Part 7 the Scottish Highlands has the most unequal distributions of land in Europe- More than half of Scotland is owned by fewer than 500 people

 

 

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The 1707 Acts of Union supposedly joined Scotland and England together as equal partners but Janus faced England had another agenda that did not include a partnership in any shape or form.

Its motto then was and still is “to the conqueror goes the spoils. “

The situation in Scotland in 1707 mirrors events in Catalonia in 2017.

Mass protests and 90% majority against the union.

But Scotland in 2014 failed to get a majority of the electorate to support independence. And it remains uncertain there will ever be a referendum in which a majority of Scots will vote to break free from the shackles of serfdom imposed upon them by a rich and powerful English elite.

The purpose of this blog is to provide an analysis of significant events over the past 300 years exposing the cynical exposure to and the imposition of the “Stockholm Syndrome” on the People of Scotland.

The book “Highland Resistance” by Iain Fraser Grigor tells the story of anti-landlord agitation and direct-action land-raiding from the great sheep-drives in Sutherland at the end of the eighteenth century, on through the anti-eviction resistance that characterised the worst years of the notorious Clearances, and on again by way of the huge crofters’ agitation of the 1880s to continuing inter-war raiding and reform and the last great land-grab at Knoydart in the 1940s.

The aggressive and confrontational behaviour of the English government, before the signing of the 1707 Acts of Union and the brutality of the Whig government after is revealed in the book and I highly recommend it as a read.

Three extracts from the book are provided below. The content is heartrending.

Scotland will only gain freedom from England when Scots are fully aware of the systematic indoctrination and subjugation imposed upon them by a Westminster government which takes every pound from scots and gives them 10 pence in return in the form of a grant then castigates Scots as a nation of lazy, drunken, drug-taking, wife-beating, bastards who are wholly reliant upon England for handouts to survive.

 

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300 + Years of Conditioning – Is it any wonder some Scots think the Union is a good thing for Scotland

As early as the 1730s, with the ink scarcely dry on the Treaty of Union, George Buchanan’s Latin histories of Scotland were alleged as unfit to be ‘put in the hands of our Scotch youth while at school, now there is a Union between the two Kingdoms, for fear of awakening that Old National Grudge, that should now be sopited [suppressed as discreditable] and industriously forgotten’.

In the second half of the same century, the government’s censors extended this animosity to the theatre.

The Lord Chamberlain’s office refused a licence for the performance of Duval’s Prince Charles Stuart, for instance, and granted permission only to plays which portrayed the Scots as quaint pastoralists or comic characters, and which ridiculed Scottish manners, character, and speech.

And by the middle of the following century, with the Knoydart Clearances satisfactorily completed, the Times could assert that ‘Scotland is a country manifestly in want of a grievance.

She labours under the weariness of attained wishes and the curse of granted prayers. Good fortune has joined her inseparably to the richest and most enterprising nation of modern times. Never was a territory north of Latitude 55 Degrees so favoured before’.

An echo of these sentiments is still found with reference to the modern Highlands. Consider a humorous item in the Daily Telegraph Peter Simple column from the autumn of 1981.

“Clackies, as these small, tough unusually ferocious dogs are called in Scotland, tend to bight anyone they can get at on sight. They were formerly used by landlords’ agents to evict crofters in the West Highlands. A couple of Clackies down the chimney would soon have the crofters and their families outside and running for their lives”.

This item was judged so excessively funny that, with an admirable economy of effort, it was reprinted fifteen months later in the same column: “In the days of the Highland clearances, they were used by landlords’ agents for evicting obstinate crofters. A couple of Clackies down the chimney had the wretches out in seconds, running for their lives in the direction of the nearest port where they might hope to get a boat for Nova Scotia”.

This same sort of pertinaciously generous humour was detectable at the Isle of Eigg “Games” in 1984.

The festivities commenced the evening prior to the Games themselves with a cricket-match (for which the proper gear and costume was plentifully supplied) on that island beach where once the Norsemen hauled their longships for easy respite from the Minch, and across which at dusk cries rang in tones appropriate to such spirit as these Games, in such a location, may be thought to represent.

The following morning, things got underway with a suitable seriousness.

“The McVaugh family had flown in from Philadelphia despite imminent business meetings in Tokyo and Paris. Distant German cousin Axel von Schellenberg had arrived that morning from Frankfurt, chartered a helicopter at Glasgow airport and landed on the croquet lawn.

The Clanranalds (led by Ranald MacDonald, Chief of Clanranald and Hereditary Chief of the Western Isles) wore kilts during the windsurfing.

The Great Eigg Campaign re-enacted the bloody struggles between the Hanoverians and the Jacobites. Barbour jackets and wine-bottles littered the verandah. Dimly I could see a figure under an enormous white pith helmet, standing in a jeep which proudly bore the Union Jack flag’.

Or consider the opinions attributed to an interviewee by Vogue magazine in the same recent period, and happily published without apparent thought given to the appropriate race-relations legislation.

According to Vogue, the traditional [sic] west-Highlander was ‘sloppy and dirty. They lie. They are fantasists with a babbling loquacity and an inability to look people in the eye’.

Or again, as another observer of this ‘traditional’ Highland scene in 1990 counselled in a local newspaper its indigent readers: ‘Local people do not want to work. They are unreliable. It is outsiders who achieve things here, not your Highlanders and Islanders.

Be less anti-English, without us you would have drifted off into the Atlantic by now’.

And yet, and yet: the record of popular struggle, of popular aspiration to some sort of cultural and national integrity, will not lie down, will not be written, or humoured, or patronized, out of its own history. Many Highland writers have born witness in recent years, and in a very direct way, to this tradition of struggle.

 

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Concentration of Ownership

In the mid-1970s records revealed that:

“One hundred and forty individuals or companies owned just under half the Highlands.

Four individuals owned just under half a million acres.

Seventeen individuals or companies owned sixty-nine percent of the land of Caithness.

Thirty-eight owned eighty-four percent of the land of Sutherland.

Eighty owned fifty-seven percent of Inverness-shire.

Sixty-seven owned eighty percent of the land of Argyll.

Seventy-six owned eighty percent of the land of Ross and Cromarty.

Sixty-three owned sixty-two percent of the land of Perthshire’.

And in the early 1980s, a report on land ownership and use in the Highlands and Islands identified aged and absentee landlords as a major factor in the under-utilization of land in the area.

It added that the popular image of the absentee Highland landlord as the product of an English public school, followed by perhaps Oxbridge or the Services, was accurate.

About half of the landowners in the north of Scotland could be regarded as absentee.

Of those of who were listed in Who’s Who, more than two-thirds had attended public schools – and of the forty-six who had attended university, Oxford was almost the exclusive choice.

Many landowners had a background that included some military training and almost one-third still retained their military titles.

No less than half of the estates which had titled owners a full century earlier remained in the possession of the same family.

 

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The Forestry Development Rip off

In the 1980’s entertainers and television presenters, (some of whom are still around today) milked the public purse by buying into dubious Scottish forestry schemes allowing them to get rich quick at the expense of Scottish taxpayers.The controlling factor was the was to provide tax-break schemes for the very rich.

Many experts heavily criticized the schemes as being “barely competent”. Of some proposed plantations, an added comment stated that it was “difficult to avoid the conclusion that they are simply thinly disguised deer shelters financed, in considerable measure, out of the public purse”.

One calculation put it like this:

“The gross cost of afforestation work before tax relief of grants is up to £1,000 per hectare spread over the first six years.

Of this £1,000 per hectare, the Forestry Commission gives a grant of £240.

The rest, £760, is your business loss for the year, and under tax schedule D you can claim it against tax which you are paying at 60 percent.

This means that sixty percent of the £760 comes back as tax relief, which means that something like seventy percent of the total cost – excluding the price of the land – is paid for by the taxpayer.

After a relatively small number of years – perhaps ten – the investor can then sell to an institutional purchaser like a pension fund, who have no tax incentives to plant bare land but are prepared to buy plantation land to invest in the physical growth of the crop and the inflation of land and crop values.

The investor can sell at £1,000 a hectare, which means that he gets back £1,000 on land for which he originally paid about £300”.

 

Cumberland – The Butcher of CullodenWilliam Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, 1750 (c)

Part 6 – 300 Plus Years of State Censorship and Brainwashing Is It Any Wonder Some Scots are Frightened wee Souls and Afraid to Vote for Independence

 

 

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Robert Walpole – The first Lord Chamberlin

 

 

 

1745 – George II – The Jacobites and the next 200 years

In July 1745, Charles Edward Stuart, landed in Scotland, forcing George to return to London.

The Jacobites defeated British forces in September at the Battle of Prestonpans, then moved south into England.

But support in England was negligible and much-promised French support failed to materialise.

Morale in the Scottish force was lost and faced with the imminent return to England of the army from Germany the Scots retreated back to Scotland.

In April 1746, the heavily outnumbered and outgunned Jacobites were forced to do battle at Culloden against the 12,000 strong English/European army, led by Prince William, Duke of Cumberland. The ravaged Jacobite troops were heavily beaten.

There were few survivors and those that did escape were hunted down, executed and left unburied where they were found.

Charles escaped to France, but many of his supporters were caught and executed.

Jacobitism was crushed.

 

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During the long reign of his grandson, George III, Britain’s American colonies were lost, the former colonies having formed the United States of America, but British influence elsewhere in the world continued to grow, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created by the Acts of Union 1800.

The union of Great Britain and Ireland into the United Kingdom occurred in 1801 during the reign of King George III.

From 1811 to 1820, George III suffered a severe bout of what is now believed to be porphyria, an illness rendering him incapable of ruling.

