Thursday, 31 March 2016


Maybe Mr Cameron (or more likely Mr Osborne, who seems to be in love with the Chinese) would care to explain why, when the EU is trying to stem the flow of cheap Chinese steel, he has blocked it.
Could it be that the 40,000+ odd jobs in the steel industry in the UK are less important than George having a special relationship with Beijing?
Maybe it's just that the Eton boy like supping ale with Presidents of big important countries, and Mr Obama isn't that keen on supping ale with unimportant wannabes, so second best president will have to do?
Or maybe George (I'm not very photogenic, but things go better with coke) Osborne likes being invited to China on luxury all-expenses-covered holidays?

You have to wonder if their promise to make the UK China's best partner in the West has meant that they were prepared to block Europe's attempts to bolster their domestic steel industries. (Bet the Europeans secretly can't wait to see the back of them.)

After all Port Talbot is in Wales, Labour territory, most of the other plants are in the North... and there are not too many Tories to worry about there. 

The rest are in Scotland. And since when were they interested in Scotland? Poorest of pickings for the Tories. They can sort it out for themselves (which they did!)

On the other hand the Chinese throw a good banquet!

In other news Mr Cameron says he will not renationalise the company. Bailing out bankers is one thing; bailing out steel workers, quite another. After all steel workers don't take one to lunch at the best Mayfair eateries!

Anyone seen the English Business Secretary?

Or indeed the Welsh Business Minister?



This is, allegedly, an election leaflet for Willie Rennie.

In it he points out that he will not "sit silent while our area is ignored" if he is elected as the constituency MSP.

He also says that he has been one of the area MSPs for the last five years.

Then he notes that the area HAS been ignored for the last five years, ...erm, that would be the five years when he was one of its voices in parliament. 

He appears to have found a voice.

It's hardly what anyone sentient would put in an election address. So much so that I found it difficult to believe that it was a genuine leaflet, and although I saw it last night, I was dubious about publishing it

However throwing caution to the wind, and mindful that it was from the Liberal Democrats, I thought I'd put it out there and see if any of Munguin's readers has actually seen a copy of this, or can confirm that it is real.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016


But don't worry, trusty Munguin readers, as my Twitter friend @dtaylor5633 points out, Cameron and Blair McDougal's broad shoulders will have this covered.  

They told us that our pensions, state or private, would be safe in their United Kingdom. Indeed, there were people who knocked on old people's doors and told them their state pension would stop on Independence Day.

So much so that even the unionist Department of Work and Pensions were forced to issue a statement reassuring people that it was not so.

Likewise with private pensions, we were told that they wouldn't be able to cope with the financial uncertainty of an independent Scotland. That our investments would only be safe if we stayed together and pooled and shared, the UKOK way, in our good old, stable, United Kingdom.

So, the question is, were they lying about this, as they were about so much else, or are the likes of Cameron and McDonut on it?

Monday, 28 March 2016


A little old couple walked slowly into a McDonald's one cold winter evening. They looked out of place amid the young families and young couples eating there that night. Some of the customers looked admiringly at them. You could tell what the admirers were thinking. "Look, there is a couple who has been through a lot together, probably for 60 years or more!" 

The little old man walked up to the cash register, placed his order with no hesitation and then paid for their meal. The couple took a table near the back wall and started taking food off of the tray. There was one hamburger, one order of french fries and one drink. The little old man unwrapped the plain hamburger and carefully cut it in half. He placed one half in front of the little old lady. Then he carefully counted out the French fries, divided them in two piles and neatly placed one pile in front of her. He took a sip of the drink, and then she took a sip as the man began to eat his few bites. Again, you could tell what people around the old couple were thinking. "That poor old couple." As the old man began to eat his French fries, one young man stood and came over to the old couples' table. 

He politely offered to buy another meal. The old man replied that they were just fine. They were used to sharing everything. 

Then the crowd noticed that the little old lady hadn't eaten a thing...she just sat there watching him eat and occasionally sipped some of the drink. Again, the young man came over and begged them to let him buy them something to eat. 

This time, the lady explained that no, they were used to sharing. As the little old man finished eating and was wiping his face neatly with a napkin, the young man could stand it no longer and asked again. After being politely refused again, he finally asked the little old lady, "Ma'am, why aren't you eating. You said that you share everything. What is it that you are waiting for?" She answered.... 

The teeth!!! 
And there was me thinking that sheep didn't have dogs!
Apple watch!
One day God and Adam were walking in the garden. God told Adam it was time to populate the earth. 

He told Adam, "Adam, you can start by kissing Eve." Adam replied "God, what is a kiss?" 

