Saturday, 20 September 2014

The Thirldom Come Hauf o' Ye

Dreich the haar in the dim day's dawin'
In the clouds, tapsalteerie in dismay.
And there's still just a wee fart blawin'
Through the bum cheeks o' Scots the day.
Ye were feart! Cowed ahint the sofa,
And at freedom, got a few keeks
And ye gawped like daft wee laddies,
Sulked and sat doon and kieched yer breeks.


Friday, 19 September 2014

We'll grieve

We'll grieve, we'll get pished. And when in 8 months the Breek-Keiching Wasters are still wondering where the mythical "more powers" (far less the Devo Max) are, are reeling under the Tory / UKIP Coalition, are contemplating the exit from the EU and are trying to remember which American Corporations own which bits of NHS Scotland, we'll be back.



Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Last Post

Pride is a thing I've often railed against. Anyone with the wit to type "Roddy Macdonald" "Gay" and "Pride" into Google will see that for themselves. Why the hell should one be proud of being gay? One just is. Just like how the hell should one be proud of being Scots? It is an accident of birth.

That said, I was proud on 17 July 1983 when I Passed Out as a soldier in the Intelligence Corps, thankful that we had the band of the Royal Irish Rangers - I don't care which part of these islands you're from, Killaloe is a magical tune to pass out to! I was proud to play General Jim (to us Jocks), General Sir Michael Gow, the last soldier serving in the British Army to have served in the Second World War (and a great grand nephew of Niel Gow, the fiddle maestro) out of the Army with a tune he had commissioned from Pipe Major Gavin Stoddart for a friend of his and mine, Colonel Charlie Workman.*  I was proud in 1985 when I passed out at Sandhurst, but not as proud as when my Grampa gave me an actual Malt afterwards, and not a wee snifter of one of his many bottles of  White Horse. I was always a bookish kind of chap and the serious shit infantry stuff had been a sair fecht, but I got through it, with more than a little help from my friends.

After that, being commissioned 4 years later into the RAF was fairly routine. That insidious bit of pride never hit again till after that most Scottish of things, the Fuck-it Factor, kicked in. Faced with a less than tolerable present spending my life having to lie about who or what I was and the relatively scary prospect of chucking away a very promising Military career, I said, Fuck it. At the last minute I decided to pick a fight. 12 years later I won it. This is the only puss I have to shave in the morning and I discovered that being Scots is not an ethnicity, it is an attitude of mind. 

The pride didn't kick in till a few months later in Sandy Bell's bar when I met the man from whom this Blog's work takes it name. On being introduced,  I told him I was honoured to meet him. Being Hamish, he knew what I was going through and he immediately said, "No, I'm honoured to meet you." 

This man had spent much of the Second World War serving with my teachers at Queen Victoria School (people I had grown up respecting utterly) in the 8th Army and he said that.  While the British Establishment worked out what the hell to do with me, I spent a whole year on "Uphill Gardening" leave on full salary and Hamish and I spent many a Wednesday afternoon with an obscenity of Lagavulin, me listening intently to his reminiscences and the pair of us setting the World to rights.

I never felt proud of being a Scot until the laughable entity that is the Naw Campaign came up with the ProudScotBut®™ nonsense. If you want to be able to look at yourself in the mirror on Friday morning, there are nae buts about it, voting Yes on Thursday is the only way it's possible. I'm now a Proud Scot.

Prosaically, I've got a shedload of work to do tomorrow in my day job and I'm up at 5 am on Thursday to help another friend of Hamish's to put out Yes Scotland boards outside Polling Stations. Jings! I hope I have her energy and commitment when I'm her age! So this is The Last Post. Vote Yes, you know it's the right thing to do. I'll leave you with a video of Doli and Hamish singing and a footnote.

Click the link, listen and think.

* I've read some tosh about a Yes Vote being 'Anti-English'. General Jim was the oldest officer in the British Army when I was a young soldier. The oldest soldier was WO1 Jan Hol, also of the Intelligence Corps, and a languages Don at Canterbury University. The two were great friends and both had served in WW2. The only slight difference was that Jan was pressed into service in the Belgian SS at age 16 by the Nazis. Think about that kind of friendship when you read horseshit like this from an arse-kissing Politician purporting to have been a Soldier, which must rank as the most shameful article of the whole indyref.


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The "Vow" Unravels

Most people know vows in terms of "till death do us part". The "Vow" for Devo-Something-ish has barely lasted 24 hours.



The Telegraph

David Cameron faces Tory 'bloodbath' over 'unfair' cash for Scotland

Tory backbenchers vow to block 'on the hoof' promise to sustain higher Scottish funding

The Evening Standard

The New Statesman

Is the leaders' vow of power to Scotland already unravelling?

A right Barnett barny.





You couldn't make it up!


Monday, 15 September 2014

Her Majesty urges Scots to ignore Labour pleas

Yesterday at Crathie Parish Church, Her Majesty The Queen urged Scots not to listen to Scottish Labour. In a direct contradiction of their "Don't Know? Vote No" campaign, Her Majesty expressed the hope that "voters will think very carefully about the future".

