The P4Indy folk in Dumfries and Galloway have been giving away money! Chocolate money.
This is their cracking response to their local MP’s recent statement about the worth of a future independent Scotland’s own currency. He said the folk in Dumfriesshire wouldn’t want it. We’re hoping to hear back from Dumfries P4Indy on how many of his constituents refused the chocs! 🤣
Yesterday saw the first of the AUOB marches wend its way through Glasgow. It definitely wasn’t the right time to try exiting the M8 at Charing Cross! Police reckon 35,000 made it Glasgow Green but unofficial tallies put it at nearer 80,000. Either way it was a lot of independence supporters.
Here’s how Mary McCabe, one of our Glasgow P4Indy members and co-convenor of the Nationial P4Indy Group , describes it:
Yesterday was a great success for the pro-Indy movementl. Depending on whom you believe, numbers ranged from 150,000 on the total march to 35,000 actually making it all the way to Glasgow Green. At the Green, there were lots of stalls including our Pensioners for Indy double stall, lots of speeches and live music – with an efficient sound system! Yet at the end the park was so pristine clean that the organisers proudly printed a picture of it on FB.
Our new unicorn Greater Glasgow Pensioners banner shimmered beautifully above all the flags made a great show and was photographed and commented on several times. We didn’t get to all march together as planned; those who arrived early at the meeting point at the Suffragette Tree were moved on to different spots by stewards so that when I arrived with the banner there were only two – Jeannie Campbell and Brian Watson – left. As the march advanced up Kelvin Way the three of us slipped into a natural space in the parade – we genuinely didn’t realise this counted as queue-jumping! Meanwhile the large Edinburgh Pensioners for Indy contingent had to wait for over an hour on a hill in Kelvingrove Park before being allocated a slot and given the go-ahead. Still, and we all got to Glasgow Green in the end.
We had a double stall using both new gazebos. There were half a dozen of us serving and we were all kept busy with queues the whole time. The food and drink flew off the shelves. All 20 of the T-shirts were sold and there’s a waiting list of folk who were too late to get one (I’ll be ordering more this week). Virtually all of Sheena’s jewellery sold too. We were kept busy till after 6.30. The takings haven’t been counted yet but they must amount to several hundred.
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The remaining All Under One Banner marches for 2019 are:
Galashiels June 1st
Oban 15th June
Ayr 6th July
Campbeltown 27th July
Aberdeen 17th August
Perth 7th September
Edinburgh 5th October
It would be great to have big turnouts of P4Indy. I will be bringing the banner to every rally and several Penioners have said they’re planning to go. If the Waverley is repaired by the end of July it’s a lovely sail down to Campbeltown. The turnout at the smaller towns is likely to be 10,000 to 20,000 and at Edinburgh at least 150,000. Everyone smiling and singing with the crowds on the pavements waving and smiling back at us. At the end there’s music, speeches and stuff to eat and buy in a park. A great family day out.
The serious purpose is even more important: when people witness thousands of friendly cheerful folk, some from far afield, demonstrating for independence down their own high streets it gets harder for Unionists and their friends in the media to claim “There’s no appetite for independence. Nobody wants another referendum. Everybody’s bored with politics. Referendums are ugly and divisive.” If anybody feels like going further afield The Netherlands for Scottish Independence rally is on Saturday May 25th at the Hague. More details here: Netherlands Scottish Independence Rally. I attended the previous two years and will be going again this year wearing the new unicorn T-shirt and singing our song on the platform. Usually around 200 turn up and there are good speeches and music. No requirement to speak Dutch!
Some more photos, mainly taken by members of our Glasgow group.
This is me, Marlene, on IndyLive Radio last week. I was a bit nervous about doing it but Norrie was very good at getting the ball rolling and keeping it rolling! Once I got into my stride, I really enjoyed it. I asked Val Gauld, our Glasgow Twitter person, along as well. As you can see she was tweeting as I was speaking. She joined in the chat, too.
