Friday, 31 October 2014

The Paradigm Shift.

So, it’s finally started.

The movement that will lead to independence for our nation has truly begun, and I suspect it’ll not end for a few years, but history will show the referendum of 2014 as being the time when the death knell reverberated loudly over the Union corpse. It not only tolled, but vowed it’d continue.

Gazing retrospectively at what’s inspired this blog, it became apparent to me that even while working and sincerely hoping for a ‘Yes’ in the 2014 referendum, at a deeper level I never really expected one. The most obvious reason being, our media isn’t our media. The Daily Record, Sun and the rest are either London or foreign owned. Ultimately, I was as devastated as anyone when we’d come so close only to fall in the last few days, almost entirely as a result of that same media’s trumpeting of the now ‘Disavowed Vow’.

The paradigm shift ultimately comes down to that ‘Vow’, because that ‘Vow’ moved the goalposts; it changed the debate utterly in the last week where ‘Yes’ was building to possible/probable victory.

Suddenly, folk weren’t choosing between ‘Independence and Westminster’, they were choosing between ‘Independence and Devo-Max’. Not only that, they were choosing ‘Devo-Max’ with a defined and very tight timeline. Gordon Brown even declared it’d be as near as damn a Federal solution resulting in a new UK.

Now, excuse me being blunt here, but there’s really no other way to put this.

Let’s face it, if you’re a unionist politician and leader, and not actually a worthless piece of sh*t, you were free to disavow that full page printed vow, but only if you did it publically as soon as the damned thing hit print. That and you’d better be demanding a retraction on the day. Failing immediate corrective action before the vote, folk of honour and integrity have no choice but to keep that Vow afterwards. It doesn’t matter if they actually made it, by their silence they assented and adopted it.

That vow made many voters switch back to support for the Union and consequently, the failure of follow through plus the distancing from it that’s taken place since (and is set to continue) has shocked quite a few ‘No’ voters; there are many who’d change their vote today if they had the opportunity to do it all over again. It’s a safe bet with the revelations since, it’d be the same numbers in the referendum; it would simply flip to a yes result.

That’s what’s behind the building paradigm shift within ‘No’ voters. It is pointless to say “We Told You So” now. They heard what we were saying, but on the day the paradigm shift was just a step too far for them to make, especially when offered the ‘comfy’ alternative of ‘Devo-Max’.

Life in the Union may be not be brilliant, but for many of the ‘No Voters’ it is bearable. Put that up against project fear and the ‘spectre’ of independence that was painted by Union controlled media, the only way a ‘Yes’ vote was going to be secured was by a massive swing in the Unionist vote. It still almost happened; it’s still necessary, however, not quite so massively this time. Except, there doesn’t need to be a ‘next time’. Everything can be accomplished through the ballot box at elections.

I actually didn’t expect the swing to be as rapid as it currently appears, but the event that gets people to change a lifetime’s habits is by necessity something fairly significant. In this instance it is lies and betrayal. Even then, opinions don’t change overnight, but it’s almost guaranteed they’ll change eventually. It’s a realisation event followed by processing time, and we all need different amounts of it.

Consider our average Scots’ voter. Now narrow it to the average Scots Unionist. Die-hards among them might even change now, although that’s less likely. On the other hand, the average ‘No voter’ saw three English parties come together with the weight of the media and eventually see off the ‘nasty Nationalists’ with a “Vow”. However at least a third, perhaps as many as a half of that ‘No’ vote wanted those extra powers. That equates to somewhere around 25% of the total electorate that wanted the substantial constitutional change they were promised. Consequently, these people were comfortable, content and happy in their vote. However, they weren’t specifically voting for ‘Westminster’, they were now voting for a stronger, better, more representative and democratic Scots parliament. It’s how many justified that ‘No’.

Essentially that 25% voted for almost the same as the 45% who voted ‘Yes’. They just didn’t want to throw away the security blanket; not yet anyway, not when they’d been promised ‘the best of both worlds’.

Except, they've now literally been told “What Vow?”

And surprise, surprise, they’re not happy and dissent is now beginning to peep over the parapet. They had a set time frame placed before them, it’s already been missed. Many of them, perhaps as much as 10-15%, have already gone from disappointment through regret to acknowledgement of betrayal and are done processing. They’ll never vote for a Unionist party again. It’s also ‘safe’ to do that now, the referendum is over and they don’t have to feel guilty about making that personal vow against Unionist parties.

Unlike those Westminster politicians, I’d expect these folk to be serious in their intent and it’s already showing. SNP and other pro-independence party’s membership have grown exponentially since the referendum. The latest IPSOS/MORI poll shows a near wipe out for Unionist parties at the next UK General Election, while the current ‘You-Gov’ isn’t quite so radical in its results, but has a similar overall conclusion.

There you have it; 25% of an electoral franchise who’ll not vote for the Unionist parties again, ever.

That’s a lot of betrayed people to have on your hands.

This is what happens when the average person is so fundamentally lied to, and then comes to realise it.

It’s also what happens when the average person in Scotland comes to understand what many of us who supported independence have seen for years; the media in Scotland has shown itself to be largely useless when it comes to balanced investigative and unbiased reporting around Scottish Politics. It means the media was largely a single use tool, like a tube of glue, and now it’s mostly full of air, it doesn't work so well.

However, the media can’t be discounted, but it can be anticipated its future impact will be significantly reduced.

These folk have that have just pushed the SNP vote share to 52% in the polls have had a paradigm shift. For many of them it’s no longer possible to vote for a Unionist Party and they've altered their world view, deciding on a party supporting independence or to simply not vote again. For many of them it may not be a conscious thought yet, but it’s coming.

The SNP for its part needs to capitalise on this to form an ongoing, broad but loose alliance with Scotland’s other independence supporting parties. They need to stand on a manifesto for the next election which loudly proclaims that it supports the democratic will of the Scottish people as expressed during the referendum.

This also requires the SNP to have a paradigm shift to match that of the referendum result and capture the awakening ire of that 25%. They need it this year. They need to deliver the results of that adjustment as they stride purposefully into the 2015 elections. The message needs to be that the electorate can always trust them to be sufficiently flexible so as to respond to its express will.

The SNP can then declare to follow the peoples’ desires and bring to Scotland and her parliament the powers contained within “The Vows” which Westminster has now reneged. Furthermore, they can affirm that one principle they will hold to, should the people elect a majority of Scots MPs from their party, is that these MPs will put Scotland first. After the ballot, Holyrood will extend an invitation to its Scottish colleagues who would be then based in Westminster requesting them to attend a vote in Holyrood.

It’ll be an invitation not just to attend, but an Act will be passed to permit them a vote on a single issue. Holyrood will pass that Act, having been spelled out before hand as the accepted will of the people as expressed through the result of the referendum. This is almost an identical circumstance as that which led to the referendum itself; democracy in action.

Folk will vote for such a message because they’ll not see it as ending the Union, simply holding the political feet in London to the fire and forcing honesty, and that’s how the 2015/2016 campaigns need to be portrayed to capture that additional 25% i.e., democracy has spoken; vote for us to force honesty from the democratic process even as we deliver good government.

The question is; what the contents of that Act should be.

Quite simply, it should authorize Holyrood to renegotiate all articles of the Treaty of Union with four notable exceptions. It would restore the full rights and responsibilities of the Scots Parliament excluding the areas of Foreign Affairs, Monetary Policy, the Monarchy (excluding the need for Royal Assent) and Defence. Passing of these Acts can be expressed simply as a combination of forcing honesty from Westminster, of assisting the many Scots who voted “no” in getting what they were promised by way of a Devo-Max or Federal solution, and lastly helping those who voted yes to reconcile themselves with the outcome of the vote. This would then be portrayed as putting the entire nation in a position to grow with harmony and cooperation as we walk forward. Essentially it would be an exercise in re-unity and reintegration following the referendum.

Effectively this is campaigning on a platform of the democratic exploration of the concept of nation building while remaining within the over-arching framework of the Union, which 55% declared they desired in the referendum.

In all practicality, this is the best way for some 70% of the franchise to obtain what it desired – or at least very nearly so. It’s a political compromise – for now, of where the party promised to go and where the electorate told them it needed to be.

The ball will then be very firmly in Westminster’s court, and how they decide to return it will prove interesting indeed. They may even decide to scrap what remains themselves.

Regardless of Westminster’s desires, with a majority of SNP MPs and MSPs under these circumstances Holyrood can then pass Acts under the banner of the democratic will, repealing or rejecting Westminster’s primacy in everything - except the reserved issues we, the Scots allow.

Effectively, the only primacy Westminster would retain would be in the areas of defence, currency and foreign policy with a sort of shared obligation on the fourth, the Monarchy.

