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Scottish Independence Referendum

Autumn colours

Teenage Cancer Trust

Saughton Park survey

 

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Yesterday David Cameron visited Aberdeen to speak to an invited audience.

The Yes campaign commented:

“David Cameron’s speech was the same litany of empty threats and empty promises we have come to expect from the No campaign – and he is the Prime Minister who has been orchestrating the campaign of ridiculous scaremongering being directed against Scotland.

“A Yes vote is Scotland’s one opportunity to ensure that we get the job creating powers we need to build a more prosperous economy and fairer society – and the financial powers we need to protect our health service. And only by voting Yes will Scotland always get the governments we vote for – and never again Tory governments imposed by Westminster, presiding over the scandal of a 400 per cent increase in the use of foodbanks while wasting £100 billion on a new generation of Trident nuclear weapons dumped on the Clyde.

“Instead of believing the word of a Tory prime minister on a very few more powers, the people of Scotland can get all the powers we need to build a better, fairer country by believing in ourselves and voting Yes.”

Alex Salmond visited his hometown of Linlithgow and talked to a group of businessmen at Edinburgh Airport. Meanwhile a group of veterans have advised that voters should vote No.

A line-up of Scottish war heroes, army generals and rank-and-file soldiers have issued a plea for voters to say No Thanks to separation.

More than 400 former servicemen and women, all eligible to vote on Thursday, have signed a veterans statement – published today – which warns that splitting the UK this week would leave our defences “irresponsibly weakened”.

They declare:

 “As former members of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force who are proud to call Scotland our home, we passionately believe that the people of Scotland will be stronger and more secure if we remain part of the United Kingdom.”

The signatories represent a who’s who of Scotland’s military history over the last seventy years, including:

 Six former heads of the Army in Scotland.

 Eleven World War two veterans

 15 Generals

They include Colonel Ian Critchley of the Black Watch, the first officer in the Highlands Division to cross the Rhine in 1945.

And the two World War two veterans who separately sank both the Bismark and its sister ship the Turpitz – Lt Cdr Jock Moffat and Lt Cdr John Lorimer – are also signatories.

Men and women of all ranks from all three services (Army, Navy & RAF) are represented as is every single current and former major Scottish regiment: the Black Watch, Gordon Highlanders, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, Highlanders, Kings Own Scottish Borderers, Royal Highland Fusiliers, Royal Regiment of Scotland, Royal Scots, Scots Guards, Scottish & North Irish Yeomanry and the Ayrshire Yeomanry and Queens Own Yeomanry.

The decision to speak out is unusual for military figures who, even in retirement, are often reluctant to speak out on political issues. However, with polling day approaching, they have decided to speak out together to show support for the British Armed Forces, and for a No Thanks vote this week.

 They express deep concern over the SNP’s plans to set up a separate Scottish Defence Force with a budget of just £2.5 bn a year. This would pay for two frigates, four mine hundters and 12 Typhoon jets.

 It comes after NATO’s former deputy supreme allied commander in Europe, General Sir Richard Shirreff branded the Scottish Government’s proposals “amateurish” and “dangerous”.

 “We are very proud of the remarkable contribution that Scots men and women have made to the Armed Forces and the important and integral part we have played in preserving our nation’s freedom and safeguarding our interests,” the veterans’ statement continues. 

 It concludes: “We see no evidence that the SNP’s proposals for the defence and security of an independent Scotland could possibly provide us with a credible, effective defence force capable of securing the interests of Scotland and our people.”

 A number of the signatories issue personal messages to voters today to remind undecided voters of the role of the Armed Forces when they vote on Thursday.

 Flt Lt John Adair, a former search & rescue pilot who served in the first Gulf War and in Northern Ireland says: “The role of a government is to protect its people. An island nation needs a Navy, Army and Air Force. Protection from terrorism requires a complex intelligence service. What has been said about this by the SNP?”

 Brigadier Patricia Purves, Adjutant General’s Corps (ETS) who left the army in 2002 after 28 years says:  “I think that our union of peoples who make up the United Kingdom have done more for the world than any other in the history of the human race and Scots have played a hugely important part in this.”

Fife resident, Cpl Clark McNamee of the Black Watch, who left the army in 2010 after 22 years declares: “I joined the army in 1988 because my family have always served in the Forces; in the Army, Navy and the Air Force.  I am signing this statement because the SNP haven’t outlined a defence strategy at all.  They are saying that Scotland will have 19 Typhoon aircraft but there’s no guarantee that they would have 19 pilots to fly them. “

Captain Frankie Caldwell, Royal Tank Regiment, who left the army in 2010 after 27 years says: “I have very strong emotional ties to the union.  Every issue matters in terms of the referendum but it is the emotional ties that make me more inclined to fear the breakup of it.  It would absolutely break my heart to see the Scottish element of the Union flag unpicked and separated from it when I’ve fought together with my English, Welsh and Northern Irish comrades.”

