Scottish Tory Unionist Carpetbagging Landowners Protect Their Farming Subsidies Post Brexit – Update at 4 Mar 2018

 

 

4 Mar 2018: Facing Up to the Reality of Brexit

I read with interest the interview with John Scott MSP in last week’s edition of The Scottish Farmer. His key message appeared to be for everyone to stop worrying because the Tories would ensure a positive Brexit landing for Scotland’s Food and Farming industry.

He cited Scottish Secretary David Mundell’s discussions with Defra secretary, Michael Gove, as the key mechanism that would ensure this.

In different political times some of your readers would give Mr Scott and his optimism the benefit of the doubt and cross their fingers that a Mundell/Gove double-act would pursue a course that would keep the interests of Scotland’s farmers among their priorities.

However, I would argue that the evidence shows that anyone who relies on this Tory axis to fight Scotland’s corner needs a swift dose of reality.

Firstly, the recent pronouncements on potentially banning livestock sea movements, which were deservedly condemned by Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary, Fergus Ewing and your columnist, Jim Brown, illustrated Gove’s complete ignorance to the specific needs of Scottish agriculture.

With characteristic arrogance, the he went on to compound this by refusing to take questions from the media during a recent photo opportunity at Stirling Bull Sales.

In fact, hiding from scrutiny on Brexit appears to be a growing habit among Conservative politicians, with Mundell recently going to ground and refusing requests to appear for interview, following the leak of UK Treasury impact assessments which reported potentially catastrophic effects to the Scottish economy after leaving the EU.

Both Gove and Mundell have no doubt been taking lessons from their Scottish Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson, who did a disappearing act in the days following the impact assessment leaks, only to miraculously re-appear on a radio phone-in about her next self-promotion exercise on a TV programme about baking cakes.

Far from raising Scottish farming’s voice in Brexit, you’re more likely to get an answer on the merits of self-raising flour from a Scottish Tory. (The Scottish Farmer)

Robert Macintyre jnr , Newstead, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

 

Tenant Farmers Meet to Protest

 

 

24 Feb 2018: Cayman Isles Registered Tax Free Buccleuch Estates  accused of ‘bullying and intimidation’ by tenant farmers who are having their tenancy ended.

At a public meeting in Langholm last night the audience heard from Alison and David Telfer of Cleuchfoot who spoke emotionally about the way they had been treated.

The Estate Chief Executive, John Glen attended together with Oliver Mundell, Dumfriesshire MSP, and chairman Chris Badenoch.

Mrs Telfer said that last September they were told their lease would probably not be renewed. They met Alan Nisbet, then the estate manager, in October.

She said: “He told us our lease was ending at the end of February, that the hill would be planted and the house and the rest of the land sold.

“He said ‘the die is cast, this will happen’. Whatever our retirement plans were, bring them forward four or five years.

“We asked what would happen to our hefted flock of South Country Cheviot’s. He said they would be cleared and we couldn’t be sentimental about sheep.

“We subsequently found out that Buccleuch’s forester had been at the community council meeting the night before we were officially told what was happening on our farm.

“He said the farm was not big enough on its own to provide an income and the farmer was coming out at the end of November. Neither statement was true.”

She said negotiations continued but they weren’t happy with Buccleuch’s proposals because Buccleuch wouldn’t buy the sheep.

“Our agent rang us on February 14 to say that Mr Glen had issued a very distressing ultimatum; that if we didn’t agree to their proposals, the next day they would start proceedings to evict us at the end of the month.

“We eventually signed the paperwork on the 22nd but we aren’t happy with what we’ve had to sign. We feel we were bullied and intimidated into it.”

Mr Glen said he never intended to have this effect on the tenants.

He said: “I regret and I’m sorry if that’s the feeling. It’s not what we’re aiming to do. We want to have professional conversations with our tenants.

“I do take it on board and I’ll look at our processes if that’s the way you think people (at Buccleuch) are behaving.”

Mundell said: “You (Buccleuch) have to accept that, if that’s the perception people have of your organization, that’s not a good position to be in.

“People aren’t always happy with the outcome of negotiations between a landlord and tenant but this here goes beyond that.

“Tenants feel intimidated and can’t speak out. I’ve lost count of the number of people who can’t believe that it’s come to this.

“We’re now in the very sad position where people don’t trust what you have to say and something seriously needs to be done to address that. It’s not a happy position for a community to be in.

“Of course, there is change but it’s the pace of change which shocked people.” (Eskdale & Liddlesdale Advertiser)

 

 

 

And why was Joan McAlpine not in attendance. She referred the issue to Holyrood

MSP Joan McAlpine has raised questions over Buccleuch Estates ending tenancies on their land in Eskdale with the intention to plant trees instead.

Ms McAlpine wrote to ministers after she was approached by tenants facing eviction at the hands of Scotland’s biggest private landowner.

The local MSP asked Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing what can be done to ensure that landowners like Buccleuch are not incentivised to plant forestry at the expense of tenant farmers.

She has also questioned whether Buccleuch’s actions go against the spirit of the Land Reform Act – and has written to Land Reform Secretary Roseanna Cunningham for advice. Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:

“I understand the importance of forestry and timber production.  The aim of planting more trees is commendable. However, this should absolutely not be at the expense of tenant farmers – we need to ensure that landowners like Buccleuch are not exploiting their tenants to line their own pockets.”

Constituents also informed Ms McAlpine that Buccleuch Estates had promised a community meeting on the issue – where locals could air their grievances and ask questions in a public forum.

However, the meeting  – scheduled for the 27th of February – is to be run as a drop in, and locals are disappointed since this is not what was promised.

Ms McAlpine has approached Buccleuch to ask them to reconsider the format of the meeting. She said:

“Buccleuch Estates promised a community meeting and this is what the community are expecting – I have written to them and hope that they will deliver on this.”

 

 

 

 

https://caltonjock.com/2017/08/15/duke-of-buccleuch-gets-1million-farming-subsidy-from-the-taxpayer-each-year-then-charges-walkers-10-each-to-use-his-estate-byways-and-pathways-bloody-cheek/

Pentland Ltd, is a company based in the Cayman Islands.

It is part of the extensive group of companies whose ultimate parent undertaking and controlling entity is ‘The Buccleuch Estates Limited’ (BEL) and is listed in the annual accounts as a subsidiary undertaking with the principal activity of property development through which money is routinely loaned at keen interest rates between all of the aforesaid companies in the group.

The company is a subsidiary of:

(1) Dabton Investments Ltd. Founded initially by the current duke and his brother Damian and incorporated in May 2009, Dabton Investments Ltd was owned by the Scott family until 2013 when 100% of the issued share capital was acquired by Tarras Park Properties Ltd:

Tarras Park is in turn a subsidiary of:

(2) Buccleuch Properties Limited, a BEL company.

The consortium, valued in excess of £90million comprises Mixed Farming, Farming, Farm Management, Property, Agricultural Services, Estate Management, Fishing, Property Development, Forestry, Residential Developments, Bioenergy, Rural Land Management and House Building, Bioenergy

Important, comprehensive reviews of the activities of Buccleuch Consortium are to be found at:

http://www.andywightman.com/archives/date/2016/03

http://www.thenational.scot/news/14902205.Revealed__The_Duke_of_Buccleuch_and_the_offshore_haven/

http://www.thenational.scot/comment/14863069.Andy_Wightman__On_the_trail_of_Pentland_Ltd/

 

Duke of Buccleuch

 

 

Brexit – National Farmers Union Policy Statement

NFU Scotland considers it vital that the outcome of the Brexit negotiations give Scottish farmers, crofters and growers opportunities to profitably and sustainably grow their businesses so they can continue to underpin the rural economy, local communities and environmental gains.

 

 

Brexit – Tory Government Proposed Policies

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural affairs, at the start of his tenure undertook, as part of the Brexit process, to end the unwarranted farming cash bonanza titled the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which for nearly 45 years has further increased the wealth of already very rich landowners simply in recognition of the amount of land in their ownership.

At the outset the CAP had been based around the provision of financial subsidies generating the production of an obscene excess of unneeded food, subsequent mass storage and disposal as landfill of huge butter mountains and wine lakes etc.

Then, after nearly 30 years of discussion within the EU, sense appeared to prevail and in 2003 the system was reformed only to be replaced with one even more banal in its concept.

Wealthy landowners would be paid huge sums of money annually to reduce farming activities whilst maintaining large tracts of their land in an agricultural state. Simply put, “money for old rope” coupled with the demise of tenant farmers whose leased tilled land would be left to return to nature. Small farmers got even poorer, but the rich big boys got richer.

