Proportional Representation . . .

Proportional Representation – as in elections – seems to be slowly creeping up the ladder. I have even seen Conservative MPs advocating it. A N Wilson says somewhere in his book “The Victorians” that a Government (or indeed Parliament) will never concede electoral reform unless and until they can see how it can be managed (or mismanaged ?) to their advantage, so I am inherently suspicious of remarks from Westminster. But the knowledge that First Past the Post does not represent the peoples’ vote is not new – and what follows is a cut and paste job from the Electoral Reform Society’s web site . . .

“In January 1884, a diverse group of academics, parliamentarians and members of the legal profession gathered at 7 Clarges Street, Westminster. Brought together by the naturalist, archaeologist and polymath Sir John Lubbock, along with Henry Fawcett (husband of Millicent Fawcett), Leonard Courtney and Albert Grey, it was clear to them that our political system was failing to overcome the challenges presented by the approaching twentieth century.

With 180 MPs in their ranks with equal numbers from the Liberal and Conservative parties, they decided to overcome their differences and found a society dedicated to creating a parliament that could truly represent the nation.

I trust that Great Britain, the mother of Parliaments, may once more take the lead among the great nations of the world by securing for herself a House of Commons which shall really represent the nation.”     (Quote by Sir John Lubbock).

First known as the Proportional Representation Society, this group quickly attracted leading luminaries of the Victorian age, including C.P. Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian (now The Guardian), the Rev. Charles Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll), and Thomas Hare (the inventor of the Single Transferable Vote).

There were early successes in Australia, Malta and Ireland. But political parties were envious of the power that Westminster’s traditional system gave them.

The Irish government in 1958 and 1968 tried to abolish the use of the Single Transferable Vote and to revert to Westminster’s voting system. On both occasions, future director Enid Lakeman led our successful campaign to protect democracy in Ireland.

With a new base at 6 Chancel Street and renamed the Electoral Reform Society, the society helped ensure that the new Northern Ireland Assembly used the Single Transferable Vote when it was first convened in 1973.

In the late 70s, the Society founded a small-scale ballot services division, led by Major Frank Britton. This eventually became the separate Electoral Reform Services Limited (ERSL), the UK’s market-leading provider of software and services for election management, membership engagement, democracy and governance systems. The Electoral Reform Society’s shareholding in ERSL provided a major source of income to the Society.

As the twentieth century came to an end and the Jenkins Commission proved to be a false dawn, the ultimate goal of bringing fair results to Westminster elections was still just out of reach. But new avenues for reform were opening.

Across the UK, devolution was taking hold and each new assembly was to be elected using proportional systems.

At the start of the 21st century, First Past the Post was on the retreat again. After a vigorous campaign, voters in Scotland had their voice properly heard in 2007 as the Single Transferable Vote was used in local elections for the first time.”

After 135 years perhaps something is beginning to sink it ?

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Hand-outs not wanted . . .

Jojo and his Family

Embrace has been working in war-torn countries for many years. Often people urgently need food, access to safe water or medical supplies. But sometimes what people need is a second chance. A chance for someone whose life has been devastated to build themselves up again when everything has been taken away.

When we met JoJo, pictured above with his family, that’s exactly what he was desperate for. A chance to start again after ISIS took everything he had. JoJo is from Iraq and although I wouldn’t say JoJo is a proud man, I think you will understand why he says that he doesn’t want hand-outs.
JoJo used to live in a small town in northern Iraq. It was a friendly town, the kind of place where everybody knows everybody and where there was also a strong Christian community. Running a small local business JoJo worked hard providing for his family. His mobile cobbler stall provided a good living and his children were doing well in school.
But that is all in the past. In the blink of an eye everything changed.
When ISIS captured the Christian town of Teleskuf, JoJo and his family had no choice but to flee for their lives.
‘They came and took everything away,’ JoJo told us.

JoJo is desperate to get back on his feet again. He wants to be the breadwinner for his family that he always was. Without his income, his family can’t survive. JoJo doesn’t want hand-outs. He knows how to run a small business. He knows how to be successful, but he needs help to get started.

