Time for a change of attitude at the bottom

Good turnout at the march at Bannockburn yesterday and yet another expression by the Scottish people of their thirst for independence. However, I feel it , like other marches organised but OUOB was marred by the unnecessary expression of opinion by the large banner stating “Tory scum out”and I feel it says more about the people carrying it, together with the march organisers who I have seen on various threads defending it, than it said about the vast majority of people on the march.
Look, we could be on the cusp of another referendum campaign ( if the SNP ever get around to it) and we should be speaking to, and discussing with, people of all shades of the political spectrum, how we move towards another vote on our future and all posters like this do is alienate potential converts to independence.
There are many Tories, Labour and lib Deb supporters who also support independence and many who could be persuaded to vote that way but calling them “scum” will not advance our cause one iota.
Just look at the way Scottish voters have been voting in recent elections. Both the Scottish Tory party and the Scottish Labour Party have had a resurgence of support. This has, to my mind been facilitated by the perception that the SNP have lost the way on the road to in dependence so these people who have in recent times been voting SNP have gone back to their natural allegiances. Does anyone actually think that calling someone “scum” will engender any respect.
Now many people wonder why the SNP are not officially represented at these marches. Do you actually think government ministers should march behind large banners, saying ‘Tory scum out”? No of course they shouldn’t.
If we hope to turn that 45% into over 50% we need a campaign based on mutual respect and this campaign has no place for infantile expressions of immaturity like those displayed at recent marches

There is to be a march in Dundee later in the Summer. I personally will not be attending it because of various issues I have had with the organisers regarding the organisation of this march. I wish the people who will be taking part in this march a great day but I do hope the organisers will reconsider allowing that unnecessary banner to be displayed as I feel it would degrade all the hard work the yes movement in Dundee put in day after day during the referendum campaign to return the largest percentage of yes votes in the country.
A bit of common sense please.

As I say ,the Tories have had a resurgence in Scotland recently and if I am correct it was down to people changing from SNP ,back to their natural allegiances. The SNP lost half a million votes in the last general election. Where did they go? well a lot of them obviously went to the Tories, and that was people who had voted for the SNP in the past because they believed in doing so could lead to independence.
Think about it, if you were a decent tory voter ( there must be some) and wished to see a Buisness based economy and presumably one that was still part of the largest market on the planet but were totally alienated by the farce that is the tory government in London , don’t you think you might consider a modern forward thinking Tory government in an independent Scotland, perhaps  one with a social conscience, would perhaps be the way to go? Time we started thinking out off the box and get away from this narrow vindictive campaigning. We will probably get one more chance at this in a lot of our lifetimes and we must get it right this time. There is one thing I am sure of and that is that in Scotland politics are about to be upended and change is on the way, we need to be able to adapt to suit circumstances.
As Bob Dylan says, “the times they are a changing”

How The SNP painted itself into a corner and how to get out of it.

There is no doubt about it that the independence movement under the auspices of the SNP is in a mess. After 3 years and 9 Months we are marginally over where we were at the last referendum. We are sitting somewhere 48% as apposed to the 45% we achieved during the referendum campaign, and the main group of people responsible for the 3% increase is not the SNP but the Tory party. Who have been responsible for alienating large swathes of the people of Scotland because of their ani Scottish actions from the introduction of English votes for English Laws to disregard for Scottish feelings on the bombing campaign in Syria, Brexit, and lately the ignoring of the Scottish Parliament’s vote on repatriation of devolve powers to Scotland, in the process, virtually degrading the Scottish parliament to a local authority within the UK.

Ok, so how did we get to where we are? Well, it goes back to the referendum. We made mistakes during the campaign, the main one being the currency problem. At that time the best option would have been to have a currency union. It was the best option for both the UK and Scotland and we had alternatives in the white paper. The problem was that when the gang of three ,Osborn, Alexander and Darling came out and said we could not use the pound and “what was plan B,” people actually believed them and to make matters worse, Alex Salmond said, we don’t need plan B, although we had plan B,C and D. It made no difference when we explained to people that the pound is an internationally traded currency and the UK can stop no one from using it and various other options had been laid out in the white paper.

Now , of course we had virtually the whole of the British press and the BBC against us and to make matters worse the SNP cowered way from them at every turn hoping that they would go away. Well, unfortunately they didn’t go away and many of the Scottish people believed them and voted no.

