Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Better Together's Tory Gold for Activists

The anti-independence "Better Together" campaign, an alliance of Labour, the British Government, the BNP and the Orange Order, have struggled to attract support since it was  launched into a sea of unquestioning BBC adulation, waved off by the Cuts Cousins, Johann Lamont and Ruth Davidson, and captained by Alastair Darling, the privately-educated, London-born former Labour finance minister (oversaw the first run on a British bank in a century and a half) who was voted Britain's most boring politician for two years in a row. 

Lamont (l) and Davidson (r). Or Davidson and Lamont. I can never tell them apart.
stolen from Stuart Campbell

It ran into problems from almost the very start. Already tainted by its chairman's apparently fraudulent expenses claims (Flipper Darling paid the money back and wasn't prosecuted), the campaign embroiled itself in criminality from the start, when it tore up the national data protection laws for political gain, exposing Darling and his cronies to yet more risk of criminal prosecution.

With this background, it wasn't a surprise that the Squadrone Volante failed to catch light. On its "national day of action", it published dozens of photos of its "successes". Some of those photos had one, perhaps two voters (in stark contrast to the hundreds of members of the public cramming into rooms the length and breadth of the nation to found and support local Yes Scotland groups), but most of them showed only politicians. 

Someone called Gemma Doyle (no, me neither) positively fighting off voters desperate to hear the Anti message

Unionist politicians, elected to councils, Parliament, the British parliament, the European parliament, or appointed to the British upper chamber in defiance of normality, equality and democracy.

Paid Unionist politicians - people for whom the survival of the Union between Scotland and England means the survival of their livelihoods. 

Payroll Unionist politicians - people for whom the end of the Union between Scotland and England means the end of their job or sinecure. The end of the flipping of second homes at taxpayers' expense. The end of being paid hundreds of pounds a day to turn up at the Palace of Westminster for ten minutes; reward simply for never voting against the British administration of a bygone day. 


Is it any surprise that these payroll pollies are out straining every sinew, telling every untruth they can think of, scaremongering to the ignorant? You can't blame them. They're looking after Number 1.

But it's not enough. 

The public apathy towards the Antis is seen in that they refuse to release any membership figures, any supporter figures. The last I saw published was in the Helensburgh Advertiser, which claimed "hundreds have already joined".

In contrast, the pro-Scotland campaign is quite open about its support:

  • Over 140,000 people have signed the YES Declaration (that's more than 13% of everyone who voted for all of the Unionist parties combined in the 2011 General Election) with around 21 months still to go until Referendum Day
  • In Scotland's 32 areas, there are more than 100 local YES groups
This is, in other words, A Big Problem for the anti-independence campaign.

from Scottish Political Archive

Having seen that almost every elected Unionist politician supports the anti-independence campaign (because they're paid to), what wheeze have the Antis hit on to get some support amongst an apathetic public? 

Pay them, of course!

Now, while the payment or inducement of people to canvass or vote for a political party in an election period - or "treating" - is illegal and rightly clamped down on by an angry electoral authority, it is not illegal for an organisation which is not a political party to "repay expenses" for "volunteers" during a campaign which is not an election campaign. 

The Squadrone Volante yesterday published an advertisement on the popular w4mp jobs page. This is used by professional people involved in politics to find full-time paid employment with individual parliamentarians and political parties, as well as positions as lobbyists and so on. 

The adverts state that "volunteers" will be paid for their lunch and travel. It does not - tellingly - geographically restrict these volunteers (who are to be "based in [the] Glasgow HQ", and not meeting Scottish voters concerned that the Anti-independence campaign is dominated by the London political scene. Handy!) and is an open invitation to unionists and loyalists from across the United Kingdom to come - free - to Scotland to "volunteer" in our referendum. 

Kensington, from where Better Together will tell people from Glasgow we scrounge from them
With the news that the Conservative Friends of the Union fundraiser is to be held in Chelsea, and that the anti-Independence campaign has refused to sign up to a proposed code of conduct restricting significant donations to those on the Scottish electoral roll, it is becoming clearer and clearer that not only is the Squadrone Volante funded by non-Scottish political parties, but that that dirty money is being used to pay people to come to Scotland and campaign for them. 

They will raise money at millionaire's row in Kensington. But what will they spend it on? They don't need advertising - they have every newspaper in Scotland backing them, as well as the BBC.

It removes any financial restraints on unionists coming to Scotland. Those nice chaps we saw burning chapels and attacking families in Belfast after the Union Jack was taken down from the mast this week will be able to come over to Scotland in the knowledge that they'll have no food expenses and no travel expenses. 

Labour Party parade in Glasgow
The Orange Order, which has threatened to become a pro-British terrorist organisation in the event of independence, will be able to begin repaying its debt to the Labour Party (the Labour Party in Glasgow funded every Orange Order celebration in Glasgow for the anniversary of queen Elizabeth Windsor's taking of power this summer) in manpower, in the full knowledge that it will incur no cost at all, and earn them and their sectarian, fascist parades the backing of a grateful Labour Party in Glasgow and beyond. 

There's no guessing why the Antis think we're better together with George Osborne and his Tory toffs. 

But the dirty little secret of their funding and manpower shows exactly why the people of Scotland must not trust this campaign one iota.

The Yes campaign seeks an inclusive, diverse, progressive Scotland, and its popular support and grassroots operation reflects that. 