Moreover, it would be done as the will of the people, an exercise in democracy; a beautiful thing.

The SNP should therefore enter the 2015/2016 elections with a shift in stance, specifically limited to these campaigns, to not be a party seeking independence, but rather Home Rule. A sensible party might also promise a Constitution to protect the rights of our Parliament, our citizens and legal residents, while declaring that although David Cameron may have promised this, if we vote for the SNP they will actually provide it. A truly intuitive party might even put a time-frame to it.

With that type of mandate delivered in a Westminster election following on from the referendum, respecting the Union yet holding it to account, Scotland’s parliament at Holyrood can have a secure democratic justification for passing the legislation for enacting this in Scots Law.

By right and accepted broadcast precedent, the SNP could even dissolve the Union with a majority of either Scots MPs or absolute majority at Holyrood, so long as they inform the electorate that was their intent. However, to do so this closely after a referendum result which in effect demanded Devo-Max that may just be a bit disingenuous.

The nicest part is it is all about honesty, honour and integrity. That’s a simple campaign platform. It is also a campaign platform with which Westminster cannot compete.

Should this transpire, it promises to be an interesting development; one which hasn't happened in many centuries. 

an entire cadre of Scottish based Westminster MPs who’ll simply put Scotland's needs first. 

The only clear way under the present scenario to upset that dynamic in any moderately close election, would be an alliance between Labour and Conservatives. Any other alliances with smaller groups of MP’s e.g. UKIP, BNP or Liberal Democrats would only open more eyes in the North, with the certainty of greater issues in London. It’s either that or Westminster tries to pass an act preventing the expressed democratic wish of the Scottish people, and that will not sit well north or south of the border.

Either way, the endgame is now set and the outcome is relatively assured.

I only have to wonder if this wasn't Alex Salmond’s ‘Plan B’ all along. If it had been, then it was a master strategy of playing the long game. All it needed was just one close poll, and the reactions were all entirely predictable from that point on. Win today, or win tomorrow, either way, it’s a win for the nation he cherishes. If it’s a win tomorrow, in Nicola’s hands’, with her lengthy apprenticeship, it’ll be fine.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Guest Writer Steven McBrien on Ms Lamont's Resignation.

Writing something nice about Johann Lamont for me is akin to trying to present herpes in a positive light, but I will finally bite the bullet and admit that I admire her actions today, even if the almost Juvenalian irony of this woman stating that UK Labour treat Scottish Labour "like a branch office" is neither lost on me or anyone else. It's funny, but it seems like just yesterday that she was gloating over Salmond's resignation and looking forward to locking horns with his successor... now, Salmond has outlasted her. She stands down immediately; he doesn't stand down until November. By my calculations, that means he's now seen off four Labour leaders during his tenure as FM, and five since becoming leader of the SNP. Not a bad hit rate.

It also seems like just yesterday that Westminster politicians were swarming their way through the cities and towns of Scotland like termites, promising more engagement with the people here. Needless to say, apart from a ludicrous Lib Dem conference in a swanky hotel, we've seen neither hide nor hair of them since the referendum. A simple equation will tell you why: if one multiplies the sum of the principles these creatures have, and then divides the result by the amount of promises they've actually kept, the result will be equal to the number of fucks they give about us.

But what the hell, Johann, gaun yersel hen. Well done. You've shown people throughout Britain what we in YES already knew: Labour are utterly finished in Scotland. Behold Blair's works, ye mighty, and despair. His true legacy is right here for all to see: thousands of dead bodies, and a dead party. The bastard has more than blood on his hands, but karma's a bitch.

If these people have genuinely reached the stage where they imagine that anyone in Britain, never mind Scotland, wants to see a single sweat-soaked wrinkle on Gordon Brown's golem head, they are beyond insane. As for Jim Murphy, the very fact that he is being touted as leadership material shows just how irrelevant and out of touch these fossils really are. They are pathetic, and their century-long stranglehold on the city of Glasgow is about to end forever. Fasten your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen: this is going to be a very bumpy night.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

TV Political Debates; Conundrum or Not?

I’ve watched with interest as the SNP have been once again excluded from the General Election debates.

It’s actually been with a great deal of interest since they effectively won a case in 2010, that judicial review stated it was inappropriate to exclude them.

At the time, the arguments used were marginally credible.

The first statement was that they weren’t a ‘UK’ party, but a regional party. The argument then was that as they only contested seats in Scotland, then they’d no part in a UK wide debate.

The second argument actually held a bit more water, at least until this years’ debacle, sorry debate schedule was announced. Both those arguments are now relatively simple to defeat, but before that, we should examine another aspect of the debates.

No actually, I was correct in the first instance for now it is a debacle of democracy which is designed to perpetuate a two party system. The fact that it’s already been ‘pre-ordained’ that the leaders of the Conservative and Labour parties will share a head to head excluding all others, is surely a debacle; it makes a laughing stock of any pretence of democracy.

In a true democratic system, in an honourable one, all prospective candidates would be involved in the first debate in any election. The representation would then be whittled down until only the best two or three candidates remained. For these to be selected in advance by the media shows a system beyond corrupt. For it to be accepted largely without question shows a populace who for the most part is simply apathetic and doesn’t care. The referendum in September was a democratic awakening in Scotland, it shows we now care. And we care a whole lot.

As to rebalancing some of that media and Westminster engendered democratic deficit, especially following on from the judicial review in 2010, surely now with being the third largest party in the current UK, the SNP should have a seat at these debates?

The establishment will still fight to prevent it, because the establishment is about perpetuating the UK. With the SNP as the third largest party, the only argument for the establishment to now fall back upon, and it’d be a delaying tactic only, would be that the SNP aren’t a ‘national, UK wide party’. The ‘nation’ part falls to bits when we consider that Cameron, Miliband and Clegg all went on record last month to declare ‘Of course, Scotland is a nation’. That essentially and defensibly, from their perspective, only leaves the ‘Not a UK wide party’ argument.

The issue for the SNP is that it has a policy of not contesting seats in a GE which are not ‘in Scotland’.

Historically there’s a delicious irony here, for their own policy has gifted their opponents the whip with which to flay the party before the electoral masses.

How and ever, the solution could be achieved easily; and it would leave the opposition in a place somewhere between a quandary and a cleft stick.

Contest the seat held by Alan Beith; namely, the constituency of Berwick-upon-Tweed. Legally, although adopted into the area of Northumberland by statute, the town of Berwick upon Tweed actually belongs to neither country, and we’ve just had that affirmation that we’re both countries.

Legally, the SNP can’t be prevented from doing this, which gives the Westminster cabal one of two options; they can retain their claim that the SNP aren’t actually a ‘UK Party’ and effectively concede that Berwick’s a Scottish town, or they can recognize that with seats being contested south of the current border, the SNP are a UK party, they just have the stated goal of dismantling the UK and returning true power to at least some of her people.

The SNP also have the justifiable stance here of claiming Berwick-upon-Tweed as historically a Scottish town, they can even put hands on hearts and smile with a tongue in cheek attitude as they point to the fact it’s actually internationally recognized as such, nodding in the direction of FIFA and reminding everyone that Berwick Rangers play in the Scottish League.

The fact that much of Northumberland is attached to that seat is rather irrelevant for this exercise; it’s about what the seat’s called.

Scotland’s nationalists don’t have to win the seat, but if handled properly there’s a good chance they could. No, all they have to do is wrong foot the establishment, and an announcement such as this would surely do that, especially as they could rightly point out, that unofficial polls have shown a majority of the townsfolk there would rather see the border moved anyway?

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

‘You Lost – Now get over it’

The truth will out, the old saying goes. And by jings, I think we’re seeing the evidence of that now.

My-oh-my. How little they understand, it’s just that in this case, the truth will take time to permeate, to insinuate itself into the consciousness of almost every ‘NO’ voter. If the NO side or the NO voter believes there was a loser in this referendum, they are absolutely correct. The identity of the loser is very easy for them to uncover, they just require a mirror.

The cry of “You Lost - Get over it” is one I’ve seen times almost without number in the two weeks since the referendum result was announced. The truth of the matter is, although I would have been delighted with a ‘Yes’ vote, and campaigned and worked to try to gain one, I suppose deep down, I never really expected it. What I did get has exceeded almost every expectation I had. It’s a pity that those who voted ‘NO’ from either a false sense of allegiance, or I suspect more often from simple fear, will have to wait until anywhere from a day to a decade to realize it. Of course by then many who did vote ‘NO’ will no longer be among the living, but before they leave us, they’ll have been privileged to see ‘Austerity’ really bite. I just wonder if they’ll be able to admit their voting error before their personal final curtain drops.

