Speakers Corner

I want to offer my advice to the three candidates for the leadership of the SNP and who wish to be First Minister for the Scottish Government.  You might be like me, fed up with enduring three UK Prime Ministers just last year, sleaze, corruption, cost of living crisis, the underfunding of the NHS, and just living in a country where everything seems broke.  I can’t watch or listen to most BBC news bulletins, Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday, Question Time, or Reporting Scotland.  It seems we’ve followed Americans and have dropped to the depths of Fox News, where everything you don’t like to hear is fake news and you wonder if anyone accepts facts anymore.  It seems to have seeped into the discourse of our nation.   My lifetime has been dominated by right wing billionaire tax exiles who own the Daily Mail, the Sun, and the Times and they set the political priorities and agenda.  Moreover, through changes in TV regulations can set up TV stations, like GB News and Talk TV with no duty of offer fair and balanced news coverage and produce diatribe which is a skewed version of their truth.  And you may be like me, and ask what is truth?  Truth for me is that I don’t feel my voice is heard – yet if you believe the opinion polls – nearly 50% of Scots think like me. Yet, there is no major media outlet that provides a voice, not even as an alternative.  Power is with the people, but it isn’t with regards to our media. 

It’s not healthy for our democracy and not great for me.  I’ve noticed that I seek out news online, news to my liking, and I block alternative views on Twitter.  I’m not right, as I know that we always need to find common ground.  Last year, I gave an alternative vote to the Conservative candidate for ‘Councillor!  Yes, you read that correctly!  Why? Because I knew the person and I had faith that they would do a diligent job for all the people in the area despite me probably disagreeing with all his political views.  Recently, Sue and I had coffee with a group of friends where we all disagreed agreeably – it was enjoyable.  We all loved Scotland, there was no hatred, or anger. 

So, my first request for the candidates is, be less tribal and search for compromise, not by losing principles but by building consensus.  My other requests are on specific policy areas.  Scotland needs immigration as our hospitality industry has been hit hard by Brexit due to a shortage of workers. Brexit has been a disaster and that can now be irrefutably shown by facts and figures.  Thirdly, our energy market is a disaster.  How can a country like Scotland with oil reserves and rich natural resources that can be exploited for the Green energy revolution have the highest electricity costs in Europe?   

Dear candidates, please develop policies to bring these private monopolies into public ownership.  Forty years of privatisation has been a policy failure of huge proportions.  Nationalised companies from Europe and China now own all the assets in the oil, gas, and electricity generation in the UK.  And don’t get me started on the railways.  I’m not a communist, I just want the core assets of our nation to be back in the hands of the people once again. 

Finally, in the 1970s when I was at school, we studied soup kitchens in the US during the depression with horror – photos with long lines of hungry men, women, and children.  Since 2000, Food banks have grown quicker than Aldi or Lidl stores combined.  Yet, the richer get richer and we get politicians telling us that it’s because we don’t budget properly.

My request to the three candidates for First Minister job – gives us a radical progressive vision of an independent Scotland which will change our country for the better.  Give us a Scotland to be proud of!

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