Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Tibet ?

Exactly as asked in the Metro. Alex: do you want Tibet to be free like us ?

Sod pandas, we all know this is about human suffering. The state of China is the most populous forced union going. Is Tibet a self determination cause for you?

Monday, 5 December 2011

decide your statehood from an unpredictable economic forecast

Opinion poll says the country's vote could be swayed entirely by whether folks believe that on average they will be just £500 per year better or worse off in income?

How can such figures possibly be calculated? We live in an era when everyone should have seen that economic forecasts are no more convincing than astrology. Fractional income advantage whould be a shockingly momentary item to decide a country's future on: this vote won't be just like an election that will come round again shortly. But it is natural, and quite Yes Minister, when an opinion pollster asks you in the light of those income figures which way you would vote, that you say the way that sounds better. 61% vote Yes if told the figures are better with independence, but only 21% if told the figures are better off with the union.

It shows the decision is not deeply rooted in national sentiment, either way, and at least the people have got that right. In a time of distrust for political systems, national feeling about homeland should not be converted into feeling for a political state. This should worry the SNP though, there is not much around of the type of deep rooted naive patriotism they want and would make their task easiest. If they respond to that fact by just more of the same message, patriotically trust us, then they deserve the defeat they will risk. If they respond in the way they never yet have, by actually taking on issues about ordinary returners to Scotland from the diaspora, and exposing state dirty tricks like the police lying to returners that their newly bought houses are in a rough area, only then will they show that voters should take any interest in more than just speculative unprovable economic figures.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

former leader wants a bigot weighted vote

Narky old Gordon Wilson, eh? SNP's former leader was on the oppressive minds' demo against gay marriage. Saying Salmond should not risk support in the referendum over supporting fair recognition for part of society in case they are unpopular. Scary sort of country Wilson would want us to say Yes to.

Salmond has pursued an equally tabloid agenda against teenagers, making it harder for them to go in pubs and blaming them for law and order issues exactly like nasty old sods enjoy believing. That is how Salmond lost my vote, not that he missed it last time: I wish he would be as morally solid against bigots, for teenagers, as for gay marriage. The difference presumably is, that the SNP's top circles contains no teenagers, established career politicians are all older than that, and no residents of Menie either, to motivate him to be moral against Trump. But the top circles do contain careers wedded to the PC left who are on the morally correct side over gay marriage, which means in favour of it, and Salmond would be weaker placed in the party if he crossed them over it.

The referendum would be a frightening exercise in group hate if Wilson got his way. Young voters scrutinising this should consider that it already is an exercise in group hate towards them. A good referendum is one whose attitudes are not directed by the right wing press. That should be a particularly easy principle to watch out for and defend, in a country where both major parties are left wing?

Thursday, 24 November 2011

You've Been Trumped, and so have young homebuyers

Anyone who has seen the film You've Been Trumped, now touring the country, has seen an insight into the moral standards of any bandwagon backed by Salmond, that all voters need to see before the referendum. Not necessarily to vote No as a result, but only to vote Yes if they can see the Yes cause being in caring enough other hands than only Salmond's, that also are strong enough to make any difference to what a new state would be like.

Salmond was interviewed totally fawning over Trump. You remember it was the SNP government that intervened and overrode Aberdeenshire council's planning rejection of Trump's rubbish. Salmond stands there and says the economy takes precedence over the environment. A development not creating local jobs at all, existing only to benefit the world of rich privilege that has enough benefit already, that has the absurd purpose that they will fly across the Atlantic Ocean just to play golf then fly back again, an action whose carbon footprint is just like a boot in the sky splatting on top of us all, overrides a sensitive piece of coast with an equilibrium of dynamic sand and a rare habitat. Destablising the coast. Digging up all the sand dunes and the grass anchoring them, and spreading artificial sand flats here there and everywhere just burying the landscape that was there before.

Vandalising Scotland, in fact. You see it going on around the affected residents' homes, and this is the new Scotland they have got from the SNP, as noticed by one who used to vote for them. This it seems is the Scotland that Salmond the patriot wants to offer in the referendum, wants to tug the heart strings for. He who has helped a man whose fortune could lift many of the SNP's recent voters out of privation, to start digging the heart out of a piece of Scotland. A piece in Salmond's own region, too. Be independent, but not be physically intact as a landscape.

A properly informed referendum is one where the voters know all about that. Are more acutely conscious of what is going on on their coast than they were in the last election.

Meanwhile, a prediction has made the papers that the housing market won't recover into its proper form accessible to everyone, like in the 90s it did recover, and that home ownershiop will on average be unaffordable until folks are in their 40s. What is that going to do to Scots living in exile because their parental homes are in exile, who may have grown up in exile like I did? How are they going to get their human right to live in Scotland not in exile? and get it before they might die for any number of accidental reasons, evilly after never having lived in their own homeland at all? Salmond can help them every bit as keenly as he is helping Trump. He can publicise how rent and mortgages no longer constitutionally exist. A fact, covered up for 16 years, that once made publicly known, abolishes the housing market in its present form completely, so abolishes the problem. Salmond and the SNP know all about this. See the second post on this blog, my submission to the National Conversation, I detailed it all in there, how it follows from how the British state was treating returns of exiles to Scotland in the 1990s, lying to us that our new homes were in rough areas when they provenly were not. Have we ever heard the SNP speak up for the victims of this, and fot the committal fact of the areas concenred being okay?

It is vandalism of this nation, just as much as supporting Trump is, to choose not to expose the truth about rent and mortgages, when our young diaspora are out there suffering the oppression of economic entrapment in exile, not sharing in the new Scotland which is theirs by right.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

politician of the year is part of the patronage game

"Politician of the year" is a lot of nonsense where the political class pats itself on the back. Who chooses who gets these awards? Not the voters. They can all be totally rubbish to us and one of them will still get this award. Disturbing if anyone is influenced by it. it's just an update of the same sort of thing as giving them knighthoods and lordships, personal reward for following a pattern the system likes.