Brigadier Ian Gardiner, Royal Marines who left the army in 2001, having fought in the Dhofar war in Oman and commanded a Commando rifle company in the Falklands war says:  “As a population of 5 million, we could never be safer than as part of a union of 63 million. Our only option would be to align ourselves to our big neighbour, or lie at the mercy of a dangerous, volatile world. We would still depend upon the goodwill and the resources of the remainder of the UK for our wider defence, but would have no say in shaping defence policy.”

Major Hugh McAulay, Royal Highland Fusiliers who left the Regular Army in 2004 after 36 years says: “For most of the boys and girls who served in the Army, Navy and Air Force it’s more than just a border you are talking about breaking.  You are also breaking a lot of emotional and historical ties.”

Commenting, Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives said: ““Time and time again, the UK Armed Forces have proven themselves to be the most professional in the world. For centuries, they have upheld our values, fought for our freedom and kept this small island safe.”

“Britain’s Armed Forces help make this world a safer place. It cannot be right that we should allow our proud military tradition to be vandalised by the SNP’s back of a fag packet plans on defence.”

“Those who have worn the uniform with pride make it clear that not only would our defences be ‘irresponsibly weakened’ but that thousands of high value defence jobs across Scotland would be in peril.”

“In no area is the case for our United Kingdom better made than in defence. Why, on this small island, would we split up the defences that have kept us safe for centuries?”

“We are stronger and safer together. These veterans know it and will be voting to keep Scotland secure as part of the United Kingdom on Thursday. I urge undecided voters to listen to their words and back a No vote too.”

The Yes and No campaigns continue their journey today on the second last day of campaigning.

On Sunday there was an event at Raeburn Place where aerial photos and video were shot of a big NO made up of Better Together supporters. Here’s the video – we might have had our own but were not advised the event was taking place.

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Share your photos of autumn with us and our readers. Autumn is a great time to be out and about capturing the colours here in Edinburgh or anywhere else.

Add your photos or your videos along with what you like about this time of year here on EdinburghReportage.

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Teenage Cancer Trust has revealed plans detailing how the £5 million inspired by the remarkable teenager, Stephen Sutton MBE, will help other young people with cancer in the UK. The charity has confirmed that £630,000 will be invested in their services for young people with cancer in Scotland.

In Edinburgh, The Royal Hospital for Sick Children is also scheduled for closure so the two-bed Teenage Cancer Trust unit there will also need replacing with new facilities at the new Children’s Hospital when it opens. Stephen’s Story will help to make this possible by contributing £360,000 to a new four bed unit for 13 to16 year olds. It is hoped this replacement unit will open in 2017.

In Glasgow, The Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill is scheduled for closure and so the interim Teenage Cancer Trust unit will need replacing with facilities at the new Southern General Hospital. Stephen’s Story will contribute £270,000 to a new six bed unit for 13 to 16 year olds. This will complete the £500,000 West of Scotland appeal that was launched in 2013. It is anticipated the unit will open in April 2015

Annually, Teenage Cancer Trust invests nearly £800,000 developing and delivering their services and education work cross Scotland.

Christine Jason, Teenage Cancer Trust Head of Regional Fundraising (North), said: “The money from Stephen’s Story is in addition to the relentless fundraising by many patients and families, trusts, companies, schools, colleges and local communities. It’s an incredible amount of money and we are extremely grateful, but we are still not reaching every young person who needs our help, so there is still much to do. We’re still counting on the continued support of people across Scotland so we can reach even more local young people with cancer.”

The state-of-the-art units will complement the charity’s existing services and specialist care at The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre which provides care for 17 to 24 year olds, and at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh which provides care for 16 to 24 year olds.

Unlike ‘ordinary’ hospital wards, the new units will offer bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, and social areas that includes a TV and games area as well as chill out zone and quiet area. There will also be computers with access to wifi throughout, a drinks and dining area, and a kitchen where young people and their families can prepare meals.

Teenage Cancer Trust is the only UK charity dedicated to improving the quality of life and chances of survival for young people with cancer, aged 13 to 24. However, for every young person Teenage Cancer Trust helps there’s another they cannot currently reach. The charity hopes that by 2020 every young person with cancer in the UK will have access to their expert support from the moment they hear the word cancer. To achieve this, Teenage Cancer Trust will need to raise over £80 million in the next five years to support current and new services.

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Saughton Park is to be restored and improved. There is a chance for you to have your say. Complete the survey here on the council website.

The survey has been designed so that the council can better understand  Saughton Park visitors and how they feel the park could be improved. It will also inform the development of the masterplan which will become the basis of a second round bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2015, for funds to carry out the restoration and improvements works to the park.