Scot’s Earn the Least – Yet Donate the Most to British Charities – Control of the Charity Sector is Transferring to London – Scotland Stuffed Yet Again





Charity Donations across the UK


Giving: The results from a Ipsos Mori poll released in March that found Scots to be the most charitable people in the UK





14 March 2013: Scots charitable donations exceed £100 more per year than wealthy Londoners

It is a cruel stereotype: that Scotsmen have a tendency towards thrift that sometimes borders on the downright tight-fisted.

According to a survey released today, it is entirely unfair. Quite the reverse, in fact – it shows that Scots are in fact the most charitable people in the UK.

More than 42 per cent of those in Scotland give money after watching a TV charity appeal – well above the national average of 25 per cent.

Scots are more likely to donate to sponsorship requests from friends and family, with 65 per cent giving compared to the national average of 54 per cent.

Scots are also more responsive to charity emails – with 18 per cent saying they prompt a donation, versus a national average of just 12 per cent.

The results were found by online charity donation service Give as you Live in a survey of 2,000 people.

The poll also showed that Londoners donated almost £100 less – £268 – despite earning 35 per cent more than the Scots.

Overall Scotland was the most generous nation in the UK £356 on average, followed by Wales on £328 and England on £285. (The Mail)






17 June 2015: There is no end to it – English control over Scottish charities continues to expand – Big money is at stake and they are determined to seize control of it

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is planning to transfer staff and services from Scotland to, “Action for Blind People” (ABP), which currently runs all the charity’s services in England.

Staff in Scotland say there has been no explanation of how the strategy will work or evidence provided that it will benefit the 180,000 Scots with vision problems who currently receive help.

Unison’s voluntary sector organiser for Scotland said: “There is a complete lack of transparency about the business rationale for this move, what it will mean for the general public or how it will be of any benefit to service users. People are utterly baffled about what is going on.”

There are also questions over whether the Scottish Government, or the public, will be happy providing government funding to an English-based charity. (The Herald)





12 October 2015: The head of a leading Scottish charity has resigned in the wake of a furious internal row over the transfer of staff to a London-based partner organisation.

John Legg, the RNIB’s director in Scotland, had led it for more than 10 years.

He was known to have opposed RNIB UK’s move to run its Scottish operation from London under the auspices of “Action for Blind People”, a decision which was viewed by many staff north of the border as an English ‘takeover’.

RNIB UK insists that Mr Legg left by choice but speculation is rife as to how and why his departure has come about.

An employee (representing more than 200 RNIB Scotland workers) said: “Staff are shocked and dismayed. No reason was given, but it is obvious that he was pushed for not toeing the party line of centralisation on London (The Herald)




23 July 2015: Asthma charity to quit Scotland in London Switch

Asthma UK is currently consulting on proposals to concentrate staff in London.

But it has been urged to think again by campaigners who fear its work will be undermined in Scotland. (The Herald)




15 August 2015: Experts have voiced fears that more health charities will shut their Scottish offices in the wake of a number of high – profile cases.

It is understood that around half a dozen organisations are thought to be looking at the possibility of moving staff to England. (The Herald)




2015: Scottish animal charity donations are misdirected to England

Thousands of Scot’s routinely donate to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) believing the money will assist the efforts of the society in Scotland.

But, in Scotland, it is the charity, the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) that responds to calls about cruelty to animals. Charitable donations in Scotland should be made to the SSPCA, not the RSPCA whose responsibilities are with England.


Another charity plans to shut doors of Scottish office




Scottish Charities in Name Only – Power Rests with England

2017: There are calls for the creation, registration and management off Scottish Charitable Societies and similar organisations who would be enabled to lobby appropriate Scottish Government Ministers, tailoring their activities to Scotland, in recognition of our different laws and social services.

In the last 10 years many “so called” UK charities, operating in Scotland have closed their doors in Scotland and transferred their headquarters (HQ) and operational control to England, some retaining a Scottish branch under the control of England

At present, qualifying charities in Scotland (regardless of the location of their HQ) are allocated approximately £500m annually by the Scottish government.

But control of and distribution and use of the Scottish government supplied finance and other charitable donations collected in Scotland is vested with their English based HQ’s.




One in Five of Britain’s 1500+ charities spends less than 50% of total income on good causes.

Gina Miller, founder of the “True and Fair Foundation” said: “It is an utter disgrace that so much of the money people generously give is going to feed large charity machines, which are often characterised by obscene overheads and salaries, aggressive fundraising, and bloated marketing and publicity departments; resulting in questionable levels of charitable spending.”

The report is a mind blowing expose’ of the charity sector:

Click to access a-hornets-nest-report-into-charitable-spending-by-UK-charities-12-dec-15.pdf




Action needed now

There is a call for the establishment of a “Scottish Society for the Blind” (SSB) which can concentrate on lobbying the appropriate Scottish Government Ministers, tailoring its activities to Scotland, and our different laws and social services.

Bluntly, if these charities based in England close their doors in Scotland, then new doors should be opened and the door closed to the so-called “National” (as in UK) ones.

The “Third Sector” in Scotland is allocated many £ millions annually by the Scottish government, much of it arising from the Big Lottery Fund. It is a nonsense to give financial support to charitable organisations that are based in England.

The Scottish government should introduce legislation requiring charities benefit-ting from government support, to be registered and managed in Scotland.






Scottish Tories – A Party of Political Eunuchs Managed By Mundell and Davidson – Left in Place By Cameron to Watch Over Rebellious Scots (part 4)









5 October 2015 ; How do SNP vet their candidates?’: Scots Tory leader Ruth Davidson demands explanation over suspended MP Michelle Thomson

Tory leader in Scotland Ruth Davidson last night called for an explanation over the SNP’s ­candidate selection and vetting procedures in light of the Michelle Thomson property scandal. Davidson said there was a question over the integrity of the SNP’s MP candidate selection, while Scottish Labour said “real questions” had to be asked about the selection of the Edinburgh West MP.






Advice for Davidson

But Ruth Davidson should look to the poor behaviour within her own party. Tory in Scotland association members vetting procedures excluded Ruth (who had only been around for 6 months at a higher level working for Annabel) from running for the leadership following on from the Tory Central Office’s forced retiral of Annabelle Goldie. David Cameron, Mundell and the party in Westminster overruled the Scots and ordered that Davidson would be included on the ballot for the Tory party in Scotland leadership effectively screwing poor Murdo Fraser whose ambitions were strangled at birth. The story and subsequent calamitous outcome follows:







2011: Ruth Davidson – Takes charge and makes it clear to the Conservative Party in Scotland she wears the trousers

Ruth Davidson 35y, graduated from Edinburgh University and worked as a BBC journalist until 2009 at which time she left employment to attend Glasgow University to study  International Development. She joined the Conservative Party, and was a candidate in the Glasgow North East constituency at a 2009 by-election and at the 2010 general election, finishing in respectively 3rd and 4th place, with approximately 5% of the vote. From early 2010 to March 2011 she worked as the head of the private office of the then Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie. In the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, she stood for election in the Glasgow Kelvin constituency and on the Glasgow Regional list. She finished in 4th place in the former, but was successful in the latter, and following party leader Annabel Goldie’s resignation in May 2011, she stood in the subsequent leadership election which she won and was declared party leader on 4 November 2011.








9 September 2011: Ruth Davidson draws a “line in the sand” on the constitution by promising “NO MORE DEVOLUTION” no more powers for Holyrood if she wins Scottish Tory leadership.

At the official launch of her campaign she said “The time for arguing about the powers the people want is over. It’s time now to use the powers that we have. “the range of powers included in the Coalition Government’s Scotland Bill is the final word on devolution. When the referendum is done and Scotland and the Union has won the day, that will be an end to it.” She added: “Under my leadership, there will be no existential crisis, no wringing of hands. Instead I want people to call themselves Scottish, Conservative and Unionist.”









9 October 2011: Leadership race for the Scottish Tories mired in claims of bias in favour of Central Office candidate Ruth Davidson

Ruth Davidson suffered a blow to her credibility when it emerged she faced hostility from party activists in what should have been safe home turf in Glasgow. All five party chairmen in Glasgow pledged their support to other candidates.

The least experienced of the four candidates for the leadership, the 32-year-old was promoted as the favourite of the Tory establishment, with backing from Thatcher-era grandees Lord Forsyth, Lord Sanderson, and the sole Scots Tory MP, David Mundell.

Her campaign was plagued by gaffes and rumours that she received unofficial help from the Conservative Party hierarchy. She was also ordered to sack her parliamentary assistant Ross McFarlane after he was caught on camera drunkenly burning a European Union flag in a Glasgow Street as a companion made sectarian remarks.

In a further unwanted development the Director of media, Ramsay Jones, was suspended from his duties when it was revealed that he attended a meeting of campaign strategists at Davidson’s home, despite being ordered by the party chairman not to take sides and remain impartial. Her camp insisted there was nothing untoward about the visit which required  Jones to make a 150-mile round trip from his home in Dunbar, East Lothian, on a Sunday during the campaign.

Malcolm Macaskill, a former Holyrood candidate, claimed Jones had previously boasted he was a “big fan” of Davidson and had recruited her to the party about three years before. He said “I was disappointed to hear he may have been supporting Ruth Davidson’s campaign for leader. That would be wholly unprofessional. But it is no surprise, as Ramsay stated to me he was a big fan of Ruth and he had been responsible for bringing her into the party.”

Macaskill, a member of the Scottish Tories for 35 years had been the Tories’ No 1 candidate on the Glasgow list for Holyrood. but in a surprise move was deselected by the party hierarchy shortly before the election. His removal meant Davidson, who was running Goldie’s Holyrood office, moved to the top of the list. Without the switch, Davidson would not have been elected as a list MSP for Glasgow.



MoS2 Template Master






30 October 2011: TORY LEADERSHIP CANDIDATE RUTH DAVIDSON, under pressure after claiming on television to be committed to Scotland while failing to mention she was shortlisted to become an MP in England.

(talk about careerist Polititian, this seat, that seat, ANY seat’ll do).  In a hustings broadcast by Newsnight Scotland last week, Davidson claimed never to have wanted to work outside her native land.  She said: “I have lived and worked my entire life in Scotland. Never been anywhere else, never wished to be. I’m Scottish to my bones.”

However, only last year, Davidson was one of six figures shortlisted to be a Tory candidate for Bromsgrove, south of Birmingham. The English seat had been left vacant by the exit of sitting MP Julie Kirkbride, who chose not to stand again after a row over her expenses. After local members in Bromsgrove chose Sajid Javid,  Davidson stood for the Tories in Glasgow North East instead, a seat she had contested the previous year in a Westminster by-election. She went on to slip from third place to fourth in Glasgow North East at the general election. Davidson’s spokesman said she had been put on the shortlist by Conservative Central Office in London.

Asked if she attended any selection meetings in Bromsgrove, her spokesman said Davidson “went down to see them” out of “courtesy”.
After the election, Davidson tried unsuccessfully to become the Tory candidate for the Holyrood seats of Edinburgh Central and North East Fife. She finally found a berth as candidate for Glasgow Kelvin, where she came fourth in May’s election after the Tory share of the vote fell. Davidson, a former BBC reporter who joined the party less than three years ago, was then elected as a Glasgow list MSP.

Her Bromsgrove link is understood to have irked many Tory activists in Glasgow and contributed to her lack of support in the city in the contest.The 32-year-old  failed to win the backing of any of the five Conservative association chairmen/women in the city, or Glasgow’s only Tory councillor, David Meikle, or the former Glasgow MSP Bill Aitken. The Bromsgrove episode appears to have been airbrushed from Davidson’s website and CV.






4 November 2011: Ruth Davidson is the new Conservative Party in Scotland leader

Ruth Davidson has been voted leader of the Scottish Conservative Party. She won by 2983 votes over Murdo Fraser’s 2417. She said on being elected “A political party is not a leader. A political party is its membership and I want to bring our members at all levels much closer together to take our party forward in unity”.

First Minister Alex Salmond was among the first to congratulate her on becoming Leader. He said: “I wish her well. My own view is that Annabel Goldie was a highly successful leader for the Conservatives in Scotland, and maximised the Tory vote here. That merely underlines the scale of the task for Ruth Davidson in motivating her party – as does the number of Scottish Tory members who actually voted in this contest, (5,400) and the fact that her main opponent proposed winding up the party. Hopefully, under Ruth’s leadership, the Tories will change their attitude to Scotland and start to work in the country’s best interests.”







7 November 2011: Davidson  Scottish Tory’s subservient to Westminster

In her first official act the new Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson confirmed that she did not urge David Cameron to alter the Scotland Bill in order to reflect Scottish public opinion. Her position, bowing to London on the constitution emerged after she met with her party boss in Downing Street.  She went on to stress her pleasure in meeting the Prime Minister and signalled that she would not adopt any policy positions which he might disapprove of.

She further stated that she had a mandate to speak for Scotland, claiming that the Coalition parties received more votes in Scotland at the UK general election than the SNP did in their historic victory in May.

The SNP immediately leapt on her claim, and issued a statement pointing out that the SNP received 902,915 votes in May 2011, 45.4% of the popular vote, whereas in May 2010 the Conservatives and Lib Dems together received a total of 878,326 votes, or 35.6%.

She then implied that she supported moves for Westminster to seize control of the timing and question of a referendum on Scotland’s place within the UK, a position taken by Michael Forsyth, a prominent supporter of Ms Davidson’s leadership bid.  She claimed that the democratically elected majority Scottish government may “rig” the vote and that this would not be tolerated.  She dismissed support for greater Scottish autonomy as “nationalist shennanigans”.

Commenting on the statement, SNP MSP Derek MacKay said:

“This is a real blunder by Ruth Davidson, continuing her bad start as the new Tory leader in Scotland.

“After talking big about David Cameron coming to Scotland and not being her leader, Ruth Davidson’s first act is a day trip to London where David Cameron is her boss, thus revealing the truth about Ruth’s leadership – the Tories remain the same London-led party, and they will continue to be rejected by the people of Scotland.

“She has also been caught out in a clear statistical fiddle.  Far more people voted for the SNP this year than voted for the coalition parties at the UK General Election last year, and we also got a much higher share of the vote than these two parties combined – which came third and fourth in Scotland last year, behind the SNP.  If Ruth cannot tell the truth about the dismal electoral state of the Tories in Scotland, and their Lib Dem hangers on, then she clearly doesn’t appreciate the scale of the challenge facing her – which at least Murdo Fraser showed an appreciation of.

“The inconvenient truth for the Tories is that the referendum, which will be held in the second half of this parliament, is a matter for Holyrood to scrutinise and deliver – not Westminster; it is part of the resounding Scottish democratic mandate achieved by the SNP in May.  If the Tories and other Westminster parties have difficulty grasping that very basic concept, it is a good illustration of why they are so badly out of touch with the aspirations of the people of Scotland.

“The SNP Government have always made it clear that we are entirely willing to include a ‘devo-max’ option in the referendum.  And a majority for independence on a straight Yes or No question will deliver independence – according to the democratic wishes of the people – and we are confident of success in securing a Yes vote.

“We know from the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey that a strong majority, 74 per cent, of people believe that the Scottish Government should have the most influence over how Scotland is run, compared with just 16 per cent who think it ought to be the UK Government.

“Just days into Ruth Davidson’s new leadership, the Tories continue to be on the wrong side of the argument in Scotland.”




David Cameron’s Statement:

“I am proud that it is the UK Government which is enacting a new Scotland Bill which will transfer significant extra powers to Holyrood and place the responsibility for raising billions of pounds of public spending in the hands of the Scottish Parliament.  This will meet the demands of the Scottish people for more say over how Scotland is run and clear the way for a straightforward and clear-cut referendum on ‘yes or no’ to Scotland in Britain. I pledge myself to campaign to keep our United Kingdom and challenge Alex Salmond to set the date and to agree the question now.”









8 November 2011: Scottish Conservative businessman and financial donor John McGlynn attacks the election of new Tory leader Ruth Davidson

“Ruth has to prove she is capable of coming up with ideas and policies that will resonate with the people of Scotland in the way that Murdo Fraser did and she has to prove that the Tory Party has learned the lessons of electoral defeat.”

Mr McGlynn went on to express his anger at the way in which Mr Macaskill had been removed from the Glasgow Regional list and the interference in the leadership election process by Tory Head Office and said he and other financial donors had made no decision on future donations, but he added that he “wanted to support” the party.



_56557767_john_mcglynn_nn071111John McGlyn






25 March 2011: The Scottish Tory party was plunged into pre–election turmoil last night when key donors were reported to have withdrawn their support from the party after the unwarranted sacking of Malcolm Macaskill

Senior party sources claimed last night that wealthy donors – believed to include Tom Coakley, a former footballer turned millionaire property developer and John McGlynn, an airport car park magnate – had told officials they would no longer contribute to party funds after Malcolm Macaskill, a Glasgow businessman and justice of the peace, was removed from the top slot on the Tories’ Glasgow list by Andrew Fulton, the party chairman.

Mr Macaskill, who was virtually guaranteed a seat in the Holyrood elections on May 5, was kicked out by Mr Fulton, a former MI5 official. Mr Fulton made no mention of the reason for the dismissal, merely saying Mr Macaskill had been dropped “following discussions between the candidate and the party’s candidates’ board”.

The chairman thanked Mr Macaskill for his service and announced that Ruth Davidson, a close aide of Annabel Goldie and a former BBC producer, would be placed at number one on the list.

There was undisguised anger from Mr Macaskill’s supporters at his treatment last night. One senior party figure said: “This is outrageous. Malcolm has served the Conservatives loyally for over 30 years and is treated like this.”

Mr Macaskill was responsible for recruiting several wealthy donors, including Mr Coakley, a former professional footballer with Dundee FC who subsequently made his fortune buying and selling property in London’s Mayfair.

Estimated to be worth £70million, Mr Coakley announced two months ago that he would donate £100,000 per year for the next 10 years to Scottish Tory coffers. However, a senior Tory with close links to the situation said last night: “Mr Coakley is furious and he has told the Tories that he will no longer be making any donations.”

The same source said Mr McGlynn, whose companies own airport car parks all over Europe, and who also donates funds to the party, may also withhold future donations. Last night, Mr McGlynn said “This is outrageous. to penalise someone in this way is completely wrong.

An SNP spokesman said it was the “worst possible” start to the Tory campaign, adding: “The first day and they have lost one of their top candidates, amid party infighting and internal allegations of malpractice. The Tories are not fit for purpose, fit for Glasgow, or fit for Scotland.”



MalcolmMacaskill_1856932cMalcolm Macaskill






29 March 2011: Tory Party’s Holyrood election campaign in disarray after a third candidate steps down, this time as a regional list hopeful.

David Meikle withdrew in Glasgow because he felt that his allegations of vote rigging on the list for the city had not been sufficiently investigated. His complaints centre on the Conservative Rutherglen’s Association, whose membership shot up by about 150 members from a starting point of 17 in the months before the selections for Conservative lists

Mr MacAskill’s, who has been removed from the top of the Glasgow list will be replaced by Ruth Davidson, a former BBC journalist, this means she is likely to become an MSP.

Miss Goldie admitted that she did not have any say in the departure of Mr MacAskill. The Tory hierarchy in London, who are directing the campaign are said to be delighted with the way it is being run north of the Border.

The Tories also insist their budget for the 5 May election is in place despite reports that wealthy donors, including former Dundee FC footballer and property magnate Tom Coakley and airport car park magnate John McGlynn, had withdrawn their funding.


David-MeikleRuth Davidson &  David Meikle





13 November 2011: Talkin’  ’bout Ruth’s generation

Tory leader Ruth Davidson cast herself as the face of “generational change” during the party’s recent leadership race. But what kind of generation is currently coming through the Scots Tories?  Judging by some of the senior members of the Glasgow University Conservative Association (Hon Pres: R Davidson), it could be rather interesting. This fascinating photo shows Ruth with a number of Glasgow University Conservative Association (GUCA) celebrating her election as a Glasgow list MSP in May.

The blonde chap kneeling in front with arms aloft is Ross McFarlane, her election agent and GUCA president. She later sacked him as her Holyrood assistant when mobile phone  after footage emerged of him drunkenly burning an EU flag in a street while a companion made sectarian remarks about referee Hugh Dallas and the Pope. The incident took place after a St Andrew’s Day dinner (30 November 2010) last year. Ms Davidson had attended the dinner together with guest speaker, UKIP MEP Roger Helmer.

Meanwhile, the poker-faced chap on the right of the photo with the square lapel badge is Stewart Green, the GUCA webmaster. He apologised after posting a number of dodgy Tweets about race, including one comparing an Asian festival to cats being strangled.



270785_1David Cameron & Ross Macfarlane
10 March 2014: Green’s racist views exposed yet again three year’s later

Stewart Green, a parliamentary assistant to David Burrowes MP, was forced to stand down after after calling feminists “whingeing imbeciles” who “need a good slap round the face”. making a series of sexist and bigoted remarks on Facebook. Green told his Facebook friends he was “sick to the back teeth” of “wretched women MPs who seem to be constantly going on about there not being enough women in frontline politics”. He added: “This country has been a gradual decline southwards towards the dogs ever since we started cow-towing to the cretinous pseudo-equality demand of these whinging [sic] imbeciles.”

