Following Scotland’s independence referendum in 2014, there were a large group of people still determined to campaign for Scottish independence, and rightly so. A smaller group of people were determined that in the aftermath of the strong, but not majority, Yes vote, that Scotland should itself declare its own independence unilaterally, as many countries had done before it.

I understand this, and i join them in wishing Scotland could and would declare itself independent. A central tenet of the UDI advocates is the following six minute speech, made in the Scottish parliament by SNP MSP Christine Grahame. She is a very precise and thorough person, and an upstanding representative, and this speech is fascinating and very informative, and it includes reference to the legal document by which Scotland could apparently declare itself independent without showing majority support through a democratic referendum:

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On Sunday 23 November, Lesley Riddoch, famed broadcaster and journalist, came to South Leith Parish Church and addressed us on the subject of “Another Media”, discussing Scotland’s changing media in the aftermath of the recent independence referendum. I recorded the audio, with the permission of the organisers, Leith Walk SNP Branch.

You can listen to the talk here:

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“New brooms sweep clean” or so they say. On the other hand, what do “they” know anyway?

Labour’s Relationship with Scotland – It’s Complicated

Johann Lamont

Johann Lamont

The “Scottish” Labour Party will certainly be hoping to make a clean sweep of the 2015 General Election in Scotland, anyway, so perhaps that’s why it’s no coincidence that the “leader” and “deputy leader” of “Scottish” Labour have both stepped down this week, giving a full six months for whoever is elected to the roles to shake hands and kiss babies. Six months is, of course, long enough to do a lot of smiling, and get a lot of column inches written about you, but unless you’re completely incompetent, it’s too short a time to really stuff anything up too badly, especially if you’re not in government… isn’t it?    Read More →

So as you’ll be aware, last week i emailed the Smith Commission, which anyone can do until 31 October, to voice their views about what should be devolved to Scotland in the wake of the immense promises of federalism and home rule that were doled out like sweeties to the No voters in the run-up to the recent Scottish independence referendum. Please do it now, if you haven’t already.

I thought some more about it and realised there were a few more things i wanted to suggest. I also read somewhere that since submissions from the public were likely to just be skimmed, it might make sense to send each point you want to make in a separate email. I just sent my additional concerns in one further email, but please feel free to send several emails if you wish.

I still think full devolution of all aspects relating to Scotland's oil fields, on and offshore, is the only way forward.

I still think full devolution of all aspects relating to Scotland’s oil fields, on and offshore, is the only way forward.

Incidentally i also read that on Friday 18 October only 4,000 submissions had been received by the Commission. To me this means that 1,613,989 people who voted Yes have not sent anything in, and that’s assuming all the submissions are from Yes voters (which is unlikely). Perhaps all the Yes voters think it’s a waste of time, and they won’t bother. I have also seen people saying they couldn’t possibly add anything to the what 4,000 people that have already emailed in have already said.

Look, we all know we’re not going to get anything like home rule, so when this process breaks down and Scotland gets stitched up, we need to show that Scotland engaged with the process. That means taking five minutes NOW, THIS WEEK, before it’s TOO LATE, to send in your submissions. ALSO, if it does deliver a better system for Scottish government, how can you honestly pass up the chance to positively affect that process?  Read More →

If you live in Scotland it’s pretty much your duty to email the Smith Commission and have your say on what you think increased devolution for Scotland should look like.The deadline for you to send your thoughts in is 5pm on 31 October so do it now, and don’t be late.

I just did, and here’s what i said (below). I didn’t mention every single thing, for example i didn’t mention fracking or borrowing powers, i didn’t go into detail about Education, Health or oil, for three reasons, firstly i know plenty of people will mention those issues, certainly there are plenty of petitions specifically asking the Smith Commission to consider each of these issues, and secondly issues such as fracking, which are very relevant at the moment, are certain to come up during the Smith Commission’s deliberations. While the SNP’s submission to the Smith Commission does not contain any mention of fracking specifically, it is a hot topic for the Green Party, and the news has been full of people’s concerns and more specifically the Scottish Government calling for a halt on fracking activities within Scotland until the outcomes of the Smith Commission are known. Thirdly, my position is pretty much that more or less everything should be devolved, and i spell that out quite a lot in my letter, so it seemed a little pontless to go into every specific area individually. Read More →

It’s three weeks now since Scotland had its independence referendum. 45% of those who did vote (1.6 million voters) voted Yes to independence, and 55% (just over 2 million) voted No, although polls suggest that one in four of those voted No on the understanding that substantial additional powers would be devolved to Scotland (the leaders of all three UK unionist parties, in Scotland and at Westminster, as well as backbench MP Gordon Brown “guaranteed” this).

The Smith Commission has been set up to consult on what additional devolution for Scotland should look like, and if you are reading this prior to 31 October 2014, i strongly suggest you put your views forth now on what that devolution should consist of.

Hope Over Fear, Glasgow George Square, 12 October 2014

Hope Over Fear, Glasgow George Square, 12 October 2014

Massive demonstrations have taken place since the vote, in Edinburgh and in Glasgow, and it is clear that the Scottish independence movement has gone from being a minority cause, to a mainstream movement over the last year or so. For the pro-independence supporters, the result of the referendum may have been disappointing, but the result of the campaign has been a resounding success. Read More →