Monday, May 07, 2007


This is virtually the totality of media coverage I got in the election
let us now consider the9% Growth Party.

I met the 9% Growth Party - Mr Neil Craig as he is also known- when went to The Doublet bar in Glasgow to have a pint and avoid elections for a wee while. Craig, whose science fiction book and comic shop Futureshock is nearby, was handing out leaflets.

"No blackouts. No vindictive bans", the leaflet said. I assumed he was talking about the pub: Don't drink so much you have a blackout, but even if you do, you should not necessarily be barred.

But no, it transpired the "blackouts" is a reference to nuclear power, of which the Glasgow regional list candidate is in favour.The"vindictive bans"isa reference to the Scottish Executive's unilateral prohibition on smoking, to which he is opposed.

The leaflet also promised "Double your income in eight years", which sounds a decent enough electoral bribe. In Craig's brave new world, all business taxes and fiscal controls will disappear. And with 9% compound growth, income apparently doubles in eight years.(Well,it does if you are an entrepreneur. If you're on a pension, it might be a little more difficult.) I suggested to Craig that he might have given his movement the snappier title of the Double Your Money Party, but he thought people might get confused with Hughie Green.

Our Mr Craig is not very green. He thinks climate change is a myth; he tilts firmly against windmills; he thinks the Green movement has killed more people than Hitler. (Check it yourself: Google "9% growth party + Hitler".) Mr 9% does have some sensible policies, too. He wants to automate the Glasgow subway with driverless trains running 24/7 and do the same with the Glasgow-Edinburgh rail link. Less convincing is his proposal to build a tunnel from Oban to Mull to make the island more accessible to fans of Balamory.

It says on Craig's CV that he was chucked out of the LibDems for illiberality which, in itself, is quite an achievement.
From Tom Shields in the Herald. Had an 8 year old child with a pocket calculator been available Mr Shields could have confirmed that 9% growth over 8 years does indeed double income for everybody but clearly he does not move in such intellectual company. Beyond that he actually seems to know what I was standing for & is apparently a train enthusiast. The Herald & Sunday Herald declined to publish my response.
I thank Tom Shields for his approval of the 9% Growth Party's proposal for fully automating the Glasgow underground & Glasgow-Edinburgh lines.

He is quite correct that I support putting new nuclear in to replace the 50% of our electricty production which is reaching retirement. This is a matter on which the larger parties have specificly refused to debate. I'm afraid if we lose half our power massive blackouts are obviously inevitable. Burying our heads in the sand, as the big parties do, is grossly irresponsible & will not make reality go away.

The tunnels proposal is based on the Norwegian's achievement of building 740km of tunnels over the last 20 years. A series of tunnels at Gourock/Dunoon & crossing to Kintyre, Bute Arran & as he says, Mull making it a simple drive from there to Glasgow would greatly improve the prospects of all.

Tom expresses some doubt about the effect of 9% Growth. Doubling income in 8 years at 9% growth is how compound growth works. Try getting a pocket calculator & multiplying 1.09 by totaling 8 times & you will see it. Mathematically it is known as the Rule of 72 since doubling, except in very short time periods, requires 72 points of growth. Thus at Scotland's current growth rate of 1.5% doubling takes 48 years while at 10% growth the income of the Chinese will have doubled & doubled & doubled & doubled & doubled & doubled & close to doubled again.

This is part of why getting the economy growing would be so very valuable for all of us, rich & poor, as I hope, thinking it over, readers will appreciate.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


9% Growth Party – Neil Craig
Election Communication
1st (Regional) Vote


In 2011 Hunterston nuclear power station is due to close & Scotland will lose 1/6th of our electric power.> 
In 2015 new EU emission controls will come into effect forcing the closure of our high emission power stations. We will then be down to 2/3rds of current electricity generating capacity.

In 2023 the Torness nuclear station will close & 1/2 of our power will be gone. If we do not replace this, indeed if we do not increase current capacity in line with our hopefully, growing economy we are going to have massive & continual blackouts. In Britain we already have 24,000 deaths per year, mainly pensioners, because of fuel poverty but a further unnecessary massive increase in deaths will be inevitable. The 9% Growth Party calls for immediate approval in Scotland of proven designs & proven sites & to allow the building of enough reactors to satisfy demand. Whether this is done by government investment or private enterprise is unimportant - why is important is that it is done before the lights go out.

If we do this the fact that France is currently producing 80% of the electricity it uses from nuclear at 1.3p a unit. This is half what conventional power costs, 1/4 what onshore windmills cost & 1/6th of offshore wind. To do so would virtually end fuel poverty in Scotland & massively improve our economy. Only we are facing this problem.

In 1989 Ireland, which was then in an economic depression, cut corporation taxes & some regulations - immediately their economy boomed. Since then they have achieved an average of 7% growth per year with a peak of 11%. That is why Ireland has gone from 2/3rd our standard of living to 4/3rds & is now, per capita, as rich as the USA.

Our leaders should have noticed this years ago but it is not to late. If we cut our corporation tax, possibly in several steps, to Ireland' 12.5%, do the same with business rates & look at our regulatory regime, particularly the regulations which prevent housebuilding. If we do this we can reasonably expect to do better than Ireland since we have a stronger tradition of scientific & enterprise.

