State Pension Qualifying Age Increased – Yet Again Scots Get Hammered by the Little Englander Chancellor







State Pension Qualifying Age Increased. Yet Again Scots are Hammered by the Little Englander Chancellor

Those who have paid their national insurance contributions throughout their working life build an entitlement to a state pension and politicians should not seek to find ways to deny them it.

But the UK government continue do so with apparent impunity.

Admittedly retirement, for some, is a boon, a blessing and a hugely enjoyable later stage in life.

But for many it becomes a struggle to survive, living in poverty, on an inadequate and ever reducing State Pension.

Poor health is another factor with approximately 45% of people over the age of 65 entering this stage of their lives suffering some kind of serious long term illness.

Pensioners in good health are not a drain on the nations resources since well in excess of a million continue to work well beyond retirement age.

A similar number provide unpaid care for grandchildren, other members of the family or friends saving the state many millions of pounds.”

And it is a fact that charities and communities would find it difficult to function effectively without massive support from unpaid pensioner volunteers.






Mortality Rates & Pensions – England and Scotland

Up to the early 1950’s, Scottish mortality rates were broadly comparable with the rest of the UK.

But from that time, (attributed to increased levels of deprivation) life expectancy, in Scotland has hardly increased over a period of 60+ years.

In England, (over the same period) rates steadily increased year on year and there is now a very significant gap in life expectancy between England & Scotland.

Male pensioners in affluent London & the South East of England enjoy a life expectancy of approximately 80 years. Female life expectancy is approximately 84 years.

In Scotland, male life expectancy is approximately 73 years. Female life expectancy is approximately 78 years.






The UK Pension Ponzi Scheme – Scottish Pensioners Heavily Subsidize Pension Payments To English Pensioners.

Substantiating the case I selected one, (similar in population density) conurbation in each country, namely,”Glasgow & West of Scotland & London & S/East England”.

Pension assessment: allow approximately £60,000, individual pension contribution payments (assume 40 years @ £1500 per annum).

Maximum pension payments to male English. £6K x 12 years = £72K
Maximum pension payments to female English. £6K x 16 years = £96K
Maximum pension payments to male Scots. £6k x 5 years = £30K
Maximum pension payments to female Scots. £6k x 10 years = £60K






Life Span of Scots is Much Less Than the English.

Life expectancy indicates many Scots children may not survive beyond age 68y with result that around 30% will contribute to a State pension all of their working lives but get little or nothing in return by way of pension.






It Doesn’t Need to Be This Way

An independent Scotland would be freed from the heavy burden of subsidising English and Welsh State pensions.

A Scottish government blessed with greatly reduced State pension commitments would be able to increase pensions significantly or reduce the retirement age.



UK Financial Austerity – Massive Debt Incurred By The Minority – But Loans and Interest Repayments Charged to the Majority – Shoddy Westminster Governance But True to Form









UK Budget Deficits & Loans

In the UK there is no written constitution with result that there are no legal safeguards ensuring the maintenance of government budget deficits within specific limits. e.g. A % proportion of GDP.

There is also no legislation preventing governments from gaining electoral advantage through excessive borrowing, effectively mortgaging the nation’s future to the hilt.

Which is exactly what Chancellor’s Darling and Osborne did between 2007-2017.

UK bankers, through greed, incompetence and criminal activities over-committed the country’s finances through many millions of questionable contracts and mortgage Ponzi schemes.

When the dodgy business was called to account by short changing adventurers the proverbial s..t hit the fan and the UK was bust.

Alistair Darling, the Labour government Chancellor of the Exchequer consulted his team of advisors, (led by Fred the Shred) who were of the view that 98% of the UK public would be largely unaffected by allowing the Banks and other financial organisations to fail, but the remaining 2% of taxpayers, financial organisations and bankers stood to lose very significant amounts of money.

Darling decided to protect the richest 2% of the UK society.

The bulk of the population would suffer the effects of a massive borrowing regime and 10 years after citizens of little financial means are being strangled by austerity measures introduced by government.

Conversely, the richest 2% have become richer beyond their wildest dreams since austerity is a word unused in their society.







But how does financial debt accrue?

The Treasury prints guaranteed bonds and sells them to private investors and countries.

Over 40% of UK debt is owed to foreign countries and corporations.







Why Does the EU Get a Bad Press?

The EU Stability and Growth Pact (S.G.P.) was finalised and implemented by EU member States in 1999.

This required members to commit to deficits not exceeding 3.00% of GDP and debt not more than 60.00% of G.D.P.

The inherent weakness of the measure was that it was only a pact and as such not legally enforceable and in the period 1999-2012 many member countries regularly posted deficits well in excess of 3.00 %, (including the UK)

One such country was Greece whose economy completely collapsed under the burden of debt requiring the intervention of the EU Central Bank who introduced drastic austerity measures with the purpose of rescuing the (basket case) Greek economy.

Austerity is still harshly active in Greece at 2017.

At the beginning of 2011 Italy’s public debt had increased to approximately £1.70 trillion (approximately 120% of GDP).

This compared unfavourably with the agreed maximum limit of 60.00% in the EU’s Stability & Growth Pact (S.G.P.)

Meeting the challenge the EU decided in 2012 to standardise borrowing within the EU.

Twenty-Six of the EU’s Twenty-Eight member States signed a landmark treaty (the “fiscal compact“) committing them to co-ordinating their budget policies imposing penalties on rule-breakers from 2013.

The Czech Republic and the UK opted out of the legally binding treaty.







Figure 1. Total UK Debt Approx: £ Trillion

Labour 2007: 0.51
Labour 2008: 0.58
Labour 2009: 0.78
Tory/Lib 2010: 1.02
Tory/Lib 2011: 1.18
Tory/Lib 2012: 1.23
Tory/Lib 2013: 1.28
Tory/Lib 2014: 1.48
Tory/Lib 2015: 1.57
Tory 2016: 1.62
Tory 2017: 1.80


Massive increase in debt (2010-2017) incurred by Osborne and the Tory’s.

