The manifesto! cards on the table

I have constantly put forward a solution and included it in several letters I have sent to Nicola Sturgeon. It is in two parts. My first option would be for all the pro-independence parties to simply offer a manifesto giving independence as a first option. Then if there is a simple majority in the forthcoming […]


I have constantly put forward a solution and included it in several letters I have sent to Nicola Sturgeon.

It is in two parts. My first option would be for all the pro-independence parties to simply offer a manifesto giving independence as a first option. Then if there is a simple majority in the forthcoming elections then in effect we are independent and can then carry out a general election for Scotland and negotiate a settlement of assets with the rump UK.

That is not going to happen because of the SNP’s mistaken position of having to govern for all. So that brings me to my second choice of a solution. The SNP put an intention to wrest control of the powers contained in section 30 from Westminster to Hollyrood. Now if there is a majority for this then Westminster should concede to the democratic will of the Scottish people, but they won’t. We can then hold a referendum. Now because of the fact that Westminster would attempt to say that it was only advisory, they would hardly be in a position to attempt to mount a campaign for a no vote (which according to the UN is exactly how it should be with the host country not participating or trying to influence a campaign for independence,unlike the last time). We would win that referendum and could then either simply declare independence or we could go to the UN and the EU for support.

I await sight of the SNP manifesto on Tuesday but I am sure there will be nothing all along these lines in it and we will be once more be in the process of being marched back down the hill. Furthermore I expect a dilution of the promise to hold a referendum during the period from the Autumn 2018 to the Spring of 2019 to something like a referendum should be held when Britex negotiations have been completed.

There is absolutely no logical reason for this stance from a party whose sole function is to achieve independence. If the SNP hold this line then they will have to either change their constitution to one that states that in the event of them forming a devolved government of Scotland they will put the governess of the people before independence, or they will have to form a new party which does not have independence at the heart of its constitution.

We need a proper road map to independence with a progressive but constant movement towards independence, with a serious grappling with the issues that are still outstanding since the last one and I predict that the voting results in this General Election will reflect the absence of such a road map since the last independence referendum in 2014.

The Suitability of a Dundee Councilor

 

On May 4th the people of Dundee will go to the polls to vote for councillors to represent their wards. Now there are many reasons why one particular candidate might be more suitable than others.
For long, the dead hand of Labour controlled the politics in Dundee, but recently, things seem to have changed and I would say, in the main for the better, now there are a myriad of reasons why councillors will be voted for. Some if these reasons will be local, in otherwards how they have performed or how they promise to perform if elected.

There is also, of course the issue of which party they are members of and in Scotland today this can be a very important consideration, with the possibility of another attempt at independence and also with a general election to be held in six weeks there had been great stock put into the theory that the council elections might give an indication of voting intentions in that forthcoming General election.
Now I live in Angus and my intention is to give my votes to the SNP councillors who, I believe will both give their very best on a local level but just as important are committed to the cause of independence.

As far as Dundee is concerned, I have a business there and most of my day to day activities are centred in Dundee. Some of you will know that I was heavily involved in the independence movement through the Yes Bus and we campaigned throughout Angus Fife, but mainly Dundee where I came in contact with the local politicians on a regular basis. We also depended on their good offices regarding permissions to campaign in and around the City centre.

We found that regrettably we did not perhaps get as much direct cooperation that we could have from the SNP politicians as far as helping out on the manning of the yes bus whilst in and around the City Square and found that unfortunately they were inclined to show up when the cameras and press were there, and they would leave around the same time as the press.

However, we had a good campaign and I feel contributed hugely to the fact that Dundee turned in the highest Yes vote in the whole country and this brings me to my point. We in the yes bus team urged the SNP to continue the campaign in a lesser manner, utilising the grass roots groups to address the issues we lost the referendum on. We knew it was not going to be a short campaign but we thought that it would be best to be prepared for a campaign proper, should the opportunity present itself and two days after the referendum I approached the SNP with this suggestion but was turned down. This is why we find ourselves in the position we are now and that is we have had multiple opportunities to go for another referendum but we still are not prepared as we have not addressed a single issue we lost the last referendum on .

