A Response to the fears of a No voter

I’ve been trying to engage No voters, to find out if there is anything that can be said to allay their fears, put there mind at rest, and convince them that Independence isn’t the big, scary bogey man it is portrayed as.

“There was not one fear, but many. Currency, EU, Voice within EU, tax, cost of setting up own gov, white paper over egging price of oil, were just a few”

Without knowing your exact position and situation, it’s hard to be specific, that’s why people are encouraged to do their own research and apply it to their own situation and what they care about.

The cost of setting up our own government is actually quite small, as we wont have to replicate everything that Westminster has, we can do it smaller and more efficient. Some of it is already in place anyway.

Currency? Seriously, what are you actually afraid of when it comes to the currency? Is it going to impact you? It doesn’t bother Ireland and NI, who also have an open border btw. It doesn’t bother the people down south who keep popping to France. It doesn’t stop anyone who holidays in Ibiza, or us buying Japanese cars, or toys from China. Seriously, it’s one of the biggest non-issues that was blown up out of all proportion.

The EU question is another spanner they threw in the works. UK withdrawing from the EU is a very real possability, regardless of what we think. We also have no voice at the EU table now, as we are drowned out by England.  Our own seat at the table is vital to protect our interests.

Oil is not the only egg in our basket, and the price is always going to fluctuate. The treasury have always underestimated it, and the SNP often overestimate it. The difference isn’t much to worry about however. We have enough oil reserves, and the ability to increase or decrease production as required. The price of oil is never going to plummet, in fact if it starts to run out, the price will go up as we all rely on it so heavily.  However, do you know that Westminster are grabbing historic Scottish waters by redefining the borders, and claiming the odd oil and gas field along the way?  Do you also know that there is a lot of oil and gas buried under the sea on the west coast of Scotland that we cannot access so long as Trident remains berthed in the Clyde?  The price of oil is of less importance than the amount of oil and gas, and getting access to it.
And while they distract you with uncertain oil prices, they forget to mention the massive renewable energy industry, and how we could end up exporting oil, gas, water, and electricity to England, rather than them just taking what they want.

Tax.  That’s a tough one.  You might be better off, you might be worse off, but by how much either way?  A couple of percent?  Another non-issue blown way out of proportion.  Scotland is more inclined to lower direct taxes (i.e. from your pay packet) to put more money in your pocket.  That gets spent, boosts the economy, goes into someone elses wage packet, and they get taxed… that’s how the economy works, and should have been done from 2008 when everything crashed.  More money in pockets is better for everybody.  The more they take out your pay packet, the less you have to spend, the less they earn in the long run.

They also don’t talk too much about TTIP, and the detrimental affect it will have on the NHS.  There was a lot of things they didn’t talk about, they just tried to distract people by turning our points around.  The No Thanks campaign didn’t really have any proposals or figures of their own to use, just “stay as we are”.  It’s not stay as we are though, is it?  It’s more cuts, it’s more foreign wars, it’s more resources drained out of the entire Union and syphoned down to Westminster.  It’s more corruption, it’s more jobs for the boys, it’s more corporate profits by government subsidy, from taxpayers pockets.  It’s more Amazon and Starbucks, taking your money twice and giving nothing back, so they can save you £1 on a book or overpriced coffee with your name spelt wrong.

Pay very close attention to the News (both mainstream and alternative) over the next year or so, to see what is and isn’t being said.  Like the changes to the welfare system to make it harder for us to operate seperately

Is Democracy Dead?

Have a wee look at how things have been going in this country, and this Union.  The games rigged.  I don’t know who set it up, or what their motives were, I know that the numbers have been fiddled with a few times over the years, but essentially it all boils down to one key fact.  Once you’ve got a grasp of that, everything else is revealed for the joke it is.
scales
The house of commons (and by reflection Holyrood), is designed in such a way that a political party, by fair means or foul, must hold a majority of the available seats to form an effective government.  Half of them, plus 1.  Forgetting personalities, policies and everything else, all efforts are focused on getting as many seats as possible to reach and surpass the golden number.  It becomes all about party.