If we also allow the building of the sort of modern nuclear plants which are producing power in France a 9% growth rate is fully achievable.

9% Growth Party – A Philosophy

A century ago 80% of the metal hulled ships in the world were Clydebuilt. This is not a plea for going back to shipbuilding it is a plea for Scotland to regain the spirit of science, technology & entrepreneurship which allowed us to build the Clyde as the leader in what were then the world's greatest high technology industries.

Scotland has fallen to a political elite whose reaction to any form of new technology or new ideas are to regulate them out of existence. This drives the fruits of our science abroad, which is why so many of those who developed Dolly the sheep are now working in Singapore.

We wish to see our government support progress not decline further into the Ludditism of windmillery & dependency. We support human progress & absolutely reject the doomsayers who tell us the we have no future. In many was, in both engineering & philosophical terms Scots invented the modern world. The engineering of James Watt & the economic philosophy of Adam Smith should make us proud of our heritage, but also eager to live up to it.

The classic liberalism of Smith is sweeping the world producing growth from Ireland to China. We can & should learn from the nations we have taught.

Scotland's greatest days can be ahead of us IF we choose.

26 Things We Support

1) Stop blackouts. Act before we lose 50% of our electricity.
2) 9% growth using the methods that gave Ireland 7% on average & 10.5% in a good year.
3) Reform planning regulations. In 1907 a house & car cost the same - the difference is that planning regulators restrict housebuilding.
4) Stop subsidising windmills. Save £1 billion.
5) The smoking ban is an illiberal restriction on individual freedom. End it.
6) End fuel poverty. France produces 80% nuclear at 1.3p a unit. We can do the same.
7) A needs based transport policy. The previous Executive were committed to spending 70% of their transport budget on public transport (code for railways) though it makes up only 3% of traffic.
8) Tunnels project. Norway built 740km of tunnels at £7 million per km. We should do the same making it a short drive from Glasgow to Dunoon, Rothesay, Kintyre, Jura, Islay & Mull etc. Fully automate Glasgow's subway allowing it to run at lower costs, greater capacity & 24/7.
9) Fully automate Glasgow's subway allowing it to run at lower costs, greater capacity & 24/7.
10) Fully automate the Glasgow-Edinburgh train with the same effect.
11) Ultimate aim of a fully automated Scots rail transport system.
12) 2% cut in civil servants annually.
13) 2% government efficiency savings. Almost any private business trys to incresae efficiency at least that much & their is more scope in Holyrood.
14) Don't spend £610 million digging a tunnel under Edinburgh Airport. Make sure other government projects at least come close to making economic sense.
15) 3p cut in Scots income tax after funding of business tax cuts to provide growth.
16) No new politically correct vindictive bans. The smoking ban was NOT in manifestos at the last election.
17) A Holyrood committee to find & abolish counterproductive laws & regulations.
18) A schools vouchers system.
19) Allow schools to impose discipline.
20) Make a DVD of Scotland's history & post it to Scots, or those with Scots names, over the world. Include links encouraging Scottish tourism.
21) Establish a £20 million X-Prize to encourage space satelite industry to locate in scotland.
22) Establish an X-Prize foundation funded from the Scots contribution to the lottery to encourage high technology in Scotland.
23) Widen & improve the M8.
24) If Gore's silly film must be shown to Scots schoolchildren let them see the alternate view, AS THE LAW SPECIFICLY REQUIRES.
25) 54% of all money spent in Scotland is government money. Cut this.
26) Instead of knocking down Glasgow's high rise flats they should be given, free of charge, to those occupants who don't prefer to be rehoused.

Friday, May 04, 2007


OK no way round it. I came last on the Glasgow poll. I got 80 votes.

Thats democracy. I think I was right & everybody else wrong but so be it.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


The Red Road flats are a group of 8 blocks which, when put up in the early 1970s were the highest & arguably the grandest blocks of flats in Europe. Shortly after that high flats, which politically had been "the answer" to housing became unfashionable & the Council, in the tradition of self fulfilling prophecies, let them slip. Recently the Glasgow Housing Association decided that they should be knocked down & everybody rehoused.

Of the policies in my election address #26 was that rather than knocking down such blocks it would be better to give them to those occupants who don't want rehoused. I decided to do a special leaflet pointing this out & distribute it there & I spent yesterday evening doing so. Partly I was inspired by Matt Quinn's letter reproduced on 27th April here. "The place is in the state it's in because of WILFUL neglect on the part of the City Fathers; no other reason. They let the buildings rot, effectively condoned the violence and drugs and deliberately used the place as a dumping ground"

Having been there I believe there is nothing wrong with the place that could not be fairly easily fixed. I have delivered leaflets in North Kelvinside & I can say that there are closes there, where most of the flats cost 200 K, which are in a worse state of repair. I do not believe there is anything structurally wrong. It is a sin to knock it down.

