Selangor Scotsman Newsletter of the Selangor St. Andrewâ€™s Society April 2014
Chieftain Alan Bernard firstname.lastname@example.org
A warm welcome from your new Chieftain.
Vice-Chieftain Lorna Mair email@example.com
Where has the last year gone ! It certainly doesn’t feel like a year since Ali handed the reins over to Chuck !! I’m sure you will agree that Chuck has done a fabulous job as Chieftain, supported by an hyperactive and solid committee.
Hon. Secretary Donna Miller firstname.lastname@example.org Hon. Treasurer Hector Ingram email@example.com Committee Members Bernie Williams Elaine Cameron Kathleen Whyte Ken Crawford Kenny Ross Lee Smalley Yvanka Jeffery
The AGM was held late last month at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Chuck for running the meeting and Hector for organising the venue & F&B.
Resident Past-Chieftains Chuck Jeffery (2013) Ali King (2012) Johan Murison (2011) Richard Thompson (2010) Paul Henderson (2009) Alistair Paterson (2008) Hector Ingram (2007) John Thomson (2006) Roger McGowan (2005) Patrick Russell (1997 & 2004) Tristan Russell (1989) Stewart Forbes (1987)
Approximately 40 members attended the meeting and voted in your new committee. Our 2014-2015 committee are a very talented and diversified team who will be organising some amazing events for you this year. My personal thanks to Lorna Mair for agreeing to be the ViceChieftain and Donna Millar, albeit after much arm twisting, to be the Hon. Secretary. The rest of the committee consists of both previous standing and 2 new members, which will ensure continuity as well as an injection of new ideas.
Newsletter Editor Lee Smalley firstname.lastname@example.org
Our events for the year ahead:The May Concert sold out after only 7 days and 680 guests will be in attendance to watch and listen to the wonderful Paul Metacliffe (Rod), the amazingly talented Red Hot Chilli Pipers and our always hilarious MC Craig Hill. The following day, 500 games participants and over 6,000 people are expected to attend the inaugural KL Highland Games - see the write up from Lorna later in the newsletter
Membership Secretary email@example.com Charities Kathleen Whyte Alice Smith School Governor Yvanka Jeffery Web-Master John Thomson
The Selangor Scotsman is sponsored by Asian Tigers Transpo Movers (M) Sdn Bhd Lot 6, Jalan Ragum 15/17, Seksyen 15 4000 Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Eshan Tel: +603 5565 2200 Fax: +603 5513 3788 www.asiantigers-malaysia.com
Out-going Chieftain Chuck Jeffery handing over to in-coming Chieftain Alan Bernard
for more information. We require volunteers to assist us with the various tasks on the day of the games so if you are available and would like to help then please email Yvanka@ssas.com.my. The Batu Gajah Memorial Service will take place in June to pay homage to the servicemen from the Commonwealth who sacrificed their lives during the Malayan Emergency. This is not a society organised event but one we should fully support. More details will be provided in the next newsletter. On 1st June our Society golfers travel to the the challenging Templar Park course with the mission of retaining the “champions” Inter-Society title. If you haven’t signed up already then please do so by contacting Kenny@ssas.com.my
November. In addition, we will be organising several less formal events throughout the year I.e. New Members night, Welcome Back night, Hogmanay. If you have any ideas for other informal members gatherings then please let me know and we’ll try to arrange. On the membership front please do encourage your friends and fellow Scots to join the Society, if they haven’t done so already. The cost is very reasonable and members enjoy preferential ticket prices for most of our events. The application form can be found on our website www.ssas-online.com I look forward to meeting you at one of the events above and thank you kindly for your support of our Society.
Yours aye, The AGM also confirmed that the Annual Celebration will be held again in the DoubleTree by Hilton on Saturday the 22nd
The 2014-2015 Committee Chieftain
Alan Bernard Vice-Chieftain
Meet your new Chieftain Alan Bernard Interview with Alan Bernard Editor: Can you tell us something about yourself and your family? I was born in Forth Park Hospital, Kirkcaldy, Fife and at the age of 9 moved to Aberdeen where I lived until I became an expatriate in 1993. Abu Dhabi was my first permanent overseas posting at the young age of 25 and my dream of travelling the world started to come true. By 1995 I was married to my darling wife Revi and by 2001 we had 3 wonderful kids. In 2004 it was time to wave good bye to our friends and the very fond memories of life in the Middle East and head east to the greenery of Malaysia . Editor: How long have you lived in KL? We arrived 5 days before Christmas in December 2004 and moved into our house in Bukit Damansara on Christmas eve with boxes and boxes everywhere. However, it was one of the best Christmas Day’s we’ve ever had together as a family ! No computers, No Ipads, No mobile phones, No Internet and a wonderful evening of playing games with our kids. Editor: What other places have you lived?
Editor: What is your favourite Scottish tradition? Wearing my kilt whenever I can – Proud to advertise the fact that I’m Scottish. Editor: What is your favourite Scottish food and drink?
Editor: What is your favourite place in Scotland?
Revi’s homemade Haggis as well as a good ol’ Sunday breakfast. Haggis, Lorne Sausage, Black Pudding with all the trimmings. Grilled of course ! Favourite drink—The Macallan 21 year old Whisky!
Loch Muick – very fond memories of trekking in the vicinity!
Editor: What is your favourite St Andrew’s Society Event?
Editor: What is your favourite place in the rest of world?
The May Concert….
Kirkcaldy, Aberdeen, Doha, Abu Dhabi and now in Kuala Lumpur.
Alaska ! If you like outdoor activities this place is just amazing ! Editor: What are your hobbies and special Interests? Road cycling and mountain biking – a wonderful way to relieve stress and collect your thoughts. Photography, especially studio, and black and white Hasselblad. Lack of time limits everything else I’d like to do !
Editor: What is your favourite Scottish Country Dance Gay Gordons – first dance I learned as a teenager awkwardly walking across the gym hall to choose a female partner to dance with. Editor: What is your favourite Spectator Sport Formula 1 (before they changed to quiet V6 hybrid engines) and also the Tour De France….
Forthcoming Events Date
17 May 2014
Hilton Kuala Lumpur
18 May 2014
Bukit Kiara Polo Field
01 Jun 2014
Inter Society Golf Tournament
Templar Park Golf Club
18 Oct 2014
Great British Ball
22 Nov 2014
St. Andrew’s Day Ball Hilton Doubletree
Selangor St. Andrew’s Society are proud to present the KL Highland Games Concert and the Inaugural KL Highland Games
The Winning St. Andrew’s Society Golf Team at the 2013 Tournament
So get oot yer’ brassies, cleeks, mashies, niblicks n’ spoons and mak share the 2014 Trophy stays in it’s richtfu’ place— a wee bit north o’ Hadrian’s Wa’ !!
