Friday, 28 February 2014

Open Letter to David Cameron (from 2009)

 

In 2009 I wrote open letters here to Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Alex Salmond.  Yesterday, despite my pro-independence stance, I reposted my letter to Salmond. 

Today I repost my letter to David Cameron.  Were I composing this today I’d write a very different letter.  My abhorrence of many of their policies has increased markedly, if such a thing is possible.

Dear Davie,

You will have been expecting this letter, possibly dreading would be better, given the advice I gave Gordon a few days ago but you can rest easy.  You are a much harder target to hit, a bit like Teflon Tony used to be, but I’ll have a few shots along the way.  My hope is not so much to damage you, although that would be a bonus, as to help you make the right decisions for the country.

I must admit that I’m disappointed in you in several ways.  Firstly, you have been too successful: you have made your party electable – damn! – but this is a selfish view on my part.  Many, I know, will be delighted to see a Conservative government. Other than the rich who are greedy enough to always support you the rest are poor souls deluded by your vague promises.  Here’s my first bit advice, Davie, tell us in more detail what you plan to do, should you win.  I know the spin is that you’ll do this after the New Year but ….. we’ll see.

You’re a politician, that’s my next disappointment.  When you became Leader and faced Blair you said that the country needed a move away from Yah Boo politics.  You unsettled Blair by asking serious questions seriously at PMQs.  Perhaps you were going to follow through on your promise but ….. no!   As soon as you had Brown on the back foot you switched into attack mode again and again and again.   There was no desire on your part to be serious about politics, was there?  it was strategy: one for Blair whom you couldn’t cope with and another for Brown whom you could.  What was best for the county didn’t matter it was what was best for you.  This could be your undoing – I pray – but I am honest enough to tell you so that you can change.  Did I really say that?

My major disappointment regards your disowning your Scottish background.  Yes, we know about your monied Scottish background but that’s a deception, isn’t it, Davie or should I say “Jimmie”.  Yes, your a Tory blue now but you come from Glasgow, don’t you, the blue half.  Your father was responsible for assaulting Scotland with this, wasn’t he?

 

Your father is really the alleged comedian and bluenose - Glasgow Rangers diehard, Andy Cameron, isn’t he?

Here look at these pics:

I’m sure you’ll agree there is a major likeness.

You were brought up by a bluenose who made enough money to send you to Eton.  When you said you were a bluenose everyone assumed you meant you were a Tory but you weren’t.  You didn’t know what a Tory was but, rather than show your ignorance, you went along with the sham and, in time and with your father’s help, you became a good stage performer.  You became a Tory because you couldn’t own up to who you really were.

You’re from funny stock, aren’t you?  Well, not really funny stock.  Not even this, it’s rather embarrassingly unfunny stock but your roots are your roots.  No point in hiding them.

Of course, it’s understandable that you should do so.  Being a Scottish comedian’s son wouldn’t have garnered you too many votes in England and so you ditched this. You hid your natural accent.  None would know you were from Glasgow.   Big mistake, Davie, always be yourself.  That’s my advice.  Truth will out …. always.

I heard a rumour, probably nothing in it, that you have your election music chosen.  You’re returning to your father’s career to use your Dad’s one hit -  which we’ve all just heard.  You’ll change the words, of course.

The chorus will be, I believe, as follows.  Oh, by the way I’ve anglicised the words just for your followers who won’t, unlike you, understand.

We're on the march with David's Army,
He’ll be going to see the Queen,
And he’s shaken Labour up,
The election's all wrapped up
Because David leads the rich and toffs' team

Can you imagine this blaring out at your pre-election triumphal gatherings?

Don’t do it, Davie!  Return to your roots, please.  You’ll lose the election for sure if you do but you’ll be happy being among your ain folk.

You’re a sham politician.  You’re not who you say you are.  Be honest to us, to yourself, Davie.  Return to Glasgow and leave the biggest stages to others.  Your father never reached the heights and neither will you, Davie.

Return to your ain bluenose folk!

Music in the Morning No. 296 - L'Arpeggiata

 

This morning Veronika Skuplik soloes in a lovely piece.

Antonio Bertali                                                                           Chiacona 

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Open Letter to Alex Salmond (from 2009)

 

In 2009 I wrote open letters here to Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg.  Last to receive one was Alex himself.  Despite my pro-independence stance I felt it worth reposting.

