Referendum 2014
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Salmond tells Bill Clinton: independence is best way for Scottish identity

Salmond tells Bill Clinton: independence is best way for Scottish identity | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Alex Salmond tonight said independence would offer the "best expression" of Scottish identity, in a direct response to criticism from Bill Clinton.

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Referendum 2014
The Scottish independence referendum and the debate about Scotland's constitutional future
Curated by Peter A Bell
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Cameron's colleagues try to hide him from campaign | Scottish National Party

Cameron's colleagues try to hide him from campaign | Scottish National Party | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

David Cameron’s plans to be based in Scotland for the final two weeks of the referendum campaign have been criticised by his UK Government colleagues – amidst concerns that his unpopularity will damage the No campaign.

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Independence and the Economy - The Facts - YouTube

Share the video that proves Scotland will be a wealthy independent country. Scotland can more than afford to be independent and independence will make Scotla...


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Independence: Supreme Court appeal for prison vote

Independence: Supreme Court appeal for prison vote | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
TWO prisoners have taken their legal battle for a vote in September’s Scottish independence referendum to the UK Supreme Court.


Peter A Bell's insight:

I approach the question of votes for prisoners in the same way that I did the matter of votes at 16. If we aspire to a truly inclusive, participative democracy then the default position must be that EVERYBODY gets a votes. Rather than debating who should be entitled to vote the onus should be on those who would have certain groups or categories of people excluded from the democratic process to justify such exclusion.

It is fairly easy to justify the exclusion of infants and young children who cannot be expected to have a sufficient understanding of the process itself, never mind the issues. It is increasing difficult to justify exclusion as people get older. By the time we get to 16-year olds the justifications disappear to be replaced by rationalisations that cannot be sufficient grounds for denying the principle of inclusiveness.

With regard to prisoners, it is not possible to justify a blanket exclusion for the simple reason that prisoners do not constitute a homogeneous category in anything like the way that age-defined groups do. They are, as a group, every bit as diverse as the general population.

And the same can be said of the reasons for their incarceration. A blanket exclusion from the democratic process equates those imprisoned for rape and murder with those locked-up for shoplifting and non-payment of fines. It treats first-time offenders the same as hardened criminals.

And we have the anomalous situation where an individual given a custodial sentence for a particular offence is excluded while someone given a suspended or non-custodial sentence for the same offence is still allowed to vote.

It may well be possible to justify exclusion of certain individuals, But the general rule must be that as many people as possible are brought into the democratic process.


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Alex Salmond under fire over Freedom City claim

Alex Salmond under fire over Freedom City claim | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: Politicians hit out at Alex Salmond yesterday accusing him of playing politics on the opening day of the Commonwealth Games when he said Glasgow would be called “Freedom City” after voting Yes in the independence referendum.

Peter A Bell's insight:

Let's face it, the British nationalists were going to put on a show of righteous indignation whatever Alex Salmond said. Just as they were always going to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear as David Cameron and his British Labour pals tried to hijack the Commonwealth Games for the unionist cause. It's no more than the unabashed double-standards and hypocrisy that we've seen from the anti-independence mob throughout the referendum campaign.

All of this would be easy to dismiss but for the fact that it is symptomatic of a very disturbing trait that seems to be pretty ubiquitous among those determined to deny the sovereignty of Scotland's people and defend the ruling elites of the British state. I refer, of course, to the conviction among propagandists for the union that they can do no wrong. That anything they do or say, however reprehensible in any other context, is fully justified when it is in defence of the structures of power and privilege which define the British state.

There are few things in politics more dangerous than the combination of fervent patriotism and a sense of righteous mission such as pervades British nationalism.


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Festival of Cliché

Festival of Cliché | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
The whole country is divided like never before. Households are split. Relationships bitterly at peril. No, not the indyref but the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. Maybe we should have blown up...


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Austerity Damages Business - the case for social investment from a business perspective

Austerity Damages Business - the case for social investment from a business perspective | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

By Tony Banks - Chairman of Business for Scotland Austerity is damaging to business and Scotland desperately needs social investment rather than further cuts. Our society has suffered badly from the austerity cuts of the UK Government and our business prospects have suffered from them as well. We


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The BBC, home of the facts

The BBC, home of the facts | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
There's an article on the BBC website today with the self-explanatory title of "Scottish independence: How would the UK fare without Scotland?" On the left is what it said yesterday (that losing Sc...


