The World This Year

A long time ago, I purchased a copy of Hamish McRae’s The World in 2020 from a Largs bookshop. It was originally published in 1994 (paperback 1995), so 2020 seemed very far into the future for teenage Aly, eager for all the technological and scientific marvels promised by such a distance. While teen Aly was initially disappointed with the lack of Martian colonies, helper robots and public teleportation systems, I found myself dipping in time and again for the more sociological & economic insights – especially when it came to Scotland.

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Wretched Things

We men are wretched things, and the gods, who have no cares themselves, have woven sorrow into the very pattern of our lives.
– Achilles, The Iliad

For whatever reason, the people behind the theft of our democracy wanted us all to share, comment, & get very worked up about this video, from a TV programme that came out seven years ago. That this should be amplified so widely now rather than any point in the last seven years immediately puts me on edge.

I’m not a classical scholar by any means: my use of a Latin quotation from an Ancient Roman source in this site’s header is merely because I prefer, when possible, to use the original source – one not obscured by the unavoidable bias of translation. I’m deeply suspicious of people who overuse (or improperly use) certain words & phrases from dead languages, which you’d think would put me at odds with my great appreciation for history & classical scholarship. As expected, there was a clamouring of “he’s rambling,” “gibberish,” “terrible pronunciation,” and whatnot, while others responded with “actually not bad,” “brilliant,” “didn’t understand a word of it but it was highly entertaining.” For the most part, to my immense frustration, the vast majority of comments on either side were deeply unhelpful – mostly pronouncements of credentials (“I’m an ancient Greek scholar & what he said was nonsense/flawless”) without anyone providing something that would be useful – like, say, providing the bit of the Illiad he was speaking, saying why it was nonsense/flawless, old-fashioned stuff like evidence, you know. You’re just expected to believe them because they said so, rather than because they prove their case forensically. That it was both sides doing this shows why we’re in this mess.

I find the whole episode highly instructive on many levels.

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The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Scottish peoples’ mandate for a second independence referendum has been reinforced for a fourth time. The SNP had their second best general election result in the party’s 80-plus-year history. Ronnie Cowan, elected to represent Inverclyde for a third time, has increased his majority – and joins 47 other pro-independence MPs. 81% of Scottish MPs – 1 in 5 – is pro-independence. That’s more than the 1918 General Election result in Ireland which preceded the Republic of Ireland.

Anyone who says that the SNP have no mandate for an independence referendum (not even outright independence negotiations, the mere democratic exercise of a referendum) is, to put it bluntly, either lying or stupid.

UK General Election 2019 Results

Meanwhile, England has descended further into the abyss. Aided and abetted by “moderates” and “centrists” who act as midwives for the unspeakable in the name of “reason”; enabled by an establishment who refuses to take the direct action needed to stop this assault on our collective freedoms; facilitated by a “neutral” state media who had one of the architects of the lawbreaking EU referendum on as an election night pundit.

It really is like some sort of nightmare, isn’t it?

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Independence Until Independence

Given the SNP is a national party campaigning in a variety of different constituencies, it understandable – if deeply frustrating – that each constituency will take a different path. Why would you campaign on dairy rural reform in Springburn, or North Sea fisheries legislation in Wanlochead? A general election focuses as much on local issues as it does wider areas. So I can understand (if clench my teeth with no little grating) that some candidates in some parts of Scotland do not put the party’s reason for existance front and centre of their personal election campaign.

An argument could be made – and goodness knows Scottish Independence’s enemies make the argument often enough – that the SNP are so synonymous with independence, there’s simply no need to even mention the “i” word. Blue, Orange, and Red Rosettes can pull their double-act of claiming the SNP simultaneously don’t want independence at all while also wanting independence at all costs, a performance that would have even Janus spinning, while the SNP can justifiably promote their successes in policy.

But, as we all surely know by now, these are frightening times. People are fearful of the future to a degree I haven’t seen – hoped to never see again – since those dark days of the late 20th Century, before the ends of the Troubles and the Cold War dashed some cold reason into the faces of our planet’s leaders. The people want what none of the UK parties are actually offering – certainty, security, confidence, hope. They need more than even fairly unambiguous shibboleths for independence like “Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands,” “Scotland’s right to choose,” or the like. And for some, the SNP’s focus on stopping the UK from leaving the EU, defensible as it may be, is not where they want the party’s primary focus to lie.

But incumbent MPs like Ronnie Cowan, Patricia Gibson, Philippa Whitford, Chris Law, Stephen Gethins, Stewart Hosie, Tommy Sheppard, Stewart McDonald, and candidates like Stephen Flynn & Owen Thompson (among others) certainly found space for the “i” word:

That’s why I’m voting SNP in Inverclyde, without any hesitation, without anything holding me back – because, when the chips are down, and when all the policy and politics are stripped away, I know that the SNP candidate for Inverclyde is down in Westminster for one purpose and one purpose only.

 

This election has been a nightmare for so many of us, and unless we get ourselves out of bed tomorrow morning, that nightmare won’t end anytime soon. Scotland needs to wake up.

A Week for Walking Worms

This is a Velvet Worm. It’s the cutest worm I can find.

A week to go for the third UK General Election since 2015, and I suspect a great number of folk in the isles are sick to death of them all. They’re sick of an incumbent Prime Minister who seems incapable of telling the truth; they’re sick of an opposition that should be wiping the floor with the most evil government in living memory; they’re sick of the Third Party promising change who they know, deep down, will happily facilitate the evil government for the price of a ministerial role. And even in Scotland, where the First Minister is widely considered not just the best, but the only serious politician in every debate – by newspaper readers, commentators, many folk down south, even the BBC – we Scots seem determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

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It Ain’t Effectively So

The SNP’s newest councillor has been criticised over a £600 “telephone and ICT” expenses bill.

Anne McTaggart, who defected from Labour to the SNP last week, incurred costs nearly fifteen times higher than her colleagues…

McTaggart was a Labour MSP between 2011 and 2016 before she was effectively deselected by party members.

– Paul Hutcheon, 6th November 2019

So sayeth Paul Hutcheon in his ongoing Saga of the Evil Provost, as serialised in the Daily Record. I have highlighted the curious phrase “effectively deselected.” Deselected would suggest a fairly matter-of-fact presentation of the process: that the membership was unhappy with Ms McTaggart, & undertook the established deselection process: effectively deselected, on the other hand, suggests that her deselection came about by somewhat less conventional means. I wonder if anyone could elaborate on that?

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