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An Update – Austerity – An unnecessary Hardship Imposed on Scotland By Westminster’s Nefarious Spivs

 

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2003: International Monetary Fund Call for Chancellor Brown Not to abandon “Prudence” Policies

Gordon Brown was warned by the International Monetary Fund that his borrowing and spending gamble on public services may be going to waste.

In a damaging blow to his recently announced Chancellor’s tax-and-spend strategy,  the IMF said he was being too confident that a rebound in tax revenues will allow him to steer the nation’s finances back into the black.

Mr Brown also unveiled plans last week to borrow an extra £34 billion over five years to keep his spending plans intact.

But the IMF called on him to make early cuts in his plans to put the nation’s finances on a surer footing. It said that the sharp increases in spending on the NHS and teaching carried the “risk of inefficiencies.”

Brown ignored the warning and forged ahead believing he knew better.

The Health Service did indeed gain the benefit of loadsamoney but this was  not properly invested due to the poor negotiating skills of the Health Secretary, John Reid who squandered the bulk of the new money through massive salary increases (while largely maintaining existing terms and conditions of service) in medical staff and other management fields.

New Labour, under Brown’s financial stewardship appeared to be atop the “crest of the financial wave.”

Brown’s strategy needed the economy and tax receipts to remain buoyant,  they didn’t and borrowing increased further between 2003-2007 placing the UK economy at greater risk of a financial downturn for which the country’s finances were ill prepared.

 

 

 

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Austerity-An unnecessary Hardship Imposed on Scotland By Westminster nefarious Spivs

In 2008, Northern Rock, RBS, HBOS and other UK banking institutions seemed destined to fail, largely due to criminal behavior.

80% of losses were attributed to their London and foreign based businesses.

The Westminster government intervened and bailed out the banks.

But in doing so Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown lumbered Scots with repayment of massive debt, added to with extortionate interest charges.

The UK government’s bail out had also lead to the reclassification of  banks as  “public sector assets.”

In consequence public sector liabilities increased from 126% of GDP to 335% of GDP  between 2007 and 2009.  Over 200% !!!!!!!!!!

 

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The UK National Debt

The UK national debt is the total quantity of money borrowed by the Government of the United Kingdom through the issue of securities by the British Treasury and other government agencies.

At the beginning of 2018 UK debt amounted to £1.78 trillion, or 86.58% of total GDP, at which time the annual cost of servicing (paying the interest) amounted to around £48 billion (roughly 4% of GDP or 8% of UK government tax income).

Approximately a third of this debt is owned by the British government due to the Bank of England’s quantitative easing programme.

The debt equates to approximately £40,000 per employed person.

The knock on effect is that each household in Britain pays an average of around £2,000 per year in taxes to just to finance the interest payments.

At the start of 2018  an assessment of the UK’s assets and liabilities indicated that the UK public finances to be among the weakest in the world. Just behind Gambia, Uganda and Kenya.

It was also revealed that around £1 trillion had been wiped off the wealth of the UK’s public sector since the financial crisis, putting it in the second weakest position of the 31 nations assessed. Only Portugal’s public finances were in a worse state.

National debt increased significantly (2010-2015) under the Tory/LibDem coalition government .

The present Tory government has not reversed the trend.  The national debt increased (by £46 billion in 2017) and the chancellor gave up the ghost of forecasting a time when structural debt would be eliminated.

Scots might be lumbered with it forever or until independence is gained

 

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Quantitative Easing (QE)

The start point was with the Bank of England Governor who, (acting on instructions from the Chancellor Alistair Darling),  by sleight of hand created £435bn digital new money.

This, “funny money” finance was then used by the bank to compulsory purchase bonds from controlled resources within the UK.

The real money gilts purchased were then used to bail out the banking sector preventing the failure of the banking sector.

Pension funds were subject to the asset stripping and they want their money back!!!!. but their is no indication of this from the government.

 

 

 

 

Drawbacks of Quantative Easing (QE)

The practice was first implemented, in 2008, in an attempt by the Bank of England to  buy time so that new financial strategies could be put in place.

But the crisis was created through the public taking up offers of low interest payments and easy credit and excessive borrowing for mortgages.

Nothing much has changed in the banking sector since 2008 and in consequence the practice of QE  may need to be retained which brings negative consequences for Scots.

The UK economy is headed for another financial crisis.

 

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What about criminality? 

The banking system including, hedge fund investors, staff and management were not subjected to any formal police or public enquiry with result that it continued operating almost completely unaffected.

No UK banker ever faced criminal behaviour charges.

Bonus schemes were retained and in many cases expanded and London’s financial hub has enjoyed many years of good living at the expense of the Scottish taxpayer.

Adding insult to injury not long after the financial crisis, the UK loaned Ireland £20 billion, (at a knock-down rate of interest) proving that bailing out banks–like reinsurance–is a risk which is global in nature and shared between countries.

In a statement, seeking understanding of his decision to, “prop up” the Irish economy George Osborne, UK Chancellor said, “Ireland is our very closest economic neighbour and we must assist.”

 

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In the aftermath of the crisis, Bank of England officials claimed the UK Chancellor had botched the banking bailout and the Bank would never be able to recover all of the loans let alone match the performance of the US Federal Reserve which reported a $billions profit (out of the crisis). No austerity for the American public.

Sir Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, said: “The sad truth is, in 2008, the idea of focusing efforts on recapitalizing the banking system was a UK idea. We got there first but, like many UK ideas, the Americans developed it much faster and much better.”

The US forced all major banks to take Federal Reserve money, purchasing substantial stakes at around “half their book value.”

The Bank of England, directed by Brown and Darling, acting against the bank governor’s advice, purchased similar financial stakes, but at “full book value.”

A Treasury source later said: “The Government judged that without a taxpayer injection the banks would have collapsed, with consequences for financial stability and people’s money, and it judged that was an unacceptable risk to take.”

 

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But the Westminster government had bailed out banks with global operations and the former chairman of RBS, Sir Philip Hampton,(retd) in November 2012, in his evidence to the House of Lords reminded was very clear that bankers:

Had used many countries central banks as lenders of last resort for many operations in jurisdictions in which they operate.

This is a key part of what central banks do in the jurisdictions that they control.

Just because there might be an independent Scottish Government did not mean that all lender of last resort facilities would disappear. They would be continued.

This also works when a country has a banking and a fiscal union, as in the UK.

The Bank of England would provide “bank of last resort” support to Scotland, if needed.

But should difficulties arise with the foregoing arrangements the final fall-back position (assuming Scotland retained membership of the EU) would be for Scotland to seek assistance from their EU partners.

Requests simply require a majority vote in favour, but the decision is binding on all EU members.

Provision of financial support would not be breaking new ground since this is exactly what happened when Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Greece were extended “bank of last resort” backing from the EU and the Bank of England donated its £20 billion share.

In the last “face to face” with Alex Salmond, in the 2014 Independence Referendum campaign, Alistair Darling, accepted Scotland had every right to use sterling and this would not need the authority of the Bank of England.

The mendacious “mantra of fear” propaganda of “Better Together” that the Bank of England, would not provide a “lender of last resort” facility to Scotland was scurrilous myth.

 

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Gordon Brown Duped His Mugs-R- US Party and Conned Scots For Years – Ignore His Unimpressive Rhetoric

 

 

 

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Gordon Brown Duped His Mugs-R- US Party and Conned Scots For Years

Scots would be well advised to remember the 2014 Independence Referendum and Brown’s heavily promoted (by the BBC, who also provided him a prime time 2 hour slot) address to a group of pensioners just before their weekly bingo session during which he took the level of Better Together’s negativity and scaremongering to a new level.

Repetitive and lacking in credibility he trotted out unsubstantiated scare story’s, previously voiced by Ruth Davidson, about pensions.

It was surprising that Brown chose to speak about pensions, given his appalling record first as Chancellor then as Prime Minister.

Setting the record straight, it was the 1979 Tory Government that systematically reduced the long term value of the state pension by abolishing the link between the state pension and earnings.

