Monthly Archives: January 2015



The SNP has today welcomed the news that Scottish actor Brian Cox, originally from Dundee, has quit the Labour Party and has joined the SNP.

As reported in today’s Courier, Mr Cox – who was a key campaigner for Yes in the independence referendum campaign – has left Labour as he believes that the SNP is the only party “taking forward the values of social justice” – something he says Labour has “failed” at.

Since the referendum, SNP membership has surged from around 25,000 to over 93,000.

Welcoming the SNP’s newest member, Joe FitzPatrick, SNP MSP for Dundee City West said:

“Brian Cox joining the SNP is a fabulous endorsement for the party – his deep held beliefs and passion for social justice are well known, and it is an honour to have such a talented and internationally celebrated actor as a member.

“Labour has, as Brian points out, abandoned the principles which it used to stand for – no wonder so many former Labour members have joined and are continuing to join the SNP.

“The SNP are taking nothing for granted and we will work extremely hard for every vote and seat, because if a team of SNP MPs can hold the balance of power at Westminster, we can deliver the policies and powers Scotland needs to help build a fairer and more equal country.”


Brian Cox: Why I quit Labour for the SNP



Building on the benefits of being the only mass membership party in the UK, the SNP has today begun its biggest ever manifesto consultation: reaching out to over 93,000 members seeking their views ahead of May’s General Election.

In the four months following the referendum, the SNP’s membership has grown from around 25,000 on polling day to over 93,000 now. With SNP member now around one in 50 of the adult population in Scotland, the consultation is an opportunity to get involved in helping shape the party’s General Election manifesto – reflecting Nicola Sturgeon’s pledge of accessibility.

The consultation follows on from Ms Sturgeon’s tour of Scotland at the end of last year – which gave new members and their friends and family the chance to ask questions across a range of issues. Taking place at locations across Scotland from Inverness to Dumfries, the largest event saw the 12,000 capacity SSE Hydro in Glasgow booked out.

Ms Sturgeon has also pledged to hold regular Facebook Q&As and Scottish cabinet meetings at locations outside Edinburgh every two months.

SNP Depute Leader Stewart Hosie said:

“The referendum reenergised Scottish politics, bringing citizens and politicians closer together than at any previous time in our nation’s history. It is important that this engagement continues to blossom – and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been clear that she will play her part by being Scotland’s most accessible First Minister, leading an outward looking government that is open to members of the public.

“Since polling day, the SNP has seen our membership grow from around 25,000 to over 93,000 – around one in 50 of the adult population in Scotland – which is just one remarkable indication of the change that has swept through Scotland. The SNP are extremely keen to reach out to our new members, who reflect all of the many diverse communities of Scotland, and benefit from their experience.

“Today we are offering all of our members the opportunity to take part in shaping our manifesto – to submit ideas to put forward their ideas for consideration. This is an unparalleled opportunity for consultation with our membership across Scotland.

“A strong team of SNP MPs at Westminster will stand up for Scotland – working to stop the renewal of Trident, take forward an alternative to austerity, and protect our place in Europe. Our manifesto is an important step on the path to making our voice heard at Westminster, and including our members in the process will greatly strengthen our campaign.”




New figures showing that UCAS applications by students in Scotland have reached record levels – highlighting the importance of the SNP’s commitment to free education.

A record high of 40,850 Scottish domiciled students have applied to study at a higher education institution in Scotland next year.
One of the SNP’s first acts on taking office was to abolish backdoor tuition fees, restoring the principle of education based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay in Scotland.
Commenting, SNP MSP George Adam said:
“The fact that UCAS applications have reached record levels is a fantastic testament to the SNP’s efforts to ensure that students do not face barriers to their education.
“The abolition of tuition fees is one of the biggest achievements of the SNP Government and we remain utterly committed to protecting free education in Scotland.

“While Labour and the LibDems were happy to see students pay for their education and students south of the border face fees of up to £9000 per year, it is only the SNP that has been consistently on the side of students in Scotland”.

