They are not responsible for people shooting themselves and others when they should never have had access to guns in the first place.
I have played and enjoyed all the GTA games. They are an incredible feat in that you interact with (almost) a living briefing city, can drive for miles and yes, as this is a gangster game have shoot outs with the cops and whack pedestrians with baseball bats.
Rockstar didn't invent thugs, murder or bad behaviour they merely created an immersive gaming experience which is streets ahead of every similar game. They also made huge amounts of money while doing so. This has presumably made them a target of lawyers.
The GTA games are GAMES. If they make you want to go and kill someone then guess what, you're away with it already and could be set off by any aspect of the media from a bit on tv news to a film or a cartoon!
Adult games are built for responsible adults to enjoy, the fact that some unfortunate decides to imitate art is not the fault of the publisher it is the fault of the sick society which allows everyone access to guns then wonders why people get constantly shot.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
They are not responsible for people shooting themselves and others when they should never have had access to guns in the first place.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Your letters (Glasgow Herald)
September 26 2006
YOU report that Mike Russell's new book poses "a dilemma" for the SNP's policy in holding a referendum on independence in a first term of government (September 25).
It does not. Recent opinion polls show that independence is the favoured option of the majority of Scots. Pete Ellis's letter shows that many from other parties are coming round to the idea.
Mike Russell's suggestion of a "New Union" whereby foreign affairs would continue to be a "reserved matter" meaning Westminster would continue to deny Scots a voice in the United Nations will find little support in the SNP, and it is interesting that Mr Russell launched his book after his party's list rankings had been voted upon in the South of Scotland where he achieved second place ahead of candidates who are more committed to current SNP policy and genuine independence.
Gavin Fleming, 517 Webster's Land, Grassmarket, Edinburgh.
I REFER to Monday's article outlining a paper produced by Mike Russell, entitled Grasping the Thistle. I have no doubt that the overwhelming number of SNP members will consign this paper to the dustbin, as will I.
This paper outlines some ideas that are anathema to the principles of the party. The SNP has a proud pro-public-sector ethos, believes in a taxation system that is fair and based on the ability to pay, and has an excellent track record and policy development on international issues. These key principles chime with the Scottish electorate.
On the other hand, this British New Labour government's record on foreign policy is far removed from the ethical one that was proposed by New Labour in 1997. I would not wish Scotland to share sovereignty on these issues.
I am deeply opposed to the war in Iraq, and I find the military aid this British government gives to countries such as Colombia, the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade-union activist, to be deeply repugnant.
Our civic nationalism is not ugly, and neither is our internationalism. That is why SNP members will reject any notion of shared sovereignty on defence and foreign policy.
Chris Stephens, 25 Allan Avenue, Renfrew.
WHETHER the ideas contained in Mike Russell's forthcoming book represent New Nationalism or New Unionism will have to await publication and a thorough examination. But the economic prospectus contained in his book, as outlined in your sister Sunday publication, seem very similar, and in some cases virtually identical, to those commentators who espouse a neo-liberal agenda.It is politically inevitable that the epithet "tartan Tory" will be accorded, by the SNP's political opponents, to those who promote vouchers in our education system and the abolition of inheritance tax.
SNP members like me will, on the other hand, await with real anticipation the publication of Mike's book before we pass judgment. His proposal, for instance, to freeze public spending is not a million miles away from a proposal put forward some time ago by Alex Neil, who suggested savings on the abolition of Trident could be used to put a peg on taxes; however, as Mike seems to propose leaving defence and foreign affairs in the hands of Westminster, albeit temporarily, the runes are not good.
As the old Scottish saying goes: "If you fly with the neo-liberal craws, then you will be shot with the neo-liberal craws."
Bill Ramsay, 84 Albert Avenue, Glasgow.
