Scottish Politics

Thousands March For Scottish Independence in Aberdeen

Around 12,000 people marched in Aberdeen on Saturday in the Latest All Under One Banner march in support of Scottish Indepencence.

The event was the latest in a serious of marches all over Scotland in the last five years organised by the All Under One Banner organisation.

See our tweet thread below for images from the event.
(*The initial photo as pointed out by some on the thread is a generic All Under One Banner march photo). This thread has currently had 26,000 impressions.



BBC Scotland: Pro-independence campaigners take to Aberdeen streets

STV News – Thousands take part in independence march in Aberdeen

All Under One Banner

Ministerial Statement – Next Steps on Scotland’s Future

Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell, Scottish Parliament. (29/05/19)

Presiding Officer,

Much has happened since, the First Minister set out, in late April, the Scottish Government’s view of continued Brexit chaos and of the measures this Government must bring forward to protect the people of this country.

Last Thursday Scotland said, loudly and clearly, that it is a European nation and it intends to remain one.

It also rejected all attempts to deflect that argument and showed its contempt for equivocation.

Elections can be brutal judgements on parties and politicians.

But, Presiding Officer, elections can also be fresh starts.

So, if all the parties in this chamber are willing to hear the clear voice of Scotland, then I believe we can find a way to put behind us the divisions of Brexit and move forward together.

And that is what this statement is about.

On the 11th of April, when the EU threw the UK a lifeline to avoid a no deal Brexit, Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council said to Westminster “Please don’t waste this time”.

But he has been ignored.

The manifesto on which we won the Holyrood election in 2016 and on which this government is founded said the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum “if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will”.

Any “deal” which takes Scotland out of the EU against the wishes of the majority has that effect.

And if a new prime minister attempts a “no deal Brexit”, whilst we will do everything possible to stop it, and everything we can to mitigate it, it will be yet further proof that the conditions set out in our manifesto in April 2016 have been met in full and there will be an even greater urgency to give Scotland the choice of a different future.

The Scottish Government will of course continue to do all we can to stop Brexit for the whole UK. In particular, we will continue to support a second referendum on EU membership – a position which received widespread support on Thursday. But time is running out.

The third anniversary of the Brexit referendum will be with us in less than a month’s time. The accelerating shambles has caused and is causing real damage to Scotland’s economy, and to our social fabric.

The assumption that a UK Government and a UK Parliament would or could in any way do better for Scotland than our own independent institutions has been finally and completely destroyed.

Presiding Officer there must be – and there is – a better way forward.

That is, in our view, for Scotland to become an independent, European nation.

But as we seek that way forward, we must try and build as much consensus as we can.

One thing we have learnt from Brexit is this – there is a need for reconciliation and the bringing together of different views.

We must try to break the current logjam with the power of fresh ideas.

To do that we must approach our collective national future in a spirit of openness and acceptance that we all want the best for our country.

We must be mindful not just of those who won, but also those who lost – not just this week, nor even just in 2016 but in 2014 too.

It will not be easy, but at least we start on that process with a high degree of consensus about the basic fact – the Westminster system is broken and there is no mending of it in sight.

The First Minister said last month that we must reach out and be inclusive and our approach to the three tasks we are now taking forward has been, and is, just that.

So firstly, as context, I can confirm that, despite the chaos we witness in Whitehall, my colleagues and I will continue to attend intergovernmental meetings with UK and Wales (and hopefully soon Northern Ireland) counterparts.

The destination the Scottish Government wishes for this country is independence, but as we travel towards that, we have a role in helping to improve the structures under which we presently live and work.

In the past two years I have often quoted the terms of reference of the JMC (EN).

They have consistently and fundamentally been ignored by the UK Government.

There must be a new – meaningful – respect for our position and for the responsibilities which are ours as of right.

There needs to be a clear and urgent timetable for the current inter-governmental review, which must secure a legal underpinning to the relationship, and the UK Government must commit to respecting the legislative consent mechanism rather than ignoring it.

These matters will be discussed at the next JMC (EN) due before the end of June. We must see significant progress on them if those meetings are to have any future purpose.

Presiding Officer that is about the journey.

Let me now turn to the destination and the three areas of activity which the First Minister set out in her April statement.

Firstly, the Referendums (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Parliament yesterday and has been published this morning.

This Bill will, it is hoped, have completed its Parliamentary progress by the end of this calendar year.

As the First Minister said in April, it is the intention of the Government to offer the people of Scotland a choice on independence later in this term of parliament.

