Thursday 30 June 2005

President's Jet Sparks G8 Planespotter Fears

That was the headline in the Sunday Mail:
Strathclyde Police have confirmed they are beefing up security to deal with the record number of spotters who will go to Prestwick. The £1billion Lockheed C5 Galaxy and its back-up Air Force Two, will remain at Prestwick during the summit.

Assistant Chief Constable Kevin Smith, of Strathclyde Police, who is head of the force's G8 operations, said: 'We are aware there will be a large number of spotters heading to Prestwick to see Airforce One.

'That should not be a problem so long as the plane spotters conduct themselves in a responsible manner.'

I used to live in Prestwick and spent many a happy hour watching the planes there. It looks as though the police are taking a more sensible attitude than I had feared. It would be completely impossible to stop "spotters" from gathering in the town (population 15,000) during next week. Aircraft enthusiasts are a patriotic bunch and have been recruited by police at other airports as useful observers who know when anything untoward is going on. I know that the main Scottish aviation enthusiasts' website has decided to publish nothing at all about the G8 visitors. The planespotters are allies of the police in this matter

I still can't work out why GWB and the others aren't being flown into an RAF base like Leuchars or Lossiemouth. Unless the Prestwick arrival is all an elaborate hoax of course. By the way, I'd be amazed if Air Force One were a Lockheed C5.

Monday 27 June 2005

Photo of the day

Carlisle city centre today while taking a break between trains.

Quote of the day

That Cherie Blair is a naughty wee besom
... my mother earlier today.

October 29th is just 4 month's away

This is a fascinating piece of news:
DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors Corp. has forbidden senior executives and other employees with access to internal financial information from buying or selling company stock indefinitely, a spokeswoman for the automaker said Monday.
GM shares are down 1.80% today.

One of the most amusing suggestions after the Supreme Court's shocking attack on property rights went something like this:

Can't the City of Detroit now take control of GM's factories and hand them over to Toyota? That way, they'd collect more tax because the plants would become more profitable.
Why not? That's the logic of the Court's decision, which has been described as the "Wal-Mart Enabling Act". Nice one.

I have added these guys to my blogroll. May they fight again another day.

Sunday 26 June 2005

Is Jack Straw an SNP agent?

I'm beginning to think that he is. How else does one explain this?
A DIPLOMATIC row has broken out after the UK government ordered the removal of the Saltire from the roof of the Gleneagles hotel ahead of next week’s G8 summit and its replacement with the Union Jack.

Foreign Office officials demanded that the Scottish flag should be taken down, despite the fact that it flies permanently over the Perthshire hotel. They insisted that only British symbols should be on display during the visit of world leaders.

Isn't there anyone in the Foreign Office with the most basic understanding of Scottish sensibilities? Don't they understand that this is precisely the sort of thing that pushes people into the hands of the Nationalists?

Clearly the folk who'll be serving the G8 leaders aren't at all happy:

Gleneagles flies the Saltire as a representation of pride in its Scottishness, but staff have complained that they are powerless because the building has been taken over by the Foreign Office for the duration of the summit.

Peter Lederer, the general manager of Gleneagles, refused to comment on the row. However, an insider said: “The UK government really doesn’t care about Scottish sensibilities. I’ve been shocked at some of the things they’ve said.

Let's hope someone pisses in Jack Straw's soup.

(UPDATE: Under the headline "G8 Protestors Warned: You Will Be Shot", the Mail on Sunday (no link) reports that: "Heavily-armed agents guarding the G8 leaders have been told that they can keep their arsenal of weapons during their visit to Scotland" and that "police chiefs have been ordered to ignore a blatant breach of UK firearms laws.." The paper states that this order has come from the Home Office. Fair enough you may think. But according to Professor Robert Black of Edinburgh University: "The Home Office has no authority to instruct the Scottish police on anything - that's the responsibility of the Lord Advocate in Scotland." Apart from any other chaos that might be expected, this whole affair will inevitably exacerbate tensions between Scotland and the UK authorities.)

