Johnson’s bridge to nowhere

It’s hardly surprising that there are reports that the UK Treasury has cancelled Boris Johnson’s grandiose scheme to construct a fixed link, either a bridge or a tunnel, between Scotland and Northern Ireland. Just about any engineering project is possible if money and resources are unlimited. A fixed link between Scotland and Northern Ireland could potentially overcome the massive challenges of the great depths of the Beaufort Dyke, the rapid and dangerous currents and the frequent stormy weather which strikes the Sheuch in the winter. It could even potentially deal with the massive amounts of dangerous and unstable munitions which were dumped in the North Channel by the British Government in the decades following the First World War. However these issues could only be solved by throwing immense amounts of public money at the problem.

The Channel Tunnel between England and France cost £4.65 billion to build, approximately £12 billion in today’s money. The project took 13,000 workers six years to complete. Although the distance across the English Channel is greater than the distance between Scotland and Northern Ireland across the North Channel, the English Channel is far shallower than the North Channel. At its lowest point, the Channel Tunnel is 75 m (250 ft) deep below the sea bed and 115 m (380 ft) below sea level. The Beaufort Dyke in the North Channel, which any fixed link between Scotland and Northern Ireland would have to cross, is 50 km (30 miles) long, 3.5 km (2 miles) wide and 200 – 300 m (700 – 1,000 ft) deep. It is also a dumping site for munitions which could easily be disturbed by construction work.

A fixed link between Scotland and Northern Ireland would be far more expensive, most initial estimates range between £15 and £20 billion, with figures of up to £33 billion also being cited. It should also be noted that the final bill of £4.65 billion for the Channel Tunnel was 80% greater than the initial cost estimates.

Massive budget overruns are commonplace for huge civil engineering projects in the UK. London’s Crossrail project was originally budgeted at £14.8 billion but is now expected to cost over £18.6 billion and is still not open for regular rail services. The High Speed Rail project HS2 connecting London with Birmingham was originally forecast to cost £32.7 billion when the project was given the go ahead in 2012. Recent estimates put the likely cost at an eye watering £107.7 billion. Given the geological and logistical challenges of building a fixed link across a deep and stormy stretch of water between Scotland and Northern Ireland, any initial cost estimate is likely to balloon.

None of this factors in the costs of improving transport links to the site of the proposed fixed link , the A77 between Glasgow and Stranraer and the A75 from Dumfries can barely cope with the amount of traffic using them just now, never mind any increased traffic generated by the new crossing. Both these roads would require extensive upgrades to make them fit for purpose as connecting routes to a new fixed link between Scotland and Northern Ireland.

If the new crossing was to be a railway tunnel, there would have to be major upgrades on the Glasgow to Stranraer line which is single track and not electrified south of Ayr. The line would have to be dualled and electrified. The old Stranraer to Dumfries line, closed in the 1960s, would have to be rebuilt. The Scottish Government has recently pledged to reopen the Stranraer to Dumfries rail line although the project is ranked lower in priority than reopening the railway line to Leven in Fife and extending the Borders Railway from its current terminus at Tweedbank all the way through to Carlisle.

Additionally there is the not insignificant problem that railway lines in Ireland are built to a different gauge from those in Great Britain and most of Europe. The rails on Irish railway tracks are 1600mm (5ft 3 inches) apart. The gauge on British and most European railway lines is 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in). This gauge difference would make it impossible for trains to run directly through from Ireland to Scotland and beyond unless extensive work was carried out to alter the gauge of Irish railways or to make the sections of Irish track connecting to the link dual gauge. Alternatively trains running straight through could be equipped with special variable gauge bogies. The gauge is altered by slowly driving the train through a gauge changer or gauge changing facility which would have to be built at either end of the fixed link.

Given all these issues, the costs of a fixed link between Scotland and Ireland would be exorbitant and unjustifiable given the volume of traffic which crosses between the two countries. The Channel Tunnel links the South East and Midlands of England,with a population approaching 30 million with the densely populated areas of Belgium, Northern France and the Dutch Randstad region, which also has a total population approaching 30 million. Additionally it provides direct high speed rail links between London, Paris, and Brussels, three major capital cities with a total population in excess of 20 million people. Approximately 26% of trade in goods between the UK and continental Europe goes through the Channel Tunnel each year, which represents a total value of £120 billion annually.

The total population of Scotland and Ireland combined is only around 11 million. Traffic between the two countries via a fixed link would never come close to that of the Channel Tunnel, yet it would be significantly more expensive and challenging to build. It is unlikely that it would ever come close to justifying its cost.

So it was only to be expected that the Treasury has cancelled the project. It is equally unsurprising that the Scottish Government reports that at no point in the process did the Conservative Government speak to the Scottish Government about the project or about what priorities the Scottish Government has identified for improving transport links in South West Scotland or between Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Tories were far too busy pontificating about the moral standards of the cast members of pantos in Aberdeen.

The plan for a fixed link between Scotland and Northern Ireland was never realistic. Johnson’s bridge to nowhere was never about the needs of Scotland and Northern Ireland, it was always a vanity project about the desperate need of Boris Johnson for publicity and the chance for him to attach his name to something that will outlast his time in office and provide him with a legacy. He needn’t worry about that. Johnson’s legacy will be the end of the UK and an independent Scotland.

I have a physiotherapy appointment tomorrow so won’t be doing a piece for the blog as I am always wiped out afterwards.

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122 comments on “Johnson’s bridge to nowhere

  1. Dr Jim says:

    The real plan is to adapt Flymo hover mowers into big giant floaty stabilisers then suspend Zipwires from big poles mounted on them and off we go to Ireland, the only problem is the amount of electricity they need to power 685 thousand Flymos

    • Legerwood says:

      I saw something today saying they were going to use submarines to carry goods back and forward between Scotland and Ireland.

      Re-purposing Trident perhaps?

      • grizebard says:

        Presumably by welding them all nose-to-tail, dumping their previous noxious contents into the Beaufort Dyke, and voila! you have an instant floating undersea tunnel. Easy-peasy!

