Alastair Osborne says referendums should never be used to sneak through a change that splits the country in two, but only to validate a genuine and lasting shift in national mood.


As the Labour leadership wrestles with whether to support a second vote on Brexit,  I thought I would offer some thoughts on the use of referendums to help concentrate their minds.

The government of the United Kingdom has held 13 referendums since 1973 but only three of these have been UK-wide. Referendums on EU expansion and on the Euro were abandoned. I have been able to vote on 6 in my lifetime – Membership of the EEC, two on Scottish devolution, the AV voting system for Westminster, Scottish Independence and whether to leave the EU. I voted for the winning side on all of them except the last one, although we failed in the first Scottish devolution referendum on a technicality.

Don’t tell the nationalists, but referendums are always consultative and Parliament remains sovereign. However in reality no UK Government or aspiring government is going to ignore the democratic verdict of the people in a referendum it has sanctioned, either pre-legislative or post-legislative. In best pantomime season rhetoric, the genie is well and truly out of the bottle as far as Brexit is concerned, thanks to David Cameron’s catastrophic error.

I am not a great fan of referendums. They allow governments to absolve themselves of responsibility for decision making while being far from neutral in the campaign itself; they are only held if the government feels fairly confident of the outcome (even if that confidence is not always justified); there is usually an imbalance of resources between each side of the argument; complex issues end up being oversimplified; they are merely a snapshot of public opinion but can decide things for future generations.

They can sometimes be a good way of demonstrating changed public opinion on social and ethical issues when the elected parliaments are afraid to legislate. Ireland has shown this on divorce, same sex marriage and abortion rights.

When I worked for North Ayrshire Council we held a referendum on what should be on the new West Kilbride road signs and whether they should mention Seamill and Portencross. Other momentous decisions by referendums have included car free Sundays (Switzerland); choosing from four songs to best represent the nation (Australia); and whether toilet paper in public loos should hang over or under the roll (Saskatchewan Canada).

In his powerful speech on the eve of the Scottish independence referendum, Gordon Brown stressed that he would be voting for his children’s future – not deciding just for the now but for all time. That’s the key difference between a parliamentary vote and a referendum. Politicians can return to an issue and vote differently. Referendums should never be used to sneak through a change that splits the country in two but only to validate a genuine and lasting shift in national mood. Otherwise we hand democracy over to whoever can best finance and deploy marketing and lobbying skills to impart false information and unrealistic expectations.

I would place a cap on the number of referendums which could be called – let’s say one every ten years (after the second People’s Vote on Brexit of course). We might have to have a referendum on such a Referendum Cap (which could only be consultative!).

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74 thoughts on “Referendum – Yes or No

  1. So according to your last paragraph, Scotland would not be allowed a second Independence referendum, even though it has a democratic mandate to do so, as voted for in the Scottish parliament.

    Sounds similar to how the Tories acted with the continuity bill, you know sneaking through some backdoor legalisation so they can deny Scotland its democratic legal rights.

    Having read the three past articles on this site by yersel, Duncan & Jim, it does not surprise me how irreverent the labour party has become in Scotland. The sheer effort labour puts in to denigrate and deny Scotland any praise or acknowledge how much better we are performing than other countries in the UK is astonishing.

    Our country has to operate while ham-strung by a Westminster parliament and still you (Scottish branch) of the London controlled parties do everything you can to fuck up our country. Your party does not even have the balls to stand with the other opposition parties against the tories at Westminster. (try and spin that one Duncan & Jim).

    Our country deserves better, but it certainly is not going to see from labour, your irreverent in policy, in nature and now in name, just another London controlled political party.

    1. It’s not a matter of not standing with other parties. It’s a matter of timing given that there is only one chance per year of a confidence motion. Corbyn’s judgement it to wait until May’s plan has been trashed by Parliament.

      1. You’re a wilfully lying wee git. Corbyns intention is as clear as day he wants to run the clock down to the point where we crash out with a no deal maybe partially because he believes the catastrophic effects leaves him with his best chance of getting into number 10 but I believe Corbyn himself is a hard core Brexiteer who believes in the jingoistic horseshite of taking back control from the EU.
        By leaving the vote of no confidence til next year he leaves no time to act on a successful bid. The shit show he has put up to now is a blatant sham that everybody recognises which is why Labour continue to lose ground against this seriously fucked up Tory party and all the pathetic pitiful lying sick wee acolytes like you put up is wasted and only continues to show you up for what you are.

        1. Mike, I may, in your view, be most of those things, but I can assure you I am far from wee! Lol

      2. Jim, Your leaders in London may like/want you to spout that dribble, but I can assure you nobody is believing it.

        Your party has shown the rest of the UK what Scotland already knows, Labour is a waste of time.

        And no amount of spin by yersel is going to change that.

      3. Corbyn has a plan, really!

        May is probably the worst PM in living memory and the Labour party are still trailing them in the polls, how bad do things need to get before folk in England think Labour is actually a viable alternative to the current government.

      4. That’s not true Mr O’Neill. Tory votes of confidence in their own leader are time barred but Parliamentary votes of no confidence in the Government can be held whether or not their has been one recently. There is NO time bar on them. Hopefully you were genuinely unaware of this and were not doing your customary misdirecting of the casual reader into believing something that is not true for Party political advantage.