Like any system, it has its strengths and weaknesses, and the weaknesses are their to be exploited.  An MP (or prospective MP) is assigned a seat to fight for, the electoral commission rules state that your home address does not need to be in the constituency where you are standing.  It may not be where they live, or where they were brought up, they might not even know( or have set foot in) the area at all, but that now becomes theirs.  This is very wrong.  If a wannabe PM has already selected his future cabinet, he can assign them seats that are considered “safe”, to ensure he gets the cabinet he wants.  Take our beloved David Cameron, he somehow represents a little known constituency of Witney in Oxfordshire.  Unknown to the likes of you or I perhaps, but very well known in the conservative party as a safe seat.  What is his connection with Witney, or even Oxfordshire?  Well, he did go to Oxford, so it’s possible he may have been in the area once or twice….

So, now we get down to the nitty gritty, in a General Election, you are either voting for the party you want, or against the party you don’t want.  Often this is based entirely on who we have just had, so it can be a pat on the back, or a kick in the arse.  Essentially the only two parties able to contend for the magic majority (either singly or in coalition) are Labour and Conservative.  Everyone else will be on the fringes somewhere.  They all know this.

So, if you are a greedy, power hungry, selfish, bank loving posh knob, who wants to abuse the systems of government for the personal gain of yourself, friends and family, and to ensure that those gains remain unassailable and lucrative, you make sure that you can maneuver yourself to the top table of the Conservative party through those very same friends and family.
If you are a clever, greedy, power hungry, selfish, bank loving posh knob, who wants to abuse the systems of government for the personal gain of yourself, friends and family, and to ensure that those gains remain unassailable and lucrative, you make sure that the opposition party is headed by someone not too dissimilar to yourself.

In this way, both parties, while pretending to be different and vocally objecting to each other in very public ways, can happily sit back knowing that whoever wins, things will be good for them, their family and friends.

careThe kicker then becomes the public involvement.  We get to pretend that our little bits of paper are important, and we might adjust one or two numbers on the edge of the equation, but the result will always be the same.  One of the two parties will hold on to power for another five years, ensuring that the apple cart is upset.  Even should one election throw up a random result that somehow results in a hung parliament, or a bloody miracle of some other party getting in power, they will first make sure that party doesn’t do anything too damaging (to them, not to us), and secondly it’s only five years, it will be back to normal very soon.  A minor blip in their long game with no statistical significance in the long run.
So, yes we have politics, we may even have democracy depending on what definition you use.  Do we have influence, and the power to affect real change in the foreign and domestic affairs of our country?  Not a chance, and unless something changes radically, we never will.

Are you happy with that?

A Scotsman.

The Politics of Fear

Liars create fearEverybody has fears, some are irrational.  Some people get so consumed by their fears that they become seriously ill.  Some people enjoy fear, others use it.  Politicians master it.

Have you ever wondered what happened to all the good news stories?  Have you stopped to consider how we always seem to be fighting someone, somewhere?  How we are always under threat?  How the threat level never seems to drop back to Pink and Fluffy?

One of the easiest buttons to press is the big red one marked Fear.  Movies can do it, books can do it, roller coasters do it, even teeny tiny spiders can do it.  And politicians love to do it.

  • Scotland is too small
  • The NHS is doomed
  • Oil is running out
  • Yer pension’s knackered
  • It’s £7 a pint in Norway
  • Asda will put up its prices
  • Banks will leave
  • Pears Morgan wont leave.

Fear, time and time again.  It’s a buy one get one free deal, because it always brings its wee pal Doubt.  Could we?  Should we?  Better no, eh?  Just to be safe.

fear2Often we can see it coming a mile away, recognise it immediately for what it is.  Dismiss it, laugh it off, reassure ourselves with facts and figures.  But the 2 for 1 can get you.  When your not paying attention, when you think it’s all over, Doubt is still there, keeping a foot in the back door, ready to let Fear back in.