      • Derek says:

        I heard that on both radio 4 (morning) and radio Scotland (lunchtime); Cargo submarines capable of carrying a single container. It struck me as a solution in search of a problem; It’d be easier to build landing craft-like open shipping that doesn’t require quite the same level of water-tightness.
        The initial plan for it was last-stage-of-journey shipping.

  2. Alastair says:

    Errr…………Construction has started on the Rogfast ROAD tunnel in Norway. It is planned to be completed in 2026, will be 26.7 km long, and 392 metres below sea level at it’s deepest point, so similar to what would be required to build a tunnel between Scotland and Ireland. It will link Bergen and Stavanger, basically two small towns. If Norway with a total population of 5.5 million can do this, why cannot ‘Global Britain’?

    • grizebard says:

      Because for starters the Norwegians haven’t got piles of war-surplus high explosive and rusting poison gas barrels in their way. Plus they have an economy consistently well-husbanded enough to be able to afford it. Your “Global Britain” {cough} squandered Scottish oil wealth for decades with nothing to show for it except an industrial wasteland, and Brexit is merely the latest (and possibly greatest) act of folly by a self-inflicted economic basket case.

  3. Welsh_Sion says:

    THis was a bridge too far, as well:

    https://nation.cymru/news/boris-johnsons-tunnel-from-wales-to-ireland-wont-happen-after-all-uk-government-sources-confirm/

    Boris Johnson’s tunnel from Wales to Ireland won’t happen after all, UK Government sources confirm

    13 Sep 2021 3 minute Read

    A tunnel from Wales to Ireland won’t happen after all, the UK Government officials have confirmed.

    Ministers had said in June that “high level discussions” were taking place about an underwater tunnel between Holyhead and the Republic of Ireland capital Dublin.

    The plan would be presented to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a “comparator” to the separate idea of a tunnel or bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland, with only one of the two going ahead.

    However, it has now been confirmed that the idea of linking the two islands has been junked, the victims of a crackdown by the Treasury as the UK Government tightens its belt post-Covid.

    […]

    • iusedtobeenglish says:

      I’m confused. (It doesn’t take much!)

      Why is a Holyhead-Dublin bridge part of a review by the Union Connectivity mob – even as a “comparator”?

      Despite WM’s kind suggestions, Dublin isn’t in the Union. Or did I miss something?

  4. Legerwood says:

    Sorry to be OT but Liz Truss is replacing Raab at the Foreigh Office.

  5. James Mills says:

    Boris Johnson’s Pie-in-the Sky bridge project reminds me of the reaction by Lord Lew Grade after he funded the movie flop ”Raise the Titanic !”

    A rueful Lord Lew quipped :
    ” Raise the Titanic ? It would have been cheaper to lower the Atlantic !”

    All of Johnson’s fantastical schemes have been just as financially ill- conceived – The Garden bridge in London , the N.Ireland Bridge and , of course , Brexit !

  6. yesindyref2 says:

    It should be pointed out this was never BoJo’s idea, it was a Scot – Alan Dunlop – from Liverpool University, back in 2018. I thought it was wacko at the time.

    https://www.thenational.scot/news/15887107.bridge-scotland-ireland-create-celtic-powerhouse/

    • Capella says:

      Probably winding them up

      Dunlop added: “To propose a bridge between Scotland and Ireland would in fact be a big step in actually creating a “Celtic Powerhouse” and give politicians the opportunity to invest in the infrastructure of the true north. It might even prevent London and the south east from sinking into the Channel under the weight of investment in that region.

      • yesindyref2 says:

        I never thought of that.

        • Road / Rail bridge links from Irvine across Arran and on to Campbelltown, then across to Ballycastle would be feasible.
          That way Paul and other long suffering Ayrshire residents would be free of the constant traffic congestion ( I’m a culprit) through Ayr Maybole Lendalfoot Girvan and Ballantrae.

          I am thoroughly enjoying the cracking posts on here, inspired no doubt by Paul’s stellar posts.

          Busy at the moment, and will now add an underground fall out shelter to my garden project, since China is now about to attack.

          Free in ’23.

  7. J Galt says:

    This was never a serious proposal, it was only ever about buttering up the Unionists in NI – whether they were ever taken in by it, or just played along, is debatable.

  8. Dr Jim says:

    Michael *Dances with strangers* Gove gets another no real job as housing Minister to tide him over while he sharpens up his knife drawer waiting for the next election

  9. Christopher Rosindale says:

    The reality of the Beaufort’s Dyke only emerged by accident….

    At least 25 years ago, phosphorus flares started washing up on Galloway beaches, during the construction of a high pressure gas pipeline from Scotland to Northern Ireland. I clearly remember TV news footage of these things smouldering on beaches….

    The reason why, was that the trench for the pipeline had been excavated right across the Beaufort’s Dyke ammunition dump, because the company building it had no idea that it was there….

    Because, you guessed it, the MOD had not told them!

    Apparently, there are Sarin nerve gas shells in the Dyke, and on the seabed between there and the Loch Ryan shore, because some of them were dumped in the sea before they reached the Dyke….

  10. Capella says:

    Westminster accused of lying about reason for cancelling the Valneva vaccine made in Scotland by a French company.
    .
    https://www.thenational.scot/news/19579770.valneva-vaccine-sajid-javid-accused-lying-uk-contract/

    • Dr Jim says:

      Two different Westminster flunkies claiming two different reasons for what’s obviously a political snide reason, Nicola Sturgeon’s words come right back when she said *they make us poorer then claim we’re too poor*

      • Capella says:

        This bit?

      • grizebard says:

        I somehow missed your quote before now, but it’s a brilliant one, Nic.

        Worth repeating, in fact:

        They make us poorer then claim we’re too poor.

        (And sometimes it’s even deliberate, not just routinely incompetent.)

        • Dr Jim says:

          It doesn’t matter how we paraphrase it, it all comes out meaning the same thing, they are a bunch of thieving lying Bastirts with no scruples no honour or honesty, they lie, they apologise then lie again, and it never stops round and round and on and on for 300 years

        • arayner1936 says:

          Absolutely correct. Then they employ their army of anti-Scots propagandists to make sure we get the message that Scottish Education, Health, Ferries, you name it, are all rubbish and we cannot survive without Westminster’s help and generous subsidies!

