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SNP ‘asleep on job’ over horsemeat scandal

SNP ‘asleep on job’ over horsemeat scandal | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
SCOTLAND’S food standards minister, Richard Lochhead, was last night accused of falling “asleep on the job” and failing to show leadership during the horsemeat scandal.
Peter A Bell's insight:

The incredible thing is that contriving this ludicrous "SNP accused!" tale required the efforts of TWO Britnat hacks!

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Politics and current affairs in Scotland
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Chilcot, Corbyn and Britain's constitutional crisis - Alex Salmond in conversation

Chilcot, Corbyn and Britain's constitutional crisis - Alex Salmond in conversation | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

In this exclusive collaboration between Novara Media and CommonSpace, journalist Liam O'Hare sits down with former first minister of Scotland Alex Salmond to talk about Iraq, Scottish independence, Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn

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Brexit hammers UK Economy, EU remarkably resilient, Scotland’s exports most at risk without independence 

Brexit hammers UK Economy, EU remarkably resilient, Scotland’s exports most at risk without independence  | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

Last week the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its Post Brexit UK growth forecast for next year by 0.9%. The Pro Brexit press, namely the Express and the Telegraph claimed that the remaining 1.3% growth and the fact that this year’s growth is only expected to drop by 0.2% was a strong indicator that Brexit wasn’t going to hit the UK economy that hard.

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Agenda: Pete Wishart MP on Scottish excellence in renewables being undermined

Scotland’s geography and natural resources, combined with supportive policies at Holyrood and Westminster, have enabled the renewable energy sector in Scotland to grow significantly over the last decade. In 2014, Scotland produced 29 per cent of the UK’s renewable electricity and Scotland is now responsible for more than 60 per cent of onshore wind capacity (and more than 40 per cent of all wind capacity), 85 per cent of wave and tidal capacity and more than 85 per cent of hydro capacity. Not only are we the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy we are practically the whole of Opec.

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Sturgeon sets out her five Brexit demands for Scotland

Sturgeon sets out her five Brexit demands for Scotland | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

NICOLA Sturgeon will today set out five key Brexit tests that could determine whether Scotland faces a second independence referendum within the next two years.

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David Torrance: How Trump has turned 'banal nationalism' into something more muscular

About 20 years ago the sociologist Michael Billig coined the term “banal nationalism” to describe a patriotic discourse so pervasive, so widely-accepted, that it never occurred to anyone to think of it as such.

Peter A Bell's insight:

For anybody familiar with the idiom, David Torrance's latest gobbet of distilled rancour must have prompted the thought that the proverbial shark had been well and truly jumped.

 

We are accustomed to Torrance's clumsily contrived attacks on Alex Salmond and the SNP, of course. I'm not sure the bitter wee soul pens anything these days that doesn't end up descending into an inelegant excuse to indulge his obsessive resentment of the former First Minister, who famously declined to take Torrance as seriously as he takes himself. But the way he shoehorns yet another such bout of petulant sniping into an article ostensibly about Donald Trump is beyond anything that even the most desperate team of TV writers might resort to as they are harried by producers to devise a plot-twist that might catch the attention of sensation-glutted couch-potatoes.

 

Drawing simplistic parallels between the politics of Trump (Trumpism?) and of the Brexiteers is, by any measure, a lazy device. But even this woefully shallow analysis is devalued by the attempt to drag the SNP into it. Even if this can be explained by Torrance's pathological need to lash out at the SNP, the inclusion of the "Corbynistas" is just plain weird. A generous account of this weirdness might dismiss it as an intellectual indolence that leaves Torrance’s account languishing at the level of a gossipy "they're all the same".

 

Alternatively, we might see it as a feeble attempt to squeeze a modicum credibility out of a superficial display of even-handedness. Almost as pathetic as the compulsive name-dropping as if driven by a need to prove erudition. (I counted five instances.)

 

The most telling thing about Torrance’s banal lumping together of diverse political phenomena is what he omits. Conspicuous by its absence is any mention of the British nationalism which, with its jingoistic bluster, clamorous exceptionalism and pernicious blend of entitlement and victimhood, arguably best bears comparison with Trump’s brand of politics.

