Saturday, 19 July 2014

A man Of Independent Mind.




In just under two months the people of Scotland will vote Yes or No in a referendum asking if they want independence from the UK . As you would expect, it's dominating the political agenda here. Britain's three main political parties; Labour, Conservative and Lib – Dem  have united in an uneasy alliance for this one issue to campaign against separation despite vastly different  political positions.  The campaign to vote Yes  is led by the SNP,  the Scottish National Party, who control the devolved government in Scotland but it also includes voices from other political parties, including increasing numbers of renegades from the Scottish Labour Party acting with their conscience against the wish of their Westminster masters. 

The two different camps have vastly different ideas about what an independent Scotland would look like. In the No campaign’s independent Scotland nothing will work: we can’t use the pound, afford pensions, a welfare system or health service, we will lose investment and businesses will leave, there will be border controls and passport checks between Scotland and the South, we will be outside the EU and it will be difficult and expensive to rejoin, taxes will be higher and food more expensive. Every man and child will be £1400 a year worse off. In short everything will be worse. They've done everything but claim the oxygen will leave.

On the other hand, the Yes campaign takes a different view where we have plenty of money and resources to afford spending on pensions and health, on justice and welfare. We will have an oil fund to provide for a safer future, we will be rid of nuclear weapons, use the pound and be welcomed into the EU with open arms, we will have a wealthy, socially just society where there is equality, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit by the bucket load and we live in social, cultural and economic partnership with the rest of Britain.. Our national football team will win the World Cup. (Okay – that one’s just me)

 But these are pictures painted by politicians and you'd be a fool if you believed them completely.

The response by the media has been interesting. One Scottish broadsheet newspaper has come out wholly in favour of the yes campaign while the majority of the others espouse neutrality yet publish more stories supporting no than yes. The BBC in Scotland struggles to resist the establishment’s endorsement of the status quo and maintain objectivity while in the South the issue is largely ignored and underreported. Populist newspapers often see the referendum in bemused stereotyped terms of "Why do they hated us so much" or "those bloody jocks are it again", as if we all have on kilts and have freshly painted our faces with woad and are ready to charge southward waving our claymores as we scream "FREEDOM!"

In two months time I will vote yes to independence and to separate from the United Kingdom. To be more accurate perhaps, I will vote to separate from political union with the United Kingdom. I don't hate the English. I don't hate England, Wales or Northern Ireland. I am and always will be proud to be both Scottish and British but we are different. I am increasingly uncomfortable and unhappy with the direction in which our society is going led by Westminster. This direction doesn't represent the wish of the Scottish people and hasn't done for generations. The Scottish electorate has traditionally voted centre left politically while England, particularly the South of England has voted centre-right. In all of my adult life Scotland has never had the government it voted for. We’ve never determined our own future or the kind of society we can be.

 I want that. Pretty damned badly.

But I'm just one person and no matter what my point of view is or how strong my belief in our potential and our abilities, I live in a democracy and there are other options possible. No matter how we vote in two months time I hope that the debate we are having now helps bring us all to better understand our differences, our strengths and weaknesses and above all the opportunity and choices we have to make this country a better place to live for everybody in it.

If we have nothing more, surely we deserve nothing less

 

Sunday, 13 July 2014

The Sunday Posts 2014/ Madrigal




Dedicated with love to Leonard and Karen who were married on Saturday. About time guys!

When the dragons grow too mighty
To slay with pen or sword
I grow weary of the battle
And the storm I walk toward
When all around is madness
And there's no safe port in view
I long to turn my path homeward
To stop a while with you

When life becomes as barren
And as cold as winter skies
There's a beacon in the darkness
In a distant pair of eyes
In vain to search for order
In vain to search for truth
But these things can still be given
Your love has shown me proof

Words by Rush


Sunday, 6 July 2014

The Sunday Posts 2014/If I should fall behind



We said we'd walk together baby come what may
That come the twilight should we lose our way
If as we're walking a hand should slip free
I'll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me

We swore we'd travel darlin' side by side
We'd help each other stay in stride
But each lover's steps fall so differently
But I'll wait for you
And if I should fall behind
Wait for me

