A Scot Within Europe

I am traveling through Europe at the moment. I have been to France, Spain and Italy, all very nice countrys with their own individual cultures and customs. The people in all of these countries like the people in every other European country are proud of their countries and very patriotic. I have seen far more flags hanging outside the houses than I see every day in Scotland or England for that matter. These people are very proud of the fact that they live in independent countries within the family of the European Union.

There is a constant debate going on in Scotland at the moment by people who just can’t accept the fact that the majority of people who voted in last Week’s referendum wished to continue to be part of that family of nations. They keep making unsubstantiated statements like “I do not want to leave one union ,only to find that I do not have independence within another union” or that “I do not want to be part of the EU because it is undemocratic” or “I do not want to be ruled by unelected commissioners”  All of these statements are nonsense .

Firstly ,every country in the EU is in its own right independent, unless ,like Scotland it is already part on a Union ,the host country of which it is a member. Every single one of these countries can at any time and with the democratic consensus of its people, leave the EU. No one forces them to be a member. The UK has just done that.

Next , the EU has one of the most democratic systems on the planet and its systems exist for the sole benefit of its citizens.

The favourite of the less able to think critics is the commissioner system as everyone seems to think that as unelected officials, they are responsible for making laws. Well nothing could be further from the truth. There are  28 countries in the EU and each one of them through their elected representatives are entitled to choose a commissioner so there is 28 commissioners. The job of a commissioner is to investigate and to suggest/advise on matters of law/ concern and to do this they all have committees. They are each given an area of responsibility for example the European Human rights act. It is their responsibility   to take evidence from all the different countries regarding their particular remit. They all meet once a week and decide on what to take forward to the next stage, and this is the important bit because the next stage is to put this research before the elected members of the European parliament and also to each of the 28 members, independent parliaments. Now if that is not democracy working then I do not know what is.

Now it would appear that a lot of this misinformed criticism comes from the left leaning element of the independence movement and I have to wonder at  the logic behind some of this criticism as it was this attitude and the fact that quite a lot of these people did not vote to remain that could have seen us here in Scotland without the fantastic majority we did actually get ,to  remain and therefore deprive us of the opportunity  we now have to go once again for independence and instead leave us to languish in the clutches of a real undemocratic state , the UK.

One thing these left wing opponents of being (as they erroneously call it) in an undemocratic union might like to reflect on is that no doubt many of them are in trade unions who have the most undemocratic voting  systems of any union on the  planet.

So I will always be an independent Scot I will do what I can to achieve this independence of my country . I will not stoop to the depths of depravity and Xenophobia exhibited by groups like Britain First. I will welcome people to this country as people from all over the World have welcomed Scots who have managed  to make their mark on these countrys.

I am a proud Scot and a proud European

 

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Come Fill Up My Cup And Come Fill Up My Can

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Ok so with things ever so slightly up in the air and the perpetrators of the debacle posted missing . One wonders what the thinking was behind the move to exit from the EU. Perhaps we will never know because under that scruffy mop of hair that hangs precariously onto Boris karlofs head it would appear that Dr Frenkenstine forgot to insert a brain,He simply  unleashed his monster that is the leaderless rudderless United Kingdom today and it looks like the British people will have to accept the consequences of this totally reckless action.

Now I remember during the independence referendum when great stock was put into the fallacy of “no plan B “ well it looks like the Brexit comedians didn’t even have a plan A. Honestly , you just couldn’t make it up.

Now had we been prepared, had we addressed the shortfalls in our referendum campaign. Such as Pensions , the monetary system, etc. and just as important had we used the two elections. The general election and the Scottish elections to put in place a mandate to wrest control of the ability to decide when and in what manner we held another referendum , then we would have probably been in a better position now to go for it , but unfortunately we did not prepare for all eventualities and another referendum is somewhere in the future, mind you I would not say two years as is being suggested in some circles and regardless of what negotiation are entered into, regarding a possible continuation of Scottish membership of the EU, there must be an immediate move towards a resumption of the campaign for independence.

This time we have an advantage , because we know all of the questions so all we have to do is put the answers to them and in the main I suggest that Business for Scotland lead this with fact sheets.  Sheets carefully laid out with the question , the answer, and  the source of the research  that allowed the conclusion. That is how methodical and forensic we have to be.

I suggest that every one in the meanwhile go to the Business for Scotland web site and down load the excellent account by Gordon McIntire Kemp, of the miss truths and failed promises we were subjected to during the campaign. Yes there is no such thing as a free lunch , that is your homework and the reward is independence.

