Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Scottish independence: Salmond and Darling clash in heated TV debate

Alistair Darling and Alex SalmondThe debate was held before an audience of 200 people at Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond and Better Together headAlistair Darling have clashed in their final TV debate ahead of the referendum.
Oil revenues, currency and the future of nuclear weapons were among the subjects of a heated discussion.
Mr Salmond said his opponent was siding with the Tories on policies which would push Scottish children into poverty.
Mr Darling rejected the charge and again challenged Mr Salmond to reveal his currency Plan B.
Following the debate, a snap poll by The Guardian newspaper and polling company ICM suggested Mr Salmond's score was 71%, against Mr Darling's 29%.

ANALYSIS - BBC political editor Nick Robinson
holding hands, NHS
From the start it was clear that Darling, who won the first debate, was edgy and nervy whilst Salmond was better prepared and more confident.
Scotland's first minister had come prepared to answer the question that damaged him a few weeks ago - what's your Plan B? - if Westminster refuses to share the pound with a newly independent Scotland.
He declared he had not one but three Plan Bs but what he was seeking was a "mandate" from the people of Scotland - a word he repeated again and again - to negotiate to share the pound.
Salmond had also come with a new line of attack. He argued that the only way to protect the NHS and to stop welfare cuts was to ensure that the people of Scotland always got the government they voted for.
He accused Darling - to the former Labour chancellor's obvious fury - of "being in bed with the Tories". His aim was clear - to increase the risks in voters' minds of a No vote.
The 90-minute broadcast was screened on BBC One Scotland, and to the rest of the UK on BBC Two.
The format saw the two political leaders deliver their opening addresses, before the debate moved on to four topics, each of which was introduced by a question from the audience.
Mr Salmond and Mr Darling were then each given the opportunity to cross-examine their rival for eight minutes.
The first minister opted to focus on the welfare state, saying Westminster reforms were pushing an estimated 100,000 Scottish children and a similar number of disabled people into poverty.
He said: "Yes we've got troubled economic times, but the mark of a government is when you are in difficult economic times you don't take it on the disabled and you don't take it out on families with children and you don't impose the bedroom tax, which must be the most ludicrous tax of all time."
Welfare reforms
In heated exchanges he told Mr Darling: "You're in bed with the Tory Party, in bed with the Tory Party."
He also challenged Mr Darling to name three job-creating powers which the pro-Union parties were offering the Scottish Parliament in the event of a "No" vote.
Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling
Mr Darling said as a Labour MP he did not support the UK government's welfare reforms.
But he argued that Scotland's ageing population meant it was better if the costs of providing social security were spread across the UK as a whole.
The Labour MP said: "No-one could support people who need help being denied, no-one could possibly support that. We have an obligation to help people who need support.
"However, to do that you need the means to do it. What concerns me is if you end up in the situation where you are cutting off opportunities for firms that generate wealth and therefore generate taxation, to pay for these things, it is going to be less likely you can provide the level of support you need in the future."
Earlier, Mr Darling had again pressed the first minister to spell out his Plan B on currency, if the rest of the UK refused to enter into a formal sterling currency union with an independent Scotland.
Watch some of the highlights...
"Is it sensible?" Alex Salmond asked Alistair Darling four times, over the issue of the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapon programme
Alistair Darling on currency: "I want to know what Plan B is"
Alex Salmond: "This is our time, it's our moment, let us do it now"
Alistair Darling: "This is a decision for which there is no turning back"
He put it to Mr Salmond: "You are taking a huge risk if you think it is just all going to fall into place.
"I think the currency union would be bad for Scotland because our budget would have to be approved not by us, but what would then be a foreign country. It wouldn't be best for the rest of the country either."
Mr Salmond responded: "I set out the options very clearly - three Plan Bs for the price of one. They are just like buses... you expect one and then three turn up at once."
He added: "We don't need permission to use our own currency. The argument actually is that they will deny us the assets of the Bank of England. The reason that won't happen is that if you deny us the financial assets, then the UK will get stuck with all of the liabilities."
Mr Salmond said no chancellor would let Scotland get away with escaping its share of the debt liabilities and therefore a currency union would be agreed.
salmond and darling
Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond
But Mr Darling argued: "If your first message in the world is here we are, here is Scotland, and by the way we've just defaulted on our debt, what do you think that would do to people who are lending us money in the future?
"Nobody would lend us any money in the future."
Mr Salmond had won a pre-debate coin toss and opted to deliver his opening address first, with Mr Darling going second.
Putting the case for independence, the first minister started by saying the eyes of the world were focused on Scotland.
He cited the 1979 referendum, when Scotland did not get a devolved assembly despite voting in favour of it, and said the country got 18 years of Tory rule instead.
Mr Salmond said: "Just like in 1979 the prophets of doom tell us we can't do it. We can't do what every country takes for granted - and just like then they are wrong.
"We are a rich nation, a resourceful people. We can create a prosperous nation and a fairer society. A real vision for the people of Scotland. This is our time, it's our moment - let us do it now."
How did social media see it?
Twitter map
The debate was trending in the UK but, more surprisingly, hit the trending charts in Malaga, Gibraltar, Seville, and Spain as a whole. Were Spanish people keeping an eye on the debate with the Catalonian independence movement in mind? The debate generated a total of255,559 tweets.
Throughout the debate, #bbcindyref, #indyref, and #scotdecides were trending in the UK on Facebook, and #bbcindyref and #indyref began trending globally by the end of the debate.
Mr Darling opened by saying Mr Salmond was "asking us to take his word for it on everything. No Plan B for anything. Trust what he says - sorry I can't".
He said Mr Salmond wanted a separate state no matter what the risk or what the costs.
But he said a "No" vote would not mean the status quo, and said the pro-Union parties would deliver increased devolution.
He added: "This is a decision for which there is no turning back. Our children and the generations that follow will have to live with that decision."
The event was staged at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, and was hosted by BBC Scotland's Glenn Campbell.
The audience of 200 was selected by polling and research consultancy ComRes.
The debate was split into four sections;
  • Opening statements
  • The issues
  • Cross-examination
  • Closing statements
The issues section saw the two politicians debate four topics entitled Economy, Scotland at Home, Scotland in the World and What Happens after the Vote.
Each of the four issues was introduced by a question from the audience.
The first leaders' debate aired on STV on 5 August, with both sides claiming victory.
Scotland will go to the polls in the referendum on 18 September, with voters being asked asked the "Yes/No" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"
Do you have questions?
Question marks
As the people of Scotland weigh up how to vote in the independence referendum, they are asking questions on a range of topics from the economy to welfare.
In a series running up to polling day, BBC correspondents are looking at those major questions and by using statistics, analysis and expert views shining a light on some of the possible answers.
The issues they have looked at include TridentScottish economic growthbroadcastingpopulationhealth and UK debt.

