Say whatever you like

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Has it really reached a point where British government politicians, safely cushioned by their media-owning pals, can actually just say what they like with impunity?

None of us mortals gives a shyte (They hope). The Great British D-list celebrity ballroom dancing and cake baking, whilst wearing a blindfold and eating a dead blue tail lizard’s scrotum in a jungle surrounded by chuckling Geordie hobgoblins competition is on the telly. Oh look, a royal wedding!

The sweatiest man in politics, the British state’s Brexit Minister David Davis, only days after (in desperation) agreeing to almost anything the negotiating team from the EU wanted with regards to the island of Ireland, the settling of outstanding financial commitments and the treatment of EU citizens resident in the U.K after Brexit, so as to ensure that Theresa May can say that progress to phase 2 of negotiations has been made, and that she’s quite optimistic (heaven help us), has this week in various public statements effectively turned and faced mainland Europe with a middle digit in the air, shouting ” Na Na, I was only kidding, it was a statement of intent, not a legally binding agreement”.

The auld saying about the sun never setting on the British Empire (because you cant trust them in the dark) obviously applies in the 21st century, as well as the previous three.

After all of these tedious months of evasion, deception and confusion surrounding the brains-trust representing the UK in its negotiations with Europe Messrs Barnier, Verhofstadt and others in Brussels must really be seriously wondering what the London government’s endgame is, or if the London government actually knows itself what it’s endgame is. This does not bode well.

And only days after the same bloke admitted to a Commons select committee that the output of the really busy work his department is doing on his government’s behalf, the compilation of 58 comprehensive sectoral analysis reports of all the economic areas where the UK will be impacted by Brexit, reports that he has been quoted as referencing officially several times, don’t actually exist. They never existed. They haven’t done the work. His department staff it seems are spot-on at Pool, Darts. Three-card-brag, Trivial pursuit and Grand Theft Auto, but critical and vital economic analysis? Not so much.

I suppose what makes it worse, and more worrying, from a Scottish perspective is that for the last few months our very own Secretary of State for the Protection of the British State from Scotland, Lord Fluffy-in-waiting, has been telling everybody who would listen (the Myanmarese are getting as scunnered wae him now as the rest of us) that the various expected significant impacts of Brexit as they relate to the specifics of Scotland’s economy have been fully taken into account in those 58 reports that don’t exist.

Better Together? Cmon Scotland, we are much smarter than that.

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A Christmas tale

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It was a bitterly cold night, a light fluttering of snow dropped quietly in the darkness, the sky heavy and vaguely orange in hue as the angry-faced man lifted the collar of his expensive overcoat up around his neck and hurried off towards his publicly subsidised comfortable accomodation, the workings of protecting government over.

The cold within him pinched his fizzer like he’d just bitten into a particularly sour pickled onion, his beady little eyes red, behind his glasses, his thin lips screwed up in disgust like he’d just passed a fellow Scotsman wearing a Yes lapel badge, he scuttled along the busy thoroughfare towards home.

Ebenezer Bundell, the Secretary of State for the protection of the British State from Scotland (a title usually just referred to as ERMINE CHASER) despised Christmas.

A time of the year when the poor demanded even more attention than usual, a time when his departmental staff insisted on leaving him to cut up copies of ‘Scotland’s Place in Europe’ into toilet paper sized chunks on his own, whilst they selfishly sloped off home to try and inject some cheer into their miserable little lives.

He’d dock their wages if he could. They should be at their workstations, plotting, strategising, spinning bad news media releases about the Edinburgh government, and writing good news stories about how his government are continually rescuing Scotland from itself, like every other day of the year.

‘Humbug’ thought Ebenezer, “What if those fanatical nats sneak out a policy to further increase free childcare or something to cushion the blow of our glorious austerity whilst those lazy functionaries are all stuffing their faces with scrawny turkeys? How will we be able to work up a damning response for the media?”

Just at that moment a tall lady and an older man dressed for winter, both wearing lanyards and ID badges advising anyone who was interested that they were registered collectors for a well known charity organisation, stepped out from under a street lamp and into his path on the busy street.

“Hi there. Would you like to help those not as fortunate as us? It’s for a very good cause. Help provide food, a warm bed and shelter for someone who needs it. What do you say? ”

“Charity you say? Humbug! They’ve got their cigarettes, their cheap booze, their satellite TV, and they keep having children when they can’t afford them. Why should I pay for them with my hard earned money? Get out of my way. Aren’t there Foodbanks these wasters can go to? I opened one of those once, luckily I managed to dive out of the emergency exit when the riff raff outside weren’t looking. Spongers, they are all just spongers . You give them something and they’ll just want more.”

“Here, aren’t you on the telly?Something to do with the government?” said the man. “I’m sure I’ve seen you somewhere before.”

Ebenezer, taken aback, responded ” No, you are mistaken. I work for large financial institutions in the city, and some of the bigger corporations. Be about your business, and try and find something more profitable to do with your time than bothering me for money and feeding scroungers.”