The anti-independence campaign is funded by Tory money from Chelsea soirées, led by people employed by the British state, and the groundwork is now laid for it to be peopled by Orangemen from Belfast and BNP thugs from Burnley. 

The Scottish people will see through it. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Who Are The Antis?

In the battle for Scotland to revert to its normal state, and join the nations of the world, it appears to be generally accepted that the electorate is split reasonably evenly in three:

1. those who are pro-independence
2. those who are anti-independence
3. those who are undecided

By all accounts, these three segments of the electorate are reasonably evenly split. Sure, there are fluctuations: when the Tory government puts on a show of flags and guns, the Antis gain ground (but only from the undecideds). When one of our sports teams win a match (and I'm almost into the realms of fantasy here, given the soccer and rugby teams' showing this year), the pro-democracy side shows an advance (again, against the undecideds).

The pro-independence side is fine. These are people - of an overwhelmingly progressive bent, as shown by the weekend's Radical Independence Conference, the support of the Green Party, the Socialist Party, SCND, and - perhaps more tellingly of all, the refusal of STUC to affiliate to the anti-Scotland campaign.

STUC - part and parcel of the Labour Party - refusing to affiliate to the NO side? The reason one knows it's telling is the refusal of the Scottish media to report on it. 

But make no mistake: this is a disaster for the anti-Scotland campaign. The STUC refusing to affiliate to a Labour campaign is roughly equivalent to Jackie Baillie refusing to affiliate to a large doner. It's equivalent to the Petrograd Soviet refusing to affiliate to the Supreme Soviet. It's equivalent to Walmart running a campaign and Asda saying "naw". In short, it's big, big news.

It is, for the first, time, a major part of the Labour Party looking at the facts, and saying "hold on, we're allying with the BNP and Tories for this?". 

Like many decent Labour people - former MPs John McAllion and Dennis Canavan included -  like Labour For Independence, people have looked at Labour and said "hold on, we'd rather support Labour values than loyalist values. We'd rather stand with Keir Hardie than Nick Griffin".

We know that the Unionist campaign is falling apart. We know that the money is coming from London's Tories (the Tory pro-Union fundraiser this year is being held in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, home of Malcolm Rifkind, so vehemently defenestated by his Scots electorate), we know that the only thing Labour provides is the jackboots on the ground. 

And looking at the Tory/BNP/Labour campaign photos, all I see is young guys, caught up in the excitement of hatred, and never stopping to think. 

But we've examined the types of voter.

A YES voter is someone who has examined the issues, and believes Scotland is better off being run by people who have Scotland at heart.

An undecided is just that. Perhaps they'll be swayed by Nick Griffin, Johann Lamont and Norman Tebbit. Or perhaps, they'll realise that Colin Fox, Pat Harvie and Margo MacDonald speak for Scotland more than a gaggle of hate-filled loyalist extremists.

I want to talk about those in the NO camp, though.

For too long, we've spoken about pro-Scotland, undecideds, and Antis.

I want to break the Antis down, as George Best once said.

My reading of the situation is that, much like Agatha Christie, we have three Antis:

1. The ignorant. Watches Reporting Scotland and reads the Daily Record. Believes that Scotland is subsidised by our southern neighbour, and that we're too wee, too poor, and too stupid to survive alone. Couldn't tell you the southernmost city of Norway (it's Bergen, Euan, if you're looking in), and believes our competitor is England (which capital city has twice the size of the population of Scotland) and not Sweden. They've been told by the Daily Record that they dislike England (hi, Shuggie! Hi, Duggie!), but that's because they're better than us. 

About half of those people can be turned around, by the simple use of facts. Show them dispassionate, neutral facts, and they'll go either YES or undecided. 

2. The Welsh (may God bless their rugby team and their magnificent national anthem) do this one better than us. They call them Dic Sion Dafydd. People who were born and bred in Wales, but affect to have forgotten how to sing, forgotten how to speak Welsh, and who pretend to be from a different culture entirely. 

In Scotland, we all know one of them. An "aw, an independent Scotland would be like Oor Wullie, and the Broons. The SNP? Kilts and shortbread tins. Teuchters. Pathetic. Brigadoon, and Braveheart and a' that? Rabbie Burns? Naw, I'm a 21st Century person". Or the type that give it "It's an absolute disgrace that Scottish Railways are putting Gaelic signs up. Do I look like I shag sheep here in Castlemilk?".

We all know the type.

A Dic Sion Dafydd will never change.

They realised, early on, that affecting to despise Scotland would get them advancement in life. 

Hi Johann! Hi Maggie!

3. The apparatchik.

There are some people who have grown up, being part of a particular political party. That party is tribal. 

Like supporting Barcelona, Liverpool or Celtic, they've supported their party. 

They support it because it's progressive and left-wing. 

As it set about destroying the working-class by abolishing the £0,10 tax rate, they shrugged and said "the rest of our policy is left-wing".

As it slaughtered quarter of a million Muslim children because its leader wanted to impress George Bush, they said "ah well, it happens. Our domestic policy is left-wing".

As Britain became the fourth most unequal society on the face of the earth, they said "we're still left-wing".

And now, as Scotland seeks to break from a fanatically right-wing Tory government, they have gathered, with Tories, with the BNP, with the Orange Order and National Front, and they look around them and say "Labour say VOTE NO, so I say VOTE NO".

