Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Second Not in the News for April

So much has happened in the last few days that we had to make an extra entry into our monthly 'not in the news' series. In this edition, we are only looking at the stories which have taken place from Saturday, the 26th of April to Tuesday, 29th.

Bum notes?
A prime example of why Scotland needs to represent itself internationally came on Sunday, the 27th of April. Despite assurances from UK environment secretary Owen Paterson MP to highlight concerns held by the Scottish Parliament regarding Genetically Modified crops at a European Union meeting on the topic, the minister failed to do so.

Mr Paterson said: "...we [self and Scottish Environment minister Paul Wheelhouse] agreed the speaking note and I have to confess I think I read the preceding one."

More bum note incompetency from people who don't want us representing ourselves. [As a side note, the position of the UK Government over GM Crops is different from that of the Scottish Government, making this 'error' even more significant].

Don't watch that, watch this!
First Minister Alex Salmond made a speech in Bruges, Belgium on Monday, the 28th of April. He spoke of the historic connections between the city and Scotland, of duel nationalities and the positive contribution that new Scots have made to our nation, the democratic deficit that we face and the desire to make a positive contribution to Europe and the world at large.
"Scotland will ask for continued membership on the basis of “continuity of effect”, and at no detriment to other members.

So there need be no reopening of the EU budget agreed last year to 2020. Scotland would take responsibility for its share of UK contributions and receipts – which means that we would still be a net contributor to the EU. We would remain within the Common Travel Area of the British Isles, as we are at present. And as a senior UK Government minister acknowledged to the Guardian newspaper last month, “of course” we will continue to share a currency with the rest of the UK.
We propose a practical, common sense approach to membership, which means that there is no detriment – none whatsoever – to any other member of the European Union as a result of Scotland’s continuing membership." First Minister Alex Salmond, 28th of April

Most people will not have come across this speach because another story 'broke' at the same time. "Fury as 'insensitive' Salmond praises Putin for restoring Russian pride in itself" was the headline in the Mail online. This came from an interview by GQ Magazine from the 14th of March (over six weeks earlier and before the situation in Crimea - or put another way before we wrote the Not in the News - March edition). But let's see the vile, insensitive quote:
"Obviously, I don't approve of a range of Russian actions, but I think Putin's more effective than the press he gets, I would have thought, and you can see why he carries support in Russia.

He's restored a substantial part of Russian pride and that must be a good thing.  There are aspects of Russian constitutionality and the intermesh with business and politics that are obviously difficult to admire.  Russians are fantastic people, incidentally; they are lovely people." Alex Salmond, 14th of March
The story seems even stranger when you consider that this is the same Vladimir Putin who Prime Minister David Cameron was appealing for support from back in January (see: "Cameron's plea to Putin: help me stop Salmond" and "Putin's strange intervention over Scottish independence" and "David Cameron accused of trying to recruit Vladimir Putin's support in the fight against Scottish independence"). And other prominent 'no' campaigners have recently been speaking of looking at closer military ties with Russia (a month later than Alex Salmond's interview and in the middle of the Ukraine crisis).
Even some of the newspapers hold Vladimir Putin in great esteem (well, he was announced as the Times newspaper's International Man of the Year on the 30th of December 2013 - yes, the same Times newspaper that used the headline 'Scottish Ukrainians hit out at Salmond over praise for Putin' - we're certain that their apology is in the post!).
Of course, we're talking about the Scottish Media, so these facts aren't in the news now.

Another secret radiation leak story came to light, this time in Aberdeen harbour.
"An investigation by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) found one “gross” breach and several “major” breaches of the firm’s operating conditions.

However, the public was never told about the leak, which continued unchecked from November 2011 until April 2012, and it also appears that the Scottish Government was not informed either." Scottish Express, 26th of April
The resultant 10 fold increase in emissions was kept secret from the public and the Scottish Parliament and comes shortly after the discovery of a cover-up over a radiation leak at Dounreay power station.

