Annie Wells – Minime Version of her Idol Ruth the Mooth – Exercise Care Annie – The Tories are Latter Day Friends – Oh!! and Get Your Facts Straight!

Annie Wells – A Most Unlikely Tory Party Member

Carol Ann (‘Annie’) Wells is a Scottish Conservative and Unionist Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP0 for the Glasgow region. She qualified for a seat at Holyrood in 2016, as a list MSP representing Glasgow voters.

Annie was born and raised in Springburn, into a family with strong labour party connections. Her mother cleaned house for the Labour Peer, Michael Martin, former Labour MP for North East Glasgow and Speaker of the Commons at Westminster. Her deceased father Alex (Eck) was a well kent face in Springburn through his associations with local Labour party activists.

Married and divorced, single mother Wells still lives in Springburn. Her Adult son Scott lives nearby. She is currently in a relationship with another woman who identifies herself as a lesbian. Angela Stephen, Irvine resident is also a Tory candidate, for office in Ayrshire

Wells first brush with politics occurred during the referendum on Scottish Independence when she joined the Better Together campaign. She then stood as the Conservative candidate in Glasgow North East in the 2015 general election, finishing 3rd with 4.7% of the vote. She also unsuccessfully contested the Glasgow Provan constituency at the 2016 Scottish Parliament general election, finishing 3rd with 8.6% of the vote, but was elected via the regional list. In the 12 years before taking up a career in politics she worked Marks & Spencers in various locations throughout Glasgow.

Wells is the Scottish Conservative spokesperson for welfare reform and equalities. She sits on the Equal Opportunities Committee of the Scottish Parliament.







Annie Wells – On Lesbian, Gay And Bisexual Representation

“It is pleasing that I get more abuse for being a Tory in Scotland than I do for being a gay woman,” says Annie Wells, one of a batch of new MSPs voted in at the election this month that has made the country’s parliament the most proportionally gay-friendly on earth.

Wells told of her pride at being elected to represent Scotland’s LGBT community and plans to help those who still suffer discrimination come out and get involved in politics.

She is a Conservative, former M&S finance manager who says she never dreamed of going into politics, nor coming out – for fear of upsetting her parents.

Comment: Weird: Her Wikipedia makes no mention of her role within the LGBT community.


Dykey D’ – Annie Wells and the BBC Scotland smear machine kicks in again

The apparatus of the BBC in Scotland is regularly utilised in order to promote (as widely as possible) smear attacks on one or more SNP politicians. The most recent example occurred this week. Annie Wells Tory MSP seeks to make political capital out of satirical comedy sketch: The target was SNP politician Joanna Cherry. Read on: Radio coverage






Facebook Annie Wells – Reform of Child tax credits – The third child and Rape

In the past week, I have been extremely concerned to hear a number of allegations being made about reforms to child tax credits. I don’t believe a topic of such a highly sensitive nature should be banded about on Twitter with the use of hashtags and this is why I feel it is important to set the record straight on such an important issue.

What I will say is factual. It is said purely in the hope that women who do have children born as a result of rape are not deterred from applying for exemptions to the two child tax credit rule because of misinformation currently in the public domain.

The exemption has been put there to protect women in these circumstances. The UK Government recognised in introducing the two-child limit for receiving tax credits, it still had to recognise highly sensitive circumstances such that when a child is born as a result of rape. In applying for this exemption, women will not be required to either report their rape as a crime, bring new proof of rape or proof of a conviction, or report it directly to HMRC.

In other words, no evidence other than that of a third party professional, such as a health worker or support worker, will be required.

The DWP has made clear that women will be offered support from experienced third party professionals who will be able to support them on their behalf. In other words, once a mother registers for the benefit, it is very much in the hands of professionals to complete the application on her behalf and ensure the right support is given.

This exemption was introduced to protect women from changes to child tax credits in the most sensitive way possible and in going forward, I believe that the situation should continue to be monitored and any improvements to the process made as required. I very much hope this goes some way in reassuring those concerned and brings clarity to the situation. (Annie Wells)
Comment:  This is the woman who questioned the sovereignty of the Scottish Parliament, and had the nerve to criticise campaigners against the Tory rape clause, and steals from the mentally disabled including those with Autism. A nasty vindictive Tory, and quite heartless caring only about herself, and her precious party.






Government Rape Clause Leads to Boycott by Leading Charities

Women’s groups in Scotland have joined in condemnation of a so-called rape clause which forces new mothers to prove they were raped to claim tax credits for more than two children.

Leading charities including Rape Crisis Scotland (RCS), Scottish Women’s Aid (SWA) and Engender now say they will refuse to “collude” with any scheme to assess entitlement for rape victims.

New laws on tax credit entitlement, which come into effect this week, include a clause restricting claimants to a maximum of two children, with exceptions for multiple births and for women who could show that their third or subsequent child was conceived as a result of rape.

It means women who have been raped must be assessed by a “professional third party” – either health workers, police, social workers or rape charities.

The regulations were put into law through a statutory instrument – little known legislation allowing laws to be changed without the UK parliament’s approval.

Yet despite the regulation coming into force tomorrow, there is no indication of how a woman who has been raped can go about claiming an exemption and no advice, information or training has been given to the women’s groups expecting to be involved. (







Making Mischief – Tory MSP Annie Wells Complains That Mental Health Treatment Times not Being Met

She said: “The Scottish government set a target in 2014 that 90% of adults and children referred by a GP for treatment for mental health issues should begin this treatment within 18 weeks. But in December last year, NHS Stats revealed that only 77.5%% patients were seen within the time frame.

Selecting one month does not provide a reasonable presentation of the facts. In the 12 months June 2015 – June 2016 performance to target (90%) was as listed below.

Scotland Mean Average: 78.0:

Ayrshire & Arran 65.9:
Borders 77.9:
Dumfries & Galloway: 72.1
Fife: 74.2
Forth Valley: 49.3 (performance now between 74-82%)
Grampian: 66.3 (slight improvement recently)
Greater Glasgow & Clyde: 92.4 (Very large number of patients seen)
Highland 98.0: (large number of patients seen in a region with a widely dispersed population)
Lanarkshire 91.6: (very large number of patients seen
Lothian 65.3: (not much improved)
Tayside 88.3:
Island Boards: 88.9



But what about the Tory controlled NHS in England???


