I went to Edinburgh today. I had two meetings, so I took my car, to see if it was as bad as I had heard.
It wasn’t. It was much, much worse.
I can only hope that they let the lunatics take over the asylum, for they have to do a better job than the councillors.
Here’s the way it is.
In the Independence Referendum, I voted Yes, because I’m passionately Scottish, and I believe that my nation can not only survive but be a force in the modern world.
In the EU Referendum I voted Leave, because I do not wish my grandson to be a citizen of the monstrous, ungovernable, riven Federal European State that I believe is inevitable. There’s already talk of the French ceding control of its nuclear deterrent to Europe.
Now Nicola wants me to vote again. She’s asking me to choose between remaining British or remaining European. The dozy mare is asking me to vote for the lesser of two evils.
Sorry lass, my grandson will always win.
Her husband is British, her sons are British, her grandchild is British, but she is deported? When we allow this to happen we have lost all generosity as a nation. Time we deported Amber f*cking Rudd.
A guy at the inauguration just attributed ‘We shall overcome’ to Mahalia Jackson. Not exactly true; she may have sung it but she didn’t write it.
It’s actually an old hymn adapted and made into a civil rights anthem by Pete Seeger, who sure as God made wee green apples would never have voted for President Trump.
‘American carnage stops right here and right now.’ How?
Rhetoric? Bullshit? What’s the difference?
‘Most importantly we will be protected by God.’
I don’t bet. Every time I tip a horse it loses.
I’ve just awakened after a late night watching the St Joan fireworks. I’m happy, and only mildly surprised, for I had a hunch that the people who made the pollsters look like idiots at last year’s General Election might do the same again.
I said I’d be a good loser. Now I’m going to do something even harder: I’m going to be a good winner.
We’re there. The bluster and the bullshit of another corrosive referendum campaign lies behind us, stored away in the memory banks of the political participants, so that the winners can take revenge on the losers at a moment of their choosing.
Remain will win, and I will be as good a loser as I was (and still am) when I voted ‘Yes’ to Scottish independence. But one thing I won’t tolerate or forgive, is the assumption that because I voted to leave the EU, I am a kindred spirit to the likes of Nigel Farage, or Katie Hopkins, or Donald Trump . . . although it beats me why his views should have any relevance.
In a debate that has been largely about money and the protection of the wealth of the rich while also salving their social consciences, I have been focused from the start on the long term. This has nothing to do with immigration, or racism, or xenophobia; I believe that a political union of going on for thirty nation states with different cultures, attitudes, objectives and of course languages . . . and that is where the EU is headed . . . will be an unhappy and unstable creation. In the very long term it will also be unworkable.
So I don’t care what Farage says, or how Cameron spins it, or how sore Corbyn’s arse is from all that fence-sitting, or whether Joanne Rowling thinks we’re all mini-Trumps (although when I read that I couldn’t believe she said it), or whether Becks and Posh wake up happy or sad tomorrow. I will not be browbeaten by the strident voices of Nicola, Ruth and Kezia, or even persuaded by my friend Malcolm.
I voted with my conscience, and it’s clear.
The YouGov daily panel questions are always interesting, but sometimes their purpose can be a little obscure. No ambivalence about one of yesterday’s three, however, only a little grammatical quirkiness:
‘If the UK were not a member of the EU at the moment and there were a referendum on whether we should join (on current terms) wold you vote to join or stay out?’
The result? Out of 4427 total respondents,
I would vote to join: 28%
I would vote to stay out: 60%
I would not vote: 1%
Note sure: 11%
Okay, it didn’t ask for voting intentions on June 23, but if I was part of Operation Fear this morning, I’d find that more than a little ominous.
The notorious ‘Named Person scheme’ and the SNP’s sudden coyness?
Who is SHANARRI?
What influence will the personal views of a man named Alan Small have on every family in Scotland?
For the answers to these quesions, required reading from the invaluable Scottish Review:
Some of them may be dinosaurs who may be living in the wrong century, but the members of The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers own the Muirfield course and have the right to determine how it is used and by whom.
As it happened 64% of those proprietors voted in favour of admitting women to membership of their club. Most people would see that as a significant step forward, but they tend not to be the people who take to the social airwaves, for fear of being pilloried by the politically correct.
