Wednesday 17 September 2014

Hello, Goodbye and Hello

‘Hello’ to everyone within Sign for Scotland and the wider ‘Yes Scotland’ movement. Hello to the Scottish National Party who put forward the independence vote, hello to the Scottish Green party who backed it, hello to Labour, Liberals and Conservatives for Independence who realised that this issue went beyond party politics. Hello, too, to the smaller parties currently outside the Scottish parliament but who offer a wealth of choice to future governments.

The biggest hello goes to those of no political party. Those hardy souls who stood for hours collecting signatures in all kinds of weather for these past two years, who gave whatever funds they could afford towards our noble cause and who never allowed themselves to give up.

Most people will not be recognised for their efforts, for they number so many, yet they will have something much more precious. When they are old and grey, they will be able to tell their grandchildren the part they played in winning Scotland’s sovereignty. They’ll say ‘this was when we took responsibility for ourselves and returned to the family of nations’.

It’s an especially poignant moment when I think back on all those people who believed in an independent Scotland and yet couldn’t see this day. Ever since we lost our sovereignty there have been those who have tried to win it back and now we have the chance to make their struggle and sacrifice worthwhile.

Amongst all these ‘hellos’ we need to say a few ‘goodbyes’. ‘Goodbye’ to the divisive and poisoned Westminster politics who could never put Scotland first. Goodbye to warmongering, and constant fighting overseas. Goodbye to ‘business as usual’ and the sense of entitlement Scotland’s MPs too often suffered from.  And finally, we say goodbye to helplessness. No more will we be reduced to a faint voice far from the centre of power. We will become the architects of our future. The ultimate power in Scotland above all others will once more be her people, the way it should always have been.

A ‘Yes’ vote means saying another ‘Hello’. This hello is to a move diverse, inclusive politics, a hello that welcomes reform and change and the possibility of a better tomorrow.

The referendum on Scottish Independence is only a few days away and this will be my final entry before that historic vote. Soon, we will know if the destiny of Scotland lies with her people or not.  We will know if our efforts to secure a ‘Yes’ vote have been successful or not. We will know if we are a nation or not. Please, it might not seem like there is much more that can be done, but make sure to vote ‘Yes’ and to tell others that you support independence. Make sure that over these last few days that you do one more positive act for the campaign. And after the result comes in, make sure that you are ready for the early days of a better nation.

Let’s say ‘hello, goodbye and hello’, together.
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Sunday 14 September 2014

Not in the News - Referendum Special

Normally on our Not in the News segments, we poke fun at the main stream media (and in particular the British state broadcaster) for examples of bias and mis-information. That would have been tricky this week, as nearly everything the BBC, Sky News and the newspapers have done falls into this category, so instead we're going to offer our favourite moments from the referendum campaign.
Here is the Yes Scotland campaign from our perspective.
Favourite image
Our favourite image had to come from Bella Caledonia's poster competition. Our pick was one of the 20 finalists and we feel it summed up Independence perfectly. Vote YES and the Scottish butterfly can catch up with all our friends:

