Here we go again

by C.C.Hamilton

 

With stunning regularity we end up on this Twitter abuse merry go round. This time It’s Cat Boyd that is the focus. Cat voted Labour in the GE and is all excited about Jeremy Corbyn and Labour policy at the moment.  So What? I hear you cry.  I know,  I know but the usual dafties on twitter were pure raging about this because Cat was a big part of the brilliant RIC and the not so brillant RISE campaign at the last Scottish Election.

Cat is a terrific writer and communicator and writes for The National Newspaper.  Why anyone really cares how Cat Boyd votes is beyond me, why Cat even bothered to tell anyone how she voted is beyond me. 

In fact most of this Twitter abuse merry go round is beyond me but what seems to happen is this: Fairly prominent person says something vaguely controversial, it gets retweeted by the likes of Wings Over Scotland, usually with a wee dig!  A few dafties pile on raging.  People like Angela Haggerty and the Wee Ginger Dug jump to their defence and they get abuse for that.  Before you know it the papers have got it, the news has got it and we have a great story to batter the Yes movement with.   Most of us don’t know what all the fuss is about but we are ALL branded abusive trolls.   No one EVER talks about the loads of supportive messages the prominent person receives, which probably outweigh the abusive ones, just the abuse.   And while all this is taking place  real issues are sidestepped and ignored.  While we should be organising and energising people some of our greatest minds are shouting at each other in 140 characters on social media. And all this goes on for days and days because people just cant let go.  Sheesh!!!

I don’t know Cat Boyd.  I found her engaging and energising in the referendum Campaign.  I contributed to the RIC as I thought it was a terrific movement.  I’m in my 40’s I’ve seen loads of left leaning, hard working well meaning people come and go in the independence movement.  They always go back to Labour because they think this time it will be different.  Even I thought this time things were different because after the abuse we received from labour members and politicians, there would be no way people could go back there.  But they do, they always do.  And that’s fine. 

I like Jeremy Corbyn, I really hoped he would be PM but he still lost heavily to the most disastrous Tory campaign in history.  His party is still deeply split.  He leads a party that would keep nuclear weapons on the Clyde, favours a much harder “brexit” than any of the young people who I know that voted for him wants and already members of his party are questioning whether they could have afforded their manifesto commitments anyway.  He opposes Scottish independence but favours a United Ireland and sacks ministers for rebelling when he did so himself over 500 times.  Not really the radical voice I hoped for.  But left leaning Pro-Indy foks always gravitate back to Labour in my experience and that is their choice.

I don’t care how Cat votes and neither should anyone else.  I hope in the next Referendum Campaign she is involved with us because we need her.  But that will be her choice.  But my God we all need to spend less time arguing on Twitter and get a bit of life back into ourselves.  It’s the summer, go out and have an ice cream.  Switch yer phone aff.  Or here’s an idea arrange to meet for a coffee and discuss things face to face, like grown up’s do not on the Twitter playground.  Not with 140 characters and emoji’s.  Fuck sake people there’s a bigger picture here.

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New Thoughts

by C.C.Hamilton

A country divided

 

The really good thing about travelling around the Shires of England is getting a feel for the people and leaving the “Scotland is shit” media behind. I love England, it’s people, it’s scenery and it’s rich history. I love how, for the most part,they have this great belief in the country’s ability to overcome any odds. There is no way, for example, if England had entered a Union with France 300 years and had the parliament moved to Paris, they would, 300 years later be still agonising over whether they were good enough to be independent. Long before now the English people would have TAKEN their country back. I like that. This last wee while is different though.I sensed division this time, division I had never really sensed before. And 3 way  too. There are those who want a really hard BREXIT,who seem to dispise the EU, those desperate to stay in the EU and those, like most Scots, I suppose, just shrugging their shoulders and burying their heads, dismayed by politics in general. We all hear about Scotland being divided, my goodness, Kezia is never done goingon about it. But lets be clear, there are divisions in all countries between left and right, religion, yes and no….. But we manage these divisions and particularly in Scotland we are managing these divisions better than ever I think. We mustn’t take our eye off the ball of course.

Speaking to people down South I’ve never heard such polar views. Some had a real deep distaste for the EU, usually around the issue of Immigration and others just felt helpless. Some of those I spoke to, voted for Jeremy Corbyn on the basis that he “was different” but already had become dismayed by the fact that 1. he lost and they got a Tory Government anyway (we know the feeling!) and 2. were now of the opinion that Corbyn’s Labour party are after much the same “hard” Brexit that the Tories are.  What was also startling was the positive attitude to some of our Politicians, Nicola Sturgeon, Mhairi Black and Angus Robertson being particularly highly regarded. Funnily enough, friends in England seem to have seen through Ruth Davidson much quicker than us Scots, one guy referred to her as a “Posh Ned!” which I thought was funny. Too much Still Game for him I think! What I think has become clear is that people in England are much more aware of the other countries in the UK (possibly brought in to focus by the Tory-DUP deal) and are paying more attention to our politics.  Becoming frustrated by the performance of their NHS for example compared to Scotland.  Anyway that’s just a snapshot of recent travels in England.  I don’t know where Brexit will take the UK, it’s a mess and I think we all know it. Can we make the best of it? I am not sure but many people around these islands feel exactly the same.

