Tag Archives: Scottish Independence

British Nationalism: Good, Irish Nationalism: Good, Scottish Nationalism: BAD!

Submitted to the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser, 16/01/16

Tweet by Elaine Smith MSP

Tweet by Elaine Smith MSP

Dear Sir,

The name Airdrie is believed to be derived from the Gaelic An Àrd Ruigh, meaning a high pasture. The high ground near Blackhill transmitter is Duntilland, Dun being Gaelic for a fort, and this area would may well have had such a fortification in the vicinity. One only has to look at an Ordnance Survey map to see examples of Gaelic in use across the country: An Teallach, Stob a’Choire Odhair, Meall na Tarmachan; to those who know them they are expressive names which their English language equivalents cannot match. For hillwalkers across Scotland they also provide a constant source of argument as to their pronunciation! The Gaelic language has roots here and while not in common everyday use in Airdrie, is still very much part of our heritage. I was therefore pleased to see the recent commitment by North Lanarkshire Council to recognise Gaelic as a living language and their publication of a five year plan to that end, as well as beginner’s classes in the language. I was less pleased to see Coatbridge Labour MSP Elaine Smith attack the Labour run North Lanarkshire Council when they advertised Gaelic classes with the slogan “Interested in learning Scotland’s native language?” Mrs Smith appeared to take offence at the claim Gaelic was Scotland’s native language. She then responded to criticism of her stance with concerns about NLC funding of this project. This really is beyond belief! Mrs Smith has been a loud and vocal champion of Irish cultural events in Scotland. In March 2012 in an article about the St Patricks day celebrations in Coatbridge it was reported that she had said that “I have called on the Scottish Government to look at ways of assisting cultural festivals such as this to grow and develop.” She has also said that she is “proud of my Irish heritage”, and that “the Irish Catholic vote in Scotland has remained unconvinced of Scottish nationalism.“ Why is it that Irish culture is good and should be funded, but Scottish culture should be sneered at and it’s funding questioned? Why should she try to create a religious divide on the subject? Is it because Mrs Smith is a committed British nationalist, and that a Scotland divided by sectarian and religious lines is less of a threat to the British state than a united one? Similarly, the eradication of one of our native languages by starving it of recognition and funding would be just another tactic in the process of destroying a sense of Scottish national identity and replacing it surreptitiously with a common British identity. That must not be allowed to happen.

Yours Sincerely,

James Cassidy

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Elaine (Not C) Smith MSP, Calmac and Hypocrisy

Letter to the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser, 15th November 2015 (This is an edited version of a fuller letter sent to RMT News, on the same date).

Dear Sir, 

I see that Coatbridge MSP Elaine (Not C) Smith, a vocal cheerleader for Better Together, is now silent as the 2000 jobs which would have been secure running Scotlands tax system are lost to Croydon. She is silent now that Scotland is about to say ta-ta to the last of its steel industry. She is silent on the subject of her party siding with the Tories to deny Scotland the chance to operate it’s own tax credit system, and instead implementing a system where we can use our Westminster pocket money to top up the benefits they are about to cut. She has however not been silent on the alleged privatisation of the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry contract. As people across the country who are not afforded the same airtime as Ms Smith have repeatedly pointed out, this is not privatisation. In fact it’s the same tendering process that the Labour/Lib-Dem Scottish Executive followed when the contract was awarded to Caledonian MacBrayne in 2006. Back then the SNP claimed this was privatisation by the back door, a charge denied by Labour then, yet employed by Labour now they are in opposition. So if we can take that hypocrisy away we are left with the argument as to whether Calmac or Serco should be awarded the contract. From a moral point of view you could say that Serco should be discounted, having as they do a horrendous record across the world in workplace relations. They are involved in almost every sphere of life, from office cleaners to atomic weapons, and at the end of it all the money they generate goes to private shareholders; they have the global financial clout to outbid anyone, anywhere, should they wish to do so. Calmac know that they must put a bid in which is sufficiently within the same ballpark that the Scottish Government can point to aspects of the bid which will compensate for what will undoubtedly be a poorer bid in strictly monetary terms. I hope they are successful in doing so because I feel that at present we are seeing the asset stripping of everything that a future independent Scotland will need and It would be far easier to nationalise a Calmac owned ferry service than a Serco owned one. 

Yours Sincerely, 

James Cassidy,

 

Open Letter To Nicola Sturgeon: The Silence Is Deafening

Freedom of expression: not welcome within the SNP?

Freedom of expression: not welcome within the SNP?

Around this time yesterday I posted An Open Letter To Nicola Sturgeon detailing the campaign of fear and intimidation which my family and I have had to endure for the last 9 months. We are overwhelmed by messages of support, and I’m glad to say that the negative comments have been in the tiny minority. This website had over 11,000 views yesterday, and I’ve had messages from all over the country regarding the events I have written about from strangers and from journalists. The one group who I am disgusted to say have not contacted me in any capacity has been the SNP. This is despite me emailing my concerns directly to Nicola Sturgeon and posting them to her on her Twitter account, which I am assured she operates personally.

