If only I had a quid for all the times I heard that….
Ask any Scottish Green Party (SGP) activist and they will tell you that we get the usual “I vote SNP so we can get independence” or “I support the Greens but we need to get independence first” rhetoric. The SNP receive the largest share of the pro-independence vote but a huge chunk of their voters are on the left of the party’s policies and political position of ‘centre-left’. It could be asserted that these voters would be better placed aligning themselves with the SGP who have ambitious policy to eradicate poverty and land ownership to name just two.
I am going to debunk some of the rebuttals some of my activist peers have received during some recent campaigns.
Well, as you may not be aware the Scottish Green Party supports independence for Scotland from the UK. We believe Scotland needs independence to decentralise power from Westminster to Scotland and devolve power to Councils to ensure decisions are made locally. The SNP has not really expressed desires to do the latter. So if you agree the power decentralisation is fair and correct then we’re the party for you. At any opportunity SGP MSPs or other representatives get they will vote in favour of more power or independence for Scotland. So in that important topic, for many voters, it makes no odds whether you have an SNP representative or a SGP representative.
This assertion has some truths for the time being but without increased membership and votes we are stuck between a rock and hard place. In the Holyrood elections in 2016 the SNP was set to win a high number of constituency seats across the Central belt and beyond. Voters that support independence in areas like Glasgow and Dundee, if they had thought critically and voted SGP in the regional vote, could have seen more SGP list candidates in these areas; as both votes SNP wasted so many 2nd votes.
The SGP, bearing in mind is a smaller party with no rich donors or links with corporations, stood two candidates in the list in every region in Scotland and targeted constituencies in Edinburgh Central and Kelvin in Glasgow to name of few. The most successful being Glasgow Kelvin where Patrick Harvie won 24.3% of the vote with the SNP winning with 38.5% of the total vote. This seat could easily become the first ever SGP constituency in Holyrood in 2021.
In the Council Elections we stood the most councillor candidates in the party’s history. We stood in wards we have never stood in before and gained councillors in Councils for the first time and increased representation in Glasgow and Edinburgh. As our activist population grows the more candidates we have to stand and talent we have to take part in constructive debate. Unfortunately, the snap General Election caught us, like all political parties, off guard and after fighting the Council Elections we only put three candidates forward. The First Past The Post system and 5% vote threshold for getting the party’s deposit back is a hinderance to smaller parties for standing candidates for Westminster. The decision to stand candidates was made at local branch level and not part of a conspiracy to help the SNP; dreamed up by the main stream media.
The SGP has gone from having just two MSPs in the 2011 parliament to six in the 2016 Holyrood Election. At the same time the SNP increased the number of constituency seats and decreased their overall seats due to the regional formula; again if pro-independence voters had used their regional vote more strategically it would have increased SGP presence further. Not only that but Glasgow might not have had Annie Wells MSP representing it as the Scottish Tories got two regional MSPs as over 111,000 SNP regional votes were wasted and produced no MSPs.
Anyway, the SGP has proven in this parliament so far that small parties can achieve some of their objectives through working across different parties and with the minority Scottish Government. Much to the criticism of the main stream media the SGP does not ‘prop up’ the SNP Government in Holyrood but it does hold the balance of power in the Scottish Parliament. Just yesterday (25/01/2018) the SGP voted against The Government in bringing to an end of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act but votes with The Government when it agrees with them or where they can get concessions. An example is, where the SGP supports independence for Scotland, where the SGP voted to request the UK Government extends a Section 30 Order for a Independence Referendum in March 2017.
The SGP has been the only party to constructively negotiate with The Government on both Scottish Budgets and last year gained the largest concession in Holyrood’s history. They reversed cuts of around £160 million for local councils and that progressive influence is due to continue into this Scottish Budget for 2108. The SGP will not support this budget unless there is high investment in low carbon infrastructure, no real terms cuts to councils, pay rise for public service workers and funding provided to councils and other public departments to pay for the pay rises. They also pushed The Scottish Government to invest in a plastic bottle recycling scheme and encouraged the Universal Basic Income trials in areas across Scotland to name two other examples.
It is clear to see that the SGP is not just your average small party and has reached out across the political spectrum to fight for progressive change.
That’s great to know but as a party we need to grow now. The SGP is influencing the direction of travel for Scotland but imagine what we can do with more representatives in office across Scotland and indeed the UK. We are a separate political party from The Green Party for England and Wales but of course have very close alignment with their policies and aims. By getting SGP into Westminster would see both these entities working together for the good of the worldwide Green movement.
If you like what you have heard and believe in our core values of environmental protections, peace, decentralisation of power and the fight for social justice we’re the party for you. The SNP are not the party of the left or of environmental justice whilst they continue to promote and fund the mass polluters such as the oil and gas corporations. The SNP leaning more to the left is because of SGP influence and we can do more as the party grows.
by Lefty in a business school
“... in the regions beyond the land of the Celts there lies in the ocean an island no smaller than Sicily. This island ... is situated in the north and is inhabited by the Hyperboreans, who are called by that name because their home is beyond the point whence the north wind (Boreas) blows; and the island is both fertile and productive of every crop... Moreover, the following legend is told concerning it: Leto was born on this island, and for that reason Apollo is honoured among them above all other gods... And there is also on the island both a magnificent sacred precinct of Apollo and a notable temple which is adorned with many votive offerings and is spherical in shape.
They say also that the moon, as viewed from this island, appears to be but a little distance from the earth and to have upon it prominences, like those of the earth, which are visible to the eye. The account is also given that the god visits the island every nineteen years, the period in which the return of the stars to the same place in the heavens is accomplished; and for this reason the nineteen-year period is called by the Greeks the ‘year of Meton’. At the time of this appearance of the god he both plays on the cithara and dances continuously the night through from the vernal equinox until the rising of the Pleiades, expressing in this manner his delight in his successes.”
- Diodorus of Sicily (Greek historian, lived 90-30 BCE), writing in Bibliotheca Historica Book II: 47
The road is icy and there’s heavy clouds around as I drive over the A858. It doesn’t look like the same route my partner takes when we come this way – this is a skiddy, single track road with sheep roaming freely in the passing places, and not another car in sight. There’s fresh, untracked snow on the road ahead and on the treeless moors all around, and with the sun now low in the sky, right in my eyes as I head west, I can hardly see. It’s almost as bad as the roads I used to drive in Reykjavík, where I once lived and worked as a field archaeologist. But the Icelanders have the sense to fit winter tyres each Autumn.
I’m wondering how much worse it’s going to get before I reach my destination – whether I should turn back now to the bright lights of Stornoway and the nice warm house that my partner and his family are resting in.
But I won’t.
Every time I come to the island I feel the need to make this pilgrimage, and this Christmas is no exception.
As the light fades over Lewis, the stones will be waiting for me. Silent and solid, they rise up from the moors by the shiny expanse of Loch Roag like tall silver teeth – at first a rather startling sight as they loom into view. And today, half an hour from sunset on the 27th December, with the sun handing over its watch to the First Quarter of January’s growing Wolf Moon, and more snow threatening to fall again, I don’t expect much company in their midst.
In the visitor centre car park, I skid on a patch of black ice and leave the car parked over several bays, Icelander-style. I’m the only one here after all, and in the entire forty minute drive I’ve only seen two other cars since I left Stornoway. Bracing myself for the freezing wind I know awaits up by the stones themselves, I rearrange my scarf, minding myself to put the car keys in the zip pocket in my bag. It will be slippy up there, and if the keys were to fall out, I’m not sure I’d ever find them again even if the sun came back today.
