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Scott Begbie: This isn’t a game and the stakes couldn’t be higher

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Can we not use the phrase “game on” about IndyRef2, please.

This isn’t a game. This is deadly serious. This is about the future of Scotland and what we want our country to be – a fair, just, welcoming society that embraces the world and decides its own destiny.

Or we can lock ourselves in to being a subservient UK region whose views are ignored, and ruled by an increasingly xenophobic, close-minded hard-right cabal of Tories.

Sure, there’s the whole ballot box fatigue thing. Some will say they really can’t face another referendum campaign. I get it.

But what’s the choice? The status quo? The being ignored, the choices we make dismissed, the prospect of the Conservatives deciding it’s time to rein in the uppity Jocks and their toytown Parliament in a hard Brexit Britain?

Personally, I’m not looking forward to the barrage of unionist nonsense about Scotland being too small, too stupid, too poor to stand on its own two feet. Another onslaught of lies that don’t last the test of months, let alone a generation.

We will have the voices trying to shut us up with doubts and fear. I’ll get the usual pelters about why the Evening Express is allowing me to spout “SNP propaganda”.

Allow me to enlighten you on that one.

I’m a columnist, this is an opinion piece and that’s my opinion. Mine, not the paper’s.

You don’t have to agree or even like it. If you disagree, write a letter to voice your opinion. If you detest my stand, there are columnists in the EE you will agree with.

There is, after all, a broad spectrum of us within these pages all doing the valuable job of raising debate and presenting different views. Just like society.

Just like the sort of society I want for Scotland, where we need diversity and debate; where we welcome different views, especially from those who are doing us the favour of choosing to call Scotland home. An open, fair, democratic society.

Unlike the one we are rapidly being dragged into.

I didn’t watch Nicola’s moving and brave speech with joy yesterday.

I didn’t cry “freedom” at the idea of another referendum.

No. This is one where we need to roll up our sleeves and get the hard job done of creating the nation we want, or damning our kids to an ugly future in a provincial backwater.

Let’s get it right this time.


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Have I slipped up by taking on running lark?

A funny thing happened on my way to the end of a five-mile training run.

I ran out of steam. Not another step until I had stood stock still trying not to pull a whitey at four miles.

I hit the wall. It’s a worry. Had I over-trained? It was a hilly route and I had done four miles of hills a couple of days before. Or is it nature’s way of telling me I’m too old for this running lark?

The only way to find out is go do it again. Wish me luck … and a future with running shoes not slippers.


South Korea Top Court Upholds Tough Anti-Prostitution Laws

Time for reality check over prostitution

NEVER mind the Oil Capital of Europe … Aberdeen is the Brothel Capital of Scotland.

Or so it seems from the number of police raids.

The question is, why bother? Why spend all that time and money trying to stamp out the second oldest profession in the world?

Of course, there is the vile aspect of women forced into it and sex trafficking.

But surely the way to stop that is to legalise prostitution, not drive it underground and into the hands of criminals and gangsters who don’t care who they use and abuse.

Regulate it, make sure no one is coerced or put in danger. Keep everyone involved safe.

It is time for a grown-up approach to the reality of the sex trade, without blinkered moralising.

 

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This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.