New Labour had the chance to reverse the punitive strike against the poorest pensioners in Europe. But failed to do so.

Instead, rubbing salt to the wounds Brown introduced the notorious “pension stealth tax” further reducing the value of pensioners retirement funds by at least £100 billion.

Mocking the electorate in 2000, he then had the temerity to announce that “New Labour” would be be assisting the “poorest” pensioners increasing the state pension by a massive 75p (before tax).

Scots should ignore lying economists. In an independent Scotland pensions will be paid in full and on time, just as they are now.

Scotland is also much better placed to afford pension plan costs than the UK as a whole.

This is evidenced by the fact that expenditure on social protection, which includes pensions, was lower in Scotland than the UK over the last decade.

In all 42% of Scottish tax revenues are spent on social protection in comparison with 43% for the UK.  And 1% is a whole lot of money.

 

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The BBC Has Been Charged Tried and Found Guilty of Institutionalised Bias Against Scots – Witness A BBC News and Current Affairs Staff Strategic Briefing Before the 2014 Referendum

 

 

 

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BBC News & current affairs presenters biased against Scottish Independence

A video was released on UTube casting significant doubt on the willingness and ability of the BBC to cover Scottish independence campaigners in an impartial manner.  The leaked videos featured in-house presentations by four senior BBC presenters giving explanatory background briefings to an audience of junior BBC staff.

The presenters, including BBC Scotland’s political editor Brian Taylor, are shown attacking the SNP’s proposed referendum question while claiming that Alex Salmond is ‘not impregnable’. He is also accused of wanting a devo-max option on the ballot paper in order to ensure a parachute would be in place should Scots fail to back independence.

In the presentations, Scotland is mockingly described as being in financial deficit and requiring subsidy. Taylor claims that Alex Salmond wished to delay a referendum in order to ‘sow dissent’ among Unionist parties, stating:

“Salmond wants a contest as close as possible to the next UK general election because he believes that by then his Unionist opponents will be fighting each other rather than fighting independence and Alex Salmond. He wants to sow dissent among them”.

Taylor further claimed that the Scottish government’s proposed referendum question was not straightforward and simple suggesting that it was designed to elicit a positive response. On the proposed question: “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?”

Taylor said: “Straight forward, simple – except it’s not. The word ‘agree’ according to psephologists is a welcoming word, it draws people in. People like to agree, they don’t like to disagree so the word there is good. Adding: “Why does Alex Salmond favour a second question, Devo max, and Devo plus, why not just go for independence, which is the one he has the mandate for? Because he wants a fall-back, he wants a parachute should independence fail to win”.

Also featured on the videos is BBC TV political commentator, Andrew Neil, a former editor of The Scotsman and the Sunday Times, BBC TV’s UK political editor, Nick Robinson, and BBC TV’s economics editor. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IepO9cnIk-w) (The Drum)

 

 

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Scots have their say on the video

Proof of institutionalized BBC bias against Scottish Independence. The BBC purports to be even-handed this. This proves otherwise.

I find this to be genuinely disturbing. Any doubters that the staff of the BBC are past-masters in deception and double-speak watch this video and learn!

The sole message of the seminar is: “Scottish nationalists are the enemies of the BBC. This is how we will misrepresent them.”

I am delighted that this is being picked up by the wider media community, having found this and other material including the Andrew Neil briefing while searching for BBC footage on other issues.

I was struck by the impression that this event was nothing short of a Ministry of Propaganda meeting to discuss State TV strategy. Taylor is fully dependent on maintaining the union.

Neil. An exiled Scot with very few ties to Scotland. He supports the union so that he can keep pretending London is the same country as Scotland. The current arrangement works for him and he will fight tooth and nail to retain it.

The usual BBC propaganda and Scots sellouts trying to save their high salary, low effort jobs.

Interesting that most of the facts here are positive for an Independent Scotland, the economy for example. Almost like ok guys how do we make all this stuff look bad. Also, the UK can’t exist with the Kingdom of Scotland. Wales and Ireland (Northern) didn’t join the UK they were already part of the Kingdom of England.

Where is the part where they tell the audience of journalists from the BBC how to be impartial when dealing with the facts? I must have missed that bit. Can you imagine some of the other meetings which take place well behind closed doors?

The “How to Stop the Scots” seminar.

The BBC shows its true red white and blue colours and its inability to provide the impartial reporting its own charter declares is its founding principle. Basically, when it comes to anything anti-Westminster establishment the BBC are full of bile.

At 30:00 a really key admission. For the UK it’s a ‘deficit’ (which nearly all countries big and small are dealing with), however. For Scotland, it’s a ‘subsidy’ (which we generously receive from London- even though the English are sick of paying it). Ladies and gentlemen of the BBC, there’s yer bias.

Who attended this presentation? Are we now to assume that all BBC presenters, producers & editorial staff will follow the lead of Brian Taylor & Andrew Neil?

Andrew Neil has been Westminster based since the ’80s, he probably won’t even be eligible to vote (assuming he doesn’t have a rarely used Scottish residence). Remember, we pay for this ex Rupert Murdoch mouthpiece and his oversized friend.

Hey if Scotland isn’t a successor state to the UK we don’t have to inherit their debt. Yay for us.

They closed down comments contributions to conceal the real tenor of public opinion. Perhaps the upcoming vote is going to be jiggered with fake votes. In Quebec in 1995, the unconstitutional and illegal referendum was NOT about “secession” or “independence.” It was an attempt to blackmail Canadians into accepting the EU system for ALL of Canada, as the basis of the North American Union. Some quarter million FAKE citizenship ID’s were created in the half-decade prior: 217,000+ people ALL now UNTRACEABLE.

My response to this… I’m not paying your license tax for this Pravda bias!  Stick your BBC up your backside! As for Andrew Neil…

I’m not sure whether to like this, ’cause it proves how biased the BBC is, or dislike it, because of the content.

Taylor gets paid too much by the BBC and he spends his wages on steaks and chips. What a waste of our TV license fee!

BBC Scotland’s online department is coming under increasing pressure, (without response) to explain their decision to suspend comments from political blogs.

Alone among BBC broadcast regions, the blogs of veteran editor Brian Taylor and Douglas Fraser have been closed down to comments from the general public for months.

The Union of the UK is between two countries Scotland and England. Scotland leaving ends that and creates two new states. If Scotland has to re-apply to the EU then so must England/rUK. Schengen and the Euro are not preconditions of membership.

 

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Ruth Davidson’s Political Bullshit Exposed Her as a Political Nonentity – The Baroness Should Leave Scotland So That She Can Enjoy the Social and Financial Fruits of Her Betrayal of the Scots

 

 

5 Infamous Female Spies | Mental Floss

 

 

 

Ruth Davidson – Is she the spy who just wont leave us

Ruth Davidson’s leg up from the British Secret Services propelled her to a new role as a Baroness in the House of Lords. But despite giving up her interest in Scottish politics (keeping the paycheck) she insists on hanging around queering the pitch of any Tory Party official, activist or member who might dare to voice an opinion which does not concur with her views. Time to just go away Ruth. Scots no longer heed your vitriol.

 

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Jun 2016: Words of advice from soon to be Baroness BBC correspondent Ruth Davidson 

Reflecting on her very short career as a BBC reporter and her even shorter stint as a part time weekend warrior defending the halls of Glasgow University OTC buildings, advised “newbie” journalists that they should be guided in their political behaviour by the standards she had herself observed. Namely that they should always:

“Keep your personal politics out of your reporting. The job, particularly in broadcast, is to tell people what’s going on; it is not to be an active agent of change and try and shape what’s going on – it is to be an honest narrator.”

“Folk can smell spin a mile off. They aren’t stupid. They know if you are not answering a question or if you don’t really mean what you say. So my best advice is to just try not to say anything you don’t mean and you’ll never be caught out.”

Interview in Full: Danielle Gibson: (https://danigibsonblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/14/an-interview-with-ruth-davidson/)

Comment: Voters can detect bullshit a mile off. Yet she and her Unionist friends at the BBC continue to ignore Ruth’s advice to students of journalism.