Ok, so that is all in the past but how did we get to this pass, where independence seems to be further away than ever? We fought a good campaign through the Yes Bus team and I went to the SNP two days after the referendum and said,”ok we have lost a battle but not the war, so whats the plan”? ( I was still a member at that point) I was met with a blank look and “what plan”. That blank look has remained with the SNP for three years and nine Months. We have had constant obfuscation by Nicola Sturgeon on the subject of another referendum. The troops have been marched up to the top of the hill and down again that often it would make the Grand Old duke Of York dizzy. Most of this occurred in the run up to an election. We have constantly had the subject of another referendum swept under the carpet. All of this because of a simple misreading of the Scottish people by Nicola Sturgeon and too much notice being paid to the press and the opposition as they constantly fed the lie that the Scottish people were fed up hearing about independence , when in fact it was the very opposite.

Lets go back to just after the independence campaign. What should have happened was that the SNP should have initiated a lower level campaign of information to put forward the true case for independence including explaining things like the currency option’s ,pensions, borders the EU. If that had been done, then by this time there would have been an unarguable case for independence and we would have been ready to go at any time when one off the many trigger points presented themselves, but unfortunately we have never been ready for a short referendum campaign. An obvious action they could have taken would have been to have included in any election manifesto , the intention to wrest control of the right to hold and organise a recognised referendum without recourse to Westminster

The SNP, ever since the referendum, have constantly and deliberately refused to keep independence as their main function in life. We here in Dundee had a rally arranged in the City Square for the week before the 2015 general election. We were implored by the SNP to postpone this until after the General Election. It was put to us that a prominent Dundee politician had made plain the SNP position, by saying,”we can’t have saltires and yes signs being paraded around the square ,the week before the general election.” Absolutely incredible, and given the result of that election, an indication of just how much out of touch the SNP were.

Despite their virtual rejection of independence as their sole purpose in life ( there is no mention in the SNP constitution of governing Scotland) the SNP returned 56 MP’s to Westminster on a Tsunami of disappointment occasioned by the defeat in the referendum. This was where the big mistake was made. They convinced themselves that their policy of keeping quiet about independence and governing Scotland well, would curry favour with the electorate. They were wrong, they were 100% wrong., At every election since the 2015  General Election they have lost ground, culminating in the last snap General Election in which the lost over half a million voters, They lost them, not because they were talking too much about independence, but because they were seen to have lost the way to independence. Not only that but the referendum on the EU which returned a 62% vote in favour of full membership in Scotland was conveniently converted to a will of the Scottish people to be attached in some way, to the single market by Nicola Sturgeon. Something, not a single person in Scotland voted for. To make matters worse the Scottish government brought out a paper which contained their slant on how Brexit should be progressed, which sounded like a road map to Unionism.

As time has gone on, two things seem to have occurred. The SNP majority in the Scottish parliament has been drastically cut and in Westminster the 56 MP total has been cut to 35. Which on the surface shows that the SNP mandate for independence has been diluted, at the same time,  Nicola Sturgeon’s popularity has been greatly reduced. This could be construed as the independence cause has reduced,. I do not in the least believe this to be the case. Instead I believe that what has happened is that because of the SNP distancing itself from independence under Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership. People have gone back to their natural allegiances and as there did not seem to be independence on the horizon, they voted as they would have under normal circumstances.

So, the problem for the SNP is that they have been painting themselves into a corner as far as options for another referendum go.

They have not in any way prepared the ground for another referendum.

They have thrown their lot in with the tories and Labour as far as Brexit goes.

They have lost credibility and greatly reduced their representation in both the Scottish parliament and Westminster.

They have a leader who has lost respect.

In order to reverse this position they could wait until the next Scottish election in 2021 or a snap General election and hope for an increased majority on the back of a tory government that are in melt down.

They could take a chance and go for one of these options on a single manifesto item, that of independence ( which is what they should have done in the case of the 2015 general election and we would have been independent now)

So in short the SNP have been painting themselves into a corner ever since the Nicola Sturgeon became leader of the party in 2014 and their options to fulfil their commitment contained in their constitution are reducing by the day.

