venres, 31 de outubro de 2014

Laborismo en Escocia : cando a victoria ocasiona unha grande derrota

Continuan chegando sorprendentes noticias dende Escocia.

 O laborismo continua en caida libre; hai uns dias, a súa lider Johann Lamont presentaba a dimisión deixando tras dela unha serie de acusacións cando menos curiosas nas que reclamaba mais "independencia" para o Partido Laborista escocés e acusaba a Ed Miliband de ver aos escoceses como unha simple delegación; agora o seu segundo de abordo, Anas Sarwar é o que abandoa o barco, pouco despois de que o polémico Jim Murphy anunciase as súas aspiracións a ser lider do Scottish Labour.

Os últimos inquéritos para as vindeiras eleccións en Reino Unido vaticinan un 52% de votos para o SNP, deixando o número en só 4 o número de deputados laboristas en Westminster; dende logo, a victoria para aqueles que defenderon o Non á independencia de Escocia está a ser moi amarga.

E por certo... continuamos sen noticias sobre a Smith Commission... seguiremos informando

mércores, 29 de outubro de 2014

To the Smith Commission, with love from Catalonia by Christopher Carnie #SmithCommission

Original article was first published on Christopher's blog  (Thank you!)
Late but in Earnest: To the Smith Commission, with love from Catalonia

Dear Members of the Smith Commission

I live in Catalonia, one of millions of Scots living abroad.

Scots abroad are the ambassadors of Scotland. We talk about Scotland to neighbours, friends and colleagues. We support Scotland in debates about anything from football to fisheries. We promote Scotland, Scottish products and places. We welcome Scots to our homes, and help Scots in need.

We could not vote in the Referendum, but by goodness we care about the place we still call "home."

1          Current Situation in Scotland; Issues

1.1        Power, and Responsibility

There is little that links the people of Scotland to those in power in the UK.

Scottish affairs occupy very little of Westminster's time and appear to be of little interest. This lack of interest comes from the top: Prime Minister Cameron was absent from Parliament for debates on 6th May 2014: Wales Bill/Scotland Wales symmetry, 25 Mar 2014: Disenfranchisement debate, 29 Nov 2012: Scotland and the union, 15/3/2011: Scotland Bill and 7/3/2011: Scotland Bill. Between 2004 and 2010 he mentioned Scotland in the Commons an average of just three times per year, including two years in which he never spoke about Scotland at all (source: Hansard).

Local Government and local democracy is in a poor condition in Scotland. The abolition of the Parish Councils, the County Councils, and the District and Regional Councils has pushed democracy further and further from the people. Politics in Scotland feels (excluding the brief moment of sovereignty that was the Referendum) like a very distant place.

1.2        Poverty

The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation showed us what we already knew - there is deep, widespread poverty in Scotland. People who live in Ferguslie Park, Possil Park or other deprived areas of Scotland are three times as likely to be unemployed and if they are unemployed, almost five times as likely to be sick and unemployed as folk living in the least deprived areas of Scotland.

Poverty needs local solutions, and the UK Government in Westminster has shown itself to be unable to deal with Scotland's poverty.

1.3        Peace Dividend

The Westminster Government has followed its US allies into a succession of wars, principally in the Middle East. It maintains and is about to renew its Trident nuclear missile system, based close to Glasgow. The cost of these adventures is awful in human lives. It is also economically destructive. The Trident Commission Final Report, July 2014, states that the cost of replacing Trident is "£2.9bn in 2012 figures, or 9.4% of the defence budget" over 20 years.

Scotland’s share of £2.9 billion per annum over twenty years (the Trident Commission predicts that the actual cash cost will rise to a maximum £4bn per annum) is money that could be going to education, health or the alleviation of poverty.

1.4        Oil, Gas, Renewables

The Scottish Parliament does not control licensing for oil extraction in the North Sea...nor for fracking under the Scottish Central Belt. The Scottish government does not control the tax revenues arising from these activities, meaning that it cannot use licensing and taxation to manage extraction, nor can the people of Scotland benefit in any way other than the direct or indirect employment these industries create. This is a situation very similar to the extraction of raw materials in the Global South, where nations are left in poverty despite the extraction of valuable mineral wealth.

1.5        Representation Overseas

Scotland is poorly represented overseas. We had direct experience of this here in Spain during the weeks before the Referendum when a group of Scots in Spain had to ask the British Ambassador in Madrid, Simon J Manley CMG, to cease tweeting comments against the Yes campaign. He replied that he "articulated Her Majesty's Government's views on this subject." [Source, letter from Simon J Manley, 24 June 2014]. He did not articulate the views of many in Scotland.

The distinctly Scottish voice on foreign affairs, including the Scottish orientation toward the Nordic states and the EU, and the Scottish thinking on a range of topics from energy to migration are not adequately represented by the UK’s Ambassadors.

1.6        EU and international

Catalonia and Scotland have much in common, including a positive view of the benefits of EU membership. This positive view is not shared by many in England and there is now the real possibility that Westminster could remove Scotland from membership of the EU, against its democratically stated will.

