Category Archives: Independence

“They May Take Our Lives But They Will Never Take Our Currency!!!” Cllr Shab Jaffri

“They may take our lives, but they will never take our currency” has been the tone many have taken over the last few days where matters of the currency union were being discussed. Councillor Shabbar Jaffri shares his views on the latest developments.cllrshabjaffri1

The coordinated offensive led by George Osborne on the 13th of February on behalf of the Unionist Company Limited reveals his sheer lack of diplomacy. I wouldn’t be surprised if he thinks the art of negotiation is a painting hanging on the walls of the Tate.

I am sure the UK Government’s unwarranted action has arisen out of panic, confusion and lack of vision or strategy.

It has everything to do with being scared of the fact that polls of recent are showing support for independence is on the rise. And it has probably been concluded that it will continue rising.

Thus this fact alone is the catalyst which has forced the Chancellor to play his ace so urgently, as if to immediately quell the possibility of a mass uprising!

The issue of the currency union is by far one of the most important ones to embrace the debate and the whole question of independence, though the sharing of assets and liabilities is not too behind in the league of important issues, and also inter-connected to the overall content of negotiations over independence; before and after.

The refusal by the Chancellor to “permit” Scotland the continued usage of the sterling under a shared currency agreement is a stark reminder of the false promise made by Westminster, in particular by the Prime Minster himself, that it will not pre-negotiate the break-up of the Union. I cannot imagine a more serious and important factor than that of the currency to cite as a perfect example for him to adopt for the pre-negotiations to commence.currency

However, no matter how undiplomatic and unwise the Chancellor has acted, it must be noted, that it is his action which has opened the door to protracted negotiations which must now sadly take place in this unprofessional manner.

Obviously Mr Cameron didn’t quite achieve the effect he was hoping for when he decided to play Mark Carney (in fact his appearance on the Scottish currency scene turned out to be an own goal) or Bob Dudley CEO of BP.

Osborne’s “hard bargaining” position has begun far too high. It has revealed his hand too soon. This was his ultimate weapon. However, as we shall no doubt be able to witness in the coming months he will have to subdue his position by accepting a compromise which will prove both very difficult and embarrassing for him and David Cameron.

Therefore the Scottish government reserves the right to respond with a counter offer.

The counter offer can be quite legitimately Scotland’s refusal to take a share of the UK’s debt.

With Scotland being a brand new entity it cannot be held in default as it held no contractual capacity to legally incur any debt whilst it was a part of the old UK.

Legally speaking, therefore, the creditors of UK plc would only be able to pursue Westminster governments and not Scotland.

The benefits to Scotland from that debt become merely political arguments, but definitely not the makings of a legal case.

Further, Scotland could also counter argue the benefits derived by the rest of the UK from its vast oil and gas revenues over the past years should be returned in equal measure of compensation and kind. This perspective can be our entry into the protracted negotiations.

As far as our assets are concerned, in particular our natural assets like gas and oil, well they go with the territory. Our rights of possession are fully enshrined in law.

When the extent of the value of trade and services between the UK and Scotland is £60 Billion per year it would be sheer madness of UK plc. to even contemplate sacrificing this huge mutual benefit by attempting to jeopardise the Scottish economy as it would also affect its own economy, to a much larger proportion.

The point here is, regardless of the creation of a currency union or not, our economies as neighbours are very closely related, enjoying a fantastic environment and infrastructure in which they operate and trade from. Therefore it is to our mutual interest and benefit to assist and support the respective economies. Anything else would be financial suicide.

It is a very hypocritical and condescending of the Chancellor to have adopted such a scaremongering position motivated by selfish interests of preserving the elitists in the power houses of Westminster and Whitehall, happily maintaining the status quo from generation to generation, establishing the establishment, stopping at nothing to keep Scotland subjected to their rule whilst quietly squandering its oil billions on illegal wars and such likes.

Hypocritical, because if the UK can value the importance and significance of Ireland’s economy in terms of the benefits to its own economy then it should be able to apply the same sense of importance and significance to the Scottish economy too.

Like the Irish economy the UK needs the Scottish economy just as equally. Both economies are almost identical.

Yet why was it when Eire got into financial problems, not too long ago, the UK was quick to bail it out with UK taxpayers’ money despite there being no legal obligation or agreement forcing or requiring the UK to pour in billions into the Irish economy to aid its recovery?

The answer is simple.

