Tag Archives: Brian Souter

Undecided Scot decides

Alex Salmond: Better Together, that's what I sayI still don’t know how I’ll vote in autumn 2014. But a few days ago, one thing at least was made definite for me: the Better Together vote is going to win. I’m certain enough of that to lay a bet on it, if I were the gambling sort.

What made me so sure?

It’s not just that the SNP are saying blithely that Independence Day will be March 2016, though that is a highly-unrealistic timescale. (It’s also not a binding decision.)

On 11th May I predicted, correctly, that Barack Obama was going to be a two-term President. My certainty was founded in Obama’s own sense of political security: that’s when Obama opted to come out for repealing DOMA and in support of lifting the ban on same-sex marriage recognition: for gay marriage.

For the most part, there are two sorts of politicians who come out for LGBT equality: the very principled, who will stand up for what’s right regardless of what this does to their future career, and the very confident, who are sure of their future career regardless of what they say. Barack Obama is not the first sort of politician (that sort doesn’t become President of the United States) but he is superb at the job of getting elected. I was sure Obama was going to win.

I’m now sure that the SNP leadership is certain they won’t win the referendum in 2014: they can set a date of March 2016 for independence because that’s not in their plans. They can separate off the “Yes Scotland” campaign as officially not-really SNP, and the morning after the votes are counted and the result is published, the SNP can move on with their plans for contesting Scottish seats in the May 2015 Westminster election.
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SNP trumped…

The SNP:

We firmly believe that the people best placed to take decisions about Scotland’s future are the people who choose to live and work in Scotland.

Like Donald Trump?

Like Ian Wood?

Like Rupert Murdoch?

Like Sir Brian Souter?

Like Anders Fogh Rasmussen?

This is not to argue that Labour or the Tories or the LibDems aren’t also flawed: I agree with this post at Better Nation that argues none of Scotland’s parties are properly fit to run this country right now. But the electorally-fatal flaw for each party is when their actions clearly belie their stated purpose.
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Pedal on Parliament: Holyrood

On Saturday 28th April, hundreds of cyclists and supporters of cycling will converge on Parliament.

We’re asking everyone who cycles in Scotland – or who would like to cycle, or would like their families to cycle, but who doesn’t feel safe – to join us for a big ride of our own – and a big picnic. Young and old, keen commuter or weekend pedaller, fit or not – you don’t even need to be on a bike. You just need to show up and add your voice to help make Scotland safe for cycling.

Given the weather in Scotland, it would be unwise to plan on doing the cycle ride naked, though in Peru a massed protest against dangerous conditions for cyclists did just that:

“This is our body. With this, we go out in the streets. We don’t have a car to protect us.” –Octavio Zegarra

I don’t cycle for historical reasons – bus drivers and roundabouts scare me – even though there is a considerable network of cycle paths that make use of the disused space where the light rail network used to be.

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Let Labour Be Labour

I used to vote Labour consistently. I’ve never voted SNP. I believe in devolution, not independence.

I wrote a detailed takedown of one particular Labour MP, Douglas Alexander, who quite evidently has more loyalty to his party than to any left-wing principles, but this is a general complaint: where are the Labour MPs who are willing to show they stand for something other than just the status of being an MP?

Sixty-four years earlier Aneurin Bevan said:

Referring to Mr. Churchill’s “set-the-people-free” speech, Mr. Bevan said that the result of the free-for-all preferred by Churchill would have been cinemas, mansions, hotels, and theatres going up, but no houses for the poor. “in 1945 and 1946,” he said, “we were attacked on our housing policy by every spiv in the country – for what is Toryism, except organized spivery? They wanted to let the spivs loose.” As a result of controls, the well-to-do had not been able to build houses, but ordinary men and women were moving into their own homes. Progress could not be made without pain, and the important thing was to make the right people suffer the pain.

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Visiting the sick on Sunday less Christian than the profits

Brian Souter – sorry, Sir Brian Souter – is a multi-millionaire. He’s made his money all sorts of ways, including sweating it out of his passengers, but thanks to the excellent services of LRT, he’s never been able to get much of a foothold in Edinburgh. Wherever the Stagecoach transport network runs, the public who depend on his buses find themselves at the mercy of a profiteer millionaire’s drive to get the last drop of profit: Souter isn’t running a public service – he’s paying himself millions. (Sir Brian was knighted for “services to transport”, but as the Honours committee doesn’t respond to FOI requests, we have no notion what that might mean: it certainly has no connection to Stagecoach.)

Brian Souter makes some of his comfortable millions out of public subsidies to transport. Due to the cuts, Fife Council had to withdraw a public subsidy to bus services run by Brian Souter. Souter, having just awarded himself over £50M, was not minded to himself subsidise an unprofitable bus service, so Stagecoach promptly withdrew it. Grace Craigie, vice chair of Crossgates and Mossgreen Community Council, voices the objections of the community:

to the loss of a vital bus service, namely the Nos. 15 and 30, due to the recent re-scheduling of local transport in our area which took place without any local consultation. This we understand is because of the withdrawal by Fife Council of its transport subsidies.

This now leaves the residents, not only of Crossgates but also Halbeath, Hill of Beath as well as parts of Cowdenbeath, without any direct transport on a Sunday to both Queen Margaret and Victoria hospitals, which means at least two buses in each direction.

“Not very suitable for those who are elderly, disabled and others who have no car, especially in the coming winter months. This also incurs extra travelling costs for them.

So anyone who wants to visit a friend or a relative in hospital on Sunday, who’s dependent on buses to get there – no car, can’t afford a taxi – will just not be able to go.

That’s the “sort of society” Brian Souter wants to live in: where someone in hospital on Sunday won’t be able to see a friendly face.

Souter, of course, doesn’t regard I was sick, and ye visited me as one of the “Christian values” – apparently the Nazarene church in Perth he attends doesn’t do Matthew 25:36.

These are Brian Souter’s “Christian” values; this is the “sort of society” he wants to live in:

“We are arguing here about what kind of society we want to live in,” he said (The Courier, 19 September 2011). “Are we going to be in a Babylonian-Greek type of society, where sex is primarily a recreational activity, or are we going to stick with the Judeo-Christian tradition, where procreation is something that we want to put within a marriage context?”

Visiting the sick? Helping the poor? Phooey. Christian values, by Sir Brian Souter, knighted for services to transport, are epitomised by making sure same-sex couples can’t get married. Because hatred and wealth are what Christianity is all about.

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