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Stephen Gethins – Forgot His Purpose and lost his Seat At Westminster – Now Heading For Kinross

 

 

Lib Dems target Stephen Gethins of SNP in Scotland's closest general  election seat - Daily Record

 

 

Stephen Gethins SNP  

Dec 2018: In the course of a near 5 year parliamentary career at Westminster he displayed little interest in the politics of the Russia or the many unsubstantiated charges of its leaders conducting “disinformation” campaigns against the United Kingdom.

Indeed the only time he mentioned the subject was in the course of an emergency debate in the Commons, on the misconduct of the UK Government and NATO funded charity “Integrity Initiative”.

Which he apparently was unaware operated out of a disused factory in his constituency.

 

General election: Inside the most marginal constituency in the UK

 

 

The debate: opening statement from the Tory Minister of State:

“The “Institute for Statecraft” is an independent UK-based charity whose work seeks to improve governance and enhance national security.

It runs a project called the “integrity initiative”, which is working to counter disinformation overseas by bringing together groups of experts to analyse and discuss the problem posed by Russian disinformation.

The Government are funding this initiative with nearly £2 million this financial year.

That funding covers its activity outside the UK and it does not fund any activity within the UK; nor does it fund the management of the “integrity initiative’s” social media account.

Recent reports that Foreign Office funding has been used to support party political activity in the UK are therefore wholly untrue.” (Hansard)

But the debate had been called for by the Labour Party in response to the misuse of the organisation’s Twitter account to publish a number of posts hostile to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party, in apparent breach of the foregoing statement of the rules relating to state funding and charity activity.

 

Stephen Gethins SNP - Home | Facebook

 

and Gethins contribution:

“I wish to put on record that a number of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) funded non-governmental organisations do extraordinary work in the most difficult circumstances.

Before I came to this place, I worked in the south Caucasus and the western Balkans, where many of those organisations do that extraordinary work.

They deserve our support for doing that but, more than anything else, they need to know that the Foreign Office has full openness and transparency.

Our most powerful tool against any Russian misinformation is respect for the rule of law, the democratic process and, critically, transparency; we owe that to those working in these organisations.

The Minister will be well aware of many people who work in very difficult circumstances and find themselves at the hard edge of Russian disinformation campaigns. (Hansard)

 

The growing Brexit crisis: The SNP's Stephen Gethins sets … | Flickr

 

April 2019: The Tory Government ramps up its anti-Putin/Russia campaigning and Getkins asked a pointless and clearly planted written question. Brownie points?

Getkins:

What steps is the Minister taking with his overseas counterparts to tackle the distribution of disinformation in (a) Ukraine, (b) Belarus and (c) the Baltic States?

Tory Minister of State:

​We have a regular dialogue with international partners on the challenge posed by hostile state disinformation, including to align donor support in this field.

The Foreign Secretary discussed disinformation at the EU Foreign Affairs Council on 21 January in the context of the European Commission’s ambitious Action Plan Against Disinformation.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s own dedicated Counter Disinformation and Media Development Programme aims to protect national security by countering disinformation directed at the UK and its Allies from Russia.

It funds projects in a number of different countries that seek to enhance independent media, support civil society organisations that expose disinformation and share good practice with partner governments.

Media plurality, institutional resilience and public awareness provide strong defenses against disinformation, whatever the source, and sit at the heart of our efforts.

In particular, we are supporting a new Open Information Partnership of European Non-Governmental Organisations, charities, academics, think-tanks and journalists which are working to respond to manipulated information in the news, social media and across the public space.

Make sense of that!!!

 

Brexit: MPs debate article 50 bill - as it happened | Politics | The  Guardian

 

 

April 2019: Only days later the American justice system revealed that many of the programmes of disinformation worldwide are plotted and delivered by the British Secret Services.

Following 22 months of torturous investigation US Special Counsel Robert Mueller, chairman of a committee comprised mainly of Democrats hand picked by himself, concluded that Russia had not interfered in the US election.