Ireland was and remains the UK’s biggest export market, with no Irish market the second casualty after Ireland itself would have been the UK. It was cheaper to bail the Irish out rather than the pay the full price at home! And Ireland doesn’t even use the Sterling nor have a currency union with the UK. And geographically speaking its cheaper and quicker getting UK and Scottish goods and services to and fro as we don’t have the inconvenience of a great big puddle between our suppliers and customers!

Whilst we are discussing the Irish, you may want to know that after Ireland won its independence its share of the debt was written off-in full. Why? Well for the same rationale as aforementioned in the bailout scenario; it was considered cheaper to do that because…wait for it-because it was important to assist Ireland grow its economy as it had a direct impact on UK’s own economy.

The long and short of it is the potential loss of revenues from the combined production of our oil and gas which equates to about £14 Billion a year is causing Westminster severe pain. The thought of not being able to rely on that revenue is, well, just too hard to bear. Therefore, the UK and its Chancellor are going to do everything possible to ensure they don’t lose this huge sum of money, are they not?

The stance being adopted by the No Camp needs to be brought in line though. It is morally, politically and even possibly legally wrong of them to participate in the debate in the manner and style they have chosen to about independence especially concerning the sensitive issues such as the one about the currency.

They are exploiting public sentiment by discussing these issues piecemeal and inconclusively, deliberately trying to mislead voters. It can cause uncertainty in our home markets and amongst businesses. Churning out false information and political propaganda can never help people understand either the benefits or the implications. The Electoral Commission must intervene by sending out a strong warning to the Unionists and their allies that such behaviour must cease immediately.

I implore on the Scottish Government to call upon the Electoral Commission asking it to provide guidance to the No Campaign to conduct their campaign truthfully and honestly.

However, that having been said we do obviously understand the effect and purpose of the Chancellor’s propaganda is to stop people voting Yes but in the Scottish Attitude Survey in 2013 conducted on behalf of Sir Tom Hunter only 4 per cent said the currency issue was either first or second on their list of the most important issues for them. 79 per cent of them wanted to keep the pound after independence.

In another poll, commissioned by the BBC, the issue of the currency ranked 8th in a list from ten referendum issues.

Notably though 71 per cent of people in the REST OF THE UK supported a currency union.

So while this issue is very important, the vast majority of Scots do not think it is centre stage as the NO campaign would like to think or hope.

Therefore perhaps, like Mr Carney, Mr Osborne’s attempt may have backfired too in that it may have actually helped the Yes camp in securing more support.

Sir James Mirrlees who won the Nobel Prize for economics along with many other notable economists put their proposals very concisely and logically backed by their great experience and understanding of their subject in the Fiscal Commission’s First Report (highly recommended, view/download it in http://www.scotland.gov.uk).

Sir John confirms that a currency union is in the mutual interests of Scotland and the UK. He believes it “is surely the most logical option.”

It is our job now to inform the Scottish voters, lets tell them the truth!

3 Comments

Filed under Independence, SAFY, YES

Women in the Law: Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh

Greg Gordon continues his series of profiles of Women in the Law with Glasgow lawyer Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh OBE. The article is copied from http://www.scottishlegal.com/index.asp?cat=FEATURES&subtype=#1560

Friday 7 February 2014

It says much for Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh’s contribution to Scottish cultural life that when she received the OBE for services to business and Scotland’s Asian community at New Year, the media response was universally positive.

After all, the opportunity for mischief-making was obvious. Our press love nothing more than to point out the perceived hypocrisies of public figures. Surely an SNP candidate and YES campaign figurehead taking a royally conferred honour was too good to resist?

Only The Times sought to make any kind of capital from Ms Ahmed-Sheikh’s OBE award with a tame question. It was easily brushed off by the Glasgow lawyer, a partner at Hamilton Burns who specialises in commercial conveyancing and private client work, often with a family law or immigration element.

“For me independence is a practical, democratic proposition. It isn’t about cultural imperialism so it really is an honour for me to be recognised in this way,” she says.

At the age of 43, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh has raised a family of four while packing in a senior legal career and seemingly endless political and public life obligations.

She’s even been a leading lady in a Bollywood soap. The TV show Des Pardes was a massive mid 1990s hit in Pakistan.

During a two year stopover in Pakistan, fluency in Urdu and Punjabi was added to a list of accomplishments that includes a Masters degree in International Law and Economics from the University of Edinburgh which she completed after returning to education as a parent. She had her first child just days after her LLB graduation ceremony and her last, 12 years later, just hours after a partners’ lunch at Hamilton Burns had left her feeling ‘a bit faint’.