England : Mental Health Treatment Time Targets Are the Same As in Scotland

More than one in ten (12%) people with mental health problems are stuck on waiting lists for over a year before receiving treatment and over half (54%) wait over three months.

The survey of over 1,600 people who have tried to access therapies such as counselling and cognitive behaviour therapy on the NHS in England over the last two years also shows an increasing number are paying for private therapy to get the help they desperately need.

One in ten (11%) said that they had faced costs for private treatment because the therapy they needed was not available on the NHS.

The choice of treatment on offer was also found to be limited even though CBT, the most commonly prescribed talking treatment, doesn’t work for everyone and three in five people (58%) weren’t offered a choice in the type of therapy they received.







Tory MSP Anne Wells complains that The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital is failing to meet A&E waiting times.

Scotland’s first super hospital, The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, has not met the Scottish Government’s waiting time target since September of last year and has been the most under-performing hospital over the past 20 weeks when it comes to A&E waiting times.

Latest stats show that only 81.7% of patients are being seen within 4 hours of arriving despite the minimum standard set by the Scottish Government being 95%.

What is the government doing to ensure the hospital meets its accident and emergency waiting times target??????






But first let’s look at the performance of the Tory managed NHS in England in the same month!!!!!

Across the entire NHS in England the average number of patients patients in A&E that were transferred, admitted or discharged within four hours was 82% – rather than the target 95% – (the worst figures on record.)

Trolley dolly’s, 60,000 patients (up from 51,200 in December) waited in corridor’s for a hospital bed between 4-12 hours).







The Scottish government’s response (remember this is one Scottish hospital)!!!

The Scottish Government’s national unscheduled care team (made up of people with clinical improvement expertise) has been working closely with local teams across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, especially with Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and Glasgow Royal Infirmary supporting prompt recovery and sustainable improvements in A and E and the IAU.

The team are supporting implementation of the six essential actions and the implementation of an action plan, which was agreed with the chairman of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde in December 2016 for the Queen Elizabeth university hospital. The team leaders meet the chairman of the board regularly to advise on progress.

In September 2007, there were 25 whole-time-equivalent consultants specialising in emergency medicine in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

In December 2016 there were 75 whole-time-equivalent consultants specialising in emergency medicine in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

That is an increase of 50 whole-time-equivalent consultants, or 200 per cent, under this Scottish National Party Government.



You can follow Calton Jock at his webpage CaltonJock


An Open Letter to our Prime Minister: Theresa May

Dear Prime Minister,
I have a lot to say to you, and no it will not be about Brexit or your belittling of the Scottish Independence Referendum, although I do have a lot to say about that – believe me.
Today, I want to talk to you about how are knowingly out-casting and disregarding the futures of the youth of today and the families that they come from.

Did you know that there are currently around 3.6 million children in the UK who are living in definitively impoverished households? That is more than one in every four children within our so called great nation that live under the poverty line.
Do you realise the effect this has? Of course you do, but let me elaborate.
Children from poorer backgrounds do not have access to adequate education. They go to school in impoverished areas, learn in over-attended classrooms, and are taught by under paid, demotivated and exhausted teachers.
Child poverty has been shown to blight education. It has been proven that those growing up in impoverished households achieve lower grades than their wealthier counterparts. Thus leaving them with fewer gained qualifications which leads to lesser progression routes and translates into lower earnings throughout their adult working life.

This of course, without a doubt has a detrimental effect on society as a whole.
So tell me Theresa, What are you doing to reduce the cause and effect this has on society?
You are; introducing up to 140 new free schools, cutting budgets within state schools, cutting parents benefits and tax credits, lowering the wages paid to state school teachers and funding £170 million to technical education.
Excuse me, What?

I’m sorry, but what exactly will this do for our children?

How in any way whatsoever do you believe this will work to raise the education standards within the poorer areas of the UK and help children fight their way out of poverty?
It won’t, and let me tell you why.
Free schools will not help raise the standard of education for all children, it will raise the standard for a select few.
It will encourage elitism and superciliousness within the community, It will intensify dissociation between the classes and it will put a halt on everything we have worked towards for diversity and equality over the past few years.
So tell me Miss May, who’s place is it to say whether one child is better or more intelligent than another and therefore deserves a better education and greater future prospects? Is it fair to give one child the opportunity grow to develop a career and live a life whilst giving another the option to take a job and just survive?
No it’s not.

Every child deserves an equal opportunity, every child deserves to be guided and shaped in to the best version of themselves that they can be.
So how can we do that?
We can start off by stopping the budget cuts to our state schools. Stop all these absurd “funding” and money-making governmental schemes for things like free schools and actually invest within your communities. Disburse monies within these inadequate state schools and make them excellent. Give them the funding and training they need to excel within education.
Stop the cuts being made to parent’s benefits and tax credits and reduce the cost of living. One way out of destitution is allowing impoverished families to have enough money to raise their kids. Most children in poverty have at least one working parent bringing in a steady income but it’s just not enough to exist on the bare minimum.
Provide state school teachers with a decent income and smaller classrooms thus allowing them to allocate their time properly with their students and focus on their individual needs rather than submitting to a robotic syllabus. Take already excelling schools and place the under achieving schools and teachers within training programmes under the wing of these successful schools to help them step up their own levels and teaching skills.
Encourage parents and teachers within the communities to cooperate with each other and enhance the already bare resources we have within the arts and academics. Encourage communication and allow trial and error to find what works best for the individual.
And finally reinstate and fund more programmes within state school communities that deal with career, academic and vocation counselling. Allow us to offer these children the experiences to find what they excel in and then fine tune their talents to their full potential.
These are the basics that every community and every nation should have in place to allow our children and future generations to prevail. We need to be seen to encourage our children to thrive and become an integral part of our civilisation.

This Prime Minister is how we need fight child poverty within the UK and if you are not willing to do so, then we will have to find someone who will.

It is that simple.

You can follow Dionne Melissa Newman on twitter @DionneMNewman or at her blog page     


Why Welsh independence is a no-brainer


People will tell you that Wales is too poor, too Welsh and too dependent to be independent. But, like me, you aren’t stupid, and therefore no doubt you are starting to see the circularity of these arguments…

You’re also probably starting to realise that it’s almost impossible to list all of the reasons why Welsh independence is a good idea. But I’m not bored of writing these pithy lists yet, and if you aren’t bored of reading them, then here’s my latest thinking on why anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together, is taking a good look at Welsh independence right now.

