The Times They are a changing

There is a malaise setting in to the membership of the SNP and there is only one source of responsibility and that is the top end of the party. There has been branch discontent in various parts of the country which has been dismissed by people like Peter Bell (who I have great respect for) as emanating from disaffected ex members of the labour party who were apparently trouble makers when they were Labour members. Well I feel that this line of defence is wrong and the problem goes much deeper than that.

Some time ago, I believe February of last year I cautioned against the seeming inaction in the SNP with regards to forwarding the cause of independence. I made the point that because of the huge increase in party membership there was a potential problem awaiting, if the inaction continued. I said that the SNP now had a huge army of willing volunteers and the worst thing you could do with an Army was to let it idle because it eventually starts fighting amongst itself and that is exactly what is coming to pass and the responsibility sits squarely at the feet of the SNP hierarchy and their policy of absolute control.

They tried to kid themselves that a good part of the increased membership were people who became members because the Scottish government were doing a good job of governing the country, which they were, but that was not in fact the reason that almost 100,000 additional members joined. No the plain and simple reason was that this was people who had been sorely disappointed at the result of the referendum and were disgusted at the way the Unionist parties had conducted themselves during the campaign and they saw the SNP to be the best conduit towards that goal. Anyone who thinks differently is suffering from self-imposed delusional behaviour.

The SNP have shied away from the independence cause in alarming ways and this manifested itself here in Dundee in several ways. Firstly, any approach I personally made to the SNP to find out what the plan was post referendum and to encourage a continuance of the campaign in a lesser way to ready ourselves for another referendum should the opportunity present itself was met with a blank look and a “what plan “ response.
In the run up to the general Election, Dundee and I suspect every other SNP branches were terrified of the word independence and went to great lengths to subdue any reference to it, to the extent of being instrumental in the moving of an event involving the Yes Bus team which included a rally and parade around Dundee, which was arranged for the week before the GE to the week after the GE. The reason being that, and this is the actual words of an SNP politician “we can’t have yes signs and Saltires in the City Square the week before the General Election”.

Late last year we again had organised a rally in the City Square at which we put out invitations to all of the pro-independence parties. This was to be a “Road Map To Independence” rally, as Nicola Sturgeon was at that time making weak noises about the Scottish people letting her know when they thought another referendum should take place. Now make no mistake, this rally was not about persuading the SNP to set a date for a referendum but to try to persuade them to set out a road map to independence, which seems in my mind to be the very basics to show intent.

Well what followed was distasteful to say the least. We had a concerted effort through the SNP to thwart our efforts in connection with this event. We had a local politician conduct a comical effort through Facebook to ask the people of Dundee whether he should appear at the same event as Tommy Sheridan. Of course as soon as he put up this posting there followed an orchestrated effort mainly by the local SNP office acolytes and employees telling him that he shouldn’t speak at the event. There also followed again an orchestrated campaign to discredit both me and several other people involved in the organisation of the event. We had the chairman of the licensing board ( SNP) refuse a late application , (probably for the first time in history ) to have a parade around our own City. Comically, the excuse he gave was that the last time I organised an event there was a late application, when in fact the event he was siting was the one that the SNP had persuaded the organisers (not me) to put off till after the General Election and it was in fact the SNP themselves who had submitted the late application, honestly you could not make it up , the SNP were at that point in time operating in a manner that would have not been out of place in Faulty Towers. This resulted in a torrent of hate filled postings by the mindless sheep that surround the SNP and which they seem to be comfortable with. What of course they didn’t realise was that every hate filled remark made on Facebook and twitter, received an answer which set the record straight. So at the end of the day I received far more support than I did criticism and the support was from quality thinking people. There is a lot more but I will not bore you at this point in time with the details. However getting back to my point about discontent in the membership. Because of this I resigned my membership of the SNP which I have had for over 30 years. I have heard from a source in the SNP that in Dundee the membership has dropped by around 11% . I could be wrong in this but I do not think so. So it is not just the West of Scotland SNP that are having problems at the moment but I believe, as I say a general malaise prevalent in the ranks of the membership and not just the membership but in potential SNP voters.

