We made it

As a mark of respect for those who lost their lives during the horrific events in Manchester, and for those they leave behind to grieve for them, today’s blog isn’t the usual satirical rant about politics. It’s not appropriate today. We’ll get back to that once the General Election campaigning gets underway once more.

Instead, a short tale of hope…….

The proffered bundle of books seemed nothing less than comprehensive. Dusty leather-bound heavy tomes,some of them, well-thumbed-through paperbacks with paragraphs and sentences highlighted and underlined, once glossy, now faded, magazines, thin pamphlets with titles like ‘The Common Weal’ that carried the musty smell of age, of years piled up in the dark in someone’s back press.

Drew took the pile of books from the older man and put them down on the table, and smiled at his grandfather who winked mischievously back at him. “Aye son, auld Mick kens his stuff, and when you read these, you’ll know it tae. You’ll be aw the wiser for a better knowledge of Scotland’s history and challenges.”

Settling down in the well-worn and comfortably upholstered chair by the fire, peering out the window at the bleak wintery twilight settling in over the nearby hills Drew picked up one of the paperbacks. They really were old, some of them, from a different time.

‘Independence or Union: Scotland’s past and Scotland’s present’ was the lofty title, by someone called Tom Devine.

“I’ll take these back to Uni with me Papa, and in between assignments I’ll make sure they get my full attention.”

Drew Binnie, a student at Glasgow University, was visiting his grandparents on the west coast of Scotland, as his grandmother recuperated from heart surgery at the world renowned Coronary Care Centre of the Edinburgh Medical Campus.

His parents, both medical doctors, were overseas working as part of the massive Humanity Project, a worldwide movement, born of crisis and necessity, which had over the last ten years tackled growing refugee and humanitarian crises from war-torn and drought ridden areas in the Middle East and Africa head on, and with remarkable success. Much was being done to help bring peace and a semblance of normality to these regions, without the need for military intervention, smart guided missiles or drone strikes.

Whilst gran rested upstairs Drew was trading banter with his Papa, known affectionately to all in the family simply as ‘Mick’.

“I never knew that you had a tattoo Mick? ” said Drew, as he flicked through the pages of the paperback. “Oh aye son, we all got them, back then, at the time. Even your gran got one, one sunny Saturday after a wee gathering in George Square and a few glasses of wine.”

“It must have been really something” said Drew.

Looking out into the falling darkness again Drew could just make out in the distance the massive blades of the wind turbines, which along with the offshore wave complex a few miles up the coast, had been proving enough energy to power the entire area for several years now, as well as feeding any excess capacity into the European grid network.

This system was producing funds, along with the dozens of other similar schemes for reinvestment into energy technology research and development, and helped to fund, with other tax revenues, the comprehensive cradle to grave system of health and welfare public services that the citizens of Scotland enjoyed.

It was hard to imagine that some of the things Mick was telling him about the past were actually true.

How could a country rated amongst the top ten in the world for standards of living, with one of the lowest rates of infant mortality in Europe, which had all but obliterated inner city and rural poverty via support provided through a vast network of public services, legislated as part of the much vaunted ‘Citizens Constitution’ (which many other small countries in Europe seemed to now be introducing and adapting to meet their own needs) have been anything like he had described it?

He must be making some of it up, thought Drew, he’s prone to a wee bit of exaggeration is Papa.

Looking again through the books he noted some of the titles ‘We Made It’ by Paul Kavanagh, ‘Scotland, -Investing in Ourselves’ by Robin McAlpine,, ‘The Light in the North’ by Lesley Riddoch. These three seemed to be written around 2023, after the dust had begun to settle on the sovereignty defining events of ExitUK were over.

The display screen above the simulated log fire sprang into life and a 3D life sized image, slightly out of focus. of a girl in her early twenties, stood before Drew in the sitting area.

“Hiya babes. How are you?’ How’s your gran?” said the image of the girl. “How’s you and your Papa getting on?”