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SCOT goes POP!: Come On In, Scotland! (Or 'My trip to the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, plus yet another rubbish photo of the Queen')

SCOT goes POP!: Come On In, Scotland! (Or 'My trip to the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, plus yet another rubbish photo of the Queen') | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

So, yes, I'm just back from Celtic Park.  I hadn't been planning to go to the opening ceremony until a few weeks ago, when I got an email offering restricted view tickets for only £20.  I thought to myself, "well, you get what you pay for, so I'm bound to be right behind a pillar", but as it turned out it was fantastic value for money - I could see pretty much everything.  And having just read through some of the comments on Wings, it's probably just as well I was there in person, because I don't think watching it on the BBC would have been good for my health.  Was Cameron really a guest on The One Show? I mean, seriously?  How the hell did they justify that, given that we're now in the regulated campaign period, and especially after they banned Alex Salmond from appearing on a rugby broadcast a couple of years ago?  And what was the logic for it anyway?  Scotland is the host country, not the UK, and as I understand it the London government has contributed absolutely nothing to the costs of the Games - 80% came from the Scottish Government, and 20% from Glasgow City Council.  (Contrast that with the 2012 Olympics when we were all required to stump up for London's party.)



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Who are the Scots?

Who are the Scots? | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
The future doesn't come with guarantees. We know that. But a Yes vote can guarantee that the choice would remain in our hands.

Are we really going to give that away on September 18th? Are ...


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Yes Scotland Poster Comp

Yes Scotland Poster Comp | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Brilliant entries are coming in for our Yes poster competition. We'll be featuring some as they come - then post them all online for you to see. This (above) from Ciaran Murphy. The deadline...


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BBC Scotland told to rethink news output amid questions over indy balance

BBC Scotland told to rethink news output amid questions over indy balance | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Scottish audiences believe BBC Scotland needs a "thorough reassessment" of its news output and have questioned its in impartiality covering the independence referendum.


Peter A Bell's insight:

How many different bodies have to criticise the BBC, on broadly the same grounds, before something is done to break the culture of arrogant complacency that pervades the management of this once great institution? Who supposes, for even a moment, that this report will have any more effect than any of the other damning indictments of BBC Scotland?

I have always been a staunch supporter of the BBC as a bastion of public service broadcasting. But the corporation's conduct over the course of the referendum campaign has been indefensible. The prohibiting of comments on Scottish news and politics sites alone should have been enough to bring mass sackings of the managers responsible for such gross discrimination against licence-payers in Scotland. Add to this the catalogue of instances of blatant bias and it becomes obvious that this organisation is not fit for purpose.

If the BBC is losing the support of people such as myself then it is doomed. And if the BBC is doomed then so is public service broadcasting. History will revile the people responsible for this wanton act of cultural vandalism.

Sadly, I fear it is already too late to rescue BBC Scotland from the depredations of a management which seems oblivious to the effects of its conduct. The only hope of saving public service broadcasting in Scotland is independence and the power that will bring to effect a root and branch overhaul with the creation of a new Scottish Broadcasting Corporation.

Just one more reason for voting Yes.


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Independence: Firms urged to register in England

Independence: Firms urged to register in England | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
SCOTLAND’S small businesses have been told it may be “beneficial” to set up registered offices south of the Border after independence.

Peter A Bell's insight:

The FSB is to be commended for noting that there is only a "question" over Scotland's continuing membership of the EU in the event of a No vote. But I'm not sure where they get the idea that there is "no consensus" on the currency Scotland would use. Consensus among which parties?

The government of the rump UK has no say in the matter. And, while there some voices in Scotland raised in favour of an independent currency, the policy of the Scottish Government is that we should continue using the pound. So there is "consensus" among the only parties which are likely to be in a position to decide on the matter.

Despite this, and the doubtless hysterical response that we can expect from unionists, this report pretty much acknowledges what we all knew already - that independence implies no necessary impediment to continuing trade between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

The only ones who are talking in terms of creating barriers to trade are British nationalists. And that's all wind and pish.


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The Virtual Campaign: or, Dead Frogs and the Athelred Conspiracy

The Virtual Campaign: or, Dead Frogs and the Athelred Conspiracy | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

The atmosphere of the referendum has noticeably changed. An increasingly paradoxical quality has emerged, probably because Better Together and the Unionist parties have coalesced c...


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David Cameron: Any win in independence referendum would do - Telegraph

David Cameron: Any win in independence referendum would do - Telegraph | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
The Prime Minister warns Alex Salmond he would have to accept defeat even if the Unionists' margin of victory is narrow.

Peter A Bell's insight:

A No vote of any size in September cannot possibly resolve anything. Cameron is completely deluded if he seriously imagines that the union will be strengthened by a win for the forces of British nationalism. Does he really suppose that something close to 50% of the people of Scotland are going to give up so easily on their hopes and aspirations?