Norrie asked me about how P4Indy got set up. Then I had lots of time to tell his listeners about our AGM, about our push to help new P4Indy groups get off the ground and the funding we have for doing that, about the street stalls we run in and around Scotland, and about the Warblers, our concert party.
I also talked about the low numbers, only about 1 in 4, of over 65s who supported Yes in the 2014 campaign, some of the factors involved in that, and how we might engage with those. It does seem from recent polling done at the end of 2018 that more of our age group are coming round to Yes and it’s more like 1 in 3 support independence. Still some way to go and as I said to Norrie, it’s to help push that figure up that I joined P4Indy.
The hardest question Norrie asked me was what song track I wanted to play as we took a wee break from speaking. I’m not much of a pop music fan but I lived through the 60s and 70s so I settled for a Beatles’ track. I suspect Norrie was humouring my very old choice! After that I got to present that week’s community announcements from The National. And I got to announce the “Walloper of the Week Award” which last week went to Labour MP Paul Sweeney for his rather over the top response to ScotGov’s wee video about us being open and welcoming country. He thought it was “smarmy, saccharine, bourgeois tripe”. If you want to find out what else the man said and what responses he got, look here.
They call their studio The Broomcupboard! Aye, it is pretty wee. I liked it but it must be hard for Norrie and Kevin to work there all the time. Kevin showed me a bigger space in the same building that he hoped to be able to move to. And I hear that has now gone ahead. These guys are working on a shoestring when it comes to funding. If you can help them with a few spare pounds, please do. This is their website: IndyLive Radio
(This is the talk which Ashley gave at our AGM on 16th March 2019. Other AGM talks are here)
Over a period of a year as a Scottish Conservative Councillor there were three things that had radically transformed my political views from No to Yes.
The first is the impact of Conservative policies on people and communities.
As a new Councillor, I saw with my own eyes the impact the Conservative policies, especially DWP and welfare, had on the local people and communities. I have lost count of the amount of times I have met with various disabled people and those in difficulties who have been immensely impacted by the DWP at a local level. I, personally, have seen people reduced to tears because of Universal Credit, PIP, Access to Work and the Access to Elected Office Fund (UK).
I also speak from personal experience that the Access to Work application and assessment process is far too bureaucratic, obstructive and is no longer fit for purpose. Quite frankly, it is a horrible process and many charities have the same concerns.
The final straw was when I received an email from a team member of the Government Equalities Office in response to my open letter to the Minister for Women and Equalities. I had shared my delight in the Access to Elected Office Fund (UK) being reinstated for a year and urged the Minister to make it permanent. I also shared briefly how grateful I was for the support I received from the Access to Elected Office Fund *Scotland) and the positive impact it had on my campaign.
The UK Government acknowledged there are certain barriers, but they also stated that the Access to Elected Office (UK) was being wound up and that the political parties are expected to have ultimate responsibility to meet extra costs for disabled candidates.
I’m concerned the UK Government wants to shift the responsibility of costly unreasonable adjustments to political parties, like they do to employers with Access to Work, and like some employers, some political parties would not have a sustainable budget to meet the costly support needed. This would put a cap on disabled peoples ambitions to get into public and political life and certain types of work from anywhere in the UK.
The second reason is the UK Government itself.
In June 2017, I witnessed a snap General election with an unlevel playing field and a clear disadvantage for disabled candidates, thanks to the UK Government’s decision to not release the Access to Elected Office Fund (UK). I witnessed disabled people throughout the UK who would have loved but were unable to stand as MP candidates, including Scottish candidates, as they could not afford the support needed thanks to the Access to Elected Office Fund UK being reserved (had it been devolved it is likely the Scottish candidates would have had received funding from the Scottish Government).
Some of the political parties did not have the sustainable budget to provide nor had the time to fundraise for a snap election. Those that did manage, had to pay extra on top of the campaign itself. This example made me wonder if the same could potentially happen to the Access to Elected Office Fund (Scotland) if the Scottish Conservatives ever got elected into the Scottish Government.