The chance of anyone's vote being influence by it should be a reason not to have it. Giving it to a major player in our independence controversy risks influencing votes on more seriously permanent than just an election, too, and not on grounds of anything the award winners have done for ordinary folks.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

hate crime

The Metro free paper today printed an act of racial hate on its letters page, as many bus passengers have seen. A character pen-named "Rockin Rob" of Bishopton was printed writing "you are not and never will be Scottish" addressed to Rod Stewart.

Nobody is ever entitled to tell any other person that they not the national identity they identify as being. That is how genocide starts. By hate exclusion of targets.

A clear crime of racial hatred stands on record perpetually and poses a criminal test to the SNP government for the referendum's legitimate status. If they prove noncommittal about this, they will be involved in letting racial hatred happen and that will invalidate their proposed new state right from its launch. This will only not be the case if they are absolutely rigidly immutably watertightly pinned down committal, in pledging that it will be part of their new Scottish state's constitution that anyone who says any other person is not Scottish is automatically jailed for a crime of racial hate.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Electoral Reform Society

In the Electoral Reform Society's election for its own council, which in these post-referendum circumstances is a dramatic one with 53 candidates and a fight of reformers versus STV purists, there are 2 candidates who have a writing involvement in some political media and who have ignored the court change. Jonathan Bartley and James Gray.

This is not to say that the other candidates all support the court change. These 2 had significant media connections to prompt telling them about it, and asking them:

"So as an indication of your standards towards democracy, are you in favour of the following "court change" being made publicly known and the media silence on it stopped and overturned?"

and "Remember of direct ERS relevance, that your position on the court change is your position on any legal issue around an election's fair conduct too." Which means the potentially difficult position they put the ERS in if they get elected and continue not to take any position on the court change.

The ERS's own election is hardly a good experience of its favourite system STV either. There are 53 candidates for 15 places, so that in any fair system you would have 15 votes, and there is one organised slate of reformers standing consisting of 15 names, while another more radical slate of 2 also endorse the 15. In STV, slates or parties are not distinguished into separate lists on the ballot paper, you are just wading through all these 53 names. But the worst feature of STV is it only gives you one vote, that's what "single" means, in electing multiple winners. A big voter disempowerment, you don't get your whole say over the result. It's absurd that such a mean system is the trendy favourite for fashionable reform groupies who don't actually study systems' merits. It means allies, including the majority of the names in the 15 name slate, are fighting each other by each appealing for your first pref vote for themself instead of their colleagues. They know they can't say it will be okay so long they are in your top 15 votes. In fact, all the prefs you cast beyond the first 3 or so are unlikely ever to be counted, all the way down to 53. Only very high prefs, much higher than the number of winners, are any use to any candidate.

ERS is clangingly showing why the faction moving an amendment at its AGM to change away from its long standing fixity on supporting only STV, are right.

Monday, 8 August 2011

media snobbery

The media should be treading warily of disgusting us, lately. How much deeper disgust can there be than when a columnist, with a public platform herself, uses it to write blatantly against public platforms for everyone, for you. Rarely as they as blatant as Joan Smith was in the Independent yesterday, in what is supposed to be a progressive paper, in directly arguing that free speech is bad for us and leaving all the thinking to a nasty elite is better.

The new e-petitions site at British government level catches up with a modernity we already have years of experience of at Scottish level as part of the reform push that came with devolution. Smith paints both the whole e-petition idea, and blogging and all political debate online, as actual perpetrations of bullying and prejudice. She openly blatantly suggests, using her own free speech and public platform, that it proves free speech in a public arena is not good for us and only our nobly responsible political class should be trusted with public voices. Knowing this gagging will not happen to herself, and knowing she already has more platform to attack our liberties than we have to defend them.

Her point comes from how much oppressive and far right sympathy there is among the e-petitions, reminding more intellectual readers of Independent columns miserably what the barbarians at the gate believe in and are petitioning for. Capital punishment, bread and water in prison, anti-immigration, repealing the Human Rights Act. Even leaving the EU is naughtily listed and made to sound as bad as those other items are. I'm pro-EU but that was a mischievous spin to constrict what her readers can feel allowed to think.

It should be agreed that it would be dangerous to have a system where just public support for a measure actually enforced its passing into law, the uncurbed form of "citizen's initiative and referendum", INIREF, as in Switzerland. The government should be entitled to give as human rights defence against enacting any measure that violates human rights, no matter how majority supported it is. But that is the safeguard needed, concerning what is actually enacted - not to suppress what is debated. INIREF should be used to guarantee the claims to enact any issue a hearing on their merits. so that things are aired and not hidden, but with a human rights safeguard to block the actual enactment of evil measures, alike whether it is people or government who want them.

What Miss Nursemaid here is not explaining, is how a petitioning system that gives ideas a hearing can result in having to implement them. There is a total difference between folks saying they want racist and far right measures, and having the means to make them happen. Also she is reading actual social persecution into the presence of any bad ideas among the petitions at all, despite the presence of at least as many and more petitions that are progressive. As other media have identified, a petition against capital punishment has more signatures than the for. She is reacting to the existence of any petitions like that at all, not to the absence of any more decent ones. She says not a word about where the folks behind the nicer petitions are supposed to get noticed instead.

So what is this threat Smith asks us to feel? She is just expressing snobbery that voice for real people is so uncouth don't you know, and so beneath our natural leaders' noses. Bloggers and online debaters are all knee-jerk anger, journalists reflect more on what they write than bloggers, she ludicrously writes right in the face of all the recent events. If any perspective is knee-jerk oppressive from lack of reflection, that is. Who is her own writing accountable to for its reflectiveness? Does this Edenic picture include the tabloids, Joan?

