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Home energy efficiency: the way to create thousands of jobs

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 02/07/2020 - 4:02pm in

This post is by Colin Hines, convenor of the Green New Deal group and was originally on the Green Alliance blog. It is reproduced with his permission:

Linking tackling of the coronavirus crisis with solving the climate crisis is now being called for on all sides, from the UK’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to the IMF.

The need for such an approach to become an urgent political and public priority, and hence succeed, was highlighted by the recent ominous warning from Lord Deben, chair of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), of the possibility of a business as usual, post lockdown surge in carbon emissions.

The only way to avoid this is if tackling climate change is seen as the best way to rescue the economy from the effects of the virus. The key question is what initiatives can dramatically reduce carbon emissions whilst clearly benefiting a huge range of people in all parts of the country.

Energy efficiency can also tackle the jobs crisis
It requires policies that are popular with the public and they must be seen to clearly address the burgeoning unemployment crisis country wide, providing secure long term jobs, particularly for younger people. The CCC’s emphasis on making all homes energy efficient by 2050 will help to achieve that since it would require up to 20,000 homes and buildings to be transformed every week for the next thirty years.

A huge number and range of jobs are required to install, service and update this massive retrofitting programme. The roles needed include plumbers, electricians, carpenters, builders, solar PV roof fitters, engineers, building scientists and researchers. Also to ensure local expertise, safety and community acceptability, the involvement of local authorities, unions and neighbourhood groups will be vital.

Finally, a national skills and training programme will be necessary for both young people and older workers in need of reskilling. These should be both college and industry-based and rigorously designed to ensure a high standard of both installation and programme management. This will involve a large expansion of relevant departments in further education colleges, technical colleges and universities.

Such a nationwide ‘jobs in every constituency’ project would also boost domestic manufacturing. An inadequately recognised job generator is the fact that gas heating in more than 20 million homes will need to be replaced predominantly by heat pumps, that’s hundreds of thousands required annually. This points to the need for the government to make bailing out the manufacturing and steel industries conditional on devising detailed feasibility studies into how they will provide for this huge decades-long domestic market.

Scotland is ahead of the game

This incredibly ambitious programme will of course need time to build, but it need not start from scratch. The government should look to what is already happening in Scotland which has a comprehensive energy efficiency programme designated as a national infrastructure priority, addressing as it does the climate emergency, fuel poverty and the need to increase economic activity everywhere.

The practicalities of achieving these goals across the whole of the UK were recently addressed in the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group’s comprehensive roadmap, Rebuilding for resilience, which showed how the nation could quickly expand its existing energy saving capacity and which training programmes and funding mechanisms would be necessary to do so.

Of course, a key question that will inevitably be asked is how will such an enormous country wide initiative be paid for? The government’s response to the coronavirus has been to turn on the spending taps, possibly to the tune of £300 billion. Expanding this to tackle climate change is made easier by the government’s ability to borrow money at negative interest rates. Green quantitative easing could also help to ensure that we can pay to make 20,000 buildings energy tight every week. Over time there will also be higher tax takes from the industries and workers newly involved in such an enormous programme.

The final difficulty is introducing such a huge programme in the time of coronavirus. Ross Armstrong, managing director of Warmworks, the managing agent of largest energy efficiency scheme in the UK (Warmer Homes Scotland), has already agreed an approach with the Scottish Government as to how that scheme, which has helped almost 20,000 homes across Scotland over the last five years, can be restarted to allow safe working and appropriate physical distancing. Warmer Homes Scotland will resume work in people’s homes from this week and help thousands of homes over the coming months to save energy and money off their bills.

As as we wait for a vaccine, now is the time for national and local government to prepare for a new nationwide energy efficiency programme. Warmworks’ experience in Scotland indicates that a programme of this type could be up and running within a year, creating jobs, skills and apprenticeships across the country.

Such a programme, that can improve home comfort and lower bills for so many, as well as providing jobs for decades in every MP’s constituency, especially for the young, would provide much needed hope for the future. It will help put the nation back to work, our homes and businesses on track to a zero carbon future, and place tackling climate change back where it belongs, centre stage.

