Referendum 2018
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Brexit and health – Who cares?

Brexit and health – Who cares? | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
It is not often that the NHS steers clear from the centre of the political fray, but Brexit might just be one of those occasions. This could be because the EU has few direct competencies over health.

That said, a new briefing published by SPICe and the Northern Ireland Assembly, explores the wide range of health issues which may be directly and indirectly affected by Brexit.
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The island within an island

The island within an island | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
Our poll of English voters has already revealed that, on balance, the people of England would be happy to ditch Scotland, Northern Ireland and (very narrowly) Gibraltar as the price of Brexit. But what about if we approached the idea of England’s independence the other way round? We thought of that too.
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Murdo Fraser really isn’t happy that we keep exposing ‘Union Jackery’

Murdo Fraser really isn’t happy that we keep exposing ‘Union Jackery’ | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
IT’S not every day that you see the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party adopt a phrase created by the only daily newspaper that supports independence.

In another failure by the Tories to stand up for Scotland, they have admitted that the phenomenon of Union Jackery exists.
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Ruth Davidson praises 'integrity' of lobbying scandal Tory MSP

Ruth Davidson praises 'integrity' of lobbying scandal Tory MSP | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
RUTH Davidson praised a front bench Tory MSP who resigned amid a lobbying scandal for his integrity.

Tory rural affairs spokesman Peter Chapman was forced to quit after he was caught lobbying councillors to back planning permission for a business he has shares in.
Peter A Bell's insight:

There was a time when even the British parties observed a decent interval before attempting the rehabilitation of corrupt or incompetent politicians. Things move faster these days. The process of airbrushing the mistakes and misdemeanours from history now begins even before they have had a chance to become history.

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Scottish Tories try to spin their move to sell out Holyrood

Scottish Tories try to spin their move to sell out Holyrood | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
MEMBERS of the Scottish Parliament have voted to refuse consent for the UK's EU Withdrawal Bill – the SNP, Labour, LibDems and Greens were united in opposition, with the Scottish Tories left standing alone.

The threat posed by the Bill to devolution in Scotland has been widely recognised, but the Tories proved a loyal branch office and backed the UK Government.

Now, they're trying to spin their position to hilarious effect, with the bizarre claim that Nicola Sturgeon is simply seeking a "cover for her independence drive", and that opposition parties were helping her.
Peter A Bell's insight:

It's not only Holyrood the Tories are betraying, it's the people of Scotland. #Referendum2018

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Scots Tory MP calls for new 'Department for the Union' to replace Scotland Office

Scots Tory MP calls for new 'Department for the Union' to replace Scotland Office | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
A SCOTTISH Tory MP has called for David Mundell’s position to be abolished and the Scotland Office to be consigned to the scrapheap of history.

In a column for The Times, the Stirling MP, Stephen Kerr, advocated a radical shake up of the government, calling for the creation of a new Department for the Union.
Peter A Bell's insight:

This isn't some startling development. This is precisely what some of us have been warning about for months. This is the kite-flying exercise we would anticipate as part of the process of creating an unelected shadow government in Scotland. Watch now as the narrative is steered into a debate about what this shadow government should be called.

 

This is a coup! It must be stopped!

 

The Scottish Government must act immediately to disentangle Scotland from the political union which facilitates this blatant assault on our democracy. #Referendum2018

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Scotland to be only part of UK not forced to watch Royal Wedding

The Royal Wedding will NOT be coming to a big screen near you - at least not in Scotland.

It seems that Scotland's chronic lack of interest in seeing two wealthy strangers tie the knot has been noted by BBC bosses.

They do get something right every now and then, I suppose.

Unavoidable patriotism will spill into public spaces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the form of giant TV screens broadcasting the big day. However, there will be no giant screens set up in Scotland.
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Yessers … The countdown has begun … Let’s make sure we’re ready to launch – Towards Indyref2…

Yessers … The countdown has begun … Let’s make sure we’re ready to launch – Towards Indyref2… | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
For those of you activists who are just patiently waiting for the IndyRef2 countdown to begin… how does this sound?  “T minus 10 seconds, T minus 9 seconds, 8 seconds, 7 secs… astronaut casually turns to his colleague, ‘Okay, good – now… let’s start building that rocket’. “

The referendum is coming and we need to start building now, because IndyRef2 will not be two years of campaigning like last time: it will short and sharp! Please come along to The Gathering and let’s all build that rocket now, together, ready for blastoff!
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The guarantee of lies «