With that he scuttled the last few yards into the foyer of his concierge-serviced apartment block.

“Good evening Mr Bundell” said the pleasant-faced soft-spoken lady, originally from the Polish port city of Gdansk, who was on duty at the the service desk, as he entered the foyer, Bogdana Kratchet.

Bogdana had been supposed to go off duty, handing over to the night porter an hour before, but the porter hadn’t turned up.

Her son,Tymoteusz, a sufferer of a childhood bone disorder in his legs which resulted in him only being able to walk with the aid of expensive, specially made leg braces which he was growing out of, awaited her at home. She had promised to watch the advertised movie ‘Polar Express’ with him on the tiny portable TV in their bedsit but that promise had now been broken.

“Good? Good? What’s good about it? ” mumbled the grumpy miserable man with the faint hint of ginger in his hair and beard, as he brushed flakes of snow from his jacket and walked past the concierge without as much as glancing at her, into the spotless sanitised lift to his fifteenth floor lair, and the view over his beloved London and the distant Palace of Westminster that it’s panoramic window affords.

Pressing the button to ascend, Ebenezer leant back against the spotless mirrored glass and closed his eyes for a second.

” Thump” the lift, usually a very smooth ride, came to a sudden disconcerting stop. There was a crunch of metal on metal and the whole lift shuddered slightly from side to side.

‘What now?”thought Ebenezer, as the overhead light started to flicker and went out, leaving him in the strange blue and white dim glow of the auxiliary lights along the floor of the lift carriage.

Although the building was temperature controlled Ebenezer felt a sudden cold draught on the back of his neck. There was a strange faint odour, kind of like the smell of wet Highland cattle, wafting around the lift.

There was a piercing scream. Ebenezer, having pressed the lift door button several times to no avail, took fright and dived at the doors, scratching feverishly with his fingers to try and break open the solid silver sliding panels. They were locked tight, solid.

Suddenly the blue and white lights around his feet started to flash intermittently forming the outline of a Scottish saltire.

He thought he could hear moaning, whispering, the sounds of unresolved constipation in the distance. It was all in his imagination he rationalised. Perhaps a fever brought on by a poorly digested mouthful of pate de foie gras, he’d eaten some earlier at the Knightsbridge restaurant he’d dined in. It’ll pass. Just give it a moment, he thought.

Just then the loud drone of bagpipes startled him. He let out a scream. It was a pipe tune he recognised from a movie he’d seen, a tune which honoured the ultimate sacrifice of Scots in foreign fields who stood their ground, who did their duty, for their country, a lament called ‘Sgt.McKenzie’.

In front of him a shimmering light appeared. A shape started to take form. A skinny, pale-skinned balding man with a slight five o clock shadow, thin lips, awkwardly wearing Highland dress, his figure that of the kind which grandmothers used to describe as not having the arse for a kilt, took form and faced him in the light of the blue and white saltire.

“Beware Ebenezer, repent, you must change your ways!” cried the figure, in a desperate tone.

“Snarley? Baron Snarley of Dumbean, is that you, Michael, is it really you?” said the now crouching Bundell.

“It is I, yes. I am the spirit of the golden boy, the beloved acolyte of the Iron Demon, the former incumbent of the sacred position which you now hold, the destroyer of Scottish self-confidence, the hexer of anything innovative that ever came from there, the humiliator and demoniser of the poverty stricken, the hungry, and the under-privileged. The promoter of cringe. It is me” said the oily beady-eyed creature.

“But you’re not dead. I caught a glimpse of you just the others day sidling into the Lords chamber in your beautiful ermine cloak, when I was hanging around there trying to get noticed.”

” No, true, I haven’t parted this mortal life, but every night when I sleep, if I can get to sleep that is, my dream spirit takes on human form and wanders the earth. I am damned for my arrogance and avarice, chained to this rock, the weight of which jars and tears my bones and skin as I drag myself along in agony. ”

At that Ebenezer noticed for the first time that the eerie figure was covered in heavy chains which were attached to what looked like an exact copy of the stone sacred to Scotland, the Stone of Destiny,once repatriated by students, and then eventually transported north officially, the awake version of Snarley having had his photograph taken with it several times, and in several places, on its journey.

“Humbug! You are a figment of my mind, a manifestation of a gin and tonic too many. Perhaps I’m working too hard. Maybe I should cut down the trips to Myanmar and South America to makes speeches about how bad things are in Scotland? Yes, that’ll be it, a touch of jet lag. Be gone spirit!”

At this the spirit became angry. “Enough! Enough Ebenezer. I am here to warn you to mend your ways. Don’t be like me. You can still be saved. You will be visited by three spirits, of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christm…..”

Ebenezer Bundell shook his miserable head, and turning towards the spirit said ” Can I stop you right there. I like things just the way they are thank you very much.Come up to my apartment for a snifter and I’ll show you my dossier on how we’re going to convince the peasants via the media that they are getting some returned powers from Europe, and I’ll let you see the strategy plan we’re going to use to nobble the rest of their renewable energy schemes. I think you’ll like that.”