 

 

The solution, post Brexit according to Gove is to get rid of the CAP allowing the Tory Party government to bring about a fundamental change in the nations approach to farming resulting from an absence of massive financial subsidies forcing farmers to produce only that which they are able to sell on for a profit to the food chain.

No more food mountains to be buried or fed to farm animals. Protection barriers to worldwide trade to be dismantled. A modern day utopia for the British public and a substantial saving for the Exchequer (£3bn annually) in London.

But all is not that straight forward, Gove is not of a mind to “slit his throat” taking anything away from the Ruth Davidson’s bakers dozen of right wing Unionist MP’s elected to parliament in London in 2017 on a binding promise to Scottish farmers to get rid of the CAP and replace it with a system more beneficial to all Scots in the farming community.

Gove’s new policy is to be one of financial reward for compliance with government policies directed at the protection of wildlife, plant life and the environment. Rates of payment are to be maintained at existing levels until 2022.

The impact of the policy will be to further increase the wealth of rich landowners who will convert their huge estates and farms into nature reserves and rambles with the guarantee of financial reward from government.

Thereafter reaping a second recurring and ever growing financial return on investment from hunting, fishing, shooting and other field sports and activities.

Sheep farming will be at risk since the return on investment will outweighed by income from estate visitors. Gentleman farmers no more. “Lords of leisure” a more fitting description.

And what is to become of the small farmer? Well, it is expected they will continue to attract financial support, reduced by a surcharge levy for any perceived damage to the environment caused by their farming activities.

But Scots are entitled to be assured that their taxes are utilized by the government efficiently eg. protecting the nations food production from failure or deterioration and improving the environment. Not lining the pockets of the rich.

 

 

 

2 Mar 2018: Liar Liar Pants on Fire – Gove Plans to Limit Farm Support Payments

Michael Gove has contradicted the speech he made at the Oxford Farming Conference in January where he promised that CAP Pillar One payments would continue at current levels to 2024, not 2022 as the recent consultation paper states.

Gove said: “As we leave the EU, we have a historic opportunity to deliver a farming policy which works for the whole industry. Today we are asking for the views of those who will be affected to make sure we get this right, so any future schemes reflect the reality of life for farmers and food producers.”

ScotGov responded by challenging the UK Government’s failure to recognize quality food production as a clear public good, as the estimated future funding cuts could penalize livestock producers across the board.

“It is concerning that the UK Government is seeking views on whether to remove direct support for basic farming activity or food production from farmers following the 2019 Basic Payment Scheme in England,” said Scot|Gov. “This would be wholly unacceptable in Scotland as it would put our farmers and food producers at a disadvantage to those in the EU and clearly demonstrates why it is absolutely vital for Scotland to have full control over agriculture policy.

“The paper gives no clarity on what the total funding for rural policy will be to replace CAP and environment and rural funding. Without that information it is impossible for farmers, foresters, fishermen, and environmental managers to make long term plans post Brexit.”

The consultation paper itself contradicts Gove’s speech at the Oxford Farming Conference in January, where he said CAP Pillar One payments would continue at current levels to 2024 – not 2022 as the new paper states.

NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said that the consultation once again affirmed the necessity that the future of agricultural policy remain within the hands of the devolved administrations. (The ScottishFarmer)

 

 

10 Feb 2018: Highland Re-Wilding Plan Has Ignored Local Residents’ Concerns

Kate Forbes, the SNP,  MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, believes that the views of local residents have been ignored under controversial proposals to re-introduce predators to a 23,000-acre estate in Sutherland, north of Inverness.

Paul Lister, the owner, wants to introduce bears and wolves in a bid, he has claimed, to return the area to its natural Eco-system. Lister, the multi-millionaire heir to the MFI fortune, purchased the Alladale Estate in 2003 for £3.5 million and has argued that his re-wilding plans would prove a major tourism draw.

However, his plans have met with strong opposition, particularly from farmers and crofters who are concerned over the threat of predation by wild animals.

Now Kate Forbes has weighed into the debate: “My problem is the extent to which the individual behind this project has actually spoken and engaged with the people who live and work there all year round,” she said. “It’s a problem to me if an individual is making decisions that affect local farmers and local residents without engaging with them in the first place.

“It also concerns me that fences could be put up around reserves like this and without working with local communities on the economic, social, cultural and environmental impact of it.”

She added: “I believe the land should be worked to the benefit of those who live and work there. But in this case we have a situation where the individual responsible has not engaged properly with the local community.”

He is aware of Gove’s plans for the future and intends to ensure his CAP subsidies remain unaffected by clearing people off the land, replacing them with predators for the rich and famous to enjoy shooting. (The Scottish Farmer)

 

 

2 Mar 2018: Campaigning for Scotland the Brand

A SMALL but hardy contingent of ‘Keep Scotland the Brand’ campaigners gathered in Kelso last Saturday in support of Scottish farmers and produce.

The grassroots campaign, initiated by consumers, is growing all over rural Scotland, and was prompted by the steady disappearance of the Saltire on Scottish-grown food, and its replacement by Union flag packaging.

“A two minute dash through the vegetable row in Sainsbury’s and we filled a basket with potatoes from Angus, Perthshire and Berwickshire; carrots and parsnips from Fife and sprouts and cabbage from East Lothian,” said campaigner Keith Pattison from East Berwickshire.

“All fresh produce from Scotland, but not one displayed a Saltire as they would have done till very recently. Instead they were wrapped in massive Union flags,” he complained.

Fellow campaigner Jackie Thompson added: “We’re not being petty about this. Scotland has a deserved reputation for high quality food and we’re concerned that credit is not being given where it’s due. More seriously, it’s a situation that may well lead to loss of market share as the Scotland brand disappears, damaging Scotland’s producers.”

Also on the demo, Alison Currie added that undermining the visibility of Scottish produce was damaging to the ‘shop local’ ethos: “Being Kelso, we met more than a few farmers getting their shopping in before the rugby started,” she reported. “They were well aware of the dangers posed by this brand dilution and glad to sign our petition and glad for the support.

“With Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb currently left out of UK Brexit trade deals, we see further undermining of our high quality brand as yet another blow for Scottish farmers.” (The Scottish Farmer)

 

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The 1707 Treaty of Union – Full Awareness of the Facts of the Betrayal of Our Ancestors by the Landed Gentry Should Persuade Scots That We Should Reclaim Our Right to Govern Ourselves-The Union is Tarnished-Dying and Not Fit For Purpose

 

 

Scottish Desire for Union 1707 (1): No Parcel of Rogues

 

Scottish Public Opinion and The Making of the Treaty of Union of 1707

 

 

 

 

Karin Bowie  University of Glasgow

Karin is a Senior Lecturer in Scottish History at the University of Glasgow. She completed her PhD on Scottish public opinion and the Union of 1707 at Glasgow in 2004.   She researches political culture in early modern Scotland, with an emphasis on extra-parliamentary politics and forms of resistance, including petitioning and protestations.
The under-noted is a copy of her well researched presentation on the treaty of Union 1707.
I commend it to all who might have an interest in increasing their knowledge of how Scotland was sold out by a persons whose only interest in the land of their birth was financial gain.

 

 

 

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The 1707 Treaty of Union – Rules of Government

Article 1

On 1 May 1707, the two kingdoms of Scotland and England shall be united into one kingdom GREAT BRITAIN and the crosses of St Andrew and St George be joined and used in flags, banners, standards and ensigns at sea and on land.

Article 2

The succession to the throne of Great Britain will pass to the Protestant heirs of Princess Sophia of Hanover and all Papists shall be excluded from the Crown of Great Britain.

Article 3

The United Kingdom will be represented by one and the same Parliament to be called the Parliament of Great Britain.

Articles 18-19

Scotland will keep its own separate laws, legal system and courts of law.

Articles 20-21

The Royal Burghs of Scotland and those holding heritable jurisdictions i.e. posts and offices granted for life, will have their rights and privileges preserved after union.

Articles 22-23

Scotland will be represented by 16 peers in the House of Lords and 45 members of Parliament in the House of Commons in the first Parliament of Great Britain. Scottish peers will have the same privileges as English peers.

Article 24

After the Union, there will be one Great Seal for Great Britain but Scotland will retain use of the Great Seal of Scotland for matters relating to private rights or grants. The Scottish Crown, Sceptre and Sword of State and all Scottish public and private records will be kept and will remain in Scotland.

Article 25

The final article revokes all previous acts that might operate against the union and confirms the full authority of law in passing the Act of Union.

Rules of Trade

Article 4

All subjects of Great Britain will have freedom of trade within the United Kingdom and with her colonies.

