Thursday, November 20, 2014

CNN Blows Reporting of Synagogue Attack

In a stunning case of ‘burying the lede’, CNN single-handedly makes the case for media bias with its initial reportage of a deadly attack in Jerusalem, as reported by C W Swanson:


To fill in some gaps in the story – chasms, actually – the reason that the police shot dead the two Palestinians is that the Arabs were already engaged in an attack on a synagogue (not a mosque), with “hand guns, axes, and meat cleavers”, which resulted in five dead (including a Briton and three Americans), and eight wounded.

A snippet of the scene at the site of the attack

Is it possible to get this story more wrong, in an area that is already highly inflammatory?  One would think that CNN would want to be especially careful, considering its history with former Chief News Executive Eason Jordan, who admitted to being a shill for Saddam Hussein and who then accused US troops of deliberately targeting journalists.

This is after an AP story earlier which concerned a Palestinian who drove his car into a crowd near a train station, wounding 17 and killing a five-year-old girl.  The headline was "Israeli police shoot a man in East Jerusalem".

[Dick Stanley of Texas Scribbler reports that CNN has now apologized for the headline, saying that their "coverage did not immediately reflect the fact that the two Palestinians killed were the attackers."  CNN at least made the effort to correct that portion of the story.]

The story failed to note the standard Palestinian celebration of dancing in the streets and passing out candy and pastries.  President Obama rightly condemned the "horrific" attack but predictably called on "both Palestinians and Israelis to try to work together to lower tensions and reject violence."  There is precious little chance of that happening, certainly in the case of the jubilant Palestinians.
 
Palestinians celebrate the two dead attackers pictured in the background

John Kerry for his part provided some more realistic comments:
To have this kind of act, which is a pure result of incitement, of calls for "days of rage," of irresponsibility is unacceptable. 

The Palestinian leadership must condemn this and they must begin to take serious steps to restrain any kind of incitement that comes from their language, from other people's language, and exhibit the kind of leadership that is necessary to put this region on a different path.
Now if only that same sentiment could be conveyed by the administration to the waiting 'activists' in Ferguson, Missouri.

Monday, November 10, 2014

United States Marine Corps, 239 years

Happy Birthday, Marines, and Semper Fidelis.

The preferred uniform of the day

Established by an act of the Second Continental Congress on 10 November 1775 (seventeen days before the US Navy), we trace our spiritual beginning to the first recruitment at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia.
 
Go ye and commemorate this day likewise.

1 November 1921

From:  Major General John A. Lejeune, USMC,
  Commandant of the Marine Corps

Title:  Marine Corps Birthday Message

Category:    Marine Corps Order No. 47 (Series 1921)

The following will be read to the command on the 10th of November, 1921, and hereafter on the 10th of November of every year.  Should the order not be received by the 10th of November, 1921, it will be read upon receipt.

(1) On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of Continental Congress.  Since that date many thousand men have borne the name "Marine".  In memory of them it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the birthday of our corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.

(2) The record of our corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world's history.  During 90 of the 146 years of its existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation's foes.  From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war, and is the long eras of tranquility at home, generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas, that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.

(3) In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term "Marine" has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.

(4) This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the corps.  With it we have also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age.  So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps.

John A. Lejeune,
Major General Commandant

Friday, November 7, 2014

Thoughts on the 2014 Election Results

The dust has settled sufficiently and I have a few moments to jot down some thoughts on the aftermath of the drubbing that the Democrats suffered in the mid-term elections.


First of all, a self-critique in that my predictions, written in haste due to time and computer constraints.  I too was off by a matter of some degrees, though like the others mine didn't suffer as much as the national posse of pundits in the 2012 vote with the shocking re-election of Obama.  It will take some time to determine whether this year's overall victory was primarily the result of good Republican get-out-the-vote effort or whether it was a conservative uprising which drew along the votes of the independents who hoped for change.

