Monday, 31 March 2014

Barrhead Travel: Wrong-headed Response

 

Five weeks ago the founder of Barrhead Travel, Bill Munro, sent employees an email in which he gave his views on Scottish independence.  Neutral does not in any way describe Munro’s views: he is very strongly against independence and, beyond this, some of his points were totally wrong.  But this is not the focus of this post.

The response to Mr Munro has been furious, for example, see here.  I have no problem with anyone who criticises Munro but, unfortunately, comments made go beyond criticism.  Some have said they’ll never use his company again; that his company is finished and will go into liquidation.

 

This is wrong!!

 

Hurting the company will hurt the 800 employees.  Do they deserve to lose their jobs because their founder is an ardent unionist who has grossly over-egged the unionist case?  No!!

We should be better than this.

We need to be better than this.

As a nation we should be better than this. 

Where is the tolerance we claim to have?

When we gain our independence we will want companies like Barrhead Travel to be successful so that they pay tax and their employees pay tax.  By all means, campaign with the utmost vigour and expose every lie or buff or error but never, ever, resort to threats.

 

We are better than this!

Music in the Morning No. 317 – Lau

 

I’m uncertain about this morning’s music.  I love it which is my only criterion; it’s hauntingly beautiful ….

 

Ghosts                                                                                              Lau

[Lau are:     Kris Drever: guitar;     Martin Green: accordion;     Aidan O’Rourke]

 

….  but there’s an incredible darkness which doesn’t sit well with my faith.  I worry about showcasing this.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Music in the Morning No. 316 - Praise the lord

 

Faithful One!  What a truth but what an understatement!

Let us come close to The Lord with Robin Mark and, much more importantly, in the knowledge that He is the one and only God.  He is with us always but only rarely are we (well, only rarely am I) open to Him.

Father, I am bent and twisted.  Please help me stand straight and tall so that I may walk to You.  Father, flood me with your Light so that no darkness remains within.  Father fill me with your Holy Spirit so that whatever makes me sin is flushed from me. 

Father, forgive me for I am a sinner, a sinner who struggles to forgo the temptations of this world.  In my weakness I sing out,

Faithful one, so unchanging
Ageless one, you're my rock of peace
Lord of all I depend on you
I call out to you, again and again
I call out to you, again and again

You are my rock in times of trouble
You lift me up when I fall down
All through the storm
Your love is the anchor
My hope is in You alone

In the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, I pray and beg Your forgiveness.

 

Faithful One                                                                         Robin Marks

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Is This the Best ……

 

…..  of the Labour Party in Scotland?

 

Yesterday the Scottish Labour Party published the report of its Devolution Commission.  Wings over Scotland skewers this here, here and here.  Surprisingly Newsnight Scotland continued the torture during an interview with Johann Lamont the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland.

I borrow this with thanks but also shamelessly from Northsea_Saltair and Wings over Scotland.

Johann Lamont interviewed by Gordon Brewer                                  Newsnight Scotland 18 March 2014

 

There is only one way to vote on 18 September,  YES

Music in the Morning No. 315 – Kate Rusby

 

Kate is one of the favourites of this place and once more she visits us for a beautiful morning song.

Maid of Llanwellyn                                                                   Kate Rusby

 

Thank you, Kate.  You are a wonder to behold.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Cybernats? Have His Genitals Cut Off

 

The Telegraph  - surprise, surprise – carries a story by Ben Riley-Smith – surprise, surprise -  in which Cybernats are accused of intimidating journalists.  This accusation comes in the wake of the Andrew Marr – Alex Salmond TV interview last Sunday.

Tuesday6

 

What have so-called cybernats said?  Have they called for Marr to have his genitals cut off?

No!

The only two comments picked up by Riley-Smith are,

Tuesday4

The only two accusations in the entire article and they make the headline!  Is that it!

self-important little weasel

racist wee shite

This is vitriolic online abuse?

 

But what about the genitals?   Oh that!

