Tag Archive | Alastair Darling

I’m Saying Yes To A Euro Vision And Rejecting A Nightmare On Downing Street (Why I’m Voting Yes To Staying In Europe In The E U Referendum)

Hey Readers So now we know, the date when the UK must stop whining and decide if it wants to be a part of Europe and an ever closer union or go further back in time than Doctor Who’s tardis and delude itself it is a special little island with no need for Johnny Foreigner. This referendum will split two of the three main unionist parties with only the pro European Liberal Democrats remaining largely unscathed by upcoming events. Opinion polls say this will be a very close call in the UK as a whole but Scotland looks like being the most Pro European of all the UK nations with a substantial majority expected to vote to remain within the safety of Europe rather than voting to leave and leaving our future fate in the hands of Westminster. Decision Day will be the 23rd of June, and believe me when I say I have already decided how I shall vote in this referendum and I will be voting yes to remaining in Europe and rejecting a nightmare made at Westminster.

Now I know there will be some people who were opponents of mine during my country’s independence referendum who will ask and they will be perfectly entitled to do so, why I opposed remaining in one  union yet will enthusiastically campaign to remain in another. My answer however is a simple I only want to be a part of union’s that actually work and benefit the people of Scotland and the European Union works better for Scotland than Westminster ever will.

You see, to me whether I want to remain part of a union has a lot to do with why that union was set up and the intentions
behind it. The United Kingdom was set up in the pre democratic dynastic days so that one elite could join with another elite and increase both their personal wealth and their political stranglehold over their respective nations. It was also engineered by fanatical anti catholic bigots to empower England in its fight with Roman Catholic France and empower it in it’s imperial adventures. 

Compare this if you will to the circumstances which led to the birth of the European Union. This union was born not from the actions of conquest but from a continent ravaged by the most brutal and savage war ever fought in the whole of human history. This was a union born out of hope of a better tomorrow for Europe though as more cynical amongst the population will say with a degree of justification it also served American interests providing a bulwark for the continent to resist Soviet overtures and contain the threat of communism thus preventing it from spreading beyond the Russian – Soviet sphere of influence.  However, true though this may be slowly but surely the European Union gained some teeth a real democratically elected which had the power to shape change the lives of those citizens in member nations. This I think has a lot to do with why Jim Sillars 1988 came up with The SNP flagship policy of Independence in Europe to illustrate that the SNP were not an isolationist party but a party who were both nationalist and internationalist. It is policy which has been supported by former SNP leader and First Minister of our country Alex Salmond, and his successor in both posts our current First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

You see the SNP realise that EU membership has made so many improvements to the quality of life for the people of Scotland and also for the other member nations of the United Kingdom and we know from bitter experience how much this was used as a stick to beat us with during the independence referendum. You see during that referendum UK Prime Minister David Cameron, and his Labour Party sidekicks Alastair Darling, and Gordon Brown spent the best part of three years bullying and intimidating the people of Scotland by threatening us that if we left their little dynastic arrangement where unionist political hacks get their palms covered in more grease than John Travolta’s  hair and get the right to indulge their self importance  by calling themselves by a title which is only fit for a village panto, that we wouldn’t be allowed to join what they regarded as their exclusive private members club. The only problem with this argument was that sooner or later it’s was going to expose their lack of principal and backbone. Indeed I would argue that a no vote in this referendum would expose the better together campaign as a  mockery built on no more than a house of sand. Indeed former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has openly admitted this by stating in a rare moment of truth that if The United Kingdom votes to leave the EU then Scotland will vote to leave The United Kingdom. Personally I think we will leave the UK anyway sooner rather than later, but to blatantly reject the EU after being warned of dire consequences by better together if we left the British mother ship would be at least in my opinion the cruellest of all ironies. You see I never did believe we were or would ever be better together with Westminster and one of the main reasons why they failed to convince me was their rampant right wing brand of British Nationalism which and it has to be said attracted than its fair share of xenophobes to good old jolly roger.

You see this negative campaign contained a far greater number of those those who have strong anti European sentiments than did the more forward thinking Yes Scotland which was the grass roots movement  for independence. This can be supported by the fact that listed amongst their supporters were not only members of the three mainstem UK parties namely the Conservatives, Labour, and  Liberal Democrats who gave it veneer of respectability but also those who shall we say we say belong to either the eccentric imperialist tradition such as UKIP and those who are more malevolent in their views of others such as the loyal orange order. These people are unreconstructed British Nationalists and by creating an exclusive British is best mentality they exist on their own little fantasy island which is about as far removed from reality as you can get whilst still remaining on earth.

It should be noted however that unlike Yes Scotland who were perceived, as the anti-establishment camp in the Independence referendum and received little or no support from the mainstream media The no campaign in this fight will have some vocal and powerful support amongst the chattering classes with The Daily Express , The Daily  Mail, and several other newspapers campaigning to remove the UK from Europe as will certain populist politicians such as UKIP leader Nigel Farage Conservative mayor of London Boris Johnson, and that man of many faces not one of which I have ever appealing the original Mr self important and former Labour and Respect MP George Galloway amongst their number.

Believe me whether you or  like them or not these people will be given plenty of air time not to mention column inches to spread the message that we would be better off removing ourselves from Europe by a sycophantic press and media  sympathetic to their view and nostalgic for the golden days of empire. Though it may be tempting for some culturally conservative members of the chattering classes to paint  this rose coloured picture of a Britain which never really existed outside  the fictitious surroundings of Downtown Abbey it is also being somewhat economical with the truth. This however will not bother in the slightest an establishment determined to hang on to the power that privilege has brought them.
They will sneer at the benefits that the EU has brought to Britain and seek to convince us we are better off trusting them to make our decisions but believe me when I say that an isolated UK without what they will undoubtedly call the restrictions of Europe will be the country not of dreams but of nightmares and I for am terrified at the prospect of a British withdrawal from Europe and what the potential consequences could mean for us particularly in terms of Human Rights.

It is after all no great secret that the Conservative Party would dearly love to scrap the Human Rights Act which they have long viewed as an unnecessary inconvenience by a Government which likes to portray itself as the champion of individual freedom. Indeed there are some members of the Conservative right who have long argued that Britain should come out of the European Union  at the earliest possible opportunity and have used evocative and emotional language to stir up anti European sentiment. The fact that  Europe accounts for  57 percent of all British trade somehow seems to escape these 21st century anti heroes who wish to make a new generation of ragged trousered philanthropists of the ordinary British citizens.

 Indeed if their plans were allowed to succeed the consequences for the UK economy could be catastrophic as for those who believe that we could somehow make up this trading deficit by re-engaging with the Commonwealth nations. Not only do they ignore the assistance to the nations and regions of Britain from the European Union structural fund which was set up to provide economic assistance to areas decimated by the poverty caused by unemployment they also forget how much geography matters in the modern world and that despite the improvement in global communications the costs of transportation could put many small to medium firms out of business. So, nice as this fantasy may be for some people of Britain for the British or British Jobs for British Workers (Gordon Brown Labour Prime Minister 2009) it falls down when it comes to the facts and is about as realistic as Brown’s wet dreams of a British Day with a Union flag in every garden or renaming Scotland as North Britain in other words it makes as much sense as the no voters other delusion of taking back l the colonies and proclaiming the restoration of empire.

