Scexit The UK

A short note today folks, due to being a wee bit under the weather, on last night’s Question Time. An impressive performance from Former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond, who was as usual erudite in his response to questions. His answer to the question on whether Brexit would inevitably lead to the break up of the United Kingdom was spot on. The majority of Scots, including many Independence supporters will vote to remain in the EU, because it’s the right thing to do.

It was clear from the follow-ups to his answer, from those to his right and left, that there is an element of the righter-than-right comedy act motley crew who are campaigning for their beloved mystical imaginary Kingdom of St George to escape the clutches of evil Johnny Foreigner who most certainly want Scotland to achieve self-determination, as they see Scots as a burden.We are subsidy junkie wasters, and nobody understands us anyway.

Long may they shout loud in the media because every time they do the number of Scots becoming convinced that Independence is the way forward will increase, much to the unease and disgruntlement of Dave, the many faced leader of the Bullingdon Neo-Liberal Trickle Downers. There’s exploitation to be carried out, and Scotland is, and should remain in his view, the target for that.

Cameron’s Tory colleague’s comments to Former First Minister Salmond on the old “once in a lifetime” pledge (yawn)which keeps getting drummed up every time the Scottish Independence referendum is discussed in the British media, which we all know is taken out of context (Salmond generally prefacing his comments at the time with “we may never get another chance”) was again very well responded to by the Scot, but his answer was somewhat lost in the melee of politicians, hedge fund managers and a BBC political grandee programme host jabbering over the top of one another to get the last word in.

When asked about this “once in a lifetime, once in a generation” pledge Alex Salmond rightly pointed out that for there to be a further referendum on Scottish Independence there would need to be a “material change in circumstances” that would generate the requirement for a further ballot. He then highlighted that in a Westminster General Election last year, 56 of 59 possible representatives were selected democratically by the people of Scotland from the Scottish National Party, a party who exists with the fundamental aim of an independent Scotland.

It could be argued, and it was at the time, that this fact itself is enough to constitute a “material change in circumstances “but in politics, particularly politics involving the extraction of a country from a long standing abusive and exploitative relationship where a much larger partner tries it’s very best over a long period of time to absorb the smaller partner’s assets, resources and culture into its own, timing is everything.

Kudos to Alex Salmond. Keep up the good work Brexiteers, shout out your Little Englander xenophobia loud and clear and Scexit from Westminster will come ever closer.

Evading The Truth

After 27 years suffering mental torture, heartbreak, lies and frustration the families of the 96 Liverpool FC fans who set out on a spring morning to watch an FA semi-final, and never came home, have at last received some vindication.

Their loved ones died as a result of a catalogue of errors by those charged with ensuring public safety, a disaster which was further compounded by outrageous sensationalist and fabricated tabloid headlines, and a typical British Establishment cover-up to protect the government of the time and those involved in the decision-making regarding crowd safety on that terrible day.

We’ve seen these cover-ups before. We all know about them. We all know they occur and are not in any shape or form part of anyone’s conspiracy theory. We’ve all heard about “parties” involving exploitation and abuse by politicians, heads of sensitive government organisations and celebrities. “Parties” attended by long dead elephantine members of parliament, or others who, when exposed, conveniently develop illnesses related to senility which stops them from having memories of such events but doesn’t stop them voting on the passage of legislation or claiming expenses in the Palace of Westminster.

We are all aware of the catalogue of lost dossiers, discontinued investigations and closed enquiries, with little or no satisfactory explanation why, over many years.

We’ve seen the likes of the British state broadcaster dragged through the mud as revelations of horrific activities by some of its former celebrity employees come to light. Fact after fact slowly being teased out, from under a cloak of secrecy, and responsibilities for the health and safety of the public whilst exposed to these despicable individuals called in to question.

The recent tax avoidance saga, whilst I”m not suggesting in any way is anywhere near in the same league as sexual and physical abuse, is another example of an Establishment cover-up, it taking several days to get any sort of honesty out of the current tenant of 10 Downing Street as to the facts of his involvement in offshore investments. If he hadn’t have been persistently pushed we’d never have gotten to the truth. Evasion and cover-up is the default position of the powerful and privileged.

From a Scottish perspective we have a number of unanswered questions too. For example what did happen to SNP activist Willie McRae on a remote road in Wester Ross in 1985? Did he die by his own hand, or did he meet with foul play? If that is the case who did it and why? I’ve read the various theories and explanations but I suppose we’ll never fully know the true picture.

Is it too much, or too naive, to expect honesty, decency, integrity, compassion and transparency from those we elect into power, or those whom we as citizens allow to control our society due to their wealth?

