Politics British Politicians To Face Criminal Investigation Over Scottish Referendum

In a television interview with the BBC just four days before the referendum John McTernan, a former adviser to Tony Blair said, "It's important to remember that about a fifth of the electorate, that will be about a quarter of the total turn-out, have voted already. They have voted by postal vote. Those postal votes are running very strongly towards 'no'. There is a whole bank of votes in."

In a television interview with the BBC just four days before the referendum John McTernan, a former adviser to Tony Blair said, “It’s important to remember that about a fifth of the electorate, that will be about a quarter of the total turn-out, have voted already. They have voted by postal vote. Those postal votes are running very strongly towards ‘no’. There is a whole bank of votes in.”

 

EDINBURGH, October 04 (RIA Novosti), Mark HirstPolice in Scotland will formally investigate allegations that anti-Scottish independence campaigners breached electoral law during the referendum held on September 18.

“We can confirm that Crown counsel has instructed Police Scotland to commence an investigation into alleged breaches of Schedule 7, Paragraph 7, of the Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013,” a statement issued on Saturday by the Crown Office, Scotland’s prosecution service reads.

The allegations relate to comments made by Ruth Davidson, a Member of the Scottish Parliament and leader of the Scottish Conservatives, in which she appeared to know the general results of postal votes arising from “sample opening” of ballot boxes.

Postal vote opening sessions are permitted before the formal poll is conducted to verify signatures and dates of birth against records held by the local Returning Officer. Agents for the two campaigns were allowed to monitor these sessions, but it is a criminal offense, punishable with up to a year’s imprisonment if found guilty, to communicate any information witnessed during the sample opening sessions.

In a television interview with the BBC shortly after the formal poll closed Davidson said “we’ve been incredibly encouraged by the results [of the postal vote],” implying the Scottish Conservative leader knew the outcome of the postal votes before the first formal results had been announced.

In another BBC interview just four days before the referendum John McTernan, a former adviser to Tony Blair said, “It’s important to remember that about a fifth of the electorate, that will be about a quarter of the total turn-out, have voted already. They have voted by postal vote. Those postal votes are running very strongly towards ‘no’. There is a whole bank of votes in.”

McTernan told RIA Novosti he had not been contacted by Police adding, “No reason to believe free speech is a crime.”

According to The Herald newspaper, Davidson has been contacted by Police with the paper quoting a Conservative Party source who said there was, “no suggestion she was accused of doing anything wrong at this stage.”

The independence referendum, which took place on September 18, saw a turnout of 84.59 percent. Scotland has chosen to stay in the United Kingdom with 44.7 percent of Scots having voted in support of independence and 55.3 percent having voted against.

Russian Observers Suspect ‘Special’ Voting Technologies in Scotland

Russian observers have suspicions over the "special" voting technologies used during the Scottish independence referendum.

Russian observers have suspicions over the “special” voting technologies used during the Scottish independence referendum.

Topic: Scotland on the Eve of Independence Referendum

EDINBURGH, September 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russian observers have suspicions over the “special” voting technologies used during the Scottish independence referendum and expect the announcement of results that will either confirm or disprove their suspicions.

“The absence of lines at voting offices could indicate the use of special voting technologies. About 20 percent vote in advance, via post. From our experience, we know that in 2012 Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney during presidential elections in early [stages of the] voting. That is, he won prior to the day of the election. Whether this technology was used during the referendum, we will know when the votes have been counted,” Igor Borisov, the chairman of the Council of the Russian Public Institute of Election Law and the head of the Russian observation mission, told RIA Novosti.

“If the organizers of the referendum announce the results of the postal votes separately from the results received on the day of the election, then it will be possible to assess how great the influence of technologies on the vote was,” he added.

Borisov noted that voter turnout is very high. According to members of the polling offices, by 10-11 a.m. BST (09:00-10:00 GMT) as many people came to vote as there were during the European Parliament elections in spring.

“At the same time, I cannot say that people wait to vote. I haven’t noticed anything like that. Although, there are lines of two-three people to take to the ballot,” Borisov said.

The Russian observation mission arrived in Edinburgh yesterday evening, comprising four specialists to monitor the Scottish independence referendum. Russian representatives will also monitor the vote count.

Why Musicians Will Be Disappointed Today That Scotland Voted ‘No”

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David Maclean
 
 

David Maclean is the drummer and producer for Django Django. He grew up in Edinburgh, Fife and The Highlands
 
Although I would’ve voted ‘Yes’ if I still lived in Scotland – I’m now in London – I was always of the belief that the way people were galvanised to become active about politics in Scotland during the Referendum was so important and something that has to keep going. Not just in Scotland but across the rest of Britain: it’s a time for change and if Scotland can achieve that as part of Britain, that’s good.You’d be hard pressed to find anyone voting – or supporting – ‘No’ yesterday in the music industry.

