Letter to a wee ginger dug from an ordinary gran

A guest post by Anne Meikle

I was brought up in Musselburgh, born in 1950, a part of the babyboomer generation. My first realisation of the importance of politics was when President Kennedy was elected. What hope we had that the world would change for the better, and how naive we were then. When the Cuba crisis hit and I sat in my home with my parents, sister and brother, I was terrified that at 12 years of age my life would be over, and everyone else as well.

Thankfully the Cuba crisis was resolved and my life continued. I am blessed with a daughter and a son now in their thirties, and a wonderful grandson who is a joy.

But I ask myself what kind of country do we want Scotland to be when he grows up, and all the wee boys and girls around Scotland today? This for me is the heart of the referendum debate.

Our Scottish Parliament is doing well, I think it is generally considered, with the powers they have devolved. The responsibilities of the Scottish Government include health, education, justice, rural affairs, housing and the environment – in fact fewer powers than some individual states in the USA or Länder in Germany.

The current Scottish government have actually carried out their election pledges from the funds allotted by London. Their priorities have been to freeze council tax, to provide free care for the elderly with free prescriptions for all. All health care is free, a fully public service, at the same time the NHS Scotland’s budget is protected to pay health care workers their full entitlement to pay increases. To provide free higher education for our students, while widening nursery care provision as far as they can and the provision of green energy is ongoing and new research opens up possibilities all the time. Many other positive initiatives have been enacted to make Scotland better, with the powers available.

As we approach the referendum date we should all know by now that Scotland provides more than its share of taxes to Westminster and has done for many years. I can recommend this article from Business for Scotland as the defining and easily understood case for Scotland’s economic viability as an independent nation.

Everyone knows that life in Scotland for most, is generally good, and that we are so lucky to live in a beautiful land. People from around the world come here to visit and enjoy our amazing history, landscape and wildlife. Our arts and cultural life is alive and thriving. Our resources are vast, food and drink industries, farming and fishing, oil and gas to last at least another 50 years. Our education system, our universities are among the best in Europe and this together with our ancient legal system always completely independently run.

This is obviously the reason Scotland is being bombarded with fear stories from the London Parliament, from its current incumbents in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords – the London owned press in Scotland and the London governed television media. If it were otherwise, surely there would be no problem in releasing Scotland from the Union – but Scotland is in no way too wee, too poor or too stupid.
In fact Scotland is the third wealthiest area of the United Kingdom.

But life isn’t rosy for all of us.

Glasgow has the lowest male life expectancy in the whole of the UK.

Scottish people are living dangerously,” says Professor David Conway from Glasgow University – in fact our health record is shocking.

Housing in Scotland, it’s not all leafy suburbs and pretty gardens.

These social problems have been neglected for years. Scotland was hit hard when PM Thatcher decided that the UK’s economy should change from a manufacturing to a financial/ service industry. We have moved from making things people want, to buying and selling currency.

The problems I’ve outlined seem to relate oddly to the article from Business for Scotland linked to above, which shows how healthy and diverse Scotland’s economy actually is, but we simply don’t control enough of our own money to do what we need to do to begin to tackle these problems.

So where does Scotland’s wealth go? All taxes raised in Scotland go to the Westminster Treasury. They give back a block grant back to the Scottish Parliament to pay for the devolved services they are responsible for Westminster retains all the powers over welfare, benefits, personal and company taxation. as per this graph below.


You must know that the United Kingdom is the fourth most unequal state in the West, worse even, unbelievably, than Ethiopia.

You must know that 60% of the austerity cuts still to come into effect in the UK which will hit the most vulnerable members of society, (both major parties have signed up for this policy).

You must know that neoliberalism is the ideology now in force at Westminster. The rise of UKIP could well mean a UKIP/Tory coalition in 2015.

You must know Westminster can take back all of Holyrood’s devolved powers at the the drop of a hat, and close down our Parliament if they choose.
You must know that voting No will not mean more powers will be devolved – No Scottish politician can deliver on promises made now on behalf of a future Westminster Parliament – they simply don’t have the power to do it.

No box to tick for more powers, on the ballot paper

Voting No means nothing else except that London will continue to take all of Scotland’s resources to be used as they see fit. New railway systems in England, more nuclear weapons based in Scotland’s waters, more tax breaks for the already rich and bankers’ expenses.

Voting No means that all Westminster politicians will hear is that we don’t care enough about Scotland to choose our own direction and policy choices for the future.

