Tuesday, 31 December 2013

By Jingo! We'll put British Jingoism in Your Sporran for 2014.

You'd think they'd learn. First David Cameron called for 
"a commemoration [of World War 1] that, like the Diamond Jubilee celebrations this year, says something about who we are as a people. Remembrance must be the hallmark of our commemorations.
Then some idiot decides it would be a whizzo wheeze to have an England - Germany football match to commemorate the unofficial Christmas truce of 1914 between British Empire & Allied and German Empire troops. UK Culture Secretary Maria Miller (Head Honcho for the UK WW1 Commemorations / Celebrations) let the cat out of the bag with a panic response on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme to the question "What's it all about?": 
"At that point in Britain’s history,” she said, “it was important that there was a war that ensured that Europe could continue to be a set of countries which were strong and which could be working together."
Now, I have no pretensions to being a coin designer. However, I can think of something round that would encapsulate National feeling about WW1 that would fit well on a coin. I can even think of of a short motto to accompany the image that would be instantly recognisable to every citizen as remembering the slaughter of WW1.


So what have the Royal Mint done? So much for Remembrance being the hallmark of our commemorations.


By Jingo! I wish you a happy, prosperous and last Unionist New Year.

Postscript 5 Jan 13: In case anyone is in any doubt about the jingoistic, first ever UK Government celebration of the start of a war having more to do with Better Together than any notion of remembrance, see this from the Better Together site.



Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Scotland's Future



Don't rely on the BBC or the rest of the media. Here's the launch video, watch it for yourself then read the white paper and make up your own mind. The referendum is not about politicians, parties or the media. It's about the people of Scotland reclaiming our legal tradition of the Sovereignty of the Scottish People and electing our own governments to create the best possible future for Scotland.







Thursday, 21 November 2013

The Welsh Will Love This

Standing the foul language, racism and sectarianism, is the "Homeless Like all of Dublin", the "£20M Queen" or "A' Livin' aff a Ten Poond Giro" any less cogent or believable than most of what comes out of Captain Darling and these chaps' colleagues in the self-styled Project Fear?



I hope Carwyn Jones, Welsh FM will be waiting to welcome the last heidbanger off the bus in Cardiff on 19 September 2014. Since Jones doesn't have the power to legislate on an ASBO, but seems to think he'll have a veto on Scotland continuing to use Sterling, he strikes me as being as deluded as his future keenest immigrant.

Monday, 18 November 2013

22 Hours and £1,300 to go for Scotland Yet

Probably the best #YesScot bang for your #indyref buck, if you haven't yet bunged Jack Foster and Chris Silver a few quid and you don't hang out with Serbian War Criminals, now's your last chance.



The guys who brought you The Fear Factor on a budget of Irn Bru bottle deposits are raising £20K to bring you a proper documentary with the same wit but a half decent budget. Your part in making history is only a click away:


Saturday, 9 November 2013

Oft in the Stilly Night

Having been brought up a Service Brat, been educated at Scotland's only Military Boarding School and having served in the TA and the regular RAF, I've always bought and worn a poppy.  This morning it is in the bucket. I've posted about Remembrance before in I'm Sorry, But this Takes the Fucking Biscuit AB and Trench Foot in Mouth - The First Casualty of the WW1 Commemorations?

If Cameron's proposed WW1 Jingoistic Jamboree took the biscuit AB, then this image has to take the whole Airborne Stew.*


The accompanying tweet from the RBL official account is even worse.  I can think of nothing that is further from the spirit of remembrance than dressing up small children (probably from some dreadful drama school or modelling agency) in Future Soldier t-shirts with poppies that look as if they've come off the set of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Are we remembering the War to End All Wars (Et Seq.) or are we engaged in a recruitment drive?

In the days when we had politicians who had served and the Service charities were actually run by ex-Servicemen, the British Establishment managed to tread the fine line between Remembrance and Jingoism every November.  Even that annual very definition of the height of irony, the men and women of St Dunstan's giving an eyes left at the Cenotaph, which never fails to have me welling up, was brought off with a certain, dignified aplomb.  

Now that we have politicians who are PR airheads, whose only experience of war comes from Hollywood films and Commando comics, and many of the charities are run by a grossly overpaid similar class of professional PR 'fundraisers', no-one actually knows where the line between Remembrance and Jingoism even lies any more.

The Royal British Legion has well and truly crossed the line to a place I can no longer go with it. I'm not alone in that thought.  I'll content myself with a donation to Erskine and pray they don't fall victim to the same air-headed jingoism.

I'll leave you with a tune I learned on the pipes as a kid. It was many years later I learned it was the tune to a song by Thomas Moore (1779 - 1852), who was hailed as the Irish Robert Burns in his day. He set his song to "an old Scotch air" and, for obvious reasons if you listen to the lyrics, the song became hugely popular in the years after the First World War. The celebrity-obsessed PR tossers now running the RBL would do well to listen.



* During officer training in the Army, my oppo was a Para. They have a quaint tradition of cooking up the entire contents of a 24Hr ration pack in one meal, called an Airborne Stew. I had to fight to stop him putting the Rolos in as well.

You can donate to Erskine here if you wish to.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

We Don't Need no Revolution.

I couldn't count myself as Russell Brand's greatest fan, but he obviously has a passion for popular sovereignty.



