Having moved to Peebles in 2002, ‘Stooriefit’ Bosco Santimano gives us his own take on what he feels is the hot topic of the day. This week it’s the beginning of the end of the Tory party because of its decade long austerity, divisions on class, extreme poverty, hungry children and the final nail in the coffin of the breakup of the United Kingdom, a Brexit Deal!
2020 will go down in history as the year the elected majority Conservative party and the political system at Westminster struck the final blow to democracy, decency, equality and social justice in this country. The Brexit saga continues as I write this column even though a deal has been reached by both sides. Boris’s oven baked deal last year had got burnt and was no longer edible, even to himself as he then chose to break International law by trying to push the Internal Market Bill through parliament. Analysts, journalists and economists are pouring over the finer details of the 1246 pages trade agreement. So, chaos will reign in her Majesty’s Kingdoms with England finally getting a deal, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are left feeling frustrated and bewildered by English attitudes towards the European Union and the cost to its young citizens that will be left feeling isolated and insecure with a United Europe.
Covid-19 has mutated into a new strain and Dover was shut due to France opting to protect its citizens and its Borders. 7-mile queues of trucks were common sight for a few days with drivers feeling frustrated and angry and the army had to be put on standby for any eventuality that may arise. Lucky for us France opened its Borders to allow freight and other essential trucks to move thereby reducing the traffic jam and backlog near Kent. We are in Lockdown once again and no end in sight to our situation changing soon in the new year. Unemployment has risen exponentially and the benefit system that the Tories and Lib-Dems coalition put in place since 2010 has been proven to be ineffective and driven many of its claimants to poverty, homelessness, suicides and Foodbanks! Benefit sanctions were imposed on nearly a quarter of a million residents last year from April 2019 until March 2020 according to research by the House of Commons Library. These include people seeking Universal Credit, Job Seekers Allowance and Employment Support Allowance. This was temporarily suspended at the beginning of Covid-19 but reinstated in July. Unemployment has reached record levels and we now know that sanctions only push people and families into financial hardship and foodbanks. Yes! The Furlough scheme was great and it kept certain people in their jobs but no pay rises and money for the self-employed, key workers and individuals on zero-hour contracts who are working on poverty wages.
Hoping that 2021 brings in positive change and social justice for all, especially key workers, some of whom who have lost their lives while making sure the economy and food supply chains stay open while we can feed our families and loved ones. We will never forget the ones who are benefiting from the misery of others, its time for change and Scotland finally becoming an Independent nation. Just like England, we need to take control over our borders, immigration and laws and make Scotland a Republic!
Stay safe and Good Luck to all in 2021!
Published in The Peeblesshire News on Friday 8th January 2021.
This week Bosco Santimano founder and executive director of social enterprise You Can Cook, shares his thoughts on a Brexit extension beyond December 2020 and the devastating fallout on Scotland’s economy, food and people…
Michael Gove has done it again! The cheerleader for the Vote Leave campaign which was founded in October 2015 by political strategists Matthew Elliott and Dominic Cummings, has announced that the prime minister had been quite clear since the election about the government not extending the Brexit transition period beyond December 2020 come what may. What are the Leave campaigners up to now? Since the Tories won an outright majority in last year’s election, Boris Johnson has accelerated the process to get the whole of the UK out of the EU by the end of December 2020 under any circumstances. The reason being that they have been given a mandate by the people of England to crash out of the EU without a deal and create a trade deal with the US and any other country that may wish to form a new trade alliance with Great Britain!
Unfortunately for them “Coronavirus” let rip through all their plans and has brought this great country to its knees in just a few months. So much for bringing back control and the good old days back to Great Britain. The arrogance of the Tory party and its decision to put the whole country in a state of panic and chaos for years to come is purely based on its narrow ideological views and is beyond rational thinking and strategy. The current pandemic has already raised food prices by more than 25 percent in a matter of weeks of the lockdown and does not look like it’s going to slow down. Families are struggling to put food on the table while at the same time suffering job losses, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. No one is saying to abandon leaving the EU but a sensible approach must be taken to mitigate the causes of the coronavirus pandemic first before embarking on this road to self-destruction. Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium has warned that the UK could face huge food shortages even worse than the impact of the coronavirus! He warned that a no deal Brexit could mean shortages of products like tomatoes and lettuces and highlighted, that in January alone around 90% of lettuces, 80% of tomatoes and 70% of soft fruits came to the UK from Europe. He further warned that a disorderly Brexit would mean that the country would face a bigger challenge than the food supply chain faced with Covid-19.
