Monday, 16 January 2017

Nicola Sturgeon's speech to Irish Senate (Seanad Eireann) and questions after

This is well worth watching – and this is such a positive supportive debate of how independence has led to a resurgence for Ireland.   

Nicola firstly has assured a welcome for all migrants into Scotland. She also discussed climate change of half energy coming from renewables; of16 year olds voting; on equality as the foundation of prosperity.

The Senate praised Nicola’s position on gender equality, her equality statement and her desire to play a part in the importance on human rights. They spoke of protecting our shared interests and solidarity with Ireland. And there was praise for Scotland’s inspiring grassroots referendum campaign in 2014.

One senator spoke of the corrosive nationalism of Trump, Penn and Farage – and that it is excellent to see the fairness, democratic social inclusiveness of the civic Nationalism of Nicola. 
One spoke of how ironic that it will be the 40 year anniversary of the Treaty of Rome in 2017 – and of how the EU came out of a time of great divisions, war and a time of fear. .

Legally Brexit is a minefield for Ireland and undermines the legal status of the Good Friday agreement and will unravel the peace of the last twenty years. They feel Northern Ireland should be given a special status.

One asked how Ireland can help Scotland with independence and with the challenges of Brexit. 

They spoke of the Scots James Connelly and Margaret Skinnider, who died with the rebels at the Easter rising 1916.

We must listen to the views of the People and it is not enough to change symbolism. And of independence as a means to build a better nation.

The Senate leader quoted from Yeats – ‘All changed, changed utterly, A terrible beauty is born.’

“A good life means fighting to be human in difficult times.” Alasdair Gray


**Not sure I saw this mentioned on the BBC news!??


It was the 100 year Anniversary of the Irish Rising last year 2016: 60 year anniversary of the Treaty of Rome; 70 year anniversary of the Edinburgh international festival.

Scotland’s Letter of Intent & Purpose


Scotland needs to look across waters to other successful small countries:
The wind and tides are for independence over the recent times.
We don’t have to look far – to Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Finland.

This year of 2017 marks many anniversaries of independence – Finland (100 years), Canada (150 years), India (70 years)  
We are not so different, and in fact Scotland’s has more or comparable resources – excellent R & D, natural resources, strong cultural and historical past, and more. We in Scotland can learn many lessons of the path to successful independence these countries. Musician Pat Kane in the National writes – the “great shaping collective force of the 19th and 20th centuries” has been nationalism.

(1)
Finland has a long border with Russia (and a 1Km No Mans Land. I visited many years ago)
Unlike other countries they have not been taken over by Russia again. Finland made strong alliances with it’s powerful neighbours and has active self-censorship in both media and politics.
The Finns also made a strong statement of Intent and purpose,

‘The people of Finland feel deeply that they cannot fulfil their national duty and their universal human obligations without a complete sovereignty.”
OR -  ‘The people of Scotland feel deeply that they cannot fulfil their national duty and their universal human obligations without a complete sovereignty.”

It is time now for Scotland’s statement of Intent and Purpose, more than ever. A simple short statement too and not a thousand page documents that no one but Unionist employees have time to read and to pick holes in to look for any weaknesses.
There is no weaknesses in independence – it is simply about a collective will to run our own affairs.

Westminster tries to claim with their Lies that they have allowed the Scottish Parliament sweeping new powers – as MP Mhairi Black in the National wrote – its like saying… off you go and drive the car now with only the use of the indicators!

If the Scottish people prefer being run by the Tories in London and allowed and offered pocket money while stealing our resources from us – then that’s the negative future. The truth is though that Westminster has also allowed Scotland’s resources to be plundered and still does. Those Anglicised Scots who view themselves firstly as ‘English’ are part of their imperialist plot.

(2)
Then there is Ireland, just a few miles across our waters. They celebrated their independnece in 2016 and the Easter Rising of 1916. Their independence had to be taken (not given)
In Ireland too, the country had been run by a minority of the Anglo-Irish since 17th century – who also viewed themselves firstly as English and born in Ireland. The great poet WB Yeats was one. He lived much of his life and childhood in London and he was in England at the time of the rising. He was against violence and he had mixed feelings, as did many Irish towards the rebels who had seized the GPO. Then he was shaken when the city lay in ruins.

His sister Lily wrote it was all ‘childish madness.” However when the rebels were rounded up and hanged – they were appalled and their attitudes changed.  His poem September 1913 denunciated the ‘Philistine business class of Dublin who fumbled in a greasy till’

Yeats was encouraged by Irish activist John O’Leary to take an interest in Irish folk lore and song. Just as Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns did 200 years ago, Yeats also turned to the internationally famous Scottish poet James MacPherson’s Ossian (the biggest influence on romantic poetry (1736 – 1796) – by writing plays on a heroic ancient Irish warrior Cuchlilein  After the Rising, Yeats moved back to Ireland.

Certainly and sadly since the union of Parliament 1707, there has been a repression of Scottishness by Anglicised Scots – of the Scots language, Gaelic, Scots history and culture.  Many of us are only now discovering for the first time our rich past.
We can look also at you strong history and cultural past. We can keep our strong cultural ties across the British isles, just not our political ones.

Now in Time to be
Wherever green is worn
Are changed, changed utterly
A terrible beauty is born.


Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Independent Voices


It is important than ever to listen to the ordinary person in the street to have good governance. On the Questions of information and Truth.

Most of us all agree with immigration of International students or scientists.
Most of us also agree about limiting uncontrolled immigration - that is too many unskilled coming all at once. Now we have to try to find common ground – is that possible? I listen to Leavers from Wakefield on the BBC Question Time who simply want out as fast as possible.  OUT of the single market without it seems any thought to trade tariffs. I assume the plan is trade with China or US instead. Meanwhile Trump plans his own US isolationism and protectionism and this doesn’t look so promising.