  11. grizebard says:

    On the latest smidgin of entertainment from the BoJo Clown Circus of Horrors, it seems that “Union” Jack remains our Colonial Governor. Not that anyone will actually notice.

    Oh good.

    Then there’s Truss “addressing the nation” with yet another big English flag in the background with the teensiest hint of blue on its fringes. Which now-familiar manifestation says far more about these clowns’ attitudes than the empty words coming out of their mouths.

    • Welsh_Sion says:

      On the latest smidgin of entertainment from the BoJo Clown Circus of Horrors, it seems that “Union” Jack remains our Colonial Governor. Not that anyone will actually notice.

      _______

      And Hart-less remains as Minister Responsible for Western Colonies. Retaining the position of Westminster’s man in Cymru as opposed to Cymru’s man in Westminster.

      That would never do, would it? Bwanas rarely go native.

    • Dr Jim says:

      The pretence wouldn’t even be so bad but that teeniest hint of blue on their Union flag’s fringes isn’t even the Scottish blue which is Pantone the colour of the Saltire and sky, it’s the Royal Blue that England chose to represent itself then pretended it was to honour us wee verminous jockys

  12. Capella says:

    So is Priti Patel still in post? I’m deeply disappointed (if I can summon up any interest at all in what Boris Johnston is doing).

  13. Dr Jim says:

    News coming in tonight of an alliance between the western powers America Australia UK and others to challenge China using excuses like *security* and *the China plot to take over Taiwan* the story so far is that there are military movements being deployed to the area and Nuclear submarines being *made available* to Australia
    Further to all of this is Boris Johnson’s new plan of an early General Election in 2023

    Looks like we’ll have to dig up our basements early and get sharpening for two different reasons

    In other more comedic news the Orange Lodge pledges to kill us all if we dare to have a winning Independence referendum, so just as democratic as their masters in London

    • Welsh_Sion says:

      In other more comedic news the Orange Lodge pledges to kill us all if we dare to have a winning Independence referendum, so just as democratic as their masters in London

      _________

      Don’t forget they are marching in Glasgow on the 18th of this month. (I had a link to this previously – feel free to unearth it if you want.)

  14. Welsh_Sion says:

    Happy Owain Glyn Dŵr Day to lurking compatriots – and to our Scottish cousins and friends!

    https://www.denbighshirefreepress.co.uk/news/18727900.corwen-celebrates-owain-glyndwr-day/

  15. Capella says:

    The Union 😂

  16. James Mills says:

    Raab failed spectacularly as Foreign Secretary so , naturally , make him the Minister for Justice ! FFS !!!
    Mind you , it keeps him off the streets where he might be mistaken for a recently arrived visitor from a galaxy far , far away ! Don’t tell Priti Patel , though !

    Priti Awful is currently working on her plans to deport EVERYONE ! She is also being lined up to be the new pinup of The Prison Gazette – she is to justice what Bojo is to coiffure !

    Now that Liz Truss is in the Foreign Office we can expect the procurement of lots of good cheeses to be top of her agenda . She’ll have Wallace and Gromit as her advisers .
    Her comments on British workers ”being among the worst idlers in the world ” were thought to have scuppered her chances of promotion as Boris Johnson thought it was directed at him . However she distracted him by asking how many kids he had !

    Michael Gove has been made Minister for Strictly Anything !

    Wee Alister Jack has , sadly , kept his seat at the outermost reaches of the Cabinet Table , where he can be seen only if he waves a XXXL Union Fleg .
    He was hoping for a promotion to a seat where it only required waving an XXL Fleg to be seen .

    Wee Baroness-of-Empathy Davidson was disappointed not to be included in the re-shuffle of the Walking Dead as she had expected to be the shining new Colonial Governor in Scotland , adding another sinecure to her growing portfolio of dosh !

  17. scottish skier says:

    BBC showing clips of the disabled falling off their mobility aids so unionists look on an laugh.

    https://www.thenational.scot/news/19585139.bbc-scotlands-glenn-campbell-criticised-clip-humza-yousaf-getting-injured/

    BBC Scotland’s Glenn Campbell criticised for clip of Humza Yousaf getting injured

    • Dr Jim says:

      You couldn’t get more Unionist juvenile behaviour than this, just because The health Minister is normally able bodied the BBC employ custard pie in the face humour to describe this event as a humiliation deliberately for the benefit of the audience they target for their political reasons, in other words here’s a chance to publicly mock the SNP so let’s all have a laugh at them

      We all have a laugh from time to time at our friends and relatives minor mishaps, that’s human nature but what we don’t do is attempt to demean those same people using footage they may object to, and if we considered it we’d ask first, the BBC didn’t ask because they were never going to pass up the opportunity to belittle a public figure who requires a certain level of respect to function in his/her job, it’s blindingly obvious what the BBC were up to

      If the BBC require political figures to demean and parade across our TV screens England is chock full of them where all the blooper TV channels originate for the entertainment of the lovers of custard pie falling down programmes, Scotland as a whole is a tad more cerebral in its preferences, we really don’t laugh at Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton anymore and not because they were funny once but are not now, it’s because they were never really that funny in the first place but it’s all Scotland was *allowed* to get as Scotland had and has no broadcasting of our own and as I said nobody ever asks Scotland what we want because well, we’re all one *country* aren’t we with the same sense of infantile humour as the custard pie in the face country next door

      Even Boris Johnson falling down isn’t that much of a laugh because in Scotland we expect it

      Laugh? I thought I’d never start

      • scottish skier says:

        You couldn’t get more Unionist juvenile behaviour than this

        Pretty much aye. The thing is, they are actually mocking disabilities. Such mobility issues are what some face day in and day out, including falling over in public where some Tories laugh at them rather than asking if they’re ok and helping.

