View from Stooriefit Mountain

Having moved to Peebles in 2002, self-proclaimed ‘stooriefit’ Bosco Santimano gives us his own take on what he feels is the hot topic of the day. This week it’s Universal Credit.

So what have the Tories given us since being in government from 2010? A lot really! This column will not be able to focus on all the “good things” they have done since, but I will focus on one flagship policy that has brought the citizens of this country on its knees – Universal Credit!

Below is a brief history about this policy bought to us by Lucifer himself in the guise of a Tory.

In 2002 Ian Duncan Smith claimed he had an epiphany while visiting Easterhouse, a council estate in Glasgow, for his think tank the Centre for Social Justice which was set up to find solutions to poverty in Britain.

He established a working group called the Economic Dependency Working Group which went on to produce the document called Dynamic Benefits in 2009.

This was the start of a war on the poor, disadvantaged, disabled and working classes of this country. IDS as he is known to his supporters, believed that places like Easterhouse were deprived and poor because of social problems and poverty and also mainly due to making bad choices!

He failed to understand the crux of poverty and the vicious cycle that people can suddenly find themselves in due to circumstances always beyond their control. The group then went on to prove that people on benefits were getting trapped perpetually with no escape into work or to improve their life choices.

IDS and his supporters went on the claim that people on benefits were scroungers, lazy and feeding off tax payers. I have claimed benefits myself and I am grateful for a system that allows citizens not to fall in poverty or become homeless and provides a safety net as envisioned by its founders.

Of course some people take the mickey out of the system but so do politicians, corporations, bureaucrats, accountants, lawyers, etc.. We lose £billions due to tax avoidance schemes by wealthy individuals and companies not paying their fair share – plus elected politicians get to vote on their pay rises even though they vote for cuts in the welfare budgets!

That brings us to foodbanks! An abomination, where elected representatives have wilfully decided to commit genocide on the most vulnerable members of society. Yes! I am using the word ‘genocide’ as that is what it has become with suicide rates increasing year on year since 2010 while our very own MP David Mundell is sitting on a budget of millions to protect the Union and the establishment and of course his very lucrative salary and perks. The UK is one of the G7 countries, really! The rich have got richer and the poor are made to fight among themselves for scraps just like the hunger games. Divide and rule, the classic British policy is now being used on its own citizens for keeping the status quo.

2019 will be the year when hopefully the people will rise against this corrupt system.

Remember! We are many while they are a few.

View from Stooriefit Mountain


Having moved to Peebles in 2002, self-proclaimed ‘stooriefit’ Bosco Santimano gives us his own take on what he feels is the hot topic of the day. This week, once again, it’s Brexit.

The Brexit saga continues. I have received lots of comments about my previous column on Brexit and people wanting to know more. So here I go again, hopefully clarifying some points on Brexit and the legal position.

I don’t support a People’s Vote, as this will not resolve the underlying issues with our type of democracy. Let me explain: politicians from the Leave side, lied through their teeth during the campaign eg. £350 million a week for the NHS! Like many of us in work or directors of companies and charities, if we lie, we can lose our jobs and in many cases be committing a criminal offence and be sent to prison.

But this is not the case with our parliamentary system, as politicians can lie repeatedly and are not held liable for the damage and chaos their actions and words cost their constituents and the country.

For starters, nobody knew about the massive problems that the issue with Northern Ireland and Ireland would cause as this was not discussed and debated during the referendum campaign. This shows the blatant disrespect and arrogance of British politicians from the Leave side including the Conservatives and Unionist party. They will lie to keep the union together just like they did in the Scottish referendum.

Once we pass legislation making lying a criminal offence before, during and after serving office, then only I am open to having second referendums, otherwise it’s a waste of time and tax payers’ money.

Take our very own MP David Mundell, he has gone back on his promises so many times that you just lose the will to live. How can you get people involved in politics when all they see is politicians squabbling and lying to score political points over their opponents?

What’s happened so far in the Brexit process is that Theresa May’s EU deal was going to keep us in the EU for all eternity through the Irish backstop but without any say in Europe! Her colleagues claimed on television that the vote would go ahead and it did not! Plus she survived a no confidence motion by her backbenchers and is shamelessly hanging on to power with all her might.

What are the prospects next year for Brexit and where does it leave us the people? One, we have a people’s vote to give the electorate, including groups like the European nationals and under 18s the vote this time around, or parliament rejects her EU deal and Labour calls for a no confidence motion against the government and Theresa May loses the vote. A general election is called or allow the unification of Ireland, so that the backstop/border issue will cease to exist!

The sensible option is to revoke article 50 as per ruling of the European Court of Justice two weeks ago and cancel the whole Brexit process since it was based on a lie!

