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About Graeme

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  • Location Dunlop, Scotland

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  1. Forum member products.

    That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said about me <3.
  2. General Chat / Random Musings

    You might get a wee bit of hassle for putting this in the off-topic, (although I get that you probably wouldn't have been able to get us to reply in Discussion & News). For me, it was all about the "intervening years" as you put it. I was in my late teens in 2006-2010 and that version of Guns N Roses are my favourite band ever. I genuinely thought they were brilliant and I really wanted them to make the most of their considerable collective talent, release multiple records, play lots of amazing showswith long and varied setlists, etc. I wanted them to shut up the music industry execs like Azoff and company who were always angling for the lucrative reunion tour, the music press who were pretty heavily biased against them and all the people on here who just hung around to complain about the fact that Slash wasn't in the band anymore. Thenfrom 2012 onwards, Axl just wasted all that he'd spent over a decade building by playing the same show over and over again, showing no signs of doing anything remotely creative until the whole thing collapsed. He let those guys down, big time. The reunion felt to me like, after doing the unpopular thing for years because that was what he really wanted to do, he'd finally caved into the pressure for the money. I kinda hate everything it stands for. It felt like all my support for the CD-era line-up was being thrown back in my face. So, no frisson of excitement to me, mainly a sense of betrayal, disappointment and boredom.
  3. General Chat / Random Musings

    The papercut from that would be an absolute bastard.
  4. Amsterdam

    It's been one of my favourites since I was a wee boy... Always loved it.
  5. Amsterdam

    All the men are gargoyles, dipped long in Irish stout...
  6. Amsterdam

    I am so surprised this wasn't a Snake-Pit thread...
  7. Forum member products.

    It's slightly worrying me that I don't know who half these people are... Scooby? Stella? Harry? Asia? Kurt?... I've only been here for 11 years... shit I just realised I've been here for eleven years exactly today... wow.
  8. Forum member products.

    Just to be kinda meta:
  9. General Chat / Random Musings

    Sorry it's taken me a wee while to get back to you on this, it's been a busy week for the old PhD, my most significant submission prior to my thesis itself was due... Like Scottish MPs voting on "English Only" matters, I obviously don't want Scotland funded through the Barnett formula, which wouldn't be the case were we fully in control of our own finances. However, speaking of massively simplistic freeze-frames, it's not as straightforward as might be taken from what you've said, that the rest of the Union gets a flat rate of public expenditure per headand Scots get 20% more out of the kindness of the British state's heart... Northern Ireland, London and some of the English regions get a higher figure per capita per annum than Scotland does and there are reasons for that. I don't disagree necessarily with the principle of the Barnett settlement, where, just as an example, a council like a' Ghaidhealtachd/Highland (and indeed much of rural Scotland)has a much sparser population and much greater distances to cover in order to deliver public services, rendering the same level of service more expensive to deliver, the cost of living is higher as well (same ideain London).This whimsical wee cartoon illustrates the difference between 'equality' and 'equality of opportunity'quite effectively: I believe it's the state's responsibility to deliver equality of opportunity insofar as it is able,I'm not saying that Barnett's got the balance right, but you get the idea. Is your argument that, in order to be a viable nation state,Scotland needs to be demonstrably running a budget surplus or at least breaking even? From what I can see, that is the case for 39 countries out of 196, so there are clearly a lot of independent nations out there which have no right to be governing themselves. Just because I think that the oil should be left in the ground (as an environmental scientist I'm not a big fan of the idea of burning more of the stuff)doesn't mean that it will be... Using what's leftto establish a national fund for public services would be a mistake from an environmental perspective, but from a social justice perspective it's infinitely preferable to the UK government's approach over the last 45 years.I also didn't suggest that the entire shortfall from leaving oil in the ground (or indeed Scotland'sbudget deficit) should be made up through taxation. Just that a greater tax take per annum could provide a strong contribution to a re-structured Scottish economy (a la the Nordic model). The UK tax system is, by all accounts, one of the most convoluted and loophole-ridden in the world, which is why billions of pounds are lost to HMRC every year through 'technically legitimate'tax avoidance (see the 'tax gap'). Scotland could streamline its inland revenue system to prevent this. Borrowing would be an option open to an independent Scottish government too, unlike the current situation. I'm no economist, and these arguments are very much a learning experience for me,but staunch opponents of independence including David Cameron, Alex Massie and Gordon Brown have all stated that Scotland absolutely could be a successful independent state, they're just ideologically against it. If you're implying that we'd become some sort of banana republic, I'm sorry but I have more faith in our people, education, industry and innovationthan to believe that would ever happen. To get back to the originpoint of ourdiscussion, you stated that you believed the UK leaving the EU was a good thing because it was a movement for national sovereignty, despite the overwhelmingly negative assessment of the decision's impact on the UK economy. That being the case, why would you use a period of economic difficulty as anargument against Scottish national sovereignty?One rule for British self-determination and another for Scottish self-determination?
  10. General Chat / Random Musings

