Born Aberdeenshire 1988
1999-2005: Inverurie Academy – high school education.
2007-2010: The Royal Navy – On completion of an 11-month recruit training course at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth he was posted to ships for fleet training with the purpose of qualifying as a junior Warfare Officer employed in counter piracy, smuggling and oil protection activities protecting the Basra Oilfields in the Persian Gulf. Short service contract completed he returned to full time education with the purpose of gaining a university degree.
Comment: Gulf Region Royal Navy deployment shared with US Navy. Non-combatant from 2006 operations in the gulf subsequently ceased in July 2009. From then, until May 2011, at the request of the Iraqi Government, the Royal Navy continued to train the Iraqi Navy to defend its territorial waters and offshore oil infrastructure.
The cost to the taxpayer of his training at Dartmouth and then development as a Junior Warfare officer would be written off as a loss to the exchequer when he terminated his contract of employment at the end of 3 years. little return on the investment.
2010-2013: Aberdeen University– MA Degree Politics and History. Active member (President) of the University of Aberdeen Conservative and Unionist Association.
Comment: On leaving the Royal Navy he signed up to complete a degree in History and politics at Aberdeen University. This extended period of higher education would be provided free of charge, thanks to the further education policies of the SNP government.
At University he joined the Tory Party and became an active member of the Aberdeen University Graduate Tory group achieving the office of Chairman. A political career beckoned.
2013-2013: In employment (7 months) with Divex Ltd – Deep sea diving equipment supplier.
Comment: His toe in the murky waters of private enterprise. Utilizing knowledge of diving equipment gained in the Royal Navy. Short term stop gap employment. Politics being his chosen future.
2014-2015: Employed by the Tory Party as North of Scotland Campaign Manager. Managed Tory campaign in North Scotland for the European Referendum. Had considerable success with every authority voting overwhelmingly to stay in the UK.
Comment: Salary and on-costs estimated to be around £15 plus expenses. Funded by campaign funds donated to the party.
2015-2016: European Parliament, Brussels. Parliamentary Assistant and Rural Affairs Policy Advisor to Tory MEP Ian Duncan.
Comment: Salary and on-costs £35 – £50K plus expenses annually. All expenditure charged to the Scottish taxpayer.
2016-2017: Employed in the office of Liam Kerr MSP in the Scottish Parliament.
Comment: Salary and on-costs £20-£30K plus expenses. All expenditure charged to the Scottish taxpayer
May 2017: The Tory Party Sales Pitch for Bowie
Last month the Prime Minister announced a snap general election to be held on 8 June 2017. Justifying the decision, she said: “The country is coming together but Westminster is not. We have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done, while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin.”
The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party has selected 29 year old Andrew Bowie as its candidate for Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine in the general election. He was approved unanimously at a meeting of the local party in Westhill.
Bowie said: “I am delighted to have been selected to stand in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine. This area decisively rejected independence in 2014 and I will be appealing to Unionist voters to send the SNP a strong message that we do not want another referendum. Recent polls make it clear that only the Scottish Conservatives can stand up to the SNP in constituencies across Scotland – particularly here in Aberdeenshire. The Scottish Conservative and Unionists have shown at last year’s Holyrood election and in three local by-elections that we have the strength to take on the SNP and win.”
2017: General Election: Returned as Member of Parliament for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine.
Comment: Salary and on-costs £87K approx. Plus: Westminster postage £10K. Constituency Office Running costs £25K. Constituency staffing: 151K. Stationery: £6K. London Accn. £23K. Travel & subsistence (no limit but projected). £40K.
Annual cost to the Scottish taxpayer. £342K
Total cost to the Scottish taxpayer 5 year parliamentary session. £1.71m
Comment: Apart from a few months in 2013 the nearly 11 years encompassing his various jobs and studies has been funded by the Scottish taxpayer.
Oct 2016: Andrew Bowie – The Mask Slips
Tory Chief of Staff Forced to Publicly apologizes for His “flipping woman” Email
Andrew Bowie, chief of staff to Liam Kerr MSP, sent the offensive message, which also claimed she “had it in” for one of her Tory rivals, after his boss was asked to support a charity.