Posted by Joe Middleton at 12:16 PM
Monday, September 25, 2006
Why does my former party oppose the same rights for Scotland, and what are my former colleagues so afraid of losing if Scotland opts for self-determination? Their careers, perhaps? If that is all that remains of our once great party then there is precious little reason left to vote Liberal Democrat next year. With a lot of regret I now announce myself a first-time floating voter in 2007.
September 26 2006
TRY as I may, I cannot do other than deplore the LibDem decision to rule out any form of a pact with the SNP in the certain event of no party winning a majority of votes in the Holyrood election. The greatest thing the LibDems have done in recent years was to vote against the Iraq war. It was a stand that won the admiration of many of us.
David McEwan Hill Sandbank, Argyll
Posted by Joe Middleton at 4:44 PM
Friday, September 15, 2006
The ‘controversy’ of Edinburgh Council having a tribute to James Connolly (Herald and Evening News 14/09) is very interesting because it shows Labour up in their true colours.
What do we know about Connolly? Well we know he was a Marxist socialist who was a brilliant and inspirational speaker in the streets of Edinburgh and in the Meadows. We also know that he was an internationalist who supported independence for Ireland and Scotland and that he put his money where his mouth is. When he saw an opportunity to help Ireland towards independence he took it and was shot by the British state for his troubles.
We know then that Connolly was a highly principled man who was willing to die for his beliefs. He was also a true son of Edinburgh, so surely a monument to this great man would be a ‘no-brainer’ particularly considering that Edinburgh has a huge amount of people of Irish descent. Hibernian FC anyone?
Unfortunately today’s Labour party is a pale pink shadow of the socialism espoused by Connolly. The former leader of the council Donald Anderson even recently branded his own employees, council planners, as ‘Communists’ proving that he does not even know what the word actually means!
Ewan Aitken, the new Labour leader of Edinburgh Council recently tried to distance himself from Tony Blair (no doubt hoping to escape the bloodbath at the next elections) but he still wears the same Rosette and he still supports London rule for Scotland.
James Connolly was a genuine hero of the working classes in Scotland and Ireland. He was one of the most powerful speakers of his generation. Both he and his contemporary in Glasgow John MacLean opposed the horrific slaughter of World War One and the horrific abuse of the people of Ireland by British regiments.
If Edinburgh City Council want to be remembered as cowards and anti-Irish bigots then they are going the right way about it. If they want to line up with the Tories and condemn the memory of a much better man than any of them then of course they can do so, but they should expect an appropriate response.
At the next council and Scottish elections the people of Edinburgh and Glasgow can easily get rid of these so called ‘Labour’ shysters who are embarrassed by the memory of real socialists but are still happy enough to take money from the pockets of trade unionists like James Connolly today.
It’s easy, vote them all out and elect some local councillors who have pride in their own country and believe in a fairer society.
Posted by Joe Middleton at 2:14 PM
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
An enthusiastic display of the Scottish cringe
Your letters (Herald)
September 11 2006
Wendy Alexander's carefully timed pro-GB polemic on nationalists and nationalism appears to be based on a false premise. Mercifully she spared us from the worst aspects of the Chancellor's Little Englander pitch to the south-east.
It was Boswell who said: "I do, indeed, come from Scotland, but I cannot help it." The Scottish cringe is surely most enthusiastically displayed by those Scots who genuinely seem to believe that Scots are uniquely incapable of taking responsibility for their own affairs and take every opportunity to broadcast that belief. We will doubtless be hearing much more of this in the months to come.
These are the people who have been entrusted with our government for decades and have presided with overweening complacency over its managed decline. They have neither ideas nor interest in how we might genuinely improve our own lot and contribute meaningfully to the wider world as other small, successful independent nations in Europe have done.
Kenneth MacColl, 24 Alexandra Place, Oban.
WENDY Alexander believes that the number of Scots living in England constitutes some sort of case for preservation of the Union. What a pity that on the same day that Wendy's witterings appeared in The Herald, Simon Hoggart in The Guardian described Scots living in England as "immigrants". Union? Wot Union?
