All 2018 Time Lapse Marches for Scottish Independence.


#AUOB, Edinburgh, 6 Oct 2018. Time lapse.

#ForwardAsOne, Dunfermline, 1 Sep 2018. Time lapse.

#AUOB, Dundee, 18 Aug 2018. Time lapse.

#AUOB, Inverness, 28th July 2018. Time lapse.

#AUOB, Bannockburn, 23 June 2018. Time lapse.

#AUOB, Dumfries, 2 June 2018 Time lapse.

#AUOB, Glasgow, 4 May 2018. Time lapse. #AUOBGlasgow

John Jappy video interviews for download

The wonderful John Jappy passed away in Feburary this year. In 2014 we colaborated with Clan Destiny Films to produce 3 exceptional & powerful short videos with John. Please DOWNLOAD the videos and show those who maybe not connected to internet or are on the fence with Scottish independence. To download just Google: “download youtube video”. Copy link from each vid.

All Video Playlist (see thread for individual videos & descriptions):

John Jappy: Scotland’s Oil
John Jappy, retired civil servant formerly involved in budget preparation, examines what happened to the billions of pounds of Scottish oil revenue.

John Jappy: Politicians’ Quotes
John Jappy, retired civil servant formerly involved in budget preparation, exposes the inconsistencies in what prominent politicians have said on the prospect of Scottish independence.

John Jappy: Hiding the truth
John Jappy, retired civil servant formerly involved in budget preparation, examines how the truth about Scotland’s finances has been hidden since the sixties, and how the Scots have been unfairly portrayed as subsidy junkies.

Powerful articles by John:

Politicising our heritage – the fiasco of Holyrood Park

The following article is by Catherine Gillies and is republished below with her permission.


I find myself musing endlessly on the current furore over Historic Environment Scotland’s decision not to allow stalls and speeches after the forthcoming All Under One Banner march in Holyrood Park on the grounds that they, as an organisation, are a-political.

It is, on so many levels, an extraordinary statement to make. That HES are a-political goes – or should go – without saying. They are civil servants whose job is simply to care for the built heritage in Scotland, keeping the wheels on the bus regardless of which political party is in power.

As a person who also looks after heritage for living I can confirm that it is a nuts and bolts task, sometimes locally contentious (occasionally nationally) but never drifting into political waters.

Many of Scotland’s great buildings and places reek of political history, a fact which is both inevitable and irrelevant. As a custodian or museum curator our job is to acknowledge and interpret heritage, but it is never right – and it would be downright dangerous – to apply any political lens on either a personal or institutional basis.

People can be political, but the politics of the visitor is also not our business, and unless they are planning to damage or deface the heritage in our care, or threaten other visitors, then we have no platform from which to comment on their reason for being there.

The people who work at HES know all this, and are certainly not guilty of political lenses in the way they explore and interpret their monuments. Which makes the current politicisation of heritage as a whole by HES hard to understand – for that is what they have unwittingly done.

At best, it is a bungled mess of unintended consequences arising from miscommunication around some fragment of their mission statement, at worst it is an absolute betrayal of all that the heritage sector stands for – we aim to be impartial, inclusive, welcoming, fair. We could be better at it for sure, but these are heartfelt goals.

How on earth have HES come to this place? They have rushed at an enemy which was never there, while simultaneously retreating behind denial and being wounded by inference, while people who had never even considered that HES were part of the political landscape look on in frank amazement. Worse, they have provided a new target for the vocal few ready for a fight, and as someone passionate about our heritage I wish with all my heart that they had not done so.

HES have made a fundamental mistake. They have somehow convinced themselves that they are a third corner of a triangle of people and historic places, but there is no triangle, it has only ever been a two-way street between people and place. People have complex relationships with built and natural spaces, which acquire layers of history from the minute they are built or defined; history which (unless it is geological) is always made by people and variously coalesces around common purpose, celebration, creativity and conflict.

We seek out places which resonate with our beliefs, and mark places where significant things happen – ochre handprints on a cave wall, a talisman for fertility, a shrine, a mural on an abandoned factory. Our buildings have been created as tools for life, for staying safe and warm, being buried, worshipping God.

HES are caretakers, the janitors with the key and the mop bucket who care for all this. That is all HES are; they are the keepers of the built environment. They do not own it. They are not the arbiters of its soul, and above all they are not the thought police who decide why people choose to interact with heritage.