God told Adam and Adam went and took Eve behind the bush and kissed her. A little while later, Adam came back out with a big smile and said "Wow Lord! That was great!! What next?" 

God said, "Adam, I now want you to caress Eve." Adam says, "Lord what is a caress?" God explained it to Adam and he again took her behind the bush. 

A little while later, he came out and said "Lord that was even better than a kiss! What next." God said, "Here is what gets the deed done. I now want you to take Eve and make love to her." 

Adam said "Lord, what is to make love?" God explained and Adam took Eve behind the bush and a few seconds later came out and said "Lord, what is a headache?"

Saturday, 26 March 2016


1: Morning. I'm still in bed....
3: Shetland Pony from (I think) Gerry.
4: From Frank
5: From Frank 
6:Isle of Man
7: Bora Bora.
9: Termination, Alaska.

10: England.
12: From Panda Paws
14: The bridge
15: Berwick
16: From Panda paws
19: Norway
20: Bye then till next week, I'm off to get my hair combed, whether it needs it or not!


Don't forget to turn your clocks forward tonight.

Thursday, 24 March 2016


It is thought that, had the Scottish public voted YES in September 2014, today is the day that we would have become independent.

Well, we didn't, and crying over spilt milk is as pointless as expecting George Osborne to be able to count past 10 without taking his shoes off,  Philip Hammond to get past the first sentence of a speech without everyone falling asleep, or the Tory Cabinet to come down hard on fat cat tax abusers and leave sick folk alone for a bit.

Going by the polls, on the back of a series of promises made by Better Together representatives, Scotland decided to stay in a hugely reformed United Kingdom.

Singa-longa-Gordon: God save the Queen.
Most notably Gordon Brown, on behalf of the two British political leaders who could possibly be prime minister at the time of independence, Cameron and Miliband, promised "as near federalist government as is possible in a union where 85% of the population live in one state". And, appearing on a television debate for young people alongside Ruth Davidson, speaking for the union on behalf of Better Together, George Galloway (couldn't Labour have fielded someone?) promised Devo-super-max. Whatever that was.

Its an interesting thought that neither the prime minister nor the leader of the opposition felt sufficiently confident of their popularity in Scotland to bring their promise directly to the people themselves. They were obliged to find an ex prime minister, who it was thought still had some popularity here, to do it for them. That, if you think about it, is a fairly strong indictment. In short neither possible future prime minister held much sway in Scotland.

The two of us.
Moving on, there are those who said that the YES side would never have won, were not winning at any point, could not possibly win. But if that is true why did Cameron do his famous volte face at the last moment and authorise the devo max/federal promises, having specifically ruled these out at the beginning of the debate? 

A man within sight of the winning post doesn't suddenly make concessions  that he previously specifically ruled out. Nor does he sit up all night unable to sleep, and then, when he knows the result, telephone the head of state to hear her purr (like she didn't have a radio in Buckingham palace).

Well we all know what happened...

In voting NO, by a reasonable majority, we put ourselves at the mercy of the UK government, which most people predicted would be Tory, or a Tory led coalition for some years to come.

Who said I purred?
They set up the Smith Commission with a remit to provide a report on further devolution. (The 'max' and 'federal' words had disappeared by this time, replaced by 'further' or 'enhanced' devolution.)

I remember reading that the time scale allowed to Smith was so short that the members of the commission were given a matter of minutes to read every submission and discuss it... and there were thousands, from political parties, civic Scotland, unions, employers, churches, charities and individuals, most of which must have been left unread.

So four pro independence and six anti independence representatives sat down to discuss what they hadn't read, taking orders instead from their bosses. Then the commission reported, not, as had been expected, to the people of Scotland, but to the Tory led coalition cabinet, where some of the proposals were apparently scrapped. So that was fair. Or not.

Fluffy: What he lacks in intellectual rigour, he makes up for with sleakitness. Ask Annabel Goldie.
Thence to the House of Commons in the form of a Bill, presumably overseen by David (Fluffy) Mundell or, more appropriately, Muddle, now amazingly a cabinet minister with responsibility for Scotland, where every single amendment proposed by Scottish MPs was voted down. Imagine, every single one, voted down by the Tory and Labour English MPs, while they were introducing English Votes for English Laws. You'd have thought they might have let a few minor amendments through, if only for the sake of appearance.

The Smith Commission had a policy of 'no financial detriment to Scotland', but Mundell and Osborne had ignored this and it was foreseen that the Scotland Bill would cost Scotland £7 billion in the next parliament.

Fortunately for Scotland John Swinney and his department aren't fools and the Treasury was eventually forced to make changes which ensured no detriment. The alternative would have been that the Scottish government recommend voting against the Scotland Bill.

Well, if you brag about broad shoulders and pooling and sharing, you really have to be seen to deliver.

