The following letter has been sent to all papers published in Scotland. JOE
Joseph Peter Middleton
England has treated Wales with contempt for far too long. Not only are the British Government still refusing Wales a Scottish level of devolutionary powers but suddenly Wales requires a further 'are you sure' referendum if such a decision is made in the future!
The new Welsh 'adjusted devolution' bill offers slightly more powers but with a very disturbing caveat, Labour have fixed the PR system for Wales to improve their own chances!
Suddenly no candidate will be allowed to stand in both the list and FPTP elements, thereby avoiding a fair fight between Labour and Plaid Cymru. Expect this for Scotland next school term unless we take urgent action.
The very idea that somehow Wales deserves less powers than Scotland is completely absurd. Like Scotland, Wales is a nation and she has the same rights under international law to independence that Scotland has.
Thankfully it now looks like Wales is going to deliver her own answer to the devolution question! A poll a few days ago by a Welsh Sunday paper shows an absolute majority for independence of 52%! This follows a whole series of polls showing similar results in Scotland.
As the British imperialist state looks like drawing to a close, it is now perhaps appropriate to consider what it actually was.
The British Empire could be easily likened to a Vampire. It has survived by literally sucking the lifes blood and resources of other countries who it 'colonised' or more accurately 'controlled' through it's past military might. Luckily most have seem through it's disguises and have forcably (and democratically) rejected it's advances.
In reality the Empire is stone dead however it survives as an invisible phantom in the imagination of our Prime Minister King Tony the first and his royal courtiers whose powers he upsurps to award his wee rich cronies with blood stained 'honours' and membership to an absurd fraternity of British imperial fantasists. Who really wants to me a member of a non-existant empire?
Perhaps the sobriquet 'Sir' should stand for Still Insane Really!
England as a country has sucked billions of oil from Scotland while claiming, in Orwellian fashion, that Scotland is actually bleeding it dry. This lie is repeated so often that even the English themselves now appear to believe it along with the more gullible of our fellow Scots.
In truth Wales and Scotland are rich nations with a valuable and distinctive contribution to make to the world as free and independent sovereign states. No matter how many drug filled crumbs are thrown in our direction and no matter how many lies are told, we have the absolute right to rule ourselves.
Britain will find that out next year. A stake will be driven through it's heart and England will emerge to equality with it's brother nations and the reality of the normality that all deserve but none need to surpass.
Blair and Cameron offer a future hanging onto America's new bloody imperial coat tails, that is no realistic future for anyone and we need to end their control over Scotland to stop it. There is one sure way to stop English Conservatism and pseudo Conservatism and that way is independence.
Both Scotland and Wales are wakening up to that easy option no matter how much our respective 'national' papers avoid it.
Monday, July 31, 2006
The following letter has been sent to all papers published in Scotland. JOE
THE current international crisis is unavoidable when there are at least two countries in the United Nations who consistently ignore international law. Israel seems to imagine it can bomb civilians, journalists and even official UN representatives with impunity.
This arrogance can be traced back as the large end of the wedge to its decision to assassinate suspected terrorists without any attempt to bring them to trial. This has now been extended to anyone and everyone who lives outside their borders.
Britain's silence on this issue and many others, and the Bush administration's torture of suspects in Cuba without regard to the Geneva Convention are actions which have embarrassed the whole international community and made absurd the idea of international human rights.
If certain countries can completely ignore international law then what is the point of the United Nations? If Britain backs every move by the US and Israel, no matter what its legality, then what is the point of Scotland being represented by Britain?
In Scotland most people would not agree with the US interfering in the Middle East. We would not agree with a carte blanche approach to Israel, and most people would want an immediate end to these unnecessary and illegal hostilities.
Unfortunately, it is quite obvious that Scotland's distinctive international voice will never be heard as long as it is tied up with the US's client state in Europe, the UK and the supine figures of Tony Blair, or his doppelganger David Cameron.
It's time for independence and it's time for our own voice to be heard on the international stage.
Joe Middleton, Wardieburn Place South, Edinburgh
This article: http://news.scotsman.com/opinion.cfm?id=1101322006
Posted by Joe Middleton at 12:31 PM
R. Eric Swanepoel the author of 'Saving the World and Being Happy' has told a meeting of Scottish independence activists that the newspaper proprietor Rupert Murdoch is a 'massive threat' to democracy throughout the world.
Mr Swanepoel addressed an Edinburgh branch meeting of Independence First, the referendum campaign www.independence1st.com and called for an immediate boycott of the Scottish Sun newspaper.
He said "the press in Britain is largely owned by a right-wing asylum-seeker-bashing, hypocritical, foreign-based, war-mongering, tax-dodging, non-UK citizen."
He added "the government eagerly barks and wags its tail at the behest of a fundamentalist war-mongering bigot, whose only interests are those of the world's super-rich."
"It's time to hit him where it hurts, in his pocket, by putting the Sun in the bucket where it belongs! The Suns adverts like to pretend that 'we love it' but I hate it and I'm not alone. Join this boycott and help bring freedom back to the world's press."
Learn more about the campaign here: http://hometown.aol.co.uk/rericswan/essay.html
Posted by Joe Middleton at 12:06 PM
WELSH voters are pleased with the new powers handed to the National Assembly - but more than half want it to be a stepping stone to independence, a poll by a Welsh Newspaper has revealed.
Seven years after the establishment of the Assembly, 70 per cent of Welsh people say they are happy with the new law-making powers signed off last week.
