• Well Done Nicola Sturgeon and thankyou Kenneth Gibson

    Just a short note to say well done and thankyou to two SNP MSP's.

    Nicola Sturgeon has today saved both Ayr A&E and Monklands A&E from closure, a reversal of labour policy which will no doubt save lives - Thankyou.

    On a more personal note many thanks to my local MSP Kenneth Gibson to his prompt response to an urgent personal problem concerning emergency dental treatment for my daughter today. It was very much appreciated by the entire family.

  • Labour Minister set to challenge election results in Court.

    The Scottish election was nail biting to say the least - each result ended in a neck and neck race between labour and the SNP for first place and the battle between the conservatives and the lib dems for 3rd place was just as fascinating. The end result was that the SNP won by 1 seat and this was reflected by the Conservatives beating the Lib Dems for 3rd place by just a single seat too.

    I watched the results trickle in with great fascination. I live in the Cunninghame North constituency where Alan Wilson Labour Minister for Enterprise lost his seat by 48 votes, I had been speaking to people locally and was actually surprised that the result was so close as the majority I had spoken to had said they were voting SNP this time - I had therefore expected the gap between SNP and Labour to be much bigger than the 48 votes, but then we have the spoiled ballots to take into account so there is perhaps a chance that the gap was bigger.
    The SNP made gains in North Ayrshire council too as did independents leaving no one party in over all control - some have welcomed this as a victory in what they have referred to as the 'smashing of the labour nepotism ring' in Irvine ( seat of the council), if such a ring existed or not can be debated however public perception is that such a ring did exist.

    The Big story though is that of Alan Wilson losing his seat to Kenneth Gibson of the SNP - Labour have now suggested that Mr Wilson will challenge this result in the courts - I think if he does and it forces a bi-election here - Mr Wilson may well be in for a shock, such a case may well be interpreted locally as sour grapes at losing his job - this ofcourse means that Mr Wilsons staff in the Kilbirnie office will also be losing their jobs - If I am correct that means that at least one of Mr Wilsons relatives. If Mr Wilson takes this case to court I am wondering what he can expect to achieve - another election across Scotland? This was not the only constituency that had a large number of spoiled ballots - they all did. Some very unexpected results were obtained such as Tommy Sheridan losing his seat - could it be the case that all of Tommys votes needed for a seat were in that number of spoiled ballots and lost postal votes? Mr Wilson could well be setting up a domino effect across Scotland with this challenge - its not over yet for anyone by a long shot. What is apparent is that the SNP have won the popular vote right across the country in both parliament and the councils and we can summise that in those spoiled papers there will be a very simillar reflection of the ballots which were actually counted - if this is the case Mr Wilson will achieve nothing but a waste of tax payers money - can he not just bow out gracefully like Tommy Sheridan and say 'theres always next time'.

  • Scottish Election Debarcle

    Our parliamentary elections here in Scotland have become headline news, as has my local constituency in particular.
    On Thursday we went to the Polls to vote for our Constituency MSP, our regional MSP and our councillor. The problems began at the polling stations as people failed to comprehend the system for voting. The Parliament has a system of first past the post for the constituency MSP, a system of PR known as the additional members list system for the regional MSP's and a brand new system of the Single Transferable vote for the council elections. On the Parliamentary ballot sheet 2 X's were required one in each of the two sections and on the council ballot , 1,2,3,4 were to be used to indicate preference. There had been objections to both the parliamentary and the council elections being held on the same day but the decision was taken to run them. The result was that around 100,000 papers were deemed 'spoiled' and not counted, this coupled with 'missing' postal ballots has led to a large number of people who bothered to vote being disenfranchised. An appalling state of affairs. The problems didnt end there however. At this election it was also decided to use a new electionic system to count the votes - a sort of machine which scans the ballot papers and counts the votes - part of the reason given for this was that holding both the parliamentary and the council elections on the same day would mean it would take much longer to get the results counted. In some areas these machines failed and as a result some of the counts were halted. Add to all this fog halting the flights of helicopters delivering ballot boxes from the Islands and also the boat bringing the ballots from Arran to the mainland breaking down in the Clyde and you have what amounted to an electoral disaster. A member of the public also managed to cause some chaos in Edinburgh when he entered a polling station and proceeded to smash ballot boxes and tear up completed ballot papers - leaving staff to spend hour upon hour attempting to fix the ballot papers with sellotape!

  • Common Misconceptions regarding Scotland and the United Kingdom

    In Wallaces day it was different, he could legitimately cry freedom as the English Plantaganet Monarch 'Longshanks' was attempting to invade and subjugate Scotland to English Rule. The authors of the Declaration of Arbroath had a simillar legitimate cause. Scotlands place in the United Kingdom is now however NOT one of subjugation to English rule, it is a position of partnership - Scotland is NOT a dependency of the UK or England it is a partner. The term Scottish Independence fills me with horror as it is based on the false premise that Scotland is a dependency - Scotland is a partner. Infact for several decades England has been partially dependent on Scotlands resources and Scotland shouldn't mind because we are in a partnership, no one is stealing from Scotland, neither is Scotland stealing from England through the Barnet formula.

