Scoville Units Unite

14 Nov

Warped Playlist – 7th November 2014

Gavin and I were djing Warped on 7th November, although I was feeling pretty ill. Here’s the fabby do stuff we played.

Jerry Built – Receivers
Jetplane Landing – Summer Ends
AFI – Of Greetings & Goodbyes
Cake – Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps
Alkaline Trio – Armageddon

American HiFi – The Art of Losing

Idlewild – A Film for the Future

Alexisonfire – Accidents
Bonehouse – Summer Jams
Fat Goth – Creepy Lounge
Sink Alaska – Dolphins used to live on land
Beauty School Dropout – Schizo Girl
Cold – Go Away

Slipknot – the Devil and I

Bring me the Horizon – Crucify Me
A Day to Remember – Plot to bomb the panhandle
New Found Glory – Its been a summer

Midnight

3 Colours Red – Beautiful Day

Taking Back Sunday – Decade under the influence
Head Automica – Beating Heart Baby
Hot Water Music – Trusty Chords
Kings Blues – Lets hand the landlord
I am the Avalanche – Holy Fuck

Rancid – Roots Radicals

CKY – 96 Quite Bitter Beings
Sex Pistols – Anarchy in the UK
Clash – Should I stay or should I go?
Undertones – Teenage Kicks

Green Day – Welcome to Paradise

Offspring – Self Esteem
Feeder – Insomniac
Descendents – I’m the One

Rocket From the Crypt – On a Rope

1 AM

Movielife – Up to Me
Allister – Somewhere On Fullerton
Rise Against – Anyway you want it
student rick – heaven is a place on earth
Ataris – Boys of Summer

A Day to Remember – Since you’ve been gone

No Doubt – Just a Girl
Paramore – Misery Business
Blink 182 – Feeling this
Green Day – Minority
Sum41 – In Too Deep
Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American
Less Than Jake – All my best friends are metalheads
Reel Big Fish – Beer

Madness – One Step Beyond

Flogging Molly – Drunken Lullabies
Sugarcult – Bouncing off the walls
Zebrahead – Anthem

Good Charlotte – Lifestyles of the rich and the famous

Lustra – Scotty Doesnt Know
Fountains of Wayne – Staceys Mom

2 AM

Fall out boy – Sugar we’re going down
Offpsring – Why don’t you get a job
Blink 182- What’s my age again?

Avril Lavigne – Sk8er Boy

Busted – What I go to school for

Taking Back Sunday – Cute without the E

Used – Taste of Ink
Jimmy Eat World – Sweetness
Sum41 – Fat Lip

McBusted – Build me up buttercup

23 Oct

Warped Playlist September 12th 2014

I made a playlist of what Iain and I played at Warped on the 12th September and intend to make one up the list each night.

So on my blog I’ll put a link to each track if I can, this may be to a live version or similar, not necessarily the one played.

Jetplane Landing – This Is Not Revolution Rock
Elway – Dear Colorado
Carson Wells – Don’t forget the Super8
Engage – What will it take?
Kaddish – But a beat from your bones
Onsind – Either he’s dead or my watch has stopped
Uniforms – This is not a joke
Arliss Nancy – 40s
Robot Doctors – For the Taken (this was a genuine request, honest)
Murderburgers – Unemployment here I come
Maxwells Dead – Money falls down the drain
can’t read my terrible writing (apparently my scrawl was too much of a scrawl)
The Hijacks – Slowdown

Billy Liar – Ghosts of Punk Rock

Franz Nicolay – The hearts of Boston

Bonehouse – Summer jam
Fat Goth – Creepy Lounge

Foo Fighters – White Limo
3 Colours Red – Age of Madness
Idlewild – Satan Polaroid

Elway – Whispers in the shot glass
New Found Glory – Failure’s Not Flattering
Gaslight Anthem – Old White Lincoln
Rancid – Vanilla sex
Glassjaw – Cosmopolitan Blood Loss
Alexisonfire – This could be anywhere in the world
At the Drive In – One Armed Scissor
Refused – New Noise
Biffy Clyro – Saturday Superstar

Sum41 – Hell Song
Rocket from the crypt – On a rope
Capdown – Ska wars
Selector – Too much pressure
Misfits – Skulls
Dropkick Murphys – Gauntlet
Anti-flag – Turncoat
Bad Religion – Sorrow

Pennywise – Fuck Authority
Allister – Somewhere on fullerton
Bouncing Souls – Manthem
Rage Against the Machine – Guerilla Radio

* can’t read my terrible writing of another song
Fall out Boy – Grand Theft Autumn
Less than Jake – Gainseville Rock City
NOFX – Dinosaurs will die
No Doubt – Just a Girl

Paramore – Misery Business
Killswitch Engage – My last serenade
Marilyn Manson – Fight song
Papa Roach – Infest
Rise Against – Anyway you want it
Reel Big Fish – Beer

Flogging Molly – Drunken Lullabies
Blink 182 – What’s my age again?
American Hi-fi – Flavour of the week
Fenix TX – Threesome
Fountain of Wayne – Stacy’s mom
* can’t read my terrible writing

Lit – My Own Worst Enemy
All American rejects – Dirty Little secret

R Kelly – Ignition
Cee-Lo Green – Fuck you
Outkast – Hey Ya

Lonely Island – I’m on a boat
Alien Ant Farm – Smooth Criminal
Jimmy Eat World – Sweetness
Taylor Swift – Never Getting Back Together
Backstreet Boys – Everybody
Huey Lewis – Power of Love

24 Sep

Failure, #the45 and the future

A friend told me they went to vote wearing a Firefly t-shirt as they didn’t have a Yes t-shirt. At the time I was amused but then on the Friday it became even more meaningful.

