Writings, photos, politics and rants... *Original content - may not be reproduced without my consent.*

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Baiting our poorest on Black Friday

A letter of mine appeared in the Scottish newspaper "the National" this week.  Read the unedited version HERE

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Drink...

a quick, unedited post...

Way back when - I used to smoke. Well, I took notions of it. I went through periods of not smoking and periods of heavy smoking. And then I quit. After a few months, smoking began to repulse me - the smell and actually watching people partake in this habit, knowing how they feel doing it makes me angry at the marketing behind the product and the dreadful damage it does. The smell now gives me the boak.
Two years ago next week I gave up drink. I just stopped. When I started to drink, i took to it like a fish to water. For some people, drink defined Neil Scott. I liked a laugh and a wild night... and manys a wild night i had. Latterly, although still enjoying the feeling alcohol gave me, I hated the next day. And the thought of the next day, either a dreadful hangover or just feeling delicate filled me with dread. It interfered with my enjoyment! And also, seeing what drink did health wise to older people made me decide just to stop. It actually hasn't been difficult - the most difficult thing was what people thought of me. As I said, for lots of people, for 30 years, drink defined Neil Scott.


Me drinking beer back in 2006...

Being in crowds of partyers is now easy - I don't mind being sober. I now realise the laughs I had were not all drink induced. I can have a laugh without it. And if I don't feel like a laugh - well, at least I am in control etc.
I used to have a mistrust of people who didn't drink - where they judging me? Why don't they drink? don't mistrust me - i am not judging you if you drink - I don't mind, though sometimes I do think "you don't really need to harm yourself with that." But hey, like smokers, it is up to you.
Drink is really difficult to escape - more-so than smoking - the marketing of alcohol is massively insidious and it is almost spoken as an essential part of our culture/ celebrations/ civic ceremony. Try counting the amount of times alcohol is celebrated as you listen to the radio, read a book, read a newspaper or watch the telly. Billboards are filled with it. Supermarkets advertise it inside and out. But like meat, I ignore it (though unlike meat, there are tastey non-alcoholic alternatives in restaurants and cafes! Good vegetarian meals are really difficult to find in most restaurants, whether they are good or bad!)
Now, the smell of alcohol brings back powerful memories of hangovers, and now and again, good times. I don't really like the smell of a pub anymore - I used to like it - it made me think of good times. Now it makes me think of the times I felt dreadful the next day.
Having said all that, I may in the future have a champagne or a beer or two. But not really in the foreseeable future. I'm happy without it!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Pound in your Scottish Pocket...

How dare they.

They sneer down the camera that Scottish people will lose something.  “If you vote Yes, you are forcing us to take away the money from your pocket.” That shiny coin you buy your milk with.  That stuff in your bank account you pay for your wee package holiday with.  Your Pound.  The pound in your pocket. The crinkly note with her Majesty’s head on it – we’ll take that from you if you vote yes.  You’ve forced us too.  All of us agree.  We won’t let you have it. So NOW what are you going to do?  What is plan B after we imply we are going to force you into poverty?



I won’t go into the fact that just because they say that they won’t “give us the pound,” (the very words when typed like that show how idiotic the notion is – but they know that) doesn’t mean we can’t have it and I won’t go into the fact that retaining the Bank of England (the Bank of the UK – our bank) controlled pound is really only one option, and it happens to be the option the SNP prefer – other parties differ.  What I will say is that the no campaign, the new Westminster Right consensus, led by the Tories and presented by Scottish New Labour, have played a genius move.  

They have played a long game.  



They planted a seed and allowed fear and doubt take hold with every nonsense word they used to bolster and fertilize the embryonic notion. Of course, the next negative they have long planted, and nurtured – the other one they can say Salmond has no plan B for – is, of course, ship building on the Clyde.  The UCS workers who stopped the Westminster Government of 1971 from further winding down of the yards, and in fact saved them, wrote their concerns aboutWestminster neglect a few weeks ago.  

And there are others Project Fear seeds that have been planted.  Someone should make a bingo card for the last six weeks of campaigning with the main ones on it.