The Calanais stones have stood here for five thousand years against the elements, and could stand for thousands more. They’re older than the Great Pyramids of Giza, and older than the early phase of Stonehenge. They were already ancient when the first foundations of the famous Akkadian city-state of Babylon were laid, or when the Great Wall of China was begun. While the wind has been scouring them with North Atlantic sea-salt and the rain has been rinsing their faces, they’ve borne witness to a world where empires have risen and fallen. Religions have came and went. The languages they heard when they were younger have fallen silent and disappeared, one after the other. As those of today shall so do in time.
But here they remain, and here they will endure. Hewn out of silver Lewisian Gneiss – one of the geologically oldest, toughest rocks on the crust of the globe – they keep their silent watch of the hills of Harris.
And until very recently, they kept their secrets to themselves.
Until several years ago that is, when a team of physicists from the University of Adelaide in Australia reassessed the evidence for what generations of British archaeologists had dismissed as havering fantasy.
For many years on Lewis, in historically-documented, recent centuries, people didn’t think to ask too much about this pagan monument. It was understood not to be a Christian place for Christian people, and who knew what devilish spirits might lurk in the shadows of the stones? The locals called them Fir Bhrèige – false men – but they built their crofting lazy-beds right up to the edge of the site’s western arm nevertheless. The remains of these are still visible as scars on the landscape. At some point, a farm track seems to have been built which bisects part of the northern avenue of the site, robbing a stone or two out in the process. But unlike other Neolithic sites in Scotland, the stones here were left largely unmolested by the people who came afterwards.
And there have been many coming afterwards.
Carbon-dating of remains found in specific soil horizons during excavation has shown the earliest phase of the site was begun in the Neolithic (the New Stone-Age) around 3100-2900 BCE, roughly 5000 years ago. This was the inner circle of slabs raised 3-4m high, along with the long, silver stone in the centre, the tallest of them all at 5m, and obviously some kind of focal point. It is assumed that the radiating arms which splay out to the South, East and West were added later – along with the double line of stones marking out an avenue heading northwards (no dating evidence was found in these contexts during excavation, so the exact chronological sequence of construction is still unclear). Towards the end of the site’s usage in the Bronze Age, a small cairn was build up beside the central stone – possibly to hold funerary ashes – although this tomb was deliberately despoiled and the site ritually desecrated at the end of its lifespan. For reasons unknown.
Taken together, the Calanais stones form a rough ‘Celtic Cross’ shape, stretching up towards the skies from a raised plateau overlooking the sea-loch, encircled by high, brooding moors on all sides but South – where the distant, mountainous backdrop of Harris is visible from the far side of the water (weather permitting).
And in fact, there are a further eleven standing stone groups within a four kilometre radius of the main site (Site 1), all following the western lochside. It’s believed these also contained funerary cairns at some point too. And possibly beneath the peat blanket, other sites wait to be found around these shores. The connections between these sites – and it seems fairly obvious that there must have be one – is as yet unknown, although it has been hypothesised that they are related in spirit to the megalithic landscapes around the Stones of Stenness on Orkney, given they were built at the same time, and in the first wave of megalithic construction around Britain.
The Neolithic and Bronze Age Hebrides were certainly every bit as arable and rich in natural resources as the Orkneys, and these island clusters were in many ways preferable to live on than the densely forested mainland of Britain. Their climate was similar to that of Northern France today, and the sea level was lower. Their surviving pottery and cultural artefacts are the richest and most sophisticated that can be found from this time in Britain. I remember, as a newbie archaeologist, working on the Terminal 5 excavations around Heathrow Airport, and being told this in a pottery tutorial by our resident post-excavation officer. He explained that the Bronze Age pottery found around London is of a much inferior and more basic quality than that of the Scottish islands – something which surprised me as a young graduate.
At one point in time, Lewis was a prime piece of real estate (while London was a backwater, fenny hinterland in the middle of nowhere). The megalithic remains here should be understood in this light.
The people who built these stones were the innovators of their day, and were possessed of a sophistication that it has taken 50 centuries to fully appreciate.
Over time, since the discipline of archaeology has slowly progressed beyond antiquarian treasure hunting and tomb raiding, modern interpretations of what these stones represented have also changed. The stories of heathen devils being turned into stone by the angry god of the Bible were softened by the dawning realisation that there may be astronomical – and therefore scientific – principles involved in their design and construction. In the early eighteenth century, historians looked to the monument and imagined sun-worshipping Druids had built it, noting how the arms of the site reached out to the cardinal directions.
The first suggestion that the site was designed with the moon in mind came in the 1960s, when the engineer Alexander Thom turned his attention to the site, suggesting that the direction of the Northern avenue pointed to moonset on the summer solstice. Thom also thought the site might be connected to the movements of the Pleiades (the ‘Seven Sisters’) – a star cluster prominent in the summer sky – and reawoke the idea of the ‘lunar standstill’ (as opposed to the ‘solar standstill’, for which we usually use the Latin term solstice).
Within a few decades, his lunar standstill ideas were put to the test in a series of technologically-flawed statistical investigations led by the English archaeologist Clive Ruggles. He found no evidence of any significant alignments between the moon and the standing stones of Calanais.
However, two years ago a team from the University of Adelaide published the results of their new study. Led by physicists Gail Higginbottom and Roger Clay, and utilising 3-d survey data and more robust astrophysical statistical methods, they were able to perfect Ruggles’ analysis, and prove what his methods could not. They found that there are significant lunar alignments among the Calanais stones (significant at the level of p = 0.0125). Translated into words, this means that the probability of these lunar alignments not occurring through random chance is 98.75%. Since p < 0.05, this is a low enough ‘p-value’ to accord the results so-called statistical significance.
But what alignments are the stones catching? And why?
Calanais appears to be set up in a way that marks the rising and setting of the moon at the extreme ends of its 18.6 year ‘nodal’ cycle. This isn’t an easy concept to understand properly without diagrams, but simply put, the length of the moon’s path through the sky varies – just as the sun’s does with the change in seasons.
Unlike the sun however, the moon’s maximal extents oscillate every two weeks, due to its monthly eastwards orbit around the planet, with the moon being either above the ecliptical plane (further North), crossing it, or below it (further South). From the vantage point of a fixed location on Earth, this cyclical swing causes the lunar rising and setting points to vary every 14 days between its maximal and minimal extents, and depending on where the moon is on its 18.6 cycle, these changes can sometimes be very dramatic. Every 18.6 years, these cycles create the ‘major lunar standstill’, and every 9.3 years between these events, there is the ‘minor lunar standstill’ *.
At the major lunar standstill at Calanais, the moon rises at 23° NNE and climbs high in the sky to 60° above the horizon before setting in the NNW at 337°. And by two weeks later, it is hardly there in the sky at all! It rises at 157° SSE, climbs sluggishly to just under 3° above the horizon, and sets SSW at 203°. These effects are noticeable for 18 months either side of the actual ‘standstill’, and are associated with higher tides and other cyclical weather phenomena. It’s even been suggested they affect organic biorhythms and stock market cycles. Presumably people on a Stone Age island would have a keen interest in all tidal and meteorological changes, so the lunar connection to any unusual events would be unlikely to go unnoticed for long. Nowadays, this phenomenon goes by mostly unremarked by modern people, and whatever cultural or cultic beliefs may once have been associated with the underlying lunar cycle, are forever lost in time.