His son, the future George IV, ruled in his stead as Prince Regent.

During the Regency and his own reign, the power of the monarchy declined, and by the time of his successor, William IV, the monarch was no longer able to effectively interfere with parliamentary power.

In 1834, William dismissed the Whig Prime Minister, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, and appointed a Tory, Sir Robert Peel. In the ensuing elections, however, Peel lost.

The king had no choice but to recall Lord Melbourne.

During William IV’s reign, the Reform Act 1832, which reformed parliamentary representation, was passed.

Together with others passed later in the century, the Act led to an expansion of the electoral franchise and the rise of the House of Commons as the most important branch of Parliament.

The final transition to a constitutional monarchy was made during the long reign of William IV’s successor, Victoria.

As a woman, Victoria could not rule Hanover, which only permitted succession in the male line, so the personal union of the United Kingdom and Hanover came to an end.

The Victorian era was marked by great cultural change, technological progress, and the establishment of the United Kingdom as one of the world’s foremost powers.

In recognition of British rule over India, Victoria was declared Empress of India in 1876.

However, her reign was also marked by increased support for the republican movement, due in part to Victoria’s permanent mourning and lengthy period of seclusion following the death of her husband in 1861.

Victoria’s son, Edward VII, became the first monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1901.

In 1917, the next monarch, George V, changed “Saxe-Coburg and Gotha” to “Windsor” in response to the anti-German sympathies aroused by the First World War.

George V’s reign was marked by the separation of Ireland into Northern Ireland, which remained a part of the United Kingdom, and the Irish Free State, an independent nation, in 1922.

 

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Back to Sir Robert Walpole – The First Lord Chamberlin

In 1737, Sir Robert Walpole officially introduced statutory censorship, appointing himself to act as a censor of any public theatrical performance or publication.

The Act provided him with the statutory authority to veto anything for any reason, and media outlet owners could be closed down and prosecuted for staging or promoting anything that had not received the prior approval of his office.

This repressive authority remained with the office of Lord Chamberlin for the next 312 years since Members of Parliament in the House of Commons could not present changes to censorship laws because although the Lord Chamberlain exercised his authority under statute law, he was still an official whose authority was derived from the Royal Prerogative. He answers only to the Sovereign.

In 1909, a Joint Select Committee on Censorship was established and recommended that the Lord Chamberlain should continue to act as censor but the proviso that compulsory licencing should be ended.

King Edward VII refused to accept the recommendations.

The outbreak of both World Wars put an end to any parliamentary initiatives to change laws on censorship for many years.

In 1968, another Joint Select Committee debated the issue and presented a solution. This time the argument was centred around the portrayal of living and recently dead individuals, particularly in reference to the monarchy as well as politicians.

After months of heated debate, the powers of the Lord Chamberlain were supposedly repealed.

A 300 + year political battle to reduce state control over any public utterance had been won.

Those who fought to retain the legislation were determined to protect the reputation of the royal family and the political elite, not their oft-made claim to be simply protecting the integrity of the Christian state from obscenity and blasphemy.

 

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The office of Lord Chamberlain

Is always held by a peer and a privy councillor. The present Lord Chamberlin is Earl Peel GCVO PC DL, is the eldest son of Arthur Peel, 2nd Earl Peel, and is a great-great-grandson of Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel.

Formerly, the Lord Chamberlain was a member of the government, appointed by the Prime Minister, and before 1782 the office carried a cabinet rank.

In 1924, when the first Labour government was in power, it was decided by George V that the office should be non-political and that the holder should be appointed “at the king’s pleasure” by agreement between the sovereign and the prime minister.

The Lord Chamberlain thus became all-powerful.

His decisions censorship could not be challenged in the House of Commons since the Lord Chamberlain was a servant of the royal household and answerable only to the sovereign.

The lord chamberlain is the second dignitary of the Royal court, whose office in St. James’s Palace where he is assisted by a sizeable group of staff under a comptroller and an assistant comptroller.

He also has charge of the Diplomatic Corps, (secret services) and all royal court business and of the arrangements for all state functions where he is always in close personal attendance of the queen.

He is a crossbench (non-party) member of the House of Lords and is the conduit of communication between The Queen and The House of Lords and presents daily addresses from the Lords to the Queen and conveys her reply to them.

The same duty is performed for the House of Commons by the Vice-Chamberlain, whose office is still a political appointment.

The vice chamberlain is a member of the government of the day.

The present office holder is the openly gay Brexit supporting, Stuart James Andrew MP, who is the Welsh-born Conservative MP for the Pudsey constituency in West Yorkshire.

 

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Censorship – Walpole’s Strategic Plans for the Subjugation of Scots Unravels

Walpole and his Whigs prepared the ground by transferring taxation away from already rich landowners to the man in the street.

This paved the way for the Highland and Lowland Clearances in which nearly 25% of the Scottish population was forced from their land and sold into bondage to rich landowners in the Americas.

The lands were then illegally given over to English and Scottish peers of the realm for a pittance. Their descendants still own the land.

He then introduced censorship preventing anyone from publishing or promoting anything he considered might assist commoners to harbour any ill-will against Royalty or the Westminster government of the day.

Although supposedly repealed over 200 years later, in 1968 the powers enabling Lord Chamberlin to act in the interests of the Crown still exist.

His office and staff control a wide range of governance and are not responsible for the government of the day.

Two examples, from many thousands of censorship abuse:

1. In the 1960s the British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson was secretly investigated by MI5 on the orders of????? There are so many examples of the interference of the office of Lord Chamberlin in the affairs of the country.

2. The 2014 Snowdon affair and the actions of Sir Jeremy Heywood:

Video footage was released of Guardian editors destroying Snowden hard drives – GCHQ technicians watched as journalists took angle grinders and drills to computers. Britains most senior civil servant,  Jeremy Heywood had previously explicitly warned the Guardian’s editor to stop publishing articles based on leaked material from American’s National Security Agency and GCHQ.

At one point Heywood said: “We can do this nicely or we can go to law”. He added: “A lot of powerful people think you should be closed down.”

 

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Part 5 – Over 100 English Peers and 450 MP’s guilty of Ripping off the Public Purse – and Scots suffered the imposition of more taxes to make good their losses

 

 

 

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1720 – The South Sea Bubble

This was, in its time the largest financial Ponzi Scheme ever created and it involved almost all of Englands’ Peers of the realm, politicians and their toadies who were hell-bent on gathering money to themselves at the expense of the public.

In 1720, in return for a loan of £7 million to finance the war against France, the House of Lords passed the South Sea Bill, which allowed the South Sea Company a monopoly in trade with South America.

The company underwrote the English National Debt, which stood at £30 million, on a promise of an extortionate 5% interest from the Government.

Shares immediately rose to 10 times their value, speculation ran wild and all sorts of companies, some lunatic, some fraudulent or just optimistic were launched.

one company floated was to buy the Irish Bogs, another to manufacture a gun to fire square cannonballs and the most ludicrous of all “For carrying-on an undertaking of great advantage but no-one to know what it is!!” Unbelievably £2000 was invested in this one!

The country went wild, stocks increased in all these and other ‘dodgy’ schemes, and huge fortunes were made.

Then the ‘bubble’ in London burst!

The stocks crashed and people all over the country lost all of their money.

Porters and ladies maids who had bought their own carriages became destitute almost overnight.

The Clergy, Bishops and the Gentry lost their life savings; the whole country suffered a catastrophic loss of money and property.

Suicides became a daily occurrence.

The gullible mob whose innate greed had lain behind this mass hysteria for wealth demanded vengeance.

The Postmaster General took poison and his son, who was the Secretary of State, avoided disaster by fortuitously contracting smallpox and died!

The South Sea Company Directors were arrested and their estates forfeited.

There were 462 members of the House of Commons and 112 Peers in the South Sea Company who were involved in the fraud.

Frantic bankers thronged the lobbies at Parliament and the Riot Act was read to restore order.

As a result of a Parliamentary inquiry, John Aislabie, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and several members of Parliament were expelled in 1721.

King George, I also became involved as his two mistresses, the Countess of Darlington and the Duchess of Kendal, were heavily involved in the South Sea Company and were blamed by the populace as being responsible.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Robert Walpole sorted out the terrible financial mess by splitting the National Debt, (of the defunct South Sea Company), between the Bank of England, the Treasury, and the Sinking Fund, (income put aside each year to cover exigencies).

In doing so he saved many of his fellow peers, royals, and politician speculators from bankruptcy by recovering lots of money for them.

But someone had to pay and Scots were duly hammered with the imposition of an extended period of austerity in which many new commodity taxes were imposed on those who could least afford it.

The rich remained rich at the expense of the poor!!!!.

I am minded of the 2007/2008 banking crash which was attributable to the same 1% of money grabbers.

And they were bailed out at the expense of UK taxpayers by the most incompetent group of Labour and Tory politicians ever to hold office.

And many of them are still around the city of Westminster, government, and banking when they should be in custody.

 

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The Three Amigos (George’s)

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George, I was Elector of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) in the Holy Roman Empire from 23 January 1698, and was crowned King of Great Britain and Ireland in 1714.

His reign ended with his death in 1727.

A largely absent monarch he passed political power to Robert Walpole and the Twigs.

 

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George II

German-born, George, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire, was crowned King of Great Britain and Ireland at the age of 43 and reigned between 1727 – 1760.

He was a short-tempered, boorish man who defied his father and associated with opposition peers, (whom his father mistrusted) and they were at loggerheads for many years.

This eventually led to him and his wife Caroline being banished from the King’s court and barred from seeing their children, who were held by the king.

