Jeff Duncan a Scottish patriot

It is with much regret and sadness that I have discovered that Jeff Duncan passed away on his beloved Island of Sanday in July of this year. He had asked that his passing was not to be widely publicised.
Jeff was one of the unsung heroes of the independence movement. There is to be a remembrance, in the Black Watch club Artherstone Terrace Dundee on the 11 November at 12 o’clock midday until three in the afternoon the occasion will be led by Alex Salmond. There will be refreshments and the bar will be open
Allan Hendry & Anne McMillan who were great friends of Jeffs’ are organising the event and I am hoping that many independence supporters will attend.
Jeff was a Dundee lad, brought up in Kirkton and Ardler . He first came to prominence in the early 2000’s when he led the fight to save the Scottish regiments. This fight was taken up by the SNP and it is thought that this propelled them to the election successes which followed on from that campaign. Jeff served in the Black Watch.
Jeff an avowed socialist was brought up in the Dundee where anyone who had a Labour label would be elected. He did however always espouse the vision of an independent Scotland and joined the SNP.
It was Jeff and Anne who organised the hugely successful Rallies in Edinburgh in 2012 and 2013. The 2013 one being the largest independence rally ever with over 30,000 attendees.
It was during the arrangements for these rallies that I got to know Jeff, as my family donated coaches to take people through to Edinburgh from Dundee. I found Jeff to be an honest up front sort of guy, whose only goal was to, in some way assist the fight for independence.
He like me left the SNP because of differences of opinions as to how they were addressing the independence question, but he, again like me, always looked upon them as being the most viable conduit to independence, although having lost their way on that particular road.
Eventually Jeff joined Solidarity which was where his and my political opinions diverged, but we always kept in touch and he was a constant ally in the fight to have a true road map to independence laid out by the SNP. He was also a constant means of support in the many exchanges I have had on the subject of SNP strategy on the independence question.
He will be sadly missed as will his intellect, in the fight for independence.
Please come along to the Black Watch club and join Anne, Allan and Alex to remember an unsung hero of the independence movement Jeff Duncan.
The Yes Bus team together with our piper Ian will be there to remember a Dundee laddie.

 

Advertisements

A very simple request, a road map To Independence.

 

Well here we are at another SNP conference and let me predict what will be contained in Nicola Sturgeons speech.
She will move another few degrees to the left to counter act the Jeremy Corbin effect.
She will reassert that the SNP stands for independence and she will receive a standing ovation for this.
Now where will this put us on the road to independence?
Nowhere, and that is exactly where we have been for the last three years since the last independence referendum.

Now let me tell you what she won’t say.
She won’t give a date for another referendum, and she can’t. She can’t because the SNP are in a mess as far as their main purpose in life goes. They have constantly missed prime opportunities to call a referendum and they have been guilty of the most basic mistakes any politician can make., They have misread the feelings of the people of Scotland and in particular the tens of thousands of new members they gained on the back of the referendum result in 2014.
They have neglected their main purpose in life, supposedly because they saw their duty as governing for all the people in Scotland. Well governing for all is a myth and an intrinsic impossibility. You can’t govern for all, you can however consider all, and in doing this you must take into consideration the manner you were chosen in the first place. Now it is safe to say that there is hardly a single person in Scotland who does not know that the main purpose of the SNP is to gain independence for Scotland. It is therefore logical to assume that everyone who voted for the SNP would have realised that their vote could result in independence, therefore on the back of the surge in membership and the vote in 2015 for the Westminster parliament that returned 56 out of a possible 59 seats., It is reasonable to assume that this was because of a willingness to go for independence. Instead, the SNP firstly failed to realise the extent of feeling towards independence and they utterly failed to capitalise on it. This amazing result was gained, not because of the SNP, but despite them, because they ran that campaign on the basis of it not being about independence, when in fact the people saw it very much as being about independence together with the fact that the Tories and Labour colluded to deprive Scotland of their right of self-determination. I won’t go into all the details of arriving at this conclusion because I have written about them in detail in previous blogs, but suffice it to say that in the run up to that election we had the demeaning situation of a prominent Dundee politician making the statement that “we can’t have Saltires and yes signs being waved around the City Square during a Westminster election campaign.” At the time I was advocating that the campaign should be run on a single manifesto commitment, that of independence. Had that happened, we would, in all probability have been independent now.