Dear Alex

I wasn’t going to write you but I knew that you’d go all grumpy and complain about being ignored.  I know that you’d say that I had fallen into standard London-centric thinking, as though I could ever.  My reasoning was much simpler: how could I -  a mere blogger, a mere mortal – ever modify the thinking of one of the world’s great egos minds?  Later I realised that my insignificance – compared with you, O Great Emperor of Scotland, of All Things Scottish and Denier of the Union  – might leave a chink which I could exploit.

Your smirk, Alex, that “what the fuck do you know about it, you insignificant gnat” look is your greatest flaw although your utter superiority, your contempt for all your political opponents, your ruthless sarcasm run it close.  I know it’s difficult for one so greatly talented, Alex, but a smidgeon of humility would work wonders.

Take a look at Nicola Sturgeon.  Now, she has the common touch.  She connects with people.  She is human.

Bloody hell!!

That’s it, Alex,  you are not human.  You’re an incomer, dare I say it, an alien and your masters haven’t quite perfected the software.  Get on the blower now and tell them to reprogram that smirk but, I guess, it’s too late now. You’re exposed.

What I can’t understand is, “Why Scotland?”  Why not Britain?  Why not the great US of A? Your race is in there too, aren’t they.  Brown has an earlier version of the software which is why he appears so wooden.  Your update over-corrected.  I guess Bush didn’t even have the alpha version – probably just a few lines of code written on the back of a fag packet -  and as for Obama another over-correction isn’t it.

Your race really struggles to understand the nuances of human behaviour. Each of you is just a caricature of humanity.  Spitting Image came closer than your alien power to capturing the reality of human life.

I’m sorry, Alex.  No, I’m not!  There is no advice for you.  There can’t be.  You’re not one of us.  We followed you but your only interest was to increase your power and that of your alien race and, you know what Alex, I’m not worried.

Now we know. Now we can see you as an alien creation your power has dissipated.

Goodbye, Alex, you little piece of alien shit!

Goodbye all you other “leaders”.  You’re all little pieces of alien shit.

 

I was wrong back then wasn’t I, Alex? 

 

Music in the Morning No. 295 – Keiko Matsui

 

Music in the Morning won’t go on forever but Keiko goes on forever and forever.

Forever, Forever                                                                  Keiko Matsui

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Music in the Morning No. 294 – Eric Bibb

 

Eric welcomes you with some advice.  The video quality is disappointingly poor but the sound is fabulous.

Don’t Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down                           Eric Bibb

 

For Eric’s first visit see here

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Music in the Morning No. 293 – Ian Matthews

 

This good morning brings you The True Story of Amelia Earhart.

 

 The True Story of Amelia Earhart                     Ian Matthews / Plainsong

Monday, 24 February 2014

A Little Cry of Joy

 

David Bowie (via Kate Moss) says “Scotland, stay with us”.

 

David Cameron says, “when I saw Kate Moss leap to the stage and utter those words I have to say I did let out a little cry of joy”.

 

CalumCarr says, “Heaven help us”.

 

Scotland says, “Yes!

Oil and the Maritime Boundary

 

I thought about doing another headlines post but, just in time, I realised I’d be making a rod.  I couldn’t possibly do this every day and so instead ….

 

Given that oil will dominate today I think it worthwhile to reproduce an excellent Craig Murray post about the maritime boundary between Scotland and England. 

Undoubtedly the boundary will be a contentious issue because it affects  whether oil fields are in Scottish or English waters.  Murray claims duplicity (surely not) in the re-drawing of the boundary in 1999.  If he is correct, and I have no reason to doubt him, this puts the UK government action in the McCrone league.

 

Scotland/England Maritime Boundaries

by craig on January 11, 2012 9:17 am

 

sea-grab Craig Murray

 

According to existing Westminster legislation, English waters stretch at their North Easterly point to 56 degrees 36 minutes north – that is over 100 miles North of the border at Berwick, and North of Dundee.

In 1999 Tony Blair, abetted by the Scottish traitor Donald Dewar, redrew the existing English/Scottish maritime boundary to annex 6,000 square miles of Scottish waters to England, including the Argyll field and six other major oilfields. The idea was specifically to disadvantage Scotland’s case for independence.

The pre-1999 border was already very favourable to England. In 1994, while I was Head of the Maritime Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, I had already queried whether it was too favourable to England. I little anticipated that five years later Blair would push it seventy miles North!!

