The persistence of class as Saudi elites find you can kill the poor, the masses, but you dare not kill ‘one of us’


© Martin Rowson

‘Here’s the smell of blood still. Not all the sweet perfumes of Arabia will sweeten this hand’

(Lady Macbeth)

The Saudi elites have been killing and killing, unconstrained by Western objections, for centuries. They have recently killed thousands of Yemeni men, women and children using UK and US weapons and even guided by UK ‘technicians’ on the ground. They daily, flog, stone or decapitate, ‘adulterous’ women. They even crucify. Liberal critics in the West write passionately and critically but nothing ever happens.

Suddenly, however, after they kill a journalist employed by the Washington Post and who is a member of one of Saudi Arabia’s aristocratic families, a bloodline in the sand has been crossed. Last night on Newsnight, we heard it described as the ‘gravest’ development and as a ‘nadir’ in Western relationships with the Kingdom. Thousands of ordinary people dead yet the killing of a single journalist is the worst, the lowest point?

Why do the members of our media elite think this?

In the second half of the 20th Century, under the umbrella term ‘post-modernism’, old Marxist certainties, about the centrality of the economy in determining group identification and loyalties, were questioned. We heard, even, that the too-simple concept, class, had been replaced by more complex ideas based on cultural preferences and the proliferation of multiple collective identities and loyalties that could not be linked clearly to political actions aimed at removing inequality. I agree that old-school Marxist politics had often become too simple and too rigid to be useful as a basis for thought or for action but there are times when things become all-too-simple again and this is one of them.

There are still two classes, though the edges of their cluster territories are blurred and shifting, as some individuals move into and out of elite groups. No more than 1% of the world’s population are in the cluster of interlocking elites, with people like Trump, the UK royals and our Tory leaders, well into the centre of them. People like me, when I was a working professor, sometimes flying to conferences and with a media profile, but in a low-status institution, might have been just inside one or more of the clusters – those of media, and education but not those of politics, industry, commerce, entertainment or religion. If I’d been assassinated in a misjudged attack, the killer might have crossed a line. If Alex Salmond were to be taken out by the same assassin, that would be well-over the line and a major mistake by the elites but if a busload of unemployed people demonstrating for Scottish independence had been taken out in a flawed attempt to merely frighten them, a cover-up perhaps blaming the driver, would be constructed and no action would have been needed within elite groups.

Even when this kind of event happens, however, the interests of elite clusters will come before those of one of their members. Watch for the ‘cleaning’ as those close to the Crown Prince pay the price for him and, in time, all returns to bloody normal. As I write, the arrests have already begun.



SNP make second visit to Arctic Circle Assembly as part of post-Brexit strategy to save Scotland. Loyalist parties and media CGAF?


I’ve reported on many earlier initiatives at:

Scotland moves closer to the Arctic Circle

Scottish Government pushes on past 200 initiatives to counter Tory Brexit damage


‘External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop will reaffirm Scotland’s commitment to growing links between Scotland and the Arctic at a global conference in Iceland. The Cabinet Secretary is sharing a platform with senior representatives of governments, business and academia from around the world at the latest Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik. During her speech Ms Hyslop will discuss progress that has been made on the Scottish Government’s Arctic Strategy, and the themes already developing where Scotland has a distinct contribution to make. These include climate change and the environment; the geopolitical relationship of Scotland to the region; academic and research collaboration; economic opportunities; and the links between remote communities in Scotland and those in the high north.’

Full report at:

You have to wonder how the SNP maintain their lead over the others. Mind you, you also have to wonder why its not even bigger. Could BBC Scotland News be a factor?


Another case (😊) in the real story of Scotland’s economy: Scotch whisky exports grow to almost £2bn

Again, from Reporting Scotland’s least-used business source:

Scotch Whisky exports rose to almost £2 billion in the first half of the year. Exports increased in value by 10.8% to £1.97 billion, compared with the same period in 2017. Analysis of official HMRC figures published by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) also shows the volume of exports increased by 5.6% to almost 558 million bottles. Exports to emerging markets continued to grow, with a 34.8% increase in the value of Scotch Whisky going to China, and a 44.4% increase to India. The US remains the largest export market by value at over £400 million, with France largest by volume at almost 90 million bottles. The European Union remains the biggest regional destination, accounting for 39% of the volume of Scotch Whisky exports and 31% of their value.’