The SNP would do well to take note of this dissatisfaction and get back to doing what their membership and a hell, of a lot of the Scottish people want them to do and produce a Road Map to independence. At this point in time they are still probably the best means of heading on that road and I for one at this point intend voting, first vote SNP and second vote for another pro-independence party but I will be looking very carefully at the manifesto they produce and making a final decision on my first vote depending on what is in that manifesto.

The SNP seem to have veered off that road and they had better get back on it pronto.
We need to be back on the streets doing what we did so well during the campaign, we are becoming restless.
We are still on the road to independence
Our journey.

Out Of The Box

This is a posting from exactly a year ago although the photo I used was from the days of the referendum. I was reminiscing that it was good to be back in the City square speaking once more to people who at that time were still trying to come to terms with the result of the referendum. I remember that day well because it was the day after we had been in the Square collecting for the food bank and like yesterday when we collected in the Murrygate , it was bloody cold.
it was also the weekend before we confronted Jim Murphy in Ardler.
I had heard that he was coming to Dundee on Monday but couldn’t find out when and where he was to be appearing.

As it happened we found out on the Monday Morning and the team hurriedly got some posters together and wrote various messages on them to welcome Murphy to Dundee.
We had a score to settle with him and we were on a mission. The only poster material we had to hand was the signs you see on the Yes Bus in the photo., So we wrote various massages on the back of them. Messages concerning Murphys roll in the Iraq war and how he came to Dundee during the referendum and lied to the Pensioners of Dundee.
On that day when he came to Dundee during the referendum we were at our usual station in the square handing our referendum material and talking to people about the referendum when the Murphy bandwagon rolled in and there was a spontaneous demonstration against Murphy and because we were there with our referendum materials people were coming to our stall and taking posters and demonstrating at the circus that was the Murphy mob.
However it was us who were vilified in the unionist press the following day.
That is all a long story and I wrote about at the time, but that was the background to our decision to demonstrate against Murphy, that Monday.

Again the story of that day has been written about,and the video we took at the time of Murphy going around pre chosen houses talking to conformed labour supporters was viewed 31,000 times in the first three hours of us putting it up and before the dark forces of the Unionist establishment took it down. That in itself is another story along with the harassment we received on social media and various other incidents which necessitated the involvement of the police.

So another day in the battle to move towards independence . Interesting times then and still interesting times ahead, if only the SNP would get their act together and put forward a proper road Map to independence instead of blowing hot and cold on what is after all the very propose of their existence.

Yes we did not have a very good experience with labour during the referendum and the election to Westminster that followed but that is in the past and Labour have been punished by the Scottish people for the disgraceful way they acted.
There is yet an opportunity for them to redeem some semblance of respectability in the eyes of the Scottish people and that is to embrace independence. Form a new Labour Party of Scotland and break away from their London masters.

The SNP and Nicola Sturgeon can play their part in this by extending the olive branch , by imploring the Labour party in Scotland to get on board and join us on our journey as we claim our inalienable right to decide our own destiny , our right to make our own mistakes and to benefit from our bountiful assets.

It is time to think out of the box

Our road.

17 January 2015

Well folks , we had another food bank collection today this time in the city square in Dundee. it was great to be back in the Square. The plan was to have the dragon there but the old girl had a problem with her water works. ( problem seem familiar to some ) so she had to stay at home for a bit of R and R and Jamie was working to get her back on the road.
We had one of the smaller buses there instead. It felt like being back home, being in the Square and we had visits from a lot of old friends some I hadn’t seen since we were on the streets during the referendum campaign. So some good chats today. We also had a visit from Jim McGovern, who stayed for a wee chat, nice to see a politician stop by for a chat, even although he is from the opposition. Funny thing though, there will be a few Dundonians going home and saying that when they were “doon the toon the day” they saw a labour politician asking how the food bank collection and on-going campaigning was going but didn’t notice any SNP politicians about . Ah well I suppose that’s politics today.
I asked Jim if he would like a photo with me in front of the stall but he gracefully declined saying that he remembers getting his fingers burned the last time he posed with me beside the Dragon during the campaign when I surreptitiously produced a YES poster in front of the two of us. The other thing that might have put him off was the message on our banners that proclaims. YES TEAM SCOTLANDS DRAGON FOR INDEPENDENCE FOOD BANK COLLECTION MADE NECCESSARY BACAUSE OF WESTMINSTER POLICIES.
Spoke to a Labour activist who is at the heart of their political campaign who conformed that Jim Murphy is coming to Dundee on Monday but even though I pressed him he would not reveal either the time or the place. It is strange that Murphy is saying in the press that he wants to talk to yes supporters and here is me offering my services only to discover that his whereabouts on Monday are top secret. Well if anyone knows where he is to be and when, can they let me know , just so we can give him a good Dundee welcome as there are a few questions I would like to ask him regarding the nonsense he was spouting the last time he visited Dundee.
So a good day for the food bank collection in conjunction with “Taught By Mohamed Charity” and good to see friends from the campaign but bloody freezing. Time for a quiet pint I think.