With that the ferret-faced spirit grasped at what was left of its hair, let out a loud desperate sigh,and faded into the blue light. It’s last conscious thought for the night involved wondering whether the next recipient of one of it’s visitations really would have a Challenger Tank parked outside her house.

Missing an opportunity

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I wrote the other day about a point I’m going to labour, after reading a summing up piece of 2017 by Robin McAlpine, a leading player in the 2014 Yes movement, an individual whose work I admire.

Robin’s comments in his article set some alarm bells ringing and effectively gives me the impression that three years after the first go at seeking the people of Scotland’s views on their constitutional status, we, the many committed advocates for an independent Scotland, are still nowhere near establishing an official professionally run organisation which represents, promotes and supports the views of what polls consistently tell us is around 45-47% of voters in Scotland.

We’ve got theatre sized talking shops, we’ve got the results of focus groups, we’ve got analyses of market survey responses, we’ve got hardworking and committed individuals wandering the length and breadth of the country trying to canvas the views of the many grassroots groups, we have the political party of Scottish government, the party which will effectively open the gate for Scotland to return to its rightful state as an independent nation, creating a Growth Commission, looking at currency, the economics and potential of Scottish self-government, the results of which are to be made public shortly, we have a newspaper, we have social media, we have our local groups and, as individuals, we are many thousands, but we don’t have an ongoing public face.

Robin McAlpine suggests that the results of focus group work, seeing ourselves as others see us, tells him that others don’t actually see us, they think we went away in 2014. As far as our fellow Scots are concerned we have no identity, they don’t understand our aims.

I would suggest that before we can get anywhere near thinking about pushing for a second ballot of the people of Scotland’s views, disastrous Brexit implosion occurring or otherwise, we must first imbed what we stand for into public consciousness in Scotland.

I thought that was where we were going, having listened patiently to a stream of indy identities hinting, suggesting, nod-nod, wink-winking, it’s coming, an official non-party affiliated Yes organisation just round the next corner, launch coming soon, oh, and it will be much more in tune with the grassroots groups than the one that disappeared almost overnight in late September 2014.

Reading McAlpine’s article I am frustrated(not with him specifically) at what seems to be evidence of a clear lack of unity (it must be that, what else could it be) amongst our self appointed leaders, the visionaries, the intelligentsia, the internal battlers, the trendy leftists, the cursers of three hundred odd year auld receivers of debt relief and bribes, vying for a lofty position in some sort of pecking order in a movement that apparently the world around us doesn’t even know exists.

Then again maybe it’s not that. Maybe it’s simply the case that none of them wants to risk it, to stand up and take the reins and be seen as the figurehead, a leader of a movement with a clear moral imperative.

I am angry at the propensity of these people to spend the best part of the last three years telling us that something is going to happen which doesn’t, selling hope. We have wasted that time, time where more of our fellow Scots could have been absorbing another view to the too wee, too poor, too reliant bullshyte they are fed on a daily basis, opening their eyes to the real potential, the real opportunities there are for a better Scotland.

When the purveyors of the daily diet of British media bollox spin a yarn which requires rebuttal how much more effective could a fact based response from an offical respected entity which represents our views be, not connected to the media institutionally demonised “Mr recognised expert I’ve got to ask, are you a member of the SNP?”

My last post on the subject resulted in comments coming back that it’s too early for such an organisation to be established, we’re biding our time, and one or two suggesting that the massed ranks of Yes supporters are poised, ready to spring into action at the right time to work towards convincing our country folk that independence is for them.

Really? I think we’re wasting a great opportunity to pave the way.

Has someone put the Yes Campaign into reverse?

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Reading Robin McAlpine’s piece yesterday on CommonSpace entitled “I refuse to go out of 2017 in misery…” I sense a disappointing and worrying change.

I’m an admirer of Robin’s thinking and writing, and in particular his usual highly infectious enthusiasm. In fact his work and vision of what a future Scotland could be like was one of the motivators that kept me personally driven towards continuing to promote the idea of an independent Scotland after September 2014.

However (there’s always a however) he gives me the impression from reading this article that he is more than a wee bit puffed oot and most definitely scunnered, temporarily I hope. He’s covered many miles. I’m surprised he isn’t burnt out.

As a critical friend of the SNP he gives his views, his opinions, on where he sees they have missed or failed to take advantage of opportunities and where he thinks they have shown good judgement or been progressive in their policies. The prospects for a Scottish National investment Bank being an example of a plus, hanging heavy hopes on Brexit to kick start a second referendum being an example of a minus, in his view. That’s fine, that’s what he does, that’s what he’s been doing for a while, that’s his honest opinion, and should be taken in that spirit. It’s not that part of the article which concerns me.

Robin writes about his experiences reading the impressions ordinary non-politically minded folk in controlled focus groups have of us, the wide independence movement, and suggests that to them we have gone away, we lost, we packed up and went home. They don’t have any sense of who, why and what we are engaged in. We haven’t been convincing in defining an identity for ourselves.