Scotch now accounts for more than 20% of all UK food and drink exports!

8% of the population, over 25% of the food and drink exports. How could this wee stupid country expect to survive? How could we pay off all ‘our’ debts to the UK? I need a drink.


Another case in the real story of Scotland’s economy: Hospitality retail growth up 11%


More from that Marxist-Nat cell at Insider business magazine:

Scottish Licensed Trade Association review finds 49% of those surveyed enjoyed growth over the summer period – up 11% on the same period last year. A review by the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) surveyed 600 retailers within the hospitality sector across Scotland, with 49% of respondents recording growth in their business over summer.The figure for the same period last year was 38%.’

Of course, this is only the latest. See these  2018 only reports of real strength in the Scottish economy even before independence, undermining those regular fibs about a deficit based on debt we didn’t need, nuclear weapons we won’t have, military spending we see little of, massive infrastructure spending in the South and so on and on:

Umpteenth post on underlying strength in Scottish economy: Property investment up 19.8%!

Scottish business confidence well above UK average

SNP blamed as private businesses experience too much demand and overcrowding with new staff second only to Labour-mayored London.

Scottish business confidence stays high…Ah but!..Oh shut up Revoking Scotland!

63% fall in large business insolvencies as Scottish economy reveals strength

See this Douglas? Business investment in Scotland up 250%!

Scottish Business Strength No.77: Small Scottish construction firms’ growth up 17%

Scottish small businesses still more confident than those in non-Scottish parts

Business activity soars to four-year high across manufacturing and service

Business confidence in Scotland soars by 24% while it sinks 29% in non-Scottish parts of UK

Scottish businesses more likely to be stable than those in rest of UK: News from a parallel universe unknown to our mainstream media

Scottish Government supports economy with new business rates unique in UK

Scottish business confidence higher than in any other region of UK



Complaint to BBC Scotland on poor quality of coverage of hate crime


Fig: Trends in hate crime in Scotland

On Reporting Scotland, at 1.30pm and 6.30pm the coverage of hate crime in Scotland was of poor quality leading to distortion of the content. There were three flaws:

  1. The report covered the only aspect of hate crime where there has been a major reported increase – that against the disabled. For public information, given that this was the only aspect covered at any time by BBC Scotland, the report should have mentioned that hate crime based on race, by far the most common form of hate crime, is falling and that this is unique to Scotland.
  2. The report, once at 1.30 and twice at 6.30, led with the unsubstantiated claim that it is estimated that 93% or more than 90%, of such incidents are not reported. Such a claim is highly significant in that it may lead to disproportionately increased anxiety among disabled people or their friends and family. This could influence important decisions about the travel, education or living arrangements made for disabled people A source for this claim is required in reporting by a public service broadcaster. Giving a source would enable viewers to at least begin to evaluate its reliability.
  3. The scale of such crime needs to be reported to enable viewers a sense of perspective. For example, there were 3249 case of hate crime based on race reported and only 284 cases based on disability. The lack of such context was important given the report’s extended focus on a handful of single, admittedly disturbing cases. I have long experience of working with disabled students and remember them being treated with tremendous kindness by staff and other students. A reliable source:

 It will be interesting to see the response to this given that my last complaint seemed to result in a quiet wee victory. Of course, it might be a cunning new tactic of just absorbing criticism. See:

Is this a first? Reporting Scotland’s editor apologises fully for errors in reporting on alleged school exclusions of children with autism


BBC Scotland, reporting the news that matters: One mad cow, one bad polis email, one unreliable stat, one black panther, maybe!


68 people like the idea of a black panther in Ayrshire?