On Sunday afternoon the Telegraph carried an article about the Marr/Salmond spat.  I had a quick look through some of the 1500 or so comments and found

Tuesday1

Tuesday2

These are run-of-the-mill comments for online fora but are worthy of at least as much condemnation as those aimed at Marr.

But, according to unionists politicians and most of the MSM only one side abuses, only one side goes too far.  It’s the infamous Cybernats.

But that’s not true. 

Ben, why did you not look close to home?  You’d have found abuse of Salmond in your newspaper.  It doesn’t fit the picture you’re trying to create that abuse come only from supporters of independence.  Is that it, Ben?  You’re a teller of tales rather than of the truth!

 

The genitals?

I haven’t forgotten.

Again buried within that article from which the two previous clips were taken was this cracker and it refers not to Marr but to Salmond,

 

Tuesday3

 

Now that is abuse!

Ben, are you going to report this now that I’ve brought it to your attention?

 

Didn’t think so.

 

You don’t walk both sides of the road!  But, at least, you’ll have plenty media company on the dark side of the street.

Music in the Morning No. 314 - Vivaldi

 

This morning we have slow and low music but still music to touch your heart,  as it touched mine yesterday morning when I first heard the piece.  Vivaldi is a favourite here but this is the first time a bassoon has been featured.

Bassoon Concerto in A Minor RV498  Mvt 2                             Vivaldi

Concerto for bassoon, strings and basso continuo RV498
Movement 2: Larghetto
Performed by Sonatori de la Gioiosa Marca
Featuring Sergio Azzolini, bassoon

 

The bassoon must reappear soon.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Father Time Has Caught up with Me

 

I’m not planning on leaving soon (this life) but there is no doubt that I’m getting old, I’m becoming an older fool.  Earlier today I posted about the Guardian displaying the wrong time on an article, showing publication at 14.10 when it was only 12.30 …. or so I thought.

Fools! 

Even comments were showing a time in advance of the actual.  Bigger fools!

 

I posted.

I laughed!

I almost died …..

…. when I noticed the date!

 

The article was written exactly 1 month ago – 17 February – whereas today is 17 March.  I saw only the date – 17th – but not the month!

 

On this occasion the Guardian is correct and I am  totally and utterly wrong and ….

…. incredibly embarrassed.

 

So embarrassed I deleted the post although versions will still be around some readers.

 

FATHER TIME HAS CAUGHT UP WITH ME

Am I One of a Kind?

 

I know that politically I’m left wing but, as Political Compass states,

“On the standard left-right scale, how do you distinguish leftists like Stalin and Gandhi? It's not sufficient to say that Stalin was simply more left than Gandhi. There are fundamental political differences between them that the old categories on their own can't explain. Similarly, we generally describe social reactionaries as 'right-wingers', yet that leaves left-wing reactionaries like Robert Mugabe and Pol Pot off the hook.”

I took the Political Compass test today and the results confirmed I’m a left wing libertarian but where does this put me within the political map of the UK?

I put my score on the ‘map’ of the UK political parties at the 2010 general election and ………….

Political Compass1

…………  you can see my closest bedfellows are the Greens but I need to pull them leftwards.

I checked back and found that 7 years ago I was even more libertarian: my coming to faith has changed my views in certain areas but still it feels lonely out there!

Music in the Morning No. 313 – Janet Baker

 

Janet Baker sings a beautiful aria from Gluck’s ‘Orfeo ed Euridice’.  Somehow this is the first appearance for both Janet Baker and Christoph Willibald Gluck.

Che farò senza Euridice                                                           Janet Baker


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Three Reasons for Independence

 

There are many reasons for independence but in another pro-union article in the Telegraph – are there any which are not so? - Vice Admiral John McAnally, a former Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies, unwittingly reveals three reasons why we must vote ‘Yes’.

Referring to Philip Hammond’s speech to the Scottish Tory conference yesterday he has this to say,

Telegraph 20140316 a

And there was me thinking that Hammond was way OTT!

But there, in his final paragraph, the Vice Admiral gives 3 reasons for voting ‘Yes’ although, of course, he sees them as being pro-union.

