Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Driving Nationalist Tendencies.

I was hoping to finish the year on a positive note but then I came to my senses - there isn't much that separates Christmas and New Year in terms of faux expectation and eventual disappointment. I was going to try and avoid adding to it but then I saw this:




There's not much left to say and not much of 2014 remaining to say it - except...

Do fuck off Claire.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

A Last Gasp of Madness for 2014.

Most folk know that Christmas can be something of a magnifier for things that are otherwise dormant for months and years. As people desperately rush around trying to prepare, tempers fray and frustration builds - and for what exactly? The shops are heaving with people manically pawing at goods, wondering if they'll be adequate enough to sate the seemingly desperate needs of family and friends. Cards are placed reverently on the desks of work colleagues who under normal circumstance wouldn't be pissed on if they were on fire while family members you detest are welcomed with open arms even although it'll be more moan moan moan than ho ho ho.
I feel queasy.
Meanwhile, round the giant fibre optic Christmas tree, children's faces glow with the expectation of material gain while parents fret over the payday loan they had to take to finance it all. Later, when they've finished scraping the kids of the ceiling, they'll weep silently into the small print and wonder how the actual fuck they ended up this way.

Oh my... I feel... Uurgh...
At least they have the dubious pleasure of having kids and company on this the most glorious day of the year for there are thousands who'll be sitting in alone also wondering how the fuck they ended up that way. With little to look forward to except a ready meal for one and a constant barrage of American made-for-TV feel-good schmaltz delivered by unbearably cocky shiny-faced robot children and their pastel-shaded adult minders. Sitting with the lights off while a kaleidoscope of TV colour plays across that third bottle of wine they promised themselves -because no other bugger is there - they wouldn't open.

Ah Christmas, its here again...


Anyway, I digress.

That last gasp of madness takes the form of this.
From the Edinburgh Evening News.
Just so we all know where we stand with this; I don't really care about flags - but I do care about hypocrisy & double standards; plus, who doesn't like highlighting a spot of good old fashioned fuckwittery from time to time.

Those two flags have prosaically flown above Dunbar Town House for the past seven years and no one gave a toss - the purpose was and presumably still is to symbolise a well remembered link between the town and its most famous son (John Muir) who moved to America and persuaded presidents there to create the US National Parks service in order to preserve wild spaces.

But hold on, community council member Gill Wilson backed the decision to swap the Saltire out with a Union Flag - she lectured:
 “So much has been said about whether we should fly the Scottish flag or the Union flag that really I could write a book about it. 
“I’m English and I feel the Union flag should fly because we haven’t separated. There wasn't a Yes vote in the referendum."
Presumably mistaking the referendum result as a dissolution of the country known as Scotland, she went on to sputter:
“It’s just so petty, it’s really not funny. It’s political, and community councils shouldn't be political.”
Hud the bus Gill; you're the one backing the change. The flags have been up there for years and no bugger said a thing about it until presumably you or someone like you decided the No vote meant you could be a colonist instead of a settler.

John Muir as a boy on Dunbar High Street - although not literally you understand; that's a statue.
It would be easy to become quite exercised by this, but you know how town councils are. You get one or two good people who genuinely care about the community, then you get those who are guilted or press-ganged into attending. Then you have the person my Mum always describes with the words; thurs' aeways yin.* 

This person hides behind the mantra 'I'm doing it for the community' when what they really mean is 'doing it for the kudos'. A pain-in-the-arse jobsworth who is unable to tell the difference between selflessness and selfishness - someone who after only minutes spent in their company you realise is a complete nutter. Everyone thinks this person is an arsehole, at each meeting they all hope this will be the gathering were someone snaps and tells this one hated individual to fuck off. 

I should say, I'm not suggesting Gill Wilson is that person, nope, not for a second.

Its also a bit moot, anyone familiar with Dunbar has to know a Union Flag won't last long - not because its a hotbed of nationalism mind but because there are several pubs along the High Street. Those hostelries will no doubt be well used at this most festive time of year - possibly by persons black-mailed in to attending town council meetings - forced to listen to that one arsehole droning on about the font used for the meeting's agenda and who always has an infinite supply of A.O.B.

Going back to the original digression, while its true to say I'm no fan of Christmas, I hope yours goes well. Its been a hell of a year and I hope for more fun & games in 2015. There might be another blog before New Year (I know, try to contain yourself) but it really depends on whether I open that fourth bottle of wine - I might need another ready meal for one to cushion the alcoholic blow...

* If anyone knows how to spell that, let me know - I could find no written record of the phrase. 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

MURPHYBOMB

Yup, brace yourselves people - INCOMING - the result of the (Scottish) Labour leadership race will be lobbed in to newsrooms on Saturday and you know its going to be a wall-to-wall festival of prolixity only staunch Labour activists can manufacture - reported verbatim by a willing Scottish press.

SNP staff running drills in anticipation of Saturday's announcement.
Before going on, I'd like to say welcome to readers who found this blog via Reddit Scotland (hi folks.) I started posting it there (or here, if you're there now) because I'm a shameless attention whore and I really wanted to get my readership into double figures. Opening up the blog to new viewers also opens it up to new criticism, I was going to say you'd be hard pushed to find anyone with a lower opinion of it than me, but some Reddit users have proven that to be untrue. 