On-going cost of waging wars in Libya,Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

Commitment to build unusable aircraft carriers, frigates and useless F35 stealth fighters.






Figure 2. Total UK Debt Relative to GDP Approx: %

Labour 2007: 37.00
Labour 2008: 39.00
Labour 2009: 47.00
Tory/Lib 2010: 68.00
Tory/Lib 2011: 72.00
Tory/Lib 2012: 73.00
Tory/Lib 2013: 77.00
Tory/Lib 2014: 79.00
Tory/Lib 2015: 83.00
Tory 2016: 82.00
Tory 2017: 81.00

The maximum level is not supposed to exceed 60%.







Figure 3. UK Budget Deficit borrowing Approx: £ Billions borrowed annually to balance the books

Labour 2007:£36.90
Labour 2008:£40.90
Labour 2009:£100.80
Tory/Lib 2010:£153.50
Tory/Lib 2011:£134.90
Tory/Lib 2012:£113.40
Tory/Lib 2013:£119.70
Tory/Lib 2014:£98.50
Tory/Lib 2015:£88.00
Tory 2016:£69.50
Tory 2017:£43.10

Should not exceed £40 billion.







Figure 4. UK Budget Deficit Borrowing Approx: % of GDP borrowed annually to balance the books

Labour 2007: 2.60
Labour 2008: 2.70
Labour 2009: 6.70
Tory/Lib 2010: 10.02
Tory/Lib 2011: 8.60
Tory/Lib 2012: 7.00
Tory/Lib 2013: 7.20
Tory/Lib 2014: 5.70
Tory/Lib 2015: 4.90
Tory 2016: 3.70
Tory 2017: 2.20

Borrowing is not supposed to exceed 3%.







Balancing the Books – But at What Cost?


Tory Chancellor Kenneth Clark presided over a period of austerity in the latter part of the 1990’s and handed over a stable economy to the incoming labour administration.







Gordon Brown, The Labour Chancellor maintained the same financial regime as his predecessor and by the end of the first parliament (1997-2002) public sector debt as a % of GDP was reduced to 29%.







The second Labour government (2002–2007) relaxed fiscal rules and national debt increased to 37% of GDP.

The rise was primarily due to the government’s decision to greatly increase spending on health and education.

There was also a significant rise in social security spending.








The third Labour government (2007-2010 was an unmitigated disaster.

There was a very sharp increase in public sector debt because of:

The 2008-2010 recession which was incurred by the financial bailout of Northern Rock, R.B.S., Lloyd’s and other banks resulted in greatly reduced tax receipts, much increased spending on unemployment benefits, and other welfare support.

Falling house prices resulting in much reduced stamp duty, income tax and lower corporation tax collection.

Other factors included a hidden deficit caused by the Labour government spending more than tax revenue.







The Tory Party agreed a coalition with the Lib-Dems and governed from (2010-2015).

The Tory Chancellor, George Osborne declared that austerity would be maintained and indeed strengthened across all sectors of society, (all in it together) declared the Prime Minister, David Cameron).

His campaign slogan proved to be a false dawn when the burden of increased austerity was placed firmly on the shoulders of the 98% of the public previously hammered by Alistair Darling and the Labour party in 2008.








The 2015 General Election was a watershed in UK politics and austerity.

In Scotland Unionist party’s were virtually wiped out by a massive turnout of the electorate in favour of the SNP.

Unfortunately the Labour party in England was poorly organised and fraught with in-fighting with result that the electorate abandoned them in favour of the Tory Party who were then able to form a government, albeit with a small majority.

True to form Tory Chancellor, Osborne announced that austerity measures would remain in place for at least another 5 years.

The majority would continue to be punished for the criminal actions of the bankers who would be rewarded yet again.

David Cameron made a cock-up of the EC referendum in 2016 and was forced to surrender his leadership role, passing the chalice to Theresa May who formed a new government.

Osborne was dropped from his role as chancellor and there was brief hope things would change.

No chance, multi- millionaire, Hammond, the new Chancellor, opted to pursue and indeed threatened to extend the period of austerity without end.








In 2017, Theresa May asked the electorate for a new mandate.

She managed to get her government re-elected but without a overall majority which she gerrymandered in her favour gaining a majority through the qualified support of the D.U.P.

Hammond remains in office, (but under pressure) and the future is just as dismal as before.

Thanks to: Dabir Tehrani UNA, Edinburgh




2017 General Election – Out Gunned by the Tory and Unionist Party – The SNP Campaign Planners Are In Need Of A Firm Kick Up the Jacksie








Devolved Government in Scotland

The 1999 introduction of a Scottish parliament, with devolved powers (forced on the UK government by the EC) should have been a game changer.

For the first time in 300 years Scots had a forum allowing discussion of matters local to Scotland over which their elected representatives would be able to bring about change.

But the established political parties simply rubber stamped the wishes of the Westminster parliament on the electorate.

The Labour and Liberal Democratic coalition government, (elected to office in 1999 at the start of the new parliament) proved to be incompetent at all levels of government and voters gave their support to the Scottish National Party (SNP) who, (with the allowance of operating as a minority government) provided progressive, efficient and enlightened government.

In 2010 the SNP were rewarded for their achievements gaining a stunning victory returning to government with an overall majority (turning the Westminster gerrymandered electoral system on its head).

This period of government was also very successful, even when confronted with the implementation of potentially destructive financial austerity measures brought about by failed Westminster politics.

The party was rewarded with a return to government in 2015.




The Scottish Voter

In the period up to 2005 the majority of voters in Scotland voted as their family and neighbours did.

Voting was largely tribal and class driven.

Workers backed Labour whilst the rural communities, white collar workers and upper classes supported the Tory party.

