Friday, 20 December 2013

trust a journalist?

Joyce Macmillan is no star of positivity in referendums. It was me whose letter against her chairing of the Edinburgh launch of the Yes-Yes campaign in 1997 was published headed "Worse than Westminster?" in Charter 88's journal Citizens, an edition from early 1998. Frustrating it is no longer online to link to, it was once, since Charter merged into Unlock Democracy. She slapped down speakers who made any point from their personal life experience in support of the campaign and proposing the campaign could use their point. She showed she just wanted it to be an elite class's safe controlled campaign pushing out anything so unpredictable as real life.

Already before this, at a day event by Oxfam in 1996 that she chaired, when I raised the constitutional case against rent and mortgages she chose not to make the 2 politicians beside her (Menzies Campbell and George Foulkes) respond to it on grounds that "I don't think anyone know what you're talking about" without making any opening for me to explain in full where it comes from so that she would know what I was talking about, and without expressing any concern that her newspaper colleagues had not made it known to her.

Within this year she was writing in her column that a No win is inevitable and getting cornered by electoral luck into holding the referendum at all was tragic for the SNP. But last night she was on Newsnight, with a totally changed position, saying the No campaign is too negative about the country's virtues and predicting that if it continues their support will evaporate, i.e. a Yes win. This from a position of declaring as Yes-inclined now herself.

This is selective. It should follow equally that Yes support will evaporate if that campaign continues not taking voters seriously:
  • by having policies that require the agreement of some party outside our new state, Britain or the EU, that has already said it won't agree.
  • and By spivvily not responding to enquiries for clear positions on items like the citizenship item raised here already.
If we are just faced with 2 spivvy campaigns both messing us around and not addressing details seriously, the winning side may be the side of not voting at all.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

twin dilemma

A Better Together paper just came through my door, a lot of its content over several pages focused on British overlapping feelings of nationhood. It's good that after the White Paper they are seeing a chance to force the campaign's emotive level to start focusing more on that question. Among all the to and fro claims about economics there had seemed a risk of both sides slipping past us the due focus on this basic fairness question of making sure you get to belong to your own home. With the Yes side being slippery and spivvy on the issue, will it take the No side's pressure to make them address it more properly?

But will voters notice how selective the No side is being? They mention a lot about how many folks in the British countries are from each other's country. They select to mention nothing at all of the same about EU countries - when exactly the same arguments apply to them.

They feature a Scottish father who was born in exile with a family with a multiplicity of births, and they quote figures for how many folks in Scotland were born in the rest of Britain and vice versa. But this statistic is misleading, if you are a Scot who was born in the rest of Britain there is every good chance you disliked your exile and are pleased to be home, it does not make you necessarily want to keep the Union at all. Only if there is a weakness on the Yes side here, only if there are enough holes in their citizenship policy to cause there to be any exiles whose return to Scotland independence could make harder and any less of an automatic right, should this No argument have any effect. At present, after the shambles of the White Paper contradicting itself on citzenship and being full of gobbledygook about forbears and where they lived on independence day and its unclairty on where to deem thast they would have resided if they had not died, the Yes side is choosing unecessarily to be weak enough on this issue to constitute a betrayal of Scottish history, and deserves to have the No side attack on this. But our EU citizen residents don't deserve to be put in more danger, by it, of right wing British nationalism turning on them after Scotland fails to vote itself out of that process.

They feature a family with twins born on each side of the border because of the circumstances when the mother's labour began during as journey. It's an excellent case study against birthplace racism, the evil of all bigots who would deem these twins to belong to different countries if they don't personally identify so. It's morally right that it should turn anyone against loopholes in the citizenship policies, on both sides. But what is the No side's answer to the case, you could have just as easily, of twins born one in Britain one across the Channel? Do they agree with their own argument's implication that we should not vote to belong to a country that leaves the EU in an ugly mood of nationalist racism?

Friday, 6 December 2013

no bitterness no peace

The BBC was at its cultic drip-drip mind-wearing worst over its repetitive Mandela obituaries, which all other news was simply abolished to make way for. On radios Scotland, 4, and 5 last night, all of them alike, the so-called news consisted of only this one event and lofty top folks' remarks on it. Even when they paused to say, now the headlines, so you thought you were going to get something else, even the headlines consisted only of this one single item repeated again.

Yet the same day, we had had our strongest wind storm for years, with a startling total closure of our rail network, and the major bridges, stuff falling through the roof of Glasgow Central station, and a lorry blown over. You would think we wante to know about the immdeicate local situation of our own lives?

A dissenting blog here:, and Medialens who linked to it, shows that the reson why Mandela is getting so deified now is because during his government South Africa was bogged down into the neocon world economy and totally failed to solve the racially disparate poverty inherited from apartheid. Can well remember the serious papers, at the time, reporting about continuing ill-treatment of white employed black farm workers. John Pilger on interviewing him in 1996 on breaking his word on privatisation: .

As Pilger mentions, Mandela portrayed expedient deals with the old white economic elite as part of "reconciliation". And this totally illuminates why the BBC line has been all about how wonderful he was for choosing against "bitternesss" and "revenge". One BBC headline report, which is supposed to be fact not opinion, stated as a fact the opinion that Mandela saved South africa's peaceful outcome this way. All the while, because he is in such media favour, they choose to make no mention of Winnie Mandela and the necklace atrocities in 1986, and how though the Mandelas divorced it was ambiguous whether Nelson ceased to be aligned with her on that and certainly his death announcements treated her as a linked and a perfectly fine figure in the face of that savage history. Same as with Churchill, which this selective deification is similar to, they chose to forget that he had believed in forced sterilisation of the poor and in a lower grading of the races ousted by colonial white societies worldwide.

