I'mNotAWriterBut…

I am a 51 year old working mum of five – not all at home thank goodness. Im a member of the Women for Independence National Executive. This Blog is growing and changing as my hopes and aspirations change. I actually DO expect to change the world but I accept that might not even make sense sometimes. I hope you enjoy the read.

The illusionist

So…. Tories eh!

Today I’ve woken up to find Dominic Cummings is still in post and Boris Johnson is still missing.

No surprises there then. Will he go? Should he go? Absolutely! He broke the law, undermined the Government’s Strategy, and put lives at risk. So why hasn’t he?

Well, there was a clue in his response to journalists outside his home yesterday. He pointed at them all and said they were not social distancing (irony klaxon if ever there was one) and then said “It’s not about what you guys think”. He was talking to journalists but actually, he was talking to us, all of us plebs, because it’s actually not about what we think.

“We” – ordinary people, living ordinary lives, managing ordinary jobs, home schooling, studying, caring for loved ones, making masks for each other, delivering food, working in care homes, the NHS, takeaways, charities, shops. Those of us who haven’t seen our families, hugged our children, held our parents, haven’t touched another human being in months. That’s who Dominic Cummings was speaking to.

We are the ones who have put the safety of others first, often at great personal cost. Funerals we weren’t able to attend, weddings that weren’t able to happen, exams cancelled, graduations not happening, baptisms, eid celebrations, birthdays, and the daily joy that comes from just being with people we care about has all been put on hold because we wanted to look after each other.

None of that matters to the Tory Government – because we don’t matter. Our lives don’t matter, our loves don’t matter, our jobs don’t matter, we are simply a vehicle for their own ambition and wealth creation.

It’s the old story of class war but actually it is as fresh as it’s ever been.

Brexit, Immigration laws, Co-Vid 19 for the Tories it is what it has always been. Every man for himself and fuck the working class.

At every step of the last vile, appalling Tory Governments we have seen a complete disregard for the lives of ordinary people in order to further their own agenda of increasing their own wealth and the wealth of their allies and friends.

Immigration, Social Security, Brexit. At the heart of these issues there is a complete disregard for the lives of ordinary people.

And that’s it in a nutshell, they are not interested in the laws which apply to us because they don’t think they apply to them. Cummings, and all those who expressed their support for him yesterday (which incidentally included the Attorney General – she supported someone who had broken the law – openly and unequivocally. Think about that for a minute) they all think they are bette than the rest of us.

He will have to go. Of course he will. (Although I am tempted to hedge my bets and think that he will ride it out) But make no mistake Boris Johnson will have been dragged to that point kicking and screaming and not because Cummings Is a vital part of the CoVid 19 response – he isn’t a virologist or an epidemiologist, he isn’t a cabinet minister or an expert in community development, he isn’t a sociologist, or a mathematician, he is an illusionist and a manipulator and Boris needs an illusionist because he is all puff and wind and he needs a manipulator because he just isn’t smart enough.

Seeing the PM stripped of his jeering crowds on the Tory benches, seeing him unwilling and unable to face the press conferences or unable to do a live presentation to the nation just underlines that. He is vacuous and as empty as that empty vessel that makes the most noise. Without his chief illusionist, this PM will struggle, without his arch manipulator he will have to fight to keep any sort of control.

Cummings will be back – if he hasn’t already manipulated himself a wee tidy job with one of the companies that have been awarded lucrative contracts and which are run by his friends. This isn’t going to bring down the government. They aren’t suddenly going to be held to account, we have still five years of tories, of Brexit, of this public school, old Etonian, we know what’s good for you, know your place, I’m alright Jack Tory Government whilst being deafened by the silence of the Labour Party.

If there are those amongst you who look at what’s going on at Westminster and think that this is the best that Scotland can do then you need to take a long hard look at yourself. And not just yourself look at those around you and those leading us in Scotland. Facing the press, facing the Parliament, standing up every single day to ask questions, they may make mistakes, they may not have the power to implement the changes they want to make, they may follow advice only to find out later that it was flawed or wrong but whatever your politics, our Government in Scotland has put people – us – at the heart of the decisions they have made. If you think the Tories are better than that, I don’t know what to say to you.