Our relationship with the United States,

our status as a leading military power and even

our permanent membership of the UN Security Council

would all probably be lost.

Yes! 

We will be safer!

Vote Yes!

Music in the Morning No. 312 - Praise the Lord

 

One of the the top modern worship songs this morning as we praise the Lord.  Neither the video - displayed in smaller format than normal -  nor the audio is of a particularly high quality but this is the version which brings me closest to God.

May Jarrod Cooper’s words be our prayer to Our Father in heaven.

King of Kings, Majesty

King of Kings, Majesty (Jarrod Cooper)

King of Kings, Majesty,
God of Heaven living in me,
Gentle Saviour, closest Friend,
Strong Deliverer, beginning and end.


All within me falls at Your throne,
Your Majesty, I can but bow,
I lay my all before You now.
In royal robes, I don’t deserve.
I live to serve Your Majesty.


Earth and heaven worship You,
Love eternal, faithful and true,
Who bought the nations, ransomed souls,
Brought this sinner near to Your throne.


All within me cries out in praise!
Your Majesty, I can but bow,
I lay my all before You now.
In royal robes, I don’t deserve.
I live to serve Your Majesty.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Was Francis Maude Drunk?

 

Was Francis Maude (or his staff) drunk when his speech to the Scots’ Tory Spring Conference was typed.

Could he (or his staff) have produced this mess had he (they) been sober?

 

Below is his entire speech  (as shown on Scots’ Tory website).  I don’t expect you to read the speech but the blue highlighter shows the errors I found.  I was kind to Maude: some errors I omitted because the typed words were to be spoken rather than read.

Francis Maude addresses conference

15 Mar 2014

Below is the text from a speech delivered today by Francis Maude MP to the Scottish Conservative conference.

“Conference it’s great to be here in Edinburgh. You heard yesterday from the Prime Minister about how the Conservatives are focused on securing Scotland’s future within the United Kingdom. We are ensuring that – after a No vote in the referendum – this country is a place which backs those who do the right thing and want to work hard and get on.

We are the party with the long-term plan to build a stronger, more competitive economy for all of us. Let me explain a little about what we are doing to cut the deficit and reform the public sector to save hard-working taxpayers’ money and ensure that the public services we rely on are as good as they can be.

At the time of the last General Election, almost four years ago – Whitehall was spending taxpayer a culture prevailed where money was no object. Billions of pounds got frittered away on wasteful consultancy, superfluous advertising, disastrous IT projects.

Billions more was lost to benefit fraudsters and tax cheats – further billions from payments made in this sort of carelessness with other people’s hard-earned money was always reprehensible. In these straitened times it would be inexcusable.

When we came to power this Government inherited the largest budget deficit in the UK’s post-war

• paying £120 million a day just to service the interest on the country’s debt.

• Spending £4 for every £3 we were getting in, just to keep the lights on, the pensions paid, and the doctors and nurses in the hospitals.

Labour were spending money like it was going out of fashion. Well it now has gone out of fashion.

Three years and a half years on and we’ve cut the deficit by over a third.

Sticking to this long-term economic plan – dealing with our debts and keeping our interest rates low

• To keep mortgage rates low for the security of all of us

• To help businesses grow so we can win in the global race

• To build a nation where people who work hard can get on in life.

So we had a clear choice – indiscriminate cuts to the front line services people depend on.

Or cutting the costs of Government; clamping down on waste and investing in growth.

The low road of the soft option line of least resistance easy cuts. Or the high road of tough practical a transformative efficiency and reform agenda – a proper long-term plan for how to run the economy. Public services that are not only cheaper but better: 21st century services, designed around the needs of the user, rather than the bureaucrat.

While productivity in the private services sector rose by 30% – under Labour public sector if productivity in the public sector had risen by a comparable amount, our economic position and fiscal position would have been radically different.

So driving cost out to drive up productivity was clearly essential -but how? Successive Governments had talked efficiency – it features hopefully in every election manifesto. Efficiency has been Whitehall’s promised land for many decades.