 

The problem with Labour

 

It’s been interesting over the last few weeks to read two of my favourite Pro-Indy writers Cat Boyd and Alan Bissitt wrestle with voting Labour in the recent General Election. As I have said here before, I don’t really care how anyone else votes, indeed it’s none of my business but you have to own that vote. Be aware of what you are voting for, who you are voting for and if elected what you will get from your candidate and if the party forms the Government what you will get from them. For me in the General Election the choice was easy. My SNP MP has been superb for our area. Worked harder than his predessor and deserved, in my view, to remain in place and he did albeit with a reduced majority.  Our Labour candidate was a mess and despite my being encouraged by the prospect of Jeremy as PM, it was just as important to me that the person representing us at Westminster was competent.  The Labour candidate certainly was not that. The Lib Dem was the previous MP and was largely anonymous and the Tory was, well a Tory!

My problems with Labour as a leftie remain.  It is the insulting way they dismissed the YES campaign and continue to dismiss and denigrate those who favour self determintion.  I like Jeremy Corbyn and think he is a decent man, but the party he leads would still keep nuclear weapons on the Clyde.  The Labour mayor of London made bizarre claims about theYES movement being racist. They seem to favour a hard brexit, albeit committed to more concilliatory talks with the EU, and interestingly several of their pledges made during the campaign seem to melt away the closer they get to Government.  Indeed we hear senior members of the Party suggesting that the “radical” manifesto they proposed was based on the fact that they didn’t think they would be elected and admitting that it couldn’t have been implemented.  We also have Jeremy sacking ministers for rebelling, when he himself has been a serial rebel in the party for years. Very much do as I say not as I do.  It’s all so disappointing.  My issue, with the party, here in Scotland is also that the level of candidate just isn’t very good and when I listen to people like Jackie Baillie, Anas Sarwar and James Kelly I don’t hear people who represent what the Labour Party was to me in my younger years or my parents generation or indeed the Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn. For me Alan Bisset hit the nail on the head, recently, when he said he thought about it, voting for a Labour party with a socialist agenda again, but just couldn’t.  Too much damage has been done. I can’t vote for a party that includes those who openly dispise and denigrate the peaceful democratic YES movement it is such a joy to be a part of. I hope to be able to vote Labour in an Independent Scotland until then it’s SNP/Green/SSP for me.  I want a radical,socialist Scotland. And while we are in the UK I want a radical, socialist UK. Sorry Cat, but even under Jeremy Corbyn Labour is not even close to that.  I am not saying the SNP are radical either by the way, but in the UK we need MP’s whose first and only concern is Scotland and are not lobby fodder for Labour or the Tories.  I can’t forget my own family’s  80’s experience of  local industry being wrecked by the Tories while the Labour MP’s and Labour councils stood idly by and did nothing for the people they represented.

 

Calling Agent  Gilruth

 

I never think the personal lives of Politicians is anyones business and I certainly don’t think it constitutes news but I had a giggle this week when I read about the relationship between SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth and Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale. Both are very capable Politicians and strong characters so I can imagine the discussions over dinner some nights!  Of course, we all know Kezia would love to come over from the “dark side” and back independence for her country and I am sure through time Jenny will be able to persuade her of the merits of that. Kezia Dugdale as the Labour FM in a Independent Scotland? I would take that. On a more serious note, good luck to them both.

 

Space Cringe

 

Not content with saying the Scotland is currently shit, I see our pals in the Unionist media and Tory Party were back to telling us what we couldn’t do as a future Independent country at the weekend.  The National ran a front page at the weekend on the ambitious idea floated by Common Weal that an Independent Scotland could have a thriving space programme.  Despite the fact it was another of those cartoony front pages from the National that I hate.  It was an enjoyable piece, ideal for lighter weekend reading and was indicitive of what the Pro-Indy movement is all about: dreaming big, thinking out of the box, being creative, doing thing differently and trusting ourselves to make those aspirations a reality.  Of course all the big guns piled on, Deerin, Tomkins (yes he of the WATP, Queens 11 tweets), Murial Gray. Most of the Cringers in one place.  How dare Scotland think big?  How dare Scotland think forward?  Quite mad for Scotland to even contemplate such an idea. Of course, many thousands in Scotland are already employed in the space industry and efforts are afoot to bring the UK spaceport to either Prestwick or Campbeltown. We build more satellites in Glasgow than any other European City.  None of that suits the “Scotland is Shit” brigade who currently populate our media and political spaces. It’s a shame really because wee countries with big ideas and big dreams seem to do OK. Never mind.  While they moan from the sidelines we will continue to dream big, reach out and drive forward because that’s what proper country’s do.

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The news where you are

by C.C.Hamilton

 

I think the last couple of days have seen most of the Scottish media losing whatever credibility it had left. This, is of course, a good thing and is to be welcomed. The whole of Scotland now sees that much of our “mainstream” media is just shit.

 

Yesterday we were subjected to wild howling headlines about the state of the NHS in Scotland.  The headlines and stories came from a report by Nuffield Trust, which was actually really POSITIVE about our NHS.  In it they spoke in glowing terms about the apporoach to care and even suggested that other health bodies in the UK should look to the Scottish model for guidence. Now, of course, the report said there are many challenges to be faced in Scotland. Like the rest of the UK, there will always be challenges in health, but here was a positive report commending the work being done in our health servicew and out written press chose to trash it. Shame.