This was only one of the many missed opportunities the SNP have been guilty of, and since then their popularity had tumbled. This because they put independence on a back burner at every election since and the consequences of this failed policy is now there to see.

Now the next thing she won’t say is anything to do with preparation for a future referendum. I know this because they have done not a single thing to address the issues we had during the last referendum, for the last three years. We still have no idea what the currency will be in an independent Scotland. Pensioners still believe that their pensions could be at risk in an independent Scotland. People are still unsure of what the border arrangement will be on the Scottish English border and of course the EU. That would take pages and pages to enumerate the missed opportunities surrounding that issue.

Ok, we are where we are, on the independence road and that is no further than we were on the 19th September 2014. I put it down to mismanagement by the SNP, some people might disagree with that position, although going by the drop in volume of disparaging comments I have been receiving of late, I feel that less and less people are disagreeing with this position. However the one comment I expect is “ok so what would you do about it “so I will tell you (although I have done so many times before, the first time being two days after the referendum).

It is actually quite simple, we need a road map to independence and here it is.
Firstly, the SNP must make it a priority to wrest control of the right to hold a referendum from Westminster to Holyrood. They have failed miserably to include this into any of their election manifestoes and apart from a half-hearted attempt to include it in the Scotland bill have never mentioned this vitally important issue meanwhile read below.
A basic principal of business is that when you make a mistake, you sort it as soon as possible and not wait three years, so we need a definite policy on the monetary situation and that boils down to either using the Euro ( in which case we do not need a central bank) or a Scottish pound ( in which case we do need a central bank, this not to be confused with the investment bank ,now envisaged by the SNP).There is a commission led by Andrew Wilson looking into this which was to have reported by the end of 2016 but he seems to have went missing in the long grass somewhere.
We need a definite policy on pensions I think our pensions are about the 5th lowest in the EU and I suggest an intention to double them within 10 years in an independent Scotland (dependent of some of the suggestions to follow)
It needs to be very clear what the border situation would be both in and out of the EU.
As for the EU, we should commit initially to being members of the European Economic area only, and not a full member. This would give us the advantages of the single market without the unnecessary dispute among some Yes voters about full membership. There should also be a commitment to hold a referendum on full membership in about a year after independence.

There should be produced, a full set of projected financial accounts for an independent Scotland together with a balance sheet which would show likely assets we would fall heir to. This in place of these silly GERS figures which in fact show why Scotland should be independent and not as they are intended, to fool people into believing that we have a deficit., ( you can’t have a deficit if you are not independent) This “black hole “ is a construction showing a falsely allocated part of the UK deficit.
Following on from the projected financial accounts there should be a commitment to institute the much talked about Oil Fund. Now I believe this Oil Fund should not only be administered and invested by the treasury but should have an element of payments going direct to every individual in the country in the form of an interest bearing trust fund which could be accessed at say 10 year intervals.

Now to the most important element of our road to independence and that is the input of the various grass roots organisations who have been virtually abandoned since the referendum in 2014. It is the Grass roots groups who are the key to independence.
Firstly there has been much talk about various groups and commentators falling out and this leading to a bean fest by the media. Well this is not in fact the case as the media get plenty to keep them occupied direct from the SNP and what they don’t have they make up, but on this point the SNP must confront the press and take them to task at every opportunity as at present they are pathetic on this score. No, you will find that once a proper campaign gets under way all these enmities will be put to one side and we will work together in a common cause as we did during the last referendum.

So the grass roots should be encouraged to get back out on the streets doing what they did very well in the last campaign, but to be able to do this properly they must have the ammunition to do their job and what I have outlined above should form the basis of a centrally produced set of campaigning material on a common theme. Now either the SNP could produce the leaflets posters etc. or they can at the very least make available the proofs for them and the grass roots groups can raise funds to have them printed. Business for Scotland can have a big impute into this whole process especially in the formation of the financial aspect of the road map.
If the grass roots groups are to campaign they must have the answers or they are wasting their time.

Now there is no need to actually set a date for a referendum but simply be prepared to either take advantage of a given situation (many of which have already been missed) or,what is more likely there would come a time when the case for independence and the opinion polls make a referendum a natural next step and hopefully ,by that time as I proposed earlier we would have control of when we decided to hold a referendum.

