Convenient to Blame Putin for the Novichok Nerve Agent Attack On the Russian Spy – First establish the Facts – Update at 13 December



16 Mar 2018: The Times: Letter from Stephen Davies (Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust)

Sir, further to your report (‘Poision Exposure Leaves Nearly 40 needing Treatment’), may I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning. Several people have attended the emergency department concerned that they may have been exposed. None has had symptoms of poisoning and none has needed treatment. Any blood tests performed have shown no abnormality. No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved.’



5 Mar 2018: Former Russian Spy Mysteriously Falls Ill in Britain.

A man identified as a retired Russian military intelligence officer who once spied for Britain is critically ill at a British hospital, and the authorities were investigating his “exposure to an unknown substance.”

The man, found unconscious on a bench together with a 33-year-old woman who fell sick with him in the city of Salisbury, has been named as Sergei V. Skripal, 66 and his daughter. He was once jailed by Moscow, then settled in Britain after an exchange of spies between the United States and Russia in 2010.

The police said a major incident, with a “multi-agency response,” had been declared. “At this stage it is not yet clear if a crime has been committed,” they said in a Twitter post, adding that they are “carrying out a full investigation & working with partner agencies, to clarify exact circumstances.”

The priority, the police said, is to identify any substances involved. They said they were working with experts to make a speedy diagnosis to ensure “appropriate and timely treatment.”

Mr. Skripal is a retired colonel in Russia’s military intelligence service. He was convicted in 2006 of having passed classified information to British intelligence, MI6, for a decade, in return for $100,000 wired to a bank account in Spain.

At the time of his conviction, the Federal Security Service, the domestic successor to the Soviet K.G.B., said in statements to Russian news agencies that Colonel Skripal began spying in 1995 while stationed overseas. His espionage activities were said to have continued even after he retired from the Russian military in 1999. (NYT)



12 Mar 2018: Britain Blames Russia for Nerve Agent Attack on Former Spy

Britain’s prime minister said on Monday that it was “highly likely” that Moscow was to blame for the poisoning of a former Russian spy attacked with a nerve agent near his home in southern England, and she warned of possible reprisals.

“It is now clear that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia,” Mrs. May said in the House of Commons. “The government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal.”

She said that either the poisoning was a “direct act of the Russian state against our country” or that Moscow had lost control of its nerve agent and had allowed it to get into the hands of others.

The White House took a different approach, declining to point a finger at Russia. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said at her daily briefing: “The use of a highly lethal nerve agent against U.K. citizens on U.K. soil is an outrage. The attack was reckless, indiscriminate and irresponsible. We offer the fullest condemnation.”

But Ms. Sanders brushed off several questions about whether the White House shared Britain’s view that Russia was responsible. “Right now we are standing with our U.K. ally,” she said. “I think they’re still working through even some of the details of that and we’re going to continue to work with the U.K.”

“This is a circus show in the British Parliament,” the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, told journalists in Moscow.

Vladimir Dzhabarov, first deputy head of the Federation Council’s foreign affairs committee, was equally dismissive. Whatever Mr. Skripal may have once done, he said, he posed no threat to Russia now. “This already is not our issue,” Mr. Dzhabarov said. “He had access neither to our secrets nor facilities. He was of no use to us, to Russia in general.” (The Insider)




13 Mar 2018: What is the Novichok Nerve Agent

In the late 1980s and early 1990s Russia signed the Chemical Weapons Convention and destroyed stocks of all listed chemicals.

But many chemicals in everyday use within industry and in the home are not included in the Convention.

In 1992 a Russian Chemist, Vil Mirzayanov revealed the existence of a new binary nerve agent named Novichok and was arrested and punished for revealing State secrets.

Novichok agents are easy to manufacture covertly because they can be made with commonly available chemicals, (not on the banned list) in relatively simple pesticide factories anywhere in the world.

Vil Mirzayanov said: “the weapons originality lies in the simplicity of its components, which are used in civilian industry and which cannot, therefore be regulated by international experts”

The break-up of the Soviet Union brought with it an availability of stocks of unregulated Novichok chemicals and the distinct possibility that stocks may have been made available to terrorist groups or criminal elements within and outwith the former Soviet Union.




Detection and Treatment

Detection and treatment is not well established and their use as a weapon of terrorism presents difficulties when considered with the ability of amateur journeymen to manufacture them in binary form totally free of controls.

