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The lesser spotted Scottish Labour voter…

If you are reading this in England you may be wondering what I’m on about. You’ll be thinking that The Labour Party is getting ready to turf the Tories out and sort the upstarts of UKIP and the LibDims. If you were here in Scotland you would be looking out onto a political topography on which the lesser spotted Scottish Labour voter has diminished to a degree, which is nothing short of astonishing.

There’s a long way to go until May 2015 but at the moment polls are indicating that Labour are polling around 20-25% whilst the SNP are polling around 51% to 60%. No need to look at the figures for the other parties they are struggling to gain double figures.

During my stint leafleting on the run up to the Scottish Independence vote I met a few Labour voters. They all seemed to fall into the same sort of “type”. They started shouting fairly quickly, they tore up any leaflets or newspapers I was attempting to deliver.

Whilst a lot of Labour voters voted NO a lot also voted yes but not enough so why have so many Labour voters changed to the SNP now? Well it’s simple, very, very simple. Labour have not represented their historic support base since Tony Blair strode onto the world stage. The other reason is that Labour sharing the stage with the Tories and being so negative and wilfully telling porkies was just too much.

I can provide a great example of how inept Labour politicians have been. In the 80’s I had to visit a client in Greenock. I was surprised when I got there. On both sides of the road there were shipyards, heavy engineering, metal bashing and more. Step forward Maggie and her desire to stop metal bashing and go for services instead.

Jump forward to New Labour being in power. Almost all of the manual, metal bashing jobs and the other industries that supported them were gone. I had cause to visit Greenock a number of times and all of the yards were gone. Some housing and the odd supermarket replacing the yards. Not a huge amount of jobs on offer and a populace fighting over call centre jobs.

Blame Maggie? A good bit I’d suggest. But and this is a really big but, the Labour Party had made no real effort at all to help Greenock and many similar places throughout Scotland back to prosperity. And yet the people in these working class towns still kept on voting for Labour. It’s a disgrace many times over. Thankfully it’s now changing and the Labour vote is crumbling.

There isn’t a day that goes by that my twitter feed doesn’t contain a good few people saying they voted NO and they were wrong to do so. Too late, but not too late as in forever, just wait and see.

So all Labour has to do in Scotland is come up with policies which will appeal to their own traditional voter base and for the potential voters to actual trust them to deliver.

That’s easy.

Really?

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You should read this book, you should.

“The Scottish Enlightenment” – The Scots Invention of the Modern World – Arthur Herman ISBN 1-84115-276-5

The Westminster Government, ably supported by the BBC, has been pretty clever in the way it has portrayed Scotland and the people of Scotland. We are alcoholics, suffer from poor health, smoke too much, don’t do exercise, obese, etc. and worst of all monetary speaking we take more from the rest of the UK than we put in.

Given that quite a few of the politicians saying or implying these things are in fact Scottish themselves, you’d think they’d have the decency to put the facts on the table rather than just agree or in the worst case scenarios continue to tell fibs. I think there is some merit in the first paragraph above but I am also sure that the same things could be said of the rest of the UK and pretty much most countries in the world.

The one, which sticks in the craw for many people in Scotland, is the notion that Scotland doesn’t pay her way. The truth is that Scotland does pay more than it should and anyone with half a brain can see that for themselves.  Just think for a moment. Think of any country in the world which has oil within its borders and waters? Now also consider how much of a contribution the taxation and wealth creation, which has taken place in these countries. It’s huge. It makes the country far more stable and it also allows for much improved living standards for the population.

There are exceptions of course. It may be that a dictator rules the country and/or there is a dreadful level of corruption. This damages the country and it damages the potential living standards when just a few steal the greatest proportion of the wealth. It happens.

However, a country with oil and a government, which is reasonable, would get many benefits in all sorts of ways. Just look at Norway. It’s similar to Scotland although it does differ in one or two really important areas. It has it’s own government. It is not ruled by a much larger country and it is not part of the EU.

Norway has a big fund set aside from oil money to support the country in many ways not least of which will be to make life easier should the oil stop flowing although that’s certainly a very long way away.