Scottish Labour has a long history of treating their supporters as ignorant ballot fodder and their latest campaign for a No vote urges undecided voters not to bother reading up on the issues before deciding, but to blindly vote No.

It has long been known that the more voters think about the future and engage with the debate, the more likely they are to vote Yes, and this has recently been confirmed by an academic study by Edinburgh University.

Better Together's strategy of attempting to turn voters off from engaging with the issues, repeatedly failing to turn up to public debates and events at the last minute and trying to frighten voters with ever more ludicrous scare stories, coupled with their expectation that their loyal Labour ballot fodder would simply roll out and vote down independence has led them to conduct the most complacent and inept political campaign in modern history.  Unionists are consequently in full-blown panic mode.

The Labour ballot fodder is no longer there in sufficient numbers as most Scots have loyally followed their Sovereign's advice over the last 2 years and thought extremely carefully about the future before concluding that a Yes vote offers the best future.

It is not known yet whether Labour will be cowed into desisting from encouraging ignorance among their supporters, following this indirect expression of the Sovereign's displeasure. Some of the campaign material which may have to be withdrawn includes insulting personalized letters and posters.





Saturday, 13 September 2014

Holy Cow! Herald Editor in Damascene Conversion?

Magnus Gardham of The Herald has not half spouted some tosh during this campaign, but unless there has been a cock-up in the bye line department, this editorial must be a contender for Damascene Conversion of the Century!


All to play for in the final days of debate 
 Magnus Gardham Political Editor
Saturday 13 September 2014

Braveheart will not be shown on TV until after the referendum, and thank heavens for small mercies. Star and director Mel Gibson himself notes that the film is a "historical fantasy" and shouldn't be taken as the accurate portrayal of Wallace's life. And it isn't even as an accurate barometer for Scottish independence, it's a movie not a history lesson. And the battle today is about the future. 

I was glad to see Ed Miliband and David Cameron looking more and more like Matt McGinn's Two Heided Man. It might convince any Labour voters out there they would just be getting more of the same. It started with Thatcher, then the betrayal of New Labour, which brought us here in the first place. 

In 1979 we had the chance of change. We voted yes and not only got nothing, but our industries were forced to close and the privatisation of our services started. Electric and gas suppliers. Phone. Prison service. Bus and train services. The Royal Mail. And don't forget the 6,000sq nautical miles of Scottish waters now are under Westminster control. All done without the consultation or permission of the people of Scotland. And don't even get me started on the fracking licence for Loch Lomond that's lurking ominously in the shadows. 

Now we have the political parties down south asking the populace to "phone a friend", this is the new gameshow for MPs. "We want to stay millionaires", and the media are in cahoots down here , asking people to make the democratic choice for their Scottish friends by phoning them up and telling them to vote No! If this is love-bombing, I'd hate to see them bare their fangs. 

Better Together claiming the NHS is safe reflects the last line of Animal Farm, as they all have their snouts in the trough. "The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which." 

Mind you, as Johann Lamont, leader of the Labour Party in Scotland, has already stated: "Scots are not genetically programmed to make political decisions." 

The UK is set to lose £1,600 billion from Scotland's larder per year. That is why they want to keep us, and keep us in our place. 

And Dave, it's not an election, it's a referendum. We know what a referendum is. Scotland has been talking about it for about three years more than you have. And many of us know that the result is for ever, so we can kick the "Effing Tories" as you said so patronisingly in your speech, delivered to your slavering sycophantic supporters, and not the real people in the street. 

It's a chance to live in a country whose politics reflect the will of the people of that country. And William Hague admitted at PMQ's that same day: "Giving Scotland more powers if it votes no is not Government policy". 

Gordon Brown says proposals, proposals, proposals. He can propose all he likes, but he can provide NOTHING. At least the timetable at my local train station tells me when the train is coming. 

Do these proposals also include a promise to an end to boom and bust? If not, why not ? 

Yet again, jam tomorrow: no idea what size of jar, no idea what flavour, but history tells us it will leave a bad taste in the mouth. 

How many more vulnerable people are going to commit suicide due to welfare cuts? 

How many more foodbanks are going to be opened? 

How many more people are going to have to decide this winter between heating or eating? 

How many more illegal wars are we going to be dragged into? 

How many more of us are going to just ignore it and stay in a zombified trance? 

How many more of us are starting to realise "It doesn't have to be like this in Scotland?" 

When a Westminster Government has barefaced lied and lied to us for generations, why would they expect us to believe more lies? 

If I was non-British living in this country I'd be upset about Better Together and Westminster's use of the term "foreigner" all the time. As if being "foreign" is an awful thing. 

And wanting to put borders up too. Disgraceful. All day on the news, Labour politicians have been saying the SNP are going to promise the world. They seem so out of touch. Every day out campaigning, speaking to people about the referendum and independence for Scotland, no-one in the Yes campaign talks about the SNP. They are not mentioned. 

The people of Scotland understand, what Labour cannot grasp, that this is not about one political party it is about independence for Scotland. 

Scotland is a country in its own right but we do not have full powers to run it ourselves. This is a democratic process and the people have the right to vote for or against staying under Westminster rule, and abide by their legislation. At least 50 per cent of the electorate in Scotland want to be Independent which shows 50 per cent plus are unhappy being part of the United Kingdom. 