Ok, so what has all of this to do with the local elections? Right, I will tell you and it is all about getting the best people into power to progress our ambitions regarding independence.
So after the referendum defeat and realising that the SNP were cool on further attempts to progress towards another attempt, we decided to keep the flame burning by having various events centred around independence and we organised various rallies on the theme of “A road map to independence”. Unfortunately we had some pretty fierce resistance from Dundee council, which was surprising seeing it was an SNP controlled council.
Now there is too much to go into here although I do intend writing about the whole fiasco in the not too distant future but I thought that seeing there are council elections shortly, I felt that perhaps some of this which relates to the willingness of certain SNP councillors to promote the cause of independence should be known.

Now the main person responsible for allowing the elements of the rallies I am writing about is a councillor called Stewart Hunter who is the convener of the licensing board/ committee and as such has discretionary powers to accept late applications he is standing in the Stathmartine Ward.

Now again without going into too much detail we had to depend on this councillor to authorise a couple of late applications one for a parade and one for a rally which was only two hours late out of the 28 days requested. Now there is a very well used procedure for this and it is only in the most unusual circumstances that a late application is refused, however on these occasions Stewart Hunter did refuse them. Not only that, but there was an orchestrated campaign by members in the Dundee West SNP office to discredit the organisers of one of the rallies’. Stewart Hunter actually used a Unionist newspaper to further his aim to cast a shadow on the event which, despite the best efforts of the SNP turned out to be a great day.

So the point of this article is to say this, I do not know what Stewart Hunter has done for the people in his ward, he may very well be a good councillor in that respect, but as an SNP representative and the SNP’s reason to exist being the attainment of independence, he, in my opinion, is not a suitable person and if he was a councillor in my ward I would not under any circumstances vote for him.

If Councillor Hunter wishes to dispute any of this I will willingly meet with him in public, prior to the election, to debate the issues raised here and possible a few more.

 

I shake my head and wonder

OK so once again the SNP are running scared of mention of the word independence in connection with an election. This is really becoming tiresome. So just in case there is any SNP politicians or, for that matter members of the SNP political party not actually aware of their reason to exist, then I copy the second chapter of the SNP constitution here.

2. The aims of the Party shall be:

(a) Independence for Scotland; that is the restoration of Scottish national sovereignty by restoration of full powers to the Scottish Parliament, so that its authority is limited only by the sovereign power of the Scottish People to bind it with a written constitution and by such agreements as it may freely enter into with other nations or states or international organisations for the purpose of furthering international cooperation, world peace and the protection of the environment.

OK so is there anything about that statement that any one does not understand?

Fine so why is it that every time we get near an election there is concern as to whether there will be any mention of independence in the Manifesto.

Here is a few facts to think about .
In the manifesto for the 2011 Scottish parliamentary election there was a definite intention to hold a referendum and the SNP were given a previously thought impossible overall majority in the Scottish parliament . The increase in their vote over the previous election was in the region of 12.75%

As a result of this they progressed to a referendum campaign and at that time independence was standing at 27% in the opinion polls.

During the referendum campaign we pushed that 27% to %45%.

In last years Scottish elections there was scant mention of independence and certainly no commitment to go for another referendum. The result of that election was that the SNP lost 6 seats and their increase in voters was 1.5% and that was with the inclusion of young voters that had not been possible in the previous election. There was also a doubling of Tory representation at Hollyrood

Now lets look at the Westminster elections
The 2015 Westminster election came hard on the heels of the disappointment of the referendum campaign and at a point where the popularity of the SNP was at an all time high ,as they were seen to be the best possible bet for a future referendum.