He goes on to mention the issue of leadership, which we still don’t have, despite hints, whispers and promises being made and aired regularly in the indy world, we are still largely making do for ourselves.

His reference to the Scottish Independence Convention having “at least tried to keep things alive, inject some momentum and do some pieces of important work ” sets the alarm bells ringing loudly for me.

They’ve at least tried to keep things alive? Eh? Seriously?

It gets worse. Robin tells us “I think that there is a good chance a proper, effective, non-party campaigning organisation for Scottish independence might be set up. We really, really need it.”

A good chance? Might? Have I missed something? Has someone pressed a button putting the momentum of the direction of flow of the journey to independence into reverse gear?

For long enough now I, and am sure very many of us, have been under the impression that somebody somewhere has the construction of an organisation, possibly called the official Yes 2 Campaign, in hand. Somebody has a plan, has a funding structure worked out, has a worked through strategy, which we will only be too pleased to put our hands in our pockets to contribute what we can to, as long as we know there is a structure to what it is we are forking out for. We’ve been led to believe someone is working quietly in the background on the basics of a workable structure of an organisation that will act as a central hub for the grassroots groups and individuals, educating, providing communication tools and canvassing materials, rebutting unionist misrepresentation of facts and prevarication.

Is that impression incorrect? Is all of the ‘just wait, it’s coming, we’re on it, it’ll be launched soon,’ all of that, by some of the notable figures in indy circles, has it all just been wind and pish?

Is Robin suggesting, with the information an immersed insider must have, information we undoubtedly don’t have, that after all of this time, since 2014, since we came to the conclusion that it wasn’t over, since we decided that we were staying right where we were, that we were going to build to win, are we still no further forward in founding an offical all party, and no-party-affiliation organisation which represents the views of what surveys tell us is still around half of the population of Scotland? (Thankfully, and perhaps remarkably we are not going away, despite this lack of direction.)

Is that the way it is? Is that where we are 3 years after 45% of Scots we’re convinced, against all the odds, against all of the forces put up to stop them, to vote for self government?

Will somebody please, for the love of goodness step forward and start a process which will create an organisation that facilitates the return to independence.

We need an ongoing professional symbol of our movement, with a highly visible profile which clearly defines that identity those focus groups and everybody else can’t see, and we need it yesterday, future referendum date set or not.

If it’s about personalities get over yourselves and get on with it.

Run Scotland, don’t look back

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What a bumper crop of ego-driven lunatics and incompetents the English-speaking west has in control of its governments in 2017. How did we get to be so lucky?

On one side of the Atlantic we have the most dangerous man on the planet, not content with provoking a fellow narcissist tin-pot dictator in North Korea towards a nuclear high noon he now wants to reinvigorate the Middle East crisis in the most spectacular and incendiary way he can think of.

Many innocents will perish as a result of his arrogance. He has no conscience. He has no sense of anything other than an over-inflated opinion of himself. A man keeping a promise to a lobby of highly influential financial contributors to his continued political survival.

It’s hard to be humorous or whimsical about such a man so I won’t even try. It would be disrespectful to the many groups who suffer as a consequence of his actions.

On the other side of the water, well, folks if you haven’t noticed that it’s all gone a bit batshit crazy down Westminster way then you are clearly on some very strong medication, or you are the original Patronising Better Together Lady.

David Davis, the serial-sweat producer (a symptom of telling lies) and Philip Hammond, between them have well and truly smashed the omertà code of silence and misdirection on Brexit, having painted themselves (particularly Davis) so far into a corner that they are now scraping the plaster on the wall behind them to try and get out.

For months Davis has been telling parliamentary committees, Sunday morning politics shows, the right wing press and you, me and the wee fella in the 1980’s shell suit wae the bath duck on a leash at the bus stop, that his team are preparing huge in-depth detailed analysis documents of all the crucial economic areas which will be impacted by the London government’s decision to implement the English and Welsh outcome of an advisory referendum on themselves and inflict it on other parts of the current United Kingdom who voted against it.

Hunners, absolutely hunners of pieces of critical analysis, various scenarios run through established academic and industry models, tested thoroughly, identifying the positives and negatives for each sector of leaving the world’s biggest free trading bloc, pinpointing the ways in which Great Britain (Empire 2 Inc) can take advantage in any negotiations with trading partners we are divorcing and new friends from former colonies who are obviously going to be mad keen on letting us take advantage of them again.

He’d even had his crack team of advisors produce folders with 800 pages of redacted crucial ‘market sensitive’ information in them to back up this story. Nobody could read them but they looked quite important to the procession of MPs who wandered into a Commons anteroom to have a swatch at them before wandering away again scratching their heads ( Nobody believed one unnamed SNP member who happened to scrape off a few lines of the redaction from the print to discover the words “Bolton Wanderers 3 Halifax Town 1 written underneath”.)

Yes, busy, busy busy, have been the Minister for Brexit and his team, but with a few short awkward sentences yesterday Davis gave the game away about what they have been busy doing, nothing.

