Monday, February 09, 2015
Jealousy has always been the key to understanding Scots. Perhaps because they have always been poor relative to the English, they have a hatred of anybody richer than them. The name of Scotland's largest landowner, the Duke of Buccleuch (pronounced "baklew) is not so much uttered as spat out in most of Scotland. So they have always been very jealous of one another and that has made them very socialist. It's only by going abroad and escaping envious eyes that Scots can prosper.
But socialism plus nationalism is the recipe for Fascism -- and Scottish nationalism is more than mere patriotism. It has morphed into national self-assertiveness and new and improved hatred of their Southern neighbour. And so a form of Fascism does seem to have emerged.
The recent referendum on Scottish independence seems to have been the flash-point. It pumped up nationalism to new heights and the failure of the referendum has left nationalists seething with anger. And anger is of course behind most Leftist policies. So Scotland is getting some severely Leftist policies. And the MAJORITY of Scots who voted to stay united with England are simply not respected. Nationalists are not accepting their defeat graciously. And since they do have control of the Scottish parliament, they can do a lot of damage. See below. -- JR
By Allan Massie
The smell of blood is in the Scottish air – and the nationalist daggers are out once again. No matter that they lost the referendum. SNP membership is surging, and so is the spiteful abuse of their opponents, openly branded quislings and collaborators for daring to disagree.
The nationalists are on aggressive form, set to rule not just the Scottish parliament but a majority of Scotland’s 59 Westminster seats. New polling funded by Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft has predicted a 21 per cent swing to the SNP, which would mean Labour losing 35 of their 41 seats.
If that seems like a distant issue from south of the border, then consider this: if the SNP performs as the polls suggest, an overall Labour majority in May will be almost impossible. But a Labour-SNP coalition becomes an increasingly likely scenario – and a worrying one. Because the SNP could influence the whole of the UK with what has become a divisive brand of state socialism.
Just look at what they plan in Scotland, harrying the great estates – and their owners – with taxes and forcible land sales. The nationalists even want to meddle in family life with sinister new measures promising government supervision of all Scottish children.
This might chime well in Left-wing cities such as Glasgow and Dundee, the new nationalist heartland, but many see the proposed land reform as fuelled by class envy and socialist dogma.
The SNP’s claim to a monopoly on Scottish patriotism infuriated many unionists during the referendum campaign, but its Stalinist identification of the party with the state is worrying even more.
For now, the guns have mostly fallen silent, as this is the close season for game birds and stalking, but for landowners and their employees there is a feeling that the guns are being turned on them, and that the traditional social and economic pattern of country life is in danger of being torn up.
Under the bureaucratic slogan of ‘sustainable development’, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has proposed a raft of separate measures that she believes will attract the support of the Scottish Left, and which landowners believe is a class-based attack on the great estates and centuries of tradition.
One is a plan to give rural communities the right of compulsory purchase over the land they farm – even if the landowner, whose family may have been custodians of it for generations, doesn’t want to sell it.
The SNP also want to change the inheritance laws of primogeniture that would fragment the ownership of the great estates within a few generations by ensuring the division of property among all of a landowner’s children. Then there is the removal of the tax breaks that make many estates viable and investment in them possible.
In truth, however, the country sports that the SNP so despises are all that makes many of the estates economically viable.
The party is fond of preaching that the ownership of much of the land is concentrated in comparatively few hands. Some 400 individuals or trusts (family or commercial) are said to own most of Scotland. Yet much of the country is mountain and moorland. A 500-acre chunk of arable land in, say, Berwickshire, is far more profitable than 5,000 or even 15,000 acres in the Highlands.
Jamie Williamson, laird of Alvie and Dalraddy, near Aviemore, tells me wryly that his 13,000 acres are MAMBA – ‘more and more of b***** all’.
‘We farm cows, sheep, trees and tourists,’ he adds. ‘Field sports are more important – we offer grouse-shooting and deer-stalking – because the Highlands are less favourable for agriculture.
‘The poorer the land, the more you need to live off it. Round here, that’s a minimum of 2,000 to 5,000 acres.
‘We’re faced with people who have a politically motivated agenda and don’t realise what they’re doing. It could end up like Ireland, where sub-division means that everyone has a quarter-acre potato patch. The attitude now is, “You’ve got it, we want it.” '
Lack of respect for property rights is characteristic of all socialist regimes, so it is not surprising that the SNP’s land reform will render property insecure.
