Referendum Thoughts (1)
I have been participating in the Yes campaign, and find it is exhilarating, exciting and enjoyable. The people involved are of all parties and none, all they want is independence. From being wary of people in other parties I find it refreshing to work alongside former opponents. On the doorstep it is normal for your canvassing partner to declare their previous vote and to stress that this is not an election for a political party, but for Scotland – for the right to make our own decisions, and our own mistakes, and the power to change them if we get things wrong.
There is still a hunger for more information, and it is my opinion that people hear what we say, and understand it, but then listen to or read reports put out by the No campaign that directly contradict what we have said. We do not see many No campaigners out in the streets, as they do not exist in any great number and rely on the media to put the case across. As far as the Yes campaign is concerned we are on their doorstep, engaging with them, and asking them to question us; you can shout at a television set or a newspaper, but they can’t hear you. The majority we spoke to were interested.
Referendum Thoughts (2)
It is a fact that there is only one mainstream newspaper backing Yes; this is the Sunday Herald which declared its support on 4th May this year. Other papers are reluctant, but have no hesitation in attacking Yes by publishing any statement by the No campaign and its spear carriers without checking. Two recent cases, just two! When the new President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker said he did not envisage any new entrants to the EU for five years the No campaign and its media supporters went into overdrive and the news was splashed everywhere! When the position was clarified that the President had been speaking about Eastern European countries and not about Scotland, to whom he was sympathetic, that did not generate very much coverage. There were no apologies, particularly from the BBC for jumping to wrong conclusions. Never apologise never explain.
The other canard, just the other day was ex Prime Minister and Chancellor Gordon Brown claiming that independence would stop countries participating in transplant transfers; this is completely wrong, as countries do this all the time and the various NHS organisations have resolutely and publicly refuted the prospect. The official agreements in the British Isles also include Ireland. I was never very impressed by Gordon Brown, either as Chancellor or Prime Minister, but I did not rate him a fool. His eager publishing of the item on transplants would therefore suggest he could be a knave.
Referendum Thoughts (3)
There are two basic reasons for the above attitudes, and they are interlinked. Westminster is absolutely desperate to keep hold of the money from North Sea oil. They dissembled about its very existence, created a Continental Shelf to hide the money, and by some financial wizardry managed to squander untold billions of pounds in oil money, and created the biggest fiscal and economic crisis in my life time; I am 79 years old. Every action they take and every word they speak is directed towards that aim, and no blows are too low.
So for over 40 years they have had the oil money, wasted it, and put aside nothing for a rainy day; the only two countries in the world which have not created an oil fund for future generations are the United Kingdom, and Iraq.
The second reason is directly related to the first; it is Trident. Without the existence of Trident, the United Kingdom would no longer be justified in having a seat on the United Nations Security Council, and if it lost the revenue from North Sea oil it could not afford Trident.. This would stop Mr Cameron, the present Prime Minister poncing around the world with a concerned expression on his face. The Russians and the Chinese pay no attention to minnows.
Scotland and the Atlantic Margin
We are publishing detailed research by Bill McLaughlin of the oil and gas resources in Scottish waters. The scope and extent of this is amazing, and we are grateful to Bill for assembling all this information together. It can be accessed at Atlantic Margin and will now be available at the click of a mouse.
Any queries or more information please contact Bill McLaughlin at firstname.lastname@example.org
One time supporter of independence
At the beginning of this month we should have congratulated the United States of America on the anniversary of their Declaration of Independence. They had to fight a bloody war with the United Kingdom to get their independence.
I am now tempted to qualify that congratulation: it is a matter of sadness that the self same United States, through its democratically elected President, is opposed to this ancient nation following the same star. Of course, their concern is at the proposed loss of their Yankee Poodle Dandy, the UK, custodians of the nuclear submarines, which are armed and paid for by the UK; I use the word custodians deliberately, since while the UK picks up the tab for these monstrosities, and Scotland bears the risk of housing the largest nuclear arsenal in Europe the UK cannot use them as America has the keys. America also decided where they were to be put; Harold Macmillan wanted them to be at Lochinver, but Eisenhower stipulated the Holy Loch, just beside Glasgow. That’s what is meant by a special relationship. I was also intrigued the other day to see that we had some based in Loch Ewe.
In the closing days of last month we saw a debate on TV between Jim Sillars and Michael Forsyth – which Jim won handsomely – and an appeal in the Herald by Jack MacConnell and Jim Wallace.
The Better Together trio, Forsyth, MacConnell and Wallace are all of course members of the unelected House of Lords, and an independent Scotland will have no truck with that institution. I have seen elsewhere that it is the largest parliamentary body in the world, apart from the People’s Congress of Beijing. Both bodies are unelected, just appointed, and I would hazard a guess that the expenses and other goodies of the House of Lords are not replicated in Beijing. I speculate idly on how these “noble” lords will survive after independence; will rUk happily shell out the first class travel and other expenses (£300 a day for just signing in, I have heard) or will they try to bill the Scottish Parliament for that? After hearing some of their scare stories, will they have to pass Border controls when returning from their away days, perhaps being strip searched – the mind boggles!
They want to continue as fat cats, no question of where their votes will go; just think, they can vote against independence but no one has voted for them to hold their exalted positions. I cannot quite understand what it is they do, but judging from the state of things they don’t do it very well. There are 650 Members of the UK Parliament and heading for 850 members of the House of Lords. (That includes 26 – or is it now 27 – Church of England bishops. Nae rabbis, nae imams, nae Catholic bishops). Power and privilege to the fore for the unelected Elect. However they have to support No, as they would lose their fat sinecures if Scotland votes Yes.