But they don't really believe it.

They know that only with independence can progressive politics come. They know only with independence can socialism win in Scotland.

And that's why a lot of them - loyal to the Labour Party - will be vociferous in joining Labour and the BNP to campaign for a NO vote.

But when it comes to it, there's many of them who'll surprise themselves by voting YES.

Some of them will put Scotland ahead of the Labour Party.

I know one Labour MSP who is campaigning for a NO vote because the harder they campaign for a Tory government, the more chance there is of advancement in the Labour Party. But they'll be voting YES.

The most extreme of the NO campaigners will be those who win for Scotland a progressive socialist republic in the end.

Because they know in their hearts that they have to put Scotland ahead of the Labour Party for Labour values to win.

Scotland will win in 2014. We will be a socialist republic. And we will be so because of the "secret" YES voters.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Our Responsibility For Israel's War Crimes

Today, the fourth strongest military power in the world is launching air, sea and rocket attacks on refugees it has launched on a ghetto described as "Hell on earth".

Collective Punishment

It seems to have been the case some time ago that in western administrations the incompatibility between Israel's right to exist and Palestinian right to their land was recognised and the decision taken that to deny the Palestinians their rights was preferable to denying Israel its. 

In order to facilitate this, the western world, led in both diplomatic and financial terms by the United States and the United Kingdom, have fought a rearguard action in defence of the State of Israel. 

The two allies have sold Israel weapons, and have given it carte blanche to collectively punish the Gazan people. It is unacceptable for Hamas to fire missiles into civilian buildings in Israel - but it is equally unacceptable for Israel to respond by firing missiles into civilian buildings in Gaza. 

The Gazan people are not, on the whole, massive fans of Hamas. While they won the last Legislative election, they achieved a vote of 44,45% on a turnout of 75%. Extrapolating that, it could be said that for every three civilians Israel kills, only one (roughly )would be a Hamas supporter. 

I cannot imagine a better way of turning moderate Palestinians into Hamas supporters by punishing the people of Gaza collectively for the actions of Hamas - killing civilians who on the whole don't even support Hamas. 

Israel Shielded From International Consequences 

The problem with Israel, however, is that they just don't see that their behaviour is completely disproportionate to what Hamas is doing. They are so used to any criticism of their actions being vetoed at the United Nations by their allies in the US and UK - permanently on the Security Council - that they have become inured to criticism. Criticism without consequences is barely criticism at all. 

Iraq broke two UNSC resolutions. It was promply invaded by the UK and US, at a cost of - at a conservative estimate - some quarter of a million lives. 

Israel has broken - at the last count - 69 resolutions. It has been punished by receiving thousands of millions of euro in aid and weaponry from the US and UK, as well as availing of the full battery of diplomatic resources afforded by the two western allies.

No wonder, that Israel feels it can commit war crimes with impunity. 

Scottish Unionism: Friends of Israel

For some reason, the British establishment is particularly supportive of Israel. It doesn't matter which party is in power (and all three London parties have been part of the British regime over the past three years), the British regime always supports Israel. 

Channel Four's Dispatches programme reports that around 80% of Conservative MPs are members of the corresponding Conservative Friends of Israel - and that at least half of the Cabinet are or were members. David Cameron, the British premier, is a member, as were former Conservative leaders Iain Duncan Smith, William Hague and Michael Howard. 

Other Tory grandees to have been members of the group include former defence ministers Liam Fox and Malcolm Rifkind. Both Scottish, both rejected from Scottish seats, both important members of the anti-Scotland Better Together campaign.

Both recent Labour Party prime ministers, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, have been members of the internal party grouping Labour Friends of Israel. It also includes the disgraced former MSP, George Foulkes, and disgraced former minister Denis MacShane, now the subject of a police investigation for a large-scale theft of public money.

Former STV chairman, and current Labour peer, Gus MacDonald is also a member, as is Jim Murphy, yet another Unionist MP involved in the defence industry (and also, and probably not unrelated, a man who benefited from living in South Africa during the Apartheid years before fleeing his national service. Happy to send our young men to die in illegal foreign wars; not so happy to fight himself).

John Reid, who you will be flabbergasted to read is another former defence minister, is also a member of LFI. 

Scotland's Voice in Israel's Crimes

The British foreign minister, William Hague, says that Scotland's voice is much stronger in the world as long as we are attached to the UK.

David Cameron says that his "belief in Israel is unbreakable and commitment to Israel's security is non-negotiable".

So, where is the Scottish voice in the international stage? In Edinburgh yesterday, a march organised at short notice by Stop the War, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Scottish Trades Unions Congress went from Bute House to Parliament, and was backed by hundreds of demonstrators. 

Scotland's belief in Israel clearly isn't unbreakable. But where is that voice on the international stage? The Scottish government says that it's wrong to collectively punish the people of Gaza for the actions of Hamas. The Scottish people agree. The Scottish Unionist establishment doesn't.

But it's the British government who speak for Scotland at the United Nations. And the British government are saying that it's right for Israel to collectively punish the people of Gaza for the actions of Hamas. 

Is that really Scotland's voice being heard on the global stage? Do the people of Scotland really want to be complicit in the genocide being perpetrated in Gaza today? 

Unionists tell us we are stronger together when a foreign government speaks for us. 

Given that most of the Better Together campaign's leaders seem to be up to their ears in support for Israel and the defence industry, why would we trust them to speak out and do the right thing? 

