Friday, 4 November 2016

Do Referendums distort Democracy?

Excellent letter in the National newspaper, claims with Referendums, it is made unclear what the issues are really about by distortion, threats and lack of any serious debate in Parliament.
Before Referendums, it was clear what elections were about, with clear sets of policies. They cite Atlee’s government after the second world war, when it was clear what people were voting for. Referendums have taken new levels of manipulation and false promises.

Brexit has distorted Democracy even further with new levels of manipulations – who was it for and who against? With no clear policies set and now a self-elected team refuse to debate the subject in Parliament.

Brexit has distorted Democracy even further with new levels of manipulations – who was it for and who against? With no clear policies set and now a ‘self-elected’ team refuse to debate the subject in Parliament. In fact was Brexit really about the Conservatives taking on the UKip right to protect their party with the help of Murdoch's newspaper headlines? ?

ALSO Today the Judges decided Brexit has to be debated in Parliament. This is because, while the power of the Crown under Theresa May can decide on contracts - the Crown cannot decide on domestic Law and Brexit will involve a great deal of changes to our Laws.(at least I think I got that right from tonights news!) What's really worrying about all this - is it becomes clearer that those in Westminster don't actually know what they are doing!
It's unbelievable, that after all these months they now decide to debate this important issue in Parliament! 

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

They Say No to Ideas -

 What They Ain’t A Sayin

The Brexiteers
They say they want independence – yet deny these same freedoms to Scotland.
They say Scotland had a free vote on independence two years ago –
 But this is not the truth and we had no democratic free press at all
(YES with no mainstream media ( TV, radio, paper press) went from 28% to 45%.)
The Yes side was instead ordinary people, a grassroots campaign
and the ‘British story’ is not one Scotland identifies with or understands anymore.
In any shape or form.

They say they want sovereignty, yet deny it to Scotland. I do not Believe the Brexiteers.
They say they want more jobs and put their faith in Westminster (!!) WHY?
It is the system that is rotten, (even the building is crumbling)
They say they want closed borders but an open Brexit.’
What do they want? Do they even know.

They say they want peace and sell more weapons than anyone,
They say they want ties with Europe, yet cuts these ties.
They say they want democracy, yet don’t allow the votes.
On our TVs we watch as children are bombed in Syria. What is going on?  What is going on in Russia?

They say they want a revolution, yet hark back to the past – Britannia, empire,
To have democracy, a free Press is necessary.
In the UK we allow Murdoch  no restriction and complete control.

They sold off our ships, our people, our oil – to the highest bidders.
They sold off our confidence , our dreams and hopes too.
On those long dark nights.

We kept our stories alive through our songs, our festivals, our art and our imaginations.
We imagined better too.
We looked over the seas and over the far skies and we looked northwards.
We kept our sprits and words alive.

People in Scotland want to be a small successful, democratic more equal nation,
Not an imperial power ruling the waves.
We want to be a voice of peace, reconciliations and fairness in the world.

To be truly international we must be national first.

There are more Scots and Gaelic in Canada (14m) than here in Scotland. (5m)

Oct 2016

Citizen of the World

I am a citizen of the world and I think this broadened my outlooks and understandings. I travelled many times to Italy, France, Ireland, Greece and lived ten years in the US, where I travelled too to the southern and northern states. At University I met people from many places.

In my early twenties I voted for Scottish independence and the SNP. I did so because I saw the confidence and belief in Ireland, in contrast to the feelings of being a second rate nation in Scotland. Also because I attended folk sessions at Sandy bells and folk festivals and heard the old Celtic ballads. And also because of the snobbery in the English accent from those in colourful blazers on the top decks of the Edinburgh buses. I hoped there might be a confident, fairer, more optimistic Scotland to be found – that was proud of our country and of our history, culture and language. It seemed the Scottish stories were lost. I saw the deprivation in our cities – alongside the great wealth.

Some may talk of inward-looking, parochial ‘nationalism’. This is not how most in the SNP view Scottish nationalism – which welcomes all who wish to live or work here. When Union happened 300 years ago – was it really a union? Scotland lost it’s government, but we kept our Church, Education and Laws. We have always had a Scottish governor of some kind. Scottish nationalism is not about separation, but how in todays modern world we are best governed here – by a remote Westminster who puts London first or by those who live here?  

The trouble with many in political life today -  is that they are purely motivated by what they hope will bring them votes. (Putting the cart before horse!)
This leads to a ‘Cheap Politics’, like the cheap mainstream arts that are motivated purely for commercial reasons and are empty and meaningless without guiding principles or any careful thought. Who is really in control?