Report on The Inaugural KL Highland Games by Lorna Mair If you cast your mind back to our September 2013 Newsletter you may recall that a few of your committee members visited Jakarta in May 2013 to consider the feasibility of bringing such a spectacular event to KL for all to enjoy. At that time discussions were still in their infancy however since then it has been decided "Let's do this!" Headed by our Chieftain Chuck Jeffrey, a steering committee was organized to get this event off the ground and have we made some progress or what? All those involved are working hard to ensure that the Inaugural Highland Games will be not only a successful, fun filled, entertaining family day for all, but will also raise as much as possible for the four chosen charities that all profits raised over the weekend's events will be donated to. These are: MAKNA - www.makna.org.my Mobiliti - www.mobiliti.org.my Special Kids of Ampang - www.scsoa.org.my Stepping Stones - www.hati.my/children/steppingstones-living-center The support from the corporate companies listed below by the way of sponsorship has been phenomenal and without their generosity this event would have always remained in the planning stage. We at SSAS, along with those less fortunate than ourselves who will benefit from the event's profits would like to express our sincere gratitude to each and every one of you. From procuring the Pipers, to co-ordinating the Kids village we currently we have over 20 people
rolling up their sleeves and mucking in to make the Inaugural Kuala Lumpur Highland Games a truly historical event, however there can never be enough pairs of hands both on the run up and on the actual day of the Games. If you would like to get involved in any way whatsoever, no matter how small you think your contribution in time could be, then please drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will find a wee job for you to do! Volunteering in organizing these events is fun and rewarding and a great way to meet new people here in KL. See you all on the 18th May at Bukit Equestrian Centre for something really BIG coming to Kuala Lumpur!
Lorna x Special thanks to our sponsors: Official Hotel Partner - Hilton Official Beer Partner - Guinness Official Radio Partners - Red FM and Capital FM Official Magazine Partner - Expatriate Lifestyle Our Gold Sponsors: Seadrill, Gyrodata, Downhole Products, Petrostem, Tam International, Global Process Systems and Core IRM Our Silver Sponsors: Reliant, Allied Pickfords, Proserve, Welfab, New Horizons, PSI and Sapura Kencana Drilling.
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Bernie Williams Reports on the Burns Supper 2014 25th 2014 saw the usual early morning flurry of preparing for the Burns Supper. The genie was in full swing getting the various clan shields up on the walls and on the front two podiums. The ladies were knee deep in staple guns, tartan material and continuing on the almost forgotten art of swagging the stage. The men checked the computers and then checked them again! The sound guy from the hotel was conspicuous by his absence, but we had the firm promise of the maître d’ that he would appear in the early part of the evening!
The room looked good after the staff from the InterContinental had finished with it. The chairs seemed to stand to attention, the big blue table runners settled themselves very gently in the St. Andrew’s cross and every place setting had a brochure explaining the evening ahead. We knew there would be little time between leaving and getting back in time to check with the sound man so we left by twelve having been treated to a rendition from the Pipers who were in fine fettle as usual. The speakers who were doing the tribute to the lads and lassies could barely contain their mirth as they practiced what they would be saying that night! The evening rolled up and found the whole committee ready. The guests arrived looking good. The men were all looking resplendent in their kilts and the ladies looked sophisticated,
coiffed, gowned and bejeweled. The noise in the lobby was tremendous as everyone greeted each other and tried to shout in each other’s ears. However all talking was reduced to a mumble as the pipers began their intrepid march ushering the guests into the Ball Room. The evening had begun. Chuck Jeffery the Chieftain was in fine voice as he
commenced his ode to the haggis, the poor haggis was trembling at the thought of the reeking entrails it was expected to produce on Chuck’s command. The Haggis Party of Lee Smalley, Donna Millar and Pauline Geddes did us proud as the haggis escort into the Ballroom. Lorna Mair and Paul Geddes proved to be equally matched in their slanging match of each other as each competed to outdo the other. Then the moment we had been waiting for was the story of Tam O. Shanter, which was recited to us a captive audience by the local Scottish bard, Bruce Fummey. At one point to demonstrate a point, he stood on the nearest chair and practically rode it round the Ball Room never taking his eyes off us! Fortunately his next role was to be that of the stand up comic and for the Scots in the room he was extremely funny. For those without an ear for an accent, we are sure he was extremely funny!
Much wine, whisky and water continued to be consumed as the folks got up to dance. The dancing resembled that of a ceilidh as the dances were easily learnt or remembered by that stage of the evening and the floor remained full through to the bitter end. The end was of course the wonderful Auld Lang Syne where we filled the dance floor again joining hands and crossing and uncrossing arms all at the wrong times. This added to the air of an evening well spent, well danced, well fed and well….well drunk! Happy New Year to all our members and Gong Xi Fa Cai.
Personal Reflections: The Scottish Diaspora is part of my Blog and will showcase your views – Personal Reflections – on the Scottish diaspora, its history and legacy. I am currently looking for people interested in participating in the project. No special requirements, the project is open to anyone with a love for Scotland and Scottish history. If you would like to become a contributor, all you have to do is fill in this Survey and agree to the terms explained. The survey is quite short and won’t take long to complete. Once all surveys are in they will be published on the Personal Reflections site for Scots around the
world to enjoy. If you have any questions about the project, please email: email@example.com.
A little update from our Charities Co-ordinator Kathleen Whyte I made a visit to the Dignity for Children Foundation in Sentul this week along with Carole Findlay and Rosie Williams. It was lovely to catch up with the two students sponsored by the Scottish Society: A Bawi and Emily and Lian Lian who is sponsored by Rosie Williams. Carole has kindly compiled a note with some background on the sponsorship scheme and an update on the childrenâ€™s progress below. She co-ordinates a sponsorship scheme for Myanmar refugee teenagers and provides the background to the story: A number of Scottish Society members are among many expats registered with UNHCR and volunteer teach at refugee community schools in KL. Refugees have no status in Malaysia and therefore have no access to government schools. Instead, the refugee communities set up schools themselves, supported by UNHCR and other NGOs. These schools, in the main, cater only for children's education at pre-school and primary level. According to UNHCR, there are some 4000 refugee teenagers aged 14-17 without access to secondary level education. Volunteer teachers at ACR School in Pudu were concerned about the number of teenagers there reaching the final primary year and then having to leave school. In Jan 2012 the teachers set up a scholarship fund to send some of these youngsters to the Dignity Foundation for Children, a charity-run school offering education to marginalised children from pre-school to secondary levels. Since then a total of seventeen teenagers from ACR School have been enrolled at the Dignity Foundation; sponsored by volunteer teachers, individuals and expat organisations. Kathleen got to hear of the scheme and in May of last year, the Scottish Society began sponsoring two teenagers to attend the Dignity Foundation: A Bawi and Emily.