You must know – Scotland has everything it needs to become an independent country. How can we continue to allow another country to take all the vital decisions which affect us all? Why are there are still some folk thinking of voting no? I simply can’t answer that.

If you won the lottery jackpot, would you give all your winnings to your next door neighbour and hope they might give you a wee drop back but insist you were only allowed to spend it on what they said you could?

I want our children and grandchildren to inherit a more prosperous, fairer and more equal society than the one I’ve grown up in. A society which could have all the benefits of our resources to tackle the long and festering social problems which the Union has failed to address and to grow our economy ensuring jobs and opportunities for our young people?

Is Scotland ready to give Holyrood all the powers it needs as a Parliament for Scotland?

Many questions we must all answer individually. The world is certainly watching with massive interest. As all the fear stories go around again and again, with Prime Minister Cameron sending out 35 embassy communications to attempt to recruit other governments to influence our choice, as all the London based media attempt to scare us out of our free and democratic right to self-determination. I urge you all to put this aside in favour of our good Scottish common sense.

I don’t want my family, my grandson to have to leave Scotland in search of a better life.
We need to build our own nation the way we want it to be and it can begin with a written constitution which we can all contribute to after a Yes vote.


It’s so simple really – what every other country takes for granted. The Union is the odd one out. With 230 sovereign states in the world, Scotland would come in about 113th with our population of around 5.2 million.

Everything they say now can’t be done in this campaign period, will be done after a Yes vote.

I believe we are ready
I believe we can trust each other to build that new nation, fairer and more equal, one our grandchildren will want to live and work in.
I believe in Scotland and our future as an independent nation.
I believe the removal of Trident nuclear weapons from Scotland’s territory will make us all feel safer instead of being a target as we have been all these years since Polaris.

I urge you to consider and vote YES for Scotland and for you and yours


Anne Meikle, an ordinary gran

Anne is an active member of Yes Edinburgh North and Leith.  Visit their Facebook page at:


Anne has her own blog Bonnington Mill


52 comments on “Letter to a wee ginger dug from an ordinary gran

  1. david says:

    “ordinary gran” seems to have pretty good grasp of the arithmetic. Nail on head, Anne.

  2. steveborve says:

    Excellent post Anne. Over recent months I have come to the realisation that my life-long belief in the desire for Scottish self-determination and my intention to vote Yes in September is not a political imperative at all. It’s a moral imperative – something I have to do for every disadvantaged and less fortunate woman, man and child living in Scotland. We can and must do better. Or, as Common Weal so beautifully put it, all of us first.

  3. […] A guest post by Anne Meikle I was brought up in Musselburgh, born in 1950, a part of the babyboomer generation. My first realisation of the importance of politics was when President Kennedy was ele…  […]

  4. That’s me back up tae the library to get this on paper. Fine heartfelt words and wisdom.Thank you Anne.

    • john johnston says:

      you tell us that we have all we need to be independent

      BUT WE HAVE NO CURRENCY !!!!!!!!!!

      • weegingerdug says:

        We have a currency, it’s called the pound. It’s as much Scotland’s as the rest of the UK’s. They don’t get to keep it to themselves. The pound is a fully tradable currency – there is absolutely nothing that Westminster can do to prevent Scotland using it.

        But you’ve been told this already. Repeating it with lots of exclamation marks doesn’t make it any more true.

        Your comments are being moderated until you learn to moderate your use of exclamation marks.

        • john johnston says:

          Mr / Ms Dug !

          it seems to have escaped your notice that

          1… the “owners” of the pound say we can’t have it

          2…independence is NOT demonstrated by having to rely on a foreign nations financial decisions

          3…the nations which you list ALL HAVE their own currency

          but you avoid the other 9 points made in my post….all 10 of which go to show how little thought has gone into this farce

          the brigadooners belong in the past….as Scotland marches on within the U K

          Scots NEVER buy a pig in a poke, as the vote results will show

          • Illy says:

            Who owns the pound stirling?

            Come on, lets see some names and how they own it.

            Westminster certainly doesn’t own it anymore. They abandoned owning it because the bankers gave them a lot of money to do so.

            The Bank of England? They said they’d work out whatever currancy arrangements were needed, so I guess they don’t think they own the pound either.

            So who does own the pound?

            Maybe someone has registered the trademark somewhere?

            According the Wikipedia the symbol is from the Roman Empire, and the italians used it for their currancy before switching to the euro, so maybe the pope owns the pound?