Article 5

All trading ships will be registered with Customs Officers in Great Britain.

Article 6

Great Britain will operate the same trade regulations and be liable for the same customs and duties on imports and exports.

Article 7

The level of excise duty on liquor set across England will operate throughout Great Britain.

Article 15

Scotland will receive the sum of £398,085 10s sterling, known as the Equivalent:

    • to reimburse Scottish investors for their losses in the Darien colony
    • to close the Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies
    • to pay overdue salaries to Scottish government officials
    • to invest in promoting the fishing industry, the manufacture of coarse wool and other industries in Scotland
  • to help Scotland pay new taxes due in the future from the British Parliament.

Article 16

Great Britain will use the same currency. Coins minted in Scotland will have the same value as those minted in England.

Article 17

Great Britain will use the same form of weights and measures. The Scottish system will be abolished and replaced with the English system.

Tax Rules

Articles 8-14

Scotland will pay

    • a new land tax
    • new taxes on salt and malt but not until 1710
  • duties on windows and lights, and on coal, culm [coal dust] and cinders but not until 1710.

Scotland will not pay

  • duties on stamped paper, vellum and parchment.

 

 

 

 

Douglas Ross – Moray MP – Yet to Decide if he Intends to be a Politician or a Referee – Income Might Well be the Deciding Factor – Check His Unimpressive Record to Date

 

 

Douglas Gordon Ross:

Football Referee and Part-Time Politician: (born Aberdeen 1983). Educated at Forres Academy and the Scottish Agricultural College.

 

 

Expected Earnings 2017-18:

Between 110,000 and £115,000 (MP salary and income from soccer).

 

 

Family:

His early years were spent on a dairy farm near Forres where his father worked as a cattleman. On completing his secondary education he completed a 4 year course at Agriculture College returning to dairy farming to continue his career as a dairyman.

His family are primarily hard line unionists some enjoying well paid influential links with farming and forestry communities in the North East of Scotland.

 

 

Politics

He was was first elected to Moray council in 2007, representing the Fochabers-Lhanbryde ward, and became part of the Independent/Conservative administration.

He resigned from the council administration in December 2009, but continued as a Councillor.

In 2012 he was re-elected to the Moray council and again became part of the ruling administration group, but was ‘ousted’ from it in 2014, following an acrimonious debate about school closures.

He was unsuccessful when he stood as the Conservative candidate in the Moray constituency in the 2010 and 2015 General Elections.

He was also unsuccessful in his bid for election to the Scottish parliament in 2011 and 2016. But was fortunate to be elected as a list MSP for the Highlands and Islands in May 2016.

In his very short time at Holyrood he was appointed Shadow Minister for Justice and subsequently criticized for being absent from parliamentary duties, skipping a crunch vote and a meeting of the Justice Committee because of his soccer commitments.

He stood again in the 2017 UK general election for the seat of Moray and was elected to office. He resigned his List MSP post soon after having only just been appointed.

 

 

Ross – The Local Councillor

6 Feb 2014: Moray Council – Labour Councillor Sean Morton Delivers Emotional Statement On Same-Sex Marriage Law

Fochabers/Lhanbryde councillor Sean Morton delivered a statement to the full Council calling on the local authority to show its support for the decision taken at Holyrood earlier this week that made Scotland the 17th world nation to make same-sex marriage legal.

The openly gay Councillor added that he could only have dreamed that one day he would live in a society that allowed loving couples to marry regardless of their sex. He also expressed his thanks to Richard Lochhead for supporting the bill.

Councillor Douglas Ross voiced a different view, saying: “While it is right and proper that we recognize the momentous achievement, that we also recognize that there were hundreds of thousands of people in Moray and Scotland who opposed this.” (inside moray)

 

 

 

7 Nov 2014: Ross Sacked By Moray Council

Ross has been barred from the ruling administration group and is to be removed from his role as chairman of the council’s police and fire and rescue services committee and planning committee.

The convener said the decision to remove Ross from the administration group resulted from the fact that he had “actively canvassed against the administration’s ambitions and had shown no wish to be aligned with the general direction that the administration group had taken”.

In his letter, the convener added: “I regret that this course of action has become necessary, however the group can see no way forward until we have made it clear that the views you hold publicly are not those of the administration.” Councillor Ross’s dismissal comes shortly after the defeat on Monday of plans to reorganize the school estate.

Ross was also a member of the previous council administration following election in 2007 but resigned two years later citing disagreements with their decisions and expressing a desire to be able to speak freely on matters.

 

 

Ross – The MSP

May 2016: Highlands and Islands Conservative list MSP Douglas Ross has been named shadow cabinet secretary for justice in the Ruth Davidson’s shadow cabinet and has vowed to fight against centralization.

He said: “At the election we were returned as the main opposition party on a pledge to hold the SNP government to account and I’m looking forward to getting involved in all the areas included in this significant brief.” (Shetland times)

 

 

Ross – The MP

8 Jul 2017: Tory MP Douglas Ross warned he must stand up to his party on WASPI after publicly backing them during election campaign

WASPI women — Women Against State Pension Inequality — want fair transitional arrangements for women born in the 1950s. The state pension age is being raised from 60 to 66 by 2020, and they say they knew nothing about the change until it was too late and they were planning on draw down the pension.

Tory and part-time referee Ross has been given the yellow card by constituents who want to know why he’s refusing to back an election pledge to support WASPI women.

The Moray MP, posed just days before last month’s General Election with campaigners affected by the pension age change, and promised to “support the WASPI group in Moray as a strong local voice at the heart of government in Westminster.”

But Ross  has yet to back a parliamentary motion supporting WASPI women.

The SNP’s Mhairi Black was scathing: “Douglas Ross must sign this motion in support of these women — otherwise his actions reek of hypocrisy. He was happy to pose with these women during his election campaign while seeking votes — now he must show a stand against his party’s damaging policy.

I cannot believe we are still having to argue the case for WASPI women, and that the UK government has failed to listen. For the government to say they can’t afford to pay these women what they are owed is laughable. They can find a billion pounds to cling on to power, but they can’t find the money to give women the pensions that they are due.

These women are guilty of nothing. They have had the misfortune of being female and being born in the 1950s and live under this UK government who refuses to do the right thing. This is an issue of equality.

The UK government must take responsibility and Douglas Ross must do the right thing for these women who are missing out on their pension.”

A spokesperson for the WASPI campaign told the National they were disappointed — but not surprised — and that Ross was, in many ways, no different from the rest of his newly elected Tory colleagues.

We are of course disappointed when people have signed the WASPI pledge and offer to support their constituents. Having said that, we are not surprised, many Conservative MPs do still remain loyal to the government. (The national)

Addendum: Tory minister Guy Opperman sparked fury in a Commons debate when he said the millions of WASPI women facing cuts, should take up apprenticeships.

 

 

 

Ross – In the Commons

He is a member of the “Armed Forces (Flexible Working) Bill Committee” which has met and debated issues on a number of occasions. Ross has not spoken at any debate.

Reading of debate contributions is highly recommended since it provides information relevant to the perilous state of HM forces under the Tory government.

Carilion PLC (since gone bust) gets more than a mention being severely criticized for the appalling state of military accommodation and married quarters throughout the UK.

Recruitment and retention is well below target and many experienced servicemen are departing the military having had enough of cuts to weapons replacement programmes and endless deployment to combat missions and “showcase”exercises without adequate rest. The military is in crisis.

Carol Monaghan SNP Shadow Defense Spokesman performs well in committee and her contributions should be given attention.

 

 

 

He is a member of the “Smart Meters Bill Committee” whch has questioned a number of public service managers about the feasibility of a successful uk wide programme targetted at the installation of “smart meters”. A lively forum that revealed much disquiet about the proposal.

 

 

 

Foreign Policy and Defence

He consistently votes against more EU integration

He consistently votes against any future referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU

He consistently votes against a right to remain for EU nationals already in living in the UK

He consistently votes against UK continued membership of the EU

 

 

 

Constitutional Reform

He consistently votes against transferring more powers to the Welsh Assembly.

He consistently votes against transferring more powers to the Scottish Parliament.

 

 

 

He has spoken in 49 debates (223 mentions) since joining Parliament.

Many of his contributions comprised the usual Tory banal rhetoric attacking the record of the SNP in Scotland oft referring to devolved matters which have no agenda for discussion in the House of Commons.

But Speaker Bercow, (no friend of the SNP) in his self proclaimed infinite wisdom allows the practice.

Where his contributions are relevant the content is invariably tainted by his right wing views and grandstanding exposing his desire to impress his Lords and masters of the Tory party.

