Dangerous Ground

It would appear that Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP /Scottish Government could be about to change their stance on military action in Syria. If this is indeed the case then I feel that  a very bad mistake is about to be made ,as it would be destroying the moral stance taken in the past as regards to illegal military actions undertaken by the various  British governments.

When the term “illegal military action” is used it generally means any action taken in a foreign country without either a UN resolution to support it or an active request from the country in question to assist in combating an insurgency and at the present time there is neither in place.

Lets be quite clear, the events of Friday 13th November in Paris are abhorrent to most fair minded people and given that France is in the position of having to protect its citizens , then there could be a case that they should in some way respond to these attacks.

However in assessing the situation France finds itself in, lets be very honest. If you are going by the general reporting in the western press you could be forgiven for believing that the attacks of Friday 13th were simply an attempt to intimidate the general population of France and therefore an immediate response was warranted, but the fact is that these awful events were actually in themselves an act of retaliation. The reason for these attacks was that France had been engaged in bombing missions in Syria since September. Bombing missions which had no doubt killed many innocent people as well as some ISIS fighters.

Now lets also be clear that these bombing missions were illegal under international law, as they had neither the consent of the government of Syria or the backing of a UN mandate .

Now if Britain goes along the same rout taken by France then we will be in that exact position and in the case of the Scottish Government backing David Cameron in this without either a UN mandate or the permission of the Syrian Government then they will be participating in an illegal act, leaving the whole of the UK including Scotland liable to retaliatory attacks similar or worse than what happened in Paris last weekend.

Now not only that but we the Scottish people will be vicariously responsible for the killing of innocent people, because be under no illusion bombing towns kills probably more civilians than it does active fighters. Bombs are area weapons . They kill within a radius upwards of 500 metres , they destroy homes, schools, hospitals and they cause people to become refugees . Have a look at the image of bombing and shelling in Syria and tell me just what part of this discriminates between fighters and civilians

So I say to the Scottish Government, think long and hard before signing up to David Cameron’s march to war , because ,if you do then there are vary many ordinary Scots who, like me , will be saying “not in my name”

Bob

The Scotland Act part two and a look back

I wrote this back in November 2014. I was concerned then that not enough was being done to keep the independence movement live. I commented on the likely outcome of the Smith Commission and the lack of commitment from the SNP as to a cohesive campaign to address the mistakes made in the referendum.

I was concerned then but after the fiasco of the Scotland Bill I am really worried. We have been through the Smith Commission which promised a few derisory powers and now the Westminster Government have delivered even fewer.

My concern is that the SNP were active in signing off the Smith Commission recommendations without apparently even discussing ( never mind agreeing) the financial implications of these additional responsibilities and responsibilities are exactly what they are, because what we are to be awarded is tax collecting responsibilities without any benefit accruing. The only thing we will get is the blame for the taxes.

We  have been truly set up and hung out like a bunch of kippers.