We do though, have some clues that are worth speculating upon.
The Adelaide team found that the stones of the Calanais site pointed both towards the major lunar risings and settings, and the minor ones. And the minimal rising and setting positions at the major standstill also appear to interact in a symbolic way with the landscape around the site.
At the minimal extent of the major standstill moon, the moon appears to rise from a certain part of the hills of Harris, which from the site of Calanais, appears to be a reclining female figure, known in Gaelic as Cailleach na Mointeach – the Old Woman of the Hills. After the moon skirts these hills briefly and appears to disappear again behind them, it suddenly reappears through the steep valley surrounding the conical Mt Clisham, framed by the Northern avenue of the stone circle, and potentially illuminating anyone standing on the rocky platform overlooking the southern end of the site (the Cnoc an Tursa or ‘Hill of Sorrow’). This ledge is not actually part of the official site, but is likely to be a natural focus of the stones. It could even be why it was here, in this unique location, that its designers chose to build their monument.
Could this be what Diodorus of Sicily meant, all those years ago, when he wrote about the circular lunar temple of the Hyperboreans where “the god visits the island every 19 years”? There are some who strongly suspect this is a reference to Calanais. There is no other candidate site fitting the bill for his account, as the phenomenon he describes could only happen somewhere at high latitude. At 58° North, the moon alternately appears to be exalted and dominant in the night sky, or so low it appears to be ‘visiting the Earth’, and communing with the hills of Harris.
Research work around the Calanais landscape is ongoing, and possibly in time, more details will be thrashed out using a mixture of statistical astrophysics and good old-fashioned excavation. In the meantime, people will continue to travel from all over the world to see these stones, and marvel at the beauty of their location and design, a good 5000 years after their builders themselves vanished into the island mists forever.
And the world has grown old around the monument they left behind.
My partner’s family are from the island. His mother grew up speaking Gaelic in a village in South Lochs, one of many children born in the village, where the quickest way into Stornoway was on her father’s boat. The moors of the inner island were not easy to traverse – my partner affectionately calls Lewis ‘the biggest peat-bog in the world’, and its undulating, waterlogged moors form the northernmost cap on the Hebridean archipelago, with nothing standing between them and every passing mood of the sea.
The recent history of the island is similar to the stories of many other Scottish islands, but Lewis is bigger than the rest, and its size affords it a centre of gravity in this part of the world. Its culture remains its own, even as people from other parts of Britain have colonised its more scenic locations for holiday and retirement homes. Lewis is self-confident enough, with proud connections to its crofting and maritime heritage – and its fiercely independent, rather harsh brand of Calvinist Presbyterianism – that it cares little for what outsiders think of it. Yet while you can walk past a swing-park with locked gates on a Sunday and bilingual signs warning that thou shalt not open the gates for children to play on the Sabbath, the Christians on the island remain remarkably ambivalent about the Calanais stones.
Maybe it’s because they’re aware that their archaeology brings the tourist dollar into local businesses, or maybe it’s because the site is so old and obviously abandoned – no longer a place to worship any named competitors of their jealous god.
I think it’s because even they feel the power of the place, despite their religious leanings.
This power doesn’t come from any one faith or belief system, it comes from the time the stones have been standing; a part of the fabric of so many worlds over nearly five millennia – part of our world today and yet so distant from modernity. A silent lamentation to a point in time now utterly gone, and a place of commemoration to all the centuries that they’ve since stood silent, watching the ocean clouds blow in and out over the hills of Harris, while the light of the moon waxes and wanes above them.
And when I come here, I’m reminded that – even against the power of the rain and hail and the driving snow, even against the violent westerlies from the raging ocean shore, there is something beautiful about standing tall against the elements, and marking out your place against the endless churn of changing centuries. The power of the stones is agelessness, and every time I come to this place that’s what I find.
Revival. The endless, deathless power of the ancient to break through the brittle unreality of our superficial, shallow modernity and offer absolution to the failings of the present. The power to see the world through fresher, younger eyes again, with trust in our basic nature to guide us all through.
Confidence in the world, and self acceptance. Restoration, optimism.
* For anyone interested in a more detailed explanation of the astronomy, I would recommend the following website and video which explain the basis of the lunar standstills and nodal regression with some much-needed videos and diagrams:
http://www.umass.edu/sunwheel/pages/moonteaching.html and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMz5PBtnYnU
The moon’s 18.6 year cycle is called its ‘nodal regression’– meaning the moon’s crossing points of the ecliptic (the moon’s ‘nodes’) slowly spin Westwards around the planet and ‘wobble’ up and down as they do. At the minor lunar standstill, the difference between these 2-week oscillations is at a minimum because the moon’s nodes are lined up against the Earth’s vertical tilt (meaning the moon’s orbit is closer to the ecliptic). Conversely, at the major lunar standstill, moonrise and moonset are at their most extreme positions, because the moon’s nodal locations are enhancing the Earth’s vertical tilt (the moon is at an increased angle away from the ecliptic). And owing to the high latitude of the Isle of Lewis, at 58° North, the 14-day switch in the moon’s behaviour produces huge effects in the sky.
by Lili Lapins
(If the external world is a projection of the internal then you begin to understand the state of my sitting room – ps fact-I am not a hoarder)
I can’t believe it has been nearly a year since my last post. It has been a tricky year to say the least and because my concentration is a bit dodgy (to say the least) I hesitate to write anything a length because it has a tendency to become garbled and whereas once I was able to write things and make some sort of consistent thread of my thinking now the best way I can put it is to compare it to eating spaghetti. I used to be great at eating spaghetti by winding it round a fork, now I discover that I make the spaghetti, get a fork out of the cupboard to then realise I have actually made soup. Sometimes this is a great thing because it means that life is full of surprises and I suddenly find myself doing something really interesting. Like at the moment I seem to be removing my kitchen and have learned things about DIY I have never know before, but at other times it is massively frustrating because I will be unsure of why I am demolishing my kitchen and can’t trust myself with a screwdriver.
So we are now living in our sitting room. We have a table top cooker and fridge and a one ring induction hob. My thinking swings between I have lost the plot completely to actually I am absolutely grounded when nothing has changed except what is going on in my head. The tricky bit is existing on a plane somewhere between the two and trying to feel ok about it. My kitchen renovation is with the anticipation of moving into it, I suppose something like living in a caravan. It is pretty small 11′ feet long, 6′ at the widest point and 5′ at the other end. There is a part wall that puts it down to 4′ in the middle. I have put a plan up at the bottom. This is not well drawn as it looks like the walls are straight but they are not- (I am not responsible for the drawing, I paid someone to do it not longer after I moved in, bad decision). Once I move into the kitchen my current sitting room will be used as a work space. Essentially it will be a black box so it can be used for anything because of course everybody needs a black space with no designated purpose in their home. I do at some time in the future intend to make a piece of theatre in this black space. I think my main rationale for this thinking has been a Japanese woman called Yayoi Kusama.
Yahoo Kusama is a very successful artist who has a dissociative disorder and seems to be doing very well in what might be seen to submitting to her state rather than fighting it. I am becoming increasingly convinced that fighting to conform is one of the biggest killers of creativity and that the death of art produced by the proletariat is the orchestrated product of an elitist society who need people to conform to suit their purpose.