But to me at least the debate on Europe is about so much more than just trading. During our 43 years of membership of the European Union the impact  of Europe on this insular little island has I believe been far more positive than negative. These include cheaper air travel which makes it easier for Britons to travel abroad thus broadening their horizons in terms of culture and understanding of others. A recycling culture which cuts down on
waste and creates a cleaner, greener and healthier environment for people to love in. Still on the topic of environment being in Europe has brought us cleaner air, beaches and rivers and with regards to transport it was Europe which gave us lead free petrol and brought in the right of workers to smoke free work place. This is something from which I benefitted enormously as I worked with a couple of very heavy smokers and not to put to fine a point on it there was one in particular you could smell before you could see so god knows how polluted my former working environment could have been had it not been for the foresight of the European Union. Also on the issue of workers rights the EU introduced the directive that no workers in member states should have to work for more than 48 hours a week. Personally I think it should have been 40 hours maximum but this is an ongoing issue which can be debated further to bring about greater reforms
but if we don’t have a place at the table or in the parliamentary chamber then we can’t fight for the progressive changes we want to see.

As a creative who writes and performs my own poetry I am delighted that it was the European Union who brought forward a Europe wide copyright protection act to protect the right of artists to be identified as the authors of our work throughout, all member states.

Yes I know that last one is a personal one but for all the reasons given and at least a million others I am proud to declare along with members of all other mainstream parties such throughout these islands I will be voting yes because though I will continue to campaign for Scotland’s independence from the United Kingdom I will until that day comes fight for the rights of everyone in these islands and to me those rights will be far better protected by Brussels than a Westminster elite who feast on a diet of fear and a distrust of others They want you to vote no not because it will be better for you but because it will be better for them and further entrench their power which will remain in the hands of a privileged elite and you and I the average voters will be even more powerless to stop them. The prospect of this terrifies me to such an extent there are no words to describe it. You I am afraid of an isolated Britain a Britain where the unreconstructed right could impose even more ruthless repressive policies than they are now with no credible UK opposition to stand in their way. This is the nightmare on Downing Street I’m voting to stop and for the sake of democracy I hope you’ll join me by saying yes to a common Euro Vision and give a decisive rejection to the politics of yesterday’s Britain

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

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The Tale Of Three Scotland’s (The Civic The Radical And The Missing) Part 1 Of A Review Of Caladonian Dreaming, The Quest For A Different Scotland By Gerry Hassan

Hey everyone One of the legacies of the independence referendum apart from the birth and growth of this blog is the fact that it has introduced me to many voices whose writings I may not have had the chance to explore had this event not taken place. One such voice is the political commentator Gerry Hassan whose columns on the way forward for Scotland for both Bella Caledonia, and Scottish Review I have found and enlightening and entertaining. Hassan writes with a clarity which makes his work both intellectually rigorous and easy to understand and by doing so articulates a message with which his readership can connect. In this first part of my review of his book Caladonian Dreaming The Quest For A Different Scotland I will seek to explain why I believe the thoughts and arguments contained within these pages will be of value to supporters of an independent Scotland at the time of next referendum whenever it may be. It is at this stage I would like to thank Gerry Hassan for his generosity in sending me a complimentary copy of this book.

Right from the first page this is a book that challenges the reader to think big. It makes you ask questions about our nations past, about where we want Scotland go in the future and most importantly it asks us to consider where we are today and what has brought about the circumstances which make this such an exciting time to be Scottish.

In the opening chapter of the book Gerry Hassan argues that Scotland is a nation in a state of flux. the old certainties of our past are not as relevant to our lives as once was the case. Yet despite this the socially conservative forces of unionist Scotland tries to camouflage any evidence of it by claiming that events such as the collapse of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Rangers Football Club were one offs which were due to individual weaknesses at the top of the house rather than viewing them as the result of greater cultural forces. This as Hassan states is ‘a culture of restoration the kind of keep calm and carry on approach so favoured by David Cameron and the Conservative British establishment. This is an establishment favoured by all parties of the union and their friends in the press and media an establishment they will do whatever they must to protect.

This I would argue includes the demonisation through the press and media of both the Scottish National Party and their allies in the independence movement. This was quite clearly seen in the way the independence debate was viewed by those with vested interests in preserving the union. As Hassan states ‘It was presented ‘as a set of narrow set of constitutional changes unrelated to the kind of society we want to live in. This was in my both disingenuous and indeed fraudulent as to me as a yes supporter that was exactly what the debate was about that and nothing else. To claim otherwise was a deliberate distortion of the truth and the unionists know it all too clearly.

As if to prove my point Hassan questions how unionists can disassociate the circumstances which brought about the referendum and pretend that everything is still the same as it ever was. To be honest many of them know this can’t continue and there are harsh realities which need to be faced if the union is to survive in the long term. One of those realities is that they need to realise that many of their supporters were primarily responsible for the negative tone of the debate. Indeed far from the bullying cybernats that the unionist political class would have you believe were the main culprits in this, Hassan provides evidence of that they themselves are far from perfect. Citing the words of Gordon Brown, Alastair Darling and Ian Davidson not to mention the reckless threats from the late Tory grandee Lord Fraser he illustrates that career unionists were no angels in the debate. Indeed I would go as far as to suggest that given their prominent positions in Scottish society they were actually by far the greater aggressors.

The author also says that one of the key reasons for this combative behaviour was the lack of women in the discussion. As a member of women for independence I have to say I agree with this assessment. One only needs to look at the TV debates not just on independence but on other more civic matters to see that what Hassan refers to as ‘Male Only Scotland is still very much alive and well and this institutionalised sexism needs to be tackled now to create a more creative political dynamic. Hopefully the fact we now have a woman First Minister in SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and women leaders of both main opposition parties Kezia Dugdale (Labour) and Ruth Davidson (Conservative) and there are a significant number of woman amongst the newly elected SNP MP’s such as Mhairi Black, Anne McLaughlin, Alison Thewliss, Angela Crawley, Carol Monaghan, Kirsteen Oswald, and my own MP Natalie McGarry, this will help to change this ingrained macho attitude.Hassan however argues that until we tackle the six myths of modern Scotland creating this dynamic will be almost impossible.

The six myths which Hassan wants us to examine have been embedded in to the fabric of our national culture for so long that challenging them will not be easy. It will be no doubt seen by some on all sides of the political debate as an attack on our national identity but tackling the idea that Scotland is a democratic egalitarian land where we all enjoy access to educational opportunity where we hold authority to account have a social democratic tradition and live in an open society is essential if we want to bring about a better more equal nation so many of us claim we’d like to see. To do this Gerry Hassan argues that we need rid ourselves of this cosy comforting image of ourselves and face some uncomfortable truths about our past and indeed our present.

One such fact is the our country has been throughout our history has been run by elites and that for all the claims to contrary our people are not active citizens in the public realm of our nation. I back up with my own personal experience as an active political campaigner for the SNP and various equality based causes over the years. No matter how I’ve tried to explain the importance of involvement at personal, community, and national level I have more often than not been met with a leave it to others mentality in what was until the referendum this passive land I call home. Too often I heard the mind numbing refrain it’s not for the likes for us and it makes no difference to me or the even worse there only in it for themselves kind of argument which I quite frankly find distasteful to all of us on all sides of the political debate. As I said to a woman earlier this year I always attend my party meetings because without the likes of me and others like me none of those you call them would ever be elected to office.