BBC and Big Business Chums!
On Tuesday, the BBC announced that they had been members of anti-independence group the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) for 'at least 10 years'. But investigative work from BBC reporter James Cook found that 'at least 10 years' was is reality at least 34.

Perhaps this long standing relationship explains headlines such as "Scottish Independence: CBI U-turn 'not due to pressure'"

The BBC hand over £22,191.94 of our money per year for membership of the officially anti-independence CBI however no reason has been forthcoming as to why the UK state broadcaster is a member at all. The National Union of Journalists expressed their concerns by stating that their impartiality "is entirely undermined by the BBC retaining a link with an organisation allied to one side of the independence debate." Even when the CBI announced that their members were backing a no vote, the British Broadcasting Corporation stood side by side with their Big Business Chums. We can only speculate as to why.
(A little side note: although £22,191.94 looks like a lot of money, it is small change compared to the £193 million per year the BBC stands to lose with a Yes vote!).

Debating courage
Another day, another debate that the 'no' campaign doesn't want to take part in. The Electoral Reform Society Scotland were asked to chair an event between representatives of Yes Scotland and Better Together at a public meeting in Glasgow. A neutral mediator and a public forum is surely fair, right?
Well no, the no campaign didn't want to take part. They stated that because Yes Scotland had made the arrangements that they wouldn't be involved. We're certain that this is a sincere excuse and that an event that was mutually organised by both sides would meet their approval...right...right?
"Questions from the public? And we have to answer them? That's not fair!" No campaign objection (probably)
Join us again for a full 'not in the paper' review in May!
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Sunday, 27 April 2014

Not in the paper review - April

Welcome to the fourth of our monthly series looking back at the stories which the main stream media in Scotland didn't offer much attention to, and comparing them to those that hit the front pages.

Letter from America
There were two speeches made in the United States of America in early April: one was by a democratically elected politician who was acting in his capacity as head of a national parliament, the other by an unelected lord who has as much significance and relevance to Scotland as a turnip. Which do you believe received the most coverage from STV, the BBC and the papers?

Passing Wind
Claims from Westminster that energy prices in an independent Scotland would skyrocket were quickly and decisively rubbished this month. In the words of Professor Peter Strachan, Professor of Energy Policy at Robert Gordon's University:
"...under no scenario can I see in an independent Scotland electricity bills increasing. In an independent Scotland, even with an integrated electricity market, Scotland would be able to sell its electricity at commercial rates. What would also be very helpful for Scotland's renewable energy industry as well is that an independent Scotland would also be able to offer discretionary spend, so that you could see a great expansion, for example, of offshore wind.

At the moment, what we are seeing with the coalition government is the offshore renewable industry effectively being strangled at birth..." BBC Radio Scotland interview - 9th April 2014
Penny wise, pound daft
Attacks on First Minister Alex Salmond from the Telegraph aren't unusual, but this month saw a story which was stranger than most. It's 'reveal' was to say that the First Minister and his wife stayed in a nice hotel in Chicago at a cost of £750 per night for 4 nights whilst arranging multi-million pound trade deals for Scotland.
As a comparison, the same newspaper back in June last year attempted to justify a £100,000 refurbishment of the toilets within the House of Lords. Could they be experiencing the Goldilocks Axiom!

Two faces on every politician, three eyes on every fish
Scotland's energy minister, Fergus Ewing, was on the receiving end of intimidation in April over the controversial nuclear power station in Hinkly Point, Somerset. If the Scottish Government were to get involved in the EU investigation into the nuclear power station, it would be viewed as a 'hostile act' by Westminster.
It is great to know that the union is a partnership of equals and that the UK Government have absolutely nothing to hide!

Oh yeah, there was someone who once raided pension funds talking about pensions...
Are they even pretending to be serious anymore?
We don't need to say much about the Daily Express on Tuesday, the 22nd of April.