To do so is to tamper with pilgrimage, which is as old as time and only rarely to do with religion. Pilgrimage is a massive part of any heritage organisation’s business; I have been director of two sites which owed a substantial part of their income to having a particular emotional resonance. Neither was a church, neither was political, underlining the fact that as people we seek out places for a myriad of significances.

HES, who have a huge talent for creating policy and rules, have somehow hard-wired themselves into a corner where being a-political has become an active stance rather than passive, invisible position. They have ceased to be bystanders.

It is wholly unnecessary. Look at the National Trust for Scotland, who a few months ago welcomed the AUOB marchers across the finish line at their Bannockburn property, which was coincidentally (was it coincidental?) in the throes of a battle re-enactment. The battlefield of Bannockburn swarmed with saltires in a heady melding of people, politics and heritage. The café sold out, tickets to the exhibition were up. NTS fulfilled all their aims – engaging people with heritage and making the money to conserve it.

The NTS is not political, and nor would anyone coming away from Bannockburn that day even consider that the doors were opened because of some political or a-political stance. It simply wasn’t in the air. NTS did not compromise themselves by allowing an independence march to finish on their ground. They provided a safe place in which people could legally gather, and also loos, which were infinitely more of a draw than the speeches.

Stirling Castle is an almost equally super-charged historical site, and it was here that HES chose this week quite literally to come out and tell the 500-mile independence marchers effectively to get off their land, bizarrely calling the police to reinforce the message. The police were great, the marchers (who hadn’t even crossed the threshold) gained publicity beyond their wildest dreams and HES looked very, very political.

Holyrood Park has none of the affiliations of Bannockburn or Stirling – or it didn’t until now, but HES may just have created a nationalist icon which would in my view be the worst outcome of all.

HES are beleaguered and facing who-knows-what this Saturday when the marchers (lots of cheery families, grannies, dogs as well as the diehards and politicos of all hues and none) make their own fun afterwards in this very public park to which they all have a right. I suspect it will be a forest of flags. I hope everyone keeps it nice.

How HES play it from now on is crucial. If they have have any sense, they will just ignore the whole show and let it be. I know good people in HES, many of whom will be shaking their heads in despair. Like me, they will be regretting the politicisation of heritage which has been triggered, and which should never have been. For the time being at least, I cannot forgive HES for bringing my world into disrepute.


The above is recreated from this source with permission.

Support Alex Salmond #forFairness

I have been a member of the Scottish National Party for 45 years, 20 of them as party leader and seven as First Minister of Scotland. I hope I have done the party and the broader cause of independence some service.

Apart from a political spat back in the 1980s, that has been a period of continuous membership. I truly love the SNP and the wider independence movement in Scotland. They have been the defining commitment of my life. But today I have written to the National Secretary of the Party resigning my membership.

I read carefully Nicola Sturgeon’s statement on Sunday and watched her television interview of a couple of days ago. She made it clear that the SNP have never received a single complaint about my personal conduct in my many decades of membership. And the Scottish Government have confirmed that they did not have any such complaint before this January, more than three years after I left office as First Minister. That is the record of 30 years of public service. So let me be clear again. I refute these two complaints of harassment and I absolutely reject any suggestion of criminality.

I believe that all such issues must be treated seriously, confidentially and through a fair process. In this case confidentiality has been broken greatly to my detriment and in a way which puts at serious risk the anonymity of both complainants. It urgently needs to be established who breached that duty of confidence and why.

It seems obvious that Nicola feels under pressure from other political parties to suspend me from SNP membership, given recent party precedents. For my part I have always thought it a very poor idea to suspend any party member on the basis of complaints and allegations. Innocent until proven guilty is central to our concept of justice.

However, I did not come into politics to facilitate opposition attacks on the SNP and , with Parliament returning next week, I have tendered my resignation to remove this line of opposition attack. Most of all I am conscious that if the Party felt forced into suspending me it would cause substantial internal division.

In my letter to the National Secretary I state that it is my absolute intention to reapply for SNP membership just as soon as I have had the opportunity to clear my name. I hope that is by the end of this year. In the meantime I would urge no one else to relinquish their SNP membership.

My entire focus for the next few weeks is preparing for Judicial Review, against the Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government, the initial stages of which began yesterday. My intention is to secure fairness because that is necessary to clear my name.

I am enormously grateful for the messages of support and encouragement I have received, including from people of other political persuasions. I can assure them all that I will keep on going.

The costs of a Judicial Review in the highest court in the land are huge. Many have asked how they can help directly. Therefore I have established a crowd funder to assist with costs. All sums received will contribute exclusively to progressing the Judicial Review and any money left over will be used to support good causes in Scotland and beyond.