But the impact of the Scottish Parliament, Illegal wars in Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. And the rapid expansion of the internet challenged the old ways and political party’s experienced the impact of declining voter bases as vast amounts of new information, previously denied the public became wide spread through internet driven social networking.

From 2014 enlightened Scots became increasingly more independent thinking and a new class of voter was born.

One which demanded from politicians information and policies relevant to their individual needs. To date only one party in Scotland responded. The Tory Party.






The 2017 General Election and the Tories

The 2017 General Election in Scotland exposed Scottish voters to “data mining” a new form of politics providing tools and profiling information allowing Conservative candidates to communicate personally with their prospective constituents.

The benefits were astounding. The Tories gained a stunning result, increasing their MP’s from 1 to 13 in total.

Pollsters were flabbergasted at the turnround in the voting since the SNP appeared to be invulnerable.

But Tory candidates had been well briefed about the individual targets within their constituencies.

It was a voting strategy, new to UK politics which, using predictive data models identified, engaged and persuaded voters to turnout.

This was achieved through the use of internet, phone and personal surveys combined with many other data sets, created by teams of contracted data scientists, psychologists and political consultants allowing the campaign to map the Scottish electorate based on ideology, demographics, religious beliefs, strongly held opinions on key issues e.g. Independence, The Orange Lodge, Celtic, Rangers, The SNP and or political personalities.

The information gathered provided Tory campaign strategists with a predictive analysis based on thousands of data points on just about every voter in Scotland.

From that teams of political consultants and psychologists, hired by the Party directed the campaign and candidates on what and how to say it to selected groups of voters.

Other voter targeting, included use of Facebook adverts, one to one scripted phone calls and provision of the content of messages for door-to-door canvassers ensuring consistent communication with voters on any issue.

What won the day for the Tory party in 2017 was that they utilised “data mining” to gain a comprehensive understanding of the Scottish electorate and then used every communication aid available facilitating discussions with voters about matters important to them as individuals.

Throughout the campaign the Tory tactic was to constantly broadcast the “no new referendum” message stressing that this was an important major difference between the Tory and any other candidates firmly imprinting this in the electorate’s minds.

In contrast the SNP campaign was directed at the Scottish electorate as an entity and failed to inspire those voters it needed to for success.

Information is power.






Personal data on Facebook

The “MyPersonality” app was launched in 2007.

In excess of six million people have completed the questionnaire, nearly half of them allowing psychometrics centres to access their Facebook profiles as they did so.

Once granted the user allows unfettered access and algorithms trawl through likes and posts training statistical models that use “digital footprints” to predict personality types.

Scholars are then allowed to dip into that pool of anonymized data for worthy academic research, and the fruits of those models are promoted commercially.






15 March 2017: Data Mining in action – March 2017 – A Tory Strategy – Petition Against a Second Scottish Independence Referendum

A petition stating; “We in Scotland are fed up of persecution by the SNP leader who is solely intent on getting independence at any cost.

As a result, Scotland is suffering hugely.

The majority of Scottish voters wish to remain in the British union, despite Nicola Sturgeon’s latest demands for a Scottish referendum, according to the latest polling from YouGov.”

The petition was clearly a “data mining ploy” prepared and added to the internet by the Tory media team.

The tactic worked since it succeeded in raising the public profile of the possibility of another Independence referendum, which (at the time) had not been given mention by anyone other than the Tory Party.






Use of Gathered Data – Analysis of Petition Outcome

Information was sourced from official lists and records providing numbers of acceptable signatories by Scottish Constituency.

Electorate totals were included and a percentage signatory total was established for each constituency.

From that the mean figure of 3.75% was used to forward project the outcome of an Independence referendum, should one be held after Brexit.

The figures suggested that from an electorate of 4,021,203 the outcome of another referendum would result in a: 48.00% “Yes” vote in favour of independence with 52.00% preferring to remain with the Union.

The information would be best used to forward plan strategy.

Edinburgh, Aberdeen, East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire recorded higher than average figures favouring remaining with the Union.

Others appear to be less fixed.






The 2017 General Election Forecast

The General Election in Scotland will be a re-run of the 2014 referendum as such the landslide victory achieved by the SNP in the last GE cannot realistically be achieved.

The analysis suggests 25 seats might change hands with the Tory Party being the main benefactor:

SNP activists will need to get out in force in the under-noted constituencies otherwise they could be lost.





This group of seats are marginals – Risk decreases as the % number drops:

71749: Edinburgh West, Michelle Thomson MP : 4388-6.12%

69982: East Renfrewshire, Kirsten Oswald MP: 4241-6.06%

66966: East Dunbartonshire, John Nicolson MP: 3977-5.94%

65846: Edinburgh South, Ian Murray MP: 3579-5.44% (Labour)

73445: West Aberdn, Stuart Blair Donaldson MP: 3961-5.40%

80978: Edinburgh North & Leith, Deidre Brock MP: 4280-5.29%

66208: Paisley & Renfrewshire North, Gavin Newlands MP: 3158-4.77%

68875: Argyll & Bute, Brendan O’Hara MP: 3277-4.75%

62003: North East Fife, Stephen Gethins MP: 2937-4.74%

67236: Stirling, Steven Paterson MP: 3175-4.72%

77379: Ochil & S. Perthshire, Ms Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh MP: 3645-4.71%

79393: Gordon, Rt Hon Alex Salmond MP: 3711-4.68%

68056: Aberdeen South, Callum McCaig MP: 3618-4.65%

79481: East Lothian, George Kerevan MP: 3676-4.63%

72178: Edinburgh South West, Joanna Cherry QC: 3283-4.55% )

72447: Perth & North Perthshire, Pete Wishart MP: 3033-4.19%

71685: Moray, Rt Hon Angus Robertson MP: 2995-4.18%

78037: Lanark & Hamilton East, Angela Crawley MP: 3272-4.19%

68483: Dumfries, Clydesdale, Rt Hon David Mundell MP:2816-4.11%

74179: Berwickshire, Roxburgh, Selkirk: Calum Kerr MP: 3026-4.08%

86955: Linlithgow, East Falkirk, Martyn Day MP:3570-4.11%

68609: Banff & Buchan, Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP: 2772-4.04%

73445: W. Abdn & Kincardine, Stuart Blair Donaldson MP: 3961-5.40%

71685: Moray, Rt Hon Angus Robertson MP: 2995-4.18%

68056: Aberdeen South, Callum McCaig MP: 3618-4.65%







Theresa May Forging Ahead with her Totalitarian State – All Private Information Historical and Real-time Will Be Available To Government Agencies – An Independent Scotland Would be Able to Make Its Own Rules







Spying on all of the Queen’s subjects is OK – But Not Westminster MP’s and the Lords

The only amendment to the government’s sweeping new spying bill so far made by politicians is to stop them from being spied on.







