Scottish Independence (4)

Much has been said about an Independent Scotland being able to vote for their own Government. Comments like ‘we will never be governed by a Conservative (Tory) Government again’ and that ‘Scotland votes to the left and this is why the Labour Pasty is able to muster so much support’. History tells us that this is a nonsense.
UK Conservative Governments in recent years, especially under Thatcher, did a lot of damage to Scotland to the point that Scottish conservatives felt obliged to withdraw their support resulting in a perceived increase backing for ‘Labour’.
Scotland as a whole is essentially a conservative Country albeit with a small ‘c’ so if the UK or English establishment were removed from the equation this could easily manifest itself into a large conservative
(big C) opposition.
There is a very real possibility of Scotland having a Conservative Government one day. If the Conservative and ‘Unionist’ Party were to re-badge themselves, this could come sooner than later.
In the Referendum we saw a substantial move from ‘Labour’ (No) to the SNP (Yes) which, if you follow my argument, should not come as a surprise.
Even as things stand today with the electorate rejecting independence I think we must expect a dramatic rise in the Conservative vote at Holyrood.

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Scottish Independence (3)

I don’t like Nationalism. In its various forms it is the cause of much that is wrong with the world today. All national movements, no matter where they are in the world and no matter what they call themselves, are right wing.
They are identical in how they start to build a base support that will allow them to develop and expand. They target what they consider to be the least intelligent and uneducated working people who they believe they can easily manipulate with slogans and sound bites. Later, as their number increase the movement drifts towards the middle classes and middle class interests by adjusting their message and policies allowing them to gain a level of respect within the mainstream of their countries politics.
All Nationalist movements promise that everything will be OK while ignoring or dismissing problems likely to be encountered. This can be very attractive to those who don’t study the detail and want to be told that all is well if only they follow the guidance they are given.
Once Nationalism gains power they dramatically show their true right wing ‘colour’. This change is sometimes gradual creeping up on even their own support base. Opposition is often attacked heavily, but by this time it is too late.

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Scottish Independence (2)

My home is in Scotland and in that home there are lots of pieces of paper all with ‘U.K.’ written on them. They are mostly legal documents that have a direct bearing on all aspects of my life.
There is my driving license which will require to be replaced when Scotland breaks away from the UK. This might not be a problem, but there could be a charge for doing so.
I have a UK warranty on my car. It is possible that the private company that sold me the car will legally walk away from this agreement. If they don’t, they will at least have to make changes to bring it into line with the law of the new foreign country that, on paper at least, I have moved to. I must expect that the cost of these changes will fall to me.
My car insurance falls into the same category as well as my other policies including the house. It is reasonable for me to expect that I will shoulder these costs since it will not be their fault that I moved ‘abroad’.
If Scotland is to be truly independent, like Germany and France, I must also expect that when I cross the border into England I will be encouraged to take travel insurance and my expensive new replacement Passport with me.
Nobody knows what the currency will eventually be or how the exchange rate will respond, but there are other things that could impact on my weekly household expenditure.
A number of UK companies operate in this country on a daily basis. Companies like Tesco, Asda, M&S and many more. They will require to change the way they work to comply with their new legal obligations. Planning and budget adjustments, different Tax and exporting regulations which I suspect will have a serious impact on prices.
I am an O.A.P. and I have concerns that, as time goes by, I may loose out badly. I may not be able to afford independence.

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The future of a Movement

The Labour and Trade Union movement is in trouble. It shows all the signs of dying out. – A serious drop in membership, amalgamations between each individual Union, rising costs of membership and poor communications.
Not only has the general public stopped listening to what they have to say, but also their own members as well. They are no longer considered to be an adequate or desirable representative of what ordinary people want. They seem to have no creditable answers for the real problems faced by the people they are supposed to represent. They are out of date and require a fresh and up to date way of representing ordinary people. Few trust them.
The Trade Unions appear to have shifted from being a movement to being a business. When a business reaches saturation it becomes desperate, grabbing at straws. It sometimes falls back on previous successes hoping that, in some way, it will become their salvation. For businesses or Trade unions to rely on what they did in the past to solve the problems of the present and the future, it is a sure sign that they are approaching their end. Time moves on and new forms of initiative must be developed if survival is to become a reality.
The first thing the Trade Union Movement must do is to re-identify with their own people and modernise how they handle themselves. They have to broaden their representation. People have to be able to rely on an organisation that they feel is going to speak up for them and standing up for the day to day issues that affect them. It has to be part of their political aspirations, and as far as things go at the moment, there is no other organisation that has the capacity or the resources to do that.
The Trade Unions are outwith the parliamentary process and this gives them an important edge over the Labour Party who has to take into consideration all manors of procedures and processes. The Party has an outlook and approach that is very different and even restrictive.
There appears that some trade unionists are thinking along these lines by getting more involved with local communities out-with the labour force but they have to be quick. It may already be too late.