While I do my best to be factually accurate, the rest is just my measly opinion which as you know is subjective. Feel free to comment, you can even try to change my mind if you like. However, if I stick to my guns; please understand that a) just as you are free to offer opposing views, I'm also free to rebut them, and b) I'm not literally sticking to some guns. 

I know most of you get this, but it turns out there are one or two readers who are now hiding under a table because they think there will actually be a 'Murphybomb'. Although no one can be sure what form such a thing would take and if curling up into a ball under a table would be a defence - its what they're doing. 

I know 99% of readers understand this but for the odd couple that don't, if I say something like:
"On behalf of Yes voters, the SNP, cybernats, people who burn copies of fudged reports, Scottish Greens, the SSP and everyone else on the Yes side..." 
I haven't actually spoken to all those people, its just a figure of speech used to underline a point - a point some might not agree with because it's also my opinion. In context, its supposed to be mildly humorous - even if you find it the most unfunny thing since European sailors delivered Herpes to the New World or British news anchors started using overblown Americanisms to describe normal weather conditions.

Saying its raining cats & dogs doesn't mean it really is.
Thanks to 
b0rab0ra.deviantart.com

I don't just write here, I've got a couple of short eTravelogues on Amazon and another one on the way. Those are written (hopefully) to inform and entertain, this blog on other hand is written to entertain and challenge. While its nice when people agree, sometimes its more useful if they do not - with that in mind; have at it/me if you think I'm talking shit. Equally; if I think your talking shit, I might mention it.

Which brings us back to the Labour leadership race. We've had a weatherbomb (otherwise known as weather in Scotland) and over the weekend we can expect blizzards of 'but-what-does-this-mean' and downpours of 'where-now-for-Scottish-Labour' which I'm hoping they'll label the Murphybomb. Prof John Curtice, the only known psephologist on this plain of existence will be on hand to offer wise words, although the campaign couldn't have taxed his abilities given it'll probably become the go-to example of a foregone conclusion in political text books.

The big question is, will anything change? Scottish Labour are in a difficult situation, pulled in opposite directions by the London party and Westminster politics on the one hand - and on the other by Scottish voters and their desire for something less London-orientated. Not that Labour offer anything left-leaning - I don't believe Scotland is a socialist country, I do think the referendum threw into sharp relief the inequality and unfairness which abounds in UK politics and it is what drives dissatisfaction with London parties today.

Until 'Scottish' Labour stop taking their own advice, it won't matter who is in charge - they'll end up on the sidelines with the Tories and Lib Dems. Its not all good news for the SNP either; nobody likes a smart arse and if they become the only choice for Scottish voters, those votes will start being given grudgingly - arguably the same way many No votes were cast.



Over the weekend Labour staffers will tell us Jim Murphy's leadership signals a fresh start, unfortunately they'll be the same time-served staffers who thought putting Murphy there in the first place was a good idea. I don't think the Scottish branch of Labour are quite there yet, but by electing Jim Murphy - a bought and paid for London politician - as leader, they will be taking the final steps toward being nothing more than a hard-core kernel of party activists and their faithful few in Scotland.



The deputy leadership winner will also be announced on Saturday. If Kezia Dugdale is successful, it'll enhance the Murphybomb with shrapnel in the form of incoherent buzzwords, impenetrable phraseology and batshit mental political discourse. Jim Murphy won't be able to attend FMQ's, it'll be Kezia's job to hold the Scottish Government to account. If she can't make it, they could place a food mixer where the Leader of the Opposition normally sits, throw in a hard copy of Labourhame and a management consultant's handbook then switch it on without the lid - it'll be like she's in the room.

Equally, Murphy might not win and all of the above (except the hello to Reddit Users and the raining cats & dogs picture which I quite like) will be rendered pointless.

And before any cheeky bugger says it - much like the rest of this blog.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Doctor Doctor, every morning I wake up and a fence has grown round my body, what should I do? Oh, just get over it!

The Scottish media is in uproar again. Yesterday, Willie Rennie demanded that Nicola Sturgeon distance herself from the Wings Over Scotland website when it emerged it had been accessed quite often from Scottish government IT equipment and this morning on Call Kaye/Morning Call, poor Willie was greetin' about some SNP councillors burning a copy of the Smith report and sticking it on YouTube.

Willie Rennie
Meanwhile on Scotland Tonight, we had Gordon McIntyre-Kemp and a chap called Peter Hughes who used to be the Chief Executive of Scottish Engineering, (no, I don't know who he is either.) The topic was The Smith Commission and devolving corporation tax or rather, not devolving it. Peter (not just a No voter but a staunch unionist) eventually blurted out the tax shouldn't be devolved because Scotland voted No and independence supporters should just get over it. He was more reticent about No voters getting over it, it is after all pretty good example of what was promised in return for their cross in the box.)

Willie Rennie was upset about the burning of the Smith Report because he thinks it represents the outcome of the referendum and the wishes of the majority - which transports us to the main point; unionist defence of the Vow is to say to Yes voters - you lost, Just Get Over It.

