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Showing posts with label Scotland's independence referendum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scotland's independence referendum. Show all posts

Friday, 10 April 2015

Tuition fees – extract from 2010 blog

This 2010 extract is still mainly relevant, I feel, and it may help some YES campaigners with the ‘fairness’ questions sometimes thrown at them.

1. It is Scotland’s responsibility to offer free education to Scottish students and students permanently living in Scotland.

2. It is not in Scotland’s economic interest to offer free education to students from Europe or the rest of the UK, however, present EU legislation compels us to offer free higher education to EU students – the Umbria/Cumbria rule. It does not, however compel us to offer free education to students from the rest of the UK, since the UK is regarded as the state by the EU.

3. It is in Scotland’s interest to attract paying students from the rest of the world, and ideally we would also like EU students to pay.

4. The demands from the UK that Scotland should offer free education to Students from England in the interests of ‘fairness’ is nonsense – it would negate the whole purpose of devolved government’s freedom to decide how its money should be spent in areas of expenditure over which it has discretion. If English students didn’t pay, some other area of Scotland’s expenditure would suffer, and in the light of the draconian fees (up to £9000 per annum) that the ConLib UK government is imposing, there would be a flood of English students to Scottish universities at the expenses of places for Scottish students.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

SNP Spring Conference 2015 – there’s never been a party conference like this one!

Angus Robertson MP and Stewart Hosie MP, the two stalwarts of the lonely advance guard of six SNP MPs, who have spent years as a tiny embattled group on the Commons benches, surrounded by the hostile forces of unionism, alternately abused and patronised, facing the full wrath and hostility of all unionist parties, including abuse from their fellow Scots in Labour, LibDems and Tory ranks, exhausted by commuting to and from their constituencies and demanding party duties in Scotland.

Here they set the scene for Conference and for Nicola, and calmly nail – hopefully  once and for all(!) - the repetitive distortions and simplistic questions and soundbytes directed at us by hostile and often deeply confused unionists – on party leadership, on Westminster leadership and on Westminster strategy and the questions of a second independence referendum.

It is not a an exaggeration to say that no other political party has such clarity of policy, objectives and tight focus.

Scotland, the party and the massive new SNP membership owe them a debt of gratitude for their incalculable contribution to party strategy and the success of the SNP, especially to Angus Robertson, the modest hero of the SNP, the architect of so much of its success - our leader in Westminster. We owe so much to this man.

We won't forget - and after May, you'll never be lonely again, guys - massive reinforcements are coming!

There has never been a party conference like this. It let the world see what Scotland and Scots are really like - open and determined. There's a simple explanation for SNP's success and poll position - it understands Scots, Scotland and politics better than the opposition.

HUMZA: "We are nobody's branch office. Nobody puts Scotland in a box. No one puts Scotland in a corner." And so say all of us ...

If you're a lifelong Labour supporter (I was!) but increasingly realise that the SNP is the party that now represents your values - join us!

If you voted NO at #indyref but are having second thoughts, now's the time! Join the SNP - you'll be welcomed and immediately among friends.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Survation polling - GE2015

I thought this might prove useful to those tracking the 2015 General election -

Survation Ltd

With 100 days to go until the general election, Survation on behalf of the Daily Mirror interviewed 1,014 Great British adults online about a range of political issues. (Fieldwork was conducted on Sunday 25 January.)

Headline voting intention (with change in brackets since 24 December 2014):

CON 31% (+2); LAB 30% (-2); UKIP 23% (+3); LD 7% (-4); SNP 5% (+2); GRE 3% (+1); OTHER 1% (0)

For the Daily Mirror's analysis, see here. For full questions put to respondents, weighted data tables and methodology see here.

This poll is the first in a new monthly series. We will be tracking a range of political views in the run up to the UK general election on 7 May. For any enquiries, please contact

0203 142 7642 or researchteam@survation.com.

Keep up to date with all of Survation’s research and analysis on our blog.

Follow us on Twitter@survation

Find out more about the services Survation provide by following this link.

For press enquiries, please call 0203 142 7642 or email enquiry@survation.com

Survation is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

http://www.britishpollingcouncil.org

Survation Ltd  Registered in England & Wales Number 07143509

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Who really won the Referendum? UK Unionists now deeply, EVELy confused …

 

It was all entirely predictable - and predicted by me, as well as many more distinguished commentators - the granting of more powers simply plays into our self-determination agenda, and feeds an appetite that will only be satified with full independence.

UK is between a rock and a hard place -

Granting more powers just increases the demand for more, and infuriates the English electorate.

Denying them guarantees an irresistible Scottish demand for the second referendum.

Ye cannae win, Westminster - we have history, the zeitgeist and right on our side. (Nov 2011 blog)

 

Murphy at his vacuous worse - and that's saying something!


NEIL: "I hope you'll be better at answering my questions when I interview you on Sunday."

MURPHY: "I'm looking forward to it, Andrew .."

NEIL: "I was - until that interview. But nevertheless ..."


Get back fast to McTernan and your new comms team, Jimbo - radical surgery is required on your media persona. And you can rely on them to make it even worse ...

