So after the release of the independence white paper it appears the gloves are off. From ministers dismissing it before they could have read it, nitpicking over the detail or demanding why particular questions are not answered the No camp have pulled out all the stops except producing any document of their own.
I started off with an open mind, willing to be swayed either way, but nothing, nothing has moved me a single millimetre towards No from their campaign. The Yes camp have repeatedly released information or debated in a mature enough fashion so solidify my intention to vote Yes. I can certainly see myself being persuaded to spoil ballot between now and September but can see nothing so far to compel me to vote No.
To briefly explain why let’s take a look at the stooshie over EU membership. The No camp position is that on independence Scotland would be ejected from the EU and have to reapply for membership, taking around 9 years. The Yes camp position is that Scotland would stay within the EU and negotiate membership terms between referendum day and independence day.
So what are some of the factors to influence which camp you believe?
- Ruth Davidson yesterday in Holyrood said
if a country becomes independent it is a new stateand that
if there is a new state, of course, that state has to apply for membership and negotiate the conditions with other member states.. Of course, she should then support that happenning, as clearly the remaining UK would then also be a new state and need to apply for membership too. As it was pointed out to her, the Conservatives want to leave the EU. So not only does her argument apply to the UK too if true, but she is clearly being disingenuous in her statement.
- The Spanish Prime Minister has stated Scotland will have to apply for membership from outside the EU, no mention at all about Catalonia whilst discussing the
regionof Scotland. No hidden message there at all. The Prime Minister of a country, currently saber rattling with Westminster over the sovereignty of Gibralter supports the Better Together position on sovereignty .
- Every person in Scotland currently eligible to have a British Passport is also an EU citizen. Duel citizenship is pretty guaranteed to apply to anyone who wants a Scottish passport the day after independence. Is it really credible that you can have a country where the vast majority of residents are also EU citizens where the EU will not want that country to be a member state?
- The only conceivable way that Scotland would be refused entry to the EU are if the following are true. Scottish government makes bonkers demands when negotiating to join, it’s far more likely it will give more than take given how much they want to ensure membership. the remaining UK/Spain/other countries facing internal crises of self-determination will block to deter those groups in their own state. If the UK government is seriously wanting to block Scotlands membership whilst also advocating leaving the EU, they should flat out say so now, so we can see them for the petty spiteful hypocritical idiots they are.
For me the biggest stand-out factor is that the No camp start from a position of opposition and then scramble to find arguments to support that position, no matter how inconsistent or mental they are.
Well, they’ve been busy haven’t they. After delivering an analysis of how an independent Scotland would fare, using Westminster data, the IFS have got straight to work this morning. As well as reading the entire 670 page document and inputting all the data, they have produced a documentary showing the likliest outcome.
They shared with me an exclusive preview of the work set for release later this week. It shows that just 27 years after independence:
- Alex Salmond set up as a feudal lord in the Highlands
- Public services reduced to a single steam train
- Glasgow becoming a cannibal wasteland
- A new Hadrians Wall having to be made to keep out refugees fleeing Scotland
- A decline in farming resulting in wild cows roaming previously populated areas
- The only music around being cheesy stuff from the 80s (hinted at the Proclaimers and Fan – Dabi – Dozi by the Krankies but there was not enough data to model this
Alistair Darling was obviously available for comment without having seen it yet. I asked him what he thought of this vision.
Well obviously as a proud, proud Scot who is proudly proud of being Scottish the vision here proposed in the SNP Manifesto for independence is horrifying. Clearly the only way I would want to see Scotland reduced to any kind of wasteland is if there’s an accident with Trident. Or if it looks like the voters will vote for independence. Then they’ll find out what a wasteland is when I work with my colleagues, friends and co-travellers in the Tories to punish them.
It’s been surprising how little and much has been said about Dundee’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2017. How little in the long-run up. And then so much in the last week. Some good, some bad. Some indifferent.
The public face of the bid started with the launch of We Dundee with locals asked to contribute reasons Dundee should win. There was the first round of bidding and 6 six cities including Aberdeen were cut.
The Dundee team pulled together a bid and it was submitted last week with the result expected Wednesday.
The full document of the bid has also been made available, although not widely publicised.
The video has some criticism (rightly so), but looking at it it’s well produced with a number of well kent faces. This is all good for people in Dundee seeing Pete Tosh (not that one), Brian Cox (that one, not that one), Howie, but they would only know Brian Cox, so pretty insular. Showing off the sports is grand, but I would assume it was actually filmed in one day and that’s why ice hockey was shown rather than United. Surely showing GMS and Gauld would have counted for more culture than most .
