Wednesday, 30 September 2009

WHAT WE ASK

The descent of Britain's Afghan campaign into a Vietnam-style madness

By CAPTAIN DOUG BEATTIE MC

Last updated at 9:30 PM on 26th September 2009

Captain Doug Beattie and British troops, in liaison with Afghan National Army forces, capture and handcuff a Taliban fighter. The ANA are told to deliver him safely to interrogators...


The Afghan soldiers dragged our Taliban prisoner off the path. There was a burst of gunfire. "What the hell is going on?"
"They've shot the prisoner. The Afghans. They've bloody shot him."
Their medic did it with his AK-47



The beautiful little Afghan girl stared straight back at me, blankly. How could she be so expressionless? For she must have been in absolute agony. There were at least three penetration wounds to her young body, caused by a mortar shell exploding close to where she'd been playing.

The round that had done the damage had been ours - British - fired as we edged forward through part of a village in Helmand. There had been no immediate threat, none I could determine anyway, but someone else had thought otherwise.

An old man, her grandfather, approached me. Of course he couldn't have known I'd just become a grandfather too; couldn't have known the effect the suffering of a child would have on me. After the girl - Shabia - had been airlifted to hospital, I stayed with her family, desperate to show I had some humanity. I told them not to worry; she'd be OK for sure. Hollow words from a fool who knew no better.

I never saw Shabia again. And nor did her relatives. Because within hours she died. She was just seven years old. I heard later how the British authorities refused to pay her father the compensation he'd requested, based on the size of dowry Shabia would have received when she married. The excuse for not paying? Her death had been ' incidental'; she was a casualty of conflict.

It made me ashamed - of myself, of the Army, and of my country. Even if there were rules, did no one have a degree of compassion? An ounce of foresight?



How were we going to win the battle to bring the civilians onside if we killed one of their number and offered nothing to ease the pain in terms they understood? It was heartless. It was wrong. And it was no way to wage a campaign against an enemy ready to exploit any of our mistakes to turn the 26 million people of Afghanistan against us. Christ, as if things weren't tough enough.

I was 42 and just three weeks away from making a go of it in Civvie Street when my commanding officer asked me to postpone my retirement and go on one last mission to Afghanistan with 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment, to help train members of the Afghan National Army (ANA).

All my married life I had been a soldier. My wife Margaret knew the ways of the Army inside out. And she knew me. She understood I wouldn't refuse the request, though it didn't mean she was happy about it.
'I served in Vietnam and witnessed the collapse of military discipline,' he said. 'And now as I walk about here, I see it again'

In all I'd done 14 operational tours, including Iraq, Northern Ireland, Bosnia and, in 2006, Afghanistan. But this last tour had been without the rest of the battalion. It had not been a rousing finale to a long career, which perhaps is why I volunteered to go back. I was after the last hurrah with my band of brothers.

I emerged from a Hercules into near darkness and to jeers from outgoing troops: 'Enjoy your stay at Club Helmand!' Yet for every two or three giving us lip there was another standing silent, a haunted, exhausted look on his face. He was the one who had actually been on the front line, battling the Taliban, fighting to survive.

By early 2008 there were 43,000 coalition troops from 38 nations in Afghanistan. Even Prince Harry had been doing his bit. Now it was my turn again. The first briefing upon arrival at Camp Bastion was from a sergeant-major. He stood before us and recounted the thoughts of a visiting U.S. general on the modern British soldier.
Doug Beattie and a British mentoring team brief an ANA commander



'I served in Vietnam,' he'd said, 'and witnessed first the collapse of military discipline and then the collapse of our campaign. We looked a defeated army. And now as I walk about here, I see it once more: a defeated army.'

His beef was that the Brits were not immaculately turned out. They had sideburns, moustaches and beards; their hair was unkempt. I couldn't believe it. It was a contemptuous and arrogant thing for him to say. And now a British warrant officer was wasting time telling the story.

The general had plainly not grasped the realities of going to war. When it comes to putting his life on the line, a soldier wants to be treated as an adult and wear kit that is comfortable and practical. He wants to concentrate on guns, bullets and bombs, not razors, scissors and irons. And any commander worthy of the title will recognise this and cut his men some slack.

