Last weekend a number of YSI members travelled up to Aberdeen Donside to campaign for our excellent SNP candidate, Mark McDonald.
Unfortunately the passing of Brian Adam MSP means that there will be a by-election in Brian’s Aberdeen Donside seat. Polling day is on Thursday 20th of June and the YSI is pulling out all the stops to hold this seat, not only for the party but as a tribute to Brian who served the area for over 20 years.
We’ll be in Aberdeen campaigning for Mark every weekend between now and polling day, so please come along and join in. It’s not all work either – there’s always good fun to be had. We had a good laugh when we pulled up at our digs on the Friday night – the Britannia Hotel! Awkward.
Here’s a quick pic of us literally bursting out the bus after two days of campaigning!:
Date: May 24th, 2013.
Location: Old Town Coffee House, Spittal Street, Stirling.
With the independence referendum in 2014 fast approaching, the YSI is currently touring the country and refreshing our branches.
We're inviting those of you living in Stirling to come along, join in and get involved in Scotland's largest pro-independence youth movement. This is an informal get together to form a branch that will campaign locally for independence alongside other young Scots from Stirling!
All are welcome and feel free to bring a friend!
The results of today's local council elections in England have demonstrated the political divergence between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
For decades, the people of Scotland have consistently rejected the right-of-centre Tory Party and their socially damaging policies. In contrast to this, voters in the rest of the United Kingdom have both elected the Tories into government (without the support of Scotland) and, most recently, green-lit the rise of UKIP.
UKIP's position as a eurosceptic political party to the right of the Tories has led to political commentators suggesting that British Politics is about to "lurch further to the right" as the London based political parties, including Labour, seek to combat UKIP's ascendancy. The media has already suggested that an electoral pact between UKIP and the Tories may be on the agenda. Such a pact could see the United Kingdom governed by a coalition between the two after the 2015 general election.
Scotland, however, has no interest in lurching to the right. In 2011, the people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly for a socially democratic and fair government;
- A government which would not put a price on education.
- A government which would not target the poorest and most vulnerable in our society with heartless cuts.
- A government which would not focus on the interests of bankers and aristocrats in London.
If today's election results have made anything clear it is that the only way that Scotland can avoid suffering the effects of Westminster's impending "lurch" further to the right, and to avoid being governed by men like David Cameron and Nigel Farrage, we have take responsibility for our own future by voting YES in 2014.
- A government which would protect the interests of the people of Scotland above all else.
YSI members pose for a group photo before the clouds steal the sun again!
For a long time I've wanted to take part in a protest in George Square. Despite this desire, I've always put it off for one reason or another! Before this weekend I had little to no experience of such practical politics except a brief encounter with a very merry mob of 'Legalize Marijuana' protesters in Rome several years ago.
I didn't quite understand why they were protesting but they seemed to be having a good time and the feel good factor was contagious. In contrast to this odd encounter, I actually did have a firm understanding and a clear view on why the #ScrapTrident demo was taking place. It was show of peaceful unity against a destructive force. We were marching shoulder to shoulder with the Scottish Green Party, the Socialists, the Scottish CND and many other concerned and passionate Scots.
Despite the early rise (7am!), the music was bouncing off the walls from a colourful double-decker bus and a warm community spirit filled the heart of Glasgow. Newcomers like myself were quick to be welcomed into the circle of activists and within an hour of arriving groups had formed and the march was under way!
Just a few of those banners!
Large banners lined the streets of Glasgow and Twitter feeds were buzzing off of the attention the demonstration had attracted! Fellow activists were keen to engage in conversation, and mutual interests were easily found between the different groups. Previously I had been skeptical as to how welcoming the campaigners would be, but after experiencing the friendly and open atmosphere I realise now that I cannot wait to go back and join them next time!
After the march we were greeted back at the square by numerous speakers all with the same strong and simple message: "SCRAP TRIDENT!!!". The speeches contained far more care and concern than any made by David Cameron, and were quick to spark passionate responses from all who attended. The community then enjoyed some great music from a choir as well as an anti-trident band.