Sorry, this is Willie Rennie
On behalf of Yes voters, the SNP, cybernats, people who burn copies of fudged reports, Scottish Greens, the SSP and everyone else on the Yes side can I just say - we're over it. We're not happy about the way it was won but we are where we are. Its unionists who keep bringing it up - could this be another symptom of what I'm going to call Braveheart Syndrome - a political illness that causes sufferers to project their anxiety & inferiority onto their opponents.

We're told the Smith Report is as close to federalism or devo-max as is possible and that the SNP and  broader Yes Campaign would never be pleased with anything less than full independence. While that is undoubtedly true, it misses the point. The debate is no longer about the referendum result. Its about the promises made that are now being dropped almost as fast as those who made them are resigning.

Gordon Brown's most endearing quality; his absence.

People like Peter Hughes think since the No campaign prevailed, the aspirations of those who voted Yes should cease to exist and Willie Rennie thinks the aspirations of No voters have all been met. In terms of the former, that was never the deal. As far as the Smith Commission was concerned, its remit was framed by the now-amorphous Vow and the promises made around it. It also asked for submissions from all who cared to send them, even if they couldn't possibly read them all. And for the latter, polling since the referendum shows that parties who sold the No vote and the benighted Vow are now deeply unpopular. Surely that hints at some discontent around the Commission's output. 

Anyone challenging the efficacy of the Smith Commission and the subterfuge around the presentation of its findings will be dismissed with just four words. What they don't understand is, many doing the challenging voted No.  

Be in no doubt, the Smith Report as it stands falls far short of what was promised by people like Gordon Brown. What's becoming ever more obvious is that ordinary folk who voted No didn't win anything, they made their decision based on promises that turned out to be false and now they're being told to just- well, you know the rest.

The only winners here are the staunch unionists - and we know they are.









Monday, 1 December 2014

Pooling and Sharing Scottish Inventions

'Tis that time of year again, St Andrew's Day - time for British PM's to apologetically tell us how great Scotland is - but only within the UK - because otherwise it would be crap. Unfortunately this year's speech was much worse being as it was made by Arch-Tory David Cameron. You can read it here - although be aware, you'll need a hardy disposition because its a no-holds-barred boak-fest.

Before you consider looking at the clip below, you should know that it will trigger a natural reaction. Normally buried, the fight or flight instinct, pops up at times of extreme stress. Otherwise known as 'gut-instinct', one second you'll be sitting with an intact computer monitor or tablet - the next second it'll be on the floor in pieces. With knuckles bloodied and expensive tablets half-buried in walls, all because your hypothalamus liaised with your pituitary gland and adrenal medulla and decided to ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK.*

All of it will be because you watched this, isn't biology wonderful?





Firstly, I'd like to clear up an issue of nomenclature - which is a fantastic word that makes me sound a lot brighter than I actually am. In the same way a Labour voter differs from a Labour activist - a No voter also differs from a unionists. A unionist is to the UK constitution what a Labour activist is to Labour policy - even in the face of demonstrable fact, logic and common sense; their support is unconditional. On the other hand, a Labour voter might only do so because its what they've always done and a No voter might have done so because of duress deployed during the campaign.

Either way, its important because you'll never change (or understand) the mind of a Labour activist and rarely the mind of a unionist. I don't want to put people who may have done something grudgingly and with gritted teeth into the same category as those who did so with heedless abandon born of a mixture of willful ignorance and cockeyed logic.

A Scottish Labour activist works through some policy decisions.
Going back to Cameron's bilious speech. Its a good example of why the independence referendum was lost. Scottish cultural waypoints as outlined by Dishface really are how we're perceived within the Union, for years Scottish culture has been made cartoonish and sidelined for the beautific grace of British culture. During the referendum campaign, it went into overdrive. Take the Braveheart meme as an example, only unionists ever mentioned the film in serious debate. It was they who linked Mel Gibson's daft Brigadoonery to the Yes campaign, not nationalists. 

Meanwhile, British culture is about matters of great historical gravitas. It is a noble thing, scrubbed clean by nostalgia - all the thorns are removed and the results dressed up in robes of parliamentary pomp and royal heraldry. Cameron mentions Scottish discoveries in science and art but would never portray those achievements outside the confines (and they are confines) of the United Kingdom.

In the referendum campaign, the hopes and aspirations of the Yes campaign and those who may have become Yes voters but didn't, was usurped by a unionist interpretation of Scottish history - it was made small & doltish, fallacious & anachronous. To paraphrase a Pink Floyd song; we traded our heroes for ghosts, hot ashes for trees, hot air for a cool breeze and cold comfort for change.

When it came to social change, the Better Together campaign had very little to say beyond vacuous slogans about pooling & sharing resources and doing things they could have done years ago but didn't. Instead, they shouted down aspirations of social democracy and fairness with thinly veiled slurs about how incapable we would have be outside the protective embrace of the union - Cameron's speech is just an extension of that message.

Of course it goes without saying, if we ever talk about it, we're told its the chip on our shoulder speaking...







* Or if you're a No voter, to run away. (I'm joking of course.)