Geva Blackett, an SNP Councillor from the north-east of Scotland was shocked to receive the disrespectful reply from Bowie in response to an email she had sent to Kerr (MSP) seeking his support to a local motor neuron disease charity campaign.
Bowie, in a message to his boss, wrote: “This flipping woman is an SNP Councillor who has it in for Alex B (Alexander Burnett, Tory MSP for Aberdeen West)!”
Cllr Blackett, Councillor for Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside, said: “I emailed all of the north-east MSP’s asking for them to lend their support to those living with motor neuron disease who are constantly being reassessed for benefits.
I received the reply around 10 minutes later from Liam Kerr’s chief of staff and I was shocked. He accused me of having it in for ‘Alex Burnett but I work across the political spectrum and I hold no malice against Alex.
I sent the email as a constituent, not as a Councillor, about a serious illness and it has been used a political football. I am so angry about it. It wasn’t a party political issue I was emailing him about, I emailed Mr Kerr asking for his support.”
Cllr Blackett in her reply to the email, asked Mr Bowie if the phrase “flipping woman” is an “appropriate way to describe a constituent”.
Cllr Blackett added: “He sent me an apology soon afterwards but he didn’t even spell my name right!”
An SNP source said: “Though this wasn’t intended for public consumption, it rather underpins the deep disdain the Tories have for their constituents.
Liam Kerr is already in trouble for using taxpayers’ money to promote the Tories in the north-east. But sadly these sorts of blunders from a reckless right-wing, rabble of Tory MSPs have become all too common.”
Afternote: Alexander Burnett is facing a Police Scotland investigation into his election expenses after he was accused of breaching election spending rules and his MSP colleague Kerr is facing a separate investigation after he apparently used parliamentary resources to sent out a post-election letter thanking his voters. (deadlinenews)
Royal Navy – The Tory Party Promote Bowie as a Champion of the armed forces – This is a snippet of the Tory Government record he protects
29 Jan 2016: British warships need multi-million-pound refit to stop power failures
Repeated electrical faults have left £1bn Type 45 destroyers unable to navigate or activate weapons systems. The Royal Navy’s most advanced warships, once described as the best in the world, will need multi million-pound repairs because of repeated power failures that leave the Type 45 destroyers unable to move or use defense and weapons systems.
Admiral Lord West called the flaw “a real weakness” and said the MoD had pretended it was a case of teething problems. He said “they must have known three or four years ago that this was more than that. There’s no doubt this is extremely worrying. It’s an intermittent fault which has quite clearly caused a lot of problems. You don’t expect suddenly to lose all power when you’re steaming along normally.” Repairs will cost tens of millions, because you’ll have to cut a hole in the ship, get into it, fit something else into it, button it up and get it out. And even more worrying is we only have 19 destroyers and frigates. That is a national disgrace. Someone needs to look at why did we arrive at this position.”
MPs and peers have repeatedly asked questions in parliament about the power failures. Conservative MP Nicholas Soames commented “This is an unmitigated disaster and a huge cock-up by the Royal Navy. The ships don’t work. The secretary of defense, I am sure, will be outraged by this. We should never have got ourselves into the situation where the entire Royal Navy has just 19 frigates and destroyers. It is a disgrace.”
Spiraling costs of the Type 45 destroyers were criticized by the House of Commons defense committee as early as 2009. The Royal Navy had originally requested 12 ships but the cost of the advanced ships meant the force ended up with just six.
The ships are powered by integrated electric propulsion, using very high-voltage electrics. Warships with electrical failures may be unable to navigate, with the destroyers drifting at sea until power is restored, and weapons systems may be unable to function. At least one new generator is expected to be needed on each ship, requiring a major refit of a vessel where internal space is already very tight.
The work will be furthered hampered by a shortage of marine engineers, which has led to the Royal Navy being forced to recruit from the US Coast Guard. Last year it was estimated that the Royal Navy was short of about 500 engineers, despite also recruiting many from Canada and other Commonwealth nations.