 

The last couple of days has seen us being warned by politicians, media outlets and experts that we are all doomed, we are heading for a recession and it was ALL the SNP’s fault.  Turns out they were all WRONG.  Our economy recovered a bit in the first quarter of this year, the picture looks a bit heathier and actually we performed better than the rest of the UK in this quarter. Now, again, the country faces challenges, not least as the full impact of BREXIT is yet to be felt,but I think, the numbers yesterday confirmed what most of us “real” people think, that actually, our wee country is in reasonable trim.  Do I think we could do better?  Of course, would I like to see more bold policies from the Scottish Government? Yes. But, out in the real world I feel a sense of confidence returning, a wee bit of swagger and gallusness coming back.

What the press has done over the last couple of days has shown them to be sneering one trick ponies,who are only interested in talking the country down as it suits the Unionist agenda of the owners of those papers.  The last couple of days confirmed it.  Hell mend them.  Only the I paper (and the National) were grown up enough to put a good news story about Scotland on their front page.

 

As for the Scottish Tories sadly packing away their recession celebration decorations? What.A.Joke of a political party. An embarrassment to Scotland.

 

I am heading off for a break for a couple of weeks. But I have one simple message this Summer, get out and enjoy Scotland.  We live in an incredible country.  Visit a castle, walk some hills, Pop in to one of our brilliant museums, visit our outstanding cities, hunt for Nessie, jump on a ferry and visit an island, have a dram or a craft beer or a Scottish gin, eat fish n chips n ice cream n Irn Bru.Turn off your phone, jump in the car, bus or train and lose yourself in this place we call home.

 

 

So I have gathered unto myself

All the loose ends of Scotland,

And by naming them and accepting them,

Loving them and identifying myself with them,

Attempt to express the whole. (McDiarmid)

 

 

 

 

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Marches and stuff

UNICORN_CAROSEL_SMALL

by C.C.Hamilton

 

Summer in Glasgow

 

We were in Glasgow on Saturday, it was depressing. My kids looked on bewildered at the parade as it passed by. Of course, these were a staple of my childhood but we now live in rural Scotland so to my kids, this was like people landing from another planet but with added aggression.  Union Jacks, Rangers strips, Buckfast, Fuck the Pope, The Famine Song, The Billy Boys. We saw and heard it all. “We arra peepil!” too was screamed from a few patrons so at least the new Rangers Manager and Mssrs Tomkins and Fraser of the Ruth Davidson No Surrender Party would have been pleased. Let me say that I have no problem with peaceful demonstations/marches/parades, indeed in a democracy it is to be encouraged. But there is a toxicity around these ones, always has been.

 It was a nice day in Glasgow on Saturday and lots of tourists looked on as bewildered as my kids at the spectacle.  Perhaps I’m just over sensitive as a wee West Coast Catholic boy but there is an aggressive tone in Scottish Unionism and isn’t it telling that the media cheerleaders of this Unionism like Massie, Torrance, Deerin and Clegg never have much to say on it? Even wee Jamie Ross (who I like btw) doesn’t sneeringly tweet about this in the same way as he did the peaceful Pro Indy marches. Funny that.

 

The Herald

 

That’s me officially done with The Herald newspaper. I have been reading it for a long time but the front page this morning introducing Chris Deerin as a new columnist finishes it for me. I will continue to buy the Sunday Herald as I find it fairly balanced but Chris Deerin?FFS! That’s just trolling half of the country. The last thing The Herald needed was ANOTHER SNPBaaad/Scotland’s shit voice. So Fuck them.

 

Getting organised

 

I have been engaging with the mobilise.scot site to share what I think are positive ideas for moving the independence case forward but it got me wondering what they are doing with it. I am looking forward to seeing what the Independence Convention and CommonSpace come up with but I  impatient to see what can be done NOW to get moving. The Summer is such a good time to be out chatting and networking and I am concerned that another summer will be lost bogged down in policy and depressing news headlines. Let’s make the case for Independence NOW and take that message to the streets. I like the core message from the SNP which is “make our own decisions, not have them made for us” and I think that is a fundemental building block. Dispense with brow beating people and WestminsterBad, ToriesBad rhetoric. Most people know that the current set up is shit but want to believe that we can do better. Let’s talk ourselves up for a change. I honestly don’t think we need to have ALL the answers, we need to provide alternatives and make it clear these will be choices for US to make not others. But most of all we need to get moving. Let’s not lose another Summer. Please.

 

Greggs

 

I am sure you have all seen, by now, the furore over Greggs refusing a Scottish banknote in Solihull. Incredibly staff at the shop, having taken the note, then proceeded to take the half eaten food back off the table as the people sat outside eating it. Greggs have since apologised but this is not a new issue. We regularly holiday in England and the further South you go the more of a problem this is. I have had banknotes refused in many places and in London I have seen shops and Restaurants with signs up saying they dont accept Scots or Northern Irish notes. I tend to change my notes to English before I go now, but I shouldn’t have to. It is now time that this issue was raised by the Scottish Government or by our MP’s in theHouse of Commons and put to bed once and for all. We are one country after all!

 

YesBar

 

If you are in Glasgow you should visit the fabulous YesBar in Drury Street. The food is exceptional, the beer is terrific and the service is top notch. Run by prominent yessers it is a brilliant little hang out. They do some incredible offers on their mailing list and even give you 45% off your food bill if you are a member of an indy supporting party. As we gear up for another push, all indy groups should consider having their Glasgow meets here. Try it, you won’t be disappointed. It’s particularly good fun on a Scotland home game! I really wish they would have Scotland away games on the big tellys though, it would be great fun to get together with other yessers and watch the game there.

