Wednesday, 9 July 2014

SOMETIMES THE PRESS SURPRISES...(from the Independent)

 “I’ve been interested in Scottish independence since I moved to Scotland. The first essay I wrote in history was about devolution. But I didn’t really decide until the start of this year, when I ordered a copy of Scotland’s Future.

“Reading the white paper ignited something in me. I felt like it was really positive; a breath of fresh air; something different in politics that we hadn’t had for a long time; a real sense of direction.

“Basically somebody was saying: ‘This is the possibility; this is how it could be – do you want to buy into this?’ And for me, from then on it was a yes. 

“The step into the unknown is a concern and is something I think about now and again, but the more involved I’ve become with the campaign and the more I’ve been able to meet the people directly involved with it has given me an increasing sense of trust.

“Scotland’s future is closer to their hearts and minds because they’re here, living and working with us. And ultimately we are governing and running as a country as it is, so it’s not going to be a massive leap.

“I’ve also felt there’s been a lot of negativity from the No campaign. I think at the start they didn’t really take it seriously. They didn’t think there would be this much of a challenge, because in the past it hasn’t managed to stand up. Previously they’ve not managed to get it past a niche group of people who’ve wanted independence all their lives. That has really changed – I’d say that the Yes campaign is as close to a grass roots social movement as I’ve seen.

“There’s definitely a sense of identity in voting for independence. It’s an opportunity to say that your national identity doesn’t necessarily have to rest on where you were born or how many generations you go back.

“If you live here, you’re voting and that’s really huge for me. My husband is from England, our children are mixed race, he’s British Pakistani – this is about saying you get to create this future; to create this identity.”

Lauren Reid, 26, an educational outreach worker who lives in Glasgow, decided to vote Yes in February having previously been against independence.

“When the independence debate started, I thought it was so far-fetched and whimsical. I’m patriotic, but I’ve never seen myself as a nationalist, so I very much had the attitude of: ‘If it’s not broke, why fix it? Why make a very small nation even smaller?’

“At first I agreed with the No campaign, thinking it was quite risky and not worth it. 
The NO campaign, despite changing its name,
has been uninspiring and uninspired

“But then I started getting engaged in debates. The turning point was going along to one in my local area put on by the Glasgow Sceptics society and it completely changed my opinion. The panel had three on the Yes side and three on the No side, and it was like looking at Westminster versus something that could be new and Scottish; people you could relate to. They were talking about things that I actually valued, as opposed to jargon.

“The No panel were all middle-aged, middle class people in suits, and someone from the audience actually asked them to tell them something that would enthuse them to vote No, but none of them could answer it.

“I’ve never been a fan of Alex Salmond. He’s a politician at the end of the day and he’s been in the game a long time. I’m never going to trust him. I’d never want to go out for a drink with him, but at the same time he’s given us this opportunity and I believe him when he says he believes in Scotland. But would I vote for the SNP after a Yes vote? Probably not, but if it’s a choice between an SNP government and a potential Conservative and UKIP government, there’s no competition.
You'd think, with all the PR training they now get
that they would be able to smile to order.
“My message to anyone who’s on the fence right now is: don’t rely on what you see on billboards or hear on the TV. Get out there, ask people questions, ask your local MPs what’s going to happen, and talk to people about it on a local level – because it’s really important to debate it.”

Brian Munro, 47, who runs a construction firm based in Alness, Ross and Cromarty, decided to vote Yes last year, having previously been against independence.

“I’ve never been active politically – I’ve voted for every political party, depending on the policies being touted at the time, whichever one I thought suited my family or my business best. I’m a fiercely patriotic Scot, but to me that don’t mean that we have to be separate from the UK, because I’ll be Scottish no matter what.

"So when it came to independence at first I was basically a No, because I’ve always had a healthy disrespect for the ability of politicians: these days they go to college and learn how to avoid questions and go straight into party politics.

“But when the latest SNP government came in, we started getting invitations to go and speak to them as a business about what was affecting us and were asked whether the money they were trying to invest was actually making any difference on the ground. 
Closer government, less remote, in every sense
that listens to what people are saying

“That was a bit of a revelation for me, because we’ve never been visited by any politicians from Westminster of any note and certainly never been asked for our opinions – we’re a small business in a very outlying part of the UK, so we’re not really on the radar.

“That’s when I started thinking maybe if we did have politicians in Scotland who were making decisions, things might work better.

“And when I started looking into it a bit more – into how little say we actually have in the policies that are made – that began to sway it.