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Johann Lamont’s resignation–reflections

Johann Lamont has resigned as leader. Inevitable, and maybe overdue, given the flak she has taken from her own party. I wish her well, despite the inevitable bitterness she roused during the long referendum campaign by her ill-judged and often factually inaccurate  performances at FMQs. She never understood her role, and worse, never understood the sea change that had occurred in Scottish politics.

Undoubtedly she was badly advised, and the victim of that unique brand of back-stabbing Labour politics with its roots in the smoke filled backrooms of Glasgow and Monklands.

I was well-disposed towards her before and immediately after her election as leader, and more than willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. I was wrong, and my assessment of her (and of Henry McLeish!) proved to be way off beam.

Here are some of my views from back then…

Saturday, 17 December 2011

An open letter to Johann Lamont

Dear Johann Lamont,

Congratulations on winning the leadership of your party in Scotland. I hope that your win gives you a clear mandate among all Scottish Labour supporters, and that it is perceived as a valid mandate to lead the main opposition to my party, the SNP, who received a very clear mandate to govern Scotland last May. It is vital that your mandate is seen in this way not only by Labour supporters but by the Scottish Government, by the SNP, by the other opposition parties and by the Scottish electorate.

The only way to ensure this is to publish as soon as possible the full, detailed breakdown of the votes cast in the leadership election, in the interests of transparency in Scottish politics. (I am confident that you will wish to do so, indeed, by the time this blog comes up, you may already have done so.)

I listened to your acceptance speech closely, because as a committed SNP supporter, voter and party member, I believe that the existence of an effective opposition in any Parliament is vital to democracy. I was a Labour supporter for most of my life, and I will never return to Labour because of the depth of the betrayal of all my hopes and expectations over decades by the Labour Party as constituted up until this election.

But I do believe that you, and at least some in the Scottish Labour Party want to make a new beginning and to place the interests of Scotland first. You outlined in your acceptance speech a vision statement for Scotland. Few Scots of any party would disagree with the bulk of its content, and for that reason, it could have been made by any party leader, at any time, in almost any country.

I don’t want to appear to suggest that it was an empty ‘motherhood and apple pie’ statement – I do believe that you are committed to these ideals and broad objectives, and so am I. And I am delighted that you and Scottish Labour appear to have rediscovered your Scottishness.

But given this consensus on what we all want for Scotland, it is evident that what gives our respective parties their identity is the means by which these objectives are to be achieved. If my memory serves me accurately, you and other members of the Labour Party have accused the SNP of stealing your vision. That was unfair and inaccurate – we have closely similar visions because we are both social democratic parties, committed to a strong, effective public sector and a vibrant, entrepreneurial private sector.

In a certain kind of Scotland, the SNP and the Labour Party could recognise a shared vision while differing vigorously on key aspects of achieving that vision. We both recognise that the Tory vision as presently exhibited in all its uncaring, incompetent awfulness, is inimical to the interests of Scotland, and indeed the peoples of the UK. The LibDem vision has been badly – perhaps fatally – compromised by their poisoned and supine alliance with the Tories in Coalition.

But there is a great yawning gulf between your vision as outlined today and the Scottish National Party’s vision, and that gulf is created by your commitment to keeping Scotland in the United Kingdom. At this moment, this profoundly mistaken policy – the only real one you have at the moment – is main barrier to your achievement of Labour’s new Scottish vision.

The reasons for this are plain to see, and the Scottish electorate understood them plainly last May, and voted accordingly. I accept that not all of that vote was a vote for Scotland's independence, but it was decisively a vote for Scotland holding all the economic levers necessary to transform Scotland, indeed the the pressing need at the moment is to have them to enable Scotland to survive the cold, cold global wind that is blowing.

But there are other great barriers between us while you and Scottish Labour are committed to the UK – they are nuclear weapons, i.e. weapons of mass destruction, foreign policy and the unelected, undemocratic House of Lords, now perceived by many Scots as the lucrative bolthole for failed politicians, including Scottish Labour politicians.

While Scottish Labour is committed to the UK, it will be seen by many Scots as the party that supports illegal or dubious wars that kill the flower of our young servicemen and women, the party that is committed to ruinously expensive WMDs that endanger Scotland by their presence - and pose an ever-present threat to world  peace - and the party that is committed to the undemocratic House of Lords, whatever hollow statements about reform, never acted upon, may say.

A great watershed in Scotland’s history is approaching – the referendum on Scotland’s independence – a pivotal moment in our history that will shape Scotland and the other three countries of the UK for a generation and perhaps for ever.

As we approach that fateful day, it is vital that all parties with a core shared vision for the people of Scotland approach the great debate that will be continuously conducted from now on with objectivity, with facts, with some degree of mutual respect, with the common objective of allowing the Scottish electorate all the information they need to make their great choice.

That need not – and will not – inhibit vigour in debate, but if we can draw on the great intellectual political and social traditions that have always characterised Scots and Scotland, we can offer Scottish voters a real, rational choice.

I wish you and your party well in this new and critical era. I cannot of course wish you electoral success in local elections next year, nor in the referendum when it comes.

from one Weegie tae another – awra’ best,

Peter Curran

Scottish Labour Leadership Results
December 17, 2011 2:59 pm

Leadership result:

Deputy Leadership result:

MORIDURA BLOG November 23rd- 2011

Johann Lamont at the moment looks like the favourite to win the Scottish Labour leadership contest. It’s either her or Ken MacintoshTom Harris is naewhere.

