Wednesday, 29 March 2017

DESPITE BELIEVING STRONGLY IN INDEPENDENCE FOR SCOTLAND, I DO NOT BELIEVE IN NEPOTISM SO HAVE RESIGNED FROM THE SNP

Dear Sir/ Madam,

I write this letter with a heavy heart. I also write this on a day which is extremely important for the future of Scotland i.e. the first day of the debate in the Scottish Parliament on whether to have another Scottish Independence Referendum or not. And I am writing it despite thinking that Nicola Sturgeon has been superb regarding the UK Brexit vote since it occurred.

I first joined the SNP in 1992 having been independence leaning since 1979 after the referendum on a Scottish Assembly (Scotland voted for it but didn’t get it). I have nearly always voted SNP and I strongly believe the right thing is for Scotland to be an independent country as this is the natural state for a nation. I have been a member of a number of branches as work and life took me around Scotland. The best was Edinburgh Central SNP which was then led by Fiona Hyslop who was superb, when I was a Dalry Shandon sub branch member in the mid 1990s. Being in the SNP and the wider independence movement was always a positive experience. We discussed politics and felt energised by each meeting even if we disagreed with one another and we could freely do so.

That is until I joined the Glasgow Provan branch where the independence and self determination for Scotland is rarely if ever discussed. It seems to be mostly about procedure, point scoring, and personal agendas/ careers. I am struggling to remember a meeting that I have not left feeling diminished, disappointed or angry to the point I now don’t go.
I know of members enthused by the indyref leaving in disgust after only a single meeting and I want to reach out and say that the SNP is not this, that this is not representative. But when that is their only experience of party politics then what can you say?  I also know of longer term members who do not now go to meetings for the same reason. That is because this branch is run by a cabal of careerists centred on the MP Anne McLaughlin.

‘One of the chief complaints of a political party that operates through nepotism/cronyism is the patent lack of fairness. Perceived favouritism of a relative or best friend can cause dissatisfaction among activists and lower morale. Political parties may have less incentive to perform their responsibilities diligently and proficiently if they feel that the path to success is undermined by nepotism/cronyism. Indeed, a party applying such tactics may find its more valuable activists seeking new paths away from politics where their talent is better recognized. At a minimum, party members and activists will likely complain and become embittered and less productive in the face of blatant nepotism.’

This is a complaint that was until recently rightly aimed at the Labour Party. When I originally joined the SNP this was not a problem because it had no power whatsoever, and I honestly thought, somewhat naively as it has turned out that the SNP was better than that. I would never have believed that within a short time of the independence referendum when the SNP expanded so much that this would so soon become an accusation that could be justly aimed at certain branches of the SNP one of those being Provan. The MP and MSP have safely installed their friend’s and acolytes in paid or elected positions.

A group of us in the Provan branch have tried on numerous occasions to raise issues at branch level. We were ignored, shouted down, insulted, bullied, harassed, threatened, even sworn at by the MSP; and, even if the comments were actually discussed, the way that they were discussed was never mentioned in the resulting minutes. This means it is pointless going to meetings as I have no confidence whatsoever that what is said, and what I say, will be recorded correctly in a fair and impartial matter. If a vote is taken I have no confidence that the true result will be arrived at, or indeed recorded correctly if it is.

After the joke of our branch AGM late last year which embedded the cabal in with no real possibility of achieving anything further in branch, we wrote to HQ as a group in November (please see attached letter). To date we have not even had the courtesy of a reply.

And then last weekend I discovered to my dismay that a long serving SNP councillor who has consistently and ably worked on his community’s behalf has been de-selected. Why? There were 2 SNP candidates selected in his ward but both were male. HQ decided to impose a woman resulting in an election between the 2 men. Needless to say the person selected with 1 vote difference was one of Anne McLaughlin’s cabal who has no experience at all, and the person with the long standing experience was discarded.