Delivery of Novichok is in liquid or vapour form and there is no minimum toxicity dose. Onset of symptoms, (restlessness, loss of consciousness, wheezing, and a running nose) is measured in seconds when inhaled and longer when absorbed with liquid

Hospital triage of patients should first include decontamination before therapy. Patients exposed to the vapour agent that are still awake are likely to recover after treatment. (C E Stewart)





12 Mar 2018: Russia ceased production of the Novichok nerve agent around 1998 and stocks were destroyed.

A Russian spokesperson briefed the press that the British claim that the Novichok nerve agent was only accessible to the Russian government was untrue, adding:

“Novichok was manufactured in Uzbekistan in the Soviet times and after the fall of the Soviet Union and, it is common knowledge that American intelligence services had access to the factory. The American and British intelligence services are well bonded and I am almost certain that the British got this Novichok nerve agent from them. It is clear Washington and London are working together to nullify Russia’s growth.

Placing blame on Russia for the attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal without definitive evidence is unwise given that the Novichok agent can be manufactured in someone’s kitchen and the chemicals needed are not included on any banning list.

An added fact is that Skripal spent 6 years in a Russian prison before being exchanged – Bags of time for Putin to have him killed for being a traitor.

It will be of interest that Skripal’s MI6 handler was Christopher Steel, the author of the fake Trump dossier debacle which has recently been exposed as a blatant MI6 attempt to prevent Trump from winning the recent Presidential campaign.




13 Mar 2018:  The Russian Response  – Russia demands Nerve Agent Samples in Standoff Over Poisoned Spy

Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov ,in a press briefing stressed that the UK should abide by the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and provide Russia with access to the samples of the nerve-agent which was allegedly used to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

He said: “As soon as the rumors, fed by the British leadership, about the fact that the substance produced in Russia was involved in the poisoning of Skripal appeared, we immediately requested access to this substance so that our experts could analyze it in accordance with the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.”

The minister went on to say that the UK’s obligations under the Convention imply that if there are any suspicions that a poisonous substance prohibited by the Convention was used, then the state suspected of producing it needs to be contacted, since this state has the right to receive access to the substance in order to analyze it on its own.

Moscow had not received any requests of this kind from London, according to the diplomat and in any event the Convention stipulates a 10 day investigation and reporting period to be in place  allowing the accused country time to investigate and respond.

London improperly gave Moscow until the end of Tuesday to explain the attack, and said it would deliver a new statement on Wednesday.

Russia responded on Tuesday saying it would answer only if the UK gave Moscow access to the investigation material.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesperson, in reply, said that the Russian response would be considered by the National Security Council on Wednesday 14 December and before then London was not going to comment. (Guardian)




The Russian Public

Many Russians believe Western spymasters are behind the nerve-agent poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, as conspiracy theories about the attempted assassination flourish.

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s allegation that the Russian government’s involvement was “highly likely” in the attempt to kill Sergei Skripal, 66, with the Novichok nerve agent on March 4  are an attempt to deflect public attention from the internal problems her government is facing, including Brexit.

The Russian public simply do not believe that President Putin or anyone in the Russian intelligence would order such a murky way of getting rid of Skripal.


WATCH Theresa May: Skripal poisoning ‘highly likely’ by Russia (2:08)




Is an Increase in Sanctions Against Russia Possible

The UK has been putting out feelers to sense what countries would be prepared to do in a show of solidarity.

No EU country has so far committed itself to further sanctions against Russia if the UK declares the Russian state had acted unlawfully on British soil.

Returns also indicate that some EU countries will advise the UK to put its own house in order, rather than agree new collective sanctions.

Norbert Röttgen, chairman of Germany’s parliamentary foreign affairs committee, said the case showed the need to target the blurred lines between the Russian state security apparatus and organized crime.

He added: “The incident should provide a reason for Britain to examine its open stance towards Russian capital of dubious origin”

MEP’s in Brussels are questioning whether the UK would use legislation – such as unexplained wealth orders that are included in the Criminal Finance Act 2017 – to challenge Russian millionaires living in the UK.