In December 2016, politicians in the UK passed The Investigatory Powers Bill

The Act, (heavily criticised by civil rights groups, privacy experts and over 100,000 people for the intrusive and draconian levels of surveillance of the private lives of individuals), was passed by Westminster in December 2016.

As expected, legal challenges against the powers of the act have been submitted to the relevant controlling authority in anticipation the government will amend aspects of the act causing most concern to the public.

The European Court of Justice has ruled the collection of bulk data to be unlawful.
The British government has refused to amend the act, the response being that provisions contained within it are necessary to help protect the country’s national security and oversight is provided for the protection of individuals.

Many aspects of the legislation have yet to be implemented but it is expected the act will be fully in force before the end of 2017 which is worrying when considered against the slow moving Brexit talks.

Clarifying its extent in advance of Royal Assent in December 2016, then home secretary Amber Rudd said:

“This Government is clear that, at a time of heightened security threat, it is essential our law enforcement, security and intelligence services have the powers they need to keep people safe.

The internet presents new opportunities for terrorists and we must ensure we have the capabilities to confront this challenge.

But it is also right that these powers are subject to strict safeguards and rigorous oversight.

The Investigatory Powers Act is world-leading legislation that provides unprecedented transparency and substantial privacy protection.

I want to pay tribute to the independent reviewers, organisations, and Parliamentarians of all parties for their rigorous scrutiny of this important law which is vital for the safety and security of our families, communities and country.”

The legislation includes:


Theresa May Snoopers Charter





Hacking power:

For the first time, security services will be able to hack into computers, networks, mobile devices, servers and more under the proposed plans.

The practice is known as equipment interference and is set out in part 5, chapter 2, of the IP Bill.

This may include downloading data from a mobile phone that is stolen or left unattended, or software that tracks every keyboard letter pressed being installed on a laptop.

“More complex equipment interference operations may involve exploiting existing vulnerabilities in software in order to gain control of devices or networks to remotely extract material or monitor the user of the device.”

The power will be available to police forces and intelligence services. Warrants must be issued for the hacking to take place.







Bulk hacking:

For those not living in the UK, but who have come to the attention of the security agencies, the potential to be hacked increases.

Bulk equipment interference (chapter 3 of the IP Bill) allows for large scale hacks in “large operations”.

Data can be gathered from “a large number of devices in the specified location”.

A draft code of practice says a foreign region (although it does not give a size) where terrorism is suspected could be targeted, for instance.

As a result, it is likely the data of innocent people would be gathered.

Security and intelligence agencies must apply for a warrant from the Secretary of State and these groups are the only people who can complete bulk hacks.







To help oversee the new powers, the Home Office is introducing new roles to approve warrants and handle issues that arise from the new powers.

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner (IPC) and judicial commissioners (part 8, chapter 1 of the IP Bill) will be appointed by Theresa May, or whoever the serving prime minister is at the time.

The IPC will be a senior judge and be supported by other high court judges.

“The IPC will audit compliance and undertake investigations,” the government says.

“The Commissioner will report publicly and make recommendations on what he finds in the course of his work,” guidance on the original bill says (page 6).

“He will also publish guidance when it is required on the proper use of investigatory powers.”






Web records and Communication Services

Under the IP Bill, security services and police forces will be able to access communications data when it is needed to help their investigations.

This means internet history data (Internet Connection Records, in official speak) will have to be stored for 12 months.

Providers, which include everything from internet companies and messenger services to postal services, will have to store meta data about the communications made through their services.

The who, what, when, and where will have to be stored. This will mean your internet service provider stores that you visited “Caltonjock” to read this article, on this day, at this time and where from (i.e. a mobile device).

This will be done for every website visited for a year.

Web records and communications data is detailed under chapter 3, part 3 of the law and warrants are required for the data to be accessed.

A draft code of practice details more information on communications data.






Bulk data sets

As well as communications data being stored, intelligence agencies will also be able to obtain and use “bulk personal datasets”.

These mass data sets mostly include a “majority of individuals” that aren’t suspected in any wrongdoing but have been swept-up in the data collection.

These (detailed under part 7 of the IP Bill and in a code of practice), as well as warrants for their creation and retention must be obtained.

“Typically these datasets are very large, and of a size which means they cannot be processed manually,” the draft code of practice describes the data sets as. These types of databases can be created from a variety of sources.







Real-time surveillance

Draft regulations published in May 2017 reveal how the IP Act’s provisions will work in practice.

The technical regulations, which put obligations on internet communication companies, say “communications and secondary data” about a person will have to be provided “in near real time” to authorities when a warrant has been obtained.

Also, the regulations, which were being consulted on with UK technical groups, say that where possible ‘electronic protection’ (also known as encryption) should be removed by communications companies where it is possible to do so.