“Fine, fine” Drew responded. Kirsty his girlfriend had been winding him up at university for weeks beforehand about his trip to the remote west coast cottage of his grandparents.

“Gran is on the mend, thankfully, and Mick. well he’s been regaling me with stories of the old days, haven’t ye auld yin, spinning a few yarns”
He said, gazing over to the seat at the kitchen table where the older man sat.

“He’s been telling me that at one time folk didnae want Scotland to have its own government, can you believe that?”

” I already knew that. If you werenae so wrapped up in that mathematical skull of yours, you’d know that too ya numpty.” said Kirsty, laughing now. Drew was studying advanced chemical engineering and was already appearing on the radar of some of the big players in biofuel research and development as a potential up-and-comer.

“Aye, aye, but wait till I tell you this one, Mick’s got a tattoo, and apparently so has Gran, the same one.”

“Show her your tattoo Mick.” At this the older man slipped the neck of his teeshirt down over his right shoulder to reveal a small blue coloured tattoo, with three letters, making one simple word……YES.

Postpone?

As happened, rightly, once the information started to come through about the horrific incident in London where a West Midlands man committed the murder of four people and maimed many more in the area of the Westminster Parliament buildings, when the historic vote in Holyrood’s Parliament to ratify a request for a further independence referendum was suspended to another date, it may be appropriate for today’s launch of the SNP Manifesto for the 8 June General Election to be delayed too.

Following the heartbreaking incident in Manchester last night it would make sense to delay, if they can. Today is not a day where politics will mean very much.

There is the old adage about going about your business as normal in the face of terrorism being the best response to combating a terrorist’s intent, but on this occasion I think it would be the right thing to do.

Condolences to all impacted by the terrible losses, to those that were injured I hope for your speedy recovery, and to the emergency services and hospital staff involved, as always you have my admiration.

PostScript update. Reading that the SNP have indeed now cancelled the manifesto launch and suspended campaigning as a mark of respect for the victims. A wise and appropriate step in the circumstances.

‘We’re caught in a trap’

I know it’s hard but please step away from the keyboard folks, big deep breath now. Open a windae, take in a lungful of fresh air and maybe drink a glass of good Scottish water (before the Tory fracking plan pollutes it).

Ignore the impassioned nurse with the personal plea to Nicola Sturgeon during the Scottish televised General Election leaders debate who may, or may not, be an audience plant. Move on. If she is genuine, she is entitled to her opinion.

If she is not, what happens now, whatever revelations may or may not come out, whatever is exposed, will not be the story which will be portrayed in the media,

The headlines will say ‘Witch hunt’, and the sub text will be evil Cybernats,stoked up by SNP prompting, engage in pitchfork and torchlight hounding of a member of the public who disagrees with them.

This will then give additional grist to the mill for anyone canvassing in the name of unionism to happily chap on poor unsuspecting granny’s door, or write a column in granny’s paper, that she still buys every day, which will gloss over the real issues. the genuine threats to granny’s pension or the brutal austerity measures that will tighten around granny’s throat if the Tories get a larger majority, and will cut to the easypeasy tap-in-goal chase of ‘look granny, see what these evil separatists are doing, victimising nurses, in a county where we fought wars to stop this kind of thing. Vote Tory granny, we’ll stand up to them”.

There will now be a round of unionist owned newspapers ( just about all of them) journalistically lazy and happy to trawl through social media for sensational bumph, who will dig out the most unsavoury comments they can find that have been made about the lady concerned and publish them as clear examples that we are all indeed hateful fanatical cult members, worshipping at midnight covens, naked apart from kilts and painted faces, on our knees before the dark art altar of SalmondGod and his wicked she-devil enforcer.

Their propaganda machine is comprehensive, and let’s face facts, something we will always have to live with, to overcome, until independence. It drives us to the point of distraction but we must find ways to deal with it better, instead of playing into their hands.

Politicians are up there to defend their policies. Public figures who insist on telling us how we should think are entitled to have their views debated, seeing as they’ve entered the public forum, in a fair-minded way. We need to retain our dignity, we are better than that, but those with power who attempt to stifle the rights of the people of Scotland to have their democratic views respected will always trap us with alleged ‘concerned members of the public’.