It depends if you want to believe in past glories and in imperial power that exploits others, is driven by greed, rich elites, divisions, OR a successful, small country, able adapt, that works for all.

Supposedly Scotland is ‘protected’ by being in the UK – it depends how you view this. I believe many support a federal system. We have the most centralized government in the UK and also the most unequal of any western nation. These are highly serious problems and questions that need to be resolved. Many children now live in Victorian poverty, which is not necessary today. All this is a moral imperative for change.

The twenty year old Mhairi Black in her maiden speech in Westminster spoke of the greatest political figures – those who can see the Big Picture and try to do the right thing for the country and for the people. They have guiding principles and beliefs and are open to new ideas as well as listening to the past and to diverse voices. She spoke of Tony Benn.

“They stand true and tall and firm and they point in a certain direction and say – this is the way forward. Then there are the weather cocks who spin in whatever direction the wind is blowing. “

Some Tories are saying we can’t or shouldn’t try to stop immigrants to our universities, health service, finance sectors, and more  So which immigrants are we going to stop? And if we were Britons working aboard, would we like to be named as taking jobs elsewhere?  Isolationism and fears are what breed resentments and can lead to distrust and war.

I don’t believe any of their rhetoric, its all empty words. I don’t believe they know what they are doing.
All the recent May and Rudd rhetoric is VERY TROUBLING!

Friday, 14 October 2016

Reasons to be Fearful Over Brexit

The media tries to ignore Scottishness hoping it will simply “go away." We need to ask is this the new drive for inward, small- minded Englishness in Scotland interests?  It is reaching out and our very diversity that had made Scotland what it is – innovative, open to ideas, curious.

May asks ‘Come with me’ – and I feel, ‘Oh God let me run miles in the other direction! ‘ Scary indeed!...   Behind her words lie narrow-minded, inward-looking policies. The message is that by reaching out to the rest of the world (China, US) – Britain can be an Empire once again! Bring back Rule Britannia! We can’t afford to ignore that our connections to Europe run deep – our art, culture, music, history, science and more – and WARS….

And pulling together to prevent another great war matters massively, even more than ever with the Trumps and Putins of todays world. Scary indeed. For anyone who think this is all trivial – think again! Go read some history of only a hundred year ago. People in Germany felt helpless when the Nazis were on the rise.  

I didn’t live through the great war but my parents did. We can and should learn from history. People in Germany feel humble after their history – by comparison the British establishment appears to believe their own rhetoric and that they are the good guys even while they sell weapons to Saudis and begin wars and divisions across the globe. I watched a culture program  recently on the wonders of the British Empire – how it spread civilization across the world! We spread our language but otherwise we should learn to be humble now.  In all great and true stories there is no good or bad , but rather shades of greys.

 According to Melanie Phillips (Times journalist) there is now no right or left but rather division in parties - with no left (social liberalism/ internationalism or Right (economic liberalism)  but rather a Politics of identity.
She claims it is about Liberal internationalism or brotherhood of man vs identity with a particular culture, religion or literature … that is until Brexit!  How strange! Me too. But with Scottish culture. These questions were addressed with the Scottish Referendum in 2014 – but more in an inclusive, open, artistic, democratic way and from the grassroots rather than the top down.  

If all this is so – what does it all really mean?  I watched Westminster MPs in the house of commons today – the English MPs go on about wanting sovereignty and control….and in the same sentence deny this for Scotland? Their arrogance and ignorance at times is quite breath taking…. The trouble is – what exact is this vision of Britain?  In Scotland we don’t understand this inward-looking Britishness and even the no voters look embarrassed now. The stories and paths are different now.

With UK economic melt downs, poverty akin to Victorian times, chaotic unprincipled governance, no clear idea of what they are doing exactly – it is our moral imperative to seek Scottish independence, so we may steer our country to more productive and calmer waters,  where we make decisions in Scotland’s best interests and not in those of an out-dated empire seeking imperialist Anglo elite.

Now we need to seek back our control - not in a divisive but in a radical way!  In 2014 we were too safe – if nothing is going to change what’s the point after all! 

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

ILL HEALTH in Glasgow

Kelvingrove Glasgow
A recent study by Strathclyde university, looked at the reasons for the extremely low health outcomes in Glasgow, compared to other cities with similar de-industrialization such as Liverpool and Manchester.  

They found there was a deliberate political agenda by Conservatives to de-populate the city. Those of working age were re-housed in suburban new towns – which left the old, infirm and unable to work in the city.