When asked, again, about these mythical Brexit analysis reports, by a Commons cross party committee a committee which he has previously publicly advised that his team were working in 58 analysis reports, he crumbled into the sweaty mush that we all knew was coming.

No, he admitted, there are no reports, no analysis, no preparation for what he admits will be an economic disaster for his great Great Britain on a scale similar to the 2008 global financial crisis.

Mental! It’s like an nightmare episode of Yes Minister, Sir Humphrey Appleby’s creative inertia gone mad.

Davis, in his arrogance, is still trying to defend the fact that him and his team have expended more energy not doing what they were tasked to do, and trying to cover it up, than actually doing what it was they were supposed to be doing in the first place.

He doesn’t believe in analysis, economic models are always wrong. He insists he has done his best, tried to provide as much information to his parliamentary colleagues as he could, but it’s been a struggle. Poor him.

Not justifying his position at all, which is shambolic, he should be severely dealt with for misleading parliament and the public, but way back when, when this madness kicked off, when Farage, Johnson and others were wandering around with grins on their faces like Cheshire cats, several senior civil servants came out in the press suggesting that there was no chance that the UK would be anywhere near able to handle a task of the magnitude of leaving the EU without a massive recruitment campaign of key staff to work on the project. Yesterday’s revelation is the result.

Then to top things off, whilst giving evidence to another committee, Chancellor Philip Hammond advised those around the table that the Prime Minister and her cabinet haven’t as yet met specifically to discuss what kind of Brexit deal they hope to achieve, what kind of relationship they hope to have with the European Union, after all this time, with the clock ticking down to Brexit separation. Absolutely farcical.

Although I suppose that is no more farcical than a lame duck Prime Minister (in title only) being unable to move forward in any sort of meaningful way with negotiations on the future relationship with the EU until she gets the leader of 10 MP’s from a fringe party with some seriously dodgy views about dinosaurs out of judging an important lambeg drum competition to seek her permission to move to the next stage.

Let’s hope and pray, if we are that way inclined, that Trump’s Jerusalem isn’t matched at some point by May’s Belfast. That tragedy would be as a result of a level of government incompetence that is entirely unforgivable.

2018 must lead us closer to Scotland returning to its rightful status as an independent nation. To do otherwise is self-harm on a grand scale. It is obvious.

Better Together? Please, don’t even go there.

‘Fleg’ worship is bonkers

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Picture the scene.

In glorious technicolor, there’s big secret agent Sean looking suave and sophisticated, not an eyebrow out of place, despite the fact that he’s been tortured, spent three days in a circular stainless steel cell in a massive underground secret rocket base on a small island in French Polynesia.

He has then squeezed up through a ventilation hatch the size of yer Maw’s hankie, slid along intae the rocket control room, knocked the shyte out of a large-muscled grinning Scandinavian-looking guy coming towards him carrying a bike chain with a handily positioned IKEA standard lamp, karate-chopped a silver jumpsuited and wellies-wearing Burt Kwouk just before he presses the launch button, and saved the busty blonde female former baddie fae herself, by way of a lingering snog and the promise of a plate of lobster Thermidor wae her breakfast mug of Tetley’s.

A loud alarm starts to go off, a robotic voice starts to repeat “evacuate, evacuate” along with a countdown from 1 minute. Loads of silver-suited wellie-wearers start running about aimlessly, jumping into the water, and fly through the air as a plethora of wee mini-explosions start to go off, overturning souped-up golf carts.

The big man pushes his glued on mane out of his eyes and drops the scantily clad maiden intae a two-seater contraption that looks like the giant top off a biro pen with propellers sticking out of the back of it, winks at her and says “give my regards to Trafalgar Square” before sending her rocketing off into the bubbling water, and the safety of the French navy vessel sitting just off the island which is disembarking hunners of machine gun wielding troops to the spot tae abseil down the steep walls of the base and shoot all the silver wellie-wearers.

He turns, the explosions are getting louder, closer. Wee jump-suited shrieks are heard in the background. A welly flies past his head. Very large bits of fake scenery start to fall around him. The robotic voice reaches the count of…. ” Ten, nine……

He walks towards the centre of the growing explosions and sits down on the floor. Those fleeing in chaos around him, screaming, arms flailing the air, some with their silver wellies on fire, hear a curious sound coming from the tall figure, whose hair is starting to smoulder, clearly bonkers, he is singing…..at the top of his voice.

“Send her victorious, happy and …”

Ladies and gentlemen I give you the DUP and Brexit. The madness of British nationalism.

You’re giving me the wrong answers

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Scotland is a crap place. It is rotten at almost everything. It does nothing well. It has no significance or identity. It’s useless. In fact it’s so useless that, and thank goodness, it is supported, propped up, bailed out and constantly rescued from its own incompetence by its soothing benevolent distant rulers. We should all be very grateful for that, grateful that they keep an eye on us, like a mother watching her infant playing tentatively on the swings.