But 52 per cent of those polled think it is time to break from the Union - suggesting the new powers are viewed as a stop-gap with full independence the real goal. In the poll, a quarter were unhappy with the Government of Wales Act with five per cent unsure. Forty-six per cent were against Welsh independence and two per cent said they did not know.
The Act, passed last week after opposition Lords backed down, gives the Assembly the power to draw up its own laws for the first time - provided Westminster agrees first. A Scottish-style Parliament could be created after a referendum, which will happen if two-thirds of AMs and a majority of MPs want one.
After having the powers explained to them, a large majority of those polled say it was the right move. But more than half still said they wanted independence altogether.
Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said: "It is much higher than any figure we've had in the past. It does show a more general trend towards people becoming more confident about themselves. Whether people actually support everything that independence stands for I don't know, but I do think people are more prepared to consider making decisions for themselves. What is fairly obvious is there is much greater support for moving the Assembly forward.
"If you ask people whether they are happy with the performance of the Assembly Government they'd say no, but they also don't want to go back to the days of pre-devolution. It's, 'Let's make it work, let's make it stronger.'"
Joe Middleton, creator of the Scottish Independence Guide www.scottishindependence.com commented "This is fantastic news. It's time for both Wales and Scotland to leave the union and pursue their own destiny as free and independent nations."
A total of 420 respondents were interviewed on the telephone on behalf of Wales on Sunday.
Posted by Joe Middleton at 11:52 AM
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Note that 'the (English) Socialist party' has been currently supposedly 'supporting' Sheridan but the evidence is here that they fell out a long time ago and over the specific question of organising effectively in Scotland.
Here's a press release from the CWI (16/01/2001) which I found on the google newsgroups service:
Committee for a Workers 'International
Phone 0208 988 8760 Scotland 01382 833759
Tommy Sheridan breaks from CWI -the socialist international
The CWI is the international organisation whose affiliates include the Socialist Party, successor to Militant in Britain. We have MPs and councillors in England, Ireland North and South, Sweden and Kazakhstan among others. The Committee for a Workers ' International organises in over 30 countries across the world. We are a Marxist international that is fighting to build the ideas of socialism in every corner of the globe. We stand for the establishment of a mass workers international party that can play a leading role in the struggle against capitalism and imperialism.
After a long period of debate exposed growing differences, Tommy Sheridan and other leading members of the Scottish Socialist Party have left their international organisation, the Committee for a Workers 'International (CWI).
These differences included: - The nature of the Scottish Socialist Party and the need for a Marxist organisation within it. - The character of Cuba, where Tommy Sheridan has defended a neo-Stalinist position. - The need to retain an internationalist view of the struggle for socialism. - Democratic rights in the Scottish Socialist Party.
Scottish Militant Labour (SML) was the Scottish section of the CWI. We were the main component of the Scottish Socialist Party when it was established in 1998. Tommy Sheridan, alongside many other members of SML, and Militant in England and Wales, played a key role in the defeat of the Poll Tax and the subsequent removal of Margaret Thatcher from power.
During the 1990s we have consistently stood for the building of new mass parties to represent working class people after the betrayals of the former "Labour" and "Communist" parties. The SSP can represent an important step in that process.
One of the key principles that SML and the CWI were based on was the need to maintain and strengthen the forces of Marxism, in its modern expression, Trotskyism. (In other words, entryism, saying one thing while doing another - JOE) It is this task that Tommy Sheridan and the others who have left the CWI have rejected. They have produced a statement which commented about the CWI: "The model (of building a Trotskyist international) they tried to apply is obsolete, if indeed it was ever a credible project". The rejection of this concept has led to leading members of the SSP, who were longstanding members of the CWI, to break from long held positions that we have defended.
On Cuba, the CWI has been critical that the SSP and Tommy Sheridan have described Cuba as a socialist country, which we do not accept. We believe this is putting forward a neo-Stalinist position. We defend the tremendous gains of the Cuban revolution in health care, literacy and education but given the lack of democracy within Cuba, this does not equate with socialism, where democracy and working class involvement in the running of society and the economy is essential.
(on this point I agree! JOE)
The CWI is opposed to what we see is a tendency by our former members to seek a national view of how socialism could be achieved rather than an international view. This has led, we believe, to our former members not arguing for a socialist confederation or alliance between an independent socialist Scotland and a socialist England, Wales and Ireland. The CWI believes it is vital that socialists in Scotland make it clear that we would seek to link up on a voluntary basis with a socialist England, which can help to cut across anti-English moods as they develop in Scotland.
(In other words an orientation to 'all British' campaigning must be maintained - JOE)
We were extremely worried to read Tommy Sheridan's comments in The Observer (13th August 2000) when he hinted that SSP MSPs would be prepared to back an SNP administration in the Scottish Parliament. We believe it would be impermissible for socialists to either formally enter an SNP-led coalition, or back it from the outside, given the pro-capitalist and nationalist policies of the SNP.
(Here's the rub then, Tommy planned to link up with his fellow Scottish independence supporters! There is in reality no other option if the SSP are serious about independence. JOE)
Democracy in the SSP
We were shocked and dismayed that our, now former, members in the leadership of the SSP have proposed "guidelines" for that party which would preclude the right of organised trends within the SSP to produce public material, sell public journals, etc. These guidelines argue that organised platforms should "not act as a party within a party". This is exactly the language that our opponents used to justify our expulsion from the Labour Party in the past. Ironically, it is our now ex-members who are proposing these guidelines, when they themselves were expelled and disciplined as members of the Militant, for defending our right to promote our ideas both inside and outside the Labour Party.