As for pollsters, the Real Clear Politics combination of the most popular polls only accentuated the error of the predictions of close-run races and the Democrats holding on to prevail.  This modern fad of meta-analysis – taking a number of studies or polls and combining them to arrive at a greater number of data points (n), which then supposedly arrives at a more accurate guess – is again born out to be a more massive version of "garbage in, garbage out".  This collection of polls is heavily influenced by the appeal of "sexing up" the conclusions (in what seems to be a new British term of art as it relates to political science) or cheerleading for the guy who brought you to the dance.  (Academics suffer this same discrepancy in areas where there are abundant numbers of studies in whatever happens to be stylish or PC at the moment.  The Global Warmists are an incandescent example of this fallacy.)

In case anyone cares to notice (and I haven't seen much evidence of it at the moment) Nate Silver, the wunderkind of the 538 poll that nailed the 2012 presidential result for Obama, was one of those out in the wilderness this year.  Rasmussen, on the other hand, did much to restore its tarnished reputation, and thus over the long haul remains the victor in a group that has no real champions.

Polling continues to degrade as a predictive tool.  It still primarily relies on telephone calls to accumulate its data, and those from home telephones.  This is becoming increasingly inaccurate as a random data base due to the fact that the people at home who actually answer the phone (how many of us still have a home phone number that is used exclusively as a means to obtain internet access?) are not a representative sample of the voting public, such as stay-at-home moms and the unemployed or self-employed.  It also relies on people who are politically aware and involved to the extent that they would want to spend the time answering the droning questions of the pollsters.

Some have delved into the area of social media, tracking the number of times that a subject (like a candidate or party) is mentioned, but the ability to discern the positives from the negatives doesn't exist, nor does it take into account the seemingly endless supply of trolls who apparently live to track these subjects online and make never-ending snipes.  These people truly lack the ability to understand the command "Get a life."  We have also seen how some have taken advantage of the technology to create large waves of supporters out of thin air.

Another admonition of poll taking weighs against the man in the street interview (i.e., people who are motivated to talk to you as opposed to the far greater number who refuse), but again, few commentators seem to notice that exit polls are exactly that.  Exit polls are further attenuated by not taking into account the number of absentee voters or mail-in ballots.

Finally, no poll can take into account the actual turn-out.  People may say early on that they will definitely vote, or will declare that they aren't particularly interested, or fall into the 'pox on both your houses' category, but nothing can take into account who actually shows up at the polls or mails in their ballot.

So this election showed up these discrepancies in spades.

Supposedly safe elections for the Democrats turned into squeakers, like the down the wire loss of Scott Brown in New Hampshire and the shocking near-upset of John Warner in Virginia by Ed Gillespie, who just minutes ago conceded the election, less than 17,000 votes shy of victory among over 2.1 million cast.  Both Governor Brownback and Senator Roberts in Kansas were due for a drubbing but both Republicans won handily.  Democrat Governor Hickenlooper of Colorado was buoyed enough by the time-honored tradition of last-minute votes flooding in from urban bastions of Denver and Boulder to overcome his challenger (NB: Hickenlooper relied exclusively on positive campaigning), but Senator Mark Udall was soundly defeated by Republican Cody Gardner.

David Perdue blasted past Michelle Nunn in Georgia in what was supposed to be a tight race, to retain the seat for the Republicans, and to such an extent that it eliminated the need for a state law-imposed run-off. 

The only US Senate seats left to decide is Louisiana, where another required run-off pits beleaguered Democrat dynast Mary Landrieu against the combined conservative vote for her Republican challenger Bill Cassidy on 6 December, and the electoral black hole of Alaska where incumbent Democrat Mark Begich is trailing Dan Sullivan by some 3.6 points.  Votes trickling in by snowmobile and dogsled aren't expected to be finally tallied until 11 November.  As for Louisiana, news has trickled out that the DSCC is pulling funding for Landrieu's run-off campaign.  It appears likely that the Republicans will ultimately gain nine Senate seats when it's all over.

Republicans were elected governor in such deep indigo states as Illinois, Massachusetts and Maryland with vote totals beyond the margin of error and, more importantly, beyond the margin of fraud.  Scott Walker was elected or re-elected governor of Wisconsin for the third time in four years, draining huge resources from government bureaucrat unions such as SEIU in their literally desperate attempts to unseat him.

