The People have spoken – or have they?

The referendum on Scottish independence seems to have produced a clear majority against the proposition that Scotland should be an independent country.  It is regrettable that the post-vote analysis, the fall-out and the genuine sense of grief that some feel, is overshadowed by allegations of irregularities: vote rigging.  As I write this there has been no official response to the claims, some apparently supported by video “evidence” posted on the internet, but I doubt that any irregularities would be proved to be part of an organised and widespread attempt to fix the election.  Most likely they are the work of misguided individuals, and I also doubt if they would have altered the result overall.

What is much more worrying is the way in which the referendum was stolen by the established mainstream parties: the Westminster establishment.  It is no surprise to me that the UK Labour Party was, and is, against Scottish Independence:  it has abandoned defence of working people across the country, and has failed to offer a genuinely radical alternative vision, in pursuit of power.  The final result was undoubtedly affected by a last-minute pledge, largely driven by Labour, to deliver additional powers to the Scottish Government – more devolved powers.  As such they have fallen into the trap laid for it by the Tory party, they are now scrambling around trying to meet this commitment which is undeliverable in the context of demands by Tory right-wing and eurosceptic MPs who are demanding English devolution: having English MPs only voting on English matters.  If this happened the loss of a large number of Scottish-elected MPs in the voting lobbies would emasculate any Labour-led (even Labour majority) government.

The best thing that Scots can do now is vote for the SNP at each and every election – local, national and European – and wipe Labour off the Scottish electoral map in the way the Conservatives have been.  Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.



They aren’t troops, they’re “advisers”.

I see that America is sending more “military advisers” to help the indigenous troops of Iraq, Kurdistan etc., fight ISIS (or ISIL).  Apparently they will now be allowed to actually fight too.  Well what a surprise!  I seem to remember the run up to the Vietnam war: America sent the first of its “advisers” while Vietnam was still Indo-China and under French colonial rule.  By the time the war started in earnest there were at least 11,000 “advisers” there.  I wonder how many of our troops are “advising”.  There are to be no boots on the ground, so they’ll all have to wear camouflage flip flops.

Who owns the dung heap – dream on Wee Eck!

I’ve been struck again by the pointlessness of the current Scottish Independence debate: it’s like two flies arguing about who owns the turd on which they sit, while the owner of the whole dung heap looks on in amusement.

Whatever happens on Thursday (18th September is IN-D-Day) the fact remains that most of Scotland’s land, resources and physical wealth will still belong to the few rather than the many.  It is also true that many of those few will be absentees, domestic or foreign, and many of the domestic ‘lairds’ will have inherited, rather than earned, their lot.   Many of the most influential supporters of the YES campaign are also ex-patriat wealthy Scots for whom the idea of an independent Scotland is just that, an idea, as they will be very unlikely to return to Scotland and live with the consequences.  Whatever, when the dust has settled, most of the 5 million resident Scots (or neo-Scots) will still be in thrall to the robber barons, will still have mortgages and payday loans, will still slave away for a small part of what they create, all in pursuit of the illusion that what they do with their turd matters to the dungmeisters.

How we manage Globalisation, Climate Change, Rational and Sustainable use of Resources (including land), Water, Food and Security are all more important than where the boundaries lie.  If Scotland removes it’s instinctive, radical, left-leaning contribution from UK politics it will condemn the ordinary people of the rest of the UK to a generation, or more, of market driven, and increasingly isolationist Tory-led (centre-right Labour following) government.

In fact the single most distasteful, but curiously ironic, demonstation of the irrelevance of this vote was the sight of thousands of Orangemen marching through Edinburgh last week, with all their usual militaristic pomp and bluster, in support of the Union.  It brought the anachronistic tribalism of the campaign into sharp focus: two tribes locked in a 300 year old time warp.  Pitiful.  Time to move on guys.

I do get the gut desire for independence, especially in Scotland, but unless and until there is genuine democracy, and ‘community’ ownership of land and resources, it matters not a jot who is in power: in fact the idea of wielding power is illusiory in our globally interdependent context.  It may be that A. Salmond (a.k.a. wee Eck)  would really like to see a pluralistic  socialist republic, rather than a parliamentary monarchy but, even if he’d admit it, that’s never going to happen my lifetime or his.  Dream on wee Eck, dream on.  Wallace? “For Freedom”?  I’m afraid I think it’s Bollocks.


It was big….

The writing group was asked to write 500 words beginning with “It was big…”

It was big…

“It was big”. That’s it? That’s all he’s said?”

“Yes. From the moment we found him, that’s all: it was big.”

“And he was just sitting there on the beach?”

“Just above the high water line, and more curled up, cowering like.”

“Any idea who he is?”

“Nope, no I.D. at all. He was wearing yellow oilskins though, well what was left of them. There’ve been no Maydays tonight, but he must have come from a wreck. I’ve alerted the team for a search from first light, if anything else has come ashore they’ll find it.”

Coastguard Sector Officer Barnard stood in his dripping grey waterproofs and stared beyond the rain spattered window, the only sounds the hiss of the radio that wove with the shrieking storm outside. After a while, he turned back to his Station Officer.

“You seem to have everything covered but keep a visual watch going, and listen out on Channel 16. I’ll go and see him; which hospital did he go to?”

“The Cottage, but apart from shock he was uninjured so they discharged him to the Mission; that’s where he is now.”

The Fishermen’s Mission was in a narrow lane off the harbour. Barnard parked on the quay, by the bucking sheltering boats, and ran to its door splashing through puddles of diesel-sheened rainwater, the acrid scent of smoked fish in his nostrils. The Mission’s canteen smelled too: of stewed tea, baked beans, and stale chips. Barnard found him there, alone amongst the otherwise ordered tables, at the centre of a widening whirlpool of furniture: a human maelstrom thrashing and pushing away everything around him.

Barnard grabbed an overturned chair and sat, but immediately found himself fighting the man for control of the table between them.
Eventually, whatever the man was grappling with relented and his clawing hands moved instead to encircle a half-spilled mug of tea and rum. Draining it in one swallow the man stared silently into its empty depths, searching. Then he suddenly slammed the mug down, his wild red-rimmed eyes looking directly into Barnard’s and said, almost pleading, “It was big. Big”.

Barnard spoke quietly, reaching out a hand to reassure him. “You’re safe now. Safe, do you understand?”

But the man recoiled, seeing something other than compassion in Barnard’s still glistening wet arm. He howled. “Safe? Safe? It was BIG!”, and then overwhelmed he fell forward, wrestling again with his table demon.

By morning the man was re-admitted to hospital, deranged beyond comfort of reason, religion or rum. A boat was reported missing, but the searchers found nothing.

A few days later, further up the coast, a trawler snagged its nets on something that towed it backwards for 5 miles. They thought it was a submarine, but the navy said that none were in the area.

Later still, a dead Sperm whale washed up. Not of itself unusual, but its stomach contents were: lengths of thick tentacle, a huge gelatinous eye, and a beak festooned with shredded yellow oilskin.

Andrew Gold©
05 September 2014