The Brexiteers claim they did extensive research during the EU Debates – where? – in Rupert Murdoch’s press, Facebook fake news, in TV Debates? I listened to many EU debates and I thought they were dreadful and misleading. Their conclusions are that Europe is robbing them of jobs. How is Europe to blame for lack of investment in the English NHS and education, infrastructure (outside of London)

Some ask – how can we find truth anyway/!

I did research too and came to different conclusions. I read editorials in both the right wing Times (Murdochs0, Herald (independent), National (non Murdoch’s press), listened to debates on the BBC Newsnight and Scotland 2016. It is crucial to obtain as diverse news as possible, in a country where one person controls such a huge chunk of the UK Press.

Meanwhile May heads to Poland to Poland, Japan and India in the hopes of finding support. These countries want movement of skilled people and access to universities above trade of goods or services. Where does that leave England (with Scotland being dragged along behind then?

Britain no longer has a captive Commonwealth to do easy trade deals with. Cutting ourselves off from Europe – when we have centuries of connections and history – doesn’t seem advisable , either for prosperity, business, cultural exchanges, research and investment business or trade.
Scotland wants none of this isolationist movement – we want more connections not less. For Scotland our diversity, free thinking ad interconnectedness is what has made our nation creative and innovative over the centuries. The last thing we would wish to do close doors.

I read recently Jim Sillars views that Scotland could do well on the Norway model, in the efta.
They are consulted and agree to some of the EU directives. (So I decided to research Norway’s history)

The EU discussion on this Question Time seemed alien and nasty. However when they talked of the HR2 train the discussion became real at last – and they spoke of how all this money spent in London does little good for those in the north of the country.

The most significant arguments for the EU I read from political commentators – was Freethinking, Individual voices. More than ever we need these independent free thinkers. Don’t believe 98% of political talk – its all jargon and manipulate.

Three criterion for decent press.
Range and variety
Freedom to speak the truth
Success in revealing society (On one level who they speak, believed. On another level how country functions politically, economically, culturally.)


Decent Press & Honest Challenging Discourse


Decent Press & Honest Challenging Discourse

“The Disinformation and character assignation against Clinton. Trump suggested many immoral actions in order to manipulate the media.”

*The Gatekeepers
I believe, as in every area of expertise there should be gate keepers – those who are expert at engineering, those expert in medicine, the arts, those expert in politics or in sport and so on. That’s why we need traditional press – those journalists who do extensive reading and research. We cant’ all be expert at everything after all. I know I try to choose varied media and I read the right wing press too. 

Today 60% of news is now read on facebook and facebook doesn’t employ any serious news medium to provide filters over what is simply sensationalistic items and what is genuine news from authentic news outlets. That’s a big problem for all of us. I buy paper press too.

I’m sure some voted for Trump as a protest and for change. Just not sure what he can deliver and I find it annoying he used sensationalism and slander to benefit his own ego and media.
Quote, ‘We can survive in a world where we have different opinions, but I don’t know we can survive in a world where we all choose our own facts.’ Journalist David Grossman

*Post Truth Press
Today they might talk of Post Truth – whatever that is? Back to the old days of legend and story telling?
A free press is essential. Look at front page headlines, they say it all.
Daily Express – unionist propaganda, not always true. Sun – Gossip; Daily Mail – gossip. These papers aren’t really telling anyone what’s going on today. They spin webs of deceit to gloss over the reality. I read the Sunday Times to find out what the right wing is putting forward. The world as they see it is different to mine through!  They still believe in a rich elite, trickle down economics, Brexit. What is Brexit for exactly -English nationalism - which is okay (Scottish nationalism bad?)

It is an odd thing – elsewhere is Europe there is the rise of the Nationalist Right – likes the UKIP, Le Penn in France and elsewhere – who stand for an inward-looking protectionist polices. By contrast Scottish independence movement – is much more about progressive outward-looking inclusive socialism, than it is about any narrow concept of nationalism.
To be clear – the Scottish independence movement is about how we are best governed – by a remote right wing London government OR by making our own decisions here in Scotland.

**Stuart Hood  (1915 – 2011) novelist, translator, and former controller of BBC television)
some interesting evaluations of media manipulations. In his book Screens: The Structure of British Television (1940) he was acutely aware of the relations between fiction, mass media, persuasion and the truths that must be told. Since his death, the power of social control, the selective dissemination of information, and the relation between online, screen and print media has become the essential ethos of our time.

The future shape of television industry will be determined by political decisions taken at government level. These decisions will be determined by how the that g perceives television – as an industry in which eh market decides or as a medium which can provide a public service, supplying the Rithian trinity of information, education and entertainment.

He writes – “no society can be explored unless its broadcasters are free to ask honest questions and answer them. Unless they are allowed this freedom, self-revelation is impossible. All over the world there are societies…..which have not achieved self-awareness because the dominant instruments of mass media do not provide a mirror in which the citizens can see themselves truthfully."
In Ireland in Dublin in 1915 it was the Post Office, in Nigeria in the 1960s it was the radio, in Hoods time it was the tv, and today its all those and more: information control of the most far-reaching kind. Not revelation but distraction. Entrapment is the law.

*Three criterion for decent press and media.
Range and variety
Freedom to speak the truth
Success in revealing society (On one level how they speak and believed. On another level how a country functions politically, economically, cultural.

Online provides echo Chambers or Filter Bubbles were the sound of our Arguments or Likes become amplified.    


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!