Showing posts with label freedom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label freedom. Show all posts

Saturday 31 December 2022

Dependency Supporters

Choice between Scotland’s independent sovereignty and the politics of DEPENDENCY 

Language really matters. I agree with the Wee Ginger Dog we must stop calling those who “advocate dependency” - unionists, which implies a positive working together, when this is not happening  at all. Scotland is ignored, Scotland’s resources have been plundered, and her voice suppressed. Its crucial we stop using the false term “unionist” and instead call those who want to hold Scotland back – “dependency supporters.” This UK is very much not a partnership – the term unionist is fake and  misleading. A union refers to a partnership (or marriage) one in which each partner has an equal say - of compromise, collaboration, negotiations. 


Culture and language drive and are ahead of our politics. This is about Scotland’s voice.

The policy makers in London are using derogatory language against those who believe in Scots sovereignty. – they use terms such as ‘separatist’ and ‘nationalists’ to imply Scots are driven by ideological greed, ignorance, selfishness, divisiveness. While they know full well most Scots want to work in an indy nation in the EU trading block and be international, left of centre and outward looking. 

For centuries Scotland has been a seafaring international and trading nation with our great seaports (now mostly closed apart from apart from Aberdeen). Scotland does not need to trade via the bottleneck of Dover - we can trade direct to Europe as Ireland does.


Succession actor Brian Cox suggests the British isles can be a “Federation of sovereign states, one in which we can all b citizens and participate, and have an equal say and pull together for the common good of all.” At the moment this is not happening here UK, because this is not a partnership. Its about 3 smaller nations being dependent on all rules, policies and decisions set in London, for the benefit of the south of England, in a highly centralized monarchy/ parliamentary sovereignty/ power structure, where the Crown is used to assert power, for the benefit of the empire state not the people. And operates its dirty money London Laundromat. Much more centralized than a century ago.

(Please note – Labour and Conservatives are English political parties. After Scotland’s indy Scotland needs its own political parties, which would naturally evolve here, to cover differing views. Scotland’s indy is about more local and accountable government.) 


Some refer to England as the “parent state” and they believe they own Scotland. By contrast most Scots believe that back 300 years ago in 1707, Scotland, as one of the oldest nations in Europe, with its rich diverse history, and deep lasting connections to scholarly learning in Paris from the time of Reformation - as explorers, as mercenaries, and innovators. - that Scotland entered into a voluntary partnership with England for trading reasons. At that time Scotland had 1million people, England had 4 million. Historians tell us Scotland was never a colony – yet if surveys asked the English or Scots if they believed Scotland is a colony, they will surely say yes – as we do not have self government but are ruled from the capital of another nation. 


There’s been a general ignorance of Scots history and Scots culture is not celebrated by Dependence supporters. That’s if Scots know any of their history, after decades of being only taught English history in our schools. Scotland was not conquered in 1690, even though Cromwell tried and got as far as Dunnottar castle. In fact Charles II was crowned firstly at Scone on our Stone of Destiny. Culloden was the last pitched battle here UK – there were Scots on both sides, as well as French and Irish. These were religious battles. Crucially at Charles III ascension he pledged the freedom of Scotland’s church. 

The big question is, how efficiently does Devolution work – with civil servants in London making decisions? What does devolution mean, when Scotland is allowed to run only some of its affairs? 


It’s a confused, messy picture. Do dependency advocates think that devolution works well, because most Scots are totally confused - what is reserved, what’s run here? Does Scotland run its own energy policy (no, the UK runs energy but has had no energy policy), does Scotland run its economy and tax (no). After leaving the EU, the London government now interferes in many devolved matters. So its even more confusing. Tories appear intent on wrecking devolution settlements. 


Back before WW1 Scotland ran more of its own affairs. This isn’t about Edinburgh becoming another centralising London either but about greater local control. This isn’t about personalities – its about the wider yes and civic movement. A good plan is for a Citizens Assembly to grow our ideas for the way ahead, organically from the ground up. That’s the only way to grow support for our independence. It appears from studies that many Scots are very confused over what devolution means, what independence means in todays world of interconnections over trade (as in the EU). I believe it would be very helpful for all sides, ideas and views, to clarify what both these arrangements really will mean. 