Now everyone dreams of a love lasting and true
But you and I know what this world can do
So let's make our steps clear that the other may see
And I'll wait for you
If I should fall behind
Wait for me

Now there's a beautiful river in the valley ahead
There 'neath the oak's bough soon we will be wed
Should we lose each other in the shadow of the evening trees
I'll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me
Darlin' I'll wait for you
Should I fall behind
Wait for me

Bruce Springsteen.
Photo by Alistair

Sunday, 29 June 2014

The Sunday Posts 2014/Rondeau Redouble





There are so many kinds of awful men —
One can’t avoid them all. She often said
She’d never make the same mistake again:
She always made a new mistake instead.

The chinless type who made her feel ill-bred;
The practised charmer, less than charming when
He talked about the wife and kids and fled —
There are so many kinds of awful men.

The half-crazed hippy, deeply into Zen,
Whose cryptic homilies she came to dread;
The fervent youth who worshipped Tony Benn —
‘One can’t avoid them all,’ she often said.

The ageing banker, rich and overfed,
Who held forth on the dollar and the yen —
Though there were many more mistakes ahead,
She’d never make the same mistake again.

The budding poet, scribbling in his den
Odes not to her but to his pussy, Fred;
The drunk who fell asleep at nine or ten —
She always made a new mistake instead.

And so the gambler was at least unwed
And didn’t preach or sneer or wield a pen
Or hoard his wealth or take the Scotch to bed.
She’d lived and learned and lived and learned but then
There are so many kinds.

Wendy Cope.
Photo By Alistair.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

the Sunday Posts 2014/After the Lunch.




On Waterloo Bridge, where we said our goodbyes,
The weather conditions bring tears to my eyes.
I wipe them away with a black woolly glove
And try not to notice I’ve fallen in love.

On Waterloo Bridge I am trying to think:
This is nothing. You’re high on the charm and the drink.
But the juke-box inside me is playing a song
That says something different. And when was it wrong?

On Waterloo Bridge with the wind in my hair
I am tempted to skip. You’re a fool. I don’t care.
The head does its best but the heart is the boss —
I admit it before I am halfway across.

Wendy Cope.
Photo By Alistair.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

The Sunday Posts 2014/ The Spirit Of D-Day.



As I watched the service of commemoration the other day one of the commentators said "As these events will soon pass from living memory as these men are lost, we shall perhaps never see their like again."

 That may be true.

 I pray the world never needs their like again.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Sunday Posts 2014/I know why the caged bird sings

Maya Angelou 1928 - 2014

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Poem: Maya Angelou

Sunday, 25 May 2014

The Sunday Posts 2014/ Expect Nothing.




Expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.
become a stranger
To need of pity
Or, if compassion be freely
Given out
Take only enough
Stop short of urge to plead
Then purge away the need.

Wish for nothing larger
Than your own small heart
Or greater than a star;
Tame wild disappointment
With caress unmoved and cold
Make of it a parka
For your soul.

Discover the reason why
So tiny human midget
Exists at all
So scared unwise
But expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.       

Alice Walker
Photo By Alistair.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

The Sunday Posts 2014/ Prows O Reekie




O wad this braw hie-heapit toun
Sail aff like an enchanted ship,
Drift owre the warld's seas up and doun,
And kiss wi' Venice lip to lip,
Or anchor into Naples' Bay
A misty island far astray
Or set her rock to Athens' wa',
Pillar to pillar, stane to stane,
The cruikit spell o' her backbane,
Yon shadow-mile o' spire and vane,
Wad ding them a', wad ding them a'!
Cadiz wad tine the admiralty
O' yonder emerod fair sea,
Gibraltar frown for frown exchange
Wi' Nigel's crags at elbuck-range,
The rose-red banks o' Lisbon make
Mair room in Tagus for her sake.
A hoose is but a puppet-box
To keep life's images frae knocks,
But mannikins scrieve oot their sauls
Upon its craw-steps and its walls;
Whaur hae they writ them mair sublime
Than on yon gable-ends o' time?

Lewis Spence
Photo by Alistair.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

The Sunday Posts2014.OCD




This week something a little different. The poem is therefore a video. I hope you like it as much as I did.