Friday 24 June 2005

Does the right hand know what the left one is doing?

This is hilarious. The Labour-controlled Scottish Executive has approved a proposal for a state-owned company to save some money by a bit of tax avoidance:
Transferring crews to an offshore company would avoid employers' National Insurance contributions.
And then the Tories demand that the state-owned company pays tax to, er, the state:
Shadow Scottish Secretary Eleanor Laing said it was illogical for the government to stop itself paying into the Treasury.
But as I have written before state employees don't pay tax and it follows that state-owned companies don't pay any either. So much confusion: no wonder these folk can't get jobs in the real world.

Does anyone believe this man?

At best it's a case of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, but Hoon's got form.

Who on earth will fall for this?

RECRUITMENT to the army in Scotland has increased because of the government's plans to scrap the country's historic infantry regiments, Geoff Hoon claimed yesterday.
I suppose it's possible that the Za-NuLab high command really believes its own bullshit. I almost feel sorry for Adam Ingram.

Thursday 23 June 2005

Wednesday 22 June 2005

A few stories from the Evening News

(1) Yesterday we discovered the real identity of The Basa. For further enlightenment look here.

(2) "The People, United, Will Never be Defeated!"

But it certainly looks likely that they'll be fighting among themselves:

SECURITY guards have been drafted into Edinburgh's G8 campsite more than a week before protesters arrive after fencing was ripped down by vandals.

The controversial Craigmillar site has been coming under repeated attack at night, with large chunks of the 600 metre wire fence pulled down.

It has heightened fears of a confrontation between local youths and the G8 protesters when they arrive for the massive Make Poverty History march on July 2, with one community leader saying angry clashes were "inevitable".

Can't say I'm surprised. My money's on the neds.

(3) Ever wonder why some people don't like public transport?

Wonder no more:

DOUBLE-DECKER buses in Edinburgh are having their exit doors sealed to combat a spate of bogus compensation claims.

Bus chiefs say Scotland's compensation culture has led to an increase in passengers alleging they have been injured as they leave the vehicle. The number of "hooded" youngsters sneaking on board through the rear door has also been blamed for the move.

And who owns Lothian Buses? The Labour-controlled Edinburgh Council. And who's responsible for the compensation culture? The Labour-controlled Westminster Government. Can I be compensated for my slower bus journeys caused by the compensation culture? Perhaps I'll hire Cherie Blair: she needs the money.

Monday 20 June 2005

Luv Fest

The Scottish Parliament is going to take part in the Edinburgh Festival!

Yes, I know that the Holyrood inmates seem to have a festive time at our expense all year round, but on this occasion they've got some famous guests:

Names associated with the idea include Vanessa Redgrave, David Puttnam, Shirley Williams, Neil Kinnock and Sir Neil MacCormick.

A number of the guests are also appearing at the Edinburgh Book Festival.

MacCormick's a normal sort of chap but isn't this list a bit top-heavy with leftist luvvies? Of course, there are plenty of such folk at the Book Festival itself - on Tuesday 16th August there's the chance to harass Tony Benn, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Roy Hattersley all on the same day! But at the Book Festival we can listen to lots of writers who aren't members of the Enemy Class, and I've already made the first of my many bookings. How about a bit more diversity at Holyrood?

The Gordon Riots?