You see, those relying on state pensions voted to perpetuate a virtually bankrupt state, as opposed to a vibrant, energised and resurrected one, one which needn’t have hamstrung their retirement, one which needn’t have continued to pay about the lowest proportional pensions in Northern Europe.

But what about those cries of ‘You Lost!’. Obviously those elderly who voted to ‘protect their pensions’ lost, because with both governments guaranteeing them, how could they not have won?

For the rest of us, here’s where those gloating, troublemaking Unionistas essentially have it backwards.

They themselves are the ones who ‘Lost’; they lost the opportunity to increase the personal value of their vote ten-fold.

They lost the opportunity for a sovereign parliament, answerable only to us, the Scots, and I include every Scot who holds nationhood dear to heart, resident, ex-pat, it’s irrelevant.

These individuals, on the face of it, have lost the opportunity for a constitution to enshrine their rights; their own personally-tailored Bill of Rights. That those self serving careerists in Westminster might be discussing a UK version is immaterial because, let’s face it, they’re even afraid of and desperate to duck the obligations of the European Human Rights court. However, I’m willing to bet their “bill” will protect both their and their bankers’ rights.

Therefore, let me examine exactly what their NO vote guarantees.

Their NO vote will guarantee more broken promises, more London centric policies.

Their NO vote will see politics as usual, Scotland and its referendum is already a footnote to Westminster’s perspective.

Their NO vote will not guarantee any significant extra powers, on the contrary, it can’t. To change things more significantly, they need an English Parliament, if they get that, the UK is over, or it becomes fully federalised with each nation demanding and having an equal say. However, when one nation controls over eighty percent of the population, they’re not going to accept that. To be in the position of having to agree with representatives of the other nations will be intolerable for them. If you doubt it, just research why ‘The West Lothian Question’ has never been resolved.

Their NO vote will guarantee increased taxes and reduced benefits as the extra income is required to pay for England’s debt. When these No voters are poorer and have seen inflation run rampant again, that’s when they will really understand what the NO vote will have won.

Their NO vote has guaranteed as part of a unitary state, the NHS in Scotland has no protection. While NHS England opens the door to privatisation, the same will come to Scotland. We simply don’t have adequate funding to protect it, unless London decides we should.

Their NO vote guaranteed you the right to have Weapons of Mass Destruction parked on your doorstep.

Their NO vote has already put your children in harms’ way again, as we walk the path back to a war in the Middle East. This time it’s the Islamic State. Last time, Iraq, before that, Aden, Palestine, Egypt; where will the next conflict drain the blood of our children into those hot unforgiving desert sands?

A NO vote lost you the immediate right to control those oil revenues, which within few days of the vote you were told had been ‘vastly underestimated’ just the week before. The only real difference, the referendum was over. Those who cared to look had known this for months or years. If that was false, you’d have seen the pound rise, not fall that week.

These are just some of the things those who voted NO have lost.

For myself, I think we won. No, we didn’t get the big prize, as a whole, nor did we bite the apple, but what else did we expect? Believe it; Westminster controls the media, that’s the one power it’ll never willingly give up (Media Bias During The Referendum). It might privatise the NHS, Education, the Mail, Water, Railways, Utilities, but it’ll never give up its propaganda machine. Think about it, the broadcast media are all beholden to Westminster for their licenses – at the minimum. Literally every paper in Scotland is either Union controlled or foreign owned. Glasgow/Sunday Herald/Evening Times Owners 
(Any thinking individual or Scotland's vaunted media - including the BBC - could easily have explained to the Scottish electorate that Westminster could no more keep the promises published in the Daily Record's "Vow" page than it could have produced rocking horse shit from thin air. Simply another example of how our media failed us.)

We won because we exposed that propaganda machine.

We won because we took that vote, which had been hovering sometimes in the 20’s, to over 50. It failed on the day, but it failed through lies and gullibility, not our efforts which will be re-doubled next time.

We won, because the politicians in England were forced to make promises that will destroy the status quo, the Union or both. It’s that or be proven liars. That they will keep those promises is unthinkable, that we would vote NO a second time is unimaginable.

We won because already, after just a few weeks, many ‘Noes’ would change their vote. While I have no sympathy, you can do so in perpetuity, a majority of independence MP’s elected to Westminster or Holyrood, with that proclaimed goal, can easily still deliver the result.

We won because the notion of a free, resurrected and resurgent Scotland is viable, it’s normalised, and it’s desired.

We won, most of all, because we realise that we’re in a world class boxing match, and against us we’ve a world class opponent, at least when it comes to the mechanics of holding others in thrall as it pursues its fading dreams of imperial glory. On the morning of September 19th, the announcement was clear, that in round one, Scotland had failed to deliver the knockout blow, but we know our enemy, for such is the only description of one that would take the food from your mouth and force you to rely on charity. 

Round two is just starting, it’ll end with the Westminster elections; if we hold the balance of power there by returning pro-independence supporting MPs we can proclaim independence. Round three, if needed, will see us at the next Holyrood Elections, again where the stated intent of the MSPs returned will and must be independence.

We must grab the thistle, we must grab it firmly, and we must protect both ourselves and those who come after from this incredible act of what is now self-harm that we call ‘The Union’.

Quite simply, we owe it to the unborn.

Monday, 15 September 2014

The Death of the NHS (Scotland)

It’s interesting how the Unionist Parties, all of them, say that the fate of the NHS in Scotland is ‘devolved’, that therefore it becomes wholly the choice of the Scottish Parliament to privatise, or not to privatise, all the while claiming that NHS spending in England is increasing, so our ‘Barnett Equivalent’ is increasing.

Perhaps some of us are stupid enough to believe that. Westminster certainly thinks we are right now, at least judging by its actions.

It’s a bit like me giving you my car, which you absolutely need but don’t have the money to run. I’ll tell you it’ll be fine, just give me your vote and everything will work out, I’ll even pay for the maintenance, I’ll pay for the roads too, the infrastructure, I just won’t tell you it’s actually your money I’m using.

I’m not going to tell you today, when I need that vote, that tomorrow, after you’ve given it to me, I’ll stop giving you the money to buy petrol,

even though I know you don’t have the ability to buy it yourself. I won’t ever actually ask for the car back, why should I? Effectively, I’ll just stop you using it so I don’t have to maintain it any longer; that means I can ignore the infrastructure too.

My car in your hands, the NHS as we know it in Westminster’s hands, both a bit useless after that vote has been used, both of little value once the currency of negotiation has been spent. Without the ability to fund its NHS being firmly in Scotland’s hands, it’s not Scotland’s NHS. It never will be, like anything else, if we can’t fund it, like a car with no petrol, it’s pointless.

There’re two things we all need to be aware of when it comes to funding.

Firstly, Barnett’s on the way out. No Westminster party has pledged to maintain it; mind you, after the student loans debacle, amongst others, those promises wouldn’t be worth much even if they were made.

Secondly, NHS spending in England has increased, but a significant part of that increase now funds shareholder profits, not patient care. It’s still ‘government spending’ they argue in London Town, so Scotland benefits. They’re right as well, but only for today.

After you spend that vote on Thursday, if you spend it foolishly, if you vote ‘No’, here’s what will happen to your NHS, amongst other cherished institutions.

The main English parties have all said they are committed to Austerity. In actual fact, they’ve no choice; they spend so much on servicing a debt created by their economic mismanagement that it’s possibly their only true option.

UK Debt payments, just for interest, already equal four times the cost of Scotland’s NHS, by 2020 they’re going to be close to outstripping the cost of the entire UK’s health care system. That money has to be ‘found’ from somewhere, and they can’t indenture Scottish Oil or sell off the Royal Mail again.

The money will be found from the same place it’s always found, our taxes. In this case, stealth taxes once more. Just like the pensions raids, except now it’ll be an NHS raid.

The NHS in England is largely privately run these days; we just pay the bills and the profits on top. It’s ripe for shifting from the public books.

As that shifting process initiates, expect co-pays to be introduced in England, the think tanks and committees are already sounding them out, the responses they’re getting are positive.

The next stage will be a supplemental ‘tax’ or extra NI contribution, after that employer funded insurance will become de-rigueur. Each small step not that big of a deal alone, each small step so singularly significant moving that £100 billion plus from the government books to our own. Each small step contributing to City profits, even as the square mile contributes to the party coffers.

Expect, over the course of several years, the NHS to go from ‘universal entitlement’ to a ‘needs based benefit’.