Firefly is a series set in the aftermath of a civil war from some of those sympathetic to the rebellious side. The cause was the grievances of those far away from the centre of political power feeling left out, ignored and opposing centralisation.

In one scene of the show, Captain Reynolds is challenged

Commander Harken: Seems odd you’d name your ship after a battle you were on the wrong side of.

Captain Reynolds: May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.

And that seems to be the view of the supporters of the Yes campaign. We’ve failed, dust ourselves off and keep fighting.

FamilyGuy

#the45

Social Media almost immediately spread around memes to do with #the45. A replacement for your I’m voting yes twibbons etc. I was pretty uneasy and became more concerned the more it spread.

the45

I’m one of the 45 has a number of messages.

I’m proud I voted Yes

Seems reasonable enough. Much better than scurrying to take down your yes posters and so on.

I’m part of the 45 group

Seems a bit more worrying. If we want to win over the 55% who voted No, then creating an in-group isn’t a positive way to do it.

Any kind of movement which comes out of the real, mass, grassroots campaign for yes, must try to reach out to those who voted yes, or didn’t vote. By creating the 45 ingroup you create the 55 outgroup too. This hasn’t been positive, phrases like traitor flying around Twitter won’t win over those who voted No.

If someone was to vote No, be convinced it was a mistake and come over to the other side could they describe themselves as #the45? No. Clearly not. So it fails it first hurdle – can you call over your opponents from yesterday over to you today?

There are also connotations to the other 45 which are best avoided.

45+ isn’t much better, it sounds like some kind of middle aged dating site. I don’t know what’s better, during discussion I commented that I’d vote Yes tomorrow is better as bland as it is, but I know that #the45 isn’t right.

Here is a more academic critique of #the45.

The Future

My first concern was that those on the losing side would lose heart and drop out of any kind of political activity. I’ve seen it happen before, but never when 1.6million other people were also on the losing side.

On the 19th I tweeted Don’t be despondent, be active. Join the @The_SSP_ @scotgp snp or whoevers vision you agreed with most and work to make it happen.

I checked later on and I hadn’t been the only one, loads were saying similar. By the time of starting this post the SNP had claimed over 30,000 new members making them the third largest party in the whole UK. The Greens claimed 3000, the SSP 1900. The Radical Independence Conference 2014 has almost 7000 saying on Facebook they are going. People are also claiming to have joined Scottish CND and other progressive campaigns too.

The energy and enthusiasm will hopefully not be lost immediately then.

There is a downside to this of course. The Labour party became the horrible organisation they are due to a massive monopoly of electoral politics in Scotland. The SNP having more members than all other political parties in Scotland combined is not a healthy situation!

Elections

There have been rumblings of some kind of pro-Yes coalition/alliance standing in the future, including from some SNP MSPs (paywall).

There are some immediate appeals of this. For Westminster, your vote is essentially wasted no matter who you vote for. In the last General Election I think I voted SNP in Dundee West. Not because I support SNP but to try and unseat Jim McGovern, who as awful as he is is not as useless as Ernie I’m not a rent a quote MP Ross the rent-a-quote former MP for the constituency.

But is this something I’d do next time? I don’t know. The candidate is likely to be some local SNP councillor, one who no doubt voted to give the V&A contract to a blacklisting company. If so I could not see myself voting for them. Could I advocate others voting for them? Not if I couldn’t myself. I’d probably spoil my ballot if it was anti-choice Labour vs a pro-blacklisting SNP candidate with no progressive on the ballot, but I’ll decide closer to the time.

But let’s pretend for a second that some pro-Yes alliance was formed. Who would be it’s candidates. The SNP are the dominant force, do you think they’d let RIC, the SSP or Greens have a candidate in Dundee East and they’d have the SNP candidates in the seats the SNP are far behind in? I doubt it. It would be stitched up so the SNP candidates were most likely to be elected by that mechanism. But even if that’s not the case. Let’s say not 59 but even 30 of the candidates elected are pro-Yes Alliance. Then what? The whole Labour electoral strategy in the 80s was send their MPs to Westminster to protect Scotland and it failed. The only purpose would be to keep independence on the agenda, perhaps as part of a wider strategy to either get another referendum or to universally declare independence (these MPs declaring themselves Holyroods second chamber or the like). You would also essentially be voting for a single issue MP. It all seems a bit back of a fag packet and needs to be well thought out.

For Holyrood it might be different. Again, I heard suggestions of a pro-Yes slate everywhere. But let’s look at it tactically, if the point is to break Labour and the Unionists hold at Holyrood then having pro-Yes in seats and the lists is not the best way to do it. If we want to use the Holyrood elections as a way to boot them out then we should hammer at the weaknesses in the d’Hondt electoral system used in the lists.

