SNP budget 2009 scuppered.

Well was voting down of the SNP 2009 budget really a surprise?  I think not the SNP certainly didn’t come out of it with too many brownie points, the political last-minute shenanigans trying to get a deal with the Greens was immature and ill thought out.  Patrick Harvie is well-known for his fiery temper and frankly the way he was treated by the party supposedly in power was reminiscent of school yard bullying and now apparently he has to carry the can for the crashing of Salmond’s/Swinney’s budget. When in fact the real blame lies with the other 62 MSPs who voted the budget down. The Greens request for an on original £100 million for insulating the homes of Scotland was watered down to £33 million however as he could get no guarantees that this would be new money he felt he couldn’t trust the SNP to deliver.  Mr Harvey has only one mandate, all things green, and it is frankly great to see somebody who stuck to their principles. His passion for what he believes in was quite obvious from the anger he could barely hide when replying to the budget debate Nice to know there are still politicians whose beliefs are interwoven with the fabric of their emotions.

The Liberal party seemed to have simply decided not to play the game at all having been told that their 2% income tax cut was an absolute no-no due to the hole that would it leave in the overall budget, strange an income tax cut being suggested by the Liberal Democrats did they not fight to the last British general election on a platform to raise taxation to pay for education.

Margo MacDonald once again put country first and allowed the party which had been voted in albeit by one vote to manage the affairs of Scotland to have  her backing. The Tories, this is becoming an annoying habit when your heart and soul are left of centre, once again acted like adults requesting reasonable bribes (I don’t think there’s  a more apt term for it) for their support.

Now we come to the Labour Party who are obviously enjoying the fact, finally, that they can put a spoke in the wheel of most SNP plans at almost any time.  However I think many people will see this as a childish prank from the Labour Party.  What have they to gain from another election, do they really believe that they can bring back the vote that was once loyal to them. They have acted and indeed are acting in the best interests of the Labour Party not the country and most people will see the petty politics involved in this.  Should Alex Salmond resigned and leave the post of first Minister vacant, you can be sure that the Labour Party will do everything in their power to put Ian Gray up as the next first Minister. Frankly I would rather have  Donald duck to represent Scotland at the international level.

The knock on effect will first be felt on the 12th of February when local authorities start to set their council tax rates, at that point they still will not know whether they are to get the 70 million from this new budget to cover the council tax freeze. So your pocket as a council tax payer is in the firing line, perhaps in future all MSP’s should undergo a hormone test to ensure they are actually passed puberty.

Forth Ports Green Space Policy


Apparently Forth Ports want the Scottish Government to pay for any green space to be created during the building of the docks new town. Now there’s a surprise!

Downsizing at The White House


Meeting tonight 7pm at The Thomas Morton Hall at Leith Library.

Thanks to Greener Leith for the heads up about tonights meeting with Forth Ports concerning the first stage of the docks development.

Thier article is here.

Meeting tonight 7pm at The Thomas Morton Hall at Leith Library.

Twitter and My Follower Barack Obama


Yesterday I signed up for twitter, you can in fact see my ‘ tweets’ at the bottom of the left-hand column of the blog page. I did this just for fun I only know one other person who is on twitter, I had and in reality and still have no idea what it’s all about, it was simply a bit of slack time used up with no expectations at all.  So I spent some time trying to figure out how it worked, how you let people know you were at the cutting edge of twitter and trying to discover who there was whose short texts might be worth a look. So of course we had a quick search for Barack Obama and we found him so we click the button and now I’m Barack Obama follower. Big deal.  Then something very strange happened within a few minutes Barack Obama started to follow me, was in fact the first one to do so.  Now I know that you know that President Obama did not see my tweak and think jeez, Norrie, and there’s a really interesting guy who’s incredibly insightful comments will make a difference to my life, I had best make sure I miss nothing he has to say.  No some piece of software kicked in and added him to my followers list.  But that one small event gave me an insight into why Obama’s campaign went supersonic, it makes not one jot of difference to him whether or not I follow him on twitter, however the fact that the people driving his campaign took the trouble to acknowledge my existence and continue to do so after the election had an impact far greater than the effort involved. I am a 52-year-old grandfather and freely admit to being very cynical about politicians as a breed.  I don’t expect to be cheered up or made to feel like I count and I certainly don’t expect any political machine to give me a double espresso emotional jolt simply by putting together some clever software.  I have to admit, that one simple action cheered me up no end.

Everyone likes to be happy, so of course I went looking for more politicians who wanted to join my band of followers.  Gordon Brown has an unofficial twitter which basically links to the government/Labour Party site, he has chosen not to follow me.  David Cameron had an unofficial site which is has now apparently been, after a very polite request, put to bed, so he will not be following me. Alex Salmond doesn’t even have an unofficial site but somebody is having great fun at the SNP’s expense pretending to be Alex Salmond.  I think he’s following me.  It’s all above board.

