Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Interview with Alan Jack, Resident of the Stirling Area

Pearl of Tyburn: Today we will be speaking with Alan Jack, a resident of the Stirling Area and online Unionist activist. Good afternoon, Mr. Jack.

Alan Jack:  And to you.

P.T.:  First off, could you tell me a little about yourself, your background, and your political involvement with Unionism?

A.J.:  My parents both came from mining families originally from this area. This place is where I have always considered my "roots" to lie, even though I was born in a military hospital in Aldershot in England.

My father left his small mining village in Scotland when he became a soldier. He went into the army with conscription and decided to stay a while. When he left the military, he then moved to Corby with lots of others for the Iron and Steel industry. However, after about a year with various strikes in between, he re-enlisted and we were back on the move again.

I enlisted while he was still serving and joined as a boy soldier at 16 and did 24 years finally leaving on my 40th birthday. I have returned to live in the Central Belt of Scotland and to Stirling in particular. I now work as a postman and am totally against the idea that Scotland would somehow be a better place outside the Union.

P.T.:  How did you get actively involved in unionism?

A.J.:  Through Facebook and pages such as Vote No to Independence and Protect the Union. Having become involved in various debates on certain pages, I kind of got more and more involved as I tried to explain to people why I thought it was a bad idea to aim for independence from the Union. It is splitting families and friends apart.

 My own Father is an ardent Nationalist and the SNP is strong in my extended family. My father and I simply argue with each other now each time we meet. I have written a couple of pieces which have been published under the "Calgicus" blog spot trying to explain why it is a bad idea.

P.T.:  Are you a part of any political party?

A.J.:  I am not a member of any political party, although I am a member of the Communication Workers Union through my work, but I have always voted Conservative all my life.

P.T.:  As a member of the CWU, one would think you would lean towards the Labour Party. What drew you to the Conservatives?

 A.J.:  I am a member of the CWU because I believe that workers need an organisation which is able to stand up for them in the workplace. You would think that with a historical family back ground based in the coal mining industry and as a member of one of the most militant Union organisations left in the UK my political leanings would be towards the Left. I do to a large extent support the general aims of a political system which supports those less able than others to get by. As the saying goes "There by the Grace of God go I".

I am in favour of such a system which is there to provide a safety net. Having said that, I have always voted Conservative. This no doubt stems from my time in the military where the Conservative Party were the party which kept our military strong and made sure it was adequately funded for the most part. I believe in those who are prepared to risk their own capital starting up businesses and trying to make a success of themselves. If they are successful and make money, the country also makes money through the taxation raised on their efforts. Everyone benefits.

I also support the fact that if they are hugely successful they are therefore entitled to reap the benefits of their efforts and amass huge wealth for their personal and family gain. That is the purpose of life, to make it easier for your progeny to succeed after you, through your personal previous efforts to survive in life, we all want a better life for our children, that is why some strive to succeed to make it easier for their successors is it not.

I do not subscribe to the idea that those who have huge wealth or earn large pay packets should have it taken away from them based purely on the "it is obscene that some have far more than others creating huge inequality" line. They worked for it, they are entitled to it. But to come back to my "safety net", the success of those who have created a money earner is then spread through the nation in public expenditure via the government taxation on it.

P.T.:  As a Scottish Tory, how would you respond to the anti-Tory scare tactics used in the SNP?

A.J.:  The SNP and the Yes brigade currently like to use the line "There are more Pandas in Scotland than Conservative MPs at the moment". They encourage the untruth that there are no Conservatives in Scotland. This is a fabrication. You only have to look at the total numbers of individuals who vote for each party at each election to see the actual breakdown of support for each party in Scotland.

The fact that we now have four main political parties in Scotland and operate a First Past the Post system means that the party in power may only have the electoral support of just over 25% of the cast votes. The line about "Governments we did not vote for" is laughable when 26% of the population voting for one party can take the day when the other 74% of the votes cast are divided and spread across the other party's. Clearly the majority do not in this circumstance vote for the winning party. However, we live in a democracy and I would have it no other way.

P.T.:  Personally, what are five of your main reasons for supporting the union?

A.J.:  1. The fact that staying in the Union allows the part of it where I live (Scotland) to retain the Currency Union we currently have.

2. The fact that the current Free Travel Area the Union operates within the UK without the need to have border controls etc between Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, (The Republic also) and the Isle of Mann and the Channel Islands.