To the rest of us I ask #YouYesYet? And if not why not? Because unless we grasp the thistle and make it happen this is it. This is the best it can be. And we could do much better.

Ugh …… Bugs!!!!

So… Lockdown.

I hate Lockdown Sundays. My sundays were always full of people. Children, grandchildren, our friends. The most used question on a Sunday was “Who’s coming for tea tonight?” And the answer was rarely “No one”.

It even made me sulky last night. I hate Sundays.

But even though I hate them, I understand why this has to be. Unlike the people I saw on the television having street parties, those dancing the Conga, those driving from London to Motherwell for a “day out”, the tourists who had a flat tyre necessitating recovery workers putting themselves at risk to deal with it, those deciding that their own personal gratification was so important that they put the rest of their families and communities at risk.

My mind boggles!

And yet who can blame them. The UK Government treats this all like an inconvenience. Briefing press that it’s most all over and encouraging people to see this as an inconvenience, even an overreaction. Why on earth are we surprised. Today we have a new slogan from the Prime Minister apparently – Stay alert!

A new slogan that appeared in the papers today without any discussion with Scotland’s Government. The newspapers were the first time Nicola Surgeon heard of it.

Stay alert for what exactly? Bugs? Like school kids with their (often cruel) jibes “ugh you’ve got bugs, that chairs got bugs, watch out – bugs)

For the virus? How do we do that? You can’t see it, smell it, hear it. The Government isn’t mandating masks, it isn’t even mandating staying home any more.

We continue to lose significant numbers of people to CoVid19. We have the highest death toll in Europe. Turns out we had to send 50 000 tests to the US to be tested last week and people in Northumberland are being sent to Edinburgh for testing. The death rate for black and minority ethnic people is terrifyingly high. The new app has security holes in it as big as a football pitch and care homes owned by massive US companies who pay no tax here but massive dividends to their shareholders are hotbeds for the virus and failing to provide enough PPE for their staff or their residents.

But hey, stay alert folks.

What you need to stay alert for is the lies obfuscation and incompetence of the Tory Government. Keeping an eye on the papers for their particular brand of Boris the Brave is useful too.

If you want to stay safe however – the way to do that as Im sure we will see our First Minister emphasise today is to Stay Home.

I hate Sundays.

Sing along with Auntie?

So…. lockdown

Today the papers are full of …. VE Day. Mostly my remembrance activities over the last few years have been private and quiet reflections on the role that people in my family and others have played in keeping us all safe during two world wars. I won’t be changing that today.

Quiet reflection has been completely absent from the front pages over the last weeks and it’s no different for some
today. We are encouraged to hold virtual street parties and to join in a singalong to We’ll meet again on tonight’s BBC. Now I’m a great one for a singalong, my husband excuses himself from my Last night of the Proma renditions of Land Of Hope and Glory, Jerusalem and Rule Britannia every year. I think he is secretly surprised (and maybe a bit dismayed) that I am STILL an English woman after all is said and done but with the deaths of over 30,000 people from Covid 19 and it’s complications, surely it is not the time for a celebration. The Scotsman gets it right for me today with their Front page. A moving picture of a lone piper and a military aircraft reflect a sense of the seriousness and respect I feel. No union flags and jolly hockey sticks thank you. Just a quiet sense of thankful sadness.

Meanwhile, in Scotland Nicola Sturgeon extended the lockdown yesterday and mostly the nation gave a collective sigh of relief. I say mostly, Adam Tompkins and Murdo Fraser (Tory MSPs) were bumping their gums about “not proceeding at all”. They must really hate the fact that the UK Government has back-pedalled on its plans to make significant changes to Lock-Down since the day before yesterday. Now the Uk Government are saying cautiousness is the order of the day. It’s the worst sort of Government that leaks it’s ideas to the press to see what people think about them. It’s what happens when spin doctors are making decisions about policy based on popular opinion rather than based on evidence. And it’s equally the worst
Sort of government that fails to even speak to the devolved Governments in all the other nations of the UK before doing so.

Thank goodness that we have a Firat Minister who is clear and uncompromising in her determination to put our safety – the
Safety of the people of Scotland – at the heart of the decisions she makes. I rather think that her steadfastness is at the core of the decision to back-pedal on the Tory plans to send us all back to work by Monday.

