Decline and Decay

I have been on the P&O cruise ship Azura all week and got to thinking about where we are in the struggle for independence and I realised that this ship and indeed the corporate culture of P&O epitomises the last vestige of the British Empire.

P&O, although owned by Carnival , an American company, promote themselves as a “very British “ company and they show this in several ways, none of which are Scottish ,Irish or Welch, so really they are English . Their attempt to promote this “Britishness starts in their publicity material, where they explain that the ships in the fleet are crewed by British nationals. Not quite true as in general the officers and senior admin staff are British, the servers, the cleaning staff the “Gaungadins” are in general Asian.

First impression of the ship is the butchers apron wrapped around the bow of the ship and this continues as you board with all the decks named after a one time British colony. Dress code is strictly adhered to with two formal nights and all other evenings requiring a shirt and jacket in most bars and restaurants.

One thing missing is a group of strange people, wearing bowler hats and Orange sashes, parading along the Prominade deck, but given recent government mascinations ,I am sure they will think of that before long as they continue their policy of shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.

So I am sitting here in the ships coffee shop having my usual morning capachino and thinking of where we in Scotland are in relation to the decaying British empire, I am served by a pleasant young Indian gentleman who looks at the t shirt I am wearing which depicts the heading of my blog “ Society grows great when old men plant trees they know they will never sit in the shade of, create a better country for our children” He gives a big smile and the thumbs up sign. They did exactly this in India and many other countries when they broke away from the shackles of the British empire and removed the butchers apron from their flag poles for good, except in some token ways as members of the commonwealth.

I am reminded of the state of the last vestiges of that once enormous empire , as I sit here aware of the mild but prevalent exotic scent of leaking colostomy bags percolating in the air conditioned breeze. Yes this ship truly represents the decaying British empire and we in Scotland need to continue on our road to independence for our children’s sake.

It has been an interesting trip and I enjoyed Norway very much, a country of much the same size, population wise as Scotland but a much wealthier country because of the fact that they have complete control of their assets and more importantly control of their future.

I probably won’t travel again on P&O , not because of the quality of the ship , the service or attention to detail but because of their culture.


I told you so

I wrote this blog below on the 3rd July 2015 and I defy anyone to say it was wrong .

I re-post this because it came up on my memories on Facebook and it has relevance to what is happening at the moment.

Belatedly the SNP seem to have come to the conclusion that all is not well in the struggle for independence and there does seem to be moves afoot to address the situation, in as much as Nicola Sturgeon seems to be offering cooperation with the wider independence movement as a way to consolidating ideas and initiatives.

Any thing which gets us away from the stagnation that has marked the SNP’s strategy for independence since the referendum ,is to be welcomed and I and others await further confirmation of good intent regarding this.

However, there are things that also have to be considered in connection with a resumption of the road to independence which came up against a no entry sign immediately after the independence referendum. The main consideration is who has been advising Nicola Sturgeon and the first entity that comes to mind is the fiscal commission who have been bumbling about with various currency questions for an inordinate amount of time now, which means that they either do not now what they are doing or there are other interests at play. They should be sacked immediately because they have done no good whatsoever. Nicola appointed “advisers and members of both the standing council of  Europe and the fiscal commission who were incredibly, pro  Union. Now that is the equivalent of a General who has just lost a battle asking the opposing General if he could help him out with a strategy to defeat him. That is simply stupid , there is no other word I can think of to describe that strategy.
So combined with an engagement with the wider independence movement there must be a clear out of these so called advisers or all this new found spirit of conciliation will mean nothing more than the paper it is printed on, if indeed it is printed at all.

The SNP must also stop bowing to media and unionist pressure to stop speaking about independence and instead make independence the main thrust of any future strategy, Their reluctance  to keep independence to the fore is the very reason for their decline in popularity and they are in complete denial of this very obvious fact. There has also just commenced a media campaign to wrongly try to portray dissatisfaction within the business community of the discussion on independence related matters.

Their present position was always entirely predictable and that is the reason I re post the blog I did  on the 3rd July 2015 , 9 months after the referendum. I suggested calling the campaign the “I told you so ” campaign and that suggestion is even more relevant today with brexit to add to the other disasters which predictably have befallen us like the Smith commission .
As I say , it is good and very welcome that the SNP have finally decided to listen to other voices. Putting the suggestions into practice might be another matter.

Bob Costello


Yes what Union? Oh how the Westminster English MP’s must be kicking themselves . Why on earth did they even consider giving Scotland a devolved parliament. What was the point , both they and the Scottish people were kidding themselves , weren’t they ? There was no real Union in 1707 , it was simply a take over given a silly name of a Union , a Union between equals? Well we know just how equal it was now don’t we. It was never equal and in its present form ,never will be
This week proved that with all 56 Scottish members of Westminster voting for solely scottish issues and being massively voted down and laughed at by the Westminster establishment.
Within the next few weeks we will see the introduction of new English Votes For English laws EVEL for short and evil in content. Now when I say introduction I mean just that because this is not to be debated in parliament but merely put through on a standing order basis , which means that it will not even go through proper parliamentary procedure.
So this means that although Scotland Subsidises England, our democratically elected representatives will not even have the opportunity to scrutinise how this Scottish money is to be spent. This is nothing short of disgraceful.