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A game of Eye Spy.

Yet more revelations, about how the great powers of state can learn everything there is to know about us, have hit the headlines. Nothing that has been published so far comes as a surprise to me – in fact I’m bored hearing about it.
Under the pretext of state security and terrorist intelligence we are being monitored in every way possible and for every reason imaginable. From our political thoughts to what we buy is known and can be used to control and manipulate us in ways that are not too difficult to imagine.
With the kind of technology that is at the disposal of our political masters we stand no chance of stopping this process. Even if we could get it legally banned it would continue behind closed doors as it has been doing for many years. We cannot ‘uninvent’ the technology that makes this possible. We have no choice but to accept it as a ‘fait accompli’. People have to think carefully what they invent as it might come back and bite them.
We are told that we have nothing to fear if we have nothing to hide, and people believe this.  It just goes to show that there are a lot of fools and idiots about.

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More travel problems

Over the last 12 years or so, on my many travels to the other side of the world, I developed the habit of sending Newsletters to family and friends via internet cafês. My Web-mail of choice was Microsoft’s Hotmail which was smooth and simple and easy for me to use with little to no trouble no matter which country I was in.
It must have been about 3 years ago that I started to experience irritating problems due to so called updates. I’m a great believer in – If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it – and I refuse to accept any other point of view. Apparently the computer world does not agree with me.
It is not confined to Microsoft, although Google comes close to them for introducing gimmicks and moving things to other parts of the site. There seems to be a competition between all Web-mail providers to hide many of the necessary functions for no practical reason that I can work out. Sending simple e-mails or newsletters, in my case, has become
much more complicated and time consuming.
Downloading attachments is just one example out of the many that adds to my frustration. One click would display it and then I could save it as I saw fit to where ever I wanted it. Today you have to decide what you want to do with it without seeing it in detail first. This is particularly true for photographs.
For some reason programmers think it is clever to anticipate what you want, but this can lead to more clicks of the mouse to overrule them before making the choice yourself. I feel that I have to learn all over again how to send e-mails every time I use a computer as the changes can come at you sometimes on an almost weekly basis.
I took the opportunity of searching out what others thought of these constant changes and I was surprised to discover that I was not the only one with similar criticisms. There are thousands of them. Microsoft, Google and others, please listen. If it makes you feel good pretend that you are introducing an update to modernize your programmes and quietly slip backwards.
My new Web-mail of choice is neither of the two I have mentioned, and although it does suffer from similar difficulties it seems to be that little bit less complicated than most.
I now carry my own Net-book with me using the mostly free Hi-Fi supplied by the hotels that I stay at – sometimes modernisation has welcome benefits.

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On my Travels

This Blog has been silent for some time and the reason is because I have been spending some time in the Mediterranean plus catching up with domestic tasks. During this time I treated myself to a break from the horrors of this troubled world that we all live in but it is now time to get back to being a grumpy old man.
Let me catch up to where I left off by first commenting about my travels over the last 10 years or so.
I use all manor of transport from Boats, buses, trains, Hired cars – sometimes with a driver included. I have also used my fair share of tuk-tuks, But let me concentrate on my flying experiences.
I have visited over 15% of the world’s countries loosing count of the number of airports that I have flown in and out of, but they all have one thing in common – security.
Or at least that is what they like to call it but I have still to face identical treatment one airport with another. Some are very relaxed about the same thing that others are up tight about.
Once while flying from Vietnam I was able to eat my on-board meals with metal knifes and forks. In China I was searched while standing on the runway ready to board my flight. They had a machine that seemed to think I was carrying a cigarette lighter – I wasn’t. The Chinese love machines. At a Greek airport I was only allowed to take one lighter with me but when I was air-side at the Duty Free I could have bought as many as I wanted to take on board the flight back to the U.K.
I was amazed, on another occasion, to see that 8″ hunting knifes were on sale inside the airport terminal. Back in China, it was suggested by an airport official that I could leave my bags unsupervised while I went away for a cup of coffee. Needless to say I refused to do so.
When flying, I carry a lot of electronic equipment such as computers and digital cameras. I pack them in such a way that it makes it easy for them to be examined. This year, for the first time ever, all of my gadgets were ignored and they pulled me up for having a 3/4 inch magnifying eye glass in my top jacket pocket.
There are a few airports around the world that will check your hold luggage before you even enter the terminal building and this seems very sensible to me. In the U.K. they don’t.
The whole thing is a shambles and I have no faith in the security precautions taken by any of the many airports that I visit. I don’t want to blow my own trumpet (but I will anyway) I could organise things better, probably for much less money than the clowns that currently do.

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