    And in the preceding financial year we were a net can't quote one year's stats as definitive, especially not when dealing with a volatile resource like oil. I stand by what I said that overall, throughout the last half-century Scotland has put in more than it has taken out, see this from former Scotland Office Chief Statistician, Dr. Jim Cuthbert: "To examine whether an area is being subsidised or not by the rest of the country, one has to look at revenues and expenditures both in the area in question, and in the rest of the country. The determination of whether an area is being subsidised or not is actually not simple: for example, if expenditure is higher than revenue in an area, that does not necessarily mean it is being subsidised – because all areas commonly run deficits, (which are ultimately funded by borrowing). The fact that one area has higher public expenditure than another area does not necessarily mean it is being subsidised – as what it is contributing by way of revenue might be greater. The acid test of whether an area is being subsidised or not is: suppose that area had not been part of the overall country, then would the rest of the country now be better or worse off? If the rest of the country would be better off, then it has indeed been subsidising the area in question. On this test, and taking a starting point of 1980, round about when the Barnett formula was introduced, the position is very clear as regards whether the rest of the UK has subsidised Scotland or vice versa. If Scotland had become independent in 1980, and if it had at that point taken over a population share of UK debt, had enjoyed the same level of public expenditure on services now devolved as was funded by Barnett, had experienced the same levels of public expenditure on non-devolved services, (including a population share of services like defence, foreign affairs etc.), then Scotland today would have been at least £150 billion better off: and the rest of the UK would have been worse off by the same amount. In other words, under the Barnett formula, Scotland has subsidised the rest of the UK by at least £150 billion." Obviously, the current financial picture is a bit more problematic, we are indeedrunning a deficit, but in 2009-10 the UK deficit was proportionally larger than the current Scottish deficit, at 11% of GDP, and the UKhas continued to run a deficit ever since. Does that mean that the UK is not a viable state? That would also render a hell of a lot of other countries nonviable... It also doesn't really make sense to envision independence by taking current Scottish economic figures within the UKand isolating them. The whole point of independence is notto be like Britain,money could be saved for example by bringing our defence spending in line with other Northern European nations of similar size, I would expect us to increase revenue we take in taxlike most social democracies and to make a concerted effort to start exploiting the vast renewable energy resources at our disposal. The transformative potential for Scotland's economy and society is huge, and while there would inevitably be a period of economic turmoil and upheaval, the UK economy isn't exactly wonderful at the moment... at least this would be pain on our own terms and ditching Theresa May and Friends.
  11. General Chat / Random Musings

