Sunday, 29 June 2014

80 Days To Go

Its time.



For a relatively small island, Great Britain ruled over a 3rd of the countries in the world over the past few hundred years, earning the saying 'the empire on which the sun never sets', due to the sun shining over one of its territories at any given time.
The British Empire started forming before the Act of the Union 1707, in the late 15th century, when Scotland and England were separate kingdoms. During the 16th - late 18th centuries, the exploration and take over of new lands in the Americas, Africa, Australasia and Asia grew, wars were fought, colonies were formed and trade routes were established. The empire was the largest in history.

In 1776, the 13 American colonies joined together to become the United States of America, and fought against the British, in what was to become known as the American War of Independence (1775-1783). Canada took control of their own matters in 1867 (although it wasn't until the Canada Act of 1982, when the last remaining ties to the UK Parliament were finally and permanently cut). Throughout the 20th century, a further 58 countries gained independence from the UK :

*Australia 1901
*New Zealand 1901
*South Africa 1910
Afghanistan 1919
Ireland 1921 (by treaty)
Egypt 1922
Iraq 1932 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)
*India 1947
*Pakistan 1947
Burma 1948
Isreal 1948 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)
Jordan 1948 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)
*Sri Lanka 1948
Sudan 1956
*Ghana 1957
*Malaysia 1957
*Cyprus 1960
*Nigeria 1960
Somalia 1960
Kuwait 1961
*Sierra Leone 1961
*Uganda 1962
*Jamaica 1962
*Trinidad and Tobago 1962
*Kenya 1963
*Tanzania 1963
*Malawi 1964
*Malta 1964
*Zambia 1964
Gambia 1965
*Maldives 1965
*Barbados 1966
*Botswana 1966
*Guyana 1966
*Lesotho 1966
Yemen 1967
*Mauritius 1968
*Swaziland 1968
*Fiji 1970
*Tonga 1970
Bahrain 1971
Quatar 1971
United Arab Emirates 1971
*Bahamas 1973
*Grenada 1974
*Seychelles 1976
*Dominica 1978
*Solomon islands 1978
*Tuvalu 1978
*Kiribati 1979
*Saint Lucia 1979
*Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1979
*Vanuata 1980
Zimbabwe 1980
*Antigua and Barbuda 1981
*Belize 1981
*Saint Kitts and Nevis 1983
*Brunei 1984

Of the above list, *43 joined the Common wealth states, with 16 of them having the monarch of the UK remaining as their head of state. The Gambia, Ireland and Zimbabwe are former members.

There are now no countries in the world ruled by the UK, they are all independent, although some smaller British Territories, such as The British Virgin Islands, Gibralta, Bermuda, etc, which rely upon the UK government for defence or foreign affairs.  That is, with the exception of the UK itself, made up of 4 countries, ruled by the elite (unelected, from Scotland) government and House of Lords in London.  Even the Isle of Man is independent from the UK (despite using the pound...but that is another post for another day)

The above information is purely based upon the UK governance and rule. Many many more countries have sought and gained their independence from other ruling nations too.


2014 is OUR time. Its Scotland's time to break free for home rule.

x

#100days100reasonsforyes




Saturday, 28 June 2014

Friday, 27 June 2014

82 Days To Go

BBC - Biased Broadcasting Corporation

If you are internet conversant, and a regular user of  Facebook, Twitter, on-line newspapers, reader of blogs, you are generally inundated with news updates, and able to pick and choose what you want to read. Personally I use both FB and twitter daily, as well as having The Guardian, BBC News and Sky News apps on my phone, which I also check daily.  I follow The Independent, Bella Caledonia and Wings Over Scotland, among others, on my social media feeds, and several blogs.  So I consider myself to be fairly up to date with the happenings of the time.
For those who are not on-line, though, where do they get their news from? Generally TV and the newspaper, aka MSM (Mainstream media).
Do you trust that the information being imparted to our nation is unbiased, impartial and completely balanced?
In the run up to the referendum, it has become quite apparent that MSM is not quite as balanced as they would have us believe. But try telling that so someone in their 70's who believes the BBC and the Daily Mail, and are a staunch No voter!

Dr John Robertson from University of West Scotland has complied and published 2 indepth studies on the media bias when reporting on the referendum, particularly, the BBC.  His findings have shown that there has been, and continues to be, a preference of reporting 3:2 in favour of the pro-union stories. He has gone on to say "BBC Scotland, News and Current Affairs Department is now hopelessly compromised and nakedly campaigning for a No vote".   (quote taken from RIA Novosti), with his second report stating " “perceived institutional anti-independence bias in BBC news reports.”.

A perfect example illustrating exactly how the BBC are biased in their reporting, in favour of the union, is the fact that a 500 strong demonstration took place to protest against the bias, outside the BBC Scotland building, and it was NOWHERE to be seen in any UK MSM, BBC included.  The only reporting of the protest, came from Russia Today.
Here is a link to a youtube video from the demo, the protesters telling exactly why they are in protest
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICN_g1EvolQ


 
Its not just a bias on the content of the news articles, but also the manipulation of words to continue the bias. For instance, 'only a third of Scots support independence' with a third being a negative, really small number. Whereas, 'over a third of Scots are sceptical about independence', suggests that a third is infact a huge number. Phrasing is crucial in having a point interpreted by the masses in the way it was intended.

There is a very obvious trend when interviews are broadcast, be it on television or radio, that the Unionists are given pretty much free run of opinion, and are uninterrupted by questions, whereas the Independence Supporters tend to be repeatedly interrupted and interviewed in a consistently aggressive manner. A recent interview with John Major, highlights this, whereby he was able to speak at length on his side of the debate, and his opponent got less than 1 minute air time.

Just last night I watched Tommy Sheridan being interviewed by Sarah Smith, on BBC2's Scotland 2014 programme. He was being asked whether he was still with his wife, and whether people we going along to hear him talk about Scottish Independence or just going along to look at hm??? Was she actually serious? This shows a lack of respect to their guest, just sloppy journalism, and taking away from the importance of the matter - the indy referendum.  Shocking and disgusting.

There is regular demonisation of the First Minister which goes ignored by the corporation.  150 complaints were logged when Jeremy Paxman compared Alex Salmond to Robert Mugabe, but BBC defended Paxo and said it was in jest...watch the interview for yourself and see what you think (utter contempt and disrespect on Paxman's part, I feel)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wkcf7efAm4  (the comparison is in at 3.44).  They did however, apologise on behalf of Kirsty Wark when she was rude and abrupt towards the First Minister. Does the BBC not realise that Alex Salmond and his party won a landslide victory to be the government in Scotland?

So what happens to good old Auntie, when Scotland becomes independent? According to Gordon Brown, BBC would stop broadcasting north of the border, or we could face higher charges to watch our favourite programmes. Has he not heard of iplayer? What about when 50 odd different countries all watched the new Dr Who simultaneously? Does he honestly believe that we are a nation so stupid, that we would vote on the future of our country, based on whether we get to watch Strictly or Eastenders?
Personally, although I would miss listening to Radio2 in the car, I don't see that the BBC has a place in an iScotland, purely based upon the manner in which they have conducted themselves and their reporting in referendum matters.  Treating the citizens of Scotland as stupid and ignorant fools.  I think the suggestion of SBC may be better suited, and we can buy the programmes that we want (like they do in Ireland).