Finally, I will continue to serve the independence movement in whatever role and whatever capacity I can. It is a rare thing to be devoted to a cause more important than any individual, it is a precious thing to cherish it and my intention now – as it has always been – is to protect and sustain that cause.

Press conference video & statements: President Quim Torra, Clara Ponsati and Aamer Anwar. 11/07/18

Video from press conference at the Principal Hotel, Edinburgh.


Good Morning I would like to start by welcoming President of Catalonia Quim Torra and his delegation to Scotland.

Both myself, Clara and the President met last night and I understand this is his first visit to Scotland and it is a significant moment for Scotland in strengthening its ties with Catalonia.

I have a statement to make on behalf of my client – following which Clara will speak briefly and then the President.

I will then open it up to questions but ask you to identify yourself and the media organisation you work for.

So to begin.

My client Clara Ponsati utterly refutes the charges she faces.

Clara is an esteemed University Professor who has never committed a criminal act in her life, yet if extradited faces the prospect of spending the rest of her life in prison, up to 33 years for peacefully promoting a referendum,

Across Europe Spain stands accused of conducting desperate and politically motivated prosecutions.

Clara is accused of orchestrating violence, yet the warrant fails to ever specify a single act of violence or incitement attributable to her.

Unsurprisingly there is no mention of the actions of several thousand Spanish police and 6000 State Security Forces accused of carrying out brutal unprovoked attacks on a civilian population at over 2000 polling stations.

In a civilised democracy Police Officers are the guardians of law and order, who protect the public they serve., yet the actions of the Spanish police on October 1st has been compared to the dark days of Francoism.

We ask the Spanish judiciary if they are truly impartial why no warrants have been issued for a single Spanish police officer for their violent actions against a defenceless population.

As for the question of misappropriation of public funds for the referendum; this is a charge that Clara could face up to 8 years in prison.

It is of note however that in a ruling of 9 November 2017, the Spanish Supreme Court acknowledged that there had been no misappropriation of public funds by the Catalan government.

They classify the charge as being one that involves ‘corruption’ which is recognised as an ‘abuse of power for personal gain’, we are yet to see how that applies to Professor Ponsati.

The warrant is described as a grotesque distortion of the truth.

On Monday 2nd July the Advocate Depute (The Prosecutor from Crown Office) acting on behalf the Kingdom of Spain met with our legal team and advised that on the matter of dual criminality concerning charge 1 (rebellion) in the European Arrest Warrant, that they consider that the test can be met having regard to charges in Scotland of:
i) conspiracy to alter the constitution by criminal means;
ii) and treason.

And the charge of misappropriation of public funds still remains.

Clara Ponsati maintains her innocence of the charges and we will robustly defend her from extradition to Spain.

Clara regards it as surreal that she is now accused of Treason, when the Spanish State blames the Catalan Government for executing a law which was democratically voted on in the Catalan Parliament democratically elected by the Catalan people.

To put the charge of Treason in context, imagine tomorrow if the First Minister of Scotland were to call a referendum and Theresa May sent in 15,000 police officers to attack voters and then imprisoned half the Scottish Government whilst issuing warrants for Nicola Sturgeon and others who fled to Europe, threatening them with over 30 years in prison for treason if convicted.

Of course that scenario is an impossible nightmare but that is the situation Catalonia faces today.

The Spanish judicial authorities stand accused of criminalising the opinions and votes of parliamentarians and ministers in the exercise of their duties and endangering the very functioning of the rule of law.

There are serious reasons to believe that the extradition to Spain of Clara would violate the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair trial, the right to freedom of expression, the right to freedom of thought, the right of association and the right to liberty and security.

Contrary to Spain’s, Clara Ponsati had no role in spontaneous demonstrations.

Voting within the framework of the referendum took place peacefully on 1 October 2017.

Contrary to the arguments of the arrest warrant, the gathering of citizens constitutes an exercise of their right to freedom of association and cannot be compared with an act of violence.

Around 8,000 police officers were deployed by Madrid and 6000 state security forces. The National Police and the Civil Guard violently entered the polling stations in order to prevent citizens from voting and did so using brutal and unprovoked violence on unarmed Catalans. More than 1,000 people needed medical attention.

Clara Ponsati was neither a member of a political party, nor an elected parliamentarian but an Education minister for only two and a half months and now is accused of committing the equivalent crime of Treason.

We welcome President Torra’s support for Clara Ponsati.

A true democracy guarantees the absolute freedom of expression for MPs and ministers in exercising their powers.