Showing features of the city like Discovery, city centre, DCA and skatepark is great for variety and all and I can’t think of many cultural venues to chuck on which are obvious landmarks, oh wait, the McManus! Fair enough I think a couple of bits may be inside there but for fuck sake. If only the regeneration of a cultural landmark for three years which was re-opened to great success had some relevance to what the bid is trying to do. It’s details like that which are infuriating.
And that segues to the real downer of the video – the dearth of computing game content and music. Musicwise there is a Violin Shop and Grouchos. Great – showing wee independent retailers, sure Rainbow could have fitted in too though. Music wise you have the Mains of Fintry Pipe Band – great, doubt Swansea can boast a local Pipe Band drawn from people who mainly live in one of the really deprived communities. For contemporary bands there’s a few stills of what I suspect is a covers band playing in a pub (I may be wrong).
This is around the time the awesome Daisy was putting on OxJam house gigs. Similar to the way we saw contrast from old jute works to modern textiles at Duncan of Jordanstone couldn’t we have had, even with timeline manipulation, a house gig => pub gig => Caird Hall gig, showing the breadth of music in the city?
But that’s not the real downer of the video. The soundtrack is Chvrches. Who are brilliant. Don’t get me wrong. But they are from Glasgow. Not Dundee. I don’t even think they’ve played in Dundee. Is there really no Dundee band who could have provided a soundtrack to the video. Doesn’t show much confidence in the city’s bands. Snow Patrol formed here and iDLEWiLD’s Roddy Woomble is from just up the road, surely if we were looking outside the city they should have been higher up the list and been more of a big-name draw to boot.
The Bid Document
I’ve scanned through the 132 page document so only have a superficial list of what is proposed so far, and some looks great. There are obvious gaps/concerns though. Firstly I would hope a chunk of this goes ahead whether the bid is successful or not. If nothing else then the proposed local consultations to find out what Dundonians want from the
official cultural bodies in the city will be invaluable. Somehow I suspect not many will have a floating Opera stage in the Ferry high on their list.
Firstly there’s a balance to be found between local and external to the city. Dundee has extremely tight boundaries so it’s not hard to reach out to other areas and should be encouraged but it’s important that we only do so when Dundee can’t do it ourselves for such important events. A great example is in the bid team – having external culture consultants on it instead of the relevant local Council Convener.
Some of it looks exciting (COMICCON!!), but how much is confirmed, speculation and only dependent on a successful bid is unknown. It’s noted that some info is
removed from this document. There are a number of places with grey bars on top of text but the text can still be copied out. Fail. I’m not sure if that’s all the parts covered by that statement or not.
Of course The View and Ricky Ross are name-checked but not Laeto or other bands who have knocked their pan in for 10 years. Somehow I doubt we’re going to see posters of
Dundee Culture City presents: followed by Uniforms, Bonehouse or Kaddish. I think the most important thing for us to do is to engage in the consultation then take the great ideas not used by the city fathers and create a fringe for them. Covering all the cultural areas ignored. Supporting the local, grass roots scenes. When bands are invited and local ones ignored put on a mini-fringe fest. When huge designers are promoted all over the Tully throw together a local craft fair. When official events charge £20 a ticket, ask for donations.
There is also one ridiculous suggestion in the document which simply must be pointed out. The football festival has Dundee playing AC Milan. This is great. They have a partnership with them and also most of their fans parents weren’t born when the Italian giants smashed them. Great.
The proposed Dundee United tie? Against AS Roma? In 1984 they met in the European Cup. At Tannadice, United turned them over 2-0. In the return leg in Roma won 3-0 after bribing the referee. And those in charge of the bid think United should celebrate with a match against these cheating fucks? Considering United’s glorious run of 1987 and good terms with Barcelona (after pumping them 4 times out of 4) and Gothemberg either of these would have seen every Arab in the city and beyond queuing for tickets.
Perhaps a better event would be just promoting the Forfarshire Cup though, although Dundee might increase their lead over United in trophy wins for it, as they will have more recent experience with playing other diddy teams.
At around the 13 minute mark the
discussion on the Bedroom Tax starts.
Here you can see Anas Sarwar, deputy leader of the Labour Party in Scotland, arguing against the Bedroom Tax. Demanding to know why the SNP don’t abolish it (when Welfare isn’t devolved to Holyrood).