Another wee step in our road to independence.
This is our journey

Tread Lightly

Well last weekend showed a definite change  in the SNP’s recent attitude to independence when Nicola Sturgeon made two speeches seemingly setting out a new take on the independence issue. This was followed all week by postings and tweets on social media from Yes supporters in their new found state of euphoria. Many of them announcing Nicolas secret plan was now coming to fruition.

 

Well I would caution as to what was actually promised because nothing was in effect put forward as anything which could be considered as a road map to independence.

Basicly,what was stated is what is in the SNP constitution and that is that the propose of the SNP is to take the country towards independence.

Now this might very well be a change of heart, from being terrified of the dreaded word independence being mentioned anywhere near an election, to a reassessment of the wishes of the members of the party. If it is, then that in itself is to be welcomed, but that will not in itself get us any nearer independence without action to go along with the new found bravado.

Now ,there is understandably many people who are now starting to campaign through social media for the SNP to include a date for a referendum in the elections. I do not think they will and I do not think it is necessary, if they properly pave the way for another referendum at a time  of our choosing.  To be able to do this we must firstly have the power to call a referendum at a time of our choosing and this will require a commitment to pursue this goal the manifesto. This is something that should have been included in the manifesto for the Westminster elections, if it had been then we could very well have had this power now.

 

There should be a concerted effort to address the issues that lost us the last referendum, such as pensions and the currency , plan B issue. To do these things the grass roots organisations must once again be activated and campaigned on a lower level with materials supplied centrally, through the SNP.

It is only if these basic things are done that we are ever going to get near the magical 60% of comfort that the SNP see as a possible trigger point for another referendum. Another way is of course to actually set a date in the manifesto and then work towards converting the no voters to yes and I am sure there are many now who have made that change. It should be remembered that when Alex Salmon set the train in motion for a referendum the yes vote was standing at only 27% and it went up to 45% if the results were in fact accurate .

On this point ,there is something that yes campaigners can do themselves to help in this conversion  and that is to treat people who voted no in the last referendum with some respect and consideration. These people were as entitled to their opinion as we were to ours and there were in fact a great many of them who voted in the way they did because  of some of the mistakes that we made in properly informing them of the various issues like pensions. So there must be no more calling them Naw Bags etcetera. If you cant coherently debate with opposite views without resorting to name calling than stay out of the debate and leave it to people who can. There is also of course the ongoing problem with SNP supporters who immediately jump on people who dare constructively criticise the SNP, and the SNP should be reigning in these unpleasant people.

 

There will never be a better time to get the independence movement going again after this unnecessary 15 months of hibernation. The Tories are now as unpopular in Scotland as they were when Thatcher was the Prim Minister and Labour in Scotland are in self destruct mode , to the point where I feel they are now actually realising this and I have a feeling that before long there will be Labour MSP members jumping ship  rather than be ignominiously given their marching orders  in May. I have said it many times that the only hope for Labour in Scotland is to separate completely from London Labour and embrace independence. I would like to think that they are considering this option as only then, can they rebuild a once proud party.

 

So it is over to the SNP , they need to be more open with the Scottish people and they need to do more than talk about independence . The Army is ready to march , we lost a battle 15  Months ago  but .there is still a War to be won.

“So open the West Port and let us gang free”

We are still on that road to independence .

Our Journey

 

 

 

Our Road

I was just looking at Nicolas speech made( yesterday I believe) regarding the upcoming elections and the forthcoming year . She did actually mention independence, which was a pleasant surprise and this may well be down to the various voices advocating actions in an independence vein. However , I note that as in the past Nicola has made the point that the Scottish people will make it clear when another referendum will take place, she is now concentrating on  an exceptional event having  to take place and sitting the referendum on exit from Europe as the kind of exceptional event she has in mind. This or the opinion polls showing a significant increase in support for independence.