 

 

Register of Members’ Interests

1. Parliamentary Salary

£76,000 p/a.

 

2. Other Earnings

Received £1735.70p from the Scottish Parliament for time spent at Holyrood as an MSP.

Projected income from soccer activities £40,000+ p/A

 

 

3. Other Financial support

Name of donor: Alasdair Laing: Address: private. Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: £5,000

Name of donor: Scottish Unionist Association Trust. Address: Glasgow G52. Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: £7,500. Donor status: Tory party, friendly society.

Name of donor: Stalbury Trustees. Address: London W1J. Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: £10,000. Donor status: Tory Party Political Company.

Name of donor: John Martin. Address: private. Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: £5,000.

 

 

4. Visits outside the UK

Name of donor: Conservative Friends of Israel Ltd. Address: London SW1P. Estimate of the probable value (or amount of any donation): Travel and accommodation with a value of £2,000
Destination of visit: Israel and the West Bank. Dates of visit: 31 July – 5 August 2016. Purpose of visit: Fact finding mission for Scottish Conservative MSP’s.

 

 

Ross and the EU Referendum

describing himself as a “reluctant Remainer” he said his agricultural background had led him to disapprove of the “red tape” imposed by Brussels. “I didn’t campaign in the EU referendum at all,” he added, admitting he was “a lot less motivated” to persuade people to back Remain than for Scotland to stay part of the UK. “I wasn’t convinced by the arguments to Leave at that time, but I’m a democrat as well and I respect the view of the UK people. While I think there will be challenges to leaving the EU, I also think there’s opportunities.” (inews)

 

 

 

Ross – Soccer & Politics

He is a professional football referee, who officiates in the Scottish Premiership and in international soccer tournaments earning up to £40,000 a year as a self-employed specialist assistant football referee.

He was widely criticized for missing a House of Commons debate on Universal Credit in October 2017, due to his commitments in Europe as a football referee and undertook to no longer accepting referee appointments during the working week whilst the UK Parliament was sitting.

 

 

 

22 Oct 2017: Tory MP Ross Might quit refereeing after 2018 World Cup

But the tournament starts on June 14, and Parliament does not go into summer recess until the middle of July which means that Ross could miss out on the tournament.

An added difficulty is that his absence from the Scottish team of match officials, led by Willie Collum, would require it to withdraw from the officiating bodies list since team member swapping is disallowed. It is expected he will elect to attend the tournament.

 

 

 

Aug -Jan 2017-18: Payments to Ross from The Scottish Football Association:

11 August 2017, received £97.50 for Buckie Thistle v Raith Rovers.
11 August 2017, received £97.50 for Dundee v Dundee United.
24 August 2017, received £425 for Hamilton Academical v Dundee.
24 August 2017, received £130 for Livingston v Dunfermline Athletic.
07 September 2017, received £130 for Caledonian Thistle v Greenock Morton.
07 September 2017, received £425 for Celtic v St Johnstone.
25 September 2017, received £425 for St Johnstone v Hibernian.
06 October 2017, received £425 for Aberdeen v Kilmarnock.
20 October 2017, received £130 for Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Queen of the South.
03 November 2017, received £425 for Ross County v Hearts
17 November 2017, received £425 for Hearts v Rangers.
17 November 2017, received £350 for Hibernian v Celtic.
17 November 2017, received £425 for Ross County v Motherwell.
01 December 2017, received £83 for Peterhead v Stenhousemuir.
01 December 2017, received £425 for Ross County v Celtic
22 December 2017, received £425 for Aberdeen v Rangers.
22 December 2017, received £100 for Arbroath v Forfar.
22 December 2017, received £425 for Hibs v Celtic.
12 January 2018, received £100 for Arbroath v East Fife.
12 January 2018, received £425 for Celtic v Aberdeen.
12 January 2018, received £425 for Hamilton v Ross County.
12 January 2018, received £425 for Hearts v Hibs.
12 January 2018, received £60 for a pitch inspection ahead of Elgin City v Stirling Albion

Payments received from UEFA:

01 September 2017, received £1,436.35 for NK Domzale v Olympique de Marseille.
16 October 2017, received £1,975.10 for SSC Napoli v Feyenoord.
30 October 2017, received £1,970.19 for Barcelona v Olympiacos.

Payments received from FIFA:

05 October 2017, received £749.57 for Iceland v Ukraine.
19 October 2017, received £751.80 for Bosnia and Herzegovina v Belgium.

 

 

 

Ross and the Gypsy Travellers

He was criticized in the media and by Naomi McAuliffe of Amnesty International for a statement he made during an interview, that if he was Prime Minister for a day “without any repercussions”, he would “like to see tougher enforcement against Gypsy Travellers”.

He subsequently apologized for his use of inappropriate language. The Scottish Football Association launched a disciplinary investigation into his remarks, which did not lead to any formal disciplinary action, but warned him to pay attention to his future conduct.

 

 

28 Aug 2017: The new Tory MP for Moray has long sought to crush one of the most persecuted ethnic groups in his constituency.

If you were prime minister for the day, without any repercussions, what would you do?” In reply Ross said: “I would like to see tougher enforcement against gypsy travellers”.

The lexicon of ‘solution groups’ is not new. As history demonstrates, ‘solutionists’ have always been amongst us, always in search of problem groups to scapegoat or further a ‘party’ agenda – as Hitler did.

Europe’s Roma and Sinti people (Gypsies) were targeted by the Nazis for total destruction. Upward of 200,000 Roma and Sinti were murdered or died as a result of starvation or disease. Many more were imprisoned, used as forced labour or subject to forced sterilization and medical experimentation.

In June 1936, a Central Office to ‘Combat the Gypsy Nuisance’ opened in Munich and later that year, Berlin police were given the authority to conduct raids against Gypsies so that they would not mar the image of the city as the host of the summer Olympic Games.

Douglas Ross’ interview with Good Morning Scotland (25th August) did little to redeem his statement. Whilst apologizing “for saying that would be a number one priority as prime minister” he went on to state that [roadside encampments] are a “blight on our community” and current laws and protections make it difficult to get “get rid of them”.

We must assume then that calling for tougher enforcement against Gypsy/Travellers was not a ‘slip of the tongue’ response during a quick fire question and answer session but rather was a topic at the forefront of his mind.

If further evidence is required, a quick internet search reveals that Gypsy/Travellers have long been in Douglas Ross’ sightline. During his time as an elected representative of Moray Council, he consistently argued against planning applications for public and private sites.

In response to Council proposals for a public site, he stated “The local communities have rallied against the councils proposals and this is an excellent result for them, but I believe the money spent on the consultation could have been saved as neither site was ever suitable as a travellers halting site.”

A year later, responding to the outcomes of a planning application for a private site by a local Gypsy/Traveller family, Ross again points to the unsuitability of a chosen location. “This has been a long battle but I’m glad at the end of the day the Scottish Government Reporter has confirmed this is an inappropriate location for a travellers’ site”.

Six years down the line, and now an MSP for Highlands and Islands, Douglas Ross would appear to call for the cleansing of Gypsy/Travellers from the region he represents: “My biggest concern is that, if we keep providing more and more facilities at unauthorized sites, it’s just going to encourage more to set up when we should be doing what we can to discourage them because they are a blight on communities.”

Of course, I may be doing Douglas Ross a great disservice here. It may well be that he is fully cognizant with the depressing Scottish Government and Census statistics which demonstrate that Gypsy/Travellers experience much poorer health outcomes than other communities; are more likely than the general population to have a limiting long-term health problem or disability and that young Gypsy/Travellers have amongst the lowest attainment rates in Scottish education.

Indeed, it may well be that rather than reinforcing dangerous myths and stereotypes he is in fact attempting to create a platform whereby a strategy can be developed to ensure that Scotland’s oldest ethnic minority community can access core services such as health and education with greater ease than a life of constant ‘shifting’ provides for and have a place to ‘call home’ reflective of their culture and traditions.

What I am certain of though is that Douglas Ross is wrong to state “No-one is willing to discuss this important issue”. I am happy to oblige. In terms of Gypsy/Travellers in Moray: if not here, then where? (lynne-tammi – opendemocracy)

 

 

 

Roads and Potholes – Before Pointing the Finger at The Scottish Government Read On – And I’ve Included Survival Tips

 

 

 

 

 

What is Asphalt / Tarmac?

It is aggregate mixed with a binding agent of bitumen, (a dark, sticky substance derived from crude oil.)

Advantages of Asphalt over Concrete Use

1. Removal and replacement of damaged asphalt is a simple and relatively easy process compared to concrete.

2. Asphalt is also a 100% recyclable product.

3. Asphalt construction projects can be finished and opened for traffic much faster and with a lot less expense than concrete construction projects.