The fad for talk of reconciliation processes and anti-bitterness propaganda, and the age-old anti-revenge line by the major religions, are about taking away fairness and even its expectation. Their purpose is to acculturate ordinary people into a state of passive fatalism with whatever an unjust course of events has given them, away from expecting feeling any entitlement or claim to redress and the writing of wrongs. It is a way for political elites to avoid bothering with any outstanding injustices at ordinary people level, whenever they dispose of a difficult situation is the quietest life way for themselves that presents.

It is an agenda that threatens us in the Scottish referendum process too. It is the way any anomalies about citizenship, anyone unfairly left out of it, could be ever so gently hushed away by the BBC. It has already started in the media consensus that we should just treat the White Paper as a sketch of ideal wishes none of whose detailed contents are actually committal to anything. Suffer from this? Oh but that's bitterness you see, no no no, gotta have reconciliation, innit? or it will be the same with any deflated hopes felt after a No vote, and when the system clams up to give us no further political reform and reminds us it had always been noncommittal that it would. Oh no don't keep on about this at us, that's bitterness you see, innit, no no no, you had your vote, gotta have reconciliation, now.

That's how the trick will work. Be on guard not to accept it.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

citizen holes?

"Any person who at present is entitled to British citizenship for any reason of Scottish background, will be entitled to Scottish citizenship." - is this the case?

And indeed: "Any person born after 1983 who would have been entitled to it if born before 1983".(When Britain made its rules viciously worse allowing itself to exclude kids born here to non-citizen parents.)

This is the simple statement the Yes campaign needs to make to prevent there being any gaps or loopholes in the description of citizenship in the White Paper. Voters could campaign for this statement, to the Yes campaign and our MSPs of Yes supporting parties. With this on simple statement, any flaws and loopholes anyone finds in the table of proposed citizenship criteria in the White Paper, which you can find at the end of chapter 7, will be automatically solved.

Without this, the campaign could be thrown away by any loophole found. If it was shown that any Scots from the diaspora were going to find it harder to belong to their own country when it is its own state than they are under the Union, bang would go the moral and anti-racist case for statehood which is based so strongly on reacting against the present frightening racist drift in British politics.

The references to parents who qualify for Scottish citizenship are a sloppily worded loophole that badly needs clarifying by making the statement proposed. The table is worded in the present tense, implying the parents qualify now hence are alive now, and if one of the possible qualifiers is to live in Scotland on independence day, then it implies being alive on the day. However, the question what if parents who met all the proposed citizenship critieria at the time of their deaths had died before independence day, is answered in question 379 of the question section at the end of the White Paper. Only when you see that do you see how it removes a danger there would be from reading only the table literally as it is written. For someone who would need their forbear's residence on the day as affecting whether the forbear was a potential citizen, the danger of a loophole is certainly still right in there, for from the wording it is not clear whether a parent who died before the day is considered for which country they were intending to live in on the day, and what if they died before their intended move?

The White Paper's wording suggests the SNP has not listened to anyone or learned anything since it was tripped up by Labour in the 1999 election over defining citizenship in much this way: a Labour broadcast that said, if you move to Newcastle and have a child, will they automatically be a citizen? no, they will have to apply.

The White Paper has messed up here, also in describing as automatic the citizenship of all the non-Scots living around the world with no connection with Scotland who but who chanced to be born here. It is an obvious fact that they will not become citizens against their will of a state they don't live in or want anything to do with. Obviously only if they register their existence will they be citizens. This means in practice the position for them is the same as for Scots born in exile and returning from it through their parents'/grandparents' etc. It is bad that for hastily written rhetorical purposes it has not been worded the same, when sat down and reasoned on it amounts to the same in practice. The White Paper's questions section seems to say it is for an international law reason so that they will be our citizens rather than stateless, but again, logically that should apply the same to both groups.

It is good, though, that the word "register", which means taking up a right, has been used, rather than "apply" which would imply the possibility of a no. But the inconsistent arrangement as described in the White Paper has allowed some of the papers, describing it, to use the word "apply" and frighten voters by it.

A much worse example of racial mischief features in the right wing Spectator's article on the White Paper. Its its list of what it contrives to present as surprise developments, under citizenship it says: "It had been assumed that only those living in Scotland at the time of independence would become citizens of the new Scotland. It has now emerged that Scottish citizenship will be an awful lot wider than that. The White Paper reveals that anybody who was born in Scotland can become a Scottish citizen and have a Scottish passport. Not only that, but all those with a Scottish parent or grandparent could become citizens of the new Scotland too."

"It had been assumed" by who exactly? Only by said Spectator itself. Never has it been suggested at any point in the campaign that Scots living in economic exile who can move back now within the Union would suddenly cease to be able to move back. No national liberation that would be. Only mischievous appealers to the racist vote would conceive the thought.