Wow, I didn’t know that was where this was going when I set off on this writing venture this morning, but in a way it does bring me back to the living in my kitchen and making spaghetti. Going against what society tells you is the correct thing is really difficult. My living in a kitchen experiment may be a dreadful mistake or it may be brilliant, I don’t know yet. Meantime we shall continue wading through our soup with a spaghetti fork and see what happens. Will keep you posted.
The offensive behaviour at football and threatening communications act has caused quite a bit of heated debate over the time it has been in existence and now that it looks like being repealed, people’s opinions on this seem to be getting very heated, I know mine certainly have, and it was one such exchange, instigated by myself, that lead me to writing this first ever blog which I will keep pretty short.
Now, before I get to my points let me just say I am against all forms of bigotry and intolerance, I abhor discrimination in all its forms and want a more peaceful, equitable and all round better life for all my brothers and sisters across the world. This act was advertised and packaged as a tool to combat sectarianism here in Scotland, something noble and worthwhile which I believe in. The need to be seen to be doing something in response to the ‘shame game’* caused the government to rush through the process and somewhere along the line the noble aims of the act were lost, not obscured, but lost completely. I would ask you to consider how we as a society expect to drive out and deter discrimination with a law that itself is discriminatory?
*Just quickly as I don’t want to spend too much time on this but the shame game was nothing of the sort, at least not in terms of the supporters, on the pitch there were red cards, tempers flaring and there was a flash point at the end of the game between Neil Lennon and Ally McCoist, the crowd that day was around 60,000 and of the 34 arrests made more than half were for breach of the peace. No trouble is excusable however in a crowd of that size the numbers speak for themselves.
I disagree with this act on two fundamental points, both of which are handily contained in the title itself, the first is the vagueness of the term ‘offensive behaviour’ and the second is the term ‘at football’.
Offensive behaviour is subjective and vague at best. In law certainty is what we should be aiming and striving for at all times. The very idea that police officers needed to be trained on ‘what to find offensive’ should have everyone’s alarm bells ringing before a ball is kicked. The fact that sectarianism is not mentioned, let alone given a definition, in a law supposed to tackle it, should have people crying foul, however, the biggest issue, and the one I feel we should all be united on regardless of political party preference, and it’s that this act targets only one section of society, football fans? How can that be explained to you and still support the act? This goes to the heart of it for me, if you have behaviour that is offensive, and society has deemed it so, then its offensive, not only at football but anywhere, it’s the behaviour that is wrong not the location or event attended. Is that behaviour somehow not offensive elsewhere? No, of course not so why single out football fans and before you answer that, change football fans to something you’re engaged in or attend regularly?
The fact that so many people are ready to argue against this repeal without actually understanding it is very concerning to me. The amount of absolute nonsense spouted, then repeated in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary is scary and the defence of the source of polls, such as YouGov defended on this occasion but somehow discredited in all others also scary. However the most alarming aspect from my point of view is how this is being used to cast people as somehow Unionist! to support this repeal? I am a passionate independence supporter and these are two very separate issues, why they’re being lumped together confuses and worries me in equal measure.
There are many absurdities to this act but consider this, you are walking to a game of football with friends you’ve grown up with, you tell one to F*&$ Off and it’s in earshot of a police officer, you can now be arrested, detained and criminalised. Read that again, walking along the road with a friend, you say a swear word and, remembering that if you were walking down the same road, doing the same thing, the next day it would be fine, as you’re wearing your clubs colours you are now, potentially going to have a criminal record. If a law is passed that holds a section of society to one standard when the rest are not then we are on very dangerous ground here and to not recognise that is a failing as a human being, in my opinion, which is why we need to get rid of this ASAP as well as undoing the damage already done.
This law is not wrong because it is badly worded, which it is, it’s not wrong because it was rushed through without due consultation or due diligence, and it was, it is wrong because we cannot start dividing peoples up into groups with different rights of expression, that is a basic human right that is being infringed. And this is not to say football fans shouldn’t be held to the standards to which the rest of society is, of course they should. The fact is that people, I have mainly agreed with in the past, are adamant that this blatant discrimination is a good thing and that terrifies me.
My natural instinct is that all should be treated fairly and equally across the board and we should all have the same rights but the amount of people telling me I am wrong because of who is repealing the law. I dislike Labour and the Tories are a plague of leaches sucking the people dry and I’ve voted SNP eachtime it’s been possible. Is it that laws that I am held accountable to are really only about sending a message?
That one gets me laughing now, the day of the vote last week; we had the SNP telling us repealing the act sends out the wrong message. After being defeated in the vote they deliberately sent out messages saying ‘a vote FOR sectarianism’ had been passed which is ironic beyond belief, almost a self fulfilling prophecy eh?
When did we start passing criminal law that is unjust and vague to the point of being almost unenforceable, and then use this to criminalise otherwise normal every day people, going to watch a sport, in order to send a message? Have our communication abilities dwindled so much that we now just lock people up for swearing or offending us? Is this now the recognised way to deal with such crimes in all instances?
Is my offense at the antics of ministers lying about Brexit, lying about porn on their work computer, lying about secret societies they’re members of or their offshore funds avoiding millions in tax any less valid than the offense someone else takes to a football chant? How do we determine levels of offensiveness and who decides the priority placed on targeting each? I know what my first priority would be and it’s got absolutely nothing to do with sport of any kind.
This act covers nothing that existing legislation did not or does not, as expressed by the law society in submission, and is therefore unnecessary. It targets only football fans, therefore potentially infringing on human rights and most certainly fits the description of discrimination. It is the first act passed with NO cross party support. The act is wrong and the idea of football carrying the can for a societal problem is to downplay the need for treatment of a real problem.
The hero’s of this campaign in my eyes are the guys at FAC, the body of evidence amassed is informative and abundant and ten minutes spent going through the Q&A section would probably be a hell of a lot more effective than my thoughts above. They have kept up the fight with logic, determination and good grace in the face of unrelenting stupidity and in some cases downright hostility and, ironically, offensiveness and I’d like to say a big thank you to them all, thanks!
If you want to know more details or any further information I strongly suggest FAC (Fans Against Criminalisation) website www.fansagainstcriminalisation.com
I Am sitting here with a wee notebook ready to write lists of ‘foreign’ workers who have influenced and shaped my world; I struggle to define ‘foreign’ and ‘British.’
There’s the skilled surgeon of Asian origin who saved my life many times, he worked diligently and with humanity, steering a path for me through the darkest of days. And the Irishman who restored my mobility, he toiled for hours with sweat being wiped off his brow by a ‘foreign’ nurse; that Irishman had searched the world for the bits and pieces of metal and carbon fibre with which he would reconstruct my spine and thereby rebuild my family, saving all of our cherished hopes and dreams.
I shall never forget the gorgeous and charming out of hours GP, a Sidney Poitier who held my hand as he sat in my home beside me and managed to relieve my pain and fear.
These men join the multitudes of ‘foreign’ nurses who washed my sweaty and sore body, cleaned up my mess, fed me, cuddled me, wiped my tears and took away my pain.
In happier times I recall my landlord and his parents, Asian by birth and Scottish by habit and adoption, who laughed with me as we agreed how hard it was to work long, unsociable hours, getting up at the crack of dawn every day and selling jars of coffee, firelighters and cat food long before other shops opened and after the Co-op was shut.