 

 

 

 

 

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Your Political Silence Is Consent

by Howling Mad Maverick

Before you start reading I’ll let you know now that I am not a ‘name brand’ academic or anything like that. I’m just a person who lives here and who is sick to the point of insanity at how things are.

 

A lot of people out there now know the facts, I’d even dare say that most people out there know the essentials.

 

Workers are being broken, disabled people are being culled, and the Etonions are swilling even more luxuries from their troughs, while the best people out there starve away to nothing.

 

But complaining changes nothing.

“Boo Tories! Boo DUP! Boo RFC!” shows your opinion in the same way that livestock crying “Baa! Moo! Cluck!” before going on the chopping board shows their opinion.

 

What we, the people, need is a movement again.

The Yes campaign was a monumental revival of humanity in our home, people came together peacefully, sharing their hopes and dreams for the benefit for all, and for the first time in my life I was able to smile at a stranger.

Now many Yes organisations have become the political groups from the film Life of Brian “Let’s have a meeting! (and talk to no one outside our group)”, which leaves us with only the SNP and Scottish Green Party in the ‘limelight’.

We can’t expect any political party at Westminster to continue the fight for our dreams on our behalf (just look at the party Keir Hardie founded).

We need to take to the streets again (and let me be crystal-sparkling clear, I am not inciting riots. What makes our movement so special is that we are so peaceful, no Brit can ever say the same).

We need to be seen, not just at one of demonstration that has been planned and paid for months in advanced (and boycotted or distorted by the British media). We need to show the British that we have a presence that reaches further and stronger than their propaganda. We have the advantage because we actually live here.

Be like the Icelandic women on October 24th 1975. They went on strike for a day, JUST ONE DAY!, to demand equality, and they got it.

Workers unite! And remember “if you tolerate this then your children will be next”.

That’s enough of my rant. I have been writing a wee story that will most likely never be finished, but with the revival of drugs in the community (especially amongst young people), and with the POVERTY-SUPER-MAX that we ARE in for thanks to the political climate, I figured I might as well share a wee bit of it here:

 

What’s The Point?

(A snippet of what life was like in 2004 for me)

 

“Wee-man!”

 

Everything was grey, the pavement, the buildings, the sky.

It was raining.

Dave was rushing down the street, he didn’t run, but he did move as fast as he could while maintaining his calmest facade. The streets were not safe, at least not to Dave.

The fact that Dave had lived here his entire life meant nothing, you’re either one of them or you’re not, and without knowing it, Dave had chosen a different path to the rest of them a long time ago.

Dave believed this was due to his way of thinking, ‘was it a magic gift?’, he could never understand why people were addicted to tv and alcohol when so much more is possible in this life.

They would rant and rave about how bad corruption had gotten, how dangerous times had become, but they stood ready to attack the person who stood up for them, against the things they lived to complain about.

Dave never understood double-speak, why would anyone focus on what they hated, then defend what they hated the minute someone came along to make things better?

 

“Here wee-man! Mate!!!” a junky called over to Dave from across the street.

Dave never gave anything away, he never showed any emotion, especially when he was outside.

Dave kept on walking, not looking at the junky, but not looking away either, like a government agent avoiding questions from reporters, in a Hollywood film.

All the same Dave kept his head down. He always kept his head down. Dave felt claustrophobic from the CCTV that spread through his home town like a virus, and looking down from the cameras made him feel a bit safer. Keeping his head down also limited the chance of a probable “Whit you looking at!” from a passer-by, and it came in handy to avoid stepping on whatever lay on the ground.

“MATE! ! !” the junky shrieked at the top of his voice, making Dave look over.

Once he had Dave’s attention, the junky shouted “Tell yer maw she was good stuff last night!” making an offensive gesture toward Dave.

The junky proceeded to puff out his chest and spread his arms, inviting Dave to a fight.

A full grown adult on drugs, in a place where people know him, against a school aged boy out on his own…As if’

Dave walked on, still showing no emotion. To show emotion, any emotion, was a sign of weakness in these streets.

Dave hated the world he lived in, everyone was addicted to needless drama. They would even purposely create problems if there was no drama to keep them amused.

And ‘God forbid’ you showed any kindness. If you showed any sign of compassion, you had truly declared ‘open season’ on yourself to all of them.

Things were bad for Dave because he didn’t fight these pointless fights that the drug addicts often challenged him to, but at least they had one slight hint of fear of him, which was not being able to tell what Dave was thinking, courtesy of the “mask” that he wore.

 

Dave could see the newly built flats as he reached a further part of the street.

A forest used to be where the flats where situated. It was the last forest Dave had ever seen.

People had overpaid stupid amounts of money, to some ‘fat-cat’, so that they could live in a house that was essentially made out of papier-mâché, in a horrible area. Was it worth the loss of the last green area that Dave had ever known?

What’s the point?’ Dave lamented.               

Dave’s world was covered in cement, to him the Earth was a large sphere of concrete. It was full of rules that only applied when preventing good people from making a stand.

Snitches get stitches!” the so called “hard men” would chant, but they were always the first ones to run and “snitch” whenever things didn’t go their way.

Dave considered how he would not be living in terror, if the worst people were not encouraged and protected by the establishment.

Head’s they win, tail’s you lose… there’s no survival of the fittest anymore’ Dave thought to himself.