We made a visit to Dignity this week to catch up with the youngsters. They are delightful young people and are enjoying their studies. At the end of the last year A Bawi was awarded 1st place in his year group and Emily awarded Most Helpful Student. The teaching Language medium at the school is English and A Bawi and Emily's English language skills are improving greatly. The school has adopted the IGCSE curriculum and it is hoped that the students will gain qualifications and help their job prospects. I am sure you will agree that this is a very worthwhile cause to support as it gives the children the opportunity to be well educated and give them hope for the future.
The Referendum Debate Editor’s Note
On the 18th September this year, voters in Scotland get to vote on whether they think Scotland should be an independent country or not!! At a recent committee gathering this subject came up and sparked off quite a lively debate. As Newsletter Editor, I invited two Resident Past Chieftains - Ali King for the “aye” vote and John Thomson for the “naw” vote - to each write a piece for the Newsletter putting across their points of view. Do you have an opinion that you would like heard? If so, send any comments or articles to my e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org before May 30th for inclusion in the June issue of the Newsletter. Lee Smalley Newsletter Editor
A Golden Opportunity by Ali King On the 18th of September 2014 Scotland has a chance to become an Independent country. Self determination is a wonderful opportunity for Scotland to become the very best country it possibly can be. The reason being independent will be better for you & Scotland is simple. Being independent will mean the people who care most about Scotland - the people who live in Scotland will be taking the decisions about our future. The people of Scotland have the greatest stake in making our nation a success. That means we are more likely to make the right choices for our society and our economy. Today we have a government in Westminster that most of us did not vote for , and yet that government is able to take major decisions that impact families and communities in Scotland. In an independent Scotland we will always get the government Scotland chooses - a government that will take forward policies designed to meet the needs of people in Scotland. We can elect the government we think cares most about Scotland – a government that will look after the interests of people living here. That means we can choose a better path. And it means we will be able to focus 100% on making Scotland better. For example, we could choose to reverse the UK government's tax cut for the very wealthiest in society and instead restore the higher level of tax allowance for our pensioners. Being independent means the revenue from our vast offshore renewable energy will come to Scotland, allowing us to benefit communities across the country. We can work more effectively to attract companies to Scotland, and help businesses already here grow, allowing us to create more jobs. And, while the UK government plans to spend £100 billion on new nuclear weapons in the years ahead, we can choose to use our £8 billion share of this money more wisely. The choice will be ours. We will be able to make Scotland the country we all know it can be. Whilst we are on the subject of nuclear weapons & defence - On independence, Scotland will inherit the barracks, air bases and naval bases on its territory, including Faslane. These will form the starting point for a new Scottish Defence Force. How the defence forces of an independent Scotland are set up will be for future elected Scottish Governments to decide, just as the Westminster government is currently responsible for deciding the shape and size of UK defence forces.
The current Scottish Government has set out proposals in its white paper - "Scotland's Future: Your Guide to an Independent Scotland" - for the transition of Faslane from a nuclear submarine base to Scotland's main naval base and joint force headquarters. The transition would take place over the course of a decade. It is the expectation of the Government that that the number of military personnel at Faslane will match the numbers that are there currently, supported by a significant number of civilian personnel. Furthermore, work to reconfigure Faslane as a conventional naval base will involve major construction activity and related jobs in the area. Faslane would also retain capacity for shared arrangements with the rest of the UK and other allies, recognising Faslane's excellent deep water facilities and its geographical location. There is a general consensus in Scotland against the presence of nuclear weapons here because they are immoral, they are incredibly expensive and almost useless in terms of protecting us against the most significant threats to our national security. Even our share of the annual running costs of the current trident submarines could instead be used to train 3,880 nurses or 4,527 teachers, or to build 13 to 20 primary schools. Currently only £2 billion of defence spending comes to Scotland – even though £3.3 billion of the UK’s defence budget comes from Scotland’s taxpayers. By ensuring more of our taxpayers' money is spent in Scotland, there can be a bright future for Faslane as a conventional naval base and joint force headquarters, and for jobs in the surrounding area. Does Scotland have what it takes to be Independent? The question is not whether Scotland can afford to be independent. We have the people, resources and ingenuity to prosper. Instead we should be asking, why isn’t Scotland doing better, given all the natural and human wealth we enjoy? Being an independent country is all about making Scotland a better place to live, with greater prosperity and higher standards of living. That is the purpose and the reason why so many Scots are passionate about an independent Scotland. People ask, can we afford to be independent? Many have heard the claim that spending in Scotland is much higher than elsewhere in the UK. What is less well known is that tax revenues generated by Scotland are much higher too. The 2012-2013
Government Expenditure and Revenue figures show that Scotland generated 9.1% of UK taxes, with just 8.3% of the population. When we take into account all parts of the financial equation, over the last 5 years Scotland’s finances have been stronger than the UK's to the tune of £8.3 billion that's £1,600 per person. The UK government has published figures on Scotland's finances since devolution began in 1999. They showed that Scotland's accounts matched the UK's to within £1 per person for each year. If the UK government were to rerun the same calculations in light of the 2011-12 figures, they would now show that Scotland's public finances have been stronger than the UK's looking at the whole period since devolution. Taken together, these figures for the most recent years, the devolution years and over a 30 period tell us that Scotland has sufficiently strong financial foundations. These figures are not about forecasting the future, because one of the reasons for becoming independent is to grow our economy faster and improve our financial position. However they do confirm that Scotland is wealthy enough to be an independent nation, if we so choose. Some people worry that an independent Scotland wouldn’t be able to deal with the high level of debt, but figures released in January 2012 by City firm M&G Investments showed that, at the time, Scotland’s debt as a percentage of national wealth was smaller than the UK’s. For Scotland it was 56%, for the UK 63% - as the report said, Scotland’s starting point looks better than the UK as a whole. The Scottish Government's Fiscal Commission working group, which includes two Nobel Laureates, has provided updated estimates in February 2013. These look forward to a point after Scotland would be independent. They say that if Scotland assumed a population share of UK public sector net debt, in 2017-18 our debt would be equivalent to 72% of Scotland's national wealth. This would be lower than the equivalent UK figure of 77%. Thanks to North Sea oil and gas, an asset worth well over £1 trillion, we have one of the best safety nets for the future. The wholesale value of this asset is as much as ten times our share of the national debt. But oil and gas aren’t our only guarantees for the future. Scotland has 25% of the EU’s offshore tidal and wind energy potential, which will be worth billions every year. For our size, we have the strongest university research base in the world. We have key and growing industries including tourism, food & drink (including whisky), the financial sector, engineering and life sciences. These are firm foundations for success.