And yet I have seen comments by some people who are saying that regardless of the rules issued by the Scottish Government they are going to do what they want anyway. “Nicola Sturgeon can get tae fuck I’m doing what boris says” was one tweet I saw yesterday. People are weird. Fortunately they seem to be in the minority, I saw a poll which said that 77% of people think Nicola Sturgeon is doing a great job.

It’s hard though. For many of us the struggle to get anything done, to keep positive and to ensure that we are, above all, still alive at the end of it all is challenging. Our mental health is a constant worry, the situations in care homes is terrifying for us all, especially those with loved ones needing care and many many other issues are causing us sleepless nights and not a few tears. So, this weekend, if you want to honour the sacrifice that so many made in World War 2, and recognise the hard work that is being done to keep us all safe in our current crisis, don’t bake scones, wave flags or sing along with Auntie and think that’s all it takes, stay home, stay safe, speak to those you think might be struggling with this lockdown and never, ever, ever vote conservative again.

#YouYesYet?

Lockdown

So… lockdown.

The papers are full of the news that Boris is going to start to lift lockdown from Monday.

Yesterday it was confirmed that over 30 000 people have died by the UK Government’s measure. The Financial Times suggested the figure is nearer 53 000.

Yesterday it was reported that in the previous 24 hours 649 people have died from CoVid 19.

Yesterday we were informed that there have been over 200 000 confirmed cases, some estimates say that there are likely to be triple that number in reality.

Italy have only relaxed their lockdown this week after deaths fell to 174 on Sunday. The UK is miles away from that and yet Boris Johnson and his band of incompetents think it’s ok to brand this a success and send us all back to work.

Because make no mistake this is about getting us back to work and the economy moving. It is absolutely not about saving lives or tackling poverty and inequality.
In fact, it will be those of us struggling, those of us at the bottom of the economic heap who will bear the brunt of this lockdown lift.

It will be those of us who have to go back to work because we have no choice who will do so and put our lives at risk. The wealthy will be able to stay at home, they are likely to be in jobs which allow them to work from home, they won’t be dragging themselves into a factory to work for minimum wage, reliant on private companies to source PPE to help with social distancing.

Once again, it is the poor, the disabled, the sick and the elderly that will pay the price of this UK Government’s hubris.

But hey – pants down lockdown scientist and VE Day. Sniggers and Salutes.

Be Proud people – be proud. #

#YouYesYet?

Squirrels

So… the virus. the UK has the highest death rate from CoVid19 in Europe. That figure was announced yesterday. 29427 people have died in the Uk.

The real figure is likely to be much higher – maybe as high as 53 000.

And yet, where is the outrage? Where are the newspapers holding politicians to account? Of Today’s 10 UK newspapers only three have this as their headline. Six put a massive picture of the scientific adviser who breached his own lockdown rules to meet his married lover. Squirrels anyone?

Yesterday also saw Matt Hancock questioned by Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, an opposition MP who is also an A and E doctor and is currently working in the NHS as well as being an MP. You’d expect him to acknowledge her hard work and dedication wouldn’t you, instead ge told her to mind her “tone”, like she is some uppity child.

It also appears that the UK Government are also planning to reduce Furlough payments in June to 60%. Apparently this is to encourage people to look for new jobs. Apparently he thinks that people have become addicted to Furlough and need to be encouraged back to work by making them choose between corona virus and losing their house. No surprises there, a government who thinks that you can sanction people into work is bound to think that you can sanction those needing to stay at home into putting their health at risk.

In an interesting aside the Vote Leave Artificial Intelligence company linked to Dominic Cummings has secured seven government contracts in 18 months. Jobs for the boys? Oh, and the Scottish Affairs Committee in Westminster has been announced – a reminder that the SNP won 48 of the Scottish seats and the Tories won six, Labour 1 seat, and Lib Dem’s 4. You would expect the committee to reflect that, but it doesn’t. The committee has 5 Conservative MPs, 2 Labour MPs 1 Lib Dem and 3 SNP members. Jobs for the boys anyone?