    Winning a vote is generally the way a democrat gets the outcome they desire, so by that logic, sure, I want there to be another vote and I want Yes to win it. I don't think that's anything to be embarrassed about. I think you're slightly (and perhaps not deliberately) misconstruing what I and most moderate pro-Independence voters do when we present our views. Look at Scottish politics, parties of the centre-left (SNP, Labour, Lib Dems)make up94.1 % of our representation in Westminster (with 85.1% of the vote between them). Parties of the centre-left took 78% of the vote at the Scottish Parliament elections in 2016. What we argue is that there is a clear social-democratic consensus in Scotland (and I fail to see how you could numerically dispute that). We feel that independence is a vehicle which will allow that consensus to flourish in a way that the UK has not, and shows no signs of doing. What we failed to do last time is convince enough of that sizeable body of social democrats that the opportunity to reshape our society into a kinder, more caring one is worth the financial uncertainty and risk (which given the certainty of economic turmoil in the UK post-EU referendum is possibly more do-able); and that the likelihood of such a government arising in the UK is minuscule given that the only credible vehicle for such social change is Labour, who are in the midst of a spectacular act of self-destruction. The UK has had 45 years in which to do what most countries with oil resources do, to establish a stateoil fund and use it to finance public services and welfare. Hasn't happened. Won't happen. As a Green voter, I actually want the remainder of the oil to be left in the ground and to create jobs through a decommissioning programme. Scotland's a perfectly viable nation-statewithout oil. Scotland's been a net contributor to the UK treasury nearly every year over the last half-century.
  12. US Politics/Elections Thread

    That's quite a good alternative term for right-wingers. I might have to start using that one...
  13. US Politics/Elections Thread

    This shit writes itself...
  14. General Chat / Random Musings

    I'm not arguing passionately for it either.Just saying that I think the UK is currentlya bigger obstruction to a Scottish social democracy than the EU is.
  15. General Chat / Random Musings

    If it's any consolation, I obviously don't want Scottish MPs to be able to vote on matters which affect England at all, (and vice versa)... One solution would be to establish an English Parliament with power over the same public policy areas as Holyrood, rather than trying to establish a half-arsed quasi-English Parliament within the Parliament of the UK. The arguments against the current English Votes for English Laws set-up are based on the fact that some decisions which arise in the Commons such as spending on NHS England affect the amount of money allocated to Scotland via the Barnett formula. Therefore, you could have a Westminsterdecision which reduces the funds available to Scottish public services with Scotland's representatives unable to vote against it. It also makes it difficult for MPs fromScottish and Welsh constituencies to hold positions of authority at UK level when they are unable to vote on all the bills that pass through Parliament. Having said that, the establishment of an English Parliament would also probably prove problematic, devolution thus far has been piecemeal and uneven,the sheer size of England in comparison to the other countrieswould present an imbalance not typically found in most federal systems and regional devolution in England was overwhelmingly rejected the last time it was tried. As for continuing to talk about independence post-referendum, one feature of liberaldemocracy is that even if you lose, you're entitled to pick yourself up and keep arguing for what you believe in. Scotland's not independent at the moment,so the result of the 2014 referendum is being accorded all the respect it deserves, but democracy isn't static and the result of thatreferendum cannot stay sacrosanct indefinitely. Particularly when the "no" campaign's promises continue to fall through. Example: The British establishmenthasn't really done anything to convince me, or like-minded "yes" voters that the social change we believecould be delivered through Independence is possible within the UK; so, a large number of people willcontinue to argue, campaign and vote for the political vehicles we believe can deliver it. Although it lost the referendum, the "Yes" movement is a formidable electoralforce.In 2015, after the referendum,pro-Independence parties took 51% of the Scottish vote, in 2016 the SNP increased their share of the vote, as did the Scottish Greens. The current Scottish government were elected on a manifesto whichexplicitly stated that if the UK voted to leave the EU and Scotland voted to remain then they would have a mandate to calla second Independence referendum. None of these overturn the 2014 result, of course, but they ensure that Independence is now a mainstream political option and a clear and present alternative to UK government policy. I'm possibly the wrong person to ask, I made it pretty clear before the EU referendum that I was lukewarm at best on remaining, for precisely the reasons you outlined, the austerity budgets forced on Greece and Ireland, the pseudo-democratic set-up of the EU Parliament, the favour shown to multi-national corporations in EU trade agreements etc. (though I do supportfree movement, the human rights act and a lot of the infrastructure for academic collaboration). Though, in some ways I admit I can bequite idealistic,Denmark, Finland and Sweden are evidence that it's possible to be a functioning social democracy and to significantly reduce poverty and wealth inequality within the EU. I'm far more interested in the prospect of achieving something similar to that than striving for pure ideological socialism. I don't really care what label you choose to assign me for that, though I'd pick "social democrat" myself...