The re-emergence

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We reach the turn of the year, the arrival of 2018. Amidst the worrying turmoil and chaos an incompetent xenophobic government in London has created in its quest to placate its far-right nationalist element, and wider, where we are experiencing across the so-called civilised world a period of sharply polarised views of the type not seen or endured for many years, where future leaders take a sharp intake of breath whilst their countries accelerate into political uncertainty, division amid instances of state sponsored violence against their own citizens, punishment for daring to exercise democratic rights, amidst all of that a flickering light is catching, taking hold, growing stronger. A small Northern European country is following a determined steady path, a path it first set foot upon many years ago, to re-emerge into daylight and become a progressive social democratic mature self-governing European state.

The re-emergence of this country, returning rightfully to governance by its own people, as it did for several hundred years, against all the forecasts, against all the predictions of fearmongers and negative propaganda rained down upon it, will, surprisingly for some, not result in the trauma of leaving anybody, or separation from any other entity, the breaking of the hearts of public figures and celebrities, or of the crushing of something considered ‘precious’ by bland crass self-protecting politicians.

Partnerships with neighbours will not end as a result of the re-emergence of this nation, in fact these partnerships will in time be strengthened. Well-established bonds of friendship, kinship and trade links will continue, and will flourish. When in need or in times of trouble neighbours will find that this nation will be the first to stand by their side. Where democracy has been in jeopardy in the past the citizens of the small re-emerging country have never been found wanting, and never will.

There will be no barriers between this re-emerging sovereign state and its neighbours. There will be no walls or fences or checkpoints.

Existing In the system of governance that this small nation has for several generations, where it has always had the burden of responsibility for the blights on its society, poverty, inequality and underinvestment in its economy placed unfairly upon it, by the real contributors to such blights, the re-emerging progressive nation will, on the day and hour when it finally once more achieves self-determination, at last gain the ability, and control of the financial levers, to address the causes of such curses on its people.

This will be without interference, or control, or manipulation of resources, finances or facts by an outside entity whose priorities are not compatible with the prosperity and wellbeing of that re-emerging sovereign nation.

The re-emerging Northern European progressive social democratic country will, against all portentous negative spin, be wholly embraced by the European community, and respecting the emphatic democratically expressed will of its people, will take its place as a member of the European Union in due course, almost seamlessly. There is no queuing system that this country would need to join, or go to the back of. There are no barriers to entry, the country concerned having already established 40 years of compliance with the EU regulatory framework.

The small nation retains a well-established existing trading relationship with European partners, some of whom having been party to alliances with that small re-emerging nation extending back several hundred years. Its current devolved government has set out as a core pledge to its citizens and essential migrant workers the continued protection of the free movement of citizens of the EU.

The re-emerging sovereign nation itself has an enviable plethora of natural resources and goods and services for trade, adding value to the European Union, and strengthening that trading bloc as an entity.

There will be no veto or black-balling of entry to the European single market. In fact, it is becoming clear that when the time comes EU representatives will actively court the decision makers of the re- emerging nation to seek acceptance of membership. They have as much as said so publicly, once you see beyond the spin of how this is presented to the reader or viewer by those who would see the ambitions of that aspirational nation quashed.

The government of the immediate neighbour of this re-emerging state are currently taking their own path. In their words, they are ‘taking back control’ by leaving a trading bloc of 500 million potential customers for their goods and services, whilst, it seems, pandering to the edicts of an erratically unpredictable, leader of a global superpower, a country which previously was one of their imperial colonies. They will have blue passports.

The political differences which exist between these neighbours appear to be widening by the day. One neighbour right-wing, Neo-Liberal, insular, corporate focused, bursting with self-pride, introducing policies where the victims of sexual molestation resulting in the birth of a child must justify and prove rape in order to obtain child tax credits, the other, the northern neighbour, citizen focused, outward looking, committed to equality and social justice, introducing a Scandinavian style scheme providing free essentials that new mothers and babies require in the first days of a new life, an effort to help address child poverty and inequality, introducing a citizen-focused welfare benefits system with dignity and respect at its core. The contrast is stark.

The time for self-determination is indeed coming. The evidence is there. Consistently polling of its citizens suggests that around half of the population of the re-emerging nation are starting to see a future different from their past, this without any official campaigning or the existence of a structured organisation to promote independence. Only one poll matters. When the facts are put before them at some point soon, the people of that country are ready to make the leap.

Despite an ongoing and systematic onslaught of relentless daily negative propaganda, designed to reduce confidence and prevent the re-emergence of this progressive nation, both in the printed media and via the state broadcasting services (all of whom who have vested interests in life remaining, with regards to sovereignty, just the way it currently is) the political parties, and the wider non-party movement for change, who will unlock the door to Independence, continue to maintain a high profile and steadily grow in popularity.

As 2018 dawns an independent citizen-focused progressive Scotland is slowly but surely re-emerging into the light, and with hard work and determination by its citizens it will undoubtedly prosper.

It is coming.

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Consider the facts

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Now, if you are someone living in Scotland whose viewpoint is straight down the line of seeing yourself as being first and foremost part of an intangible but nevertheless exceptional place called Britain the following text is not geared towards you.

It is not geared towards you because there will never be any circumstances or events impacting Scotland that will change your opinion. The British state can do anything to you, or to others ostensibly on your behalf, and you’ll accept it, taking the view that you trust what they are doing is for the best for your country, which for you is Britain.

You may consider yourself a proud Scot, a phrase repeated ad nauseam by an element of No voters in 2014 but you see Scotland as only a part of some other entity, an entity which you must think Scotland cannot thrive without. Fair enough, that’s your view. There’s no point of flogging a deed coo.

However, for everybody else who is currently not an advocate for Scotland returning to its rightful state as an independent country, those who have no strong views on the sovereignty of Scotland, those who voted No in the September 14 referendum without strong convictions, those who have not been convinced otherwise in the period since then, ladies and gentlemen please I beg your indulgence for just a few minutes.