It is not just SNP supporters but Labour, LibDems, Greens and people from all walks of life, doctors, teachers, business people and so on who want this. Let Scotland go in peace if that is what we decide. People who have felt disenfranchised for years have woken up, there has been voter registrations all over the schemes of Scotland, queues stretching around the block of people wanting to have their say. People who haven't even bothered with politics for generations, they are waking up, they are questioning WHY are we like this, is this as good as it gets? How can we change it? 

It is a referendum for No to lose, not for Yes to win. And No hopefully have lost it with its arrogance, cynicism, scaremongering, negativity and pure laziness. 

The scare stories are getting ridiculous. Next thing it will be "Asteroid hits Earth if Scotland votes for Independence" or "IS to base HQ in Drumchapel if Scotland votes Yes". We are not children, stop trying to frighten us. 

This has been the most negative, fear-driven and insulting political campaign in modern history, and should be treated with nothing other than the total contempt it so richly deserves. 

The Scots have long memories. And the main culprits, no matter the result, shall suffer. An entire nation has been rising to its feet before the world and your actions may make them whimper "Sorry! We can't do it!" before sitting mutely and meekly back down to be a global laughing stock. 

What effect did the Cameron /Miliband/ Clegg/Prescott jaunt to Scotland achieve for the Yes campaign on Facebook? Exactly 24 hours ago before the four horsemen of the Nawpocalypse arrived there were 263,087 followers on Yes Scotland. There were 5,333 more, at 5pm that evening, while the NO Thanks page had lost members. 

More people, when they find out the facts, are switching to a Yes. Inform and spread a positive message, hope always wins over fear. 

The rest of the UK can also look to these actions and stand up and be counted as well. We shall be there for them, Scotland will not let them stand alone if we leave the Union. They are still our friends and neighbours and we can show them the way to change is through following example. 

Scotland will be doing the whole of the UK a big favour by voting yes if it brings to an end the political cartel that has been governing us for the last few decades. The Saltire is now flying over 10 Downing Street (and even the flag protested!), 

If it's a No vote it will be folded up and put back in its box. Just like Scotland. 

Which form of governance do you trust more with your future?

Westminster politics or one you can have a hand and a voice in shaping for yourself? 

If it's a Yes vote, we may have shot ourselves in the foot for a short while before we re-emerge stronger. 

If it's a No, the bullet will be straight through the head and fired by Westminster.

Edit: This was the original article. Now altered to this.

Hold ... Hoooold ... Raise the Lancets!


Forget the Hollywood tosh and schiltroms of pikes twice as long as a man. The most powerful argument for independence is wielded in The Lancet.



A threat though it is, the widespread privatization of NHS England is not the greatest threat to NHS Scotland. The greatest threat to not only NHS Scotland, but other Scottish public services is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This treaty, currently in negotiation by the US and EU would open up all public services to Corporate competition and give Corporations the right to sue a government if it doesn't open up all services to private competition.

Both the UK Tories and Labour, well known to be in the pockets of international corporations, support the TTIP and refuse to negotiate exceptions for our NHS. Indeed, David Cameron's man in Brussels working on the treaty, Lord Hill, is knee deep in healthcare privatization interests.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade are Reserved Powers under devolution. The Scottish Parliament can do nothing to protect NHS Scotland when the UK Government signs up to TTIP later this year and opens the door to selling off bits of our NHS. Only with the full powers of independence can we protect the jewel in the crown of our public services. For fairness, I should declare an interest. I work as a General Practice Manager in the NHS.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Harmonies in Chaos

A film by Tommy Slack featuring Bobby Nicholson hearing from Scottish musicians from various genres what independence means to them.



 

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Jam Today

42 jars of Sainsbury's Basics Strawberry Jam. £ 12.60



Printing out this leaflet: A few pence.



Wrapping the leaflets round the jam and giving one to every house on my street: Priceless!



Ready for the off



Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Those Gordon Brown "More Powers" listed in full.

Yesterday an absentee backbench Labour MP, hardly seen at Westminster for four years and with no power to promise anything was given 50 minutes of prime time BBC News channel time as he spoke to an invited audience in Loanhead.

He outlined a "timetable" to more powers for the Scottish Parliament, despite there being no agreement whatsoever between the 3 UK Westminster parties as to what, if any, further powers should be devolved to Scotland. Devolved powers can, of course, be revoked at any time; even by the un-elected House of Lords, as they did in 2013 when they took back power over Scottish renewable energy.

The New Powers for Scotland promised by Gordon Brown yesterday are illustrated below:




That's right: none, nada, zilch. This from the man who only as recently as June was calling for Scotland's education system, which has been independent throughout the Union, to be brought under Westminster control.  We've been here before, folks. Remember 1979? Scotland will not fall for Jam Tomorrow again.



Monday, 8 September 2014

Shorag

Turn on your sound, click the video, set it to full screen and let the gorgeous music of Aidan O'Rourke and the beautiful images soothe away any thoughts of Royal foetal wittering.


Sunday, 7 September 2014

I see you keep a bee and why Yessers should thank JK Rowling.

