Music blog Hercules Moments had a listen to Fram and felt that it “manages to capture a vast, cold and unwelcoming continent as well as the spirit of the men who went there first” which roughly translates as - nailed it!
I’m fair chuffed that Lesley got where I was coming from with this project and that it came across through the music. That’s all I ever hoped for really.
Lots of people seem almost ok with the pseudo-privatisation of the NHS in England and Wales by the coalition because they think we’re protected in Scotland through devolution. I’m afraid that’s not quite true.
The Barnett formula is used to calculate the block grant given to the Scottish parliament by allocating a percentage of the money spent by westminster on areas that are devolved to Scotland. If through the current reform of the NHS the Westminster government reduce spending on NHS services, preferring instead that trusts raise money through provision of private services or savings through greater competition with commercial providers, then that will lead to a reduction in the block grant and cuts in Scotland’s health budget. Also Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has stated that he wants funds diverted from the NHS to defense, moving money from a devolved issue to a reserved issue - again leading to a reduction in the block grant to Scotland.
So because of policies enacted by a government we didn’t vote for which are only designed to affect England and Wales, Scotland has less money to spend on essential services such as health and education but without the reforms that aim to to replace this funding - whether you agree with those or not. Still think the current system means we’re better together?
An independent Scotland should see arts and science spending as vital as health and education is to the wellbeing of it’s people and the growth of it’s economy. Arts and science are areas we can truly excel in and can serve to bring tourists to Scotland, inspire future generations and create opportunities for new business, jobs and tax.
There's Only One Question That Needs to be Answered
Yesterday the public got their first look at the Better Together campaigns list of 500 questions they say need to be answered before the Independence referendum in 2014. They range from the oft-asked questions about scots currency and EU membership to questions regarding the price of a 1st class stamp in an independent Scotland.
Apparently, Better Together were then surprised when the list of 507 questions (not the 500 that would have made more sense with the 500 days to referendum and their own announcements) were ridiculed, satirised and humiliated online last night. At least most of the Unionist supporters took this in good humour.
What we need to focus on though is that while there may be some concerns about the subjects raised in the 500 questions document, most of these are only answerable once the negotiation process starts post-indy, or once the first independent Scottish Government are being elected. This whole stunt is just a way to obfuscate and distort the real debate because Better Together don’t want people to simply answer the only other question on the table. Instead they will continue to doggedly throw up questions of process, irrelevant until a decision on independence is actually made.
Of course, there is a group that can answer a lot of the questions posed in the Better Together document (and oddly it was a document, rather than a series of blog posts or webpage that could be easily shared online) yet flatly refuse to do so. Remember, the EU will only provide answers to a sitting government so the Coalition could ask for clarity on the post-indy process but won’t. They could also provide answers on many of the shared liabilities and timescales for transition, but won’t.
At the moment, there is really only one question that needs to be answered – Should Scotland be an independent country?
It really is that simple. I’m sure it’s really important to someone out there how much a first class stamp will cost in an independent Scotland, but that will be sorted in time and without the aide of a crystal ball it’s simply not possible to answer most of the questions on the Better Together list. We can answer this one though and take that positive step forward.
So should Scotland be an independent country? Everyone agrees now that it could so this is simply a matter of where our hearts and desires lie. It’s not separation but emancipation. Scotland would have control over every aspect of its society (including which currency to use incidentally) for the first time in 300 years and it’s a liberating prospect.
All the other questions are important, sure, but not now. They’ll be debated and answered as part of future elections and in negotiation with the rUK and Europe. You don’t have to ignore all that, but don’t get too sidetracked as it’s not what this debate is really about. If you want Scotland to make it’s own decisions and control the mechanisms of growing it’s own economy, then you will be ticking yes. That’s what independence is.
In the early exchanges on the referendum, the No Campaign made some noise by claiming that Scotland would be forced to adopt the euro and that the UK Government would refuse to let Scotland, as an independent country, use the pound (sterling) as its currency. It remains one of the major questions
If you are confused by the news this week banging on about issues with an independent Scotland keeping the pound, maybe this link will help.