(This has been a significant problem for the SSP for some time, if Sheridan was planning this then it would have improved the credibility of the party. JOE)
Founding members of Scottish Militant Labour such as Ronnie Stevenson (Glasgow) and Philip Stott (Dundee), as well as a number of members who are key activists in the EIS, UNISON and the RMT in Scotland will remain as members and supporters of the CWI.
The general election parliamentary candidates for the SSP in Dundee East (Harvey Duke), Dundee West (Jim McFarlane), Kirkcaldy (Kenny McLeod), as well as others to be announced, will remain members of the CWI. Joe Higgins, Socialist Party of Ireland TD in the Irish Parliament, and Dave Nellist, former Labour MP and now socialist councillor in Coventry, both CWI members, are implacably opposed to the course of action that Tommy and the other SSP leaders have taken.
Peter Taaffe, founding member of the CWI, said: "We regret Tommy Sheridan's and other long standing members 'departure from the CWI. Nevertheless, we still have many members in Scotland who have a long track record of building socialist ideas who have remained loyal to the CWI and their own traditions."
Philip Stott, spokesperson for the CWI in Scotland, said: "The CWI in Scotland will be active participants in the work to build the Scottish Socialist Party into what we hope will be a mass force in Scotland. At the same time we will fight to ensure that the party is led with a clearly socialist and internationalist programme and leadership. We believe that the CWI, its ideas, analysis and campaigning record internationally will play a decisive role in that task."
Posted by Joe Middleton at 9:48 AM
Saturday, July 22, 2006
While I think most members of the Scottish Socialist Party (and more importantly most of their voters) are genuine in their support for independence there remains a substantial minority who do not. Why has Lloyd Quinan never been properly utilised by the SSP? Why were deliberate obstacles put in the way of independent MSP Campbell Martin joining the party?
I think the SSP is still ran by Militants who don't trust anyone from a traditional nationalist background, this has hindered the SSP's expansion and recruitment. Colin Fox as leader may well have come round to the idea of supporting independence as a tactic however he seems to lack respect for the cultural side of the pro-independence argument.
Without a clear understanding and respect for the history and unique cultural identity of Scotland, which Sheridan had or had at least acquired the pro-independence argument lacks bite.Without some passion for the cause it won't happen.
The union flag debate exposed Brown as a careerist par excellence and for Fox to let him off the hook and attack our own flag showed a total lack of political common sense. Fox seems to believe in some kind of revolutionary socialism where everyone wakes up one day to a red flag flying and a world wide revolution! This is politically absurd and does not represent the view of either McCombes or Sheridan and their excellent visionary book 'Imagine'.
For most people a red dawn would represent their worst nightmare and the establishment of totalitarianism. In fact socialism needs to be acheived gradually from the ground up and through a consistent rejection of false right wing arguments.
He is quoted in Gregor Gall's book: Revolutionary Witticisms of Colin Fox, Rosie Kane and Carolyn Leckie MSPs as saying "I've found the parliamentary route to socialism, it's right next to the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."
This joke isn't particularly funny. If Fox says there is no parliamentary route to socialism then he does not believe in democracy and does not believe the SSP is capable of convincing the people of Scotland of the benefits of democratic socialism.
Sheridan does, and that's the difference. I think the British establishment with the help of particular ambitious journalists and certain key British orientated figures in the SSP (possibly by playing on their known prejudices, after all while the allegations of sexual impropriety probably hold little interest to most ordinary people they are guaranteed to irritate ardent feminists in the SSP) have set out to get Sheridan and to eliminate him as a political threat to the status quo.
Posted by Joe Middleton at 11:34 AM
It may sound paranoid but it is a fact that parties like the SSP are easily penetrable by the security services. The British state opposes our independence and would try any underhand trick to undermine both the SNP and SSP if it had the chance.
The NOTW, Daily Mail, Daily Record, Scotsman et all hate Sheridan because he offers a genuine alternative to full on right of centre capitalism. Most of the key figures in the SSP follow a direct career curve through British Labour to Militant to Scottish Militant Labour through the Scottish Socialist Alliance to the SSP. Not all will have followed Sheridan's genuine conversion to independence. Many remain at heart Brits, as is obvious at the SSP's yearly Socialism events, some can hardly even bring themselves to say the word Scotland!
Militant was a Trotskyite organisation and ex Militants have formed numerous factions within the SSP, most of which oppose a key plank of the SSP's appeal - Scottish independence.
I'm sure there is a minority in the SSP who would like to turn their back on independence altogether and re-join a unionist socialist party (such an organisation exists already even though it's tiny).
Since there would be no logic to this (there's no hope of a break through for the left in England with FPTP) and since it would weaken the chances of breaking up the British state the only logical conclusion is that a lot of these people in fact work in the interests of the British state either knowingly for money or unknowingly through a misplaced abiding loyalty to the British union.
The idea of having various platforms was supposed to reflect a new democracy within the SSP however in fact it has meant that the party has been divided from the start and without Sheridan it has losts it's sincerity on the Scottish independence question.
Fox attacked the Saltire shortly after being elected, he denies it now but he still did it. His sense of Scottishness and passion for the freedom of Scotland is certainly not as profound as Sheridan's and that is where the political problem lies.
Posted by Joe Middleton at 10:48 AM
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Tommy Sheridan - Scot
Anyone who works for the cause of Scottish independence is a source of concern for the British Government. It is sad but true that since as far back as the 19th century (and probably long before) paid informants have infiltrated political pro-democracy groups in Scotland and fed back to their London masters.