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Stuff to be getting on with.

lighthouse in red

by C.C.Hamilton

 

It has been hilarious the last 24 hours watching opposition politicians and media types tie themselves in knots after the First Ministers announcement yesterday. It was, essentially, a non-story but they got they ended up frothing wildly again anyway. Brillaint entertainment for those of us quite relaxed about the Country’s ability to govern itself and indeed it’s ability to go and put a cross in a box sometime in the future without the country descending into anarchy because of it. Indeed, you only have to look at themother of all parliaments in Westminster to see what political chaos looks like.

 

So for those of us who are quietly going about our daily business there are a few easy things we can do in the YES movement to keep the momentum going through the summer.

 

  • Buy The National and the Sunday Herald. I know people have issues with the content, but they are all we have and both are a decent read. If you can afford them, please buy them. When you are finished why not pass it on to a neighbour, friend or leave in a cafe/waiting room/train. Might help to drive sales.
  • Subscribe to iScot magazine if you can, it’s a terrific read and valuable to our movement.

 

  • Try to stop arguing with people on social media who clearly cannot be convinced. Block or mute, we don’t have time to waste for that, life is too short. I know some people are by nature arguementative and that is healthy but let’s pick our battles better. About 30% of Scotland will never be convinced so leave them to it. Their position is no less valid than ours.

 

  • Block or mute the worst of the right wing media on social media. Ignore peole like Daisley, Torrance etc. Let them talk and bitch amongst themselves. Retweeting and arguing with them gives them oxygen fuels headlines, becuase inevitably someone will say something stupid in anger.

 

  • Try to stop arguing with ourselves on social media. Try to be nicer. We are going to disagree on loads of things,but sometimes we are going round and round in circles for days and getting nowhere. There is a real danger we are just talking to one another in a wee 140. character bubble.

 

  • Take a break from politics on social media altogether if you can. The weather is nice. Scotland is in fine trim. Enjoy it. Take a breather. Recharge.

 

  • Engage with the mobilise.scot site. Spew out your ideas to them. Let’s see what they come up with.

 

  • Get active locally with Yes Groups, face to face is much better than behind a keyboard especially when the weather is nice. If you dont have one, start one. Put up a poster, have people over for coffee. Keep it light, fun. This doesn’t need to be hard. It’s actually an easy sell.We are saying to people “Yes You Can.” We are reinforcing their own beliefs that the people of Scotland are energetic, fun, vibrant and capable. Try to get out of halls and meeting rooms though and into public spaces. Especially in the Summer. We need to open this thing out.

 

  • Let Westminster eat itself. Dont browbeat people, stop shouting, stop being angry (at least in public.) Let the Unionist press and commentators be angry and shouty and crazy. Patiently point out the many flaws as they come through and listen to people then move on. Most of Scotland knows Westminster is fucked but they are scared that our system is no better. It is. We know that and after independence we will own that. Have a laugh with people, lighten the mood. Grab the moral high ground if we can.

 

  • If you can contribute financially to projects then do so, but our best resource is our people. Only by engaging people will we win. Online is important but face to face and through creating something interesting for people to come and see is vital too. People are, by nature, curious, if we are different and welcoming then people will have a look. Scotland wants to be inspired, our people want to see light. The UK is a dark place for a lot of people just now. Our wee movement can be a beacon of light. Let’s try to be that light.

 

  • If you are good with words write a wee letter to a newspaper, inviting people to have a fresh look at independence. Be concilliatory, no finger pointing, just generally talk things up.

 

You guys will have better ideas than me that suit your livestyle, work committments and local area. What I think we all agree is that Independence is about more than BREXIT, it’s about more than Political Parties and we either pick up the ball in run wih it or we wait for someone else to do it,but when we are this close, and we are closer than we have ever been. It would be daft to back away now.

 

 

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Reset

FLAG_LITTLE

by C.C Hamilton

I liked the tone of the speech from the First Minister today. I agreed with much of what she said. Indeed, as someone committed to the idea of Independence even I am exhausted, not so much by the campaigning but more by the grinding down of the movement by the media. I also can’t really afford it the now. It feels like everwhere I turn another pro indy blogger/project is looking for money. All great projects by the way but exhausting all the same. I have long since felt that it is time for the SNP to step back and let the movement grow organically, in much the same way it did in 2014. I would like to see a figurehead emerge for the movement and some resources from the party to pay a couple of media savvy salaries and a premises for a couple of years but only to sit on top of it and to help it NOT own it. The Independence movement has to belong to the people. These guys and girls though, should be energetic, patient and committed. This should be a Labour of Love, there should be no huge expense accounts or anything like that and it should all be totally transparent. It will be attacked. It needs to be squeaky clean and value for money. And it needs to work with the existing registry’s/groups already out there. Bringing everything together but not taking over. If anything today the FM gave us the chance to draw breath and reset the Yes Movement.

I am delighted to read that the Scottish Government will outline a bold, radical agenda in the new Parliamentary term. Sure battle on with Brexit thing but try to do things differently in Scotland. Leave Westminster to its backward looking, insular approach. Lets see the SNP and the Greens work together to really make Holyrood bold, outward looking and a Parliament fit for purpose.