Reporting Scotland continue to headline and to milk the one mad cow from Huntly. A reporter was sent to Boghead Farm to report that and I quote: ‘Bugger all has happened here all day! There will be no results for at least a month. OK, the farmer and his wife are ‘devastated’. That do for your story? It’s boring here. You said I’d get a real story to cover.’

Right, here’s a real biggy: ‘A temporary police officer has sent an email saying he doesn’t want just two female armed officers because the ‘testosterone balance ‘would be wrong.


‘ The email has two errors and, like Prof Robertson does with our errors, we’ve put (sic) after them. We doorstep the Justice Minister and get him to agree it’s bad. He smiles patiently, as you do with bairns, and says the Chief of Police will sort it out. Have BBC England ever done that with the Home Secretary? They’re too scared?’

Next: ‘Offences against disabled people are the most under-reported hate crimes in Scotland. It’s estimated that 93% of such incidents are not reported. Wait, are we not going to mention that other hate crimes based on religion and race are falling in Scotland yet soaring in England? It’s not newsworthy? Wait do we not need to source that claim of 93%? Won’t that Prof Robertson complain about us again like he did on the autism school suspensions thing?’


Finally: ‘A police warning to the folk of South or is East, Ayrshire telling them not to approach a black panther sighted in the fields near Drongan and Coalfield. They can be quite dangerous, the folk in those villages. Do we need to tell them not to approach a black panther? Mind you it must be getting on a bit that panther. It was first seen in 1969 during the peak of LSD consumption in the UK.’

OK Professor Smartypants, what’s wrong with these stories. What would you have reported on instead?

How about:

The Brexit threat to Edinburgh’s world-leading cancer research?

UK Government set to challenge Scottish court ruling that could prevent Brexit?

Mundell breaks ranks to air concerns over transition extension?

Why are murder and violent crime soaring in England and Wales but not in Scotland?

Margaret Fleming murder trial collapses?

Scottish ministers pile pressure on firms dodging modern slavery duties?

73% of Scots back increase in taxes for higher public spending?

Illegal killing of birds of prey falling fast in Scotland?

NHS England sent 154 eating disorder patients to Scotland?




Long-awaited SNP Baby Box evaluation report is in but with mixed results – cool for cats but hot for cricketers!

The long-awaited evaluation report on the usability and safety of the so-called ‘SNP baby box’ was submitted to the Scottish government yesterday and leaked to Talking-up Scotland. Here are the key findings or at least the ones we feel you’d be better off hearing.

The evaluation was carried out by independent researcher Professor John Robertson, retired from the University of the Best of Scotland, for a very reasonable fee.

The report consists of a number of cases studies designed to test the boxes rigorously in a number of challenging situations


  1. Herr Schrödinger’s cat

The cat seemed to cope well with a stay of twelve hours in the box, but Herr Schrödinger had been unable to predict the outcome with any confidence when lying on the floor as he could not see into the box from that position. In his best Englisch, Herr Schrödinger said ‘Der Schottlander Nazi Partei Kinderkasten ist wunderbar!’

  1. Pandora’s dad, Hephaustus


Instantly recognising the unsuitability of the SNP Baby Box for his fiery blacksmith’s foundry, he gave it to his daughter, Pandora. She used it to contain sickness, death and many other unspecified evils. Being open-topped, the box was a complete failure and should, according to expectant mum Ruth Davidson, interviewed by researchers, carry a warning that it should not be used to store all the evils of the world.

  1. English cricketer’s ball-protection-box

Cricketer, Ian Googly-Underhand, reported: ‘It was a bit big even for a wide man-spreader like meself but once well-squeezed-in, it proved effective protection especially against low bouncing balls. However, after a long inning, things got a bit hot down there.’ 

  1. Finnish sniper shield

Using the Finnish version of the box, army snipers found that when they hid behind a baby box, they could not be seen by attackers unless they stood up. Attackers were also reluctant to shoot back reporting anxiety that there might be a baby in the box.


Prof Robertson has reported that this evaluation of the baby box has been inconclusive and that he is available at modest cost to extend the research with, for example, tiny ballet dancers on musical boxes and for firework storage. For ethical reasons, he is unable to test them as cots for babies.