Jim The Unionist Murphy – Politics and Religion – Conflicting Views – Election Strategy 2010 and 2015 – A Summary of Posts to Date

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January 2015; Jim Murphy plays the class warrior card

a. If Murphy were a bibulous carnivore, I’m sure he’d happily stand Boris Johnson a beer and a burger for the huge boost the Mayor of London has given his hopes of reigniting Labour’s flame in Scotland. By attacking so vehemently Murphy’s plans to use the taxes on home owners in Chelsea and Kensington to fund an extra 1000 nurses in Scotland, Boris has earned the new Scottish Labour leader’s eternal gratitude. Mind you, I suppose a glass of beetroot juice and a nut cutlet would be a more appropriate reward from Mr Murphy – a teetotal vegan – but the response from Boris, in describing the plan as “vindictive”, has been like manna from heaven for Scottish Labour.

b. It may well have been a wholly cynical and desperately short-term and short-sighted ploy, but these are desperate times, and the one thing that Murphy needs to prove to a one-time Labour congregation in West Central Scotland is that he’s no Blairite Right-winger; rather, that he’s an in-your-face class warrior ready to hammer the toffs. And if someone like Boris Johnson, who’s seen by many as the epitome of an Eton-educated posh boy, takes Jim to task in such terms, then that can only be to Labour’s advantage on the doorsteps of places like Glasgow, Dundee, West Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire, which all ignored their former party’s advice and voted Yes in September’s referendum.

c. Murphy’s unashamed, and frankly provocative, plan to equate what is essentially a tax on the English to boost Scotland will increase the pressure to scrap Barnett. The truth, of course, is that there is absolutely no need to use English taxes to pay for the extra Scottish nurses – that was little more than a cheap trick which, thanks to Mr Johnson’s ill-judged intervention, achieved the desired result.

d. Murphy was determined to make an impact with his first major speech as Scottish leader. It wasn’t much of an effort but with a little help from an unlikely friend, he’s succeeded in proving he’s a genuine class warrior who’s not scared of taking on the English, so no doubt he and his cheerleaders will be well satisfied. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/alancochrane/11329251/Provoking-Boris-Johnson-could-yet-prove-a-masterstroke-for-Jim-Murphy-as-he-plays-at-class-warrior.html

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January 2015; Jim Murphy woos voters by insisting ‘I’m no Unionist’

a. Murphy’s campaign to persuade independence supporters to back Labour in the general election has attracted derision after he insisted he had “never been a Unionist”. The Scottish Labour leader said his family’s Irish Catholic background meant that belief in the 308-year-old Union between England and Scotland was not part of his “political tradition”. He said the Better Together referendum campaign had seen a “temporary” alliance between the dogmatic Unionism of the Tories and Labour’s principle of “socialist solidarity” between the people of Britain. The tour hit the headlines after Yes campaigners pelted him with eggs and vitriolic abuse, but since becoming Scottish Labour leader he has attempted to woo those who backed separation on September 18.

b. With opinion polls suggesting the SNP is on course to make major gains in May’s general election at Labour’s expense, he has explicitly appealed to 190,000 people who backed his party at the 2010 general election but voted Yes in the referendum.

c. Murphy emphasised that he was not a nationalist, saying there was no such thing as scottish identity or culture, and questioned whether “the party of Keir Hardie” has to prove how Scottish it is to beat the SNP.

d. Sandra White, an SNP MSP, said the Scottish Labour leader was trying to “rewrite history” to “distance himself from the Tories”. She added: “Does Jim Murphy really expect people to believe that despite having spent the entire referendum campaign arguing for a No vote, he does not believe in the union? It is utter nonsense and a sign of desperation that he would even attempt to claim otherwise.”

e. A Scottish Tory spokesman said: “It’s a great pity that, for short-term political reasons, Murphy now feels the need to distance himself from that great cross-party effort last year. But with Scottish Labour now trying to ape the Nationalists in Scotland, it is perhaps not that unexpected.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/11343778/Jim-Murphy-woos-Yes-voters-by-insisting-Im-no-Unionist.html

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January 2015; Murphy: the Scottish Nationalists are ‘sluggish, lethargic and off the pace’

a. Murphy, the new Scottish Labour leader, has described the Scottish Nationalists as “sluggish, lethargic and off the pace,” saying he has been “amazed” at how easy it has been to take them on. Since being elected last month, the former Scotland secretary said he had found the Nationalists far less formidable than he had been warned, despite recent polls which suggest the SNP could be on course to take dozens of seats from Labour at the general election.

b. Murphy said that despite the dire predictions of the opinion pollsters, Scottish Labour was “avowedly more confident” under his leadership, and has a target of not losing a single seat to the SNP. “I’m confident we’ll get there by the general election,” he said. “What you have to do is stand for something, and you say to those people who voted Yes that that was last year’s disagreement, and whether you keep [David] Cameron in power in May is this year’s decision. “The SNP aren’t going to be the biggest party, and the biggest party gets to decide who’s in government.

c. “I’d like to see Scotland lead the UK rather than leave it, and in May we have the chance to lead the UK away from a Tory government. “We’ve done it before, and we can do it again.” He refused to be drawn on whether he would quit his Westminster seat in order to fulfil his pledge to serve as a Member of the Scottish Parliament, even raising the suggestion that he could remain Scottish leader while not being either an MP or MSP. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/11377345/Jim-Murphy-the-Scottish-Nationalists-are-sluggish-lethargic-and-off-the-pace.html

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January 2015; Will the real Jim Murphy please stand up?

a. Labour supports the British nuclear deterrent and even if a costly replacement for Trident was shelved and something cheaper – like a Cruise-based system – was decided upon, the missiles would still be submarine-launched. And as all of the Royal Navy’s submarines are due to be based on the Clyde within five years, Britain’s independent deterrent would still be situated in Scotland – a fact that the SNP would, presumably, oppose.

b. So what’s Labour to do? Clearly, it’s best option would be to halt that Nat tide and hang onto all those Westminster seats and, thus, help Mr Miliband get that overall majority that the polls are currently saying is beyond his reach. Charged with that uphill task since the beginning of December is Jim Murphy, one of the heroes of the successful defeat of the Nats in the referendum.

c. Whether he goes from champ to chump is now Scotland’s hottest political topic. Murphy is a talented politician – even his Nat opponents concede that – but his main problem at present appears to be that he can’t make up his mind what manner of politician he is.

d. Tagged from the start as an avowed Blairite, he’s been treated as such by those once termed the Brownies in Labour’s ranks and it was unfortunate for Jim that the ‘wrong’ brother won the Labour leadership. The victory for Ed quickly saw Murphy demoted from the defence portfolio to that of international development in the Shadow Cabinet.