If no deal can be reached with the EU on future relations, concerns have been raised about the impact having to use World Trade Organisation rules would have on businesses. Over 35% of our food currently comes from Europe, and it is very likely that fresh vegetables and fruits, will become more scarce and more expensive in the event of a no deal Brexit.
So what can we do to make sure Scotland does not suffer due to Tory policies coming out from London? Write to your local MP and fill their inboxes with letters, come out in droves once lockdown restrictions are eased to their monthly surgeries to protest and finally keep the pressure on all elected representatives including your local councillors who also have a vested interest in making sure Scotland and its people do not go hungry.
Stay safe! Eat well!
Published in The Peeblesshire News on Friday 3rd July 2020.
It was astonishing to see Scotland treated badly at Westminster with regards to only 15 minutes been allocated to debate Scottish objections to the Tories EU withdrawal bill.
24 powers will be coming back to the UK after Brexit but all will be going to Westminster instead of Scotland, in areas already devolved to Holyrood. The SNP’s leader was barred from the chamber for a day for protesting the lack of time to debate the merits and objections to the bill, while his fellow SNP colleagues followed him out. It was blatantly clear to all who watched the session how degrading it was to watch the Speaker John Bercow and the Tories jeering the SNP MP’s who decided to walk out of the House of Commons in protest for the lack of respect shown to a country that was supposedly an equal part of the Union!
Better Together! Is this how an equal partnership works where we are always shafted by Westminster when it comes to devolution? To all Unionist out there, you have to remember one fact, which is, the United Kingdom is made up of four countries i.e. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It was very clear for all to see what the elite and Westminster really thinks of equality in terms of the UK. It was appalling to watch Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainger shout “suicide” when SNP Leader Ian Blackford asked what options are available to us in this house?
To make matter worse the Unionist/Monarchist/ Benefit Scrounger of all Scottish secretaries, David Mundell said, “Scotland is not a partner of the United Kingdom, Scotland is part of the United Kingdom”.
What a load of bull s***!
In one statement he exposed himself and the Unionist argument’s biggest lie that was at the heart of the “Better Together” campaign during the 2104 Scottish Independence Referendum; that Scotland was an equal and valued partner in the biggest political union on this planet!
David Mundell does not care about Scotland, and will do everything to delay or worsen the situation of his constituents and fellow Scots. Its time for some direct action to make people like him accountable to all of his constituents, not just those who blindly voted for him.
Finally, we do have to remember that he is only there for the money and power and like the Monarchy he supports he is MP/Scottish Secretary at Westminster while his son Oliver Mundell is MSP at Holyrood. Its a family affair after all, where you only look after your own.
Do we have something positive to look forward to this year? Of course, without a doubt even though the last few years from a global perspective has been anything but positive apart from a few instances of brilliance from the human race. We are truly living in a global village where once incident or remark in one part of the world can quickly lead us down the road of devastation and Armageddon!
Trump will be trumped this year by his own massive ego and his inability to understand that running the country as a President is not the same as running your own business empire. Forces of division and hatred have been given a voice and legitimacy by this President, and our very own Theresa May and her merry band of Brexiteers, have been doing the same on this side of the Atlantic.
Will the people of Scotland finally see the fallacy of clinging to Queen and country? and be bold enough to take the initiative and no longer feel we are wee and forever dependent on Westminister for dole money?
Scotland should be Independent, as its a more progressive and socially aware society. Hanging on to a bygone era of colonialism and monarchy is not only undemocratic but also promotes all that this institution stands for i.e. inequality and injustice for its people(peasants).
Hope we can put aside our political differences and truly strive to make this country what it was meant to be; A fair and just society for all its people and not the privileged few.
Its appalling after over 6 years Lord Duncan Smith who initiated the changes to the benefit system has gone scot free after managing and presiding over the worst change in UK benefits history and a huge loss to the public exchequer.
Millions have so far been written off due to massive IT problems with trying to incorporate 6 benefits into 1 i.e. Universal Credit. This was promoted by Ian as a huge change to the current system where work would pay but instead it has created a big number of people and families poor and worse off due to this system.
Our own elected MP Mundell is sitting tight on a huge pay salary and massive budget over the Scotland Office, a gatekeeper post for keeping the Scots in line with the orders of his Imperial masters in London.
It beggars belief how much this country has been subjugated and conditioned by her majesty and her minions to make us believe that these people need to work hard and stop relying on benefits or state hand-outs, while the Queen and her extended family can milk the system to the very last drop of blood from poor and working class individuals and families. The good old days of the Empire are truly back.
It seems since my last post in June 2017, the world has literally gone mad! We are closer once again to nuclear annihilation since the end of the cold war, right wing organisations and their associates are on the rise and closer to home we are speeding towards the cliff (Brexit) in order to secure the middle class and above from any financial ruin.