The investigation did reveal however that the British Secret Services had been actively involved, plotting together with the FBI and other parties, funded by “dark money” and had implemented a programme of spurious disinformation in support of Hillary Clinton.

But the remit of Muller’s investigation was restricted to claims against Russia and the final report made no mention of the involvement of MI6 and its associates.

 

Academy for Cultural Diplomacy

 

 

British Secret Services interference in the US Presidential Election

Q: Why was the Service tasked to assist Clinton?

A: Because Clinton supported Britain’s continued membership of the EC. But Trump wanted it out so that he could extend the influence of the US bringing back the “old alliance” heavily promoted in the Reagan-Thatcher era.

Where’s the evidence?

Allegations of British Secret Service and other agencies were referred to the US Justice Department for further investigation. Of special interest is the so called “Steele Dossier” an investigation commissioned at the request (allegedly) of the Democratic Party and/or President Obama.

The report is a collection of claims supposedly proving the existence of a conspiracy between Trump’s team and the Russians to rig the 2016 election in his favour, and which reportedly served to justify the wiretapping by the FBI of Trump’s campaign managers.

The company contracted to complete the work was “Orbis”, a British company since revealed to be a front for the MI6 organization.

So, in effect the British government organized a dirty campaign to discredit Trump. Wholly unjustified, illegal interference in another country’s elections.

And the Steele Report?

In July 2020 the US Senate Judiciary Committee released newly declassified documents on the FBI’s interview with ex-UK intelligence officer Christopher Steele’s “primary sub-source” claiming that the Steele dossier about the alleged collusion between Russia and President Trump was “unsubstantiated and unreliable”.

 

Mercator European Dialogue: Statement mit Stephen Gethins - YouTube

 

 

In summary:

It revealed that “Orbis” tasked (former) MI6 agent Christopher Steele, to gather evidence confirming collusion between Trump’s team and the Russians and to compile a dossier for submission to the FBI.

Steele was not permitted to enter Russia due to his previous activities as an MI6 agent and his contacts within Russia had long since departed the scene so his reliance on gossip and innuendo was absolute.

Starved of current intelligence, Steele established contact with former “Brooking Institution” * researcher Igor Danchenko, a Russian-trained lawyer who had earned degrees at the University of Louisville and Georgetown University.

Danchenko’s experience of Russian politics was limited to identifying risks associated with doing business with Russian companies.

He had no history of working with Russian intelligence operatives or bringing to light their covert activities.

But he became the main source of information to Steele. A damming revelation adding confirmation to the lack of credibility of the “Steele dossier.

* A left wing think tank firmly in the pocket of President Obama and the Democratic Party

 

BrExit: Withdrawal Agreement Rejected - Stephen Gethins, 29 March - YouTube

 

And the plot thickens

The New York Times reported that Danchenko had agreed to collaborate with the FBI in 1997 on the condition that the agency would keep his identity secret so he could protect himself.

So, in 2017 the FBI were fully aware that the content of the “Steele dossier” was “unsubstantiated and unreliable” and that the information Danchenko had given to Steele was “second and third-hand information and rumours at best”.

Yet the FBI still permitted the the publication of the “Steele dossier” alleging that Russian intelligence had compromising information on the US president and that Moscow and POTUS had “extensive” secret back-channels, only a week before Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.

The content of the “dossier” became part of the Democratic Party’s efforts to tarnish Trump’s political image accusing him of colluding with Russia. A charge which he has repeatedly rejected as a “witch hunt”.

In April 2019, Robert Muller’s 22 month investigation, led by a Democratic Party majority committee confirmed the truth of Trump’s many denials of wrongdoing.

 

Election campaign in Scotland set to be dominated by SNP calls for indyref2  | Your Local Guardian

 

Summary

Gethins lost his North East Fife seat at Westminster in the 2019 General Election, but he recently announced his return to politics in next years Scottish elections.

If successful I expect him to concentrate on the day job of campaigning for Scotland’s self determination.