This is of course not an exhaustive list of requirements but it is something that the SNP, if they are to remain a conduit towards independence, must take seriously or they will be consigned to the dustbin of history before very long.

We are still on our road to independence, it would be nice to see the SNP there as well.

EU Fallacy and the SNP

This is for those among you who seem to think we are better off outside the EU. I find that most of the misgiving regarding the E U and the UK both as unions, for some strange reason seems to come from the far left, even among yes voters. I wish I had a pound for every time I have heard the simply daft statement of “I am not coming out of one Union just to be shackled to another union in the EU”.

The fact is that no one is shackled to the EU, and the very fact that the UK is leaving proves this conclusively. The other quite bazar statement I have heard is “I do not want to be ruled over by unelected officials” well that is good because no one in the EU is ruled over by any unelected officials, in fact it is the UK who are partially ruled over by un elected people and that is the people who buy their places in the house of Lords.

In the EU there are commissioners who are like heads of committees, they are given a remit, for instance to look into a perceived injustice and to offer suggestions as to how this can be righted. They then report back to the EU parliament who then pass it on to the parliaments of the 28 members. If there is not a majority for this motion, it goes nowhere. If there is a majority in favor, it then goes in front of the EU parliament and it is only at that stage, after going in front of 29 parliaments that is becomes law. Now where in heavens name do some people get the idea that the EU is not democratic?
Now the SNP seem to be making noises about Scotland having a say in the negotiations for exit from the EU on the basis that there should be an attachment to the single market. Well not a single person in Scotland voted to be part of the single market, in fact they voted by a very large majority to remain as a full member of the EU, in the full knowledge that if we were dragged out against our will , there could be a referendum on independence. It’s that democracy thing again. The SNP chose to put a twisted interpretation to the vote and try to convince the people that they voted only for inclusion in the single market and not the social and economic advantages of full membership.

It is time the SNP started to act like the party of independence instead of the establishment party they have morphed into, a morphing that actually started during the independence campaign and has now been firmly established.

I feel personally that it is time for another leader, quite possibly Alex Salmond again, as Nicola Sturgeon has presided over the SNP’s slide towards mediocracy and irrelevance as far as the independence question is concerned. I think also that as the SNP failed miserably to take advantage of the very large majority to remain in the EU and to a point the impetus has been lost, any future referendum campaign must now be on the basis that once independence has been settled there will be another referendum on membership of the EU. This would take away the threat of the, mainly left wing of the yes movement with their “I don’t want to come out of one union just to be tied to another union” misapprehension.

So have a look at the advantages of being in the EU below and please think about it.
There is a major difference between Brussels and Westminster.
Apart from the FACT the EU doesn’t drag Scotland into illegal wars, the EU doesn’t impose deep austerity on Scotland, the EU doesn’t sanction the most vulnerable in our society, the EU doesn’t pay our pensioners the second-lowest social security amount in the developed world, the EU doesn’t use Scotland as a lab-rat for new taxes, the EU doesn’t dump nuclear waste in Scotland’s waters, the EU didn’t annex Scottish waters to undermine the strength of the Scottish economy, the EU didn’t negotiate Scotland to the very bottom of the fisheries and farming table, the EU doesn’t control the pocket money earmarked for Scotland? (CAP), the EU doesn’t regulate our broadcasters leaving Scotland the only Country in the world without a broadcasting service, the EU doesn’t say “you are not allowed a referendum” Westminster causes those problems.
Apart from the FACT the EU doesn’t control “Income tax”, VAT, National Insurance Contributions, North Sea oil and gas revenue (geographical share), Corporation tax, Fuel duties, Capital gains tax, Inheritance tax, Tobacco duties, Interest and dividends, Alcohol duties, Other taxes and royalties, Vehicle excise duty, Rent and other current transfers, Export Duties, Other taxes on income and wealth, Insurance premium tax, Betting and gaming duties, Climate change levy, Aggregates levy and “Air passenger duty”. Westminster controls them.
Apart from the FACT that the EU only costs Scotland £275 million a year membership fee, however, EU membership benefit to GDP is 4.5 per cent of GDP. This means the EU contribution to Scotland’s GDP could be approximately £7bn once filtered down for Scotland that makes approx £2.2 billion that helps our economy. Try getting that shortfall from Westminster..
THE EU CAN’T CLOSE OUR SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT BUT WESTMINSTER CAN!!!!!!!!!!
It wasn’t the EU that privatized British Gas, British Telecom, British Rail, Royal Mail, Water Industry, England’s NHS or Police Force.
It wasn’t the EU that sold off the Power Stations, British Steel or the Gold Reserves.
It wasn’t the EU that shut down the Coal Industry or smashed the Trade Unions.
It wasn’t the EU that depleted Social Housing Stocks or introduced Tuition Fees for England.
Here’s the BIGGIE if it wasn’t for the European Council Scotland wouldn’t have a Parliament. Westminster was dead against and the government (Tony Blair) was forced to offer us a vote, even though they fiddled the first vote eventually we got our wish and because we have a Parliament we get Free NHS, the best in the UK, Free Elderly Health Care, Free Further Education, Free Concessionary Bus Travel, Free Bridge Tolls, Frozen Council Tax for a considerable time. Historic Poll Tax debts written off, Free Prescriptions, Free children’s school meals until they are eight, and Free Child Care. Business rates rebate for small businesses  Don’t forget no BEDROOM TAX either.