Altogether the day was a fantastic educational experience and I encourage everyone to get along to any future protest against these immoral weapons. A good attendance from the YSI at these events will show that young people are in touch with global issues. We can show that we do care about the future of this country and that we will stand up for what is right.
Citizens of the World:
Woodrow T. Wilson, 28th President of the United States, famously said;
“We are citizens of the world! The tragedy of our times is that we do not know this.”
Fortunately for us that quote no longer holds true. Thanks to the age of the internet and social networking we are constantly in touch with our friends across the globe. We are reminded of our responsibilities to look after each other and the great eco-system that is this planet. Through these new forms of communication we have been educated about the greatest moments in our history, as well as the worst.
On one hand we can 'Google' videos of people making use of amazing, modern medical technologies such as previously deaf children being able to hear for the first time! On the other hand we can look up images of Hiroshima in 1945 following the first atomic bomb being dropped on the city. With one click of a button we can witness one of the most devastating, horrific scenes in history. A mushroom shaped cloud piercing through the sky followed by images of a once prosperous city reduced to dust and rubble.
Fortunately for humanity, nuclear warheads have been not been used since World War 2. Despite this, however, the number of said weapons deployed around the world is extremely worrying. Figures for most countries that have nuclear weapons are not reliable, but almost 4,400 are in the known to be in the possession of Russia, USA, UK and France; and 2,000 of these are on 'high operational alert'. This huge number increases to around 7,000 when we take China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea into consideration!
After witnessing such horror and disgust in the scenes of previous nuclear explosions available on the World Wide Web; is it realistic to think that the UK will use their share of 165 warheads? We can only hope the answer is no. If dropped in an urban area the consequences of such mass loss of human life would be greater than anything experienced in recent history, bearing in mind that these warheads are far more powerful and advanced than those of 1945! So what is the purpose of these weapons in modern day Scotland? And why does Scotland continue to spend £163 million a year on them despite being in such economic difficulties? Recently, Prime Minister David Cameron claimed that Trident was a deterrent against the "evolving threats" (North Korea) of the world. This exaggerated claim relies on great technological advances from a state which recently watched its attempt at a launching a satellite crash and burn 90 seconds after it begun!
This is a terrible excuse and is typical of Westminster's scaremongering. Are we really to believe that £163m is better spent on nuclear weapons, rather than on 3,880 nurses, 4,500 teachers or 20 new primary schools? If only we could carry out a survey to see if the public would rather have hundreds of nuclear weapons or thousands more nurses!
I think we all know what the answer would be.
- Dan Gilius.
"Dear YSI ladies,
Join young women across Scotland, who will be coming together for a National Woman's Campaign Day
on Saturday, 18th May
We will be kicking off with some campaigning in our bigger city of Glasgow
to speak with other young women about Independence
and why it is so important for both themselves and Scotland.
We will there-after be joined by SNP National Women's Officer
, Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh
and National Political Education Convenor, Anne McLaughlin
, for cocktails, cupcakes & chat!
Please invite your friends, or anyone you think might like to come along & get involved!"- Angela Crawley, National Vice-Convenor of the Young Scots for Independence.Update!:
Meet at the Donald Dewar stand, Buchanan Street.2pm:
Onwards to a cocktail venue (tbc) with the added bonus of cupcakes.You can sign up to the event on facebook! Follow this link, and sign up!
On a recent visit to Scotland, Tory Prime Minister David Cameron attempted to discourage Scots from voting YES to independence in 2014 by making a number of farcical pronouncements. The most ridiculous of which being the suggestion that Scotland's position in the Union meant that it was protected from nuclear attack by North Korea!