Here are 10 key economic facts for why Scotland will be a wealthy independent nation: 1. Scotland has a rich and diverse economy. Scotland’s economy includes £21.4 billion in construction which employs 170,000 people, £11.6 billion in tourism which supports 292,000 jobs, £39 billion yearly turnover in manufacturing with a value added of £12.7 billion and 127,000 people employed. Scotland also has world leading expertise in life science,world class universities (5 in the world’s top 200), a multi-billion pound creative sector and vast energy (oil, gas, tidal, wave, wind and solar), fishing and agricultural resources. 2. Scotland is a net contributor to the UK. Last year Scotland provided £800 more in tax per person that the UK average. This means Scotland would have been £8.3 billion better off as an independent country over the past 5 years. We could have spent that money investing in our economy with the same debt levels as the rest of the UK or saved it and had £8.3 billion less debt. 3. Scotland generates far more tax than the UK average. Scotland generated £1,700 more in tax per person than the UK as a whole in 201112. Scotland has generated more tax per head than the UK every year for the past 32 years. The graph below is for a shorter time period but produced by the UK Government. Even in the years where oil prices were lowest, Scotland tax generation was always been considerably higher than the UK average and England in particular. 4. Westminster has cost Scotland £64 billion in the past 30 years. Scotland has paid £64 billion in UK debt interest that Scotland didn’t need. An independent Scotland would have been far better off economically. This was reported recently in the Sunday Times after bespoke Business for Scotland research showed that Scotland has been subsidising the failings of Westminster economic mismanagement. 5. Scotland has a lower deficit and lower public spending than the UK. Scotland has a lower deficit than the UK. Scotland’s is at 5.4%, while the UK deficit is 8.5% of GDP, as of the 2011 IMF comparison. Scotland spends 42.7% of Scotland’s GDP on public spending. The UK spends 45.5%. This demonstrates that Scotland’s public finances are in a stronger position than the UK as a whole. The latest GERS figures place Scotland’s deficit at 5% compared to the UK’s 7.9%. 6. Scotland has strong exports. Scotland’s top export markets are USA, Netherlands, France and Germany, which are worth a combined total worth of £9.5 billion. Scottish whisky exports are valued
at £4.27 billion last year. This is because Scotland exports 40 bottles every second! The food and drink market is key to Scotland’s exports across the world. Other key industries include chemical manufacturing, computer products, finance and insurance and other forms of equipment. With the powers of independence combining with the Scottish Government gaining direct control over international relations, there is a target to increase exports by 50%, which would create over 100,000 new jobs. 7. Scotland’s oil fields remain a massive financial asset. The oil in the North Sea is worth over £1 trillion. There are at least 15-24 billion barrels of oil remaining which will continue long into the 21st century. Over 90% of the tax revenue will go to an independent Scotland which can help to establish a national oil fund for future investment. Recently, Business for Scotland explained the potential for a West coast oil boom that is currently blocked by Westminster. Independence could revitalise the economies of Ayrshire and the Strathclyde region as a whole. Most oil price forecasts are upward, with one of the exceptions being the UK Government’s OBR which has a political motivation to underestimate oil revenue. 8. Scotland has huge potential in renewable energy. Scotland has 25% of Europe’s total tidal energy potential, 25% of total wind energy potential and 10% of total wave energy potential. This has the power to reindustrialise Scotland bringing more jobs and greater prosperity. Key examples include the Pentland Firth - the Saudi Arabia of renewable tidal energy - and the Moray Firth - a substantial offshore wind energy project. Small scale and often community owned renewable projects also have huge potential to provide low cost energy to revitalise Scotland’s rural communities. 9. Scotland is one of the top UK locations for inward investment. Inward investment into Scotland’s economy has hit a 15 year high. Last year Ernst & Young ranked Scotland as the most popular UK destination for global investment outside of London. Scotland secured 11% of all UK Foreign and Direct Investment despite being only 8.4% of the UK population. The report confirmed that far from uncertainty over Scotland’s referendum causing a slow down in inward investment that “it seemed to have the opposite effect”. A combination of lower corporation tax combined with a raft of other economic measures such as significant government investment in fast growing sectors should ensure FDI continues to be a strong contributor to Scotland’s economy. Indeed evidence suggests that newly independent nations enjoy significantly increased FDI.
10. An independent Scotland can support Scottish business in tax, regulation, the labour market, innovation and global exports. An independent Scotland will prioritise the interests of business in Scotland following decades of Westminster prioritising London and the South East. This includes the opportunity to create a simpler tax system that supports Scottish business; reforming the labour market to improve employer/ employee relations; encouraging migration to Scotland to balance Scotland’s unique demographic needs; and supporting Scottish exports globally through a Scottish diplomatic and trade service. The opportunities of independence are vast and long-term. The Pound There is a lot of misinformation and scaremongering regarding an independent Scotland being able to use the pound. We do not need Westminster's permission to continue to do so. The pound belongs to Scotland as much as the rest of the UK. A monetary union is where the conflict lies. Alistair Darling (leader of Better Together) said in an interview that it would be 'desirable' and ‘logical’ for an independent Scotland to retain sterling, as indeed it would. If a Scottish retail bank wishes to print a bank note, it has to deposit one pound sterling with the Bank of England to guarantee the value of those notes. The value of the Scottish notes in circulation is currently around “three thousand six hundred million pounds, (£3.6bn) and that is how much money the Bank of England would have to give back to the Scottish retail banks to stop them printing their own notes. That would make it the most expensive pointless gesture in UK politics and one the BoE would rightly resist. Conclusion The pound sterling is not English money, it is British money, and just as with the Bank of England it is owned by the people of Britain in proportion to population. The political union has long ago stopped working in Scotland’s favour, the currency union still makes sense and will be of equal benefit to both Scotland, and the rest of the UK if maintained. What hasn’t yet sunk in, is that a Scottish currency could be made to work for Scotland, but the threat to the rest of the UK would be significant if Scottish energy and Scottish exports were removed from the sterling zone’s balance of payments. George Osborne appears to be saying that if Scotland votes yes he will commit political and economic suicide and ruin the rest of the UK’s economy, just to get back at Scotland. A bizarre, and totally political position for the Treasury to take, to say the least.