If there is still any doubt as to the bias in the BBC, do you think there is coincidence that the televised STV Big Debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling was cancelled, by Darling?  Yet he has since agreed to the debate again, but this time its on the BBC...uh-huh..
Or how about BBC Radio Scotland hiring pro-union Labour MSP, Kezia Dugdale, to co-host their new political programme. (Kezia has since declined the position)?
Or how about when the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) publicly aligned itself with the pro-union side? Many of its members ceased their membership, including 4 Scottish universities and Visit Scotland, but the BBC refused to do so, therefore aligning itself with the No campaign, despite objections from their own journalists.  Where does that leave impartial journalism?

Since traditionally, the greatest majority of voters tend to be in the over 50 age bracket (the same demographic who, incidentally, tend to be the less internet savvy and rely heavily or solely upon MSM for their information), we MUST ensure that the information being put out there is unbiased, in order for them to be able to make an educated decision in the referendum. A vote based upon facts and information, not just the bits of information that the corporations and UK government want them to have, and lies that have been disseminated. Remember, our TV licence pays for the BBC.

If you are unhappy with the biased, unbalanced reporting being broadcast, feel free to join the next demonstration outside the BBC Scotland building on Sunday. I wonder if this will be reported this time?



Its good bye from me, BBC.
x

#100days100reasonsforyes

Thursday, 26 June 2014

83 Days To Go

This video is from 22 years ago.  Sound familiar?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gHVokKt82I&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop 

History is there to be learned from

x

#100days100reasonsforyes

84 Days To Go

Tourism


Did you know that the tourism sector is worth a whopping £11bn (split into £6.8bn from day visits and £4.2bn from over night stays) per year to our economy? Try as I might, I cannot find out the amount that goes straight to the UK Exchequer, but imagine, if you will, if all that stayed in Scotland, to be re-invested here.

Did you know that the tourism industry is Scotland's 4 th largest export earner, and that the sector has the fastest growth compared to other industries, such as manufacturing, finance and retail?  Business tourism (combining business and pleasure visits, eg conference and golf of instance) is particularly strong.

Did you know that 200,000 people are employed in this section? Mainly in services.

Did you also know that tourism is "a sustainable permanent industry; it conserves protects and presents our natural assets for the benefits of people living in Scotland and our visitors, sustaining our fragile communities."?
* The info for 4 points above all came from the Visit Scotland website www.visitscotland.org

Ok, so tourism is great, but what is there exactly, to do?
Where do I start?  We have an abundance of places to visit and activities to par take in such as :
History and Heritage - Castles, houses, ruins, gardens, monuments, pre-historic sites  - see Historic Scotland website for specifics www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/ where throughout the year, there are events in different venues for everyone to enjoy.  This weekend alone, as part of Homecoming Scotland 2014, Stirling is hosting Bannockburn Live with battle re-enactments, the parade of pipers, drummers, dancers from all over the country for Pipefest, and there is The Armed Forces Day National Event.  Next month, Linlithgow Palace is hosting a jousting spectacular over next weekend.
Cosmopolitan cities - notably Glasgow and Edinburgh, each rich in their own history, architecture, culture, accents, outlook, places of interest, shopping, restaurants, theatres, museums, parks, etc. Please, though, do not over look Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Stirling or Perth on your city break venue list.

For the more 'outdoorsy' among us, what's your fancy?
Golf? Scotland is the home of Golf (or as I prefer to call it, "hittin a baw aboot a park, wi' a stick". Golf is not my idea of a good time, but plenty of people seem to enjoy it...) St. Andrews golf course voted 4th best in the world (Muirfield, came in at number 10, Royal Dornoch at 14, Turnberry at 18, and a further 10 inside the top 100.) This year, Glen Eagles is hosting the Ryder Cup, which is where the event began, 93 years ago. 
If golf doesn't float your boat, what about fishing? Inland in the many rivers or lochs, or out at sea, round our coastline of the mainland or off many of the islands.
Shooting - grouse and deer being popular. That's the extent of that...
What about skiing or snowboarding? Indoor, outdoor, on dry slops, or snow slopes, take your pick.
 Hill walking/mountaineering? Plenty of hills to pick from - again, on the mainland or on the islands. Ben Nevis is the tallest mountain on the British Isles, but its not the only place to tackle, bag a Munro,  too, or how about tackling The West HiglandWay?
Who fancies surfing? Yes I did just suggest surfing. In Scotland. We have some of the best surfing beaches in Europe. Belhaven in Dunbar is ideal for learning the skill, Lewis and Tiree are beautiful beaches with great surfing conditions.  The waves at Caithness are comparable to those in Hawaii, and are only for the very experienced.  Thurso hosts prestigious surfing competitions for the UK and Europe. Nope, I didn't know that either!
What about just spectating? We're hosting the CommonWealth (name is a little dubious......)Games starting next month in Glasgow. What a lift to show Glasgow to the watching world.

What about just visiting a place, 'with stuff to do'? Off the top of my head, go to Falkirk for the Falkirk Wheel - the site of the worlds only rotating boat lift, which also has a fantastic water play area, sand area and play park for the kids, alongside woodland walks and canal walks, cycle paths down to the  Helix park and the world famous Kelpies. Go Nessie hunting at Loch Ness, visit museums, take a whiskey tour, go dolphin spotting, take a ferry trip to one of the islands, go to the beach, go to  park.
Its the summer, time of the festival season. Next month is T in the Park, August is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 2 fantastic opportunities to showcase our country, our home grown talent, our ability to draw world famous acts to perform here, and a chance to show off our hospitality.

Out of the typical 'Summer Season' we also have, of course, Hogmanay! Or if you are looking for something a little more out of this world, have you been to Bonnybridge? UFO Capital of Europe??

Lastly, did you know that CNN news in America named Scotland as THE tourist place to visit in 2013?

Lets get out and explore and enjoy our interesting, diverse, and rich cultural country, and contribute to its continued success.

x

#100days100reasonsforyes

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Good bye, nursery

The plan to home educate our son has always been driven by myself, with Hubby needing a fair bit of convincing.  So last year, I agreed to enrol our 3yo to the local school nursery for his anti pre-school year, providing he could attend part time.  The nursery agreed, and he has been there since August, on 2 afternoons per week, instead of the 5 afternoons that are offered and expected to attend. No-one really questions the nursery provision, its just expected that once they're 3, they start nursery 5 days per week.  Often when we go into shops, the staff ask Kiddo if he has been to nursery that day, or if I pop into work to pick up some messages, it is always presumed that Kiddo is at nursery, when maybe he is just at home playing with his dad.
I was a bit apprehensive of leaving Kiddo at nursery, especially for 2.5 hours, as he had had a couple of unhappy experiences at play groups in the past, however, he took to it immediately. To say I was surprised was an understatement. However, whilst everyone kept telling me that he would be knackered when he came home, I found the opposite to be true. The only way I can describe Kiddo when he came home after his nursery class, is this :  it is as if he had sat still for 2.5 hours, on his best behaviour, concentrating really hard on not putting a foot wrong and eating nothing but orange smarties, then as soon as he is out of school - BAMMMM, freedom! Manic energy, that just doesn't quit.
The year (academic year) he has spent in nursery, on the whole, seems to have been an enjoyable one for Kiddo.  He has made wee pals, which is great to see, especially when we walk into the playground and they all shout hello to one another, rush over, then its the big hugs all round - so cute!
However, the past few weeks we have seen a change. Kiddo can't get out of nursery quick enough, he is reluctant to go, at all, and won't discuss it at home.  He had a melt down one day as I was leaving and ended up taking him back home with me as he was so distressed and upset. The only reason I got out of Kiddo, once we were home and he had calmed down, was that he didn't enjoy nursery the previous day, and he had to make his costume for the upcoming concert, but he didn't want to as was still playing with something else and was busy. Kiddo is the type of child, that when he is interested in something, he will give it his full attention, and will be finished when he's finished. This is something I encourage at home, as I want him to be passionate about things he does and take the time and care to do things properly, and have responsibility for his wee projects, developing an awareness of what he considers to be important.
The last couple of week have seen Kiddo going to nursery, but only if I get to stay.  The class have been practicing for their end of term concert.  Kiddo has told both myself and his teacher that he is not doing the concert. He has been fine to rehearse with the others, but he is NOT performing!
Monday ended up being Kiddo's last day, since yesterday was the concert.  He stuck to his decision that he was not going to nursery and not "doing the stupid concert".  On one hand I refuse to cause him and stress or anxiety over the matter, as it is obviously something he feels strongly about. On the other hand, I have to admit, that I was a little disappointed, as would have loved to watch him singing on the stage as he had at Christmas.
We (hubby and I) made the decision a few months ago that Kiddo was not returning to nursery after the summer holidays, as we don't think that it is the right environment for Kiddo. His reaction recently towards nursery and the release from it once its finished, tell me that this is the right decision. Plus, next year there is more of a focus towards getting prepared for Primary 1 the following year. Taking the suspected PDA into account, and the increased demands placed upon the children, it is not conducive to furthering his learning.
Since Kiddo has now finished his nursery education and didn't go in yesterday, he and I popped in today to say good bye to his teacher and for me to collect his Learning Journal.  Surprisingly, I actually found myself feeling a bit emotional as we said our good byes.  Kiddo gave his teacher a big hug and with that he was ready to go, actually pulling me by the hand to drag me out.  When we did leave, I asked Kiddo if he was sad not to be going back. His reply said it all : "No, it was fun, but I'm done".
Now we are officially on our home educating journey, and I have to say, we are very excited to see where that leads us
x