They assumed Glasgow was a city in decline. This is a shocking indictment of poor decisions, political interference and high handedness.

Since the 80s Glasgow has rejuvenated with areas like the Merchant city and the Westend,

Whoever believed in trickle-down economics is deluded.

The Tory Conference 2016

The Tory Convention is sickening and irritating – and feels like it has nothing to do with how I feel on major problems in Scotland. May says he government “will work for everyone”?  - she reminds me of Thatcher and her saying “Where there is discord let us bring harmony.” We all know who that worked out. All meaningless tattle, like smoothing over the cracks with glittery plaster.

These are serious cracks too – Britain has the worst income inequality in Europe and our poorest fifth do s badly as those in Romania. We are regressing, don’t let their empty rhetoric fool anyone!
 In 1930s to 1970s the Income Gap diminished substantially in the developed world. In the 1980s and 1990s under Thatcher and Bush it widened dramatically, driven by Ideology. At the time of the 2008 crash in the US, it was at same level as the 1929 Wall St crash.

In the relatively egalitarian nations of Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, or Japan wealth inequality is reigned in.  Every social index in these countries – crime, teenage pregnancies, drug addictions, obesity, life expectancy, mental health etc. – is more favourable then the least equal nations of the USA, Portugal and the UK.

The sad fact is the Blair and Brown years made such a mess of the economy Labour will find it hard to prove themselves as a credible alternative – so where does this all leave Scotland then?  Years more of Tory inequality and failed economics?

Brexit Britain, English superiority and English independence means great inequality and injustice. As wee Ginger Dug writes – this is NOT a Union at all, it s a colonial takeover! 

A new Scottish Six

There has been talk of a Scottish Six. I’m tired of listening to English news in health and education.  We even have some independence supporting newspapers now! How brave. 

In Scandinavia they have a law for equality in the press – that the press cannot only represent one point of view. Freedom of the Press is essential for democracy.

England cannot take Britishness away from all those in the British Isles – whether Welsh, Irish, Scots or English. We all remain British. But they have been making this into a choice between Scotland and Britain.. It is not about this at all.

We have a drip feed from the BBC and the press on British, British, North Britain – clearly to give a purely UK perspective – but what exactly is that anymore?  I personally have deep roots in Ireland, England and Scotland.

MSPs to look at BBC spending here (about time!). BBC spending – over 100% England, 95% Wales, 75% Northern Ireland, 55% Scotland!  This means we get about half of what we pay in our License fees back.
That’s our equal spending partnership for you then – pretty much reflects spending in other areas too like roads, broadband, infrastructure etc etc.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Liberty Tree

Do we want to be attached to an Americanised, privatised nuclear-driven England or a greener, fairer future.  After the Project Fear Scotland went from 28% to 45% supporting Independence.

Scottish since 2014
The SNP has become the third largest party in the UK as membership soared and they won landslide victories. In the EU Referendum 62% of Sots voted to Remain. All this cannot be ignored. There are clearly large numbers, especially young people, who see their future as independent in Europe and not part of a crumbling Imperialist power.

The YES movement has grown and even the right wing Sunday Times media recognised this cannot simply be ignored.  There has been talk of a Scottish Six. I’m tired of listening to English news in health and education.  We even have some independence supporting newspapers now! How brave.  In Scandinavia they have a law for equality in the press – that the press cannot only represent one point of view. Freedom of the Press is essential for democracy. We have a drip feed of 'Britain' on the BBC - we are not a region OR north Britain! We have separate Laws, Education, history, culture - we have our own story.

The 2014 Referendum was the most enlightened and hopeful and refreshing experience of my lifetime. For the first time there seemed a chance peoples voices were bing heard. I was also ashamed of the Great Lies put about in the BBC and the Sunday Times – from Burns was unionist (as if!) to as England’s most important partner, we can’t use the pound. These are obvious, downright Lies.  After Project Fear Scotland went from 28% to 45% supporting Independence as it became clear this was not a partnership at all.

**SONGS for freedom
Scots Wa Hae
For These are my Mountains
Freedom Come All Ye

The capitalist exploitation of Scotland and the people who live there.
Over the centuries many Scots have fought for freedom, This journey is a long one, with many voices – from Burns, Wallace and all those who have been oppressed.
Scotland has been invaded and run by those elites. There are concentrated patterns of large scale private land ownership ……  more  than found in any other country in the world. This is criminal in todays world and we should all work towards making radical changes.