She gives us a lesson she did not intend, that to have politics's content kept limited and filtered by an elite is indeed a squashing of free speech, knowingly, calculatedly. She thinks that is good, despite all the history that unfree societies do exactly the things in the petitions she dislikes !! A clanging contradiction.

The same elite filtering of thought is what Salmond and the SNP have done by selective refusing to issue in public some of their national conversation's responses, hiding what they like from us. Hiding the court change which abolishes judges' power to take wilfully bent decisions and call them final, and hiding the issue of the state being racist to returners to Scotland from the diaspora. Hiding those makes us all safer, does it Joan?

Thursday, 30 June 2011

What if the campaign is delegitimised after the result ?

When voting on a break between countries, that is too permanent and serious to expect you can undo the result if it loses its legitimacy at a later time because one side's campaign gets shown to have majored on a lie.

"* That if, either during polling hours or after them, the winning side lets it be known, either voluntarily or by an admission under questioning, that one of the factual claims made in their campaign, against the other side's position, had been false, then the result should not stand as valid. "
is what I lobbied to my MSPs after the AV referendum. It is vital for the independence one. Should we choose either way on it, as a result of factual claims made by the winning side that later get proved to be lies? How clear will Scotland's status be then, and how happy will you be with it?

Then make sure this proposed rule gets adopted. yes it reopens the legitimacy of the AV result too. Here is today's news from the Press Complaints Commission, from the AV campaign:

www.pcc.org.uk/case/resolved.html?article=NzIyMQ%3D%3D the Daily Mail
www.pcc.org.uk/case/resolved.html?article=NzIyMg%3D%3D the Sun
had both reported that an organisation supporting the Yes campaign would profit from selling voting machines if they won. Yet the AV proposal never required voting machines. 8 weeks after the result it influenced, this report is now found to have been not true. i.e.
stephensliberaljournal.blogspot.com/2011/06/and-another-thingpcc-says-chancellor.html - and another thing...PCC says the Chancellor lied for #No2AV

I think Andy May who posted this here on another Lib Dem blog www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-unfair-and-unbalanced-the-scandal-of-print-media-referendum-coverage-24623.html, wants to spread the message and will be happy to have this quoted:
" Let’s just think about the context in which this fallacious claim was printed:
  • The Chancellor of the Exchequer stands up and makes false claims designed to damage the credibility of the Yes campaign at a point in mid-April when the campaigns were running neck and neck in the polls.
  • 2 newspapers with a combined daily circulation of 6 million reprint these controversial claims several days before the postal vote ballots drop and give no right of reply to the organisation involved.
  • A central plank of the No2AV campaign was the £250 million claim which, as David Blunkett later admitted, was also made up. The Sun and Mail took the lie one stage further, making it appear that not only did AV cost the taxpayer large sums of money but that the Yes campaigners were being made rich out of it. All totally false.
  • Polling day is May 5 yet the Press Complaints Commission takes nearly 2 months to rule against the papers despite the impact of their false claims potentially affecting the referendum vote of millions of people.
  • Despite the original prominence of the stories on page 2 of the sun and the front page of the Mail, 2 short letters are the only required retraction.

This case and plenty of others like it in the referendum and the last general election highlight a huge imbalance in election media coverage between broadcast, which has strict balance guidelines and print which has no balance guidelines and near impunity when it comes to what they can print. Not only can print journalists take an angle on a story and decide whether or not the target individual or organisation has a right to reply, they can get away with repeating false or dubious claims safe in the knowledge the PCC will do little or nothing about it.

The PCC is toothless, stuffed full of self interested journalists and so weak it is unable to stop unscrupulous party hacks and biased journalists and editors misleading their readership on serious political issues.

What does this example actually demonstrate? That there was collusion between press and politicians to repeatedly mislead the public over a crucial constitutional issue to secure their own power base through illegitimate means. "

Both sides' plans for our next referendum will need to sound less corrupt than this.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

in-British racism won't make a good unionist case either

Our new Lib Dem leader, Willie Rennie, was in the papers today saying Salmond might get the public all enthusiastic about new EU-supported services and thus sweep us all into voting for independence before we realise it. What is his brilliant example of why this would be terrible? That as a result, under EU rules against discrimination between its members' citizens, we would could no longer charge tuition fees to students "from" the other British countries, he would have to give them free higher education same as folks from the other EU countries already. Racial eqaulity and an improvement in the fairness of Europe as a community would be costly and terrible, he thinks. What a sodding right wing tabloid race card.

This is no way to distance perception of the Lib Dems from the coalition, is it? This is no new leadership to recover from their disaster. This is a racist form of unionism.

In particular, this is division between Scots. many of the students who live in the other British countries, who he wrongly terms "from" them, are Scots living there in exile, maybe not even willingly, a position I was once in and remember painfully. He is kicking away their participation in Scotland and a possible route for them to attain their ethnic right of zionism to come home from the diaspora.

The worst and most dangerous thing about the SNP has been its total disinterest in the diaspora and avoidance of making any issue of backing their return as a racial justice issue. If the unionist side kick the diaspora as well, and kick them worse than the SNP, where will that argument be left in the independence debate? Worse, where will the diaspora themselves be left? Inside or still outside their home? This tabloid bigoted move by the unionist side actively makes independence more attractive to the same nice thinking folks as have been disturbed by the tabloid way the SNP has been playing. Both sides want this fought at a rubbishy tabloid level, and the danger is it will come down to which side we feel worse about on the day

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Salmond is using the court change

Salmond is in trouble with all the newspapers, and with Jim Sillars's wing of the SNP, for being critical of judges.

While I share their dislike of the actual content of Salmond's criticisms, which are taking a regressive side against human rights on a string of issues that featured in court cases - criticising judges is democratically a good thing. No unelected figure should be above criticism, able to act dictatorially. That often enough works against human rights, as in bent decisions against asylum seekers. This is exactly what the court change is about.