They must be able to speak freely, independently and without fear of any form of prosecution or punishment.

It is the sovereign right of the Catalan people to determine the form of government best suited to their needs and it can never be illegal under international law for a people to express their right to self-determination.

Spain accuses Clara of a great number of criminal acts but these are political acts protected by the right to freedom of thought, the right to freedom of expression and freedom of association.

We have a concern that if Clara is returned to a prison in Madrid that Spain cannot and will not guarantee her safety and she faces a real threat to her life whether it be from the authorities or fellow prisoners.

Of course Spain is a modern democracy which abides by the rule of law, but with over half of the Catalan government either in exile or in custody, the prosecutions are described as a politically motivated attempt to criminalise the desire of independence of more than 2 million voters.

For Spanish officials to talk of ‘decapitating the Catalan Government’ is not democratic or peaceful.

Such human rights form the foundation of any civilised democracy, yet sadly Spain appeared to many as hell bent on ripping up its image as a modern democracy with a return to its Francoist past.

President Quim Torra met with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on the 9th July and we wait with hope to see if Mr Sanchez has the courage to implement a political and peaceful solution.

At 5pm a meeting will take place with the President and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at Bute House.

And later on this evening a private meeting will take between the President, his delegation and members of the SNP, the Greens and the Labour Party and the President of the Scottish Trade Union Congress.

It is absolutely right that our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has refused to interfere in the legal process, had she done so then her government would be no different to that of Spain.

Clara’s fate lies in the hands of the Scottish judiciary who are recognised as acting impartially and are fiercely independent.

The full hearing will begin on the 30th July at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

I would now like to introduce Professor Clara Ponsati who will be followed by President Quim Torra.

Statement by the President Quim Torra today:-

1. Arguments específics Roda de premsa amb la consellera Clara Ponsatí

En relació als presos polítics:

1. On Monday I met the Prime Minister of the Spanish Government and I told him about the unfair situation of political prisoners and exiles, including Clara Ponsati.

2. I will insist that the political prisoners and exiles are not bargaining chips, because we believe that their imprisonment is unfair and who has a problem is the Spanish justice.

3. Spanish justice is persecuting to Clara Ponsat, among others political exiles, for defended every catalan to exercise his right to vote October first.

4. Catalan independentism has made Europe to focus on what is happening in Spain and to realize that here there is still Francoism on the streets, fascist outbursts and an intolerable democratic regression at any level.

5. We would like to have Cameron’s same response when they negotiated how the Scots should exercise their right of self-determination. As Catalans, we want to have the same solutions and proposals that other Europeans have had.

6. We cannot go beyond what other European citizens have been able to enjoy in a peaceful and democratic way, which is how to solve things in the twenty-first century. Because we Catalans have to resign ourselves to not having standards of respect, plurality and democracy as other European citizens have. Is it that we are less European citizens than the Scots? Is that we have less of rights than them?

7. We will not stop until they are free.

8. We respect the separation of powers in the United Kingdom, which is why we agree with the Scottish Government about the importance of protecting the process and the independence of the legal system. A separation of power, which, as we have seen in recent months, does not exist in Spain.


The First Minister of Scotland and the President of Catalonia met at the First Minister’s official residence in Edinburgh this evening.

It was a cordial meeting aimed at strengthening the ties of friendship between Scotland and Catalonia. Both leaders discussed the challenging and complex political situation in Catalonia, and agreed that the way forward for Catalonia must be through peaceful and democratic solutions involving dialogue between the Spanish and Catalan authorities, respecting the right to self-determination of the Catalan people.

Both leaders agreed that in 21st century Europe issues of self-determination must ultimately be addressed through democratic referendums.

The terms of such referendums should be agreed between both parties and have corresponding international recognition.

The 2014 Scottish independence referendum agreed between Edinburgh and London is the best example of such a process, underlining the fact that issues of constitutional sovereignty should always be resolved through peaceful and democratic means.

Aamer Anwar & Co
Solicitors & Notaries

Extradition case of Her Majesty’s Advocate (For the Kingdom of Spain) v Clara Ponsati ( commencing on 30th July at Edinburgh Sheriff Court)

Westminster forced to admit the Scottish people are Sovereign

What happened?

The SNP have played an ace card when using their allocated Opposition Day debate. Standing order number 36 was agreed and resolved without contention late last night in the House of Commons. This was a motion proposed for debate by Ian Blackford the SNP MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber and leader of the SNP group at Westminster.

What was the motion?

