Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Should Alistair Carmichael Resign?

It doesn’t come as a surprise to those of us who are politician watchers that Alistair Carmichael lied about his knowledge of the leaking of the memo concerning a meeting with Nicola Sturgeon and the French ambassador.

All politicians use the definition of the truth with a degree of nonchalance and perhaps that’s why they’re low on the list of respected public servants. That, and their seemingly frivolous expenditure of our hard earned money to feather their abodes with luxuries most of us can’t afford, doesn’t endear them to their electorate.  Is that why so many people don’t vote?  

There has been so much chatter on the airways about whether Mr Carmichael should resign his seat or not.  I tend to agree with Michael White of the Guardian, (yes, I do read it occasionally), who says it’s a matter for his electorate.  Absolutely.

Yet the SNP - or at least Alex Salmond and Stewart Hosie - are very vocal in calling for his resignation.  Strangely Ms Sturgeon has kept rather quiet since she accepted Mr Carmichael’s apology.  

We now have parliamentary recall, a bill passed at the end of the last parliament to allow ordinary constituents to trigger a by-election.  If Mr Carmichael’s constituents are unhappy they should be able to instigate a by-election, but it’s not that simple.

The bill was promoted by Nick Clegg and allows for a recall petition to be opened only if an MP is sentenced to a prison term or is suspended from the Commons for 21 days or more.  If either of these criteria are made a petition will be opened for two months.  If 10% of eligible electors sign it, the seat would be declared vacant and a by-election would follow.  The incumbent MP could stand in this by-eection, although it’s unlikely that they would have much success.

The ‘Clegg Bill’ is very narrow in its remit although the Committee on Standards may decide to suspend him from the Commons.

Of course the SNP’s calls for his resignation have factored into the equation that Mr Carmichael won his seat by only an 817 majority over them and his would be an excellent scalp for their trophy wall, particularly when the new parliament has hardly warmed the green benches.

Did he try to stitch up Nicola Sturgeon and it backfired because the three parties involved in the discussions all deny she said she would prefer David Cameron in No 10, or was he convinced the record of the meeting was accurate?  Maybe a bit of both.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Poor Judgement

Many times I wonder at our justice system.  On Tuesday a bakery company, which cites a Christian religious ethic on their website, was convicted of discrimination because they decided not to bake a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan.

Is nobody allowed to decide how they run their business without minorities protesting loudly?  The gay community, along with others, has the backing of government funded bodies, yet these days the voice of Christians is usually nullified by those who dictate justice in our courts.

I’m not believer in 'fairies in the sky’ but I do believe that spiritually something goes on in our world.  My morals were taught to me by a Christian family and church which, as an adult, I’ve seldom attended.  They make no effort to include me and because I’m not a member of the Church of Scotland thankfully I don’t receive these intimidating little envelopes asking for very regular donations.  These were part of the reason my grandmother moved to the Scottish Episcopalian Church back in the 50s because it didn’t intimidate her with any numbered envelopes.  Aye, they were numbered in those days so any contribution could be traced back to the contributor and a donation record kept. I’ve no idea if that was/is the practice of other churches in an effort to keep data about their members, but it’s not particularly pleasant.

I digress. What does the British justice system have against Christians or folk to hold Christian beliefs? 

The Irish are more religious than many Scots these days.  Religion has - and still does - play a big part in their lives.  Gerry Adams shaking hands with Price Charles doesn’t make relationships better, just more acceptable to the public. “If he’s shaken hands with Price Charles then the past is past.”  No it’s not.  The past is history and no one ought to forget history. Politicians ignore history when it suits their specific ideals and we now see the results in various disguises.

This Ashers bakery case should never have come to court. It was the strength of the gay rights lobby and the Irish Equality Commission - all funded by taxpayers - which ensured it happened.

As the person who ordered the cake was a gay rights activist it could be assumed he targeted a business with a well known Christian ethic.  Who knows.

There seems to be double standards in the gay community.  A couple of years ago a Christian couple were fined for not allowing two men to share a double bed in their bed and breakfast, yet if you google ‘gay hotels’ you find pages of links to hotels which only cater for gay people.