It's scaremongered that a consequence of our regaining independence would be Britain losing its permanent seat on the Security Council. 

When that voice doesn't deal with the facts or issues, and its commitment to Israel is "unbreakable and non-negotiable", then surely it's time to remove that voice. 

Scotland needs to speak to the world. We need to tell the world that Israel is behaving wrongly. We don't need vested interests, and we don't need blind fanaticism. 

The dismantling of the United Kingdom will be a major step towards peace in our time.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Wednesday Night* is Champions League Night (for some)!

* - not available in Scotland.

On Wednesday night, I'm going to sit on my sofa and watch Scotland's soccer champions, Celtic, take on the best team in the world, the Catalan icons of Barcelona in the Champions League. I'll pad to the kettle in my slippers to get another cup of tea as the greatest-ever player, Lionel Messi, struts his stuff. I'll dash to the freezer to grab an ice pole as Giorgios Samaras leaves the Argentine watching in open-mouthed jealousy at his panache, his skill, and his lustrous hair and beard.

And because the match is live on RTÉ Two, I won't have to either pay heaps of money (the cheapest Sky Sports subscription here is €46,50/month, or €558 per year - plus I'd have to get Éircom to install a phone line, so there's a line rental charge too of €20,96/month, bringing my grand total €809,52 per annum to watch Celtic's Champions League games) to Rupert Murdoch, or nip out to the pub (I'd probably be as cheap actually going to the match, Heaven forbid!).

If you're in Scotland, however, the nation which enters Celtic into the Champions League (Celtic is the only Scottish club in existence which has ever qualified for the Champions League: Motherwell and Hearts have both lost in qualifiers) you can't do that, because STV isn't allowed to broadcast the match.

Because the UEFA only sells its Champions League packages in terms of geographical states, STV cannot opt out and show another game from ITV, despite being independently (or separately, if you're the despicable liar Margaret Curran) owned, serving an entirely different nation, serving an entirely different soccer structure, not broadcasting outside Scotland (or in much of it), and the Scottish club's game clearly being of more interest to its audience. 

ITV has the right to broadcast a match on Tuesday (and as long as there are English teams in the competition, they'll naturally, and quite appropriately, show them ahead of a Scottish team), and not a Wednesday. That's Sky's night. 

But here, TV3 has tonight's game between Manchester and Ajax, while RTÉ will broadcast the Celtic game tomorrow. Why can't STV do the same?

Because Uefa only sell packages to states, STV wouldn't be competing against Scottish broadcasters to show games within Scotland, they have to compete against UK broadcasters - with far more revenue. 

It's completely unfair, and they haven't a chance of succeeding.

You're either paying money to Rupert and the lads, or you're down to the pub. If you can't afford Sky, or you can't afford to go to the pub, well, piss off, peasant, the Champions League isn't for you. This is Britain, you know. We can't have some sort of something for nothing society, can we, Johann?

Now, STV serves 3.849.000 people. RTÉ serves slightly fewer than 4.588.000 people. These two broadcaster, which serve very similar cultures and audiences, are entirely different from ITV1, which serves many millions of people in England, Wales and the Borders. 

ITV1 will never show a Scottish team live ahead of an English team. Why would they? They're an English broadcaster. They cater to their audience. 

But it's only with independence that STV can cater to their audience. 

Scotland - like England, like Germany, like the Netherlands, like Greece and Turkey, like Denmark and Italy - deserves to see its Champion club represent our country on our own television screens. Maybe not every game live in glorious technicolour, but to have a complete ban on our country's Champions League games is an atrocious reminder of the inequalities of the Union. 

A puppy, yesterday. It has nothing to do with this post, I just thought it was nice
It's these little inequalities which seem into the minds of the man on the street - the breadline pensioner who won't be able to see his team playing the world's greatest; the children who won't be inspired by seeing Scotland's champions taking on Barcelona because they can't go to the pub, can they? - which will make people think "hold on, how can we be Better Together when we get nothing from it?".

They'll ask themselves why, almost unique amongst the nations of Europe, they can almost never watch their national team play (the BBC seemed to find a great deal of money, however, to show England matches for a generation or more; every Ireland match is live on RTÉ, every Germany match on ARD or ZDF). 

They'll perhaps ask themselves why their national broadcaster, the BBC, almost entirely ignored the Scottish governing party's conference, but gave hours to American politics. 

Maybe they'll even ask themselves why Scotland is forbidden to take part in the Eurovision song contest, when STV is a part of the European Broadcasting Union.

This evening, two major political events occurred. The Americans finished the last day of campaigning before this bloody interminable election happens; and there was a major debate - indeed, a Big Debate - involving master debater Willie Rennie, on the constitutional future of Scotland. One of those was available online. 

It wasn't Scotland that Scotland's state broadcaster was interested in.

Not being able to watch Celtic take on Barcelona won't in itself swing any votes - but it's another little thing, another little story, another nagging doubt in the mind of the undecided voter.

Broadcasting is one of the many little nagging issues in which Scotsmen and Scotswomen know instinctively they are unfairly treated by dint of being part of this unequal, intolerable Union, which is no longer fit for purpose

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Five Stages of Unionism

1. Denial There will never be a referendum on Independence. Not now, not ever.

2. Anger The Government doesn't even have the right to hold a referendum!

3. Bargaining We'll let you have a referendum on the following terms...

4. Depression This referendum will lead to uncertainty and companies pulling out

5. Acceptance. The Government and the British have reached a deal to hold a referendum

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Lamont's Scotland

It's November 2016. With the independence referendum lost, Scotland languishes under a Conservative government with no Scottish MPs. 