        Yousaf does know that his disability is temporary, and I’m sure he wouldn’t mind mates giggling along with him in the event of such mishaps if it was just his pride hurt.

        However, who on earth laughs at such things when it happens to someone who isn’t a mate?

        I cannot for the life of me imagine laughing at someone in the street falling off their crutches, never mind uploading a video of it onto the internet and sharing widely.

        I wouldn’t even laugh at Bozo falling out of a wheelchair after he’d sustained bad leg injuries, and I think he’s a w**ker.

        This is what the BBC did.

  18. Capella says:

    What a hysterical campaign the Scottish MSM, in cahoots with the unionist opposition, are engaging in today to try to unseat Humza Yousaf. He is getting the treatment Jeanne Freeman got and Shona Robinson before her. Appalling effort to demoralise the the Health service during a pandemic. It is clearly a coordinated attack with even Laura Kuenssberg tweeting about it. Probably emanating from the Union Unit.

    Fortunately, Prof John Robertson is keeping tabs on them.

    https://talkingupscotlandtwo.com/2021/09/16/ambulance-chasing-at-its-most-fetid/

  19. Capella says:

    Believe in Scotland is kicking off an independence is normal campaign tonight with an interview of Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp by Callum Baird of The National. Those of you on Facebook can join it here from 7:30
    https://www.facebook.com/believeinscot

  20. Dr Jim says:

    You begin to get the idea when you have 5.5 million people in a country yet the media can’t seem to find any of the indigenous people of the country to interview about the complaints the media inform us all we’re complaining of

    In Tory land England when the union shop stewards are interviewed they’re treated as enemies of the state out to cause trouble for the country as long as the Tories are in power, in Scotland these same people are treated as though they are the fount of all knowledge regarding the politics and operations of the country and their deep and meaningful utterances should be taken heed of

    When the Tory Labour Liberal Democrat state is threatened they fuse together as one unit in defence of their ownership of all they survey, the only time this does not happen is when the media moguls decide that it’s time for a change of approach do the two junior partners (Labour and Lib Dem) turn on the Tories, then what’s happening now in Scotland happens in England

    The campaign for the destruction of the SNP and all things Independence never stopped but now is the time to ramp it up to full volume because they can’t seem to get anywhere with the normal SNP bad propaganda, that FM Sturgeon woman refuses to give up no matter what they do

    Scotland the only country in the world full of people too stupid to decide anything for themselves
    That’s what they’re telling us
    So if you’re ever out and about and asked if you’d care to take part in such interviews you should say yes thanks agree to anything they say then waste as much of their time as you possibly can when the begin the interview, at least that’ll hold them up from their real mission of finding as many folk as they can who are not indigenous to Scotland to interview

    We know what the media are, many do not so let’s f**k them up whenever we get the chance

    • scottish skier says:

      Scotland the only country in the world full of people too stupid to decide anything for themselves

      Actually, this technically can only apply to unionist voters, so first and foremost (but not exclusively) Brits and English residents of Scotland. Same for the subsidy junkies thing.

      Only unionists can obviously consider themselves ‘too stupid to decide anything for themselves’ in addition to volunteering to be ‘junkies subsidized by English largesse’*.

      Neither insult can apply to Yes voters.


      *Of course there is no subsidy, but you catch my drift.

      • iusedtobeenglish says:

        “Actually, this technically can only apply to unionist voters, so first and foremost (but not exclusively) Brits and English residents of Scotland.

        Speaking as a formerly English resident of Scotland – just watch it mate! 😀 😀

  21. Hamish100 says:

    Lots of private jets coming into Glasgow and Edinburgh today. Military flights into the airports too along with Prestwick. Ain’t this conference about saving the planet!

    • scottish skier says:

      I imagine lots of climate activists will be arriving by similar routes, including by petrol car and VW campervan!

      C’est la vie! 🙂

    • Dave tewart says:

      The airspace around Glasgow, Edinburgh, Prestwick and noth to Perth is being closed to all private flying.
      The police brief is suggesting up to 30,000 people will be coming into the area, delegates, media, security and extra police presence.

  22. scottish skier says:

    [Holds head in hands]

    https://www.thenational.scot/news/19586326.uk-government-take-brexit-opportunity-bring-back-imperial-measures/

    UK Government to take ‘Brexit opportunity’ to bring back imperial measures

  23. JoMax says:

    With reference to Scottish NHS bashing, yesterday Radio 4 had a phone in on people’s experiences of trying to get medical care during the pandemic. Most callers were very negative, including some experts on NHS matters, although Radio 4 did say that they’d had lots of positive messages, too. However, one lady from Oban (she did not have a Scottish accent) was full of praise for the service she had received this year involving two operations to deal with chronic pain. She emphasised the point that the operations were undertaken 100 miles away which, as she explained, is usual in remoter Scottish communities, and that the ambulance service had been marvelous because she had no transport of her own.

    You cannot help but wonder, because nothing would surprise me, if this lady’s call has triggered the hysterics we’re hearing today by the usual suspects because the situation in England seems to be dire, and we simply cannot have that, can we?

    • JoMax says:

      Part of my message got deleted somehow, and I should add that the negative callers were all from England, Radio 4 being an English station. Sorry about that. Blame Windows!

  24. Alex Clark says:

    I wonder when the BBC will report this news.

    LONDON — The will of Prince Philip, the late husband of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, will be sealed and remain private for at least 90 years to preserve the monarch’s dignity, a judge at London’s High Court has ruled.

    Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who had been married to the 95-year-old British monarch for more than seven decades, died at the age of 99 at his wife’s Windsor Castle home to the west of London on April 9.

    In keeping with a convention dating back to 1910, Andrew McFarlane, the president of the court’s Family Division, said he had agreed Philip’s will should be sealed up “and that no copy of the will should be made for the record or kept on the court file.”

    He also ruled in favor of the request “to exclude the value of the estate from the grant of probate”.

    “The degree of publicity that publication would be likely to attract would be very extensive and wholly contrary to the aim of maintaining the dignity of the Sovereign,” McFarlane said in a ruling published on Thursday.