 

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More bullshit !!!

 

 

Sep 2013 – On her time at Glasgow University where she joined the University Officer Training Corps (OTC). She said:

“I was so proud we stopped the slaughter in Kosovo. Security with our armed forces and our NHS means we get the best of both worlds and stand up better together.”

Comment: But she failed to mention that the wars and the accompanying slaughter, in the Balkans were a product of political “giggery-pokery” orchestrated by the controller of the British Secret Services, Martin Rifkind  greatly assisted by the  British “Spymaster” Andrew Fulton and his team of operatives.

Rifkind and Fulton were the “Ham & Bud” of  British spying operations for many years and although supposedly retired and out to pasture from mainstream activity they continue function at the highest level through Rifkind’s company “Orbis”.

Knowledgeable readers will be alerted that this is the company behind the discredited “Trump Russia” dossier.

 

Catherine the Great exhibition to delight art lovers at ...

 

 

Unionist Spymaster (s) and Protegee Get to Grips with the Scots

The appointment, of Fulton, in February 2008, by David Cameron, to the post of Chairman of the Scottish Conservative Party was not an unsurprising tactic since the threat to the “Unionist” part of the Party was very real and needed a character of the calibre of Fulton to rid the Party of anyone not fully subscribing to the ideals of the Conservative & Unionist Party.

The execution of  Cameron’s plans for reformation was a bit of a bloodbath, much of which was conducted in public and with the assistance of the Unionist press.

Annabel Goldie was sidelined then sacked. Many long serving Party members resigned. Some did so with grace and were rewarded with peerages. Those who chose to stand their ground fight to retain their place within the Party were publicly castigated and forced to leave.

Party membership in Scotland which had shrunk to under 10,000 was also aging and ineffectual.

Young Tory’s were recruited from Scottish Universities and actively canvassed and campaigned increasing the Party membership with “new young and active blood”.

The final piece of the puzzle was revealed with the appointment by Fulton of the previously unknown and politically inexperienced Ruth Davidson. The question raised by many Scottish Tory’s was Ruth Who?? Some conjectured she was a secret service plant groomed for office by Fulton.

Davidson, with the unqualified support of David Cameron, the Tory Government, Mundell, the other Fulton and her mentor Fulton and the British Secret Services, answered the question with actions, not words. She summarily removed every person previously nominated for political office then interviewed and appointed every candidate for the next General Election.

Young Tory’s, provided with substantial financial resources and experienced political guidance from Tory Party Officials from Westminster became active within constituencies and on social media. Their work raised the profile of the new “Ruth Davidson Tory Party Branch Office” in Scotland.

The Tory Party in Scotland manifesto for the 2017 General Election was quiet remarkable, for its absence. The Party campaigned solely on the personality of Ruth Davidson who studiously avoided any situation or circumstance which might require her to tell the Scottish public what her Party had to offer.

Instead she grand-standed throughout the campaign selling herself to the electorate as a modern day “Joan of Arc” who would save Scots from the claws of the SNP. And other historical heroic females were fair game for Ruth. She mimicked “Boadicea” with an armoured tank and “Catherine the Great” with a musk ox. 

High profile exposure but without a word on policy. And it worked. The Tory Party branch in Scotland increased its representation of Scots at Westminster for the first time in over 20 years.

 

Boudica: The Headhunter Queen

 

 

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Jun 2016: European Referendum- BBC televised discussion – Davidson and Johnson Clash

Boris Johnson criticized the UK and associated European troops’ failure to stop the massacres during the Balkans wars which left 140,000 people dead and many more displaced.

He said the killing was only halted and peace brokered after an American-led Nato force, “asserted its primacy.”

Davidson, whose claim to fame is that, as a reporter she was in the war zone of Kosovo for a few days, rounded on Boris saying:

“I think Boris maybe misjudged this panel by talking about the Balkans because what he probably doesn’t know is that I was sent to the Balkans at the end of the Kosovo war as a reporter and I have never been more proud of being British in my life than watching British troops with a union jack on their arms, believing in something, pulling their weight, and helping in the European Union. That’s what caused me to join up and serve.

I think I am the only one on this panel that has ever worn the Queen’s uniform and whilst I have deep respect for military figures like Field Marshal Lord Guthrie, the former Chief of the Defence Staff, who backs Brexit, that as a retired general he is not presently in charge of the safety and security of the nation. And all of those people who are currently charged, every single one of them and every single one of our major allies, says we are safer within the European Union.”

Comment: Wow!!!! Over-stretching Incredulity. Here are the facts:

Davidson went to Kosovo in 2001 as a reporter with a local newspaper in Fife, reporting on the work of the “Black Watch”, who were in the country assisting with rebuilding work post conflict. But this was a full two years after the war had ended.

Yet press releases, uncorrected by Davidson routinely quote her saying, “I was sent to the Balkans at the end of the Kosovo war as a reporter and I have never been more proud of being British in my life.” She is clearly embellishing events saying she was there at, “the end of the war”.

She also describes Kosovo in 2001 as a “war zone” and a recent BBC piece enhanced her CV with an illusion stating that she had, “served” in Kosovo as a reservist which is incorrect.

Yet another political “sales pitch” designed to enhance her near non-existent military service quotes her as saying it was the Bosnia conflict and the performance of British forces that had inspired her to join up.

But the Balkan wars were genocidal in their execution and the UK and European forces hardly distinguished themselves failing to take any action against the many differing groups of mercenaries who terrorized millions of innocent people for a number of years.

 

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How she see’s herself  !!!!

 

 

Mar 2014: A few months before the 2014 Independence Referendum Struan Stevenson, former Tory MEP challenged the Scottish Tories to get devolution right saying:

“I am confident of a referendum “No” vote.

I think then that we Unionists have to live up to our pledge that we will give Scots more robust reforms.

I would like to see Holyrood’s powers extended to raising all income and business tax and a “substantial” cut of North Sea oil revenue.

Scots should be fiscally responsible for raising and spending all of their own money.  In the long term, I think that is the only way to stop the drift to independence.

Having had the begging bowl system in place in Scotland for the past 15 years we Unionists are finding ourselves yet again on the threshold of Scottish independence.”

Comment: His advice fell upon deaf ears.

 

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A Rare Event – A Tory Condemns Party Policy and Exposes Members Discontent With the Leadership of Ruth Davidson

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Former Tory MEP Struan Stevenson warns of Brexit farm ‘meltdown’

Stevenson, Tory MEP between 1999-2014 said:

“Farmers and landowners, far from benefiting from the Arch-Brexters, much promised new worldwide trade deals will see their markets decline sharply as competition from cheap imports expands. Subsidies will disappear and land values will collapse.

Most farmers operate within thin margins of profit and the European Commission estimates that land prices would fall by 30% if farm subsidies were totally abolished in the UK and they would fall sharply if subsidies were reduced.

For farmers who have taken out bank loans against the value of their land, a loss of value would be fatal.

Many UK farmers currently receive 60% of their income from EU subsidies, and the UK government needs to commit to maintaining subsidies beyond 2020.

The Brexiters also claim that the EU’s protectionist policies discriminate against cheap food imports and force up food prices for British consumers. They want cheaper food following Brexit.

That means throwing open UK markets to cheap food from Africa, Australia, North America, Brazil and Argentina, causing chaos for UK farm gate prices, a further fall in land values and widespread bankruptcies.

A deal between the UK and the US could also lead to hormone-treated beef and chlorine-washed chicken being imported – both of which are banned under EU regulations.”

 

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But UK environment secretary Michael Gove insisted that leaving the EU would be an “opportunity” for farmers.

A spokeswoman for the UK government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it was committed to continuing the same cash total in funds for farm support at least until the end of this Parliament.  Adding:

“We are absolutely determined to get a good Brexit deal for Britain. Leaving the EU provides us with a golden opportunity to better support our farmers to grow more,  sell more and export more great British food,  while continuing tariff-free trade for all our goods. We have also been clear we will in no way dilute our high quality environmental and animal welfare standards.”

