Tag Archive | Independence Referendum

After The Votes Were Counted The Result Was A Night Of Mixed Emotions

​This will not be an easy post to write nor indeed should it be. As I look back on the events of last Thursday evening it is I hope with a cool head that I review the results of the UK General Election and in particular what it means for the politics of Scotland. 

Having won 56 of the 59 Scottish seats in the election of  2015 it is I think fair to say that for the SNP this was always going to be a difficult night and I say that openly and with a Scottish National Party card in my purse. The fact this was a snap election called by Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May to get a mandate for her hard Brexit strategy seemed to wrong foot my party who just didn’t seem prepared for it or the fight it was going to bring. After all the only elections we were supposed to be fighting this year were of the local council variety. 

Talking of the council elections these should have given the SNP a warning of just how dirty  all the unionist parties were prepared to fight. The fact that there were all sorts of tactical voting arrangements in place to defeat SNP candidates should have sent a flashing amber light straight to SNP headquarters and the fact that it didn’t seem to do this is something I find very alarming indeed. All through the council election campaign all three leaders of the pro UK parties were talking of nothing else but the threat of  a second divisive independence referendum and a willing press and media allowed them the space to do so. 

It is my  opinion that the SNP were far too civilised on this issue and we should have went for the throat in a much more assertive manner with all of our pro union opponents and we should have went for Ruth Davidson in particular far harder than  we did and not let her get away with her outrageous and disgraceful behaviour against our democratically elected First Minister.  Ever since last year’s Scottish election Davidson has been acting as if she had won that election, and not the SNP. This should have been held up to ridicule and Davidson should have been forced to defend her Conservative policies rather than get away Brit free with  her one issue campaign on defending  her precious union. 

Now whilst this may be perceived as bias by those concerned I am more concerned  about our apparent lack of fight in meeting this ridiculous claim head on and forcing the unionists on to the back foot.  This must be at least to some extent responsible for our loses on Thursday night as more than any other  party SNP voters need to be inspired by a campaign that motivates them to vote and to me at least that didn’t happen this time 

The matter of tactical voting wasn’t taken anywhere near as seriously as it should have been by the SNP and it  wasn’t just unionists who were  doing it. There were in my opinion three groups of yes voters who exercised their own version of independence and  anyone who says this didn’t happen is denying reality. These groups were left leaning yes voters who voted Labour for Jeremy Corbyn and his vision of a fairer society, Yexit voters in rural areas especially but not exclusively in the North of Scotland , this was a group of voters who voted yes for independence in 2014 but voted to leave the European Union, and the stay at home voters who will always vote SNP when they go out to vote  but who if they feel the party has let them down or are not doing enough in key areas and have not been engaged by the manifesto or contacted by local activists  may exercise their democratic right to withhold their vote and there is no doubt that all three of these factors played against the party on this occasion.

 This however, could have been migitgated at local level if we had been a bit bolder in holding the unionist patties feet to the fire and challenging them on the authenticity and indeed sincerity of their views. For example we should have sought to make much more of the internal Labour Party fued between Jeremy Corbyn and his Scottish party leader Kezia Dugdale and highlighted the fact that far from being  Corbynistas the vast majority of the Scottish candidates had more in common with Kez than they did with Jez. 

Whilst I’m not sure it would have prevented any of our loses to Labour with the possible exception of Glasgow North East, I do believe that such tactics might have firmed up our majorities in a significant number of the seats we managed to hold thus making it easier to defend them at the next election. Instead of that it may well be the case though I hope it isn’t, that we have to go in to that election with the kind of fire fighting strategy aimed at avoiding a whole swathe of loses to Labour in what used to be their heartland seats.  It is my opinion that should this be the case the SNP will be looking at a return of between 18 -23 seats maximum and on a really bad night we could go down as low as 8-12. However if as I think we should, we take a more assertive line against our opponents I see no reason why we can’t win between 44-48 seats at the  next election. 

I believe we have to go down this road as I think there are dangers in playing too nice. Let’s face it we campaigned as the nice party in this election and it didn’t work and to be honest I don’t see it working in  future .  You can call me alarmist if you like, but I prefer realistic. You see I learned from the best my like lecturer in electoral behaviour Malcolm Dickson who did the System Three polls for the Herald and our resident professor who at that time gave guest lectures which I always made sure to attend. I am of course talking about the voice of elections in Scotland John Curtice who I am sure would happy to see one of his former students exercising such caution in their forecasting 

If  my caution is justified and born of out of both experience and I hope reason, my party’s caution was to some extent dictated by the fact that this was a Westminster election and the fact that the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn produced by their recent standards a radical manifesto which captured the imagination of voters throughout the UK and had I not been a member of the SNP and been so emotionally committed to my party and our ultimate aim of independence I could easily have been one of the yes voters who could have loaned my vote to Labour Party to get Jeremy Corbyn elected as Prime Minister.

The other key reasons for my party’s caution was the fact that having won an unrealistically high number of seats it was always going to be a night when the unionist voters would indulge themselves in a wee bit of tactical voting to get rid of some of our most talented and high profile MP’s whilst the media predicted the end of the road for our Westminster leader Angus Robertson who lost his Moray seat to the Conservatives, Callum Kerr and Richard Arkless who were the victims of a Conservative clean sweep in the Border constituencies Kirsteen Oswald whose East Renfrewshire seat once the safest Tory seat in Scotland returned to its natural home for the first time since the days of Alan Stewart, Stuart Donaldson in Kincardine And West Aberdeenshire and Pete Wishart who ironically enough fulfilled my  prediction and held on in Perth and North Perthshire. They didn’t pick up on others which were definitely on my vulnerable list such as Angus , Stirling, Ochil And South Perthshire,  and potentially Alex Salmond’s Gordon constituency  though I thought this was likely to be a Liberal Democrat gain rather than a Tory one.  