4. Maintenance and repair of asphalt is faster and less costly.

 

 

Road Building

Commonly roads in the UK are formed through a process of applying capped layers of materials of differing depths and surfaces. The starting point is the excavation phase requiring the removal off topsoil and accumulated earth and rubble to a depth of between 18″ – 60″.

A local road, light traffic might require the minimal depth. Conversely a motorway or major road would need to be started at the greater depth.

There are normally 6 courses or levels commencing with the sub-grade, the lowest or exposed level.

1. Sub Grade 1. The exposed level.

2. Capping. Concrete Infill. The load bearing capacity of the earth is measured through a process of weight bearing sampling, (pressure drilling and measurement of the sub-soil).

Dependent on the result this may require the application of a capping surface the thickness of which is usually between 0-6 inches.

Limestone is the highest load bearing surface (100). Clay and farmland merits a factor of (5).

 

3. Sub Base. A crucial layer, the Sub-Base is laid with quick setting materials reducing exposure of the capping level to the elements with the intent of avoiding surface damage.

This layer varies in thickness between 6-10 inches  dependent upon the thickness of the capping level coupled with the key factors of the number of vehicles (axles) expected to use the road, the maximum expected load bearing requirements and the expected lifetime use of the roadway.

4. Base Level. Typically between 2-10 inches.

5. Binder Level. Heavy aggregate. Typically between 2-6 inches

6. Surface Level. Asphalt or Tarmac. Typically between 1-3 inches. Hot asphalt is poured onto a bed of heavier aggregate and then pressed into it with a steamroller.

Once the asphalt cools to the surrounding air temperature, it is strong enough to withstand automobile traffic. While asphalt is extremely hard and durable, it offers enough flexibility to accommodate imperfections in underlying surfaces, a feature that concrete lacks.

 

 

 

Potholes

Pothole complaints this winter are up by around 25% over last year, but road users do not need to be reminded that the situation is getting worse year on year. As rain recedes and snow melts it reveals roads pock marked with potholes and road surface erosion.

Road maintenance engineers in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee and Inverness have filled in around 100,000 potholes this year. Mind boggling!! But how many are left unattended? Perhaps the question needing to be answered is why so many potholes?

The major problem is under-funding by the UK government of major road works in the existing road network. Ideally roads should be completely resurfaced at least once every 15-20 years.

But the UK government decides and funds the policy, which is to reduce road use, devoting capital finance to a major expansion of rail networks (HS2 and HS3) in England with result that maintenance of the existing road network  in Scotland needs to be placed under a make and mend basis.

The required 1000 miles plus annual major road resurfacing programme in Scotland is not financed in the block grant by the UK Treasury with result that a significant amount of finance allocated for road improvements is diverted to filling in a rapidly increasing number of potholes throughout the year. And the situation will deteriorate further as the impact of funding HS2 and HS3 begins to bite. Developments which bring little benefit to Scotland.

In the absence of finance sufficient to do both the Scottish government would be best advised to abandon all potholing repair measures presently in place, retaining repairs schemes for major roads only.

Potholes on secondary and town roads should be left unattended, (except in extreme circumstances). 15-20mph speed limits to be imposed, where applicable reducing impact damage to vehicle.

The measures would provide finance sufficient to complete a major road resurfacing programme in Scotland which is a much better use of resources.

Over time finance could be released to councils, on a non-recurring basis, in the summer months for pothole repairs to local roads.

 

 

Other Signs of Roadway Deterioration

Channelling: Dipping of the road, is prevalent on the approach to and at road junctions. This is caused by axle weight pressure on the road beyond that which the road is capable of. The introduction of double – train and heavier HGV’s is a major factor.

Road verge deterioration: Part of the road sinking, can be extensive and difficult to negotiate. Caused by major services eg: water, gas, electricity, cable and telecom’s digging through the roadway sub-base to install pipes etc exposing the lower based capping and subsequent failure to institute proper repairs.

Road surface break-up: Road surface thinning exposing loose gravel. Caused by use of council vehicle pressure blast washers which reduce the asphalt thickness. Better the old fashioned manual road sweeper.

 

 

 

Driving in Pothole Territory

Many potholes are created by the freezing and thawing of water under the road surface and as such are more prevalent in winter. If you reside in pothole territory these safety tips should be followed.

1. Ensure tyres are properly inflated. They will perform much better than tyres with too much or too little air.

2. Reduce speed where potholes are prevalent. If avoidance is impossible , slow down further before you hit it. Do not apply your brakes directly over a pothole. This can cause more damage.

3. Hitting a pothole can be equated to a collision at 30mph and it is advisable to get your car wheel alignment, steering and suspension checked at a local garage soon after.

3. On the pothole retain a firm grip of the steering wheel to avoid losing control.

4 Take extra care in wet weather. Surface water and puddles can hide potholes.

5. Complete a daily check of your tyres looking for:

a. Bulges or blisters on the tyre sidewalls.

b. Dents in the wheel rims.

c. Undercarriage damage, including fluid leaks and wear that could lead to rust.

d. Odd noises coming from the exhaust system due to dents or punctures.

e. The car pulling toward the left or right, instead of going straight, which could indicate an alignment problem.

f. Uneven tyre wear, which could indicate an alignment problem.

 

 

 

Claim for Vehicle Repairs Subsequent to Pothole Damage

In Scotland to report a pothole. Go to: https://www.mygov.scot/report-pothole/

Responsibility rests with the local authority who have a duty to maintain all the roads in their area. Except Trunk roads in Scotland which are the responsibility of the Scottish Government.

You may be able to claim compensation if your vehicle suffers damage due to a pothole, but not if the damage was caused by other road debris.

To make a claim it is important to gather and supply as much evidence as possible, providing details of the damage incurred, including the date and time of the incident an a description of what occurred.

Witness statements and their personal details. Photographic evidence is extremely useful and should include the depth, width of the hole and its position on the road.

Provision of a photographic frame of evidence is useful eg. a shoe. Enclose photographic evidence of the damage to your vehicle and receipts for repairs work completed. It is useful to obtain a letter from the vehicle repair centre stating the extent of the damage and that it had been caused by impact.

Also remember to state that your are holding the council responsible for the damage caused to your vehicle by their failure to properly care for the roads which is their duty in law.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Bowie Tory MP – Self seeking political Toady – parasite clinging in desperation to the Prime Minster – Photo opportunist who does little for his constituents. Go to Part 2 for the update

 

 

Image result for the british secret service

 

 

The British Secret Services

Agents are recruited from all walks of life which is at odds with

A commonly held view by the public is that all employees of MI5/6 are trained to kill and then deployed to duties worldwide equipped with the assassination skills of James Bond.

But the reality is that 90% of the British Secret Service staff are employed  completing administration duties such as information gathering, monitoring, telecommunication, cypher coding, bugging, etc.

At any time, without informing politicians, police etc. there may be up to 250 Secret Services agents operating in Scotland. Many for years on end.

The diplomatic service, politics, armed forces and business are fertile recruiting grounds for the Secret Services. The primary training establishment is at HMS Davenport ( the naval training centre). James Bond? Yes!!! the place where Commander James Bond was trained.

Agents released to political careers are normally registered with the political party of their choice and are activated, with the expectation that the next 40 years of their lives will require their presence at Westminster.

They enjoy “protected” status and are able to avoid detection and retribution for misdemeanors in their time in politics.

Can political agents be identified? Yes!  but only in the early years. Senior agents are well capable of disappearing within the system.

Look for young politically inexperienced persons. Educated to university degree level. Appearing as surprise candidates for political office, supported by larger than usual canvassing teams. Those that are successful are given early promotion requiring them to be in Westminster longer than would be expected early on. Their sphere of interest will become apparent over time. Look out for activities in support of Atlantisist groups, visits abroad funded by ultra right wing organizations and membership of Common Purpose, Bilderberg, The British American Project and similar organizations. Happy spy hunting!!!!!

 

 

 

 

Andrew Bowie

1988: Born Aberdeenshire 1999-2005: Education Inverurie Academy

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.

His ship was deployed to the gulf, (in a non-combat role) tasked to counter piracy, smuggling together with oil security activities protecting the Basra Oilfields in the Persian Gulf.

Royal Navy combat deployment to the Gulf ceased in 2006 and was followed up with peacekeeping duties until 2009, after which, at the request of the Iraqi Government the Royal Navy took on the task of training the reformed Iraqi Navy to defend its territorial waters and offshore oil infrastructure.