Because if you are in a burning building and the people supposed to be in charge are holding flame throwers, you at least want to know where the nearest exit is

OK, this is not a subtle analogy, but these are not subtle times. I don’t think I even need to elaborate, do I…

Optimists are the new Nationalists

Call it what you want, optimism, curiosity, a refusal to be told something isn’t possible, a stubborn insistence on evidence based reasoning…

Being an advocate for Welsh independence has traditionally been associated with the term ‘Welsh Nationalist’, but oddly, in the eight months or so I have been actively involved in this movement (as opposed to sitting at home waiting for someone else to do something about it as I was previously), I have hardly heard the term ‘Nationalist’ used, and I have never once used it to describe myself.

I get that there is a strong case for reclaiming the term ‘Nationalism’ in the context of Celtic independence, and that there is a difference between Welsh/Scottish and British Nationalism. It’s very important to make this distinction too, since some people are so determined to conflate the terms, and even to equate Celtic Nationalism with racism.

I’m not denying the validity of inclusive, civic, Celtic Nationalism, it is a fine thing and should be celebrated. But I think that in Wales the landscape has shifted. You don’t have to identify with old school ‘Nationalism’ to think about Welsh Independence and to try it on as a way of looking at things, or as a vehicle for solving some of Wales’ problems (although of course you may choose to).

To be curious about Welsh independence is not to assume an identity. It is to adopt a frame of mind. To agree to maintain an open mind

That’s all.

The status quo is no longer the status quo

Change can be scary. We’ve been part of the United Kingdom since, like a really long time. I get that. I get that it’s easier to stick with what you know.

The thing is, from where we are standing right now, in March 2017, you can kiss goodbye to pretty much everything you thought you knew.

I’m pretty sure that when we (or whoever inherits this sorry mess) looks back at this time in Planet Earth’s history, by which I mean last year, this year and maybe the next 5 to 10 years, people will have a lot to say about it.

But the dominant theme is likely to be ‘holy shit, that was a rough ride’.

Let’s just re-cap.

Robots are about to inherit the Earth (it an Artificial Intelligence thing, and an automation of jobs thing, but it doesn’t look great for you or I or our children’s employment prospects).

For our part, the UK is about to crash out of the biggest trading union in the world, maybe with no safety net whatsoever, just as almost every other country in the world is busy joining trading unions.

We are on the cusp of a now almost unavoidable global climate apocalypse, with implications for absolutely everything, but most crucially for food and water security, and in terms of the refugee crisis that will follow when many millions of people lose their homes to rising sea levels and desertification.

The far right are on the rise across Europe, and Russia has interfered with America’s free and democratic election process to install a despotic authoritarian in the White House.

So you tell me.

Do you think we should do things exactly as we have for the last 600 years, or do you think its worth revisiting some topics that haven’t had an airing for a while? Perhaps we should dust off this Welsh Independence issue, in the light of some new circumstances?

Because when big changes happen, it’s usually best to adopt a position that allows you to appraise the options and effect the outcome to best advantage/minimal damage, for yourself and those around you. You want to have a say in the way things settle out, rather than flying by the seat of other people’s pants.

Just ask yourself who you trust right now.

I bet you didn’t vote for a Red White and Blue Car Crash Brexit

There is almost nothing that Unionists like saying to Wales more right now than ‘well don’t blame us, you voted overwhelmingly for Brexit afterall‘, before mumbling something about turkeys, and Christmas, and trying to hide a very large, red bus up their own arse (or more probably, yours, just bend over would you…)

Well you may have voted to leave the European Union, and I respect that, I really do.

But I bet you didn’t vote for a ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’, ‘screw the economy’ (especially the Welsh economy) ‘who needs an export market anyway’, Brexit.

I bet you didn’t vote for a sadomasochistic Brexit  (‘while your backs are turned we’ll privatise your underpants, remove your human rights and make you eat them while we sit back and pleasure ourselves’ kind of a Brexit, which it turns out is just an excuse for Theresa May to act out all of her most twisted fetishes).

So given that what Wales thought it was voting for, turned out to be a strong laxative, forcibly administered, and given that we are already pretty dehydrated, why don’t we pause and regroup?

We don’t have to take the kind of medicine that Westminster is prescribing for Wales.

We can seek another opinion.

It’s called our own.


Learning to ride a bike was difficult, but you did it

(Unless you never did, in which case, have I mentioned I am a qualified cycling instructor and my rates are very reasonable?)

So my point here is pretty obvious. Lots of stuff seems daunting, improbable even, at the beginning. There’s an element of ‘no pain no gain’. My daughter is learning to walk right now, and I’m not pretending there isn’t going to be a lot of tears and gravel imprints to the forehead before we get there.

But we get over these hurdles. We take risks because we know that we’ll be glad we ventured.

I’m willing to scuff my knees and ride out some turbulent times for a better future, are you?

It’s not a good time to be a sacrificial lamb, and Wales is famous for sheep so you do the maths…

This isn’t about the Welsh lamb industry (although it could be). It isn’t even about the risk that Wales disappears so far up it’s own stereotype that we become invisible to the outside world, ceasing to exist at all except on the ‘Traditional Welsh Cawl Recipe’ tea towel your Aunt Bev once bought in Criccieth.

It’s about the fact that if you made a list of all of the vulnerable groups that Westminster is shafting right now, you’d see immediately that Wales is disproportionately affected. People on a low income. People claiming out of work benefits – and people on in-work benefits, people dependent on long term sick or disability benefits.

People whose health has been adversely affected by a lifetime working in heavy, polluting industries, but who haven’t reaped any of the profits.

People who didn’t happen to inherit an estate, or a peerage or go to Eton.

There are a large number of people in the United Kingdom at the moment that are being crushed by the cruelty of the system imposed by the British State. It’s not a phenomenon unique to Wales of course. Many of the people disproportionately affected by ‘we’re all in this together austerity’ live in the North of England, and Scotland for instance. And not as many live in the South East of England, which is coincidentally where most of the power is based.

But given that rather a lot of the people that are on the ‘getting shafted’ end of the Tories’ austerity jolly, do live in Wales, how about we review whether this is a party we still want to be at? Ask ourselves, and everyone who came with us, if we are still having fun?