As I say, please think about it

Time to face reality

 

Here is a Facebook memory from the 1st September 2014. 17 days before the independence referendum. We had fought hard and well throughout the campaign. We had put up with the onslaught from the unionist press and the BBC. We had put up with people like Allister Darling on his way to the House of Lords but we kept our heads high and we plowed on never loosing hope.

 

The result was not what we hoped for but the people of Scotland did not give up, we had come from 27% in the polls at the start of the campaign to 45% and we were not about to give up.
In their tens of thousands they joined the SNP as at that time they saw them as still being the best chance of moving towards another referendum. Unfortunately the SNP did not understand the true feelings of the Scottish people and instead of laying out a roadmap to independence, starting with addressing the mistakes of the referendum campaign, they put independence to one side. They convinced themselves that their interests would be best served by leaving the new army they had to wilt and rot through inaction.

 

The SNP are guilty of the worst strategic thinking in the history of politics. They convinced themselves that people joined them because they were doing well in government and not because they wished another chance at independence. They were wrong in that assumption.
Since the referendum they have missed so many chances that looking back I am at a loss as to their basic logic and as for doing well in government, well that is what we pay them for and we pay them well for it too. I have a coach company and I employ coach drivers, I don’t thing they are doing exceptionally well if they can actually drive a coach, for goodness sake because that is what I pay them for.

Well they have paid for this mismanagement of the remit handed to them by the Scottish people, as shown in the three elections since the 2015 General Election.
Have they learned anything? no ,I doubt it and I have a feeling they are about to push the party further to the left in order to counter the Jeremy Corbin factor. That will be another in the long line of mistakes they have made.

 

In general ,the people of Scotland could not care less what the party of independence is, regarding left ,right or center because they are politically mature enough to realize that after we achieve independence then that is when we will chose the political party that will govern us.
The SNP have let the people of Scotland down and they should be ashamed of that, it is as simple as that.

 

No doubt this will be met with the usual tirade of abuse and statements like “Nicola has a plan but she is not telling us what it is “and “the SNP are keeping their cards close to their chest” Well, I for one am heartily sick of all this sycophantic mind numbing nonsense. As far as I am concerned, the SNP are in the last chance saloon and the bar is running dry. There urgently needs to be a change at the top and I mean Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrel, they are responsible for the mess both the SNP and the independence movement are in at the moment, I am sorry if this does not sit well with some folk but I personally have put too much into the fight for independence to see it wasted by sheer and utter incompetence.

 

It is way past time for a change, and a new road to independence.

 

Bob Costello
1 September 2014 at 22:49 ·

 