“That this House endorses the principles of the Claim of Right for Scotland, agreed by the Scottish Constitutional Convention in 1989 and by the Scottish Parliament in 2012, and therefore acknowledges the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of government best suited to their needs.”

In a nutshell, the SNP were looking for unambiguous admission from Westminster that Scotland has the absolute right to determine its own political future based on the will of the Scottish people.

Why is this important?

There has been a lot of talk since September 2014 (including from Unionist politicians) that Westminster holds a constitutional overlordship when it comes to Scotland. Meaning for example, Scotland can only have a meaningful and legal independence referendum if its agreed through a Section 30 order with the UK government as happened in 2014. It means that all of the ‘once in a generation and once in a lifetime’ bleating from unionists means absolutely nothing and that Scotland has the right to determine its future unilaterally based on the will of the people.


What’s the history?

1320 – The Scottish right to self determination based on the people being sovereign is an ancient political principle in Scotland and was first officially document in the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320.

1689 – Aspects of The ‘Claim of Right’ act of 1689 were written into Scottish constitutional law effectively ensuring no royal prerogative would sit above the Scottish Parliament. Especially interesting as Scotland is part of a UK that where all legislation gains royal assent, the exact opposite of our constitutional traditions. It’s worth noting though that the claim of right is not so much a legal standpoint as an accepted constitutional position in Scotland.

1989 – On the journey towards devolution and a Scottish Parliament the Campaign for a Scottish Assembly crafted a new version which was signed by the vast majority of Scottish politicians from all parties as well as churches, trade unions and other civic bodies, which read:

“We, gathered as the Scottish Constitutional Convention, do hereby acknowledge the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs, and do hereby declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberations their interests shall be paramount.

We further declare and pledge that our actions and deliberations shall be directed to the following ends:

To agree a scheme for an Assembly or Parliament for Scotland;

To mobilise Scottish opinion and ensure the approval of the Scottish people for that scheme; and

To assert the right of the Scottish people to secure implementation of that scheme.”

2012 – The Claim of Right was debated in the Scottish Parliament to allow MSPs to re-endorse the claims of the sovereignty of the Scottish people. At the time the then Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called on all parties to “recommit” to its principles.

2018 – Westminster debates Scotland’s Claim of Right and the motion is resolved unopposed. The full debate can be found at Hansard and is an interesting and highly entertaining read if you have a little (ok, a lot of) time.

Let us commend the efforts of the SNP MPs at Westminster for maintaining a high momentum following the walkout and subsequent disruption tactics coincidentally during some football match. This clears the way for the next independence referendum. Its a political masterstroke and removes all debate around who calls the shots when it comes to Scotland’s political future – it’s the Scottish people.


Today was the day we said enough

There was an inevitability about what happened in that sham of a democracy they call Westminster. Scotland’s perspective being completely shut out on something as fundamentally important as the EU withdrawal bill is wholly unacceptable as is the power grab of devolved issues that rightfully belong with the Scottish Parliament. How long could democratically elected representatives sit in the UK parliament being ignored? How much more contempt could they be expected to endure?

They owed it to their constituents to take action. It was always going to happen and the only surprise is that it didn’t happen before now. The surge in new SNP membership is testament to the approval the walkout has been met with in Scotland. Even Murray Foote, former Daily Record editor and so-called architect of the vow has declared for independence given the situation is so appalling.

The patience shown by the SNP MPs has been incredible but they were at breaking point, something I wrote about 16 months ago. However, if the SNP call an independence referendum off the back of this perfect example of how the union is failing Scotland, then they really have played their cards close to their chest and displayed the perfect political poker face.

As I write, independence supporters are congregating outside Holyrood in support of the Westminster walkout and demanding the SNP use their mandate and the union be dissolved. Let’s hope at last this is the final trigger point that will see Scotland become a normal independent country as opposed to the doormat of another country. The SNP now have a responsibility to prove this is not the stunt they are being accused of and see this through with a referendum within their mandated period.

During the #SNPWalkOut, several SNP MPs spoke live to SNP MP Martyn Day on behalf of Independence Live (Hannah Bardell’s live footage also added).