We aren’t likely to see anything but a Tory Government in Westminster for a very long time, and given that Wales gets a Tory UK Government at least half of the time despite never voting for one, shall we get together and have a chat about whether we still think this system is working for us?

Or shall we just knuckle down, plan ahead and open a few more food banks?

Better take out some health insurance too, because I heard that ol’ kinky boots is going to flog the NHS to Donald Trump, and I’m sure she won’t let a little thing like devolution get in her way.

(When Wales says ‘no’ it means ‘yes, more’, in Sadomasochistic Brexit World after all..)

Because I do not want my name on bombs that blow the heads off Yemeni toddlers

Actually I would rather that bombs did not blow the heads from the bodies of Yemeni toddlers.

It’s hard to treat this topic lightly, so I won’t try to. But we need to talk about it. Because if you, or someone you know, is inclined to feel that the British State is a benevolent force for good in the world, and that we in Wales should continue to be associate with its international policies and its ‘look the other way and pocket the cash’ approach to arms dealing with war criminals, then we need to agree that it means that you and I, and Auntie Bev (you can use this argument with her), are all culpable too.

Is that the price you want to pay to call yourself British?

Because Boris Johnson looks to camera, and without blanching, brushes off the fact that the UK still profits from selling arms to Saudi Arabia, including bombs that we know will end up killing innocent people.

So I am looking at Boris Johnson and I am thinking, FUCK YOU.

How short is the money trail that leads back from those bombs to Boris Johnson’s pocket do you think? Or to the pocket of a Tory donor? How long after leaving office will Boris wait before he accepts a seat on the Board of BAE?

So you can take your Union Jack and use it as a marketing tool to make profit from war and state sponsored genocide if you want, Boris.

But you are not doing it in my name.

Not any more.


There’s no ‘W’ for Wales in BAE. Where do you think the profit is going? And would you want it even if it was coming here?

Given the price?

So we can all keep writing to our MPs about things like this, or we can cut them off at source. What about if we all just stand up at once, and leave? Just say we’ve had enough, and we are leaving (the UK) on principle?

(Ideally, do both, write to your MP and list all the reasons you are pro independence for Wales, you could use their voting record to help you compile your list).

It’s not good karma to end on the topic of dead toddlers

So we need one more thing on this list, something upbeat. But don’t forget about those toddlers.

Actually I need to build back up to upbeat, so here’s a penultimate thing, for free

Independence is sexy. It just is. Check out almost anything from the Scottish Independence Referendum campaign. Do a Google image search and tell me, who looks like they are having a fun, inclusive, sexy time?


Or ‘No’?

Its palpable. And enervating. It blows the ‘heart’ or ‘head’ argument about independence right out of the water.. When you look at images associated with the ‘Yes’ campaign for Scottish Independence, you feel it in your loins

Hell, it makes me want to just rush up there and have a whole load of Scottish babies.

Who do you think is getting it on more, when you look at those pictures?


Or ‘No’?

So even if it weren’t obviously going to go for ‘Yes’ in Scotland the next time around, even if we just waited it out, ‘Yes’ would just out breed the Unionists out of the equation if we waited long enough.

Young people are overwhelmingly in favour of independence compared to older generations anyway.

All this is also true for Wales, so let’s do it.

‘Let sleeping dragons lie’, is not a thing.

Sleeping dogs, yes.

But not dragons. Sleeping dragons should always, always be woken up.

So go on, wake your dragon. She’s just snoozing anyway…


You can find information about safe ways to wake sleeping dragons here.

You can follow Sandra Clubb on twitter at @tywodlyd and at her blog page indymam.wordpress

How to be #indyconfident for Wales.

It’s possible that you have wanted an independent Wales for a long time. Perhaps your whole life, which may be sixty years or more by now, if you are wise and rugged. Or maybe you only started thinking about it when you moved here, like me eleven years ago, and so it is a feeling that is as old as your Welsh citizenship.

Maybe you have only recently realised that it is what you want.

Whenever you started thinking about Welsh independence, and regardless of how rugged you are or not, it is likely that your ideas and feelings have changed over time.

That they are still changing.

Mine certainly are: why do you think I write so much?

When I look back at the first blogs I wrote about Welsh independence, only 8 months or so ago, I realise how much has changed. In me, and in the world.

I still stand by what I wrote back then, but I have since embarked on a thought experiment, and it has changed me.

This experiment has been partly played out in my own head, and on this keyboard, and in these words which you are now reading. By writing about an independent Wales, and how we might get there, I have explored ideas and topics that I had not previously tried to get to grips with.

The other part of the thought experiment has been going on in collaboration, with trusted co-conspirators. In person, and online. In meetings, gardens, parks. On twitter, by email and WhatsApp. We have been co-creating a new narrative. Inventing a new lexicon.

I am glad that I have been blogging right from the start, because it has recorded the journey I have been on, and when I read back I can see that I have learned a lot. I have refined my thinking, and I have gained a great deal of insight into how I originally thought about Welsh independence, and how that has changed.

And that is what fuels my writing, mostly. Reflection on our relationship with the notion of independence. For I believe that this is where the key lies. It is inside us. All of us, and we need to understand the mechanism by which we unlock it.

So when I am campaigning for Welsh independence, although I am expressing myself, a lot, mostly here between you and I, actually what I am doing more is listening.

Listening to myself.

Listening to other people.

I am like a safe breaker. Listening for the clicks. Trying things out.


Click. Click.

Because a great many people, including those who dearly, earnestly, passionately desire Welsh independence, are looking elsewhere. And they aren’t listening out for the things I am listening out for.

And that is why they aren’t as indyconfident as I am.

This conclusion I have come to, that the key to Welsh independence lies in me, and you, and all of us, is important.

It is one of the key realisations that happens when you move from being indycurious (wondering, and wanting, and starting to ask about Welsh independence) to being indyconfident.

To be indyconfident is not to believe that Welsh independence will be easy. It isn’t to believe that it can be achieved quickly, or that it will be straightforward, or that there will not be hurdles.

But it is to acknowledge that people in Wales have the capability and the right to rise to this challenge.

That we don’t have to deny that it will be testing, or declare how we will overcome every difficulty. We just need to admit that it is our challenge to own.

And this is to see the whole debate anew.

Because until you are indyconfident, you are still in chains. And the chains that bind you are the demands that others, and ourselves, have put upon the goal of Welsh independence for so long.