            Honestly, all this “who owns a currency” is really complicated, isn’t it? I know I have some pieces of paper with some symbols on them that I can trade for goods and/or services (The ones I’m looking at just now say “Clydesdale Bank” on them), do I own those?

            And since the banks in London want everyone to use the pound for their big money transactions, so that they can claim the middleman percentages, I don’t see how they can do that while stopping someone else from using it for little things like keeping food on the table.

            Maybe they think they can make everyone in Scotland so poor that they can’t afford a penny?

            I guess if we couldn’t even afford a penny, that would stop Scotland using the pound, but they’re going to try to do that regardless of how we vote on the 18th.

            • john johnston says:

              I see the brigadoon mist has descended

              YOU tell ME how a nation can be independent when the international value of its currency is decided by a foreign power

              perhaps you are telling us that the british government the yeesrs say gives scotlsand a bad deal will somehow change the colour of their spots and give us the fair treatment you claim we do not get

              so come on…where are the answers

              • weegingerdug says:

                You’ve been given answers. You don’t like the answers you’ve been given and have decided not to engage with them. That’s your loss and your problem. This blog does not exist in order to provide you with hours of trolling fun. Slagging off is only permitted on this blog if it’s funny, witty and intelligent. Your comments are none of those things.

                I’m not authorising any more comments from you, I’m going away for the weekend and have no intention of allowing you to start arguments while I am away.

          • weegingerdug says:

            Go and look at your post on the Why It’s Time for Scots Abroad to Speak Up thread. All your points are answered there. I’ve not avoided your points, you’ve avoided reading the answers.

            Westminster does not own the pound. It is owned, if it is owned by anyone, by the entire population of the UK. That includes Scotland. When Scotland ends the political union with Westminster we retain our right to use our own currency. And there will be a currency union, although the UK parties will doubtless call it something else in order to save face.

            You have a simplistic understanding of independence. This is not the 19th century. The world is interconnected. Scotland seeks independence in order to determine its own connections with other countries on Scotland’s own terms.

            Independence is not determined by a country having its own currency. There are many countries in the world which share a currency. You live in Spain, I’d have thought you’d know that. The countries in the currency union agree on borrowing limits and interest rates – and Scotland would have a formal say in these with a currency union with the rest of the UK, it has NO say at the moment – right now Scotland is represented in the Bank of England by George Osborne. Countries which share a currency are still at liberty to develop their own financial, taxation, welfare, and spending priorities. Personally I’d prefer a Scottish currency, but I can see the sense in a currency union for a transitional period. The rUK needs one, otherwise the rUK balance of trade is no longer backed up by Scottish oil and gas exports, and the arse would fall out of yer precious pound.

            Calling independence supporters “brigadooners” does your argument no favours by the way, especially since you would appear to be the one in this debate who hasn’t researched anything and has little idea of what the real issues are – clue: It’s not currency.

            Ironically, for you that is, the campaign which is making the emotional argument based on ancient history is the No campaign. The Yes campaign is focussed on the future not the past.

            The lack of thought here is yours. But then you can’t really follow the independence debate from an expat bar in Benidorm dearie, and that’s why you are sadly out of touch with what’s going on here. You clearly have no idea about the discussions going on in Scotland, they’re not reported in the UK media. That’s what happens when you rely on the Record, the Express, and the opinions of hauf cut golfers mouthing off in expat bars.

            But you do get brownie points for restraining your use of exclamation marks.

      • Illy says:

        Scotland runs at a profit, England runs at a deficit. (When you do the maths right, and assign interest payments for debts to where the money from those debts went)

        So England owes us a *lot* of money. Why can’t we claim some of the jointly-owned assets in lie of cash?

        And, like weegingerdug says, they can’t stop us using the pound if they want London to stay the money-laundering capital of the world.

      • Really John how do you manage? We have the pound John. The USA: Australia; Ireland and New Zealand all used the pound before and after independence John>What did you thing they used before the dollar? In Ireland case the Euro.

      • chicg says:

        Can anyone tell me who has access to the Treasurey books to examine them?Would it only be Civil Servants within the treasurey or could Alex send a team down before the 18th for a quick perusal to establish the true nature of UK/Scotland’s contribution to the UK economy?I suspect it would be an eye opener.

  5. David Christie says:

    Great post “ordinary gran”. I agree with you all the way. I want the best for my grandchildren and that can only come from an independent Scotland. I trust the Scottish people to make the right choices. Please make your posting a regular occurence.