85 Days To Go

We're just too wee to be a serious independent country on the world stage.

Too wee? In what sense?

In the geographical sense? Scotland, at a size of 30,414 square miles (a coastline of 7,330 miles and a 60mile land border with England), is larger than Malta (122sq miles), The Netherlands, (16,039 sq miles) Denmark (16,562 sq miles) and Costa Rica (19,653 sq miles).

In population size? With a population of 5.2million citizens, we have a greater population living in oor wee country than Iceland (wee population of 324,300), Malta (416,000), New Zealand (4.5million), Rep of Ireland (4.5million), Costa Rica (4.6million), and Norway (5.1million)

In wealth? According to the Financial Times iScotland is wealthier than the UK, is one of the top exportesr in the world and our GDP per head is greater then that of France.

In natural resources? 10% of Europe's wind and 25%  of the tidal power, is available as clean renewable energy. There is estimated to be more then 20bn barrels of oil in North Sea. Our land is fertile for farming.

Interestingly, I found a report listing the 10 most prosperous countries in 2012, complied by the Legatum Institute, called the Legatum Prosperity Index. It covered 142 countries, ranking then based in the following 8 categories : economy, education, entrepreneurship & opportunity, governance, health, personal freedom, safety & security and social capital.
This was the result as at 2012 :

10 - Ireland
9 - Switzerland
8 - Netherlands
7 - Finland
6 - Canada
5 - New Zealand
4 - Australia
3 - Sweden
2 - Denmark
1 - Norway

With the exception of Australia and Canada, the other 8 countries are considered smaller nations.  As I mentioned earlier, Scotland is geographically larger than 2 of these countries, with a greater population size than 3 of them.

Too wee? Aye right.  Lets take our place, on the world stage, in our own right, and soar.


 


x
#100days100reasonsforyes

Monday, 23 June 2014

86 Days To Go

Why YES?


I don't see, hear or know personally, of anyone moving to NO!

This is not  case of "if all your pals jumped in the canal, would you too?"

Having moved through the stages of, why would be want a referendum, to NO, to I'm not sure, to YES,  I am always interested to hear other peoples' journeys to YES, too. The reasons tend to be fairly similar but different priorities.

The polls are showing a trend of people moving over to the YES camp.  Every other day I read about another Labour supporter now supporting Labour for Indy, or another youtube video being uploaded in support - the most recent one I watched from our supporters in Wales https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsiVjvN5I74

Is there anyone out there, who has gone from YES, through to NO? I'm interested to know why.
If the support for Yes is continuing to grow, surely we must all have the same belief / desire/ will / confidence to know that it is the right thing to do, and why then would we vote for anything else?
x
#100days100reasonsforyes

87 Days To Go

The Big Debate


The First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, invited the Prime Minister of the UK, David Cameron, to a televised debate regarding the referendum on Scottish Independence. An invitation that has been offered time and time again throughout the campaign period in the lead up to 18th September. Time and time again, the invitation has been declined, and a political back bencher has been offered up, to debate The First Minister instead.

16th July 2014, Bernard Ponsonby will host the debate between Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister, and  Alistair Darling, Head of Better Together, in front of an audience of 500 yes, no and don't know voters, in the Assembly Rooms, televised for STV.  Of course, the option to replace Mr Darling with himself,  remains open to the Prime Minister.

We want and need the debate, but not this one.  The First Minister should be debating the Prime Minister.  The person to debate Alistair Darling should be Dennis Canavan, the head of Yes. That is an equal match.  I find it rather insulting that David Cameron thinks that sending Darling, is a suitable replacement for himself.

 David Cameron insisted at the start of the campaign that he would do everything within his power to keep the  UK united.  What that has turned out to be, is to try and get his pals to speak out on his behalf - although as to why, I am at a loss.  Cameron repeatedly reminds us that he has no vote in the referendum, therefore he won't get directly involved. So why does asking Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama, The Queen, Mariano Rajoy and Li Keqiang, none of whom have a vote,  to voice 'their opinion' on his behalf, not count as getting directly involved??? How did that work out? Well, Putin told Andrew Marr :"‘It is not a matter for Russia, it is a domestic issue for the UK." Obama, while he expressed an opinion that he supported the union (in the best interests for the US), he did make it clear that this was a decision for Scotland to make. The Queen has twice declined invitations from Cameron to support the union, insisting that she must remain neutral in the debate. Rajoy took to telling Scotland he would block membership of the EU - he's got no opinion of Scotland or the UK, he's more worried about Catalonia and Spain. Keqiang is in no position to comment on another country's democratic choices when he has Tibet and highly questionable humanitarian 'issues' in his own country.

The British public  (not just the Scottish public, according to reports) have come out to say they want the FM v PM debate, especially those of whom are still undecided.  Plenty people still have unanswered questions, and would very much appreciate the Prime Minister of the UK answering  these.  If he wants to ensure that he has done everything in his power to ensure Scotland remains within the UK, then he has to take on Alex Salmond.  Many people speculate that the reason that Darling is being rolled out for this, is because Cameron is scared.  Salmond is a first class debater and would, basically, be all over Cameron like HP on a bacon roll, therefore, the PM doesn't want to lose face.  Others, in defence of the Cameron, believe it is because he doesn't have the vote in the referendum, that it should be between 2 Scotsmen living in Scotland, 1 for and 1 against. In my opinion, I think the PM has lost face, by NOT debating and I don't think he is acting in the best interest of the UK. As the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (currently Scotland, England, N Ireland an Wales), if he wants to keep it united, he needs to stand up and fight for it, not via the mouths of others, but from his own.  Talk to Scotland like he means it.

In the mean time, roll on 16th July, Game On!!

x
#100days100reasonsforyes
 

88 Days To Go

Why Yes ?