This is a form of proportional representation which tops up list seats to make up for coming second in lots of first past the post constituencies. If one party comes first and a second party comes second in all the constituencies then the party who comes second will win more list seats making the MSPs each have more consistent with the % of support each receive.

The weakness in the system is if a party stands in the list but not constituency then they are at an advantage when the seats are calculated. This is the strategy the Greens use – ignoring the constituency vote. If however the SNP stood in the constituencies and the pro-Yes Alliance stood in the regions then they would not be penalised for having SNP winning constituencies when the list votes are calculated.

In the North East last time for example, the SNP won all 10 constituencies. When the votes are calculated for the list the SNP had 140,749 list votes and gained 1 MSP. Labour had 43,893 and gained 3. This is because for the first MSP the SNP vote is divided by the number of MSPs they had elected +1. Labours likewise. So the SNP have 12,795 proportional votes, Labour have 43,893. Labour get 3 elected from the list before the SNP get their first. A pro-Yes list would have gained 3 MSPs before Labour got their first though! This would result in a massive swing to the pro-Yes parties.

The second advantage is, should this become a serious possibility what would Labour do? Create a similar list? For the referendum they were happy to campaign alongside Tories, Lib Dems, UKIP and the National Front. I seriously doubt they would promote tactically voting for one of these in an election though!

What this would take though is a massive effort at co-ordination and compromise. Again, the SNP would probably pressure to have their people at the top of the lists.

16 Sep

The reasons to vote yes

After having discussions with a number of people about it I thought I would detail what convinced me to vote yes and then list the other reasons which have solidified that position since.

The clincher

The clincher for me was the White Paper promising a written constitution, and an admittedly non-detailed way for that being created. A written constitution isn’t a panacea but the lack of having one is one of the many democratic failings of the UK state.

A written consitution is one of the basic building blocks of a modern democratic state. Only 6 states in the world don’t have a single written constitutional document: Canada, Israel, New Zealand, San Marino, Saudi Arabia and the UK.

Makes the Better Together sneering about Panama seem a bit weird in context right?

The pusher

At the start of the referendum I discussed the referendum with people and some of us had reservations, positions taken included Yes, but and Not if. All of those people are now strong Yes. I had said I had an open mind and could be convinced either way. After the appalling AV referendum I said I was likely to either vote Yes or spoil my ballot but realistically couldn’t see a positive campaign by No so didn’t think I’d be swayed in that direction. I’m like a prophet or something.

The No Better Together campaign (see what I did there) has been truly awful. Constant attacks on the SNP, Alex Salmond and Nationalists ignoring those who support none of those. I remember early in the campaign looking at their Positive Case for the Union and being thoroughly underwhelmed. Although rare, any time in Yes City I’ve met a no voter whilst discussing the referendum I’ve asked for the positive case and been given zero answers.

Top tip: saying things will/might/could be worse under independence is not a positive case for your own position. If the No campaign fails it will be due to it’s inability to form a coherent argument for it’s own position.

The make up of either side

Firstly let’s look at the registered supporters for each side:

Yes

  • 1001 Campaign – Jim Sillars
  • Business for Scotland
  • Christians for Independence
  • English Democrats – bit dodgy, include some BNP activists, are anti-immigration and want to cut down on asylum
  • Farmers 4 Yes
  • Generation Yes – a youth campaign for independence
  • Labour for Independence
  • National Collective – artists and creatives for indepenence
  • Radical Independence Campaign – grassroots campaign for radicals. Have organised speakers to go to events in other parts of the UK
  • Sarah-Louise Bailey-Kelly – no idea
  • Scottish CND
  • Scottish Green Party
  • Scottish Independence Convention – cross party group initiated by the SSP to campaign for independence. You can see an amusing evaluation of this by the CWI here (who are supporting Yes)
  • SNP
  • SSP
  • Spirit of Independence – seems to be set up to fund a campaign bus
  • Tommy Sheppard – a former Labour councillor
  • Wealthy Nation – seems to be tories for yes
  • Wings Over Scotland
  • Women for Independence
  • Yes Scotland

So a fair spread of people but including the SSP, and Greens. The two parties I would probably agree with most out of all involved in the campaigns (interesting to not see Solidarity or any of their member orgs registered). The National Collective, Generation Yes and Women for Independence are really inspiring groups. Scottish CND realise independence is the best way to boot out trident. The only groups I would consider dodgy are English Democrats, who as far as I can tell haven’t done any campaigning, and the Wealthy Nation, who again I have seen nothing from.