e. Although he’s denied the Blairite label, he didn’t help his cause by appointing John McTernan, his former special advisor and also Tony Blair’s one-time political secretary, as his chief of staff when he assumed the Scottish leadership.

f. But in an attempt both to bury that image and also to recapture those Labour voters who voted Yes against their party in the referendum and who now appear to have deserted it in droves, Murphy is brandishing his left-wing credentials.

g. He deliberately picked a fight with Tories like Boris Johnson by saying that he’d use the mansion tax in London to pay for Scottish nurses. He tried to outbid the SNP by saying he’d ban fracking until all the environmental issues connected with it were resolved. He claimed the SNP’s council tax freeze and new property taxes as benefitting the better off and he pledged that a future Labour-controlled Scottish government would re-nationalise the country’s rail services.

h. Bizarrely, at least in light of his sterling service for the No campaign last year, he assured those Labour supporters in West Central Scotland, who associate the term with the sectarian politics of Northern Ireland, by insisting he wasn’t a “Unionist”.

i. Whilst all of this will be seen as pure political posturing to regain that traditional Labour vote, it’s doing nothing for those other Unionists – Tories and Lib Dems – who may be prepared to vote tactically for Labour to stop the Nats. “ Murphy used to say that you can’t win from the Left. But that’s where he is just now and he won’t get many Centre-Right votes from there,” said one senior Tory yesterday.

j. Adding to the confusion is the fact that he won’t tell us if he’s standing for election in his Renfrewshire seat in May’s general election. All of which leads to one obvious question: Will the real Jim Murphy please stand up? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/alancochrane/11372609/Will-the-real-Jim-Murphy-please-stand-up.html

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The Roman Catholic vote – Murphy’s Strategy, (to date) in the 2015 General Election

a. December 2014: Murphy voted morally correct on only 4 out of 36 important moral issues.

i. The Christian Institute maintains a record of each MP’s voting record on moral issues. Murphy’s record is appalling. On the occasion of 36 votes in parliament he voted only 4 times in a morally correct manner. http://www.christian.org.uk/mpvotes.php?selection=&value1=198&submit1=SHOW&value2=1

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b. December 2014; Roman Catholic Canon Law & Jim Murphy

i. One of our bloggers wrote to Bishop John Keenan (Paisley) to draw his attention to the public statements of Jim Murphy MP, affirming his support for abortion. Jim Murphy is a Catholic of the Diocese of Paisley who is currently seeking to win the Labour leadership in Scotland. Click here to read more. Under Church law, manifest public sinners – and that includes those who support abortion – cannot receive Holy Communion. This is not a matter left to the discretion of any priest or bishop – Canon # 915 prohibits Communion to public sinners and it is a grave sin for any priest or bishop to flout this law. We’ve had this discussion more than once – click here to reach one of our previous conversations on the topic.

ii. Bishop Keenan declined to reply to our blogger, electing instead to delegate the matter to his Vicar General. Now, Paisley is not New York. You can go for a walk round Paisley and meet yourself on the way back. So, one might fairly expect the Bishop to answer his own mail, especially correspondence on a matter as serious as that under discussion here.

iii. The upshot of the responses from the Vicar General is that the Bishop takes pro-life issues seriously and is dealing with the matter of the “pro-choice” [i.e. pro-murder] MP privately and anyway “neither you nor I are entitled to know what transpires between a bishop and another’s soul.” What the heck does that mean? Nobody is asking what is going on in Jim Murphy’s soul but we have every right to know whether or not the Bishop is doing his duty to protect the MP himself from continuing on his – literally – damnable route by receiving Holy Communion in a manifestly unworthy state, and also whether he is doing his duty to protect the rest of the faithful from being scandalised. If Jim Murphy had publicly admitted to (let’s use a euphemism) “harming” children, the Bishop would have been in front of the TV cameras in jig time to express his shock horror and to discourage Catholics from voting for him. Surely unborn children deserve similarly robust protection from Catholic priests and prelates?

iv. The upshot of our blogger’s response to the Vicar General’s correspondence is that for the bishop to deal with this matter “privately” is not good enough since the scandal is very public and requires the enforcement of Canon 915. http://catholictruthblog.com/2014/12/10/canon-law-jim-murphy-mp/

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c. Comments;

i. Faith of Our Fathers; Jim Murphy should heed the words – What does it profit a Labour Leader if he gains the Whole Party but suffers the loss of his Soul. Or read St Thomas More,s last words – I am Gods good servant, but the Labour Parties Leader with all the trappings first.

ii. Petrus says: I agree with everything said so far. Bishop Keenan would rather take the easy option. I certainly question his commitment to prolife issues if he is unwilling to take a public stance on this. Mr Murphy didn’t hesitate to outline his support for abortion in public. The bishop’s failure to speak out is a cause of scandal to the faithful.

iii. How many Catholic members of the Labour Party will have voted for Mr Murphy not knowing his views on abortion or thinking that the Church really doesn’t have a problem with politicians being pro abortion. I’m afraid Bishop Keenan has the blood of unborn babies on his hands through his silence. We should also remember that the Bishop has also failed to protect the dignity of the Blessed Sacrament by allowing a public sinner to receive Holy Communion.

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d. Dec 2014; My fellow Catholics are the lapsed unionists behind SNP surge in the polls

i. The Catholicism of the Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has attracted some attention this week against a backdrop of fascinating political developments in Scotland. For there is plenty of evidence that people of Irish descent have been to the fore in the near – quadrupling of SNP membership to 92,000 since the referendum, which threatens to undo Labour at the 2015 UK general election.

ii. Within weeks of the referendum, Glasgow had a near five – fold rise in SNP membership and nearby Motherwell and Coatbridge had six-fold increases. These are the heartlands of a community once defined by deep Catholic loyalties. Their neighbourhoods are shared with people who adhere to a Protestant culture, but they are less likely to have been at the crest of the SNP wave. According to one poll, just 31% of non Catholics backed independence compared with no less than 57% of Catholics. http://theconversation.com/my-fellow-catholics-are-the-lapsed-unionists-behind-snp-surge-in-the-polls-35343

Mansion tax to fund nurses: Murphy

e. December 2014; Scottish Secular Society Founder Gary Otton accuses Murphy of being “a catholic fanatic”, “a Pope Benedict fan” and “a religious fanatic”.

i. Otton posted four different Facebook threads about Murphy in the space of two days, all making reference to Murphy’s religion and support for denominational schools. Robertson described some of the comments as “disturbing”. He said, “the Scottish Secular Society have posted several stories about ‘Catholic fanatic/extremist/Pope Benedict fan’ Jim Murphy over the past few days. I find it particularly disturbing this constant referral to Jim Murphy as Roman Catholic – what does that have to do with anything? It comes worryingly close to the kind of anti-Catholic sectarianism that plagued the West of Scotland – perhaps it still does. It is of no relevance or interest to me that a particular political candidate is Roman Catholic or not. Mr Murphy should be judged on his political views and abilities, not what church he belongs to. It is ironic that of all groups the Scottish Secular Society continues to highlight religious affiliation as though this were somehow a disqualifying factor.”