The SNP have a duty to coordinate this exercise much in the same vein as the Yes initiative during the referendum campaign.

Now the most important part . We have just been through an in out referendum for the EU and although the majority who voted in Scotland, voted to stay in , there was a good many voted to come out and there was a lot  of split loyalty, therefore any future referendum must contain a promise from all parties  that the first independent Scottish Government will , as one of their, first duties hold a referendum on either entry to the EU or in the case that we have managed to retain our membership a vote on whether to remain or withdraw . That way we will keep the maximum amount of yes votes intact. Now this is a must, no prevarication either way.

Ok that is my views on the immediate way forward and for all the Dundee Yes Bus team and any others, we will be having a meeting within the next couple of Week’s , so get your thinking caps on , this time ,the SNP must, work closely with the grass roots groups and business for Scotland for together we are unbeatable.

Dundee was the yes City , this time Scotland will be the yes country.

So in the words of Robert Burns “come saddle your horses and call out your Men, unhook the West Port and let us gang free , for its up we the bonnets of bonnie Dundee”

Our road

Still, Our road 

Well here we are, another referendum under our belt and probably beginning to realise that politicians lie. This referendum was fronted on the stay side by David Cameron, the same guy who fronted the no side in the independence referendum we had in Scotland during 2014. He lied in this one as he lied in the last one.Then we had Boris Johnston who led the leave side . A man who took lying to a new level of dizzying heights. A clown who could be the next prime minister of the bruised and battered united kingdom.

The result as far as Scotland is concerned, could not have been better. Well, let me qualify that statement. It could have been better if more of the left leaning potential Yes voters had bothered to do some research and discovered that the EU is in fact a good deal more democratic than the UK and took just a minute to think of what they were in effect actually voting for and that is a fascist Xenophobic government led by a clown.

So here we are with an opportunity to go for independence once more and once again the SNP the beneficiaries of an event, out with their control but one that as with the last referendum will propel them to greater heights in the popularity stakes. Let’s hope that this time they do something with their rejuvenated popularity instead of the state of near paralysis they have been in since the referendum.

However, I would caution against an immediate resumption of a full blown campaign as there are many things to consider. One of them would be to investigate the possibility of Scotland actually remaining in the EU and the reason I say this is that there is as far as I know, no procedure for removing the EU citizenship except in the case where a whole country is removed. However, I would imagine that is because all of that countries inhabitants presumably gives their permission through the democratic procedure and I wonder what the case would be if a country(Scotland) with its own devolved government which was part of the member host, union of countries collectively invoked the Human Rights Act on behalf of its citizens and insisted through the result of the referendum that the citizens of Scotland should remain citizens of the EU.

Now all this would presumably take time but there is absolutely no reason why in parallel with this investigation there should not be a campaign to gain support for independence and this time it really must be a joint up effort between the SNP , the grass roots organisations and Business For Scotland and dare I say quite possibly a renewed Scottish Labour party together with , yes a Scottish Tory party. The Tory party in Scotland were on the opposite side of the faction who came out on top in the referendum. This scenario might just be going too far but it is worth a thought and I am sure it has at least been discussed in Scottish Tory circles and in deed Labour too.

The one thing that must be done is to start to address the failings of the last independence referendum as this is something that should have been started on immediately after the referendum but to date has been a failing of the SNP. A good start would be to print literature and posters of the list of deceptions we were subjected to during the last campaign produced by Gordon McIntire Kemp of Business For Scotland and we can start getting this out on the streets. Please go to the web site of business for Scotland where you will be able to see this list of deceptions and please also note that Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp also suggests that a road map be laid out. Now I wonder where we have heard that before?

Now is not the time for all the individuality dual groups to go off on their own tangents. Now is the time for proper leadership and a proper road map. The SNP are best placed to deliver this and all eyes will be on them. The people of Scotland expect no less.

One more thing, the people who voted no in the independence referendum and the people who voted to leave in the EU referendum are in the main decent folk who for reasons of their own decided to vote differently from you. Respect their right to do so and please stop this awful tirade of infantile name calling. Instead, do your homework and have the answers for them and put them in a respectful manner. We have to build bridges not walls.

The Yes Bus, Scotland’s Dragon for independence will be on the streets of Dundee again (actually we have never been away and have been collecting for food banks since the referendum) and this time we are going to win.

We are still on that road to independence.

