Tag Archives: indyref

Indy Meme Culture: Passion, Reason & Debate

I’m linked in to a number of Facebook groups which support Scottish Independence. I see a lot of what’s posted in these groups. I reckon that there’s lot of overlap between me and the other people in the group in terms of our aspirations for Scotland. Also in terms of our sense of humour. Also in terms of our politics.  There’s a bit of mild abuse directed towards Tories in general and towards Ruth, Theresa and Boris in particular. On the whole we don’t think much of Labour’s new saviour Mr Corbyn. Nor his Scottish lieutenant, Richard Leonard. And mostly we don’t even bother to mention the Scottish LibDems or any other LibDem variety. But of course we like Nicola and her cohorts. And we also approve of the Scottish Greens.

It’s true that hese groups are echo chambers for like-minded independence supporters. There aren’t even many unionist trolls to be seen off. But we also inform each other, bring news from elsewhere to each other’s attention, promote events and fundraisers, and cheer ourselves up when yet another inaccurate mainstream media item hits the headlines. Some people in the groups are a dab hand at creating great posters. Some of us like me write on our own blogs and post to the groups.

But every now and then I see stuff that is completely wrong factually. Continue reading Indy Meme Culture: Passion, Reason & Debate

Scotland 8% of UK Population: Too Wee, Too Poor?

I’m a fan of John Robertson’s website Talking Up Scotland. If you search for ‘8%’ on his website you get a list of his posts where he gives various examples of how Scotland, with 8% of the UK population, repeatedly achieves much more per head of the population than rUK. 

I used one of his posts, about the number of nurses in Scotland compared to England , to make up this visual: 

It proved popular on various Indy supporting Faceboook groups and I know that it’s been shared around quite a lot. So I thought I should produce a set of such visual aids for other examples where Scotland punches above its weight. All of them give a reference for how you can find the original data if you’re so minded. Most of them are taken from Talking Up Scotland, some I’ve found myself. 

I’ve tried to compare Scotland with whole of the UK. But to be honest, England is so much the biggest share of UK, that adding in Wales and NI doesn’t make that much difference to the overall percentages.

Here they are. Don’t know about you but it makes me think that the “Scotland’s too wee and too poor to be an independent country” slogan is just not true. Well I’ve never thought it was true but it’s good to have some examples of just why that slogan is such as insult to what we’re already doing for our society, never mind what we could do if we held all the political lives of power in our own hands.


Journey to Yes

In 2014 we Scots voted in a referendum. Either Yes! we wanted Scotland to be an independent nation once more after more than 300 years of political union with England. Or No, we wanted to remain in that union. At the beginning of the campaign opinion polls showed a Yes vote at about 25%. By 14 Sept 2014 the day of the vote it was 45%. That’s a big increase. But not a big enough increase. 

Since then the promises made to us by the Unionist politicians to get us to vote No have mostly been shown to be empty. In particular the No campaign took a strong line over EU: the only way to be sure of remaining in the EU was to stay in the Union; an independent Scotland wouldn’t be able to join the EU; Spain would veto us; we’d be out in the economic cold. Aye, right. It was not correct then and it sure as hell isn’t right now after England voted to leave the EU last June. Scotland voted to remain by 62% : 38%. That isn’t important apparently and we should just be quiet and let our kindly Westminster Government get on with sorting things out for us.

Not surprisingly, some people who supported the No campaign in 2014 have shifted their view and now support Yes. Here are some videos made by Phantom Power which tell the stories of those Journeys to Yes.



Article 50 Delivered to Brussels :-(

Today saw Article50 with Theresa May’s signature at the bottom of it wend its way over to Brussels and in to the hands of Donald Tusk. In the House of Commons, our PM gave a statement to that effect and called for the ‘nation’ to pull together. We already heard from her the other day up here in Scotland that Britain is an “unstoppable force”. 

Here is Angus Robertson’s, leader of the SNP in the Commons, response to her statement. Angus is getting better and better …..

#ScotRef: The Truth is Out There #1

I don’t mind journalists taking a devil’s advocate approach or even being downright antagonistic when they interview someone. It’s part of their job. But they’re meant to bring some creativity to their work, they’re meant to do some background reading, they’re meant to have a go at thinking things through. The best of them do all of those. 

