Independent Thinking

I had hoped not to have to mention Obama. As I have had to spend so much time this past weekend sitting around with an elevated foot I am fed up hearing what he said. Have the people of the United States of America forgotten the thousands of lives lost in a bloody war trying to gain THEIR independence from Britain? Why is it so appalling for us to be able to do it peacefully through the ballot box? Ooops, BBC just announced on Monday evening that he was asked by the British government to intervene. Has Cameron no shame! Crawling to other world leaders and asking them to plead on his behalf. Don’t get me started on Brown, who has to speak to us from Westminster.
Quoted in today’s Herald (Tuesday June 10) is a Better Together Youth representative called Claire Lally. “I want to make sure our NHS remains the best in the world”. Has she not seen the state of the NHS in other parts of the UK? Given the changing politics in England can we be sure that Westminster will continue to allow us to run the Scottish region the way we want to?

To be honest I am getting a bit impatient with all the “don’t knows” out there wanting reassurances that nothing will change, that they will have more money in their pockets, blah, blah. What guarantees do they have that this will be the case if we remain in the UK. Who was in charge when the recession happened? Who was in charge when the banks nearly went bust? A lot of these “don’t knows” don’t bother to vote at local and general elections. They don’t care enough about who is running the UK at the moment, or indeed their local council. So why are they getting so uptight about who will be running Scotland? In case any of you are wondering how I know some of these “don’t knows” don’t vote, political parties (and independent candidates) are entitled to see the marked up registers after the election. These are the sheets of paper where the polling official scores through your details with pen and ruler. Having been involved for a very long time in the background organisation at elections I have seen some of these documents. I have seen people I know who complain about what’s happening, claim to have voted, but their names have never been scored off by the polling station staff. i.e, they didn’t vote!

I know. I am an old grumpy. I have been at this game too long. Honestly though, I do put a smiley face on when out campaigning. I do try to engage pleasantly with people who ask questions. But, know what? I don’t care about the promises made by either side of this campaign. They are after all just politicians trying to secure your vote.

My faith is in the people of Scotland who will care enough in an independent country to go out and vote at every election. These are the people who elected the first S.N.P. government in Holyrood. They were joined 4 years later by some more people who had paid attention enough to see what the S.N.P. had managed to change in Scotland and decided they wanted more. These people voted in a safe majority S.N.P. government because they saw that things can be done differently. Things can be changed for the better for everyone in Scotland, not just those who could afford it. We can be socially aware and successful at the same time.

In an independent Scotland the government is more likely to be the type of government intended when the Scottish parliament was set up. All parties and independent candidates will get the top up seats allocated on a percentage of the vote they attain. It will ensure that every group has some representation and hopefully no party has an overall majority which should promote mature debate.

Mind you, that would need grownups to be participating, or would our youth be better? I heard someone on the radio today saying that the S.N.P. has top talent in their cabinet. The unionist parties allow their talent to orientate to Westminster where there are richer pickings and rewards. Perhaps in an independent Scotland our younger generations of all political sides would be content to stay at home to shape and nurture their own country. The reward being that they have done the best they could for their people rather than knighthoods, fat pay from after dinner speaking circuits and securing well paid seats on boards.


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.


“Lockerbie – A Bum Rap” by David Rollo

James Halliday

Westminster can now divert any discredit and anger to the Scots
Does fiction on the TV screen reflect the attitudes of the community in which its viewers live? Or does it play a part in creating these attitudes? The question is prompted by long exposure to the exploits of various detective heroes. Reflect upon the narratives involving Morse, Frost, Wycliffe, Crabbe and no doubt others less familiar. Apart from their profession what do these characters have in common? Most obviously they all suffer under superiors who are at best dull- witted, but to a greater or less degree incompetent, unfair, pompous and vindictive. Viewers watching these dramas must be conditioned to assume that authority is commonly wrong and foolish.

As worried children used to be reassured, “Don’t worry. It’s only a picture,” so we leave the screen for the real world where we find quite a procession of wrongly convicted persons released after years of imprisonment. Compensation is paid. Apologies, if any, are brief, and the public move on without much sympathy on the “No smoke without fire” principle. Have fiction and fact combined to dull our capacity to form our own judgements? The recent scandals in Parliament and the ever-diminishing trust in government pronouncements throughout the New Labour years have combined to create a population believing precious little of anything its rulers say. To many of us it is enough to prove a person’s innocence that some authority declares him guilty. Not all guilty verdicts can later be termed “unsafe convictions” or “miscarriages of justice”, but too many have turned out to deserve these terms.

It was in the pursuit of truth and sound judgement that David Rollo, our old friend and colleague here carried out his remarkable investigation into the Lockerbie outrage. Many writers since have chosen to consider the very pieces of evidence which intrigued him, and it is to the discredit of all media that his work has met with an absurd lack of proper acknowledgement. He called his book “A Bum Rap”, and perhaps the title misled those whose vocabulary did not include slang terms of the 1940s. Whatever its title, the research which went into the book went far beyond anything which one individual could have been expected to provide.

His own professional expertise equipped him to make conclusions about the technical credibility of the evidence. He understood and explained the importance of timing devices, altitude and air pressure. He visited on his own, in his own time and at his own expense, Malta, Spain and the Netherlands, talking to witnesses and assessing their reliability. As he had worked in Libya he knew, more than most, something of the Gaddafi regime and its works. He wrote of his belief that the Lockerbie crime was not in fact attributable to any Libyan but rather to the original suspects, Iranian, Syrian, Palestinian.

Who knows? For my part I did not fully accept his opinions because I felt that he was in part prompted by greater readiness to doubt official statements than I felt. I also felt that other Libyan actions proved that they were perfectly capable of murderous behaviour. But David’s discoveries ought to have set people thinking.

Probably they did; and we have for a long time now seen references to the mysterious personages appearing in Lockerbie, the unanswered questions, the refusal to discuss, the refusal to allow access to significant documents–all the sort of hints which have led many well-placed observers to conclude that a re-submitted Megrahi appeal might have very justly succeeded. Thus David’s evidence, presented soberly and calmly, drew support from many highly responsible persons including lawyers involved in the entire course of investigation, trial and conviction.

Now as we come to look at comments from the media and political world sober thought is not always apparent. Prospects for a just and honest solution of the Lockerbie mystery ended with Blair’s deal about prisoner exchange forgetting all about Scottish jurisdiction. He and Brown can now take very full revenge for their brief humiliation because the lucrative conciliation with Gaddafi for which they were angling can now be hoped for, and any discredit and anger can be diverted to the Scots.

Meanwhile our united opponents, ignoring more thoughtful comment from well-informed observers have detected shame and disgrace to be heaped upon us all. Messrs Gray and McConnell from the Labour ranks, sundry Liberals, and the Conservative Scottish Secretary have set the tone for undefined and ill- directed abuse hoping that repetition will spare them any need for subtle reflection.