But the irony of the political views of himself and others of the same ilk, in the SNP was expressed in their contributions to foreign affairs debates and in their media statements when they were at Westminster when they failed to accept and support the people of Donetsk and Crimea who had held self determination referendums and decided that they wished to return to Russia.

Stewart McDonald MP for Glasgow South, the SNP spokesperson for Defense and a very active Member of the British Foreign Affairs Committee, is also the proud recipient of the “Third Class of Order of Merit of the Ukraine”, in recognition of his work promoting relations between Scotland and Ukraine.

But informed observers, including Putin, are well aware that the Western Ukraine population is almost exclusively Germanic and it was only roped into the USSR in 1945, because of Churchill’s eagerness to strike a deal with Stalin. Its right to independence is respected by Russia.

But the Ukraine is not a free country. It is politically controlled by the corrupt financial backing of arch-capitalist George Soros, who invited the “West” to provide support and assistance to the country in its time of need. Asset stripping with a vengeance.

And Stewart McDonald MP apparently speaks for the SNP in his attacks on Russia. What the hell is that all about. It most definitely is not the reason voters elected him to office. He should back off from the committee and get on with the day job of fighting for independence for Scotland.

 

Stephen Gethins (@StephenGethins) | Twitter

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Double Devolution – The Tory Plan For Scotland

 

David Mundell: Devolution in Scotland - the next great debate speech -  GOV.UK

 

 

10 Sep 2020: Reported in today’s “National” – Councillors in Shetland have passed a motion to explore options for “achieving political and financial self-determination”.

Leader of the council Steven Coutts proposed the motion, which was carried yesterday by 18 to 2 votes. The motion states there is concern that centralised decision-making “is seriously threatening the prosperity, and sustainability, of Shetland as a community”.

Unionist commentators and politicians leapt onto news of the motion, with Highlands and Islands Tory MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston saying it was “no wonder islanders have run out patience” with Holyrood.

He commented: “I believe it’s right that both of our governments work with the islands to help meet the aspirations and unique needs of their people. However, it is clear that the current arrangements, where so much power is centralised in Edinburgh and the needs of Shetland often ignored, is some distance from where Shetlanders want to be.”

Ahead of the 2014 independence referendum, there were reports the islands could become self-governing like the Isle of Man if the rest of Scotland voted Yes while they backed staying in the Union.

LibDem MP Alistair Carmichael said in that situation a “conversation about Shetland’s position and the options that might be open to it” could start.

 

Comment:

The report might be dismissed as being not particularly interesting but taken with recent news about the intention of the UK Government it is entirely relevant in today’s politics in Scotland and possibly signals a start of a process bringing about the reduction of the devolved powers of the Scottish Government. And there is good reason to be concerned. I reviewed and compiled (see below) a record of political events, from 2014 to date, pertaining to the governance of the isles.

 

Scotland Bill: Alistair Carmichael takes on SNP as he demands devolution of  property | The Independent

 

 

The Three Islands Strategy

In the early months of the 2014 independence referendum campaign as the balance of probability switched from “no” to “yes” the Lib/Dems were forced to step away from their leading role in the mainland campaign by the other two Unionist Party’s.

The Lib/Dems retained their leadership role campaigning for a “no” vote in the Scottish Isles and formed three Unionist supporting campaign groups. “Our Islands Our Future”, “For Argyll” and “Wir Shetland”.

Tavish Scott, one-time leader of the Liberal Democrats in Scotland and then MSP for Orkney and Shetland, called on the islands to loosen their ties with Scotland. Saying he was in favour of the islands forming a crown dependency in their own right, with a similar status to the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

The Unionist Party’s echoed and added support to Scott’s views and dropped a spoiler into the mix offering specific guarantees to the Islanders should they vote “no”.

 

A Time of Despair For Scots – Blessed With A Neutered Authority in Scotland  and Governed by a Bunch of Incompetent Tory Wide Boys In London – caltonjock

 

 

The New Deal for the Isles

the legislation would be put in place ensuring the account of island priorities. The UK Government in Scotland would appoint an islands representative dedicated to supporting the isles together with an oil and gas islands forum which would assist decision-making in the sector.