These questions are very familiar.

Most of them start with ‘How?’

You know the type, I won’t dwell on them here.

Most of these questions come supplied with a demand to be met. A condition to be satisfied before the debate is allowed to move on.

You are asked to supply ‘the numbers’.

You are told to go away, and come back when you have ‘a plan’.

Uh huh.

So that’s the nub of it. That’s what lies at the heart of being indyconfident. It is realising that these are all of the wrong questions.

Because ‘how?’ implies a forgone conclusion. It implies we know where we are going. But how can we know that?

No one can know what an independent Wales can be. No one. Not until we get there.

And by everyone’s admission we are a long way off (although a lot closer than we were a short while ago).

An independent Wales is not a fixed thing. It is the combination of the hopes and dreams, the aspirations and imaginings, of you and I, and everyone in Wales who wants to engage with building it.

So how can anyone possibly ask you for a plan?

How can they possibly ask you to provide a budget?

Before we start answering any questions about how, and how much and how long and at what cost, we need to ask a lot of other questions. Questions that start more like ‘what’ (like what do we want) and ‘why’ (like why is it important) and ‘who’ (everyone).

Because the other thing that is noticeable about feeling indyconfident is that you change from a state of opposing something (like being part of the UK, or being ‘swallowed up’ as if as a region of England) to actively seeking something that previously you didn’t know you were lacking.

A vision for what Wales could be.

And you notice this lack in others around you. Principally those in a position of notional leadership. This is the biggest change in myself that I have observed in the last 8 months. I have gone from a position of passive desire for Welsh independence, based mostly on a rejection of the things I don’t want about the UK, to a position of active engagement with Wales’ future.

I’ve sussed out that we don’t have a vision.

Where are we going?

Apparently, we are on a ‘devolution journey’. A what? A ‘continuum’. Well no wonder everyone fell asleep.

Excuse me for putting my hand up (again) and asking difficult questions (I am doing that a lot lately, its another symptom of indyconfidence). But don’t we owe it to ourselves to aspire to something a little more, well, aspirational?

So this, this realisation is one of the biggest things about being indyconfident. And trust me, people notice when you start rocking up in rooms full of people, like rooms full of third sector professionals (because that’s where I rock up when I’m not being Indymam, or Mam). When you rock up and ask questions like ‘so why are we here, collectively, what are we actually trying to achieve, what do we want for Wales?’

A lot of people sit up, and many of them want to talk over coffee. And some of them look perplexed, and quickly fire off an email to head office in Swindon.

But they’ll catch up.

Because I thought that I could keep my indycuriosity in a box, and just get it out in certain company. And maybe I could have done, if it hadn’t turned into indyconfidence, maybe. Probably not. I thought it was a hat I could wear, and choose to put on, or not, depending on who I was talking to.

But it isn’t a hat, and it isn’t in a box, and it doesn’t need to be. Because it is something that I bring to everything now, and it is just a new way of looking at things.

It can be exhausting at times, because it feels like every single conversation is a head rush of data. I feel like I am a hard drive, downloading information all of the time. Because I have re-tuned my antennae (mixed metaphors I know, but this is kind of a stream of consciousness) I am noticing all of the signals that before I used to miss. Or that if I picked them up, I thought it was just me.

Because of the new lexicon that we have been co-creating, I notice, all the time, when people ‘other’ Wales. When they talk about West Wales instead of saying that they went to Aberteifi. That we other ourselves for an audience that isn’t familiar with our geography, even though we are.

I notice when people talk about ‘leadership’ but they are talking about England, not our leaders in Wales. That it hasn’t occurred to them that we need leadership, or that we should expect it, or that we can demand it (and then vote for someone else if it doesn’t materialise).

I notice all of these things anew now. And sometimes I gently query, but mostly I am listening. And understanding. Because I have come to realise that the journey to Welsh independence will not be, for the most part, made up of numbers on a spreadsheet, of figures in a budget.

It will be about people. It will be about understanding the psychology of desire, of hope and optimism.

It will be about relationships.

And that is the other thing that characterises indyconfidence. It is a chemical reaction that occurs when you take your indycuriosity, and you put it out there, and you mix it with the curiosity of other people. Together, it creates something altogether more interesting and a lot harder to ignore.

Some of the things you thought you understood, you see differently.

Some of the doubts you had, clear.

Some of the fear you had, dissipates. And in the place that these feelings lay, something else moves in. Something powerful that you couldn’t possibly have expected until you started connecting with people. Connecting with people that inspire you.

Hope moves in.

So if you are sat reading this, and you are thinking about your next move. Don’t wait. Because also reading this, are some people that are going to play a very big part in your life over the next few years.

You just haven’t met yet, but you will.

Keep a journal.


You can get in touch with yescymru here, or contact @yescaerdydd on FaceBook and twitter for tips on how to grow your own local branch. We can also whip you up a personalised yescymru branch logo (with the name of your town or community on it) on request just drop us a line.

You can follow Sandra Clubb on twitter at @tywodlyd and at her blog page indymam.wordpress


Been up to much?



It’s been a busy few days up here both personally & politically.

I’ve spent the last two days either wielding a paintbrush or gardening whilst desperately trying to keep up with the news – it’s hard being a politics junkie and having a life at the same time – so tonight I’m squishing two blogs together.

Yesterday May ventured north to Glasgow & East Kilbride (I am aware there’s a difference) She came, she saw and well that was about it to be honest.

She had a captive audience at the Department for International Development whose applause may have looked more spontaneous if their manager hadn’t been caught on camera telling them to applaud ((at 4 mins 30)

She could have visited HMRC also in East Kilbride, but then it’s due to be closed along with the site in Cumbernauld with 2500 to lose their jobs.


She praised work being undertaken by the University of Glasgow in combating the Zika virus,unfortunate that Anton Muscatelli the university Principle has described Brexit as disastrous. Doubly so as the project she referred to whilst receiving £1 million from the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Funds also received £10 million from the EU, funding which will dry up after Brexit.

This was part of 12 minutes of soundbites which included gems such as Brexit would bring the UK together (tell that to Northern Ireland), Britain would be an unstoppable force (I bet the colonies felt they had been steamrollered at times) and that the UK is one of the greatest forces for good in the world – second largest arms seller in the world.

As per usual no questions were taken from the press.