Salmond, clear winner of the second debate on Scottish independence

London, Aug 26 (EFE) .- Chief Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond nationalist, was the clear winner of the second and final televised debate on Scottish independence held last night, according to a survey published today by the British newspaper "The Guardian ".
The survey, conducted by ICM company says that 71% of the respondents gave the winner Salmond independence, compared to 29% who gave to Alistair Darling, the Labour former minister who heads the "Better Together" (Better Together) campaign and it was his opponent in the BBC debate.
However in the previous debate, held on 5th, Darling was the winner of that poll though by a narrower margin, 56% support compared to 44 who obtained Salmond.
The forum yesterday concluded with public Glasgow (Scotland) and broadcast live on BBC One and BBC Two Scotland for the rest of the United Kingdom , was held less than a month's historic referendum on Scottish independence from the Sept. 18 whose outcome is binding.
Both leaders expressed their arguments on key issues such as currency, the system of public health or the oil reserves in the event of a successful vote in favor of independence.
Darling criticized the independence leader who advocates the division of Scotland regardless "risks and costs" and "without a plan B" if they do not achieve monetary union with the UK, while Salmond insisted that are Scots who can better manage and Scotland to keep the pound.
Those over 16 who live in Scotland are called to the polls on September 18 to answer "yes" or "no" if you are in favor of Scottish independence from the United Kingdom.
The census for the consultation is about 4.3 million voters and the Nationalist government Scottish referendum promoter, expects the share reached 80%, about 3.36 million people. EFE

Friday, 30 May 2014

Scotland's Independence - It's Now or Never!