3. The fact that 60+ million people contributing overall to an economy is far better than just 5 million can contribute and short term shocks due to one part of the economy being affected are less so due to the larger scope of the UK as a whole.

4. The fact that I do not like the idea of different rates of benefits being applicable within the UK for example the planned higher rate on the Scottish Old Age Pension, I foresee huge problems as "pensioners" decide to emigrate to Scotland in later years which would place a bigger burden on a Scottish Treasury.

5. Allied to the previous reason, the potential for "free higher education at university" coming back to "bite" Scotland is enormous in my view as the courts would certainly rule it illegal to bar students from the rUK if students from across the EU could study for free.

P.T.:  With regards to The Free Travel Area, if The ROI is part of this zone even though she is outside the UK, why wouldn't an independent Scotland?

A.J.:  Regarding the current FTA operated between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, it works because we have very similar immigration controls across our two nations. An independent Scotland under the SNP have consistently stated that our population base is far too small as an independent nation coupled with our growing pensioner base which needs a far larger working age group to generate the tax revenue benefits this group requires.

The result is a plan to open up our borders and encourage inward migration to boost our population by up to an extra million workers to provide the work force which will generate that tax revenue and boost our economy. An open border between an independent Scotland and the rUK would potentially see massive immigration into Scotland which then disappears across that open border into the rUK. This is why an FTA will not work.

P.T.:  What is your opinion of the University system/student help within the UK now? Are there any ways you would improve upon it?

A.J.:  I did not go to University myself; instead I went to an Army Apprentice College to learn an Artisan Trade in the military. I believe education and schooling is key towards "knowledge is power". I support the ideal of everyone having free access to that education. Of course the education itself is never free is it? Someone has to pay for it and here in the UK that has been via the public purse for a very long time.

A population which is educated goes further than one which is not. The compulsory education of everyone to a certain standard is for the benefit of not only the individual but the entire country at the end of the day. Extra levels of education which are provided by the State and make an individual more employable or demand a higher wage packet should therefore be repaid back to the State via those wages in the taxation placed upon them commensurate with the level of education provided by the State.

P.T.:  Having been a member of the armed forces, did that affect your perspective on the union?

A.J.:  The Armed Forces of the UK certainly have influenced me in seeing the bigger picture that a United Kingdom is better than an independent Scotland could ever be. I believe the same is true for the majority of ex service personnel but not all ex service personnel feel the same way, my father for one.

P.T.:  Does having been born in England with roots in Scotland make you feel more "British" as well? Also, what national/cultural/religious identities are the strongest for you, if any?

A.J.:  I definitely feel more British than Scottish because my entire life has been one of constantly moving every two to three years until my fortieth birthday when I left the forces. My father was always playing Pipes and Drums music where ever we lived when I was a child so I always had "Scotland the Brave" fixed in my head growing up. But I also had a mind of my own and was inquisitive enough to research stuff and read up on stuff as the years went by. I discovered from an early age that Scotland was far from a hard done by place as the nationalists would have me believe.

To be honest with you, my Father is a racist bigot who although he does not believe in God, is prejudiced against those who do not share the same faith he does (which is stupid in the extreme as he is a non believer). I also do not believe in God but do not think it is a reason to think less of those who are not the same faith as I am supposed to be (Protestant). My first wife was Catholic and both our parents only found out when we got married that we were from opposite sides of the tracks so to speak. No one spoke to each other for ages because of it, stupidity because of a perceived difference in our religious back grounds.

P.T.:  That's truly unfortunate. I think it is much more of a cultural as opposed to religious prejudice. I am Catholic myself, so am very interested in religious/cultural divides in British history. Had you ever believed in God?

A.J.:  No, never believed in God, but as a member of the RBLS I obviously have to attend a lot of services in churches all the time especially for Remembrance Day etc.

P.T.:  What do you feel it means to be Scottish, in comparison, contrast, and union with being British?

A.J.:  What does it mean to me about being Scottish? I was born in England to Scottish parents. My life was spent constantly moving from one location to another for the first forty years of my existence. Being Scottish to me is "where my parents grew up as children". It is nothing to do with where I grew up, because that was all over the place.

I wonder how my eldest son feels about his nationality. After all, he also was born in England in a military hospital. His early years were spent in Germany and when my first marriage broke up, he returned to Scotland briefly before see-sawing backwards and forwards across the border for a number of years with his mother. He now lives in England and I wonder how he regards himself? Scottish or English? I simply prefer to think of myself as British currently living in Scotland.