No

  • Alistair McConnachie – someone kicked out of UKIP for denying the holocaust. Let that sink in.
  • Angus MacDonald – no idea, but he has the same name as an SNP MSP which is amusing
  • Better Together – Tories, Labour and Lib Dems, Labour set up their own group. UKIP, BNP etc weren’t allowed to join.
  • Better for Scotland – can’t find info
  • Brittanica – people who left the BNP, their organiser was lifted whilst campaigning with Better Together material for kicking a woman in the stomach
  • Communication Workers Union – so in bed with Labour they are out campaigning to keep the Tories and Lib Dems in power after they privatised the Post Office.
  • Conservative Party
  • Cumbria Broadband Rural and Community Projects – no idea what their reasoning is, assume one of the individuals supporting No owns them.
  • GMB – affiliated to Labour
  • Ghill Donald – funded Galloway the rape apologists talking tours
  • Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland – sectarian bigots who organised a march through Edinburgh waving banners for Scottish Protestant Action declaring No Popery whilst illegally wearing paramilitary uniforms.
  • Labour Party
  • Let’s Stay Together – English celebrities for the union. They seem to have organised the second largest No event after the Orange Order
  • Liberal Democrats
  • No Borders Campaign – started the trend of appalling adverts for No
  • Scottish Jacobite Party – a bizarre micro-organisation who are pro-independence but seem to have registered no. I tried reading their blog to see why and it says things like better together in an independent Scotland. Nope, no idea either.
  • Strirlingshire for No Thanks – some businessman with a trail of closed businesses, and this is based in Glasgow
  • Scottish Research Society – a biased organisation collecting data for academic research. Bit weird.
  • Tony George Stevenson – no idea
  • USDAW – Labour affiliate, who from speaking to members, pretty much use their political fund to send out Labour propaganda and nowt else
  • WFS2014 (company owned by Ghill Donald)

A group of random individuals, the Unionist Party, Sectarian bigots and fascists. Supported by the Daily Mail and the other reactionary rags.

The CBI registered for No then insisted it was an accident. For some reason the BBC haven’t registered for No, although anyone watching it would be confused by that. Assume Galloway is putting his talks through the guy funding him. Mid way through this list I found this one which goes into detail too.

It’s also worth noting that Radical Independence organised a massive voter registration drive. I am unaware of anything similar by anyone on the No side. Better Together have disgracefully said if you don’t know, don’t vote. Probably adding on eat your cereal

So it all comes down to the question: Which side are you on?

The first hints

The first hints that I was being pushed more toward yes was statements by George Robertson about how Scotland leaving would weaken the UK, risk it’s position in NATO, as America’s no#1 poodle and permanent seat on the security council.

Good.

Of course the man has form for arguing his case, as can be seen from this early debate at Abertay.

The democratic Deficit

It’s been used as a phrase for years but here it is in visual form

The Democratic Deficit

The Democratic Deficit

Historical Scottish Election Results

Historical Scottish Election Results

In essence, it is extremely rare for Scotland to affect the UK wide results but is extremely common for Scotland to not get a national government reflecting the countries vote.

I would add a small caveat that the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party branding of the UK Tories in Scotland only existed after 1964. Before that Unionist and National Liberal politicians took the Tory whip at Westminster the same way the Ulster Unionists do today.

Reasons for vote No?

Having repeatedly asked for one I have not been given any which convince me. I have heard how the SNP are shit (yep they are), how Alex Salmond is fat (relevant), Nicola Sturgeon looks like Wee Jimmy Krankie (snore) and Plannnnnnn BBBBBbbbbbbbbbb. But no actual positive case. Most people’s reasons for being No have been under a number of categories, none of which have convinced me to their side.

The Tories will lose the election and Labour will run the country

Sorry is that supposed to fill me with hope? The Party who introduced the Bedroom Tax, bombed the shit out of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. Stopped the Grant and introduced Tuition fees. Need I go on? And even if them coming in was positive so what, in a few years the Tories will be back in again.

But it’s not positive even if they do get in. Labour are going to carry on austerity. They will continue privatising every public service they can.

And they probably won’t get in anyway. We are likely to be foisted with the Tories again, and given Middle Englands obsession with the Little Englander racist, troughing, fraudsters UKIP guess who is likely to be the junior coalition partner.

*shudder*

What about our relationship with the rest of the world?

Well, we might actually have one. I have been active on eBay for years and trade stuff all the time online. The number of parcels I’ve had addressed to Dundee, Scotland, England is quite high. Some actual acknowledgement of our countries existence might be good. Which also covers passports – the UK doesn’t require you to renounce your existing nationality if you wish to have, and qualify for duel citizenship.

We will also be able to apply for, or be members of many international organisations, from the EU, to the UN.

What about my pension?

Well, as you can currently retire to Spain and collect your UK pension, why would Scotland being a different country from the UK make a difference? Also it’s been confirmed that’s then case. Perhaps the only reason it keeps getting mentioned is because the elderly are more likely to vote. Sounds like FUD.

But I’m proud of being British, I don’t want it to change

As someone who isn’t a nationalist, having this argument made isn’t convincing for me at all. Oh you hate nationalism and want to stay British. Can’t see that makes you a British nationalist huh? What are you proud of exactly? That your mother gave birth to you within these borders or whilst a passport holder? What is it you are proud of then? You didn’t achieve anything. I’m sure there are some this is convincing for, as well as some it is a dog whistle for, but for me, I take pride in things I have done, not things that happened to me at birth which I had no control over.

But we have built so much together!

This is the argument made from the left as their excuse to vote No. This comes from a devotion to the post war consensus. The same camp that says they vote Labour cos their granny did. Their granny voted Labour because they built the NHS and ended means testing. Labour is privatising every public service they can and want to reintroduce means testing. But let’s ignore the present and hark back to the past. Small-c conservatism and totally reactionary using the language of the left as cover to defend the privatisation agenda.