This of course was a situation which should have been foreseen , actually it was,but unfortunately the only people who did not see it coming was our politicians . It only needs a simple grasp of arithmetic and a knowledge of the Tory party and the Labour Party to have foreseen this happening . Wait and see they kept saying , wait for the vow to be implemented , wait for them to keep their word , wait for the outcome of the Smith commission
After September 19 th I wanted to continue the campaign to highlight the broken promises as they happened . Yes by all means I said explore every avenue but keep the campaign going , keep it fresh in people’s minds as the Vow , the promises and the Smith commission unravel before their eyes. Change the Yes campaign to the ” I Told You So” campaign. Because we did actually tell them so every day on the streets of Dundee with the Yes Bus Dragon for independence team ,we told them they were being lied to about pensions ,about monetary union about the balance of payments situation, about entry to Europe and many other things.
When I posted my concerns immediately after the 19th I was vilified by several so called activists , activists who were at that point in time about to go to sleep and become in- activists . I was accused of splitting the support for the SNP and was called a few creative names To these people I would say simply ” I told you so” and by the way how do you feel now.
Now it is the politicians that I am saying to ” I told you so ” and we have lost 8 months of useful time getting to where many of us knew we were heading all the time and that is the one way street we found ourselves in this week. Many people hold on to the hope that the politicians have something up their sleeves . Well we thought that during the campaign and discovered that the only things they had up their sleeves were their arms.

So what now ? I feel that very shortly the democratic deficit will show the real black hole in UK politics and it is very important that our people down there realise this.
At that point we must bring them back home and call a Scottish parliamentary election with a mandate for independence. If there is a majority for independence parties then it must be either negotiated or taken I cannot see any other way.
In the mean time we must start to inform the people who were terrorised by Jim Murphy and his likes , by Osbourne , Balls , Alexander and their likes that all this was just an illusion , just like the vow . We must take the initiative it is a true saying that if you want peace then prepare for war ( and I do not mean that literally) .

the time of ” wait and see” is over and we must now grasp the Thistle

We are on the road to independence
This is our journey.


It is refreshing to note that after almost three years (since the independence referendum) and a succession of reverses for the SNP , that they  now seem willing to engage with the wider movement. Although I will wait to see just how this manifests’ itself in solid action.

There has of course been a flurry of excitement with people and groups going off on all sorts of tangents with their own ideas of how this new found spirit of cooperation should be fostered with ideas of committees and elections of leaders etc ,etc.

If indeed the SNP are serious about cooperating with the wider independence movement then I feel the easiest way to do this, is what I suggested to them two days after the independence referendum and that is this.


Foster and encourage the grass roots groups which spontaneously sprung up all around the country and carried the independence cause from a starting point of around 27% to the 45% we achieved in the vote. In order for this to be successful there must be a serious attempt to answer the issues we actually lost the referendum on such as pensions and the monitory situation in an independent Scotland. Only then can the grass roots go out and campaign with centrally produced materials on a common and thought out theme to win over the no voters and the undecided. It is absolutely pointless in doing anything by way of campaigning without that information as you would be subject (rightfully so ) to ridicule. A slow but targeted campaign could then be put into action to build an unanswerable case for independence with people following a proper road map to independence. There must also be a commitment to treat the independence question on its own without the diluting factor of EU membership and that would mean attaining independence and then shortly afterwards having a referendum on EU membership which could in the interm period be pre- negotiated with the EU in order to facilitate a speedy transition to full membership should the people decide that it was acceptable.

The SNP are still the best conduit to facilitate this but there must be a corporate commitment to cooperate in pushing this forward, and very importantly, they must stop running away from the word independence and nail their colours to the mast in the same manner that Jeremy Corbin did during his General election campaign.


Business for Scotland should be brought on board to produce a virtual profit and loss sheet for an independent Scotland. This is something quite different from the discredited GERS figures, annually pumped out by the Westminster government to show that an independent Scotland could not manage to look after its own affairs. A supposition which is absolute nonsense but one that the SNP have given credence to in the past and I can only suppose that they themselves could not understand the figures.

Before any projected profit and loss together with a balance sheet can be produced of course, there would have to be a proper assessment of the tax take generated in Scotland as at present the GERS figures are made up using estimates ( guesses) of 24 of the 25 tax bases used in the GERS figures. This is not good enough and the Scottish Government should be pressing the treasury for a set of definitive figures.
There are groups like Common Weil who have also been doing good work on things like Central Bank and currency etc and this should be looked at. I do not totally agree with some of their suggestions but all suggestions should be treated seriously , the most important item should be what currency we would use and I have ,for some considerable time held the view that it should be our own currency which would be based on the strengths ( or weakness) of our economy and industry.

So there we have it, what seems to be an offer of belated cooperation from the SNP to the wider independence movement and all we need now is a plan . I asked the SNP what the plan was two days after the referendum and was met with a blank look and “what plan” Let’s hope the blank look has lifted and we have a new era of cooperation and hope.

The SNP are broken at the moment and self-denial will not better their cause but with a will, I feel they can dust themselves down get up and get on with their main purpose in life and that is to attain independence for our country. They need to change and adapt and the grass roots army stands ready to carry the fight forward and support them, as the independence movement is much bigger than just the SNP. Let’s hope that finally we can find that illusive “road Map To Independence”

This is still our road, ALL OF US.