So, I'd like to put it to George Osborne what his Plan B is regarding excluding an Independent Scotland from a currency union? How will he explain the massive transition costs, estimated at £500 million, incurred by British businesses trading with Scotland? Will Scotland be in the European Union? Scotland, as part of the UK has been a member of the EU for over 40 years. To suggest we will be expelled upon declaring Independence is incorrect. In short, the Scottish Government proposes to agree the terms of Scotland’s continued membership of the European Union between the date of the referendum, and the proposed date of independence on 24th March 2016. However, Scotland has no plans to join the Euro, and couldn’t join at this stage even if it wanted to. There are different interpretations of EU law and what this means for Scotland and the EU. What is clear though, is that Scotland will not be immediately independent the day after a Yes vote, as the Scottish Government has explained in its “independence roadmap” and in its white paper "Scotland's Future: Your Guide to an Independent Scotland". There would be a period of around 18 months for agreement between Scotland, the remainder of the UK, and the EU on the details of our continuing membership. In that way questions relating to our ongoing EU membership can be settled before we become independent. Scotland already is part of the EU – so there is no doubt that we meet all the requirements for membership, and with our energy and fishing resources it is clearly common sense, and in the interests of the EU, that Scotland's place in the EU continues seamlessly. Even the UK government’s expert European legal adviser has accepted that this timetable is “realistic”. So Scotland’s EU membership will be secure by the time we are independent. The huge benefit of membership of the EU is unrestricted access to the biggest single market in the world – easily our biggest international trading partner, accounting for almost half of our exports. It is access to that market that is one reason why Scotland is so successful in attracting investment from abroad. Independence will give Scotland a seat at the top table and a voice when key decisions are being made about Europe’s future – a voice we do not have just now. For example, as members of the EU, Scotland would be part of the common fisheries policy; but would also have full involvement in negotiations surrounding that policy. What is very uncertain that
remaining in the union we will continue to be members due to the EU in-out referendum promised by David Cameron upon his re-election. Is Scotland Subsidised? It is an accepted fact that every year for 30 years Scotland has generated more tax revenue per head for the UK treasury than the rest of the UK. The latest figures taken from the Government Expenditure and revenue report Scotland (GERS) state that Scotland generated £800 more in tax per person than the UK average. Scotland would have been £8.3 billion better off than the UK over the past 5 years. Put simply, when the UK runs a surplus Scotland contributes more to the surplus, and when the UK runs a deficit Scotland has to pay more of the debt back than it is responsible for. Its a “lose/lose” situation for Scottish tax payers and especially for those in need of support from the state. Had Scotland been independent and not been forced to share the massive debts run up by successive UK governments over the past 30 years it would today be £50 billion in the black, a new analysis of Scotland's accounts has shown. Business for Scotland says the healthy surplus that could have been amassed shows that Scotland can more than afford to be independent but has been subjected to an enduring "confidence trick" by Westminster to conceal the country's true wealth. The detailed study of Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures shows that over the past 32 years Scotland's share of UK debt interest has amounted to more than £64 billion. However, during that time, had Scotland been an independent country with its geographic share of oil revenues, Scotland's borrowing would have been zero, according to the study. Business for Scotland's chief executive, Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, who undertook the analysis on behalf of the pro-Yes think tank and business network, said: "The £64 billion is interest on debt that Scotland was saddled with simply because we are not an independent country.” "As a result, on average, £2,000 million has been ripped out of the Scottish economy every years for the past 32 years to pay interest on loans that Scotland didn't take out and didn't need." MacIntyre-Kemp, who has a background in economic development planning, said that every Westminster government in his lifetime had diverted billions of pounds of Scottish revenues to the London Treasury. He said:
"This has led to lower investment in Scotland, higher unemployment, lower economic growth, lower standards of living, economic migration and growing inequality and poverty." For generations, he said, the people of Scotland had been fed "a negative narrative on the health of our economy" - a fact recently backed up by former Chancellor Denis Healey who admitted that Scotland paid more than its fair share and that fear of independence was behind the "myths" that Scotland was being subsidised by London. MacIntyre-Kemp said analysis of the available financial data showed that had Scotland to pay only its own debts "we would have been building up massive surpluses of cash for at least a generation". He said: “This is cash that could have been invested in a sovereign oil fund to secure pensions and the NHS, cash that could have been invested in infrastructure or the business of re-industrialising Scotland to create a larger, more successful and wealthier nation than we have now.” “The £50 billion surplus we could have had is also after taking into account Scotland's share of military spend on, for example, hugely expensive nuclear weapons and the illegal war in Iraq which cost Scotland around £1 billion.” “What this analysis shows very clearly is that Scotland is a very wealthy nation but Westminster control has stopped us becoming a wealthy society.” Respected independent economist Jim Cuthbert said the Business for Scotland analysis added weight to the fact that Scotland would have fared much better financially had it been an independent country during the past 32 years. He said: “An independent Scotland would have used its control of licensing conditions to ensure that a much greater proportion of the non-tax benefits of oil - such as employment and supplies of good and services - stayed in Scotland.” “Had Scotland been independent, the present situation would not have held, namely that while Scotland accounts for around 80% of UK hydrocarbon production it only has 45% of associated jobs.” "Similarly, if Scotland had done as Norway did and set up a Scottish National Oil Corporation a much greater share of oil profits would have remained in Scotland." The Edinburgh Agreement is the agreement between the Scottish Government and the United Kingdom Government, signed on 15 October 2012.
Both governments agreed that the referendum should: have a clear legal base; be legislated for by the Scottish Parliament; be conducted so as to command the confidence
of parliaments, government and people; and deliver a fair test and decisive expression of the
views of people in Scotland and a result that everyone will respect. The Scottish Government have produced an extensive document outlining their vision of what an independent Scotland could be like. The White Paper is widely available online or you can order a hard copy. What needs to be remembered is that whether you support SNP or not Scotland's residents will have the power to elect whichever government it chooses. Alex Salmond can be credited with bringing this referendum to the table but Independence is not about him or his party. The UK government have produced no such vision. Alastair Darling (leader of Better Together) had ridiculed this paper within 30 minutes of its release. While Independence supporters are running a positive campaign outlining the benefits to Scotland the supporters of the union are intent on scaring Scotland into voting no. The oil so advantageous to the UK has suddenly become a noose round our necks. Scotland’s economic output per head, even without oil and gas, is virtually the same as the UK as a whole. So oil and gas is a bonus. When we include the output of the North Sea, Scotland produces almost a fifth more per head that the UK average. Oil and gas revenues make up 15 per cent of Scotland’s overall public sector receipts, compared to 30 per cent for Norway and yet Norway has prospered and has an oil fund worth £470 billion. Business in Scotland It is reported that many businesses will up sticks and leave an independent Scotland. This is simply not true. RBS, Barclays, Standard Life & more have all said they have no plans to leave. Contingency plans are being made as would be expected from any business facing change but they have said they will adapt to these changes. What has to be remembered is these companies do business in many countries using many currencies and thrive. Why would doing business in an independent Scotland be any different? The better together campaign reports untruths continually regarding business. I'd urge people to research. The information is all there if you seek it out.