Dougie Lockhart, 25 Barnhill Road, Dumbarton.
So first Gordon Brown and now Wendy Alexander are crowing about the fact that nearly 50% of Scots now have relatives in England. Others have pointed out that increasing international exchange of population is a global feature brought about by better communications and transport - but is absolutely no indication of the wish of any country's citizens to be governed from outwith their borders.
However, the reason for Scots having so many relatives in England is a dismal one. As increasing numbers of decisions about Scotland, economic or other, are taken outside Scotland, so the number of graduate-level jobs available in Scotland dwindles. Scotland has always produced more graduates per head than the rest of the UK, but has fewer graduates actually resident in the population. In other words, if they do not want to spend their lives serving burgers, a massive number of our new graduates (the proportion quoted used to be one-third but is no doubt higher now) have to take the long road south. And often never come back.
One swallow doesn't make a summer, and a temporary influx of Polish workers looking to make a bit of dosh before returning home does not counteract the fact that Scotland is the only country in Europe whose population is on the decline. Gordon Brown and Wendy Alexander are proud of this. Gordon Brown's ambitions for himself may scale Mount Olympus.
His ambitions for his country languish at the bottom of the Dead Sea.
Mary McCabe, 25 Circus Drive, Glasgow.
Gordon Brown says the 1707 takeover of Scotland has been really beneficial for Scotland because so many Scots have moved to England.If it was so good for Scotland why, then, did so many Scots leave for a better standard of life to England and so many other countries?
C Donaldson, 59 Kelvinhaugh Street, Glasgow.
Posted by Joe Middleton at 9:26 AM
Monday, September 11, 2006
The news over the last few days that independence is the most popular constitutional option for the Scottish people will come as a surprise to some. In fact this reflects a consistent trend since devolution (the poll evidence is on our website) and it was the main reason for the formation of the non-party-political referendum campaign Independence First (http://www.independence1st.com/).
Independence First recently wrote to both the UK government and the Scottish Parliament calling for a democratic referendum for the people of Scotland on independence. After 300 years, surely the people of Scotland should be allowed a vote on whether they want the union to continue or not?
The Scottish Parliament responded: “Schedule 5 to the Scotland Act 1998 defines matters reserved to the UK Parliament. [According to this] the government of the United Kingdom is responsible for considering fundamental changes to the devolution framework.” The Scottish Office in London stated: “… the UK Parliament is sovereign and it is for Parliament to decide whether to hold a referendum on any particular issue — and what the terms should be.”
These answers are pretty much what we expected, and utterly unacceptable. The Scottish Parliament wants to pass the buck, while Westminster does not even recognise that there is a problem. In England, Parliament may be sovereign, but in Scotland it is the people. So what are we going to do about it? In Independence First’s case, we plan to do quite a lot, and we hope you, the reader of this article will help.
While Independence First has probably not yet impinged on public consciousness, we have quietly and carefully been doing something very important — uniting the entire independence movement. This, we hope, will be obvious on 30 September, the date of our first march for independence, through the heart of Edinburgh, to end outside our temporary parliament.
The Scottish Green Party officially supports the campaign and will be speaking at our rally on the 30 September, as will speakers from the SSP, Solidarity and the Scottish National Party. The Free Scotland Party, the Communist Party of Scotland, The Scottish Enterprise Party, The Celtic League, The Scottish Independence Party and the Scottish Republican Socialist Movement have also officially expressed support.
Furthermore, Tommy Sheridan MSP, the SSP’s Carolyn Leckie MSP, Colin Fox MSP and Alan McCombes, SNP MSPs Stewart Maxwell and Sandra Whyte, and independent MSP Campbell Martin (who is also speaking at our rally) have added their names to the campaign. The Scottish Independence Convention, whose meetings IF representatives attend is also officially backing our rally. In short, every Scottish independence-supporting party and pro-independence political organisation has backed our call for a democratic referendum on independence for the people of Scotland.