Step away, and let’s get out there and engage folk on the real issues, Brexit, suppression of democracy in Scotland, the crippling impacts of austerity and right-wing policies, and the struggle to make life better for genuine Foodbank users.

The more we remain above reacting to manipulation the quicker we’ll win.

Now will never be the time

You may have noticed that the British Conservative and Unionist Party have just launched an adapted watered-down version of their main rightwing manifesto for the upcoming General Election for Scottish voter consumption.

Lynton Crosby is earning his money on the big push of one single message in Scotland, one single message only. We the Tories who are obsessed with talking about nothing else in Scotland bar the independence question will stand up to the SNP.

Swing voters who believe saturation state sponsored propaganda, remaining Labour voters who are uncomfortable with self-government, up to the knees loyalists, and actual ScottishTories are the target of the ‘ Strong’ and ‘Stable’ brainwash strategy of the party of the ‘working people’. (If you believe that one can I have your bank account details please, and your PIN number).

Each time I see Theresa May in action I’m becoming more convinced that she’s got a slot for pound coins between her shoulder blades which requires regular feeding to produce the repetitive dogma that comes out her mouth. How robotic can a politician get. She makes John Major look like Billy Graham.

Now is not the time, now will never be the time, according to Theresa. Wee Ruth the bullying mace chucker and big drum banger is going to ‘cut the SNP down to size’ because everybody knows that Theresa is the only leader that’s capable of taking on those pesky European leaders to get the best deal possible out of Britain shooting itself in both feet. This even though the evidence clearly suggests otherwise, Ms May being dreadfully feart of having to defend her position in public debate with her opponents, and avoiding the actual public like the plague, washing her hands in carbolic soap every time she comes within a hundred yards of a real voter during her farcical campaign staged travelling circus.

We are no’ tae get a referendum on deciding our own Brexut fate and future in Scitland unless there is ‘ public consent fir it to happen’, in a kind of unspecified way. It’s hard to imagine what that actually means. If an overwhelming majority vote to remain in the EU, 56 out of 59 MP’s currently at Westminster in favour of it, a democratically elected devolved government in Scotland in favour of it, and a further democratically sanctioned vote in that parliament supporting it, is not considered ‘ public consent’ what is?

Meanwhile, their plans for Scotland include supporting fracking . Not content with our oil revenue, our food and drink export revenue, the benefit of our other resources, using our fishing resources as a trade off in deals to benefit the southern city state,and hoarding the historical wealth of our now defunct industries, they are going to take what’s under us too, and potentially spoil the health of yet another generation of Scots.

Oh, and granny won’t need to worry about getting her winter fuel allowance, just vote Tory granny, until of course 9th June comes along. Nobody can say Unionist government’s don’t have form for breaking promises to the people if Scotland, but we never seem to learn. That’s the beauty of structured relentless propaganda. Granny and the cautious minded believes it.

That’ll be something that those bogeymen pension stealers at the Scottish government will continue to fund as a protection for Scotland ‘s pensioners.

Will all of this Tory bluster be effective come 8th June? Time ,and the BBC, will tell.

Ruth Davidson suggest that the Tories are back in the central ground of politics in Scotland. A place they once held in the old cap doffing days of yore. Heaven help us if they are .

Never mind, there’s more important things to consider, things like Pippa Middleton’s wedding.

Off the hook

When is a leadership debate not a leadership debate? When Hawdit and Dawdit decide not to take part.

I can understand Theresa May’s reluctance not to show up to the ITV General Election leadership debate, seeing as she is pants at thinking on her feet without resorting to repetitive platitudes, and her policies would have been torn apart under the scrutiny of the studio audience and the viewing public, and she would have surely self combusted under the microscope of the blistering white heat of Nicola Sturgeon’s cross examination skills, but Jeremy Corbyn, what was his excuse?