To answer a few questions which have cropped up, and which I thought were apparent from my letter:

Have I raised my concerns with the SNP? Yes. I have had no response.

Have I reported the incidents to Police Scotland? Yes.

My letter and my replies are what I am legally allowed to write. I cannot, as some people have asked me to “name and shame” any individual or individuals. I cannot give details of what evidence Police Scotland possess, as this may be used at a future date.

I would hope that anyone looking at my Facebook profile and my letters on this site would agree that I am dedicated to the Yes movement and an independent Scotland, and that I am not a Westminster plant as has been suggested by one fanciful individual. I am saddened that some people who in the run up to the referendum were willing to question everything, now seem unable to question anything that runs counter to their beliefs. Blind faith does none of us any good.

07/04/15 The Scotch Are Coming!

The i 

Dear Sir, 

I am not a regular reader of your, or for that matter any other national print newspaper, so I am unsure if the views expressed on Monday by the likes of Messrs Terry Jowle and Rod Williams are run of the mill viewpoints or not. To me they epitomised some of the swivel-eyed anti-Scottish hatred I have been hearing on television and radio and I would be horrified if these were widely held views. I found Mr Williams comments particularly disturbing. The Scottish electorate, having come through a two year referendum on independence, is far more factually aware than many people south of the border would give credit for, and it would appear far more aware politically than much of the English electorate as well. We know fine well that with the vast majority of the electorate in England vote Conservative, Britain will have a Conservative government. Likewise if the vast majority of England votes Labour we will have a Labour government. The Scottish vote has seldom changed the balance (once in the last 69 years if I recall correctly) and in the past when Scotland has continually voted Labour many Scots felt they had made a difference when Labour had won, when in reality their vote made no real difference. They were simply in step with the English electorate. This year is no different. We will still get the government England votes for. That some people seem to believe that a handful of Scottish constituencies will bring England to its knees and drag it off to the left is fanciful in the extreme, and indeed in Mr Williams case verges on the panic inducing. All that was missing from his letter was the references to rivers of blood. As a Scot, I find it highly ironic that some English voters are now up in arms at the thought of MP s from another country possibly holding sway over theirs. That has been the situation here in Scotland for over 300 years. Not nice, is it?

Yours Sincerely, 

James Cassidy

Post Referendum Letters: 28/11/14 (Advertiser)

An edited version of this appeared in the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser

Dear Sir, 

It seems that this will be my last letter to the advertiser on the subject of Scottish independence. Yesterday I sat outside the Scottish Parliament and watched the great and the good troop inside, where they announced that the Vow had been delivered, with Michael Moore MP describing it as “Home Rule for Scotland”. With home rule recommended by the Smith Commission I have nothing left to campaign for.

It’s a great pity that newspapers don’t include smiley’s on the letters page, as that first paragraph would have been accompanied by a sarcastic one. A really big one. 

Home rule? It’s far from it. The list of reserved powers is substantial. The minimum wage, VAT, fuel duty, equality, pensions, child benefits, foreign policy, weapons of mass destruction, the list goes on and on. We were promised “Near Federalism” and “Devo-Max”. We have been palmed off with ‘Devo Hee-Haw’ and it has to be remembered that these are just proposals. They still have to go in front of our Imperial Masters in London where they will no doubt be picked apart and further reduced.

After all the noise coming from Jim Murphy as he flip-flopped on the subject of tax, the reality was disappointing to say the least: 70% of taxes and 85% of welfare spending remains under London’s control. Oh, and the Scottish Government will be allowed to bid for (not renationalise) the rail franchise in Scotland. Given that it isn’t allowed to raise extra money and everything it does raise will simply reduce the block grant of our own money that we get back anyway, I’m mystified as to how it could get the funding for this without stripping it from elsewhere.  

The simple fact is we have been offered a few token changes to meet the so called Vow, which according to a Freedom of Information request made recently, the UK Cabinet Office has no record of. It would seem that with nae power comes great responsibility. We can gather in and distribute money on behalf of London and pretend it is power. But how can we do anything about poverty when we cannot even set a minimum wage? The simple answer is we cannot. We can tinker with the edges, fiddle here and there but the power to change anything in real, meaningful terms is not available to us. Former leader of the Labour Party  (Scotland branch) Iain Grey said that “any politician seeing these powers coming to them should be excited about the possibilities…” I’d suggest that if that’s what excites him he should perhaps call it a day, like many other Labour high-heidyins.  