Scots should never have ambition, or talent, or designs on helping to make the futures of our countryfolk better than their past. No, this is not our role. Worst of all, the very worst, we should never ever develop a belief that our country is just that, a country in its own right, and more than capable of making its own decisions about its future. No, this would be intolerable for our patrons and guardians, seen as a betrayal of their indulgence of us, their love for us.

The fundamental principle of the written press and broadcasting media in Scotland, both consciously and unconsciously, deliberately and institutionally, is to support this version of Scotland and promote the continuance of British state control over the resources, assets and strategic convenience in terms of its defence position of Scotland and the territorial waters that surround it. It’s that simple.

Many of us know this. None of us see UFO’s flying past our windows at night, none of us have been visited at midnight by shimmering images of not very tall racist American -Australian actors in long haired wigs and blue painted cheeks shouting “Skawlin will be frreeeee”, just about all of us haven’t seen Nessie, and most of us are actually quite normal, and even sensible. There is no conspiracy theory on our part, it is fact. It has been admitted many times by representatives of the British state. I repeat, it is fact.

Going as far back as Scotsman Lord Reith’s time as the first Director General at the BBC it was recognised that in times of threat and emergency the corporation had to do its bit for the country, so much so that Reith himself became Minister of Information in Chamberlain’s government in the early days of World War 2 before moving on under Churchill. The BBC World Service up until 2014 was paid for by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, not by licence payers. Bias and propaganda is in with the bricks, it’s the norm.

Open bias all the way through to slanted weighted reporting, contentious quotes without right to reply, and often just plain lies, ah la Nick Robinson circa 2014, they are capable of anything, as long as it protects the British state and belittles any individual or group who threaten that position.

This is caged in the guise of holding power to account, one of the keystones of democracy. The media, on behalf of the citizens of a country, are entitled to ask politicians hard questions. However in Scotland’s case the media work on behalf of a central government establishment to undermine a threat to its power. That is not democratic.

Therefore when a train is late in Scotland Humza Yousaf is incompetent and not fit for the job, accompanied by a photo of him dressed in his finery at the opening of parliament, when there is a report of someone waiting longer than a published target time for an operation Shona Robison is accused of dropping the ball, and endlessly, without mentioning independence, mainly because she can’t get a word in edge-wise about it because her political opponents are obsessed with it, the First Minister of Scotland is accused falsely of ‘not doing her day job.’ All of this is reported to you without context. You don’t ever hear that in almost all cases the key performance measurements in health and transport and other areas have shown improvements by sometimes as much as 20% under the SNP over previous Labour governments. They don’t tell you that. It doesn’t fit their story.

However Boris Johnson in his role as Foreign Secretary of Britain can make a speech suggesting that Libyan beaches will be worth investing in once they clear all the dead bodies off them with no real condemnation, and the firm which the Prime Minister’s husband works for, a Prime Minister who is always banging on about welfare benefit fraud, hasn’t paid any corporation tax in the UK for over eight years despite a turnover of ¬£500million without too much reported about it.

This protecting the state propaganda stuff really sticks. I was talking to an older couple a few months ago, nice folk, very personable, who get all of their news information from traditional sources, and they can’t stand Nicola Sturgeon or the SNP because “she thinks she runs the place, they do nothing for us and are only interested in Independence.” In fact when she comes on the telly they turn it over. I nearly laughed at their comments, but it’s too serious for that. Unrelenting propaganda most definitely works. They believe what the BBC, STV, the Scotsman and the Record promise them is the truth.

When they learned about my political persuasion the old couple looked at me in turn firstly as if I had horns growing out of the sides of my head and then considered whet here I was some sort of crank extremist. Why would you mistrust the Westminster Government was their view.

I asked the old gent if he’d heard of Gavin McCrone. Not surprisingly he hadn’t, but he promised that he’d look him up, probably to shut me up, Whether he did or not I have no idea, but it’s clear that there are a huge number of Scots who have very little knowledge of their country’s political history or current affairs, apart from the world according to Auntie Beeb.

If you don’t think they media is biased against self-government in Scotland you are kidding yourself. I would direct you to view the recent TV clip where STV’s David Cowan interviewed a respected independent expert in engineering assuming he’d criticise the Scottish Government’ handling of the exaggerated Saltire Bridge repair issues, an SNPBad which backfired. Cowan, finding that he was not getting the responses his employers would have preferred was forced to actually ask the expert on camera whether he was a member of the SNP, to which the poor man had to respond, no he us not a member of any political party. Would Cowan in similar circumstances ask an interviewee whether they were a member of the Conservative and Unionist Party or unionist backing Labour? I very much doubt it. Disgraceful.

If you can’t see it folks you need to start paying attention, you really do, before it’s too late.

A waste of time

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It’s on again, the biggest waste of time, plate of jammy dodgers and a pot of tea since George Martin sat down with the Beatles in 1970 and said “look lads, I think you might have another few albums left in you yet”.