So vote yes

And finally, the cultural work around independence has been amazing. You should look at what National Collective have been doing. The artists, from Lady Alba to Loki have been making great music.

Stanley Odd’s contribution is the best though:

15 Sep

Patrick Harvie @ Five Million Questions

Having previously attended a talk at Dundee Uni organised by 5 Million Questions with Nicola Sturgeon I had a look to see if any more were coming up.

There was a Patrick Harvie one coming up, although I was dissapointed that I had missed out on more that hadn’t been advertised widely.

His Twitter Bio describes himself as:

Patrick Harvie

Patrick Harvie

Green MSP for Glasgow. Called in the Daily Mail ‘voice of the irresponsible left-led anti-family anti-christian gay whales against the bomb coalition’

Which explains why he’s always been my favourite public figure of the Greens.

So, similarly to the post about Sturgeon, I made notes but as it was quite conversational I may be paraphrasing or mixing up a question, supplementary etc. All errors my own, and all that but I should have captured the general points anyway. Also it was over a week ago.

The room was full to a similar capacity with a good spread of people of all ages and genders. I noticed a few local Greens including my former MSP Shiona Baird

They started off with a discussion of the polls, with Yes in the lead and then the next one showing a 6 point lead for no. Patrick, in typical fashion, said the important thing about the result was for there to be no triumphalism by the winning side.

As a slight aside, annoyingly David Torrance didn’t seem to realise the Green Party of England and Wales and the Scottish Green Party are two different parties, in the way that the Tories, Lib Dems and Labour pretend they actually are to the electorate.

A probing question was whether this was a great opportunity for the Greens. Of course it is but that’s not the motivation to take part in the Yes campaign. If politics just had two voices it would be boring. Harvie captured the mood of the audience by saying that if it was just Darling vs Salmond he would spoil his ballot to the first applause of the night. The Yes campaign is way beyond being just about Salmond, the SNP and Nationalists.

The first audience questions were about Green policy – How does a new state help reduce CO2 emissions? and How can you support independence if it requires maximising oil extraction?.

The answer was quite detailed and I think it’s probably a question he’s had before – in favour of maximising in the short term for the energy and money to invest in clean energy production to massively reduce in future. A number of points throughout the night he pointed out how our fossil fuel use is unsustainable etc and kept returning, convincingly to the case for phasing out their use for non-essential fuel use. I interpreted this to be, don’t burn for electricity for homes or waste on polythene bags and plastic bottles for water etc. In other words where oil, coal and gas usage can be replaced it should be replaced. Later he referred to this as maximising usage over 10-15 years instead of 30-40.

This veered into points about the economy and he said Lamont stole my usage of ‘Scandinavian public services, American Taxes’. Lamont stole it? queried Torrance? Great minds think alike, beat, maybe not to chuckles from the crowd.

His entire tone during the talk was even more informal than Nicola Sturgeon. A great contrast with the media set pieces from the Westminster party leaders who have taken a jaunt up here and seem afraid to actually engage with the general public.

Neo-liberalism is already crumbling, and it could be that privileged power becomes entrenched or is challenged and overturned.

There was a question about how LGBTI people are spread between No and Yes voters. Patrick pointed out it would be more bizarre if all LGBTI people had a more consistent position on any political policy than a party like the Greens. He said that this community has nothing to fear from Human Rights legislation being passed to Holyrood – a body which has never once legislated against us. A point more valid with right wing forces in Westminster wanting to abolish the Human Rights Act.

This led to a query about a different political character in Scotland. He tried better than most to describe this – it does have a distinctive one but if you tried to nail it to the door it will wriggle away so becomes hard to define in concrete terms.

He made a point I hadn’t grasped before, Scotland has constantly been voting for change since the mid-90s. The vote to set up parliament, the minority of rainbow groups, Labour being seen as bad but not terrible, then SNP minority, majority and then referendum. Seems a good contrast to the conservatism of Westminster where parties stay in power for multiple terms.

Post-Yes there is then a decision to make about a second chamber or a way to share power with the people. Some second chamber which does share power with the people seems reasonable to me. He noted the bizarre situation where the Queen will be head of state but not eligible to be a citizen. The discussion lead to her role as initial head of state. The difference between a ceremonial or a legislative/executive role and the different levels of accountability required for the two differing roles.

I can’t read my scribbled notes as to what he said about the Crown Estate but he does make the point, stressed again later a number of times, for more community and publically owned energy companies and land. This was in relation to landowners getting subsidies for wind farms etc. He put forward the idea that a better use of these subsidies would be for each local authority using local land to erect turbines and have local energy companies in each council area.

One phrase which he said, was one I am used to hearing from SSP and other progressives in Parliament

People like me should pay more tax.

If only others involved in the Referendum campaign would. I’m looking at you Vodafone who support the existing UK and oppose change by not paying any tax.

