Journeys to Yes, 11, 12, & 13

While I was away a few more of Phantom Power’s excellent videos in his Journey to Yes series have been released.  Help to make some more of these videos which are a wonderful campaigning tool to persuade wavering voters to come to yes – contribute here https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/journey-to-yes-film#/

Number 11 – Kathi

Kathi left East Germany when the wall fell to study in Scotland . She now works as a language teacher and lives with her British family in the Scottish Borders. Kathi and her family are just one of many who now face the agonising wait to see what their post-Brexit future in Scotland will be. Kathi discusses ideas of nationalism and her experience of Scotland as an open and international country where anyone can be Scottish if they choose. . After voting No in the first independence referendum, Brexit proved to be the catalyst for Kathi to find out more about the viability of an independent Scotland. Kathi began to distrust her traditional news choices in favour of The National and new media Wings Over Scotland and Bella Caledonia. Kathi has reached the view that Scotland can be a successful country and needs to go in its own direction unhampered by Westminster. Kathi has become increasingly active politically and now runs the twitter operation of Germans for Independence at Germans for ScotRef . In a short time Kathi has built a strong online community of Germans, Europeans and Internationals who have embraced the idea of self-determination for Scotland. EU Nationals’ voice may prove vital in the next referendum. After a year since the Brexit vote, the UK Govt and Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Tories have provided no guarantees for EU Nationals and the attempt to move the next referendum beyond the EU exit date will deny the voices of 160,000 of our EU friends.
NB The Berlin Wall fell in 1989.

Number 12 – Sophie

Sophie Grace-Chappell is a highly regarded Professor of Philosophy at The Open University and lives in Dundee. Professor Grace-Chappell is transgender and has a particular interest in how power structures impact the society we live in. The idea of internationalism, tolerance and a more caring society is fundamental to her philosophy. The promise of a federal UK through which Scotland’s democratic defecit would be addressed encouraged Professor Grace-Chappell to vote No. The series of democratic betrayals since 2014 and outcome of the Brexit vote gradually convinced Sophie that independence is now the correct moral action for Scotland. Professor Grace-Chappell also discusses the rise of the Tory right-wing authoritarian government and disturbing implications for the LGBT community. A safer and better future awaits if Scotland chooses a different path.

New Scottish Media recommended by Sophie Grace-Chappell
Wings Over Scotland https://wingsoverscotland.com/
Wee Ginger Dug https://weegingerdug.wordpress.com/
Craig Murray https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

Sophie Grace-Chappell on Brexit
https://www.scribd.com/document/34901…
Sophie Grace-Chappell on becoming Transgender
https://www.scribd.com/document/34901…

Article on Trans Parenting recommended by Sophie Grace-Chappell
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2…

Scottish LGBT Organisations
Terrance Higgins Trust http://www.tht.org.uk/
Stonewall Scotland http://www.stonewallscotland.org.uk/
Parents Enquiry Scotlandhttp://www.parentsenquiryscotland.org/
LGBT Youth Scotland http://www.lgbtyouth.org.uk/
LGBT History Month Scotland http://www.lgbthistory.org.uk/
LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing http://www.lgbthealth.org.uk/
Glasgow LGBT Centre http://www.glgbt.org.uk/
Fair For All – LGBT http://www.lgbthealthscotland.org.uk/
Equality Network http://www.equality-network.org/
Diversitay LGBT Group http://www.diversitay.org.uk/

Number 13 – James

James is a pensioner and former paratrooper who lives in Old Meldrum, Aberdeenshire. James voted No to independence and leave in the EU referendum but has completely changed his views on both. James discusses his disillusion with the UK Govt and their inept handling of constitutional issues, a famous relation and deeply unimpressive Scottish Tories and Labour.

G.Y.V.O.

A guest post by Samuel Miller

In the posts of the past week or so I’ve written a goodly amount on concerns over a Conservative ideology dominated future. I’ve provided a fair few links on not just current examples of policies to date, but on policy pledges which should provide the reader with a real concern as to the direction of future UK government, our democracy and our society.

Thing is, are we beyond caring now? Are we beyond acting on those concerns? Have the political class and the media won? Have they dumbed down, brow beaten and manipulated the populations of the UK to the point where we no longer worry over what kind of country we want to live in?

