Tory MP Bill Grant – The Most Right Wing Unionist Tory in Scotland – Were the Voters of Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock Possessed When They Sent Him To Westminster?

 

 

 

 


 

William Grant: MP

Miner’s son, William was born 14 August 1951. He was raised in Rankinston in Cumnock and Doon Valley, East Ayrshire, and educated at Littlemill Primary in northern Rankinston and Cumnock Academy.

He joined the fire service and served for 31 years before retiring at 55 as a deputy commander in the Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service. With a public service lump sum retirement benefit payment of around £75k and a pension, (based on available information) to be in the region of £30k per annum a benefit free future was secured.

Personal life

He is a member of the Kyle and Carrick Civic Society, the Alloway Rotary, the Ayr Classic Motorcycle Club and the Ayr Building Preservation Trust and is a keen DIY, gardening and motorcycling enthusiast.

Other Public Service:

He served as a justice of the peace for ten years on Ayr District Court.

Politics:

He was first elected as a Conservative Councillor on South Ayrshire Council at the 2007 Council elections, serving as one of four Councillors in the Ayr West ward and was re-elected in the 2012 Council elections. He unsuccessfully campaigned as the Conservative Party candidate in Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock at the 2010 UK General Election.

He successfully gained the seat for the Conservatives from the SNP’s Corri Wilson at the 2017 general election, (which wasn’t a surprise given the bad press coverage to which she was subjected by the Unionist press and state controlled media.)

With the looks of a jolly, well disposed Victor Meldrew, Grant thrives on photo opportunities and courts publicity.

 

 

 

Noteworthy Events in His Political Career

22 Dec 2016: Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) – South Ayrshire Tory and Labour Councillors Refuse to Support Ayrshire Women

Furious Councillor Nan McFarlane said “women across South Ayrshire had been insulted” by the performance of Conservative and Labour members after a so-called chamber debate descended into farce. It followed their shut down of an SNP motion to protest against changes to the State Pension Age by the UK government.

The alterations have hit many women across the country by lifting their pension age from 60 to 65. Retrospective changes have been made, in many cases, with minimal notice for women who had planned to retire and now face being forced to work on. But what should have been a mature debate on a very serious subject ended in 90 minutes of embarrassing political football at County Buildings.

SNP colleagues had called for a written protest to Westminster against the transitional changes which, they said, would be sent on behalf of all women in South Ayrshire. What they were met with was a ludicrous amendment slapped down by council leader, Bill McIntosh, which proposed that the SNP write instead to Holyrood complaining about the terms of the local government settlement. But the two issues are totally unrelated and in any event the proposed changes to the pension age will come fully into force in the very near future.

But what is crystal clear is the shame which this attempt at a debate brought upon South Ayrshire Council. Following a painful series of exchanges and a 15-13 vote in favour of denying women support, there was little holding back from those who felt politics should have played second fiddle. Councillor McFarlane said: “I actually feel like I’ve been the victim of domestic abuse sitting through that. Those who voted with that amendment should be utterly ashamed of themselves. Women all across South Ayrshire have been insulted by what has taken place and I have never been so disgusted by that council.”

Independent Councillor, Brian Connolly, asked: “Can someone tell me what pensions have got to do with the local government settlement? Nothing as far as I can see.”

During the fractious debate, SNP colleague Douglas Campbell said: “I never cease to be amazed by this council. This undoubtedly marks a low point for me during my time here. All we’ve done is make ourselves a laughing stock and the fact we couldn’t debate this issue is a disgrace.

SNP leader Allan Dorans, who tabled the original motion, said: “I’m embarrassed to be a member of this council. To blame the Scottish Government for this is political posturing at its worst and members who vote with the amendment are doing women a huge injustice.”

Only Ann Galbraith (Conservative) and Ian Cavana (Labour) broke ranks with the administration to vote with the motion. But their show of defiance was not enough. (daily record)

 

 

 

9 Aug 2017: Bill Grant (MP) Refuses to Support “WASPI” Women Campaign

Bill Grant Conservative MP for Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock met with women (born in the 1950s) from within his constituency who have had their state pension age changed by the implementation of the 1995 and 2011 Pension acts.

The WASPI group (Women Against State Pension Inequality) shared their, and fellow Waspi’s stories and how they have been affected by these changes and the lack of notice they were given, had they known at the time of both pension acts, they would have been able to make alternative arrangements.

The MP heard stories of women who are now need to sell their family homes, women relying on their families to subsidize them to be able to buy food, women who have developed mental health issues over their impoverished situation as a result of this injustice.

Despite this, the MP refused to sign the WASPI pledge to support WASPI women and to work in Parliament to find a solution for the women affected. More details here: (http://www.waspi.co.uk/)

There are 4750 women affected in Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock which is Grant’s constituency.

A statement by the group said: “WASPI are not against equality, we agree with this. Our complaint is not being informed of the 1995 Pension Act until at least 14 years or later, and some cases not being informed at all. Women in Ayrshire WASPI have never received letters regarding the 2011 Pension act which accumulates to an extra six years wait on a state pension that they have paid into since they were 15 years old.

Therefore the basis of our complaint is Maladministration by DWP. The Conservative party continually state the Scottish Government should sort this out, but the reality is that under section 28 of the Scotland act they do not have the power to pay state pensions.

The other factor is that they paid their National Insurance to Westminster therefore Westminster should pay them their state pension or agree to transitional payments.”

Bill Grant MP said: “I share the UK government aim of securing a sustainable state pension. If I can raise issues to help redress inequality, I certainly will. However, I did not feel it was appropriate for me to sign the WASPI pledge.  The Government has previously made a concession worth £1.1 billion that will reduce the impact on women most affected by pension changes.” (carrick gazette)

 

 

 

28 Dec 2017: Cumnock MP Bill Grant Slammed For Appearing To Be Fast Asleep in Parliament During “WASPI” Debate

A photograph shows the Conservative MP pictured sitting behind Moray MP Douglas Ross with his eyes closed, appearing to be fast asleep during the debate on pensions equality for women.

Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley MSP Jeane Freeman has hit out at the MP for disrespecting the plight of the Women Against State Pension Inequality. She said: “Not only did Bill Grant MP refuse to sign the WASPI pledge to support WASPI women in their fight for pension equality a few months ago, he fails to give the WASPI debate in parliament the attention it deserves by falling asleep on the job.”

However, Mr Grant has claimed that he wasn’t sleeping during the debate on pensions equality for women and that, instead, he was “listening intently”. He followed up saying that he supported the government aim of securing a sustainable state pension (cumnock chronicle)

 

 

29 Jun 2017: Retired Fireman, Bill Grant (MP) and the Rest of the Tory Crazy Gang Vote to Retain Wage Repression and an Increase in Austerity Measures

The Tory government defeated a Labour Party amendment to the Queen’s Speech calling for an end to cuts to the police and the fire service, the end of the 1% public sector pay cap and to give emergency and public services a fair pay rise by 323 to 309 votes.

Northern Ireland’s 10 DUP MP’s despite speaking out against austerity before the election agreed to vote with Conservative MP’s to give Theresa May the majority she needed after she agreed a £1.5billion bung to Northern Ireland to win their votes.

There was much criticism from bodies representing Britain’s 5 million emergency and public services staff of the government’s refusal to rethink public sector cuts after their response to recent terrorist events and the courage of firefighters who risked their lives in the Grenfell Tower blaze.

Especially after Theresa May told a nurse on BBC Question Time that there is “no magic money tree” for a pay rise to stop nurses having to turn to food banks and pay day loans in the run up to her snap election, before agreeing to part with £1.5billion in return for DUP support.

Comment:

21 Jul 2017: Ralph Robertson: Bill Grant MP has had pay rises of 3.9%, 5%, 0%, 4.6%, 5.2%, 2.2%, 2.7%, 0%, 1%, on his fire brigade pension if he retired 2007 and I am sure he was happy to take it all. Working firefighters over the same period have had next to nothing with wage freezes and 1% rises.

22 Jul 2017: Nick Larkin: Also got a pay rise on his Council pay of around 8% in or around 2011 so no stranger to a pay rise. Remember, too, this is the man who was too ill to stand again as a Councillor in 2017 for £24K or so a year but just a month later was just fine to stand as an MP for £75K a year plus benefits. No flies on Bill Grant MP

 

 

 

31 Aug 2017: Newly Built Ayr Academy

Bill Grant: “Great visit round the new Ayr Academy. Proud to have been part of a council that invested heavily in new schools right across the area.”

Bit of selective dementia Bill. Nowt to do with your council. It is thanks to the First Minister and Scottish Government who provided the funding enabling the building of the academy through the “Schools for the Future Programme”.

Construction of the £25million school began at Ayr’s Craigie Estate in January 2016. The building was officially opened, (with young people and parents among the 180 guests on the night) by John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.

Its eye-catching replacement has space for up to 1,000 pupils, and features two learning plazas, a multi-use hall, two gyms, fitness/movement room, and sports pitches. The project is part of a £94million pipeline of works being delivered across South Ayrshire in the next year, with the aim of enhancing standards through targeted investment.

John Swinney said “At the outset of our £1.8bn Schools for the Future programme in 2009, we originally aimed to build or refurbish 55 schools across Scotland – we have now more than doubled that commitment and it is fantastic to see so many of these wonderful buildings, like this one here in Ayr, now coming into use. More widely, since 2007 we have completed 651 school building projects, which is almost double the amount completed over the preceding eight years. This is part of our aim to provide our children and young people with inspiring environments which enable all of them to engage with their learning and, which in turn, help to raise attainment. It is great to hear the positive reaction of staff and pupils at Ayr Academy to their new school and I wish them all the best for the future.”

Councillor William Grant, said the event was a unique opportunity to see the building, “This fantastic new building has been warmly welcomed by the community, with many of them invited as special guests to celebrate the start of a new era. You can see that young people have been energized by their new surroundings, with staff now looking to deliver a step-change in the way lessons are delivered. The official opening was a great night with a lot of pride on display as pupils performed for the invited guests. And as the fanfare subsides teachers are now focusing on the important task of enhancing education standards and delivering better results for the community.”

 

 

 

14 Sep 2017: Bill Grant: A proclamation: “Under this Conservative government, unemployment is at its lowest level since 1975. Over 3 million more people are now in work since 2010.”

Comment: Typical “smoke and mirrors” statement from someone whose income is well protected by the state: Chronic “underemployment” is slowly replacing the role outright joblessness used to play in the labour market. There has been a 400% increase in the number of people on zero-hours contracts since 2002. One million people in part-time work can’t find full-time jobs. There are now twice as many “underemployed” workers as unemployed workers. Underemployment has increased since 2002, while unemployment has declined. (http://uk.businessinsider.com/ons-underemployment-double-unemployment-rate-2017-9)

 

 

 

17 Sep 2017: Nearly All People Transferred onto the Tory Universal Credit Benefit Are Facing Eviction

After a Department for Work and Pensions report showed that one in four new benefits claimants were waiting longer than 6 weeks to be paid any money, a new investigation carried out by the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has blown these figures completely out of the water.

In their new report, the CAB revealed that a staggering 79% (4 our of 5) of people currently on, or waiting to be on, universal credit are at risk of eviction because they have missed rent or council tax payments. They are also at risk of having their energy supplies cut off because as they have no choice but to skip bills.

As Universal Credit is introduced, ministers continue to be urged to pause the dramatic welfare reform that sees seven benefits rolled into one. The DWP is under pressure from charities, landlords and MPs – and yet are still perversely progressing with its nationwide release. (Evolve politics)

Comment: An all-party report raises fears over workability of Universal Credit yet Bill Grant and his Tory colleagues continue to laud its benefits. The Commons work and pensions committee said the government has yet to produce a full business case justifying universal credit, seven years after the programme started, and there remains considerable uncertainty about its costs and benefits. Government ministers have have produced no evidence to back up the key, central economic assumption of the biggest reform to the welfare system in 50 years. The committee warned that the improved job outcomes the reform promises are uncertain, while anticipated taxpayer savings rely on it becoming increasingly automated and “industrialised”, despite evidence that significant numbers of claimants find it difficult to access and use the digital-only system.

Universal credit aims to roll six major working-age benefits into one monthly payment, including job seeker’s allowance, tax credit and housing benefit. It has been criticized for design flaws and administrative errors that have left thousands of poorer claimants at risk of poverty, debt and rent arrears. The Office for Budget Responsibility said last month that political uncertainties and problems with the design and implementation of the much-delayed project, currently around five years behind schedule, meant universal credit presented a “significant risk” to public spending.

Many billions of pounds have been written off to this debacle since Ian Duncan Smith first muted it many years ago and still Bill Grant and his ilk insist it will all be for the better in time. But who’s betterment? A Scottish Tory member of the cross party Commons Work and Pensions committee recently praised the Universal Credit (UC) roll out claiming it eased claimants into work mirroring the benefits of employed income. Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tGsb9TA6Tc

 

 

 

6 Oct 2017: Bill Grant: Housing is a Tory Priority

Housing has always been a Conservative Party priority, as can be seen from election campaign posters. The PM pledged ‘ a new generation of council houses’ and increased the government’s affordable housing budget by £2 billion, to more than £9 billion.

Of course, housing is devolved to the Scottish Government, but I note Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson believes there should be a new housing infrastructure agency in Scotland, wants a housing minister at Holyrood, and aims to build 25,000 new homes annually.

Alison Thewliss (SNP) said in the Commons: The Scottish Parliament has delivered more than 69,500 affordable homes since 2007, during the period of SNP government, and the new-build social sector completion rate is at 72 per 100,000 population, compared with just 49 in England. And why was there no commitment to increase social rented housing in the Budget?

Comment: But the facts are that house building under the Tories is at its lowest level since the 1920’s

An analysis of house building going back more than a century shows the most recent years of Conservative rule has seen the lowest average house build rate since Stanley Baldwin was in Downing Street in 1923.

According to figures compiled by the House of Commons Library, an average of 127,000 homes a year have been built in England and Wales since the Tories took office in 2010. This is the lowest level since Baldwin’s first stint as Prime Minister in 1923, when just 86,000 homes were built.

A political commentator said: “These humiliating figures show that Ministers’ promises on housing have been nothing more than empty words. Official statistics confirm that since 2010 not only have Conservative Ministers built many fewer homes than claimed and after seven years of failure the Tory’s have no plan to fix the housing crisis. (Huffington Post)

 

 

 

18 Oct 2017: Grant Exchanges Views with Constituents

Bill Grant MP posted: ‘Heaven forbid Grant has to slum it’!? Grant’s a wee boy from Rankinston with no backside in his breeks. But you’re right about one thing ladies, I don’t see the point of arguing with folk on social media. I try to be non-political and informative, and that was the intention of this post.

Georgie Dawson: You may have came from Rankinston with no backside in your breeks, but you are a long way from there now, seemingly forgetting what you learnt from your roots. I grew up in Dalmilling, and I was always told not to sh*t in my own backdoor as it will come back to bite you on your ass, but you don’t seem to understand this, and voted against a public sector pay rise which affects firefighters.

Since this was your job, you basically stabbed your colleagues in the back, and told them that they aren’t worth a decent wage. As for being non-political and informative, you mention the Tory party in many of your posts, where the government has supposed to have made all these major steps forward, when actually it is only one side of the story.

As for the content of this post, mentioning “helping where we can” is gonna get people’s hackles up because there are children here suffering from malnutrition purely because of the the decisions made by your Government.

So maybe you should start thinking about what you post, and the real truths behind the statements, because, as someone who works with statistics, I know how easy it is to make things say what you want while hiding the awful truth that is hiding in the shadows.

Bill Grant MP: Georgie, you’re clearly a person with deeply-held views, and I applaud you for that. I absolutely want to see pay rises for working folk, across all sectors, and you do to, so we’re not a million miles apart.

It’s easy to forget the recession of 2008 was the worst since the 1930s. Both the UK and Scottish governments observed pay freezes, followed by the one per cent cap on public sector pay.

Now, despite a recovery, come the challenges of Brexit.

However, I believe we’re very close to seeing the cap lifted. Also like you, I don’t want to see anyone living on the breadline. There are clearly issues with the implementation of Universal Credit which require to be addressed – and they will be.

Georgie Dawson: Mr Grant, without any disrespect in this comment, I must disagree that we aren’t a million miles apart in what we want to see happen. It is just a matter of political viewpoint, you are right wing, I am very much left wing. Yes there is common ground, but there is a large degree of difference in what action we want to see within that common ground.

I want everyone to be earning a living wage of around £10/hr. I want free childcare for all, free school meals for all, free sanitary products for women. I want to see the highest earners paying far more tax than they do now, all businesses and large corporations held to account over tax avoidance, all tax avoidance schemes being made illegal. The NHS to go back to the way it was originally supposed to be, no private companies involved, no large trusts taking huge wages home when that money could be getting pumped into equipment etc.

So we are definitely poles apart, and always will be. However, if you do want the things that you say, then do what’s right, vote for pay rises, vote against benefit cuts, vote against Universal Credit. Yes, that may mean going against the party whip and getting a bollocking for it, but sometimes doing what is right is worth it. As for your staff member, (Edwin Lawrence) his comments were inflammatory, disgusting, and downright dangerous.

People need to feel that they can ask for help without being judged or labelled, and his attitude flies in the face of that. I honestly believe that a person with such an attitude is detrimental to public service,and the fact that you haven’t condemned his comments is disturbing, and I have a feeling I’m not the only one.

Grace Garrity: None of them have the strengh to vote against their lords and masters

Nick Larkin: To Bill Grant MP. I have rarely read such breathtaking hypocrisy as is contained in your response to Georgie Dawson.

You purport to support wage rises for all sectors and remind us of the recession of 2008 with accompanying, at best, pay freezes for most.

I am sure I am not alone in remembering the recession of 2008 when you and your colleagues at South Ayrshire Council capped staff ‘cost of living’ salary increases at 1% while awarding yourselves as Councillors a pay rise of the order of 8% and at the same time…..at the same time… reducing the time when the Council sat in session in a year, by three weeks……..big pay rise for less work.

It was some time ago so I apologize if the figures are not absolutely accurate but they are not far off and certainly display the outrageous hypocrisy in Bill Grant MP’s post in response to Georgie Dawson.

I will leave it to readers to decide whether your actions indicate that you look after number one, first and last and de’il tak the hindmost? Many of us who really care about this area and its people have long memories even if you may not.

Nick Larkin: To Bill Grant MP: You say you strive to be non-political in your official MP’s Facebook Page. Do you realize just how ridiculous is that statement?

It is akin to Pep Guardiola, in the official Manchester City FC Manager’s Facebook Page saying “I strive to talk about anything but football in this Page” It’s a new level of Bonkers and your advisors must be telling you to rethink that nonsense.