All this following is making me sound like Charles Manson, hope it doesn’t go to my head.

Bankers are Bastards


I have to be perfectly frank here; I have never enjoyed dealing with Banks. Ever since my first timorous steps into the bank manager’s office, business plan in hand, I have found them to be difficult obstructive and surprisingly ignorant. In my entrepreneurial innocence I arrived for a meeting with the bank manager only to discover it was in fact the accountant, as the branch no longer had a bank manager. Said accountant promptly informed me that he would arrange a meeting with a business manager as he did not have the authority to deal with business accounts, why did he bother meeting me in the first place, why not simply arrange a meeting with a business manager. Two hours wasted, two weeks later I had my meeting with the business manager who promptly informed me any decision on the loan would take 6 to 10 weeks but not to worry based on the business plan it would be a breeze.

To cut a long story short 10 weeks later I was informed that it was bank policy not to loan on the type of business I was attempting to set up. Of course by that time it didn’t matter anyway the opportunity had passed and four months work had been wasted. The only question I got an answer to, that in retrospect, was of any use to me at all was when I asked him what business experience he had. He had none, he had worked for the bank since leaving school at 18, was 32 years old, had never run a business, had never managed a business and in effect simply had a set of rules and guidelines which governed every decision he made, these were generated by other bankers who had no doubt never run a business either. Lesson learned I never again wrote a business plan about the business I simply wrote a plan that fitted the banks criteria, yes it works.

Now the media are telling all of us poor ignorant peasants that the bankers are risk takers, crap. The decision-makers in banks are not producers, or entrepreneurs and most certainly do not fall into any category of risk taker, as I understand it. What decision-making banker has personally risked anything? I differentiate between decision-making bankers and those poor drones that do follow the rules, the guys who are losing their jobs through no fault of their own, through no risk they took. The aforementioned business manager is highly unlikely to be responsible for any of the toxic debt as his decisions are generally made by a spreadsheet created by some backroom actuary.

The only people who can override the actuarial God’s are so high up the ivory tower NASA could use them for satellite maintenance. In the present financial climate they have reverted to type, they will take our money, that is your money, make a profit with it, tie everything down tighter than a duck’s arse until their balance sheets look healthy again and sod the down turn. Apparently professional politicians, Mr Brown, Mr Cameron et al, having never spent any time in the real world don’t realise this.

The entrepreneurs and genuine risk takers funds will continue todry up and the stagnant pond created by the bankers will grow little by little as it sucks in viable, functioning businesses forcing them to pay for their greed and incompetence with higher overdraft charges and loan payments if they are indeed fortunate enough to get an overdraft or loan. There is no risk when the taxpayer and prudent businesses are paying for the mistakes of the fat cat cushioned bankers. If your life is about to crumble before your eyes who’s giving you the golden hand shake? Not the banks, all you’ll get from them are letters doubling charges, or cancelling your overdraft, or god forbid calling in your mortgage.

Obama kicked Bush’s ass


Edinburgh tram delays

It has come as no surprise to the cynics amongst us that the Edinburgh tram project has been delayed by three months.  It turns out that the first track will not be laid in Leith walk after all, but in Princes Street.  Ensuring no doubt that when the money runs out you will be able to travel the length of Princes Street by tram if not to any other part of the city. Why the delay?  Well the three-month delay has apparently been caused by the Leith traders  successful bid to close down the work for the three weeks of the festival.  How a three-week festival can cause a three-month delay I have no idea, but I have no doubt that this will be the first of many delays in the schedule.

Barack Obama’s Charge to the White House


Prohibited Items at Obama’s Presidential Inauguration

For those of you heading off to president elect Obama’s presidential inauguration here is a handy list of what you are not allowed to take with you

Prohibited Items

Prohibited items include, but are not limited to:

  • Firearms and ammunition (either real or simulated)
  • Explosives of any kind (including fireworks)
  • Knives, blades, or sharp objects (of any length)
  • Mace and/or pepper spray
  • Sticks or poles
  • Pocket or hand tools, such as “Leatherman”
  • Packages
  • Backpacks
  • Large bags
  • Duffel bags
  • Suitcases
  • Thermoses
  • Coolers
  • Strollers
  • Umbrellas
  • Laser pointers
  • Signs
  • Posters
  • Animals (other than service animals)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Other items that may pose a threat to the security of the event as determined by and at the discretion of the security screeners

Mobility Aids such as canes, including those with a fold-down seat, walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters are allowed.

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