Can I kick off this week with a reminder of the by-election in Aberdeen Donside constituency? Any help at all will be much appreciated. So no apologies for reminding you.
This week we decided with spring in the air that we should replace our winter wind battered Saltire with a nice new one. We phoned our usual supplier and he said “would you like a new YES one? Silly question really. If you would also like a YES flag for your flagpole please contact James Stevenson (flags) ltd, 75 Westmoreland Street, Glasgow, G42 8LH Tel 0141 423 5757
It was mentioned at our local C.A. meeting the other week that one of the branches was getting a little disheartened by all the negative press the media are spewing out. Perhaps we need to ensure that those who are not active enough to be joining in the physical campaigning are still kept in touch with the positive message. It’s not easy to find the time to speak to everyone but something I think we need to make an effort with. The more we get involved in the street work, the less time we spend with the less active members and the more susceptible they are to believing the unionist press drivel. Also remember not everyone has, or feels at ease using, modern technology. So don’t assume everyone is accessing the Yes website.
For once, something worth sharing from the BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-22705606 on how independence will not adversely affect our students.
And if the Union is so wonderful to live in, why is this happening. Why do we need these food banks at all if the United Kingdom is such a wonderful, prosperous place.http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/hungry-britain-welfare-cuts-leave-more-than-500000-people-forced-to-use-food-banks-warns-oxfam-8636743.html
A wee bit of a change here, as we do something which has been requested before, but never achieved. We will attempt to put some articles from the Scots Independent on to the Flag and spread the word through Facebook. This may sound as if I know what I am doing, but as can be guessed, I am receiving some help!
I will be copying this to my mentor, who will monitor the process.
From the May issue of the SI:
Legends, Myths and Scare Stories
But what are the serious and real experts telling us?
You cannot help but notice the constant stream of The Incredible ‘NO’ Men that have been slipping into Scotland, at taxpayers expense, for a couple of hours with some fanciful tale of ‘Doom and Gloom’ and then sneaking away and avoiding answering questions. It is a wonder that they have not enlisted the help of Private Fraser of Dad’s Army to tell us, “You are All Doomed” if you dare to vote ‘YES’ on the 18th September 2014.
So it was this week when Messrs Osborne and his lap-dog Danny Alexander came to Glasgow to tell us that we would be in incredible difficulties if we dared to continue to use Sterling after Independence. I have never heard such a load of old manure in all my life. For starters perhaps they will explain to dumb old me and all the eminent economists who think otherwise, how it was that the Irish Free State, now The Republic of Ireland managed it from 1922 until they joined the ERM prior to the introduction of the Euro, or how it was that New Zealand managed it for twenty years after WWII, or how the Isle of Man, and the States of Jersey and Guernsey still manage it to this day?
The real truth of the matter is that Westminster is so terrified that it is going to lose the ‘cash cow’ that has kept Westminster afloat for the past thirty years. They are scared that all their millionaire friends in the City of London will find themselves scratching about in what looks like becoming a Third World economy. Thanks to Thatcher they have nothing to fall back on as she ensured that a great chunk of their manufacturing base moved to China, South Korea, Taiwan, India, and Singapore.
She was the one who told them all that it was much better to run legalised gambling dens called the Stock Market, Money Market and Commodities Markets than to ‘bash metal’ as once described by her. But of course now the roof is starting to fall in upon them as yet another credit ratings agency downgrades our status from AAA to something lesser and yet it was only a few months ago that the same pair of terrible twins were telling Scotland, stick with us and keep an AAA rating – what a joke, or it would be if it was not so serious.
But what are the serious and real experts telling us, yes there would need to be negotiation but it would be from the position that we, the Scottish people, already own between 8½ and 10% of the misnamed Bank of England. Just another of our many shared assets, that will have to be accounted for during the division of assets in the post Independence discussions. Of course if they want to take the line, as has already been promulgated by some that Scotland is due ‘NOTHING’ then as Nicola Sturgeon said, “Fine if we are due no share of the common Assets then we have no share of the common Liabilities’ and we start as an Independent country with a ‘clean sheet’!