In another post last year, Green described an incident in which he offered a seat to a woman on a bus but was refused. Referring to the woman as a “fat ginger b****,” he added: “I am absolutely sick and tired of this feminism nonsense. It really has gone too far. “Quite a few of these women need a good slap round the face.” In another recent post on the social networking site, Green applauded proposals to close BBC3, saying that “all it seems to do is prop up the common scum lifestyle”.




CJTGlasgow University Conservative students




And finally, the dark-haired guy with the blue shirt and blue tie immediately above McFarlane is Colin James Taylor, a former GUCA president, who works for the Tory Press and Research Unit at Holyrood.  He posted song lyrics on Twitter glorifying Northern Irish terrorist group, the Ulster Volunteer Force. He also referred to Celtic Football Club as “tims” on the popular blogging website. Rangers fan Taylor, from Belfast,  used the Twitter name “Ulsterexile” to post offensive remarks while studying at Glasgow University, where he was president of the student Conservative Association (GUCA) from 2009 to 2010.

On Saturday, February 19, this year he posted lines from a notorious song, Here Lies a Soldier, about a UVF member awaiting execution. “Don’t bury me, in Erin’s Fenian vallies  [sic]. Oh take me home, to Ulster let me rest …” he wrote. Although he did not tweet the rest of the verse, it runs: “And on my gravestone carve a simple message, Here lies a soldier of the UVF.”

On that weekend, the UVF was much in the news as Northern Ireland awaited publication of a police ombudsman report into one of the terrorist group’s worst atrocities, the bombing of McGurk’s Bar in Belfast in 1971, which killed 15 people and injured 16. The report, published 48 hours after Taylor’s tweet, revealed that the Royal Ulster Constabulary wrongly blamed the IRA for the attack. The bombing was the worst during theTroubles until the Omagh bomb killed 29 people in 1998.

Taylor’s tweet also fell on the eve of the anniversary of the 1979 conviction of the notorious Shankhill Butchers, the ultra-Loyalist gang, many in the UVF, who tortured Catholic civilians and murdered at least 30 people.

On April 17, the day that Aberdeen and Celtic met in the Scottish Cup semi-final, Taylor posted on Twitter: “Hope the sheep absolutely hump the tims today.” Tim is a term of anti-Catholic abuse. The anti-sectarian group Nil By Mouth said: “People have to realise that online bigotry is unacceptable.”

Taylor’s case has highlighted Davidson’s ties to Glasgow University Conservative Association. According to GUCA’s website, she is the body’s honorary president. She attended its annual dinner on Friday. After the Sunday Herald alerted the Tories about the matter, Taylor’s Twitter and Facebook accounts disappeared.

Last week, leading QC Paul McBride quit the Tories over the party’s hostility to an SNP bill aimed at tackling sectarianism in football.



rossRoger Helmer & Ross Macfarlane






28 November 2011: Roger Helmer (UKIP) MEP Reports all is well with the Conservative Party in Scotland under Ruth Davidson’s management

I was invited to speak at the Glasgow University Conservative Association St. Andrews dinner, in the Bridie Library in the Students’ Union.

Arriving in Glasgow around lunch-time, I was able to visit the Glasgow School of Art (Charles Rennie Mackintosh), and see their current “Glasgow Girls” exhibition. Excellent – worth a visit. On then to the Willows tea-rooms in Sauciehall Street, again with a strong Mackintosh theme, where I was shown around by Rachel, a well-informed waitress at the Willows. Shortly after seven, a taxi delivered me to the Union, all done up in black tie (OK, well burgundy velvet in this case), Crombie coat and trilby hat, every lefty’s stereotype caricature of a Tory politician – and straight into a couple of dozen vociferous student protesters, chanting slogans about education cuts and “Tory Scum”.

I anticipated problems, but I had reckoned without two of Glasgow’s finest, in hi-viz tabards, who elbowed me through the riot and into the building. I understand that a much larger force arrived soon afterwards and removed the unwashed proletariat. The fracas on the pavement failed to deter sixty or so diners, who tucked into traditional Saint Andrews fare, Scotch broth, haggis with neeps & tatties, cranachan and port. The group included a couple of MSPs and a host of candidates for public office. Then it was time for me to sing for my supper, or at least propose the toast to Saint Andrew.

I have rarely met a more enthusiastic audience. I mentioned Dan Hannan, and they burst into spontaneous applause. I commended the Daily Express “Get Britain Out of the EU” campaign, and they cheered to the echo. I spoke dismissively about climate hysteria, and they roared approval.

It’s worth mentioning that the Glasgow University Conservative Association, under the leadership of its President Ross MacFarlane, is no mere debating or social club. These are serious campaigners who have been pounding the streets of Scotland on the Party’s behalf. These are the future of the Conservative Party. And like so many Conservatives they’ve had enough of the EU, and they want out. They’ve also lost patience with the global warming lobby. They don’t believe it, and they won’t pay for it.

My fear is that the Party’s high command has simply failed to notice the way the wind is blowing. I wonder just how long David Cameron can lead us deeper into the EU, and into the battle for “climate mitigation”, before he notices that the troops aren’t following behind. He risks becoming dangerously exposed.



_63392082_davidsonforsyth464Ruth Davidson & Michael Forsyth






12 December 2011: The true racist face of the Scottish Consrvative & Unionist Party

The new leader of Scotland’s Tories, Ruth Davidson, has faced a tricky first month since taking the reins on 4th November. During her electoral campaign, she had to sack her parliamentary assistant Ross McFarlane, after video footage sufaced of him setting fire to a flag of the European Union, whilst dressed in a University of Glasgow gown. The incident took place after a dinner organised by the Glasgow University Conservative Association (GUCA). As MacFarlane, accompanied by two others, lit the flag, sectarian abuse could clearly be heard, including the derogatory term “tarrier” and claims that the pope was a paedophile. Unfortunately for Davidson, this was not the only time her allies have taken part in sectarian behaviour.

In the honorary president of GUCA’s first week as national leader of the party, it emerged that Colin Taylor, of the Tory press and research unit, tweeted lyrics from the song “Here Lies a Soldier”, which sings the praises of the Ulster Volunteer Force, an anti-Catholic Northern Irish terrorist group. In his tweets, under the name @Ulsterexile, Taylor also casually refers to “tims” another offensive name for Catholics. The account has since disappeared. As embarrassing as such behaviour may have been for Davidson, it was her response to Taylor’s tweets that has earned her the most criticism. Taylor was allowed to keep his position, his punishment for his behaviour being no more than a “formal warning.” Labour MSPs have called this “insufficient” and demanded more “disciplinary proceedings.”

Peter Kearney, of the Catholic Media Office, said: “The Catholic Church in Scotland condemns in the strongest possible terms any sectarian behaviour or criminality, from any quarter whatsoever, as having no place in a civilised society.” These sectarian incidents come at a time when the ruling SNP tries to pass its anti-sectarianism bill, which would see much tougher punishments dealt to those who make sectarian comments at football grounds and, like Mr Taylor, through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Scottish Tory objection to the bill led to the prominent criminal QC Paul McBride quitting the party, just one week before Taylor’s tweets became public knowledge.

And when it’s not sectarianism damaging the Scottish Conservatives’ reputation, it’s been racism, particularly that of Stewart Green, site designer of the current GUCA website and editor of the “Tory Hoose” blog. Green was one third of the drunken trio involved in the burning of the EU flag and in September it emerged that he had made several racist remarks online, including one tweet which read: “An Asian festival is taking place a few doors up, either that or several cats are being strangled. Can’t quite decide which.”

Other subjects of his racist abuse include Jewish, Pakistani and black students. This collection of sectarian and racist comments from her peers seems to go against what Davidson said to the Glasgow Guardian in November, when she told the paper: “I have said Conservatives never get enough credit for how progressive they can be.”

Those who stand against the Tories in Holyrood, however, argue that the behaviour of Davidson’s colleagues shows her party to be rooted in its old, “Bullingdon Club” ways. The SNP referred to the exclusive Oxford University club, of which prime minister, and supporter of Davidson during her campaign, David Cameron was a member. An SNP spokesman described the behaviour of Davidson’s party members as: “Bullingdon Club behaviour which has no place in Scottish politics.”

And things don’t seem to be getting any better for the 33-year-old leader. It emerged last week that members of the St Andrews University Conservative Association burned an effigy of US president Barak Obama on a St Andrew’s beach. As a result, the president of that association, Mathew Marshall, will apologise personally to Mr Obama by sending a letter to the White House. Marshall admits that the burning was “undoubtedly stupid.” He went on to say: “I apologise further for any damage this has done to the reputation of the University of St Andrews, or the Scottish Conservative Party.” Ruth Davidson, at least, will hope that that damage and the incidents before it have not left too big a stain on the party she is now responsible for cleaning up.



ImagePeter de Vink



25 March 2012: Tories have heads in the sand – no place for an independent mind in the Scottish Tories?

There’s yet more trouble for Ruth Davidson, as veteran Tory financier and fundraiser since the mid-1970s, Peter de Vink denounced the party as “complete plonkers” for being hostile to independence and silencing debate on the issue. The Tory stalwart of the Scottish Conservatives, he had been selected to stand in Midlothian, but was “dismissed” for supporting an independent Scotland.

He said “Draconian measures” were taken to silence him and “stamp out internal debate”. Referring to leader Ruth Davidson, who said the current Scotland Bill should be a “line in the sand” for devolution, he said “the Tories are repeating the errors of the 1980s and 1990s, when they opposed a Scottish Parliament. I fear we are once again harking back to the old days where we draw a line in the sand on Scotland’s constitutional journey. The negative arguments of the current leadership will cause more Scots to support independence rather than vote against it, while leaving the party condemned to the pages of history. Here’s the party that stands for independence of views, freedom of speech, freedom of action, and yet we are so intolerant when it comes to this. They look complete plonkers. They look so inept. Ruth Davidson, she is so out of her depth it’s just a laugh.”

Mr de Vink, 71, had tried to make his points in a debate on the Union at the Tory conference, but was not called to speak. He said it was “ludicrous” the debate only heard from speakers in favour of the Union. After being blocked as a Tory candidate earlier this month, he is now standing as an Independent in the Midlothian East Ward in May instead.

Managing director of Edinburgh Financial & General Holdings, Mr de Vink said he had raised “huge sums” for the Tories down the years, but now “hated to think” how much. In 1988, he was a founder member of the Tory party’s Scottish Business Group alongside former coal board chairman Sir Alan MacGregor and the merchant banker Sir Angus Grossart.

Earlier this month he hosted a lunch for Alex Salmond at Edinburgh’s New Club, partly to confront the First Minister with his critics. Not long after “very senior” Tories made it plain he could no longer be a conservative candidate.

Explaining events he said “In the invitation to the lunch I said I had come to the conclusion that independence was actually a very attractive option for Scotland. Some people sent that to their friends in the higher ranks of the Tory party and they accused me of running with the hare and chasing with the hounds. I said, Bollocks, this is a local election, nothing to do with independence, but they said No.

So I became a victim of the cabal. They said I have to be a unionist to be a Conservative, which I think is barking mad. The Tory party is painting itself in again by absolutely dismissing independence just as they dismissed devolution. Look at what a pathetic party it has become, with one member of parliament at Westminster. I call that pathetic… always hankering back to the past.

Why not look to the future?” He said the main attraction of independence was financial. “Scotland can stand on its own feet and can earn what it spends and spend what it earns and it stops being a subsidy junky thanks to [the] Barnett [formula].

I think if we became independent we could start thinking out of the box. He said a flat tax (one tax rate regardless of income) could be introduced by a right-of-centre party. What I’m tryin to say its that it’s better to prepare for reality.I am almost convinced beyond reasonable doubt that we will have independence and when it comes then we are going to have missed the boat. That’s my message.”

In May 2012 he was elected an Independent Councillor in the former People’s Republic of Midlothian where by joining the SNP/Independent Coalition he was instrumental in ending a 84 year long Old Labour regime. He is now working in undoing some of the worst decisions the previous administration made especially the disastrous PPP Contracts and making sure that these calamities will not recur.



18220704Malcolm Macaskill & David Cameron







12 July 2012: Scots Tories ‘rotten to the core’, says ousted Holyrood candidate

Malcolm Macaskill, whose forced removal from the Glasgow list paved the way for new party leader Ruth Davidson to get to Holyrood, got the five-figure pay-out after threatening to sue over the Tories’ handling of his sacking. In an interview Macaskill blasted the Tory machine as “rotten to the core” and said the Scottish party was an “inept and morally corrupt” organisation.

Macaskill, a member of the Scottish Tories for 35 years, had been top of the party’s Glasgow list for the 2011 Holyrood poll – almost guaranteeing him a seat in Parliament. However, days before the start of the campaign, party bosses removed him from the list amid allegations of historical financial problems. Davidson took his place on the list and was subsequently elected to Holyrood and then as party leader.

Following the election, Macaskill served notice on Davidson that he intended seeking a judicial review of his dismissal. He further insisted party rules did not contain a provision to remove a list candidate and the party had acted unconstitutionally. Discussions between lawyers resulted in an out-of-court agreement (payment of a five figure sum to Macaskill).

Macaskill, (confirming he had quit the party) said: “All I ever wanted from the party was an apology. An admission that they were wrong in removing me from the list and that they had failed to follow their own procedures but this was never forthcoming. I have now decided that I’ve had enough of the Tory Party. Over the past year, the treatment that I have been subjected to, along with the evidence that I have gathered, has convinced me that the party machine in and around Edinburgh central office is rotten to the core.

Some have suggested that there was perhaps always a greater plan. In dismissing me, the next in line on the regional list was Ruth Davidson, who had earlier failed to be selected as a constituency candidate in other parts of Scotland. History shows that not only was Ruth elected in my stead, but she also went on to become the party leader in Scotland. I know of hundreds of people who will never vote Tory again and I no longer wish to remain a member of such an inept and morally corrupt organisation.”








8 October 2012: Tory conference: Scottish leader Ruth Davidson in pro-UK rallying call

Addressing the conference she said:

* “It is staggering that public sector expenditure takes up 50% of Scotland’s GDP”.

* “only 12% of households contribute to Scotland’s wealth. I wonder how many of them work on public sector contracts. It’s not just staggering, it’s frightening”.

* “I believe Scotland should expand its private sector building prosperity and increasing opportunity”.

* “The restraints of government diktat should be removed so that people would be enabled to lift themselves out of dependency”.

* “So little moves in Scotland without government approval and anyone who dares challenge the status quo is deemed an enemy of the state. This must change”.

* “Scottish political commentators are indecently keen to write the Conservative Party off in Scotland. Perhaps because they are comfortable with the status quo”.

* “But the system of patronage is rotten since it has created a corrosive sense of entitlement which suits its political gang-masters denying many real choices in their lives”.



amphoto - Ruth Davidson the Scottish Conservative candidate in the Glasgow North East by-election. No Syndication No Sales Picture ALLAN MILLIGAN date taken Tuesday 15th September 2009 mobile 07884 26 78 79 e-mail - ...covering Politics in Scotland....



8 October 2012: Scotland’s Tory leader has got her sums hopelessly wrong on the economy

It is not uncommon to find statistics of dubious quality presented to party political conferences. However, even by the less than rigorous standards that seem to apply at these events, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson’s claim that only 12% of Scottish households “make a net contribution to the economy” is quite remarkable. By way of supporting analysis, all Tory HQ have seen fit to publish is one brief Excel spreadsheet which desperately needs some narrative explanation. It is not an impressive document.

Let’s start with the basics: all the information sources cited are out of date. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures from the Effects of Taxes and Benefits on Household Income publication are drawn from the 2009/10 release; strange because the 2010/11 data have been available since June this year.

Similarly, data from the joint Scottish government/ONS publication, Public Sector Employment in Scotland is taken from the Q1 2012 publication and not the Q2 data published a month ago. This explains why the figures for public sector employment used in the calculation are wrong; currently 22.2% (23.5% if RBS and HBOS workers are included) of all Scottish workers are employed in the public sector, not 23.8%.

Davidson’s calculation also references the ONS data on income for all households. In doing so, she commits the Romney-esque error of failing to account for retired people. This is either lazy or deliberately misleading because the ONS provides such a breakdown in the very document she cites. The income of non-retired households is significantly higher than that for all households and would lead to very different findings.

Hilariously, at a time when Davidson’s party is campaigning hard for an end to Scotland’s universal benefits such as free bus travel for OAPs, free prescriptions and free personal care, the calculation assumes that the distribution in Scotland of “household income, benefits and taxes is the same as that of UK households”. It isn’t. In Scotland, those in the upper income brackets are recipients of additional spend that is lost in her analysis.

Also, the process by which Davidson’s colleagues have tortured the Government expenditure and revenue in Scotland (Gers) data to settle on average benefits and public spend per household figures is, to put it kindly, somewhat vague.

Of course all this is a helpful distraction from the economic and social devastation her Westminster colleagues are visiting on the Scottish and UK economies. It also reflects an embarrassingly naive view about the nature of economic development in any advanced nation where public and private sectors must interact to generate sustainable growth.

The facts of the matter are that Scotland’s public spending to GDP ratio is only slightly better or worse than that of the UK as a whole depending on whether or not a geographical share of oil revenues is included in the calculation. Many of the most enduringly successful economies in the world manage to sustain public spending and public sector employment ratios at similar or higher levels.

Davidson’s grand idea that removal of “government diktat” is necessary to unleash Scotland’s pent-up private sector potential is simply risible. Labour and product markets are regulated on a UK-wide basis and the evidence is unequivocal; Scotland is a good place to do business. Which is why our banks were at the epicentre of the banking crisis. But that is another story.









9 October 2012: Former Tory minister Lord Forsyth has criticised his party’s Scottish leader over her claims only 12% of households contribute to Scotland’s wealth.

Lord Forsyth said “I think perhaps Ruth Davidson ought to have been more careful with her comments. She’s new and a little inexperienced and one of the things one learns over the years is it’s always unwise to comment on something if you haven’t heard it and if you haven’t heard it in context.” her suggestion that those on the public sector payroll were dependent on the state could have been phrased a bit better. We are talking here about doctors and nurses and so on, they spend their money, they pay VAT. So, I think it is an unfortunate way of presenting it.”









10 October 2012: Ruth Davidson must apologise for pensioner insult

Ruth Davidson has been challenged to outline how much more money she thinks should be taken from pensioners, whom she this week falsely claimed were not ‘net contributors’ to Scotland, in light of the fact that Tory policies are already taking hundreds of pounds from the pockets of pensioners. With independent research published earlier this year showing that Tory policies announced in the Budget will leave pensioners £900 worse off by the end of 2014, Ms Davidson’s ill-judged comments have raised the prospect of tougher financial hardship being inflicted on Scotland’s older people if she had her way. Glasgow SNP MSP Bob Doris has now written to Ruth Davidson to remind her of the money that her party is already taking from Scotland’s pensioners, and demanding that she apologise for insulting them by saying they do not ‘contribute’ to society.








9 October 2012: Ruth Davidson’s stoking up a political disaster

Ruth Davidson’s suggestion, made during an appearance at a fringe event in Birmingham this week, that, in effect, most Scots spend their lives suckling on the government teat is not, I’m afraid, a helpful one. According to the Tory leader: “It is staggering that public-sector expenditure makes up a full 50 per cent of Scotland’s GDP and only 12 per cent of people are net contributors, where the taxes they pay outweigh the benefits they receive through public spending.” It is staggering and perhaps also frightening if the Tory leader really believes the public can so easily be divided into the Bad (88%) and the Good (12%) in this fashion.

If nothing else Davidson -should remember that her own career has hardly been a model of private-sector entrepreneurial vigour. The Tory leader has drawn pay checks from the Territorial Army, the BBC, the Conservative Party and, now, of course, the public purse as an MSP. None of these – not even Holyrood – are wholly disreputable places in which to work but, by her stated standard, none are “responsible for generating Scotland’s wealth”. That’s not good politics; it’s a disaster.





5 November 2012: More and more blunders from Ruth Davidson

Ruth Davidson has marked the one year anniversary of her error-strewn time in office with a spectacularly misjudged call to cut over £1 billion from Scotland’s budget. She previously stated that the Barnett Formula will be “reviewed” if there is a No vote in 2014, revealing the Tories’ willingness to bring in even more savage cuts to Scotland’s budget.






17 February 2013: Scottish Conservatives accused of “hypocritical posturing” for opposing wind farms when three of their MSPs stand to profit from them

It has been revealed, in the latest register of MSPs’ interests, that Jamie McGrigor, the party’s’ environment spokesman, Alex Fergusson, the Scottish Parliament’s former presiding officer, and John Scott, the current deputy presiding officer, are to receive a substantial annual income from wind turbines on or near their land.

But a report launched by the party leader, Ruth Davidson MSP, demanded a big cut in the number of wind farms planned on land, and for wind subsidies to be slashed by 50 per cent. It also called for councils to be given the power to impose a one-year moratorium on any new wind turbines. Political opponents and environmental groups say that the 3 amigo’s provision of land for wind farms conflicts with the new anti-wind farm policy adopted by the Scottish Conservatives.