Within days of the 2010 General Election we introduced tough spending. Controls that remain to take procurement – far too often Government was paying different prices for the same goods or services. For example when we came in we found parts of the government were paying 7 and a half times more for standard black printer cartridges than others.

Immediately we started renegotiating contracts with our biggest suppliers – dealing with them as a single customer instead of letting them play one part of government off against another – when we slashed spending on consultancy –it’s down by two thirds, and made massive savings from we’ve cut the size of the Civil Service – down 15% so far, with more to come.

And we’ve cut the cost of Government’s property – getting out of properties that weren’t needed.

We’ve got out of 1.7 million square metres already: that’s quite a few dozen times larger than none of this is glamorous headline-grabbing stuff. It’s hard detailed grind. Getting deep into the numbers; asking tough questions; long meetings renegotiating over-rich contracts with some of the biggest companies in the world. It’s not what people have come to expect from politicians.

But it’s what they’re entitled to expect – especially from Conservatives. It’s all part of our long-term economic plan to cut the deficit and get the whole of Britain back on the rise.

And it delivers. Savings – real folding money savings. In our first ten months unprecedented savings of £3.75 billion – enough to pay 200,000 junior nurses. In 2011-12 a further £5.5billion. Or the cost of around 1.6 million primary school places. Last year £10 billion – that’s £600 for every there’s more to come. We’ve only just started. I look forward to announcing even bigger savings later in the summer for this financial year. Just think how much better we’d be placed in the global race if when Ed Miliband was in my job he’d done some of this. If instead of plotting with his alter ego Ed Balls to knife first Tony Blair and then his own brother, he’d bothered to start cutting the waste. If instead of pandering to Labour’s union paymasters he’d driven up public sector productivity. That’s real Labour. The same old Labour. Think what you’d get if Labour got back but of course the job is far from over yet. By the end of this Parliament we want to be saving around £20 billion a year, with another £5 billion the year after.

To do more for less we need to transform the way services are designed and delivered in this and we need a 21st century Civil Service that is capable of delivering.

The demand for change comes most strongly from civil servants themselves. There are so many bright, energetic civil servants, full of the desire to serve the public and change the world. But the system that prevents them from giving of their best and makes the whole somehow less than the sum of the parts. The challenge is to create a culture where amazing people driven by a public service ethos can do amazing things.

There’s loads to do. We need to be more digital. Why is it that while 82% of adults are online but only 50% have used government services online?

Online transactions costs the taxpayer a twentieth of what it costs to do it by phone. A thirtieth of the cost by post. And a fiftieth of the cost face to face. By moving from offline to digital channels we should before long be saving citizens and businesses nearly £2 billion a year. And letting people get what they want done quickly, conveniently, at a time of their choosing. Applying for your driving license, changing details on your personal tax return, registering to vote – these all need to be secure, but they should be as quick and easy as booking a holiday or buying a book online. And they’re all part of a first wave of online services which will come online later this year.

Government spends £45 billion each year on goods and services. But in the past it’s been expensive, slow, wasteful, freezing out small new innovative businesses that are better value for taxpayers’ money, and can help Britain forge ahead in the global race. We’re making procurements faster, less bureaucratic and more open to smaller suppliers.

Under Labour no one even bothered to count how much business went to small home-grown companies. We now do, and it’s rising. Up from 6% of overall spend when we took power in 2010, to nearly 20% today – all part of our long-term economic plan to get this country growing.

New era for modern public services

We have reached a turning point for public service delivery in this country.

For decades the way services have been run – a top-down, take-what-you’re-given approach – has neither been cost-effective or user-friendly.

That’s why the other half of our efficiency and reform agenda is focused on shifting power away from the centre and bringing in more flexibility and choice for users, and more local control over the we are breaking the public sector monopoly over service provision; allowing charities, social enterprises, private companies and employee-owned co-operatives to compete to offer people high in particular we are encouraging the public service mutual, where groups of entrepreneurial public sector workers have formed themselves into an employee-led entity to deliver the public service in a contractual rather than a line managed hierarchal model. Typically these deliver, almost overnight, amazing productivity improvements.