I'm minded of a delightful wee story that does the rounds about the late accordion supremo, Jimmy Shand. As he and his band toured the country, B&B landladies would compete for the kudos of having Jimmy stay at their establishment. Those in the know knew that he adored toast and honey with his breakfast. They would seek out pots of exotic honey to serve to him. However, one unfortunate landlady wasn't 'in the know'. When he asked if she had any honey, she rummaged around the kitchen and eventually produced one of these:
He examined it disdainfully before remarking "Ah, I see you keep a bee."


According to The Observer, and in an attempt to stave off the total meltdown of Better Together / UKOK / Project Fear / No Thanks / United With Labour or whatever they're calling themselves this week, word is that nice Mr Osborne is about to offer us the epitome of Jam Tomorrow. If you're expecting something exotic like Fortnum & Mason's Strawberry & Rose Preserve (£12.95 for a 340g jar), I suspect you'll be disappointed and remarking "Ah, I see you keep a strawberry".


Despite being in the purdah period, with thousands of postal ballots already having been cast, Osborne is alleged to be cobbling together some sort of Devo Max to offer the Scottish People at the last gasp. The very same Devo Max that Labour, Tories and the Lib Dems rejected out of hand and moved heaven and earth to keep off the ballot paper.

Banksy: The Mouse That Hampden Roared.
However, sensing that no-one is listening to the Unionist politicians any more, largely because we just don't believe a word they say, bizarrely, Better Together turned to a bona fide author of fantasy fiction to get the word out there, along with an excuse for a "call for calm" as, apparently, the referendum campaign turns "nasty", presumably a reference to one rabble-rousing politician being egged.
Now I do wish Yes Supporters would not attack JK Rowling. In fairness, from looking at her Twitter Feed it seems a couple of folk suggested yesterday that she should hang her head in shame for donating to Better Together. Hardly a vicious attack.

I met Jo Rowling for the first time a couple of weeks ago and she strikes me as a lovely lady. She has every right to donate to whomever she wishes. In fact, I think Yes Supporters should positively thank her for donating to Better Together. Without that £1M would Better Together have had the money to pay M&C Saatchi for the misogynistic masterpiece that was Patronising BT Lady that has driven Scotswomen to Yes in droves?

Being a lovely lady and an accomplished author does not preclude her being mistaken, however. But just as we Scots are highly unlikely to take advice about politics from footballers, we should think twice about taking it from other celebrities.



Ahem, From The Scotsman 2 Mar 2012: Scottish Labour: Johann Lamont rejects devo-max option

It's often been said that Better Together's strategy has been to turn people off from the debate as they have nothing to offer. Their best hope was to campaign for apathy and hope their loyal, Labour, ballot fodder would turn out to vote down independence, despite having seen that ballot fodder desert them in 2011. It's taken until the polls turned 2 weeks before the referendum for them to realise they have to engage folk and the more folk are engaged, the more they'll think for themselves and the more they'll turn to Yes. Of course we Yessers should thank JK Rowling for her donation to Better Together.


While we're on about donations, Dateline Scotland didn't ask for enough money and are skint. There's only 15 hours to go on their fundraiser. Go on, keep the fun going right up to 18 Sep!

Friday, 29 August 2014

Threat Level

The Better Together / Project Fear Threat Level for Scotland has been raised to Keich Yer Breeks.


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Women! Spot the Difference

I can't really.









It already has its own hilarious hashtag on Twitter: #PatronisingBTLady



Compare and contrast with Mrs Barbour's Army Lives!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Mrs Barbour's Army Lives!

Alex Salmond was much more on the ball tonight, even if I was screaming at the telly willing him to point out that oil revenues had been down for the last couple of years due to the huge investment in the massive new resources of the Atlantic Ridge.

But the stars of tonight were the 2 great Scotswomen in the audience who were taking no messing from Darling and didn't pull any punches.

Mrs Barbour's Army is alive and well!

"Yes fighting for Scotland, No fighting for their jobs"


Mary Barbour



Saturday, 23 August 2014

Scotland Yet - The revolution has been televised

I've had the trailers on the blog and the original crowd-funding appeal. Well, here's the whole shebang, complete with a stellar cast including yours truly. If you feel like a break for some light relief, you'll find it with the first 4 episodes (at the time of writing) of Dateline Scotland, an offshoot of the Rough Justice mega media conglomerate.






Sunday, 3 August 2014

3,000 Trees

I think that if I were asked to single out one specific group of men, one type, one category, as being the most suspicious, unbelieving, unreasonable, petty, inhuman, sadistic, double-crossing set of bastards in any language, I would say without any hesitation: "the people who run counter-espionage departments." - Eric Ambler, The Light of Day.
Whether it still does or not, I don't know; but a framed copy of that quote used to hang in just about every Intelligence Corps mess or office in the 1980s. The only other memorable wall decoration from those days was the missing one. In the Headquarters Officers' Mess at Ashford there were portraits of every INT Corps officer who had gone on to become notable or famous. Except one: Hamish Henderson, from whose work this blog takes its title. The presence of one and the absence of the other sums up both the braggadocio and the paranoia which pervaded the British security Establishment in the 1980s.