Scottish Daily Express - the edited voice of a new Scotland
Yes, both of these newspapers were published on the same day, by the same organisation. The one of the left was for most of the UK, highlighting the deteriorating condition of pensions following decades of mismanagement under the UK, and the other was for Scotland, saying how much safer our pensions would be under that same UK system they were lambasting everywhere else. Another case of the Goldilocks Axiom, or perhaps they require a reminder about the principles of journalism.
Public meeting (but we won't tell you where!)
Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband hosted a 'public' meeting in Motherwell in April. If you didn't know about this before the event then you weren't alone.
"...we can’t find a single advance reference to the venue we think that may be a rather loose interpretation of the word “public”." Rev Stuart Campbell - Wings over Scotland
"Residents of a row of neat housing association homes overlooking the community hall that hosted Mr Miliband in this town southeast of Glasgow were angry only to have learnt about the event when a satellite broadcast van turned up." FT, Friday, April 25th

The Confederation of British Flip-Floppers!
The Daily Express managed to take our comedy award for the month (see above), but they were pushed hard for the title by the CBI and the BBC.
The story began with the CBI (a group consisting of around 70 businesses and other organisations in Scotland) declaring it's support for a 'no' vote in the referendum. This triggered an outflow of members who wished to remain neutral in the debate. This included a number of universities, Scottish Enterprise and STV (the BBC eventually stated that they would remain in the 'no' campaign body until a few weeks before the vote, with the intention of rejoining immediately afterwords).
"Since announcing its backing for the No campaign, the CBI has been hit with a mass exodus of organisations in Scotland.  Broadcaster STV resigned immediately, claiming that the decision had compromised its own neutrality in the independence referendum." Newsnet Scotland, 26th of April

Just one week later, the CBI announced that they were withdrawing their application to the Electoral Commission to be officially part of the 'no' campaign.
“When the Sunday Herald contacted CBI Scotland director Iain McMillan, he directed all enquiries on the matter to the UK press office. Asked if the decision to register with the Electoral Commission was made after discussions with Scottish or UK members, a CBI spokesman said: “We have talked to members regularly in Scotland and across the UK at CBI events and via our system of committees and councils.”, He added that the “final position” was signed off by CBI Scotland’s council – its membership decision-making body.” Herald Scotland, 20th of April

"Following a review by the CBI board and in the light of legal advice from its lawyers and Queen’s Counsel it has emerged that the application should not have been made: it did not have approval under the CBI’s normal corporate governance procedures and was not signed by an authorised signatory." CBI Press Release, 25th of April
In just 1 week, the Confederation of Business Industry has gone from claiming it had consulted its members to ascertain their views (which they didn't) and that it's council in Scotland had signed off on the decision to join the 'no' campaign, to saying that the application was made by a 'unauthorised signatory'. It seems these people don't understand how to run an organisation!

But even more pressure may fall upon the BBC. The list of 25 questions from The Alderman Wotisname Memorial Playing Fields cover the vast majority of these, including 'why is the BBC a member of the CBI?', 'where does the BBC publish and publicise its membership of the CBI?', and 'during the time the BBC was aware of the CBI’s stance, how many times did it quote the CBI on the issue of independence?'

And perhaps most important of all, 'how will the BBC rebuild trust in its integrity?'

Join us again for our next 'not in the paper' review in May!

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P.S We have added an extension to this article called 'Second Not in the News for April', which you can read here.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

The three poverties of Westminster

Westminster is presiding over an age of poverty in Scotland; a poverty of wealth, a poverty of ideas, and a poverty of justice. This blog will look at each in turn, and show that the only credible solution to these issues is to vote Yes to independence.