Finally, underpinning all of our public service reforms is an overriding commitment to transparency by putting an unprecedented amount of public data in the open – from where tax money is spent to how local hospitals are performing – we are starting to expose what is inadequate, improve local this won’t always be comfortable. In fact transparency can be extremely uncomfortable – but it and transparency will be key to driving the effective, efficient, 21st Century personalised services we are in a global race today. And we need to take the right decisions to ensure that Britain keeps its place in the world, we need to take long-term decisions in the interest of the whole country.

So we won’t duck our deficit plans – but we will ensure squeezed public resources are targeted at the people who need it most. That’s important for the security and peace of mind of all of us.

By poring over spreadsheets, properly scrutinising every single pound and radically changing the way Government works – we have already secured massive and unprecedented savings for the in two years we will ask the voters to return us to government, this time with an outright majority.

Some question whether that’s even possible. We’re behind in the polls they say but we have now had 11 by-elections in a row – both in Holyrood and council – when the Scottish Conservative vote

And let me tell you this. In the eighties we were much further behind between elections. Neil Kinnock, for heavens sake, was doing better then than Ed Miliband is today. At election time we won. Because we persuaded people that what we were doing – difficult, tough, uncomfortable – was a necessary of our long term plan for the country. That if we were to win in the global race, and be a country where hard-working people could succeed and get on in life, the government had to take the high road of the hard option and the hard work. We won because a great Prime Minister led a party that embraced the future and believed in the country and its people. Today we’re led by a great Prime Minister who leads the party of the future. And if we believe, as she did, and if we do what’s needed for the future, then we’ll win.

Ben Riley-Smith Changes Position

 

No!  Don’t be silly!  He is still as unionist as ever but he has changed.

In case you haven’t heard of Ben (lucky you) I posted twice about him just two days ago – here and here.  He was at it again this morning with another puff piece in the Telegraph.

BRS3

 

When I checked the site one minute later I noticed a change which I highlighted,

BRS4

 

This won’t make a difference: he’s always been working for them.

 

Ben, why don’t you really move over!

Music in the Morning No. 311 – Nicholas Daniel

 

Just the one movement this morning as Nicholas Daniel plays Mozart.

Oboe Concerto C major K314 Mvt III Rondo:Allegretto     Nicholas Daniel

Can I listen again?

As often as you wish and each time will be brilliant!

Friday, 14 March 2014

Cameron: No Certainty on More Devolution

 

Telegraph 20140314 2

The headline above from the Telegraph is certain but Cameron’s words do NOT give this certainty. [The full text of Cameron’s speech is here: I have reformatted a small section and highlighted 6 words]

20140314 A

There is NO unequivocal commitment. 

I believe it too.

that can mean more devolution

 

Even his belief is ambiguous. 

One could read his words as meaning that the Scottish Parliament will have more power in how its money is spent but he doesn’t say this.  Neither does he say that the SP will have more money to spend.

His belief is only that the SP should have more power to raise the money it spends.  No more.  There are many potential twists in these few words.

 

Be very aware!

We’re Better Together But If You Leave ….

 

…. you will be punished.

 

What other conclusion are we to take from the following statement made by the Royal United Services Institute and published in the Telegraph? [The article is by Ben Riley-Smith of whom I wrote yesterday here and here]

 

Telegraph 20140314 1

 

Is the Establishment so fearful of our independence that they threaten to put Scotland at risk and consequentially put the rUK at risk too?

Or are they having a toddler tantrum because they see one of their possessions being removed?

Music in the Morning No. 310 – The Proclaimers

 

Independence politics even reaches our morning music!

But I can't understand why we let someone else rule our land, cap in hand

We fight - when they ask us
We boast - then we cower
We beg
For a piece of
What’s already ours

 

Cap in Hand                                                                        The Proclaimers

Nuff said!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Calum in the Style of Ben Riley-Smith

 

See my previous post for the background to this article.

