We gotta get out of this place

There’s a man in the White House who can’t make up his mind who he hates most. However it certainly isn’t white rightwing torch carriers who are now so confident in themselves, energised by his dog whistle rhetoric, that they have removed ‘the hoods their fathers wore’ whilst they strung black men from trees in the glow of fiery crosses, as they chant their hate filled bile.

It may be Muslims, it may be women who don’t fit with his narrow viewpoint of what a woman should represent, it may be Mexicans, it may be North Koreans, at one stage it may have even been Australians. Currently though it looks like it’s the ‘Alt Left’, or as the sane on the planet would refer to them, rational human beings determined to put a stop to history repeating itself and making the same horrible mistakes of the 1930’s.

Meanwhile the government of his appeasing repetitively monotone friend, the one who refuses to criticise any of his actions, the one he likes to hold hands with (it’s always a good idea for women to keep a close check on where his hands are) prepares to remove their country, and the smaller partners over which they rule, from the largest trading relationship that exists in the world.

The strategy for this, we are now finding out, appears to involve making a huge song and dance about leaving various parts of the trading relationship and then asking the former trading partners to sign up to exactly the same trading agreements again under a different name.

Being a humble lot, a British establishment trait, the government, have announced to their adoring media that this is all but a done deal. Some sleight of hand, a bit of mockery of French and German accents here and there, Jacques and Hans Foreigner will be in a state of panicked retreat, and we’ll all be home for tea and crumpets by sundown. What’s the latest at Lords? All out for 102.

However those they need to negotiate with, the member states of the European Union, are looking in on this bewildered, shaking heads, and wondering, is this what happens to a former imperial power in its last days when it completely loses touch with reality? Can the British really fear immigrants that much?

As Burns once wrote ‘O wad some power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!’

When the head-on crash that is Brexit comes it is potentially going to be catastrophic, a self inflicted economic disaster. Those in Britain that are orchestrating it are dangerously delusional.

Meanwhile the limited power government of the small northern partner striving to break free from the rule of that former imperial power goes about the business of making life better for its people.

Trump and May have torchlight hate marches, and barely masked xenophobia. We have baby boxes. Mothers of all newborns in Scotland provided with the necessary essentials for the start of life.

Today too we hear, in the latest economic figures, that Scotland has lower unemployment (3.9%) than the rest of the UK, and more people in work (75.2%).

However the manipulation of information to downplay any possibility of Scotland ever being successful at anything without the success being able to be attributed to the loving guardianship of mother London continues.

Flicking through Twitter I see, hard running, a tweet from Nicola Sturgeon, then another from Keith Brown, both telling us these figures are good news, followed by a third tweet from STV news telling us the opposite.

The headline on the STV online report reads “Scots unemployment rate rises despite UK-wide fall.” The headline in bold being the part that casual readers will pick up on. In the interests of appearing unbiased the report’s sub heading (once you click on the article) which many casual scrollers wouldn’t, having seen the bad news of the headline then follows up with ‘Despite the rise Scotland still has a lower jobless rate than the UK as a whole.’

I’m sure during the rest of the day the STV news version and the BBC will clear up the confusion, not.

We really need to find ways to convince our friends, families and colleagues that enough is enough folks. We must strive for independence, we must succeed. It is that important.


The trouble with Corbyn

The trouble with Corbyn (From Phantom Power)

Wee Ginger Dug

Playwright and writer Alan Bisset exclusively speaks to Phantom Power about his issues with the Corbyn phenomenon.

As UK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn states his intention to target SNP seats in the next general election, acclaimed writer Alan Bissett considers the implications for Scottish independence and particularly those on the left who also support self-determination for Scotland. While Corbyn has taken Labour back to its socialist roots, Scottish Labour is a very different beast and have deliberately interpreted their modest gains and SNP reduction in seats as a rejection of independence. Alan discusses Corbyn’s election prospects as well as his contradictory positions on a progressive SNP alliance, Brexit, Trident, internationalism and British nationalism. Corbyn and his pro-independence supporters can’t have it both ways.