Hector MacMillan's book about Thomas Muir provides copious evidence of police infiltration prior to the abortive 1820 rising. In retrospect we can see that the campaigners were looking for normal political rights such as paid MP's, the right to vote and freedom of expression but the state at the time did not agree.
The British state still has a large budget for such unsavoury characters and they are almost undetectable so long as they pretend to do their job. Recent events in Ireland bear this fact out.
The Tommy Sheridan trial, in fact an excuse for the London controlled media to gorge themselves on his supposed hypocrisy (one misnamed paper has over thirty seperate stories on their website relating to the case) shows all the hall marks of being orchestrated by MI5.
Damaging allegations are spun as fact by the mass circulation free paper the Metro which is wholly owned by the Daily Mail one of the most right wing of all right wing papers. (The Metro is pure concentrated garbage and it's letters column puts Viz's joke 'letterbocks' letters to shame for their banality and absurdity.
A series of frankly ridiculous allegations have been rolled out through all the British media in a concerted and obvious campaign of character assassination. Every day the Daily Record has a new sordid headline, every day another unreliablke witness says "the News of the World paid me money to say this but oh yes, it's still true yer honour!"
If we look at the SSP then we can see that most of its original members came from the old London based Militant tendency. Later they became Scottish Militant Labour and later they metamorphosised into the SSP, though most of the personnel conveniently remained the same.
Shortly after formation the SSP took into its ranks the Socialist Workers Party, another London based outfit that supports self determination for every country except Scotland.
Militant was a traditional Brit-left party, the SWP are a Brit left party. All are subject to extensive infiltration by the security services as indeed are most political parties (though they don't like to admit it as it makes them look paranoid).
The SSP however was different - it supported independence for Scotland (under Sheridan's leadership anyway) and cut substantially into the SNP vote at the last election.
Despite the SSP's willingness to risk jail for any cause, when it comes to the man who was their former leader, the man who was largely responsible for increasing their vote and the man who has led the majority of their campaigns a hereto unknown sudden respect for law and order appears!
Suddenly we have a mysteriously long list of party members willing to testify for the News of the World, the scummiest of all scummy tabloids in its effort to defame Tommy Sheridan even further because he decided to take them to court for an erroneous article.
It is claimed that Sheridan spontaneously admitted to a series of allegations while at the same time saying he was going to take the NOTW to court! Just to keep things tidy this confession was kept aside by his own party to be produced specially for the paper!
That the SSP would keep such a minute at all is bizarre when it was well aware of their former leader's proposed court action and must have known that such a minute would compromise his case.
Any sensible professional political party would have kept schtum over the whole affair, said we support our leader and wished him well in court. After all given their financial problems they could no doubt have used the extra cash Sheridan's trial might have provided.
The only possible conclusion is that the SSP has either been voluntarily compromised from within by people who are willing to sing for their supper if it preserves their career at the expense of their former comrade, which is bad enough OR this is part of a campaign by the security services to smear our most left wing politician because of his continued support for independence.
It is highly instructive that Mr Sheridan's replacement is so dumb that he is willing to attack the Scottish flag. Clearly he has no interest in Scottish independence, which suits the British state just fine. He even flew back from his holiday just to put his ex-friend in the sh*t, "I would have supported Tommy's even if I thought he was telling lies" he says, and "oh yes, I voted against the option of supporting Tommy." (Eh?!)
Either the SSP is infested by complete idiots or has a few Government spies in key positions who chose to knive their leader when they saw an opportunity and leave the party in a 'safer' pair of hands. That this safe pair of hands probably doesn't even realise this is no indication that it hasn't happened!
It is rumoured that Sheridan is being prepared to join the mis-named 'Respect'. Respect for the existing state apparatus that is! In reality Galloway's only consistent quality is his rejection of normal powers for his own country, no doubt that explains his miraculous political survival skills, he's no threat to the British state.
Sheridan is and is therefore an extremely important element in Scottish politics.
I hope he kicks the News of the World's collective a*se.
Posted by Joe Middleton at 7:59 PM
Monday, July 17, 2006
Key quote "It is absurd to say that if someone supports a political party financially... that they should be debarred from being party supporters for those places reserved specifically for party supporters."
- TONY BLAIR
[A pity that's not what the law says Tony! JOE]
A DEFIANT Tony Blair yesterday predicted that he will be cleared by a police investigation into Labour's finances and signalled he wants to stay on as Prime Minister for at least another year.
Mr Blair's robust defence of the £14 million the Labour Party raised in secret loans last year follows the arrest last week of his chief fundraiser, Lord Levy. Downing Street nominated four of the lenders for seats in the House of Lords.
Scotland Yard detectives have signalled they plan to interview the Prime Minister and some Labour MPs believe the funding scandal could force him from office within months. Roy Hattersley, the former Labour deputy leader, yesterday said Mr Blair should quit by October over the affair.
[Good riddance! This is a man who has achieved nothing in Government and has sold his soul to the political right. His partner in crime Gordon Broon is just as bad. Time to escape this gang of incompetent sleazy unprincipled thieves by voting for independence. JOE]
Posted by Joe Middleton at 12:09 PM
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Former MSP Lloyd Quinan told the meeting that “Scotland has the potential to become independent next year. This is absolutely necessary to give the Scots the democratic space to decide their own destiny because without that space it doesn’t matter what we believe in because it won’t happen. We can potentially be a democratic inspiration to other independence movements but only if we work together for independence and support this campaign for a democratic referendum.”