But then nothing was subtle about the Americans. You could tell that by the Stars and Stripes that flew sneeringly above their bases, in full sight of the local population. This wasn't the way to win friends and influence people, just as the death of Shabia had not been. It was bad enough that the natural and societal hardships robbed Afghan children of the innocence of youth. Yet there we were, compounding the misery. I desperately wanted to believe the greater good was being served by our presence in Afghanistan. But I wasn't convinced; not by a long shot. Yet I could not allow introspection to get in the way. There was too much to do.

The patrol base in Marjah, 30 kilometres west of the Helmand capital Lashkar Gah, was located in a disused school. Home to 69 British and Afghan soldiers, it was vulnerable and had no power, not even a generator. Batteries were being delivered by vehicle every three or four days. It wouldn't need a genius among the Taliban to clock our routine and plan an ambush.
Doug Beattie in Attal



On my first supply run there, I was jumpy. I had witnessed enough roadside bombs to know I had no desire to meet my maker the same way. After four arduous hours we arrived, to be greeted by Sergeant Jon Mathews, who was leading the team there.

Genuine, diligent, hard-working and kind, he held the respect of his men. We worked quickly to unload the supplies and get out before the Taliban could organise a surprise for our departure. But we were not quick enough.

We had got three kilometres from the base when a large bang echoed around us. A rocket had been fired from behind, so we needed to keep pressing forwards. But after another few hundred metres the convoy ground to a halt. An ANA pick-up had been shot up and stopped. Stuck behind them, we were sitting ducks.

The enemy was putting down sustained fire. One soldier was making futile attempts to get the TacSat, the satellite communications equipment, to work. He gave up and grabbed his rifle instead.

I pulled at an Afghan who was cowering by his vehicle. In my best Pashtu I screamed: 'Fire!'
Fighting the Taliban - Afghanistan map

Now there was another problem. Eighty metres away, sitting square across the track, was a car I'd seen careering across the desert towards us just minutes before the attack. Beyond it were the mud walls of the huts some of the Taliban were sheltering in.

'Any joy with the TacSat?' I asked.

'One call, that was it.'

The TacSat should have been our link to the outside world but to get a signal the aerial had to be pointed into the sky at an exact angle of 45 degrees. It was hopeless.

In any sort of ambush the key is to keep moving, blast through without stopping. What you don't want to do - what we had ended up doing - is to stop in a killing zone. But the ANA had been trained by the Americans. The U.S. way is to pile out of the vehicles and bring as much firepower as possible to bear on the threat.

We had to get going. And that meant ramming the blockade in front of us out of the way. With a wrenching of metal, the lead vehicle in our convoy hit the hijacked Toyota saloon and bulldozed it off the road. As we thundered through the Taliban positions I brought my machine gun to bear on a group of the enemy cowering behind a wall.

Except they weren't Taliban. They were a wedding party whose car we'd just annihilated. Yet more innocent Afghans caught up in the fighting. Carjacked by the Taliban and nearly shot dead by us - it wasn't their day.

Back at camp we received bad news; it was announced we would be going back to the school - the next day, by road. I demanded a helicopter but was told none was available.

In 27 years of serving Queen and country, I never had better personal equipment than during my time in Helmand. But when it came to the big-ticket items - helicopters, vehicles, radios - there were real holes in our inventory.

Take the TacSat. What we needed to get it to work properly was an omnidirectional aerial but we were not given this kit, which meant the operator had to fiddle with the antenna until he finally managed to establish comms. Not easy when you are under fire as we had just found out. And whatever anyone at the Ministry of Defence might say, as I write this there are not enough helicopters. To my mind this costs lives.

With no helicopter available for our return to Marjah, it seemed clear to me that we should at least be sending in enough stores to last a month.

Eventually this was agreed. We set off along a different route but many of the tracks marked on the map petered out or ended in ditches. With increasing frustration, we tried to box round the obstacles. Word had got about and to the watching locals we must have looked a sorry sight: the cream of the British and Afghan armies blundering around like five-year-olds in a maze.

Then the inevitable happened. With the fury of a tornado, the enemy struck. Bullets started to rake the convoy. AK-47 rounds pummelled and punctured the skin of the vehicles.