It all depends on whether you see the UK as a free democracy or an empire state more concerned with the global empire – than the people who live here. The UK requires radical reforming on all levels and to put people first! This is a struggle between Westminster sovereignty and the sovereignty of the Scottish people. Since union 1707 Scotland has always been run separately with a Secretary of State. Of course the uK likes confusion and has no constitution. We need clearer and simpler details of what devolution and independence means for us. Most voters are confused and I am sure the UK encourages confusion just as there no clear constitution. 



Friday 30 September 2022

Ukraines Fight to survive: The Freedom Orchestra


The Freedom Orchestra -  Ukraines Fight to survive


Putin’s aim is to not only annex, but to erase Ukraine’s unique and distinctive culture and language. 

Russia has been trying to destroy Ukrainian independence.

It is a battle of national survival. 


You cannot erase the culture.

To heal and bring unity


Ukraine gained its independence 1991, with the end of Soviet Union. 

There was corruption and close ties to Russia, and a hundred protestors were killed.


Silvesteros Ukraine composer.  Symphony number 7


Desperation of the soul

74 Ukrainian musicians.

The orchestra played for all the soldiers who have died in Ukraine – message of continuity and hope. To heal and express Ukraine’s voice. 


The Ukrainian orchestra performed at the BBC proms Albert halls in 2022. 


Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra is an orchestra composed of Ukrainian refugees who have fled the Russian invasion of Ukraine 
 and Ukrainian members of other European orchestras. Canadian conductorKeri-Lynn Wilson, who has Ukrainian ancestry, provided the impetus for the creation of the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra, which the Metropolitan Opera of New York. and the Polish National Opera immediately supported as a gesture of solidarity with the victims of the war in Ukraine.

Wednesday 26 September 2018

Having a Voice

I live in a middle class area near Glasgow and have family and friends in Edinburgh. In my experience it is easier for unionists to have a voice and speak their minds. Unionists feel they can say what they like, openly and freely, without fear of any repercussions. 

By contrast, I have supported an independent Scotland all my life, but I often feel I have to keep quiet or am looked on as an oddity. The middle classes are supposed to support the hierarchy establishment, in order of protect their own wealth. It matters not it seems, that Scotland has one of the most unequal land ownership, embarrassing levels of poverty and that tenant farmers have no rights. The tiny rich elite must be protected at all costs and this elite are determinedly against change of any kind. Who owns Scotland and why are they being subsidized?  I don’t want Scotland to be part of a centralized trickle-down economics from a London super state and under American vested interests. The Tories also want to enforce market-driven health care here. Many Indy supporters are threatened. How is this democratic?

One told me recently with regard to Scottish indy, that she didn’t want to get smaller. I have heard this concern before and it strikes me as a completely different way of viewing Scotland’s indy. I want Scotland to get bigger on the world stage and to be able to protect our national interests and resources - why not? Presently Scotland is side-lined, ignored and diminished as part of disunited UK and our resources are being squandered. We are led by arrogant, ignorant and lazy politicians at Westminster. 

I don’t want an indy Scotland building walls with its neighbours or with Europe. Indy is not about borders for me. We must speak with both national and international voices. Change can only happen in small places. Scottish indy is both inclusive and outward looking. At a talk at Edinburgh book festival, Gina Miller spoke of moving pivisions – and I agree – but moving past wealth divisions will not be so easy. The system needs changed through independence.

How are we best governed? What is best practice? Why is making decisions locally ‘being smaller’? In todays internet world we can live on remote islands and still remain connected to the outside world. Europe has moved on and rejected feudalism. America has not moved on, even while it has a Bill of Rights and a written constitution (unlike UK) – it continues to have protected elites and vested interests. I lived for ten years in America and it does have a federal system of government where each state controls its VAT and state taxes. But it also has great divides and inequalities. 

False tribalism and division must end for the sake of our country. But there are differences here. I believe difference and informed different views are essential to reach a realistic consensus. But artificial tribes, around old, ignorant hatreds have no place in a progressive democracy. It is a fallacy that ’Brexit’ is about any kind of independence – its really about leaving the world’s most successful trading block. 

This is not only about land – its about power and privilege – and this inequality affects all areas of Scottish life, the urban lowlands also. It’s a culture of divisiveness, rather than a culture of co-operation and equal life chances. We can’t all be the same, but we can have equal opportunities. 