As for the House of Representatives, time and space constrain me from listing detailed results, but the Republicans at the moment have picked up twelve seats for a current total of 245 versus 181 for the Democrats, with 9 races still undecided.

More importantly for the future, though, is looking at the more local campaigns for the states.  Republicans now have 31 governorships against the Democrats' 19, and of the 98 state legislative bodies, Republicans now control 69 of them, or 70%.  (Nebraska doesn't count in the tally since it has a unique unicameral legislature that is officially non-partisan, but conservatives dominate in that body.)  For those states where one party controls both the governorship and both state legislative bodies, Republicans have 24 against the Democrats with six.

The press is not acting favorably to Obama's press conference, where he refused to pony up to the fact that the Democrats have taken another "shellacking", as he phrased the previous mid-terms in 2010.  The best he could do was to admit that "the Republicans had a good night", but his voice rose perceptibly in speaking of how he heard the "two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday."  How the Great One can divinely discern their thoughts is left unexplained, but let me offer this observation: to refuse to decide is to decide.  Voter participation in America has typically been well below the totals in other Western countries in Europe (or Australia, where people are compelled to vote by law, odd in a democracy).  Even in presidential election years, voter turn-out usually is no better than 60%.  But those who refuse to vote either are satisfied with the expected outcome (and despite how much the polls were off, the Republicans were expected to win anyway, just not to this degree) or simply don't want to vote.  I'd say leave them alone – attempts to compel them to vote against their will are pernicious. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Night Projections

God save me, because I just can’t help myself.  Prognosticating election night results is a tradition of political masochism but we are drawn to it like a moth to the flame.


Within my academic background, I have been thrice thrust into the area of political statistics (the only real claim that Political Science can make for being a science, but even then it is hardly better than casting bones), and I have taken and retained enough training to be able to discern the numbers better than the typical man on the street, and I thus retain that healthy sense of skepticism that must keep technicians of that craft sane.

What follows will be a shortened rendering of what I expect to see tonight for the Senate races, partly from a sense of gentility for the time involved to read, bereft of numbers and such imponderables as Yule’s Q and Tau-B, but also from the stark realisation, driven home so deeply from the cold reversals of the 2012 ‘expert’ predictions (and that would include me) and from the fact that now I lurk in the forest shadows of the discipline, unable in my later and intervening years to bask in the reflected glory of actual experts like Michael Barone and Nate Silver.

Early results, which should come soon after the polls close in Georgia at 7:00 PM local, will be an indicator about how the important Senate race will be between Democrat Sam Nunn’s daughter Michelle and Republican businessman David Perdue (no relation to the chicken magnate).  This has a distinct possibility of extending into early January because of Georgia’s election laws which call for a run-off in case a candidate doesn’t pull in more than 50% of the vote on election night.  The latest polls put Perdue slightly ahead, but an even more important factor is that one major poll has him at 49.8% – solidifying this race early could be a major bellwether for how the rest of the evening goes.  As it currently stands, Perdue would likely win a run-off but nothing is guaranteed in politics.

In Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader (and future Majority Leader if all goes right) Mitch McConnell has been pulling away from Alison Lundergan Grimes, partly due to gaining Republican votes from the previously safe Democrat bastion of eastern coal country, decimated by Obama’s energy policies (or rather lack thereof, other than to make the cost of coal “skyrocket”).  This should be a fairly easy win for McConnell.

Democrat Mark Warner will probably win re-election in Virginia, but it will be interesting to see if his lead against shrinks to contestable margins – another sign of things to come.

North Carolina is still one race to watch – too close to call, but the Democrats are pouring money into the race as a Must Win, and are relying on the 30% black population of the state to pull them through, about the only time that Democrats actually pay attention to the black community.  Incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan is still expected to win over Republican Thom Tillis, tarred by being Speaker of the House in a state where the legislature is held in some degree of well-deserved contempt.  If it drifts the other way, this will be big news early on.