A situation only resolved when they finally reconciled towards the end of his father’s life.  But he did not attend his father’s funeral.

Many thought that he would dump Walpole but the wily old ratbag persuaded parliament to increase the King’s civil list allowance by around 50% and gained the friendship of Queen Caroline who George adored.

Caroline persuaded her husband to retain Walpole who enjoyed a substantial majority in Parliament.

Britain reopened hostilities with France in 1743.

This was extended by George, to include succession rights in Austria on the death of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI.

He believed Charles’s daughter Maria Theresa should succeed in the Austrian dominions.

A 12,000 strong force was raised and sent to Europe and led by George, fought alongside Austrian, Dutch, Hanoverian and Hessian troops and defeated the French at the Battle of Dettingen on 16/27 June 1743.

George, without conferring with his British ministers, retained the British force near Hanover fearing another French incursion.

The British public was appalled that British soldiers had been deployed to fight in Europe in support of Hanoverians and the government was censured after a heated debate in parliament and was subsequently removed from office in 1746.

Like his father, George II was an absent monarch who passed political power to Robert Walpole and the Twigs.

 

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Frederick

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His son George III

 

Frederick (George)

In the absence of his father, away in Germany Frederick actively campaigned for the opposition in the 1741 British general election which resulted in a hung parliament.

Walpole approached him with the promise of an increased allowance and offered to pay off his debts, but Frederick refused.

This forced Walpole’s resignation and he bowed out of politics in 1742.

English born, the eldest son, Frederick, had a difficult relationship with his father.

He died unexpectedly in 1751, nine years before his father with the result that George II was succeeded by his grandson, George III (mad George) who went on the lose the American colonies.

 

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Part 4 – The English Government Tightens the Screws of Oppression on the Scots – Just Putting Them in Their Place so to Speak

 

 

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General Wade

 

 

Walpole and the Whigs

The Whigs fared badly at the 1724/5 election and lost many supporters but Cock-a-hoop with their malt tax victory Walpoles new government put the boot in and forced more commodity taxes on Scotland.

An increased Scottish presence at Westminster counted for nothing since with a built-in majority guaranteeing its power England cared not a jot for Scottish opinion.

Mindful of General Wade’s attack on Glasgow and the murder of civilians just a year or so before Scots were well aware of the threat of the English military should any violence occur and took a new tack by forming into political groups.

These, in turn, merged and over the next ten years of the Whig government, the movement developed into a potent political force at Westminster.

But victories were not so significant as to cause Walpole to worry unduly.

An early version of the Scottish National Party!!!

But England was not without its problems on the political front as an increasing number of Whigs became disillusioned with Walpole’s authoritarian style of leadership and his foreign and economic policies which alienated the United Kingdom from Europe and the world.

Adopting the title, “The Patriots” a new political grouping evolved and claiming to be the protectors of the unwritten English constitution soon attracted a significant following and the support of the Scottish politicians at Westminster.

At this time also the English press was just taking off with its reach extending outside London into the provinces and the “patriots” were quick to use the new medium to inform the public of their aims and aspirations.

But achieving change was a slow process and political guerilla tactics adopted by the Patriots took time to wear down Walpole and his ultra-right-wing English centred supporters who had ruled the roost for so long years.

The election of 1734 provided an opportunity to challenge Walpole’s Whigs and the “Patriots”, in an alliance with Scottish peers did just that making maximum use of the media to get its message across to the nation.

And the message was!! That there was nothing wrong with the recently formed United Kingdom.

The way forward was to embrace and enhance a fully integrated nation-state under a Protestant monarch.

Scots peers responded positively and support for Walpole’s Whigs in Scotland began to waver.

A new newspaper, the “Thistle” published weekly, was widely circulated in the central belt, less so in the highlands who had not been persuaded to the “Patriot” cause preferring a return of the Stuart divine-right monarchy.

The political message, “there is another way” resonated well with Scots.

The problem for many was “which way”.

 

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Walpole

 

The “Patriots” agenda promoted the message that a victory for the “Patriots” would bring with it a “return to a political system true to the content of the Acts of Union ensuring equal rights for all”.

The strategy failed because of the limited reach of the campaign.

The “Patriots” concentrated their efforts in the professional sectors of Glasgow and Edinburgh and failed to extend it to the rest of Scotland.

So not enough people got the message!!! But they did make inroads in the cities!!

In England Walpole’s Whigs took a beating but retained power which meant that Scotland was bang in the firing line for more harsh treatment at the hands of the Whigs.

 

 

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The Porteous Crisis 1737/38

The crisis brought Scots of all political persuasions together under the “Patriot” banner to protest against Whig government abuse and disrespect of Scottish legal and political autonomy.

It began in the spring of 1736 when two habitual burglars were done for breaking and entering and robbing the Collector of Customs building in Kirkcaldy.

A crime for which they were sentenced to Hang.

While awaiting their execution one of the prisoners aided by the other escaped custody.

The exploits of the condemned men brought support from the public who considered the sentence to be unjust.

But authorities ignored their pleas and went ahead with the execution.

The public execution in the Grassmarket was attended by a large crowd who were vocal in their protests and when the deed was done a few of them started to throw stones at the hangman and his helpers.

This was not an unusual occurrence and usually passed without further incident.

But on the occasion, there was an immediate and brutal response when city guard leader, Captain John Porteous fired into the crowd and ordered his men to do the same.

When the shooting stopped there were eight dead and much more seriously wounded.

The public protested vehemently and Porteous was charged with murder, tried, found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging in the same Grassmarket where he and his men had committed the atrocities.

 

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The unsavory incident would have been closed had the execution been carried out, but Whig peers petitioned the Queen Regent Caroline to suspend the sentence so that appeals could be gathered and presented to the courts.

She duly consented to their request and ordered the Scottish Lords of Justiciary to suspend the sentence for at least 6 weeks.

Edinburgh citizens, sorely aggrieved that they were being denied justice took matters into their own hands, dragged Porteous from the Tollbooth and hanged him in the Grassmarket.

News of the “riot” reached the Westminster government who immediately ordered General Wade and his English forces to Edinburgh to assist in the “speedy and exemplary punishment’ of the riots” “ringleaders and abetters”.

A second large body of English soldiers was moved into Edinburgh castle to patrol the area, conduct “stop and search” patrols and enforce curfews.

The Westminster Whigs also formed a view that the Edinburgh city authorities were at fault.

Opinions that were strengthened in the weeks that followed when no-one had been brought to account.

General Wade complained that: “the magistrates had conspired to allow the murder of Porteous and aided their escape from justice”.

His unfounded assertions provided the catalyst the Whig government had been waiting for and it speedily introduced a new act, the “Bill of Pains and Penalties” and used it against Edinburgh, with the charge that the City authorities had “insulted the royal prerogative”.

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost was arrested and many “Royal” privileges were removed adversely affecting traders and the city was placed in purgatory.

Edinburgh citizens were angry at the actions of the government and questioned the legality of the English moves against the city.

The question most raised was, “what right had been bestowed on Westminster that gave it the authority to punish Edinburgh for a crime involving Scottish citizens, that had taken place on Scottish soil?

Scottish politicians set their petty partisan quarrels and protests were raised at Westminster strongly condemning the Whig government for its, “contradiction to the express Articles of Union”.

But their protests fell upon deaf ears.

Edinburgh was made to pay a heavy fine to the exchequer and every church minister in Scotland was forced to read out a proclamation apologizing for the behavior of Edinburgh citizens.

 

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The Porteous affair was one of many incidents in which the Walpole government protected the military from its excesses, imposed “Martial Law” and committed acts of public violence against the people of Scotland.

What was particularly galling was the unequal treatment of Scottish protestors when rioting in English cities had never been subject to military occupation and martial law.

The Whig victory was pyrrhic since it confirmed what many Scots knew in their hearts that Scotland was not an equal partner in a Union of countries but a colony of England.

The indignities inflicted by Walpole’s Whigs drove some Scots to seek the overturn the British and to invite the return of the Stuart’s to Scotland, but people in the Central belt and lowland parts of the country preferred to remain with the Union hoping for the removal of Walpole’s Whigs and a return to the ideals of the Acts of Union.

Wishful thinking indeed!!!

 

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Part 3 – Whigs transfer burden of Taxation From the Rich Landowners of England to the Poor of Scotland and they are still at it

 

 

 

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The Rise of the Whigs and Sir Robert Walpole

With German “Geordie”, preferring to remain in Germany the newly created United Kingdom was governed by proxy.

The shift of power transferred from the monarch to a council of ministers comprised of Conservatives and Whigs.

The Whigs proved to be the most dominant of the groups and very quickly grew their powerbase at Westminster then extended it to include Scotland, with the active assistance of sycophantic Scottish lords and landowners.

Sir Robert Walpole, The Lord Chancellor, (who later promoted himself as the first-ever Prime Minister of the United Kingdom) took charge of the government in England and quickly extended his powers to include Scotland by roping into the Westminster government a number of Scottish lords who sycophantically toadied to Walpole and to England.

The Scots were pacified by those they thought would defend their rights.

The political establishment continued to exercise control over policy in Scotland through the patronage of the Whigs but an appearance of freedom was “smoke and mirrors” since it was Walpole and his Westminster government that dictated political events in the United Kingdom.

The servile deference to the Whig government, of Scots who attended the Westminster parliament, brought with it the contempt of an English Westminster political elite who viewed them as being open to corrupt influence and especially bribery.

By 1725, the Whigs hold over Scotland and Scottish politics was absolute. The Scottish Secretary, (The Earl of Newcastle) was so confident of his governments’ power he publically stated Scotland to be a nation with, “the reputation of so much complaisance for the powers in being”.

