Prosecute Alistair Carmichael for corrupting the general election.

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I think what this government minister did was more than ‘just’ stealing his own seat: this lie was peddled systematically by the Labour’s Party’s Chair of General Election Strategy – Douglas Alexander, who was at the time my constituency Member of Parliament.

Douglas Alexander tweeted three links to this obvious fabrication within minutes, leading to Ed Miliband referring to the lie as ‘damning revelations’, even after it has been comprehensively exposed by James Cook as a third party account of a conversation that has been denied by both parties involved in the so-called conversation.

Ed Miliband’s bizarre peddling of what had already been exposed as a fabrication was in turn used to justify Labour’s refusal to form any kind of progressive alliance with the anti-Tory Scottish National Party’s MPs to democratically lock David Cameron out of 10 Downing Street.

This fabrication became popular due to Ed Miliband’s cavalier refusal to check the facts already in the public arena, and Douglas Alexander’s deliberate attempt to mislead his alleged preference for Prime Minister. Alistair Carmichael’s collusion was denied at the time. The then Secretary of State for Scotland knew what he was doing had more than local consequences.

Alistair Carmichael knowingly contributed to the implosion of Labour Party’s vote in England as well as in Scotland. And that in turn helped him crowbar David Cameron back into 10 Downing Street. And that is why I believe this one-time government minister deserves to be prosecuted for corrupting the outcome of the general election.

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The Curious Insidiousness of the ‘autistic spectrum’.


This blog post is my review of a review of my review of the award-winning novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon, which is a book that I haven’t actually read. Confused yet?… Excellent.

Let me clear a few things up. Firstly, when I say I haven’t read that book, what I mean is I haven’t finished it yet. I am severely dyslexic and I’m clutching at that straw as my excuse. I don’t think it’s a particularly bad excuse. Not if you could appreciate how difficult fiction reading is for people like me. I’ll plough on with the book, and when I reach the last page, I may write another review. A better one. Anyway,…

I won’t name the critic who dismissed my defense of that book. Partly that is because I don’t want anyone to be intimidated into pretending they like something they don’t. This critic said she thought many who praised the book were only jumping on a bandwagon – the Emperor’s new clothes syndrome. No one should feel they have to pretend to like something if they don’t. Everyone must be free to disagree. However, those who take issue have to be prepared for robust defense by the other side. And, with all due respect, the fact the reviewer admits to skipping parts may partly explain why she didn’t get as much out of it as she could have.

The book is popular clearly because it is laugh-out-loud funny. But humor is a personal thing, and this critic didn’t get the jokes. Fair enough.

But what I argued in an email was dismissed as potentially dangerous. If I had argued what this critic said I argued, I’d agree with her, but I was actually arguing the exact opposite. And that is why I am taking the cudgels up once more, writing this defense of myself in this blog.

What I am writing here is not so much literary criticism/praise for what I concede is a wonderful book, that part of the book which I already have under my belt. What I am trying to do here is flesh out the case I made in a series of emails and tweets, parts of which were read out. That program, by the way, was BBC Radio Scotland’s wonderful Janice Forsyth Show, which is now on every Monday to Thursday between 2:00pm to 4:00pm, a program which is one of the best things broadcast anywhere in the United Kingdom, radio or telly, as far as I am aware.

Janice read out some of my thoughts, and I appreciate that. Since I didn’t convince at least one of the reviewers of Curious Incident, I want to make that case again. And I hope to convince as many people as possible that the model of an ‘autistic spectrum’ comes nowhere close to addressing the complexity of those who are being lumbered with this label of ‘autism’.

What is a spectrum? The narrator of Curious Incident knows. He knows because he thinks like a scientist. Alas, he needs help to switch off his scientific mode to embrace a more poetic one, one that infers things from context, from body language and facial expressions. Most young scientists do that as soon as they reach adolescence as hormones teach them there are more things in heaven and their pants that the curvature of space time and related cosmological gubbins. Then they can woo members of the opposite sex, possibly their own  – maybe both – with poetry and all that lovey-dovey crap.