The Scottish Currency Group

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 19/06/2020 - 6:23pm in

Tim Rideout is running  Facebook group for his Scottish Reserve Bank:

I became to 400th member yesterday.

I am aware that a number of Scottsh MPs are joining. It's a real way of spreading the news about MMT as well as, of course, the need for a Scottish currency post-independence.

I recommend taking a look

Covid 19 would not have sunk an independent Scotland

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 16/06/2020 - 11:21pm in

The following is a guest post from Dr Tim Rideout, who many will know for his work on Scottish currency issues:

There is a Fact Check article in The  National newspaper in Scotland today about some silly statements from the Lib Dems who are claiming that Scottish independence would have been a disaster by now because the currency would have collapsed and we would now be finished off by the pandemic and our inability to cope with its economic impact. It is a good rebuttal effort, but could be improved a little in some areas. I offer this in addition:

First, any country – big or small – that has its own currency can always do exactly what the UK (and almost everywhere else) has done. That is, to create whatever money is needed to deal with the Covid 19 epidemic. In the UK the Bank of England has bought a further £200 billion of gilts (in fact faster than Rishi is selling them) and provided the Chancellor with a £20 billion of 0% interest overdraft on the Ways & Means account. There is nothing magic about this. It simply reflects the fact that the state is the issuer and source of all our money and as such it is impossible for it to run out. There is no such thing as ‘taxpayers money’ – any taxpayer creating their own money would be done for forgery! 

Second, there would have been no ‘self-inflicted crisis from Indy’ as the Lib Dem claims. All that would have happened is that Scotland would have followed SNP policy, which is to prepare to introduce our own currency as soon as possible after a vote for Indy and to then introduce that currency asap after Independence Day (Amendment D from SNP Conf 2019). The Scottish Pound would be entirely voluntary i.e. nobody would be forced to buy any so anyone could keep all their money in sterling (or anything else) if they so wished. However, if they wanted it then they would have to buy it with their existing sterling. That means that on Day 1 of its existence the Scottish pound (S£) would have 100% foreign reserves backing in the form of the sterling we used to but it. Compare with sterling which has 2% foreign reserves (the US$ 55 billion of net reserves of the UK government – strictly speaking the BoE has zero reserves as they belong to the Treasury and not the bank). As many folk would be canny and keep quite a lot of sterling while they saw what happened then there is a guaranteed future demand for the S£ since those folk will convert that gradually over the next year or two. Sterling would soon become a foreign currency in Scotland (probably after a few months) and then become subject to foreign exchange fees, etc. Plus its value would change and would no longer be one-to-one after the temporary peg ends.

Third, why is a S£ with 100% foreign reserves and a guaranteed market of buyers over the first couple of years going to fall against sterling? It won’t! If anything it will go up.

Fourth, yes Scotland has ‘sophisticated financial infrastructure’, but you do not really need that. A basic Central Bank needs about £15,000 of IT, a bank accounting software package, a connection to the inter-bank payment system, a couple of people to run it and a one room office. That is according to Prof Warren Mosler, a US economist and adviser to Greece and Italy about what to do if they got ejected from the Euro. All a Central Bank needs to do is to be able to debit and credit the bank accounts of the Treasury and the reserve accounts of the commercial banks. Everything else is bells and whistles. I would tend to say you should not put the current crop of commercial bankers and financiers in charge as they would just replicate the neo-liberal austerity type stuff they know and benefit from.

Fifth, ScotGov will and should run a deficit of up to 10% p.a. for the first few years of Indy. A state deficit is a good thing – it is the source of our money which is actually just IOUs from the state. It can do that for at least a decade before it reaches the average debt level of an EU member. This is also necessary in order to provide the additional S£ for all those folk that hung onto their sterling. Otherwise there will be shortage of S£ that will push it up in price in the FX market.

Sixth, the state controls the interest rate on its debt and not ‘the market’. That is because it can borrow directly (or indirectly via QE) from the central bank if it does not like a rate demanded by investors. The current QE has driven the rate to near zero whatever the investors might or might not want.

Seventh, Estonia, for example, became independent on 20th August 1991 and introduced the currency 9 months later. They had no warning the Soviet Union was about to collapse. Slovakia set up a currency in two months after the planned shared currency with Czechia collapsed almost immediately (which is what would happen to any plan to share sterling!). Timing is not a problem then.