 

Comment:

After completing his three year short term service contract he returned to full time education with the purpose of gaining a university degree.

The cost to the taxpayer of Bowie’s training at Dartmouth and short development as a Junior Warfare officer (in excess of £1m) was written off as a loss to the exchequer when he terminated his contract of employment at the end of 3 years. little return on an expensive investment.

 

Image result for andrew bowie mp

 

 

 

2010-2013: Aberdeen University

MA Degree Politics and History. Active member (President) of the University of Aberdeen Conservative and Unionist Association.

At University he joined the Tory Party becoming an active member of the Aberdeen University Graduate Tory group and was appointed to the post of Chairman. A political career in the planning stage.

 

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 was provided free of charge, thanks to the further education policies of the SNP government.

 

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2013-2013: Divex Ltd

Employed (7 months) with a deep sea diving equipment supplier.

 

Comment:

Utilizing knowledge of diving equipment gained in the Royal Navy. Short term stop gap employment. Politics being his chosen future.

 

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2014-2015: Tory Party North of Scotland Campaign Manager.

Managed Tory (remain) campaign in North Scotland for the European Referendum.

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

 

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Bowie organizes Hard right wing “Scotland in Union” with the Aberdeen “rich boys club”

 

2015-2016: European Parliament, Brussels

Appointed to the role of Parliamentary Assistant and Rural Affairs Policy Advisor to Tory MEP Ian Duncan, a reward for his efforts in the referendum campaign

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

 

2016-2017: Parliamentary Assistant at Holyrood

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 2017 General Election

Bowie was selected as the Tory candidate for Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine and won the contest.

The cost to the Scottish taxpayer:

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 plus

Total cost to the Scottish taxpayer 5 year parliamentary session not far short of £2m

And there we have it. Over eleven years of employment (apart from a few months) he has been fully funded by the Scottish taxpayer.

 

 

 

Oct 2016: no way to treat a lady

Andrew Bowie, then chief of staff to Liam Kerr MSP, sent an offensive message to Geva Blackett, an SNP Councillor in the north-east of Scotland claiming she “had it in” for one of her Tory rivals.

The SNP Councillor was shocked to receive the disrespectful reply from Bowie in response to an email she had sent to Liam Kerr (MSP) soliciting his support to a local motor neuron disease charity campaign.

Bowie (in a separate 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 he used it as 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.”

In her reply to the email she asked Mr Bowie if the phrase “flipping woman was an appropriate way to describe a constituent”. Adding, “He sent me an apology soon afterwards but 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 Tory Party in the north-east. But sadly these sorts of blunders from a reckless right-wing, rabble of Tory MSPs have become all too common.”

 

After-note:

Alexander Burnett was subject of a Police Scotland investigation into his election expenses after he was accused of breaching election spending rules and his MSP colleague Kerr also faced a separate investigation after he used parliamentary resources to circulate a post-election letter thanking his voters. (deadlinenews)

 

 

 

 

Navy Veteran Bowie promoted by the Tory party as the champion of the armed forces

A few snippets outlining the treatment of the armed services by the Tory Party, stoutly defended by the greatly experienced military veteran Bowie

 

 

 

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

Repeated electrical faults left the £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 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.”

The ever spiraling costs of the Type 45 destroyers was 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 the vessels 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.

It has been estimated that the Royal Navy is short of about 750 engineers, despite 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: Build of a new fleet of Type 26 global-combat frigates is indefinitely delayed.

The National Audit Office heavily criticized the MOD over a backlog of huge financial and technical problems facing the navy’s surface vessels.

Delays in contracting the building of new frigates – a project promised by David Cameron before the 2014 Scottish independence referendum – is threatening shipbuilding jobs on the Clyde in Scotland.

There are even more serious mechanical failures in the navy’s new fleet of Type 45 destroyers, which cannot operate anywhere south of Gibraltar due to overheating of key systems.

The main task of the new frigates and destroyers (which they are incapable of completing) include protecting two new large aircraft carriers as well as Trident nuclear weapons submarines approaching and leaving their base on the Clyde.

Tony Douglas, the MoD’s top official responsible for military equipment, said, “I can’t give you a time or a date when the frigate design will be approved” When asked by MPs on the Commons Defense Committee.

The number of planned new frigates was reduced from thirteen to eight and the project might yet be abandoned (a costly option) in favour of building five smaller and cheaper general-purpose vessels equipped with quiet engines making it harder for them to be detected by Russian submarines.

Westminster MP’s approved the building of four new Trident submarines at an official cost of £28billion (but this has since been adjusted upwards to £167billion) and experts expect further increases over the period of the contract.

The Tory Party Chairman of the all party Defense Committee, warned that further delays could lead to even more money being spent on a new frigate fleet and on extending the life of the existing frigates. He reminded the MoD of many previous navy “disasters”, including those involving the Astute class of nuclear-powered submarines.

The navy’s new fleet of destroyers, (cost £1.5 bn each) has also encountered serious and embarrassing mechanical failures. It is disappointing that the destroyers had been designed to be fully operational in hot climates, their resilience had “degraded catastrophically”, with problems over the 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)

 

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Recruitment drive to make up armed forces shortages

 

 

Jul 2017: Senior military veterans warn that the Royal Navy’s new destroyers sound like a “box of rattling spanners” to Russian attack submarines.

Highlighting growing fears defense chiefs incompetently 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 new build 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: Britain has a navy that cannot put to sea.

Britain had 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 were docked in Portsmouth, while twelve of thirteen frigates are docked at Portsmouth and Devonport.

HMS St Albans is the only frigate on duty at sea, as the fleet ready escort protecting home waters.

The absence of naval warships at sea is attributed to major cuts to the defense budget contributing to a dangerous shortage of trained naval staff.

Vice-Admiral John McAnally, National President of the Royal Naval Association, said:

“The scarcity of frigates and destroyers overseas is 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 fully operational which is not expected to be until 2121 at the earliest

It also emerged during sea-trials that the new carrier (the largest and most expensive in the Royal Navy’s history) leaks. (defense-aerospace)

 

 

 

17 Jul 2017: Bowie’s contribution to the house of commons debate on the 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 its 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.”

Comment. Yes!! He really did say that. What a pillock.!!

 

 

 

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 force, 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, as yet unbuilt 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, plugging the “Greenland gap” if the US military loans the UK sufficient numbers of their F35 aircraft together with american pilots and support staff. What a shambolic mess. And Bowie is effusive in his pleasure in the Tory government in its efforts.

 

 

 

Tax and Health and Welfare

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

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

Government ministers 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 “industrialized”, 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 (OBR) said 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: 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. This from a man that has sponged just about all of his salary and expenses from the Scottish taxpayer.

 

 

 

23 Dec 2017: Scottish income tax – Army at war over SNP taxes

The Ministry of Defense is to compensate armed forces personnel stationed in Scotland who end up worse off as a result of the Scottish government’s income tax hikes.

Tory MP Bowie, said:

“It’s becoming increasingly clear that the SNP has charged ahead with their tax changes without thinking through the consequences. Armed forces are facing a ‘Scottish surcharge’ simply for living north of the Border. There is no good reason why anyone in Scotland 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.” (Scotsman)

 

Comment:

The article is abject nonsense. The facts are that 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.

Benefits exclusive to armed forces based in Scotland comprise:

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.To be increased further in 2018/19.

Free prescription charges.

All school children from primary one to three entitled to a free school meal.

Additional 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, around 500 personnel, will pay around £14.00p weekly. Hardly onerous when set against against a salary band of £50k plus.

Noteworthy is that the bulk of the 500 highest earners are married with children and gain significant benefits, (not available to English based armed forces through the earlier mentioned family orientated provisions

 

 

 

 

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 would have been best 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 faced 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 were sent on a “treasure hunt” but were unable to find the location of Mrs May’s visit, which had not been advertised in advance.

It was only after Mrs May spoke to a small audience of specially selected assembled supporters at Crathes village hall that locals discovered it had been booked by Bowie as a “child party”.

A local said he was shocked to find the listing on the venue’s website hours after attempting to put “serious questions” to the Prime Minister. He said:

“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 Tory activists standing there boosting her ego. 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!!!

 

 

 

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

Bowie is very active in the Commons and is 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

 

Image result for tory party incompetent

 

 

 

4 Dec 2017: affordable house building

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 was 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.

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 the bulk of the anticipated 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.

 

 

 

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

Leader Ruth Davidson told Scottish Tory MPs to champion Scotland in Westminster. The instruction included fighting for the devolving of additional Scottish powers and spending on fisheries and agriculture during and after the Brexit negotiations reinforcing Holyrood’s existing powers in both areas under devolution.