I have to say that the more the campaign went the more concerned I became for the SNP candidates who were fighting a difficult election on an agenda over which they had little control. At the beginning of the campaign I rather optimistically predicted that the Conservatives would get no more  than six seats and may even be lucky to get that. It is however fair to say that as the campaign progressed I began to see the direction of travel and it wasn’t travelling in our direction and even as a lifetime optimist I started to think the scale of our loses could be and in all probability would be far heavier than I first thought. Indeed on the morning of the election I forecast to a friend that my prediction for my party was between 38-44 seats, a far cry from the 48-52 seats most of my friends and even some sections of the press believed we would win. 

All things consideredthis  election was not a good one for the SNP or at least not on the surface , but if I take a closer look at it from a more personal perspective I think it could be discribed as a night of mixed emotions for me and my party. Yes we lost some serious big hitters from our ranks but  make no mistake we are a party with plenty of talent in our ranks and I hope that honourable members such as Alison Thewliss,  Chris Stephens,  Joanna Cherry , Lisa Cameron,  Mhairi Black ,  Stephen  Gethins , Stewart MacDonald , Tommy Sheppard and others will be given the chance to shine in this parliament and by doing so demonstrate the wealth of highly skilled representatives we have at our disposal.  
It is I think fair to say  that despite our  loses most of which were inevitable for a party in the mid term of a third term Scottish Government, and in an election when UK politics has been more polarised  than at any time since the 1980’s the SNP still won the Scottish part of this election. I believe to do this in the face of an unprecedented and vicious press and media onslaught represents a truly remarkable achievement from which we should take quiet satisfaction. You see by removing what they see as our most talented MP’s the Conservatives may actually have accidentally strengthened our hand as with no Angus or Alex to cast in the role of the bogeyman it will be so much harder for them cast us as a two man team now than was previously the case. 

Looking back on the  events of the night I have to say that after the votes were counted it was a night of mixed emotions.  From a personal  perspective I had as good an election as was going to be possible given the circumstances as  I watched with pride the return of several of my closest  political allies to serve as their constituency  MPs and my reputation for fairness and accuracy   as a political  pundit was vindicated by my early morning election day prediction being uncomfortably close to the truth 

Meanwhile with regards to the gains  made by the pro UK parties I will await with interest the verdict on the new Labour and Tory intake and how many of them will actually be up to the job. I suggest that it may not be quite as many as they think and once they have to talk on  issues other than their obsessive hatred of the SNP and independence they may  be found out for what they are and the SNP stand  best  placed to benefit from such a scenario.

 At the beginning of this campaign all the unionist leaders in Scotland said they wanted to send Nicola Sturgeon a message, and to a certain extent they got their wish. It is my opinion however, that sometimes people should be careful what they wish for as they may actually get it and find to their horror that it might  not be as good as they think.  

Till next time 

Gayle X

When It Comes To Independence Some People Are Really Obsessed.  

After seven weeks of campaigning it’s finally here election day 2017. Depending on who you are talking to this election has been about Brexit , A Fairer Britain , and Nicola Sturgeon’s Obsession With independence. It’s also been about the Environment, a Second European Union Referendum, and Nicola Sturgeon’s obsession with independence. 

Other topics for discussion have included the Dementia Tax Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘dealings’ I prefer to call them peace negotiations,  with the IRA, and Nicola Sturgeon’s obsession with independence. Have you detected a theme yet ? I think I have and it’s this according to the unionist parties and their friends in the press Nicola Sturgeon has an obsession with independence. 

Reality however paints a slightly different picture. Far from Nicola Sturgeon having an obsession with independence it is in fact the unionists who are obsessed by the right of the Scotland to at any time determine our future god knows they’ve mentioned it often enough In every campaign leaflet in every party political broadcast and in every televised news bulletin the burning question at least according to the interviewer wasn’t Theresa May’s refusal to take part in debates or Jeremy Corbyn’s suitability for the job of Prime Minister , it was yes you’ve guessed it Nicola Sturgeon’s obsession with independence

 This to me is nothing of short of propaganda of the type that Josef Goebbels would have proud to call his own. It was the same all through the recent council election campaign when unionists of all political hues pleaded for votes on the grounds it send a message to Nicola Sturgeon that Scotland didn’t want what they referred to as another divisive independence referendum even local councils have absolutely no power to stop such a referendum from ever taking place should the Scottish parliament decide to hold one. Still one mustn’t let the truth get in the way of the unionists plan to bring Scotland to heel. 

This constant drip feeding to the most gullible and misinformed section of the public is bound to have had an impact on how they were persuaded to vote. Fortunately I am too well educated to fall for this toxic nonsense but many other people particularly in the older demographic are not so lucky and will tend to take these comments as if they were handed to them on tablets of stone. You see some people really are obsessed with independence and guess what there not in the SNP 

Till next time. 

Gayle X

Marching Backwards

Hey Readers

It is my considered opinion that there is something very wrong with politics in democratic nations. With regards to the UK, there has been a disturbing rise in the number of racially motivated attacks in the aftermath of the Brexit vote and there have also been a significant increase in transphobic and disability related hate crimes.

