Category Archives: Edinburgh & Lothians

Building A Resilient Scotland – with Craig Dalzell of Commonweal

Dr Craig Dalzell, Head of Research at Commonweal, spoke to Edinburgh & Lothians Group about a set of recent policy papers with the umbrella title of “A Resilient Scotland”.

Why Resilient?

Because we need to emerge successfully from Covid. And we will have to deal with the fall out of Brexit. Scotland will need a great deal of resilience. And if – in the not too distant future – we are setting up as an independent country then our resilience will be put to good use!

Craig’s talk is 25 minutes long and followed by a lively Q&A session. You can listen to it here:

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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.

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.

Our Article In the National

The article was published in the National on 28 May. We were asked to contribute to the series which they are running just now highlighting the groups who have received grants from the Scottish Independence Foundation.

Here’s the text of the article which was written by Alan Logue co-Convenor of our National Group.

Our age group had the highest proportion of those who rejected constitutional change in 2014. We reformed Pensioners for Independence in early 2017 because we considered that a group run by pensioners was better placed to put our message across, raise the issues that most concern us – especially those that failed to convince us to vote Yes in 2014 – and convince our peers of the benefits of constitutional change.

Edinburgh was the first group to be convened and after some months Greater Glasgow followed and some activities started in Aberdeen and Perth. Street stalls were run, speakers were arranged and local meetings held.

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