Later she met Nicola Sturgeon in Glasgow – not in a secure Scottish Government building but instead a hotel room. (?!) And again it sounds like not a lot of substance was said. The promised powers outed all weekend by the media were non-existent.

And again no questions were taken from the press, in fact she was sneaked out of a backdoor.

This amazes me, if we are to believe the Scottish Conservatives May is only second in popularity to Ruth *most popular Scottish politician* Davidson, so why not go out and meet her adoring public in Glasgow. Let one of the Yes cities show how much they no longer want a referendum, how they have returned to Britannia warm embrace.

So what was yesterday about? Because it seems a pretty pointless exercise. Is it just a UK tour (she did Wales the other week) so she can say she’s spoken to the devolved administrations? If so she’s left it a bit bloody late. It’s not like this referendum hasn’t been sign-posted from the minute Scotland voted to stay in the EU.

Of all the parts of the UK she needed to be in yesterday, Northern Ireland would seem to be the most in need of attention. Something the Irish press are keen to point out.

May is juggling a lot of balls right now, and even with my limited juggling skills (yes I can juggle, just) I know you have to keep your eyes on all of them.

And then we come to today and the Section 30 vote in Holyrood..

So in summary:

  • Tory Amendment to derail the bill defeated: 31 to 97
  • Labour amendment for Federal UK defeated: 28 to 100
    • A non-starter at the best of times
  • Green amendment to include 16-17 year olds and EU citizens in referendum franchise passes: 69 to 59
    • yes that’s right, Tories, Labour & LibDems voted together against those listed above having the right to vote on their future in Scotland
  • Lib Dem amendment fails: 28 to 100
    • something about uncertainty, federal blah, blah,  who knows, who cares
  • Bill as amended passes: 69 to 59.

The Scottish Parliament shall now request a Section 30 order from UK Government.

It then took SEVEN minutes before the Governor General said No. However as he is the monkey and not the organ-grinder I shall wait for Theresa May’s response to a formal notification. She’s been obfuscating all this last week with “Now is not the time.”

We don’t want one now (actually I do, but luckily I’m not in charge.) We want it in 18 months time once we see the results of the Brexit negotiations. An informed choice – which would be a nice change.

Of course, if Westminster does give a flat-out refusal against a democratically elected government, then it might go to court. It could be the European Court of Human Rights which would be worth it just to see the Brexit Bunch foaming.  (Now it’s time for your regular reminder we only have devolved governments thanks to the Council of Europe.)

And if this week wasn’t exciting enough, tomorrow May sends the letter that will start Article 50, so that brand new pound they launched today will probably be worth 90p by the end of the day. I notice she’s picked up the Trump habit of having the document signing recorded.

Have I missed anything? Oh yeah they’ve found another shit-tonne of oil off Shetland.

Featured image from @raiphsays

You can follow Simone Charlesworth on twitter @cee4cat and at Mewsing Out Loud










Corbyn & Scotland

I have a confession to make. I am not a good socialist. To my shame I enjoy the finest of Italian coffee machines, despise infighting and wear my beret in a sort of ironic homage to the Auld alliance rather than on a Che-inspired imperative. I also happen to think that any attempt to ‘retake Scotland’ is both ignorant and doomed. I like Jeremy Corbyn. He is honest, values driven, straight talking and honourable. All the qualities that are scorned by modern day politics, especially those of British power which through its agencies of media subversively convince us we need warlords, strong men and ‘decisive’ corporate shills. He is the kind of man who would make me rejoin Labour though I doubt I would make it past the energetic ‘Trotskyite purge’ that is in full swing. But liking Corbyn and understanding the dynamic of the Scottish moment are two different things. What happened in Scotland may have been bewildering to so many outside the nation. I found myself having to explain first how it had nothing to do with hating England to metropolitan friends in London and second trying to explain how my attachment to English radicalism inspired me to support not only the SNP but independence for Scotland.
Those inside Scotland who either voted for the SNP or not. Or for independence or not new clearly something radical had happened. Something much bigger than the England-Scotland narrative on the MSM or the constant string of jester leaders Scottish Labour provided. There were structural shifts in terms of class, generational shifts in terms of party loyalty along with a hunger and hopeful vision for a better, fairer, sustainable system. This was exacerbated by a Labour Party that had been mired in ineffectiveness and arrogance but also one that had abandonment the social democratic ground it once created. Scotland didn’t leave Labour. Labour left Scotland, years ago.
Now the argument may be that Corbyn’s ascendancy may create a situation where the Labour Party is in line with what many Scots believe is the path forward. However this fails to take into account that the ground on which these ideas have taken place has shifted. The independence referendum with its energy and passion as well as the counter arguments; called in to question the possibility that a grand socialist vision could be foreseeable in a union based fundamentally on imperial conquest and aggressive acquisition. A strong view is that even if a left government came to power in Westminster it would need to gain total hegemonic supremacy and form a new consensus to stop the Tories sweeping away progress. Unless this is gained Scotland would still be vulnerable and victim to the whims of the professional classes in England who under FPTP have disproportionate voting power.
The Owen Jones view on ‘retaking Scotland’ also ignores the extent to which identity has been a bell weather for the SNP tsunami. But perhaps not in a way the old socialist analysis can comprehend. For the identity that has emerged for many in Scotland is based not only on civic nationalism but on the idea that to be Scottish is to challenge injustice, to take care of each other, to make our public realm; the embodiment of the soul of the nation accessible for all. In contrast to the British rhetorical of official culture this has become rooted as an alternative a politically potent resource for the SNP. To win back many left voters UK Labour would have to convince many that the British mission is free of its imperial hypocritical taint.
Ironically the only thing that can ensure a Labour rebirth would be not only a totally overhaul in Scottish Labour of policies, people in leadership structure, PR machine and ethics. But additionally the solidification of a progressive English majority. Scottish voters are entitled to say to Corbyn and the English left that unless you convince us you can take England and remake it then we cannot fall back to our role as your comfort blanket. Scots are not entitled to prove anything anyone, rather the progressives of England must prove themselves to the Scots. I say this as an Englishman who main concern is the continuation and protection of the Scottish renaissance. But Corbyn must focus on England.
Such language as ‘retaking Scotland’ still shows a flawed and arrogant logic at the heart of progressive politics in England. As if folk still after all we have seen haven’t got that things have changed, changed utterly. If this Corbyn victory turns into something bigger it will be partnership. Not a managing concern. I know many leftists in England who get this. We need the language and action to meet it. In 1258 the Provisions of Oxford,  a far more radical contract than Magna Carta was held aloft by Simon de Montfort Earl of Leicester that made even barons accountable to their social ‘inferiors’. A civil war broke out as a result which the young Edward I emerged victorious. The defeat of this progressive charter in England and usurpation of even the more timid Magna Carta sowed the seeds for the imperial designs on the rest of the British Isles. If you are English and progressive this must be reminder that us that we must defeat our tyrants at home.
you can read more from robert at

TTIP – What’s it all about?