Bill Scott of the Scottish Socialist Party remembered the disappointment of being cheated out of devolution in 1979 “It was a terrible time, but over the next twenty years we gained a parliament and we have it in our power to move that parliament to independence.” He added “Scots have died in numerous imperial wars at a far higher rate than our percentage of the population of the UK, it’s time for this to end.”
Bill Wilson of the Scottish National Party said “Scotland’s democratic voice has never been properly heard. 300 years ago the supposed representatives of the people fled out of the back door of our parliament after signing away our rights. We’ve never been given a choice about being part of Britain and we’re not getting any benefits from it. We are no better or worse than any other country and we have the same rights of self determination. It’s time to use those rights and free our nation.”
Author and publisher Kevin Williamson who chaired and spoke at the meeting commented “We are now seeing the potential of Independence First - to unite the Scottish Independence movement. Independence First is simply about support for Independence and nothing else. There was a real unity of purpose today however that the British state must end and Scotland must be allowed a distinct international voice.”
Joe Middleton Press Officer of Independence First commented: “This was a great meeting. Independence First wants this new branch to be at the heart of our campaigning. We have plans for a massive democracy march through Edinburgh on the 30th September and for a pledge independence campaign to affect the next Scottish elections.”
Posted by Joe Middleton at 1:10 PM
Saturday, July 08, 2006
If English resentment is bad under Blair it will be worse with Brown as Prime Minister.
So while Scotland’s First Minister Jack McConnell says he’s supporting any team not wearing three lions on their shirts, England’s MPs, past and present, are returning to the undercurrent of the Resentment in all its forms. Lord Barnett, Jim Callaghan’s Treasury minister, says the simplistic “Barnett Formula” wasn’t a long-term formula and that the over-subsidy of the Scots should stop to the tune of billions each year. London’s mayor, Ken Livingstone, says he too is fed up with the rich capital exporting its wealth north of the border.
But who is going to challenge this belief? Even though Brown is said to be privately sympathetic to the notion that it is London, not Scotland, which is over-subsidised, he will not risk a debate where he could be forced to take sides.
Having asked the first West Lothian Question, Tam Dalyell recently told the Sunday Herald, that even if Brown made it to Number 10, he would be the last Scot to do so. That would mean a decisive victory for this generation of English MPs, and an effective “cleansing” (however emotive that word is) of the Scots from power at Westminster.
Posted by Joe Middleton at 2:54 PM
It always amuses me when people write about "the Scots" as if we were all the same, particularly when it is in negative terms like this.
Well Johnny Boy you know where you can stick your 'pearl' of Britishness.
If you're from Fife, you're a Scot yersel! So your self loathing which has obviously made you prefer to identify your interests with England is a psychological problem which no doubt might improve with treatment.
The Scots had it coming to them
By John Lloyd
The Scots have put a large mark on the world - a judgment made readily bythemselves, but also by others. It is evident, in part, by its absence: Scots Diaspora in the Anglosphere do not normally identify themselves with ahyphen, as Scots-Americans.
The inference is that they were there from thebeginning, creating cultures, polities and institutions. Abroad and in the past, a glory. At home and at present, less glorious.
Malaise has been the common trope through which Scotland is today understood- even after, in the late 1990s, sustained pressure had produced a devolved parliament. That establishment, the continuing favouring of Scotland in UK public spending per head, [yawn! The lessons of Goebbels again, keep lying until they believe it - JOE], the ability of Scots MPs to vote on English matters but not the reverse ['The English' have never worried about this before, no doubt that's because they've got 90% of the population of the UK - JOE]and a gradual realisation south of the borderthat the Scots could still be aggressively Anglophobic [aw diddums we wouldn't supinely support your fitba team, NEWSFLASH! no other countries like it either! JOE] have given a newly perky opposition Conservative party something to exploit.
[In other words the Brits have decided that Cameron is next up after the fake socialist Tony Blair to continue to promote Toryism in the UK - JOE]
It proposes to bar Scots MPs from voting on English issues, a line that points up the inequity of the relationship, for the English. [Unfortunately many English bills do affect Scotland].
That line has much to do with the presumed next prime minister - Gordon Brown, the chancellor of the exchequer, son of a Scots Presbyterian minister. If the Conservatives can succeed in depriving him of part of his British mandate, they will have struck a blow before he takes office. He has sought to protect himself with a battery of speeches on the greatness and goodness of the Union: his problem is that Scots politics has been, for atleast two decades, dominated by an ideology which sees in England/Britishness a source of Scotland's miseries.
[with good reason - JOE]
Where he sought to reinvent Britishness, the most ardent spirits among his countrymen seek to ensure there is no such reinvention. Few prominent Scots are prepared to stand up for the Union and forBritishness - leaving Mr Brown so isolated on the issue as to be easily made a figure of opportunism or ridicule.
[Which is all he deserves, he's a traitor! In footballing terms at least - JOE]
Few prominent Scots now see in theUnion, or in Britishness, a suitable cause for renovation: the nationalism-lite argument is now received, and largely unexamined, wisdom.
Thus when the English react with irritation, or when the Conservatives seek to capitalise on that, it is not (as it is often portrayed) mere St George'scross flag-waving. Britishness had, in the past, been formed around Protestantism, [it still institutionally discriminates against Catholics- JOE] common threats and empire: but what remained, as these loyalties receded, was a structure that had to cope with national diversityin one state - a good preparation for a world in which such national and ethnic diversity proliferates.
Britishness, it turned out, was a precious discovery both for defusing old hatreds (except the Irish hatred) and forgiving new arrivals the possibility of a loyalty that was non-ethnic.