Pointing out that renewable energy offered Scotland massive investment and thousands of jobs Chic Brodie, a member of the parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee said:

“This hypocrisy from the Tories is a classic case of do as I say, not as I do. They might be vocal opponents of Scotland’s renewable energy potential in public these days, but they remain perfectly content to personally profit from wind turbines.”
* McGrigor, the Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, received an initial fee of £5,000 and is now expecting to be paid between £5,000 and £6,000 a year for 20 wind turbines planned by the German power company, RWE, on his Ardchonnel sheep farm, near Dalmally in Argyll.

* Fergusson, the Conservative MSP for Galloway and West Dumfries, gets between £40,000 and £45,000 a year from 52 wind turbines run by Scottish and Southern Energy on his land at Hadyard Hill in South Ayrshire.

* Scott, the Conservative MSP for Ayr, has a deal which enables Spanish-owned Scottish Power to use his farm near Girvan to access its 60-turbine Arecleoch wind farm in South Ayrshire. The deal is understood to be worth more than £5,000 a year.
Dr Richard Dixon, the director of Friends of the Earth Scotland said:

“The Tories are clearly divided over wind farms. They should give up the narrow anti-wind agenda being promoted by a few prominent party members. There is little to be gained by drawing up policy statements in secret and to the exclusion of key stakeholders. Most people in Scotland think wind farms are a good thing. Anyone who believes that anti-wind policies will significantly boost the Tories’ electoral fortunes is making a big mistake.”

Niall Stuart, the chief executive of the industry body, Scottish Renewables, said:

“I hope those conservative MSPs who have first-hand knowledge of the sector can perhaps explain to their colleagues that onshore wind is the cheapest and one of the most effective sources of renewable electricity we have.”

Murdo Fraser, Conservative MSP and Chairman of the the parliament’s energy committee said:

“the committee will be debating the Scottish government’s targets to boost renewable energy but it is my conclusion the targets are “achievable”.

A party spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives insisted that there was “no problem” with wind farms as long as they were appropriately sited with the agreement of local communities.






1 March 2013: Scotland’s gay Tory leader Ruth Davidson splits from her partner

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has split up with her partner of five years Saskia Halcrow. Like many couples with hectic working lives, they simply grew apart. Ruth is very sad about the split but it is a mutual thing and both want to remain good friends. Although the majority of Scottish MPs support marriage equality, the Scottish Conservative Party remains largely opposed, with only Ms Davidson and her Deputy Jackson Carlaw registering their support in a June 2012 survey.







8 April 2013: Thatcher’s death, Ruth Davidson pays tribute to ‘a true revolutionary’

She said: “Baroness Thatcher was a true Conservative revolutionary, challenging out-dated institutions, confronting vested interests and transforming Britain into a property-owning democracy. She empowered millions of people in a way that was previously unimaginable and the positive impact of her legacy with be felt by thousands of families for decades to come. She proved to women everywhere there was nothing they couldn’t accomplish. She will go down in history as one of the truly great Prime Ministers.” But she didn’t live through the brutality of the Thatcher years.




2 June 2013: Ruth Davidson Causes Furore within the Tory party with her new policies of More devolved Powers For Scotland

Davidson’s remarks come after a stormy two weeks within the Scottish Conservatives. Senior party figures criticised her leadership following her decision to support a policy of handing more powers to the Scottish Parliament, and raised questions over her parliamentary style. Lord Forsyth, the former Scottish Secretary, described the u-turn on more powers as a “suicide mission”. However, Davidson says today that Prime Minister David Cameron, is “on board” with her plans to embed greater devolution in the party’s next election manifesto – assuming voters do not back independence first.







5 June 2013: It all started with a “line in the sand”. Amazing what an election loss brings with it.

Ruth Davidson’s “Line in the Sand” statement that got her the post Of leader gets washed away in favour of the losing candidate’s previously rejected proposals for change. “How’s that for stealing.f a rivals thunder?” She had chosen the term to define her position on the constitution, vowing that the Scottish Conservatives under her premiership would take devolution no further than the tranche of powers set to be handed to Holyrood under the Scotland Act 2012.

To the Tory grandees’ ear, it meant more than a simple cliché: it suggested stability against the stormy root-and-branch reconstruction that her principal challenger for the party leadership, Murdo Fraser, advocated. If only it had all been so simple, or at least the former BBC journalist had opted for less unequivocal language.

Eighteen months after her election, Davidson found herself in an awkward position, cast by then supporters, such as Lord Forsyth, as guilty of an “ while those who once opposed her bid line up, in public at least, to commend a courageous change of tack. In private, behind the veil of anonymity that daily newspapers have provided in the last few weeks, their words would appear to be less praiseworthy.

Eighteen months after her election, Davidson found herself in an awkward position. Discussion of the detail that enhanced devolution would entail was largely crowded out by discussion of whether enhanced devolution should happen at all. Lord Forsyth, whose views on greater devolution are hardly secret, warned the proposals represented an “incomprehensible volte face” and that the party was on a “bit of a suicide mission” tinkering with the settlement as it stood.

Murdo Fraser broke his silence: “Certainly the mood music thus far from Ruth, in terms of the two speeches she has made on the issue, have both been extremely positive and I think I tweeted at the time I could have written one of the speeches.

She had made very clear she wants to see a more accountable Scottish Parliament raising the bulk of the money it spends, so I think the direction of travel is encouraging. We’ll need to wait and see what the new proposals are but having set the hare running, we need to make sure that we’re not all disappointed when it comes to rest – that there is something substantial and credible and comprehensive there.

I have high ambitions for it and I think many people in the party who share my outlook also have. Our problem as a party is we’ve always been the back markers when it comes to constitutional debate. We’ve always been the ones who have been the most slow to move and then only move very reluctantly.

This is an opportunity for us for once not to be the back marker and to be seen to be taking a leading line. And we should be because it should be entirely in tune with basic Conservative principles that we support greater financial accountability and a more responsible environment for politicians to operate in.”









7 June 2013: Cameron launches defence of Scottish Conservative leader

Davidson has faced one of the most challenging periods of her leadership heading into conference with some of her own MSPs and party grandees who originally backed her leadership bid questioning why she has abandoned her previous opposition to more powers.

At the Scottish Conservative party conference in Stirling, in her defence, David Cameron told delegates that she was the “ideal leader” to modernise the party and expand its appeal and he backed her u-turn on further devolution for Scotland. He said:  “We will only succeed if we are in touch and in tune with modern Scotland. And in Ruth you’ve got the ideal leader.

Ruth wasn’t born into the Conservative Party – she chose it. And she understands that to win we’ve got to be a party for all of Scotland. A party focused on securing Scotland’s place within a strong UK but not afraid to look at how devolution can be improved.”


1 June 2014: Ruth Davidson today announced a historic shift in Scottish Conservatives’ attitude towards devolution by signalling that her party will re-draw the “line in the sand” and embrace a stronger Holyrood with radical new tax-raising powers.

The Scottish Tory leader says the Conservatives will advocate a “new system” that will bring real accountability to Scotland’s politics, paving the way for the transfer of all income tax raising powers to the Scottish Parliament. Tomorrow the Strathclyde commission is expected to produce a report recommending that Holyrood is given power over all income tax – a measure that would make the Scottish Parliament responsible for raising 40 per cent of the revenue it spends.

That would enable MSPs to set higher or lower rates than the rest of the UK and offers the possibility of the Scottish Tories campaigning on a tax-cutting agenda in the 2016 Scottish elections. The new powers would be offset by a cut in the block grant which Holyrood receives from the Treasury.

The move will be in line with Davidson’s growing belief that Holyrood must become more accountable for the cash that MSPs spend. “Every year, billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is allocated by MSPs to spend in Scotland, Yet MSPs are responsible for raising only a fraction of that money. Holyrood is, in effect, a giant spending machine, ministers and MSPs the signatories of a vast cheque book.”

The new approach contrasts radically with past Tory policy. In 1997 the Conservatives opposed devolution and the formation of a Scottish Parliament. It also marks a departure for Davidson herself, who campaigned for the Scottish Conservative leadership on the basis that a constitutional “line in the sand” should be drawn.

It is understood that Lord Strathclyde will also look at devolution of some welfare payments. Holyrood being given greater over housing benefit is one example, which would allow a Scottish Parliament to abolish the bedroom tax – the UK Government – imposed cut in the spare room subsidy which has been opposed by the SNP.

The document will also recommend that important aspects of the UK’s uniform tax system – such as VAT and Corporation Tax – will remain under the control of Westminster. Although Strathclyde has been chairing the commission, Davidson has taken a great personal interest in the work and has played the leading role in selling its recommendations to Downing Street.

In recent weeks she has met David Cameron and George Osborne to discuss the findings, which are likely to be included in the Tories’ 2015 General Election manifesto.

Last night Derek MacKay, the SNP’s Business Convener, responded saying that only a Yes vote would deliver the powers Scotland requires. “The only way to get the powers Scotland needs to build a fairer society and stronger economy is to vote Yes in September,” MacKay said. “The Tories are more interested in outdoing Labour than in delivering jobs or opportunities for Scotland.”

He added: “Whenever the Tories have been in a position to prove their commitment to more powers they have been found wanting. People in Scotland won’t be fooled by the Tories’empty promises.” But 55% of those who voted in the referendum believed Davidson, Cameron and other parties signed to the Better Together campaign.



Ruth Davidson: The public deserve to be told the facts. Picture: PA







10 October 2014: Davidson interviewed by police over vote claims

Ruth Davidson has been interviewed by police in her Parliament offices in connection with allegations pro-Union campaigners illegally counted postal votes in the weeks before independence referendum ballots closed.

She was spoken to yesterday, six days after Police Scotland was instructed to carry out an investigation into alleged electoral secrecy law breaches. Party sources say the interview was conducted on the basis of her being a witness and that Ms Davidson is not the subject of the investigation.

The formal police probe was sparked after the Scottish Tory leader said on a televised discussion that postal vote “tallies” were being taken in the weeks before the referendum ballot closed at 10pm on September 18.

Police made initial telephone contact with Ms Davidson last Friday and party sources said at the time, and continue to say, that there is “no suggestion she was accused of doing anything wrong”.

Central to the probe is televised coverage of the referendum results, 45 minutes after the polls closed, in which Ms Davidson said that the No camp had been incredibly encouraged by the results of a “sample opening” of the postal ballot that she said had taken place around the country during the few weeks prior to the poll.

Complaints over her account of the postal vote “tallies” raised concerns the information may have helped inform the No campaign’s decision to issue the vow of more powers for Scotland from the three main party leaders.

A Scottish Conservative Party spokesman said yesterday: “Ruth had arranged to speak to police today in her office to help them with complaints they had received.”

In the footage forwarded to police, Ms Davidson said: “Postal votes are going to be enormously important in this campaign; about 18 per cent of the vote is going to come out of postal ballots and we have had people at every sample opening, around the country, over the last few weeks, while that’s been coming in.

And we’ve been incredibly encouraged by the results.” Later, referring to postal ballots, she said: “Different local authorities have had openings around the country”, before adding: “There’s people in the room that have been sampling those ballot boxes that have been opened and have been taking tallies and the reports have been very positive for us.”

Political agents and campaigners are allowed to oversee the postal vote opening sessions, where checks are made to verify the signatures and dates of birth on postal voting statements against computerised records, but it is illegal to attempt to ascertain how a vote has been cast. A Police Scotland spokeswoman said of the latest development: “We never comment on anyone who is spoken to as part of any ongoing investigation.”

This ridiculous statement from Ruth Davidson does a disservice to the seriousness of the issues, and is simply insulting to the members of the McCluskey Panel – including the member nominated by Ms Davidson – as well as to others involved in this process.

If this is the Tory attitude to achieving consensus, it’s very clear why the equivalent process at Westminster is in such a mess.”










1 May 2015: General Election administrators warned to prevent illegal postal vote tallies by political agents after Scottish Referendum row

Electoral administrators and returning officers for the General Election have been reminded that the postal ballot is secret and voting tallies by political agents is illegal.

The guidance has come as a result of the experience during the Scottish Referendum when it was alleged pro-union campaigners breached electoral law by examining postal ballot papers to gauge how well the Better Together campaign was doing before the polls had closed on September 18.

At the end of September 2014 the Crown Office instructed Police Scotland to launch a formal investigation into the electoral fraud allegationso. Police say they are continuing to investigate but will not comment on what progress they have made during that time. Some complainers have raised further concern that no police action was taken in advance of the General Election.

It was revealed that police twice spoke to Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson as a potential witness over comments she made that postal vote “tallies” were being taken in the weeks before the referendum ballot closed at 10pm on September 18 last year.

On televised coverage of the referendum results, 45 minutes after the polls closed,  Ms Davidson said that the No camp had been “incredibly encouraged” by the results of a “sample opening” of the postal ballot that she said had taken place around the country over the few weeks prior to the poll.

Complaints over her account of the postal vote “tallies” raised concerns the information may have helped inform the No campaign’s decision to issue the “vow” of more powers for Scotland from the three main party leaders.

It has emerged that Mary Pitcaithly, covener of the Electoral Management Board for Scotland has recommended to returning officers in Scotland that they take particular care in making sure the law is complied with and that the secrecy requirement is explained to all those attending postal vote openings.

The moves which the EMB said “draw on lessons learned from the Scottish independence referendum” include asking that ballot papers are handled face down so that no mark on the front of the paper is able to be seen by observers. And EMB spokeswoman said the recommendations have been “well received”.

The postal vote, makes up between 20% and 50% of the counted votes. Around 800,000 people, or 19% of participants, voted by post in the referendum. Openings to validate signatures and dates of birth were done before the official count and in Edinburgh the process was conducted at the EICC on Thursday. Those administering the process were told that while it was open to polling observers for “monitoring” purposes it was not for sampling.

A briefing for the 2015 General Election, to prospective candidates and their agents in Edinburgh constituencies stated  “Must be seen to be fair, no question of interference.”

It added: “Confidence in the system depends on integrity of campaigners: Code of Conduct! Experience of 2014!” The Electoral Commission has also advised all electoral administrators that the law prohibits tallying at postal vote opening sessions.

The advice states that under the Section 66(4)(d) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 it is “not permissible to attempt to ascertain the candidate for whom any vote is given in any particular ballot paper or communicate that information. “This provision therefore prevents  those present at the postal vote opening from attempting to ascertain the way individual ballot papers are marked,”

The advice says. “Anyone attending a postal vote opening must not attempt to look at identifying marks or numbers on ballot papers, disclose how any particular ballot paper has been marked or pass on any such information gained from the session,”

The Electoral Commission advice says. “Anyone found guilty of breaching these requirements can face a fine of up to £5,000, or may be imprisoned for up to six months in England and Wales, or up to a year in Scotland. “Our guidance to both candidates and electoral administrators clearly states the law and that the tallying of postal votes is prohibited.

Should anyone attempt to tally postal votes at the General Election, it would be for the relevant police force to investigate.”



Davidson insists the reforms she has put in place since taking over from Annabel Goldie a year ago now need time to bed in. Picture: Neil Hanna







7 May 2015: Ruth Davidson Cries wolf reporting (at 0512 hours!!!) that “Burly blokes’ were turning rival voters away from Annan polling station

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson took to Twitter to make the claims of ‘disturbing reports’. Police are investigating claims. ‘burly blokes’ have been turning rival voters away from a polling station, if they say they don’t support a certain party. The incident is said to have happened in the Scottish town of Annan, where by chance the only Tory MP David Mundell is hoping for a return to Westminster

It is believed a call was placed to Ruth Davidson’s office and they immediately (without gathering the facts of the situation) telephoned the electoral registration officer at the local Council and the Police.

Ms Davidson’s claims were later slapped down by Dumfries and Galloway Council, which is running the count. The council tweeted to her: “No burly blokes outside Annan. Officers and police visiting frequently. No complaints re canvassers.” end of.


CEZ9hfWWoAA2MsVNewington Sports and Leisure Polling Station in Annan







17 June 2012: Ruth Davidson fined by Electorial Commission for failing to Declare Donations Timeously

The commission last week issued a report stating that Davidson twice broke electoral law by missing the 30-day deadline for registering two donations totalling £14,500 in October. The Glasgow list MSP was fined £400, with each offence punished by a fixed penalty of £200. Davidson paid the fine on May 11.

The fine is embarrassing for Davidson, as it raises questions about her experience and competence. A senior Tory source said: “This is just not what the party needs. It’s the latest in a long set of embarrassing moments for Ruth.”

Davidson, 33, a former BBC broadcaster, became Tory leader in November following a bitter and divisive contest triggered by the resignation of Annabel Goldie in May 2011. She was made leader just six months after becoming an MSP for the first time. Despite being the favourite of the Tory hierarchy, she failed to secure the support of association chairs in her Glasgow seat, and her campaign was dogged by a series of self-inflicted errors. In the closing days of the campaign, the three other Tory MSPs vying for the job accused her of receiving an unfair advantage through covert backing from Conservative HQ.

After a fleeting honeymoon period, Davidson has been the subject of mounting criticism from the Scottish Tories, with a surge in complaints after the party lost 20% of its vote and its councillors in May’s local elections. Last week, Alex Salmond taunted her at First Minister’s Questions by reading out critical comments from Toryhoose – a Scottish Conservatives website – which had previously acted as Davidson’s cheerleader, about the party’s poor showing in the election. The latest setback concerns money given to Davidson’s leadership campaign last autumn.

Electoral Commission records show Davidson accepted £29,500 in four lots in her capacity as a “regulated donee”, the term used when an individual MP or MSP accepts a donation. Two donations were accepted on September 19 – a sum of £2000 from James Stewart, director of a private equity company who has also in the past given money to Scottish Tory MP David Mundell; and £12,500 from Glasgow-based property company Alchemist Estates Limited, owned by Conservative donor Brian Gillies. By law, these should have been declared to the Commission by October 18, but Davidson failed to register them until November 21, when she also declared a further £10,000 from Stewart and £5000 from London-based donor Carolyn Ward.

In its enforcement report, the Commission said it had fined Davidson for “failure to deliver two donation reports within 30 days of acceptance of donations”. Davidson’s main rival for the Tory leadership, Murdo Fraser, reported all of his donations on time. SNP deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon: “This is a humiliation for Ruth Davidson and another blow for her flagging leadership.” A Labour spokesman said: “These rules are in place for good reason to ensure fairness and transparency in elections and it is appropriate this action is taken against Ruth Davidson.









Time To Dispel The Myth – There Is No Anti-Independence Consensus Within the Tory Party in Scotland – Rooth The Mooth Davidson And Her Acolytes Are Pushing Her Agenda




10418989_10205221312640529_9183507766757492921_n-300x281Screen-shot-2015-04-28-at-18.03.28Andy Maciver



Federalism or Independence – Andy Maciver is a former Scottish Conservative Head of Communications.

The 2015 General Election campaign propelled David Cameron back into Downing Street pulling England towards the Tories and pushing even more of Scotland into the welcoming arms of the SNP, both at the expense of Labour.

However, it was poisonous for the Union, and poisonous for the Scottish Conservative Party.

And the exasperating irony is that the Prime Minister and advisors hold the antidote in the palm of their hands. Federalism.

Federalism is the recovery formula for both country and party. It can equalise and heal the British state, which remains one of the developed world’s most centralised.

And it can free the Conservative movements in the north of England and Scotland to make the case for workers’ conservatism without the intoxicating influence of London.

There is no shame in this. There is no shame in letting go. Decentralisation leads to cohesion.

British devolution is a recipe for conflict and chaos. It is not working; it is never going to work.

There is increasing realisation that the only two outcomes are independence  (for Scotland, at least) or federalism.

The time has now come for Conservatives to do the right thing. Stand up. Face up. Speak up and Act in support of Federalism:  (conservativehome)






Conservatives For Independence – Comments Submitted By Tory Party Supporters

By any definition, Scotland has already left the Union. Its politics and its national sense of identity make it at best a semi-detached reluctant appendage and at worst a major problem for the English.

The UK must federalise or England must accept the inevitable and make the positive decision to end the Union for itself.

The map is clear for conservatives.  Scotland is ‘yellow’ and England is overwhelmingly ‘blue’ and there is no electoral advantage whatsoever in pretending otherwise.

Nor is there any moral purpose in deploying all the arguments used by the old empire loyalists in the early 20th Century who genuinely believed that we would be ‘better together’ under some form of Imperial Parliament. They were wrong then and ‘Unionists’ are wrong today.

There is therefore only one option. Independence for both Scotland and England.

We would have to come to terms with the loss of ‘our’ highlands, golden eagles, loch Ness monsters and golf courses and they would have to come to terms with becoming a bit like Norway or Denmark.

Both ultimately would benefit. Nobody, after all, would seriously suggest that we should seek a political union with other parts of what were once ‘Britain’ such as Canada, Australia or Ireland.






So we’re a family if England love bombs Scotland to stay but we’re not a family if a British party endeavours to run a British election campaign!

If the latter constitutes good cause for the Scottish Conservatives to distance themselves from the English ones because the “British” brand is tarnished,  then it is even more reason for a full and proper separation of Scotland and England.

The Union is not sacrosanct. It can survive only by the genuine willingness of all participants to make it work. That willingness is singularly absent north of the border.