 

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Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP, commented:

“More and more senior figures are condemning the UK government’s failing Brexit approach and their desperation to broker trade deals with new partners that will have devastating consequences for Scotland’s fishing and farming industries – sectors which pride themselves on high-quality produce.

But the Tories in power are still blind to the dangers, unable to think outside their narrow party interests and face up to the facts about a hard Brexit and what it will mean for our rural industries.

The Tory government’s Brexit plans continue to present a huge threat to jobs, investment and living standards in Scotland and Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Tories’ fulsome embrace of this prospect is truly shameless.”

 

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Comments from readers

01. I totally agree. I wish you could convince Ruth Davidson but I suspect she’s waiting for Theresa May’s view so that she doesn’t get out of step. I used to respect her but now she’s turned into a puppet with no policies.

02. As ye sew so shall ye reap. Perhaps Scots will not be so keen to vote Tory in the future. They truly have the anti-midas touch as everything is turning to farmers’ manure.

03. UK environment secretary Michael Gove has insisted that leaving the EU would be an ‘opportunity’ for farmers. Hmmm, who to believe – Michael Gove, or literally anybody else in the entire world…? I’ll say the latter.

04. Not just farms, every aspect of the Scottish economy will be adversely impacted. If the uk sign a trade deal with US, GM crops will pour into Scotland, Scottish producers will see the EU say no to Scottish exports if there is the slightest chance they could be contaminated or part contain, any GM products. Fishing, uk will use it as a bargaining chip to secure London’s banking status.

05. UK environment secretary Michael Gove has insisted that leaving the EU would be an “opportunity” for farmers. Well, it will be. In the same way the aftermath of the Black Death also was.

06. Nobody knows what is going to happen to trade post Brexit – that was the risk that 17m people took last June.What we do know is: No ECJ, No CAP and at long last control over fishing in our own waters.Stevenson was bound to come out with that garbage.he was a europhile MEP for 14 years! You can’t stop Brexit as this would be undemocratic. Sick of people telling me they know whats best for me

07. A former Tory MEP has said Brexit will lead to “certain meltdown” in rural Scotland with cheap food imports pushing farmers out of business. Its the Tories who are in meltdown. May is pleading to the SNP and even Labour to save her skin.

08. Any excuse to peddle out the blame Westminster/Tories Dogma.”

09. The Tories have made an complete mess of this…..good to see at least one of them admit that Brexit is a disaster (whereas other have completely changed their stance purely to save their own careers)there is only one option….Independence !!

10. It seems quite apt to be able to say “You reap what you sow” This’ll teach the farmers & fishermen to vote Tory 🙂 nothing good ever comes from voting for them, so hell mend them.

11. Scottish unemployment rate better than UK. Economic growth 4 times better than UK. Business leaders say the major threat to this continuing is Brexit. Now it’s clear that the farmers will suffer big time. However, these will be the same farmers who’ve been ranting against the SNP about delays to their EU subsidy payments. Wonder if they realise only the SNP can stop them going bankrupt?

12. The amount of farms with ‘for sale’ signs on them around my way is astonishing and not something I’ve seen in my 50 years living here. Farmers know if they have to face free trade competition with the likes of Brazil, Africa and the US they wont be able to compete. Free trade deal precludes subsidies and they wont be able to produce the quality they are used to. Decimation awaits.

13. All member states have been struggling with subsidy payments because of their complexity, so don’t blame the SNP for that. But the real problem is the UK governments obsession with leaving the EU, the single market, the customs union and the ECJ without any real idea of what will follow. But one thing is certain – the USA wants a trade deal that will allow their sub-standard food in to undercut us

14. The best Brexit deal for the whole of the UK is the one we have now. Recind Article 50 and carry on. Leaving EU means leaving EASA and ECAA (look them up) and without the ECAA in place there are no bi-laterals to anywhere in Europe and same for USA and Canada open skies. No flights to EU, USA, Canada. Do you really want that. BTW if we make our farmers bankrupt then we are open to food blackmail.

15. The good old farmers whinging about subsidies again, the very same mugs who back the tories to the hilt, they obviously don’t realise the only way we got to brexit was through internal Tory party splits!!!! As the old saying goes ” you reap what you sow”.

16. Worth mentioning that these farm subsidies are actually our cheap food subsidies. The payments cover the disparity between production costs and sale price. Our Agriculture industry across the UK has some of the best production and highest welfare standards across the globe and it must be protected in the brexit negotiations. Chlorinated chicken and GSH should not be available for sale here

17. Friends, Brits, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury EU, not to praise it. The evil that foriegners do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with EU. The noble Gove Hath told you EU was ambitious: If it were so, it was a grievous fault, and grievously hath EU answer’d it. Here, under leave of Gove and the rest–For Gove is an honourable man;

18. And so now a Tory MEP speaks out about the Brexit doomsday scenario for the farming community. Is the penny beginning to drop? The silence from the 3 Brexiteers, Boris, David, Liam and their puppet master in chief, Maybot is deafening. Any trade deals to announce? No, I thought not…

19. Cheap food from wherever it comes is what the punters want. Like every other business , agriculture will have to adapt to the market. If individuals cannot make the grade, then they must give way to those who can. There will still be subsidies, only now , it will be our governments deciding who gets our tax cash and for what as subsidy. Remember ,it was our money given as subsidies not EU money.

20. I don’t always agree with Struan Stevenson, but he was an effective and very thoughtful MEP. He was a rare voice within the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party advocating a Scottish Parliament in the 1980s and 1990s – I greatly respect him for that. I believe that he is absolutely right about the potentially disastrous consequences of Brexit; he raises very important concerns.

21. Tories are so thick it is amazing that one of their number has worked out so quickly the disaster that awaits their couthie pals in the countryside. Great that Nicola is meeting the EU Brexit negotiator directly and bypassing the Westminster numties.

22. We are absolutely determined to get a good Brexit deal for Britain’ said an unnamed spokeswoman for the Government. No wonder she wanted to remain anonymous uttering such rubbish. We all know that no deal will emerge which will benefit the farming community. When will politicians speak the truth or will hell freeze over first!

23. If the farmers have to sell their land cheaply then who will buy it. The Government only has money for the DUP. The rich will buy some it but they only want the most profitable GM cash crops. The Indians and Chinese are always looking for investment. They will need land to house the waves of visa immigrants they will send.
We will soon have to learn to speak Chinese to get a job.

24. The land will be bought up cheaply as an investment like they do with property in London and like property it will lie empty. Some time in the future, perhaps after a period of recession we will have rejoined the EU, land will regain its value and they will profit. There is a lot of money to be made from others misery if you live by playing the markets. Look to them that funded Brexit.

25. I don’t want to burst any of the Bexiteers’ unicorn balloons but British farmers can kiss those fat subsidies good-bye if PM May-hem intends on signing a free trade agreement with the US. They really need tolook at NAFTA.

26. He is only saying what has been blindingly obvious to anyone who has any financial competence. The UK cannot compete with free trade imports of lamb and other sheep products from Australia or beef from America. Hill farmers costs are too high and will go to the wall. Only the very large farms will survive. The only way they can survive is to continue paying large subsidies as they do at present.

27. So the tax payer subsidises farmers to produce food that they make little or no profit from because the monopolised food buyers like Tesco etc drive down the prices and take all the profit. Thus the wealth of farmers and the public is harvested and extracted by the big multinationals that transfer it offshore and pay little or no tax. Brexit will not change that! It’s a wealthy elite hegemony

28. With the danger of GM crop fed beef and GM cereals being imported from the USA after this special deal with them is worked out – benefiting their side much more than us no doubt in line with Trumps aspirations – our farmers won’t be able to compete unless massive subsidies are in place. Add to that NZ lamb and you have a disaster zone scenario for UK farmers. Struan Stevenson only spoke the truth.

