2007 - 2021

Discos and Drugs

CXWeNmAWQAA_Da4The period between Christmas and New Year is a difficult one for journalists and this year has proved just so for poor Iain Martin caught spluttering a barely coherent post-Santa rant that makes you think he’d maybe been overdoing the chocolate liqueurs. Hogmanay has been ruined by those darned Nats, apparently.

In other news, apparently Tories are *****.

In news that has taken the world by storm, it turns out BOTH David Willets AND Oliver Letwin are bastards. Willets, then a young advisor to Thatcher (pictured top right with a  non-aligned, politically neutral journalist).

indexThe papers (”Pampered Scots’ should face deep cuts, David Willetts told Thatcher’) report: “Downing Street papers released by the National Archives on Wednesday show that he tried to win Thatcher’s backing by telling her that her “wider economic philosophy” was not fully applied in Scotland, where public agencies such as the Scottish Development Agency and the Highlands and Islands Development Board continued to flourish.”

A slightly over-optimistic David Willlets reported (in 1986) that “Ultimately, the question is a political one. The position of the Conservative party in Scotland is so bad that it might not deteriorate any further…”

That went well.

Meanwhile, the Independent reports that Oliver Letwin (in 1985): “claimed that white people were not prone to disorder and suggested that a scheme to encourage black entrepreneurs would only result in them investing “discos and drugs”. Mr Letwin poured scorn on proposals to spend heavily to improve facilities in riot-hit neighbourhoods by arguing that rioting in London, Liverpool and Birmingham that year had been due to “bad moral attitudes”.

Well. We’re suffering the result of the long 1980s, these people have now been in uninterrupted power for decades.

As this cascade of truth lets the scales fall away from our eyes this Hogmanay, give thanks to Alex Massie and the Sword of Truth that is David Torrance for helping heal the wounds between Scotland’s media and the wider electorate.

CXa4qCfWAAIglZYBoth are at the vanguard of the movement to convince us that the very notion of imbalance in the media is the sole retreat of  unhinged bampots. David, who worked for a year and a half  as Parliamentary Aide to the Shadow Scottish Secretary David Mundell, still fills column inches proclaiming his supreme independence on all constitutional issues. Taking a nod from his elder and better, David leads the charge to rebuild trust with this tweeted photo mocking the ‘Scottish Resistance’, then bleats to his tribe that ‘it’s all getting a bit weird’ when people dissect his self-promoted selfie.

Reality bite. Tories, whether in the 80s or now have behind them a deeply objectionable concept of society. This oozes out of them despite sophisticated efforts to pretend otherwise. It’s not contingent on them being ‘good’ now or ‘bad’ in 1980something, it’s implicit in their worldview. The Scottish Resistance may be open to ridicule, but Scotland’s Fourth Estate tread a tricky path of, on the one hand , demanding respect, whilst dishing out contempt. This is a media class incapable of realigning to new realities, who we will see sinking further beneath the waves of their own hubris and ego in 2016, as they post self-confident and contemptuous messages to the world they loath.

Happy New Year!

Comments (25)

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  1. yesindyref2 says:

    Of much more interest than the Guardian’s attempt to indirectly portray Scotland as “Pampered Scots”, is that the reason Willets was unsuccessful was that it would reveal the secret – the word used on many of the letters – that George Younger had been secretly taking money from the Scottish Block grant for Thatcher’s benefit since 1980, as well as refusing Barnett consequentials, to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds, as uncovered by a hard-working respected Wings poster in the quiz thread.

    That’s the story that some media sources in Scotland should really go to town on, with a thorough investigation, and perhaps some forensic financial investigation by Jim Cuthbert.

    You can download the two free of charge pdfs by adding to basket, going through checkout and registering giving email and password, and then hitting the download link which appears. Total about 64 Mb.

    PREM 19/1922


    1. yesindyref2 says:

      I forgot the wee teaser snippet: pdf1 page 27: “6. … would be likely to intensify public and expert scrutiny of the non-formula reductions which have already been made since 1980. The effect of these secret reductions has been to reduce the Scottish block baseline by about £70m in each of the next 3 years …”

  2. yesindyref2 says:

    Oh, Happy New Year, and a clean successful fight for all pro-Indy parties for Holyrood 16! SNP + SNP for me.

  3. Brian Watson says:

    Interesting , so the Tories were prepared to cut their losses in Scotland to appease the electors south of the border .Snouts in trough?Kettles calling pots black ?

  4. Alan says:

    Mmmmmm … Sinatra Y Bronces En Swing. Did David inherit that record from his granny or does he listen to those groovy beats himself?

  5. thomaspotter2014 says:

    Happy New Year Mike and all the best for 2016.