What can we do to stop this madness by our elected representatives? Apparently nothing. Why? Because we voted for them in the first place to show a finger at the establishment or elite as a protest vote! It beggars belief that people don’t realise that Donald Trump is the establishment and closer to home David Mundell and his cronies…
More individuals and families in the area I live are under immense financial pressures due to the “Austerity” policies introduced by the Conservatives since 2010. But the very comfortable people in my area don’t give a damn it seems, as long as their pensions and investments are secured. To hell with the rest of us they may say at their private lavish parties. We have worked hard for this all our lives and we deserve all we can get at the expenses of others.
The irony is that many go to church every Sunday and pray. I wonder what their almighty God/Jesus may be thinking while he is staring down at his followers crucified on the cross! Probably that he is not coming again to save us especially after what we did to him the last time, I personally don’t blame him at all. All religions preach love and sharing but the majority of their followers interpret the holy books to suit their very selfish motives and agendas.
Of course we can do something and it starts by taking whatever little step we can take as individuals without looking at governments or religious institutions to guide us. The power lies in our hands for change and we have to start changing ourselves first before we expect others to do so and live by our own examples.
Difficult, yes – impossible, no.
Its time for love, peace and understanding and make our differences work for us not against us.
Scotland is bracing it self for an exciting opportunity in June. Thanks to Theresa May announcing a mid-term election “Out of the Blue” or so it seems anyway for those not keeping abreast with the Tory election spending scandal/scam. For those who are not aware the Election Commission was investing the Tories for electoral fraud in the last general election which gave us a majority Tory government.
29 Tories are facing prosecution and if convicted the Tories would be a minority government!!!!!!!!!
The Tory establishment took a decision to hold a snap general election as an excuse to divert the publics attention to Brexit and its impending crash.
Now! This is an opportunity for all of England to vote out the Conservatives and for us here in Scotland a golden opportunity to once and for all remove the forces of greed, corruption and market Capitalism from our country.
Its been a while since my last post. A lot has happened since but I am ready to start writing again. Events in Britain, Scotland and the world (Trump) has motivated me to get writing and sharing with the world my thoughts, comments and opinion on the way to influence our surroundings in a positive way.
Let no one tell you its not possible or impossible!!! Our future and the future of our planet and its peoples are at stake here.
So! Now we are told that the costs for replacing Trident is over £200 billion!! In this day and age it beggars belief that so many people of this island nation want to hold on to an outdated weapons systems.
Budgets are being cut in the name of austerity. The poor and the disadvantaged are being used as guinea pigs to balance the books! The rich get richer and the politicians get richer too! What on earth is going on? Have we become so powerless and disillusioned that we are allowing the government and the USA to dictate to us what is in fact an abomination in the name of keeping us safe? It seems we cannot do anything as the people we elected are funded by special interest groups before they become elected and in return have to sell their souls to their Masters.
Politician like Lord Robertson and Hutton are on the payroll of companies that will benefit from this contract. Big US Corporations like the Cohen Group, General Dynamics Electric Boat Company, Lockheed Martin and Bechtel. (Source: Private Eye No.1413).
Anyone supporting the renewal of Trident is, in my opinion a warmonger and killers of future innocent people just like the terrorists. No difference at all as the ethos and ideology is the same.
A point to note here is that the British taxpayers will foot the bill for a weapons system that they do not control but the US military!!!!!!!! What we are actually doing is propping the economy of the US which is heavily run by the Industrial/Military/Pharmaceutical complex.
War is money and the US will make a killing, literally speaking if Trident is renewed.
We invaded Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction, so I am assuming any country that takes offense to us having these weapons can invade us to rid the world of dangerous weapons.
The recent Holyrood elections have given us a parliament that was always meant, to never elect a “majority”. The result is not a loss or failure for the SNP as made out in the tabloid right wing press but a win for the Scottish people, both Unionists and Independence supporters! I wish these same people (Unionists) would demand the same electoral process for England or No Tuition Fees for English students or No Prescription charges.
The current Holyrood elections are just over and Ruth Davidson has been all over the press saying she has the mandate by the Scottish people to stop Nicola Sturgeon having a second Referendum. Really! Has she gotten so delusional that a mere 22% of the constituency votes makes her think she is invincible and can hold the SNP government to account? Applying her same logic to the SNP, with 46.5% of the votes; what mandate does Nicola Sturgeon have? Your guess is as good as mine.
The next five years will be interesting to watch as I hope politicians from all parties work together to inspire us and achieve a better more equitable society rather than focusing all their power and money on a few at the top.