Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Running the asylum the inmates are

Fast broadband is a very important tool for the development of rural economies. So our Scottish Parliament member John Lamont asks a perfectly reasonable question of the Scottish Executive at Holyrood last week.

"How much it would cost to upgrade the (a) Abbey St Bathans, (b) Cappercleugh, (c) Longformacus and (d) Whitsome telephone exchanges to full platform ADSL exchanges."

The minister, Jim Mather, replies. "Information on the cost of upgrading the Abbey St Bathans, Cappercleugh, Longformacus and Whitsome telephone exchanges to full platform ADSL is commercially sensitive and therefore cannot be released by the Scottish Government."

What utter bollocks! running the asylum the inmates are . . .please rearrange. . . There is no other company providing rural telephone exchanges, no likelihood of any and so how come it's commercially sensitive?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

BA Cabin Crew

I've been so busy writing that the blog has not just taken a back seat, it's practically fallen off the bus. Nevertheless, a friend just sent me this. It is brilliant. . .

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

MSP's on Chav Watch

SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn has tabled a Holyrood motion claiming that Venezuela has been "transformed" by President Hugo Chávez. His motion calls on MSPs to show "solidarity" with Mr Chavez's government and has been backed by the SNP's Bill Kidd, Alasdair Allan and Bill Wilson, as well as Labour's Elaine Smith. Let's just be clear here shall we. This is a country that recently devalued its currency and stands accused of becoming increasingly autocratic by imposing restrictions on the media and politicising the military and judiciary. In fact President Chavez is not some warm and cuddly man who you'd want to invite round for tea. What's more it's got bugger all to do with the issues facing Scotland and is a complete waste of the parliament's time and energy.

I wonder what these MSP's constituents would make of it all. "Aye that Hugo Chávez, he's that new signing for Celtic. He's the one one what wears the Burberry all the time.

Monday, March 08, 2010

The Scotsman's Irrelevant

Interestingly the circulation of the Scotsman was 46, 976 between July and December last year. That's less than 1 in 100 Scots who are buying the paper. They manage to get their readership figures up to 177,000, meaning around 1 in 30 Scots actually read The Scotsman, making it largely irrelevant. (Note to self, cancel subscription)

The Scotsman is no longer a newspaper

The Scotsman is no longer worthy of being called a newspaper. It seems to have degenerated into somethingfar less useful. The case of Steven Purcell, the Glasgow council leader, one of the most important jobs in Scottish public life has been covered in far from thorough terms. Take today's rather limp 500 words about decisions he made not being reviewed by the Glasgow council (and why not?). Steven Purcell got 500 words of coverage in the paper today while a story about Baden Powell's 1930's possible links to the Hitler Youth movement got over 800 words.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Yeah Right!

No 10 also fiercely denied Conservative claims Mr Brown was using the visit to troops in Afghanistan to divert attention away from the row over his refusal to sign off on equipment.

Is the moment when Labour lost the election?

“Every request that the military commanders made to us for equipment was answered. No request was ever turned down.”

Gordon Brown, 5 March 2010, Chilcot Enquiry

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Last Days of Rome?

I'm obviously missing something here.

RBS are paying bonuses worth £1.3 billion to its employees. The Chief Executive of RBS meanwhile is saying, they have lost money because they are not paying big enough bonuses. His rather patronising attitude during interviews on TV show a man who is rather tired of having to answer such petty questions from interviewers, some of who may bank with RBS, daring to ask him what is going on, on behalf of us, the shareholders.

But most worrying of all are the bloody wimps – the socialist, Labour, government of the people, advocates of a fairer Britain, those who are standing up for the underdog, I don't frankly give a monkey's, bunch of second rate, insulated, do as I say not as I do tossers that masquerade as the British Government. They put billions of our money into RBS, we own 84% of the bank, yet the government think it unnecessary to be asking just who are getting the million pound bonuses. Why are they not doing what the US government is doing and insisting we know who this mysterious bankers are? If the Labour government think this in any way enhances their credibility then I am totally mystified. And don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely certain that the Conservatives would do no better. It's just inexplicable that a so-called Socialist government can behave in such a manner.

And let's not kid ourselves shall we. Just who are these bankers going to go and work for if they don't get the level of bonuses that Britain's banks are paying?

