colleagues:
The backlash against Mr Anjum has been so fierce that some Tory activists have even threatened to mobilise the party membership in an attempt to defeat him.It seems as if Mr Anjum has broken no party rules and he is being supported by the Tory hierarchy. As the Scotsman editorial says:
But the problem does not lie with Mr Anjum. All he has done is recognise how the system works and use it to his best advantage.Well, maybe so, but for the Tory leadership to upset its all too few rank and file party members is not good politics.
Thursday, 19 September 2002
Cobbled streets and trendy restaurants
"Trust me, I'm a politician"
We read that:
The council had earlier announced that an independent survey showed a 51 per cent majority of people in favour of a city centre toll cordon. But in reality only 42 per cent of people who responded to a questionnaire were in support. The favourable majority only emerged once the figures had been "weighted". Researchers decided not enough people without cars had voted and adjusted the poll results after deciding that non-car owners would support tolling.And in the full printed article:
It also emerged today that environmental groups in favour of congestion charges were given thousands of questionnaires for members to fill in.Rightly, the local Tories are accusing the City Council of "cooking the books" but it occurs to me that we should now disbelieve any statistics put out by New Labour. The government has been making lots of noise about its success in combatting crime. The "statistics" prove that policies are working. Public perception is that crime is completely out of control. I think that the public is correct and that the national crime statistics are probably as sound as those of the Edinburgh City Council.
Wednesday, 18 September 2002
The pension saga continues
Tuesday, 17 September 2002
Let's have some real money
George Kerevan says that:
We were in the ERM as a way of getting rid of inflation, the endemic British problem that chased away investment and caused labour unrest. Inflation happens when too much credit causes demand to run ahead of supply. In postwar Britain, red tape and high taxes kept supply down while too much government borrowing flooded the markets with the financial paper that made credit easy. Mix in the oil prices rises of the Seventies, and inflation went out of control.and:
Mrs Thatcher got elected in 1979 to fix this. In good faith, she adopted the doctrine of monetarism, reinvented by Milton Friedman but actually the work of the 18th-century Scot, David Hume. According to monetarism, if the government could set targets for the growth in money supply (what there is to spend), it could keep it growing in line with output. Sounds good, but it didn’t work in practice. First, in a globalised economy, governments can’t dam all the available sources of credit. Second, new kinds of credit are being invented every day, so that setting targets for monetary growth means trying to measure the unmeasurable.Well, none of what happened ten years ago was surprising to those who had studied the Austrian School of Economics. Since 1913, the pound has lost 98% of its value and the dollar has declined by 95%. As long as we have a fiat currency with money being created out of thin air, inflation will continue. The Austrians showed that sound money can only exist if it is 100% based on a commodity, probably gold or silver. It doesn't really matter if the money counterfeiters are based in Frankfurt, London or Washington - the result will be destruction of the people's wealth. Where are the politicians - and journalists - who will call for the establishment of real money?
Monday, 16 September 2002
According to the United Nations, on that day 18,000 children under five died from hunger or thirst, undocumented, unnamed, and without the "benefit" of live television coverage.He goes on to say:
Our political leaders’ struggle for the moral high ground post-9/11, against the background of avoidable disease, starvation and thirst in our world is as revolting an exercise in hypocrisy as I can remember.Well, the 3,000 deaths were caused by terrorism and the 18,000 deaths were caused by socialism. Both can and should be dealt with but I rather suspect that the ending of socialism is not quite what Mr Kelly has in mind.
Sunday, 15 September 2002
BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Key al-Qaeda suspect under interrogation
Smacking the Lib Dems
Today in 1940
Friday, 13 September 2002
Scottish bank notes are not legal tender in Scotland. English bank notes of denomination less than 5UKP were legal tender in Scotland under Currency and Bank Notes Act 1954. Now, with the removal of BoE 1UKP notes, only coins constitute legal tender in Scotland. English bank notes are only legal tender in England, Wales, The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
Today, in fact, no banknote whatsoever (including Bank of England notes!) qualifies for the term 'legal tender' north of the Border and the Scottish economy seems to manage without that legal protection.I can confirm that Scottish businesses are very happy to accept both English and Scottish notes. Nevertheless, Mr Macnair is one of thousands of Scots frustrated by having our money rejected south of the border. The Chancellor, a Scot, should adopt one of these policies:
1. English and Scottish notes should be the sole legal tender in their respective countries.
2. English and Scottish notes should be legal tender in both countries.
3. No notes should be legal tender in either country - it works in Scotland.
4. The Bank of "England" should be renamed The Bank of the United Kingdom and only its notes would be legal tender in both England and Scotland.
5. Abolish central banking, fire the bureaucrats, let the private sector take over and may the best banks win.Don't hold your breath.
Thursday, 12 September 2002
Let us not forget
Scottish football (but no mention of the Faroes...)