The current UK Asian Woman of Achievement is a former Scottish Asian Businesswoman of the Year. She created The Scottish Asian Women’s Association in 2012 to promote the contribution of Asian women in Scotland.

These roles form part of a portfolio that includes positions as The SNP’s National Women’s Officer, and an advisory board member position within the YES independence campaign.

Work with Mosaic (an ex-offenders mentoring charity), a Vice Chair role with Women First and a Trustee position with Scottish Women In Sport fill up the additional space within a packed schedule.

She could also become Scotland’s first Asian MEP after being chosen as one of the SNP’s six contenders for the 2014 Elections.

Tasmina was born in London to an Indian father who lived in Pakistan before entering public life as an Edinburgh Tory councillor. Her mother is a Welsh-Czech former Royal Shakespeare Company actress. Continuing the family’s interest in showbusiness, politics, law, and lifelong learning Tasmina’s mother completed her LLB as a pensioner. Her sister practices as a barrister in London.

The idea of multiculturalism comes easily to the family. “It seems self-evident that Scotland’s fourth generation immigrants would consider themselves to be Scottish Asians rather than Asian Scots.”

She says: “They’ve grown up here, speak English as their first language and like most Scots love both curry and Irn Bru. The level of integration is important. You’ll now find Scottish Asian plumbers, computer designers alongside lawyers and doctors. Where immigrants’ children could be better represented is in public life.”

But surely a belief in multiculturalism runs contrary to the separatism of Scottish independence? This is a charge the lawyer flatly refutes.

“Independence is a practical solution. Westminster is not fit for purpose as a democratic chamber that represents the wishes of Scotland’s electorate. We are governed by a party who have just one Scottish MP.

She says: “Scotland’s electorate support free access to education, personal care for the elderly, free prescriptions and small business rate relief through our parliament. None of these things are on the agenda at Westminster. It is an absurd position to accept an imposed politics we don’t want.”

It is the lawyer’s enthusiasm for Scottish Women In Sport – a charity that aims to support and encourage female involvement in an area of cultural life where women remain seriously under-represented and under-recognised – that provides the biggest clue to the lawyer’s primary motivations. They are: participation and representation.

“Whether we’re discussing Westminster, social justice, sport, gender or race, the key to making progress is activism. Change starts with individuals’ personal contributions.”

Similarly, it is probably fair to say that lawyers of a certain vintage, class and outlook are also already over-represented in Scotland’s public and political life? Tasmina partner believes that while that assertion is a fair one historically, the image of the law as the preserve of privately educated grey men in suits is changing.

“The fact is there are so many ways into the law now – notwithstanding the economic pressure on traineeships.

“We are seeing women taking a career break to raise a family and then returning to senior roles, mature students taking a law degree as retraining and people working in related fields such as police and other public servants entering our profession. They bring energy, fresh insights and practical experience, not just black type legal solutions.”

She says: “As in Scotland as a whole, a diverse law sector can only help clients. They need legal guidance but also increasingly personalised practical and commercial advice from their lawyer.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Independence, SAFY, YES

Dudley’s “Dilemma” by Councillor Shab Jaffri

Dudley’s “Dilemma”

You may recall that recently when I was giving you my tuppence worth on Tom Carney’s visit to Edinburgh I had suggested he was Westminster’s feeble attempt to put a spanner in the works and that I warned to expect more spanners in various shapes and forms.cllrshabjaffri1

Well I believe Mr Dudley came in one of those guises that Cameron has adorned.

From the Unionist’s point of view you can’t find a bigger gun than the Group Chief Executive of BP to throw into the Referendum Debate.

However, what Dudley doesn’t realise is that in actual fact he’s been thrown to the lions, in an amphitheatre constructed by Cameron, but in which the Master of Ceremonies is “cool hand Alex”.

A powerful and influential man like Dudley and a multinational giant like BP is a perfect combination or from the Better Together’s point of view a lethal cocktail to frighten the Scots that “if you dare vote YES you will lose all the benefits of capital enterprises like my multi- billion pound company offers your country and economy”.
In addition they must have thought Dudley will look good because as a foreigner his comments will be credible and genuine since he is non partisan.

This, they thought,would send us panicking into a corner and abandon our silly notion of seeking independence because thousands of our country men and women will be made redundant on the 19th of September 2014.

We will lose £22 billion which our economy benefits annually from oil and gas output from the North Sea as Mr Dudley wants us to believe that every other oil and gas company will be making a sharp exit because of independence.

Dudley cites his fears and concerns over uncertainties regarding whether Scotland will continue to use the sterling.