There is at present a feeling abroad that not much is happening in the fight for independence, So I thought I would put my thoughts to paper. The referendum went against us almost two months ago . The reasons were numerous , from the lying and mistruths of the politicians who were ranged against us , mainly from the disreputable Scottish Labour who were fronting the no campaign on behalf of the Tory government in power at Westminster, to suspicions that the voting was perhaps not carried out properly. I honestly feel though that the biggest fault lies with ourselves . Now when I say ourselves I mean the political and party set up we had in Scotland , pre referendum. We had an SNP government and a reasonably strong SNP membership and that was the main source of the campaign thrust. The mistake I feel we made was to allow this campaign to progress without pre negotiation. We should have pre negotiated the positions on Pensions, On a monetary system, on whether we would gain access to the EU , on a share of assets , on a timetable for removing trident, on passports and sharing of consular facilities, etc ,etc, etc. Now some of you say that the British government would not have done this and to this I say , nonsense . We as citizens of the UK had a right to this and if refused could have been pursued through either the EU court of human rights or simply by international law and as a precedent for this we only need to look back to 1707 when the union was formed , because that is exactly what was done then.
This I feel was our biggest mistake, can you imagine how easy it would have been if we did not have to go into the very technical explanations of how monetary union was the best option for both countries, of how pensioners did not have to be worried about pensions that were the responsibility of the UK government, about when trident would be removed and how large a rental Scotland would receive in the mean time for housing the facilities until removal. I could go on and on , Quite simply we allowed the Westminster cabal to treat us like a foreign country that it was about to go to war against.
OK so where are we now , well there is the Smith Commission that we have all submitted our wish lists to and the SNP are of the opinion that we should give this a chance first to see if the Vows are to be kept. therein lies the first mistake of the next independence campaign, giving the opposition a breathing space as any one who actually believes that we will get devo max is seriously deluded. By all means give it a chance but in the mean time the maxim of ” to assure peace, prepare for war ” comes to mind and that is what we should be doing . We should be carrying on a two pronged initiative with the ultimatum of an other referendum the penalty for all the lying that went on during the campaign and the justification for that lying which will be the remit of the Smith commission. We cannot afford to be too nice this time .
As for the Yes bus Scotland’s Dragon for independence, our position is this, We continue to campaign in a manner which will bring to the attention of people who perhaps voted no , the injustices and dishonesty of the no campaign and in this we have been asking for ongoing campaign materials such as posters and leaflets on a common theme which can be used by other like minded campaigns across the country.
We will be supporting any candidate for the Dundee west constituency who seeks to replace Jim Mc Govern.
We will support Stewart Hosie for deputy leader of the SNP.
We will support any candidate for local elections who seeks to either retain an SNP seat or displace an existing labour councillor.
We will be continuing our food bank collections and cultural interaction in cooperation with Taught By Muhammed food bank and St Salvador’s food bank .
So what do we want in return for this ? as for the food banks ?,nothing.
As for the SNP ? a sympathetic ear, campaigning materials and a strategy moving forward.
We are very fortunate in Dundee and district in as much as we have in the SNP a wealth of talent, whether it be in the local councillors or our representation at Westminster, but they must listen to the people as they are becoming restless for action.
I attach a photo taken yesterday of a relative of a Dinosaur taken on a Caribbean island  and another photo of an actual Dinosaur taken in Dundee City Square a couple of months ago, ( the one on the left).
We are still on the road to independence .
This is our journey

Looking Back to November 2014 and the Scotland Bill part two

I wrote this back in November 2014. I was concerned then that not enough was being done to keep the independence movement live. I commented on the likely outcome of the Smith Commission and the lack of commitment from the SNP as to a cohesive campaign to address the mistakes made in the referendum.

I was concerned then, but after the fiasco of the Scotland Bill I am now really worried. We have been through the Smith Commission which promised a few derisory powers and now the Westminster Government have delivered even fewer.

My concern is that the SNP were active in signing off the Smith Commission recommendations without apparently even discussing ( never mind agreeing) the financial implications of these additional responsibilities and responsibilities are exactly what they are, because what we are to be awarded is tax collecting responsibilities without any benefit accruing. The only thing we will get is the blame for the taxes.

We  have been truly set up and hung out like a bunch of kippers.