          1. My apologies to Mr Pony. It is clear that I was misinformed by a writer in the Guardian. A Vote of No Confidence can be tabled at any time and will lead to the Government resigning unless they can pass a motion of confidence in the Government within 14 days. The last time a confidence motion was used to bring down a Government was in 1979 when the SNP joined with the Tories to bring down the Callaghan Government. This led to the SNP losing most of their seats in the subsequent general election

          2. Ahhh …. that old chestnut. Labour’s old “boo hoo” story about how it was the SNP’s fault they were chucked out of power at Westminster. Never any mention of the other larger parties, such as the Liberals, who also voted against what was an unpopular, untrustworthy, incompetent and riven government. A govt that had led the UK into recession, power cuts, humiliating IMF loans and had broken its promise to the SNP by not only not delivering on Devolution but actively sabotaging it.

            I’m old enough to remember that time being a young lad then. I remember my brother and I scrunched together under the sideboard trying to keep warm and the whole family oft-times living in the kitchen with the gas cooker on full pelt, not to cook food but to provide heat and light. Not happy memories of a Labour govt failing horrendously. I also remember not understanding how Scotland had voted for Devolution but, for some reason, not gotten it. Only later did I realise how the venal internal machinations of the Scottish (sic) Labour party had ensured that promise would never be kept.

            So, all in all, it was a Labour govt that sowed the seeds of its own destruction. Even had it undeservedly survived that perfectly reasonable vote of no confidence, it would only have clung to power for a few more months before it had to go to the polls anyway and been stuffed even harder by a public that was heartily sick of them. Labour ensured Thatcher’s coming to power was inevitable by being so crushingly incompetent and mendacious. If you want to spin another story then fair enough. It only highlights the fact the legacy of denial emanating from that time still lives on in the current Scottish (sic) Labour Party.

  2. “Don’t tell the nationalists, but referendums are always consultative and Parliament remains sovereign.”

    Somebody wake up this moron to the reality that the sovereignty of the people of Scotland over parliament was reaffirmed recently by ALL parties including his own in both the Scottish and Westminster parliaments.

    Its this level of gibbering wishful thinking wilful pig ignorance that proves Labour is nothing but a worthless piece of criminal corruption posing as a political party. Members who not only fail to acknowledge reality but wilfully try and impose their own version of what they want reality to be.
    Aspiration can be a good thing but trying to pass off aspiration as reality is corruption.

    Take for example the reality that the UK of GB is not a single state country but a Parliamentary union between single state countries.
    Aspiration from a corrupt despotic central authority wants to run the UK of GB as a single state one size fits all perspective where that one size is measured in terms of the needs and aspirations of a regional part of England.
    This aspiration has favour with certain elements within the rUK but in order to sell it to the rest of us they have to disguise what it is and hide it from view. A disunion born from annexation invasion bribery intimidation military intervention and kept together by lies deceit manipulation deprivation threats and intimidation and yet presented as a Union of equals. A benign light in the world which nurtures Democracy society fair play and culture all wrapped up in a package of “Better Together”.
    With all that’s going on with all the reality we see hear touch taste and smell we are still presented with this fucked up delusion of Better together and worse apart by sick mentally deranged corrupt self serving self absorbed filth who think nothing of betraying everything around them in order to feather a nest within what is nothing more than organised crime syndicates posing as political parties pulling the strings of media moguls in order to keep people blind to the base reality that surrounds them.

    That’s the reality of this UKSSR and those that serve it will have to maintain a level of self deceit and self unawareness less they start to suffer the effects of developing an actual conscience and maybe God forbid a speck of common decency.

      1. Merry Xmas to you too Mr Osborne. However, your article tries to defend Democracy by denying it to people. What is it you fear? Is it that it takes control of Democracy out of the hands of political parties and puts it in the hands of the common folk? That would never do. Don’t people realise they need their betters (ie Labour politicians) to tell them what is good for them. Just as well your here to remind them.

        The fact is, in the context of your arguments, ALL Democracy is divisive. Your arguments are those of a would-be tyrant. Removing all the troublesome choices from the people and placing them in the hands of an enlightened elite. A “dictatorship of the proletariat” if you like. Give them the illusion of choice with an “election” every few years (tiresome I know) while ensuring the “establishment” stays in full control.

        Sure, give the great unwashed a referendum (emphasis on only the one) every ten years or so to give them the added illusion of control, but ensure the “enlightened elite” decide what they will actually get to “decide”. Preferably something insignificant no doubt. Such as the colour of passports or the like. Can’t let them decide on anything that might upset the apple cart after all.

        I’m not a fan of your preferred mode of “limited Democracy”. My preferred mode has a mix of both Parliamentary Democracy and, when necessary, referendums. Both are divisive. Democracy is inherently divisive. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be Democracy. It would be tyranny dressed up as a mock Democracy such as we saw behind the old Iron Curtain. They had elections, but the govt made sure everything stayed the same. Must sound like a dream to you.

        In short, your view of Democracy would sow the seeds of its demise.

    1. Mike you forgot to add Robert the Bruce was English and Scotland got the plague because of a Scottish invasion of England and the Scots brought it back.

      1. You also let yourself down by deliberately goading some one into saying something intemperate that has nothing to do with any political issues. You gave me a hard time for using the term “unionist forces”. Will you give yourself a row for your offence?

        1. Thank you for your comment Bungo
          Yes it was deliberate did it for a laugh point taken although I was reacting to some of the Abuse Mike has thrown at me in this and other blogs. I treat the blogs more as a discussion forum and I like to see what other people think

      2. Robert De Brus was French not English you gibbering wee cretin. England has been a plague over most of the world. Ask it.