  6. maybolebuddie says:

    Great post Anne, as you ask in your comments “Why are there are still some folk thinking of voting no? I simply can’t answer that”. I have tried to understand exactly the sentiment you raise, why would someone vote not to be master in their own house but happy to be a lodger in someone else’s, it defies logic.
    The yes campaign have won the argument hands down, everyone including most of the btnt
    side agree, my hope is as we near the vote minds will be focused and a new dawn will be upon us.

  7. JimnArlene says:

    Sums up why I’m voting YES, a fair and better future for the generations to come.

  8. […] Letter to a wee ginger dug from an ordinary gran. […]

  9. John Brown says:

    A very clear and inspiring narrative which fully reflects my view and why everyone should vote Yes

  10. KayBee says:

    Says it all really.


    We have been happily using Scottish pound notes for several hundred years now thanks very much, and will continue to do so after independence until such times that the electorate of Scotland decide to do otherwise.

    Before you go on with the normal B.T rhetoric of false excuses.

    EU argument – may I suggest you make yourself with article 48 of the EU treaty.


    Don’t need to mention anything about yesterdays simple clarification that Junckers comments –

    “were NOT in response to anything to do with Scottish independence debate”

    I could go on by why should I waste time with someone who cannot face up to, let alone offer a rebuttal of, these facts.

    Oh and there is always the E.F.T.A option for European trade, which I personally prefer along with our own currency option. Have not even felt the need to mention Scottish trade with all of the other commonwealth countries.

    Incidentally –

    How would a NO vote lead to the removal of Nukes from Faslane?

    Fact is — it CANNOT.

    • john johnston says:

      I think you will find that junckers actually put a number on the number of EU members

      and an independent scotland by my mathematics an independent Scotland would add one to that number….ergo it would increase the number…ergo it is a non starter

      as for not facing up to the fact….might I point out that I put 10 items on my list….. to how many of these have YOU responeded

      and finally you let the cat out of the bag

      a ban the bomb fanatic………..ban it at all costs even if it means leaving the UK to do so

      NOT the most erudite of rationalitiies

      • weegingerdug says:

        I have given you your answers. You do not need to ask every single person you come across to answer the same questions. However the truth is you are not interested in answers, you are interested in starting an argument. I won’t be authorising any more comments from you until you learn to grow up.

        • Kathryn Duncan says:

          Well said hen.You get him telt ! You’re no ordinary gran Anne .

          [I’ve edited this comment to remove your email address, which I think has appeared in the public comment by accident]

      • KayBee says:


        Every ‘No’ point on economics can be and has been easily rebutted time and time again on any number of debating sites as well as by many senior global economic experts – I just don’t see the point in wasting my own time further with someone like yourself, who cannot see the error of their thinking even in light of the follow up and clarifying statement that was made by Junckers spokeswoman shortly after stating quite clearly –

        that his comments were NOT in relation to Scotland – that clarification seems plain, clear and simple enough to me.

        Even one of the BBC Scotland reporters managed to understand this much.

        As well as this anti independence rag.


        Read article 48 of the treaties and you will see for yourself – it is there in black and white.

        Besides which – by what mechanism would or could Scotland be expelled from the EU ?

        My own time, and yours, would and could be far better spent talking to ‘don’t knows’ or soft ‘No’s’/’Yes’s’ rather than going on a political merry go round with each other – going absolutely no-where fast.

      • KayBee says:

        Oh and I am an ex soldier, and have done my stint in protecting ‘the realm’ on many an occasion thank you very much – ban the bomb fanatic indeed – get a grip.

  11. […] Letter to a wee ginger dug from an ordinary gran […]

  12. Intelligent ,concise and very comprehendable Anne. I will share the heck out of your letter “ordinary gran” 😊Thank you and good luck on the 18th September. Let us hope for a 💙YES💙vote .Then your grandchildren will see the benefit of a brighter fairer future !

  13. macart763 says:

    Outstanding post Anne and must read for anyone in any doubt.
    As for ordinary gran?

    I don’t think so. 🙂

  14. erruanne says:

    many thanks for all your supportive comments, much appreciated

  15. Thank you Anne for your voice for yes

  16. Yes, when you look at the finances, the advantages, the potential waiting to transform this country, it always seems impossible that there are still so many people thirled to voting Naw. Open your ears, open your eyes, we’ve been telling them. See what’s steaming down the track towards us after September — more austerity, more kids in poverty, more food banks, and a continued decline of the place we know as home as it gets starved of the finances to do things differently to the bloated and undemocratic Westminster system.