Watching the goggle box, listening to radio, or reading a paper, the sheer saturation of mainstream political narrative is immense. There is a real danger of people switching off to the world around around them. There is a danger that they’ve become so fatigued with a seemingly never ending stream of political carpet bombing of their senses, that its gone beyond white noise. People simply want it to stop without knowing how to make it stop. Or rather, that they feel powerless to make it stop. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth.

If you’re not being faced with the laughably, (yet creepily controlled), robotic and stage managed appearances of Prime Minister May, then in the northern province you’re faced with the manic, pointy, shouty mini me of Ruth Davidson attempting to hide the fact that she’s a Conservative. An angry persona who, with not another single policy or initiative to her name, has dined out well on STOP THE ESSENPEE! No answers. No suggestions. No alternative policy. No real reasoning behind why they may require stopping. Just STOP something or other and a whole lot of anger management issues.

That’s the thing though, isn’t it? It’s stage managed, choreographed, monotonous, loud and repetetive. A vertiable deluge of substance free blandness which, as everyone should be aware, is always a great way of hiding evil and unpleasant deeds in plain sight. Make no mistake, the omnishambles that is austerity UK, Brexit Britain was created by successive UK governments. Their handling of politics as it is practised, ‘the day job’, ALL of it. No one did this to the UK. A big boy didn’t do it and run away. The buck stops with the government and the system of government. The same people who want your vote right now are the people who placed all our futures and freedoms in jeopardy in the first place. They did it and not for you, but for themselves. For good old fashioned self interest. (Readers should be made aware that the ‘day job’ in Scotland differs in that our government is required to mitigate and offset the legislative bumtrumpetry of central governmenent.)

It occurs to me that seemingly the only time people get the heads up that the unthinkable has actually happened, is when it strolls right into their living room and slaps them in the face. Y’know, when people have lost their job because no one fought for their rights, or those rights no longer exist. When the benefits and services they’ve paid for their entire working lives aren’t there when they are needed most. When their pension and fuel allowances are pilfered or slashed. When their next door neighbour and friend of many years is deported for not dotting an ‘i’ or crossing a ‘t’, or simply for being furren. When their right to complain is crushed and their voice is taken away. When they are considered ‘extremists’ for even daring to complain.

It’s only when you discover what being out of a job and having your income slashed means in austerity UK really. It means relying on the charity of others. A charity and empathy that is slowly being choked out of our society by the likes of May, Davidson and all their Tory kindred. Oh, and after their atrocious actions of recent years, Labour and the Libdems don’t entirely come out of the wash sparkly clean either. They did their bit in both creating and supporting this appalling travesty.

It means that YOU will rely on the charity of people who care. All you need do is hope beyond hope there are enough people left who do.

Or, you can put a stop to it now. Stop it NOW before it comes to this for you and yours.

You have and always have had the power to make it stop. THIS is the reason for the blanket repetetive narrative. This is the reason they want you to stop thinking. Stop asking questions and stop complaining. They’re terrified that if you are fully and properly engaged, you’ll do some something radical and vote their arses out of office and out of your lives. They’re terrified of your anger, your engagement, your questions and your judgement on their actions.

They’re terrified of you.

Put aside the soundbite. Look past the vacuous, metro bubble bullshit streamed into your living room. Bin the horrific, empathy free headlines of a hopelessly politically compromised press and look around you at your family and communities. Look at their lives, consider their future and imagine how much worse it could be if Scotland’s newly discovered voice were either extinguished or never present. Imagine if the right to choose were denied you altogether. Imagine handing the political establishment of Westminster a blank cheque on your future.

A simple request.

Get Your Vote Out!

Show Tories of all shades that you’re better than a soundbite or a stage managed photo op with a buffalo. Show them that you deserve, that you have earned, better than austerity UK or a soulless, intolerant Brexit Britain. Show them what the right to choose truly means and choose a different path.

Today will be my last post before our host returns folks. I’d like to thank the readership for bearing with me for the past week or so and for contributing as enthusiastically as ever in comments.

See you below the line.

Survival of the fittest

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Apparently the UK faces ‘challenges’ according to the Conservative manifesto released on Thursday.

‘Challenges’

That’s one word for it I suppose. There are of course others, but none the weans could read before the watershed.

Brexit Britain, austerity ideology, UK populations and society in general fractured along so many fault lines. A society so divided that all the kings horses and all the kings men… Well, I’m sure we know how the nursery rhyme ends.