Poverty of Wealth
This is the form of poverty that most people will be familiar with. It is the struggle to heat a home or feed a family. It is the uncertainty of when the next wage slip will arrive. It is the fear that the social security safety net will be taken away to attract the all important southeast vote.
According to Unisef, 19.8% of people in Britain live in poverty compared to 4.3% in Finland, 3.9% in Norway and just 2.6% in Sweden. 14% of kids in this situation don't own a warm winter coat and 1 in 9 children in Scotland are growing up in severe poverty. The figures from The Breadline Britain Poverty and Social Exclusion report of 2013 suggests that even these numbers are understatements, with their research finding that 29% of people in Scotland are unable to afford 3 or more basic essentials.
Frighteningly, these numbers aren't that different from 1983. And it is unlikely that they will change for us in Scotland as the vast majority of new private sector jobs are being created in London, which is increasely becoming the primary consideration of UK Governments.
Westminster has and is failing the people of Scotland.
Poverty of Ideas
The only way to reduce or eradicate poverty is through ideas. We can't keep doing the same things and hoping for a different outcome. However, this cannot change under the current setup as there is an inbuilt protection of the status quo at Westminster. Only two parties can ever lead the government and they are taking increasingly similar approaches towards nearly every issue.
"Rather than opposing the Tory-led government, Ed Balls is picking a fight with trade unions. Instead of focusing energies on stopping cuts to welfare, pensions, pay and public services, the shadow chancellor is telling us to learn to live with it." Counterfire, 14th of January 2012
Instead of cutting wasteful expenditure which take wealth away from Scotland, the austerity cuts are to continue.
"Scotland cannot be the the only 'something for nothing' country in the world." Johann Lamont, Labour Party, 25th of September 2012
"...Johann Lamont, derided nationalist opposition to Trident, the Iraq war and the bedroom tax as simply "wee things" offered by independence." Guardian, 30th January 2014
Even with 'further devolution', Scotland will be unable to defend itself from decisions made by Westminster:
"Scotland will not be getting more money, it will simply be accountable for raising more of its money." Johann Lamont, 13th of April 2014
With budgets and our powers controlled by Westminster, and with every incentive to make Holyrood as weak as possible, we are left in a position where we must follow their policies even if we don't want them. The only way to change this is to vote Yes.
In Scotland we have a proportional system. This encourages ideas and diversity. It ensures that no party is guaranteed to return to power but instead has to continually earn votes. Those that fail disappear. It also allows people to vote positively for what they actually want, instead of negatively against what they fear. All Holyrood is lacking are the powers of a normal parliament.
Poverty of Justice
We have written at length, repeatedly, about the various forms of corruption that has taken over the Westminster system. We have more unelected than elected representatives, we have a host of criminal activities taking place within the City of London, and we have people voting on legislation who have an outside commercial interest in its outcome. We have a poverty of justice.

It doesn't need to be this way. Because there is no risk of oblivion for Labour or the Conservatives, there is no long term consequence for immoral behaviour. They don't need to be competent, wise or principled because the best way to be elected in a rigid two-party system is to make the other side appear unelectable. Campaigns are arranged through the media and not at public meetings. Voters are told what they should believe, instead of engaging with the process directly.
With no written constitution to protect us, no ability for other parties to apply pressure and no incentive to reform from within, the rampant corruption within Westminster is free to continue.
If we want to end financial poverty, then we need to start by ending the idea and justice poverties from Westminster. We need to look at the democratic forms of government that our neighbours enjoy and to build upon it. We need to ensure that every vote matters and that there is no guarantee of power to those who attended the right schools and knew the right people.
We need a competition of ideas and ideals to ensure that our interests and values are served and we need to ensure that we have the option to cut the wasteful expenditure that does our economy no good before plunging even more of our fellow citizens into poverty.
Independence means that we make decisions for ourselves, and guarantees our children as many opportunities and choices as possible. And it is the only credible way to end the three poverties of Westminster.
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Rather than opposing the Tory-led government, Ed Balls is picking a fight with trade unions. Instead of focusing energies on stopping cuts to welfare, pensions, pay and public services, the shadow chancellor is telling us to learn to live with it. - See more at:
Rather than opposing the Tory-led government, Ed Balls is picking a fight with trade unions. Instead of focusing energies on stopping cuts to welfare, pensions, pay and public services, the shadow chancellor is telling us to learn to live with it. - See more at:
Rather than opposing the Tory-led government, Ed Balls is picking a fight with trade unions. Instead of focusing energies on stopping cuts to welfare, pensions, pay and public services, the shadow chancellor is telling us to learn to live with it. - See more at:

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Making a connection

Energy is extremely important. Every nation needs to have enough power to keep the lights on and drive industrial processes. This can either be created within the country itself, or by purchasing from neighbouring nations. Any government anywhere in the world that can't keep the lights on tends to be out of office pretty quickly.

