Showing posts with label Scotland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scotland. Show all posts

June 25, 2016

Scotland Home of His Emigrant Mother is Been Trumped

 He promised all green energy site (it never happened)  he destroyed the dunes instead. Promised and promised. No love lost in Scotland for the Donald. Today he stepped on Scotland soil a supporter of E.U. and dissed on the E.U.
As the Donald descended from the steps of Trump Force One and attempted to shield his wayward hair from the easterly winds sweeping across the Tarmac of Aberdeen airport, he would have expected a frosty reception. Trump, ignoring the record-breaking petition calling for him to be banned from the UK for “hate speech”, is in Scotland as part of a whistlestop tour of his two Scottish golf courses. The first port of call will be Turnberry – now renamed Trump Turnberry – after an investment claimed by the Trump Organisation to be £200m. But it is at his Menie estate in Aberdeenshire where the Mexican flags are flying high. 

Michael Forbes and David Milne, who were among the residents Trump threatened with compulsory purchase orders when they refused to sell him their properties to make way for a luxury golf resort, have hoisted the flags in a show of solidarity with the people of Mexico. Trump, of course, has pledged to build a 2,000-mile wall along the Mexican border “very inexpensively” to stop “rapists and drug dealers” from entering the US if he becomes president. And as the residents of the Menie estate know only too well, Trump has form on walls.

As I documented in my first Trump film, You’ve Been Trumped, at the crack of dawn one morning in 2010, the billionaire’s bulldozers sprang into action and began dumping thousands of tons of earth around the homes of local residents Susan Munro and David Milne, after the tycoon had branded their houses ugly. Trump’s builders (who had no planning permission for these works, according to the residents) had already been caught on camera, burying trees in an enormous hole next to the mounds of earth piled up to shield Forbes’s farm from the view of Trump’s golfers. Trump had blasted Forbes on national television for “living like a pig” and his working farm “a pigsty”.

In many ways, Trump’s loss-making development at the Menie estate is a microcosm of what’s been going on during his run for the White House. When Trump pledged to be the “jobs president”, Scots were quick to remember his broken promises on jobs. Trump claimed he would create 6,000 jobs through his golf course resort and spend £1bn building the “greatest luxury golf resort in the world”. In fact, no “resort” was ever built. Around 100 jobs have been created on the Menie estate and a single golf course is in operation, along with a granite-clad clubhouse. It is estimated he has spent less than 5% of the original investment pledged. Plans for a second golf course have yet to materialize – much to the relief of local residents who fear it would destroy another stretch of wild dunes.  

The non-partisan website PolitiFact has determined that Trump’s campaign statements are riddled with an astounding number of outright falsehoods. That’s hardly news to Forbes, who has the phrase “NO MORE TRUMP LIES” daubed on one of his farm sheds. Forbes has watched for more than a decade as the Trump claims and promises have come to nothing. The 450-bedroom hotel has never been built. The 1,500 houses failed to materialise. Instead a golf course for the wealthy now stands between him and his salmon fishing boat, with Forbes complaining he is unable to access the beach to fish.

Trump claimed his Menie estate golf course would be “environmentally perfect”. But in fact it destroyed the ability of the sand dunes to move and shift naturally, something that was highlighted by every credible environmental group in the land when his plans were first submitted.

Trump also insists he has been a good neighbour. But local residents think otherwise. In April, a woman walking on the dunes near Trump’s golf course was charged by police and accused of “a disgusting and shameful act” by the Trump Organization. Her crime? Answering a call of nature. This incident shook local residents, who had hoped the police had learned lessons after spending years appearing to act like a private security force for Trump. I should know. The police arrested me and threw me in jail, for daring to ask why Molly Forbes who is now 92, had her water supply cut off by Trump’s bulldozers.

He has used his money and access to power and the media to intimidate ordinary people
The bullying of local residents and failure to deliver on economic promises are perhaps the main reasons why the billionaire’s popularity rating in Scotland is at rock bottom. Former first minister Alex Salmond, who once enthusiastically welcomed the Trump development, now says the billionaire “couldn’t get elected the dog catcher” in Scotland. And as Trump steps up the rhetoric in his campaign to be president, with ideas such as banning all Muslims from the US, it is little wonder that Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen finally saw sense and stripped him of the ludicrous honorary degree he received in 2010.