These things were the final straws, as it indicates clearly that HQ is clearly not interested at all in investigating allegations and looking after its own members, or indeed in rewarding people for their efforts. If that is way the party is run, then by expansion it does not bode well for the SNP running an independent Scotland or indeed for the party’s long term running of Scotland whilst still in the failing UK. It is not what you know, whether you have done a good job, if you have the experience but just WHO you know and who your friends are.

Given my long standing membership and my staunch believe in self determination for Scotland I do not resign from the party lightly.

I hope by airing the issues mentioned above that this will in some way start to resolve the problem. The actions of the ruling elite in this branch have led me to feel ashamed of being in the party. However given that a letter from a larger number of activists has led to no response I don’t suppose you will really care.

This resignation comes despite my strong belief in Scottish independence and my long standing activism, even if this activism is severely limited at present by my own life circumstances. I shall continue to fight for independence outside the party as I can’t morally remain a part of it due to the issues highlighted above.  


Due to the above I will not be voting SNP, not even lower down in my preferences, in the forthcoming local elections as I know the people selected by the Glasgow Provan cabal for my council ward are sub-standard or do not have any experience and have only been in the party for 5 minutes, and therefore have no right to be councillors. I shall be voting Green as my first preference as I know the person standing and she was an active Yes campaigner during the independence referendum and therefore actually deserves it. 

After 25 years the response was swift but disappointing. Indeed it included a grammatical error which just shows how much they care...


Thursday, 23 March 2017

Scotland's Yes Movement for Independence


Ask yourself this question?

Is Scotland a country? #ScotRef #TheYESMovement
What is independence or self determination about?

Independence is... #ScotRef #Brexit #TheYESMovement
Its about this...

Scotland's voice is being silenced by the UK. #ScotRef #TheYESMovement #Brexit
 Scotland's vast natural resources being squandered....
Scotland: The only country in the world to have discovered oil and got poorer. #ScotRef #TheYESMovement
It is about the weapons of mass destruction 30 miles from Scotland's largest city. Scotland doesn't want them but it has them and will continue to have them as part of the UK.
If Trident had an accident this is the kill zone #ScotRef #WMD #ScottishCND #CND #TheYESMovemen

Its about being attached to the Brexit shambles which Scotland did not vote for. The UK still has no plan, and has ignored Scotland's input to the extent the Scottish Government found out when the leaving process was being triggered was by watching the BBC that well known UK Government mouthpiece.
Headless chickens. Tory and Labour MPs in Westminster after Brexit vote. #ScotRef #Brexit #TheYESMovement
It is about the EU and the European Economic Area...
EU = peace. #EU60 #Brexit #ScotRef #IndependenceInEurope
Its about European open borders as Scotland needs European immigration to be a more prosperous country. Without it the Scottish Government will not have the tax income to provide so many services in future. Scotland doesn't control immigration. This is done for it currently by the UK Government who wish to drastically reduce it without thought for Scotland's future. ...
EU citizen remain welcome after #Brexit vote. #NicolaSturgeon #TheYESMovement #ScotRef
It is about being lied to prior to the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014...
Better Together lies. What is the process for removing our EU citizenship? Voting Yes. #ScotRef #BetterTogether #YouYesYe
It's about the future. It is only thanks to the SNP that Scots get free prescriptions, free university and college tuition, free bridge tolls, etc.With a Tory Government in Westminster intent on constant austerity and cuts to spending and tax giveaways for the rich, how long will these advantages continue?
And lastly...


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Shit Creek for the Scots. And it is entirely of their own making which is what makes it so sad.

Following the news this evening that MPs in the House of Commons have by majority, 498 to 114, voted to trigger the UK leaving the European Union I thought this cartoon is becoming more and more pertinent by the day.
Incidentally but of no real importance at this time (as we are talking about Scotland in the UK and it doesn't really count when it comes to votes) Scottish MPs voted 58 to 1 to NOT initiate plans to leave the EU. Scotland voted 62% to stay in the EU, but the UK Government as usual is ignoring the Scottish Government and the UK supreme court agreed that the Scottish Government and therefore the Scottish people's opinion can be ignored legally.
The harsh reality for Scotland now, at this juncture in its history, is that the governments of Estonia or Malta have more of a say about the future Scotland faces than the people of Scotland do themselves. And Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist branch office, wants to do all she can to ensure it stays that way, because in her universe everyone has the right to determine the path that Scotland treads except the people of Scotland .
And this is entirely due to Scots voting NO to their own country's independence in 2014. In September 2014 the question on the ballot may have said independence, but forget the terminology for a moment. What it meant was: Do you want Scots to have the power over their own lives or do you want to leave it up to whoever is in charge in Westminster?


