This was first posted on Facebook on 22nd March 2021, with support from my Ko-Fi network.
(James Hamilton is not an immigrant, but I regret to say I couldn’t resist the quote.)
The question for the independent investigator, QC James Hamilton, who was Director of Public Prosecutions for the Republic of Ireland (1999-2011) and in 2010, President of the International Association of Prosecutors, and who has been the independent advisor to the Scottish Government on the Ministerial Code since 2013 (first appointed by Alex Salmond, re-appointed by Nicola Sturgeon in 2015):
“When Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament she had first learned about the complaints against Alex Salmond on Monday 2nd April, when in fact she was told about them on Thursday 29th March, was she knowingly misleading Parliament?”
To knowingly mislead Parliament is a resigning offence in the Ministerial Code, though when you look at the current Cabinet Ministers and Prime Minister at Westminster, you wouldn’t think so.
This was first posted on Facebook on 16th March 2021, with support from my Ko-Fi network.
I listened to the Second Reading debate on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill on Monday evening and tonight, and I noted that four points were consistently being made by the obedient Tory MPs:
- Gypsy, Roma, and Irish Travellers are bad and dirty and we need legislation to take action against their habit of just parking on common ground and acting as if they had a right to be there, sometimes even when they own the land their vehicle is parked on, it’s got to be stopped.
- Statues/memorials must be protected
- Long sentences mean we’re doing more against crime
- Law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear
The first element of this is the most shocking, of course: basic racism barely even masked. Please remember that any fascist government needs an internal enemy convenient for blame. Brexit will hit farmers and farming economies hard. The Bill grants the police powers to arrest, imprison, and confiscate the mobile home of someone who is, as determined by the police, parked in “illegal encampment” or engaged in anti-social behaviour, also as determined by the police. To be able to distract economically-devastated countryside communities with news that an internal enemy has been arrested, tried, fined, imprisoned, lost their home, may be very useful this year. Certainly the government thinks so, from the consistency of this message from Tory MPs standing up to declare, if anyone doubted, that they were going to vote for the bill.
This was first posted on Facebook on 9th March 2021, with support from my Ko-Fi network.
Scotland decided to put off the Census til next year, because of coronavirus: the England & Wales Office of National Statistics decided to go ahead (as did the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency). ONS decided this year to encourage people to do the census online by preference – and to do a soft launch on 22nd February, to avoid (I would presume) the awkward situation of fifty-eight million people all trying to use the census website at the same time.
So, as you certainly know if you live in England or Wales or Northern ireland, and as you probably know if you live in Scotland, 21st March 2021 is Census Day except for Scotland.
Since about July 2019, the Christian Right have been complaining about news that the Census this year, at least in England and Wales, was going to include a question about “gender identity” and – not that this was new – have guidance that trans people should respond to the sex question according to their gender identity.
This was first posted on Facebook on 27th February 2021, with support from my Ko-Fi network.
The Scottish Parliament has been in existence since 1999: Nicola Sturgeon is the present First Minister, and there are five previous First Ministers, four living, as Donald Dewar died within the first 12 months. The other four are Henry McLeish (now 72), Labour: Jim Wallace (now 66), LibDem – who was Acting First Minister on two separate occasions: Jack McConnell (now 60), Labour – and Alex Salmond (now 66), SNP. Jim Wallace and Jack McConnell accepted life peerages when they ceased to be MSPs: Henry McLeish did not, and after 2016 declared he’d support an independent Scotland if Westminster enacted Brexit against Scotland’s will.
Prior to 2010, if a First Minister – or any minister in the Scottish Government – had sexually pestered a subordinate, the Scottish Government had no policy of how to deal with this. In 2010, a policy was developed: we know that none of the women Salmond pestered made use of it – and no previous First Minister could have been affected by it.
This was first posted on Facebook on 21st January 2021, with support from my Ko-Fi network.
In conversation with a friend on the phone the other night, I noted that even though 70 million Americans voted for Trump, this doesn’t mean he has 70 million supporters. (It’s still a dreadful number, but, even so.)
