Monthly Archives: August 2014

@FosisScotland #indyref debate 31 August 2014

Another great debate organised by FOSIS Scotland and chaired very well by Zara Sultana. Speakers for Yes Scotland are Tasmina Sheikh and Graham Campbell, and the speakers for the Better Together campaign were Shiraz Ahmed and Pauline McNeill.

A high calibre panel but off course both Graham and Tasmina did incredibly well.

 

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Bashir Ahmad MSP – my grandfather

It is a huge pleasure and  honour to be asked to write a few words about such a great  personality,  my grand dad, the late Bashir Ahmad.BA1

Bashir Ahmad made history as the first Asian and Muslim member of the Scottish Parliament.
He was a true patriot for his adopted land of Scotland.

Brought up in Pakistan, Bashir moved to Scotland when he was 21 years old and his first job was a bus conductor. He went on to become a successful businessman and was elected president of the Pakistan Welfare Trust five times.
In 2003 he was elected to Glasgow city council for the Pollokshields East ward and in 2007 he joined the Scottish Parliament as a regional MSP for Glasgow.
Bashir served on the cross party groups for Carers; Human Rights and Civil Liberties; Older People, Age and Ageing; Palestine; and Tartan Day. He was also a member of the Public Petitions Committee.

As well as political interests, Bashir was an active member of the Asian and Muslim communities in Glasgow.

For me my grand dad has been very well defined by the First Minister of Scotland.  In Alex Salmond’s own words,

‘Bashir was the kindest, most decent human being it has ever been my pleasure to meet……he was the most patriotic of Scots and was a credit to both his faith and his country’

Above all I will always remember my grand Dad for his fun loving nature, exemplary manners, warmth and hospitality. He has inspired me greatly and has  left a legacy that I hope one day I will have the opportunity to continue.

Yusuf Qureshi

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Latest mass canvassing with Scots Asians for Yes

pollokcanvass1cathcartcanvass

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A few of our upcoming events #CommunitiesforYes

Public Meeting StirlingAfter a very successful Communities for Yes in Stirling, please find details of future events.

Public Meeting dumfries and gallowaycommunitiesforyesedinburghPublic Meeting ElginPublic Meeting Buckie

 

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South Kessock for YES by Jonathon Shafi

Jonathon Shafi responds to Better Together’s challenge to the idea that the most deprived area of Inverness is looking like one of the strongholds of the Yes campaign, according to Radical Inverness. gs2

The original article can be found at the Bellacaledonia website.

Responding to another RIC canvass showing a big lead for Yes, Better Together Spokesman Craig Wilson said: “Radical Independence spin doctors will be getting sacked after this as usually when they make up these stories the result is above 90%.”  (“South Kessock is one of our strongholds”, independence canvassers claim).

Spin: Westminster has become synonymous with it.

The contest between political parties so often revolves around which candidate looked better at an event or how one party or another bend this or that statistic. Commentators say this is a reality because of the nature of the modern media. There is a race for the sound bite, the knock out punch and the best photo opportunity. The consumer driven public are, so the story goes, just waiting to be spoon fed the latest narrative.

But there is another reason spin is such a permanent and permeating feature of modern politics. Spin is the replacement for ideological debate. When the parties have accepted consensus, and bowed down to the dominance of the corporations, privatisation and austerity, they have nothing left to differentiate themselves apart from spin. It is of little surprise that ‘spin’ became interchangeable with ‘politics’ during Labour’s Blairite, rightwards shift. We never really see a debate in the media establishment, or in Westminster where this process is accelerated and entrenched. In reality, we have a competition in media management.

This in combination is partly why so many are switching off from politics, and by extension, from the mainstream media. But switching off from these things only results in positive action if people are switching on to something else. At the same time as being repulsed by the cronyism, corruption and elitism of the Westminster establishment and the failure of the media to properly address the issues of concern, we as the people need to find our own voice, method and ideological discourse.

This is in essence what the independence movement, in general terms, has provided. It has been a conduit for the voiceless to speak up – and yes – to be heard. It has provided a platform for new ideas. It has been a gateway to the re-establishment of public meetings and energised our political culture. It has opened up the possibility of sidelined voices reaching into the mainstream, and inspired the development of serious alternative media projects.

This too is a movement which debates ideological questions. What do we mean by democracy? Is there an alternative to austerity? What about a new foreign policy? Throughout this process, the backdrop of failure and alienation stemming from the Westminster elite stands in contradiction to a new mood which advocates social progress in a period of massive regression and scapegoating. The crucial need for there to be a living, breathing alternative to decades of neoliberal orthodoxy, is to be found in this movement.

It has been said that the independence movement has inspired a generation. This is to be applauded and encouraged, but despite the scale of the movement, it is not completely accurate. It has inspired a section of a generation. The hard truth is that we can only fully reach the radical and empowering potential of this democratic uprising if there is a Yes vote. With this in mind, it is easy to understand why the rich and the establishment want to ensure we vote No. They are acting in their own interests.

Well, it’s about time we acted in ours. As we enter these final weeks, surely it is this lesson that must drive us forward. It is about saying: forget the spin of the politicians and look at the situation for yourself. It is about getting onto the front foot and harnessing everything we’ve learned and in doing so further expose the fear tactics the No camp are employing. We need to get the big vision, so well articulated at the public meetings and conferences to every person we can. It is that alternative Scotland which values public services, scraps Trident, invests in jobs and so on, that is so much more appealing than the ‘UKOK’ rubbish.

