We Are Exiles.

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FransTrish

This is the story, my story and that of my family. I’m Scots, born and bred. My name is Trish and I’m married to Frans, a Belgian. We live in the Scottish Highlands, with our adult daughter Alice, who has Asperger’s Syndrome.

My husband is permanently disabled. And he receives his disability pension from his native Belgium, which I’m included upon as a carer/co-dependant. This means we don’t cost the UK government a penny. Even the NHS treatment we receive is paid for by Belgium under EU Social Security agreements.

However, Brexit is about to change all that. And in doing so, it’s making exiles of us, my husband, who chose to marry me and make Scotland his home, and myself, who has never lived anywhere other than Scotland, my native land. Yet thanks to England’s decisions, England’s xenophobia, we’re being evicted from our home like so much rubbish. If you’re an Anglophile, if you’re a supporter of Brexit, then perhaps you’d best read no further.

But, this is my story, my family’s story. It’s ongoing and for us, it hurts. And even if no-one reads it, I just want a record left, somewhere, so that the wider world knows what it is like, to be a Scot who’s never known what it is like to live in a free nation, to be a Scot who, thanks to greed driven, xenophobic English politics and policy, is now being exiled from her native land. And how it’s tearing my family, and my heart, apart.

This blog will contain much anger, hurt, emotion and the occasional swear. If you’re not ok with that, again, best you read no further.

But if you want to know exactly what England is doing to ordinary Scots, to the most vulnerable of us, to those unable to fight back, then stick with me, please. Because England controls UK media, and England controls what the outside world gets to find out. And believe me, what they tell you is very far from the truth as far as Scotland is concerned.

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Culloden….

I STILL can’t figure out screenshots. So please forgive me for the copious copypasting of this Twitter thread. But I felt it was important. Growing up in the 60’s/70’s, school taught us virtually nothing about our own Scottish history. We got English imperialism and colonialism. We got English victories, English kings and queens. (I got SO fucking sick of having to learn to recite in order Henry V111’s  bloody wives in order I deliberately fecked it up, got the belt (tawse) and the teacher gave up asking me to do it. One tiny victory for me, at least….)

England’s history only had relevance to me in the context of the fact their country ruled mine. I come from a long time of pro independence folks. And *they* knew their history. The REAL history, not the English propoganda shit they taught us in Scottish schools, designed to brainwash us into becoming pro Anglo puppets believing in our own inferiority and stupidity, believing that if it weren’t for the civilising influence of English culture, English history, English governance, we’d be savages still, running bare legged round the hills and woodlands hunting deer and gabbling an incoherent language that, according to one of my English (actually English) teachers, was well and truly “dead”.

My family had it’s flaws and plenty of them. Dad chased anything in skirts, both parents drank, they fought, Mam died when I was young, and the men of my family that raised me made damn sure I KNEW the history given out by England regarding our own country was at best skewed, but normally deliberately re-written to change actual events and paint Scots, and Scotland, in the worst possible light.

I was educated by my family, with all their flaws and drunkenness, their songs and stories and their reinforcement on an almost daily basis that English were bastards (Dad’s words) and Gran’s telling me (they want Scotland..they want what we’ve got).

Well, over the years I learned a few things. That there are many decent english folks that hate their government *almost* as much as I do. And that Gran was right…they want Scotland. Not just her resources. The land herself. All of Scotland. England wants to own Scotland.

So she began a long time ago, reinforcing to Scotland’s people, our inferiority, our stupidity, our inability to rule our own selves (though Scotland, being the older nation than England, had been doing fine up until the Union, thank you)

And *this* thread simply displays it still continues. Even if you disregard the rags that call themselves newspapers full of their anti Scot racism and hatred and their jingoistic “Engerlund” cheering and sneering at the rest of the world not-English, their history books are, as I said, skewed at best. Or should we be honest and just say, they lied. They continue to lie. It’s what they do.

So yes, with apologies to Roger Anderson for “stealing” his thread (I REALLY hope that’s not an actual thing and Roger, or anyone who’s Tweets I mention in my blog, if you want them removed please just say and I happily will with no hard feelings) *this* thread matters.

I Still Can’t Do It…

Take screenshots that is. I DuckDuckGo’d it. found loads of techy info. Brain froze. Gave up. Sorry folks. Anyway, *this* tweet is what got to me this morning:

I’ll put the picture that goes with it at the end of the blog. Most Scots should know what it is.