In Scotland’s capital city representatives of the Scottish Government and the Westminster mafia are due to meet yet again today to smile nicely for the cameras, whisper sweet positives, hinting at imaginary progress for the Daily Mail and the Hootsmon, then behind closed doors sit down to a quiet cuppa, a few passing exchanges of cursory pleasantries, five minutes of hard questions, and after about half an hour some surreptitious checking of wrist watches every five minutes by two of the four main protagonists, anxious not to miss their flight back to the comfort of the city state they worship.

On the side of looking after the interests of the people of Scotland will be Deputy First Minister John Swinney and Minister-in-charge -of-trying-to-make-any-sense-out-of-Brexit Michael Russell.

In to bat for the Empire 2.0 Project will be Damian Green (don’t mention his laptop) First Secretary of State of the London government (why do they need more than one these days?) and his happy wee pixie sidekick, the Secretary of State Against Scotland David Mundell.

In the hope (no chance) of receiving parliamentary co-operation, which could be more accurately described as acquiescence, the London chappies will be touting yet yet yet again the ‘Bonanza’ of new powers that they purport that their government will hand to the Scottish Government after said powers are initially transferred back from Brussels to, er eh,em, Westminster.

Messrs Swinney and Russell, both thinking ‘ liar liar, hedge fund portfolio on fire’ will rebutt this oft repeated attempt at seduction by stating the fact that the fundamental principle of devolution as it exists in what is laughingly called the U.K is that all powers, unless specifically stipulated as reserved to Westminster, should be considered therefore as devolved, so we’ll have our agriculture, fisheries, environmental controls and much much more back please London when you finally immolate yourselves at the altar of far right- wing madness come Brexit day.

‘Ah’ the Fluffmeister General will interject, embuing the conversation with an infusion of national fervour. “Trust us. Do you think I, a patriotic Scot, would be part of any plan to try and trick you? Those returned powers will simply rest briefly in Westminster, some of them overnight, before we release them into your new super-turbo maximised devo-spondooforous charge at Holyrood. (Donning see you Jimmy hat and wig he’ll state further) “Hoots mon, ye’ll hae mair pooers than ye’ll ken whit tae dae wae! ”

Unimpressed the Holyrood gents will once again ask the obvious question for about the thousandth time. Which powers, specifically?

In a stupor, and somewhat stumped there will be pained expressions displayed across the table by the union-flagged worthies. Perhaps too a strained aura of flatulence will emit around the ceiling rose, and yet again a direct question will be ignored, not answered and be followed by some kind of diversionary response from Theresa’s crew to try and take the heat out of the moment. (They would be as well just pressing the fire alarm at this juncture or pointing over John Swinney’s shoulder and shouting ” look, a flying reindeer” very loudly.

A complete wasted day. Scotland is getting consulted about nothing. Scotland is getting next to nothing back into its governance from Brussels via London, and the endless round of talks is simply allowing the Tory government to be able to tick a box and give their second hand Mercedes driving, red, white and blue, and sometimes orange, voters in Scotland something artificial to help them pretend to themselves that their British Scotland, apart from its resources, actually matters to a government which rules it from another country.

Scotland could do so much better as an independent country. It really could.

DEXEU’s Midnight Runner

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Be afraid, be very afraid. The man at the helm of The Department For Exiting The EU (DEXEU), the midnight runner himself David Davis, is taking a bit of serious and well earned flak in the Commons over a wee sleight of hand, one of several he’s been party to over the last year.

He’s pulled an invisible rabbit out of an invisible hat in front of those tasked with oversight of the shambles that is Brexit.

24 hours ahead of a deadline he had been set to spill the beans to his richt dishonourable freens on the expected economic impacts of an increasingly far-right faction influencing government decisions disguised as ‘ the will of the people’ he chucked in to the awaiting interested worthies for their scrutiny a Brexit impact report on 58 related economic sectors which has doesn’t tell them anything.

The sales of permanent black marker pens around the Whitehall area of London innit must have soared just recently going by the amount of redaction that has taken place on this report. Running to just two lever arch files (which is another concern in itself) it resembles a missive celebrated Russian author and critic of the Soviet Union Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn might have sent from the Gulag to his family, several dozen pages in length with only the words ‘Oleg says hi’ being readable.

Davis, the man most definitely with no plan, is citing the usual excuses for such behaviour, he’s keeping sensitive market information confidential, he’s not giving the EU the opportunity to gain access to information they might find useful in negotiations, all of that, and I suppose also what he’s saying is he doesn’t trust his fellow parliamentarians to not spill the beans over a large G&T to any passing onion sellers or liverwurst salesmen they come across slinking through the crowded Commons lounge bars on their bicycles.

The SNP’s Pete Wishart, anxious to take a look at the report to help inform his thinking on how all of this madness will impact Scotland’s economy was said to be astonished when he opened up the folder to discover his copy included only hole punched editions of the Beano Christmas Special 1979, a copy of the Tiger and Scorcher from April 1976 featuring Hot Shot Hamish, and an article about Debbie Harry from the NME in 1980.

It is clear that the information that an analysis of the economic impact of Brexit would provide is so potentially devastating in its content for the economies of Scotland and the UK as a whole that to even impart it to those out-with the Brexiteer inner circle, to those who are supposed to be our representatives, those we trust with governing our countries, currently as a union, is considered politically too dangerous to allow.