Landownership by the few
Half of Scotland is owned by 0.008% of population – exceptional level of inequality for a democracy. ( 432 owners , 16 owns 10%.  Women fought and were gravely injured projecting their homes. People took to the streets after the Union. And the young people only have to leave when they can’t own a croft.
We used to also have a third of the population, before union and before centralization in London. Since Union Scotland has been bought and sold, de-populated, viewed as a satellite; and repressed culturally. Union has meant clearances and imperialist ravaging abroad, built on the backs of Sugar, Tobacco and Slave trades. 

What is needed for Democracy?
Land Reform, free press, no private schools,, …..
Do we want Scotland to flourish as a future place to do business and increase productivity or become a retirement and tourism region of Britani?


I imagine today great numbers of Scots are both disappointed and confused.  We should ride the storm of Brexit for now, as no one knows what it means. I feel certain the other European countries are not going to play ball with the UK demands.  Scotland is in even more danger of becoming an even smaller satellite of London – which only drags down our productivity. We need a more balanced economy. 

In 2014 The YES movement had to prove every answer for every possible future, known or unknown!  All that is really required though is broad sweeps of advantage, taking back control and pursuing what’s in Scotland best interests which has to be a good thing – who can argue this is not!?   The SNP White Paper on independence only gave opponents something to pick holes in.  They tell us Scotland is too poor while they are extremely fearful of loosing all our resources, oddly!! They seem to view or country as simply north Britian.

Meanwhile down in Westminster – no one has any plan over any possible future, even over those big sweeps over what Brexit actually means! Not even the PM.  Will we join the single market? Will we need visas? What will it mean for universities? My moneys on UK leaving the single market and its going to be messy and take 5 to 10 years.

It will be very bad news for universities and academics research. Already Westminster has allowed 4 English universities to have a visa extension for International students – why not Scottish universities too? A large number of university academics are from Europe.

**We can choose. I don’t believe England would put troops on the border – or would they? Is that the fear? Ireland has managed and peace has come to Northern Ireland. Are we mature enough to really believe in democracy? Is that the question? Or do we cling to feudalism, elites, superiority?

It is not possible via Westminster and the elites there are too entrenched and the system is rotten – and actively work to protect the status quo.  There are the new elites who took over after Thatcher de-regulated, just as in Russia or France after they over threw the aristocrats simply to build another elite.  It doesn’t have to be their way, it’s not inevitable. Everyone I know in Scotland wants a fairer, more equal society and I believe if we voted on that it we would win by a landslide

*There is a choice between being a capitalist outpost or one looking north to our Scandinavian cousins and the realisation that – landownership, fairness, justice, equal opportunities and fewer extremely rich or extremely poor iS totally possible and only with independence.

We CAN choose! 
When I was 17 I visited Finland and stayed with a family there only a mile from the border with Russia.  I also visited Helsinki I and wondered – where were the slums and poverty?
Do we want to be attached to an Americanised, privatised nuclear-driven England or greener fairer future.    

Labour is lost in Scotland, but has found an honest voice in Corbyn down in England. The SNP now needs to be more radical and stop tinkering at the edges and bring in more radical reforms.  I voted SNP in my twenties to give Scotland hope and confidence back. Today years I vote SNP – not for borders or anti-English – but because I believe in a fairer, more equal society is possible here because the  people of Scotland wish it.

The Liberty Tree by Robert Burns (extract)

HEARD ye o' the tree o' France,

I watna what 's the name o't;

Around it a' the patriots dance,

Weel Europe kens the fame o't.

It stands where ance the Bastile stood,

A prison built by kings, man,

When Superstition's hellish brood

Kept France in leading-strings, man.

For Freedom, standing by the tree,
Her sons did loudly ca', man.
She sang a sang o' liberty,
Which pleased them ane and a', man.
By her inspired, the new-born race
Soon drew the avenging steel, man;
The hirelings ran--------her foes gied chase,
And banged the despot weel, man.

Let Britain boast her hardy oak,
Her poplar and her pine, man,
Auld Britain ance could crack her joke,
And o'er her neighbours shine, man.
But seek the forest round and round,
And soon 'twill be agreed, man,
That sic a tree can not be found,
'Twixt London and the Tweed, man.

Without this tree alake this life
Is but a vale o' woe, man;
A scene o' sorrow mixed wi' strife,
Nae real joys we know, man.
We labour soon, we labour late,
To feed the titled knave, man;
And a' the comfort we 're to get,
Is that ayont the grave, man.