Categories
Scottish Referendum

Barney (Rubble) Crockett – Labour Leader – Aberdeen City Council – I do It My Way – If You Don’t Like It Tough – Live With It

 

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Aberdeen City Council leader Barney Crockett

There is a perspective that Aberdeen should forward plan to cope with a declining oil industry but that isn’t what we face immediately or I feel in the medium term. Not only do we have short-term growth, in the medium term, there are major opportunities in the oil and gas and energy industries and that is going to continue and it is how we best manage this and magnify it to the benefit of everyone in Aberdeen. I think Aberdeen is an exceptionally attractive place for people to live.

 

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Responding to accusations that the Labour led Aberdeen Council,(led by himself) had ridden rough shod over a democratic process, (the outcome of a properly conducted local referendum, which had voted in favour of the proposal) in rejecting plans for a redevelopment of the city centre gardens, about 40% of which would have been financed by a very generous £50 million gift from a local businessman he said:

“I think wise city governance shouldn’t take forward things which are based on a bitterly divided population. It is the responsibility of Councillors to find ways of knitting people together and certainly in Aberdeen’s case, knitting together a very dynamic business community with the wider social sphere”.

He further  summarized:

“Aberdeen Council business is restricted to local policy issues and these are not subject to referenda. I think, and always have believed, that referendums should be kept for constitutional issues.”

Comment: Was his decree made known to the Aberdeen citizens that voted in the referendum? Is this his policy?

 

 

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Contrast the foregoing with a follow up a few weeks later.

Aberdeen City Council has been accused of “promoting a No vote” in September’s independence referendum by endorsing Scotland’s membership of the UK in a letter circulated to council tax payers.

In a message outlining the council’s budget plans, leader Barney Crockett wrote: “The Council’s position is clear, as we agreed at our meeting in December last year we recognize that Aberdeen is stronger now and will be stronger in the future – economically, politically and socially – as a partner within the United Kingdom.”

The opposition demanded to know who authorized the approach and that the Chief Executive needed to intervene to ensure that the misuse of council financial resources should cease.

They further added, “The simple truth is that this was a grotesque misuse of council resources by the council leader, attempting to influence the voting behavior of the citizens of Aberdeen and inappropriately using local authority money to pay for it.”

 

 

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Summary.

The outcome of a local referendum was set aside, (to the detriment of the citizens of Aberdeen) by a Labour/Tory coalition, Led by Mr Barney Crockett acting on his belief and guidance that they were not bound by the results. In any event the business of the Council being restricted by statute to the formulation and implementation of local policy decisions. Outcome, an unhappy electorate.

Also noteworthy is the narrow minded view of Barney Crockett who, in his letter to Aberdeen householders said, “Aberdeen is stronger now and will be stronger in the future – as a partner within the United Kingdom.” No matter Aberdeen’s safety, (from the impact of the policies of Westminster politicians) is guaranteed by oil and energy.

The rest of Scotland however is getting weaker and  will continue to suffer the ravages of increasingly right wing governments, based in the city/state of London who have no interest in the affairs of Scotland, except taxation income.

Comment:

Barney Crockett epitomizes everything that is wrong with both the Labour and Tory Party’s in Aberdeen.  The public votes but the Con/Lab council decides. It is their way or the  highway.  What a sad city led by a bunch of self serving opportunists.

 

 

 

 

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Categories
Scottish Referendum

Scotland’s Old Age Pensioners – Driven to Poverty – Sacrificed on the Alter of Bankers Greed and an Uncaring Government

 

 

 

 

 

Mortality Rates & Pensions

Up to the early 1950’s, Scottish mortality rates were broadly comparable with the rest of the UK. But from that time, (attributed to increased levels of deprivation) life expectancy, in Scotland has hardly increased over a period of 60+ years. In England, (over the same period) rates steadily increased year on year and there is now a very significant gap in life expectancy between England & Scotland.

 

 

 

 

England Home Counties & London

Male pensioners, (approximately 1 million) of affluent areas of London & the South East of England enjoy a life expectancy of approximately 80 years. Female life expectancy,(similar in total)is approximately 84 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scotland

In Scotland, male life expectancy is approximately 72 years. Female life expectancy is approximately 78 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scottish Pensioners Ripped Off – Subsidising Pensioners in the South of England

Allow individual pension contribution payments, (through taxation) approximately £60,000, (assume 40 years @ £1500 per annum) are the same for all taxpayers.