Why do a small section of the gay community insist upon targeting Christian businesses which openly declare their Christianity?  Their behaviour doesn’t do the gay community any favours whatsoever and I know it is an embarrassment to many.  

Friday, 15 May 2015

No Bridge? No Problem!

No Health and Safety either!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

I Agree - Scrap the Human Rights Act

When the 56 SNP MPs arrived in Westminster on Monday I was delighted and hoped that they would be an effective and sensible opposition.

Today the Guardian's headlines read ‘The SNP will not consent to Tory plans to scrap Human Rights Act’.  

I suggest this is very short sighted of them and I do hope they’re not going to turn into a group like Scottish Labour in the Scottish Parliament where Labour oppose most proposals for no good reason.

The 1998 Human Rights Act needs to be replaced as it appears to benefit the criminal rather than the victim. We need a Human Rights Act in which our courts and justice system have the last word. In recent years the Supreme Court was introduced and the word of these justices should be final or our justice system will continue to be puppet theatre whose strings are pulled by Brussels.  What is the point in us spending billions on justice if the EU have the final say?  Why don’t send all High Court cases to Brussels and save our money to spend on those in need?

The Act is going to be replaced by a British Bill of Rights which, I believe, will be very similar to the Human Rights Act but with amendments such as disallowing criminals going to Brussels to have their case ruling overturned.  The current balance of human rights is wrong and has to be corrected.  It’s wrong that foreign murderers are allowed to stay in this country because they have children here.  It’s wrong that UK taxpayers spend millions of pounds on numerous appeals from criminals resisting deportation.  It’s wrong that people in need are being deprived of help when human rights lawyers are laughing all the way to the bank.

I trust the new MPs in Westminster will debate this proposal and use common sense to make a decision.  Nobody knows the content of the Tory’s proposal as yet but seem happy to oppose it anyway.

That’s not the type of politics I expect from the SNP.  Let’s wait to see what the British Bill of Right contains before more knee jerk reactions are voiced.

Friday, 8 May 2015

A Good Result For Scotland

Yes it was an excellent result for Scotland but - there’s always a but - only from a UK perspective.  It would be a dreadful result in a Scottish election although fortunately that would never happen owing to our PR system.

How did the Tories get back into No 10?  Aided and abetted by Labour and the SNP.  All David Cameron had to do was tell England that a government with the weak Miliband being dictated to by the strong Nicola Sturgeon would bring England to its knees.  The English agreed, held their noses and voted Tory.  

Ed Miliband was between a rock and a hard place most of the election with his desperate efforts to persuade middle England that he would be fantastic prime minister material.  I’m not sorry to see him stand down as party leader, although nobody impresses me as his successor.  Let’s not forget, even if Labour had won all the seats in Scotland, the result would have been the same.  Labour needed England but England didn’t want a left wing government.

Nicola Sturgeon played a blinder the whole campaign. Never a foot wrong and she deserves congratulations for making her successes.

What about Nick Clegg?  Nothing much to say really.  I suspect he’s already been on the telephone to his pals in Europe asking them to put his name forward as a commissioner.  My one regret is that Charles Kennedy was part of the SNP rout. One of the few politicians who was unaffected by power and I believe looked after his electorate with a passion.

In some ways I’m disappointed Nigel Farage didn’t make it.  Although I dislike some of his policies, his presence in the Commons would have been a thorn in David Cameron’s side.  It appears he won a larger percentage of the vote than the SNP and LibDems put together but with the FPTP system he couldn’t quite make it.

Three leaders have resigned today and that’s a healthy result of an election.  It shows that change is essential.  Not ‘tinkering’ change but radical change starting with the FPTP system moving to a PR one.

How will Cameron treat Scotland?  I’ve no idea, have you?  He can either ignore us or quickly open talks with Nicola Sturgeon. Surely he realises the SNP rout here contains many angry No voters who feel he made promises, on the 19 September last year, that he had no intention of keeping.

How will the new SNP MPs fare? Alex Salmond will ensure the ship is steered steadily but only time will tell the strategy they use.  Interesting times ahead.

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