Davidson and other senior figures in the Scottish Tories also considered options to reinforce or indeed increase their independence from the UK party, after clear differences emerged between the group and Tory 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 shuggly pegs.

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.”

What followed was an acrimonious slagging 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 endeavor 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.”

 

 

 

PART 2

2 Jan 2018: The Tory Party in Scotland has fewer than ten thousand members aged under thirty and faces a generation gap crisis

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

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

Asked how many young members there are, 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 157,000 in 1949.

By 1970 membership had reduced to 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 leading young members gushed over the new US leader, who had attracted unprecedented protests over his policies including a ban on citizens from seven Muslim majority nations entering the US and his promise to build 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”.

A candidate for Grangemouth in the 2017 local elections he 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.”

MEP Duncan regaled the audience with stories of negative reactions of EU parliamentarians to Brexit,

Speaking about Nigel Farage, UKIP MEP 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 their 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.

The Tory vision of life outside the EU means pleading with Donald Trump for a trade deal and many people in Scotland will be looking for an alternative.”

 

 

 

 

11 Sep 2018: Boundary Commission redraws the constituency map of Scotland

Under changes proposed by the boundary commission only East Lothian would remain unchanged while the total number of Scottish constituencies at Westminster would be reduce from 59 to 53.

In a rare departure from his usual unqualified support of his party Andrew Bowie, Tory MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, said:

“I am very proud to represent West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine – and every town, village and community within the constituency. These proposals have already provoked a significant amount of debate and I am sure these latest revisions will continue to do so. However, I don’t detect a huge appetite within the UK to change the current boundary system. I think voters are more concerned with the state of our NHS, local schools and the economy. They want to see the government focused on securing the best possible deal as we leave the EU.”

Note: His plans for a long political career in the North East of Scotland are under threat and concentrates his mind on survival

Edinburgh SNP MP Tommy Sheppard said:

“Instead of reducing the number of democratically elected MPs, there should be a reduction of the 791 unelected peers in the bloated House of Lords. These proposed plans would see Scotland’s representation at Westminster slashed by over 10 per cent, with Scottish MP voices further diminished in a Parliament that looks increasing like it’s set up to work against those protecting Scotland’s interests. For the mainland Highlands – which has a geographic area one and a half times the size of Wales – to be cut down to just two constituencies, as this report recommends, is ludicrous. There is no appetite for these changes at present and I am confident that these proposals won’t see the light of day.”

 

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6 Jul 2017: Tory MP Bowie asks the PM yet another loaded question

The SNP government was spared fines of up to £60 million after ministers missed the deadline of processing 95 per cent of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidies and Bowie just couldn’t resist yet another back stabbing attack.

There is no end to Bowie’s embarrassing crawling. He said:

“I would like to ask if the Prime Minister agrees with me that it is utterly shameful that the Scottish government, for the second year in a row, have had to go pleading to the European Commission for an extension to the farm payment deadline? And, if further proof was needed that the SNP are failing rural Scotland?”

Theresa May, in response to her Commons colleague, insisted this is another example of Ms Sturgeon and the SNP “failing to deliver” for the Scottish people.

Comment:

“But his cynical bitching was clearly designed to portray Scotland in a bad light and it backfired badly when Scotland’s performance was compared to an adverse report presented only a few months before at which time the Public Accounts Committee expressed their its deep concern about England’s pathetic performance, (much worse than Scotland’s) on the same matter.” (see below)

 

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10 February 2017: Westminster MP’s express concern about much repeated farm subsidy payment delays in England

MPs say that EU subsidies account for about 50% of British farm incomes and the government’s failure to pay EU subsidies on time or help farmers hit hard by delays raises doubts about its ability to cope with Brexit.

Delays to Common Agricultural Policy payments meant some farmers had to sell livestock to pay bills, they say. Only 38% of England’s farmers were paid on the first day possible in 2015 – in other years it had been more than 90%. The government said major progress had since been made and it had met its 2017 target to pay 93% of farmers by March.

The Rural Payments Agency, which distributes EU funds to farmers paid out just 38% of farmers at 1 December 2015.

By the end of March 2016, only 84% of farmers had been paid – meaning some 14,300 farmers had received no payment. Some were still owed more than 1,000 euros (£850) nine months after they could first have been paid.

 

Flooded fields

 

 

 

Payments  to flood-affected farmers in North Yorkshire and Cumbria had also “lagged behind the rest of England until June 2016”, the MPs said.

The committee heard that some farmers had needed to take out bank loans or sell livestock to cover their costs because payments had been delayed.

The government was also criticized for the high number of “disallowance penalties” – fines imposed by the European Commission for late or inaccurate payments or other failures to meet the rules.

England has already incurred £642m in penalties since 2005, the fourth highest in the EU.

The committee’s deputy chairman, Richard Bacon, described the late payment of subsidies as “a sorry affair”. He said: “Farmers have suffered badly from the collapse in service levels, and government has done too little to help them cope with the fallout.”

The Public Accounts Committee report said: “The department’s record of failure when developing systems to support subsidy payments to farmers does not inspire confidence in its ability to cope with the challenges associated with Brexit that lie ahead.”

Comment: The EU commission recognized there were extenuating circumstances why the Scottish government missed the 95% target by a few percent which is why a fine was not imposed. Contrast Scotland’s performance against England’s:

“The EU Commission has imposed financial penalties, amounting to £642m in the last 10 years, the fourth largest in the EU, on English ministers for failing to meet farming subsidy targets.”

 

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30 Oct 2018: Hammond associates his Scottish Tory MP cronies with his freeze on whisky duty.

In his budget speech Hammond said he had been persuaded to freeze duty on whisky by the Scottish Tory MP group. If affirmed this would recorded as a gross violation by himself , of Westminster protocol.

BUT it might be he was just spouting a load of bullsh*t

 

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The Whisky trade lobby’s the Chancellor

It is noteworthy that the all-Party Group on Scotch Whisky, a powerful committee with links to the Scotch Whisky Association officially operating in Westminster, lists only one Tory MP as a member (and he represents Carlisle).

The group’s remit is:

“to promote and facilitate communication and understanding between representatives from the Scotch Whisky industry and MPs.”

Members

Brendan O’Hara, Scottish National Party (Chairman): Jim Fitzpatrick, Labour Party: John Stevenson Conservative Party: Lord Purvis  of Tweed, Liberal Democrat Party: Chris Law, Scottish National Party: Michelle Thomson, Independent: Ian Blackford, Scottish National Party: Martin John Docherty, Scottish National Party. Not one Scottish Tory MP in the group.

Chairman, Brendan O’Hara, wrote to the Chancellor on behalf of the Group warning him of industry concerns, saying it was vital that businesses and sectors were protected and not burdened with even more counterproductive and unnecessary tax hikes on whisky.

He said:

“Scotch whisky is one of Scotland’s major assets and a global success story. At a time of continued Brexit uncertainty and instability, we cannot risk or undermine our whisky industry by increasing the tax liability on our producers who are already contributing so much. Scotch whisky cannot be forced to bankroll the UK’s failing economic strategy. For too long the Treasury has viewed the industry as a ‘cash cow’, as evidenced by last year’s counterproductive duty hike. That approach must come to an end and we call on the Chancellor to rule out unnecessary tax hikes and instead take heed of the economic reality and retain the duty freeze on scotch whisky to ensure that this vital Scottish industry continues to grow.”

 

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Celebrating the freeze on Spirits Duty with a bottle of single malt and the Chancellor of the Exchequer

 

 

The sector’s trade body –   The Scotch Whisky Association said that a freeze would “not only deliver greater revenue for the Treasury but also help to support an industry that has invested more than £500m in capital projects over the last five years”.

The Bonded Warehouse Association (Whisky Trade) has around 100 companies as members throughout the UK and has established very close links to Government, regulatory bodies and other Associations. It engages government ministers on a strategic and partnership level to ensure that its members have a powerful voice which is acknowledged and listened to along with a consistent approach and vehicle to influence future policy.

And not long before the Tory Party sponsored this lot to a free dinner party at Westminster. https://www.thebwa.com/about-us

 

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2017: Bowie and the  Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme (AFPS)

This is a privately funded scheme designed to provide MP’s an opportunity to gain arms length experience of the British armed forces so that they are better placed to debate military issues at Westminster.

Sounds good, so far!! But there’s a catch. The scheme is sponsored and fully funded as a “foundation” by three defence lobbying companies BAE Systems, Rolls Royce and Agusta/Westland.