Is this our final Christmas with our European friends and family?

Can Scotland become a 100% Organic Country?

Bosco Santimano – Founder/Executive Director

This week Bosco Santimano, founder and executive director of social enterprise You Can Cook, shares his thoughts on organic farming.

Most of us are already conditioned into believing the so called ‘magic’ of science. That science has or will find solutions to all our manmade problems. The issue with this approach has always been that, experiments carried out in controlled environments like laboratories and then replicated in nature have always been unexpected and sometimes catastrophic.

These scientific methods involved limited assessments and tests and mainly conducted for profit by ‘Big Pharma’!

Having covered Making Scotland GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) Free in my previous column; I will focus on our next vision, which is to make Scotland a 100 per cent organic country.

The green revolution introduced in the 1960s, sprayed fertilisers and pesticides on farm land all over the planet to increase crop yields. This in turn led to many forests being cut down to grow what was then called ‘cash crops’ and small-scale farming was replaced by industrial farming on a massive scale supported by government subsidies.

Big corporations acquired land across the globe, food was added as a commodity to be traded for profits on the stock market and this in turn has led to inequalities in health and access to food especially in developing and third world countries.

The unforeseen impact of chemicals for growing over the last few decades, has led to the fall of nutrients in the soil, as this was being depleted by over use and irregular crop rotation. Profits were maximised and are even today. For example, soya beans are now grown in many countries as cattle feed for the West! This then leaves no arable land for the local population to grow food leading to widespread hunger and impoverished conditions.

We need to go back to our roots and grow food at local levels on a small scale and bring back farming as a lucrative job for people to invest their time and energies. This will be a sustainable long-term approach and remove the need for farming subsidies that are the biggest scandal of our times as most go to big landowners in this country. Can you imagine governments are currently paying farmers in some cases not to grow?

Organic farming will not only bring back the health of the soil but also stop corporations making money through selling chemicals and hybrid seeds. This will have a positive impact on the lives of all people as ‘organic produce’ will no longer be the domain of the rich and middle class who can afford to feed themselves and their children with good food. This choice should be available to all.

So! What’s happening globally where organic farming is concerned? Denmark is on its way to becoming the world’s first 100 per cent organic country, followed by Bhutan and Estonia. India has the North-eastern state of Sikkim designated as the first fully organic state anywhere in the world and was awarded the UN ‘Oscar for the Best Policy’ that is inclusive and comprehensive of all socioeconomic aspects.

Can Scotland be 100 per cent organic? Yes! It can.

View from Stooriefit Mountain

I have recently started a monthly column with the Peeblesshire News called View from Stooriefit Mountain. This column will be published monthly on every 3rd Friday of the month.

Brexit means Brexit! What does this catchphrase really mean? The problem is there is no one answer and it all depends on your economic situation, which part of the United Kingdom you live in, class, which newspapers you read, television and social media!

We are literally heading towards the cliff at breath-taking speed and all that our elected government can do is press the accelerator even harder in order to avoid a ‘People’s Vote’. It goes without saying I voted to remain. My reasoning was simple: the European Union experiment has been a success, albeit with problems and issues along the way and the foundation of this was to bring all the European nations together after WWII.

It has worked so far and will continue to work so long as each nation, big or small is taken care of and they can all share prosperity and health in a borderless world where people, goods and services can move seamlessly without hinderance from one nation to another.

So, let’s examine the truths behind the referendum called by former PM David Cameron.

In January 2013 he announced that, if the Conservatives were re-elected to power in the 2015 elections, he would hold a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU by a simple in or out question on the ballot paper. He also did this to satisfy Tory back-benchers and UKIP.

The European Union Referendum Bill 2015-2016 was passed in parliament and at close inspection was very poorly written and never stated what the outcome of the vote would be, whichever way it went! Anyone wishing to read what our elected representatives have passed should download a copy of this legislation. Many MPs may not have actually read this document in its entirety.

In Clause 5 – Types of Referendum – the following paragraphs say it all from a legal standpoint:

“It does not contain any requirement for the UK Government to implement the results of the referendum, nor set a time limit by which a vote to leave the EU should be implemented. Instead, this is a type of referendum known as pre-legislative or consultative, which enables the electorate to voice an opinion which then influences the Government in its policy decisions.” And: “The UK does not have constitutional provisions which would require the results of a referendum to be implemented, unlike, for example, the Republic of Ireland, where the circumstances in which a binding referendum should be held are set out in its constitution”.