I should explain that I was the Alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and was number 2 on the UK team that negotiated the UK/Ireland, UK/Denmark (Shetland/Faeroes), UK/Belgium, and Channel Islands/France maritime boundaries, as well as a number of British Dependent Territories boundaries. There are very few people in the World – single figures – who have more experience of actual maritime boundary negotiation than me.

The UK’s other maritime boundaries are based on what is known formally in international law as the modified equidistance principle. The England/Scotland border was of course imposed, not negotiated. It is my cold, professional opinion that this border lies outside the range of feasible solutions that could be obtained by genuine negotiation, arbitration or judgement.

It ignores a number of acknowledged precepts in boundary resolutions, most important of which is how to deal with an inverted right angle coastline, as the Scottish coastline is from Elgin to Berwick, with the angle point around Edinburgh. It also fails adequately to close the Forth and Tay estuaries with baselines – by stark contrast to the massive baselines the UK used across the Thames and Stour.

It is essential that Scotland is not conned into accepting the existing England Scotland maritime boundary as a precondition of any independence referendum. This boundary must be subject to negotiation between equal nations post independence, and in my opinion is most likely to end with referral to the International Court of Justice. I have no doubt the outcome would be a very great deal better for Scotland than the Blair-Dewar line, which would cost Scotland billions.

 

Thanks, Craig!

Music in the Morning No. 292 – Keb’ Mo’

 

We awake to Every Morning.

Every Morning                                                                             Keb’ Mo’

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzip

 

I know they think we are too small, too weak, too stupid and too lazy to make a success of independence but do they think our heads zip up the back too?

Seems so.

 

According to the Guardian and others David Cameron will set out,

how the UK government can maximise the benefit of North Sea oil and gas to the UK economy for decades into the future, giving a vital boost to local communities and families across Scotland[emphasis is mine]

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzip

 

Well that’s a difficult one for the Yes campaign to rebut!  All that needs to be said is,

how the Scottish government can maximise the benefit of North Sea oil and gas to the Scottish economy for decades into the future, giving a vital boost to local communities and families across Scotland[emphasis is mine]

 

 

Cameron then goes on,

It is the strength of the UK's broad-based economy which can make the difference and ensure we can invest in our energy for the long-term future. I promise we will continue to use the UK's broad shoulders to invest in this vital industry, so we can attract businesses, create jobs, develop new skills in our young people and ensure we can compete in the global race. [my emphasis again]

 

‘broad shoulders’ !

 

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzip

Super Headline Sunday

 

The papers have gone into anti-independence overdrive – now that’s a surprise! 

 

The Observer is up first and ….

Observer1

 

Observer2

 

Observer3

 

Observer4

…… there’s nothing positive to say about independence!

 [Note: Each headline is linked to the original article.]

 

 

Let’s move on to the Telegraph and ….

Telegraph1

…… there’s nothing positive to say about independence!

 

 

The Independent and ….

Independent1

 

Independent2

…… there’s nothing positive to say about independence!

 

 

The Daily Mail and ….

Mail1

…… there’s nothing positive to say about independence!

 

 

The Herald and ….

Herald1

…… there’s nothing positive to say about independence!  But it’s more balanced than those above.

 

 

Finally the Scotsman and ….

Scotsman1

 

Scotsman2

…… there’s nothing positive to say about independence!  At least their first story was news.

 

Nothing changes!

 

 

But wait!  Almost missed this!

Scotsman3

 

This is so unusual I have to put it in again.

Scotsman3

and again

Scotsman3

Music in the Morning No. 291 – Praise the Lord

 

This isn’t my normal worship music but still it brings me close to Our Father.  I would love this for its beauty even if I had no faith.

Antonio Lotti                                                         Crucifixus for 8 Voices

[Cambridge Singers, directed by John Rutter]

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Firstly Kosovo …..

 

….. and now Ukraine and Bosnia!

Incredible!  But there it is.  In today’s Independent, Boyd Tonkin wrote an article with the following headline and strap,

Ukraine is a country divided against itself. Watch out, Scotland
If Scotland votes yes, supporters of the union will find themselves citizens of a country that commands none of their loyalty

Often we find that the headline doesn’t match the article content but not here.  Tonkin spends almost 1000 of his 1500 or so words describing Ukraine and his knowledge of the background to the troubles and only then does he move his sights to home.

He starts with

A house divided, we tend to think, cannot stand. But how much fundamental disaffection can a country take? This is not just a teaser for foreign-affairs buffs. After all, the United Kingdom – that ramshackle old jalopy of a polity, tied together with string and myth – is wheezing towards an abyss of its own.