If it all goes pear-shaped in a fortnight's time some of these people are going to look very silly indeed:
Stars set to join the U2 frontman on the Long Walk to Justice march in the city on 6 July include Claudia Schiffer, Jude Law and Sienna Miller. Bob Geldof has called for a million people to head to Edinburgh for the march.
That's for the Million Moron March on the Wednesday, by no means the only occasion for autograph hunters:
Earlier that week, some of Hollywood's biggest names, including Brad Pitt and George Clooney, will be in the city to take part in the Make Poverty History march on 2 July. The actors will be joined by singers Natalie Imbruglia and Ronan Keating, supermodel Kate Moss, director Richard Curtis and comedian Lenny Henry.
There's still time for the glitterati to undertake an intensive study of economics before early July - perhaps even enough time for them to discover that free trade is the only trade that's fair, contrary to what these people may believe.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer may well understand the moral and economic case for totally free trade. He's from Kirkcaldy, after all. I imagine that he's jumped on the Geldof bandwagon as part of his campaign to replace the husband of the Scouse Spouse. However, if there is violence in Scotland Dr Brown stands to lose far more than his more glamorous fellow-marchers, some of whom may not even know in which country they are protesting.

Saturday 18 June 2005

Govan Pub Affairs

I was somewhat taken aback yesterday to see that the Scotsman, the daily paper of prim, Presbyterian Edinburgh, was devoting a whole page to saucy goings-on in the hostelries of southwest Glasgow.

But no, my ageing eyes were deceiving me. The actual headline was:

govandpubaffairs (
and the contents were indeed suitable for a family audience.

But not perhaps for an audience of those southern observers who think that Scotland is some kind of socialist hellhole, so unlike a conservative England that would be a bastion of laissez-faire economics were it not unfairly ruled by an alien Scottish Raj.

The problem is, you see, that it turns out that we're actually just about the same:

In fact the differences between the Scottish and the English on social democracy versus free markets are generally pretty small. Public attitudes surveys sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) over the last few years show that the Scots see themselves as more left-wing than the English see themselves, but only marginally.

On a scale of 1-5 (with 1 the most left-wing and 5 the most right-wing) the English marked themselves right in the middle at 2.5, the Scots a fraction to the left, at 2.4.

When it comes to issues such as taxation and inequality, the story is much the same. About the same proportion of English and Scottish citizens - 60 per cent or so - agree that we should be taxed more if the proceeds are spent on health, education and social benefits. The English and the Scots also agree that ordinary working people do not get a fair share of the nation's wealth. In fact, the Welsh and Northern Irish think much the same.

The article goes on to ask why Scots voted for devolution and would do so again in even larger numbers if the resulting legislation is unlikely to be too different from that enacted at Westminster:
So devolution is not about doing things differently to the English; it is not about expressing policy preferences different to those held by the English. But people in Scotland still want more of it. That suggests that devolution is more about getting ownership of the political process than pursuing any great difference of policy objectives.
I think that's absolutely correct. As a hard-core libertarian I believe that almost everything done by politicians in both Edinburgh and London is wrong. But given that these parasites exist, it only seems fair that we get some of the jobs and money that the state machine artificially moves to capital cities.

Friday 17 June 2005

Exciting times

Oil's up.

Gold's up:

California's a shakin':

All the more reason to read this addictive site. I've updated the link since the first version caused Blogger to have a seizure; such was the volume of activity. What's interesting is not just the postings themselves but also the vast number of comments by folk who seem to understand the very great danger we face from the world's fiat monetary systems.

How very odd

Charles Clarke has rejected a request from Alex Salmond:
Home Secretary Charles Clarke last night flatly rejected appeals for him to intervene to secure permission for G8 protesters to march past Gleneagles.

Asked if he would accept the plea from SNP leader Alex Salmond, leading left-wing campaigner Tony Benn and protest groups for permission to march past the gates of Gleneagles, he gave an abrupt: "No."

Surely policing matters are fully devolved to the Scottish parliament and if that is not the case one would have expected Mr Salmond to be protesting accordingly. But no, just more politically correct posturing about the G8 business. It's no wonder that the politically incorrect silent majority are wary about independence.

(UPDATE: There's more here about the joined-up government planning that's going on at the moment.)