The irony now is that Salmond needs the court change. What he is doing, is actually a "fault finding", the new power created by the court change, against the finality of any court decision. He is making fault findings against several recent court decisions!!! Read again my post on the court change.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The news reports on the Luke Mitchell murder case going to the Supreme Court are ignoring the court change, as always. They are saying that cases in Scotland have a more automatic power to go to the Supreme Court than cases in England and Wales. This is because, in Scotland if you can cite a "devolution issue" of differential treatment of your case because its handling falls under the autonomous powers here, then that makes the case a Supreme Court issue, but in E+W you have to apply to the Court of Appeal for that notorious old formula, leave to appeal, and if they say no you don't get to the Supreme Court.

This is simply not true if the court change is applied, and of course it is illegal to cover up the court change and not apply it. It applies, to all courts in Britain and throughout the Council of Europe countries, since 7 July 1999, as a result of European Court of Human Rights case 41597/98. As ever, see my post of January 10 for details of the court change.

Under the court change, you have an automatic power of fault finding against the reasoning of any legal decision. This is open ended, it goes on for as long as faults and counter-faults can be found in the original decision or in the answers given to faultings.

Therefore, there is no longer such thing as leave to appeal. Which you should trumpet from the rooftops. How more mediaeval could you get than the con and monstrosity to justice that the same courts whose actions were being appealed against could hold a power of decision over whether those cases were allowed to take place?

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

leave to appeal

Yesterday's Herald headline on raising the age of buying alcohol, is all I need to feel the most immense moral relief that I did not vote SNP. How many youth votes did its emotional landslide sweep up?

Older voters too already have grave cause for uneasiness, from the present row about the Supreme Court. The SNP blatantly does not want folks to have access to a means some have already used, to establish breaches of human rights. It wants to suppress access to something that even covers the safety of convictions. This is supposed to whip up national pride and a feeling of insult at British interference in us. This exactly parallels how many dictatorships in Asia and Africa used to call the outside world's human rights concerns interference and associate it with colonialism. Robert Mugabe and Lee Kwan Yew still do that.

They want you to have to go to the European Court of Human Rights instead, knowing that will take longer, so if your case is about being in jail it will mean you stay in jail for longer, and if it is civil law and you need a lawyer to do it there will be more chance that you can't afford it. On Radio Scotland last night the SNP speaker could not answer these objections from Labour and kept changing the subject when asked about them.

Noticeably exactly since the SNP has been in government it has grown a monstrous morally authoritarian streak. It does not bode well for handing them increases of power. This is quite as big a letdown for folks who used to support the SNP as a banner for democratic reform, in its underdog days, as Clegg tying the Lib Dems to stick for another 4 years to a deal to attack vulnerable groups and their safety nets. These are not happy days at all for the reformist parties as were.

On this court issue too, the SNP is ignoring the "court change", the abolition of final decisions, which the whole political elite have kept hushed up ever since 1999 and which I described in my feeback on the referendum bill, last year, which they refused to issue publicly. The cause of this blog's existence.

A massive benefit done by the court change, is that it abolishes the horrible concept of "leave to appeal." That blatantly absurd corrupt mediaeval device, where the same court as makes a wilfully dodgy or corrupt decision also chooses whether to allow you to pursue any objection to it. The court change establishes a perpetual right of faulty finding, by any party, against every legal decision ever. That is what democracy needs. It extinguishes the nonsense of anyone ever needing leave to appeal. In the Supreme Court row, The SNP's minister of justice, Kenny Macaskill, is focussing his argument on leave to appeal. He wants folks to be required to get it before they can bring cases. Openly publicly he wants he wants a device applied at the discretion of the same courts as would be challenged, which is blatantly an unjust corrupt trick, to serve as a barrier to doing anything about safety of convictions.

The court change would protect your liberties from that trick and from an agenda as sinister towards your safety as Macaskill's. The SNP kept the court change out of the public record.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

The independence-lite wriggle, now well known

Ever since the election, what is all over all the papers, about the independence plan? Salmond fudging what it means and watering it down to a level that might not frighten away the voters. His party's reason to be is now a trap for him, he has to exercise the power to put a question to them that he may not want to.

So now the SNP calls independence a state of voluntary dependency on the rump UK for many services, which nobody else calls independence. As this is in every paper every time the SNP's plans are spoken of, how can they possibly expect any folks to think they really mean independence when they say it? Folks will vote on something less than it, knowingly, and knowing that if they vote Yes, Salmond will say, it's independence my face is saved.

See the section on Scottish law at the end of my submission to the SNP's consultation last year on the referendum plan: it forms the second post here. I wrote:

" Give us* "committal not noncommittal"
and * "any fact of law disproves its own opposite,"

as the standards for lawyers and government, or else your new state will be a void entity. For what basis will its sovereignty then have? For independence itself is a committal fact. ... unless law shall be about committal facts that disprove their own opposites, then there are no such things as independence or the Union! The referendum could only be truthfully described as being between "a state that may or may not be independence" and "another state that may or may not be independence".

I wrote that as a proof that lawyer noncommittality and the culture of lawyers manipulatively not taking definite positions of fact, can't be sustained in the law culture of the new state, because the assertion even of the new state's existence would be a definite factual assertion. Surely the SNP had to be seen to worry about that? The factual genuineness of independence once achieved? No, we now know that is what they most want to run from.

So perhaps that is another reason for them to find my submission fearful hence to be kept out of the public record of the feedback they received. Because they actually need to keep the vote between 2 states "that may or may not be independence". That is what they really want, so they can say the result means anything they like. If they want to tell you it's not independence in order to get you to vote Yes, then after the vote tell the world that the same state of being is independence after all, then of course they don't want the factual certainty I wrote of.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

The next referendum must be protected from the last one's failings

So as the AV referendum ends, defeated by the irregular disparity allowed to happen between each campaign's reach to voters, and the media and money power behind No, so from the same day the SNP's majority victory makes the independence referendum a live issue considered certain to happen. Salmond wants to wait a few years for fear he would lose it now, but some Conservatives, including Michael Forsyth in the Scotsman today, have spoken of raising the bill in the British parliament to call the referendum now, in hope of a Unionist win.