P.T.:   What do you think the rationale is of for most nationalists seeking independence, including your father?

A.J.:  I believe most nationalists simply believe the line about being richer because of the oil and the fact that Scotland is not some super rich oil state bugs the living daylights out of them. They forget that because the oil wealth was spent as it was earned, our personal taxation levels were kept lower than they would have been. The benefits paid out in pensions and unemployment etc were higher than if the oil money was not there and the amounts of money borrowed were not as high as they could have been.

Having said that, they totally ignore the fact that the Barnett Formula gives Scotland more public expenditure spending per head than elsewhere which is money which would have to be borrowed in an independent Scotland just to maintain current spending levels. They believe things like not spending money on Trident will cover this extra expenditure while ignoring the fact that the cost of Trident is already included in Scotland's share of the Defence Budget and if for example it joined NATO, its Defence Budget would still be as large if not larger due to the percentage of GDP each member is required to contribute.

My father's reasons for independence are the same as a lot of others. The perception that Scotland has been robbed of its oil wealth and that it would have been rich beyond believe if we had been independent. Trying to explain that it was the UK which paid for the oil to be found and exploited in the first place is lost on him. Trying to explain that if Scotland HAD been independent before the oil had been found would probably have meant that it would not have been able to afford the cost of exploiting it in the first place.

Trying to explain that if the oil revenues had been saved in an oil fund meant that it would not have been available to spend therefore just to have what we had would have meant higher taxation all around. A circular argument in which no matter what I say, it is wrong and he is always right, even when he cannot have it both ways, he always wants it.

P.T.:  What’s your opinion of Alex Salmond and the way he is running the YES campaign as compared to Alasdair Darling and the NO campaign?

A.J.:  I have met Alex Salmond a couple of times, at functions such as the Poppy Scotland Appeal and when Stirling awarded the status of Freeman of the City on Lt Col Frank Saunders who was the President of the Forth Valley Royal Engineers Association of which I am also a member. What do I think of him? I think he is a chancer.

I am aware of his untruths for which he has strangely been cleared, such as the claim he had legal advice about Scotland's position regarding membership to the EU which he made on TV to Andrew Neil, a claim which Nicola Sturgeon had to stand up in Holyrood and state the Scottish Government was now going to submit, after the SNP spent public money through the courts trying to hide the fact the advice did not exist, Freedom of Information requests which were constantly refused, and yet when Alex Salmond referred himself to a committee to investigate this matter, it strangely cleared him.

I think Alex Salmond simply wants to get himself in the history books as the man who "freed Scotland" even if we do not think we need freeing. Alastair Darling, on the other hand, should be doing more in my opinion. He does not appear on the TV as much countering the SNP line. I would like to see him do more.

P.T.:  What do you think are Alex Salmond's weak spots, if his untruths are defended or brushed over?

A.J.:  Alex Salmond's weak spot is his simple desire to break Scotland out of the Union. This is to be achieved regardless of the damage it could cause to the country. I say "could" because we all know that Scotland has the means to go it alone. The salient point however, is would we be better off if we did so? I do not believe so and therefore see no reason to leave the Union. I do not look at this United Kingdom and see one section being looked down upon by other parts. Only the separatists think like this.

The same argument which has the SNP claiming Scotland is not adequately represented in Westminster can be used to claim that those parts which have elected a Labour, Conservative or LibDem representative have not got the government those areas voted for. The obsession with the SNP to leave the Union ignores the extra costs which will be incurred setting up a new country. It will not exactly be from scratch because a lot of the infrastructure already exists. But a lot will have to be created to cover that which will no longer be available to us which we already have inside the Union.

For example, the current Social Protection Budget swallows approximately £22 Billion pounds annually in Scotland. The systems which are required to continue delivering that money to people already exist in Scotland because the Scottish Parliament are already responsible for the delivery of around £5 Billion pounds worth annually. However, £17 Billion pounds is delivered directly by Westminster. Just to take care of that is going to need a massive upgrade in current IT systems alone to take care of the administration. Recently we have had reports that the start up costs would be in the region of £200 million for the entire country. I remember that the new Parliament building we call Hollyrood cost more than that. So you see I along with a lot of other people wonder at these start up costs for an entire country when a single building to house our politicians cost more.