This is our journey

 

In Or Out

Well in a couple of days’ time we will go to the polls to cast our vote in what is probably the worst referendum in living memory .It will long be remembered for the lies, bigotry xenophobia displayed on both sides but mainly from the leave side. It has thrown up distasteful people like Boris Johnston and Nigel Farage in circus of deceit.
It has brought out the worst in society in the form of the organisation Britain First through the horrible terrorist act on Joe Cox by one of their members.

It is difficult to say how it will go on Thursday but as I have been saying for a while now I have a feeling we will stay in by a narrow margins and there will be a larger majority in Scotland for remaining in the EU.

This brings me to the independence question. I do not think (regardless of whether we are in or out) there will be a large enough majority in Scotland to warrant another independence referendum and in any case it would be too difficult to know just what the proportion of stay voters were also independence supporters , so I feel as I have felt for a long time that this was always a bit of an SNP red hearing. However, regardless of how slim the chance is of this, in, out vote of leading to some form of push for another go at independence it is certainly a good reason to vote to stay. Because if nothing else this referendum campaign has brought out the low life that would seek to govern us from under their stones.

Because of my support for the remain camp I have been accused in recent postings of being a Unionist. This mainly from people who cannot understand the difference between the union as in the UK and the European Union.
Scotland is in the UK Union not through the choice but through the greed and desperation of the nobility who held power in 1707 and the ordinary Scottish people had no hand in the formation of that union. The European Union on the other hand was entered voluntary, through the democratically elected government of the day under Ted Heath who negotiated entry on our behalf, then two years later under Harold Wilson there was a referendum in which the people voted by something like 68% to stay in. So there is a World of difference between the two unions as far as Scotland is concerned.

So as far as I am concerned there is only one vote on Thursday and that is a vote to stay in the EU. It isn’t perfect by far but without it Scotland would not have had the referendum on devolution in 1997. We would not have the Human Rights act and without it we will see a rapid deterioration of basic working rights under an extreme right wing government led by a xenophobic Circus Clown and bourgeoning of hate sponsored neo Nazi groups like British first. I sincerely hope the SNP will keep to their word of addressing the independence question once again after their period of muddle and we will before long have no need of this UK Union but until such time, I prefer the calming hand of the EU to be in the background.

I wrote this high above the Atlantic Ocean on the way back from another country that at present is also at risk of being governed by a xenophobic racist. Tonight before posting this, I watched the big debate. A couple of weeks ago I gave my concerns that it was unwise for Nicola Sturgeon to have went down to London to involve herself in a debate, sharing a platform with the Tories and Labour who themselves shared many platforms together to thwart our attempts to gain independence.
Tonight my concerns were realised as Ruth Davidson was by far the most effective combatant on the stage and way out shone Nicola who basically called Boris Johnston a few names.
With the shambles of the way the SNP fought the Scottish election allowing the Tories to double their seats (and I am in no way a fan of the Tories and cannot ever see the situation under which I would vote for them ) and being a realist i can foresee the SNP’s lack of attention to what is after all their function in life, independence, coming back to bite them.
They had better get their fingers out and get on with it.

In the mean time I will be voting for common sense I will be voting to remain in the European Union.

The EU referendum conundrum 

Ok folks , here is an article by Gordon Mc Intire Kemp of Buisness for Scotland which cuts through the downright lies and scaremongering that the leave camping have pinned their hopes on . Read this to see why the figure of £18 billion is not the amount that Britain pays in EU subscription and after deduction of what other countries pay on our behalf leaves less than £13 billion , which when you again deduct the amount paid back to the UK through grants makes the net figure somewhere in the region of £7 billion and for this the Uk gets unfettered access to a huge European population trading block without having to pay any trading tariffs.
Now as for Scotland’s position as part of the EU. Well we in Scotland , being a region of a member state benefit hugely in proportion to the mother state , the U.K. 

We , through the block grant ( Barnet formula) pay our population share of the EU tariffs which is around £97 million per year which brings us back ,in the region on £2.2 billion per year in grants and tariff free trading .

Now the alternative to full membership of the EU according to the leave campaign would be an arrangement like Norway has in order to continue to trade with the EU block . Norway pays 95% of the UK’s contribution on a per person basis and still has to abide by all EU regulations including immigration , but the point about a Norway type arrangement is that there is absolutely no form of representation as to changing regulations and EU laws .
Another point that has to be born in mind and this is directed at those of you who are still independence supporters. 

In the situation where there was an overall UK vote to leave but the people of Scotland vote to remain , it leaves several positive scenarios and the first one is at there is a possibility that an exit ( assuming there is a large enough majority ) could be the start on another independence campaign.