Scotland and the British government are heading for your actual constitutional crisis, but according to certain sections of the media in Scotland it’s all very arcane, and people aren’t going to get very upset about it. Apparently it’s all about highly technical stuff to do with obscure agricultural standards, nothing that those of us who aren’t obsessed with the minutiae of policy wonkery in the food labelling industry need to worry our pretty little heads about. According to Iain McWhirter some Scottish journalists claim that they are bored by the whole affair. Oh look, Meghan Markle’s dad might not be going to the wedding. There’s some real proper British news there. That’s the news where we are and not the news where you are, so naturally it’s far more important. It’s got a crown on it and everything. Oooh the royal drama squirrel.
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M&S 'Union Jackery' row takes an astonishing twist

M&S 'Union Jackery' row takes an astonishing twist | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
THE Tories have accused Scottish Government ministers of putting pressure on Marks & Spencer bosses to keep Scotland’s whisky Scottish, according to documents released under Freedom of Information.

Last November, the retail giant backed down in a “Union Jackery” row that saw whisky labeled as British.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Well done, Fergus Ewing! Murdo Fraser is, as we would assume, too stupid to realise the value of branding. Just as well he will never be anywhere near any position of power in Scotland.

 

Unless - and here's a thought to chill that will chill you to the marrow - David Mundell appoints Mad Murdo to some office in the shadow government being developed as part of the British Nationalists' 'One Nation' project.

 

Couldn't happen? Who would prevent it? Once the Scottish Parliament has been neutered, Mundell will be able to do whatever his masters in London tell him to do.

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Helping people plan for funerals

Funeral planning training helps advisers offer support

The training focuses on offering support to people who are planning a funeral and 80% of Citizens Advice Bureaux across Scotland now have advisors who are fully trained.

The Scottish Government funded Planning for Funerals course is also available to all third sector organisations and others who may be interested on the Child Poverty Action Group website.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security Angela Constance visited West Lothian Citizens Advice Bureau today to meet newly trained staff members and volunteers who provide support.

Peter A Bell's insight:

Do you appreciate living in a country where the government actually seems to like the people? Well, you can forget that if the British Nationalists get their way! You can forget about being listened to! You can forget about being respected! #Referendum2018

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Pilot to end upfront childcare deposits

Parents set to benefit from new trial.

Thousands of parents will no longer have to pay expensive upfront childcare deposits under a pilot scheme.

Families who use either a childminder or nursery before their children become eligible for publicly-funded childcare, usually at age three, can be asked to pay a deposit of as much as £900.

In Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dumfries and Galloway, the Scottish Government will cover that cost for eligible families until December 2019 through a deposit guarantee. Almost half (44%) of parents in the pilot areas with a child under two who are taking up childcare for the first time can benefit from the scheme.

Childcare Minister Maree Todd announced the pilot during a visit to North Edinburgh Childcare.

Peter A Bell's insight:

This is the kind of initiative we will never see again if we allow the British Nationalist 'One Nation@ project to proceed. Everything that has been achieved over two decades of devolution will be in jeopardy. #Referendum2018

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David Mundell claims Brexit Bill is too 'technical' for MSPs to understand

David Mundell claims Brexit Bill is too 'technical' for MSPs to understand | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
DAVID Mundell has dismissed yesterday’s Holyrood vote on the Brexit power grab, saying MSPs didn’t understand what they were doing.

The Secretary of State for Scotland said the vote, which saw his party isolated, as Labour, the Lib Dems, and the Greens, backed the SNP government in refusing to give Theresa May's EU Withdrawal Bill consent, was too “technical” for anyone other than the Tories to understand.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Truly, this man is an arse! Few people epitomise the ignorance and arrogance of British Nationalists as comprehensively as David Mundell.

 

And remember! If the British political elite gets its way, this is the arse who will be governing Scotland!

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A singular dishonesty «

Here we go again. It’s always groundhog day with British nationalism in Scotland. I blogged some months ago about the important distinction between the unitary market of the British state, and the single market of the EU. British nationalists in Scotland are however determined to conflate those two very different political and economic beasts under the rubric “single market”, and they’re doing so for nakedly political reasons.
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Dan Hannan has just proven he knows nothing about Scotland

Dan Hannan has just proven he knows nothing about Scotland | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
I THOUGHT long and hard this week about whether to draw attention or not to an article written by the publicity-hungry Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan.