Peter Roberts, former naval commanding officer now a senior research fellow at RUSI said: “You cannot be in the Strait of Hormuz, where things can be tense, with the risk of a power failure. The upgrade is about adding resilience to the ship, it was always thought to be a risk when a ship depended on a high voltage but it is a risk that has come home to roost.” (The Guardian)
Jul 2016: Crucial fleet of Type 26 global-combat frigates is indefinitely delayed.
A new fleet of frigates, described as “global combat ships” designed to play crucial roles, has been delayed indefinitely, the Ministry of Defense has said in testy exchanges with MPs over huge financial and technical problems facing the navy’s surface vessels. Delays in building the Type 26 frigates – a project promised by David Cameron before the 2014 Scottish independence referendum – is threatening shipbuilding jobs on the Clyde in Scotland.
The project’s problems come on top of serious mechanical failures in the navy’s new fleet of Type 45 destroyers. Key tasks of the navy’s frigates and destroyers include protecting two new large aircraft carriers now being assembled in Rosyth as well as Trident nuclear weapons submarines approaching and leaving their base on the Clyde.
“I can’t give you a time or a date,” Tony Douglas, the MoD’s top official responsible for military equipment, said on Wednesday after he was asked by MPs on the Commons defense committee when the frigate design would be approved. “It could be next year.” Harriett Baldwin, a new junior defense minister, told the MPs: “We do not know yet.”
The number of planned new frigates has already been cut from 13 to eight, though the MoD has the option to build five smaller and cheaper general-purpose vessels. One of the problems is how to make the frigates as quiet as possible to make it harder for them to be detected by Russian submarines.
Pressures are more likely after the Commons approved the building of four new Trident submarines at an official cost of at least $31bn but which, many experts say, could be significantly higher.
Julian Lewis, Conservative chair of the defense committee, warned that delays could lead to more money being spent on the new frigate fleet and on extending the life of the existing Type 23 frigate fleet. He reminded the MoD of previous navy “disasters”, including those involving the Astute class of nuclear-powered submarines.
The navy’s new fleet of Type 45 destroyers, which cost £1bn apiece, has also encountered serious and embarrassing mechanical failures. Jones said that although the destroyers were designed for hot climates, their resilience had “degraded catastrophically”, with problems in high summer in the Red Sea and the Gulf.
The SNP’s defense spokesman in Westminster, Brendan O’Hara, said “the enormous cost of Trident is spiraling out of control – and it would be completely unacceptable and unforgivable if the Clyde yards had to pay the price for the Tory obsession with Trident, a weapon of mass destruction opposed by a majority of Scots.” (defense-aerospace)
Jul 2017: Senior military veterans Warn That Britain’s defenses are so poor that the Royal Navy’s new £1bn Destroyers Sound Like A “Box Of Spanners” to Russian Attack Submarines.
Highlighting growing fears defense chiefs have ignored the threat from enemy submarines whilst investing in anti-aircraft and missile defense systems wrongly concentrating too much investment on the war against terror whilst ignoring the resurgence of Cold War hostilities.
Rear Admiral Chris Parry (rtd) claimed the £1 billion pound Type 45 destroyers can be detected from over 100 miles away by Putin’s deadly new hunter killer subs. Amid damning claims of “huge gaps” left in Britain’s defense, Parry is reported saying “We used to put little wooden wedges between the hatch-clip and the hatches in my destroyer to stop them rattling so we could keep the noise down. We have forgotten all about it. It’s crazy. Noise suppression has been probably the biggest dirty secret since the end of the Cold War that people have been cheerfully ignoring. Ships currently in service are noisy as hell, He went on to say “During the Cold War . . .the ships I was in were the equivalent of a whisper. These ships now are the equivalent of someone shouting at somebody.”
The claims, cover a wide range of complaints about bungling MoD chiefs leaving Britain wide-open to attack and making a number of costly equipment mistakes. (The Mirror)
Dec 2017: Crisis in the Royal Navy
Britain has no major warships deployed on operations beyond home waters in what has been described as an “unprecedented” absence of the vessels on the world stage.
All six of the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers are docked in Portsmouth, while 12 of 13 Type 23 frigates are either at Portsmouth or Devonport. HMS St Albans is the only Type 23 on duty as the fleet ready escort, which protects home waters.
