The Isle of Man

New compiler;  We say farewell, on the Flag only, to Jennifer Dunn, who will still be writing in the Scots Independent, and welcome to Alison Thewliss;  Alison’s  first Flag will be next week.  She will give us a brief biography and a picture.

Jennifer has been contributing to the Flag for quite some time; she has also been contributing to the Scots Independent since before I became Editor.



The Isle of Man

I was most intrigued to read that First Minister Alex Salmond had written an article  in the Mail on Sunday on currency, and I looked in vain in Monday’s Herald, the electronic version of the Scotsman and asked our man in Surrey what the Daily Record made of it?  (The only Scottish paper he can get in Surrey is the Daily Record.)  However, nary a word in these organs, and no mention on BBC Scotland; it is as if the article was never written.

This goes to explain why people say they are not being told about independence arguments, when in fact the truth is that the Unionist Media just will not cover these issues.

Now what was the guts of this unimportant piece put out by the First Minister?  It was to do with the fact that the No Campaign, the Tory Treasury, the Tory Government and its Liberal lapdogs and all and any member of the Labour establishment, in London and Edinburgh are all singing from the same script.  There is no way an independent Scotland would be allowed to use the pound, they could not use sterling, they could not join the sterling currency zone.  It was all so preposterous, could not happen. Unthinkable.

And sitting in the Presiding Officer’s Gallery during First Minister’s Questions on Thursday  was a delegation from the Isle of Man, an independent country not far from these shores.  Because the Isle of Man is a living example of a territory that is not part of the UK  but is effectively in a currency union with the UK.  The Island issues its own distinctive banknotes, just as our own banks do in Scotland, and the currency used is a variant of sterling..  The Isle of Man is living proof that the recent scaremongering by George Osborne and others in the anti independence campaign amount to just that – scare stories without a shred of credibility.

Nothing to see – just move on there.

Written Parliamentary Posturing

13930 24 Apr 13

Willie Rennie (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): To ask the Scottish Government from which countries it consulted regulators and governments in preparing its report, Economic and Competition Regulation in an Independent Scotland, and whether it will publish any evidence received.


Mr John Swinney MSP:

We consulted regulators and governments in the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Australia. The evidence gathered from these consultations underpins the work of the published paper.

This did not satisfy Mr Rennie;  he followed up this up the next week  in various forms of wording, taking up  17 Written Parliamentary Questions to establish absolutely nothing.  From my reading it would seem that if he had read the report it would have saved the taxpayer ( you and me) £1700.



AS per my plans of late here is the editorial from the April Issue of the Scots Independent.

Saltire in the box

At long last we have the date of the Referendum, 18th September 2014, when  the people of Scotland  will be asked if we want Independence.

We were asked in 1979 if we wanted an Assembly, and we voted “Yes”, but the iniquitous 40% rule, never used in any Referendum anywhere in the world, meant that the votes of even those who were dead counted as “No”; despite a “promise” of something better, the Tory Government scrapped the whole issue, a procedure they will slavishly follow if Scotland does not vote “Yes”.  Maybe this time we could legislate for the reverse: “In my last will and testament I leave my Yes vote to  my heirs!”

We were asked in 1997 if we wanted a Scottish Parliament, and one with financial powers, and the answer to both questions was “Yes”.  This was a surprise to the Unionists;  there had been  some consternation in the Labour Party in Scotland, to give them their correct title.  As far as they were concerned their manifesto promised a Scottish Parliament, but no word of a Referendum!   They then got into a tizzy, and we were told there would be two questions, then Mohammed Sarwar came up with three questions!  I don’t recall what the third question was, but the second question was designed to fail.   Who in their right mind would vote for more taxes?     However, we voted for a Parliament and we voted for financial powers.   We were not asked if we wanted Independence.   Since then the Unionists have bleated on that the devolved Scottish Parliament was “the settled will of the Scottish people”.  It was not, and it is not.

Just think on that for a minute – we have been asked in two referendums if we wanted more power, and in both Referenda (if that is a word) we voted Yes;  the 1979 one was a stitch up, and Labour, whose policy it was, damned it with faint praise, very faint, but still it was a democratic victory – let us not forget that bit.  So Scotland has form in voting Yes.

Our ancestors were not asked if they wanted the Union of the Parliaments in 1707, but the unelected Scottish Parliament gave way to bribery and threats of invasion.  There were riots in the streets and the Articles of Union were publicly burned at the Market Cross in Dumfries – all to no avail.  As the English Parliamentarians put it “We have catch’d Scotland and we will bind her fast.”

The next year and a half will see the continuation of sustained attacks from the Unionist Parties in Westminster, the unelected Lords, and their henchmen and women in Scotland.

All you need to do is vote “Yes”; as one of our MSPs said to me on the day of the announcement “Just put the Saltire in the box”.

One thought that has occurred to me, and no doubt to many older nationalists;  I joined in 1966 because I was convinced Scotland would thrive with independence.  There was no oil at that time, but when the SNP Research Officer, Donald Bain was digging about (not physically) he found that there was oil in the North Sea; this of course was rubbished by Westminster, but we believed it and accepted that we could put things right an awful lot quicker

However, my point is that I have never doubted that Scotland would be much better off with independence; my belief has never been shaken.  Whether we get there is another matter, for the Unionists are determined to hang on like grim death ;  they are concerned for their welfare not ours.  They have grossly mismanaged the United Kingdom, and if we had been costing them money we would have been independent years ago.

The concealment, lies and evasions reminds me of an episode when I was working in Peterhead in a road haulage company  At that time, late Sixties, there was a Road Haulage Wages Council, and every so often an inspector would call, check the wage records to make sure the drivers were getting paid fairly;  our drivers at that time were probably getting about £40 a week.  One time the inspector was very chatty, and he asked me if I knew another haulier in the town, run by a woman;  I said I knew of them but had no contact.  He was horrified at what he had found; their drivers were putting in the same miles and hours as ours were, and were getting paid a flat £10 a week!  When he faced the woman with that she responded “Ye canna pay young loons that kind of money, you’ll just ruin them”.   That is what Westminster has been doing to Scotland for all my adult life, and I would imagine from time immemorial.