I suppose we should take some consolation in the fact that sometimes persistency and determination, and being on the side of justice, wins out in the end, as in the tragic case of the 96 Liverpool fans and years previously, the exposure of the miscarriage of justice surrounding the Birmingham Six.

Rest in Peace 96 innocent souls. May your loved ones now sleep the sleep of the justified.

The Many Faces Of Dave

Having taken a couple of days out mainly to spend precious time with some of my adorable wee grand-weans, and after coming to a decision to step away from the news headlines when I saw the other day that five of the six leading stories on the British Broadcasting Corporation’s news site were about a certain old lady’s birthday,( I swear I could hear a sycophantic gushing sound coming from the website too) I had a bit of a glance this morning at some of the non Regina headlines I missed over the weekend.

I see Davie the born-again tax enforcer (no evader shall go unpunished, no rock will remain unturned, unless he went to school with whomever is under it) has been accused by the Lib-Dems in a new book of telling his coalition stooge Nick Tuition Fees Clegg, whilst talking about the continuing unrelenting momentum for self-determination in Scotland a couple of days after the referendum, that ” I just don’t care, we’ve only got one Conservative North of the border, let Labour sort it out.”

Surely not? This clearly must be misrepresentation of the man’s words. Bearing in mind that at the beginning of that same week, whilst kleenexing dreepin snotters and tears off his big red puffy fizzer, he told a room full of “typical Scots” (they were hand picked, vetted, and certified Tories, and securely locked in the room in case they tried to escape or any real typical Scots managed to get in) that a Yes vote would be “the end of a country that launched the Enlightenment,that abolished slavery (after using it very effectively for years, along with trading lucratively in mind altering narcotics, to help build an empire), that drove the industrial revolution,that defeated fascism…..etc”

As if that wasn’t a powerful enough statement he finished that part of his speech by saying, that ” It’s only became Great Britain because of the greatness of Scotland.”

What a guy. He loves us dearly. Forget all of that EVEL nonsense too immediately after he’d had it confirmed that Project Snake-oil had secured a No vote.He didn’t really mean that he wanted to punish Scotland for having the balls to try and step off the Titanic’s sister ship, the RMS Neo-liberal, to safety, by making their democratic representatives second class and legislatively ineffective at Westminster.

We’re always on his mind. See how quickly he has dashed up to help out Ruth Davidson in her Scottish Parliament campaign? Oh, he hasn’t. I’m sure that will be rectified any day now.

He particularly likes our strategic positioning to store the horrible war toys that he rents from his corporate chums across the pond, away from causing any damage to places that matter if something goes wrong ( but a stone’s throw from Glasgow and the Central Belt). He’s also mad keen on staying in his seat on the UN Security Council, where he gets to wear big boys trousers and pretend that he’s a World Leader (keep taking the tablets Davie).

Oh, and then there’s the small matter of our natural resources, and particularly the one which has propped up his and his like’s spending over the last 40 odd years. He argued in the same speech quoted earlier that ” if you don’t like me, I won’t be here for ever. if you don’t like this government, it won’t last forever” as a reason to vote No in 2014. In 2016 moving forward the same argument could be used to say that the price of oil at record lows won’t last for ever either, and who will benefit from that again? It won’t be Scotland.

 

Happy 90th Birthday Betty

Happy Birthday to Betty McGovern, who would have celebrated her 90th Birthday today.

Betty, a mother of four, Charlie, Anne-Marie, Andy and Eddie, and a grandmother of five, passed away yesterday after a long struggle with illness.

Born in the Gorbals in a bottom floor tenement, the daughter of a seamstress, Agnes, and Peter McGuire, a builders labourer, Betty became fatherless at the age of two when Peter sadly succumbed to the respiratory injuries he had received some years previously from the inhalation of mustard gas in the trenches around Ypres during the ‘Great’ War.

A competent reader by the age of six, thanks to a drawer full of the classics left to her mother by an aunt, Betty left school at twelve to start work in the local soap factory. Her mother, now unemployed, used Betty’s income, along with her dressmaking skills to work from home for a few shillings a week, to keep the wolf from the door.

The early 1940’s saw Betty move on to working in the munitions factory where as a teenager she met her man, the love of her life, wee Phil McGovern. Phil,formerly a stoker in the merchant navy was known to be fond of the ladies and prone to the odd foot in the mouth comment, but once he’d clapped eyes on Betty, he was smitten.

Marriage came, with a honeymoon overnight trip to a boarding house in Aberdeen where Betty felt awkward being served breakfast at the table by the stern looking landlady, never having been accustomed to such service before.

Along came the kids, and Betty managed to hold down a full time job on a textile production line at the same time as bringing up her weans, Phil having traded in his maritime career for mining and the daily long commute out of the city for a 12 hour shift underground.

