Yesterday, had things been otherwise, I would have been up in Arbroath celebrating the 700th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration. I’m sure that many of you would have been there too. And I’m sure that at some point we will be there enjoying a belated gathering.
In the meantime we have Lesley Riddoch & Charlie Stuart to thank for this film about the Declaration. And also to thank Patrick Doyle for the original score.
You can find out more about the making of the film in Lesley’s own blog post.
On Saturday 20,000 people (according to the organisers) or 10,000 people (according to the police) squeezed themselves into Glasgow’s George Square to listen to an array of speakers on the theme of Scottish Independence.
As is usual it was all videoed by the IndependenceLiveStreaming team and if you missed it, or couldn’t hear it, you can listen again now.
It was quite a line-up:
To help you find each of the speakers here are the timings in the video:
@ 18mins: Mhairi Black MP
@ 34mins: Maggie Chapman, Convenor of Scottish Independence Convention
@ 44mins: Valentina Servera Clavell from Catalonia
@ 1h 6mins: Patrick Harvie MSP, Scottish Greens
@ 1h 16mins: Paul Kavanagh of Wee Ginger Dug
@ 1h 26mins: Suzanne McLaughlin, Women for Independence
@ 1h 34mins: Janey Godley, Isa MacNamee and a’ the Sandras
@ 1h 42mins: Mike Russell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Government Business & Constitutional Relations
@ 1h 51mins: Humza Yusaf MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Justice,
@ 2h Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland
And look – Glasgow Pensioners for Indy were there too!
By coincidence, in the same week as we have been promoting our new leaflet on Pensions, a motion was passed at the SNP Conference calling for an increase of State Pension in an Independent Scotland to the same level as the OECD average and supporting the commissioning of a Scottish State Pension Plan. The data referred to in the motion echoes much of the information on our leaflet.
You can download a PDF file with all our data on State Pensions and how ours compares to other developed countries: Pension Data
Or for a quick idea of how another small country much the same size as Scotland is doing with their State Pension, this will give you the general idea:
Now I bet most of us would be pleased if our State Pension was the same as Ireland’s. But Ireland’s State pension itself is still below the average for EU countries. Here’s how UK, Ireland compares with average State Pensions:
The UK pension is 29% of average pre-retirement earnings. We’ve used the data for men only as the current changes to women’s retirement age makes their data more complex. Ireland’s pensions is 42% of pre-retirement earnings. But the average EU Pensions is 71%. In other words EU average pension is almost two and a half times ours, in terms of pre-retirement earnings. If you use £145 as UK Pension, ie somewhere between £125 and £163, then we’d be receiving £355 a week.
Is this going to be possible in a newly independent Scotland? Well, certainly not immediately, but at least we’d have a Parliament at Holyrood who’d likely be trying to get us up to that level. SNP would be trying to do that and it’s not a stretch to surmise that the Scottish Greens, Labour and maybe LibDems would also support it. And that would be much better than what we have at the moment : State Pensions are not devolved to Holyrood but are instead in the hands of Westminster and whoever the English electorate votes into power. A Scottish State Pension Plan is the first step. Oh, wait, the first step is an independent Scotland.
Back in 2014, three times as many over 65s voted to stay in the UK as voted for independence. One of the reasons P4Indy exists is to persuade our age group of the benefits of Scotland being independent.
To that end we have produced an A5 double-sided leaflet that acknowledges the concerns of older people and compares them to the concerns of the younger generation. It’s meant as a simple small handout to give to friends, neighbours, families. Something that might get them thinking – whichever generation they are in.
We want to encourage grannies and grandads to talk to their grandchildren and great nephews and nieces about independence. And vice versa. Because we reckon that if we did more of that, we would all understand each other better and understand that there is an overlap between the concerns of different generations. And some of us unpersuaded oldies would realise that everyone’s concerns can be addressed in an independent country operating so as to strengthen our society and our values, and to look after our people.
Glasgow P4Indy group invited John Drummond to their August meeting today to talk about a Scottish Constitution. John, along with Canon Kenyon Wright, was one of the founders of the Constitutional Commission, back in 2005. And on the Commission’s website you find these three principles underpinning how they have tried to progress the idea of a written constitution for Scotland:
The work of the Constitutional Commission starts from three axioms. Firstly, that legitimate sovereignty in Scotland resides in the “whole community of the realm”, and not in the Queen-in-Parliament at Westminster.
Secondly, that a written and entrenched Constitution, endorsed by the whole community, guaranteeing the rights of citizens, and delimiting the powers, duties and responsibilities of the institutions of State, is necessary in order to establish the right relationship between the State and the people in a liberal democracy.
Thirdly, that liberal democracy cannot exist merely in procedural terms, but must be sustained by civic, humane and democratic values.
you can find out more here: Constitutional Commission John is currently giving this talk to Indy supporting groups all over Scotland so if you’re interested, contact him via this website.
The video below is John giving the talk a few months back. It’s approximately what he said in Glasgow today. But because since this version from March 2019, the UK is in the grip of a constitutional crisis, we heard a lot more about the current attempts by Boris Johnson to prorogue Parliament and what that could presage for the Scottish independence movement.