While there has been endless debate about the many outrageous statements that Trump has made during the presidential campaign, the events at the Menie estate prove that what Trump says and what he does are two very different things. Here he used his money and access to power and the media to intimidate ordinary people; he made outrageous promises to hoodwink the gullible (including, alas, the Scottish government); and he showed a breathtaking disdain for the environmental toll of his relentless pursuit of personal gain. It is a cautionary tale for Americans going to the ballot box in November, and for the people of Britain, who have lost, for ever, an irreplaceable part of our common natural heritage.

Anthony Baxter
The Guardian

June 11, 2016

Scottish Episcopal’s Church Goes for Gay Marriage



The synod vote received support from five of seven bishops, 69% of the clergy and 80% of the laity - indicating that it has a good chance of succeeding when it returns next year.
If passed it would means Scottish Episcopal's would become the first major church in the UK to marry gay and lesbian couples in church.

This level of action is not happening within the Church of England, which will not conduct gay marriages, or allow clergy to be in a same-sex marriage.
The Scottish move could intensify the split within the wider Anglican Communion of 85 million Christians.

In January the Communion sanctioned the US Episcopal Church when it decided to allow gay marriage in church.
The church’s leader, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has struggled to keep the Communion together over the issue.

Lambeth Palace said the archbishop would not be commenting on the decision.
'Differing views'
Speaking after the vote, the secretary-general of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, said: “The churches of the Anglican Communion are autonomous and free to make decisions about policy.

"Today's decision is only the first step in the process of changing canon law on marriage.
“I would echo what the Archbishop of Canterbury said recently in Zimbabwe on same-sex marriage: there are differing views within the Anglican Communion but the majority one is that marriage is the lifelong union of a man and woman.

"He also stressed our primates' opposition to the criminalisation of LGBTIQ people."
Same sex marriage became legal in Scotland at the end of 2014 but Scotland's main churches - the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church - opposed the move.
The legislation was designed to allow religious and belief bodies to “opt-in" if they wanted to perform same-sex marriages.

The Scottish Episcopal Church is a Christian church with an estimated 90,000 adherents in Scotland.
Its synod is being held at St Paul’s and St George's Church in Edinburgh.

The Right Reverend Dr Gregor Duncan, Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway and acting convener of the church’s Faith and Order Board, said: "The synod's decision this year is important because it represents the beginning of a formal process of canonical change.

"The church has been engaged in recent years in a series of discussions at all levels.
“The current process will enable the Church come to a formal decision on the matter."

Keith Porteous Wood, of the National Secular Society, said: "This will put huge pressure on the Anglican and the many other churches to wave through same sex religious marriage. It is just a matter of time before more do so.”

November 30, 2015

Gay History of Scots


For many years Scotland just did not do gay. Homosexuality was dangerous and taboo, and it was actually against the law right up to the 1980s. So how did a country that seemed to take pride in its prejudices end up with the best gay rights in Europe?

Post-war Scotland was a deeply conservative place. In fact, half the country voted Tory in 1950 and most people attended the Kirk on a Sunday. Sex was rarely, if ever, mentioned.
If talking about the birds and bees in the 1950s was taboo then mention of the possibility of bees getting together with each other was totally forbidden.

Dr Jeff Meek, the author of Queer Voices in Post-War Scotland, says: "There was almost a bar on talking about same-sex desire."
He says homosexuality was something families, religious institutions, the medical profession and society at large all chose to ignore.

Acts of male homosexuality had been outlawed for centuries and were made stricter in the late 19th Century but same-sex contact between women had never been targeted in law and was not illegal.
Scottish society just chose to believe lassies did not do that kind of thing.
Author Val McDermid says: "When I was growing up the word lesbian was in our vocabulary but it was a kind of fabled beast like unicorns.
"You heard about them but you never met one. It was always someone’s cousin knew a lassie that knew one."

Gay men were known to exist but they did not fit the Scottish image of robust masculinity.
Homosexual men were forced underground to public toilets or illicit parties.
Dr Meek says: “The consequences of being caught were significant.

"You knew being caught meant being excluded from your family. You could be sacked for a hint of homosexuality, never mind a prosecution.”

