Wednesday, 22 April 2009


Figure of Fun

Most of the London press and even The Guardian pour scorn on Gordy remorselessly and daily, as this small piece from the Daily Mail illustrates.He is increasingly,as The Independent suggested yesterday, a Shakespearean tragi/comedy figure. The Scottish press is more,much more ,restricted.Why is this? There can be no doubt that the culture of Custodians of the Union still pervades Scottish journalism. At a time when the SNP should be making quite enormous advances ,these advances will be restricted by this culture of the Scottish media. Generations of Scots have been turned against their National Party by generations of this culture. It is indeed coming to an end,but not quickly enough. The growth of the Internet and of initiatives like the natblogs and Mediawatch are inflicting a heavy penalty on the Scottish press ,many of whom like The Herald,The Scotsman and The Record see their readerships fall below ,far below,the numbers that attend,for example, Old Firm games.Move with the times ladies and gentlemen and you might just save the day yet.

Daily Mail
21 Apr 2009

Omigod, it’s Gordy!

A FEW years ago, when William Hague the Younger was prematurely Conservative leader, I used to portray him as cartoon character Kenny from South Park. It was a back-handed compliment. Kenny would get killed at the end of every episode, only to reappear alive and well at the start of the next. Hague kept taking the knocks — Omigod, they killed Willy! — but always dusted himself down and bounced back for more. Never in a million years did I think Gordon Brown would ever turn up in South Park for real. But the creators have decided to include him in a forthcoming episode about the credit crunch. Gordon will be seen leading an international party to steal money from aliens to stimulate the economy. Given our Prime Minister’s desperate state of mind, I suppose it’s no more far-fetched than ‘quantitative easing’. And with his excuses wearing thin, don’t be surprised to hear him declare: ‘ This is an intergalactic recession which began in Outer Space…’

We Could'uv Tellt yi Hen

Halifax Courier

Alice's resignation shows Labour party is falling apart

: 21 April 2009
Park Road
The resignation of Alice Mahon (Courier, April 18) from the party she has served for 50 years is the clearest evidence yet that the fabric of the Labour Party is now unravelling and coming apart at the seams. It is also an act of great integrity for which I applaud her.

Not only does Mrs Mahon "find it impossible these days to try to defend many of the party's policies" but she has been further disillusioned regarding the circumstances leading to the appointment of Stephenie Booth as Labour's Calder Valley Parliamen-tary candidate.

Over recent months it has been a matter of some speculation among outsiders as to the extent of the internal strife in the local Labour Party. My own conclusion is that panic has started to set in, from the top to the bottom of the party. Not despair, panic.

The Titanic is going down and some are rushing for the lifeboats (Alice Mahon) while others are rearranging the deckchairs (the local Labour party). And at number 10, Captain Brown is facing the harsh reality that has steered HMS Great Britain headlong into possibly the worst global downturn in economic history.

And can he rely on his crew in this crisis? Well, what with his Home Secretary's expenses blunders on the one hand and his special adviser's appalling e-mails on the other, he must be wondering whether he's destined to be shipwrecked on the shores of history or drowned in a sea of embarrassment. Either way, it's not looking good for Mr Brown and the Labour Party. As Nick Clegg remarked in a recent speech to the Liberal Democrats in Harrogate, Labour is now "a spent match". The burning issue we face as a country is how we wish to be governed in the future.

The only real and radical alternative to the Conservatives, who seem to have been shocked into an almost deafening silence by the current crisis, is the Liberal Democratic alternative.

Alice Mahon is grieving for the "progressive and caring" party that Labour used to be. And many good Labour activists and voters I know are feeling the same way. I hope that many of them will see the desire for social justice and the progressive, green policies of the Lib Dems as worthy of their support.

Across Calderdale and across the country as a whole, Labour could soon be sliding rapidly into third place.

Hilary Myers
Lib Dem PPC Calder Valley
Every lever to be used - Salmond

First Minister Alex Salmond has told the STUC that the Scottish Government is using every lever at its disposal to protect jobs in the recession.

His comments came as he announced the first steps towards creating a Scottish Investment Bank to support business.

Business leaders and political opponents called for more details.

Mr Salmond also warned the £15bn of efficiency savings expected in Wednesday's UK Budget would result in a huge reduction for the Scottish budget.

The UK Government said it would not mean cuts in services and personnel.

Mr Salmond told delegates in Perth the Scottish Government's own 2% year-on-year efficiency savings programme would see the cash re-invested in areas such as the health service and local government.

'Competitive edge'

"What's being talked about here is top-slicing from public spending," he said of the UK Budget plan.

"It's not efficiency savings, it's cuts that are being proposed."

The first minister added: "The Scottish Government is using every lever at our disposal to protect jobs, protect skills, protect businesses and families through the downturn.

"Today's announcement will see the first steps towards a Scottish Investment Bank, pulling together Scottish Enterprise and European funding to support businesses with the growth potential to help Scotland make a strong economic recovery."