Far be it from we in the Young Scots for Independence to second guess the motivation and capabilities of a bankrupt dictator who is over 5,000 miles away, but luckily for us this blatant attempt at scaremongering hasn't gone unnoticed by several experts in the field. One example of this comes from Mark Fitzpatrick, the Director of Nuclear Non-Proliferation and disarmament at the International Institute. He responded to the Tory Prime Minister's claims by saying that:
"North Korea does not have any missile capabilities that could hit Britain and it is difficult to envision circumstances when North Korea ever would want to attack the UK even if they could."
This most recent and blatant attempt at scaremongering is simply more evidence that Mr. Cameron's "Better Together" campaign simply cannot win the ration argument. Not on democracy, not on welfare and not on defence.
#VoteYES, and help us welcome in a peaceful and fairer future for Scotland!
Last night we returned from an excellent SNP Spring Conference in Inverness, and what a weekend it was!
My personal highlights – and I’m not just saying this for the sake of spin – were the speeches from First Minister, Alex Salmond and Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. I’ve never sat down to write a blog to simply trumpet the leadership speeches but they really were at the top of their game this weekend.
Alex and Nicola’s speeches really built a compelling case for the "why?" of independence. It’s incredibly reassuring that it is our party consistently leading on so many of the issues during this referendum campaign. Firstly on securing consensus through the Edinburgh agreement, secondly on votes at 16 and thirdly on leading the debate away from process to policy.
It was also a fairly busy weekend for YSI members - a number of whom made great contributions to the conference proceedings!
Gary Cocker's contribution!
First up to speak was Gary Cocker (Edinburgh branch) who moved the YSI’s amendments to the Universalism debate. Our amendment sought to introduce the issue of Labour’s new, and very disappointing, support for the reintroduction of tuition fees. Gary, who was a first time speaker at conference, moved the amendment incredibly well and was ably seconded by Dr Duncan Ross of Glasgow Kelvin Constituency Association. The resolution and amendment was unanimously passed.
After the First Minister’s speech on Saturday afternoon, conference was considering a number of resolutions. One of these resolutions focussed on the Scottish Government’s work to tackle homelessness (we’ve achieved a 13% reduction under the SNP). The motion focussed largely on the good work done to tackle homelessness. An amendment, lodged by the YSI, also drew attention to the unfair UK bedroom tax, which will have a devastating impact on the good work done to tackle homelessness. I moved the amendment on behalf of the YSI and was followed by another excellent first time speaker at conference, namely Sean McGivern of Glasgow YSI.
David Linden hosting our young drivers fringe meeting.
Sean was an incredibly confident speaker and his passion to tackle inequality and promote social justice ensured any first time speaker nerves were put aside.
It was also great to see conference discuss a number of fairly technical resolutions on betting legislation and Neonicotinoids. One of the things that we’ve still managed to keep in touch with – even in Government – is to make sure our conference isn’t just a weekend of clapping but an opportunity to tackle the big political issues and form good solid policy.
Turning to policy formulation, many thanks to Alyn Smith MEP for hosting an excellent fringe meeting with the YSI on the issue of young drivers. Thanks also to Mark McDonald, MSP for North East Scotland, and Kathleen Braidwood of RoSPA for joining me on the panel to discuss an incredibly important policy issue. Panellists and audience members discussed a number of issues around young drivers, including mandatory motorway driving lessons, the merits of week long intense driving courses, night time driving restrictions for young people and black boxes for cheaper insurance.
Sunday afternoon saw another few excellent YSI contributions during the debates. First up was Angela Crawley (Lanarkshire YSI) who moved our One Fair Wage resolution, who was followed by Kieran Glyn (Ayrshire YSI), another first time speaker. Angela and Kieran were both very strong speakers and spoke about their contrasting backgrounds as young workers earning different wages but doing similar work. Conference also supported Inverness City CA’s amendment recognising the excellent work done by SNP controlled Council’s to uprate staff pay to the minimum wage. Cllr Munro Ross raised an interesting point about the lack of Labour Council’s paying their apprentices a minimum wage.