Douglas Pretsell and Peter Gloster formalised their marriage in Sydney
People went to prison for sometimes two years or were locked up in psychiatric institutions.
In 1957, after a succession of well-known men were convicted of homosexual offenses, the Wolfenden report recommended that "homosexual behavior between consenting adults in private should no longer be a criminal offense".

However, the Scottish representative on the Wolfenden Panel was James Adair.
Dr Meek says: “Adair disagreed with almost all the recommendations the main committee had come up with.

"He saw homosexuality as the first step into moral turpitude.
"The Scotland he loved would be lost. This upstanding, moral, conservative, religious society would descend into decay and would be destroyed.”

It took a decade for the recommendations of the Wolfenden report to be become law in England and Wales, decriminalising homosexuality for men over 21.
But because of James Adair, homosexuality in Scotland remained illegal, classified as criminally-depraved behavior.
In 1969, a brave group of gay Scots decided they could not change their sexuality so they set out to change Scotland.

The SMG (Scottish Minorities Group) arranged discos and get-togethers for gay men and for lesbian women.
They were very respectable events, usually held in a pub on a Monday or Tuesday night when there was little other business. They had rules about public displays of affection in order to keep within the law. Although small at first, word spread and the numbers grew.

The SMG started to make money and leased property in Broughton Street in Edinburgh where it set up the Gay Information Centre and operated a telephone helpline.
Writer, historian and gay activist Bob Cant says: "I think the Scottish Minorities Group deserves an enormous amount of credit. Their achievement in changing public consciousness was enormous."
Thirteen years after the law was reformed in England, Labour MP Robin Cook lodged an amendment in the Scottish Criminal Justice Bill and homosexuality was finally decriminalized in Scotland in 1980.

That decade saw an explosion of gay culture into the mainstream. In Scotland, the newly legalised gay men had a fantastic time. In Glasgow, the gay mecca was Bennets.

Social commentator Damian Barr tells a BBC Scotland documentary: "I could not have imagined a place like this existed. I'd not even seen a gay club on film or on television. It felt like Xanadu.

"To walk into a room and see all these men dancing together and kissing, I actually thought something bad was going to happen. I thought these people can't be allowed to have this much fun."
But along with fun came a new threat in the form of HIV/Aids.

If Scotland was ignorant about Aids it was rudely awoken in 1985, when 60% of injecting drug addicts tested at an Edinburgh hospital were found to be HIV positive.
As a result, the Scottish capital was labelled the HIV capital of Europe.

David Taylor, who was at Lothian health board in the 80s, says: “It certainly stuck as a label but it was blatantly untrue."

Despite the study relating to drug addicts and the figures being debatable, homosexual sex was once again portrayed as something to fear.

In 1987 Margaret Thatcher's government went to war with the gay community.
The prime minister told the Tory conference: “Children who need to be taught the traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay."

Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 prohibited "the teaching of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship".
Historian Dr Amy Tooth Murray says: “Section 28 basically says 'you can not talk about non-heterosexual relationships at school'."

There was outrage and protests across the country at this rolling back of the rights of gay people but the law stayed in place until the re-establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.
One of its first acts was to repeal Section 28 but it had a battle on its hands.

Billionaire businessman and born-again Christian Brian Souter did not support the move and used his money to back a strong Keep the Clause campaign, which had the backing of Scotland's best-selling newspaper The Daily Record and the Roman Catholic Church.
The Scottish Executive stood firm and abolished the clause. Westminster followed suit three years later.

Journalist David Torrance says that despite being very unpleasant at the time it was a "cathartic" experience that got Scotland talking about gay rights issues and finally swept away the old attitudes.
Since the Millennium, Scots attitudes to homosexuality have changed dramatically.
Surveys show that a third of Scots actively approve of gay marriage and it is now homophobia that is taboo.

In 2005, civil partnerships were made legal for gay couples and the following year same-sex couples were able to adopt.
Last year, as the Commonwealth Games was being shown around the world, Scotland declared its new openness with a kilted gay kiss as part of the opening ceremony.

The year ended with gay marriage becoming legal in Scotland and the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, a lesbian, passionately supporting the move.
Earlier this year, Scotland was rated the best country in Europe in terms of legal equality for LGBT people.
A remarkable transformation in just a generation. A queer tale indeed.