Wednesday, 9 November 2016

I knew the USA had a sense of humour when it elected George W Bush. Now I think it has lost its mind with the election of Donald Trump.

I am disturbed that the USA seems to have elected a new president that is a misogynist, racist, xenophobe, demagogue, narcissist, bully and buffoon with an erratic temperament, questionable skills of management, etc. If I was in the USA and had a vote yesterday I would have held my nose and voted for Hillary Clinton even although she was far from the best candidate that the Democrats could have put up. It is important she is a woman, but also that she has extensive experience (when Donald Trump has none) even if she has made many questionable decisions and many I consider wrong in her time. At least you would likely know where you stand with her and you know that a decision process has actually taken place. If Margaret Thatcher had been standing with her history I would have voted for her against Donald Trump - yes that's right I would have even although I consider her to be the worst thing that happened to the UK since WW2. I think the world has gotten very much darker with Donald Trump's election. After all this idiot now has his finger on the biggest stockpile of nuclear weapons in Europe and this is situated beside Scotland's largest city i,e. Glasgow. The UK may say they are their own but they can never be used without the President of the USA.

The Statue of Liberty covers her eyes at the election of Donald Trump

Some of the people who voted for Trump pretend to be Christians and pretend that Clinton is literally the Antichrist. Here is your list, Trump voters: "Donald Trump is the President-elect of the United States, and he won on a platform of hate, bigotry, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, transphobia, Islamophobia, climate change denial and anti-science rhetoric." Now tell me, Trump supporter, which of those you hadn't realised, and which of them you love. If you dare. Here's Garrison Keillor (author and radio personality, read in the Washington post today), a key sentence only. "Alas for the Trump voters, the disasters he will bring on this country will fall more heavily on them than anyone else. The uneducated white males who elected him are the vulnerable ones, and they will not like what happens next." We all knew that from the start.... apart from them.

H L Mencken quote from 1920

Here is a quote from a blog post which I read today...
Hillary supporters believe in a diverse America; one where religion or skin colour or sexual orientation or place of birth aren’t liabilities or deficiencies or moral defects.    

  



   

 

   Those who feared they were seen as inferior now have confirmation in actual percentages.

  

    

  

   

  

For the full post please see  http://johnpavlovitz.com/2016/11/09/heres-why-we-grieve-today/

And for those who don't believe this please see... http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/10/07/trump-will-roll-back-obamas-lgbt-rights-protections-mike-pence-confirms/

For those in California you may also be interested in this website and campaign for a free and sovereign nation... http://www.yescalifornia.org

I am now even more scared of the future, than I was when the Brexit vote happened and Scotland voted no to independence (the one and only country in the world to ever do that). It is a triumph of low information voters who seem to vote on emotion rather than logic, experience and policies. If I was an American I would be looking for a way to emigrate as quickly as possible and I don't think I would be alone. We now have a world leader who is closer to being a cartoon character, with about as much sense and depth, than at any time since the 1930s. Very worrying. I do hope he turns out to be better than his rhetoric would suggest until now. Here's hoping. What else have we got?

Thursday, 20 October 2016

UNEXPECTED COMMUNICATIONS and RESULTANT REVELATIONS FROM ENGLAND

Last week I was going about my business as you do when I received two communications from friends who reside in England and news of a third person who also resides in England.

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland and SNP leaderWhat were these communications about? Was it something in their respective cities of Sheffield and Manchester (and also Nottingham)? It wasn't. It was about something happening in Glasgow and someone in particular and it was all good.