Passports & Border Controls Put simply. At the end of last year the Scottish government outlined its plan for passports in its White Paper blueprint for independence. It said.... all Scottish citizens would be entitled to a
Scottish passport - but not required to have one. it would cost the same as a UK passport
currently costs. it is expected they would last five years for children and 10 for adults. your UK passport would still be valid until its expiry date. a Scottish Passport Agency would be established and there would be no need to take a passport when travelling to other parts of the United Kingdom, thanks to a shared Common Travel Area as is the case with NI and the ROI. A Scottish passport will be just as valuable as your current UK one. Poverty in Scotland Why are many scots in favour of independence you may ask? Is the status quo working for Scotland? Why as one of the richest nations in the world do we even have poverty? We are used to the No path. Where we are part of the UK, the 4th most
unequal country in the developed world, and on track to becoming the most unequal. Where income inequality has increased over the last decades, including during thirteen recent years of Labour government. Where the Westminster Government’s most recent welfare cuts will take a further £210 million out the pockets of hard working Scottish families, whilst the same Government cuts taxes for a few at the very top of the income scale, and invests another £350 million in the latest stage of Trident renewal. Where on this path, one in five kids in Scotland are in poverty, and one in five young Scots are unemployed, almost double the 2008 number. On this path, there are few hopeful signs of change. But a Yes path will allows us to choose a different future. Where essential economic and social powers
will be held not by alternate Tory and Labour Westminster Governments, but the Parliament and people of Scotland that have consistently opposed this policy direction. Where we spend on welfare not weapons of mass destruction.
Where we know that fairness is good for
society. Where we know that fairness is also good for growth; and Where economic growth is not for its own sake, but balanced for the sake of all those who work and live in our society. Opportunity or stagnation for Scotland? Some reasons that Scotland's residents should vote for independence are; 1/ A government elected by the Scottish people working in the best interests of all who reside here. 2/ Scotland will have full control over fiscal policy, with full powers on taxes, spending and borrowing. Currently, the Scottish Parliament is responsible for just 7 per cent of taxes raised in Scotland. Even with the new tax powers of the Scotland Act, this figure will only increase to around 15 per cent. Only with independence will Scotland have full control over 100 per cent of tax revenue and fiscal policy. 3/ Removal of nuclear weapons from our land saving £163 million annually. 4/ A fairer more equal & just society. 5/ We have the resources, people & determination to make a successful prosperous nation. Something to think about. People invariably say no when asked if they felt Scotland would be better independent from the UK. No is the default. When they engage in the debate and inform themselves of the real benefits they turn to yes. Momentum is with the yes campaign. Polls consistently show people change from no to yes but not the other way around. As the title states it's a golden opportunity. Why wouldn't we take it with both hands?
Regards Ali King
The Scottish Referendum – Case for a “NO” Vote by John M. Thomson The Scottish Referendum will be held on 18th September 2014 whereby voters resident in Scotland will be asked:
great modern economist who wrote “The Wealth of Nations”.
“Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes / No”
Together with other outstanding Scottish intellectuals, they were part of a club known at the Select Society which, for a period a ten years, was the principal Edinburgh based forum of the Scottish Enlightenment period. And it should be noted that many members of the Select Society were Edinburgh volunteers who fought against the Highland armies of the Jacobite Rebellion. These prominent Scots, regarded as intellectual giants, put their lives on the line and fought to maintain the Union with England!
The date will be a significant milestone in Scottish political history, and if the Vote is “Yes” it will end more than 300 years of political union. The United Kingdom of Great Britain as we know it, will cease to exist. The Acts of the Union1 which combined the Kingdom of England2 and the Kingdom of Scotland, thereby creating a new single sovereign state, will be repealed. But will a “Yes” vote be a victory for Scottish patriotism and benefit Scotland as a whole, or will it be an economic disaster of enormous proportions for the whole of the United Kingdom? Historical Considerations To consider the answer to that question, it is necessary to look back at Scottish history. Prior to the Union with England in 1707, Scotland was the poorest country in Western Europe. Following the Union, Scottish merchants had access to England’s trade monopolies and overseas markets in America, Caribbean, Africa, India and the Far East whereby the Scots not only flourished but also contributed to the financial and economic success of the newly created United Kingdom. As renowned historian Simon Schama once wrote of the Union, “What began as a hostile merger, would end in a full partnership in the most powerful going concern in the world ... it was one of the most astonishing transformations in European history.” It is clear that the Union created a synergy effect whereby both Scotland and England prospered in a way that was greater than either country could have achieved if they had remained separate nation states. The Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745 tried to break the Union and re-establish Scotland as an independent state, but had they succeeded, Scotland would have reverted to a feudal clan system and would once again have been plunged into economic poverty. But following 1745, Scotland continued to prosper and entered into a period which became known as the “Scottish Enlightenment”. By the latter part of the 18th Century, Scotland had achieved general literacy in its population, the first country in Europe to do so. Prominent Scots emerged to take the lead in many fields, with figures such as David Hume, regarded as modernity’s first great philosopher whose unorthodox views made him a legend in his own lifetime. Another was Adam Smith, the first 1
The two Acts were, The Union with Scotland Act 1706 which was passed by the Parliament of England, while the Union with England Act 1707 was passed by the Parliament of Scotland. 2 In 1707, The Kingdom of England included the modern-day England and Wales.
As we move through the 19th and 20th centuries we can cite numerous examples of how Great Britain prospered, whereby the Scots, in partnership with our neighbours in the rest of the UK, worked together to achieve unprecedented levels of success. It was our combined talents, abilities and resources that created the British Empire; a complex collection of dominions, territories, colonies, military bases and assorted dependences which eventually covered 20% of the world’s land-mass and approximately 25% of the world’s population. When one examines the history of each location within the British Empire, there appears a small coterie of Scottish men and women which took a leading role and which had a major impact, but the Scots were not alone! They worked together with their English counterparts to achieve success! Cleaving the Union Tapestry After three centuries of union, England and Scotland have not only prospered together, but also have developed a rich tapestry of complex, intricate legal, political, financial and military ties. It is a foregone conclusion that those ties would have to be severed if Scotland voted for independence. But it is not as simple at taking a claymore and cutting the tapestry down the middle! It will be necessary to tease out and separate every individual thread of the tapestry, then to abandon each thread and replace it with two lesser and different strands. As many know from personal experience, a divorce between two individuals is generally messy, emotionally stressful and very expensive when lawyers come into the picture. Imagine a “divorce” on a scale which is millions of times greater than two individuals, and where the lawyers have to work out all the legal intricacies to undo 300+ years of a union. Legal costs alone may well bankrupt an independent Scotland and what remains of the UK! Let me give you an example; our former Treasurer, Gordon Crighton, was working on a project in Scotland to modify the north-eastern rail links from Newcastle to Edinburgh and to divert them to run under a planned development of Edinburgh Airport. The project was underway when the Scottish National Party (SNP) gained control of the Scottish Parliament. The SNP arbitrarily cancelled the project which had been instigated by the
previous Labour administration. A lucrative development project which would have provided Scotland with jobs, business opportunities and enhanced Rail and Air Travel infra-structure, was scrapped! The single action to cancel the project cost the UK tax-payers millions of pounds in settlement costs for breach of contract. Imagine that situation multiplied several thousand-fold to include all Scottish related contractual obligations negotiated and in place by the existing UK Government whereby all such contracts may be rendered null and void. What Happens to UK Passports? Another example relates to passports. Once the United Kingdom ceases to exist, then it will be necessary to replace every UK passport, not just passports for Scottish residents. It costs £135 to renew a UK passport. Renewal from overseas costs an additional £115 in courier charges!