If I had to choose from what is available, I would choose Johann Lamont, because I think I see a kind of integrity there, the kind that has always existed in the Scottish Labour Party, but which usually gets buried alive in that self-serving sea of mediocrity and careerism. (I’m talking about the Labour politicians and the union leaders, not the long-suffering Labour voters and lay party and union members utterly betrayed by them for over half a century.)

Let me say that she is not First Minister material, but that would not deter the Scottish Labour Party if Scotland were ever unfortunate enough to have them in power again in Holyrood. After all, London – i.e. UK – Labour elected Ed Miliband, who is not Prime Ministerial material.

The long-running gravy train that is the Scottish Labour Party doesn’t want a people’s choice – they want to foist a candidate on the people who will stoke the boiler, oil the wheels and grease the rails for the high road to Westminster for its politicians, and to safe party sinecures for its union officials.

But if they do elect Johann, they may find that she is not as committed to that auld conspiracy against the electorate as they hope – she shows distinct signs of being a realist, and being her own wumman. However, her priority is to get elected, so she must be circumspect for the moment, as she reads the wildly conflicting signals from senior Labour figures such as Alexander, Murphy and Harris, who show signs of beginning to hedge their career bets as the prospect of an independent Scotland becomes ever more real. The strange noises being made around the Scotland Bill and devo max illustrate this clearly. (I do not include Henry McLeish in this. I respect him, and I think Scotland matters more to him than career, more perhaps than anything else. )

But on Monday night, she was pretty evasive and obscure, sent signals on devo max, but was caught flatfooted by Glenn Campbell on two questions –devo max, and the $64,000 question – could Labour deliver their objectives more easily in an independent Scotland?

She revealed more by what she didn’t say than by what she said, but my judgement is that she is keeping her options very much open on this possibility, having taken her cue from Alexander, Murphy, Auld Uncle Tam Harris and all … She is “not going to let Alex Salmond define devo max”. He agrees with you, Johann – he has been trying to get Labour and their Tory and LibDem pals to define what they mean by it for some time now, and ideally participate in a cross-party discussion about it.

As for the smooth lizard on the rock, Macintosh – who Kens?

Monday, 6 October 2014

2014AR and GE2015 – a countdown to UK chaos - unless 30+ YES MPs are returned to Westminster

Two unelected LibDem peers, overheads on the body politic, Baroness Kramer and Paddy Ashdown duck and weave, bluster and attempt to patronise in the face of Andrew Neil's simple question - "How will you pay for your pledges?" Their repertoire of question avoidance tactics can only be described as virtuosic,

These are the same kind of people as the Westminster legions who demanded to know - from 2011 - how the SNP was going to cost, in minute detail, the setting up of a new state after 18 months of negotiation with a hostile rUK Government, Europe and NATO in May 2016!

Yet less than seven months from a UK general election in 2015, they can say nothing - NOTHING - about how THEY will cost their extravagant fantasy policies.

Add to this an amnesiac Miliband, who 'forgot' to mention the deficit, and a distraught and confused Cameron. God help the Great Britain the Scottish NO voters unwisely preserved, in all its tottering incompetence and venality.

And there's the little matter of a war that will undoubtedly escalate in costs - death and destruction - and a referendum that will take us out of the EU.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

2014 AR – After the Referendum: Where are we at?

It’s over, and we lost. Or did we?

Confession time – I expected to be devastated after a NO vote, but in the event, I wasn’t. My immediate reaction was one of relief, which baffled me and left me feeling ashamed of myself. I watched the ecstatic NO groups celebrating and the tearful YES groups staring bleakly into space, my heart went out to them, and the question returned – why don’t I feel like that?

THE RESULT

In the years leading up to this moment, my biggest fear was not that we would lose – it was that we would win with a narrow majority after a polarised campaign, and the new Scotland would start in very troubled times.

Even with my scepticism over UK’s motives and methods, the scale of their unprincipled onslaught in the final weeks staggered me. It also convinced me that if we won, it would be by the narrowest of margins and that we would be subject to intense pressures to ensure that our new Scotland failed.

Any Government that was capable of perverting the apparatus of the state to secure their ends -  e.g., Treasury, Whitehall, the Civil Service, the ‘think-tanks’ – and was willing to engineer a possibly criminal leak of information to media from a board meeting in progress - i.e. RBS - that was calculated to destabilise the markets – was capable of anything. The last minute Big Bribe was the final evidence.

Although I would have rejoiced in a narrow win, and fervently hoped that Scotland could make independence work against this wall of hostility, the gnawing, subliminal idea took root that maybe the time was now wrong.

In the event, the outcome was decisive for NO – Scotland had rejected its independence, rejected its chance to make history and had acted out of fear or complacency – or both - rather than vision, confidence and hope.

The attack by an organised mob of male thugs brandishing Union Jacks and throwing flares at a mixed sex group of YES supporters sharing their grief in George Square, Glasgow – my native city, and a city that had voted YES – underlined my fears.