P.T.:  If you could give advice to the unionists as to how they should run this campaign in the final months, what would it be?

A.J.:  Interesting! To be perfectly frank, I would begin to hammer home some hard truths. Such as telling the people of Scotland that things such as the banks which are majority owned by the tax payers south of the border WILL move. No nice prettying it up, but a simple statement, leave the Union and the banks HQs leave Scotland. The SNP have been trotting out various messages to make it look as if nothing much will change.

I know this will not go down well with a lot of people but I would start with the hard ball stuff to let people know without a doubt that if Scotland leaves then do not expect the rUK to be Mr. Nice Guy after the event. The rUK will have its own population to look after, if Scotland is no longer a part of that equation, Scotland should not expect the rUK to act nicely any more towards it. It may seem strange, but being "nice" about it (independence) may not be the best approach. I believe the people need to know for certain what they are in danger of losing with no sugar coating.

P.T.:  What are some of the main economic facts that you think the No campaign should hammer home? 

A.J.:  Taking a hardline stance is the only way forward in my opinion. I know it sounds "negative" but unless people have it spelled out for them they are in danger of believing nothing much will change. Far too many individuals appear to believe we will still be best friends forever if independence happens. I listened to John Swinney on the BBC News last night re-iterating the line that a Currency Union would happen because it would be in both countries’ interests. How many times do the SNP have to be told that their will be No Currency Union if the vote is Yes. I hear all the time that this would be tantamount to cutting off your nose to spite your face. The simplest answer to this is "So what?"

If this is true and the rUK refused to enter a currency union with an independent Scotland and made themselves worst off as a result how on earth does Scotland stop them doing it? It cannot! Scotland simply cannot force the rUK to enter a currency union with it if the rUK does not wish to do so. If it is pointless trying to explain to the people of Scotland that we are Better Together, then why is it so hard to believe that it is pointless to believe in return the rUK would enter a Currency Union. Those who make off the cuff remarks about things like the Balance of Payments where imports and exports are concerned totally ignore the basic fact that along with the missing GDP from Scotland on the UKs export balance sheet, the UK will also be missing all those imports which have to be paid for which are destined for Scotland.

P.T.:  Could you please elaborate about the issue of trade for Scotland?

A.J.:  The current internal trade between Scotland and the rUK becomes international trade between our countries. In the bigger picture things like all the Whisky Scotland would export to the rUK will clearly earn money for a Scottish Treasury in exports. But remember, most of the grain used to distill that whisky is imported from England. The huge amount of whisky Scotland exports has long been seen as a sore point by some due to all the "lost revenue" Scotland should be enjoying from it. This is stupidity in the extreme because I always remind people that with independence Scotland will still sell the exact same amount of whisky to England as it currently does. What will change is the alcohol duty (VAT) placed on each and every bottle sold in England stays in England and is only available for public expenditure in England.

After all, if the USA places taxation on an imported bottle of whisky it is the American authorities which collect that taxation for public expenditure, it is not forwarded back to the country of manufacture is it? I have lost count of the number of times I have had this discussion with people who believe that the tax placed on a bottle of whisky by the government of Westminster should be counted as Scottish tax revenue even if it is sold in England or Wales or Northern Ireland. Using a country outside the UK to try and explain why Scotland would not benefit with independence usually brings forth rubbish such as "Export Duty" which simply does not exist but is firmly embedded in some peoples minds. Import Duty yes, Export Duty No, where on earth is there a government which makes its exports more expensive to buy?

P.T.:  What about banking in the UK/Scotland?

A.J.:  The financial sector in Scotland is another case in point. Certain banks were bailed out by the public purse and are therefore majority owned by the population south of the border. Who would leave such institutions north of the border to enrich another nation's Treasury? Clear cut messages about what would be lost. University funding for research purposes is another area where the UK government can simply state that in the future all this money will only go to Universities in the rUK immaterial of where the current locations leading certain research are located. It is too easy for the individuals conducting that research to pack up and move if they want their funding to continue in a specialised field.

The pound in our pockets is similar, no one can stop an independent Scotland using the Pound Sterling as its common currency but without a currency union (which we enjoy now), the economic needs of a foreign nation mean nothing to the country controlling the currency do they? Does the USA consider Panama's needs when setting interest rates considering Panama also uses the American Dollar? I think not. Those who say the rUK will be destined to crumble without the contribution of the Scottish economy towards the value of the Pound Sterling forget that if Scotland informally uses that currency and it fails, then by default Scotland's economy which would also be using the same currency also fails.