We in Scotland don't need a revolution to acquire popular sovereignty. Our popular sovereignty is enshrined in Scots constitutional law and, though it has lain dormant since 1707, it was famously reiterated by the Lord President in the case of John MacCormick and Ian Hamilton v The Lord Avocate in 1953 (MacCormick v Lord Advocate 1953 SC 396):
“The principle of unlimited sovereignty of Parliament is a distinctively English principle and has no counterpart in Scottish constitutional law.”
That case was about the styling of the Monarch as Elizabeth the Second. Scotland had never had a regnant Queen Elizabeth before and Ian Hamilton's is the first name on the roll of Queen's Counsel in Scotland which does not have the offending ordinal, as he refused to swear allegiance to a non-existent Queen. It's also worth remembering that my local postbox was the first victim of the use of explosives for domestic political ends in Scotland since 1746 when it was repeatedly vandalised and finally blown up for having the offending E II R monogram. 

In future, newly installed postboxes will probably bear advertisements for payday loans or somesuch now that the Tories and their Liberal Democrat lickspittles have sold the Post Office off to their chums at a knock-down price. 

Cartoon: Frank Boyle.
Thankfully, all we need to do to regain popular sovereignty in Scotland and to stop the theft of our public assets is to vote Yes on 18th September 2014.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

£25,000 Internet Fraud. Lord Robertson Presses Charges.

It's only been running since yesterday, but already nearly 30 Scots have allegedly been fleeced of almost £1,300 according to Lord Robertson. The fraud, believed to be masterminded by Russian internet criminals Юлие Фоулис & Чхрис Ригхт, aims to net £25,000 in only 60 days.

Should  Юлие Фоулис & Чхрис Ригхт be behind bars?
This scam is being perpetrated on the ludicrous basis that an organisation known as Tobar an Dualchais / Kist o' Riches has been preserving and making available to the public free of charge thousands of hours of non-existent Scottish Language and Culture. 

Aren't we lucky to have quondam socialist and SNP member George now The Baron Robertson of Port Ellen KT GCMG FRSA FRSE PC to save us from unscrupulous scams like this? As recently as 23rd September at Abertay University he warned students and the wider Scottish public that there was no such thing as Scottish culture or language (35:50):


“There’s no linguistic differentiation, no great cultural, eh, discrimination that might argue for it, like it does in some other countries, you know, in Flanders in Belgium they say “Why can’t we become an independent state?”, or Catalonia and Spain, where a million and a quarter people marched in the streets. They say they want to become an independent state, but they've got language, and culture, and all these sort of things. We don’t have any of that.”
Lord Robertson is understood to be writing to Chief Constable of Police Scotland urging that the gang be rounded up. Speaking exclusively to Logic's Rock this morning he said: 
"It's deplorable! At a time when NHS Scotland is making a special effort to deal with alcohol consumption, these scammers are offering £50 off courses in speaking Garlic and Garlic songs of drinking and revelry given at some place called Sabhal Mor Ostrich by a lush from Lvov called Маргарет Стеварт. Well, she must be Russian or Ukrainian since a proud Scot like me can't understand a word she says.
"Two of the scammers, the aforementioned Юлие Фоулис and a Донние Мунро actually expect gullible Scots to pay up and then invite them into their homes to give private concerts! Would you invite a Russian internet criminal into your home and pay for the privilege?"
A spokesman for Police Scotland said "Lord Robertson has been detained for questioning and will be examined by a police surgeon in due course.  Until our investigations are concluded on or about 15th December, we urge people to click on links to Tobar an Dualchais' Sponsume site and to give as much as they can."




Sunday, 13 October 2013

Ye Cannae Shove Yer Granny Aff The Outrage Bus

Nancy Nicolson
I've posted about manufactured outrage before, but yesterday's Daily Express really takes the biscuit with Scottish pupils taught to sing for separation. The cause of this trip aboard the double decker of outrage buses? The Quango Education Scotland has put a teaching resource on its website called Scotland's Songs.

The site gives the lyrics to hundreds of Scottish songs and the background and recordings of some of them. Only a few feature in the Express expose of the Scottish Government's dastardly plot to indoctrinate the youth of Scotland with, erm, their own culture. Of course, Lord George Robertson famously argued that we don't have our own culture or languages, and as part of the dastardly plot, the website has songs in Scots and Gaelic as well as English.


Let's savour the outrageous outrage from rent-a-quote politicians:

Better Together Spokesman:
“This is an outrageous example of taxpayer-funded political propaganda. It is a deeply cynical ploy aimed at presenting a distorted view of history to people who will, after all, be voting next year.
 “This exposes the lengths SNP ministers will go to in order to get people to vote for independence.”
Scottish Conservative education spokeswoman Mary Scanlon: 
“The SNP is abusing the education system to promote its own separation propaganda. 
“It should be up to teachers to use the material they choose, but there is no doubting in the run-up to the referendum the Scottish Government is trying to influence things with an independence slant. 
“First we had Mike Russell insisting all colleges play a video of him at graduation, now we have an influx of divisive anthems for the classroom.”
Not all of the songs on the website warrant a ticket on the outrage bus. The outrage is caused by the inclusion of the following songs and the blurb they come up with to justify their inclusion is at times beyond parody:

Shock-horror!
One of the political songs on the Education Scotland website, which is designed to be used by both teachers and pupils, is The Freedom Come All Ye, by the late Scots poet Hamish Henderson. It is regarded as the unofficial anthem of the independence movement and was recently sung en masse at the Yes Scotland rally on Calton Hill. 
Hamish always railed against it being used as a Scottish anthem, seeing it as an international anthem. But those nasty separatists sang it up a hill so it must now be expunged from the national canon.