As soon as the shooting started, the ANA soldiers once again bailed out of their pick-ups.

'Get back in and move forward,' I yelled at them.

They pointed at two flat tyres. I was getting annoyed.

'Get going before I start shooting you.'


Just ahead a pair of RPG rounds exploded close to a group of the ANA soldiers who were pressed into the dirt, praying for deliverance. If we stopped fighting, the Taliban would finish us off. The only way to respond was to give as good as we were getting.

I ran forward and screamed at the driver: 'Arocat! Move!'

He turned to the tyres then gave me one last imploring look.

'NOW!'

He scurried away.

Thanks to one of the radio operators, who was standing on top of the Land Rover, antenna in hand and arm outstretched, amazingly we had continuous comms. We were being sent an Apache to help us.

I tried to raise the pilot of the attack helicopter.

'Ugly 40, this is Amber 43. How copy?'

'Roger, Amber 43. Send grid references.'

To give him that I needed the code word for the day to translate the numbers into letters so our location could be transmitted securely even over the open frequency. Unfortunately no one knew it. Rather sheepishly I spoke again.

'Ugly 40, this is 43. Send code word. Over.'

'Boulevards.'

'Boulevards?'

What was this, University Challenge? I turned to my teammates.

'How do you spell boulevards?'

No one seemed sure. It was our fault we didn't have the code word but who had come up with boulevards? Hadn't they heard of KISS? Keep it simple, stupid!

We had an Apache desperate to assist, an enemy trying to destroy us yet it all looked set to fall apart for lack of a dictionary.

'B-o-l-e-v-a-r-d-s'? Not enough letters.

'B-o-o-lev-a-r-d-s'? Don't be stupid.

'B-o-u-l-e-v-a-r-d-s'? That looked better.

I turned to one of my men.

'Use B-O-U-L-E-V-ARD-S to translate this grid.'

Ducked down behind a wall, he did as I had asked. Thirty seconds later I spoke to the Apache pilot again and passed on the co-ordinates in code.

The reply was sobering.

'That grid puts you somewhere in Pakistan. If you want us to help, you had better get it sorted on the ground.'

Who was he to order me about?

'Ugly, I am a small unit, under fire. I have the ANA with me and trying to control them is like herding cats. Over.'
Fighting the Taliban in Helmand

By early 2008 there were 43,000 coalition troops from 38 nations in Afghanistan

We had the code but had wrongly applied it. We were no where near Pakistan. Time was running out. I decided to broadcast our location without using code. It was too late to matter. By now just about the whole of Helmand must have known we were there given all the shooting.

Within seconds the Apache was overhead. A flurry of airburst cluster rockets exploded above the tree line, releasing a deadly storm of flechettes - small darts - designed to rip through flesh.

Up ahead, the first vehicle had reached the school. After three kilometres and two-and-a-half hours under fire, we were in sight of our goal.

Once again the enemy had shown real tenacity. Even when the Apache arrived they didn't just melt away. They regarded Marjah as theirs and it didn't bode well for us.
It was so far beyond my comprehension - murdering a prisoner. I let my head sink into my hands

Days later, I was walking into the cool shadow of the school building, unable to believe I was back in Marjah yet again, when there was a huge eruption of noise and a blast wave swept over me. It was a suicide bomb. There, amid the blood and the screaming and crying, the violence and its aftermath, my men couldn't have done more. Over in a makeshift medical room, the injured - including a nine-year-old with shrapnel wounds to his leg - were being tended to.

The ANA commander explained what had happened. His men had been manning their checkpoint and spotted a teenager wearing a suicide vest. He was told to keep his arms outstretched and back off. As the human crucifix walked away, he'd glanced repeatedly at a young boy nearby. Then he exploded.

'We think the bomber was detonated by the boy,' concluded the commander.

'Well, give a description of him to the police.'

'No need, it's the boy in the medical room with the leg injury.'
Fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan

'I really wanted to believe the greater good was being served in Afghanistan. But I wasn't convinced; not by a long shot,' said Doug Beattie

The enemy had used small boys to attack us before. Women were used too. I wanted to have some sympathy for this wounded child but I couldn't find any. He was the enemy and he had tried to kill us.