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Grab a headline

They are on it….The online headline reads “Salmond: Michelle Thomson situation ‘handled badly’ by SNP.”

Auntie Beeb are in on the scoop. Have no fear. They are in there spilling the beans on the news you need to hear. Nothing gets past them.

A former leader of the party, knowing full well that that same party is robust enough to take a bit of healthy self-criticism, voices an opinion, his honest personal opinion.

Wait now for the next phase of the story, the extended fables of a wildly speculative nature. Figments of the imaginations of the bank of unionist press hacks sniffing fake horror movie blood in the water. By Monday or Tuesday the likes of the Hootsmon and Depress will be running ‘Is there a split in the SNP hierarchy?'”, ‘Separatists FURY at Salmond’s rant” and ” Indy hits skids amid internal squabble.”

It’s almost laughable. Let’s not worry too much that the media, the BBC included, crucified the poor woman, acting as her judge, jury and public executioner, without Ms Thomson ever getting anywhere near the point of being charged with any wrongdoing. No, let’s just gloss over that one auntie.

Salmond also has suggested that Scotland could return to its rightful independent state within a four year period, depending on any transition period that the arrogant incompetent British government may stumble by accident into negotiating, and that he is willing to ‘play whatever part is necessary’ to secure that goal.

We could do worse than have himself and Angus Robertson lead the way in the upcoming campaign to grow the movement, and the building of self belief in our fellow Scots.

If capable individuals of their calibre were to take it on, one of the first things they may want to tackle is identifying and hiring a communications unit to rebut the propaganda nonsense that comes our way. If we get that part right that’ll be half the battle won.


The less than underwhelming response to the 2 million signatures of the Scottish National Covenant in 1949, the revelations,under FOI,of McCrone, pre-Holyrood sea boundary changes, the outcome of the 79 referendum on devolution where Cunningham’s amendment, and the dead, saved the day for Westminster, the Vow, Smith, the Scotland Act, the Sewel Convention, the Scottish Brexit result, lip-service consultation, and many many more instances of how a valued partner is treated in our ‘precious’ Union.

Grievance, our unionist naysayers would scream, imagined, exaggerated grievance, dismissing us. Treachery, deception and theft is more like how most of us would call it. The real picture.

Now, Stu Campbell has highlighted another. Oh how they crowed, the price of oil has dropped. Aren’t you glad we didn’t vote Yes, we’d be a third world country, begging to be taken back. The oil industry is struggling, it’s also running out, only £588m revenue produced in Scottish waters. You nationalist dreamers are kidding yourselves on. The pensions would stop, it just doesn’t add up. Your all mad Braveheart fantasists.We’d be bankrupt!

They were right on one thing, it doesn’t add up. It doesn’t add up if you just keep applying the largest bulk of North Sea revenues to an “Unknown Region ” and then at some time later rejig the figures under the guise of a change in methodology in how statistics are collected, which, when backdated, suddenly show the true picture, that Scotland has produced more than £15 billion than was previously accounted for, some of it during a period when Scotland’s people were asked to make a choice about their future partly based on financially inaccurate information about the viability of their country.

The British state is not to be trusted.
The people of Scotland continue to be manipulated, swizzled, duped and conned. Their resources, land and the products of their labour treated as possessions of a larger neighbouring ruling power.

It’s time some of our countryfolk saw past the red, white and blue tinted glasses folks. You are being well and truly pumped.

Deliberately and plainly wrong

It’s perhaps time we went back in our box. Yes, indeed, it seems we should just accept that we are crap at everything. We simply could not organise a coffee morning in a cake shop. We don’t deserve to be like any other country in the rest of the world, we don’t want to be.

Three years after the greatest mass engagement over the question of the country’s future that ever occurred in Scotland there are still a number of us who don’t seem to know that the NHS in Scotland is a separate entity from the he NHS in the rest of the UK, or don’t know that the Scottish government has only limited powers to make changes to aspects of public spending that might or might not improve the quality of their lives.

There are many, not Tories, not Labourites of the various hues that exist, not left, not centrist, nor right, just Scots, ordinary Scots, like us, whose opinion of Scotland taking its governance into its own hands still starts and stops at the phrase ‘Scotland is not strong enough to survive on its own.’