P.T.:  Can you tell us something about the situation with military ship building in Scotland?

A.J.:  Military ship building has been almost exhausted to death with the claims from the SNP that the Clyde is the best place to build our warships. Facts such as the UK has never commissioned or built a warship outside its borders should be hammered home. Again, it is too easy for those with the skills to pack up and move to where the ships will be built in future is it not? It is also the case that in such a situation where we would be two separate nations, the rUK would be looking to provide employment opportunity's to its own workforce based in its own geographical area and where the wages paid would be subject to income tax which flows back to its own Treasury is it not?

What makes the SNP believe that somehow Scotland has the right to build another nation’s warships? They may as well make the claim that in future all of the warships France or Germany or the USA need, will be built in Scotland, and that is simply not going to happen is it? Besides it only takes a simple line in a tender contract which states "any company bidding for the work MUST construct the vessel in the rUK" and with that line, Scotland is excluded from the work.

Remaining in the Union has advantages. But let’s be clear here, with war ship building for example, Scotland remains in the bidding process but it does NOT confer an automatic right to secure the work. There are other ship yards in the UK which will also be trying to obtain that work.

P.T.:  In the course of this ongoing political race, have some of the past fluctuations in the poles concerned you at all? And at this point who do predict will win? Also, in the event of a close decision in favor of NO, do you think the SNP will try to launch another referendum in a few years?

A.J.:  The polls are pretty constantly in favour of a No Vote. I also believe No will win, but I want it to be by a large majority to put it to bed for good. If the margin is small, I believe the SNP may try again in a few years and it will be like the Canadian Quebec scenario which was only recently finally put to bed after what 30 years when they were finally told the hard facts, this is why I believe the same hard ball tactics should be used regardless of the shouts of "scaremongering" which will inevitably go up, they should be countered with "no this is a fact".

P.T.:  You said you feel predominately British. What does Britishness mean to you, and what do you think it means to the world?

A.J.:  Being British is a sense of fair play and helping each other. Clearly it is a good thing because so many people who live else where in the world want to come to Britain and be British themselves.

P.T.:  Could you elaborate what you mean by “a sense of fair play and helping each other”? Could you elaborate on that? And what do you think Scottish people would lose in the way of identity by no longer being British?

A.J.:  The UK is like a large business, some parts do well while other parts may face a down turn.  In a large business this is immaterial because it is the performance of the group as a whole which matters.  A well performing sector makes up for the shortfalls in other sectors.  That kind of thing.  The loss is easy.  Three hundred years of shared history.  Some will no doubt continue to remember what was achieved as a Union.  The separatists are only concerned about what they perceive as injustices. 

The truth is that from the point of independence if it happens, there will be no more shared identity.  It will be a case of "Us and Them" from that point on wards.  After all the people of Northern Ireland are still British citizens, the people in the Republic are not.  Americans are our closest allies but they are not members of the Commonwealth.  There will be divisions which will creep in.  Canadians are members of the Commonwealth but the Quebec question and the fact they speak French is another division for example.  No matter how it is looked at, people will find a way to differentiate between those who are British citizens those who are commonwealth and those who are our friends etc, they will be sub consciously placed into certain groups whether we like it or not.

P.T.:  Do you think that, for average people, these distinctions would matter one way or another? What do you think is the benefit of being a part of “a big business”?

A.J.:  Well to me as an "average person" I would like to be part of a "business" which is large enough to be able to weather any down turns in a particular part of the Union.  Those aiming to split the "business" (i.e. our Union) do not appear to be bothered that a smaller business is more likely to face a larger shock if the area of the former business which experiences a down turn is the part which has split.  To me, this instantly equates to the business facing the prospect of bankruptcy or a very long period of debt while borrowing to carry the business through the lean period.  Either that or we all carry on working for no wages.

P.T.:  What will you be doing in these last few months before the referendum, and what do you see for the future of the UK?

A.J.:  In these last few months I shall be continuing the fight across the internet because I believe the referendum needs to be won by a massive majority, which ever way it goes, to put it to bed for good. I do not want to be here fighting this fight in twenty years time again. I see the UK continuing to be a power to be reckoned with in the world. That is not just a measure of our military but the inventiveness of the individuals who live on our islands to come up with world class inventions to bestow upon the rest of humanity.