Courageous was not the word to describe the way Betty handled the tragedy of her first child’s sudden demise as a result of pneumonia at the age of five. Charlie had gone. Her world was shattered, but for the sake of the others, and in those days you either endured or gave up, she chose to endure, and survive. She pulled her children to her breast and hugged them tight, and she moved on.

The early 1970’s saw the family move out to a high rise on a ‘reservation’ as young Eddie, a keen follower of cowboy fiction, described it. You could see the countryside and breathe the fresh air from the 18th storey window.

Leaving school with some qualifications behind her Anne-Marie took an office job with an engineering firm. Betty was pleased, a job for life.

The 1980’s seemed to hit the family like a wave, The mine in which Phil worked, having been on short time for a lengthy period, then on strike, closed shortly after the extended industrial action had ceased, despite assurances from management and politicians that it wouldn’t.

Eddie and Andrew, both already on the broo, spent their days digging holes and filling them in on “The Manpower” for a few extra pounds in their giro. Eddie fed up with this eventually took the bold step of accepting the smiling army careers corporal’s advice in the toon centre and signed up on the dotted line.

It was then when Phil first started to show signs that he was failing. The routine morning cough, which he’d made light of, was indeed something more serious. Nobody would say the word, as if it was a curse, everybody trying to keep cheerful, treatment followed, not a big man, the weight fell from him, and he was gone.

Betty was struck by a double hammer blow when Anne-Marie announced shortly after her father’s funeral that she and Marky, her fiancĂ©, were off to Canada, for a new life with opportunity. Betty was devastated.

1990 saw further tragedy strike as a Land Rover Eddie was travelling in across the desert of Iraq,with four other members of his highland regiment,was hit by an allied missile in a so called “friendly fire” incident. They brought Eddie home as a hero. Betty was taken aback as she recalled the local streets packed as the funeral cortège passed.

Andy, well Andy could take no more, spiralling deeper into a world of drink and then later drugs, as a means to escape the past. For many years Betty dealt with his binges, his outrageous behaviour and his anger, always caring for him, always giving him a roof, always giving him her unconditional love.

In 1996 Andy met Sarah, a God-send. They instantly hit it off. Hard though it was he managed to get himself clean. They had a son, and then a daughter, and Andy got work as a delivery driver, shortly afterwards becoming a supervisor, Betty was happy……

The day before yesterday Betty felt a hand reach for hers, bringing her out of a sleepy doze, in her care home, and was astonished to see Anne-Marie reach down and kiss her forehead. She’s home,she thought as the tears came.

A photograph was taken on that afternoon of Betty, her daughter, and her surviving son, and their children, all together at the same time in the same place for the first time. A treasured photograph which will not be gushed over by millions, but is more precious than wealth and status could ever be.

Happy 90th Birthday Betty x

( A work of fiction, perhaps)

‘Hopefully’

Roll on the second week of May when, hopefully, the SNP have received a majority mandate from the people of Scotland to carry on governing the country (minus the powers currently still reserved to Westminster) and gets on with the job of work implementing their social democratic,left of centre,political programme for a better, fairer Scotland.

Hopefully too there will be a number of others elected to the Scottish Parliament equally as committed to self-government for Scotland from the Greens and the Scottish Left/ RISE, and that the final election results demonstrate that the political parties of unionism are in serious decline north of the border.

Scotland has ‘form’ when it comes to factional infighting and disagreements in its past, which has held it back from determined and capable groups coming together to focus on addressing the real reasons why it hasn’t progressed in achieving its potential, and alleviating its issues of poverty, poor health and lack of opportunities for its children.

Hopefully by the time the newly confirmed First Minister launches her initiative to raise awareness and build confidence amongst Scots who previously voted No in September 2014, in the summer months, the various groups associated with the civic phenomenon which was the Yes Campaign will again come together to once and for all nail the constitutional question, by raising the political consciousness of Scots to a point where the majority are clearly and consistently in favour of self-government.

Debate and persuasive discussion is healthy. There is room within the Independence Movement for all of the current players. If a sovereign Scotland is to be achieved all of these groups will be required to work closely again as a formidable force, within the boundaries of their own various individual policies.

The unionist media, as is their way, bless them, will continue to try and divide and conquer. After 5th May, hopefully, they’ll have less to write about.

Nationalism UK

I was struck by an interesting turn of phrase quoted overnight in an article from the British state broadcaster’s news page, on the subject of Brexit, by Arch-Tory Michael Gove.

Gove, one of the stalwarts of the anti-euro brigade, along with Boris the Mayor of Trumpton, Farage and Chris Grayling (truly a beneficent bunch indeed) is due to say in a speech later, today presumably, that the United Kingdom leaving the European Union would be a “galvanising, liberating, empowering moment of patriotic renewal.”