 

The similarities between the Johnson/Gove/Farage campaign in the recent EU referendum and Better Together/Project Fear in the first Scottish independence referendum have been widely remarked upon. Maybe it would have been worth exploring the ways in which these efforts relate to the Trump campaign. But Torrance pointedly avoids tackling the issue of British nationalism. Why might that be?

 

Perhaps British nationalism is just so banal that it doesn't occur to Torrance to think of it at all.

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The Summer of Independence starts here - Yes movement set to take lead as SNP delays over Brexit

The Summer of Independence starts here - Yes movement set to take lead as SNP delays over Brexit | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

THE grassroots Yes movement is set to take the lead on independence this summer, after the SNP postponed its own initiative in light of the…

Peter A Bell's insight:

My initial reaction was to scoff loudly at the notion of any mainstream newspaper being in touch with grassroots opinion in Scotland. But with input from the likes of Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, the highly respected CEO of Business for Scotland as well as Kathleen Caskie of Women for Independence, the claim begins to look more credible.

 

Arguably the most significant comment, however, comes from Jason Baird, founder of the National Yes Registry. Acknowledging the need for a "strong party political base" suggests a political maturity and pragmatism that will serve the revitalised Yes movement well as the #indyref2 campaign gets going.

 

It is in the sensationalist nature of the media that they will spin division and discord in Scotland's independence movement. Much of this will be malicious, of course. But even nominally pro-independence papers such as the Sunday Herald will be unable to deny their basic instincts. The tendency will be to portray the SNP's necessary and sensible rethinking of the summer independence drive as vacillating indecision. British nationalist propagandists will try to spin every incident and utterance as a sign that the SNP is "out of touch" with the wider independence movement. It's the old divide and rule strategy that has served the British state rather well in the past, even if at often horrific cost to those who must endure the manipulation.

 

But Jason Baird's remarks indicate that it may not be so easy to drive a wedge between the grassroots Yes campaign and its de facto political arm as unionists would like. He echoes a sentiment that is becoming more and more prevalent across the diverse groups campaigning to restore Scotland's rightful constitutional status. An acceptance, albeit reluctant and even grudging in some cases, that the SNP is absolutely crucial to the common cause of securing Scotland's independence.

 

There is an unmistakable sense of people deciding that the way we win this time is by putting our combined weight behind that "strong party political base". It was always obvious that the coming referendum campaign was going to be fundamentally different from the first one. It may well be that the most significant difference will be a unity of purpose that lends irresistible force and momentum to Scotland's independence movement.

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Can the volatility in British politics be traced back four years to a Glasgow kiss in a Commons bar?

Can the volatility in British politics be traced back four years to a Glasgow kiss in a Commons bar? | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
Did it all start with a Glasgow kiss?

The volatility in British politics that has left much of the nation bedazzled and bamboozled by the sheer speed and scale of change might have had its origins in a Commons bar sometime after 10pm on February 22 2012.

This was when Eric Joyce, the former MP for Falkirk, decided to lash out after having one too many.
Peter A Bell's insight:

I've seen some ludicrous efforts to minimise the significance of the SNP's 2011 Holyrood election triumph, but Michael Settle's offering goes beyond the merely risible and into the realm of the disturbingly bizarre. The idea that Eric Joyce's drunken behaviour was a pivotal point in history is pretty weird. But the real weirdness lies in the fact that, to reach this conclusion, Settle has to wend his way through a room full of polka-dancing day-glo elephants without even noticing them. How might this extraordinary behaviour be explained?

 

Just as the British political establishment is desperate to eradicate the SNP and the wave of democratic dissent that it represents, so journalists in the pay of the mainstream media tend to be nostalgic for the former simplicity of British politics. They long for the uncomplicated faux rivalries of the establishment parties. They crave the facile predictability that was the Tory/Labour roundabout. They would really like to go back to the days when there was no external challenge to their cosy consensus from alternative media.

 

In Michael Settle's article we see wishful thinking made manifest. The SNP is simply wished out of existence. The party achieving a majority in the Scottish Parliament is less than insignificant. It didn't happen. How could it? There is no Scottish politics. There is only British politics. And British politics is all about the British parties.

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Salmond urges fresh public effort to hold Blair accountable over Iraq war

Salmond urges fresh public effort to hold Blair accountable over Iraq war | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

ALEX Salmond has called on Scots to sign a petition demanding that Westminster holds Tony Blair to account for the war in Iraq.