The fact I am educated to honours degree level and my joint honours degree is in Geography and Politics is I find often used against me by small minded people who no doubt wish to live in the comfort of the cosy myths Gerry Hassan correctly identifies as holding Scotland back from realising our potential. This is unfair not only to me but to many others like me who came from working class families like mine and indeed our author’s who put a value on education and lifelong learning long before it was a buzz phrase for governments and the civil servants who work for them.

In the next chapter Gerry Hassan having set out some of his core arguments as to the challenges we face and the changes we need to make to build a different Scotland fills the reader in on his own background and the circumstances that shaped him. Born to educated, well read working class parents the young Gerry grew up in Dundee with a dad who though a communist by inclination was more of an armchair activist than an active campaigner and a mother who had read the works of authors such as Orwell and Greene. Hassen says his parents believed in Britain and saw Scottishness as old fashioned. Again this chimes at least partly with my own upbringing as these were similar sentiments to those expressed by my mother and some of my aunts and uncles.

My dad however had a very different view shaped by his Dundonian-Irish ancestry he believed not that Scotland should be free but that it had to be if we were ever to change the view of other countries that Scotland was inward looking colonial backwater unfit for proper nationhood. These differences in how Scotland was perceived in the years of my youth and indeed has been viewed ever since both have powerful narratives and to understand them one has to look what the United Kingdom was and what it has become.

One of the reasons why the idea of the United Kingdom still attracts a certain kind of socially and culturally conservative Scot is due to the way its image is presented by the British establishment. Hassan supports this by stating that ‘it likes to stress its unparalleled degree of continuity’. This he says is only one view of the UK but it is a view which many people have bought in to over the years. This demographic which tends to be but is not exclusively older has doubts that Scotland could provide them with the same safety and security as mother Britain even though many will admit not having looked in to the idea. This group tend not to like what they see as change for change’s sake and may ignore their own country’s history and traditions in favour of a more anglo-centric version of events.

Changing this mindset is a challenge for those of us who want to embrace change especially when the elites whose views these people accept almost as if they were tablets of stone have such an unshakeable belief in their own superiority. This has made the road to democracy a much slower one than we would want to walk and in many ways a journey we are still a long way from completing. The fact that the UK finally gave the working class and eventually women the right to vote does not give Britain the right to call itself a democracy. The elites Hassan argues, were in charge at every stage of the political process, and that it is just the way they like it.

The implications of this for Scotland were and still remain a very significant factor in how Scotland is perceived not only by others but more importantly by ourselves. It has long been the establishment view that a good Scottish or Brit-Scot cringe as I prefer to call it is essential if you want to serve both colony and yourself at the Westminster table of imperialism. It is I think no accident that demand for independence or at very least a much stronger home rule than devolution can provide has grown significantly in the last three decades as Britain has shifted further and further to the right. We may not as the author has already pointed out be the egalitarian social democrats we like to believe we are but the fact that we believe our own self made myth has to some degree pushed this agenda forward.

The United Kingdom is however a country shaped by its past and the story of that past no matter how mythical it may be has over time had a huge impact on how we as a nation see ourselves and how we view our relationship with Britain. Not for nothing does the too wee, too poor, too stupid mantra resonate so readily with so many of our country folk. Britain we are told used to have an empire, like we didn’t know that already. For me, the key words in the sentence are used to It doesn’t anymore. The union in my opinion is an economic arrangement which has outlived its usefulness but the British elites and most especially the political classes perhaps not surprisingly do not share that view. Indeed as Gerry Hassan correctly points out they use the past as a powerful political weapon and the fact they use the monarchy in the same way is no accident. The past, the empire, the monarchy and other establishment organisations such as the press and media and armed forces are in many ways most of them subliminal are the mythical and mystic ties which bind Britain together. The fact that Scotland is not despite what we are told a fully fledged democratic state helps to maintain this status quo and makes it more difficult to challenge.

Hassan states that the myth of popular sovereignty in the sense of power lying with the people is exactly that and had it existed Scotland would have been able to stop the poll tax and other measures not to its liking. Hassen argues that had the concept existed in reality rather than just at the level and mythology Scotland would not have dominated by The Labour Party or indeed the Liberals for before them for anywhere near as was the case. The author goes on to say that Scotland has never used the idea of popular sovereignty to democratise and empower people or develop a vision of society which is in any way radically different from the status quo. Hassan says that whilst we may have the trappings of democracy such as free elections and multi party participation the fact that there is a missing Scotland which is predominately located in the poorer less affluent parts of our nation tells us much about our real democratic deficit.

This is a deficit you will seldom hear mentioned at elections where parties tend to focus on the core votes they know will turn out to support them and the floating voters who will definitely vote at elections but whose votes may be up for grabs and that makes them key voters meanwhile the voice of missing Scotland of low electoral turnouts voter apathy and political disconnection remains ignored and unheard.

Indeed as Gerry Hassan points out there is a culture of learned helplessness in Scotland and this means that people don’t see themselves in the political discussions of our nation and any conventional methods used to reach them fail. This is much to our nation’s detriment and is something which needs to be improved before people even begin to believe in the notion of Scotland ever becoming a real democracy fit for the purpose of serving our people.

To further enhance this argument let’s look at as the author does at Civic Scotland. This was a term which Gerry Hassan points out which was closely identified with the fight for devolution it was also one I never liked. Civic Scotland may have identified that Scotland is different from England one has to ask as our author does, was it too polite to fight on those matters which could and still can really change our country for the better and on many issues the answer appears have been yes.

If I had to sum up Civic Scotland in a sentence or a paragraph I would say that in many ways it would be the political equivalent of my mother. Those involved would talk about the things that shocked them, angered them, or even outraged them but just like my mother it wouldn’t do too much about them for fear of holding themselves up to the light and finding they may not be as perfect as first thought. In fairness Civic Scotland did some good raising awareness amongst those of us who were already or were always going to be part of active Scotland but it did nothing to engage disaffected voters in areas of low voters it did nothing too engage apathetic Scotland, the neglected Scotland the Scotland forgotten by the political elites. It may have talked about the decimation of mining communities and other industrial areas or the impact of the poll tax but it didn’t live in those areas. Civic Scotland and what remains of it was and still is a child of Bearsden rather than Baillieston of Morningside more than Muirhouse. That to me was and remains its most fundamental problem there is a disconnection to those who don’t live in the comfort zones but who are far more in need of empowering than those who do.

From Civic Scotland Gerry Hassan moves on to the Stories of Radical Scotland. This is a story with I closely identify having learned of the radical tradition from my maternal grandmother who was a keen supporter of the Independent Labour Party and in particular of John MacLean the man who was the public face of what become known as Red Clydeside. Indeed my first political hero as a child was Jimmy Reid who I saw as a hero for fighting for people’s right to work. Jimmy Reid was if you like my own political version of Superman.

This opinion was probably formed because as Gerry Hassan states at the beginning of this chapter socialism and centre left politics have been the defining feature of Scottish politics in the last century. However as he goes on to inform us radical Scotland pre dates Socialism in Scotland and the Liberals were the dominant party for much indeed most of the 19th century but as the Liberal influence became diluted it was the Labour Party who became the new home for Scotland’s voters. Hassan however also reminds us that Scotland had a strong communist tradition particularly in mining areas which has only died out in the last 30 years or so. This evaporation of communist support parallels with the rise not only with the decline of mining and the other traditional industries such as coal, and steel, on which much of Scotland depended but also with the rise of Thatcherism and the culture of individualism which has whether we like it or not become a part of the fabric of our contemporary Scotland.