First up, a bit of an example for you, of which there are many, of the type of behaviour demonstrated by hose who have control over decision-making for your country, for you, and for your family, the British State.

40 odd years ago vast reserves of a precious natural resource were discovered in the waters around Scotland, as were similarly found in the waters of our neighbour Norway. Norway, taking the sensible approach to this massive windfall of good fortune decided, after some thought, to greatly benefit their citizens by creating an ‘oil fund’ from the tax receipts gained from the extraction of this resource. They then used this fund to create an extensive gold star quality network of public services, a welfare system based on need, and a first class public health service facilitating a standard of living envied by other countries.

So much revenue came from this approach that Norway has enough to keep much of that money, earned from its natural resources, aside for a rainy day, when things are tight, when the world has an economic slump, they have a bit put aside to cushion the blow.

So what happened after the discovery of a vast wealth of natural resources in Scotland’s case?

Well, first of all following initial surveys establishing how much oil potentially was actually in Scotland’s waters the British State’s Westminster government rubbed their hands at the prospect of the potential tax revenue the London treasury would receive, Britain could be great again, the decline of a dying empire could be halted, or at least slowed down.

However, as is their way, self protection being paramount at all times, which is how they have survived for so long, they considered the consequences of the people of Scotland finding out that they were sitting on a lottery win beyond their wildest dreams, and they panicked. Would Scotland take the opportunity to break away from the entangled web of Union now that there future prosperity was assured?

With this fear uppermost in their minds the cabinet ministers of the British government then made a conscious decision to throw a veil of secrecy over the facts, to hide the extent of the oil reserves in Scotland’s water from the people of Scotland, a deception which continued for 30 odd years.

If you think what I am writing is fabricated or some sort of conspiracy theory please google ‘The McCrone Report.”

Professor Gavin McCrone at that time was a highly respected UK government economist who wrote a paper about the consequences of Scotland’s extensive reserves of oil . He deduced in his paper that if the people of Scotland had access to the financial benefits of their own natural resource Scotland would be one of the richest countries in the world. His work was buried, stamped confidential for many years, and only saw the light of day after a concerted freedom of information campaign by Scottish politicians. Look it up. Please do.

So what did the government of the UK from London do with all of the money they gained from the tax receipts from the oil found in Scotland’s waters?

The vast amount of revenue gained from tax receipts from oil found in Scotland’s waters was spent financing Margaret Thatcher and her successors golden age of Britain. It built the M25, Canary Wharf, the Channel Tunnel, it financed weapons of mass destruction, it provided the financing that bailed out high risk failures in the City. It ironically paid the unemployment benefits of the vast number of Scots Thatcher’s withering policies put out of work.

The Unionist backed media, (let’s not beat about the bush here, the BBC is an arm of the British State, it is not impartial, it is not providing you with a fair reflection of events, it’s telling you what you need to hear from the perspective of protecting it’s patron. If you don’t believe that go and look up how the BBC World Service is funded, up until 2014 it was directly funded by the Foreign Office in the form of grants) will tell you that according to reports like GERS Scotland is poor and couldn’t possibly survive financially, meanwhile in reality before the oil price dropped, which is now coming back up again, Scotland per head of population contributed each year for several decades to the Exchequer in London far in excess of the monies returned to Scotland to pay for essential public services by way of the block grants Westminster decides Scotland should have.

You have helped keep the rest of the UK afloat for decades, yet as long as the newspapers, who are all owned by individuals or organisations who stand to lose out if Scotland becomes independent, and the unionist broadcast media, tell you that Scotland is the only country in the world who couldn’t possibly govern itself you seem to believe them. Now that the oil price is back on the rise they’ll be telling us it’s running out again, even though we hear pretty regularly about new fields opening up.

Please, I implore you, take a step back, have a think about all of that. Do your own research. Be informed.

That’s a wee insight into the kind of people we are dealing with, who are not interested in yours or my views. They only see Scotland as something they can milk, exploit and take advantage of.

Ok, so you don’t believe that they are not interested in your views? Let’s look at that.

In 2014, when they feared the worst, that the people of Scotland would in fact take control of their own affairs, they promised you the earth. We love you Scotland, don’t leave us, we need you to stay, we need you to lead, Cameron and his cohort said. We’re a family of nations, they said. They promised Devo Max, control of just about every power under the sun apart from foreign affairs and defence. They made Vows, they pleaded with you. You don’t need independence they said, what we’ll give you will be virtually independence, in fact it will be better because you’ll still have the Union.

On the morning after you voted No things changed dramatically. The trap had been sprung. You were invisible again. Suddenly all the rhetoric was about England. Scotland had caved in so they didn’t need to bother about convincing you anymore. It was a day of English Votes for English Laws initiating a clear attempt to change the goalposts so that Scotland could never be so close to so much power ever again, even to the extent that a Scottish politician will never again be Prime Minister.

By voting No you sent Westminster a clear signal that Scotland has no respect for itself therefore it can just be walked all over. The British State only understands power. How do you think they managed to manipulate a quarter of the planet for so long?

Every promise they made you before 18th September 2014 was backtracked on, wormed out of, and diluted, resulting in the farcical half-soaked Smith Commission giving Scotland control over the colour of its signposts, and very little else.Even now, three years later, the Scottish Government has control of only 15% of the public revenue and expenditure of the economy of Scotland. Westminster firmly retains the economic levers of control.

There was, of course, a backlash to all of this dishonesty. In the subsequent General Election the people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly to send 56 of a possible 59 members of parliament representing Scottish constituencies to Westminster from the party which advocates self-government for Scotland.