Scotland has had very little benefit from the oil removed to date. It may have enjoyed the employment created but there has been no monies set aside. The money from the North Sea has gone to Westminster. FULL STOP!

Anyway the narrative is the important part at the moment. Remember the NO Campaign? Yes them. All they can say is that the Scottish people are too stupid, the country is too wee to amount to anything.

I recommend you read the following book. It clearly records the contribution made to the rest of the world owes to Scotland and the clever Scottish people from a small country, which punches hugely above its weight.

Don’t be taken in by Westminster and the establishment they will say whatever they think will damage Scotland most and the BBC will broadcast it.

“The Scottish Enlightenment” – The Scots Invention of the Modern World – Arthur Herman ISBN 1-84115-276-5

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2014 in BBC, Politics, Scottish Independence, SNP

 

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A new shiny Scotland – Part 4

As the title would suggest this is a utopian view of how a new Scotland following a successful YES vote in the independence referendum “could” develop. If you haven’t read Part 1 it’s here, Part 2 is here and part 3 is here.

So carrying on our tale.

An odd things also happened with the Scottish economy. Before independence we were told that 40% of our exports went to EU countries. The actual truth was a bit lower but since independence it’s increased to the equivalent of 45%. But trading with the rest of the world has been incredible. The number of trading agreements and the opening up of new partnerships with countries overseas has been significant. Lots of foreign countries have been opening up bases and building manufacturing plants. The port at Greenock is beginning to strain significantly and Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Grangemouth are booming. It’s so good to see the rivers back in use.

There have also been lots of ferries and hovercraft services introduced on the Clyde, the Tay and the Forth. Glasgow airport now has a proper train station and both Edinburgh and Glasgow airports are having additional runways built. Tourism is booming as never before.

Scottish football hasn’t done so well. There is plenty of investment happening and promising youngsters have been spotted and are going to special schools, which allows them to learn football and hone their skills. Similar things are happening in other sports and the arts.

The huge reduction of laws and regulations has made a lot easier for everyone. Loads of laws were scrapped and people’s rights have really escalated again. For example people can sing what they want at football matches and they can have a drink while they are there. SFA stewards now provide security at matches although there is always a small police presence for those who either can’t behave or have a “moment”.

Localism has been a great benefit and it’s sorted out a lot of issues. Very few towns and just a few areas in cities have parking regulations. People try to shop locally which has supported a huge leap in small individual specialty shops opening. High streets are becoming different again, not the same old no matter wherever you go.

The move towards local democracy continues and will do so until each local area council has reduced to a size, which supports the area in a very efficient manner. The same is happening with the police, fire services, NHS, etc. and the costs of councils is dropping also. In times gone by the mantra was to get bigger to achieve economies of scale but this was never realised. Small is better and the costs have fallen. There are some larger procurement groups that buy in bulk but in the main costs are kept down by the local councils themselves.

 
 

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A new shiny Scotland – Part 3

As the title would suggest this is a utopian view of how a new Scotland following a successful YES vote in the independence referendum “could” develop. If you haven’t read Part 1 it’s here and Part 2 is here.

So carrying on our tale.

The A9 was made dual carriage way in record time also and potholes were attacked and dealt with all over the country. Road Tax no longer carried any sort of VAT or “environmental tax” and the duty on petrol was slashed by 60% with no VAT. There was a general drive to adopt a taxation system, which only taxed people once and at source of their salary or drawing etc. Again this was a great benefit to localism since most of the tax collected stayed in the area with a small amount sent on to the central government departments.

Obviously , Scotland needed a Navy/Army and Air Force albeit based on the stuff, which was deemed necessary by Westminster at the time of independence. Since then Scottish Governmenr has worked with other smaller countries to put together the ships, planes and equipment needed whilst also ensuring shipbuilding capability to sell and refit both naval and merchant ships etc.