But a recent tweet of mine summed up my view of validity of the result. While accepting its democratic reality, and feeling bound by it, my feeling was -

How can a referendum outcome based on news management and intimidation of voters by vested interests be the "settled will" of Scots?

Judging by the immediate reactions to that tweet, and the subsequent number of retweets in the hundreds (more than anything I’ve ever tweeted, in over 43,000 tweets), that view resonated with many of the 1.6 million Scots who voted for independence.

YouGov post-ballot poll - with a sample three time the normal size (3,188 voters) - showed fascinating stats on how people voted (if you accept poll validity).

74% of those born in rUK voted NO. By definition, that includes the very large block of English-born residents in Scotland. 51% of voters born in Scotland voted YES. Those stats alone trigger interesting speculations, but I won’t offer opinions on them that I can’t substantiate.

Analysed by party support affiliation, 27% of Labour and 29% of LibDems said YES, but only 8% of Tories. Of the five demographic bands, four were majority No vote – only the 25-39 group voted YES – 55% of them.

20% of those who claimed to be SNP supporters vote NO.(Related findings came from poll after 2011 Holyrood SNP landslide – not all SNP voters were YES supporters.)

REACTIONS

Initial reactions (my subjective impressions from media, online comment and direct contacts) ranged from despair and grief through bewilderment from those who had been in denial at polls - preferring to believe instead that a YES majority was being hidden - to real, visceral anger and feelings of betrayal.

The latter emotions were raw online on Friday morning, with wild accusations of betrayal  of the young by the old (prompted by Ashcroft poll of young voters) being flung about including by one high-profile activist who should have known better, as if exacerbating the tension already present within many families would offer a constructive way forward.

I was aware that for the essentially secondary online activists, the betrayal would be felt less keenly than by the dedicated, exhausted and by now potentially demoralised front-end activists from the streets, the doorsteps, the public place and public meetings. They were the ones who had shifted the polls so close to victory – and they had not had the offset of mini-celebrity, visibility, networked contacts and in some cases much more tangible benefits that others had received – perfectly legitimately – to cushion the shock of the result.

Similar considerations may be applied to those who had been salaried for all or part of the campaign – the politicians and the YES staff.

I say these things, not in any spirit of criticism, but as a recognition of a harsh reality in all politics: that, of necessity, the security of paid political professionals and the economic and career gains of a minority rest on the unpaid work of an army of dedicated and usually unrewarded and often unrecognised body of activists. 

These were the supporters of YES who were, in addition to giving of their precious time and energies, were also engaging in repeated acts of incredible generosity, crowd-funding all sorts of worthy, valid, and in some cases, absolutely vital initiatives that made significant contributions to the greatest grassroots campaign ever see in British politics.

But the most incredible contribution of that group was then delivered in a matter of days after the ballot – the massive and entirely unexpected surge in SNP membership, (unparallelled to my knowledge in British politics) from around 25,000 to well over 62,000 at the last count, now exceeding the combined membership of the other Scottish parties and overtaking the UK-wide membership of the LibDems.

In the midst of the chaotic responses to the NO vote, and the burgeoning of a rash of online groups clustering round the magic number of 45, this was a great cry of endorsement for the SNP, accompanied by a steely resolve to not just support the party that had taken Scotland so far towards achieving its independence, but underline Alex Salmond’s recognition in his resignation speech that the great democratic and re-energised Scottish body politic was now less in need of leaders, but still in need of politicians and a party that would carry their agenda forward – the sovereign Scottish YES people.

WHERE ARE WE AT?

I’d planned to offer my perceptions of that key question in this blog, but having already expended over 1200 words on reviewing reactions, I feel that I would test the stamina of my readers for the moment.

But I’ll be back tomorrow or early next weeks, because I have a lot more. to say.

I’ll close with my blog motto - Id dico quod ego morior - non habetis audire, which is in Latin to make it sound more profound than it really is, and to give an entirely spurious gloss of learning to my ragbag reality – “I say what I must – you don’t have to listen!”

Saturday, 13 September 2014

My response to an email on a Blair Jenkins/Jo Coburn Daily Politics interview

DIRECT EMAIL TO ME TODAY

I recently came across the Bella Caledonia website and have been reading a few articles. 

I was born in Glasgow and lived there until I was 21, when I moved to London. This was in 1978, when the IMF had to bail out the UK under the Labour government. The point of my email is not to discuss party politics or the Referendum, but to take issue with your description of the above interview.

Blair Jenkins is described in almost saintly terms, rising above the endless interruptions of the interviewer. That isn't what I saw from the extract on your website. He certainly remained calm, but refused to answer the question that he was asked regarding how Scotland would deal with the panic that would arise in the markets in the event of a 'Yes' victory. That was the reason for interruption by Jo Coburn.

The other interviewees were given their allocated time to put forward their point of view. I wasn't aware of any 'spluttering' or 'raving' from any of them. They were each interrupted by Jo Coburn while they were speaking. I think Jo Coburn was even handed and each individual made their points well.

Looking through the BC website, I'm left with the impression that all the contributors are preaching to the converted, so they can employ insults to anyone with whom they don't agree. I think the arguments have to be won on their merits and not by insulting and demeaning the opposition.

Regards

Clair (surname witheld by me – happy to publish it if Claire so wishes!)