29. Still astounded that 13 Scots constituencies elected Tories ! bit like the fools who voted for Hitler .As for land value that some of you are going on about, 3 grand for an acre of grass land is average in Scotland up to 12 grand for good crop land. Prices won’t collapse as Irish farmers buy up more than 50% of ALL Scottish farms that become available.

30. Interesting that you say would should be worried about NZ lamb given that NZ simply stopped all farm subsidies in the 1980s. Their farming certainly had to change but it has thrived and competes worldwide – all without any subsidy at all – hence the reason the EU want to keep them out. GM isn’t the issue from USA, rather it is the use of growth hormones in animals. (BBC Scotland)

 

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An Analysis of the 2014 Smith Commission Report Provides Irrefutable Confirmation That Scots Are Sold Short By the Incorrectly Titled Scottish Unionist MSP’s

 

 

 

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Devolution powers shelved at the last minute from Smith Commission report

New powers were formally committed to in the heavily promoted Unionist “Vow” made in the last few days before the 2014 independence referendum.

The Smith Commission Panel subsequently agreed to a full devolution of abortion law, the creation of a separate Scottish Health & Safety Executive, lotteries, asylum and a much greater say in the governance of the BBC.

Devolution of income tax personal allowances, bands and rates, employers’ National Insurance contributions, inheritance tax, the power to create new taxes without Treasury approval and a raft of other taxes were also agreed.

But all of the foregoing changes were axed, in the final day, at the instigation of Unionist parties, without explanation.

 

 

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So what happened?

There were nine cross-party meetings over seven weeks prior to the publication of a agreed draft of “Heads of Agreement” proposals on 21 November 2014.

It was later confirmed that Commission panel members of Unionist persuasion, MSP members of political parties incorporated in Scotland and allegedly independent of Westminster were frequently on the phone taking instructions from their UK party leaders in London, with the LibDems and Tories particularly exercised about welfare proposals and Labour more focused on tax.

The Commission chairman, Lord Smith of Kelvin, also gave impression he added weight to the views of the three main Westminster parties over panel members.

A source said: “The position that Lord Smith took was that if the parties who were either in the current UK government or might be in the next refused to budge on something, he went with it. The Unionist votes counted for more.”

The BBC inadvertently revealed that the draft version of the agreement included late proposals submitted by the Scottish lib/Dem leader, to devolve power to vary Universal Credit a key plank of the Westminster Coalition government welfare reform. But the commitment to permit the Scottish government to vary its components were dropped after the UK Cabinet was informed.

Universal Credit is supposed to merge Jobseeker’s Allowance, Housing Benefit, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Employment and Support Allowance. Only a power to vary the housing cost element remained.

The decision to devolve abortion policy had been agreed on a 4-1 basis, with only Labour opposed to it. In the draft version of the report dated 11.15am on November 26 – the final day of negotiations – stated: “Powers over abortion will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.” But throughout that same day, Labour kept pushing its opposition in one-to-one meetings with Lord Smith, who then raised it again with the other parties. The Tory members then sided with Labour and the commitment to devolve abortion was removed.

Patrick Harvie, co-convener of the Scottish Greens, who sat on the Commission, said: “The reaction against devolving abortion in the final few days surprised and disappointed me. Concerns that Scotland would do the wrong thing and undermine women’s rights are misplaced. The real threat to women’s reproductive rights comes from the voice we hear at Westminster.”

The draft also stated: “Power to establish a separate Scottish Health & Safety Executive to set enforcement priorities, goals and objectives in Scotland will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. The body would be required to operate within the reserved UK health & safety framework but would assess, set and achieve the health and safety objectives of most relevance and importance to Scotland.”

The policy, long supported by Labour and the trade union movement in Scotland was struck out and relegated to the “additional issues” annex of the final report, which said the Scottish and UK governments should merely “consider” changes.

Also included was an agreement that: “The power to permit the creation and regulation of new lotteries in Scotland will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.”

But the final report devolved only the power to “prevent the proliferation” of highly addictive gaming machines known as fixed-odds betting terminals.

Also missing from the final draft was a statement that had said: “There will be greater Scottish involvement in BBC governance beyond the current right to have one Trust member and the current Audience Council Scotland.”

 

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And a year later

SNP’s leader in the Commons, Angus Robertson, asked David Cameron about “The Vow”, stating:

“One year ago today, to the day, the Prime Minister made a “Vow” to the people of Scotland. Promises were made to deliver Home Rule and as-near-to-federalism-as-possible.

However, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown now says that the UK Government is, and I quote, “falling short on the delivery of the recommendations of the Smith Commission on Scottish devolution”. When will the Prime Minister deliver on the promises that he made to the people of Scotland?

 

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Tory MSP Miles Briggs Accused of Sexual Harassment-Tory Party Investigation Decides He Is Not Guilty – Rape Crisis Scotland Appalled – Was it a Kangaroo Court? Read On

 

 

Miles

 

 

Miles Briggs answers sexual harassment charge

Briggs, Tory (list) MSP says he has been through a “living hell” after being cleared of sexual harassment following a party disciplinary hearing into the claims. He insisted that the accusations made by a female worker with another party were “completely false.”

But the woman behind the claims says she was “sad and angry” at the way the Tories handled the claims and suggested the outcome of the hearing had been decided beforehand.

Sandy Brindley, from Rape Crisis Scotland, who has been representing the woman, slammed the Tories’ handling of the complaint. She said:

“This is why women are reluctant to come forward with sexual harassment complaints. In our view, the Scottish Conservatives need to urgently change their approach to investigating sexual harassment complaints. This is not about party politics, it’s about ensuring that anyone experiencing sexual harassment feels able to come forward and expect fair treatment if they do.”

Campaign groups warned that the Conservatives’ procedure was “inappropriate” and will deter women coming forward with harassment claims.

The four-person panel who heard the complaints comprised two men and two women and was chaired by advocate Leonard Wallace. Mary Bain, Gavin Scott and Councillor Shona Haslam also sat on the panel.

It had initially been proposed that Briggs would be able to “cross-examine” the complainant’s version of events, although the Tories agreed to drop this.

But although this line of questioning had been dropped, the complainant still faced the prospect of cross-examination from the chair of the committee who would put Briggs’ questions to her.

A written statement was instead provided by the complainant along with a written statement from two persons backing her version of events. Briggs gave oral evidence together with a supporter.

The “adversarial” approach of the panel came under fire from Rape Crisis Scotland who said it was “not appropriate” for a case of this nature.

 

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Setting the Scene

Briggs admitted that at a flat party in Edinburgh he had got embroiled in a heated argument with the complainant (in the course of which he called her a “crazy bitch,”) about the Tory so-called “rape clause” policy of cutting off benefits to mothers unless they proved conception of a third child occurred through rape.

Admitting he had been drinking but was not intoxicated he said he  had left the party 20 minutes after arrival since he was catching a flight to London the next morning at 6:30am

He insisted his behaviour on the night did not “fall short” of that expected of an MSP.

In written submissions, two witnesses backed the complainant and said Briggs had, “wrapped himself around her” and was “playing with her hair” and that she had looked extremely uncomfortable.

Briggs supplied written statements from individuals rebutting the claims.

 

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His Twitter apology to the complainant.  But he told the panel he was fully “compos mentis”

 

 

Miles Briggs complainant sad and angry at process and outcome

In an interview shortly after the complainant said she was appalled that Briggs could be exonerated without evidence from her and two witnesses to the alleged harassment being heard.

The three had refused to appear before the committee on the advice of Rape Crisis Scotland on the grounds that the process was “flawed”.

In particular, she objected to the “adversarial” approach under which she and her witnesses were to undergo “cross-examination”.

Rape Crisis Scotland had called for the process to be more of a fact-finding exercise similar to that now adopted by the Scottish Parliament but says the Scottish Conservatives refused to back down.

The complainant said she agonized over whether or not to report the incident, but had been losing sleep.

When she first wrote to Ruth Davidson, she says her main priority was to avoid publicity.

She claims before she sent the letter, she met party director Lord Mark McInnes to seek reassurance and was told she would be protected and Briggs would be suspended pending a hearing. This never happened.