    He said the convention was that following the death of a senior royal, an application to seal the will was made to the Family Division president, with such hearings and judgments kept private.

    https://archive.md/wip/GcYYu

  25. scottish skier says:

    Worth keeping in mind.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-58281665

    Army supporting ambulance services in England

    Nearly 100 members of the Army have been brought in to help four ambulance trusts in England look after patients.

    High demand and staffing shortages mean they are being used to work alongside NHS staff.

    Ambulance services in the South Central, South West, North East and East areas of England are being supported by the military.

    Of course if furlough was not being ended by Bozo….

    • bringiton says:

      The Tories always call in the army when they are trying to convince the Great British public that all is well in the Reich and that they have everything under control.
      Usually,the reality is just the opposite.

      • Dr Jim says:

        The *British* Unionist supporting media in Scotland just love to make more of a big deal about the armed services helping out from time to time in Scotland as though that must be seen as a failure of the Scottish government to cope and so proves emphatically that of course Scotland cannot possibly ever be Independent, tell that to the over 60 countries who have taken their Independence from the United Kingdom of Bringland and none of those folks are on the phone to the Clown Prince of England begging to rejoin the glorious Kingdom

        Scottish taxpayers pay for those soldiers, they are not the English army, they belong to Scotland just as much as they do any other country in the British Isles, just as Wales and Northern Ireland pay their taxes for this service also, if Scotland were to become Independent tomorrow our own country would either be recruiting the necessary personnel to fulfill those duties or a deal done to secure own own regiments should they want to serve Scotland

        Nothing is insurmountable, nothing can’t be overcome, everything is possible once the Brits are removed from power and there are over 60 countries who’ll testify to that including our nearest neighbours in the Republic of Ireland

        How dare those upstarts in Westminster and here in Scotland dictate there shall be no democracy
        The most part of the worlds countries are Independent and do in most cases better than English rule
        For more than 300 years their success has been driven by theft and murder we now have a chance to kill off their future chances of doing more of it to Scotland, so let’s keep what we’ve got and share it with those countries that would share with us, because England does not share, they take what you have then tell you you’re poor

        Stop them pissing down our necks and telling us it’s raining

  26. Golfnut says:

    Why, if the the response rate in Scotland sits at 99% within 30 mins and within that 67% have an ambulance on site within 10 mins, would Scotland need the army. Why? Simple answer England is using them so Kirkland can’t be seen to be better services than England, pure gaslighting.

  27. Bob Lamont says:

    OT Thought this was priceless – From btl comments it seems the BBC initially aired the original clip, but later bulletins had “Brexit” Nick Robinson’d out 🙄

    • Stephen McKenzie says:

      I do remember seeing that clip and it flustered the interviewer and she quickly drew away, even better was to come when the interviewer went the entrance to interview another stall holder and someone in the background got in front of the stall and laid into the biased BBC.

      I suspect that was never again aired!

    • Alex Clark says:

      Brilliant. here’s the original clip as shown on BBC Breakfast.

      Then there’s this clip that was shown later on the main 6 O’Clock news and any mention of Brexit has miraculously been disappeared.

      • Bob Lamont says:

        Cheers Alex, absolutely brutal editing, and to think the BBC flag up “news you can trust is news you can use”, while passing off this blatant propaganda in the news bulletins.
        I’d read the comments btl and thought they were exaggerating a bit, but far from it……

  28. Capella says:

    Peter Sefanovic is doing a great job of exposing Tory party lies. Listening to Boris Johnston coaching his cabinet in lying is quite an eye opener. Imagine if this was the Scottish Government. 😨

    • Alex Clark says:

      And yet there are still many many in Scotland who will stand by them every step of the way while they steamroller over everybody who tries to get in their way. These people need to take a good hard look at themselves.

  29. Capella says:

    Of course, in Scotland we have screaming front page headlines about the “crisis” in ambulances. If 99% are dealt with in 30 minutes of which 65% are dealt with in 10 minutes, why is this a crisis? Is it really because one man died, circumstances unknown, and one elderly woman was left on the floor for several hours? The army has been asked to help, as it was in England, Wales and NI already.

    This is going to backfire on the Union Unit as it always does when their shock horror narrative is so at odds with most people’s direct experience. Yes, some will be duped into being fearful. But opinion po,ls show quite remarkable resilience in the majority of Scots.

    • Alex Clark says:

      The government really should make a statement in parliament over the manner of the reporting of this and set the record straight

      “Contrary to reports by the media…”

  30. Capella says:

    Admittedly, the BBC has a Herculean task. Framing the lying, corrupt Westminster government as a competent “world beating” administration of the Union must be very hard. Gordon Brown tries to frame the union as progressive 😂

    The Lesley Riddoch’s podcast covers the cabinet reshuffle and Gordon Brown’s think tank poll in rather more insightful ways than the BBC could ever manage. Remember when Leslay Riddoch and Derek Bateman were presenters on the BBC? Light years ago.

    https://share.transistor.fm/s/2a5e2cbe

    • grizebard says:

      It is indeed an illustration of just what a gulf has opened up between the state broadcaster and the reality of Scottish life in the deafening on-air stillness of voices such as Riddoch and Bateman.

      It’s hard though not to get a sinking feeling about the persisting sense of amateurism that comes from the likes of her evident indignation that this precious thing, a new constitution, should be written “by the people”. We’re back in “shopping list” territory again. Would anyone in their right mind who has some problem with the engine of their car or their high-tech laptop just ask anyone and their uncle to come on in and have a wee fiddle? It’s crazy. Likewise, this is a mission-critical task that needs those who are practised in the art and who can produce something fit for purpose: fine-tuned, robust, minimalist but sufficient. The secret is to appoint some who are well-attuned to the requirements and principles we expect, then subject the results of their efforts to open scrutiny. Sometimes you just have to recognise the limitations of DIY and get in the professionals.

      • Capella says:

        Yes, but the point is “who”. Who gets in the experts? The people are just as capable of calling in whoever they choose to advise us. It’s control of the decision making process that’s democratic. After all, you wouldn’t want experts turning up at your door to “fix” your car or laptop on the orders of some civil servant!
        Democratic decision making is doable and manageable and produces concensus.