    The positive out of all 2014/5 is that sites like Bella are becoming the ‘real’ media.

    Thank you and your staff and helpers very much.

    Keep up the good work.

    1. ‘Staff’! That’s good!

      All the best & thanks

  6. Bill Fraser says:

    They learned nothing from the Borg.

  7. Valerie says:

    Massie, Martin, Torrance, Deerin, Cochrane, all engender the same contempt straight back at them. They haven’t a clue that their sneering superiority, and factless rants generate nothing of any value. They lack intellectual rigour, and instead rely on throwing shit, hoping some will stick.

    Readers with even a modicum of intelligence, recognise these nasty types are a one trick pony, and the only interest they might generate, is how low will they go?

    Martin actually writes like someone from a locked Ward. More to be pitied.

    1. John Page says:

      Martin in particular has been a puzzle to me……irrespective of viewpoint, he is just not very good……..feeding lazy prejudices only goes so far…….I fail to see how his lack of originality and his superficial analysis allows him to survive in the recent cut throat atmosphere at the Torygraph. Even if BritNat neoliberal propaganda is all that is required, surely they could find someone better.
      John Page

    2. Graeme Purves says:

      They lack intellect, Valerie. Rigour is entirely beyond their reach.

  8. Alf Baird says:

    New year ‘revelations’ about the inner workings of the British State are rarely a surprise, especially to anyone following political events in Scotland over the past few decades, or indeed to historians looking back over the centuries. Nobody should be shocked by this (or Smith, or EVEL etc or what we don’t know as yet!) for it is the norm we have come to expect, as befitting Scotland’s colonial status. Its only a pity we never get an adequate response from Scotland’s elected representatives when dealing with a dominant constitutional ‘partner’ who we know can never ever be trusted and who has always behaved like an exploiting bully.

    1. yesindyref2 says:

      It might not be a surprise to many of us that voted YES. But it might be a shock for those who voted NO even though sympathetic to Independence – about half of them in my experience – on the basis it was a risk, they didn’t want change, they were getting by, why rock the boat.

      Those pdfs I posted about show that the Conservatives from 1980 were systematically raiding the Barnett formula or not applying consequentials through the 80s. So the question is were they doing so during the 90s right up to 1997? And since I don’t remember any outcry from Labour when they got their hands on the books and the Scottish Office, did they continue to do so during the naughties? And are the Conservatives doing so from 2010 right up to this day? We all know GERS is still dodgy, the question is – how dodgy?

      If the answers to these questions are what they might be, and forced into the public domain, rather than the “pampered Scots” distortion of the Grun, that might shock a good few NO voters to their roots.

      1. Alf Baird says:

        You sidestepped my main point, which was: “Its only a pity we never get an adequate response from Scotland’s elected representatives when dealing with a dominant constitutional ‘partner’ who we know can never ever be trusted and who has always behaved like an exploiting bully.”

        Do enlighten everyone.

        1. yesindyref2 says:

          I think my posting made it clear Alf, I want Independence same as I have for over 40 years. Support rose from 25% / 30% to 45% in the Referendum, it’s about 50% last polls quite likely over 50% now, and anything that convinces more NO voters to turn to YES is right up my street. Won’t be long now till Indy Ref 2.

          How about you?

          1. Alf Baird says:

            Like the majority of yessers, I would like to see the supposed party of independence actually campaigning for independence at every election. Like the majority of yessers I am concerned that the SNP doesn’t campaign for an independence mandate anymore. We could have taken our independence at the General Election last May (more especially) if the SNP had the courage to campaign for it – and remember independence will have to be taken at some stage, it will never be given (even after a positive referendum result). Instead, the 56 ‘roaring lions’ adopted the usual Westminster dead sheep ‘opposition’ approach, opting to settle in for the long term, rather than ‘settle up’ as Craig Murray noted. We won’t win independence with a bunch of conforming career politicians, or with a supposed party of independence that refuses to actually campaign for independence, or I suspect via another dubious referendum.

          2. Alf Baird says:

            yesindyref2 – just to mention you again sidestepped my main point noted previously.

          3. yesindyref2 says:

            I’ll happily contradict that Alf, the majority of yessers are NOT concerned “that the SNP doesn’t campaign for an independence mandate anymore”. That’s what the MSM would like us to believe in an attempt to split us up, divide us.

            But it’s a frustrating time. waiting for support to rise for a YES vote next time, knowing too that if Indy Ref 2 is too soon, there are even previous YES voters who wouldn’t vote because it’s too soon, and some even who might vote NO.