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Labour Leadership Farce

I've been avoiding the usual 10:30pm current affairs slot on the telly but did tune in last night for Scotland Tonight's interview with the contender for Scottish Labour's Leadership, I'm still not sure who the other two people were. Scotland Tonight at least tries to be fair, it doesn't wear a sneer on its face like Scotland 2014. The BBC's flagship current affairs program is an exercise in snide, whether its accidental or because it's coming from the BBC - it loves looking down its nose at viewers.

During the independence campaign, the Yes Campaign was often accused of speaking mostly to itself - and there was probably some truth in that, although I don't think you can ever completely avoid it. Now though, Scottish Labour seems to be suffering similarly Neil Findlay - 

That would be me.

 - said when Nicola Sturgeon spoke this week in parliament; it was all rhetoric. He went on to back the claim up with - you'll never guess - some rhetoric. Much of what they say seems to be the result of focus group meetings stuffed mostly with Labour activists and staffers, their continuing mission is to boldly develop eye-catching policies that only make sense to Labour staffers and be rationalised by people like Duncan Hothersal.

While the SNP aren't perfect, one thing they've learned to do is listen; they try to be proactive. Occasionally they go off on an odd tangent (a good example is GIRFEC) but for the most part, they seem to know that leadership is conditional and the people who put them there aren't stupid. Scottish Labour are more used to setting the agenda for a disinterested electorate, they've held power without question for so long, they don't seem to know how to behave without it - ever since 2007 they've been flailing around helplessly and they're still doing it now.

I would feel sorry for Neil Findlay and Sarah Boyack - 



- but all three claim they'll plough their own furrow free from interference from London HQ - it is a lie no one believes. Although the notion of Ed Miliband leading anything is difficult to imagine, Scottish Labour will always be subordinate because Scotland itself is subordinate - how can it be any other way?

That's the problem with the union, and its why it never works for Scotland. It doesn't matter how often Westminster rent-a-gubs bang on about the pooling & sharing of resources or of the UK being 'one big family of nations' - when it comes to British politics, the main parties work for the maintenance of the British State. If it happens to benefit the electorate - who mostly live in the south of England - its mostly incidental. Westminster's interest in Scotland begins and ends with what it can get away with taking and how little it can get away with giving back.

The Tories fell by the way side in the 80's and 90's and they dragged the Lib Dems with them in the noughties. And after the huge clusterfuck of spin and death that was the trademark of Tony Blair and New Labour - in Scotland, voters are beginning to realise Westminster-based parties don't work for them at all.

Labour has set itself up for the most opprobrium; with the Tories; you know where you stand - they're a bunch of hard-hearted, flinty-eyed bastards and they don't mind who knows it - the Liberal Democrats have simply become Tory enablers whether they meant to or not. Labour on the other hand did something different - they managed to hoodwink people in Scotland in to thinking 'Scottish' Labour was different from 'UK' Labour and that it worked for them.


The truth is, it never did. The steel works stayed closed, electronic manufacturing still died on its arse and more recently big finance was allowed to rule the roost to disastrous effect.

Currently Labour north of the border via Jim, Neil, Sarah and the Daily Record are saying there are two reason why things are so shit: 1) they're not in power and 2) the SNP are. Meanwhile south of the border, Ed Miliband is pushing policies that would keep Labour out of office even if they weren't a bunch of daft gits. We're not supposed to know that though, we're supposed to be transfixed by Jim Murphy's baleful stare while continuing to not realise just how much of a shitbag he is.

We should probably talk about Jim Murphy.



Last night he said (with breathy urgency and incredulous eyes) he would 'like to see' income tax devolved, with it he said he'd reinstate the 50p tax rate. He said if Scotland wanted to spend more money it would have to raise it. What's the problem with that statement? Scotland already raises more tax than it spends. We'd end up paying twice; once for things we don't want (foisted on us by Westminster,) then again for the things we do need (free personal care for the elderly anyone?) Income tax accounts for a small part of Scotland's total tax take, it being devolved is nothing but a sop and we shouldn't fall for it.

I think its fair to say here embodied in one man is all that is wrong with politics in Britain today. A Blairite warmonger with an expenses fetish, a lying revisionist with a grasping sense of entitlement to high office in Scotland. He's a spineless Trident fan-boy who'll say anything if he thinks it'll garner a few votes. Jim doesn't give a shit about Scotland, he only cares about his place in the great British state machine. 

Still, Jim is the anointed one, he's been touched by Ed Miliband. The serried ranks of Labour members - all 14 of them - some unions and most MSP's can vote with confidence knowing that Jim passed muster with Head Office in London.

He'll win this leadership contest, but in the long run Labour in its current form will lose Scotland.



Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Maggrit Curran: She down with da young team.

You'll have seen or at least heard about Margaret Curran's recent outpouring via Buzzfeed here. You might also see that I commented on it at length, what can I say, I was at a loose end.

You might also have noticed in the comments someone suggesting a vote for the SNP next year is a vote for the Tories, that if you don't vote Labour then Cameron will be a shoo in at the Westminster general election.


