Friday, 25 April 2014

Music in the Morning no. 342 – Karl Richter


Bach returns in the guise of Karl Richter playing the harpsichord solo from the 5th Brandenburg concerto. 

Sit back and enjoy.


Harpsichord Solo, Brandenburg Concerto No. 5,D major, BWV 1050


and I did enjoy that.  Exquisite.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Iain Martin: Lost the Plot?


Iain Martin, of the Telegraph, is one of my favourite commentators on Scottish independence, not because I think his analysis is correct but rather because, alongside his stablemate Alan Cochrane, he is guaranteed to raise an unintended smile. 

His latest attempt is brilliant!  Not a smile but a guffaw!  He makes claims so outrageous that I fear for his sanity!

Let’s start with,

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On its own this is bad enough but he continues,

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and then,

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Despite my ROFLMAO, I find it hard to believe that Martin actually believes this crap. 


Are you ill, Ian?  No sane person could actually believe this.  Surely?

Are you desperate?

Take a couple of days months off.


Rather than being a concern, that you write in such a way is a boost.  You confirm what we can all see and feel.  You know that ‘Yes’ is on the march to a likely win and you are desperate and you have nowhere to go but smear, smear and more smear.  Yet you have the gall to say of the other side,

they scream “bluster” and  “smear” 

but you describe yourself perfectly.

Thanks, Iain. 

Music in the Morning No. 341 – Monteverdi


Let your ears receive this offering and let your heart be touched.

The video’s description says,

Lamento della ninfa is the 18th piece from Monteverdi's eighth book of madrigals (Madrigali guerrieri ed amorosi, 1638). The three male voices narrate the story and offer empathy to the nymph while she is lamenting over her abandonment. This movement of the madrigal is a beautiful example for Phrygian progression with the ostinato of its bass line in four descending notes all the way through. The inner turmoil and sorrow of the nymph is mirrored in the music by the melodic and harmonic dissonances.

I don’t understand much of that but I understand what is important: the music reaches my soul.

Lamento della Ninfa                                                      Claudio Monteverdi


Thanks, Claudio!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Music in the Morning No. 340 – Birdy


This morning a 17 year old says hello.  Jasmine van den Bogaerde, Birdy, brings you ‘Words as Weapons’.


Words as Weapons                                                                         Birdy


I think there’s much more to come from Birdy.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Another Tom, Tom …..


  ….., the piper's son,
Stole a pig, and away did run;
The pig was eat
And Tom was beat,
And Tom went crying
Down the street.


This Tom - for the first Tom read here -  is Tom Gallacher whose mini-bio in the Telegraph says,

Tom Gallagher spent 32 years teaching politics and casting doubt on seductive cure-alls from European integration to Scottish Nationalism. He is professor emeritus of Bradford University and has published eleven books on European politics.

I’ve never met Tom but he seems a tad prone to exaggeration and that is seen to perfection in his current blog on the Telegraph.  Others will, no doubt, critique his efforts much more fully and eloquently than I (eg see Derek Bateman – here and here - who is criticised by Gallacher).  I make do with just a few lines.

The headline and strap are,

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I could stop here and let that headline define Tom but his first paragraph shows the mind-set of this rabid anti-SNP professor.

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Tom, I’m ROFLMAO.  I trust your article was satirical!  Wasn’t it?

No!  Then I’m ROFLMFAO

Tom, Tom ….



  ….., the piper's son,
Stole a pig, and away did run;
The pig was eat
And Tom was beat,
And Tom went crying
Down the street.


Tom Morton in today’s Guardian writes a disappointing piece; disappointing not because he argues for the continuation of the union but because the article is so poor.

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I pick up on 3 points:

-  references to the Balkans and fascism

-  his comments on ‘civic nationalism’

-  his loose language about the legitimacy of various governments


Balkans and Fascism

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Tom, you know that there is nothing within the pro-independence campaign or within the SNP which is remotely close to the nationalism of the Balkans or to fascism.  That you even raise this demeans you much, much more than those you intend to tar.


Civic Nationalism

The pic above is the start of Morton’s few words on civic nationalism.  He completes with,

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See what you’ve done there, Tom.  You say it’s wrong to set the Scottish border, any border even, as the break point for civic nationalism but then in the very next sentence you use the British border to define your civic nationalism.

Scottish border  -  wrong

British border    -  right

Is that not hypocritical, Tom?   Or did you not notice the flaw?