Mitch Blunt



It’s often forgotten that until relatively recently the Scots were seen, and saw themselves, as being more ‘conservative’ than the English.

It’s also often forgotten that there are many Scot Nats who are in reality Tartan Tories who, like their left wing brethren, have felt utterly alienated from the Westminster Politicos – from all parties – who have treated the Scots with disdain.

The SNP vote is a political revolution against the SPAD-u-likes in London. The Scot Nats have grown up and matured into a seriously heavyweight political force.





I don’t think the ship of Great Britain has sailed but I do think that radical federalist change is needed to energise politics in England and Wales outside London.

It was on this basis that I supported devolution to Scotland and Wales, expecting comparable assemblies to follow in England, but the north-east referendum was ill-defined in its offer, had not looked at the detail of boundaries and loyalties, and seemed transparently a management exercise.





I am not impressed by Davidson she has drawn more lines in the sand than a toddler on the beach with a stick.

The other problem is that every time things might change up pops Lord Forsyth and a couple of other unelected pals and show why they lost in 1997.







The problem with federalism has always been, and remains, a question of how you provide balance between the component parts of the federation.

There would be too many tensions, Trident & the EU would continue to be points of political conflict. I doubt it is possible, or would work for long.

A confederation, on the other hand, has a better chance of working, because it immediately opens up the possibility of working together as sovereign, independent states.

But giving up sovereignty in the interests of a long-term solution to the problems of the union is likely to be a step too far for Westminster.






It is worth remembering that Scotland and England existed as sovereign nations for a much greater period of time than they have been in a Union.

Sure, the relationship was far from easy – but that was then, and our 300 years of learning how to work together will serve us well.





Smoke and Mirrors – Westminster Draws a Constitutional Line in the Sand – Retribution Visited Upon Scotland For Having the Nerve to Try to Break Up What Is Laughably Called the Most Successful Union of Nations in History.





Smoke and Mirrors – Westminster Draws a Constitutional Line in the Sand – Retribution Visited Upon Scotland For Having the Nerve to Try to Break Up What Is Laughably Called the Most Successful Union of Nations in History.

Westminster Unionist partys’ offer of devolution of limited fiscal powers to Scotland is driven by the dogma of doing just the minimum to keep Scotland in the UK, whilst reserving power to Westminster.

Preservation of the Ruth Davidson named “pocket money parliament” will be assured if Scots politicians allow themselves to be conned into accepting the proposals presently on offer. What we have is the illusion of a transfer of power with, pinned to it, a not so subtle £6billion reduction in the “Barnett Formula” financial allocation.

This will require the Scottish Government to find new sources of finance, (without borrowing money from the markets) so that existing benefits can be retained and new measures introduced providing assistance to those in need, (eg. removal of the bedroom tax). Income Tax rises would be a consequence, even for the Standard Rate taxpayer since Higher Rate taxpayers in Scotland are insufficient in number to bear the cost of any new financial requirements.



devolution problem3article-0-0F64AB6C00000578-447_468x286



Scotland’s government will only be totally responsible when they have access and authority over all of Scotland’s resources and financial income, but Westminster will never willingly allow that since with absolute power retained by Westminster, solving problems in the Scottish economy through increased income tax and other personal taxes will only serve to make the Holyrood parliament very unpopular. This proven tactic of delegating responsibility without authority suits the Westminster agenda.

The “Unionist” partys’ are determined to impose their will, (no matter how long it takes) and Scotland will be asset stripped by stealth so that it becomes ever poorer and increasingly dependent on Westminster’s whims reducing the confidence of Scot’s in their ability to build, without Westminster’s benign governance, a better future for Scot’s as an equal partner within the United Kingdom.





Witnessed by their actions, in the months following the referendum it is clear Westminster remains to be in the business of building failure into any devolved powers instead of doing the right thing, identifying what has the best chance of succeeding and transferring relevant powers and authority to Scotland.

If Westminster is serious about creating a federal state then the truly radical approach would require a team of independent advisors to go away, investigate the construction and governance of successful multi-state countries eg Germany, then report back.



Unresolved Aspects:

* The Barnett Formula. Should be retained until reductions are agreed between Westminster and devolved governments.
* Vat collection. Without the ability to vary rates needs to be addressed.
* The Scottish government should be able to raise and lower income tax.
* Multinationals operating out of Scotland, (Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, RBS, BOS, etc) should be liable for tax collection on their sales.
* Authority should be devolved allowing Scotland to gather taxes from Capital trusts etc. who may be practicing tax avoidance by registering in the Bahamas, Channel Isles etc.
* Corporation Tax and Air Passenger Duty, including variance authority should be devolved
* Oil, fuel taxation, excise duty (whisky) should be devolved.



Full Fiscal Autonomy

Scottish fiscal autonomy, stopping short of full political independence, forming part of a federal or confederal constitution for the United Kingdom is the way forward. The Scottish Government would be responsible for all financial matters in Scotland, making payments to the UK government covering Scotland’s share of the cost of providing agreed specified UK-wide services, such as, defence and the conduct of foreign relations.



devo-venn-english-parl-deskimagesjhy  The Green Party view.


Tory Prime Minister Heath – It’s Scotland’s Oil – So The Money Is Theirs – Westminster – We Can’t Allow That They Will Seek Independence





1972. The discovery of oil in the North Sea revealed Prime Minister, Edward Heath concerns about Nationalist opinion and the poor state of the Scottish economy. Alert to opportunities for change he initiated a policy review.

The Senior, Downing Street civil servant, Robert Armstrong wrote to members of the Cabinet;

“As you know, the point has recently been put to the Prime Minister that the benefits of oil production brought ashore in Scotland should accrue, and be seen to accrue, to the Scottish economy. The Prime Minister sees considerable force in the arguments believing it would be difficult to stress too highly the psychological gains which would come from the revival of the Scottish economy being seen to be something from which Scotland was achieving from its own resources, not just by the grace and favour of the Government at Westminster or of English industry.” He added: “The Prime Minister understands that novel arrangements may be required to achieve this result.”




Heath’s stance created alarm at Westminster and led to many “on and off the record” meetings between various factions within and outwith government and the civil service resulting in an outpouring of confidential minutes and memos. Primary contributors being:  the Scottish Office, the Exchequer, and the then Department of Trade and Industry led by the Scottish Secretary of State, Gordon Campbell, (later Baron Campbell of Croy) and the, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Anthony Barber.


by Walter Bird, bromide print, October 1959

Baron Campbell of Croy


In stating their opposition to Heath’s proposals the Westminster establishment voiced concerns about taking oil revenues away from the Treasury. A senior official at the Scottish Office, in London said in a memo to Downing Street on 25 January:

“The oil discoveries have raised speculation in Scotland on the financial aspects and will continue to do so. But, the official added: “the Secretary of State for Scotland, Mr Campbell would not wish to see direct payments from the oil revenues, as these would be too late to be really useful and would raise a new principal causing difficulties if applied in other contexts. On the general question of the financial relationship of central Government with Scotland, the present has been evolved over many years and the types and amounts of grants, for example to local authorities for housing and education…follow formulae which recognise special circumstances and needs where they exist. “Mr Campbell considers that to dismantle this system, besides being a Herculean task, would resurrect innumerable issues now mercifully dormant.” (Independence)


baron anthony barber Baron Anthony Barber


In a memo on 7 February, 1972, Treasury officials said they too were looking at “aspects” of the Prime Minister’s request.  The Treasury argued more strongly and said “…Scotland takes a markedly bigger share of public spending than she contributes to public revenue. We are looking at the latest expenditure figures to confirm that they will tell the same story.”

Those in opposition to Heath’s proposals presented a uniform front and unanimously suggested that aims could be better met by investment in infrastructure and the fostering of fabrication yards and supply companies. Treasury officials later said there was “no question of hypothecation” of oil revenue to finance Scottish expenditure.

Their strident opposition to the suggestion gathered support, and submission of an alternative proposal, transferring all revenue gathered from the oil bonanza to the treasury in Westminster. The consensus was that, “any change in the financial relationship between Westminster and Scotland would resurrect innumerable issues, (A veiled reference to Scottish Independence) now mercifully dormant”. Edward Heath, blindsided, and out-voted in cabinet accepted their proposal. Scotland was then systematically ripped off for the next 43 year’s.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) argues, (correctly) that Scotland has been and continues to be cheated out of its oil revenue by Westminster.






17 April 2002: Oil firms attack ‘give and take’ budget
North Sea platformThe North Sea Oil tax structure deters development.

The North Sea oil industry has reacted with alarm to Chancellor Gordon Brown’s decision to slap a 10% surcharge on profits.

This supplement, which will take some £500m out of the North Sea industry in a full year, will be a serious threat to jobs

Alex Salmond, SNP

In his budget speech earlier on Wednesday, Mr Brown said he would abolish the “royalty” payment on North Sea Oil.He also announced plans to improve capital allowances for oil companies.

But he spoiled the party for oil producers by slapping an extra 10% tax on UK oil production, taking it to 40% to “raise revenue”.

The net result of these changes to the complex North Sea tax regime is likely be a greater share of oil income going to the government.





‘Investor confidence’

The UK Offshore Operators Association, which represents more than 30 offshore organisations and companies, said the Budget was one of “give and take”. A spokeswoman said: “While the UK offshore industry welcomes the chancellor’s provision to increase capital allowances in first-year investment in the North Sea, it is disappointed at the decision to introduce a 10% supplementary charge on profits. “We believe this could undermine investor confidence in the long-term viability of the UK Continental Shelf.”





The industry has a labyrinthine tax structure, with different developments supplying varying levels of revenue to the chancellor depending on their age. Some fields going back 20 years or more can pay as much as 70% in various levies, while modern developments are taxed at a lower rate. UKOOA said it was too early to ascertain the impact of proposals to possibly scrap royalties on North Sea oil which are levied on older fields. The spokesman said: “His proposal to consult the industry on the abolition of royalties applies to mature fields developed before the end of March 1982. “It will take some time to analyse the impact of the full tax package on the industry.”





Urgent consultation

Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party at Westminster, said the tax supplement on profits was a threat to offshore jobs in Scotland, which was at the centre of the UK’s industry. “This supplement, which will take some £500m out of the North Sea industry in a full year, will be a serious threat to jobs. “Because Scotland is deprived of the North Sea tax, Gordon Brown will get the revenue while Scotland will lose the jobs.” Mr Salmond said he would be consulting urgently with the industry to assess the impact of the new tax.




27 September 2002: SNP Argue for full independence

Andrew Wilson told the party’s conference in Inverness that Labour had mismanaged the economy and the time has come for the Nationalists to assume responsibility. Mr Wilson said: “There is an economic imperative for independence like never before.” Accusing Labour of a lack of ambition, he said: “Labour have had their chance, now it’s Scotland’s turn. Let’s show some ambition for our country.”  He also said that “Scotland would not need to rely on oil revenues to ensure economic success after independence.”


_38280832_wilsonposter300Andrew Wilson


Alex NeilAlex Neil



Those comments came after fellow MSP Alex Neil received a warm reception when asserting that it was time Scotland received all the cash raised from North Sea oil. Mr Neil said there was enough oil under the North Sea to last for 30 years and raise £150bn.

He told activists that when oil was first discovered he had argued for all revenues raised to be evenly split between Scotland and the rest of the UK.  Amid loud applause, he said: “Thirty years later I’m still arguing for an oil sharing policy, but it’s an oil sharing policy with a difference.  “They’ve had their share, now it’s time that we got our share.”




‘No pot of gold’

However, Mr Wilson said Scotland could prosper without relying on oil revenues. He said: “The reality is that we can do it without natural resources. We’re not going to win independence by promising it’s a free lunch. “There is no pot of gold – black or otherwise – at the foot of the independence rainbow.” Mr Wilson told the conference that Scotland needed the powers of an independent nation to realise its potential.

Party treasurer Jim Mather said: “We are stuck with perennially low growth that in turn creates a wealth gap and a health gap with the rest of the UK. “The solution is clear, we must tackle Scotland’s core problem, Scotland’s lack of full financial Independence.”



Scotland_marine-borderTheft of Scotland borders




27 September 2002: Nationalists ‘ready to govern’
The Scottish National Party has evolved from a party of protest to one capable of taking power, John Swinney has told activists.The party leader spoke of the prospects of a Nationalist-led government in a keynote address to the SNP conference in Inverness.

Mr Swinney said he accepts that the SNP has attracted protest votes in the past, but he told delegates that his party was now ready to govern.

Our new approach will be to present independence, not as a land of milk and honey but as a land of opportunity

John Swinney, SNP leader

The SNP leader promised a reformed Scotland and issued warnings about life under Labour.He said that the SNP would ensure shorter hospital waits, safer streets and better schools if the party gains power at May’s Scottish parliamentary elections.

Boosting business was another key theme.

Mr Swinney promised to end the use of private cash in the public sector but warned that there was no “pot of gold” with which to ensure a smooth transition to independence.

The SNP leader said that Scotland needs the powers of independence to make a radical difference and “release its potential” – the party’s new slogan.

He directed his fire at the Scottish Parliament, telling delegates that criticism over his move for a debate on Iraq showed the limitations of the legislature.

John Swinney

John Swinney: “Release our potential”

He said: “They try to shout me down when I stray from the devolved agenda.”Well I have a message for the unionists. Scotland is not a devolved administration, Scotland is a nation and a nation’s voice must be heard.”

At the centre of Mr Swinney’s 40-minute speech was a promise that independence would create a passport out of poverty for many Scots.

Mr Swinney warned that the SNP would not use Holyrood’s tax-varying powers to raise revenue if it won power but added that it would use a Labour “slush fund” of £370m held in reserve by his opponents.


Scotland’s Future
Mr Swinney said: “Our new approach will be to present independence, not as a land of milk and honey but as a land of opportunity. An opportunity to compete. An opportunity to put our people back in control. An opportunity to release our potential, our potential as a talented and innovative people.  An opportunity to wave goodbye forever to those who stamp down on Scotland’s ambitions. That’s the opportunity of independence”.







Tax Havens And The Tory’s – Will they Honour Their manifesto? – Give Up Their Secret Nest Eggs To The Taxman – Pigs Will Fly First




The overall amount of finance held in tax havens, Panama, Caymans, Jersey etc. attributable to members of the Tory Party employed as MP’s, Baron’s etc in the House of Lords, Venture Capitalists, Hedge Funds, Charitable Funds, Corporations, other Organisations, other Financial supporters in or around the City of London, their wives, other family members, their heirs and successors is around £50trillion. (A guestimante but who can say otherwise with confidence)

A one off 20% levy on the profits deriving from these funds would be sufficient to clear the UK National Debt and provide a working surplus allowing completion of much needed capital developments. Austerity could be discontinued bringing much relief to the hard pressed British public

The major difficulty is the “ merchants of the City of London“, the square mile of the worlds financial intrigue. They will not give up their control of the British Protectorate Tax Havens, preferring to launder through them loads of funny money around the world. All to the detriment of the British public.

Another difficulty is identifying just who has what tucked away where. The “Registration of Financial Interests” in Westminster specifically excludes the need for politicians to reveal any financial information pertaining to such holdings. Paragraph 58 states:

“Holdings in a collective investment vehicle (including unit trusts, investment companies with variable capital (ICVCs) and investment trusts) are not generally registrable.”


25 May 2015: Tory Election Win Good for Offshore Umbrella Companies

The return of a Tory government was much welcomed by the Tory party and their supporters in the City of London who were at risk of losing some of the financial perks extended to them since 1979, at the time Thatcher removed Capital restrictions from financial institutions. The site listed below provides explanatory information about the sharp practices being foisted upon the British electorate.





If the Tory government is serious in it’s manifesto pledge to close down Tax Haven loopholes they should make a start by introducing measures requiring MP’s, Lord’ etc. to declare all relevant information to the treasury and in the “Register of member’s Interest’s”.

Adding to the debate is information pertaining to David Cameron whose fortunes are mirrored throughout the “British Upper Class”

Continuing failure by (Westminster and the City of London Financiers) to address the multitude of financial “scams” will surely bring about calls for Scotland to break away from a system of governance that punishes rather than protects the electorate.
April 2015: The Code of Conduct and Guide to Rules –
April 2015: The Register of Members’ Financial Interests –


30 Aug 2013: An explanation, (by use of analogy) addressing the impact of unfettered political doctrine on the UK population



27 April 2012: David Cameron and the offshore connection

Questions about links between Britain’s rulers and the obscure world of offshore finance signal a need for transparency. Last weekend, the Guardian reported that the British prime minister’s father, Ian Cameron, held directorships in companies registered in tax havens. These companies were created soon after then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher relaxed capital controls in 1979. They were the foundation of a fortune estimated at around £10m ($16m) in 2009.

That Cameron comes from a wealthy background hardly qualifies as front-page news. But his family’s links to the offshore sector have not, until now, been widely publicised. In its obituary of Ian Cameron, ( for example, the Telegraph mentioned his work as a stockbroker and described him as an “old school” City man. But it made no reference to his being the chairman of Close International Asset Management (Jersey), and a director of both Blairmore Holdings (Panama City) and Blairmore Asset Management (Geneva).

There is no hint of any offshore connection in David Cameron’s recent entries in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests published by parliament. In the past year he has listed benefits such as “honorary membership for life of the Carlton Club” and “discounted personal training”. He also notes “residential property in London, from which rental income is received”. When he was on the board of Urbium, a company that very successfully promotes the consumption of alcohol, he disclosed the fact. Doubtless he is scrupulous in his observance of the current rules concerning outside interests. (




But it is time to ask if the British prime minister has a beneficial interest in an entity or entities registered offshore. Indeed, it is time to ask if any of our politicians benefit from facilities provided by companies, trusts and other institutions located in tax havens. The main purpose of the Register of Members’ Financial Interests ( is “to provide information of any pecuniary interest or other material benefit which a member receives which might reasonably be thought by others to influence his or her actions, speeches or votes in parliament, or actions taken in the capacity of a member of parliament”.

If an elected politician uses offshore facilities, for the purposes of long-term tax planning, for example, or to hold wealth in trust for his or her heirs, surely this would qualify as a “material benefit”? And isn’t it reasonable to think that such an arrangement could have some bearing on his or her actions “taken in the capacity of a member of parliament”?  After all, states such as Britain have a decisive role in determining the size and scope of offshore. The UK government suddenly removed capital controls in 1979. It could, just as suddenly, reinstate them. It could also change its attitude towards wealth held overseas by UK citizens and residents. Politicians can make tax avoidance more or less easy through changes in legislation.





There is another sense in which offshore assets are not like other forms of property. The  costs of creating investment vehicles and other structures in tax havens ensure that only a tiny minority can afford to take advantage of them: “A change in the interest rate affects savers and borrowers in a clear and obvious way. But politicians can quietly change the rules governing offshore and deliver huge benefits to a handful of very wealthy individuals.”

There are one or two indications that British politicians are aware of offshore. The most recent Register of Members’ Interests notes visits to Liechtenstein by four MPs: Daniel Kawczynski,  Angus Macneil,  Mark Menzies and Andrew Rosindell. One of the four,  Daniel Kawczynski,  also visited Jersey at the invitation of the island’s first minister. Two others, Brian Donohue and Graham Brady, visited Grand Cayman in the same period. (

I hope that MPs who visit tax havens make a point of highlighting their concerns about offshore’s role in facilitating tax avoidance, tax evasion, money laundering and corruption. Doubtless the bankers of Liechtenstein tremble a little at the prospect of another grilling from Andrew Rosindell and the rest of the “British-Liechtenstein All-Party Parliamentary Group”.





But presumably there is more to the relationship between offshore and the British political class than occasional parliamentary visits. After all, a lot of politicians used to work in banking and associated trades. Many more look forward to doing so later in their careers. Only full disclosure can dispel the growing sense that politicians have become detached from the country they are supposed to serve, and are loyal instead to the imperial empire of offshore finance.

The Register of Members’ Financial Interests “is not intended to be an indicator of a member’s personal wealth”. Perhaps that’s reasonable, although it is worth noting that the salary of £65,738  puts MPs in the top five per cent of UK wage earners; by most people’s standards, all MPs are rich. But the use of offshore resources to minimise tax is different in kind from the mere fact of wealth. It is a benefit that depends on very particular policies. It is a fact that the British government is “committed to a G20 plan to put an end to banking secrecy, yet we have no idea if our leaders have a stake in keeping effective regulation at bay. Any register of financial interests must include information about any interest at all politicians have in tax havens. The current situation manages to be both sinister and farcical. We would be happy to help parliament draft sensible guidelines”.

Critics of the government are right. Arguments can be made in favour of the current arrangements. But if those defending the status quo derive material benefits from it, then these benefits cannot remain effectively secret. Without transparency there can be no accountability, as the register itself acknowledges. Only full disclosure can dispel the growing sense that politicians have become detached from the country they are supposed to serve, and are loyal instead to the immaterial empire of offshore. If the prime minister and other politicians want to keep one foot in Panama City then that is their business. But it is something the rest of us are entitled to know.