Self-determination for Scotland, means making our own decisions in Scotland’s best interests and also being good neighbours and in a larger trading block. Self-determination means being connected with the democracies of Europe – rather than in the pocket of American wealthy elites. Scotland has centuries of cultural and trading links with Europe. 

I believe the size of Scotland is ideal in todays world, to be adaptable and progressive for the future. We can have a media that represents Scotland; we can protect our resources, protect our heritage and invest in local infrastructure. Scottish Indy is a fight to protect our civil rights and our stories and culture. Maybe if Scotland does this, other parts of England will follow. Recently I saw a map of who owns Scotland, and I was shocked by the tiny white sections of publicly owned land. Scotland has the most unequal land ownership in the world. This land was stolen from the church after the Reformation in 1560.  

Perhaps its time to give it back. Instead of a culture of false greed, we can have a culture of co-operation? I hope this isn’t all about money and that we can all have an equal voice. We have a choice now. We must act, and act soon to change all that.

Friday 31 August 2018

Edinburgh Book Festival (EIBF) 2018 Photos

Karl Ove Knaasgard
Freedom to make the stories that shape us
Freedom to travel, the horizons we will know and understand, different landscapes, challenging people, new perspectives…

Many spoke of moving on from divisions – but also about us all having a voice. Activist and business women Gina Miller said these are dangerous times, we cannot afford to keep quiet, with her book 'Rise'. Chelsea Clinton was there to talk about women's voices, with her book 'She Persisted.' 

Neal Ascherson and James Naughtie the 1968 Year of Unrest and freedom spoke of the Paris riots of 68, in France they continue to believe they can make a difference. Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis spoke of the difficulties inherent in Europe but also the peace it has afforded us. 
Brian May

There is such a wide diversity of writers at EIBF – 
the big established names, the aspiring new writers, award winners, celebrities, sportsmen, politicians, academics, poets, musicians, artists, critics, crime writers, comedians, novelists, illustrators, children’s authors, psychologists, medical writers, economics, business people.

Bringing different voices together from across the globe, creates an inspiring place to exchange ideas, renew and interact..
The book festival provides an important balance to the daft comedy or the absurd at the Fringe - everything goes in August in Edina. The backdrop of Charlottes Square puts EIBF at the heart of Edina’s historic Georgian new town: the photographers come here from Spain and Italy. 
Chris Brookmyre

Paris Riots 68, with Neal Ascherson and James Naughtie
The 1968 Year of Unrest and freedom
Yanis Varoufakis
Karl Ove Knaasgard
Michael Marra: Arrest This Moment
Tom Devine: English in Scotland
Gina Miller; Rise

The Gathering poems – Alexander McCall Smith
Gina Miller
There were problems with several writers gaining visas to attend EIBF. Sadly too this is the last year that Scotland will be in the EU, because of this unwanted Brexit being imposed on us– and this has very serious difficulties for an international festival on this scale. 
Activist and business women Gina Miller said these are dangerous times, and we cannot afford to keep quiet. She spoke of moving on from past divisions – and I agree – but moving past our extreme and feudal wealth divisions will not be so easy. It is the system here that needs changed.
False tribalism and division must end for the sake of our country. But there are differences here. I believe difference and informed different views are essential to reach a realistic consensus. But artificial tribes, around old, ignorant hatreds have no place in a progressive democracy.  It is a total fallacy that ’Brexit’ is about any kind of independence – its about leaving the world’s most successful trading block and stopping immigration. By contrast Scotland needs and desires immigration.  
How can we best protect our civil rights. Maybe if Scotland does this, other parts of England will follow. Recently I saw a map of who owns Scotland recently, and I was shocked by the tiny white sections of publicly owned land. Scotland has the most unequal land ownership in the world. I hope this isn’t all about money and that we can all have an equal voice. We need a culture of equal chances and co-operation, that starts in the early years. of education. 

We must act, and act soon to change all that.  
Chelsea Clinton
Yanis Varoufakis, Maria Alyokhina (Pussy Riot)

**What freedoms do we cherish? Maria Alyokhina fled from Russia to perform in Edinburgh. 

Interesting article on Democracy in Sunday Herald – that into todays world of peer to peer interconnectedness -  this centralised, top down state of government that worked centuries ago is no longer working for us. 

Sunday 17 June 2018

Edinburgh International Book festival 2018!