2 years ago I was voting NO! I know, unbelievable, right? My thinking at the time was purely, "How can that work?" and fairly knee-jerk reactions to the 16/17yo vote, thinking that was irresponsible and a new generation of William Wallace Freedom Fighters would emerge and vote yes for FREEEEEEDOOOOOOOOOMMMMM! I had, at that point, done NO research into what independence meant, just relying on the stuff I'd head on the news or read in the papers - all of which was negative of independence and at times derogatory towards the First Minister and the Scottish Government. I wasn't all that interested in politics, to be honest. It was both dull and infuriating.  Dull in the sense that I found it all a bit blah, blah, blah, but infuriating at the policies that were coming out of Westminster and the actions of the MPs.  There is no point moaning about the government and then sitting back and letting them get on with it. With the referendum coming up, I thought I'd better find out a bit more about it. But where to start?

I was new to Twitter, but followed a couple of friends who were Yes voters, and started reading the links they tweeted, and then Facebook stuff started appearing on my feed there too.  I started following groups and people on both social media outlets and different blogs, plus both the YES and Better Together websites, trying to glean as much info and opinions as possible, as found the newspapers somewhat lacking.
By January of 2013 I was properly, stuck on the 'don't know' fence. I read an article in the Guardian by Kevin McKenna http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jan/20/scottish-independence-becoming-only-option for the first time (it has been doing the rounds again recently) and it really made me think. It was the first positive article I had read in the national press.  With further reading, tweeting, facebook discussions, watching youtube videos of people all across the indy movement , I was definitely moving to YES.
By the time Alex Salmond gave his Key Note speech in October 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQzocfAyuys I was definitely Yes. I loved this speech and felt inspired by it.
Since then, I have been very vocal in my opinion on independence, whilst still reading everything I can get my hands on ( the joys of being a voracious reader, its like an addiction, I must keep reading!), I am hungry for information.  The more I have discovered for myself, the more I have got interested in politics and the fascinating world that it is.  People, every day ordinary folks, have to be involved and interested, in order to make a difference. To do that, we need to be informed - and no-one will do that for us, we have to find it ourselves.

I started writing this daily #100days100reasonforyes to show, essentially WHY I decided to vote YES for my country.  I don't expect that those who are voting NO will read it. I hope that some people who are currently don't knows will read it, and maybe think, a yes is possible. I know that my co-Yes-ers do read (and thanks for the feedback guys x)

With less than 3 months to go now until the referendum, there is a level of apathy that concerns me greatly. Some people are just not interested or "cannae be bothered wi' it aw'". Some people scroll right on passed the 'Indy stuff' on their social media feeds, and someone, said to my sister, "No, need to ask who your sister is voting for, eh?" Some people think , and I quote " It'll never happen, they'll not get it", eh, naw, YOU don't get it. This sort of thinking - automatic no, without any prior thought or consideration, will lead exactly to a No vote, because apathy and ignorance chose that path.

What I hope to share from this post, is how I arrived at YES (via information, lots of information devoured and shared), and urge everyone who hasn't yet made up their minds, to get informed to make theirs up too.  Either to a Yes or a No - make an informed choice.

It is simply not OK to just come away with flippant or ignorant comments towards such a monumentous decision, which will affect you and yours, and everyone in the country now and in the future. It is a HUGE responsibility placed on us to get this right.  It is not OK to say, with less than 3 months to go "I haven't really looked into it that much".

All the information needed to make an informed decision is out there. Who honestly wants to be having a conversation with their grandchildren in years to come that sounds like :

" Grampa, why did you vote No?
Because I couldny be arsed to find out if we could be independent."

or

"Granny, why did you vote No?
Because, politics was boring, and your Grampa said he thought we should vote No, so that's what I did."

By the way - the above 2 examples are the reasons from REAL people!

Be bothered. Get informed - its exciting!

#100days100reasonsfor yes

Saturday, 21 June 2014

89 Days To Go

Devo Max
 

Devolution Max, or Devo Max as it has become known as, is almost independence, but not quite. Actually, no its not. Its a bit more devolution, but no-ne can decide which bits to devolve from Westminster to Holyrood and in all honesty, is a bit of a mess, in my opinion. To be polite, it could be described as a gift from Westminster to Holyrood, to taking on more powers to govern Scotland from Holyrood, without taking the leap from the perceived 'safety net' of the UK.
From a variety of different polls taken over the past year, it would appear that most people, eligible to vote in the referendum, are in favour of devo max over full independence or remaining with the status quo. As much as 62% of people polled in one poll, would voted for devo max.

My issue with devo max, however, is that no-one has agreed what it is. The 3 main parties, Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat each have their own vision of devo max, but they are not able to work together to give a definitive 'package' as to what this would look like post referendum, in the event of a NO vote. 
Labour's proposal/vision for devo max, includes : the powers to vary tax up to 15p and, be able to, if they wish, re-introduce the 50p tax limit for high earners.  The proposal also includes, leaving much of the benefits/welfare decisions in Westminster, with the exception of Housing Benefit (therefore redressing the Bedroom Tax debacle) and Attendance Allowance.
Lib-dem proposal (taken from the Lib-dems's Report of the Home Rule and Community Rule Commission, Oct 2012) is for greater power in Scotland to raise more of the money it spends, control over taxation on wealth and income and radical recommendations for autonomy and power for local councils (which, to be fair, do read very encouragingly and positive, giving responsibility back to communities). It also, however, proposes Westminster controlling all welfare and pensions, and encourages the establishment of a Westminster controlled oil fund.  The Lib-dems would like to re-shape the UK into a Federal United Kingdom, but the likely hood of them winning a General Election as  one party as opposed to a coalition, is slim, therefore the proposals for a Federal Scotland, may not be as realistic as they would hope?
I have scoured the internet for the confirmation of the Conservative vision of devo max, but have drawn nothing. They will reveal their plans after the referendum...


If we vote no on September 18th and Labour then go on to win the general election in 2015, we should then have Labour's vision of devo max come into play. Should the following general election choose to have a Tory government, then would that mean that the conditions of  devo max changes again? Potentially. Devo max is not a fixed concept, and we are ultimately at the mercy of the party in power.

As it stands, the 3 main parties cannot decide amongst themselves what devo max would look like in reality. This will allegedly be worked out AFTER the referendum.  However, one thing all 3 were united on, was the question to be posed on the ballot. Are you in or out, Scotland? No messin'. 
Why did all 3 veto the addition of devo max as an option on the ballot paper?  The SNP were happy for the option to be there, despite their goal of full independence.  If devo max wasn't an option the parties wanted, why is it so important now? Why should we believe that the parties will actually deliver on their promise of devo max (what ever that turns out to be)? Are they being so vague, due to the fact that bringing devo max to fruition will take a lot of work, across the parties and through legislative changes and approval through Westminster, that in all honesty, they don't actually want it, and that's why its not an option on the ballot?

On the flip side.  What if we vote YES? We have zero proposals from Con/Lib/Lab on what their plans are for us at all. Many of the 'Undecided' voters claim to be uncertain due to lack of information or fear of the unknown, which is exactly where Better Together/No Thanks/ UK Government want them to be. They want us to trust them and put our faith in them while they are currently failing our most disadvantaged, protecting their own wealth and selling off our assets. With choosing Yes, you at least know what the current government plans are, and have a voice in creating the new modern Scotland with The Green Party and Scottish Socialists too - everyone committed and involved together.  The election in Scotland following the referendum, will choose who is running our parliament.  Some people may not like the SNP, but, we are blind to what the other 3 main parties want for an independent Scotland - and that is more un nerving than taking the leap now.

#100days100reasonsforyes

Summer Solstice

As the sun spirals its longest dance,
Cleanse us.
As nature shows bounty and fertility,
Bless us.
Let all things live with loving intent,
And to fulfil their truest destiny.
 