As this all happens, even at just a twenty pound co-pay per visit, and three visits a year, that’s 3.6 billion shaved from the public budget in England. That’s about 1/3 of Scotland’s NHS costs, and that proportionate allocation won’t come north anymore, even in the unlikely event Barnett survives. That twenty pound co-pay is only half what Labour’s proposing mind you, Red-Ed is on record at £120 per person a year, with other’s in Westminster’s circles suggesting a tenner a month a head ‘access fee’ per user, so that’d be over seven billion, it’ll cover a bit more mismanagement then?

Typically it can be expected that any tests and procedures will also come with their individual co-pays, and all this will happen, because folk are only too willing to ‘pay a co-pay to save their NHS’, not realizing that even although the staff in front of them might be wearing NHS insignias, they actually aren’t NHS employees. The public doesn’t realize that what ‘they’re paying to save’ is already effectively dead, in England.

Once these conditions become the norm, its reasonable, based upon past trends, to expect those still using the NHS to become vilified as are the public health recipients in America by the US right wing media, they’ll be just another round of ‘benefits scroungers’.

When it’s all done, just remember, you cast that vote, and with an opportunity to truly change the way folk get treated in these Islands, throughout the entirety of these islands, if you cast it with poor judgement, you’ll have used up all your currency, and Westminster certainly isn’t going to call for free critical care or life support for a cause which it views as simply creating wasteful constitutional crises. If Westminster can stop it, there’ll be no more ‘wasteful’ constitutional amendments, otherwise known as devolution.

Remember too, on some future day, when you personally need that life support, from the birth of a child to major surgery, or even simply your elderly care in the years to come, as it is in England already, you’d better be prepared to pay.

There you have it, it’s quite simple really, David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Alistair Darling, Ed Miliband or the man who helped start the sell-off of the NHS, and raided your pensions, Gordon Brown. Would you buy a used car from them under any conditions, not just these conditions? How about a soon to be very underfunded NHS Perhaps the promise of a scandal free Westminster works for you?

If you wouldn’t do any of these, why would you buy a Union?

Thursday, 11 September 2014

September 9th 2014; the day the Union Died - Again.

Regardless of the outcome of the vote on the 18th, today marks the day the Union died - again! I say again because I wrote a similarly titled blog in 2011. Perhaps we exist in a strange Union led Zombie Apocalypse?

Today marks the day that the ‘No Campaign’ went into terminal meltdown, that the ‘offers were put on the table’ that the lie that these things take years was exposed.

Today marks the day that David Cameron’s leadership was called into question, in the last twenty four hours, we’ve seen those calls reverberate, because of what; because of two polls? Surely, two polls don’t create a reason, in England anyway, for presenting a PM with a P45.

No, the reason for the meltdown is the drop in Sterling and its impact. That first poll showed the City of London and its traders that they might just ‘lose Scotland’, so they did what good business folk might be expected to do, they started to price it in to Sterling’s value.

There’re a few interesting things behind these adjustments, things the regular press isn’t saying.

Firstly, if a currency union hadn’t been rejected by their lackey’s in Downing Street, it’s very unlikely they’d be concerned at all, not much anyway. If the UK didn’t have lunatics minding the asylum, none of us would be in this position. For several days the currency has been dropping. I’m getting hard hit by that currency drop, can I just say I’m conflicted, between ‘Damn’ and ‘Woo-hoo!’, it’s a hit I’ll happily take.

Secondly, Scotland represents just about 10% of the UK economy, so if we were a sponge, a soak, a drain, then dumping the deadwood could only see Sterling strengthen, stabilize or ‘firm up’ its position. The loss of size would most probably be more than offset by the reduction in liability. Effectively the drop in value by the markets is saying we’re a major contributor to Sterling and the UK’s credit-worthiness.

Put simply, if you’re the bank, and the junkie sponging kid wants to leave home, you might consider a loan to mum and dad. If the major breadwinner leaves and the junkie kid stays to keep draining resources, when the remaining parent who’s shown bad money skills comes along for another loan, your reaction might be a bit different.

It’s the prospect of that reaction, of the near calamity that the remaining UK would be forced into that’s causing the current panic in London Town. Let’s face it, if a kid’s a drain and a problem, we’re happy to see it leave, make its own way and grow up a bit in the big bad world. If that kid’s contributing and useful, there’s just a possibility we might not be so eager. Now just imagine if we’d borrowed on the strength of that kid’s wages and couldn’t pay it back without them?

Wouldn’t we fight to keep them under our roof?

Wouldn’t we argue against the risks and consequences of leaving?

Wouldn’t we hide our true predicament from them?

If we were unscrupulous, we absolutely would. There’s one thing we’d have to know though, we’d have to be aware that one day, some day, we’d be ‘found out’.

Today, the Union has been ‘found out’. Like the child who’s now growing into the knowledge, that information, that genie, it can’t be stuffed back into its bottle. It’s just not that compliant.

The referendum might fail, although I doubt it. Despite the outcome, today marks the day the Union died. Those powers being promised, the soul searching in Westminster, the hand wringing and finger pointing by our ultra biased media, in the event of a ‘NO’, they’ll fade away. It’s likely that those promised extra powers will too. There’ll be ‘unforeseen difficulties’ and they’ll never be implemented in any sort of functional way.

The thing is, the Scots won’t forget, Scotland is now a nation re-energized, it has recovered much of its political will. If ‘Yes’ isn’t successful on this occasion, there will be another, because the people won’t forget. However, next time don’t expect Westminster to agree, they’ve just had too big a fright.

‘Next time’ it’ll possibly even be a Unilateral Declaration of Independence that’s voted through by the people, after a party wins power on that platform, and it possibly won’t be far away. You see, you can lie, cheat and steal from the kids, but once their trust is finally betrayed, it’s over.

‘Next time’, be it referendum or declaration, can be prevented, but only with wholesale power transference to Edinburgh, power transference so meaningful and so utterly comprehensive that Scots will come to believe that we’re truly ‘better together’. The issue is that if any Cabinet attempted this, the riots in England would be unimaginable. Politically, such a transference of power is next door to impossible.

History will show September 9th 2014 to have been important, not only will it have been an excellent birthday present for my mother’s 80th, the day Flodden’s loss began the effective path to Union, and the day Mary of Scots was crowned, it will also mark the effective end of Scotland as a proclaimed dependency, and I say ‘proclaimed’ as it’s been such in the popular UK media for centuries. I say ‘proclaimed’ because the markets are right now, right here, telling a very different story. They’re telling a story similar to that of immensely prosperous Luxembourg, tiny, incredibly wealthy, it also got its independence today, 147 years ago.

One other thing, today was also the day in 1914 that the Irish met at the Gaelic conference and initiated the process that would become the revolt to free a nation. Ours is simpler, it doesn't involve guns, but just like theirs, it’s thrown Westminster into a state of confusion and panic.

A resumption of statehood for Scotland is drawing close; only the final date really has a question over it, that and how simple the process will be.

So, in a few days, there’s a choice. Do it now and do it simply, or suffer more and do it later.

For Scotland, it’s a bit like the difference between flossing today and a root canal tomorrow.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Son I just Wrote This, by Stanley Odd - this video caught me by surprise this morning. I want everyone to hear it.

Son I just Wrote This by Stanley Odd

Son I Voted Yes'

Son I just wrote this
I thought you might like to know
That I chose to vote Yes
‘Cause a Yes vote provided hope
What the future’s holdin’
No-one can rightly know
Was tired of the same old script
And what’s next only time will show

I knew you'd ask at some stage
I look forward to us talking about it one day
So here’s the story of a hopeful guess
Cause you're part of the reason that I voted yes
When I was your age, we had some discontent winters
Like in the fairy tales there was a Witch of Westminster
With the power and the contrast of a comic book villain
She's passed away now but we didn’t say good riddance
‘Cause by the time she passed she was a feeble old lady
Who forgot what she was doing when she was going places
You should always treat people how you’d like to be treated
‘Cause the hurt and anger she left is deep seated
In school they stopped our free milk
It could be said in a wider context they stopped our free will
You can’t always separate feelings from cold facts
From the school bus I read graffiti saying ‘No Poll Tax’
See in 1979 people voted to control their own reality
But it didn’t happen on a technicality
Then in 1997 they said it wouldn’t work
But they supposed letting us try couldn’t hurt
Now in 2014 they asked the question
‘Do you want to be independent?’
I remember thinking, if we didn’t answer Yes
You could be 18 before they’d ask us again

