Author Archives: MmH

A People’s Constitution

Julia Laurie, co-convenor of Pensioners for Independence Edinburgh and Lothians, writes:

The following recording is from our meeting held on Tuesday the 28th July. Some time ago, the Greater Glasgow P4Indy invited me to one of their meetings when Bob Ingram of A Constitution for Scotland was speaking. I found it wonderful listening to Bob, and my reaction was almost visceral.

I have read some of the Draft Constitution written by Professor Mark McNaught, of the University of Rennes. It is very good. But it was not until I heard Bob speaking that I realised how important it is that a Scottish Constitution should be written by the people for the people.

I contacted Bob, and was delighted when he agreed to talk to our group, the following recording is the outcome. Before listening, I urge you to read the Constitution Summary.

Bob Ingram speaking to Edinburgh & Lothians P4Indy on 28July 2020

I really hope you have enjoyed Bob’s talk as much as I did. I have now heard it 3 times, and it affects me the same way every time. As you will have heard Bob say, they started with 22 people 11 years ago, and now they are ready to launch their Constitution.

Have a look at their web site Constitution for Scotland . If you can donate, no matter how small the amount, it will enable them to launch the Constitution. As a well-known supermarket says “every little helps” or as we might prefer to say “Mony a Mickle Maks a Muckle”.

I believe this constitution is vitally important, please spread knowledge of its existence to all your friends, colleagues, and any other groups you are part of, and remember political parties come and go, but a country’s constitution is forever.

Campaigning in the New Normal

It’s been four months since Glasgow P4Indy folk have done any street campaigning. We’ve had online meetings. We’ve had some really good speakers. And we’ve had more people coming to the line meetings than come to our usual monthly meetings in Glasgow city centre.

That all changed a day or so ago when two of our group, Sheena Stephens and Mary McCabe, checked the coronavirus advice (and the weather forecast) and decided that it was OK to get outside and set up some of of our new banners. They tied them to the railings at Alexandra Park. And they set up a wee table with some leaflets. Mary and Sheena kept to the two metre distancing between themselves and any interested passers-by. But that still let them have some good conversations about where Scotland is now with respect to independence. Since then Sheena and Anna have taken a couple of the banners out to Milngavie and restarted our campaigning there – thanks, you two!

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I set up a zoom meeting with Mary and Sheena so that I could ask them more about where the banners came from and how the outing went. Val Gauld, another Glasgow P4Indy member, joined us.

You can listen here. Just a heads up, Mary’s audio was playing up. I had to edit some of it out and insert me saying what she’d said. 🥴 We’ll need to get that sorted for next time.

One of our group put the photos on Twitter and on the P4Indy Facebook page. Now we learn that over 14,000 people have seen the tweet. Good to know that people are picking up on P4Indy activism and also that there seems to be an appetite to get out on the streets again. In a safe way, of course.

https://twitter.com/P4IndyGlasgow/status/1287112530121433094

You can find out more about Grassroots Oban’s Banner Library And here are some of the banner designs in their collection. Use the < and > arrows to move through the slides or click on the thumbnails:

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The Importance of Knowing Your Country’s History

Dr Elspeth King is a Scottish curator, writer and social historian. She is known for her role as curator of social history at the People’s Palace Museum in Glasgow, as Director the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, and for her scholarship on the Scottish Suffrage movement.

Taken at her final lecture as Director of Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum (2018)

She studied Medieval History at University of St Andrews. One of the reasons she chose that topic was because Scottish History was not a recognised topic which counted towards a degree. It was said to be too pariochial. You could only study it as a special subject in second year, there was no set eading list, you had to discover your own.

Recently she joined an online meeting of Glasgow P4Indy and talked about the importance of teaching and learning your country’s history. As she says in the talk:

It’s my belief those who know and write about the past can understand the present and shape the future.

And I  know myself that the Scottish cause of independence has been held back by failure to teach Scottish history, literature & language in our schools. We have long suffered from what is known as internal  colonialism and the well documented Scottish cringe whereby all our culture is regarded as  inferior to our bigger southern neighbour.