April 18 2012: Osborne wants London to take the lead in off-shore yuan trade

“Britain wants London to become a leading centre for off-shore trading in Chinese renminbi to help boost the economy”, Chancellor George Osborne said. Speaking after HSBC launched the first-ever renminbi(or yuan) denominated bond in London, Osborne said “the city’s pre-eminence in foreign exchange and bond issuance means it is well placed to serve as a hub for Chinese banks that want to do business in the west”. “It is the ambition of the British government to make London a western hub for the sector – with all the benefits that this will bring to our own economy,” Osborne said in a speech.

Osborne’s comments came after HSBC Holdings Plc said it planned to launch a 3-year renminbi (RMB) bond. “This is a significant moment,” Osborne said. “This builds on the progress London has already made toward becoming the western hub for RMB,” he added.




A report by the City of London Corporation published overnight showed that customer and interbank yuan, or renminbi deposits in London total 109 billion yuan. The city is working with major banks to boost London as an off-shore yuan trading centre, building on an initiative by Britain and Hong Kong to co-operate on off-shore yuan trading.

London represents 26 percent of the global offshore spot foreign exchange market in renminbi. London and other financial centres such as Singapore are seeking to capitalise on the rapid growth of the off-shore yuan bond market in Hong Kong since its launch less than two years ago, as investors aim to put their yuan deposits to work by buying high-yielding yuan bonds. Borrowers have included international companies such as  Tesco and McDonalds as well as international banks.





20 April 2012: David Cameron’s family fortune – Blairmore Holdings Inc – the Jersey, Panama and Geneva tax haven connection Offshore venture

At the heart of a stunning 50-acre estate by the banks of the river Deveron in Aberdeenshire sits the granite-clad Victorian mansion Blairmore House, home to four generations of the prime minister’s family. Built in the 1880s by Alex Geddes, a Scotsman who became known as the Chicago grain king, the estate holds decades of David Cameron’s family history. The union of the Geddes and Cameron families was celebrated in the grounds in 1905, and the nearby chapel remembers forebears killed in the first world war. David’s father, Ian Donald Cameron, was born in 1932 at Blairmore House. But soon after that, the old place was sold.

So it was perhaps for sentimental reasons that the offshore fund Ian Cameron helped to establish in the tax haven of Panama shares the name. Blairmore Holdings Inc, just like Blairmore House, is a monument to wealth obtained overseas. The family’s banking history goes back even further, to the 1860s, when Sir Ewen Cameron joined the industry. He later helped the Rothschild banking dynasty sell war bonds during the Russo-Japanese war. While at Panmure Gordon, Ian was a bond specialist too, showing determination to overcome his physical disability – he was born with deformed legs – and make partner at the firm by the age of 30.






David Cameron’s father ran a network of offshore investment funds to help build the family fortune that paid for the prime minister’s inheritance, the Guardian can reveal. Though entirely legal, the funds were set up in tax havens such as Panama City and Geneva, and explicitly boasted of their ability to remain outside UK tax jurisdiction. At the time of his death in late 2010, Ian Cameron left a fortune of £2.74m in his will, from which David Cameron received the sum of £300,000.

Cameron and other cabinet members have recently suggested that they would be willing to disclose their personal tax filings amid growing scrutiny following the budget, but this would only shed light on annual sources of income rather than accumulated wealth or inheritance. Blairmore Holdings, meanwhile, continues to go from strength to strength. According to the company’s own listing with the Financial Times, the value of the fund’s investments has increased by 8.5% in the last three years.



David Cameron father Ian



The structure employed by Cameron senior is now commonplace among modern hedge funds, which argue that offshore status can help attract international investors. UK residents would ordinarily have to pay tax on any profits they repatriated, and there is nothing to suggest the Camerons did not. Nevertheless, the dramatic growth of such offshore financial activity has raised concerns that national tax authorities are struggling to pin down the world’s super-rich.

Ian Cameron took advantage of a new climate of investment after all capital controls were abolished in 1979, making it legal to take any sum of money out of the country without it being taxed or controlled by the UK government. Not long after the change, brought in by Margaret Thatcher after her first month in power, Ian Cameron began setting up and directing investment funds in tax havens around the world. Leaving his full-time role as a City stockbroker, Ian Cameron went on to act as chairman of Close International Asset management, a multimillion-pound investment fund based in Jersey; as a senior director of Blairmore Holdings Inc, registered in Panama City and currently worth £25m; and he was also a shareholder in Blairmore Asset Management based in Geneva.






However, the family will – a public document seen by the Guardian – only details the assets of Ian Cameron’s estate in England and Wales. Offshore investments would only be listed in submissions to HMRC for inheritance tax purposes. It is unclear what those assets – if any – are worth and which family member owns them.




In 2009 the compilers of the Sunday Times Rich List estimated Ian Cameron’s wealth at £10m. He was survived by his wife, Mary Fleur Cameron, who as his spouse would not have had to pay inheritance tax on sums transferred between them. In 2006 Ian’s eldest son, Alexander, became the sole owner of the family’s £2.5m house in Newbury, Berkshire, where David had been brought up. Another family home in Kensington, London, worth £1m, passed to his two daughters in equal share. Cameron’s father was “instrumental” in setting up the Panamanian company, Blairmore Holdings, in 1982, which was exempt from UK tax, when David was a pupil at Eton aged 16. The fund shares its name with the family’s ancestral home in Aberdeenshire, Blairmore House, in which Ian Cameron was born in 1932 but which the family no longer owns.

A lengthy prospectus for Blairmore Holdings written in 2006 and meant to attract high net worth “sophisticated” investors, with at least $100,000 to buy shares, is explicit about how the fund sought to avoid UK tax. At the time more than half of the fund’s 11 directors were UK nationals.






Under Panamanian law the fund was excluded from taxation derived from other parts of the world. “The fund is not liable to taxation on its income or capital gains as long as such income or capital gains are not derived from sources allocated within the territory of the Republic of Panama,” the 2006 prospectus reads. “The Directors intend that the affairs on the Fund should be managed and conducted so that it does not become resident in the United Kingdom for UK taxation purposes. Accordingly … the Fund will not be subject to United Kingdom corporation tax or income tax on its profits,” the prospectus continues.






The investor document also credits Ian Cameron as a founder member of Blairmore Holdings and states that as an adviser he would be paid $20,000 a year – the highest paid director – whatever profits were realised. In fact, the long-term Panamanian investment fund performed above market rate over many years averaging a 116% return from 2002-2007. Today many of the fund’s largest holdings are in blue-chip stocks such as Apple, Unilever and Coca Cola.

Before his death, aged 77, Ian Cameron was also chairman and shareholder of Close International Equity Growth Fund Ltd, registered in Jersey and worth £9m according to papers filed in 2005. In that year just under half of the fund’s holdings were in UK listed stocks. A third fund set up in Geneva, Switzerland, had a shorter life span and finally dissolved in 2007 but had many of the same registered shareholders as the Panamanian outfit. These included a number of former employees of Panmure Gordon, the stockbroking firm where Ian Cameron spent much of his career and those from Smith and Williamson investment management where Cameron senior was a consultant.

One notable investor into the Panama fund was a charity established by Tory peer Lord Vinson. Accounts from 2009 show that a charitable trust set up under his own name invested £82,000 into the fund – almost one quarter of its investments in shares. Vinson’s trust that year went on to donate tens of thousands of pounds to right-wing think tanks including the Institute of Economic Affairs and Civitas. Both Close International and Blairmore Holdings are also listed in accounts of a clutch of Church of England charities and family trusts whose funds are managed by Smith & Williamson




David Cameron has recently remarked on companies who have taken advantage of offshoring to legally avoid tax. Speaking at the start of the year to small business leaders in Maidenhead, he said: “With the large companies, that have the fancy corporate lawyers and the rest of it, I think we need a tougher approach. “One of the things that we are going to be looking at this year is whether there should be a general anti-avoidance power that HMRC can use, particularly with very wealthy individuals and with the bigger companies, to make sure they pay their fair share.”

The row also comes as the top rate of tax was lowered in last month’s budget from 50p to 45p and the rate of corporation tax continue to drop to achieve the chancellor’s ambition of giving the UK one of the lowest rates of corporation tax in the G7.






Responding to opposition criticisms over the lowering of the top tax rate, Cameron said: “The cut in the 50p tax rate is going to be paid five times over by the richest people in our country.” Downing Street said it did not want to comment on what was a private matter for the Cameron family. A spokesperson added: “The government’s tax reforms are about making sure that some of the richest people in the country pay a decent share of income tax.” The investment managers Smith and Williamson, for whom Ian Cameron worked, chose not to comment.
See also my earlier post about the Liberal Democratic Party funding



Anna (Shoots herself In the Foot) Soubry – Another Tory Minister Who Needs to Engage Her Brain Just A Bit More Before Speaking


Anna Soubry, BennettAnna Mary (look at me) Soubry Tory MP



Anna Mary (don’t you just luv me) Soubry Tory MP  – Media, Media, Media, I love it

Anna Mary Soubry is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Broxtowe since the 2010 general election and Minister for Small Business since the 2015 general election. Born, in Lincolnshire, she studied law at the University of Birmingham in the 1970s and was involved in student politics, becoming the only Conservative member of the National Union of Students’ executive committee. She graduated in law from the University of Birmingham in 1979. She left the Conservatives and joined the SDP soon after its formation in 1981.

She was a journalist from 1981 until 1995 and also reported on and presented several regional and networked TV programmes, including Grampian Television’s North Tonight in the North of Scotland and the East Midlands regional news programme, Central News East. She also presented and reported Granada Television’s This Morning in the late 1980s. She returned to Liverpool’s Albert Dock in October 2013 for the This Morning 25-year anniversary party. She was called to the bar in 1995 and is a member of the Criminal Bar Association.

She was the Conservative Party candidate for the Gedling constituency in the United Kingdom general election of 2005. During the campaign, she said she was “ashamed” of living in Nottingham as it had a bad reputation for crime. She said she wasn’t ashamed of the people of Nottingham, but, instead, was ashamed of what had happened to the city. She was chosen as an “A-List candidate” and in 2006 was selected for the nearby Broxtowe Parliamentary seat. In a debate in front of sixth formers in 2006, she said an honest debate was needed to stop people taking Class A drugs and she supported the legalisation of cannabis. Soubry was one of the 49% of Conservative MPs who entered parliament in 2010, she is regarded as “one of the most formidable communicators of the new intake” but is not a ‘Thatcherite.’ It is said of her that: “she has a record of unusually free speech”.



23 February 2012: NHS Reforms – Soubry at it again

As PPS to Health Minister Simon Burns, Soubry appeared on the Daily Politics show to discuss the controversial NHS reforms with the chair of the Royal College of GPs, Dr Clare Gerada. Burns had previously claimed that Gerada’s opposition to reforms did not represent the views of GPs.Gerada rejected this saying that despite 18 months of “endless consultations” in a recent survey 90% of the 44,000 GPs had asked for the Bill to be withdrawn. Parts of it were good, putting GPs in charge of finance, putting patients first, addressing health inequality but in its totality the Bill was a mess and would not achieve its objectives.

Soubry said Gerada was wrong. She had talked to GP constituents who had formed a consortium before the election and they were already putting into operation what the Bill was trying to achieve (one local GP is a Conservative Councillor). Another GP constituent had “actually begged her” to get the bill through so he could deliver the treatment that he wanted to give his patients.

However she agreed with the presenter Andrew Neil that this was anecdotal evidence whilst Gerada’s evidence came from surveys and conferences. Gerada said the experience of Soubry’s local GPs wasn’t reflected in what she was hearing through the Royal College.

Neil then questioned Gerada saying her opposition to competition and further choice appeared to be based on ideological grounds and she appeared to be suggesting the Bill was an attempt to privatise the NHS along American lines. Gerada agreed the bill did seem to be an attempt to privatise the NHS, turning it into a mixed funding system.

GPs were not against competition where it added value to patients, but they were against full fettered competition where any qualified provider could compete to treat the same hip.

In March 2012, a group of 240 doctors, including 30 professors wrote to The Independent describing the Bill as an “embarrassment to democracy” which had no support from professional healthcare organisations. They blamed the Bill’s supporters for putting the Coalition survival “above professional opinion, patient safety and the will of the citizens of this country”.

They pledged to stand as candidates against MPs who backed it and Soubry was mentioned as a likely target both because of her tiny majority and because she told her constituents the bill’s opponents were exploiting people’s heartfelt support for the NHS.

In response to a local newspaper article which referenced the Independent article, Soubry reiterated that there had been no complaints from her local GP consortium and claimed that many local GPs couldn’t wait for the Bill to be passed.

The Bill received Royal Assent on 27 March 2012.

In April 2012, an independent poll carried out on behalf of the BBC by ComRes showed that the number of GPs believing the NHS reforms would noticeably improve patient had fallen from 23% in September 2010 to 12% in March 2012 though there were still around 33% “Don’t knows.” The chairman of British Medical Association’s GPs’ committee said GPs were unconvinced by the changes and were worried about being blamed for the consequences of meeting the £20 billion Government savings target.





8 September 2012: The Dept of Health and the Ministry of Justice distance themselves from Anna Soubry’s comments on the right to die.

Newly-appointed health minister Anna Soubry has delivered an outspoken attack on the laws governing assisted suicide. She told The Times: “I think it’s ridiculous and appalling that people have to go abroad to end their life instead of being able to end their life at home.” Her intervention coincides with legal appeals for new guidelines, following the death of locked-in syndrome sufferer Tony Nicklinson. Ms Soubry admits she is unsure about that particular case, conceding: “You can’t say to a doctor or a nurse you can kill this person.”

Nonetheless, the high court judges referred to the “terrible predicament” of Mr Nicklinson, and described the case as “deeply moving and tragic”. And Mr Nicklinson’s solicitor has said it should be referred to the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court. A former keen sportsman, Mr Nicklinson was paralysed by a stroke in 2005. He subsequently described his existence as “pure torture” and sobbed in front of cameras when the court ruled he could not end his life. In the event, he died naturally, and, according to his wife, “heartbroken”. His funeral was held last week.

However, both the Department of Health and the Ministry of Justice have distanced themselves from Ms Soubry’s protests. They said in statements she was expressing a personal view, and that any new legislation would be a matter for parliament, not government




10 September 2012: The high-heeled, foul-mouthed Minister for Death

Suddenly, a new ministerial shooting-star is born. Or should that be rather a new ministerial shooting-herself-in-the-foot-star, aka David Cameron’s latest self-imposed headache? Until a few days ago, the most likely reaction to the name Anna Soubry would have been: ‘Who?’

Ms Soubry is the Tory MP for Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire. Brought up in the county where her father ran petrol stations until he went bust, Ms Soubry, a former TV presenter and union shop steward, has been divorced twice and brought up her two daughters as a single mother.

In last week’s government reshuffle she was appointed a junior health minister, and is said to be tipped for the Cabinet.

Almost instantly, however, she started making waves. First it was noted that, as a prospective Conservative parliamentary candidate back in 2006, she had told a group of sixth-formers that she thought cannabis should be legalised because ‘certain types of cannabis were less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco’. Even back then, this was an ignorant and irresponsible statement.

There were already mountains of evidence of the devastating effects of cannabis on the brain, including provoking the onset of psychosis. Since then, a slew of further research has demonstrated the grave dangers of cannabis beyond any doubt.

If selecting a person with such callow and dangerous views to be a prospective Tory MP was enough to raise an eyebrow, appointing her as a health minister suggested that the Prime Minister hadn’t done his homework. Maybe in order to find out whether her views on cannabis had now changed, the Times sought out Ms Soubry for an interview — and doubtless got more than it had expected.

With a knowing smirk at the camera, she came out with a stream of raunchy, swaggering attitudes and one provocative and outrageous statement after another — all liberally laced with distinctly laddish language. So she was keen to tell us gleefully how she drank too much when celebrating her promotion, and how she likes gin, champagne and especially beer.

Presenting herself as an incorrigible rebel, she described sitting on the ‘naughty bench’ in the Commons, heckling the opposition and yet blowing kisses at the Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls.

We also learned that she loves shoes and owns ‘beautiful ones covered in sequins’ and five-inch heeled boots. Well indeed — what else can one wear, after all, in Whitehall’s corridors of power? But excuse me — this attention-seeking creature is a health minister? Maybe she mistook the Commons for the set of Absolutely Fabulous?

As for the foul language, this was apparently adopted as a defence mechanism for little middle-class Anna against the local oiks at school. Well, isn’t it about time that Ms Soubry, 55, finally grew up? But wait — our besequinned, stilettoed, ex-cannabis advocating, foul-mouthed, flirty provocatrice is driven, she tells us, by a social conscience.

For she gave up the media to become a barrister — ‘a social worker with a wig on’ — defending the most disadvantaged. Indeed, with her declared fury at communal powerlessness, her passion to ‘make stuff better for the poorest’ and her rage over the ‘s****y lives of the unemployed’, you are left wondering why on earth Ms Soubry didn’t join the Labour Party. Read more:





14 September 2012: Anna Soubry, a health minister, has said that the Coalition “screwed up” over its controversial reforms of the NHS, the Daily Telegraph can reveal.

Miss Soubry, a junior health minister, made the frank remark in a private discussion with health service managers about reforms that will give GPs control of £80 billion of health spending. It is the second outspoken statement Miss Soubry has made since her appointment ten days ago.

Last weekend, she angered some Conservative MPs by suggesting that euthanasia laws are “ridiculous” and should be changed to make it easier for the sick to end their own lives.

David Cameron surprised some MPs last week when he made Miss Soubry, a former television presenter and barrister, a parliamentary under-secretary at the Department of Health.

Days after her appointment, Miss Soubry spoke at a conference held by the NHS Leadership Academy, which trains senior health service managers and medical professionals.





27 January 2013: Public health minister Anna Soubry: ‘They [the poor people] just sit in front of the telly and eat.

It’s a funny thing, but when you turn on your radio or television and hear someone say something breathtakingly ill-researched and insulting, you can almost tell straight away that the speaker is a Tory politician. Obviously, not everybody responsible for obtuse and patronising nonsense comes from that kind of background but that is where the propensity lies.

Who should we blame for this? In my experience, which includes many hours listening to Radio 4 in the kitchen, the people most likely to deliver unfounded claims or accusations backed by comically incomplete evidence, almost always come from families where it was considered quite normal to sit round a table for a meal they call “kitchen supper”, apparently a 25-course banquet served by bewigged footmen and consumed by flickering candlelight, at which it is customary for the participants to compete to see who can say the most preposterously offensive thing.

The tragic result is that at least one in three, if not more, Tory politicians is now at risk of making a complete arse of themselves on a regular basis, with the obvious risk that even their most abject pronouncements may influence public policy.

Although this idiocy epidemic is, admittedly, a growing problem afflicting all political parties, there is no doubting its alarming prevalence in the Tory cabinet.

It is becoming routine, in fact, to see a Tory minister rush out and, instead of constructing a conventional argument, backed by at least some research, emit a succession of outlandish assertions and anecdotes whose authority, if any, is most likely to rest on the speaker’s conviction of his or her superior understanding.

Thus, in her already celebrated speech to the food and drink industry, the public health minister, Anna Soubry, began with some remarks about fat people she had seen when out and about. “When I walk around my constituency, you can almost tell somebody’s background by their weight,” she said. “Obviously not everybody who is overweight comes from a deprived background but that is where the propensity lies.”





Leave aside the catastrophic condescension, and the thought of Ms Soubry roaming round Broxtowe with a pair of mental calipers, the better to establish social class by BMI (compared with which hobby Gladstone’s prostitute-rescuing missions sound almost normal) and what is most remarkable about this observation is the speaker’s conviction that it would advance her argument.

Of much less importance, it appears, were numbers, or authorities even greater than herself, to make the case that “primary responsibility lies with the individual”. Anyone serious about public health, you gathered, would be satisfied with such insights into proletarian life as have, during her career as a barrister and MP, been granted to Ms Soubry. “What they don’t do is actually sit down and share a meal around the table,” she disclosed to stunned food and drink operatives, convinced until that moment that every Quaver is eaten with a knife and fork. “There are houses where they don’t have dining tables,” the minister persisted. “They will sit in front of the telly and eat.”

Before dismissing outright Ms Soubry’s considered response to this depravity, we cannot, of course, rule out the possibility that, taking on the mantle of Henry Mayhew, the minister has indeed followed the fatties, or “them”, to use the technical term, back to table-less tenements that have never seen a John Lewis linen-feel napkin, or to offices where slovenly workers indulge in the “disgusting” – she finds – habit of eating at their desks. But in the intellectual climate of the current Tory cabinet she could be excused for thinking such investigations a complete waste of effort.

Given current trends in ministerial evidence, Soubry’s allusions to living people she has definitely heard about may soon come to look, along with Osborne’s analysis of lowered festoon blinds, positively scholarly. Before long, it may be enough for a minister to validate a policy that it came highly recommended in a vision, in the bottom of a teacup or, like the mayor of London last week, via an epiphany in his back garden. Noting the thick snow on a flowerpot, the putative Tory leader wondered if we have entered a “mini ice age”.

True, standing on giants’ shoulders, Boris Johnson’s snub to the scientific establishment owes much to an earlier challenge from the Daily Mail columnist Tom Utley, who famously deduced the impossibility of rising sea levels from the way ice behaves in his gin and tonic. But most columnists can only dream of the freedom to create mischief, some of it lasting, that is still enjoyed by the bolder Conservative politician, unshackled by readers’ editors, corrections columns or vestigial social conditioning.