ii.Otton defended his remarks. saying, “The Scottish Secular Society have no problem with Mr Murphy’s beliefs, but a very great problem with the way in which we fear they will influence his political decisions. In particular, we don’t approve of support for the idea that bishops can be put in charge of sex education in Catholic schools. We are also concerned that he will defend privileges for organised religion, segregating children on the basis of their parents’ religion in denominational schools with separate staff rooms and entrances. We are utterly opposed to sectarianism in any shape or form. There is also general agreement amongst secularists that unelected religious representatives, both Catholic and Church of Scotland, voting on how Councils should deploy their limited education budgets is absurd. Murphy has been reported in the press praising the US because religion has a bigger role in politics. That is not a scenario the Scottish Secular Society would welcome in Scotland. Opinions on Facebook’s Secular Scotland are personal and social media is the appropriate place to express them. The Scottish Secular Society is the appropriate organisation to challenge the religious privileges.” http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/fury-secular-society-chiefs-sectarian-4775349

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f. December 2014; Jim Murphy Fury at Secular Society chief’s ‘sectarian, anti-Catholic’ slur

i. Scottish Labour leadership hopeful Jim Murphy has hit back at remarks from a leading secular society figure accusing him of being “a catholic fanatic”, “a Pope Benedict fan” and “a religious fanatic”. The comments, made by Scottish Secular Society Founder Gary Otton on Facebook, have been dubbed “disturbing” and are “worryingly close to anti-Catholic sectarianism”, according to one of Scotland’s leading religious figures. The next Free Church of Scotland Moderator, Rev David Robertson, said the East Renfrewshire MP has been targeted by opponents because of his catholic faith. http://www.newsrt.co.uk/news/fury-at-secular-society-chief-s-sectarian-anti-catholic-slur-on-scottish-labour-leadership-hopeful-jim-murphy-2828196.html

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Murphy’s Strategy in the 2010 General Election – Lovebomb the Catholic voter

a. January 2010; Murphy Makes His Play For the Catholic Vote

i. Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said: “Jim Murphy is taking the Labour Party into dangerous territory when he calls on it to make a special play for the religious vote. “His personal religious enthusiasm may be blinding him to the facts. It is no longer the case that clerics can dictate the way their congregations vote. People are too independent-minded now to be herded into the voting booth by religious considerations alone.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8529789.stm

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b. February 2010; Jim Murphy – risks alienating voters by over-playing religion

i. Labour’s Scottish Secretary, Jim Murphy, risks alienating the Party’s core vote if he continues to insist that it embrace a religious agenda, says the National Secular Society. Reacting to Mr Murphy’s speech in Westminster today to Labour think tank, “Progress”, Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said, “Murphy is taking the Labour Party into dangerous territory when he calls on it to make a special play for the religious vote.

ii. His personal religious enthusiasm may be blinding him to the facts. It is no longer the case that clerics can dictate the way their congregations vote. People are too independent-minded now to be herded into the voting booth by religious considerations alone. The society that we live in today is very different to the one that existed fifty years ago, and we want our politicians to reflect that change. Even in the last twenty years Scottish mass attendance has almost halved.

c. The Labour Party should rein in Mr Murphy before he does it permanent damage. A poll by ComRes published last week showed that half of those who define themselves as Christian say that religion is of “little importance” to them.”

i. He went on to say, “If the Labour Party starts favouring religious voters by promising socially regressive legislation, dictated by out-of-touch and dogmatic religious leaders, it risks alienating huge numbers of people. Other polls have shown that ordinary Catholics are completely out of sympathy with the teachings of the Catholic Church on issues such as contraception, euthanasia, homosexuality and abortion. A 2007 YouGov poll showed that only a quarter of Catholics (and only a seventh of the population) agreed with Catholic dogma on abortion. This suggests allying a political party to religion is electorally very dangerous. This is why the electoral results of the Christian Party are pitiful.”

ii. He added, ” The British Social Attitudes Survey, published last month about religious leaders trying to influence how people vote in an election, showed that 75% of respondents thought that they shouldn’t, while 67% think religious leaders should stay out of Government decision-making. When asked: “If many of our elected officials were deeply religious, do you think that the laws and policy decisions they make would probably be better or probably be worse?” Nearly half of respondents thought they would be worse, whereas only 26% thought they would be better.” http://www.secularism.org.uk/labour-risks-alienating-voters-b.html

d. February 2010; Murphy’s faith card unlikely to win votes

i.. It is interesting to note the Scottish Secretary, Jim Murphy, intends playing, “the religion card to win votes” This is the same Mr Murphy who, last month, was reported as aiming to counteract the threatened opposition of the BNP in his East Renfrewshire Westminster constituency, by uniting, “Christian, Muslim and Jewish groups to battle the party, which he described as ‘abhorrent’”.

ii. However, it should be noted that this is also the same Mr Murphy who was apparently happy to support the present government in its attempts to add further restrictions to the Equality Bill – thankfully blocked by the House of Lords – that would have removed the right of churches and other Christian organisations to refuse to employ persons who do not share their core beliefs, in particular those whose sexual conduct is contrary to the teachings of the Bible. http://www.scotsman.com/news/murphy-s-faith-card-unlikely-to-win-votes-1-792087

e. Comment:

i. Calton jock: at interview Roman Catholic candidates seeking a job as housekeeper to the parish priest might be asked, Do you wear a condom during sex? An affirmative answer would be sufficient grounds to reject the candidate. Bonkers Spud.

ii. Rev C Brian Ross, Motherwell: I think it would be more accurate to say that, instead of “Labour trying to reposition itself as the natural party of religious voters” it is trying once more to get the endorsement of the Roman Catholic Church in particular which used to be taken for granted. Labour knows that a candidate being given the Church’s blessing is worth a lot more than thousands of pounds spent on leaflets through doors. Unless the SNP candidate is called John Paul, I suppose.

iii. Barry Lees, Greenock: You describe MP Jim Murphy as being a “devout” Catholic, that is: he subscribes to all the tenets, beliefs and instructions of that faith. That being so, he cannot speak to other faiths in the way he does because one of his beliefs and prayers he will offer is for the conversion of England, and so the United Kingdom, to the Pre – Reformation beliefs and practices. Others can fill in the many fault lines in his attempt to win votes.