The former first minister said the evidence exposed in the Chilcot inquiry showed that he “systematically misled parliament”.

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Angus Robertson: Scotland is now on the brink of independence

Angus Robertson: Scotland is now on the brink of independence | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
SCOTLAND is “on the brink of independence” and the SNP is now “the most effective political party in the country”, according to one of the contenders for its depute leadership.

Angus Robertson, the SNP’s Westminster leader and MP for Moray, yesterday published his campaign priorities, which fall under three categories: leadership, grassroots and independence.
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BLAIRISM – A POLITICAL ABERRATION

BLAIRISM – A POLITICAL ABERRATION | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

I’ll start by getting this out of the way first. I have absolutely no time for Blairism or what it represents in UK politics. I have always seen it as a curious political aberration that has probably done more than any other political ‘ism’ to destroy trust in UK politics. It’s not just the Iraq war or the attempt to build that appalling anti-civil libertarian state, with all its ID cards and 92 days detention. It isn’t even the quasi Thatcherite innovations such as Foundation Hospitals and Tuition Fees. It’s not even Tony Blair himself with all his post Chilcot defiance and lack of contrition. It is just the sheer dishonesty of the project and what it has done to all who inhabit the space on the left of UK politics.

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Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp: We may not have Trump, but we must stay vigilant

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp: We may not have Trump, but we must stay vigilant | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

FOR the last hundred years the axis of western power and influence has pivoted on the relationship between the USA and its junior partner the UK.

Some call that relationship special but in reality it’s not so much special as practical. The UK, once the dominant global power in an age when that meant invasion, empire and control of other nations, saw its power and influence wilt and found a partner in the USA, an emergent maxi-me nation, the new global power in an age where that means domination of trade, not of borders and peoples.

Peter A Bell's insight:

"Scotland’s evolving, new national image is driven by a desire for fairness.The regressive nationalism of post-Brexit Britain and America is driven by a desire to project greatness. The former is enlightening, the latter frightening."

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Francois Hollande tells Britain to leave the EU as soon as possible

Francois Hollande tells Britain to leave the EU as soon as possible | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

The sooner Britain leaves the EU the better, French President Francois Hollande has told Theresa May in Paris.

"Uncertainty is the greatest danger," warned Mr Hollande, as he emphasised that to trigger Article 50 as soon as possible would be in Europe's best interest.

Peter A Bell's insight:

What's the French for GTF?

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Alyn Smith campaign launch: "Europe is our future, Westminster our past"

Alyn Smith campaign launch: "Europe is our future, Westminster our past" | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

ALYN SMITH MEP has officially launched his campaign for deputy leader of the SNP, pledging to keep Europe at the forefront of his pitch for the position.

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The Single Market includes the free movement of people

As people scurry about trying to figure out just what Brexit might mean in reality, much of the focus has centred on the Single Market and the free movement of people. Most Remainers and probably a majority of Leavers seem to want the UK to stay in the Single Market. This makes a great deal of sense, as the EU will remain our largest trading partner. However the Single Market has never been just a free trade area, contrary to the myths propagated by eurosceptics. From its beginning in the 1950s, the Single Market (formerly known as the Common Market) has had at its heart the commitment to the Four Freedoms – the free movement of goods, services, money and people. This is what every country signed up to when they joined the EU. Even those countries, such as Norway, which are not in the EU, but are in the Single Market have to sign up for all of the four pillars, including the free movement of people.

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Scotland’s fishermen slap down Sturgeon’s dream to re-join EU

Scotland’s fishermen slap down Sturgeon’s dream to re-join EU | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it
The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation said Brexit presents “a unique opportunity for the UK to re-establish itself as a major fishing nation”.

Bertie Armstrong, SFF chief executive, said EU membership brought a “serious disadvantage for our fishing industry and coastal communities”.

He said Scottish fishermen were “regarded as expendable” in negotiations to enter the EU in the early 1970s and should not be overlooked now.
Peter A Bell's insight:

If The Express was honest (stop laughing!) the headline would refer to a "slap down" for the mad Brexiteers and their proxy, Theresa May. What the Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF) is condemning is, not Nicola Sturgeon or the SNP administration with which they have an excellent relationship, but the UK Government. They revile successive Westminster administrations which regarded fishing communities as "expendable", in the same way as Thatcher sacrificed mining and industrial communities on the altar of her vile ideology.