Actually, Scots already have a Land Reform Act, passed in the first Scottish Parliament with little controversy. It established a statutory right to roam throughout the countryside with a few designated exceptions. That right had always existed, as trespass on private property was not an offence in Scotland unless there was damage or malicious intent.
The Act also gave a community the right to buy an estate if the owner was willing to sell, and provided public funds to make this possible. There have been a handful of buyouts, some apparently successful. In a warning to the SNP, however, others have proved far more problematic.
The 94-strong community on the beautiful Hebridean island of Gigha became the best-known beneficiaries of the legislation when they bought their seven-mile-long island from businessman Derek Holt in 2002 with £4 million of public money in the form of a grant and a loan. The population has since swollen to 160 people, but the island is reported to be £3 million in debt, and looking to the Government for further help.
Highland estates change hands frequently; the land is unproductive, country sports are labour and investment-intensive. They swallow money. It’s why any community that benefits from a buyout – whether voluntary or as part of a socialist land-grab – is likely to be going back to Holyrood soon, holding out the begging-bowl.
This isn’t true of all parts of Scotland, I should add. The fertile estates in the Borders , where I live, rarely change hands, because they are not loss-making. Estates such as those of the Duke of Buccleuch, the Marquess of Lothian and the Duke of Roxburghe make a huge contribution to the social, economic and cultural life of the region. They offer access and provide employment for tens of thousands.
It is estimated that ten per cent of Scottish jobs are in agriculture and activities related to it, such as shooting. They are generally a force for good, and for prosperity, and only a fool would want to break them up. However, that is exactly what the SNP plans.
It’s easy to see that such measures might have a rabble-rousing appeal for city-dwellers to whom the big estates are bad and the poor, embattled workers are victims.
These are also, of course, people who have no idea of how the rural economy works. It is private spite dressed up as public interest.
The final nail in the coffin of the sporting estates would be the SNP plan to remove the ‘de-rating’ tax-break brought in by the Major Government 20 years ago.
On the face of it this may seem a more justifiable change, as most businesses pay rates, but the consequences might be damaging.
Jamie Williamson is quite clear about that. His estate employs 19 people directly and as many again indirectly, while overheads are huge and the profit on field sports is meagre enough to be tipped into the red if the new taxes are too high. If that happens, many estates will abandon shooting, and with it will go the tourism and hospitality industries that rely on it. ‘It could,’ he adds, ‘have an impact all the way down the line.’
Williamson is a landowner, a laird, so the response may be ‘he would say that, wouldn’t he?’ But his views are echoed and put even more forcibly by Alex Hogg, who is a gamekeeper, not a landowner. In fact, he’s chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association.
He says: ‘Local businesses are supported by the estates and shooting brings in millions. ‘Why would you want to drive away that investment?
‘The SNP keeps talking about public interest. But surely the public interest is served by having a thriving community that’s not subsidised. I’m dumbfounded by these proposals. The SNP has gone far-Left, and it scares me.’
Since it came into office, the SNP has weakened local democracy in favour of enforcing its own ideologically driven diktats. It has overridden, for example, local objections to wind farms. It has created a single Scottish police force, free of any local democratic control. Worse still, the SNP state has no regard for the individual.
Another SNP measure hits at the autonomy of the family. This is the Named Persons Act, which provides for the state to appoint a named guardian, usually a social worker or teacher, for every child and adolescent in Scotland.
This is, of course, dressed up as a means of providing protection for vulnerable children and young people. Who, they say, could possibly object to this?
The answer is anyone who believes parents are better judges of their children’s interests than the state or social workers. The SNP claims parents and children have asked for these guardians but, for me, the assumption is clear: parents can’t be trusted and children belong not to their parents but to the state, just as in Mao’s China.
Meanwhile the intrusion of the state into private life gathers pace.
The SNP is planning a new ‘SuperID database’, effectively a computerised Big Brother, that would store a great deal of confidential information including health details, tax payments, even whether someone is a member of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.
This information can be shared among government bodies – including, bizarrely, Quality Meat Scotland.
Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, says: ‘This needs to be stopped. They plan to take information on people using the health service and allow access to 120 organisations.’
The East German Stasi would have loved to have a database that linked health, tax and much other private information on its citizens. It could become reality in Scotland.
And yet, despite its contempt for individuals, for families, for property rights and for liberty, the SNP is riding high in the polls. Its dream is that it will hold the balance of power at Westminster where, Sturgeon insists, they would do a deal with Labour, but on no account with the Tories.