Edwin Lawrence: I’ll bet Pep doesn’t seriously talk football on a Facebook page. He’s not going to reveal tactics, formations, injury fears etc. Jurgen and Jose might see it!

Nick Larkin: To Edwin Lawrence: I understand your flippancy which is not amusing. Bottom line, though, is that for an MP to strive to avoid talking about politics on their official MP’s FB Page is simply a new level of bonkers.

On a more serious note….I do not imagine Bill Grant MP will stand again but you and your reputation, by association, will remain. Please, give your continued involvement with Bill Grant MP a great deal of thought.

 

 

 

Bill Grant In the House of Commons

Grant has spoken in 44 debates, received answers to 3 written questions and voted in 95.73% of parliamentary divisions (always with the government) since joining Parliament.

I have selected 2 debates for comment but there are many more incidences of his extreme right wing views and cavalier attitude towards Scots whom he claims to represent.

To gain a better understanding of his motivation log on to ; (https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/25643/bill_grant/ayr%2C_carrick_and_cumnock)

 

 

 

5 Feb 2018: NHS Winter Crisis Debate

David Linden SNP: Scottish National party Members want, first and foremost, to put on record our thanks to NHS staff. A number of members of my family work for the NHS. I spent time with them at the weekend, and we got that time because they were working over the Christmas period.

We know that Christmas and the winter period has been profoundly challenging due to flu, but it is important that resources follow that. That is why we have record funding support for the NHS in Scotland and NHS Scotland A&E departments are the best performing in the UK.

Last week, the Scottish Parliament voted to abolish the public sector pay cap and to look at bringing in a 3% pay increase for our public sector workers. That is action, rather than warm words.

Far too often we hear warm words from this Government, but in the National Health Service we need to see action, particularly on the public sector pay cap. What steps is the Minister taking to tackle wage stagnation within the national health service?

Stephen Barclay Tory: Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care): I thank the hon. Gentleman for his mature approach, in recognizing the huge amount of work performed by NHS staff. Indeed, as I pointed out, 1,200 more people a day are being treated in A&E, which reflects how much more is being done in our NHS with more resource, more money, more doctors, more nurses and more paramedics.

In terms of the specifics on money, the Government have given £1.6 billion to support performance improvements, which will be used to treat a quarter of a million more patients in 2018-19.

The NHS planning guidance also shows that it expects performance to improve in the face of growing demand. That shows how more is being done, and more needs to be done.

Bill Grant Tory: Could I reflect on the rather rosy picture that my colleague from the Scottish National party, David Linden, painted of the NHS in Scotland?

We have poor waiting times at A&Es, we are closing a pediatric ward in Paisley, and the chemotherapy unit at Station 15 in Ayr is under threat.

Does the Minister think that having the highest tax base in the United Kingdom is a threat to recruitment in NHS Scotland, and that higher taxes in Scotland might play to the advantage of NHS England?

Stephen Barclay Tory: Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care): It is not just about how much money is put into the NHS, but about the outcomes that are delivered as a result.

He is right to allude to the fact that in Scotland the SNP has not delivered the improvements it promised on the NHS. That is why there is so much dissatisfaction in Scotland with what is happening in the NHS there.

Comment: Absolute drivel from Grant. The voters of Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock are badly served by an MP driven by Tory Party doctrine rather than concern for his constituents.

I prefer to believe the information contained in the 2 publications below:

Https://thoughtcontrolscotland.com/2018/02/08/nhs-scotland-ae-significantly-outperforms-nhs-england-ae-in-january-2018/

https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/files/2017-07/learning-from-scotland-s-nhs-final.pdf

 

 

 

31 Jan 2018: Personal Independence Payments – A Debate in the Commons

Laura Pidcock Lab: I called for the debate because of my concern about the rapidly increasing level of casework my constituency office has to deal with regarding personal independence payments, (PIP).

A growing number of my constituents are finding many aspects of the process difficult, not because they are not capable but because the forms are confusing and the assessment procedure extremely complex and exhausting.

There are now many more face-to-face consultations, more regular reviews and more reassessments of awards than under the preceding benefit, disability living allowance, (DLA).

I asked people to comment and send me emails about their experiences, and I was absolutely deluged. I received more than 600 emails and 1,500 messages on Facebook and Twitter.

Most of those people took a great deal of time to tell me what had happened to them. Individually, their stories are shocking; collectively, they shame the Government and the Department for Work and Pensions.

They are testament to a broken and cruel system. Worsened following the introduction of even more complex regulations in 2017.

Stephen Kerr Tory: She mentioned her Twitter appeal and so on. An official survey shows that 76% of people in the system responded to say that they were satisfied.

That itself is not a happy position, but it shows that her representation of people’s average experience as wholly negative on the basis of a Twitter appeal does not reflect the results of a scientific survey.

Laura Pidcock Lab: What an absolute joke that is. To diminish those people’s experiences, which made me weep, is an absolute disgrace.

Those people took their time in extremely difficult circumstances to tell us about the difficulties with the system. To talk about another survey to try to diminish those experiences is disgraceful.

Luke Graham Tory: I would not necessarily disagree with some of the criticisms she is making of the assessment process.

Some of my constituents face those challenges, and we would be happy to work across the House to try to fix them.

But does she recognize that under PIP, 66% of claimants with mental issues now get the higher rate of benefit, versus 22% under DLA?

Can I ask her for a little balance when she comes to look at the system rather than just criticism?

Laura Pidcock Lab: The balance is that thousands of people are locked out of the system and never even get an award because they are so ground down by the process. The Government need to realize what a cruel and callous system they are putting people through and the knock-on effect that has on our constituents.

I am a bit shocked by the disbelief on the Conservative side—they look stunned that this is taking place. That is the reality for disabled people in this country. People are falling further into depression and self-harm, having suicidal thoughts and becoming reliant on food banks.

All of those things are harmful for our society. Losing Motability cars was a consistent theme, along with falling into debt. The NHS is also being put under much strain.

Bill Grant Tory: But the waiting time has been reduced by 40 weeks to 13 weeks in the past four years? That has to be an improvement.

Sarah Newton Tory: Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions: Accusations have been made today, about me as a Conservative and about all Conservatives, that frankly I am not going to accept.

It is simply not fair to say that Conservatives think disabled people are scroungers or do not deserve the support that we so want them to have.

Conservatives want to ensure that everybody in our society can play their full part. We want to support people with disabilities to do so. Judge us on our actions.

Ronnie Cowan SNP: the debate is of particular importance to my constituents and I have to say that I am disappointed at the state of the two Scottish Conservative Members who turned up to the debate with a clear intention to disrupt the opening speaker.

I note they then left the Chamber and have not contributed to the debate.

This is a timely debate, given the announcement that the UK Government are to review PIP claims, at a cost of £3.7 billion, by 2023.

It is hardly a surprise that the High Court concluded that the Government’s changes to PIP were “blatantly discriminatory” to those with mental health conditions.

That has been self-evident for some time. Of course, this disaster is of the Government’s own making: they tried to rip off the most vulnerable people in society and now we are all paying the price.

The taxpayer will have to foot the bill for those mistakes. What is the human cost? Claimants pushed to the edge and living their lives on the brink. When will the Government get anything right first time

Neil Gray SNP: PIP and other benefits are to be devolved to the new Scottish social security agency.

The Bill to create the agency is currently being debated in Committee in the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish Government are seeking to make a number of changes to the way in which PIP is assessed to make sure that it treats people with dignity and respect.

First, the Scottish Government are seeking to make an automatic provision that would allow the agency to gather all the relevant medical or related information at application stage, which would reduce the number of face-to-face assessments, reduce the burden on the applicant and hopefully ensure that the correct decision is taken at the outset, rather than people having to go through the flawed mandatory reconsideration and appeal process in place at this time.

Secondly, the Scottish Government will ensure that private contractors are not involved in the assessment process.

There are a range of other measures that the Scottish Government will take to ensure that we get the system right for those seeking support.

In conclusion, hopefully the Minister will consider the new system in Scotland once it is up and running, hopefully before 2020 and that the UK Government will then look north and learn some lessons.

Comment Three Tory speakers, all Scots; contributed nothing but hot air to important parliamentary business. Evidently mischief time for persons with little to do. Grant’s assertion that 13 weeks is just about OK for a decision on benefit qualification appears to be atypical of his views and must be of concern to his constituents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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David Duguid MP for Banff & Buchan – Elected on a Campaign Promise to Fully Extract Scottish Fisheries From the EU Common Fisheries Policy – Nailed By the Lie He Should Stand Down As He Foolishly Promised

 

 

 

David James Duguid

Born 1970. Raised on the family farm at Breedless, just North of Turriff. Educated at Banff Academy. Studied Chemistry at Robert Gordon University.

Employment

Took up a career with BP (10 years) in the oil and gas industry before moving on to project management with Hitachi (15 years). Lives in Turriff. Established management consultancy business (D&R Duguid Consultancy Ltd), from November 2016, with his partner Rose, whom he met and married at the time he was deployed to Azerbaijan.

 

 

Politics

An avid Brexiteer and Unionist his burning ambition is to ensure the fishing community is not sold short at the time the Tory party take the UK out of the EC.

Active at a local level within the Tory Party the surprise 2017 General Election thrust him into the forefront of Banff & Buchan politics when he was asked and agreed to stand as a candidate for election to Westmnister. The portents for his success were high, the constituency having voted to remain in the UK in the 2014 referendum and to leave the EC in the 2016 referendum.

Fishing policy, after Brexit dominated Tory strategy and his electioneering campaign was focused on this single issue. The argument he advanced against the SNP was that it was a party determined to keep Scotland in the EC, the success of which would require many constituents to continue to depend for their livelihood on the unpopular European Common Fisheries Policy.

 

 

3 May 2017: Tory candidate signs pledge to exit EU and CFP

Banff and Buchan needs an MP at the heart of government in Westminster, not one in opposition “shouting from the sidelines”, the Scottish Conservatives said this week.

David Duguid, Scottish Conservative candidate for Banff and Buchan, made the comments after a meeting with fishing industry representatives in Peterhead.

He said “Our fishing industry here in Banff and Buchan needs an MP at the heart of government in Westminster, not one in opposition shouting from the sidelines. The UK is entering crucial negotiations on our future relationship with the EU and we need to ensure that the interests of our coastal communities are represented. I will be a strong and influential voice for our fishermen, who are rightly determined to make the most of the huge opportunity afforded by the Brexit vote.

I have signed the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation’s Brexit pledge and I would challenge the SNP to do the same. I do not believe that this industry should ever be considered expendable and I will ensure that the views of our fishermen are heard at the highest levels of government. I will stand up for the interests of our fishing and farming communities as we navigate our way out of the EU.”

 

 

 

10 May 2017: Tories accused of using fishermen as a bargaining chip in Brexit talks

Scottish Conservative and Unionist leader Ruth Davidson will be in Peterhead today to answer local fishing industry leaders’ call for Scotland’s fisheries not to be a bargaining chip in the Brexit negotiations.

She will do so against the background of a “bombshell” letter from Andrea Leadsom, the UK Secretary of State in charge of fisheries. In the letter she admits parts of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will become part of UK law.

In a letter to Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, Leadsom said the UK Government would try to “disapply” the most unpopular and unworkable elements of the EU CFP, but had to admit that some of the policy would still apply to the UK.

Leadsom wrote: “No decision has yet been made on the extent to which the EU legislation governing the Common Fisheries Policy will be incorporated into domestic law.

The Government will continue to champion sustainable fisheries and we are committed to ongoing cooperation with other countries over the management of shared stocks and ending discards.”

Eilidh Whiteford, SNP candidate in Banff and Buchan commented: “This letter is a bombshell which utterly demolishes the Tories’ bogus claims about fishing.

The cat is now out of the bag — while Ruth Davidson is heading to the North East to pretend the Tories are the fishermen’s friends, her Westminster bosses are plotting a gigantic sell-out. The letter couldn’t be clearer — for all their rhetoric, the Tories are planning to incorporate key parts of the CFP ‘into domestic law’.

And they are also ‘committed to ongoing cooperation with other countries over the management of shared stocks. That means that they are planning to use Scottish waters and our fishing industry as a Brexit bargaining chip. In doing so, they are also taking an enormous gamble with the livelihoods of those fish processors that depend on European exports by jeopardizing our position within the single market.

A vote for the SNP will show the Tories that they will not get away with selling out Scotland’s fishing communities for a second time.”

Whiteford was referring to a Scottish Office paper on entering the common market which was released under the 30-year rule, in which officials wrote that “in the wider UK context they [the fishermen] must be regarded as expendable”.

The fishing industry in Scotland has been adamant that Scottish fishing grounds should not be a Brexit bargaining chip. Bertie Armstrong said: “The whole industry, from those who go to sea through the processors to the hauliers, is united behind one simple aim: our coming out of the EU and the CFP.

Brexit offers us a huge opportunity to re-assert control of our waters and to establish once and for all a sensible, practicable new fisheries management regime.”

The Government’s Brexit White Paper merely says: “Given the heavy reliance on UK waters of the EU fishing industry and the importance of EU waters to the UK, it is in both our interests to reach a mutually beneficial deal that works for the UK and the EU’s fishing communities.”

David Duguid, Scottish Conservative candidate for Banff and Buchan, last night said: “The Conservative Government at Westminster is following through on the democratic will of the British people to leave the EU.” (the national)

 

 

 

9 Jun 2017: David Duguid elected to serve as the new Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan

In his acceptance speech he said: “I am completely over the moon with this result. It’s felt like a long campaign, but in fact it has been a compressed one.

I am glad the campaigning is over but in a similar respect I am glad I can now get on with the job I was elected to do in serving the people of Banff and Buchan. I am really proud of the team behind me. I am going to be doing the job, but I couldn’t be doing it without them.”

Comment: The electorate chose to ignore the damming content of the letter, (sent to local fishing industry leaders by Andrea Leadsom) the UK Secretary of State in charge of fisheries preferring to believe the rhetoric of the “Scottish Fishermen’s Federation’s” Brexit pledge signed by Duguid as part of his campaign strategy.

His statement, made at the time, that he did not believe that the fishing industry in Banff and Buchan should ever be considered expendable and his absolute assurance that he would give his cast iron guarantee the he would ensure that the views of fishermen would be heard at the highest levels of government and that he would stand up for the interests of the fishing and farming communities of Banff & Buchan.

 

 

 

19 Jul 2017: North Sea cod certified fully sustainable

North Sea cod has today been officially certified as fully sustainable and can be eaten freely.

The green light was given by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) which has given the fishery its all important blue tick label. The decision will provide a major boost for the UK fishing industry and the Scottish fleet in particular. especially as Brexit approaches.

The situation is a complete contrast from the situation a little over a decade ago when North Sea cod stocks were at a critically low level. The MSC said today the blue tick indicated that North Sea cod caught by Scottish and English boats is “sustainable and fully traceable”.

Cod stocks in the North Sea stood at around 280,000 tons just 40 years ago and then went into steep decline due to over-fishing when stock fell to under 40,000 tons.

The EC Common Fisheries Policy instructed a ban on cod catches, until such time as stocks would be recovered. Forming part of the strategy to resolve the problem of over fishing the Grimsby fleet of more than 100 North Sea trawlers was reduced to a handful of local boats.

The stock recovery plan was in place for around ten years and the policy brought long term dividends for Scottish fisheries.

The MSC said the announcement that cod was now sustainable was a “momentous achievement” for the industry. But the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), conservation body WWF has warned that historically, the population of North Sea cod was still at a low level and efficient control measures will need to kept in place.

Comment: Without the Common Fisheries Policy the North Sea would most likely be barren of cod so far as trawler fishing is concerned.

The policy of the Grimsby trawler fleet operators was decided by the needs of the Grimsby fish processing industry which had in place many contracts with the EC and worldwide for the supply of processed fish.

The Scottish North Sea trawler fleet was primarily deployed to catch fish for the “fresh fish markets” of the UK, EC and worldwide and did not impact on cod stocks to the same extreme as the Grimsby fleet.

 

 

 

26 Jul 2017: Brexit – Grimsby area MPs appointed to key fisheries posts

Grimsby MP, Melanie Onn has been elected to chair the House of Commons, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Fisheries.

Her duties will ensure she discharges a leading role shaping the future of Britain’s post-Brexit fishing industry.

The influential cross-party group of MPs will meet regularly to take evidence from key players in the seafood industry and experts, and will be empowered to question Government Ministers on their policies towards fisheries. It will also be able to hold the government to account in the all important Brexit implications for the fishing industry.

Ms Onn said her appointment would give her more influence and a better chance to fight for Grimsby’s seafood industry. “I’m delighted to be elected to this position. Thousands of people in Grimsby work in the seafood sector, and I will now have a bigger platform from which to pressure the Government into providing greater support for the industry. I said during the election campaign that I would fight for the best Brexit deal for Great Grimsby, which means holding the Government to the promises made to the fishing industry during the referendum, and protecting the seafood sector’s ability to trade with Europe.

My new role will give me more opportunities to question the Ministers responsible for these areas, and to make sure they know how their actions will affect the livelihoods of workers in Grimsby.” .

Other members of the committee are: Alistair Carmichael, Lib Dem MP for Orkney and Shetland, Sheryll Murray, Conservative MP for South East Cornwall, Peter Aldous, Conservative MP for Waveney and David Duguid, Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan

Meanwhile, Martin Vickers, the Conservative MP for the neighbouring constituency of Cleethorpes has been appointed vice chairman of the Commons Iceland group.

He said: “Three quarters of all the fish processed in the Grimsby and Cleethorpes area comes from Iceland and Icelandic investment supports hundreds of local jobs, so the country is very important to us.” (fish update)

 

Comment: As an all-party committee the composition of 4 Conservative and 1 Lib Dem MP is disgraceful abuse of the electorate of Scotland. It is clear the Tory party intends protecting Grimsby, the main fish processing centre in the UK at the expense of all other outlets.

 

 

6 Dec 2017: Scottish affairs discussion at Westminster

David Duguid: Fishing is a totemic industry in my constituency of Banff and Buchan, where there is real concern that the Scottish Government want to take Scotland back into the common fisheries policy.

Can he reassure me that in all conversations and negotiations, he stands firm on taking Scotland’s fisherman out of the CFP, and keeping them out?

David Mundell: My hon. Friend has already come to be seen as a champion for the fishing industry. I can give him an absolute guarantee: unlike the Scottish National Party, which would take us straight back into the common fisheries policy, this Government will take Scotland and the rest of the UK out of that discredited policy.

