Mike Vickers' Blog

January 31, 2015

The May Elections and The Break-Up of the UK

Filed under: Corporates, Ireland, Politics, Scottish Independence — derryvickers @ 2:06 pm

From Jonathan Freedland – today’s Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/30/pre-election-jokeying-threatening-united-kingdom

‘It’s a dispiriting sight. While the big forces that threaten Britain stretch far beyond these shores – an ailing global economy, climate change, violent jihadism – the nations of these small islands are turning against, not towards, each other.’

 And

‘It’s loud, it’s nasty, and it needs to be handled with care – but it’s better we see it than have it fester underground. And it’s important we get it right. Otherwise we may not stay together at all.’

Well we didn’t all stay together – already Erie has broken away.

And what about the other big forces threatening Britain – the major corporations eg Shell (although Shell in my view is one of the more responsible ones)

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January 24, 2015

Nous Sommes Charlie – a Riddoch pod of two weeks past

Filed under: economics, Journalism, Lesley Riddoch, Politics, Scottish Independence, World Class — derryvickers @ 11:18 am

The pod can be found at:

http://www.lesleyriddoch.com/2015/01/no.html

Far too late to get anything on the web site so just a few thoughts.

The West is fighting militant Islam but this is nothing compared to what is being fought out between Shia and Sunni Muslims in Iraq and Syria.

Yes we all take more note of what is going on around us and ignore, other than from a newsworthy point of view, as to what is going on in Africa.

And we in the West are far from squeaky clean – drones in Afghanistan – torture in Iraq.

No mention of the massacre in Norway by Breivik (BTW what has happened to him?) and how the Norwegian government has coped.

I am not a believer in total free speech in religion – the Pope is reported to have said (and of course he is not independent in this matter) that one should be careful of unlimited freedom in religious matters. Politicians are fair game but religion is not – it is far too sensitive and always has been and it ain’t going to change soon.

Sorry I did not listen to anymore of the pod except the comments on Jim Murphy and the interminable battle between Labour and SNP – just ignore the economy it is not newsworthy enough. As to the oil price – it will go but how quickly is anyone’s guess – the growth of economy in the West is far to sluggish – but that raises a separate question – why is the only measure of prosperity in a western capitalist society the rate of growth – and that takes us back to Charlie and Lesley’s point that Charlie is next door and what about the poor in India and Africa – don’t they deserve of a slice of the cake to catch up even if we stagnate a little. Incidentally we were skiing in the French Alps last week at Courchevel and while we were in a modestly priced chalet, the town is full of shops Chanel, Dior etc along with Estate Agents and up market ski shops and the prices were out of this world.

And I got to thinking – we here in the West are said to live in the Capitialist society. Increasingly this is getting further from the truth; we are increasingly living in a totalitarian society, only that the tyrants are now the global corporates rather than the national tyrants.

January 21, 2015

Ruth Davidson at the David Hume Institute

Filed under: DHI SPIF, Politics, Scotland — derryvickers @ 11:06 pm

The David Hume Institute is running a series on the five Scottish Parties views of the parties’ views for a Scotland of the future.

This evening it was the turn of Ruth Davidson for the Scottish Conservatives.

Davidson speaks very well and is excellent if at times somewhat evasive in responding to questions (but then all politicians are).

Her points were

  1. The Tories are for cutting taxes – a recent poll indicated that only 7% were happy to pay higher tax that could go to a more social state (contrast the Nordics)
  2. Remuneration is to the hard working , responsible people.
  3. Davidson is setting up an independent commission on taxation.  Start with a reduction of 1p in the £.
  4. The SNP had stated that the Referendum is a once in a lifetime event – but have immediately backslided on this.
  5. Davidson recognises that the Scottish Tories have a long way to go to recover lost ground but believes that the ‘common man’ when tackled is coming to their side and is now selling the message – she sees this as key as she cannot do the conversion alone.  (Thatcher was not responsible for the collapse of engine building at Springburn – it was that technology have moved on from steam to diesel.)
  6. Education must be open equally to all.  Scotland needs to be meritocratic. The children from the poorer areas of Glasgow should have the same opportunities as the better off.
  7. Further Education should be equally prised as Higher Education
  8. Preschool  education is key.
  9. The SNP continue to centralise- Scotland is the most centralised burocratic government in Europe – Davidson agrees with the Jimmy Reid Foundations (as of course with CoSLA).  Democracy needs to be given back to communities and ultimately the people.
  10. Local Income tax
  11. Defensive is vital – but no one questioned her on the dirty word ‘Trident’
  12. There have been times where the Westminster and Scottish governments have worked well together – witness Ebola before Christmas – why not build on it
  13. There should be a Scottish OBR
  14. There should be a much more transparency on where the money goes – Osborne provides it already
  15. Till now the SNP government has spent but not had to raise money.  Everything will change once they have to raise money and justify it.
  16. People willing to pay for prescriptions (this is a debatable point – why not raise taxes on the well off?)
  17. How to get the people with disabilities into jobs – there is a premium here but it is unclear whether Davidson fully subscribed to it.
  18. The war has been won but now we have to win the peace.

Much of Davidson’s speech is laudable but practice does not always align well with principle.

Mike Vickers

21/01/2015

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