Whilst not everyone who voted to leave the European Union is a racist and many decent and honourable socialists voted to leave for a completely different set of reasons but there can be no denying that post Brexit Britain has unleashed a very unhealthy strain of right wing British Nationalism which if unchecked could see Britain more divided than at any time since the 1930’s.

As a supporter of Scottish independence some people might say this should please me but those who make such wild assumptions do not know me and will never know me. I may be a member
of the Scottish National Party but I was raised an internationalist and I will hopefully many years from now die an internationalist. So believe me when I say I take no pleasure in watching this horror story unravel and the recent victory of Donald Trump will I fear drive this right wing agenda still further. It is with this division and politics of fear clear in my mind I have written this poem entitled Marching Backwards I hope you find it a challenging and thought provoking read.

Marching Backwards

Good morning Britain

I am now going give you a wake up call

ignore it and one day you will be

welcome to the UKKK

an insular xenophobic
small minded island

led by a right wing authoritarian regime

where a very privileged few
will fan the flames of fear

Who needs the facts when you have cheerleaders

like the BBC and 90 per cent of broadcast media.

If we try to find the truth they’ll ban the internet especially Wikipedia

they may deprive us of our human rights

but they’ll do it under the guise

of keeping us safe at nights

whilst numbing our minds

by remote control

EastEnders and Coronation Street

are light family viewing

not manna for the soul

but this is their strategy

they want you to talk about some fictional characters

having problems with their sexuality

this will prove how liberal you are

to friends and neighbours in your street

and your drinking companions at the bar

providing nobody like that lives next door to you

that would to be too much to handle

in this new fantasy land

where the only scandal is getting caught with your morals down

It just isn’t right and all those Muslims and other foreigners

frighten granny’s in Gloucester,

though she won’t say that when visiting her Syrian doctor

or her Bosnian care worker

In this land of strivers and shirkers

her Polish bank manager is always so nice and eager to help

but in this gray unpleasant land

she and her fellow Brits tell anyone willing to listen

this is their United Kingdom

so everyone else has to look , think , speak like them

they see 10 Downing Street
as the epicentre of civilisation

believing that Jesus once walked in their nation

claiming foreign fields as forever English

forgetting or dismissing that Scotland Wales and at least a small part of Ireland

are still for the moment form part of the United Kingdom

they talk about only when it suits

meanwhile as union flags, flutes and Nazi salutes

are dismissed as harmless fun

tabloid Tories like The Sun, The Mail, and Daily Express

make me proud I voted yes in the independence referendum

and if they think I’ll by led like sheep to Armageddon

they must be living in an alternative reality

televised trivialities will not stop me

 pursuing my vision of a better world

where inclusion and attainment are not dirty words

and aspiration is viewed as normal

not dependent on a formal by which I mean private education

we must remove walls not build them

to keep others out

this isn’t what progress is about

nor is it about labelling, demonising, or stereotyping

to provide the few with silver linings

at the expense of everyone else

this mind thyself attitude

which puts Britain first

is the refuge of the cursed

the curse which if ignored

could see the wolf enter through the back door

and wreck havoc if unchecked

this is supposed to be
a nation of fairness and respect

where all lives matter

but the shaven heads who hold their flags

and chant Rule Britannia

don’t agree

these poster boys for the BNP
Britain First

and others on that side of the political spectrum

are the kind of Brits who don’t contest elections

this type of subject has no time

for anything as complex as choice

only wanting one nation one voice, one race

the world will be a safer place
they claim

point the finger of what they see as shame

at any group they don’t like

disabled people, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender

people of different ethnicities

these people are not truly British

according to their way of thinking

as the sinking ship austerity

brings their ideas into the mainstream

if this poem doesn’t make uncomfortable reading

we have not learned the lessons of history

and will be condemned to repeat its mistakes

by marching backwards to the right.

@ Gayle Smith 2016.

Scotland Said Yes To The Civilised World By Rejecting The Brexit Club

Hey Readers

As dawn breaks I can and will declare that the United Kingdom if not quite officially dead has certainly reached a point where the family have been called and told to prepare for the worst. 

Yes I know that may sound slightly dramatic but as Britain votes for Brexit I and many others will be looking for an exit. However, the exit I want isn’t from Europe it’s from the United Kingdom which is now
more divided than ever after the most catastrophic decision ever made in the history of this mythical nation.

You see I have never bought in to the loyal and unionist fairytale of a united kingdom far less a great Britain and to me this result makes a mockery of the better together campaign to keep Scotland in the UK during our independence referendum as all through that referendum we heard this ongoing chant from the unionists that if we left the United Kingdom we wouldn’t be allowed to become a member as an independent nation.

This of course was nonsense, there tactic was to terrorise the gullible in to believing that they were somehow in danger of being kicked out the EU because David Cameron said so. This morning this cruel trick lies exposed for what it was and better together has been exposed as the fraud some of us always knew it to be.

Nonetheless as democrats we in the yes campaign accepted however reluctantly the result of independence referendum though we still reserve the right to campaign for the constitutional chance we sought and the restoration of Scotland’s place as an independent sovereign nation with the powers rights and responsibilities that comes with it.

Indeed many of us who voted yes in the independence referendum were amongst the most enthusiastic supporters of Scotland remaining in Europe and actively campaigned to achieve the outcome we wanted but what we wanted was far removed from what we got

No matter how uncomfortable it may be we have to face the fact that rampant British nationalism has triumphed in England and Wales where the voters were in my opinion duped by a lethal combination of ambitious right wing Conservatives such as would be Prime Minister in waiting Boris Johnson and his allies such as Education Secretary Michael Gove and former the voice of kindness at the Department of Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith.
and the even more extreme views of Nigel Farage and UKIP who with their toxic brand of politics managed to turn what should have been a referendum on our membership of the European Union into nothing more than a vote on immigration.