Unfortunately many of them rely on social media and tweets for their inspiration. Or they memorise the memes associated with some topic and toss them out as their own words of “wisdom”. Maybe some don’t have much choice and they’re stuck following the dictats of their employers and their employers’ owners. Think Murdoch. 

Experience from the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014 showed time and time again that even the highest-brow media have their own agenda and if the facts get in the way of that then the facts will not be reported. The BBC’s agenda wasn’t to bring unbiassed reporting of our referendum to our screens. I thought it would be but how naive was that. The agenda was to defend and support the UK Establishment and the said establishment did not and does not want an independent Scotland.

But the Truth Is Out There!!! Sometimes it manages to slip through the defences. Sometimes you have to go looking for it. Second time round the independence arguments at least we know what to expect. And at least we now have a small but noisy section of the media supporting independence. And we have a great band of civic action action groups like Common Weal and Independence for Women working away in the background and coming up with new ideas and strategies to bring Scotland into her own once more.

Every now and then I’ll be posting examples of the truth out there. Here’s the first.

BBC reporter Jane Hill speaking to Elmar Broks, member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs. She says – at length – what she thinks he thinks about an independent Scotland joining the EU. Then he tells her what he actually thinks. 

And just for a laugh, some of the questions lobbed at Mrs Mayhem during PMQs yesterday:

Is Scotland Bankrupt Pt 4: Haud oan, whit aboot oor GDP?

Same waiver as before: If you’re looking for a reliable economic overview you need to read an economist’s blog. I just know how to read a balance sheet, do arithmetic and create nice graphs from governmental data spreadsheets. Oh and this is part4 so might be an idea to read parts 1,2 & 3 first. They’re not long.

So yeah, what about Scotland’s gross national product, GDP, then? The previous posts in this series have mostly been about public revenue and spending for Scotland and for UK. Gross national product is the complete national pay packet before profit-taking, tax,  and other deductions. The World Bank is very helpful. Their website gives access to their worldwide database where you can select which countries, specific data and timelines you’re interested in and download it all to your computer in a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet can be at your fingertips in a few seconds and you can create graphs and visuals to your heart’s content. Same with Scottish Government GERS which is what started me off on this to begin with.

So here’s a few extracts. This is GNI in US$ which is now the World Bank’s preferred measure. It’s GDP plus a bit extra, for example  including income contributed by  country’s nationals working abroad. And this is GNI per capita, i.e. per head of population.

World Bank Data

The Nordic countries are obviously doing OK. Norway, obviously. Iceland is pretty good though it’s population is only 300,000. Germany and UK are a bit, but not far, behind. Here are some detailed per capita numbers, again in US$. Clearly it pays to be a) very small and have either b) a lot of private banks, Luxembourg, or c) be the registered nation for a very big multinational company, Luxembourg and Amazon, or d) have a lot of oil, Qatar. And  look at Ireland!! 

World Bank GDP per capita data, 2015

What is Scotland’s GDP? And how does it compare with our Nordic neighbours and a few others? 

WorldBankData; ScotGov GERS

In other words, as far as overall income for each one of us here in Scotland, we’re producing as much as Canada, Finland and Germany, yes GERMANY!!! and a bit more than France and Japan. Not to mention lots more than Turkey and Russia. 

When was the last time you heard anyone say that Canada, Finland, Germany, France, Japan, Turkey and Russia couldn’t afford to be independent? 

When was the last time you heard that Scotland was too poor to be independent? Yeah, probably today on the BBC or in the Herald, Scotsman, Telegraph, etc, etc.

So what’s going on here? It beats me. 

Yes! Super Saturday – 13 Sept 2014

It’s taken a while to get my photos and videos from Yes! Super Saturday organised but here they are.

Yes! Super Saturday was 13th September 2014, the last Saturday before the Scottish Independence Referendum. Glasgow was hummin’. But very little of this was reported on mainstream media. While I was taking these clips, a London-based BBC reporter had coralled three Yes supporters at the other end of Sauchiehall Street and was questioning them whilst ignoring the noise of thousands of Yes supporters about quarter of a mile away from her. Funny that. Aye, right. Just what we have come to expect from BBC Scotlandshire. Not so much our  Public Broadaster as the Establishment Broadcaster.