The UK government had one, yes one, representative in Scotland, at that time, an odious fellow who has admitted that he does not represent Scotland in Westminster’s government, instead he represents Westminster to the people of Scotland. He also insists that Scotland doesn’t actually exist as a country since it was swallowed up as part of the Act of Union.

He’s still the Secretary of State for Scotland now in 2017 despite having to backtrack on so many promises that he’s made in the past. He has a solid brass neck. Have no doubt, the man in question does not have the interests of the majority of the people of Scotland as his prime motivator. His career prospects and ermine cloaked pension plan are his guiding lights.

This one-off electoral political landslide was subsequently rebalanced following the London Premier Theresa May’s ill- judged snap General Election of this year which resulted in her government losing its majority, and having to scramble around and pay off Northern Irish unionists to support them in parliament.

However in Scotland Unionist parties worked together during the election (hell take you Labour) with no policy agenda other than to stop a second independence referendum, convincing some of an electorate scunnered with elections and referendums to oust some notable scalps from the SNP, who now have 35 seats, still a massive increase on any other period before 2015, and still reflecting the clear majority of Scottish MP’s at Westminster in favour of Scottish independence.

Yet they continue to be ignored and scorned. The individuals you have chosen to express your opinions, and champion your views, you the people of Scotland, are insulted. The very mention of St Andrews Day by a Scottish MP resulted in boos and hissing from the childish privileged public school educated benches across the floor.

The referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union is a prime example of the people of Scotland being ignored, invisible, of no consequence or relevance, (unless they are threatening to leave the Union) to the decision-making of the British State.

Facilitated by the Tories, in an effort to pander to the far right UKIP faction of Nigel Farage and Co, the modern day equivalent of the BNP, near fascist in their hatred of immigrants, and paranoid about the UK’s European partners, the EU referendum resulted in Scotland voting overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union by 62% to 38% , England and Wales voted to leave.

It would be reasonable then to assume that democratically the people of Scotland should have a say in whether they should remain as part of a trading bloc of 500 million potential customers for Scotland’s goods and services.

No, Theresa May’s UK government has ignored any attempts for this to happen. The Scottish First Minister, after much consultation with European partners and experts in the field, produced a document outlining ways in which firstly the UK itself could escape the ravages of a “hard” Brexit”(leaving the single market and the common justice agreement), and secondly, if the UK didn’t want that, proposals to protect Scotland’s place in Europe, which Scotland’s people have voted resoundingly for. That document is now sitting under a table leg in Downing Street stopping Brexit Minister David Davis’s desk from wobbling.

This same man has admitted recently to a parliamentary select committee that all the preparatory work for Britain’s exit from the EU, analysis reports into the economic impacts on sectors of the UK economy, work that he has previously advised was happening, is in fact false. These reports do not exist. There is an arrogant madness about British State attitudes to foreign relations in the year 2017 which defies credibility.

Scotland stands to lose up to 80,000 jobs as a direct consequence of a ‘hard’ Brexit. No matter you didn’t vote for it, you don’t count, you have no say.

It’s all about immigration. The British government would rather sacrifice their economy than agree to the free movement of foreigners in the UK. They are even now backtracking on the begrudged verbal ‘ gentlemen’s agreement’ made recently on the movement of EU citizens in the U.K which EU negotiators squeezed out of them with their backs to the wall and the clock running out.

Scotland, with an increasingly ageing population, relies on EU citizens coming to live, work and pay taxes in Scotland to help pay for its public services. It needs at least 25,000 immigrants a year to settle and work just to remain economically stable. No matter, you don’t count, you have no say. Don’t worry though, you can have a blue passport.

Why bother, I hear you say, they are all just the same, politicians are only in it for themselves.

You could be living in a country right now where an Independent Labour Party with real Labour values, not the current plastic socialists of Westminster, and Holyrood , are vying with the Greens, the SNP, whatever the SNP becomes after achieving its goal, and a de-Unionised Scottish Conservatives in an independent Scotland, for your vote, by putting forward policies that benefit you, your families, and future generations of Scots. not London and the home counties, not a government who knows you don’t vote for them, which has no need to ever keep any promises to you, or even consider you because arithmetically you literally don’t count, not a government that sees you as a non-entity.

A second independence referendum is coming, the polls are remaining consistent, have no doubt, and when it does it is not the SNP’s referendum, or Nicola Sturgeon’s referendum. It is not about political parties, it is your referendum. It’s your future, it’s your children’s future.

If you’ve got this far sincere thanks for taking the time to read this. Please consider the facts. Please do your own research. Please look for balance, don’t just accept what you are told.

Scotland will only really prosper as an independent country, where those you place in charge of government are answerable to you.

Otherwise you may as well just build another royal yacht.

Land of Hope and Glory?

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Aye, so there we have it. The UK is going to shite in a leaky aircraft carrier.

Record numbers of human beings, like us, you know, the ones with blood flowing through their veins, the ones with emotions, not the viciously demonised caricatures of the Daily Mail, almost 100% of them with love and caring for others as prime motivators to their existence, just like the rest of us, many of them hurting, hurting badly, scarred emotionally or physically, most not through any fault, perceived or otherwise, of their own, are homeless or relying on charity to put some nourishment in their bellies, and the bellies of their children.

The Trussell Trust are supplying record breaking three-day food supplies to desperate families and individuals existing in chronic poverty. Year on year the opening of Foodbanks around the country is spreading alarmingly like an Asian flu. GP’s are finding patients presenting with malnutrition and diseases which were previously found on old empire’s ships in the days when Irish, or Scottish, Gaelic voices could be heard mournfully wailing on the way to a penal colony for the crime of letting their children eat their employers crops.

But have no fear. Put such things out of your mind. Your caring government is giving you a blue passport.

A symbol of the new Britain. A symbol of exactly why Scotland must go its own way.