These views were given credibility by a fanatical right wing press and media who cannot get over the fact that Westminster no longer has an empire to rule over and yearned to return to the 1850’s yes I did say the 1850’s when everyone was British knew their place and bowed the knee to their so-called social betters. What Westminster doesn’t realise is that in Scotland at least we have a get out clause from this madness which has already produced its first causality with the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and that get out clause is
independence.

You see whether the professional unionists like it or not 2014 wasn’t the end of the debate on Scotland it was only the beginning and these people think otherwise they are way more deluded than I ever thought possible. This however does not surprise me as ever since the morning of their victory in the last referendum which was only achieved through last minute promises they had no intention of keeping they have consistently implemented bully boy tactics and told those of us who voted yes to shut up and get back in our box. I regret to inform this has as much chance of success as Albion Rovers winning the champions league in any other setting than play station or a Des Dillon novel (Note quick plug for Des Dillon novel The Return Of The Busby Babes )

Anyway, nice idea as they might believe it to be Scotland is not going back to sleep and we are now in a much stronger position to campaign for the independence our country needs after this horrible referendum result. The result achieved by the leave campaign was based on primary factor and that was the demonising of those considered to be other. These are the people who don’t fit in to what the Brexiters traditional view of British identity. Unfortunately for those of us who voted remain this view which is an insular narrow minded view primarily but not exclusively based on race will now be how Britishness is viewed on the continent and beyond. This is a result which shamed Britain and exposed the shallow distrust of Brexiters towards those who don’t fit their agenda as being a highly significant factor in their victory.

It is my view and that of many others that this toxic legacy will make it much tougher for the professional unionist political class who were and remain Better Together to fight against independence than they were two years ago as one of their key arguments for this outdated union was based on the now shambolic proposal that if we didn’t do as we were told and vote to stay in the UK then we wouldn’t be allowed membership of the European Union.

This was an oft quoted argument which certainly seemed to resonate with the less well read I don’t do politics kind of voter as they tended believe what they are told by the BBC Daily Mail and unionist Westminster politicians as if they were quoting directly from the bible. To say this disturbs me would be putting it mildly. Well let’s be honest reading the Daily Mail is bad enough but to believe it is written on tablets of stone would be the actions of the demented and deluded.

Unfortunately many of the more gullible members of society appear to be taken in by this line and this was certainly the case at the time of the last referendum when the unionist establishment in which the vast majority of the press and media were a key part seemed to regard the European Union as their own private members club. I make this claim because I know how much it suited British establishment to act in this way until the vote secured Scotland for the union.

After the result of our referendum was declared in favour of the union, It was at least if you believed David Cameron and Better Together spokesman in Scotland Alastair Darling the end of the independence debate and the morning of the 19th of September was supposed to be a return to business as usual and we Jocks as the Westminster set refer to us were supposed to get back in our boxes and be nice colonial children speaking only when we were spoken to with nanny Britain’s permission.
That however is not how it turned out as a newly awakened Scotland had found our voice and we were in no mood to give it up.

In the first serious electoral test in post referendum the unionist political classes suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the SNP which was now led by Salmond’s deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon as the party smashed through what some its supporters had always believed to be the Westminster glass ceiling winning 56 of the 59 Scottish constituency seats and in doing so ending the political careers of some big name Labour MP’s such as Jim Murphy Douglas Alexander, and Ian Davidson.

A smart political operator Nicola Sturgeon had served a long apprenticeship under her former boss and was more than ready to take over the leader of both her party and her country. Impressive in TV debates Sturgeon captured the mood of the nation and gave supporters of independence belief that we not only had a future but our best days were yet to come.

As opposition parties crumbled in the weight of the SNP avalanche they desperately tried to convince themselves that this phase would soon pass and the return to normality they had been promised
This however has been and remains a million light years away from the political reality that is Scotland in 2016. As if to demonstrate this fact the SNP won a third successive victory in Scottish parliamentary election. Though the party fell two seats short of a second successive overall majority the fact that they won an increased number of constituency seats up from 53 in 2011 to 59 in recent election should not be lost on our opponents.

In fact if I’m being brutality honest the only thing that stopped a second successive
majority was the quite ludicrous
D’ hont electoral system which was so badly skewed that it gave the SNP only four extra seats whilst giving The Conservatives twenty four and the Labour Party twenty one. This resulted in painting an entirely false picture of how Scotland voted and giving the unionist parties a far greater sense of self importance than they actually deserve.

The refusal of the unionist parties to acknowledge that Scotland is not a one party state as they so often like to claim does them and their cause no good whatsoever and gives the impression that they are being childish and petulant and therefore unfit to hold office. I think that someone needs to tell them that there is a genuine and very real difference between what is really a one party state and what better together claim it is. The fact none of the unionist parties in Scotland are currently fit for purpose is not the fault of the SNP no matter how much the more fanatical amongst their number would like it to be. This is just the spin of the immature child who wants everything his own way and cries like a baby when it. doesn’t go to plan.