That night, as I lay staring into the inky blackness, the horrors replayed themselves time and again in my mind. I kept coming back to the futility of it all. The waste of lives - on all sides. How had things got so bad that children were prepared to act and die in such a hideous manner?

Soon afterwards news came that Sergeant Jon Mathews had been killed in Marjah. He left behind a wife and young daughter. Then it was announced that the base was being closed. So what had been the point of ever setting it up? Of allowing ourselves to get bogged down in yet another enemy town with limited manpower and no easy way of being re-supplied? In my mind it had been a waste of time, a waste of resources and a waste of Jon's life.

But once again there would not be much time to dwell on what had happened. For me, the ever-shifting sands of operational requirements would lead to Patrol Base Attal, in the heart of bandit country on the western side of the Helmand River. We would be working alongside some American National Guards.

On a map of the region where red was used to signify enemy-held territory and green was for areas that we influenced, Attal was a pea bobbing about in an ocean of crimson. To compound matters, there were concerns about collusion between the ANA and the Taliban, which had resulted in everyone refusing to go out and patrol.

But what was the alternative? Wait to be attacked, like fish in a barrel?

So I insisted we push out into the lush fringes of vegetation and cultivation either side of the river. Because of the camouflaging foliage, this was where most of the enemy activity took place. We had to take the fight to them.

Somewhere ahead of me several shots rang out, accompanied by frenzied shouting from the ANA.

'What's happening?'

'The Afghans have taken a prisoner. He had a rifle and a radio.'

'Good. Make sure they search him, cuff him and take him back to the company commander.'
An Afghan National Army soldier

The Afghan National Army had been trained by the Americans

I started to feel nervous again, the sick feeling returned. I hated these moments. It was all but inevitable someone was about to shoot at us. But who was in their sights? Me? The guy behind? Without warning, a rocket-propelled grenade snaked through the undergrowth past us, fired from a compound no more than 70 metres away. Everyone dived for cover.

Cautiously I raised my head to see exactly where the enemy positions were as I radioed for help. Fire continued to whip towards us. I didn't find it easy to identify where the enemy was firing from but somehow the ANA had a knack for doing so. Close by lay an Afghan officer. I shouted out to him. In return he gave a big smile and held up the arms of the bound prisoner next to him.

Slowly the ANA troops moved towards the compound. They used their grenades to clear it, with devastating results - at least for the six Taliban who were killed. We'd been successful. We'd killed a number of the enemy and recovered some of their equipment. Crucially, the ANA had - eventually - stepped up to the mark and done the job. We'd even taken a prisoner - though, as I looked round at him, I could see he was taking a bit of punishment from one of his captors.

'Oi! Don't be doing that,' I screamed. The soldier meting out the blows gave me a quizzical look and wandered off.

We started to pull out. The ANA soldiers were in front with Stevo, a Royal Irish colleague, and our prisoner. Suddenly a burst of gunfire stopped me in my tracks.

I grabbed my radio: 'Stevo, what the hell is going on?'

'They've shot the prisoner. The Afghans - they've bloody shot him.'
Afghan National Army soldiers

For five months Doug Beattie with 1st battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment, trained, mentored and advised the Afghan National Army

I waded through the field to where he was lying, dead. Stevo described what had happened: the ANA soldiers had dragged the prisoner off the path and one had stepped forward to execute him. No hesitation, no discussion, no qualms. And who'd pulled the trigger?

Their medic, using his AK-47. Several others had then opened fire to finish him off, as if that was necessary.

In 27 years of soldiering I had never experienced anything remotely like it. It was so far beyond my comprehension... murdering a prisoner. I let my head sink into my hands, trying to rub the frustration and anger out of my eyes. How had it come to this?

For five months we had trained and mentored and advised the ANA, trying to equip them with the skills and standards necessary to provide security for their country and its population. At that moment, the prospect of such a thing happening was about a million light years away. These people were never going to preside over a just system.

Look at what they were capable of. What a waste of time! I glanced up and saw the blokes around me were thinking the same. We were ordered to return to base, leaving behind the ANA and the body, but only after we had taken pictures as evidence.