All the more reason why public availability of all the info that was submitted to the Scottish govt in its consultation on the referendum, matters for purposes of informing the voters in their coming decision. Why, as is the point of this blog, none of the submissions to that consultation must stand censored, and mine stands made public in the second post made at the beginning of this blog.

The SNP's landslide is also all the more reason why accountability for its actions matters. This is one to keep an eye on, especially for (1) the voters believed to have voted SNP as a presently preferred government without being convinced on independence, or (2) the voters who prefer another party's picture of independence, e.g. Green or SSP, than Salmond's economically conventional picture.

When the new MSPs get sworn in, they should all be asked what safeguards they support for the referendum's fair conduct, in the light of what we have just experienced this week. It is also an issue for MPs, as from today, with the declared possibility of a referendum bill in the British parliament. I have just mailed my Lib Dem MP and asked if he backs the following measures, to be enacted as conditions of any referendum being legitimate. See if they raise a smile:

* That both sides should be required, and fully funded with parity, to send a booklet mailshot on their position to every household in the country that is voting. This surely was established constitutionally as a precedent for a campaign's fair parity, by the referendum in 1975 when the government arranged for these 2 mailshots to happen.

* That any factual claim made by one side's campaign about the other's position, the other campaign should be entitled to an equal scale of distribution to voters, in all ways, of their answer to the claims, as the original claim had.

* That if, either during polling hours or after them, the winning side lets it be known, either voluntarily or by an admission under questioning, that one of the factual claims made in their campaign, against the other side's position, had been false, then the result should not stand as valid.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

SNP support AV, now we know

It has taken right to the last week for there to be a clear message from Salmond that the SNP, rather than just some voices within it, back Alternative Vote.

Everyone should watch Dan Snow's video on AV and campaign broadcast.

SNP folks who intend to spoil their papers in order to make a point about wanting an independence referendum, will make life harder for their own party and for getting the referendum they want, as well as making us less able to stand up to British governments so long as we are in the Union, however long that may be. There is obviously no point doing that. They need to vote Yes, as we all do.

Instead of making capital out of the British government's decision to hold the referendum clashing with our election, the SNP should have joined with the Greens and SSP, as well as the unionist parties concerned, in being keen to endorse a Yes vote to AV sooner. Like, in time for the postal voters.

flyer by megaknee
flyer, a photo by megaknee on Flickr.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

if Labour says the Union is an election issue, feedback on SNP policy must matter

The Labour campaign has now declared the Union potentially at stake in this election. Hence they too should agree that it matters that public consultations on the independence policy should not be censored, and responses withheld from public access, by the SNP.

Granted Labour says nobody cares about the constitutional issue, but if the SNP wins the election it is certain Labour will care in opposition to the issue.

Meanwhile the Greens don't sound anything like as total on independence, in their manifesto, than the SNP. Though they support it, they support a multi-option referendum that might just bring stronger autonomous powers.

I have been quite against the Greens for years, for telling us to use public transport but refusing to take positions on specific injustices to passengers and bad operating done by particular transport services. That line was exploiting us. You don't tell the public to do something potentially inconvenient and kick away all question of doing anything to ameliorate the inconveniences. During the election last year I had a letter published in the Metro making this point. But in the present Green manifesto I acknowledge progress and movement on this issue. Perhaps it is because Scottish level is the level where they feel most empowered to actually do anything with their electoral successes, hence more ambitious? Or have they actually responded to concerns like mine?

This time they are not just giving us their old waffle. Most importantly for my previous discontent, they are calling for "greater regulation of bus services". This will make some difference to all the aggro and shoving around that the giant private sector bus companies now give passengers with impunity, and even the consulting on that policy will be an opening to press those issues in detail and how the public have been left in the lurch by the Greens not getting drawn on this issue before. They also want to subsidise reductions in transport fares, and we know how those have rocketed and are some of the most extortionate in Europe. They propose specific railway reopenings, they will keep the bus pass system which the Tories and Lib Dems both want to cut back which would make some folks' lives significantly less free, and to budget for facilities for physically "active travel" which is some shift away from their former line that it rigidly always must be public transport. Come to think of it, maybe those extortionate fares are what have forced the Greens to shift their demands on us?

They have shifted. They are also taking the strongest anti-cuts agenda, universal right to a bank account, and good left wing taxing of big business, also motivated by trying scale business away from bigness again in the face of the the peak oil problem. So I'm voting Green this time.

This means voting for the other pro-independence party besides the SNP, which according to Labour's warning, might swing the difference for the SNP to get the referendum through this time round. Presumably, the Greens too won't want to have the referendum if they think they will lose it, and that might remain the case for the whole of the next parliament as it did the last. Or it might not.

I have no grounds to believe the Greens will necessarily be any fairer than the SNP towards consultation feedback. But knowing how the SNP has handled it already, it will be better to have 2 parties than 1 behind the process, just to spread our bets and try to give voters more leverage on both for how they treat us in all further consultation process. This thought, realistically sceptical about the Greens and not putting faith in them, is further good reason to vote for them.

Monday, 25 April 2011

minging towards the AV referendum

Given the fact that we are in Britain and nobody can forsee when we might leave it, our access to accountability and half-decent treatment by decision makers is affected by the Alternative Vote referendum, open endedly into the future. The SNP has always, always except 1974, been disappointed with its results in British elections, and been a squeezed smaller party, so it has an obvious interest in AV.

So it is completely stupid that SNP flyers are ignoring the referendum. After urging you for their vote, they just mention, there is a third ballot paper which is on the British election system this has nothing to do with the Scottish election. Not a word about voting Yes, just this has nothing to do with the Scottish election. Just contemptuous.

