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May 18th – May 24th, 2024

May 18th – May 24th, 2024

        A  UK General Election has been called for 4th July 2024.  The SNP are hoping for a Labour victory in the hope that they will let the SNP resurrect their gender self-ID legislation and possibly ‘grant’ Scotland another referendum.

          The ISP sees nothing to gain in attending Westminster.  Scotland’s representatives are jeered and can in any case do little but protest to no avail. The ISP will be standing on an abstentionist ticket in a number of constituencies, but if elected we will not attend Westminster and will not take the oath to the King. 

            If you want Scotland to send the clearest possible message to Westminster that we do not agree to be ruled by a foreign country and will not take part in their charade, please consider voting for us and contributing to our election crowdfunder:

 

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/4th-july-general-election-2024

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/vote-colette-walker-isp-in-renfrewshire-east

 

30,000 Oil and Gas Jobs to go

            Unite the union says £6.6 billion is needed over the next six years to save 30,000 Scottish oil and gas jobs, saying that the alternative is to make oil and gas workers ‘the coal miners of our generation’ with thousands of job losses and lives thrown on the scrap heap.  

Warning on Just Transition

            A report from Robert Gordon University’s Energy Transition Institute has warned that Scotland would need to instal one new offshore turbine every day to stop jobs being lost in the Just Transition, requiring a significant increase in activities over what is currently happening, as well as increasing capacity in the supply chain, improving grid access and making significant government investment, as well as retaining some oil and gas activities until 2030 to keep the skills base and supply chain intact.  The RGU team estimate it may cost £200 billion on offshore wind, hydrogen, carbon capture and storage and oil and gas projects.

            The report says that one in 30 of the Scottish population is involved in the offshore energy industry, but this rises to 1 in 5 in the North-East, and warns that the number employed could fall by 40% to 48,000 by 2030 if this is not done.

 

Are children trans or gay?

 

            Critics claim that, despite their name, LGBTY Scotland are now promoting ‘trans’ over ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual’ and that LGBT training is little more than propaganda, with pupils in 200 secondary and 40 primary schools actively encouraged to sign rainbow flags and ‘celebrate the rainbow’ in the way they dress and decorate their schools. By their own admission, LGBTY Scotland says half the children it deals with are particularly vulnerable, with 65% having mental health issues, 71% being chronically sick or disabled and 46% with a learning disability. 

            Yet the charity got £1million of Scottish government money last year and encourages the installation of gender-neutral toilets and the marking of Transgender Day of Remembrance in schools, as well as appointing LGBT champions, and encouraging children as young as four being asked their sexuality.  The Campaign for Real Education calls it brainwashing.

            Meanwhile, the Scottish government will still not say whether it will accept the findings of the Cass Report, which condemns trans ideology as harmful to children.  And the Scottish Greens have just expelled 13 members who declared ‘biological sex is real’ and signed a declaration supporting sex-based rights and protections.  Looks like Scotland had a lucky escape from the Bute House Agreement.

 

Women:

            First Minister John Swinney gave a somewhat vague answer when asked recently if a transgender woman is a woman, saying that ‘….a woman is an adult female born as a woman, and I also accept that transgender women are defined as [my italics] women’.  So is that a yes or a no?

 

Council Funding Shortfall     

   Audit Scotland, the independent public body which audits most of Scotland’s public organisations, has identified a collective gap of £585million in the funding required this year, estimating that the gap will increase to £780 million by 2026/27.  The shortfall is being filled by some councils charging for some services which used to be free, or by others making cuts or digging into reserves.  The 6% increase in Scottish government revenue funding to councils is mostly ring-fenced for certain policies like social care and to cover pay increases in 2023/24.

            But this year’s increased funding to cover the council tax freeze will not cover all the councils’ extra costs.

 

Stirling’s Underground Pavement

            Dirt Raw ran along Stirling’s City Walls which were built during the ‘Rough Wooing’ in the 16th century, but the road was built over by the Thistles shopping centre in the 1970s. Now guided tours will open next month and will also allow access to the hidden section of the Thieves’ Pot, the 16th century jail located in Thistles.  Stirling is celebrating its 900th anniversary year, with official celebrations beginning on April 26th with a new artwork unveiled in the square directly opposite Stirling train station.  The work depicts major events from Stirling’s history over the 900 years, including the Battle of Bannockburn and the legends surrounding William Wallace and Robert the Bruce.