You know it’s funny how when Scotland was ruled by The Labour Party for almost five decades 1959-2007 (48 years to be exact) and having been alive for all but two of those years I never heard this one party state nonsense even once. In fact I can say with certainty I didn’t even hear it from the Tories not even during the Thatcher years but the minute the SNP or any pro independence party look like doing well they trot it out. This to me smacks of the back in your box Jocks kind of the attitude they would be very well advised to avoid if they ever want to regain the one thing they lack more than any other and that is credibility.

This is to me at least one of the most important factors faced by any political party or campaign if it wants to be successful. Without a credible leader your party or campaign will sink without trace and that at this moment in history in Scottish politics at least all the credible politicians are with the exception of Ruth Davidson on the side of Yes.

I have to say that though I dislike her politics intensely I do admire Ruth and more than that I actually respect her. Well I have to say that following Annabel Goldie as leader of Scotland’s conservatives was never going to be easy. Annabel at least in Scottish terms was a legendary figure who had done much to begin the detoxification of the Conservative brand in Scotland and Ruth Davidson with her personable and dare I say it likeable manner has continued the work started by her predecessor.

Ruth however faces one major problem which is that for many people in Scotland which is that no matter what you may think of them personally a Tory is still a Tory and if they are the only credible voice for the union there will be areas which will be closed to them especially after this result.

You see a significant number of those who voted to stay UK in 2014 did so not because of any sense of British identity being exclusive to their way of thinking but because they viewed their Britishness like their Scottishness as part of something better and perceived it as being more inclusive and outward looking than what they viewed as the narrow nationalism of independence. Now with Britain having voted to leave Europe whilst Scotland in large numbers voted to stay with in many of those who voted no in 2014 may already be beginning to rethink that decision and vote yes in the next independence referendum when it is eventually called. Indeed it may be that this vote on Europe has finally proved the very real political differences between the politics of Scotland and the rest of the UK have highlighted the need for independence to a far greater degree than was the case in 2014 as Scotland said yes to the civilised world by rejecting the Brexit Club.

Looking back to the afternoon of the 19th of September when Alex Salmond said in his resignation speech as First Minister the dream shall never die many people may have thought that this was just a politician trying to keep the flame of independence alive on what was for many of us this blogger included the darkest day in Scotland’s recent history. It was on that day as people began to flock to the SNP in record numbers Alex Salmond was proved to be a lot more correct than many of us dared to dream .

It was however a few days later in the interview on Andrew Marr show that Alex Salmond made his most telling comment, saying that at a time when the circumstances were right we would get the chance to finish the job we started. Thanks to Brexit that chance and our independence may come sooner than a lot of people think.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

The Gift That Keeps On Giving Has Failed The Campaign Test

Hey Readers.

As we approach the most important UK wide vote since 1975 and less than 24 hours before Britain goes to the polls to decide to whether or not to remain in the European Union  the leader of Labour’s Scottish branch Kezia Dugdale has compared the Leave campaign to Yes Scotland which campaigned for Scottish independence referendum.

This is the latest in a series of high profile gaffes by Ms Dugdale who though likeable in a personal capacity, has or so it seems an uncanny knack of putting her foot very firmly in her mouth at a moments notice. Indeed Ms Dugdale has been cautioned by former Westminster Labour MP for Glasgow South Tom Harris who is chair of the Scottish Leave campaign to tone down the referendum rhetoric and I have to say that on this occasion I agree with the former honorable member.

Believe me this is something I never thought I would live long enough to say and agreeing with the most right wing representative Labour has ever had does make me feel ever so slightly uneasy. I mean this is a man who would make the likes of George Robertson, and Gordon Brown Look like later day versions of Karl Marx and that in itself is no mean achievement.

As f insulting yes supporters just hours before the vote Kezia has yet again let her rivalry with the SNP get in the way of the facts and could actually have damaged support for the remain campaign had the SNP support had been in any way as petty as she has been in making this regrettable comparison

By all accounts Kezia is a thoroughly decent woman and I have that on good authority from many members of the SNP who know and like her whilst honourably disagreeing with her politics. However this episode shows why the more unkind amongst her opponents describe her as the gift that keeps on giving as this argument is couched in the language of the simpleton. Indeed I was faced with a similar smear from someone whom I consider to be the most gullible human being I have ever met. I dismantled this vacuous argument on that on that occasion and I am going to do it again. I say this not out of malice but because I believe that if an argument is flawed you have both a moral and political duty to expose those flaws.

Now I don’t know about you but I would have that Kezia Dugdale would have had better things to do that indulge in petty political posturing which she knows contain not one single grain of truth. You see most SNP members I know will be voting for remain and doing so for exactly the same reasons we voted yes on the 18th of September 2014. You see we stick with our principles and believe in a Europe that works for Scotland. I know that the European Union is far from perfect and there are many areas in which it needs reform but unlike the British union we believe that this is a union which works for Scotland rather than conspiring against it.

It is my opinion that Kezia Dugdale by making this quite frankly ludicrous statement has shown her one of her greatest political shortcomings and that is naivety as nobody who wishes to be considered to be a remotely credible politician would have made such a sweeping generalisation about those who for the most part are on the same side as they are on this occasion.

This inflammatory comment shows why a potentially talented politician will in all probability never be elected First Minister of our nation as she is far too accident prone to be charged with this level of responsibility. She is if you like, a politician who though nice enough is quite clearly out of her depth and believe me it shows that she has been the right job ten years too early.

I illustrate this by saying that to any impartial observer the Yes campaign and that of Brexit could not be further apart and though it may be cruel to do so I think to remind Kezia Dugdale that it wasn’t the yes campaign which was endorsed by UKIP, Britain First , and the Loyal Orange Order it was better together the pro unionist campaign of which she was proud to be proud to be a part. Yes all leaders of the Brexit Boys Club were red white and blue union jackers to the very core of their being.

