TER Saltire

Contributed Article

On the 18th September we are all being asked to make one of the biggest decisions of our lives. The decision we take will not only affect the future of our children but also their children and so on. This decision can give the people of Scotland Hope for a better future with our own government. I am very saddened to read in the newspapers the result of a poll which showed that so many women are afraid to vote yes as they are too ”feart of what will happen after a YES vote wins” I have been writing and changing this for over a week now. It is worth it to me if it helps others to make up their minds whether they are Yes or No voters. In this post I am trying to get some information over to as many women as I can in plain speak about the issues. I know it is a bit long and I don’t apologise for it. So here goes:

I believe that the working people with families don’t have enough of the facts and figures in easy speak terms to come to the decision they need to make. This is probably down to the busy lives they lead. So I will try to give you as much information here as I possibly can: How many jobs have been lost in Scotland since the 1980’s? I come from a left of centre background Labour supporting family steeped in Labour tradition, believing in social justice, equality, a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work and looking as a society which is more than about money. We now live in a society where we know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

I was a traditional Labour supporter all of my adult life, was a Member of the Labour Party and canvassed for them throughout the 1970’s 80’s and 90’s. My husband and I have a comfortable lifestyle, our own home, holiday a few times a year and no financial worries. However, financial interests are not what motivates me to vote Yes, which seems to be the main thrust of the comments I have taken days to read through by the NO Campaign.

I am more interested in a fairer and just society with policies being undertaken by a Scottish Government on behalf of the Scottish People and not by a Westminster Government which has lied to us for years. I have watched as many friends and family have been put on the scrapheap by losing jobs (ones that were often regarded as safe), losing their homes and most of all losing their Hope. Where we are in Scotland is not good enough. The Westminster Government is not serving the people of Scotland who need it most and has not done for many years. We live in a society which is the 4th most unequal in the world. Make no mistake this Referendum is about those who have and those who haven’t.

If you look at any of the housing estates in Scotland, a lot of which are a failure of Labour which i used to support, you will see not only the the young people who never had a job but also the working people who are having to depend on food-banks. The fact that Labour over so many years has failed to deliver to those people who need it most is a disgrace. In Ayr life expectancy for men is now 68. One in four baby boys born this year will die before they are 65! Labour at Westminster should hang their heads in shame. They are coming up here talking about borders, currency etc promising us this and that if we vote NO.

We have fallen for these promises many times in the past but NEVER again. What happened to the promises from the Thatcher Government – they gave us the Poll Tax. They also brought our country to it’s knees. Dismantled our coal industry, manufacturing and so many others. They were the ones who brought us high unemployment. They are trying to tell us we are thinking with our heart. Forget it, we are thinking with our brains – we are waking up to what this is all about. We are waking up to a level of injustice and a society that is so unfair to the people at the bottom that we have to do something else.

Do I think that Independence is going to solve everything – no I don’t. Will there be negotiations, lots of treaties, will it be hard? Yes it will be at times, but I’ll tell you what – we will be doing it from a position of sovereignty, where we can truly represent the people of this country and we can organise ourselves better. That is my vision and that is why I am voting for Independence. If there are still people out there who are voting no, well go and look at the arguments.

If you still have fear and you look at the arguments and think I don’t know or I am still voting no – fine. The worst thing for me is why you are going to vote no? I am not going to argue with you I am just saying it as it is. It is your opinion and you have as much right to that opinion as any of us. If you say I can’t stand that Alex Salmond and the SNP, forget it go and bile your heed. By all means go back and look at all the choices and research, you should look at the arguments for and against, switch your brain on and engage in debate. If you still think No then vote No. What are you going to tell your grandchildren when they ask why you didn’t vote for Scottish Independence ”well I didn’t like that man ”what’s his name now?” We are voting for ourselves and each other we are not voting for Alex Salmond but for our own decision making process.

Women are seen as being the ones with the ”low voice, if any”. That is not true, there is nothing worse than the cringing Scot who thinks we are not good enough because we haven’t been to College or University or haven’t any qualifications. We all have been through the University of Life and have skills and on the ground knowledge which are far more important. Those people can’t articulate an argument any better than the rest of us. Many women for too long now, have had the opinion that it is best to listen to the men; we are too frightened to voice our opinions in case we make a fool of ourselves; this is so wrong. We live in Scotland , most of us for a very long period of time. We were brought up by our parents saying to us ”Don’t get above yourselves”.