“It’s a testament to [Ian Blackford’s] courage that the SNP have had wall-to-wall coverage today and that everyone is talking about the devolution power grab and EU withdrawal bill” Joanna Cherry, SNP MP for Edinburgh South West

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“Both prime ministers through the ‘vow’ offered us extensive and permanent new powers and that ‘vow’ was broken yesterday very clearly and there had to be a response.” Deidre Brock, SNP MP for Edinburgh North and Leith

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“I’ve had messages from across the world, from Iceland and elsewhere saying you’ve certainly put Scotland’s issues on the map.” Angus MacNeil, SNP MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar

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“Mundell has promised debate after debate and none have come through. His jaiket is on a very shoogly nail.” Douglas Chapman, SNP MP for Dunfermline and West Fife

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“We have been ignored, ridiculed and treated with contempt throughout. Today was the day we said enough.” Carol Monaghan, SNP MP for Glasgow North West

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“We walked out of PMQs today because finally we reached the end of our tether. We’re not standing for this nonsense anymore. This place puts you on a hamster wheel and tries to get you to waste your time.” Philippa Whitford, SNP MP for Central Ayrshire

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“What we saw yesterday was the devolution settlement being ripped to shreds in 15 minutes.” Stuart McDonald, SNP MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East

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“Ian Blackford had no option but to stand up and be accountable, not only to his own constituents, but to defend the parliament of Scotland.” Martin Docherty-Hughes, SNP MP for West Dunbartonshire

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“Not one Scottish MP was allowed to speak in the devolution debate. The #SNPWalkOut is a reaction in the only way that we can protest at the way that we have been treated at Westminster.” John McNally, SNP MP for Falkirk

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“Today has been a quite momentous occasion – it saw a definite change in tactics from the SNP here in response to the abject undermining of devolution by the British government. It is clear to me that Mundell must go and the Scottish Parliament must be respected.” Martyn Day, SNP MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk

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“Frankly, this place has became farcical” Hannah Bardell, SNP MP for Livingston

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FFS Let’s have a referendum!

The Scottish Parliament is under attack and its power being undermined. Brick by brick the foundations of the little devolved power we have is being eroded and undermined by the very people who promised we would lead the UK if we remained part of it. As a nation we do not have to accept this. We have all of the power we need to stop this. Where you ask? Look in the mirror. We are a sovereign people.

The Sewel Convention commonly known as ‘legislative consent’ provides that the UK Parliament may not legislate for devolved matters without the consent of the devolved legislature affected although Westminster still claims sovereignty over the devolved parliaments but as I say the Scottish people are sovereign and we can choose to detach ourselves from this failing union.

As an aside it was the same Sewel the legislation is named after that was later caught on camera snorting white powder in an orange bra with prostitutes. This is the people we allow as under secretary of state for Scotland and wield power over us. The UK Government has put through amendments to their EU Withdrawal Bill that effectively say even a straight refusal of consent by the Scottish Parliament would make no difference to the UK Parliament legislating in devolved areas. Feel the love Scotland.

In other words:

  • If we say yes we consent
  • If we say no we consent
  • If we refuse to answer we consent

This is about as far from democracy as it gets and runs a coach and horses through the principles of legislative consent, the Scotland Act and therefore the integrity of the Scottish Parliament whose views become legally irrelevant in this so called union of equals. It’s a very odd situation indeed that UK Gov is asking for agreement on a Bill while telling you all answers you give including silence means you agree.

Oceania has nothing on the UK

Apparently to Orwell’s “War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength” we can now add, “Consent is Consent; Refusal is Consent; Silence is Consent”. There’s never been a more blatant example of how powerless Scotland is as part of the UK and how the UK think nothing of treating us with total contempt. Refusal to consent is now legally consenting. Is this what No voters thought they were voting for in 2014?

The Welsh assembly under Labour has embarrassingly capitulated and given their consent. Perhaps not a surprise given they’re a unionist party and Wales voted for Brexit. The Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood who is the one actually fighting for the interests of Wales as a priority accused the Welsh Government of “selling Wales down the river”. It’s hard to disagree with that. The Welsh government claim to be ‘locking powers in’ but this is fantasy if you’re literally voting to make yourself powerless, irrelevant and easily bypassed.

Meanwhile Richard Leonard of the Scottish Labour but really London Labour Puppet Party ignores the constitutional crisis going on around him and turns a blind eye to Holyrood being under attack and asks a question about ambulance services during FMQs. Is this wilful ignorance or merely ineptitude? You decide.

Nicola Sturgeon made the point that Westminster will consider it has the consent of the Scottish Parliament if the Scottish Parliament objects or if it says nothing. In other words, consent will be assumed *regardless* of what the Scottish Parliament says. The First Minister added,

“If we are the last party to stand up for this Parliament then that is exactly what we will do”.

One partner in a relationship carrying on with a course of action affecting their partner but without their consent is commonly known as abuse. How can that be acceptable? How many more warnings do we need that we are being stripped of power and our wishes ignored? A referendum must be announced post haste before we have nothing left but the regret of what could have been and that referendum should be as in advance of March 29th 2019 as is feasible.