He discussed the Green policy of replacing Council Tax and Business Rates with a Land Value Tax. Something I’ve not been convinced by. I don’t think it addresses those land owners who register their estates in the British supported tax havens to avoid existing tax and the land which should be used in a way which is socially beneficial. He did mention that he would love to see a socialist utopia though during this section though so ho hum.

There was a question about the Greens internal discussion on being Yes or No and Robin Harper being in favour of No. This led to detail of the Greens internal democracy which sounds quite healthy and how their no-whip system worked at Holyrood.

This diverted into a discussion of his political history. He was a Green as a kid, helping his mum with community recycling projects. How strange it is for me to remember these campaigns which were small and grew to be more recognised now be seen as normal. He dropped out, got active during the campaign against Section 28/2A, a disgusting piece of legislation supported by the Tories and the SNPs bigoted funder Brian Souter.

After this he joined the now Scottish Green Party and was surprised how much in favour of Yes they were. The general consensus was that there was more opportunity than risk and they were 4/1 in favour of Yes. the important thing is post-Yes to work on interdependence and internationalism.

There was a question about fracking and he said it was very concering as it requires a massive amount of water and energy and then releases even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The current set up is complex as Westminster issues licences and Holyrood deals with planning.

An interesting question was why he was in favour of the EU but not the UK when the UK is more local and democratic.

There were three aspects to his answer and he went into some detail. The first was about democracy. The UK structures have long been captured by corporate interests. The EU is not very good on this either but the UK institutions are inherently conservative and opposed to radical change. The second was about decentralisation. Apart from devolution, Westminster tries to centralise everything. The third was the character of the Green Parties in Europe. They were born in the era of European Integration.

David Torrance then said he had the final and most important question. As a fellow Whovian, what did he think of Peter Capaldi? Cue laughter and claps from the audience. He’s what they need, an older doctor, too many 2000 year old Doctors look like teenagers. There was then a couple of points about the Scottish Doctors voting intentions and the note that an episode quoted Scotland as having went their own way years ago.

It was a really interesting talk, I just wish there were more undecided at talks like this. As I’m sure his open manner and eloquent reasoning would have helped win them over to the coalition of progressives.

25 Aug

But what about the plugs?

So it seems the Yes camp have been ignoring the main issue of the referendum campaign:

What plugs will we use? There may be 650 questions answered in the White Paper, but this wasn’t one of them. Why did the Yes camp not anticipate this particular one and print it? Eh? Eh?

It’s a total fundamental issue, obviously.

Right now the whole of the UK uses the BS1363 adapter

Moulded_and_rewireable_BS_1363_plugs_(horizontal)

But this is a British standard, used in the UK. If Scotland leaves the UK it leaves the plug too.

So what are the alternatives? What is Fat Alex Salmonds plan B?

Is it the Europlug?

Euro-Flachstecker_2

As we all know, there will be millions of months of negotiation before Scotland will be allowed in the Europlug, not the fantasyland immediate entry over 18month time frame by Nicola Fishname.

Is it the American plug?

Obviously not, America won’t be happy over the selfish and irrational decision to remove their weapons of mass destruction er, the UK’s vital independent nuclear deterrent from Faslane, instantly making every person in Scotland unemployed.

Will it be the NZ plug? Used by Australia, New Zealand and other former members of the British Empire whose separatists took the crazy political decision to stop pooling their natural resources with the UK.

So what option is left, a new untested, scary, independent, never tried plug?

Why has this topic not been addressed. Vote No Thanks To New Plugs.

Note: This post is clearly not a satire of the logic and relevance of the garbage being spewed daily by Alistair Darling and his friends in the Orange Order, Tory Party, BNP, Liberal Democrats, Golden Dawn, Labour, UKIP and the Daily Mail.

16 Jul

Silicon Valley

I managed to catch up on some of the new Mike Judge show Silicon Valley and was quite amused.

SiliconValleyCover

This clip shows the reality of remote conferencing type tools. A bunch of nerdy nerds in Silicon Valley with a small start up. Stupid money flows around and everyone has their own ideas for software to make the world a better place. The best being human heaters which blast you with microwaves.

Another clip shows why and how they started Scrum.

SiliconValleyFashion

It’s full of good references, similar to IT Crowd, with a few howlers that you can let pass for the sake of making the show flow (only one of them knowing Java, yeah right and a disturbing lack of source control). It mocks nerds and nerd culture whilst showing the PR people to be babbling techno-phrases

25 Jun

Interim Constitution for Scotland

The Scottish Government has published the interim constitution for Scotland should independence be achieved in September.

The first part deals with the bill itself, so the constitution is off by one in articles

2. Sovereignty of the people

In Scotland, the people are sovereign

Fantabulous.

3. The nature of the people’s sovereignty

State power deriving from the people. Accountability but no mention of how – right of recall etc.

4. Interim constitution for Scotland

That this constitution will be in place until Section 33 has taken place.

5. Name of the State

It’s Scotland. No surprise and obviously doesn’t include any superfluous, usually incorrect titles.

6. The territory of Scotland

at formed the territory of Scotland immediately before Independence Day.

Given the change in sea boundaries up past Carnoustie, this leaves a bit of a gap should Westminster try any dirty tricks.

7. Form of State and government

(1) Scotland is an independent, constitutional monarchy.