And finally, our star speaker from the weekend was Glasgow YSI member Joe Docherty, who gave an incredibly personal and impassioned speech about youth unemployment.
All in all, we had an excellent weekend with a number of great first time speakers.
As I rose to my feet to give a very well-deserved standing ovation to Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, I couldn’t help but look around the conference hall, look up to the upper galleries and think “this is it – we’re literally making history.”
I looked at clock on the board which showed just 542 days to go and I thought, “We’ve been campaigning together as a party for 80 years – and it’s our generation that gets to deliver independence.” How fortunate we are to run the final lap!
Let’s do it.
- David Linden
In the most recent poll by the Sunday Times, it has been shown that there is now only a 5% swing gap between a Yes and No vote the referendum.It is easy to see why people are increasingly turning towards a YES vote in 2014. Issues like the Bedroom Tax - which will see Westminster imposing even more poverty on some of the most vulnerable people and families in our society - have highlighted just how much Scotland needs control over its own welfare system.
This weekend, SNP Councillors signed the Bedroom Tax Declaration. This declaration means that in SNP led councils across Scotland, no one will be evicted from their homes due to this horrendous levy on the poor. With the powers of independence, this wouldn't even be an issue in the first place!
In 2014, the people of Scotland will have two choices put before them. Help us make the right one.
Hopefully Better Together don't try to bring down this video, too!
In the first of a series of online interviews involving friends and members of the YSI we had a chat with our new Director of Campaigns, Kieran Glyn!
1) Tell us about yourself.
I would say that I am a very creative person that looks at life a little bit differently from the norm. I like to see the beauty and best in all things, and from a design point of view I love things that stand out. Fashion is a huge part of my life and I believe that it is the best way to express yourself to the world. My friends would say that I am a very outgoing person who looks for the fun in life, more a cup is half full sort of guy. I have strong views on most things I do in life though, and believe that everything really does happen for a reason.
As a child I grew up in a very theatrical environment and participated in stage shows at the local theatre. I believe that this experience helped me later in life with public speaking and on a social level. It is within the theatre that my love for design was born. Standing out from the crowd as a child can sometimes not be the easiest, however during this time I learned that I could help change the path of future generations. I did so by joining youth forums and expressing my thoughts and feelings and realised that I could help change the process and help empower other young people.
2) Where in Scotland are you from?
I am an Ayrshire boy at heart, born and bred. However during my time studying I did live in Glasgow. Even though I have travelled around the world and lived out with Ayr, Ayr will always be home.
3) What is your weirdest quirk?
I would say that I am a sucker for a fancy party or any themed event. Any chance I get I will round up my friends for some fancy dress madness. Halloween is for sure my favourite time of year.
- What is the weirdest costume you've ever worn?
When I was younger, at a Pink-themed night, I dressed up as Ringo from Sergeant Pepper!
- Got a pic?
The actual Beattles may or may not have been in attendance.
4) Who was your childhood hero?
I know this won’t ring bells with many people, however I am a total 80’s kid
at heart. One of my favourite films growing up would was “Pretty in Pink”,
and my idol would have to be Duckie Dale
. This film inspired me to be a fashion designer! Over the years there has been many an outfit that was been inspired by this man, and for those of you who know the film……the white shoes!
5) How did you get involved with the YSI?
I got involved with the YSI after campaigning in the local council elections with the SNP. The very first time I met some of the other YSI member was caught on camera, and to this day that picture makes me laugh as I look very lost. Despite this, it did not take long before I was made to feel extremely welcome and I have met some very good friends through the YSI.
6) If you could have a super power, what super power would you have?
I would say that living in Scotland I would love to have the power to control the weather. Just to have a white and long summer nights.
What? No one else thought of "Storm"?
7) Finally, in two sentences or less, why should we vote YES in 2014?
Well, I'm voting YES because I believe it is the right thing to do for ourselves, our country and for the future generations of Scotland. It's as simple as that, really.
- Thanks for your time, Kieran!