The Reality

Could Scotland become a successful independent country? Of course! Even No politicians agree:
“Supporters of independence will always be able to cite examples of small, independent and thriving economies across Europe such as Finland, Switzerland and Norway. It would be wrong to suggest that Scotland could not be another such successful, independent country”
 ~ David Cameron
As an independent country, taking into account all our resources, we’d be the 14th wealthiest in the OECD (described as the “rich nations’ club”). This compares to UK at 18th.  With independence we can make this wealth work much better for the people living here - and that is why a Yes is so important.
No politicians want us to believe we are too poor to be independent, but the reality is very different: Scotland’s got what it takes to prosper with a Yes:
  • We’ve got the people! Scotland has a population of 5.2 million people which means that roughly half of the 200 countries in the world are smaller than Scotland, and roughly half are bigger. Some of the wealthiest and happiest countries in the worlds are a similar size – like our Scandinavian neighbours
  • We’ve got the talent! We have more top 200 Universities per head of population than any other country in the planet. Our research tops global leagues for quality.
  • We’ve got the experience! We’ve had a Scottish Parliament and Governments for 15 years now and we know that making our own decisions works. We’ve chosen to keep the NHS in public hands, to support free University education and support free nursing and personal care for the elderly.
Few, if any, of the 200 or so other countries in the world can have been as well prepared for independence as Scotland is. Scotland is more than ready! And we’ve got strong economic and financial foundations
  • We’ve got the resources! We’re Europe’s largest oil producer, and second largest gas producer. We have oil reserves worth up to £1.5 trillion in the North Sea which will generate jobs and revenues until “well after 2055” (according to the UK government). Then we’ve got massive renewables potential, with 25% of the EU’s potential for offshore wind and tidal energy, and 10% of wave power – extraordinary assets for the future.
  • We’ve got the industry! As well as energy, we have thriving sectors in food and drink, life sciences, engineering, creative industries, financial services and tourism; and,according to the Financial Times, would be among the top 30 exporters in the world on independence.
  • We have strong public finances! For every one of the last 30 years we’ve generated more tax revenues per person than the other parts of the UK. AS the Financial Times reported in February, Scotland’s national accounts are healthier than the UK’s
All this adds up to a country that could be wealthy and prosperous.
In fact, if you divide our national wealth by our population, Scotland is wealthier than France, Italy and the UK. So if Scotland “can’t” be independent, who can?
It all depends on the floating vote, the undecided. The majority need to vote YES for independence to be achieved, and it also depends on a substantial number of voters switching sides to vote YES. The momentum is with the YES campaigners. Keep up the pressure in order that a majority of Scots vote YES.


Monday, 10 March 2014

You Tube and the YES vote

SCOTLAND IS IN A VERY GOOD POSITION ECONOMICALLY AND SOCIALLY TO GO IT ALONE....despite scare-mongering tactics by the negative and backward-looking Nay-sayers. BETTER ALONE!

Better alone....
remember the Stone....
the Stone of Scone!