In the meantime there are a few things we could do to reset the movement…

Big voices

I would like to see someone brave enough to bring together our prominent pro indy voices to discuss a joined up media approach. Leave the ego’s at the door and get the likes of Paul Kavanagh, James Kelly, Stuart Campbell, Mike Small together with the likes of Derek Bateman, Neil MacKay, Tom Morton and throw ideas around. We have to form a concilliatory, grown up plan going forward. Throwing shit around on Social media just isn’t going to cut it. We are not going to agree on everything but we can surely agree to disagree in an adult manner and be less grumpy! We are trying to engage people but there is a huge danger we are just arguing amongst ourselves. I include myself in that. I write this wee blog and in the grand scheme of things it matters not a lot but I could do better to understand other points of view in the movement and outside of it.

Get creative

Is there theopportunity to bring our creatives together? There is such a huge range of artists receptive to the idea of independence. Can we look again at the National Collective idea? Such potential in an ideas based environment for what we want an Independent Scotland should look like. I remember away back we had a group called Artists for an Independent Scotland but it didnt really go anywhere. While we are resetting the movement let’s look at that. Can we put together gigs, shows, artwork to encourage poeple to have a fresh look at independence but in a less strained, more comfortable environment. Not forced on from above but affordable or free events where all of Scotland is encouraged to come along and see where we want to go.

Sort out the dull stuff

I am really looking forward to reading further work from Common Weal and the Independence Convention which I think is due later in the year. We should all get behind that if we can. These think tanks should produce the economic arguements for an Independent Scotland (the boring stuff!) but we should get involved and have our say on currency, taxation etc. We know next time around where the attacks will be focused. These guys can give our movement the tools to answer clearly and with confidence. We know we have the people and the resources to be a successful independent nation. But the attacks will be relentless. We need to be ready and these guys are vital.

Fresh faces

We need a few fresh faces at the front of the movement. Could that be Mhairi Black along with someone like Angela Haggerty? Or some of the Journey to Yes folks that PhantomPower has uncovered in the last few months. I’m just throwing names about but we need a freshness.

Smile

And we need to lighten up. The last year has felt like a war of attritian and it has had to be but people also want to have fun and enjoy themselves. Let them. My God,  Life can be shit sometimes but our movement is such a positive thing. Celebrate it. Have fun. Leave Westminster to their shambles. Let’s party…albeit on the edge of a fucking volcano but if we are going to hit the reset button lets go the whole hog. Lets laugh at ourselves and be different. Westminster is boring, Tories are boring. Let’s at least be interesting. Make people want to come over and see what all the fuss is about.

Fly yer flag if you want

And do you know what, lets get the fucking Saltires out if we want. Lets be proud of our achievements as a country in the past, be proud on the inclusiveness of our movement and come together whenever we can to have fun, trade ideas and work towards a brighter future for everyone. To borrow from Hawaiian culture “Ohana” the Yes movement is a family. Let’s reach out to everyone. Lets build a Scotland where no one gets left behind or forgotten. If we do this now and build belief in the country we will win the Referendum whenever it is.

 

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It’s a done deal

DUP

by C.C.Hamilton

So they finally got it over the line. The Tories managed to do their deal with the devil and ensured DUP support for the Queens Speech, Budget and Brexit. At a cost of £1Bn to the taxpayer and according to our Scottish Tories who are at Westminster standing up for us it is not “Barnettable” therefore there is no equivelent sum coming to Scotland or Wales at this time. Lets leave aside the money for a minute because for me that is actually secondary. It has actually been shameful how quickly everyone jumped on the financial aspect and seem to have forgotten who the UK Government have actually gone into a deal with.

 

The DUP’s record in Women’s and Gay Rights is pretty awful, let’s not kid ourselves and their links to Terror Organisations in the past and their history of Sectarianism is well documented and does them no favours whatsoever. The first thing to imagine is if Corbyn had done a deal with Sinn Fein ( the other party of Government in NI) to prop up a Labour Government. There would have been carnage. Secondly remember the billboards with Alex Salmond picking  pockets in the run up to the 2015 election? The same kind of bollocks was put out this time around too and usually by “Proud Scots” and the SNP is a centre left social democratic party! But the thought of Scotland getting a few extra quid for public services for backing either a minority Miliband or Corbyn Government was a scandal in the press. The DUP are a hard right organisation, somewhere to the right of UKIP in some regards and the UK Government has bunged them a billion quid with the sweetner of further money in 2 years time, should the Government last that long. It is also worth noting the behaviour of Tory MSP’s like Murdo Fraser earlier this year when the Green Party manages to gain a few concessions from the Scottish Government in the budget. Screaming and name calling at the Greens in Parliament, so what does he have to say about this deal? I’m sure our press will remind him of his behaviour. And what of Ruth and auld snackbeard Mundell. Well, Ruth decided to attack independence as some kind of justification for her Government doing a deal with a party with, and let’s be kind here, questionable views on Catholics (she’s marying one) Gay Rights (she is gay) and womens rights (she is a woman.)  It’s all deflection.There can be no right minded person in Scotland who likes this Tory/DUP pact, sure some of the crazy Unionists out there will be buzzing about it but the vast majority of Scots are rational and decent and know that this is a desperate measure from a dreadful Prime Minister and a dangerous one at that.