Donald Trump left the White House just after dawn yesterday for a big military send-off as he and Melanie boarded the plane for Florida (Palm Beach is likely to issue an eviction notice next month reminding the former President no one is allowed to live at his golf club – guests can stay there for a maximum of 21 days a year).
Thus the US tradition of the previous President attending the new President’s inauguration ceremony was broken. The only two Republican representatives of previous administrations to attend were Mike Pence and George W. Bush. (Barack & Michelle Obama, Bill & Hillary Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, all attended Trump’s tiny inauguration in 2016). This is the first time since 1869 a US President has refused to attend his successor’s inauguration: Andrew Johnson, who opposed giving civil rights to former slaves, stayed in the White House during Ulysses S. Grant’s inauguration ceremony (Grant was the Commanding General of the US Army 1864–1869).
Things the following group of people have decided are A-OK and do not in any way merit criticism and are, in fact, “honourable and compassionate” behaviour:
Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Rosh Hashanah, on Friday 18th September, aged 87, of pancreatic cancer complications: she died at home surrounded by her family, and I don’t feel quite so bad knowing my first thought was “Now Trump can put a third justice on the Supreme Court”, when I found that practically, Ginsburg’s last thought was almost the same: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
When Antonin Scalia died on 15th February 2016, the next Presidential election was over eight months away.
In the summer of 2010, Julian Assange went to Sweden. The servers which host the main Wikileaks website are based there: in August 2010, the primary host seems to have switched from PRQ to Bahnhof. Bahnof servers are based in a former nuclear bunker.
In August 2010, on two separate occasions, Assange met with and stayed one night/several nights with a woman supporter of Wikileaks. Each woman says that the arrangement to have sex was by mutual consent: each woman says that she had stipulated Assange should use a condom. The two women discovered afterwards that Assange had behaved like a boor with each of them: fighting and disputing and trying to bully her out of her stipulation. Assange had achieved his goal of penetrative sex without a condom with both women: In one instance, Assange claimed the condom had “ripped” and so he had been unaware that there was now no condom: in the other, he waited the next morning until she had fallen asleep, and then got inside her when she couldn’t actually say no. The two women took this to the police, and asked if Assange could be made to take a HIV test. None of these facts are disputed by Assange or his lawyers.
If you weren’t aware; the Scottish Government’s consultation on GRA reform ends on 17th March.
Anyone in Scotland – indeed, anyone in the UK (or anywhere in the world) can respond. More weight will be given to the responses of people living inside Scotland, but anyone can give their views.
The last two or three years have been a growing wave of anti-trans feeling which has been made “respectable” to the general public by articles and comments by women perceived as speaking as part of mainstream UK feminism when they attack trans women.
They are not speaking as feminists at all when they attack women for being trans: they are just coming out with a rigamarole of nonsense and lies, which I strongly believe is inspired by the US Christian Right promoting anti-trans campaigning.
- Supporting women who are trans is feminism: nothing more, nothing less.
- Disregarding men who are trans and insisting that they are “really” women is sexism and homophobia: nothng more, nothing less.
Scotland is a pro-choice country.
About four-fifths of the population of Scotland would agree – this crosses gender-lines, voting-intention, religious belief, class/wealth, or locale – that abortion in Scotland should remain freely available on the NHS.
Only a minority think that pregnant patients who need access to abortion should have that access decreased. That minority can be loud and can be unkind – the ones who think it’s a good idea picketing clinics to hand anti-abortion leaflets to patients are particularly cruel – but they are, everywhere, only a minority.
On 28th April this year in Edinburgh we held our annual celebration of the day the 1967 Abortion Act became law. (On the other side of the road are the sad people who think abortion in the UK should have remained illegal and dangerous.)
We asked people who stopped by our stall to have cake and sign our open letter:
“We stand with the people of Ireland who will be voting to repeal the Eighth Amendment on 25th May 2018: for healthcare in pregnancy to be freely and fully available for all patients. Abortion denial is lethal.”