There has been, for example, neither correction nor explanation from Maria Miller, who last autumn insisted that the abortion law needed changing, “to reflect the way science has moved on”. Though she was immediately challenged, media attention soon wandered to Jeremy Hunt’s claim that “the evidence” actually indicated a limit of 12 weeks, and by the time a new BMJ study had formally undermined Miller’s version, there were fresh errata to correct, from waffle about elite sport and gay marriage to more specific claims, such as Eric Pickles’s definition of all library campaigners as “luvvies”, or Nadine Dorries’s (erroneous) belief that her abortion debates had featured in broadcasts of I’m a Celebrity… Get me Out of Here.

That online fact-checking outfits, invaluable as they are, can barely keep up with the misspeaking, was confirmed last week, when Ms Soubry’s speech coincided with a rival outburst from Cameron’s adviser on childhood, the MP Claire Perry, previously a financier. She urged parents to spy on their children’s mobiles as a guard against sexualisation, a long-favoured pretext for political alarmism since nobody can prove that our seven-year-olds are not being groomed for the white slave trade by trends in advertising, toys, airbrushing, sexting, videos and skimpy tops featuring vile slogans unfamiliar to all but members of the Mothers’ Union.

It is not even clear that enhanced internet filters, occasionally promised by Cameron, would be any more effective than Ms Perry’s pleas to parents she presumably knows to be deficient in this respect, to “sit down with their kids and say, ‘Are you aware of what’s out there?'” For homes with no chairs as well as no tables, the advice, apparently, is to have the conversation standing up.

But what, in turn, can be done for the ministers? The first step is to keep them away from places, like government, where the temptation to mislead is just too great. Failing that, one can only hope for vigilance from Dame Sally Davies, the impressive chief medical officer.

Last week, she managed, in a single appearance before the science and technology committee, to rubbish homeopathy and assure politicians that, on drug decriminalisation, with which she sympathises: “I will make sure that the truth – the scientific evidence, peer reviewed – is published… even if it is uncomfortable for me.” Before that, however, Broxtowe could use a visit.





17 March 2013: MP Anna Soubry told off by Speaker Bercow for sniping from the sidelines at other MP’s.

Anna Soubry had been loudly heckling other MP’s in the chamber when she was pulled up short by the Speaker of The House, John Bercow.

Comment: I’ve seen this woman on television a few times, and I’m convinced she’s absolutely mad …she mutters and mumbles …she must never be put in a position of power.



Anna Soubry, Bennett

13 July 2013: Letter to Anna Soubry MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health

I am writing to urge you to halt the acquirement of Plasma Resources UK by Bain Capital or, at the very least, to put in place strict restrictions on the way the company buys and uses blood products in order to safeguard the health of people in the UK.

There have already been many documented examples of serious damage to public health from an insufficiently regulated trade in blood products. As I am sure you will be aware, the 2009 Archer Report into the widespread contamination of blood supplies given to those affected by haemophilia noted that profit-driven companies have an incentive to keep their costs down by being insufficiently discriminatory about donor selection.

In Canada, social unrest was triggered when an estimated 30,000 patients caught hepatitis C and 1,000 contracted HIV from transfusions and blood products, thanks to an unregulated, profit-driven market. How can citizens trust a Government they see putting private profit before their own safety?

The purpose of Plasma Resources UK is to provide a safe, reliable source of plasma for UK residents, not to make a profit for a private American company with an abysmal track record, at the potential cost of the health and lives of UK citizens. My constituents are concerned about its potential sale and I hope your Department will be willing to reconsider. Read more:



17 July 2013: Anna Soubry Ignores Select Committee providing support to a EU directive Westminster had not agreed to

Junior Health Minister Anna Soubry and her civil servant the Head of Tobacco Policy, sniffy Andrew Black, were appearing before the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee (ESC). The Chair is Bill Cash and the committee’s role is to “..scrutinise draft EU legislation on behalf of the House of Commons and assesses which proposals are of particular political or legal importance.” What transpired was a reckless and distasteful undermining of British democracy.

Cock up or conspiracy? We saw Ms. Soubry and Mr. Black fidgeting as if their underwear had been ignited by napalm. Their gurning, discomfiture was equivalent to a battleship run aground on the Goodwin Sands with two torpedoes heading amidships. Ms. Soubry is the UK’s representative as Health Minister to the European Union for the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). The move, much discussed in the British media as of late, is set to introduce a wide range of controls on tobacco and electronic cigarettes.

Ms. Soubry, with advice from her civil servants had negotiated the TPD without any reference to Parliament and especially not the ESC. Between January and June 2013 she had not written or communicated with the ESC and Bill Cash did not mince his words. “The reason for our scrutiny process… is to ensure that no decision is taken in the Council of Ministers until that debate has taken place… What you did was effectively to prevent any such debate taking place at the time.” It seems the European democratic deficit is transmittable and approaching pandemic proportions.

Ms. Soubry also shows her ignorance on electronic cigarettes, whether they were part of the Directive or not. It still is, despite some valiant lobbying from e-cig users known as ‘vapers’, who have persuaded many MEPs to support their cause with much of the intellectual input from former Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Director Clive Bates.

There’s also a planned ban on flavourings for cigarettes such as menthol and “slim” cigarettes as they “appeal to women.” Never mind that this study found menthol smokers had over 30 percent reductions in lung cancer compared to non menthol smokers.

Other outstanding pearls of wisdom including the banning of packets of ten, and smaller pouches of tobacco. Ireland did so with ten packs in 2007 and this coincided with an increase in smoking of 27 percent to its current 29 percent of the population. Finally, more graphic images covering 65 percent of the packet. Scare tactics which ignores the fact that most (97 percent) of smokers can already name at least one fatal disease associated with smoking.

This isn’t for education’s sake. Help is at hand though. Fresh from her victory heading up the Hands Off Our Packs campaign, Angela Harbutt is in charge of No Thank EU, a new group which will be fighting for consumer rights and persuading people to write to their Member of the European Parliament, asking them to oppose the legislation.

When you bear in mind the apparent contempt for Parliament and the electorate by junior ministers, without a shadow of shame from the European Union, this is a campaign that deserves God’s speed. What vestiges of accountability the EU has to us should be prosecuted with vigour. Scandalous beyond imagining! She admitted that the directive would not have gone forward without UK support and so it would not have gone through in this presidency, and it was because of this that she overrode Parliament’s supremacy. Incredible!


The Andrew Marr Show

11 November 2013: Royal Navy Support Ships Built in South Korea As Jobs Lost In Portsmouth

The £425m order for four 37,000-tonne military tankers that will allow the Royal Navy to refuel at sea has been placed with Korean shipbuilder Daewoo. Hearing this from Nigel Farage the other day on the BBC’s Question Time (Video below) was to say the least shocking, especially when you consider the recent loss of 940 jobs at Portsmouth. Anna Soubry MP, the government’s Under-Secretary of State for Defence, was an absolutely shocking example of how poorly staffed the Coalition government is. Ms Soubry admitted on-air that she did not know that Daewoo in South Korea is building tankers for the Royal Navy.

Reacting in astonishment, UKIP’s Leader on Hampshire County Council Ray Finch said: “For a government minister to show such a basic lack of knowledge of her brief is thoroughly shocking and both Ms Soubry and Mr. Cameron must surely now consider her position as a Minister.

“The truth of the matter is the UK Government last year refused to allow a rival bid to build the tankers, with one of them built in this country, in favour of the Daewoo bid on cost alone, after BAE refused to bid for the contract. “The entire story of the tanker order leaves question marks over BAEs near monopoly position as a UK navval shipbuilder and its too-cosy relationship with the MOD.

“This mixture of incompetency and penny pinching by this administration that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing has caused the tragic potential loss of a 500 year tradition of shipbuilding in Portsmouth and the end of large scale naval shipbuilding in England. “

This woman should be forced to work on minimum wage for 12 months whilst raising a family. Only then will she see the harm immigration is doing to the UK. She has previously employed those who advocate the return of slavery. She is a nasty snob.

It creases me up each time I see Anna Soubry when she tries to act as if she has a serious brain with brows all furrowed up. I suppose it comes of trying to compete with men.

Taxpayer funded career offence seaker Trevor Phillips versus Conservative MP Anna Soubry versus UKIP party leader Nigel Farage on “racism” and immigration.





22 December 2013: Anna Soubry apologises to Ukip leader for ‘finger up bottom’ remark

The Conservative defence minister, Anna Soubry, has apologised to the Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, after suggesting that his facial expressions made him look like someone who enjoyed a person putting their finger up his bottom.

Soubry made her remarks on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show while sitting alongside the impressionist Rory Bremner, Lord Mandelson, and the business secretary, Vince Cable. Both politicians looked on astonished as presenter Andrew Marr tried to stop her.

After Bremner had impersonated Farage, Soubry – who has clashed with the Ukip leader before – said: “I always think he looks like somebody has put their finger up his bottom and he really rather likes it.” Bremner asked: “Are you allowed to say that?”, at which point Marr said: “It’s too late. She has said it.” Lord Mandelson commented: “Anna, please, it’s too early.”

The comment provoked an immediate reaction on Twitter, not least from Farage himself. “Perhaps [Anna Soubry] should spend less time investigating digital rectal insertion and more on her brief?” he tweeted.

Farage added: “She is rude and incompetent. I would expect an apology – but I won’t be holding my breath.”

In a statement, he said: “This is a woman who was proven to not even have a grip on her portfolio back in November when on Question Time she showed she had absolutely no idea about the Royal Navy support ships being built in South Korea.

“She also launched a vile attack on me then, claiming I was ‘putting fear into people’s hearts’ by raising concerns over unrestricted immigration. The same concerns that today her party are so desperate to try to address.

“But this latest, remarkable foul-mouthed attack is utterly incredulous. Soubry has stooped to the levels of crudity that any politician would spend a lifetime apologising for.

“This is supposed to be a professional woman representing her political party on a national television programme on a Sunday morning. Well, I am astonished, and I would imagine the rest of her party is too, as well as deeply embarrassed.”

With Downing Street unimpressed by the language and insults, Soubry later apologised. “If he is in any way offended, I apologise unreservedly. It was a lighthearted remark,” she said.

The pair’s previous run-in came last month, when Soubry said on BBC Question Time that Ukip had published a leaflet in her constituency suggesting that 29 million people would be coming to the UK from Romania and Bulgaria, The joint population of the countries is only 28 million.

Soubry told Farage: “I do not like your tone. You don’t talk facts, you talk prejudice, you scaremonger, you put fear in people’s hearts.” She said Farage was trying to turn foreigners into a menace, adding, with reference to the 1930s, that history had taught Britain the danger of such an approach.





4 March 2014: Same Sex marriage Debate – Anna Soubry treats Christian concerns with “supercilious disdain”

This debate is interesting for the way that the Ministry of Defence Minister Anna Soubry treats those of a Christian conscience, in this case Sir Edward Leigh (Roman Catholic) and Sir Gerald Howarth (Church of England), with utter contempt and rudeness. Those who witnessed the exchange were shocked and appalled at the Minister’s arrogance. His Grace reproduces the whole exchange because context and primary reasoning are important.

The transcript is a typical Hansard version of the truth – the words are correct, but they cannot show the disdain and sheer nastiness of the Minister. For that, you need to watch the video above. Like them or not, both Gerald Howarth and Edward Leigh make sense of the world through the lens of Christianity: the Church is woven into their lives, and Christ provides their moral compass. While many may believe that compass to be skewed – or, rather, that it does not point in a ‘progressive’ direction – at least they have a moral sense. Ms Soubry is a relativist and a modernist, and in this her third career (after TV presenter, and criminal barrister) as a politician, she is being used by others to do their dirty work – in both the House and on TV. She is personally quite charming, but with a majority of just 389, she is fighting for every vote, and if that means trimming her ‘conscience’ to the secularising zeitgeist and slapping aside a few pesky Christians, that’s exactly what she’ll do.

But it may, of course, be more than that. Perhaps, as with so many of her ilk, she simply does not recognise for a second that someone who disagrees with her might be right. And certainly not a Christian. (includes video)






30 April 2014: Anna Soubry, Government minister slams Armed Forces culture of ‘drinking to oblivion

Anna Soubry made the comments as she faced calls to scrap subsidised alcohol in military bars. She said her deep concerns about the impact of booze had been heightened by the suicide of one serving member. She told MPs she was not a “killjoy” and recognised from her time as a barrister that people with stressful jobs needed to let their hair down.

But she said the “vast amounts” consumed by the armed forces were unacceptable and must be scaled back. “I am not convinced that we couldn’t do more about the culture of drinking in our armed forces,” she said during a hearing of the defence select committee. “I’m not some killjoy. But sometimes there has been an attitude in the past that it was acceptable, as part of that de-stressing process, to all go out and consume vast amounts of alcohol as part of that camaraderie and that letting down of the hair. “There is nothing wrong with some of that, but the levels of drinking to the point of oblivion and all the rest of it is a culture which I don’t welcome in any workforce. “The incidence of binge drinking, the quantities of alcohol, across society are beginning to diminish. I would hope that would be the same in the armed forces.”

She suggested that her determination to act had been strengthened by the death of a serving member of the armed forces. “I read the coroner’s report recently into a very sad suicide case of a serving person. There were many things in that report that concerned me. “One of them, quite clearly, the culture of heavy drinking,” she said.

Pressed on what specific action she would take, she said a senior commander’s guide to alcohol was to be refreshed in the light of research into alcohol abuse in the armed forces which was due to be published soon. But she acknowledged that a cultural shift could not be encouraged purely by rules and regulations. “You can’t just put out edicts to change a culture,” she said. “You can have all the most wonderful guides and manuals in the world but what’s most important is the implementation of them and that is something that I am looking at, I can assure you of that.”

Labour MP Madeleine Moon said ending the “high level of subsidy” enjoyed at military bars would contribute to curbing consumption. She said she got the “fright of my life” when she was charged only £1 for a triple gin and tonic while visiting forces in the Falkland Islands two years ago. “One thing that could be done about alcohol problems in the armed forces is tackling the high level of subsidy in bars in military units – perhaps so they were the same price you would pay in town.”


Labour MP wants to end a “culture of drinking to oblivion”, but sees nothing wrong in ordering herself a triple gin… Perhaps it’s not just charity which begins at home?

Judging the behaviour of MP’s and Lords’ if the MP’s really wish to stop cheap subsidised boozing perhaps they should set a good example to the troops and start with the bars in the House of Commons.





2 June 2014: Another own goal for Tories: The minister who says her constituents are racist

A senior Tory sparked a fresh row about immigration yesterday after branding some of her own constituents ‘racist’ for raising concerns about it. Defence minister Anna Soubry, who is tipped for promotion to the Cabinet, said many voters were ignorant about its ‘hugely important’ benefits – while others were ‘frankly racist’. UKIP last night seized on the remarks as evidence that senior Tories still fail to understand public anger over the issue.

Miss Soubry’s comments came as Chancellor George Osborne suggested David Cameron would fail to keep his pledge to cut net immigration to the ‘tens of thousands’ because of the difficulty of controlling the numbers arriving from Europe. She added to doubts about whether the target would be hit – but called on the Tory leadership to be more positive about the benefits of immigration, claiming migrants come to Britain ‘overwhelmingly to work – they do not come here to scrounge’.

Miss Soubry, who is defending a majority of just 389 in her hyper-marginal constituency in Broxtowe, Nottinghamshire, told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show: ‘When you make the case with people who come and see me in my constituency surgery who say, “I’m really worried about immigration” you say really, why? ‘This is Broxtowe.

We don’t have a problem with immigrants. When you explain that to them, they get it. Not all of them – some people have prejudices, some people are frankly racist, but there are many who just don’t know the argument.’ Read more:






4 June 2015: Tory Minister Anna Soubry takes umbrage over ‘Behave Yourself, Woman’ remarks by Alex Salmond

Conservative minister Anna Soubry has hit back at Alex Salmond, accusing him of sexism after he told her to “behave yourself, woman” during a debate in the House of Commons.

The former SNP leader and Scottish first minister, who was elected as MP for Gordon in May, was speaking during a parliamentary debate on devolution on Wednesday evening.

Salmond, arguing about how many Scottish and English MPs should sit on the Scottish affairs committee, accused Conservative Party of trying to “stuff the Scottish select committee with English Conservative MPs”.

During the debate, Salmond appeared distracted by Soubry, the small businesses minister. He told her across the chamber: “The Treasury bench should behave better in these debates, she should be setting an example to your new members not cavorting about like some demented junior minister – behave yourself, woman.”

On Thursday morning Soubry responded on Twitter. “Salmond can dish it out but he can’t take it,” she said. “Alex Salmond seems to think women should be seen not heard. His attitude belongs firmly in the 19th century.”

It is not the first time Salmond and Soubry have locked horns. During the election campaign, the pair had a feisty debate on the BBC’s Sunday morning Andrew Marr programme. Soubry, who was then a defence minister, branded the prospect of a Labour government supported by the SNP “terrifying”.

Soubry, who is known for her combative manner, also once had to apologise after saying Nigel Farage “looks like somebody has put their finger up his bottom”. Salmond isn’t the only parliamentarian to have faced questions over comments made to a female MP in the Commons. David Cameron was blasted for telling then Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Angela Eagle to “calm down dear” during a heated debate in 2011.


Comment: I’m not a fan of Alex Salmond or the SNP but to accuse him of sexism…definitely not! Salmond was the man who supported, nurtured and mentored the inexperienced Nicola Sturgeon throughout her rise in Scottish politics. When he resigned as Scotland’s First Minister following the ‘NO’ Vote last November he immediately threw his considerable ‘weight’ behind Sturgeon, endorsing her as his replacement! Had Soubry been a male I’m absolutely certain that Salmond would have said, “behave yourself, man.”







The Liberal Democratic Party – Financial Backing From Venture Capitalists based in Tax Havens – Bunch of Lying Charlatans Ripping Off the Electorate





27 September 2012: UK’s Liberal Democrats, steeped in money from the Septic Isle

Interesting stories have emerged in the past few days about Britain’s Liberal Democrats, the once self-styled party of business is now evidently the party of finance.

Let’s start with this extract from a speech by Lib-Dem Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury:

“Firms will be banned from getting public money if they are based in tax havens rather than mainland Britain.”  The telegraph



Liberal Democrat conference


UK Business Secretary, Vince Cable, had a similar message for those who used secretive, low tax jurisdictions:

“No one keeps their cash in tax havens for the quality of investment advice; these are sunny places for shady people.”  The Guardian




But Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg defending the islands tax haven industry said:

“The financial services industry in the Channel Islands is a hugely important gateway for the wider financial sector and indeed the economy in the United Kingdom.”

Comment: Jersey is a feeder of vast gobs of global finance into the City of London and yes the Channel Islands tax havens are indeed hugely important to the City of London – but this is absolutely not the same thing as saying that this is a good thing.   BBCNews




Then there is this:

“Brompton Capital, is the biggest corporate backer of the Lib-Dem party, donating £777,000 since the General Election in 2010. . . . Shares in the firm are owned by an offshore firm called Integro Nominees (Jersey) Ltd, which is based in the Channel Island tax haven.”   The Daily Mail




And there’s more:

“Alpha Healthcare and its sister company C & C Alpha Group, part of a venture capital group in the private health sector, have together donated £970,000 to the Lib Dems since 2004. Alpha’s parent company, Harberry Investments, is based in a small office in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.”  The Guardian


Comment:  Exposes the Lib-Dem party as a bunch of political charlatans unworthy of election to any office. Professing to detest tax haven tax avoidance but secretly benefiting from substantial financial support from the self same sources








Infected Blood Products Scandal – Theresa May Has Ordered An Inquiry (Westminster Does Them So Well) – I Explained All In A Blog Two Years Ago and Lessons Have Not Been Learned



Mitt Romney



Mitt Romney – The Mormon’s and Bain capital

The seeds of Romney’s unique brand of conservatism, often regarded with intense suspicion by most non-Mormon conservatives, were sown in the secretive, acquisitive, patriarchal, authoritarian religious empire run by ‘quorums’ of men under an umbrella consortium called the General Authorities.

A creed unlike any other in the United States, from its inception Mormonism encouraged material prosperity and abundance as a measure of holy worth, and its strict system of tithing 10% of individual wealth has made the Church one of the world’s richest institutions.

A multibillion-dollar business empire that includes agribusiness, mining, insurance, electronic and print media, manufacturing, movie production, commercial real estate, defence contracting, retail stores and banking, the Mormon church has unprecedented economic and political power.

Despite a solemn stricture against any act or tolerance of gambling, Mormons have been heavily invested and exceptionally influential in the Nevada gaming industry since the great expansion of modern Las Vegas in the 1950s.

Valued for their unquestioning loyalty to authority as well as general sobriety–they are prohibited from imbibing in alcohol, tobacco or coffee–Mormons have long been recruited into top positions in government agencies and multi-national corporations.

They are prominent in such institutions as the CIA, FBI and the national nuclear weapons laboratories, giving the Church a sphere of influence unlike any other American religion in the top echelons of government.