People like JoJo and his family are still facing abject poverty. They have spent years away from their home running from place to place, dealing with crisis after crisis – trying to keep safe. But a helping hand to get his business started again would give his family security and JoJo’s children could go back to school.


Embrace is one of those charities you seldom hear about. Until recently they were known as “The Bible Lands Society”, and you may have gone carol singing or been to a carol service where the words were on the Bethlehem Carol Sheet, in which case you were using an Embrace resource (in the modern parlance). Embrace has been working in the Middle East for more than a century, but I doubt, Dear Reader, that you even knew it existed ?

I, personally, support Embrace, if you feel you would like to know more please follow the hyperlink.

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Soup’s up . . .

Homemade soup using up old stuff from the fridge. The bowl is from Robyn Cove Pottery and was bought durng the 2019 Spring Fling from her stall in Castle Douglas.

Makes a nice change from all the dreadful Brexit stuff.

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Bad News for Westminster . . .

Something that our current Government must find very uncongenial . . .

Transparent and democratic institutions

The EU remains focused on making its governing institutions more transparent and democratic. Decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizen.

More powers have been given to the directly elected European Parliament, while national parliaments play a greater role, working alongside the European institutions.

The EU is governed by the principle of representative democracy, with citizens directly represented at Union level in the European Parliament and Member States represented in the European Council and the Council of the EU.

European citizens are encouraged to contribute to the democratic life of the Union by giving their views on EU policies during their development or suggest improvements to existing laws and policies. The European citizens’ initiative empowers citizens to have a greater say on EU policies that affect their lives. Citizens can also submit complaints and enquiries concerning the application of EU law.

Source : HERE



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“Woad-painted Nats . . . “

A very good piece from “The National” . . .

11th September
Andrew Tickell: Why 3 Scots judges saw through the Tory lie
By Andrew Tickell

“THE Prime Minister’s advice to Her Majesty the Queen and the prorogation which followed thereon was unlawful and is thus null and of no effect.” That was the shock verdict of three judges of the Inner House of the Court of Session on Wednesday. For their different reasons, Lords Carloway, Brodie and Drummond Young all concluded that the Prime Minister’s sleekit prorogation for five weeks through October was unlawful.

We don’t have a full judgment yet. That’s going to be published on Friday. But even the judicial summary was stinging. This Court of Session bench wasn’t buying Boris Johnson’s spin, and they weren’t prepared to embrace the old-school, “hands-off” approach of Lord Doherty last week.

Take the case back to first principles. The petitioners argued that Johnson acted unlawfully. They hoped to call him to account in an action for judicial review.

How? It’s long been recognised that prime ministers have the constitutional authority to advise the Queen to prorogue Parliament. Surely Johnson was just exercising this discretion? Up to a point. But the courts have also – for some years – demanded that decision-makers in public life exercise their powers within lawful bounds. That doesn’t mean that anything they do which has a superficial appearance of legality is A-OK. Intention matters.

If a local authority, a planning committee, a minister, or even a prime minister takes a decision on the basis of improper or unconstitutional purposes, the courts can intervene. That isn’t a principle unique to Scots law. It has long been the position of English courts too.

So what was Boris Johnson’s true purpose in proroguing Parliament through October? Was this purpose consistent with Britain’s (admittedly fragmented) constitutional values?

Everyone and their dog – Brexiteer or diehard Remoaner – knows exactly what Number 10 was doing when it decided to bring the parliamentary session to an early close this week.

The official paper trail – produced by the UK Government in the course of the case – only tended to confirm the mendacity of the UK Government’s position.

The papers showed Boris Johnson’s administration denied it had any intention to prorogue Parliament in public, when arrangements to do precisely this were already in train. This was a lie. The idea that Parliament was prorogued because the Tories’ domestic agenda needs the boost of a new Queen’s Speech doesn’t even have the hallmarks of superficial plausibility.

In Edinburgh on Wednesday, three Court of Session judges called out this mendacity and implausibility. For Lord Carloway, the “true purpose” of the prorogation was clearly “to stymie parliamentary scrutiny of the executive, which was a central pillar of the good governance principle enshrined in the constitution”.
More articles

For Drummond Young, “it was incumbent on the UK Government to show a valid reason for the prorogation”. The circumstances, the judge concluded, showed Johnson’s true purpose was “to prevent” and “restrict” legitimate parliamentary scrutiny of the UK Government behaviour.