  31. Alex Clark says:

    More than once yesterday the BBC in its reporting of this stated that the average wait for an ambulance in Scotland was 6 hours!!

    It would appear that they are taking the story (jackanory) in the Herald as gospel and then manipulating it to suit their propaganda. This will backfire simply because it is so ludicrously exaggerated. From the Herald:

    Scottish ambulance service ‘major incident’ call as patients wait six hours to be admitted

    On average ambulance response to a 999 call can take between 55 minutes, and 1 hour and 10 minutes, from call to completion.

    However, they are now said to be taking six hours on average due to NHS pressures and “system overload”. In real terms, this means an ambulance misses three 999 calls while located at a hospital waiting for patient discharges.

    So, the Herald takes an obviously politically motivated quote from a Unite Union official “they are now said” Unite being the “they” in this article and stated it as FACT!.

    Later in the article, an official spokeswoman for the Scottish Ambulance Service says:

    In response to the six-hour claim by the union, a spokeswoman said median response time for purple calls (the highest response priority) was: 08:59. For all emergency calls, the response time was 19:51.

    So for ALL 999 calls the response time is under 20 mins! A little later in the article there’s this which blows apart the whole lying story.

    One crew is said to have waited outside the hospital from 6pm until midnight on Monday before they were able to transfer a Covid patient.

    ONE patient, just ONE. If this story were true then HALF of all patients taken to hospital by ambulance would be waiting more than 6 hours for a bed since they claim that the AVERAGE wait is 6 hours!

    https://archive.md/zYv22

    • Capella says:

      The BBC website is still running with the ambulance “crisis” story. They interviewed the Chief Executive of the ambulance service Pauline Howie on GMS.

      Ms Howie was asked on Good Morning Scotland if the two cases highlighted in the media were “anomalies”.

      She said: “The vast majority of patients, for immediately life-threatening patients, will receive a response under 10 minutes and for other emergency patients, under 40 minutes.”

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-58594420

    • exile says:

      Re ambulance waiting times, Dr Sandesh Gulhane MSP (Conservative) who was on Good Morning Scotland today has a website drsandeshgulhane.com (tagged on my search as “media medic”), which has a clip of him being interviewed on GB News, and repeating a lot of what he said on GMS. Wiki says he was born and educated in London. On GMS he raised the issue of consultants’ pension changes as something which should be sorted to improve the situation in NHS Scotland.

    • Alex Clark says:

      The Herald story is a complete rehash of an article in the Record written over a week ago, no on e picked up on it then so the Herald published it again so as DRoss could raise it at FMQ’s.

      https://archive.md/saNB9

      The Herald in league with the Tories in Scotland? What a shock!

  32. scottish skier says:

    Sighs, sorry but I have a bee in my bunnet about this issue. I guess because of my dual nationality…

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-58586533

    Police call for action on sectarianism ahead of Orange walks

    Politicians, civic society, everyone…

    Can people stop talking about ‘sectarianism’ as something ‘Scottish’ and please properly refer to it as a British/English anti-Irish racism?

    I am Scottish and orange marches are something the British community takes part in. My mum is of Irish (Eire) protestant extraction and my dad Scottish catholic FHS. How on earth would that work if this was all religion based? Which marches should these attend?

    We Scottish (not British, census 2011) are not involved. British people are not the same nationality* as me; they are the people of the ‘country’ of the UK/Britain (in their minds), not Scotland. Some of them just live in Scotland.

    And Jeez, half way through…. Since when did ‘Irish’ become a religion? Is an ‘Irish unity march’ about all people of the Irish religion uniting, or something else? I thought it was a nationality as per my passport?

    Maybe an Irish unity march is in fact nothing to do with religion / sectarianism whatsoever, but instead they want to bring down a Berlin, sorry Belfast wall, and end the partitioning of their (and my second) country? This is actually something the whole international community would love to see; the compromise is a UN peace deal while the occupying British forces refuse to withdraw (although fingers crossed the seem to be making a quiet tactical retreat now).

    While being somewhat tongue in cheek here, we need to talk about this for what it is about; Brutal imperial Britain vs partially occupied Ireland. Our politicians should talk about the ‘British community’ and ‘British unity marches’ for that is what they are.

    The unionist media relentlessly pushes the concept that British and Scottish is the same thing, and this is case in point. They are not in any way the same thing. Scots and Brits are as different as Germans and French. Of course some people are Franco-German (or vice versa) in identity or even dual nationals, such as in the Alsace. That doesn’t make them the same ‘peoples/nations’; just dual nationals. British is a wholly distinct national identity unique to British people. Some Scots have dual British-Scottish nationality, but most do not, so are not the same people in the same way the Danes are not Norwegian.

    The UK is quite unique in that each constituent country has two primary nationalities due to some people considering Britain a nation (because of its status as a sovereign union), even though it legally is not and never has been. These are portrayed as one and the same by Brits to tar all Scots with the negative aspects of their own community (British hate marches, British terrorist groups) while appropriating Scots national heroes for themselves (Andy Murry effect).

    And I note that this is not a blood and soil concept, for there are no British, Scottish, Welsh or N. Irish nationalities at present, only identities (and of course voting right citizenships by residence). So an English person living in Scotland who wishes be a national of an independent Scotland independent is now Scottish in nationality* by free choice.

    We do need to change the nature of the conversation here at every level for the issue will not go away by treating it as something other than it is. Orange walks are British, not Scottish. It is that community that needs to sort itself out.


    *National identity in the current absence of legal British, Scottish, Welsh or N. Irish nationalities; only forms of citizenship existing at present

    • Capella says:

      Well said. Eddi Reader made the same point in her interview for IndependenceLive on election night in May. She talked about touring all over Ireland. In Ireland they played to mixed crowds with no animosity at all between protestant and catholic, whatever the venue. In the North there was always trouble. She defined the problem as unionism. It’s unionism that stirs up hate and aggression.
      Interview from 1hr 32 mins:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNO0nKsYrLw

  33. Golfnut says:

    The next big story is about the UK returning to imperial measures.
    Remember this wee caption when see or hear about the change.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/215556435841901/permalink/956478255083045/

    • Alex Clark says:

      The reason this is the next big story is to distract from the real news of what this government is getting up to, I said last night “Oh look, a squirrel” seems others also think the same.