For a CEO of a multi national company that deals in numerous types of currencies, from the Yen to the Dollor to the Rupee to Dinars and Dirhams, it is difficult to understand why then a company globally experienced should be so worried about a small country like Scotland becoming independent and what currency it may use.
Surely our fair land cannot be worst than Iraq, Mexico or Libya. None of these countries use the sterling.

He also cited uncertainty over our potential links with Europe. What exactly these concerns are he never quite explained but if our potential links give rise to his concerns is he not concerned about the present uncertainty between Westminster and Europe, or does that not affect his company?

This is a view,however ill advised, belonging to the person of Mr Dudley and not reflective of CEO’s of many other companies and corporations drilling away in our waters.

I am certain the other CEO’s have deliberated over the potential Sterling union between Scotland and the UK.
Mr Dudley’s statement that ” all businesses have a concern” is baseless and totally unfounded.
After having listened to Tom Carney describe this union possible and workable they have realised that their organisations will not suffer in any shape or form under an Independent Scotland. If they had any uncertainties I am sure that with the news that Scotland will retain the Sterling under the auspices of a union such uncertainties have been put to bed.

As the future of North Sea oil is at the centre of the independence debate and the revenues from gas and oil form a valuable lever in our finances and economy there will be further unwarranted propaganda from our opposition on this very subject with a view to discredit our campaign.

From the £22 billion or so generated annually from this industry we can be sure that BP with its biggest share of the market will be the one making the most money from our shores. Total oil and gas production equates to 17 percent of Scotland’s national income.

Mr Dudley contradicted his own concerns especially over uncertainty about the sterling. If he was so worried and scared about Scotland’s Independence he would have halted new investment into North Sea until the outcome at least became known to him.

However,on the contrary his company will be injecting a further £6 billion over the space of the next three years. That does not reflect any amount of uncertainty to me.

Since 1965 BP has poured a staggering £35 billion of investment capital into the North Sea.

The bottom line is that oil companies will go forth wherever there is oil; whether that is in a country run by tyrants or dictators or in a nation where there is
a blatant abuse of human rights. Their motive of greed supersedes above all.

Therefore I can bet my bottom dollar, or Durham, dinar, rupee for that matter, that whatever the currency in a new and independent Scotland not one company from this industry will leave or could afford to leave!

As the First Minister said yesterday the Scottish Government will always be supportive and offer its full cooperation.

Maybe Mr Dudley should get his PA to fix an appointment with the FM, I am sure Alex will be happy to dispel any ” uncertainties” he has.

Leave a comment

Filed under Independence, SAFY, YES

Cameron turned down available EU funded #foodbank help in today’s Evening Times -Tasmina Sheikh

BY: TASMINA AHMED-SHEIKH, SNP CANDIDATE IN THE EURO ELECTIONSts

Most of us have, hopefully, had a great Christmas; enjoyed the presents, the toys, seeing family, the food. We certainly have. We are Muslims and enjoy sharing so many aspects of this special time of year with our friends, and of course the children have had lots of fun.

Speaking of food. In the fallout from Westminster benefit cuts through the Bedroom Tax, the sanctioning and withholding of so many Disability Allowances and the ever-rising price of food, Scots are suffering. As ever with Westminster actions, it is the poorest and most vulnerable who face the greatest challenges.

The Trussell Trust operates 43 food banks in Scotland and they anticipate providing food parcels to more than 2000 people during the festive fortnight. Between April and the end of November, they have helped feed 34,000 people; more than five times the total for the same period last year.

Other voluntary bodies are also seeing exponential rises in need. FareShare, run by the Cyrenians, distributes the food from supermarkets that has reached its sell-by date but not its use-by date. They expect to provide about 120,000 meals, nearly twice last December’s figure. The charity checks around all the homeless hostels, soup kitchens and children’s breakfast clubs and asks them what they can use.

These needy people are not only in socially deprived areas either. Affluent Dundee has the busiest food bank run by the Trussell Trust in Scotland.

Without those charitable donations, people would probably have gone hungry. We should all show our appreciation of what they do and support them as best we can.

But it shouldn’t need to happen. Surely in a civilised 21st century society, we must not tolerate such deprivation and need?

It gets worse.

Prime Minister, David Cameron, has rejected help from a European Union fund to subsidise the costs of running food banks. The Education Minister, Michael Gove, says it’s all down to financial mismanagement by families.

Playing to the anti-EU sentiment that is so rife in London and the south-east of England, some €26.4 million offered from Brussels was turned down. Yet again, the poorest and most vulnerable are pawns in a political point-scoring game.

