Why is the SNP gagging charities? – The Spectator

Please click the image below to read more:

The SNP handles criticism as well as the Incredible Hulk handles irritation. It’s why the party’s own parliamentarians are banned from making critical comments. The Nationalists are an independence-first organisation and rely on two important psychological tools. The first is projecting Nicola Sturgeon as the ‘Chief Mammy’ (her own term; ‘mammy’ being Scottish slang for ‘mother’), a national figure more akin to the Queen than the Prime Minister. The second is framing any institutional or organisational dissent not as standard, democratic debate (in the way that businesses, unions and charities routinely take the UK Government to task) but as something more controversial, political — even unpatriotic.

As such, it is entirely unremarkable to Scottish eyes to read that charities funded by the SNP government in Edinburgh are being made subject to a ‘gagging clause’. Readers living in normal countries, however, might think the situation revealed in the Scottish edition of the Times not wholly ideal. The paper relays that charities, including Shelter Scotland and Victim Support Scotland, ‘are being silenced by ‘gagging orders’ that prevent them from criticising SNP policies or backing rival campaigns as part of contracts to receive state funding’. The letter received by Victim Support reportedly includes the line:

‘No part of the grant shall be used to fund any activity or material which is party political in intention, use, or presentation or appears to be designed to affect support for a political party.’

The opposition believes the non-political clause will prevent or discourage charities from supporting draft legislation put forward by the Tories, Labour, or any backbencher who doesn’t belong to the SNP or the Greens, the two parties who rule Scotland in a nationalist coalition. Scottish Tory chief whip Stephen Kerr said it appeared the administration was ‘handcuffing charities and third-sector groups on the sly by preventing them from backing bills or campaigns by anyone other than the government’.

For transport news, click here: https://www.scotlandmatters.co.uk/transport-matters/

Sturgeon pushes for independence (again) – The Spectator

Please click the image below to read more:

t’s Groundhog Day in Holyrood. Amid criticisms about her administration’s underwhelming ‘Programme for Government,’ Nicola Sturgeon has returned to her favourite hobby house: Scottish independence. Much like ABBA’s reunion, the First Minister combined some new tunes with her greatest hits, declaring that May’s election was an ‘undeniable’ mandate for such a plebiscite by the end of 2023 ‘once the Covid-19 crisis is passed’.

Steerpike is not surprised at Sturgeon’s choice of priorities, preferring to have her civil servants devote their energies to indyref2 rather than letting Scots take their masks off when sat on a train. The SNP and its acolytes have had no compunction in undermining the Union at every opportunity throughout the pandemic; a strategy that has been great for poll numbers but has led to almost half of Europe’s top 20 Covid-19 hotspots being located in Scotland.

Much more noteworthy is the lack of interest in Sturgeon’s announcement. Westminster was admittedly distracted with Boris Johnson’s tax shenanigans but even north of the border there was a far more muted reaction to the First Minister’s pronouncements then her previous statements. The Scottish editions of both the Times and Daily Telegraph for instance relegated the news on their front to a nib; BBC Scotland similarly buried the announcement on its homepage.

Is this the worst council leader in Britain? – The Spectator

Click the image below to read more:

asgow: the second city of the Empire, onetime shipbuilding capital of the world, home of Adam Smith, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and John Logie Baird. But for a great metropolis which gave us television, ultrasound and Alex Ferguson’s football genius, the city’s leadership has all too often failed to live up to its illustrious past.

The council’s current leader Susan Aitken is a perfect case in point. Swept to power in 2017 on the SNP tidal wave that engulfed Labour’s last bastions, Aitken’s four-year reign has been characterised by arrogance, incompetence and mismanagement. Such follies were perfectly encapsulated last month by the city’s waste crisis in the wake of bin collection cuts and bulk uplift charges, which left giant dead rats floating in bins and rubbish piling high in streets.

After GMB general secretary Gary Smith warned that Glasgow is ‘crumbling’ and ‘filthy’ ahead of November’s COP26 summit, Aitken likened such criticisms of Glasgow’s dirty streets to the ‘far right’. Asked about whether she was ’embarrassed’ by the state of her city she replied:

I’m not embarrassed, I’m more angered people are using that kind of language for political purposes. There’s a real echo of the language that some far-right organisations have used about Govanhill for a long time. It’s the same kind of words. It’s a scapegoating and a targeting of Glasgow.

Unsurprisingly Smith was not too pleased about being compared to fascistic goons and responded by calling the embattled leader ‘desperate and disgraceful.’ But it’s not just on bins where Aitken has failed: cuts mean the city’s libraries have remained closed since March 2020 with nine still awaiting a reopening date owing to the city’s dire finances – despite her party leader’s professed love of reading and books.

A Scotsman’s home is no longer his castle – The Spectator

Click the image below to read more:

f you suggest to an English politician that your home should be your castle to use as you like, he will probably nod. Tell that to a member of the SNP ruling class in Bruntsfield or Kelvingrove, however, and they will take any such view as a challenge to be overcome.

A couple of years ago, following a public consultation answered by a whacking 122 respondents, the SNP quietly changed Scottish building regulations. The new rules allow the government at a future date to order every homeowner in Scotland to install smoke detectors and other safety devices of a type dictated by it, whether they liked it or not. That date is now set for February 2022. Last week Scots householders were given their orders in the unequivocal, if bossy, style typical of the new model Scots bureaucrat.

Every living room, hall and landing must have a smoke detector. Not any smoke detector, mind you. It must either have irremovable tamper-proof batteries or be wired in by a professional electrician so you cannot switch it off. And if one detector goes off, all of them must, to prevent you sleeping through them. Your kitchen is to have a heat detector and any room with a fireplace (even unused) a carbon monoxide alarm. Already have perfectly good smoke detectors? Sorry: if they aren’t exactly right you must upgrade. For an average house this costs about £220, assuming you do the job yourself: for many, it will cost more, and tradesmen come extra. What if you don’t? The local authority can in the last resort intervene and make you do as you are told.

All this is presented as sweet reasonableness with a dash of paternalism. It nevertheless represents a degree of state interference that ought to worry anyone.

For one thing, it sets personal choice at nought. Everyone knows smoke and carbon monoxide alarms make houses marginally safer. Many decide to fit them. But there are downsides. If you live in a Georgian terrace with a fireplace you may prefer period features undefiled by the kind of unsightly plastic growths you see every day on your office ceiling, even if it does mean a marginally increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If you smoke (still graciously allowed at home despite the nannying tendencies of the SNP) you may prefer not to hazard an ear-splitting shriek if a whiff goes the wrong way; if you are cooking for a dinner party in a small but hot kitchen, the last thing you want is to have to break off to silence a heat alarm. The choice of whether to take such risks in your own home should be yours, not that of some government functionary.