The Outrage Bus gangs aglae on the M8
Another is Both Sides of the Tweed, a protest song against the Treaty of Union which was written by the Glaswegian folk singer Dick Gaughan after the 1979 Devolution Referendum. On the website, Gaughan is quoted as saying: “The verses call for the recognition of Scotland’s right to sovereignty and the choruses argue against prejudice between our peoples.” 
My understanding is that it was written by James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd and Dick Gaughan made some minor amendments to give it contemporary relevance, although Dick attributes the original words as Trad. A lifelong Leither, Dick put the tune to it.

Nurse! Ma Pills! Someone's just flashed their Burns' Songs at me!
Two of Robert Burns’s most famous works – Scots Wha Hae, the official song of the SNP which is sung at the end of party conferences, and Sic a Parcel of Roguesare also on display. With regard to the latter, the website states that “many Scots were angry in 1707” and suggests that Sir Walter Scott – who was a prominent Unionist and Tory – was against the formation of Great Britain. 
As if reporting the private parts of some flasher in a park, two of Burns' most famous songs are also on display. There are dozens of other Burns songs on the site which don't warrant a mention. Does the website suggest Sir Walter Scott was agin the Union? No, it doesn't. Here's the only mention:
Many Scots were angry in 1707. Sir Walter Scott summed up the popular Scottish attitude of the time in the words of one of his characters: 'I ken, when we had a king, and a chancellor, and parliament - men o' our ain, we could aye peeble them wi' stones when they werena gude bairns - But naebody's nails can reach the length o' Lunnon.'
Apoplexy!
Education Scotland even appears to be pre-judging the outcome of the referendum by listing the various “candidates for a Scottish national anthem”, including Caledonia, The Freedom Come All Ye, Scots Wha Hae and Scotland the Brave
So Scotland can't have an anthem if we vote No?

Jacobites and Lefties, whatever next?
There are also numerous Jacobite songs, as well as a number of left-leaning political works. They include Ding Dong Dollar, “the anthem of the Scottish Anti-Polaris movement of the 1960s and beyond”, which remains popular with protestors at Faslane naval base. Students are also encouraged to learn If It Wisnae for the Union, “a song in praise of trade unionism”, which was adapted by Billy Connolly into The Welly Boot Song. 
I've said for a long time that if the Jacobites were half as good at military strategy as they were at songwriting, the Stuarts would still be on the throne. It follows that if the lefties were half as good at political strategy as they are at songwriting we wouldn't have Cameron in Downing Street. When did you last hear a Tory political song?

Aaaargh! The Russians are coming - and THE IMMIGRANTS!
Another song pays tribute to the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, while All Jock Tamson’s Bairns are Coming Home, by Steven Clark, welcomes refugees from “Iraq, Zimbabwe, Turkey and Somalia”.
Welcoming immigrants? I bet that had the Express readership choking on their cornflakes.

Outrage at a song about an outrage.
Who Pays the Piper? by Nancy Nicolson attacks the “immensely rich companies” involved in the North Sea Oil industry, which is described as being “fed by workers’ lives”. 
To cap it all, irony is just a ferric adjective. Who Pays the Piper is about the Piper Alpha disaster. The advances in safety in the North Sea since that event are testament to the constructive use of the outrage voiced by the whole nation at the time.

Yours truly and Nancy Nicolson singing a duet in 1998.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The Fear Factor Episode 6 of 6: Attack of the CyberNats.

Well, here it is folks, the thrilling season finale of The Fear Factor: Attack of the Cybernats, featuring the story which kicked off this blog.


Missed the previous episodes? Fear not!

The Fear Factor Episode 5: The Artists, The Press and the Black, Black Oil. Why Better Together is only worth half a Serbian War Criminal to a blowhard and how his lawyers were foiled by a bunch of Arty-Farties. The dying Dead Tree Press and the rise of Aaaaaaaarrrrgh: The Cybernat! Scary stuff.


The Fear Factor Episode 4: Mean Scotland Syndrome. Journalists or Churnalists? Make up your own mind.


Missed the previous episodes? Fear Not! You can watch them right here with the Logic's Rock Catch-up service.

The Fear Factor Episode 3: The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth.


The Fear Factor Episode 2: Part of the Union.


The Fear Factor Episode 1: This is the Fear Factor.



Got any questions about Scottish independence? You can either find the answers on Yes Scotland's Questions Page, or if you can't find an answer there's a wee form so you can ask your own question and get an answer.

Films by Rough Justice Films: Jack Foster & Chris Silver.

#Indyref #YesScotland #ProjectFear

Friday, 4 October 2013

We Have Lift Off!

The Yes Campaign achieved Lift Off yesterday evening in Leith.  It was the self-styled Project Fear's worst nightmare: Over a year of unending negativity and scaremongering through a compliant Press and a BBC behaving like a UK version of Pravda to keep the Scottish People disengaged from the debate has failed.

On a fairly dreich night, Yes Edinburgh North & Leith's "Undecided About the Referendum?" event packed the hall. So much so that decided Yes voters volunteered to give up their seats and go home so that undecided voters could hear the speakers. They were left with standing room only in the hall as Nicola Sturgeon, Aamer Anwar, Margo McDonald and local Scottish Green Party Councillor Chas Booth addressed the packed room.