Renewable energy transmission links would be built linking the Isles to the mainland and island-specific challenges for transport, postal services, digital connectivity and fuel poverty would receive closer consideration, and measures would be taken to strengthen the transparency and accountability of the Crown Estate, which manages Scotland’s seas and foreshore.

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said the proposals would “strengthen the voice of our islands at the heart of the UK government”. Adding: “It will mean their unique needs are considered across all UK government activity and legislation, tailoring our approach to ensure islands issues continue to get the attention they require. That is good news for the councils of the isles and will improve the economy, connectivity and lives of our people on our islands. It shows we are not only listening but acting – and in doing so we are strengthening the UK.”

 

The Case for the Scottish Parliament Learning Intentions By the end of this  set of lessons I will: Look at the structure of politics in the UK  Identify. - ppt download

 

 

The Future Governance of the Scottish Isles

Three weeks before the referendum the Unionists published their “Framework for the Islands” with the claim that it would embed the voice of the island at the heart of the UK Government reflecting the priorities of their communities more closely in decision making and policy.

It would provide the basis for joint working between the UK Government and Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles on a range of priorities and included a 10 point plan for the islands:

* Islands proofing: Including new arrangements to scrutinise UK Government policy and legislation to ensure they take account of islands priorities.

* Economic benefits: A new Islands Working Group supported by a dedicated position in the UK Government offices in Edinburgh with its agenda set by the islands, covering priorities like Islands Innovation Zones, construction costs and community benefit.

* A new Oil and Gas Islands forum: The UK Government will commit to working with the Islands Councils assisting strategic decision-making on future priorities for the oil and gas industry. This will allow the councils to work more closely with the UK Government and industry.

* Renewable energy: There will be a firm UK Government commitment to the “Renewable Energy Delivery Forum”, focussed on getting transmission links to the islands. The UK Government also shared the 3 Islands Councils’ ambitions for the deployment of renewable energy and for research and development activity, and we will ensure that obstacles to securing the necessary infrastructure are tackled effectively.

* The framework recognised the island groups faced particular challenges in the areas of transport, postal services, digital connectivity and fuel poverty. The UK Government will work with the councils on these areas.

* Transport: This includes seeking an extension to the Air Discount Scheme and a commitment to consider fiscal measures to support transport connectivity with the island groups.

* Postal services: The UK Government will work with retailers, consumer groups and enforcers to ensure parcel delivery charges to remote regions are fair and transparent, in line with the UK statement of principles for parcel deliveries.

* Connectivity: Digital connectivity is of great importance to local inhabitants and businesses on the islands and the UK Government will fund the “Mobile Infrastructure Project”, working to provide improved mobile coverage throughout the isles, aiming to address market failures in these areas. There will be a guarantee of parity in the minimum service level between the UK mainland and islands areas achieved by the delivery of superfast broadband to all premises in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.

* Crown Estate: measures will be taken to strengthen the transparency and accountability of the Crown Estate.

* There will be increased island representation on UK government bodies and a dedicated point of contact to offer advice and guidance to the islands.

Selling his vision of the future to the islanders, Carmichael said:

“Today’s announcement is a landmark for the relationship between the UK Government and OUR island communities in Scotland. It builds on a great deal of good work in the past and will strengthen the voice of our islands at the heart of the UK government. It will mean their unique needs are considered across all UK Government activity and legislation, tailoring our approach to ensure islands issues continue to get the attention they require. That is good news for the councils and for the whole of the UK and will improve the economy, connectivity and lives of people on our islands. It shows we are not only listening but acting and in doing so we are strengthening the Isles and their place in the UK. This is the start of the next part of our journey together, giving us a strong framework which will be reviewed and built on further in the future.