We believe a sustainable wage/turnover ratio would be between 60 and 70 per cent,” recommends Glen in the latest PwC review of Scottish football, a glossary of mismanagement which is entitled: “The search for a viable playing field.I think that 60 to 70% seems far too high. When I worked in advertising our parent company had a strict rule: total staff costs must never exceed 55% of revenue. That way, profits would be assured. If the SPL clubs adopted the 55% rule, Kilmarnock, Motherwell and St Johnstone would have joined St Mirren in profitability. Nevertheless, the other eight clubs would still be loss-making with Celtic and Rangers being £8 million and £10 million in the red respectively. I assume that high stadium costs are the reason for this. The supply of benevolent millionaire owners is limited. Wage cuts for players seem inevitable.
Tuesday, 10 September 2002
Glasgow Herald for sale!
Chief executive Andrew Flanagan said: "Our strategy of focusing SMG’s development on a cross media approach with national positions in the faster growing media sectors, means that publishing is no longer core to the group.May I suggest that SMG invests a million or two in the "fast growing media sector" that is blogging. I await their call.
Monday, 9 September 2002
Too many in jail?
Saturday, 7 September 2002
The first Tranzis?
Turn now to the griefometer which rates disasters using the deaths of Princess Diana and Jill Dando as benchmarks (thanks to Samizdata for the link) and fill in the form for the disaster that was communism.
I rated "average cuteness of dead" at 5% - let's face it, people exterminated for owning a couple of sheep or turning up late for work at a Ukrainian collectivised farm don't come too high up on the "cuteness" scale. Similarly, I gave 5% for "importance of location." The communist holocaust didn't occur in London, Paris or New York so the location couldn't be all that important, could it? I also put in 5% for "visual impact" which is probably too high. It's not as if it was on CNN every day. Giving the commies a fair chance, I assumed that the mass murder was on the front pages every day since 1917, that's some 29,220 days. Now click submit. Communism scores 0.8 "Dandos", less than one "Diana". Giving cuteness, location and visual impact ratings of 100% increases communism's score to 14.4 "Dianas".
Now, this griefometer is just a silly game, isn't it? A bit sick perhaps? Well, consider this: 100 million killed over 80 years is about 3,422 per day.
Or one "World Trade Centre".
Every day for 80 years.
What's really sick is that the communists' ideological soulmates infest almost every academic institution in the western world. And I am still waiting for them to apologise.
Friday, 6 September 2002
Meanwhile, in a letter to the Scotsman, Bruce Crichton continues his campaign against the environmental-whackos.
Thursday, 5 September 2002
In Business AM today, Ivor Tiefenbrun, founder of Linn Products says:
...the government seems committed to the "ethnic cleansing" of people who make things. Some say I should leave - one day I may take them up on their advice.Now that's telling us like it is. Why do we never hear this kind of stuff from the "official" business establishment? I suspect it's a case of: "those who can, do; those who can't, run lobbying organisations."
We are heading towards a Soviet-style, EU-led dictatorship where nothing will be permissible unless it is explicitly licensed. The present government hasn't got a clue what it is doing.
Wednesday, 4 September 2002
The Scottish Secondary Teachers Association (SSTA) said the judgement came as "no surprise". Assistant general secretary Jim Docherty said: "This problem was being discussed in Linlithgow five and 10 years ago. "There seems to have been a lack of forward planning by the council."
Tuesday, 3 September 2002
The Scottish Tories - the new "People's Party"?
It is one of the great ironies of devolution that the party which opposed the Scottish parliament has rediscovered itself through participating in it. They have repeatedly exposed the intellectual sloppiness and sloganeering of Labour and shown the importance in democratic politics of being able to mount a coherent case for legislation.I think that Macwhirter is correct. He recommends a complete break from the London party - and that is how it is seen up here - as well as a name change. I like his suggestion of "The People's Party." Meanwhile, over on the Scotsman, Katie Grant is asking: "Where is Scotland's Mrs. Thatcher?" Ms. Grant is warming to the idea of fiscal autonomy for Scotland as the only way to discipline our spendthrift politicians. I agree. Eight months from now, Scotland votes. Let's have a strong alternative to our numerous socialist parties.
Monday, 2 September 2002
To rent or to buy?
Renting is beneficial for a country. Arguably the world’s most prosperous and peaceable nation is Switzerland. Yet it has the highest rate of renting in the western world. Two thirds of Swiss are renters. All works as sweetly as their clocks. After the war, most Britons lived in privately rented accommodation. Now, only one person in ten does. In my judgment, that is a bad thing.So why don't we follow the Swiss example? In a word: inflation. The Swiss can invest knowing that their capital will be safe. In the UK, the pound has lost 98% of its value since 1913. It's not so bad in the US. Since 1913, when the Federal Reserve was founded, the dollar has lost a mere 95% of its value. That is why we English speakers like to put our money in houses.The only way to stop the British obsession with home ownership is to establish a sound currency. We could adopt the Swiss Franc - certainly not the Euro. Better still would be to have a 100% gold-backed currency of our own. Now there's a challenge for Scotland's banks.