Yes Scotland has always said that once the Scottish People were engaged in the debate, turning a No voter to an Undecided voter then an Undecided voter into a Yes voter would become easier as the arguments speak for themselves. It is only years of unremitting propaganda and the Scottish Cringe that has meant a majority in the polls against independence.  The Scottish People are well and truly engaged in the debate and The Cringe is on the wane. I look forward to sights like this being repeated up and down the country.




Cllr Chas Booth (Scottish Green Party)



Margo McDonald (Independent)

Thursday, 3 October 2013

The Fear Factor Episode 5 of 6: The Artists, The Press and the Black, Black Oil

Scared at the prospect of running your own country? Terrified about what the future holds? Haunted by nightmarish visions of deep uncertainty? The Fear Factor is a series of short films looking at why Scottish people are afraid, very afraid, about what's in store for their poor wee country...

The Fear Factor Episode 5: The Artists, The Press and the Black, Black Oil. Why Better Together is only worth half a Serbian War Criminal to a blowhard and how his lawyers were foiled by a bunch of Arty-Farties. The dying Dead Tree Press and the rise of Aaaaaaaarrrrgh: The Cybernat! Scary stuff.


The Fear Factor Episode 4: Mean Scotland Syndrome. Journalists or Churnalists? Make up your own mind.


Missed the previous episodes? Fear Not! You can watch them right here with the Logic's Rock Catch-up service.

The Fear Factor Episode 3: The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth.


The Fear Factor Episode 2: Part of the Union.



The Fear Factor Episode 1: This is the Fear Factor.



Got any questions about Scottish independence? You can either find the answers on Yes Scotland's Questions Page, or if you can't find an answer there's a wee form so you can ask your own question and get an answer.

Films by Rough Justice Films: Jack Foster & Chris Silver.

#Indyref #YesScotland #ProjectFear






Monday, 30 September 2013

What on Earth was the Brass Thinking?

Call me old fashioned, and I speak as a former Army and RAF officer, but I think both the British and the Scottish Public like to see their Armed Forces parading in public in a disciplined, smart and soldier-like fashion.  We rightly abhor the thought of our Servicemen and women appearing at political events.

Ibrox BA officers
Brass and Bag Carriers in the Directors' Box at Ibrox.
One has to question the judgement of the Flag Officer Scotland & Northern Ireland, GOC Scotland and Air Officer Scotland in allowing the participation of over 400 Armed forces personnel in the Ibrox Armed Forces Day event on Saturday at all.  We have a national Armed Forces day in June each year. Rangers Football Club only wishes to lionise the Armed Forces to lend a respectability to the ugly, British Nationalist, SDL-style unionist sectarianism of the Neanderthal element among their supporters.

What possible positive PR did the Brass hope to gain from parading over 400 troops at the most sectarian club in Scotland? I'm at a total loss.  Thankfully for them the shameful scenes have been edited out by the mainstream media.  This piece for STV News appears to have been written before the event. The Daily Record's match report merely mentions the participation of over 400 Armed Forces personnel. Only Roy Greenslade in the Guardian Blog covers the story. Has a D-Notice been slapped on reporting of the event?

It surprised some folk when I argued against the participation of uniformed Armed Forces personnel in Gay Pride marches.  I thought I was stretching the argument to its limits when I made the point that, if personnel were to participate in uniform at Gay Pride parades, what would there be to stop a soldier who wished to take part in an Orange March in uniform, orange sash and all? I never dreamed we would see sickening sights like these (videos are dropping off YouTube like flies, the first video has been replaced):




Even if one accepts the decision by the Brass to participate in this event at some considerable cost to the public purse for no conceivable PR gain; why on earth were the troops not paraded onto the field in 3 ranks and paraded off again in 3 ranks?  At least taxpayers would have been spared the sickening sight of an ill-disciplined rabble of troops cavorting, clapping and cheering songs and chants including UDA, UVF and references to dead hunger striker Bobby Sands MP.

All this came less than a fortnight after a Celtic fan was convicted of “sectarian and offensive conduct” during Dundee United’s Scottish Premier League match with Celtic in November last year for singing the H-Blocks Hunger Strikers song, Roll of Honour.

BVWP5CxIcAA_-PH.jpg large

Quite apart from the bad PR in Scotland, this PR disaster for the Armed Forces is even worse in Northern Ireland.  Let's hope this is the last time we see British or Scottish troops participate in anything like this.

For the avoidance of doubt, I am neither a Roman Catholic (I am an atheist) nor a Celtic fan, indeed the only football team I support is Scotland.

See also:

Bella Caledonia: On Parade.
Newsnet Scotland: Journalist questions media silence after military day 'sectarian chanting' at Rangers game.

Update: Alex Thomson at Channel 4 News has picked up the story and is questioning the MoD: Armed forces’ involvement in a sectarian Rangers ‘party’ a PR disaster.

Update 18:45: Not quite last with the news, The Hootsmon has picked up the story and the BBC has risked the Union by broadcasting anodyne footage of the march-on and abseiling with the MoD's statement that the matter was under investigation and troops found to have engaged in sectarian behaviour would face disciplinary and police action. Comment: Forget the troops, some will be Rangers fans, some will be BritNat or 'Proddy' heidbangers. That's not the problem - what they support or do in their own time is their business. The problem is that they were allowed by their officers to get involved in this sickening sectarianism in the first place. Could or would the MoD supply half time spectacles at every other football club? Of course they couldn't. Therefore this should be the last time the MoD supplies troops for this sectarian BritNat fest at Ibrox.