It'll be a common refrain over the next few months that totally ignores certain realities. First off; if you do vote Labour and they get in, you'll get Tory policy anyway because that is what Labour have to offer, and secondly - and somewhat cancelling out the first point - is the existence of Ed Miliband. You know sometimes you cross paths with someone who looks a bit dim but lurking behind that bovine stare is a lancet-like intellect? Well, that's not Ed Miliband, what you see is what you get - there is a void behind his eyes where Labour policy and some wit should exist.

Most Labour voters are not like Labour staffers, they don't have the dogma of the 'Labour Activist', those hard-nosed reality deniers who'll throw demonstrably provable fact out the window and put their bizarre Labour spin in its place.

Later on in that thread someone else said:



Another thing Labour activists love to do is judge others by their own standards. I wasn't sure exactly what Nathan meant with his comment, I assume he means during the SNP's first stint as a minority government, the Tories occasionally voted with them. It goes with out saying, Labour would never (ever) do that. The SNP could promise peace on earth, an end to world hunger and the reintroduction of Fruit Spangles and Labour would oppose it. Hard though it may be to believe; in Scotland, the Tories have a more progressive attitude than does 'Scottish' Labour. 

It also rather ignores the notion that the Lib Dems and Greens also voted with the SNP occasionally - I'm pretty sure there might even have been policies where Labour voted with the Scottish Government - ocht, lets just say it out loud; THE SNP. Its fast becoming the case that Scottish Labour agreeing with you makes you look more of a twat than the Tories agreeing with you.

I know I don't need to tell people to be prepared for this sophistry - as someone pointed out on Twitter, there are a gazillion photos of Labour drones shmoozing with their Tory counterparts during the referendum campaign. They'll try to convince people that while they agreed on the meat of the referendum they disagreed on much of everything else. However, their policies & statements in the press highlight the dishonesty of that claim - most folk know the gap between Tory and Labour policy is broadly similar to that seen between the cheeks of a gnat's bum.

I won't comment further on Margaret's wee rant on Buzzfeed, because the football is on. We're thirty minutes in and the score line is still love all. Shit, no its not. England just scored.

Oh well. Maybe we'll equalize in the second set?


Monday, 10 November 2014

Scottish News anyone?

A lazy but no less important blog this Monday morning. (as much as these articles are ever important.)

Today saw the launch of a new website - scottishnews.scot. It comes from the same people who brought us Dateline Scotland during the referendum campaign - if you're not familiar with it, you really should seek it out on YouTube - it was the most honest of all referendum news reportage - a point I'd happily debate with any challengers.




What they're doing now is an altogether more serious look at the news in Scotland. Looking at news output on the telly today; we get some UK-wide news, English local news dressed up as UK-wide news, undisguised English local news then the news 'where we are'.



When put up against the turgid output from the BBC; Scotland 2014 (already near it's sell-by-date) the head-up-it's-own-arse Newsnight & Daily Politics etc and the slightly less plodding efforts from STV (Scotland Tonight) and Channel Four - Scottish Evening News looks like a refreshingly original take on the news in Scotland. 

Currently - even in Scotland-only broadcasts - our current affairs stories are often relegated to the 'and in other news' section. With this new set up, the 'English' news we get as headlines will make up the 'and finally' stories and Scottish current affairs - from where ever it comes - will be given the time and analysis it deserves.

I was donating £10 a month to Yes Scotland, its now going to Scottish News. I've never had a TV licence, if I did, I'd cancel it and give it to them. People hesitate to donate to these types of internet-based entities because of their intangible nature but think nothing of buying a daily or weekly news paper. While those publications are tangible, the contents are inevitably tainted by the political views of those who own the titles - which ever way they may lean. At least with this new set-up, Scottish news will be given the prevalence it deserves instead of being sidelined by stories that have no impact on Scottish Daily life.

There is broad agreement that what lost the referendum for the Yes campaign was a biased media - so this is an important step in the on-going journey toward independence. Plus, because of the unique way Scottish Evening News is funded - it'll behave pretty much exactly like how the BBC is supposed to but doesn't.

But then, I'm a bit biased myself, I'd happily pay cash-money to get Dateline Scotland back. It would still easily provide the most accurate & incisive assessment of the news in Scotland. Heck, the Dateline Scotland Ticker-Tape App is just waiting to be written. If you're watching the videos on YouTube, they're worth keeping an eye on, even if you have to watch the videos twice.







  

Thursday, 6 November 2014

I'll just send this tweet now shall I, what have I got to Lewes.

So this thing in Lewes that happened.

Yesterday saw a bit of a stramash unfold on Twitter, Lewes County Council tweeted a picture of an effigy to be burned that evening in the annual Lewes Bonfire night. The tweet has since been removed but who ever put it up is probably sitting outside the headmaster's office because it rubbed a lot of people up the wrong way. 



Two effigies of Alex Salmond featured.
The mainstream press reported the effigies (above) were not burned after all but neglected to say they'd been blown up with fire works instead - which is what they usually do. In the past, likeness' of Osama Bin Laden, Angela Merkel and George Bush have featured - Merkel was posed throwing a Nazi salute.

The question is, is it acceptable?