From before the first word is spoken on stage, memories of Hamish pervade George Gunn's 3,000 Trees playing at the Bread Street Hilton (formerly The Point) in Edinburgh. Anyone who heard Margaret Bennett sing Grioghal Chridhe at Hamish's funeral with over 1,000 voices joining in the chorus will forever associate that song with him. The song is played as the audience take their seats. Hamish's Flyting o' Life and Daith features throughout and Alison McMorland coached the very talented Helen MacKay in the singing of it.


If you're expecting an examination of the conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Willie MacRae, forget it. What you get is an imaginative and marvellous piece of theatre.

Two things still intrigue me: Why George employed the slightly Pythonesque ruse of renaming his protagonist Willie MacKay (He's not Willie MacRae - he's a very naughty boy!) - bizarrely, even that thought brings back 80s memories of the hilarious encounter between the Python team and another former Intelligencer, Malcolm Muggeridge, following the Life of Brian controversy.  The second is how a playwright from Caithness managed to so accurately personify the aforementioned braggadocio and paranoia of the security services of the 1980s in the character of Oliphant, skilfully played by Adam Robertson.


Having had my own run-in with the British security Establishment, I found myself enthralled by Jimmy Chisholm's magnetic portrayal of the MacKay character. The play is worth seeing for Chisholm's stage presence alone.

Do yourself a favour and get down to the Gryphon Venue, Bread Street Hilton at 19:15 till August 24th. You won't regret it. I am indebted to my old friend Nancy Nicolson for the tip off.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Independence Day

Get a load of this brilliant song by my friend Kevin Gore.


If you're in Edinburgh for the festival, you can catch Kevin and the other musical star of Logic's Rock, Bobby Nicholson, at their show Gone Native at The Royal Oak (Venue 309) from 5 - 25 August at 18:00. Bobby also has a show Go and See the Pandas at The Jazz Bar (Venue 57) on 4 & 6 August at 14:30.


Thursday, 31 July 2014

Brass Aye

If you like this (and I think you will):



Please go to Dateline Scotland and donate to keep it going.

Friday, 18 July 2014

It Wisnae Me

Before The Tass pub in Edinburgh's Royal Mile became No 1 The High Street, there was a piece of cod heraldry above the inside of the main door. The quartered shield depicted the fesse chequee (checker board) of Stewart, an L plate, a set of pipes and a pair of crossed keys. The flounces around the shield were made up of barbed wire and tomato plants and the crest was a depiction of a grey, foreboding building. It was made for a John Stewart, a piper and keen amateur tomato grower who had been promoted to be Assistant Governor of Barlinnie. The whole was surmounted by the unofficial motto of that establishment: "It Wisnae Me."

To warm you up and get you in the mood before the main attraction, here's Rantum Scantum's excellent musical examination of the same phenomenon.





Now to the main attraction. Take yourself over to Bella Caledonia and read playwright Peter Arnott's excellent examination of why, if there's a No vote in September 2014, No Voters in 2016 will be as rare as 1979 Tory Voters were in 1981: Dinner with No Voters or “What I wanted to say before the Pudding hit the fan.” It's one of the best pieces on the indyref I've read so far.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Flower of Scotland

Voting No on 18th September? Obviously the current words of Flower of Scotland will be unsingable without irony klaxons going into overdrive if there's a No vote.  Here's Better Together's re-edit of the lyrics:

Oh flower of Scotland,
When will we see your like again?
That fought and died for,
Your wee bit hill and glen.
That stood against him,
Proud Edward's army,
And sent him homeward,
To think again.

Those hill are bare now,
And Autumn leaves lie thick and still.
For land that is lost now,
And Hope so cruelly felled.
That cringed before him,
ProudScotBut ®™ Ali's Army,
And sent him Southward,
To trough again.

Those days are past now,
And in the past They must remain.
But we'll never rise now,
And be the nation again,
That stood against him,
Proud Edward's army,
And sent him homeward,
To think again.

Oh flower of Scotland,
We'll never see your like again.
That keiched your breeks in
Your wee bit hill and glen.
That cringed before him,
ProudScotBut ®™ Ali's Army,
And sent him Southward,
To trough again.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Sooking Spangles for Scotland

I'm showing my age here. I can't even remember when Spangles were withdrawn. Aha! The early eighties - is there nothing Wikipedia doesn't have an article on? Military Spangle-sookers could be lucky for another decade as they were in the 24 Hour and 10 Man Compo Rations. Old English was my favourite. 

Wikipedia also informs me that an early advertising slogan for them was "The sweet way to go gay!"  My spangle-sooking childhood has a lot more to answer for than I thought.  Had I known that, my QC may have had extra ammunition in the House of Lords - Compo Rations made me gay!

Anyhoo, what's all this got to do with the Indyref?  Well, The Guardian's Kevin McKenna appears to disappear up his own jacksie with the middle class hand-wringing he is decrying regarding the entry of the Orange Order into the Indyref debate on the No side.