Public authorities that can access records

Metropolitan police force
City of London police force
Police forces maintained under section 2 of the Police Act 1996
Police Service of Scotland
Police Service of Northern Ireland
British Transport Police
Ministry of Defence Police
Royal Navy Police
Royal Military Police
Royal Air Force Police
Security Service
Secret Intelligence Service
Ministry of Defence
Department of Health
Home Office
Ministry of Justice
National Crime Agency
HM Revenue & Customs
Department for Transport
Department for Work and Pensions
NHS trusts and foundation trusts in England that provide ambulance services
Common Services Agency for the Scottish Health Service
Competition and Markets Authority
Criminal Cases Review Commission
Department for Communities in Northern Ireland
Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland
Department of Justice in Northern Ireland
Financial Conduct Authority
Fire and rescue authorities under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004
Food Standards Agency
Food Standards Scotland
Gambling Commission
Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority
Health and Safety Executive
Independent Police Complaints Commissioner
Information Commissioner
NHS Business Services Authority
Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Health and Social Care Trust
Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Board
Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Regional Business Services Organisation
Office of Communications
Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland
Police Investigations and Review Commissioner
Scottish Ambulance Service Board
Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
Serious Fraud Office
Welsh Ambulance Services National Health Service Trust







Tom Skillinger: Leader of the 100.000 signature petition submitted to the government said:

“This is an absolute disgrace to both privacy and freedom and needs to stop.

It has only made it this far due to it being snuck past the population in relative secrecy. It isn’t too late.

We can fix this before the UK is turned into a dystopian surveillance state.”






Jim KIllock: Executive Director of the “Open Rights Group” said:

“Amber Rudd says the Investigatory Powers Act is world-leading legislation.

She is right, it is one of the most extreme surveillance laws ever passed in a democracy.

Its impact will be felt beyond the UK as other countries, including authoritarian regimes with poor human rights records, will use this law to justify their own intrusive surveillance regimes.

Theresa May has finally got her snoopers’ charter and democracy in the UK is the worse for it.”







14 May 2017: Privacy start-up company – Why we decided to leave the UK following election

The company has raised tens of thousands through crowd funding to create a pro-privacy peer-to-peer network and smartphone app that allows users a Facebook experience without handing over personal information.

Aral Balkan, founder and developer on the platform, explains why the company has decided to leave the UK following the 2017 General Election results.

Shortly after winning the election last week, the Tory’s home secretary Theresa May made a commitment to reintroduce the snooper’s charter, an initiative previously blocked by the coalition.

Stances like this, as well as the plans to block encrypted messaging applications as well as a distillation of the Humans Right Act, will lead the Brighton based company to leave the UK.

Aral Balkan, founder and developer recently said: “It would be ironic to stay in a country that just scrapped its “Human Rights Act” when you’re trying to further the cause of human rights, don’t you think?

The possibility of stronger legislation from Europe concerning data protection, privacy and human rights, to be announced this year is not enough to us working within the British Isles.

“I have very little faith that Europe will stand strong on protecting our human right to privacy.”

“There are major and increasing concerns over lobbyists’ influence on the new incoming general data protection and the Tory Manifesto is at severe risk from corporate influences who favour big data over big data protection.”

“They seem to be more interested in keeping Silicon Valley companies happy and being rewarded with investments into ‘start-up’ ecosystems and increased lobbying spends.

If we are to tackle the issue of protecting privacy (and thus human rights) in the EU, we should take a long, hard look at the staggering amounts of institutional corruption at the state and EU levels and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure the remove the influence of corporate finance in public policymaking.”

Legislation from the EU is expected to be published before the end of 2017 and it is expected safeguards concerning data protection, privacy and human rights will be greatly strengthened over the UK legislation.

Nothing of the EU bill will be introduced into the UK during the Brexit discussions. But in any event it is saddled with the same drawback as the UK.

The EU appears to be more interested in keeping Silicon Valley companies happy (and being rewarded with investments by them into “start-up” ecosystems and increased lobbying spends).

If the EU is to tackle the issue of protecting privacy (and human rights) in the EU, it needs to take a long, hard look at the staggering amounts of institutional corruption at the state and EU levels and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure the remove the influence of corporate finance in public policymaking.”






Balkan blames “multistakeholderism” and “co-regulation” that sees companies like Google and Facebook invited to the EU table to decide how they should be regulated and give advice on what privacy protection should be implemented to protect individuals.

“That’s like inviting the wolf to the table to comment on the welfare of the sheep.

Multistakeholderism, public-private partnerships, and co-regulation are all euphemisms for institutional corruption.

If we’re serious about tackling these issues let’s work to remove the influence of (mainly American, and mainly Silicon Valley) companies from the policy decisions made in Europe that concern the welfare of Europeans.”





Stages in development

Balkan, who has been programming for over 30 years – and working professionally for 15 – is just about to kick off’s pre alpha programme for Heartbeat.

Heartbeat is a social network – one part of the underlying technology the start-up is creating to eventually offer an entirely private smartphone (the Indie phone) .

Pulse – a private version of Dropbox and a bridge tool called Way-stone will follow with the help of crowdfunding.

“I have a couple of days of coding left until I can get there and then we’re going to test it out with the team for a few days before starting to open it up to the 850 or so alpha testers who supported us in the top two tiers during crowdfunding.

It’s taken us about 6 months to get here, which is much longer than I’d originally estimated, but it’s not like anyone has built this before so we’re also learning as we go.”









Private island, Scandinavia or Scotland?

Development aside, now the small firm must think about where to relocate. “We don’t know where we’re moving to yet.

We’ve had a lot of words of support and lots of invitations to come visit,” said Balkan.

So far, a private Island in Panama owned by a friend, a handful of Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden and Iceland due to their human rights credentials as well as Berlin are top of the list for

Scotland is another option, Balkan adds, “If we could be confident they it would leave the UK and resist the Tory push for ubiquitous surveillance.”




Afghanistan – Thousands of Young Soldiers Killed and Maimed at Four Times the Rate of the US Forces – I asked Why? – But Never got an Answer – Does Anybody Know?