Maximum pension payments to male Scots. £6k x 7 years = £42K

Maximum pension payments to male English. £6K x years = £90K

Maximum pension payments to female Scots. £4k x 13 years = £52K

Maximum pension payments to male English. £6K x 19 years = £76K

Summary.

Scottish pensioners are heavily subsidizing pension payments of English pensioners. In his article the, “Artful Dodger”, (Gordon Brown) proves once more that, “liars can figure but, “figures don’t lie”. Ignore the negative hype of the, “No” campaigners we should not be subsidizing pension payments for the rest of the UK. Vote, “Yes” to independence.

 

 

 

 

 

Worrying Statistics

The Office of National Statistics provides, age expectancy for 2010-2012, the years most favourable to England;

London & SE England: Males 80y Females 84y.

Glasgow & West of Scotland; Males 73y Females 78y.

Babies born in Glasgow & West of Scotland that reach age 65y; Males 73% Females 79%, (attrition rates much higher than those enjoyed by males and females in London & S/East England)

27% of males and 22% of females in Glasgow & West of Scotland will contribute to a pension all of their working lives and get NOTHING in return by way of pension, (Nice saving Mr Osborne). Scotland is poorly served by the United Kingdom. We would be much better off running our own affairs.

So as to be fair, I selected one, (similar in population density) conurbation in each country, namely,”Glasgow & West of Scotland & London & S/East England”.

Statistics extracted reflect an accurate snapshot of age expectancy in both countries.

Scotland is much worse off in the UK. Our people are dying much earlier than those in England and life expectancy for 25%+ of our children indicates they may not survive beyond age 65y. 

A damming indictment of the so called fair and equal distribution of resources in the UK. Time we were out of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pensions have been severely eroded from the time Gordon Brown changed the rules and tied old age pensions increases to the rate of inflation.

Brown, armed with his insider  knowledge well knew that all was not well with the UK economy and the adverse effects of his change would be to hit pensioners very hard. Indeed the old age pension was increased, in the first year by a miserable 14pence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Banking Crisis – Old Age Pensioners – driven to poverty meeting the heavy cost of the Bankers bail out

The financial crisis has had and will continue to have a negative impact on pensions and pensioner poverty will continue to increase. This due to the Westminster governments, (Labour then Tory) fiscal policies.

The Uk taxpayer (including pensioners) owe the world bankers nearly £1.8trillion.  Interest payments are horrendous and it is doubtful the prime sum  of loans will ever be repaid.

David Cameron, George Osborne and the rest of the Tory Party introduced the phrase “austerity, we are all in it together” to the nation.  Many of the electorate in England and Wales believed the mantra and returned the Party to office in 2015,  for another 5 years.

But bankers in the UK who plunged the nation into financial crisis have escaped unpunished. Indeed there are many former bankers and associated politicians appointed to high office as peers of the realm who now sit in judgement over the many millions of citizens they ripped off.

Bankers who remained in the “bailed out by the taxpayer banking system”  have been and are continuing to attract bonus payment measured in the hundreds of £million simply for doing their job. The rich have got much richer and old age pensioners and many other member of society are increasingly dependent on charity (faced with a lack of support from an uncaring welfare state) to remain alive.

Apart from severe cuts in welfare the major weapon deployed by the government was and still is maintaining interest rates at or near zero. The policy, has in effect reduced the value of pensions by around 30% in the past 10 years resulting in ever increasing numbers of pensioners needing welfare assistance which cannot be guaranteed. Other changes in the pipeline will result in many more cases of pension poverty.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Scottish Referendum

Barnett Formula To Be Abandoned After Brexit – Little Englander Politicians in Scotland Ecstatic At the News

 

 

 

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A Majority of Westminster and Scottish Unionist Politicians of all Party’s are Opposed to maintaining the Barnett Formula much beyond the completion of the Brexit process

An English political (Tory) insider recently let slip, “We are fed up financially subsidising the lazy Scot’s pampered welfare state philosophy. The time to act is after we persuade them their future is with the present setup.”

Plans are being put in place, (for implementation early in the next parliament, (2021-26) replacing, “Barnett” introducing an, “equality” formula, based on each individual within the UK being allocated an equal annual financial allocation. There will be, “few” riders allowing for social factors.

Estimates are that the North East & North West of England and South Wales will benefit but Scotland stands to lose between £8-12 billion.