My first friend resides in Manchester. He has never understood my pre-occupation with Scottish independence and was against it, from the point of view (which I can understand from a person who doesn't know a lot of Scotland's position) of 'we should all stick together'. After all I have never subscribed to the view of independence for Scotland just because....

Nicola Sturgeon, FM of Scotland reassuring EU nationals that they are welcome and that their contribution is valued.However Nicola Sturgeon's first speech at the SNP conference in Glasgow last week seems to have changed his views, although I had obviously working on him for some time. Recently it has not been that difficult to dent his belief in the UK, since he voted 'remain' in the recent UK wide referendum on membership of the European Union (when the UK as whole on the back of England and less so Wales voted 'leave'), he is a left of centre voter who is not a fan of Jeremy Corbyn and has no time for the Tories. He wishes Nicola Sturgeon was leader of a party which covered the whole of the UK as, he said, she is speaking his language as far as Brexit, services in Scotland, compassion and general style of leadership. If in Scotland she and the SNP would definitely be getting his vote in any imminent election. Unfortunately he can't vote for her however.

However this revelation was closely followed by another one, this time involving two people which made it even more amazing.

My second friend lives in Sheffield. He also voted 'remain' in the recent European Referendum and has been appalled by the fall out so far, from the xenophobic rhetoric of the campaign, to the rise in hate crime in England, and then on to the shambles afterwards. I have never 'worked' on him with any Scottish independence propaganda, as I never thought I had a hope of persuading him, although he is aware I am a member of the SNP and have been on and off since 1992 and was also aware of my involvement in the Yes campaign in the first Scottish independence Referendum campaign.

Headless chickens. Tory and Labour MPs in Westminster after the Brexit vote.To quote...
Nicola Sturgeon has been very scathing about the Tories and she's right to be so. She is the best Prime Minister the UK has not had, yet?
He also has a close friend this time who stays in Nottingham which the next part of his communication was about...
I have a friend who is English from Nottingham and he has never had any faith in any of the political parties. When I called him today he had just joined the SNP and he said he was proud to be a card carrying member. He had voted 'leave' and now realised he had been conned into voting that way and had been sickened by the vacuum created by there being no plan of action to actually carry Brexit out.
Voting patterns UKHe then went onto say of himself...
The SNP are the only way forward and I want them to be a UK wide party. Nicola Sturgeon is probably the only one who could help save the country. I don't agree with everything she says but I do agree with a lot of it and I am seriously thinking of joining the party myself. Theresa May is continuing the destruction of the country so we need Nicola Sturgeon to fight for our rights.
I am as astonished as anyone that an Englishman wants someone who stands for Scottish self determination to fight for everyone in the UK's rights. Not that I have any problem with it and indeed this is what seems to be her purpose i.e. in addition to protecting Scotland and Scots she is also trying to do the same for those in other parts of the UK.

Nicola Sturgeon pulling Scotland towards Europe, Theresa May pushing England away from EuropeI stated in response the obvious, i.e. that Nicola Sturgeon is leader of a party that only stands candidates in Scotland as the SNP is fighting for Scottish self determination and the best possible deal for Scotland as long as it remains part of the UK. Therefore Nicola could not without a major re-alignment be Prime Minister of the UK. His replied...
I would be happy if Edinburgh became the capital of the UK. People in the north of England have more in common with Scotland than London. Nicola Sturgeon is feisty and strong and knows her own mind. She isn't scared to fight her corner and would be a great UK Prime Minister. She couldn't do a worse job than Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Theresa May.
So there are my revelations from England! They definitely do set the cat amongst the pigeons.

Bloody Nationalists

UPDATE: As of 10.11.2016 I shared this article to my Google Plus account and was most surprised to have the hashtag #utterhorseshit attached by someone named Paul Baker. I want to tell him that I would not have believed the above if it hadn't actually happened! And therefore Paul Baker is in #truthdenial.