Later she says it became clear the disciplinary committee was not treating the complaint with sufficient rigour. It took more than a month to get a response from Briggs.

“No-one asked us to provide witness statements – Rape Crisis Scotland had to say to them, don’t you want them? And no-one kept in touch about the progress of the case – we heard very little until a week and a half ago when Rape Crisis Scotland was told I would have to submit to direct questioning by Briggs.”

After chief executive Sandy Brindley intervened, the party agreed to ask Briggs if he would be willing to leave the room and allow the complainant to be questioned by the chairman. He agreed, but all other witnesses were expected to give their evidence in his presence.

The Complainant said she was not comfortable being questioned on the basis of Briggs’ statement which she had not seen.

Rape Crisis Scotland sought clarification on the gender composition of the committee and reassurance that its members had undergone sexual harassment training. It says it got neither and advised the complainant and her witnesses not to attend.

Summarizing the complainant said:

“I am gutted that Briggs has been found to have done nothing wrong. I am sad and angry that the process was so terrible that it felt as though this end result was written from very early on. My question is how is anyone on that committee is qualified to judge my credibility, it’s not a court. These last few days have been terrible. If this had been dealt with well, I would not have gone to the press.”

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MP Expense Claims Exceed £120 Million Each Year – Up by 25% – Many Fall Foul of the Rules Yet the Largess Continues – Despairing Times For Taxpayers Hit Hard by Austerity Measures

 

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2 Days ago: Hundreds of MPs’ have their parliamentary credit cards suspended for breaking expenses rules

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), was set up in the wake of the disgraceful expenses scandal 10 years ago.

Parliamentary credit cards were introduced for MPs’ following the scandal, to ensure spending could be closely monitored.

Westminster authorities, ruled that information should not be released to the public because it could hinder the safe operation of the system.

But a former high court judge reversed the ruling and ordered that the information be released to the public saying that the risk of “embarrassing” MPs’ was not sufficient reason to keep the information secret.

True to form those elected to serve the electorate soon found ways in which they could circumvent the rules.

Scots who vote to maintain the rotten and corrupt political system that is Westminster need their heads examined.

 

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The folderol that is Westminster and the Fiddle-de-dee behavior of MPs’

Information recently released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that since the 2015 General Election 377,  MPs’,  (1,114 suspensions in total) have had their gold credit cards suspended for claiming for disallowed items, failing to pay back ineligible expenses or failure to provide receipts.

Many are repeat offenders, including Tory, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, (card suspended 5 times).

Claire Perry, energy minister, admitted wrongly used her parliamentary credit card to pay for her Amazon Prime subscription.

Ian Paisley, DUP MP, ran up debts of £1,193 and had his credit card suspended.

Damian Collins, Tory MP and chair of the Commons media committee, Chloe Smith, Tory government constitution minister and 7 other MP’s have had their card suspended more than ten times over the past three years.

Stephen Barclay, Greg Clark, Chris Grayling, Robert Buckland, Claire Perry, Rory Stewart, Jeremy Wright, David Mundell and Boris Johnson, all ministers of cabinet status are among the MPs penalised.

In the Labour camp, party leader Jeremy Corbyn was revealed to have had his card suspended twice, while Shadow Cabinet ministers Rebecca Long-Bailey, Richard Burgon, Diane Abbott and deputy leader Tom Watson were found to have also fallen foul of expenses rules.

Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said:

“It shows there is either something fundamentally wrong with the system, or we’ve got a bunch of highly incompetent slovenly MPs’ who can’t keep to the rules.  MPs’ have become lax and casual in their approach to meeting the rules. If MPs can’t deal with this rather narrow sphere of finances, why should we trust them in dealing with the nation’s finances?”

The amount taxpayers were charged for MPs’ allowances increased by 22 per cent since 2009.

In 2018 the expenses bill was £117.4million – equivalent to £180,000 per MP. This includes accommodation, travel, hotels, subsistence and staffing costs.

 

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Westminster Officials Personal Expenditure On Their Taxpayer Funded Gold Cards Exceeds £1.5 Billion – When Will the Largesse End?

 

 

 

 

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August 2011: Voter fury over Gold Card abuse cover-up

Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell has been blamed by key members of the Government for blocking moves to reveal the true extent of spending on the cards, which are given to officials to pay for their ‘expenses’.

A cloak of secrecy is being used to conceal widespread abuse of public money spent on the cards every year.

Some officials have already been caught using them for personal items such as hamburgers or supermarket shopping trips – but the real number of culprits is suspected to be far higher.

About 140,000 Government Procurement Cards (GPC) are in circulation, and any bills lower than £1,000 a month are not routinely audited.

Responding to growing public anger over the revelations, Whitehall finance mandarins issued secret advice warning Ministers against publishing information that exposes exactly how much has been spent using the cards

But estimates place the figure at £1.5bn from 1997.

The Downing Street Cabinet Office is opposed to the release of backdated information, including the identity of cardholders, as it would be a ‘poor use of resources’.

Claiming the backing of Downing Street in opposing wider publication, the guidance declares that £235,000-a-year Sir Gus is personally resistant to the idea.

The row coincides with the release of bank statements revealing how officials at the Commons racked up a £1.5m bill on taxpayer-funded credit cards over the past three years.

A list of nearly 4,000 purchases, released under Freedom of Information rules following pressure from open-government campaigners, included £3,700 spent in The Claridges hotel in New Delhi.

A compromise deal has been agreed under which Government departments will publish a list of items purchased using the cards.

But to the anger of some the list will cover only items costing more than £500  and it will not identify cardholders.

A senior politician who lobbied behind the scenes for full disclosure said: “For too long officials have treated this perk like a Gold Card on the taxpayer. We have been banging our heads against a brick wall trying to get all this information out there and we are convinced there has been an abuse of this perk on the scale of the MPs’ expenses scandal, but the Cabinet Office has resisted at every turn and it has been made clear that Sir Gus is not on our side.”

In recent months newspapers have revealed a series of eye-catching and exotic purchases made by civil servants and local government officials on taxpayer-funded cards, including £25m spent on first-class flights, exclusive restaurants and shopping sprees.

Yet another newspaper disclosure highlighted how officials working for a Government policing quango had used the cards to buy items including exotic lingerie and beehive hairdo’s, racking up bills of more than £3m a year.

Parliament’s “Men in Tights” racked up a £1.5m bill on official credit cards in settlement for stays at luxury hotels, long-haul flights, food and drink charges at top restaurants.

A recently released (redacted) list of “procurement card” spending revealed senior Commons officials also used the cards to pay for:

* £3,700 for room hire in the exclusive Claridges hotel in New Delhi.

* £1,705 Settlement of an account at the Ritz-Carlton hotel.

* £2,000 on car hire from the Bermuda Motor Car Renting company.

* £1,280 to the Cotswold Water Park.

* £190 for French lessons at London’s French Institute. .

* £393 hire of a Moss Bros suit and top hat. (to attend Royal Ascot)

* £200 on purchase of food from Tesco.

* £77 purchase of a “Decanter” magazine subscriptoion.

* £885 for the purchase of a food blender!!!!

* £450 purchase of alcohol from Majestic Wines.

* £11 at a Giraffe family restaurant.

* £7 at Nando’s.

* £5 at Snappy Snaps.

* £3 At Burger King.

* £8 For the purchase of a spare set of keys.

 

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Commons officials, who wear elaborate 19th Century court dress on formal occasions, lived up to their nickname by flashing the taxpayer-funded cards buying tights.

There was also evidence that staff had used them to withdraw in excess of £500 in cash, which is forbidden for procurement cards used by Government departments.

A Commons spokesman said the system allowed staff to pay for relatively low-value items in a cheap, secure, and quick way reducing the Common’s processing costs enabling suppliers to be paid more quickly.

Cards had an individual transaction and a monthly transaction limit and the bulk of the £1.5m spend was on behalf of MPs on official business either in the UK or abroad. But Commons authorities accepted they faced challenges to justify a great deal of the purchases.