Johann Lamont's Labour Party has won the Scottish Parliament election the previous year, and is bound by a manifesto described by the Daily Mail as "common sense". 

A retired nurse, an octogenarian widow, leaves her Glasgow home in the depths of winter. Stripped of her free bus pass, she either has to trudge for five miles through the snow, or pay Labour's privatised buses a fiver for a return ticket to the doctor's. She's worked all her life, but on her pitiful pension, she can't afford the bus fare. But why should we give her a free bus pass? This is Scotland! This is the land we don't give something for nothing. 

Her local surgery has closed as a result of the reduction in the Scottish block grant. There's nothing Scotland can do. What are we going to do - vote out a government which has no MPs here anyway?

The doctor writes a prescription for the medicine she needs to stay healthy. There's no point in it - since Labour abolished free prescriptions for the sick, she can't afford to buy it. But we can't simply give the sick something for nothing. 

She knows that she's against a wall. She can't afford her medicine, so her illness will get worse. If her illness will get worse, she'll require care. But Labour have abolished free personal care for the elderly. They can't get something for nothing.

She gets home to an ice-cold house. With Labour not having built a single new council house in Glasgow since 1979, the wind whips through her home. She has to choose between heating her home or paying for Labour's Council Tax, which has risen far above her pension. But tax is tax. We can't freeze it. We can't give something for nothing. If the old lady has to freeze, so be it. But we must raise the Council Tax. 

She rings her grandson, a bright young boy, the hope for her future. She'd always wanted him to go to university and make the best of himself. He's just got five Highers, all at A grade. But he won't be going to university. Labour have abolished free higher education, and the brightest working-class kids are now unable to go to university. We can't, after all, give something for nothing.

With a Conservative government in London, there is no investment in jobs. The unemployment lines across Britain have reached five million. This boy's only choice was university or the dole queue. 

With Labour's abolition of the one thousand extra police officers introduced in the last Parliament, law and order begins to break down in the streets. With no prospects of using his brain, and no hope of a job, what other option is there but a life of crime?

This is the vision Johann Lamont outlined for Scotland yesterday. 

This is why you must vote Yes.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Lamont's Hate Speech Shows No anti-Independence Party is Left

This afternoon Johann Lamont, who claims to be the leader of Labour in Scotland, gave what the party described as a "keynote speech" in Edinburgh. More than a year after their destruction in the Scottish general election, in which they lost almost every constituency in Scotland, the "leader" crawled from under the sofa to finally outline her vision of the party. 

And what a vision it was. 

Lamont - who claims to be the leader of Labour in Scotland but refuses to say how many votes she gained in the leadership election - gave a speech notable for a public outpouring of outright hatred and contempt for the working class.

Lamont showed her contempt for the working class
As she hauled Labour to the extreme right of Scottish politics, she announced that she wished to abolish:
  • Free medical prescriptions for the poor
  • Free personal care for the elderly
  • Free university tuition for the working class
  • Free bus travel for our pensioners
and hugely increase Council Tax, massively weightening the financial burden on families already struggling to make ends meet thanks the utter destruction of the Scottish economy by Labour. 

She also said that "1000 additional bobbies on the beat is not the best use of police resources". There is a reason that crime in Scotland is at an historic low. That reason is that police numbers in our country is at an historic high. 

Johann Lamont wants to put the lives of Scottish people at risk so that there is no difference between police numbers in Scotland and Britain. She is literally prepared for Scottish people to die to save the union.

Lamont's speech captured in Cloud format

Lamont, who was the beneficiary of a free university education, and has so far refused to refund any of the tuition fees or grant money despite demanding all working-class students now pay, demanded that we end the "something for nothing culture". One can imagine Lamont, in her previous life as a teacher, screaming abuse into the faces of those of her charges who received free school meals. 

It is the hate-filled language of Thatcherite Conservatism that is so damning. Lamont is so used to haranguing, attacking and talking down Scotland at every opportunity that she forgets she needs its people to vote for her. But I know that Lamont isn't - or wasn't, at least - a Thatcherite. So why the shift? It's simple. A socially democratic Scotland and a hard-right England is an advert for independence. Lamont prizes the union above all. Therefore, if Scotland must suffer to maintain the impression of equality, suffer she will.

Fanatical Unionist Lamont with a prescient headline
Her party has never been at a lower ebb - wiped out north of Dumbarton, she personally is a most unpopular leader, almost losing her Pollok seat last year. 

As Green Party leader, Pat Harvie, said: "if policy reform means ending the free education Johann Lamont's generation enjoyed, or charging patients for NHS services, or continuing to court the support of big business...Labour are free to continue their decline".

Lamont's "something for nothing culture" isn't her party's decision to shovel thousands of millions of pounds at fraudulent and criminal bankers. Oh no, she's not said a word about that. 

She's not said a word about spending hundreds of millions of pounds on Weapons of Mass Destruction, to be based a few kilometers from the deprived constituency in which she point-blank refuses to live. 