Welfare statists

I have a great deal of sympathy with pensioners who are angry about the latest news on expense claims of MSPs:
Story in full HOLYROOD was at the centre of a fresh expenses row last night after pensioners' groups attacked the generous allowances system which gives MSPs the right to claim back council tax and utility bills from the taxpayer.

The politicians were accused of double standards for failing to stop rocketing council tax bills for pensioners at the same time as sheltering behind the taxpayer for the very same bills.

What we mustn't forget though is that politicians never pay tax. Nor does anyone else who works (sic) in the public (sic) sector. Taxation is something that is extracted by force from those of us who work in the productive parts of the economy. Those taxes are then used to finance the net wages of state employees. Any "tax" that these people seem to pay is merely a bookkeeping entry within their employing organisation.

Pensioners are right to be angry:

Jess Barrow, from Age Concern Scotland, said there was very real anger in the pensioner community over rising council tax bills.

She said: "They see rising council tax as eating away at any benefit they might have from their own savings or pensions and a lot feel extremely angry that they have paid all their own bills and taxes and they are being penalised."

I have little doubt that MSPs would vote themselves sizable pay rises if the housing allowances had to go. What pensioners and their spokesmen need to focus on is the very size of government itself. Cut that, and the rest will fall into place.

Wednesday 15 June 2005

The need to be squeaky clean.

This story just won't go away. I have no information other than what's been published in the press but it would have been extraordinarily foolish for David McLetchie to claim for non-parliamentary taxi fares, especially as he was the one who brought down former First Minister Henry McLeish over his expenses.

I'm afraid that this approach won't do:

The Scottish Conservatives' leader, David McLetchie, is refusing to release full details of his Holyrood expenses.

Copies of his claims have been published in response to freedom of information requests, but with some items blacked out.

In this day and age privacy doesn't exist. Anyone in politics - or business - must work on the assumption that everything one does will be revealed to the public sooner or later. And that's just how it should be when taxpayers' money is involved.

Monday 13 June 2005

English as a domestic language

I must say that I was quite chuffed to discover that the BBC's Weblog Watch had linked to this site. I know that some folk think that the first "B" stands for Biased, or Blair, or Brussels, or even Burkha, but I'm sufficiently old fashioned to think that it should still stand for "British". How sad then to have to inform the Beeb that, in this country, whisky is spelt WITHOUT AN "E"!

English as a foreign language

"Good evening Mr David – you’ll be having the usual?"

"Yes please, how long will it be?"

"About twenty minutes."

"Good evening Mr David - you’ll be having the usual?"

"Yes please, how long will it be?"

"Well, it’s very quiet tonight; let’s say about twenty minutes."

"Good evening Mr David - you’ll be having the usual?"

"Yes please, how long will it be?"

"Well, it’s very busy tonight; let’s say around twenty minutes."

"Good evening Mr David - you’ll be having the usual?"

"Yes please, how long will it be?"

"Well, we’ve only just opened, how about twenty minutes?"

The question I ask: Is twenty the only number that Indians learn in English?

Sunday 12 June 2005

Do your job, Gordon

So those guys who fly around the world for free want to tax those of us who pay our own fares. It's "for Africa" needless to say.

The Chancellor is happy to go along with this plan:

Gordon Brown also said the G8 countries were happy to work with French and German governments to establish how the airline ticket contribution would finance aid.
I note that some countries that are "holiday destinations" are opposed to this proposal and Brown's Greek counterpart says that the levy:
would penalise regions of the EU that are geographically disadvantaged.
I'm sure that's correct, so why isn't Gordon Brown doing his job as a Scottish MP and fighting this "distance tax" to the bitter end?


Arthur's Seat and Don't Hold Your Breath have tagged me for this book thingy that's going round the blog world. Here goes:

1. How many books do I own?

Slipping into accounting mode I can see ten units each containing seven shelves with around 35 books per shelf. In addition, the A to P section of my paperback novel collection is in a large wooden trunk. So I guess the total is between 2,500 and 3,000. They are organised into several categories:

The Big One - Politics, History, Economics and similar.