Well only 17 days to go before the most important date ever in the history of Scotland , yes it is by far the most important date because the last time Scotland decided to cease being an independent country in 1707 , it was not the people of Scotland who decided this ,it was the nobility and they made this decision for selfish reasons. So what has changed? well I will tell you what has changed . This time the ordinary people of Scotland have a voice and they intend to use it but we are still battling against the vested interests of the Westminster government who are battling to keep the vast wealth which Scotland possesses, and why are they doing this? they are doing this because they are waging a fight for survival. Throughout the years Westminster have exploited and wasted the wealth of Scotland for their own selfish ends and now they see the gravy train grinding to a halt because the people of Scotland are standing on the line in front of it and it has reached the end of the line.
Since the 15 October 2012 when Alex Salmond dragged David Cameron, screaming and shouting to the table and signed the Edinburgh agreement, Scotland has changed there is a new engagement, people are now more politically aware than they have ever been. Pandora’s box has been opened and the spirits of independence can never more be put back in that box. We are on the march and we have 17 days till we reach our objective.
Every destination starts with a dream and then there is the journey my Journey has been fascinating. I have met such wonderful and committed people, all on their particular Journey but we all have one thing in common and that is the destination, an independent Scotland where we will be able to hold our heads up high in the community of nations, where we will hold out our hand in friendship to anyone who wishes to take it , where we will look after our poor ,our elderly and the less fortunate in society, just the same as any close family. As we approach that destination , please take some time to consider the journey because regardless, and in the unlikely event of the vote not going our way we, all of us will always have the journey and that is something to be proud of and something they can never take away. So everyone of you out there who have manned the stalls ,have trudged around doors dropping leaflets ,who have had to put up with abuse and unpleasantness ,who have debated with and convinced no voters to vote yes, you do not have long to go so keep your humour and that smile on your face because the other side are becoming more desperate by the day . So walk lightly, talk softly and take time to look over your shoulder, there you will see a small footprint in the sands of history be proud, be very proud that you put it there.

Not Too Far Left,Nicola

I share this piece below from August 2015. It was a reasonable scenario and given what has transpired since I feel this would have been a very viable option for independence .
Instead ,the SNP have frittered away any advantageous situations that have presented themselves since, on the basis that in the run up to each election, they have made the case that these elections were not about independence . This begs the question , what are the SNP there for?.
The decline in the fortunes of the SNP is directly attributable to their blinkered approach to their main propose in life which is independence. It does not say anything in their constitution about governing Scotland.
Now ,I fear they are about to get themselves further into the morass by once again misinterpreting the reasons for their continued demise.
I feel they have wrongly convinced themselves that the reason they did so badly in the General Election was because there was so much talk about another referendum and they have once again fallen into the unionist trap by giving this theory credence as the only people speaking about another referendum was the unionists and their press.
No, the reason why they did so badly was exactly the opposite of this . It was because they were seen as neglecting independence. Now I feel they are about to make another very big mistake and change policies to give a more left wing leaning, and the reason for this is to emulate the success that Jeremy Corbin had at the general election.
There are a couple of reasons why this is wrong., Jeremy Corbin did well because he nailed his colours to the mast and people related to this perceived honesty ( he was not quite so honest about his position on the EU) Now ,in Scotland people had the choice of either reverting back to their natural loyalties or continuing to support the SNP as the party of independence on the basis that once independence is attained they could then go to whatever party they wished but within an independent Scotland . Now the SNP have since the independence referendum constantly shot themselves in the foot by sweeping the independence question under the carpet and making it plain that each election was not about independence. Therefore the people, faced by the choice of their natural choice of party or no movement towards independence they took the logical choice and went with their hearts.
The SNP have constantly made the mistake of attempting to “govern for all” which is impossible. You can “consider all ” but never govern for all. You govern according to the constitution of the party and the manifesto you ran the election on.
I honestly believe that the way in which the SNP govern the country is very much secondary to the fact they are the party of independence and it is about time they realised this. They have been lent peoples votes on that basis and not because of their ability to govern. People are becoming disillusioned because the SNP constantly tell people that elections are not about independence.
One last thing , the SNP will make a very big mistake if they think moving to the left will increase their popularity. It wont and it will if anything disrupt the balance that was present during the independence campaign when we all came together , both left and right to campaign , march and parade in a common cause.
The SNP really need to think about their propose in life or they will all but disappear altogether and with them the cause of independence.

