Power Grab

Admittedly I am not super knowledgeable about Welsh politics. I know Wales has a devolved parliament like Scotland, but my understanding is they don’t even have as many powers as the Scottish Parliament does. That seems strange, but then nothing about the makeup or operation of the British government as a whole surprises me any longer.

But today the Labour led Welsh government completely caved in to the Westminster Tory government power grab, regarding new powers post Brexit. ¬†Why? Well, it’s odd, isn’t it? Only a few weeks ago, the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones was the most outspoken about the naked power grab being attempted by this Tory government. Then with little explanation, he announced his resignation as FM over the weekend.

Fast forward to today, Tuesday, and the Welsh government (without Jones as FM) agrees to hand over all these powers to Westminster for a “temporary” period of 5-7 years. Yeah, and if you believe Wales will ever see those powers again, I have a bridge (or 3) to sell you over the Forth.

Of course now the UK media, along with the Tories in Westminster and Holyrood want us to believe it’s the SNP led Scottish government which are being difficult. Because hey the devolved Welsh government caved in to the Westminster power grab, why won’t the Scottish government?

There are no coincidences in politics folks. This is a naked power grab by the Tories in Westminster to centralise as much power in London as possible. If you think those powers will ever be returned, all I can say is look at what this government has done to the Windrush generation. Would you buy a used car from the Tories?

I hope enough people in Scotland are paying attention to the fact, that we are witnessing the systemic dismantling of the devolved administrations. Anyone who strongly believes in devolution, (and I hope this isn’t just SNP supporters), should be extremely concerned.

We need to be vigilant, and fight in every way possible to ensure Holyrood stays a strong devolved parliament.

If history tells us anything, once a government has certain powers, they don’t give them up easily. This Westminster power grab is wrong and dangerous for the future of Scotland.


Love Their Children Too

IMG_1264Remember the song Russians by Sting. Today I was reminded of these lyrics.
‘I hope the Russians love their children too.’

Brexit is going to be terrible for all of us, but it’s going to be even worse for the younger generations. Our children and grandchildren. You see they just won’t have the same opportunities to live and work anywhere in the EU. Their ability to easily study in France or Germany has been taken away. The older generation (who were the demographic which largely voted for Brexit) have basically taken these opportunities away from our kids. Anger doesn’t begin to define how this makes me feel.

But here in Scotland we do have a lifeline. It’s called independence and it’s the only way for us to ensure we do stay in the EU. Now before the unionists start moaning, but how do you know an independent Scotland will be allowed in the EU? Well because senior figures in the EU have said we would be. Now we can have the debate about what kind of membership we want. Full EU membership, EFTA, EEA. But only independence will allow us any of these options.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last two years, everyone knows the Westminster government and the opposition want the UK FULLY OUT of the EU. No single market, no customs union, no freedom of movement. Although they still seem to have no idea how this will work in reality, we know what their end game plan will look like.

I’ve already concluded those people don’t care about future generations. They don’t care that young people will never have the same European opportunities which they had growing up. They’re selfish bastards. It’s as if the under 35’s just don’t exist.

That brings me back to Scotland. Let’s face it, we don’t impact the UK government here. We could elect every Scottish MP as a pro-EU supporter, and it wouldn’t matter. England decides the make up of the UK government. If you don’t know that by now, well you truly have been living in a cave for decades.

Which is what depresses and frustrates me in equal measure regarding folk who still cling to the idea of staying in a union with the rest of the UK. I regularly read these people bemoaning the inevitability of Brexit, and I sit back and ponder how much are they really worried about the catastrophe of being taken out of the EU. To me, it’s a no brainier. Scotland must be independent, as to no longer be dictated to by our MUCH larger neighbours. There’s no pleading with England to change course. The support for Brexit in England is still as high as it was on the 24th June, 2016.

This is why I have to hope British nationalists in Scotland will put the younger generations’ futures first. Do they want their kids to have the same opportunities that they had? To work in Germany or study in Italy? Do they want them to be able to take a year and travel around Europe with the same rights afforded all other EU citizens? I am not so sure. To me, it appears that Scottish independence is a step too far for them.

Sadly, I’m not at all convinced unionists ‘love their children too.’


The Changeover

My son Ethan spent his spring break with his Dad. Two weeks he was away. It’s the longest period of time I have ever spent apart from my boy. I won’t lie, I enjoyed it. Sure I missed him, but until you understand the constant stress of being a single parent of an autistic child, you’ll never fully comprehend the sense of relief when you don’t have to worry and care for them 24/7.

I personally didn’t do much. I went out with friends on a few occasions. Caught up on films I have wanted to see. Read books without feeling guilty that I should be taking my son out and entertaining him. Cooked and ate when I felt like it. Basically I just decompressed for two weeks, and it was the mental break I so desperately needed.

Yesterday, Ethan came home. My ex and I don’t really feign the pleasantries too much. It’s no secret, he’s not exactly my favourite person. So A. brought Ethan to the end of our lane and I walked up to meet him halfway.

Ethan was so excited when he got home. He had so much to show me. All these new DVDs that Dad had bought him. Not to mention the new jackets, and trainers. He enthusiastically dug out his phone to show me the photos from his trip to London with Dad. It was difficult not to get caught up in his energy. I couldn’t recall if he was ever this animated after our holidays together. Was I not as fun as Dad? It made me wonder.

But after Ethan went to bed, I had time to ponder over his time away. Of course he was excited. He loves his Dad. He so desperately wants every encounter with his father to be special. He has this incredible ability to only ever focus on the good in everyone. He forgets all the pain his father has caused him. So why couldn’t I forgive and forget.

