Monthly Archives: September 2015

Why Scotland Needs Trident

Letter to The National, 30/09/15

Dear Sir,

Having been a long time opponent of Trident, I have now come around to the view that rather than ditching Trident, Scotland must instead have its own independent nuclear deterrent. I had a discussion with a pro-Trident unionist recently and I thought I had made a good case, pointing out that as an independent country within NATO and the EU we were unlikely to have any fears of invasion. “But what about Ukraine?” he cried. I pointed out that the situation in Ukraine was completely different and could not be used as a comparison to Scotland: “It’s not as if we have a nuclear armed country bordering us which has hankerings for its former days in control of a vast empire, which would like to take over our resources and which is led by a man who thumbs his nose at international law” I said. It was of course at this point that I realised the complete folly of my argument, and see that of all the countries in the world that need nuclear protection, an independent Scotland would be top of the list.

Yours Sincerely, 

James Cassidy

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Hope Over Smear?

Sunday Herald, 20th September 2015

Sunday Herald, 20th September 2015

Submitted to The Sunday Herald, 230915

Dear Sir,

To say I was disappointed in The Sunday Herald’s coverage of pro-independence rally Hope over Fear last week is something of an understatement. On the face of it, it would appear that the Sunday Herald has taken a strop at being denied access to the free tea and biscuits and have thrown a hissy fit. I had a peek at the backstage area and it was pretty small, not a great deal of room at all. The press were all invited onstage around lunchtime so they could get a crowd shot, then they had the run of the square to speak to people there. Sadly the Sunday Herald took to social media with claims of being banned from the event, yet other national and international media were wandering around unfettered. My recollection of your previous Hope over Fear coverage has been that it has been fairly negative: playing down the crowd numbers, suggestions of backstage shenanigans, an obligatory mention of Tommy’s colourful past, with a side helping of vitriol courtesy of Rosie Kane. It’s no surprise then that there was no red carpet laid out, but a ban? Nonsense! What could and indeed should have been positive coverage of thousands of independence supporters from all ages and backgrounds gathering to show that they are as committed to Yes now as they were a year ago instead became a negative hatchet job aimed at Mr Sheridan. The coverage contained no photos, as photos would have put paid to the assertations that there were only 1500 attending and that the Herald was denied access to the event. Anyone who was there knows that at its busiest there were around four to five thousand in the Square, yet the Herald choose to run with the BBC figure of 1500. You have to be desperate to quote the BBC as source material, as they probably get their figures from Labour’s Chief Statistician Kezia Dugdale, whose maths skills leave a lot to be desired.

In a wider context it is also disappointing that Yes Scotland has not continued in some form or other, as there are clearly thousands of people out there looking for collective outlets to express their desire for independence. Having built networks and friendships there is a desire to keep the momentum of street activism going, and this is not being met by the SNP, indeed it cannot be left to the SNP. Yes drew support from across a wide spectrum and requires a focus point, which at present Hope Over Fear is providing. Few of the people I have spoken to at these events intend to vote for Tommy Sheridan but they are grateful for his efforts in providing a chance to gather and to celebrate the positive energy of the Yes campaign.

Perhaps this latest vindictive attack says more about the SNP’s fears about losing second votes to Solidarity in 2016, but this dig was badly judged and will no doubt leave a sour taste in the mouth of many of us who have returned to buying print journalism after boycotting an openly biased unionist press. The Sunday Herald is living well at the moment on succulent lamb, and pet journalists who dance specifically to an SNP tune are as worrying to me as having a unionist biased media lined up against us, as without a fair and critical eye the SNP will be drawn into the bad practices that Labour were, and in the long run that can only damage the fight for independence.

Yours,

James Cassidy

Do Not Feed The Trolls

Letter To The National, 21/09/15

Dear Sir,

I read Keith Howell’s letter in Mondays National where he said that while there appeared to be a “positive and hopeful spirit amongst your readership”, that as a No voter no-one was making any attempt to change his mind. Mr Howells prodigious letter writing has not gone unnoticed . He regularly points out his perceived evils of Scottish nationalism to newspapers across Scotland and the globe: he took out a full page advert in the Metro newspaper last year against Scottish independence, he runs a hardline unionist website, yet describes himself as a “moderate provocateur”. I feel that I would not be wrong in saying that rocks would melt under the sun before he found a positive case for Scottish nationalism, and that The National would in future be better using the room wasted on his words, which are at all times against the very cause which brought this paper into being, to continue to print the positive case Mr Howell claims he seeks. Mr Howells actions in writing to the National are the same as those people who seek out online pro-independence discussions to disrupt them, in modern parlance ‘trolling’. The National should remember the number one rule in this sphere: do not feed the trolls.