So how does this connect with the Scottish referendum debate? Quite a bit actually, as we have the potential to have cheap, safe and unexhaustible energy whilst generating fantastic revenues from its export.
Scotland is blessed with plentiful resources. This includes almost 60% of EU oil reserves and around a third of the EU's hydrocarbon production. There are vast amounts of oil left in the North Sea (enough to last 100 years) and potentially even more on Scotland's west coast. But, just like the uranium required for nuclear power stations, these will not last forever, and there are arguments that some of the fossil fuel remaining shouldn't be disturbed at all.

Fortunately we have also been blessed with vast renewable energy potential. This will not run out and can power a nation safely and consistently, just as our friends in Denmark are doing right now. We host 25% of Europe's offshore wind and tidal potential, as well as 10% of wave potential. The Penland Firth on it's own could power half of Scotland, and this is with today's technology. Advancements could push this even further.
The reason why this is important to the independence debate is because this potential is not being realised by Westminster. Indeed they are actively hurting renewable energy whilst chasing after a more expensive alternative.
Scottish generators account for around 12% of the capacity connected to Britain's high-voltage electricity network but pay around 35% of the charges. Orkney and Shetland alone are likely to see an annual connection charge fee of £107 million by 2020, a massive increase from the already excessively high £56 million charged in 2011. By comparison, a connection subsidy of £2 million would be paid if this same project were built in the south west of England. This is because connection charges to the national grid are based on distance to population centres, which covers-up subsides to nuclear energy projects and artificially inflates the cost of renewable energy.

With independence we can get rid of this inherently unfair and unproductive system.
The choice facing Scotland's energy future becomes even clearer when we look at Westminster's proposals for the future. They are already committed to doubling energy prices:
"But the Government has come under fire for guaranteeing to pay £92.50 per megawatt hour of electricity produced - a so-called "strike price" double the current market rate." Sky News, October 2013
This committment to new nuclear power stations comes despite the revelation of a £100 million pound, 120 year clean up cost to existing facilities. It also defies the economic case for renewable energy including the significant number of jobs it offers to local communities. Having a combination of on and off-shore wind farms, hydroelectric plants, solar panels and geothermal energy, will provide reliable, safe, and affordable power not just for ourselves, but for every generation that follows. The potential to end fuel poverty in Scotland forever, as well as contributing to the African Dream, is too much for me to ignore.

A Yes vote puts Scotland's energy future into our hands. It will offer better prices for consumers, more competitiveness for our industries, and irradicate fuel poverty from our nation forever. It offers a reliable, consistent source of export revenue, employment for our island and remote communities and can contribute towards the aspirations of developing nations.
Westminster is guaranteeing higher prices, the continuation of unfair connection charges and even more dependence on the depleting global supply of uranium. The only way to have an energy policy that matches the interests of Scotland is to have the powers of independence.
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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Why the SDA?

We at Sign for Scotland recently sent out a request to a number of pro-independence political parties asking for a few words about their aspirations for an independent Scotland. We hope to show the different visions for Scotland that we'll be able to vote for in 2016 and beyond, and to help people consider the possibilities that independence can bring.

The first to respond were the Scottish Democratic Alliance (SDA). We'd like to thank them for their speedy and enthusiastic reply.

Why the SDA?
The Scottish Democratic Alliance advocate a progressive, populist small 'c' conservatism that is diametrically opposed to the elitist, dogmatic brand emanating from Westminster's blue, yellow and red Tories. And their puppets here in Scotland.

In a nutshell the SDA's view is to put people first. Not corporations or the rich. We want corporations to be profitable; entrepreneurs to get rich because these are mechanisms which should serve to make people's lives better. The SDA support high-quality public services like free education, and healthcare. We support working folk being paid at least a living wage to ensure a good quality of life - with a citizen's pension providing dignified retirement.