There’s the Polish deli workers who sell to me fancy rustic bread, cold meats and sausages and exotic fruit juices, lovely young women who speak of their mothers and sisters left behind as they embarked on an adventure traversing Europe in hopes of better days; they tell of their trepidation replaced by joy at being accepted and welcomed so readily in their new chosen home.
Recently I’d a happy encounter with a young Vietnamese man who revamped my nails and made me laugh as he painted me with glitter.
Scotland is a multi-cultural society; bangra and bagpipes at weddings; Chinese, Indian, Thai and Italian restaurants on every high street, attractive young Asian women in shopping centres shaping eyebrows, second and third generations of Pakistani immigrant families graduating from Scottish universities with first class degrees in medicine, accountancy and architecture.
I’ve seen Anne Frank’s house; I’ve visited the museum dedicated to the French Resistance; I’ve sung ‘Viva La Quinta Brigada’ in Northern Spain; I’ve been to Guernica. I’m too cowardly to visit Auschwitz but have had the nightmares thinking of what happened there.
And now I fear that history will tell that this Great Britain of ours became a dangerous, frightening and xenophobic state, with fear and division sown by the peddlers of hate. I cannot be party to this so my list of ‘foreigners’ will comprise those who have enhanced and saved my life; I will defend to my final breath their right to live and work in and contribute to our Scottish society. The alternative would require an examination of my own DNA – my bionic foot is German, my spine is American, German and French; I’m an outlawed MacGregor, with an Irish great-great grandfather and a Viking heritage. Perhaps in due course I’ll manage to avoid wearing a badge identifying me as an ‘alien’ or maybe I’ll be deported to Stavanger.
In Scotland there are no ‘foreigners’ or ‘aliens’ – we are all Scottish whether by birth or choice. I pray that those who have arrived here to make their home and build their lives can do so within a forward-looking, independent and tolerant state, where it matters not where you or your forebears were born; where what counts is the destination and the aim to contribute, to care, share and participate in the rebirth of a nation with a desire to construct a land populated by equals and driven by collective hopes of peace, harmony and progress.
By Eva Comrie - Indy Lawyer
For as long as I can remember, my Father would speak about politics as if he knew the remedy to every fix. He'd put his own anecdotes on ways he thought would catipult Scotland into a nation above every other.
When I was young, I asked him many questions. I've not changed one bit as I'm still as inquisitive as ever. His vision for a prosperous and fairer society really hit me, and resonates with me each day. Every day I would see things happen around me and every day I would think more and more that he's right. Even all those years ago.
I remember one day, when I was around ten years old. I asked my Father what he would do if he won the lottery. His response was of a fortuitous nature and as I nodded along to it, I never really understood him, until now.
He told me that, if he'd won the lottery he'd buy a great big factory. A manufacturing business, where he'd employ thousands of people. Of course, I had to know why. When I asked him how he would do this instead of buying a big yaught and sailing off to the sunset. He told me, because having a business like this, gives him the ability to help people, to pay his employees a good wage, to support their families, to look after them and treat them well.
He went on to explain the reasoning behind why people were receiving tax credits. He told me that this was because big businesses were failing people and not looking after them. He explained that businesses have more power than we know and that they can change society for the better but they choose not to.
He told me that to have a great economy, the workers must be looked after and their families must be looked after too.
Workers generate production, and this creates turnover, which eventually creates profits. The harder they work, the more profit is made, in theory. Tax credits were created to support people on the back of corporate greed. If big businesses paid their workers a fair wage. A wage that can support them, then there would be no need for Government top-ups, he said.
I wanted to look into this further. I wanted to see what could change in our society to make us grow, innovate and create wealth for everyone. Let's face it, the more people earn, the more gets taxed, the more people spend on taxable products, the more goes into the economy, thus initiating more to be spent on public services. We all thrive.
For years there have been mumblings of a Universal Basic Income (UBI). This is when every citizen of a Country earns a basic mandatory income. Of course, they can still work, run a business, write a book or remain a stay at home parent, or indeed neither of these.
Universal basic income is, according to its many and various supporters, an idea whose time has come. The deceptively simple notion of offering every citizen a regular payment without means testing or requiring them to work for it has backers as disparate as Mark Zuckerberg and Stephen Hawking, but what do they know about the need for basic essentials?
For me, having a basic income along with working five days a week, would help me and my family greatly. It would make me work harder, manage my finances and have that assurance that my family will always have food and a roof over their heads.
This may seem extreme for most but as Tory austerity hits us all hard and fast, and with 2500% rise in foodbanks, it's an actuality for 58% of in-work employees in Scotland who face these challenges every day.
A basic income can lift them out of the poverty threshold. Not into the riches we see celebrities living but lift them into a world where they're secure and have some degree of certainty. In a few months we would see a rapid decrease in the use of foodbanks, we'd see a rise in public spending and a rise in social prosperity.
The Welfare System is currently not working, for anyone. It needs amended, stripped and rebuilt. A universally based income can drastically transmute our failed system and create a fixed future for our children and future generations to come.
A new change does not always come with such transparency and is not without its criticism. There are people's views that this would be an increased handout. That it would stagnate employment and eventually increase unemployment. That incentives work, handouts do not and that it will cost the Government a fortune. All of these may have a valid point, but the advantages far out-weigh the disadvantages.
People want change. People need change. If everyone is on a basic income, that is an incentive enough to achieve the things you've dreamed about. It can create innovation, business ideas and ultimately in time, grow the social aspect to a comfortable height.
In Scotland four councils face the task of turning basic income from a utopian fantasy to contemporary reality as they build the first pilot schemes in the UK, with the support announced by the Scottish government last month, with the drive and support of Nicola Sturgeon too.
The Councils wanting to pilot this are Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fife and my very own area, North Ayrshire, who could soon see people receive an unconditional weekly sum. Although, still in its infancy, the idea has attracted £250,000 of public funding in the form of a grant to develop feasible studies. The areas involved have until late March 2018 to submit their bids.
The hypothesis on the income figure is rumoured to be in the region of £150 per week.
The right-wingers of today will no doubt slam any positive and progressive approaches to making this work. The Telegraph headline wrote "How Universal Basic Income may hurt those it seeks to help." Of course, they will not want to close the gap between the rich and poor and make it difficult for the Scottish Government at every opportunity. It will be a costly affair but in the long run, this can pay off. People will now have the chance to thrive. To dream again and to keep their heads above the financial quick sand that so many of us vigorously spend our lives fighting to get out of.
It again makes me proud to be part of the SNP who wish to tackle poverty head on with new ideas. While no-one else seems to be interested in the welfare of others, this Party time and time again stick their neck out and face adverse criticism while in full knowledge that if it fails, it will be catastrophic for them. Opposition Parties will have their statements ready to submit their barrage of insults and low-key political point scoring' at the hands of a Party just wanting to help others. To a Party who takes a blind leap now and again to see what is out there. A Party who will test the waters so others don't have to. I'm proud to be part of that, to support every move the Scottish Government make.
I have faith in them because I know if they mess up, then they've messed up doing what they believe is right.
The baby box, the attainment fund, the public energy company and now the Universal Basic Income are just to mention a few of the progressive projects the Scottish Government want to implement to materialise their vision of what a balanced society looks like. They have taken risks with all of these projects to help others.