Give the properties free to those who want to stay (& whom the rest don't have a serious problem with - such is the nature of dumping grounds). Put in place a good commercial factor (Glasgow has lots) with a strong factoring agreement. Get a proper community council going working with the new factors & police.… Give Mr Mo the franchise for a couple of 24 hour shops at the base of the bigger blocks (there are a couple of shops surviving but if actually linked to the blocks themselves people could buy things without having to go outdoors which would make them community centres. Encourage the building of a McDonalds (or Pizza house if we are going to be politically correct) & a pub (with good soundproofing cause sound travels upwards easily). Do a bit of repainting & replastering - not that much. There is a really horrible stagnant pool just behind the nursery school, which I suspect has been there since the earth was piled up during the building - clear it & put up a cheap prefabricated community hall. Also there are places where ownerscould buy 2 flats 7 knock them into one. Not within current rules but perfectly feasible.

All this would create a real community & I guarantee that in 6 months lawyers who work in both Glasgow & Edinburgh (it is near both the Edinburgh & Stirling motorways) would discover it. In 5 years it would be gentrified, an entrepreneur would be building a 3 level car park in the present parking space, Tommy Sheriden would be denouncing the fact that "ordinary working people" could no longer afford to buy (but were selling) penthouse flats & Scottish national heritage, God help us, would be wanting to list the buildings.

Opinions of those I spoke to were mixed. Some thought they were to far gone & should be knocked down, but even they thought they had once been fine. One told me it was a done deal & that the people were powerless because GHA had "already sold the land". And some saw the potential.

As I left it, last night I looked back at the flats. They are always impressive but, against a velvet night sky they stood out as pillars of light & they really are beautiful.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


The 9% Growth Party is pleased to see that the President of the World Federation of Scientists Antonio Zichichi, discoverer of nuclear anti-matter has stated that he is not convinced that global warming is caused by the increase of emissions of "greenhouse gases" produced through human activity.

Climate changes, he said, depend in a significant way on the fluctuation of cosmic rays.

For such an eminent man in such a position to say this proves that the whole idea that there exists a "scientific consensus", rather than a political one, on catastrophic global warming is untrue.

All 7 Luddite parties in Scotland are insisting on spending £1 billiion a year subsidising windmills to "fight" this non-existent threat rather than £870 million on the 3p income tax cut the 9% Growth party favours.
This drives a coach & horses through their claims.

A research paper published by the Adam Smith Institute, said that Scotland could emulate Ireland's recent economic success:
Instead of current growth rates that trail the rest of the country, Scotland ten years into independence could out-perform the UK, the report claimed.

If an independent Scotland reduced taxes, cut spending and created a business-friendly environment, the country's growth rate over a five-year period could move from 1.7 per cent to Ireland's 7 per cent, he said.
The paper, Independent Scotland: The Road to Riches by international economist Gabriel Stein of Lombard Street Research, found that from 1992 to 2004, Scotland's gross value added growth was only 87 per cent of that of the UK.If an independent Scotland reduced taxes, cut spending and created a business-friendly environment, the country's growth rate over a five-year period could move from 1.7 per cent to Ireland's 7 per cent, he said.

This is almost exactly what the 9% Growth party have been saying (though we say that building enough inexpensive new nuclear can push it up to 9%) & indeed what I was expelled from the LibDems for saying. However if we get the setting of corporation tax rates devloved to us & I see no reason why we can't, then we can do all this with or without separation.Equally we might get separation & a government supported by the Greens & S&SSP - a scenario for which the word "desperate" would be inadequate.

If the 9% Growth Party do not do well in Glasgow it is that much more likely that the SNP activists will be able to pull them in a leftward direction.

Their link$472260.htm

The SNP leader has given a speech about the growth his party would aim for. Instead of the previous concentration on a 4% growth rate we are now told that we should expect a growth rate equal to or better than the UK average (2.5%), up 1% from the abysmal performance of the previous Executive (1.5%). This is an extremely modest promise. The promise of 4% growth, said to be an average of Ireland's 7% & other small countries is now relegated to the date when independence under his party has been achieved or Hell freezes over, whichever comes first.

They intend to achieve this by cutting corporation tax to 20%.

By comparison the 9% Growth Party are committed to:

1) Cutting corporation tax to 12.5% (the Irish rate)

2) Cutting business rates very substantially.

3) Setting up a Holyrood committee to identify & repeal economically damaging laws & regulations (again following the Irish example).

4) Cutting building regulations & encouraging mass off site manufacturing in the housebuilding industry to achieve a minimum of 30,000 new homes a year.

5) Producing nuclear electricity at 1.3p a unit as France does.

6) Cutting income tax by the full allowed 3p.

While it is true that the SNP are doing only 1/2 of 1 of our proposals we believe their extremely modest proposal to increase growth by 1% is realistic. We trust they will also do us the courtesy of confirming that our, up to 12 times more robust, programme to increase growth 7.5% to 9% is, if anything, more realistic

We note that Labour, SNP, Lib Dems, Tories & Greens have all refused an invitation to discuss the forthcoming loss of 50% of Scotland's electricity, when Hunterson, high emission coal generators & Torness close.

This is grossly irresponsible of them since the electorate have a right to know what plans, if any, they have to replace this power.