Well it is about time we did get above ourselves, this is about who we want to be and the type of country we want to live in. This is our chance in this country not to be involved in illegal wars, not to have nuclear weapons on our shores. What damage did Chernobyl do not just to their area in Russia from the fallout in the West of Scotland. The areas populated around where nuclear weapons are based have witnessed the highest increase in Cancer. My mother, who unfortunately is not with us anymore, stated when I was young that the fall-out from Chernobyl would be known in a number of years. We used to laugh at her when she told us that everything we eat from these beautiful fields in Scotland would be contaminated. She was right all along. I ask myself, how many of my friends and ordinary people I know in the passing have died recently from cancer.

An overwhelming amount of funerals I have been to over the past few years have been of those people under the age of 60 who died of Cancer. Previously fit young women and men. Does Westminster worry about fallout from nuclear weapons based in Scotland – no it will not affect them and as it looks like it to me – we are disposable, along with our children and grandchildren. We are now getting the usual lies from Westminster Government and MP’s, we love you Scotland, don’t leave us – it makes me weep. We have been told for as long as I can remember that we are scroungers, we depend on the money from English taxpayers to keep us in booze, fags and bingo. Many English people don’t want to keep ”supporting us Scots” because they have been fed these same lies by Westminster.

We are more than able to stand on our own 2 feet, making decisions for ourselves and have a thriving economy and export trade. We are a country rich with innovation, excellent tourism, massive energy exports, outstanding trade, superior education and laws that other countries try to emulate and best of all ”our people” are regarded highly throughout the world. Lastly, I wish to let all of my English Family and Friends know that we YES supporters are not anti-English or anti-anything. We are pro Independence and that is the truth of the matter.

I hope you take time to decide what your vote will be and I look forward to an exciting time.

Submitted by Rachel Dempsey


  1. Having just read the above article I am once again deeply saddened by Yes campaign for Scottish Independence. This article plays on the emotions of and belittles the intelligence of those who are undecided with unsubstantiated sweeping statements. Both of my parents are Scottish and all my extended family still reside within Scotland, with my brothers and I being the first family members born south of the border. I live in the Southeast of England and suffer with the same problems mentioned in the article above. I have never perceived England and Scotland as two different nations. For me the UK as a whole is one nation with different regional labels. So the notion of Scotland being a separate entity is a very difficult one for me to accept.
    The writer talks about what is best for Scotland, and that Westminster is the sole cause of the inequalities within Scottish society, mentioning high unemployment and the destruction of industry by the Tories. But this is not just a problem within Scotland, and it takes a united people to fight for justice. I do not agree with some of the policies out forward by the coalition government, so I use my voice by joining with others when I can. Separating from the rest of the UK will not cure the problems within Scotland and will not ease the problems elsewhere. As I said it takes a UNITED people, not those looking to put the blame and leave when the going gets tough.
    Social inequality is a global problem. It is not localized and not caused by one government. It is caused by greed and by lack of action. It is caused by people misusing their voice and misplacing their anger.
    Moving on to the argument above nuclear arms, I agree, I do not want nuclear arms within our borders. They do not promote the ideology of peace and if we have told other nations that they are not to have them what right do we have. I would also ask what statistics the writer has about the inflated amount of those having cancer in regions thought to be affected by Chernobyl and what research these allegations come from. As a member of the public with a degree in Sociology I believe that these statements need to be backed up by fact, pure data. Without this any narrative on the subject loses credibility. Cancer is rife within society and more needs to be done to ascertain causes and cures, and hopefully preventatives.
    The writer also references that women do not have a voice and are still deferring to the judgement of men. Again this sweeping statement does not ring valid. As a voting age woman I know I have the power to use my voice. Looking at society as a whole there are many women, and men, who are under educated when it comes to politics, and this needs addressing nationwide. I am finding more and more 21st century feminists are looking for a fight rather than promote equality.
    Finally the writer states that they are not an ‘England hater’, but writes a few sentences before about how us, English people portray the Scottish as scroungers who depend on us for booze, fags and bingo. This for me displays a negative image of both Scots and English people. Why highlight such a stereotypical, uneducated view of the Scot/English relationship. This is purely to cause more division amongst our nation.
    The vote for Scottish independence is not just economical, it is about identity and wanting the best for future generations. But this is an ideal that we all share – whether we are Welsh, Scottish, English, Irish, French, German – need I go on. Creating more division, more contempt for other people does not solve any problem. Do not work against, work with. Educate, communicate and put in the work to change for the good of all, not just one localized section of society.
    We as a nation need to start a ripple effect of unity, peace, and equality. But we cannot do this if we separate and put walls between us. I do not know the answers to any of the problems of society. I am just one person, whose voice can be drowned out, but when I stand as part of a team, bringing many ideas and standing together much can be accomplished. Proof of this has been seen in history. Let’s stand together to fight the greedy and remind them that even though we do not have their education, their money, we can equal their power, their voice and we can bring equality and bridge gaps.
    I want to finish with some wise words which apply to every nation and every people globally – “United we stand, divided we fall.” These words seem so simple, but weigh so much. Can you do it? Can you show unity in the face of hardship? Can you show unity when you feel discriminated against?
    I can, can you?