Through all the blood and bullets, the dead and the wounded, and the sickening sights, I wanted to believe I had done some good and changed things for the better. Now I seriously wondered whether I could ever make any difference, whether anyone could. What was the point of being here?

What was the point of risking my life, of risking anything, for a country that at that moment didn't seem worth saving - perhaps couldn't be saved? But I'd signed on the dotted line, agreed to remain in the Army and complete my tour. And so I carried on.

We went out on patrol the next day, and then every day after that, tackling the Taliban head-on, giving as good as we got. Judging from the enemy radio traffic we intercepted after one skirmish, we had killed or wounded more than 30 of them. Corroboration of our success came in the form of a delegation of elders who said that so badly had the Taliban been bloodied that they'd retreated north. Through the villagers, the local Taliban even offered us an unofficial truce.

Going out got harder and harder. As the end of my tour approached all I wanted to do was keep my head down and get home safely. In six months I had racked up 50 major contacts. I was exhausted. But at last it was time to leave Attal, salvation arriving in the form of a Chinook swinging in low from the south-west, the rhythmic clatter of rotor blades quickly growing louder. We rushed on board.

Lifting off, I twisted round to look down at the camp. Even when we were in it, it had seemed small and vulnerable; from the air it looked pathetic. To me it symbolised the war in Afghanistan.


Here we were in the 21st century, yet the scene laid out below me could have been straight out of the Beau Geste era: an outpost made of mud, situated in a harsh environment, manned by a tiny contingent of coalition soldiers, surrounded by adversaries who hated us and locals who didn't understand us. I wasn't sorry to be leaving.

Back in Britain, on October 17 2008, three days after my 43rd birthday, those soldiers of the Royal Irish Regiment who had served in Afghanistan received their campaign medals. As the presentation finished, we marched off the square to the strains of Killaloe, played by the regimental band.

I was mindful of the ones who weren't taking part - not because they didn't want to but because they couldn't. One was Ranger Andy Allen. Just 19 years old, he was missing both his legs and - at that time - some of his eyesight. But if I was inclined to feel any pity for him, he immediately put me straight.

'Things aren't so bad,' he said, peering up at me and holding my gaze.

'At least I've still got my arms to hold my child.'

If I was an ordinary soldier, then truly he was an extraordinary one.

There is an old saying: 'I am no hero but I served alongside heroes.'

Alone, I walked off to my car, got in it and went home. As a civilian.


'Task Force Helmand' by Doug Beattie, is published by Simon & Schuster on October 1 at £17.99.

To order at the special price of £13.99 with free p&p, call the Live Bookstore on 0845 155 0730

Friday, 25 September 2009

WHAT WE ASK OF SOLDIERS











Yes.. It is like that!

Count your blessings, pray for them,

And The next time when...

The other car cuts you off and you must hit the brakes,
Or you have to park a little further from the supermarket door than you want to be,
Or you're served slightly warm food at the restaurant,
Or you're sitting and cursing the traffic in front of you,

Or the shower runs out of hot water,

Think of them...

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Mandy warns Brown.





Pop into Tesco and get,some vaseline for tonight dear, your eye is looking a bit red this morning.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

The Australians got this right...

THE AUSSIE WAY.
The Australians got this right...

Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.

A day after a group of mainstream Muslim leaders pledged loyalty to Australia and her Queen at a special meeting with Prime Minister John Howard, he and his Ministers made it clear that extremists would face a crackdown.

Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state, and its laws were made by parliament.

"If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you," he said on national television.

"I'd be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia: one the Australian law and another the Islamic law, that is false. If you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country, which practices it, perhaps, then, that's a better option," Costello said.

Asked whether he meant radical clerics would be forced to leave, he said those with dual citizenship could possibly be asked to move to the other country.

Education Minister Brendan Nelson later told reporters that Muslims who did not want to accept local values should "clear off. Basically, people who don't want to be Australians, and who don't want to live by Australian values and understand them, well then, they can basically clear off," he said.

Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques.

Quote: "IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT.

Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians."

"However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the 'politically correct' crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Australia."

"However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand."

"This idea of Australia being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Australians, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle."

"This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom"

"We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, Learn the language!"

"Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented.

It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture."

"We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us."