The SDA supports the idea that sovereignty and independence are inseparable, and applauds those who have brought Scotland to this historic referendum. At this crucial time, however, the SDA feels that there is now the danger of losing sight of these principles in favour of political expediency and that the Independence movement is becoming just another group of politicians pursuing power and ending up offering only bland policies which seem designed to create a copy of the current UK - "independence-lite".

This manifests itself in the retention of Sterling and the Bank of England; the switch to becoming a member of NATO and the automatic assumption of membership of the European Union. The SDA considers all of these policies to be fundamental sacrifices of sovereignty and thus assumes to itself a role in preserving the conscience of Scottish Independence.

The SDA offers to 2014 independence referendum voters an alternative vision - a vision of a Scotland quite distinctive from its current persona. It offers a second enlightenment to Scots with the imagination to consider new ways of governing a modern community unencumbered by the 300 years of feudal society and privilege which is fast destroying the United Kingdom. In old fashioned political parlance, the SDA promote policies, some of which could be termed 'right' and others which could be seen as 'left'.

The SDA's commitment is to Scotland's independence and the implimentation of the party's policies after a YES majority referendum vote to build an economically vibrant, socially just, lean but competently governed, successful modern country, for the benefit of all Scottish citizens. If you take the time to look at our website, you will see a radically but intellectually sound basis for government - a different kind of government.

The SDA, the party of true independence, considers sovereignty to be the essence of independence. A Scottish government adopting SDA policies or administered by SDA members will not permit foreign military bases within its territory other than by invitation in times of war or National Emergency - all as provided for, in a new written Constitution for Scotland. Of course the administration will remain free to enter into trade and defence agreements other than under terms which prejudice this sovereignty. That sovereignty extends to the National Currency and the issue of banking licences granted under the terms of the Constitution of Scotland whereby their National Currency shall remain sovereign and protected from predation or manipulation by private interests - whether domestic or foreign.

There is a wealth of further information on our website. See About, Our Vision and Policies.

Twitter: @sdemoalliance

We at Sign for Scotland would once again like to thank the Scottish Democratic Alliance for replying to our request as quickly as they did. They are an example of a political party that could flourish in an independent Scotland and we wish them well. If reading this had made you interested in finding out more about the SDA then please do visit their website and Facebook pages.
We hope to be able to run more blogs like this in the run up to September's referendum. If you are a member of a pro-independence party and would like to write about what your party could offer, then you can email us at:
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Sunday, 6 April 2014

Sea of troubles

Ok, or not ok, that is the referendum question according to the 'no' campaign.

If you aren't heading to a food bank yet, if you haven't yet been affected by the endless wars we pay for in tax and in lives, if you can still afford to underwrite HS2, Crossrail and all the other 'UK expenditure' that seems to be almost exclusively for the benefit of the swing seats in the south east of England, then they say that you should be content with your lot. They reason that it is greedy for you to want better and that the problems of those around you are not your problems, because your life is still 'ok'. You don't need to aspire to more, because things are 'ok'.

Well today I’m going to say that the way things are, the way they have been, and the way they will be under a Westminster system, are not ok. They are deeply and profoundly wrong. And I’ll go one step further and say how and why an independent Scotland will be better. But first, how is the UK not ok.
According to Unisef 19.8% of people under Westminster live in poverty. We spend 30 times as much into researching arms and weapons than renewable energy, despite the latter being 8 times more significant to our economy, and we have an unelected second chamber, where 150 of its members have financial interests in the private healthcare industry, scrutinising and amending our laws. This is appalling.