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

NEVER, Never believe..."Better Together"

Better Together stops at nothing to convince voters to keep Scotland in its proper place 

Comical Ali’s perfect game

Posted on February 15, 2014 by 
Actually, now that we come to examine it in detail, this one’s quite special. We think EVERY single sentence in the official No campaign’s latest mailshot might be a lie.
Let’s step through it and see if they’ve really pulled off a hundred-percenter.
“Dear Stuart,
It is now clear beyond any doubt – the only way to keep the Pound is for Scotland to remain in the UK.”
LIE. That plainly ISN’T clear beyond any doubt. By the admission of pretty much every sane human on Earth, Scotland CAN keep the pound after independence should it choose to, just not necessarily within a formal currency union.
Even Alistair Darling – should any interviewer ever summon up the temerity to question him in the manner that James Naughtie or Kirsty Wark, say, habitually interrogate Alex Salmond – would have to concede that fact. And indeed, he has.
(Watch for yourself here, where you’ll hear the former Chancellor note in his very first sentence that: “What I’ve said in relation to the currency union is that if there was independence, there may well be one”, as well as his more commonly-reported view that such a union would be “desirable” and “logical” and in the best interests of both Scotland and the UK. “I’m entirely consistent”, he concludes at 2m 49s.)
“People need to know that when they go into a polling station in September they will be voting either to keep the Pound or ditch the Pound.”
LIE. People don’t need to know that, because it isn’t true. They’ll be voting on whether Scotland becomes an independent country or not. The clue will be in the question. Anything that happens after that is a matter of politics and policies.
“A vote to leave the UK is a vote to lose the Pound.”
LIE. No it isn’t. See above.
“Alex Salmond has no plan for currency in an independent Scotland.”
LIE. Yes he does. His plan is to use Sterling in a formal currency union. Whether that plan comes to fruition is in the hands of firstly the Scottish electorate and then the UK government, but it’s unquestionably his plan. He says so every chance he gets.
“The SNP wanted to turn the pound into the Eurozone but understandably the rest of the UK have said they don’t think this is a good idea.”
TWO LIES. At least. Firstly, you can’t turn a currency into a place. Secondly, the SNP’s plan is not to replicate the Eurozone, because the Eurozone encompasses numerous wildly-divergent economies, whereas a Sterling zone would comprise two very similar ones.
And finally, “the rest of the UK” have NOT said they don’t think it’s a good idea. George Osborne, Ed Balls and Danny Alexander have. The rest of the UK, by a margin of almost six to one, thinks sharing the pound is the best option if Scotland votes Yes.
“The SNP Government had already ruled out using the pound without agreement in the way Panama uses the Dollar.”
LIE. It’s never done such a thing.
“So what money will Scotland use?”
LIE. (If a question can be a lie, that is.) If Scotland votes No, it’ll use the pound. If it votes Yes, the current Scottish Government says it’ll use the pound, and since no power on Earth can prevent it from doing so – Sterling being a fully tradeable currency any nation can use without permission – we must assume it will.
“What we need now from the SNP isn’t so much a Plan B but a Plan A.”
LIE. We already know Plan A – a formal currency union. Viable or not, it remains the SNP’s plan. This morning’s Daily Record couldn’t have been much more unequivocalon that. And you can’t need what you already have.
“Now that using the Pound is off the table, would we be rushing to join the Euro or set up an unproven separate currency?”
TWO LIES. Using the pound is NOT off the table. Nobody can stop an independent Scotland using the pound if it wants to, and several highly knowledgeable sources in such matters, including the world-renowned Adam Smith Institute, actually think an “unlicensed” arrangement would be not only feasible, but preferable to a formal union. And an independent Scotland couldn’t join the Euro even if it wanted to.
“Alex Salmond should stop making reckless threats about defaulting on debt that would put jobs and businesses in Scotland at risk.”
LIE. Alex Salmond can’t threaten to default on debt, because he doesn’t have any. The Scottish Government has no borrowing powers, and therefore can’t possibly have any debt. The only government in the UK which is responsible for any debt (and rather a lot of it) is the UK government. Who says so? The UK government does.
“People know that if you don’t pay your debts your credit rating is shot and that means everything is more expensive.”
LIE. A bad credit rating doesn’t make “everything” more expensive. It, sometimes, can make precisely ONE thing more expensive – the cost of borrowing money. Shoelaces and Corn Flakes don’t go up in price at Tesco if you don’t pay your gas bill. But it’s a moot point, as Scotland doesn’t have any debt to pay.
“Help Better Together campaign to keep the strength and security of the UK Pound by donating what you can today.
Alistair Darling
Better Together Leader”
LIE. We believe his official title is “Chairman”. (In politics, leader != chairman.)
So there you go. Not counting that last one, it’s eleven sentences, thirteen lies (or in “Better Together” arithmetic, “about 600″), not one single sentence free of falsehood. A flawless performance, the political equivalent of a 147 break at snooker or a nine-dart finish. You have to admire their dedication, at least. All that training finally paid off.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Salmond versus the Rest