Four puff pieces of propaganda

BRS1

Ben Riley-Smith Style of Journalism

 

Four puff pieces of propaganda

Telegraph 20140312 1

Today’s Telegraph carries 4 ‘articles’ by Ben Riley-Smith each of which is based on an ‘interview’ with Sir David Omand, former director of GCHQ.

Telergaph 20140312 2

I italicised ‘article’ and ‘interview’ because what the Telegraph has published are not articles but unadulterated propaganda which give no indication of having been based upon any normal form of interview.

What’s good enough for the Telegraph and Ben Riley-Smith is good enough for me!

I have interviewed myself and my next post mimics Ben Riley-Smith’s approach to journalism.

Music in the Morning No. 309 – Bryn Terfel

 

Our music this morning goes all through the night …. and in Welsh.

 

Ar Hyd y Nos (All Through the Night)                                    Bryn Terfel

Prydferth!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Alan Cochrane: Is There No End?

 

Alan Cochrane of the Telegraph is an obsessive.  This is how the Telegraph describes him.

Telegraph 20140312 B

but a look at the headlines for his articles shows his obsession with doing our (Scottish) government down.  Just click on the image above.

Now I have discovered nothing new: Cochrane’s rants have long been a source of amusement to many.

 

What is new though (well new to me) is that his name describes him perfectly.

 

Alan Cochrane  =  O Anal Chancer

 

Music in the Morning No. 308 – Ewan MacColl

 

It is morning but it’s time for a ramble with Ewan MacColl who wrote this song when he was 17!

Wikipedia describes the background to the song here.

“The mass trespass of Kinder Scout was a notable act of wilful trespass by ramblers. It was undertaken at Kinder Scout, in the Peak District of Derbyshire, England, on 24 April 1932, to highlight that walkers in England and Wales were denied access to areas of open country.”

“Poet and folk singer Ewan MacColl (then known by his real name, Jimmie Miller) celebrated these events in his 1932 song "The Manchester Rambler";[1] he had organised the publicity for the trespass.”

 

Manchester Rambler                                                       Ewan MacColl
 

Thank you, Ewan,

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Strange! Economic Credibility

 

The Telegraph states that Alex Salmond’s economic credibility has been undermined. 

Telegraph 20140311 A

The Telegraph continues

Telegraph 20140311 C

The Treasury’s analysis is based upon the OBR’s prediction of gas/oil revenues.  Is the Treasury correct?  I don’t know.  We must remember this Treasury report is based on a prediction and I think the OBR’s record of accuracy is not particularly good although I accept it may be correct this time.

 

Alistair Carmichael goes to town

Telegraph 20140311 B

 

But just last Friday papers were reporting

Guardian 20140311 A

 

What did Mr Carmichael say about his Chancellor’s performance?

Telegraph Blank

 

What was the Telegraph’s headline?

Telegraph Blank

 

Carmichael kept his mouth shut and the Telegraph didn’t carry the story.

 

Strange!

The Union Is All

 

Referring to Campbell’s and Brown’s contribution to the independence debate yesterday I said,

Unionists have had almost 3 years to forge true consensus and produce an unambiguous programme about which Scots could have certainty.  But certainty is not their aim.  They’re not interested in consensus or certainty.  It’s the very opposite.  Create fear, create uncertainty and start splitting the ‘Yes’ vote.  They’re all coming out of the closet now when it’s far too late to move the process forward but it’s a good time to throw another spanner in the works.

Sir Alec Douglas Home would have been proud of this.  Reject  the uncertainty of ‘Yes’ but embrace the uncertainty of ‘No’.

Preserving the union is ALL that matters to those such as Campbell and Brown.  Whatever it takes, they’ll say.  But they won’t do anything positive.

With one aim only they’ll say

With one aim only they’ll talk

With one aim only they’ll delay

With one aim only they’ll lie

With one aim only they’ll create a sense of false certainty

With one aim only they’ll create uncertainty

 

The union is ALL

The union which has created all the problems is the only way to solve all the problems.

