Thursday, 23 May 2013
I was alerted to this post of Captain Ranty's by a regular reader. Sadly I agree with what he says.
Like Ranty I too have supported independence for many a year and I was a keen supporter of the SNP for much of that time, but I can no longer support a party which spins the story that ridding ourselves of Westminster rule will allow Scotland to make its own decisions.
If the SNP has its way, cutting the ties with the Westminster parliament will only be cutting out the middleman - much to the delight of the EU.
Currently we are governed mainly by the EU and Westminster and Holyrood are the obedient henchmen who happily inflict every EU directive upon us. At times you have to dig deep to discover the source of what many consider are irrelevant or foolish political proposals, but dig deep enough and usually you'll find a connection with the EU. The 'gay marriage' Bills, in both Westminster and Holyrood, are good examples. The EU wants all European member states to legislate for gay marriage and Cameron and Salmond are happy to oblige.
All too regularly we're told Scots support the EU yet a poll I ran last year suggested otherwise.
Iceland continues to reject the EU, as it has done since 2009. That's why the current Icelandic government will not hold a referendum, because they know the answer will be NO. Iceland has far fewer resources than Scotland yet the people realise that by handing over control of their country to the bureaucrats of the EU, they would lose their ability to govern themselves.
If Alex Salmond was serious about independence, he would have proposed an in/out referendum on the EU before he set the date for the independence referendum. Was he feart that the answer would be 'out'? Perhaps. Or maybe, like David Cameron, he thinks Scotland will be appeased by his proposal that an EU referendum will be held after the independence referendum, if the answer is Yes.
The Scottish government's document states 'We need to become more internationalist and more engaged in Europe'. How can Scots become 'more internationalist'? I can't think of any small country which is as internationalist as Scotland. I've lived in Europe and elsewhere and as soon as I've mentioned I'm a Scot, I was warmly welcomed.
Presently we are 'engaged in Europe' up to our necks. How do we become 'more engaged'? By prostrating ourselves at the EU shrine and losing our identity?
I want Scotland to be like Norway or Switzerland; happy to be part of the European Friendship Club yet not close relatives. Having a 'seat' in Europe seems to be the ultimate goal of many Scottish politicians. That 'seat' possibly will be far hotter than they expect - and the burns far deeper. Only the people will pay the price.
Note: I looked for 'scotland+images' in Google and the above graphic was one of the first to show. How long before the St Andrew's flag disappears if we stay in the EU?
Editor's amendment: I have changed the 'Scandinavian countries' to Norway and Switzerland as I realise I was implying every Scandinavian country was part of the EEA, which if course is not the case.
Wednesday, 22 May 2013
Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Yesterday hundreds of people turned out to wave goodbye to the Royal Navy's flagship HMS Ark Royal on her last voyage before being broken up for scrap.
The aircraft carrier, which was formally decommissioned in 2011, was towed out of Portsmouth Harbour watched by a large crowd of silent well-wishers and she sailed by. She is being towed to Turkey where she will be broken up by a ship recycling company.
A flotilla of small boats sailed with her as she was pulled by tug boats from the harbour.
The 22,000 ton Ark Royal - the fifth Royal Navy ship to bear the name - was launched in 1981 and was known affectionately by her crew as The Mighty Ark.
The decision to scrap the Ark Royal has left the UK without a fully functioning aircraft carrier for nearly ten years until the next generation of carriers come into service.
Retiring her five years earlier than planned was a controversial decision and one which is still disagreeable to many. As part of a £2.9m deal the Ark Royal will go to the same yard as her sister ship Invincible.
Her last journey would have been a very sad and poignant sight for many naval personnel.
One ex-sailor said he couldn't understand why she hasn't been kept and used as a tourist attraction. That may have worked well because Britannia, docked at Leith, is now a very profitable business. However, the powers-that-be decided to rid the UK of a perfectly serviceable ship in order to save money, yet they're happy to spend millions subsidising windmills.
My thanks to JRB for this post. He gave me the motivation.
Monday, 20 May 2013
A couple of friends emailed me this morning asking my opinion of the Telegraph's article 'Army launches recruitment drive for 10,000 new young soldiers ahead of redundancies'. (I don't subscribe to the Telegraph but was able to access it on my iPad, so if you have a tablet you can read it by downloading the Telegraph app).
One of my friends was outraged at what he considered was an insult to those soldiers who would soon be leaving the Army; some involuntarily.
Next month there will be another round of 5,000 redundancies and starting today the MoD will appeal, in a television campaign, for fresh applicants, aimed at the 16 - 24 age group.
Maybe this is why the MoD is starting a recruitment drive.
Critics argue that the Army is losing valuable expertise as it sheds trained soldiers in favour of young recruits, many of whom will be starting on just over £14,000 a year. I concur, because much of the skill training within HM Forces is expensive but, on the positive side, many skilled soldiers who have been made redundant will be employable in civilian life, even in the current employment market. Sadly, also there will be a good percentage who will be suffering war-weariness and all the health problems associated with numerous deployments in recent years.
The MoD defended its position by stating that around 11,000 leave the Army naturally every year so it has to constantly recruit.
Ministers are trying to reduce the size of the Army from 102,000 to 82,000 as part of deep cuts to the defence budget. It was initially proposed that numbers would be bolstered by more reservists from the Territorial Army, but it seems that employers aren't at all happy at the prospect of losing an employee for months rather than weeks. Also, as in any organisation, it's so much cheaper to have youngsters rather than older, more qualified and experienced personnel. Thankfully there are those who recognise their plight and make strenuous efforts to help.
The future of our Army is now becoming evident. A basically trained young force with depleted senior ranks. In a few year's time our Army will be but a shell of what it has been in my lifetime.
What does concern me is that army recruiting has now been outsourced to the private company Capita yet there is no indication that the MoD has made its recruitment department redundant as yet.
Who would have thought that the recruitment of our military was profit-making?