12 November 2014 at 15:29 · New York, NY, United States

There is at present a feeling abroad that not much is happening in the fight for independence, So I thought I would put my thoughts to paper. The referendum went against us almost two months ago . The reasons were numerous , from the lying and mis-truths of the politicians who were ranged against us , mainly from the disreputable Scottish Labour who were fronting the no campaign on behalf of the Tory government in power at Westminster, to suspicions that the voting was perhaps not carried out properly. I honestly feel though that the biggest fault lies with ourselves . Now when I say ourselves I mean the political and party set up we had in Scotland , pre referendum. We had an SNP government and a reasonably strong SNP membership and that was the main source of the campaign thrust. The mistake I feel we made was to allow this campaign to progress without pre negotiation. We should have pre negotiated the positions on Pensions, On a monetary system, on whether we would gain access to the EU , on a share of assets , on a timetable for removing trident, on passports and sharing of consular facilities, etc ,etc, etc. Now some of you say that the British government would not have done this and to this I say , nonsense . We as citizens of the UK had a right to this and if refused could have been pursued through either the EU court of human rights or simply by international law and as a precedent for this we only need to look back to 1707 when the union was formed , because that is exactly what was done then.
This I feel was our biggest mistake, can you imagine how easy it would have been if we did not have to go into the very technical explanations of how monatory union was the best option for both countries, of how pensioners did not have to be worried about pensions that were the responsibility of the UK government, about when trident would be removed and how large a rental Scotland would receive in the mean time for housing the facilities until removal. I could go on and on , Quite simply we allowed the Westminster cabal to treat us like a foreign country that it was about to go to war against.
OK so where are we now , well there is the Smith Commission that we have all submitted our wish lists to and the SNP are of the opinion that we should give this a chance first to see if the Vows are to be kept. therein lies the first mistake of the next independence campaign, giving the opposition a breathing space as any one who actually believes that we will get devo max is seriously deluded. By all means give it a chance but in the mean time the maxim of ” to assure peace, prepare for war ” comes to mind and that is what we should be doing . We should be carrying on a two pronged initiative with the ultimatum of an other referendum the penalty for all the lying that went on during the campaign and the justification for that lying which will be the remit of the Smith commission. We cannot afford to be too nice this time .
As for the Yes bus Scotland’s Dragon for independence, our position is this, We continue to campaign in a manner which will bring to the attention of people who perhaps voted no , the injustices and dishonesty of the no campaign and in this we have been asking for ongoing campaign materials such as posters and leaflets on a common theme which can be used by other like minded campaigns across the country.
We will be supporting any candidate for the Dundee west constituency who seeks to replace Jim Mc Govern.
We will support Stewart Hosie for deputy leader of the SNP.
We will support any candidate for local elections who seeks to either retain an SNP seat or displace an existing labour councillor.
We will be continuing our food bank collections and cultural interaction in cooperation with Taught By Muhammed food bank and St Salvador’s food bank .
So what do we want in return for this ? as for the food banks ?,nothing.
As for the SNP ? a sympathetic ear, campaigning materials and a strategy moving forward.
We are very fortunate in Dundee and district in as much as we have in the SNP a wealth of talent, whether it be in the local councillors or our representation at Westminster, but they must listen to the people as they are becoming restless for action.
I attach a photo taken yesterday of a relative of a Dinosaur taken on a Caribbean island  and another photo of an actual Dinosaur (Jim Murphy) taken in Dundee City Square a couple of months ago, ( the one on the left).
We are still on the road to independence .
This is our journey

The Scotland Bill ( part one )

scotland Bill part 1

I had the unfortunate experience to watch a good bit of the  debate on the Scotland Bill last night and it was not a pretty sight , Our 56 MP’s were treated like second class citizens in a debate and voting procedure which would have been more akin to what one would have expected around about the middle ages. A good part of the procedure was taken up by the antiquated voting system employed in Westminster which involves every one trooping into the lobbies at every contentious vote. This of course meant that the palpably inadequate six hours allocated to the debate was effectively reduced by about two hours.

To have such an important debate cut to six hours was nothing short of scandalous , this legislation which will ( if passed through the Lords and indeed the Scottish Government)  have huge constitutional implications for both Scotland and the UK.

The one Labour MP from Scotland, as expected voted with the Tories on the more important items for discussion but what was possibly more surprising was that the Greens and Plaid Cymru did not give any support to the SNP or the people of Scotland.

So where are we now on the journey to independence? well probably a wee bit nearer , but if the truth be told not as near as we should have been had the SNP acted from the start as the party of independence and not the party of the Government of a region of the UK.

So what do I mean by that? Well I personally have been of the opinion that the SNP have veered off our road to independence possibly with the intention of becoming more of an establishment party than the radical party of independence we all recognised up to and during the referendum. Since then there has been a lull.

So lets look at what has happened since then , or at least lets look at what the SNP have done in the fight for independence since then. Well not actually a lot, they were catapulted to being the third largest party in the whole of the UK but that was not because of what they had done , it was more to do with what the Labour party had not done and that was support the people of Scotland. Not only that but they had connived with the Tories to deprive the Scots of the right to choose their own destiny. Now I deliberately separate the SNP from the Scottish Government in this because the Scottish Government have to govern for and on behalf of all the people of Scotland regardless of whether they voted to leave the Union or stay in it. The Scottish Government have governed well but yes supporters  should be careful of using their good  record in this as a reason to vote yes because one has to remember that their good record has been achieved under the auspices of the Union, although some might say “in spite of the Union”

The Scottish people had become very politically aware during the referendum campaign and there was no way they were going to go back into the box.  The way they chose to show this was to both join the SNP and vote against Labour. There was actually many more people chose to vote for the SNP as a way of showing their disgust at the way Labour had forsaken the Scottish people than had joined the SNP.