Arrangements such as those in the House of Lords sow the seeds of corruption. Why do those who are paid £300 per day, plus expenses, for a few hours or in some instances a few minutes attendance need to have outside interests at all? Does Westminster find it difficult to attract people to such a role that only those on the payrolls of special interest groups are able to scrutinise our laws?
And why, when we are a wealthy nation, are our pensions amongst the lowest in value in Europe? Why do our pensioners receive less than a third of those in Sweden, a small independent country with no significant oil or gas reserves? Why do we receive this lower amount so much later than nearly all of our European friends? Why?
Imagine that we can start over. Imagine that we, the people of Scotland, had a rule book in place for how our country is run which we all took a part in writing. Imagine that we, the people of Scotland, have the last and most important say over the decisions facing us, instead of the few who make up parliament. Imagine that we, the people of Scotland, decided our own priorities, and had a wider choice beyond simply the british elite who wear red ties or the british elite who blue ones.

You don’t have to imagine. This is the future with independence. We will write a constitution following a Yes vote which will safeguard our rights. We will be sovereign and it is our views that are final. And we will have a proportional electoral system, which means that everyone’s vote counts.
Under First Past The Post, the system entrenched at Westminster, the only two parties who can ever form the government are discouraged from debate. They know that to get in they don’t need to prove that they are intelligent, thoughtful, representative or even competent. All they need to do is make the other side seem unelectable, and wait for their turn to govern.
Their policies aren’t decided by principle, but by polling, and that is why there is so little difference between the two wings of Westminster. Tell me, who do you vote for if you are against war? The side which brought us the 1990 gulf war or the one who brought us the 2003 version? Who do you vote for if you support the freedom of the press? The side which smashed up computers in the Guardian newspaper’s head office under anti-terror laws, or the side which introduced and abused those very same laws?
If believe that employers national insurance should be scrapped, or that Trident should be removed, or that we shouldn’t be paying to station military personnel in 80 countries around the world, or the monarchy, or fracking, or the use of depleted uranium in weapons testing on our coast, who do you vote for?

A proportional system is different because it encourages diversity. It is not good enough to say why we shouldn’t vote for so-and-so, you need to say why we should vote for you. You have to show that you are competent, you have to inspire us with a change we want to see, you need to act in the best interests of the people because if you don’t we’ll kick you out and won’t let you waltz back in 8 years later. We can have a Labour Party that represents the interests of the working class. We can have a Tory Party that represents the interests of entrepreneurs and small business owners. We can have a Liberal Democrat Party that can guarantee civil liberties and local democracy and we can have a whole host of new parties which ally with our values.
To the Westminster duo who are guaranteed to share power no matter what they do, poverty is ‘ok’, Trident is ‘ok’, and the UK is ‘ok’ because they’re ‘ok’. Well that isn’t good enough for me. Westminster won’t be ok as long as we have children growing up in poverty within a few miles of a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, or as long as we have elderly people being cold in their homes in sight of north sea platforms, or as long as we have unfair and unjust policies imposed on us from governments we didn’t elect.
To me Westminster won’t be ok as long as members of the armed services continue to receive P45s as we waste money on aircraft carriers. They won’t be ok as long as they can enter the offices of newspaper editors and smash up computers, as they did with the Guardian last year, and they won’t be ok as long as they test and dump depleted uranium into our coastline.

This is far from ‘ok’, it is abhorrent. To vote ‘no’ is to support and entrench this perverse and immoral system of government. It is to give up hope of a better future and to leave our children powerless to the whims of Westminster. We are the first, and possibly the only, generation that has the chance to bring the power back to Scotland and to right the wrongs that exist in our country. We can’t leave the thinking to Westminster and hope that they somehow slow the decline of Britain or act in the manner we want them to; we have the take responsibility for ourselves and be the change we want to see.
Let us ingrain in the minds of our children that they shouldn’t settle for governments that can ignore them. Let us show in deed and in spirit that they should take responsibility for their actions and have the courage to stand by their convictions, and let us place no limits to their ambitions, or say to them ‘we decided this far for you and no further’.
Is it nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous Westminster, or to vote ‘Yes’ against their Sea of troubles?
I want to take part in writing a codified constitution. I want to know that my vote has value and that we can’t be ignored. And I want the wealth of Scotland to be used for the benefit of her people. The things I want can only be achieved with independence, and that is why I want you all to vote ‘Yes’. 
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