You see, this has been their plan since the beginning.  Project Fear was not about Aliens or the other nonsense Salmond began his questioning with during the big debate the other night (his advisors should be sacked – some Yes advisors are believing their own nonsense that those behind the no campaign are somehow stupid).  All of those silly wee stories were thrown out to camouflage their real intent which is to concentrate on a small amount of amorphous, intangible stories they have worked hard at planting into the psyche of those who have been listening.  

This is what Tories do.  

They play the long game.  

They plant seeds and introduce notions of negativity, of selfish jealousy, or structural change, whose effects will build to their favour in the long term.  It worked for Reagan. It worked for Thatcher. Notions that will split people and pit class against class, race against race and all in the game of siphoning off millions to their millionaire buddies. Of your pounds. From your pocket.  Into theirs.

Project Fear was about the Westminster Parties pushing a few intangibles like the pound and shipbuilding just out of reach, like an abusive parent placing the toy rabbit on a high shelf, and then asking “what are you going to play with now?”

Their positioning began a year and a half ago. They had to plant the seeds far down the line so no-one could remember that it was them that had taken our pound and our ships away from us.  First sneering Osborne/Cameron/Clegg said they wouldn’t allow us to have them, and then Ed Balls/Miliband quietly agreed.  In the past few weeks, Balls has upped his Mr. Nasty game, because the Labour Party MUST be the harder, more Tory than Tory, spokespeople for the new Westminster Right consensus in Scotland, and said “I will resign if the Scots are allowed to keep the pound.” That is how much he cares about making sure the Scots can’t have HIS pound.

The pound in his expenses filled pocket.

Paid for by your pound.
 
The pound from your pocket. 

Will he also resign if the foreign Scots get the ship building contracts and the French don’t? 
Those damnable Scots, Take Take Take.

The Westminster Right consensus took the pound away, set it out of reach, and they can now launch a “keep the pound” campaign. It is Machiavellian plus.  The SNP, who say they will retain the pound, have been made to look as if they are taking “our” money from “our” pocket.  Our hard earned cash.  The cash from your pocket. Our shared currency.  

“You made me put that toy on that higher shelf.”
“But you can’t stop me playing. I’ll grow and I’ll be able to reach it.  It is mine, after all.”
“It’s on that shelf until September 18th. And actually, we’ll keep it there afterwards…”
“Ah but, after September the 18th, I’ll be as tall as you.”

What makes me quake in anger when I see Johann Lamont sneeringly present her big toy coin to the Scots, are the very tangible things she and her Westminster buddies are taking away from us (this is the woman who said she thinks universalism should be scrapped, ie. benefits that we as a society receive – eg. NHS – GP, Accident and emergency etc - , free Education, pensions, bus passes, pensioners TV licenses, toll free roads and in Scotland, water).  And if Lamont, Cameron, Clegg, Miliband get their way, all of those things will have to be paid out of your pocket.  With your hard earned pound.  Things can only get better for Richard Branson, friend of New Labour and Cameron’s Tories.  A man who is buying up the English NHS department by department.

And pocketing your cash.

Your pound.

That was once in your pocket.

They conspire to dismantle our welfare state, our fair state, our civilised state, by stealth, for profits. 

For your pound.  

To put in some millionaire’s pocket.  

Or offshore account.

The NHS has effectively been privatised (almost irrevocably so in England) and the middle classes are being pulled into line in attacking the “something for nothing” culture as any benefits they had received – universal benefits – are slowly being taken from them using a weird logic of, “why should the reasonably well off benefit from a rich society?” 

Why should the scroungers across the road get these things when I no longer get them?  

Why should the brown people in the scheme across town get fridges when I no longer get child benefit?

This selfish Thatcherisation of our society has been driven by successive Tory and New Labour Governments.  Alastair Darling was a key driver in the privatisation and social security wrecking project.  He controlled the purse strings.  And Cameron’s lackeys in Scotland, the New Labour Party, are only too willing to see this project through.  These people are driving us to foodbanks and back to the days of the “Poor Law” and towards charities housing the poor in workhouses.

Vagabonds, idle and suspected persons shall be set in the stocks for three days and three nights and have none other sustenance but bread and water and then shall be put out of Town. Every beggar suitable to work shall resort to the town where he last dwelled, is best known, or was born and there remain upon the pain aforesaid.”

Move the problem of unemployment around, blame the unemployed for the lack of work, and punish them.  A huge Tory and New Labour tactic that huge amounts of their energies go into, rather than the creation work.