"If the Southern Cross offends you, or you don't like "A Fair Go", then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet.

We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from. By all means, keep your culture, but do not force it on others.

"This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'."

"If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted."

Maybe if we circulate this amongst ourselves, English citizens will find the backbone to start speaking and voting the same truths!!

Monday, 14 September 2009

Iain Gray







And Iain Gray said.................something that everyone immediately forgot.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

10 questions for unionists?

Question 1:

Everyone tells us that Scotland is too poor to stand on its own feet and we will always require an English subsidy.

Fact Scotland has 8.6% of the UK population yet raises 10.41% of all UK tax revenues. (Source Treasury red Book 2002) Go figure it out for yourself. Exactly who is subsidising who?

Question 2.

Scotland could not survive without the Barnet formula handout from England .

The Barnett Formula is nothing more than a device that gives Scotland some of its own pocket money out of Scotland 's pay packet, which is taken by England . In 2002, Scotland contributed £42.7Billions to the UK Exchequer and received £18.1 Billions doled back in return via Barnet. It would be a much better idea to keep the £42.7 Billions as an Independent Country.

Question 3.

North sea oil is running out fast and soon there will be nothing left......

According to Professor Alex Kemp, of Petroleum Economics at the University of Aberdeen . North Sea Oil and Gas production will still be present in 2050. There is as much known oil left yet to be extracted than has already been exploited.

Question 4.

Britain is becoming a net importer of oil and natural gas.

False. Scotland is a net exporter of Oil and Gas. Fact: An independent Scotland with 17.5% of Europe 's Oil reserves will be a net exporter of oil and gas for at least 25 years more years. Properly invested the proceeds will make Scotland the second richest nation on earth for its size. There will be huge social and economic benefits for all Scotland 's Citizens and public services.

Question 5.

Scotland is too poor and small to afford to defend itself.

Why not? Switzerland uses just 1% of its GDP to provide a modern efficient Army and Air force. Norway spends 1.9% and can defend itself adequately. The UK spends 2.32% of GDP on its armed forces (Including Trident,which is accounted for in the Scottish budget,) Scotland can afford 1.6% of its GDP and still have modern professional armed forces half the size of the present UK.

Question 6.

We have a huge balance of payments problem, Scotland cannot possibly hope to pay her way.

False. The UK as a whole has Balance of Payments deficit of £35 Billions per annum. Scotland however actually contributes a Surplus of £2.3Billions.

Question 7.

Scotland could not compete against the mighty economic muscle of England .

Untrue. Denmark has an economic superpower to her south ( Germany ) and she does very well indeed. Switzerland is surrounded by three great economic superpowers, France , Italy , and Germany , yet she is the most prosperous nation in Europe . Singapore is a tiny island of 4 million people right next door to Indonesia with a population if 201 Millions yet is the powerhouse driving the SE Asian economy. Scotland has more than enough expertise to compete and prosper.

Question 8.

Scotland is too far away from the centre of Europe to prosper.

Iceland with a population of only 400,000, is situated far to the north by the arctic circle yet has the third highest standard of living in Europe .

Question 9.

The City of London is too powerful a financial centre for Scotland to compete against.

Scotland is one of Europe 's top ten financial centres, supporting employment for in the region of 200,000 people. Financial Services accounts for 8% of Scotland 's GDP and generates more than £20 bn annually for the economy. Scotland is reckoned to be the 12th leading global financial centre.

Question 10.

Scotland does not have the financial expertise to run its own affairs.

Who says so? It's strange that the late British Empire relied on a preponderance of Scots to run their affairs. Scots bankers, economists and Accountants (reckoned the best in their fields) are to be found at all levels of Government. Therefore, the expertise is there.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

NEW BALLS




Is it me or is she reaching for new balls, whilst he has obviously let his mind wander through the valleys?????

Monday, 7 September 2009

Newsnicht.

Out of curiosity I watched Newsnicht tonight, with the back stabbing arch unionist quisling Glenn Campbell at the helm. The article on the job losses in Livingston and the odious stealth bomber Murphy trying to be all statesman like, and justify his non job as Anti Scottish Secretary of State,(ASS) trying to make us believe that he was heading up some really great cross party consensus initiative and banging heads together to stop companies fleeing to the much more tax favourable nation of Ireland. Was just a disgusting sick joke.