He’s featured in my column before, for his ignorance on the Irish border question in terms of Brexit and his counterfactual assertion that the Good Friday Agreement had been a failure. This time, he’s turned his attention to Scotland and pretty much repeated this ignorance with a series of bizarre tabloid style attacks.
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The new world champion of irony

The new world champion of irony | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
Take a bow, Angela Haggerty of the Sunday Herald:
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Barometer still set fair for SNP, so let’s take the initiative

Barometer still set fair for SNP, so let’s take the initiative | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
THE upcoming SNP spring conference is a bit like spring itself: late and very short. This year’s event is a two-day affair only, to be held on Friday, June 8, and Saturday, June 9, at the cavernous Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC).
Peter A Bell's insight:

Do you ever read something that makes you physically wince? I flinched twice reading George Kerevan's article. I cringed when i read this "the Scots electorate (mercifully) is having a year off". Aye, George! Because voting is such an onerous task we should be glad of anti-democratic British Nationalists like Ruth Davidson who want to relieve us of the chore. Participating in the democratic process is such a burden we should happily do the bidding of those who advise us to sit down, shut up and eat our cereal.

 

Wouldn't it be wonderful if there was some way we could all just disengage from politics altogether? Wouldn't it be great if there was some elite prepared to relieve us of the need to think about all that politics stuff? Wouldn't it be a mercy if we were given two years off from the grind of democracy? Or five? Or fifty?

 

That five minute walk to the polling place is hellish enough. But then they make you pick up a pencil and make a mark on a bit of paper! Sometimes, you even have to think about where you're putting that cross! (Yes! A cross! That's two - count them! - TWO pencil strokes!) And you might be asked to do this TWICE in the one year! It's inhuman!

 

Of course, it's not just the voting that's a massive imposition. All that politics nonsense takes up so much space in the newspapers and so much airtime on TV and radio. Think how much more sport there could be in the papers if it weren't for all those column inches being devoted to stuff about health and education and welfare. Think how many more soaps could be crammed into a day if they would just stop putting politicians on. Who needs it? We pay those politicians to run the country. Can they not just get on with it? Do they have to be pestering us all the time?

 

I'd barely recovered from the physical impact of that little gobbet of thoughtlessness when I was made to recoil again; this time at the suggestion that,

 

"This upcoming spring conference will be the last at which the SNP top brass can remain silent on the referendum question."

 

What!? The SNP leadership can remain silent about the new referendum at next month's conference!? They can get through the whole two days without so much as mentioning it!? As they say on Twitter, WTF!?

 

I know George noticed the All Under One Banner march in Glasgow on Saturday 5 May. I know he's aware of it, because he mentions it in the very next sentence. What does he think those 50,000 people were marching for? Longer tea-breaks!?

 

In theory, I suppose it's possible that there were people on that march whose enthusiasm for independence wasn't matched by a sense of urgency. It was a very large gathering. Perhaps I missed the banners saying 'POSTPONE THE REFERENDUM'. Maybe I failed to hear the chants of, 'What do we want? Independence! When do we want it? When Pete Wishart is satisfied that we can't possibly lose!'.

 

Or perhaps I read the mood correctly. Perhaps there was a feeling of urgency in the air. Perhaps there is an expectation that the SNP will respond to that sense of urgency. Perhaps a large proportion of those people are anticipation something more than silence on the referendum question when the party meets in Aberdeen next month. Perhaps a significant number of those people will be bloody annoyed if all they get is silence from the "SNP top brass".

 

One thing I can say for certain about the people on that march - they know the value of participative democracy. They don't think of participation in the democratic process as a chore to be avoided if at all possible. They aren't content to sit down, shut up and eat their cereal. That march was democracy in action. Those people, and the thousands more who were with them in spirit, were insisting on having their say.

 

The SNP leadership better be listening. And they damn well better have a good response. Silence will not satisfy those people. Silence is not an option.

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Common Weal paper lays foundations for an independent Scotland

Common Weal paper lays foundations for an independent Scotland | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
WORK on drafting a written constitution for an independent Scotland which would enshrine the rights of all citizens must begin now, according to a leading academic.

Writing as part of the Common Weal think tank’s White Paper Project, Dr Elliot Bulmer said a body could be set up right away to develop a provisional constitution establishing the new state’s guiding philosophy.

Matters – such as whether the state should become a republic – could be left until after independence when further discussion could take place before a final constitution is agreed.
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'There's nothing stopping Yes voters looking ahead and starting informal discussions'

'There's nothing stopping Yes voters looking ahead and starting informal discussions' | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
THE United Kingdom is not a normal country in several respects but one in particular is its lack of a formal codified constitution. Only New Zealand and Israel share this distinction.