I believe this was the point where the SNP made one of their most fundamental tactical errors because they decided that they would set aside their reason to exist and put independence on a back burner. The reasoning behind this was that they felt that they should be seen to be governing for everyone and not just independence supporters.
Firstly that is impossible, you cant govern for everyone . You can consider everyone but you cant govern for everyone. A political party governs as per its manifesto and according to that parties constitution. It is as simple as that and as you can see above the parties constitution quite clearly makes it the party of independence.

Now the SNP had a historically significant mandate from the people of Scotland through the previous Scottish elections , an increase from 27% to 45% in the referendum campaign, an unheard of increase in membership from around 15.000 to 110,000 and opinion polls indicating that they were on course for a wipe out of Labour and an unheard of return of MP’s to Westminster. So what did they do ? they ignored all of these indicators and put their reason to exist to one side and they actively discouraged any mention of independence during the Westminster campaign.

Here in Dundee , the City that returned the largest percentage of yes votes they actively discouraged any expression of independence. I was involved in agreeing to supply the Yes Bus for an independence rally in the City Square the weekend before the 2015 general election which was cancelled at the last minute because of representations by the SNP to the organisers to reschedule the event to the week following the General Election. When I took this up with an SNP politician , his very words were ” we cant have Saltires and Yes signs being displayed in the City Square in Dundee the week before a general Election”. Yes ,that was his actual words.

The fact of the matter is that there was not a single person who voted for the SNP in either a Scottish Parliamentary election or a Westminster election who did not understand the whole propose of the SNP and therefore were well aware that their vote could lead to an independent Scotland. Therefore the SNP have ,either by design or simply incompetence, consistently steered away from their propose in life and that is independence, and they are about to do the exact same again with this upcoming General election.

Nicola Sturgeon’s first reaction to the announcement of the general election ( once she had managed to get out of the way of the car whose headlights she had been caught in ) was to announce that this election would give them a mandate for the mandate she had already said she had. A totally incoherent response. Her next announcement was to make clear that this General Election would not be anything to do with independence , which begs the question ,” what is the propose then of the SNP”.

I have advocated making this General Election everything to do with independence by all the pro independence parties agreeing to make their manifestoes a one subject manifesto and that is independence then if we return a majority of MP’s that would be the basis of commencing negotiations on independence . If there was more than 50% of voters between all the pro independence parties who voted for independence then we would in effect be independent, and arrangements could be made for a Scottish General election to form a Scottish government along with ongoing negotiations for a split of assets .

I have no doubt that the SNP will not take this option and will as usual try to do every thing to convince voters that for this period in the run up to the GE they are not the party of independence.

However, if they are to retain any credibility at all, there is one thing they must include in their manifesto and I have advocated this in both the last Westminster election and last years Scottish parliamentary election.
They must include an intention to wrest control of the ability to hold referendums from Westminster and place this power where it belongs and that is at Hollyrood. If they once again fail to do at least that, then as I say ,they can no longer call themselves the party of independence.

 

Last letter to Nicola

Dear Nicola

I have written to you twice, never received a reply , but didn’t really expect to, so was therefore not disappointed  I wrote you just before the Scottish elections last May and again last December when you were attempting to offer the Westminster Government advice on how to keep the union together and indeed deciding that although the Scottish people had voted to retain full membership of the EU , you had decided that you would negotiate with the Westminster government on the basis of membership of the single market or attachment to the European Economic Area, None of these options were included in the ballot paper ,therefore not a single person in Scotland voted for any of these options.

You decided to write a paper giving your (not Scotland’s) opinion of how to keep the UK together in a 64-page jumble of subservient meaningless rhetoric most of which was repeated several times in the paper. The point of it all seemed to be that if the UK retained a position of inclusion in the single market or the EEA this would be jolly good and Scotland would happily forget all these nasty ideas of self-determination and just get back in our box, both you and Angus Robertson did allude to this position in speeches made around the time of the party conference and that was what made me initially suspicious that all was not well with your intentions.

So, in the event of Theresa May just declaring a general election, how did all that go for you? Not very well, I would suggest. No, the Tories have simply done what they have done all through this parliament and that is ignored Scotland and its elected government.