Nope, her idea of leeching from the state is to ban working-class kids from going to university. It's telling the Drumchapel pensioners who worked their whole lives that they have to choose between eating and going to Helensburgh for the day. It's ripping the rings from the fingers of the retired nurse in Nitshill to pay for her healthcare, before her house is also stolen from her. 

Her idea of "fairness" is to force a newly-married, minimum wage couple in Hillington with no assets but the small house they inherited to pay the exact same Council Tax as the dentist living next door. 

These things are basic rights of the Scottish people. They were not given by the Labour Party. They were taken by the people. 

As Lamont stood on the podium and spat on the grave of Keir Hardy, as she casually smeared the people of Scotland as subsidy junkies, as she called her party's dwindling support base leeches and thieves, she said: "the idea that Scotland is a land where everything is free is a lie". 

Nobody has that idea, Johann. Nobody believes that to be the case. 

The fact is that our free prescriptions aren't free. None of the other basic rights which Lamont wishes to abolish are free. 

Free at the point of use? Certainly. But not free. We, all of us, pay for these things. We pay for it through the massive surplus we send to the Treasury in London each year, getting a portion of it back. 

Lamont is George Osborne in a frock.

We could pay for more like it if we didn't have to fund the obscenity of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Lamont won't tell us her views on Trident (the Scottish people don't have the intelligence to cope with it), but her party's view is that we should continue to spend billions of pounds on it or its successor. 

Lamont's party told us - maliciously and falsely - that Saddam Hussein desired a fraction of the Weapons of Mass Destruction the aggressive United Kingdom held. In revenge, Labour slaughtered a million Iraqi men, women and children. 

If you can stay in a party which does that, then I suppose the complete abdication of any socialist principles wouldn't be too much of a jump. 

What this does show, though, is that the facade of respectability has been thrown off by Labour. They are now proudly and openly a right-wing party. We knew that already: their links with the bankers and media moguls, their open courting of the fascists in the Orange Order, their desire to tax people with not an iota of consideration given to their ability to pay, the systematic extermination of human beings because of where they lived, the fact that under Labour, the list of criminal offences increased more than tenfold. 

It would be totally wrong, of course, to suggest that the outpouring of revulsion at Lamont's comments was unanimous. She had some support:

There is a proverb, Mrs Joyner...

The anti-Scotland campaign consists of the two British government coalition parties, the Conservatives and Liberals; the three fascist organisations, the Scottish Defence League and Orange Order; the fascist British National Party, and the Labour Party. 

Even before Lamont's hate-filled rant against the people of Scotland today, the above looked to be rather unbalancedly right-wing. What we can say now, with certainty, is that the anti-Scotland campaign stands for right-wing principles. 

It stands for regression, it stands for austerity, it stands for hammering the working class. 

And the Yes campaign?

The National Party, Socialist Party, Solidarity, Green Party and a whole host of progressive social-democratic and socialist organisations. 

Scotland is a country which prides itself on social democracy, fairness and justice. 

You have one vote which means two things. 

Fundamentally, the constitutional aspect of the referendum is irrelevant. The choice is between the Tories, Liberals, SDL, BNP, Orange Order, Labour, austerity and bitterness; or between the SNP, SSP, Greens, progressivity, fairness, decency, honesty and integrity. 

Monday, 24 September 2012

Weekend events show difference between pro- and anti-Scotland campaigns

On Saturday, men, women and children from every city in Scotland poured into our capital city in their thousands to show their support for Scotland becoming a democracy. It was one of the largest political demonstrations in Scottish history. 

The march attracted members of almost every serious political party in Scotland, and people who are members of no party. Speakers from the National Party, the Socialist Party, from the Labour Party, the Green Party, non-party lawyers, and the doyenne of pro-democracy politics, Margo MacDonald, spoke passionately about the future of Scotland to an enthusiastic crowd of over 10.000. 

The YES campaign has shown itself to be an incredibly broad church. The support of many of our fellow Europeans on the march (demonstrators came from Padania, Catalunya, Wales, Ireland, Bavaria and Flanders, amongst others) shows the affection in which Scotland is held in our European Union. 

There was only one slight sour note to the day. The presence, and eventual arrest, of several Better Together supporters, who attacked some marchers and attempted to incite disorder, spoke volumes of the type of campaign which will be run by the anti-Scotland side. 

It is clear that the Better Together campaign is well aware that they cannot win a fair referendum based on an analysis of the debate. More than three centuries into the union between Scotland and England, the unionists have still not managed to elucidate a single positive argument for creating or maintaining the union. 

The Better Together campaigners, a motley crew of Labour, BNP, Conservative, the fascist Orange Order, and Scottish Defence League members know this. 

They know, that if they were to organise a pro-union march, they would be humiliated. With no way to outdo the pro-Scotland demonstration, the next best option is to disrupt it. 

This is why the Better Together campaigners were sent out to Edinburgh to cause trouble. An outbreak of violence would have been a dream come true for the Better Together organisers. Fortunately, the pro-Scotland marchers behaved with honour and dignity, an allowed the police to do their job. We must be on our guard always, for this is a tactic they will use every time we rally.

Aware that sending their SDL and Orange thugs out to attack families and incite violence on a sunny day in Edinburgh will not in itself persuade people to vote in favour of the union, the Better Together organisers have already decided that it they can only win the referendum by acting outside the law. 

On Sunday, the Herald revealed that the Better Together organisation had been gathering intelligence on voters without their consent - a criminal offence. 