Westminster Governments Sent Scottish Troops Into Afghanistan, Helmand Province on a Wing and a Prayer

In April 2006 the UK deployed over 3,000 military personnel, (the bulk of the teeth armed units being Scottish) tasked with creating a safe base and active participation (as part of a Nato-led peacekeeping force) in direct support a large US-led force already deployed throughout the country aggressively eliminating militants.

Fully aware, from US intelligence briefing, of the dangers facing the force to be deployed and major deficiencies in their equipment and arms, the Westminster government approach was one born of complacency, believing that US forces on the ground would continue to meet the main challenge of the Taliban.

The political mantra was: ” we’ll deal with it if it happens.”

US military command, in Kabul were pleased that the British Army would be actively involved in the war against the Taliban and were more than ready give over responsibility for policing Helmand Province and the South of Afghanistan.

In the process of the force deployment, John Reid, Secretary of State for Defence, addressing the world’s press in Kabul, advised that Britain would remain with the Nato joint forces mission for as long as necessary, emphasising the importance of preventing the Taliban returning to power.

He went on to say: “We’re in Helmand and the South to assist and protect the Afghan people reconstructing their economy and democracy” and, “we would be perfectly happy to leave in three years time without firing one shot.”

Not long after Reid departed to the UK and a new job as Foreign Secretary the unwarranted complacency was quickly dispelled by the shock of cold reality when the Ill equipped, armed and trained young soldiers came under sustained attacks from the Taliban.

Policing went out the window to be replaced by 12 years of brutal counter-insurgency resulting in the death and injury of many British Armed forces.

A simple policing mission gone badly wrong. British Armed Forces betrayed by Westminster governments whose default setting firmly fixed at: “muddle”





The Disastrous Legacy John Reid Left the Army and the Nation

446 British soldiers met their deaths – a higher figure than in Iraq, or the Falklands

The maximum acceptable level of major combat casualties is 6 deaths per 1000.

USA forces suffered 3 deaths per 1000.

UK forces suffered 13 deaths per 1000.

British army casualties four times the rate of US troops, a statistical disparity which nobody at Westminster seems anxious to explain.

3560 soldiers were wounded. In one year: (between April 2012 and March 2013)

29 British soldiers had limbs amputated.

12 were classified as “significant multiple amputees”.

the average age of those who died was 22.

31 were teenagers, 200 in their 20s.

Of the Afghan veterans who made it home more or less in one piece, the most common cause of death in 2012 was suicide.





One reason for the very high British casualty rate – in the absence of written evidence – could be the ignorance and stupidity of British politicians and their carelessness about the lives of the young people they were sending into battle, the disgraceful failure to provide basic equipment and the deployment of personnel in ways which made no military (or any other sort of) sense.






The Unionist Parties of Scotland and Many of Their Favoured Farmers Make Claim To Be Near Destitute – But Do the Facts Fit the Rhetoric ?







The Farmers Case for Financial Support

The Scottish farming community is apparently on its knees, the bulk of farmers having barely two coins to rub together. It is surely unacceptable that Scottish society is unable to provide adequate financial support to these poor individuals who struggle to survive in the unforgiving harsh climate of Scotland.

Listed below is a summary of farmers claims for financial subsidy support in 2015/16. which provides the evidence backing the farming community. They clearly need urgent assistance.


'This is gonna sound crazy, but I've got an idea.'




How are Payments calculated?

From 2015 – 2020, the single payment scheme was replaced by the “basic payment scheme” (BPS), which was intended to close some of the loopholes in the previous system and give greater weight to the provision of environmental public goods.

However, the new system remains largely based on land ownership.

Under the basic payment scheme around 30 per cent of a farmer’s payment depends on them meeting three “greening” rules. These require farmers to:

Grow two or three different crops.

Devote at least 5 per cent of their arable land to “ecological focus areas” like hedges and fallow land.

Take some responsibility for maintaining the proportion of permanent grassland in the country.

The new scheme also bars some businesses from claiming the subsidy if they also operate airports, railway services, waterworks, real estate services, or permanent sports grounds.

However, these businesses are still able to claim BPS if, for example, they have more than 36 hectares of eligible.






Farming Subsidy Payments 2015/2016

Claims in excess of £1million (12)

A P Jess (Brechin) Ltd DD9 BRECHIN £1,429,303.00

Ballindalloch Distillery LLP AB37 Ballloch £1,273,123.30

Catrine Community Trust KA5 Catrine £1,253,793.00

Frank A Smart & Son Ltd AB31 BANCHORY £2,986,506.48

Glenfeshie Estate Ltd IV2 INVERNESS £1,781,486.64

Isle of Harris Distillers Ltd EH10 Edinburgh £1,539,049.00

John F Hartz OX18 OXON £1,318,912.12

John Fergus & Company Ltd KY13 MILNATHORT £1,263,294.00

R J & T J & M T Feakins TD9 HAWICK £1,270,281.64

RSPB EH12 EDINBURGH £3,584,031.90

SG:RPID:Futures EH11 Edinburgh £4,110,035.34

Strathvaich Farms LLP CO10 SUDBURY £1,429,303.00





Claims in Excess of £500K (29)

A F Gospel DG13 Langholm £737,776.48

Adephi Distillery Ltd PH36 Ardnamuchan £623,236.00

Balnagown Castle Prop Ltd IV18 KILDARY £605,942.89

Broadland Properties Ltd PH33 ARDGOUR £591,545.45

G Barbour & Co DG2 DUMFRIES £821,174.90

Gairloch & Conon Estate IV7 CONON BRIDGE £739,231.81

Genoch Mains Farms DG9 STRANRAER £857,168.32

Heidi Beers Ltd G40 Glasgow £575,623.00

Invercauld Estates AB35 BALLATER £761,179.11

J & T F Macfarlane Ltd TD3 GORDON £582,476.