Eighth, we do not need any share of rUK assets and therefore would not take any share of UK liabilities. The UK already declared that it wanted to be ‘the Continuing State’ in International Law back in 2014. That is because if there was no continuing state then the seat on the UN Security Council would become vacant and go to somebody else. The Continuing State takes ALL the assets and ALL the liabilities EXCEPT what is located within the new states. Thus if it is in Scotland it is ours. The National Debt is really the National Savings and it belongs to rUK. For example £70 billion of the National Debt is the pound notes in circulation. Indy Scotland automatically gets +/- £40 billion of Foreign Reserves from the sale of the S£ (assuming folk only convert 40% of their sterling at the outset). We have no need of 8% of the UK reserves of $55 billion or a couple of rooms in an embassy. It is trivial by comparison. Also as soon as you start asking for assets you will get lumbered with the liabilities. No state that left the empire ever took a share of the UK debts (for the clever ones - that includes Ireland – the money it did pay the UK was down to a Liberal policy pre WWI which provided loans to Irish tenant farmers to buy out the landlord. The Free State government continued to collect the farmers’ repayments and pay them to London until 1938 when the remaining debt was written off).

Ninth, issuing S£ but backing it with 100% sterling is not sterlingisation which is a misunderstanding in the Fact Check article. What the author is suggesting is having your own currency but pegging it to sterling. Sterlingisation is not having a currency at all and simply using sterling informally as we do now. That sort of sterlingisation (the Growth Commission plan) would be a disaster given Covid as practically everything the Lib Dem person says would be true. With sterlingisation ScotGov could not create its own funds, it can’t control the interest rates, it would have to borrow sterling on the international market at whatever interest rate it could get, etc. Sterlingisation would be very bad! Our own Scottish currency but pegged to sterling is a lot better, but really that is because you should end that peg asap. It is not sensible to peg to sterling or indeed anything else.

We can now do the Currency / Economics of Indy talks again via zoom, so just email us at info@reservebank.scot, and find out more at www.reservebank.scot

All in Scotland now know what to do....

Scotland is not amused

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/06/2020 - 10:50pm in

Tags 

Politics, scotland

I can't help but share this from The National in Scotland today, for whom I wrote on occassion:

THE SNP will win an overall majority and have an overwhelming mandate for indyref2 in 2021, according to an exclusive bombshell poll which puts the party on an incredible 53% of the constituency vote.

The Panelbase poll, commissioned by ScotGoesPop, also indicates that Nicola Sturgeon’s party would gain 48% of the regional list ballot vote in next year’s Holyrood elections.

Seat projections based on this would see the SNP gaining an additional nine seats, bringing the number of SNP MSPs to 72 – a thumping pro-independence majority even before you add in the projected five seats for the Scottish Greens.

This would dramatically increase pressure on Boris Johnson to grant a Section 30 order to hold indyref2.

Jackson Carlaw’s Scottish Tories are projected to lose six seats, bringing their total down to 25, while Richard Leonard’s Scottish Labour party is set to lose five seats, leaving them with 19 Holyrood politicians.

And it’s looking set to be an even more turbulent time for the Conservatives down in Westminster, with the poll revealing that, as it stands, the party would lose every one of its six Scottish constituencies to the SNP, who would gain 10 seats to bring them to 58 in total. That would leave them short just one seat of sweeping Scotland – Labour’s Ian Murray in Edinburgh South.

Scotland is rightly not amused with England right now.

Will there still be a Union in a few years time? I doubt it.

The need for a resilient economy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 03/06/2020 - 6:42pm in

The Common Weal think tank in Scotland is, in my opinion, the most progressive organisation working on economy ic transformation in the UK right now. That it's Scottish should make little difference to its appeal: much of what it has to say is universal.

This morning it has published a new report on the need for a resilient economy.