“For me this is a business decision – I’ve got no emotional drive for independence and I’m quite happy being part of the UK, if the UK can run better. But with every fact I learned, I moved more and more towards a Yes, because the economic facts are quite staggering as to how much we’ve been either overlooked or disadvantaged by the fact that policies are made on a national basis.”

Gerard Carey, 29, a tax accountant who lives in Edinburgh, decided to vote Yes in January having previously been against independence.
“Back in 2012 when they brokered the Edinburgh Agreement, I was probably one of the most militant No voters you could find. To me, it seemed like an Alex Salmond vanity project; that he was probably just trying to get his name in the history books. 
A Tory Government is the alternative, no matter what party
is in power in Westminster

“I also thought the Government’s response would be so well-measured and so informed that they would crush it. A lot of the media was very anti-independence, and I thought, ‘Well these guys know what they’re talking about’.

 "But when I started speaking to a few people, they began to pick a few holes in some of the arguments and I had a eureka moment. George Osborne’s Sermon on the Pound [when he ruled out a currency union] was a big thing for me – I thought the Government had no right to take that hard line position. It sickened me – as a former Labour voter – to see Ed Balls reading a statement prepared by Osborne and the three party leaders aligning under the same banner. I think a lot of Scottish Labour voters switched sides at that point.

 “The Better Together campaign has also been very poor – it’s almost as if they want us to leave. They keep shooting themselves in the foot by trying to scaremonger us. Whenever we’re told not to do something in Scotland we’ll just go and do it, so when they’ve tried to put the fear into us it’s completely backfired. It’s given the Yes movement a real shot in the arm. 
Spineless leadership from Cameron... but would Miliband be any different?

“There are some wonderful things about Britain they should be focusing on, but from day one it’s just been fear, fear, fear: your mortgages are going to go up, food’s going to go up, bills too... it’s annoyed me that the media hasn’t subjected these arguments to any sort of scrutiny – it seems to go straight from the Government into print.

"The UK should be about four strong nations all working to the best of their abilities, but everything’s getting sucked towards London now: resources, money, political emphasis. People in Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Belfast – it seems to be a case of ‘move to London or struggle’. I think the idea we could create a strong Scottish economy might rebalance the United Kingdom.”

Paul Fletcher, 53, a management consultant, decided to vote Yes a year ago, having previously been against independence.

“Years ago my brother was an independence supporter and my reaction initially was to laugh at him. I thought it was an anachronism, was all about nationalism and wasn’t really relevant. I felt that Britain stood for something and I was proud to be British. I also had a very cynical perception of the SNP.
Meetings all over the country where people are once again engaging with politics
Sometime NO actually send people who don;t withdraw at the last moment.

“But a year ago I started to do some investigation of the figures involved and it struck me that, contrary to what we’re fed, we’ve actually been paying more into the Exchequer over the last 30, 40 years than we’ve got back. I changed my mind based on concrete figures – but also due to the negativity of the No campaign. I know lots of people who’ve changed their minds to Yes due to the temper of the No debate, which is not about the issues.

“Should we be independent is the question, not can we be – it’s two different questions. Should we be governed by fear or optimism?”
The article appeared in the Independent. The illustrations/annotations are Munguin's.


  1. What a wonderful uplifting article, loved the photo's too. I am what Mr Darling says is a waste of his time, I have never thought otherwise so it is always nice to see that those who require some assistance in seeing the rightness of argument getting there. Spent many a good holiday in Alness with the previous Puggies, this one hates going anywhere but home so we do not holiday at home presently, he goes home boarding and we go abroad, suits all of us.
    Just repeating this morning on Wings, that seeing the opposition makes me happy and I know I am on the right side.

  2. Hang on, a positive Yes story in the press and I've not been called a fascist or a Nazi this week.
    I thought it might be a new tactic in the naw thanks arsenal, trying to love bomb us again, but then I read the bile and uncensored hate of all things independent in the P&J this morning (I get a free copy and annotate the articles before anyone else reads it) and realised it's probably just a one off.

    But it does make an interesting change, may be they want a slice of the Herald on Sunday’s sales success.

  3. I loved this article too.

    There are a host of reasons for voting YES and too many doubts and fears on a NO vote. I fear a huge backlash if we lose but reading through blogs like these and meeting and chatting to the people of this movement has lifted me .

    We are a capable lot. The organization of the grass roots movement has moved me too. Real people power. Folk from all corners and backgrounds with one aim. It has been a very humble journey for many and the drive and energy will see us through.

    Thanks again for this wonderful blog. Love the pictures as they say exactly what is wrong with the current situation. Folk believe there is another way and we have an opportunity to put new ideas into practice .