Comment: A typical loaded question designed for effect rather than purpose. Duguid and Mundell are perpetuating the “boggie man” myth of the SNP in a blatant attempt to hide the truth from the electorate. The Tory government, as previously advised by Andrea Leadsom, the UK Secretary of State in charge of fisheries, will be unable to completely remove the UK from its commitment to the EC fisheries policy.

 

 

 

8 Dec 2017: Duguid threatens to break ranks over Brexit, warning UK ministers that he will not vote for a deal that fails to “advance the interests” of Banff & Buchan fishermen

The MP, for Banff and Buchan, argued that the UK must not “bargain away” any concession of access to its waters during the Brexit talks.

There has been speculation that UK ministers could use access to British waters as a bargaining chip in negotiations, giving away some fishing rights in return for concessions elsewhere.

Fishermen have strongly rejected any suggestion of a compromise over access, which was the message that Mr Duguid took to the Commons. (the times)

 

 

Post Brexit fishing, the Facts:

Duguid is “farting against thunder” with his threat. He has voted with his Scottish Unionist colleagues against the interests of Scotland on many occasions since he took up office.

He has poorly served the constituents of Banff and Buchan. The facts are that a clean break from the EU and the Common Fisheries Policy is impossible.

The Scottish Tory Party is lying to the electorate in order to gather votes in constituencies where sea fishing is a key industry.

Many of the important stocks are shared and straddle maritime boundaries, the UK and its future fisheries neighbours (the remaining EU27, Norway and the Faroe Islands) will be obliged to prepare new fisheries agreements which set a Total Allowable Catch (TACs) for each species and allocate it between the parties.

In determining the allocation of quotas to each party the EU will seek to maintain the Common Fisheries Policy’s relative stability keys, whilst the UK will seek leverage from a claimed greater zonal attachment of stocks to its waters.

Whilst there is no comprehensive data on spatial distribution of fish stocks in current EU waters, it has estimated this for a Brexit scenario on the basis of 2014 catches reported for each sea area defined by ICES, the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas.

The estimate is that the potential UK catch arising from the threatened post-Brexit exclusion of EU vessels from UK waters could increase by as much as 671,000 tonnes (representing a gain of 90 per cent of current catches).

However, since much of this would be lower value species such as blue whiting, the benefit would fall to 387,000 tonnes in cod equivalents.

The ICES areas in which the UK would gain the most would be the sectors West of Scotland and the northern parts of the North Sea.

UK operators would however lose important access to fishing grounds to the West of Ireland.

It is expected the UK will hope to retain access to important fish stocks in Norwegian waters of the North Sea, which it currently enjoys via the bilateral EU- Norway Fisheries Agreement.

But that access, which involves almost half of the EU quota of cod, is linked to the European Economic Area ( EEA) Treaty, and the British Government has all but ruled out retaining membership of this body.

The fear is the current UK quota of these Norwegian stocks might then be lost in a post-Brexit scenario (for example the quotas could be retained by the EU and divided among the remaining 27 states, or revert it back to Norway).

Even if access is not lost, the UK will have to come up with the quotas to exchange. All of these factors reduce the likely benefit to the UK from the attachment of European fish stocks to the UK zone.

Furthermore, the UK exports approximately 80 per cent of its wild caught seafood, with 66 per cent going to 27 EU states, so UK fishers have a strong interest in maintaining tariff-free access to that market.

However, the EU will most likely seek quota and access to fish in the UK zone in return as it did with Norway and Greenland so the waters ahead for the UK fleet may not be the plain sailing it had anticipated. (fish update)

 

Other political events

4 Oct 2017: Banff and Buchan MP, David Duguid expresses confidence that North-East ports will win decommissioning contracts.

The Conservative politician said harbour masters were feeling positive about the chance of gaining contracts connected to the subsea sector.

Speaking at the UK Conservative conference in Manchester, Duguid said he was hopeful Scotland could develop a deep water port for decommissioning in Peterhead, Aberdeen or Dundee as well as further afield.

He said: “I’ve been talking to some harbour masters in my constituency ports of Fraserburgh, Macduff and Buckie who reckon they could do a bit of decommissioning. (Energy Voice)

Comment: Duguid’s confidence is misplaced. He evidently did not listen to what Mundell had to say in the Commons only 3 weeks before: 12 Sep 2017: Questions to Mundell – Decommissioning of Oil Platforms Scotland

Bowie: Does the UK Government have plans to develop an ultra deep water port on the East Coast of Scotland. Note: Without such a port in play the bulk of the multi billion pounds work will be awarded to contractors outwith Scotland.

Mundell: The Government is committed to supporting the development of a world-leading decommissioning industry. But no UK port currently has the ultra-deep water facilities needed to directly accommodate the fully-loaded heavy lift vessels commonly used for decommissioning large platforms.

Comment: So! No plans in place. The work is destined for foreign shores.

 

 

 

Pay Cap for Public Service workers

In the first few months after the General Election the UK was attacked by Islamic terrorists in Manchester and in London. These incidents were compounded by the tragic fire at the Grenfell Tower block.

The performance of the emergency services workers was exemplary. Their actions saved many lives achieved often at great personal risk. The Prime Minister and many politicians took time on national television and in the press to heap well deserved praise on their shoulders.

Only a few weeks after the display of gratitude MP’s were provided with opportunity to reward public service workers when opposition parties tabled a motion asking the Tory Government to bring an end to the seven year long public service pay cap.

The motion was lost when the entire block of Tory MP’s, including the Scottish bakers dozen voted it down. Praise is easy to administer but reward is another matter.

The saving grace for Scottish public service workers is that their pay is decided by the SNP government in Scotland and the pay cap was discontinued in Scotland.

 

 

10 Nov 2017: One SNP MP has questioned May’s Government more than rest of new Scottish intake combined

Glasgow East MP David Linden is the hardest-working new Scot in Westminster, figures show. Linden was the only new SNP member of parliament elected at the snap vote this summer.

Data shows he has put more pressure on the Tory Government than all   other new Scottish MPs combined in the first five months of service.

Linden has submitted 233 written questions. This compares with 217 from the 11 Tories, six Labour members and three LibDems put together.

Meanwhile, the site found not a single written question from Tory David Duguid representing Banff and Buchan. Duguid’s colleague Colin Clark, who ousted Alex Salmond in Gordon, is also said to have submitted one. (the national)

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew “Hound-Dog” Bowie – Tory MP for Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine – Claimed by Party Insiders to be the Brains Behind Ruth the Mooth’s Success – You Decide

 

 

Andrew Bowie

Born Aberdeenshire 1988

1999-2005: Inverurie Academy – high school education.

Early career

2007-2010: The Royal Navy – On completion of an 11-month recruit training course at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth he was posted to ships for fleet training with the purpose of qualifying as a junior Warfare Officer employed in counter piracy, smuggling and oil protection activities protecting the Basra Oilfields in the Persian Gulf. Short service contract completed he returned to full time education with the purpose of gaining a university degree.

Comment: Gulf Region Royal Navy deployment shared with US Navy. Non-combatant from 2006 operations in the gulf subsequently ceased in July 2009. From then, until May 2011, at the request of the Iraqi Government, the Royal Navy continued to train the Iraqi Navy to defend its territorial waters and offshore oil infrastructure.

The cost to the taxpayer of his training at Dartmouth and then development as a Junior Warfare officer would be written off as a loss to the exchequer when he terminated his contract of employment at the end of 3 years. little return on the investment.

2010-2013: Aberdeen University– MA Degree Politics and History. Active member (President) of the University of Aberdeen Conservative and Unionist Association.

Comment: On leaving the Royal Navy he signed up to complete a degree in History and politics at Aberdeen University. This extended period of higher education would be provided free of charge, thanks to the further education policies of the SNP government.

At University he joined the Tory Party and became an active member of the Aberdeen University Graduate Tory group achieving the office of Chairman. A political career beckoned.

2013-2013: In employment (7 months) with Divex Ltd – Deep sea diving equipment supplier.

Comment: His toe in the murky waters of private enterprise. Utilizing knowledge of diving equipment gained in the Royal Navy. Short term stop gap employment. Politics being his chosen future.

2014-2015: Employed by the Tory Party as North of Scotland Campaign Manager. Managed Tory campaign in North Scotland for the European Referendum. Had considerable success with every authority voting overwhelmingly to stay in the UK.

Comment: Salary and on-costs estimated to be around £15 plus expenses. Funded by campaign funds donated to the party.

2015-2016: European Parliament, Brussels. Parliamentary Assistant and Rural Affairs Policy Advisor to Tory MEP Ian Duncan.

Comment: Salary and on-costs £35 – £50K plus expenses annually. All expenditure charged to the Scottish taxpayer.

2016-2017: Employed in the office of Liam Kerr MSP in the Scottish Parliament.

Comment: Salary and on-costs £20-£30K plus expenses. All expenditure charged to the Scottish taxpayer

 

 

May 2017: The Tory Party Sales Pitch for Bowie

Last month the Prime Minister announced a snap general election to be held on 8 June 2017. Justifying the decision, she said: “The country is coming together but Westminster is not. We have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done, while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin.”

The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party has selected 29 year old Andrew Bowie as its candidate for Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine in the general election. He was approved unanimously at a meeting of the local party in Westhill.

Bowie said: “I am delighted to have been selected to stand in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine. This area decisively rejected independence in 2014 and I will be appealing to Unionist voters to send the SNP a strong message that we do not want another referendum. Recent polls make it clear that only the Scottish Conservatives can stand up to the SNP in constituencies across Scotland – particularly here in Aberdeenshire. The Scottish Conservative and Unionists have shown at last year’s Holyrood election and in three local by-elections that we have the strength to take on the SNP and win.”

 

 

2017: General Election: Returned as Member of Parliament for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine.

Comment: Salary and on-costs £87K approx. Plus: Westminster postage £10K. Constituency Office Running costs £25K. Constituency staffing: 151K. Stationery: £6K. London Accn. £23K. Travel & subsistence (no limit but projected). £40K.

Annual cost to the Scottish taxpayer. £342K

Total cost to the Scottish taxpayer 5 year parliamentary session. £1.71m

Comment: Apart from a few months in 2013 the nearly 11 years encompassing his various jobs and studies has been funded by the Scottish taxpayer.

 

 

Oct 2016: Andrew Bowie – The Mask Slips

Tory Chief of Staff Forced to Publicly apologizes for His “flipping woman” Email

Andrew Bowie, chief of staff to Liam Kerr MSP, sent the offensive message, which also claimed she “had it in” for one of her Tory rivals, after his boss was asked to support a charity.

Geva Blackett, an SNP Councillor from the north-east of Scotland was shocked to receive the disrespectful reply from Bowie in response to an email she had sent to Kerr (MSP) seeking his support to a local motor neuron disease charity campaign.

Bowie, in a message to his boss, wrote: “This flipping woman is an SNP Councillor who has it in for Alex B (Alexander Burnett, Tory MSP for Aberdeen West)!”

Cllr Blackett, Councillor for Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside, said: “I emailed all of the north-east MSP’s asking for them to lend their support to those living with motor neuron disease who are constantly being reassessed for benefits.

I received the reply around 10 minutes later from Liam Kerr’s chief of staff and I was shocked. He accused me of having it in for ‘Alex Burnett but I work across the political spectrum and I hold no malice against Alex.

I sent the email as a constituent, not as a Councillor, about a serious illness and it has been used a political football. I am so angry about it. It wasn’t a party political issue I was emailing him about, I emailed Mr Kerr asking for his support.”

Cllr Blackett in her reply to the email, asked Mr Bowie if the phrase “flipping woman” is an “appropriate way to describe a constituent”.

Cllr Blackett added: “He sent me an apology soon afterwards but he didn’t even spell my name right!”

An SNP source said: “Though this wasn’t intended for public consumption, it rather underpins the deep disdain the Tories have for their constituents.

Liam Kerr is already in trouble for using taxpayers’ money to promote the Tories in the north-east. But sadly these sorts of blunders from a reckless right-wing, rabble of Tory MSPs have become all too common.”

Afternote: Alexander Burnett is facing a Police Scotland investigation into his election expenses after he was accused of breaching election spending rules and his MSP colleague Kerr is facing a separate investigation after he apparently used parliamentary resources to sent out a post-election letter thanking his voters. (deadlinenews)

 

 

Royal Navy – The Tory Party Promote Bowie as a Champion of the armed forces – This is  a snippet of the Tory Government record he protects

29 Jan 2016: British warships need multi-million-pound refit to stop power failures

Repeated electrical faults have left £1bn Type 45 destroyers unable to navigate or activate weapons systems. The Royal Navy’s most advanced warships, once described as the best in the world, will need multi million-pound repairs because of repeated power failures that leave the Type 45 destroyers unable to move or use defense and weapons systems.

Admiral Lord West called the flaw “a real weakness” and said the MoD had pretended it was a case of teething problems. He said “they must have known three or four years ago that this was more than that. There’s no doubt this is extremely worrying. It’s an intermittent fault which has quite clearly caused a lot of problems. You don’t expect suddenly to lose all power when you’re steaming along normally.” Repairs will cost tens of millions, because you’ll have to cut a hole in the ship, get into it, fit something else into it, button it up and get it out. And even more worrying is we only have 19 destroyers and frigates. That is a national disgrace. Someone needs to look at why did we arrive at this position.”

MPs and peers have repeatedly asked questions in parliament about the power failures. Conservative MP Nicholas Soames commented “This is an unmitigated disaster and a huge cock-up by the Royal Navy. The ships don’t work. The secretary of defense, I am sure, will be outraged by this. We should never have got ourselves into the situation where the entire Royal Navy has just 19 frigates and destroyers. It is a disgrace.”

Spiraling costs of the Type 45 destroyers were criticized by the House of Commons defense committee as early as 2009. The Royal Navy had originally requested 12 ships but the cost of the advanced ships meant the force ended up with just six.

The ships are powered by integrated electric propulsion, using very high-voltage electrics. Warships with electrical failures may be unable to navigate, with the destroyers drifting at sea until power is restored, and weapons systems may be unable to function. At least one new generator is expected to be needed on each ship, requiring a major refit of a vessel where internal space is already very tight.

The work will be furthered hampered by a shortage of marine engineers, which has led to the Royal Navy being forced to recruit from the US Coast Guard. Last year it was estimated that the Royal Navy was short of about 500 engineers, despite also recruiting many from Canada and other Commonwealth nations.

Peter Roberts, former naval commanding officer now a senior research fellow at RUSI said: “You cannot be in the Strait of Hormuz, where things can be tense, with the risk of a power failure. The upgrade is about adding resilience to the ship, it was always thought to be a risk when a ship depended on a high voltage but it is a risk that has come home to roost.” (The Guardian)

 

 

Jul 2016: Crucial fleet of Type 26 global-combat frigates is indefinitely delayed.

A new fleet of frigates, described as “global combat ships” designed to play crucial roles, has been delayed indefinitely, the Ministry of Defense has said in testy exchanges with MPs over huge financial and technical problems facing the navy’s surface vessels. Delays in building the Type 26 frigates – a project promised by David Cameron before the 2014 Scottish independence referendum – is threatening shipbuilding jobs on the Clyde in Scotland.

The project’s problems come on top of serious mechanical failures in the navy’s new fleet of Type 45 destroyers. Key tasks of the navy’s frigates and destroyers include protecting two new large aircraft carriers now being assembled in Rosyth as well as Trident nuclear weapons submarines approaching and leaving their base on the Clyde.

“I can’t give you a time or a date,” Tony Douglas, the MoD’s top official responsible for military equipment, said on Wednesday after he was asked by MPs on the Commons defense committee when the frigate design would be approved. “It could be next year.” Harriett Baldwin, a new junior defense minister, told the MPs: “We do not know yet.”

The number of planned new frigates has already been cut from 13 to eight, though the MoD has the option to build five smaller and cheaper general-purpose vessels. One of the problems is how to make the frigates as quiet as possible to make it harder for them to be detected by Russian submarines.

Pressures are more likely after the Commons approved the building of four new Trident submarines at an official cost of at least $31bn but which, many experts say, could be significantly higher.

Julian Lewis, Conservative chair of the defense committee, warned that delays could lead to more money being spent on the new frigate fleet and on extending the life of the existing Type 23 frigate fleet. He reminded the MoD of previous navy “disasters”, including those involving the Astute class of nuclear-powered submarines.

The navy’s new fleet of Type 45 destroyers, which cost £1bn apiece, has also encountered serious and embarrassing mechanical failures. Jones said that although the destroyers were designed for hot climates, their resilience had “degraded catastrophically”, with problems in high summer in the Red Sea and the Gulf.

The SNP’s defense spokesman in Westminster, Brendan O’Hara, said “the enormous cost of Trident is spiraling out of control – and it would be completely unacceptable and unforgivable if the Clyde yards had to pay the price for the Tory obsession with Trident, a weapon of mass destruction opposed by a majority of Scots.” (defense-aerospace)

 

 

 

Jul 2017: Senior military veterans Warn That Britain’s defenses are so poor that the Royal Navy’s new £1bn Destroyers Sound Like A “Box Of Spanners” to Russian Attack Submarines.

Highlighting growing fears defense chiefs have ignored the threat from enemy submarines whilst investing in anti-aircraft and missile defense systems wrongly concentrating too much investment on the war against terror whilst ignoring the resurgence of Cold War hostilities.

Rear Admiral Chris Parry (rtd) claimed the £1 billion pound Type 45 destroyers can be detected from over 100 miles away by Putin’s deadly new hunter killer subs. Amid damning claims of “huge gaps” left in Britain’s defense, Parry is reported saying “We used to put little wooden wedges between the hatch-clip and the hatches in my destroyer to stop them rattling so we could keep the noise down. We have forgotten all about it. It’s crazy. Noise suppression has been probably the biggest dirty secret since the end of the Cold War that people have been cheerfully ignoring. Ships currently in service are noisy as hell, He went on to say “During the Cold War . . .the ships I was in were the equivalent of a whisper. These ships now are the equivalent of someone shouting at somebody.”

The claims, cover a wide range of complaints about bungling MoD chiefs leaving Britain wide-open to attack and making a number of costly equipment mistakes.  (The Mirror)

 

 

 

Dec 2017: Crisis in the Royal Navy

Britain has no major warships deployed on operations beyond home waters in what has been described as an “unprecedented” absence of the vessels on the world stage.

All six of the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers are docked in Portsmouth, while 12 of 13 Type 23 frigates are either at Portsmouth or Devonport. HMS St Albans is the only Type 23 on duty as the fleet ready escort, which protects home waters.

A dearth of major naval warships overseas has been attributed to cuts to the defense budget, raising concerns over Britain’s ability to project power internationally.