Only International Scotland provides the very latest OFFICIAL SNP NEWS.



URL METRICS UK RANKING for International Scotland website has seen its growth go from strength to strength over the last 3 months.

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We are now ranked under 15,000 in the UK and nearly 300,000 pages viewed per month we are the fastest growing political website in Europe.

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For more info on our web traffic please visit our info on URL METRICS UK RANKING


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Regular readers of this website will have known about the Inchgarth Debacle where by they raised money to pay for a new hall floor before ASDA stepped in and paid for it again.

Proof Asda paid for a job already paid and completed months earlier picture

International Scotland raised the issue with ASDA’s charity arm the ASDA FOUNDATION’.

We were contacted by Mr Paul Kelly who was their man in charge who told us everything was above board even though we had proof of wrong doing of an ACC elected member.

It now turns out Mr Kelly was as rotten as they come because we have just found out Mr Kelly resigned for giving his male partner £180,000 of FOUNDATION funding to his dance studio.

Surely this means the investigation into the £10,000 grant given to inchgarth Community Centre in Aberdeen has to be reopened so the general public can trust its charitable status.


Inchgarth asked it 2500 members to donate their entire members fees to buy a new floor in an Aberdeen City Council owned building they further layed on an concert event which was relly well attended and raised enough money for the floor to be relaid and completed in March of that year which was a briliant local achivement.

What was not so Briliant was that ASDA Foundation stepped in at the begining of May and offered to pay for the new floor but someone at inchgarth should have told the Asda Foundation the job had already been done and paid for but they never and as the ASDA foundation was not aware of this paid out £10,000 at the end of May.

We have now learned the ASDA FOUNDATION carried out several investigations and found this site and the website at was correct in raising these concerns about a breach in their awards processes because the Asda Foundation can not award funding for projects that have already been completed and paid for in advance of the said award!

With P Kelly not being the man he claimed to be and totally untrustworthy any investigation he had carried out into dubious funding awards should all be looked at again very closely to regain public trust in the ASDA FOUNDATION.

We think the Asda Foundation should now ask for their money back?






Speaking on the BBC Marr programme this morning (Sunday), Scottish National Party leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pledged that an SNP group of MPs holding the balance of power in the House of Commons after May’s General Election would make halting the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system an “absolute priority” – and said that health and education would be our first call on the billions of pounds of resources freed up.

In its report in July 2014, the Trident Commission at Westminster estimated the cost of Trident renewal as some £2.9 billion a year, reaching £4 billion a year in the 2020s.

Commenting afterwards, Ms Sturgeon said:

“The Trident nuclear missile system is unusable and indefensible – and the plans to renew it are ludicrous on both defence and financial grounds.

“If we deliver a strong team of SNP MPs at the General Election, an absolute priority will be getting Trident renewal halted. And the more MPs we get elected, the greater the chances of holding the balance of power and achieving the end of Trident, which will free up enormous resources.

“The cost of Trident renewal is some £3 billion a year, rising to £4 billion in the 2020s. The NHS and education, including childcare, are our first calls for where this money could be far more productively spent – and the SNP will set out exactly what could be achieved for health care and children in Scotland with our share of the Trident money.

“This election is about big choices, and people in Scotland can achieve big changes by voting SNP. As a weapons system designed for the Cold War, the case for Trident is non-existent in 2015, and it will be utterly unlamented if we are successful in getting rid of it.

“No sensible UK Government would develop a nuclear weapons capability now if one didn’t exist. Therefore, a strong group of SNP MPs in a hung parliament, working with other progressive political forces, can bring sanity to bear now – and halt Trident renewal in its tracks.”





The SNP has today highlighted comments by Ed Balls which reinforce the reason why SNP MPs will vote on the NHS in England and matters south of the border that have a direct impact on Scotland.

In The Guardian Ed Balls says there is a risk that further cuts will lead to widespread patient charging – and in doing so totally contradicts the messages his party were issuing in the final days of the referendum campaign.