iv. Tom Reilly, Edinburgh: Jim Murphy’s religion, or lack of it, is of no concern to me, nor I imagine to most in Scotland. His use of religion, and his “devout” Catholicism, to further his, and Labour’s, ambitions is disgraceful. To quote Keir Hardie, it is an insult to the founders of the real Labour party. Today’s Labour is no inheritor of those principled, decent men and women, who strove to improve the lot of those at the lower reaches of society.

v. Bill McLean, Dunfermline: Jim Murphy is taking Labour into dangerous territory when he calls on it to make a special play for the religious vote A poll by ComRes published last week showed that those who define themselves as “non-religious” are equal in number to those who say they have a religion. If Labour starts favouring religious voters by promising regressive legislation, dictated by out-of-touch and dogmatic religious leaders, it risks alienating that half of the population who say religion has “little importance” in their lives. Other polls have shown that most ordinary Catholics are completely out of sympathy with the teachings of the Church on issues such as contraception, euthanasia, homosexuality and abortion. Why, then, would they want such issues on the agenda of a political party? His personal religious enthusiasm may be blinding Mr Murphy to the facts. One of those facts is that it is no longer the case that clerics can dictate the way their congregations vote. People are too independent-minded now to be herded into the voting booth by religious considerations alone.

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f. February 2010; Church launches attack on Labour government

i. The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has accused the Labour government of conducting a “systematic and unrelenting attack on family values”. The attack came as Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy, a practising Catholic, claimed religious faith had a role in British politics. Mr Murphy said in a lecture that Labour best represented people of faith. But Scotland’s most senior Roman Catholic accused the government of “undermining religious freedom”. And a spokesman for the Scottish National Party said Mr Murphy was guilty of “crude electioneering” by trying to “corner the market regarding people’s faith”. A tangible example by the government over the last decade that it acknowledged or endorsed religious values would also have been welcomed Cardinal Keith O’Brien

ii. Mr Murphy focused on the key part “values voters” can play in the election when he delivered the Progress lecture in London on Tuesday evening. He argued that faith values have always been “at the very foundations of the Labour Party”. In his lecture, the Scottish secretary said: “In the US, faith has long played a central part in politics. Not surprising for a country where 60% of people say that God plays an important part in their lives. “But it’s wrong to think that it plays no role in British politics.” The MP for East Renfrewshire added: “Faith voters massively outweigh ‘Motorway Men’ or ‘Worcester Woman’ or any other trendy demographic group identified by marketeers.”

iii. He also told the audience that like faith, the family was “another force for good” and “the most important thing in our country”. The minister added: “As well as providing a supportive intellectual environment, it’s a potential source of financial support in difficult days.” His comments were in contrast to the stated attitude of former Labour communications chief Alastair Campbell. Despite former prime minister Tony Blair’s strong religious faith, Campbell famously said: “We don’t do God”. Mr Blair himself said he had avoided talking about his religious views while in office for fear of being labelled “a nutter”. Jim Murphy said religion was at the “very foundations” of the Labour party

iv. Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Roman Catholic church in Scotland, welcomed Mr Murphy’s “recognition of the role played by faith and religion in society”. But he added: “A tangible example by the government over the last decade that it acknowledged or endorsed religious values would also have been welcomed. “Instead we have witnessed this government undertake a systematic and unrelenting attack on family values. This is a charge I personally put to Gordon Brown when we met in 2008 and I have seen no evidence since then to suggest anything has changed.” Ironically, Mr Murphy had been due to mention the Cardinal by name in his speech by saying: “When the Cardinal speaks, people listen.”

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January 2015 A summary of all posts on my blog about Murphy

a. But those same figures argue that his personality, ideology and Westminster background make him ill-equipped for the task at hand. “He’s the Marmite-plus candidate,” one Labour MP told me, noting that his, “fraught relationship” with Douglas Alexander had, “got worse” during the referendum campaign. “Jim Murphy’s the last person you would want to heal the wounds of a divided party.” https://caltonjock.com/2014/08/29/all-about-jim-murphy/

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b. Murphy’ great idea – the Employment Support Alllowance (EMA) opens the door to George Iain Duncan Smith and the Tories

Murphy was Welfare minister in the last Government and oversaw the introduction of the Employment Support Allowance (ESA), etc, no mention by the faux anti-imperialists about that. He has simply never met a blairite policy or a party-line in his entire electoral life he didn’t agree with. https://caltonjock.com/2014/12/10/jim-spud-murphy-love-him-or-hate-him-he-is-not-returning-to-westminster-holywrood-beckons/

c. Murphy the Quisling

Jim Spud Murphy: I find it difficult to express my disgust for Quisling Murphy. In every situation he takes the smarmy anti Scottish line. Have people like this no pride? Do they ever tell the truth? Is their personal career all that matters? How exactly do they differ from the bankers? https://caltonjock.com/2015/01/13/video-record-exposing-murphys-role-in-the-betrayal-of-the-dunfermline-building-society-be-warned-he-is-a-snake-in-the-grass/

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d. Miliband Pulls the strings

So, the argument advanced by Murphy that only Labour can ensure removal of a Conservative government is a misnomer since the influence of the Scottish Labour membership over the mainstream Labour party is restricted and very much neutered by the fact that Miliband calls the shots over national policy which Scottish Labour will need to bend the knee.
https://caltonjock.com/2015/01/12/whos-pulling-murphy-strings-its-a-fallacy/

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e. The Student Years

In 1995, the leadership of the National Union of Students forced through their policy dropping support for free education and living student grants, in order to smooth the way for the next Labour government to introduce fees. https://caltonjock.com/2014/12/29/jim-spud-murphy-1992-1997-the-student-union-years-and-his-carefully-planned-and-jammy-rise-to-political-office/

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f. Give him the rope and he’ll do the rest

The unionist London parties at Holyrood are trying to kid us on that they are leading the way with the direction that Scotland is taking… but they’re not. Everything they are doing is being dictated by the popularity of the SNP. Issues are being seriously talked about now that unionists laughed at us about just a couple of years ago. A prime example is the the ‘Scottish Six’ and the fact that 8.6% of the licence fee is raised in Scotland but only 2.6% of it is spent here. https://caltonjock.com/2014/12/26/jim-spud-murphy-best-way-to-let-him-hang-himself-is-to-watch-him-in-action-a-selection-of-the-best-of-his-u-tube-videos/

President Clinton’s – Labour Party Conference October 2002 – Do Not Rush To War With Iraq & Alex Salmond’s Input to The Debate 18 March 2003

salmond1. 18 March 2003; Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan):

a. Fundamentally, the debate is not about Iraq, Saddam Hussein, weapons of mass destruction or even oil, though oil is certainly a factor. The debate is about a new world order, with an unrivalled superpower adopting a doctrine of pre-emptive strike, and how we accommodate that and come to terms with that new world order. Eighteen months ago the United States had an atrocity committed against it and it is still in a trauma. The point was made a few minutes ago, and it is undoubtedly correct.