First up we had the vile gloating reptilian spectacle of Iain Macmillan, the treacherous back stabbing shit who did his very best to ensure that American companies do not come to Scotlnd.

Iain McMillan, director of CBI Scotland, which represents Scottish business, said there was a real risk that the country's businesses could suffer as a result of the al-Megrahi decision. Online discussion rooms and Scottish newspapers have received messages from U.S. citizens saying they won't be visiting, and a Web site called boycottscotland.com has been set up.

His bum boy bringing up the rear said:"The Scottish government and its legal system are a laughingstock around the world," said Paul McBride, one of Scotland's top defense lawyers.

And then we had the stealth bomber Murphy on the Newsnicht piece, who contradicting his earlier cringing, could not put party politics aside and sneered once more at the arc of prosperity by naming Iceland, Norway and Ireland. He also got his lie in about us being stronger as part of the UK etc etc etc. Notably Alex Salmonds voice was not allowed to be heard only unionist voices were allowed. Alex Salmond was shown with a smirk on his face, which considering the shit he had to listen to was not surprising. But very sinister subliminal manipulation of the meida which BBC editors are now expert at.

On to the interview stage where we had the nonentity New Labour MSP James Kelly, who looked like he had been dooking for chips, and from the SNP, Joe Fitzpatrick who in the usual Newsnicht back stabbing Campbell way was constantly interrupted.

Once more Kelly just could not stop the partisan digging at the SNP having a go at the Scottish Futures Trust and despite being chided by Campbell that it did not sound as if party politics was put aside, was so programmed that he just carried on with his anti SNP bluster. Then bleating like an orphaned lamb about the Civil servants co-operating with the SNP by preparing for independence.

Is it any wonder that the SNP have left these ignorant oiks in their dust.

50 years of Labour rule, you had your chance and blew it through greed and corruption, go to hell Labour.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

THE MALTESE DOUBLE CROSS

BLACK FARCE

A Black Farce
Was how the vote in the Scottish parliament was described last night on Newsnight Scotland by Iain Macwhirter

To imagine that Scotland has come all that far down the civilised road was impossible as we watched all these closed faces of minds long since made up. This was not about Megrahi,but about cheap and despicable political point scoring ,which robbed Scotland for the moment at least of its moral leadership of the world,as noted by Nelson Mandela.


The sheer wretchedness of these moral and political pygmies was commented upon by Dr Jim Swire on Newsnight Scotland. Labour under the non leadership of Ian Gray had boxed itself into a complete corner and publicly disassociated itself the London leadership of Gordon Brown. The ever opportunistic Fib Dems, forever without a principle other than self- seeking and self -interest, had long since made up their minds.


Perhaps the most revealing was the Tories. We have quietly come to believe the Tories in Scotland have mutated into almost half decent human beings. Not so, they told us yesterday. The vile spectre of Margaret Thatcher hung all over them as the shrill voice of Annabel Goldie reminded us of permanently closed Tory minds. A rather sad day for Scotland,but what is already emerging is that it is not the SNP that is going to pay the political price for this black farce.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM





Two soldiers from The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, were killed as a result of an explosion that happened whilst on a foot patrol north of Lashkar Gah District, southern Helmand Province on the morning of Monday 31 August 2009.


Jonah strikes again, I cringe every time Brown shows up in Afghanistan or any where near our forces to get his rictus coupon in the news and try and boost his flagging ratings. He did not have the decency to show up for the opening of the new centre in Edinburgh for veterans, despite living 17 miles up the road, yet he sent a congratulation to the English cricket team on winning the ashes.

Perhaps it was because the centre exists because of charity and nothing he could score points of.

If ever the word quisling appled it applies to him, what a revolting bastard.
=====================================================================================



It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence has confirmed the death of Sergeant Stuart Millar and Private Kevin Elliott of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

The soldiers were killed as a result of an explosion believed to have been caused by a rocket-propelled grenade when they were attacked by insurgents whilst patrolling on foot in Babaji District, Helmand Province on the morning of Monday 31 August 2009.