My question to all political parties is why are we still going ahead? The lies have been exposed, European nationals and British citizens living in Europe were not given the vote, along with a host of other lies, exposing our Great Britain Colonial Empire attitudes to foreigners! Many wanted to bring back to good old days! No idea what this means to be honest, is it bring back racism, slavery, colonial rule, etc?

Can our local elected representatives answer this question, please?

Make Scotland 100% GMO Free

Peeblesshire News – 2nd November 2018

We are a Peebles based social enterprise, legally constituted as a community interest company and deliver our services all over Scotland. The aim of the organisation is to encourage and empower local communities to make informed choices about their food and health.

We have a threefold vision for Scotland; To make Scotland a 100% Organic Country, To make Scotland harness and use 100% Renewables and third to “Keep Scotland GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) Free”. In this first article I am hoping that I can address and highlight the impact of GMO’s in simple language and avoid where possible scientific jargon!

First of all what is GMO? The World Health Organisation states that “ Genetically modified organisms can be defined as organisms (i.e. plants, animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. Foods produced from or using GM organisms are often referred to as “GM foods”.

Secondly, there is a huge myth spread by the scientific community and corporations like Monsanto (they control almost 90% of the market in GMO seeds and patents, along with the fertilisers and herbicides required to grow GMO’s!!!) that this is the only way to solve food hunger problems around the world and tackle a booming population’s food needs.

So what is wrong with GMO’s? I have been often told that this is something that has been happening for centuries!!!!!!! Well! Not exactly. This is a recent development in the last few decades where companies like Monsanto know that if you control food and water you control the world! Monsanto has patented the seed technologies i.e. they have created seeds that produce crops only once!!! The next year you have to buy more seeds, which in the traditional sense you did not have too, as farmers would save seeds for the next growing season. Nature provided humankind with an unlimited supply of seeds and these companies are trying to monopolize the seed market. On top of this you add the extra cost of buying roundup and other toxic chemicals to spray on these crops and you get the bigger picture.

We now know the impact of fertilisers and pesticides used in the 60’s onwards to grow crops in the so called “Green Revolution” once again marketed and perpetuated by these companies on a global scale. Chemical fertilisers and pesticides have caused massive damage to our health in terms of increase of allergies and intolerances to our foods and soil erosion i.e. stripping the soil of its natural nutrients.  What will GMO’s bring to the world in about 50 years when its use is widespread! I shudder to think of the consequences for us.

If these individuals are happy to feed their families GMO’s, so be it, but please do not push it down our throats. You have your right to eat what you want and so do we.

Can Scotland Produce 100% Renewable Energy!

This week Bosco Santimano, founder and executive director of social enterprise You Can Cook, shares his thoughts on renewable energy.

Having covered making Scotland GMO free and a 100 per cent organic country as part of our vision, I can now focus on our third and final vision for the country – to make Scotland produce 100 per cent of its energy requirements through renewables.

Is this possible you may ask? Yes! It is, as long as so-called experts and professionals working in the oil companies are not sitting on government-funded boards and institutions that are in charge of energy security of the nation.

We have to move away from fossil fuels if we are to survive into the next century. Climate change is real and if we don’t reverse our current habits and lifestyles then there is no chance of survival for our species on this planet.

We currently know of at least seven forms of renewable sources of energy: solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, ocean thermal, bio energy and hydrogen.

Scotland is well placed geographically on these islands to be in a position to produce renewables through all the above clean energy sources including solar!

Scotland got more than two-thirds (68.1 per cent) of its electricity from green sources in 2017, an increase of 26 per cent from the previous year! Its not rocket science.

We can achieve our target so long as we pour money into research and development, training, manufacturing and other industries connected to the renewable sector. We could be a nation that leads by example and provide our expertise to other countries to help support them make the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.

The Scottish government is aiming to generate the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland’s gross annual electricity consumption by 2020. Scotland has already met the 2015, 50 per cent interim target and is also looking to provide the equivalent of 11 per cent of Scotland’s heat demand by 2020 through renewable sources.

Many of us are not aware that governments across the globe still provide massive subsidies to major oil companies and these are normally in the form of tax rebates/exemptions and tax credits for job creation.

The whole of the UK could have benefited when oil was first discovered in the North Sea but alas, vested interests both in government and corporations squandered the wealth of the nation on the few.

If the UK had followed Norway’s lead, we would probably be sitting on a similar $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund generated through oil alone. But, unfortunately, we cannot do anything about it now but hopefully hold those responsible at Westminster and stop them repeating the same mistake twice.

Local councils across this country should be given incentives to promote and encourage green energy usage, with households getting rebates on their council tax bills as one option.

Low-income households should be supported with this scheme otherwise they will be penalised just as they are now through our unfair current council tax bands and prepayment meters, while the well-off will reap the tax benefits once again!