OAPs group backs independence with scones
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