All costs attributed to activities furthering the aims of the scheme are met by the sponsors. But there is a catch. There can be no criticism of the sponsors as Tory MP Douglas Carswell found out when in 1998, he was banned from the organization after criticizing the propriety of the defence companies sponsoring it when he saw British soldiers under-equipped on the front line

In their first year of service applicants are granted the honorary rank of Army – Major / RAF – Squadron Leader / RN – Lt Commander (depending on which branch of the armed forces they choose. In subsequent years they can expect promotion to a much higher rank, and more money.

Allocation of areas of interest depends on seniority. Year one allows access to the basics of the services, whilst more senior members deal with joint working, doctrine and strategic defence considerations.

Well, well so it may be he will resurface soon as Andrew Bowie,  Lt Commander (RN) MP. (Not bad for a rookie sailor still wet behind the ears)

 

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Bowie joins his ultra right wing activists in Washington. Celebrating the legacy of Thatcher and Reagan

 

 

Bowie and the International Republican Institute (IRI)

Bowie: “It was a huge honour to be invited to Washington DC to join with the IRI talking with young political leaders from across Europe & others about the future of the transatlantic relationship & how, in 2018 with anti democratic forces on the rise, we provide a buttress in the defense of democracy around the world. (Who Paid?)

 

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But this statement does not apply to Bowie’s own country where communications, media etc are state controlled and the rights of Scots are trampled underfoot by the Westminster elite.

 

 

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And Scots in Aberdeen foolishly believed the Tory hype that he would concentrate his efforts in full support of the electorate that sent him to Westminster.

As of March 2018 he was promoted to the position of parliamentary private secretary (PPS) within the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). His new role will take up a deal of his time at Westminster but he will attempt to fit in his MP duty to his constituents in addition to his efforts in support of the Armed Forces Lobby group and his developing “Atlantisist” links.

 

 

 

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27 Aug 2018: Bowie visits Thales Group in Glasgow

Thales has maintained offices in Glasgow from the end of WW1 and contributed to the recent build of the new aircraft carriers at Rosyth.

Bowie: “Great visit to the Thales Group in Glasgow today to see the incredible work being done on optromics for advanced systems for use on land, at sea and in the air by our armed forces. ”

Strange one this. Is it not conduct unbecoming to promote himself and his party in the constituency of another MP? Namely Chris Stephens SNP.

The company Bowie praises is an unsavory organization who reputation worldwide scores less than zero on the good conduct scale. Check out this blog: “https://rhk111smilitaryandarmspage.wordpress.com/2018/03/29/the-thales-groups-long-history-of-corruption/”

 

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Bowie: “With Labour, it’s always about where you came from. With the Conservatives it’s where you can get to.”

And  he is are clearly set on being financed by the taxpayer for all of his working life!!!

Paul Kelly: Unless you are stuck on Brexit island with a blue passport and nothing to eat but jam.
HMS Archer is being relocated from Aberdeen
HMS Archer
26 Jul 2012: The Tory/Lib/dem government cutbacks
The Royal navy training ship HMS Archer was relocated to Edinburgh from Aberdeen in a bid to encourage more University students to sign up for a life on the ocean waves. Six years later Bowie found the courage to speak out against the decision since he was attracted to a life on the ocean waves with the Royal navy due to his early naval training with the 12 knot maximum, unarmed, Aberdeen based training vessel and its five crew.
17 Aug 2018: Bowie exposed Tory incompetence and lack of support for Aberdeen – Writing in the Press and Journal

Bowie: “In 2012, the coalition government decided, on bad advice, to disband the Universities of Aberdeen Royal Naval Unit and to move the patrol vessel and training ship, HMS Archer, from Aberdeen to Edinburgh. This left a huge chunk of Scotland’s coastline with no permanent naval presence. The Aberdeen unit, the oldest of its kind in the UK, has a place close to my heart. It was where I met my wife, so I am perhaps guilty of being sentimental.  However, I find it unacceptable that this unit could be disbanded and the ship moved to the central belt purely for cost saving reasons. This has deprived students of the ability to see or experience what a career in the senior service can offer. At the time of the decision, I was a student and couldn’t do much to stop it. But as a local MP, I have now written to the Secretary of State for Defence to ask for a review of the decision and ultimately, a reinstatement of the unit and ship in Aberdeen.”

Comment: OK!!! Bowie’s life on the ocean waves lasted only 3 years at a cost to the taxpayer in excess of £2m plus.

 

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14 Aug 2018: And he had the temerity to tell the volunteers they were good citizens!!!

Bowie: “Yesterday I visited and met with the dedicated volunteers at the South Aberdeenshire Food Bank based in Banchory who do such amazing work for people who, for whatever reason, tragically find themselves in need of their service. False praise from Bowie.

Silvia Fiddes OrtizPerea:This is what we get in society when you and your party vote against promoting equality and human rights and to reduce funding for local government. ………so much hypocrisy Mr Bowie”
Hansard: Bowie voted to further reduce central government funding of local government.
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6 Aug 2018: Bowie off to Equador on a visit to the Universidad de Playa Ancha (UPLA)
Bowie: ” I was honoured to be invited to join once more, on another year  to talk  about campaigning and youth politics in Latin America. Made so welcome by Creando Oportunidades (CREO) here in Ecuador.”
Creando Oportunidades is an ultra right wing political party in Equador. Its leader was unsuccessful in his 2017 challenge for the Presidency. Problems continue to beset the country which is under economic attack by the US and its allies. Nice people to be associated with.!!! Not!!!
His facebook page contains loads of photos’s of himself posing in various locations indicating a continuous presence in the constituency. His jaunts to other constituencies and abroad coupled with his PPS duties at Westminster suggest otherwise.
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1 Aug 2018: Bowie critical of the Aberdeen bypass construction project
Bowie: “While it is of course very welcome that a major section of the AWPR will be opened in the coming weeks, the fact that 26 speed restrictions will be in place means this is only a partial opening and will cause people to wonder if we risk another Queensferry Crossing scenario.”
Grant Duguid:Seems audit Scotland think a “Queensferry crossing” would be exactly what we’re looking for…….Queensferry Crossing project well managed and value for money…..(https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-45041862?)

Jenna Berrisford:In all fairness to them Carillion screwed them over big time so no wonder they don’t want to commit to a date. It’ll be open when it’s open. Can’t wait personally… 18 mins from BOD to Stonehaven is always a positive in my book”
Lindsey Paterson:I seem to remember the Tories being in power long before we had a Scottish Parliament yet they never listened to the calls for an Aberdeen bypass.”
James Fraser Singer:The Carillion situation caused by the Tory government in wastemonster didn’t help the situation did it? But no anything for snp bad… Maybe concentrate more on doing things for your constituents than bashing other political parties.”
Bowie: “Great night speaking to Hitchen and Harpenden conservatives (fantastic group) with brilliant local MP, colleague and friend.”

Is he ever in his constituency? Its at the other end of the British Isles!!!
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Bowie’s Take on Brexit
Bowie: “The UK will be leaving the European Union on 29th March 2019. The 2016 referendum was the biggest democratic exercise in British history with 17.4 million people voting to leave the EU. In the subsequent General Election of June 2017, both major parties pledged to respect the referendum result and me and my Conservative colleagues were elected on a manifesto commitment to leave the EU, Customs Union and Single Market. HM Government is currently delivering on that commitment.”
CaltonJock: “The SNP manifesto contains a commitment to hold a second independence referendum at the end of the Brexit process” It is to be hoped that the Tory party will stop moaning and respect that pledge”
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3 Nov 2018: Dynamic meeting of the young conservatives in Aberdeen
Bowie “Always a pleasure to attend North East Conference… Even more so when it’s in West Aberdeenshire. And even more so when I have the pleasure to introduce Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State for International Development.”
Neil Cameron: “Packed to the rafters I see.”
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2 Nov 2018: Bowie brazenly shares credit for supporting ex-servicemen with Jim Davidson
Bowie: “Amazing to meet Jim Davidson in Parliament yesterday with Care After Combat”
Russell Stewart:Have to ask why support for ex-service people is left to charities. Dammed disgrace government leaves their people to depend on handouts and do not support them ! We hear lots of fine words of how they give so much ! So why doesn’t government put its hand in its pocket and  do more ! British Legion does a lot but face facts the legion does not have the financial support they used too!
Neil Cameron:It is a disgrace that charities have had to be set up to look after veterans in this country. These charities let the government off doing the right thing for the troops government. MPs are happy to send our young men off to war to be returned in boxes or seriously injured in many cases.
The Tories say they support our troops. I beg to differ!  But makes a good Tory photo opportunity standing next to the people who actually do care!”
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