In the run-up to the march and rally of 30 September, Independence First will distribute 10,000 leaflets in Scotland’s major population centres and The Federation of Student Nationalists and Young Scots for Independence will also be notifying everyone on their text referendum supporters’ list.
We believe a strong turnout will provide the much-needed “boot-up-the-backside” the Scottish executive appears to require to take the independence debate seriously.
To attempt to show the enormous latent support for independence we have also launched an e-petition through the Scottish Parliament (posted by Neil Caple National Convenor, on behalf of Independence First). This calls for the Parliament to consider and debate what moves it could make to ensure the early presentation of a referendum on self-determination to the people of Scotland (http://epetitions.scottish.parliament.uk/view_petition.asp?PetitionID=123).
In the expectation that none of these efforts will have any effect on the unionist-led executive, we will also attempt to influence the outcome of the next election. In the next few weeks, leading artists, writers and musicians will endorse a “one-million-pledges-for-independence” campaign.
This campaign will call for one million Scots to give their support, in both the first and second votes, to parties supporting independence. We believe this figure would be well within the reach of the pro-independence parties and enough to swing the election in favour of independence.
The campaign includes people from various walks of life — political activists of all shades as well as those who have no interest in traditional politics — united by the belief that without independence no substantial progress can be made in Scotland. We are determined not to be divided by the details of our political convictions but to concentrate our energies on turning up the pressure for a referendum on this issue.
Next year is the three-hundredth anniversary of the treaty of union, a perfect time to reconsider whether the British state suits our interests. We don’t think it does, and we believe that a democratic referendum will prove that the people of Scotland, as a whole, agree with us.
Joe Middleton is the Media Officer for Independence First.
Posted by Joe Middleton at 9:11 PM
Sunday, September 10, 2006
The poll claims Alex Salmond would be a popular first minister
An opinion poll published on Sunday has claimed that independence is more popular in Scotland than the current devolution settlement. According to a Sunday Times YouGov survey, 44 per cent of respondents said they backed a separate Scotland compared with 42 per cent who did not.
SNP leader Alex Salmond was also voted a more popular choice for first minister than Jack McConnell. The poll took place between Tuesday and Thursday and involved 1,200 people. The SNP and Labour are currently neck and neck in terms of popular support in the polls.
"Scots seem to want a Scottish Parliament that is more powerful than it is, that
has better ability to do things differently from London.
John Curtis, Professor of politics at Strathclyde University
The poll, which was conducted at the height of the prime minister Tony Blair's difficulties this week, also showed the SNP on 29 per cent for the first-past-the-post vote and the same level of support for the second proportional representation vote.
Labour support was only one per cent ahead at 30 per cent with a 27 per cent share of the vote in the second PR vote. On this showing, the paper predicts that the Nationalists would take 38 of Holyrood's 129 seats, enough to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, Labour's current governing partners, and the Greens.
Labour would narrowly remain the biggest party with 42 seats, down from its current 50. The survey also revealed that a large majority, 64 per cent, of those questioned, favour more powers for the Scottish Parliament while only 19 per cent favour the status quo.
Despite first minister Mr McConnell's high profile crusade to tackle anti social behaviour, 58 per cent of Scots said they believed the problem had become worse since the last Holyrood election. Some 39 per cent say the NHS had become worse and 22 per cent believe standards in schools have also dropped.
John Curtis, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, warned that Labour should advocate more powers for the Scottish Parliament to avoid an electoral backlash. He told the paper: "Scots seem to want a Scottish Parliament that is more powerful than it is, that has better ability to do things differently from London.
"All of the other parties in Scotland are looking to go into the election wanting to change the devolution settlement and it seems to me that the Labour Party ought to be too."
