Tuesday 25 August 2020

Was Boris Johnson hiding in a former Youth Hostel on the Applecross Peninsula last week?

 Last week the "Daily Mail" broke the story that our Prime Minister, Alexander Boris de Pfefell Johnson was hiding from the chaos his lack of competent governance has created in a cottage  by the sea on the Applecross Peninsula.  I may be wrong but it looks like the former Scottish Youth Hostels Association hostel "Lonbain" where I spent a summer in !962 as the voluntary seasonal warden.

Lonbain was the former  village school halfway between Applecross and Arina , it was only accessible by  boat or on foot. When the road round the peninsula was built a few years later the building was sold and converted to a holiday home.

In the early 60's there were still families living in "black houses",  the Macbeth family were my nearest neighbours , the post man made his deliveries on a motor bike and we burned peat on the stove. Obviously it has to be quite luxurious now for A.B. de P. Johnson the incompetent, mendacious, narcissistic UK Prime Minister.

Perhaps he's had time to reflect on Abraham Lincoln's advice;

" You can fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time".  Abraham Lincoln

Johnson  has fooled "some of the people some of the time " for example during his election as leader of the Tory party and then during election to govern the UK.  The electorate chose to believe his lies and to disregard his previous incompetence as Mayor of London, Foreign Secretary and third rate journalist. As Mayor of London he had a string of deputies to do the job for him while he turned up for PR and photo  opps.

He's still fooling some of the people all of the time but the majority of voters  seem to be getting wiser, Those  being fooled all of the time are mainly " golf club Tories"and Daily Mail readers. But he and his anarchist consigliere must realise by now that their inability to govern the country is apparent to the majority of rational voters. (Not all voters are rational, see Brexit)

If you know the Applecross Peninsula and if you stayed at Lonbain sixty years ago you might be able to confirm the the holiday home was Lonbain here's the link to the photo in the Daily Record.



Thursday 13 August 2020

How will the Scottish government deal with UK government's no deal?..... Virtual meeting with our MP next week.....

 One of the unexpected side effects of Covid19 lockdown here on the peninsula is that many of us have learned to use video conferencing. So, next week we have a ZOOM meeting with Kate Forbes our local MSP and Scottish Minister for finance.

"Scottish farming will be in dire straits if we crash out of the EU without a deal and no deal seems more and more likely due to the incompetence and intransigence of our parliament in London. How does the Scottish Government plan to deal with it? ".......That's my question.

In recent years almost half of Scottish farm businesses have only made a trading surplus at the year end because of European Union farm support payments..... the Single Farm Payment (SFP). On 1st January 2021 that payment will disappear and so far there does not seem to be a credible alternative to replace it. Many farm businesses could go bust next year without the SFP.

Crofters are largely part-time , small scale stock keepers with sheep and cows. All but very few expect to make a living from crofting,they tend to be "multiple job holders or pensioners" they keep sheep because they always have done, they like it and they do receive the SFP which supplements their income.  without the SFP many will find that their sheep keeping is a lot of work and loses money.

If you add up all of the costs (not including overheads including labour) I estimate that it cost roughly £50 for a Crofter to raise a lamb to the point of sale. Then there's £2 for transport to the mart and £3 to Auctioneer for selling the lamb; total costs £55. They average sale price is around £40 and could be much lower in 2021 if exports are disrupted by tariffs . 

The  SFP contributes on average £600 a year subsidy, £60 a head if you only have 10  ewes and a small croft to cover the loss per ewe of £15 and the Crofter's labour. It's an area payment so as stock numbers increase average income per head goes down for Crofters.

On large farms and estates because the SFP is an area payment it can be in the hundreds of thousands of pounds and makes a big contribution to the farmer's family school fees, skiing holidays, shooting, fishing, horses land and lifestyle. They will continue to do well as there are other benefits of large scale land ownership, in particular tax avoidance opportunities and government funded projects such as the "Renewable heat initiative"  The renewable heat initiative