      This week Lord Frost, the Brexit minister, pledged to review the ban on selling products in pounds and ounces, something the EU had prohibited.

      The announcement grabbed headlines as people questioned who, if anyone, really asked for this. It doesn’t require a tinfoil hat to wonder if ministers are keen to distract from the news of the day, just weeks before it pulls a number of Covid support schemes and cuts benefits for the UK’s poorest families despite furious opposition from across the political spectrum.

      The Big Issue asked: Does this government have form for floating relatively trivial discourse-fodder when it’s under the microscope for policy decisions?

      This government has “form” alright when it comes to deflection.

      https://www.bigissue.com/news/politics/imperial-measurements-whats-really-on-the-government-agenda/

  34. scottish skier says:

    https://www.thenational.scot/news/19587756.brexit-uk-eu-trading-partner-see-exports-fall-data-reveals/

    Brexit: UK only EU trading partner to see exports fall, data reveals

    …Analysis from Eurostat found exports from the UK to the EU fell by €16billion (-17.1%) in the first seven months this year, since the Brexit deal, compared to the first half of 2020.

    In contrast, every other major trading partner increased its exports to the EU, including Russia (+41.2%), Norway (+36.5%), India (+33%), Turkey (+26%), South Korea (+23.6%), China (+13.4%), Japan (+12%), Switzerland (+8.6%) and the United States (+5.4%).

    #sunlituplands

    • Alex Clark says:

      At the end of 2017 there were 1,020,000 Poles living and working in the UK, at the end of 2020 there were 738,000 which is almost the same as in 2013.

      A country cannot “lose” close to 300,000 productive people from just one country and not expect to have issues with filling the jobs previously done by many of these workers.

      Taking account of all the EU citizens that have left I’m surprised that it has only become apparent now that Brexit and rejection of the free movent of people would present problems in a great many sectors of the EU economy. Worse to come yet, I’d expect.

      • scottish skier says:

        Yup. And they are young, hard working, skilled key workers.

        I’ve said before that this current labour shortage is not an unforeseen accident of brexit. Brexit voters voted to deliberately send ‘the likes of my wife’ home (or at least stop ‘the likes of her’ coming) so that they could take her job because they felt they had the right to it, not through superior qualifications, skills or hard work, but simply because of their race.

        Brexiters voted to deliberately restrict the number of people of working age in the UK for their own perceived personal financial gain and/or the fact the don’t like people ‘who don’t speak English’. They voted for empty shelves and too late cancer diagnoses due to a lack of blood tests.

        There is a good reason the hard right capitalists hate free movement; they want a trapped labour pool that cannot leave in search of a better life, but must accept the crap wages they offer. If the right wing of the Tories had been advocating ‘Remain’, I’d have been voting leave!

        As for my wife, if she was not in Scotland, it would be very hard for me to argue against our family moving to Europe, e.g. France or Ireland. The fact that Scottish people voted for her to stay here freely, and across the board, meant so much to her, and it’s why we are still here.

  35. Dr Jim says:

    The Labour government in Wales have announced a partnership agreement with Plaid Cymru

    Well well well

    • scottish skier says:

      Gives that coalition 43/60 seats and an outright majority.

      Seems Welsh Labour are more Welsh than Very Far North of England Labour are Scottish.

    • Legerwood says:

      Welsh Gov have also announced they will be introducing Covid Passes from 1st October. They will be required for entry to venues etc.

    • grizebard says:

      Ah well, where needs must. While apparently here in the land of Labour negativism, the party has brought the Tory collaborationists of Aberdeen back into the fold, after years of stagnant indecision. Because, well, they can’t afford to split the vote next May and enable the SNP to clear away all that rotten dead wood.

  36. scottish skier says:

    EU nationals fair flooding out the exit gates. Makes the similar flight from Afghanistan to escape the conservatives there look like small beer.

    https://www.thenational.scot/news/19587941.brexit-number-eu-nationals-living-uk-drops-200-000/

    Brexit: Number of EU nationals living in UK drops by 200,000

    THE number of European Union nationals who are living in the UK has fallen, figures show.

    Office for National Statistics (ONS) data for 2020 shows that within a year, the population of EU nationals in the UK dropped by 200,000, from 3.7 million to 3.5m.

    • scottish skier says:

      No need to end free movement; English people said ‘Go back to where you came from’ and that’s what they are doing. All that money on a new visa / immigration system is not needed; people are mass emigrating.

      I said back in 2017/18 that the rate at which net EU immigration was collapsing indicated this would go negative in a few years. Unsurprisingly, this has happend when free movement was brought to and end.

      If this keeps up, the approach used in other states with walls around them leading to acute labour/skills shortages (as the UK is facing) will be soon be needed, i.e. the border guards will be asked to about face and to start preventing people leaving.

      This is why the UK government ended free movement for brits; to limit the ability of brits to escape across the ‘channel wall’ into a free Europe in the face of an ever more dictatorial UK regime.

      It might sound like I’m joking, but it’s not a joke. When a country becomes less democratic / more dictatorial while turning in on itself, the population that can get out, does get out. It’s the highly skilled that can get out more easily as other countries offer them visas. This further depletes the home workforce, increasing economic strife, causing the dictatorial government to crack down ever harder against dissent, and eventually close the borders to emigration…

      First came all the nationalist union flag waving, then came harking back to the greatness of an imagined country, then came the walls and an end to free movement for the population, and soon will come the border posts and guards looking inwards for those trying to get out. That includes us Scots.

      Best we get out soon.

  37. yesindyref2 says:

    Okey-doke. Never one to run away from an unpopular poistion, here goes.