A dearth of major naval warships overseas has been attributed to cuts to the defense budget, raising concerns over Britain’s ability to project power internationally.
Vice-Admiral John McAnally, national president of the Royal Naval Association, said that the scarcity of frigates and destroyers overseas was unprecedented and indicates the fleet is too small. “I am distressed and alarmed. I do not see that it is easily remedied. The only answer is an increase in the defense budget. It is too small to meet what government want the armed forces to do.”
Fixed-wing carrier operations ceased in 2010 with the retirement of the last Harrier. This capability will not be restored until the Joint Combat Aircraft (F-35) and the first Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier become operational around 2020.
It recently emerged that the vessel, the largest and most expensive in the Royal Navy’s history, currently undergoing sea trials, has a leak.
Cuts have also seen the sale of three Type 23 frigates in 2005/6 and the early decommissioning of four Type 22 frigates in 2010/11. (defense-aerospace)
Feb 2018: Loss of Amphibious Ships Spells “Sunset for the Royal Marines”
The United Kingdom will lose its ability to conduct specialized amphibious operations, if leaked plans considered in the National Security Capability Review (NSCR) are not cancelled by the new Modernizing Defense Programme (MDP), according to the Commons Defense Committee.
In its Report, ‘Sunset for the Royal Marines?’, published today, the Committee warns that further reductions in the Royal Marines and the disposal of the amphibious ships HMS Albion, and HMS Bulwark, would be “militarily illiterate” and “totally at odds with strategic reality”.
The NSCR, carried out by the National Security Adviser rather than by the Ministry of Defense has led to persistent rumours of major cuts in conventional forces.
Up to 2,000 Royal Marines – about 30% of current strength – would be lost, together with the two amphibious assault ships which are essential for landing personnel, heavy equipment and supplies over a beach. (UK Defense Journal)
Dec 2017: France has offered the UK the use of French Navy amphibious assault ships should the Albion class be retired multiple sources have reported today.
According to two senior French military officials quoted in the Financial Times:
“We have three very capable ships. The idea is that in the case of one of the two countries having to reduce certain capabilities because of budgetary constraints we could mitigate the consequences by standing shoulder to shoulder.” (UK Defense Journal)
17 Jul 2017: Andrew Bowie’s Contribution to the Debate in the House of Commons on Future of the UK Armed Forces
Bowie spoke on the importance of maintaining a strong Royal Navy and had this to say “I was proud to speak about how our island nation depends on safe waters and open sea ways and therefore a strong Royal Navy for is safety, security and its economic growth.
How I am proud that for the first time in many years, the fleet is growing in size; on the government’s commitment to Scotland and Scottish shipbuilding and how we must continue this trajectory, how we must never allow ourselves to become sea blind and how we need a strong and flexible navy, ready to fight the battles of the 21st Century.” Video:
19 Jul 2017: Armed Forces Debate in the Commons:
Bowie: I stand here proud that, for all we talk today about moving towards a more flexible, agile armed forces, armed and trained to fight the asymmetric wars of the future, the Conservative Government have proven, in not only words but actions, that they do not suffer, as other Governments have, from sea-blindness.
Douglas Chapman (SNP): More account needs to be taken of the threats that face Scotland from the north. The fact that we do not have a surface ship based in Scotland to protect our coastline from increasing Russian submarine incursions into our waters needs to be addressed.
Bowie: The hon. Gentleman says that there are no surface vessels based in Scotland, but that is patently untrue. The mine counter measures squadron is based solely at Faslane, which if I am not mistaken is north of the border in Scotland.
Douglas Chapman Shadow (SNP): What a tremendous example: one single minesweeper to deal with the whole of the North sea and the north Atlantic. I am sure everyone in Scotland will sleep easy in their beds tonight.
Comment: The Tory government has ruthlessly cut funding of the Royal Navy reducing its capability well in excess of operational requirements present and forecast. Badly designed destroyers and frigates need to be replaced as a matter of urgency, but less than 50% are scheduled to be built and new weaponry has been abandoned.