Posted by Joe Middleton at 1:08 PM
MORE Scots now favour living in an independent nation than remaining part of the United Kingdom, according to a poll that appears to show devolution has fuelled independence support in Scotland. A YouGov poll, commissioned by The Sunday Times, finds that 44% of Scots want independence, compared with 42% who favour continued rule from Westminster.
The poll shows support for independence has almost doubled since 2000, a year after the founding of the Scottish parliament. Devolution at that point seemed to have damped down nationalist feeling, with ICM finding only 23% of Scots favouring full independence.
Alex Salmond, the Scottish National party leader, has said he intends to hold a referendum on independence if he wins power. Next year is the 300th anniversary of the Act of Union. Tony Blair’s difficulties and voters’ discontent with policies such as the Iraq war are believed to have contributed to a drop in support for Labour in Scotland and fed through into increased backing for independence.
Some Labour MSPs want the prime minister to resign quickly because they believe his unpopularity is putting the future of the Union at risk. “A lot of us are worried, especially with what’s been going on in London, that the whole thing is going to blow apart if we become disunited and forget the bigger picture,” said one.
The YouGov findings also reflect a disenchantment among voters at the limitations of devolved government. While the parliament at Holyrood has the power to legislate in areas such as health, education and transport, it has limited financial powers and is dependent on a block transfer from the Treasury for most of its budget.
In Scottish elections, the electorate are allowed to vote twice, first for a group of MSPs elected in a Westminster-style first-past-the-post system and second for a group elected by proportional representation. Scottish voters have proved immune to the “Cameron effect” despite the Tory revival in England.
The Conservatives are backed by just 14% of voters, below the Liberal Democrats.
Posted by Joe Middleton at 12:41 PM
Friday, September 08, 2006
From the CWI site http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/2006/453/index.html?id=pp2.htm proving leopards don't change their spots.
"One of the fundamental reasons for the crisis and now disintegration of the SSP was the leadership's turn away from consistent socialist and working-class policies. As well as their conduct over Tommy Sheridan's resignation and subsequent court action against the NoW, this was also seen by the SSP leadership's turn to left nationalism."
(ie supporting a broadf movement towards independence something completely supported by Sheridan during his time as party leader.)
"The SSP leadership promoted support for Scottish independence on a capitalist basis."
(This is bizarre! But possibly typical, the fringe Brits have never hidden their hatred for the SNP despite the fact that it is a social democratic party and far to the left of Labour.)
"If the Scottish people were in favour of independence socialists would support that as a democratic right, but we would also consistently explain the need to fight to end capitalism, which is the only way out of poverty, low pay and inequality in Scotland. "
(Note, 'if the Scottish people were' the CWI obviously sees no interest in convincing the public of independence.)
"It was the International Socialists who opposed this move away from the SSP's founding policy which was for an independent socialist Scotland." (what move away?)
"This false idea, that independence on its own would offer a route out of continued attacks on working-class people's rights and living standards"
(it's not a false idea, it's a recognition that the people of Scotland should decide their own government and are more likely to vote for socialism than the rest of the UK)
"- which is the norm under capitalism - led the SSP to propose the launch of the cross-party Independence Convention with the pro-capitalist SNP. "
(a positive step forward and an important one towards a mass movement for independence)
It may also lead to the SSP advocating a vote for the SNP at next year's Scottish elections in the seats the SSP does not contest
(an important step in actually winning an election for independence)
It is vital that while fighting for the democratic rights of the Scottish people this new movement for socialism maintains its complete political independence from the pro-market establishment and fights to build a mass working-class party on clear socialist principles.
(ie don't support the SNP or any initiatives towards independence)
They then go on to an irrelevant rant about the SWP. The truth is both the SWP and CWI undermined the SSP from the start. They are died in the wool Brits. It's possible Sheridan's new party will get enough members to swamp these groups but it is obvious that they are still opposing any united Scottish moves towards independence.
Posted by Joe Middleton at 12:09 PM