Whether you know it or not, whether you see it or not, that is how they control us.  They don’t have to get all of us, they don’t care about the single voices that cry out in the dark “I know it’s you, and I am not afraid!”, because if they get enough, if they get 51%, or whatever magic number they need, then they have won.

There is a solution.  Take the fear and the doubt, and turn it in to something else.  Get fuckin furious, because just under the surface, right beside Fear, is primal Rage.  Scream at the TV, the newspaper, the PC, vent the whole might of your furious anger at these bastards who want you to cower.  Stand up and shout FUCK THAT!  I’m no feart of the likes of you, ya slimy wee bastard, or anything you say.  Turn it around and fire it right back at them because they want you back off, they want you to stand down, they want you to surrender your power to them cos you’re too piss yer pants scared to stand up and do what needs to be done.

I’ve been scared, I’ve been scared when there was no food in the fridge and hungry weans looking at me for answers.  I’ve been feart when the wife was in the hospital and there was no doctor to look at her fer hours and hours.  I’ve been terrified when the baliffs were at the door, not of them, but of seeing my family out on the street.

Well Westminster, you’ve done it this time, I’m fuming, and you will never, ever be able to scare me again, cos I wont fucking let you!

A Scotsman.

Is this the right way?

Educating Rita, Sue and Bob too.

I think we need to seriously rethink the way we educate our children. There are too many square pegs in round holes. We try and push them all through the same system, when not everyone is compatible with it. It ends up with some kids being held back, and others being left behind.

we don't need no education

We need to have a more ability-centric education system, not one that progresses children simply by age. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, but at the moment we are seeing some children entering or even leaving high school without the basic levels of numeracy and/or literacy. You can’t try and push the whole class on to Harry Potter when some are ready for Shakespeare, and others still struggle with Janet and John, and lets face it, not everyone can grasp calculus, so why do we even bother?  What happened to the old separate subject of Arithmetic?  It needs to make a come back and stop torturing some of the less inclined with Mathematics.

Despite the best will in the world, not every kid wants to, or is able to go to University (unless Uni changes significantly). We’ve all been in classes where some numpty is just disruptive, and doesn’t get what the teacher is saying, either through ability or lack of engagement. And yet that numpty, in the pub a few years later has been able to work out the scores on a dartboard in split seconds, leaving mathematicians in the dust.  How long does it take you to subtract treble 19 from 301?

Brains are weird and wonderful things, and every single one is different. It’s time that our education system recognised that.  Stacking shelves, or splitting atoms, our world needs both.  Artists, actors, plumbers, rocket scientists, programmers, secretaries, tyre fitters and street sweepers, these people are all different, with very different needs, and very different capabilities, so why do they all go to the same schools?  Why do they all go through the same system in the same way?  Why is it that kids are told to study, but not really taught how to study?  Where are the classes on organising time, training your memory, things that might be useful to kids trying to cram in loads of information and then be able to retrieve it at will?  We seem to think that because a younger brain is a quicker, more flexible brain that we can try and shoe horn what we like into it and that it will just work.  But you don’t pour a jigsaw from box to floor and expect to see it magically completed do you?

We need to discard the old year 1 – year 2 – year 3 model, and work out something better for our children.  You might have a kid in year 2, but their abilities might be Maths 1, English 2, Art 3.  So they get pushed forward in Maths when they aren’t ready, and held back in Art when they could do so much more!

Teachers, would it be easier to have kids of the same age with different abilities, or the same abilities but different ages?

Is this the right way?

Too many systems, education included, are fiddled with by government at the periphery, and rarely are the reconsidered as a whole.  Who wants to bother with the time and effort of rebuilding the system from scratch if it kinda works ish.  For some people.  Some of the time.  At least 51%, and that counts in politics, right?