The forecast reductions are exclusive of £4 billion austerity cuts already scheduled for implementation (2017-20)

The changes will require the Scottish government to drastically rethink strategy, regarding Welfare Benefits, Health Care and Care in the Community.

In addition financial support to local councils and other as yet undefined areas e.g. Charities, in Scotland will  be greatly reduced.

Be alert to Westminster and Scottish Unionist politicians announcing handouts and gifts in the  next 2 years.

The full might of the Westminster controlled BBC and other media will be released on Scots in the form of an extended charm offensive in the Brexit process.

 

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Barnett Formula in Action

Assume the UK annual national financial pot is:  £50,000

Assume contributions to the National pot, taxation, vat etc: England £30,500, Scotland £15,000, Wales £2500, Ireland £2000.

Westminster “top slices” government running costs, parliament, defence,etc; £20,000.

Add interest payment pertaining to National debt. £10,000.

Total centralized operating costs £30,000.

Residue of £20,000 is, “Barnett Shared” between the Countries that make up the UK.

England £15,000, Scotland £3000, Wales £1000, Northern Ireland £1000.

 

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Summary

Scots contribute 30% to the annual total income of the U.K. for a return of 15% plus the safety umbrella of the UK parliament”.

The State controlled media in the UK will be delivering the message that Scots are not meeting their obligations to Westminster and English taxpayers are subsidising lazy Scots (Ruth Davidson’s own words).

Do not fall for this many times stated untruth. Have the courage to vote Yes in any future Independence Referendum .

 

 

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Categories
Scottish Referendum

Boys Toys for the Big Boys

Boys Toys for the Big Boys

Retention and replacement of Trident beyond 2015 will cost the UK a few billion pounds. Westminster politicians are agreed it will only be retained and replaced if it remains in Scotland since finding suitable facilities in other parts of the UK is impossible as all possible locations are located in heavily populated areas where storing nuclear warheads is dangerous

Tony Blair, (remember Teflon Tony) in his recent autobiography, explained why he proposed a renewal of Trident. He acknowledged that “the expense is huge, and the utility in a post-cold war world is less in terms of deterrence, and non-existent in terms of military use”. In any event, it is “frankly inconceivable we would use our nuclear deterrent” without the United States using theirs. “In the final analysis,” he wrote, “I thought giving it up too big a downgrading of our status as a nation”.

Asked for his views, former chief of defence staff, Field Marshal Lord Carver was recently quoted, saying, “Trident. What the bloody hell is it for?”

So it looks like the real answer to this question is Blair’s confession that scrapping our nukes would be the “downgrading of our status as a nation”.

Spending a fortune on an expensive, “boys toy” so that Westminster politicians can, “big it” on the world stage is unacceptable to the Scottish
electorate, as expressed to Westminster through their elected representatives. A “yes” vote in the referendum will require Westminster to address the matter. It might be they will relocate Trident utilising the newly developed, “deep port” facilities near London.

A reminder, hopefully timely for any Labour Party supporter one as yet undecided on their voting intentions in the referendum. The Labour Party, (including the Scottish Branch) under the control of Mr Miliband are committed to a pursuit of the, “Coalition Government’s” austerity policies, if they form a government in 2015. It is time the Scottish Labour Party and Trades Unions listened to and acted upon the wishes of those who support them and support the, “Yes” campaign. With Labour on board Scotland would be assured of independence and the probability of forming the next government in Scotland.

Categories
Scottish Referendum

Monetary Union Red Herring

I have kept my counsel until now but, in light of uncertainty maliciously created by Mr Darling, at the time of the debate last week, now is an opportune time to provide explanatory information completely debunking Flipper Darling and his erstwhile fellows. In the spitit of Clause 30 of the Edinburgh Agreement, lets put this matter to rest until after the referendum is complete

AGREEMENT between the United Kingdom Government and the Scottish Government on a referendum on independence for Scotland

Clause 30 – Co-operation

The United Kingdom and Scottish Governments are committed, through the Memorandum of Understanding between them and others, to working together on matters of mutual interest and to the principles of good communication and mutual respect. The two governments have reached this agreement in that spirit. They look forward to a referendum that is legal and fair producing a decisive and respected outcome. The two governments are committed to continue to work together constructively in the light of the outcome, whatever it is, in the best interests of the people of Scotland and of the rest of the United Kingdom.