Constitutions are important in that they firmly outline the reach of government and define what each level of the Government is responsible for and, crucially, what it cannot do.
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Former Common Space Editor slammed over twitter ‘outing’ of gay SNP MP’s partner – Towards Indyref2…

Former Common Space Editor slammed over twitter ‘outing’ of gay SNP MP’s partner – Towards Indyref2… | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
A controversial former Editor of Common Space has been condemned after revealing the identity of a gay MP’s partner.  Angela Haggerty, who is now the News Editor at the Sunday Herald, caused …
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Sunday Herald Editor takes aim at online Yes ‘mob’ and accuses ‘SNP figures’ of ‘allowing lies to poison the body politic’ – Towards Indyref2…

Sunday Herald Editor takes aim at online Yes ‘mob’ and accuses ‘SNP figures’ of ‘allowing lies to poison the body politic’ – Towards Indyref2… | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
The SNP is allowing lies to “poison the body politic” in Scotland, a newspaper Editor has claimed.  Neil MacKay also took aim at Independence supporters who criticised the Sunday Herald…
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Sunday Herald’s death rattle –

Sunday Herald’s death rattle – | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
The Sunday Herald editor’s attempt to deflect and defuse scathing criticism of his paper’s coverage of the All Under One Banner (AUOB) march in Glasgow last Saturday (5 May) brought to mind the BBC’s established practice of dealing with complaints by the simple expedient of declaring itself innocent – having first appointed itself the ultimate arbiter in all such matters. Mackay goes one better, however, by pronouncing himself and his newspaper, not only guiltless, but impeccable – a splendiferous flowering of all that is purest and brightest in the realm of print media. If his piece had run to another hundred words we might have been obliged to add self-beatification to that list.
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Social media erupts in fury as Herald journo accuses Indy critics of ‘Trumpist Attacks’ – Towards Indyref2…

Social media erupts in fury as Herald journo accuses Indy critics of ‘Trumpist Attacks’ – Towards Indyref2… | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
A Herald journalist has sparked outrage on social media after accusing online independence supporters of mounting ‘Trumpist Attacks’ on journalism.

David Leask also called for SNP politicians who endorse criticism of members of his sector to be disciplined by the party.
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Education becomes the latest Scottish sector to be targeted by BBC Scotland – Towards Indyref2…

Education becomes the latest Scottish sector to be targeted by BBC Scotland – Towards Indyref2… | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
Teaching has become the latest target for the BBC in Scotland in what appears to be a campaign aimed at portraying Scottish institutions as failing.
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RURAL SCOTLAND AND INDEPENDENCE.

RURAL SCOTLAND AND INDEPENDENCE. | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
It wasn’t all that long ago. They were the ‘SNP heartlands’ and we seemed unassailable. When I was first elected in 2001 the SNP at Westminster held 5 seats and all of them were from rural Scotland. From Kinross to Kinloss it was the North East shoulder of Scotland that returned SNP MPs and it was rural Scotland that sustained our Parliamentary footprint. In the nascent Scottish Parliament it was no different. In 1999 we won 7 constituency seats, all rural, the 6 constituencies we won in 97’s General election with the addition of Inverness. In fact if we were to look historically at where the SNP had won all their Westminster seats at General elections prior to the 2015 breakthrough, other than Dundee, they were all mainly rural. 
Peter A Bell's insight:

We have here a curious instance of someone getting the point, then losing it. Pete Wishart lights upon a highly significant observation, only to immediately walk away from it in his eagerness to get back to comfortable and comforting platitudes about "new independence case".

 

Difficult as it may be for some to believe, there was a time when there were genuinely Scottish Conservatives who really were regarded as the defenders of 'Scottishness'. As Pete acknowledges, in the decades following WW2 that 'Scottishness' was threatened by a "pervasive, unifying British identity". It was Conservatives, and particularly rural Conservatives, who stood for all that was distinctively Scottish.

 

In part, those Scottish Conservatives were standing against the homogenising influence of post-war socialism. But they were also resisting the rise - or should we better say, the resurrection - of a form of British identity which had its roots in the idea of the UK as a 'Greater England' within which all the constituent parts, but particularly Scotland, were to be subsumed.

 

Sound familiar? What those Scottish Conservatives were resisting was an earlier, less aggressive, less extreme form of the 'One Nation' British Nationalism which today threatens Scotland's distinctiveness.