Final highlight is of course Alistair Jack, Secretary of State for Scotland who this week has said that the UK must come out of lockdown as a whole. All together at the same time. But by this, he actually means, Scotland must come out of lockdown when England does. There is no suggestion that England will stay in lockdown if the evidence is telling us that Scotland needs longer, no suggestion that there will be any discussion about when is the right time for Scotland to lift its lockdown rules. When Westminster’s clown in chief Johnson decides that we are all lazy buggers and need our arses kicked back to work because the economy requires it, we will be told that what Scotland wants does not matter – again – as usual. #

#YouYesYet?

Take a minute

So….. Lockdown

I haven’t really posted a political blog post over the last few weeks. I’ve been too busy “coping” or not as the case might be, on a day to day basis. I share articles now and again, but I haven’t urged people to get involved in anything much.

Today, however I am doing so. Yesterday the Scottish Government published their initial thoughts on ending the lockdown. Nicola Sturgeon spoke at the First Ministers briefing yesterday, about the restrictions this will have on all of us going forward.

There was no pretence, no hiding from this issue, no sugar coating the facts. It was a bleak assessment of what the Scottish Government will have to consider, going forward. There were also no answers, because as our FM said yesterday, there are no answers and to pretend otherwise is foolish.

Nicola Sturgeon talked about this being the start of a grown up conversation. A conversation between a Government and the people it looks after. And I use those words “looks after” deliberately. The actions the Scottish Government are taking, they are taking because they want to put reducing the effect of the virus on the people of Scotland at the centre of the actions they are taking. They are trying to prevent anyone from dying because of CoVid 19. They are looking after us. There are no acceptable losses for the Scottish Government and therefore the actions they will take in lifting the lockdown will be informed by the central focus of tackling this virus and saving lives.

I watched the briefing, I don’t usually but I was prompted by a friend who commented on it. It made me cry. When will I get to see my son again? When will I be able to go to see my mum and dad, my sister, my cousin, hug my grandchildren? There are no answers to these questions for me or for many people reading this. And that’s hard to hear. But watch it I did, and I urge all of you to do so. The FM asks you to read the paper that’s been published, to think about it, to comment on it. If you are “not SNP” none of that matters just now. If you are “not political” then you should remember that this is about your life, the lives of your families, friends and loved ones and not about your vote. You need to know what’s going on so that you can protect yourself and others – so that you can save lives.

Finally, the compassion and patience which the FM and the Health Secretary Jeane Freeman display at these daily briefings is outstanding. Simple human traits which we have not seen in our leaders for a long time.
The honest and straightforward way in which the FM answers the questions she is asked is a breath of fresh air as we watch the parade of lies and obfuscation from the UK government and across the Atlantic. The patience she displays when answering the most stupid of journalist’s questions is impressive – yesterday’s was “is Christmas Cancelled?” From the Daily Record I think. I don’t have any patience just now, as my children and co-workers will attest to I’m sure. I’m going to take a leaf from both the FM and my friend Jeane Freeman today. I’m going to just get on with doing my absolute best and trying to be the best I can be. I’m going to read the paper they are asking me to read, think carefully about it and contribute to this conversation.

You should do so too.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-framework-decision-making/

Plus Ça Change….

So, elections….

There is a whole series of conversations around who is and isn’t standing for the Scottish Elections in 2021. Several experienced MSPs have said they are standing down and the idea that Joanna Cherry and Angus Robertson are set for a square go has the press in a right lather.

It is of course a shame to lose any sitting MSP but time marches on for all of us and as life moves forward many of us seek out different challenges and find we want to do different things and so we should welcome the chance to hear new and different voices. There is strength in this and it will help keep our party fresh and looking forward.

The one exception to this is the departure of Gail Ross. I met Gail when tripping round the North of Scotland with Women For Indy and liked her very much. That she is stepping down is disappointing, she is smart and vibrant and full of passion. That she is stepping down because of the difficulty in making her role as a constituency MSP work whilst being a mum to a small boy and living in one of the most remote parts of mainland Scotland makes me furious.

I know Caithness well. I lived there for a number of years and my work and my WFI role has taken me back there again and again. I love it and never miss an opportunity to trip back up the A9 for a visit or work.