An interesting and emotive use of language there. A statement which highlights the enormous great, Hannibal’s ancient cavalry sized, elephant that’s in the room that is called the UK, one that needs to be large enough to pull Boudica’s chariot round a foreign battlefield. Mind you if Farage and this lot got their way I think she’d be going back to being called Boadicea and have her romanticised image portrayed in statue form from Calcutta to Clapham once again.

Does anyone remember at any time, any time at all, before, during or after the 2014 referendum, where that ‘evil nationalist” Alex Salmond, or his ‘vile separatist side-kick’ Nicola Sturgeon mentioned patriotism being anything to do with Scotland’s quest for democratic self-determination? Nope, me neither. So much for Scottish nationalism.

However there is indeed a problem with nationalism in the UK. That nationalism is British nationalism, a nationalism which is so deeply entrenched and entwined within the establishment that control that group of countries that many don’t even notice that it is there, or if they are conscious of it don’t see it as significant.

This nationalism is xenophobic and isolationist in nature, public opinion being manipulated very ably by daily news headlines from their media organs stoking up hatred and suspicion of foreigners.

Above all else, and worryingly, this nationalism continues in the 21st century to be elitist, promoting an image of superiority. In fact I’m sure some, from a privileged background, who support the likes of UKIP, or who are on the extreme right of the Tories, will have relatives a couple of generations ago who were part of the aristocracy and elite who at some point or other had sympathies of varying degrees for one or two of the abhorrent dictators of the mid last century and their British fascist sop Baronet Oswald Mosley.

Even more worryingly current polls, the most recent for the Telegraph in the last couple of days, show that there is only a 10% gap in favour of the UK remaining in the European UnIon at the moment. 40 odd percent of voters across Britain are listening to this lot, and taking them seriously.

As far as I’m concerned that is yet another good reason for Scotland to get the hell out of Dodge City as soon as Scottish voter opinion and practicality allows.

From Cradle To Grave

 

I developed a wee glow about me this morning, reminiscent of 1980’s TV adverts for a popular oat based breakfast cereal. This happened whilst reading an article about the Scottish Government’s plans (assuming an asteroid the size of David Coburn’s TV interview TelePrompTer screen doesn’t come crashing to earth somewhere around Milnathort between now and the 5th May) to provide a “Baby Box”for every precious new wee Scot that is born, the future custodians of our ancient and beautiful land.

This reasonably simple Nordic style initiative is being introduced by the SNP to try and help address the blight of 21st century poverty and the inequalities that go along with not knowing where the next meal for you and your children is coming from.

These “Baby Boxes” will be packed with clothes, nappies, and toys, and will made of sturdy material with a built in mattress so that they can be used as a cot for the baby in its early months. Studies elsewhere apparently have shown too that the use of these “boxes’ has potentially seen a positive breakthrough in helping the prevention of cot-death.

I”m not a member of the SNP, or any other political party for that matter, but I think they should be roundly applauded for taking this step.

There will be the detractors and cynics who call it a gimmick, designed to pick up votes in May. There will be the usual cries of “the young lassie that lives next door to me has two wee bits of weans, smokes and has got Sky TV, and gets everything fae the social”.

The ‘Hootsmon’s’ keyboard warriors will have a field day, but this clear statement of intent by Nicola Sturgeon’s government, alongside the proposed further extension to the school meals programme to nursery age kids, the continuing protection of tertiary education from fees, free prescriptions and putting up barriers against the “Bedroom Tax” show that this government means business. They regularly get criticised from the Left for not being radical or progressive enough but for me any government who puts its people at the centre of just about everything it does is not going to go too far wrong.

Within the boundaries of what they can do, at the moment, and importantly, what they ultimately want to achieve,and who they need to persuade to get there, I think they are doing a great job for the most part, and, pardon the melodramatic language, they are trying to make sure no Scot gets left behind in terms of access to health care, services, education and opportunities. Like all governments they slip up, and they will disappoint, but the alternatives are infinitely worse.

I’m not getting in to the big argument on second votes in May, that’s being well debated and argued over in other forums, but a future Scotland with many varied parties, maybe one or two totally reformed perhaps, committed to a strong caring social democracy for the people of Scotland is the target. We need to get the mandate to start the process to create that future first.

Changing the subject slightly I notice the Herald’s commissioned BMG Research Poll has come up with some unexpected results (not). Labour are toxic in Scotland, and even more so if you add the word ” Scottish” before Labour. Who would have guessed it?

I thought the best quote though was “Those living in more affluent areas are least in favour of a second referendum, whereas those living in Scotland’s most deprived areas strongly support a second referendum being triggered”. No shit Sherlock.