On the question of whether anybody who was born in Scotland can become a Scottish citizen, rhetoric had always suggested it but the White Paper is cagier than that and is actually CONTRADICTORY! The potential Scottish or British citizenship eligibilities that your parents or grandparents had are involved in the tables of different categories of opportunity to register, including for folks born here. Though it is good that this means the White Paper is at odds with birthplace racism, it would be bad enough to blow the whole Yes campaign apart if loopholes are found that exclude anyone with a background here that could be registered through their birthplace, from citizenship and being able to live here. Hence the need for a simple policy statement as suggested above, to keep the position clear and just. The contradiction is between question 379, which says citizenship by descent would require a parent or grandparent to have been born here, and the table, which does not say that and just says those forbears needed to qualify to be citizens, which could be in other ways than birth.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Vote and seek

On the Scotsman's news page about the White Paper, a unionist commenter has already gone straight for the jugular, and correctly. Quoting: 11. Will an independent Scotland have control over monetary policy?

Day-to-day monetary policy would be decided independently of government by the Bank of England as it is now, taking account of economic conditions across the Sterling Area. The Scottish Government would seek formal input into the governance and remit of the Bank of England.

Effectively: we're bought and sold for English gold, such a parcel of rogues in a nation. An independent state will "seek" formal "input" into the central bank of another state, indeed of the state it has just seceded from. Sadly so ludicrous, and so unionist, it will be remembered all down Scottish history to come as suggesting Alex wants to lose.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

the culture over the water

How was Dundee a candidate to be chosen for UK City of Culture for a date, 2017, when it might not still be in the UK? How was that going to work? How would it have affected our vote, too, to have that anomaly dangling in the ether? No wonder Hull got it.

MEP Alyn Smith's idea that it should now go for EU Capital of Culture will be far more constructive and do practical good. It will be a spot on way to highlight how the EU has to assume continuity of membership for its parts. A way to dispose of the claim that statehood might exclude us from the EU, so that the question of us leaving the EU will rest wholly on No vote and the proposed British referendum.

Thursday, 14 November 2013


See again? We are not gonna get a currency union. The UK has told us that again.

Quite apart from how silly it is to want one, how it's unionist and not real self-government. The Czech Republic and Slovakia tried to have one following their separation in 1993, and it lasted 33 days.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A Scot trapped in exile by a hideous citizenship injustice.

The following page is a link to said professor Jo Shaw's academic questions and thoughts on citizenship, as mentioned last post. But what matters far more than that inconclusive article, is to be found in the comments posted below it. A commenter named "WithoutHeritage" has posted - THAT DESPITE BEING FROM GLASGOW THEY ARE EXCLUDED FROM BRITISH CITIZENSHIP AND HENCE FROM LIVING IN SCOTLAND, BY REASON OF A CHANGE TO CITIZENSHIP RULES THE YEAR BEFORE THEY WERE BORN.

"I can not explain to you how saddening this is. I have struggled with this issue all my life. I loved the land deeply and felt it is where I came to be." "I tried every legal way possible to claim citizenship. I tried using my parents old passports and entry dates( they are not citizens). "

This is an ethnic atrocity. IT IS HORRIBLE.

WHAT ARE BOTH SIDES OFFERING TO DO ABOUT IT? This person, stuck living in the US, supports independence in expectation that it's the Yes side who will take any interest in this. The question is there for both sides.

Monday, 28 October 2013

leaving the gatekeeper.

An "Edinburgh Research Council", first time I've heard of them, and a professor Jo Shaw, have produced some research on the issues around citizenship for a new Scottish state. They want to make a ripple by suggesting it would effectively be the UK instead of Scotland that got to decide who would be a Scottish citizen.

So isn't that an obvious danger from the policy of remaining in the British Isles Common Travel Area? A position the Yes side has too recklessly bound to because Alex fears the unpopularity of having a border control?

But the wider position with the rest of the world makes this counterintuitive. It's right not to want a border control, a barrier between people, a part of the nastiness of global apartheid. Certainly we should say we won't put a border control on by our choice. But how do we minimise border controls and maximise our access links with our diaspora, unless our actions are independentof being dictated by the UK? and by the chilling mounting racism of 2 of its leading parties, and real threat of it leaving the EU? In order not to have border controls dictated to us by them, and barriers put on our diaspora - and by it, exactly as the prof says, treated as not independent! - we need to be willing to pursue a separate line from the UK's even when we know it will result in them slapping a border control onto us.

If we can't get a common travel area with anyone because our own needs, with our own diaspora to retrieve from the oppression of exile, are more open door and liberal than any other country will agree to, then that is what we should do. Better to be an ingathered and enriched pro-migrant people than to be casually able to pop next door. But if we can get compatibility with this openness from the European travel area Schengen, then we will obviously be better off in Schengen than in the British Isles Common Travel Area. Even if England and Ireland slapped border controls onto us, that's 2 countries doing that, in exchange for the gain of having no barriers with 26 countries.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

one of the heard

Alex, if you want this to be the independence generation, you need to make us the HEARD GENERATION. None of whose responses to the consultation stage of your bill get excluded from the record. It's simple. Otherwise, you are telling us you want to go down in history for throwing away the independence generation by not listening to them.

Blair Jenkins leader of the Yes campaign says "If you are sick and fed up of the corrosive and cynical world of Westminster, then next year we can be rid of that." But not of its currency. Rid of the entire way British politics works while still using a currency issued as part of British politics and controlled by it. Everyone can see this is contradictory and a mess up.

When you meet Yes supporters informally, they find Alex's currency union sellout an embarrassment and millstone to them. All the other Yes supporting parties besides the SNP would go for issuing our own Groats. They don't want our spending and budgeting to lie held to ransom by another state that we will have no vote in or influence over. Because they know that is actually less independence not more!! and will find us betrayed and still under the cuts regime they told us we were voting to get rid of.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

the land of hope is poverty

It has been said that unionism, voting No, leads in the polls among the young and this is supposed to be an irony given how the referendum is making a first by lowering the voting age.