 
The problem for the SFF is, not the commitment of the Scottish Government which, under the SNP, has worked tirelessly to get the best deal possible for fishermen despite the UK Government's incompetence and disregard, but the dishonesty of the Leave campaign which deceived people into believing that Brexit was the cure for all the fishing industry's ills, when in reality it will make little or no difference.
 
There will be no immediate change, of course, as the UK remains a member of the EU, with the timetable for invoking Article 50 slipping daily. (Tory party chairman, Partick Loughlin, now says only that it will be before the next UK general election.) But, as the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) has warned, there may be precious little change even after the Little Englanders get their way. On 28 June the NFFO told The Guardian newspaper,
 

“Promises have been made and expectations raised during the referendum campaign and it is now time to examine if and how they can be delivered,

 

“Unfortunately, perhaps, the UK’s geopolitical position means that it is not politically or legally possible just to ringfence most of our fish resources, in the way that, for example, Iceland can. The reality is that most of our stocks are shared with other countries to some degree or other.

 

“We can certainly seek to renegotiate quota shares, as well as access arrangements, but it is realistic to expect that there will be a price. Who will pay that price is a critical question.”

 

In the same article [British fishermen warned Brexit will not mean greater catches, The Guardian, Tuesday 28 June 2016], the New Economics Foundation said,

 

“Those communities and fishers hoping for an immediate end to EU quotas will be sorely disappointed. In reality, there will be years of renegotiation, and given the small size of fishing compared to other industries, there is little chance it will be seen as a priority,” 

 

The Leave campaign lied. They lied about everything. But, perhaps most of all, they lied about fishing. And, when it came to peddling those lies, The Express was in the vanguard. So why would anybody be taken in by plainly dishonest articles which twists the words of fishermen's representatives to make them seem a rebuke to Nicola Sturgeon rather than the Westminster machine?

 

The people of Scotland started their journey to a new politics with a questioning of the established order. When will people in England learn that the mainstream media is no more than a mouthpiece for the sordid network of usurped power, unearned privilege and corrupt patronage which constitute the British state?

 

When will they wake up to the fact that they are being manipulated?

 

When will it dawn on people in the rest of the UK that the media-driven hate-fest against Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP and Scotland is a diversionary tactic intended to distract attention from the political cliques and vested interests who are their very real enemies?

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SNP call to protect Erasmus student exchange programme from the Brexit axe

SNP call to protect Erasmus student exchange programme from the Brexit axe | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

THE SNP has made a fresh call to safeguard the European Union’s student exchange programme after figures showed two Scottish universities were the scheme’s top beneficiaries in the UK.

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Welcome to our world Jeremy – Towards Indyref2 …

Welcome to our world Jeremy – Towards Indyref2 … | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

It started back in late June with the sacking of Hilary Benn after Jeremy Corbyn was awoken in the early hours by his shadow foreign secretary who informed the Labour leader of his intentions to make clear that there was no confidence in him.  Benn’s sacking triggered what now appears to have been pre-scheduled mass resignations of Labour MPs from Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet.

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Scottish Labour leadership rift deepens

Scottish Labour leadership rift deepens | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

THE rift between Kezia Dugdale and her deputy looked irreconcilable yesterday, after he announced he was supporting Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election…

Peter A Bell's insight:

What may be remarkable about the ongoing travails of British Labour in Scotland (BLiS) is just how unremarkable it is. It seems like only yesterday when they bestrode Scottish politics like a behemoth. Now, only the BBC believes that BLiS is the main force in Scottish politics - despite being the third party at Holyrood and having only one MP. Outside the media bubble, who really cares?

 

Quite striking also is the idea that there is some way back for BLiS. The naive notion that, out of the fog of factional war, some figure will emerge to unite the "party" and restore it to the status to which it feels entitled. This is surely a triumph of faith over facts.

 

Nobody can even imagine what a functioning BLiS would look like. It's a certainty nobody among the leadership can do so. They can all too easily picture themselves in the positions of power which they believe to be theirs by right. But there is no vision. No plan. No thought as to what they might do with political power should it somehow become theirs.