This development surely implies that Scotland is moving away from its radical roots or at least it does if you listen to unionists. I however do not pay much attention to the negative mutterings of the pro British political establishment, my grandmother’s stories captured my heart and imagination in a way no unionist has ever managed or for that matter come close to managing. The Thatcher years in which Scotland was vandalised and the Blair years in which we were patronised only served first to develop my interest in the idea of Scottish independence and then to support it by voting for and then after my gender transition eventually joining the only party I have consistently campaigned for.

Of the two most influential Prime Ministers of my lifetime it is fair to say I probably loathe Blair to a far greater degree than Thatcher and I never thought I could be detest anyone more than her. How wrong I was, you see to quote my late and very left wing granny the Tories may have hearts of darkness but at least you will know what your going to get if they get elected, they will promise you nothing and deliver exactly that. Labour on the on the other hand will patronise you with false words smiles and flattery before putting on their masks to rob you. Labour are not a radical party she once told me they are the party who want to keep the radicals in line. Remembering those words I would say that my personal radicalism is viewed through the lens of wanting to make Scotland not only a restored nation but also for the first time in our history a real democracy with genuine citizen participation.

There is however a slight stepping stone which I think with the benefit of hindsight which is always a wonderful gift to have perhaps cost yes victory in last year’s referendum. This is picked up by Hassan who says that ‘there seems to be an abiding faith among those of a pro yes persuasion Scotland could become the first democratic socialist country in the world’

This image of a socialist utopia in my view at least turned off almost as many voters as it attracted and I for one found it a problem on the doorsteps or in discussions with friends or acquaintances. The missing Scotland is it would seem not just on left

The rise of Scottish identity as a left wing identity especially from the 1980’s onwards was also important in creating among many a shared sense of Scottishness. This was partly due the rise of Thatcherism in the rest of the UK but it was also because Scotland had different core beliefs to the rest of the UK or at least that’s what as a nation we collectively began to believe. Gerry Hassan is in my view right when he says that Thatcher and Thatcherism were symptoms of the of the collapse of British post war consensus rather than the cause of it but to many Scots that didn’t matter, what mattered was the fact she and her government did not share our views, our values, or our visions either individually or collectively. To many of our people Thatcher’s Britain could never be our Britain her Scotland could never be our Scotland.

Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X

Anger And Attitude Are No Substitute For Substance

Hey everyone With the referendum almost upon us I think the wisest words I have heard on the topic have come from our First Minister Alex Salmond. As the man so often viewed by his political opponents as the poster boy for independence, Mr Salmond quite rightly made the comment at the end of his second televised debate with Alastair Darling that the decision we make next Thursday is not about him or Alastair Darling or any other politician it is about the future of our country who we want to make the decisions which will impact on our future.

The fact that the Mr Salmond felt he had to make this comment showed me just how vicious the unionists have made this campaign. Informed only by there own ignorance they have resorted to reducing a serious decision on the constitutional future of our country to a vindictive personal war against one man who just happens to be what Gordon Brown never was, David Cameron isn’t, and Nick Clegg never will be, the leader of a majority government.

Mr Salmond went on to say that this referendum will not by won by politicians or party loyalties but by supporters engaging with friends, colleagues, and neighbours, having one conversation at a time on the issues that matter to the them and that is exactly what I’m finding on the streets and on the doorsteps as I seek to persuade the people who matter on the merits of independence.

This campaign has challenged me like no other and it is a challenge I have risen to at every opportunity. In the past few months as I have declared my
allegiance more openly and yes badges adorn my jackets in ever increasing numbers I have been met with more smiles from strangers than at any time in my life. Young women in particular seem keen to inform me of their voting intentions which most of time mirror my own views of our future but even amongst the no voters in this demographic the chat has been friendly.

I have to say however in a society which all too readily demonises the young and pays scant attention to women it is these groups who have been most prepared to engage in the kind of one to one dialogue with me

In contrast older and middle aged voters of both sexes have often dismissed my opinions preferring to talk over me and ignoring any attempt to listen to the perspective I may have to offer them. Now rudeness is something I will not tolerate as quite a few people have found out to their cost. You see if you try to attempt to talk over me what you find is that two can play at that game and I can play it better than they can. Having performed stand up comedy and compared spoken word events it is I think fair to say I know how to deal with hecklers.

It seems to me that older voters by which I mean those of pension age and above seem extremely confident in their beliefs and refuse to accept
any argument no matter the evidence which contradicts there fragile belief system. These people are not only afraid of change they are afraid of their own shadow. Trapped in a past which never really existed they dare to claim that Scotland is too poor too wee and too stupid to be a proper country. When I warn them that they are straying dangerously close to racism they seem genuinely shocked that anyone could challenge their beliefs. It’s as if the are terrified that their house of cards is about to collapse upon them.

Now being a nice gentle soul I try to be as accommodating as possible to people of an older generation however some of their prejudices are very difficult to deal with though I do try to cut them a bit of slack I am a damn sight less likely to be so generous to guys in suits who try to talk down to me. Business suit or shell suit it makes no difference I take them on head on and there is only one winner.

The fact that I have to take this macho bull by the horns and kick in it a very painful place by using the one thing they despise it’s called evidence, only goes to prove that trans women experience the same causal sexism that any woman has to encounter. Right from the start of this campaign I have noticed there has been a gender gap in the way I am perceived by the voters and I have to say no matter how reluctantly this does not surprise me. I wish it did but it doesn’t.

Hopefully a new Scotland will also be a fairer more equal Scotland where women’s voices are not only heard but respected and valued as the old Westminster system which has created cultural, social, political
glass ceilings for women as well as the economic ones are finally smashed in a million pieces.
The Scottish parliament has done much to improve the lives of women in our wider society and the visibility of women in some of the most senior jobs in Scottish politics proves that there are plenty of women with both the ambition to succeed and the talent to reach the top of their profession if they are given the chance to do so and you had better believe I will be on the frontline fighting for a better Scotland for Scotland’s women.

As a trans woman this is a fight where the personal is political and the political is most definitely personal. I say this because even my mother said that women were less important than men. This is a statement I have no doubt she was socialised in to believing by the conservative forces of her time. It is a statement I totally reject as an outdated relic from a bygone age and a bit like the union it’s leaders represented not fit for purpose in a 21st century world. I validate this point by saying that the patronising BT lady advert has been a huge recruiting sergeant but the recruits not been saying no thanks to independence they’ve been saying no thanks to no thanks.

I realise however that this image of a world where men were men and women did the housework still resonates with a certain section of society and the same argument can be made by staying in the united kingdom. I make this comment because I know that though nowhere as powerful as it once was the idea of a united kingdom still has power over the more culturally conservative voters. Now it may surprise you but not all of these culturally conservative voters are to be found amongst the older generation and I have faced hostility from some younger voters who are often found to be nowhere near as clued up as they would like to think they are.
This was made very clear just over a week ago when I was talking to a young man who had served in the British Army. Don’t get me wrong the guy was very pleasant, polite, and well mannered, there was however an idealistic naivety about him which made me concerned about the gaps in his political knowledge I handed him a leaflet stating the case for a yes vote.