Claire,

Thanks for your email.

The question "How would Scotland deal with the panic that would arise in the markets in the event of a 'Yes' victory" is a loaded question. No politician or political activist, indeed, no sensible person would answer it, because it is pejoratively loaded with a negative assumption - answering involves accepting  a false premise.

I have spent my life as a professional negotiator - I am an expert at framing, asking -and answering questions. This question type is known to American negotiators as the "Have you stopped stealing apples?" question and to UK negotiators as the "Have you stopped beating you wife?" question.

Competent interviewers don't need to plays such puerile games - they elicit information more successfully by properly framed questions.

The Scottish referendum debate has been characterised by the most disgraceful behaviour of any media group in any democratic country in the world. The BBC - and especially their insulated metropolitan commentators - locked in the Westminster Village bubble, have been particularly egregious in this.

Blair Jenkins is a senior media journalist and manager by profession and background - he is not saintly - he is a calm, courteous man who knows his profession. He has transformed a group of volunteers from an enthusiastic, but uncoordinated group into the greatest political campaign Britain has ever seen in its long, disreputable history. Right now, some 35,000 of them are active across Scotland to secure our country's independence on the 18th of September.

It's a neck and neck race, and on Friday morning we'll know the democratic decision of the Scottish electorate. I hope it is a YES, and if it is, I will give Blair Jenkins my heartfelt thanks and congratulations for his pivotal contribution in making Scotland the world's newest independent country, joining the family of more than 200 independent countries across the globe.

regards,

Monday, 8 September 2014

The money markets panic – polls and scaremongering, plus currency union lunacy prime causes …

Financial Times headline: " Pro-union camp ‘in chaos’ as poll puts nationalists ahead"  As George Robertson might say "cataclysmic" ...

Better Together has the Worst of Both Worlds - behind in polls, sterling scaremongering causes pound to drop, hurting their rich city friends!

The latest Better Together strategy appears to be to tell voters Westminster has ****** the £ by scaremongering and lunacy on CU - so vote No. G-sus!

Jo Coburn thinks it's all Blair Jenkins' fault, asking questions and interrupting frantically at every second word. Blair is quietly amused, dusts her off with impeccable politeness, then waits calmly for Unionist panellists to rave impotently.

 Blair Jenkins smiles seraphically, taking  occasional sips at his coffee, as Jo Coburn's guests splutter inanely and impotently over polls, markets  and independence.

King Impotent Splutterer himself, Ming Campbell, failed leader of a failed party in a failing Coalition - doubtless a "A proud Scot" -  does his share, indignation and gloom oozing from him.

Blair gives a neat little summation and says bye-bye. Jo switches with relief to the triviality of the Daily Quiz.

That was fun!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Osborne’s Big Bribe–the last minute desperate Big Lie on more powers

A few more powers

- if delivered(!)-

will give Scotland a few more powers

except that

We won’t control our foreign policy

We won’t have the revenues from our own oil

The UK Supreme Court can still overrule our own Scots law and our own judges

We will have no seat at the United Nations

We will have no independent membership of the European Union

Our voice will be stifled, marginalised, ignored in international forums

The UK Parliament will still be sovereign, and can revoke any devolved power any time it likes

The UK Parliament will still decide when our young people are sent to die on foreign fields

We will still be forced to have nuclear weapons of mass destruction in our waters

Scotland won’t a be a nation in any real sense

EPITAPH

Scots had their chance and they blew it

RIP Freedom

Osborne's Big Bribe Lie is the Union’s last throw of the dice to keep Scotland as a subject nation, to be bled of its resources and talent

If you vote for it, you will never again be allowed to vote for independence

 

Scots know exactly what they mean by independence – the UK Government knows exactly what it means by subjection and sovereignty

The Scottish Unionist parties know exactly what they are complicit in

HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH AS A FREE SCOT - REJECT BRIBE - VOTE YES TO INDEPENDENCE

 

 

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Where are we at? 12 campaigning days left (incl. today!)

It has been some week – a politician – Jim Murphy - on the stump, shocked that - in Labour heartlands betrayed and devastated by Westminster Labour, Tory and Coalition Government’s - they don’t like him or what he stands for and show their distaste, and their  commitment to doing things differently, by turning out in force and heckling him.

And an egg was thrown – shock, horror! An egg thrown at a political event! Murphy makes himself utterly ridiculous by alleging  plots and intimidation.

One of his even more delusional supporters compared the egg throwing to the assassination of Martin Luther King!

PMQs -  Camerons's crumbling regime in panic mode over Scotland and UKIP defections - you can smell the fear (e.g. Edward Leigh MP!).

Sundry Scottish Labour apparatchiks get their snide digs in at their country, and one Scottish Tory MP for an English constituency puts in his slimy tuppenceworth.

Angus Robertson gets Dave in a fluster bluster over his failure to debate, then Speaker Bercow tries to silence and patronise Angus MacNeil, who was merely trying to correct Cameron's torrent of blatant factual inaccuracies and misrepresentations Speaker Bercow, cordially detested by a significant section of the House, is in deep shit over his attempt to select an assistant in defiance of House of Commons selection procedures.

Roll on independence, when we'll be free of this sordid bunch!

