Showing posts with label EU. Show all posts
Showing posts with label EU. Show all posts

Sunday, 31 January 2021

Visas for Musicians after Brexit



This hard Brexit is proving a disaster for the Creative Industries.  A young band will require a cost of an extra £3,000 for visa expense and a major band about £10,000. Plus a pile of paperwork – Bank statements, proof of taxes, and more. Europe was the place for cultural exchange. These costs are impossible and will mean younger artists unable to tour in Europe. 

 But stopping freedom of movement is all the Brexiteers care about.  

After Brexit touring musicians require visas for everyone on their tour, hugely increasing costs with a £500 charge on each country. A petition is calling for visa free travel across the EU – a free cultural work permit for bands , musicians, artists, film makers and sports stars.

PETITION - https://petition.parliament.uk.Europe-wideVisa-freepermitTouringprofessionals Artists

“The DCMS has told musicians to deal with each country individual. I’m not getting clear answers.” musician The Anchoress. “Culture is absolute a class issue.” Look at where the arts council emergency finding went.”  There are however exceptions within the trade agreement – for miners, tour guides, spin doctors!

 

The UK music industry is worth £5.8 billions and one of our most popular international exports.  The creative industries as a whole is worth £111 billion. The EU rejected an agreement on temporary movement of business travellers.

 

Composer and broadcaster Howard Goodall, “There is clearly something not functioning in the current government DNA, that we have in this instance a successful and important industry for our country’s exports, which has been warning for five years now of the negative impacts of the withdrawal from freedom of movement. 

 

“It has been obvious to me from the start of the negotiations that because of the point blank rejection of freedom of movement, the creative industries were going to be at car-park basement level on the list of priorities. 

At a stroke the rights of pop singers, bands, orchestras, chamber groups, tour managers, stage managers and more to seamlessly travel within the 27 EU member states  come to an end. “


 The creative  industries are worth – theatre 112 Billion, (football 8 billion). After this hard Brexit so many hurdles for young actors, artist and musicians. 

 The Arts are fundamental to our well being.


Thursday, 31 December 2020

The Losses of Brexit


“That us one reason why Brexit seems such a sadness for Scotland both in a economic and cultural sense, because it loosens our ties with one of the most ancient relationships to the European continent. “ Professor Tom Devine Scotlands top historian

MANY Scots will be filled with a great sadness, sense of loss, regret and will be grieving our enforced departure form the EU.. I grew up in Edinburgh and it always seemed a great centre of international culture, connections and travel. After five years I still have no idea what the benefits of all this Brexit chaos really are – except for the tax-avoiding off shore trust funds and saving the Tory party.

It’s a day I hoped would never arrive, but here it sadly is. Scotland voted to stay in Europe and our ancient history and ties to Europe run very deep: we have long been an outward looking nation on the edge and entrance to Europe. In fact our ties to Europe are much deeper and longer than Scotland’s attachment to Britain. I recently travelled to Scotland’s islands  - Orkney, Lewis, Harris, Barra, Uist, Mull, Iona - and I more clearly understood our links to the seas and travels and our strategic importance.

I have no trust or confidence in Boris’s Tory team or how well they are prepared for extra red tape, customs checks, hold ups and other issues. Their goal is for de-regulated freeports of reckless, exploitative capitalism. This is not the future I imagine for Scotland. For Scotland I hope for a very different future with improved social protection, greener policies, land reform, close private schools, equal and democratic opportunities for all its citizens (not subjects)

Back in the 70s when we first voted  to be in the EU, there may have been some questions over the EU. But over this time more and more it became evident all the obvious advantages both for Britain and Scotland gained from EU membership. 

We gained from regional investment, immigration, cultural exchange, freedoms of movement and more importantly peace in Europe. We have enjoyed the benefits of EU membership for 47 years – increased prosperity, immigration, regional development, environmental protections. Now we loose passports, Erasmus, no customs paperwork, free movement, just in time trade, and more… for what exactly?

This English Brexit – for that is assuredly what it is, is an insular, backward-looking, regressive and harmful thing. I’ve struggled to understand. And I wondered why the bigot and opportunist Farage was so often on BBCs Question Time, plying his false, extreme lies. I highly recommend Irish times writer Fintan OToole, Heroic Failure, an excellent interpretation of this English existential crisis and act of self harm.