Today is the longest day of the year, known as Summer Solstice or Mid-summer. Exactly half way between last Winter Solstice/Mid-winter and the next.  It is when the power of the sun is at its zenith and from now, the we acknowledge that the 2nd half of the year has arrived.
 
To mark the solstice today, Kiddo and I set about decorating our front door and our broom at the entrance, with cocktail umbrellas. Not particularly traditional, but certainly festive and they feel summery.  I have to confess as seeing a wreath made of cocktail brollies on Pinterest, and thought, this is perfect for us.

 
Now the sun has set on today, I have a candle lit (beeswax) and in the absence of mead (can't stand the taste), I have a wee Baileys. I raise my glass to health, happiness, strength and confidence. 
 
Happy Solstice
x
 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

90 Days To Go

Why am I voting YES?

I was raised with the following rules :
1. Do not to tell lies  (You'll get more powers with Devo-max....so why was it not allowed as a 3rd option on the ballot paper, hmm?)
2. Do not believe in scary stories  (You can't get the pound)
3. If you cant say something nice, don't say anything at all (internet trolls -both sides as bad, one side reported in media...)
4. Do not give in to bullies, stand up for yourself ( David Cameron asking his pals to do his dirty work, because he is too cowardly to get personally involved)

I was also however, raised to :
1. Respect your elders
2. Do not answer back
3. Do as you are told

Now, I am an adult, not a child. So then why does Westminster  and the Better Together camp feel the need to treat Scotland (both the country and its citizens) as such?  I feel that "Father" (ie Westminster) has spoken and we (Scotland) must do as we are told.  The rebellious teen (that I never really was, but wanted to be) in me just wants to shout : "Fuck off!"

Most importantly though, I was always taught to remember my manners. So with that in mind, Yes please to independence and No thanks to Better Together.

#100days100reasonsfor yes

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What a glorious day...

...both in weather and content!
No plans made for today, having had a reasonably busy past few days. I always make sure Kiddo has a 'day-off' to re-charge his batteries and to calm any rising anxiety (of which he has had a fair bit this past week, but that's another story).  So, no plans, just see where the day takes us.
First off, into the back 'garden' (shared back green among residents of our block) to stake the sunflowers before they start to droop. This years flowers are certainly taller than last years, but have yet to actually bloom - we are actually having a summer, and it would be lovely if the big, friendly yellow petals put in an appearance.

From the spare string (used in the staking) I had a nostalgic desire to play Cat's Craddle.  I attempted to show Kiddo, but his 4 yo fingers are not yet up to the intricacies of teasing and pulling the string, and we ended up in a knot. Games-a-bogie!

As mentioned previously, dinosaurs feature heavily in our house, and in an attempt to give Kiddo an understanding of scale, we try to figure out if certain dinos would fit in our livingroom (needless to say, the vast majority don't, being as the room is 5m long - but he has the understanding of what 5m looks like).  Cue the long stretch of back garden - plan was to measure the length of the garden to see if  a Supersaurus (at 138ft long) would fit... Unfortunately, the tape measure broke and the tape was swallowed up inside the box.  After thinking we were going to have to use a ruler (!) I remembered we had a spare length of bamboo cane. Result! Together we counted the number of bamboo lengths the garden was (47 units), but had no idea the length of the bamboo....cue showing Kiddo how to measure with his hand spread, tip of thumb to tip of pinkie finger. This was of no interest, he just wanted to know if he could fit his Supersaurus now. So I measured the bamboo by my hand, and  measured my hand with the ruler and did the sums....we'll keep the workings of maths for another day. At least he has an idea that there are different ways of finding out the measurement of something.  Incidently the garden is  154ft  and a Supersaurus would fit = happy child.

In the afternoon, a basin of water was taken out with a collection of Octonaut toys and play in the sunshine commence, while I read (The Common Weal) for a bit.  It got too hot. Trip to the shop for an ice lolly was a priority followed by a play in the park and home now for dinner.

Was a busy but brilliant day.
x

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

91 Days To Go


Trident

 
What is Trident? : A fleet of 4 nuclear missile submarines armed with ballistic missiles delivering thermonuclear bombs (warheads), reaching a distance in the range of 4,600- 7,500 miles. Trident is currently based at the Clyde naval base (Faslane) on the west coast of Scotland, whereby 1 submarine is constantly on patrol.  Each submarine is reported to be loaded with 8 missiles, which contain 5 bombs - totalling 40 per sub! That's 160 nuclear warheads on our shore! I missile is " 8 times the power of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, killing an estimated 240,000 people from blast and radiation." Quoted from www.cnduk.org 
 
What is its purpose? :  "To provide the minimum effective nuclear deterrent as the ultimate means to deter the most extreme threat".  With these nuclear weapons, the UK (alongside France and the USA, make up Nato's nuclear capability)
 
How much does it cost? : It is the most expensive form of defence the UK has.  Each individual missile costs £16.8m, and we loan them from the USA. The annual running costs to Scotland currently stand at £163m. The government has estimated that the bill to replace Trident (in around 6 years time) would be between £15bn and £20bn, but Greenpeace claims it will run to at least £34bn once VAT is added.
The cost of dismantling Faslane was estimated at £150m by an MP in 2006, but under the government figures, with the prospect of an independent Scotland, oh, it could run into billions....!
 
Why do we want rid? : I cant actually word this any better. To quote CND UK again :
"Nuclear weapons have no legitimate purpose. Their use would be illegal under virtually every conceivable circumstance as civilian casualties would be unavoidable. They are genocidal and completely immoral. When confronted with any of today's real security threats nuclear weapons are irrelevant: they cannot address the actual threats the government has identified – terrorism, cyber warfare and climate change.
Not only do nuclear weapons kill indiscriminately but the radioactive fallout from their detonation means that their effects know no geographical boundaries. Immediate survivors in the vicinity of any nuclear exchange face devastating long-term ill effects or death. Recent research shows that even a so-called ‘small exchange’ of 50 nuclear weapons could cause ‘the largest climate change in recorded human history’ and potentially could kill more people than were killed in the whole of the Second World War."
To be an on-going member of NATO, it would appear that there is no need to have nuclear weapons, as several countries within NATO (including Spain, Germany, Norway, Belgium, Iceland, Greece, and more) have already voiced that they no longer see nuclear as the way to protection from threats. 


I would much rather have my government, spend money on welfare, education or the NHs than paying for nuclear arms.

We will only get rid of Trident with YES


#100days100reasonsforyes

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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Another year older...

And still none the wiser....well, maybe not, I think I am fairly wise regarding some matters.  Maybe the saying should be: Another year older, but not any more sensible/responsible? Hmm, perhaps not. Still, my age is only the number of years I have been around, there is no rule book as to how one ought to act in accordance to that particular number - I still feel, sometimes, like I am 17, other days like I'm 71! And every other day I am in denial as to my real age and am, quite frankly, staying at 32. My younger sister is now actually older than me. I refuse to budge from 32 (it was a good year and a nice age), until my 40th. I think 40 seems like a good age - plus I want a party and have a 'secret' Pinterest board already, planning my Roaring 20's themed party - cannae wait, Charleston, anyone?

Anyway, this year, it was a scorching day - cue family day out to Largs. A roasting car journey, to the beach, which turned out to be a pebble beach, with a funfair and plenty ice cream.  The picnic got scoffed en route.  Ferries to and from Millport were watched every 20 mins and stones were skimmed. When I say skimmed, Hubby skimmed a couple of good ones, mine plopped straight into the sea and Kiddo's just got hurled waterwards.  It is impossible to go to Largs without going to the famous Nardini's - but that is exactly what we did.  I cannot believe we went and didn't get their ice cream - just a cone on the sea front! That said, it was a pretty awesome cone.