  4. I would post a music link, but I don't think I have one that's appropriate

    Instead I'll ask if anyone knows if any of the people on this page have spoken out about the referendum:

    Oh sod it, here's a music link, this one's been stuck in my head for months:

  5. Could it be? No, it can't be; can it? That some in the press, can see the writings on the wall, a YES result is indeed possible and they'll still need to sell papers; in the soon to be independent Scotland.

  6. Independence will bring the Scottish government closer to the people, Westminster is far to distant and unconcerned to match this. We the people of Scotland can shape Scotland,for the better, again, something that Westminster would never contemplate.

    These stories are uplifting, and once again as soon as the facts are discovered people tend to swing towards voting yes. These are exciting times in Scotland, as one imagines Scots shaping Scotland after independence. If we can just muster the will to vote yes, who knows how far we could go, or what we could achieve, or who we could inspire, its all up for grabs, and it all begins with a YES.

  7. Maybe if our MSM reported on these events we wouldn't be needing a referendum as people would be demanding independence now.

    6:30pm 9th July Q&A Nicola Sturgeon MSP, D.

  8. Sorry, I've been away all day guys.

    Thanks for you comments. Im on my way to bed...completely exhausted,

    Amazing article given how anti independence the Independent usually seems to be, \nice to have a whole article where we aren't Nazis!.

    I agree, it's uplifting to see this kind of thing in the papers.

    Does anyone know what kind of figures the Sunday Herald is pulling in? jimnArlene? Worth emulating them?

    It's interesting that people who were opposed in some cases or at least dubious, now believe it is the right thing... and for the reasons given.

    Good to see that from the businessman who says that he doesn't register at all with the London government, but the Edinburgh one wants his opinion.

    Of course he's only a small businessman, probably not expecting a K or a seat on the retirement home for washed up politicians and political donors, so he'll not be being forced to say that he's being bullied by that wicked Scottish government.

    I think London is too far away. I've said it before. Its too far to go, and when you get there, lord, it's like trying to get into Fort Knox.... but in Edinburgh, you can go for the day from most places (OK not the islands or the far North West).

    And our MSPs seem far more accessible than people in London.

    Can you imagine Cameron sitting on the ground in housing scheme...?

    Illy, I don't remember any of these people commenting on indy... Thanks for the music.

    CH Thanks for link...

    Richy, thanks for the kind words... It means a lot . :)

    Hope I didn't miss any comments... I'm nearly asleep here...

    See you tomorrow...


  9. Do not criticise Scottish Labour ,without them your 'yes' campaign would have no support in England . The prospect of another labour government is enough to swing English public opinion behind you. good luck and good riddance to 42 labour MPs.

    1. The Scottish branch of the Labour party is, however, useless. it is totally unresponsive to the needs of Scotland, and it does what its bosses in London tell it to do.

      And basically that is to ape the Tories/Ukip.

      But your post is illustrative of how undemocratic it is for us to have a UK.

      Scotland interfering with the governance of the main part of the UK...England.

      Thanks for your good wishes.

      And we'll be rid of 1 Tory MP in the form of Muddle.

      I suspect everyone will be rid of the Liberals.

    2. Bless you for such a comment drives more and more people towards YES. Nothing like an insult of two from dawn south. Actually it is us who should be complaining, you are merely having to contend with the situation imposed on Scotland from 1707 until 1999. We so remember when Tory MP's drank themselves almost into a stupor before dragging themselves through the lobby to vote the Poll Tax into being in Scotland a year before England. Believe me, we will be out of there just as soon as. Sorry to tell you though that as long as you have FPTP you will be stuck with Labour getting a turn, nothing to do with us.

  10. I cannot wait for the banner head-lines right across the media when Niko decides, in a moment of sanity, to vote YES. Interesting programme on BBC where the advocates of unionism, John Boyle and Jenny Marra were greeted with silence whenever they spoke. More of the same, please!

    1. Think he will have a moment of sanity?

      The BBC had a decent programme,

      Maybe it was because the two Naysayers were really 4th rate?

      Tris wanders off musing in the likelihood of Niko having a moment of sanitary!

  11. Re the Sunday Herald sales figures, there are no figures released on the Audit Bureau web site since December.

    1. Thanks Jimn...

      I remember the second week they published how many they had sold the first week....unverified.

      I haven;t seen anything since. But it's always hard to get one, despite what must be a far bigger print run.

      We were in 3 shops before we saw one this week.

      I'm in Dublin this weekend so Munguin will have to pay for my copy in my absence.

  12. It is in our interests to goad you all into voting YES it is the only way England can ever be self governing ,without interference from scotch socialist MPs.