Burning an effigy of Salmond to me seems fair game, assuming burning effigies are what you're into. We can't moan about this but not criticise the burning of - say - David Cameron as puppeteer and Clegg as the puppet - because people did vote for them and while they may not have done so in numbers so passionately; it still counts for something. Including the Yes and 45% logos I think is close to the bone for many (myself included.) However, I take the view; if no one is there to take offence then no offence can be given. The good people of Lewes can do what they like, why the hell should we care?

But...

If you flipped this round , what would the reaction be? People who complained about the Lewes Bonfire effigies are being criticised for being overly sensitive, the usual mantra about Scottish people and their grievances are being pedaled out, but do we not have good reason to be aggrieved? Salmond the man & politician can fend for himself, (and did so [Facebook link] very well indeed.) We're talking about incitement against a movement of ordinary people - Nessie was also represented - an endangered species no less, entirely unable to defend his (or her) self. If the vile cybernats did something like this depicting Alistair Darling with Iain Duncan Smith (an English-based monster) draped snake-like around his neck - it would be in the press for days, the Daily Express would have to bump the Franklin Mint adverts to make way for the outrage.

I think most folk were pissed off - yet again - at the on-going double standard.


In your head, try and say it with his accent. Its very plummy.

Apparently a Scotsman doesn't have to look far to find a grievance, but is it justified, is it all 'just a bit of fun' or are we all just too fragile?

In an environment where the people deciding whether something constitutes a grievance or not are also the ones causing the grievance; perhaps we've got a point after all.

Or is this just another grievance? Its so hard to tell these days.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

One oot, another in.

Bit of de ja vu there, I've already published a blog by this title, still, it saves me from having to think of another one. I might just loop back to the beginning like they do every forty odd years with these referendums - wait till the electorate forget what really went on and are beholden to government for their pensions, have another vote on independence and terrify them in to voting no.

This time I'm talking about Johann going out and Jim coming in. Of course there are other contenders for the top Labour job in Scotland - a janitorial role who's main duty is covering the pools of policy vomit spewed out by London Labour with sawdust supplied by the Daily Record. No one really knows who the other candidates are; their names are Sarah Boyack and Neil Findlay. The former is most famous for having a surname that Google Chrome wants to change to 'Bootlack' while the latter is famous for having a surname that Google Chrome wants to change to 'Finland'.

As usual, our illustrious broadcast & print media are painting the leadership campaign thusly:

Oot.

Wank

Wank

Good guy.
If you strip away all the flim flam, all the hot air and breathy claims, the captions above actually are an accurate representation of 'Scottish' Labour's campaign paradigm for electing a new leader. Murphy also seems to have given jobs to Blair McDougall and John McTernan as campaign advisors. If any one was in any doubt about Labour no longer being in touch with the Scottish electorate, having these two gonks - especially the irreversibly stupid and out of touch McTernan - on your team pretty much confirms the notion. 

Putting McTernan to one side for a moment (with a rattle and something to gnaw,) the only people who voted No willingly and with pleasure were Tories and Labour activists, staffers and apologists - every one else did so under extreme political duress created by McDougall and his hand-picked team of pinch-faced twats. Sometimes its amusing to add a 'but that's just like having...' comparison, but I don't even know what this is like - its so stupid and out of touch.

McTernan is less well known outside of the political straight jacket, I use that word (instead of bubble) because McTernan needs one. He's supposed to be a pundit but it would be a ferocious understatement to say he hasn't got a fucking clue. He's been a Special Adviser to Tony Blair, Harriet Harmon (While she was Secretary of State for Social Security) and Henry McLeish (while he was FM.)

John McTernan. Clear your browsing history when you've finished reading this, you don't even want an image of the man on your device for long. Look at him, just look at that sleekit recreant face, he'll be in your temporary internet files looking for porn then briefing the Daily Record - mark my words...

Its difficult to know how he got those jobs (so long as you forget momentarily the kind of fuckwittery politicians get up to.) It may even be the case that Blair, Harmon and McLeish etc were thoroughly decent people who were getting truly woeful advice - its not hard to believe when you read some of the things McTernan puts out there. He's definitely one of those people who thinks a thing is true because he said it was. Him being on Murphy's teams is all by itself a pretty good reason to vote for Sarah Bootlack or Neil Finland.

To finish, I have to say something about Alistair Darling stepping down, I say stepping down but its hard to imagine where he could step down to given he's already lower than an Earthworm's baw sack. I know, you're thinking Earthworms don't have baw sacks and that they reproduce when children chop them in half in the garden with a spade - this isn't true. Apparently they are hermaphrodites that still mate in pairs and exchange sperm. Reading the Wikipedia description of how worms copulate and reproduce is somewhat akin to reading Alistair Darling's Wikipedia page - in that it'll probably make you feel a bit queasy.

I think that's as accurate a political obituary you're likely to get on Alistair Darling. No doubt we can look forward to several images of him sleeping in the House of Lords but for now, the miserable lying bastard is leaving public life.