Add to this there was the ill advised sale of the excellent if ageing 72 Harriers to the US for less than £1bn, to be replaced with 100+ US built F35 fixed wing airplane, (costing around £1.5bn each).
And two new aircraft carriers scheduled for introduction into service will only be securely deployed to their role, protecting the Atlantic sea-lanes and plugging the “Greenland gap” if the US military provides f35 aircraft in sufficient numbers to equip them and includes destroyer protection. What a mess. And to note Bowie applauds the Tory government in its efforts is very sad indeed.
Tax and Health and Welfare
8 Feb 2018: Universal credit all-party report raises fears over workability of system
The Commons work and pensions committee said the government has yet to produce a full business case justifying universal credit, seven years after the programme started, and there remains considerable uncertainty about its costs and benefits.
Government ministers have have produced no evidence to back up the key, central economic assumption of the biggest reform to our welfare system in 50 years.
The committee warned that the improved job outcomes the reform promises are uncertain, while anticipated taxpayer savings rely on it becoming increasingly automated and “industrialised”, despite evidence that significant numbers of claimants find it difficult to access and use the digital-only system.
Universal credit aims to roll six major working-age benefits into one monthly payment, including job seeker’s allowance, tax credit and housing benefit. It has been criticized for design flaws and administrative errors that have left thousands of poorer claimants at risk of poverty, debt and rent arrears.
The Office for Budget Responsibility said last month that political uncertainties and problems with the design and implementation of the much-delayed project, currently around five years behind schedule, meant universal credit presented a “significant risk” to public spending.
Many billions of pounds have been written off to this debacle since Ian Duncan Smith first muted it many years ago and still Andre Bowie and his ilk insist it will all be for the better in time. But who’s betterment?
Comment: But Bowie (member of the cross party Commons Work and Pensions committee) praised the Universal Credit (UC) roll out claiming it eased claimants into work mirroring the benefits of employed income. Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tGsb9TA6Tc
23 Dec 2017: Scottish Income Tax – Army at War Over SNP Taxes
The Ministry of Defense is looking at compensating armed forces personnel posted to Scotland who end up worse off as a result of Derek Mackay’s income tax hikes, it has emerged.
Andrew Bowie. Scottish Conservative MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, said: “It’s becoming increasingly clear that the SNP has charged ahead with their Nat tax without thinking through the consequences. The fact that armed personnel are facing a ‘Scottish surcharge’ simply for living north of the Border will strike most Scots as deeply unfair. There is no good reason why anyone should be forced to pay more in income tax than people elsewhere in the UK. It shouldn’t be up to the MoD to have to compensate those being forced to pay more. The SNP need to think again.” (The Scotsman)
Comment: The article is abject nonsense and unworthy of a national newspaper. The facts are that the 14,000 military personnel stationed in Scotland will be better off when income tax is set against health and welfare benefits provided solely to those who reside in Scotland . The Unionist rag and those who support it are lying through their teeth in yet another disgraceful attempt to smear the Scottish government. Exclusive to Scotland is:
Free provision of 600 hours per year of (16 hours weekly) early learning and child care for all 3 and 4 year old’s as well as vulnerable 2 year olds. Free prescription charges. All school children from primary one to three entitled to a free school meal.
The facts: 12,000 forces personnel will pay less tax, (but the Unionists are not complaining that similar personnel based in England will pay more tax.) 1,500 will pay between £0.50p – £1,50p more tax weekly. The residue approx. 500 personnel (the majority of whom are married with families and gain significant financial through the earlier mentioned family orientated provisions) will pay around £14.00p weekly (hardly excessive against a salary band of between £50-£80k)
On the Campaign Trail in West Aberdeenshire
5 Jul 2017: At Prime Ministers Questions Bowie seized the opportunity to thank Mrs May for taking time out from her busy schedule during the general election campaign to campaign in his constituency.
Comment: But the reality was that her visit was botched from the time of it’s conception by Bowie. He should have been advised to keep his mouth shut on the matter.
30 Apr 2017: Theresa May faces fresh accusations of ‘hiding’ after Scotland rally publicly listed as child’s birthday party
Theresa May is facing fresh accusations of “hiding” from voters after a campaign event held in Scotland was publicly listed as a children’s birthday party.