Now during the two years and seven months since the last referendum I and others have offered constructive criticism regarding your lack of preparation for any future referendum, and any circumstances which could present themselves. You have not listened and instead ploughed on with your own narrow agenda which has gotten us nowhere on the road to independence. You have led your men up to the top of the hill and down again so many times that they are becoming dizzy. Constantly I and others have been abused by uncontrolled acolytes whose only argument (if you could call it that) was that Nicola has a cleaver plan. Well we now know that there has never been any cleaver plans and there certainly is not one now, because it would appear your response to Theresa May announcing a general election is to vote SNP to get a mandate for the mandate which already exists. That is plain silly.

The only way you can continue, (with any credibility) to seek to lead the party of independence, is to produce a one issue manifesto and that must be independence. In other words, if a majority of pro-independence MP’s are returned to the Westminster parliament then a Scottish general election will be called and the elected government will conduct separation negotiations with the rump UK government.

During the 31 Months since the last independence referendum the SNP have done not one single thing to further the cause of independence and although their popularity has increased, it has done so because the SNP have been the beneficiaries of circumstance. In other words, it has been the Tories and Labour with their ineptitude who have helped the SNP up on to the pedestal they at present occupy. I approached the SNP a couple of days after the independence referendum and asked what the plan was. I was met with “what plan” and a blank look. Well that blank look is still there.
I like this situation to the situation where two armies go into battle and one comes off badly. A good commander withdraws to a safe place, sets up all round defence and most importantly, distributes ammunition. He then assesses his weaknesses (why he lost the battle) and he immediately addresses them, followed by considering a counter attack. The SNP have done none of that, instead they have ridden the wave of popularity brought on by the disappointment of the last referendum. We still do not have proper answers to the questions of pensions and the monetary situation. These are the munitions we need to carry on the fight. There was an SNP survey of intentions done which led people to believe was to be announced last St Andrews day. It wasn’t announced and I suspect the reason it was not announced was because it had not come out well and the reason was that none of the issues we lost the last referendum on had been addressed, therefore it was a stupid exercise in the first place.

I could go on all day enumerating the strategic failures of your administration and I am sure I will get the usual “Nicola has a plan” tirade and abuse from people who have hopes, but are frightened to think that we are being led by someone who does not have a credible plan. So, it is now time to nail your colours to the mast and grasp the nettle. We have at present 56 pro-independence MP’s. The absolute best we can hope for is 59. We have been ignored with 56 and another 3 will make, not one iota of difference. The chances are that we will probably come out with even less than the 56 and this will of course be seen as a diminution of your mandate, so we will be in a worse position than we are now, which with your lack of strategy is not a good place to be in.

I am fed up with people saying “Nicola is playing a blinder” when in fact (and although I detest the woman) Theresa May is running circles around you and it started the day after the  EU referendum, when she hot footed it up to Scotland and made you feel important by allowing you to believe that you were to have a veto over exit negotiations , thereby removing the best opportunity ever to call an independence referendum.

It is time for realism to set in and although, as I say we are not perhaps best placed to fight for independence at this point in time, it is only going to get worse if we wait.

I honestly hope I am wrong in all of this but I somehow don’t think so.

Although I did not vote in the last Scottish elections, for the reasons I made clear in my letter to you, I will be voting for the SNP this time around as at present the SNP present the only slim hope for independence and the prospect of a strong Tory government is terrifying

For our children and their Children’s sake,this is the time for true leadership, or stand aside and let someone else do it.

Musing In Lisbon

What is there not to love about Lisbon? The maturing grand colonnades and facades of a colonial past gradually morphing into a modern culture and embracing a multitude of visitors from the four corners of the Earth. You feel a friend as soon as you step foot on the Portuguese shores and make your way through the myriad of winding streets and alleys that cling to the hillside that is Lisbon.