[What utter trash - Britishness equals an imperial nationalism which is dependent on superiority to other nations and cultures. Civic led Scottish nationalism is far superior both intellectually and emotionaly for our post imperial role. All we want in Scotland is normal powers, England/Britain still thinks it's a 'world power' and acts accordingly JOE]
The Scots, in short, have something in themselves to blame. That is, that they too easily undervalued, or even threw away, a pearl - Britishness -worth more than tribal bonding.
[We won't miss it. Or the imperial attitudes from certain papers over recent weeks. Keep yer beads and baubles, the only King I respect is Elvis! JOE ]
The writer comes from Fife [but rarely thinks about it, no doubt- JOE]
Posted by Joe Middleton at 1:43 PM
Friday, July 07, 2006
PM Tony Blair wants unified Britain soccer team for 2012 Olympics
LONDON (AP) - Tony Blair wants a unified Britain playing soccer at the 2012 London Olympics.
The Prime Minister said it's time for the home countries to play under one flag for the first time since the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. I think it would be a good idea," Blair told the Times of London on Wednesday. "When you are hosting the Olympics and you have lots of countries who send their teams, it would be a shame if we didn't have one of our own."
London 2012 Chairman Sebastian Coe agreed with the prime minister.
"I want a Britain team, we will have a Britain team," Coe said. "But I also want to maintain the independence of the domestic federations to compete in European cups and World Cups."
The International Olympic Committee doesn't recognize separate teams from Britain's home countries - England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Each country's soccer association qualifies for and plays separately at the World Cup and European Championship.
After the four countries met last November to discuss a unified team, only England and Northern Ireland agreed in principle to the idea. Scotland and Wales fear joining a combined team would dilute their authority in world governing body FIFA.
Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party, demanded a statement from Mr. Blair over his remarks. "Is it the Prime Minister's wish for this just for the Olympics or does he wish like previous Labour ministers to abolish the Scottish soccer team altogether?" Salmond asked.
"Why should he be attempting to bully the Scottish soccer association and the Welsh authorities into doing something that they believe would jeopardize their position in international football?"
The Football Association of Wales secretary general David Collins said last December there was no possibility of a change of mind. All of the people in Wales and the media, press and television, are in agreement in that decision," Collins said. "No way would the spectators based in Wales like to see Wales stop playing as a national team."
The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and Glasgow's Hampden Park are both listed as venues for Olympic soccer competition in 2012. Both could be taken off the list.
Britain, an Olympic soccer gold medallist in 1900, 1908 and 1912, would have a men's team for the first time since the 1956 Olympics and a women's team for the first time.
[No chance- this will come back to haunt Blair. JOE]
Posted by Joe Middleton at 2:16 PM
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Alan Masterton (FSN National secretary) has recently confirmed that the Federation of Student
Nationalists will be supporting and attending Independence First's pro-democracy march on 30th September.
The Independence Convention has also confirmed their support.
More information is available here:
Posted by Joe Middleton at 11:02 PM
INDEPENDENCE First, the grassroots campaign for a referendum on
Scottish independence, will officially launch its Edinburgh branch on
Publisher and author Kevin Williamson will chair the meeting at The
Wash bar on The Mound at 3pm.
Speakers will include Bill Wilson of the Scottish National Party, Alan
McCombes of the Scottish Socialist Party, Eric Canning of the
Communist Party of Scotland and former MSP Lloyd Quinan.
Spokesman Joe Middleton said: "This meeting is for everyone who
supports Scottish independence."
Posted by Joe Middleton at 10:59 PM
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
[Excellent! - JOE]
IF you flee wi' the craws, you get shot wi' the craws. That age-old Scottish saying is now haunting Labour MSPs at Holyrood. Although they claim to be from the Scottish Labour Party, they are in reality British Labour MSPs, and as public anger and contempt grows for British Labour, down they are going to go, and they know it.
Their problem is that no matter how many kilts Jack McConnell models, or how many Saltires he waves, or how many times he says he doesn't support England in the World Cup, people in Scotland know that Labour MSPs are puppets jerked around on British Labour strings pulled in London.
Not once have those Labour MSPs refused to toe the line laid down by Tony Blair. The vote in the Scottish Parliament about going to war with Iraq was the supreme example. We saw, against the war, the greatest demonstration ever with masses of Scots saying "Not in my name."
Yet these Blairites at Holyrood, jumping to Downing Street's instructions, voted for what they knew was wrong.
There was a chilling message for all politicos like them from the mouth of the Independent in Blaenau Gwent, Nye Bevan's old seat. "You have taken us for granted for too long," was his winner's message to Labour, the party he was once a member of.
Exactly the same message heard from the voters of Dunfermline earlier this year when Labour was trounced in what it regarded, arrogantly, as a safe seat where the votes were weighed not counted.
Precisely the same message heard from the Monklands hospital campaigners last week when they learned that having the Home Secretary John Reid as their MP, and three Labour MSPs in the constituencies it served, was worth nothing.
Labour in Scotland has become the Establishment. As the Tory vote has withered, the Lib Dems seeming to be no more than a Borders and North-East regional nuisance, and with people so easily frightened of independence and the SNP, Labour has dined extravagantly at the public
trough, and taken its pre-eminent position for granted.
In Labour eyes it has become the duty for people to vote Labour, not for Labour to serve the people. The party that was nurtured in the womb of principle, born to fight for the underprivileged, whose pioneers made enormous sacrifices for a noble socialist cause, has become a featherbed of cronyism.
But the fatal mistake of Labour has been to assume that they can take the people for granted all of the time.