Business - including accounting, law and management. Some are textbooks.

Transport - mainly aviation, but some on railways.

"Media" - photography, publishing and writing.


Scotland - Most of these would qualify for "The Big One" but are kept separately together with Scottish travel books and maps.

Finally, there is a section for magazines and also for publications from the IEA.

2. What’s the last book I bought?

Looking at my in-pile I think it was probably Scotland's Empire by Tom Devine although I have recently ordered Should Britain Leave the EU? from the IEA. I expect to be placing my annual order with Laissez Faire Books in the next few days.

3. What’s the last book I read?

Alistair Cooke's Letter from America. I am currently reading Circles Under the Clyde: A History of the Glasgow Underground and The Scottish Islands, a Christmas present from my wife. Mr Haswell-Smith's wonderful book should be read by anyone who loves Scotland, islands, sailing or maps.

4. What are the five books that mean most to me?

I find this most difficult but must acknowledge that my journey to libertarianism started (bizarrely) with The Affluent Society. Before reading this deeply flawed book I wasn't remotely interested in politics or economics. I went through a brief leftist phase - even becoming a Guardian reader - but rapidly concluded that something wasn't quite right, so to speak. I then came across a little book called Right Turn (presumably out of print), edited by Dr Rhodes Boyson. Thus ended the leftist phase. Then, quite accidentally, I discovered Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand. Here began my libertarian period. I devoured the works of Rand, met the chaps at the early version of the Libertarian Alliance and went on to read all of Mises and Rothbard. The latter's Man, Economy and State is surely one of the great books of all time. As for my fifth choice, well perhaps I'll mention the Inspector Rebus books by local author Ian Rankin, although I also love the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency stories by Alexander McCall Smith, another Edinburgh resident. Strangely enough, I've not read a word written by the third of our famous locals: J.K. Rowling.

I hereby nominate:

Squander Two, Doctorvee, Neil Craig, David Terron and Bill Cameron.

Saturday 11 June 2005

New links

Thanks to Stuart Dickson for alerting me to these two new sites.

First, Stuart himself has started the Scottish Political Blogs Review.

Then we have the Scottish Political Blog Aggregator from Julian Bond.

Stuart is apparently expanding his business interests beyond the blogosphere. I noticed this yesterday:

Friday 10 June 2005

Culture Notes

Some things are more important than politics. I am reliably informed by "the powers that be" that next week will see the return of the Oxford Bar pie machine.

Thursday 9 June 2005

George Bush: Lead this march

I believe that Edinburgh's G8 protestors will be demanding that African countries have their debts written off. It occurs to me that they should march along to 2 Melville Crescent and 55 Corstorphine Road and demand that this debt be forgiven.

Wednesday 8 June 2005

G8 & ID

I met someone last night who has friends in both the Metropolitan and the Lothian and Borders Police. The view of the ordinary copper is that they don't want ID cards and they suspect that Tony Blair is hoping for violence during the G8 meeting as an excuse for introducing the cards.

Monday 6 June 2005

You’ll have had your riot.

As recently as last Thursday Edinburgh hadn't realised what's about to hit us. I casually asked the head of an organisation in the centre of town whether any plans had been made to protect their building. "No, why should we?" I gently pointed out that the occupants of certain nearby buildings made it highly likely that the mob would be outside the front door, not once, not twice but possibly three or four times. As well as the "Make Poverty History" march on 2nd July, a "Stop the War" march on the 3rd, a march against city centre financial institutions and businesses on the 4th, we now have Bob Geldof's Million Moron March on the 6th.

At lunchtime on Thursday the landlord of a city centre pub thought that businesses wouldn't be affected by the demonstrators because they would "probably bring their own sandwiches." Ha! I fear it'll be a case of "Ye ken noo." At least the Deputy Lord Provost on the pub's TV had the decency to look distinctly worried.