But the complaisance of the Scots was sorely tried in the period 1720-1730 by a Walpole government that destroyed Scottish goodwill through the imposition of a series of financial and legal policies favouring privileged English landholders over Scottish consumers.

 

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Walpole transfers taxation From Landowners to the masses

The Whig agenda under the leadership of Walpole, Lord Chamberlin, was a redistribution of the United Kingdoms tax burden.

The first part of this revenue restructuring programme involved replacing land taxes (helping the rich get richer) with commodities taxes (making the poor even poorer).

The shift to commodities taxes was purely political.

Walpole greatly reduced taxes burden on landholders gaining their allegiance to his Whig Party.

He then followed this up by moving the tax burden away from England to Scotland and in time to other parts of the emerging British Empire.

Walpole’s supporters argued that the treaty of the union “supposed and required equality of taxes between England and Scotland” and it would be unconstitutional for Scots, despite their comparative poverty to pay a penny less than their wealthy southern neighbours.

The cynical approach would bring with its introduction a significant increase in the tax burden of the Scots balance with a massive decrease of taxation on the rich.

The malt tax of 1724–5 was the first of many taxes introduced by the Whigs that created the most regressive form of taxation in the world. An insidious form of repression that has never been reversed.

 

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The Malt Tax Crisis, 1724–5

The English government first attempted to introduce a levy on Scottish malt in 1713, but this failed. But Scots anticipated that Westminster would seek to impose its will at some future date. And it did.

In December 1724 Walpole introduced a proposal to impose a 6d. excise in Scotland on every barrel of ale, (Subsequently reduced to 3d after intense lobbying).

The Scottish response was fast and furious. Scots took to the streets in protest and freeholders in all of the Scottish cities refused to collect the tax, preferring to close their establishments. Petitions were sent to the Westminster government fully supported by all Scottish politicians including those of a Whig persuasion.

Scottish concern about the malt tax was equally about principle and poverty. They believed that Scotland’s poverty made it unable to bear the same share of public burdens as its rich neighbour to the south and if they backed off from the issue the Whig government would introduce more punitive taxes in the future. Enough was enough!! But the legislation was introduced in the face of all of Scotlands opposition

Riots protesting the malt tax swept across Scotland’s cities over the summer of 1725.

There were consequences. In June 1725, about 100 people gathered in Glasgow and marched on the City’s townhouse and destroyed it. The morning after a company of English soldiers was deployed to the city to take control of a number of buildings important to the revenue office. The crowd beat them back and they retreated to barracks.

In July 1725, the brewers of Edinburgh joined together and agreed to stop brewing beer until the malt tax was lifted. Whig politicians worried that it would drive an already unhappy city into outright rebellion and arrested four or five leading Edinburgh brewers, a tactic which scared forty of their fellow brewers into breaking the strike within the week.

In August a the Whig MP for Dundee, Logie was attacked and might have killed but for his rescue by English soldiers.

The Westminster government responded by deploying a large English military force under General Wade, to “march into the City of Glasgow and strike terror into the mutineers in the west”. This he did with great gusto, by first attacking, then firing upon protestors killing several people following this up with the imposition of “Martial Law” and strict curfews and movement of the civilian population.

The Whigs then exacted retribution against the City of Glasgow by arresting a number of City Magistrates and trying them for the crime of “malversation”.

The humiliating public trial of Glasgow’s elected officials was both a warning of the costs of challenging Whig power and a reminder to a colony unwilling to accept its subservience to the whims of the Westminster government.

By arresting elected city officials on trumped-up charges and putting a major Scottish city under military occupation, the Whig ministry displayed a criminal lack of regard for Scotland’s sense of political autonomy and proved yet again that they viewed Scotland as a subordinate colony whose sovereignty and institutions meant nothing to them.

 

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Summary

Commodities taxes like the malt tax disproportionately affected poorer Scots, raising the price of malted barley, which was used not only to make ale but also bread. And beer production which was an important industry in economically downtrodden Scotland.

The malt tax crisis of 1724–5, was an attack on the survival of many Scots and it exposed the Whigs’ financial agenda and disregard for Scottish autonomy and convinced many Whig supporting Scottish politicians that the party did not have Scotlands best interests at heart.

Their protests resulted in them losing the patronage of Walpole and his Westminster government and they were forced to resign from office. Many Scottish Whig ministers elected to support the actions of their government against Scotland and retained their positions of authority.

But the Westminster government “shot itself in the foot” with the imposition of the malt tax since in doing so it alienated Scotland’s Lowland cities that had been had thought to be bastions of Hanoverian Whig support. The loyalties of many Glasgow inhabitants shifted away from the Whigs.

At Westminster, efforts by Scottish representatives to repeal the tax proved futile, though the Whig ministry, in an effort to appease their Whig allies, agreed to apply any tax revenue over £20,000 to a new Board of Trustees for Improving Fisheries and Manufactures, which came into operation in 1727.

The provision, though better than nothing, was hardly a capitulation since England had already promised—and failed—to provide these funds several decades earlier upon passage of the act of union.

The malt tax crisis drew to a close with the Whig ministry completely victorious, though that victory would come with certain political costs. Although these events never turned into an insurrection the incident had a significant impact on the course of Anglo-Scottish party politics.

 

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Opening narrative

Part 1 outlined events from the time of introduction of the 2 crowns through to the period up to the offer by the English of the Acts of Union which were eventually signed in 1707.

In the early part of the century, the English were keen to woo the Scots into an agreement which would lead to an agreement to join the kingdoms in a union. But Scots had endured many English invasions of conquest each of which had eventually failed.

When English wooing faltered and failed to reap the harvest it so wished they reverted to type and set about bullying Scotland into submission by any means.

The process took nearly 50 years but famine, English naval and land army blockades coupled with the military and financial coercion of European countries into avoiding trade with Scotland brought hardship and death on Scots.

The final and brutal betrayal of Scotland by its own King who approved the destruction of the Darien community in the Panama Isthmus aided greatly by the equally treacherous Spanish proved to be the straw that broke the camels back and brought the Scots to the negotiating table.

But the English, fair chuffed with their conquest refused to negotiate and replied with a set of take it or leave it conditions, the signing of which would bind Scotland to England in a treaty of union.

Scots may have been on their knees but they were unbowed and told the English to get stuffed.

But Scotland was betrayed yet again, this time by an unelected cabal of Scottish lords who sold their country out on the promise of the settlement of their individual debt.

 

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Part 2 deals with the first few years after the signing of the Acts of Union. Would the English honour their vows?? Dreamon McDuff!!!!!

 

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1707 Acts of Union – The Early years

Queen Anne was succeeded by her second cousin Sophia in 1714, then Sophia’s son, George I, Elector of Hanover.

German “Geordie”, did not speak English and was not actively involved in the government of his new United Kingdom preferring to exercise physical control over his German kingdoms.

This resulted in a shift of power away from the monarch to his council of ministers, the head of which was Sir Robert Walpole who promoted himself as the first-ever Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Scotlands economy declined markedly as a direct result of the union which brought about a major change in the marketing of goods including the removal of tariffs on goods moving between the countries.

Scottish industries such as linen manufacturing suffered badly because they were no longer shielded from English competition.

The Westminster government’s decision to immediately equalize taxation across the Kingdom increased taxes in Scotland fivefold and was a hammer blow to Scots who had always enjoyed much lower rates of taxation.

But the English needed the money to pay for their expansionist policies and wars against France and other European nations, many of which had been allied to Scotland for centuries.

The increase impacted adversely on key Scottish industries.

The fishing industry was forced to subject to a series of debilitating new salt taxes.

 

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Westminster introduced customs and excise control which brought with it the employment of a huge number of customs and excise officers who introduced and enforced an overpowering number of new bureaucratic procedures.

The result was a marked increase in poverty as finance was taken away from Scotland to feed the gluttony of the English parliament at Westminster.

Adding insult to injury the Westminster government blatantly abused the terms of the Acts of Union by failing to fulfil a commitment to making a £2,000 per annum manufacturing support payment to Scotland for seven years from 1707.

Many years of political debate on the issue finally yielded results in 1727 when the Westminster government reluctantly agreed to make the payment, but only if it was balanced by the removal of a number of tax exemptions that had been granted to a number of struggling Scottish businesses.

Such behavior adding insult to injury would be well-practiced in the years that followed.

Then, in 1713 the Westminster Tory government decided to extend an English malt tax to Scotland provoking major public protests and noncompliance forcing the government to withdraw the tax.

The event viewed by many as the culmination of many acts against the wellbeing of Scots came close to destroying relationships between Scotland and England.

Indeed so strained that a Scottish-led motion to commence proceedings with the intention of dissolving the Union came extremely close to passing in the House of Lords, failing by just four votes.

 

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It also brought the Earl of Mar to the forefront of Scottish politics.

He was a Jacobite by nature and a supporter of the Union but nevertheless pledged his allegiance to George 1 and took umbrage when the king publically snubbed his welcome.

The Earl, who at the time was the “Third Secretary for Great Britain” responded by proposing a Resolution to have the Acts of Union repealed.

When this failed he resigned from the government and returned to Scotland where he continued to agitate for the repeal of the Union.

Then, On 1 September 1715, he raised a standard for “King James VIII” at Braemar and quickly gathered an army of around 10,000 men and started to gain considerable ground in northern Scotland.

