Growing Older I am now retired some three years, although thanks to COVID I have been restricted in my original plans, which involved a lot of travelling.I am now having three weeks in Greece and experimented for a week without a car. It taught me that my legs, which once carried me all the wayContinue reading "GROWING OLDER"
I am now retired some three years, although thanks to COVID I have been restricted in my original plans, which involved a lot of travelling.I am now having three weeks in Greece and experimented for a week without a car. It taught me that my legs, which once carried me all the way from Gartcosh to London back in 1986 are not what they once were. Time, rather than my legs, is marching on!
One of the great benefits of retirement is the lack of restrictions in time to think through matters more clearly and deeply. I find the issues that motivate me today are different to what motivated me the most in the previous decades, but there are still some issues that are sadly the same. Owning my own businesses for most of my life ensured economics and business policy were a dominant feature of my thoughts. Growing up in Clydebank and the Govan By Election in particular taught me the desperate poverty many Scots were living in. In many cases quite squalid, unhealthy housing, unemployment.
Politics obviously was always important. I have reached the point where increasingly my friends are reaching to the end of their journey on this earth, like Bruce McFee only this week, and I celebrate the thought, that unlike countless others who devoted much of their lives to furthering the prospect of Scottish Independence, and who saw little or no progress in their lifetimes, at least my generation can point to the creation of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood and say that our efforts contributed to that. We made a difference. We made sure Scotland moved forward. We secured real progress. So what happens in Holyrood really matters a great deal to me.
The pride that I feel in that achievement is immense. It is not enough, of course it is not, but for many years it has provided the platform to move our cause forward at every turn. It was used skillfully in the past, key issues in the life of our people were confronted head on, and solutions and improvements found. Free personal care, free education, free prescriptions, new bridges, a new train line in the borders, the Aberdeen By Pass, yes even free baby boxes for every new child in our country. Our Parliament had drive, our Parliament had spirit and the people loved it. I care about what happens at Holyrood. I want to see it successful, a driving force for good.
There is still however so much more to do. As Eva Comrie laid out in her hugely effective and emotive speech to the Alba Party Conference we have not tackled child poverty as we should. It disgraces every politician in Scotland that around one in five children go to bed hungry each night, in many cases not knowing whether there will be a proper meal the next day. We should not forget either that there will be parents facing the same problems. Where working out whether they can find a pair of second hand shoes or clothing to fit their young son or daughter and whether they can afford to buy them, even at those basement prices. A bigger disgrace is that Westminster plan to take £20 a week from that family and leave them facing penury and starvation. THIS IN ONE OF THE RICHEST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD!
It is a disgrace that since 2014, the Parliament has lacked any guile or strategic deployment to advance the independence case. There is a reason for this.
I want to turn now to the biggest disgrace of them all. The Scottish National Party. The Party that sees no urgency in forcing Scottish Independence. The Party that keeps mandate after mandate in a cupboard, trophies that got them elected and safeguarded their big salaries and positions for a few more years but lie UNUSED as far as the Scottish people are concerned. The Party with the Education Secretary who used to be at social security and turned down the offered powers to administer the system here in Scotland, sending that power back to the Tories in London. It’s not promotion she deserved it should have been tar and feathers! The Education Secretary pushing a new sex education programme to kids in school promoting gender self identification and instructing teachers not to inform the parents when Johnny aged four wants to often become Jilly or Vice Versa.
We have Humza Useless who has left a trail of problems at transport and justice promoted to Health Secretary. This is necessary because the First Minister, urged on by Angus Robertson managed to block talented MP’s like Joanna Cherry and Philippa Whitford from switching from London to Edinburgh. The reason for this was twofold, first Angus did not want Joanna blocking his plans to contest the Edinburgh Central seat which he had planned his paws on and secondly the hopelessly insecure First Minister was desperate to stop potential members of this calibre appearing at Holyrood. So those reasons are why Humza Useless and Shirley Anne Somerville are still in the cabinet. Oh and they are Nicola’s pals, must not forget that. They also belong to the dominant nodding dog faction.
Why do I mention all that, am I not going a bit off topic here? Well no because the drive that drove our case forward, the good innovative Government that won us widespread respect and support for high quality government has disappeared. Problems are piling up, particularly in education and I have zero faith that a new Stonewall inspired sex education programme is going to fix it, particularly with SAS in the driving seat. Likewise a policy and legislative programme dominanted by the Hate Crime and GRA Legislation is going to see the Government and SNP plummet in public support. If it was only happening to the SNP it would be of little concern. Justified in fact, but the great danger is it will adversely affect our case for Independence….and that would be unforgivable.
From the 1980’s in Govan, alongside my good friend and colleague Jim Sillars we have been campaigning to end poverty, for decent jobs and good housing. These were and still are the driving focus of our politics today, that is why we need Independence urgently. We must take the people of Scotland with us.That means it is those issues, not Hate Crime, Self ID and GRA that must be at the forefront of the Independence battle. The middle class SNP elected politicians have become far too comfortable with the trappings of being the colonial administration. Happy to tinker with their social engineering project while poverty still runs wild across our nation. At the end of this month unemployment will start to climb as furlough comes to an end but still urgency to move forward, to look at alternatives, is completely absent.
We need new tactics, we need to confront Scots with the truth, that Scotland is being run as a colony and pointing out how that colonial status is organised to our detriment in every area of our lives. It is this process, just the exact same as happened in India where Westminster extracted £50 trillion of wealth while presenting the Indians figures that displayed they were in deficit every year, that enables the ongoing theft of our assets, the then squandering of those billions on projects that benefit the people of Scotland not one iota. Those dodgy accountants are still at work many decades later, unchallenged by an ineffective colonial administration in Scotland who prefer to look the other way than confront the colonial power.
It is simply not good enough. At least that is what this old punter thinks. Alba needs to be different. It needs to talk and discuss the harsh realities. Now, with a fresh sheet of paper, is our chance. We must not be found wanting.
I am, as always
Yours for Scotland.
BEAT THE CENSORS
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I am still on holiday and the above article is the one I promised would appear each week.