    James Kelly did a great article in the Natonal last week, whenever, can’t remember, about an opinion poll or polls. Totally unbiassed, and I don’t think mentioned Alba. Well, the Indy movement benefitted from Scot Goes Pop, to give a detaield take on the hidden details of polls – the sort the media didn’t want to push. So I think it’s neccessary to help him out with this:

    The difference between the two polls is actually quite striking and hard to explain – in absolute terms, Opinium found only two Alba voters among their sample, while Savanta ComRes found seventeen.“.

    The clue is in the figures – 21 and 17. That’s small samples, and in statistics there are special methods for handlng small samples (Students T from vague memory without digging out my attic for the books). But voting intention polls are really designed to address the top 2 parties, and perhaps 3. Even the Greens and LibDems have relatively small samples, hence why they’re (in my opinion) more subject to error from the actual result later on. Alba are even described as “other” on some polls, there really isn’t a snowflake’s chance in your furnace of choice of them being accurate.

    So – to get a reasonable accuracy for the SNP, Con and Lab, they take around 20% or over, of a standard sample poll to make it easy, of 1,015. Meaning that the lowest party of the three gets a sample size of 203 (ignoring weighting).

    Working that backwards, at 1.66% in May – 1/60th of those who voted – means the opinion poll would have to have a sample size of 12,180 to have a chance of portraying Alba in terms of the usual 95% confidence interval or margin of error. At just 17 or even worse, 2, the confidence interval would be near zero and the margin of error would raech Northern Ireland from Durness!

    There you go, that’s done my bit for universal peace and harmony.

    • grizebard says:

      Fair enough re sampling error, but the very fact of the ultra-small samples tells its own story, does it not…?

      • yesindyref2 says:

        Well, his article is “Savanta ComRes poll suggests the rumours of the Alba Party’s demise have been greatly exaggerated

        but actually neither poll suggest any demise, as the sample size is just too small to make any genuine conclusions. It’s not even as accurate as a 100 or less sub-sample of a UK poll would be about support for SNP in Scotland, nor even as indicative.

        I’ve had my fun as well mind, about Alba. Helps to pass the time at sea, so to speak. Come Indy Ref 2 it’ll be back to side by side support for Indy, as it is even now at times in the face of over the top union activists.

        Meanwhile a little “friendly” rivalry …

        • grizebard says:

          I feel truly inspired by that. So much so that I think I’ll start my own pro-indy party of one. (The name will have to include “Popular” and “Front” in some suitable combination, that’s a given.) It won’t feature in the polls at all, of course, unless by some benificent chance some polling company happens to call, and it’ll get no votes since even I will vote SNP and the mrs won’t oblige, but the Good Lord willing for just a little longer, it won’t actually fade away for some time either…

          …which reminds me of a quote by Albert Einstein…

        • scottish skier says:

          The data are entirely correct for Alba. One poll on 0% and one where they’re covered by a few% ‘other’ is entirely in line with no change on 1.7% in May.

          James is correct there is no evidence of their demise. At the same time however, there is no evidence of them staying at the same level nor progressing. Their voter base is just too small to say what if anything has happened.

          You are correct that if we did a larger sample, say 10,000, the MoE would reduce, specifically from +/-3 to +/1. That should mean if Alba are still on 1.7%, then the minimum they should poll in a 10k sample would be 0.7%, i.e. they should always round up to 1% rather than down to zero.

  38. yesindyref2 says:

    2 and 17 and a load of smellers. Oh well. TGIF.

  39. yesindyref2 says:

    Meanwhile back in selective quoting and deceptive Unionist posting land, the following:

    “Both the Scottish and Welsh governments have the power to issue bonds to finance capital investment. The Scottish and Welsh governments will be solely responsible for meeting their liabilities and the UK government will provide no guarantee on any bonds issued by the Scottish and Welsh governments.”
    The Treasury Debt Management report, 2020-21

    What, of courses, they fail to point out is this:

    3.4. The Scottish Government’s capital borrowing powers were originally granted in the Scotland Act 2012 and the limits were increased in the Scotland Act 2016. In addition to the capital block grant, the Scottish Government can increase capital expenditure through borrowing up to £450 million per year up to a maximum total of £3 billion under the provisions of the Scotland Act 2016. These capital borrowing limits came into effect for the Scottish Government on 1 April 2017.

    Plus that the borrowing capacity HAS BEEN USED EVERY YEAR (see table 3.1 – Table 3.1 – Capital borrowing and repayments).

    https://www.gov.scot/publications/scotlands-fiscal-outlook-scottish-governments-five-year-financial-strategy/pages/4/

    The Speccie made a simil;ar misrepresentation, which, of course, is what these people are quoting.

  40. Alex Clark says:

    Believe in Scotland’s Autumn of Indy Action kicks off this Saturday September 18th

    See what’s taking place in your own area.

    https://www.believeinscotland.org/day-of-indy-action-campaign-partner-map/

  41. scottish skier says:

    Of course the UK government should pay for this as a reserved matter.

    At the same time, to help unify the people of these isles, the Scottish government should not try to facilitate a hard border between Scotland, N. Ireland, and Eire, as none of these voted for it.

    Tear down English enforced border in the Irish sea! Keep the Scottish-NI-Eire borders open and free!

    https://www.thenational.scot/news/19589241.cairnryan-scottish-ministers-halt-work-post-brexit-border-point/

    Cairnryan: Scottish ministers halt work on post-Brexit border point

  42. scottish skier says:

    I am not British, UKish, nor English, but Scottish (+Irish). Stop projecting your ugly racist behavior on to me.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-58587040

    Women threatened over maternity care bills

    …Migrants, visitors and former residents of the UK must pay for their care when they are in the UK.

    But the truth is of course this:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/nhs-visitor-and-migrant-cost-recovery-programme

    Migrants, visitors and former residents of the UK must pay for their care when they’re in England.

  43. Hamish100 says:

    I suppose the question I would like to ask a bbc interviewer. Why has the pandemic impacted only on lorry drivers form EU countries. Is it a Brexit variant possibly?

    Doesn’t affect the number of bbc interviewers on air or on the radio?

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