Son I just wrote this

This isn’t about the colour of skin
Or where you were born, or who you call kin
It’s about pure and simple geography
And caring for everyone responsibly
It’s about people facing poverty with immunity
And building and supporting our communities
Too many people want off the path we’re following
It’s time to change how we ‘do’ politics
Responsibility and independence
Leading by example of the messages we’re sendin’
Character traits we hope for our kids one day
So why wouldn’t we want it for our country?
See the older you get the less you see things in black and white
And I’m just trying to do what I think is right
Just simply voting by Yes, the problem isn’t solved
But you can’t change the world taking no risks at all
Spin Doctors twisted strands of stories to control the plots
Like Rumpelstiltskin spinning gold from straw
Weaving threads like Charlotte’s spider web
And the trolls under the bridge became Cybermen
In a time of recession, food banks and destitution
Worldwide turmoil with very little resolution
Violence and terror as press wizards cast their best illusions
We were part of a peaceful revolution

Son I just wrote this

Some said we had our heads controlled by our hearts
But you make decisions with both by and large
As for those felt their hearts were controlled by their heads
They told the story of the goose that laid the golden egg
Meaning that sticking as we are was the safest bet
Which is basically succumbing to playground threats
And to me that just wasn’t making sense
‘Cause there’s the possibility for real change instead
They say yir home’s where yir heart is
From Oor Wullie’s shed to Doctor Who’s Tardis
But it’s also true that yir hearts where yir home is
And it won’t be that long ‘til you’re grown with yir own kids
Of course I had reservations, who didn’t?
Despite the white paper, Scotland’s future isn’t written
It’s wrong that a politician can only be the shepherd or the wolf
Cause that way they either want you for your flesh or for your wool
The biggest triumph of the 21st century state
Was to convince us that having a dream is a cliché
1% of the world has 90% of the wealth
And this system says to step on folks while helping yirself
I hope you’re hearing these thoughts with amazement
And inequity is consigned to history pages
I don’t want to see another lost generation
Rioting, frustrated and cross with their parents

Son I just wrote this
I thought you might like to know
That I chose to vote Yes
‘Cause a Yes vote provided hope
What the future’s holdin’
No-one can rightly know
Was tired of the same old script
And what’s next only time will show

You can find Stanley here:

Web Page
Sound Cloud
Listen on Spotify

Monday, 1 September 2014

No Contingency Plan For a "Yes" Vote.

We heard it again last week, it’s been voiced before by MPs, top civil servants and several Lords a Leaping. Interestingly it would seem that only those with a vested interest in the British State appear to care about this. Joe and Jemima public haven’t really had it at the forefront of their concerns, at least in so far as media reports have indicated.

Well, we’re coming down to the wire, only eighteen days to go until the vote, soon it’ll be less than ten, and I’m betting we won’t hear more, much more anyway, about the lack of contingency in case of a yes vote.

You see, it’s a fairly safe bet that Westminster does have a contingency plan; only, they can’t afford for anyone to know about it. The reason that they do not have a contingency plan for such a momentous event, as they’ve acknowledged this referendum as being, can only fall into one of three categories.

Firstly, everyone in London Town is an ostrich, every last one who counts as a professed ‘leader of the British Isles’ is a certifiable idiot with their head stuck firmly in the few remaining sandy bits of the Thames embankments. While it would be comforting in a way to go with this scenario, which gets its credence due to the distinct ignorance and highly dubious decision making that’s come from that region in times past, it’s not really the most probable of options, now is it?

Secondly, it could simply be that we’ve been getting lied to. That the ‘difficulty’ experienced by both sides in disentangling the Union will actually cause minimal upheaval in everyone’s lives, with the possible exclusion of perhaps a few civil servants. Based upon the garbage and lies fed to all and sundry during this debate, by the representatives of the ‘mother of parliaments’, this scenario seems much more likely. It’s sad, but should be considered to be streets ahead of option 1 in the probability stakes. It’s sad because it says we elected a bunch of liars, but they were the best of the group offered to us. Now we’re being asked to perpetuate their employment.

The third option is perhaps the most troublesome. You see, option three means never needing a contingency plan, simply because you know it’ll be pointless, simply wasted energy to divert resources to something which you’re certain you can prevent from happening. I’d give it a weight approaching that of, or perhaps even surpassing, option two.

Option three involves many things. However, many things are what Westminster has shown itself capable of. It used the security branches in 1979 to work against Scotland’s interests, as well as that belated 40% rule and counting the dead. There’ve been other incidents too, like the lawyer Willie McRae, who allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself in the head (twice) then throwing the gun away, this after allegedly uncovering something akin to the McCrone report. There’s the last referendum where we voted for a parliament with tax raising powers only to have those powers so diluted by Westminster as to be effectively useless. Even the latest tranche, scheduled for next year can’t be used without hurting ourselves.

Another aspect that just doesn’t ‘ring’ is the disparity in polling data. That alone should have London in a lather, yet while the ‘unofficial polls’ with often massive sample sizes are consistently showing a landslide for ‘Yes’, the ‘official’ polls continue with ‘No’ by a nose.

Ultimately, if we treat option one with the derision deserved, it is certain that there actually is at least one contingency plan out there; one which will allow for London’s elite to remain in control of Scotland or to cut us loose with absolutely minimal impact. It’s an ‘either/or’, I personally can’t see the possibility for any middle ground here.

Up until recently I’d simply thought that with our separate NHS, legal system, educational system etc that we were just being lied to - again. Perhaps an uncomplicated "Velvet Divorce" is to much to hope for.

Now however I have a very real concern. One that has been generated by recent media releases and events, from Jim Murphy’s ‘egging’ (and let’s face it, the only difference this time is that it wasn’t self applied, although we’ve still to uncover just who directed the egg in his direction. What we do know however is it seems to be primarily the nationalist community with an interest in uncovering the perpetrator). Now, add that to recent inflammatory articles appearing in the media indicating "polling carnage" on the 18th, articles which even went so far as to prompt a response from the Police Scotland on September 1st, and we've got a quickly building scenario.

In its best case, a few ‘nutters’ heckling at a handful of polling stations would be unfortunate but ultimately laughable. On the other hand, in a systemic worst-case scenario anything is possible - from missing ballot boxes to calling the fairness of the vote itself into question. Yes, it’d need to be coordinated on a relatively massive scale, but when you largely ‘own’ the output of the media in such circumstances, can anything really be discounted?

Personally, I hope a lot of things can and will be discounted, although I suspect we’ll be approaching October before they can safely be binned.

There’s only one thing that’s certain, London has used every resource and contingency we know of to ensure a ‘No’. On the other hand, if it’s a ‘Yes’ as those on the ground have solid reason to believe, one can only ask what the contingencies are – and why don’t we know about them?

When there is a ‘Yes’ we can be certain those plans will be dusted off; when there is a ‘Yes’ we can only hope that good sense and democracy prevail.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Guest Writer: TV, Radio and Media Personality Jay Crawford With His Perspective On The Independence Debate.

My name is Jay Crawford, I worked in radio, TV and press for almost 40 years in Scotland. With less than three weeks to go in this Independence for Scotland debate I've seen both sides of the argument forcefully put. However I've been disappointed by the lack of balance in the media. 

Jay Crawford Says YES.
For me it has been an easy decision to vote YES. I was brought up to remember that my ancestors fought for Scotland going back to the original wars of independence. William Wallaces' mother was a Crawford and my family have been patriots for almost 1000 years.

However, during this debate I have been made to feel like a stranger in my own country. I have been ridiculed for my belief that Scotland is a nation not just a region of the United Kingdom. I have been told that being a patriot is wrong and nationalism is akin to Germany in the 1930's.

I feel as if I am considered to be somehow deluded or living in some kind of romantic Walter Scott novel. I put up a Saltire flag on my house recently and have been laughed at and made to defend it to neighbours who at the same time are trying to sell me Better Together ties to wear. Imagine being derided for putting up your countries flag in your own country! I live in East Lothian about five miles from Athelstaneford where the flag of Scotland was invented. Did you know that the Saltire is the oldest national flag in the world from 830 AD?

Both my parents fought in WW2 my grandfathers fought in WW1 and after each of those conflicts they were told that Scotland would get devolved powers. I myself campaigned for devolution in 1979 and again we were conned by Westminster.

We know now that the Labour Government in the 1970's lied to us about North Sea oil. For all the money that has been taken from that we've seen little investment in our own country, yet we're labelled "subsidy junkies" by many south of the border. Yet a litre of petrol is about £1.30 and a litre of Highland Spring water is £2.70!

Alistair Darling is a lawyer. He argues for the UK. However all Scottish lawyers practice Scots Law, this is kept separate from English Law. If we're Better Together why does Mr Darling not suggest scrapping Scots Law for UK law? Ask any lawyer in Scotland who is voting NO if they'd be prepared to give up Scots Law and allow English Lawyers to practice in Scotland and watch them choke.

This referendum is about taking power back to the people of Scotland.

