Thursday, 25 September 2014

Scottish Independence: Has Westminster Bitten Off More Than It Can Chew?

Although I’m not Scottish and I don’t live in Scotland I found myself captivated by the recent referendum campaign, and deeply disappointed by the failure of a majority of Scottish people to reach for the stars when the opportunity was within their grasp.

As a free-thinking activist with a lifetime of experience of fighting against the system under one guise or another I was unsurprised by the manipulation, the dishonesty and the sheer nastiness of the Westminster campaign for a No vote. Not only was no stone left unturned by the three UK establishment political parties and their controlled media, but no stone was not crawled from under as Team Westminster set about its business of trying to frighten, browbeat, cajole and bully the Scottish people out of claiming what was rightfully theirs. The elderly in particular were identified as being vulnerable to warnings that they would be left with no money, no oil, no NHS, no pensions, no hope and no future without the protective arm of the Union wrapped tightly around them.

To begin with, Team Westminster persisted with the pretense that it was actually three teams, each individually fighting the good fight for their own selfless, altruistic reasons. The truth was, of course, that the Tories were a party beholden to a unionist fanbase whilst Labour and the Liberal Democrats stood to lose politically from the loss of their Scottish parliamentary seats. Party before people as always.

Then, shortly before the big day, when a rogue opinion poll bucked the trend by placing the Yes campaign ahead, the three stooges turned up all at once in the obvious belief that their combined celebrity would impress the Scottish people where all the fallacious arguments and threats about currency and EU membership apparently hadn’t. A joint promise of sorts was made, with Scottish people being taken to the Hadrianic equivalent of Mount Hermon and told that all this could be theirs if only they would renounce the credo that is independence.


Sadly, on the day fear triumphed over hope. Around 55% (2 million) of the Scottish electorate voted against their own independence, with 45% (over 1.6 million) in favour. This, so the beaming BBC pundits told us, was a death blow to the romantics and the dreamers who had campaigned for self-determination.

What followed next was quite extraordinary. Membership of the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP), which had been a little over 25,000 on the day of the referendum, rose to 57,000 within a week of the poll. The SNP now has three members in Scotland for every two the Liberal Democrats have in the whole of the UK.

Radical socialists, greens and other pro-independence groupings have urged fellow Scots to support the SNP at the 2015 general election and in the Holyrood ballot a year hence, to demonstrate for once and for all a decisive mandate in favour of independence.

Representations have been made to the appropriate authorities by Yes campaigners who believe there to have been serious malpractice in the conduct of the counting process on September 18th. And social media groups, forums and online chat rooms have veritably exploded with activity, with thousands of otherwise very ordinary and typical Scots (and even a few non-Scots) beginning to discuss the mechanics and logistics of revolution.

As any fool could have predicted, the promises made to Scottish voters by the Unholy Trinity very quickly transpired to be so much hot air, as the leaders of the Conservative and Labour parties immediately embarked upon an unseemly squabble about what it really was that they had (literally) signed up to. For the Tories, concessions to the Scots had to be accompanied by similar powers granted to the English so that Scottish MPs would no longer be able to vote on English-only issues, just as English MPs are not currently allowed to vote on Scottish-only matters. The so-called West Lothian question.


Typically this was a ploy. In the event of a future Labour or Labour-led government being elected throughout the UK, an English-only parliament with a Conservative majority could basically ignore it on most issues and treat it with indifference. Labour protested, not unreasonably, that there had been no mention of this in the agreement they had hastily signed up to on the eve of the poll.

Labour strategists oppose the question of an English parliament being made into a condition of pledges to the Scottish people being honoured. But then they would, wouldn’t they?

Meanwhile Scotland sits and patiently waits. Assuming the result is not declared null and void, Scotland remains a part of the UK for now but with seething, festering resentment brought forth by righteous anger. The SNP, transformed overnight from local political party to a potential liberating army, bides its time. And Labour, who treacherously led the No campaign in the belief that the continuance of the Union would increase its chances of forming the next Westminster government with the help of Scottish seats, now faces the very real possibility that come next May it might not actually have any.

Macmillan Coffee Morning - Isleworth Working Men's Club, 26th September

This Friday, 26th September there will be a Macmillan Coffee Morning at Isleworth Working Men's Club, St. John's Road from 11.00am till 1.00pm.

It will include an auction of a signed Brentford FC football and a raffle with first prize champagne afternoon tea for two at The Hilton, Syon Park and many more exciting prizes.

The event is being organised by local girl Jo Manwaring who also staged a similar event last year, which was highly successful. Cakes and refreshments will be available.

Everyone is welcome.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Thought For The Day

Some people say both our major political parties are identical. Nothing different about them whatsoever.

Of course they are not identical. The whole point in having two parties rather than one is to provide the people with a choice. Those who don’t like one can safely vote for the other. One offers one set of policies, the second offers another. Something is provided for everyone.

Think Punch and Judy, rather than Punch and Punch. They look very different and they are always to be seen fighting for the benefit of the audience. Only those who trouble to look behind the screen will notice that the same guy has his hands up both their arses.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Notting Hill Housing Trust - We Are Not Worthy

Brilliant. After day upon day of pushing letters through people's doors and then being squeezed into one corner after another of a small, overcrowded flat I finally get three hours to myself to do some important work that has been put onto the back-burner for three months and guess what? An electrician arrives, unannounced (Notting Hill Housing Trust never see any value in making appointments with us lower orders and in the manner of their patronising, pseudo-socialist kind invariably assume that we are always indoors because none of us estate dwellers ever work) and declares that he is going to perform a completely unnecessary "test" on our perfectly functional electrics and "update" some entirely adequate equipment in accordance with sundry (unspecified) new laws. Evidently this involves drilling holes in various walls and ceilings and leaving little piles of dust on every surface he can think of.

Meanwhile a number of serious deficiencies with our flat which were reported eons ago but the rectification of which do not conform to The Plan remain unaddressed. I guess in fairness I should mention one real positive development in the fact that NHHT have finally, after 18 years, installed (nay plonked) some very unsightly giant green tins outside of our blocks which I am guessing are for the storage of our bicycles. They have now been there for two whole months. I am looking forward with eager anticipation to the moment when it finally occurs to one or other of these intellectual colossuses (collosi?) that we will need the keys to them.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Do Not Deport Wadih Chouery

People who live near or use South Street in Isleworth will probably know Wadih Chourey, whose brothers Joseph and Camil run the long-estabished Joseph's Patisserie opposite Isleworth Public Hall.

Wadih, aged 44, who has Down's Syndrome, has lived in the UK since 1997 when he came from the Lebanon with his parents as his life was in danger from gangs who were victimising him and encouraging him to commit crime on their behalf. Since then he has been a popular local figure, undertaking simple tasks in support of the family business and enjoying the trust and sense of responsibility that this brings. He is happy, helpful and always pleasant.

His parents have both since passed away and as a result of this he faces deportation by the Home Office back to his native Lebanon. His brothers, and his many friends in the community, fear that he would be in danger if he were to be forced to return. He is not capable of living independently, needing help to wash and dress himself.

Local people believe that Chourey has been an asset to the local community, he is integrated and is a popular local figure. His removal would appear to serve no useful purpose to anybody. A campaign is underway to prevent the deportation and this campaign is fully community-led, having been initiated by the Old Isleworth Four Roads Residents' Association.

The decision is currently at the appeal stage and I would invite readers of this blog to sign our petition to say Do Not Deport Wadih Chourey.