20 years ago I was a single parent of three boys trying to find a way to both work and be a mum in Caithness. It was a particularly difficult task. At one time I was dropping my two older boys at the childminder in a morning (unregistered – not a hope in hell of finding a registered one), dropping my youngest at a different minder as nursery started later than school, then I had to sneak out of work on Monday and Friday lunchtimes to pick the wee one up from nursery, give him lunch, then drop him off at playgroup in the afternoon, his childminder picked him up at 2.30 and the other lassie took the big boys off the bus after school. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the youngest one stayed with his minder all day and the oldest ones got the bus from their minders so it was a bit easier.

This meant that on Mondays and Fridays I drove more than 60 miles a day just to keep working and keep my kids in school. On the other days it was only forty.

The complexities of managing a job and living in a remote rural area finally got the better of me and I moved to Inverness in 2004. Life became infinitely easier – I had one childminder, and only drove about 25 miles a day.

That was 20 years ago and I would expect that things had got better. Imagine how furious I was to hear that even today our Government can’t ensure that women who are mothers can represent their communities whilst being the sort of mother we all want to be.

We talk a good game here in Scotland. We talk about a better, fairer society, about equality and access to opportunity for all. And yet in our remote and rural communities it can feel like that’s all there is – talk.

Today’s Scotland needs to be at the forefront of the transformation of Government and Access. Whether it’s services, or education, whether it’s transport or employment, we are in danger of ignoring the specific needs of our rural communities and we do so at our peril. So many times I attend national meetings on poverty or mental health, only to find that I am the only rural voice in the room. Sometimes people are receptive to the noise that I make. The Poverty and Inequality Commission took me up on an invitation to hear from people in rural and remote Scotland about transport and rural poverty at a meeting in Lairg last year. Sometimes they are not. When I asked a large charity what efforts they had made to hear from remote and rural Scotland when compiling a big report a few years ago, they replied that they had held a street stall in Inverness. They were surprised, but not apologetic, when I was unimpressed.

Understanding the particular needs of remote and rural communities is important. A piece of research that I carried out last year showed that people living in rural poverty had some of the lowest levels of mental well-being. Rurality adds an added level of complexity. Gail Ross knows this and is introducing a Remote Rural communities Bill to Parliament which will ensure that the particular needs of remote communities are recognised when new legislation is being drafted.

This is an important step and one which hopefully will give a voice to remote communities. The fact that the MSP driving this bill forward has been forced to choose between living her life and doing her job is unacceptable. Holyrood will be poorer for not hearing Gail’s voice. If we want a country which addresses inequality but can’t fix this for people at the top of our political processes then how can we start to fix issues facing women at the bottom, excluded, marginalised and voiceless?

We need to do better

There is work to be done

I was thoroughly miserable yesterday. Leaving the EU has really affected me, my family has benefitted from the country’s EU membership in many ways, directly and indirectly. We lived in a remote rural community when we first moved to Scotland, funding for infrastructure and economic development from the EU meant that there were jobs and opportunities that there would otherwise not have been. My children have benefited from being able to travel to Europe easily and cheaply, other members of my family are settled outside the UK, opportunities to study have been taken up as a result of EU membership and my own current academic study is funded by the EU. None of these things are changing immediately, as a lovely person I know said in the early hours, “the world is still turning” and indeed it is, even if it’s a smaller world.

So, here we are, we are indeed out of the EU. I’ve written already about how I feel and there is no need to revisit that. Today is a day for looking forward.

Nicola Sturgeon’s speech yesterday disappointed many. Many were looking for something concrete, something confrontational, something triumphant, something radical and revolutionary.

They got common sense, small steps, and a call for patience and they were not happy. Twitter went nuts, stamping its collective feet, spitting its collective dummy out the pram, calling for heads to roll and leaders to be changed.

And yet the answer to a quicker route to a referendum is not in the gift of the SNP. The SNP cannot bring us a winnable referendum any sooner than they are doing. And if all of us who were disappointed thought about it, we would know that is the case. How soon we get an independence referendum is up to us, the Scottish People. If we want it sooner, then it is US that have to do something about that.