The introduction to the report, which explains the demand for resilience, says this:

Resilience means that we create a society in which people can live good lives – and in which they can continue to live good lives even as things change and crises hit us. To achieve it we must create a resilient society where inequality is low, democracy and participation are high, public infrastructure and services are top quality and readily accessible and community cohesion and public trust are strong. We need a resilient economy, one which creates the good jobs that give people the income to live good lives now, which has the security to make us confident we can live good lives in the future, which useful, diverse, non-exploitative and which does not contain high levels of risk or which falls over in a crisis. And this must all be based on a resilient environment which is always able to regenerate itself after human activity and can therefore sustain our lives now and in the future.

And their explanation of the background to the current crisis is well worth reading:

The world has been dominated by free-market economics for 40 years – but that model has been failing and during the virus crisis it failed very substantially indeed. The same factors which resulted in the financial crisis have also been driving the environmental crises and the virus has shown just how vulnerable our economic system is.

Free market economics is about wealth extraction where powerful economic players can take more and more out of domestic economies. It has created a debt economy and pushed households to get into deeper and deeper debt so they can keep spending. It has created a large industry based on speculation and asset prices which has made those with assets wealthier and wealthier at the expense of those who don’t – this is known as ‘rentier capitalism’. The financial sector (the heart of the wealth extraction industry) went from being an industry that supports the rest of the economy to being the industry the rest of the economy is forced to support. It has stretched its supply chains to global length to pit nations and workers against each other to compete for low wages and low regulation. It has casualised employment and made it more and more insecure, again to extract more wealth by paying workers less.

It has taken out the profits from its production and distribution process but it has left the public purse to pick up all the costs, like paying for poverty and fighting climate change. It has build a complex tax avoidance system to extract more wealth, this time from the public purse and has pushed for more and more privatisation of things that used to be owned collectively. And it has continually reduced democratic control over the economy by removing economic legal power from nation states through coercive trade deals. But of course it has never really abided by its own doctrines – not only has economic protectionism continued (mainly at the expense of the global south) it has demanded continual subsidy during the good times but demanded massive bailouts when things go wrong.

It has resulted in increasing economic and geographic inequality, has brutalised workers in developing nations and caused the environmental crises that now threaten life on earth. But it is the Covid crisis that has really exposed its weaknesses. It is not the lack of economic demand which is causing most business failures but rather the debt liability they have been driven into because of the debt economy. The long supply chains are breaking down because they were designed not to maximise wellbeing but to maximise wealth extraction. And it is the casualisation of the workforce which has left so many people so economically vulnerable and therefore relying on state aid to survive.

Many senior economists and central bankers have been warning about the dangers of the fragility in the system since the last financial crisis. Everyone at least seems to accept that there must be major change to avert a climate crisis – and now we can see just how lacking in resilience our economy really is. So there must be change.

Now read on.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should note that I have advised Common Weal in the past, but had no involvement in this report.

The SNP voted with Scottish Tories against country-by-country reporting yesterday: it was not their finest hour

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 21/05/2020 - 6:51pm in

Tags 

scotland

The Scottish Parliament debated its second Coronavirus Bill yesterday. It was a heated debate, but I am only concerned with two amendments, which were numbers 93 and 94, both proposed by Patrick Harvie, the co-leader of the Greens in Scotland.

Amendment 93 sought to deny bailout funds to companies located in tax havens. It passed, having been worked on jointly for a week or so with the SNP.

Amendment 94 required that companies receiving bailout funds publish country-by-country reports so that it could be ensured that they were not operating in tax havens.

The acrimony of the day, which saw the SNP and Tories aligning on most measures, was reflected on this issue where the voting was as follows:

The same party lines were followed yesterday to vote through many measures that were quite oppressive.

It was not the SNP's finest hour, not least because they voted directly against their own tax policy which says:

We want the UK government to take much tougher action on tax avoidance, including:

  • a moratorium and review of the closure of HMRC offices in Scotland and across the UK;
  • a full and immediate response to the review into Scottish Limited Partnerships;
  • enhanced protection for whistle blowers exposing tax criminality;
  • simplifying the UK tax code to close exploitative loopholes such as the Mayfair Loophole;
  • action to make the beneficial ownership of companies and trusts public;
  • further measures to improve the transparency of tax paid by major international companies; and
  • new action to tackle international tax avoidance.

If the UK government is unwilling to take the action that is required, they should devolve the powers required to the Scottish Parliament so we can act.