  2. What absolute complete and utter bile…

    “Westminster worry about fallout from nuclear weapons based in Scotland – no it will not affect them and as it looks like it to me – we are disposable, along with our children and grandchildren.”

    Scotland is a great country a status achieved as part of a union with other nations with the same strengths working as one. There is a problem with politics and politicians in this country as there is in many others, a view held across every part of the UK. We need to change that together rather than break a country into small pieces and making the whole weaker thinking that will fix the problem. It won’t. Salmond and the SNP use the same tricks as the rest of the politicians across our countries – make stuff up to sell an ideology, if and when it all goes pete tongue and people see it for what it is, cloud it in falsehoods and blame someone else… Even if any party come up with an idea that works the opposition spend their time picking holes in it, undermining it or claiming credit for it. No one is interested in what works in the best interests of the whole just who came up with it hence wether to fight it or not. For me the debate is simple. THe question here is do you want to be Scottish and British or just Scottish. Neither is going to make you rich beyond your dreams or a pauper, it just takes a big chunk out of something that means something to the vast majority of the world. THe only people celebrating a yes vote outside a percentage of Scotland will be Argentina, parts of Africa and the middle east. Ask yourself why.

  3. What future? Nobody has seen any bit of the “great” future, they have only seen propaganda.
    Give people information, not propaganda, so they can make an informed decision.

    I will vote yes

  5. I will defiantly be voting yes your piece has confirmed my feeling exactly I myself am an english man who came to live in Scotland a number of years ago but I consider myself to be Scottish and am sick of the way the English just think they can ( ride) roughshod over us all the time
    Without us they will have nothing and that’s why they want to keep it as it is
    They can’t go to war’s or anything without us in one way or another but let them pay us for a change
    we want it we need it and deserve it COME ON SCOTLAND WE CAN DO IT NOW IS OUR TIME
    mike Edwards PROUD to call myself a SCOT

  6. Rachel Dempsey’s recent article has encouraged me to write to you myself. Unlike Rachel, until recently I regularly voted SNP, until that is, our local MSP let myself, and my neighbours down very badly.

    Edinburgh’s ‘fundamentally dishonest’ planning system.
    MSPs fail to allay fears over poor quality legislation.
    What happened to Scottish justice?

    Much has been made of the fairer society we will all be living in if we vote to give our MSPs additional powers in the upcoming referendum. Why would we, when planning legislation gives rise to the following ‘nonsense’, the SPSO Act 2002 enables the Ombudsman to condone it rather than recommend changes to remove it and some of our elected representatives don’t have the courage to stand up for the people of Edinburgh, or justice?

    These are just a few of the more bizarre pieces of information local residents and their elected representatives have been expected to accept during disputes surrounding three planning applications at 24 Milton Road East, Edinburgh over the past 14 years:
    A development can be in two places at one time — SPSO.
    One development was found to be slightly further from our houses than had been approved in 2007, yet construction only began in 2008 — CEC Planning Dept.
    The developers were able to install new gas mains in some of our back gardens, (the explanation given for removing the approved landscaping which it was ‘clarified’, would remain untouched) without our noticing the work being done — SPSO ‘Advisor’.
    We are ‘better off’ with a larger development having been built closer to our houses than the previous ‘planning disaster’, (Corsie Bowling Centre) — CEC Planning Dept.
    SPSO staff and MSPs cannot tell us if the SPSO have a legal obligation to investigate maladministration, failure to provide a service etc as implied in their publicity.

    This is the level of ‘nonsense’ on which decisions have been made by those in positions of trust, that have adversely affected local residents. We cannot get anyone to take ownership of these issues let alone instigate the necessary changes to Edinburgh’s planning system and procedures to ensure they comply with the Scottish Parliament’s recommendations.

    These are a few extracts from correspondence with a number of Councillors, MSPs and CEC Chief Executive.

    ‘These failings/mistakes have led to acknowledged injustice, structural damage to some of our properties, four breaches of planning control, (as defined in the Planning Enforcement Charter), two ‘planning disasters’ and five formal complaints.’