So what should the SNP have actually done after the referendum? well the first thing would have been to analyse what went wrong and then address these problems in preparation for the next round.

So what went wrong? Well several things went wrong. I remember being at a Five Million Questions Event in Dundee University when David Torrance asked Alex Salmond  ” so Mr Salmond how are you going to win this referendum” and Alex said ” with positivity as positivity will always win over negativity”. Well Alex, as we know now was wrong, he was wrong because negativity did actually triumph. It triumphed in part because firstly we were up against the state and secondly we were up against the media, but we could have to an extent ameliorated  these obstacles if we had fought fire with fire and had stood up against project fear and the press instead of shying away from controversy and upsetting the press.

In this respect I would point you to recent occasions where both Alex Salmond and Chris Law have came out and accused the BBC of bias and brought into focus the report by Professor Robertson of the West Of Scotland University, who makes the case that the BBC were blatantly biased. Now it is indeed good to see this happening but the problem is that it is 14 months too late. Chris ,to be fair was not an MP at that time and was in fact like the rest of us and part of the grass roots push for independence. The on-going problem is that the SNP are still terrified of the press and constantly shy away from any mention of independence . This was very apparent during the run up to the General Election. This brings me to one of the defeats in yesterdays Scotland Bill debate.

An amendment was tabled by the SNP, to allow ( yes allow) Scotland have responsibility for deciding when a referendum should take place instead of Westminster. This looked as though it had been a very last minute addition to the amendments being sought. Now this was not contained within the Smith Commission recommendations and I have to but wonder why .It should would have been flagged up  before the General Election and I was for one very vocal in attempting to get a reasonable independence chapter included in the manifesto. With foresight this should have been included  whereby the British Government would have had great difficulty in refusing it with the level of support shown be the number of MP’s elected. After all  the last referendum was agreed with only a majority of one in the Scottish elections.

I will leave it at that for today and I am sure there are many other versions of how we continue on the road to independence and how we address the mistakes that were made in the last campaign and since.

I welcome comments but please refrain from emotive accusations of “hating the SNP” and statements like  “the SNP Know best” because that is not going to get us anywhere .

We need a road map to independence and I feel it is up to the SNP to come forward with this.

We are still on the road to independence

More tomorrow

Bob

Well the SNP have had a revelation, have woken up and ,it would seem are trying to wrest the ability to determine our own destiny away from Westminster. This should have been one of the first things on the agenda when we sent 56 MP’s down there in May. Not only that but this should have been a very prominent item in the manifesto produced in the run up to the general election. It it had,then surely with any vestige of the merest nod to democracy this would have forced the Tories to concede to such a request. After all they agreed to the last referendum with a majority of only one n the Scottish elections.
Mind you if you think back to the run up to the general election, the Snp were terrified of any mention of independence. This position was both unwise and illogical after all if they had only looked at their own constitution they would have seen that independence is their raison d’eter .

So they have belatedly managed to get around to it , does anyone think that they might also start to address the reasons we lost the referendum and instead of trying to persuade no voters who have no intention of voting yes to vote for the SNP on the basis that they are doing well for the people of Scotland ( under the union) try to persuade no voters who would have liked to have voted yes that the nonsense put out by the BBC, the national press and the cabal of Labour,Tories and the Lib Dems was all dishonestly wrong, because until this is done there is absolutely no chance of going into another referendum. Now we have already lost 14 months in addressing these matters , matters like pensions and the monetary situation in an independent Scotland.

To me and a hell of a lot of people , this is the basics, if in deed the SNP are serious in abiding by their constitution and progressing towards our goal without delay.

I keep saying this , but we need a road map to guide us along the road to that goal. Even the Mayor of Catalonia suggested such at the recent conference in Aberdeen.
So come on SNP ! Get your finger out and start acting like e party of independence and not simply part of the establishment.

We are still on that road to independence .
Our journey
Bob