John Mark Gibson KA6 DALMELLINGTON £565,611.53

K & J Walker PH16 PITLOCHRY £600,768.71

Kevan Forsyth DG8 NEWTON STEWART £577,884.01

Moray Estates Development Co IV36 FORRES £644,106.19

Mr A J Duncan (A Firm) AB53 TURRIFF £575,060.21

Mrs E V McCorquodale Trs PH2 PERTH £706,751.28

Novar Farms IV16 DINGWALL £755,103.23

Pitcastle Estate Management PH1 PERTH £551,496.32

Quality Meat Scotland EH28 Newbridge £507,060.58

Ross Bros AB43 FRASERBURGH £978,076.03

Scottish Borders Council SRDP TD6 Newtown Bos £529,658.81

Soil Association EH12 EDINBURGH £526,616.46

SRUC/SAC Commercial Ltd AB21 BUCKSBURN £622,553.37

Strathdee Properties Ltd AB38 ABERLOUR £852,900.58

The Church Commissioners For England DG1 DUMFRIES £649,987.98

The Woodland Trust PH2 PERTH £861,182.61

Torsa Holdings Ltd IV3 INVERNESS £876,006.69

Valley Fields (Scotland) DG4 SANQUHAR £518,791.88 Farm in Dumfies.

William Hamilton And Son (No 2) KY15 CUPAR £692,816.62






Claims in Excess of £250K (117)

A Macgregor(Allanfauld) G65 GLASGOW £266,295.14
Andrew B. Young KA26 GIRVAN £296,724.52
Andrew C Smith IV2 INVERNESS £399,979.58
Auchencheyne Ltd DG3 THORNHILL £408,690.54
Aucheneck Estate G63 GLASGOW £281,834.26

Auchmacoy Estate AB41 ELLON £372,293.27
Auchtydore Farms AB42 PETERHEAD £340,550.19
B Q Farms Ltd. DG3 THORNHILL £292,614.19
Backmuir Trading Ltd AB55 BANFFSHIRE £451,457.60
Balbirnie Home Farms KY15 CUPAR £258,820.66

Balcaskie Farms KY10 ANSTRUTHER £294,706.39
Balgreggan Farms Ltd DG9 STRANRAER £310,045.07
Balnaboth Home Farm DD8 KIRRIEMUIR £442,333.57
Baltier Farming Company Ltd DG8 NEWTON STEWART £433,694.67
Barstobrick Farms DG7 CASTLE DOUGLAS £251,631.32

Belcher Food Products Ltd KA9 Prestwick £250,079.00
Benson Wemyss Farms EH32 Longniddry £255,624.34
Birsay Community Association KW17 ORKNEY £288,426.77
Blackford Farms Ltd FK15 DUNBLANE £252,633.53
Blacklidge Brothers PR6 Chorley £271,131.21

BQ Farming Partnerships Ltd TD7 SELKIRK £325,210.34
Braegrudie Common Grazings IV27 Lairg £455,651.40

Buccleuch Estates Ltd DG3 THORNHILL £390,820.71

Burghill Farms DD9 BRECHIN £315,597.64
C & S Adams DG9 STRANRAER £387,116.82

Cadzow Bros PA34 OBAN £323,893.54
Careston Ltd DD9 BRECHIN £262,856.69
Charles M Kirkpatrick DG11 Lockerbie £330,990.95
Clan Donald Land Trust PH33 FORT WILLIAM£ £305,727.73
Conagleann Ltd t/a Dunmaglass Estate DD9 BRECHIN £381,778.87

Conon Brae Farms IV7 DINGWALL £350,919.53
Craigton IV20 TAIN £250,098.91
Crochmore Farms Limited DG2 DUMFRIES £329,887.10
Culfargie Estates Ltd PH1 BALBEGGIE £258,680.83
D R F Farmers Ltd AB43 FRASERBURGH £455,712.44