As you can gather he is obviously opposed to it. Well last night there was a Labour Party sponsored debate about the Bedroom Tax. the vote failed, by less than the number of absent Labour MPs. These included Anas Sarwar and Gordon Brown.
Obviously this was picked up by the newspapers who were on the ball as usual..oh wait no it was completely missed. Such respectable organs as the Daily Record decided that attacking the Lib Dems for being absent was the correct line to take.
It really must be the silly season as two Councils have went head to head racing ahead of others in publicly crowing about their financial incompetence.
Making their bid yesterday was Glasgow City Council. They announced that in a
Vandals from putting a cone on it’s head. Firstly this hardly counts as vandalism, more like some kind of public installation. more importantly the task of removing the cone costs an alleged £10,000 per year for 100 times at £100 each. Perhaps a permanent way to reduce this to £0 would be to stop removing the cone.
Closer to home though there is a parking farce at Dundee City Council.
The unelected bureaucrats had decided that Dundee needs some Park and Ride schemes. The ingenius location for the first one to go before the relevent committee was inside the city boundaries, on the west a few minutes from the city centre. Just inside the area of the bottleneck roundabout at the Western bounds of the city. Not outside that to reduce congestion at the roundabout, inside that area. Sensibly the councillors saw the stupidity of the scheme and rejected it, no doubt due to the response from their incensed constituents hanging one councillor out to dry in the process.
A couple of weeks later there were reports that the Councils coffers were down £365,000 a year. The cause? Lack of use of car parking spaces in the city centre. Meanwhile the council are claiming that due to how busy the city centre is (and presumably the car parks), Park and Ride schemes must be built, costing millions, to reduce the number of cars parking in the city centre.
This year I went on my second training course in Manchester, of which I’ll write later. The second was to a course on Developing ASP.NET MVC 4 Web Applications. The purpose to then sit the exam and achieve MCP status.
Last week I passed the exam and became a Microsoft Certified Professional.
This is also me a third of the way to the MCSD: Web Applications and a quarter of the way to the MCSD: SharePoint Applications specialisms. The first course was on Sharepoint so the possibility is there to sit the other mutual exam and then do 3 more to achieve two more qualifications.
It was really weird as I never had many exams at uni so jumping into one again was a bit of a culture shock. Unfortunately there is an NDA around the exam or that and the place you sit it would make an interesting post.
The culture shock was such that I actually had to resit. Thankfully another chunk of time spent revising meant I then passed.
There is an overwhelming amount of information out there so the studying I did was around the following areas.
Sample Projects – built the Facebook integration ones which was interesting.
Better Together have been engaging in what they privately call Project Fear, a terrible strategy composing of nothing but FUD. A campaign of lies, skewed statistics and scaremongering. Ironically, Labour have left them and they refused membership to the Little Englander nuts in UKIP
Yes Scotland seem to have spent most of their media campaign countering the nonsense from Better Together whilst on the ground activists/supporters hand out bland leaflets devoid of any political content.
Radical Independence have been ignored in the media and their supporters are on the ground taking part in local campaigns and countering fascists.
When discussing the referendum someone said they were
Not yet, I described my position as
The Yes campaign is uninspiring. The No a disgusting turn off of negative politics. I can’t find any reason to vote No. I might vote yes if the offering is appealing. But I may be convinced to spoil my ballot if the Scotland promised is a bland, uninspiring offering with no popular decision making process on shaping a constitution etc.
I have just looked at the Better Together site and here is the
positive case for the Union. I will add comments, bolded, in parentheses.
We love Scotland. We are ambitious for Scotland’s people and Scotland’s possibilities. Our case is not that Scotland could not survive as a separate country – it is that there’s a better choice for our future.
A strong Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom gives us the best of both worlds: real decision making power here in Scotland (like defence, social security and all the non-devolved powers?), as well as a key role in a strong (strong country = we have big nuclear missiles, cower before us) and secure UK (which engages in illegal imperialist wars fueling terrorist threats to civilians here). Now and in the future Scotland is stronger as part of the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom is stronger with Scotland as a partner. (Stay in the UK so the UK is stronger?)
In the UK the BBC and the Bank of England were founded by Scotsmen. The NHS was founded by a Welshman (currently being privatised by the Tories). The State Pension system was founded by an Englishman (Sorry, you now won’t get it til you are 67). Partners in these islands. Working together, better together.
We are proud that we fought together to defeat fascism (after ignoring it in Spain and cuddling up to it in Chile), and worked together to build a welfare state (currently being dismantled). But the case we make is about what’s best for Scotland’s future.