So what can they do? Well, ever since the referendum in 2014 they have been the beneficiaries of circumstance and it has been other factors ( mainly the tory party) which have allowed independence to rise from 45% to the apparent 48% that it seems to be sitting at now. They have yet again been presented with a trigger point in connection with the removal of powers to the Scottish government and this time they must act on it. This was the debacle in Westminster last Wednesday at prim-minister’s questions when Ian Blackford was instructed to leave the chamber and all the SNP MP’S walked out with him. This was followed by membership of the SNP increasing by over 7,000 new and lapsed members. To be fair most of them probably did not expect the MNP’s to return to Westminster the very next day.

So although I have made my feelings clear regarding the awful lack of preparation for a new referendum and I have severe reservations regarding the monetary option in the economic commission report, I feel that the best option would be to bring back all  our MP’s from Westminster and call an election for September this year. This is the first time since the last referendum that I have advocated a short lead in referendum.

The SNP  make the case that any decision on a future referendum should wait until the outcome on the Brexit negotiations are clear. Why? You do not allow your enemy to regroup and rearm, before you attack him you push your advantage when he is weak any other position is plain stupid. Unfortunately we are also not truly prepared but  what are the options if we wait for Brexit to unfold? Either we will get a hard Brexit which once again, could be a trigger for a referendum, but by that time the Tory government will have more time and resources to fight the referendum. Or we will have entry to the single market which is what the SNP have been campaigning for and say ( wrongly) is the preference of the Scottish people. So if that is the final scenario, the SNP preference, what will be the case for another referendum? Absolutely, none.

I still believe we are on the road to independence but the SNP have to get out of the corner they have painted themselves into , they are  still the only party who can front another campaign but they must get on with it now.


SNP and the leaking roof

Ever since the 2014 referendum I have offered criticism of the SNP for a lack of understanding as regards to the necessity to prepare for a future referendum. There have been several definite  opportunities to have taken advantage of given situations but for some reason the SNP have failed to capitalise on any of them.

The SNP, are where they are, for a reason, and that is to attain independence for Scotland. This is what it says in their constitution and that is why they were voted into the Scottish Parliament and the Westminster Parliament. Now if you want something to happen you prepare the ground for it to happen. For the last three years and nine Months they have not even attempted to do this apart from the economic commission which ,to be honest creates more questions than it answers. After all this time ,all they could come up with is a”discussion document” and that is simply not good enough. Especially one which is wrong in so many ways as far as a future currency option goes. The main reason we lost the last referendum on was because we did not make a strong enough case for all the options open to us on currency and left ourselves a hostage to fortune, because of the no plan B perception and no national currency, or central Bank.

Now, in 2014 the joint currency actually made some sense as Sterling was reasonably stable, but now we have a completely different situation,. We were told back then that we should be part of the EU and as an independent country we would have to leave and re-apply. That may or may not have been the case but the important aspect of that fear that was thrown at us was the Importance of being in the EU, the largest trading block on the planet.

So where are we now? Well, despite Scotland voting 62% to 38% to remaining in the EU, we are about to be dragged out of it and in doing so the currency the economic Commission is suggesting we use, is about to go into free fall together with our export/Import markets as we face Armageddon.

The SNP, are actually aiding and abetting this travesty of common sense by supporting the British Government by deciding that the will of the Scottish people is to be only part off the single market. Not a single person in Scotland voted for that option for the simple reason that it was not on the ballot paper. Not only that but their present policy is not to support a second referendum on the question of whether to accept or not, the final deal reached between the British government and the EU. I wrote this blog on 19 December 2016, the day before Nicola brought out her answer to Brexit.


The warning I gave in this blog is still very relevant today and the day after that blog I wrote one titled “I Told You So”

The events of the last few days in Westminster have underlined the lack of wisdom and stratagy that have followed the SNP for a considerable time in fact ever since Nicola Sturgeon became leader of the party and now we are in the position ,because of the SNP’s acquiescence with Westminster and lost opportunities together with lack of proper preparation that the very devolution settlement is now at extreme risk.

It came to me that an analogy of the SNP lack of preparation could be likened to a house with a very leaky roof. The owner gets a contractor in to inspect the roof and he determines that it requires extensive work to make it wind and water tight,  so the customer  gives him the go-ahead to make it good, just like we did with the SNP,. So the contractor starts work on the roof. He gets on very well making the roof, which was 27% water tight before he started,  to 45%,. Then disaster strikes., There is a storm (the referendum) and the work has to stop but fortunately the 45% of work done remains in good order but the contractor has to leave the job until conditions improve.