West Virginia will surely elect Republican Shelly Moore Capito, the first Republican senator in that state since 1956, replacing the seeming senator-for-life David Rockefeller, the very epitome of the rich limousine liberal Democrat.  This is one more step in the steady progression of turning the Mountain State red.

New Hampshire is still too close to call and promises to be one of the most watched results.  Incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen has a very narrow lead that is buried in the margin of error, against former Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown, who was at least born in New Hampshire.  A lot has been intimated about Brown being a carpetbagger, but this is from the same party that is perfectly fine with New York carpetbaggers such as Robert Kennedy and Hillary Clinton.

In Arkansas, Republican Tom Cotton has a comfortable lead over incumbent Mark Pryor, so another gain for the GOP.

Colorado will also be a pick-up for the Republicans with Cory Gardner taking the seat from Mark of the Udall dynasty.  Colorado Republican voters were incensed at the heavy-handed tactics of the gun control efforts of the Democrats, and two Democrat state senators were recalled with a third being forced to resign in lieu of another recall, all so that the Democrat Governor John Hickenlooper could replace her with another Democrat and thus retain control of that body.  This election is a continuation of that counter-attack, and Hickenlooper himself is in danger of losing his seat.

Kansas is still too close to call, and lackluster Republican Senator Pat Roberts could be collateral damage to the likely defeat of Republican Governor Sam Brownback.  Independent Greg Orman, up until now a Democrat but taking advantage of a political maneuver, promises to caucus with the majority party, in a transparent demonstration of political prostitution.  It is still too close to call, but advantage Democrat at the moment.

South Dakota will surely be picked up by Republican Mike Rounds, another gain for the GOP.

Lousiana is paired with Georgia in its run-off system, so incumbent Mary Landrieu, also a dynastic successor and who was bought in the most recent Louisiana Purchase in order to secure her vote for ObamaCare, will probably move into another election where her Republican challenger Bill Cassidy will pick up the needed majority in December.  Mary, you may recall, has the tendency to describe her constituents as racists and sexists, much like the late but not lamented Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania.

Joni Ernst will win easily in Iowa for several reasons, running against Bruce Braley, who once expressed disdain for Senator Chuck Grassley as a "corn farmer who never went to law school."

Republican Steve Daines will take Montana.

Alaska will be hard to call simply for the fact that it is Alaska, a perennial enigma for many reasons mostly to do with geography.  Results will be late due in no small part for the fact that some votes have to be brought in from the North Slope area and elsewhere by snowmobile.  I predict that Republican Dan Sullivan will defeat incumbent Mark Begich.

For a final tally, my estimate is that the Republicans will likely pick up seven seats in the Senate.  For the sake of time, Republicans will pick up 9 to 11 seats in the House.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Comet Gazing, Up Close

When I was a little boy, I marveled at the hazy photos of Mars taken from the new 200-inch Hale telescope at Mount Palomar in California, an observatory that retained its pre-eminence until well into my adulthood.  (Construction of larger telescopes waited until a rash of them were built in the 1990s and 2000s, other than a Soviet model built in 1976, at 236 inches, which was unavailable to the West during the Cold War.) 

 
Mars, state of the art, 1952 (Fröschlin)
 
Astronomical observations have been supplemented by spacecraft in the interim, from satellites such as Hubble to space probes such as Voyager and rovers such as Opportunity and Curiosity.  In my lifetime, then, the gold standard of extraterrestrial observation went from those cloudy photos of Mars, distorted by the atmospheric conditions of Earth, which led people to speculate about whether canals actually existed on the Red Planet or whether they were an illusion, to an ability to examine a pebble on the Martian surface.  A giant leap indeed. 

67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, upon approach by Rosetta

The same can now be said of exploration of comets.  Space probes have recently allowed us to see a few comets for the first time, looking upon surfaces that have been masked by distance and glowing comas, but the most fascinating photos have just arrived.