But he had made three grave strategic errors

1. James, who was a resident in France had not been advised about the planned uprising.

2. He failed to coordinate his challenge with similar uprisings that occurred in England

3. He was inexperienced in battle and, as events proved a very poor General.

On 13 November 1715, a large part of Mar’s army advancing from Perth met a much smaller government force under John Campbell, the 2nd Duke of Argyll at the Battle of Sheriffmuir, north of Dunblane.

Mar’s forces won the ensuing short battle but he failed to take advantage of an open road south to Glasgow and Edinburgh that would have consolidated his position affording the recruitment of many more to his cause. Instead, he returned to Perth to regroup and consider his options.

Meanwhile, James Stuart was only able to reach Scotland from France on 22 December, when he landed at Peterhead: he was too late, the uprising was all but over.

The Jacobites abandoned Perth on 31 January 1716, and on 4 February James Stuart and John Erskine, 23rd Earl of Mar, sailed out of Montrose, bound for France. Neither would ever return.

The Westminster government got lucky when it weathered the Jacobite uprising of 1715.

A crisis generated by avarice, greed and the mindset of the victor basking in the glory of conquest.

Its arrogant post-union behaviour by the English towards Scotland inflicted extreme hardship on Scots’ through the imposition of hugely unfair taxes and many other suppressive acts.

The Westminster government got lucky when it weathered the Jacobite uprising of 1715.

A crisis generated by avarice, greed and the mindset of the victor basking in the glory of conquest.

Its arrogant post-union behaviour towards Scotland inflicted extreme hardship on Scots’ through the imposition of hugely unfair taxes and many other suppressive acts.

 

 

 

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Opening Narrative

2017 – Catalonia and Spain

Catalonia is a semi-autonomous region in North-East Spain with a distinct history dating back almost 1,000 years.

The wealthy region has about 7.5 million people, with their own language, parliament, flag and anthem.

It also has its own police force and controls some of its public services.

Catalan nationalists have long complained that their region sends too much money to poorer parts of Spain, as taxation is controlled by the Spanish government in Madrid.

Many are also unhappy about constitutional changes imposed by the central government which they believe reduces their autonomy undermining Catalan identity.

In a referendum on 1 October 2017, about 90% of Catalan voters backed independence plunging Spain into its biggest political crisis for 40 years.

The central government retaliated to the threat of a breakaway from Spain by declaring the referendum illegal and suspending Catalan autonomy for almost seven months

In October 2019, Spain’s Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan politicians and activists to jail terms of between nine and 13 years for that independence bid. Three others were fined.

 

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1707 Scotland and England

The situation in Scotland in 1707 mirrored events in Catalonia in 2017.

Mass protests and 90% majority against the union.

But Scotland in 2014 failed to get a majority of the electorate to support independence.

And it remains uncertain there will ever be a referendum in which a majority of Scots will vote to break free from the shackles of serfdom imposed upon them by a rich and powerful English elite.

The purpose of this blog is to provide an analysis of significant events over the past 300 years exposing the cynical exposure to and the imposition of the “Stockholm Syndrome” on the People of Scotland.

Scotland will only gain freedom from England when Scots are fully aware of the systematic indoctrination and subjugation imposed upon them by a Westminster government which takes every pound from scots and gives them 10 pence in return in the form of a grant then castigates Scots as a nation of lazy, drunken, drug-taking, wife-beating, bastards who are wholly reliant upon England for handouts to survive.

 

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1700-1707 – England – Scotland and Spain

In the period 1690-1700, after near seven years of famine in Scotland, large numbers of people were driven from the land to the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh forming large numbers of vagrants, many of whom starved to death in the streets.

Scotlands trade with England and Ireland had also suffered through the application of crippling sanctions on goods and services imposed by the Westminster government.

These were desperate times and a way had to be found to improve Scotland’s economic fortunes before it would be swallowed up by its much richer neighbour south of the border.

The Panama Isthmus presented an opportunity to expand Scotlands trading influence across the Americas to the far east continents.

A colony at Darien would provide a facility allowing goods to be ferried from the Pacific across Panama and loaded onto ships in the Atlantic.

This would fast track Pacific trade improving its reliability.

The added bonus for Scotland would be the gathering of lucrative commissions.

It mattered not that the Spanish had claimed territorial control of large parts of Panama since the English fleet would be there to provide protection of Scottish interests through its unique relationship of a shared monarch.

But events did not unravel as expected. The Spanish and English fleets first blockaded then constantly attacked the Darien community eventually destroying it and just about its entire population.

This effectively bankrupt the Scottish nation bringing it to its knees forcing upon it a few years after the agreement to enter into a union with England.

The union was a scandalous event imposed on Scotland by an expansionist Westminster government determined upon the conquest of smaller nations.

The vast majority of Scots rejected the union and railed against it for many a year thereafter.

 

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Scotland and England Two Kingdoms one King

In the 1690s, many Scots became disillusioned with the off-handed relationship that evolved from the time James VI of Scotland inherited the crown of England in 1603, as James I, in a so-called Union of the Crowns.

Early on in his reign James I arranged regular and frequent meetings with Scottish nobles and the Scottish Privy Council continued to manage the affairs of the country but the Scottish Parliament rarely met and Scots began to feel that their king had abandoned them in preference to England.

Representations to the monarch fell on deaf ears confirming Scottish fears and in the years that followed James and his successors completely gave up on Scotland.

The abject failure to communicate with Scots contributed to growing discontent and in 1641, resulted in Charles being forced to concede powers to the Scottish Parliament.

The settlement stated that the king’s officers of Scotland would be chosen by Scots and Parliament would meet not less than once every three years.

But the English and the Irish were not at all pleased about Scotlands new deal with Charles and it triggered a rebellion in Ireland and civil war in England resulting in the demise of Charles and introduction of Oliver Cromwell and his roundhead army.

Having defeated the Royalists in England and Ireland, Cromwell invaded Scotland and after a short war defeated the Scots and absorbed Scotland into a united British Commonwealth in 1652.

Scots welcomed the Stuarts when Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660 but the honeymoon period did not last for long.

Charles II and his court reverted to behaviour that had brought about the downfall of Charles I treating Scotland as a satellite of England, (just as they did Ireland).

The English Parliament at Westminster offered to give Scots seats in the London based parliament.

This was rejected because Scots would then occupy just a few seats in a House of Commons dominated by English MP’s perpetuating the abuse of their sovereign rights.

 

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change in the Right of Succession imposed by England

On 30 July 1700, William, Duke of Gloucester, the only one of Queen Anne’s children to survive childhood died from Smallpox.

The English parliament decided that the Electress Sophia, from the German principality of Hanover, would succeed Anne.

The English had decided on Sophia because she was a Protestant.

But Anne’s nearest living relative was her Catholic half-brother James Francis Edward Stuart whose father, James II and VII, had been forced to give up the thrones by William of Orange and his wife, Mary Stuart, in 1688–89.

Supporters of James – the Jacobites – campaigned to regain the crowns, with the support of Catholic France and the prospect of another civil war loomed.

But public opinion was divided. A significant number in the central belt of Scotland supported the abdication of James II and VII because it brought with it the removal of the Church of Rome from a dominant position over the religious affairs of Scotland.

Hard-line protestants were ecstatic at the thought of Sophia becoming Queen of Scotland.

The Scottish Parliament infuriated that the English Parliament did not consult them on the choice of Sophia’s family as the next heirs, passed the Act of Security 1704, denouncing “English influence” over Scotlands affairs of state and threated to end the personal union between England and Scotland.

 

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trading – the lifeblood of a nation

The deterioration in cross border relationships increased as each country developed its own trade policies and markets.

Both were determined to protect their home markets achieving this through the introduction of tariffs on an ever-expanding range of goods reducing trade making foreign trade a necessity.

England successfully expanded its trade with its overseas colonies through its exclusive use of the English, East India Company.

Then a setback for Scotland, in the mid-1690s cold weather caused successive crop failures and famine in parts of Scotland destroyed many farming communities. The Scottish economy was hard hit.

In 1695 the Scottish Parliament wrote to King William about the “great discouragements to trade” and an “increase of poor” and begged him to allow a jointly funded trading company to be founded with the purpose of developing overseas trading markets.

William was supportive but his advisors at Westminster counselled that any new venture would present a threat to the English funded East India Company.

William heeded their advice and refused to support any attempts to raise English capital for the proposed venture.

In the face of stiff opposition from William and Westminster and with its back to the wall the Scottish Parliament authorised the creation of a new Scottish overseas trading company, to be funded entirely from the already struggling Scottish economy.

The Darien venture, establishing a trading base on the Isthmus of Panama evolved from this.

The English response was an immediate and brutal spoiler, the introduction of the “English Navigation Act” barring any overseas colony from trading with or supporting anyone associated with or part of the Darien colony in Panama.

Scottish ports were blockaded by the English navy and many Scottish vessels bound for Europe were boarded, cleared of personnel and sunk

William of Orange also threatened the imposition of an English navy embargo on the ports of any European country who traded with Scotland and with the largest navy in the world at his disposal his was no idle threat.

Westminsters plan to starve Scotland into submission was very real indeed.

The Spanish, who jealously protected their investment in the Panama Isthmus blockaded the Darien port attacking it repeatedly.

Its blockade, supported by the English navy starved the community of any resupply of food, water or contact with Scotland.

Denied assistance the Scottish colony was eventually wiped out and the Scottish economy was ruined.

In 1704, the Scottish Parliament brought to its knees by England proposed a “treaty” on trade supported in perpetuity with the introduction of new laws securing the liberty, religion, and independency of Scotland.”

England’s response, in 1706 was a “Treaty of Union” offering free trade but only in return for a full union of the kingdoms and parliaments.