We need to step up our real work, get off Twitter, get out knocking doors, holding meetings, speaking to people, and not just people who agree with us but those who don’t. If all those tweeters yesterday who complained and criticised the SNP, today had their shoes on, organised meetings, knocked doors, delivered leaflets, spoke to people in an encouraging and persuasive manner then we might actually see support for independence rising much quicker than it would do otherwise. I know many do, but many many do not. There are Yes Groups across the country, meeting, chatting, talking, canvassing but we are a long way away from the heady days of 2014, when it was so busy I couldn’t keep up. We need to get to that again. Now. We need to get off our screens, our sofas and get out there.

Now, I’m not setting myself up as a paragon of virtue. I’m no better or worse than anyone else – I’m writing this in bed for goodness sake. Today there is SNP canvassing in Nairn and I’m not going. I will however get leaflets off those lovely people and I’ll pop them round my local area over the next wee while. I’m too busy for a weekly commitment and too tired, but I’ll organise a WFI meeting here in Inverness this month. I’m worried that there are so many questions I don’t know the answer to, but I’ll try really hard this month to find out and share those answers with other people. Those of us who want this need to make it happen. And we need to be respectful, to understand people need coaxing and encouraging. People are worried and nervous we need to support and persuade them that Independence is indeed the only route to a better fairer society.

There is an argument that Nicola Sturgeon should have set a date if she wanted this to happen. After all, in 2012 Alex Salmond set the date and we did indeed do all of the above. But he had a section 30 order. Today we do not have that. It is a different and much more politically challenging environment than it was in 2012. If we want a section 30 order, if we want a date we have to make an increase in support happen. If all the people that marched in Glasgow, or in Inverness last month started regularly campaigning and leafleting and knocking doors we might actually have this in the bag.

Howling at the moon, slagging off the SNP, complaining about Nicola Sturgeon, insulting people on twitter, gets us nowhere. If we want independence sooner rather than later it is us who can make that happen. We can increase support, we can change people’s minds, we can create the hope and aspiration for something better and translate that into opinion poll figures that give the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon the backing to push harder, to move more quickly.

Independence is coming, how fast is up to us, not the SNP – the party or it’s members – and not Nicola Sturgeon. Let’s get it sorted.

#YouYesYet?

For a’ that

And so there we are

Tomorrow we will be leaving the EU.

Scotland is now left with a puffed up, self important, insular, increasingly intolerant, racist England. The Uk Government is run by a bunch of skeevy charlatans who give not the slightest shit about anyone except themselves. Scotland and particularly the more remote areas will find ourselves increasingly on the periphery and any attempts by the Scottish Government to tread a different path to Westminster will be obstructed at every chance.

We see it in the UK Government’s response to the proposed Scottish Visa. It’s workable, sensible and supported by the business community, trade unions and civic society but the Government did not even read or consider it. There is an unpleasant undertone of anti-foreigner rhetoric underneath many policies and actions taken by the UK Government.

In the understandably chaotic arrangements around the evacuation of British Citizens from Wuhan we see the hints of a harder approach to foreigners. Sure you’re a British Citizen, you can take a flight, but your wife who has a spousal visa can’t, leave her behind. Absolutely you can be evacuated but your three year old child, born there has to stay even though we told you that they didn’t need any sort of visa two years ago because they are entitled to citizenship.

The Settled Status scheme has seen many EU Citizens who have lived and worked here for years told that they do not qualify

The refusal to allow unaccompanied children to come to stay with relatives in the UK is another example of the hardening of attitudes to people who were born elsewhere.

I was fearful of this prior to the Brexit referendum, warning that a no vote would lead to this type of situation. I have been devastated to see that this has been the case and that wider anti foreigner attitudes have been facilitated and even encouraged by our appalling Tory Governments.

The latest news is that far from the Brexit Windfall that we were promised, the Cabinet is being asked where they can find cuts of over 5%.

Leading Brexiteers are calling for the flying of the European flag to be made illegal. So much for friends of Europe. Many are boasting on Social media that tomorrow night they will be burning the EU flag. It’s no wonder the Scottish Government felt they needed to get Parliament’s agreement to continue to fly it above Holyrood.

All this leaves me with a profound sense of sadness. Scotland is internationalist, European. We have benefited hugely from the EU, our young people, our remote, rural communities, infrastructure, our universities and research institutions, our hospitals, social care, industries. This only touches the surface of the benefits.