On the upside, the Smith Commission has recommended that we are given control over road signs. Unsurprisingly I’d like them to be tartan… 

Yours Sincerely 

Jim Cassidy

The Referendum Letters: 26/07/14 (To Pamela Nash MP)

To: Pamela Nash MP

Dear Ms Nash, 

I am contacting you to seek clarification of a number of issues which have been raised at various points over the course of the referendum debate. As a constituent of yours I have many, many concerns to do with Scotland’s future. Some of these I have raised before on your website, however none of these had any response and I now see that your website is closed to all comment, so I will raise them here by email. You have campaigned regularly for the Better Together campaign, so I am sure that you will be able to fully answer my concerns. 

1. Does Scotland – including its oil revenues, of course – contribute a larger share of the UK’s income than the share of UK spending it gets? (And I mean the SHARE, not the AMOUNT – debt which has to be paid back doesn’t count as “spending”.) 

2. Regardless of whether YOU think it would be a good idea or not, is it true to say that an independent Scotland could continue to use Sterling as its currency if it chose, no matter what happened? 

3. Your campaign keeps saying that independence would make our family and friends in the rest of the UK “foreigners”. Even if we accept that’s true, what’s wrong with foreigners?  

4. In your view, would the rUK really build and patrol a 100-mile long physical barrier of some sort across the border if an independent Scotland had a different immigration policy? (Because obviously road checkpoints alone couldn’t stop illegal immigrants, who’d simply cross on foot.) And if so, what would you estimate as the construction, manning and maintenance costs of such a barrier? 

5. The McCrone Report was kept from the Scottish public by successive Labour and Conservative governments for 30 years to prevent them knowing how rich Scotland would be if it were independent. Are you aware of any similar documents relevant to the independence debate which are currently designated secret? 

6. If I vote No in September, can you guarantee that in five years’ time Scotland will still be in the EU? 

7. If I vote No, can you guarantee that in 10 years’ time Scotland will still have a fully publicly-funded NHS? 

8. If I vote No, can you guarantee that the “Barnett Formula” used to calculate the Scottish Government block grant will still be in force by 2020 and set at the same proportions? 

9. What will be the approximate set-up/annual costs of the tax-collecting bureaucracy your party plans to implement in the event of a No vote? 

10. In the event of a Yes vote, will the UK government have an obligation to pay the pensions of everyone in Scotland who has ALREADY qualified for the UK state pension, as would be the case if current pensioners emigrated to (say) Spain or France or Australia? I’m not interested in the Scottish Government’s position on the matter, I want to know what the UK government’s responsibilities are. 

11. In your opinion, is Scotland a country or a region? If it is a country, why should it not have the rights and responsibilities of any other sovereign country? 

I look forward to your replies, 

Regards, 

James Cassidy

 

No response was ever received…

The Referendum Letters: 13/06/14

Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser

Dear Sir, 

Alistair Darlings Nazi smear attempt on Yes voters everywhere could almost be described as gutter politics, were it not for the fact that Better Together sank far below that level a long time ago. Sewer politics would be more apt. Reporting of his outburst may have gained a bit more traction had it not come in a good week to bury bad news, with the mainstream media focusing on Lallygate, when the BBC and the unionist media went into overdrive about the actions of some Yes supporters individuals comments. I have to ask myself if the world has gone stark, raving mad. Some keyboard warriors said some pretty despicable things, however we are talking about individual views here, not the views of Yes Scotland. Compare that with Alistair Darling’s leaked conversation where he states that the Scottish Independence movement is not based on civic nationalism, but he agrees with his interviewer that it is “Blood and Soil” nationalism, a phrase used by the Nazi party to describe their racially pure, aryan vision of Germany. Hardly applicable to the nationalism we have in Scotland. If you live here, you have a vote, regardless of race or ethnic origin. Mr Darling is not alone in his Nazi jibes though. Elaine Smith MSP has regularly thrown Nazi references in to her columns and letters, referring to fanatical nationalism and the lessons of history. In one of the worst quotes of all, in September 2013 the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland, Johan Lamont described nationalism as “a virus”, the very same term Hitler used to describe the Jews. Can these people sink any lower? To liken your political foes as to nothing more than a virus which must be wiped out is abhorrent, yet this is not the lone nutter in the bedroom speaking. This is the leader of Scottish Labour! If it’s not the Yes supporters themselves they are attacking its Alex Salmond. Each week I call full house on Better Together’s “Alex Salmond Dictator Bingo”. Mussolini, check. Hitler, check. Stalin, check. Kim Jung Un, bingo! Talk about playing the man, not the ball! Alex Salmond may be dead and buried in 10 years time, yet the unionists make out that a vote for independence is a vote for a Scotland ruled by him in perpetuity. What we have from Better Together is a top down campaign of hatred and bile. On September 18th, the people of Scotland will, for one day, have the power to decide the future of Scotland. Some of us will be able to look ourselves in the mirror afterwards and be proud of our actions. I do not think the Better Together leadership will fall into that category. 

Yours Sincerely,

James Cassidy