The sharpest words came from Lord Brodie. For him, “this was an egregious case of a clear failure to comply with generally accepted standards of behaviour of public authorities”. The “principal reasons for the prorogation”, he said, “were to prevent or impede Parliament holding the executive to account and legislating with regard to Brexit”. And who can credibly disagree with him?

This was a surprise outcome. At the outset of this litigation, I thought it stood a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding – but the odds have evened up as the arguments have been aired and tested, and the dodgy paper trail of the UK Government has been revealed.

The judgment has thrown the UK Government’s spinners and political outriders into a frenzy. Some are attempting to imply that the Court of Session is some kind of hotbed for constitutional radicals. This is not only a slur on the professional integrity of three of Scotland’s most experienced judicial figures – it is a bad joke. The idea that Lords Carloway, Brodie and Drummond Young are woad-painted Nats is for the birds.

But the ultimate outcome of this case is no sure thing. The last word on the legality of the Prime Minister’s behaviour will go to the Supreme Court in London. On the 17th of September, the justices will decide whether to side with Lord Carloway and his two colleagues, or with Lord Doherty and the judges of the High Court in England and Wales, who concluded the prorogation was lawful. For the gamblers amongst you, this case may be worth a bet either way.

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Good Old Daily Mail . . . ?

We can’t say how many are ‘hooked on’ prescription drugs

This week a number of headlines warned that over 11 million or “one in four” people in Britain are prescribed potentially addictive medication. This was broadly the finding of a Public Health England (PHE) review into five specific types of medication for adults in England.

While most media outlets correctly reported the story, the Daily Mail’s social media headline that “one in four people is hooked on prescription drugs” (which wasn’t repeated in its article), is incorrect.

PHE specifically said it wasn’t possible to say how many people had a dependency based on the data.

For the complete “Full Fact” article see HERE

Good old Daily Mail – never knowingly correct . . .

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More Jiggery Pokery . . .


The UK government has been allegedly attempting to harvest user data, surreptitiously obtaining information from individuals accessing the official website, ahead of the UK’s scheduled withdrawal from the EU at the end of October.

The news drew strong reactions from opposition parties, including Labour’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson. He said on Wednesday: “This centralised harvesting of citizen’s data is very suspicious. Why would Dominic Cummings say this was a top priority for the government, given the national crisis we are in? We need immediate assurances about what this data is going to be used for.”

Meanwhile, a UK government spokesperson denied that any wrongdoing had taken place. “No personal data is collected at any point during the process, and all activity is fully compliant with our legal and ethical obligations,” they said.

(Read the full story HERE)

(Samuel Stolton,

Meanwhile, a UK government spokesperson denied that any wrongdoing had taken place. “No personal data is collected at any point during the process, and all activity is fully compliant with our legal and ethical obligations,” they said.

Well, they would say that wouldn’t they ?

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“Let me be perfectly clear . . .”

At his first Prime Minister’s Questions last Wednesday, Boris Johnson said that Scotland has the highest taxes anywhere in Europe. We asked the Prime Minister’s office what tax he is referring to but have not received a reply.

Over half of all tax revenue in Scotland is controlled by the UK government, but one of the main taxes set by the Scottish government is income tax. If Mr Johnson is talking about income tax, then this claim is incorrect. Many European countries have higher rates of income tax than Scotland.

Source : Full Fact, Friday 13th September 2019 – HERE

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Possible Medication Shortages . . .

The following came to me via a Facebook Group of which I am a member. I have checked the site – – and it seems as genuine as anything is these days, so I publish it for your use. Read it carefully and don’t assume the medication will just stop. Note that it uses phrases such as “suppliers have expressed concerns about”, or, “possibly affected”, so don’t go spreading alarm and despondency (said he doing his best to do just that . . . ).

From :

Will Brexit Affect Your Prescriptions?         Medication Shortage List

Brexit is on the horizon.