I am becoming so disillusioned by what is going on with politics. It's not a bloody game (with particular reference to that idiot Alex Salmond and his display in Holyrood today) it affects our national state of mind. Is it any wonder that we are a nation in terminal decline. Is it just me that thinks we are living in the last days of Rome?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Fairer Britain or The Forces of Hell?

Good! So that's alright then. We now all know that Mr Brown is not a bully. He's just someone who cares and is determined to build a fairer Britain.

In the meantime Mr Darling, arguably the next most important man in government to the PM, has confirmed in an interview with Sky News that two of the Prime Minister's key aides briefed long and hard against the Chancellor when he predicted, back in 2008 that Britain's economy was in for a very rough time. According to Mr Darling, "the forces of hell were unleashed." Now who could have unleashed the forces? The 'forces of hell', clearly not a very nice man. But does this constitute bullying. No it probably does not but what then followed exposes someone who is clearly hell-bent on getting his own way.

During the summer Mr Brown wanted to replace Mr Darling with Ed 'Blinker' Balls, but Mr Darling got his own back by refusing to be replaced, insisting he would resign to the back benches rather than accept another job in government. This would have made the PM's job close to untenable. Result Mr Darling is still in No.11, while Mr Brown remains in No.10.

Now all this can do little for the smooth working of government in these most testing of times. Mr Brown is clearly someone who likes to get his own way. For years he wanted the top job, over which he agreed a deal with Tony Blair. Now is it, was it, right that Tony Blair, who said he was going to serve a full term, stepped down to allow a man into the top job who is most obviously not cut out for such a role?

As I've often said on this blog, Mr Brown is not a leader, he is not the stuff from which leaders are made. All that has gone on since he has come to power shows a man who is Machiavellian, a man who has not the skills to be PM and most worryingly a man who is by inclination introverted rather than an extrovert. Leadership in a parliamentary democracy, one that is founded on the longstanding principals of cabinet rule does not sit well with Mr Brown (nor did it with his predecessor but he was a lot cleverer, as were those he gathered around him.) Gordon Brown is a controller, not a leader.

Vast column inches are given over to the opinion polls, the tea leaves and crystal ball gazing by pollsters trying to determine who is ahead, and by how much, and what it could all mean for our future government. Clearly Mr Cameron has not grabbed the electoral high ground; it might all change when we have the TV debates, but then again it may not. So could Gordon Brown still be PM after the election? Yes he could, and then the country will be in real trouble. Watch then the infighting and the jockeying before the knives come out. We will be faced with a Labour party who thinks it is omnipotent, one that will contain even less experience than the current cabinet. Who will push the knife into Mr Brown should he win in a couple of months?

Gordon Brown may want to be careful what he wishes for. . .

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Monaco Foody

There are few people in this world who like eating, cooking, talking about food, writing about it (with great passion) and generally waxing lyrical than The Monaco Foody. Mrs H says I live to eat. If that's the case then the Monaco Foody invented living! Read his blog HERE. . .you will come away famished.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Exactly Why Do MSPs Get Paid?

Supper's ready said Mrs H in a voice redolent of Peter Gabriel and Genesis. A visit to the dentists with nothing much more than a spot of cleaning had me perfectly in the mood for some piazza, salad and a nice single malt. As an accompaniment we tuned into BBC Scotland's news – a privilege denied to most of you I suspect. One of the main items on the news was a piece on council budgets and a debate in the Scottish Parliament - the numptorium, as it's unaffectionately known to many. Clearly this issue is of major importance as there are likely to be some serious job losses and some real negative effects on local economies, particularly in rural areas. The Camera is tight in on John Swinney who is waxing lyrical, as only he can, on the numbers game that is the devolved Scottish budget. Camera pulls back to reveal an almost empty chamber, maybe a dozen MSPs of various political persuasions, but precious few of any one party.

So precisely why do they get paid? Obviously it's not to turn up for work like the rest of us. Wasn't there a load of hubris back in the early days of the parliament suggesting that the Scottish version would be much better than the London one, with MSPs being attentive and attending? You wonder what it is they do? I know I should be much less surprised but it would be nice to think that they did their jobs a little better. Then again perhaps the whole charade of the debate is just a waste of time and they might as well not bother.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Arsene Whinger

How come it's always someone else's fault when you lose?