        1. Wee lesson in history. Robert Bruce was the seventh of his name. Only the first was French and came to Scotland as part of David 1 modernisation of Scotland arising from his experience in Henry 1 court (David was also Earl of Huntingdon). Read Fiona Watson’s new book Outlaw Traitor King for Robert the king’s antecedents and evidence for him being born in England

          1. It is only unionists who are interested in where Robert Bruce was born.

            It is utterly irrelevant today and was even more irrelevant back in medieval times. It was taken for granted that the French speaking Norman aristocracy had lands in Scotland, England, France and elsewhere. What happened in the 14th century was a crystallization of a distinctly Scottish aristocracy.

            IF the natal ethnicity of historical monarchs is so important (which it isn’t) then unionists would have a hard time defending the monarchy so many of them fawn over which has distinctly German roots.

            But then again, that would be to reduce the Indy argument to the playground level of the unionist one.

          2. Being born in England can get you deported as a foreigner you gormless piece of worthless corruption.
            Robert De Brus today would be struggling to stay in the UK as he wouldn’t be classified as English by todays applied standards.

  3. Well Alastair to many referendums .
    Does anyone remember Maggies Poll Tax Scotland got it first .No referendum there .It was the reason I campaigned for an at that time Scottish Assembly with tax raising powers and I wanted something that would protect the Scottish people from getting something like a poll tax imposed on us .
    We went for years with a commission if I remember correctly not taking it to Maggie who would have knocked it back .
    Then when Tony Blair was elected Donald Dewar and Alec Salmond worked together to get the idea accepted by their parties never mind the public. If we had not I was voting for Independence a lot of us were but we would need to have taken Labour with us as the SNP were unelectable .As our FM has said it was not a popular party to be in at that time .
    The Assembly which became the Scottish Government is not perfect it has made mistakes but I have a bus pass I don’t pay for medication although I want and will campaign for Corbyn I identify a lot more with Holyrood than I do with Westminster maybe because in my own small way I helped get Holyrood .
    It invigorated the SNP and Gave the Greens and others a chance .
    We were in coalition with the Liberals we gave the parliament a good solid start for the first time people like me had job security I felt I had something on my side that Westminster will never be .
    These are my thoughts only but for me Labour started to lose its connection to local peoples aspirations we lost touch and Alec Salmond formed a minority administration with Annabelle Goldies Torries unofficially propping them up as they did not want a Labour administration
    I don’t think Labour knew how to adapt .But that’s Politics then against the odds Alec Salmond got power .
    With that power came the chance to prove they can govern and they did .
    But the SNP Members then expected a chance at Independence .
    So Cameron and Salmond did the deal and we got a 2 year independence campaign .I was in and out of Hospital in 14 so took no part in it until 4 weeks before the vote I was using my own phone to phone poll .
    My main duty I gave myself was not to persuade but to listen because people took the chance to tell me what mattered to them .
    And they were mostly not voting Indy we cant afford it how will we be paid in our pensions and English People were saying the campaign made them feel like aliens .
    I told them if you live and work here its your country to .
    Salmond was not liked Miliband weak .
    So on result day remain won .BTW I voted remain
    At 6am Alec Salmond behaved with great dignity at 7am David Cameron waltzed the door of no 10 and gave his English votes speech yep that went down well not .
    It pulled the SNP together like nothing else could and that along with better together dealt Labour a blow we are only slowly recovering from my local CLP did not join better together .
    And so the show rolled on The mainly English right start to agitate to get out of the EU through UKIP take our country back etc every week some Tory MP defected to them so with the Tories in turmoil what does our PM do caves in and gives them what they wanted an EU referendum .it was supposed to be won UKIP seen of and all would be better with the world that is the Tory party .
    The rest of us didn’t matter .But Nigel and friends were a lot more savvy than PM Cameron they knew how to use tv and they campaigned on 1 issue only Immigration .
    I knew right from the start it was a lost cause Calais was on the go horror stories an tv every night the big red NHS bus .
    I have said before the week before the vote I heard people saying as the bus passed roadworks look at that Poles over here doing our jobs .It was roadworks no one at them .
    And when I intervened they turned on me.
    And yes I voted remain .
    That vote to me is a disaster the thought we are even planning to cope with the disruption that might come and I hope dose not shows the complete lack of thought Cameron put into it .
    Gave UKIP what they wanted to save his party and see them off .
    Instead he lost the vote lost his job is he even in the country .
    PM May what ever you think of her inherited his mess went for a walk in the hills had a vision of Corbyn running the country called a general election she did not have to and lost her majority .
    I of her advisors on hearing the result we are told fainted .Must have realised Universal Credit was staring him in the face .
    Then our Dancing Queen gave Northern Ireland 1 Billion for the DUP to prop up her Government.
    That was the day austerity really ended .
    Then we had Chequeres David Davis bolted before Boris could .
    Then the vote pulled in the Commons because she was going to lose then the vote of confidence the one Mogg engineered PM survives but only after promising to perform her very own I am a PM I am leaving before the next election .stunt
    So last weeks did he or didn’t he call her a stupid woman pantomime .
    The Northern Ireland Assembly is not in session The Welsh Assembly is functioning Holyrood is functioning
    Westminster is in Gridlock
    I know people who voted Brexit who think they are being made to look like fools .
    I am proud of being a labour party member I will vote for and help to get Labour candidates elected at all elections including a general election .
    Brexit for me is a disaster I want us to have a another vote so we can stay in the EU .If we get the same result Scotland votes remain and the result is still leave then we have to say goodby UK .
    If Nicola calls another Indy ref next year then I never thought I would do this but I will stay in the Labour party but vote yes .
    I have not expressed myself very well but these are my views and mine only But we need another Indy ref for me the Sovereign Parliament is the Scottish one I and people in other parties and none campaigned to get it