 

One can’t help contrasting Portugal with the United Kingdom, itself a once colonial power but one who fears to let go of its dark past and still seeks to emulate the deeds of the past. There is no welcome now on the shores of a once Great Britain, only the grudging acceptance that if you can in some way pass immigration controls and convince the officers at the desk that your colour poses no threat to the establishment then you can pass on, but think always, that they can be watching you.

 

This is the legacy of a mad period in UK history when a small party called UKIP seemed to pose a threat to the established Tory party because they were even more right wing, racist and xenophobic. This being expressed in their dislike of the European Union with its free access for worker’s policy.

 

So, the tory party under David Cameron decided to offer the people a referendum to keep them quiet. In doing so he opened the Pandora’s box of hatred and racism for long fermenting in the bowls of little England. The result of the referendum showed that the United Kingdom was no longer united, with Scotland and Northern Ireland coming out on the side of tolerance and sensibility and England slipping into the mire of xenophobia, intolerance and illogicality.

 

We told you this during the independence referendum campaign. We told you that there was more chance of leaving the EU by remaining part of the UK , but you chose not to believe it. We were right you were wrong.

 

The Scottish Government, through their elected representatives have committed to having a second independence referendum during the Autumn of 2018 and the Spring of 2019 and the country holds its breath waiting for the other shoe to drop. Just like it did in the run up to the Westminster election in 2015 and the Scottish parliament election in 2016. There will be another tit bit thrown in our direction before the local elections on the 4th May but do not expect an actual plan of action or god forgive, any addressing of the issues that remain to be resolved since the last referendum. No that is not going to happen.

 

So, in the mean time we will be kept busy and distracted by the world circus led by the clown in chief, Donald Trump ably supported by God assisted, Theresa May. I still cannot get that vomit inducing image out of my mind, of Trump and May walking hand in hand in the White House Rose garden.

 

Whatever happens in the next few weeks, and that could include us being at war (however brief) with North Korea. We must get on with preparing for getting Scotland out of the morass that is the UK. I would like to think the SNP have a credible plan and I am sure they would like us to think they do have a plan, but I somehow doubt it.

In the meantime, the grass roots organisations will continue on the road to independence.

 

 

 

 

Crazy World

Sitting here looking at what is happening in this crazy World. I just noticed today in a social media posting the Theresa May thinks God would be in favour of Brexit. There is really, not a lot I can say about that except that there are probably people of a far saner disposition, locked up in institutions.

 

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean we have another so-called leader competing for the craziest head of state on the planet and by the looks of things is about to be the cause of a nuclear war with North Korea, on the basis that the leader of that country is unstable. Well, all I can say about that supposition is that Kim Jong-Un has been an unstable leader far longer than Donald the Trumpet has been an unstable leader, and so far, he has not initiated a neuclear war with anyone. Not only that but as far as I know there is not a single North Korean soldier in anyone else’s country, unlike the US who have military personnel in multiple countries. Not only do they have armed forces in many countries but at present they are at overtly at war in at least four of these countries and covertly in many more.

Great glee has been expressed in the press today at the apparent failure of a missile test by North Korea. Something along the same lines as the relatively recent failure of a test firing of a trident missile by the Royal Navy from one of our super-duper submarines. Now the difference between these two failures is this. The North Korea missile failure was within its own territory, whereas the Royal Navy failure was off the coast of our biggest buddy on the world stage, the US, and the abortive test firing of the most powerful weapons of mass destruction ever known to mankind headed towards our most important ally. Yes really, that is what happened. Sort of a cross between “Carry on Sailing and Monty Pythons flying circus”. What one of our submarines was doing off the coast of America has never been quite explained and I am wondering if perhaps Theresa May is indulging in a bit of gunboat diplomacy in between walking hand in hand with the great Trumpet in the rose garden and doing her impersonation of the Bay City rollers, striding along Downing street resplendent in an ill-fitting tartan outfit she must have purchased in Oxfam.