Vice-Admiral John McAnally, national president of the Royal Naval Association, said that the scarcity of frigates and destroyers overseas was unprecedented and indicates the fleet is too small. “I am distressed and alarmed. I do not see that it is easily remedied. The only answer is an increase in the defense budget. It is too small to meet what government want the armed forces to do.”

Fixed-wing carrier operations ceased in 2010 with the retirement of the last Harrier. This capability will not be restored until the Joint Combat Aircraft (F-35) and the first Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier become operational around 2020.

It recently emerged that the vessel, the largest and most expensive in the Royal Navy’s history, currently undergoing sea trials, has a leak.

Cuts have also seen the sale of three Type 23 frigates in 2005/6 and the early decommissioning of four Type 22 frigates in 2010/11. (defense-aerospace)

Feb 2018: Loss of Amphibious Ships Spells “Sunset for the Royal Marines”

The United Kingdom will lose its ability to conduct specialized amphibious operations, if leaked plans considered in the National Security Capability Review (NSCR) are not cancelled by the new Modernizing Defense Programme (MDP), according to the Commons Defense Committee.

In its Report, ‘Sunset for the Royal Marines?’, published today, the Committee warns that further reductions in the Royal Marines and the disposal of the amphibious ships HMS Albion, and HMS Bulwark, would be “militarily illiterate” and “totally at odds with strategic reality”.

The NSCR, carried out by the National Security Adviser rather than by the Ministry of Defense has led to persistent rumours of major cuts in conventional forces.

Up to 2,000 Royal Marines – about 30% of current strength – would be lost, together with the two amphibious assault ships which are essential for landing personnel, heavy equipment and supplies over a beach. (UK Defense Journal)

 

 

Dec 2017: France has offered the UK the use of French Navy amphibious assault ships should the Albion class be retired multiple sources have reported today.

According to two senior French military officials quoted in the Financial Times:

“We have three very capable ships. The idea is that in the case of one of the two countries having to reduce certain capabilities because of budgetary constraints we could mitigate the consequences by standing shoulder to shoulder.” (UK Defense Journal)

 

 

17 Jul 2017: Andrew Bowie’s Contribution to the Debate in the House of Commons on Future of the UK Armed Forces

Bowie spoke on the importance of maintaining a strong Royal Navy and had this to say “I was proud to speak about how our island nation depends on safe waters and open sea ways and therefore a strong Royal Navy for is safety, security and its economic growth.

How I am proud that for the first time in many years, the fleet is growing in size; on the government’s commitment to Scotland and Scottish shipbuilding and how we must continue this trajectory, how we must never allow ourselves to become sea blind and how we need a strong and flexible navy, ready to fight the battles of the 21st Century.” Video:

http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/416ff5a0-8004-4c03-8704-894344198eda?in=15%3A06%3A49&out=15%3A12%3A20

 

 

19 Jul 2017: Armed Forces Debate in the Commons:

Bowie: I stand here proud that, for all we talk today about moving towards a more flexible, agile armed forces, armed and trained to fight the asymmetric wars of the future, the Conservative Government have proven, in not only words but actions, that they do not suffer, as other Governments have, from sea-blindness.

Douglas Chapman (SNP): More account needs to be taken of the threats that face Scotland from the north. The fact that we do not have a surface ship based in Scotland to protect our coastline from increasing Russian submarine incursions into our waters needs to be addressed.

Bowie: The hon. Gentleman says that there are no surface vessels based in Scotland, but that is patently untrue. The mine counter measures squadron is based solely at Faslane, which if I am not mistaken is north of the border in Scotland.

Douglas Chapman Shadow (SNP): What a tremendous example: one single minesweeper to deal with the whole of the North sea and the north Atlantic. I am sure everyone in Scotland will sleep easy in their beds tonight.

Comment: The Tory government has ruthlessly cut funding of the Royal Navy reducing its capability well in excess of operational requirements present and forecast. Badly designed destroyers and frigates need to be replaced as a matter of urgency, but less than 50% are scheduled to be built and new weaponry has been abandoned.

Add to this there was the ill advised sale of the excellent if ageing 72 Harriers to the US for less than £1bn, to be replaced with 100+ US built F35 fixed wing airplane, (costing around £1.5bn each).

And two new aircraft carriers scheduled for introduction into service will only be securely deployed to their role, protecting the Atlantic sea-lanes and plugging the “Greenland gap” if the US military provides f35 aircraft in sufficient numbers to equip them and includes destroyer protection. What a mess. And to note Bowie applauds the Tory government in its efforts is very sad indeed.

 

 

Tax and Health and Welfare

8 Feb 2018: Universal credit all-party report raises fears over workability of system

The Commons work and pensions committee said the government has yet to produce a full business case justifying universal credit, seven years after the programme started, and there remains considerable uncertainty about its costs and benefits.

Government ministers have have produced no evidence to back up the key, central economic assumption of the biggest reform to our welfare system in 50 years.

The committee warned that the improved job outcomes the reform promises are uncertain, while anticipated taxpayer savings rely on it becoming increasingly automated and “industrialised”, despite evidence that significant numbers of claimants find it difficult to access and use the digital-only system.

Universal credit aims to roll six major working-age benefits into one monthly payment, including job seeker’s allowance, tax credit and housing benefit. It has been criticized for design flaws and administrative errors that have left thousands of poorer claimants at risk of poverty, debt and rent arrears.

The Office for Budget Responsibility said last month that political uncertainties and problems with the design and implementation of the much-delayed project, currently around five years behind schedule, meant universal credit presented a “significant risk” to public spending.

Many billions of pounds have been written off to this debacle since Ian Duncan Smith first muted it many years ago and still Andre Bowie and his ilk insist it will all be for the better in time. But who’s betterment?

Comment: But Bowie (member of the cross party Commons Work and Pensions committee) praised the Universal Credit (UC) roll out claiming it eased claimants into work mirroring the benefits of employed income.  Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tGsb9TA6Tc

 

 

23 Dec 2017: Scottish Income Tax – Army at War Over SNP Taxes

The Ministry of Defense is looking at compensating armed forces personnel posted to Scotland who end up worse off as a result of Derek Mackay’s income tax hikes, it has emerged.

Andrew Bowie. Scottish Conservative MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, said: “It’s becoming increasingly clear that the SNP has charged ahead with their Nat tax without thinking through the consequences. The fact that armed personnel are facing a ‘Scottish surcharge’ simply for living north of the Border will strike most Scots as deeply unfair. There is no good reason why anyone should be forced to pay more in income tax than people elsewhere in the UK. It shouldn’t be up to the MoD to have to compensate those being forced to pay more. The SNP need to think again.” (The Scotsman)

Comment: The article is abject nonsense and unworthy of a national newspaper. The facts are that the 14,000 military personnel stationed in Scotland will be better off when income tax is set against health and welfare benefits provided solely to those who reside in Scotland . The Unionist rag and those who support it are lying through their teeth in yet another disgraceful attempt to smear the Scottish government. Exclusive to Scotland is:

Free provision of 600 hours per year of (16 hours weekly) early learning and child care for all 3 and 4 year old’s as well as vulnerable 2 year olds. Free prescription charges. All school children from primary one to three entitled to a free school meal.

The facts: 12,000 forces personnel will pay less tax, (but the Unionists are not complaining that similar personnel based in England will pay more tax.) 1,500 will pay between £0.50p – £1,50p more tax weekly. The residue approx. 500 personnel (the majority of whom are married with families and gain significant financial through the earlier mentioned family orientated provisions) will pay around £14.00p weekly (hardly excessive against a salary band of between £50-£80k)

 

 

On the Campaign Trail in West Aberdeenshire

5 Jul 2017: At Prime Ministers Questions Bowie seized the opportunity to thank Mrs May for taking time out from her busy schedule during the general election campaign to campaign in his constituency.

Comment: But the reality was that her visit was botched from the time of it’s conception by Bowie. He should have been advised to keep his mouth shut on the matter.

 

 

 

30 Apr 2017: Theresa May faces fresh accusations of ‘hiding’ after Scotland rally publicly listed as child’s birthday party

Theresa May is facing fresh accusations of “hiding” from voters after a campaign event held in Scotland was publicly listed as a children’s birthday party.

Bemused locals in Aberdeenshire had been unable to find the location of the Prime Minister’s visit, which was not advertised in advance. It was only after Ms May spoke to assembled supporters at Crathes village hall that they discovered it had been booked out as a “child party” between 10am and 5pm.

Kevin Newell, 34, said he was shocked to find the listing on the venue’s website hours after attempting to put “serious questions” to the Prime Minister. “There were a whole load of us who wanted to go and question her on a lot of important policies and issues. It’s been so secretive, they are supposed to be holding these big rallies but all she’s doing is hiding in little village halls, not saying they are going to be there. So there’s no one apart from local Conservative activists standing there and boosting her ego even more. It’s quite pathetic really – for the Prime Minister of the UK to be hiding in a village hall in rural Aberdeenshire.”

 

 

29 Apr 2017: Just for the press, Theresa May (accompanied by Andrew Bowie) attempted to deliver leaflets to four terraced houses…no one answered their door!!!

29 Apr 2017: This is Craig Murray’s take on the visit. Cutting but accurate.   https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2017/04/theresa-mays-fake-meetings/

 

 

2017-18: House of Commons – Contributions to debates and other relevant business

Bowie is very active in the Commons determined to establish his place in the Tory Party protecting his future employment should things go pear shaped in Scotland and he needs to find a constituency in England. He has been on his feet on around 127 occasions and often asks loaded questions of ministers. I extracted a few examples for browsing but his parliamentary record is best followed here:

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mps/#B

 

 

4 Dec 2017: Home Building – Commons discussion

Bowie: A loaded question. What steps is the housing minister taking to ensure that more homes are built in England.

Sajid Javid: In the autumn Budget, we announced further reforms and financial support to increase housing supply in England. This includes more than £15 billion of new financial support, at least £44 billion of funding to 2022-23, and reforms to ensure that more land is available for housing.

Bowie: The work of his Department and the pledge in the Budget to build 300,000 new homes in England are very welcome, and will go some way to address growing inter-generational unfairness when it comes to getting on the housing ladder.

Will he join me today in calling for the Scottish Government to match the Scottish Conservatives’ pledge to build 100,000 new homes north of the border so that young people in my constituency can have the same opportunities to buy as those in constituencies in England?

Sajid Javid: He is right to highlight this issue. The Scottish Government, have been failing consistently on house building, especially affordable house building. I commend the ideas, energy and ambition shown by the Scottish Conservatives in challenging the Scottish National party to build more homes in Scotland.

Alison Thewliss (SNP): The Scottish Parliament has delivered more than 69,500 affordable homes since 2007, during the period of SNP government, and the new-build social sector completion rate is at 72 per 100,000 population, compared with just 49 in England. And why exactly was there no commitment to increase social rented housing in the Budget?

10 May 2017: But the Tory Minister is remiss in his answer – House building under the Tories is at its lowest level since the 1920’s

An analysis of house building going back more than a century shows the most recent years of Conservative rule has seen the lowest average house build rate since Stanley Baldwin was in Downing Street in 1923. According to figures compiled by the House of Commons Library, an average of 127,000 homes a year have been built in England and Wales since the Tories took office in 2010. This is the lowest level since Baldwin’s first stint as Prime Minister in 1923, when just 86,000 homes were built.

A political commentator said: “These humiliating figures show that Ministers’ promises on housing have been nothing more than empty words. Official statistics confirm that since 2010 not only have Conservative Ministers built many fewer homes than claimed and after seven years of failure the Tory’s have no plan to fix the housing crisis. (Huffington Post)

 

 

12 Sep 2017: Questions to Mundell – Decommissioning of Oil Platforms Scotland

Bowie: Does the UK Government have plans to develop an ultra deep water port on the East Coast of Scotland. Note: Without such a port in play the bulk of the multi billion pounds work will be awarded to contrctors outwith Scotland.

Mundell: The Government is committed to supporting the development of a world-leading decommissioning industry. But no UK port currently has the ultra-deep water facilities needed to directly accommodate the fully-loaded heavy lift vessels commonly used for decommissioning large platforms.

Comment: So! No plans in place. The work is destined for foreign shores.

 

 

17 Jun 2017: Scottish Tories expected to vote as bloc to protect Scotland’s interests

Leader Ruth Davidson will tell MPs to champion Scotland in Westminster, adding to pressure on Theresa May. That includes fighting for greater Scottish powers and spending on fisheries and agriculture during and after the Brexit negotiations, to reinforce Holyrood’s existing powers in both areas under devolution.

Davidson and other senior figures in the Scottish Tories are also considering whether they need to reinforce or increase their independence from the UK party, after clear differences emerged between them and Conservative headquarters in London over the style and tone of the election campaign.

 

 

17 Dec 2017: Brexit – The Scotland Act and the Infamous Henry the Eighth Act

The EU Withdrawal Bill was the subject of a heated debate in the Commons. There were 11 divisions all requiring a vote on amendments submitted by the SNP.

All amendments were voted down by the Tory Party assisted by their Scottish MP’s and  DUP cronies resulting in the retention of draconian powers being retained at Westminster.

A key amendment submitted and rejected was one which, if accepted would have prevented Tory Government ministers from using Brexit as an excuse to modify the Scotland Act reducing the powers granted to the Scottish Parliament. This means that the SNP Government in Scotland and any future governing body are hanging their coats on a shuggly peg.

Westminster can now remove some or all powers on a whim and remove all devolved authority back to London.

The 13 Scottish Tory MP’s all voted against the amendment which is astounding. In acting against the best interests of Scotland the Scottish Tory Party revealed its true agenda. Well knowing it will never become the elected government of Scotland its Scottish MP’s have no wish to retain the Scotland Act. (the guardian)

 

 

17 Oct 2017: Debate in the Commons On Devolved Powers in Scotland

Stephen Kerr Conservative, Stirling had called for the debate and spoke first:

Twenty years ago, I was in the minority. At the referendum in 1997, I campaigned against the establishment of a Scottish Parliament, not from party loyalty but from the starting point that any dilution of the Union could lead to its ending. I urged the people of Scotland to think twice and vote no. They did not; instead, they voted yes to a future with a devolved Parliament in Edinburgh.

However, I now realize that I was wrong. With the zeal of the convert, I have trodden my own road to Damascus and now I stand here today to extol the virtues of the Scottish Parliament and devolution.

The Scottish Parliament has helped and is helping to create a better Scotland, and a more comfortable and confident Union, too; but more than that, I firmly believe that devolution is a principle worth arguing for.

I am not talking about devolution in the sense of the establishment of a Scottish Parliament or Welsh Assembly, but about the concept of devolution.

It is core to my credo that politics should be and is local. It is personal to communities that decisions that impact on people’s lives should be made as near to them as possible.

Edinburgh is not the end of the road; Holyrood should just be the beginning. Politics should be local and we should seek to localize decision making.

Bowie: It is right that we in this place—the place that passed the original Scotland Act 1998—consider the use of devolved powers. It is a fact that thanks to the actions of this Government, the Scottish Parliament is one of the most powerful devolved legislative Assemblies in the world, with powers over justice, education, health, transport, the environment, and now taxation and elements of social security.

That is a good thing. However, for the people of my constituency, and indeed for the people of the wider north-east of Scotland, far from the renewing or revitalizing experience promised in 1999, the reality of devolution has been cuts, tax rises and the perception of a central-belt bias in all decision making.

There followed an acrimonious slanging match with each of the Scottish Tory MP’s in turn attacking the performance of the SNP Government on just about any minor grievance they could muster.

It fell to Tommy Sheppard to set the record straight and to remind those present of the inappropriate nature of the so called debate which should never have been permitted.

Tommy Sheppard: It is customary, when I rise to make the third party submission, to thank the Member who has brought the debate. On this occasion, I will decline to do that. The Scottish Government are accountable to the elected Members of the Scottish Parliament, who are elected by and accountable to the Scottish people. It is not a matter for this Westminster Parliament—indeed there is an explicit constitutional convention that forbids it—to try to hold to account the Scottish Government, so I wonder why Stephen Kerr has chosen, among all the things he could discuss that affect his constituents, to bring this motion here today.

I conclude that the only possible reason for this debate is not to try to advance or develop public policy but purely and simply political point scoring and to have a go at the SNP. It is a matter of some regret that he has been aided and abetted in that endeavour by the Labour party.

It seems that contributors to the debate cannot make up their mind about whether the problem is that the Scottish Government are not using the powers they have, or whether they are using their powers, as some speakers have complained. The truth is that the Scottish Parliament and Government use their powers every day and in every way to try to make things better for the people of Scotland, but they do so within considerable legislative and financial constraints, which have seen Scottish public funding cut by almost 10% in real terms in a decade.

 

 

 

2 Jan 2018: The Tory Party has fewer than 10,000 members aged under 30 and faces a generation gap crisis

Bowie acknowledged the party faces a “serious problem” following years of heavy dependence on the loyalty of older voters and called for a drive to promote new Tory faces, respond to young adults’ concerns and improve its social media skills.

He said the party had the twin challenge of boosting numbers of members aged under 30 and of renewing its appeal to younger groups to ensure the Tories do not face “terminal decline”.

Asked how many young members they have, he replied: “It’s not great – we are talking about four figures, not five.”

Bowie, part of a group of young MPs working with Downing Street and Conservative Campaign Headquarters to reach out to a lost generation of voters said: “For far too long we were reliant far too much on the older vote. We took for granted that when people become slightly older, owned property, had a job and a family, they would naturally pivot towards Conservatives.

We needed to have some base in the 18 to 40 group and we are now at an historic low in that age range voting for us. People are not “going to go on the journey towards Conservatism” if they did not know anyone in their age group supporting the party.

Comment: The Young Conservatives membership peaked at approx.157,000 in 1949. By 1970 membership had reduced to approx. 50,000. Factional in-fighting in the 1980s and 1990s brought the movement to its knees and it was disbanded in 1996. Conservative Future was established soon after, gaining a membership of around 15,000 from universities and local Tory Associations. But, as before, it was wound up after the exposure of bullying and blackmail of members. (i’news)

 

 

6 Mar 2017: The Crazy Gang strike again – Scottish Tory youth gush over Donald Trump’s “love” of the UK

Leaders of the European Conservatives and Reformist group, Scottish Tory MEP Ian Duncan and the Scottish Conservative youth wing have said that US President Donald Trump’s “love” of the UK bodes well for the growing relationship between his administration and the UK Tory Government.

In a Conservative Future fringe meeting at the Scottish Tory conference in Glasgow on Saturday (4 March), leading young members gushed over the new US leader, who has attracted unprecedented protests over his policies including a now suspended ban on citizens from seven Muslim majority nations entering the UK and a border wall with Mexico.