I have highlighted the relevant parts they ignored yesterday.

Is there just a chink of light in the SNP opposition to fiscal independence for the country?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 14/05/2020 - 11:18pm in

There is interesting commentary on BBC Scotland this morning for those who follow Scittosh monetary affairs. They note:

Andrew Wilson, an economist and former SNP MSP, had earlier told the Good Morning Scotland programme that the UK and Scottish governments should discuss the idea of changing the devolution settlement to allow the Scottish government to issue its own bonds as a way of helping to fund universities and other devolved areas.

Mr Wilson, the author of the SNP's Growth Commission report on the finances of a future independent Scotland, said there was "no reason" why this could not happen.

Could it be that Wilson, who was the principal author of the truly terrible SNP Growth Commission report, which would condemn Scotland to decades of austerity if it was to be followed after independence, has seen just a little bit of light? Does he now, just maybe, think that fiscal independence would be the right thing for Scotland? I rather hope so.

It's only fair to note though that the dinosaurs are still out there. As the same article noted:

Mr [Alistair] Darling, who led the Better Together campaign ahead of the 2014 independence referendum, said he had no problem with this in principle.

But he said the reality was that the UK would be able to secure better rates for its bonds than Scotland could, because it has its own central bank which can keep interest rates low and therefore cut the borrowing cost.

When will he realise that shackling anyone to the yoke of London's incompetence makes no sense, especially when there is a viable alternative, and as low an interest rate possibility for an independent Scotland that would mainly be selling its bonds to its own domestic population? I would be staggered if an independent Scotland could not have a very large domestic market for 'Save for Scotland' products.

Yes, I know all the MMT issues around the phrase: I also know that borrowing domestically delivers robustness that is vital.

BBC World Service Programme Next Tuesday on Scientists Generating Electricity from Leaves

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 14/05/2020 - 2:49am in

This sounds completely bonkers, like the academy discussing ways to generate sunlight from cucumbers in Swift’s great satire, Gulliver’s Travels, but apparently is real science. According to the Radio Times again, next Tuesday, 19th May 2020, the BBC World Service programme, People Fixing the World, is about how scientists have found a way to generate electricity from leaves. The blurb about the programme by Tom Goulding on page 120 of the Radio Times runs

Money might not grow on trees, but scientists in Italy might have discovered the next best thing: leaves that generate electricity when they touch one another on a windy day. This process, enough to power 150 LED lights, is one of several remarkably simple ways of producing energy that scientists are just beginning to understand. In this optimistic documentary, reporter Daniel Gordon investigates some age-old ideas that could finally become viable renewable energy sources with new technology, such as the interaction between fresh and salt water at estuaries and a 5 km well being dug to extract untapped heat in Iceland.

The programme is on at 3.05 in the afternoon.

This sound really awesome, though it reminds me a little of the ‘treeborg’, a cyborg tree aboard a spaceship in a Matt Smith Dr. Who story, and also somewhat of the Matrix films, in which the robots have risen up and enslaved humanity. Unable to use sunlight after humanity wrecked the planet’s whether and created permanently overcast skies, the machines turned instead to growing us all in bottles and using the electricity generated from our bodies. Fortunately, I don’t think that’s a viable option. After the movie came out, people naturally wondered whether that could actually work. And the answer is, that it doesn’t. The amount of electricity generated by the human body is way too small. Nevertheless, reading this in the Radio Times makes you wonder if someone couldn’t harness it to provide useful power, nonetheless. Should the producers of this programme be giving them ideas?

Going on to geothermal power, I can remember in the 1970s watching items about it in Iceland on the popular science programmes’ Tomorrow’s World on the Beeb and Don’t Ask Me on ITV. That was the programme that gave the viewing public the great science broadcasters Magnus Pike and David ‘Botanic Man’ Bellamy.