Imagine what will happen when eventually they need to tell you?

Run Scotland. Shut the door and leg it as fast as you can.

Harry and Meg are getting married

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Harry Templeton and Meggie McCart had known each other many years before, during their time as children at the local primary, Meggie being in the class above Harry at the small school which sat in almost perpetual shadow amongst the surrounding high rise blocks, before they had lost touch as they’d moved into their teens, and gone their separate ways.

Harry had been lucky enough to start work at 17 in a green field site factory outside town which produced mobile phones. However after five months this has come to a sudden halt upon the news that the company’s worldwide operations had been reviewed and production was being moved to their plant in Indonesia.

Unemployment was Harry’s lot then for nine and a half long months. Attending interview after interview, making job applications by the dozen Harry tried not to become disheartened and refused to give up, even when a breakdown in communications in the local benefits office resulted in his payments wrongly being suspended for a period.

Not yet 20, and still living with his mum and dad in their two bedroomed flat, Harry had decided to try and make the best use of his time during this period to keep an eye on his older brother Wullie when he could.

Harry’s parents James and Dinah had struggled for years with their William’s downward spiral into drugs and petty crime, supporting him where they could until his behaviour had made this almost impossible.

Harry was close to his brother and most days would walk up to the dilapidated flat Wullie shared with five or six others, a far cry from the compact semi-detached new home in the fashionable estate Wullie had occupied with his former wife Kat before his addiction had robbed him of his skills as an electrical engineer and a future family.

The smell coming from the flat was rank. The front door was always barred by a chair wedged against the handle and he often had to batter on the door for ten minutes before any of the occupants would become conscious enough to answer.

When he eventually gained access he would usually find unkempt sleeping bodies around the darkened rooms, the windows being covered in steel shutters. Some were able to stomach the thin vegetable soup his mother had made, soup that he’d bring in flasks, some could not.

Eventually persistence paid off with regards to work and Harry found himself one day presenting himself at a nearby superstore’s supply warehouse, where for 10 hours per shift, when required, he would stack or empty shelves, days and nights, often with short notice provided of his requirement to work.

This is where he was one bitter winter’s night when a supervisor came to his work bay to ask him to step into the office to take a telephone call from his mother. Distraught and overcome with grief his mum had told him that her William, her baby, was gone, an overdose, unconscious in below zero temperatures he had passed away.

Harry couldn’t believe it, William was 27. How could he die now? Something changed in him then, he felt like he was suffocating, he had to get out.

The answer came via a visit to the army careers stall in the centre of town one Saturday soon after. Initial contact was made, the selection processes began, and before he knew it he was through the shock of basic, heading to the end of infantry training and ready to be posted. Six months later he was in Afghanistan, three months further along he was in a hospital bed in Birmingham minus a leg almost to the hip, courtesy of an IED planted on a roadside the Jocks had been patrolling in Helmand Province.

Invalided out, still waking in the night in a cold sweat, he found himself in his wheelchair one day in the local Tesco store gazing back at the face of a pretty girl who was smiling at him curiously when suddenly recognition dawned, Meggie, Meggie McCart.

They chatted, they met for a drink, they hit it off instantly.

Meggie had recently moved back to the local area having come out of a marriage where she had suffered domestic violence on a regular basis.

Over time their feelings for each other grew. Meggie supported Harry through some very difficult times until he was eventually diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, and commenced therapy to address his illness. Harry in turn helped Meggie to begin to rebuild a sense of trust in men.

Harry, very much in love, described the initial random coincidence of bumping into Meggie in the shops after so many years as being like she had “just tripped and fell into my life”.

They decided they would marry. Harry quietly felt sad that Wullie would not be there to be his best man. He knew that his mum had never quite been the same since his death.

The local community centre lesser hall was booked for a small reception. They didn’t want a fuss. The room could hold 20 people comfortably. Perfect. They didn’t want gifts, they had each other. Anybody who asked them what they wanted as a wedding present, and many did, was advised not to go to the trouble, but where they really insisted they were advised that if they wanted to they could make a contribution to the town’s local Foodbank.

Meggie received a surprise telephone call on the Monday before the Saturday wedding from the local newspaper. They wanted to send a photographer to take photos on their wedding day and write a local interest story about Harry’s time in Afghanistan and his recovery from his injury. Reluctant at first, Harry also being anxious not to receive any public acknowledgement, they had eventually both agreed, it being only a local newspaper anyway.

On the Friday morning, the day before their wedding, they received a second call. This time from the editor of the newspaper. In a nervous uncomfortable tone he advised Harry that unfortunately the photographs and the story would not now be happening as the paper had just been advised that a minor member of the royal family, fourth or fifth in line to the throne, would be attending a nearby exhibition of royal portraits at a local gallery at roughly the same time as the wedding ,therefore the photographer would be needed elsewhere.

Easy come, easy go, thought Harry,as long as he had Meggie nothing else mattered to him.