Energy: Subsea Cable Factory

            In some good news on the energy front, Sumitomo Electric has just started construction of a subsea transmission cable factory at Nigg, which will supply elements to reinforce the UK electricity transmission grid and to connect renewable energy production to the grid. The Shetland 2 525kV High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) subsea cable will run from Shetland to the Scottish mainland.  Following an investment of up to £500 million from the Scottish government, it may create more than 150 high-skill jobs in the local supply chain.

           And Ardersier Port in the Moray Firth recently secured £400 million to construct new port facilities to assist in deploying new offshore wind turbines, with £50 million of the investment made by the Scottish National Investment Bank.  It is hoped that ‘hundreds of jobs’ may result in the local community.  Worryingly, the port development is central to the ambitions of the Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport.

 

Is Tourism suffering?

            The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) says a fundamental review of the letting scheme for holiday accommodation must be done as a matter of urgency, saying it is putting Scotland at a competitive disadvantage with other countries.  Short-term lets require a licence or risk a ban and fine up to £2,500.  Only just over half of businesses intend to stay in the self-catering sector beyond 2024 in an industry worth £1 billion to the economy.

         The ASSC wants the law repealed and replaced with a ‘more proportionate regulatory framework’, a ‘registration scheme with mandatory health and safety criteria’, or alternatively for the government to ‘clarify the relationship between planning and licensing’.  The short-term licensing (STL) scheme includes B&Bs, short term Airbnb-type lets and even those renting a spare room out.

             In a new development, the STL scheme may be amended to allow landlords to transfer their own STL licence to the new owner if they sell their property, irrespective of who buys it, raising the prospect of a return to absentee landlords and antisocial behaviour.

 

Or You Could Declare a ‘National Event’

            Ironically, those making serious money from short-term letting can take advantage of an exemption from STL legislation, by a ‘national event’ being declared, such as the Women’s Open golf tournament at St Andrews, which allowed Fife Council to grant ‘temporary exemptions’ allowing properties to be rented out for up to six weeks without the necessity of a short-term let licence.

 

World Bee Day

            On 20th May, World Bee Day, pupils from Leith Walk Primary School visited the site of Edinburgh’s 250,000 rooftop bees. Covered from head to toe in their beekeeping suits, the children visited Multrees Walk, which is set up as a safe environment for the bees, integrating rooftop apiaries into the urban environment, where they thrive just as much as in rural areas.  Children learn how important the bees are to ecology and the connections between people and nature.  The site has four hives where produce is collected only once or twice a year to turn into jars of honey, while leaving enough in place to feed the bees throughout the winter.

And finally,

Raising the Dead

            In the Church of Scotland’s haste to sell off under-used buildings, one question appears to have been forgotten.  What about the dead buried in the grounds of these churches?  The Church of Scotland recently applied to Edinburgh Sheriff Court for permission to exhume nine bodies from beneath the kirk in Morham, East Lothian, and it is a problem likely to be repeated nationwide.

            The Kirk seems to take the view that coffins (and the remains they contain) occupy a space within the church and can be removed like any other property such as pews once legal permission is obtained.  Scots Law on the matter dates back 2000 years to Roman times, when resting places were regarded as sacred, where the dead would lie until the Resurrection.  Hence the Scots law of ‘violation of sepulchre’, which prevents the removal of remains from their intended final resting place unless a court decrees it.  But what if there are not even any distant relatives around to lodge an objection? 

            The Kirk may regard the bones as just artefacts, with the spirit of the person already gone, but many people would not.  Unlawfully digging up a body was historically regarded as ‘interfering with a thing consigned to divine providence’, hence the specific crime of violation of sepulchre.

             Dr DJ Johnston-Smith, director of Scotland’s Churches Trust, also points out that local authority graveyards are at risk.  Legislation being considered by the Scottish Parliament is looking to overhaul exhumations and the way councils maintain graveyards, saying that many old gravestones carry incredibly intricate carvings and depictions, but many are older than the 100-year protection period offered by the legislation.  He worries they may just be removed and discarded or destroyed.

            The Church’s mission plan for home and overseas is part of the impetus to selling under-used premises, looking to increase funding available for the future, but let’s hope it does not just discard the bones of those who were the founders of the church in the past.

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