Speaking to an audience of party members, Scottish Conservative future chair James Bundy said he was excited about “Donald Trump’s love for the UK”.

The candidate for Grangemouth in the 2017 local elections told the audience, which also included young US conservative Republicans, that he welcomed the growing relationship between UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Trump.

He said: “For a Britain that’s leaving the EU, May’s visit was a very encouraging sign. Our prime minister is striking up a new relationship with the US. This can only be good.”

Duncan regaled the audience with stories of reactions from EU parliamentarians’ to Brexit.

Speaking about UKIP MEP Nigel Farage, he repeated the Brexit movement’s self commentary, saying that “they aren’t laughing at him now”.

He said that continuing EU member states may have to contribute more to the union after Brexit,  and described an EU request for its members to pay more money into the Nato military alliance as “strike one to Donald Trump.”

Speaking about Trump’s erratic nature, he said: “Donald Trump confounds expectations and is unpredictable and that is good, especially in negotiations.”

Comment: The Scottish Tories have quickly become born-again Brexiteers, but even by their standards this whole-hearted embrace of Trump will raise eyebrows.

Young people across the UK voted overwhelmingly to Remain – just as Scotland did – and now face losing all of the opportunities to work, study and travel that come with EU membership.

If the Tory vision of life outside the EU means pleading with Donald Trump for a trade deal, many people in Scotland will be looking for an alternative.” (Common Space)

 

 

President Trump – Pilloried by the Press, Lefty Luving Hollywood Elite and Politicians With Their Heads in the Trough – Yet Adored By the American Public – His Record in His First Year In Office Is Enlightening

 

 

 

     

 

 

In Defence of President Trump

In just about any other circumstance the people of Scotland would praise the achievements of “The  Donald” attributing them in some measure to the Scottish blood coursing through his veins. And they would be right to do so.

But credit for his political success gaining the presidency of the US against all the odds, is being denied him by a vicious sustained and unjustified campaign orchestrated by a sinister group of individuals who choose to press unsubstantiated allegations of wrongdoing on Trump.

They are assisted in their mission: the removal of the President from office by those who backed President Obama and Clinton including the bulk of the Hollywood “luvvie” establishment intent on retaining the privileges granted to them by the previous political regime.

With control of the media almost exclusively in the hands of lefty leaning leadership “The Donald” has been subjected to lampooning and ridicule in excess of that visited on Adolf Hitler.

Scots need to remember the 2014 Scottish referendum and the behaviour of Obama and Hilary Clinton who actively campaigned against Scots who wished to remove Scotland from an “Act of Union” which had been imposed on the nation by corrupt politicians for their profit.

I fully expect President Trump will fulfil his promise, to “drain the swamp” that is the corrupt  Washington establishment. Scots should ignore the hype and extend the hand of friendship to him when he next visits Scotland

An examination of his achievements in his first year of office gives lie to those who insist he is a flawed character whose abilities for high political office are questionable

 

 

 

Recent Developments – Conspiracy Against Trump

Justice Department investigating McCabe’s work on Clinton email probe (http://archive.is/gPQXP)

House Intelligence Committee opens investigation into the DOJ, FBI (http://archive.is/3vc8E)

House Intelligence Committee votes to release classified Nunes memo (http://archive.is/PtXsA)

FBI officials review surveillance memo, could not cite any factual inaccuracies (http://archive.is/wLMm3)

Jeff Sessions orders investigation of texts between FBI officials accused of anti-Trump bias (http://archive.is/SARJq)

Justice Department reopens Hillary Clinton email investigation (http://archive.is/mAoCD)

The Justice Department has launched a new inquiry into whether the Clinton Foundation engaged in any pay-to-play politics or other illegal activities while Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State (http://archive.is/WalT6)

Comey’s original Clinton memo released, cites possible violations (http://archive.is/afNSf)

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley says Comey leaked “at least one” classified memo to a professor friend (http://archive.is/0s9Wt)

Judge allows House panel to subpoena Fusion GPS’s financial records (http://archive.is/YwY4B)

GOP senators request criminal investigation of Trump dossier author (http://archive.is/lxT2S)

DOJ deal gives Nunes access to ALL documents and witnesses sought in Russia probe (http://archive.is/Jg5nQ)

 

 

 

Border & Immigration

The Wall

Border wall prototypes have finished construction in San Diego, California – will now enter the testing and evaluation period. http://archive.is/jZGBH

Border wall models thwart US commandos in test. http://archive.is/fKoOA

Trump asks Congress for $18B for border wall. http://archive.is/5d0DE

 

 

 

Travel Restrictions

Trump has updated his travel ban, includes these 8 countries – Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Somalia – No expiration date
http://archive.is/LBATj

Supreme Court allows full enforcement of Trump travel ban. http://archive.is/otLuw

 

 

 

Sanctuary Cities

DOJ to subpoena 23 jurisdictions over sanctuary city policies. http://archive.is/mP23x

DHS preparing to arrest leaders of sanctuary cities. http://archive.is/dg2VH

Withholding federal funds from sanctuary cities – must allow ICE access to jails + notify them when illegal immigrants are about to be released (currently on hold by a (federal judge). http://archive.is/FoDiY

Miami has removed its “sanctuary” status. http://archive.is/QePeJ

Feds planning massive Northern California immigration sweep to strike against sanctuary laws. http://archive.is/PtNZL

ICE is increasing presence in California because of (sanctuary state) law, says Trump immigration chief. http://archive.is/9tUh3

The House has passed a bill that prevents sanctuary cities from receiving funds from the Department of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. http://archive.is/bNPtE

Blocking the Police Assistance Program from sanctuary cities. http://archive.is/qR347

 

 

 

Illegal Immigration

Illegal border crossings down nearly 70% since Trump took office (Historic low according to ICE). http://archive.is/63kUA

Unshackling ICE – told that they can take action against ALL illegal immigrants – increasing presence in sanctuary cities. http://archive.is/ccuk2

DACA has been officially rescinded – 6 month grace period for Congress to act – no new DACA will be issued effective immediate – currently issued DACA expires in their regular 2 years – DACA that would expire in the next six months will expire in six months and one day instead. http://archive.is/Y9LLx

Trump asks Supreme Court to overturn DACA program. http://archive.is/OVzFc

DACA renewals drop 21%. http://archive.is/K6CX9

Trump said Thursday that any DACA deal he signs will need to include funding for his border wall, more money for immigration enforcement, an overhaul of the family-based immigration system and an end to the diversity visa lottery. http://archive.is/tEcQ0

Rescinded DAPA. http://archive.is/1fUlp

Kate’s Law – harsher penalties for previously deported criminals – passed the House and onto Senate. http://archive.is/JtDd6

No Sanctuary For Criminals Act – deny federal grants to sanctuary cities if they don’t comply with federal immigration law – passed the House and onto Senate. http://archive.is/EzVpI

Ended the “catch and release” immigration policy. http://archive.is/NS2FC

Trump has unveiled a new strict 70-point immigration enforcement plan. http://archive.is/U5doo

Massive overhaul of the immigration system proposed – move from family reunification to skill-based – cutting legal immigration by half by 2027. http://archive.is/5gCwG

More Mexicans are leaving USA than migrating to it. http://archive.is/jSw7Z

 

 

 

Deportations

Deportation orders up 31% nationwide under Trump. http://archive.is/RmNIy

Deportations in LA are up 60% alone. http://archive.is/zu59S

Trump to deport 300,000 refugees from the USA over the next few months. http://archive.is/asxmP

Trump Ends Protection From Deportation for 200,000 Salvadorans, will also affect their 192,000 children. http://archive.is/RVY8e

Homeland Security Department terminates temporary residency program for almost 60,000 Haitians. http://archive.is/Bhkug

The House has voted to make membership in a criminal street gang, like MS-13, a deportation offence. http://archive.is/pvl8M

The Trump administration is drafting a plan to speed up deportations of teenage Central American illegal immigrants who crossed the border unaccompanied by adults. http://archive.is/gtOCA

Trump cuts off visas for countries that refuse deported immigrants. http://archive.is/UFv9E

Trump administration will ban immigrants from Haiti from applying for temporary visas given to low-skilled workers. http://archive.is/fm3mO

 

 

 

Immigration Arrests

Border apprehensions hit 45-year low under Trump – down 40% (http://archive.is/rvG89)

YUGE ICE raids – 650 arrested between July 23 and 26 – most committed no crime other than being illegal. http://archive.is/EfqSg

ICE has conducted another MASSIVE raid on sanctuary cities – 498 illegal immigrants arrested. http://archive.is/LGxKK

101 illegal immigrants arrested in latest ICE operation in New Jersey. http://archive.is/pluev

The Trump administration is planning an increase in federal immigration jails across the country for the thousands of additional illegal immigrants being arrested. http://archive.is/2DTPV

 

 

Refugees

Trump administration reduces refugee admissions by 70% in first year.http://archive.is/07Zgq

Trump plans to set cap for refugee admissions at 45,000 next year (less than 17,500 from the Middle East) – lowest number in decades. http://archive.is/mbG81

August had the fewest monthly refugee arrivals in 15 years. http://archive.is/TyRvd

Christian refugees admitted now outnumber Muslim refugees admitted. http://archive.is/HcU6Q

Trump signs EO on Resuming the US Refugee Admissions Program with Enhanced Vetting Capabilities. http://archive.is/4bO1r

Trump’s DHS is ending Temporary Protected Status for Sudanese refugees.http://archive.is/sz80O

 

 

 

Misc

Extreme vetting in progress – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to begin to require in-person interviews with potential immigrants as part of the green-card application process. http://archive.is/d4bgo

Trump to Pull U.S. From U.N. Migration Compact. http://archive.is/y3ZV6

Homeland Security will now monitor social media accounts of those applying for citizenship. http://archive.is/oFtNe

Trump signs law to gives border patrol better tools to stop smuggling of fentanyl. http://archive.is/EsLZP

Cancelled Obama Era special immigration program for foreign entrepreneurs. http://archive.is/kvoyO

Creating an office for the victims of illegal immigrant crimes. http://archive.is/vpoYx

 

 

 

Jobs

Unemployment Rate

Unemployment rate is down to 4.1%, the lowest it’s been since August 2000. http://archive.is/TqhjB

Black unemployment rate hits ALL TIME low – 6.8%. http://archive.is/bYDiw

The Hispanic unemployment rate dropped to 4.7%, the lowest in US history. http://archive.is/LAeem

Some states are experiencing their lowest unemployment rates in their histories.http://archive.is/lfKsR

Texas Jobless Rate Hits 40-Year Record Low of 3.9 Percent. http://archive.is/R8sn9

The unemployment rate in manufacturing dropped to 2.6%, the lowest in US history. http://archive.is/hUnl1

 

 

 

Job Numbers

Trump has now created 2 million+ jobs since taking office. http://archive.is/okAGU

The number of employed Americans is at an ALL TIME high – 154,345,000. http://archive.is/4KYyH

The number of unemployed Americans is at a 10 year low – 6,801,000. http://archive.is/4KYyH

Job-cut announcements in 2017 see lowest level since 1990. http://archive.is/7kQtJ

US job openings have hit an ALL TIME high – 6 million+. http://archive.is/Urhfb

The labour force participation rate is up to 63.1%, the highest it’s been under Trump. http://archive.is/4KYyH

Huge amount of jobs being created in key industries – manufacturing, mining, construction, education, business services, etc. https://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/ceshighlights.pdf

November saw 40,000 new manufacturing jobs, the highest in US history. http://archive.is/rcaOs

 

 

 

Food Stamps & Welfare

Number of Americans Receiving Unemployment Benefits Falls to 44-Year Low. http://archive.is/2JJQc

Food Stamp Enrolment Drops by 2 Million in 2017. http://archive.is/VNHVT

Food stamp program costs hit 7 year low. http://archive.is/5X7Tj

President Trump’s administration has decided to restore work requirements for welfare under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program – http://archive.is/A19qT

WIC welfare participation hits 17-year low. http://archive.is/IYi7Y

 

 

 

Wages

90% of workers likely to see more money in pay check next month thanks to Trump’s tax cuts. http://archive.is/Xm9ZW

The US Census Bureau has announced that the American median income is increasing for the first time since 2007. http://archive.is/3IWMd

Average weekly pay checks increased by 3.1% over the last 12 months – first time it has exceeded 3% in 7 years. http://archive.is/r0ogl

Shortage of illegal labour has caused construction worker wages to increase by 30% in Texas. http://archive.is/znIXZ

 

 

 

Misc

Toyota, Mazda to build $1.6 billion plant in Alabama. http://archive.is/Fjbih

Fiat Chysler to relocate truck production from Mexico to Michigan. http://archive.is/husht

13,000 jobs being created in WI because of Foxconn plant – largest job announcement in WI history. http://archive.is/NN30y

Foxconn announces that a Second plant is coming – Michigan. http://archive.is/ePQWX

Getting rid of regulations that restrict coal miners – create more mining jobs – opened new coal mine. http://archive.is/2XiJJ

Pennsylvania coal company to open a second coal mine. http://archive.is/fK2LD

Creating thousands of more jobs for immigration officers and border patrol. http://archive.is/5ROux

1000s of jobs being created through pact with Saudi Arabia. http://archive.is/dIkH3

Executive Order Expanding Apprenticeships in America. http://archive.is/KHQrz

 

 

 

Economy

Stock Market

The Dow (26,258), S&P 500 (2,838) and Nasdaq (7,418) composite rose to all-time highs on Monday. http://archive.is/foWa3

Since the election, the DOW is up 34.9%, the Nasdaq is up 34%, and the S&P 500 is up 25.2%. https://imgur.com/a/i3yEl

Red-hot Dow closes above 26,000 for the first time. http://archive.is/DHjyO

DOW rises 5000 points in a year for the first time ever. http://archive.is/atYC5

DOW closes at a record high for the 70th time this year (24,792), the most record closes in a calendar year. http://archive.is/iW0kL

 

 

 

GDP

US second quarter GDP growth has been revised to 3.1% – fastest growth in more than two years. http://archive.is/nXXeb

U.S. Third-Quarter Growth Revised to Three-Year High of 3.3%. http://archive.is/97TVR

U.S. economy to grow nearly 3 percent in 2018 because of Trump tax cuts, IMF says. http://archive.is/lmUGn

 

 

 

Tax Cuts

Trump has signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, giving Americans $1.5 trillion in tax cuts and slashing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% – 91% of middle-class Americans will receive a tax cut. http://archive.is/b5z7T

Over 100 companies giving ‘Trump Bonuses’ after tax victory. http://archive.is/cFCq5

In response to Trump’s tax cuts, Apple announces $350 billion investment in the US economy, 20,000 new jobs. http://archive.is/dw6Av

Walmart will raise its starting wage rate for hourly employees in the U.S. to $11, expand maternity & parental leave benefits, and provide a one-time cash bonus for eligible employees of as much as $1,000 due to tax reform. http://archive.is/HLJN9

The Walt Disney Co. to give more than 125,000 employees a one-time $1000 cash bonus and “make an initial investment of $50 million in a new and ongoing education program for hourly employees.” http://archive.is/NBU1i

Ford Motor Co. will give more than 54,000 United Auto Workers hourly employees profit-sharing checks of about $7,500 this year. http://archive.is/eo60Q

Starbucks employees win pay raises, expanded benefits thanks to Trump’s tax plan. http://archive.is/yUMjS

Boeing will invest $300 million in the American economy, AT&T will invest $1 billion, and Comcast will invest over $50 billion in response to tax cuts. https://imgur.com/a/ZrWek

Companies dump undocumented workers after gaining profits from tax cuts. http://archive.is/DKZ4v

Utilities cutting rates, cite benefits of Trump tax reform. http://archive.is/yEMIY

Patriots owner Robert Kraft building factory in North Carolina after tax cuts. http://archive.is/GeEZI

Presidential Executive Order on Identifying and Reducing Tax Regulatory Burdens. http://archive.is/X2Tif

 

 

 

It’s the Economy Stupid

Economists agree: Trump, not Obama, gets credit for the economy. http://archive.is/pvowG

According to the Federal Reserve, household wealth in America has reached a record high of $1.7 trillion – due to rising property values and financial gains. http://archive.is/V7AC0

In Trump era, American corporations are seeing their best earnings in 13 years. http://archive.is/KcZjc

U.S. Economy Reaches Its Potential Output for First Time in Decade. http://archive.is/NEWhM

Pulled out of the Paris Accord – save billions in taxpayer money and trillions in GDP, put American industries first by creating and maintaining millions of industrial jobs. http://archive.is/3Pcr3

Buy & Hire American executive order – restrict guest worker visas and require more agencies to buy more goods and services from American companies and workers. http://archive.is/SPmkc

Going through with building the Keystone and Dakota Pipelines – expanding energy infrastructure and creating 1000s of jobs. http://archive.is/1L6ys

Signed an executive order that requires all federal agencies to create task forces to look at and determine which regulations hurt the economy – cut red tape. http://archive.is/EmzX7

US manufacturing records best year since 2004. http://archive.is/5IFem

Retail sales are up 5.8% compared to last year. http://archive.is/TMEgu

Home sales have hit their best numbers in 10 years – up 17.5%. http://archive.is/afseF

 

 

 

Trade

Pulled out of TPP. http://archive.is/8jHzK

Signed an arms deal worth more than $350 billion and various other investment agreements with Saudi Arabia. http://archive.is/dIkH3

Trump administration approves $42 million arms deal with Ukraine. http://archive.is/1T987

Reworking NAFTA with Canada and Mexico in order to make better trade deals – might pull out. http://archive.is/2Ewiq

Xi Jinping, Donald Trump oversee signing of US$253 billion in trade deals. http://archive.is/LFKEU

Increased tariffs on Canadian lumber by 20% (worth $1 billion). http://archive.is/kIOXE

Resuming trading natural gas and beef with China. http://archive.is/9CEPP

Trading coal and rice to China. http://archive.is/nVbVb

Negotiated new sugar deal with Mexico. http://archive.is/sPLUi

US pork exports going back to Argentina for the first time since 1992. http://archive.is/P43dU

Trading energy with new countries in Europe (Poland, Lithuania) – end their reliance on Russian energy. http://archive.is/9L9mH, http://archive.is/fpEyU

Trade deficit falling faster than expected . http://archive.is/DoROR

Exports at a 2.5-year high. http://archive.is/Ulytn

Oil exports at all time high. http://archive.is/cp9ks

Coal exports up 60%. http://archive.is/4ONbf

 

 

 

Confidence in the Economy

Economic confidence is at a 9-year high. http://archive.is/GFkEz

Consumer Confidence Breaks Another Record, Hits 17-Year High. http://archive.is/TCGSw

CEO confidence highest since 2014. http://archive.is/87U1E

US Manufacturing Index at a 33-year high . http://archive.is/3BSTP

Manufacturer confidence at a 20-year high. http://archive.is/QuuCN

Home builder confidence at 12-year high. http://archive.is/bErU1

 

 

 

Misc.