 

AS I watch Boris gloat as he waves his 2,000 page Brexit deal, I feel sick with foreboding. What other country would vote to leave a successful trading block and how much is it all costing? Of course Cameron’s remain fear strategy would never work on the English – they were, ‘how dare anyone tell us we can’t.’ Wheras with the Scots, fear has worked over the centuries and the fear no campaign of 2014 meant many Scots were, ‘oh perhaps we really can’t. 

It’s the End of an Auld Sang

We left the EU 1st January – parcels to Europe will require customs checks; loss of fast movement of good across borders; slowdown at ports; increase paperwork; health certificates required; raw materials and Rules of Origins; EU safety requirements; barriers to professions working in Europe; Financial services more difficult and complex, still to be negotiated; tourism, data flows also affected. 

The big issues in 2021 will be Scottish independence with the May Scottish Parliament elections. I now see the future as Scotland’s place in Europe – much as other nimble, small nations are flourishing in this successful trading block which has been brought us peace and prosperity in Europe.

Ian Blackford, the SNP leader in the house of Commons – “ Now we have an isolated UK amid a global pandemic – its economic vandalism, bad for fishing….. Worst of all worlds for Scotland.”


John le Carre, one of England’s greatest writers and the master of the spy thrillerwho died recently in a cottage near lands end so he could be miles away from London, and all that had gone wrong with a once great capital city.” His books about espionage were “compelling and a metaphor for the decline of Britain, Le Carre was fascinated by the end of empire, by the emotional debris it left behind and by the folly of the misplaced superiority complex that still festers in the minds of many today. He despised Brexit and loathed the people who had been the architects of its deceitful promise.”

 

“Brexit is the great catastrophe and the greatest idiocy that Britain has perpetuated… I’m not just a remainers. I’m a European, through and through, and the rats have taken over the ship. My England would be one that recognises it place in the EU. The jingoistic England that is trying to march us out of the EU. That is an England I do not want to know.”

 

Tom Devine writes Sunday National 27th Dec 2020, “Due largely to extensive migrations at every level of society – clerics, farmers, mercenaries, “ The bonds between Scotland and Europe between the 12 and the 17 century were much stronger than they were between England and Europe. Essentially I see Scotland as a global nation fashioned by generations of emigration and external connections. Tom Devine examines Scotland’s global identity and experience in his book – ‘To the Ends of the Earth : Scotland’s Global diaspora 1750 – 2010.’ Scots migration routes were not only to empire but to all corners of the world.  

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Letter to the EU


I hope those in Europe understand why Scots seek indy now. Brexit is not about the EU: its about English nationalism and about a UK creaking that’s not fit for purpose. The UK today is a disunited kingdom – all 4 nations are not working well together. Both Ireland and Scotland are on different trajectories: and many in Ireland are seriously considering and debating reunification for the first time.  I strongly believe an indy Scotland will be outward-looking nation and a voice for peace making and ounity in Europe.    

Only 10 years ago the SNP had only a few MPs, now it has 80%. The SNP is socially democratic and progressive and not about racism in any shape or from and in fact totally opposite to other nationalist parties in Europe. Scottish nationalism is civic, inclusive and outward-looking: it is empathically not narrow, elitist or exclusive. For centuries Scots heritage and ideals have been ones of travel on our seas to distant lands  (Its English nationalism that is right wing.) Perhaps it is in essence the Scottish democratic party? Scotland’s ties to Europe are deep and centuries old.

After decades of UK prime ministers blaming the EU for their own failings, the consequences have come back to haunt them. Who will they blame now - the Scots, the Irish, the EU for not being nice enough to them? They have employed populism, telling the people what they want to hear. 

We need to change the narrative, particularly with those who dislike and fear Brexit. The UK establishment surrounded Scotland’s independence with negative language – words such as warning, catastrophe, too poor, too small, dependent. And instead offer positive words – opportunity, self-determination, vast resources, bright future, innovative, freedom, fair, make our own decisions, success, hope. Scotland urgently requires it own TV channel, film studio and media.