Sergeant Stuart 'Gus' Millar

Sgt Stuart 'Gus' Millar, aged 40 from Inverness, joined the British Army in November 2000, after service in the Territorial Army.

Following training he joined the Mortar Platoon of 1st Battalion The Royal Highland Fusiliers. He served in Northern Ireland, Falkland Islands, Cyprus and Iraq. He moved to The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS) as a mortar fire controller in Belfast in July 2007 and deployed to Afghanistan in April 2009.

Sgt Millar's family said:

"Gus always wanted to be a soldier from a very young age. He passionately enjoyed his job and often talked fondly about his colleagues and friends.

"He was very brave and is a credit to both our family and the Army. We are really proud of him as a father, son, brother and soldier."

Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Cartwright, Commanding Officer of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland said:

"I have been fortunate to know Sgt Gus Millar for many years and we have shared many happy moments, not least dragging ourselves over the Aonach Eagach Ridge in Glencoe some eight years ago. He was one of a very select few characters in the Battalion that I could sound out for 'ground truth', due to his friendship, honesty, integrity and humour.

"Sgt Gus Millar was a dedicated and professional Senior Non-Commissioned Officer. A career mortarman, he loved his job and during this tour had been able to put all his experience and years of training to the ultimate test in the most demanding of environments. He was a wonderfully kind and dependable man: the solid rock amongst the shingle. He had a remarkable sense of duty and has been the continuity in the development of the mortar platoon over the years.

"In his role as a mortar fire controller, he was at the very front of the action throughout the summer, famously being caught on the ITN news on the first day of Op Panther's Claw, complaining that a long fire fight with the insurgents had delayed his 'morning brew'. It was typical of the man: in the thick of the action, professional expertise to the fore, combined with his wonderfully positive and humorous style. But he had a bite when required, and the Jocks knew not to cross the line.

"He had a truly wonderful sense of humour and it is this facet of this great man that we will all miss the most.

"He has given his life in the service of his comrades, for the Royal Regiment of Scotland, his country and the people of Afghanistan. We all consider ourselves truly privileged to have known him, to have served with him.

"He was 40 years young and married his wife Jillian last year. They have a very young and beautiful daughter, Grace. He showed a recent picture of them to the Padre, beamed with pride and tucked it into his notebook, minutes before he deployed on this operation. All our deepest thoughts and prayers are with Jillian and Grace as well as Gus' family and friends at this most tragic time.

"Whilst the pain of this loss to them is unimaginable I hope they will draw considerable strength from the fact that we all will cherish some wonderful memories of the humourous rock that Gus was. We will all miss him terribly."

Private Kevin Elliott

Private Kevin Elliott, aged 24 from Dundee, of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, attended Braeview Academy in Dundee where he was a keen boxer and footballer. He joined the Army in 2002.

After basic training he was posted to Bravo Company, later moving to Charlie (Fire Support) Company. He had previously served in Iraq and Northern Ireland.

Pte Elliott's family said:

"Kevin was a loving son, brother, grandson, brother, nephew, uncle and cousin who will be sorely missed by the whole family."

Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Cartwright, Commanding Officer of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland said:

"Pte Elliott was an awesome fighting Jock, who was very much in his comfort zone here on demanding operations in Afghanistan. He lived his life one day at a time and it is fair to say that he did not especially enjoy 'peacetime soldiering' - like many a Jock that has gone before, he was a lovable rogue.

"He was on the verge of leaving the Army earlier this year, but his inclination to be in the thick of the action was too tempting and he caught the last transport to Afghanistan with his mates. He loved operations and he was a big team player.

"It was no surprise to hear that in this tragic incident, he was the first man on the roof in the defensive position, the first to volunteer to protect his colleagues in a dangerous area. That sums up the man; he took life seriously when it was important to do so, and he was a first class field soldier as a result. He would never let his friends down.

"Pte Elliott's loss will be hard to accept by all who knew him well. We will not forget his sacrifice, giving his life protecting his friends, representing his Regiment and his country, and so that the people of Afghanistan might have a better future.

"We offer our deepest thoughts and condolences to his family and friends and that they might gain some strength that he has died in the service of others, doing a professional job that he loved."

Scot Independent.

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