Bale them out of the stream, charge them, beat them and make them feel guilty for being thrown over the bridge by the toll man who only allows the select few to cross, and then throw them in again.

Stealthily stealing your pound: Scottish New Labour Leader, Johann Lamont.

Both Scottish New Labour under Johann Lamont and the Tories have set out to create the same selfish discontent about our universal NHS.  They started with attacking “health tourists” who, despite any substantial evidence, apparently come here and drain our national health service of our pounds. Your pound.  The pound from your pocket. This has led to the announcement that sometime in the future, oversees visitors will be subject to prescription fees and charges for emergency care. And there has also been suggestion that those using the NHS “more than others,” should pay a fee to visit their GP.  The charging at the point of use culture is slowly moving towards you; health to those who can afford it; because the businesses taking over the broken up NHS have to make increasing profit year on year, and if they don’t because too many poor people are sick, then watch out bubbling stream, in you go.

The Labour Party would be wise to remember the words of their great supporter of the NHS Aneurin Bevan from 1952, when the Tories were suggesting such fees back then,  “The whole agitation has a nasty taste. Instead of rejoicing at the opportunity to practice a civilized principle, Conservatives have tried to exploit the most disreputable emotions in this among many other attempts to discredit socialized medicine.”



Some poor souls in that much diminished party do remember, but are powerless to stop big money drain their once great party of human blood and integrity, leaving a grabbing husk of a thing controlled by the self interested and politically ambitious.

Darling and his party comrades have fallen into line behind the division of the vulnerable members of our society into the deserving poor and undeserving poor in order to smash a system that caught all when they needed caught, that benefitted all including the rich, giving us child care, healthcare, social care, and university education. A safe, universal, unbroken society, slowly dismantled for the benefit of the millionaires who, in their press, created the terms “scroungers” and “milking the system…” As Martin McKee said in his superb work, “The assault on universalism: how to destroy the WelfareState,” “By constant repetition they create new forms of word association, constructing a cultural underclass. “Welfare” is invariably associated with “scroungers.” “Bogus” invariably describes “asylum seekers.”

The deficit “must be reduced,” the bankers crisis is being used by the new right consensus of New Labour and Tory alike to pit the now struggling middle classes against these new underclasses.  They socialised the millionaires debts (gave the poor wee rich men welfare. From your pounds.  The pound from your pocket. Into their profit and loss account or offshore account), and are smashing all of the benefits of living in a wealthy, healthy state that can afford to help those who have fallen.  

We are paying for the mess they made (with our pound.  From our pocket), and the poor and the scrounger and the asylum seeker and the undeserving must pay more (with their pennies.  The pennies from their pocket.  The food from their we’ans mouths…).  Remember, Thatcher’s advisors first planted these seeds by terming the very poor who needed our help most as an “underclass.” 

Thatcher... planting the seeds fertilized by Blair, Brown and Darling and now brought to fruition by Cameron.


The attacks from the Better Together audience members during the debate the other night on our free prescription charges and our no university fee’s, was telling.  And more telling, was that Darling just sagely nodded, but said nothing.  The Scots are undeserving.  The English are paying, while the Scots aren’t. Conserve and inflate the Scot’s on English welfare myth.

How dare they.  How dare they suggest the Yes campaign will take the pound from your pocket when they are already pushing to do that. Because Health and Education are some of the very tangible things threatened by the Westminster Right consensus.  Two of the things your children will be forced to pay for.  Because Tories, red or blue, play the long game.  They make investments.  They are investing in impoverishing you further.

Scottish New Labour MP, Margaret Curran who want's to stop Scotland from having the Barnett Formula payments from Westminster - your pounds - no longer in your pockets

And Scottish Labour is a big part of that consensus.  Part of the narrative during the Salmond/Darling debate was that the Scots are being selfish in protecting these things, when they have been taken from the English (by the Tories, with the help of New Labour and the Liberal Democrats).  The English are paying for prescriptions and for university modules.  How selfish the Scots for not wanting to be part of the Tory driven, Labour supported austerity programme!  A programme other countries, most notably our oil producing neighbour Norway, (and the much maligned Iceland) have not followed.