b. On 12 September 2001, the day after the attack on the twin towers, the United States was at its most powerful. In its moment of greatest extremity, the United States was at its zenith. In addition to its unrivalled military might, it carried total moral authority throughout the world. A hundred or more nations signed messages of sympathy, support or solidarity with the extremity that the United States had suffered.

c. Now, 18 months later, that enormous world coalition has been dissipated. I do not take the position that it was only a gang of four who gathered in the Azores. I accept that there are more countries—or at least countries’ Governments — who are signed up, but the coalition of the willing for the campaign against Iraq is very narrowly based. Anyone who wants confirmation of that should just count the troops: 300,000 United States and British troops, and I understand that 1,000 Australians have been asked for, and 100 Poles have been offered. That is a very narrowly based coalition indeed.

d. The Prime Minister believes, as the hon. Member for Aberdeen, North identified, that the way to accommodate the situation is to accept that the United States will be predominant and that the rest must fall into line. They can try to restrain it, but they will have to fall into line with the views of the United States Administration. That is a wrong-headed policy, and it is taking people into ridiculous positions.

Former US president and UN special envoy

e. In his undoubtedly powerful speech today, the Prime Minister argued that the weapons inspection process had never worked. He came close to saying that it had all been a waste of time. I remember a speech on 2 October at the Labour conference in which another powerful speaker went into enormous detail to show how successful the weapons inspection process had been in the 1990s and how it had led to the destruction of chemical weapons, the chemicals used to make weapons, the armed warheads and the biological weapons facility. He concluded that, “the inspections were working even when he(Saddam Hussein)was trying to thwart them.”

f. I watched that speech on television. Many hon. Members were there. The speaker was President Bill Clinton. The television was doing cutaways to Ministers, including the Prime Minister. They were all nodding vigorously last October when President Clinton said that through the 1990s that policy worked and destroyed far more weapons of mass destruction than were destroyed, for example, in the Gulf war. The Prime Minister now seems to be denying what he accepted only last October.

g. We are told that the majority of the Security Council would have voted for the second resolution, if it had not been for the nasty French coming in at the last minute and scuppering the whole process. Let us get real. Have we listened to what other countries were saying? The Chileans proposed an extension of three weeks, but they were told by the United States that that was not on. In the debate in the General Assembly, country after country expressed their anxieties about not letting the weapons inspectors have a chance to do their work. They were told that the nasty French—I am not sure whether the Conservative party dislikes the French more than the Liberals, or vice versa were being extremely unreasonable, but the French position, and the Chinese position in order to become acceptable, resolution 1441 had to be amended. Everything has been consistent in the opposition of countries that are against a rush to military action.

h. Somebody should speak up for the French, because their position has been consistent, as has that of the Russians and the Chinese. The Chinese, the French and the Russians issued a declaration on the passage of resolution 1441. It sets out exactly how the British and the United States ambassadors agreed that it was not a trigger for war. The reason that those countries did not want a second resolution was not that it would be a pathway to peace I wonder who dreamed that up in Downing street. The reason was that they saw it as a passport to war, so obviously they opposed a resolution drawn in those terms. The majority of smaller countries in the Security Council and the General Assembly countries did not want to rush to war because they saw that there remained an alternative to taking military action at this stage of the inspection process.

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i. We are told that the Attorney General has described the war as legal. We could go into the legalities and quote professor after professor who has said the opposite, but one thing is certain: when the Secretary General of the United Nations doubts the authorisation of military action without a second resolution, people can say many things about that action, but they cannot say that it is being taken in the name of the United Nations.

j. The argument is that it will be a salutary lesson, that a dictator will be taught a lesson and that that will help us in dealing with other dictators. I suspect that the cost of the action — I do not doubt the military outcome for a second will be so high in a number of ways that it will not provide a platform for an assault on North Korea or Iran, which form the rest of the “axis of evil”. I do not think that the policy of teaching one dictator a lesson and then moving on to other dictators can work. Most of us know that it will be a breeding ground for a future generation of terrorists. That is not the case because people like Saddam Hussein. The images that will be shown throughout the Muslim world will not feature him, although, without any question, he will be more attractive as a martyr when he is dead than he has ever been while alive. The images that will be shown are those of the innocents who will undoubtedly die in a conflict that will be a breeding ground for terrorism.

k. Will the nation building work? The record of the United States on nation building has not been impressive. Let me say something about one of the other countries that is being reviled at present Germany, which commits far more troops as a percentage of its armed forces to helping to secure the peace in the various trouble spots of the world for the United Nations.

l. We are told that the Prime Minister, (this is the essence of his case) will try to restrain some elements in the United States Administration and make them take a multilateral approach, but that, if that does not happen, when push comes to shove he has to go along with their policy. I say that there is a broader United States of America than the United States Government. I believe that many sections of opinion in America would welcome a vote from this Parliament today that says “Not in our name”, because the real America wants to see a stand for peace, not a rush for war

2. Mr. Malcolm Savidge (Aberdeen, North):

a. There is only one issue that we must consider today: whether we should go to war at this time and set what is, to me, the terrible precedent of starting a pre-emptive war on a dubious legal basis without the support of the United Nations. Nothing else should matter. The issue should transcend party politics. We know how the Front Benchers, Whips and others will argue that support for the war is a vital party loyalty test—whether that is support for the Conservative party or for the Labour party—but the issue is too serious for that. It should transcend our careers, whether we are Back Benchers or Front Benchers, because in this context we should regard ourselves as here today, gone tomorrow politicians. I do not remember the Prime Minister’s exact words, but he summed it up when he said something to the effect that we are talking about the future safety of the world and therefore we should be concerned about the future of our children and future generations.

b. It is not a matter of whether or not we like France as a result of what it has done. It is not a matter of trade-offs: this will not become a just war simply because we say as a trade-off that we will do something about the middle east peace process or that we will tidy up in the aftermath in a very decent way. Let us be clear about the position on UN support. The three original proposers had support from only one other member of the Security Council. Five other states said that they were opposed and there were six swing states. The Prime Minister made a lot of the position of Chile, but it proposed a delay of three weeks and was turned down out of hand by the United States. There are others who have been “unreasonable”. Those of us who put a lot of faith in the Prime Minister’s promise that war would be regarded as a last resort fear that the Bush Administration have not regarded war as a last resort.

c. The question put to the Prime Minister by the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) in respect of the unreasonable veto was not satisfactorily answered. If it was really just a question of France, why did we not put the issue to the Security Council? If the vote had been 14 to one in favour, we could have done what we did with regard to Korea and gone to the General Assembly and asked whether we had its support. We know that we would not have done that because we did not have the support of the majority of Governments in the world, and those Governments who do support us do not have the support of the majority of their population.