Certainly, there is now an orchestrated campaign by the united Unionist parties who are ganging up on Alex Salmond and the SNP-led Scottish government, with the intent of persuading the people of Scotland to vote against independence. Lately, they have inveigled the support of the governor of the Bank of England (note:"England") and the head of the undemocratic and un-elected European Commission, Manuel Barroso. It is obvious that, as the election date approaches the powers that be are becoming worried, as the gap continues to narrow between the potential Yes voters and the No voters. The battle will be for the floating vote, the vote of those who remain undecided.

The scare-mongers are out in force, using whatever tools they can find, in an attempt to frighten the people of Scotland into remaining part of the Union. However, they may well be underestimating the pride and resolve of the trusty Scots and their efforts may back-fire. Once independence is a reality it is inconceivable that Scotland would be denied a currency of choice or admission to the European Union. Iceland was badly hit by the economic recession but is now bouncing back, mainly because the government allowed the banks to default and refused to bail them out. This government did not nationalise the banks and put the onus on the taxpayers to assume their debts. Scotland is well able to look after its own financial affairs and does not need advice from south of the border.

Every country in the world today is dependent upon the rest, and particularly those in Europe. Interdependence is a necessary fact in this global society, but the argument is that in order for the countries of the world to interact successfully they need their sovereign status, where every nation is a cog in the international machine, playing its part in the political and economic scenario. Scotland is undoubtedly a nation, as are Wales, England and Ireland. If not, there would have been no reason for them to go it alone, and as nations, these countries are entitled to govern themselves, while at the same time joining with other sovereign countries under the umbrella of the European Union and the United Nations. Without doubt, the countries which make up the European Union would welcome the admission of Scotland among their midst.

Friday, 24 January 2014

St Dwynwen, Welsh Patron Saint of Lovers

Dwynwen                                                                                                      a story by  -   alanindyfed

David Price was a loner. Ever since he could remember he had felt himself to be different from the rest of the herd. That is not to say that he felt in any way superior to his contemporaries but only that he liked to go his own way and stand apart from those who preferred to indulge in more exuberant pursuits. He was more introspective than his colleagues and obtained his satisfaction from simple pleasures, taking his exercise through individual sports rather than team games.

He grew up in a small town in the heart of the country, far from the grimy industrial cities where his parents had lived throughout the war. He had a fairly normal childhood except that he was an only child and sought companionship with neighbours and the few real friends he made at school. He was an avid reader and excelled in literature and the arts and succeeded in being admitted to university college where he eventually received a degree in architecture.

Later he moved to Cardiff where he found a apartment to rent overlooking a park near the centre. In mid-January, on one of his customary visits to the library where he regularly logged on to the internet to search various avenues for employment his eye was caught by a comely dark-haired woman dressed simply but elegantly who occupied the seat across the table. She was casually leafing through a fashion magazine, occasionally glancing up at the clock on the wall. Then she stood up, propped the magazine on the rack from whence it came and stepped into the elevator. As the doors closed and before she disappeared from view it seemed to David that she flashed a brief smile in his direction.

A week later David was on his way to the library and as he approached the main door of the building he observed a slightly familiar figure ahead of him. He quickened his footsteps and caught the door as it swung back behind her. She stood in front of the elevator as he pushed the red buttons and they waited as the lift whirred towards them. The doors opened and they both stepped in and David breathed in the fragrant aroma of her perfume as she stood demurely at his side.

