I am very thankful to my friends who participated in this dialogue based discussion based on Scotland’s current political scenario. The participants are:
1. Sajjad Khan Bangash, Islamabad, Pakistan. (Myself)
2. Mairead Tagg (Lives in Coatbridge and studied Psychology at University of Stratchclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.
3. Joy Dyer (Studied BA Honors in Sociology and Social Policy, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland)
4. Angwyn Daichead A Cúig (Studied at Yale University) Lives in Detroit, Michigan, USA.
5. Joanne Burrows (Studied at Napier University, Edinburgh) Lives in Bathgate, Scotland.
6. James Allan, Arbroath, Angus, Scotland.
7. Cora Romage, Cowdenbeath, Fife, Scotland.
The modern politics has totally revamped itself into a new sphere where the ordinary people’s grave concerns have to be primarily taken care of, since the politics directly effect the economy, socio-economic and lifestyles of citizens of particular country. We can’t ignore the opinions and views of the people living in a particular democracy. There is a global awakening and swarming for the realization of resources, administration and devolution of power to the gross roots level. In today’s time, any political stability inside a country is predominately attached with the addressing the core issues of the ordinary people and simply, no ‘authoritarian monarchs’ can relay their direct dictatorial control and political sway whatsoever.
In the recent times, politics in Scotland has gained a substantial momentum as more and more people are getting aware and the sense of realization of ownership of resources, delegation of power autonomy rest within the premises of dual regulations within the people’s representations.
I have tried to collect the opinions and views of the people of Scotland in a cross questions session which I believe is a creative idea to understand and see the real picture of Scotland’s politics and the democratic set up in Scotland. I had drafted few relevant questions to the people of Scotland. So let’s begin the discussion:
1. What difference do you see between the living standards of Scotland’s citizens and England?
Mairead Tagg: The greatest concentration of wealth is in South-East England. Scotland is asset-stripped to feed the greed of the extremely wealthy – our oil being a clear example. People in the North of England suffer in the same way as the Scots.
John Dyer: The living standards is a tough one! I reckon most of north England and Scotland are roughly neglected on the same level, but the gap between Scotland and London is massive!
For me I noticed the difference between Scotland and England at a very early age – it was to do with TV programming. As a kid, you love children’s TV – especially cartoons. During the summer holidays you have cartoons on in the morning and afternoon for kids. However, Scottish kids start the summer holidays 02 weeks earlier than English kids and go back to school two weeks earlier than English kids!So during the summer holidays, Scottish kids have to wait an extra two weeks until the English kids are off school so they can watch the cartoons!
Joanne Burrows: I would say it depends on the different regions. There are very wealthy parts of both Scotland and England, but for the vast majority of people living standards are extremely difficult to maintain thanks to soaring bills and falling wages. The UK is very London centric.
Cora Romage: I believe that in Scotland our standards are slightly better. Only because the SNP has has brought about certain changes.. for instance, we get our prescriptions free here, England pay for theirs still. If we are unemployed in Scotland all our rent is paid for us, in England they pay a certain amount. We don’t pay the bedroom tax anymore I believe but England still does. We pay more taxes however, but we get less back. The SNP have protected us a lot but people don’t know this.
2. Do you see that Westminster government has always been failed to address the socio-economic growth of Scotland?
Mairead Tagg: Westminster has no interest in the Scottish infrastructure. One by one our industries have gone, presided over by a succession of indifferent Westminster administrations, our fishing industry has been decimated by inappropriate concessions made in Europe. Personally I’ve always had the feeling that Westminster would like Scotland to become a huge shooting estate for the obscenely wealthy and for the rest of us to just leave.
John Dyer: The Westminster government has always failed to address the different needs of Scotland in terms of the economy -I’ll use the example of fishing! The British government were asked by the EU to send a delegation to discuss fishing – the British response was along the lines of ‘we don’t have a fishing industry, it doesn’t effect us’ …Well the fishing industry in Scotland employed around 200,000 people both directly on the boats and indirectly through selling, storage etc, therefore it was a massive industry in Scotland!
Joanne Burrows: Yes Scotland has always been kept behind in many ways. One example being the small percentage of wealthy landowners in Scotland who own vast acres of the country which means that the population cannot grow in those areas.
Cora Romage: Yes Westminster wants us to believe that we need them to keep us afloat. They don’t want us to know our potential.
3. Do the people of Scotland pay higher taxes while in return, they receive lesser economic, medical care benefits against those tax payment?
Mairead Tagg: Tax is controlled by Westminster so there’s no real difference – its just that Westminster are now suggesting that with devolved powers they can scrap the Barnett formula which is how wealth is distributed to Scotland currently. what Westminster don’t acknowledge is that Scotland contributes more to the economy that we get back. there’s been a lot of misinformation promulgated to the rest of the UK that Scotland is some kind of UK scrounger which is factually inaccurate.