As he read the leaflet he asked if wouldn’t be better if we had a leaflet which gave a summary of both sides of the debate. I replied that it would most certainly not be better as we need the chance to state our case without giving the no campaign the oxygen of free publicity which they get unchallenged in and on the British press and media which is ludicrously biased in their favour.
At first the lad seemed slightly taken aback at my comments, however as is always the case with me I provided evidence in support of my claim by informing him that 36 of the 37 daily or weekly newspapers in Scotland supported a no vote which tells me that they get more than enough free publicity without us helping them. I also told him that of all of these titles none are Scottish owned. This appeared to put him on the back foot but he then asked me what will happen if it all goes wrong?.

This kind of question is so naïve it almost defies description. Being polite yet assertive I reminded him that no country in the developed world be permanently on its uppers and much as Westminster would like to claim we couldn’t survive without them, the truth of the matter was actually rather different. I told him that Scotland was a net contributor to the UK and not the net beneficiary that the unionists like to claim we are. Bearing this in mind I felt compelled to ask if he was gullible enough to believe that
Scotland the nation had practically invented much of the modern world couldn’t survive without Westminster and respectfully suggested that if he did believe that he may need to do a lot more research before the vote takes place.

The guy conceded I may have had a point but in one final push against the yes vote he said that when he joined the army he didn’t just fight for Scotland but all the UK. My reply was that though he may have had made a valid point I believe he was fighting to uphold the rule of law more than any political system. At the end of this passionate but never heated discussion we agreed to differ on a few things but he said I had moved him from a probable no voter to someone who would do more research on the topic before casting his vote.

I have also encountered a couple of young female unionist voters with similar views to Army boy and one was particularly strident in informing that Scotland would be divided forever after the trouble we’ve caused with this referendum. When I asked her to substantiate her claims and tell me why she thought the way she did her reply was I just do. I told her in no uncertain terms that was not and could be never be an acceptable answer. However the more I demanded answers the less she was able to provide. This comes as no great surprise to anyone and it has been the case throughout the campaign.
The minute you put a unionist under pressure they fold faster than a piece of paper. Over the course of this referendum I have found that when they run out of answers in attempting to defend their ludicrous position which is not that Scotland couldn’t be independent but that it shouldn’t be independent they resort to anger and attitudes and insulting our First Minister. This childish action fails to see that this referendum is far bigger than any politician or party. This is a decision on the future of our country and on what kind of country we want Scotland to be.

As for the reason behind this infantile behaviour I have no doubt they indulge themselves in this way in the vain hope we’ll go away and desperately disappointed to discover that we won’t be going anywhere until they grow up and realise that anger and attitude are no substitute for substance and that is something they have been sadly lacking throughout this campaign and I can’t see that changing any time soon.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

I’d Sooner Take A Salmond Leap With A Man Who Cares For Scotland Than Be Stuck In A Past That We Made For Ourselves When We Pointed The Finger Of Fear

Hey everyone. Last night I watched the independence debate between First Minister Alex Salmond and Cameron’s appointed place man Alastair Darling I have to say that in my opinion the First Minister whilst not on his best form still won it by a reasonably convincing margin.

Now I realise that all of his pals in the press and media will call it as a victory for Darling, that said however I believe they are living in a fantasy world and have little or no conception of reality whatsoever. My reasons for saying this are many and varied, however, perhaps the most compelling is the fact that Mr Darling contributed to his own downfall from the minute he made his opening statement.

In this statement, Mr Darling said it isn’t that Scotland couldn’t be independent but that it shouldn’t be independent as we had the best of the both worlds in the United Kingdom and shouldn’t jeopardise this by taking what he referred to as the risk of becoming independent.

I found this comment to be not only arrogant and insulting to myself and my fellow Scots by which and let me make this very clear I mean everyone who lives in this country, I actually found it disgusting and bordering on the sneering colonialism which has characterised much of the no campaign. I mean who the hell does this self important failure think he is? This was the man who was chancellor of the exchequer or in the real world finance minister at the time of the biggest economic crash since the 1930’s, the man who should be known and deserves to be known as the father of austerity. The man who said during Labour’s UK election campaign of 2010 that if elected he would cut deeper wider, faster than any Conservative. Yet this is the man who is trying to convince me that we shouldn’t be independent. On your bike Mr Darling.

I found his tone to that of an arrogant annoying school bully who kept on telling us as Scots what we couldn’t do. He will find out to his cost Scots don’t like being told what to do, not from him Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, or his new best pal David Cameron. Yes Westminster Labour love their Tory friends a damn sight more than they have ever loved Scotland and Darling loves them more than most. After all Darling has made considerable personal gains out of being a loyal true blue unionist. This is the man who has done more perfect flips than most gold medal winning divers or gymnasts manage in a lifetime. Pity it’s not on a diving board or any gymnastic apparatus but on his home to avoid paying tax. Whilst this may not be nice to tell people of this little error some of us know exactly why Mr Darling thinks we are Better Together

It seemed to me that all through the debate Darling had only one line of questioning and that was on the issue of currency. For some reason he seemed to get off on one on this topic and insisted that should Scotland leave what he called the safety of the United Kingdom we would not be allowed to use the pound. Alastair knows this is nothing more than a bullying tactic to scare voters who are undecided and maybe not amongst the most politically aware members of our society, but Alex Salmond is nothing if not a shrewd political operator and hung Darling out to dry when he quoted his own words from a newsnight interview in January 2013 which were ‘ in the event of independence a currency union would be both logical and desirable’.

This to me is a point which Mr Salmond should have made a lot more of, and maybe he would have done so had he not been interrupted too often by Bernard. Ponsonby who reminded me of the kind of referee that Celtic often used to get in games against Rangers when they would get a dodgy penalty when one of their players fell over their bootlaces with nobody remotely near them. In other words the bold Bernard wasn’t exactly neutral.

The good thing was that Mr Salmond was eating in to Darling’s time and this meant he was unable to raise any other ridiculous issue which he or his colonial masters deem important. This angered and frustrated Darling but ever the football fan Mr Salmond knows a thing or two when it comes to winning ugly. On this occasion the First Minister certainly needed to fight as Ponsonby and an audience filled with many of the unionists usual hacks were doing much of Darling’s dirty work for him.

The subject of new powers for the parliament proved even more cringeworthy than currency for Mr Darling as when asked to name two new powers which would be given to the parliament in the event of a no vote he couldn’t even name one. This will no doubt be a great embarrassment to his colonial masters who would have been hoping that he would have been able to come up with some believable fairytale to con the more gullible elements amongst the undecided in to voting no but then they were always going to be disappointed in a man who is to imagination what Margaret Thatcher was to socialism.

Anyway when it came on to the only issue that will ever really count namely could Scotland be a successful independent country Mr Salmond made his less able opponent squirm with discomfort and you could visibly see Darling cringe when pressed to answer the question. You see that question will always dement unionists because although they would love to tell us we couldn’t, the fact is they know the truth and so in increasing numbers do the voters of our nation.

That said however we have work to do to win our country for our people but make no mistake we can and will do this. I shall be certainly not be found wanting in this respect and will do all I can to help deliver the result I believe our country needs. You see I think everything has a shelf life and for a kingdom which has never been truly united since the Margaret Thatcher era the sell by date is almost upon us.