Women for Independence National Committee Member Victoria Heaney has been campaigning against TTIP.  She has written this blog to explain why.

If you have been hearing a lot about TTIP and are wondering why so many folk are still talking about that music festival, then you’re not the only one.

Unfortunately TTIP comes with a bigger health warning than any festival. Although it is not in force yet, it is being hurried through the European Parliament with little democratic consultation with those who it will affect the most. Those people are us.

The proposal appears friendly at first. It aims to increase jobs, drive up the economy and make it easier for the EU and USA to do business in a range of areas. What could we not like or support about that strap line eh? After all don’t the global corporations who are pushing this (aggressively) have our and our children’s best interests at heart?

First of all what it actually is and what does it mean?

The Transatlantic Trade and  Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a trade deal between the EU and USA. It is designed to make trade easier for both sides of the Atlantic by reducing compliance costs and cutting trade tariffs by “harmonising” regulatory barriers. If you replace the harmonising with the word diluting it helps to get sense of the real meaning behind the term. It has also been referred to as a covert vehicle which will push the privatisation agenda for all public services due to its ability to allow private firms bid for public contracts. (NHS, Education, Social work, Residential Services and the Prison Service, etc)

What are regulatory barriers?

Regulatory barriers are in place to protect us and to keep us safe from trade from outwith the EU. This is due to other countries (such as America) having less stringent laws when it comes to workers’ rights, welfare provision and public health.

TTIP aims to reduce the barriers between the EU and the USA, and make the regulatory regimes more compatible. Essentially this means that whichever side has the weakest safety standards, this will be the bench mark. The EU works on a cautionary legislative practice, proving things are safe before they are used using research, testing and evidence. The US in contrast works on the premise that things can be used before they are found to be unsafe (think about Erin Brockovich and the case against the gas company contaminating water).

One of the many aspects of this deal will affect how our food is farmed and the process it will go through before it reaches our plate. The difference in food standards between the EU and US is remarkable. It is common practice for meat and poultry to be rinsed in chlorine before going to the shelves in the US. This practice has been proven to mask the hygiene of the food and create carcinogenic (cancer causing) compounds. This is prohibited in the EU with only water being permitted to be used when rinsing. There is also the issue of importing meat and poultry from the US that has been injected with growth hormones that are known carcinogens and at present are banned from our shelves. Moving onto cosmetic products, the EU has banned more than 1200 substances from cosmetics because of their potential risk to our health, whilst the US has banned only 12.  This also applies to products that we use on children and babies.

This is a huge concern for public health as it is now looking possible that if this deal goes ahead we will have no inclination as to what we are consuming, due to clever packaging that does not identify these additives, additives which were once banned from our supermarkets and shops.

Another concern is the impact this will have on local farming communities in Scotland and across the EU. Small ethical and organic companies will be unable to compete against biotech firms that want to dominate the entire market with genetically modified food disguised as economic and family friendly.

The message that we are being sold  is that food will be rock bottom cheap,  despite the growing evidence of the health implications associated with over processed food.

Living in a world of TTIP

TTIP not only affects our food laws but opens the door for companies to come in and bid for public services. As we face increasing cuts to public services, local councils all over Scotland are looking for ways to make efficiencies and to cut jobs and services. Things we see as fundamental staple services that we rely on are now facing the prospect of being broken up and sold off to faceless companies. The NHS immediately springs to mind, but if we drill down further to things like homecare services, after school care and the education services, we can start to grasp the potential scale.

Our public expenditure budgets are now viewed as potentially profitable contracts by our American neighbours.

What if we resist public services being privatised? Don’t worry the global corporations are all over it with a nifty piece of jargon called ISDS (Investor Trade Dispute Settlement). This allows companies to sue the government if they feel they are being unfairly done out of business. This is already happening in America right now with McDonalds taking Seattle to court, stating that the new minimum wage of $15 (£7) per hour is damaging the companies’ profits. When we see the progress that Scotland is making working towards introducing a living wage we have to be aware that there is room for this to be undone under a TTIP deal.

Data Protection and privacy also enter this debate as the TTIP proposal could allow companies to force public services to hand over personal information in order to market services. Imagine sitting at home and getting (another) cold call from a health company who knows your family’s medical historyseeking to register you for their new healthcare firm that they claim can treat you better than your local GP, dentist, chiropractor etc. It opens the door for scaremongering sales tactics.

What can we do about this?

The fight to stop TTIP will only be won by a collective struggle, by political parties and people from Scotland and from the rest of Europe coming together to say No to the deal.

The difficult part is that this deal is being done in secret behind closed doors in Europe with no democratic consultation with MSPs or MPs. It is so full of jargon that it is a minefield, making it difficult to grasp the direct impact that this will have one working people.

Stay in touch with your local WFI group and other grass roots movements to keep abreast of action around this matter.

A Scottish Coalition against TTIP was launched earlier this year which Women for Independence are part of.

There will be an international day of action against TTIP on the 11 of October this year join us if you can.

For more information check out Global Justice Now and sign the petition trying to stop the corporate power grab.

Lobby your MEP, MSP and MP and state that you are saying no to TTIP and urge them to do the same.

 Victoria Heaney worked with the Radical Independence Campaign during Scotland’s independence referendum.  She has since been elected on to the National Women for Independence Committee, and is its youngest member.   She leads for Women for Indy in the campaign against TTIP.


 Many thanks to Women for Independence National Committee Member Victoria Heaney and Women for Independence  for allowing Anyvoices for publishing this article .

You can follow Victoria Heaney on twitter @Vvfabs

You can follow Women For Independance on twitter @WomenforIndy or on thier website

featured image from

Women In Media

Last week I attended Onslow Road Community Hall in Clydebank for an informal presentation and open discussion on the topics of women’s participation in Scottish media, and in particular, ways to achieve a balance in gender representation.