Eh! 

 

The union is ALL

Wanting an independent Scotland is bad nationalism but desperation to maintain the Union isn’t even good nationalism, it’s not nationalism at all.

Eh!

 

The union is ALL  …………  only if we let it be.

Vote Yes!

Music in the Morning No. 307 – Pergolesi

 

This morning’s music is hauntingly beautiful. 

Shortly before his death in 1736 Giovanni Battista Pergolesi composed this piece, Stabat Mater Dolorosa, for soprano and alto.  The form is described by Wikipedia thus,

Of two hymns, Stabat Mater Dolorosa (about the Sorrows of Mary) and Stabat Mater Speciosa (joyfully referring to the Nativity of Jesus), Stabat Mater usually refers to the first, a 13th-century Catholic hymn to Mary, variously attributed to the Franciscan Jacopone da Todi and to Innocent III.

The title of the sorrowful hymn is an incipit of the first line, Stabat mater dolorosa ("The sorrowful mother stood"). The Dolorosa hymn, one of the most powerful and immediate of extant medieval poems, meditates on the suffering of Mary, Jesus Christ's mother, during his crucifixion. It is sung at the liturgy on the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Dolorosa has been set to music by many composers, with the most famous settings being those by Palestrina, Pergolesi, Alessandro Scarlatti and Domenico Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Haydn, Rossini, Poulenc, and Dvořák.

I’m not much wiser after reading that but after listening ……

Stabat Mater Dolorosa

Pergolesi

…. I’m much, much wiser.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Sir Ming and Uncertainty

 

The ‘Yes’ campaign has been battered about the lack of certainty in its proposals.  We’re told to reject independence because of the lack of certainty although much off that uncertainty arises not from the ‘Yes’ campaign but from the UK government.  With Ming Campbell’s new report on the devolving of more powers we see more  uncertainty at work.

From today’s Scotsman online

ScotsmanCampbell2

ScotsmanCampbell3

Let me get this right. The report states that within 30 days of a ‘No’ vote a cross- party summit will be staged to secure a consensus’ but the first paragraph states that a consensus has been reached already.

Well, is there consensus or not?  No!  Uncertainty only!

 

It’s possible, of course, that Ming was clear and certain and the Scotsman has introduced uncertainty and, so, let’s go to Ming’s report (available here). 

And it’s there in the report that the consensus summit will take place within 30 days of a ‘No’ vote.  Even after that summit the UK Parliament would have to vote through the changes.  There is  no consensus.

The word ’consensus’ appears 18 times within Campbell’s report and it is painfully clear that there is no consensus which is worth more than the square root of SFA.  

 

Consensus?  It’s a sick Joke!  It’s another lie!

 

Unionists have had almost 3 years to forge true consensus and produce an unambiguous programme about which Scots could have certainty.  But certainty is not their aim.  They’re not interested in consensus or certainty.  It’s the very opposite.  Create fear, create uncertainty and start splitting the ‘Yes’ vote.  They’re all coming out of the closet now when it’s far too late to move the process forward but it’s a good time to throw another spanner in the works.

Sir Alec Douglas Home would have been proud of this.  Reject  the uncertainty of ‘Yes’ but embrace the uncertainty of ‘No’.

 

The only certainty.  We’re on our own and only a ‘Yes’ vote secures our future.

Open Letter to Gordon Brown (from 2009)

 

In the last few weeks I have reposted my 2009 open letters to David Cameron and to Alex Salmond as well as penning advice to Johann Lamont.  With Gordon Brown’s return to the fray it’s worth looking back at my 2009 letter to the then Prime Minister.  It’s worth doing because I don’t have to find something fresh to write about.

Dear Gordon,

You don’t mind my calling you “Gordon” do you?  You’ve had such a major effect on my life that I feel I know you so well that familiarity is acceptable.

Do you remember last year you almost gave me the job at RBS to replace Sir Fred Hoodwink?  You invited me to North Queensferry for a fish supper and I called you some rather ungentlemanly names,

"Broon, ya bastard! Better not take your jacket off cos every peg is fucking shoogily.  Broon yerra loser!"

