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[ Issue 751 - 24th October 2014 ]

Compiled by
Jim Lynch


If I appear ill informed please excuse me; I have just returned from a two week holiday in Tenerife and have been deprived of two weeks of Herald headlines. I also only saw occasional flashes of David Cameron and a smirking Nigel Farage, but I am a stoic so will not complain.

Better Together

Jose Manuel BarossoI found it amusing to watch the performance of Mr Barosso, outgoing President of the European Community. It is not so long ago that he was fulminating about Scotland’s accession , or rather assimilation into the European Union. His pompous threats were music to the English Unionists’ ears, said Unionists including the No Campaign, as is fitting. He is now rather lamely criticising Mr Cameron for wanting to leave unless the rules are changed to suit the UK. Mr Cameron of course having banged on about Better Together as far as Scotland is concerned is now being told the UK is Better Together with Europe, and he does not accept that scenario. From being a highly principled and respected leader of the European Union, Mr Barosso is now being classed by the Tories as a jumped up Eurocrat. Added to the irony is that the Tory demand for restrictions on the free movement of people within the Community was opposed by Margaret Thatcher. It’s a funny old world.


So long as 100 of us remain alive… .

To complete the above quotation, “we will never submit to the dominion of the English, for we fight not for glory, nor for riches, nor for honours, but only and alone for freedom , which no good man yields save with his life”.

During the Referendum Campaign I came upon a patriotic Scot, who proudly wore tartan on every conceivable occasion, and said he had worn the kilt in half the countries around the globe. He asked me if I wore the kilt and ignored my response “Only when I was paid to do so”, because he was only interested in his own tale.

Anyway, I asked him if he was so proud of being a Scot, why was he quite happy to be ruled by the English? His indignant reply was “I am not ruled by the English”. I tried to make him think about 650 MPs at Westminster, with only 59 of them Scots, but he departed in a blaze of self created glory.


Post Referendum Thoughts

In the week of the referendum, we had David Cameron in Scotland wearing his Daily Record mask giving a speech carefully crafted by Gordon Brown, and making a solemn vow (new sincere word for promise) that he would move quickly and give more powers to Scotland. By 9 am on Friday 19th September he had scrapped that mask and donned his Daily Mail one spelling out the price of the vow.

He could not give more powers to Scotland unless he also placated England, so he proposed to remove the right to vote on English issues from Scottish MPs – so there! At one fell swoop he made Gordon Brown’s place in history, for no MP from a Scottish Constituency could ever become a Cabinet Minister, far less a Prime Minister, so that was Gordon Brown’s contribution to the history book.


Post Referendum Afterthoughts

Mr Cameron can quite happily come to terms with his decision; Scotland has 59 MPs, 41 Labour, 11 Liberals, 6 SNP and 1 Tory, which in itself makes it academic. Mr Miliband might be upset at losing 41 votes on many issues, Mr Clegg is not considered at all, and Cameron could not give a toss about the SNP. Cameron will only lose 1 voter in the House of Commons – David Mundell – and I imagine Mr Cameron chortling as he goes to bed every night.

However, it will not be long before some bright spark in the Tory/UKIP alliance will ask ‘ Look here, these Scottish chaps have a fine time of it; they come down here, travelling first class at our expense, and only do half the work our English chaps do. Surely their salaries should be cut to compensate for that. We do all the work but they get the same dough. It’s not fair’.

Their logic is irrefutable, and while the mills grind exceeding slow, they grind exceeding small. Many of our Scottish Unionist MPs are not very good, but they will positively bridle at being officially second class MPs. So where will they see their future then – and with what powers?


Nick the Thick

On the morning I returned from holiday I saw a front page article in the Herald about a briefing given by the leader of the Liberals. In it he compared Alex Salmond to the Japanese soldier who lived for 20 years in the jungle because he did not know the Second World War was over. There was also a letter from someone in the paper also saying the independence movement was finished, so just get on with life.

How naïve – I don’t know the politics of the letter writer, but he was of the Unionist persuasion; on the other hand Mr Clegg purports to lead a party thirled to the concept of federalism for over 100 years, so he should at least have some concept of principle! Sorry, that was an exaggeration; as an old Irish Nationalist said more than 100 years ago “When in power the Liberals forget their principles and the Tories remember their friends.”

Anyway, this is the message loud and clear. The Referendum was a campaign we did not win, but it was a great campaign and 1.6 million people voted Yes to independence – independence, not any wishy washy carve up of devo whatever you want to call it. There will be other campaigns and whether the Unionists like it or not they will continue until Scotland becomes fully independent and free. We are not going away any time soon, correction – we are not going away at all. Nothing has been settled.

Smith Commission

The first meeting of the Smith Commission took place on Wednesday 22nd October; Lord Smith is confident he will get broad agreement on more powers.

The Commission consists of : Scottish Government, Finance Secretary John Swinney MSP and Linda Fabiani MSP; Labour Iain Gray MSP and Greg McClymont MP, Liberals Michael Moore MP and Tavish Scott MSP, Greens Patrick Harvie MSP and Councillor Maggie Chapman, Conservatives Annabel Goldie and Glasgow University Professor Adam Tomkins.

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Wednesday 22 October 2014

David Cameron has today confirmed that full fiscal autonomy is an option for Scotland, as discussions get underway at the Smith Commission.

The Smith Commission has been tasked with delivering more powers to the Scottish Parliament following the Vow made by the three Westminster leaders in the event of a No vote.