The bare figures, excluding North Sea oil and gas revenues, are as follows: ØTotal Tax Revenue from Scotland: £47.6 Billion ØTotal Public Expenditure for Scotland: £65.2 Billion In 2012-2013 the total UK Revenue from North Sea oil and gas was assessed as £6.6 Billion. A key question to consider is how to allocate the revenues from North Sea oil and gas to the Scottish Budget. Generally this would be done in one of two ways, either on a per capita basis, i.e. on the distribution of the UK population, or on a geographical distribution of the oil and gas installations off-shore from UK.
North Sea oil and gas revenues are generated from an Exclusive Economic Zone negotiated by the UK government and ratified internationally. Licences are granted by the UK Government which operates a tax and royalty licensing regime. All contractual arrangements are between the operator and the UK Government. There is no agreement in place that allows the total North Sea oil and gas revenues to be applied to Scotland. Also it should be noted that North Sea oil and gas revenues are not constant. The revenues are dependent upon levels of production and the price of oil which at times fluctuates dramatically.
Consider the administrative costs relating to design, printing, recall and reissue of every single UK Passport. In 2011, there were 46.6 million UK passport holders1. An exercise to replace those passports would cost UK citizens approximately £10 Billion at a conservative estimate. Also, imagine the logistical issues to decide who was entitled to citizenship of the newly independent states. It will be a hellish, self-induced, bureaucratic nightmare within the UK, and do not forget the potential hassle of getting the new passports accepted world-wide. Scotland’s Budget Shortfall But let us not get bogged down with such minor trivia as the cost of a replacement passport or the ensuing bureaucratic nightmare. Instead let us examine the hard cash reality of an independent Scotland based upon data published in March 2014 relating to Scottish Expenditure and Revenue2 for Year Ending 31st March 2013. 1
UK Census Records 2011.
The most equitable way to share such Revenues is to allocate the revenues between the whole population of the UK on a per capita basis. Since the population of Scotland is approximately 8.3% of the total UK population, an 8.3% share of North Sea oil and gas revenues would be £552 Million. If that amount was added to 2012-2013 fiscal figures, the Revenue for Scotland would have increased to £48.1 Billion. If the UK Government agreed to allocate North Sea oil and gas revenues for 2012-2013 on a geographical basis, then it is assessed that 84% of the total Revenue from North Sea oil and gas would be applied to Scotland, generating oil and gas revenues of £5.6 Billion. Adding that amount to the figures would increase the total 2012-2013 Revenue for Scotland to £53.2 Billion. However regardless of how such oil and gas revenues are applied, there is still a substantial shortfall between Expenditure and the Revenue to meet such expenditure. To summarise the Scottish financial position in 2012-2013 once North Sea oil and gas revenues are included: 2
Government Expenditure & Revenue Scotland 2012-13 , March 12, 2014 , Published by the Scottish Government.
ØWorst case scenario ( 8.3% share of North Sea oil ) - a budget shortfall of £17.1 Billion (35.5%); ØBest case scenario ( 84% share of North Sea oil ) - a budget shortfall of £12.1 Billion (22.7%). Consequently, if an independent Scotland seeks to maintain the same level of public services, they will have to either increase taxes, or somehow find other sources of revenue. They may of course cut public service and in doing so make a large number of public servants redundant. But if a best case scenario shortfall of £12.1 Billion was to be raised from direct or indirect taxation of the Scottish public on a per capita basis, every man, woman and child in Scotland would have to pay an additional £2,283 per year in tax. At present Scotland enjoys public expenditure on services at a higher rate per capita than their counterparts in the rest of the UK. This results from the application of the Barnett Formula, a mechanism used by the Treasury to adjust the amounts of public expenditure allocated to Scotland. But the residents of Scotland don’t actually pay in full for such additional service levels, the shortfall, as detailed above, comes from revenues generated elsewhere in the UK.
An independent Scotland would not automatically be a member of the EU, so that precludes adopting the Euro. Scotland would probably have to float its own currency, which is a risky financial undertaking, and then peg the new Scottish currency to a major currency such as the Euro or US$, where again, fiscal policy would be outside the control of the Scottish Parliament or Scottish banking institutions. Some Scottish MPs have claimed that since Scotland has been a member of the EU for 40 years, it should automatically be included as an EU member state, but that is not true as it is the sovereign territory of the UK that is the member of the EU and neither Scotland nor England have an automatic right to be considered as members of the EU, should Scotland achieve independence and cede from the UK. Let me re-iterate a major point. If Scotland cedes from the Union, then the United Kingdom as a sovereign state ceases to exist. All existing UK treaties, concessions and legal arrangements would have to be re-negotiated after Scotland gained independence.
Currency Issues and Monetary Union Still on the subject of finance, there is the question of what currency will be used by an independent Scotland. The political parties in UK have made it very clear that they do not agree to an independent Scotland having monetary union with whatever elements remains of the UK.
Then there is the tricky question of National Insurance and Pensions. What happens to all the contributions that Scots have paid into the National Insurance system and what guarantees do Scottish pensioners have that their pensions will continue to be paid if Scotland votes “Yes” to independence? The SNP have given bland assurances that pensions will be paid, but are woefully vague on the mechanisms of how that will work. At present the SNP has no provisional agreements in place to separate the pension assets of the National Insurance system in the event that Scotland cedes from the Union and no guarantee that funds will be available to meet pension obligations. Scotland’s Political Landscape
That appears to rule out the use of Sterling as a currency option, but might actually be in Scotland’s favour. If denied monetary union and a share of the UK national reserves held by the Bank of England, then Scotland could legitimately claim that it has no liability to the national debt of £1.4 Trillion. But even if the other political parties relented and allowed Scotland to retain Sterling and to operate a monetary union, fiscal policy would always be with Westminster and the Bank of England.