Scotland can be compared to other highly successful economies in the European trading block. The EU offers economic stability and lower mortgage rates for young families. Small economies are more adaptable and progressive. How can we re-imagine our future Scotland with greener and well-being policies? A new Scotland that doesn’t make the mistakes of the UK by de-centralising and by not having only a couple of major cities, and with improved infrastructure. 

Plus why would we accept England’s deficit: they squandered our oil reserves, with billions spent on trident and other vanity projects and on London infrastructure projects. These  produce the false GERs figures. This is not against the English people, a successful indy Scotland can be more supportive of the other 4 nations, not less. Its against those neo–liberal elites, with their off-shore tax havens. 

Indy is a process. And a journey. This failing Brexit is fooling people with a Tory government, who don’t even believe in it. Some of us might be thinking that federalism is an answer for the UK crisis – but England’s too big and has little interest. Although it might be an answer to England’s Brexit crisis. 

What’s truly scary – do people believe they have a free press or believe what they are told on tv, radio, online or in the press. Obviously it requires effort and time to search for any honesty and it’s confusing as we have so many media outlets now. The truth is not found in foreign owned press that peddles gossip, propaganda or downright lies. In fact it appears many across the UK don’t trust the media or their politicians. Figures show that trust in the UK media is far lower than in other European nations. This is surely extremely concerning for a country that portrays itself as democratic. 

Boris wants to diverge with regulations. This will mean non-alignment with the EU, and that any deal will be complex and take years with transitions or no deal. Northern Ireland will remain in the EU (and UK) which means not the UK, but Great Britain is leaving the EU. The question for Boris is: how can he take Scotland on this Brexit journey it didn’t vote for? How can he explain how Westminster works for Scotland?

We need the EU protection. ‘A small country with big ideas.’My vote’s for real democracy. Are we running out of time, as some argue – with the Brexit take over by ever richer oligarchs and the threatening climate crisis? Norway with a population the same as Scotland’s and similar resources, is one of the worlds most developed successful, democratic nations. One thing is clear – people in Scotland have voted against Brexit and they want to stay in the EU, hopefully emulating other successful independent nations. 

*Sweden Dagens Myhater  ‘Openness to the outside world made modern Britain what it is today. Now the fog lowers across the English channel. The continent is isolated.’   Kate Devlin


Thursday, 25 April 2019

Brexit Questions - Change is Coming

 As water leaks through the crumbling Westminster roofs, and its labyrinth of corridors, it has been found greatly wanting and completely unable to deal with modern challenges. The Brexit debates, like a dangerous football, have thrown everything up in the air – with no written constitution, or interactive democracy.  Other leaders are aghast at how out-of-touch and not fit for purpose Westminster is. 

Three years ago 2016 before all this Brexit happened, few really cared about whether the UK was in or out of the EU, and I never saw anyone marching on the streets over this EU question. It was simply an institution like Nato or the Commonwealth – that was an important and accepted part of our lives. (People are marching though against climate change: we may only have 10 years to save our planet!)

Britain has suffered severe upheavals and ups and downs - before the dark days of war, the strikes of the late 60s, the Thatcher years, the Iraq war during Blair. The 2008 crash crisis worldwide. It seemed that the EU offered some stability and also peace and prosperity, surely important issues? So why did those in England want to leave the EU, and blamed the EU even, with the rise of Ukip? What was going on? Is this merely an uprising of populist far right bigotry as some argue? Or something much deeper? Or why some English voters believe England is not a sovereign country that is simply operating in at trading union?

An embarrassment. Its extremely worrying the decay, incompetence  and inability to govern this whole process has highlighted. Many appear to forget the boom and bust we used to suffer in Britain before we joined the EU 40 years ago. It meant high interest rates, inflation and all kinds of suffering and uncertainty. That’s what will be in store for us again once we leave the stability provided by being in the EU. This is partly driven by the fact that Germany in particular, always aims for a stable economy based on solid manufacturing, rather than the uncertainty and debt -ridden roulette of the London financial markets. 