"The establishment of a Scottish Investment Bank will be a significant addition to the collaborative work, across government and industry, to strengthen Scotland's economy, reputation and competitive edge."

Mr Salmond's concerns about public spending cuts were echoed by STUC general secretary Grahame Smith, who also welcomed the investment bank plan.

CBI Scotland's Director, Iain McMillan, said: "The existing funding schemes have played a valuable role in providing a blend of equity and long term capital to support growth businesses in Scotland.

"If this new brand and extra cash builds on that and helps better market the support on offer to growth-oriented firms then that could well be a worthwhile proposition.

"However, we look forward to learning more detail about the proposal, including over the continuation of private sector involvement and the governance arrangements."

Scottish Labour's Economy Spokesman John Park said: "The Scottish Labour Party will look closely at any serious proposals to help Scotland through the recession.

"I believe the idea of a Scottish Investment Bank has merit, but we need to know how it will operate.

"Alex Salmond needs to explain exactly how the new bank will raise funds and how it will help create jobs for ordinary Scots."

Yobocops Getting it Wrong (again)
April 22, 2009

Students held in 'terror' raids freed without charge

Nine men detained in a security operation intended to thwart what the Prime Minister said was “a very big terrorist plot” were released without charge last night.

The men, Pakistani citizens who were in Britain on student visas, were handed by police into the custody of immigration authorities and now face deportation on national security grounds. Aged between 22 and 38, they had been detained for 13 out of a possible 28 days but were released because there was no evidence connecting them to terrorist activity.

Two of the 12 men arrested during Operation Pathway on April 8 are still being questioned under anti-terrorism legislation. An 18-year-old student was transferred to the custody of the UK Border Agency after three days in detention.

Mohammed Ayub, a lawyer for three of the men, called for an independent inquiry into Operation Pathway and said their deportation orders would be challenged. “Our clients have no criminal history, they were here lawfully on student visas and all were pursuing their studies and working part-time,” he said. “They are neither extremists nor terrorists. Their arrest and detention has been a serious breach of their human rights. As a minimum they are entitled to an unreserved apology.”

The investigation into alleged al-Qaeda activity in the North West involved 14 properties in Manchester, Liverpool and Clitheroe, Lancashire, being searched by specialist teams.

The arrests were brought forward by 12 hours after Bob Quick, Scotland Yard’s head of counter-terrorism, accidentally disclosed details of the raids to Downing Street photographers while on his way to brief Gordon Brown and Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary.

Mr Quick, Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations, resigned, admitting that he had compromised a high-level security operation. Ms Smith told the House of Commons this week that the error had not damaged the operation and that the only impact had been that the raids had been brought forward “by a matter of hours”.

However, The Times understands that even before Mr Quick quit there were furious disagreements between Scotland Yard, which is supposed to have national responsibility for counter-terrorism, the North West Counter-Terrorism Unit, led by Greater Manchester Police, and MI5.

Security sources said that the arrests were premature and complained that police had panicked after picking up intelligence “chatter” that appeared to discuss timings and targets. Some of the suspects were allegedly under surveillance while photographing and filming at Manchester shopping centres and a nightclub.

It was hoped that the arrests and searches would produce evidence of bomb-making activity or components.

At one point a block of flats in Liverpool was evacuated but no explosive material was found. Attention later turned to the forensic examination of the suspects’ computers, but sources say that nothing has been found which can incriminate the men.

The Times reported last week that British officials had talks with Pakistani officials and were seeking assurances that none of the suspects would suffer torture if he was deported to Pakistan. A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said that searches were continuing at one property in the city.

In the aftermath of the arrests the Prime Minister complained that Pakistan was not doing enough to help Britain to fight terrorism. Pakistan claimed that Britain did not carry out enough checks on young men entering the country, and the spotlight fell on the potential exploitation of the student visa programme by terrorist groups.

Ministers admitted that the student visa scheme was a weak link in British border security. The families of several of the men have protested that their sons were innocent, hard-working students.

The nine men have the right to contest deportation through the Special Immigration Appeals Commission. It can overturn decisions by the Home Secretary to deport people on national security grounds.

Read Craig Murray on this at;

Scotland waits for crunch Budget
Alistair Darling

The chancellor is getting ready to unveil his much anticipated Budget at Westminster.

Alistair Darling is likely to admit the country is heading for the worst annual decline since World War Two.

Scottish businesses and politicians will be hoping for direct help to boost the economy north of the border.

The Scottish Government again called on the Treasury to reverse its £15bn efficiency savings plan, saying it would hurt Scottish public services.

Holyrood ministers argue the move would take £1bn off the Scottish budget - and is set to spark a further row between the Scottish and UK governments.

The Treasury still believes recovery from the recession will come - but will not say exactly when.

Possible areas to be addressed in the Budget may include help to promote oil exploration, and a boost for construction and green technology.

There is also likely to be extra money for training for the unemployed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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Scot Independent.


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