The electromagnetic spectrum, as Christopher could explain, refers to waves that all travel at the speed of light. One number is all you need to identify anything on that spectrum. Wavelength gives you frequency, and vice versa.

The model of an ‘autism spectrum’ is intended to grade everyone as more than or less than all the seven billion humans who currently walk planet Earth, and those who ever existed in the past, including obvious autistic people such as Sir Isaac Newton. Is a spectrum with a single dimension a great model for handing out this label? Absolutely not.

Janice read out my putting it to Mark Haddon in a twitter exchange that an autistic spectrum is far too limiting as it grades everyone with a single number, which is clearly nonsensical as there are many criteria and some score high on some, low on others. Mark agrees with me that a multidimensional matrix makes far more sense. That, for instance allows for the fact that my own symptoms overlap in a few areas with Christopher’s, but not at all in others that are supposed to be key characteristics of those with this condition.

Unfortunately, having heard that both myself and Mark Haddon rejected the narrowness of this spectrum model, the critic of the book went on to accuse us of saying that this book explains what everyone on this so-called spectrum has to be like. I said the exact opposite. And so does Mark.

I was accused of arguing something dangerous for suggesting that everyone on this non-existent autism ‘spectrum’ were little more than clones of each other. I was accused of suggesting that this is why I thought Mark Haddon should consider his book a resource for those with the label, as should their parents, extended family, community, school chums, everyone. I can’t get too angry at my critic for accusing me of this given that Mark himself failed to see the point I was getting at.

Mark didn’t offer anyone a clinical analysis of those with a condition partly because he did no research. But he has written a believable account of the popular image of what many of these people are assumed to be like, at least on the surface, as they appear to those of us on the outside.

But what Mark actually did was something much more than this. He humanized what might otherwise be a stereotype, opening up their interior lives, proving to us that there is someone in there after all.

Christopher Boone is an individual who needs to be appreciated for who he is, not because he is a member of an autistic community who has specific communications problems. He is one of us and deserves to be helped to be everything he can be, someone who can contribute his highly valuable gifts to society. My critic might not care about how such scientists think, but if it wasn’t for this she would not be on twitter, as there would be no world wide web, no internet, no computer, no telecommunications, no GPS, indeed no architecture for her to keep herself warm.

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a valuable resource partly for reminding us that Christoper is who he is for reasons of nurture as well as nature. He has relationships with his mother, his father, at least one teacher who understand him and cares for him, neighbors, a pet rat, all the dogs in the world. They all make him who he is. These humans all suffer from frailties, and they all make bad choices from time to time, cutting corners, lying for what they tell themselves are good reasons (little white lies) only to find that these untruths have done more harm than good. Accidents happens, and Christopher is often the victim.

Christopher is a victim of abuse,of malicious bullying, and of misunderstanding built upon a foundation of society’s prejudice against people like him, which is sad. Very, very sad. Don’t you have to have a heart of stone to read how Christopher made a get-well card for his mother with an art teacher with 9 red cars because this was going to be a VERY VERY GOOD DAY, and to find the very next sentence tell us his father told him his mother had just died? Christopher often seems to have the emotional maturity of a very young child. How can you not cry at such moments?

Are Christopher’s so-called long-winded explanations ‘annoying’? For some people they no doubt are. But they didn’t ‘pad out’ Mark Haddon’s book as this critic insisted. What they did was teach us how people like Christopher think. A great deal of the time, it is how I think. I suspect it might be how I used t think most of the time when I was the same age as Christopher, or a few years younger.

Janice said that I’m someone who has the condition. Actually, what I am is someone who has a diagnosis. But it is not one I have ever fully embraced. A student was trusted to oversee tests, but she screwed up about four or more of the key ones. I hold her largely responsible for the professional who digested the raw material to draw entirely the wrong conclusions. Over half a century of my life has been wasted over this. What a total shambles.

People who were paid to help me have simply been far too busy and self-absorbed to actually listen to what I’m telling them. They have their one-dimensional ‘spectrum’ model, and are not about to let a whippersnapper like me challenge someone with a professional qualification. Hope you’re pleased with yourselves, because I’m not.  And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one whose life has been crushed by trying to fit us into a box when we simply don’t belong there.