 

As far as the money goes, good luck to Northern Ireland. If the money is available they should have it but it shouldn’t have taken 3 weeks of haggling to get it. Here is the whole problem with devolution. Scotland, Wales and NI have to battle and scratch and moan to get a few extra crumbs from the table. And when they do they are called scroungers, sometimes by their own media! Can you imagine where Scotland would be without its own Government screaming and shouting all the time for a share? I can. It was called the 80’s and the Tories brought Scotland to it’s knees and the Labour party, in control just about everywhere in Scotland but in opposition in Westminster managed to do the grand total of fuck all to prevent it. And as we send more Tories to Westminster on the basis of shiny promises for fishermen and farmers (who THEY sold out in the first place) we should remember that. All Scotland did at the General Election was weaken it’s hand. We know that now. Snackbeard Mundell was on TV at the weekend guaranteeing a share of the DUP deal would make its way to Scotland and Wales by way of the Barnett Formula.  It hasn’t. We may get a couple of quid at the budget as a sweetener to make the Thick Thirteen look a bit better. That’d be nice but I rather think that will be more about the SNP screaming and shouting again. Ruth said that her 13 will stand up for Scotland,but I ask to whom? Why do her MP’s have to stand up to their own Government? It is now clear already that these Scottish Tories are no different, indeed are much worse than previous ones. But I don’t think that that is unexpected. They have failed their first test, spectacularly. That is not unexpected either.

More than ever we need to be independent. It is embarrassing having to beg for crumbs from the UK table. No country should be reliant on another, no country’s purse string should be held by a bigger neighbour and no country should need protection from the policies of a larger neighbour who we are supposed to be in partnership with. The democratic deficit is alive and well. Once again Scotland is sidelined because we dream of a better future for everyone. Once again we give this union another go. We send  a few Tories to Westminster to protect us from….Tories, increase our Labour MPS in the hope of something better under Corbyn and vote out some of our most capable politicians to give the union another go. Maybe this time, we will be treated as equal, maybe this time…..Nah. Same old same old. A Tory Government that more than 2/3rd of the country didn’t vote for.

Time for Scotland the Brave, time to make our own mistakes and own them. Time to plot our own path with shoulders back and head held high. Confidently striding into the future as a welcoming, inclusive forward thinking nation. Not dragged back into deals with right wing, as the Mirror calls them today “crackpots.” Time to be in a position of voting OUT any Government we are not happy with. Time to spend money on Health and Education and proper defence rather than nuclear weapons in the Clyde that we will never use.

It is our time, Time to put all of us first. We’ve given the Union another go, it’s broken, we are too junior a partner to fix it. But we can fix us and work with the rest of the UK as equals. And you know what, if Scotland has a £15Bn deficit as is claimed, it just proves that the Union has failed us and that we are brave enough to take the difficult decisions to move Scotland forward. Come on, it’ll be an adventure, let’s get off our knees, Hope over Fear. Be the Scotland we wish to be.

 You Yes Yet?

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The Truth

by C.C. Hamilton

The truth about Ruth

 

The images over the weekend of Ruth Davidson in military uniform gave me the dry boak. There is something very uncomfortable about a politician in military uniform. The “Lesbian kick boxer” as she was lovingly referred to in the English press at the weekend is just a parody figure in my eyes now. I cant wait to see her joining in with the party tunes at the next Armed Forces day at Ibrox. I am sure brother Adam and brother Murdo will teach her the words.

It was interesting to see the response from Keith Brown MSP, who actually served, on the subject. Dignified and considered. Such a contrast to what we have come to expect from this batch of Tories.

 

Gordon Wilson

 

As I write this, the news is coming through of Gordon Wilson’s passing. Gordon led the SNP through turbulent times and was, for me, a frustrating figure in recent years. I met him a couple of times as a young man as I fell in and out of love with the party, and found him courteous, patient and engaging. In contrast to people like Jack McConnell and Margaret Curran who I met around the same time but found rude and almost arrogant when discussing Scottish politics. I understand Gordon has a big family and he will be sorely missed. As far as the YES movement is concerned, like Jim Sillars, he was an important voice in recent years, a frustrating one at times as I said before, but an important one. He will be sorely missed by all of us who believe in self determination but we will carry on. A true patriot. RIP.

 

More Toxic Tories

 

I see the Tories in Scotland are in more trouble. The new MP for Stirling Stephen Kerr was picked apart by people on Social Media and picked up by the Sunday Herald for holding, shall we say, questionable views on Gay Marriage etc. He was, of course, pictured with “Lesbian Kick Boxer Ruth Davidson.” Amazing how beliefs can change when you get a whiff of power. We also had the incredible news that Ian Duncan, loser in Perth, is to be parachuted into the Lords and to get a top job in the Scottish office ahead of the other 12 useful idiots who actually won a seat ( with help from Scottish Labour of course!) Ruth’s Party is now being taken to court by a European list candidate who has been passed over for Ian Duncan’s MEP job in favour of one of Ruth’s pals, Iain McGill, who lost in Edinburgh . You couldn’t make this up. There is very little noise from the Timid Twelve (discounting snackbeard as he does have a kinda bigboy job) as the 35 SNP MP’s get back to business. It was always this way though, we know in Scotland if we send MP’s down to Westminster, either Labour or Tory, they are merely Lobby fodder with big expense accounts. The Tories in Scotland are actually a shambolic disgrace and the media (even the left leaning side like the Daily Record) gives them a free pass. No wonder the latest poll on trust in the media is an absolute shocker.