Mr Balls says: “ cannot go down to such sustained low levels of public spending – the lowest for 70 years – and expect the NHS to remain recognisable.”

Before the referendum Labour repeatedly told Scots that the NHS was only safe with a No vote and with Scotland’s budget being set by Westminster.

This follows comments this week by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who said that a Bill to restore the English NHS would be “good for England” and represents “enlightened self-interest” for Scotland.

The SNP position at Westminster is not to vote on matters which don’t impact on Scotland – but privatising the English NHS threatens the Scottish budget until such time as Scotland becomes fully financially autonomous. In 2003, for example, SNP MPs voted against Foundation Hospitals in England on the basis that moves to privatise the NHS in England pose a threat to Scotland’s budget under the Barnett Formula.

Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“Ed Balls’ comments that the NHS is serious danger only serve to justify and reaffirm the SNP’s position to vote to save the NHS in England.

“But it is ironic coming from Mr Balls as the Labour Party were saying very different things about the NHS only a few short months ago in the final days of the referendum campaign.

“As we have been saying for some time now, Westminster’s agenda of austerity, privatisation and patient charging in the NHS in England threatens to harm Scotland’s budget, on which our NHS depends. If Labour now recognise this too then that is a welcome development.

“With this in mind, SNP MPs elected in May are prepared to vote for a Bill which would restore the National Health Service in England to the accountable public service it was always meant to be.

“This move would be good for England by giving people their health service back – and also represent enlightened self-interest for Scotland, by protecting the Scottish budget from the cuts which English privatisation are undoubtedly paving the way for.

“We want Scotland to be fully financially autonomous, but until that is achieved SNP MPs helping to reverse English health privatisation would be a vote in the Scottish national interest too.

“We are taking nothing for granted and will work extremely hard for every vote and seat, because if SNP MPs can be in a position of holding the balance of power at Westminster, we can help to further progressive politics across the UK, as well as in Scotland.”



What does TTIP, TPP and TISA mean to you, me and every other man woman and child in the U.K.?
These are the known names (so far) who are behind the NHS privatisation plans – to remind readers these are the ones who have contracts that allow them to sue governments if things are not going as expected or they are not making the expected millions from every man woman and child in the U.K.
This cannot be pointed only at England as Ireland, Wales and Scotland are waiting in the wings for the vultures to move in and pick our bones dry – we see the United States who have a distinct two and sometimes three tier system for medical care.
Our hopes in Scotland rest with the SNP and there’s no point in saying after the elections words like ; if only;
We need to vote SNP to keep our NHS for as long as it’s possible and we need to support our neighbours in England, Wales and Ireland to stop these contracts which will destroy our NHS even quicker.
TTIP, TPP and TISA mean a bad deal for the whole of the U.K.’ will it improve? yes it can if we leave the NHS alone and NOT allow privatisation.
If the U.K. can afford unrestrained bullets and bombs then we can certainly afford funding the NHS – we know the pot is big enough (new massive order for missiles on the Clyde) so there is no excuses!



The SNP is today inviting Labour and the Lib Dems to join calls for the Westminster government’s proposals on welfare to be strengthened.

The welfare provisions contained in the draft clauses published yesterday represent a significant watering down of what was promised by the Smith Commission. They do not enable the Scottish Parliament to create new benefit entitlements in devolved areas – and will also see the UK Government hold a veto over key devolved powers, including the ability to abolish the Bedroom Tax.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday made clear the proposals fell far short of the powers needed to create a fairer welfare system. Leading campaign groups including Citizen’s Advice Scotland, the Poverty Alliance, SCVO and the STUC described the proposals as a missed opportunity.

Following the publication of the Smith Commission report in November, a number of Labour and Lib Dems MSPs claimed that the proposals would give Scotland the powers to shape a new welfare system.

Prior to yesterday’s publication of the draft clauses, Labour’s Education spokesperson Iain Gray said: “With the Smith agreement…We can construct a whole new Scottish welfare system of new benefits of our own design.”