One of my highlights in a terse bad tempered debate where Darling threatened to throw his toys out the pram was when our First Minister reminded this washed up Labour backbencher just how many Labour voters will be voting yes in this referendum you could see the discomfort in Darling’s face as Mr Salmond taunted him on this topic. However I believe that yet again the First Minister played too nice with his opponent and had I been taking him on I would certainly mentioned the fact that both his first Labour Party boss and his first election agent whilst both remaining in the Labour Party will both be voting yes. Even more significantly I would have played up the Gary Wilson factor and why that completely destroys any remaining shred of credibility better together actually had.

I make this point because I believe it to be critical importance to the whole independence debate. You see Gary Wilson is no ordinary activist, Gary Wilson was until recently the regional organiser for better together in the Lothian area. Initially a diligent and committed supporter of better together Gary researched the arguments which he hoped case which he hoped would prove the case that he and Mr Darling believed in, namely that Scotland was stronger as part of a United Kingdom and that we really were better together. Unfortunately for Mr Darling the more Gary Wilson researched the argument the less he believed we were actually were better together so this talented and able researcher left his post said no thanks to the union and is now an active yes campaigner spreading a Labour message of positivity that there is a left wing message of hope over the relentless fear manufactured by better together. It is my opinion that Mr Salmond would have been far better going down this route than trying to make capital on the rantings and scare stories of project fear which have been dismissed and dismantled by yes activists on a daily basis. This I think was the First Minister’s only mistake of the night in a competent performance where he retained his composure far more than his battered and rattled opposite number.

Mr Darling found the challenge of debating someone in Mr Salmond’s league rather difficult and often contradicted previous statements made during the campaign. This was particularly true with regards to oil, this is a topic on which unionists never seem to know quite how to play it and they always end up tying themselves in knots. Being unionists they have to tie themselves in Windsor knots nothing else would ever be good enough.

On the topic of oil it was very clear to see the unionists at their hypocritical blustering best or should be worst. For the entire campaign not to mention the last 40 which encompasses all of my teenage and adult life the unionists have been quick to play up the significance of every new oil field as great news for the British economy. Last night however was a very different story as all we heard from their representative was how the volatility of an oil based economy would be bad news for the Scottish economy. What I want to know is how can the same commodity be such good news for Britain and its economy but bad news for Scotland?. This is not good territory for unionists and they really need to learn that if you continue to use double standards the flaws in your argument will be exposed.

Mr Darling’s case was not helped when one rabid anti independence campaigner who was probably desperate for his 15 minutes of fame told the viewers that all the oil is British oil and does not belong to Scotland. Not only that he went on to say that Scotland would not be allowed to negotiate with the major oil companies. This is complete garbage from an ill informed unionist who was so far out of his intellectual depth he would need water wings to swim to in the shallow end of the political swimming pool. At this point in the debate Mr Salmond asked the audience to consider how it was that every other country who have discovered oil have considered it a blessing so why do Scottish unionists consider a curse. This was a good point well made, however it may have been even stronger had he quoted from yes supporter Michelle Thomson’s recent interview on the One show when on being asked why she was voting yes she replied ‘when I look out to sea all I see is oil when I look in land all I see are foodbanks’. This would have been a devastating blow to the unionists especially as he could justify it by saying that in the last 40 years Scotland has produced more oil than Dubai and Abu Dhabi combined but has nothing to show for it but poverty and unemployment. The consequences of decades of neglect and they’ll be plenty more where they came from if we make the fatal mistake of voting no but I don’t for one moment think we will.

One of the reasons I believe we will win our independence is that the unionists mantra of the best of both worlds and more specifically Labour’s favourite phrase about sharing the risks and rewards are starting to wear just a bit thin. This is an area which the First Minister should have highlighted far more than he did. It would have been very fertile territory for him and trust me I should know I’m speaking from experience as this has been a major game changer in empowering me to make converts from no to yes or convincing undecided voters to switch to yes.

The examples I use to ramp up the rhetoric are to contrast the trident nuclear defence system to the development of the new HS2 high speed rail link. The question I would have put to Mr Darling is why was trident which was deemed by experts in the UK Ministry of Defence to be too dangerous for Portsmouth considered to be perfectly fine to be located just 25 miles from Glasgow? This would have been squeaky bum time for Darling and shown the idea of a united kingdom no more than an illusion. I say because whilst successive UK Governments of all colours have given Scotland this unacceptable and potentially life threatening risk I don’t see a single reward from this so-called partnership of equals.

You see my view is that if we really were a real united kingdom where all citizens were given equal value then surely we would stand to benefit from this new rail link but it is only heading as far north as Manchester yet since it has been designated a national project Westminster will use Scottish taxpayers money to pay a share of a project from which no Scots will actually benefit. If this is what Labour mean by sharing the rewards I tell you right now they can forget it.

From education to the bedroom tax, from poverty to nuclear weapons this was Salmond’s night as he forced Alastair Darling to adopt the role of the petty minded, pompous, finger, waving public school boy he is and exposed this supposed partnership of equals for what it really is an unequal relationship where one partner contributes more income than can reasonably expected and the other just squanders their joint income. Though not on his best form this was a First Minister who had plenty in reserve. Darling it seems only had one card to play and when your taking on a political poker player of Alex Salmond’s ability you can’t afford leave yourself so exposed. So based on last night’s performance I am more committed to making sure yes vote is delivered for the benefit the people of Scotland and my reason could not be clearer I’d sooner take a Salmond leap with a man who cares for Scotland than be stuck in a past that we made for ourselves when we pointed the finger of fear

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

Letters To The Future Tactical Tea Cakes And A Day Of Exploding Myths It Was All The Fun Of The Festival For Scotland’s Common Weal

Hey everyone I don’t know how you spent your weekend but for me Saturday was all about relaxing but Sunday was slightly more political and I must say I had a very enjoyable afternoon in the Arches on a day when wrote letters to the Future had tactical tea cakes and a day of exploding myths. Yes it really was all the fun of the festival for Scotland’s common weal.

Organised by the excellent powerhouse that is Robin McAlpine this was not only a great place to discuss the kind of Scotland we want to create post independence, there was also an excellent showcase of our nation’s creative talent on the National Collective stage featuring poets such as Jenny Lindsay, Sam Small and Theresa Munoz. I have to say that on this occasion I was really inspired by Theresa Munoz sharing her journey to Yes.

In as and articulate a speech as you will hear from any professional politician, Theresa Munoz set out the Scotland that she wants to live in and play her part in creating. Theresa spoke with fire and passion about the need for Scotland to control its own immigration policy as Westminster’s way does meet Scotland’s needs. She spoke of a Scotland which would have justice and fairness as its core values. A Scotland which would play no part in illegal wars and would have not got involved Iraq. Believe me this very talented woman is committed to creating a better Scotland and believes it can and will be done. This was a journey I was privileged to share and it made me proud to know Theresa Munoz as both a poet and friend.

Other highlights included comedienne Ashley Storrie who gave those in attendance her own unique take on East End family life and the perils of internet dating, and meeting so many people from the number of diverse group who are proud to campaign under our banner.