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Why England’s left must unite against David Cameron’s 37% dictatorship? By-elections?

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The entire left from across the parties need to do more than laugh at Ed Miliband’s MPs and their problems. The trade union link matters. So does the nightmare of first-past-the-post.

The latter is exploited by the British Establishment’s out-of-control mass media. What conclusions must be drawn?

The left across our ghettos must engage with every debate that takes place amongst all our ‘competing’ groups. The left has to immediately prepare for a rising unpopularity of David Cameron’s government: TUSC, Left Unity, the Greens in England – as well as the Labour left (hopelessly weak though it is) – needs to start talking with Labour’s affiliated trade unionists and all those other members of the organized working class. And we need to talk to other sections of the extra-parliamentary struggle: race, war, students, pensioners, the disabled. Everyone.

The anti-sectarian left has to do whatever we can to ensure we unite around a single agreed candidate of the left, one that is genuinely anti-Tory. In Scotland everyone now sees what that can give us: one hell of a nightmare for David Cameron and all the Tory bastards who pollute the airwaves from the BBC, SKY News, Channel4 News and ITV. Let’s talk. And let’s be patient with one another.

Let’s extend olive branches, accept the right of others not to be persuaded with what we say, at least not the first time they hear what is on our minds.

The left in England needs to rebuild a culture of tolerance towards each other while still being able to unite against our common enemy. Our enemy is more than just David Cameron and his rotten MPs. It is also all the propagandists who want the 63% who voted against this shambles of reaction to tolerate David Cameron’s dictatorship based on 37%. That 37% so-called majority was won under a crap electoral system, with the entire mass media behind him, and quite possibly the above-the-law elements of MI5, Special Branch and GCHQ.

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David Cameron’s new clothes

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Black and white unite and fight
Time to flush Tories tonight

Nicola’s no one man band
Scotland wails for help, England

Civil rights for all of us
As Scots won’t hide at back of bus

Brothers, sister, everywhere
Don’t sit back to stop and stare

Rabbits not caught headlight glare
Boris the Spider. London Mayor

Drowning children? They don’t care
Dancing dunce on dead men’s grave

Racists lead by Call-Me-Dave
Tory twits from upper-class

Lovely pool bleeds. Fields of grass
Liverpool eclipsed their SUN

Racist huntsmen reload gun
They love to shoot for fun and loot

Pointless pricks. Posers moot
Pig Society’s Birthday Suit

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Nicola Sturgeon will #KickCameronOut. Will Ed Miliband?

A big bag of Tory bastards

A big bag of Tory bastards

The SNP MP group will vote as a block to topple any Tory Prime Minister. Whether or not he ‘wins’ more MPs than any other party. Why won’t Ed Miliband match that promise? Who exactly are David Cameron’s little helpers?

The British Prime Minister has the BBC, SKY News, Channel4 News and ITV all in his back pocket. Ofcom bosses don’t have a problem with that? Either they are asleep at the wheel or they’re hiding something more than a little bit dodgy.

First-past-the-post is designed to squeeze all life and hope out of Britain’s general election: “Vote for the candidate you hate least – or the one you don’t hate most who might possibly be electable – or suffer the consequences.” Is that really all the Scots or anyone else deserves?

The only two candidates for Prime Minister this time round deny voters any choice on any of the issues that matter most to me and I dare so to most on the left, those Ed Miliband’s father fought for.

Furthermore, both Cameron and Miliband take great pride in arguing that even if 100% of Scotland’s MPs are elected under the SNP’s banner, not one of their votes are to be considered as anything other than utterly toxic, and an excuse for the English to get angry at us for daring to ask for our democratic rights.

What Scotland is witnessing, and making us increasingly and perfectly legitimately angry, is an attitude of barely disguised ethnic contempt. Foreign affairs and defense are, apparently, too important for Labour or Conservative politicians to allow those living in Scotland to have a say, the same say as other voters in the United Kindgom?