How did it come to this you might ask? Two reasons near as I can tell. Firstly, the buck stops with our politics and its relationship with the media and corporate world. Y’know, good old fashioned greed and self interest. The naked manipulation of the populations of the UK and the division of their demographics for political and financial advantage. Exploiting and expanding small differences into the chasms which divide and where none exist? Create them.

Out of the 30 OECD countries the UK has the 7th most unequal distribution of wealth and has the honour of having the 4th most unequal in Europe. With the fifth largest economy in the world (as Treeza and co. keep reminding us), that should tell you all you need to know about our system of government and what its priorities are. Its not and never has been the governance and care of the populations of the UK. I’d say it more resembled an asset management exercise and some of those assets, those that aren’t strong, fit or prosperous enough of course, would be expendable assets. Survival of the fittest by any measure.

The second reason we are where we are? That would be the fault of the electorate. You get who you vote for. You get the society you contribute to – or don’t, as the case may be. For generations the populations of the UK bought into the big lie of our governance, that it gave a shit, could be trusted, was just the way it was meant to be. We allowed ourselves to be reduced to ‘ists’, ‘isms’ and labels (Makes that whole dividing thing so much easier). We allowed our system of government to take our best and brightest, make over their idealism and turn them into ‘weel kent’ faces we would vote for, perpetuating the cycle of legislative abuse. Worse, we allowed them to tell us who to trust, who to vote for, who to alienate and who to hate. The pen proving itself every bit as destructive and effective as the sword over a great many years.

The voting electorate let it get this bad and they allowed the fox to convince them it was a good idea to leave him in charge of the hen house. The majority allowed themselves to be convinced they were powerless to change the way things were.

Most readers will have had a few days to absorb extensive commentary on the contents of the Conservative manifesto by this point. In times of plenty, with a stable body politic and a more or less stable wider society, such a manifesto would unsurprisingly be binned out of hand. A party attempting to sell the public on the concept of emergency measures which would effectively grant them the divine right of kings would not only set off warning klaxons of extremism, they’d also be quite rightly ‘labelled’ themselves as dangerously unhinged.

Today though? With a massively dominant right wing Conservative government and societal narrative. The willing support of an equally massively dominant right wing media to sell their narrative. Oh, and let’s not forget the nature of the democratic deficit inherent in the political make up of the United Kingdom, it’s not only possible the Conservatives can pull this off, it seems entirely probable.

The Conservatives dominate current UK politics on 36.9% of the vote. They seek a mandate to extend austerity measures, stifle democracy and silence dissenting voices (see under internet policy). If they should extend their vote share and representative presence in Commons, does anyone really doubt what their idea of ‘strong and stable’ means in reality by this point?

This is the government that turned sanctioning and benefit cutting across the board into a national sport and has been found to be in violation of human rights for same by the United Nations. This is the government that removed motability vehicles and personal independence for thousands of disabled citizens. This is the government which has seen wealth disparity and food bank culture grow exponentially for every year it has been in office. We have people starving on the streets of a 21st century United Kingdom. We live in a state where government policy has been cited as being linked to an increase in mortality rates. The world’s 5th largest economy remember? Pretty certain readers can and WILL add a lot more to this list.

This government wants your permission to extend its own powers. THIS government.THIS system of politics.

In Scotland, we have only very rarely had any influence over who will eventually take office behind the door of number 10. We will never have enough MPs in Commons to form a partnership of equals. Simple arithmetic dictates this stark fact. What the majority in Commons decides, Scotland historically and meekly accepted. Brexit and the nature of Brexit being a perfect example of the UK’s and Westminster’s democratic deficit.

Today though, we have an opportunity and one we created for ourselves. We can decide who we wish to represent and defend our interests as a nation. We can decide who best represents and reflects our body politic. We can decide when enough is enough. We can choose to take a different path. We can refuse to be labelled, reduced to ‘ists’ and ‘isms’. We can decide what kind of country we want to live in and we can instruct our representatives to act accordingly.

We can choose who we want to be and how we wish to be viewed by others in the world. We are potentially two votes away from having the government we vote for at every time of asking.

Most people after the past few years are probably sick to the back teeth of politics. Understandable to say the least. But if we don’t fix a patently broken and societally destructive system, then who will? If we don’t do it now, whilst it is still possible, then when? Decision time is almost upon us. What kind of country do you want to live in and what legacy do you want to leave for future generations?

Two votes.