Women For Independence,as a group obviously feels strongly about representation of women in media, and has set up ‘Media Watch’ in order to highlight the gender imbalance of expert panels in both BBC & ITV’s political programming. This appears to be having a slight effect, even if that only extends to irritating the editors.

Angela Haggerty is the editor of Common Space, one of the new media sites which has sprung up after last year’s referendum campaign.  It is funded through the Common Weal think tank, but retains editorial independence – the buck stops with Angela.

Common Space aims to provide an alternative point of view to traditional media outlets, yet it’s more than that. Unlike many of the pre-referendum sites – which concentrated on analysis and/or debunking pro-union press releases – Common Space undertakes investigative journalism and news generation. It has a small team of full-time journalists, and in the six months since its launch, Common Space has broken stories such as the hunger strikes at Dungavel (eventually taken up by the Guardian), and the Castle Howard buy-out in Argyll & Bute – which resulted in the uncovering of bullying within the higher echelons of the local authority.

Angela explained how she felt very strongly regarding the gender imbalance in traditional media, and relayed her fear that Scotland’s new media will fall into the same traps, despite the plethora of good intentions. As it is so often stated, women make up 52% of the Scottish population and yet are seen in much lower proportions in the media, especially with regards to political reporting and opinion.

Angela recounted one occasion when she had been one of just two women to attend a Scottish Newspaper Society Conference. She stated that every day she has an inbox full of opinion pieces from men eager to share theirs words and ideas, whereas finding a female writer willing to put herself and her opinions out in the open, is much more difficult.

Women are being promoted within the newspaper industry but even papers such as the Guardian, who class themselves as progressive, have only recently appointed their first female editor-in-chief – Katharine Viner. In general, women are only appointed to managerial positions in sections that are classed as more ‘female orientated’. Areas such as politics, sport and gaming, are still seen as the preserve of males. Personally I’m not sure whether they think women aren’t interested, can’t understand or aren’t effected by these topics, but in a time when the Westminster policies are having a hugely detrimental effect on women and families, these attitudes towards women, and limitations placed upon them, seem highly regressive.

Angela said it is difficult finding women who are willing to put themselves forward and state their opinions in the public realm. She was hoping that Women For Independence could assist in the development and mentoring of a wide range of women’s voices.

The discussion at this point then began to focus on why women still find it difficult to speak up in mixed-gender environments, especially since Women for Independence provided a platform for so many excellent female commentators; such as Leslie Riddoch, Carolyn Leckie, Natalie McGarry & Rosie Kane.

Our chair for the night, WFI committee member Rebecca Jones, highlighted that WFI do have a speaker’s list, but the problem was getting members to put themselves forward. WFI members have experience in a wide range of subjects, but again it is difficult  finding women who are willing to speak up on subjects and to stop hiding their talents.

There was a wide range of reasons given as to why the women attending the event found it difficult to put themselves forward. These included:

• Being taught when growing up that they shouldn’t speak up or complain.
• Being too aware of the audience (especially on radio phone-ins).
• Fear/nerves, heart thumping as they start to speak.
• Feeling that they have to know everything about a certain subject before even attempting to offer an opinion it.
• Feeling that, as women, the language they use, the speech patterns they follow, are not seen as ‘valid’.
• Some women feel they can only talk when they are passionate or angry about a subject. Yet when they do this they are usually dismissed as ‘too emotional’.
• However, if they are able to talk dispassionately about a subject, they are then accused of being ‘cold-hearted’ and uncaring.
• Not having enough practice in public speaking/writing and thus fearing to attempt it.
• The current debating styles, especially in politics, are too aggressive, and many women would not want to be put through it.
• Too much abuse targeted at women who do speak out.
• Time constraints. Either time taken to prepare or times at which commentators are required (evening/late nights).

Angela admitted that there is abuse, having been on the receiving end of plenty herself, and that initially you do become very defensive. However, you get to a time and a place when you realise that you are getting abuse because you are pushing the right buttons and making an impact. She asked what could Common Space do to assist WFI and other women get involved –  such as forums, setting up practice debates – and added that, unfortunately, even though it is very easy to lose self-confidence when public speaking, it takes a long time to build it up, which only comes through practice. On the plus side, when you do fluff an interview, even if it does knock your confidence, the chances of anyone else remembering are very slim.

The key points for practicing public speaking were that you should pick a subject you feel strongly about. You should then research it thoroughly and then take the opposing view, investigate that and practice difficult/awkward questions that people might put to you.

These suggestions were warmly welcomed, and in particular the representatives from Paisley WFI, one of the more established branches, highlighted that they have set up a system of self-education on a number of issues, refusing to be “intimidated by guys in suits”. Other branches are now hoping to set up discussions over branch mentoring.

At the end of the meeting Angela repeated that complaining about inadequacies in gender balance to media outlets does make a difference, and reiterated very strongly that if anyone wished to contribute to Common Space, she would be happy to provide proper, supportive editing.

On a personal note, I know I’m an amateur, but I found writing this much more difficult than the others. I can discuss this issue for hours, but putting it into writing was much harder. I feel very strongly that my daughter’s generation should have positive role models in all aspects of the media, and am both grateful and depressed that there is the need for her to be taught at school about how women are portrayed in magazines, newspapers etc.

Women in media like Angela, Katharine Viner and Libby Brooks, and politicians such as Nicola Sturgeon, Mhari Black, Caroline Lucas, Natalie Bennett and Leanne Wood are great role models for young women, showing the traditional set ups are changing.  There will of course be the expected push back from those that mistake the demand for parity as attempts to replace men.

Different voices enrich the political debate and all have the right to be heard no matter their gender, race or class. We’ve just had a time where a privately educated ex-commodity broker was seen as antiestablishment, presumably because he didn’t go to Eton! This to me shows how much change is still required in our media. I hope sites like this one will enable others to find their voices, and assist in creating a more balanced media in this country.

I sincerely hope that sites such as this one will enable others to find their voice, to gain that confidence to speak up, to do away with the fear and doubt that holds so many back,  and to assist in creating a more balanced media in this country.

Angela can be contacted at common space website

you can follow Simone Charlesworth on twitter @cee4cat

featured image Angela Haggerty from @AngelaHaggert