 

Now a couple of points here. I feel that the change of tact regarding the Scottish people telling her that they want independence might just have something to do with the fact that there has been several rally’s to tell her exactly that and have been ignored by the SNP to the point of no SNP politicians even speaking at them.

 

As far as the exceptional event goes , and that being the EU in/out vote , Well I have the feeling that this vote in Scotland  might not be the clear cut decider that some people expect. Lets say there was a 10% difference of people who wanted to stay in as opposed to the people who wanted to come out ,in Scotland and a very small majority in England who wanted to leave the Union. Well that would be about the same percentage that we had at the referendum for staying in the union, so it would be reasonable to say that the will of the Scottish people was being ignored by leaving the EU and it would be reasonable in these circumstances to hold a referendum on independence .

 

OK so what if the majority for staying in  was much lower, say two or three percent? that would quite possibly present a problem.

So given the two scenarios that Nicola has presented for a move towards independence of the possible EU exit or the support for independence rising sufficiently to warrant another referendum and I have  good reason to believe that the trigger point being put about SNP circles is 60%, there are several things that have to be in place before either of these scenarios would be successful and they all need the same actions to take place and the same time-scale.

 

This is what they are , and some of you will have heard me saying this before , many times .

We need the mistakes made in the referendum campaign of 2014 to be corrected ,such as the confusion on pensions and monitory union and in this respect this needs to be addressed as soon as possible. This to my mind will require the restarting up of the fantastic grass roots groups that were so effective during the referendum campaign. This would have again to be done in conjunction with the SNP as was the case with the Yes set up. I am sure the grass roots groups could manage to self finance as there would be literature etc which could be produced and coordinated through the SNP. That way every household  in the country could be in position of all the relevant information concerning the unanswered questions of the last referendum.

Perhaps Wings over Scotland could be persuaded to produce the “Wee Blue Book” mark two . That was a fantastic publication and would be the very thing we are needing.

 

OK so that takes care of the unanswered questions and now to the actual referendum . Well we need to have in place , the right to hold one and this needs a commitment in the manifesto to be produced for the forthcoming election in May to demand that right be passed from the Westminster government to the Scottish government. Now this should be in every independence minded party’s manifesto.

Now we need , not only the right to hold a referendum at a time of our choosing but we have to be able to regulate it as well and that means stopping the automatic right to a postal vote with special exceptions. We must ensure that there is proper international scrutiny and of course , this time there must be exit polls allowed. I cannot for the life of me understand why the Scottish government agreed to no exit polls in the last referendum as the only people that ,that could assist was people who intended cheating.

 

 

So that is my take on where we are on the road to independence, in other words we need a proper road map to independence . We need to energise the grass roots groups once more. We have an army out there ,willing to do what they can to move towards our common goal and the worst thing you can do with an Army is to let it idle.

We need to be on the streets once more with hope ,hope for the future of our children and our Grandchildren and indeed our country.

This is our road to a better future and we must grasp it with both hands .

Bob

 

 