            45% wanted Independence, but that included some of the Devo-maxers who’d realised that more powers weren’t really going to come (Iain McW for instance). But there were also many more who voted NO who hoped and believed more powers would come. For me, as soon as Smith was announced and the membership of the SNP / Greens / SSP started to shoot up, double, treble, even quadruple, the game plan was crystal clear. The SNP as the main group and Government needed to “take ownership” of Devo-Max and push it for all its worth, in Smith, and after. Their submission to Smith was on that basis, and they fought the GE on that basis, and got 56 MPs – with the help of Green and SSP and others (i.e. RISE) voters.

            Then the Scotland Bill and the game was still on. Then the fiscal framework, and the game is still on. It won’t be finished until the framework agreement by Valentine’s Day, and arguable after – Royal Assent on the Scotland BIll. Then that game is over, and it’s game on for whatever comes next. The SNP have in my observation, been scrupulously following that game plan. 18 months of tedious restraint, nearly over.

            Frustrating it certainly is, but the game has to be played out, before the replay can start. That’s not for the 45% of us who voted YES, but for half of the NOs who, seeing substantial powers not being “given” to Scotland, will, hopefully move over to YES. Until that happens, there’s no point in another Referendum, much as most of us would want it to be next year, next month, even the day after tomorrow.

      2. Anton says:

        Yesindyref2 – You say that “GERS is still dodgy, the question is – how dodgy?”.

        Although GERS isn’t perfect (how could it be?), it’s still the best source we’ve got. It’s been overseen by the Scottish Government since 2008, and although it’s produced independently with no Ministerial input it’s still subject to Scottish scrutiny and officials have shown themselves ready to override the Treasury’s figures where they are inappropriate or just plain wrong.

        But my main point is simple. The Scottish Government, the SNP, and the Independence White Paper all rely on GERS. If the figures are “dodgy”, then the claims made by Scottish Government, the SNP, and the Independence White Paper about Scotland’s economy are all “dodgy” too.

        You may think that. I don’t.

        1. yesindyref2 says:

          The dodginess works the other way Anton. I think it’s the non-atttributable expenditure “on behalf of Scotland”. The ScotGov works year after year to get that figure reduced and hence split up into genuine expenditure, but for many things the Treasury doesn’t break it down into “regions”. I printed off the 2011/12 GERS as the detail is a pain to read on a screen, and towards the end I think the figure was then raised up to 88% that was broken down after repeated efforts, but that still left 12% of which Scotland was assigned a population share.

          It looks likely to me that Scotland’s share would be less, not more, so the White paper, if anything, was pessimistic in its figures, meaning that Scotland illustratively spends LESS than in GERS. Which would mean a lower deficit, blowing the Unionist extravagant deficit and black hole claims out of the water.

          Those secret letters released under the 30 year rule, letters and papers between the Treasury, Scottish Office and the PM’s office (Number 10) show that between 1980 and onwards, money was secretly taken from the block grant to prop up UK spending. Chances are that still happens, and is put under “non-attributable spending on behalf of Scotland”.

          Only a thorough forensic financial investigation by the Cuthberts or perhaps IPPR Scotland, might put some real meat on that, though a letter from Younger does detail a lot of figures, hence the hundreds of millions in my first posting at the top of the page. I think it’s probably more important and shocking than the suppressed McCrone Report.

        2. muttley79 says:

          This is a reply to Alf Baird not Anton, but there was not an appropriate reply button for some reason.

          We could have taken our independence at the General Election last May (more especially) if the SNP had the courage to campaign for it – and remember independence will have to be taken at some stage, it will never be given (even after a positive referendum result).

          I am extremely perplexed by your post and the comment above Alf. We lost the independence referendum in September 2014, by 55 per cent No to 45 per cent Yes. You simply cannot ignore the democratic decision of the Scottish electorate in a referendum, no matter how personally disappointed you may be at the result of the vote. It is well over a year since the independence referendum, and hence I find your beliefs very worrying. The SNP could not campaign for a mandate for independence at the 2015 general election because it would simply go against fundamental democratic principles, procedures and practises.

          1. Alf Baird says:

            What “fundamental democratic principles, procedures and practises”?

  9. kailyard rules says:

    I just can’t help it .Torrance is a twattwettwittwottwut.

  10. Iain says:

    Scotland is shafted in the union, it is time to dissolve the union it is not in the national interest of Scotland to subsidize England any more. The London subsidy junkies, who have war’s with endless regulatory( without winning any) will not be happy, but life goes on. Scotland will take her place in the world.

    1. Alf Baird says:

      “dissolve the union ”

      Well said Iain. Once the Smith sop is finally binned on Valentine’s Day, all independence parties should offer this option in their manifesto’s for May’s election. Scotland should seek the ‘Yes’ vote at every electoral opportunity. We don’t need to stand by as helpless onlookers watching Scotland suffer from endless Tory ‘scorched earth’ policies. No other ex colony put up with this nonsense.

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