John Dyer: The people of Scotland as a whole contribute more to the UK economy than they receive back, when you take into consideration the money that Westminster revives from taxes on Scottish products including food, drink, alcohol, oil, gas, renewable energy, water etc! But this is what London does – look at every country they have ever enslaved as part of their ’empire’! Look up the definition of ‘parasite’; an organism or entity that revives support or advantage off of others without giving them anything useful or proper in return, while often causing harm….that my friend is London!
Joanne Burrows: If you mean personal tax, then no as we probably get taxed at a similar rate but the Scottish Government have set money aside so we can receive medical treatment free at the point of contact and also free prescriptions. If you mean tax as a country, then sure, Scotland pays more to England as we have assets eg. oil, energy, whiskey etc that raise revenue which sadly Westminster takes and then pays Scotland a proportion back.
4. What were the reasons behind the ‘No’ winning over ‘Yes’ percentage during Referendum?
Mairead Tagg: I think that we (SNP) peaked too soon and then relaxed while the Better together lot produced Gordon Brown and the infamous “Vow” at the last minute. A lot of people lost their nerve and voted NO thinking that with maximum devolution we would be getting the best of both worlds. Needless to say the vow vanished on the 19th September to be replaced with a spineless selection of offers that are completely useless E.g we can design our own road signs! there are worrying suggestions that the voting process wasn’t all it could be, but I don’t think it’s particularly helpful to speculate now – it’s a fait accompli.
John Dyer: The reason that no win over yes was quite simply put as fear! That was the no campaigns greatest weapon. Their leader Blair McDougal even admitted it, without using fear they would have lost! Personally I believe that the lies told by newspapers like the Daily Record with their ‘vow’ and leaders like Milliband and Brown sold us down the river! These people are traitors!
Joanne Burrows: If ‘No’ won (maybe – still think it was fixed) as the mainstream media is biased towards the Union and also there were many Unionist politicians using scare tactics on our elderly voters and also our immigrants.
Cora Romage: Yes! I believe the vote was tampered with in a big way but any No voting folk were scare-mongered into it. Especially with Gordon Brown and the crap about people losing their pensions etc.. shocking lies!! Yet they got away with it and also the extra powers promised to us which we did not get.
5. Do you foresee, SNP as a sound political party which will address the core issues pertaining to the ordinary citizens of Scotland?
Mairead Tagg: I believe the SNP under Nicola Sturgeon is Scotland’s best chance to stop punishing the poor for the excesses and corruption of bankers. Nicola Sturgeon is clearly committed to gender equality and to addressing the gross inequalities in wealth and opportunity that currently exist in the UK. The SNP are committed to getting rid of Trident – the hated nuclear capability located close to the Central Belt of Scotland i.e. the heaviest concentration of population. so I would say that definitely the SNP are best positioned to make substantial improvements in the lives of Scottish people.
John Dyer: Personally I’m socialist, have been all my life, but I joined the SNP in 2008 as a way of achieving my dream of an indeed want Scotland! I believe that we are the party of progress and of the people, and as such the SNP governs in our interests!
Joanne Burrows: Yes the SNP to me is a very sound party which has already did a lot for Scotland and are very good at asking their members for ideas to take forward for policy.
Cora Romage: Yes absolutely!
6. What pressure tactics, do the Westminster lobbyists apply to undermine and discourage the the committed and dedicated Scottish people from voting in coming general election in May, 2015?
Mairead Tagg: We have unremitting propaganda fed into our homes by the BBC which is nothing more than a propaganda machine for Westminster. Equally the mainstream media are firmly against Scottish independence and they publish a steady stream of anti-SNP stories which are utter hogwash. it makes it hard to have a reasoned debate because we are not getting access to unbiased facts.
John Dyer: To answer this question you just have to look at the Labour Party! What they are doing is disgusting, it’s negative politics at best and a complete betrayal of their principles at worst! Their members are actually advocating voting for the conservatives in narrow seats to keep the SNP out!
Joanne Burrows: I think they still want us to vote in Scotland but only for one of the unionist parties. Again as they own most of the media then the propaganda and scare tactics have already begun and sadly some people will believe them.
Cora Romage: I’m not sure yet but it will be lies and deceit as usual.
7. Can you see, the landslide victory for SNP over other political parties in GE Elections in May, 2015?
Mairead Tagg: We’re obviously hoping for a landslide. We’re tired of Westminster politicians supporting the greed of the rich and punishing the poor. The reneging on the vow and ongoing and deepening austerity means that people are angry and upset with the mainstream parties.
John Dyer: I think the landslide for the SNP will happen, we now have around 100,000 members in Scotland alone – that makes us the biggest party and the biggest threat to Westminster, and I look forward to the general election happening!