It made me sad. Over 300 years of being ruled by England. A nation that is OLDER than England is. A nation that once ruled her own self and let herself be bullied, blackmailed, threatened and aye, bought, into slavery to that country.

Yet we’re Sovereign. We’ve the Right, enshrined by law, to refuse to be part of the Union should we wish.

I’m asking again. Why…WHY…is the SNP, Scotgov, NOT hammering home Sovereignty and how to use it to EVERY SINGLE SCOTTISH HOUSEHOLD in the nation?

Why?

What are they afraid of? That we’ll win? That we’ll actually do it, what they cannot? Dissolve the union, then elect a party that has NO English interest politicians in it to govern us?

Something is rotten in the heart of Scottish politics when the simplicity and fact of Scottish Sovereignty is not being used as the tool it should be, to achieve independence.

Aye. Something is VERY wrong there. Scots, have your blind faith in the SNP if you want. But nobody is about to hand you independence on a plate. Even Michael Russell has to admit that when he agrees Westminster will not sanction another section 30, when they will continue to not agree to another referendum.

So the answer to that is?

Sovereignty. We do not NEED a referendum to be free. There’s three choices on the table here. Let the SNP keep going as they are…”sending strong messages to Westminster” that remain, as always, ignored.

Let Westminster do as they’ve already begun to do…power grab, bit by bit until we find there’s nothing left to give up because they have total control of what we *thought* we had.

Or the Scottish people take matters into their OWN hands and legally, USE their Sovereign Rights to take to the streets of Scotland en masse and DEMAND independence. In which case the Scots government is legally bound to follow the will of their people, and begin negotiations for the split of Union.

Instead, same auld same auld. Read the papers. Look at social media. Scots politicians “We will send a strong message to Westminster”…aye right, and like all the other times, they’ll laugh at ye and tell ye tae fuck off. And ye’ll take it. Whipped dugs, ye are.

Same auld same auld…never thought I’d hear the day Scotland’s ain government would parrot May…”now is not the time”, or “patience”….

See where patience got me and mine, Michael Russell. Take a good hard look and hope they never come for you.

Yessers keep telling me if we’re not patient we’re not guaranteed a win. Here’s a fact. NOTHING in life is guaranteed. Nothing. If they want to wait until a poll claims a miraculous 99% support for independence, gaun right aheid. By that time, Scotland will be renamed Northern Britain and your bairns futures will be quashed, turned to dust. I promise that. Believe me.

And if you’re too feart to try, then you’ll never win at all. There is NO limit to the amount of times a people can attempt self determination. THAT is international law. Human Rights. You know Human Rights, yes? That thing Theresa May and her cronies swore to abolish after Brexit. Took a vote on it. Decided to do just that. Hence the British Bill of Rights and if you think that gives you ANY right you’re an idiot.

So aye, you can keep waiting, or you can demand the SNP educate all Scots about Sovereignty then FUCKING USE IT.

Because from outside looking in, all I see is a country chained to the ankles of another that is rapidly sinking. Scots people have the key. But the SNP, for some reason, aren’t letting them use it. What’s wrong with that picture?

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One. More. Time.

Another independence referendum for Scotland is NOT needed. Because the Scottish people are Sovereign.

And I’ve done this more than once, but what the hell…may as well flog a deid horse, right?

Because all I see on social media are Scots waiting on the go ahead from the blessed SNP for that independence referendum date. Even though it’s the Scottish government their own selves who should be informing ALL Scots up and down the length of the nation exactly what Sovereignty IS, how it works, and how SCOTTISH PEOPLE achieve independence, giving the Scottish government of the day the sole job thereafter of negotiating the split of the union and all that entails.

But no. Folks want indy handed to them on a plate. Preferably by Nicola herself.

Come ON Scots. Quit being lazy. Discover your Sovereignty. Then USE it. If you can organise mass rallies, you can do this:

Christine Grahame on Sovereignty and Independence

hands-and-broken-chains-J3A0M6

Head. Brick Wall. No Point.

I don’t know if anyone’s been regularly reading this blog. If they have, they’ll know the fight I had to remain in my native Scotland (a fight I clearly lost). They’ll know that at least two/three politicians asked me for my email address so they could read my situation and help.

Long story short, look how it went. Frans and I in exile. Alice still back in Scotland. And it was down to Belgium, NOT Scotland, that we got the transition period. Now, that doesn’t allow us to return to live in Scotland, because to date disability benefits are still unprotected under the Withdrawal Agreement terms.