Trump has signed a $15 billion relief package for Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey – includes a short-term suspension of the debt ceiling and money to keep the government running for the next 3 months. http://archive.is/2djqr

New memorandum to protect American IPs from China – potentially save billions in dollars and millions in jobs. http://archive.is/c1Bta

Broadcom Limited is moving its headquarters from Singapore back into the United States – more than 20 billion dollars in annual revenue will return to America. http://archive.is/SbaNL

Singapore Airlines agrees to buy $13.8 billion worth of Boeing jets. http://archive.is/Bht3L

Gas prices at a 12-year low. http://archive.is/Xdq12

 

 

 

Government

Appointed conservative Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. http://archive.is/nZs6G

Trump signed 96 bills into law in 2017. http://archive.is/CRMhx

Trump signed 55 Executive Orders in 2017. https://www.federalregister.gov/executive-orders/donald-trump/2017

Cutting regulations in government agencies (add 1, take out 2). http://archive.is/ygnHp

So far, 16 regulations have been cut for every 1 added – 800 Obama regulations cut (saved $200+ billion). http://archive.is/b4sMl

Trump has cut the number of regulations in the Federal Register by 32% in his first 9 months in office. Put a regulatory freeze on all federal agencies. http://archive.is/qLTxX

Cut the White House budget – save taxpayers $22 million. http://archive.is/Cnj07

Signed an executive order to reduce operating costs of the federal government. http://archive.is/uOBvJ

11,000 government jobs slashed under Trump – downsizing government. http://archive.is/YJDLt

Fixed lobbying laws – 5 year lobbying ban on White House officials. http://archive.is/CwYrw

Investigating voter fraud in the 2016 election. http://archive.is/YskG8

Senate just confirmed 65 Trump nominees for various positions (August 3rd). http://archive.is/ZUZ6w

Trump is quietly completely transforming the federal judiciary – nominated nearly 60 judges, filling more vacancies than Barack Obama did in his entire first year. http://archive.is/xUU3T

President Donald J. Trump Announces Eighth Wave of United States Attorney Nominations. http://archive.is/ULtdT

The Senate has confirmed Jessie Liu as the US Attorney for the District of Columbia – she is famous for jailing a (Rothschild). http://archive.is/xjmV0

Fired corrupt and incompetent FBI Director James Comey. http://archive.is/zXuAQ

Purging the State Department of Obama loyalists. http://archive.is/nBiti

Fired all 46 attorney generals hired by Obama. http://archive.is/omFAa

Ending many of Obama’s useless Executive Orders. http://archive.is/rk5Zz

Ben Carson Finds $500 Billion (Billion!) In Errors during Audit of Obama. http://archive.is/N1jUD

Eliminated 1200 man hours of wasteful paperwork requirements including Y2K preparedness. http://archive.is/ekhIR

 

 

 

Defence

Military

Trump signs $700 billion military budget into law. http://archive.is/h2Q9E

Trump unveils “America First” national security strategy. http://archive.is/DexS1

Trump is about to put his mark on the US nuclear arsenal. http://archive.is/jY088

 

 

 

Iran

Trump has decertified the Iran Deal. http://archive.is/dhpzi

 

 

 

North Korea

Trump continues to put pressure on North Korea – de-escalate or face destruction. http://archive.is/azyan

China has announced it will cooperate with US sanctions on North Korea, will close all North Korean businesses within the next 120 days – severely limits North Korea’s ability to import food, fuel, etc. http://archive.is/aDUBg

US and China are seeing “certain signs” that international sanctions against North Korea are beginning to impact the country’s economy – vow to keep sanctions until North Korea denuclearizes. http://archive.is/ZsqsU

Trump has signed an Executive Order that gives the Treasury Department new authority to target companies and institutions doing business with North Korea. http://archive.is/jagYE

Trump declares North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism. http://archive.is/uUClK

 

 

 

ISIS

ISIS has lost 98% of its territory, mostly under Trump. http://archive.is/m4zgvhttps://imgur.com/a/qrkon.

Iraq is ‘fully liberated’ from ISIS, its military says. http://archive.is/hqJXb

U.S.-backed forces reclaim ISIS capital of Raqqa. http://archive.is/zmXjQ

U.S.-allied forces take Syria’s largest oil field from ISIS – major blow to ISIS’ income. http://archive.is/dIj4W

Phased out Timber Sycamore – CIA’s secret program to arm Anti-Assad rebels (and therefore ISIS). http://archive.is/OFbQp

1000+ ISIS soldiers have recently surrendered to Kurdish authorities in Iraq. http://archive.is/xfyjs

Putin, Trump agree to defeat ISIS in Syria. http://archive.is/cSxOi

Teaming up with Russia to create a ceasefire in south-west Syria – step in the right direction to end civil war. http://archive.is/24ahP

Encouraging Middle Eastern countries to team up and exterminate ISIS and terrorism as a whole – teaming up with Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism. http://archive.is/haVeS

 

 

 

Foreign Aid

Trump withdraws $285 million worth of funding from the UN. http://archive.is/c3d7w

Trump has withdrawn the USA from UNESCO – saves $500 million. http://archive.is/mp3z5

US withholds $65 million from the UN Palestinian refugee program. http://archive.is/b2nbb

America has withdrawn almost $300 million in foreign aid to Egypt. http://archive.is/ZmhZC

Trump withholding $255 million in aid to Pakistan, as he accuses country of giving safe haven to terrorists. http://archive.is/Iy8rk

State Department suspends security assistance to Pakistan. http://archive.is/QzIsH

Trump threatens to cut foreign aid to countries that oppose his Jerusalem decision. http://archive.is/Rk4ey

 

 

 

Veterans Association

Increasing funds to and modernizing the VA – better service + easier access + more accountability (VA Accountability Act) – 500+ corrupt employees fired. http://archive.is/glNJRhttp://archive.is/CsyeShttp://archive.is/fjZfN

Signed the Forever GI Bill – improved college aid for veterans – removal of the 15 year use or lose limit. http://archive.is/fMXAS

President Trump has signed an Executive Order on “Supporting Our Veterans During Their Transition from Uniformed Service to Civilian Life.” http://archive.is/Qa0hc

S. 583 – American Law Enforcement Heroes Act of 2017 – Prioritizes hiring and training of ex – military services personnel. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/583/text

 

 

 

Sanctions

Sanctioned Iran for their missile use. http://archive.is/qpxlQ

Sanctioned North Korea for their missile use. http://archive.is/kTvd1

Sanctioned Syria for their chemical attack. http://archive.is/ekN5v

Sanctioned Russia for their activity in Ukraine. http://archive.is/H8MxD

 

 

 

Misc.

Law to protect whistle-blowers. http://archive.is/Czgzp

Reworking NATO so other countries pay their fair share (Germany) – Many countries have already increased their funding (Canada, Romania, etc.). http://archive.is/KwXM5

Announcement of a new and improved military strategy in Afghanistan – fixing the mess left by Bush and Obama. http://archive.is/sC2JK

US kills 150 ISIS terrorists in Syria air-strike during government shutdown. http://archive.is/28qLs

Afghanistan MOAB took out ISIS tunnels and killed 90+ terrorists. http://archive.is/1vJxh

United States forces have captured Mustafa al-Imam in Libya, who played a large part in the Benghazi attacks. http://archive.is/LrBsr

The Air Force could recall up to 1,000 retired pilots after the President signed an executive order aimed at addressing an “acute shortage of pilots.” http://archive.is/NGPuP

Trading missiles to Poland to protect them from Russian aggression. http://archive.is/0Cfl7

 

 

 

 

Crime

2017 US crime rates expected to show drop off. http://archive.is/sSSDw

President Trump has fully pardoned former sheriff Joe Arpaio. http://archive.is/Ex8Zs

Seeking the harshest possible punishments for criminals. http://archive.is/YE7r0

Large crime sweeps all over the country (MS-13). http://archive.is/Rmum9

Arrests of MS-13 members and associates are up 83% under Trump. http://archive.is/vPMZU

Creating a Department of Justice task force to fight against violent crimes + cartels. http://archive.is/zSrjw

Sending the Feds into Chicago to fix their crime epidemic. http://archive.is/iaXAP

Busting paedophile rings all over the country (hundreds arrested) + passing legislation to combat human trafficking. http://archive.is/VQesRhttp://archive.is/NsNVD

Cocaine seizures at the border have more than doubled under Trump. http://archive.is/Hw3d3

Trump signs Executive Order Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption
http://archive.is/M2MQX

Trump has lifted restrictions imposed by Obama on the transfer of surplus military-style equipment to the police
http://archive.is/EXgzm

Trump DOJ ends Obama-era “Operation Chokepoint” – program that unfairly targeted gun dealers. http://archive.is/6lG57

Justice Department to take on affirmative action in colleges against – anti-white discrimination. http://archive.is/UlZBB

It has been revealed that the Department of Homeland Security considers Antifa a domestic terror group. http://archive.is/lzD0s

FBI cites black extremist groups as new domestic terrorist threats. http://archive.is/5v9jm

Justice Department has demanded release of 1.3 million IP addresses related to a major “Trump Resistance site”. http://archive.is/F62Rj

DoJ investigation into intelligence leaks underway. http://archive.is/RXWvR

FBI in Puerto Rico investigating if corrupt local officials are ‘withholding’ or ‘mishandling’ crucial supplies. http://archive.is/Bvob5

Trump administration orders FBI probe into Harvey Weinstein. http://archive.is/1yr4x

Trump DOJ settles lawsuits over Tea Party targeting by Obama IRS. http://archive.is/xnpEA

S. 419 – Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2017. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/419/text

 

 

 

Investigations

Congress to investigate Obama scheme to nix investigation into Hezbollah terrorists. http://archive.is/b8t70

Jeff Sessions orders new look into Uranium One criminal investigation. http://archive.is/5EH66

FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before Obama administration approved controversial nuclear deal with Moscow – massive bribery, kickback, extortion, money laundering, and cover up scheme – directly incriminates The Clinton Foundation. http://archive.is/724V6

The Senate Judiciary Committee opens a corruption probe investigating the Obama administration’s approval of the Uranium One deal. http://archive.is/BPqCf

House Financial Services Committee reveal that emails confirm that Obama’s DOJ funnelled “slush fund” money to leftist organizations. http://archive.is/MHLXO

The House Judiciary Committee is once again requesting the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate Loretta Lynch, James Comey, and Hillary Clinton. http://archive.is/Y1r7F

The FBI has released documents suggesting James Comey planned on exonerating Hillary before FBI investigation was complete. http://archive.is/SOudi

FBI re-opens case relating to the Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting. http://archive.is/7eetm

Early Comey Draft Accused Clinton Of “Gross Negligence” Criminal Standard On Emails. http://archive.is/mSHUJ

 

 

 

Healthcare & Well-being

Healthcare

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has gotten rid of the Obamacare Individual Mandate – Americans are no longer penalized for opting out of Obamacare. http://archive.is/YQibE

Trump has signed an executive order on healthcare that allows people to purchase healthcare across state lines. http://archive.is/6hJ9m

Trump to halt ‘massive’ Obamacare subsidies to insurers. http://archive.is/UghuP

Kentucky to add Medicaid work requirement; first state to follow Trump plan. http://archive.is/menYm

The Trump administration is rolling back Obamacare mandates that cover birth control. http://archive.is/g801O

 

 

 

Abortion

Trump Administration Defines Life ‘Beginning at Conception’. http://archive.is/tMRA3

Trump administration to shield health workers who refuse to perform abortions or treat transgender patients. http://archive.is/75V6E

Trump rescinds Obama-era guidance making it harder for states to de-fund Planned Parenthood. http://archive.is/4OLvf

Signed law giving states the option to withdraw taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood. http://archive.is/7Pilk

The House has passed a bill (237-189) that would ban abortion after 20 weeks – Trump supports the bill. http://archive.is/Z1ysK

De-funding international groups that promote/perform abortion . http://archive.is/23b9Q

 

 

 

Opioid Crisis

Trump has declared a nationwide Public Health Emergency to address the opioids crisis. http://archive.is/hyczT

Signed an executive order to combat drug addiction and the opioid epidemic. http://archive.is/ORno1

Largest ever crackdown on opioid-related fraud (120 arrested, including doctors). http://archive.is/FtqiM

 

 

 

Misc

Jeff Sessions to crack down on legalized marijuana, ending Obama-era policy. http://archive.is/XvmHt

Trump’s EPA gave $100 million to Flint to help with their water crisis. http://archive.is/qppvc

Taking action on healthcare fraud (412 arrested). http://archive.is/cIlzx

The president has signed a disaster proclamation in response to Hurricane Harvey – unleashes the full force of the federal government to help Texas. http://archive.is/SJinr

 

 

 

Education

Common core is finished – give power to the States to choose curriculum. http://archive.is/o3NIW

Pulling the federal Agency from K-12 education. http://archive.is/ZFvPn

Jeff Sessions says that the DoJ will be stepping up enforcement of free speech rights on college campuses. http://archive.is/QtHVL

DeVos offers buyouts to shrink Education Department workforce. http://archive.is/24gkP

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Friday rescinded Obama-era guidelines for investigating allegations of sexual assault on campus, replacing them with guidelines she said would help schools “treat all students fairly.” http://archive.is/82z6P

Huge overhaul of the federal student loan system announced. http://archive.is/N5FZA

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos proposes another delay of an Obama-era overhaul of rules to erase the federal student debt of borrowers defrauded by colleges. http://archive.is/ORXDa

Getting rid of transgender bathrooms in schools – up to the states. http://archive.is/m4NXJ

Trump’s USDA Relaxes Obama-Era School Lunch Restrictions. http://archive.is/JH7Vz

Signed an executive order to help out historically black colleges and universities. http://archive.is/HciMV

Trump has signed a $200 million memo to boost computer science education in schools. http://archive.is/xQiGt

Signed a resolution encouraging women in entrepreneurship and STEM. http://archive.is/AclCP

 

 

 

Environment

Pulled out of the Paris Accord. http://archive.is/3Pcr3

Trump administration removes climate change from list of national security threats. http://archive.is/cZLkX

The Trump administration will abandon the Obama-era clean power plan aimed at reducing (global warming). http://archive.is/RhYW1

Trump administration dramatically expands offshore drilling. http://archive.is/GaROR

Congress lifts a 40-year-old ban on energy development (drilling for oil) in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). http://archive.is/8JL5e

Trump administration set to roll back $900 million in Obama-era offshore drilling regulations. http://archive.is/BmWYL

 

 

Space

Trump signs directive ordering NASA to lead space exploration program to send US astronauts back to the moon and eventually to Mars. http://archive.is/p96j2

Increasing funds to NASA – Mars mission by 2033

Brought back the National Space Council

USA and Russia agree to cooperate on building the first lunar station

 

 

 

GOP

4 House special election wins

Donald Trump’s Support Among Blacks Has Doubled Since 2016. http://archive.is/w9lVO

The RNC doubled the DNC in fundraising in August – $7.3 million to $3.8 million – the RNC now has $45.8 million cash on hand with $0 debt, while the DNC has $6.8 million on hand with $3.4 million in debt. http://archive.is/h9GU3

RNC pulls in $75 million in Trump’s first 6 months – Double Obama’s first 6 months. http://archive.is/F0qnn

Voter registration data shows that blue states are getting redder and red states are getting redder. http://archive.is/jMuf1

Unironically got a Democratic Governor to switch parties – first time in 25 years. http://archive.is/JJRya

Trump has caused RINO Senator Jeff Flake to announce he will not seek re-election

 

 

 

Misc

NCHS is reporting that whites once again make up a majority of births in the US – reversing a decade long decline. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/vsrr/report002.pdf

House approves GOP bill making it easier for gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines. http://archive.is/lB31P

The U.S. Supreme Court leaves in place a Mississippi law that lets businesses and government workers refuse to provide services to gay and transgender people, on religious grounds. http://archive.is/bxQvS

Trump shrinks Utah monuments created by Obama, Clinton. http://archive.is/AtVa6

Trump names Jerusalem the capital of Israel, will move US embassy. http://archive.is/iJSZ9

Senate sends $36.5 billion disaster relief bill to Trump’s desk. http://archive.is/Q4qKp

Senate votes to nullify rule letting consumers band together to sue banks or credit card companies. http://archive.is/ljB4w

U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the unveiling of 2,800 documents related to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. http://archive.is/T7f4j

Trump negotiates the release of 3 UCLA basketball players from China. http://archive.is/EK4d5

Executive Order on the Establishment of the American Technology Council. http://archive.is/QdSzo

Trump blocks Chinese purchase of U.S. company for national security reasons

Increases the power of the US Cyber Command – more resources to fight cyberspace threats

Senators Lankford (R) and Booker (D) have co-sponsored a bill that would strip any taxpayer funding to professional sports teams for building their stadiums.

Promoted Free Speech and Religious Liberty executive order.

New and improved policies towards Cuba (fix American tourism and the human rights of Cubans)

Brought home Otto Warmbier and Aya Hijazi, captives from North Korea and Egypt respectively, that Obama ignored.

Privatizing air traffic control.

The Department of Transportation has gotten rid of many Obama-era regulations regarding truck drivers- H.R. 1238 – Securing the Agriculture and Food Act.