The Westminster parties and the financial interests around them are breaking up our NHS, into smaller parts, to be sold off, bit by bit.  And in England that process is accelerating as legislation down there has made it legally binding that the state gives up its biggest, best asset.  They are re-diverting our taxes to big businesses who will eventually charge us twice for medical care (once from the tax benefits they receive and also at the point of use) and it will all be blamed on the “sub-species” in desperate need. 

Taking your pound twice.  The pound from your pocket.

Those who think a no vote in September will mean our NHS will tick along as it is as we control Health, are burying their heads.  The Barnet formula, worked out using spending in England as a factor, will reduce as the English NHS is broken up and less and less of it is funded publically.  Our NHS will receive less funding as the English begin to pay huge prices for services they once shared socially through taxation and national insurance.  The Scots, after a no vote, will be financially brought back into line. 



The Westminster Right consensus (Darling’s New (Scottish!?) Labour, the Tories and the "Scottish"/ Liberal Democrats) are bullying the poor in order to take away our welfare system.  They are smashing our NHS into smaller bits in order to charge.   Next, they will smash our education system into bits in order for millionaires to make money from other millionaires while the rest of us put up with a leaking, overcrowded, book and pencil poor education system.  The seeds have been sewn by Gove.  And the Labour Party is slowly positioning themselves to agree.

And they will tell us it is for our own good, while they claim expenses for their food and duck houses. Why should each of us pay for the scrounger’s children?  Why should we pay for the refugee escaping war, famine, oppression? Why should my taxes pay for some poor old person to have soup and a comfortable chair as life leaks from her frail body minute by expensive minute?  Caring for these leeches, these sub-species is taking the pound from my pocket. 

MY POUND.

So when they tell you our pound is in danger, our ship industry is in danger, those rats are spending your money on big TV’s, remember, it is them who are taking the money.  It is them who are taking your pound. The pound in your pocket. 

It is them that are placing the toys on the top shelf. 


And it is only a Yes that will make us taller.


Thursday, 31 July 2014

Tales of the Gareloch...

Murder, Hodder and Heisenberg... and UHT milk.

If you haven't already, go listen to a wee "black comedy" I wrote, and Acting strange brought to life as a radio play. 

It started life as a "soap" and as I wrote, it developed into something a wee bit different.  The characters are all based on my experiences and on some people I have met and know, though the actors took some of them in a completely different direction!

If you like "Still Game," some of the scenes are a wee bit on to that, with a slight tinge of bloody murder, and bad language.

What would happen at Faslane if after a Yes, the nukes stay?

A story of camping, tennents lager, gimps and uht milk.

Remember to leave a comment!

theme music by the brilliant Glasgow band, "Tut Vu Vu."

The episodes, five in all, are HERE 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Salmond...

Will he put you off voting Yes in #indyref Will the wallpaper put you off buying the house? Will the inflight meal stop you going to Spain? Will the brussel sprouts put you off Christmas?

When we are independent, we can change the wallpaper.

Salmond is NOT independence.

Do the Tories put you off Westminster? We haven't been able to change them in 50 years.
Thatcherite Tories, Thatcherite UKIP, Thatcherite Lib Dems, Thatcherite New Labour ARE Westminster.

Make your choice.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Walt and Wilf slayed?

Walt and Wilf have been chased from Scottish schools, replaced by "learning intentions," which are dry statements children are taught to recite by unimaginative teachers whose enthusiasm is killing creativity.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Aye?

Can we dae it?
Aye we can!
Can we dae it?
Aye.
Can we dae it?
Who said we cudnae?
Can we dae it?
We'll see.
Can we dae it?
Nae doubt.
Can we dae it?
Ach aye.
Can we dae it?
Ach sure.
Can we dae it?
Why cud we not?
Can we dae it?
Can we not?
Can we dae it?
Are we any different fae them?
Ye cannae dae it.
Who says?
Ye cannae dae it.
Can we not?
Ye cannae do it.
We'll see.
Ye cannae do it.
Ye think so?
You can't do it.
Why not?
You can't do it.
Try us.
You can't do it.
Give us a go.
You can't do it.
Aye we will.
You can't do it.
That's not for you to decide.
You did it?
An' it's not bad, eh?
You did it?
D'ye want tae stay?
You did it.
We did.