August 27, 2014

If Scotland Votes Independence it Will Leave it Naked in Front of Moscow

But despite the fleet of nuclear submarines and surface vessels currently stationed around Scotland, defence experts say Scotland’s naval defences are actually rather weak. Dr John MacDonald, director of the Scottish Global Forum, says that Scotland’s navy is already suffering from a “profound and fundamental” weakness. As Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond claimed in a 2013 speech, “the navy does not have a single major surface vessel based in Scotland.” Another weakness of Scotland’s current navy is the lack of maritime patrol planes. In 2011, the British government decommissioned the last of its Nimrod fleet. For over 40 years, Hawker Siddeley Nimrod planes provided maritime reconnaissance as part of Operation Tapestry, the patrol of the U.K.’s coastland. After the decommissioning of the last active Nimrod in 2011, Scotland’s coast was left with no maritime patrol planes, and the planned upgrades to the fleet have been repeatedly delayed.

If Scotland goes independent, Trident will leave

A Nimrod plane taking off in 2009
A Nimrod plane taking off in 2009
If Scotland votes for independence, a process will begin that will see the country gradually transition to hosting its own naval force. The current plan is to build a force of 2,400 regular personnel working across two squadrons. An independent Scotland would almost certainly force the British government to remove Trident from the Faslane base, leaving the country without any nuclear-powered submarines. Removing the Trident force from Scotland is certainly possible, although it will be costly.
A study published by the Royal United Services Institute estimates the price of the move to be between £2.5 billion and £3.5 billion. That’s cheaper than some predictions had previously estimated, with one figure of £20 billion now seeming unreasonably high.
Two countries are being heralded as the blueprint for Scotland’s naval ambitions: Denmark and Norway. Scottish Global Forum director Dr MacDonald stated that the Royal Danish Navy is “providing the inspiration” for Scotland’s defence ambitions. Presently, the Royal Danish Navy has over 80 vessels, with the Royal Norwegian Navy comprising of a similar number of ships.HDMS Thetis of the Royal Danish Navy
HDMS Thetis of the Royal Danish Navy
While it’s established that Scotland is already lacking in naval defence forces, should we be worried about leaving Scotland without its full complement of submarines to patrol the icy waters around the River Clyde?
Many British government figures have expressed doubts over the plans laid out by Scotland’s government for the formation of a new naval defence force. A paper published by defence secretary Philip Hammond in 2013 claimed that Scotland will face an “immediate and pressing challenge” to establish its armed forces due to the small size of the £2.5 billion annual defence budget. As Scotland rushes to procure naval vessels, a newly independent Scotland could find itself facing a threat from overseas.

The Russians are always testing Scottish defenses

Almost every year, there are incidents around the Scottish coast involving the Russian Navy:
  • In 2010, a submarine that forms part of Britain’s Trident fleet was tracked by a specially upgraded Russian submarine as the English vessel attempted to leave the Faslane naval base in Scotland.
  • It was also reported in 2010 that British submarines were reporting the highest levels of contact with their Russian counterparts since the peak of the Cold War in 1987.
  • 2011 saw a Russian aircraft carrier caught dumping waste off Scotland’s coast after being tailed by the Royal Navy destroyer HMS York. At the time, the Scottish National Party’s defence spokesman Angus Robertson accused the Russian navy of “fly tipping” and “bad manners.”
  • Russian warships are continuing to encroach upon Scotland’s coast on a regular basis. The most recent incident occurred days before Christmas in 2013, when a Royal Navy vessel was dispatched from the south coast of England after a “Russian task group” sailed near to the Scottish coast while on a training exercise in the North Sea. The Ministry of Defence did not disclose whether the Russian vessels sailed close enough to the Scottish coast to have entered territorial waters.
While the above incidents may not sound alarming, every one of them involved a Royal Navy ship. As Scotland scrambles to either purchase or build its own ships in the model of the Danish Navy, could there be a rise in the number of times Russia decides to test the U.K.’s coastal defences? Some may expect a rise in occurrences during the difficult change-over period, but it’s possible that Russia might even lose interest. It’s currently estimated that Scotland could be rid of the nuclear submarines by 2020. If Faslane is emptied of its stock of thermonuclear warheads and nuclear submarines, will there be anything left for the Russian Navy to snoop around?
We don’t know for sure what Russia is actually doing in the seas around Scotland (if anything). If Scotland votes to become an independent country on Sept. 18, Britain will become the first country in the world to host its nuclear arsenal in an independent country, and Scotland faces a daunting six years of change in its armed forces. 