My formative experience of Orangeism was not good and can be dated exactly by their calendar to the 12th of July 1969. I was 5 and the exigencies of military family life had meant that my Mum had brought me and my brother back to her home in Maryhill, Glasgow while my Pop continued unaccompanied in the Far East. Singapore to Maryhill, now that was a culture shock! Not least when my uncle George kindly took us to Prestwick for the day and my brother and I leapt into the open-air swimming pool as we were wont to do in Singapore, only to more-or-less bounce off the freezing water and run shivering and greeting to Mammy for towels. Exotic childhood pastimes like scrumping for lychees or exploring monsoon drains were exchanged for the more prosaic dreeping dykes and midden raking. We had also had to say goodbye to our lovely Amah.

On the 12th I somehow had managed to evade the maternal clearing of the streets of children when the Orange parade came past.  As I looked on, (probably waiting excitedly for the dragon as all such processions in Singapore involved a dragon) a gang of much bigger boys (teenagers I suppose) came up to me.  It was a short interrogation before I got my face kicked in for being "cheeky".
"Are you a Prod or a Tim?"
"Dunno, I'm only sooking a Spangle."
Given that I was 5, didn't know if I was a Buddhist or a Christian, didn't know that Prod meant Protestant and Tim meant Catholic and didn't know what those terms meant even if I had known the nicknames, I wasn't being cheeky.  It turns out I was a Prod, I'm an atheist now.

Looking back, the maternal street-clearing had been universal. Mums (as I later found out) both Prod and Tim had imprisoned their offspring indoors that afternoon.  Years later, in conversation with an RUC Inspector in the officers' mess at Aldergrove I commented "Must be a busy week for you with all the Orange heidbangers?" and he replied, "Unfortunately Roddy, most of the real heidbangers come over on the boat."

Orange Parades are basically about bully-boys owning the streets for a day, pure and simple. The Prod and Tim thing is almost incidental and increasingly irrelevant as very few of the marchers could probably remember the last time they attended a church service. Just as the British State did all over its Empire, in its first colonies of Scotland and Ireland it promoted division among the poor, the old Divide and Rule. It's long past time the Orange Order went the way of the Spangle.

Edit: Just had a look at Wings. Things have moved on so far in Maryhill 45 years later, I was damned lucky to have a Spangle to sook.

See also: When Orange Men Go Green.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Parliamo Berraragerra

So veteran Scots actor and comedian Stanley Baxter has, surprise surprise, come out against independence. I'm a big fan of his and, as noted elsewhere on Wings Over Scotland, he left Scotland 55 years ago but at least he is honest enough to state his reason as:
AhmawrightJack  - "I'm very happy in London. South of the border's been very good to me. I could never have achieved that success north of the border if I'd stuck there. It wouldn't have happened."
Younger readers may be wondering what I'm wittering about. Well, here's an original Stanley Baxter Parliamo Glasgow sketch, Upatra Burdz:


Strangely, in common with just about every other Sleb who has come out for Berraragerra: Baxter, like Izzard, Barrowman and the Krankies, is best known for his cross-dressing. You never know, on the night before the referendum we may be treated to Blair MacDougall in drag doing an impression of Velvet Brown with his Tuba?


Anyway, I digress. I thought it might be fun to examine some of Berraragerra's Bullshit Bingo phrases and memes and see what they mean in the Queen's English. So here we go:

Parliamo Berraragerra - Speaking Better Together

Bayonetrawoonded - Bayonet the Wounded - Ian Davidson MP's post-indyref reconciliation plan if there's a No vote.

Bestybothwurldz - The Best of Both Worlds.  The process whereby ever-increasing Scots taxes subsidise the UK, but Scots are allowed to decide how to spend their ever-diminishing pocket money on domestic issues such has health and law and order.

Flippinhoosiesferexpenses - Flipping houses for expenses.  The favourite pastime of the Berraragerra Chairman.

Forriner - Foreigner. A derogatory terms for your sibling / parent / child /cousin who lives in England if Scotland votes yes. Previously loved, you will now be automatically consumed with xenophobic hatred for them. Strangely, you may continue to love rellies in other countries such as Australia or the USA etc, as these are never considered real forriners.

Jamramorra - Jam Tomorrow. See Mairpooersgarranteed.

Mairpooersgarranteed - More powers guaranteed. See Jamramorra.

Oanlineabuse - Online abuse. Any utterance by a pro-indy person online. Death threats against the First Minister and his Deputy are termed Guidnacheredbanta - Good natured Banter.

Ornrymum - An ordinary mum. A female member of the Labour Shadow Cabinet.

ProudPatrioticScoat - A No voter, or at least a photographer's model in the environs of Cambridge.

Poolinansherrin - Pooling and Sharing. Often PoolinRezaursesanSherrinRisks. The process whereby Scots taxes subsidise things in the UK that Scots aren't in the least interested in and don't want, such as Crossrail, HS2, Trident, wars in assorted sandpits, etc.

TooWeeTooPooranTooStupit - Too wee, too poor and too stupid. Scottish people, also the positive case for the union.

VileSybernat - Vile Cybernat. A Scottish person with a computer and access to the internet.

YoonititwiLaber - United with Labour. Gordon Brown, the former Prime Mentalist DiznaeWantTaeBeSeenWiThaeToryBastirts.

UnanserredKweschins - Unanswered questions. Such as who will put the Bop Shoo Wap Doo-Wap in an Independent Scotland?

That concludes tonight's lesson. Do feel free to add further examples in the comments below.



Saturday, 14 June 2014

Blòð eða Bjǫð / Fuil 'is Talamh / Blood and Soil

A trilingual title? That's a first for this blog! It's quadriligual actually as blood and soil is the same in Scots and English. For the uninitiated, the other two languages are Old Norse and Gaelic. A theme of this week has been an attempt to paint moves for Scottish Independence as blood and soil nationalism or, as a far more accomplished writer than me put it, "purity of lineage".

I'm afraid anyone coming to a blog written by a bagpipe playing, traditional song singing, Gaelic learning Scotsman who rejoices in supposedly one of the most Scottish of names - Roddy Macdonald / Ruaridh Dòmhnallach - looking for an exposition on true-blooded "Scottishness" will be sorely disappointed. The languages in the title appear in the order they were spoken in Scotland by my paternal ancestors.

Shock-horror! Macdonalds weren't originally Scots.  We're rather better disguised immigrants than, for example the MacAulays, which translates as Olafsson, and many other families. However, we are as "half-blood" a family as just about any in Scotland, or anywhere else in the world.  Look at the Donald from whom we are descended and by the time you get back to his great, great, grand-parents you'll find Scots, Irish, Norman (and English if you count Henri 1st Beauclerc, King of England as English), Russian, Norwegian, Flemish and God-knows what else.

I dare say if you trawl the sewers of the internet, you'll find Scottish "Blood and Soil" nationalists. Hell, enough proto-fascist, British Nationalists turned out in the Euro elections that we are now saddled with UKIP's first elected representative (MEP) in Scotland.  You can find anything on the internet if you look for it. Search Twitter and you'll see that the earlier quoted accomplished writer has been subjected to vile misogynistic abuse since long before she declared her hand in the independence debate. I could post up links to loads of instances of abuse by Britnats but really, I can't be bothered with whataboutery any more. To further publicise such sewage as the BBC and Press have one-sidedly done is to cheapen our national discourse.

Attempts to demonize Cybernats as being the same as the electronic equivalent of the Special Brew-swilling drunks you sometimes see in the street effing and blinding at everybody are a classic British Establishment ploy to turn the electorate back to getting their information solely from the bought-and-paid-for professional politicians and their lackeys in the media.  Independence is about thinking for yourself and doing your own research. Google is your friend.



Anyhoo, I'm also a carer and it's nearly time to take my ordinary mum to her weekly bingo (she doesn't drink and is of a vintage that she thinks Bingo is the only regular recreation that is socially acceptable for a woman on her own). But before I go, I'll let you into another wee secret: I wasn't even born here and did most of my growing up in the Far East and England. I'm a relic of Empire and my ordinary mum tells the story that one day in 1964 in Nairobi she was a white woman with a pram in the wrong place at the wrong time when a panga-wielding mob showed up. She had the presence of mind to grab me from my pram, run to a phone box and wedge her foot against the door while phoning my dad.  My dad gathered a motley crew of the Kenyan lab technicians he was training and guards from the former British Military Hospital in which he was working and came down to rescue us unscathed in a Bren-mounted Lannie.

Stick your blood and soil where the sun doesn't shine. It's tosh. Rise above the slurs. We know that all mums are extraordinary, as extraordinary as the civilized, truly grass roots campaign that is Yes Scotland. I'll leave you with a pic from the land of my birth. Harambee.


Thursday, 5 June 2014

When Orange Men go Green

Something different today for a laugh with the marching season almost upon us from Newry singer Finbar Magee: When Orange Men go Green, an environmental solution. I can thoroughly recommend his album Ship of Fools.


Tuesday, 3 June 2014

5 Days to go for Scotland Yet

Jack Foster and Chris Silver are appealing for more money for their film Scotland Yet's post-production and distribution.

 

You can donate here on Indiegogo or by clicking the panel on the right. The film is due out in July and may even feature yours truly and my inner Domestic Godess, Nigella Macdonald.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Wag the Nob

If you've never seen Wag the Dog, do use all the guile of the interweb to see it. It's even worth buying the DVD if you're a traditionalist.


Vote Nob Orders don't seem to realize that the film was satirical comedy at its best. For them it is a training manual. However, they lost something in the translation as their productions are truly cringeworthy. Heralded by the BBC as a "spontaneous", "grassroots" response to the dire efforts of Better Together, VNB is in fact the brainchild of Malcolm Offord, Tory-donor (your peerage is in the post) and wealthy banker in concert with Acanchi Ltd, a London-based astroturfing agency whose previous crowning achievement had been "rebranding" Israel by the convenient means of airbrushing those pesky Palestinians from history and the present day.

Acanchi was in dire financial straits in 2011, but its fortunes turned round dramatically in 2012. In 2011 they made a loss of £197,003. In 2012 they made a profit of £103,292. The income from sales went from £25,631 in 2011 to £348,835 in 2012. This dramatic turnaround was explained by a director in the financial report for 2012 as follows:
“The nature of Acanchi’s business is that the award of government contracts is subject to external delays beyond the Company’s control. As stated in last year’s financial statement, the Directors’ forecast that there would be a significant improvement in these financial statements. This was achieved as the result of the company being awarded contracts in the current period which had been the subject of long on-going discussions in the past.”
We know that Acanchi started work on the independence referendum in 2012 because an intern had it on her CV, which has since disappeared from cyberspace. So it appears that as well as the generous Mr Offord, Acanchi has been getting Government money to Wag The Nob of the Scottish people for Vote Nob Orders and U KOK (what is it with all the phallic imagery in Better Together?).

Thankfully, whereas VNB has mair money than sense and certainly mair money than wit, the cack-handed VNB advertising campaign, greeted with derision in cinemas across Scotland has now spawned some real wit from the Yes side:

The VNB Original "Fantastic".


The Fantastic Spoof.


The VNB Original "Passport"


The Spoof Passport


What of the staged and scripted Vox Pops done by a Cambridge photographer? You'll only appreciate the quality of this excellent satire by Ayr teenager Mark Thorburn if you've waded through some of the Cringetastic VNB originals. Quite a few on Twitter and YouTube were taken in and thought it was an actual VNB Video.


If you find any more, tweet me at @logicsrock with the #WagTheNob hashtag.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

David Cameron Puts the Boot into Better Together

It's almost worthy of Flashman. Even the keenest Yes supporter might hesitate to put the boot into Better Together this week, but David Cameron has no such qualms. Let's see, in the latest of a long run of disastrous weeks for the No Campaign, this week:
  • Their leader Alistair Darling has been "sidelined" (Toryspeak for sacked).
  • He has been replaced by Douglas Alexander, mastermind of the 2010 Labour defeat, David Milliband's Labour leadership defeat and the strategy which has Labour currently behind the Tories in the UK polls. True to form, Alexander promptly went on Sunday Politics and got into a fankle lying about VAT.
  • The £46,500 "secret" Ipsos-Mori poll which prompted the sacking is discovered in Cabinet Office accounts, resulting in the Twitter hashtag #PublishThePoll trending UK-wide and across the US.
  • Gordon "Curse of Jonah" Brown has yet again threatened that he is going to be a big beast in the debate. How many times is that he's been re-launched in the campaign?
  • The Vote No Borders "Spontaneous", "Grassroots" No Campaign allegedly set up in response to the dismal performance and negativity of Better Together has been well and truly exposed as an astroturf campaign by government contract spin doctors Acanchi that has been in the pipeline for 2 years. Likewise it has no qualms dealing in fear mongering.
  • The Sun started an alleged love bombing campaign, getting fruitcakes like John McCririck to pen patronizing articles that would have even Mason Boyne reaching for a Yes vote.
  • The Orange Order announced it is to parade "up to 25,000" sectarian bigots with big drums through Edinburgh a few days before the Referendum. That should have even the doucest of blue-rinsed, Morningside Matrons at least considering a Yes.

So what does the non-debating Defender of the Union David Cameron do? As if his coming to Scotland wasn't bad enough for Better Together, he resurrects the memory of the late John Smith



20 years after the death of the last Labour leader before the party was taken over by closet Tories like Blair and Brown and nonentities like Milliband, Lamont and Alexander, Cameron underlines why Labour voters are defecting from the hijacked Labour party line in droves

Perhaps Cameron thought it would be easier to use a dead Labour leader as a Tory sock puppet than Ed Milliband, Alistair Darling, Douglas Alexander, Johann Lamont. Oh, hang on, wait a minute ...



Alternatively, you might wonder which side Cameron is really on? You might think that he secretly wants a Yes vote. He's coming up to put some boot about, but into Better Together. You might think that, I couldn't possibly comment.

Yes Scotland should welcome his visit. May there be many more like it.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Farah Got The Memo

Farah got the memo. Give it up for Project Fear's Breek-Keicher of the week from Vote No Borders' "positive" messages about the union. Farah's voting for "common sense." 

Farah disnae feck aroond! She's straight in there with Partition of India-style mass killings, seizures of land and property and mass migrations from Scotland to England and vice-versa. "That's what's gonnae happen here!" 

Will the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland have to go on Gandhi-style hunger strike to stop us all killing each other? Judge for yourself:





Is Farah's vision of Gretna in 2016 a "positive" one?



Beam me up, Scottie!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Now is the hour for BBC Scotland

So, the Sunday Herald has come out for independence. Excellent news, but the most interesting thing about that fact is not the Sunday Herald per se, it's how the BBC will handle that story.



The Sunday Herald is nowhere near as influential as the BBC. However it is obscenely more influential than some Tory-donating and arse-kissing nonentity who managed to screw £150K out of (probably) the British Government to put up a website called Vote No Borders with some YouTube videos of a few retards to rival Wee Dugs and Sausage Rolls and Donald fae Embra who's voting No for to make life better for his ancestors.

The BBC spent 2 days this week giving said Tory-donating and arse-kissing nonentity wall-to-wall coverage and calling his efforts a "grassroots" movement! Anyone with even a modicum of skepticism could see it was a paid-for PR stunt. How could the BBC possibly not see that?

Let's see how much coverage the BBC gives to an influential and respected organ coming out for independence. Having made a fool of itself with Vote No Borders, the BBC's future in Scotland depends on whether The Sunday Herald story gets similar coverage.