In the mean time, we have the potentially gratifying spectacle of Jim Murphy being shoehorned into the Scottish leadership role, then being turfed out because Labour MSP's refuse to give up a pretty cushy job to make way for Lord Murphy of Breathy Rhetoric. Even if some poor dunce did, the only people who'd vote for Baron Jim of the Omelette would be Labour activists, staffers and apologists - and if we are to go by recent polls, there's probably only one of each currently living in Scotland - it could be the best political wheeze since Ed Miliband won his leadership election.


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The Fall Out.

Which as a title is correct on more than one level. Johann Lamont has resigned and it turned out to be the most useful thing she did during her leadership - her reasons? She was sick of Scottish Labour being treated as a 'branch office' of UK Labour - about which she seemed to be the last to know. Still, at least Scottish Labour's true nature is being talked about in the Scottish press. 




Although we didn't hear much from the leader of Labour in Scotland during the referendum campaign - a surprising thing given she was, ummm, the leader of Labour in Scotland. We can assume she supported a no vote which pretty much underpinned and guaranteed the very thing she cited as the cause of her falling on her - lets not use the word sword, it implies there might be something sharp about Scottish Labour when there isn't - lets say she fell on her banana (who's skin she would have slipped on anyway.)

In the meantime Labour 'Faces' in Scotland have been tripping over themselves to turn down the job. One after the other, Labour MSP's are defying their programming and ruling themselves out of the race - I say race, its more of a desperate escape - from the top job in Scotland.

Even the 'bright young' Kezia Dugdale has ruled it out, its a shame she can't apply whatever cognitive ability she applied to that decision to some of the arse gravy she's uttered over the past few months. Anas Sarwar, whom the Daily Record, ever-connected to the zeitgeist, describes as super-bright and most others describe as super-irritating has said no thanks - he's already the deputy leader in Scotland but as an MP can't debate at Holyrood (or anywhere else if we're being honest.)


Sarwar's badge.
Realistically, given Johann Lamont's parting words - that Scottish Labour is treated as a branch office - it would be stupid to elect a Westminster MP as leader, which mean its probably what they'll do. That brings into the picture people like Douglas Alexander (he's the wide-eyed wee boy who'll say anything on TV) or Gordon Brown (who we simply cannot have because he's an international statesman imbued with far to much gravitas for such a menial role.) Then there's Jim Murphy (the Iraq War apologist/Trident fan boy corpse who toured the country on an empty crate) or we're back to Anas Sarwar (who the Daily Record thinks is super-bright, which is probably true in the context of the Daily Record.)

The Daily Record: Not just any old bog roll...
The reality is a wee bit different, no one wants the job. Its got to the point where Scottish towns and villages are unilaterally ruling themselves out of standing for the Leadership of Scottish Labour, I've already said as much via twitter and I urge you to do the same just in case - if you don't have an account, put a note in your sitting room window. The Scottish Labour leadership race has turned into a game of pass the parcel - some poor bugger is going to be left holding a turd lovingly swathed in bright blue wrapping paper they'll have no choice but to open.

To finish; who ever gets the job, it'll need to be someone who'll keep their seat. As Scottish voters continue to discover its not just being a Tory that is unpopular in Scotland, its being from a Westminster party. In the aftermath of the referendum campaign, 'Scottish' Labour has proven itself to be Westminster orientated to the core and its showing in the polls.

Toward the end of last week's BBC Question Time in Liverpool, the politically vacuous Caroline Flint (Lab) in reference to the referendum said to Alex Salmond: 'you lost, you lost, you lost!'. With Cameron hijacking the Scottish Devolution process for EVEL (English Votes for English Laws) and Labour now so transparently trying to protect its power-base in Westminster at the cost of devo promises made by Brown in the days before the 18th of September - during purdah no less...

The Yes Campaign may have lost, but Labour definitely did not win.


Thursday, 23 October 2014

The petition band wagon.

I'm now on it like a car bonnet - as youngsters these days like to put it.

I know there are petitions for everything these days, I'm rather hoping someone will set up a petition to counter my petition which I've set up to counter a petition that was pinched by the po-faced Gordon Brown and the gadgie-in-print that is The Daily Record.

Look at that face... Just look at it...
Perhaps some one will set up a petition to stop people setting up petitions - or more usefully to keep Gordon Brown's face out of the news. Normally you don't see the miserable git from one month to the next, but since Labour are facing double decimation or more in Scotland and a pretty serious assault on their power at Westminster - its not hard to understand why Brown and others are squealing like pigs with their heads stuck in the doors leading away from the corridors of power.

My own very special unique petition can be found here. Since I can't confirm if signatories signed the original 38 Degrees petition; if any readers plain can't remember, you can sign this one anyway - which should garner, oh I don't know, three or four additional paw prints?

Otherwise share it (several times on twitter if you can) far and wide. When a gazillion people have signed, we'll descend upon the offices of Gordon Brown and The Daily Record (I'm told they're one and the same) like a pack of starved Chihuahuas round a freshly cooked chicken drumstick.

We're coming for you Gordon.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Westminster mindset.

If you're in any doubt about the attitude Westminster has toward its electorate, you need look no further than this fine example.


I think this makes it alright for me to say Norman Tebbit is a bit of a dick.

Short one today, that is all.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

In Thurso

That's it, there's no other way to put it - it is what it is.

