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Member since: Sat Nov 12, 2011, 02:37 PM
Number of posts: 1,684

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Who elects the UK government?

Max number of MPs by country

England = 533
Wales = 40
N Ireland = 18
Scotland = 59
total = 650

Ruling Conservative party MPs from each

England = 298 seats
Wales = 8 seats
Scotland = 1 seat, a mandate of one

Democratic deficit? you bet.

Posted by MichaelMcGuire | Wed Dec 28, 2011, 06:21 PM (7 replies)

The Churchill you didn't know

I will not pretend that, if I had to choose between communism and nazism, I would choose communism.
Speaking in the House of Commons, autumn 1937
I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes.
Writing as president of the Air Council, 1919

It is alarming and nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half naked up the steps of the viceregal palace, while he is still organising and conducting a campaign of civil disobedience, to parlay on equal terms with the representative of the Emperor-King.
Commenting on Gandhi's meeting with the Viceroy of India, 1931

(India is) a godless land of snobs and bores.
In a letter to his mother, 1896

I do not admit... that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia... by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race... has come in and taken its place.
Churchill to Palestine Royal Commission, 1937



Some of this is also news to me, Churchill's a bigger arse than I thought he was.
Posted by MichaelMcGuire | Tue Dec 27, 2011, 05:27 PM (32 replies)

Interest: The Stone of Destiny

Also known as the Stone of Scone..

Above Ian Hamilton (Ring leader) that liberated the Stone of Destiny in 1950.

It was, Ian Hamilton calmly acknowledges, the moment of no return. ''You sort of know that when you take a crowbar to a side door of Westminster Abbey and jemmy the lock that there isn't really any going back, don't you?'' he says philosophically. ''Not when you know that the next thing you are going to do is steal one of the ancient relics inside.''

Hamilton is lost in reverie for a moment. A wry smile crosses his face and then a thought strikes him. ''Not,'' he says urgently, ''that it was stealing. It was a liberation. A returning of a venerable relic to its rightful ownership.''

Hamilton stretches out his legs and turns his gaze to the slate gray waters of Loch Lomond. ''Of course back then I didn't realise the scale of the thing. That it would become an international incident,'' he says, with the air of a man who has been describing something no more outrageous than picking the lock of his own front door after forgetting the key.

Almost 60 years ago, on Christmas Day 1950, Hamilton, then a brash and idealistic young student studying law at Glasgow University, became notorious in England and achieved nigh-on hero status in his native Scotland when he and a trio of friends staged one of the most audacious heists imaginable. In a caper worthy of an Ealing comedy, they motored from Glasgow to London (in those days no mean feat), broke into the Abbey, and stole the symbol of Scottish pride, the Stone of Scone – with one of the ''thieves'' breaking two toes when it fell on them.

The borders were closed, a posse of police vans gave chase, and a national outcry ensued. Whereupon our intrepid quartet calmly held the Stone hostage, deftly tap-danced their way through police interviews and triumphantly ended the escapade by evading arrest. The Scots were ecstatic. The English, by contrast, were bewildered. Was it, they asked themselves, a student jape or an insult to the majesty of the British state?

By Olga Craig
For further reading visit below

A beautiful song which documents the return "Oran na Cloiche"
Best version in my view sung by Kathleen MacInnes
Posted by MichaelMcGuire | Mon Dec 26, 2011, 05:23 PM (10 replies)

Madame Ecosse

Videos yet again from BBC Alba. Of a woman I very much admire.

part one

part two

part three

part four

part five

part six
Posted by MichaelMcGuire | Sun Dec 25, 2011, 10:25 AM (0 replies)


A interesting programme from BBC Alba

part one

part two

part three

part four

part five

part six

Enjoy and Merry Christmas
Posted by MichaelMcGuire | Sun Dec 25, 2011, 09:13 AM (0 replies)

Sir Gus O’Donnell: The UK faces break-up

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Posted by MichaelMcGuire | Thu Dec 22, 2011, 12:18 PM (4 replies)

War, Aggression and State Crime

Ronald C. Kramer and Raymond J. Michalowski


In this article, we argue that the 2003 US/UK invasion and occupation of Iraq was a form of state crime and offer a criminological analysis of the event. First, we describe how the war on Iraq violated the UN Charter and international humanitarian law. Then, we provide a narrative analysis of the historical and contemporary origins of this crime through the lens of an integrated model for the study of organizational deviance that has proved useful in the analysis of a number of other upper-world crimes. A key part of our explanation of this war resides in the dynamics of America’s long-standing will to empire coupled with the imperial designs of neoconservative policy makers within the Bush administration.

LINK: http://bjc.oxfordjournals.org/content/45/4/446.short


A good read on the Iraqi invasion and occupation of Iraq
Posted by MichaelMcGuire | Sat Dec 17, 2011, 02:04 PM (3 replies)

Bella Caledonia

Artist: Alasdair Gray

"personifies Scotland as a strong woman with a passion for social justice".
Posted by MichaelMcGuire | Tue Dec 13, 2011, 05:23 PM (0 replies)

Dave’s Big Adventure

{SNIP} By Mike Small
Dave’s Big Adventure yesterday has the Tory right and far-right dancing with glee. He’s being compared to Churchill for walking away from Europe (as far I remember Churchill stood by Europe but let’s not quibble it’s the action they’ve been ganting for for decades). For some this is a great bat to beat the nationalist movement. But to the Twitter question ‘Why would Scotland want to join an unelected superstate?’ the answer quickly came, ‘We’re part of an unelected superstate, called Britain’. {SNIP}

LINK: http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2011/12/10/daves-big-adventure/#more-4755
Posted by MichaelMcGuire | Tue Dec 13, 2011, 04:22 PM (0 replies)

Transition Branching Out? Land Reform: Losing and Recovering the Commons


By Justin Kenrick

The Transition to Unsustainability:

The morning mist obscures the mountain, and smoke rises through the thatched roofs of the round or oblong earth and wood walled huts, as people, goats, sheep and cows wake . .

Cows munch on the nearby grass, their bells tinkling, goats call from their little huts on stilts where they have slept overnight, pooing and peeing through the slatted wooden floor, and sheep emerge from the room they have slept in at the end of the oblong houses. There are two other rooms in the oblong homes: one for the family, and the other a large room that acts as kitchen and living room with its firepit in the middle of the earth-floor. There were ten of us sleeping on that floor after talking, music and laughter late into the night.

This is one of the villages where the Ogiek live in their ancestral homeland of Chepkitale on the slopes of Mt Elgon, Kenya. We are here to assess whether their ways of living are compatible with conservation’s stated aim of conserving the high moorland they live in, and conserving the forests on the lower slopes that they use for their cattle in the dry season, and for honey and for gathering fallen wood. I am working for a human rights NGO that the Ogiek have asked to help stop them from being evicted. We have brought a team of conservationists, of local councillors and Western NGOs to evaluate their way of living. It quickly becomes clear that they are living in a way that is a million times more sustainable than any of us who are evaluating them. Their knowledge of medicinal herbs is profound, their answers to sceptical conservationists shows a depth of understanding of their environment born out of generations of ensuring that the forest and wildlife and livestock are all kept in balance since this is the source of their well-being. In such a system, it is very clear that there is no contradiction between self-interest and inter-species altruism.


Link: http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2011/12/13/transition-branching-out-land-reform-losing-and-recovering-the-commons/#more-4779
Posted by MichaelMcGuire | Tue Dec 13, 2011, 03:31 PM (0 replies)
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