Now we're learning a bit more about what to expect, including:

the likelihood of "protesters in every city in Scotland"

"Islamist extremists are considering sending "thousands" of activists to Edinburgh for the demonstrations

that the Queen had cancelled her traditional July holiday in Edinburgh

hospital chiefs in Edinburgh are understood to be in talks to postpone non-emergency operations at hospitals in order to free up wards for those who could be injured if violent clashes erupt.

Needless to say, the politically correct and economically ignorant idiots in local government support all of this:
City council leaders across Scotland said yesterday that they were keen to support the aims of the campaign
First Minister Jack McConnell is aware of the plans and is believed to have given his tentative support.
"Tentative." Is Jack beginning to get just a wee bit nervous? As Gerald Warner puts it:
If this farce turns into a catastrophe (the G8 riots in Genoa claimed human life), then it must be a resigning issue for this clown.
But we've got a veritable circus of clowns "supporting" this nonsense from the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the Assistant Chief Constable. Good grief: the local police can't even sort out the ZaNuLab-educated ferals who wantonly destroy property within a hundred yards of their own cop shop. Incidentally, is the ACC going to do the decent thing and invite any of our visitors to camp in his garden? I note that Gordon Brown said "No comment" when asked that very pertinent question.

So, Britain's most attractive city may be about to enjoy the equivalent of what would be 17 million additional people arriving in central London. And for what? To demonstrate in favour of "Fair Trade" and against "Free Trade". That's to say against the only system that could alleviate poverty in Africa and in favour of a naive feelgoodery.

I suppose that some good may come out of this. If there is, God forbid, a disaster on the streets of Edinburgh (or elsewhere) the Scottish people might, at last, turn on the Labour party with a vengeance. Perhaps a few may even realise the benefits of privatised streets.

Sunday 5 June 2005

Geldof supports free trade!

Thanks to the House of Dumb for reminding me to post about this:
A bold plan by Irish rocker-turned-activist Bob Geldof for multi-city concerts to combat poverty in Africa ran into flak when it became clear how few black artists are involved.

With the arguable exception of Mariah Carey, none of the headliners for the centrepiece Live8: The Long Walk to Justice concert at Hyde Park in London on July 2 are black, let alone African.

I heard about this on the radio when I was out for a spin on Friday in my globalised Hyundai. The sainted one's explanation was that few African performers were of superstar status. That may well be so but I thought that these Live8 chappies believed in Fair Trade - you know, the kind of thing promulgated by the Trade Justice Movement whose website tells us:
Together, we are campaigning for trade justice - not free trade - with the rules weighted to benefit poor people and the environment.
On that basis shouldn't Saint Bob be weighting his hiring policies towards the employment of African performers even if they aren't superstars?

Saturday 4 June 2005

The man who brought down an Empire

Like any other Saturday I went for my lunchtime pint at the local. A group of three guys are standing next to me and one asks: “Make camera pleez.” I remember a bit of my schoolboy French and my self-taught smidgeon of German and realise that he wants me to take camera or, rather, to take a photograph. So I take a photo of the happy trio. Next, one moves behind the bar and stands beside the barmaid from Northern Ireland and has his photo taken by one of his friends. The Welsh landlady observes this but before she can say anything one of the three asks: “Eez OK to make photo?" Yes, “Eez OK.” It turns out that our guests are from Poland. One of the group points at the landlady’s crucifix and says: “Jeezoos Chreest! We also Chreest.” This seems unlikely and then one of them asks me: “Papa Germania?” Is my father German? Perhaps he’s upset about my moustache and maybe my father had one – I understand that Poles are a bit touchy about Germans with moustaches. I’m trying to work out how to say that, yes my late father had a moustache, but no he wasn’t German, and indeed he fought against that rather well known German moustache wearer. But then I am asked, “Papa Polski?” Suddenly it dawns on me and I say tentatively: “The POPE is German and the last one was Polish.” Yeez! I’ve got it! One of our three friends lights up a cigarette and the landlady objects. Crestfallen, he heads for the door and I am frantically working out how to say in Polish: “It’s OK Jimmy, you don’t need to go outside the bar to smoke, you can smoke inside the bar as long as you are 1.21919999 meters from the bar.” Conviviality is resumed. I ask the one who speaks a leetle English if they are here on holiday. “No,” he replies. “Coobrie.” He tries again: “Coocoobrie.” My God, does he mean Kirkcudbright? Indeed he does and can pronounce it reasonably well. It turns out that they are working in a fish factory near Castle Douglas but seem to find it easier to say Kirkcudbright. “What do they do?” I ask. “We scrape shells and I also mend,” I am told. “Mend?” “Yes, zee tanks and zee pipes.” Good grief – I have met the man who brought down the Holy Belgian Empire: the humble Polish plumber.