Tory government Ministers insisted the legislation may be used but they cannot risk using them in a way that undermines the UK’s reputation for judicial independence. (the times)






Rangers Union Bears March in Support of Rangers Football Club – Condemned by Tory Party MSP Club Members (not)








9 Mar 2018: Criminal probe launched as sectarian flyer showing abuse against ‘Fenians’ surfaces before match

The flyer, posted on the “Union Bears” Facebook page showed a silhouette image of someone wearing a green-and-white hooped jersey being kicked in the head while on the ground, surrounded by text reading: “Good night, green white.”

And added: “The Union Bears have organized a fans march to Ibrox before Sunday’s game against the Fenian’s. The march will leave the Kinning Park Louden Tavern at 10.45am. Wearing dark coloured clothing is encouraged. Please pass this on to fellow Rangers supporters. “UB07.”

Match commander Superintendent Alan Murray revealed Police Scotland is now looking into the controversial flyer. He said: “We are aware of a planned fans’ march on Sunday and would urge supporters not to join in.

Large groups of fans moving together can cause problems and I am asking fans to make their way to the ground as normal. We are aware of the content of the advert connected to the march, which permission has not been granted for.

A criminal investigation has been launched into the wording and logo of the advert.”

The fan pages have called for Police Scotland to take action against the Union Bears, with the statement: “The time to act is now, when the incitement is so explicit as it is with the Union Bears’ poster.

Waiting until after the called-for assaults have taken place is not an option. There is no place for this in football and there is no place for this in Scotland.” (Evening Express)



11 Mar 2018: Hundreds join Rangers v Celtic game march in defiance of police

Hundreds joined in a Rangers ultras fans group-organized march promoted by a sectarian hate-filled flyer which also depicted a Celtic supporter being booted on the ground. The, “Goodnight Green and White” banner was draped across a large group of face covered, balaclava-wearing marchers at the front.

The marchers set off red, white and blue smoke bombs in support of the Union and sang celebratory Rangers songs and sectarian offensive songs including “Follow, Follow” containing the “f*** the Pope and the Vatican”.

The police who had urged Rangers fans to boycott the unauthorized march have launched a probe into Rangers fan group the Union Bears. (Evening Express)




15 Mar 2018: Fake news:

To MSP Members of the Tory Party Rangers Football Club

I’m writing to hopefully discuss the disgusting scenes witnessed at Ibrox yesterday. I have attended hundreds of football matches at Ibrox, Parkhead And Hampden but I have never seen a Rangers supporters march like yesterday. As a Rangers supporter, it’s safe to say I was afraid for my safety and that of Celtic fans also attending.

I appreciate there’s not a huge amount that can be done following the recent removal from statute, by the Unionist parties at Holyrood, of the SNP government anti-social behaviour legislation, but I am keen to know your thoughts on the matter, none the less, and hoped as the Tory Party is the main opposition, they would be the best body to contact.

I know I speak for the majority of Rangers fans when I say that we can’t accept what happened yesterday getting swept under the rug by the Unionist supporting, media, press and BBC.

What follows, in case of interest, are the lines the Scottish Conservatives have put out today 14 Mar 2018.

“The “Union Bears” organized illegal march on Sunday before the match ruined what should have been a great advert for Scottish football.

It is understood that Police Scotland have set up a unit to investigate the matter further, and the Tory Party would urge them to ensure that all routes are taken to identify and charge anyone involved in criminal acts.

The hard work of footballing authorities, the police, football teams and their supporters has meant that significant progress has been made in the past two decades in making attending football matches in Scotland safer and more enjoyable, sadly the scenes on Saturday represent a significant setback for that progress.”

This is not the end of this matter, but I hope you can see from the above that we have made a start in getting to the bottom of this, with a view to ensuring that all relevant lessons are learned.