Has he actually fooled himself into believing that the two-thirds of the people of Scotland who are dissatisfied with the current constitutional arrangements will be silenced by a No vote?

The fact is that the union is irreparably broken. No amount of half-hearted constitutional tinkering will fix it.

British politicians such as Cameron and his British Labour allies are such strangers to the concept of an issue of principle that they cannot recognise one even when it is right on top of them. Restoring Scotland's rightful constitutional status is a matter of fundamental principle. The campaign to rectify the existing anomalous constitutional situation will not stop until it is successful.

A spirit of progressive political activism has been awakened in Scotland. A spirit which is anathema to the British state just as much as austerity fetishism as anathema to Scotland. That genie is not going back in the bottle. If Cameron thinks we will sit down, shut up and turn overnight into biddable little Brits, then he is an idiot.

A No vote in September will not kill the independence campaign "stone dead" as one of Cameron's fellow British nationalists once supposed devolution would. A No vote will do no more than postpone the inevitable to a time when conditions for an amicable dissolution of the anachronistic, dysfunctional political union may not be as good as they are now.

Cameron's attitude hints at the ugly triumphalism with which British nationalist will greet a No vote. That, the anticipated failure of the British parties to deliver meaningful devolution and the expected punitive response of the British state will all serve to sour relations between Scotland and England while fuelling demands for another referendum - which will result in a landslide victory for the independence movement.

I have argued elsewhere (http://peterabell.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/vote-yes-to-save-union.html) that those who wish to preserve what is good and functional about the union should vote Yes. That advice becomes more relevant every day as the anti-independence propaganda descends ever further into dishonesty and the rhetoric of divisiveness and hatred.

To those intending to vote No I say, if you value the best of the old union, then think of how it will be put in jeopardy by failure to take this opportunity to forge anew the relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK. Think how much better together we will be if we create a new union. A reformed association which preserves all that is desirable and effective about what has been developed over the years but places this in the context of a political relationship fit for our times and the future. A relationship that is strong, not in the facile sense subscribed to by British nationalists, but in the sense of being robust and durable. A relationship that respects the differences between nations while cherishing the social and cultural ties among people. A true partnership of equals.
All of this is possible. It requires only the goodwill and commonality of interest that already exists. And the confidence to vote Yes.


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Commonwealth Calendar of Independence

Commonwealth Calendar of Independence | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Sick of unionist commentary and attempts to hijack the games? Try this handy Commonwealth calendar of independence. With thanks to Colm Gallagher ‏@blissapp [click to embiggen it]



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SNP accuse Team Cameron of being feart again

SNP accuse Team Cameron of being feart again | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
A ROW has broken out over the UK government's decision to send a fisheries minister to Scotland to debate rural affairs with his Holyrood counterpart.


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Infrequently Asked Questions

Infrequently Asked Questions | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

The Wee Blue Book is extremely close to finished now, readers. We're just buffing the corners. But we thought you might like to get a head start on one bit of it. As well as trying to answer all th...


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Leanne Wood Interview

Leanne Wood Interview | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Leanne Wood AM has been the leader of Plaid Cymru since 2012. She took the time to speak to Bella about the state of the Welsh independence movement, the importance of Scotland beyond its borders a...



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You Do Not Exist

You Do Not Exist | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

You know they are scared now, don't you? Deeply unsettled. Despite endless proclamations of "I'm a proud Scot but ..." the reality of a deep-seated cultural self-hatred is seeping out...


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What Can Be Done?

What Can Be Done? | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
By Robin McAlpine You may have seen gossip about internal politics around the Reid Foundation in the media. I never conduct private business in public and in time the truth about what has been happ...


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Help, we need somebody - YouTube



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Sweet Release from Undecided Purgatory

Sweet Release from Undecided Purgatory | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Four months ago I was going to vote Yes just because it's what my father would have wanted. Three months ago I was on the verge of voting No. Two months ago I was undecided. Back i...


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Dear Scottish Labour...

Dear Scottish Labour... | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
It's no accident that the prominent Labour figures who are coming out in support of independence tend to be former politicians and activists. These are, by and large, people who were part of what w...


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Blair backing for Better Together a 'boost for Yes' say SNP

Blair backing for Better Together a 'boost for Yes' say SNP | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Tony Blair's endorsement of the anti-independence campaign is a boost for Yes, the SNP has said.


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The open letter signed by seven of the famous Upper Clyde Shipbuilders work-in dispute in full

The open letter signed by seven of the famous Upper Clyde Shipbuilders work-in dispute in full | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
SEVEN veterans who fought for the UCS outlined their support for an independent Scotland in the hope that it will rejuvenate the Clyde Shipbuilding industry.


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