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d. The UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has suggested that if we go ahead in this form we will be breaching the United Nations charter. I respect the Attorney-General’s view on legality, but we must respect the fact that a wide range of senior international jurists take a different view. Therefore, the only basis on which we could go ahead would be if there was an immediate threat to justify immediate war.

e. Reference has been made to weapons of mass destruction. Iraq does not only not have nuclear weapons, but, in answer to the point made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Newport, East (Alan Howarth), Dr. el-Baradei has said that so far he sees no evidence for the suggestion that Iraq has restarted its nuclear weapons programme. Iraq has had most of its biological and chemical weapons—if it still has them, and I suspect it has—for several years. Do we believe that there is an immediate intent to attack the United Kingdom, the United States, neighbouring states or other states?

f. Mr. Francois: Does the hon. Gentleman accept that Iraq had an active nuclear weapons programme in the early 1980s and that the main reason that it did not develop the nuclear bomb was that its nuclear reactor at Osirak was destroyed by military action?

g. Mr. Savidge: I accept that it had such a programme and I have no doubt that Saddam would like to develop a nuclear bomb, but it is important to be realistic about the nature of the threats from different countries.

h. Mike Gapes: My hon. Friend refers to weapons of mass destruction. Has he read page 98 of the Blix report, which makes it clear that; “Iraq currently possesses the technology and materials, including fermenters, bacterial growth and seed stock, to enable it to produce anthrax”?

i. Mr. Savidge: That is very possible. The major threat that is suggested is not that Iraq intends to attack anyone with such weapons but that it would pass them to terrorist organisations. I have already quoted what George Tennet said on behalf of the CIA on that, and I repeat that it is important when talking about what connections countries have with terrorism to distinguish between unconditional terrorist organisations, which would be liable to wish to use weapons of mass destruction, and political terrorist organisations, which, however unpleasant or vile, probably would not have a purpose in doing so. I am talking about groups such as the Mujaheddin-e Khalq Organisation and Hamas, with which I accept that there is evidence that Iraq has had connections. As for al-Qaeda, my right hon. Friend the Member for Newport, East referred to evidence given by Vaclav Havel; in fact, Vaclav Havel later said that the information provided no clear evidence of a connection between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.

j. The Prime Minister said today that the question before us is how Britain and the world face the central security threat of the 21st century. I believe that he was referring to weapons of mass destruction, which brings us to an extremely important point. The general belief in the House has been that we should deal with that problem through a regime of non-proliferation and multilateral disarmament. That has been the common view of UK parties. That does not rule out the possibility of a counter-proliferation strike against a country that is disobeying that regime.

k. However, we have to recognise that the Bush Administration are adopting a wholly different scheme, whereby counter-proliferation, as they call it, takes absolute precedence. In a sense, they are saying, “It is okay if our friends develop nuclear weapons, but not if our enemies do,” and they choose who are the friends and who are the enemies. Let us remember that Iraq was regarded as a friend and was supplied during the 1980s, but is now regarded as an enemy. I find that approach capricious and destabilising.

l. Even more worrying is that the policy of the Bush Administration seems to be tending towards saying, “We can develop new nuclear weapons or try to make nuclear weapons more usable, and we can decide to breach the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and the security assurance that we gave under that treaty.” That is a serious aspect of the overall problem of weapons of mass destruction, especially when it is added to the doctrine of pre-emptive war.

m. I have heard the Prime Minister speak twice today, and I apologise for not being able to remember whether he said this at a meeting of the parliamentary Labour party or in the House, but it is not an internal party matter in any case. He made the point that war on Iraq was not on his agenda when he became Prime Minister in 1997, and he said that George W. Bush had told him that two days before 11 September it was not on his agenda. However, I fear that, long before 11 September, it was on other people’s agenda—namely, that of several of the hawks whom George Bush appointed to his Administration. Some time ago, I sent hon. Members an e-mail entitled “Why Now?”, which outlined some of the different things that they had said and gave original documents that one can get from various websites.

n. That raises another question. If war with Iraq was not on the Prime Minister’s or the President’s agenda in 2001, can we forget that it was not on their agenda for 10 years and say that we have been waiting for 12 years? If full-scale war was not on the agenda, why is it on the agenda now? Is it a logical response to 11 September?

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o. The Prime Minister said that we can view the United States as a major power and seek a rival pole, as a unilateral power or as a partner. I want partnership, but I have doubts. I am not happy about partnership if it means that the United States takes the decision and the rest of us are expected to follow—that to me is not partnership—or if, as seems to be happening, the Bush Administration decide what action should be taken and what should be done immediately, and allow us to supply some of the rhetoric or some of the long-term wish list.

p. If we vote for a pre-emptive war against Iraq now, we should ask ourselves what precedent we will be setting, because the hawks have already said that they have plans for other pre-emptive divisive wars. We should contrast their plan of the world with the inspirational vision set out by the Prime Minister in Brighton in 2001, when he spoke of, “the moral power of a world acting as a community”.

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3. President Clinton’s Powerful Speech to the labour party Conference in Blackpool October 2002, (6 months before the invasion of Iraq

a. His advice, so readily embraced by Tony Blair and all of his ministers was ignored. Bush and Blair ordered the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the terrible consequences have been visited upon the nations of the World, (in particular the middle East) ever since.

b. Bush and Blair are now retired and earning financial fortunes from speeches, advisory activities in support of many governments around the world and other business. But many thousands of our armed forces have died or returned home maimed through physical and or mental injury. There entire lifetime will be spent in pain as will the many thousands of families who lost their sons and daughters.

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c. Why oh Why did Blair not listen to President Clinton, Alex Salmond and Malcolm Savidge. The last 11 years and the forseeable future could have been so different.

d. The full debate: http://www.warmwell.com/iraqwardebate03.html The video: http://www.c-span.org/video/?172964-1/foreign-policy-issues

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The War Game – The Reality Of A Nuclear War – The Harrowing Film Produced By The BBC But Never Shown

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The War Game – The Reality Of A Nuclear War – The Harrowing Film Produced By The BBC But Never Shown

This award winning film was produced by the BBC but never shown on national television due to the messages it carried.

The recent vote in Westminster to retain and further develop Trident nuclear weapons at an astronomical cost expected to exceed £200 billion reminded me of the film I first viewed some 35 years ago. I am fervently against the retention of nuclear weapons which, as sure as night follows day will bring about the scenario enacted in the film.