The scaffold has blown down in the storm, some of the materials have been found to be unsuitable and the weather is changeable only allowing short opportunities to get back on the roof. In the mean time the contractor agrees to do some internal work on the house and makes a reasonable job of it, putting in new doors and double glazing but because of the still leaking roof the people cannot get the full use of their house.

Because of the sporadic timescale in which the work on the roof can be carried out the people urge the contractor to get the preparation done, like  the scaffold up and the materials ordered but he does nothing, telling the people that he has a cleaver plan, but he is making a good job of the doors and the double glazing. Unfortunately, the doors are beginning to warp with the dampness and the double glazing is beginning to fog over. The customer is becoming very impatient because he realises that although the contractor is making a decent job of the interior it will never be right because he was employed to fix the roof.

Then disaster, the contractor becomes unwell and cannot finish either the roof or the interior so eventually the leaky roof causes the whole building to be unliveable.

That my friends is what is happening at the moment, the SNP have put all their efforts into making a pretty interior of the house and neglected the reason they were employed in the first place. Along the way they have tried to made a pact with the Devil, and save the Union, it is pay back time and they have prepared nothing.

We need another contractor, or at least another foreman to fix the roof.




All under one Clique

This is my second blog on the subject of All Under One Banner and their attempts to organise an event in Dundee. Since I wrote the blog yesterday there has been some very unsavoury developments such as threats of violence made against myself and others. I enclose the evidence below.

It is a great pity that the independence movement has to be tainted with this disgraceful behaviour.  A pity also that one of the main proponents in this affair was in the past involved in the attempts to adversely affect a previous rally because of the presence of Tommy Sheridan and now we have the spectacle of him arranging a speaking slot on this forthcoming march and rally. Mind you it is hardly surprising when you consider that AUOB is merged with Hope Over Fear, the organisation run by Tommy.

So we now have the situation where we have SNP members and ( as far as I know) an SNP office bearer and partner of an SNP MSP, assisting an organisation which he was involved in trying to prevent from coming to Dundee. One can but wonder at the motivation behind this conversion on the road to Damascus.

The independence movement is a conglomeration of small grass roots groups working away in their own way in their own areas and it was them who gave us the result we had in the referendum. I feel that these groups should be very careful of putting their names to or being on a committee linked to an organisation which openly  espouses breaking the law . An organisation which treats criticism by making threats of violence and arranges seedy back room deals among its chosen few. To do this in the name of a future independent Scotland is disgusting.

I would suggest that if groups do wish to be involved with AUOB they insist on full compliance with any Council or Police  conditions including the  rout to be taken .
They insist on proper public liability insurance and sight of the documents. They insist on a full set of accounts and a reckoning of ongoing expences and proper accounting for the collection buckets which will be there in considerable number, with a share of money collected going to the groups who have participated after of course the disbursement of expenses.

I attach below some more screen shots of conversations between members of the self appointed “committee” ( there are more) I have looked at the profiles of these people and I am sure the police will be interested in doing the same . There was only one which was difficult to get a profile for and that was Robert, I have a feeling you could substitute Mike for that one .

I am committed as ever to the cause of independence but I do feel we should not have to wade through a cesspit of inanity, incompetence and skulduggery to get there. The people of Scotland  deserve something better.


How not to Organise an event

The other day I received an invitation to attend a meeting in the Butterfly Cafe in connection with a proposed march and rally to take place in August., The March is to be organised under the auspices of All Under One Banner. The group who have been responsible for the hugely successful recent marches in Glasgow.

On speaking to who I believe, is one of the main organisers of that group I was made aware that the purpose of this meeting was to elect a committee to decide on the arrangements for the march. I was asked to attend because of my experience with being involved in almost all of the independence related rallies in Dundee, both during and after the independence referendum.

I had a few reservations when I heard of several of the people involved in the initial set up of the meeting as the people have been instrumental in attempts to adversely affect several previous independence related events in the city. However I agreed to  attend the meeting with an open mind and hopefully contribute my experience in this area.