    Some people have genuine concerns, others just don’t want change of any kind. Both will get a shock if there is a Naw vote and it dawns on them that there are no more powers going to be devolved, and the status quo melts away like sna’ aff a dyke as swinging cuts to the Scottish budget and increased privatisation down south remake Scotland into a place where Naw voters not only have to face their worst nightmares but much worse.

    If only these Naw voters would realise that independence is actually the safest, least risky option for themselves and their families.

  17. mary vasey says:

    Well said Anne, I’m of an age with you and agree with all you have said. I too am thinking of my grandchildren especially but also of all our grandkids. As you say SIMPLE thank you 😎

  18. Hugh Wallace says:

    Yay! You got her to post at last Paul!

    Great post Anne. No ordinary gran… 🙂

  19. YESGUY says:


    The comments say it all

    Thank you for your words . I’m a grandad and my grand kids WILL grow up in an iScotland. We have won the argument , know all about the scares and have the positivity and drive to make a country fit for our kids.

    great post

    thanks Paul.

  20. Robert Graham says:

    good well informed post its the first time i have seen this chart that makes it so simple to follow the money ,there is so much information like this that will be buried and ignored its a bloody crime they same way my generation were taught british (english) version of history in our school years you have to admire this rotten british state for being so thorough in brainwashing so many for so long its evident in the numbers who will vote no they for the most part its mission accomplished i bet if the same referendum was offered anywhere in the world the people would treat it as a joke ” you don’t want to be a normal country ” ok –straight jacket for this one they shouldn’t be out on their own its that stupid the fact that some people feel the need to question why vote “YES” oh i despair of some people i really do

    • erruanne says:

      it’s true I wasn’t taught Scottish history at primary school in the late fifties. It was confusing for me as I knew I lived in Scotland, the Saltire flew every day from Musselburgh Town Hall, and thought but what happened here? I found out later of course.

  21. Thanks so much Anne for such a well written , precise and fact filled piece . I am a YES voter and will be sharing this with all the “undecideds” I know . Like you and others who have commented I can’t understand why anyone would want their own country and future , to be controlled by a government which they have not elected .

  22. A great piece of intelligent and informed writing which lays out the case for Yes in the clearest way possible.

  23. John Page says:

    A brilliant clear post………and just look at this mornings highlights on Google news……Tories to increase anti strike rules and withdraw from European Human Rights Convention and Milliband rejecting rail re nationalisation
    If we don’t vote Yes there will be nothing to stop the onward march of neoliberalism

  24. faolie says:

    Good stuff Anne. And great graph.

    Your post epitomises why people are voting Yes. Because we can change things for the better and take control again of our country.

    In contrast, the reasons to vote no seem to be summed up by a) be afraid or, b) ‘best union ever!’, WW2, etc.

    But it’s the first reason, fear, that I believe face to face conversations and posts like yours can overcome. BT’s messages: the ‘safety’ of the UK, the next banking crisis, ‘protection’, ‘security’, loss of trade. Do they really chime with the Scots? Is that really us? Scared, frightened, cowed, I’d like to, but?

    Nut. It’s no. So even if when talking to people you don’t get a firm Yes, you’ll put enough doubt in their heads, such that when they’re in that polling booth on September 18th, faced with that question, ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’, they’ll ask themselves, well, should it, should we? And they’ll answer, aye, aye we should.

  25. Dougie Douglas says:

    One of the most rounded presentations of the facts and issues I have read. More power to your pen Anne

  26. Get that graph on a prominent billboard!

  27. yerkitbreeks says:

    ” Ordinary Gran ” my arse. This is an erudite woman who must stand out as a role model for her fellow countrywomen.

    Wouldn’t want to try to out-argue her on the doorstep at Leith !

    Like Peter Arnott’s contribution over on Bella, this is upping the ante.

    • erruanne says:

      LOL thank you.. I did leave one elderly gentleman groping for his argument at Leith gala a few weeks ago. A friendly encounter and we have to hope that something dings home with every conversation.

  28. Capella says:

    Thanks for this post Anne and especially the graph. I find that information presented visually like that is much easier to grasp than paragraphs of figures. Should be added to BfS collection of graphs on the economy.

  29. erruanne says:

    Thanks everyone once more for all your positive comments. I’m fair chuffed 🙂 My own blog is linked at the end of the post above, which I hope will be of use in the weeks ahead.

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