The Rosetta spacecraft was launched on 2 March 2004 by the European Space Agency, with the mission to track, acquire and investigate the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, discovered by Soviet astronomers in 1969.  Rosetta took a meandering journey about the inner solar system, taking advantage of the gravitational sling-shot effect of pass-bys of Earth and Mars, and examined several asteroids enroute to its rendezvous with 67P/C-G on 6 August.  It has since closed to an orbit within 29 km of the comet revealing an irregular shaped body, 2.8 miles (4.5 km) at its longest.  The photos of the last several days are spell-binding, for example:

 



 
The next major accomplishment will occur on 12 November with the detachment of the Philae lander, which will attach itself to the comet some seven hours later, another historical first.

And as for other comets, on 19 October the comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring passed close by to the surface of Mars.  University Today has an article describing the event, and avail yourself of the video that shows the rendition of the appearance of the comet from the Martian surface.  If you ever wanted to be a Martian, that would be the best occasion.  I look forward to see if the Mars Rover or the like was able to obtain photos of the spectacle.

(H/T: daily timewaster)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

White House Computer System Hacked By Russians

Last week, a confidential source within the White House disclosed to Scott Johnson of Power Line that the network within the Executive Office of the President had been down at that point “for close to a week” and that a security breach was suspected.  Staff were told to keep quiet about the situation while the correction was worked out.  At that point, “no information has been forthcoming, either to those inside the EOP or to the public.”


Johnson immediately sent an inquiry to the White House press office, including a deadline for an answer, as the office told him to do.  After the deadline passed with no response, he ascertained that the office had indeed received his request.  Several more attempts were made, also with no response, other than his request had been forwarded to the appropriate “spokespeople”. 

This falls into the realm of a Really Big Deal.  If there were no problem, one would logically expect that the press office would quickly confirm so, but instead its silence has only accentuated the problem. 

Johnson’s Power Line colleague John Hinderaker has also raised the question about why the White House press corps of Professional Journalists™ had been oddly uncurious, other than to speculate that with the upcoming elections, wherein the electoral chickens are expected to come home to roost (to quote Obama’s longtime pastor and mentor) on the ash heap of quite a few Democrat politicians, the mainstream press is circling the proverbial wagons around the Obama administration which has already been buried with an unceasing avalanche of evidence of its incompetence.  [That constitutes my entry into the Metaphor Prize of the Week Award.] 

But in an effort to forestall the greater story, the administration has released the news that an “outage” has affected “some EOP users”, so says Reuters.  Hinderaker appropriately points out that the key word is “some”, which could fall somewhere between the National Security Staff and the Office of the First Lady.  Are there a few targets, or many?

A follow-on release allowed that “there were no indications at this time that classified networks had been affected.”  Note that “at this time” can fall into the same category of dissembling as “some”.

Then, a second source steps up – the Washington Post – and discloses that the outage was in fact caused by hackers, “thought to be working for the Russian government”.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, the story tosses in this tidbit halfway through the article:
US officials were alerted to the breach by an ally, sources said.
So, it’s not bad enough that the White House security system is breached – we also weren’t capable of detecting it on our own.  What has historically been the most vaunted electronic intelligence gathering system in the world had to be told by some other country’s intelligence service.  I expect that some will be relieved that at least we weren’t tapping someone’s phone.

If we are to learn anything of substance about this story, it will have to wait until well after the election, or even after Obama finally leaves office.  But there is enough confirmation that the Russian government (not just Russians, but the government) has successfully tapped into the computer system of the White House.  We just don’t know quite yet what that degree of success constitutes.

“Reset.”  Indeed.
 
*****
Update:  I notice that now John Hinderaker has also picked up on the "alerted by an ally" angle.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Scotland Remains: The Kingdom Stays United

The results are in and the decision is unequivocal: the much-anticipated referendum on the independence of Scotland from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which had been publicized as a neck-and-neck race between independence and status quo, ended up being anything but – more than 55% of the massive turnout of voters – some 85%, phenomenal by British and certainly American standards  – has voted to remain as before.