David Cameron was asked at Prime Minister’s Questions to clarify that full fiscal autonomy to Holyrood is still very much on the agenda following the promises made during the campaign.

Commenting, Angus MacNeil MP said:

“David Cameron said just days before the referendum that if Scotland stays within the UK then all options of devolution are there and they are possible. Today he confirmed that he stands by his promises.

“Cameron’s comments of course mean that full fiscal autonomy is on the table, which includes devolving full control of Scottish taxes and spending to the Scottish Parliament.

“A new poll shows superb trust ratings for the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon on more powers – as Labour’s woes in Scotland continue, with only one per cent of people trusting Ed Miliband most to deliver extensive new powers.

“Our key focus is on delivering powers for a purpose – that means proposals that will deliver real change for the people of Scotland and better equip the Scottish Parliament to create jobs, protect public services and tackle inequality."

Notes to Editors:

At PMQs, Angus MacNeil MP asked:

“Before the Scottish Referendum, the Prime Minister said –‘If Scotland says it does want to stay inside the United Kingdom, then all options of devolution are there, and all are possible.’ So will he unequivocally stand by his promise and confirm this of course means full fiscal autonomy be on the table, meaning that devolving a full control of Scottish taxes and spending to the Scottish parliament to help create jobs and a more just society’ .”

David Cameron answered:
“I certainly stand by all the promises I made in the run up to that referendum campaign, and I think Lord Smith is doing an excellent job at looking at all the options for devolution. I’m sure we can find a way forward. “

Wednesday 22nd October 2014

The SNP has welcomed new figures showing youth unemployment has fallen by 29,000 – and stands at its lowest level in six years, falling faster than the UK rate.

New figures published today show falling unemployment and increasing employment amongst young people – with the youth unemployment rate in Scotland falling by 5.6 per cent, compared to the UK’s figure of 5.1 per cent.

The Scottish Government has taken strong action to promote youth employment – guaranteeing an offer of a place in training or education for all 16 to 19 year olds through the Opportunities for All programme and has set out plans to deliver the recommendations of the Young Workforce Commission.

Commenting, SNP MSP Gordon MacDonald said:

“These are very welcome figures – showing that youth unemployment in Scotland is falling faster than in the rest of the UK and stands at its lowest level in six years.

“The fact that Scotland now has a higher employment rate, lower unemployment rate and lower inactivity rate for young people than the rest of the UK – coming on the back of last week’s figures showing strong economic growth and a record fall in unemployment – confirms that Scotland’s economic recovery is continuing and that our young people are not being left behind.

“The excellent progress made on youth employment is testament to the Scottish Government’s stewardship of the limited economic powers currently in Scotland’s hands – and with the extensive economic powers promised to the people of Scotland in the Vow we can do even more.

“With these new powers we can take a different approach from the austerity agenda of the Westminster establishment – giving us the opportunity to invest even more in our public services, make Scotland a better place to do business and create even more opportunities for our young people.”

Notes to editors

More information can be found here:

Sunday 12th October 2014

The strong record of the SNP in standing up for working people has been highlighted again this week by the announcement of the new ScotRail franchise – as new figures show that the party’s Trade Union Group has grown to well over 11,000 since the referendum.

The new franchise announced by the Scottish Government this week will deliver at least the living wage for all ScotRail employees; deliver 100 new apprenticeships and guaranteeing trade union representation on the board.

In government the SNP has a strong record in standing up for working people, including:

• Delivering a living wage in the public sector
• No compulsory redundancies
• Wage rises for nurses – while nurses in England face a pay freeze.
• Delivering Social Wage policies – helping the poorest people the most.
• Consigning Poll Tax debts to history

The SNP’s positive record stands in stark contrast with that of Westminster – as figures show George Osborne’s welfare freeze will hit 600,000 working families in Scotland – while Labour have pledged to be ‘tougher than the Tories’ on welfare and have committed to continuing the Tory freeze on child benefit.

Commenting, SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin Sandra White said:

“The SNP has a strong record of standing up for working people – and with the SNP’s Trade Union Group growing to over 11,000 since the referendum, it’s clear that the SNP is the party of working people in Scotland.

“Just this week the Scottish Government secured a fantastic deal for ScotRail workers – guaranteeing at least the living wage, more apprenticeships and a trade union representative on the board.

“In contrast, the Westminster establishment parties – both Labour and the Tories – are engaged in a relentless attack on the working poor. George Osborne’s latest round of welfare cuts will hit 600,000 working families in Scotland – and rather than standing up for ordinary people in the face of these attacks, Labour has pledged to be even ‘tougher than the Tories’.

“That is why more and more working people in traditional Labour heartlands are switching straight to the SNP as the only party which stands up for working people – delivering the living wage in the public sector, guaranteeing no compulsory redundancies and consigning the legacy of Margaret Thatcher’s poll tax to history.

“Ordinary people who previously voted Labour still can’t forget Johann Lamont’s decision to enter the toxic alliance with the Tories in the No campaign – a decision which still haunts her leadership to this day.

“Over the coming weeks and months, the SNP will hold the Westminster parties to account on their vow of substantial more powers for Scotland. Westminster must deliver the powers we need to make Scotland a fairer, more equal society for everyone who lives here – working people in Scotland will accept nothing less.”

Notes to editors

New deal for railways great news for passengers:

The membership of the SNP Trade Union Group now stands at over 11,000.



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Content of the Flag in the Wind is the copyright of the Scots Independent Newspaper which has been owned, edited and printed in Scotland since November 1926.