 

Labour

 

This week we had Owen Jones in Scotland to visit his sick father and to campaign for the Scottish Labour candidate in Leith. Most of Labour are wetting their knickers at the prospect of another election this year (the third in 2 years) because Jeremy has momentum behind him and he may win this one. Owen took the opportunity to attack the SNP, not the Tories but the SNP and campaign in a seat where the sitting MP is a very good SNP MP. Owen,of course, not so long ago was campaigning for Jeremy Corbyn to stand down, but now there is a whiff of power all is good with the dandy Socialist and Corbyn is his man again. Now, I like Owen Jones and I like Jeremy Corbyn and I have no problem with Owen coming to Scotland to campaign but surely his fire would be better used on The Tories in Scotland. The party of the benefits cap, Rape Clause and mired in allegations of Sectarianism, Racism and Homophobia. Remember even if Labour had swept Scotland Jeremy would still have been short of a majority, that’s how far behind labour had fallen in the UK. Now, of course, they made great strides at the Election but still fell well short of winning the Election against the worst campaign in history. I think, we all have to accept too that the Tories will NOT be that bad again. They will regroup to a degree and won’t make the same mistakes again.

 There is also the hypocricy of Kezia Dugdale driving for another election, the third in two years, but campigning to deny a referendum, already voted through Holyrood, a second in 5-6 years if it takes place as seems most likey in 2019-2020. So I would respectfully ask Owen Jones, to look at the bigger picture here in Scotland. The SNP is not the enemy of Jeremy Corbyn, in fact the wider YES movement are some of the biggest friends he has in Scotland. And certainly MORE supportive of Jeremy and his socialist ideals than Scottish Labour.

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An Object Remains at Rest

by Jason Michael McCann

Right now it has become obvious that we in the Scottish independence movement have a decision to make. We must decide whether or not we want independence. This, however absurd it may sound, is the most pressing and the most important decision we have to make, and we must make it soon. Each of us must look deep inside ourselves, think long and hard, and decide. At the end of September 2014 those of us who chose to continue knew that from that point on – emerging from the mouth of defeat – it would be a longer, harder road. We were kidding ourselves on if we thought otherwise.

This general election has proven to be the second speedbump, and perhaps more than the 2014 No vote it has slowed us down. It has ground us to a halt. Now is the time, if you are so inclined, to lower your flag and head on away home. I’m not going to blame you. We’re exhausted. I’m exhausted.

Are we willing to get back up and dust ourselves down and get back on the move? If this is what you want, then let’s think it through. The last election cost us some dearly loved MPs. It was a bitter pill and a high price. We’ll lose others. Ask yourself, can you take that happening again – and again after that? Have we got the stomach to go through this a third time and a fourth time? Friends, we’re not getting any younger. Our fight is against an empire with resources and energies we cannot begin to even comprehend. Is your answer still Yes? Then let’s think about this.

Some of us are saying, “Yes, but not yet.” The wisdom here is that we should get Brexit out of the way, give the Westminster government all the rope it needs to hang itself. When the London Conservatives have, as inevitably they will, made this mess as bad as it can possibly get we will be rested enough to lift up our banners again and walk through some fairy tale open door. The tired little boy inside me thinks this a brilliant idea. He, like so many of us, wants to curl up and sleep.

Do you know what the problem with this idea is? It assumes that our foe is a mannequin, a motionless, changeless statue that will wait perfectly still until we are better rested. Can you see how dangerous this idea is? Westminster is not this pathetic Theresa May or even the collective incompetence of her parliamentary party’s privately educated murder of toffs. Westminster is an apparatus of an imperialist police state, the bureaucratic structure of intelligent plotters and schemers whose longer-term strategic view of the future is five, six, seven moves ahead of us; whose plans are tuned and reactive to our every move.

Do we think that wheels are not turning within wheels all the while we wait, continually conspiring against us; plotting our downfall – our destruction? Do we really believe Great Britain became what it is by happy accident? Was this once globe-spanning empire, this vicious nuclear state the product of luck? If we think this then we truly lack the wherewithal to be struggling against it.

As we wait for the storm of Brexit to pass over us those wheels will roll out every conceivable underhand and devious weapon against us. Theresa May or the puppet masters behind her will fight their fictive terrorists by shutting down the internet, and when we finally wake up from our rest the only tool we have at our disposal will already be gone. You think this is paranoia? Did you read her manifesto? By waiting and resting we will do only two things. We will start to lose numbers and shrink, and we will hand the beast the gift of time. Waiting is death.

What we have is a movement that is now sluggish and tired. Our decision is this: Wake it up and fire it with new life or send it to sleep and sit by its side in tearful vigil as it breathes its last.

You want my opinion? Well here it is. Scotland is my home and I am here fighting for it. I am watching as the British state penalises my mother for being disabled. We are watching as it murders infants for being Syrian. We are looking on as it feasts on the suicides of the weak, the sick, the poor, the unemployed who have lost hope and given up. Now we have a front row seat to their rutting session with people in Northern Ireland who’d throw rocks at children for attending a Catholic school. How long can we wait and watch and rest? Can you sleep through any more of this? I can’t.

Britain is injustice. It is unjust that Scotland is unfree. There can be no peace without justice, and we sure can’t sleep without peace. So tired as I am, and I am exhausted, I am here to finish the job I came to do. We have set our hands to the plough. This is my opinion. I am not for giving up. I am not going to give this monster a moment’s rest, a moment’s peace, until this job is done. I can’t do it alone.

If now is the time then now is the time to wake everyone up. This movement will move only when we give it another push. It will succeed only when we keep on pushing, when we don’t give up. It is time for ideas and talking to be turned into action. We become an unstoppable force right now or this is the end of the road. If this is what you want then you had better get your boots on – we’re about to start moving again.

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