Jeane Freeman does a brilliant job here in the face of a hectoring Andrew Neil, the archetypal Brit/Scot journalist, worried about polls narrowing, making the fatal mistake of trying to patronise and bully one of the most incisive voices in Scottish politics.

But Jeane, in an otherwise perfect performance, still leaves the same gap in the argument as all the rest of the YES campaign - that the UK Parliament can weaken or claw back any devolved power, on the NHS or anything else - and they could, and will do it as their privatisation plans gain traction after a No. And who could stop them in a defeated, demoralised YES campaign under such circumstances?

George Robertson describes Scotland as "a minor entity in the North of Britain" That's how he sees Scotland. That's how he sees his country - if indeed he regards Scotland as his country and not UK.

That's how he's always seen it - how NATO sees it, how UK sees it. Of course it's a very handy "minor entity in North of Britain" for storing WMDs well away from population centres in England, but within 20 miles of Scotland most populous area. It's a handy "minor entity" for cannon fodder troops, for low-flying exercises, for safe havens for nuclear armed submarines, for its oil revenues - and for electing Labour nonentities to safe and profitable seats and highly profitable careers, well away from the "minor entity in North of Britain".

Then we have a British financial establishment - as reported by their pink house journal, The Financial Times – in panic mode as they belatedly wake up to the polls, and the fact that, in contradiction of the UK media crap fed to them (incl. by FT) that the Scots were going to safely say a big No Thanks to independence, instead were showing distinct signs of uttering a great, big, joyous YES.

So the financial establishment joins the M.O.D. and sundry complacent politicians in failing to sense the zeitgeist and signally failing make any contingency plans for a probability that was never less the 35%, and has been rapidly moving to 50%!

Would you entrust your savings, your business, your country’s defence and your children’s future to such an inept bunch of gandy dancers and railroad men? Naw …

THE ISLANDS

Thursday, 28 August 2014

20 days to go - a few thoughts on #indyref state of play

Only 20 days to go - it's hard to believe. The campaign seems to have been going on for ever, but like everything in life, suddenly the event is upon you – there’s all the time in the world, then suddenly, there’s little time left.

It's very hard to predict what the outcome will be.

If the polls are to be believed (poll of polls average) YES will lose. There's no doubt that there is a very  fearful  NO constituency out there of Scots over 55 who fear change, fear uncertainty, and cling to the status quo, even though the risks are greater in remaining in UK.

There's also a hard core of selfish Scots - the "I'm alright Jock" complacent group, with no thought for the vulnerable in our society.

Set against that is the totally unique nature of the Scottish Referendum. There quite literally has been nothing like this - anywhere, ever.

A peaceful, democratic process by an ancient nation that was never conquered, but entered reluctantly, but voluntarily into a partnership with a larger nation 307 years ago, with many of its ancient institutions still functioning - its legal system, its church, its education system, its own NHS (since 1948), its own Parliament - and vitally, a mass YES  movement, the largest in British history, totally unprecedented, that has catalysed ordinary people across society and political divides, ethnic origins, age and sex demographics into political and constitutional awareness.

A referendum turnout of over 80% is expected to vote, and crucially, this will include people who have never voted before in their lives, and people who were never registered to vote.

Pollsters do not poll voters with no previous voting record, so this group, size unknown, is not reflected in poll results. Additionally, this group exists predominantly among the working class and the deprived, which is where YES has its greatest support - for obvious reasons.

YES has a huge army of foot soldiers, campaigning daily across Scotland, not just stuffing leaflets,  but carrying out their own polls on voting preferences. These results, together with an equally unprecedented attendance at political YES meetings across Scotland, with village halls packed out, all present an encouraging picture.

So there's all to play for!

Monday, 25 August 2014

John Swinney’s 10 Key Strengths on which independent Scotland can build

Ten economic strengths on which an independent Scotland can build:

‪Scotland’s Food and drink industry has a turnover of £13 billion a year

‪Our tourism industry generates more than £6 billion a year

‪We have more than 20% of Europe’s fisheries catch

‪Exports, from manufacturing alone, are worth around £15 billion a year

‪Life Sciences employ 16,000 people and turns over £1.9 billion

‪Our Creative Industries generate more than £5 billion a year

‪We have more universities, per head in the world’s top 200 than any other country

Scotland has a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind and tidal potential

‪Scotland’s ICT sector contributes around £3.6 billion annually to the economy

‪Inward investment from overseas is at a 16-year high

Friday, 8 August 2014

Curran’s Core Concepts on Currency!

This is my perspective as a Scottish voter, neither currency expert, economist, politician nor banker, but very definitely a nationalist, a left-winger and a professional negotiator. Read it in that context, please!

THE CURRENCY QUESTION
THE RATIONALE FOR A NEW CHOICE

PRESENT STATUS
Pre-negotiation phase, forty days and forty night to go. Scottish Government’s position based on Fiscal Commission reports (and TWO) and White Paper, Scotland’s Future.