The UK is currently set to leave the European Union, following a “Leave” result in the 2016 referendum. We don’t know yet exactly how this will pan out, although the likelihood of a no deal Brexit is looking increasingly likely. But how will this effect your prescriptions? There are already widespread reports of delays in Pharmacies due to unavailable medication, even for relatively common drugs. Many patients report being negatively affected by this, as drug shortages potentially endanger many.

For your information, we can share with you the following medications which our suppliers have expressed concern about, either because there are worries around future import rights or because the prices are already rising as a result of stockpiling; leading to real concerns over post-Brexit costs and availability.

For instance, high blood pressure (hypertension) medications such as Telmisartan, Valsartan, Remipril, Olmesartan, Nebivolol, Nifedipine (Adalat), Candesartan, Losartan (Cozaar), Lisinopril, Irbesartan, Bendroflumethiazide (Aprinox), and Amlodipine (Norvasc) are currently affected by the shortage. Antidepressants on the list include Venlafaxine, Lofepramine, Sertraline, Dosulepin, and Citalopram. Medications to treat or slow the development of Parkinson’s disease such as Rasagiline, Co-careldopa, and Ropinirole are also struggling to stay in stock. Risperidone, Quetiapine, and Olanzapine, which are primarily used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are also steadilly going up in price due to UK Pharmacies stocking up.

Medication Possibly Affected by Brexit:

Acamprosate (Campral) – prescribed alongside counselling to treat alcohol dependence.
Aciclovir (Acyclovir) – an antiviral medication primarily used for the treatment of herpes simplex virus infections, chickenpox, and shingles.
Allopurinol – to decrease high blood uric acid levels. It is specifically used to prevent gout, prevent specific types of kidney stones and for the high uric acid levels that can occur with chemotherapy.
Amlodipine – is a medication used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and coronary artery disease.
Baclofen – to treat spasticity. It is used as a central nervous system depressant and skeletal muscle relaxant.
Bendroflumethiazide – used in the management of hypertension (high blood pressure). Brinzolamide Eye Drops– used to treat ocular hypertension and open-angle glaucoma.
Calcipotriol ointment – for the treatment of psoriasis.
Candesartan – used for the treatment of hypertension and congestive heart failure.
Cetirizine – a second-generation antihistamine.
Citalopram – an antidepressant used to treat major depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and social phobia.
Co-careldopa – used to manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Co-codamol tablets – pain relief when ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen alone do not sufficiently relieve a patient’s symptoms.
Cyclizine – a medication used to treat and prevent nausea, vomiting and dizziness due to motion sickness or vertigo.
Desogestrel (Cerelle) – a progestin medication which is used in birth control pills for women. It is also used in the treatment of menopausal symptoms in women.
Dihydrocodeine – prescribed for pain or severe dyspnea.
Dispersible Aspirin tablets – to treat pain, fever, or inflammation.
Dosulepin (Prothiaden) – is used in the treatment of depression.
Doxycycline – an antibiotic used in the treatment of pneumonia, acne, chlamydia infections, early Lyme disease, cholera and syphilis.
Esomeprazole (Nexium) – a proton-pump inhibitor which reduces stomach acid.
Exemestane (Aromasin) – a medication used to treat breast cancer.
Finasteride (Proscar/Propecia) – to treat an enlarged prostate or scalp hair loss in men. It can also be used to treat excessive hair growth in women and as a part of hormone therapy for transgender women.
Glimepiride (Amaryl) – an anti-diabetic medication.
Hydrocortisone – a steroid medicine that is used in the treatment of many different conditions, including allergic disorders, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, or lung disorders.
Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) – used for the prevention and treatment of certain types of malaria as well as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and porphyria cutanea tarda.
Irbesartan – used for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure).
Lansoprazole – to control the stomach’s production of gastric acid, effectively controlling pH inside the stomach.
Liquid Carbamazepine (Tegretol) – to treat epilepsy, neuropathic pain, and schizophrenia.
Lisinopril – to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), heart failure, and after heart attacks.
Lofepramine (Gamanil/Lomont/Tymelyt) – a tricyclic antidepressant which is used to treat depression.
Losartan (Cozaar) – used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). Other uses include for diabetic kidney disease, heart failure, and left ventricular enlargement.
Meloxicam (Mobic) – anti-inflammatory drug used to treat pain and inflammation in rheumatic diseases and osteoarthritis.
Metformin (Glucophage) – type 2 diabetes medication.
Metoclopramide – commonly used to treat and prevent nausea and vomiting, to help with emptying of the stomach in people with delayed stomach emptying, gastroenteritis and to help with gastroesophageal reflux disease. It is also used to treat migraine headaches.
Metronidazole (Flagyl) – used either alone or with other antibiotics to treat pelvic inflammatory disease, endocarditis, and bacterial vaginosis.
Naproxen (Aleve/Naprosyn) – an anti-inflammatory used to treat pain, menstrual cramps, inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, and fever.
Nebivolol – used for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure).
Nifedipine (Adalat) – used to manage angina, hypertension (high blood pressure), Raynaud’s phenomenon, and premature labour.
Nortriptyline (Allegron/Aventyl/Noritren/Nortrilen/Pamelor) – used to treat clinical depression. Another licensed use for it is in the treatment of childhood bedwetting
Olanzapine (Zyprexa) – an antipsychotic primarily used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Olmesartan – used for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure).
Omeprazole – is a medication used in the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease, peptic ulcer disease, and Zollinger–Ellison syndrome.
Oxybutynin – to relieve urinary and bladder difficulties, including frequent urination and inability to control urination, by decreasing muscle spasms of the bladder. It is also given to help with symptoms associated with kidney stones.
Prednisolone – a steroid medication used to treat certain types of allergies, inflammatory conditions, autoimmune disorders, and cancers.
Pregabalin (Lyrica) – used to treat epilepsy, neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, restless leg syndrome, and generalized anxiety disorder.
Quetiapine (Seroquel) – an antipsychotic used for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder.
Rasagiline – used as a monotherapy to treat symptoms in early Parkinson’s disease or as an adjunct therapy in more advanced cases.
Ramipril – used to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.
Risperidone (Risperdal) – an antipsychotic used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability associated with autism.
Ropinirole – used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome.
Sertraline (Zoloft) – an antidepressant medication used to treat major depressive disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
Sildenafil (Viagra) – used to treat erectile dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Sodium valproate (or valproate sodium) – an anticonvulsant used in the treatment of epilepsy, anorexia nervosa, panic attack, anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, migraine and bipolar disorder, as well as other psychiatric conditions requiring the administration of a mood stabiliser.
Sotalol – to treat abnormal heart rhythms.
Tamsulosin (Flomax) – for symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia, chronic prostatitis, and to help with the passage of kidney stones.
Telmisartan – used in the management of hypertension (high blood pressure).
Tibolone – for menopausal hormone therapy and in the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis and endometriosis.
Valsartan – mainly used for treatment of high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and to increase the chances of living longer after a heart attack.
Venlafaxine (Effexor) – an antidepressant medication used to treat major depressive disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social phobia.
Zopiclone – used in the treatment of insomnia.