 

What I wrote in September 2014 – Scottish Parliament to be Emasculated –  Vote “No” and Powers Will Be Returned to Westminster Post Brexit – And  Another Independence Referendum Ruled Out. – caltonjock

 

 

The Smith Commission

The Leaders of Scotland’s three Islands Councils have welcomed the findings of the Smith Commission as a major landmark for the “Our Islands Our Future” campaign. The Commission was set up following the Referendum. Its recommendations formed the basis of legislation on more powers for Scotland and the 3 Isles. In his report, Lord Smith said:

“There is a strong desire to see the principle of devolution extended further, with the transfer of powers from Holyrood to local communities. The Scottish Government should work with the UK Parliament, civic Scotland and local authorities to set out ways in which local areas can benefit from the powers of the Scottish Parliament.”

A key aspiration of “Our Islands Our Future” is for the three Islands Councils to take over the Crown Estate’s current responsibility for the foreshore and seabed around their islands. And responsibility for the management of the Crown Estate’s economic assets in Scotland – including the seabed and foreshore – should be transferred to the Scottish Parliament.

“Following this transfer, responsibility for the management of those assets will be further devolved to local authority areas such as Orkney, Shetland, Na h-Eilean Siar.”

 

Devolution in Scotland - ppt download

 

 

After the Referendum

Steeled the “No” vote majority and backed by the Unionist Government in Westminster the Scottish Secretary (Mundell) saw no reason to maintain a low key approach to implementation of his plans for the future governance of the isles and any masking of his activities was abandoned in the knowledge that the Westminster government had taken charge of the agenda to the exclusion of the Scottish Government.

Mundell attended a meeting with the “Islands Working Group” attended by each of the islands leaders and other persons closely involved in the campaign taking forward the commitments detailed in the Islands Framework and confirmed the UK Government’s unqualified commitment to the major decentralisation in decision making across Scotland. He said:

“I confirm my on-going commitment to the Islands framework, placing power in the hands of communities making sure opportunity and prosperity reach every part of the United Kingdom. It shows how the Western Isles coming together with Orkney and Shetland has created an example for other parts of Scotland to follow. I’m keen for the Islands Councils to play a full part in the on-going debate on how the substantial powers in the Scotland Bill are used to directly benefit island communities. Over the past few years there has been a process of centralisation from the Scottish Government but taking forward legislation such as the devolution of management over the Crown Estate, this is an imbalance that will be redressed.”

Commenting, Isles MP Angus MacNeil claimed that in endorsing more power to island communities, Mundell had performed a remarkable’ u-turn, saying:

“Hopefully Mr Mundell has become a belated convert to decentralisation. If he had listened when I put this forward at the last Scotland Bill in 2011 we would be a lot further forward. He opposed moves for decentralisation and resisted a push to devolve the Crown Estate to Scotland. His position on this issue has now changed due to the strength Scotland has with the SNP making Tory Westminster listen a little more. I hope Mundell will see for himself during his visit to the islands what real benefits could come from more decentralisation of powers from London and that he will, from now on, be supporting me in fighting to ensure the islands voice is heard at Westminster.”

 

Boris Johnson vows to keep the United Kingdom together on visit to Scotland  | UK | News | Express.co.uk

 

 

Mundell and Double Devolution

Mundell called for a debate on what new powers Scottish local government should be given by Holyrood in order to take greater control over their own affairs, saying:

“The issue of devolution to local communities is now an urgent one for Scotland. There is a revolution going on in local government across the rest of the United Kingdom, with local areas regaining power and responsibility at an unprecedented rate. Scotland cannot afford to be left behind as the rest of the UK revolutionises how it governs itself, giving towns, cities and counties more of the autonomy which our international competitors enjoy. It’s time we had a proper debate about devolution within Scotland. Councils need to make their voices heard on what powers and responsibilities they want to have to shape their futures. Devolution is not worthy of the name if it stops at the gates of Holyrood. It has been argued by some that the UK Government should legislate to devolve these and other things directly to Scotland’s local authorities: so-called ‘double devolution’. That is the right intention, but the wrong approach. The Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government are responsible for local government in Scotland and it is their responsibility to drive that devolution onwards.”

Mundell’s views not supported by this UK Government. who intend to introduce Double Devolution with a vengeance.

 

Boris Johnson says coronavirus response shows 'might of UK union' - YouTube