Parents, Teachers, Kids – Talk to me, how can we do it better for carpet fitter and carpet bomber alike?

A Scotsman

Who are the 45?

Is it a badge of honour?  Is it a tribe?  Does it intimidate you, or evoke feelings of solidarity?

The 45 (or 45%) was a name chosen very quickly after the referendum result, I don’t think there was time to pass it through a marketing campaign, or to have YouGov run a poll.  It was one of a few flags that were shoved over the parapet after the smoke started clearing, and it is one that gelled with the most people.  It’s reminiscent of the 99% during the Occupy movement.  It represents the underdog, the down but not out, the pick yerself up, dust yerself off, and start all over again mentality of many Scots throughout the ages.  Remember a certain wee spider?  I’m sure we’d have had even less luck trying to use that as rallying call.  Anyone who voted Yes in the referendum can freely use the term 45 if they wish to.

What are we, though, and what does it mean?

It’s not a movement, it’s not a party, political or otherwise, it’s simply a banner.  A banner that anyone is free to rally round.  Is it exclusive?  Some would have you think so, from both sides of the debate (note it’s not a war, a chasm, a gulf, or any other sensationalist crap, just a debate), but the simple truth is it is whatever you want it to be.

Many badges spark many different reactions in people, whether it says Police, a football club, a biker club, an employer or a political party.  Every individual can react in different ways at different times to seeing the same badge.  It’s your reaction that changes based on your mindset, the badge is still the same.

For me, the 45 badge (although I do not wear one at the time of writing) is a cross between a recruitment centre and an information desk.  It says we are the 45 now (or then, if you are reading this in the future), but we are growing.  It says soon we will be 46, and then 47 and more.  It says we believe in a brighter future for Scotland.  It shouts I do not blindly follow the establishment, for I no longer believe they represent me, or treat us fairly!

But that is not all.  It also says come to me with your questions, let me share my sources with you.  Let’s discuss the pros and cons, I can be convinced be reasoned argument, I have an open mind.  It says let there not be a wall between us, for we are friends, family and neighbours.  It says talk to me.

So before you make an assumption, before you make up your mind about who and what we are, have a wee chat with us, we don’t bite.

A Scotsman.

TV or not TV

Strange and wonderful things are happening.

The 45 have been getting a lot of bad press recently (funny that, considering one of their gripes is a biased mainstream media, but I digress), so it’s nice to be able to post the other side of the coin.

At the moment they are fractured, split up, 1.6 million single voices raised in anger, pain, outrage, despair, betrayal, hope and a myriad other emotions.  That, however is going to change, as the recent upsurge in party registrations has shown.  The SNP are now the third largest party in the UK, outnumbering UKIP, the Greens, and even the Lib Dems.  Not only that, but when the number of new members passes the number of existing members, it puts the population, the 45, in the driving seat of the party.  It allows them to dictate policy.  It’s as if they went into Govs’R’US and bought a ready made political machine off the shelf, and can now compete with the two ravenous, slavering beasts, not only in Scotland, but across the UK.

And we haven’t even got organised yet!  But I digress, again.  Doh!

Many people, after the paedophile scandal, the expenses scandal, and now the referendum scandal (and a few more along the way) are turning their disgust into action, and are cancelling their TV licences, a mass protest and withdrawal of support.  “We no longer will sit idly by while you abuse your position!” we say.

However, it doesn’t end there.  One bright spark amongst the 45 suggested the blindingly simple, yet amazingly brilliant idea of taking the cash we would have donated to the BBC canteen fund, and instead donating it directly to the food banks for the people in Scotland.

Double whammy!

Mr TV Licence man, if you want your money,They're coming to take you away! please go and rip it from the mouth of that starving wean.  Our children are more important than our entertainment.  If we have to watch Eastenders an hour late on catch-up rather than live, then so be it.  It’s not like we’re going to be watching the news, is it?  You made damn sure of that.