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We present the US television premiere of Peter Watkins’ film “The War Game,” a graphic portrayal of what would happen in the event of a nuclear attack on Great Britain. The movie was so powerful and realistic that the BBC banned it from TV despite the fact that the film had been commissioned by the BBC and had won an Academy Award in l966 for best documentary. Although it has been shown in a few movie theatres in the US, it has not been presented on TV. “The War Game” is shocking, but is not sensationalized. It was carefully researched and based on actual events which occurred in World War II during and after the mass Allied raids on Germany and the atomic bombings of Japan. Recorded February, 1983 “The War Game” Copyright 1965 Copyright February, 1983 https://archive.org/details/AV_179-THE_WAR_GAME-_THE_REALITY_OF_NUCLEAR_WAR

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Labour’s Legacy to Glasgow – Decay, Failure, Crime, Substance Abuse, Bitterness and Misery.

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Labour’s Legacy to Glasgow – Decay, Failure, Crime, Substance Abuse, Bitterness and Misery.

David lives in the gang-infested inner-city sprawl of Calton – the place with the lowest life expectancy in EUROPE. It is a drizzly Monday morning in Glasgow and the Triple Two Lounge in the shadow of Celtic Park is already doing a roaring trade. Out-of-work bouncer David McCabe stubs out his roll-up and takes a gutsy slurp on the first of his eight daily £2.20 pints of Fosters. Pasty-faced David’s epic, taxpayer-funded booze-ups end with an artery-clogging fry-up washed down with a four-pack of Tennent’s at his subsidised flat nearby. Looking a decade older than his 26 years, David says: “My grandad is 71 and still likes a drink. It doesn’t seem to have done him too much harm.”

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A boy living in Calton today can expect to live to just 54. Locals living among the graffiti-scarred council blocks of Calton drily observe: “If the booze doesn’t get you here, the blade will.” Calton, along with Easterhouse and Castlemilk in Glasgow, are the only places in Britain where murder – usually by stabbing – is the most common cause of death among the young. Someone is admitted to a Glasgow hospital with knife wounds every six hours. Medics expect as many as three Glasgow smiles – where victims are slashed from mouth to ear – every weekend.

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The city’s smartest restaurants, designer boutiques and museums are a short stroll away from Calton, in Merchant City. Yet here down-and-outs swill cider outside homeless hostel the decrepit Belgrove hotel and a “baggie” of heroin is a tenner. The area’s grinding poverty – where 30 per cent are unemployed – would be recognised by Charles Dickens and pioneers of the Labour movement.

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Today’s Labour Party, after 50 years in power, have failed many of the people of Glasgow’s East End. Last year a World Health Organisation study citing Calton said a “toxic combination” of bad policies, economics and politics creates social injustice that is “killing people on a grand scale”. Local GP Dr Robert Jamieson, 54, has spent the past 22 years working in the heart of Calton. “Drinking has got worse and so has the violence,” he explained wearily. “The healthy and wealthy got healthier and wealthier compared to the poor.

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Back at the bar, unmarried David, like his father before him, has been on benefits for most of his adult life. He pays for his lager from his £66-a-week incapacity benefit and whatever he can scrounge from family and friends. Overweight and pale, he explained: “I’m on the sick because of my drinking. I’ve got an enlarged liver. “I’ve done a few days work as a bouncer and a cleaner but not recently. My dad has been out of work most of his life.

Full report:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=561_1256060940

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Japan Follows Scotland and Germany Abandoning Nuclear Power In Favour Of Clean Energy

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1. Japan – Follows the lead of Germany. Scotland and other european countries abandoning nuclear energy

a. TOKYO — Japan said that it would seek to phase out nuclear power by 2040 — a historic shift for a country that has long staked its future on such energy, but one that falls far short of the decisive steps the government had promised in the wake of the world’s second-largest nuclear plant disaster last year. By comparison, Germany, which in 2010 relied on reactors for 26 percent of its electricity, was rattled enough by the Fukushima disaster to announce a move away from nuclear power by 2022.

b. With the long-term energy plan set, the political battle is set to refocus on the struggle by the government to build consensus for reopening the vast majority of the country’s reactors, which were idled after the nuclear catastrophe, amid public opposition to restarts until better safety regulations were in place.

c. With only two reactors operating, Japan struggled through a sweltering summer after parts of the country were asked to conserve electricity use by as much as 15 percent, the second year such requests were made. Power companies fired up old gas- and oil-powered stations and scrambled to secure imported fossil fuels. Despite fears of widespread blackouts, however, none materialized, strengthening nuclear critics’ argument that Japan could do without nuclear energy.

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d. Japan is set to significantly increase its investment in clean energy sources. In previous government estimates through 2030, eliminating nuclear power would require investment of $548 billion in solar, wind and other types of renewable energy and $66 billion on power grid technology.

e. Under the new goal, Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 would be between 5 percent and 9 percent less than levels in 1990, the documents said. Environmentalists say that a more aggressive push to develop clean energy can further reduce Japanese emissions. “The government must use its new energy strategy as a starting point for a far more ambitious renewable policy, greater energy efficiency measures, and increasingly bold strides toward the sustainable green economy that will secure Japan’s future prosperity,” Greenpeace said in a statement. “A nuclear-free future is not a choice, it’s an inevitability,” it said. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/15/world/asia/japan-will-try-to-halt-nuclear-power-by-the-end-of-the-2030s.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0

VARIOUS

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2. Contrast the forward looking plans of Germany, Scotland, most european countries and Japan against the Nuclear energy policy of the Westminster government

a. Development plans are to build at least 8 new nuclear power plants in England, which it is projected will provide around 16 gigawatts of power. The plants are to be built at:

i. EDF Energy intends to build 4 new EPRs (6.4GW) at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk.

ii. Hitachi Ltd has confirmed plans to build 2 or 3 new nuclear reactors at Wylfa on Anglesey and the same at Oldbury in South Gloucestershire.

iii. NuGeneration plans to build up to 3.6GW of new nuclear capacity at Moorside, near Sellafield. https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/increasing-the-use-of-low-carbon-technologies/supporting-pages/new-nuclear-power-stations

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3. Scotland is a world leader in the production of clean energy

At 2015 clean energy produces more power in Scotland than nuclear, coal or gas and this is set to increase significantly. The expertise of Scottish industry is being exported to other countries worldwide and the decision of Japan to embrace renewables over nuclear vastly increases opportunities for Scottish outward looking firms. Recent developments have brought forward the use of wave power and Scotland is in the vanguard in the development of this new technology which the island country of Japan will embrace.

Scotland is getting it right but we need Westminster to provide funds allowing an extension of the national grid to our islands. Lack of grid capacity is delaying clean energy development and power production which in turn is preventing the country from meeting emission targets http://www.scottishrenewables.com/scottish-renewable-energy-statistics-glance/#chart1

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The Rollercoaster That Is The Oil Business -Ups And Downs But Always At The Top

2008/2009 was a year of turmoil for finance and oil. The price of oil was extremely volatile and in a rollercoaster year oil prices ranged from $45 to over $146.