This referendum is about Scotland being governed by people in Scotland and not the English elite with the old school ties and Oxford and Cambridge, Old Etonians et al. Scottish education used to be first class but we've fallen behind the rest of the world unless you can afford £15,000 a year for each of your children.

If we vote YES we will have the chance to re-shape our political landscape in Scotland.

We can make a fair and just society.

We can send a message to the elite political class of Britain that says, your power and position in our society is only possible by the good will of the people and take that for granted if you dare.

You want to help the UK? As they say on an aeroplane put your own oxygen mask on first then help others. We can help our English cousins best by example, free ourselves and perhaps they'll free themselves from a corrupt and unjust Britain ruled by fear and prejudice.

After the 18th of September we'll all have to look in the mirror and face the reality of what we've done or what we've lost.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Guest writer Steven McBrien Looks At Better Together's Patronising Video.

Guest writer Steven McBrien tackles the deeply offensive and patronising piece of publicity from Better Together/ Jist Say Eh?/ No Borders ... (an update on their current title would be helpful....)

Hear ye, hear ye! I want each and every woman on my (Facebook) friends list, regardless of nationality, to watch this. I want you all to see exactly what kind of campaign "No Thanks" actually is. Because when Better Together finally hit rock bottom, what do they do? That's right: they proceed to unveil their shovels and start digging, and this advert literally has to be seen in order to be believed. I was strongly reminded of Harry Enfield's brilliant "WOMEN: KNOW YOUR LIMITS" piss-take while watching this.

Not just you Steven!

Apparently, your average Scotswoman thinks of the referendum as some sort of distraction which shouldn't be discussed, doesn't know Alex Salmond's name and refers to the First Minister of her country as "that bloke off the telly", believes that the opinions of children don't count because they are children, imagines that the YES Campaign have somehow promised that "oil will pay for it all," (and thereby refuses to acknowledge to herself that the YES Campaign have stated time and again that a trillion quid oil bonanza is only part of the package, along with renewables, some of the finest exports in Europe, tourism, no upkeep for a nuclear arsenal, over 65% of UK coastline being in Scotland, not having to finance illegal wars and ever-increasing global investment thanks to us actually having a financial capital that's not hundreds of miles away from us in another country), thinks that because there is a degree of uncertainty attached to doing something, that means you shouldn't do it at all (Why move out of home/get married/have kids in the first place then? And hang on while I ask the world's leading businesswomen if they let uncertainty hold them back at the beginning), thinks that "loving" your country means not giving it the chance to do what the rest of the world is doing, doesn't have "enough hours in the day" to go and discover facts and think for herself, gives credit only to things she sees on TV or hears by chance, believes that pensions and hospitals would be somehow safer in a Tory or UKIP-led United Kingdom than they would under an iScotland, believes that something an entire nation has spent two years discussing "hasn't been thought through" and seriously states to herself that there will be no risk posed to Scotland at all if it votes NO, ignoring the fact that we as a nation will be effectively crucified if we do refuse self-determination. The whole woeful thing basically amounts to: "Never mind any of this referendum nonsense, women of Scotland: just eat your cereal and get the dinner on." Pathetic.

Needless to say, like every other Better Together advert I've ever seen online, comments and ratings are thoroughly disabled. Because they are every bit as interested in hearing the thoughts of real women as they are in democracy.

Jesus Christ, these people stink.

Better Together Patronise The Women Of Scotland

Steven McBrien


Thanks for that Steven.

Frightening, isn't it? But then if it's true that BT have used the advertising firm owned by Saatchi - is the derogatory attitude towards women so unexpected?

However, the internet is a wonderful place - if only the poor lassie in the advert could discover that between washing cereal plates and putting down her wean's intelligence:

As does Alistair Davidson.

And Finally: Jackie Crawford's take.


Steven McBrien's Tumblr Blog can be found here.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

The shame of NO

I was asked recently what my reaction would be to a ‘No Vote’.

The reality, no matter how I look at the various responses, there’s only one that will fit.

I’d be ashamed of my country; I’d be ashamed of my people.

The reasoning is simple; with a majority voice my country will proclaim to the world at large that it is No nation of ‘proud Scots’, but has been bred into becoming a nation of wee, cowering, timourous beasties.

It will proclaim from every polling station in our land that it has No self belief, No self worth and No aspiration.

I’ll feel that way, and I’ll believe it, because of one thing above all; it’s what the ‘NO Campaign’ have told us. It doesn’t matter what you call them, those paid and indentured lackeys who are trying to spread fear amongst us. ‘Better Together’, ‘Vote No Borders’, ‘No Thanks’, they’re all the same, backed by London or City interests, funded by Tory donors and peers.

I’ll feel ashamed because the ‘NO’ campaign has continually demanded certainties from those who’d choose a better direction - and let’s face it any direction we choose is better than one forced or foisted upon us from afar. I’ll feel ashamed because these people have the power, right now, to provide the certainties they demand of the positive message.

I’m already ashamed, not of my nation, not of the Scots, but of what David Cameron, chief of the nay-sayers has done with what he declares is ‘his country’. He alone, as de-facto leader of the negative message, has the power to inject certainty. He alone can direct that the questions be asked that remove the doubt. He alone can demand that when the time comes that England and an independent Scotland assume their rightful places within the EU, within NATO and continue being party to any other treaties to which we’re currently obligated; unless, of course, we choose differently.

He and he alone is responsible for driving much of the lack of information, the lack of credibility, the direction of the media reporting that has been so convoluted and biased as to leave many Scots bewildered.

Yet, he is not entirely responsible for their bewilderment. For in the end, although they might be confused by his threats, innuendoes, predictions of cataclysm and doom, they and they alone will bear the responsibility for the true disaster that will transpire afterwards – because they did not take on the responsibility of discovering the truth behind all the misinformation. The Truth is out there. They should have taken the time and sought out the answers for themselves.

They will be responsible, because on September 18th, for the first time in their lives, each and every Scot will wake up with the responsibility for our own future, and it will be up to each and every Scot to decide what to do with that responsibility.

For those that vote NO because of vested interest; for the Lords, Ladies, CBE’s and OBE’s, or those that need the British State for a meal-ticket, those chiefest amongst the current nay-sayers, in a way I can respect their NO vote, they are after all working diligently to preserve their entitlements. For that which the British State can bestow can also remove. They’re nothing other than the paid lackey’s of a London establishment that daren’t even engage publically in our debate, a debate which wouldn’t even exist without London controlled media. They may not acknowledge their position as such, they may be genuinely confused, but I doubt it.

I will be ashamed because, should there be a NO vote, so many of my country’s people will have bought into such a negative message, such a song devoid of hope and aspiration that I can only imagine they’ve forgotten what it means to be Scots. In a dependent Scotland a dirge will be top of the pops.

I’ll still defend your right to your views, to that NO vote, should you choose to cast it, should you select to abdicate your sovereignty on the day it is given to you, even as I’m ashamed you saw the need to mark that particular box.

You see, the reason for my feelings won’t be immediately apparent on the 18th, but on the days, weeks, months and years afterwards.

It’s during that subsequent time that Scotland will display the results of having its soft proud underbelly eviscerated. Those who have driven this movement, this retention of new-found rights that will come on the 18th, if they watch them evaporate that night, you should believe that the hopes and aspirations they carry for their country will pour from their souls as well.

When you do that to the collective spirit of a nation, there’s only one result, and it’s not a good one.

I can guarantee, that there’ll be a dearth of folks to proudly proclaim they voted NO in the years to come, they’ll not sit with their children and grandchildren, they’ll not tell them how hard they worked to secure their futures, how the cross on the box was only the last small step in centuries long struggle, a struggle that for many of them lasted an entire lifetime.

Actually, as I think on it, you don’t need me to be ashamed for you, because the next time an English government, for with over 80% of the seats in the Commons, that’s what it is, an English government; the next time one of them foists something on you or yours that you despise, I know you’ll look back ruefully, and you’ll wish you’d acted differently on that day. I know that then though, you’ll not proclaim what you did on that day; that you were either a wee timourous, cowering beastie, or bribed.

Ultimately, the 18th is a day for us to decide our future and that afterwards we will be in the enviable position of being able to make our own choices ad infinitum. That ability to access your representatives, to have your rights protected, to decide a constitution, to choose who to treat and ally with, it’s called freedom. To have it filtered by another parliament in another country where you have naught but the tiniest of voices, it’s called servitude.