  4. And The Tories have very quietly sneaked out the news Boris has been cleared over his Burka comment

  5. “Well Alastair to many referendums .
    Does anyone remember Maggies Poll Tax Scotland got it first .No referendum there .It was the reason I campaigned for an at that time Scottish Assembly with tax raising powers and I wanted something that would protect the Scottish people from getting something like a poll tax imposed on us .”

    “If we had not I was voting for Independence”

    You campaigned for an “Assembly” to counter Westminster rule by decree trusting a Tory Bliar Labour party to deliver a Parliament with enough powers to do that because you thought that was the answer and not Independence? Are you actually bragging about that?

    Didnt that age well?

    And you have the fucking gall to call me a fraud.

    You’re either admitting to be the most gullible worthless braindead scrotum in Scotland or the biggest liar.

    Like I said not a shred of self awareness at all.

  6. I cannot understand why referendums are feared they are democratic to refuse a referendum in itself is undemocratic and the current UK government by refusing an agreed lndyRef2 is undemocratic.

  7. So while socialist Labour refuse to meet on any ground at all with the social Democratic SNP they happily brag about how they would be willing to get into bed with the religious extremist mysoginist anti gay anti catholic xenophobic political wing of Irish terrorism.
    That’s yer UKSSR organised crime syndication right there.

    1. Mike the only bit you got right is Labour are socialist its part of the reason Corbyn had a media scrum outside his house no other leader gets that

  8. Saturdays National Front page Headline Salmond SNP unsure whether to launch our Caledonian lifeboat
    Then p5 headline Salmond hints at indyref uncertainty
    They say Alec has said the SNP seem unsure of launching a bid for independence amid the Brexit chaos
    Speaking to camera on the Alex Salmond show he said the Scottish Contingent of MPS seemed unsure at present as to when or whether to seek that goal .in contrast to the determination of the DUP.
    Salmond said with the Tories in disarray Even the Scottish contingent seems unsure as to when or whether to launch their Caledonian lifeboat .and chart our own course for the continent
    He said the only parliamentary group who appear secure and determined in their own objectives is the DUP .
    Make no mistake the implications of a no deal Brexit are far reaching .
    SNP MP Angus MacNeil said a peoples votes going nowhere at the moment and his concern is the SNP are spending a lot of energy following that route when the route for the SNP the whole reason for being is for Scottish Independence
    Angus said that’s the route we should be following in this huge opportunity that this Brexit disaster is giving Scotland to become independent Angus wants an indy ref in 2019 .
    Sammy Wilson DUP was also on the show he said the DUP will support the PM in the no confidence vote in her and will support the Government in a no confidence vote .
    For me Alec Salmond when leader would never have stood for an attack on the leadership of the SNP like the one he launched against them on his own show .
    No wonder the SNP leadership did not want him to be on RT although in this instance its down to him for attacking his old party .


    1. Its the part where you don’t realise that an Indyref 2 in 2019 is now inevitable that shows just how out of touch with reality you are.

      1. Thankyou for your comment Mike
        I also think the Scottish Government have to ask for Indy 2 in 19 or 20 at the latest with Brexit a yes result should be easy .If and its a big if they ask for a ref and the UK Government turn it down with the probable excuse we don’t want a ref then all of us no matter how we intend to vote need to campaign to get a ref I will say I did not want a Brexit ref but got one .
        If you want an Indy ref you might have to start putting pressure on the FM it would do Yes supporters morale which is already high another boost if she appeared at a march.

  9. Scotrail have sent 11 trains to Yorkshire permanently although planned replacements are not operational
    They had to go back only leased until 12 December .
    Part of Scotrails problem has been the delay in new Hitachi trains for Scotland .an industrial dispute and a shortage of train crew this has meant hundreds of delays and cancelations with at least 144 cancelations last Monday.
    I think a better management team could have and should have seen the problem handing back 11 trains would cause when you don’t have enough anyway .

    1. David, I would suspect that Scotrail certainly did NOT want to transfer the 11 trains back to Yorkshire – however the terms of that lease would have stimulated that requirement.

      The issue it seems is with Hitachi and their delays in delivery. Hopefully there will be a clause recouping some contract cost due to the late delivery, I fully understand that this does not help commuters – however you cannot hold onto property much as you would like, that is not yours.

      1. Thank you for your comment Stephen
        I think the article was aimed at the lack of Scotrail forward planning for something they should have forseen

  10. Scotland Tonight Thursday Bernard Ponsonby Peoples vote .
    If Parliament is gridlocked and cannot decide on what to do about Brexit it should go back for a 2nd public vote .
    Rees Mogg brass neck of the year for his public reaction to his failure to bring down PM May if he had a northern accent on the Labour benches he would be ridiculed and called a thug and a political assassin
    On Indy 2 SNP have at least 125 thousand members the yes movement is a lot wider .
    But now beginning to complain only 1 person Nicola will decide on Indy 2 timing and she is only listening to a very small tight circle of advisors and friends .
    Don’t blame me for the above blame Bernard haha

  11. PS George Osborne has warned Tories are heading for a prolonged period in opposition and he is predicting a general election in 2019.