The UK has been led by a poor leader, who is unable to empathize or collaborate? Why are MPs pursuing an ill-thought out policy that will make us all poorer? Why was there no real planning or idea of what Brexit really meant? What was it really all about?  Restoring past glories? Keeping the UK union together, when the cracks only get wider? Restoring Britishness’ and Union jacks? I'm really worried about the Americanization here in the UK and the privatising of health care and more. Where will it all lead?

The British Tory ship steams ahead, with no destination, no captain, and no map. What are we Scots to do? Can Brit Nats and Scots Nats exist side by side? Should we scramble for life rafts – or accept this laughable chaos? Or instead take control of our own Scottish resources? For now we need to let the anchors rise and the dust settle – and why does Nicola have explain her every move, when other politicians explain nothing?  Why are our respected MPs snubbed as irrelevant? Its insulting to the Scots nation.

Scotland needs to protect its significant resources by emulating countries like Norway (which is in EFTA) and also sets regulations to protect its environment, industries and by promoting Norway’s own oil company (which prevents multi-nationals exploiting their wealth). There are many examples of small, indy nations that operate very successfully in a larger trading block. There are no examples of a country operating successfully in a trading block, and then deciding to leave these treaties with no plan over its future! All we know is Brexit means leaving present agreements, but not what it actually wants! What a mess.

Why I want independence
I believe a nation is best served making its own decisions, in its own best interests – and that those in a foreign nation are not best able to make decisions for us. To flourish, Scotland must break free of the chains of English colonization and be an independent European nation once again. 

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Island Nations



Scottish indy is about bringing our island nations together in a more united and stronger way than ever, in an equal partnership. 

By contrast to the Faroe islands the beautiful island of Barra faces a crisis. Barra has the only scheduled flights to a beach airport. Imposed restrictions on non EU workers mean fishing boats are idle and this will effect the major employer, fish processing firm Barra Atlantic. Fishermen from the Philippines islands are desperate to come, but cannot get visas. While exceptions are made for Australian sheep shearers. I recently visited the Western isles and it struck me to have a healthy economy we must care about all our remote regions. 


Respect for diversity is good and we benefit from rigorous debate and co-operation. Why does one culture have to be repressed, to benefit another? Equality and fairness does not mean we are all the same – we are actually very different. What it does mean is equal opportunities, which can’t exist alongside patronage and elitism. After the Grenfell fire and the fight for justice, Carillion and more disasters do people still buy into this fake system …. 

The Scots language has been protected within the EU by a European charter. One third of today’s population speak a modern version of the same language used by Burns. Will old Scotia’s heritage, laws, rights, language, culture and arts be protected once we leave the EU? Will our wildlife be protected?

Indy means freedom of choice, being mature, regaining confidence, and adaptable in our wee nation - not to suit bankers. Why don’t the Highland and islands set up their own small, non profit banking system, or mobile broadband (as in the Faroes). Indy will enable change as we build a country best suited to Scotland individual needs, geography, immigration and resources (for example farming is opposite to England’s)   
Indy isn’t about Edinburgh or London, but about more local decision making and much smaller councils. Indy is about finding our own way in order to make the most of our resources. 

The islands were not remote at all – and in those days of the Neolithic Brodgar of Ness as historian Tom Devine says – “the land divides, the sea unites.”

‘Fortune favours the brave. ‘
’To harness our unique potential.’
evening sun on Orkney

Scotland – 5.5m population 
Iceland – 350.000 population
Denmark – 6.5m population134.76/km2
Finland – 5.5m  population - 16/km2
Ireland – 6.5m: Population density ‎77.8 /km2

**Excellent series of programs by journalist Lesley Riddoch’s NATION and with Phantom River films,on successful small countries requires funding. The first program on the Faroe islands – 50,000 land mass,18 barren islands,  All makes Scotland look a substantial and not so wee place, as we’ve been fooled into believing, after all! https://www.youtube.com/NATIONLesleyRiddoch