Honesty was also brought to the tobacco and health debates. We now have a lot more pubs and hotels than we did during the attempt on smoking prohibition. Pubs, clubs, hotels etc. can now decide if they want to be smoking establishments. People are so more tolerant of others since they took more responsibility for themselves and are far more aware of the phoney science which was being pushed in the past.

The lies, which had been used by the stop smoking campaigners, were shown for what they were very soon after independence. The fact that there was not one single scientific study or paper, which could conclusively prove a link between lung cancer and smoking, surprised many.

The health system also jettisoned all the preaching, nannying and hectoring when it came to nutrition and alcohol.  Whilst there are still a ways to go things have also greatly improved and the much hyped obesity issue is being researched with a hope that gene therapy should be a significant positive solution. The fact that people have better jobs and have more money in their pockets automatically helps their health and again gene therapy is being considered for heart and cancer issues also. There is hope too that housing all over Scotland will be brought up to a much higher standard than ever before.

It all seems to good to be true does it not?

Well some things didn’t go quite as well. The nuclear base at Faslane is still there and negotiations have been stalled for a number of months now. There has been a change however, since there are so many good quality jobs on offer the base is beginning to suffer from manpower loss. The USA and England have been bringing in workers but they don’t have Scottish work permits and the base itself sits on Scottish soil and of course sea. The UN have been looking at the issue and it’s likely that the base will be closed although perhaps not as quickly as we would like.

The fishing fleet is growing rapidly because surprise, surprise the fishing grounds now belong to Scotland once again. A pretty good treaty has been sorted out with the Norwegians, Icelanders and Faroese so that fish stocks are preserved for the longer term.

 
 

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A new shiny Scotland – Part 2

As the title would suggest this is a utopian view of how a new Scotland following a successful YES vote in the independence referendum “could” develop. If you haven’t read Part 1 it’s here.

Localism had been one the most stunning successes. In a Doctor Who like manner the clock had been re-set to before 1975, before councils were re-organised. Now people could once again have a vested interest in their community and things were done which suited the townspeople rather than some distant regional council government. At the same time and also stemming from leaving the EU the amount of regulations was cut to the bone and then some. The cost savings helped enormously and reduced the burden on families and made it once again possible to have light touch governance.

Okay there were a fair amount of problems when people woke up to the fact that they would have to take more responsibility for themselves and their families but they got the hang of it pretty quickly. The setting up of a common good fund for every town/community was done and was used to support local organisations and people who may have had a problem or several and also ensured that there was always a pot of money to fritter a wee bit just for the local populations benefit.

The NHS in Scotland had to be completely re-structured also. Local GPs were required to go back to providing medical care 24/7. No more waiting weeks for an appointment to see a Doctor, no more having to carry stuff out that a distant government thought was a good idea, no more prescribing drugs because they could although they addressed symptoms rather than providing a cure. No more drug company reps trying to sell drugs to practices, no more lecturing to patients and no more spouting stuff with little or no scientific basis.

What a difference. The GPs lived in the towns and communities they served so they knew their patients. The potential patient group dramatically reduced the number of visits they made to the surgeries; they just got on with it unless it was something concerning.

The supermarkets that had hinted that they might have to increase prices if Scotland won independence were made subject to one of the earliest bills that was voted using direct democracy. The bill required all retailers, suppliers, providers etc. who operated within Scottish borders had to use the same price for goods and services for all of Scotland. The main mechanism to achieve this was for the supermarkets to use an open book system, which allowed anyone to see how much the supermarkets etc. paid for their goods and services. Lead balloon time for a wee while but all for the best.

A group of smaller Scottish supermarkets then formed a larger chain and bought the Wm Low name.  Suddenly, they started to get lots more customers through their doors since they had an open book policy in place they also bought food locally and employed lots of local people on good rates of pay. Someone buying any sort of goods in Orkney paid the same price as someone living in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

This system might have been a wee bit more expensive for people in the central belt but it wasn’t that much and made things much fairer al round.

 

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Out of the mouths of politicians…

The BBC Scotland News has featured a couple of interviews with the firstly Nicola Sturgeon (Wee Nippy) the SNP spokesperson for the SNP YES campaign and then our old, and very good friend Alistair Darling the spokesperson for the Better Together (bitter the gither) NO campaign.