1.7        Migration

"We are all immigrants", the first line of The Scots - a Genetic Journey (, reminds us that Scotland has immigration needs that are not shared by England. We have more universities per head than any other country in the world. Access to these wonderful universities is being hampered by the UK-wide single policy on immigration. Scotland has land that it could share and an ageing population that needs balancing with younger people; we have space, and the need, for more immigration.

2          Principles

2.1        Rebuild democracy in Scotland

People in Scotland should feel that they have a say in how their local area, their region and their nation is run. Those in power locally, regionally and nationally should know (not just morally, but constitutionally, and legally) that they are responsible to their electors
Only the powers that absolutely have to remain at Westminster should do so – the principle of subsidiarity. Westminster should retain powers over foreign affairs and defence, within the provisos below. All other powers - including all forms of taxation and State income generation, and all forms of expenditure - should be devolved to the Scottish people and their Parliament.

2.2        Poverty

Scotland’s government should have a constitutional requirement to reduce poverty. A simple threshold would suffice – for example, to reduce poverty to the levels experienced in a basket of Nordic states.

2.3        Defence

Scotland's defence needs are simpler and cheaper than those of England, with a focus on inshore patrols and no need for an A-bomb deterrent. Scotland should enter a military alliance with England and Wales, with an agreed level of participation by Scottish regiments, air force and navy units, and an agreed budget. Scottish taxpayers would not have to support Westminster's defence programme, and as a symbol of this new alliance, Westminster should remove its Trident missile system from Scotland.

2.4        Natural Resources
Scotland's wealth of natural resources should be used to benefit the people who live there. Oil and gas licensing including licensing for fracking, and all oil/gas taxation revenues should be managed in Scotland by the Scottish Parliament, with a proportion representing the English geographic share of oilfields in North Sea waters being paid to the Exchequer in London. Tax revenues from hydro, wind, tidal, biomass and other renewable energy systems should also be received and managed by the Scottish Parliament. The levels of tax and subsidy should be set by the Scottish Parliament.

2.5        Foreign affairs

Scotland's viewpoint is different from that of England or Wales. The UK should have formal structures through which Scotland's views on foreign affairs are expressed, including a Scottish Foreign Affairs committee in the UK Parliament, and a substantial, influential Scottish Foreign Affairs office within the FO.

Scottish High Commissions - a form of Embassy - should be established in countries with large Scottish communities and in countries such as India with large migrant populations in Scotland. Their role would be to promote Scottish trade and exports, promote Scottish interests in the country and region, and to provide a hub for migrant families in Scotland and migrant Scots abroad. Scottish High Commissions should be established in the USA, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Belgium (Brussels, EU), Spain, United Arab Emirates, India, Pakistan, China, Australia and New Zealand.

2.6        EU membership

The Commission could consider a settlement that allowed Scotland to remain in the EU even if England chose to leave. The relationship between the Channel Islands and England provides a constitutional model; one nation outside the EU, the other inside, and both linked together by the Crown.

2.7        Migration

Scotland's distinct needs should be reflected in different policies. Specific categories of permitted immigrant to Scotland should be created so that students and young economic migrants from outside the EU could live in Scotland. This is similar to the situation in Canada where individual territories set immigration policies relevant to their needs, within an agreed national framework.

3          Devolving powers and responsibilities

Devolving powers and responsibilities to Scotland would recover democracy there, and that in turn would mean a stronger society, a stronger civil society, and a greater degree of social cohesion. These are social goods with an economic value that will repay the investment in time and money required to build them.

The necessary first steps are in the fields of taxation and revenue generation, meaning that all taxation revenues from oil and gas, as well as income taxes, land and corporation taxes, and sales taxes would flow to a Scottish Exchequer. With this flow of funds Scotland could afford to build a stronger democracy and to tackle the many causes of poverty.

4          Conclusion

With power over all forms of taxation and the economy, with a peace dividend arising from a new arrangement for defence, and with a powerful say in foreign affairs, Scotland could thrive. Without these powers it remains, as now, at the whim of a Parliament focused on other issues, other places, and other battles.

Thank you for considering this submission.

Praga de corruptos / Corruption Plague #GalicianHumour by Davila

xoves, 23 de outubro de 2014

Solidaritat amb Catalunya #SISI #VolemVotar

I have received a message from our friends of  EUROPEAN FREE ALLIANCE.
They are showing support for Catalan's right to decide. So if you want to participate, send your photo and your message to them.
 And... here is my contribution to my Catalan brothers and sisters from Santiago de Compostela- Galiza.
It's our right, it's democracy! 

Acabo de recibir unha mensaxe dos nosos amigos da EUROPEAN FREE ALLIANCE 

Están amosando apoio e solidaridade polo dereito do pobo de Catalunya a decidir. Polo que se queredes participar, enviadelles a vosa foto e mensaxe.
E... aqui está a miña contribución para o pobo irmá de Catalunya dende Santiago de Compostela (Galiza) 
É o noso dereito, é democracia!