Earlier this week we managed to hit the £1200 target which means we’ll be making a record! I’m ridiculously grateful for all the support I’ve received from you all and hope you are looking forward to the record as much as I am.
The whole point of this project was to focus on a project and be able to do it properly, get it mastered and pressed correctly, and then release it as a well crafted ltd run to launch a new record label in Aberdeenshire. You’ve helped us get here and it’s an amazing feat. I can start building on this support and hopefully this can be the start of a wider spurt of creativity across the north-east. I’d love to see other creatives using kickstarter to enable them to do mad projects and I’d love to see a wee scene grow of music makers creating obscure sounds and noises, working with other mediums and ignoring the traditional routes and expectations of a rigid music scene.
Anyhoo, I’ve got a lot of work to do. I’ll contact the mastering engineer and set that process in motion (though won’t confirm until I receive all the funds) and start working on ideas for the Fram Museum commission.
You can still back the kickstarter and tell your friends about it. Any extra money we receive will go towards promoting the EP and help with future releases (which are already being looked at).Thanks again for getting us to the goal. There’s still 10 days left and I’ll keep you updated on the project as it goes along. We might have a wee party or get together around the 2nd May when the kickstarter finishes so look out for that! Otherwise I’m playing as part of the HackNMake at the University May festival on the 12th May at Elphinstone Hall.
That’s the new update up on the kickstarter page, check it out if you’re interested in my frothing thanks.
Still to time to get involved, you can support the project until 2nd May.
A clear separation of church and state set within the constitution. Scotland should be a secular, free country with no state religion which encourages our children to find their own path and experiences.
This frees education to be set by those with children’s best interests at heart and not directly influenced by religious lobbies. It would mean a fully inclusive education system with no children being left out of activities.
A stunning version of The Twilight Sad’s Alphabet by Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat. This is their side of a split with The Twilight Sad which sees them covering each others songs for Record Store Day 2013.
Make sure you visit your local independent record shop on Saturday and pick up some awesome treats. I can’t. Ours closed.
Goodnight Jason. I hope you’ve found the peace you needed and struggled to find in life. We never met but I felt I knew you, as so many of your fans probably did. It’s hard not to empathise with such honest lyricism…
This is my farewell to Jason Molina, written for Hercules Moments. It was pretty hard to write.
Here’s my idea, let’s start a blog and a conversation for people to share ideas for independence. It’s the people who choose whether we stay part of the UK and so it should be the people that drive what happens in an independent Scotland with their ideas and passion.
Even if Scotland votes to stay in the Union, these ideas could shape us into a truly progressive part of the UK who will influence policy across Britain by leading.
Would an Independent Scotland Really Need An Army?
Today, we’ve heard some more doom-mongering from the UK government where they told us that Scotland would be weaker militarily if it opted for independence.
Obviously this sounds like a bad thing… but is it really? The only real benefit of having a standing army, that I can think of, is the employment it offers with all the economic benefits that brings. Surely that manpower could be moved to other areas of the workforce relatively easily, or as Hammond suggests they could stay within the British Army should they choose.
So, really, what other options are there? We could look to Costa Rica for inspiration. This is a country not much smaller than Scotland and certainly poorer, who abolished their army permanently in 1949 despite being situated in a slightly more volatile area than Scotland.
Costa Rica is now ranked fifth in the world and first in the America’s in the 2012 Environmental Performance Index and are ranked highly in the Human Development Index. The New Economic Foundation has named it the greenest Country in the world and it came first in their Happy Planet Index.
Not bad for a country with 4.3 million people and a GDP per capita of $8876 (Scotland has a population of 5.3 million and a GDP of $43000).
Abolishing the army would mean an independent Scotland would have a spare £2.5 billion in their budget. I’m sure we could all think of better things to spend it on than a bunch of guns and tanks. Just takes a wee bit of imagination eh?
Those kind chaps at Aberdeen Student Radio have invited me on tomorrow evening for a wee yap about daemons. We’ll probably end up talking about crufts or other stuff but you should definitely tune in. It’ll probably not be terrible.
I might also talk about experimental music, electronica and culture in aberdeenshire. Who knows?!