However it is has to be said that for me at least the cultural highlight of the day was the appearance of one Zara Gladman otherwise known as Lady Alba. Watching Lady Alba rip right into the unionists is I have to say very enjoyable especially when she can make Alastair Darling appear on the same stage as not only David Cameron but their shared political mother Margaret Thatcher.

I have to say however I wasn’t just attending for the culture. As a blogger it was my duty to mix and mingle and being a bit of a chatterbox this is something with which I have never had a problem. As I made my way round the stalls it was good to see friends from the groups I’m involved in such as Radical Independence, Women for Independence and National Collective, it was also good to meet up with members of groups from The Jimmy Reid Foundation and English Scots for Yes whose spokesperson Inverclyde SNP councillor Math Campbell told me that better together hate them more than any other group in the campaign. Personally I am not in the least bit surprised by this news. Well it blows their little lie about the referendum being all about mad anti-English racists who hate our neighbours in to 60 million brits.

It was also good to meet some of the Young Scots who are campaigning under the banner of Generation Yes including internet star of the independence movement Saffron Dickson. This fiery passionate articulate young woman is driven in her desire to create a better nation and during a very pleasant conversation I found out that she has occasionally read tartantights. Obviously our Saffron is a woman of culture and class
and a guest post awaits her should she ever want to write one.

As I continued to network aka gab for Scotland and possibly Europe it was a real treat to meet supporters of the independence cafe and Dearest Scotland. The idea of dearest Scotland everyone is encouraged to write a letter to the Scotland of the future and say what they would like that Scotland to be like. I find this an intriguing idea and will certainly write my letter to the Scotland yet to come. In fact if I’m honest, I may have to write more than one. Well this is me, and I can go on a bit.

During our chat a spokeswoman for the group said that dearest Scotland is a project open to anyone be they yes, no or don’t know in their current voting intentions. With this in mind she had told me that they had been hoping to be invited to some better together but somehow and I don’t know why, they never seem to invited. Something tells me there may be a couple of reasons for this these are (1) Better Together don’t hold any meetings (2) No-one within the unionist camp is allowed to hold opinions which are not carefully vetted by the thought control police at project fear.

As for the independence cafe I find this an inspiring idea as it will get people to examine their beliefs and say where they are on the independence issue. What the team have done is to give a list of statements from both the Yes Scotland and Better Together campaigns are get people to place a Tunnock’s Tea Cake on the statement they most agree with.

During this session I was staffing the board and a more mature male voter came over to enquire what was happening. I gave him a brief explanation of what he had to do and he placed his tea cake on the box which says the North Of England would suffer if Scotland became independent.

On seeing this I gently but politely challenged his statement. This initially got a very defensive reaction however as an experienced campaigner who has worked as an equality trainer I know how to handle these tricky situations. The man who I would put in his early 60’s said that was his opinion and he had always believed it to the case, so he was concerned about the impact of independence on his family down there.

Still using my feminine charms I asked him if he would be interested in hearing an alternative view of the situation. To which he said maybe but it’s not your job to change my opinion or is it? I replied that indeed it was not my opinion to change his opinion but rather to provide him with information and facts which lead to him to change his own mind once he been given access to them.
Having the man right where I wanted him namely engaged
in debate, I undertook my task with due diligence and provided him with the reassurance he sought about his perfectly legitimate concerns. I did this by using both subjects in my joint honours degree, yes there are times when combining Geography and Politics can come in seriously useful and this was most definitely one such occasion.

I started by stating that the new HS2 high speed rail link between London and the north would only reach as far north as Leeds on one side of the pennines and Manchester on the other, so if his family lived any further north than that they would not gain any of the economic or social benefits from this link.

I then went on to inform him that since Scotland was geographically closer to the North of England than the North of England is to London that rather have the negative impact he feared, this could have a very positive effect on that particular area. This is especially true when you consider that the North of England would be ideally positioned to benefit from the strong cultural and social ties and may gain economic benefits from Edinburgh being not only a national capital but along with Glasgow the commercial and financial heart of a newly independent nation. This could also open doors for northern English businesses to invest in Scotland as there are better transport links between Scotland and the North of England than there are between the North and London. Having taken all of this on board however there was one issue which still concerned him and I knew what was coming next.

This was his last reservation and that was that if Scotland was lost to the union the people of the North of England may be isolated as a socialist stronghold within the remaining United Kingdom. My answer to this statement came in two parts. Firstly I explained in as polite as a way as I could that it was not Scotland’s duty to remain within a union so that other areas or geographic regions got the Government they wanted. This was I said there duty to go out to each and every part of the remaining and make the case for the change they sought.

This was I said where an independent Scotland would be the most powerful the good folk of the north could have. You see it is my belief and the belief of many voters I speak to that a post independent Scotland will take a turn to the left under a Labour Party which bears no resemblance to the bunch of right wing charlatans who lead them at the moment. Having made this switch and regained power which will never be theirs in a devolved Scotland Labour will I believe move back to being the party of principles rather than the party of the profiteers they are at the moment. I believe they will embark on a far more left wing agenda than Westminster would allow and having done so and the people of the North Of England not only watched but benefit from its success they far from being disenfranchised as some would like to claim,would actually be in the ideal position to lead the rest of the UK in a movement for social, cultural, economic and political change. The gentleman claimed I was being very optimistic and I said maybe I was but I genuinely believed in my optimism as it had served me well in the past when people even no especially, those sympathetic to the cause of independence said we would never be allowed to vote on it and now that is exactly what we will be doing It was this final statement which saw him move his tea cake from the pro unionist refrain of the North Of England would suffer if we became independent to the pro Yes Scotland will remain in the European Union after independence.

After a long and sometimes protracted chat I think I could safely say I was satisfied that another myth had been shattered and another concern dealt with. However that gentleman shows how hard we have to work for every vote and how deeply ingrained some voters fears really are. This should come as no real surprise to anyone after all the unionists have had a free reign to do as they please for over 300 years so erasing that sense of could we do it, or even should we do it is not easy but with every little victory another demon dies and on the day that we bury the last of them we can start to build a better land where people have pride in themselves and their achievements without in any way becoming parochial or insular where Scotland is a responsible global citizen, a good neighbour to those in the remaining United Kingdom and a good friend to the wider family of nations.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

Patriots Pandas And Kylie’s New Job Would Normally All Make The Headlines But Better Together Have To Watch The Defectors And Replace Them With Ones They Don’t Want

Hey everyone Good Morning and welcome to the long lie. This is the first edition of the newest and best news programme in Scotland where we admit that we miss report the facts and tell our audience that every story we will have for you is based on rumour. And on this our first day we have sensational news just breaking on a story which will rock Scottish politics and neither the Proclaimers or Runrig are involved in it

Today as we enter the last few miles of the independence referendum marathon I can exclusively reveal the nightmare that all unionists have been dreading will take place this afternoon as two senior members of better together will announce the defections to Yes Scotland. The two defectors are said to be amongst the sharpest minds in better together. Acting on this secret tip off bookies have reacted quickly to rule out any current members of Labour Westminster Scotland team claiming that the Faroe Islands have more chance of beating Brazil in this year’s World Cup Final and since the Faroes
haven’t qualified for the event that would take a bit of doing.

A spokesman for William Hill said in the unlikely event of them being named as the defectors any punter backing them should replace George Osborne as Chancellor of the Exchequer as they obviously have such vision they could wipe out all global debt in ten seconds and be hailed as the saviours of the world.