This isn’t about my ex cheating on me multiple times, or the various women he’s had relationships with. I am well over that part. He’s a serial cheater, always has been. Always will be. His brothers told me I should have known this about him before we married. Perhaps that’s true. But anyway that aspect of A.’s life is no longer my problem. I forgive him being unfaithful, because I know it’s who he is.

But I just can’t get past the hurt he’s caused my son. I still remember that newly teenaged boy, asking me every night for weeks, if his Dad was dead. I spent sleepless nights for what seemed like an eternity, wondering how to navigate my son through this hole his father had left. There was actually a time I had wished A. was dead, if only for the ability of my son to be able to grieve. Instead of the constant not knowing.

And then when A. did finally appear, he would demand to see Ethan as if nothing had happened. For years, Ethan always agreed, because like I said, he loved his Dad. He wanted to please him.

But as Ethan has gotten older his attitude has started to change. You see, A. has gone a year at a time (on two separate occasions) without any contact with his son. This has had a negative impact on my son, and he has in the past refused to see his father. I don’t even begin to comprehend how a parent can do that. It’s certainly not normal. But unlike many Dads who just completely disappear, A. eventually returns.

So fast forward to spring 2018, and A. agrees to take Ethan for his spring break. It was my idea, because my health hasn’t been great and I needed a break as well. Ethan was lukewarm to the concept at first, but eventually he became excited at the prospect. Especially as Dad would be taking him to London. We lived in London for a bit, and Ethan had a long list of places he wanted to go back and visit. Great. I was happy for him.

Now Dad is back in the good books. Ethan has put him back on that pedestal and he’s definitely a very happy boy today. But Mom is worried. A text from Dad confirms he has no idea how much longer he’ll be in Edinburgh. And as usual I am given no further information of when exactly he’ll leave, or how long he’ll be gone this time.

Last night, Ethan went to bed full of stories about his adventures with Dad. This morning I am not sure when he’ll actually see his Dad again.

Changeovers are hard.


A Mile in Their Shoes

I can’t promise I will be terribly good at this, but I recently wrote a paper (for my psychology course) on reverse psychology, or trying to think like your opponent. So I decided to attempt it regarding, Scotland, and unionism. If this seems a step too far avert your eyes now. Or just close my blog.

I moved to Scotland in 1999, it was the very early days of the Scottish Parliament, when Donald Dewar was the First Minister, and Labour hegemony seemed eternal. I admit as a young, recently married woman my focus wasn’t that much on Scottish politics. I concentrated much more on getting to know Edinburgh. I was fascinated by the history and the culture. Some times, I’d pinch myself as I could scarcely believe my new life was in such a romantic, beautiful city.

Fast forward nearly 20 years, and my life is completely different. Yes, I still live in the amazing city of Edinburgh (although I have lived in a few other places during this period, including London). But I’m now nearly 50, divorced and bringing up an autistic son, pretty much on my own. My rose tinted glasses haven’t just been removed but they’ve been lost in a drawer, somewhere under the Indian and Chinese takeaway menus. I hate to say I’ve became a cynic, but I have definitely lost that innocence of the younger me who moved here all those years ago.

However over the years, one aspect of living in Scotland which has matured in a rather healthy manner is my political knowledge of this wonderful country, I now call home. It didn’t happen straight away, in fact the first election I participated in wasn’t until we moved back here from London in 2012. But as my Scottish political awareness grew, so did my perplexity at the majority who still seemed intent on keeping Scotland down. It’s like a large segment of the population had no vision for a better more prosperous Scotland, where people from all over the planet wanted to move to, because the opportunities here were boundless. As an American, I didn’t understand this mentality. Admittedly, we Americans have many faults (Trump, anyone), but national pride and self belief is not something we lack. I know I have been accused of thinking I’m an American exceptionalist. I am not, but I suspect many Scottish people see self assurance as arrogance.

So what makes a person have so much self doubt? Yes, I understand the media here are forever telling Scots their country is too poor, their population is too dim, and they would be nothing but some pathetic little backwater without their “betters” in Westminster. But why does the vast majority of the media do that? I can only assume it’s because this is what they believe Scots want to hear. So I have tried to understand how thinking the place I come from is just not capable of a better future. For those of you also perplexed with the negative unionist mindset, you can try this at home.

Go to a mirror. Take a good look at yourself. Now tell that reflection, you’re not worthy of a better life. Or of a more prosperous job, or a more promising future for your kids or grandkids. Tell yourself, you just can’t achieve anything more than what you have. And perhaps even tell yourself you don’t even deserve what you already have, because somehow you’re just not worthy. After about 5 minutes of doing this, I was eyeing up that whisky in my cupboard. Jeezo, I felt truly awful.

But to me this is exactly the mindset of roughly half the population in Scotland. I am no stranger to getting into heated debates with unionists on social media. It’s disheartening. Eventually that sentiment can quickly turn to anger. Let’s face it, most of us at some point have been involved in these debates. So what makes a person so lacking in self belief, that they see no better future for themselves or of the next generation? There is certainly a cultural influence at play. Even to an extent a religious one as well. I doubt it’s a concidence the first time I ever heard the phrase, ‘don’t get above your station’ was here in Scotland. I dare say it must take a toll on your long term health to be so engulfed in an, ‘it’s shite being Scottish’ mentality. I suspect it’s probably why so many people here suffer from long term mental health issues.

Perhaps once we identify why half of us, are so consumed with self doubt, we can better understand why Scotland has never fully realised that she could become a flourishing, vibrant nation. A place all other nations look at with awe and envy. Let’s try to walk a mile in a unionist’s shoes. Then once we’ve seen for ourselves how exhausting that is, let’s bring them to the shop and help them pick out a lovely pair of trainers. Something to help them run with the rest of us to the finish line, towards a better Scotland for all.