Freedom & Equality
This year the Edinburgh International book festival 2018 will explore our freedoms.  
EIBF provides open minded and challenging platforms to explore new ideas. Each year I attend the Edinburgh festival in the perfect setting of Charlottes Square August for photos and to enjoy some talks and to be inspired.  

Themes will include: - Freedom and Equality, Politics of Change, Sport and Society, Our Planet, Scottish Ideas, Music Makers, Mind and Body, Muriel Spark, Spoken Word. 

The year EIBF will host many writers who challenge the norms and encourage informed debate. *Famous names who will give talks this year – Clinton, Corbyn, Gina Miller, Yanis Veronfakes, Karl Ove Khausgaad, Ali Smith, Ian Rankind. Musicians, scientism, artists, historian and more are represented. Edinburgh was made the first Unesco City of Literature. 

The festival, in collaboration with the Scottish Government Expo fund, has commissioned essays - The Freedom Papers – which consider which freedoms we must protect and which ones give up for the good of society. 
The freedoms of the individual must not impede the necessary structures of a healthy society. A free democracy and free press. In an era of fake news and online click baits, we need professional gatekeepers and investigative journalism more than ever. With the break down of many religions  we need moral guidance. How do we than achieve a healthy balance, along with strong and stable family structures. Education and family are crucial for the core of an informed democracy,  
Alexander McCall Smith
Neil Gaiman
Hera Lindsay Bird
Jake Wallace Simmons 
Simon Callow
Lura Waddell
Paul Muldoon
More than ever we need ‘open spaces’ to discuss new worlds, adaptability, progress, to build bridges and for accountability. How do we encourage healthy, informed debates. 
To question the nature of our freedoms and the nature and health of our democracies.
Freedom can mean the right to vote, or the right of every nation for self determination. 

**The joy and love of books in central, and EIBF also has a large Childrens book festival. 

EIBF celebrate the written and spoken word in the perfect setting of Charlotte square Edinburgh. EIBF is a celebration of books, written words ideas, spaces to collaborate and exchange views, inspiring stories. retrieving and renewing. 

Statue of poet Robert Fergusson, muse of Robert Burns

Edina skyline from Calton hill

Thursday 30 November 2017

Irelands Road to Freedom

Act of Union between Ireland and England 1801.

Easter Rising 1916, Irish Free State.

Thirty Years of Troubles Northern Ireland with a great deal of violence  - 1960s – 1990s.

Northern Irish Peace Agreement - (1998) - The Good Friday Agreement Belfast April 1998. (Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta) –  Northern Ireland system of devolved government is based on the agreement - created a number of institutions between Northern Ireland and Ireland - and between the Ireland and the UK.  
It was clear to me, having Irish parents, that during the Brexit debates that no attention was paid to the Irish dilemma over the EU customs and trading union. Just like Scotland, Ireland was a mere after thought. No one in Ireland wants a return to a hard border – there are always nutters on either side just looking for an excuse. Why should Ireland give up its peace and prosperity? Ireland is crucially split on ancient religious grounds
Scotland too has opposite needs to England – our farming is mostly hill rather than arable; our fishing rather than cars is a major concern; we want to welcome young immigrant workers to grow our economy and support an older population; Scotland wants to pursue progressive socialist policies to work for a more socially inclusive nation – where England wants to be a low regulated, low wage economy like a new Singapore. (which is unacceptable for the EU).
AND on a personal note. My parents were from Co Down and Belfast and I visited there every summer from Scotland. I understand the deep divisions and problems there (unlike many London politicians). These divisions will not be easily healed. And I feel extremely angry at the thought that some feel a hard border is an answer there – just because of this crazy Brexit. Brexit is about looking backward.  While my husband's father came form Kilkenny in southern Ireland.

A hundred years ago Ireland embraced its rich heritage and culture – and developed its own identity again. Many had to die so Ireland could achieve self government. I hope Scotland can achieve this dream too – peacefully and through informed debate for a healthier partnership with its larger partner England. Scotland is often an after thought
England has pursued a policy of over-centralised government for more than a century, particularly during the wars and then complains of too many immigrants! By contrast European parliament encourages healthy regionalization and encouraging regional language. Why is wanting more local government against the national interest? In fact the UK is the most lop-sided geographically unbalanced major country in the world!