Labour Finance spokesperson Jackie Baillie also claimed that welfare powers were “the most substantial power of all” while Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie claimed Scotland would have the ability to create “a new Scottish welfare system” with the powers to “create new benefits”.

Commenting, SNP MSP Christina McKelvie, who sits on the Welfare Reform Committee, said:

“The welfare proposals outlined by the Westminster government yesterday were a disappointment – watering down the Smith Commission proposals and giving Westminster a veto over key devolved powers, including the ability to abolish bedroom tax. It is no wonder that organisations including Citizens Advice Scotland and the Poverty Alliance feel an opportunity has been missed.

“Following the publication of the Smith Commission in November last year, Labour and Lib Dem MSPs alike claimed that the Smith proposals would give Scotland a range of new powers over welfare. Frontbench Labour MSPs Iain Gray and Jackie Baillie and Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie all said this. Now it’s clear the Westminster Government’s proposals will not deliver, it is time for Labour and the Lib Dems to do the right thing. They must join the SNP and third sector organisations across Scotland in our call for an urgent rethink by the UK Government.

“Westminster has proven time and time again that it cannot be trusted to protect vulnerable and hard-working people. As 100,000 more children in Scotland face poverty by 2020 as a result of unfair Tory cuts, it is time for Labour and the Lib Dems to stand up for Scotland and argue for the powers we need to create a welfare system that supports and empowers people.

“A strong team of SNP MPs will ensure the Westminster parties are not allowed the ‘Vow’ they made to the people of Scotland – and will use their clout to push the case for more powers at every opportunity.”

More background information;

Iain Gray (East Lothian) (Lab): … With the Smith agreement … We can construct a whole new Scottish welfare system of new benefits of our own design. (Official Report, 2 December 2014)

Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Lab): … perhaps the most radical and, potentially, the most substantial power of all is the ability to create our own benefits. (Official Report, 2 December 2014)

Willie Rennie: “…we are creating a new Scottish welfare system, with disability living allowance, personal independence payments, attendance allowance, discretionary housing payments, the universal credit flexibilities and the ability to create new benefits” (Official Report, 16th December 2014).

The STUC’s response can be viewed at

The Poverty Alliance’s response can be viewed at

Citizen Advice Scotland’s response can be viewed at

The SCVO’s response can be viewed at




SNP MSP Rob Gibson has today written to the Electoral Commission to raise concerns over voter registration.

Mr Gibson’s letter comes following news that hundreds of thousands of people in Scotland face being removed from the voters roll due to new regulations based on moving from household to individual voter registration.

Earlier this week it was reported in The Herald newspaper that as many as 800,000 people who signed up to vote in last year’s referendum may not be eligible to vote in the Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2016.

Mr Gibson, SNP MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross has now written to Any O’Neill, head of the Electoral Commission Office in Scotland, seeking clarity on this and expressing concern at the manner in which people are being contacted.

Mr Gibson said:

“One of the great successes of last year’s referendum was the level of engagement and voter participation that swept across every community in the weeks and months before September 18.

“Never before have so many people signed up to have their say in the democratic process in Scotland – it is vitally important that we aim to retain this level of voter participation.

“The Electoral Commission’s transition from a household canvass of voters to individual registration in Glasgow alone has seen 100,000 fewer voters registered so far – and this could mount to 800,000 across Scotland if new means are not found to encourage voter registration in good time for the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary election.

“The letter I received from my local Electoral Registration Office did not make clear what elections this reregistration would impact on. It only informed me that I could not be re-registered because my date of birth and National Insurance Number were not sufficient identifiers. This letter was worded in an unnecessarily unhelpful way – I would urge a more open and engaging approach.

“I look forward to hearing back form the Electoral Commission; I hope they too share these concerns and can detail me with plans which will alleviate fears that the great expansion of our democracy in Scotland faces being reversed by current procedures.”

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