The chances are future circumstances will be less optimal due to a continuing power grab. FFS, let’s just have the referendum.

e-Voting in Scotland

In Scotland electronic voting may soon replace traditional paper ballots and polling stations as the Scottish Government plans to roll-out a pilot scheme to test this new digital approach to the electoral system.

In response to a letter organised by Webroots Democracy and co-signed by 30 leading academics and charity bosses, Minister for Parliamentary Business Joe Fitzpatrick MSP has reaffirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to the trialling of an electronic voting system.

The government outlined its commitment to improving its online services as part of the Digital Strategy for Scotland, this trial is part of that mission statement.

The governmental consultation on the trial of electronic voting or e-voting closed on the March 29th. According to the Scottish Government website it had been considering two methods in which to cast electronic votes. The first is electronic voting machines and the other internet or mobile phone voting.

A spokeswoman from the Scottish Government told DIGIT: “The responses to the consultation on electoral reform are being analysed. Once this is complete we will consider the scope and timing of electronic voting trials and where and when these trials will take place.”

Innovating the Voting System

The way in which people vote has remained relatively unchanged over the past 100 years, mainly in local polling stations using paper ballots. However, increasingly people are embracing technology to perform their daily transactions such as internet banking, aircraft boarding passes, touch screen supermarket checkouts and online shopping.

In response, the Scottish government has decided the time has come to revamp the current system. While e-voting would be new to Scotland it is already implemented and routinely used in countries such as India, the USA, Canada, Australia, Belgium and Estonia. The Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, France and Norway have trialled it or are considering doing so.

The Benefits of E-Voting

E-voting has the potential to significantly reduce not only the cost of elections but also the required human labour, carbon emissions and waste. For example, e-voting would reduce the cost of printing and transporting 4.5 million paper ballots and would require fewer staff to support local government elections especially at counting centres.

In the 2017 elections, 2% of votes were reject and thus not counted, the government believes that e-voting could lead to fewer rejected ballots. Despite the positives the government conceded that to use this method it would require new software, rigorous testing and would be costly in terms of time, money and other resources.

Fitzpatrick in a letter to Webroots said: “We see the pilots as an opportunity to explore how electronic voting can increase voter participation, provide voters with choice and flexibility over how they vote and assist groups of people who might find voting in elections challenging.”

Benefits as listed by the Scottish Government:

  • Increase voter participation
  • Provide voters with choice and flexibility over how they vote
  • Support the rotation of candidates’ names on ballot papers
  • Reduce the number of rejected ballot papers
  • People with visual impairments can utilise voice-activated interfaces, making it potentially easier to vote than on paper.
  • People whose first or preferred language is not English could choose to have voting instructions presented electronically in another language, including British Sign Language.
  • Armed forces personnel stationed abroad might find this a more practical way to vote than by postal or proxy vote.

Chief Executive at WebRoots DemocracyAreeq Chowdhury told DIGIT: “We are pleased that the Scottish Government has decided to explore this reform. Online voting will, in future, form an inevitable part of our democracy and it is right that we begin to understand how best this should work at the earliest opportunity.”

“An online voting option, alongside the existing methods of voting, has the potential to dismantle barriers to an independent and secret ballot for many voters with disabilities and vision impairments, as well as citizens overseas. For young people, online voting presents a method of voting that can meet the expectations of the digital age.”

Rigorous System Testing is Needed

Professor of Computing at Edinburgh Napier UniversityBill Buchanan told DIGIT: “My greatest worry here is that the system that is implemented has not been properly reviewed, as any failure in it could cause a complete lack of trust in the system, and will hold back future developments.”

“This system would have to be open to everyone to review from a technical point-of-view, and to thus make sure it did not have any weaknesses that could be exploited. A closed system often has problems, and secret information can be leaked.”

“Overall, if we can address the security concerns, I really want things to go forward.  The process of gathering paper from a polling station and then carting it in a van to a counting station, and then getting humans to count the votes, just seems archaic, especially as there are so many cases where the end result has changed due to human counting errors. My greatest worry here is that the system that is implemented has not been properly reviewed, as any failure in its could cause a complete lack of trust in the system, and will hold back future developments. Along with this many of our existing electronic methods have serious security weaknesses, and cannot be properly trusted. A voting system which uses electronic mail and SMS messaging would often be too risky, unless it was fully reviewed and tested. Along with this a system which just identified the citizen purely with a username and a password would always be risky.”