That does not show caring about your interests, for all of the unknown future duration of the Union. There is no gain to the independence campaign made by doing this, nothing would be lost to it by supporting a Yes vote in this other referendum. They are just being emotional and minging because it is a British issue.

The censored referendum this blog was concerned with was the independence referendum: but it is worth mentioning that the AV referendum is also effectively censored, in the balance of its reach to households all over Britain. No provision has been made for the Yes campaign to get literature sent to every household, and that is not happening, it is being left to volunteer leafletters to reach where they can, while the No campaign has been amply funded by the Conservatives to do a national mailshot of a booklet to every household. This is not parity, and it will pose a challengeability to how the referendum has been conducted. It breaks the precedent of the EU referendum in 1975, when both the Yes and No campaigns were resourced to mailshot a booklet to every household.

As one of the volunteer leafletters, I have had to make a complaint to the NHS in Fife, [update: who have made a proper check and now confirmed these nurses were not NHS] against a nurse who was arriving at a house to do a home visit at the same time as I reached it in my leafletting, and who put on authoritarian airs trying to stop me leaving a leaflet, entirely on her own without the householder knowing let alone authorising it. The Yes campaign is up against illegal interference like that, to No campaign is not.

Friday, 1 April 2011

the other referendum

This blog is about responses to the consultation on the independence referendum, getting suppressed from the public record.

That referendum is the one that never happened, which the SNP are asking for a second go at making happen. At least today someone from the SNP attended the Yes campaign launch, in Glasgow, for the other referendum, Alternative Vote. it was only one ex-MP from them, John Mason, not much of a showing. The SNP as a whole seems to be no more united than Labour towards this issue and is giving the campaign a lot less effort. Seems they prefer to make an issue of the polling date clashing with the Scottish election, than over the outcome, though they are a party with a fairness interest in a Yes win too. They have always got squeezed in British elections.

Friday, 18 March 2011

define Scottish students

All over the news today, the SNP's education minister Mike Russell in trouble with the EU for a policy of charging differently for going to university for Scottish and other European students. Policy of Scottish students getting it free and others charged a graduate fee. Amid the talk of discrimination, the most obvious discrimination question of all is being missed, neither the SNP nor the BBC and papers are mentioning it: what does Scottish students actually mean?

Given that there is no exact definition of Scottish. It is possible for the same person both to be Scottish and to live in, hence be "from", another EU country or another British country. How does the policy impact on them?

The policy seems designed to focus on folks who live in Scotland. By that, it is defining out of being Scottish, a historically key part of the Scottish nation: its diaspora. Adding to their pain.

In the imminent election, this should be a racism and human rights concern, that the SNP is required to answer or stand seen as wronging some of the nation they are supposed to exist to stand up for. Plenty of resident-Scottish voters have family or friends in the diaspora, or used to be diaspora ourselves and have returned home. The SNP will claims that the independence referendum was frustrated by parliament, instead of that they never held it because they expected to lose it, and they will try for more support for it so that they can hold and win it this time. This prospect should not be attractive or win anyone's support if the SNP are not playing fair to all Scots, treating them all the same re opportunities.

Some students living in, and/or "from", the countries to be affected by this policy, are in ethnic fact Scottish. Does the SNP want them to have access to their own heritage and to opportunity for zionist return? Yes or any other answer? Any other answer places the SNP as not upholding Scots being entitled to belong in their own homeland. The only way for their position not to be this, is if their answer on this is committal not noncommittal. Noncommittal evidences doing it. Only a committal position of not doing it means not doing it.

Monday, 10 January 2011

the court change

To post here my simple standard summary of the court change and what it is. For the benefit of any supporters of the Tommy Sheridan juror who is now in trouble, or of Julian Assange, Shaker Aamer and Ahmed Belbacha still in Guantanamo, the Long Lartin detainees, or any of the targets of threatened asylum deportations, e.g. Gamu Nhengu, Precious and Florence Mhango, Ahmer Rana. [Jan 28: and Brenda Namigadde. ]

This massive advance in democracy (Yes2AV) starts in Europe, but applies to most of the world if folks want to lay claim to it. Since 7 July 1999 all court or other legal decisions are open-endedly faultable on their logic, instead of final. "Open to open-ended fault finding by any party".

Its shifting of power in favour of ordinary people ensures this court change has been kept under a media silence. Still, it is on publicly traceable record through petitions 730/99 in the European, PE6 and PE360 in the Scottish, parliaments.

This follows from my European Court of Human Rights case 41597/98 on a scandal of insurance policies requiring evictions of unemployed people from hotels. This case referred to violation of civil status from 13 May 1997, yet the admissibility decision claimed the last stage of decision taken within Britain was on 4 Aug 1995. ECHR has made itself illegal, by issuing a syntactically contradictory nonsense decision that reverses the physics of time, and calling it final. This violates every precedent that ECHR member countries' laws recognise the chronology of cause and effect, in court evidence.

Hence, the original ECHR is now, and since then, an illegal entity, because it broke all preexisting precedent that courts recognise the correct order of time, and it claimed a power of finality to issue decisions whose content is a factual impossibility. But for the original ECHR to lapse in this way, also breaches the European Convention's section on requiring an ECHR to exist. Hence, this section requires the member countries to create a new ECHR that removes the original's illegality. The source of the illegality being left standing was in the claimed power of final decision. Hence, the only way the new court can remove the illegality is by being constituted such that its decisions are not final. If decisions are not final, the only other thing they can be is open-endedly faultable.
This requires the courts in the member countries to be compatible with open-ended decisions and with doing in-country work connected to them. Hence, legal decisions within the member countries' courts also cease to be final and become open-ended, in all the Council of Europe countries.

The concept of "leave to appeal" is abolished and judges no longer have to be crawled to as authority figures. Every party in a case is automatically entitled to lodge a fault finding against any decision, stating reasons. These are further faultable in return, including by the original fault finder, stating reasons. A case reaches its outcome when all fault findings have been answered or accepted.