The year ahead

So we say goodbye to 2015, an eventful year by any standards. A year in which we sent 56 out of a possible 59 MP’s down to London under the SNP banner. A year also in which we yet again sent our military to war.
Our 56 MP’s although with good intentions have not been able to make much of a difference because the forces of the establishment, Tory, Labour and the lib Dems have been collectively stacked against them.
I feel it could have been made easier for them with some forethought, in as much as the manifesto for that election could have been structured in a manner which could have made it very difficult for the Westminster cabal to have resisted many of the policies which in effect the Scottish people would have voted for.
In particular there could have been a commitment to pursue the right to determine exactly when and in what manner another referendum could have been held. If this had been a manifesto commitment then the British Government would have had difficulty in refusing this and if they did then there would have been a strong case for taking the matter to the United Nations.
Instead, we had the half-hearted and late in the day attempt to have this debated during the farce that was the Scotland Bill. It was of course dismissed during that very comical event.
Following on from that we had the debate to decide whether we went to war in Syria. Labour were as usual ,all over the place in this and their loyalties were divided between voting as their constituents would have wished them to vote and attempting to defeat their own leader and it was sad to see one of their number, Hillary Benn receiving an ovation from the Tories after delivering the longest suicide note in Labour history.
Now these two issues I am highlighting here are very much connected, because if we had a manifesto and therefore a mandate which insisted on wresting the right to hold a referendum from Westminster and had that issue been diligently pursued as soon as the 56 SNP PM’s had went down to London, then this could very well have had an impact on the vote of whether or not to go to go to war in Syria. The reason being that it could very well have been seen as one of these illusive trigger points that Nicola Sturgeon has mentioned in connection with setting off another referendum.
I still feel that we have lost a prime opportunity to simply go for the election in May on the basis of every independence minded party presenting a manifesto of independence. It is too late now because we would have had to have prepared the ground by addressing the mistakes we made during the referendum campaign, such as the pensions issue and the monitory union or plan B and since the referendum there has been no attempt by the SNP to address any of these issues. It is also difficult to imagine Labour being in a worse position to again be the front for the Tories in the NO campaign as they are virtually an irrelevance in Scotland now. It would also have put them on the spot as to whether they again opposed independence or did what any right thinking person would advise them to do and that would be to separate completely from London Labour and go wholeheartedly for independence.
As I say, it is too late to consider this scenario and I again have to wonder at the thinking of the SNP as far as the road to independence is concerned. They are at present riding a wave of popularity, brought about by the perception that they are the best conduit to independence. I keep hearing that they have achieved this residency of the ivory tower they, at present inhabit through what they have done, but to be very honest I cannot find one single thing that they as a party have done since the referendum to be where they are except for replacing Alex Salmond by Nicola Sturgeon. The rest was done by Labour, the Tories and media outlets like the BBC, all of whom acted abominably.
I have had people giving me lists of achievements of the Scottish Government who have administered Scotland very well in comparison to the clownish attempts at administrations in the past by Labour and the Lib Dems but these achievements have in the main been carried out or planned before the referendum so have nothing to do with the present SNP’s ( as opposed to the Scottish Government) rise in popularity which is almost exclusively a reaction to how the other parties conducted themselves during the referendum campaign.
I would add a note of caution here to anyone looking to use the Scottish government’s achievements, as a reason for the SNP’s popularity, because it could be said that all these achievements have been made under the Union and not with independence.
So as we go into another year what should we be looking for from the SNP? Well we should be looking for a road map to independence, not necessarily a date for a referendum but at the very least a rout laid out with all the potential obstacles on the way, mapped out and addressed. Now that would give the people something to attach themselves to and it might somewhat allay the unease that is surfacing in loyal campaigners who are beginning to have misgivings. The grass roots organisations should again be encouraged to campaign at a much lower level than in the referendum but to get the messages out on the issues that I have discussed such as pensions and what the monitory system will be in an independent country and whether for instance we should consider taking on a voluntary share of the UK debt.
The other thing which has to happen is that the SNP must get a grip of their supporters who immediately jump on anyone who comes forward with constructive criticism as there are actually many commentators who actually shy away from offering alternatives because they know that they will immediately be descended on by people who will accuse them of SNP hating or attempting to split the vote etc. etc. Now these people are generally un- thinking people whose only answer is that the SNP know what they are doing and have a master plan. Now if they had a master plan that they were not telling anyone about, then it would not be very cleaver to tell everyone, as Nicola Sturgeon has that “the people will decide when the time is right for another referendum” That is a contradiction in terms. There also needs to be a change of attitude to the people who voted no because if we cannot convert them we are not going to win the next time so stop calling them silly names like Naw bags etc.
Let’s hope that 2016 will be a year of clarity and the SNP will once again work with the people of Scotland to attain the goal that is written very clearly in their own constitution and that is the attainment of independence. Because if there is not that clarity then people will start to suspect that the main focus of the SNP is power as opposed to independence and if that was to be the opinion of the people of Scotland then it would be time for a party of independence to emerge.
I feel we are still on that road to independence but we have stalled somewhat unnecessarily.
Fifteen Months ago we were on the streets of our Cities full of hope and we made a distinct difference to the politics of Scotland which has changed for the good. We need to be back on these same streets once more.
A happy new year to every one.
We are still on the road to independence
Our Journey.