I’m not interested in the proms, I don’t like cricket (I don’t love it either) or wimbledon, and I always watch Dr Who later after the wee man is in bed.

So, this is the 45 slowly starting to get organised.  This is the first of many things that will happen, as the population of Scotland take the power back, and start to reaffirm our priorities.

So long, and thanks for all the pish.

A Scotsman

Frack Off!

I’m a bit behind with this one, apparently we’re all going to be fracked to death.  Westminster Plc is selling off licences for companies to poison us, shake us about, and devalue our properties.  That’s right, they are already in the middle of buggering us royally, another reason why they had to win the indyref it appears.

Look out below!

Look out below!

I don’t know if they have some perverse Antlantean dream, maybe they will watch from Ipswich as the country slides under the waves, or whether they are simply going to poison all us poor folk who wont be in the wealth controlled safe zones.  I’m not privvy to their plans behind the plans.

It’s disgusting, sickening, amoral and a whole bunch of other things.  Get active, get in touch with MPs, MSPs, MEPs, yer granny, the papers, the bloke in the post office, and that man with a dug that always says good morning.

This has to be stopped!

A Scotsman

A wee reminder about our failing oil.

It’s a shame, we had such high hopes for ourselves as a country. Rich in resources, history, pride and passion, we wanted a wee shot steering the ship again, now that Westminster had shown us how to do it properly. Because everyone knows we’re not genetically programmed to do these things ourselves.

So, I thought I’d do some more of that researchy stuff, just to make sure noone was telling any porky pies during our recent independence tantrum debate.

global-homepage-bp-logo-imageHere’s a wee statement from the BP Group Chief Executive (who I think is on minimum wage, and a lifelong Labour voter) where he says “…the province is now mature and I believe Sir Ian Wood correctly assesses its future potential“.  He also goes on to say that “The opportunities today are smaller and more challenging to develop than in the past“.  Sounds like their days are numbered.  They’ll be lucky to fill a jerry can, let alone a full barrel.

One thing was tickling the back of my poor wee overtaxed brain, however, and that was a statement from the Regional President of BP North Sea (another low paid wage slave), just a few months ago.  I’m sure he mentioned increasing output and being really excited.  See for yourself, as I obviously cannot be trusted with such things, as I’m heavily biased, much more so than our upstanding BBC who gave you the truth about these matters.

So, as always, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about being better together and all that jazz.

A Scotsman

 

An Open Letter to the Labour Party

Dear New Labour,

Who are you?  What has happened to you?  The party you have become bears no relation to the party you are supposed to be.  The opposition is supposed to offer an alternative to government, to be balance, to prevent too much harm to the people you claim to represent.  Where have your ideals gone?  Where has your passion gone?  How do you differ drastically from the Tories?

We looked to you to shine a light on the truth, picking a way through the deceptions of the government when you are in opposition.  We looked to you to redress the balance and help bring back a fairer deal for the working man, after the excess of a Tory government when you were in power.  We looked to you, and you turned away from us.  We supported you, and you changed, before our very eyes, into this bastard half-breed offspring of Labour and Tory parents.

It got you where you wanted, but at what cost?  Your recent behaviour means you’re all but finished in Scotland, where you took your support for granted.  You used it, abused it, and ignored it.  “Here’s 2 million voters that we don’t need to worry about, they’ll never vote Tory, and that’s a win for us”.

We don’t want Tory Lite, we want an alternative.  You have failed to give us one.  I’m not going to bang on about the past, about who was right and wrong over your recent activities, that is best left to better voices than mine.  I will talk about your future though, and that is going to be a stark thing indeed, especially in Scotland.

What are you going to do, who are you going to be?  In an independent Scotland, how is a Labour presence going to work, not only in the short term, but in the long term as the countries start to diverge.  In a country crying out for social justice, desperate to redress rebalance and regenerate and recover from the last few decades.  A country, that historically has cried out for who we felt the Labour Party was.