The first fault finding to make, is that all unaffordable legal costs are abolished by how they conflict with the world human rights principle of access to justice. Folks have waited centuries for a chance to say this. See how far reaching is the reform the court change can do once it starts?

World trade irreversibly means jurisdictions are not cocooned but have overlapping cases. When a case overlaps an affected and unaffected country, the unaffected country becomes affected, through having to deal with open ended case content open-endedly, that can affect any number of other cases open-endedly. Open-endedness is created in its system.

So the court change is of far-reaching international interest. Anyone can add to the list of countries outside the Council of Europe whose people can lay claim to the court change if interested. Show autocracies, pending their freer futures, as well as democracies.

United States through many transatlantic cases, pick any, e.g. Natwest 3, Enron, Gary Mackinnon. Or, to get the United States and Canada into the court change right from the start date, I can offer my still stalled ethical dispute about brain research with Arizona university in that period, that was obstructed by a US government office.
Australia through the long running case about medical harm by British nuclear tests. This gets Australia the same 1999 start date for the court change as Europe, because land groups there and not only British military are parties in the case.
Also, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand all through their CJD ban on British blood donations in 2000.

Israel and Lebanon through the case in Belgium on the Sabra-Chatila massacres.
North Cyprus through Turkey's UN legal challenge against South Cyprus joining the EU.
Belarus through its election dispute with OSCE election monitoring.
Kosovo through war crimes cases overlapping Serbia.
Vatican City through Sinead O'Connor's ordination as a Catholic priest.
Cuba through Elian Gonzalez.
Haiti through objecting to receiving petty crime deportations from America.
Antigua through its constitutional crisis on capital punishment.
Trinidad through its Privy Council case on capital punishment.
Jamaica through claims on both sides of American linked arms trade background to its violence.
Mexico through the Benjamin Felix drug mafia extradition to America.
Belize through Michael Ashcroft.
Guatemala through the child stealing and adoption scandal overlapping America.
El Salvador through the trade union related factory closure there by Nestle that made Transfair, the Fair Trade organisation in Italy, reject the Fair Trade mark for Nestle coffee.
Honduras through the sex slave trafficking cases from Nicaragua.
Colombia through America's supposed human rights policy intervention in training Colombian police and military.
Venezuela through Luis Posada Carriles.
Guyana through the £12m debt claim dropped by Iceland (the shop).
Brazil through EU immigration unfairnesses to its football players, necessitating a mafia trade in false passports.
Argentina through its ECHR case on the General Belgrano.
Chile through General Pinochet.
Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay through Judge Garzon's citation of Henry Kissinger for the South American military conspiracy Operation Condor.
Chad and Senegal through a French action in Senegal obtaining Chad's former dictator Habre for trial under Pinochet's precedent.
Algeria through the Harkis' case from the Algerian war.
Tunisia through the Lord Shaftesbury murder trial.
Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Morocco through the Insight News case.
Ivory Coast through the chocolate slavery scandal.
Ghana through the World Bank's Dora slave scandal.
Togo through the Lome peace accords for Sierra Leone, and their breaking as an issue in factional arms supply to there.
Burkina Faso through an arms trade case of smuggling through it from Ukraine to civil war factions in Sierra Leone and Angola.
Niger and Rwanda through Oxfam's case of buying an arms trade "end user certificate" for Rwanda in Niger.
Burundi through the war crimes trial of Rwanda's 1994 head of state.
Tanzania and Japan through the 2000 G8 summit, because Tanzania Social and Economic Trust broadcast a contradiction in implementing both its wishes for economic advance and its debt relief terms.
Mozambique through its cashew nuts dispute with the World Bank.
South Africa and Lesotho through a WHO case against American pharmaceutical ethics there.
Nigeria through reported Nigerian drug mafia crime in South Africa.
Cameroon through the Bakassi Peninsula issue with Nigeria.
Dahomey and Gabon through their slave trafficking scandals overlapping Nigeria and Togo.
Zimbabwe through its land finances dispute with Britain in 2000.
Equatorial Guinea through the charges in Zimbabwe of a coup conspiracy.
Malawi through its arrests of Zimbabwean refugees callously deported from Britain.
Zambia through Cafod's collection of objections to food supply and health violations in its IMF structural adjustment program.
Namibia through the Herero genocide case against Germany.
Angola, Congo Kinshasa, Ecuador through arms trade smuggling to them from Bulgaria and Slovakia.
Congo Brazzaville through the Jean-Francois Ndenge case in France.
Sudan through Al Shafi pharmaceutical factory suing America for bombing it.
Madagascar, Mauritania, Nicaragua through the complaint by Jubilee USA and Africa Action that the IMF is breaking the agreed debt relief terms for them.
Ethiopia through the same, as well as earlier aid sector comment on its conditional debt relief.
Eritrea through its border dispute with Ethiopia.
Somaliland through its problem with Russian and South Korean coastal fishing.
Kenya through the Archer's Post munitions explosion case overlapping Britain.
Somalia through the UNHCR coordinator in Kenya protesting and exposing refugee deportations back to Somalia during the 2006-7 crisis there.
Uganda through the Acholiland child slave crisis and Sudan's agreement to return children.
Mauritius through the Ilois rights judgment on the Chagos clearances.
Yemen through its problem with Spain over the missile shipment.
United Arab Emirates through Mohammed Lodi.
Saudi Arabia through the lawsuit by families of 911 victims.
Qatar through its SS Dignity aid boat turned away from Gaza by Israeli authorities for having peace activists aboard.
Bahrain through the call for American witnesses in Richard Meakin's case.
Kuwait through the terrorism arrests in Saudi Arabia.
Iraq through the weapons inspection dispute before the invasion. NB this does not mean the dispute or invasion were right!
Jordan through its threat of "unspecified measures" in its relations with Israel.
Egypt through its disputes with Tanzania and Kenya over use of Nile water.
Libya, Syria, Iran through the Lockerbie bomb trial. This is by reason of case content, nothing to do with who was guilty. But for Iran it is now more diplomatic to cite the case of the arrest of Bob Levinson.
Turkmenistan through Ukraine's gas pipeline dispute with Russia.
Kazakhstan through the American court action on oil contract corruption at government level there.
Uzbekistan through the ambassadorial exposee on evidence obtained by torture there and used in Western courts.
Kyrgyzia through its anti-terrorist border operations with Uzbekistan.
Afghanistan through the pursuit of Bin Laden after 911.
Pakistan through a dispute, reported by BBC in 2000, between supporters of enslaved women and the British embassy for not helping them escape.
India, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia through the World Wildlife Fund's campaign for tiger conservation, conflicting western romanticism with local populations affected by the homicidal absurdity of conserving a human predator.
Nepal through the Gurkhas' lawsuit for equal pay and pensions.
Vietnam through a church publicised refugee dispute overlapping China.
Cambodia through its enactment for a trial of the Khmer Rouge Holocaust.
Laos through Peter Tatchell's application to arrest Henry Kissinger.
Thailand through Sandra Gregory.
Burma through the Los Angeles judgment on the Unocal oil pipeline.
Sri Lanka through its call for the Tamil Tigers' banning in Britain.
East Timor through public reaction to the judgment against trying Suharto.
Papua New Guinea through WWF's Kikori mangrove logging affair.
Vanuatu through the Raymond Coia investment scam case.
Nauru through the Australian civil liberty challenge on the Tampa refugees.
Fiji through its land crisis's nonracial solubility by a Commonwealth constitutional question on rent and mortgages.
Tuvalu through environmentalist challenges to America's rejection of international agreements on global warming and sea level.
Marshall Islands through the Nuclear Claims Tribunal cases.
Philippines and Malaysia through the international police investigation in the Jaybe Ofrasio trial in Northern Ireland.
South Korea through its jurisdiction dispute with the American army.
North Korea through its apology to Japan for abductions.
Mongolia through the diplomatic clash over Bat Khurts.