Yours,

James Cassidy

 

The Language of Negativity

The National (Published 09/09/15)

Dear Sir,
I was disappointed to see the National (Tuesday 8th September) refer to supporters of Catalan independence as “separatists”. Given how the unionist media have used this word in the past to create a comparison with armed groups in unstable countries I’d have thought the National would have been more sensitive to its negative connotations. Could we perhaps see pro-independence movements in other countries referred to in a more positive light in future?
Yours Sincerely,
James Cassidy

The People’s Protests Against the BBC

Letter to The National, 16/09/15 (unpublished)

Dear Sir,  

Michael Gray in his column on Tuesday said that the protests against the BBC’s political coverage were a “significant, if not especially glorious moment in Scottish history.” I’m sure that many Scots would disagree with that assessment, and would argue that it pointed to, if anything, a significant and not especially glorious moment in the BBC’s history. The reasons for the protest were twofold. One was the by then clear exposure of the bias being displayed by the media in general and the BBC in particular: the study by Professor John Robertson was instrumental in putting meat on the bones of that particular argument, making the BBC’s denials all the more galling. The second reason for the protest was that the people were forced into saying what senior figures in the Yes campaign wouldn’t: that there was open bias by the BBC. Who of us can forget John Swinney being asked repeatedly whether there was bias in the BBC, and his flat refusal to say what was blindingly obvious and obviously true? Professional politicians’ unwillingness to back the people for fear of offending an already biased media was, for me at least, one of the most infuriating aspects of the Yes campaign.

The BBC protests were carried out peacefully and within the law, and called only for fairness in BBC reporting. Unfortunately the reasons for the protests remain as valid now as they were then, with no sign of the BBC having mended its ways, and if our Yes supporting politicians and talking heads fail to speak up on the subject, then it will again be left to the people of Scotland to speak up for themselves. 

Yours Sincerely, 

James Cassidy

 

Injocktrination

Letter to the Edinburgh Evening News 14/09/15 (unpublished)

Dear Sir,  

While in Edinburgh on Sunday I watched the around 250 horses and riders take part in the Riding of the Marches which proceeded up the Royal Mile to the Mercat Cross, where a ceremonial handing over of the city’s colours took place. It was all very impressive, and if I understood it correctly from the commentary I heard, this dated back to the Battle of Flodden in the 1500’s and represents the good folk of the city ensuring that the boundaries were secure from English incursion. I was more than a little dismayed to see that in our capital city there was no Saltire flown among the colours displayed, yet a large union flag appeared front and centre, surrounded by a phalanx of what appeared to be English Redcoats who at one point shouted “Hurrah for King George!” This is probably the most historically confusing spectacle I have seen since a short Australian man played a tall Scottish warrior in Braveheart! On looking at footage of previous years events online I couldn’t fail to notice that the union flag was absent, and it is only in this post referendum year that it has made an appearance. Edinburgh is disappointingly the capital city that voted No to its own country’s independence, so it’s perhaps unsurprising to see these furtive attempts at ‘injocktrination’ in action. As our capital city it should be in the vanguard of promoting our nation, rather than surreptitiously undermining it from within. 

Yours Sincerely, 

James Cassidy

 

Complicity

Complicity: the fact or condition of being involved with others in an activity that is unlawful or morally wrong.

If someone becomes aware of unsavoury activities within an organisation which they have responsibility for and does nothing to prevent those activities, are they as complicit as those actually carrying out those actions?

I’ve had no response from the SNP since my letter to Patrick Grady, where he replied to my Open Letter To Nicola Sturgeon. His acknowledgement of my concerns may be written off by some, but it is an acknowledgement nevertheless. They are aware.

If they were aware of the concerns of current and ex SNP members in North Lanarkshire and did nothing then they may as well have participated in the culture of bullying and intimidation themselves.

On Monday 14th September 2015 Nicola Sturgeon and her Cabinet will be in Coatbridge for a meeting with members of the public to discuss current and local issues. I have every expectation that the venue will be packed out with the happy clappers and true believers, who will see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil of the SNP, and will loudly shout down anyone who tries to go off message. I was unable to obtain a ticket, but I hope that someone will be there to ask those difficult questions which need answering: what are you going to do about the SNP in North Lanarkshire?

http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ministers-touring-scotland-coatbridge-tickets-18308455082

I’m hearing rumours that the Coatbridge SNP group is massively split with the Convenor and Treasurer retaining their posts on a technicality after losing a vote of no confidence, and the press being slipped potentially information about members, apparently not by Labour, but from within the SNP itself:

http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/referendumnews/13620777.SNP_members_demand_inquiry_into_MSP_Richard_Lyle/#comments

http://aidankerr.com/2015/01/07/the-plot-thickens-first-swords-drawn-in-scottish-ge2015/

 

Sunday Herald. 9th August 2015

Sunday Herald. 9th August 2015

Turning a blind eye is no longer an option for the high-heidyins in Edinburgh. Acknowledgement of complaints is an admittance of an awareness  of the situation. The question now is, how long shall they keep up the pretence that everything is fine and dandy. I’m hoping for Monday at the latest. To come to the heart of darkness and say nothing would be just another act of complicity: to allow anyone who tries to raise concens to be shouted down is even more so.