We should maybe just carry on as we always have for the last 300 years. We love moaning about all that is wrong about being ruled by a larger neighbouring country. In fact we’re just fond of moaning. It is our thing, but we really don’t want to do anything about the things that we are moaning about. We don’t feel that we have the ability, knowledge or confidence to do anything other than complain.

It’s much easier to continue to sit back, and read what our public school educated landowning, city of London investing leaders want us to read, so that we think what they want us to think, and have the opinions they want us to hold. After all, these denizens of power sound like they know best, they obviously are successful, because they have wealth and influence, therefore they must be right.

We, the majority not born into privilege of some kind, fit the role of cap doffing, sometimes living waged early-deathers much better than we ever would as chance takers. Heaven forbid we should ever expose ourselves to risks, other than the ones that send more of our families to foodbanks, drives our children into drug and alcohol addiction and leaves our pensioners dodging the hypothermia-bringing grim reaper, frightened of a hefty electricity bill. These are the risks we are quite happy to accept.

No, settle back down, watch soothing, loving, condescending, cosseting, reassuring British hypnotic TV. Poor people and immigrants are demons that are coming to steal your third hand BMW, and why not buy a specially minted coin to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar, each with a genuine particle of gun metal engraved into the union flag design (coins legal tender in Jersey), or wallow in a sycophantic orgy of fascination with ludicrous privilege by bloodline, obscene vastly wealthy idols from another era, but hey, they do loads for charity and bring in the tourists you know. Here, Your Highness, have another £380 million, you richly warrant it.

We really don’t deserve control of our own destiny. What would we do with it?

Life is much easier simply accepting that hearing TV newscasters repeatedly referring to something successful happening in Scotland, something major being achieved, something that positively impacts the lives of Scotland’s people ‘despite the Scottish government’ is correct, even when it is blindingly obvious, if you just motivated yourself out of your slumber long enough to listen with your ears and look with your eyes, that it is deliberately and plainly wrong.

Flag waving

I was speaking to a guy I met in the pub the other day, three years after his last trip back, for the referendum, from the North Island of New Zealand, about his trip home, a visit principally to see his Mam, who is ill.

He was telling me that he had taken a jaunt along the Fife coast last week, and couldn’t believe the number of times he came across a Union flag, atop buildings, memorials, in the gardens of private residences, and even heavily marketed on the packaging in his local supermarket. The only saltire he found on display was aloft above his local links golf club.

Is this a new trend he wondered? Were these flags always there, but prior to the last few years weren’t considered by some to be contentious, and therefore invisible? Neither he, nor I, could remember.

Is there a growing need arising in Scots who identify themselves more as British than Scottish to feel they have to publicly display that identity? I don’t know.

We debated the point over a pint, moving on to discuss our thoughts on the news media, and in our alcohol soaked haze decided that we both agreed that there is a lot of messaging, both up front and subliminally, going on to help to ensure that the people of Scotland keep on metaphorically tugging those forelocks, and ‘pooling and sharing’ their resources.’

Mind you, we didnae need the drink to be able to recognise that.

Blessed are the decision makers

Now that we are slowly but surely sinking backwards into the safe, warm and secure arms of feudalism, with all but the decision to squeeze one’s own pus-filled Black Death scab or to risk transportation to fly infested colonies by trying to purchase a steak bake in Solihull with a Scottish twenty pound note, Michael Gove (I still can’t believe it’s not butter, or that he’s Scottish) making decisions on behalf of the Scottish fishing industry to sell out post-Brexit access to Scottish waters to Cnut the Great, son of Sweyn Forkbeard, without feeling the need to consult anybody remotely involved beforehand, doesn’t really come as much of a surprise.

Flip-flopping and blatant improbity are the standard strategies of our beloved masters (touch forelock). We must trust them to know what’s best for us. It’s not our job to think or make decisions, we are here to serve them. We’re safe with them.