While France, much the same size as the UK, will receive €443 million, Britain will draw down only €3.5 million. We can be confident that the UK government is not about to make up the other €22.9 million of its €26.4 million allocation.

To me, that sounds like nothing more or less than cutting off your nose to spite your face.

1 Comment

Filed under Independence, SAFY, Uncategorized, YES, Yes Pollokshields

YES, NO, UNSURE? Scots Asians for YES debate Labour’s Diversity

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Welcome to what we hope is the first of many debates tackling our perspectives on Scotland

Carrying on with the theme of YES, NO, UNSURE, Scots Asians for Independence for Yes are pleased to announce a debate with the Labour Party’s Diversity group on what Independence means to the people of Scotland.

yesRepresenting Scots Asians for Yes are Tasmina Sheikh, lawyer, MEP Candidate for Europe 2014 and Yes Scotland Advisory Board member, with Aamer Anwar, human rights lawyer, activist and media spokesperson for Scots Asians for Yes and Yes Scotland.


Logo_of_Better_Together_2012_Limited

Representing the Labour Party’s Diversity group as part of the larger Better Together campaign are Shiraz Ahmed, businessman and media spokesperson, with Talat Yaqoob, a feminist writer.

TIME: 7 pm

DATE: 4 October 2013

VENUE: 49 Forth Street, Pollokshields, Glasgow

entry fee: £1 which is to be donated to the U Care Foundation.

Looking forward to seeing you next Friday

For more details about Yes Scotland and SAFI4Yes please contact Nighet Riaz @nnriaz on twitter or by email nnriaz@gmail.com

Better Together and Diversity for Labour Shiraz Ahmed @helloshiraz and email at shiraza1@gmail.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Independence, SAFY, YES

Poll: Swing of less than 5% puts ‘Yes’ ahead

Welcoming the Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times Scotland and Real Radio Scotland today on the referendum and party ratings, Scottish National Party Business Convener Derek Mackay MSP said:

“This is an extremely encouraging poll for Yes and for the SNP. With just a single-digit gap between Yes and No, a swing of less than 5 per cent is enough to put independence ahead. There is everything to play for – Yes supporters are more likely to vote than people currently on the No side, which may very well be down to the negative Project Fear campaign failing to motivate even their own supporters.

“For months now, the anti-independence campaign have been talking Scotland down and manufacturing scare stories which even Scottish Tory deputy leader Jackson Carlaw described as ‘silly’. People want to hear a positive message for Scotland’s future, which only Yes are offering.

“The poll is also very positive for the SNP, putting our support for both the constituency and list votes even higher than in our 2011 election landslide, and Labour even lower. After over six years into government, the SNP now has more support than the three anti-independence Westminster parties put together, which demonstrates trust and confidence in the record of delivery of the SNP Government.

“Labour are actually going backwards from their 2011 rout under Johann Lamont’s leadership – and her invisibility during their Falkirk candidate selection crisis may well be a contributory factor.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Independence, YES

Scots Asians For Yes – Lets build a Scotland for the future of all our children

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday was a hot summer’s day with the thermometer in some places within Glasgow hitting a high of 27 degrees Celsius. The SAFY team set up the stall with the majority of the members fasting as it was the 4th day of the Islamic month of Ramadhan, to any other member of the public it was 13th July. 

It was a really good day as there were many people out shopping and there was a lot of interest in our stall perched on the pavement opposite Spice Gardens on Albert Drive in Pollokshields. Toni Giugliano managed to persuade an individual who was a definite no, to a very probable yes in TEN minutes using a factual argument. Having such a high calibre of Yes Advisors such as Toni and Tasmina Sheikh, Abdul Majid, Tahir Mohammed, Madni and our secret weapon, Makki Tahir, we refused to take no for an answer!

A high number of activists joined us for the first time such as Ghazala Ahmed, and again we were very lucky as they were mentored by the more experienced members of the team as they leafleted and canvassed on Albert Drive, Maxwell Road and the adjoining streets. It was also good to have Councillor Norman MacLeod join us as an opportunity to have an open air surgery and to talk to his constituents about any issues that they felt needed to be given a higher priority by the city council.

I thought this would be a great opportunity to share some of the photos from today that capture the team, and some of the cutest children that visited our stall and were so enthusiastic in wanting to be part of the photograph and the YES campaign.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Post by Nighet Riaz

2 Comments

Filed under Independence, SAFY, YES, Yes Pollokshields