Dalhanna Farming Company DG7 CASTLE DOUGLAS £268,660.72
Dalmahoy Farms EH27 KIRKNEWTON £365,143.43
Des J Donohoe PH1 PERTH £346,455.01
Dindinnie Farming Co DG9 STRANRAER £375,329.03
Drummuir Home Farms AB55 KEITH £324,147.76
Dunecht Home Farms AB32 WESTHILL £435,616.34
Dunlossit (Farming) Ltd PA45 ISLE OF ISLAY £325,579.98
F Laing PH26 MORAYSHIRE £376,214.50
Fersness Farms KW17 ORKNEY £286,391.66
Firm Of Ardtornish Farms PA80 OBAN £264,412.58
Firm of John G Hamilton EH42 DUNBAR £400,986.88
Firm Of Peter Alexander PH10 BLAIRGOWRIE £317,887.47
Floors Farming TD5 KELSO £296,482.70
G Mcdougal (Bassendean)Ltd TD3 GORDON £323,977.62
Glenapp Estate Company Ltd KA26 GIRVAN £396,238.87
Glencorse Association EH26 Penicuik £387,806.96
Glenkiln Farms DG2 DUMFRIES £282,363.64
Glenrath Egg Products Ltd EH46 West Linton £381,876.00
Glenrinnes Farms Limited AB55 DUFFTOWN £315,699.68
Grahams the Family Dairy FK9 BRIDGE OF ALLAN £251,239.30
Greenshields Agri Ltd TD11 DUNS £269,463.58
Hawk Farming Ltd FK16 DOUNE £351,031.06
Iain Service & Co Ltd DG8 NEWTON STEWART £374,961.10
IAN WHITE LTD PH2 PERTH Livestock breeder £389,233.27
Innishewan Farms EH26 PENICUIK £286,117.32
J C Innes & Sons AB54 HUNTLY £424,531.11
J P Campbell & Sons EH45 PEEBLES £348,194.87
J R Graham Ltd KY14 AUCHTERMUCHTY £487,327.33
James Forbes PH16 PITLOCHRY £252,139.45
James H Fowlie ( A Firm ) AB43 FRASERBURGH £401,331.85
John A Wallace & Sons DG8 NEWTON STEWART £257,713.43
John C Forbes-Leith PH2 PERTH £281,992.25
John C McIntosh AB21 ABERDEEN £441,636.85
John W McEwen & Son G63 GLASGOW £257,207.78
John Watson AB43 FRASERBURGH £278,749.59
John Wight & Sons ML12 ABINGTON £299,928.96
Kingsbarns Company Of Distillers KY10 Anstruther £252,156.00
Klondyke Farms Limited DG3 THORNHILL £382,434.94
L G Litchfield Bowland Farms TD1 GALASHIELS £404,513.54
Langholm Farms Ltd TD7 SELKIRK £380,679.45
Linlithgow Farms Ltd ML11 LANARK £320,504.39
Lour Farms DD8 FORFAR £299,271.17
Luss Estates Company G83 ARDEN £266,473.34
M & M Dudgeon KW8 SUTHERLAND £330,542.99
M/S A S & H M McGimpsey DG12 ANNAN £288,634.44
M/S John Stevenson & Co KY10 ANSTRUTHER £251,690.55
Macfarlane Farms Ltd TD11 DUNS £294,049.18
Malcolm Allan Ltd FK5 LARBERT £390,000.00
Mansionhouse Farm FK15 BRACO £256,410.11
MBM Farms Ltd KW1 WICK £297,687.44
Messrs A & J Craig DG7 CASTLE DOUGLAS £275,624.59
Messrs D G & J D Walker DG4 SANQUHAR £270,540.64
Messrs J Swanson KW14 THURSO £260,516.32
Messrs R & B Dickie DG4 SANQUHAR £329,657.20
Messrs S & J Fisher DG13 LANGHOLM £269,140.22
Mr R McBride & Son DG1 DUMFRIES £274,391.10
Mr W J Henderson & Sons DG2 DUMFRIES £294,389.75
Ms E J Mackenzie & Co IV19 Ross-Shire £354,610.86
N Forsyth & Son DG8 NEWTON STEWART £299,104.20
Norman Thow & Partners AB30 LAURENCEKIRK £309,802.25
Old Cullen Farms AB56 Buckie £267,270.39
Ordens Farms Ltd AB45 BANFF £261,091.96
Pat Wilson Farms PH1 ALMONDBANK £319,382.34
Perthshire Farms PH2 £402,561.05
R & J McDonald TD11 DUNS £276,383.15
Rottal Estates Partnership DD8 KIRRIEMUIR £283,956.04
Southesk Farms DD9 BRECHIN £308,234.51
Strathmore Farming Company DD8 FORFAR £354,520.35
T D Girvan & Sons IV63 GLENMORISTON £286,663.10
T W & T B Edgar Limited TD5 KELSO £290,977.81
The Firm of Innerwick PH1 PERTH£ £276,240.81
The National Trust For Scotland EH11 EDINBURGH £462,693.71
The Rosebery Estate Partnership EH30 SOUTH Q/FERRY £348,235.88.The Talla Farming Partnership TD1 GALASHIELS £315,732.88
Trustees of Cawdor Marriage IV12 NAIRN £311,234.23
W & A Oag KW14 THURSO £272,841.76
Welbeck Scottish Farms Ltd KW7 BERRIEDALE £350,731.21
WHS Hotts DG11 LOCKERBIE £291,629.98






Total Payments:

  1. Scotland: 17,847 claims: £609,965,556
  2. England: 86,139 claims: £1,953,454,147
  3. Wales: 14,271 claims: £281,644,359
  4. N.Ireland: 24,282 claims: £315,484,690

Scottish results do not include payments to the Royal Family which can be found at:

Total £3.2Billion Approx



Television Broadcasting in Scotland – The Opportunity For Policy and Content Change Exists Now – The Scottish Government Should Be Bold and Seize the Day – No More Time For Faint Hearts







BBC- Alba (Gaelic name for Scotland)


Responsibility for the financial support of the public television broadcasting service BBC-Alba is remitted to the BBC and Scottish government in 2015.

Annual operational running costs are approximately £25m.

The BBC provides about £10m in the form of broadcasting , technical support and some programming.

The Scottish government allocates around £15m to the service covering the cost of programming.






Management and Control

The 2015 Scotland Bill devolved control of Scotland’s Gaelic television channel to the Scottish government together with financial responsibility and governance.

Appointments to the governing board, (responsible for evolving policy) are remitted to the Scottish government.

The funding mechanism requires an allocation of positions on the governing board to BBC management representatives.

It is anticipated that the Scottish government will seek parity of funding with the BBC forming part of recommendations for change contained in the recently published BBC comprehensive Spending Review and Charter Renewal, which indicated a significant negative funding imbalance in terms of financial expenditure by the BBC within and in support of its Scottish subscribers who are compulsorly required to purchase an annual licence from the BBC, currently £147.

Annual income to the BBC from Scottish subscribers is approximately £250m.

Expenditure by the BBC, in Scotland, including BBC Alba costs rarely exceed £90m.






Present Programming

The channel broadcasts for 7 hours daily (1700-2400).

Programming content is designed to serve Gaelic speakers and those who wish to learn the native language of Scotland.

It provides many hours of Scottish sport including live soccer, rugby, shinty etc.

Most of the adult programming is subtitled in English and there are plans to provide dual sound with live events.

The channel is watched by about 637,000 adults over the age of 16 in Scotland each week which is remarkable when considered against the Gaelic speakers in Scotland who number about 57,000.






Future Programming
An increase in funding by the BBC and perhaps the Scottish government, would provide opportunity to expand broadcasting hours and content, mirroring mainstream television channels.

Programming could be widened to include other dialogues of Scotland eg. Scotch, Doric and English.






The opportunity exists now, through a Scottish government appointed, BBC-Alba governing board to guide the content of Scottish television broadcasting circumventing BBC Scotland and other right-wing media channels, which have abjectly failed the people of Scotland through their preference to implement the policies of the Westminster government and their foreign owners.

The channel could be renamed Alba since the BBC would be a minority partner.