Government Legitimacy

You start by saying,

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I can agree with you here but then you lose it.  You question the legitimacy of the current Scottish government.

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You question because the SNP has a majority of seats in the Scottish Parliament but with less than 50% of the vote and then you question more by saying the turnout was 50%. 

Tom, do you want to turn the clock back to the 1979 referendum’s 40% rule where those who didn’t vote were deemed to have voted ‘No’? 

With that 45.4% and 44.0% of the Scottish vote (constituency and regional list) the SNP gained 53% of the seats whereas the Labour party (with 31% and 26%) gained 28% of the  seats. [Source

But let’s look at the Labour vote in Scotland in UK elections. I looked at all elections going back to 1970.  The only occasion that the Labour party got more than 45.4% was in 1997 (with 45.7) but how closely did the number of seats reflect the votes cast.  This doesn’t look good for your case, Tom!


Year %age Vote %age Seats %age
2010 42 69 64
2005 39 69 61
2001 43 78 58
1997 45.6 78 71


Hey Tom, if you question the SNP’s legitimacy I’d expect you to damn these results which show gross over-representation of the Labour party. 

Do you?

Don’t be silly!

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[highlighting is mine]

Huh!  A blatant untruth!

You buried yourself there, Tom.  A bit of honesty, just a wee bit of honesty, was needed but you couldn’t do it.  When honesty is lost, credibility is lost too.

You’re not honest, Tom!

You’re not credible, Tom!


But then most of the No campaign would suit the same description.

Music in the Morning No. 339 – The Roches


Maggie, Terry and Suzzy bring you their lovely harmonies.  I found them in the mid-70s only to lose them for almost 40 years.  Here they are  but note the audio is very hissy.

Hammond Song                                                                     The Roches


Different!   But really, really good.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Music in the Morning No. 338 – 5 Hand Reel


This morning I bring you a powerful Scots ballad, ‘The Bonnie Earl o’ Moray’,  which is believed to date from the 17th century.  5 Hand Reel, including Dick Gaughan, produce a magical performance.


I’ve appended the words after the video but if you want chapter and verse on the Bonnie Earl then please visit Murder Ballad Monday which has an excellent article on ‘The King, the Queen, her lover and his death - The Bonnie Earl of Moray’.



The Bonnie Earl o’ Moray                                                         5 Hand Reel


The Bonnie Earl o’ Moray

Ye Hielans and ye Lawlans
O whaur hae ye been
Thae hae slain the Earl o' Moray
And they've laid him on the green
He wis a braw callant
An' he played at the ba'
O the bonnie Earl o' Moray
He wis the flo'er among them a'
An' lang may his ladie
Look ower frae Castle Doune
Ere she sees the Earl o' Moray
Come soundin through the toun

O woe betide ye Huntly
And whaurfore did ye say
O a bade ye bring him tae me
But forbade ye him tae slay
He wis a braw callant
And he played at the ring
O the bonnie Earl o’ Moray
He micht hae bin a king
Lang may his ladie
Look ower frae Castle Doune
Ere she sees the Earl o' Moray
Come soundin through the toun

Ye Hielans and ye Lawlans
O whaur hae ye been
Aye they've slain the Earl o' Moray
And they've laid him on the green
He wis a braw callant
An' he played at the glove
Aye the bonnie Earl o Moray
He wis the Queen's true love
An' lang may his ladie
Look ower frae Castle Doune
Ere she sees the Earl o' Moray
Come soundin through the toun


Sunday, 20 April 2014

Music in the Morning No. 337 - Praise the Lord


Lift up your hearts this Easter Sunday morning to the glorious words of John Wesley.


Christ The Lord Is Risen Today        Choir of King’s College, Cambridge

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Music in the Morning No. 336 – Rob Ickes


Top picking greets you this morning with top dobro player, Rob Ickes, with Andy Leftwich on mandolin.

Angeline the Baker                                                                       Rob Ickes


My fingers are sore just thinking about what’s involved in this.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Archer Should Bow Out


I’ve read so many trashy anti-independence articles but I’ve just come across one which is off the scale.  Graeme Archer writes, I exaggerate his skills, in tonight’s online Telegraph here.

In the article, Archer describes himself as a commentator and in his profile as a professional statistician.  Stick to statistics, Graeme.  Any commentator who claims as you do that,

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is either ignorant or deliberately telling lies. 

Which is it, Graeme?   Do tell us but not in another article: that would be too much.