Update 19:30:  This is a better video with better sound, it also shows that I overstated the case in referring to a "march-on". It's no wonder that the troops had to amble on, given that you couldn't call the Army Pipe & Drum Ensemble a band after years of MODUK cuts. I'll bet only the first 20 files could hear them.




See Also:

Slugger O'Toole: Rangers’ Armed Services Day descends into an undisciplined act of self undoing.
Scots Law Thoughts: Rangers and Armed Forces Day – Whataboutery and Bad Judgement.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre to debate with Salmond

Following David Cameron's intimation yesterday that he was too feart or just couldn't be arsed to "fight with every fibre of his being" to defend the union, the UK Government and Better Together have been thrashing around trying to find an appropriate debating opponent in a head-to-head televised debate with First Minister, Alec Samond.

Their first choice, serial expenses cheat and washed-up, opposition backbencher Alistair Darling, was rejected by the First Minister on grounds too numerous to mention. However, self-styled Project Fear Chief Executive Blair MacDougall may have saved the day. 

Recalling a corporate training video made for Project Fear, he has approached The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre to replace the UK Prime Minister. "At least the Socks are Scottish." said MacDougall. He continued: "It was absolutely ludicrous to suggest that a third-generation Englishman of Scots descent should defend the union just because he happens to be the UK Prime Minister." 

The First Minister's spokesman hasn't dismissed this suggested opponent outright: "At least there's no record of The Socks having defrauded the public purse, accepted £500K from the boss of a company which paid $1M to a Serbian war criminal, failed to turn up in Parliament while drawing a full salary, allowances and expenses or taken £12,240 dinner-speaking gigs for healthcare privatisation companies." He continued: "The Socks are fairly highly respected in Scotland and therefore it may not be infra dig for the First Minister to engage with them."

Yes Scotland Chairman Denis Canavan, the actual appropriate debating opponent for Project Fear Chairman Alistair Darling, hasn't yet said whether he would be prepared to appear in the same programme as Darling. He is understood to have reservations about appearing with such an obvious Tory Sock-Puppet.

We have an exclusive clip from the training video:




The Socks demonstrate their unionist credentials:

Friday, 27 September 2013

Cameron: "I'll run away with every fibre of my being"

I've explained before why there is only one person Alec Salmond could go head-to-head with in a televised debate on the independence referendum, but I'll summarise the main reason here.

1.   Who's who. In my book, folk should debate their opposite numbers. Therefore the debating opponents should be:

Office Scotland / Yes Scotland UK / Better Together
Head of Government Alec Salmond David Cameron
Referendum Lead in Governing Party Nicola Sturgeon George Osborne
Chair of Campaign Denis Canavan Alistair Darling
Chief Executive of Campaign Blair Jenkins Blair McDougall

2.   Who he?  What possible weight could a washed-up, opposition backbench MP, a serial expenses cheat and house flipper who rarely bothers his backside to attend parliament preferring to trough it with Health Privatisation Companies at £12,240 a time like Alistair Darling carry with the electorate of Scotland?

David Cameron has now written to the Scottish Government that he will not engage in a head-to-head debate with Alec Salmond, despite previously having vowed to fight to preserve the Union "with every fibre of my being". He doesn't have the heid, hairt or hingers for the fight. Click that last link - you'll laugh your socks off. Is Cameron a coward or just incompetent and lazy? All three I'd say.

Derek Bateman (my new favourite #indyref blogger) covers Cameron's cowardice expertly in Who will fill a coward's grave. He recommends that Salmond should now debate Darling. While I have no doubt whatsoever that Salmond would wipe the floor with Darling, even before being able to pray in aid the points thrown up by Cameron's cowardice that Derek Bateman enumerates, I hae ma doubts that it would be a good idea.  

Salmond tries desperately not to laugh as he runs rings round Cameron at every turn.

Appearances are important and Alec Salmond needs to show that Scotland can be a mature, independent democracy. The Head of the Scottish Government engaging with a non-entity like Darling would be like a Heidmaister kicking seven colours of shyte out of the school bully in the playground.  However satisfying it would be to watch at the time, the after-taste left behind would be by no means edifying for the Heidmaister.

In my book, Alec Salmond either debates his opposite number or no-one. I have little doubt that Denis Canavan could deal more than adequately with the flea on the back of the Tory organ grinder's monkey that is Alistair Darling.

The Fear Factor Episode 4 of 6: Mean Scotland Syndrome

Scared at the prospect of running your own country? Terrified about what the future holds? Haunted by nightmarish visions of deep uncertainty? The Fear Factor is a series of short films looking at why Scottish people are afraid, very afraid, about what's in store for their poor wee country...

The Fear Factor Episode 4: Mean Scotland Syndrome. Journalists or Churnalists? Make up your own mind.


Missed the previous episodes? Fear Not! You can watch them right here with the Logic's Rock Catch-up service.

The Fear Factor Episode 3: The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth.



The Fear Factor Episode 2: Part of the Union.



The Fear Factor Episode 1: This is the Fear Factor.



Got any questions about Scottish independence? You can either find the answers on Yes Scotland's Questions Page, or if you can't find an answer there's a wee form so you can ask your own question and get an answer.

Films by Rough Justice Films: Jack Foster & Chris Silver.

