George V commanded England’s declaration of war on Germany – Scotland with 10% of the UK’s population accounted for 20% of the war dead exposing- yet again the false promises of the so called union of equals

King George V urged his foreign secretary to “find a reason to go to war with Germany” two days before outbreak of First World War

A secret letter has been unearthed documenting a private meeting between King George V and his Foreign Secretary Edward Grey, during which the King urged Grey to declare war on Germany.

The King, a constitutional monarch, had previously avoided making public declarations about Europe said it was “absolutely essential” Britain go to war in order to prevent Germany from achieving “complete domination of this country”

However when his Foreign Secretary Sir Edward, said that the cabinet hadn’t found a justifiable reason to enter the conflict, the King replied: “You have got to find a reason, Grey.”

Grey returned to his room in the Foreign Office and made the now famous remark as he watched the lamps being lit outside: ‘The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.’

By August 4th, Britain was at war.

World War 1 was described as the war to end all wars being one of the most bitter and destructive conflicts in World history wiping out a generation of young Scotsmen.

A total of 147,609 Scots lost their lives in the four-year-long conflict between 1914 and 1918.

While Scotland had just a tenth of the UK’s population, its soldiers accounted for a fifth of Britain’s war dead. Or, to put it another way, twice as many Scots died per head of population than was the case south of the border.

On arrival in France, Scots found themselves having to ensure the horrors and privations of trench warfare, the constant threat of disease and worst of all the risk of death in near-suicide attacks ordered by the Generals.

The slaughter took place on an almost biblical scale. Scots soldiers, for instance, fought at the battle of Loos – the first significant British land action of the war in October 1915. The battle was a disaster.

Scots regiments were in the thick of the action. They were ordered over the top and marched towards the enemy lines, making themselves sitting ducks for German machine gunners. It was a turkey shoot. By the time the battle was over, the British had lost 50,000 men against the enemy’s 20,000 and had failed to make any strategic gains whatsoever.

The generals, however, did not learn their lesson. Trench warfare continued for the whole of the conflict, with attempts by troops on both sides to break out of their positions and press forwards leading to huge casualties.

Scots troops featured prominently in another of the most notorious engagements of the Great War – the notorious Battle of the Somme in June 1916.

The Edinburgh-born General Douglas Haig, who was Commander in Chief of the British Forces and a national hero, was convinced that a powerful attack could determine the outcome of the war.

Haig was to be proved tragically wrong. Soldiers of the Highland Light Infantry were among those to be butchered en masse in the carnage that followed. Once again, they were told to make their way out of the trenches and across No Man’s Land to try and take over the German positions.

To the skirl of the bagpipes, the men went over the top. Once again, however, the Germans had ensured their own lines were heavily defended. The heavy machine guns opened up, and the Scots soldiers, along with other allied troops, were mown down. In one day of fighting alone, 20,000 allied soldiers died. The 17th Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry alone lost 447 soldiers and 22 officers.


Green Party leader and government minister confirms a hard-line no support approach for fossil fuel extraction then condones the removal of thousands of tonnes of peat from a wildlife sanctuary in her constituency

2017: Scottish government to protect peatlands.

An £8 million investment will restore peatlands and help reduce carbon emissions, Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has revealed as she opened the funding for applications today.

Communities and land managers can apply for the Peatlands Action Fund which will help the Scottish Government deliver on its proposals to restore 250,000 hectares of peatlands by 2032.

Around 1.7 million hectares of Scotland is covered in peatlands and keeping them well-maintained mitigates against climate change by locking in carbon.

If left in a degraded condition they produce greenhouse gas emissions rather than act as a sink for soaking up carbon.

Andrew McBride, SNH Peatland Action Manager said: “This is wonderful news for our peatlands and our wildlife, as well as for tourism and rural jobs.

The extra investment will almost double the amount of peatlands we can restore, and also get more people aware and involved in taking care of this valuable natural resource.

Peatland Action is one of our key projects in the delivery of the 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity Peatland Action has worked closely with a wide range of land managers and communities.

From this working relationship, we’ve seen the importance of healthy peatlands, not only to wildlife but also to many industries, including tourism, fisheries and the water industry.

We look forward to continuing work with existing partners, and also meeting new faces interested in restoring our degraded peatlands.”

Lorna Slater, Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity announces no support for fossil extraction

On the adoption of the policy position, she said: ”Right now, the UK Government is considering opening a major new coal mine in Cumbria. They have even issued a coal licence in South Scotland.

Make no mistake, this is Westminster climate denial. It would be the final nail in the coffin for the UK’s international reputation. It must be stopped.

She also challenged the UK Government to follow Scotland’s lead and rule out approval for any coal operations in England too. Adding: “Scotland – the country that helped bring the coal-fired industrial revolution to the world has drawn a line. The coal era is over. And I’m calling on the UK Government to follow us. To make the right call for once. To ban coal extraction for good.”

Further explaining the reasoning behind the position she said: “A transition is not just moving towards something, it’s also about moving away from something.

We have to leave fossil fuels in the ground. Fossil fuels in Scotland and the North Sea are no exception. That’s why the Scottish Government opposed Cambo. That’s why we will fight the UK Government’s reckless pursuit to extract every last drop of oil and gas. That is why Scotland stands strong against fracking.”

Powers over coal exploitation are reserved to the UK Government and the Coal Authority is responsible for licensing coal mining activity in Scotland. However, planning policy and determinations are devolved to the Scottish Government.

Midlothian Council approves extraction of millions of tonnes of peat from Auchencorth and Whim Moss

The Scottish Wildlife Trust and many climate change activists are greatly saddened that the extraction of thousands of tonnes of peat has been given the go-ahead at Auchencorth and Whim Moss, near Penicuik, over the next twenty years.

The peatlands are important carbon stores and wildlife habitats and also play an important part in reducing flood risk.

The decision is incredulous given the fossil free policies recently published by the SNP/Green government and a recent statement by Lorna Slater (Green Party leader and government minister confirming a hard-line no support approach for fossil extraction. And she is the constituency MSP.