All members of the Alliance of Small Island States are court change, as from AOSIS's notice of dissatisfaction with the outcome of the Copenhagen Climate change conference in 2009. This adds the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Dominica, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, Grenada, Guyana, Surinam, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde Islands, Sao Tome e Principe, Seychelles, Comoro Islands, Maldive Islands, Singapore, Palau, Micronesia, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, West Samoa, Tonga.

AOSIS members with court change cases already listed were: Antigua, Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad, Belize, Mauritius, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Vanuatu, Fiji.

Council of Europe members already listed before they joined were:
Bosnia through a sex slave scandal involving Russian and American military.
Serbia and Montenegro through war crimes cases in the Yugoslav period overlapping Bosnia.
Monaco through International Amateur Athletics Federation drug hearings there.

How is it a crime for a juror to say they disagreed with the verdict?

The left wing parties who back independence and might take part in any referendum campaign, SSP and its offshoot Solidarity, have ignored the court change just as much as the SNP has. Yet if anyone could do with it now, it is Tommy Sheridan. The one thing that without stating any view at all on his guilt or innocence, it can still be said is self-inflicted in his present situation: is that he is now suffering from the court change not being in operation and from his own ignorement of it.

So the court change was too bourgeois and reforming of the legal system as it already exists, was it, to fit into his agitational dreams for the march of the workers to win evrything only by demos and strikes? How come then was it not too bourgeois to go to court in its present form to sue a newspaper? It seems to be coming out that some of his friends reckoned it was. It always sounded dangerously reckless to me, when after winning his first case, he was full of rhetoric on accepting a jury's verdict! He chose that personal overconfidence in being a winner, which has failed him now, instead of choosing the court change which gives folks more sensible protection against things going wrong in court cases.

Even if he is so doctrinally closed minded even in adversity as to continue not to want the court change for himself, there is someone else on his side who now needs it entirely because his case happened, and whose need he will let down if he says nothing on the court change.

Sunday Herald front page splash, on Jan 9, on the Tommy Sheridan juror who is threatened with prosecution herself for saying on Facebook she thinks he is innocent and hates the other jurors. Where is the crime? The Herald's story is totally factually on the side of stating that she has done something illegal, yet the same story's content nowhere subtantiates so.

It asserts: "it is a criminal offence to reveal a jury's deliberations" and "Under section 8 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981, it is an offence to breach the confidentiality of a jury's discussions."

"In particular it is an offence to disclose or solicit any particulars of statements made, opinions expressed, arguments advanced or votes cast by members of the jury in the course of their deliberations in any legal proceedings."

So how exactly has she done any of those things just by stating her own verdict? It is already a publicly known fact that there was a majority verdict of 8 to 6, which is far too thin a majority to give the confidence in a shared agreed verdict that is supposed to be the whole purpose of juries. It sounds to me like the jury failing to agree, it is not the sort of majority to base a conviction on. It is great cause for any juror on the losing side to feel upset about. Such a juror has an obvious personal need to make known her own innocence of blame for the verdict. Otherwise she could feel tainted by feeling perceived by others as being behind the verdict, when she is not.

By stating that personal position for herself, she has not said anything at all previously unknown about what happened in the jury room or about what any identified other juror did. So what the hell is the Sunday Herald's justification for siding with making a fuss? How the hell has she breached "the sanctity of the jury room", as they quoted a lawyer on, in any way?

If there is any question of prosecuting her, she needs the court change. As she won't get it from the Sheridans or Anwar, I earnestly hope she googles on her own case and finds this page and reads about the court change here. The details are all in the second post in this blog, "this is the submission that was not accepted." But for clarity I will now put up another post that is only about the court change. Someone else in the news who needs it right now is Julian Assange.