 Enough of skimming - sitting and playing as the tide comes in
 
The water here is SO clear - its beautiful.
 

Another roasting journey home, and relaxed with a cheeky wee rum.


It was lovely to spend my day with my boys, as last year they were both poorly and I was 'delicate' following the Stone Roses gig in Glasgow Green the previous night.
x

92 Days To Go

Constitution


Work has begun on the Scottish Independence Bill.  The draft of the new Scottish Constitution for an Independent Scotland was published yesterday for consultation.
For me, the key points of note were :

Part 1: 1.(3/b) - the Scottish Government assumes full responsibility for the government of Scotland
Part 2: 2 - in Scotland, the people are sovereign
            3.(1) - In Scotland, the people have the sovereign right to self-determination and to choose  
                       freely the form in which their State is to be constituted and how they are to be
                       governed.
            8.(2) - The Scottish Parliament may choose, as it sees fit, a national anthem for Scotland.
Game on - lets pick a rousing anthem that we want to sing out loud and proud, be it Flower of Scotland or something brand new - how exciting!
           12(1) - The Scottish Parliament and its members, as the elected representatives of the people,
                       are accountable to the people.
           23 - Nuclear disarmament.  The Scottish Government must pursue negotiations with view to
                  securing -
               (a) - nuclear disarmament in accordance with international law, and
               (b) - the safe and expeditious removal from the territory of Scotland of nuclear weapons
                       based there.
            31(3) - ...must seek to promote-
                (a) - the conservation of biodiversity
                (b) - measures to tackle climate change
            32 -  Scotland's natural resources are to be used in a manner which is -
                (a) -  best calculated to be sustainable, and
                (b) - of economical, social, environmental or other benefit to the people of Scotland.
Part 3: 35 - Repeal of the Act of  Union
                  The Union with England Act 1707 is repealed.

Full details are available via the link below.        
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/06/8135/2

A new constitution for a new era. Written for the people of Scotland, in consultation WITH the people of Scotland.

How wonderful.

#100days100reasonforyes
x

Sunday, 15 June 2014

93 Days To Go

Why vote YES - why the hell not?

Its my birthday and I'll champion YES if I want to

#100days100reasonsforyes

x

94 Days ToGo

1979...

I don't remember anything about the last referendum held in 1979, being as I was a baby. I must confess, I didn't even know there had even been another referendum, until earlier this year!

What happened back then, in the Scottish devolution referendum 1979?

1. Similar to the 2014 vote, Scotland was asked 1 question : Do you want the Provisions of the Scotland Act 1978* to be put into effect? [Yes or No] 1,230,937 voted yes (51.62%) / 1,153,500 voted no (48.38%) .  The voting turnout was 63.8% of the electorate, but George Cunningham, Labour MP for  Islington South and Finsbury (Scottish born and raised), moved to amend the bill to affect a change that 40% of the total electorate must be in favour, rather than a simple majority. Although Scotland voted Yes, the total number of yes votes was only 32.9% of the electorate. It has since been argued that the 40% rule was most un-democratic.
* The act was to create a devolved Scottish Assembly. 
2.  Promises made by the former Prime Minister, Lord Home of the hirsel (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) to voters to stay true to the Union, such as stronger legislation FOR Scotland in the next Conservative government, were not upheld by said government.
3. Although taxation was the key focus of the debate, the "No" campaign used public uncertainty and fear to their advantage. Fear of job losses, tax hikes, economic disasters. In the lead up to 1997's referendum to secure our own parliament, we were told large financial institutions, such as Standard Life, would take their investment and relocate outwith Scotland.
4. Following the referendum, the next government in power was 11 years of Margaret Thatcher's Conservatives, unelected by Scotland.

So what we learnt from 1979?
1. Every eligible voter MUST vote
2. Promises made by those no longer in power have no sway with those who are - take heed Gordon Brown.
3. They were right - there were massive job losses (15% of Scotland's workforce were unemployed in the early 1980's.) There were tax hikes...poll tax anyone? - all thanks to the Thatcher government. And Standard Life is still here!
4. Who fancies the next coalition - Tory/Ukip?? Not voted in by Scotland...



#100days100reasonsforyes

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Fun on a Saturday

Just spent a lovely day with Kiddo. The sun has been shining (although its now raining...) and we haven't watched a single football match.
A wee jaunt through to the city for a children's festival at "The Top Of the Town", where our good friend's coffee shop was hosting an activity.  When I mentioned this to Kiddo, his response was : "Ooh, great, I love my uncle's coffee shop AND his chocolate cake!" I was meaning for him to be excited about the story and craft event, but he was clearly excited for cake. Not going to argue - the chocolate cake is gorgeous, as is his homemade elderflower cordial which I was lucky enough to sample (guzzle).  The story/craft session was good fun and we left with  our very own flag of peace.



Since it was such a lovely day, and I am a member of Historic Scotland and get in for free, we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon up at the castle, which we both love.  Exploring the castle with all its dungeons and nooks and crannies is a kids dream. Its a shame that so many people have lost their imagination as they grew up.  Whilst we were down in one of the 'dungeons' - I think it may have been the Constable's residence, but its sort of under the castle and then down a spiral staircase into an empty cavern, where the old walls have fallen between the 'rooms' its pretty dark and dingy, but perfect for climbing and exploring as is our want - a couple who came down behind us commented :"Is this it? There's nothing here. How disappointing, that was a waste of time". Kiddo stopped mid-clamber to ask me why they thought it was rubbish, as there was lots to see. We could see where we thought the bedroom would have been, the livingroom, the old chimney/fireplace, and how cold it would have been in the winter as the windows were just long  holes in the thick walls, and the damp in the window bits had dampened the seat of his shorts, (but "that's ok mummy, they'll dry").  I guess I am lucky to see the old ruins and history through my child's imagination - its a magical place to be

x

95 Days To Go

The Common Weal


"Common Weal is an old Scots phrase that means both 'wealth shared in common' and 'for the wellbeing of all'.  It has become the name for a different kind of politics, a politics that puts All Of Us First."

This arrived this morning - the best post I could receive (makes a lovely change from bills and junk mail). I bought this book as it has been researched and written for the purpose of delivering a better Scotland, regardless of the referendum outcome in September.  The project was a 12month research project run by the Jimmy Reid Foundation and comprises 50 academic reports by "scores of authors" on everything from finance to food to industry to democracy and all sorts in between.

So far I have read a grand total of 4 pages (my Saturday activities with my son came first) and I want to just re-type the whole lot on here! So I'm going to take a few quotes, quotes that reflect the reasons why I am voting for Independence in 96 days time :

"Scotland's people are in a unique position - we have been invited to imagine our nation afresh. So let's do it"
"Common Weal is about creating a politics and a society which once again puts citizens at its heart...A politics that can change Scotland can only be a politics that includes everyone."
"Until now the biggest barrier [to making the changes] has been confidence - we have been trained to believe that no alternative is possible, that achieving a decent society is just too damn complicated, so best not to try"  A perfect example of this was a recent conversation with my Mother-in-law regarding the UK in general with the impact Ukip is having. Her response was :"Well, what are we to do, there's nothing we can do" YES THERE IS!!
What are (my) hopes? "To live a good life...with a home, work, security, community, recreation, public service and respect; a politics which cares about us would be built on these foundations.  Profiteering, competition, elitism, greed, anger, blame and mistrust are not words that represent (my) hopes.  So why are they the foundation of the politics we have?"

I am only on page 2 of the first chapter but cant wait to read more, to discover ways and models from around the world that have worked and how the models could be applied, adapted or influence a realistic change for Scotland, for the better.

