OAPs group backs in­de­pen­dence with scones

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - NEWS -

Jackie Grant

They’re a group of pensioners who sup­port in­de­pen­dence for Scot­land.

But if you ever come across their stall in any of the towns or vil­lages across the re­gion, the only thing they’re likely to shove down your throat is some home-bak­ing – not their opin­ions.

The last thing mem­bers of Dum­fries and Gal­loway Pensioners for In­de­pen­dence want to do is try to con­vert peo­ple to their way of think­ing.

In­stead, they just want to know what is­sues con­cern other peo­ple their age, the most.

Morag Muego formed the group in Feb­ru­ary with the aim of get­ting to know other peo­ple in her age group in the re­gion with the same views as her.

She said: “We are not aligned to any po­lit­i­cal party. We just hap­pen to be­lieve that power in the hands of the Scot­tish peo­ple is in the best in­ter­ests of all its peo­ple. We just want to be able to run our own coun­try.

“Our mem­bers cur­rently in­clude peo­ple born in Eng­land, Ire­land and else­where.”

One of the main rea­sons Morag be­came a sup­porter of in­de­pen­dence for Scot­land was when her daugh­ter, son-in-law and grand­chil­dren em­i­grated to Aus­tralia in 2012.

“My son-in-law had lost his job and they felt they would have more op­por­tu­ni­ties on the other side of the world,” she said.

“It felt like his­tory was re­peat­ing it­self be­cause my grand­par­ents had also moved to Aus­tralia, where my fa­ther was born, for the same rea­sons.

“It made my an­gry be­cause I felt there was a cy­cle of Scot­land not do­ing well enough to keep our young peo­ple.”

And Morag’s not the only mother or grand­mother con­cerned about the fu­ture of her fam­ily.

A re­cent straw poll car­ried out by the group found that half of the grand-chil­dren of peo­ple in Dum­fries and Gal­loway are be­ing raised out­side Scot­land. Mem­bers of the Dum­fries and Gal­loway group at an in­de­pen­dence rally ear­lier this year

And the lat­est avail­able statis­tics showed that the 15-19 age group was the only one in de­cline in the re­gion.

DGP4Indy mem­ber, Ian Rich­mond, said: “Ev­ery­where we go with our group, the num­ber one con­cern pensioners have is for their grand­chil­dren.

“Our young peo­ple that go to univer­sity or col­lege, don’t come back.

“As well as cam­paign­ing for pensioners is­sues, we also cam­paign for our grand­chil­dren.”

English-born Ian is an ac­tive mem­ber of the group, and can of­ten be heard be­fore he’s seen at their stalls across the re­gion.

But he’s not shout­ing out his opin­ions on in­de­pen­dence – he’s hav­ing a wee sing-song and hand­ing out bak­ing.

“We’re a pensioners group, so we can’t have a get-to­gether with­out home-bak­ing and songs.

“We don’t tell peo­ple things, we ask them. We don’t care how peo­ple voted in the 2014 ref­er­en­dum and we don’t want to try to con­vert any­body. We just want to lis­ten to other peo­ple’s views and the is­sues that mat­ter to them.”

Chick McKenna de­cided to join DGP4Indy be­cause he felt strongly that pensioners in Scot­land are of­ten mis­rep­re­sented.

He said: “The per­cep­tion is that peo­ple our age don’t re­ally want in­de­pen­dence, but that’s not nec­es­sar­ily true. I think a lot of peo­ple were mis­in­formed about what in­de­pen­dence would mean, but it’s never too late to learn more about it.”

Dum­fries man Ian Waugh added: “Any con­cerns or com­plaints other pensioners have, they can tell us how they feel and we look into things for them. We want to give peo­ple the truth about the is­sues that con­cern them.

“That’s in­clud­ing pen­sions. We have the worst pen­sions in the de­vel­oped world but a lot of peo­ple are scared to com­plain about it.

“All of the coun­tries that have bet­ter pen­sions than Scot­land, are in­de­pen­dent.

“They have dif­fer­ent re­sources and in­dus­tries but all with one thing in com­mon - the power to make all of their own eco­nomic choices, in­stead of hav­ing them de­cided for them by an­other coun­try.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on the group or to find out when they next meet, find them on Face­book dgp4indy or Twit­ter boomers@dgp4indy.

On the march

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