Recently, misleading presumptions about what international law requires and seeming indifference to the necessity of negotiations following a possible pro-independence vote in Scotland on 18 September have framed the referendum debate. Politicians can always craft arguments around faulty presumptions and then make a dire outcome sound eminently plausible. But the fate of Scotland cannot be so easily disposed of by George Osborne.

The Chancellor’s 13 February speech in Edinburgh, in which he rejected any currency union between Scotland and the remainder of the United Kingdom (rUK) in the event that Scotland’s voters approve independence, was partly based on the presumption that the rUK would be the “continuator” state of the existing United Kingdom. This means that the United Kingdom would continue as essentially the country it currently is (shorn of Scottish territory), oblivious to any equitable claims by Scotland and dictating that Scotland start from scratch, or with a “clean slate”, to establish a resurrected independent nation.

The alternative to the antiquated continuator argument would be to view both Scotland and the rUK as two co-equal successor states (even though the rUK is obviously the larger of the two) whose fates are tied to an amicably negotiated transition from one nation to two nations following a “yes” vote on the referendum. International law recognises that possibility of a negotiated outcome, one that can be easily embraced by both Holyrood and Westminster if their mutual intent is to facilitate a smooth transition, rather than one seeking to sabotage it.

By laying down the gauntlet of rejecting any currency union with Scotland even before any referendum vote has taken place, and promising to “punish” the Scottish people if they vote for independence, Osborne overlooked an inconvenient truth. His entire argument rests on the presumption that no workable currency union is plausibly negotiable between Scotland and the rUK in the aftermath of a vote for independence. He simply assumes nothing can or would be negotiated in terms of the character or functioning of a currency union that would work to the benefit of both the rUK and Scotland.

Yet there will be negotiations following a pro-independence vote. Otherwise, the rUK would have far too much to lose on other fronts that also require negotiations, talks London will be keen to take up but which the Scottish government, if it follows Osborne’s punitive example, could refuse to negotiate about at all. Scotland need not negotiate sharing the UK debt and could simply let Westminster shoulder the entire estimated UK debt of £1.6trn in 2016/17. That is certainly the logic of the rUK being a continuator state. Nothing in international law requires Scotland to pay one sterling pound of UK debt if the rUK is deemed the continuator state. Nonetheless, the Scottish government has already offered to accept the liability of an estimated £100-£130bn as an independent Scotland’s share of the overall UK debt, but only as the end point of post-referendum negotiations.

Dire warnings that Scotland’s credibility in the markets would somehow nosedive if this transfer of debt were to happen overlook two simple facts. First, the UK Treasury already has agreed to cover all UK gilts in the event of independence, a point Osborne made in his speech. So there is no default on the horizon to panic investors. Second, Scotland would start afresh as a debt-free nation with the apparent agreement, indeed blessing, of the rUK. Perhaps Westminster really has decided to absorb completely the UK debt and thus not negotiate, but rUK taxpayers may wonder about the wisdom of such folly, particularly by a Conservative government. Creditors and investors might view the Scottish position – one of willing to pay, in good faith, its fair share of the UK debt but reluctantly avoiding that financial burden if London insists on being a continuator state and rejecting negotiations – as a sign of financial strength and political acume, rather than weakness or naivety in Edinburgh.

If Osborne’s pre-emptive rejection of a currency union stands, Scotland could sit back in the aftermath of a pro-independence vote and watch the rUK potentially lose a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, impose extremely onerous conditions on removal of the entire British nuclear submarine fleet from Faslane by Independence Day, force the rUK into a much more difficult relationship with the European Union that may accelerate British withdrawal, and, perhaps most importantly, refuse to negotiate a reasonable division of UK assets in a manner that would hurt the rUK more than Scotland.

None of this silly face-off has to happen. The logical outcome of a pro-independence vote is negotiations to facilitate a smooth transition with the goal of advancing the best interests of the citizens of each nation. Indeed that is exactly what was indicated in Clause 30 of the Edinburgh Agreement signed in October 2012 and which is internationally admired as a model of consensual deal-making.

Instead, Osborne launched a pre-emptive strike to kill post-referendum negotiations. He may think he is a realist playing hard politics to bring Scotland to heel, but these are tactics the Scottish government could also successfully employ but smartly has rejected – at least for now.

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/02/flaw-osbornes-pre-emptive-strike-against-currency-union