February 5, 2014

Scottish Parliament Votes for Gay Marriage

Scotland legalises gay marriage
Jerry Slater and Larry Lamont from Kircudbright, who are in a civil partnership and plan to marry under the new legislation, kiss outside the Scottish parliament. Photograph: Ken Jack/Demotix/Corbis
The first same-sex weddings in Scotland could take place in October after MSPs voted by a majority of 87 to legalise gay marriage.
The vote, passed by 105 to 18, came after the Scottish parliament voted down several attempts to amend the bill to add extra protections for religious celebrants who opposed the new law.
The amendments were backed by up to 21 MSPs, chiefly Catholic and Baptist churchgoers, but Alex Neil, the Scottish health secretary, argued there were already "robust protections" for religious organisations and celebrants.
"We have always maintained at the heart of this issue there is one simple fact: a marriage is about love," Neil said. "All couples in Scotland in a loving relationship must know that they have the same rights and responsibilities and, regardless of their gender, the same opportunity to get married."
Religious bodies will be allowed to carry out same-sex weddings if they formally opt in to the legislation; individual celebrants who still reject the reform after their churches introduce it will be protected, after the UK government agreed amendments to the Equalities Act.
Gay and civil rights campaigners were jubilant with the result. Tom French, policy co-ordinator for the Equality Network, said: "This is a profoundly emotional moment for many people who grew up in a country where being gay was still a criminal offence until 1980.
"Scotland can be proud that we now have one of the most progressive equal marriage bills in the world, and that we've sent out a strong message about the kind of country we are."
Colin Macfarlane, director of Stonewall Scotland, said it was a historic moment. "We're delighted that MSPs have overwhelmingly demonstrated that they're committed to building a Scotland fit for the 21st century," he said.
Scotland will become the 17th country and legislature around the world to introduce same-sex marriage. The first in England and Wales are due to take place this March.
Scotland's first marriages are expected this autumn, after ministers promised to rush through the legal powers.
The two main churches, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic church, have opposed the reform, alongside other faiths and churches including Muslim leaders. More than 50 ministers and church officials wrote to the Scottish government expressing their "deep concern" before the vote. The multi-faith Scotland for Marriage group said more than 54,000 people had signed a new petition opposing the law by Monday evening.
Opponents of the measures fear that equalities legislation could be used to force public servants such as registrars or schoolteachers to support gay marriage. Christian MSPs pressed for clauses stating "for the avoidance of doubt" that marriage is "between one man and one woman".
They believe churches could be refused funding or council buildings if they are known to oppose same-sex marriage. John Mason, an SNP MSP and Baptist, tabled several amendments to bolster the statutory rights of opponents of same-sex ceremonies, including one stating that no one could be "compelled by any means" to solemnise a gay marriage.
"If the parliament accepts none of these amendments this afternoon, we are sending out a signal that we've not been listening," Mason argued.
Richard Lyle, another SNP MSP, said prospective foster carers could be turned down if they opposed same-sex marriage. "What is more likely, yet not less tragic, is that applicants with so-called traditional views on marriage will be put off applying in the first place, fearing they will be branded homophobic," he said.
That argument was resisted by Jim Eadie, also an SNP MSP. "Speaking as someone who is both gay and adopted, I believe this amendment is both discriminatory and unnecessary because it singles out beliefs about same-sex marriage of being worthy of protection. Why should other beliefs not be similarly protected, for example a belief that divorce is wrong."
Jackson Carlaw, the Scottish Tory deputy leader, said there was a "celebratory attitude" during the Holyrood debate, and wholeheartedly supported the new legislation.
"There has been a huge change in my lifetime, from the brutal atmosphere that existed in respect of gay people when I was a teenager and a young man," he said. “But I regard today as a fantastic, celebratory change in the mood, style, signature and stamp of my country, Scotland."

Featured Posts

Human Rights Campaign Testifies Against Judge Neil Gorsuch

LGBTQ groups have come out in strong opposition to the nomination of Neil Gorsuch as U.S. Supreme Court Justice, ar...