Politics - Michael Gove

Last week we had the (almost) hysterical spectacle of Michael Gove, in the House of Commons, calling the SNP the Scottish Nationalist Party - when it is actually called the Scottish NATIONAL Party. Several SNP MPs immediately corrected him by calling out "national, national".  Instead of retracting his error, Gove went on attack and insisted they were nationalists - in what was clearly intended to be an insult. Does Gove not recognise the irony (or maybe the hypocrisy) of his words? I suspect he was fully aware but that this was just another example of a politician twisting facts to suit a personal and political point.  As a leading light of the pro Brexit movement, Gove was a major figure in what was the UK nationalist movement (or, more accurately, the English and Welsh nationalist movement). To accuse the SNP of being nationalists, in such a derogatory way, is pretty rich given that his nationalism is far deeper than the SNP's! To be clear, this UK gov…

Politics - Brexit and why I now regret voting leave.

With Brexit day almost upon us I feel I should explain why I voted to leave - and why I now regret doing so.
The first thing to say is that I did not vote to leave to escape the free movement of people, as required by the single market. I was not being racist in my outlook. I was happy that the UK, or Scotland if independent, paid for access to the single market and continued to work within the rules of free movement. I assumed we’d be joining EFTA or coming to a similar agreement with the EU as the other EFTA countries have done. I should have realised, given the attitudes being expressed south of the border, that the UK, on the whole, was going to aim for as complete a break from the EU as possible. This included getting out of both the single market and the customs union. I was happy to escape the customs union as I very much dislike the CAP and the CFP but I was also happy to pay for access to the single market and retain the free movement of people.
But the main reason I voted to l…

Politics - the Labour leadership contest and Scottish independence

So, at least two Labour leadership contenders (Phillips and Nandy) have come out against allowing IndyRef2 - and just yesterday, on the Andrew Marr programme, Ian Murray stated that he agreed with them 100%. All three stated that the way to beat nationalism was to elect a radical, left wing, Labour government to Westminster. Two points to make on that view.
Firstly, the N in SNP stands for NATIONAL - not NATIONALIST. There is a difference. Nationalist movements are, on the whole, ring wing and racist (promoting the rights of the indigenous population at the expense of incomers). Neither label can be applied to the SNP (although there are those seeking Scottish independence who hold such views - but they are a minority and the SNP quickly shut them up when they expound on such views). The SNP seek to remain, or rejoin, the EU and actively seeks people from anywhere in the world to move to Scotland. The SNP hopes for a left of centre Scottish government which will forever reject the rig…

Politics - the general election result

Well, it’s nearly three weeks since the general election and I suppose it’s time I made some comment on the outcome.
For reasons not yet fully understood, that (in my opinion) cheating, dishonest buffoon Johnson won by a majority of eighty seats. That, amongst other things, means that his pretty hard Brexit deal will go ahead - without a second EU referendum being needed. As indicated in a previous post, that will likely leave the country still badly split over leaving or remaining in the EU. Then again, perhaps the size of the majority will result in the remain side just accepting the decision? That might be the case but with the parties either wanting to remain or have a second vote getting around two million more votes than the parties who just wanted to ‘get it done’, we are left with a minority pushing through a major change against the wishes of a majority who didn’t want to proceed with this under Johnson’s deal. I am not saying a majority voted to remain - that’s unclear due t…

Politics - Scottish independence

Earlier this year (2019), near the end of April, I met up in Glasgow with an old girlfriend (let's call her JT in case she wishes not to be identified in dispatches). We had been together for about fifteen years but had split up over twenty years ago. It was good to see JT again, although a couple of hours over a curry hardly provided sufficient time to do more than discuss all our changes in a very superficial way (we had kept in touch, if not often, by email and Christmas and birthday cards but had only met up once since then, not long after our split). It was clear, however, that JT was disappointed in my support of Scottish independence and my voting to leave the EU (but we'll leave that latter topic for another time). When we were together, JT was aware of my support for Scottish independence - and seemed neither for nor against. JT is English born (Newcastle upon Tyne) but, as said, didn't seem to object to my views on Scottish home rule. Later in our relationship sh…


About this time of year, for the past twelve years, the US sit-com, The Big Bang Theory (TBBT), would be a couple of episodes into a new season - and I'd be looking forward to watching each episode (with a short break over Christmas and New Year) until about the end of May. Not, sadly, this year as Jim Parson decided to pull the plug on playing Sheldon Cooper throughout the programme's long run - and no-one involved, writers, producers or the other actors, wanted to even attempt to continue without Parson on board.
Much as I enjoyed the six years I'd been watching (I was a late convert), and much as I will miss it, it was the correct decision to bring the show to a close. It had started off as a sit-com but, especially over the past five seasons, it had gradually morphed into a soap-opera. It had started with a fairly even mix of science stuff, nerdy/geeky stuff and relationship stuff - but by the end, although the science and neerdy stuff was still there, most of each epi…

Politics - the Corbyn/Swinton puzzle

I have to say that I'm puzzled by the stance both Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinton are taking over who should be interim PM if Johnson was to face, and lose, a vote of no confidence.
Both claim to be desperate to avoid the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal - but, at the same time, both seem to be more interested in their ego and personal achievement.
I am surprised about Corbyn's stance as a principled socialist desperate to avoid economic disaster for the country. If that was the case he should be willing to stand aside if that was the only way to avoid the no deal situation he claims must be avoided at all costs. At the same time he is the leader of the main opposition and in the event of Johnston losing a vote of no confidence then it should fall to him to lead any interim government.
As for Jo Swinton, and the Tory rebels, what can they lose by backing Corbyn in this - apart from just not wanting to see a leftie in charge - even for a few weeks?
The plan, as I understan…