Scots were not impressed. One political commentator of the period said, “all the Sugar of the English plantations shall not be able to sweeten” the loss of Scotland’s independence.

 

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The Act of Union

The Scottish and English parliaments negotiated, the Acts of Union 1707, under which England and Scotland were united into a single Kingdom of Great Britain, with succession under the rules prescribed by the Act of Settlement.

Dozens of Scottish burghs, shires and parishes sent petitions signed by tens of thousands of people to the Scottish parliament protest and Presbyterians and Jacobites, who fundamentally disagreed on just about everything, formed a coalition in opposition against the proposed union.

The coalition stated that Parliament should “listen to the mind of the nation”. It didn’t.

In 1707 Scots cherished their realm as an ancient and honourable kingdom with an unbroken line of kings from 330 BC.

Accepting that their nation was not powerful or rich they were proud that it had maintained its independence for nearly 2000 years.

A majority of Scots regarded the prospect of the union as a dishonourable conquest by England.

A 1706 Poem “Upon the Union” said of the English. They are: “inveterate enemies who trample on our laws, and us despise”, and asked: “and shall we our scars forget? And to our ruine be now more unite?”

 

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The Scottish legal system

England and Scotland had their own long-established distinct systems of law and justice and each country zealously guarded their courts of law.

As the treaty of union approached a union of English and Scottish law was considered to be impossible.

With result that the terms of the union treaty maintained Scots law, the Scottish Courts of Session and Judiciary and legal offices such as Lord Advocate.

But the new British parliament was empowered to make new laws for Scotland and to reform old laws where necessary.

 

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the Presbyterian Church

Many Presbyterians in Scotland baulked at the concept of closer union with Anglican England.

They feared that the Scottish church would be swallowed up by its Anglican counterpart, and they objected to the presence of bishops in the House of Lords.  But they are still there in 2019!!!!

They also remained committed to the 1638 National Covenant and the 1643 Solemn League and Covenant, which affirmed the Presbyterian nature of the Scottish church and advocated the reformation of the English church which was still modelled around Church of Rome procedures and statutes.

Addressing fears about the loss of the Scottish church, a special act guaranteed that the Presbyterian church would continue for “all-time coming”.

This increased Presbyterian support for the union.

But, their joy was shortlived not long after the union the British parliament began to exert increasing control over the Scottish church and this led to the formation of the Free Church of Scotland in 1843.

 

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The Scottish Borders Council

The appalling record of the Tory Councillors in control of the Borders Council from 2007-2012 (see part 3) convinced the electorate of the urgent need to remove the Tory party from office.

After the 2012 election, the Scottish National Party formed a coalition with the support of Independents and Liberal Democrats repeating the ping pong pattern now common in the Borders where the electorate loyalty is split between Tory and SNP giving the Independent Councillors group the power of deciding which party will manage the Council for the next 5 years.

 

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Enter Michelle Ballantyne

In 2012 Ballantyne was first elected as a local councillor on Scottish Borders Council, leading the Conservative Party Group. She was re-elected in 2017.

She gave up her post with the Council following the resignation of a Tory list MSP at Holyrood. In May 2017 she was appointed to the Scottish Parliament as a list MSP for the South Scotland region.

In her position as Leader of the Tory Group, she worked around 16 hours weekly for which she received a remuneration of between £20,000 – £25,000.

Additional perks of the post included the use of a mobile phone, Provision of a laptop and reimbursement of mileage and associated expenses.

 

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Double-jobbing Michelle is to donate her Councillor salary to Haining charity

On Sunday 9 July, Ballantyne was one of several MSPs featured in a national newspaper report of “double-jobbing” Scottish parliamentarians who make money from other jobs on top of their £61,778 MSP’s salary.

In the week back in early May 2017 when Ballantyne was re-elected to serve the Selkirkshire ward for the Conservatives on Scottish Borders Council, she also learned she was about to become an MSP.

At the time, Ballantyne, who had led the Tory group at Newtown, said she would continue as a backbench councillor for the foreseeable future.

Responding to the Sunday article Ballantyne who is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Haining Trust said: “From this month, I will be donating my councillor’s salary to the Haining Charitable trust.”

More here: https://www.bordertelegraph.com/news/15405768.double-jobbing-michelle-donates-salary-to-haining-charity/

 

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Her approach to politics was encouraging. She offered the public the following:

“We will not agree on every issue. But let us respect those differences and respect one another.

Let us recognize that we do not serve an ideology or a political party, we serve the people.

To me that is the backbone of what politics is about – everyone wants the best for our country and our communities what makes us different is how we believe we can achieve the best outcome for the people we serve.”

 

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But her promotion to the Tory MSP group front bench after less than a year at Holyrood as shadow social security secretary exposed her to be a typical bellicose Tory who fully supports the ultra right-wing agenda of Boris Johnson and his cronies at Westminster. So much for serving the people.!!!

Contrary to her rhetoric in the time since her appointment has boosted her public profile by introducing “wrecking ball” tactics to Scottish politics.

Comparing her to Tory Party politicians of the past she would not be misplaced if likened to Enoch Powell.

 

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Here are a few of her foot in mouth utterances:

Michelle Ballantyne Mocks the poor

Michelle Ballantyne, the Tory Party shadow social security secretary, has been accused of showing a “callous indifference” to inequality after sharing a Facebook post about wealth distribution and benefits which insisted “you cannot legislate the poor into prosperity, by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity”. Critics condemned the comments as “completely heartless”.

The Facebook message she shared outlined what it called the “five best sentences”.

These included: “What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.”

“The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.”

“You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”

“When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work, because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work, because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation!”

The post asked: “Can you think of a reason for not sharing this? Neither could I.”

More here: https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17984973.scottish-tory-msp-condemned-completely-heartless-facebook-post

 

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Tory List MSP Michelle Ballantyne slated over new health service gaffe

Ballantyne is facing criticism after remarking at the end of a Tory-led debate on health at Holyrood that she would be “quite happy if the government had nothing to do with the running of the NHS.”

She went on to say that the Scottish Government should not use the health service as a political football or micro-manage it.

Her critics suggested it was a Tory nod towards privatisation.

More here: https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17548733.tory-msp-slated-over-new-health-service-gaffe

 

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Tory List MSP Michelle Ballantyne lambasted after defending the Rape clause and two-child limit on tax credits

The South Scotland Conservative list MSP came in for widespread condemnation for her defence of universal credit and its two-child limit for benefit handouts during a Scottish Parliament debate on poverty and inequality last week.

Since then she has received calls for her to resign from her position and been dubbed a hypocrite.

More here: https://www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk/news/michelle-ballantyne-msp-bites-back-calls-her-resignation

 

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SNP accuse Tory MSP of ‘chilling indifference’ towards benefit changes

The SNP has accused the Scottish Conservatives’ welfare spokeswoman of “chilling indifference” towards pensioners who could miss out on benefit payments due to Westminster reforms.

Michelle Ballantyne was asked in a Holyrood committee yesterday if she would support a cross-party letter to the UK Government calling for a delay to pension credit changes.

The Tory MSP replied: “Do I care one way or the other? I probably do not, actually, if I am honest, because I am not sure that you will neccessarily get a rush of people taking it up unless some good work is done to advertise it.”

It follows UK Government reforms which will force mixed-age couples to apply for Universal Credit instead – meaning a cut in income of up to £7000 a year.

https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/snp-accuse-tory-msp-of-chilling-indifference-towards-benefit-changes-1-4920251

 

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Michelle Ballantyne MSP: ‘People on benefits cannot have as many children as they like’

A Conservative MSP has told Holyrood that people on benefits cannot have “as many children as they like”.

Michelle Ballantyne made the comment during a debate on inequality.

Prompting a strong reaction in the chamber, she said: “The two-child limit is about fairness.

It is fair that people on benefit cannot have as many children as they like while people who work and pay their way and don’t claim benefits have to make decisions about the number of children they can have.

“Universal Credit may have its flaws, but the thinking behind the system is sound.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-45970837/michelle-ballantyne-msp-people-on-benefits-cannot-have-as-many-children-as-they-like

 

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Tory MSP gets a kicking after another own goal in Scottish parliament

If Michelle Ballantyne did not exist she would have to be invented by the SNP and, indeed, Labour.

The South of Scotland Tory has been a member of the Scottish parliament for only two years but she has made a greater mark on it than many of her more established colleagues.

She is a natural goal-scorer; unfortunately, she scores all her goals at the wrong end.

Previous Ballantyne own goals have been registered on the bedroom tax (it doesn’t really exist) and welfare (poor people should think before having more children) and this week she turned her attention to the NHS.

On Wednesday she told parliament she would “be quite happy if the government had nothing to do with its running”.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/tory-msp-gets-a-kicking-after-another-own-goal-in-scottish-parliament-5jxm3wdzk

 

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A Borders politician has come under fire yet again for controversial welfare comments.

Former Selkirk councillor Michelle Ballantyne is the Scottish Conservative Party’s social security spokeswoman at Holyrood.

During exchanges at a hearing of the Social Security Committee this week the South of Scotland MSP denied there was a ‘bedroom tax’.

And she warned SNP depute leader Keith Brown not to ‘even go down that route’ while discussing Scottish mitigation of Westminster welfare policies.

The UK Government’s bedroom tax, which was introduced more than six years ago, imposes penalties on people claiming housing benefit for living in homes regarded as being larger than needed.

https://www.peeblesshirenews.com/news/17452997.anger-at-borders-msps-bedroom-tax-denial

 

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A senior Tory MSP has been urged to apologise after a “callous” comment about the plight of pensioners.