The ineffectual and in name only Prime Minister of a country, like a fat and 55 year old pop star trying to fit into the jeans he wore when he was 20, determined to relive its glory years, Theresa May, describes the introduction of the blue passport, post-Brexit, as “an expression of our independence and sovereignty – symbolising our citizenship of a proud, great nation”.

A blue passport that signifies that from now on you live in a country that isn’t part of the biggest free trading bloc in the world,a blue passport that tells you that you can’t move amongst the countries who are still in this bloc in an unrestricted way like you used to, or easily work in them.

This earth shattering glorious announcement has seen the likes of Nigel Farage, the far-right Brexiteering lizard in a pinstripe suit, whip himself up into a Land of Hope and Glory frenzy of ecstasy and jingoism, a horrible sight to see, in a horrid individual.

Run Scotland, pleease run quickly. Don’t look back. The UK’s small man syndrome complex of the last 60 years (a flicker of hope for a return to greatness being kept faintly alive during that time by the leasing of weapons of mass murder from a superpower happy for the strategic position this gave them) is coming to an end.

The delusional quest for world status and glory is returning. The British state has forgotten that the world eventually cottoned-on to the fact that the phrase ‘benevolent mother country’ are just other words for cheating, resource and asset stealing, division-creating, overbearing bastards.

I’ve got news for them. Former colonies and others around the world aren’t going to let them rob them twice.

Blue passports! They’ll be digging up the bones of Nasser next, carrying them to the UN General Assembly chamber and claiming that they should get another go at the Suez Crisis, best of three perhaps?

Nicola Sturgeon summed it up well yesterday when she tweeted, in response to the blue passport farce “Never has ‘stop the world, Scotland wants to get on’ felt more relevant”.

The First Minister of Scotland is entirely correct, and it’s time more of our country-folk recognised that.

The cracks are widening

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It was a long time in coming. Theresa the Strong, Stable and Bewildered deeply regrets having to do it, he’s apologised for having to take the trouble to make an apology, and the inconvenience of having to leave his position as putative deputy Prime Minister, and the two ex-polis who spotted a cache of durty pictures on the works laptop are no doubt heading for a bleaching for exposing the story to the light of day. Just another humdrum day down Westminster way.

In previous times this sort of political mayhem would have run for weeks in the media. These days, not so much. In fact we’ll be back on to what make of designer shoes wee Meghan will be wearing when devouring the fish course, whilst sitting at a table the length of an Olympic size swimming pool with a family of dull multi- millionaires deeply steeped in a flawed and somewhat muddied sense of duty and entitlement who are due for a public purse pay rise of some note again next year, in no time at all.

Fallon’s away, Patel is away, Green is away. None of them really showing any actual regret for the actions that generated them having to be Joe the toff, all only displaying annoyance at having their careers curtailed or setback a couple of years.

Welcome to the British nationalist state of late 2017.

Meanwhile, their former colleague, the man who can get British nationals in foreign countries, mothers of small children, locked up and the key thrown away just by a flick of his eyebrow, a man so inept, so not on top of his job remit that to allow him to speak to the media or any member of a foreign government about almost anything has a firm of Tory risk management consultants fleeing for their Canary Wharf window ledges, just proceeds happily along in his bumbling bumptious way.

If there are jokes to be made about dead bodies from horrific armed conflicts he’ll seek them out, if there are ways to compare the EU to Hitler he’ll find them. He symbolises what the former empire has become, a very cheap parody of itself.

Scotland has a chance to be different, to be the country we always wanted it to be. Deferential or obsequious to no one, respectful and welcoming to everyone.

An independent Scotland, in control of its own destiny, inclusive, citizen-centred, focused on leaving no one behind. A country unencumbered by those who have taken advantage of us, our innovation, our skills, our resources, our assets, our land, our sea, our geographic strategic position, for their aims, their gain, only. Those who will continue to do so as long as the majority of our people allow them to.

We’ve got to keep at it. The cracks in the Union are widening. We will prevail.

The reality of ‘Blood and soil’

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I read former Tory MSP, Thatcherite, ex PR man for Michael Forsyth, and keen raving Brexiteer Brian Monteith’s latest effort in that bastion of unionism ‘The Hootsmon’ with more than a smidgeon of teeth-grinding incredulity. In fact if anyone wants to dig a trench the length of the Saltire Bridge I’ll gladly give you enough shovelfuls of skepticism back about Monteith’s rambling considerations that you’d be able to fill the thing back up again.

Monteith asserts in his opinion piece that SNP ministers have their hands in Scotsman readers, and presumably everybody else’s, wallets, a headline which is the predictable outcome of someone who holds his opinions opening his gub and letting his belly rumble.

Oh woe that some people in Scotland who earn more than the majority are going to pay a wee bit, with the emphasis on ‘wee’, extra in their taxes to help fund vital public services. Social responsibility? That’s for mugs and socialists. The SNP will squander your contributions. The stifled disgruntled ”wealth creators’ won’t be able to trickle down, there will just be the very occasional dreep, which is very bad, and will destroy the dangerously rocky Scottish economy totally.

Yawn. Heard it, we all have, many many times. No, that’s not the part of the article that caught my attention. The tax question is secondary.

It is very clear from his writing that Monteith hates the SNP with an unhealthy passion. His accusations that this political party, and by association, anyone who believes in Scotland returning to its rightful position as an independent state, are blood and soil nationalists, are simply untrue.

I know many people who are members of the SNP, I know many more who are not members of a political party or SNP voters who support independence for Scotland. Amongst all of these people I know no one who considers Scots born in Scotland to be better than anyone else, I know no one who considers anyone originally from elsewhere in the world who chooses to make a life for themselves in Scotland as any less Scottish than any other Scots.

Monteith suggests that ‘As long as the SNP has existed Westminster-a dog whistle for England-has been blamed for everything and anything”.