P.T.:  What do you see for your personal future? Also, what are some of your hobbies, interests, goals in life?

A.J.:  I personally will remain in Scotland, regardless of the outcome. I spent 40 years travelling the world, and I am not intending to make one more journey now I have finally put roots down. I hope to retire within the next 15 years and with enough of my health still available to me to enjoy a bit of relaxation in those later years. My hobbies at the moment consist of some DIY on my house and I enjoy pottering around in my garden. I also am a member of The RBLS and take part in ceremonial functions. I suppose my ultimate goal in life at the moment is to simply retire to an easy life in a United Kingdom.

P.T.:  What exactly is the RBLS, and what type of ceremonies do you take part in?

A.J.:  The RBLS is The Royal British Legion Scotland. It is a membership organisation for ex Servicemen in Scotland. Lots of various military organisations have their own individual Regimental or Corps Associations which can be joined on discharge from the Forces. These organisations exist to provide a sense of comradeship in civilian life which only those who have served will understand. Not all branches of the military are well represented across the entire country though. For example in Stirling the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders recruited for the Infantry. There are lots of ex A&SH living in the local area. They have their own Association in Stirling. I spent most of my military career in the Corps of Royal Engineers.

I am a member of the Royal Engineers Association which meets regularly throughout the year in the local area. Some branches of the military are not represented strongly enough to form a separate organisation in the local area. The Legion is a Tri Service organisation which takes everybody in. We provide that comradeship to all those without its own local organisation. The Legion are the "custodians" of the Annual Remembrance Day commemorations which take place all over the United Kingdom on Remembrance Sunday where homage is paid to those who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in the service of their country to keep it free. The current perception of the Legion nowadays however is "those old age pensioners who come out of the woodwork once a year with the Poppies to collect for charity". We are seen as an old mans organisation and are slowly dying a death I am afraid. The new kids on the block "Help for Heroes" now have the public eye.

However, it is still the Legion who parade under a Standard which carries a Union Flag in its top right corner, which marches from the local church to the local war memorial and which places a Poppy Wreath in remembrance to the Fallen to the words of Laurence Binyon: "They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning/We will remember them".

P.T.:  I just noticed on your FB Page that you took part in ceremonies for “Armed Forces Day.” Could you explain a little about that?

A.J.:  A few years ago in the UK a move to also honour the servicing military was introduced. This was to provide the civilian population with a means to say thank you to those still serving and not just those who died. An annual event was organised to be enjoyed up and down the entire country. Local communities would organise individual parades and events on a scale to suit each locality. For some this may have been nothing more than raising the Armed Forces Day Flag in a Flag Raising ceremony for others such as Stirling a large parade and military show was organised by the local council with a days worth of entertainment laid on.

One location would be selected by the Ministry of Defence to be the focus for the whole nation. This year, Stirling was selected. The official date for Armed Forces Day is the 28th June each year, this is the day allocated on calendars. For convenience, the actual parade is moved to the closest Saturday. Around the country, individual parades take place either weeks before or weeks afterwards. You cannot have veterans taking part in a local parade and also travelling to the National event at the same time can you? Stirling has held its parade on the Saturday before the National event for some time. This allows the Standards to attend the Stirling event and then travel to the National event the following week.

This year the 28th June actually fell on a Saturday, and with Stirling being selected for the National event we were not going to hold the event a week early were we? The separatists did not like this because they planned to commemorate the Battle of Bannockburn on the same day. I believe it is important to remember though that National Armed Forces Day is allocated to the 28th June each year. The Battle of Bannockburn took place over the 23rd and 24th June in 1314. The closest weekend to those dates this year was the weekend of the 21st and 22nd. They claim Stirling was selected for National AFD to disrupt their event.

I would counter that if Stirling had not been selected and instead had held its normal small scale AFD parade on the Saturday before as normally happens which this year would have been Saturday 21st June, we would be still facing accusations of holding a United Kingdom event at the same time as an important date in Scottish history. Remember also that AFD is a single date, the Bannockburn event was originally planned for three days and was then cut to two days. At the end of the day, the economy of Stirling benefited from the massive influx of individuals who came here to take part in one or the other or even both.

I do not know if you have seen any of the AFD events from Stirling at the weekend, so here is a little video clip to give you a flavour of the day:

P.T.:  Wow! That’s really fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing the link, and for helping me with this interviewing project!

A.J.:  You’re Welcome.

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