The next possibility is that Scotland could apply for membership independent of the U.K. . Now this scenario would bring huge investment into Scotland as there wold be a very large influx of companies willing to access the tariff free EU market and would be another nail in the coffin of the continuing strangle hold the UK exerts on Scotland 

So any independence supporters who are intending voting to leave should seriously take these points into consideration. 
The EU is not perfect and needs adjustment but you cannot do this if you are not a member . Despite assertions by the leave campaign,it is actually very democratic and every law passed is for the overall good of the people in all the 28 countries in the EU. As a comparison the UK have in the region of 1,500 members in the British Parliament of which only about 650 are elected members, the rest who form the House of Lords, have the right to make laws without a single vote having been cast for any of them. Worse still , there are many of them , ( ex MP’s) who have actually been voted out of their positions by their constituents but still ended up in the House of Lords anyway. 

So,please do not kid yourself that in the event of an exit vote we are to be the recipients of a more democratic process, because that is just patently wrong, and remember this , if it was not for the EU , Scotland would not have had the referendum in 1997 which lead to devolution.
The best interests of the people of Scotland lies in remaining a member of the EU at the present time , there is always the possibility of a reassessment of that position when we are independent. Don’t throw away this chance now and vote , remain .

Think about it! 

A lesson to late for the learning ?

This is an excerpt from my Facebook page going back to the 4th June 2014. You will remember that this was the year Scotland had the opportunity to break away from the united Kingdom and pursue our own destiny. All we had to do was walk into a polling booth and place an x in a box. It was as simple as that . We did not grasp the opportunity of a lifetime which was presented to us on the 18th September 2014. The reasons are many ,from being lied to and manipulated by the establishment media to our pensioners being persuaded that their pensions were at risk in an independent Scotland , to widespread confusion over monitory union with the rest of the UK after independence.
It was not the fault of the people who voted no ,it was the collective fault of the yes campaign led mainly by the SNP based around the Scottish government white paper.
The fantastic grass roots organisations that sprang up as the campaign got under way were invaluable to taking the polls from 27% ( which they were at the start of the campaign) to the 45% at the actual referendum.
Unfortunately ,as soon as the referendum was over the Yes campaign was disbanded by the SNP and as a result most of the various grass roots organisations fell into disuse.
As a result of this abandonment of a movement for freedom non of the issues that played a heavy part in the defeat have been addressed and as a result, even if an advantages situation for another referendum was to present itself , we could not take it as we are not in any way prepared  for another referendum.
There is a possibility that the SNP will now in some way attempt to address the issued that lost us the referendum in the coming Months but as I have been saying in previous blogs , I have the feeling that ,that promise was made up on the back of a fag packet when they realised that they had made a major tactical error in not including a mechanism ( a road map ) to progress to a possible future referendum in the manifesto for the Scottish parliamentary elections.
It will be interesting to see what they come up with but I for one am not holding my breath waiting for anything too exciting to be announced , and if anyone is expecting another referendum on the back of this forthcoming EU in/out referendum I would advise that they should also refrain from holding their breath.
So have a look at the piece below and wonder at the lost opportunity we had in 2014 and compare it to what other people are willing to do in the pursuit of freedom.
Can the SNP get us back on to the road to independence or have we lost the opportunity created by the impetus of the last referendum and the surge in popularity of pro independence parties which ,it would appear ,going by the results accorded to the SNP in the Scottish elections has past its high point.
Is it , as Tom Paxton would say ” a lesson to late for the learning”

Twenty five years ago today students and Beijing residents were attacked by the Chinese army in the streets surrounding Ti An Amen Square in Beijing . They were demonstrating for increased democracy. Many of them were students and government employees of the university . On that faithfully day they rode to war with the Chinese army on their bicycles armed only with posters some of which they had made with the sheets off their beds. None of them reached the Square as the Chinese army opened fire on them ,killing many hundreds of innocent young people. China has changed since then, it is the second largest economy in the World and shortly will be the largest. There is not a full democracy yet in China But there is a lot more freedom .These students might have lost the battle that day but I feel they won the war. A very dear friend of mine was there that day and I have heard her account. It is not a pretty story.
On September 18 we have a choice , we can decide to continue to be governed by our larger neighbour or we can take our destiny in our own hands. We don’t have to fight an army , all we have to do is walk into a polling booth and gain our freedom with the stroke of a pen, this will be the first time in the long history of Scotland that the people of Scotland will have been able to choose our future in a democratic manner.
Please do not waste this opportunity . Vote yes.
Think about it !!

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Bob Costello's photo.