I haven’t heard of electricity being generated by the interaction between fresh and salt water before, but I was amazed at how long ago tidal power has been around as a possible power source. Turbine wheels were put in the Thames estuary in the 16th century to provide power for mills. George Bernard Shaw also mentions tidal power in his book, The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism and Fascism. As an example of the type of wrangling that goes on in parliamentary democracy, he asks the reader to imagine the type of fierce debate that would occur if someone suggested putting up a tidal barrage in one of Britain’s great rivers. There would be a fiery contingent from Wales arguing that it should be on the Severn, and an equally fierce body of proud Scots declaring it should be on one of their rivers. I don’t think he need have worried. There have been debates about building a barrage on the Severn since I was at secondary school, and it’s no nearer being built because of concerns over its ecological effects.

But this programme sound amazing. I thinks there’s a simple science experiment for children, in which electrodes are stuck into a lemon or potato, and connected together to turn on an electric lightbulb. Will we be doing something similar in our gardens in a few years’ time, just as people are now putting solar panels on their rooves?

 

For how much longer can Scotland stay in the Union?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 11/05/2020 - 6:41pm in

Tags 

Politics, scotland

Johnson spoke last night.

By universal consent, his speech was bad.

It was confusing.

Amongst the waffle, it was almost impossible to discern what he was actually saying.

When anything could be worked out it was obvious that it was technically incompetent.

And what he never made clear was that he was only speaking for England. The rules for Scotland, Wakes and Nothern Ireland are created by their governments. But Johnson never said so. And that was not just grossly incompetent. And rude. And unconstitutional. It was inept as well.

Ben Wray has addressed this well on Source Direct this morning, saying:

The fissures between devolved administrations and No 10 are now a serious crisis of the UK state. Since the public health response clearly takes precedence and is now led from Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, the reserved parts of government which remain in lockstep with Whitehall are now a major liability for the Scottish, Welsh and NI governments. The most critical risk is the centralised control of the furlough scheme, because if Chancellor Rishi Sunak decides to begin winding down the payment of wages for 6.8 million UK workers (370,000 in Scotland), that de facto brings the lockdown to an end, as the hand of millions of workers are forced (if they have a job to return to at all). One report has stated that Sunak will move as early as Tuesday to begin the process of ending the furlough scheme. The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon must demand a devolved administration veto on any changes to the furlough scheme if the credibility of the Scottish lockdown is to be maintained.

Johnson may not care about that credibility. The people of Scotland, Wales and Northern  Ireland do.

Johnson can make few errors of judgement as bad as the one he made in broadcasting as he did last night and survive, most especially when the Tories don't like what he had to say as they want to end lockdown now, believing that their core supporters will be safe, come what may, as statistically may well be true.

The chance that Johnson will make the end of this year as PM look increasingly unlikely to me.

The chance that Independence in Scotland will be very much back on the agenda is at least as high.

I may be wrong, but last night helped both causes.

They are not unrelated. And I suspect no Tory could reverse the momentum in Scotland if Johnson makes another blunder of this scale.

Lobster on the Prosecution of Craig Murray and Mountbatten, Mosley and the Abortive 1968 Coup Against Wilson

Robin Ramsay, the head honcho of the parapolitics site Lobster, has just updated the ‘News from the Bridge’ section of the current issue, no. 79, with some very interesting little snippets. One of these is about the current prosecution by the Scots authorities of Craig Murray for contempt of court.

Craig Murray and the Possible Framing of Alex Salmond

Murray’s crime is that he commented online about Alex Salmond’s trial while it was happening, stating that he believes that Salmond was framed by the Scottish state. Murray also knows four other people, also supporters of Scots independence, who have similarly been visited by the cops from the ‘Alex Salmond’ team, because they also blogged or posted about the case. Murray says, as quoted by Lobster,

The purpose of this operation against free speech is a desperate attempt to keep the lid on the nature of the state conspiracy to fit up Alex Salmond. Once the parliamentary inquiry starts, a huge amount of evidence of conspiracy which the court did not allow the defence to introduce in evidence during the criminal trial, will be released. The persecution of myself is an attempt to intimidate independent figures into not publishing anything about it.The lickspittle media of course do not have to be intimidated. To this end, I am charged specifically with saying that the Alex Salmond case was a fitup and a conspiracy in which the Crown Office was implicated. So I thought I would say it again now:

The Alex Salmond case was a fit-up and a conspiracy in which the Crown Office was implicated, foiled by the jury. If Scotland is the kind of country where you go to jail for saying that, let me get my toothbrush.’ (emphasis in the original)

I honestly don’t know how credible this allegation is. Unfortunately, powerful men do take sexual advantage of the women around them, as the Harvey Weinstein scandal has glaringly showed. But Salmond was acquitted because he was able to show that he was not where he was alleged and with the women he was accused of assaulting at the time the attacks were supposed to have been committed. The suggestion that Salmond was framed by the Scots state, presumably to prevent Scotland gaining independence, does seem to pass beyond the limits of credibility. It looks like a conspiracy theory in the pejorative sense of the term.

