SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT WRITTEN ANSWER
8 June 2012 Index Heading: Strategy and External Affairs
Kenneth Gibson (Cunninghame North) (Scottish National Party): To ask the Scottish Executive where Scotland would rank on the table, Regional GDP per capita in the EU27 in 2009, published by Eurostat on 13 March 2012, had account been taken of Scotland's economic share of the UK's national air-space, territorial waters and the continental shelf lying in international waters over which the UK enjoys exclusive rights, territorial exclaves including deposits of oil and natural gas.
Mr John Swinney: An illustrative estimate of Scottish GDP with a geographic share of Extra Regio output (GDP), suggests that Scotland would have been ranked 5th in terms of GDP per capita against the 27 EU countries in 2009.
This estimate has been produced using data from Eurostat, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the National Records of Scotland (NRS), and the Scottish National Accounts Project (SNAP). The methodology used to produce these estimates is the same as set out in the note Scotland’s International GDP Per Capita Ranking, which was published on the Scottish Government website in March 2012 and can be found at - http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0039/00390896.pdf.
Sunday, 10 June 2012
SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT WRITTEN ANSWER
Friday, 23 September 2011
The Purple Gang operated out of Detroit, Michigan during Prohibition, running bootleg alcohol. gangsters and outlaws
We’ve had Old Red Labour and New Labour, and Blue Labour, an attempt to recover something from the wreckage of the Party left by the Blair, Brown, Mandelson Gang. Now we have Purple Labour - an attempt to salvage the reputation and influence of New Labour, whilst accommodating itself to Ed Miliband’s view of the Party, which in an attempt to reflect his customary crystalline clarity, could be described as
“I hate New Labour, but the bastards are still around and rich, and my brother is one of them, and I‘d love to dump them, but I can’t, and I can’t go back to the old cloth cap Labour, so I’ll have to pretend to go back to Old Labour, but I’ll call it Blue Labour, because we’re closer to the Tories really, and we can’t apologies for our murderous, incompetent foreign and economic policies, but we must move forward, so maybe we should call it Purple Labour, just to give the idea that we’re somewhere between New Labour and Tories, but with a tiny, nostalgic bit of red in there for the proles, and I’ll get a former Home Secretary who was dumped for expenses scandals and porno videos – no, that was her husband – to front end it …”
I have done my best to paraphrase what goes on in Miliband Minor’s wee heid, which is not an easy task believe me.
In times like these, one must have recourse to Machiavelli, but this is always dangerous, because Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli has had a bad press over the centuries, and picking quotes invites others to cherry pick as well. Machiavelli was trying to stay afloat in early 16th century Italy, having lost his place as Secretary of the Republic of Florence when the Medici took power.
He was a true Renaissance man, literate, musical – a composer and playwright as well as a diplomat, and probably wanted to be left alone, but the Medici were not to be messed with, and Niccolò was not their pal. Having been tortured by the Medici by strappado – being pulled up on a rope affixed to his hands tied behind his back, and with Cesare Borgia around, not to mention his nice sister Lucrezia, whose Dad became Pope, Machiavelli had to be careful. Diplomat though he was, he could have used a spin doctor to get him a better press. A medieval John McTernan could have helped, by writing articles for the Florentian equivalent of the Scotsman along the lines of What the Medici Must Do!
But enough of this historical musing, let’s get to what the man said, and pick a quote or two -
“ … it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new.”
Take heed, Edward – you number your brother among this group, and the Milibands have been about as familial as the Borgia’s of late. As for the New Labour Gang, well, they’re not going to lie down and die while the new Blue Gang muscles in on their territory, and the Purple Gang merger is not bonded by anything resembling values, principles or common humanity, just a lust for power at any price. And as has been observed, when red, blue and purples get mashed together on the palette of desperation, it tends to turn into merde – and the Merde Gang has even more unfortunate overtones than the others, however apposite the title might be.
THE BOOZE AND FAGS BIG FOUR
While we’re on the subject of Prohibition and the abuse of alcohol, we must remind ourselves that booze and fags are a major problem for Scotland. I support the responsible alcohol industry (I made my living from it for many years), and properly regulated public house and a properly regulated alcohol industry are important parts of our social fabric. Exports of Scotch whisky are of major importance to Scotland’s economy. But the abuse of alcohol is not an abuse significantly linked to the expensive blends and single malts beloved by the connoisseurs – it is principally caused by the amoral marketing of cheap booze by the big supermarket chains, often by loss-leading on price.