There was about 30 people at the meeting and it started by Dom Anderson ,who owns the Cafe giving an introduction and his opinion on the proposed rout of the march., He was of the opinion that the rout was too long and should terminate at Slessor gardens. Now, the strange thing was that although this meeting was to formulate arrangements for the march/rally, the rout had been published on social media earlier that day which kind of negated one of the functions of the meeting which was to elect a committee and make these very arrangements.

Dom then passed over to a group sitting together and one of the group who I think was called Dale Handy ( I could be wrong) gave a speech which consisted of stating that a committee had already been formed and consisted of the people sitting around him. I subsequently discovered that this “committee” had been formed about half an hour before the meeting in a pub about a hundred yards up the road.

The speaker tried to arouse some enthusiasm ,stating that Dundee needed this march and it would go ahead. He further stated that it would go ahead regardless of any “complience”. That rang alarm bells with me as he was basically saying that this march would go ahead whether or not, there was any permission in place or any restrictions Imposed .

The floor was open to speakers and once everyone else had been chosen I was finally given the chance to say something, although I had had my hand up from the start. I mentioned that I had reservations regarding the initial speakers assertion that the march  go ahead regardless of whether the proper permissions were in place and asked if the insurance implications of such a decision had been taken into consideration. None of the secretly arranged committee seemed to know what I was talking about. I explained that any insurance in place would be invalidated should the march go ahead either without proper permissions being in place or any contraventions, of the  conditions. There seemed to be a general ignorance within this cobbled together committee that insurance was either irrelevant or would not be invalidated by ignoring conditions. I explained that if there was to be a committee voted in ( which seemed irrelevant since this had already happened) then they would have to consider the individual liability aspect  of possibly being without insurance on the march.

As this seemed to be going over the heads of the self appointed committee, I went on to ask whether there was a list of speakers or acts,  at which point the initial speaker said that Mike Strachan ( partner of Shona Robinson, MSP) was in charge of this. Mike mumbled something about compiling a list and something about a problem with Tommy Sheridan appearing but that he would be there. This was the most hypocritical statement I had heard for a long time as Strachan was one of the main detractors of my decision to invite Sheridan to talk at a previous rally in the City Square two years ago. Yes ,of course Tommy Sheridan should be allowed to talk as he is a supporter of independence ,talks well and has a decent following, the problem will be getting SNP politicians to talk at the event as in Dundee we seem to have a lot of holier than thou politicians , one of which literally ran out of the building an independence event was being held in, when he discovered Sheridan was still there. Ironically the same politician was discovered to have been cheating on his wife in what could be called a Whitehall farce.

At this point in the meeting I decided that I could not have anything to do with an event that was being managed in a manner which could involve law breaking and lack of proper public liability insurance and decided that there could be no involvement of the Yes bus which is a pitty because I had though that with 94 seats it could have been used to take the less well able along the march rout.

It is some time since I have seen such a gathering of stupid people in the same place at the same time and I want nothing to do with any of them, and would suggest the decent people who were there, think carefully before committing themselves to involvement with this project in its present form .

To reinforce my opinion of this so called committee I attach a thread of ‘secret” messages ( there are more) between them concerning both me and several other people connected with the independence movement in Dundee. You can judge for yourselves the mental capacity of those involved even a bit of anti Semitism thrown in. I would suggest none of them apply for a job in MI5.


The Economy Of Truth

Did Nicola Sturgeon deceive the Scottish parliament when she said: “there is a ban on fracking in Scotland”? Probably, is it a resigning issue, probably not and here is my thinking on this?

When you ban something you simply stop it from happening from a position of authority. Ok, now there are two ways that can happen. A ban can be imposed by a person, organisation or government by invoking the law. The only way that can happen in the UK is by the Westminster government banning it because the law regarding Fracking is a reserved area. So could the Scottish government have banned fracking by using their legislative power? Almost certainly the answer to that is no.
OK, so the other way you can impose a ban is by making something legally impossible to happen by using a power allowed under the devolution settlement, and that is what the Scottish Government have done. Planning is a devolved power and the Scottish Government have decreed that no planning application for fracking will be allowed.

Jim Radcliff is jumping up and down because his lawyers kind of messed things up as it would appear they took the Scottish government to court on the basis that they had no legal right to ban fracking when, if anything they should have taken out the action against the Scottish government for misuse of their responsibilities under the planning act.