Of course, should circumstances change we would have the option of seeking Parliament’s agreement to proceed on an accelerated timetable.

The Bill provides a legal framework for holding referendums on matters which are now or in future within the competence of the Scottish Parliament.

The rules it sets out are of the highest standards and will ensure that the results are widely and internationally accepted. It brings Scotland into line with the UK where there is already standing legislation for referenda through the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act which Westminster passed in 2000.

As the First Minister indicated in her statement, we intend at a future date to negotiate with the UK Government for a section 30 order to put beyond doubt our competence to hold a referendum on independence.

When the framework is used in those, or any other circumstances, a separate vote at a future date will allow members to consider the specific topic and approve the question.

The proposed franchise will be based on that used for local government and Scottish Parliament elections, which includes EU citizens and 16 and 17 year-olds.

It will be updated to incorporate future extensions to the franchise. I have previously set out my intention to extend the franchise for Scottish Parliament and Local Government elections to all people legally resident in Scotland, whatever their nationality. Those proposals will be brought forward shortly.

Given the disastrous and shameful experience of many EU citizens last Thursday it is now obvious that this is the only way to secure the democratic rights of every citizen.

I look forward to working with other parties at all stages of the parliamentary process.

Secondly, on cross-party talks about the broken Westminster system and the future needs and direction of Scotland, I welcome the commitment from Labour and the Greens to explore what might be possible. I hope the other parties who have not yet responded will now confirm that they wish to do so.

I have suggested using an independent interlocutor who would talk to parties separately to gather views and create an agenda and format for these talks. This would take the pressure out of the process and allow better engagement without any hangover from past discussions.

I intend to start a first round next month and to build on that if the other parties are willing.

These talks are without preconditions, and I commit myself and the Scottish Government to constructive engagement in them.

I know that wider civic Scotland is keen to be involved and I will work with the parties to consider how that might be possible.

Finally, Presiding Officer we have made considerable progress with the creation of a Citizens’ Assembly.

Two weeks ago I visited Ireland where I met some of the key people responsible for the Constitutional Convention and the Citizens’ Assembly. I am meeting with a range of experts from this country and overseas in order to further inform our own planning.

There is already a lot of interest in, and enthusiasm for, the Citizens’ Assembly. I hope that all parties will welcome and become involved in the initiative, as was the case in Ireland.

In order to help members engage more, I have arranged for the Secretaries of the Irish initiatives to come to Scotland, on 19th June to speak to MSPs and others. This will include a briefing session to party leaders or their nominees.

At and after the meetings on the 19th of June I would want all parties to offer their thoughts and suggestions.

I hope to be able to announce an independent chair and the formation of an expert steering group in the coming weeks and to confirm the timetable and the process for formulating the precise issues for deliberation when we return in September.

We intend to hold the first session of the Assembly in the Autumn and to have all five or six sessions completed by next Spring.

Presiding Officer, in conclusion, as we take forward a range of activities based upon consensus and compromise we will be endeavouring to get away from the negativity and nastiness of the current Brexit process.

Scotland deserves – and this week has clearly demanded – better.

We must create a country in which we all feel we have gained something worth having, and where we all feel part of a shared national endeavour regardless of the particular side of the argument we come from.

That is the spirit which imbued the First Minster’s statement in April and which the Scottish Government is determined to carry forward.

I hope we can do so together.

That is the fresh start the people of Scotland have offered us.

We should all grasp it with both hands.

Article Source:

FM Nicola Sturgeon: It’s time for Scotland to consider its options

(Article: 28/05/19) Scotland has given its verdict on the UK’s Brexit chaos and the numbers are spectacular. The SNP has achieved its best-ever European result, and the highest vote share of any party in Western Europe. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reflects on the options now facing Scotland.

Leadership, in any walk of life, can be challenging and Theresa May’s tenure as Prime Minister was never going to be plain-sailing.

The hand she was dealt when she took office three years ago was not an easy or obviously winning one. Her predecessor, David Cameron had gambled on an EU referendum and lost, her party was divided and the country’s future relationship with the EU was uncertain, to say the least.

Now, just three years after she entered Downing Street as Prime Minister, Theresa May has set her date of departure.

One of the messages she stressed in her resignation statement was the need to compromise. Unfortunately, her conduct as Prime Minister was far removed from that rhetoric. To put it bluntly, compromise is what Theresa May failed to do, refused to do even, at every stage of her Premiership. And that is, in no small measure, why we are in now in this mess.

Theresa May’s first visit as Prime Minster was to Scotland.