  12. l wish everybody a Merry Christmas especially Scottish Labour supporters who should take this festive opportunity to put the gloom and doom Grinch like SNP BAD attitude aside and chill out and enjoy festivities if that is at all possible, so yo ho ho to one and all.

  13. Labour lose any chance of scooping up remain voters from any other party after Corbyn announces he will still leave the EU if he gets into number 10.
    The braindead Labour leadership are still trying to chase UKIP voters who cant fucking stand Labour while pushing away potential voters looking for the ONLY way out of Brexit.
    And they wonder why they cant make progress against this farcical Tory cabal of worthless self harming imbeciles hell bent on self destruction.

  14. Ref King Robert I: Mr Pony, as a historian I was responding to and correcting Mike’s rant (which gives the lie to your assertion that only Unionists are interested). Personally I am a republican and await the day my taxers stop being given to one of the wealthiest families in the UK

    1. Mike showed not one jot of interest in where Bobby Bruce was born until David posted a fishing statement looking for intemperate responses. I’d thought better of him. Unfortunately Mike responded. However, your subsequent post again asserted Bruce was not Scottish which is a current, albeit low key, “cause celebre” among unionists who see it as a way of undermining support for Scottish independence. I suppose they hope people will lose faith in their own country if they are convinced their supposed historic heroes were actually “the enemy” (as unionists also wrongly insist indies view the English). It is a childish, irrelevant argument that only highlights the playground nature of much of the unionist argument.

      PS The only time I voted in a TV Programme telephone poll was to vote for a Republic and the abolition of the Monarchy. Scotland was the only “region” of the UK to vote for the abolition. Something you might think on when you continue to oppose independence for your own country.

      1. I agree it doesn’t matter where Bruce was born. His father was Scottish and so he was eligible to “play” for Scotland. I am not interested in undermining Scottish independence by this, the SNP are quite successfully themselves by the way they have messed up health, education and now the figures on child poverty and homelessness show up even more failure.

        1. For goodness sake, can you not, for once in your life, apportion blame where it should be? There is little, as you well know, that the Scottish Govt can do about homelessness and child poverty. These are results of the economic and social policies of the UK govt.

          The Scottish Govt has tried to alleviate the distress caused by these unfortunate policies by spending £bns on mitigating disgraceful Westminster welfare policies such as the Bedroom Tax, building tens of thousands of affordable homes (Labour only built 6 council houses when they were in power) and myriad other policies. But ultimately Westminster controls Welfare and the Economy and all Holyrood can ultimately do is either pass them on or divert money away from other areas.

          Again, you know this, but still you try to convince those less informed that Labour has some magical, Union friendly, never before seen remedy to it. If these remedies exist then why doesn’t Labour in Wales implement them to improve services and social conditions there? Why are services in SNP led Scotland almost universally far better than in Tory led England and especially Labour led Wales? It must also be noted that Labour in Westminster either voted for or abstained on the very austerity you demand the SNP at Holyrood do something about. I know you hope few people are aware of the reality as you try to convince them of Labour’s fantasy, but I think you’ll find more people are clued up than you would like.

          You campaigned to keep Scotland under the Union. Well, poverty, homelessness and financial constraints on public services are a consequence of that. England will continue to vote Tory and therefore that is the administration/framework a Scottish Govt of whatever hue will have to work with. If you don’t like it, campaign for independence so that Scotland gets the powers to elect the govt it wants to tackle its own particular problems in its own particular way.

        2. Jim , have you reached the bottom of the barrel yet, or do you need a little push for that last little bit.

          With the state of the rest of the UK, you should be bloody grateful it’s the SNP who’s governing Scotland.

          Your party is contributing nought and everyone knows it.

  15. Wish I had not mentioned Robert it was only for a laugh and yes to goad Mike in retaliation for the abuse he has heaped on me

  16. Did some holiday reading a book called RBS and the men who blew up the British economy not even half way through it yet .
    There is a short passage on the Darrien project .The idea behind it why it failed etc
    But this might be interesting depending on where you live .
    A public subscription drive to raise funds was launched Glasgow and Edinburgh both contributed 3thousand pounds the Burghs of Irvine Inverness and Inverkeithing 100 pounds each
    Renfrew Ayr St Andrews Paisley Linlithgow Haddington and Dumfries all put in money Perth put in 2thousand the Duchess of Hamilton 3thousand Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun 1000 pounds 2000 subscribers committed 400thousand pounds at least a fifth of Scotlands then cash wealth .We all know how that ended

  17. I had to attend Gartnavel hospital on the 18th December for my respiratory checkup I got a great result But a big thankyou to all involved from the Patient Transport staff to the hospital staff no matter what the problems in their own lives I cant tell you the lift I get from seeing a bright cheery person saying how are you today they don’t allow you to feel sorry for yourself well done and thanks guys.

  18. “Plastic bag fee ‘to double to 10p’ and include every shop”

    I propose that the money charged by shops as a result of this parasitic Tory Government policy change ensures that every penny goes to foodbanks to mitigate the suffering they inflict on folk’s who are subject to their miserable welfare policy of Universal Credit.