A basic income for all of us is a chance to start over again. To press the reset button on our welfare system and make a fresh start at life. Only time will tell if it works or not, if unemployment will rise or drop. If people get lazy and accept a weekly payment without working. One thing is for sure, our Government wants to see change. They want to give us more money in our pockets to take care of our families, to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. They've already started to close the attainment gap. They've already improved our health care and scrapped prescription charges.
They've already started the process in tackling the big six energy companies by creating a public based one. They're not bankrupting the Country by continually finding ways to give us extra money. No, all they want is for us to have a fair shot at life. To live free, healthy and out of poverty, to live a normal life as up till today, there are 300,000 people living on the streets across the UK.
by David Patterson - https://www.scottobeindy.com
Just a thought. Scottish politics has a social democrat majority, how should the clear water description of the Tories be portrayed?
A Scottish Society.
Historically Scotland has always had a social attitude to its way of living as a society, a fact expressed by whatever political hue Scotland has voted for as a majority. To my simple understanding it means the ideal of everyone putting into the pot for the benefit of all and keeping within budget. Since enfranchisement Scotland has had only partial satisfaction of this ideal. Gaining the welfare state was momentous but it was not long before Tory policies were back, Labour continued to show its lack of competence in government and Scotland then turning to independence to have a government we actually voted for as a majority.
What we have now a substantial movement towards independence. However, on the last vote it is a fact that a majority of fellow Scots voted to stay in the UK. Since then opinion polls show there may have been a change towards independence, but it is by no means a landslide. This poses a question for Scottish society is as to why. Clearly Scots did not vote for the current Tory policies nor has the government taken any notice of the political will of Scotland as the Brexit vote has shown. Bias media and establishment manipulation cannot fully explain why majority Scotland continually accepts to be politically ignored. My only explanation is a 'Better (Together) the devil you know' attitude has an attraction that implementation of the policies Scotland voted for does not. I for one would love to change this attitude but it remains stubborn and making favourable arguments for independence only seems to antagonise my fellow Scots who voted no.
In an effort to further understand why Scots vote for one society and are happy as a majority to have another I looked at what kind of society the Tories policies actually are trying to create. Laissez faire or 'abstention of government from interfering in the workings of the free market' (oxford dic) is how best I could sum up Tory policy. Putting my explanation to the test, I looked at Brexit and the membership fee of the EU as an example. On membership, it seems the choice was that we (taxpayer) pay a direct fee from the pot (presumably our taxes) for free trade or we directly pay export/import duties on goods. So instead of paying from the pot we all pay as individuals. Fair enough, if you can afford higher prices for goods, but that's just on trade. I'm presuming this policy will eventually encompass the NHS, Education, Prisons and who knows what else. Where does it stop? This policy ultimately dictates you pay for everything. Imagine personally trying to budget for pregnancy, illness, street cleaning, policing. Do Scots know what policies they are accepting?
In the most recent elections and surveys it seems the Tories are actually gaining traction in Scotland. To me, it doesn't matter from which party this momentum is coming from, rather its the move away from the Scottish social ideal that's concerning. So, is Scotland moving away from a sharing society to one where we all live as individuals and only the strong survive? Given the strong are a tiny minority then I sincerely hope not.
HAVE A BANANA - six bob a pun’
I don’t know anyone who ever met Matt McGinn, but I know thousands who
wish they had. And I know many others who could have been Matt McGinn,
and hundreds who were. I remember a radiogram in a caravan in the late
1960s and an album of songs the likes of which the world never heard before,
or since - Oh, take me back to the jungle, let me swing on the trees, away
from the rattle and the rumble, I just want to be free. I learned only the other
day that Matt McGinn was an Oxford graduate; I was aware of his time at an
approved school, but somehow his academic achievements passed me by.
I haven’t been too hot on Glasgow’s geography either; there were notorious,
infamous names, numbers, statistics, newspaper headlines - all could tell a
tale of a human landscape, side splitting and heart breaking simultaneously,
but I remember that 70s Glasgow was as exciting as it was scary to a wee
teuchter like me - an unforgettable trip by train to the pantomime at the Kings,
our wonderment at the Krazy House, double decker buses, women in high
heels, mini skirts and leopard skin jackets, painted nails and perfume; men in
Harringtons, or Crombie coats and sights which must have been commonplace
to the locals though to a visitor aged nine with heather hanging out her
ears were jaw droppers. Men in platform shoes,winkle pickers, Jesus sandals,
with embroidered bellbottom jeans, spivvy, cool as get out or rough as a
badger’s arse and bearded boys with guitars and pouches of Golden Virginia
belted it out like Frankie Miller as their pals across the street blasted on the
pipes. And there was The Barras. Glasgow was cosmopolitan, hopeful, gallus
and depressing in equal measures.
I didn’t get to meet Jimmy Reid either, but I did see him on the telly, in black
and white. I was mesmerised. His words echo in my mind often. There was a
man, hailed worldwide, recognised for his insight, understanding and foresight.
Yet, there is still a rat race. Still we say that we are not rats.Perhaps
Jimmy was wrong there.
And I have walked through streets in dismal Scottish towns, in the quiet rain,
and looked up at windows, wondering who was on the other side of that glass
and what hopes, pains, fears and prospects those girls and boys had, or had
not. I’ve paid pound notes to children in the Eastern villages of Stirling so they
would guard my car as my German Scottish friend with roots in Culloden tied
optimistic SNP posters high upon tired lamp posts. We should have been free
I’ve never been to Eton, Oxford or Cambridge. The closest I will ever come to
Panama is a squashed straw hat it is my wont to wear when acting the goat.
And I have family who didn’t see a banana until it was a prized, raw, green
acquisition, carefully tended in a cloth in a dark drawer until ready to eat, in
small slices, shared and savoured when ration books were the order of the
day, but only for the working classes. Those of the higher echelons were privileged
to consume, or to waste, wholesome and hearty meals when the
masses starved, eked out or made do. Dough balls and Scotch broth. Plus ca
Matt McGinn was a Calton man. He died aged 50. I don’t expect he survived
until then on a diet of fresh fruit, caviar, pink champagne, Daiquiris and lobster.
His will not have been the white linen cloth covered and crystal bedecked
table of the toff with his acres overlooked by the paps of Jura as he
whiffed and savoured a prized and aged malt, pondering a call to his man
across the ocean to check on his double dealing and shifty moves.
Jimmy Reid was Govan, that place where thousands of men grafted in shipyards
which would disappear if we voted YES, just up the road from the
steelyards destined to be similarly consigned to history by Independence
Day. Steel in Scotland today however survives by dint of Scottish mettle and
not as the result of the warm glow of the boundless love burbling from the
cauldrons of Westminster.
And Ravenscraig; its demise kindled justified hatred of Margaret Thatcher.
Her policies and those of the Tory boys who preceded and followed her are
the reason in large part why life expectancy in parts of Glasgow has been for
decades lower than Middle Eastern war zones. There Matt McGinn and his
cohorts had no option but to pay tax and contribute, and there is no mystery
as to why they would spend their wages in pubs and bookies. These men
who sang along with Matt’s choruses were without aspiration, trammelled and
trapped as they were, by their alleged betters, just a few short years after the
tanks had rolled into George Square, sent to remind their ancestors whose
hands push and pull the levers of power.