Staff are advised that the cards are only to be used only for official business purposes and never for personal expenditure, other than in exceptional circumstances where private expenditure is incidental to official business. Expenditure in the latter category should be reimbursed by the card user, but even though Commons auditors are supposed to exercise strict control over August 2011; Voter fury over taxpayer Gold Card cover-up – Ministers blame the head of the Civil Service for blocking exposure of abuse transactions details of the bills still brought surprise.

 

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About Sir Gus O’Donnell

Sir Gus – known by his staff as ‘GOD’, after his initials – is a long-serving high-flyer who has been head of the Civil Service for nearly six years.

The 58-year-old joined the Treasury as an economist in 1979, serving as Press secretary to Chancellor Nigel Lawson and later to Prime Minister John Major.

He was Permanent Secretary at the Treasury when Gordon Brown was Chancellor, before being promoted to serve Tony Blair, Brown then David Cameron as Cabinet Secretary.

He is planning to leave his post before the end of the current Parliament.

 

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A spokesman for the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“When a House of Commons official get their company credit card out they need to think about whether they could justify the expenditure to an ordinary taxpayer.

Only the very rich on their holidays stay in the sort of hotel MPs used in India, so it is absolutely unjustified that officials should do so when they go on work trips. (The Mail)

 

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The Smith Commission Committed Westminster to Devolving Powers To the Scottish Government – But Failed to Deliver the Package

 

 

 

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November 2014: Devolution deal for Scotland

Lord Smith of Kelvin, praised Scottish political leaders for coming together after a “bruising” referendum, with a reminder that:

A cross-party commission had been set up after the unionist parties promised greater powers for Scotland in the event of a no vote in the independence referendum, in a pledge known as “The Vow”.

The deal was promoted by Unionist “no” campaigners as the greatest transfer of powers to Scotland since the Scottish Parliament was set up 15 before.

Drawn up in little over two months it included the transfer to the Scottish Parliament of the following powers:

 

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Powers

Scotland to be able to set the rates and thresholds of income tax, but the personal allowance is to remain set in Westminster. All revenue raised is to remain in Scotland. But it will be administered by HMRC, with any extra costs to be charged to Scotland.

Scotland to take the first 10 percentage points (i.e. half) of VAT receipts.

Scotland to have have the power to borrow on the international markets, within a “prudential borrowing regime consistent with a sustainable overall UK framework.”

Scotland to have control on air passenger duty from Scottish airports, and can scrap it. (A red herring since climate change will rule out introduction of the tax)

Power over the running of Scottish Parliament elections, including spending and the age of the franchise and the number of MSPs.

Consultation and a greater role for Scottish ministers on negotiations with the European Union, allowing Scottish Government ministers to speak on behalf of all of the UK at the Council of Ministers in Europe.

The Crown Estate i.e. Government land to transfer to the Scottish Parliament. This includes the seabed, rural estates, stretches of coast line and mineral and fishing rights. But it will not cover “critical national infrastructure” covering defence, oil and gas.

The Scottish Government is to have a role in reviewing the BBC’s charter and the BBC – vilified in the referendum campaign by nationalists – will have to answer to the Scottish Parliament’s committees.

Scotland to have a greater say over running the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Northern Lighthouse Board, Ofcom and Ofgem.

The ability to top-up benefits payments to cancel out the so-called Bedroom Tax.

Benefits for carers, the disabled and the ill

Cold weather, funeral payments, maternity grants and winter fuel payments.

The right to create new benefit payments.

The running of back-to-work schemes for the unemployed.

The report called for “serious consideration” to devolving control over abortion and call for immediate consideration.

It called for a discussion around the devolution of medical rules on embryology, surrogates and medicines.

Tribunals to be transferred to Scotland, except the Special Immigration Appeals Commission and the Proscribed Organisations Appeals Commission.

Transport to be devolved, including the power to set speed limits, and allowing the state to bid for rail franchises.

The level of so-called Green Levies on fuel bills to remain in Westminster, but how they are raised will be devolved.

Scotland to take control of onshore oil and gas licencing, but off-shore is to remain a UK-wide issue.

Scottish ministers enabled to request competition authorities to investigate issues in Scotland.

Scotland to take control of consumer advocacy, and to have the power to prevent the spread of payday loan shops and fixed odds betting terminals.

Powers explicitly to remain with Westminster:

The Barnett Formula, setting the block grant from Westminster.

The state pension, including the pension age.

National Insurance, Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Corporation tax, fuel duty, oil and gas receipts.

Universal Credit, the new DWP system for delivering working age benefits, including the rates and sanctions regime- Housing benefit, maternity pay, statutory sick pay, bereavement allowance and child benefit.

the National Minimum Wage.

The Equality Act, but Scotland will be able to set new rules such as gender quotas.

Overall responsibility to manage risks and shocks to the economy, including a power to levy UK-wide taxes if required.

He concluded urging Scots to be patient since:

“The delivery of new powers of this magnitude could be rushed through. Inter-governmental working needed to be improved and as a first measure, David Cameron, Nicola Sturgeon, the Speakers of the Commons and the Scottish parliament were scheduled to meet to discuss outcomes, in late January 2015.”

report available here: https://www.smith-commission.scot/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/The_Smith_Commission_Report-1.pdf

 

 

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John Swinney:

The Scottish finance minister and Deputy First Minister, said the proposals lacked the job creation powers, welfare powers, control over personal allowance or national insurance that would allow Scotland to succeed. The Scottish Government recognised the Smith Commission could not grant independence but they had hoped it would allow Scotland to succeed economically.He added:

“We regret these powers have not been delivered. We welcome the new powers – as we support all progress for Scotland – and pledge to use them when they are in place in the best interests of the Scottish people. We also welcome the acknowledgement of the ‘sovereign right’ of the people of Scotland, and our ability to proceed to independence if we so choose. But the proposals clearly do not reflect the full wishes of the people of Scotland, and also fall far short of the rhetoric from the “No” campaign during the referendum.

In an illegal and late intervention, only days before the referendum and well within the purgatory period Gordon Brown promised nothing less than a modern form of Scottish Home Rule and as close to a federal state as the UK could be. That was the context for the extensive new powers promised in the Vow. Author’s comment:(Brown’s illegal and heavily promoted by the BBC, game changing intervention was apparently condoned by the Electoral Commission)

Regrettably, the Westminster government and other political Unionist supporters failed to deliver the powerhouse parliament the people of Scotland had been promised. Under the proposals, less than 30 per cent of Scottish taxes is to be set in Scotland and less than 20 per cent of welfare spending is to be devolved to Scotland.

This is not Home Rule – It is a continuation of Westminster rule.

Most significantly, the proposals do not include the job-creating powers that Scotland so badly needs to get more people into work and grow the economy, or welfare powers to tackle in-work poverty.

A claim based on two spcific sentences in the report:

a. Reflecting the sovereign right of the people of Scotland to determine the form of government best suited to their needs, as expressed in the referendum on 18 September 2014, and in the context of Scotland remaining within the UK, an enhanced devolution settlement for Scotland will be durable, responsive and democratic.

b. It is agreed that nothing in this report prevents Scotland becoming an independent country in the future should the people of Scotland so choose.

 

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Gordon Brown:

Was unhappy with tax changes, saying:

“The devolution of income tax is a “trap” because it will force Scottish MPs to surrender significant voting rights in Westminster over budgets, putting the Union itself at risk.”

Then, reflecting on the agreement, he went on:

“But, the Vow to deliver a stronger Scottish Parliament within the UK has been kept, as promised, and the timetable for draft laws to be published in January will now be honoured, as promised. The Smith Commission has ruled that income tax is a “shared UK tax” and that a reserve power to levy a UK-wide income tax has been retained. The Commission has rightly Rejected the Conservative proposal ​from the day after the referendum for excluding Scottish MPs from voting on Budget income tax decisions. It has rightly ​recommended that the whole of the House of Commons, including Scottish representatives, will ​always ​vote on​ every aspect of UK Budget tax decisions.”