Fiscal Commission identified four main options -

MONETARY UNION with rUK – STERLING

MONETARY UNION with EU – EURO

NEW SCOTTISH CURRENCY - Fixed exchange rate

NEW SCOTTISH CURRENCY - Floating exchange rate

(N.B. The New Scottish Currency options includes either using sterling (‘the pound’) as the new currency or designating a new Scottish unit of currency (e.g. ‘the groat’)

The currency option can be presented alternatively as -

Monetary union with rUK – the pound

Monetary union with EU – the euro

New Scottish currency, floating or fixed – the groat

Continuing to use the pound, floating or fixed – the pound on sterlingisation)

The recommendation of the Commission was -

MONETARY UNION with rUK - STERLING

The Scottish Government declared this to be its choice of currency arrangement and announced its intention to negotiate the terms of monetary union with rUK after a YES vote.

The UK Government has declared this option to be totally unacceptable, in a variety of forums and statements from the PM, the Chancellor, senior advisers and Better Together leaders.

PERSPECTIVES
This UK position can be viewed by the Scottish Government from two main perspectives, and response options developed accordingly.

Perspective One
It is not an outright rejection, but a referendum campaign tactic to influence the Scottish electorate into voting No (the UK’s primary objective in the pre-negotiation phase)

If this fails as a referendum tactic and there is a YES vote, the tactic is converted to an anchoring statement aimed at enhancing UK negotiating team’s response to the Scottish Government’s opener of a currency union.

Perspective Two
The UK Government really means it: they will not - under any circumstances - accept a currency/monetary union with an independent Scotland.


PRE-NEGOTIATION PHASE:

THE CURRENCY QUESTION: THE RATIONALE FOR A NEW CHOICE

RESPONSE OPTIONS
On both Perspectives One and Two, the same three responses are available -

Hold currency union position till the referendum

or

Adopt a new  plan of Scottish currency/sterlingisation and withdraw plan to negotiate a currency union

or

Adopt a new plan of Scottish currency/sterlingisation but reiterate continued willingness to negotiate a currency union

TENTATIVE EVALUATION

Move to  Scottish currency under sterlingisation plan – withdraw plan to negotiate a currency union

POSITIVES
Immediate media brief, maximum publicity, most supporters happy, many non-SNP YES people much happier. Electorate in the main probably relieved and supportive.

Scottish currency perceived as greater independence, more Scottish control.

Control shifts to SNP Government (no longer dependent on negotiation - anticipates control after YES vote and independence)

Opposition on backfoot, panicked, reactive. Immediate plans activated to prepare for Scottish currency, civil service briefed, etc.
 
NEGATIVES
Presented as a retreat by UK, ‘fallback to Plan B’, cave-in under pressure, etc.

New attack on alleged negatives of Scottish currency option - expert negative arguments (e.g. Carney) mined for negative critical analysis

Share of national debt occupies centre stage, claims of  reneging, defaulting, etc. 

Spotlight on the new institutions and regulatory framework cited as potential weakness.

Pegging to sterling categorised as powerlessness, dependency.

TENTATIVE EVALUATION

Adopt a Scottish currency-sterlingisation plan but reiterate continued willingness to negotiate a currency union

POSITIVES
As under previous option, but with advantage of being seen still open to preferred option, flexible, displaying concern for rUK interests and relationship.

Even if UK cautiously enters currency union negotiations, powerful Scottish fallback already in place.

NEGATIVES
Potential of frustrating expectancies of YES supporters and non-SNP parties already on board for Scottish currency.

Danger of pressures building to force Scottish Government to abandon negotiation on currency union. Uncertainty for those contracted to new Scottish currency institutions.

SOME PREVIOUS BLOGS

17th February 2014

30th March 2014

16th November 2013

30th April 2013

You will also find an abundance of video clips on the currency argument, from every conceivable perspective, on my YouTube Channel – simply enter search term ‘currency’ in box

 

Monday, 28 July 2014

Fracking hell?– or fracking under the control of the Scottish people?

Look long and hard at that fracking map - consider the implications for Scotland.

After a YES vote, entirely at our discretion and under our control.

After a No vote - especially in the light of Scottish Secretary's plans for Scotland after a No vote - they'll do what they fracking-well like - ride roughshod over a weakened devolved Parliament (if we're still allowed to have one!) and emasculate the planning processes.

Scotland will be fracking-raped by UK Government and its rich friends.

Fracking map BBC

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Jim Sillars and Michael Forsyth grilled by young Scots – and Glenn Campbell

Neither Jim Sillars nor Michael Forsyth are representative of the core positions of YES and No.

They in fact hold certain core views in common, e.g. on Europe and on currency, and this led to Jim Sillars having to avoid making the easy point  that independence isn’t the main threat to our EU membership - the UK government is.

Forsyth confined himself to repeating key Better Together soundbytes, but this could not conceal the gaping contradictions on his position on tax, on EU, on currency and on Scotland's ability to go it alone.

It ended in an atmosphere of consensus on the Margo dictum - "We're all still Scots after the vote", but a sour note was then injected by a No voter in the audience, who raised anti-English fears, which she laid at the door of YES. The Better Together young ‘uns have got the lingo off pat!