Times have changed. As the old industrial Scotland died away, to be replaced by the new economic structures of the service and technology industries, and as former council tenants became owner occupiers (and therefore not subject to the whims of local councillors over where they stayed), the old tribal Labour loyalty began to wane.
Today, few young or middle-aged people automatically vote as their mums and dads did.
Political parties are now on trial by an electorate grown tired of spin, falsehood and promises never delivered.
It is no longer the case that Labour could put a red jacket on a monkey and get it easily elected.
The Scots now see Labour clearer than they ever did before, and they don't like what they see. Especially as MSPs' ties with Blair cannot be hidden, and are going to prove fatal in next year's elections.
Posted by Joe Middleton at 8:04 PM
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
DOUGLAS FRASER, Scottish Political Editor
July 04 2006
A NEW front opened up yesterday in the political war over Scotland's financial relations with the rest of the UK, with the SNP publishing figures that claim the UK depends on Scotland.
Alex Salmond, the Scottish National Party leader, set out figures that suggest the surplus being sent from Scotland to the Treasury this year will amount to £853 per person in Scotland. That assumes Scotland can be credited with most of the booming revenue from North Sea oil, and that Scotland can avoid its share of this year's UK budget deficit, estimated at £38bn. The claimed surplus would fall by more than three-quarters if Scotland carried its population share of Gordon Brown's borrowing requirement.
The SNP claims contrast with those made by opponents of Scottish independence that the imbalance in spending between Scotland and the rest of the UK means a "subsidy" of £1500 per head is spent by the Treasury on Scotland. They reflect the party's concern that the current debate about Scotland, being fuelled by Tory opposition to Gordon Brown as Labour's next leader, is seeing the idea that Scotland is subsidised by England becoming more firmly established. Mr Salmond attacked Jack McConnell for supporting that argument, saying the First Minister should be doing more to argue Scotland's position, instead of courting controversy with his support for England's opponents in the World Cup.
The new analysis by Stewart Hosie, the party's economic spokesman at Westminster, takes British government estimates of the share of expenditure and revenue, and adjusts them for spending on defence and the civil service in London, which the SNP sees as a net benefit to England. There are also adjustments for spending that is not counted in parallel for England and Scotland.
For instance, the SNP says the government's figures count Scottish courts and prison costs as Scottish expenditure, but English courts and prison costs do not count as such in England.The latest figures address the current or static position for the national accounts, adding to a complex picture in which Nationalists and their critics also argue over the historic position of money flows between Scotland and the Treasury, and the potential Scotland has in transition to independence and afterwards to sustain current spending levels.
The battle has become more important 10 months from the Holyrood election, with opinion poll evidence that the SNP is gaining at Labour's expense.A more sceptical view of independence was yesterday published by economists at the Fraser of Allander Institute, an economic think tank at Strathclyde University, which found that full taxation powers at Holyrood would lead to an unstable economy, services being cut and tax increases.
Mr Salmond yesterday dismissed the work, authored by the institute's director, Professor Brian Ashcroft, as politically biased.The SNP is stepping up its campaigning, even though the Holyrood parliament has just begun its summer recess, with Mr Salmond setting out environment policy in a speech later this week and then seeking to pre-empt Whitehall's energy review.
Posted by Joe Middleton at 12:10 PM
Monday, July 03, 2006
Today's Metro was very interesting. On Page 2 we discovered that Gordon Brown was 'too Scottish' to be Prime Minister, however on page 42 Andy Murray is the 'best of British'.
Both are Scots but only one is now acceptable to the English.
Yet earlier that same week Andy wasn't acceptable to the English either. A column in the (English version of the) Sun explained:
"I'm beginning to weary at the outbursts of Andrew Murray, the young Scottish tennis player whose conceit is not regrettably matched by his talent.
His latest idea to prove his Scottishness (presumably mean and morose) is by announcing he will wear a Paraguayan shirt when England play against them in the World Cup. I quite understand Scots not liking the English, even dim ones like Mr Murray.
It must be painful to receive handouts to the tune of £30bn this year - money generated by the clever English.It must be painful for more and more Scots to leave behind the land of call centres and golf courses and head to London to find work - once again supplied by the clever English.
The latest figures from the 2001 Census showed there were 800,000 Scots living in England, and since the South East has continued to explode while Scotland - as The Economist points out this week - continues to decline, those numbers will have risen sharply from that.
It must be painful to recognise that these days all Scotland can export is national politicians (Blair, Brown, Reid) whose major skill set is telling lies.
So next time, Mr Murray, you are down south (possibly Wimbledon, although your first-round exit from the French Open won't have helped your ambition) perhaps you can try and work out how many Scots are in the stadium and, more importantly, who paid for their seats. And another thing, why do we carry the Scottish football results?"
Subsequent to this column Murray was targetted by English bigots because he dared to say he wasn't supporting England, the sickos were even slagging Andy for being a former pupil of Dunblane. Now he's proven to be more successful than Tim Henman however suddenly the Erits apparently love him.
What's the difference? Why are the English desperate to adopt Andy Murray while they are desperate to lose poor old Gordon? It's not as if Gordon is attached to Scotland, far from it, his favourite Goal is Gazza's against Scotland and it's not as if he's ever put Scotland before his career.
The answer is that England believes they deserve success. They have an imperialist mindset based upon their past position in the world. That's why they think England is the best football team. Why they can't understand why other countries like Scotland don't feel the same way about them (at least they don't if they are honest about it).
The Empire's over. We might still get people getting medals saying Member or Commander of the British Empire, bowing to the Queen and being tapped on the shoulder, but there is no empire any more.