How many aged under 25, now threatened by Cameron with cutting off of support when in need, are still going to see the union as a country "sticking together"? From the voice who tells them "the land of hope is Tory"? The land of hope is not sticking together with its mass scapegoated young, is it? He tells them - "think of all we've achieved together" and deaths in a war of occupation that we should not be fighting are actually his own example!!!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

clockwork yellow

The deja vu today is intense, and intensely dismal.

When a referendum goes 2 to 1 for No in the polls, historically that means the jinx has struck again of uncertain voters running for the emotionally easy option of caution. This is just like 6 weeks before poll for AV in 2011, after the Yes campaign disastrously neglected touse the power they had, to mailshot the country with info against their opponents' claims that played on public uncertainty towards the unfamiliar.

It feels the same spectacle, like clockwork, and historically these moments tend not to get turned round. But yes there is an obvious difference in this case, that there is a whole year left to go. That way there is still time for situational shift and mood shift. But when voters have turned cautious, they are fearful, and they won't be reached by jaunty dreamy optimism, they will need a fear jolt in the other direction, a reason to fear the status quo. Screamworthily even the bedroom tax does not yet seem to be giving them that jolt.

From now until anything changes or until the No win has happened, it's a wake for a chance of great reform thrown away, by the controlling political culture of choosing to filter what they got in from the public and select not to put all the reform issues into public record. They can still revers that choice, but Salmond won't, will he? He would rather be remembered in history as sending his own dreams down the plughole, than have democracy unfiltered and all wrongs necessarily made known and dealt with.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

within snatching distance

There you are, Yes folks. Henry McLeish, one of our former Labour Prime Ministers

-let's call 'em that, none of this "First Minister" artificiality, after all Northern Ireland had Prime Ministers 1921-72 -

still as yet a No voter himself, says Yes is still winnable. Wrote it in the Scotsman. For all the stated practical reasons of keeping a socially just line on social services and staying in the EU, that you tell us is what you want to win it for. As good as concedes the Yes case, straight after that naff American pollster was calling its defeat. The No case is not inspiring anyone.

The Yes case is not inspiring anyone either. Leave it as it is, you will miss the chance McLeish has conceded you have. Stop compromising with the tabloids and make the campaign more participative, use the items folks sent in to your consultations instead of going with the British level's keeping them unpublicised, then folks could trust you, then you could snatch back your chances.

No-brainer. Always has been.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

While Peru becomes court change, what says the Scottish govt about it for a Scot abroad?

Gordon Wilson had been saying the Yes campaign is soulless, again. It's the result of it not wanting to say anything new and outside the carefully filtered range of ideas that the political class comfortably tolerates for itself. That is what they care more strongly about than actual statehood. No new content, no acknowledging that the court change exists, no inspiration to reopen the homeland to all the diaspora, means no inspired public. That will be their place in history, they created this moment and just offered same-old.

At this moment, silence on the court change means silence towards a Scot in trouble abroad, and towards all the parents worried for their own young adults travelling to the same places. Ibiza belongs to Spain, and like us, Spain belongs to the Council of Europe, whose member countries are where the court change began. The first to be made court change by the item of corrupted practice by the European Court of Human Rights, in making a factually impossible decision and calling it final, that created the court change in 1999.Full write-up explaining the court change has long been on this blog, here It abolishes final decisions, which makes all court decisions open endedly faultable on their reasoning, including for being corrupted. So the court change applies to the present case of Melissa Reid from Scotland and Michaella McCollum.

They have a pressing humanitarian need for it to become publicly known, so that it can be used to actually scrutinise all worries over the handling of their case and be used to challenge any bad standards in it. But are our Scottish government and Yes campaign going to do this? Or our British government and No campaign, either? Many folks before them have had a pressing humanitarian need too, but have not had the court change publicised for them: including shockingly many asylum deportees from Britain, and including the folks deported to the US a year ago labelled as terror suspects after a deficient process at the ECHR.

Reid and McCollum's case extends the court change to another country, Peru. It may be our media's fault that I had never before found a case that extended it to Peru, which has been a very late reached country, and that in fact there is a much earlier case that does it: but until we discover that, at least their case does it and the people of Peru now have claim that the court change applies in their country. When a legal case overlaps between a country that has the court change and another country, the court change causes the case's content to be open endedly faultable and not final. This forces each country involved in the case to deal with open endedness. So for those countries that were not yet court change until the case happened, open ended non-final case content, hence case outcome too, is created in their legal system. THEY BECOME COURT CHANGE TOO. It is a brilliant opportunity that this lets folks all over the world help each other to get a massive advance of democracy in their countries. It just needs to be widely enough realised.

Because Reid and Connolly's case overlaps between Spain, which is court change, and Peru, it makes Peru court change too.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

overall impact of the benefit changes

This is circulated by Liam Byrne the shadow minister for work and pensions, seeking for folks to ask their MPs, of any party, to support a British parliamentary vote for a study of the total effect all the benefit changes combined. Not just of each single change in isolation, which can always be made to sound less. Some of the impact comes from combined effects. Remember absurdly, this is about the system we now face keeping until 2019 or beyond after independence, too!:

After more than 3 years in power, it’s time for this government to finally come clean and tell us exactly what impact their changes will have on the lives of disabled people and their carers.