Friday 3 June 2005

BBC hails "the Community"

At first glance this looks like welcome news:
A community group is to buy two Highland estates after securing the £2.9m price tag with hours to spare.
But when we reach the fourth paragraph one notes a reference to the "Land Reform Act". My suspicions were raised just a wee bit at this point. All the way down in paragraph thirteen we get to the nitty-gritty:
It raised the money through a number of individuals and groups, including £1.6m from the Scottish Land Fund and £600,000 from Highland and Island Enterprise's (HIE) community land unit.
So when we read about the "tremendous job in raising so much over a very short period" and "what the community has achieved in pulling together this amount of money" and that "The Assynt Foundation is to be congratulated on its commitment and determination in raising £2.9m" what has really happened is that at least 75% of this purchase (sic) has been made with other people's money. That's to say people like you and me who would love to go off to visit Assynt but are too busy working for a living as well as subsidising the lifestyle of others.

None of this would occur to the BBC of course because it is funded in a way that is remarkably similar to the Assynt "Community".

Thursday 2 June 2005

97% say no

Unlike the firefighters (for the time being), dentists do have an alternative to state enslavement, and:
97 per cent of aspiring dentists do not want to work solely in the public sector.
Nevertheless, there's still too much woolly thinking around:
Shona Robison, the SNP’s health spokeswoman, also called for more funding: "We must work harder to make the NHS more attractive to prospective dentists before the NHS dental services plunge deeper into crisis."

Ian Swan, a fourth-year dental student at Glasgow University, said few students planned to work exclusively for the NHS under current conditions.

He said: "I feel I should do some work on the NHS to give back from what I have learned because the government paid for me to go to university.

Ms Robison is from the "magic wand" wing of the SNP - why doesn't she ask for more taxation instead of more "funding"? Perhaps that might frighten the sheeple.

At least Mr Swan is decent enough to observe that someone else has paid for his training although when he qualifies he'll probably notice rather quickly that taxpayers funded his education and not the "government".

Like firefighting, the sooner dentistry is privatised the better.

Playing with fire

I see that excessive bureaucracy is causing problems again:
Twenty part-time firefighters have already resigned and union leaders warn that up to 200 members may eventually reject the contracts in the Highlands, which has the vast majority of volunteer firefighters.
The part-timers are upset about new rules that mean they will now spend their time giving advice instead of actually fighting fires. Note that this change is deemed necessary because the firefighters "were not adequately trained or equipped". This is a typical response of a centralised state bureaucracy that thinks that "one size fits all", when it is obvious that underpopulated areas need different levels of service from more urbanised parts of the country.

This sums up the whole sad state of affairs:

At the moment some can get sent to road traffic accidents, but if the car goes on fire they have to be withdrawn.
Should the Chief Inspector of Fire Services be unfortunate enough to be trapped in a burning car would even he not welcome the fortuitous appearance of some part-time local firemen, even if they weren't "adequately trained"?