Then there was the time, recently, my daughter hit a financial crisis that literally meant she’d no heating, not enough food and was almost out of electricity for the key meter. I contacted Mike Russell, MP, who had someone called Stephen O’Neill inform me she could claim for a crisis grant at Highland Council. I blogged how that went. And how if it hadn’t been for the kindness of Scottish people, Alice would have gone hungry and cold.

And because of the ineptitude of Highland Council (btw, since I filled in the forms on Alices’ behalf, when did it become obligatory for them to demand what her sexual orientation is? What on earth does that have to do with ANYTHING, never mind a crisis grant claim?) I’ve contacted Stephen many times asking if Scotgov intend to do anything, because he SAID Scotgov intended to make it easier for those affected by Brexit..as Alice is..to access crisis grants at their councils.

I’ve documented proof of emails back and forth. I have also had to write here about how I’ve been ignored, consistently. By Ian Blackford MSP (“after New Year I’ll have my team on it” then nothing), by Michael Russell (“I’ll keep you up to date on things” then nothing), by Gail Ross (“stop saying the SNP have abandoned you, they haven’t!” then when I ask for proof of how they hadn’t, nothing) and of course, Alyn Smith (just, nothing after that first equivalent of “sorry, you’re fucked basically”) and now Stephen O’Neill, who said “if you need further info don’t hesitate to get in touch” and when I do? Guess…..)

and not forgetting Nicola Sturgeon herself, who when this first began had someone tell me “try the DWP”..that was it. I’ve since emailed her again. Nothing. Not. A. Thing.

Now, you guys might be thinking “fuck’s sake this woman’s nothing but a pest!” and you might be right. But I HAVE been asking pertinent questions, both regarding my own family’s situation AND the political situation in Scotland. Even the circumstances surrounding Highland Council, their appallingly pointless reasons for refusing my daughter a crisis grant, AND their need to know her sexual orientation. Filled in those forms myself. Trust me. It’s there.

And I’m getting zero response.

I finally get it, Scotgov and the SNP. Took a while but it finally sank in. One wee family wasnae worth fighting for. And when faced with difficult (but entirely pertinent questions) such as the issue of Highland Council and their inappropriate forms and lack of aid for no good reasons, you just don’t want to know, do you?

And all those Scots thinking how fabulous you are at your Day Job? Not so much. No, not so much. Not really.

You wrote us off like rubbish. Two wasted years of my life, my family’s life, begging at your feet for help. Getting nothing. And now we’re not even in the country of my birth? Getting nothing. Not even words of sympathy, apology, nothing.

Well gues what? My lassie’s still there. And that makes you partly responsible for her welfare. Because you wrote her parents off, the ones who should be there to care for her.

Don’t you DARE do the same to my daughter. She’s as Scottish as anyone else.

Stephen O’Neill, be ashamed of yourself, man. If you can’t even deal with the farce that is Highland Council and the disgrace of their inappropriate need to know people’s sexual orientation for no reason I can see, then whatever job it is you’ve got, I pity those depending upon you.

All of you who promised help, found out how difficult our case was, then have spent the rest of the time consistently ignoring us, shame on you all. You can pretend all ye like my family doesnae exist. You obviously believe we dinnae matter, despite Nicola’s pretty words, great soundbites of “All welcome here” and her touting of a “fair, inclusive Scotland for all” as if it was some Holy Grail.

Right words. Wrong actions. Because even if it’s only a handful of folks, there ARE people that can see what you’re doing, how you’re treating one Scots family. A family that spent two years begging for help you *could* have given and didn’t.

Just you all go on ignoring me. Fine that. But I’m not going anywhere.

As for you, the SNP, you’re a disgrace to your roots. Not only would your predecessors have actually fought on our behalf, they wouldn’t be wearing the ultimate armour of the biggest coward…silence.

You just make sure you remember us, Nicola, Michael, Alyn, Ian, Gail, Stephen, all of you. Even the LibDem Jamie North who was meant to get in touch with me (didn’t, of course). Just make sure you remember there were Scots you allowed England to evict from their ain country.

And when your retirement days come and you’re cushy with your ain hames, families, in parts of Scotland you believe you own, remember those you never fought for and let England’s politics exile.

Because I’m not going to forget you.