Times are really tough at home and really turbulent internationally (due to financial deregulation by the Tories to appeal to a small segment of the population in the South East of England). In the future Scotland’s prosperity will be strengthened by keeping the British connection. We need more growth, more jobs, and more prosperity in Scotland. We don’t need uncertainty, instability, and barriers for our businesses. (but let’s do nothing about metrication, the lack of which damages exports)
In these tough and turbulent times, the size, strength and stability of the UK economy is a huge advantage for Scotland’s businesses (have you read the news over the past 4 years??). Scotland’s largest market is the rest of the UK. (sounds like a threat…) The UK is the world’s oldest and most successful single market and the UK has the oldest and most successful currency – the pound. (measures of these successes please, what are the metrics?)
Scottish businesses are increasingly having to win orders against smart, efficient and productive firms in foreign markets. These competitive challenges will only get tougher in the years ahead. The UK is better placed than a separate Scotland or England to help our businesses find and win new orders across the world. (By doing? I can insert a snidey comment about dodgy deals to sell weapons to despotic regimes in the middle east like Saudi Arabia)
In an uncertain world Scotland’s security will be strengthened as part of the United Kingdom. The British Armed Forces that protect us are the best in the world. (at killing people on foreign soil, defense??) In Scotland we are proud of the Forces and proud of the vital contribution that Scotland makes to them. As part of the UK we have real clout in the UN Security Council (one of 5 with a permanent veto option, completely undemocratic), NATO (defunct warmongers), the EU (which huge sections of the Better Together camp want to leave), and we have Embassies around the world.
As Scots we believe there’s nowhere better, but we understand there’s something bigger. By contributing to and benefiting from the multi-national, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural United Kingdom of the years ahead (the Tories and Labour preaching about multiculturalism after years of spreading prejudice against ethnic and religious minorities whilst trying to deny asylum to people who are sent back to be murdered by psycopathic dictatorial regimes for crimes like being gay), Scotland’s society and culture will be enriched.
Hundreds of thousands of Scots and English have made their homes in each other’s nation. Half of us have English neighbours. Hundreds of thousands of Scots were born in England. This interdependence – the coming together of family, friends, ideas, institutions and identities – is a strength not a weakness, and is an ideal worth celebrating. The truth is we’re better together. (would you stop having English neighbours after independence, this is nonsensical)
Our case is that Scotland is stronger now and will be stronger in the future – economically, politically, and socially – as a partner in the United Kingdom. (if it was treated as a partner rather than a vassal there would be a weaker movement for independence…)
There has been a bit of a ruckus online amongst sceptics and a sceptical organisation. You can read a round up of the latest issues here. Although a fan of the work of Center for Inquiry for many years, I have just send the following to them and am sadly unsubsribing from their content.
I have read some of the commentary over the Women in Secularism conference but having not attended, nor heard the CFI position didn’t really wish to comments.
Having seen the pathetic statement by CFI on the matter I am pretty disdained. I was expected a non-pology at worst, it wasn’t even that.
It comes across more like the King of Swamp Castle:
Let’s not bicker and argue over who sent rape threats to who.
Although not a member, or financial contributor to your organisation, living outside the US, I have been following your content and listening to your podcast for years.
No longer though. I will return to listening to you and your content when I hear from those you have treated with such disrespect that you have not only learned and acknowledged what mistake you have made but have learned from it. Until then there are other sceptical organisations out there, some of which don’t mollycoddle scumbags just because they share some similar opinions on some issues.
I loved the film Let the Right One In when it was released. I enjoyed the book and was even impressed by the Hollywood adaptation for being closed in parts to the book than the original version.
I was pretty excited to see it coming to Dundee in the form of an adaptation for theatre.
Let the Right One In
I managed to get along to an early showing of it and was really impressed. The set looked amazing and some of the scenes were just beautiful. A huge amount had to be cut out to fit into a showing which can’t quickly cut between scenes and so on. It didn’t suffer from it at all though.
The two most surprising parts were the dance sections and the music by Olafur Arnalds throughout which was just breathtaking and added so much to the atmosphere.
National Theatre of Scotland didn’t just produce the show though. They also produced a location based horror game for iOs called Other.
You start at the rep and are guided around various locations in Dundee completing tasks and being given information about gruesome events to the background of static interference and evil children singing playground songs. This has been picked up by publications like the Guardian, but virtually ignored in the rest of the press. Which is criminal for the innovative experience they have created.