So, what, you might ask has all this to do with the impending Armageddon that The great Trumpet has up his sleeve. Well my point is that, this will come about through the unfettered whims of people unsuitable to run a raffle never mind the most powerful countries on the planet.

The simple logic of Trump is that America has unlimited firepower and will easily overpower North Korea but think on this. North Korea are in the position that they must assume that any missile or aircraft heading their way will be carrying a nuclear warhead and they will have to respond in a like manner. Now firing missiles at the US will be pointless and in all probability they do not have the capability anyway (which also makes the exercise of attacking them pointless) So if the object is to kill the people who have just launched an attack against them then they do not have to reach America to do it because there is an awful lot of Americans in South Korea and the advantage of that is that they do not need a particularly complicated weapon system to reach there. Now, no doubt America have installed an anti-missile system such at Patriot which would have the capability of shooting down any missiles coming from North Korea. Problem is that, if these missiles are nuclear they do not have to land to do any damage and all the patriot system will do is set off a nuclear air burst causing just as much, or more damage as it would if the missile reached its target.

In other words, no winners, as the American soldiers based in South Korea along with a huge percentage of the population will be incinerated.

It is probably asking too much to expect that Trump will be advised as to the inadvisability of starting a nuclear war, as the people he has around him do not seem to be the sharpest tools in the box either. So, I suppose all we have left to hope for is that he might become preoccupied with his latest love tweets to Theresa and forget all about North Korea, or perhaps we can persuade Theresa ( if she is not speaking to God)  to send him on the Bay City Rollers greatest hits such as “I only want to  be with you “ or quite possible “Yesterdays Hero”

Yes, it is a crazy World we live in.

The V and A, the old Dundee left wing mentality and Council elections.

 

 

Dundee was for many years in the doldrums and there were many reasons for that. Most of the years of Dundee’s decline were presided over by Labour administrations and Dundee was blighted by a militancy unlike most Cities of Scotland, and you only need to look at the Ford debacle to understand what I am saying.
There is at present, a controversy raging regarding the lack of local labour used on the project. The work on the V and A was no doubt put out to tender and I am sure Dundee companies were able, and in fact did, tender for the work. It is a large project and by the looks of it quite specialised work.

When the contract was awarded, I am sure it would have been done on a cost and ability basis. The contractor would have then looked at the manning options. Now I am sure one of the considerations would have been continuity of work and perhaps the labour history of Dundee would have been taken into consideration. In other words, Dundee’s history of militancy has come back to bite it.

So perhaps, in the apportioning of blame for the possible lack of Dundee local labour being used on this project. One might want to look at the legacy of militant left wing short sightedness.

Now yes indeed there is an upsurge in the building of hotels etc in Dundee and the reason for this is in part the very project under discussion here, The V and A. I would imagine the people building these hotels are in the main using local labour. Now these hotels being part of very large companies will not just service the upsurge in visitors here to view the V and A but will also service the results of the efficient marketing infrastructure that these hotel chains will have.

I made the same arguments many years ago when there was a hotel development envisaged along riverside drive near the university sports grounds. Unfortunately, at that time the West end community council were against this project on the basis of “not on my doorstep” and at that time we had an anti-business Labour council who were ready to agree with this argument.

I have been a critic of the SNP administration in the past and to be honest I do not have a lot of faith in many of their councillor’s abilities, but I do see the need to apportion responsibility fairly and I see the V and A project as necessary to the regeneration of Dundee’s commercial future. The operation and administration of the council’s responsibilities in the costing and commissioning of the project could be another issue, but one thing is certain and that is the V and A will immensely assist in the regeneration of the city centre and that is sorely needed.

Local council elections are in the offing and the V and A project will figure prominently, I would expect, in the campaigning leading up to these elections. If candidates in these elections hope to make headway I would advise a half way rout between hard right and far left.

Dundee has had its share of the far left and it did not work, literally, so time for a change. Let’s see a good honest debate on the future of this wonderful City.

 

Let’s make it work for a change