 

 

 

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Jim Murphy:

The designate Leader of Scottish Labour, said:

The devolution of income tax exceeded what Labour intended. But, under the agreed deal,it is expected Scottish MPs will retain votes over budget votes at Westminster.
We listened to the people of Scotland and changed our minds reflecting on the wishes of the people of Scotland. I think this morning very many Yes voters who are not dyed-in-the-wool SNP people, will be pretty satisfied with this deal. But the second thing is that important parts of pooling and sharing of resources within the UK remain, the Barnett formula will remain, issues about the state pension will remain, and the ability to deal with a downturn in the economy will remain by Universal Credit and things like that remaining part of the UK. So I think it’s a remarkable deal and a best of both worlds deal: really strong devolution but Scotland remaining part of the UK.”

 

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Lord Forsyth:

Formerly John Major’s Scottish Secretary, he attacked the reforms, stating:

“The income tax changes are “piecemeal” and easily avoided. The wealthy can take their income as dividends. This is why it’s mad to rely on income tax as your main source of revenue. If the proposals are that dividends in income should be not taxed, they can change to have most of their income in dividends and avoid the Scottish rate of tax. I think we could end up if people think more powers to the Scottish parliament means more money… this has not been thought through. The Labour party’s idea that we should have a constitutional convention for the whole of the United Kingdom, and not do this piecemeal reform as a panic measure to the rise of the nationalists and the result of the referendum.”

Boris Johnson & many other local government appointee’s in England:

Submitted a letter to the Westminster government cabinet titled “What is Good Enough for Scotland.” Its content stated:

“We leaders and supporters of local government in England of all parties and types of local government congratulate Scotland on the measure of devolution they have worked for and that is now proposed by the Smith Commission. We now call upon central Government and party leaders to recognise that local government should be the vehicle for devolution in England and to now negotiate with us using a similar non-party Commission to agree a comparable package of measures for local government in England.”

 

 

Commission members commented:

Iain Gray for Labour: the vow has been kept stating: “This is a good day for Scotland.”

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Annabel Goldie, ex-Scottish Tory leader: “the Scottish Parliament will have to look people in the eye over how taxpayers’ money is spent.”

 

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Michael Moore, Lib/Dem: “the deal is home rule for Scotland and a transformation of the United Kingdom.”

 

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John Redwood, Tory MP:

The standard bearer for the Tory right, warned Scottish MPs voting on English income tax would be “unjust”.

He wanted a new settlement where the Speaker would declare which issues are English only.

“I’m here to speak for England, and what we need is the ability to make a decision on behalf of England, just based on the votes of the English MPs at Westminster.

Or in some cases we may be doing it with Wales and Northern Ireland if the issues are not devolved there, but not with Scotland, because the issues have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

“Now that Scotland is going to get this mighty power to choose the tax rates and the bands for income tax, it’s important that Scottish MPs don’t come to Westminster and then impose an income tax rate or income tax band on England that we don’t want.

It would be quite unjust if Scottish MPs were still able to vote on our income tax when they could not vote on their own income tax, and when Scotland had her right to choose her own income tax without us.”

 

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Nick Clegg:

The former leader of the Lib/Dem Party said the parties had over-delivered on The Vow.

“Call it Vow Max, Vow Plus Plus,” he told his weekly radio show audience on LBC. “Because what you have got in the Smith Commission, which I think is truly remarkable, is the devolution over money so that Scotland now will be responsible for the majority of the money that it spends which is a good thing.

This is not asking more of English tax-payers. It is saying that if the Scottish people and the Scottish politicians they elect want to do more things, on welfare for instance, they have got the freedom to raise it for them themselves and they will have, basically, a new welfare system for them to manage themselves in Scotland.

They will have to fund it but they will be allowed to take responsibility for it.

That is basically Home Rule and that is something that Liberals down the ages have argued for over a long period of time.

We also need Home Rule for Sheffield for Liverpool for Newcastle… we need devolution, decentralization across the country.”

 

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David Cameron:

The Prime Minister welcomed the Smith Commission report, and said the case for English votes for English laws is now “unanswerable”. He intends to unveil proposals before Christmas. “I’m delighted with what’s been announced. We are keeping our promises and we’re keeping our United Kingdom together. I always said that a ‘no’ vote didn’t mean no change. Indeed, we made a vow of further devolution to Scotland. And today we show how we’re keeping that vow and we’ll continue to keep that promise. The Scottish Parliament is going to have much more responsibility in terms of spending money. But it will also have to be accountable for how it raises taxes to fund that spending. And I think that’s a good thing. I think the report today also makes the case for English votes for English laws unanswerable and we’ll be taking action on that shortly. And I think, taken together, this extra devolution for Scotland and dealing with the all the issues in our United Kingdom will make our United Kingdom stronger. So it’s a good day for the UK.”

 

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MP’S discussed the Smith Commission report in the Commons:

Alistair Carmichael, the Scottish Secretary, said:

“The measures will be implemented without hesitation, without reservation and without equivocation. Work to convert the recommendations into draft legislation will be completed by Burns Night in January 2015. For the first time over 50 percent of the money spent by the Scottish Government will be raised by the Scottish Government.”

 

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Former Chancellor, Alistair Darling, said devolution should do nothing that would undermine the integrity of the United Kingdom.

 

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SNP Deputy leader Stewart Hosie said the SNP “would not seek to delay the implementation of the package but it has not turned the Scottish Parliament into a “powerhouse. Scottish voters had been betrayed.”

Carmichael chided Stewart Hosie saying: “He predictably and depressingly seeks to claim the Vow has not been delivered.” Waving a copy of the Daily Record, which declared: “The Vow Delivered.” He demanded that the SNP respect the outcome of the referendum for a generation. He went on to say, “Britain needs federalism,” but held back from saying that’s what the report achieved.

Tory right winger John Redwood demanded English MPs have control over English taxes.

Carmichael avoided commenting directly confining his reply to the comment that: “the Smith Commission ruled income tax to be a UK-wide tax. English MPs shouted, “Rubbish!”

Carmichael was asked if the UK Treasury would have to undewrite Scotland’s extra borrowing. In response he said, “Scotland will be liable for any debts it incurs under its new borrowing powers”. (How that works in theory and practice is not clear since the UK retains responsiblity for overall fiscal framework.)

Carmichael was asked whether Scottish control of income tax could trigger a low-tax race between England and Scotland. His response, “That is indeed one of the possible consequences.”

 

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Pete Wishart (SNP, Perth) said the package was very disappointing.

Carmichael said Wishart simply wanted independence, adding, “He lost and it is about time he and his party came to terms with it. For him and his party to try and get independence by the back door does not respect the views of the Scottish people as expressed in the referendum. He has a duty to speak for his own constituents who rejected independence.”

Asked about English votes for English laws, he said: “I am confident that England will get what England wants, when England decides what it is it wants.

 

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David Cameron – reported to the Fiscal Committee

He advised that borrowing would be capped at £2.2 billion and the UK would be the lender of last resort.

The government intends to clarify what English votes for English laws really means – and whether MPs from north of the border will be barred from voting on income tax bands and rates in the rest of the UK.

An government spokesman said that the principle would be that the differentiation would apply to “all financial matters. Some elements of income tax would remain UK-wide, such as the allowance thresholds and how income was defined – and there would continue to be a UK Budget.”

Asked specifically if MPs from north of the border would be excluded from voting, for example, on a change to income tax bands or rates in the rest of the UK, he declined to provide detail of specific plans but added, “Where you see significant areas of devolution, there is an important principle there in terms of English votes for English laws.

The Prime Minister was pretty clear when he was in front of the select committee that he is going to bring forward proposals which are going to reflect that because that is the fair thing to do.”

 

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Ed Miliband:

Insisted the settlement meant Scottish MPs Would vote on English budgets, stating. “The system of tax reliefs remains at a UK level, other aspects of the income tax system remain at the UK level. I think it’s part of the integrity of the UK that it continues to be the place that Scottish MPs vote on the budget. The Smith Commission itself recognizes that in their report.”

 

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