This is rank hypocrisy. When the SNP ran a minority government between 2007 and 2011, they happily did deals with the Scottish Conservatives to get budgets through.
Actually the SNP’s intentions in Westminster are absolutely clear. They aim to make a bloody nuisance of themselves.
They hope to exasperate the English to such an extent that eventually they will tell the Scots to clear out – even though 55 per cent of us voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. As Salmond, defeated in September but hoping to return to the Commons as an MP, charmingly put it, he hopes ‘to hold England’s feet to the fire’.
There is talk in Scotland of Labour, the Tories and Liberal Democrats doing a deal to keep Salmond out, or at least encouraging voters to back the candidate most likely to beat the SNP.
If that happens, the Nationalists will surely shriek foul. But considering what they plan for the rest of us, the laugh will be on them.
The Prime Minister of New Zealand gets the hypocrisy of the Left
Perry's Claim to Fame Is Simple: Jobs
Texas is where the jobs are
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is considering another run for the White House in 2016, and his platform is strong in the primary concern of voters. As political strategist James Carville so memorably put it during Bill Clinton’s first campaign, “It’s the economy, stupid.”
In his State of the Union, Barack Obama crowed about the jobs he created since 2010: “America has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan and all advanced economies combined. Our manufacturers have added almost 800,000 new jobs.”
But Obama didn’t give credit where it’s due. Since the start of the Great Recession in 2007, the 1.169 million increase in jobs nationwide up to December 2014 can be attributed entirely to the roaring Texas economy. The other 49 states and Washington, DC, altogether have lost about 275,000 jobs. Texas enjoyed its 51st consecutive month of growth in December, adding more that 2,000 jobs every business day. And while the nationwide headline unemployment rate stands at 5.6%, the rate in Texas dropped to 4.6%. Pretty impressive numbers for a candidate’s résumé.
Of course, Texas owes much of its boom to fracking on privately owned land. Fracking has sparked a recovery in other industries, including construction. From January to November, more building permits for single-family houses were issued in Houston alone than in all of California in the same period.
Unfortunately, some of Texas' job growth came because of crony capitalism – sweetheart tax deals and so forth. That shouldn’t play well with free-market conservatives, but the average voter probably won’t care much about that angle when Perry can say, “Yeah, but Texas under my leadership is responsible for virtually all the job growth in the nation.”
One issue that will tickle conservative heart strings is that leftists are labeling Perry a “tenther.” Like the supposedly pejorative “denier,” the Left now labels anyone who believes in the Tenth Amendment a “tenther”. We’re mighty proud to be in that club.
Interviewed by Heartland magazine, Perry said that he wants to be a strong Tenth Amendment leader, working with other governors who share his passion. “We need to get back to 50 states competing against other … to become a powerful country, a powerful economy again.” He continued, “We need to … make the states … into laboratories of innovation [again to] put America back on the road to recovery.”
A push to restore the federalism our Founders established is long overdue and we hope the next president and governors have the wisdom to restore the Tenth Amendment as we have the Second.
Meanwhile, should Perry emerge as a viable candidate, the Left will simply lie to destroy him. Lies, character assassination, mudslinging. The Left’s stock in trade.
Indeed, this is why he had a run-in last year with Travis County Democrat District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg after she was arrested for drunk driving with three times the legal limit of blood alcohol. During her arrest and booking, she behaved like a bratty eighth grader. Sentenced to 45 days, she served half. Because she heads the Public Integrity Unit of the DA’s office, Perry asked her to resign. Like any good disgraced Democrat, she refused, causing Perry to cut funding to her office until she was replaced.
Smelling blood in the water, special prosecutor Michael McCrum took the matter to a grand jury and got an indictment for two class A misdemeanors: abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant. Got that? Perry allegedly “abused” Lehmberg by demanding her resignation. And he “abused” the power of the veto. That’s rich.
The Leftmedia lost no time headlining: GOVERNOR INDICTED. Unfortunately, the case will drag on for months, keeping Perry’s “sullied” name in the news. He could lose campaign contributors, as ridiculous as that might seem, but Democrats have been at this game for decades, and they know their stuff. Let’s hope the voters show more sense than the media hounds.
In terms of campaigning, two things will work to Perry’s advantage this time: He’s no longer governor and can focus all his energy on the campaign, and he’s not coming off back surgery, which many think put him off his game in 2012. And, again, that job-creation résumé is going to play well in a nation sloughing along under Obamanomics.
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Posted by JR at 1:34 AM