  19. I agree Ted and I think every penny should be matched by the UK government
    Just seen on STV News a think again emergency telephone service is to be located along the Clyde for a trial run
    Its for people thinking of suicide a chance to speak to someone . This is a great idea I am 63 and over the years I have known 3 people who have taken their lives .
    They were my friends and on their last day I spoke to 2 of them .
    Even as I type this I remember them I have never forgotten them .we still don’t know what made them do it but it destroyed us and their families .
    We had no warning and we say to each other if only they had said something I still remember the shock and disbelief .
    So anyone out there speak up its never as bad as you think lift that phone.

    1. David it’s so sad and a heavy burden to carry, just wondering if only they said something then who knows, it’s heartbreaking not much folks can say l can but hope and pray for all their family and friends and all who knew them and may God Bless them all.

      1. Thank you for your comment Ted I was mentioning the Phone initiative yesterday we agreed if only there had been someone to speak to it might have been different we don’t know why happy when I spoke to them then suicide at night

  20. Just seen on the news the Health secretary saying waiting times not good enough I don’t know what has gone wrong but this is my view only the Scottish Government cannot be blamed for everything record amounts of money are being spent on the Scottish NHS it is performing better than elsewhere .
    It might be where and how the money is being spent .
    Is it beyond us to have the intelligence to take the politicians and politics out of our NHS .
    I spoke to a retired nurse of 40 years experience last week about Crosshouse Hospital near Kilmarnock beds and all clinics operating to full capacity .The place is very busy.
    I was at Audiology for a hearing test my GP wanted it took 6 months to arrange even the Audiology clinic was packed every seat taken .
    Volunteers in different parts of the hospital to help and if needed escort people to the department they are looking for .
    This would happen no matter who is in charge .
    In 14 the NHS at Crosshouse saved my life a Greek Locum and her team got me through the night my first consultant was Egyptian so don’t talk to me about how good Brexit is going to be .
    Also in 14 I had a spell in Gartnavel and in 15 Queen Elizabeth hospitals .
    I have been treated by staff from all over the EU and since then outpatients GPS Nurses out to visit me so don’t come to me with Brexit I will vote at the next ref if we get one for indy if we get one .
    Even today I spoke to a man who had a kidney transplant 2 years ago cant speak highly enough of the NHS but like me has changed from no to yes because of Brexit and the damage it could do our NHS all of my oxygen equipment is manufactured in Australia and the EU .
    At Gartnavel for my checkup a packed clinic stressed staff and we could see it .My clinic is on the 7th floor .
    So on our way there we could see just how busy that hospital is as well .
    And from what I have seen GPS surgeries are at breaking point as well trouble keeping and recruiting GPS etc and I heard a woman saying she has a letter from her surgery saying she needs to make arrangements for a GP telephone appointment but its 3 weeks to get one even I was shocked by that I thought maybe 3 weeks to see a GP but she said no its for a phone appointment And while I am at it the chemists are struggling to cope with the sheer amount of patients .
    My surgery which is usually packed has a chemist located within the building .
    So we take our prescriptions from the surgery straight to the chemist I don’t no how many times they have locked the connecting door because of the numbers waiting for prescriptions .
    And the delivery guy who is supposed to finish at 5pm is usually still delivering prescriptions at 5pm.
    So Alastair whats your thoughts on this how do we fix this and I think this is beyond any party point scoring I am in the Labour party but what I have put in here are my experiences and thoughts only .
    And a big thanks to all NHS staff where ever you are working it is appreciated .
    So Alastair I am putting you on the spot not the political party hat how about Alastairs hat whats your thoughts a ref maybe haha

    1. How do we fix a lack of perfection? You’re the kind of cunt who would sit back and watch a problem solved only to go digging for another example of a problem because there is no such thing as perfection.
      Labours ONLY form of attack these days is to take a single example of failure and use it in a way that promotes the idea that the single point of failure is generic and common place knowing the exact opposite is true.
      What GP surgeries are at breaking point? Mine isn’t. I can see my GP within 2 to 3 days of asking. Should we take that as an example of how the entire NHS works in Scotland? Why not? That’s the criteria you’re using.

      You haven’t seen GPs working at breaking point at all you worthless lying piece of party political filth not unless your GP is in Wales.

      “Beyond any party point scoring” it says.

      Pathetic little git.

      1. Mike your comments are no longer worth replying to and my comment was not an attack on the Scottish Government Good you can see your GP in 3 days in my surgery you phone in and a GP will phone back then decide if you need an appointment and yes GPS in my surgery are under pressure as are all the surgeries in my area .That is not the fault of the Scottish Government

        1. You’re a pathetic worthless wank because there aren’t any GP surgeries anywhere in Scotland at breaking point if there were it would be a National emergency and treated as such. It would be head line news everywhere you pathetic prick.
          This is me treating you with the same level of contempt and abuse you treat everybody that reads the shite you post.

  21. That think again telephone line the plan is to then roll it out across the country if a success I say do it anyway

    1. David I agree but in an ideal world l would have also places were desperate people contemplating taking their own life could go to in person or actually be collected during or immediately after a call and taken to a place of safety. I could imagine a large country mansion or building that would be open 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 weeks a year as a walk in place of safety crisis centre were folk’s could get support and treatment. Surrounding the mansion in the grounds would be accomodation for folks to stay the night or for however long it takes for them to be safely on the road to recovery.

  22. The Good Friday Agreement stipulates a referendum on Northern Ireland’s constitutional future can happen no sooner than every 7 years, something Labour helped create. That seems like a reasonable timeframe.