The tail wagging the dog isn’t a sustainable situation in the long term. I suspect that it won’t be long before the matter is revisited, maybe with a little gentle persuasion by the R&A, which really doesn’t want to lose the course as an Open venue.
So it’s Trump 10, Republican Party 0.
I wonder what my friend the Senator thinks of that.
My dear wife has a subscription to Scottish Field, the country life magazine that has become a national institution. She reads it more than I do, but today I picked it up to study a piece by my old acquaintance Bill Jamieson. I thank him for it, and believe that it needs a wider audience.
His article points out an anomaly in the brand new Holyrood legislation which replaces Stamp Duty in Scotland with a Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, which will make home owners who complete a purchase of a new main residence before selling the old one liable for an Additional Dwelling Supplement of 3% of the total purchase price.
In other words, you buy a new home, let’s say for £350,000. You will be liable for LBTT at 10%. That’s right, you will pay Revenue Scotland £35,000 for the privilege of making that purchase. Then, if your old place doesn’t sell before your completion date, you will be liable for a further £10,500 on your second home that isn’t.
I’ve picked that figure to catch the eye, I admit. (Mind you, try and buy a Cala house for under £350,000.) LBTT will be levied on a sliding scale; if the purchase price is between £145,000 and £250,000 the rate os 2%. Between £250,000 and £325,000 it’s 5%. Whatever the level, it’s a tax on people’s aspirations and it doesn’t sit well with me.
When Eileen told me about this, my first reaction was to assume that she had misread it. But no, it’s for real. This is what Revenue Scotland says about it on its website.
- “Q: I am buying my next house which will be my main residence. I am selling my existing main residence but the contract for sale will not go through until after my new purchase is completed. As I am selling one property and buying another, will the Additional Dwelling Supplement apply?
A: Yes. When you purchase your new house, because you will not have sold your existing main residence, you will own two houses. You will therefore have to pay the Additional Dwelling Supplement on the purchase of your next house.
However, on 2 March 2016, the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee agreed to amend the Bill at stage 2 of the Bill process to allow for the situation where the buyer purchases their new main residence before they sell their old one. In such a situation, if the sale of the previous main residence takes place before the tax return for the purchase of the next main residence is made, no Additional Dwelling Supplement is due.
If you have already submitted a return for the purchase transaction, you will, be eligible to make a claim for the repayment of the Additional Dwelling Supplement you paid once your previous house is sold, provided that completion takes place within 18 months of the purchase of your next home. Example 2.05 explains how to claim a repayment of the Additional Dwelling Supplement.”
I have no plans to move, or to buy an additional home in Scotland; if I had, I’d be shelving them.
At a time when the Scottish housing market needs to be stimulated, the party of which I am a member seems to be doing its best to cut its throat. Leaving aside the morality of a tax on home ownership, would it not have been more sensible administratively, and less damaging to the individuals caught in this nasty little trap to make the tax fall due 18 months after the completion date on the purchase transaction?
This too: similar taxes are due on property purchases in Spain. As a result what happens in practice, the parties agree on a declared price for housing transaction, and an actual price. When the two come together in the Notario’s office to complete the purchase, said public official will leave the room during the process, and the balance of the price will change hands, in cash.
How long will it be before the passage of brown envelopes containing £50,000 in cash becomes commonplace in Scotland?
Ask me where my nationality lies, when I’m in the land of my birth, and I’ll tell you I’m Scottish and proud of it. Ask me when I’m in Spain, and I might tell you that I’m a citizen of the European Union and content to be one.
The first of those feelings will never change, and not so long ago, I would say that neither would the other. This morning, I can no longer assert my continuing loyalty to Europe.
I’ve spent the last few days looking on at the Prime Minister’s posturing in Europe as he fought, no, begged more like, for a fairer deal for Britain within the EU. What did he get? He secured what an old leader of mine in the Government Information Service, now deceased, would have described as ‘a form of words’. Old Charlie’s were meant to be interpreted in a certain way, but almost invariably could be read in another, by anyone with a sharp enough mind.
Dave’s deal in Brussels cuts no ice with me I’m afraid. There’s been some tinkering with the benefit system, okay, but the notion of child benefit being paid in respect of children who are residents of another European nation is just plain ridiculous to me.