I met her at Bute House and she stressed that she wanted Scotland to be an equal partner in the Brexit negotiations. She spoke of a ‘special bond’, a ‘precious union’ and that her government would ‘stand up’ for Scotland’s interests.

It is fair to say that I was sceptical even then. However, I was prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt. However, despite her warm words, these stated intentions were never put into practice.

In the three years that followed her visit, Scotland’s needs were side-lined, the Scottish Parliament’s powers ridden roughshod over and every single attempt by the SNP and Scottish Government to find compromise and an acceptable – even if not ideal – way forward ignored in favour of pandering to the hard Brexit faction of her Tory party, and also to the DUP.

And the worry now, with her departure , is that it is the hard Brexit faction that is now in the ascendancy. Because the hard reality is that, while Theresa May’s resignation on Friday felt somewhat inevitable, it does nothing to resolve the current state of affairs and the Brexit impasse. Indeed, she leaves the country with the prospect of an even bleaker future of an uncompromising Brexiteer in Number 10 who will pursue a hard or no-deal Brexit at all costs.

As things stand, the favourite to replace her is Boris Johnson.

On Friday at an economic conference in Switzerland, he said he’d be prepared to walk away from the EU with no deal if he cannot negotiate what he’d deem to be a suitable arrangement.

As if the thought of Boris Johnson – or another of the hard Brexiteer cabal – in Downing Street isn’t distressing enough, the delivery of a no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic.

Scottish Government research has already shown that the UK government’s proposed Brexit deal could see a 6% fall in GDP by 2030, worth over £1,600 per person in Scotland.

Under a no-deal, Scotland would be facing heightened economic uncertainty, an increase in unemployment by around 100,000, a 10% – 30% depreciation in sterling and a possible recession.

That is an unacceptable price for remain-voting Scotland to pay for a Tory Brexit obsession.

Whoever takes the reins of the chaotic Tory party, it would be deeply wrong given the current mess the UK faces for them to take hold of Downing Street without a General Election.

Whilst it has been Tory party policy to refuse the public a second vote on EU membership, it’s time for the balance of power to be shifted away from the archaic 1922 Committee and for the people to be given a say in the future direction of the country, and who leads it.

For Scotland, we may have another decision to make. The events of recent years pose serious questions about our own future and whether or not we’re content to continue on this destructive path.

Whilst the SNP at Westminster and the Scottish government have tried hard to stop Brexit for the whole of the UK, the prospect of a hard Brexiteer in Downing Street makes it more important that we consider all our options.

We must therefore focus our efforts on doing everything in our power to protect Scotland from this destructive path, which is why I announced the Scottish Government’s intentions to give people in Scotland the choice of becoming an independent country.

More detail on the framework legislation that will put the rules for a future referendum in place will be set out in the coming days. The Bill is a necessary part of the preparations we need to make to offer people in Scotland the choice of independence in a referendum within this parliamentary term.

Whoever is in Downing Street, and whatever disastrous Brexit policy they pursue, one thing is clear – there must be an alternative choice for Scotland. As the UK continues on a damaging Brexit path, I believe that more people will opt for the positive choice of joining the other small, prosperous, independent nations that play a full part in the European family of nations.

Article Source:

Scottish Independence March held in Inverness

An estimated 14,000 people have marched in support of Scottish Independence, in one of the largest ever political rallies held in the Scottish Highlands. #auob #auobinverness

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FSB; The UK government must act to fix Scotland’s “unacceptable” mobile phone coverage

The UK government must act to fix Scotland’s “unacceptable” mobile phone coverage, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is set to tell MPs.

(Article Source via BBC News)

The FSB says official figures show 17% of Scotland’s landmass has 4G mobile coverage, compared to 60% in England.

It will also tell Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee that superfast broadband availability still lags behind the UK as a whole.

The UK government say coverage where people live and work is improving.

The Scottish Affairs Committee is currently investigating digital connectivity in Scotland.

The industry regulator Ofcom has produced figures showing indoor 4G coverage in Scotland sits at 53% in Scotland, while it is 58% across the UK and 60% in England.

It also says superfast broadband availability is 87% north of the border, but 91% UK-wide and 92% for customers in England.

Representatives of the FSB will tell the committee on Monday that Scotland-specific coverage obligations should be attached to future mobile spectrum sales.


Article Source:

Made in Scotland launch: Scot Gov

Published on May 25, 2017

Fiona Hyslop, Culture, Tourism & External Affairs Secretary attended the Made in Scotland launch today in Edinburgh.