Doesn’t seem like this is valid, given Section 2 says that the people are sovereign. How can you then have a sovereign?

8. National flag and anthem

Not quite sure why the Parliament could choose the national anthem. Perhaps in case of some online poll abuse or troll attempt to pick Ricky Martin or something.

9. Head of State

(1)Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is to be Head of State, as Queen.

Fuck right off. What’s the point of campaigning for greater democracy then handing state power over to an unelected monarch.

10. Legislature

The Parliament can change laws, and is subject to the constitution. Not sure yet how amendments are made then?

11. Executive

The Government has Executive power. All normal stuff.

12. State accountability to the people

The Government, Parliament and their members are accountable to the people. No mechanism for this is found. Surely something better than hope people vote them out in 4 years

13. Independence of the judiciary

Judiciary being independent from the parliament.

14. Supreme Court

States the Supreme Court would only be overturnable by European Court of Human Rights (etc) should we be a member of them.

15. The rule of law

We have laws. Seems weird that this appears after 13 and 14.

16. The Scottish civil service

There will be one. Pretty standard stuff.

17. Local government

There will be a layer of local government. Not groundbreaking.

18. Scottish citizenship

Every single person in Scotland with existing UK citizenship will be entitled to Scottish citizenship.

19. International relations and foreign policy

Respect international laws, promote peace etc.

20. International organisations

Try to join existing organisations we are members of, presumably everything from NATO and the EU to the International Olympic Committee.

21. Ratification of international agreements

Scottish Parliament must sign off on international agreements

22. Incorporation of international agreements

How international law interacts with Scots Law.

23. Nuclear disarmament

Fuck off Trident

24. Incorporation of European law

EU law interacting with Scots Law

25. European citizenship

Scots citizens are EU citizens. 24 and 25 do seem to depend on Scotland being in the EU.

26. Respect for human rights

Comply with European Convention on Human Rights

27. References to the European Convention on Human Rights

How it interacts with Scots Law.

28. Equality

Every person is equal before the law in relation to age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation.

29. Children’s wellbeing

Children are those under the age of 18, the State must support children.

30. Island communities

Take in account that Island life is different from mainland life.

31. The environment

Conserve different species and tackle Climate Change

32. Natural resources

Use our natural resources sustainably.

33. Provision for a permanent constitution

A Convention to be set up but no details yet of how and who’s involved. I would obviously be in favour of everyone.

34. Continuity of laws

The laws currently in force will stay after independence day until they are changed/repealed

35. Repeal of the Act of Union

Repeal of the Act of Union 1707. Hopefully a section here can be added for the Repeal of Union of the Crowns 1603

36. Commencement

Timeline for sections of this document coming into force.

37. Short title

Call this Scottish Independence Act 2015

A few great sections, lots of legalese boilerplate and space for changes to be made. Overall seems alright if not very inspiring. My biggest concern would be the lack of detail over who will be involved in drafting the proper constitution. Having said that it’s not a deal-breaker, becoming a country with a Constitution is more important than staying as one of the three without one.

26 May

Parachuted, Delusional and Probably an MEP

With one area still to declare the result, it looks certain that an organisation which doesn’t exist on the ground, has no elected councillors, MPs or MSPs will have an MEP elected with around 10% of the pitifully low vote.

UKIPs David Coburn was parachuted in from London after a fight in Scotlands UKIP group led to most of the leadership resigning. He proved himself an utter embarrassment on every show he took part in. Interrupting people, talking over them, getting peoples names wrong. As well as the usual terrible pish you expect from the mentalists of UKIP – the SNP are fascists, Salmond is like Mugabe and the like.

Even this morning he was incapable of naming a law he wanted abolished when pushed about it. He went to the new UKIP go-to excuse, of being tired. I won’t be surprised if it’s not long before he is found tired and emotional and has to resign, as around a third of their MEPs resign or are jailed before their term ends.

What caused them to be elected?

The number one reason has to be from the ridiculous amount of media coverage they have received over the past year in both the UK and in Scotland. The most embarrassing being the Question Time independence show which had George Galloway and Nigel Farage, even though neither have any elected members in Scotland at any level whilst the Greens who have councillors and MSPs were not included.

From the results as they stand, just 25K people who voted Green voting SNP would have excluded UKIP. Similarly, just 35K voting Green instead of SNP would have done the same.

The SNP or the Greens convincing 35K people who didn’t vote to turn up and vote for them would have also changed the outcome.

This is bad right?

Well if you think giving some Walter Mitty (read it, seriously!) a million pounds a year to froth about minorities bad then yeah.

It could we worse though?

Course it could be, in France the Front National have won. Openly racist parties have won in Hungary and Denmark. It also looks likely an actual Nazi has won a seat in Germany. In Greece the fascist Golden Dawn have won a large chunk of votes.

Any silver lining?

The BNP have been wiped out with Griffin claiming that they lost because the racist vote went to UKIP instead.

GUE/NGL seem to have increased from 35 with at least 41 so far including big gains in Greece (SYRZIA) and Spain. The Feminist Initiative have also as expected won a seat in Sweden.

15 May

European Election 2014 – Scotland

It’s almost time for the most low-key elections in the UK, the election for Members of the European Parliament.