That aside, the PM’s triumph will do nothing to restrain the untrammelled inward flow of economic migrants willing to work for the minimum wage, and for less if the employer is shifty enough. I’m an Amazon customer; the last year or so has seen the introduction of a thing called Amazon Logistics, through which most of my deliveries now arrive. Amazon Logistics seems to consist of people in rental vans, never the same one twice, almost invariably with east European accents, and names to match on the cards on the lanyards around their necks. What’s their hourly rate, I wonder?
If you think that’s xenophobic, live with it. I don’t; I see it as the cost of being a good European Union member. That’s one reason why Dave got his deal; the smaller nations, any one of whom could have vetoed it, know that we play by the rules, no matter how disadvantageous they are to our indigenous work-force. We don’t have regulatory fiddles like the French. We don’t have anything as craftily insidious as the Spanish NIE system, which requires citizens of all other EU member nations to register as foreigners, before they can work, buy property or even buy a car, then imposes a bureaucratic system that makes it as difficult as possible to do so.
To be honest, I can live with that stuff, insofar as it doesn’t impact upon me: I’ve had an NIE number for over 25 years, obtained in ten minutes in the Guardia Civil office in Figueres and I’m not likely to be looking for a delivery gig with Amazon logistics. No, my concern over Europe is long term; it’s this ‘ever closer union’ from which Dave says he’s opted us out.
The way I see it; mainland Europe is moving slowly but inexorably towards becoming a single supranational entity, a collection of independent states bound together under a single constitution, with a single defence force and overarching federal laws under which everyone must live. Sound familiar?
Eventually Europe, which is already much bigger than the US or Russia in population terms, will elect a chief executive; that person, usually German, will be called ‘President’, and will be called to account by a federal European parliament with which he or she will be regularly at odds. The Prime Minister says that we won’t be apart of that, but in decades to come how easy will it be for us to resist pressure to join, and how will we be able to resist as a nation if that pressure acquires a military edge?
That’s not going to happen in my lifetime, but my grandchildren will see it, of that I’m sure. It’s not a scenario I would wish to bequeath to them.
It is said by the Remain campaign that our economic strength depends on our EU membership. Really? I look across the Atlantic and I do not see Canada being disadvantaged by not being the 51st State. I look around the world and I see nations who are already our cultural and economic partners in a thing we call the Commonwealth. Then I look at home and I see strength and talent in abundance, plus a generosity of spirit which is, frankly, being taken for a ride at this moment in time.
I’m a member of the Scottish National Party. Our strident leader says I must be a member of the EU as well, but she hasn’t asked if that’s okay with me: it isn’t Nicola. Put to the choice my first loyalty will always lie with my family and with my descendants. That’s why I’ll be voting ‘Leave’: for Rex and Mia.
A couple of quick questions about yesterday’s WADA commission report into Russian athletics.
Dick Pound, the Canadian chair of the commission is a past president of WADA. In that post he built a reputation over several years as a fanatical pursuer of alleged ‘drug cheats’. He enjoyed also a very high media profile.
- With such a background, was he the best person to put in a position that demanded an objective and unbiased approach?
- Did his commission begin its work with an assumption of guilt?
I’ve just watched TV news coverage of the latest US college massacre, and the reactions of some of the presidential candidates. There are occasions on which a tweet is neither adequate nor appropriate.
Jeb Bush says he’s praying for the families of the victims. Is he also praying for the families of future victims?
Sixteen years ago, at the time of the Columbine High School massacre, Jeb’s older brother was running for President. He held that office for eight years and nothing happened. Seven years into Obama’s Presidency, nothing has happened beyond the fuelling of his frustration and anger.
The US constitution doesn’t allow the president to impose sensible gun laws. Only Congress can, but it will never do so, for as long as the majority of its members are so morally bankrupt that they accept money from the blind, blinkered nutters in the gun lobby, who are prepared to tolerate the slaughter of children in schools and colleges just to preserve their right to shoot moose of a weekend, and anyone else who happens to cross their path at the wrong time.
A clear message from the YouGov poll this morning. Question: Corbyn as Prime Minister? Answer: No.
If 24% approval is the best a Labour leader can do in his Party Conference week, in his first month in office, he isn’t going to last long.