The great poet WB Yeats, was persuaded to write on the old Irish  songs, heritage and ballads, at the same time he lived in London and was before this part of the Anglo-Irish group who dominated Irish politics.
After the hangings of the Irish rebels in the Easter rising Yeats wrote -
his poem 'Easter 1916' 
I write it out in a verse -
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly: (YB Yeats)

The Northern Ireland peace process is often considered to cover the events leading up to the 1994 Provisional Irish Republican Army ( IRA) ceasefire and the end of the violence Troubles, and the Good Friday Agreement 1998.
Issues relating to Sovereignty, civil and cultural rights, decommissioning of weapons, justice and policing. The agreement was approved by voters across the island of Ireland in two referendums held on 22 May 1998. The British-Irish Agreement came into force on 2 December 1999.  The DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) was the only major political group in Northern Ireland to oppose the Good Friday Agreement.

Ultimately between Scotland and England - a good partnership for trade, security, environment. and defence.. rather than control from Westminster

The European countries are committed firstly to Peace and Prosperity – any other consideration is secondary. Ireland exemplifies and tells us the real UK conflict. Also that harmful over centralization in the south east.
Why should Peace and Prosperity be sacrificed by Scotland, the EU or Ireland just to suit some backward looking Tory politicians we have not voted for?

Saturday 12 November 2016

*The Unionist Scotland & Free Scotia!

Back in the 18th century there were TWO SCOTLAND’S then too
After Scotland lost its political government in 1707, there was TWO Scotland’s too – the one that was wealthy and supported the new Union – the other of the ordinary folk who protested on the streets then as now and who remembered when Scotland was free. 

(1) The first was the Scotland of the people which was expressed by poets such as Allan Ramsay, Robert Fergusson and of course Robert or Robbie Burns.  At Ellisland, in 1794 when he was 35, an after he had travelled across Scotland, Burns wrote a song,  “which was based on “an old song and tune which has often thrilled thro’ my soul. I may have felt Revolution-mad – instead I turned to an old song ‘Auld Lang Syne.  ‘Light be the turf on the breast of the heaven-inspired Poet who composed this glorious Fragment! There is more of the fire of nature genius in it, than in half a dozen of modern English Bacchanalians.”

He took his own writings and wove them into the old ballads and felt it was very important task to collect and re-work all these traditional old songs.  On his travels over Scotland when he first heard an old man sing this song and was moved to tears by it. 
This song spoke to Burns -  “of the old days – before the Union of Parliament – celebrating an older, politically independent Stuart Scotland. It also spoke of the of old friendships I had lost.  The ancient Scottish nation was ‘bold, independent, unconquered and free, Caledonia is ‘immortal”  

(2) The second was the Scottish Wealthy Elite, who were given a New Town of Georgian homes. 
There was a female poet Lady Anne Bernard.  She was from a noble family of Fife Scotland, born 1750 and wrote the well known ballad ‘Auld Robin Gray’. She lived in Georgian society during the Scottish enlightenment. To reward the nobility of Edinburgh a grand new town was built.

The Scottish aristocracy sold out. Her family were the Lindsay’s of Balcarres and these families carried the Union flag around the globe and helped to shape Britain’s empire. Her father said, “You were born after the Union, Scotland is no more and never likely to revive.”   Was it so great though? Of her eight brothers, four entered the army and two went to sea and one joined the East India co. Three died in different corners of the world and a fourth spent years in a Mysore dungeon. Eventually Lady Anne moved to London, married at 42 and went to live in the Cape of Good Hope.

Unionists and Royalists have tried to take over the legacy of Burns.

Professor Robert Crawford in his Robert Burns biography entitled The Bard sought to rescue ‘Burns and radicalism from the many monarchists, imperialists and staunch British unionist supporters and others over the centuries have controlled – and sometimes still seek to control - his posthumous reputation.” Crawford based his eminently readable biography of our national poet on ‘The Poems and Songs of Robert Buns’’ by James Kinsley (1968 Clarendon Press Oxford). There is great deal of lore, legend and misinformation around Burns’ legacy.  He writes that when he thought to start his biography in 2006, he found none in Scottish book shops strangely.

Later Burns would also write a song about how Scotland was bought and sold for English gold, in the song 

Parcel of Rogues to the Nation.’
Fareweel to a' our Scottish fame,
Fareweel our ancient glory;
Fareweel ev'n to the Scottish name,
Sae fam'd in martial story.
Now Sark rins over Solway sands,
An' Tweed rins to the ocean,
To mark where England's province stands-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!