Surely he would have been better facing the music, promoting his policies and standing up for what he believes to be right. Yet again he’s let the Tories off the hook. Imagine how foolish and weak the current Prime Minister of the UK would have looked if she, and only she, failed to turn up to a televised leaders debate. Jezza has diluted that by doing the same.

What about that UKIP bloke? He might be a dead ringer for Ade Edmondson but he has none of his charm or wit. He just throws out numbers in a childlike simplistic ‘over a game of pool in the pub’ sort of way. You know, like the guy everybody shakes their heads and laughs at when he eventually leaves the bar after hogging the conversation all night.

The population will be 80 gazillion by Christmas, one in, one out, I counted 35,000 Syrian refugees in Tescos the other day. There are 50 million Luxembourgians parked in dirigibles in the straits of Calais heading for Folkestone, and they all like Marks & Spencer Coronation Chicken sandwiches, so there’ll be none left for the locals. What a rocket.

I thought the leader of Plaid Cymru was going to plant him one when he continually got her mixed up with a long deceased Hollywood former child star from the John Ford classic The Searchers who mysteriously fell off a boat and drowned.

Every time I see Nicola Sturgeon in one of these forums she never fails but to impress. Sincerity, honesty and her real commitment to social justice and protecting the people of Scotland always shine through.

Her comment that the nutty far-right Nuttall was there as Theresa May’s spokesperson was gold, pure gold.

Vote SNP on 8 June. It really is the only sensible option.

I blame the power lines

I blame the power lines.

I was going to blame the schools but that would infer an unfair dig at the SNP, who during their time in office in Scotland are now sending record numbers of Scottish teenagers into tertiary education and technical and vocational training, but recognise, in an age where many children communicate in pidgin English on social media and don’t read books, that they have a real problem with the three R’s in Scottish schools, a problem that they are determined to fix. The BBC won’t tell you about the first bit though.

No, it’s definitely the magnetic force fields from the power lines which are turning the insides of the heads of unionist politicians at all levels in Scotland and England to a mush of self-serving (as if they weren’t self-serving enough ) scrambled egg, situated where what passed for their brains used to be.

Bitterness, bigotry, power-grabbing and career positioning abound.

Get a load of those wax-jacketed, gun-boot wearing lads out at Stirling. Newly elected to seats in auld Viewforth, they are not content with insulting the gay community and describing their membrum virile to all and sundry. They had to take it that one step further and have a go at the Catholic community and primitive African tribes as well. Child abuse and cannibalism is it? how droll. Talk about regressive politics of old empire? Their mothership’s strategy for Brexit is to take the UK back to the 1950’s, these jokers are more aiming at the 1850’s, or perhaps the 1690’s.

Suspended? Aye right Ruthie. Maybe don’t defrock them ( because it will only encourage one of them to start on about his membrum virile again) but most definitely it should be their jotters for these two. Would you want somebody like that representing you?

Then we’ve got the cabal of power grabbing Labour Cooncillors in the granite city. Nae wonder real Labour voters have deserted this lot in droves. Despite the threat of ‘Kez’ coming down hard on them they’ve still climbed intae bed with the devil for the sake of a Provost’s chain and some power.

It’s clear that those evil civil nationalists with their fiendish and sinister policies, free prescriptions, free tertiary education, free school meals for the wee yins, free and subsided nursery care, a better standard of NHS services by at least 10% than the rest of the UK, baby boxes, a commitment to renewable energy sources, all of that real nasty stuff and much more, must be stopped at all costs.

No, what’s needed is to power share with a party, who,in a few years time, will be giving yer granny an annual medical to see whether the cod liver oil capsules have kept her supple enough to bend over far enough to pick tawties in exchange for her pension, if not it’ll be up the road to the workhouse, and days spent sewing sacks whilst watching the Bold and the Beautiful on an old Grundig portable. What a bunch of chinless, spineless, conscience free, power hungry self servers those councillors are. I’m sure the folk that voted for them will have something to say about it. Let’s hope so anyway. You never can tell these days.