Joanne Burrows: Yes I do think there will be a landslide victory for SNP as from the people I have spoken to so far, they are all SNP voters or have joined SNP as a member as they can now see that Labour (the main party Scots vote for) have told huge lies to them.
Cora Romage: I can but only if the vote is not tampered with.
8. Do you see, the socio-economic growth and development of Scotland is duly related to the ‘Independence of Scotland’?
Mairead Tagg: Yes our independence is necessary for our economy to grow and for our government to make the best decisions for Scotland. too many essential powers are still held by Westminster. We need autonomy.
John Dyer: Yes! Scotland’s resources in Scotland’s hands, and Scotland’s finances being controlled by their own people! Do you think the English would like to be ruled by Glasgow? Of course they wouldn’t! Would they let all their tax go to Glasgow n be spent on projects in and around Glasgow while getting pocket money back to spend on services?!! Of course the wouldn’t! So why is it okay for that to happen to us?
Joanne Burrows: If you mean do I think there will be a socio-economic growth in an independent Scotland, then the answer is yes!
Cora Romage: Yes!
9. What major role Alex Salmond played in the ‘awakening of Scottish people’ for their rights of self-determination, self-esteem and realization?
Mairead Tagg: Alex Salmond was a highly intelligent and charismatic leader and he has been hugely instrumental in awakening Scotland politically and getting people to engage in the political process. Thanks to him Nicola Sturgeon has been able to build on a party that was going from strength to strength and to a huge resurgence of confidence and enthusiasm for Scotland.
John Dyer: Salmond was a genius! Full credit for the awakening should be given to him – but at the same time, politics in this country has changed for good, and I put that down to the ‘YES‘ campaign during the referendum – not just Salmond!
Joanne Burrows: Alex is a man of the people and he gave us a hope and inspired a generation to dream of a free future. He along with the other politicians, drew up the white paper which provided all the answers that were needed to understand how Scotland could cope and thrive on it’s own.
Cora Romage: Alex Salmond is a very clever astute man. He has brought forward many points and issues and arguments against the other parties who were against our independence. He opened a lot of peoples eyes to the truth.
10. Is the mainstream media, biased against Scotland and what you see on the TV during the day?
Mairead Tagg: Earlier, as stated earlier very little is broadcast about the successes and strengths of Scotland on MSM but every possible negative story is given massive coverage. Typically more time is given to Labour/Tory spokespeople than even our First Lady, which is disgusting and completely biased.
John Dyer: The only improvements I see being made are the result of the Scottish government, not the British government although in the media you have MPs n people like Cameron taking credit for the work of the Scottish government on things like housing and major projects. Sadly the only major infrastructure programmes we see are things like Cross-rail and HS2, neither of which will have any impact in Scotland except we find it!
Joanne Burrows: Yes completely. Most of the media stations are owned by people who have investments in one of the two main parties.
Cora Romage: Yes it absolutely is.
11. Does the mainstream media, show the problems of the ordinary people of Scotland and do you see any development or infrastructure development in the streets of Scotland being broadcasted by mainstream media?
John Dyer: Social media privacy has been restricted in this country to an extent but the Scottish government have played a part in this through their ill fated Offensive behavior at football and threatening communications act!
The only time that they do show problems is when they view programmes such as ‘Benefits Britain’. That program looks at certain people living on benefits but it does not portray the real people who are out there looking for work and going hungry while freezing in a house without heating. All it did was highlight the characters who are out to screw the system. So that now people believe that ordinary folk living on benefits deserve to get their money sanctioned.. its very sad.
Joanne Burrows: No, the mainstream media mostly manages to demonize the poor and vulnerable people in society which then leads to the divide and conquer which allows Unionism to thrive. They show rubbish on tv to distract people from the actual events going on in the world!
12. How does the UK censorship policy effecting the ordinary citizens of Scotland, i.e, Has the Westminster government imposed stern restrictions on People’s social media as well internet privacy?
Mairead Tagg: The problem is we don’t really have a clear idea of what is going on. There is a suggestion that new laws will stop all political opposition because the UK government can monitor and observe private individuals at will. and can shut down anything that appears to be undermining or attacking the government There is a real feeling that the UK government is generating Islamophobia and fear of Russia as a means of pushing through surveillance legislation to invade the privacy of anyone they like. it would also result in Facebook being monitored to the extent that people could find themselves in a lot of trouble for opposing the government.
I’m not sure about this but I know Cameron was talking of doing so as a means to fight against terrorism.. its a sham if you ask me. Its an excuse to take away our privacy.
Joanne Burrows: GCHQ are at work everywhere and many of us have had major difficulties connecting with other indy supporters on social media since before, during and after the indy ref.
13. Do you believe that Scotland being an independent state, will be more prosperous, economically stable and developed under its own autonomous power?