Bemused locals in Aberdeenshire had been unable to find the location of the Prime Minister’s visit, which was not advertised in advance. It was only after Ms May spoke to assembled supporters at Crathes village hall that they discovered it had been booked out as a “child party” between 10am and 5pm.
Kevin Newell, 34, said he was shocked to find the listing on the venue’s website hours after attempting to put “serious questions” to the Prime Minister. “There were a whole load of us who wanted to go and question her on a lot of important policies and issues. It’s been so secretive, they are supposed to be holding these big rallies but all she’s doing is hiding in little village halls, not saying they are going to be there. So there’s no one apart from local Conservative activists standing there and boosting her ego even more. It’s quite pathetic really – for the Prime Minister of the UK to be hiding in a village hall in rural Aberdeenshire.”
29 Apr 2017: Just for the press, Theresa May (accompanied by Andrew Bowie) attempted to deliver leaflets to four terraced houses…no one answered their door!!!
29 Apr 2017: This is Craig Murray’s take on the visit. Cutting but accurate. https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2017/04/theresa-mays-fake-meetings/
2017-18: House of Commons – Contributions to debates and other relevant business
Bowie is very active in the Commons determined to establish his place in the Tory Party protecting his future employment should things go pear shaped in Scotland and he needs to find a constituency in England. He has been on his feet on around 127 occasions and often asks loaded questions of ministers. I extracted a few examples for browsing but his parliamentary record is best followed here:
4 Dec 2017: Home Building – Commons discussion
Bowie: A loaded question. What steps is the housing minister taking to ensure that more homes are built in England.
Sajid Javid: In the autumn Budget, we announced further reforms and financial support to increase housing supply in England. This includes more than £15 billion of new financial support, at least £44 billion of funding to 2022-23, and reforms to ensure that more land is available for housing.
Bowie: The work of his Department and the pledge in the Budget to build 300,000 new homes in England are very welcome, and will go some way to address growing inter-generational unfairness when it comes to getting on the housing ladder.
Will he join me today in calling for the Scottish Government to match the Scottish Conservatives’ pledge to build 100,000 new homes north of the border so that young people in my constituency can have the same opportunities to buy as those in constituencies in England?
Sajid Javid: He is right to highlight this issue. The Scottish Government, have been failing consistently on house building, especially affordable house building. I commend the ideas, energy and ambition shown by the Scottish Conservatives in challenging the Scottish National party to build more homes in Scotland.
Alison Thewliss (SNP): The Scottish Parliament has delivered more than 69,500 affordable homes since 2007, during the period of SNP government, and the new-build social sector completion rate is at 72 per 100,000 population, compared with just 49 in England. And why exactly was there no commitment to increase social rented housing in the Budget?
10 May 2017: But the Tory Minister is remiss in his answer – House building under the Tories is at its lowest level since the 1920’s
An analysis of house building going back more than a century shows the most recent years of Conservative rule has seen the lowest average house build rate since Stanley Baldwin was in Downing Street in 1923. According to figures compiled by the House of Commons Library, an average of 127,000 homes a year have been built in England and Wales since the Tories took office in 2010. This is the lowest level since Baldwin’s first stint as Prime Minister in 1923, when just 86,000 homes were built.
A political commentator said: “These humiliating figures show that Ministers’ promises on housing have been nothing more than empty words. Official statistics confirm that since 2010 not only have Conservative Ministers built many fewer homes than claimed and after seven years of failure the Tory’s have no plan to fix the housing crisis. (Huffington Post)
12 Sep 2017: Questions to Mundell – Decommissioning of Oil Platforms Scotland
Bowie: Does the UK Government have plans to develop an ultra deep water port on the East Coast of Scotland. Note: Without such a port in play the bulk of the multi billion pounds work will be awarded to contrctors outwith Scotland.
Mundell: The Government is committed to supporting the development of a world-leading decommissioning industry. But no UK port currently has the ultra-deep water facilities needed to directly accommodate the fully-loaded heavy lift vessels commonly used for decommissioning large platforms.