    ‘We feel this is at best incompetent, (a recognized form of maladministration) and in view of the fact that those dealing with our original complaints were trained to university degree level, we feel such claims have to be seen as deliberate wrongdoing. When asked who in their opinion was guilty of deception, neither Mrs Bruce nor Mr Martin responded. They both claim to have answered our questions, (some times in advance of them being asked) yet when copies were requested they refused to provide them. As you might expect, this has added to the general level of suspicion surrounding these disputes.’

    ‘We agree with the Scottish Parliament’s definitions of maladministration and breach of planning control and have provided obvious examples of both. However, it is clear that Mrs Bruce and her colleagues in CEC Planning Dept and Mr Martin and his staff in the SPSO do not. If this is the case, we would argue that they should lobby Parliament with a view to having these definitions amended and not merely over-rule or ignore legislation because it confirms the mistakes we have brought to their attention. We trust you agree with us but if not, can you please let us know why?’

    ‘The Scottish Parliament is responsible for planning legislation that enables a Planning Department to mislead members of the public and their Planning Committee by knowingly providing them with inaccurate and contradictory information, i.e. it is “fundamentally dishonest” and fails to provide the service their customers have every right to expect from them. This is a failure to comply with the Scottish Parliament’s own recommended Planning Charters, (openness, fairness, service standards, taking advice etc). The SPSO Act 2002 enables the Ombudsman to condone this practice by ignoring these recognised forms of maladministration, (as defined by the Scottish Parliament and the SPSO itself). It also enables the SPSO to ignore the breaches of planning control, (again as defined by the Scottish Parliament) that potentially lead to injustice and hardship rather than use the powers we are led to believe the Act gives them, e.g. recommending retraining where required, improvements in communication and changes to systems and procedures that will ensure these failings are not repeated and the level of service provided is improved to the required standard.

    This flies in the face of both the First Minister and Deputy First Minister’s recent claims that an independent Scotland would be a fairer society if Scottish MSPs were given more powers. They are already responsible for legislation that is not only very obviously unfair to the public and biased in favour of developers and local Councils, it leaves both Councillors and MSPs open to triggering complaints to the Standards Commissioner for failing to comply with their respective Codes of Conduct. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to ask, why would the people of Scotland want to give them more powers if this is the standard of legislation they have provided them with so far?’

    Failure to refute these claims merely confirms our suspicions that Scotland’s planning legislation is just as wide open to abuse now as it was in 2000. It is grossly unfair to the people of Scotland and the SPSO Act 2002 is, as we have suggested, no more than a cynical piece of legislation, which enables Councils to maintain the status quo rather than improve standards to the level reasonably expected by both the local population and the Scottish Parliament.

    We are in the ridiculous position where our Cabinet Secretary for Justice, (Kenny MacAskill MSP) has confirmed that mistakes have been made in the handling of a planning application which have led to a recognised injustice. He has also acknowledged that the SPSO is “something of a toothless ombudsman” yet despite his legal obligation to comply with the MSP’s Code of Conduct, i.e. serve his constituents, uphold the good name of the Scottish Parliament etc, he claims there is nothing he can do.

    ‘The Scottish Parliament has left the public and its MSPs in the position where they have to accept this level of ‘nonsense’ despite the injustice and hardship it can cause. Why would any member of the public feel this was acceptable? What possible justification can members of the SPCB or anyone else receiving this e-mail give for allowing these practices to continue?’

    We were told it was not in the public interest to take further action over the issues we raised. On the advice of Kezia Dugdale MSP, more than 100 local residents submitted a petition to the Planning Committee in February 2012 insisting in an independent review of the manner in which these applications had been handled. We were ignored. Two and a half years later, more that 4,000 people have now shown concerns not only about CEC Planning Dept but also the manner in which CEC is being run, by adding their names to these two petitions:

    Scots Law and the Scottish justice system was once held up as a shining example to follow throughout the world. What went wrong?

    John Colledge (on behalf of a number of Brunstane Bank residents)

  7. The final paragraph should have read ‘Scots Law and the Scottish justice system were once held up as shining examples to follow throughout the world. What went wrong?’

    Sorry about that.


  8. We were tricked and deceived by our own Rhodesian Government, (obsessed with Colonialism), in 1960, in voting for a Constitution rejecting our Independence. Although we lost our Rhodesia in 1980, as a direct result of this, we had the best 15 years of our Rhodesia with Ian Smith, fighting politically and economically, to keep our Independent Rhodesia with our Green and White Flag, flying high! Scotland must take its rightfull Independence now! You owe it to yourselves and your childrens future to stand proud and strong amongst the independent nations in the world! Independence will unite the Scottish Nation, as never before! Yes, there will be problems to be overcome, but enjoy the challenge! the strength and determination of the Scottish Nation will overcome them all!

