Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Wednesday 19 February 2014

To be clear - this joker does NOT represent me!

A message that needs to be shouted from the rooftops! This joker may represent some (a minority) of Scots, but in no way does he represent me or most other Scots! A very timely reminder. Not all of us Scots, or even a majority, are in thrall to the SNP ...

Those of us, the majority of Scots, who wish to remain an integral part of the UK need to become more vocal to correct the impression that some of our fellow UK citizens may be beginning to form that we Scots are lukewarm about what we want. Quite apart from practical considerations (currency, taxation, trade, EU membership, etc.) I am VERY emotionally attached to retaining my status as a British (i.e. UK) citizen; this has got nothing to do with me not being very proud to be a Scot, which I am, but I am also proud to be British and wish to remain so.

Don't sit idly by and accept the taunts of biased SNP supporters who try to assert that opposing their views implies that one is somehow "unpatriotic" as a Scot - we have just as much a right to our views as they do.

Apathy won't keep us British - please use your vote in the referendum on 18th September to express your view, whatever it is. Don't wake up on 19th September to find that the vote has been allowed to go by default to those favouring separation/'independence'.

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Scottish Parliament votes overwhelmingly for same-sex marriage

(Please see UPDATE at end)

Today, 4th February 2014, is an historic day in Scotland, because today the Scottish Parliament voted overwhelmingly for same-sex marriage, or more colloquially for "equal marriage". The negative amendments proposed for the 3rd reading of the Bill (formally known as the "Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill") were all rejected and the Bill, once it has been given Royal Assent, will become law.

With this vote, Scotland becomes the 17th country in the world to legislate for same-sex marriage.

As mentioned earlier, the vote in the Scottish Parliament today was massively in favour of this legislation, with 105 voting for and only 18 against (* - see below).

In a post-vote video-message the Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing welcomed the vote:

- according to what Alex Neil MSP said, the Scottish Government will now be working with the UK Government at Westminster to ensure that the first same-sex marriages can take place in Scotland before the end of 2014. It will be recalled that the UK Parliament at Westminster has already legislated for same-sex marriage in England and Wales and it is likely that the first such marriages will take place there during the first half of 2014; Royal Assent for this legislation was granted during July 2013.

Unfortunately the Northern Ireland Assembly has not so far proposed similar legislation for Northern Ireland and from what I can gather has no current plans to do so, but at least in the other three parts of the United Kingdom (England, Wales and now Scotland) this welcome legislation is now almost in place - Royal Assent has already happened for the England and Wales legislation and I expect similar Royal Assent will be granted for Scotland quite soon. I mention Northern Ireland not to be negative on this joyous day, but simply to highlight that the job is not yet finished and that efforts must continue to ensure that all parts of the UK legislate for equality.

* - Once I have full details of the "105 for / 18 against" votes I will add an update at the end with relevant information.

See also:
- Equality Network: Scotland Legalises Same Sex Marriage;
- BBC: "Scotland's same-sex marriage bill is passed"

UPDATE (Tuesday 4FEB2014 22.35 CET) I now have full voting information for today's vote in the Scottish Parliament - please see full details here. The 18 who voted against the Bill were as follows:
Dr Alasdair Allan (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP)
Gavin Brown (Lothian) (Con)
Roseanna Cunningham (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Fergus Ewing (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP)
Alex Fergusson (Galloway and West Dumfries) (Con)
Murdo Fraser (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Alex Johnstone (North East Scotland) (Con)
Richard Lyle (Central Scotland) (SNP)
Angus MacDonald (Falkirk East) (SNP)
John Mason (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Jamie McGrigor (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Michael McMahon (Uddingston and Bellshill) (Lab)
Siobhan McMahon (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Nanette Milne (North East Scotland) (Con)
Margaret Mitchell (Central Scotland) (Con)
Elaine Smith (Coatbridge and Chryston) (Lab)
Liz Smith (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Dave Thompson (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) (SNP)
(SNP - 7, Conservatives - 8, Labour - 3)
- seemingly there were 6 out of 129 MSPs who did not vote or who abstained;
- see some reactions to the vote here.