Not a technical offence, not an overlooking of the rules, but a criminal offence.

The Better Together campaign have already indicated that they intend to continue using this illegally-gathered information stolen from innocent voters. 

It is possible to overlook a criminal offence in the first instance. However, when the perpetrator of a crime asserts openly that they will continue to completely ignore the criminal code, and benefit from the widespread theft of data, then there is only one option. 

The Better Together campaign must be ordered to destroy all data received by it before it properly registered with the Data Commissioner. And if it does not do so, then its directors must be prosecuted from their crime. 

The Better Together campaign has started with violence and criminality. 

Is this the positive case for the union?

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Anti-Independence Campaign Tell Outright Lie in Leaflet

This weekend saw the anti-Scottish Squadron Volante of British Nationalist Parties and the Orange Order getting together with literature to instil fear of normality into the Scottish people. 

Jim Murphy went out to campaign with SCUP MSP Jackson Carlaw (Labour believe Carlaw is  unfit to hold elected office but are happy to campaign with him to preserved the unequal, unfair and aggressive United Kingdom.) It's quite probable that apart from their obsession with holding Scotland back from joining the nations of the world, they had much to talk about: Carlaw was appointed Deputy Leader of SCUP after telling racist jokes at its  manifesto launch in 2005 - perhaps they was able to swap stories about the "good old days" of the Apartheid regime in South Africa, which SCUP so loudly and proudly supported, and from which Murphy benefited so gratefully. 

In other areas of Scotland, woman abuser Ian Davidson went out with the party's "leader" Johann Lamont in Govan to obstruct people's shopping Saturdays with a smattering of bitter Unionists. Quite how Lamont can bear to be gallivanting with such a violently misogynistic ned is beyond me. Perhaps she puts her principles in the same box as she keeps her views on Weapons of Mass Destruction. 

They handed out the following leaflet:

Anti-Independence leaflet, courtesy Nic Prigg

The leaflet, as a whole is laughable. It contains the whole anti-Scotland argument in one document; the argument being "you are too small, too poor and too stupid to possibly be able to operate your own democracy". 

If these ten points are the reasons to remain part of the most aggressive and destructive empire in the history of mankind, then it cannot be credible that the people of Scotland will choose this option. 

1. Scots are represented by over 270 embassies as part of the UK.

This is not one of the typical and cynical distortions of the truth by the British Nationalist Parties which we know and love - it is a simple, blatant, outright and easily provable lie. 

The British Government's very own foreign ministry shows the lie. It tells us that the United Kingdom has embassies in Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Chile, PR China, Colombia, DR Congo, Costa Rica, Ivory Coast, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Holy See, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, DPR Korea, South Korea, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, FYR Macedonia, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, The Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, The Ukraine, UAE, USA, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen and Zimbabwe. 


It's an impressive list, to be sure.

But it's not "more than 270 embassies".

It is, in fact, little more than one hundred - of which  more than one third (in italics) are in this very continent of Europe.

It's hardly a worldwide system of influence and presence, is it? Indeed, during the secession negotiations, Scotland will be owed money for many of the properties in which these embassies are based. Is it beyond comprehension that the Government of Scotland may strike a deal with the British regime that sees the UK representing Scottish consular affairs in place of this money? 

Scotland, as part of the United Kingdom, fails to be represented diplomatically in almost half of all sovereign states in the world. Is it beyond comprehension that in these places in  which we need to be represented, we can either open an embassy, or strike a deal with one of our European partners to do so. This isn't just an option for tinpot dictatorships: even the United States makes use of this arrangement on occasion. 

2. Scotland exports twice as much to England, Wales and Northern Ireland as to the rest of the world. 

Between 2006 and 2010, Scottish exports to the rest of the world increased by 18,7%.

For a small nation like Scotland, it is only natural that our major export market is our closest neighbour: the British are also our major import partner. 

This is not only a nonsensical reason for remaining part of the United Kingdom (Britain's second largest export market is the Russian Federation: should they join in a political union? Surely they'd be richer, stronger together, and with a much better chance of winning medals in the Olympics?), but it has more than a slightly veiled threat of trade barriers and embargoes if we dare to take our independence back. 

If there are to be no trade embargoes, then why would a change in the seat of government affect our export markets?

If there are to be trade embargoes, is bullying and threats really a reason to stay in the Union? 

3. One in five Scots are employed by English, Welsh and Northern Irish firms.

How awfully nice. Not quite sure why it is an issue in an independence referendum, however (notwithstanding even the fact that this means 80% of Scots are not employed by British firms). 

Is this an implication that these firms will flee for the hills the minute Scotland takes control of its defence and foreign affairs? If so, why are there so many British firms operating contentedly in Ireland?

There hasn't been a single British company which has spoken of leaving Scotland after independence. Quite the contrary: with our dedicated and highly-skilled workforce, we are an attractive location for companies. 
Of those which have spoken, GlaxoSmithKline, the major pharmaceutical company, has said it will be "business as usual" following Restoration of Sovereignty, with its CEO, Andrew Witty, commenting that 

“Obviously the very big investment we’re making in Montrose and Irvine signals our confidence in the future of Scotland. What we’ve done speaks louder than words.”
Since the independence-supporting SNP took control more than five years ago, outside companies have invested in Scotland, including Diageo (which only this week said that it would be business as usual for them after independence), GSK, Taqa, Avaloq, Ineos, PetroChina, Dell, Gamesa, Amazon, Mitsubishi, Hewlett-Packard, Mitsui and Life Technologies, with Scotland becoming the market leader in inward investment in the United Kingdom since the SNP won its second term and announced the Independence referendum. 