With very best wishes: Glasgow Rangers Football Club Conservative Party MSP’s (




14 Mar 2018: Forum members comments:

* Bravo the Tory Party. I actually trust it to do their best for us.
* I’m heartened to read that response from the Tory Party
* Thank you Tory MSP’s. I trust the party will be vigilant when the SNP and Labour attempt to whitewash this affair.
* If this party was in charge, they would get more votes.
* One of the reasons why I voted Conservative for the first time in recent elections.
* That is the difference between a real political party and a shower of charlatans (SNP and Labour).
* Impressed with that response.
* That reply is very good. Hope they deliver.
* Good reply, The SNP could learn from the Unionist Tory Party.
* This is the result of voting Conservative in the Glasgow region. Don’t give SNP or Labour your votes, they despise Gers fans not like the Tory’s who love us.
* This is one of the reasons I voted conservative for the first time
* Excellent response. I don’t know why we don’t vote more conservative in Scotland.
* A good reply. Glad to see that we have someone our side.
* Best political response so far…..sadly maybe the only one. Sunday’s troubles and concerns should transcend politics.
* Excellent reply from the Tory party. It’s good to know we have politician’s in our corner. I may need some advice later.
* The Tory’s have just gained a vote for the next election. Bravo. But hopefully they will keep to their word and clamp down on the Ultra’s.




Read also:





Background Information – The Baby Box Aberdeen Councillor – Claire Louise Imrie






Claire Louise Roe

b1976 – Lived in Southend, England. Parents divorced and she returned to Scotland with her mother.

Son, Cameron Roe, b 2001. Raised child as a single mother.

2015: Married Neil Martin Imrie. Recently announced she was with child. Due Aug 2018.

Parents: Father: Michael David Roe: b1956, Southend-On-Sea, England. Prison Service Officer. Resides England.

Mother: Karen Fraser Lovie: b1955 Aberdeen, Scotland. Divorced. Re-married Gary Trimmer 2000. Employed Aberdeen Council. Resides Aberdeenshire.

Education: Thorpe Bay High School (Near Southend-On-Sea) Secondary Education

Voluntary Community Service:

C-Fine Enterprises Ltd. ( Charity operates food banks, good neighbours schemes.
Aberdeen performing Arts Committee
Gordon Highlander Museum Committee
Macdonald Art Committee
Rubislaw Field Committee
Friends of Hazlehead Park




Elected Councillor (Tory Party) for Queens Cross, Countesswells & Hazlehead, May 2017


Jun 2017 – to date: Dishy Dogs Ltd. (production and retailing of spicy sausages. Owns and operates enterprise together with her husband Neil.

Jul – Sep 2016: Events Consultant. 11th Annual Asset Integrity Management Aberdeen.

Jan 2009 – Jun 2016: Clerical duties. The Wood Group.

2004 – 2013: Part time Photographic and fashion modelling for a number of Agencies.

1994 – 2003: No record of employment in 9 years. Aged 18 – 27 years old.





8 Mar 2018: The Baby Box Story

The baby Box story first appeared in the the Unionist local rag,  The Press & Journal quoting Louise saying:

“I am lucky enough not to require a box which, in my opinion should be provided only to those in most need. Aberdeen Council, of which I am a Councillor, produced a working budget for the current year with reduced resources unlike the SNP government who are insisting on the provision of unnecessary provisions such as baby boxes which should be means tested. I intend donating mine to the CFINE foodbank where I am a volunteer helper” (paraphrased)



Willie Young gets involved accusing the midwife of completing the application form then attempts to deny it!!!




Government and SNP Councillor Reply

A Scottish Government spokeswoman stated: “Every baby born and living in Scotland is entitled to a Baby Box, but parents must opt in to the scheme by registering at an existing midwife appointment, or via their family nurse.

“The registration form must be signed by both the parent and the healthcare professional to validate the claim.”

SNP Councillor Michael Hutchison said: “I fundamentally disagree with the principle of means testing the baby box, but let’s consider how absurdly impractical means testing would be.

“What sort of cut-off are the Tories and Jennifer Stewart suggesting? Would we be taking baby boxes back from mothers-to-be if they get a pay-rise before they give birth? Or would it be phased, with a few less [items] if you earn more, up until you just get an empty box?”






Unionist Councillor Supporters Have Their Say

She was backed by former Lib/Dem now Independent Councillor, Jennifer Stewart who called the boxes a “vanity project. Adding most people I know wouldn’t want to put their baby in a box and neither would I.”