To those Europeans actually believing in Nicola’s words, I can tell you this much…my husband is European. Ten years a Scottish resident. Ten years. On disability benefit from his native Belgium. The minute Brexit hit, Nicola and the rest of the SNP abandoned us like hot tatties.

So if you DO intend to make Scotland your hame, make damn sure you’re working there. Get a good paying job. Don’t require welfare because WM won’t give you any. And if you get into difficulties, don’t bother asking Scotgov or the SNP for help. I wasted two years at *that* brick wall….

Even when they say they’ll help those financially affected by Brexit, such as those in Alice’s position, it’s a lie. Should your local council say No, think Scotgov’ll help ye? Don’t, please, be so foolish as to think they will.

If you trust anyone in Scotland, make sure it’s the Scottish people alone. Because the government, and the ruling party, they’re too busy playing by Westminster’s rules to give a shit about the ordinary man, woman or child, despite Nicola’s copious photo ops, despite their words. Want the proof? Ask for actual help. Ask for it.

If you’re case is deemed “too difficult” they’ll waste no time in writing you off, discarding you like a piece of trash.

The Scottish people deserve better. And I wish they’d wake up and realise it. My whole blog, my whole Twitter account has been a document of exactly how they deal with those they can’t be troubled to help. I had ordinary Scots offering help they could ill afford.

How I wish THEY were running Scotland. We’d be free, by now, if they were.

Squizzey-at-Helmsdale

Therapy

Not so long ago, when I thought I had depression (it was extreme anxiety, circumstance related, but whaddo I know, huh?) the docs tried me on various anti depressants. I already take betablockers for a heart arrhythmia, so none of the anti depressants sat well with those. In fact one was dangerous. So no, they didnae work.

Ended up in some rather forceful words from me to doc along the lines of “It isn’t depression I have..it’s anxiety..there’s a difference! I KNOW what’s causing it (Brexit and exile) and it’s that which is making me ill and stressed to hell and back. And I’m sick of being told I need anti depressants that don’t help, that make me physically ill and MORE stressed, so for goodness sakes give me something that WORKS!”

Hence the Diazepam.

But, I’m one of life’s pragmatic woman. I ken I cannae rely on pills forever. They’re helping right now…in fact, openly admitting, without them there’s at least twice I’d have been *that* close to taking my own life. So aye, they help.

But in the lonely hours, the times when Frans is out visiting relatives and I’m here alone and my daughters so far away in Scotland, as is hame, well….

I started to learn music. Trying to read music..it’s hard and I struggle but there are a few tunes I  play on the tin whistle with tabs, or reading music notes…Suil a Ruin is one, one of my favourites. So with the tin whistles, doing fine, learning more all the time although possibly to the horror of real musicians, I cannae play anything without having music or tabs in front of me. But then, it’s not like I’m ever gonna go professional or the like! Not photogenic enough. Too auld. Definitely not talented enough. No, this is for me. To help keep me sane, keep me gaun, til my family’s whole again.

I’m also learning the Irish low D whistle. Damn, what sadist with massively big hands invented that!? I have osteoarthritis in my fingers (so you might say I’m mad for learning the whistle, but I’m also learning guitar so that makes me doubly nuts) so that stretch is a huge issue for me.

In the same way as, in the beginning, it was the high notes I struggled with on the tin whistles, with the Low D it’s the very low notes. You ken the ones, if you play it..those last two bottom holes. The ones that gie ye that horrible air-escaping shrieking sound. Those ones.

But, I’m a thrawn, stubborn auld woman. So I’ll keep going. There’s lot of lovely folks on Youtube that help teach those of us with little to no musical talent how to play instruments. *This* is the girl I’ve learned most from to date: Cutiepie

She breaks it down, her vids are clear to see and she’s not teaching you Twinkle Twinkle or the like. You can learn, from the get-go, REAL songs, which is what, I think, most learners actually want.

For the first time, I’m living with neighbours. So far nobody’s complained about the whistle playing. I’m certain they hear it because the walls are paper thin here! I hope they continue to have patience, and I’m grateful if they do.

Because such a simple thing as learning to play musical instruments is therapy. Good therapy. I just can’t really play Scots tunes yet. Makes me cry.

And I’ll perservere with the Low D. *This*, btw, is the first tune I’ve successfully played on it: Davey Jones

And here is a pic of my tiny whistle collection (and aye, I knit too. Badly, but I knit. Mostly socks, and hats)

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This Made Me Cry.