The year 2014/2015 will reveal a pattern similar to 2008/2009 and the utterings of negative Labour politicians, (such as Jackie Baillie, Dugdale and Murphy) seeking to score points over more forward looking members of the Scottish government, should be given consideration using for guidance previous performances of the Oil companies.

Labour Party politicians are well versed in the politics of envy and the immediate but forward planning is a stranger to their thinking. Conversely the SNP government are planning ahead and gearing laid off staff for the future pick-up of the industry by protecting the on-going training of younger persons.

In 2008/2009, (a year of turmoil) the top 10 performing Companies in the WORLD were:

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1. Royal Dutch Shell

Up two spots from last year’s global list, Royal Dutch Shell raked in $15 billion more in sales than Exxon Mobil. And as Europe’s largest oil producer, it doesn’t look to be slowing down: Shell has made a bold move by investing up to $18 billion in a plant in Qatar that would turn natural gas into cleaner-burning diesel fuel. It hopes to bring the Pearl GTL, as the facility is called, online by 2010 and expects it to produce enough fuel to fill more than 160,000 cars per day.

Revenues: USD 458,361.0 millions Rank: 1 (Previous rank: 3) Employees: 102,000 Country: Netherlands. Website: http://www.shell.com/

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2. Exxon Mobil

Exxon pulled in $443 billion in revenues and $45 billion in earnings last year. Its investors reaped some of the rewards, with $40 billion in shareholder distributions, up $4.4 billion from 2007. Exxon is investing heavily in the growing demand for liquefied natural gas, adding four new gas liquefaction facilities in 2009 at a total price tag of more than $20 billion. Each facility will produce 7.8 million tons of liquefied natural gas per year.

Revenues: USD 442,851.0 millions Rank: 2 (Previous rank: 2) Employees: 104,700 Country: U.S. Website: http://www.exxonmobil.com/corporate/

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4. BP

After a stellar start to the year — profits for BP’s first and second quarters combined for an impressive $17 billion — the London-based oil company was hit hard, like others in the industry, by tumbling oil prices, causing a fourth quarter loss of $3.3 billion.

Revenues: USD 367,053.0 millions Rank: 4 (Previous rank: 4) Employees: 92,000 Address: London Country: Britain Website: http://www.bp.com

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5. Chevron Caltex

The perennial No. 2 U.S. oil company — behind Exxon — boosted profits by 28% in 2008, more than any other super major on this list. Sophisticated refineries helped Chevron blunt losses from crude’s price drop in the second half of the year. In previous years, Chevron has been able to mask production declines at its oil fields with acquisitions, rising oil prices and its refining business.

But with production rates still lower than five years before, Chevron is spending $23 billion this year to bolster overseas fields and expand refineries. That will take a while to pay off if oil prices remain depressed. The upside of low oil prices for Chevron is that the giant can buy small competitors on the cheap.

Revenues: USD 263,159.0 millions Rank: 5 (Previous rank: 6) Employees: 66,716 Address: California Country: U.S. Website: http://www.chevron.com

The Chilcott Inquiry – Failures Of The Military Elite – Promotion Or Death??

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1. The Chilcott Inquiry – The Role Of the Military Elite

a. Top Brass who failed to stand up to politicians over the rush to war in Iraq are likely to face criticism in the long-awaited report

b. Senior military officers advised the inquiry that they were concerned about the pressure of fighting wars simultaneously in Iraq and Afghanistan, shortages of equipment, and an inability to prepare British troops properly for war because Tony Blair did not want the plans to become public.

c. In a democracy, it is the politicians’ job to give orders to the military and expect them to be carried out, but the report is likely to raise questions over whether the Generals could have highlighted more forcefully, warnings about the army’s shortcomings in terms of it’s readiness for war.

d. Admiral Lord Michael Boyce, the then Chief of the Defence Staff, told the Iraq Inquiry he had been slapped down by ministers for complaining in the run-up to the invasion. He said then Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, who had never served in the Armed Forces, told him to make his military assessments ‘more of a glass half-full rather than half-empty’.

e. He also said he was banned from buying equipment for troops until four months before the invasion – contributing to shortages of body armour and other kit in the early days of the conflict. Some units, including the 7th Armoured Brigade – the historic and war-hardened Desert Rats – were only battle-ready the day before the invasion.

f. Asked by the inquiry if he had confidence Lord Boyce and Mr Hoon had passed the concerns of the time to the Prime Minister, a sceptical-sounding General Lord Richard Dannatt, then the Assistant Chief of the General Staff, said: ‘They told me they were.’ Lord Boyce said he raised his concerns with Mr Blair – but was given short shrift.

g. It was not until November, just four months before the war, that defence chiefs were able to make ‘overt’ preparations.

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h. General Lord Michael Walker, promoted from head of the Army to Chief of the Defence Staff in May 2003 – two months after the invasion – admitted to the inquiry the military was ‘overstretched’. But he has stood accused of pushing politicians to include more ground troops to boost ‘morale’ among soldiers – a claim he vehemently denied. A year later, he said, Britain’s entire military top brass threatened to quit in protest at Gordon Brown’s proposals for savage defence cuts while the UK was fighting on two fronts.

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i. Lord Dannatt, who was involved in planning for the invasion, told the inquiry the ‘desire’ of the Army to send a large force to the war zone was ‘not huge’. But he added: ‘From a professional point of view… there was a bit of a feeling that if the US was going to go in and conduct an operation… there may have been a little bit of a professional feeling, “We should be doing this.”

j. Sir Michael Graydon, a former head of the RAF, said yesterday any criticism in the report would probably look at the advice of the military advisers in drafting the discredited dossiers which made the so-called case for war. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2920788/Jeremy-Heywood-accused-defying-vow-release-documents.html

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2. I previously wrote to many aspects of Tony Blairs rush to war and the many failures of military heirachy and politicians. A number are listed below.

https://caltonjock.com/2014/10/30/sir-jeremy-heywood-the-iraq-inquiry-other-controversies-are-his-hands-clean/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/10/04/oh-what-a-lovely-war-or-how-the-hell-did-we-end-up-here-again/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/08/29/hoon-defence-secretary-iraq-no-answers/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/08/29/iraq-back-to-haunt-the-uk/
https://caltonjock.com/2015/01/20/lest-we-forget-blairs-legacy-month-of-war-our-young-men-die-for-what-remember-very-recent-past-when-you-vote-for-your-childrens-future-in-2015/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/08/28/afghanistan-the-labour-party/
https://caltonjock.com/2014/08/29/part-time-defence-secretary-at-a-time-of-war/

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