Servitude; willing servitude is a cause for shame.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Steven McBrien's Withering Wit Strikes Again With An Open Letter to Better Together

Dear Alistair Darling, Jim Murphy, Anas Sarwar, Johann Lamont, Tom Harris, Blair McDougall, Danny Alexander, Ruth Davidson, Willie Rennie and other esteemed champions of the Better Together Campaign,

I am writing to thank you all, each and every one of you, for being the truest patriots and martyrs for your country - for any country - in history. Your true agenda, that of aiding and assisting the cause of Scottish independence at every turn, seems to have been lost on many people throughout Scotland, yet I would be loathe to let your efforts, no matter how secret, go unrecognised. History will soon be telling us that if it hadn't been for your colossal contribution, our nation would never have won its independence, and it's only right that you should all be recognised and celebrated for that.

I used to be of the opinion that Alex Salmond was the savviest politician in the British Isles at the present time. I must say, now that I have realised what you were trying to do all along, I think I've totally overrated him. Let's face it, if I had the Better Together campaign telling everyone I couldn't write for toffee, I'd probably end up topping the New York Times' Best Seller list. With enemies like you, who needs friends?

Except that you are not enemies; it is clear to me now that you were friends all along, friends more loyal, steadfast and true than any sane person could ever hope to dream for. It is also apparent even to my jaded eyes that you are all among the most clever, intelligent and insidious supporters of any independence campaign in history. Had Fidel Castro had you onside, he wouldn't have had to spend years clad in fatigues and camping out in the Sierra Maestra. Had Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah only been able to avail themselves of your services, there would have been no riots and no violence in the Indian subcontinent at all. If you had only been around a hundred years ago, I'm perfectly convinced that the island of Ireland would be united and at peace at this very moment. Such has been your massive and irrefutable bestowal upon the YES campaign.

What vexes me however is just how many of our fellow Scots don't seem to get the joke, and how many high heid yins in Westminster are still labouring under the delusion that you were actually working for, and not against, them all along. How could anyone believe that people with credentials such as yours could have been so monolithically stupid/corrupt as to genuinely believe the ludicrous, manufactured and hilarity-inspiring grot that you have been spouting for years? Don't they get the irony? Can't they see that you are political comedy geniuses?

You took a lackluster pro-indy campaign in 2012, and you collectively galvanised and transformed it into one of the most unified and exciting grassroots movements in modern history. With your astonishing and profound grasp of the Scottish psyche, you realised instinctively that if there was one thing that would absolutely guarantee that the Scottish populace would vote YES to self-determination, it would be spending two years screeching at them that they "couldn't do it", that they would "be worse-off" and that they were "separatists" who would "pay a heavy price". You realised, like the political wunderkinds you are, that by constantly quoting laughable sources such as the Tory-founded and London-based Institute for Fiscal Studies, anyone with an IQ greater than that of a half-eaten Tunnock's teacake would know that you were lying about the figures you were quoting, and would, in turn, think that you were treating them with unbridled contempt, instead of cunningly egging them on to a YES vote. You have demonstrated, at every turn, a clinical understanding of the Scottish character, and what's more, you have taken advantage of this knowledge, like the chess grandmasters you are, to attain what I now realise was your ultimate goal all along: Scottish independence.

You understood immediately that by stating that the Scottish people weren't "genetically programmed" to make political decisions, that by defending the moral and financial outrage of nuclear weapons being essentially dumped up here, even as libraries and hospitals were closed down, that by making comically sour predictions about one of the biggest oil bonanzas on Earth (even while the Financial Times and Britain's leading economists and investors publicly contradicted you), that by ignoring Scotland's geographically perfect strategic position to become a renewable energy powerhouse, that by blatantly ignoring an exports industry that is set to become among the strongest in Europe, that by congratulating citizens of other small countries which fought for and won their freedom on their respective independence days while brazenly denying the right to self-determination of everyone in Scotland, that by defending a political system that seems to have been almost specifically designed to be one of the most venal, corrupt and unfair systems of government in modern Europe, that by allying yourselves with the most maligned and detested political party in Britain, that by telling the people of Scotland, against reason and common sense,
The Pound - and who uses it
that they somehow wouldn't be able to use the pound that Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey are even at this moment using (and that Scots for over three centuries have fought and worked and died for, and which they have contributed to for generations), even while Forbes Magazine itself said that you were talking rubbish, that by screaming that the Tories were systematically destroying - as they are - the English NHS, even while you were openly uniting with the Tories to "save the Union" and jeopardise the Scottish NHS, that by claiming that independent Scots would have to pay for a biased broadcasting corporation that they are already paying for anyway, that by averring that Scots couldn't do what many countries half their size have been doing for centuries, that by ignoring how Iceland dealt with financial terrorists and corporate criminals to instead warn us that we "couldn't bail ourselves out" in the event of another economic collapse (like the one Mr Darling presided over and did nothing about in the first place, but which an iScotland wouldn't tolerate and wouldn't even pay for in the first place), that by defending "democracy" by denying and then attacking the right of a people to democratically decide what happens to their own country, that by employing scare tactics and lies at every opportunity, to the point where your own members actually dubbed themselves "Project Fear", that by taking a quick snap of Jim Murphy standing on a soapbox while surrounded by hundreds of nonplussed tourists at the Edinburgh Fringe and then attempting to claim that you had a "brilliant turnout" for a No rally, and other post-modernist gems too legion to mention here, you would secure our independence for us, regardless of the YES Campaign, irrespective of Salmond and the SNP.

You alone bore the cross. You alone got the joke. I just don't know how anyone can read all of the above and not understand that you have been covertly on our side all this time. Surely they can't believe that you were actually being serious? I mean, come on, that wouldn't even bear thinking about; there are Farrelly Brothers' plots I go could along with before that. Why can't they see that the whole thing was a joke, a wry, Scottish joke, that was consummately designed to totally alienate us and so procure us our independence?

I almost want to weep at the sacrifices you have made for your country. You have sacrificed your respect, your reputations, whatever political clout you may once have had, your good names, your public standing and, indeed, everything but your well-earned salaries and second homes to get your country independent, and you've had No Thanks for it at all. You have shown the world that Scots don't just speak irony, they are prepared to live it, if it gets them what they want. You've shown us as a nation that we are "Better" and "Stronger" when we don't get the joke. You truly represent the best of both worlds: you are postmodernist comedy geniuses and selfless political martyrs. I would salute you all, if only I wasn't fully engaged in blowing my nose.

Yours Betterandstrongerly,


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Mr. C. Thanks For The Prompt Reply.

Honestly, I didn’t expect an answer My Questions quite so quickly, but then, the truth will out, because the truth does have a nasty habit of bobbing to the surface.

My-oh-my, it was a surprise though, to see it answered so honestly.

I asked David Cameron a question the other day; I’ve now had my reply, even if indirectly delivered through the UK media. At least in a "here’s your answer, now you go figure it all out you silly wee wummin" type of format, at any rate that’s how it was presented in the press today.

Actually, I'm not so crazy as to think it was just my reply and it was only a partial answer, but he might have just as well shouted it from the rooftops. It was the response to the NHS question and it states very, very clearly, we’re about to lose our own Scottish NHS.

I'm talking about the English backlash in all the papers today, the one where there is a demand that we get our spending cut to a UK average, or even less, if that’s what Westminster decides. They’re saying £1,400 a head. This equals around £7.2 billion – allow me to write that out in full; £7,200,000,000. That’s cuts like you've never seen before. Oh, they’ll be staged allowing time for progressive charging to creep in, health insurance to slowly become a requirement and acceptable. You know how Westminster works; the death of a thousand little cuts. Except this time there’ll be over 7 billion little cuts.

Now, let’s remember where broadcasting is reserved to, especially after seeing ‘Better Together’ ads on the BBC (as a child, I really did believe it was supposed to be neutral and impartial, a great institution. That’s just another of those young beliefs shattered I suppose, consigned to the same afterlife as the tooth fairy). Anyway, remembering that broadcasting is reserved, we know who they’re supporting, and it isn’t ordinary folks.

This ‘newly revealed’ backlash is not particularly new; in fact it’s actually been (sometimes not so) subtly covered for a number of years now. England has forever been awash with images of the drunken Scot, belligerently whingeing for a handout. Meanwhile, they studiously ignore the fact that we put in far more than they do, more than we ever see back, which absolutely can’t be said for England.

Accordingly, akin to the Indy Ref, when you give folks half-truths, half the information and facts such as ‘they get more than you, is that fair’, of course the answer’s ‘NO’. It’s the same logic they’re using to try to get a ‘NO’ vote in Scotland, and sadly, some of my fellow Scots, reliant on a diet of Westminster propaganda, will vote that way, simply because like the English population demanding our budget be cut, they simply don’t know any better. Wonderfully subtle state propaganda, isn’t it?