So on Wednesday 10 July, Labour will drag ministers to the House of Commons to debate the changes they have made that affect disabled people, and at about 16:00 we will force a vote to demand a Cumulative Impact Assessment by Oct 2013 at the latest – and we will be calling on MPs from across the House to support it.

I am asking supporters to help build pressure on the government in 3 ways:
  • Write to your MP and ask them to back the motion
  • Write to your local paper and explain why we urgently need a cumulative impact assessment
  • Tweet your support using #MakeRightsReality – here’s the link to the motion (
This government is failing to support our disabled people. It’s time for Ministers to come clean, admit where they are getting things wrong and change course.

Please share this page with anyone who might be interested.

Here’s the motion in full: “That this House believes that the Government should publish a cumulative impact assessment of the changes made by this Government that affect disabled people (to be published by Oct 2013).”

Monday, 17 June 2013

Yes the united savages

Jim Sillars fought the SNP from a labour inclined angle in the 70s, then became Salmond's deputy in the 90s. Now he is quick to voice common sense, that proposing to be a separate state that still shares the British benefits system is nuts, change with no change at a time when the Yes idea's most practical voter appeal is against the British savage policy on cuts and austerity. It's just right. Nothing needs adding to the Scotsman's story. It could be the item that blows any chance of a Yes vote.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Be part of silly

Gordon Bennett. Just blimey and gasps. When is SNP unionism ever going to stop?

The lagging polls show folks already need more imaginative inspiring motivating to vote Yes than they are getting. The campaign has already made itself sound silly with the whole palaver of we are going to keep a currency union with the country seceded from, on demand and even though they say they won't agree to it. The strongest reason the Yes folks have held onto, have not toed the British line on, have kept rightly telling us is where there could be a big difference to be gained from going our own way, has been on social conscience standards of welfare and escape from the British austerity agenda.

The reason why real folks in Scotland have to continue to suffer trashed disability benefits, unemployment sanctions lasting 3 years, the bedroom tax, and pension worries, for over a year to come, has always been so that we will be convinced to vote against continuing to suffer them. (Hasn't it?)

And now, when we are already in the middle of a mood of hollow scepticism that independence is really intended to mean it at all - Sturgeon turns round and accepts a naff proposal, FROM HER GOVERNMENT'S OWN ADVISORY GROUP EVEN, that we should stay in a union of welfare systems with Tory Britain for a so-called "transitional period" whose length is not even defined, that is open ended. A Guardian story places it at at least to 2019 !!! where it far exceeds the Cameron government's full term so still inflicts its whole austerity programme on us. Through it, we would still get the social wrongs that most practically of all we are being asked to vote against still getting.

Silly silly silly. Who conceivably has been increased in belief in the whole Yes offer by this? In the Scottish National Party having the confidence to separate our state from the British state, which is supposed to be the whole point innit? "Be part of better", they told us. The Silly No Party, who just want to throw every last strand of our statehood away!!

See, folks might conclude this is a handy way for the SNP to make sure they can keep us neocon, the same as every major party wants to do. Just the same as Labour about this. So what do the other Yes supporting parties have to say? Are they going to be part of silly?

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Not time to call time yet

There would be no need for Gordon Wilson to say the vote is already lost, and there would be no need for opinion polled 16 year olds to turn out to be No supporters, if Salmond was willing to open the campaign to answering all the items that ordinary Scots want to bring up in it.

Like on our new state being open to zionist return from the diaspora. Showing a connection with the ordinary life level of how all Scots worldwide shall have access to making a new fair progressive Scottish community and living it. Not by Salmond's ever so controlling campaign strategy totally opposite to that, of avoiding opening any new issues to the uncertainty of public dialogue and of saying nearly everything will remain so identical to under the union as creates a mood of why bother.

He is blowing it, simply by being one of the political class who want to keep politics consisting only of a narrow controlled range of issues and views and discouraging all new thoughts. That's why he is blowing his great moment. What a legacy.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Brand new idea: to do without the union ;)

If the UK is not going to enter a currency union at the demand of and convenience of a country seceding from it, and for purposes of controlling that country's budgetary policy more closely than before it seceded and with less accountability -

[1] Who is surprised? The same folks as as are not making constructive wise decisions to pay folks their benefits are hardly going to make a constructive wise decision take on currency support for a foreign country.

[2] Now, reasonably, we can have a nice enlightened pro-immigration policy free from the constraints of being in a travel area union with the UK either. So Scottish National Party will you now give your nation's diaspora that? You have made a moral campaign argument out of our needs differing with the UK's ugly right wing agenda towards its borders and barriers. Do you want history to remember you keeping them up against our own disapora of our history of an ethnic injustice of their clearances and dispersal?

Monday, 15 April 2013

Fallout of fall

Look to the autumn for the ref's biggest question. We know that now from the Scotland On Sunday. It has told us that is when a white paper is coming on the post-independence policy for citizenship. Whether a Scottish state will be there for our people's diaspora, the descendants of a deportation atrocity whose presence out in diaspora is a past wrong's present result.

This has not yet featured enough in the campaign, because they say, rightly it feels, the Yes side's reading of public mood on it it uncertain. But there is ethnic justice in this, for a wronged dispersed people. Scots living at home are a minority of under 20% of our whole people, so their public mood is not entitled to reject most of their own kin from their own land. Which way our state's founders want to be remembered in history on this, particularly in every place where the diaspora still suffer in present pain from a past wrong, swings more strongly than any other item whether it is right to vote for our state at all.