Readers Have Their Say:

Anonymous: The box only comes if she signs for it. She did not have to sign for it. This is gesture politics of the worst kind…
Gordon Anderson: I suppose if she gets prescribed Paracetamol from her GP she would take that too and donate it to CFINE. Oh look at me I can afford this not like you plebs. How lucky am I……… Patronizing git!
hoddles10: “People like me shouldn’t get baby boxes. Where do I sign to get one?” Laughable nonsense from a Tory Councillor.
ntg61: If she bothered to take any notice she would know that she already has the option of refusing to take one just as my daughter did for hers.  Unfortunately she is a Tory politician so can’t stop herself making a political point about this initiative rather than praising it for helping out less well advantaged mothers.
Terry Arthur: Using her own unborn just shows how low the Tories will go to try and score a few points. Why did she apply for it in the first place?
jdmanjohn: What a horrible woman she is, why on earth did she apply for it if she didn’t need it? Anything for an SNP bad story eh!




Comment: A background search of her wider family group reveals no evidence of any political preference, with one exception. Her husband Neil. A declared Unionist. Claire is extremely photogenic, as are the other Lovie ladies and it is not surprising she enjoyed a successful career as a model. She is a talented, well intentioned, hard working lady who should do well in politics, always provided she avoids petty political punch-ups; eg. the baby-box fiasco. Caroline Lucas (Green Party leader) would be a much better choice for her, as a role model than Ross Thomson.



Lauren Apfel – A Wonderful Mother and a Lady Unafraid to Voice Her Opinion Regardless of Favour – And She Is Married to Adam Tomkins (MSP)





Lauren Apfel – A lady of Principle

Lauren Apfel is married to Adam Tomkins (MSP.) They have 4 children, including one set of twins. Lauren is an American Jew. She was born in New York. The children are raised and schooled in the Jewish Faith.

Her parents Richard Apfel & Sharon Bickler were married in 1966. They had 3 children. The marriage ended when Lauren was still young.

Her father departed the scene to operate his own Media Services Company whilst Sharon went on to marry the brilliant head trauma safety expert, Dr CJ Abraham. The combined “new” family increased in size to around 8-9 in total and reside in Great Neck, New York.

Lauren was a very gifted scholar who graduated from a number of “Top” universities in the USA. She then moved to England attending Oxford University studying the classics, literature and ancient history. Her sister Gillian, also a gifted scholar is a senior diplomat with the US State Department and admires Hilary Clinton

Lauren met her future husband, Adam Tomkins at Oxford. She put a very promising career in journalism on hold so that she would be able to raise her ever increasing family giving them all of her attention, a sacrifice, gleaned from her writing she does not regret. She publishes an excellent magazine/blog for thinking mothers.

Tomkins himself was also a gifted scholar and has written and published many academic books/publications. His swearing an oath of allegiance to HM Queen Elizabeth at the time he took up politics with the Tory Party could be likened to the Pope expressing solidarity with the Ulster Unionists. A strange event indeed. The SNP would have been a better fit.

Lauren however has no doubts about the fit of her politics and the British royalty. They don’t and she is to be admired for her honesty. The article, written and published by Lauren is printed below. Happy reading indeed.




22 Jul 2013: Lauren Apfel takes Britain to task for allowing the continuation of a governmental system that relies on the existence of a Royal family – Princes Are for Fairy Tales

Am I the only person in the world today not going gaga over the arrival of the royal baby?

Don’t get me wrong: it’s not that I don’t like the royal baby. I’m sure His Royal Highness is practically perfect in every way, and I, too, will wait with bated breath for the release of his first picture spread. It’s that I don’t like the royal baby.

Maybe this is because I am an American in Britain who nurtures a homegrown belief in the principle of the republic despite living in a country manifestly the opposite. Maybe it’s because, as a longtime student of political philosophy, I have a distaste for unelected power. Or maybe it’s because, as a parent, I just don’t care for princes and princesses, whatever form they come in.

Americans use the phrase “British royalty” loosely. In the glossy magazines, the expression refers to celebrities whose fame and whose children’s names and faces have managed to cross the popularity divide of the Atlantic Ocean. But as much as we lump William and Kate together with, say, David and Victoria Beckham as examples of A-listers who hail from Britain, the quotation marks matter. The metaphor of royalty is different from its reality.

The reality is that this baby is not a Beckham or a McCartney or a Connery. He is a Windsor, and that is a surname that comes with serious consequences — perhaps not to people in the United States, where political position isn’t so overtly contingent on lineage, but to those of us who reside on this small island, and to our children’s standing as subjects, not citizens.

The truth of the matter is that British people are both subjects and citizens. Britain is a constitutional monarchy, with a prime minister who is elected and a queen who is not. Many Brits take comfort in the idea that the sovereign is a figurehead. They indulge in the pomp and circumstance of royalty, the jubilees and the garden parties, all the while knowing that their true interests are represented by a Parliament of their own choosing. But the influence of the Crown, as an institution, goes well beyond the symbolism of Victoria sponge cake.

For the queen is still the head of state, the public face of this nation, which is something my child can never be. Your American child, on the other hand, very well might. Every child in the United States who is a natural-born citizen has the potential to be president. This is an equality of opportunity for which our founding fathers fought hard. It is the point Johann Hari was making when he quipped: “The American head of state grew up with a mother on food stamps. The British head of state grew up with a mother on postage stamps.” It is also the point Jaime Moore was making when, in a stunning series of photographs, she posed her 5-year-old not as a princess, but as a candidate for the highest office in the land.

The existence of royalty raises a special problem for our daughters. We are awash in a “princess” culture, in which girls — very little girls — idolize a subset of characters distinguished mainly by their cinched waistlines, their ability to accessorize with a diadem, and an arbitrary title. Our daughters need real heroes to emulate, the argument goes: women who can be admired for their strength of purpose, their brains, their prowess. Women who can be admired for the fact that they have achieved their status as heroes precisely because of these qualities.

Alas, real princesses do not fall into this category, either. They have the capacity to achieve, of course, but their royal status is not dependent on it. For that, there is only inheritance or marriage. A princess, as Peggy Orenstein notes in her brilliant book “Cinderella Ate My Daughter,” is “special” and “elevated” by her mere existence. She doesn’t actually have to do anything, except perhaps look good.

Among the Cinderella-like attributes Ms. Orenstein lists as the ones young girls aspire to are the desire to “please everyone, be very thin and dress right.” This describes some of the members of the Disney pantheon, to be sure, but it also describes, to a tee, the features of Kate Middleton with which we are particularly obsessed — not to mention those of Princess Diana before her.

Now there is a new royal in town. Our continued, collective interest in the Prince of Cambridge will be because he is a celebrity baby, but it will also be because he is third in line to the British throne. This is why, even as a lover of birth announcements, my enthusiasm is damp at best.

The message royalty sends to our children — the one about meritocracy, just as much as the one about aesthetics — is all the more suspect when it comes in flesh and blood. Prince Charming, at least, can be explained away as so much make-believe. Which is exactly what I tell my own children: princes and princesses belong in fairy tales, not in real life.



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



4 Mar 2018: Facing Up to the Reality of Brexit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tenant Farmers Meet to Protest



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

The company is a subsidiary of:

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

Tarras Park is in turn a subsidiary of:

(2) Buccleuch Properties Limited, a BEL company.

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

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


Duke of Buccleuch



Brexit – National Farmers Union Policy Statement

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



Brexit – Tory Government Proposed Policies

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



2 Mar 2018: Campaigning for Scotland the Brand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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


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





Karin Bowie  University of Glasgow

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















































The 1707 Treaty of Union – Rules of Government

Article 1

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

Article 2

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

Article 3

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

Articles 18-19

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

Articles 20-21

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

Articles 22-23

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

Article 24

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

Article 25

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

Rules of Trade

Article 4

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

Article 5

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

Article 6

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

Article 7

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

Article 15

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

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

Article 16

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

Article 17

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

Tax Rules

Articles 8-14

Scotland will pay

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

Scotland will not pay

  • duties on stamped paper, vellum and parchment.





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



Douglas Gordon Ross:

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



Expected Earnings 2017-18:

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




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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Ross – The Local Councillor

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

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

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

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




7 Nov 2014: Ross Sacked By Moray Council

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

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

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

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



Ross – The MSP

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

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



Ross – The MP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Ross – In the Commons

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

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

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

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

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




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




Foreign Policy and Defence

He consistently votes against more EU integration

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

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

He consistently votes against UK continued membership of the EU




Constitutional Reform

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

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




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

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

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

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



Register of Members’ Interests

1. Parliamentary Salary

£76,000 p/a.


2. Other Earnings

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

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



3. Other Financial support

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

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

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

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



4. Visits outside the UK

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



Ross and the EU Referendum

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




Ross – Soccer & Politics

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

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




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

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

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




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

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

Payments received from UEFA:

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

Payments received from FIFA:

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




Ross and the Gypsy Travellers

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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