Most tax and spend issues are no go areas for the Scots, with Full Fiscal Autonomy ruled out a priori regardless of how Thatcherite the government gets. This is what Ed Miliband and David Cameron’s Vow was sold to Scots to explain why we didn’t need to vote for national self-determination?.

The best of both worlds is what the Scottish people were promised in return for a NO vote in last year’s referenum. What we are getting is vile anti-Scottish bigotry. And these vile smears are being broadcast into our homes on a daily basis, 24-7. The Unionists responsible appear to be too lacking in self-awareness to realize it is they themselves who are the root cause of the spectacular growth of the SNP. It is not exclusively due to these Unionist broadcaster, and their politicians. But they are definitely one massive contributory factor in this cultural revolution were are witnessing north of the border. Utterly predictable – unless, that is, you are a narrow-minded anti-Scottish bigot.

Let’s look beyond the Scottish situation. Nicola Sturgeon needs allies in England and Wales. She will find it easier to find them than Ed Miliband or David Cameron can when she next appears at one of the leaders debate.

Until very recently, the British Establishment expected to get what they want, but voters are not playing ball. All indications are that two thirds of voters will reject Ed Miliband; two thirds rejecting his rival. Why should either of these overblown clowns, each utterly contemptuous of voters’ wants and needs, lay claim to any kind of ‘mandate’ when every genuine alternative has been crushed out of existence by a disgusting electoral system and by a biased mass media controlled the richest and most powerful people in British society? Your big society is broken, Mr Cameron. And the people are queuing up to put together something a little bit more interesting.

Ed Miliband is – let’s not beat about the bush here – an albatross around the neck of the Movement to Kick Cameron Out. Nevertheless, he is not an insurmountable obstacle. At any rate, let’s hope even he can’t screw this up.

On Thursday, Nicola Sturgeon – and another two leaders of parties to the left of Ed Miliband’s ultra-uninspiring Labour Party front bench – has a chance to address voters, not just in Scotland, but right across the United Kingdom. This is a real chance for democratic forces. It is one we must all seize with both hands.

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Solidarity with James Cook, BBC’s Scotland Correspondent

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James Cook is defending his record. Those who think he is a liar can unfollow him. I have gone the other way. Only since the attack on him have I got round to following, and am glad I did.

James Cook has done nothing to be ashamed of. He is about the last journalist supporters of Nicolas Sturgeon should be targeting.

James asks why would he lie? I can answer that one. And I think this is a key part of the explanation to what has happened here. The problem is his employer. Some on the left tar everyone from BBC Scotland, BBC in general, indeed the entire ‘mainstream media’ with the one brush. That is lazy.

James wasn’t really on my radar until Frenchgate. From my point of view he had good days and bad days. I have laughed out loud at a few of his one-liners and been over the moon at some of his questions of Tories, Labour and others. I have also thought some of his questions were not so good. But they kind of balanced each other out. For most people, this proves someone is doing their job. For me it is more complicated. It is about the balance between the numbers of good to bad questions, and whether the poor ones were due to someone playing devil’s advocate or whether biases are on show.

While I wouldn’t call myself a big fan of James Cook, he clearly wasn’t a particularly bad broadcaster. I didn’t think he was biased against the left or supporters of Scottish independence. By the standards of BBC Scotland, he is more than fair. Definitely one of the best.

My attitude towards James actually changed a few hours before he was subject to this abuse. I had not been following it at all until there had been a lot of comment. My attitude to James is the exact opposite of those who have abused him. He is definitely one of the good guys. He is just about the last journalist we should be attacking.

James Cook’s report on Frenchgate with Maxine Mawhinney was a sheer joy. SNP voters should be jumping with joy. I expected the story to close down due to his nailing it as 100% a smear. But that didn’t happen.

Labour MPs tried to delete their tweets, block those who complained about their being caught participating in a smear campaign. Then they dragged Ed Miband on to the television studios to insist that he had proof that the allegation was valid. He said this after James Cook’s devastating proof of the exact opposite.