Tory welfare spokeswoman Michelle Ballantyne has come under renewed pressure after saying she did not “care one way or the other” about delaying reforms pension credits.

The UK Government announced in January that from May 15 new pensioners whose partners are younger than the state retirement age of 65 will no longer be able to claim a means-tested top-up called pension credit.

The reforms could see thousands of UK pensioners losing up to £7,000 a year in top-ups.

Asked whether she would support a cross-party letter to the UK Government calling for a delay to the changes, Ms Ballantyne said: “I will support a letter that says that we are concerned that there has been a very low take-up of the benefit and that there has not been sufficient information out there.

“If you want to call for the Government to delay it, do I care one way or the other? I probably do not.”

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan said: “This is just the latest instance of Michelle Ballantyne opening her mouth and accidentally saying what she really thinks.

Tory MSP accused of ‘callous’ comment about the plight of pensioners

 

 

16 Nov 2019 – Ballantyne uses her Twitter page to attack the SNP

She posted: In the last week alone, this SNP Government has:

1. Helped cover up the death of a child.
2. Destroyed internal memos to avoid accountability.
3. Told to stop misusing unemployment figures.

“This election really think about it. Is this really who you want to represent you?”

She certainly got a response. Fill your boots with the many thousands of negative replies she received. The Twitterati demolished her. But so enamoured with Tory Party dogma attacks on the Scots she ignores the people she claims to represent. But she was only 6th on the list of Tory candidates for the MSP position. Yet still made it to Holyrood. Strings pulled!!!!!!!

https://www.trendsmap.com/twitter/tweet/1195630091503624194”

 

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A few of the early comments:

I have to say this is an appalling lie, which is beneath any politician to share. I am sure it is also against electoral rules

In the last week alone, this Westminster Government has.. Suppressed reports of treasonous activity with Russians. Said nothing about 6 patient deaths from listeria, and the worst-performing NHS in the UK. Uses employment figures that mean 1 hr of work a fortnight = employed

Using the death of a child to score a cheap political point. Michelle, you are a dirty low down stinking scumbag.

The politicking around the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital is dire in general, but “Helped cover up the death of a child” is a desperate, disgusting take from a Tory MSP who’s happy to drag our politics down into the sewer.

Michelle try to remember that, much as you may regret it, you are not one of the Royal family and the law does apply to you.

You should think absolute shame of yourself!! Reporting you for out and out lies!!!

Well it sure as hell won’t be the party of the bedroom tax, rape clause, Windrush, hostile environment, Universal Credit, which dredges up the tragic death of a child for party gain & tries to import Trumpian smear tactics

Anyone from any party who uses the death of a child for political gain is the lowest of the low, but for a party whose policies have caused untold suffering & deaths that’s got to be lower than shark shit

Nobody voted for you Michelle. Keep lying. Everyone can see you are a liar

you really are a downright nasty individual. Using a child’s death to score a point… 6 people have died in the English NHS very recently… No politician of any stripe has tried to make political capital out of their deaths.

 

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Michelle-ballantyne-part-3 – Her Beloved Tory Party Saddled the Scottish Borders With the Most Corrupt and Incompetent Councillors In Scotland

 

Scottish Borders Council. Picture: Stuart Cobley

 

 

The Scottish Borders: A region without railway stations

By 1849, the North British Railway Company had opened a stretch of its Waverley Line from Edinburgh to Hawick and later extended it to Carlisle.

Rail routes quickly expanded crisscrossing the region like veins in the human body.

By the end of the 19th century and into the early 20th century there were stopping points at Hawick, Eyemouth, Selkirk, Jedburgh, Kelso, Coldstream, Duns, Galashiels, Melrose, Peebles, Lauder and more.

In other words, pretty much every major population centre in the Borders. However, that “golden age” would not last.

By the 1950s, the increasing number of cars on the road had a negative effect on passenger numbers and the Tory government decided to close many parts of the rail network deemed as unprofitable.

It appointed a Canadian businessman, Dr. Richard Beeching and gave him the remit to operate the rail network profitably.

This he did with a vengeance. He produced a report recommending the closure of many rail lines throughout the UK.

It was accepted and implemented over a period of 5 years between 1964-1969.

the worst of all the Beeching cuts was the axing of the 98-mile Waverley Route from Edinburgh to Carlisle and many other closures left the Scottish Borders as the only region of Britain without a train service and Hawick, 56 miles from Edinburgh and 42 miles from Carlisle, as the largest town farthest from a railway station.

The savage cuts in the area left 100,000 or more people completely isolated from the rail network and for over 50 plus years it was the only mainland region of Great Britain without a railway station.

To its great credit within 5 years of being returned to Holyrood as the first-ever SNP government in Scotland, the Waverly Line was rebuilt righting the wrong perpetrated against the people the Scottish borders by the Tory and Labour governments. (Credit to railway expert David Spaven.)

 

Waverley Route protesters muster prior to the three-person delegation proceeding to 10 Downing Street

 

 

 

Scottish Borders Council – 2003 – 2012

This is a part of Scotland in which local political control was vested without question with the Tory Party for many years.

The situation is similar to that in the West of Scotland where it was possible to pin a Labour label on a donkey and it would be ushered into office.

Disillusioned voters seized their opportunity at the time Scottish devolution was introduced and switched their loyalty to Independent candidates.

The SNP soon gained a foothold with a few councillors then gradually expanded its political base.

In the 2003 council election, 15 independent Councillors were returned giving the group deciding control of the Council. They formed an alliance with 10 Tories and took charge of the council.

The ousted Tory Party had been returned to power but needed to address the issue of a massive £4 million overspend in the Education budget.

A programme of cuts in services and increases in council tax soon followed.

A legacy in incompetence rewarded thanks to the Independent Group. Voters did not get the change they had wished for.

 

 

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Reasons your Scottish Borders Council tax is so high: 15 Councillors soak up £1/2 million, Officials & Chief Exec on £100K plus & golden pensions.

The Scottish Borders is widely known as having one of the lowest-paid workforces in the entire United Kingdom, and the trade unions representing council workers proudly announced that they had negotiated a pay freeze in return for no compulsory job losses.

For those wondering why the Council Tax demands in the Scottish Borders are so high for a region with poor take-home pay, figures showing massive salaries & allowances for Councillors & Department Heads which recession hit Borders residents are also having to pay for were revealed.

Full report here: https://scottishlaw.blogspot.com/2012/07/revealed-scottish-borders-council-ex.html

 

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“Akin to Money Laundering”: Tory-LibDem Scottish Borders Council ‘played Russian Roulette’ with taxpayers £172 million in bankrupt Icelandic Banks

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws have shed startling new light on the practices of Scottish Borders Council and their huge financial losses in collapsed Icelandic banks, revealing the Tory-Libdem controlled local authority made a staggering 94 deposits, some totalling as much as £4 million pounds at a time over three years from 2006–2009 with now-bankrupt Icelandic banks totalling a whopping £172 MILLION POUNDS.

The new revelations in the continuing investigation by former Scotsman journalist Bill Chisholm of the multi-million-pound losses suffered by Scottish Borders Council in the now bust Icelandic banks Landsbanki & Heritable have prompted further calls for an independent investigation of Scottish Borders Council’s poor investment calls using taxpayers money.

One Forensic Accountant warned there appeared to be a massive lack of accountability on the part of officials at Scottish Borders Council “who appeared to be playing Russian roulette in Iceland with taxpayers money”.

Commenting on the structure of the deposits, he said: “If this had been tried in British banks, money laundering laws would have queried the amount & frequency of the deposits yet it seems the Council was eager to invest its millions without too many questions in foreign banks.”

An investment analyst further indicated it was well known at the time in 2008 the Icelandic banks were in trouble and may go under. He queried why the Council seemed to totally rely on its treasury advice without checking up for itself.

 

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Scottish Borders Council ex-Chief Executive David Hume received £318K PAYOFF in secret voluntary redundancy package negotiated by lawyers

Questions are being raised about why SBC Council Chiefs, Councillors & legal officers fought for over a year to cover up the details of the huge pay-off.

Revelations of Hume’s spending spree on Council funded credit cards was taken up by the SNP’s Christine Grahame, MSP for the area and Chair of the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee who questioned why Mr. Hume was able to use a corporate credit card while many constituents in the Scottish Borders are facing financial oblivion.

The full record of Tory incompetence can be found here. https://scottishlaw.blogspot.com/2011/04/akin-to-money-laundering-tory-libdem.html

 

 

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At an inquiry into allegations of impropriety in the Scottish Police Authority – Alex Neil MSP also revealed a cataloge of incompetence within the Scottish Borders Council

Commenting that a “collective amnesia” appeared to be affecting some of the SPA board members – including David Hume. He said:

“Hume sat on a Governance Review of the SPA, along with a former President of the Law Society of Scotland, the Chair of the Fire Service and others. Mr. Hume is the former Chief Executive of Scottish Borders Council.

In 2012 it was reported David Hume took a £318,434 secret “too ill to work again” secret legal deal from the corruption-ridden south of Scotland local authority.

Hume then joined the SPA while also working for the Scottish Government in a position on Children’s Hearings Scotland.

Hume’s salary for the CHS work was funnelled through his consultancy company – Enlighten: David Hume Consulting Ltd.

Hume’s term as SBC Chief Executive span dark years at the local authority, financial scandals with the loss of £4million from the education budget, consistent allegations of a culture of backhanders at the council, and a lack of duty of care.

Scottish Borders Council had been caught up in the Miss X Rape scandal, resulting in a Scottish Parliament inquiry which heard the Council had covered up a years-long case where a severely disabled woman who lived close to the Council’s St Boswell’s HQ was repeatedly raped and abused.