Come to think of it, that might be a rather large saving to the Scottish Public Purse, as we would be rid of these subsidy junkies. Worthy members of Johann Lamont’s “Something for nothing” elite.
Jimmy Halliday’s contributions to the Cause
Jimmy Halliday – lifetime Nationalist
To put matters into context, in 1955 the SNP contested only two Parliamentary seats in Scotland. Dr Robert McIntyre fought Perth and East Perthshire and Jimmy Halliday fought Stirling and Falkirk Burghs. Jimmy then became the youngest ever SNP Chairman and served 1956-70; in 1956 the entire SNP Conference delegates were photographed on the steps of the Allan Water Hotel, Bridge of Allan.
There will be a Referendum for Scottish Independence this year, which was unthinkable in the dark days of 1955. Jimmy died on 3rd January 2013 at the age of 85, and we will be publishing all his articles in the Scots Independent, all those we have electronic input for. It is anticipated we will publish a book with all his contributions over many years but this will have to wait until after the Referendum.
A little bit of SI history. When the Scots Independent became a private company in 1957, the first four directors were Dr Robert McIntyre, SNP President, James Halliday, SNP Chairman, David Rollo, SNP Treasurer and John Smart, SNP Secretary. In this picture Jim Lynch, SI Editor is introduced to John Smart by James Halliday; in the background is Kenneth Fee, previous editor. This photo was taken by Donnie MacNeill at the SNP Conference in Perth in October 2010
“Yes we can” should now be “Why ever not?”
Everyone who has ever borne a torch received it from someone
Above all, let us now rejoice. Our barely credible victory has done wonders for our people’s confidence and for their future prospects. All who now look in our direction will do so with a greater interest in, and appreciation of, Scotland; and with a degree of respect which the subordinate centuries have seen diminish.
When like-minded people gather together on formal occasions they usually call upon all present to acknowledge “Absent Friends”. In this moment of success we remember the many who never knew the joy of today. You all have memories of those who encouraged you into our ranks—-Arthur Donaldson and Billy Wolfe of course, and where were you when Winnie won Hamilton?
Someone has said that this campaign was 20 years in the making. Make that 65 rather than 20. With the end of the war in 1945 there began a modification, if not quite an ending, of the siege-induced Britishness of the war years, and a new Scottish awareness revived. If today we are all to a degree torch-bearers, let us remember that everyone who has ever borne a torch received it from someone. So I choose to honour as Absent Friends Robert McIntyre and John MacCormick.
Gratitude is due as well to Present Friends, Thanks to all campaigners in all corners of our country. Activists and candidates, winners or losers, all contributed to the surge of spirit which brought victory. All of us have been splendidly served by our professional staff. Peter Murrell, and all who keep Headquarters responsive and helpful to all us members, deserve congratulations on having made our greatest day organisationally possible. Knowing now of the extent of proven expert support available to the Party, we might all be wise to re-think our own role in the future. Well-meaning members have never been slow to offer their opinions and advice. Their voices, loyal and persistent, but faint in their total volume, are now surpassed by the sounds made by the confident Government of an awakened people. The Scots Independent must learn humility in this presence. In offering opinions, ideas and attempts at guidance, we must now realise that our leaders and their advisers are likely to be there before us.
Take one example. A few years ago I remarked that, in my view, the Party’s best-ever slogan was “Yes We Can”. Alex Salmond expressed delight because, as he explained, that had been his choice. No one will believe it, but it is true, and capable of dated proof, that we used that slogan before Senator Obama became President. It’s not nearly so snappy, but we might now follow “Yes We Can” with Why ever Not?” It is for our opponents to find the answer to that question. Interestingly, the old shop-soiled, threadbare, discredited arguments are coming, not from MSPs or ex-MSPs, but from MPs. Some defeated opponents showed unexpected grace and courtesy in defeat. I think in particular of Andy Kerr who came before the cameras with admirable dignity. No doubt he will be among those ridiculed and patronised as “losers” by their MP colleagues. Certainly, even MPs have not as yet returned to the old reliable too wee, too poor, too stupid parrot speech, but be assured they will. Meantime they favour the greater subtlety of “Scots don’t want independence”. Or they attempt to campaign by vocabulary, drivelling about break-up, divorce, separation all in tones of terror and horror.
Another antique has been proffered by mighty Anne McGuire who has spoken of “our” link to the top class of international relations; of “our” seat at NATO; “our” leadership in the European Union; “our” veto at the UN Security Council, and “our” role in the G20″. All these”, she mourns “would be lost”. Why she thinks that the word “our” accurately applies to all these blessings, only someone with some skill in grammar might hope to explain. Another frightful spectre from 1950s arguments —-the British National Debt— has been brought forth to terrify any Scot insolent enough to form opinions on economics. So much nonsense and so much misinformation and deception. But there are some genuine, serious and sometimes even honest doubts which we must counter.
There is a modest but tenacious Unionist sentiment still in Scotland. Some of it is rooted in sectarian feeling but much of it comes especially from older people, rural or suburban and in personally comfortable circumstances who still feel British pride which was once so much more widespread. In their Unionism they will be joined by some from the Labour side who are genuinely or professedly impressed by Mr Jim Murphy’s thesis that patriotism and nationalism are to be seen as contrasts. This one, as they say, will run and run. Mr Murphy, a dogged as well as foxy person, will see to that.
As arguments continue we can feel total confidence in our leaders. They will see, as we do, that Scotland is still ruled by a party which has one MP, even if camouflaged by a sad squad of Liberal accomplices. Such a situation is forever unjustifiable and intolerable. And if, like Mr Gray, you want to make it stop, use your political power to free Scotland and thus guarantee no more Tory government which so offends you.