Ed Miliband’s ignoring all the evidence then set the tone for Labour MPs and activists all across the UK, repeating what they already knew to be lies on the television studios, with the editors giving the oxygen of publicity to these liars, without any right to reply by Nicola Sturgeon or anyone else.

How on earth does it make sense to viciously attack James Cook in such circumstances? It doesn’t. It is totally counterproductive. It alienates someone who did us an enormous favor. He deserves our gratitude. For exposing this smear so effectively, I doubt all the bosses and editors at BBC Scotland will be happy with James. I suspect they’ll search for excuses to push him aside. That is not what we want. Is it?

James is called, implicitly least least, a liar for saying he knows of senior members of The SNP who actually would like the Tories to win the election. At least one senior MSP implied he was lying. She is wrong. At any rate, when James Cook tells me he knows it, his word is good enough for me. I know of no such individual, but I have met people like that previously. It is not inconceivable that one of them, maybe a few, have managed to climb the greasy pole all the way to the top of the SNP’s leadership. But exactly how influential are they?

The SNP has 100,000 members. How many does James Cook think believe what Ed Miliband and his entire front bench say? There is a saying that a secret known to two people is a secret. One known to three people is no longer a secret. Is anyone seriously saying that there is a secret kept by 100,000 people and the first proof is a third-hand account in a leaked memo passed to the discredited Daily Telegraph by Tory civil servants when the only two people involved in the alleged conversation deny it happened? Seriously? Whatever drugs you’re on, I don’t want any.

I would suggest to Nicola Sturgeon that she seizes this opportunity to call across the entire UK for a better political culture where politicians don’t say one thing in public and another off-the-record. If any member of the SNP tells James Cook or anyone else such things from here on in, they should have the courage of their convictions to go public. Then Nicola and others would have an opportunity to explain to them why they’re totally wrong. That is just one more thing that will impress The SNP’s new supporters in England as much as Scotland. It would prove yet another reason for David Cameron’s hysteria about SNP influence actually being counterproductive.

One last point. James Cook has discussed the genuine belief that forces of darkness are targeting The SNP and their wider periphery. I have no doubt about that. I also don’t doubt that some of those who instigated the abuse of James Cook may have been paid to pretend to be SNP supporters while in actual fact sewing the seeds of dissent and alienating us from one of the fairest broadcasters in Scotland. The percentage of such people will be microscopic. But it doesn’t take many to cause mischief. Some on the left are lazy and climb aboard a bandwagon without checking their facts first or who may have an axe to grind. I have done it myself.

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Why am I voting SNP for the first time in my life?

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I will be voting for The SNP for the first time in my life. There are many reasons for this. Many of those who are closest to me politically will be supporting other candidates to the SNP’s left. I want to explain why I think this is a serious tactical mistake.
What the British Establishment is doing should give all parties to the left of Nicola Sturgeon’s 100,000 members pause for thought.
Jim Murphy hopes socialists in Scotland split the vote in a way that protects the criminals behind the Frenchgate conspiracy.
Jim Murphy wants to destroy all MPs who are more than lapdogs for GCHQ, NSA, MI5, MI6, Special Branch. That is why Ed Miliband is okay from his point of view as both choices for 10 Downing Street have contempt for civil liberties of those trashed by MI5 and Special Branch, such as Diane Abbott MP and Doreen Lawrence.
First-past-the-post means that voting for who we most want can have catastrophic consequences. 50 or more SNP MPs can become the backbone of a movement that introduces proportional representation across the UK. Are members of TUSC (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition) indifferent to that? Why? Dave Nellist needs the overthrow of this wretched lottery of ‘democracy’ that is so patently corrupted by every last one of the broadcast networks of the British Establishment. TUSC needs help to end this electoral monstrosity even more than Natalie Bennett and Patrick Harvie do.
I would appeal to my comrades in TUSC – even at this very late stage – to consider withdrawing from this first-past-the-post lottery. Do it in order to boost our support for securing representation to Holyrood on the regional lists in one year’s time. At the very least, please think about it.

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