All this demonstrates what life is like for disabled people under the current UK Government. It also made me wonder, what kind of society do I want to live in – a society under a selfish government that looks for any excuse to not support disabled or vulnerable people and favours the rich? Or a society where together, we can work for the removal of barriers to people’s economic, social and civic inclusion, and to promote our rights, choices and voices, as full and equal citizens? I decided to resign from the party because I refused to give up our right to participate in work, politics and in society on an equal level playing field under the current UK Government that wants to remove or alter policies that puts a cap on our ambitions.
The third reason is my belief in self-governance.
Along with all the other City of Edinburgh Councillors, we have the privilege to govern the Capital City of Scotland, and in my first year as a Councillor I saw with my own eyes how we run our City via the Council. We also received some insight into the various roles MSPs and MPs have due to working cross-government on various issues. Over time, it became more glaringly obvious to me the absurdity of reserved matters being dealt with by Westminster and not by the Scottish Government (bear in mind I voted No), as Scotland is capable of governing on reserved matters too. I became more convinced that Scotland needs political independence to build a different and better Scotland.
I have been brought up with the UK as my Country, and all my life I had seen the whole of the UK as my homeland. I don’t want to see new borders as I’m about finding new and practical ways to break down barriers and unite people as central to one of my progressive values. But I came to the realisation that to preserve and protect the values we have in Scotland we cannot have policies imposed on us from Westminster that jar with the kind of Scotland we are trying to build. So simply, we need independence. Scotland’s traditional liberal values of freedom, tolerance, equality, and individual rights need to be protected.
It was a question of which values were more important to me to serve in my ward, after all I campaigned under the vision of ‘Communities that Work for Everyone’ and I believe the Conservatives and UK Government cannot deliver that aspiration. What I personally struggled to come to terms with, was that for Scotland to get political independence we need to break up my homeland. We need to break up the old Union which does not work with devolution and work together as a new Union of Independent Nations as Equals cooperating with our UK neighbours on an equal footing while the Scottish people control their own destiny.
I believe it is time for Scotland to have political independence, to self-govern with the full freedom to build and shape Scotland’s future by our own hands the kind of country we want it to be and the kind of Government we want to have (one with a caring heart!). Yes, I freely admit we need to find new and practical solutions such as, the kind of currency we will have, the kind of central bank, and so on, but we can work, discuss, debate and share ideas together to find these solutions and build on the vision of an independent Scotland into reality.
Heck, if we can invent televisions, telephones, penicillin and insulin, to name a few – surely, we can create ways to self-govern our Country? Didn’t these inventions all start with a vision from those who could imagine a different future? The increasingly safe and sensible choice seems to be for Scotland to stay at the heart of Europe, independent and in control of our own destiny. It is time to embrace YES with full confidence in our future.
Sheena Stephen one of the people who runs our P4Indy stall in Glasgow went to the rally held on 24 March in George Square.. Here’s what she said about it:
Despite the miserable rainy morning we decided to go for it and get the Glasgow Group stall along to the Hope Over Fear Rally. It was a good call. The sun came out. And Mary, Neil & dug. Heather, Valerie & myself all enjoyed the experience. Even with rather gusty winds which put our stock of leaflets in danger of being blown away!
The atmosphere was happy and positive – which cheered me. There was a good range of age groups and many 50+ men & women came from all over central Scotland. Some America visitors joined us too. One chap asked if we were celebrating our independence day!
People were very generous with donations and all our saltire earrings, flags, and painted stones were disappearing quickly. Heather’s pained stones were popular with children though she made them to hold down our leaflets in the wind!
We did find time to take some photos.
This was also the occasion of the first tweet in our @P4IndyGlasgow twitter feed and as you can see from the stats it was a well-received tweet. Two days after that we had 1700 Twitter followers. Well done Val for setting it up and being our tweeter person!