Sunday, 29 June 2014

BBC anti-bias demo–Pacific Quay–29th June 2014

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Letter to a friend in England about Scotland’s independent future

A friend in England who takes a keen interest in Scottish affairs, and has lived and worked in Scotland, said that I should not expect too much from independence, and that it might not be Shangri La. I replied as follows -

REPLY

Whatever an independent Scotland's future is, it will have a few certainties -

1. It won't have weapons of mass destruction based in its waters, threatening the environment and the largest population centre in Scotland.

2. It won't have to bear the cost of the irrelevant weapons system.

3. It won't have a support a proportion of the corrupt, inflated and undemocratic House of Lords.

4. It will have located in Scotland a large number of a offices, functions and services with associated jobs that we currently pay for, but are located in S.E.E.

5. It will have a defence force that is truly a defence force, not an attack force, one that is proportionate to our needs and to real threats, not the "induced paranoia threats" required to justify the armaments industry and grease the lucrative revolving doors between the MOD, private industry and government.

6. It will prioritise its spending and use of resources on the needs of the people, especially the poor, sick and vulnerable, however limited its budgets and resources are.

7. It will continue to run an NHS that is free at the point of need, and not privatised by the back door to line the pockets of politicians and their partners in private healthcare.

8. It will recognise its role in protecting the environment and the planet, not pay lip service to it while despoiling it.

9. It will maintain an education system based on ability to learn, not ability to pay.

10. And lastly, whatever it does will be done to itself, by itself, with the governments it elects - every time, not the ones chosen by rUK. In a word, it will be an independent  nation.

I'll settle for that.

regards,

Peter

Friday, 27 June 2014

Why I’m voting YES on September 18th 2014

This appeared in National collective’s newsletter of today’s date, 27th June 2014.

Peter Curran: I Want A Just And Equitable Society

I’ll be voting for an independent Scotland in 2014 because, from 1997 onwards, four watershed events led to a shift in my political perspective and loyalties and inexorably to the conclusion that only the full independence of Scotland would meet my criteria for a just and equitable Scottish society.

They were the election of the Blair/Brown Labour Government in 1997, 9/11 in 2001, Afghanistan, and the Iraq invasion in 2003.

These four events crystallised doubts that had existed since the mid-1960s (with older roots) on nuclear disarmament, the real nature of the Union and Scotland’s place in it, of Britishness, the Labour Party’s core beliefs in multi-lateral disarmament, membership of the UK in a context of internationalism and the Westminster system, and Scottish Labour’s belief that they could influence Westminster as representatives of Scottish voters while sustaining an internationalist perspective and values.

My perspective of British and UK industry and commerce, the financial/banking sector and the military/industrial complex and its influence on democratic governments widened dramatically after establishing my own consulting and training business in 1988, after many decades in industrial management. These fears also crystallised from 1997 onwards, and the likelihood of a financial crash was evident to me from the millennium year 2000.

I had never entertained romantic ideas about Scotland, and I was – and still am – the antithesis of a blood-and soil-nationalist.

But I do believe the ancient nation of Scotland has, in its history, culture, scientific and intellectual achievements and political and social values, created a 21st century social entity comprised of Scots old and new, from a widely diverse range of backgrounds and ethnic origins, that exhibits values and beliefs about politics, the rule of law, the role of representative government in a democracy, the role of a nation state in the interdependent global community and the rights and obligations of its people that, in their totality, can only be satisfied in a sovereign, independent state.

As someone committed to live and work in Scotland, I want a just and equitable Scottish society, not just for myself but for all those similarly committed to the geographical entity called Scotland. I also want a just and equitable society, not just for myself and those who are part of Scottish society, but for all peoples across the globe – but I now believe that any influence, however small, that I and other residents of Scotland can have on that wider global objective can only come from within a nation state.

I believe that true internationalism begins with, and must be rooted in nationalism in the autonomous nation state.

I believe the nation state that can deliver the closest match to my political and social values is Scotland, and that the state of which I have been a member all of my life, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is a manifestly failing and dysfunctional conglomerate – the rump of a vanished empire – that cannot deliver those political and social values to any of its component nations.

What do I want from my nation state?

I want it to abandon, totally and unequivocally, the irrational obscenity of nuclear weapons, for which no intellectual or moral case exists or can exist in my view. (Given that premise, the strategic case is irrelevant to me, but I believe it is totally untenable even if the moral conditions are ignored or denied.)

I want it to be close to a truly representative democracy, close to the people, with a national constitution that protects their fundamental and sovereign rights. The UK in my view is demonstrably not such a democracy, given the unelected House of Lords, the current role of the monarch and the web of inherited and awarded undemocratic privileges that flow from such a monarchy.

I want a close but flexible association politically and for mutual defence with my European, Scandinavian and Nordic neighbours, but one that leaves the final sovereign decisions with my nation on armed intervention in the affairs of other nations outside of any such alliances.

I want an economically successful nation where the rewards of success are equitably distributed, and the price of economic success is not at the expense of the people’s quality of life and the natural environment.

I believe that the UK fails these criteria, has always failed them and will never match them, and that the Scottish unionist parties are impotent in Westminster to change that.

I will not regurgitate all the complex arguments and rebuttals that makes me believe Scotland has the people, the values, the will, the capacity and the resources to be the nation I want it to be. I’ve listened, evaluated and made my decision, as other Scots, old and new, must and will finally on September 18th 2014.

Peter Curran
National Collective