    I can understand however why labour are not keen on them as 2014 & 2016 has come at a huge cost for their prospects at winning power in both Edinburgh and London.

    Personally I think their hardline approach against nationalism and independence movements has been part of their downfall.

    Traditionally people of an Irish background living in Scotland voted Labour. As many as 1.5 million people in Scotland are thought to have Irish heritage so that’s a pretty big constituency. 3 of Scotland’s biggest football clubs have Irish origins with Celtic the most famous and for many a place to celebrate their ties to Ireland, Irish nationalism and Irish republicanism.

    However as we have seen those of Irish origin in Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverclyde and North Lanarkshire have started voting SNP in elections and 3 of those areas voted Yes in 2014.

    If you are sympathetic to the plight of Ireland, it’s little wonder your loyalty to Labour starts to fade when they so fiercely defend the Crown and the British state and denounce the desire for national identity and independence so often.

  23. Found this the National archives have just released files covering the John Major years
    And the yes minister guys do not come out of it well .
    February 1992 John Major was to deliver an address to the Queen and rejected the form of words the civil servants gave him .
    This created a huge exchange between departments with Major doing his own thing anyway .
    The dinner attended by the Queen at Spencer house Charles and Diana as well as all surviving PMS except Alec Douglas Home who was unavailable created another problem who paid The Government paid Although its in the file Jim Callaghan might insist on paying for himself.
    Then there was more civil service memos over which town would be given city status
    The Government wanted Sunderland not Wolverhampton but John Majors Political secretary thought it would be a mistake to choose such a solid labour town .
    She said this does seem an odd decision politically we have got people like Maureen Hicks in Wolverhampton hanging on for dear life Sunderland got the nod .
    United Ireland Maggie warned Charles Haughey a united Ireland would create the worst civil war in history and it would spread to Britain
    There were inter government tensions over IRA atrocities Anglo Irish agreement lack of progress a lack of Gardaí training in Intelligence gathering and surveillance Maggie was also unhappy that the Irish government would not allow the Gardaí to speak to the British Army even in emergencies .
    Irish files show that British MPS demanded a withdrawal from Ireland to let the Irish get on with Butchering each other after 2 British undercover Corporals were killed at an IRA funeral in west Belfast in 1988
    The note was written by Richard Ryan of the Irish Embassy after he spoke to 20 MPS of all shades .
    Sir Ian McKellen was the decisive influence on John Majors decision to lower the age of consent for gay men after a meeting at Downing Street on September 24 1991 .
    50th anniversary of VE day in 1995 John Majors staff were worried it would be an embarrassment because of criticism of past ceremonies the PM wrote on a memo he had been screwed by Lord Bramall a veteran of the Normandy landings and former head of the armed forces for what he saw as light hearted commemorations of D Day the year before .
    Lord Bramall was warned not to do it again .
    John Majors Private Secretary tried to get Michael Howard home secretary to pull a sickie and feign illness rather than attend a black tie event in 1993 hosted by Rupert Murdoch to launch new Sky channels because of criticism of the Government by Murdoch titles
    Howard had to attend as there was to be a press conference
    The President of Turkmenistan in 1993 gave John Major a horse the Stallion called Maksat collected in Moscow and our lady in Moscow had to dispose of a train carriage of manure and deal with fraud .
    No 10 then found out the guy she hired to transport Maksat had done 2 years for a 6 million pound fraud in 1988
    A civil servant wrote he has served his sentence .
    Neil Kinnock as leader of the opposition was given a more powerful car than some Government ministers as he spent so much time on the motorway
    Maggie agreed and had it noted some Cabinet ministers do similar millage
    Then Lord Young of Graffham employment Secretary thought that he had agreed to give up to 6 million to the Princes Youth Business trust turned out it was 40 million with the government to embarrassed to back out
    The employment Dept said the Government agreed to match 6 million raised from the private sector but Lord Young committed to match what the trust raised witch was 40 million.
    There is a note from Maggie on file agreeing to pay But who authorised the commitment in the first place
    John Major when asked whether to destroy or release or put back publication of the full Profumo file read the full report in 1993 and put back publication until 2063.
    Civil Servants warned that Tony Blair then opposition leader would almost certainly be computer savvy and use emails which the civil service thought would be a passing fad .
    Turned out Tony was a pen and paper guy hardly used his computer and kept a photo of his son stuck to the screen .
    I hope you find this interesting it shows some of what goes on behind the scenes that we don’t know about like having to find the odd 40 million to cover up a mistake

  24. Much more important good luck to the thousands of people who lost their jobs and got no wages through no fault of theirs this week it happened to me in the 80s we are heading back there faster than we think

  25. How about a ref to elect Methadone Mick from still game for PM
    And if I don’t get a chance I would like to wish all of you a happy new year and all the best for 2019

  26. Back to whats turning up in old files
    A University of London guy was poking about the National Archives when he found a letter from the Queens Deputy Private Secretary written on May 5th 1995 to the Government making it clear the Queen wanted a new Royal Yacht after Britiannia was retired he said the Queen had shed a tear .
    In 2003 the Palace told the Telegraph neither the Queen or Prince Phillip have ever expressed an opinion and don’t intend to do so.