No ifs or buts:  ‘abyss

He goes on in continuing ignorance,

Come September, the Scottish referendum presents a painfully perfect lose-lose scenario.

Let’s call it off now!  How can we possibly continue when we have ‘a painfully perfect lose-lose scenario’?

But Honkin’s ignorance knows no bounds.

No, we shouldn’t predict barricades on Princes Street or bonfires on the Royal Mile. Edinburgh will not burn like Kiev. Yet believers in a multinational state that has – despite or because of its anomalies – lasted since 1707 will find themselves suddenly thrown into citizenship of a country that commands none of their loyalty.

At least in the early of days of independence, half the country will not care to fly its new flag. Non-unionist Scots have long-practised skills in cultural separateness. For a large, restive unionist minority, the same would not apply.  Have Alex Salmond and his team planned enough for the outcomes of a narrow-scrape victory? Without alarmism, it doesn’t seem absurd to direct them to the rocky history of post-Communist Europe. Secessionists who dream of Norway and Denmark should at least take a peek not just at Ukraine but into the long nightmare of Bosnia – shaken again this month by disintegrative protests.

He’s confused is poor Boyd.  At the start of this passage he asserts correctly that ‘Edinburgh won’t burn like Kiev’ but by the end he says we should take a look ‘not just at Ukraine but into the long nightmare of Bosnia – shaken again this month by disintegrative protests.’ 

 

Some might say that in his ignorance Tonkin demeans us.  No!  He demeans himself and his newspaper.  He demeans the cause of unionism. 

And he does independence another favour.  They can’t help themselves.

______________________

PS  This final extract didn’t fit neatly into this piece and so I stick it on clumsily as an afterthought.

At least in the early of days of independence, half the country will not care to fly its new flag. Non-unionist Scots have long-practised skills in cultural separateness. For a large, restive unionist minority, the same would not apply.

Music in the Morning No. 290 - Itzhak Perlman


Itzhak Perlman returns here after more than 3 years - a treat not just for a morning but for all time.

Meditation  [Massenet’s Opera ‘Thais’]                              Itzhak Perlman

Friday, 21 February 2014

Lies, Deception and Propaganda


What on earth could these few words – lies, deception and propaganda – have to do with Scotland’s independence?
Nothing!    Where have you been?
“We have the BBC.  They’re impartial aren’t they?”
Few now believe this.  I doubt any supporter of independence sees them as such.  Their bias has been reported many times previously on sites such as Newsnet Scotland and Wings Over Scotland.

Mark Curtis, in his excellent 2003 book on the deceit inherent in British foreign policy, “Web of Deceit”, devotes a chapter to “The Media’s Propaganda Role”.  Curtis refers primarily to the way in which our media deals with British foreign policy but his words apply to policy at home too.  He writes,
Even though it is possible to express almost any view somewhere in a very diverse variety of media, there is a strong tendency to favour certain views over others, and on most issues there is a consensus within the mainstream.  There is only a small space in the mainstream for alternative views that fall outside this consensus.
and he quotes Edward Said who described how the ideological system and consensus worked in the US. 
The simplest and, I think, the most accurate way of characterising it is to say that it sets limits and maintains pressures.  It does not dictate content, and it does not mechanically reflect a certain class or economic group’s interests.  We must think of it as drawing invisible lines beyond which a reporter or commentator does not feel it necessary to go.  Thus the notion that American military power might be used for malevolent purposes is relatively impossible within the consensus, just as the idea that America is a force for good in the world is routine and normal. [Edward Said, “Covering Islam: How the media and the experts determine how we see the rest of the world”, Vintage, London, 1977, pp54-5]
Returning to Curtis we find a description with which we are only too familiar,
The media also has an important function in labelling opponents and categorising behaviour as ‘deviant’, including by scapegoating vulnerable groups in society for social or political crises, like refugees and asylum seekers.
Curtis’ and Said’s words apply here to the reporting of Scottish independence.