There we have it. The old simplistic howl at the moon Scottish nats hate English people drivel once again. This type of vile division-mongering is as nasty as it is worn out and insipid.

He suggests that the Scottish government is trying to cleanse Scottish state institutions of sentimental attachments to Britishness, to ramp up differentiation, to accentuate the differences between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

What is this Britishness that he writes about? Is it the Britishness of 19 September 2014, when hundreds of rightwing thugs gave nazi salutes whilst waving union flags and singing ‘God save the Queen” in George Square?

Is it the Britishness of a horrible extremist ingratiated into mainstream politics and BBC political shows, a man with a clear belief in British exceptionalism, having his photo taken in front of a huge poster of lines of hungry refugees fleeing wars in which British forces are party to dropping bombs on their cities or selling guided missiles to others that do, the poster suggesting Britain is full up, and doesn’t care?

Is it the Britishness where hard on the heels of the Brexit result a Polish social club in London frequented by relatives of those who defended Britain’s shores and skies in WW2 was vandalised and daubed in racist graffiti? Is it that kind of Britishness he means?

These examples of Britishness and many more that we could all point at are the actual blood and soil nationalism that exists in the United Kingdom, and they are not anything to do with a movement or a political party that only wishes one thing, the ability to be like any other country in the world and govern itself.

Going our separate ways

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So there we have it. The Scottish Government draft budget for 2018/19 is out of the bag, there for all to see, and as a consequence surprisingly a meteor the size of Arthur’s Seat hasn’t smashed into a bus stop in Govanhill causing a second ice age and the extinction of life as we know it.

We had the usual run up in the media to any Scottish Government announcement relating to finance, a few days of headlines about black holes in the budget and huge tax rises making Scotland the most expensive place to live in the UK, and the timeless classic about how a tax hike will cause a mass exodus south of the ‘wealth creators’ whose wealth creation we all apparently benefit from greatly through the ‘trickle down’ economy, which is complete shite (just like the very notion of a trickle down economy).

Yet more unadulterated and unbridled unionist propaganda. All stuff we’ve heard before, all stuff we’ll continue to hear ad nauseam.

Then, come the day and come the hour wee Derek Mackay, our man in Edinburgh in charge of the team wae the calculator that works (David Davis’s Brexit impact analysis report team in London are too busy playing three-card-brag to notice that their calculator hasn’t got a battery in it) takes to his feet, and…………..

…strikes dumb the moaning-faced detractors by detailing Scotland’s plans to become overall the lowest taxed part of the current fragile UK.

Remarkably, this the Scottish Government will do whilst still retaining, and indeed strengthening with increased investment, their social contract with the people of Scotland in healthcare, childcare, education, continued free tertiary studies and prescriptions, care for the elderly and a responsible citizen-centred system of social security, with the core values of dignity and respect.

Importantly in terms of the journey to self-determination, money has also been found, £340 million, to invest in the recently announced Scottish National Investment Bank (a real commitment) an institution which will have a big part to play in the promotion of economic growth once Scotland returns to its independent status.

Added to this Mackay’s budget lifts the lid off, for Scotland only, the London Tory austerity imposed public sector 1% pay cap.

Ladies and gentlemen despite what your TV, radio and newspapers tell you, or neglect to tell you today,and over the next couple of days, this is a good thing. It might even be described as a rare event, in the eyes of unionist commentators, an SNPGood story.

Sure, some higher and middle earners will pay marginally more.

With regards to the big earners surely the serial naysayers can’t possibly think that we would believe their scare stories of exodus (in the order of magnitude of the great ‘nameplate change’ saga of Autumn 2014, a traffic jam of those high-tailing it down the M74 for the border, when Nessie happened to fall off a Stobart truck that she was leaving on , causing an HGV loaded with filled safes and security boxes removed from the RBS Headquarters heading to a new HQ in Sidcup to crash and block the motorway)?

Do they really think that someone with an income of £150k plus, and the lifestyle that this would afford them living in Scotland would up-sticks, leave a good job or shut a business, leave family and friends, and head for Croydon on the basis that they pay £ 1,774 more tax in Scotland than they would in England? Not a fecking chance.

Those earning £40k will pay £140 more than they would down south, the same goes for them.

On the whole around 1.4 million taxpayers in Scotland will be better off as a result of this budget and 800 thousand, mainly the Scots who are more equipped financially to absorb increased liability, will be slightly worse off.

The Scottish Tories, once they’d managed to recover from being struck dumb, in the shape of yon clown who tweets about imaginary booing at fitbaw matches, a man who should really just hit himself between the een with a shovel every week rather than getting Nicola Sturgeon to do it for him when he asks her another puerile question, reckons this budget will stifle ambition, no one will strive to be successful or earn more, he whines.

Planet Unionism at its best. He lives in a red, white and blue haze. No matter that the majority will be better off. He’s not interested in that. In his mind there is the Tory way of perpetual austerity for us, that majority, and a pecking order striving to be the increasingly wealthy, for them.

We are there to serve them and apart from that neither the twain shall meet, just keep contributing and giving your assets to London please Scotland.

On the other end of the couch the new kid on the block, the increasingly shouty Tricky Dicky Leonard, who by one account at one point during the budget debate was pogoing on the spot like a 1977 teenager at a Pistols gig desperate for a pee, reckons the SNP are not going far enough with progressive policies. He feels that Holyrood has gone backwards since his plastic socialist forty-faced trough-swilling unionist colleagues lost power. The sheer hypocrisy of the man stinks worse than any pee could.

The important and satisfying message we,the many thousands of advocates for an independent Scotland, should take from yesterday’s budget is that yet again Scotland’s government has taken steps to diverge from the union, to step away from London’s policies,to take a separate path. Incrementally day by day, hour by hour, Scotland is resurfacing from a deep dark pond, once again as an entirely separate entity to its neighbour to the south, able to govern itself, manage its own affairs and look after its people without outside hindrance. That is the direction of travel folks.