Just wait until they’ve successfully negotiated the best possible deal, a deal that will benefit all of us in ways we never would have considered possible, two spoonfuls of gruel each per day instead of just the one an obvious bonus. It will be great. A triumph of a magnitude that surely will bring forth a legion of proffered deserving new Lord and Ladyships, the pomp and ceremony of a regal procession, golden hats transported in their own display cases, and in their own Daimlers, Union flagged umbrellas, street parties reminiscent of the end of wartime hardship, and scruffy, but plucky, heavily limping street urchins.

On the surface it may look like our marvellous paternal government have made a complete horse’s erse of the situation, stomping off with their tails between their pin striped legs, with no deal, and the sounds of laughter of a foreign nature ringing in their lugs, but no, trust what the BBC will tell you. That retreat will be all part of the cunning plan, a cunning plan of such monumental cunningness that Tony Robinson could have come up with it.

Have no fear, they are playing the long game, the state broadcaster will assure us. A long game where grotesque fake tanned comic characters will be offered honorary knighthoods and several thousand green and pleasant acres on which to build country clubs for a growing breed of the upper (up themselves) middle class, those who will be tasked with making some of the more mundane decisions for the rest of us, havens to take their rest and relaxation, places to set aside, for a few hours, the heavy burden they carry whilst looking after us, the cattle.

Chlorine-washed chicken filled with steroids and hormones will bring a blessed release. Thank goodness we let others do the thinking for us. We would never cope on our own.

Growing to win

As a member of the wide and diverse movement committed to the case for an independent Scotland the recent Commonspace article by Common Weal Director Robin McAlpine is very welcome and has much to commend it. I write without the need to add either of the words ‘but’ or ‘however’ to that statement.

We either thrive, as a positive formidable force for change, mindful that we don’t all see things the same way, respectful of other views, accepting that this is the case, with a focus firmly on the issues we do agree on, principally that Scotland has the right, like any other country, to be governed by the people who live there, or we wither. If we choose the second path we’ll chase away prospective future Yes voters, baulking at exposure to a divisive atmosphere of accusation, counter accusation, recrimination, factional disputes and negativity.

As an Indy blogger I often think that if some in our movement who spend time forensically, and often less than respectfully, examining paragraph by paragraph the words of fellow Independence supporters, many of whom who have broadly the same views, to expose where they have gone wrong, where they differ from the true, and only (in their opinion) path to an independent Scotland, focussed their ire and put the same energy into targeting the policies, words and deeds of those that would see us fail, and there are many who are loud and very vocal to choose from, we’d get to where we want to be a lot quicker.

No one in the Indy movement has been appointed God, no one is the ultimate guru of Scottish independence, requiring worship and adoring obedience. We all have something to contribute, we all have value, we all, as human beings deserve to be treated with common decency and respect.

Every single individual who believes in self-determination for Scotland is capable of doing their bit to make our quest successful, helping to grow a sense of self belief in others in our families, group of friends and colleagues, building a momentum for change which will be unstoppable and undeniable. Equally we are all able to do our movement harm, a negative self- harm which holds us back, and makes the chances of us seeing as independent Scotland in the next decade harder.

What a formidable force we are together.

Bullying, badgering and victimisation simply have no place, they are not what we are about. I don’t know anybody who supports Scottish independence who would disagree with that statement.

We, all of us, are better than that.

Phil’s retiring

Phil McGilvary is set to meet his auld pals from the pit (most of them a lot younger than him, in their 70’s) for a game of dominos at the former miners welfare club, recently re-opened after vandals, high on something, set it on fire. This will be the last time Phil sees his muckers before his now debilitating emphysema forces him into the nursing home he has been desperately trying to avoid so that he can remain with the love of his life, Betty.

The 96-year-old announced in May that if his health continued to decline it was inevitable that social services would recommend that he receive residential nursing care, after many decades of looking after Betty, who has suffered intermittently from depression and anxiety since the untimely death of their only daughter Debra in a car accident, as well as fundraising for local charities, helping out at the local pensioners club, doing a bit of shopping for one or two of those that are housebound in the street, and laterally, despite his age, working three mornings a week at the Foodbank that opened beside the shops last year.