 

From Honeyblood to Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite and Björk to Belle & Sebastian, the only person who seemed to express support for a ‘No’ was David Bowie.

 

I suspect it has something to do with creative people being quite open-minded and having a good vision. Whether you’re a musician, writer or film-maker, you have to use your imagination to picture what you’re trying to achieve and it takes vision to see a political and social construct changing. It means the status quo alters and you take a risk. Creative people are quite good at taking risks both in their work and in their own life because they don’t always know where the pay packet is coming from. I think they’re more willing for change. Also a creative person’s psyche makes them aware of injustice and often vocal about fighting against it.

 

Austerity in Scotland hit people hard, particularly things like youth clubs and libraries; the sense that community was being dismantled is very difficult for a socialist country like Scotland to accept. But in a way it is fertile ground for the creation of art and music if you have something to fight against. Would people make great music if they were all funded properly and comfortable? Probably not. You need to have something to battle against.
 
Also musicians usually have a problem with authority and strictures will only restrict your creative output. How will the music landscape in Scotland change now the votes has come through? Maybe people will make angrier music. If you had two timelines and you looked back on a ‘yes’ and ‘no’, the music would probably be different. But thing I’m sure of is that music in Scotland will be fine. It’s embedded in our culture and our psyche and I think music is in safe hands no matter where the nations go. Music scenes will come and go regardless of politics. You won’t see Django Django making a nationalist metal or screamo record any time soon but it does influence our thinking.

 

There is a kinship between Scottish people in the music industry. We all draw towards each other with a sense of camaraderie and a shared bond. I’ve been following Stuart Braithwaite, Limmy and Alex Kapranos’ tweets and Steve Mason always has a good outlook on it.

 

But it’s never “Gung ho! Freedom! Let’s run off into the sunset!” It’s much more of a skeptical hope. Everybody understands that politics and politicians can be tricky. Just by becoming independent doesn’t mean it’s all going to be roses. People are aware of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. I didn’t begrudge David Bowie or anyone who voted ‘No’ and, actually, part of me did want the country to vote ‘No’ so we could change Britain together. There’s definitely value in that.

 

The agony of defeat: Public reaction Scottish referendum

Reuters / Russell Cheyne

Reuters / Russell Cheyne

RT news

Voters in Scotland chose to stay within the United Kingdom on Thursday night, following an intense campaign which almost saw the country become an independent state.

And while thousands of Scots voted – many for the first time – to break from the union, their hopes were dashed when the ‘No’ campaign pipped them to the post.

 Here's our map showing the #indyref results for each Scottish local authority, put together by @CullinaneCarl 4:46 AM - 19 Sep 2014


Here’s our map showing the #indyref results for each Scottish local authority, put together by @CullinaneCarl
4:46 AM – 19 Sep 2014

The outcome of the vote upset many who spent weeks campaigning for Scotland’s’ independent future, and they expressed their disappointment on social media:

Marc: If its a No vote I will be so ashamed and embarrassed to live in a country where people chose fear over hope #indyref #ScotsDecide
8:09 PM – 18 Sep 2014

Barry Dwyer: Scotland! The SNP tried, but U blew the chance to rid yourselves of Tories, Monarchy, Imperialism, & Westminster elite forever – try again!

UK: “I’m now an ex-Scot” Edinburgh’s Yes campaigners gutted by result

In Glasgow- the city that overwhelmingly voted ‘Yes’, voters took to the streets and celebrated despite it all.

“Shove the union up your a**e” they chanted.

‘Shove your union up your arse!’ Yes supporters on indyref results

Some Scottish nationalists even went as far as to say the referendum was rigged:

Steven Delahunty: The Referendum was rigged! POSTAL VOTE FRAUD! @bbcscotlandnews
5:26 AM – 19 Sep 2014

Chris Franck: Scotland Referendum rigged? – http://youtu.be/kUR-HgAtwtg
4:18 AM – 19 Sep 2014

Published on Sep 18, 2014
http://www.undergroundworldnews.com
There is damning evidence that shows that this vote is a fraud. Just from the video and the pictures alone, we can see errors! Can you imagine how much is wrong? This is the Best Video proof you will also ever get showing the votes were changed to NO on purpose!

While others suspected that the secret service was behind the ‘No’ victory:

J. @Kirktonparkie: #ScotlandDecides has MI5 targeted Scotland’s YES city count? #indyref #yes #VoteYes
8:39 PM – 18 Sep 2014

Robert Ryan: RT @meljomur: My friend who worked in MI5, did tell me back in June, that there was no way in hell the Establishment would let Scotland go.
9:00 PM – 18 Sep 2014

Scotland’s democratic revolution

Whatever the referendum's outcome, energy created by the grassroots independence campaign has changed Scottish politics.

Whatever the referendum’s outcome, energy created by the grassroots independence campaign has changed Scottish politics.

‘Yes’ campaigners have been out in force pushing for independence [Andrew McFadyen/Al Jazeera]

Glasgow, Scotland – Something extraordinary is happening in Pollok.