#Indyref #YesScotland #ProjectFear






Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Heirs and Graces

As t'interweb dissolves in faux outrage over Yes Scotland campaigners turning Typhoid Johann (or Joanne as Ed Milliband called her in his speech) Lamont's disgraceful "Independence is a Virus" on it's head and proudly proclaiming their TSV+ status (The Scottish Virus Positive), it's time to take a chill pill and leave the politics aside.

I have the breaking strain of a KitKat. A couple of messages from friends raving about Adam Holmes And The Embers' debut album Heirs and Graces and, despite having pre-ordered the CD, I couldn't resist downloading it from iTunes.  Well, he's in Austria or somesuch place and there's no way I could hold out till he gets back. It was well worth it. 

Scotland has produced many good musicians, songwriters and singers and a fair few great ones. Once in a blue moon we are privileged to be around on this Earth when a true genius comes along and Adam Holmes is just that. To get that musical and lyrical talent in one person together with the delicious timbre of his voice is a rarity indeed. His dry, smoky voice is so understated you don't really understand why it captivates you so much until you really listen and discover a vocal range and dexterity of technique that is quite simply amazing.

Though only in his early twenties, Adam writes and performs with a maturity and depth way beyond his years. Musically, the arrangements are sublime. There is a rare economy in the arrangements and he knows just how long to suspend a note for maximum effect, though nothing comes across as contrived.

If you like your music honest and your songs heartfelt, you'll enjoy this album which would sit seamlessly in a playlist alongside John Martyn. Hey, don't take my word for it. Just look at the line-up that were keen to contribute to this debut album: 

Produced by John Wood (Fairport, Nick Drake, John Martyn)
Mastered by Simon Heyworth (Mike Oldfield, George Harrison)

Featuring:

Adam Holmes - Guitar, Accordion and Vocals
Kris Drever - Guitar, Harmonium and Vocals
Steven Blake - Keyboards
Alex Hunter - Bass
Calum McIntyre - Drums, Percussion and Vibes
Ciarán Ryan - Fiddle
Stuart Goodall - Guitar and Vocals
Alan Train - Pedal Steel.
Hannah Beaton - Vocals.
Simon Walker - Drums. 



You'll get an idea from these BBC recordings of their live performance at the Brew at the Bog Festival.

You can download Heirs and Graces by Adam Holmes and the Embers on iTunes or at Amazon for only £6.90. I thoroughly recommend it.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Snake Oil & Something for Nothing

Better Together are offering "free" 'limited edition' T-shirts to those who "donate" £10 or more to their campaign, with the slogan "We're not asking for the shirt off your back". So in any normal person's logic they are selling T-shirts for £10.



Just as the Lamentable Johann Lamont's "Something for Nothing Society" and talk of abolishing "free" prescriptions, "free" personal care for the elderly, "free" higher education, and "free" bus passes for pensioners is also tosh. None of these things are free. It's just that we Scots would rather spend our taxes on them than functionally useless £120Bn Trident penis extensions for politicians, illegal wars, punching folk above or below our weight, socialising private losses while privatising social profits like the Royal Mail and the NHS or feeding the bloated Westminster and Whitehall bureacracy.

Serious bit aside, you've got to wonder why they think the self-styled Project Fear's Chief Exec Blair McDougall is worth £100K a year when he chooses both the typography and layouts straight from a Victorian Snake Oil bottle to sell his message. If it looks like Snake Oil Better Together are selling ...









Hat tip to Allan Hunter for bringing this to my attention.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Aye, Have a Dream

My favourite placard of the day.
Photo: Simon Thoumire.
Yours truly.
Photo: Archie MacFarlane.
It was a truly inspiring day yesterday from forming up on the High Street to the Rally for Independence on Calton Hill.  The musicians and singers of #TradYes did our bit in our first public outing. I managed to say hello and march a wee bit with Veterans for Independence but once on the hill we were coralled backstage so I didn't manage to catch up with #YesLGBT or the Wings over Scotland crew.

Even our favourite Unionist, holidaying in France, managed to tweet support:


Here's some more photos and videos from the day.




#TradYes on the march.
Photo: Mhairi Law.

The magnificent view from the stage. 


The TradYES Musicians.


TradYES Singers: Freedom Come All Ye.


TradYES Singers: A Man's A Man For a' That
led by Sheena Wellington.

The #TradYes singers group photo.
Photo: Archie MacFarlane.

The #TradYes musicians group photo.
Our newest recruit! Photo: Steve Byrne.



A contemplative Ailean Dòmhnullach listens to the FM on the big screen.

I promised this rather gorgeous Yes Supporter she'd be able to copy this photo from the blog!





Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Fear Factor Part 3 of 6: The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth

Scared at the prospect of running your own country? Terrified about what the future holds? Haunted by nightmarish visions of deep uncertainty? The Fear Factor is a series of short films looking at why Scottish people are afraid, very afraid, about what's in store for their poor wee country... 

The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth: If only we could have an honest debate! In this film we look at why this simply isn't going to happen. For starters an honest, rational conversation would make it impossible for fear, negativity and smears to remain the only subjects that get coverage (even when they didn't exist in the first place).


Missed the previous episodes? Fear Not! You can watch them here.

The Fear Factor Part 2: Part of the Union.



The Fear Factor Part 1: This is the Fear Factor.



Got any questions about Scottish independence? You can either find the answers on Yes Scotland's Questions Page, or if you can't find an answer there's a wee form so you can ask your own question and get an answer.

Films by Rough Justice Films: Jack Foster & Chris Silver.