That is where we inevitably are going. It is only a matter of time.

Say whatever you like

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Has it really reached a point where British government politicians, safely cushioned by their media-owning pals, can actually just say what they like with impunity?

None of us mortals gives a shyte (They hope). The Great British D-list celebrity ballroom dancing and cake baking, whilst wearing a blindfold and eating a dead blue tail lizard’s scrotum in a jungle surrounded by chuckling Geordie hobgoblins competition is on the telly. Oh look, a royal wedding!

The sweatiest man in politics, the British state’s Brexit Minister David Davis, only days after (in desperation) agreeing to almost anything the negotiating team from the EU wanted with regards to the island of Ireland, the settling of outstanding financial commitments and the treatment of EU citizens resident in the U.K after Brexit, so as to ensure that Theresa May can say that progress to phase 2 of negotiations has been made, and that she’s quite optimistic (heaven help us), has this week in various public statements effectively turned and faced mainland Europe with a middle digit in the air, shouting ” Na Na, I was only kidding, it was a statement of intent, not a legally binding agreement”.

The auld saying about the sun never setting on the British Empire (because you cant trust them in the dark) obviously applies in the 21st century, as well as the previous three.

After all of these tedious months of evasion, deception and confusion surrounding the brains-trust representing the UK in its negotiations with Europe Messrs Barnier, Verhofstadt and others in Brussels must really be seriously wondering what the London government’s endgame is, or if the London government actually knows itself what it’s endgame is. This does not bode well.

And only days after the same bloke admitted to a Commons select committee that the output of the really busy work his department is doing on his government’s behalf, the compilation of 58 comprehensive sectoral analysis reports of all the economic areas where the UK will be impacted by Brexit, reports that he has been quoted as referencing officially several times, don’t actually exist. They never existed. They haven’t done the work. His department staff it seems are spot-on at Pool, Darts. Three-card-brag, Trivial pursuit and Grand Theft Auto, but critical and vital economic analysis? Not so much.

I suppose what makes it worse, and more worrying, from a Scottish perspective is that for the last few months our very own Secretary of State for the Protection of the British State from Scotland, Lord Fluffy-in-waiting, has been telling everybody who would listen (the Myanmarese are getting as scunnered wae him now as the rest of us) that the various expected significant impacts of Brexit as they relate to the specifics of Scotland’s economy have been fully taken into account in those 58 reports that don’t exist.

Better Together? Cmon Scotland, we are much smarter than that.

A Christmas tale

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It was a bitterly cold night, a light fluttering of snow dropped quietly in the darkness, the sky heavy and vaguely orange in hue as the angry-faced man lifted the collar of his expensive overcoat up around his neck and hurried off towards his publicly subsidised comfortable accomodation, the workings of protecting government over.

The cold within him pinched his fizzer like he’d just bitten into a particularly sour pickled onion, his beady little eyes red, behind his glasses, his thin lips screwed up in disgust like he’d just passed a fellow Scotsman wearing a Yes lapel badge, he scuttled along the busy thoroughfare towards home.

Ebenezer Bundell, the Secretary of State for the protection of the British State from Scotland (a title usually just referred to as ERMINE CHASER) despised Christmas.

A time of the year when the poor demanded even more attention than usual, a time when his departmental staff insisted on leaving him to cut up copies of ‘Scotland’s Place in Europe’ into toilet paper sized chunks on his own, whilst they selfishly sloped off home to try and inject some cheer into their miserable little lives.

He’d dock their wages if he could. They should be at their workstations, plotting, strategising, spinning bad news media releases about the Edinburgh government, and writing good news stories about how his government are continually rescuing Scotland from itself, like every other day of the year.

‘Humbug’ thought Ebenezer, “What if those fanatical nats sneak out a policy to further increase free childcare or something to cushion the blow of our glorious austerity whilst those lazy functionaries are all stuffing their faces with scrawny turkeys? How will we be able to work up a damning response for the media?”

Just at that moment a tall lady and an older man dressed for winter, both wearing lanyards and ID badges advising anyone who was interested that they were registered collectors for a well known charity organisation, stepped out from under a street lamp and into his path on the busy street.

“Hi there. Would you like to help those not as fortunate as us? It’s for a very good cause. Help provide food, a warm bed and shelter for someone who needs it. What do you say? ”

“Charity you say? Humbug! They’ve got their cigarettes, their cheap booze, their satellite TV, and they keep having children when they can’t afford them. Why should I pay for them with my hard earned money? Get out of my way. Aren’t there Foodbanks these wasters can go to? I opened one of those once, luckily I managed to dive out of the emergency exit when the riff raff outside weren’t looking. Spongers, they are all just spongers . You give them something and they’ll just want more.”

“Here, aren’t you on the telly?Something to do with the government?” said the man. “I’m sure I’ve seen you somewhere before.”

Ebenezer, taken aback, responded ” No, you are mistaken. I work for large financial institutions in the city, and some of the bigger corporations. Be about your business, and try and find something more profitable to do with your time than bothering me for money and feeding scroungers.”

With that he scuttled the last few yards into the foyer of his concierge-serviced apartment block.

“Good evening Mr Bundell” said the pleasant-faced soft-spoken lady, originally from the Polish port city of Gdansk, who was on duty at the the service desk, as he entered the foyer, Bogdana Kratchet.

Bogdana had been supposed to go off duty, handing over to the night porter an hour before, but the porter hadn’t turned up.

Her son,Tymoteusz, a sufferer of a childhood bone disorder in his legs which resulted in him only being able to walk with the aid of expensive, specially made leg braces which he was growing out of, awaited her at home. She had promised to watch the advertised movie ‘Polar Express’ with him on the tiny portable TV in their bedsit but that promise had now been broken.