Brian Taylor the political editor was asking the questions and he seemed to manage to carry it out fairly evenly.

At one point Alistair was waffling on about how much better it was to be part of something big rather than something small. He then went on to cite the fact that the population of Scotland was aging more quickly therefore there would be a large bill coming Scotland’s way soon and it was unlikely that Scotland would be able to afford it.

He then actually claimed that it would be better for Scotland that this bill would be shared over the 60 million population of the whole of the UK rather than the paltry 5 million population of Scotland.

Was he really seriously suggesting that his argument might encourage voters to take the YES route based on his pensions point? Surely not?

Apart from anything else here was a previous Chancellor of the Exchequer suggesting a pension gap was there for all to see. Not only that but he had been complicit with almost all previous and more recent Chancellors in failing to make adequate pension provisions for our elderly whilst spending the money which should have gone down that route on other stuff. Shame on him.

At no time did he offer any meaningful reasons for anyone to vote NO. When he was pressed on this he immediately swerved it by pointing out that he did not represent any political party, which would have policies relating to Scotland so he could not offer any insight as to what would happen in Scotland following a NO vote.

Nippy was all positive and smiling. It’s such a pity that the SNP are positioning themselves as the formers of policy for an Independent Scotland without actually asking the voters what they would prefer or want.

There’s a long way to go.

Westminster and the English and Scottish establishments will be doing everything in their power and then some to ensure the status quo is retained. Scotland will suffer badly following a NO vote.

How can we expect anything else?

 
 

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A New Year as it were… and a clarification of intent.

I’m Scottish and I’m very, very proud of that. I like to think I’m as Scottish as Scottish can be in as much as I was born in Edinburgh at Simpson Memorial Maternity Pavillion within Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. I’ve had a number of opportunities to live overseas but I’ve never taken them up. Although I’ve lived in other areas within Scotland leaving Edinburgh is now inconceivable for me.

The past few weeks have been pandemonium here. Lots of tourists as you might expect. This year it seems like there have been more tourists than ever and they didn’t seem to thin out as much after the festival ended.

Whilst on this subject please let me clarify a few things of Scottishness. Hogmanay is the night before New Year. It isn’t couple with Happy. Happy Hogmanay isn’t right it’s just Hogmanay.

Also New Years is way wrong. We say Happy New Year, which is never plural. I just had to pedantically clarify that. Also Christmas is secondary by a huge margin to New Year. New Year starts at 12:00AM on the 1st January. In fact my wife and I won’t be sending Xmas cards next year we are going to send New Year cards instead.

Blogging this year will be a challenge for bloggers in Scotland and probably beyond. The Independence Referendum is going to be HUGE. It’s an important vote.

I’m a YES voter. No point in hiding it. I want Scottish Independence, not because I don’t like the people within the rest of the UK, because I want Scottish people to gain control of their future, their country and all the assets, which we have within the confines of our territory and borders. (This will include the thousands of square miles of the North Sea gifted by Brown to Blair illegally. Those territorial waters belong to Scotland and are guaranteed by the world body, which maintains and recognises international boundaries.

We also want to be able to get away from this continuing mantra, which states that Scotland is subsidised by the rest of the UK. If that was the case the rest of the UK would have good reasons to feel miffed and the financial sense of it would be a major issue for the Westminster government. It isn’t though because we ore obviously massively subsidising the rest of the UK through oil revenue alone. If you don’t believe me search the net for The McCrone Report (1974) on the Scottish Economy and oil production.

I would have thought that the people of England would be very, very, very keen to gain their own independence. Such a great nation with so much in the way of achievements. Without England supported by Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland standing against Hitler at the beginning of the second world war and keeping things going before the rest of the world got it’s act together we’d be ruled from Berlin now. Wait a minute! We are as things stand at the moment. More reason for England and Scotland to be independent!!!

An interesting year ahead indeed.

Happy New Year.

 

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