You might wonder why I speak of bananas; they are one of Panama’s mainstays;
my geography teacher, Willie Nicol, told me so forty years ago. He
wasn’t quite as familiar with Panama as our Home Secretary, Amber Rudd,
she who requires and demands patriotism from our media, and who is tasked
by our strong and stable PM to review our human rights once we reach the
exit with Brexit. But bananas aren’t written of in Ms Rudd’s portfolio, in her
Panama Papers or the papers on the British Virgin Isles. Those millions of
lines of numbers and names tell us instead that half of the money in the world
moves through offshore accounts, unseen and untracked, safe, cleaned and
laundered money. Quite as we expected, Britannia waives the rules more
than most. Every penny and cent so hidden is a ghostly theft from the dreams
of a child of this land; it is theft of a few moments of hope which might change
and enhance a life. That accounting cleverness robs the youth of this nation;
it steals away the ability to be nourished, to learn, to survive, to prosper. It is
a vagabond who lurks quietly and unseen, in shadows, plotting its continued
and privileged existence, beyond the reaches of the law and devoid of morality.
It is insidious, pervasive, rotten and unacceptable. Its consignation to the
dungheap and dungeon of history is long overdue.
Our YES campaign energised Scotland; we sought and demanded answers,
explanations, strategies. Our nation awoke. Debates and heated arguments
across this land featured schoolchildren and pensioners disputing lofty matters
of currency union, banking arrangements, lenders of last resort, the impact
of changing oil prices, the reasons for the absence of and the justification
and need for an oil fund. That unity, the collective education, that thirst
for knowledge, that desire and demand for change comprise an overwhelming
tide whose waves have never ceased to lap.
So tonight, as I ponder bananas and Caribbean pirates, and self-educated,
talented, optimistic men of Scotland, I think too of other days in Glasgow.
There are tears in my eyes; a lump in my throat.
I stood in Freedom Square with optimistic friends; we sang Caledonia and
Loch Lomond, and of Wallace’s spirit Coming Home; we laughed, hoped and
prayed. We had painted faces, banners, stalls, t-shirts, posters and flags. We
danced. We believed. We went on to know, survive and overcome despair;
and we have now rededicated ourselves to a democratic cause.
Despite The Vow and the forked tongue which spoke of the closest thing to
Home Rule and Devo Max, there remains the ability to sit offshore on Scotland’s
oil rigs and gaze inland to foodbanks and thousands of children and
pensioners in poverty, hunger and cold, with empty cupboards and bellies.
There can be no doubt that with Brexit those cupboards will remain bare and
We now must speak a new version of those old words which we have repeated
often - we fight, struggle, argue for, contend and demand fairness, equality
and justice; not glory, honour or riches, but freedom; that power to determine
our priorities, our destiny; we cherish our bairns, not their bombs. We seek a
country, Scotland is and will be ours - we were a nation for a thousand years
before that Union, and you mark my words, and his, Scotland will be an independent
By Eva Comrie, IndyLawyer.
Coming up on our spotlight channel. 22nd January 2018.
We shine our spotlight on Historical film maker Mark Nicol.
Mark has kindly allowed us to reproduce his work here and I know that you won't be disappointed
I was born into a working class council hoosed family, Labour voting for generations, working the same jobs in shipyards that many did along the Clyde. Labour councils were fighting Tory Govts every election weighing votes instead of counting them, pre devolution, pre national strikes, pre decimation - nay destruction of unionised industry and councils.
The Labour I grew up with, following like a zealot like many of my working class kind, was normalcy. It promised the same rhetoric intergenerationally, that Westminster was the fault of local problems, it was as I found out later an easy cop out – they had no plan other than opposition.
That standard of being the opposition in the 70s, 80s, 90s wasnt electable to the English electorate as wealth shifted south with Thatcherism it revelled in the crumbs from the kings table , funded on selling off or closing tax payer owned union backed industry, rendering devastation in its wake as the wealth left the North. The process would later be given its proper name – Neoliberalism, meaning socialised debt, privatised profits capitalism.
North of Watford though, in the BRITISH industrial heartlands the working classes still voted red. Well until the lines between Red and Blue blurred with another ism , Blairism. It too followed the neoliberal narrative, like a cuckoo in the nest.
I had a very strange idea of School growing up, its lack of politics in primary well its explainable, the lack of history and politics in High School though is deliberate - now that I look back at it and see its on purpose.
Governments, Labour, Tory and Liberals, remembering that Labour is in Westminster terms the third option at one point, all played that narrative – Dont educate the masses, especially the Scots, beyond that of operating machinery or Labouring or they will revolt, or at the very least be able to figure out the tome "wealth of nations" and realise the worker has the upper hand.
While in High School I excelled, much like I did in Primary on certain but not all subjects, embarrasing teachers in the process. Mostly it was making things, understanding how they worked in the physical world, not language or maths , Arithmetic yes , modern studies too to the point of being able to have adult conversations with the more "rock and roll" of my teachers during breaks – along with it a fag , and later a pint in a working class pub.
Two of those teachers, which at one point the classes overlapped had different political identities , and had a common line shared though – socialism. The difference is that one was a middle aged SNP councillor, before it was cool, the other a mid 20s protestant yet Irish republican (a contradiction in itself) was also hard core borderline Labour communist – with a liking for the questioning of his views , as well as questioning that of our own. The latter was the one that told me the "Fenian movement" of Ireland had prominent working class protestants , included land owners , in other words a class struggle against a colonial power wasnt religious unless it was made to be.
Both of them though had a liking for getting through their course work, with some time to spare, talking about politics "off grid" – neither denigrated the ideology of the other , ie TARTAN Tories , and NuLabour was not yet born. Both knew where the problems lay – central govt, ie Westminster. Both agreed that the education system had deliberate flaws to keep the sheep in line. The blurred line between working class socialism, and the SNP, was even back then very thin, today its a gulf, where you will need those Blue Passports and a visa just to visit socialst Labour.
Somewhere between those School years and Blair Labour, more so Scottish Labour, it has lost its moral GPS.Conpasses are so 20th century.
I remember watching the Clyde die, no not from toxic chemicals and industry, but industry itself dying. I STILL voted continously for change under Labour. Much like those estates built for industry in Scotland, Wales and Englands north did. I campaigned, filled the original foodbanks for strikers in Britain, paying my moral and financial dues to union and party. As industry died so did those estates, communities, towns, and whole sections of cities like Glasgow, Liverpool, Tyneside , Manchester , and whole regions like Yorkshire.
Born from this was the new belief that Labour, and the unions caused it as much as the Tories and the wealth drain , from privatisation of tax payer owned industry, and of course the trickle down con of neoliberalism. I can agree later in life that they all had a part to play in the demise, more so with Labour when Kinnock started removing the working class Labour politicians – letting NuLabour become its bastard son "Tory Lite" filling it from private education.
Right up to the act of devolution Labour followed what I call the "Hardie mandates", at least with lipservice, as it campaigned that HOME RULE narrative in workplaces and doorstep, that it will only be supplied by Labour, thus ceeding power to the workers, protecting them. NuLabour EVENTUALLY delivered "home rule lite", reluctantly, and in my opinion that action in combination with being Tory Lite got it elected via middle England, finally ending the reign of Thatcher - even if she had been rejected by her own shortly before it.
Today, even with the worst Tory govt in living memory Labour's STILL struggling, and thats WITH supposedly the most socialist leader since BEVAN!
I still have hope that it will change, but while England hopes Scotland sees that there IS NO CHANGE with a Westminster party, without crossing the bridge it already burned – more than once.
