Friday, 29 August 2014

Authoritarian Scotland

Have all of you read Kenneth Roy’s article ‘We are sleepwalking into an authoritarian Scotland' in this week’s Scottish Review?  If not here’s the link.  It’s essential reading.

I’m not going to dwell on the content because most of you know my feelings about ‘Evidence2Success.

What angers me most about this latest development is the duplicity of my own council Perth and Kinross, Angus council and others who are participating willingly in this appalling intrusion into family life.  Do these people truly believe that changing the name of one of their pet projects will make it more acceptable to  the parents of the children involved and also the wider society?

I have contacted my MSP to express my disgust at this programme being continued.  

Unfortunately the Scottish Government have complete control of education and therefore voting No in the referendum will not alter the situation. All of us need to protest loudly and tell our political representatives that this policy is not acceptable in this country.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

And The Winner Was ...

The winner of last night’s debate was Alex Salmond, without a shadow of doubt.

I was critical of his last television performance and was delighted to see the return of his excellent debating skills.  While Darling stuttered and stammered over his scripted answers (or non-answers in most cases), Salmond embraced each question with enthusiasm.

In true Salmond style he cornered Darling with his responses regarding the NHS, the currency, child poverty, oil and nuclear weapons on the Clyde.  Darling was hampered by the fact the No Campaign only has Project Fear.

I read somewhere a comment which stated ‘Best line of the night from Darling was “we do not need to divide these islands into separate states in order to assert our Scottish identity”’.  Let me return to my Scandinavian friends.  None calls themselves Scandinavian. Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish is their identity and that is how it should be.  In my 68 years I’m never called myself British and I will refuse to do so until my dying day.

Independence is not about Scottish identity - it never has been - it’s about self determination and choice.

Darling is tainted by his pro-WMD, pro-privatisation and association with the big parties at Westminster.  The greatest fear of the No Campaign is that should the vote be Yes, then a majority in England will start to campaign for an independent England.  I will support them.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Home Sweet Home

I had a wee sojourn to Englandshire this past weekend. The purpose of my trip was to hear the superb young tenor Jonathan Antoine sing. Unfortunately the concert was in Porthcawl, South Wales, though we managed to meet up with family enroute for a couple of hours.

My time was limited and it was decided the journey would have to be no longer than 48 hours.  Little did I realise, although I did some research on English motorway conditions, that we would be driving or stationary for 23 of these hours.

The trip to the border was a breeze, although there wasn’t enough to turn any of these white carbuncles which intrude upon our wonderful landscapes.  During the 500 miles journey I saw only 5 turbines moving. (The 5 is not a typing error).

However, this post is not about wind farms, but about the state of one of the main arteries between Scotland and England.

No sooner had we crossed the border at Gretna when we were held up for 95 minutes.  No explanation appeared on these overhead gantries. It was a local radio announcement that gave us minimal information.  

Once we passed the accident (a car had hit the central reservation barrier but there was no ambulance present so it didn’t appear as if there were any serious injuries involved), we thought ‘full steam ahead now’.  I realise it’s fatal to think positively on England’s motorways. Ten miles further on saw us grinding to another halt.  The problem this time was roadworks.  From that northerly part of the M6 to Bristol on the M5, 40% of the journey involved roadworks; all of which had a speed limit of 40 or 50 mph.  A journey which should have taken around 8-9 hours turned into a nightmare taking nearly 14 hours.  Our average speed was around 35mph I calculated.  

Here in Scotland another Forth road bridge is being built to ensure our traffic flows.  A solid infrastructure is essential to the prosperity of a country.  With the exception of the small section of toll motorway in the Midlands, the M6 and M5 have never been altered since their construction. With nose to tail traffic for hundreds of miles, is it any wonder the economy is in dire straights?  (I don’t believe Osborne’s predictions that it is improving).  Much of the traffic was commercial.  

Of course the greenies want us all to sell our cars and use public transport, but I would have had to change trains four times to get to Porthcawl and then pay taxi fares to reach my destination and the cost was much more than travelling by car.  That was on paper.  In reality our fuel costs nearly doubled because of the miles of nose to tail stop/start conditions.

When crossing the border on the return journey I was never more delighted to see the sign ‘Scotland’ and breathed a big sigh of pleasure.  Should I ever have to travel to the south/south west again I will fly, but right at this moment I’d be quite happy never to return further south than Penrith.

Why do people in England tolerate such poor roads?  It would seem the greenies, with their public transport policies, have won.  I’m sure those travelling on the buses I often saw alongside us, may have had different opinions.

The concert was wonderful by the way and worth the journey.  When this young man’s solos album is released in October, I think he will take the world by storm.  Quite probably this was the last time he would perform in a small, intimate concert hall and that’s why I was so determined to be there.  Vast arenas, in which the performers are the size of matchsticks, aren’t for me no matter how big the stage video screens. 

Friday, 8 August 2014

A Brief History of the Pound

Found on Facebook the other day, I thought this may interest some of you.  Haven’t checked the historical facts avidly, but from my limited knowledge, they seem fairly accurate.  Click image to enlarge as usual.

Editor’s note to JRB :  Could you please email me as I have some, hopefully pleasing, news for you.  Email address over there > >  Thanks.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Was There A Winner?

 I have yet to watch the whole STV broadcast of the debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling, but what little I did see I found disappointing.

The other day I read Alex Salmond had ‘been taking lessons in delivery technique’ and I expect the leader of the Better Together campaign received similar tuition.  But the question is was it worthwhile?

Alistair Darling appeared to be his usual self -  just managing to stay slightly above the ‘boring’ threshold.  (The part of the programme I did see last night was when the currency for an independent Scotland was discussed.)

What was wrong with Alex Salmond?  I’ve heard him speak several times over the years and was always left feeling reinvigorated in my desire for  Scotland’s independence but last night Mr Salmond seemed to be sedated.  Where was his passion?  Where was his conviction? Surely he knew that Darling would push the ‘Plan B’ issue.  I was prepared for a feisty response, but was left feeling disappointed.

The currency issue matters a great deal to many of my friends.  It’s their main reason for swithering and I was hoping they would be more assured once Alex Salmond explained his policy last night.  Hope wasn’t enough.  I felt deflated.  His responses were adequate but lacked the usual Salmond persuasiveness.

It’s probably quite unfair of me to judge the debate on a 20 minute section, but currency is one of the most crucial elements of any country’s ability to stand alone.

There have been rumours over the years that Alex Salmond suffers badly from back problems.  Yesterday could just have been ‘one of those days’.  Unfortunately, the public are fickle and make no allowances for bad days.  

Then again, it crossed my mind he was over-rehearsed.  That can lead to a flat delivery.

What did you make of it?  Apologies to those of you outside Scotland who were unable to view it. For ITV to assume there would be no interest outwith Scotland is arrogant - to say the least.

Here is Craig Murray’s assessment of the programme.  Once I’ve watched all of it I’ll probably more or less agree with him.

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