#100days100reasonsforyes
x

Techno-phobe



Confession : I am completely useless with technology. I don't understand the jargon and I don't have the interest or patience to learn it. I just want it to work, nice and easy.
I am still learning how to work my smart phone - there are some apps on there that I will never use. I can happily use/navigate Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, but that is about my limit. 
My limit is being tested currently as I try to play around with this blog.  Sure, it looks all pretty and my posts are available to read, but trying to get into the nitty gritty of making pages and linking blog posts to actual pages, is proving a, now how should I word this..., a challenge...
I gave up last night, and have returned this morning, fully rested and fully caffeinated, but it really is like rocket science as far as I am concerned.
I have 2 options here. 1, persevere and hope for a minor miracle of technological clarity (highly unlikely) or 2, just go and play at being an Australian museum curator for Kiddo's game of dinosaur adventures, where I have to remain in character for the rest of the morning.
Yeh, I'm away to find a spinoaurus.
(Today's dino-den in the livingroom)

x

Friday, 13 June 2014

96 Days To Go

Positivity!

The Yes campaign has always been one of positivity and vision. The former, Better Together, now No Thanks, has always been one of negativity. This naturally following in line with their titles - Yes or No - who like to hear the word No? No you can't be independent; no you can't continue use of the pound; no you can't re-join once you leave (the last one there is pretty much null and void, as all countries who have become independent from the empire, have NEVER asked to return...)

I like to think I am a fairly positive person, and am genuinely finding a never ending supply of positivity in the Yes camp. It is really uplifting and infectious. How does that old saying go :
"Smile and the world smiles with you. Frown and the world frowns upon you"
Across the globe we are finding support for Independence (just not from world leaders who have been asked by David Cameron to come out and appeal to us to remain in the union, thinking specifically of Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin!) from the people of other countries - people the same as me, everyday, ordinary people.

What positivity is there surrounding this campaign?
Well, it happens to be THE most exciting time in British politics in living memory - possibly ever?!
People all over the country are engaged in politics in ways we've never experienced : in the pub, in the supermarkets, on the bus, waiting at the bus stop, over family dinners, in schools, in the work place canteens, in actual festivals for indy eg Yestival and Yesi n the park, on line - we cant move on Facebook or Twitter without seeing discussion and debate around it (which is fabulous), and that is all before mentioning the news coverage/TV programmes and newspaper inches dedicated to the debate. In keeping with theme of positivity, I will not dwell on the blatant bias and heavily edited journalism being broadcast/printed by the mainstream, but refer to the open and balanced reporting Wings over Scotland.
People, (particularly women - Emmeline Pankhurst would be proud) who, in the past never got involved in politics because they weren't interested, didn't understand, thought it was nothing to do with them, are now getting interested, finding out and understanding, and realising that this is EVERYTHING to do with them, not just the suits who had a posh education.
The debate is bringing people together - people of different backgrounds/ generations/ political points of view, to unite our dreams and discuss what it would means for us to get independence, or to have proper chats and discuss opposing points of view. 
Most people are finally waking up to the reality that this referendum is just around the corner and we need to make our minds up.  I find it really fascinating to see and hear what people on BOTH sides of the debate have to say.  Afterall, it wouldn't be much of a debate if we all shared the same point of view or were neglecting to listen to what others have to say?
Its enjoyment in the way it is discussed - with respect for each other. I get really annoyed and can sometimes feel the rage when the discussion or debate descends into a slagging match, name calling and gets personal, just because someone holds a different opinion, especially when the media take to highlighting that the YESers are the ones in the wrong - there are plenty nasty comments being banded about back and forth between both sides. The most recent being about the abuse JK Rowling received after she donated to the No Thanks campaign. That was her choice to give her money to the side that reflected her views. Do I agree with her reasons for selecting No Thanks? No I don't, but she made HER choice.  When Colin and Christine Weir (the Euromillion lottery winners) donated their millions to Yes campaign, the barrage of abuse they received went wholly under the radar as far as the reporting press were concerned.
I don't see any positivity in the smear campaigns and hateful comments, how can solid useful debate flourish when people's heckles are up?

The main positive I am taking from the whole independence debate is 'Opportunity'
The opportunity to create the Scotland that we want. A Scotland to be proud of.  A Scotland who can take her place on the world stage as a new or evolved country in her own right.  An inclusive Scotland who extends the warm hand of friendship and welcomes everyone who wants to live and work here, and contribute to the success of our country, regardless of where they were born. Our nation is already made up of people born in Scotland, the rest of the UK, from people from all over Europe, Africa, Australasia, Asia, North and South America, a big melting pot of different cultures which we can learn from and  embrace into our already strong identity and rich culture.

In a world where war appears to be the way to decide anything conflicting at the moment, it is wonderfully positive that we are being given a democratic vote - a vote to be decided by the people of this country.
And, YES, it will be hard work to achieve what we want for Scotland, but nothing worth having is ever easy.

x

#100days#100reasonsforyes

Friday 13th AND a Full Moon


I'm in for a doozie of a day....

x

Thursday, 12 June 2014

97 Days To Go

Am I British or Scottish or both?


I am not particularly patriotic for either Scotland, or the UK.  However, I would say I am a nationalist, in the sense of the dictionary definition :

"Nationalist is usually a noun. A nationalist is someone who tries to obtain political independence for his or her country.
You can also use nationalist as an adjective to describe people, movements, or ideas.
Nationalist leaders demanded the extension of democratic rights.
The belief that nations will benefit from acting independently rather than collectively, emphasizing national rather than international goals.
Aspirations for national independence in a country under foreign domination" (not that the rUK is foreign, but certainly another country has overall control of mine) (taken from thefreedictionary.com)
 
It was my parents decision to live and have/raise their family in Scotland. By a decision made outwith my control, I was born, Scottish and British. My paternal Gran made the same decision when my Dad was born - he could very well have been born an English Brit (since his my Papa was a Scouser and his side of the family all live in England, apart from those who emigrated to other lands). Therefore, I neither chose to be Scottish nor British.
 
To be perfectly honest, I have never really given much thought to whether I'm Scottish or British, unless filling out forms, like job applications where your ethnicity is required, and have always just ticked 'British' as my Dad told me to do when I was 15 and filling in my first proper form.
 
When is comes to the national flags, however, I have always associated the Union Jack with England rather than Scotland - you don't often see Scots lads on holiday in Union Jack shorts. Don't shout me down for that comment, it is mere observation! The Saltire is my flag.
 
When it comes to the World Cup, I am always happy to support the England Team, and will do this year too. I could maybe only name 1 of the team players on the Scottish team, but could name most of the England team players - maybe this has more to do with them never being out the papers and their WAGS off the front pages of weekly magazines.

When it comes to the national anthem, I HATE God Save The Queen, for many a reason, but I do take great umbridge at the 6th line in the 6th verse "Rebellious Scots to crush". What Scot wants to sing this with pride? Where as the unofficial anthem sung at the rugby, The Corries, 'Flower of Scotland', always brings a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye.  Its my favourite bit of the rugby!
 
When the Olympics came to London, I did feel a bit of national pride, British pride. I absolutely loved what Danny Boyle did with the opening ceremony, our rich history of music and film, the NHS, engineering and invention.  
 
As I said at the start, I am not particularly patriotic (although, maybe I am a little more patriotic than I first thought), and in an ideal world I would actually love to live in Sweden, as I love their culture and lifestyle.  
But, Scotland is my home. I was born and raised here, and have chosen to stay and live here, raising my own family, so I want the best possible country in which to thrive in.  The things I felt British about - like the Olympics or unquestioned acceptance, are things of the past. There is nothing to be gained from nostalgia, when the current trend and looking forward to the future, it looks pretty bleak  for the UK. The empire is dead and buried, Rule Britannia, long gone.  We have a bright and prosperous future ahead of us, independently, doing what's in the best interest of Scotland, for Scotland.
 