So sorry as I am to burst Kezia’s bubble she really has left me no choice. You see I won’t tolerate a false comparison between the positive vision of the yes campaign and the relentless British nationalist negativity of Brexiters. Indeed there is only one vague similarity between these two very arguments and that is that Kezia Dugdale opposed them both. So it seems to me that in that Kezia gained her political awareness not from the school of hard knocks or the university of life but the school of petulant politics at which she was the star student at least she was if you believe her mentor George Foulkes. Meanwhile if like myself, you are more inclined to live in the real world it has to be said that statements like I want Nicola Sturgeon’s desk do not present the image of a potential future leader of our country.

I will concede that it may be perceived I am being ever so unkind with that latest comment, though after all having been a judge in what in the fiercely competitive world of spoken word poetry contests I am known to be a very harsh marker. However if there is one thing I can pride myself on it’s my honesty. I have given Kezia plenty of praise in the past when I believed she deserved it and will do again when the occasion demands, But when you fail your campaign test it illustrates why no matter how nice you may be then you can never be the kind of politician to whom I or any others who have political savvy would look for leadership or inspiration.

Indeed at the recent Scottish Election where her party was pushed in to third place behind the SNP and Ruth Davidson’s Conservatives and if you judge on constituency seats alone fourth place behind the Liberal Democrats it was identified that one of Labour’s key problems was that Kezia Dugdale had a major credibility problem with the Scottish voters who couldn’t see her as a credible challenger to Nicola Sturgeon let alone an alternative First Minister and believe me when I say that outbursts like this one will do nothing to remedy that issue for her or her party.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

I Won’t Be Voting For Brexit But I’ll Fight For A Westminster Exit (Debunking The Myths Served Up As Truths By The School Of Political Assumptions)

Hey Readers

With the referendum on Britain’s continued membership of the European Union less than a month away, it is only to be expected that it will come up as a topic of conversation with both friends and strangers between now and polling day

It is i think fair to say that some of the conversations will, like the 2014 Scottish independence referendum be focused on the the big issues or at least the issues the press and media want us to believe are big. Other chats will be heated as this is an issue which evokes strong passions on both sides of the debate but sometimes the chatter will just be bewildering and you’ll wonder how it ever got this crazy.

This last description certainly sums up the discussion I had on the issue recently with an acquaintance of mine who if truth be told isn’t actually in the political premier league when it comes to understanding the issues at the heart of the debate. In an attempt to make polite social conversation my acquaintance asked me if I would be voting to remain or leave in the referendum and said that she would be voting remain. The woman concerned said that the reason for making this decision was that she believed it was better the devil you know than to do something that involves risk.

This to me sounds like someone who doesn’t quite understand how politics actually works and hasn’t quite got to grips with the fact that every decision we ever take involves a degree of risk as nothing stays the same in our ever changing world.

I told my acquaintance I had made my mind up a long time ago as to how I voting on June 23rd and nobody could say or do anything to change my mind now.
On informing her of this news, I waited patiently for her to make her judgement call on how she believed I would be voting and let’s just say I was quietly confident she would without thinking jump in and land at the wrong conclusion. I didn’t have to wait long before I was proven to be right.

Without taking the time to mull over my thoughts or ask me any questions as to what factors influenced my decision she just rushed in and said she thought I would be voting Leave. I have to say I wasn’t surprised at this comment and it shows that the person concerned doesn’t know me half as well as they think.

When I asked my companion why would I want to leave the European Union, I was informed without a trace of irony that since I voted for independence for Scotland and wanted to leave Britain, then it followed at least it did in their world that I would want to leave Europe.

Seldom if ever, have I had to try so hard to suppress a chuckle as I did on hearing this nugget of information which I immediately classified as comedy gold. I assured my contact that under no circumstances would I ever consider voting leave as this was playing a dangerous game of Russian roulette with the Scottish economy and also risking workers rights which the British government had to be dragged kicking and screaming before being forced however reluctantly to accept.

I went on to say that though I didn’t particularly like being on the same side as unprincipled charlatans like David Cameron, and Gordon Brown, I could live with the fact just this once. Well, the way I see it is that they are agreeing with me rather than the other way round. Now difficult as it is to have these two as fellow travellers, it is still a damn sight bearable than the Brexit gang of Nigel Farage , George Galloway, and Boris Johnson. Honestly having to rely on this lot as the three wise men of your campaign then believe me you are in really serious trouble.

As for the Scottish leadership of
the leave campaign, well if there was any doubt about me voting remain then appointing the world’s most lethal double act aka former Labour MP’s Tom Harris (Glasgow South) who seems to have a problem with immigrants, and Ian Davidson (Glasgow South West) who has an issue with SNP members, to lead Scotland’s leave campaign would surely have sealed the deal. I didn’t raise this with my acquaintance as I doubt if she would have known who I was talking about.