As you are no doubt aware (cough) our 6 current MEP’s are:
SNP: Ian Hudghton, Alyn Smith
Labour: David Martin, Catherine Stihler
Tory: Struan Stevenson
Lib Dem: George Lyon

I’ve occasionally emailed them when hassling all elected members and found them all to be a bit useless. So now it’s time to elect some more. In the d’Hont system the SNP would need to lose about 100,000 and Labour about 50,000 votes to change lose an MEP so the actual battle will be for the final place. Last time the Lib Dems got the last one with 11.5% of the vote with the Greens closest at 7.3%.

So who are the group of parties we have the option of voting for?

Britain First: Defending the Union 2014

Who they? You might say. A bunch of racist mentalists, cos there aren’t enough of those. Bankrolled by Jim Dowson who previously threw loads of money at the BNP after he got bored of sending photos of miscarried babies to teenage girls campaigning for womens rights. Creators of some awful, lying meme-style photos you may have seen random aquaintances post onto facebook/twitter before pointing out they are sharing fascist propaganda.

They are defending the union somehow, maybe confusing this election with the referendum.

Vote for them if: the BNP are a bit too wishy washy for you.

British National Party: Because we can make Scotland better

Your favourite bunch of knuckle dragging holocaust deniers are back. Having had another purge in Scotland and lost almost all their councillors to defection, incompetence or jailing, this time the split of votes amongst all the parties who hate non-white people might even see them lose their MEPs. Let’s hope so.

Vote for them if: you would normally sign your name with the X you put in the box.

Conservative Party: Scottish Conservatives Vote No to Independence

Not even using a pretendy name to try and look Scottish, their tagline is however amusing. It’s a statement. The Tories vote no to independence. None of us were surprised by this. Might as well have been Scottish Conservatives Vote To fuck over the poor. Unless it’s meant to be a call to arms or something. Who knows. Their youth wing cancel their AGMs having sold 12 tickets (haha), so hopefully this bunch of aresholes will toddle off soon.

I did receive a mailshot from them which also had a fair chunk about the Referendum. Do they not know what day it is?

Vote for them if: you are part of the blue hair brigade and love Maggie (dead dead dead).

Labour Party

Too lazy to pretend to be a Scottish Party, or to even have a slogan. Maybe they think the appeal of their candidates will be enough. In Brussels they amusingly sit in the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group. So if you take out the words which don’t describe them they would be the Alliance of and.

Vote for them if: you are worried that the Tories will get 50K more votes to take their seat or are confident that they can get 150K more votes to take a third seat.

Liberal Democrats: Scottish Liberal Democrats

Everyones favourite chameleon party are back and as shit as ever. This is where the real fun begins. Their seat is up for grabs by either the Greens or UKIP.

Vote for them if: your head is zipped up the back and you believe anything these shysters say.

NO2EU: Yes to Workers’ Rights

NO2EU are back and appear as silly as ever. I was at a meeting hosted by the CPB the other month and their speaker insisted that if Scotland was independent it would join Europe. He probably wasn’t told Scotland is already in Europe and his parties head in Scotland was standing for the parliament the next month. As far as I can tell they still contain the Liberal Party who recently had a member arrested on suspicion of racial or religious harassment. Quoting some book by misogynistic racist areshole Winston Churchill.

Haven’t seen any material by them this year but last time they jumped on the let’s play dog whistle politics bandwagon by railing against social dumping instead of showing solidarity with exploited labour.

Vote for them if: you don’t like the EU but don’t want to vote for fascists.

Scottish Green Party

No slogan or nonsense from the Greens. Probably closest to sniping the Lib Dem seat and hopefully from UKIP. Maggie Chapman is the lead candidate. Certainly better at the RIC conference than on Newsnight the other day (not helped by rude constant interruptions from the UKIP candidate amongst others).

Vote for them if: you would prefer a socialist than a UKIP member to represent you.

Scottish National Party (SNP): Make Scotland’s Mark in Europe

Unlike 2 of the Unionist parties, the SNP are focusing on Europe in their slogan for the European elections and not the referendum. They already have two MEPs so a vote here will be thrown away.

Vote for them if: you want to throw your vote away. They will get 2 MEPs, no more no less needing a highly improbably number of votes to change.

UK Independence Party (UKIP)

Current media darlings. There’s been a coup in Scotland. Out with the swivel-eyed loon Lord Monckton, in with boorish carpetbagger David Coburn. Purveyors of dog-whistle politics and hypocrisy they are puffed up in a media bubble by right wing rags who have chosen to cover their every fart and statement instead of just printing BNP propoganda. In a bit of a bind as when anyone other than Farage makes a public statement they end up being a rotten apple in the barrel and they are resigned.

Zombie Farage

Zombie Farage

Vote for them if: you are a racist areshole who is too cowardly to just vote for the BNP instead/you want Scotland to be an embarrassment with one of these loons in power.

Conclusion

The last seat is all up for grabs. The choices are a campaigning councilor who cares about grassroots democracy, a Lib Dem who has been invisible in parliament and a carpetbagger shipped in using racist propaganda. It’s clear the Greens are the only vote for anyone progressive.

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