Without speaking they reached the second floor and emerged into the hushed silence if the spacious room, the rows of computers to the right and to the left the tables where newspapers and a few magazines lay in desultory abandon. David made his way purposefully to the computer section while his intriguing acquaintance scanned the magazine racks. Having selected a magazine of her choice she settled down and was soon engrossed in an article on love-spoons. She was particularly interested in this topic as her name was Dwynwen, the Welsh equivalent to St. Valentine.

Love-spoons happen to be a traditional Welsh gift which a girl's suitor would lovingly carve from a branch of ash or sycamore wood and fashion into an intricate object resembling a spoon, the handle of which is carved into a unique pattern and sometimes included the lovers' initials or a monogram. These spoons would be presented to the object of desire as an offering and statement of the feelings which the youth would have for his chosen bride. Dwynwen was jolted from her musings by the vibrant and familiar sound of her mobile phone which she had forgotten to switch off on entering the library, She fumbled in her bag and hurried out of the building, this time using the stairs to descend to the ground floor.

avid watched her rapid exit and waited a while but she did not return. He quickly attended to a couple of email messages, then moved towards the escalator. As he passed the table he glanced down and saw the magazine open at the page which Dwynwen had been reading. He sat down and as he did so he noticed a business card lying by her chair on the floor. On it was printed: Dwynwen Griffiths – Property Consultant and gave her phone number. He slipped it into his pocket and read the magazine feature for himself, and as he did so an idea began to germinate in his mind.

A week passed and being a creature of habit she duly arrived at the library on the same day that David made his weekly appearance. This time he approached her and produced the business card saying: “Is this yours? I found it here on the floor after you left last week.” She turned her dark eyes towards him and replied: “Oh did you? But there was really no need to go to the trouble of returning it!”
I was intrigued by your name,” David murmured. “Would you like to tell me about it? It's quite unusual.”
We can't talk here,”Dwynwen said,”let's go and have a coffee and I'll tell you how I got it.”

Over coffee she explained that Dwynwen was a Welsh princess of the 5th Century A.D., the daughter of a king, Brychan Brycheiniog from whom the town of Brecon was named.
Dwynwen had been in love with a nobleman named Maelon but the king had prevented the affair from flourishing by having Maelon turned into a block of ice. Dwynwen became a nun and developed a guide for lovers. Her day, January 25th, became St. Dwynwen's Day and was celebrated by Welsh lovers from then on. Later people across the world began to observe a different day, 14th February as the day when lovers exchange gifts and proclaim their undying devotion, but St Dwynwen's Day remained in Welsh folk tradition to this day. Their conversation turned to other folk traditions and David suggested that they meet next Saturday at the Welsh folk museum at St Ffagan's which surprisingly he had never visited. She readily agreed and they went their separate ways.

That afternoon he made a trip into the countryside and cut a short branch from a sycamore tree. That night he started whittling away at this piece of wood and continued working at it for the next few nights. By the end of the week he had created an exquisite love-spoon which he polished with beeswax until it glowed with a satin sheen. He wrapped it in tissue paper and placed it in a small box with an intention of giving it to the woman of his dreams.

The following Saturday it was cold but sunny. Arriving at St Ffagan's at the appointed time he saw her, standing beneath a sign that read: AMGUEDDFA WERIN CYMRU. He realised how much he liked her. She was not at all skittish like many of the girls he had known. She was wrapped up in a warm woollen coat, wearing black leather gloves, a black beret and sporting a tartan scarf draped loosely around her neck. She turned and smiled as he approached and unselfconsciously slipped her hand beneath his arm, and they proceeded through the museum gazing at the traditional houses, tools and artifacts from a previous age, long gone. Later they entered the warmth of an onsite restaurant and sat near a blazing fire. David took out the box from beneath his coat and laid it on the table. “it's for you,” he said, “ and I'm sorry that I missed your day, the 25th of January, but today is Valentine's Day and you are my Valentine.” Slowly she opened the box, unwrapped the tissue paper to reveal his handiwork, smiled in total acquiescence, leaned over the table to plant a kiss on his fore-head, and thus heralded the start of a long and happy relationship that persists to this day.