More than 6 years ago John Pilger delivered a speech in Chicago titled “Propaganda Disguised as Journalism”.  He said this about the BBC,
The BBC began in 1922, just before the corporate press began in America. Its founder was Lord John Reith, who believed that impartiality and objectivity were the essence of professionalism. In the same year the British establishment was under siege. The unions had called a general strike and the Tories were terrified that a revolution was on the way. The new BBC came to their rescue. In high secrecy, Lord Reith wrote anti-union speeches for the Tory Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and broadcast them to the nation, while refusing to allow the labor leaders to put their side until the strike was over.
So, a pattern was set. Impartiality was a principle certainly: a principle to be suspended whenever the establishment was under threat. And that principle has been upheld ever since. [John Pilger, 2007 http://www.ifamericansknew.org/media/invisgov.html]

Let’s look at his last two sentences again,
Impartiality was a principle certainly: a principle to be suspended whenever the establishment was under threat. And that principle has been upheld ever since.
We Scots – those eligible to vote – threaten the establishment. 
Impartiality has been suspended!

Wherever we look in the MSM we find unionist views accepted, almost unquestioningly, but the views of those who support independence are subject not only to intense scrutiny but almost to ridicule.

Clearly I’m paranoid.  There is balance in the media.
Huh!

The Guardian’s Martin Kettle was correctly taken to task by many, see for example Derek Bateman here, for a piece of …..  Well, you can try to get through Kettle’s article here.  The title, “Alex Salmond and co are acting like spoilt Children” rather gives the game away.  Kettle has blinkers in his mind which prevent any view, which is not of the mainstream unionist, from penetrating.

In an  article from early January, “Modern Britain can survive – if we all have the will for it”, Kettle almost gets it but he falls at the last.  He says, “
To many, these unusual storm and flood reports must feel as though they come from a faraway country of which they know little. In doing so they speak to one of Britain's less well-understood but important deep fractures. We mostly understand, even if governments struggle to do much about it, that Britain is a country of massive inequalities of wealth and power. But there is an inequality of awareness and sensibility as well. Both of them need redressing.
To me, as a native northerner, London and the south-east today feel less aware of the rest of the country than ever in my lifetime. In Scotland, nationalists can stir an audience against London, yet London barely gives a moment's thought to Scotland, even in the year of the independence vote. There is a similar disjunction between London and the north of England, and London and Wales. Much of this is caused, and maintained, by the centralised narrative from the London-based media. The indifference is unmissable.

Unfortunately, for one so close, Kettle falls blinded by his blinkers.
Modern Britain can survive. But it will do so best if we believe that we are or can be all in it together, that we have enough common experiences and needs to overcome the temptation of emphasising other differences.
He cannot go beyond Said’s invisible lines.  He cannot see that modern Britain need not survive and so he is blind to the injustices which then flow from his pen.

And Kettle is but one among many.
The Establishment is threatened and impartiality will remain suspended.

Music in the Morning No. 289 - John Jackson


We’re going up the river this morning.

Boats Up the River                                                                John Jackson


Note: I can’t get this video to display in Google Chrome if two extensions are enabled – Disconnect & HTTPS Everywhere – but with these extensions disabled the video displays normally.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Dragged back for Scotland

 

This is a post I thought would never be written.  I was finished with blogging.  I had moved on …. fortunately …. but I am dragged back …. for Scotland and its people.

September’s independence referendum is crucial to Scotland’s future.

 

A ‘No’ vote keeps us tied to London-dominated decision-making.

A ‘No’ vote keeps us tied to the neo-liberalism of the 4 main rUK parties.

A ‘No’ vote keeps us tied to the Machiavellian British Establishment.

A ’No’ vote keeps us tied!

 

A ‘Yes’ vote gives us freedom!  Not a Braveheart freedom but a freedom to make our own decisions, a freedom to stand or fall by these decisions, a freedom to build the society which we want for our people, a freedom to be who we want to be.

This is not an ethnic freedom we seek, whatever that would or could be, but a freedom for all who live in Scotland.

 

There is much work to be done to achieve independence and many will claim, many already claim, that an independent Scotland wouldn’t have real independence. 

Whatever the currency solution we would be tied to the rUK’s interest rates without any input to the decision-making.  As though Scotland has influence now!  

Scotland in Europe would be replacing London control with Brussels control.  Do any question the independence of Belgium or France or Germany?

But the essence of the ‘debate’ is not about whether Scotland is better within or outwith the Union.

In the coming months we will be assailed by bias upon bias, by negativity upon negativity and by lies upon lies.  Of course there are questions to be asked and questions to be answered but answers are not important to most who pose them.  Fear is important.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of being apart from our much larger partner (current).  Fear of failure.  Actually, the ‘of’ is unimportant.  All that matters is ‘fear’.

We must be afraid to vote ‘Yes’!

 

Scotland is challenging the British state and Establishment.  How dare we?

Who dares wins!