Trump has signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, giving Americans $1.5 trillion in tax cuts and slashing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% – 91% of middle-class Americans will receive a tax cut http: //archive.is/b5z7T

Appointed conservative Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. http://archive.is/nZs6G

Trump has updated his travel ban, includes these 8 countries – Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Somalia – No expiration date. http://archive.is/LBATj

Trump has cut the number of regulations in the Federal Register by 32% in his first 9 months in office. http://archive.is/nxp5W

ISIS has lost 98% of its territory, mostly under Trump. http://archive.is/m4zgvhttps://imgur.com/a/qrkon

Unemployment rate is down to 4.1%, the lowest it’s been since August 2000. http://archive.is/TqhjB

Black unemployment rate hits ALL TIME low – 6.8%. http://archive.is/bYDiw

The Hispanic unemployment rate dropped to 4.7%, the lowest in US history. http://archive.is/LAeem

The US Census Bureau has announced that the American median income is increasing for the first time since 2007. http://archive.is/3IWMd

Consumer Confidence Breaks Another Record, Hits 17-Year High. http://archive.is/TCGSw

Food Stamp Enrolment Drops by 2 Million in 2017. http://archive.is/VNHVT

Major stock indexes all hit record highs this week – DOW (25,295), S&P (2,743) and NASDAQ (7,136). http://archive.is/ioB2Q

Since the election, the DOW is up 34.9%, the NASDAQ is up 34%, and the S&P 500 is up 25.2%. https://imgur.com/a/i3yEl

Pulled out of TPP. http://archive.is/8jHzK

Pulled out of the Paris Accord – save billions in taxpayer money and trillions in GDP, put American industries first by creating and maintaining millions of industrial jobs. http://archive.is/3Pcr3

Going through with building the Keystone and Dakota Pipelines – expanding energy infrastructure and creating 1000s of jobs. http://archive.is/1L6ys

Congress lifts a 40-year-old ban on energy development (drilling for oil) in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). http://archive.is/8JL5e

Buy and Hire American, executive order – restrict guest worker visas requiring more agencies to buy more goods and services from American companies and workers. http://archive.is/SPmkc

Illegal border crossings down nearly 70% since Trump took office (Historic low according to ICE). http://archive.is/63kUA

Deportation orders up 31% nationwide under Trump. http://archive.is/RmNIy

Illegal immigration arrests up 40% nationwide. http://archive.is/63kUA

Trump administration reduces refugee admissions by 70% in first year. http://archive.is/07Zgq

Trump is quietly completely transforming the federal judiciary. http://archive.is/xUU3T

Trump signs $700 billion military budget into law. http://archive.is/h2Q9E

Trump has decertified the Iran Deal. http://archive.is/dhpzi

Trump withdraws $285 million worth of funding from the UN. http://archive.is/c3d7w

Increasing funds to and modernizing the VA – better service + easier access + more accountability (VA Accountability Act) – 500+ corrupt employees fired
http://archive.is/glNJRhttp://archive.is/CsyeShttp://archive.is/fjZfN

Arrests of MS-13 members and associates are up 83% under Trump. http://archive.is/vPMZU

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has gotten rid of the Obamacare Individual Mandate – Americans are no longer penalized for opting out of Obamacare. http://archive.is/YQibE

Trump has signed an executive order on healthcare that allows people to purchase healthcare across state lines. http://archive.is/6hJ9m

 

 

 

Scotland Together – The Scottish Community Channel Owned by the People of Scotland

 

 

 

 

Scotland Together – The Scottish Community Channel Owned by the People of Scotland

Fed-up with the bare faced lies and biased output of BBC Scotland and commercial television. Need a break from Jacki Bird, Sarah Smith and fat-boy Taylor?

Turn to Freeview Channel 989 or (Sky 545, Virgin333 and Freesat 67) and you can start watching “Scotland Together” –  a TV channel built by the people of Scotland.

Programming includes documentaries, political comment, current affairs and news. It also covers nature, arts & crafts, gardening and DIY.

The channel is registered as an Independent Community Benefit Society and holds charitable status.

Could this become a reality? The Community Channel has done it. Go to: (https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/community-channel) and (togethertv.com)

There is an abundance of media savvy people in support of an independent Scotland more than capable of getting this off the ground.. It just needs a kick start.

 

 

tory-mp-for-gordon-colin-clark-the-multi-millionaire-elected-by-deluded-voters-in-the-north-east-of-scotland-promised-much-delivered-little

 

 

 

 

Colin James Clark

Multi-Millionaire Colin James Clark was born 20 May 1969. His father Robbie owned a 1000 acre+ farm and three cottages (rented out) near Auchterless.  In 1990. His early career in agriculture to him to Lincolnshire where he developed an interest in organic farming of products for direct sale.

Circumstances forced his return to Scotland in 2005 and his acceptance of the task of overall management and development of the farming business of Thomastown Farm and Cottages when his brothers expressed a preference to pursue careers not involving farming.

He is the owner of Finask House a Category B Listed property in Daviot, Aberdeenshire, valued at around £1.5 million.

 

 

 

Business and Financial interests outside politics:

R&M Clark Farmers: Selling finished beef cattle and store lambs is the main enterprise with an annual purchase of 1,400 Continental cross steers and 1500 store lambs. The aim of the business is to to pile on the beef over a period of 60 days then get them to the market.

The Scottish taxpayer provides substantial financial support to the business by way of farming subsidies. In the years 2015/2016 the enterprise was advanced a total of: £213,129.00p

 

 

Nessgro Ltd: Clark shares a controlling 50% interest and is Chairman of Inverness based Nessgro Ltd (annual turnover £1.5m and growing) which specialises in organic root vegetable production on 120 hectares of land.

It has its own wash factory and pack house which allows a direct to customer sale business. The company was awarded the prestigious Grower of the Year in 2007 and in 2013 won the Marks and Spencer’s Scottish produce category as well as their Champion of Champions Farming for the Future Award.

The Scottish taxpayer provides substantial financial support to the business by way of farming subsidies. In the year 2016 the enterprise was advanced a total of: £134,049.00p

Marks & Spencer – There is no Scotland claim

Edith Davidson, from Innerleithen, wrote to the company after gaining information about the high street giant labelling Scottish whisky as British, has told of her shock after Marks & Spencer responded to a complaint about Scottish whisky being branded British by telling her to respect the result of the 2014 referendum and accept that Scotland was now “a part of the country known as England”.

 

 

Shareholding (more than £70K) – Clark’s extensive investment portfolio and pensions are managed by Balmoral Asset Management Ltd (Edinburgh)

Shareholding:

Sciemus Ltd; technology and insurance. The Lloyd’s insurance consultancy operating in the space, power, renewable energy, cyber and mining industries, has recently formed an investing partnership with offshore Bermuda registered HSCM Bermuda.

Maven Capital Partners UK LLP (Maven) is an independent private equity business. Previously the Private Equity division of Aberdeen Asset Management, they arrange finance for management buyouts, acquisition finance, expansion capital and development capital, for companies valued at up to £25 million throughout the UK.

More detail here: (https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/maven-capital-partners) and here: (https://twitter.com/Maven_CP) Major player operating out of Glasgow.

Examples of Marven/Clark recent financial investments

Maven Capital Partners has led a £5.5m investment into Flexlife, an Aberdeen-based energy service business. In the face of significant competition for the mandate from other private equity houses, Maven has syndicated the deal with the respected energy sector fund, Simmons Parallel Energy. The new funding package will help support Flexlife through its next phase of development.

Maven Capital Partners has bought a controlling stake in the R&M Engineering oil services business from Robbie Mackay in a £5 million deal that shows its faith in the potential of the North Sea market. The Glasgow-based private equity investor believes R&M Engineering could enjoy years of strong growth amid booming investment in the North Sea. Based in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, R&M Engineering provides services like the design and fabrication of modules and pipework for oil rigs that are being refurbished or for new facilities.

Private equity firm Maven Capital Partners has led a £14 million management buyout of Forfar- based specialist mechanical and hydraulic engineering firm, Rmec Ltd. Glasgow-based Maven has invested £7.5 million to support the Rmec buyout, which will be utilised to expand its rental fleet, further develop its workshop and storage facilities and bolster its management team. Rmec specialises in the manufacture, maintenance, repair, testing, recertification and rental of well services equipment for the oil and gas industry. It currently employs 20 staff and is reported to have generated sales in the region of £9 million in the most recent financial year.

In March 2013, Maven clients invested £4.6 million to acquire the former Clarence Hotel in Llandudno, North Wales. The property had been vacant for some time and the existing structure will be comprehensively refurbished, along with a limited new-build on parts of the upper floor, to provide 82 en-suite bedrooms to Travelodge’s specifications with a further two retail units on the ground floor.

The transaction qualifies for BPRA (Business Premises Renovation Allowance) which enables UK taxpaying investors to claim tax allowances against much of the capital invested in refurbishing the empty building and returning it to commercial use. The completed development is scheduled for completion in Spring 2015.

Maven Capital Partners has secured £7 million of funding to deliver an new hotel development in Glasgow’s Merchant City. The Glasgow-based private equity firm said the funding scheme, utilising the benefits of the Business Premises Renovation Allowance (BPRA), will include the purchase of Telfer House, a currently empty office building.

Maven said the building will be refurbished into a 96-bedroom ibis Styles hotel, which will be managed by specialist hotel management company, RedefineBDL. Ramsay Duff, of Maven Capital Partners, said: “We are delighted to have secured this opportunity for our investors, offering useful tax incentives with a high quality underlying property asset.

 

 

Politics

10 Jun 2017: A crowd-funder begging advert: Please donate to support Colin and send him to represent the Gordon constituency at Westminster. Only Colin can join and contribute to the Government at Westminster. Fighting an election costs money as we need to produce letters, leaflets, posters and campaigning materials to help Colin get his message out across the Gordon and beat Alex Salmond. We need £2000

 

 

Tory defence of the independence of Scottish affairs

The 2017 General Election returned a bakers dozen of Conservative Scottish MPs to Westminster. Ruth Davidson’s force provided the numbers allowing a minority of English MP’s to form a UK government with a barely operational majority (with the support of the Democratic Unionists furnished with a £1.5 billion bribe).

Forming part of the campaigning strategy the party machine in Scotland spread the rumour that Scots Tories returned to Westminster would act as a party within a party, taking instructions from Ruth Davidson.

But that undertaking has proved to be yet another “pie in the sky” unfulfilled promise primarily due to the reality that Tory Unionist MP’s were elected to office without a workable manifesto.

There is the added fact that Ruth Davidson’s Scottish MP’s are obliged to work under the Whip system which demands absolute obedience from MP’s under threat of a removal of party support from any MP who might wish to abstain or vote against the government.

The concluding factor is Brexit. Very few elected politicians in Scotland, (including a significant number of Scottish Unionist MP’s) voted to leave the European Union but the entire block of Tory MP’s will be required to vote with the government in all events pertaining to Brexit. Hardly acceptable politics, MP’s voting against the wishes of their constituents.

 

 

1 Jan 2018: Scottish Tory Unionist MP’s Contrived Attempt to Muddy the Waters on Broadband Revealed As A Cynical Ploy To Cover Tory Government Failings (https://caltonjock.com/)

 

 

17 Jan 2018: Brexit

Scotland’s 13 Tory MPs chose pleasing Theresa May over standing up for their constituents when they voted for Whitehall’s “naked power grab” from Holyrood.

During the final stages of EU withdrawal Bill, the Tories refused to vote with all other Scottish MPs to back a Labour amendment which would have meant powers repatriated from Brussels after Brexit would have come to Scotland. (The National)

 

 

Scottish Tory MP’s vote to carry on with wage repression and increased austerity measures

The Tory government defeated a Labour Party amendment to the Queen’s Speech calling for an end to cuts to the police and the fire service, the end of the 1% public sector pay cap and to give emergency and public services a fair pay rise by 323 to 309 votes.

Northern Ireland’s 10 DUP MP’s despite speaking out against austerity before the election agreed to vote with Conservative MP’s to give Theresa May the majority she needed after she agreed a £1.5billion bung to Northern Ireland to win their votes.

There was much criticism from bodies representing Britain’s 5 million emergency and public services staff of the government’s refusal to rethink public sector cuts after their response to recent terrorist events and the courage of firefighters who risked their lives in the Grenfell Tower blaze.

Especially after Theresa May told a nurse on BBC Question Time that there is “no magic money tree” for a pay rise to stop nurses having to turn to food banks and pay day loans in the run up to her snap election, before agreeing to part with £1.5billion in return for DUP support.

The 13 Scottish MP’s should have abstained since the business had no direct impact on Scotland but they voted with the government against the amendment. So much for independent thinking.

Andrew C Bowie (Conservative – West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine)
Colin Clark (Conservative – Gordon)
David Duguid (Conservative – Banff and Buchan)
Luke Graham (Conservative – Ochil and South Perthshire)
Bill Grant (Conservative – Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock)
Kirstene Hair (Conservative – Angus)
Mr Alister Jack (Conservative – Dumfries and Galloway)
Stephen Kerr (Conservative – Stirling)
John Lamont (Conservative – Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk)
Paul Masterton (Conservative – East Renfrewshire)
David Mundell (Conservative – Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale)
Douglas Ross (Conservative – Moray)
Ross Thomson (Conservative – Aberdeen South)

 

 

 

4 Dec 2017: Gordon MP Colin Clark took time out to volunteer during a collection for the Trussell Trust foodbank.

The Scottish Conservative MP joined local councillor Lesley Berry and others at the Inverurie Tesco on Harlaw Road. Speaking afterwards, Mr Clark said: “Local people from Inverurie and the surrounding area gave very generously.

We collected a lot of tinned and non-perishable food. “The Trussell Trust provide a fantastic service, which is so important at this colder time of year as we approach Christmas. “Having met with Trussell Trust in the past, foodbanks provide a safety net and often help people engage with the relevant authorities. “We spend a lot of time doing constituency casework helping people who are finding the welfare system complicated. “Trussell Trust provide for many of those people in crisis and emergency situations.”

The Trussell Trust is a poverty charity that relies heavily on volunteers. More than 40,000 people across the UK volunteered with a foodbank over the past year, helping to get food to people in crisis. (Inverurie Herald)

Comment: Bloody cheek. It is Tory Party welfare cuts that have driven many people to despair as without funds they need to seek the assistance of charities.

 

 

 

 

18 Dec 2017: Colin Clark’s voting record in Parliament

Colin Clark, Conservative MP, votes the same way as other Conservative MPs. He has never rebelled against his party in the current parliament.

 

 

 

17 Jan 2018: Debate in the House of Commons – Cancer Treatment Policy

Henry Smith Tory MP for Crawley – Like many people in this room today, I have lost a family member to blood cancer. Five and a half years ago, my mother died from acute myeloid leukaemia, also known as AML, an extremely short time after diagnosis.With conditions such as AML, there is an incredibly short time—sometimes just a matter of days—between being diagnosed and this form of blood cancer taking a life.

A report has been published with a focus on the implementation of the cancer strategy for England, but committee members are keen to learn from examples of good practice in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Colin Clark Tory & Unionist MP for Gordon – In 2015 in the Grampian NHS Board area, which includes my constituency of Gordon, there were 265 new diagnoses of leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma, forming one in every 12 diagnoses in the area that year. In the same year, 106 lives in the Grampian area were taken by these cancers. It is crucial that we leave no stone unturned in the fight against blood cancers.

That includes research and development, on which the UK Government have a strong record that I very much hope will continue. I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the dedicated staff of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, which serves my constituency. The work of the staff in its oncology department is second to none and has saved countless lives over the years.

The start of treatment in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary’s new state-of-the-art radiotherapy department in 2014 was a welcome step forward in the treatment of blood cancers and other cancers in the north-east of Scotland. The new building enabled the team to deliver new techniques and new forms of therapy to more and more patients—a development that can only be good.

 

Across Scotland, vacancy rates for consultants and nurses are disappointingly high, However, as with Her Majesty’s Government, budgets are constrained and oncology at the ARI has not been spared, unfortunately, from long-running staff shortages. For a department that treats cancer patients not just in Gordon but across the north-east of Scotland and even further afield, that is obviously very concerning.

With 400 consultant posts now unfilled. Shortages are damaging. NHS staff and patients must have the security of knowing that their local oncology department is, and always will be, adequately staffed and given the support that it deserves.

Comment: Clark could not resist show-boating. His contribution to the debate was confined to repeating Tory party dogma always critical of the SNP government regardless of truth or a comparison of facts with the NHS in England, on staffing.

Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health) – In Scotland, there is the new medicines fund and in England there is the cancer drugs fund, a slight downside to which is that it is only for cancer. That might not be a problem for the patients that we are concerned about in this debate, but it is for people with some other diseases.

However, the fund plays a role for drugs that have not yet reached the point of being passed by NICE, but for which some hope is felt. There was obviously great anxiety when seven key treatments were removed from the cancer drugs fund a few years ago.

Something else that happened a few years ago was that a limit started to be put on the holy grail treatment of bone marrow and stem cell transplant, in that patients with a recurrence were not given the opportunity for a second transplant between the summer of 2016 and the spring of 2017, because that was no longer being commissioned.

Politicians and those high up in organisations such as NHS England need to be conscious that trying to balance the books may pull the rug from underneath people. The gap of three quarters of a year will have been catastrophic for some people who might have benefited. That must be recognised when decisions are made.

In the Scottish NHS, we do not have mechanisms such as 100-days commissioning, and hearing about it highlights to me how time, energy and people are wasted in trying to knit together a system that has become fragmented. For the cancer nurse specialists or doctors to have to try to plug a gap, or for patients to fall through the gap because, as was said in one briefing, there are CCGs and commissioning groups that do not even know they are responsible for commissioning that care after the 100 days, is a waste.

I spent more than 30 years working as a breast cancer surgeon and I would not want to have to waste clinical time in trying to deal with the gaps between stools. I think that the friction between what NHS England commissions and what CCGs are responsible for must be looked at.

Data and the auditing of performance are important for driving through the improvement of any service. I do not mean such things as waiting times, on which we all collect data, but actual clinical standards—how someone is treated and what we would expect. What would all the clinicians in the area think was good practice? I do not mean shutting things down, or units being threatened by the Care Quality Commission.

Having developed the breast cancer standards in Scotland in 2000, I can say that sitting in a room with all the breast teams of Scotland and looking at the data in a big PowerPoint on the wall is a dynamic tool for getting people to change practice. No one goes to work wanting to be the worst team in their country, region or area. Having access to actual clinical data is a great driver of quality.

In England, work is being done on setting up cancer dashboards for the four commonest cancers. In Scotland, we have them for the 11 commonest cancers. We have had Scotland-wide breast cancer data since 2003. I have seen the quality go up simply from our all meeting every year, looking at the data and challenging each other and discussing the data—and sharing solutions.

Whatever problem a unit faces—whatever the reason for their performance going down—someone else in the room will have had that problem before, and solved it. Such peer review and sharing of practice drives things forward. One of our big hopes for the cancer alliances is that they will redevelop what existed in cancer networks, which we still use in Scotland: people meet, support each other, and share practice.

The importance of research has been mentioned. As a great believer in the European Union and the things that we have gained from it, I am anxious about our leaving the European Medicines Agency, about the loss of its support mechanism on rare diseases, and about the possibility that we will be outside the clinical trials regulation system, which is designed vastly to reduce the paperwork involved in taking research forward in a clinical trial.

In the end, what we want to come from research is new treatment—new drugs. The UK is dynamic in the life sciences and the development of new pharmaceuticals, but the rather bizarre thing is that often our doctors do not get to use them. For people working in hospitals, that is getting to be a negative feedback loop. We do not get paid extra if we put patients into trials.