4. 31,000 workers in Scotland have jobs with the UK Government

This figure represents fewer than one percent of the Scottish workforce.

This includes people working for the Department of Work and Pensions. Is it inconceivable that the functions of the DWP will not be duplicated by the new Scottish Government? Put it this way: if welfare was devolved, would it not be the case that all of these people would transfer automatically to the Scottish Government?

When the British government leaves Scotland, will all of its functions leave? 

Do the British Nationalist Parties genuinely believe that none of the functions which are held in Scotland at the moment will be required post-independence? Do they genuinely believe that there would be a welfare staff of zero? Do they genuinely believe that there would be no Inland Revenue? Do they genuinely believe Scotland will have no Customs staff? Do they genuinely believe that we will not have a passport office (we'd better have a passport office if we're going to need a passport to visit the granny in Newcastle that every bitter Unionist seems to have)? Do they genuinely believe we'll have no Coast Guard?

Stop the scaremongering: people just don't believe your lies any more. 

5. Scottish banks were bailed out with £470 bn from UK taxpayers

The collapse of the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland were a direct result of the refusal of the British government to properly regulate the banks. 

The "too poor, too stupid" leaflet from the British Nationalist Parties implies that only Scottish banks collapsed. When Labour speak of the collapse of the many British banks, they are quick to refer to the "crisis which originated in America". But when Janus speaks to the Scottish side, it was a Scottish collapse, in which we were saved by the largesse of our generous, paternal neighbours, who forgave our flirt with independence to pat us on the head.

In fact, the average Scot didn't want (or need) these banks bailed out, as so many UK banks were. We would rather that, like Iceland's banks, they were punished for their crimes. 

The fact is that this was an act not of generosity from the UK taxpayers (Scottish parasites, subsidy junkies et cetera ad inifinitum), but one which - funded partly by Scotland's generation-long subsidy of the British exchequer and the money stolen from our country to pay for London's sporting vanity project this summer - was intended to maintain, for political reasons, the facade that the British economy was strong. 

And ask this: if we are indeed Better Together, why should our banks collapse anyway?

6. 800,000 Scots live and work in England and Wales without the need for papers and passports

As is natural and healthy with a neighbouring nation to which our economy is so strongly linked. 

This will continue after independence - unless the inclusion of this passage is a threat to revive the Alien Act of 1705. 

As neighbouring, fellow EU nations, British people have the right to live and work unmolested in Scotland, and vice-versa. No amount of hate and bitterness by the British Nationalist Parties, acting in concert with the fascist Orange Order, can prevent this. 

7. The UK has the world's second biggest aid budget

In 2011, the UK donated € 9,881m despite employing less than 500 staff in Scotland 

Last year, the USA donated US$ 49 bn, and Germany donated € 10,453m.

Either a Euro is worth more than five US dollars, or this is a lie. 

8. The UK means Scots get a seat at the top table of the UN

Really? Mark Grant is currently occupying the seat. He isn't Scottish, is he? His predecessors, Robert Sawers,Emyr Jones Parry, Jeremy Greenstock, John Weston, David Hannay, and Crispin Tickell, Anthony Parsons, Ivor Richard, Colin Crowe, Hugh Foot, Patrick Dean, Pierson Dixon, Gladwyn Jebb and Alexander Cadogan aren't/weren't. Scottish. 

John Thomson was Scottish, to be sure. The last Scotsman to "get a seat" at the UN Security Council. Someone who was born the day he vacated that seat would have been able to vote in the 2005 General Election. 

The only other Scotsman to "get a seat" at the UN Security Council was Donald Maitland, who was Permanent Representative for a few months in the 1970s. 

So, the very last time a Scotsman sat at the top table was 1987. Perhaps it would have been more accurate to write "the UK meant Scots briefly got a seat at the top table at the UN in the past". But maybe that would hit too close to home: a Union which may have worked in the past but which Scotland has outgrown since the days of Thatcher doesn't really fit the narrative of the British Nationalist Parties. 

9. Scots save billions on the cost of mortgages due to the UK's AAA credit rating

It is implied that a restored Scotland will not have an AAA credit rating. Quite why this should be the case when Denmark, Norway and Finland - like us, stable, northern European countries with a population around the five million mark - with their almost identical economies retain an AAA rating is not explained. 

Apparently, we would be too poor and too stupid to manage to set up our own welfare system. Who can forget the chaos when Montenegro left Serbia-Montenegro with absolutely no idea of how to.....oh, wait, that didn't happen. 

10. The pensions of 1m Scots are guaranteed by the UK welfare system

Again, the UK welfare system is not some benevolent act of charity. Scots have put into the welfare system and are entitled to those pensions. 

There are 27 sovereign member states of the European Union. The United Kingdom does not administer 26 of them. They seem to cope alright. 

Yes, the pensions are guaranteed by the UK welfare system. That is because the British regime refuses to devolve welfare to Scotland. 

Their refusal to offer it means we must take it. And in a democratic Scottish socialist republic, we can be sure that - unlike the British system - our pensioners will never, ever again have to choose between dying of hypothermia or dying of starvation.