“Romney, like his father before him who voluntarily tithed an unparalleled 19% of his personal fortune, is among the Church’s wealthiest members.

And like his father, grandfather and great-grandfathers before him, Mitt Romney was groomed for a prominent position in the Church, which he manifested first as a missionary, then as a bishop, and then as a stake president, becoming the highest-ranking Mormon leader in Boston — the equivalent of a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.



Horror Stories – Mitt Romney’s Shameful Record With Mormon Women

A candidate for leadership of the Republican Party in 2012 he knew it was important that he be portrayed as a moderate politician but troubling stories from career as a Mormon leader surfaced during the campaign exposing the true nature of his character when he served as a bishop and State president in the Church of Jesus Christ of the latter day Saints in Massachusetts. Full report:



Bain Capital

The government recently sold UK plasma NHS supplier PRUK  to US private equity firm Bain Capital.

The sale was processed against the advice of many knowledgable people and politicians and it is to be hoped there will be no repercussions for UK residents. History doesn’t lend itself to this view however.

Background information about Bain Capital makes interesting reading – There is a live connection between the UK and Bain through the Cayman and Channel Islands Tax havens.

Should the UK government sign off contracts with a company so blatantly avoiding UK taxes?




Mitt Romney Connection

For all Mitt Romney’s touting of his business record, when it comes to his own money the Republican nominee is remarkably shy about disclosing numbers and investments.

The world of offshore finance is murky, and rife with loopholes that allow the very wealthy to skirt tax laws, and much of Mitt Romney’s fortune (with $30 million in Bain Capital funds in the Cayman Islands alone?)  which seems strange for a presidential candidate. Read More:



615 romney bain




Should I put my money in Caribbean Tax Havens Like Mitt Romney Does?

Mitt Romney has millions of dollars spread around at least a dozen investment funds run by Bain Capital out of the Cayman Islands, a notorious tax haven, as ABC News reported. 
This raises some tricky questions, including but not limited to:
 Isn’t this awfully suspicious? No!
How does a tax haven work?  It’s complicated!
Should I get one?  Probably not!  



Is Mitt Romney hiding his money illegally? 

No. Moving your money to an obscure tax-haven sounds suspicious, but as far as anybody knows, Romney’s investments are above board.

If he was trying to hide his money, he’d be doing a pretty terrible job, considering all this information was discovered through public documents.

Before we get into why some of Romney’s money is on vacay in the Caribbean, we should talk about who actually controls his investments.
Technically, Romney isn’t supposed to have a say in where his fortune goes.
To avoid potential conflicts of interest when he became governor of Massachusetts, Romney put his wealth in a “blind trust,” which he supposedly has no hand in managing.






Romney doesn’t control his own money? So, who does?
The trust is run by Romney’s long-time lawyer, Bradford Malt. Back in 2007, when the issue of Romney’s offshore investments first came to light, Malt told the Los Angeles Times that he had invested in a number of foreign funds, including one located in the Caymans. As he put it:

“I don’t care whether it’s the Cayman’s or Mars, if it’s organized in the Netherlands Antilles or the Jersey Islands,” he said. “That means nothing to me.

All I care about is whether it’s a good fund or a bad fund. It doesn’t affect his taxes.”





Wait, if he’s Romney’s lawyer, how “blind” is this trust, really?Good question!

After all, Malt even invested $1 million of Romney’s money in a fund run by the candidate’s own son, Tagg.

As ABC has reported, Romney’s blind trust probably wouldn’t be up to snuff for a federal elected official.

His campaign has acknowledged so much.

But since it was organized in Massachusetts, he got to meet a lower bar.

To the best of anyone’s knowledge, though, Romney isn’t calling the shots on his investment portfolio.




What is a tax haven for, exactly? And why would Romney need one?
Remember, Romney’s Cayman investments are in private equity funds run by his old employer, Bain Capital.
So you need to start by asking why Bain Capital wants to be somewhere like the Caymans.
For a private equity firm like Bain, an offshore tax haven is like a very expensive resort where American money can easily meet foreign money, then mingle.
They’re appealing for foreigners, who get to profit off American assets while avoiding the IRS entirely.
And they’re appealing for Americans, who get to pay lower taxes on certain types of investments.

That’s sounds really simple! 
Oh lord, no it isn’t. If you really want to understand how a tax haven works for an American, stay with me for a few paragraphs.
Some of the biggest investors in the United States are tax-exempt organizations, like college endowments and public pension funds.
But when it comes to putting their money with private equity, they have a problem.
That’s because tax-exempt organizations aren’t allowed to use borrowed money to make financial investments, or run a for-profit business on the side.
Otherwise, they’re subject to a special “unrelated business income tax,” which maxes out at 35%.
This is where the Caymans and other tax havens come into play, as Rebecca Wilkins, senior counsel of Citizens for Tax Justice, explained.
To help pensions and their ilk avoid the unrelated business income tax, firms like Bain set up feeder corporations in the U.S. that exist entirely to funnel money to an offshore fund.
The American client invests in the feeder corporation, which then sends their money to the Caymans.
The profits come back through the same route. Presto chango, their money is no longer subject to high corporate taxes, since they’re not directly buying a company, or taking on debt.
This (completely legal) trick is one of the reasons public pension funds are among the largest investors in private equity firms.

Sounds great. I want to invest in a Caribbean tax haven!  You can’t.  Why not?
Because there’s no way you’re going to stuff a hundred million dollars inside a tax-free account.
As the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, Mitt Romney keeps between $20.7 million and $101 million in a tax-exempt IRA account.
It’s pretty unusual for an IRA to grow that large.
But part of Romney’s is invested in high-return Bain funds.
Those private equity profits would ordinarily be subject to unrelated business income taxes.
According to the paper, “Tax experts say that might explain why Mr. Romney’s IRA includes holdings in Bain entities based in offshore locations,” including a Cayman Islands fund worth up to $25 million.
Essentially, he could be using the same tricks as a pension to save on his IRS bill.
So Romney is saving a ton of money this way?
Hi isn’t doing it for the benefit of taxpayers. Romney doesn’t have to pay annual taxes on his IRA returns.
But when he does eventually withdraw the money, he’ll have to pay taxes, on any profit as if it were ordinary income, instead of the low, low 15% capital gains rate he would otherwise owe on investment returns. So he gets to build up his money tax free.






Daily Record, Scotland – Former US President Bill Clinton may be forced to appear in court over a medical scandal which claimed the lives of innocent Scots.

Many haemophiliacs were infected with hepatitis C after tainted blood from American prisoners was imported into the UK. Glasgow firm Thomson’s are representing the families of Scots sufferers who died after contracting the disease.

They allege inmates in an Arkansas jail were paid to donate blood despite the authorities knowing they had AIDS and hepatitis.

They are threatening to call the ex-president, who was state governor at the time, to the witness stand.

The infected blood was used to make clotting agents for haemophiliacs who require regular blood transfusions.

Frank Maguire, of Thomson’s, said “These allegations are extremely serious and I am now more sure than ever that there should be a full public inquiry into why so many Scots contracted hepatitis C from infected blood products.






October 2005: Documentary Examines Blood Scandal

A major new documentary that uncovers fresh evidence about how thousands of Scots contracted Aids and hepatitis through infected blood is to be given its world premiere at a prestigious US film festival.

The film, Factor 8: The Arkansas Prison Blood Scandal, made by the US film-maker Kelly Duda, will reveal new details about how inmates at a US jail were paid to donate blood despite the authorities knowing they had Aids and hepatitis.

It shows how the US state of Arkansas, under former president and then-governor Bill Clinton, allowed contaminated blood from Aids and hepatitis-infected prisoners to be exported around the world during the 1980s and 1990s to be used in the manufacture of clotting agents for haemophiliacs.

The documentary also reveals for the first time how senior figures in the prison system doctored prisoners’ medical records to make it look like they were not carrying the deadly diseases.

Even after it was known there was a problem, the film reveals, blood products were allowed to be supplied to Europe, including to the UK, where thousands of patients were infected with HIV and the potentially fatal liver virus, hepatitis.

Last night, the revelations caused outrage among haemophiliacs who contracted Aids and other diseases through the blood products.

They branded the findings unbelievable” and “shocking”, and demanded that the government launch a judicial inquiry into the so-called “tainted blood scandal”.





13 July 2013: Letter to Anna Soubry MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health

I am writing to urge you to halt the acquirement of Plasma Resources UK by Bain Capital or, at the very least, to put in place strict restrictions on the way the company buys and uses blood products in order to safeguard the health of people in the UK.

There have already been many documented examples of serious damage to public health from an insufficiently regulated trade in blood products.

As I am sure you will be aware, the 2009 Archer Report into the widespread contamination of blood supplies given to those affected by haemophilia noted that profit-driven companies have an incentive to keep their costs down by being insufficiently discriminatory about donor selection.




In Canada, social unrest was triggered when an estimated 30,000 patients caught hepatitis C and 1,000 contracted HIV from transfusions and blood products, thanks to an unregulated, profit-driven market.

How can citizens trust a Government they see putting private profit before their own safety?

The purpose of Plasma Resources UK is to provide a safe, reliable source of plasma for UK residents, not to make a profit for a private American company with an abysmal track record, at the potential cost of the health and lives of UK citizens.

My constituents are concerned about its potential sale and I hope your Department will be willing to reconsider.

Read more:




18 July 2013: Is there no limit to what this Government will privatise?’: UK plasma supplier sold to US private equity firm Bain Capital

The Government was tonight accused of gambling with the UK’s blood supply by selling the state-owned NHS plasma supplier to a US private equity firm.

The Department of Health overlooked several healthcare or pharmaceutical firms and at least one blood plasma specialist before choosing to sell an 80 per cent stake in Plasma Resources UK to Bain Capital, the company co-founded by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in a £230m deal.

The Government will retain a 20 per stake and a share of potential future profits.

PRUK has annual sales of around £110m and consists of two companies: it employs 200 people at Bio Products Laboratory (BPL) in Elstree, Hertfordshire, and more than 1,000 at DCI Biologicals Inc in the US.

DCI collects plasma from American donors and sends it to BPL where it is separated into blood proteins, clotting factors and albumin for supply to NHS hospitals in the treatment of immune deficiencies, neurological diseases, and haemophilia.

British jobs are being safeguarded in the deal and Bain, which has invested in dozens of private and state-owned health companies worldwide, is prepared to spend £50m in capital investment on the Elstree laboratories.

However, critics of the deal warned the Government that Bain Capital was the wrong company to own the NHS plasma supply line.




Lord Owen, the former Health Minister, wrote to David Cameron earlier this year asking the Prime Minister to intervene and halt the sale. He wrote:

“In 1975, against some resistance from those guarding the finances of the DHSS budget, I decided as Minister of Health to invest in self-sufficiency in the UK for blood and blood products, I now believe this country is on the point of making exactly the same mistake again.

The world plasma supply line has been in the past contaminated and I fear it will almost certainly continue to be contaminated.”

After hearing of the sale Lord Owen told The Independent: “It’s hard to conceive of a worse outcome for a sale of this particularly sensitive national health asset than a private equity company with none of the safeguards in terms of governance of a publicly quoted company and being answerable to shareholders. “Private equity has a useful function, as I saw in years past on the advisory board of Terra Firma, but Bain Capital should not have been chosen for this sale.

Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”

Blood from UK donors, typically collected in vans and centres by NHS Blood and Transplant, is not supplied to PRUK, a separate organisation.

Plasma donors at DCI centres in the US receive cash for each donation, typically around $25 for the first visit and $20 for any subsequent visit. People can donate up to twice a week.




Due to safety concerns following the emergence of ‘mad cow disease’, or vCJD, NHS hospitals only use plasma from around 20 per cent of blood collected from donors in the UK with the remainder used for diagnostic and research purposes.

As the UK was unable to secure a long-term ‘safe’ blood supply for the NHS following the vCJD outbreak, the Government spent £50m in 2002 on the US firm that provided all of BPL’s plasma.

The majority of NHS hospital plasma supplies come from PRUK, which sources all its plasma from low contamination risk groups in the United States across DCI’s network of 32 donor centres.

Lucy Reynolds from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine wrote an academic paper earlier this year strongly arguing against the sale of PRUK.






She said the Coalition deal undervalued the company adding:

“Plasma supplies have a long record of being operated on a not for profit basis, using voluntary donors where all the necessary checks take place.

The difference with a commercial firm is that they will want to have as many donors as possible and be looking to secure large profits first and foremost.

This amounts to the government abandoning UK blood products users to the tender mercies of the cheapest supplier.”

The PRUK deal is the latest move from Bain Capital into the expanding privatised UK health market.

The Independent reported last month that the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), co-owned by the assets management firm, already caters for around half of all private patients in London and runs three joint NHS ventures, renting building space from public hospitals for exclusively private treatment.

HCA is also a large buyer of plasma-derived products.





Devin O’Reilly, managing director of Bain Capital in London, said: “We have completed over 50 healthcare investments in companies such as HCA and we will ensure that all of this experience and expertise is applied to building PRUK into a true global leader.”

Health Minister Dan Poulter said: “This deal will ensure that patients will have access to high quality plasma products for years to come and it is good news that Bain are investing in medicine and the life science industry in the UK.”







Mark Andrew Menzies – Tory Party MP For Fylde – Attacks Alex Salmond In Westminster – My Goodness He’s A Scot!!


imagesvrt  – Alex Salmond in Westminster from 19.34   Anna Soubry and Alex Salmond with Andrew Marr. Goodness she rabbits on.

Mark Andrew Menzies is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Fylde in Lancashire since 2010.

He was formerly PPS to Charles Hendry MP, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change before both moved in the 2012 Cabinet Reshuffle. He resigned as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Mark Prisk MP, Minister of State for Housing and Local Government in March 2014.

He was educated at Keil School and graduated from the University of Glasgow, where he was President of the Conservative Association, in 1994 with an honours degree in economic and social history.

Menzies stood as a Conservative candidate for the safe Labour seat of Glasgow Govan in the 2001 general election, where he came fourth. In 2005 he stood in Selby in Yorkshire, a Labour marginal, and came in second. In 2006 he was added to David Cameron’s “A-List” and was selected for Fylde in November 2008 he was elected at the 2010 general election, when he gained 22,826 votes, 52.2% of the total.

Menzies’ professional career before becoming an MP was spent in the retail sector. He joined Marks & Spencer as a graduate trainee in 1994 and has since worked in marketing for two large UK supermarkets.

Menzies campaigned for the liberalisation of Sunday Trading legislation. He brought forward a Bill which sought to allow local authorities to vary Sunday trading restrictions in their jurisdiction contemporaneously to large national events. More specifically, he argued that the retail sector should be able to take advantage of any extra revenues generated by the Olympics in London 2012.

BAE Warton is located in his constituency and he takes a keen interest in defence. He is a member of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme.

Menzies was a member of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee for a time in 2010 before his appointment as a PPS. He lives in St Annes.

He was re-elected to the Fylde constituency in the 2015 GE, with a majority 0f 13,185 votes. One of the safest Tory seats in England.





29 March 2014: Top Tory MP resigns as Ministerial aide following claims he paid male escort for sex and drugs

Mark Menzies, 42, quit his post as a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) over allegations made by a Brazilian male escort. He resigned as a Ministerial aide tonight after a Sunday Mirror investigation into claims he paid a teenage rent boy for sex and drugs. Rogerio Santos claimed Mr Menzies, 42, paid for his services 18 months ago, before showing him around Parliament. The 19-year-old then claims the MP asked him to supply him with illegal methedrone. His allegations led to Mr Menzies ­dramatically quitting last night as a ­ Parliamentary Private Secretary with the Department for International ­ Development. He said: “I have decided to resign as a PPS after a series of allegations were made against me in a Sunday newspaper.” We were contacted by Santos in a series of emails last week in which he openly admitted being a rent boy. He told us: “I have been having sex with a Conservative MP for money. “Mark also asked me to buy methedrone. “I have personal messages of him talking to me about drugs.”

Santos claimed he overstayed his student visa, was in the country illegally and made other claims about Mr Menzies – although it is understood the MP was unaware of Santos’s immigration status. The unmarried MP, who was ­ parliamentary private secretary to ­ International Development Minister Alan Duncan until 7pm tonight, has repeatedly asked Commons questions about the Government’s work on rehabilitation for drugs offenders. But texts on Santos’ phone, which he showed to the Sunday Mirror, reveal messages asking the teenager for full details about the quality of methedrone available and how much it would cost. Methedrone was banned in the UK in 2010 and is a Class B drug dubbed “poor man’s cocaine”.


Rogerio Santos2



Street slang often confuses methedrone with mephedrone – another illegal amphetamine-based drug. A series of messages seen by the Sunday Mirror show the 42-year-old MP asking for the price of the drug. Santos, who lives in a squalid apartment block in Sao Paulo, told how he was taken around Parliament by Mr Menzies – although there is no suggestion that Mr Menzies broke any rules in taking him to Westminster Palace.

He emailed us on Tuesday last week making his series of allegations, saying: “We met very regularly over the last 18 months. “He took me to the Houses of Parliament. “Recently, he has been asking me to buy drugs. “I have SMS messages and photographic evidence. “When we went to his office in ­ Westminster I was not introduced to anyone but I still have the visitor’s permit.”




A series of pictures on Santos’ phone and seen by the Sunday Mirror show the MP – elected to ­Parliament four years ago as one of David Cameron’s “A-List” of young candidates – next to a plate of white powder at his luxury London home. Santos showed off a Parliamentary visitor’s pass issued at 2.35pm on June 26 last year as he went to Mr Menzies’ Westminster office. He said: “Mark got me the security pass to visit Westminster and I was interviewed by police at the gates before.” He added in an email: “I have a photo of Mark and a photo he took of me inside Westminster where he is visible in the reflection.” Describing pictures he took on his mobile, Santos claimed: “There is a plate of methedrone. “He asked me if I could buy methedrone. “He have many drugs, a lot of drugs.”

Former Marks & Spencer graduate trainee Mr Menzies has repeatedly raised the issue of rehabilitation for drugs offenders since being elected as MP for Fylde in Lancashire in 2010. In February this year, he tabled a Commons question asking the Ministry of Justice to “take steps to introduce the HM Prison Kirkham Drug and ­ Rehabilitation programme nationally”. Mr Menzies’ website features a June 2011 article telling readers about his support for drug rehabilitation programmes after a visit to the Pierpoint Addiction Treatment Centre in St Annes, Lancashire.

He is quoted as saying: “It was truly fascinating to visit with Pierpoint. “I feel supporting full recovery-led programmes can be of tremendous benefit to society.” Mr Menzies has also spoken passionately about issues of conscience in Commons debates. He backed gay marriage – which came into force yesterday – telling MPs in February 2013: “I am a Catholic and religious freedoms are very important to me, as is my religion, but so too are equality and tolerance.”





Scotsman Mr Menzies rose from humble beginnings in the small town of Ardrossan on the North Ayrshire coast. He was raised by his mother after his merchant navy father died a month before his birth. He became an active member of the Tory Party in 1982, and began a career in retail after leaving Glasgow University in 1994 with an honours degree in economic and social history. He joined Marks & Spencer later that year and went on to become an Asda executive.

He has served as PPS to former Energy Minister Charles Hendry and ex-Housing Minister Mark Prisk before taking up his current role as aide to Tory MP Alan Duncan. He spent yesterday at his £144,000 constituency ­ apartment in St Annes, near the beach.

The Sunday Mirror yesterday presented Mr Menzies with a series of claims and questions. At 7pm, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman issued a statement from the MP confirming that he was standing down from his unpaid role as PPS. Mr Menzies said: “A number of these allegations are not true and I look forward to setting the record straight in due course.” It is believed he will continue to represent his constituency, which he holds with a majority of 13,000.


2 April 2014: Top Tory MP Mark Menzies’s fate hangs in balance after claims he paid male escort for sex and drugs

The fate of a Tory MP will be decided on Friday amid claims he hired a Brazilian rent boy and asked him to buy drugs. Party members will meet to discuss if Mark Menzies, 42, should stand in the next election after the MP quit as a Parliamentary Private ­ Secretary.

Martin ­Chatfield, head of the local Conservative association, tonight hinted that the MP for Fylde, Lancs, was safe. He said: “While what has been alleged in the papers is not good, Mark has been very contrite. “I don’t think his current position as an MP is in jeopardy.” Meanwhile, Mr Menzies yesterday admitted it had been a “extremely difficult period” but vowed to keep working. Writing for his local paper, he thanked well – wishers for their support and added: “I now need a period of stability to rebuild my private life and continue to focus on helping constituents.”

Our sister paper the Sunday Mirror alleged Mr Menzies paid escort Rogerio Santos, 19, for sex and asked for illegal methedrone. In response, the MP insisted several of the claims were “not true”.



5 April 2014: Tory MP’s rent boy lover was in Britain illegally after being refused entry Three Times

The Brazilian rent boy lover of shamed Tory MP Mark Menzies was refused entry into the UK three times. But Rogerio Santos, 19, slipped back into the country to be paid for sex by Menzies, 42, and supply him with illegal drugs. Tonight there were calls for him to explain or quit as an MP. Disgraced Menzies is now under pressure to tell exactly what he knew about the immigration status of Santos. The Tory MP, who has not been seen since we broke the story last week, has claimed he was unaware his lover was ever in the UK unlawfully.