Who are we and how do we know?

This list was compiled from our most up to date information from our UK suppliers and is not exhaustive. These are the same pharmaceutical suppliers that supply all NHS hospitals and GP surgeries. e-Surgery is an online Doctor service serving the whole UK. Our mission is to make seeing a private doctor affordable for everyone.

If you have any more questions about medication availability, fill out the form below and we’ll do our best to help. Have a healthcare related question and want to ask a professional? If ever in doubt check out our completely free Ask-a-Pharmacist service! Our aim is to make sure that you have access to the medical professionals you need in order to make informed decisions about your health. Your Health, Your Way.
Concerned about the medication you take but don’t see it on the list?

This list may be found at :

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The “Logic” of Parliament . . .

Government website on 10 September 2019 at about 9.20 am.

Petition for the stopping of the prorogation of Parliament 1,721,646 signatures.

Majority of Leave over Remain at the EU Referendum 1,269, 501.

Government’s repetitious reponse to the petition – “

“We must respect the referendum result and the UK will be leaving the EU on 31 October whatever the circumstances.”
“The UK will be leaving the EU on 31 October whatever the circumstances. We must respect the referendum result.”

So why is the Petition not respected ?

Latest : Petition signatures up to Petition signatures up to 1,722,053 as at 11 September 2019 at BST.

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