There is an enormous amount of paperwork, and people inevitably stay well after time to make sure that things function. If suddenly at the end of the trial period, when they might be getting the drug funded, they cannot get access to the drug for several years, until it gets through NICE in England or the Scottish Medicines Consortium, those people feel, “Who is gaining? It is not my patients.” The full debate can be found here. (https://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?id=2018-01-17a.358.4&s=speaker%3A25678#g368.1)

Comment: A marked difference. Philippa provided informed comment explaining the different and more effective cancer treatment policies in place in Scotland.

 

 

10 Jan 2018: Gatwick Airport noise

Thomas Tugendhat Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee – I beg to move, that this House has considered growth and noise reduction in Gatwick Airport. The issue of aircraft noise is incredibly important to me, and I am afraid that many in the Chamber will have heard me speak about it many times. Indeed, I have received more correspondence on this issue than on any other since I was elected.

That is unsurprising for those of us who live under the flightpath in the beautiful villages of west Kent, which are the most beautiful in England, as we all know—I declare an interest because our home is there. The impact of aviation noise on the economic prosperity and environmental sustainability of our communities has been severe.

Colin Clark Conservative, Gordon – I will just say how important the south-east airports are to the regional airports and how important economically the south-east airports are to Aberdeen. I know that he will visit the north-east soon, so today I will highlight the heliport at Aberdeen.

During his campaigning on noise, I would also like him to emphasise the issue of helicopters, because, as he is well aware, helicopters dwell, as opposed to just flying in on a flight-line.

The residents of Dyce, near Aberdeen International airport, are blighted by the noise from helicopters. I would be very grateful if he could remember helicopters as well as fixed-wing aircraft.

Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch – Order. This is a debate on a narrow subject—growth and noise reduction at Gatwick airport. Okay?

Comment: Clark just cannot resist broadcasting the negative regardless of the relevance of the content.

 

 

10 Jan 2018: House of Commons Prime minister’s Question Time

Colin Clark Conservative, Gordon – Does the Prime Minister welcome the findings of the Social Research survey (http://natcen.ac.uk/media/1528078/NatCen-What-Scotland-Makes-Of-Brexit.pdf) that the majority of Scots believe that the rules on trade and immigration should be the same in Scotland as in the rest of the UK? It looks like they agree that we are better together.

Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party – My hon. Friend has raised a very important point. People across the UK want to see controlled immigration—that is people in Scotland as well as people in the rest of the United Kingdom.

As we leave the European Union, we will be able to introduce our own immigration rules and to control that immigration to Britain from Europe. The only point of differentiation is that, of course, we do have a Scotland-only shortage occupation list to recognise the particular labour market needs in Scotland.

For the most part, that actually matches the UK-wide shortage occupation list, which shows that this is an issue for the whole of the UK, and that we need the same policy approach.

Comment: A planted question for Theresa May advertising publication of the report, the views and opinions of which contained in the report are those only of Prof John Curtice, Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University. Clark was selective in deciding the question for the Prime Minister highlighting a comment positive for the Tory government. He ignored comments on Agriculture and Fishing which indicated over 60% of the Scottish electorate wished both to be devolved.

18 Jan 2018: Debates in the Commons – Clark participated in 49 debates. Full details to be found here: (https://www.theyworkforyou.com/search/?pid=25678&pop=1#n4)

 

Scottish Tory Unionist MP’s Contrived Attempt to Muddy the Waters on Broadband Revealed As A Cynical Ploy To Cover Tory Government Failings

 

 

 

Development of Broadband in Scotland

The subject has been heavily politicised by Tory MP’s recently elected to represent Scottish communities, leading to a huge amount of hot air and misinformation.

The purpose of this article is to highlight aspects of a number of debates at Westminster and in the press. References and dates are provided so that readers can access full scripts of meetings so that they will be able to assess the correctness of the extensive paraphrasing of various statements.

 

 

 

26 Oct 2017: Theresa May Attacks Scotland’s Broadband Coverage

There were red faces for the Tories, in the Commons yesterday after Theresa May attacked the Scottish Government over superfast broadband roll-out, an issue that’s wholly reserved to the Westminster Government.

During Prime Minister’s Questions, Tory MP Luke Graham attacked the Scottish Government for not doing enough to get superfast broadband out to householders.

He said: “As of 2016, 17 per cent of the premises of in Scotland were without superfast broadband. This is compared with just 11 per cent for the UK as a whole.”

Graham then asked the Prime Minister to join with him in “calling on the Scottish Government to do more and to constructively engage with departments in Westminster to deliver this crucial service to communities in Scotland”.

The Prime Minister replied: “Can I say to my honourable friend, I think we all recognise the importance of broadband and fast broadband being available to people in our constituencies. It is for the Scottish Government to deliver this. (The National)

Comment: The Scottish Government had to intervene, given the importance of high quality broadband to the economy and the Westminster Government’s “lack of ambition” rolling out broadband access across Scotland’s widespread rural areas.

 

Matthew Hancock

 

 

16 November 2017: Westminster Debates: Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: Digital Infrastructure Investment

Colin Clark: Does the Minister agree that it is vital that the Westminster Government should invest in digital infrastructure if productivity is to be improved, particularly in rural areas like Gordon in northern Scotland ?

The constituency which I represent is a big part of Aberdeenshire, but is rated 613th for broadband performance in Scotland. That is disappointing for constituents and disastrous for business.

Matthew Hancock The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport: Absolutely. The Westminster Government is ensuring that we roll out the current generation of technology.

In terms of the next generation of technology the Westminster Government will deal directly with local representatives and authorities in Scotland by-passing the Scottish Government, because the Westminster Government intend to control the agenda for telecoms change ensuring networking upgrading is prioritised in areas suited to the political climate at that time.

Comment: Scots be fore-warned. The Thatcher-like asset stripping “agenda” that will follow Brexit will render a government in Scotland null and void with consequences. (theyworkforyou)

 

Mundell

 

 

22 November 2017: Westminster Debates: Rural Communities in Scotland: Broadband

John Lamont MP: BT and “Openreach” are not without blame.

Following negotiations and demands from Ofcom, “Openreach” is now a legally separate entity, but it is still wholly owned by BT’s parent holding company, BT Group plc.

The situation we find ourselves in, in Scotland, with a massive digital divide between urban and rural, has been entirely created by historical decisions made by the Westminster Government centralised control and direction of BT.

Had BT been instructed to invest in Scotland’s network in the way that it should have, both governments would not be facing these difficult challenges today.

BT has been permitted by the Westminster government to systematically pick off the low-hanging fruit in broadband roll-out, focusing it attention on cities and commercially viable areas to the exclusion of the much harder-to-get residents in Scotland’s rural communities because of the additional costs it would incur and which the Westminster Government would not finance.

By design the Westminster Government has forced many rural communities in Scotland to look at self-help options to find solutions for their poor broadband connections when “Openreach” has refused to help. Scots are innovative and smart, but many have struggled with the bureaucracy of the schemes and the cost involved.

Ofcom’s December 2016 report, “Connected Nations”, which has been referred to, describes the urban-rural divide well, states:

“While 89% of premises in the United Kingdom can receive superfast broadband, there are 1.4 million premises that cannot get download speeds greater than 10 megabits per second. Those are disproportionately in rural areas, and the problem is particularly bad in Scotland.”

Comment: The vast bulk of rural areas are in Scotland and they have suffered greatly from many decades of under investment by the Westminster government. Rural communities in the Scottish Borders and in the Highlands need to be given an increased broadband development priority fully financed by the Westminster controlled “Openreach” corporation. (theyworkforyou)

 

Fergus Ewing

 

 

01 Dec 2017: Setting the record straight on broadband in Scotland – By Fergus Ewing Msp

Scottish Conservative MPs at Westminster have spent the past weeks spreading misinformation on the facts of broadband in Scotland culminating in this letter to the First Minister:

Dear First Minister,

Over the last week, you have made a number of remarks regarding the roll-out of broadband in Scotland. Ultimately, we are all in agreement that the priority is people having the decent broadband connections they need, because we know that broadband is not a luxury; it is crucial for businesses and individuals across Scotland. However, we have serious concerns about the speed of broadband roll-out in Scotland and your Government has questions to answer. To be clear, we are not disputing what you have done. We are criticising what you have not done.

In 2014, the UK Government allocated over £20m for Phase 2 of the superfast broadband roll-out to the Scottish Government, designed to deliver superfast broadband coverage to 95% of UK premises by the end of 2017. Three years later, not only has your Government failed to deliver this roll-out, it has failed to start procurement for it.

As MPs in Westminster, broadband is one of the issues raised most consistently by our constituents, especially for those of us representing rural seats. So we would be grateful if you could provide us with answers to these straightforward questions:

First, why have some English local authorities not only contracted the second phase. but have moved onto the third, before the Scottish Government have even got started procuring Phase 2

Second, do you accept that Scotland is behind every single English local authority, the Welsh Government and Northern Ireland in its approach to Phase 2

Third, can you confirm that every local authority region in Scotland will see new broadband delivery in both 2018 and 2019? We look forward to a Swift response.

You have spoken of the Scottish Governments ambition on broadband. This is to be welcomed and targets such as R100 are laudable. But the time of promises is over – we need to see delivery so that the people of Scotland get the broadband they need. We are copying this letter to the Secretary of State for Scotland, the Minister for Digital, and your Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity.

Letter signed by Tory MP’s: Alistair Jack, Andrew Bowie, Colin Clark, Stephen Kerr, John Lamont, David Duguid, Paul Masterton, Bill Grant, Kirstene Hair and Ross Thomson.

 

 

The Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary responsible for digital connectivity, Fergus Ewing MSP, responded to their comments and set the record straight: Superfast broadband availability in Scotland has increased at a faster rate than other UK nations. He wrote.

Dear Members of Parliament:

There has been a great deal of misinformation from the UK Government on broadband delivery in Scotland in recent weeks. I am delighted, therefore, to take this opportunity to set the record straight, by answering the three questions outlined in your letter.

 

 

1. Why have some English local authorities not only contracted the second phase but have moved onto the third, before the Scottish Government have even got started procuring Phase 2?

The short answer is we didn’t choose to do DSSB in phases. English local authority projects were of a far smaller scale than our Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme and required additional phases.

Rather than taking forward 32 individual local authority-led procurements, we took the joint decision with local government partners, and the UK Government, that we would aggregate public investment across two regional projects in Scotland. This created a scale that has dwarfed any other project in the UK, extending broadband access to over 800,000 premises across Scotland so far, with further deployment to follow throughout 2018.

The success of this approach, and the resultant scale of our ‘Phase 1’ project, removed the need to progress a Scottish ‘Phase 2’ project in a similar timescale to other parts of the UK. In effect, the DSSB programme is Phases 1, 2 and 3 rolled into one.

The idea that Scotland is behind the rest of the UK simply because we haven’t yet launched a second procurement is laughable. The DSSB programme was constructed to avoid the need for successive small-scale procurements.

The success of this approach is demonstrated by the coverage figures. The most recent Ofcom data shows that Scotland has made the fastest progress of any of the UK nations in extending superfast access.

Now that the coverage footprint of DSSB is known, it makes sense to launch a new procurement, which we will do in the coming weeks. Crucially, we are doing this to deliver our commitment to 100% superfast broadband access by 2021 – a commitment that does not exist anywhere else in the UK.

 

 

2. Do you accept that Scotland is behind every single English local authority, the Welsh Government and Northern Ireland in its approach to Phase 2?

I completely reject this claim. As outlined above, the DSSB programme has delivered more than any other Phase 1 project anywhere in the UK. It will continue deployment throughout 2018, at which point the new Reaching 100% (R100) programme will kick in.

Prior to our intervention, broadband coverage in Scotland had lagged behind the rest of the UK for a variety of reasons, including the challenging nature of our geography, low population density and the regulatory environment. The scale of investment delivered through DSSB, and the speed at which it has deployed, has seen Scotland close the gap on catch the rest of the UK in coverage terms.

As noted above, the latest Ofcom figures demonstrate this: superfast broadband coverage in Scotland increased by 14% over the previous 12 months – the largest increase of any of the UK nations; and that percentage coverage in Scotland is now higher than in many English local authorities.

We are now ready to launch the R100 programme; but it is important to understand that the R100 programme is not equivalent to the Phase 2 projects progressed elsewhere in the UK. It will deliver superfast access to every premise in Scotland. No other part of the UK has made such a commitment.

The UK Government appears happy to stop at 95% superfast coverage across the UK and consign those in the most rural areas to the slow-lane in terms of speeds, either through a 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation or by seeking a hastily constructed deal with BT to deliver something similar.

I wholeheartedly agree with John Lamont, who argued in the recent Westminster Hall debate on broadband, that the UK Government should have set the broadband USO at a higher speed than 10Mbps.

The Scottish Government does not believe that 10Mbps is acceptable for rural Scotland; which is why we will invest to ensure that 30Mbps is available to every home and business.

It is deeply unfortunate that the UK Government, which has the power to set a superfast USO or to invest directly in high-speed infrastructure across all of the UK, have chosen to do neither.

I would hope that the leadership shown by the Scottish Government would be welcomed by all Scottish MPs and, indeed, that you will urge the UK Government to match the ambition that we are showing in what is, of course, a reserved area.

 

The three amigo’s

 

3. Can you confirm that every local authority region in Scotland will see new broadband delivery in both 2018 and 2019?

The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) programme will continue to deliver throughout 2018, utilising Gainshare and other residual funds within both contracts, and this will extend into every local authority area.

We will formally launch the R100 procurement process in the coming weeks. This procurement will take place in parallel with continuing DSSB delivery through Gainshare, and we expect that R100 deployment will be underway across all of Scotland in 2019.

The truth is that the Scottish Government, and our local authority partners, have developed an enviable delivery track record on broadband in recent years. The DSSB programme has delivered broadband access at a scale unmatched anywhere else in the UK.

800,000 premises and counting now have broadband available as a result of our investment. Audit Scotland has recognised the success of the programme and Ofcom figures demonstrate that the coverage gap has been closed.

It is hugely unfortunate that a new intake of Scottish MPs appear intent on overlooking the facts, and underplaying what has been a success story for Scotland. This should be an opportunity for us to celebrate the success of the DSSB programme – a joint investment between our two Governments – and to collectively turn our attention to finishing the job through the R100 programme.

Instead, the UK Government has committed just £20.99 million to the programme – less than the amount allocated to Devon and Somerset for a less ambitious programme, and substantially less than the Scottish Government’s planned investment. Persuading UK Ministers to address this disparity in funding would seem to me to be a far more fruitful use of your time at Westminster than parroting baseless and false claims about broadband delivery in Scotland. I trust this response sets the record straight. (Fergus Ewing)

 

 

 

21 Dec 2017: Full Fibre & 5G Broadband – Questions Answered in the Commons 

The Minister for Digital (Matt Hancock): The Westminster Government will control the implementation of the new full fibre and the 5G programme directly through local representatives and authorities to ensure efficient delivery.

Alan Brown (Kilmarnock and Loudoun) (SNP): Scottish Tory Back Bencher’s are agreed that clause 11 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is flawed and amounts to a power grab. Is the Westminster Government’s ill-judged proposals for broadband not the same, and is it not time that the Minister worked with the Scottish Government instead of trying to bypass them?

Mrs Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed) (Con): My constituency of North Northumberland is on the southern side of the border, (just a line on a map as far as my constituents are concerned). The entire community (despite implementation of broadband being devolved to local authorities) is still struggling to get the broadband it needs and many of my small villages are cut off. Will the Minister commit that, in 2018, we will see progress in the rural communities in England?

Matt Hancock: The Westminster Government controls all aspects of telecommunications in the UK and is increasingly mindful of the need to ensure delivery of acceptable levels of broadband to the rural communities of Northern England and in the Borders of Scotland.

Brendan O’Hara (Argyll and Bute) (SNP): In this the season of good will, will the Minister join me in congratulating the Scottish Government following last week’s announcement that, despite it being a reserved ​matter, they are to invest £600 million in rolling out 30 megabit superfast broadband across Scotland, with priority given to rural Scotland, thereby making Scotland a truly world-class digital nation by 2021?

Matt Hancock: I will certainly join the hon. Gentleman in wishing a merry Christmas to everybody in the Scottish National Party and the SNP Government in Scotland. (Hansard)

Comment:

Matt Hancock MP, UK Minister for Digital evidently needs to justify the Westminster Government’s ill judged decision to deny the Scottish Government any input to the development of 5G networking. On 23 Oct 2017 he was quoted saying:

“I’m delighted that more than 800,000 Scottish homes and businesses have now had their internet speeds boosted as part of our UK wide rollout of superfast broadband. By the end of this year 95 per cent of UK properties will have access to superfast speeds, but more needs to be done to make sure no-one is left behind. We know just how important broadband is in the digital age, and we’ll continue to support Digital Scotland delivering on the ground so that by 2020 everyone in Scotland will have access to a fast, reliable and affordable internet connection.” (ispreview)

The contribution of Mrs Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed) (Con) was significant since it revealed the duplicity of the Westminster Government’s claims to be more efficient at rolling out broadband to rural communities than the Scottish Government

 

 

23 Sep 2015: Clark Integrated Computers – Turrif and Fyvie

Austen and Graham Clark are brother’s of the recently elected MP for the Gordon constituency Colin.

Whilst wealthy Colin remained in farming and other business, including politics, in his spare time, his brothers established their own computer support company based in the former Towie Tavern between Turrif and Fyvie.

A very real success story the award winning firm delivers a wide range of information and communications technology products and services to clients throughout Scotland and beyond through strategic partnerships with vendors such as Cisco, Microsoft, HP, Dell and Apple.

Asked why the brothers built an IT company in the middle of the Aberdeenshire countryside the response from Austen was:

“A rural location was not without its challenges but a 100 megabit per second fibre optical cable running past the front door, easier access to routes north and the very nature of the business meant that Towie Tavern was as good as any other location. It is also easier to get to for most of our staff who must be glad they don’t have to commute to and from traffic congested Aberdeen every day.”

The company aims to double the size of its business over the next 3 to 5 years as technological advances continue to be developed at a rapid pace.

The full article can be found here: http://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-press-and-journal-aberdeen/20150923/282351153575701

Comment: Well, well. Over 2 years ago Colin Clark’s brothers were so enamoured with the 100 megabit per second high speed connection available, out in the sticks in Turrif and Fyvie that they started their computer business in that rural part of the Gordon constituency. But brother Colin is so besotted with Tory Party dogma and following the party line that he sees fit to stand up in Westminster and blaming the Scottish Government for failing to roll-out broadband in Scotland’s rural communities well realising that he is talking absolute twaddle.