“Good? Good? What’s good about it? ” mumbled the grumpy miserable man with the faint hint of ginger in his hair and beard, as he brushed flakes of snow from his jacket and walked past the concierge without as much as glancing at her, into the spotless sanitised lift to his fifteenth floor lair, and the view over his beloved London and the distant Palace of Westminster that it’s panoramic window affords.

Pressing the button to ascend, Ebenezer leant back against the spotless mirrored glass and closed his eyes for a second.

” Thump” the lift, usually a very smooth ride, came to a sudden disconcerting stop. There was a crunch of metal on metal and the whole lift shuddered slightly from side to side.

‘What now?”thought Ebenezer, as the overhead light started to flicker and went out, leaving him in the strange blue and white dim glow of the auxiliary lights along the floor of the lift carriage.

Although the building was temperature controlled Ebenezer felt a sudden cold draught on the back of his neck. There was a strange faint odour, kind of like the smell of wet Highland cattle, wafting around the lift.

There was a piercing scream. Ebenezer, having pressed the lift door button several times to no avail, took fright and dived at the doors, scratching feverishly with his fingers to try and break open the solid silver sliding panels. They were locked tight, solid.

Suddenly the blue and white lights around his feet started to flash intermittently forming the outline of a Scottish saltire.

He thought he could hear moaning, whispering, the sounds of unresolved constipation in the distance. It was all in his imagination he rationalised. Perhaps a fever brought on by a poorly digested mouthful of pate de foie gras, he’d eaten some earlier at the Knightsbridge restaurant he’d dined in. It’ll pass. Just give it a moment, he thought.

Just then the loud drone of bagpipes startled him. He let out a scream. It was a pipe tune he recognised from a movie he’d seen, a tune which honoured the ultimate sacrifice of Scots in foreign fields who stood their ground, who did their duty, for their country, a lament called ‘Sgt.McKenzie’.

In front of him a shimmering light appeared. A shape started to take form. A skinny, pale-skinned balding man with a slight five o clock shadow, thin lips, awkwardly wearing Highland dress, his figure that of the kind which grandmothers used to describe as not having the arse for a kilt, took form and faced him in the light of the blue and white saltire.

“Beware Ebenezer, repent, you must change your ways!” cried the figure, in a desperate tone.

“Snarley? Baron Snarley of Dumbean, is that you, Michael, is it really you?” said the now crouching Bundell.

“It is I, yes. I am the spirit of the golden boy, the beloved acolyte of the Iron Demon, the former incumbent of the sacred position which you now hold, the destroyer of Scottish self-confidence, the hexer of anything innovative that ever came from there, the humiliator and demoniser of the poverty stricken, the hungry, and the under-privileged. The promoter of cringe. It is me” said the oily beady-eyed creature.

“But you’re not dead. I caught a glimpse of you just the others day sidling into the Lords chamber in your beautiful ermine cloak, when I was hanging around there trying to get noticed.”

” No, true, I haven’t parted this mortal life, but every night when I sleep, if I can get to sleep that is, my dream spirit takes on human form and wanders the earth. I am damned for my arrogance and avarice, chained to this rock, the weight of which jars and tears my bones and skin as I drag myself along in agony. ”

At that Ebenezer noticed for the first time that the eerie figure was covered in heavy chains which were attached to what looked like an exact copy of the stone sacred to Scotland, the Stone of Destiny,once repatriated by students, and then eventually transported north officially, the awake version of Snarley having had his photograph taken with it several times, and in several places, on its journey.

“Humbug! You are a figment of my mind, a manifestation of a gin and tonic too many. Perhaps I’m working too hard. Maybe I should cut down the trips to Myanmar and South America to makes speeches about how bad things are in Scotland? Yes, that’ll be it, a touch of jet lag. Be gone spirit!”

At this the spirit became angry. “Enough! Enough Ebenezer. I am here to warn you to mend your ways. Don’t be like me. You can still be saved. You will be visited by three spirits, of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christm…..”

Ebenezer Bundell shook his miserable head, and turning towards the spirit said ” Can I stop you right there. I like things just the way they are thank you very much.Come up to my apartment for a snifter and I’ll show you my dossier on how we’re going to convince the peasants via the media that they are getting some returned powers from Europe, and I’ll let you see the strategy plan we’re going to use to nobble the rest of their renewable energy schemes. I think you’ll like that.”

With that the ferret-faced spirit grasped at what was left of its hair, let out a loud desperate sigh,and faded into the blue light. It’s last conscious thought for the night involved wondering whether the next recipient of one of it’s visitations really would have a Challenger Tank parked outside her house.

Missing an opportunity

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I wrote the other day about a point I’m going to labour, after reading a summing up piece of 2017 by Robin McAlpine, a leading player in the 2014 Yes movement, an individual whose work I admire.

Robin’s comments in his article set some alarm bells ringing and effectively gives me the impression that three years after the first go at seeking the people of Scotland’s views on their constitutional status, we, the many committed advocates for an independent Scotland, are still nowhere near establishing an official professionally run organisation which represents, promotes and supports the views of what polls consistently tell us is around 45-47% of voters in Scotland.

We’ve got theatre sized talking shops, we’ve got the results of focus groups, we’ve got analyses of market survey responses, we’ve got hardworking and committed individuals wandering the length and breadth of the country trying to canvas the views of the many grassroots groups, we have the political party of Scottish government, the party which will effectively open the gate for Scotland to return to its rightful state as an independent nation, creating a Growth Commission, looking at currency, the economics and potential of Scottish self-government, the results of which are to be made public shortly, we have a newspaper, we have social media, we have our local groups and, as individuals, we are many thousands, but we don’t have an ongoing public face.

Robin McAlpine suggests that the results of focus group work, seeing ourselves as others see us, tells him that others don’t actually see us, they think we went away in 2014. As far as our fellow Scots are concerned we have no identity, they don’t understand our aims.