There remains plenty of time and prospect for campaign scrutiny to turn onto this.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

What to party for?

The partiers in Glasgow are right emotionally but they miss the point. We all pop our clogs, and unlike many folks, including for reasons of avoidable economic hardship under all governments in the neocon era she started, Thatcher lived to a full age anyone would be well satisfied with. That was a win for her. It is hardly a circumstance of death that there is anything in to celebrate. What's more, she took her leave of us with the huge satisfaction of being surrounded by disability welfare cuts and the media tough-talking us through a major depression, pushing the line that austerity is necessary and still on her side over economics even after the crash of 2008.

They are not pushing the voices who remind us that this is contrary to history and has a history of not working, which we are repeating. They only occasionally get heard buried long into the most serious radio current affairs slots when only the most intelligent and politically caring listeners are still istening, when the audience is lowest. Her death with neocon ideas still ruling and still pushed with a heavy hand by the tabloids, takes away the possibility that she would ever have to answer to the neocon system's end and a full properly complete exposing of all its human costs. That is a loss, not a gain. There would have been value against her ideas in her continued life until the neocon consensus ever ends.

The clear rebuttal to all the hard left voices whose regrets for her survival have gone as far as to sound sympathetic to terrorism, is that if she had been assassinated her ghost and supporters could always claim she would have gone on successfully for as long as she wished and never have fallen. Far better was scored against her ideas by her living to fall as she did at her own party's hands in 1990. Further to which, we all have our safety very ill served by those morally unscrupulous leading media voices who wrongly give the murder of Ian Gow any credit towards Thatcher's fall because they don't want ordinary people in the form of the anti-poll tax campaign to be seen to have achieved anything. Those media voices should be pursued criminally by the powers against encouraging terrorism.

We must not be conned by Salmond to read voting Yes as a vote against the neocon path originating from Thatcher. Without anywhere near enough public attention on it, he is sneaking in a measure against civil liberties that she never did, a charge for criminal defence even when you come out innocent. From his side too comes the tragedy of Thatcher's send off being the whole political class hammering us with money injustices. This measure of justice regression by Macaskill totally takes away the prospect that independence would end that.

At a time of austerity and with new measures against disability benefit starting from the same day as Thatcher died, there will be a public spending of £5 million on her funeral. Some very sensible folks have already pointed out that her biggest fans could afford to pay for this privately and her funeral should be privatised. If it angers you, contrast it not only with the British economic policy but with Macaskill undermining your democratic liberties and securities in pursuit of saving less than the political class routinely accept should be spent on Thatcher's funeral.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

the court change reaches Central Africa

Another update on the court change.

The Central African Republic accuses Chad of an intervention a role in causing a coup there. Because that is a cross border legal dispute that overlaps between Chad and the CAR, and because the court change is already claimable by the people of Chad, this is all it takes to establish that the court change now applies to the CAR too. This is how easily folks all over the world can help each other to get the court change.

Yes this does have something abstractly to do with Scotland: the question why don't we fear independence leading to a political culture where coups can happen? if that is what happened when new states were created in Africa without a bedded in deterrent balance of estates of power to fix democracy in place. It has to do with interdependence, with all Europe's multi-country institutions and our interests tied in to them, that have worked for all the countries to keep each other democratic. Made democracy stick in Germany, where it had only ever had one terribly economically flopped 13 year period of democracy before its present state was set up in 1949, and that was all East Germany had ever had before 1990. Made it stick in Greece which had a coup as recently as 1967, in Spain which had a coup attempt as recently as 1981, with no more such events since they have been in the EU. Slovakia went in an authoritarian direction after its independence in 1993 and was pulled back again when it was pulled into having interests in joining the EU in 2004.

On neither side of our referendum is the picture comfortable or safe. We are being asked to be all light heartedly feelgood over our future at a time of the most heightened starkness since the European institutions have been around that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. We are being asked to vote Yes by a Scottish government capable of introducing a charge for criminal defence even when it confirms your innocence, we are being asked to vote No by a British government talking of withdrawal from the whole European Convention on Human Rights. It's the way the British level political culture has swung, into racism and manipulated anti-European feeling calculated to make society more authoritarian, that is by far the more dangerous and worth avoiding course at present. The more of a referendum issue can be made out of the contrast, and out of Scotland intending to stay anchored to structures of interdependence that make it difficult for countries to dump democracy, the more the Yes side can be grilled on the criminal defence costs policy's total contradiction of the best looking reason at present for voting Yes.

Friday, 22 March 2013

It's your future innit? Is it?

As was bound to happpen with any voting date announced far in advance with any fixed age limit on the vote, the young, the future, whose mood the Yes campaign want to lift and appeal to, find themselves or their friends excluded from a historic event, life scarringly narrowly, by chance of birth. Even with votes at 16 that is still the case. A case of turning 16 2 days after the now announced polling day of 18 Sep 2014 featured on Radio Scotland's current affairs phone-in this morning.

If you decide fear of ribaldry is what matters most to you, if you decide the knee jerk prejudice of adults with secure lives actually carries the day against including the whole country in this event, then the trauma for the rest of their lives for young Scots who lived through this referendum very narrowly too young to vote in it will also for the rest of history be what you did to the generation whose futures this vote swung. The only way not to do that it to follow the education reformer John Holt's model that each young person taking up voting and joins the register when they personally feel so ready and inclined.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

A court change regulated blogger

There is this question, the news commentators could never make up their minds on this week, whether blogs will be subject to the same penalties as the press if we choose not to join the new press regulation system then we harm anyone. The question applying separately to the separate system Scotland will have anyway.