You use “nationalist” pejoratively.  That’s standard practice for those who favour the retention of the union but you’re a nationalist too, just for a different country.  Your nation is the UK.  From your ‘writing’ you feel as strongly about your nation as Alex Salmond, and I use him only because you do, does for his.

I have no problem with your being a UK nationalist but I do have a problem that you don’t accept that you are a nationalist.  It’s strange that, isn’t it Graeme, that those who favour the union don’t see themselves as nationalists.

You’re such a strong UK nationalist that you fear independence because,

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You really are a poor wee soul, Graeme. 

You’re a nationalist and won’t admit it.

You are either ignorant or you lie.

You are a commentator who can’t commentate.

Stick to the statistics, Graeme.  I’m sure you’re better off there.  Statistics don’t understand nationality either.

Music in the Morning No. 335 – Michael Marra


…… Robert Burns.


Green Grow the Rashes                                                   Michael Marra



A guid Scots voice with brilliant Scots words.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

‘I’ve Never Understood’: Ruth Davidson


I’ve never understood’  [Ruth Davidson, Good Morning Scotland, 16/4/14: from 01:08:34 in]

Thanks, Ruth!  How refreshing to hear an honest politician!  I know it’s hard to believe, especially so of a Tory, but it’s true.  Perhaps soon we’ll see honesty become a political virtue but I won’t hold my breath.

Ruth was talking about the disparity in school performance  - getting 3As or more at Highers - between pupils from homes in the top and bottom income bands.  In Edinburgh, for example, the poorest 20% were 20 times less likely to achieve 3As than the richest 20%; in Dundee 10 times and in Glasgow 5 times.  With no evidence she blame comprehensive education suggesting that we should be open to initiatives from outside Scotland including these practised by the UK’s Tory government.

I wonder who or what she blames for the difference in life expectancy, health, unemployment?


But what had Ruth never understood?

I've never understood why local authorities are in charge of schools.  I've never understood that the body that takes out our bins – councils – are in charge of teaching our children.

Let me explain, Ruth. 

It’s not the same people. The binmen don’t teach and the teachers don’t empty bins.  Different departments have authority for bins and teaching.  It’s a bit like the UK government although our local authorities, despite lapses, have more compassion.  You know that nutter, Michael Gove?  Well, he’s responsible for the education in England and a fine mess he’s making of it too. But it’s a different nutter who’s in charge of the Department of Work and Pensions and a massive mess been made there too.  See, Ruth.  Same government but different nutters.  It’s yet another different nutter from the same government who’s in charge of health in England.

Have you got it?  Do you understand? 

You do! 

Another day I might explain poverty.  I guess you’ve never understood that either.

Music in the Morning No. 334 - C-M Widor


I hope your probably awake because you are about to be blasted with fabulous organ music.  Peter van de Velde plays ‘Mattheus-Final’ from Charles-Marie Widor’s ‘Bach’s Memento’.

Are you ready?   [Note: Music starts 38secs in]

Mattheus-Final (Bach’s Memento)                          Peter Van de Velde

[Antwerp Cathedral]


I’m still ’wowing’ at this although I’ve heard it about 10 times in only a couple of days.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Music in the Morning No. 333 - Collabro


Britain’s Got Talent greets you this fine morning.  On this year’s first audition show – on TV only 4 days ago – were Collabro, a group of 5 young men who had only been together as a group for about 1 month.  But I make no apology for bringing them to you.

[Note: the video id 6min 40sec but the song finishes at about 3m 35s, the rest is taken up with applause, judges’ comments and votes.]

Enjoy Collabro as they sing ‘Stars’ from Les Miserables.


Stars                                                                                              Collabro


Whatever else they do (or don’t do) in their career they have given us a wonderful performance.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

No More to Say!



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Music in the Morning No. 332 – Luigi Boccherini


This morning welcomes you with music of the night …. but what music!

Musica notturna delle strade di Madrid -  Opus 30 No. 6 (G. 324)’ (Night Music of the Streets of Madrid) was written in 1780 (abt) for stringed quintet - 2 violins, cello and two violoncellos - but much more than this the piece is 12 minutes plus of gloriously wonderful music.

There are seven short movements whose descriptions (thank you, Wiki) and timings are,

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[Apologies for using a pic above.  Livewriter wouldn’t give a properly aligned table]



Musica notturna delle strade di Madrid                      Luigi Boccherini


This was much longer than I normally use bit I hope you felt it worth the effort.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Polly Toynbee: Chance to Clarify – Missed


As has been widely reported on the web (pro-independence sites, at least), Polly Toynbee made comments which have created a stir [See WoS and No Jocks Please, We’re British’].  I asked her to clarify, an opportunity which she didn’t take.