It transpired Scottish Borders Council held a written admission of rape from the man a full two years before the case came to light. A man was later jailed for 10 years for the crimes.

Scottish Borders Council decided not to discipline any social worker, despite the fact that Miss X, a woman with learning disabilities, had been subjected to an appalling catalogue of violent physical and sexual abuse.

Full story here: https://petercherbi.wordpress.com/tag/scottish-borders-council/

 

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Damning report on education scandal

There was an ‘inexcusable lack of financial control’ within Scottish Borders Council that concluded the Scottish Parliament’s education, culture, and sport committee following a five-month investigation into the council’s 3.9 million education budget overspend.

These findings are unlikely to do anything to restore the public’s trust in the council, following hot on the heels of it setting its most controversial and heavily criticized budget, which contained 5.5 million of cuts to services, resulting in petitions, public meetings, and protests in recent weeks.

Full story here: https://www.berwickshirenews.co.uk/news/damning-report-on-education-scandal-1-241773

 

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Damning report finds the Council has not learned financial management lessons

Scottish Borders Council has been forced to deny it has failed to “learn lessons” after a retired journalist penned a hard-hitting report alleging poor financial management.

The National reported recently on how Bill Chisholm, who was awarded the MBE for his services to journalism, used freedom of information laws to force the council to reveal how the authority lost £2.4 million on the aborted Easter Langlee waste transfer system that was never built by New Earth Solutions, which went bust.

In a new report, Chisholm states: “Since the turn of the 21st century there have been at least four other ‘events’ in which Scottish Borders Council (SBC) displayed either incompetence or recklessness in financial management with multi-million-pound consequences for taxpayers as a result of questionable decisions.”

Full story here: https://www.thenational.scot/news/15673046.damning-report-finds-council-has-not-learned-financial-management-lessons/

 

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The Scandal of the Tory Council – Easter Langlee Recycling Plant Development

The fact that not a single brick was ever laid at Easter Langlee has been completely overlooked.

And not a single Scottish politician has been prepared to back calls for an investigation into a saga which resulted in the loss of many millions of pounds for investors and taxpayers alike.

Financial advisers who persuaded unwitting clients to invest millions of pounds in unregulated offshore funds like the one chosen by Scottish Borders Council to bankroll a £23 million waste treatment facility should be banned from the sector, it has been claimed.

It follows the latest revelations involving the liquidated New Earth Recycling & Renewables [Infrastructure] fund (NERR) which loaned over £30 million to insolvent waste management contractors New Earth Solutions Group (NESG).

Back in 2011 NESG was handed a 24-year £80 million contract by Borders councillors to solve the region’s refuse disposal problems before landfilling of rubbish is outlawed in a few years’ time.

 

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A Ballantyne up a tree!!!

 

 

The Ballantyne Family

Neil and Michelle should be proud of their achievements, raising four very physically fit, handsome young men and two beautiful young ladies and twinning this with developing a new business totally foreign to anything they had done before.

All of their children are now actively engaged in their own ventures well away from politics and doing very well.

It is sad therefore when the Ballantyne family, (perhaps other than mom and dad) get caught up in online attacks by trolls and other people with malicious intent.

These people should desist from spouting their venom against those who are entirely innocent of any political utterances their spurious approach to politics is to be deprecated.

 

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Ballantynes of Walkerburn

In a sales pitch to voters and potential customers, she said;

“My husband and I set up a manufacturing company 25 years ago and we have experienced the real challenge of creating the wealth that drives our economy.

Since then, we’ve become the UK’s major figurine manufacturer.

We’ve expanded into new areas like crystal and glass engraving.

We’ve taken advantage of evolving technologies, becoming energy efficient through solar energy.

I am a director of the company working approximately 2 hours each month in this role for which I receive remuneration of between £5,001 and £10,000 a year.”

 

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Pretty straight forward then!! Not quite!!!

The founding company, “Firm Relay” was in place from Dec 1990 – 20 Mar 1991.

The company name changed to “Classic Miniatures” (Scotland) in Jun 1991, finally changing in that same year to “Ballantynes of Walkerburn.”

Interesting sequence of events given that “Classic Miniatures Ltd” is an English based company based in London.  Conjecture but the first plan might have been to operate in Scotland as a subsidiary of the London company.

In any event, the input of Ballantyne’s father must have been greatly welcomed given his 30 plus years in the business.

In Sep 1995, Michael Ronald Cross (Michelle’s father) Owner and Chairman of “Classic Miniatures Ltd. was appointed to the Board of Directors of Ballantynes of Walkerburn remaining in post until Jun 1999 but retaining a significant shareholding in the company.

 

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Classic Miniatures (London) Ltd.

Michael Ronald Cross, (Michelle’s father) founded Classic Miniatures Ltd. in 1976.

Initially a manufacturer of metal figurines, it now mainstreams medals, badges and awards.

Cross was the Chairman and controlling shareholder from 1964 until 2016 at which time he sold the company to “Distinctio” a French company and major player in Europe, specializing in the production and end-user sale of high-end tailor-made trophies. Cross was retained as company chairman.

It is a well-financed, reputable company, with a strong customer base in both the private and public sectors and is a major supplier to universities, schools, the Army, Navy and Air Force, Sports Associations and corporate bodies.

Whilst the company continues to expand its operational reach in the UK a no-deal Brexit might well be welcomed by a UK competitor.

 

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Voluntary Sector Work (paraphrasing her words)

“I have spent 34 years working in the NHS and the voluntary sector including:

 

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Voluntary Sector Work (paraphrasing her words)

“I have spent 34 years working in the NHS and the voluntary sector including:

The Haining Charitable Trust

I am a Director of this company which was incorporated in 2010. The Trust is tasked with the preservation of the heritage, cultural, archaeological & amenity of the Haining estate for the benefit of the community of Selkirk and for the wider public. Assets are approximately £3m. with an annual turnover around 110K.

 

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Stable Life Ltd.

I was the Head of the service until 23 May 2017, at the charitable company “Stable Life Limited”.

The company supports disadvantaged young people and their families who live in the Scottish Borders and who are experiencing personal challenges.

I worked approximately 20 hours per week and received remuneration of between £15,001 and £20,000 each year.

 

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Face to Face Borders Ltd.

A charitable company comprising around 80 Directors.

It operated from 1986 – 2015 then folded. Its aim is to provide drug and alcohol counselling and support services for children and young people in the Scottish borders.

 

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Drug and Alcohol Abuse Policies

Ballantyne’s wide experience counselling drug and other substance abuse users clearly drive her thinking on what needs to be done by the UK government who have reserved policy decisions to Westminster.

But her unwarranted attacks on Scottish government drugs abuse policies (which are dictated and monitored by the Tory government in Westminster) are unjustified and mislead the public into believing that the problems will all go away if the government release significant amounts of new money to local councils so that they will be enabled to employ many thousands more counsellors who will persuade those at risk not to take drugs or consume over much alcohol. Repeating the failing of the past.

If she really wished to improve matters in Scotland she would support a transfer of policies away from the Tory government in Westminster to the Scottish government in Edinburgh.

This would provide the Scottish government with the authority to introduce new policies which have been successfully introduced in other countries driving down the number of deaths of drug users and many of the needlestick injuries to innocent persons, often children, caused by carelessly discarded needles.

The introduction of a harm reduction policy would change things for the better.

Harm Reduction would be aimed at reducing drug-related individual and societal harms and includes, needle exchange, methadone, heroin maintenance programmes, and drug education in Scottish schools and colleges.

Needle exchange services would be provided in drug consumption rooms.

In drug consumption rooms, drug users can use their pre-obtained drugs in a quiet and safe environment.

They can exchange their used needles for new ones, preventing needle littering on the street.

Moreover, each clean needle handed out to a user helps to prevent the spreading of infectious diseases, such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C.

Using in a public space is so stressful that it tends to push the user’s health concerns to the background.

Using in a protected environment rather than on the street reduces the risk of overdoses or abscesses.

 

 

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But the Tory party in Westminster insists it knows best. Does it?

In 2012 Ballantyne was elected to Scottish Borders Council, where she served as Leader of the Conservative Group.

She was then successfully-re-elected in March 2017 and resumed her position as leader.

Scottish drug-related deaths hit a record high

This report surfaced in her time as leader of the  Tory-controlled council.

The number of deaths caused by the misuse of drugs in the Scottish Borders has increased seven-fold in the past ten years. The Scottish Borders Drugs and Alcohol Partnership plan to tackle the problem through ‘prevention and treatment’.

Voluntary Groups in the Borders such as Face2Face in Galashiels and Up2U in Peebles increase awareness of the dangers of drugs to young people and NHS Borders provides medical treatment and support both at home and in hospital.

A Tory spokesperson waded in with this:

“Almost 220,000 needles were handed out to drug users in Dumfries & Galloway and the Borders last year.

Over 4.5m syringes were distributed throughout Scotland, almost the same amount as the number of people who live there.

These numbers show there are almost as many needles handed out in Scotland as there are people living in this country.

People speak about the importance of reducing needle-sharing, but what about the importance of ridding our parks and playgrounds of dumped drug-using equipment?”

Jackson Carlow piped up with this gem: “Despite the number being down on the previous year, only 25% of the syringes handed out were through a replacement scheme, raising concerns over whether needles are being disposed of responsibly.

And yet the Tory Party refuses to give way and transfer control of drugs policy to the Scottish government in doing preventing the introduction of policies implementation of which would resolve the ever-increasing problem of discarded needles in a public place. So more of the same is the future more deaths and life-threatening injuries.

 

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