Before the emphysema got too bad Phil was nominated by two of the charities for a citizen of the year award, and had his photograph displayed in the local paper receiving a certificate of merit from the Provost. He also became a minor local celebrity briefly when he was featured in a short TV news feel-good piece about sprightly pensioners. Phil was a bit embarrassed about all of the fuss. Folk that know him know that that sort of thing is not his style. The lads at the social club had some fun with that, teasing him for weeks.

Sitting chatting to Phil in his usual corner seat at the club he reckons that during the many years since the mine closed he has completed around 56 charity fundraising events. When pressed he couldn’t put a number on the amount of days he has spent carrying out voluntary unpaid work in his community.

On Wednesday, he will meet with the care home manager and his assigned social worker to see whether they have a place for both him and Betty. Phil, who isn’t sleeping well at the moment, as a result of his breathing difficulties and the worry of a possible separation from Betty, is determined that after 66 years of marriage they won’t be separated now, at this stage of their life together.

On announcing effectively the end of his active life Phil was praised by his local Councillor for his many years of voluntary service, and the ladies of the local Woman’s Guild, along with the volunteers at the Foodbank organised a wee coffee morning and a presentation of a lovely bunch of flowers to Betty which Phil was very grateful for.

Prime Minister Theresa May, having finished singing the national anthem to assorted extremely wealthy holidaymakers in a hotel in Lombardy, when asked about Phil’s retirement into a care home said “I’ve never heard of him.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, when he was asked, said “Me neither.”

Happy retirement Phil and Betty, together, you’ve earned it x

Before all of that

It is said that when Margaret Thatcher learned that she was still despised in Scotland, after the implementation of her key policy to try and turn a predominantly left-wing nation into Tory voters, she felt deeply betrayed.

That’s a good enough reason, even after all of this time, to remember the one year anniversary of the end of the Right to Buy Scheme, a policy which created a dire shortage of social housing, increased homelessness, elevated poverty and lined the pockets of private landlords (again), the ending of which is an example of the Scottish Parliament in action, and the Scottish government ‘getting on with the day job.’

As someone who had a great childhood growing up in a council housing scheme the following is a personal reflection…..

Before the fences replaced nicely trimmed hedges between properties, and then got higher, and higher, and topped with glass shards, before B&Q did stone chippings in various shades of ‘Green Monmouth,’ before half a roof of a four in a block got replaced and UPVC windows, mixing in a patchwork, interfered with symmetry, before the double-glazing and central heating salesmen moved in, before the financial planners and bank customer service consultants arrived, before the endowment mortgage scam… and before the compensation, before cars, cars, cars, car-parking, get off my verge, I’ll lift the grass and pave the front garden, put a sign up, five home security cameras are as cheap as four, before ASBO’s, before Sitex security shutters, before ‘Carbunkle of the Year’ Awards, before property cherry-picking, before ‘it disnae belong to me to so why should I care”, before they stopped maintaining the parks and public areas well. filled in the flower beds, overgrown trees and vegetation hides a lot of sins, financial cutbacks, irregular hedge cutbacks, before they did away with the weans paddling pools citing low revenue and health and safety, before Big Brother started watching you on CCTV, before satellite dishes and right wing Sky News told us what to think, on repeat every fifteen minutes, before the BBC overtly told us how dependent we are, and how we should be grateful for that, before the explosion of Food-banks, Clothes banks, School Clothes bank, before record-breaking homelessness, when ‘sanctions’ were something a government did to a foreign government it disagreed with rather than a punishment inflicted on the vulnerable ………………………….before all of that, even looking back wearing rose tinted glasses,there was more of a focus in communities on looking after those who lived there.

The death of Right to Buy in Scotland……..31 July 2016 (minus 494,000 social housing properties) .

The modern Tory of the Scottish variety tries to disassociate themselves from all things Thatcher, she was ‘before they were born’, any mention of her name is scorned as holding a living-in-the -past grudge.

There is only one difference between Ruth Davidson of the Ruth Davidson Party and Thatcher, the Iron Tyrant didn’t pretend that she was anything else other than the British nationalist narcissist right wing promoter of greed and destroyer of communities, unions and public services that she was.