Comment: So! No plans in place. The work is destined for foreign shores.
17 Jun 2017: Scottish Tories expected to vote as bloc to protect Scotland’s interests
Leader Ruth Davidson will tell MPs to champion Scotland in Westminster, adding to pressure on Theresa May. That includes fighting for greater Scottish powers and spending on fisheries and agriculture during and after the Brexit negotiations, to reinforce Holyrood’s existing powers in both areas under devolution.
Davidson and other senior figures in the Scottish Tories are also considering whether they need to reinforce or increase their independence from the UK party, after clear differences emerged between them and Conservative headquarters in London over the style and tone of the election campaign.
17 Dec 2017: Brexit – The Scotland Act and the Infamous Henry the Eighth Act
The EU Withdrawal Bill was the subject of a heated debate in the Commons. There were 11 divisions all requiring a vote on amendments submitted by the SNP.
All amendments were voted down by the Tory Party assisted by their Scottish MP’s and DUP cronies resulting in the retention of draconian powers being retained at Westminster.
A key amendment submitted and rejected was one which, if accepted would have prevented Tory Government ministers from using Brexit as an excuse to modify the Scotland Act reducing the powers granted to the Scottish Parliament. This means that the SNP Government in Scotland and any future governing body are hanging their coats on a shuggly peg.
Westminster can now remove some or all powers on a whim and remove all devolved authority back to London.
The 13 Scottish Tory MP’s all voted against the amendment which is astounding. In acting against the best interests of Scotland the Scottish Tory Party revealed its true agenda. Well knowing it will never become the elected government of Scotland its Scottish MP’s have no wish to retain the Scotland Act. (the guardian)
17 Oct 2017: Debate in the Commons On Devolved Powers in Scotland
Stephen Kerr Conservative, Stirling had called for the debate and spoke first:
Twenty years ago, I was in the minority. At the referendum in 1997, I campaigned against the establishment of a Scottish Parliament, not from party loyalty but from the starting point that any dilution of the Union could lead to its ending. I urged the people of Scotland to think twice and vote no. They did not; instead, they voted yes to a future with a devolved Parliament in Edinburgh.
However, I now realize that I was wrong. With the zeal of the convert, I have trodden my own road to Damascus and now I stand here today to extol the virtues of the Scottish Parliament and devolution.
The Scottish Parliament has helped and is helping to create a better Scotland, and a more comfortable and confident Union, too; but more than that, I firmly believe that devolution is a principle worth arguing for.
I am not talking about devolution in the sense of the establishment of a Scottish Parliament or Welsh Assembly, but about the concept of devolution.
It is core to my credo that politics should be and is local. It is personal to communities that decisions that impact on people’s lives should be made as near to them as possible.
Edinburgh is not the end of the road; Holyrood should just be the beginning. Politics should be local and we should seek to localize decision making.
Bowie: It is right that we in this place—the place that passed the original Scotland Act 1998—consider the use of devolved powers. It is a fact that thanks to the actions of this Government, the Scottish Parliament is one of the most powerful devolved legislative Assemblies in the world, with powers over justice, education, health, transport, the environment, and now taxation and elements of social security.
That is a good thing. However, for the people of my constituency, and indeed for the people of the wider north-east of Scotland, far from the renewing or revitalizing experience promised in 1999, the reality of devolution has been cuts, tax rises and the perception of a central-belt bias in all decision making.
There followed an acrimonious slanging match with each of the Scottish Tory MP’s in turn attacking the performance of the SNP Government on just about any minor grievance they could muster.
It fell to Tommy Sheppard to set the record straight and to remind those present of the inappropriate nature of the so called debate which should never have been permitted.
Tommy Sheppard: It is customary, when I rise to make the third party submission, to thank the Member who has brought the debate. On this occasion, I will decline to do that. The Scottish Government are accountable to the elected Members of the Scottish Parliament, who are elected by and accountable to the Scottish people. It is not a matter for this Westminster Parliament—indeed there is an explicit constitutional convention that forbids it—to try to hold to account the Scottish Government, so I wonder why Stephen Kerr has chosen, among all the things he could discuss that affect his constituents, to bring this motion here today.