But Santos has insisted that the MP knew about his visa problems. The rent boy was turned away by UK border officials three times during his involvement with the Tory. But on other occasions he got in past border checks to continue having paid sex with him. Speaking at his lawyer’s office, Santos, 19, claimed: “I have personal messages from Mark with him talking to me about my visa. I know how many problems I had in London and he helped me with things. Brazilians have these problems. I had this three times.”

The claim comes a week after Mr Menzies, 42, quit as a ministerial aide in the wake of our story about his 18-month drug-fuelled sex romps with the teenager which ended just weeks ago. Santos claimed the former Private ­Parliamentary Secretary got him to buy illegal Class B amphetamine-based mephedrone for him as well as Class C GHB – known as liquid ecstasy. Last night a House of Commons source said: “It would be astonishing if Mark Menzies did not know the immigration status of a man he had been in a ­relationship with for months. “MPs deal with these cases on a daily basis. At very best he’s been utterly naive.”





Migration Watch UK vice-chairman Alp Mehmet said : “If you’re one of those who makes the laws for the rest of us then you ought to be intelligent enough to know when something is happening that is wrong. “In this case, it would be difficult for anyone in that position to argue they didn’t really know what was going on.”

Brazil is fifth in the UK’s top 10 of illegal immigrant nationalities because restrictions are lax. Brazilians are allowed to enter Britain without a visa for up to six months as long they prove they have somewhere to stay and enough money to get by. They also have to prove they have a job back in Brazil.

But the Sunday Mirror understands immigration officers have had their eye on Santos and believed he was likely to ­ overstay and become an illegal immigrant. So they put a block on his entry.




The visa revelation will put further ­pressure on Mr Menzies’ future as MP for Fylde in Lancashire. It was already hanging in the balance following a meeting held by his Tory constituency bosses on Thursday night. A source at the Fylde Conservative Association, tasked with deciding his fate, said: “If he has engaged in ­ criminality then we would expect him to step down as an MP.” Constituency members have already called for him to quit after failing to respond to the ­ allegations.

In February, Immigration Minister Mark Harper quit after employing a Colombian cleaner in the country illegally. Last week we revealed the rent boy was shown around Parliament by Mr Menzies last June. Santos told the Sunday Mirror: “He took me to the Houses of Parliament, for “fun” when I was in the country illegally. I have SMS messages and photographic evidence to prove my story.”


Rogerio Santos3


We have seen evidence of the MP ordering amounts of methedrone – which was banned in the UK in 2010. Santos claims he met Mr Menzies on a gay escort website and the MP began paying him £250 an hour for sex. Mr Menzies sent texts to Santos asking how much the Class B would cost if he bought it in bulk. The Brazilian says the pair enjoyed drug-fuelled romps at the MP’s taxpayer-funded flat in London where Mr Menzies was photographed naked alongside plates of methedrone. Mr Menzies asked Santos – who has now returned to Sao Paulo – to wear “sexy underwear” during their involvement. The Tory stepped down as PPS to International Development Minister Alan Duncan before our story broke.

Mr Menzies is believed to be staying with friends. He said: “I now need a period of stability to rebuild my private life and continue to focus on helping constituents with the many serious issues they face.” A source close to Mr Menzies said: “He is putting his private life in order, but he feels the way to do that is not through the Press. Mark is determined to carry on as an MP and he has a lot of support.” A spokesman for Mr Menzies told the Sunday Mirror: “As we said last week, many of these allegations are completely false.” Police sources said they would not investigate the drug allegations unless there is a formal complaint. Mr Menzies has been absent from Parliament this week where he was due to take part in a debate.




The MP, who is paid £66,400 a year, has claimed for hotel rooms and first-class train tickets on his Parliamentary expenses – and ran up a £827.48 mobile bill in the first three quarters of the 2013/14 financial year. There was nothing to suggest this was improper.

The Roman Catholic politician, who is single, entered the Commons at the last General Election. He was brought up by his mother on the west coast of Scotland. His father, who was in the Merchant Navy, died before he was born. Mr Menzies won an assisted place at an independent school before studying at Glasgow University, and he joined Marks & Spencer as a trainee in 1994.

Mr Menzies told the Commons last year that he had intended to abstain on the historic vote to legalise same-sex marriages but then voted in favour. “I came here to abstain, but I have listened to the debate like I have listened to no other. It is now my intention not to abstain, but to support the Bill,” he said.

He has repeatedly raised the issue of rehabilitation for drugs offenders since being elected. In February this year, he tabled a Commons question asking the Ministry of Justice to “take steps to ­ introduce the HM Prison Kirkham Drug and ­ Rehabilitation programme nationally”.





20 February 2015: Tory MP Mark Menzies’ rent boy Rogerio Santos says he has another customer from the Conservative Party

The rent boy who told of drug-fuelled nights with disgraced Tory MP Mark Menzies claims he is ready to name a second Conservative client. Brazilian escort Rogerio Santos has contacted a British publicist this week saying he wanted to reveal fresh details in exchange for a large payment. The new claims are believed also to involve a sexual encounter that involved the consumption of illegal drugs. Any new revelations would leave the Tories facing a fresh sleaze scandal on the eve of the General Election on May 7.

A source said: “Mr Santos is very convincing. He wants to speak out again – but only for the right price.” Mr Santos, 20, claimed the second Tory was “a colleague” of Mr Menzies , 43, who is MP for Fylde in Lancashire.

Mr Menzies, one of David Cameron’s “A-list” candidates at the 2010 election, quit as parliamentary private secretary at the Department for International Development after our sister paper the Sunday Mirror revealed Santos’s claims last year. They included allegations he had paid for sex with the £250-an-hour rent boy, who was then aged 19, and asked him to supply class B party drug methedrone.




Texts on Santos’ phone, which he showed to the Sunday Mirror, revealed messages asking the teenager for full details about the quality of methedrone available and how much it would cost. Santos also said he was in the UK illegally after overstaying a student visa, though it is understood the MP did not know of his immigration status. At the time Santos hinted he had details of a sexual encounter with a second Tory. The source said the fresh claims would heap new pressure on Menzies, who intends to contest his seat at Flyde, Lancs. After resigning as a ministerial aide last year he said: “I look forward to setting the record straight in due course.”

But the source added: “Menzies has failed to answer questions on his relationship with the rent boy, which he pledged to do. “Santos is a self confessed male prostitute who can obtain drugs – it does not look good for whoever’s name is dragged into this, especially so close to a general election.”



Mark-Menzies-main-new.pngRogerio Santos4
April 11 2015: Frack Free Fylde – Gayzer Frackman – Lytham Resident and Fylde voter speaks out

It has been a bad year for Fylde MP Mark Menzies but even worse for the people of the Fylde, having him carpetbagged in by the Tories. The arrogance of Menzies when it comes to fracking is hugely disappointing. Disgusted Campaigners against Fracking and the bully boy tactics of Lord Browne’s Cuadrilla and Cameron’s Carbon Coated government looked to him for support. But he has not represented constituents close to the sites, living in fear, or supported locals who have been bravely fighting Cuadrilla and their well financed propoganda.

There are also unanswered questions about his promise to put the record straight about allegations made about him and the Brazilian rent boy, and drugs. Featured in The Mirror over a year ago. Our MP is supposed to have our interests at heart so why hasn’t he cleared his name in all that time? Or admitted it and held his hands up and said sorry to the families of the Fylde? Others have cleared their name in less than a year and a half when facing similar accusations The people of the Fylde deserve answers! What is at question here is ‘Character’ and ‘judgment’ both lacking from a Career MP shipped into a Tory safe seat.


Tory Right Wing MP. Votes for everything and anything abhorrent to Scots


Fylde MP Mark Menzies
Fylde MP Mark Menzies



Mark Menzies Refuses to Answers Most of Our Questions on Fracking

Defend Lytham met recently with Mark Menzies MP. As a result of that meeting we put together a list of specific questions to clarify Mr Menzies’ position on fracking which were put to him by email on Thursday 19th September 2013. He has not answered to the committee as requested but he did eventually send a private response on 30 October 2013 to the chairman of Defend Lytham.

In this response, which is reproduced at the end of this page he explains why he is unable to answer more than 5 of our 38 questions, because they “assume that I have a detailed technical knowledge of the engineering requirements behind the shale gas industry or are of such a speculative nature that it would be inappropriate of me to hypothesise on the answers.”

Mark Menzies has been Member of Parliament for our area, which has had PEDL licence 165 on it for the entire duration of his parliamentary career.

Until 2012 Mr Menzies was PPS to Charles Hendry MP, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change.

He is currently Vice Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Unconventional Oil and Gas (AKA Fracking for Shale Oil and Gas) which receives considerable support from the shale gas industry and its associates as revealed in Private Eye earlier this year.

 We would suggest that it is eminently reasonable to expect Mr Menzies to be able to voice opinions of some pretty straightforward and important questions. We are immensely disappointed by his responses which we have collated below, insofar as they exist.




1. General

1.1. Do you know that Cuadrilla claim to be able to extract 25% of the UK’s energy requirement from their licence area (PEDL 165) at peak (1).

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question – We think he should know the answer]

1.2. Do you know that 25% of the UK’s consumption (~3 tcf pa) would equate to approximately 0.75 tcf per annum.

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question – We think he should know the answer]

1.3. Do you know that the IoD have estimated that to extract 0.85 tcf pa would require 4,000 wells on 100 x 40 lateral well pads to be drilled over a period of 17 years (2)

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question – We think he should know the answer]

1.4. Do you accept that it is therefore likely that if Cuadrilla are allowed to go ahead with production that they plan in the region of 100 well pads. (We have written evidence from Daily Telegraph journalist Emily Gosden that Francis Egan told her he envisaged 100 well pads)?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question – We think he should be able to answer]

1.5. Do you stand by your comments made in public in St Annes, and to the Defend Lytham committee in your surgery, that you could not support such a scale of development?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question – Why?]

1.6. If so at what point will you begin to demonstrate that you do not support this level of development in your constituency.

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]


Anti-fracking signs line the road next to a proposed shale gas site in Lancashire.imagesvfhj



2. Regulation

2.1. What is the “gold standard of regulation” that you refer to – What does it actually mean?

2.2. Why do you not insist that we need it for exploration as well as production?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

2.3. You said in parliament (3) “although I welcome the environmental assessment currently being undertaken by the Environment Agency, I call for environmental impact studies to be undertaken on any proposed site, regardless of size”. Do you still support mandatory Environmental Impact Assessments on all development and production wells and why?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

2.4. What is your reaction to the fact that Conservative MEPS have stated that they intend to block vote against the EU amendment which would make Environmental Impact Assessments mandatory on all developments?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

2.5. What is your reaction to the fact that in spite of your calls for mandatory EIAs the coalition government has released new planning guidelines (4), which make it clear that EIAs will only be required by exception?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

2.6. You also asked in parliament (3) “Furthermore, does the Minister have any plans to encourage a health impact assessment in a similar vein” Will you insist on health impact assessments?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

2.7. You stated (3) “I do not believe that the regulatory system is robust or transparent enough to instil public confidence should permission be granted to the industry. That is why I am calling for an independent panel of experts to be set up without delay”. We ended up with The Office of Unconventional Gas and Oil (OUGO), a subsidiary of DECC and therefore not independent, whose brief is to promote shale gas and streamline regulation – do you agree that we did not get what you said was needed?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question – It isn’t complicated – We think he should be able to answer it.]

2.8. Will you continue to call for an independent panel of experts to enforce regulation or are you now going to accept OUGO even though you stated (3), when calling for an independent panel that it “is vital that we support the work of current regulatory bodies. In no uncertain terms can we allow the environment or the well-being of our constituents to be compromised”

2.9. David Cameron said “No regulation must get in the way” (5) of shale gas extraction. Do you think he is right to say this? If not when will you comment on this publicly?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

2.10. Do you support the European Groundwater Daughter Directive which means that fracking companies must monitor and manage all fracking fluids?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

2.11. Will you insist that green tanking / green completion to minimize methane emissions should be made mandatory?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

2.12. You stated in parliament (3) that “I would consider the current site at Anna’s road, where exploratory drilling is taking place, to be an unacceptable location for extraction to occur. I would vehemently oppose its development as such”. What are the specific grounds on which you regard Anna’s Road as unacceptable as a location for extraction to occur?




3. Planning

3.1. You said on Radio Lancashire that “a lot of this (responsibility for decision on fracking) now sits in the hands of Lancashire County Council, who as Mineral Rights Authority have got rights over planning”. What is your opinion on the fact that the new planning guidelines take power away from CCs / MRAs and enshrine a presumption that permissions will be granted?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

3.2. Are you happy that new planning guidelines propose EIAs only in exceptional circumstances?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

3.3. Do you support the proposed “Revised requirements relating to planning applications for onshore oil and gas” (6) that drillers should not have to specify whose land they intend to drill under when applying for planning permission?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

3.4. Can you clarify Michael Fallon’s statement (7) “It’s for local communities to decide whether they want to host shale gas exploration. These are planning decisions which will first of all be taken locally and it’s up to the developer to engage early with local communities and explain to everybody what they’re planning to do.” It seems that this runs counter to the opinions being expressed by other members of the government.

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

3.5. Do you support the idea expressed above that local communities should be able to veto shale gas wells in the same way that Eric Pickles’ Department suggests that will be able to veto windfarms (8)?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]







4. Management

4.1. There is currently no regulation that forces operators to fund Bonds for Abandonment up front. Cuadrilla suggested to John Hayes in December 2012 (9)that they had put in place “additional financial security to address any concerns about well abandonment commitments”. However, when Cuadrilla were asked “Firstly, as this was “additional” what financial security was already in place against well abandonment issues. Secondly, how much money has been set aside in total to “address any concerns about well abandonment commitments”, where is it and how can we be sure it will still be safely available in future (will it be held in escrow somewhere?) their response via their PR agency, PPS Group, was “Cuadrilla has more than adequate funding available to provide for security for wells drilled in the current exploration phase. Should an increase in scale during any extraction phase require additional security, Cuadrilla will agree with the appropriate regulatory authority (in this instance DECC) what security it requires.”

From this rather vague statement it is clear that the claim made by Mr Egan to Mr Hayes is misleading as it suggests that additional financial security has already been put in place? Clearly the implication of Mr Egan’s statement was that Cuadrilla had set aside a sum of money as security against abandonment. This is evidently not the case as you can see from their subsequent response. You were made aware of this issue in March 2013. Can you please tell us what progress you have made in ensuring that operators are made to fund bonds for abandonment before any work, exploratory or otherwise, takes place?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

4.2. What level of “community benefit” payment do you regard as adequate for development wells and what % of profit on production wells?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

4.3. Are you confident that profit will not simply be funneled to other parts of any operator’s group structures to avoid both tax and community payments – especially if the operators have a significant proportion of offshore investment?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

4.4. Who is the “community” to whom any benefit will be paid?

4.5. Do you agree that, as the County Council is also the Minerals Rights Authority responsible for planning decisions on shale gas developments, that there would be a clear conflict of interests if the County Council were allowed to receive financials benefits as a result of granting permission for shale gas projects?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

4.6. What steps are in place to ensure that fracking companies are made to pay to rectify damage incurred to highways due to excessive traffic created by their traffic?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]





5. Political Issues

5.1. Do you believe that shale gas extraction in the UK will bring down energy prices?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

5.2. Do you believe a significant number of jobs will be created? If so, how many? How many of these would be for local people in the Fylde? For how long will they last?

5.3. Are you committed to the government’s legally binding emissions limit of 1,950 MtCO2e over the fourth carbon budget period (2023 to 2027)?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

5.4. If so, in your opinion how will support for shale gas allow us to meet this target?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

5.5 Are you aware that Cuadrilla are obliged to relinquish 50% of their licence are before the end of this year?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question – We think he should know the answer]




6. Risks

6.1. Flood risk – Given the recent floods in Colorado and the associated problems with contamination resulting from flooded and damaged shale gas installations, do you feel that the flood plain of the Fylde (10) is an appropriate location for shale gas extraction?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

6.2. If so how do you believe measures can be put in place to protect shale gas installations against potential flood risk?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]

6.3. Do you believe that the local agriculture and tourism industries would be affected in the event of a development of 100 well pads in the Fylde?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]





7. Overall

7.1. Are you for or against the development of shale gas extraction at the level proposed in your constituency?

[Mr Menzies declined to answer this question]


1. “In our licence alone we can supply a quarter of the UK’s gas demand” Mr Egan said.”

2. IOD “Getting Shale Gas Working” – P128

3. Adjournment debate – 24th October 2012




4. “An Environmental Impact Assessment is only required if the project is likely to have significant environmental effects.” DCLG – Planning practice guidance for onshore oil and gas

5. “UK Prime Minister David Cameron offered robust support for European exploitation of shale gas, telling journalists: “No regulation must get in the way.”




6. “The Government is minded to amend the notice requirements for applications for planning permission for under ground oil and gas operations. It would retain the requirement to serve notice on individual owners and tenants of land on the above ground area where works are required (who the applicant knows to be such a person and whose name and address is known to the applicant) but remove this requirement for owners of land beyond this area ie the owners of land where solely underground operations may take place”





7. Eric Pickles statement reported on

8. “Current planning decisions on onshore wind are not always reflecting a locally-led planning system. New planning guidance supporting the planning framework from DCLG will make clear that the need for renewable energy does not automatically override environmental protections and the planning concerns of local communities. It will give greater weight to landscape and visual impact concerns”




9. Letter to John Hayes MP from Francis Egan of Cuadrilla

10. No change scenario – Map based on nothing being done to the existing flood defences and it uses the results of an extreme tide; and it takes account of global warming and sea level rise.






Mr Menzies Response.

Thank you for your continued correspondence and the list of 38 questions relating to the shale gas industry you recently sent to me.

Over the last two years you have written to me on at least 24 separate occasions about a wide range of issues.

I have always tried to do as you request or answer all the letters you sent with a detailed response covering each and every issue laid out.

However, on this occasion I am sorry to say that I am unable to accurately answer the 38 separate questions you have submitted on behalf of Defend Lytham.

The reason for this is that many of the questions assume that I have a detailed technical knowledge of the engineering requirements behind the shale gas industry or are of such a speculative nature that it would be inappropriate of me to hypothesise on the answers.

I believe that the issue of shale gas extraction is of huge importance and should be treated as such, and therefore I am unwilling to conjecture on the various issues based on press speculation or rumour.

However, I will try to answer the questions which I am able.




As you are aware, I have been championing a gold standard of regulation surrounding shale gas extraction since shortly after I was elected to parliament.

You have asked what that would entail and much of what I mean can be found already at work within our successful offshore oil and gas industry.

These processes include mandatory Environmental Risk Assessments, regular on the ground well inspections, ensuring water requirements can be met sustainably and making sure regulation remains fit for purpose of the industry grows.

In line with that I called an adjournment debate in October 2012 – which can be found at – where I asked for the creation of a body to oversee the industry’s various regulators.






This has now been set up in the Office of Unconventional Gas and Oil and one of my focuses from here is to ensure that office fulfills its obligations as set out in its mandate and that existing regulators perform detailed scrutiny of potential shell gas sites in file.

During the debate, I also flagged up concerns over the Anna’s Road site and said I would vehemently oppose any future development on that site.

You asked why I regarded the area as unacceptable and it is because I believe the moss land between Lytham and St Annes and Blackpool should be protected and not be developed. In the past I have opposed the Queensway housing development close to this site because of similar concerns.

Cuadrilla Resources has now discontinued its plans for Anna’s Road and is currently working towards returning the site to its previous condition, something which I’m sure you will join me in welcoming.

In my debate, I also asked for rigourous on-the-ground inspections of any sites and in the last month I have had two meetings with Environment Secretary Owen Paterson MP who gave me his personal assurances that there will indeed be a rigourous regime in place should extraction go ahead.

In July this year, I also called the Westminster Hall debate to discuss the work which has been carried out by government since my previous adjournment debate. Should you wish to be the contents of that for further information can be found at:






With regard to your specific questions around community benefits, I recently met with the Prime Minister to discuss this very issue. While the specific details of how any payments would be made are still being decided, he assured me that the intention was that people living closest to any potential wellsites would be the ones to principally benefit.

You also asked about jobs related to the shale gas industry and I feel we are now moving into an area which is highly speculative at this stage.

However, the Prime Minister recently referred to making Blackpool the shale gas centre for Europe and I feel I should clarify this point as there appear to have been some misunderstandings surrounding what he meant by that.

Rather than indicating the Fylde Coast should have more drill sites than anywhere else, the Prime Minister was in fact referring to the infrastructure attached to the industry.

If there are any jobs in the manufacturing sector, either in research and design or establishing a head office, then I would prefer those employment opportunities were in filed rather than elsewhere in the UK or Europe.

I hope this answers at least some of the questions you had. As ever should you have any specific concerns you wish me to bring to the attention of ministers, as I have done for you on numerous occasions in the past, I will of course be only too happy to do so.




Many thanks for your continued interest in this subject.  Mark Menzies Member of Parliament for Fylde