I would suggest that before we can get anywhere near thinking about pushing for a second ballot of the people of Scotland’s views, disastrous Brexit implosion occurring or otherwise, we must first imbed what we stand for into public consciousness in Scotland.

I thought that was where we were going, having listened patiently to a stream of indy identities hinting, suggesting, nod-nod, wink-winking, it’s coming, an official non-party affiliated Yes organisation just round the next corner, launch coming soon, oh, and it will be much more in tune with the grassroots groups than the one that disappeared almost overnight in late September 2014.

Reading McAlpine’s article I am frustrated(not with him specifically) at what seems to be evidence of a clear lack of unity (it must be that, what else could it be) amongst our self appointed leaders, the visionaries, the intelligentsia, the internal battlers, the trendy leftists, the cursers of three hundred odd year auld receivers of debt relief and bribes, vying for a lofty position in some sort of pecking order in a movement that apparently the world around us doesn’t even know exists.

Then again maybe it’s not that. Maybe it’s simply the case that none of them wants to risk it, to stand up and take the reins and be seen as the figurehead, a leader of a movement with a clear moral imperative.

I am angry at the propensity of these people to spend the best part of the last three years telling us that something is going to happen which doesn’t, selling hope. We have wasted that time, time where more of our fellow Scots could have been absorbing another view to the too wee, too poor, too reliant bullshyte they are fed on a daily basis, opening their eyes to the real potential, the real opportunities there are for a better Scotland.

When the purveyors of the daily diet of British media bollox spin a yarn which requires rebuttal how much more effective could a fact based response from an offical respected entity which represents our views be, not connected to the media institutionally demonised “Mr recognised expert I’ve got to ask, are you a member of the SNP?”

My last post on the subject resulted in comments coming back that it’s too early for such an organisation to be established, we’re biding our time, and one or two suggesting that the massed ranks of Yes supporters are poised, ready to spring into action at the right time to work towards convincing our country folk that independence is for them.

Really? I think we’re wasting a great opportunity to pave the way.

Has someone put the Yes Campaign into reverse?

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Reading Robin McAlpine’s piece yesterday on CommonSpace entitled “I refuse to go out of 2017 in misery…” I sense a disappointing and worrying change.

I’m an admirer of Robin’s thinking and writing, and in particular his usual highly infectious enthusiasm. In fact his work and vision of what a future Scotland could be like was one of the motivators that kept me personally driven towards continuing to promote the idea of an independent Scotland after September 2014.

However (there’s always a however) he gives me the impression from reading this article that he is more than a wee bit puffed oot and most definitely scunnered, temporarily I hope. He’s covered many miles. I’m surprised he isn’t burnt out.

As a critical friend of the SNP he gives his views, his opinions, on where he sees they have missed or failed to take advantage of opportunities and where he thinks they have shown good judgement or been progressive in their policies. The prospects for a Scottish National investment Bank being an example of a plus, hanging heavy hopes on Brexit to kick start a second referendum being an example of a minus, in his view. That’s fine, that’s what he does, that’s what he’s been doing for a while, that’s his honest opinion, and should be taken in that spirit. It’s not that part of the article which concerns me.

Robin writes about his experiences reading the impressions ordinary non-politically minded folk in controlled focus groups have of us, the wide independence movement, and suggests that to them we have gone away, we lost, we packed up and went home. They don’t have any sense of who, why and what we are engaged in. We haven’t been convincing in defining an identity for ourselves.

He goes on to mention the issue of leadership, which we still don’t have, despite hints, whispers and promises being made and aired regularly in the indy world, we are still largely making do for ourselves.

His reference to the Scottish Independence Convention having “at least tried to keep things alive, inject some momentum and do some pieces of important work ” sets the alarm bells ringing loudly for me.

They’ve at least tried to keep things alive? Eh? Seriously?

It gets worse. Robin tells us “I think that there is a good chance a proper, effective, non-party campaigning organisation for Scottish independence might be set up. We really, really need it.”

A good chance? Might? Have I missed something? Has someone pressed a button putting the momentum of the direction of flow of the journey to independence into reverse gear?

For long enough now I, and am sure very many of us, have been under the impression that somebody somewhere has the construction of an organisation, possibly called the official Yes 2 Campaign, in hand. Somebody has a plan, has a funding structure worked out, has a worked through strategy, which we will only be too pleased to put our hands in our pockets to contribute what we can to, as long as we know there is a structure to what it is we are forking out for. We’ve been led to believe someone is working quietly in the background on the basics of a workable structure of an organisation that will act as a central hub for the grassroots groups and individuals, educating, providing communication tools and canvassing materials, rebutting unionist misrepresentation of facts and prevarication.

Is that impression incorrect? Is all of the ‘just wait, it’s coming, we’re on it, it’ll be launched soon,’ all of that, by some of the notable figures in indy circles, has it all just been wind and pish?

Is Robin suggesting, with the information an immersed insider must have, information we undoubtedly don’t have, that after all of this time, since 2014, since we came to the conclusion that it wasn’t over, since we decided that we were staying right where we were, that we were going to build to win, are we still no further forward in founding an offical all party, and no-party-affiliation organisation which represents the views of what surveys tell us is still around half of the population of Scotland? (Thankfully, and perhaps remarkably we are not going away, despite this lack of direction.)

Is that the way it is? Is that where we are 3 years after 45% of Scots we’re convinced, against all the odds, against all of the forces put up to stop them, to vote for self government?

Will somebody please, for the love of goodness step forward and start a process which will create an organisation that facilitates the return to independence.

We need an ongoing professional symbol of our movement, with a highly visible profile which clearly defines that identity those focus groups and everybody else can’t see, and we need it yesterday, future referendum date set or not.

If it’s about personalities get over yourselves and get on with it.