“A step towards a credible system which, at least, captured the vote in an electronic way from a polling station and then for this to be sent to be back-end counting system would see a logical step forward. This system, though, would have to be open to everyone to review from a technical point-of-view, and to thus make sure it did not have any weaknesses that could be exploited. A closed system often has problems, and secret information can be leaked.”

“The future, though, is likely to be a fully integrated voting system and which are robust and secure. This system should preserve the privacy rights of the citizen and a full anonymization of the voting procedure, and where trust can be applied at every part of the process. This is likely to involve blockchain infrastructure and advanced cryptography and would have to be completed reviewed for its operation. This is especially important for the access methods for the polling device, and how citizens identified themselves. If Scotland were to move to a sovereign identity system, as we see in Estonia, then we can build a more trustworthy infrastructure for citizen engagement.”

“Overall voting in an election is only one part of this infrastructure, and we thus need to increase the engagement that our public sector has with citizens and communities. Finland and Estonia are role models just now in the way that the public sector infrastructure can be transformed in order to engage with citizens in a digital way.”



The Scottish Government Are Being Filibustered

Just over 1 year ago, March 28th 2017 to be exact The Scottish Parliament voted for a second referendum on independence by 69 to 59 in favour of seeking permission for a referendum before the UK leaves the EU. About 1 week earlier in advance of this Theresa May first uttered her ‘Now is not the time’ mantra for the first time.

From that vote, Nicola Sturgeon won approval for the Scottish Government to negotiate with the UK Government for a Section 30 order enabling a second independence referendum as happened in 2014. The request in the First Ministers own words was for this to happen between “…Autumn next year [2018] and the Spring of 2019” in her letter duly sent on behalf of the Scottish Government to Theresa May and the UK government.

For over 1 year now the UK government response to that formal request has been to shamefully give no formal response. Instead the MayBot has continued to publicly repeat her mantra with no reason moral, legal or democratic given. This is how we are treated in the ‘union of equals’. It’s how we always have been and its how we always will be.

The time is now and urgently so. It’s time for the Scottish Government to urgently force the answer one way or the other. It’s time for the Scottish Government to use the mandate we gave them in May 2016 when 69 of 129 MSPs were voted in on an independence referendum card. It’s time for Scotland to set out our own plan and path.

Increasingly there’s concern among independence supporters that the current inaction from the Scottish Government and mixed messages from SNP Parliamentarians will result in being Brexited against our will followed by an expired mandate in 2021 both things resulting in a situation where gaining independence will be infinitely more difficult. Various pro-independence commentators have had their say. Peter A. Bell has led the charge for a referendum at the earliest end of the window in September 2018 although as time drags on this is now highly unlikely. Peter has asked a series of pertinent questions around the consequence of delay and encouraging debate around UK Gov plans to strip the Scottish Parliament of power.

Peter is right: The Tories plan to legally challenge the Scottish Parliaments Continuity Bill in the Supreme Court. They plan to grab our devolved power residing in Brussels and create UK wide common frameworks and this is most likely a precursor to an overarching plan to turn the Scottish Parliament into a passive and powerless empty shell of unionist overlordship. The formidable Brit bullying, conning and spin machine is already working to stop us and Pete encourages urgency to avoid“the corrosive regret at having missed our opportunity. The shame of having consigned Scotland to its fate from fearful inertia”.

Stu Campbell is right: The inimitable thorn in the side of the mass media over at Wings Towers says the Scottish Government have little to lose by legislating for a referendum and poses the question ‘What if the UK government just says “Now is not the time” forever?’. Indeed, if there’s inevitability about a referendum attempt finding itself in court then let’s get the ball rolling without setting an actual referendum date.

James Kelly is right: The ScotGoesPop psephologist adds that before legislating for a referendum the Scottish Parliament should place a clear Yes/No deadline on the unanswered section 30 request. This is indeed important to be seen to have chosen the collaborative process before heading down the unilateral pathway.

Our adversories are taking us for mugs and playing us for time. They are acutely aware their own hand strengthens with each day of our inaction. We all may not agree on the exact timing of the referendum but we can unite towards the next series of required steps involving a section 30 response deadline, legislating for a second independence referendum and getting a supreme court decision following the inevitable challenge. That should leave enough time to use that precious mandate, just. It feels like we’re in the 90th minute of a football match with only injury time remaining, the opposition are time wasting and we’re giving them the ball back every time we have possession. The final whistle will indicate our defeat. Tic Toc.

Oh and Theresa, now is not the time for another immoral war based on false flags.