Meanwhile speculation mounts that one of the defectors could be Conservative leader in Scotland Ruth Davidson who was recently mocked by an Edinburgh zoo keeper who commenting on the health of the Panda’s said they were enjoying the food again and joked that were showing signs that the green shoots of recovery were starting to be seen. On overhearing this comment Ms Davidson thanked the zoo keeper for his praise of the coalition policies to which he replied shut it you I’m talking to the panda’s. On hearing this Ms Davidson was heard muttering to herself by that well respected blogger otherwise known as tartantights. Where did I put Alex Salmond’s phone number I want to say Yes.

The other defector is reckoned to be a Labour member with principles. This according to my source narrows the search down somewhat though the money is not thought to be on Alastair Darling. Drew Smith has been mentioned but is not thought likely because as a Hibs fan he has serious issues with the First Minister who offered him a free football fact finding trip. At first Smith was reported to be well up for the visit, till he found out that the trip was to Malmo. The rumour mill has also brought the name of Kezia Dugdale in to the running along with that of one noble lord who claimed he was fed up being taken to the strangers bar and being left with a bunch of them. The favourite however is well known Celtic fan and former MSP Frank McAveety who is believed to have been won over because he heard an Independent Scotland would be paradise for all Celts.

On hearing that this story had hit the headlines a spokesperson for better together said we know the defectors are but we don’t care because we have got two of the sharpest brains in America to take their place Dan Quayle and Sarah Pallin.

In other news Danny Alexander tells a packed press conference that one day he will be Prime Minister a spokesperson for William Hill has immediately installed Kylie Minogue as favourite to succeed Alex Salmond as First Minister of Scotland. The spokesperson said I know it’s unlikely to take place it is still more likely than Scotland winning the World Cup, Tony Blair telling the truth, or the Labour Party discovering socialism.

Also God is said to having a crisis of confidence and no longer believes in himself. A BBC reporter has been found guilty of telling the truth, Bob Geldof has turned down a sainthood, and Keith Lemon has just been announced as the favourite to take over as head of ITV current affairs. This has been the first edition of the long lie whether we are allowed to be back on air tomorrow could depend on how just how gullible you actually are. However on this historic day the summary of the stories are as follows. Patriots pandas and Kylie’s new job would normally all make the headlines but better together have to watch the defectors and replace them with ones they don’t want

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

From Bingo To Bankers This Was A Budget For Tory England

Hey everyone George Osborne has delivered his budget. A budget he claimed was a budget for recovery. He opened his budget by claiming that the recovery has started but there is still much to do. He said that this was a budget which will support both business and reduce the deficit still further. He claimed that the Government is on track to achieve by the end of the year a Britain whose economy would be larger than it was at the time of the financial crisis. This he said was a budget for the makers, the do-ers, and the savers

Referring to the crash of 2008 he said that we had the biggest banking crisis in the world. Then mocking ‘ the former chancellor’ by which I think he means his better together colleague Alastair Darling by quoting him saying as some mistakes were made.

Osborne then claimed that his plan to get Britain working was working and said that we were recovering faster than Germany Japan and had the for first time in 35 years more people in work than the United States. He has promised a new pound in the shape of a thrupnee bit, more technologically advanced and less able to be forged as he claims 1 in 30 pound coins now are. He went on to boast of a private sector led recovery and claimed that Britain was in better shape because of the tough decisions taken by this coalition Government.

There will still be pay restraint in the public sector, as welfare will be capped from housing benefit to tax credits. This yet again penalises the poor, and not just the unemployed but the working poor who according to the Trussell Trust are the biggest users of community food banks. Despite this Osborne says we are all in all this together and the phrase which will no doubt be his new mantra ‘we will fix the roof while the sun is shining to protect the country from future storms’.

Osborne promised support for the Lockerbie scholarships, celebrations to commemorate the great war and the Magna Carta Trust for the 800th anniversary of its signing. This last comment provided an excuse for Osborne to show his sense of humour when he said ‘the defeat King John all those centuries ago seems so distant but he a weak leader who rose to the top by betraying his brother support by a gang of barons. A clear dig at a certain Mr Milliband me thinks.

The biggest reforms announced in this budget were an increase in the basic tax threshold to £10, 500 which will be welcomed by those on low income and an increase in the amount of personal savings you can put in ISA’s. The chancellor also spoke investment in North Sea oil and gas. Whilst this is to be welcomed, I can’t help but think this is a political bribe to buy votes in the coming independence referendum. I have no doubt this will prove as successful as Johann Lamont’s botched Devo plan or David Cameron’s ridiculous attempt to buy facebook likes.

Then using figures from the thin air school of magic he said Scots would be a £1,000 worse off under independence and Britain was better together. Predictable stuff certainly and it was so nice to hear the treacherous cheers from the Labour benches for the first and only time in this budget.

Osborne also had the nerve to
claim that Scotch whisky was another British success story. No it isn’t George it’s a Scottish success and it is seen as such. A Global brand made in Scotland unlike this budget which was made at Westminster and made for Middle England with a few concessions for the North of England. No mention of Scotland except to be told the usual unionist lie that we are better together.

Yes folks that’s how much Scotland matters to the unionists be they Osborne’s pals from the Bullingdon club or Ed Balls mates from bullshitters club. The Westminster parties and I mean all of the unionist parties, really are all in this together. Westminster knows it needs Scotland and the revenue we provide if they didn’t we’d have been kicked out of this union without any referendum and don’t let them fool you in to thinking otherwise. I mean when a chancellor has to praise the rich for paying their taxes then one seriously has to wonder if they are fit for purpose or their party for fit for office.

I do have to say however that the silence from the Labour benches on this issue was absolutely deafening, mind you it had to be because under the rule of the so-called workers the gap between the richest and poorest members of our society actually got worse.

Now every budget has to have a gimmick or at least a headline to sell it to the press. I mean who can forget the ill fated pasty tax of a couple of years ago which was a rather ludicrous attempt to attack Britain’s obesity record which is one of the worst in the developed from on high in the corridors of power. This was destined to fail but I think it was a front to get some of the more hard-line policies through unnoticed as too many people would have focused on the headline story. Well as the roman’s once said give them the circuses and or this case pasties and the they won’t complain about the price of bread.

This year’s Osborne gimmick is that fact he is reducing the bingo duty by half. He is also freezing duty on whisky and cider and taking a penny from the price of a pint of beer. These can be seen as few sweeteners for people in the poorer sections of society though smokers will still feel the pain. So mixed messages for those in the working class areas though many of those people will struggle due what Labour correctly say is the cost of living crisis as wages are still lagging behind inflation. Therefore in real terms this means a reduction of disposable income for those households in real terms and I suspect that many belts will need to be in tightened still further.

This to me was not a budget for Britain. From bingo lovers getting their duty reduced to bankers getting away with far too much and still not facing the consequences of their actions, this was a budget Tory Britain or should I say Tory England and that respect at least it was a political masterstroke. As I believe that is what Mr Osborne will be left with on the morning of the 19th of September after Scotland has voted to leave the club it had to be coerced in to joining in the first place and with the wealth available to us illustrate by our actions that just as the novelist tells us oranges are not the only fruit we know austerity is not only way forward. Yes it is true there is a better way and we can make the choice to take it and build a fairer nation for our people.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X