The actual opposition.
The one that doesn't go home early or abstain.
So, we are where we are. Today we aren't celebrating. It's just another Thursday, and the brightest thing we have to look forward to is the clocks going forward on Saturday night.

But, in the biggest ever shake up in Scottish political history, the UK election which followed the referendum by 8 months, most of our seats in parliament were won by pro independence MPs, some of whom are making a real mark on the proceedings in Westminster. 

So called Scottish Labour, under the leadership of hard right winger, Jim Irn Bru Crate Murphy, was all but removed from Westminster, losing 40 of their 41 seats. This must be the most humiliating defeat for a political "leader" anywhere, ever. 

Ena Sharples.
No wait, I'm told she was sharp tongued but  a decent soul.
So it must be Alistair Carmichael, her stunt double, in drag.
Likewise the Liberals who had always been proportionally better represented in Scotland than in the UK, were reduced to one member, losing 11 of their 12 seats, and leaving only one sad little man who had felt obliged to lie about the First Minister and the French Ambassador in an attempt to retain his seat. The Tories held on to their one seat with a vastly reduced majority.

The election for our own parliament is only weeks away, and without counting chickens, pro independence parties look set to take a majority of the seats.

We have some limited powers over income tax coming in a year's time, and we will be able to change the road signs, at least within the limits of international law. Fortunately for Labour we will be able to vary the Airport Passenger Tax. I say fortunately, because is seems that their manifesto is largely dependent on the money that this will bring in, together with a scheme to lower council tax on Band D houses, presumably because their leader lives in one.

So things are better than they were. As the wise folk say:

Slowly, slowly catchy monkey!

A far more detailed analysis of what has happened since the referendum can be found on Wings' Little Black Book.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016


One of the problems that any government, SNP, Tory or Labour will have when introducing legislation on wages is that companies will simply find ways around it.

Here is a letter from an employee of B&Q, the company which was firmly on the side of the NO campaign in our referendum and which issued warnings about paused investment if we voted YES, and, when the No side won, did more than pause investment. It closed stores all over the UK, including one which was handy to Munguin's Republic in Dundee.

The writer has called himself Kevin Smith in order to hide his identity. I hope his gender, location and career history have been similarly doctored, otherwise the management of B&Q should have little difficulty in identifying him.

It's amazing what big companies like this will do in order to avoid paying people a wage, which, although it is called "a living wage", is not.

He has a campaign going here. You might want to sign, if you think B&Q is acting unfairly. If you aren't a petition signing type, you may wish to consider your DIY shopping habits.

After their behaviour in the referendum and subsequent closing of stores, I restrict my shopping there to an absolute minimum. If I can get something elsewhere, then I will. I never cut off my nose to spite my face in boycotts*, but I spend a lot less there than I used to, and I'll spend even less now.

I wonder how proud Johann Lamont is of being associated with this company!

Here is the letter/petition.

I have worked for B&Q for over 5 years, I started in the business working as a part time customer advisor and have worked my way up to a management position. I live and work in a high cost living area of London. The past month has been one of the most difficult for me personally and as a manager.

In early February 2016, after the Government announced that the minimum wage would be increased to a new ‘national living wage’, B&Q ran a consultation of its pay and rewards framework. They proposed the following changes:

  • removal of time and a half pay for working Sundays,
  • restructuring of allowances for working in high cost of living areas of the UK
  • removal of double time for working bank holidays (now proposed to be 1.5) 
  • Removal of a summer and winter bonus equating to 6% of annual salary 

The full time customer advisors are being hit the hardest. Those who have worked within the business for over a decade and know our customers and our business the best are losing thousands of pounds a year. B&Q are asking people to sign their new terms and conditions of employment or they will be dismissed.

As a manager it has been incredibly difficult conducting consultations with people that are set to lose thousands of pounds and telling them that if they don’t sign by March 24th they will lose their job.

Big businesses like B&Q are using the national living wage as an excuse to cut overall pay and rewards for the people that need it the most. I feel ashamed to work for a business that treats their employees with so little respect. I feel ashamed to work for a business that proposes to pay neighbouring stores two separate rates of pay. I hope that there are others out there that feel the same and support this petition.

I hope that with the support of others, through signing this petition, we can influence B&Q and other businesses to reverse these changes. I also hope they acknowledge that treating people in this way will have a negative impact on their business in the future.

I've written this petition under a pseudonym to protect myself at work.

* I know I said I would boycott B&M, and I have done. That's not cutting of your nose, in my opinion because it's no effort to not go there. It's not a good store and it sells largely nasty tacky stuff, or goods you can get elsewhere, just as cheaply... Home Bargains, for example .