 

This is, of course, an oversimplification. But there is an essential truth here which Pete Wishart first notes, then chooses to disregard. The Scottish Conservatives of that post-war era won support in rural Scotland (and to some extent in urban areas as well) in large part because they tapped into a popular mood which valued Scottish distinctiveness and rejected the concept of a 'One Nation' British state.

 

What is perplexing is that, having picked up on something which has obvious relevance to the constitutional debate today, Pete Wishart declines to explore its implications. If opposition to 'One Nation' British Nationalism was a significant influence on attitudes and electoral choices in rural Scotland then, might it not be an important consideration now? If people in rural communities placed such value on 'Scottishness' then, is it not reasonable to assume that they might still do so?

 

Of course, that was fifty years ago. Times have changed. But have those attitudes also changed? Is that not, at the very least, a question worth asking?

 

The Scottish Conservatives have certainly changed. In fact, they no longer exist as a political party. As part of the blight of Thatcherism, they were absorbed into the British Tories. Today, the term 'Scottish Conservatives' is as much a deceptive misnomer as 'Scottish Labour'. But the popular regard for Scottish distinctiveness that helped fuel electoral support for Scottish Conservatives half a century ago hasn't necessarily disappeared along with distinctive Scottish Conservatism. In fact, subsequent SNP electoral success in former Scottish Conservative strongholds such as Perthshire suggests that this desire to maintain a distinct Scottish identity may still be a powerful motivating factor for voters.

 

Might it not, therefore, be a latent force for Scotland's independence campaign? If the Scottish Conservatives of old could tap into a vein of opposition to the threat of a "pervasive, unifying British identity" back then, why should the independence movement not exploit that same well of popular feeling today?

 

Other things have changed since a vote for the Scottish Conservatives meant a vote for 'Scottishness'. Scotland's distinctiveness has changed dramatically in both form and degree. Whatever 'Scottishness' meant fifty years ago, today it refers to a distinctive political culture. To whatever were the historical and cultural connotations of the term has been added a brand of politics which contrasts starkly with that of the British state. A more progressive and humane politics which is increasingly at odds with the harshness and coldness and downright cruelty of British politics.

 

There is more that is distinctive now than there was then. More that is worth defending.

 

The threat has also changed. The "pervasive, unifying British identity" has metamorphosed into an ugly, bitter brand of 'One Nation' British Nationalism which poses a real and imminent threat, not only to Scotland's distinctive political culture, but to the very democratic institutions and process which have been the source of that distinctiveness. British Nationalism is no longer merely concerned with suppressing 'Scottishness'. It seeks to destroy 'Scottishness' at its roots.

 

The threat is greater now. There is more that must be resisted.

 

The obvious conclusion from all of this is that the Yes campaign should take the form of a bastion against the threat posed by this pernicious British Nationalist ideology. What would seem to logically follow from the first part of Pete Wishart's analysis is that the Yes campaign should go on the attack against a project which would subsume Scotland into a homogenised British state.

 

I surely can't be the only one who is perplexed at the way Pete Wishart side-steps the pachyderm in the parlour to get to the comfy chair of his preconceived notions about a "new independence case".

 

Even if there was anything "new" to be said about independence, what is the point of presenting this to people who aren't listening because they've already decided that independence isn't happening? What purpose is served by putting all the resources of the Yes campaign into polishing a proposition which is already as perfect as any political proposition might be?

 

Why is Pete Wishart so resistant to the idea of doing something new? He almost makes the case for a Yes campaign focused on vigorously defending what Scotland has and aggressively attacking that which puts it in jeopardy. But then he backs off from this and takes refuge in a rather less politically 'brave' obsession with being 'positive'. He almost gets there. But then he chooses to let the British Nationalists off the hook. Why?

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Withdrawal Bill: Tories isolated on Brexit power grab

Withdrawal Bill: Tories isolated on Brexit power grab | Referendum 2018 | Scoop.it
RUTH Davidson’s Scottish Tories stand alone in dismissing recommendations in a parliamentary report for the UK’s Brexit bill to be changed to prevent a Westminster “power grab” after Brexit.

SNP, Labour and Green members of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Constitution Committee said MSPs should not approve controversial sections of the EU Withdrawal Bill which they said “cut across the devolution settlement”.
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Curated by Peter A Bell
Thinker. Listener. Talker. Reader. Writer. None of my attitudes are immutable. None of my conclusions are final. None of my opinions are humble.