The sprawling housing scheme on Glasgow’s south side is one of the most deprived communities in Europe. One-in-four residents are on out-of-work benefits, and more than one-third of children here grow up in poverty.

It is a place where just getting by is often a challenge, and many people have little time for politics. Just 39 percent voted in the last Scottish election.

But this time – with Thursday’s referendum on Scotland’s independence from the United Kingdom – it promises to be different. On Sunday, at least 44 people gathered at the back of a bus station for a mass canvass organised by the Radical Independence Campaign.

Seventeen-year-old Shannon Neill got involved a few days ago.

“I’ve been campaigning for the past week and the passion and the vigour I am hearing from people of all different ages, and nationalities as well, is quite astounding,” Neill told Al Jazeera.

I don’t think there has ever been a campaign like this where people have been able to use social media and the internet so effectively to make their voices heard.

– Zara Gladman, pro-independence supporter

Another activist described the level of engagement in the community as a democratic revolution. For the first time ever, people believe their vote matters and it can make a difference.

Radical campaign

The Radical Independence Campaign is part of the biggest grassroots movement that Scotland has ever seen.

Craig Paterson, a 27-year-old student with a mop of blonde hair and a bottle of Irn Bru sticking out his jacket pocket, describes it as a broad based left-wing movement that includes greens, trade unionists, and anti-war activists.

“On days like today, on mass canvasses, we have had anything up to 1,000 people out across the country,” Paterson says.

The pro-independence side is feeling increasingly optimistic about the outcome of Thursday’s vote. As the group breaks up into teams and starts walking, they are hailed by an elderly passer-by who wants to tell them why he is voting Yes, “England should not be, in this day and age, telling us what to do.”

A blue Volkswagen van drives alongside the marchers with the 1980s hit “One Great Thing” by Dunfermline folk rockers Big Country blaring out over the speakers. Paterson says the Yes campaign has rented six such vehicles for every constituency to help get the vote on polling day.

However, the response from residents is initially more mixed. In particular, it is clear that pensioners are not receptive to the message.

Douglas Doig, who describes himself as a left-leaning accountant, says, “Every time a retired woman opens the door it’s a No. But it’s fine, they are very smiley about it.”

Another householder tells the campaigners, “My heart is saying one thing and my head is saying another. Unless I hear some real hard facts, I’m voting No.”

Reinforcing the message

But it becomes clear as the afternoon goes on that Pollok is swinging towards Yes. The canvass returns at the end of the session show 278 “Yes”, 100 “No”, and 74 “Don’t Knows”. If there is a Yes majority on polling day, communities such as this is where it will come from.

The message was reinforced by a packed public meeting at a local primary school on Monday evening. More than 90 people turned out to hear veteran Nationalist Jim Sillars make the case for independence.

With a voice rasping from speeches night-after-night in towns and villages across the country he says, “I’ve been going around Scotland stirring up the working class and telling you how good you are.”

He preached old-time socialist religion to an audience that wanted to listen, arguing with passion that independence would transform Scottish society, shifting power not only from London to Edinburgh, but away from the elites and back to working people.

“I have been vilified for what I said about BP, the banks and the businessmen. I don’t take back a single word,” says Sillars.

It was the first political meeting that 28-year-old local resident Heather Brown had ever attended.

She says she doesn’t normally vote but Brown knew this one could make a difference to the future. “I would rather come and hear for myself than sit and watch people on Facebook.”

At the beginning of the evening she had been undecided and wanted answers to questions like whether Scotland would keep the pound as a currency if it became independent. She listened intently throughout the meeting, concentrating hard and not joining in with the applause.

Radical Independence will continue because we don’t just want to vote Yes and hope that the politicians will sort out our society, we know that this needs to be a participatory process, and we are not going anywhere after September 18th.

– John Davidson, Radical Independence Campaign

By the end of the night she had made up her mind, “F*** voting No”, she said, “I couldn’t vote No.”

Social revolution

The referendum campaign has seen the return of street politics to Scotland, but it has been given a  21st-Century twist by the innovative use of social media.

Zara Gladman, who is better known as Lady Alba, had the audience in stitches on Monday evening with her version of “Bad Romance”, which pokes fun at No supporters. It has received more than 112,000 hits on YouTube.

“It was quite overwhelming when I saw the number of hits it was getting,” she says. “I don’t think there has ever been a campaign like this where people have been able to use social media and the internet so effectively to make their voices heard.”

Whatever the outcome on Thursday, the energy created by the grassroots independence campaign has changed politics in Scotland, and the politicisation of a new generation will have an impact that reaches far beyond the referendum.

John Davidson from the Radical Independence Campaign says they are already looking at plans to continue the organisation.

“Radical Independence will continue because we don’t just want to vote Yes and hope that the politicians will sort out our society, we know that this needs to be a participatory process, and we are not going anywhere after September 18th.”