Even here though, with limited access to internet since Saturday morning, the already lack lustre effort from unionist parties, the total lack of enthusiasm for their Vow and the inevitable fall into the morass that is Westminster party politics. Why any one in Scotland thought this wouldn't happen is difficult to understand.

Gordon Brown was in parliament today... Hold on one moment while I say that again. Gordon Brown was in parliament today, this time though, instead of saving the union he's trying to save Labour from being irrelevant in England as well as Scotland. David Cameron must be laughing up his well tailored sleeve - Labour save the union but lose all those votes on English only issues at Westminster? With any luck Labour will become as big a laughing stock in the rest of the UK as they are in Scotland.

The bumbling arse also accused Cameron of 'betraying Scots'. You read that right, the man who was instrumental in, erm, betraying Scots (you'll recall The Vow) is accusing the same Tory into whose grasp he delivered us of, eh, betraying the Scots. Turns out the referendum aftermath is a looking glass thicker than any that came before. I'd like to say we're through it now, but something tells me there's more to come. Its a ridiculous state of affairs, Scottish Labour MP's are pretty much irrelevant anyway - at least as far as real Scottish interests are concerned. The only group of people who benefit from Scottish Labour MP's at Westminster are Scottish Labour MP's. 

All of that set against a back drop that is Jeremy Hunt promising to save us all from the Ebola outbreak, you've got to accept things are not looking good. Putting Jeremy Hunt between your kids and a killer virus is a bit like putting a sheet of damp bog roll between them and a pyroclastic flow. Its not that pyroclastic flows are powerful as such, its just that damp bog roll isn't a great barrier against anything - and neither is Jeremy Hunt.

Yet here we are, after a No vote.

There are still a great many Yes posters, stickers and billboards up here on the North coast, it certainly hasn't gone away. We've camped at Gairlochy on Saturday night and South Laggan on Sunday (in the Great Glen,) stayed in microcabins at the Loch Ness Holiday Park near Invermoriston on Monday (didn't see the monster) and as I've said, I'm now in Thurso (via John 0' Groats) pecking away on a netbook while eight teenagers play a card game called 'Shit-head'. Despite this rustic existence, news of today's debate filtered through, hearing William Hague (for example) opine about Scottish Devolution when we know he doesn't give a shit is - how should I put this - enervating?

One wonders if we'll finally be through the looking glass when Labour and to a lesser extent the Lib Dems, having saved the union but lost all their Scottish MP's votes on policies deigned to be 'English-Only' - a bit like being left with all the cards the Tories discarded - if after next year's Westminster elections, UKIP and the Conservatives spend the following parliament shouting SHIT-HEAD at the opposition benches?

It wouldn't surprise me.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The Daily Record

You'll be familiar with the phrase: 'With friends like these, who needs enemies...' I think we can apply it to The Daily Record. Its not a paper I read on account of it being a total rag and a Labour supporting rag at that.

But just suppose (for a moment) that collectively, the paper thought it was doing Scotland a favour by punting this out:


Its safe to say, confirmed Yes voters saw that on the news stands (I doubt they bought a copy) and did a mass collective snort, I dare say many No voters looked at it with jaded eyes. On the day after the referendum when it became apparent the No's had it, it soon became apparent the vow - literally - wasn't worth the paper it was written on.

Today in The Record, an article (using the term very loosely) by the incredibly annoying Torcuil Crichton has this image at its head:


I'm definitely not going to link to it on account of Crichton being the anus of Scottish political journalism. Basically, since the record successfully saved Scotland from itself, its now taken it upon itself to hold David Cameron and the Tories to the vow they made. The question I'd ask is where was this trailer - suitable appended with Miliband's name - at last week's Labour Conference?

The Daily Record is Scottish Labour in print form. They're the prim, self-appointed protectors of Scotland - they have a brain cell each but if they rubbed them together they wouldn't find a third to catch fire. In the run up to the referendum, Scotland was the brave group of explorers boldly hacking its way through vines & creepers of misinformation in a jungle of Unionist lies. Just as the intrepid team cited its goal - a tribe of incredibly attractive and shamelessly promiscuous people (lets say) - The Daily Record pursed its lips, tutted, smacked us over the head and dragged us away for our own protection.

Put simply; The Daily Record and Labour are a liability in Scotland. They're attempting to re-align themselves with all of the Scottish electorate against David Cameron & Tory stupidity - ignoring entirely that it was never about party politics or left & right - it was and remains an intrinsic problem with UK governance. Meanwhile; we're expected to forget that it was Labour who championed 'The Vow' via the political shipwreck that is Gordon Brown.

There is no such thing as Scottish Labour - there is only British Labour; it is a fully paid up member of the British Establishment and the most important condition of membership is that affiliates never do anything to harm the Current State of Affairs - even if it means harming themselves.

Scotland needs rid of the current crop of London-led Labour politicians in Scotland - if we tried to list the many ways in which they are truly terrible for us, the rocks will have melted with the sun. As for the Daily Record, I'm happy for it to continue - as the internal magazine for the Orange Order - I mean, it probably isn't even good enough for that but on the off-chance it keeps Torcuil Crichton away from Things That Really Matter, we should probably compromise.