‘Let me be perfectly clear Kez’ who very soon will be joining Jimbo the fundillimundilly eggman consulting in overseas development somewhere (or did I hear he’s back working with a war criminal again?) when she gets punted on 9 June, should go to town on this lot. In the end will she, apart from blowing a bit of hot air? I doubt it.

Finally how nauseating is the British State broadcasting and printed media bias against Jeremy Corbyn becoming? For Jezza 2017 read Alex Salmond circa 2014.

Shocking. As supporters of an independent Scotland we’re well used to it, and seeing as the guy says the words ‘ Scottish independence would lead to turbocharged austerity’ almost as often as the Tory Supreme Leader mentions how ‘strong ‘and ‘ stable’ she pretends to be, I’ve got limited sympathy for him, but it’s withering stuff.

The blatant bias is so bad that I’m waiting for a story appearing in the Daily Mail along the lines of an interview with a retired stockbroker from Surbiiton revealing exclusively that he was out one day walking his bulldog Winston in the local park, and had just chucked a tennis ball for Winston to fetch, when suddenly that scoundrel Corbyn jumped out of the peony roses and made off with the ball, leaving the poor pooch traumatised.it’s coming.

If any Labour supporter, any at all, real/old/New, ever tells me again that they don’t think that the BBC and the mainstream news media that they watch and read in the UK are biased in favour of their rightwing ownership, I’ll tell them that they need their heads x-rayed.

Roll on a progressive independent Scotland. Let’s get away from this madness.

I blame the power lines.

‘Devine’ intervention

As the current party of devolved government in Scotland marks its 10th anniversary in power remarkably, and unusually where a government has retained control for this length of time, it shows no sign of losing the trust of the voters who put them there, the people of Scotland.

Its brand of centre left social democratic inclusive and outward looking civic nationalism has lost none of its appeal, and for many, myself included, is considered as the key which will unlock the door of independence for Scotland.

Meanwhile the titular head of the Scottish branch of the British government, the Conservative and Unionist Party has popped down to London to make an ill-informed audience at University College London even more ill-informed.

She achieved this feat by portraying we who believe in a self-governing Scotland as bad people, as fanatics and brainwashed, sometimes coerced, cultists, who think we are better than our neighbours. If ever you want to learn how to alienate half the population of a country ask Ruth Davidson’s advice, she ‘s great at it.

It is interesting in these circumstances therefore to draw attention to the comments last weekend of the globally respected pre-eminent Scottish historian and national treasure Professor Tom Devine (if you haven’t read his books on Scotland you should).

Tom Devine made the point at an event held in the Scottish parliament building that the rise of the SNP into government and a leading role in Scottish politics has kept Scotland free from the impact of the increasing drift across parts of the globe towards far rightwing populism.

Civic nationalism has been an effective barrier to xenophobia, hate crime and the stigmatisation and persecution of immigrants. We therefore don’t have an equivalent of Le Pen, Geert Wilders, Farage or Nick Griffin.

We are not perfect. We do still have our sectarian issues, and to say that Scotland is entirely racism free would be stretching it. We will always have to remain vigilant, and challenge any of this stuff where and when we see it, but hey, let’s take a compliment when it’s offered. I know we are not used to somebody saying something positive about us, but Professor Devine’s comments are welcome.

Interestingly too he made a point of mentioning how remarkable it was that although the vast majority of English born Scots voted no in the independence referendum hardly a word of criticism or rebuke has gone their way from the vast grassroots independence movement as a result.

Professor Devine clearly has his finger on the pulse of Scottish civic life, knowing correctly that our problem is not with English people, or anybody from anywhere else for that matter. We strive, as a movement for positive change, to welcome and take to our hearts anybody who chooses to live in our country and contribute to our social justice aims, building a better life for all of our citizens.

He recognises and notes, also correctly, that our problem is wholly with being governed by Westminster.

When it comes to respecting informed opinion I think I’d trust Tom Devine’s views any day of the week before those of Ruth Davidson, David Mundell, Kezia Dugdale and Theresa May, wouldn’t you?