Up For Debate

The Editor of the paper has just shared a link on Facebook, as I write this, from Business for Scotland’s webpage on why the No camp really don’t want a Scottish Oil Fund. I thought I would share it with you to let the editor see that I do get his communications…..http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/articles/ where you can find not only the piece on the oil fund but the article on the poll vote after last week’s Business for Scotland meeting and a few other interesting pieces not supplied by the main media.

I really do despair of the “talent” in the U.K. parties and their approach to just about everything in life. Last week’s First Minister’s Questions was rapidly followed the next day by Brian’s Big Debate coming from the by election in Dunfermline. Neither of the Labour women concerned did any favours to the quality of Scottish women and their ability to debate. Both were badly prepared in background information required, showed a poor ability to think on their feet and a gross underestimation of their opponents. This they tried to counteract by shouting shrilly above any other person speaking. Might this also be a view of women that put women off getting involved in politics, rather than the domination of men that is usually blamed? I am glad to say that (with the exception of one or two perhaps) the women in the S.N.P. are much better debaters and have the decency to let the people on the other side of the debate have their say.

There seems to be a total inability to think that things can be done differently. The oil fund mentioned above being an obvious case in point that no-one seems to understand finance and how to make it grow. This past week there have been articles in the news about banks offering 95% mortgages again. How is this going to help the economy? Yes, houses may start moving again but with all the increased costs of living that have occurred in the downturn are the buyers anymore likely to afford the mortgages than they were on the same salary 2 years ago? I am no financial whiz kid, anyone will tell you that, but even I know that there is only so much your income can buy and too much debt will just get us back to where we are, if not into a worse situation.

Here in Moray the downturn has finally allowed the Independent/Tory administration to get their way and close libraries, 50% of them. In a pretty rural area one of the two library buses is going too. At the same time they want a new road built in Elgin that will be made redundant once the Scottish Government duals the A96. To my mind this is like burning the books to pay for a vanity project that they can point to in future and say “we did that”. When the Department of Works and Pensions are insisting everyone deals with them via the internet, people who use the library as their only internet access are to be cast aside and no doubt penalised by the government agencies for not having access to the internet and not having a large enough income to be able to afford to have it at home. This smacks of depriving the less well off of information to better inform themselves and improve their circumstances.

On a brighter note, the Business Manager is offering conference goers a deal this weekend. You may be aware that the Scots Independent published a book called “THE CASE FOR INDEPENDENCE”. It’s a series of articles written for the paper by Ian Goldie setting out the arguments for Independence. These are short pieces of work and easy to read for anyone you think may need a little persuasion to be confident about voting Yes next year. For the duration of the conference they will be on a 3 for 2 offer. Great idea for Christmas presents.


Jimmy Halliday’s contributions to the Cause

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 – 60;  in 1956 the entire SNP Conference delegates were photographed on the steps of the Allan Water Hotel, Bridge of Allan.
We are 11 months from a Referendum on Scottish Independence, which was unthinkable in 1955;  Jimmy died on 3rd January 2013 at the age of 85.  We intend to publish all Jimmy’s articles in the Scots Independent from August 2004 up to 2011, all the ones we have electronic input for.  It is anticipated we will publish a book on Jimmy’s contributions over many years, but this will have to wait until after the Referendum.


Scots Independent – Founded 1926 – Sep 2006

There was a strong presumption that unity would be maintained

The Scots Independent is 80 years old – older than the Party, as is our modest boast. It served in turn the Scots National League, the National Party of Scotland and finally the Scottish National Party.  The executive of each of these bodies controlled the management and content of the paper.

Such an arrangement has snags. Publishing is costly, and members would wonder if the costs were worth it. Argument about content was frequent as members displayed their impressive capacity for taking offence over one another’s opinions. Those who were not directly involved tended to think they could do a better job. Thus rows consumed time at National Executive and National Council.

Things were at a low ebb some 50 years ago for the Party and the SI alike. Financial considerations had led the Party to enter into an agreement with the Scots Secretariat to form a joint committee to produce the SI. When that committee fell victim to disharmony a new arrangement was required.

A journal under direct Party management was all too likely to become a tame house journal. Also if the paper were ever involved in legal trouble the Party could well be held liable for any libellous indiscretions.

For such reasons, and after considerable debate, the Party decided to abandon its direct control and instead create a private limited company to take over publication and accept responsibility for costs. This proposal was accepted by National Council and thus our paper had a new beginning in 1956. As both Party and SI shared the same objectives there was a strong presumption that unity would be maintained. Such unity seemed further guaranteed as the first Directors of the new company were the chief office-bearers of the Party.   Robert McIntyre, President; myself, Chairman; John Smart, National Secretary, and David Rollo, National Treasurer had surely to be, in Party terms, wholly trustworthy.   So I hope we have proved.