Scotland, our country, a nation in its own right, voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU. We are being prevented from doing that by a bloated, self important, ignorant Tory England. There is no Labour Party coming over the hill to save us and even if there was, the leadership candidates speak of Scotland with disdain, or our Government with hate. There is no chance of any sort of federalism, UKIP are even threatening to lead a campaign to abolish Holyrood. Devolved Powers from the EU are repatriating to Westminster, not to Holyrood. Scotland is facing a future more bleak than the Thatcher years.

I have always been proud to be English, a lancashire lass. Straight talking and no nonsense, honest and open with that “British” sense of fair play. I don’t feel that way any more. I don’t recognise the country I grew up in, I flinch from the politics that are shaping it and I don’t belong there. If I qualified for a different passport I would be getting one. My rights, the rights of my children, are being taken away from us tomorrow. My children will have fewer rights than their cousins in France or our friends on Germany. That people are happy with that baffles and appalls

Im not going to talk about Scotland’s Independence today. I’m going to watch tomorrow as England rejoices, burns flags, cheers Boris Johnson and I’m going to bide my time. It is coming for a’ that and that’s all I need to know today.

#YouYesYet?

Scotland the Brave

So… Boris says no.

Well, that’s not really a surprise but it IS a mistake.

To refuse a Section 30 request underlines that this Government sees Scotland as just another region of England. The position of Scotland as a nation in its own right, with its own legal and education system is of no consequence to the UK Government. They do not see Scotland as anything more than a larger Manchester.

This direction of travel has been signalled since the Brexit referendum and the withdrawal agreement drawn up by first Theresa May and tweaked by Johnson. A range of devolved powers which should be returned to Holyrood will be retained by the UK Government. This has been a source of concern for many and rightly so. The hard won improvements we have in Scotland – free tuition fees, free prescriptions, our different planning laws, many of the things we do differently are under threat by this plan. EU regulations on the environment, on workers rights, on food safety, on trade protections for our whisky, our food industry, all are at risk from being returned to a UK Government who do not respect or care that Scotland’s people voted to remain in the EU and keep our own distinct processes and laws and the EU regulations. For those who wonder how we can want to be independent from the UK but remain in Europe – this is a clear example of why the two are not incompatible. The EU would never prevent Scotland deciding on its own political future. The UK does exactly that. Imagine if the EU had said to Britain “You are not allowed to ask the people if they want to leave the EU”. Or if having held the referendum they had said “You are not allowed to leave the EU.” The contrast is clear.

In Scotland we have voted the SNP into Government on the back of Indy ref promises, we have not only rejected the Tories but also Labour again and again since 2014. We voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU. We have rejected the divisive, insular, isolationist policies of the Government in favour of outward looking European independence supporting Politicians again and again and again. And yet Boris Johnson and his lackeys sit in Whitehall and tell us we do not matter. Alistair Jack told us that we will never have another referendum, Michael Gove said that Nicola Sturgeon should focus on her failures, Boris Johnson spoke of Schools, hospitals and Jobs being left behind without a trace of irony.

Scotland has the best NHS in the UK, the attainment gap in Scottish schools is closing, Scottish jobs are being protected and the number being paid the Scottish Living Wage increasing all the time. Poverty is growing more slowly in Scotland than other parts of the UK and that is directly as a result of the actions taken by the Scottish Government despite the years of austerity we have struggled with as a result of Tory Policies.

This argument over a Section 30 request is not simply about the right of Scotland to hold an independence referendum when we choose, it is about Scotland, the Nation, Scotland the people and Scotland the Brave. Regardless of your view on Independence, if you believe Scotland is a country in its own right, a nation, then you must believe that Scotland has a right – and actually in light of election results – a duty to hold a second independence referendum whenever the people of Scotland indicate at the ballot box they wish to do so.

And if you DON’T think Scotland is a country in its own right? Well I suggest that you chuck a few quid in the Big Ben Bong fund and weep with Mark Francois and the other little Englanders on 31st. But make no mistake my darlings, you are weeping for the end of the Union. It might take a while but it’s all over bar the shouting.

#YouYesYet?

Post Navigation