Where does Scotland fit? We're all right if we pretend we're English and wave the union Jack and support England but if we attempt to push our own identity or have our own accent suddenly we're all ungrateful malingarers who are bleeding England's tax's dry.
What was our past status in the empire, were we partners? Er, no. We were supposed to be renamed North Britain, we were a colony who was threatened with Military force after our King decided that he preferred England's pleasant lands to Scotland's rocky mountains.
Brown also prefers England but he's still too Scottish. He's not like Tony who despite being born and educated in Scotland says he's English and acts the part. No Brown's still got an accent and might one day remember his principles (it's not likely but no-one in England wants to take the chance.)
Gordon wants his slice of the bigger cake which is why he's sold us out. But now the English don't want him, they still want Murray though, because he might get the success they crave and they can forget the uncomfortable fact that he's not English, he's Scottish.
We do have a Scottish Parliament but we also still have a UK Government which controls Defense , broadcasting and foreign affairs. If even a sell out artist like Gordon Brown isn't acceptable to the English then why should Scots believe we will ever be properly treated by their 90% of the UK parliament?
We don't need London rule to have sporting success. Remember the Commonwealth games? London rule is only good for those who prefer England to Scotland.
There will be another world cup campaign soon and I can predict the result, Scotland will battle bravely but we won't make it. Why? Because the World Cup is fixed. It's called seeding, big nations like England get an easy ride in, even though they never get very far (not in the last forty years or so) . We get lumped with France, Italy and Ukraine while England are always put in a group of easy teams.
Scottish independence may not help our football team but it will give us the political voice to make our own way in the world. Hopefully that will rub off on our football and rugby players, who knows?
What it would also do is let England know that their empire and their world power is gone. It would help them to adjust to their reality as a nation on the periphary of Europe who don't naturally deserve to have everything and everybody served up to them on a silver platter.
Maybe then England won't think it can still threaten other countries with nuclear oblivion if they don't behave, even though it's really the Yanks who control the button. Maybe Blair will realise he's not a US President.
We don't need Trident and we don't need Britain, it's days are gone.
Keep flying the Saltire Andy, because we won't turn on you if you lose a game of tennis.
Posted by Joe Middleton at 11:54 AM
Saturday, July 01, 2006
PETER MACMAHON (Scotsman)
LABOUR'S ambition of retaining power at Holyrood suffered a severe setback last night after the Scottish National Party took the lead in an opinion poll for the first time since the 2003 elections.
A survey of voting intentions by the Ipsos MORI organisation revealed a massive swing to the SNP in both the constituency and list sections of the Holyrood voting system. In just three months, Labour has slipped from a 14-point lead over the SNP to being two points behind them. Just 28 per cent of voters said they would back Labour in a Holyrood election compared with 30 per cent who opted for the SNP.
In the second, list vote, Labour's support is now 26 per cent, down from 33 per cent, while the SNP commands the support of 28 per cent of voters, up from 23 per cent, giving them a two-point lead.
The poll, which surveys voters across Scotland every three months, found a similar pattern for Westminster voting intentions. Labour dropped from 44 per cent in the January to March period to 36 per cent in the April to June survey.
Alex Salmond, the SNP leader, claimed yesterday that the figures showed that Scotland was at a "political tipping point". Speaking after he had unveiled his party's list candidates for the elections, he added: "The SNP remains in a neck-and-neck contest with Labour for political leadership of Scotland next year.
"We'll win this contest, firstly by working harder than our political opponents and secondly by presenting our positive vision of a new Scotland. Scotland is a country with great potential, but we are being failed by the washed out Labour/Liberal Democrat government in Edinburgh."
If the poll figures were repeated at the election in May, Labour and the SNP would have about 40 seats each.
Labour last night tried to play down the findings, although they will send shockwaves through the party, which fears that it could suffer as a result of the growing unpopularity of Tony Blair's government at Westminster.
A Labour spokesman said: "The voters face a real choice at the next election between a nationalist party committed to the damaging policy of independence or a Labour Party who will invest in schools and hospitals and take tough action on crime and anti-social behaviour. Independence would be a hammer blow to the Scottish economy and destroy Labour's strong economic progress and investment in public services."
Labour also tried to minimise the damage the poll might do to the party by trying to discredit the survey. It claimed the small sample size of under 500 electors who were certain to vote raised questions about the "robustness" of the findings. However, Labour strategists will see the poll as confirming the trends in voter opinion that have shown up in their own private polling.
The result will come as a disappointment to both the Liberal Democrats, who have hopes of exploiting Labour's unpopularity, and the Scottish Conservatives.
Although it showed the Lib Dems at 19 per cent in the constituency vote, compared with 17 per cent three months ago, and up one percentage point to 19 per cent in the list vote, the party would have hoped for a bigger boost from its by-election victory in Dunfermline and West Fife in February. The Tories were up one percentage point to 15 per cent in the constituency vote and remained at 16 per cent for the list vote.
The Scottish Socialist Party share of support was down from 3 to 1 per cent in the list vote projections, whereas the Greens, who only stand in the second voting list, rose from 4 to 6 per cent.
Mark Ballard, a Green MSP, welcomed the survey, saying: "As environmental issues have risen up the political agenda, voters are clearly turning to the party that offers the clearest solutions to the environmental crisis.
"Greens are also being increasingly recognised for our work in the Scottish Parliament on social justice and sustainable economic development, demonstrating that we are serious about our role in the new politics of Scotland. "This new opinion poll shows Greens have staying power and look forward to another success in 2007."
Posted by Joe Middleton at 6:14 PM