 Força Catalunya,una abraçada fraternal!

mércores, 22 de outubro de 2014

Entre les espases i les parets // Between the devil and the deep blue sea (by Miquel Strubell) #Catalonia #indyref

Moitas grazas a Miquel Strubell por este artigo sobre a situación de Catalunya. Miquel nos advirte que non é unha tradución literal. Algunhas expresións están feitas de xeito moi xenuino e as explica de xeito abreviado. Pero é unha versión do artigo orixinal. 

Mais artigos de Miquel Strubell // More articles by Miquel Strubell:

Thank you so much to Miquel Strubell for sharing with us this article about Catalonia's situation. 
Miquel says: "You see it is not a literal translation. Some expressions have made ​​the most genuine, I explained some abbreviations. But it is a version of the original"



In my opinion (modest: I am not political scientist or a professional analyst!) Mariano Rajoy and Artur Mas find themselves trapped by powerful external and internal forces.

On the external - international – front, I'm sure Mariano Rajoy is receiving messages from everywhere (from the chancelleries and embassies, I imagine; and from the most prestigious international media, as I can see for my own eyes) saying that he cannot go on obstinately denying the lelementary exercise, by the Catalans, of their right to vote on their future. He cannot it do so by taking refuge behind a Constitution that is not immutable, and he cannot do so by wrapping in discursive gymnastic institutions that do not form part of the executive power, such as the Council of State and the Constitutional Court (and moreover, calling them to heel at the blow of a whistle). He cannot go on describing as a «illegal referendum» an exercise of popular will, an official poll designed in the framework of the powers of the instututions of Catalonia (the Generalitat) according to a Spanish organic law  - the 2006 Statute of Autonomy – the only such law to have put under the scrutiny of the Constitutional Court. Mister Rajoy, they tell him, this is a political problem that requires a political solution, not one based on horrendous and penal threats.

But Mariano Rajoy is trapped internally by  his own discourse. He and his people have elaborated a clearly anti-Catalan discourse, of which there are many examples, some  untranslatable into English or other purportedly civilised languages. He is trapped because he has being digging a pit between Catalonia and the rest of Spain that is getting ever deeper, because of the series of decisions that increasing harm Catalonia, however much they put on offended “Who? Me?” faces, behind their spectacles, in shows of surprise and incomprehension before the new round of victimhood that the Catalans take so dearly to. How it Rajoy now sit down with the Catalans and negotiate the terms of the referendum? His people would publicly lynch him. They would never understand. They go on repeating (and I suppose they actually believe it) that it is we  Catalans that break the laws (which ones, I would like to know!) when it is they that have failed to implement dozens of TC judgments which are favourable to Catalonia. It is they (and in fact, it hardly matters who's in charge in Madrid!) that breach with apparent impunity the 3rd Transitory Article of the 2006 Statute of Autonomy, on the funding of infrastructures in Catalonia.

Senyor Mas  also has his devil and his deep blue sea.
On the international scene, he knows perfectly well (and I'm certain that ministers, ambassadors and European commissioners have told him) than the independence of Catalonia will not be recognised if it drifts into a illegal dynamic, with open clashes with the State, with disobedience. Moody's has said just that. I imagine that the manages of the thousands of multinationals that operate in (and from) Catalonia have also told him. I doubt anyone has said (in private, needless to say) that Catalonia will not be recognised if it uses democratic means to attain it. I am certain that a number of diplomats, politicians and journalists have let him have very critical opinions as regards the attempts of Spain's diplomacy to ensure the international isolation of Catalonia, even by putting the pressure on the organisers of events in which the Catalans explain ouselves abroad. But at the end of the process (when Mas said from the very first that he would step down from power) the president cannot want to leave in his successor's hands a country whose independence has not been recognised.

And turning now to the interior, the president of Catalonia and of the Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya party is subjected to many apparently contradictory pressures. He knows that the disobedience that some demand would put at risk the career of civil servants and many politicians: if the ultra-rightwing association “Manos Limpias” were to have its way, they would all end up in prison. But at the same time he knows that unless he ruffles his plumage in front of Spain's powerful machinery, his party will never win the next election. He takes for granted that the long-standing coalition partner Unió Democràtica de Catalunya will no longer accompany Convergència (after all, he hasn't disqualified the recent public statements by its leader Duran i Lleida): but inasmuch as this ballast put in doubt the credibility of the coalition, as regards the issue of independence, and lost plenty of their voters in the 2102 election, this likelihood should not keep Mas awake at night.

Hovering at the very back of all this, people talk of a currently non-existent “third way”. Scotland's experience shows that the last-minute offer of considerably increased devolution for Scottish by all three large British parties explains the reason for a quarter of the No votes finding their way into the ballot boxes. My impression is that the credibility of the Spanish political class, even of those that are not queueing up in the courts to answer charges, is close to zero; and that an offer of this type would not substantially dent the huge advantage the Catalans' Yes vote has according to all solvent surveys.

Between the devils and the deep blue sea, we'll find our way out to freedom!