Unfortunately, the British state does smear opposition politicians. IRD did it in the 1970s when they falsified all manner of documents and manufactured fake reports, published in various newspapers and magazines, that Labour politicians like Tony Benn were IRA or Communist sympathisers and agents of the Soviet Union when they definitely weren’t. We’ve seen the same tactics revived just last year, when they were used by the Democracy Initiative and its parent body, the Institute for Statecraft, against Jeremy Corbyn and other European politicos and public figures, who were deemed too close to Putin. And far from being a private company, the Democracy Initiative had links to MI5 and the cyberwarfare branch of the SAS.

The Beeb also played its part in broadcasting disinformation about Salmond and Scots independence. Remember the way the Corporation successively edited the answer Salmond gave Nick Robinson to a question about how it would affect the Edinburgh financial sector. Robinson asked him if he was worried that the big financial houses in the Scots capital would move south if Scotland ever became independent. Salmond gave a full reply, stating that this would not be the case. This was edited down during the day so that first it appeared that Salmond didn’t give a proper reply, before it was finally edited out altogether. Nick Robinson then claimed in the final report about it that Salmond hadn’t answered the question.

Britain has also intervened in other countries to remove politicians that were deemed an obstacle or a threat to British interests. These were mostly interference in the elections and politics of former colonies and independent states in the Developing World, like the coup that overthrew Iran’s Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq in 1953. But the British governor of Australia was also persuaded by the Tories to remove Gough Whitlam from office in the 1970s in an overt display of British power.

Scottish independence is a threat to the continued existence of Great Britain as a state. It also has powerful implications for Britain as a global power. Mike or one of the great left-wing bloggers has stated that if Scotland did become independent, Britain would no longer be large or populous enough to hold a position on the UN security council. While a covert campaign to frame and discredit Salmond seems incredible to me, I honestly don’t think it can be fairly discounted.

Mountbatten and Mosley as Figureheads for an Anti-Wilson Coup

The other snippet that I found particularly interesting ultimately comes from Andrew Lounie’s new e-book The Mountbattens. The books follows a number of others in stating that in 1968 the former viceroy of India was approached by the chairman of the Mirror group, Cecil King, to help overthrow Harold Wilson and form a government of national unity. This is similar to the proposals for other coups against Wilson made in the middle of the next decade, the ’70s. See Francis Wheen’s book, Strange Days Indeed. What boggles my mind, however, is that before King approached Mountbatten, he’d gone to Paris to ask Oswald Mosley if he’d be interested. How anyone could ever believe that a Fascist storm trooper like Mosley could ever be an acceptable leader of any kind of British regime, or that a country that had interned him and fought against the political order he represented during the War would ever accept him, is frankly incredible. Mountbatten had met King with the government’s scientific adviser, Solly Zuckerman. When King mentioned that he’d met Mosley, Zuckerman walked out followed by Mountbatten. This is the standard version of the event. Lounie’s book differs from this by claiming that Mountbatten didn’t particularly object to becoming the head of such a junta, and was even taken with the idea.

The book also claims that Mountbatten was bisexual, and recklessly pursued younger men. He was also, it is alleged, supplied with boys from the Kincora Boys’ Home.

I hadn’t read before that King had tried to interest Oswald Mosley in leading a British government after a military coup. This is significant in that it shows that some elements of the British media establishment were more than willing to install a real Fascist as leader rather than tolerate a democratically elected socialist government under a leader they despised, like Wilson. 

See:https://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lobster79/lob79-view-from-the-bridge.pdf

and scroll down to find the snippets ‘Craig Murray under attack’, and ‘The Mountbattens’.

 

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