You aren’t giving us enough information.  Where is your White Paper for an independent Scotland?  If it’s the will of the people, where are your preparations?  It was, and some would say is supposed to be on your manifesto.  Home Rule for Scotland was one of the founding principles of the Labour Party.  Where is it now?

If you hope to recover any support in Scotland you need to start thinking beyond following the Tory line, and start thinking for yourself, and listening to your (potential) voters.

I suggest that ASAP you work on your vision for an independent Scotland, and if it contains the words “crawl back to the Union” then you can just fuck right off.

A Scotsman.

An Open Letter to David Cameron

Mr Cameron

On Thursday the 18th of September, I will be voting Yes to Scottish Independence.  Nothing you, your party, your coalition, or your cronies have said has been able to discourage me.

I am an ordinary man, who loves his family, none of whom would be here if it were not for a free NHS.  I will not allow you to destroy it if this is the one small thing I can do to save it, at least in Scotland.  I have a modicum of intelligence, and I can see through your lies, and your misdirections.  Times have changed, the internet and social media have given us the opportunity to ignore the biased mainstream media, and seek out better versions of the truth.  We can now hear the voices that are usually silenced, we can read the documents that are usually hidden, and we can see and hear your words and conduct, over and over again, and share them with the world.

I don’t know if you have an inkling what it is like to grow up in a poor Scottish household.  To be treated as scum by the system that is supposed to be there to protect us, to be treated with casual contempt by our neighbours, mostly based on propaganda fed ignorance.  To be taken for granted and scorned by the very people we elect to represent us, if we bother to vote at all.  Lets face it, we never vote Tory, and here you are, barging into the high seat like you won it, when you couldn’t even secure a majority in the House.

We are worlds apart, you and I, and therefore it is impossible for us ever to be able to represent each other.  I’m content not to speak for you, whereas you have the audacity to speak for me on a global stage.

I have a severely disabled wife Mr Cameron, we had to close down our fledgling company when she got too ill to work, I have to remain at home now to care for her, to take her to the local hospital when we finally get to the end of the very long waiting lists.  I had to go to the dreaded food bank to ensure that my family could have food on the table, while I waited and waited for ATOS to look at her paperwork.  Tell your friend Mr Duncan-Smith that a safety net is supposed to catch you as you fall, not scoop up the bits that are left when you hit the bottom.  Do you know that your government machine grabs pennies from the poor while giving pounds to the rich?  Do you know what that feels like?  Do you know that your departments default stance is “when in doubt, don’t pay them”.  Another default stance is to use the courts as their credit control department, handing out CCJs like sweeties for debts that are still current.

Do you have any idea how expensive it is to be poor Mr Cameron?  All the perks and bonuses that aren’t available because we cannot afford them.  Paying more road tax because we can’t afford a full year, missing out on the best deals because we daren’t sign up for a direct debit, because we’re still trying to pay back the charges and accrued unauthorised overdraft interest from the last time we bounced something at the bank.  (Is £35+ a reasonable fee for a computer program to make a yes/no decision and automatically send out a letter?).  Do you know what it is like to see the bank manipulate your transactions to make sure it charges you the maximum it can, and be powerless to prevent it.  To watch it fail to make the days deductions, before it then adds the receipts.  To have them reject a £12 TV licence direct debit, and then put you in unauthorised overdraft with a £35 charge and start billing you by the day for the pleasure of doing so.  Do you know how impotent that can make a man feel?

And that’s the crux of the matter Mr Cameron.  For too long the people of Scotland have felt impotent, so now, when we are given this one small chance, while you give us this tiny bit of power, we are going to rip your bloody arm off and take the lot.  You’ve had our country, our pride, our blood, sweat and tears and you pissed it away, and shat on the remains, laughing as you did so.  No more Mr Cameron.

A Scotsman and his family.