Censored Scottish Referendum wants to sign up to the system if the body running the system acknowledges that the the court change is real and will apply to everything the system does.

Making this enquiry about joining the system is a good way to get the court change acknowledeged to exist. To stop public bodies evading saying anything about the court change and evading having to say the court change exists. Any press regulation system is about legal conflicts so the court change automatically is directly relevant to it, and to what any blog signing up to the system is joining. So the enquiry can't go unanswered, or else that is grounds to be loudly tumpeted not to sign up to the system. So they have to take a position ion the merits of them reasons why the court change exists.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Explain why don't we have to get out to stay in?

Tony Blair today says independence is bad for the same reasons as leaving the EU is bad. Cutting ourselves off into a small bubble instead of being cushioned by belonging to a bigger whole in an era when economics works on the big scale. Okay, follow his own reasoning?

What happens in the event that Britain chooses not to listen to him and continues its anti-EU drift that has so swiftly accelerated to such a serious scale that nobody expected. We will see Britain heading for the separatist choice, and largely for racist reasons that will make it a very ugly scenario for many of our continental friends who live here and have important places in our lives. Already it includes right wing moves against the principle of human rights. Then exactly in order to choose against separation we would have to choose to separate from Britain. In order to follow Blair's advice on the EU and stay in that European bigger whole, we would have to leave the British bigger whole, so as not to be included in its leaving of the EU?

With the 2 decisions forced on us in the wrong order, the Scottish decisison happening before the British EU decisison and not informed by its result but forced to gamble on what it will be, won't it be a safer way of following Blair's own reasoning that we separate from Britain for fear of it separating from Europe, and we seize on the support of figures like Blair for the desirability of not shrinking the EU, to use in fighting our way back into it if we get the accession problems the unionists are having us threatened with? Blair obviously would not say it was bad that smaller countries, Slovenia, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, separated out from the former bigger unions of Yugoslavia or the Soviet Union, and have joined the bigger EU instead contributing to its expansion, before it was possible for them to bring the whole of the unions they left into the EU. Scotland will be in exactly the same moral position if we buck a very nastily anti-democratic swing to Euro-hate by Britain.

This surely is the only really strong argument the Yes side can use to climb out of the hole the SNP's secret economic nerves have put them in, also today! It means being strong on human rights to differentiate from, and to raise clear alarm against, the way England is turning. But that will only work if it overturns the SNP's own eagerness to attack human rights arm in arm with the Tories, if the Yes side disown and cease to be burdened by Macaskill making you pay for a court defence when charged with a crime. Otherwise, being part of big or small wholes ain't what it's about at all. Survival of free society and getting out of the hole that both sides at once have thrown our civil liberties into, will be the primary item to vote on.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Safe in whose hands?

We may be driven to independence no matter how badly the SNP treats us in the process and hushes up ordinary people's unrecognised needs from getting heard in the Yes campaign or in the published contributions to its consultations. As Sturgeon is now well saying, and she is onto something, we may need to escape from belonging to Britain and become a place of refuge for the fair minded English too, as English politics swings further to the right than has been possible in the human rights era.

Today the Mail On Sunday claims an anti-European campaign success as it reports an apparent Tory policy pledge by Theresa May to leave the European Convention on Human Rights.

An illegal obstruction of justice will be committed, and widely witnessed, BY HUMAN RIGHTS' SUPPORTERS AND DEFENDERS !!! - mark that !!! - if they let a leaving of the convention happen without exposing and publicising the court change.

Thanks to the court change, there is open ended non-final court case content in both Scottish and English law. As that open ended case content will always be there, it is irreversible. So the court change itself is an irreversible progressive advance in liberty. Britain was one of the Convention member countries brought under the court change when European Court of Human Rights case 41597/98 brought the court change into existence, in 1999. So originally it was because we belong to the Convention that we got the court change. But BECAUSE THE COURT CHANGE IS IRREVERSIBLE, BECAUSE OPEN ENDED NON-FINAL CASE CONTENT STAYS IN OUR LEGAL SYSTEMS NOW IT IS THERE, WE WILL NOT LOSE THE COURT CHANGE IF WE LEAVE ECHR.

The court change will still exist and it may be our only barrier to the social repressions and danger to democracy that would follow leaving the Convention and would ride on any political current capable of leaving the Convention.

All progressives now contemplate the blood you can anticipate will be on your hands unless you now get off the fence and directly committally acknowledge on open record that the court change is there and needs to be used.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Due protection of the law under neither choice

Today's Daily Express front page, with its usual racist glee, delights in having Cameron float to them a policy to cut availability of legal aid to immigrants. Perfectly legal immigrants including EU citizens who are entitled to be here as citizens. Indeed testing the water of explicitly going against that principle, through an anti-EU paper. It is obviously a beginning of campaigning for the EU referendum on a basis of competing racism.

Thanks to the fight for semi-federalism in Britain being already won in 1997, Cameron's threatened measure would only apply to England. Salmond But in Scotland we already have in parallel with this Macaskill's flagrantly sinister cutback to free criminal defence, for all of us, and putting that under legal aid limits. Which no media are running with as an issue against the Yes campaign here.