So in answer to my own question, I think I can safely say that when I vote YES on 18th September, I am Scottish.
 
 
 
#100days100reasonsforyes
 
x
 
 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Impromptu Family Day Out

Nothing specific really planned for today.  Hubby suggests "Do you fancy a trip up to Anstruther for the beach and a chippy for dinner?" Why,yes! Yes we do!
Its not often we get family trips together (the joys of him on constant nightshift), so Hubby had a couple of hours sleep in the morning, following last nights shift, and our very excited 4yo and I set about making a picnic and finding the beach paraphernalia - bucket, spade, fishing net, sun hat, shades, complete change of clothes (as it is guaranteed he'll be soaking wet within 5 mins).

In our home, we take our time getting ready and organised, as Kiddo will come up with a million and one reasons as to why he can't do a specific task, i.e. brush his teeth or get dressed until he has drawn a whale or shown me a dinosaur in his book or wants to have a drink or load the washing machine - even if he knows that brushing teeth and getting dressed means that we can leave the house to go and do the thing he is excited about. However, it then gets to the point of "we're leaving in 5 mins, are we good to go?", and everyone all of a sudden becomes grumpy/harassed and gets in each others road. As it was, we arrived in the glorious sunshine in Anstruther, without a towel, picnic blanket or sun cream. Oh well.


We spent 4 hours playing on a pretty much deserted beach, save for a couple of dog walkers (with whom Kiddo had a fun time playing fetch and throwing sticks for into the water - the dogs that it, not the walkers!), where sand castles were built and demolished, crab legs/pincers were discovered, rocks were climbed, sea was paddled and sat in, messages were written in the sand (my favourite) and ice creams were devoured. He is never happier than when playing in the sand. It is a pleasure just to watch, and when allowed, join in too.


Anstruther has a phenomenal chippy and claims to be "The Best In Scotland", and I would have to agree - their fish and chips are the main reason we drove 1.5hrs to get a chippy for our dinner (there are plenty of lovely beaches up the East coast, a lot closer to home).

This is Hubby's dinner - mine was covered in "Chippy broon sauce" and therefore not exactly photogenic.....
 

Needless to say, we are all home, exhausted and, well, pink but very happy.


x

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

98 Days To Go..

National Health Service





As it stands, the NHS and control of the NHS in Scotland has already been devolved to the Scottish Parliament (1999), and our government has a "cast-iron commitment to protect the founding principles of the NHS."(1). We have gone back to the traditional style of the NHS, in that it is a shared co-op of services (and knowledge and funds) rather than individual, localised, separate units, that it has become elsewhere in within the UK.

Elsewhere in the UK, the government had started 'reforming' the NHS - read that as 'privatisation', where by 100 different services are actually run by Virgin. As in Richard Branson's Virgin! Under reform, services have to be put out to tender, where private companies then take control. Then its all about monetary targets and the bottom line. How many hospitals have we heard of on the tv/radio/newspapers that are not performing financially (then the knock on effect of the actual care that they are supposed to be providing)?





According to Dr Philippa Whitford, she predicts that in 5 years time there will be no NHS as we currently know it, in rUK (due to privatisation), and the same for Scotland come 10 years time (due to allocation of funding). This is explained :

"Due to the complex workings of the Barnett formula, which provides the basis for the Block Grant paid annually through Westminster, for every £1 million of cuts to the NHS budget in England, the Scottish Block Grant will be reduced by £99,100
The Scottish government could seek to protect Scotland's health budget, but this would only come at the expense of swinging cuts to Scottish government funding in other areas" (2)

The video below (of Dr Whitford) tells it as it is, in a more articulate fashion, than I ever could :






As Dr Whitford says in the video, how long before patients have to start paying for operations or appointments? We are lucky in Scotland that we no longer have to pay for our prescriptions (the small number of people who did have to pay for them anyway), but in rUK prescription charges currently stand at £8.10 PER ITEM on their prescription. People are already only taking what they absolutely have to and leaving the rest, which is actually causing more problems as their health problems increase and they need more health care in the long run.

I do worry, for a NO result in September. Particularly as the majority of people I have spoken with regarding independence, over the age of 55, are very much in the No camp. I wonder if they have fully considered the implications this may well have on their own health, and actual lifespan. If there is no NHS in 10years, and we end up having to pay for say, cancer treatments or hip replacements, do they have enough savings for this, or will we have to go down the American route with extortionate Health Insurance premiums? Are we taking a backwards step where the elderly/poorer members of society get a lesser standard of care.

I'm not saying for one minute that the Scottish NHS is a shining example of perfect health care, and to a certain degree, there is still the postcode lottery of quality of treatment/waiting times etc etc. However, I firmly believe that if we had full financial responsibility for our own matters, then we would be able to afford the service we expect/deserve/pay for with our taxes!

To save our NHS, we have to vote YES

#100days100reasonsforyes

* both quotes were taken from Newsnet Scotland report : 2012





99 Days To Go



I'm voting YES because : Its got nothing to do with the SNP!

I am not an SNP voter - never have been. I am not the biggest fan of Alex Salmond, but I don't mind him (he certainly came across a lot better, in last nights edition of Scotland Tonight, than Alistair Darling). I vote Green and would love for Patrick Harvie to be our Prime Minister/First Minister or which ever the title would be, come independence.

The SNP as our "democratically elected government" (to quote our First Minister), is leading the debate and the push for independence, but take a look at some of the other parties/groups also behind the campaign - Scottish Greens, Labour for Independence, Women for Independence, National Collective, Scottish Socialist Party, Business for Scotland, Mums For Independence, English Scots for Yes, Scottish CND, Academics for Yes, Yes Scotland, and more - plus all the grassroots groups, like Yestival and Radical Independence, proper grassroots groups founded by the Scottish people, not bank rolled and fronted by MPs and their banker friends.... They are all striving for Indy too, believing that it is the best way to g - best for Scotland and the people, who both live and work here.

Once we are independent, we don't know if the SNP will be re-elected, it may be a Labour government to hold office. We will make that decision when we return to the ballot and choose OUR government. What is more, we will actually get the government of our choosing, to run our country, for the people of the country.

So voting NO, based upon the opinion of " I don't like Alex Salmond" or "I don't like the SNP" or "I remember when the SNP were essentially the Scottish Tories in the 80's" is not a valid reason for not voting YES.

Its not about the SNP, its about the reality of choosing our own government chosen by you, the people of Scotland, to run our country.

#100days100reasonsforyes

Monday, 9 June 2014

100 Days 100 Reasons For Yes


The countdown has now begun. 100 days until we make the biggest decision of our lives. As everyone knows, I am voting YES, and for the next 100 days will give a reason as to why - who wants to join me?
‪#‎100days100reasonsforyes

100 days to go : I'm voting YES because I can. I am able to place a X on a voting ballot to free my country to govern itself, without the need for violence, bloodshed, death or the fear of another big war, unlike so many other countries around the world. I have the freedom of information available to me to make informed choices, learn from history, see through lies and propaganda, read scores of articles from newspapers, blogs, official papers, listen to politicians, listen to people, watch all the indy programmes (regardless of bias) and can make an informed choice, as I have done my research. Scotland's people didn't get the vote to join the union, but we have the vote to leave the 300yr old 'agreement' that was never in our best interest. ‪#‎100days100reasonsforyes