 

The media are obsessed with the question of what might bring BLiS back from the brink. They ponder the identity of the Messianic figure who might rescue the "party". They speculate about the possibility of some novel formulation of policy that will be the platform for a spectacular revival. BBC Scotland, in particular, keeps BLiS on life-support; feeding them the oxygen of publicity and shielding them from the infection of truth; affording BLiS the privileges of the sentient entity they once were in the hope that this alone might restore them from their persistent vegetative state.

 

But outside the BBC and BLiS itself, does anybody really care? Other than British nationalists desperate to get back to the simplicity of a truly British politics free of the complications of popular democratic dissent, is there anybody who doesn't want that life-support switched off?

 

The British political establishment's influence and power in Scotland is waning rapidly. As a branch office of one of the parties of the British establishment, British Labour in Scotland was bound to decline as the old order passes. Some nostalgia is to be expected. But there comes a time when we just have to move on.

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Recession looms after 'dramatic deterioration' in UK economy since Brexit vote, City analysts warn

Recession looms after 'dramatic deterioration' in UK economy since Brexit vote, City analysts warn | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

BRITAIN is facing a new recession in the wake of the Brexit vote, experts have warned, after new data showed the economy had recorded a “dramatic deterioration,” slumping at its fastest rate since the 2008 financial crisis.

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The real Spanish veto threat

I wasn’t going to blog today because I’ve got a bad case of manflu, which is like a regular cold only with additional histrionics, drama, and attention seeking. So very much like the Labour leadership contest then. But there’s news from Spain which I thought worth sharing, mostly because it’s deeply discomfiting to those Unionists who keep claiming that Spain would veto the membership of an independent Scotland in the EU. And when you’ve got a severe dose of manflu, the one thing that cheers you up more than anything else is making people who annoy you really miserable.

Peter A Bell's insight:

"There is a serious threat of a Spanish veto arising out of the political fall out from the Brexit vote. It’s just that it’s not a threat against an independent Scotland remaining a member of the EU, it’s a threat against the rest of the UK getting the kind of Brexit that the Tories might want."

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Positions of UK nations harden on Brexit after British-Irish Council

Positions of UK nations harden on Brexit after British-Irish Council | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

POLITICAL leaders from across the British Isles met in Cardiff today for crucial emergency talks about the Brexit result of the European Union (EU) referendum.

The British-Irish Council (BIC) summit in the Welsh capital was called by Wales’ First Minister Carwyn Jones and was attended by leaders and ministers from the constituent nations of the British isles.

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BBC Scotland – Making up the news – Towards Indyref2 …

BBC Scotland – Making up the news – Towards Indyref2 … | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

What’s the laziest way to create a political news story? Asking a politician a controversial question and headlining the answer would be near the top. Check out my last article on the ‘Brexit Veto’ scam to see how that one works.

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Union says MoD's excuse for delay to Type 26 frigate build is a red herring and workers are ready to begin

Union says MoD's excuse for delay to Type 26 frigate build is a red herring and workers are ready to begin | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

A UNION official has described as “a red herring” claims in the House of Commons that the design of the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 frigates is only 60 per cent complete.

The claim was made at a Defence Committee meeting on Wednesday by Ministry of Defence (MoD) chief executive for equipment Tony Douglas, as he tried to explain the delay in building the warships.

Peter A Bell's insight:
This would be the same Duncan McPhee who stood with the Tories during the first independence referendum campaign and led the people of Scotland to believe that the only way to avoid the kind of insecurity and uncertainty he's now complaining about was to vote No. He insisted that we leave the future of the Clyde yards at the mercy of a UK government that he now accuses of being deceitful about the reasons for the most reason backtracking on what was promised.
 
What has to happen before people like McPhee will deign to question their blind alegiance to the British state?
 
Why should we have any confidence in the word of those who were part of the obscenely dishonest anti-independence campaign?
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EU open to 'different' Scotland position, says SNP's Smith - BBC News

EU open to 'different' Scotland position, says SNP's Smith - BBC News | Politics Scotland | Scoop.it

A leading Scottish National Party politician, Alyn Smith MEP, says there is a recognition in Brussels that "Scotland is looking for something different" in relations with the EU.

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