Mairead Tagg: From the bottom of my heart the answer is YES. the Scottish government is economically responsible and has a vision of a fair and prosperous society where Scottish people and those who live in Scotland have access to good education, medical care and employment while building a sound economic infrastructure.
John Dyer: Yes, I do! The best people to govern a country are the people who work and live here – we have the biggest stake in making it a success!
Joanne Burrows: Yes, as we have good transparent politicians here in Scotland and we have great assets in Scotland even outwith our vast oil supplies!
Cora Romage: 100% Yes!!
14. At present, do you think that Scotland has been deprived from its basic autonomy over legislative and devolution of power status?
Mairead Tagg: Definitely, Westminster holds far too much power which is consistently misused across the Uk, but we in Scotland are increasingly saying “No” to this We want and deserve better, as do our children.
John Dyer: The Scottish parliament has power, but the real power lies 400 mile away in London – until we complete control over our own country!
Joanne Burrows: Yes, the Smith commission was poor and any policies that could have allowed Scotland to govern itself in a better fashion were not put forward and agreed on We need full control over taxation, welfare and health – this didn’t happen – instead we got control over road signs!
Cora Romage: Yes it has. Even the powers we were promised at the referendum have never come to light.
15. Will this general election prove to be ‘an effective strategy for the devolution of power to gross roots level and address the core issues of the masses?
Mairead Tagg: This election will deliver a clear message to Westminster that the Scottish people are not happy with their poor governance. it’s a step towards the next referendum and it will give us a stronger voice in Westminster to address the issues.
John Dyer: No, what will happen is parties like the Blue Torys n the Red Torys will lie n promise Scotland more powers if we vote for them – as a result, people will vote for them and they’ll screw us again!
Joanne Burrows: Yes! The grass roots indy movement is already at work canvassing, leafletting and selling ourselves, whist the unionist parties have few grassroots campaigners and are being forced to post out their leaflets using the royal mail.
Cora Romage: I hope so but as I say we just cant trust the Tories or Labour not to bring some more brainwashing crap out the bag.
Mr. James Allan’s views:
Generations of the experiences of our ancestors are told amongst us. Much betrayal has created global discord and the only way to fix it is by addressing the real problem rather than suffer in silence, knowing we did nothing to stop our kids suffering the same fate or we do something about it.
Times are profound and many undeniable truths are suppressed to fit the history the elites want written. Together the world will win over what is truly so very wrong. Our plight in Scotland should be a good example of hoe the whole post WW2 propaganda blitz and misinformation still misleads people today. A lot refuse to look at truth preferring to support a huge lie, even if it’s destructive for them. A bit mad if you ask me. Imagine altering reality to construct a great oppressive lie! Hopefully awakening will make such interesting times be interesting for all the right reasons.
People deserve better than militarized tyrants with a massive propaganda machine to dumb people down into complicity and compliance with evil deeds and atrocious policies.
It’s only truth Sajjad. Scotland has had enough of lies and destruction, whether here, to us, or falsely misrepresented to be in our name overseas.To shift the power back to people the truth needs to be universal. When a government conceals truth for it’s own agenda, the last thing that is is democracy.
How can we make good choices when the choice is manufactured nepotism? All sides in Westminster lie?
Appears there is much international collusion to suppress and retain power. You have to be one of them to rise to the top here. If not then you are discredited and shoved aside. I can not see how plotting international leaders can be described as truly representative of us when they try their best to attack those who question their motives. We never get straight answers.
They see it as their “right” to “rule” and grass roots honesty and a desire for a just society is belittled and undermined. All of Scotland saw it during the referendum. I hope the world saw what happened and learned that we have good people who truly oppose all that they do which is so very wrong for humanity. We are trying our best her and this forced Union is unworkable. We will continue until Scotland is free. Biggest hurdle to jump over is the propaganda blitz. They scare older people into compliance.
Our young people understand now. It’s convincing the older generation not to accept what has been there all their lives which is the difficult part. They seem to prefer blindly supporting the same as their families traditionally did and refuse to see what’s right in front of their eyes. Perhaps they find the awful truth too difficult to accept.
I’m becoming cynical by the day. I have no trust in politicians or politics. But I believe that electing as many SNP members as possible is our second step towards independence. Osborn has a drug problem and is a snob that hates everyone, especially us. They cover up the pedophile ring Westminster and HoL. The debt is out of control. If we were getting all the oil money we wouldn’t have a care in the world. I told everyone ahead of the referendum that the easiest way to for them to win would be to confuse the vote/voters. That’s what they did. Then they cheated and lied on top of that. Now they’re going cut our budget. That sub in Faslane, we just found out, is leaking more radioactive waste in our waters. They kept that from us. They’re terrible, people have been read up the droughts in the American SW. How to get those people water, clean the oceans and seas, harvest carbon from the air?