Now, had these same English residents been given the full facts instead of Westminster propaganda i.e., the Scots actually pay far more into the system - much more. In reality, 2010/2011 tax receipts were £10,700 per person for Scotland, as opposed to an average of £9000 per person for the rUK. Had these same residents been made aware that these excess taxes are possibly paying a percentage towards England’s PFI contracts on hospitals and schools; wouldn't they be more amenable to the idea that it is only fair the Scots receive slightly more back than residents in rUK? Would there still be this hue and cry in England?

I suspect that not. The vast majority of English are reasonable folks, they’d be reasonably happy with that arrangement, if not downright tickled pink.

Sadly though, supplying the information at this juncture won’t work, because south of the border Scotland has been demonised in both popular culture and the popular press for far too long. The BBC is largely responsible, and the BBC is a reserved arm of Westminster. I can say that, because it’s been done at all levels, from the portrayal of Scots in newsprint to even one of my favourite old Beeb comedy shows like Black Adder; cringe worthy depictions of red-headed, tartan-bobble-hatted, be-kilted savage Scot, my people. Perhaps that’s why many suffer a Scottish cringe?

Anyway, it’s largely irrelevant now. What is relevant though is that the poll on attitudes showed upwards of a three to one majority of ‘realigning’ spending, as in cutting our budget. In reality, people who have done their research know this poll is based on half truths, innuendoes and lies. However, just like the ‘NO Voter’ in the upcoming referendum, it is what they truly believe; because they base their opinion upon the information they've been spoon fed. That makes it very real.

Furthermore, this also makes it very real to the politicians in Westminster; real and actionable. They do, after all, look upon us as ‘one country’, not four countries voluntarily making up one state. So when three of four who voice an opinion tell them to act, and it’s an action they want to take anyway, they pretty much now have to be seen to be doing something. We can bet the English press will report one set of promises, their Scottish editions will report it another way.

That means if the hoodwink holds enough of our people until September 19th, then within a very short time we can expect to see an ‘adjustment in our allowance’ of some 7 billion quid. It’s not going to be an upwards adjustment either.

If the hoodwink holds, that seven billion, and by government figures would mean one of two things if applied to us; it’d mean shutting down every hospital in Scotland, with every GP Practice or making you pay for them by forcing you to buy private insurance. It means that, or finding the money some-place else.

The problem being, there isn’t any some-place else. Since any extra Holyrood extracts from us will be deducted from what Westminster gives them.

I have recently spoken with a nurse taking a position in England. I asked if her contract was with the NHS, a health board, or a private company. You’d think that’s an easy enough question. Not in England, not today. She’ll be in an NHS uniform though, for now.

So, Mr. Cameron thanks for my answer, although I know you didn’t just decide to give it to me directly. I know your methods, and how you use the media. First they ‘uncover a story’ and engender disbelief, that disbelief turns to outrage, and as with our poor, our disabled, our sick and our immigrants, outrage begets anger and demonisation, which in turn gives support for the actions you intended anyway. It’s a bit like Putin invading his neighbours.

You want me to keep a system of healthcare, the future of which is to be modelled on the US, where a simple Caesarian Section can cost up to $25,000. You’re seriously asking me to vote for that?

Well, having had your response Mr. Cameron, I’ll give you mine. I’ll just say ‘No Thanks’ on the 18th, but I’ll say ‘YES’ to trusting my neighbours and country. You see, what you've threatened if we vote yes, while worrisome, isn’t really very scary. Not when it’s put beside what you're promising to do if I say ‘No Thanks’. The consequences of No means you’ll really have the power to make it happen, and me? Well, I’ll no longer have a finger to point, will I?

Monday, 18 August 2014

An Open Letter To An Unapproachable Prime Minister.

Dear Mr. Cameron, 

I hope that you will take the time to read this, that it finds its way into your hands. You see, I’d like just three questions answered, and if you can answer them to my satisfaction, I’ll really might consider a ‘No’ vote.

My first question concerns the currency bit. 
You see, the media, much of whom I believe you effectively control (well, your lot in Westminster did ‘reserve’ broadcasting after all) are pounding on about this currency thing. Now, allowing broadcasting is reserved to you, they are delivering your message, which makes me curious. 

My question specifically about the currency bit is, well, why should I care?

Now, let me tell you why I'm asking that. You see, for me to care about something, it has to have some sort of value and since about 1930, under Westminster’s stewardship, the pound has steadily devalued to the point where it’s not really worth much at all, not any more. It was $5 to the pound back in 1930. Mind you, the dollar’s devalued too, but the pound’s gone downhill at twice that rate, which isn’t very good testimony to Westminster’s handling of the currency in my pocket. 
With the best predictor of future behaviour being the proven record of the past, you might have to work hard to convince me you won’t keep up that stealth tax called Inflation. We all know inflation is just a way of hiding mismanaged economies. So, to be clear, do you, or do you not want me to vote for ongoing economic mismanagement?

In view of the last three centuries, I’d love to hear your plans for fixing things as we go forward. Don’t worry, I know I can’t hold you to any promise, but I’d like to hear anyway?

That brings me to my second question; it’s about management too. Most specifically, of your responsibilities to those who elect you. Let’s look at the NHS in England for a minute. 
In 2012 you passed a law effectively repealing the 1947 act which Bevin brought forward, guaranteeing universal medical care, free at the point of service. There wasn't a referendum, there was no vote, it wasn't in a manifesto, but your coalition just did it anyway. 
To all intents and purposes, my family and friends in England don’t have the right to be seen by a physician. I know you say they do, but the legal right to receive care has been removed with much of the privatisation that’s going on down there.

I'm fairly certain you know that most folk aren't aware of the changes, mostly because of your stealth privatisation we are now at the point where global companies currently run much of what was England’s NHS. I say “what was”, because although they still look like the NHS staff to the patients, with NHS badges and all, we really know who they work for, and it’s not the NHS. So, this question is a ‘two-parter’ on health care.

The first part is, why did you remove the government’s statutory requirement to provide care?

The second part of the question is, in the event of a "No" vote will Scotland still be in a position to keep her NHS in its current format or will your austerity program force changes there too and allow private health-care companies take over our hospitals and GP surgeries?

Oops! There’s me crossing back to my first question; managing, or mismanaging the money. Thinking about the NHS, perhaps if you had cared (really cared) about Sterling, maybe the money would have been available to maintain England’s public health-care system? But you promised in your manifesto the "NHS Was Safe In Conservative Hands"! Seems we should have tried to force you to keep your word.

Keeping your word, sort of leads into my third question. You see, I know you can lie; your Coalition can even sign pledges to get votes and then blame it on the ‘bad boy’s down at the swings’ while you go off and do the exact opposite, e.g. Student Loans.

Personally, I think that’s because we don't have a written constitution and this is an area where we are virtually alone amongst developed nations. There is nothing guaranteeing anyone any rights, except Parliamentarians, and it seems to me like they’re pretty much always ‘all right’.

Now, you've said we don’t need a constitution down London way. Really? While you quietly privatise, demonise, demoralise and devalue much of what "The British" way of life was. 
Nevertheless, I have to disagree and ask you for a constitution. 

I fully understand I'm getting the offer to have my say in the referendum. Now, if my rights are enshrined and then protected for the future generations then "my say" won’t stop after the referendum. I don't know if you noticed, but we have been promised a written constitution following a "Yes" vote. That means we can (if we wish) petition to have public healthcare as a right or to have our own mail service or even recall bad governments and outlaw lobbying. 
I don't expect we'd get all of our desires, but the American’s (whom you apparently greatly admire) have a fabulous saying you may have heard; "no taxation without representation". They get to vote on almost everything. I would like that, but I know I can’t ever get it under the present Westminster system. Tell me why you won’t enshrine our rights. Unless the reality is that we truly haven’t got any; just what London deigns to allow on any given day. 

Will you promise to clarify and then enshrine our rights?

So, there you go, my three questions. Sadly, I'm expecting if you do read this, you’ll just say ‘No Thanks’ to answering any of them, since nobody can force you, even though you’re officially employed by each and every one of us. In fact, y
ou and your fellow parliamentarians seem to prefer to keep a system where you’re better together; it’s one where London meddling seems to know no borders either. 
I'm just about finished but simply out of devilment, I’ll sneak in a last question. Why is it that when everybody agreed this referendum was for the Scots alone to decide, is one side funded almost entirely by donations appearing from Tory millionaires living outwith Scotland. Oh, sorry about that - sort of slipped my mind a bit; nobody has the power to enforce you to keep your word - or answer our questions, do they?

Now, please, convince me why I should vote for you, because, after all, that’s what a "No" vote is, isn’t it? It’s nothing less than a vote for the current unrepresentative system and the current leader; and that’d be yourself Mr. Cameron - and your likes.

Yours Sincerely,

Hazel Lewry.