    The brief history is that when Elizabeth I of England died without having an heir apparent, she was succeeded by James Stuart, James VI of Scotland who became James I of England and the United Kingdoms. In 1707 this union of the crowns was put on a much more formal footing, when the Scottish Parliament was disbanded in favour of a United Kingdom Parliament at Westminster in which Scotland was to recieve equal representation in that she was to elect and send Members of Parliament to Westminster to represent her interests. The reasons for the Act of Union are complicated and not entirely economic although the faliure of the Darien Project was a major contributory factor to this decision being taken.

    For 300 years the people of Scotland have elected MP's and sent them to Westminster - our politicians have held some very prominent posts in Government during that time and still do. We have Scottish people representing English constituencies and this illustrates the bonds of the union and the acceptance of the British Identity within Scotland and amongst the Scots.

    During that time and right from the beginning of the Act of Union there have been rumblings of discontent from minorities as is apparent in the Poetry of Robert Burns, the establishment of political groups such as the United Scotsmen, the SHRA and of course the SNP. But this does not mean that their opinion is that of the majority. A recent poll showed the 56% of those polled didn't want a break from the Union but infact wanted more powers for the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood within the UNITED KINGDOM.

    The new Holyrood Scottish Parliament came into being after the people of Scotland voted in a referendum for a parliament of their own with tax raising powers. This didnt mean that the people of Scotland wanted an end to the union, just that they felt that a Scottish Parliament could deal with issues effecting Scotland better than the UK government. Scotland has retained its own distinct legal and education systems and the inception of a new Parliament to deal with this on a more localised level was an idea most Scots took to. However this has left a democratic deficit in England, the UK consists of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, of these only England does not have a more local parliament/assembly to deal with solely English matters. The West Lothian question highlighted this matter and has remained a bone of contention although there doesn't appear to be the same focus on MP's from Wales or Northern Ireland voting on English only issues as there is concerning Scottish MP's.

    Now in Scotland we are facing another election with our FPTP, Additional Members List and council votes. The battle is hotting up between the SNP who are currently ahead in the polls and Scottish Labour who are not that far behind. One pro-nationalist party and a pro-unionist party all other issues appear secondary to the issue of the United Kingdom and Scotlands place in it. For once the politicians need to get downright honest - I am sick of hearing the Wallace scenario portrayed as the current one - SCOTLAND DOESN'T NEED FREEDOM WE ARE ALREADY FREE- WE ARE NOT SLAVES, WE ARE NOT SUBJUGATED TO ENGLISH RULE - WE ARE PARTNERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM - EFFECTIVE PARTNERS and the myth that our position within the United Kingdom is anything other than one of PARTNERSHIP needs dispelled the entire 'INDEPENDENCE' Issue is a misnoma - we are not dependent!

  • What now for the 15 British Sailors and Marines

    Today the Ministry for Defence issued evidence of the position of the British Sailors and Marines. Evidence of their co-ordinates from GPS and photographic evidence of a GPS in the hand of an Airman in a Helicopter above the Merchant vessel which had been intercepted.
    What does this mean for the situation, my understanding is that this means that IRAN made an incursion into IRAQI waters to deliberately kidnap British Service Personnel. The British Service Personnel were engaged in legal business under a UN Mandate and with the approval of the IRAQI government in IRAQI waters. IRAN has changed its co-ordinates, originally it gave one set, which were in IRAQI waters, when this was pointed out they gave another set of co-ordinates. So was this a deliberate act of aggression by IRAN against the United Nations?
    Many people question if our sailors and marines were in Iraqi waters, why didnt HMS Cornwall defend them?I believe the reason for the lack of action by HMS Cornwall was that the region is volatile and any hasty response to the act of aggression may have triggered a war, ergo the softly softly approach was engaged. Certain people are also questioning why the Marines didnt engage the IRANIAN vessel - simple they had hand guns the Iranian vessel was a heavily armed warship. No chance of winning against rocket propelled grenades with hand guns!

    So now Iran are saying that they will release the British Female Sailor - and have put her on tv apparently 'confessing' to being in IRAQI waters - she also said that she has been treated well as have her fellow captives, the picture evidence of them all eating a meal seems to substantiate that they are well but I couldnt count 15 in the footage, where and how are the others?. There is also information that Iran intends to put the rest of the captives on TV apparently to make simillar 'Confessions'. Isnt it against some convention or other to do this to military personnel?
    I am now wondering what will happen next, Bilateral relationships have been suspended with IRAN and apparently the diplomatic machine is still in action.
    I wonder how much longer this manufactured crisis will continue and how much further it will escalate. We have naval manouvres in the region taking place - a thinly veiled show of strength by allied nations, perhaps a warning of what may come if Iran continues to defy the international community on certain matters. I am wondering why the UN is strangely quiet over this one, given that the Sailors were engaged in UN business - surely as I said earlier this should be construed as an act of aggression against the UN. What do you think?

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