To use an analogy, suppose someone owned the land a loch sat on but not the water and they wished to stop people swimming in this loch but did not have the power to stop them. They could open a dam and allow the water to drain away thus making it impossible for anyone to swim in the Loch, for the simple fact that the Loch no longer existed,  without actually banning them. Not perhaps a perfect analogy but same principal.

I do think Nicola Sturgeon should apologise for misleading the public as the inference in what she said after the extensive consultation and investigation into the effects of fracking was that it was a legal ban. But on balance, not a resigning matter.

However, I do think she should resign for allowing the independence cause to get into the present mess that it is in.

EU, The Parliament Of The People

Yesterday I visited the EU Parliament. It was an event to open the institutions of the parliament and celebrate the success of the largest trading block on the planet.
It was indeed an interesting day with a chance to ask a question in the debating chamber and put a question in writing. Which will be answered within two weeks.

The role of the EU parliament is widely misunderstood in the UK and to a point in Scotland, although there is a difference in the degree of misunderstanding between Scotland and the rest of the UK and this was made apparent during the campaign and vote on exit from the EU. Overall, the UK voted by a very small margin to leave the EU but in Scotland, there was a large majority of 62% who voted to remain.
The difference between the way the EU is governed and say the UK is that the EU is all about the people, the citizens of the union. Whereas, the UK is all about the vested interests of big business and the xenophobic nature of the present ruling party.

The EU seeks to control corporate pressures, as opposed to the UK parties who are in the thrall of corporate interests through the funding direct from these corporate entities to political parties. Does anyone think that this funding is other than for the benefit of these companies? No, of course, it is not. So, in the UK our governance is based on the needs of the financiers of our governments and not on the needs of the people, otherwise, we would not be requiring foodbanks to feed large sections of the people.
The EU is different in as much as the funding comes directly from the member states, therefore it bears no allegiance to outside interests and therefore concentrates on the needs of the citizens of the EU and not big business.

No more is this evident than in the EU legislation to go live in early 2019 concerning tax evasion by corporate entities by way of the transfer of profits to offshore tax havens thus depriving the country that the money was made in the benefit of the taxes due.

Starbucks is a prime example of this and this is how they do it. They set up a company in say the Cymen islands where corporation tax is either nil or perhaps half a percent as opposed to the 19% it is in the Uk. This company owns the intellectual rights of Starbucks such as the right to use the name. So, when the profit is calculated for each Starbucks outlet, this potential profit is then taken as a payment for the intellectual rights such as the use of the name, by the company in the Cayman Islands, meaning that the Starbucks outlet in the UK appears to have made nil profit. This deprives the host country of billions of pounds in tax.

So, this is what this new EU legislation is all about, it is facilitating a fair tax system for the member countries and therein lies the true reason for Brexit. It is not about immigration (or at least only in a very small amount) no it is all about the corporate interests who fund the Tory party and indeed their own MP’s who are terrified that the EU will stop their huge tax evasion practices.

So, remember this. The EU is about people and the UK is all about corporate interests.

OK, so to the questions I asked. The session was hosted by the speaker and the speech was by Marie Arena who is one of the Socialist members of the parliament. She gave a very good speech, the gist of which was that the heart of the EU was the people. I asked her, “as the UK has voted by a small margin to, lemming-like, throw itself over the cliff edge and into oblivion, but the people of Scotland voted by a large margin to remain and taking into account that the people of Scotland are EU citizens, what is the EU position on this”?

Her answer was that this was a very good and difficult question. It was apparent that the UK had been forced to make a decision under false pretences by receiving unreliable information from people like Nigel Farage, and they were very aware of the difference in the Scottish vote. The member state is the UK and although they do not intend making it particularly easy for the UK to leave without penalty they have a duty to be less severe as they realise that many of the EU citizens do not want to leave, especially now that many of them realise they were deceived.

So there you have it, an honest answer from a member of the EU parliament.
The other question I was able to ask in writing, aided by one of the researchers was, “As Scotland voted to remain and the people of Scotland are by choice European citizens and taking it that there might very well be another referendum where Scotland will almost certainly vote to be independent. Should there be a fast track mechanism in place to facilitate immediate entry to the EU? The researcher said that this was a very good question and she would personally see to it that it was answered. I will have the answer to this within two weeks so watch this space.

So remember this, the EU is all about the people as opposed to the UK which is all about corporate interests.