UPDATE: As of 14.11.2016 yet another English friend has contacted me this time from Somerset stating that as a Remain voter tired of the British Government's insular Brexit anti-foreigner rhetoric he too has come round to Nicola Sturgeon and her positive inclusive vision for Scotland and the UK and would have no problem the next time a Scottish independence vote comes around of being whole heartedly in favour of it. He just wishes he could be part of it with the same values in what would be left of the UK.


Monday, 17 October 2016

W H Auden: The Night Mail, and the related film

This film is a favourite of mine so much so my VHS video recently wore out and it is on my Xmas list to have it replaced. I love the poem too by W H Auden.

Night Mail (poem)
This is the night mail crossing the Border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor, 
The shop at the corner, the girl next door.
Pulling up Beattock, a steady climb:
The gradient's against her, but she's on time.
Past cotton-grass and moorland boulder
Shovelling white steam over her shoulder,
Snorting noisily as she passes
Silent miles of wind-bent grasses.
Birds turn their heads as she approaches,
Stare from bushes at her blank-faced coaches.
Sheep-dogs cannot turn her course;
They slumber on with paws across.
In the farm she passes no one wakes,
But a jug in a bedroom gently shakes.
Dawn freshens, Her climb is done.
Down towards Glasgow she descends,
Towards the steam tugs yelping down a glade of cranes
Towards the fields of apparatus, the furnaces
Set on the dark plain like gigantic chessmen.
All Scotland waits for her:
In dark glens, beside pale-green lochs
Men long for news.
Letters of thanks, letters from banks,
Letters of joy from girl and boy,
Receipted bills and invitations
To inspect new stock or to visit relations,
And applications for situations,
And timid lovers' declarations,
And gossip, gossip from all the nations,
News circumstantial, news financial,
Letters with holiday snaps to enlarge in,
Letters with faces scrawled on the margin,
Letters from uncles, cousins, and aunts,
Letters to Scotland from the South of France,
Letters of condolence to Highlands and Lowlands
Written on paper of every hue,
The pink, the violet, the white and the blue,
The chatty, the catty, the boring, the adoring,
The cold and official and the heart's outpouring,
Clever, stupid, short and long,
The typed and the printed and the spelt all wrong.
Thousands are still asleep,
Dreaming of terrifying monsters
Or of friendly tea beside the band in Cranston's or Crawford's
Asleep in working Glasgow, asleep in well-set Edinburgh,
Asleep in granite Aberdeen,
They continue their dreams,
But shall wake soon and hope for letters,
And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart,
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?

If the above film doesn't work for any reason, it can be found on youtube at the following...

It is taken from the film 'Night Mail' made in 1937. 

If the above film doesn't work for any reason, it can be found at the following...

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Yoga Classes in GLASGOW with Caroline Smart

I love yoga and it has been of considerable assistance with my ME and dispraxia even although I didn't realise I had either when I originally took it up about 15 years. It has made me much more physically flexible, and on the days I manage to do it in my flat it improves concentration, balance and generally makes my day better. 

Yoga Classes in Glasgow by Caroline Smart

Evening classes
I currently teach for Glasgow Life (the leisure centres) in Glasgow:
Tuesday (7.45pm to 8.45pm) at Whitehill Pool (best to book if possible)
Thursday (7.30pm to 8.30pm) at Whitehill Pool (booking necessary as it is a small room)
Friday (6pm to 7 pm) at North Woodside Leisure Centre.

Daytime yoga class
Thursday 
(2.30pm to 3.45pm) Gentle Hatha Yoga (£8 per class)
At In The Moment Centre, 72 Berkeley St, G3 (2nd floor studio).
Class focuses on energising and strengthening the internal organs which are so important for vitality and health. Ideal for older people, overweight people, anyone suffering from ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or digestive disorders such as IBS.The class takes place in a lovely studio with a padded floor and lift access.

Further details regarding Caroline can be found at this website http://www.yogawithcarolinesmart.uk.

Caroline has also co-authored a book with another yoga expert and it won't break the bank. It is available at Amazon on the below link, and all other good booksellers, 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007196845
Collins Gem Yoga, co-authored by Caroline Smart