Instead of voting for hope or positive new futures, we face voting between 2 options of statehood both offering breach of the human rights standard of access to law, and to put a money power in the way of all justice for society's victims. Both our Yes and No options are offered through, both sides come from, a political class making these core undemocratic moves, that endanger us all, syncrhonised at at the same time.

Now who are the tartan Tories Alex?

Thursday, 14 February 2013


Not a Scottish item, but relevantly to it an update on the court change. A radio news report on police work in Tajikistan including pursuit of hundreds of actual court cases, against cross border drug trafficking from Afghanistan, is enough to establish that the court change applies to Tajikistan. All it took to establish this was the cases' country overlaps with Afghanistan and that the court change already applies there. This is how easily folks all over the world can help each other to get the court change.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Chaos in a snapshot

Today's Scotsman is a complete snapshot of all the contradictory issues in collision, the whole smorgasbord of messing with we are getting from both sides.

"Salmond seizes high ground on welfare reform" its editorial says. Going for a campaign issue complete with mailshots to households, out of the welfare cuts process at British level. Going for the progressive consensus he keeps claiming exists in Scotland since the Tories ruined themselves here on constituional rather than welfare issues, and on the day when said fair minds will be alarmed by a result has been announced from the purge of Incapacity Benefit, when a third of its claimants have been pushed out of the benefits system into visibly much more precariously uncertain lives in the middle of a depression.

Intended message being - vote Yes if you have a conscience about benefits or a fear of being affected personally by their deconstruction. Yet news on the same day - the same day!! who managed that?!! - is that Salmond's government has passed the first stage of its undemocratic morally sinister Criminal Legal Assistance Bill, abolishing such a human rights basic as free legal defence against criminal charges, making criminal defence paid for. Even a proposal to refund the charge if you are found innocent got thrown out. Macaskill said it would make folks doubt the innocence of folks for whom the court decided not to refund it. But why would the court be given any power to decide that at all? That was not explained in the story.

Why was the story on this located under ordinary home news and away from the pages of referendum coverage? Do we have an elite wanting it not to become a referendum issue? After all, many lawyers and even the Edinburgh Bar Association were outside parliament demonstrating against the measure. As Salmond says vote Yes to protect the benefits system from getting destroyed, had he even noticed that the news on the same day said vote No to avoid living in a state to be founded with no tradition of a benefit of legal defence, where to suffer undeserved accusation of crime shall actually cost you money?

Who trusts a government capable of passing such a basic attack on human rights, with the human rights standards of a newly founded separate state?

This follows after Salmond's other recent show of ever so healthy ethics towards a question of law, his booboo on EU membership. This has affected the campaign oppositely than he wished. On the same day, in the same paper, a Labour No columnist, Brian Wilson, tells us that 60% of voters now appreciate that new state EU membership is not a bagged certainty, not "automatic" at all.

But what is the point of telling us that with the British EU referendum of 2017 hanging over us? Unless you can find a way to bring down the coalition and regain British government before the 2014 referendum and cancel the 2017 one, and be willing to cancel it despite its popularity with the racist vote? Assuming that hopeful scenario ain't in the offing and we are still stuck with these 2 votes in the wrong order, how you do even make a start on decide your vote by how to keep us in the EU when your vote is already being chaotically pulled opposite ways by the questions of how to protect our civil liberties and our benefits system?

How does a country with a progressive consensus end up with such an agonising and mucked up historic vote where there is no obvious progressive way to vote and either way will do nasty things to us? The civil liberty message to vote No has become, for safety in ordinary life, a pressingly urgent rival to the welfare message to vote Yes. While the EU membership message is no longer to vote Yes but may not yet be to vote No either. Who ever foresaw this scale of mess up?

Friday, 18 January 2013

Great, but great-great?

The referendum's most morally important issue has at last surfaced in the news, here in the Herald yesterday and it has an inconspicuous short item on an inside page of today's Times. It has never been top of the Scottish media's agenda are spinning totally the wrong agenda and can be supposed not to care a fig about the majority of all Scots in the world the diaspora.

Salmond has told a TV channel in New Zealand, at last, it has taken long enough, that our new state would have an increased openness to citizenship entitlement for the diaspora, than is the case now in the union. That they would copy a model used already by the Irish Republic, extending to great-grandchildren. Even the Herald article has a racist slip-up in its wording on this, it refers to great-grandparents who were Irish. Yet the measure's obvious point is that all the descendants are Irish too. To word it such as suggests the 2 diasporas are not actually Irish or Scottish is of course to oppress them.

Great-grandparents is still far from enough generations to embrace all the descendants of the clearances. Do we want a referendum where both sides' position is genocidal? That would make its result's international validity questionable, and it is what will happen if neither side gives citizenship to all the diaspora who identify as Scottish unto perpetual generations, specially including all the descendants of the clearances.

Thursday, 10 January 2013


2018 they say today is when Cameron would hold a British EU referendum.

Is that 5 years of relief or of intolerable uncertainty for our European friends here?

It is a total spoiler for the Scottish referendum, where to make an informed vote we need to know the EU vote's result first. Having them the wrong way round makes the Scottish voter a gamble, voting either way. With voting Yes the gamble is how much trouble Spain can make for us in the EU, it is with voting No that the gamble is worse: which way will Britain then go? Perhaps expecting that a No vote is more popular at present, it will manipulate us, to blunder into ending up going with a British nasty tabloid racist vote to leave the EU, instead of having the chance not to make that choice.