Wee Ginger Dug

It just did.

 

“I want Scottish independence … because this should be a land that is welcoming. Scotland was always a shelter for people from all over the world, because for centuries it was literally the end of the Earth. Once you got to Scotland, there was nowhere else to go. This is a land of migrants, and we should honour those who do us the honour of choosing to throw their lot in with the rest of us and becoming a part of the story of Scotland. Brexit Britain is closed in, inward looking, intolerant, xenophobic. I want a kinder, gentler, more welcoming country.”

 

To Scotgov, to the SNP, *this* is what you promised us. And yet you let England’s politics throw myself and my husband out of Scotland. So, this made me cry, hard. I want this too.

One Of These Days…

I’ll learn how to do some proper techy stuff. Like take screenshots of tweets. Til that day, this is “it”, sorry…

 

Today’s soaraway on the European elections: our chance to shine.

I’ve some respect for Alyn Smith. I say “some” because I asked him for help with our case very early on and got the equivalent back of a shrug and “sorry, you’re fucked”….
But is anyone else sick and tired of the SNP proclaiming they will send a “strong message” to the UK? Remind me again how LONG Scotland has been sending England “strong messages”?
Then remind me how LONG those bloody messages have been ignored. Laughed at. Mocked. Sneered at. Did I mention, ignored?
The SNP are saying all the right things. Making the right sounds. “Standing up for Scotland” (how? By allowing English politics to throw Scots oot their ain country?)
“All Welcome in Scotland” (dinnae even get me started on that one….)
“Scotland will NOT allow..*insert x/y/z here*” then Westminster gauns right aheid and does it anyway.
And what can Scotland DO? Sweet fuck all. Nothing. Because we’re not independent.
Because England rules Scotland. Because by sheer dint of numbers, Scotland’s voice is always unheard in Westminster AND in Europe.
Think Europe listens to Scotland?
Well, both Alyn Smith and Michael Russell their own selves told me our case couldn’t even be discussed with Belgium because Scotland isn’t an independent nation.
Digest that a moment.
Then look at the show of bravado and swagger Alyn Smith is displaying and wonder how *real* it is…..or what good it does.
You might be forgiven for thinking I’ve gone over to the Dark Side and become unionist, the way I talk about the SNP and Scotgov.
Nothing could be further from the truth. I would literally slit my ain throat than be forced to say I’m a unionist.
I’ve been for independence for Scotland all my life. My parents, theirs, and theirs before them. I grew up from a young age without a mother, who died in my early teens, raised by a dad and uncles, all hard working, hard bitten, hard drinking Highlandmen who would spend many a night discussing with great bitterness and anger exactly WHY Scotland needed independence. And *this*, mind you, in the days when the SNP as a party were rarely taken seriously.
Those words soaked into my skin, my heart, and adult experience reinforced the absolute truth of them.
England rules Scotland.
And even then, back in the seventies, I remember my dad and his ilk discussing Scots Sovereignty, the Declaration of Arbroath, the absolute Right Scots have to decide who governs us. Even then.
And now, of course, even the First Minister, Nicola herself, had to admit to the world, yes, Scots ARE Sovereign and that was upheld in court.
So YOU, if you’re a reader, tell me why the SNP are NOT hammering home to every damn Scot in the land what Sovereignty is, how it works, and how we can use it to achieve our independence. Go on. Tell me why. I’d honestly love to know.
Because after we do achieve independence, then we’re free to elect a new government for Scotland? Because some of them might fear losing their jobs? Because some of them are so happily entrenched in Westminster’s Game of Politics they actually enjoy it?
I’ve watched Scots from one end of the country to the other organise and attend enormous rallies. I’ve watched them raise hugely signed pro independence petitions.
I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT SHOULD THEY RECOGNISE THEIR POWER OF SOVEREIGNTY, THE PEOPLE OF SCOTLAND COULD EASILY ORGANISE THAT ONE, LAST, ENORMOUS RALLY THAT WOULD DEMAND OF THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT THEY BEGIN DISSOLUTION OF THE UNION.
No doubt at all.
But then, I also know many Scots unaware of what Scots sovereignty is, how it differs from the English version, and what our power truly is, where it truly lies.
So YOU tell me, if you can, why, amongst all the SNP election leaflets, there isn’t one I’ve seen that informs Scotland on how to use their Sovereignty?
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