Also highly recommend Allan Little’s ‘Friends in the North’ BBC - 

Harris beach

Friday, 30 March 2018

We must all Play Our Part


We live in very challenging times and its not okay to sit on the fence anymore. In her book Left Bank, Agnes Poiries writes of the citizens in Paris who stood by and did nothing during the war. The war taught people that indifference bred only chaos, and that everyone must take sides and engage with the world.
The Tories are fighting to save a failing British elite's empire days. Also as with Theresa May, they say how caring they are, while they refuse to take in abandoned Syrian children; expel the Windrush Generation, bomb Syria and leave people starving. They are experts at putting on this 'I'm so caring' face and trying to fool their Daily Mail readers.
Today we have weak leadership and It should not be about who shouts the loudest on Twitter! Musician and writer Pat Kane wrote in the National, about us all being fully mindful and of the “innovative spirit “ of small nations such as Iceland, Finland, Estonia and how we must all be more aware and alert. ‘ He added there is 'no shortage of inventions and reforms are pursuable under indy … but it all has to be rooted in a fully mindful population. Many of us felt as citizens, fully awake in 2014.’ (March 2018).
How do we get our message across? The UK government may not imprison us, instead they tie our hands with no media or tv outlets. By contrast how does Catalonia manage to have not one, but five tv channels! David Mundell, now with an expanded Scottish office, uses tax payers money to target women without university educations. Unbelievable! 
The Tories are not only cruel and heartless, they are inhumane and I fear there is no decent opposition either. These are life and death issues and we must all play our part: this is not a time for those who want to sit on the sidelines saying, well I am okay. It is time the people spoke up. Who can live on £60 a week job seeker allowance? We have returned to Dickens times it seems, with Amazon the new workhouse and no workers rights, as the tiny super rich defend their right to even more money. This 'them and us' culture perpetuated by the British establishment elites is not constructive, its destructive for our society's well being. Its time now for progressive socialism - capitalism for business along with a more caring, rounded society.  Our best hope is gaining Scotland's freedom, the sooner the better. 
In a free trading block of independent or federal nations, everyone pulls together – from the bottom up and NOT top down directives. ‘Sovereignty’ is with the people. We’ve had great thinkers in Scotland - from the Declaration of Arbroath to philosopher and poet George Buchanan, who taught James VI, and who wrote one of the most important books on democracy for all. Later his work on democracy was suppressed and his memorial is just north of me at the bonny village of Killearn. These are not simple black and white, yes or no issues. Many politicians are in this for power and not the best interests of the people, time for the people to speak up!

Friday, 13 January 2017

Nicola Sturgeon's speech Irish Senate (Seanad Eireann) and questions after.


This is well worth watching – and this is such a positive supportive debate of how independence has led to a resurgence for Ireland.   

Nicola firstly has assured a welcome for all migrants into Scotland. She also discussed climate change of half energy coming from renewables; of16 year olds voting; on equality as the foundation of prosperity.

The Senate praised Nicola’s position on gender equality, her equality statement and her desire to play a part in the importance on human rights. They spoke of protecting our shared interests and solidarity with Ireland. And there was praise for Scotland’s inspiring grassroots referendum campaign in 2014.


One senator spoke of the corrosive nationalism of Trump, Penn and Farage – and that it is excellent to see the fairness, democratic social inclusiveness of the civic Nationalism of Nicola. 
One spoke of how ironic that it will be the 40 year anniversary of the Treaty of Rome in 2017 – and of how the EU came out of a time of great divisions, war and a time of fear. .

Legally Brexit is a minefield for Ireland and undermines the legal status of the Good Friday agreement and will unravel the peace of the last twenty years. They feel Northern Ireland should be given a special status.

One asked how Ireland can help Scotland with independence and with the challenges of Brexit. 
They spoke of the Scots James Connelly and Margaret Skinnider, who died with the rebels at the Easter rising 1916.
We must listen to the views of the People and it is not enough to change symbolism. And of independence as a means to build a better nation.

The Senate leader quoted from Yeats – ‘All changed, changed utterly, A terrible beauty is born.’
“A good life means fighting to be human in difficult times.” Alasdair Gray

**Not sure I saw this mentioned on the BBC news!??

https://www.youtube.com/nicolasturgeonirishsenate

It was the 100 year Anniversary of the Irish Rising last year 2016.
In 2017 60 year anniversary of the EU Treaty of Rome; 70 year anniversary of the Edinburgh international festival.