What caused the original ruckus?

On Sunday Politics London, Toynbee said,

…..  After we have the Scottish referendum it's quite clear that Scotland, one way or another, will be moving further away.  I don't think you could have ….. a leader of a national party being a Scot. ….’

After Andrew Neil interjected she continued,

‘…. I think a Scottish constituency as a leader of a national party would now be too difficult or indeed to hold a lot of the great offices of state.’

I can understand,  but don’t agree with, the logic which I believe lies behind her comments and so I gave her a chance to clarify her views.  In a short exchange of emails she wrote 5 sentences in total in reply to my two quite lengthy messages.  I’ve put my emails at the end and Toynbee’s replies are below,

Yes, an MP for a Scottish constituency can certainly be Foreign or  Defence secretary or DWP or any non-devolved role. But not say, health or education, or universities or care etc. So I think being leader, but not with a credible role in those key areas would be difficult. I suspect Brown will be the last.


Well, it does concern me. Just as the West Lothian question does too. These may not be resolvable in an altogether logical way and we shall just muddle along. Douglas Alexander will be a fine Foreign Sec – [sic]


The opportunity was there to give us some insight into her thoughts but, unfortunately, she decided not to go there AND she ignored almost all my questions, one of which was asked twice.


She is concerned ….. but about what I do not know.



My original email (sent 23.48 13 April)

I'm interested in your comments, made on Sunday Politics London on 13 April, about it being too difficult for an MP from a Scottish constituency to lead one of the UK national parties or to hold some of the great offices of state.

You said (my best attempt at transcribing your words),

As for Danny Alexander you'll not possibly have a Scot ..... After the …..  After we have the Scottish referendum it's quite clear that Scotland, one way or another, will be moving further away.  I don't think you could have the leader of a national, do you think so, a leader of a national party being a Scot.  I don't mean we'll be sending them home.

After Andrew Neil interjected you continued,

Oh, indeed, absolutely.  I don't think a Scottish constituency as a leader of a national party would now be too difficult or indeed to hold a lot of the great offices of state.

I'm interested in why you believe this.

In what way would "Scotland ..... be moving further away"?

What particular offices of state should be beyond Scottish constituency MPs?

What you suggest seems to go way beyond, in the opposite direction, the unfairness of Scottish constituency MPs being able to vote on rUK matters which are devolved to Scotland.  I understand it is Scottish MPs from the UK national parties who vote on such matters, the SNP MPs abstaining.

After a No vote in the independence referendum, Scotland would still be in the Union, would have its devolved administration and UK national parties would operate in Scotland.  This is the situation which has pertained since the Scottish Parliament re-opened in 1999. 

Why then should there be the two restrictions you suggest?

Even if Scotland were 'moving further away', why should this prevent a Scottish constituency MP from leading his/her national party?

Would you see it possible for a Scottish constituency MP to hold office for a UK department whose responsibilities were not devolved to the Scottish Parliament?

I hope you are able to reply in which case please accept my thanks.  If it was inappropriate to contact you then please accept my apologies.


My second email (sent 10.49 14 April)

Thank you for your very prompt reply - you must be very busy -  but if I may ask five more short questions.

In what way would "Scotland ..... be moving further away" in the event of a No vote?

I understand the logic of your position but, as always, it is the implications and perceptions which play loudest.

Following through on your views, is it not the case that the leader of a UK national party and, therefore the Prime Minister, must be an English constituency MP, given that there are devolved administrations in the other 3 countries? 

Does it concern you that one country, albeit by far the largest, would have a 'lock down' on these roles?

Does it concern you that a Scottish constituency MP with ambitions for high office would have to move to England?

The perception, I suspect, amongst many will be that Scottish constituency MPs are second tier politicians because there is now a 'glass ceiling' separating them from their (possible) ambitions.  Does this concern you?

Music in the Morning No. 331 – Sam Bush


Lovely lightweight music welcomes you into this new morn.


Eight More Miles to Louisville                                                 Sam Bush

[with Stephen Mougin]

Bet you were tapping away!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Music in the Morning No. 330 – Praise the Lord



Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart



Before the Throne of God Above                                   Lou Fellingham



One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Saviour and my God!
With Christ my Saviour and my God!