Minimum pricing will soon have its positive impact on that, now that a principled government with a majority can legislate in the way that they were blocked from doing in the last Parliament by an unprincipled opposition, including the tartan branch of the Purple Gang. But while the damage persists, and its consequence have to be paid for, it is fair and just that the obscenely rich and profitable big chains who peddle the cheap booze and the lethal fags should contribute to limiting the damage they have done to our society. The cost to them will be about 0.3% of their huge turnovers, and the amount it will yield is only £5m more than the £33m combined salaries of the CEOs of the Big Four.
In fact if they want to avoid the tax, since they are already fabulously rich men, they can donate their salaries to the health and crime programmes required by the damage they have done. The remaining £5m can be found in the face of such a magnanimous and long overdue gesture.
Today, on The Politics Show on BBC, Kenneth Gibson patiently explained the rationale for the Scottish Government’s Tesco Tax on large retailers of booze and fags to a group of metropolitan numpties, including a PR front man for the industry by the name of Opie, and a former Blair speechwriter.
They wilfully misunderstood and misrepresented the purpose of the tax in their comments - or were just plain stupid - but were genuinely baffled by a government that puts its people and human values before the greed and cynicism of the peddlers of cheap drink and cigarettes who obscenely enrich their top executives, aided as always by the complicit and values-free London political parties.
That's why the Scottish people elected this government, you a******** - that's why they want out of the big money client state - the UK.
Wednesday, 22 December 2010
A cordial exchange of tweets with Rachel Johnson over the Scottish national delicacy and its alternative use as a missile.
I have to hand it to Rachel – she has a sense of humour and the family quality of not taking herself too seriously. I like her in spite of myself …
moridura Peter Curran
RachelSJohnson Rachel Johnson
@moridura yup. Will be in stocks outside the clootie dumpling on the main street waiting for the haggis-pelting to commence
moridura Peter Curran
@RachelSJohnson I've asked them to reprieve you, Rachel. You have rendered an invaluable service to the cause of Scotland's independence.
Friday, 17 December 2010
I miss The Daily Politics with Andrew Neil every Thursday because I am watching FMQs from Holyrood. But I missed a good one on Thursday, however, thanks to it being brought to my attention and the BBC iPlayer, I managed to see it, and it was a satisfying and rewarding experience.
Kenneth Gibson MSP gave a barnstorming performance, firing at will on the shaky positions of Andrew Neil and his two hapless guests. If ever the flaky arguments of the UK were exposed in all their sordid reality, this was it, and on the topic of the moment – the Scottish position on tuition fees…
Andrew Neil had a Tory MP, Peter Bone, and Rachel Johnson, Editor of The Lady. Interesting choices …
Peter Bone, after unsuccessful attempts at a Welsh Parliamentary seat and the European Parliament, was chosen as the Tory candidate for Pudsey in 1997, after the retirement of its long-serving Tory MP. In spite of a national swing to Labour of only 10%, he managed to lose the seat to Labour on a swing of 13.2%.
In 2001, he fought the marginal Labour seat of Wellingborough (majority 187) during an election when there was a national swing to the Tories of 1.75%. But he failed to take the seat – in fact, there was a swing to Labour of 2.1%. But he managed to take it in 2005, with a swing of 2.9%at the peak of Tony Blair’s Iraq unpopularity with a national swing to the Tories of 3.1%.
Bone is a very active asker-of-questions in the House, but the They Work for You site referred to him as one of three new MPs who inflated their internet ratings by “saying very little, very often …” Other exciting comments from him include saying that the NHS would not have been out of place in Stalin’s Russia. He is a cricketer and is described as bowling left arm around the wicket with varying degrees of success, which perhaps explains his performance on the programme.
Rachel Johnson’s claim to fame - and presumably her place on a heavyweight political programme - is that she is Boris Johnson’s sister, and the new editor of The Lady magazine – judge it for yourselves. (For an idea of what she has been up to, read Zoe Williams – Guardian on her editorial style.)
And this odd duo of diehard unionists were invited to comment on the Scottish Government’s position on the topic that is rending the capital city of the Union apart with riots and attacks on the Heir to the Throne and the Duchess of Cornwall in their roller. The programme could have been a big yawn …
But Andrew Neil is a mischievous bugger, and a journalist first and foremost, and being a Thatcherite Tory and Unionist come second to this allegiance, to his credit. So he invited Kenneth Gibson, Scottish National Party MSP to enliven what otherwise would have been a leaden mix, and oor Kenny did us proud …
I won’t spoil your fun by analysing what followed in this blog (maybe tomorrow) – suffice it to say that more evidence was provided of the widening fault lines in the Union and that the UK is on its last legs, even though, like all rotten structures concealed by a hefty coat of paint, it may stand for a long time yet.
Watch and enjoy!