  9. We were tricked and deceived by our Rhodesian Government,(obsessed with Colonialism), in 1960, in voting for a Constitution, rejecting our Independence. Although we lost our Rhodesia as a direct result of this, we had the best 15 years of our Rhodesia, from 1965 to 1980, with Ian Smith fighting politically and economically,to keep our Independent Rhodesia, and our Green and White Flag of Independence, flying high! Scotland must take its rightfull Independence, now! You owe it to yourselves and your childrens future, to stand proud and strong, as an Independent Nation in the world! Independence will unite the Scottish Nation, as never before! Yes, there will be problems to overcome,but enjoy the challenge. You can win them all, with the united strength and determination of the Scottish Nation!

  10. A TIME FOR TALKING. Personal background.- Early Junior School years at Perth Academy, Scotland. Final Junior School years at Simonstown School, South Africa. Senior School years at Milton Senior School, in Bulawayo, Rhodesia. Lived for many years in Rhodesia, and now permanent resident in Pretoria, South Africa. Life in our Rhodesia, (as it was). – I have tried to keep it sufficiently brief, so as not to side track readers, but sufficient to provide adequate understanding to compare the similarities in Rhodesia, (as it was), and Scotland, (now). Southern Rhodesia was a very contented Colony, with self government, and an efficient colonial sympathetic administration. It exported mainly tobacco and minerals to Britain, and imported from England almost everything else it required. But it is 1960 :- Harold Macmillan makes his famous, or infamous, “Winds of Change”, speech. All the Colonies are receiving their independence, – colonialism is over, and Rhodesia, despite making every effort to achieve independence, is forced to declare UDI, (Unilateral Declaration of Independence) in 1965. England applies mandatory sanctions to try and destroy our Rhodesia, by cutting off all our supplies, including our fuel. Ian Smith meets the challenge head on, and carries our Rhodesian People with him, determined to survive, no matter what. The political logo of encouragement is, “What Rhodesia makes – makes Rhodesia”. Sanctions, meant to destroy us, are the best thing that ever happened. New industries – new factories, and massive import substitution throughout the Country. Our Rhodesian people totally united in making it work. South Africa, our ever helpful neighbour, routing our exports and essential imports through its Ports. Our totally dedicated allegiance is to our Republic of Rhodesia, and we fly our flag of Green and White throughout our Homeland! This is the time, for an Independant Scotland to adopt this political logo of encouragement right now! “What Scotland makes – makes Scotland”. Have some of your industries closed? and others finding it hard to survive? Are you people dedicating themselves to support your own Industries, instead of relying more and more on cheap imports? The cheap imports means self destruct of your own economy with rising un-employment. TOURISM. – a pillar of massive financial strength. South Africa relies heavily on overseas tourists. They all want to see the animals in the Kruger Park, or visit Cape Town, to ride the cableway up Table Mountain, to visit our beaches, visit Cape Point, where two oceans meet, and the Winelands, amongst many other attractions. Scotland has a very big list of tourist attractive features for you to capitalize on, and for your own people, to provide accommodation to meet the needs of the tourists. (We were taught to play musical instruments with a class band at Perth Academy, and much enjoyed listening to a band in the South Park on some weekends. Is it practical to encourage interested young
    people at your schools, to take music lessons? This would help them to stage regular concerts at various towns and cities, wearing the kilts of the Clans. A great tourist draw would be thus encouraged. Being of the older generation, we would prefer the music of Jimmy Shand and his Band. Is there sufficient “modern” Scottish music to attract the younger people, and younger tourists of today?) How soon can the “Scottish Dept of Tourism”, open offices in Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town, in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA? – to advertise and promote tourism to all the facilities, you are able to offer. How, soon can you open the Embassy of Scotland in these Countries? (Just the same as our Rhodesia did), you will find new friends and investment throughout the World.You have been given the greatest opportunity in History to gain your independence now! Vote for it! and take it! with great expectations and promise,of a wonderful new future for all the Scottish People, united in one Nation! Independence Now!

  11. INDEPENDENCE DAY,- 18th September 2014. The most important Day in Scotland’s history, is fast approaching! It is an overnight complete mental re-adjustment of the political thought process that is urgently required! Gone forever will be the bickering and divisiveness of the political parties, south of the border! There is no place for it in the New Scotland! You must stand together as a Nation United in the New Scotland! Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has got the politics 100% correct! She has the devoted political vision for you now, and for your future! She needs your 100% support for a better life for all, in your New Scotland. Put Scotland First! What Scotland makes – makes Scotland! Independence Now!

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