You can listen to her talk and the Q&A afterwards here:

In 1974, King joined the People’s Palace, in Glasgow as a curator, where she remained for the next 16 years. During her tenure exhibitions such as Scotland Sober and Free, the 150th anniversary of the Temperance Movement, and Michael Donnelly’s 1981 exhibition of stained glass, gained record attendances.[2] The People’s Palace won European Museum of the Year in 1981 and the British Museum of the Year award in 1983.[3]

King left Glasgow to take on the role of director of the Dunfermline Heritage Trust[5][7], where she helped to oversee the restoration as a heritage centre of Abbot House,[8] the oldest secular building in the town.[9] Then 1994, she joined the Smith Art Gallery Museum in Stirling as its first Director, where she remained until her retirement in August 2018.[7] 

Some years back the BBC interviewed Elspeth on Good Morning Scotland. You can listen to that here:

BBC Scotland, Good Morning Scotland.

Economics & Currency in a New Scotland

This month’s meeting of Edinburgh & Lothians Group featured Andy Anderson. It was after the 2014 Referendum that Andy decided to do something about getting the message over to Scots about how we could create the kind of economy that would best support our nation and how we can set up our own currency. He has been writing, speaking and running study groups on those topics ever since.

Andy was born in the Glasgow ‘Toon Heid’ district, and at the age of 15 took up employment at the Blainhall Colliery in Fife. He was later a piper in the Cameron Highlanders.. Then as an elected official of the Miner’s Union the NUM. He received a scholarship from the Union to study at Ruskin College in Oxford, and later won a state scholarship to New College Oxford from which he graduated with a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

Andy worked for the National Union of Public Employees for 20 yrs, then retired to Skye, where he became involved in the Skye Bridge Anti-Tolls Campaign – ending in prison. Although to date he has never paid the toll or any fines! 

He is the author of ‘The Skye Bridge Story‘, ‘Currency in an Independent Scotland‘ and co-author of ‘Moving On: An economic case for Scottish Independence‘.

You can listen to the talk and the discussion afterwards here:

In his talk, Andy covered two main topics:

Money

  • Money is not important. It’s wealth that is important and Scotland is a very wealthy country.  First of all we need the political power to run our own country and then we need our own currency. 
  • Can we do that? Well, Iceland has with a population the size of Edinburgh with fewer resources

Scotland’s Wealth

  • How do we get the wealth of our nation into our pockets here in Scotland?
  • We have all this wealth and yet it doesn’t seem to be available to us to create the society we want?
  • How do we move from where we are and get to the kind of society we want?
  • There are examples of how to do this…. eg UK at end of WW2 we were very badly off and yet we created wealth in the years after that in a very short period of time. We applied Keynesian economics. In fact Keynes was advising the Labour Gov post war. It was done then and it can be done again.

The questions that Andy was asked after his talk covered a wide range :

  • Is it only a sovereign state that can set up a central bank
  • Are SNP setting things up in the way the Scottish people want? eg with the Growth Commission ? Are they not packing their advisory groups with neo-Liberals?
  • Taxation after independence
  • Devolved  Powers  will never let us run our own economy in the ways we want.
  • International Credit Rating for an independent Scotland
  • What should we do first after independence? First, we have to have political independence. We may have different views on how to proceed with currency but that’s not a problem. We all want independence. So we work together for independence and after that we can debate the best way forward. 
  • Public and private ownership
  • How quickly can we set up our own currency?
  • Do we need a lender of last resort?
  • Is it politicians we need to get this message over to and educate them about currency?
  • Do you think SNP & First Minister still want independence?
  • The UKGov and media will tell us we can’t afford to go it alone. We need to be ready to refute that.

Craig Murray: Ways Forward To Independence

On 3 July, Glasgow P4Indy group hosted a digital meeting to hear Craig Murray speak about Ways Forward to Independence especially those avenues available to us internationally. After his talk Craig took questions from the meeting. Sixty people joined us for the event from all over Scotland.

You can listen to the talk and the Q&A here:

STOP PRESS: We have moved to a new mailing setup and there have been a few glitches. If you emailed us to send you the link to Craig Murray’s meeting but then you didn’t receive a reply from us, can you email us now to info@pensionersforindependence.scot. It will help us sort out the glitch and make sure we have you on our maillist. Thank you!