They claim that they want a debate but every time a debate is asked for The Incredible ‘NO MEN’ say that they are not prepared to discuss such matters and instead trot out all the old Legends, Myths and Scare stories that we have all heard in one form or another before. Who is it that won’t ask the EU about Scotland’s Independence place in Europe, not the ‘YES’ team but Cameron and his millionaire friends in Westminster and The Better Together Brigade.
No, we can expect loads more of this type of petty politicking and scare stories and I am just waiting for the day when they come out with the 21st century equivalent of the Biblical, “Ten Plagues of Egypt”. To that end I am keeping a close eye on the burn to ensure that it is not running with blood and I quickly nip outside every time the windows get battered with hail to make sure that it isn’t frogs raining down!
Also from May:
Scots – International Citizens for Centuries
Even in the far off Caucasus there are good connections to Scotland.
Over the coming months on the run up to the Independence Referendum we will have a unique opportunity to discuss and debate what kind of Scotland we would like to see. I hope that as many people as possible will seize this once in a lifetime chance. After a successful referendum the first election to an Independent Scottish Parliament will take place in May 2016. The ideas that we put forward now will help shape that Parliament.
I want to see an Independent Scotland take its place, once again, as part of the International Community of Nations. Scotland has always had an international outlook and we have had a big impact way beyond our borders though often with varying impacts.
That is immediately apparent of course to anyone who has ever visited countries such as the USA, New Zealand or Canada. Beyond the ‘English speaking’ world we have also had an impact on the development of other countries. This has gone on for centuries. In France Scots fought alongside Joan of Arc at the siege of Orleans, Scots were integral to Peter the Great’s modernisation of Russia and Sir Thomas Blake Glover was a pioneer of Japanese industrialisation. And we should remember that this is the 200th anniversary of the birth of David Livingstone who is still revered in Malawi not least in its largest city Blantyre.
In spite of 300 years of Union we continue to have a strong international footprint. I spent several years working on democratisation and peace-building in the former Soviet Union and former Yugoslavia. I remember once attending meetings in troubled South Ossetia. It has a population of just 50,000 but Robert Burns had been translated into the local language Ossetian, more closely related to languages spoken in Afghanistan and Iran than Georgian or Russian let alone Scots!
Shortly after my time working in the South Caucasus I helped organise a peace-building conference between parliamentarians from across the region including Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Scotland became the natural place to host that event, both as a neutral venue but also one that had some recognition from the local delegates. The event took place in Moray where we were very well hosted by the local community including the distlleries!
Even in the seemingly far off Caucasus there are good connections to Scotland. Nowadays there are a number of Scottish bars in modern day Baku with Scots working in the oil industry in Azerbaijan and going even further back the Declaration of Arbroath claims that the Scots had originated from ancient Scythia, of which the Caucasus was a part! So we could even claim some kinship!
After Independence Scotland will regain its place in the international community. Certainly in European terms that benefits us as we are no longer reliant on an increasingly isolationist London Government to make our case at the Council of Ministers. But we can also shape how Scotland fits into the wider international community as a sovereign nation. I want us to take that opportunity to became a hub for peace, democracy and development.
Scotland has global brand awareness that most countries would envy. We also have a wide spread, active and high achieving global Diaspora. That includes those with direct Scots ancestry, those with family living in Scotland and those who simply feel an affinity for Scotland. We should embrace that.
As a country of 5 million and then being a newcomer to the United Nations we are ideally placed to provide a neutral venue for peace-building. This is something that our neighbours in Norway, smaller than Scotland, have done for instance. The Oslo accords were of course signed in that country and the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in the same city every year. As a rich, peaceful and developed country Norwegians see it as their responsibility to reach out to the world. Scots should do the same.
I was fortunate to have spent years working with a multitude of nationalities in the Caucasus and the rest of the former Soviet Union as well as a multitude of nationalities in the European Union. Greater engagement with those across the World will be good for Scotland as well as we learn from their experiences and knowledge gaining from greater international inter-action.
Winston Churchill once said “Of all the small nations of this earth, perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind”. I would challenge that in the sense that Scotland is not a small country, certainly in terms of other EU members it is a normal sized country. However other countries have also made their contribution and as others have learned from us so we should be learning from them.
The best way to do that is to end the isolation of remaining within this Union and to re-take our place in the international community of nations with full and active participation in that Club.