What I did say however was that though my reasons for voting remain were many and varied but my main one is not to make Britain stronger in Europe but actually to weaken British identity by keeping the UK in Europe. You see I’m not just scared of the idea Britain leaving Europe I’m absolutely terrified of it. Make no mistake the British establishment needs the civilising influence of Europe to reign them in and keep the lid on shall we say the more imperialist amongst out number as left it’s own devices it could become a very cold, insular, and unkind place to live in for the reason stated in the picture below.

image

Imagine if you will, an untrained stray bulldog with anti social tendencies left unleashed to wander the streets of Britain. This is not a picture I ever want to see. The thought of such an image gives me nightmares but this is the image of Britain I have post Brexit. This would be a Britain which repeals the Human Rights Act it would be a Britain less inclusive and less understanding of difference where those seen as other would be labelled rather than loved and reviled rather than respected. How anyone could assume I would want to risk such a Britain just because I voted yes in the independence referendum leaves beyond incredulity with rage.

This judgement on my character shows someone who believes they know me a lot better they actually do. It is based on a set of causal assumptions about me based on one particular choice I happen to have made in September 2014 which was on my long standing belief that Scotland should be an independent country.

To make this judgement on such limited information is both a misleading and inaccurate representation of my wider political values and the circumstances that shaped them. It is based not on knowledge of me or my background but the lazy politics of assumption. Now if there is one thing I don’t do it’s make assumptions because to assume is to make an ass of you and me and that is something I don’t do.

With only three weeks to go until the vote I take nothing for granted and I certainly won’t be claiming victory before the votes are counted. As I said I don’t do the politics of assumption and why I will be campaigning hard to win every vote to stay in the European Union and make sure Scotland and for as long as I’m a part of it Britain, will get the best deal for the citizens of our collective of countries. So it is in the spirit of friendship that I hope you would expect from a supporter of the British And Irish Lions that I will vote to remain in the European Union not because I have suddenly converted to unionism but because I have always believed that to truly love your own country you must also love all countries accepting their cultures and learning from them in the respect of what they do differently from us and why what works for them may not be applicable for us.

To me it is by taking these steps that you illustrate the vision of an internationalist and prove to the world that real independence is not based on the isolationist tendencies of right wing conservatives but the very real choice of genuine co-operation with others and that is how politics should be conducted in a forward thinking society. It is this kind society that I seek to build locally, nationally, and globally.

It is with this very much on my mind I say that though I voted for a different constitutional settlement for Scotland with the full powers of independence I won’t be voting Brexit. Well that would be akin to slamming the door on our friends in Europe and giving the Tories cart blanch to destroy Scotland and that is something I will never ever do. Well I am reliability informed that no turkey has ever be known to vote for Christmas and I would never contemplate any move which could or would damage my county in any way, shape, or form.

Looking to the future should we decide to hold an another independence referendum I can say now it will be same again for me and I will voting yes. Well I may want to remain in Europe but as for the possibility of a Westminster exit, that is they say is a completely different story.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

Jolly Japes Joshing And Jibes On Jockistanis The BBC Has Shown The World Why It Really Is Strictly Irrelevent

Dear BBC. I write this letter as a citizen of the country known as Scotland. This is the country which you allow your political friends from the British establishment to refer to as Jockistan. No doubt you will attempt to laugh off any complaints as bad sports unable to take a bit of jolly japes and joshing. This however is far from jolly japes and joshing. It is in my opinion nothing short of deliberate racism of a most despicable kind and is quite simply not acceptable in any way shape or form if you wish us proud Jockistanis to pay our licence fee for your frankly over rated broadcasting service.

You claim to be a centre of excellence and a world class provider of news and entertainment. Maybe this might have been a valid claim at one stage in your history it is however far from true now and your descent into mediocrity has been faster than the speed of light or Usian Bolt whichever happens to be quicker.

From my childhood right up till my early adulthood the BBC had a reputation for fairness and impartiality in news and current affairs. I don’t know where it got this reputation probably from my parents generation who had been socially and culturally conditioned to accept the dominant political paradigm of their age that Britishness represented fairness, truth, and justice. I however had a very different idea of what Britishness meant and fairness and justice didn’t come in to the picture. You see even as a teenager I had my eye on the ball and began to doubt the shall we say the integrity of the state broadcaster whom I regarded with a healthy disdain not usually associated with protestant teenagers in the Scotland of the mid seventies.

Part of my cynicism came from the fact that you consistently referred to the Ulster conflict as ‘the troubles’ rather than acknowledge part of the UK in which geography, history and politics were always contested was engaged in a bitter civil war. No you couldn’t do that, you had to delude yourself that this was a minor domestic problem which only applied to Ulster and had no relevance to the rest of your so-called United Kingdom. This of course is nonsense this conflict had profound implications for the part of the United Kingdom which you now allow your friends in the British establishment to sneeringly refer to as Jockistan. Yes Scotland was and still is blighted by a sectarian problem and this is something I can speak on with a significant degree of authority. This is due in no small part to the bloodline bequeathed to me by my parents who came from both sides of the religious divide having as I did a protestant unionist mother and a lapsed catholic nationalist father. My background enabled me to take a more balanced veiw on how perceved religious identity impacted on the city I call and have always called home.  I saw Glasgow’s social and cultural problems at first hand and believe me during my teens and I know that the troubles were not confined to the streets of Belfast or Derry. Believe me there was another divided national community in your fictional United Kingdom and that was Scotland the in particular the West of Scotland.

Of course this was seldom if ever reported to do so would concede that the United Kingdom was far less united than was stated and that would have fuelled support for a nationalist movement in Scotland to a far greater extent than you would have been comfortable with and could have placed the future of the last outpost in your colonial empire in very significant danger. For your union to survive Britain’s decline in the post imperial age you could not admit to civil war in your country so you would have to call it the troubles and make sure it was seen as an Irish problem and only an Irish problem. You are nothing if you are not the broadcasting arm of the state. In many ways it saddens me to write this post but is I feel indicative of how your standards have slipped in recent years.