Another factor that has to be addressed is the political landscape of an independent Scotland. It will almost certainly move further to the left, advancing left-wing ideology and edging towards a socialist state. We have witnessed first-hand some of the disasters created in countries which have adopted socialism, either voluntarily or by bloody revolution. It is not a pretty picture! One of the political arguments is that existing Scottish MPs have little say in the running of UK. If you consider the 20th century UK Prime Ministers, there were 19 individuals who held the office of Prime Minister, of which 6 individuals were Scottish or representing Scottish
constituencies. That is massive political influence which is totally disproportionate to population demographics. Indeed we can track the influence of Scottish MPs in Parliament since the Union in 1707 and we can determine their political impact and effectiveness. Their contribution was significant and outstanding in diverse areas of public life. In many instances, they shaped the UK political landscape and in so doing made UK, and indeed the world, a better place. Defence and Security Issues We might also consider the thorny question of Defence and how to separate and apportion the military hardware, property, personnel, and equipment of the UK armed forces between an independent Scotland and the remainder of the former UK. It is likely to be a logistical nightmare and an expensive exercise which in all probability will diminish the existing military capability of the UK.
HMS Illustrious - one of 79 commissioned Royal Navy ships Consider the following statistics. In October 2013, there were 205,850 military personnel in the UK Armed forces, augmented by 181,720 Regular Reserves. There are currently 79 commissioned Royal Navy ships in service. There are 867 fixed-wing military aircraft in operation, plus 475 helicopters. And let us not overlook the nuclear weapons inventory and the management and control of nuclear-strike, or counter nuclear-strike facilities. The Ministry of Defence is one of the largest land/property owners in UK, owning approximately 240,000 hectares of land, 45,000 buildings, 55,000 houses and real estate overseas in Germany, Cyprus, Falklands, Norway, Poland, Kenya, Canada, Belize, Nepal and Oman. As of 31st March 2013, UK taxpayers had equity of £110.5 Billion in MOD property and military resources. The UK has the 4th largest Defence budget in the world with expenditure1 of £37.8 Billion in 2012-2013 and there is nothing in place to suggest how to manage that budget or to apportion the extensive military resources, should Scotland gain independence. If our current military establishment is separated into two parts, then it will become less effective and further expenditure would be required to achieve the same level of military capability which the UK has at present. 1
Ministry of Defence, Annual Reports and Accounts 20122013
Negotiations to Separate UK National Assets There are many other arguments against the proposed independence movement, but it is not possible to cite them all in a short article. In any case, much of what is being discussed by UK politicians is pure conjecture. The SNP politicians find themselves in the unenviable position of being unable to address many issues and practical concerns as they cannot enter into negotiations with their counterparts in the rest of the UK until such time as there is a mandate to move towards independence from the Scottish electorate. The SNP cannot provide assurances as to the post-independence situation as they do not know at this stage what will be the outcome of the negotiations to separate national assets and liabilities. Please don’t think for one minute that these negotiations will be amicable and practical. In all probability they will be extremely acrimonious. The SNP has done all it can to undermine the other political parties in UK and has shamelessly used the devolved powers of the Scottish Parliament to block many initiatives approved by Westminster. As such, Scottish MPs are likely to get very short shrift when they come to the negotiating table with no leverage whatsoever to obtain equitable agreements. For example, the SNP are claiming that North Sea oil and gas revenues should be allocated to Scotland based upon a geographical distribution, but there are serious flaws in using geographical location as the criteria to separate and allocate assets. For example, all the UK national gold reserves are held in the Gold Vault of the Bank of England in London. By applying a distribution of assets based upon geographical criteria, then all such gold reserves of approx. 4,600 tonnes of gold bullion belong to England! If geography is the deciding factor on distribution of national assets, there is nothing to prevent the existing UK Government from re-deploying all military assets to England and claiming the total UK military establishment by virtue of the fact that they are located in England! Conclusions Suffice to say that the major reasons to vote “NO” are based mainly upon economic realities, but there is also the recognition that the UK as a whole, and Scotland in particular, will be diminished by the dissolution of the Union. If history teaches us anything, then it has shown us that the United Kingdom achieved greatness when we all worked together for a common aim. As Paul Henderson, Resident Past-Chieftain, commented, “My heart says Aye!!! My heid says nae chance!!” This comment really sums up the choice confronting the Scottish electorate. It is a choice between misguided Emotive Patriotism or Economic Realities. To all Scots eligible to vote, I would caution that a “Yes” vote will hit you where it hurts most – in your pocket and it will similarly impact upon every single person in the UK. Save yourselves a lot of self induced misery and economic hardship by casting a resounding vote of “NO!”. John M. Thomson
Selangor St. Andrew’s Society Membership Information The Society was founded in 1887 and is one of the oldest Loyal Societies in existence in Malaysia. It was formed to foster matters of Scottish interest, and to promote social intercourse and friendship amongst its members. One of its principal aims is to celebrate St. Andrew’s Day, but also to hold other social events such as the annual Burns’ Supper to commemorate Scotland’s national poet. The Society also jointly presents the annual Great British Ball together with other Societies In recent years the Society has staged some memorable concerts with outstanding performances by prominent Scottish bands such as the Battlefield Band, Capercaillie, Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Bags of Rock and Whiskey Kiss. These concerts have also featured outstanding performances by Kristie Kay with her Annie Lennox Tribute, Paul Metcalfe with his Rod Stewart Tribute and pinning it all together was comedian Craig Hill as MC.
Interspersed between the four major events each year is a number of smaller, more intimate activities, such as our Welcome Back Nicht which is held annually after the summer break, or events such as a Whisky Tasting Night. The Society also has a remit to make charitable donations and each year raises funds for various local charities, such as Mobiliti, Special Children of Ampang, SPCA and the Aged Europeans Fund. During 2013, the Society has donated more than RM100,000 to local charities.
The Selangor St. Andrew’s Society has three types of membership: Life Membership is for Scots or persons of Scots descent. It costs RM300 and, as the title suggest, is valid for the life of the member. There are no annual subscriptions and no further dues to pay. Term Membership is for Scots or persons of Scots descent. It costs RM150 and this type of membership is valid while persons are resident in Malaysia. Should a Term Member cease to reside in Malaysia, their membership will automatically lapse. There are no annual subscriptions and no further dues to pay. Friends of Scotland Membership is for those who have an interest in Scottish culture or some connection to Scotland such as having worked or studied in Scotland. It costs RM150 and this type of membership is valid while persons are resident in Malaysia. Should a Friends of Scotland member cease to reside in Malaysia, their membership will automatically lapse. There are no annual subscriptions and no further dues to pay. As this is an associate type of membership, Friends of Scotland members do not have voting rights at general meetings. Reduced Rates for Members. There are generally two ticket prices at all of our dedicated events whereby members pay less than nonmembers. Note: spouse/partner is given membership status for ticketing purposes.
Membership Application can be made on-line at the following link: