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


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!