Yes you may still occasionally make some good television programmes. Even as a lifelong nationalist it would be churlish of me not to admit I enjoy your coverage of the Six Nations Rugby Championship, and I love the biting satire of Mock The Week, just as I enjoyed Not The Nine O Clock News in my late teens and the early part of twenties. I grew up watching Play For Today, and Top of the Pops before I knew that many of the presenters on later were more than a bit dodgy with a penchant for lusting after vulnerable youngsters. I loved your quality comedy programmes such as Butterflies and Only Fools And Horses which even now is considered one of the best programmes ever made as is Alan Bleasdale’s groundbreaking work Boys From The Black Stuff which showed the cruelty of Thatcher’s Britain in my favourite serial drama of all time. Of today’s programmes I think Not Going Out shows you still haven’t completely lost your comic touch.

It is also fair to say I enjoy your programmes on BBC Alba especially the Trad Awards and your Celtic Connections specials, and I love the glitz and glamour of Strictly Come Dancing. Well what woman doesn’t dream of silk, sequins, gorgeous dresses and even better men. Those jewels apart however you are not what you used to be and your news coverage of Scotland and Scottish politics is and I won’t beat about the bush here nothing short of a damn disgrace.

If there was ever any doubt that the BBC had long ago  lost any reputation it may have had for fairness and impartiality believe me it was removed during our Independence referendum in which you couldn’t even disguise your support for the unionist cause. This showed a lack of respect for both Scotland and the democratic process. You see I always believed that there was two sides to every story but during the campaign leading up to the most important vote in the history of our nation you only seemed to hear one side of the debate and subjected those of us who campaigned for a yes vote to a far tougher line of questioning than those who favoured remaining in the United Kingdom. Indeed it would not be beyond the bounds of reason to suggest that rather than see this view as the other side of a valid argument in fair and opened debate you decided to accept the better together argument as practically your default position. This arrogant high handed attitude that one side was wrong no matter what they said was an insult to a significant number of Scots and yes I include myself among that number and that is why I along with thousands of others attended demonstrations outside your Glasgow headquarters.I will grant you that your chosen campaign won the vote on referendum day though whether you would have won it if both sides of the debate been heard fairly and equally I very much doubt. That however is not my main concern. You see we are now a year on from the referendum and you still don’t seem to have learned anything when it comes to respecting the views of others who may take a different view to your own.

At the recent UK election you blatantly favoured those politicians from what I would refer to as unionist parties and showed rudeness which could be mistaken for aggression to members of the Scottish National Party despite that party being the party of government at Holyrood. This was not only insulting to the SNP it was and is insulting to the people of Scotland.

Now if I was of a cruel disposition I could say that when Scotland spoke at the General Election you and your colonial masters got what was coming. That however would be to undermine the efforts of my party, our candidates, most of whom are now honourable members of the Westminster parliament and our hard working team of magnificent activists who worked so hard to bring about our greatest achievement to date. So instead of mocking you I ask a once great organisation to try to uphold the professional standards of which you were once so proud. Regaining the trust of the people of Scotland will not be easy. We are a demanding people who expect high standards of our public servants. You have not lived up to those standards on television or on radio in recent years. Indeed on radio phone in programmes such as Call Kaye the callers seem to be skewed towards unionism. Whilst I have no doubt this will keep the presenter who is known to be an arch unionist happy and smiling that is not the job of the BBC. You are just in case you need reminding, supposed to be reflecting public opinion and you are singularly failing to do so.

It is no exaggeration to say I have been watching your conduct very closely since the referendum and believe me I’m not the only one. The report card I issue is not written from a perspective of grudge or grievance, rather it is written on your performance and what is expected of you. So far at least your performance has not matched those expectations in fact you haven’t come anywhere remotely close to doing so.

On recent radio programmes rather than seek the views of current elected members you have wheeled out any piece of unionist deadwood you can find just to have a pop at the SNP. The same can also be said of television where your pre disposed bias towards The Labour Party shows in the ludicrous way you shamelessly attempt to promote Labour leader Kezia Dugdale just as you did with every Labour leader both since the devolution settlement and before it. The fact that you have done this  whilst trying at every available chance to denigrate Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon just as you did to her predecessor Alex Salmond, only goes to prove your bias against both the SNP and its perfectly legitimate aim of persuing by democratic means the aim of Scottish indepenence.  This toxic behaviour is not only bad politics it is a betrayel of the licence payers of this country. It is to put it mildly unacceptable behaviour and uncomfortable viewing and listening. This kind of attitude is simply not on and is in fact a bad joke gone wrong.

This brings me back to the Jockistan comment. To write this off as a joke would be at best inappropriate and at worst offensive. I know where I’m putting my money. This kind of behaviour is Anti-Scottish racism and for it to be allowed to go unchallenged on a daily politics programme is not as the chattering classes might say jolly japes and joshing. It is a sign that the unionists know the game is almost up and this time it is a game they expect to lose. You see your high command know Jockistan does not exist, they also know that in spite of Gordon Brown’s best attempts to abolish it and turn it in to North Britain Scotland does exist and will continue to do so no matter what they would like to think. Despite your best efforts Scotland has grown in stature since the referendum and this confident nation has found her voice and intends to make it heard. So you see BBC It matters not what you think this country will not be going back in the box. Not today, not tomorrow not ever and that is as should be. We may not have reached our destination yet but we have started on the road on the journey to nationhood there is no turning back.

Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X