#Indyref #YesScotland #ProjectFear






Wednesday, 18 September 2013

#1Year2Yes



Here's to voting to ditch the troughers in Westminster, Commons and Lords, in 1 year's time. Tell them where to stick their privatised NHS and privatised mail, their ATOS, their public debt for private losses, their bedroom tax, their wars, their functionally useless Trident £120Bn penis extensions, their obscene expenses, their sense of entitlement, their 'strength' and their overweening wish to punch folk above or below their weight. We can get by quite merrily with our own Parliament concentrating on making life better for all of us who live here. Great song Amy Macdonald and great video Equality Network!





#1Year2Yes

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Flea on the Back of The Organ Grinder's Monkey

In today's Herald, Alistair Darling bombastically declares that "I speak for Scotland" and claims David Cameron is irrelevant to the ­Scottish independence debate.

He even has the gall to say that: "The Better Together campaign leader accuses Alex Salmond of putting his ego before Scotland's interests and says the First Minister would have had to resign over the EU legal advice row if he had been at Westminster, saying: "He'd have gone. Down here, you would never have got away with that."

Let's just savour that for a moment: The expenses cheat and serial house flipper who, had he been in any part of the public service other than being an MP would not have had a tap on the wrist, nor been given the opportunity to resign, let alone be invited to pay a wee bit of the money back and be told we'll forget all about it, but would have been prosecuted for fraud has the gall to say that Alec Salmond, in following the UK Ministerial Code and refusing to disclose Government legal advice, would have had to resign "down here".

It is a mark of Alec Salmond's probity that, long after the Scottish electorate have been bored to tears by the EU legal advice canard, Darling is still reduced to trotting it out.  However, his attempt at smearing the First Minister backfires. Note Darling doesn't say Salmond would have had to resign "down there": The man who purportedly speaks for Scotland shows that his heart is where his trough is. Presumably Scotland is "up there" in his lexicon. Not "right here" as it is for the people of Scotland.

Darling claims that "Mr Salmond is all about personal status but is now "struggling" because people are increasingly unwilling to accept his bold claims as they once did." He goes on:
With Scottish Labour having denounced Mr Salmond for implying Mr Darling was the "monkey" to Mr Cameron's "organ grinder", the No campaign leader suggests his opponent is focusing on the Prime Minister to distract voters away from the core issues of the campaign.
He says: "He wants (to debate with) Cameron because that's purely an act of displacement, a distraction because he wants to make it a Scotland-England contest. "There is a lot of evidence now that a majority of people in Scotland think Salmond is putting his own political interests above those of Scotland and that is something he should reflect on." 
But asked if the Conservative leader was a help or a hindrance to the No campaign, Mr Darling replies: "Neither. Cameron himself said he would prefer the Union to continue but it's a matter for Scotland and he's dead right." He then adds: "Cameron, for this argument, is neither here nor there. This is an argument we have to have out in Scotland."
Let's go through that. It is Darling who is concerned about his status. On 18 September 2014 the Scottish People will be asked which of two polities they wish to govern Scotland. It's not quite as simple as to say "be governed by."

If Scotland votes Yes, the supreme sovereign authority in Scots Constitutional Law is the Sovereign Scottish People. In a written constitution we will delegate powers to a Scottish Government drawn from an elected Holyrood Parliament and both Government and Parliament are bound by that constitution.

Standing that the Scottish People did not elect the current UK Government or many of its predecessors, if Scotland votes No, the supreme and unlimited sovereign authority in UK Constitutional Law remains the The Crown in Parliament. There is no written constitution, no parliament is bound by its predecessor parliaments, there is no 'higher authority' ultimately to hold the Westminster Parliament or the UK Government to account and they can by and large make up the constitution as they go along.

Therefore the correct persons to debate those competing polities are their leaders: Alec Salmond and David Cameron.  This is a debate about the future: What possible assurances about the future can a washed-up, has-been, backbench, opposition MP who deigns to turn up at Westminster occasionally [Note 1] while earning a fortune elsewhere [Note 2] and is lucky not to be in jail like Darling give the Scottish people that would carry any weight whatsoever?  The only person who could remotely debate the First Minister of Scotland is the leader of the polity competing for the votes of the Scottish people, namely the Prime Minister of the UK, not of England as Darling childishly calls Cameron, trying to bring an anti-English element into the debate.


As for shaking off slurs of Darling being the "monkey" to Cameron's "organ grinder", yet again Darling shows delusions of adequacy. It is well reported that the real head of the UK Government's effort to keep the Scotland and its assets subsidising the Westminster / Whitehall / Canary Wharf Trough is George Osborne. Given that a major attraction for many in shaking off rule from Westminster is the fact that successive corrupt London governments have shown themselves to be bought and paid for by the interests of The City, it is plain that in reality the UK Prime Minister is the "monkey". So I am really overestimating Darling's authority by calling him the flea on the back of the organ grinder's monkey.

The correct debating opponents are therefore:

Office Scotland / Yes Scotland UK / Better Together
Head of Government Alec Salmond David Cameron
Referendum Lead in Governing Party Nicola Sturgeon George Osborne
Chair of Campaign Denis Canavan Alistair Darling
Chief Executive of Campaign Blair Jenkins Blair McDougall

Darling goes on to witter on about unanswered questions etc when in fact the only question before the Scottish People on 18 September 2014 is "Should Scotland be an independent country?".  I would far rather trust the Scottish Parliament to manage the details of setting up the far cheaper institutions we will require to cover the few areas of Government that are currently discharged by Whitehall, than the nigh-on criminal part-time fraudsters in Westminster such as Alistair Darling (see notes below).