It has to DROP the idea that the SNP are the enemy, stop enabling the true enemy, and get over itself in the belief that the SNP are merely keeping their entitled seats warm. Stop keeping the lie going that the SNP gave us, the UK, Thatcher – it was Labours own.
Jeremy needs to remind himself , or be reminded , that history repeats BY HIS failing to cull the Nu - it will be his own demise.
Those fans of JC need to realise too that NuLabour still remains ingrained into the party, merely waiting for its Ides of March moment. They also need to realise that the SNP, while geographically located in Scotland, are NOW the same 3rd party in politics Labour itself once was. When English socialists nod Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP, Holyrood, SNHS, then notice must be taken that the enemy of my enemy is my freind – unlike Labour in Scotland doing the reverse.
Corbyn opened up in me again that foolish Labour heart, one that hopes of "Hardie Mandates" would once again be held aloft, like a miners club colours on a sping march that demanded them, sadly all it took was a few weeks to realise there was a reason why he was a backbencher – he thinks he understands socialist Scotland, he apparantly doesnt, or has shite advisors. Either way its a liability.
If he did Socialism then he wouldnt piss on oor chips, but offer a hand instead on INCREASING home rule powers, but that would only be a TEMPORARY bulwark against another Tory Westminster, a sticking plaster over an ever widening wound. Only from that will it prevent Scottish Labour from dying, which it did after the Milliband whip, thus offering a franchise to sell to the UK regions and countries, including empowering England with EVEL.
By Blocking Holyrood powers, even brexit ammendments, he has shown in a single leader that the party, marxist, socialist, and Nu are still one and the same for Scotland, and by proxy also for Wales , hell even for Yorlshire and Tyneside - which are beginning to smell regional devolution coffee.
He isnt fighting the system, he is the system if he stands for following the party's unions orders on KEEPING Trident thus in Scotland, for Irish reunification and Palestine free state but not for Scots Independence. The only single reason why he doenst stand UP for Scotland is that socialism costs, and North Sea Oil is the WESTMINSTER bank, thus Scotland will pay for it – just like Labour planned to pre Nu with the McCrone report , but then again they kept that one quiet from the Scots.
By saying the Welsh assembly is hamstrung by Westminster, where Labour have ruled unchallenged since devolution with the same fiscal powers of Scotland, then comparing at party level that the same CAUSES somehow dont similarly apply to Scotland, he has shown a very bad hand at best, at worst rank ineptitude meets inability to politick from top down.
Secretly I know there wont be a Labour Govt under Corbyn, although I want it for Englands working class poor, sick, uneployed and disabled. The reasons are pretty much as I have said above, there is no franchise to sell them on, other than bribing students, of course that wont wash in Wales where they have had two decades to do it, or in Scotland where tuition has been free already, or in middle England where it likes the NU. It wont offer itself as the opposition to brexit, as Corbyn has always been anti EU, then again hes always been CND and wants to keep trident , conceited much?
Sure the only good thing coming from it is that theres a little more red in the blue coming in at the bottom tier, but that wont change the old gaurd ironically called NuLabour that remain in waiting.
They still control the unions, so FREE votes. They still operate the councils in England BADLY, The Welsh assembly BADLY, and in Scotland, where the membership is at its lowest level EVER , they are doing it BADLY partnered with Tories - cutting services while screaming poverty from Holyrood instead of Westminster . whom gives it its pocket money.
Corbyn, Scottish Labour, Labour, ALL need to decide and soon. Are they unionists or socialists, are they pro EU or anti EU, are they pro EVEL or continuing the democratic deficit of "England decides for the UK".
Its their watershed moment, the tipping point not just of the party, but of the UK itself.
A couple of new Jannies with the same bucket of sawdust, for the same old vomit, well it just wont cut it.
To paraphrase Winnie Ewing for a moment "Stop the Westminster brexit bus, Scotland wants to get aff".
By - ' The sun without Scotland '
We have been considering a suggestion made to us regarding broadcasting coverage of Scottish Junior Football.
We have been looking into this and there is a distinct lack of coverage BUT is there an audience for this? Let me know in the comments section below
From today , for 3 days, we spotlight FLASHMOBS in Scotland.
If you have a suggestion for the ' spotlight on ' channel, then let us know in the comments section.
Today , Sunday 14th January 2018 Approx 4pm - Channel 1 - Welcome to Scotland - will be offline for a re-vamp .
The CH1 player will be changed to the same style controls as other channels.
We've had some great ideas sent to us from viewers for channel content.We have noted every suggestion and will do our best to include these.
We would be grateful if any videographers would drop-us a wee message , allowing us to broadcast their work. No matter the content , just as long as it's Scottish related.You can contact us here via the comment box below, via twitter - twitter.com/TrulyScottishtv
or by email - firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're not in a position, as yet, to pay anyone for work used but we will be able to do this in the future.
Can I ask one big favour from all viewers ? Can you please share our channel site as widely as possible, we really need to get our viewing figures-up so that we can progress.
Thank you once again.
From Thursday 11th January for 5 days, we'll be putting the spotlight on those 'No' voters who came to 'YES'.
It's a timely reminder , a positive reminder that anyone, who voted No in 2014, can come over to yes,given the current mess we find ourselves in.
Viewer will be able to watch a range of video's or skip-through the programme and only watch as many as you prefer.
We would urge viewers to share the video's to other social media, these vids could just change a mind or two.
Money/funds will always be an issue but we have a plan...of sorts.
First thing is - recognition. We need to become known.
We're working on this at present and are doing our best to promote ourselves but we have had a ton of help from the twitterati and for this, we're eternally grateful.
Second thing is - To secure a channel and be the first new Scottish broadcaster on freeview.
To do this we need viewers,we need to know you are out-there before we secure cash funding for the next step.
Third thing is - How do we fund the channel in the future.
We plan to sell advertising space in a new way, at an incredibly cheap way. We want advertising to be open to everyone in Scotland. We want the guy/gal who wants to promote their product/s no matter how small their business is.We want folks who wish to let others know about a gala day or a fund-raiser or maybe a political demo/march. Ok, that's enough of that ! More on this in the near future..
Fourth thing is - Funding programme/film makers
Folks have been so kind, to allow us to broadcast their work for free and we know that Scotland has a vast amount of talent out-there with regards to programme making.We want news/current affairs/sport/politics by Scots for the World.And we aim to be able to part/fully finance this .
But before we get ahead of ourselves, we need viewers and lots of them . We have set a target of 20,000 viewers per week, online consistently for three months.If we are able to show that then we are on our way to the next stage...
All comments welcome.
Before I answer that question, it's probably better to go back and explain what's taken place over the past 4 months or so.
When the channel first began, we launched a politics channel , viewing figures for the first three months were poor(in my opinion)so we decided to remove the politics channel and the news channel and have a re-think...
We looked at the viewing figures from around the globe and realised there were more viewers from outside these shores than from within so we decided to concentrate(for this present 3 month trial) on promoting scotland and the scots via some wonderful films/video's made here in scotland , about scotland.
we also launched a small channel promoting our Govt's work, this has proved very popular and will probably remain
now that we're four months old and figures are becoming clearer,we're aware that our original politics channel wasn't doing so well because we just hadn't got ourselves known,we hadn't managed to get the word out there so we're going to return soon with a news/politics channel once more