The 'nays' have it

Scotland has been united with England (and thereby Wales and [now Northern] Ireland) by the Treaty of Union of 1707, which recognized the fact that the two nations had had the same monarch since James VI of Scotland ascended the English throne as James I (the same James who authorized the famous Bible translation) upon the death of Elizabeth I in 1603 (he being her double first cousin twice removed, royal relationships being so complex almost by definition).  The tepid bond between the two peoples riven by Hadrian's Wall had been more than acrimonious, with the Scots driven to open warfare and oppressive subjugation by the English, but the Scots over time have been proudly British while still staunchly Caledonian.

My family on my father's side is Scottish (not Scotch – that's a libation), and my mother's otherwise German ancestry has a significant portion of Scottish ancestors as well (along with a dollop of Spanish).  The main family derives from the area of Jedburgh, and is thus classified as Border Scots, with a string of veterans of the great battles against the English – Sterling, Falkirk, Bannockburn and the rest, and our tartan is of the Jacobites.  My approach to the question of independence for Scotland is divided: emotionally, the idea of a freed Scotland has appeal from a bowed-but-not-broken sense of resistance (my people were all Confederates as well, many of whom owed an earlier allegiance to the Republic of Texas).  But that appeal is to an earlier Scottish sense of pride in its culture of hard work, frugality, and personal responsibility.  That sense, quite unfortunately, has been debased and subsumed beneath a Leftist philosophy of 'eat the rich', increasing dependence on the dole which is subsidized by London to the tune of some £1300 per capita more than the welfare payout elsewhere in England.  The SNP Leftist dogma is swimming against the slowly turning movement in larger England, seen clearly in the steadily increasing approval of Nigel Farage's UKIP party, and in the movement of the national center toward the right in even the Labour Party.

The general idea of killing such a generous British goose is found in the frankly incoherent policies of the now-resigned Scottish National Party's Alex Salmond, who tossed together the idea that the Scottish national income will absorb the whole of the North Sea oil revenues for a Saudi-like economy of living off the found wealth of their natural resources without having to apply any real application of actual work, an idea that would have Adam Smith, himself a Scot, turning in his grave.  The rest of his plan, including such necessities as a new national monetary system and defense policy, taxation, membership in NATO and the EU (to name but a few), was bound up in a wait-and-see attitude.  The idea was run on sheer emotion, with really nothing to tie it to reality, and Salmond was never able to explain how to get to the bottom line.

The election is over, but the issue remains.  There is a parallel in my mind to the Canadian referendum in 1995 on the question of independence for Quebec, in which the decision to remain united won by a slim margin of 51%.  If the decision had been otherwise, it wouldn't necessarily have stopped with a sovereign Quebec.  Newfoundland, previously a separate dominion from Canada, would have explored independence as well, having been split geographically from the remaining rump state.  There was a developing movement in British Columbia and Alberta to explore splitting off from Ottawa and seeking statehood with the United States.  This nightmare for Canada became more real when, after the dust had settled, it was discovered that the Francophone voters had voted for independence by a significant margin; it was the English-speaking citizens of Quebec that managed to keep the province from splitting off.  The only reason that the independence issue hasn't resurfaced is the political division within the Québécois.  But expect to see a ripple effect, if not the direct result of the referendum then a reflection of a rising tide of ethnic nationalism in Europe, such as the Catalanes in Spain demanding a referendum of their own.

The issue in Scotland is not likely to fade so soon though, with the 'Yes' voters being the more passionate and committed on the subject, and younger, with the age limit for voting having been lowered to 16 during the run-up to the vote.  They are a younger base, with more staying power.  And the question was given further life with a hasty concession by London, by the leaders of the three top parties (Conservatives, Labour, and Social Democrats), of greater autonomy within the future United Kingdom should it remain so.  Reform has a way of creating greater appetite for more change, and the maxim that the most dangerous time for a dictatorship is when it tries to reform itself actually applies to any government.  The promise of what "more autonomy" will look like has yet to be worked out, and the likely massive detail of whatever that plan will be undoubtedly will cover a legion of devils.  One such item to be resolved is the disconnect between the possible ability of Scottish MPs being able to vote on legislation affecting England, but English MPs being unable to vote on bills affecting Scotland.

This issue is far from settled, but we must keep in mind that a strong and united Britain is in the best interests of us all.