Note 1

According to They Work for You Darling has spoken in only 8 debates and voted in only 46.92% of votes in this parliament.

Note 2

One can gain an insight into what Darling has been up to from the Register of Members' Interests (to May 2013 - see below). Obviously, globetrotting and troughing at dinners for the likes of Healthcare Privatisation companies are far more profitable than representing his constituents "up there" in Edinburgh South West. However, I dare say he still draws a full MP's salary, housing allowances and other expenses.

DARLING, Rt. Hon. Alistair (Edinburgh South West)

2. Remunerated employment, office, profession etc.  Contract with Atlantic Books, Ormond House, 26/27 Boswell street, London WC1N 3JW for publication of book. The contract provides for a total advance payment of £75,000 prior to publication.

10 May 2012, I received a payment of £23,879.28 in respect of royalties from the sale of my book. No additional hours worked. (Registered 30 May 2012)

14 June 2012, I received a payment of £4,775.86 in respect of VAT due on royalties from book sales, registered on 30 May 2012. No additional hours worked. (Registered 21 June 2012)

In respect of the contract with Atlantic Books I have attended the following events. No fee was paid to me but transport and accommodation costs were met as follows:

9 June 2012, Hay Book Festival, 25 Lion Street, Hay-on-Wye; hotel accommodation for me and my wife; cost £225, and our return flights from Edinburgh to Birmingham; cost £259.62, were paid for by Atlantic Books. Car transport from Birmingham to Hay-on-Wye; cost £400 return, was paid by festival organisers. Hours: 2 hrs plus travel. (Registered 21 June 2012)

15 June 2012, Althorpe Book Festival; transport costs from London to the festival and on to Edinburgh for me and my wife; cost £359.68, were paid by Atlantic Books. Hours: 2 hrs plus travel. (Registered 21 June 2012)

Fees for speeches paid by JLA Associates, 80 Great Portland Street, London W1W 7NW:

20 April 2012, I received a payment of £20,400 for speaking at a conference in Dubai. Transport costs of £2,669.82 and hotel accommodation at a cost of £326.07 were paid by the organisers, Falcon Group Administrative Services (UK) Ltd, 30 St Mary Axe, London EC3A 9BF. Hours: approx 2.5 days including travel time. (Registered 2 May 2012)

8 June 2012, I received a payment of £12,750 for speaking at an event organised by JC Flowers & Co UK Ltd. Hours: 3 hrs. (Registered 21 June 2012)

19 July 2012, I received a payment of £12,240 for speaking at an event organised by Emap/Retail Week in London. Hours: approx 3 hrs. (Registered 24 July 2012)

6 September 2012, I received a fee of £10,200 for speaking at a conference organised by Aberdeen Asset Management. Hours: approx 3 hours, plus travelling time. (Registered 18 September 2012)

27 September 2012, I received a fee of £12,240 in respect of speaking at a conference organised by Apollo Management International LLP. Hours: approx 2 hours, including travel time. (Registered 11 October 2012)

19 November 2012, I received a fee of £12,240 for speaking at an event organised by British Property Federation, in London. Hours: approx 4 hrs. (Registered 26 November 2012)

11 December 2012, I received a payment of £12,240 in respect of a fee for speaking at an event organised by Slaughter & May LLP, London. Hours: 4 hrs. (Registered 20 December 2012)

11 December 2012, I received a payment of £12,240 in respect of a fee for speaking at an event organised by Scor Insurance, London. Hours: 4 hrs. (Registered 20 December 2012)

25 January 2013, I received a fee of £12,999 which included £249.60 in respect of travel costs for speaking at a seminar organised by Pru Health. Hours: 5 hrs. (Registered 8 February 2013)

22 March 2013, I received a fee of £12,240 in respect of speaking at an event organised by BlackRock Investment Management (UK) Ltd, in Hampshire. Hours: approx 6 hrs, including travel time. (Registered 28 March 2013)

22 March 2013, I received a fee of £12,240 in respect of speaking at an event organised by the Automotive Fellowship International Ltd, in Buckinghamshire. Hours: approx 6 hrs, including travel time. (Registered 28 March 2013)

28 March 2013, I received a fee of £10,200 in respect of speaking at an event organised by Credit Agricole Group, in London. Hours: approx 4 hrs, including travel time. (Registered 28 March 2013)

8 June 2012, I received a payment of £1,200 from Associated Newspapers Ltd, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry street, London W8 5TT, for an article in the Mail on Sunday. Hours: 4 hrs approx. (Registered 21 June 2012)

Payments from MGN Ltd, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AP:

22 June 2012, I received a payment of £720 for an article published in the Sunday Mirror. Hours: approx 3 hrs. (Registered 25 June 2012)

5 September 2012, I received a payment of £600 in respect of an article published by the Daily Mirror. Hours: approx 2 hrs. (Registered 18 September 2012)

Payments from Guardian Newspapers, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GO, for writing articles for the Guardian newspaper:

8 December 2012, I received a payment of £342 Hours: 2 hrs. (Registered 20 December 2012)

28 March 2013, I received a payment of £342. Hours: approx 2 hrs. (Registered 28 March 2013)

11. Miscellaneous

Unremunerated Director and Chairman of Better Together 2012 Ltd (from 1 June 2012).