Bob

A TALE OF TWO EVENTS

On the 5th October  we through the Yes Bus team held a rally in Dundee city Square which was a great success and involved some great speakers and a great line up of entertainment .

Unfortunately because we chose to name the event “A Road Map To Independence “, the implication being that we were of the opinion that the SNP should produce such a road map, instead of the muddle we seem to be in regarding the future of Scotland, the Dundee SNP decided to attempt to spoil the day and indeed put several obstacles in the way of it.

Now the reason they chose to use to attempt to sabotage the Road Map To Independence “was that we had asked Tommy Sheridan to speak. I do not believe for a moment that this was the real reason and they saw the rally as an obstacle to their policy of doing absolutely nothing about putting in place the mechanism for another referendum.

It is too long a story to go into exactly what happened at this moment but very briefly it consisted of , firstly an SNP politician , comically going on to face book and asking all an sundry, whether he should speak on the event followed by the usual group of SNP  sycophants  posting that he shouldn’t. There then followed an unsavoury incident where the SNP chairman of the licencing board refused a late application to hold a parade around our town , even although all the necessary permissions including the police had been granted, siting erroneously, that I had personally made a late application for a previous event. An event which had hilariously in fact been applied for by the SNP themselves. Then presumably realising that he had made an ass of himself he then attempted to use the local unionist rag (the Courier) to disparage the event, calling it a shambles and stating (although he was not there) that there was only three hundred people at the event. Well I was there and counted in the region of one thousand there over the course of the day.

During the run up to the event and the orchestrated campaign to discredit myself and the organisers, things became so childish that I, tongue in cheek posted at one point that we were to be providing a Bouncy Castle for the local SNP politicians to encourage them to attend the event.

Of course it became obvious, even to the limited group mentality of the Dundee SNP that the event had, despite their best endeavours, been a success. So undaunted in their stupidity they then through employees of the SNP stupidly posted the front page of the Courier in all of its unreliable and misleading glory with the headlines “Rally A Shambles” and the discredited and ridicules assertion by the SNP head of the licencing board that there had been only 300 at the event . This posting was intended to personally discredit me and the people who had been involved in the organisation of the event. This posting was transparently and quickly followed by adverse comments by, again the usual suspects of Dundee West SNP Sycophants, unsuccessful candidate applicants and failed event organisers. Who piled in with adverse and very obviously, pre-discussed, comments and therefore encouraged many of the mindless SNP morons that I had been dealing with all week to put their insipid contribution to the debate.

Well you might well wonder why I am mentioning all this now, some two Months after the event. Well I will tell you why. It is firstly because I felt that because of all the vile disparaging comments aimed at me by what I came to describe as the flock, and because of the collusion of the Dundee SNP in all of this and also because of my disillusionment at the SNP as far as a cohesive policy towards independence (which is after all their sole purpose in life )  I felt obliged to resign my membership in the party I had supported for 30 years.

Secondly, the reason this has come up at this time, is that last week, this party, the SNP tried to organise an event themselves. It was to be a ceilidh to celebrate St Andrews day. This event was to have all the ingredients of SNP speakers, entertainment and food (well, actually, soup and a roll) and all of this was for the princely sum of £10. (Our event was free). Now in case there are any of the SNP flock reading this, St Andrews day is the celebration of the patron saint of Scotland (neither the Scottish Government nor the SNP have to my knowledge made any move to make it a national holiday probably because people might start thinking about independence).

So what happened at the SNP St Andrews day extravaganza? Well nothing actually in fact it was so badly organised by the SNP that it had to be cancelled. Not only that but they were in such a state of Cognitive Dissidence that they did not realise that it was not a goer until the last minute and there were cases of people checking their emails in between getting their kilts on and checking that the baby sitters were coming only to discover that the event HAD BEEN CANCLED.

So a tale of two events. There is something amiss within the SNP in Dundee and my mind was even further troubled when ,the other day I read that and SNP councillor was being investigated in connection with assault of a colleague ( presumably and SNP colleague) at the Dundee SNP headquarters in Old Glamis Rd.

I have been putting my mind to how the SNP could have done things better in order to have made sure their little event had been viable and have come to the conclusion that what they lacked was a BOUNCY CASTLE.