Other images include 'Scotland's future in Scotland's hands' by Yes Scotland, '142 countries have chosen independence' by Indy Poster Boy and 'Love Scotland, Be Yourself, Vote Yes', by Brave Many.
Favourite photo we've taken
This one was really tough because we have meet so many wonderful people and seen such fantastic sights beyond anything we were expecting. But we had to pick 1 and we decided that this image of Sign for Scotland with Mark Coburn, Indy Cyclist, was our favourite. Mark has done a great job not just for Yes Scotland, but also for Maryhill Foodbank and he's definitely one of our heroes:
Other images include at the 2013 Independence March and Rally, at the Scrap Trident Rally in Glasgow and wee Mo meeting Yes Scotland board member Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh:
Favourite photo we've seen
The British state broadcaster has been at the heart of the no campaign and our favourite photo from online comes from one of the BBC bias demonstrations. This has become even more poignant following the outburst by senior BBC political correspondent Nick Robinson.
Other images include Kirsty from Yes Scotland, the Radical Independence take-over of Glasgow and the Yes Scotland message to our friends from across the EU.
Favourite video
We've seen so many great videos during this campaign, but for us at Sign for Scotland, we find ourselves returning to this rendition of our national anthem by the ladies of 'Signed Songs R Us'.
Other videos include messages from Pink Indy Lassies, 'The morning after' by Lady Alba and the Independence Live broadcast of Veterans for Independence (which featured a live BSL signer).
Favourite blog post
Now this will be tricky! There have been so many great features that we have read during the campaign and so many more that we haven't that this is going to be just a very incomplete list, but the one that made the strongest connection with the Sign for Scotland team came from Wee Ginger Dug; 'Proud like a Yes swan'.
Other memorable reads include 'The McCrone Legacy' by Dale Ross on Wings over Scotland
And Derek Batemans fantastic slapdown of the Editor of the Scotsman in 'To the Editor'
Favourite resource
There are lots to choose from the Yes side of the campaign and because of that we've going to stick to the most prominent (although a special mention for Peter Bell's Referendum 2014 has to be made as he has been a great friend to Sign for Scotland and his comments to stories are always thought-provoking and based on reason).
The number 1 resource has to be the Wee Blue Book. Get it, share it, download it, send it to everyone you know and send it to everyone you don't know. The more people who read it, the more who will vote Yes.
The Scottish Government's White Paper on Independence (the summary of which can be viewed in multiple languages, including BSL), Business for Scotland, and Newsnet Scotland are all well deserving of praise.
Friends we've lost
I'm certain that everyone will know someone they have lost who would have wanted to see an independent Scotland, so this space is for them. RIP Margo MacDonald.
Friends we've gained
We've seen so many people campaigning for a better Scotland and we consider each of them a friend. So many thanks to Labour for Independence, Women for Independence, Scots Asians for Yes, the different political parties who back a Yes vote, Scottish CND, the Sunday Herald, Blair Jenkins, Dennis Canavan and everyone else at Yes Scotland.
Shameless plug
And finally, here are our 3 most popular videos from the campaign: I'm voting Yes, Reasons for Independence and Journey to Yes.
All that is left to say is 'thank you' to the 1,700+ people who have given us a 'like' on Facebook, the 2,000+ people who follow us on Twitter, those who contributed to our blog reaching over 70,000 hits and those who have added to the 5,000+ views we've had on our YouTube channel.
We are so close to regaining the powers we need to make a better Scotland. A more representative democracy, an end to paying for Westminster's waste and folly, a more peaceful foreign policy, a constitution written by us which will guarantee our rights, a cleaner environment, a more competitive economy and the breakup of media monopolies is the prize on offer. Let's take it with both hands and Vote YES!
Drew (and everyone else at Sign for Scotland HQ)

Thursday 11 September 2014

A story with a cast of 5.3 million

No, this isn’t about a lost Cecil B Demille movie, this is about Scotland.
The population of our country is at an all time high and we’re part of a diverse and fluid mix of different cultures that are being blended together to form our identity.  A Scot isn’t just someone who is born here, or whose parents were born here, a Scot is someone who calls this country home.

Picture taken from Sign for Scotland HQ
Sometimes it might seem that we in the Signing community and other minorities are on the outside looking in, but it’s just not true.  We’re as much a part of Scotland as everyone else and we need to make sure that things are better after independence than devolution allowed.  With our government closer to us, we can have greater influence.  We can get rid of the sense of entitlement that too many Westminster MPs feel and have a more diverse and accountable politics.  We can push for reforms, for the fact that we will be independent will prove that the people are strong, and can enforce change.  We can make sure that no-one is left behind, and that everyone has a say.
The draft constitution produced by the Scottish Government shows consideration for all of Scotland's domestic languages. There is a determination from different Yes groups, emboldened by the possibilities of independence, to challenge gender and wealth inequality. And we will empower a more democratic and representative form of governance, which is more responsive and reflective of our values and wishes.
Sign for Scotland
Westminster isn't working, but if we work together, we can create a better society
The cast may be of millions, but a single person can make a real difference.  Please get involved and help out.  It might not seem like much, but a lot of people doing a little each will go a long way to securing a ‘Yes’ vote next week.
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