  27. More stuff from old files ever wondered what you would do if we got caught up in a nuclear bomb attack and survived don’t worry our civil servants came up with a plan papers from the 50s reveal that survivors morale would be very important ministers felt the conflict was imminent and inevitable of course we were not told this or that an exercise called Southern Exodus where a response to an attack was simulated on September 20th 1954
    The Governments main priority was to ensure those not killed were offered sustenance and encouragement so centres were to be set up where we could get medical attention and a cup of tea .
    They were planning for major air attacks and atom bombs on several towns including 4 on London separate bombs on Bristol Plymouth Birmingham
    This exercise was carried out because the international situation was that bad the Government thought a war was imminent

  28. The comments I have just posted are interesting but maybe not that vital but all done in secret by civil servants and Government ministers so fast forward to the past few weeks Secret preparations for the Queens death .Secret Brexit preparations Ian Blackford went public to say he has been shown the full UK Government preparations but cant say much because it was on Privy Council Terms .And is Secret .
    Secret plans to mobilize the armed forces foodstuffs and medication being stockpiled and then yesterday and today Saturday we find out the Government have allocated over 100 million to requisition Ferries in the event of Brexit chaos at Dover and the Ferry companies will keep some of the fee even if the ships are not used and I hope they wont be .
    And I am not convinced the Gatwick Airport drones were not an exercise if you shut Gatwick why not Heathrow on safety grounds .
    And who gave that couples details to the press and CH4 news have just said the Government did not release the Ferry news until Westminster was on holiday .So no Questions to the PM
    I know a lot of Government business has to be confidential but I always think if you tell the public whats going on we might not like it but we will respect you for telling us .and a state of emergency over channel migrants the home secretary breaking of his holidays what are we not being told
    I should say well done to Ian Blackford for giving the Privy Council news he also asked for the UK Government to publish all of it .

  29. Spotted 2 items on BBC red button I am a firm remainer but Italy has had to set a revised budget for 2019 their original budget broke EU rules and they had to revise the budget or face huge fines .The Parliament claim the deal with the EU to avoid fines came that late they cant examine the small print .
    This is one of the problems that people like Corbyn have with the EU
    No 2 the USA Ambassador to the UK has said if PM Mays Brexit deal gets accepted by the Commons then no trade deal with the USA

  30. Good luck to everyone and your families and all the best for 2019 have a great new year

    1. David a good luck to you too, and my best wishes to everybody else may you all have a Happy New Year 2019.

  31. Thankyou for your best wishes Ted
    I thought New Year telly Only an excuse good but you have to know who they are on about the sportscene sketch wicked but proves how bad it is . BBC Hogmanay just right for me I have 2 hearing aids and did not know if it was the fireworks on tv or if there were fireworks nearby turns out both haha .
    Lulu to professional on STV.
    Mrs Browns Boys on BBC the Buster blind date sketch predictable but funny .
    The best of the lot still game I know it was a repeat or as the PR boys used to say another chance to see but the lift scene was brilliant and a naked Isa well no comment haha .
    And I still think Methadone Mick should be PM if I cant get Jeremy how about a referendum on that

  32. I like history documentaries 2 were on that I watched in the early hours of Jan 1st 1919 a ship bringing returning servicemen home from the war hit rocks and went down within sight of their homes on Lewis over 200 hundred drowned they could see the lights of their homes 1 man was found dead on the shore 100 yards from his home .
    The programme using eye witness accounts and those of survivors relatives describing family stories described the devastation grief anger and destitution the disaster caused for the people of Lewis .
    2 weeks ago I read an account of this in the paper the reviewer said I will name the people responsible and why he named 2 people I say no they are not here to defend themselves they went down with the ship .Remember what happened and why and the incredible bravery people showed that night trying to rescue there friends and crewmates a lot of them lost their own lives as a result .
    No 2 was an account of the bombing raid that sank the Tirpitz
    The first raid mentioned got nowhere strong German defence smoke and bad weather meant Tirpitz survived .
    Churchill ordered another raid surviving crew interviewed for tv said no one looked forward to it as the ship was heavily defended it was the same route and they thought because of the first raid would be on the alert .In the event the raid was a success Tirpitz sunk and all allied bombers returned home .
    The programme asked why .
    It is now known a German radar unit picked up the bombing raid 1 hr out but for some reason did not pass on the warning to anyone
    The Tirpitz own radar picked them up 30 mins out and alerted the German fighter airfield but because of the need to let a German plane land there was a delay in getting the fighters airborne .
    They got there 2 mins after our bombers had left and Tirpitz sunk .
    Many hundreds went down with the ship and remaining survivors made heroic efforts to save their crewmates .
    A German survivor told of speaking to his friends trapped in a turret he could not get them out and heard them die .
    I hope I have got this correct I would like us to remember all of them its our job to make sure they are remembered and we don’t have to do it again

  33. And also BBC News said a service was held today to remember the Ibrox disaster

  34. If you want to save us from Brexit award a 13 million pound contract to a ferry firm with no ships .Can someone tell me how this incompetent Tory crowd can be trusted to run anything never mind a Government .
    We have food banks Universal Credit companies going bust with no warning
    The Home Secretary declares a major incident and takes to the Ocean Waves ok the Channel waves complete with TV cameras to look for migrants and declares why are they trying to reach the UK .When they should stay in France .Well how about stop bombing their home countries How about trying to stop the wars in places like Syria and Yemen how about lifting sanctions on countries like those plus Iran because its ordinary people who suffer in short people no different from us trying to get on with their lives .
    And the Home Secretary used this to push his leadership credentials whatever they are

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