 

Bob Costello via The Scottish Independent August 1st  2015
13 hrs
I think the SNP should seriously consider this scenario for independence, by a simple democratic vote. I see the opportunity we have next May as the perfect storm and cannot see such an advantages set of circumstances presenting themselves for a long, long time.
This is our Journey.
GRASP THE NETTLE
Last weekend, Alex Salmond made a very profound statement when he said that
another referendum on Scottish independence was inevitable. I think you
would be pushed to find anyone in Scotland who would not agree with that
statement in its purest sense. What he did not say was when he thought that
this second referendum would come about and he was equally reticent as to
how, it would come about. Now there has been much discussion regarding the
exact set of circumstances that would lead to a second referendum.
Now Nicola Sturgeon, has in the past referred to an exceptional
circumstance, such as the UK being taken out of the EU although Scotland
actually votes to remain a member. There have been other scenarios such as
the Vow not being adhered to in its entirety, or EVEL (English Votes for
English Laws) being implemented without any reference to the will of the
Scottish people. In fact the Tort Party seem to be intent on pushing this
change in the law through parliament by way of a standing order, which in
itself could bring on a set of unintended circumstances to the unwritten
constitution of the United Kingdom.
OK let’s take these situations one at a time. First, the famous Vow and if
we are painfully truthful with ourselves, there was never an official Vow.
What there was, was a blind panic one week before the referendum when the
opinion polls went into positive territory in favour of independence and the
leaders and their cohorts rushed up to Scotland to promise us a land of Milk
and Honey. So blind was their panic that Prime Minister’s questions was
suspended in Westminster.
All three leaders and their chancellors and shadow numbers gave their own
views on how much they loved Scotland and how better off we would be if we
just voted no and remained their very best pals on the surface of this
planet. At which point the Daily Record in a desperate attempt to stem the
ebbing tide of yes campaigners from the readership of their paper cobbled
together the front page spread of the famous Vow, made up of snippets of
speeches that the three leaders made in the week before the referendum. Yes
they all said these things but there was never an official piece of paper
containing the Vow and there was never any signatures on this fictitious
piece of paper.
So the non-keeping of the vow is not really an exceptional circumstance
because it never in all honesty existed. There were however a lot of
promises which have not a hope in hell of being kept and as far as the
platitudes made in the heat of abject panic are concerned, well it is plain
to see now that not only were these leaders stretching the truth but it has
been made abundantly clear that we are not in any way welcome as equal
partners in this “united Kingdom”
The exit from the EU could I suppose be held as an exceptional circumstance
and I equally suppose that the barring of Scotland’s MP’s from participating
in parliamentary procedures , not only could be held as an exceptional
circumstance but could actually contravene and in effect nullify the 1707 Act
Of Union.
I would however put the case that it is all far less complicated than that and
here is why.
The SNP has as its reason for existing, independence, that is its function in
life and I cannot think that there is any one in Scotland who does not know
that. I do not believe that there is any one in any of the UK political
parties who do not know that.
In the run up to the general Election the SNP produced a manifesto which
under the heading of Delivering Home rule for Scotland, the SNP manifesto
stated “The SNP will always support independence”. It went on to state that
independence was not what this election was about. However the point was
very clearly made and on that basis the Scottish people by a gigantic
majority elected 56 out of a possible 59 MP’s to represent Scottish
interests in Westminster.
OK so that brings me to the nub of my reasoning. We have an independence
party with a gigantic majority of Scottish MP; s in the UK parliament. We
have a Scottish devolved government in a majority position in Holyrood. We
have in the SNP by far the largest party membership in Scotland and in fact
the third largest in the UK. This party membership has increased by
something like 80,000 since the 19th September last year and you can bet
that every single one of them is there because they see it as being the
quickest way to independence.
The Tory Government is extremely unpopular with ever increasing welfare
reforms and austerity, backed by a labour party that is completely and
utterly out of touch with the people who once would have voted for them and
the branch party in Scotland has all but completely collapsed and is
basically insignificant and derisory in the eyes of the majority of Scottish
people.
This is the perfect storm. We go for the Scottish elections in 2016 on a
platform of independence. There could never again be a Tory, Labour, Lib Dem
alliance to deprive the Scottish people of independence and the Scottish
people would have a clear choice independence or being governed by a labour
party who are seen as a bad joke and utterly dis-jointed and untrustworthy.
This has to be the best set of circumstances to attain our independence, we
must grasp the nettle. The SNP must not let this chance go, they must not
let us down. The campaign should start now, the people are ready for it. I
believe the Yes city is ready. Alex Salmond said, the day after the
referendum “You have not seen the last of my bonnets and me” and from the
same song, I would say “come saddle my horses and call out my men, come doon
the West Port and let us gang free, for its up wi the bonnets of Bonnie
Dundee.

 

 

 

 

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

UNION! WHAT UNION

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.
Bob