Unfortunately fear can work in the short-term, before people have a chance to rise above it. The establishment know this well. At a time when resources are scarce and the economic future uncertain, fear has a special kind of power, because it is already hardwired into the fabric of our society. As No try to make people feel less confident, and more scared, Yes are trying to raise sights, and encourage people to take responsibility for our own future.

It is therefore a strength of the movement that huge numbers also oppose central elements of the SNP plan, such as NATO and lowering corporation tax. It is invaluable that Lamont’s claim that this is ‘Salmond vs Scotland’ cannot in any sense be taken seriously. It the same old spin, and it doesn’t work because the ideas of the movement are diverse, and because many of the organisational forces involved are wholly separate from the SNP

So, the No camp – looking to narrow this debate – are going big on currency. But when the Labour party stand their with their oversized pound coins with Salmond’s face in the middle, it reminds people of the same old spin. The same old politicians fighting with each other to score a few points with an electorate tired of failure, and driven away because they know no matter how they cast their vote, their interests won’t be met. The difference this time is that we have a movement, to transform that cynicism into action. The test now is whether or not we can translate that movement in to enough votes at the ballot box.

Can the emergent forces of a new politics win out against the decades old, but tried and tested, tactics as deployed by No. We have it all in place now for the final sprint, let’s make sure the people know what’s at stake here. People need to know that staying put is going to energise their enemies in the Tory cabinet, and that saying Yes give us the chance to do more than oppose the toxic UK polity, but to start developing a people’s independence. Better Together claim the canvass results are being spun by the radicals. In reality, it is their own decaying discourse that is opening up a politics beyond Westminster. On September 18th we have a chance to make that clear.

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VOTING FOR INDEPENDENCE?

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Aamer’s column published in Scottish Sun on Sunday 10th August

VOTING FOR INDEPENDENCE- BUT IS IT REALLY A VOTE FOR SALMOND?

 

Half of Scotland must have watched the big debate, but when it comes down to it the Referendum has nothing to do with whether or not you like Alex Salmond.

It is of course a good tactic for Labour, Tories and mini-me Tories to con the people into thinking this is about the SNP, but when Alastair Darling lectured Alex on fiscal responsibility, I couldn’t but help be reminded that he was the Chancellor of the Exchequer who presided over a banker’s bail out of £1.3 trillion.

‘Better Together’s’ depressing vision of doom begs the question, if Scotland are such benefit junkies, why are they so desperate to hold onto us?

It’s very touching to hear about how the Union stands by our people but both Labour and the Tories have little to differentiate between them, one is viciously anti-poor and the other says it has to be cruel to be kind, two cheeks of the same arse.

Independence may well be a risk for Scotland but not half as risky as a future within the UK. Despite Scotland having 60% of Europe’s oil reserves, 10% of Europe’s wave energy, 25% of Europe’s wind power we are told that we are too poor to run our own economy.

But if we vote no, then they will be free to carry on hounding the poor. If we vote no then Westminster will be free to destroy what are the best parts of our Union- the NHS, Education and Welfare.

UK Labour might say one thing in Scotland, but Miliband declared last year that if elected he will stick with the Tories’ austerity spending plans, which means cuts for the rest of us and bumper bonuses for their rich pals, who will squeeze as much as they can from us for themselves.

The real reason why coward Prime Minister David Cameron would not debate the First Minister of Scotland was that anyone listening to the millionaire Etonian telling us we are all ‘better together’ would have spotted the fraud.

When you vote on September the 18th ask the question who actually runs Scotland. Why do we need to take daily lectures about the irresponsibility of independence from the very people who nearly destroyed the UK economy out of unrestrained  greed.

For 32 years since 1955 Scotland has been forced to put up with a Tory Government, just imagine, never having to dread a general election result again.

Politicians have confused, patronised and scared us into believing it’s too complicated for us mere mortals. But this isn’t about electing politicians but about deciding whether Scotland can and should decide its own affairs.

No-one else will do a ‘better job of running our country than the people of Scotland because no one has a bigger stake in its success.’

Voting for Independence- Why not?

Just imagine if you were living at home with your parents, both successful, loving and caring but one day you got a good job, married, had children and moved several hundred miles away.  Would you still want your parents to decide what you ate, spent or how you lived?

We are lucky that in order to become a sovereign nation not a single bullet will be fired, we are only being asked to pick up a pencil and put a cross in a box. 100 years after the start of the First World War we could finally decide whether our children are sent to die in illegal wars, whether people can live and die with dignity, and whether our money is spent on welfare rather than warfare.  On September 18th we could leave a legacy for generations to come by simply voting yes.

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Communities for Yes, Our Scotland, Our Home.

communitiesforyes

We are joining up with other pro-independence groups to take our message across Scotland with the aim of changing people who are undecided towards a Yes. Make a note of the dates in your diaries!

We will be in Stirling this Wednesday 13 August from 6.30 to 9 pm at the Smith Museum.Public Meeting Stirling

We will be in Dumfries and Galloway on the 22 August, Elgin and Buckie on the 29 August, Aberdeen 30 August, with meetings still to be finalised in Edinburgh and Dundee.

There are exciting times ahead. If we are in your area, do come out to ask questions.

 

N N Riaz

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