I conclude that the only possible reason for this debate is not to try to advance or develop public policy but purely and simply political point scoring and to have a go at the SNP. It is a matter of some regret that he has been aided and abetted in that endeavour by the Labour party.
It seems that contributors to the debate cannot make up their mind about whether the problem is that the Scottish Government are not using the powers they have, or whether they are using their powers, as some speakers have complained. The truth is that the Scottish Parliament and Government use their powers every day and in every way to try to make things better for the people of Scotland, but they do so within considerable legislative and financial constraints, which have seen Scottish public funding cut by almost 10% in real terms in a decade.
2 Jan 2018: The Tory Party has fewer than 10,000 members aged under 30 and faces a generation gap crisis
Bowie acknowledged the party faces a “serious problem” following years of heavy dependence on the loyalty of older voters and called for a drive to promote new Tory faces, respond to young adults’ concerns and improve its social media skills.
He said the party had the twin challenge of boosting numbers of members aged under 30 and of renewing its appeal to younger groups to ensure the Tories do not face “terminal decline”.
Asked how many young members they have, he replied: “It’s not great – we are talking about four figures, not five.”
Bowie, part of a group of young MPs working with Downing Street and Conservative Campaign Headquarters to reach out to a lost generation of voters said: “For far too long we were reliant far too much on the older vote. We took for granted that when people become slightly older, owned property, had a job and a family, they would naturally pivot towards Conservatives.
We needed to have some base in the 18 to 40 group and we are now at an historic low in that age range voting for us. People are not “going to go on the journey towards Conservatism” if they did not know anyone in their age group supporting the party.
Comment: The Young Conservatives membership peaked at approx.157,000 in 1949. By 1970 membership had reduced to approx. 50,000. Factional in-fighting in the 1980s and 1990s brought the movement to its knees and it was disbanded in 1996. Conservative Future was established soon after, gaining a membership of around 15,000 from universities and local Tory Associations. But, as before, it was wound up after the exposure of bullying and blackmail of members. (i’news)
6 Mar 2017: The Crazy Gang strike again – Scottish Tory youth gush over Donald Trump’s “love” of the UK
Leaders of the European Conservatives and Reformist group, Scottish Tory MEP Ian Duncan and the Scottish Conservative youth wing have said that US President Donald Trump’s “love” of the UK bodes well for the growing relationship between his administration and the UK Tory Government.
In a Conservative Future fringe meeting at the Scottish Tory conference in Glasgow on Saturday (4 March), leading young members gushed over the new US leader, who has attracted unprecedented protests over his policies including a now suspended ban on citizens from seven Muslim majority nations entering the UK and a border wall with Mexico.
Speaking to an audience of party members, Scottish Conservative future chair James Bundy said he was excited about “Donald Trump’s love for the UK”.
The candidate for Grangemouth in the 2017 local elections told the audience, which also included young US conservative Republicans, that he welcomed the growing relationship between UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Trump.
He said: “For a Britain that’s leaving the EU, May’s visit was a very encouraging sign. Our prime minister is striking up a new relationship with the US. This can only be good.”
Duncan regaled the audience with stories of reactions from EU parliamentarians’ to Brexit.
Speaking about UKIP MEP Nigel Farage, he repeated the Brexit movement’s self commentary, saying that “they aren’t laughing at him now”.
He said that continuing EU member states may have to contribute more to the union after Brexit, and described an EU request for its members to pay more money into the Nato military alliance as “strike one to Donald Trump.”
Speaking about Trump’s erratic nature, he said: “Donald Trump confounds expectations and is unpredictable and that is good, especially in negotiations.”
Comment: The Scottish Tories have quickly become born-again Brexiteers, but even by their standards this whole-hearted embrace of Trump will raise eyebrows.
Young people across the UK voted overwhelmingly to Remain – just as Scotland did – and now face losing all of the opportunities to work, study and travel that come with EU membership.
If the Tory vision of life outside the EU means pleading with Donald Trump for a trade deal, many people in Scotland will be looking for an alternative.” (Common Space)