Mind you you had told me, after your clunking fist knocked me for six, to "Fuck off to Dunfermline!".

I have forgotten about that unseemly incident and I wish only, as you do, for the best for the country. You have the power in your hands to transform our dear land and it is in this spirit that I offer you advice.

You must be so pleased to (delighted possibly) have had such positive news from the recent ICM poll in The Guardian.  At last a Conservative victory is not a banker.  Sorry!  How you must hate that word!  They led and benefited from our apparent economic success and then caused our real demise and still they pay themselves massive bonuses while you, poor Gordon, are left to pick up the pieces. How were you to know they were selfish bastards?

Back to the ICM poll again. A hung Parliament, possibly or even, let’s pray, another Labour victory is on the cards.  I wouldn’t bet on Labour yet – I would but your policies have left me in poverty. “A small price to pay” I’m sure you would say “and imagine what life would be like under the Tories”.  I know that prospect doesn’t bear thinking about but you, and your government, might have left me with a tad more cash.  I’m sorry I’ve been diverted from my main point which is, with defeat no longer certain, to offer you some advice on the route forward.

You must be so confused.  So much conflicting advice: “Go to the country in March before the next Budget”, “Give more time for the Labour recovery to grow”.  Also so many of those who favoured your stepping down have changed their tune.  They feel they may save their seats if you go in March.  Do these people have no thought other than their own survival?  At least, in you, we have a Prime Minister who has always put the needs of the country ahead of his own selfish desires!  I know many say the opposite but they are jealous of your prodigious talents and achievements.

While many would have stood up to Blair over Iraq and saved billions of pounds and, much more importantly, hundreds of thousands of lives you were steadfast.  Resign and the country would never benefit from your prodigious talents as Prime Minister.  You stayed, not for your own personal ambitions, massive as many say them to be, but for the country!  I feel so humble – and poor too, for that matter – that you put the country so far ahead of your desires.  What a man you truly are!

I’m sorry if you think I’m buttering you up so that you’ll take my advice but I am.  I’m trying to help you make the correct decision.

You’re known, as Michael White so unkindly put it, as a “ditherer”.  That is so unkind, Mavis.  Are you OK with my now calling you “Mavis”?  Sorry, remember Mavis Reilly from Coronation Street.  Years ago.  Only those of a certain mature age will remember.

I’ve been diverted again.  You are such a great man that I am dithering.  Enough.  Time to make my point.

Mavis, don’t listen to those who want an election in March.  Those people are selfish and think only of themselves.  Don’t listen to those who want you to hold off until the last possible moment.  All that matters is doing everything to save the country from Dave’s blue toffs!  I know you agree.  Our country comes first.

Mavis, what you must do is clear.

Go to the country NOW!

“Now!” you say.

NOW!!  and we can keep the Tory cutters out!

You’re confused, Mavis.  I can see it in your eyes. let me explain and help you decide.

Mavis, get the fuck out of this country and let anyone else – left wing of course – take us through the election.  Victory is ours but only if you, as usual, put the country ahead of your own ambitions.

Mavis, Go to the country NOW!

Any bloody country will do as long as you’re not here!!

 

My advice to him is still spot on.

Music in the Morning No. 306 – Punch Brothers

 

A few weeks ago I met a mandolin player, Lamont Goff, he and his wife were visiting friends in Edinburgh, and with others he played bluegrass for our church group. Knowing that I loved bluegrass, Lamont recommended I listen to some Chris Thile because he was a phenomenal mandolin player.  Since then I’ve been searching and listening to many Chris Thile videos, some solo, some with his current band, Punch Brothers, and others with a series of excellent musicians. 

Despite Thile’s brilliance and his extraordinary range of musical taste - I have seem him called a ‘genre-bender’ – I could never find a piece which ‘did’ it for me.  He missed me.  I could see, hear and appreciate his outrageous talents but I was left empty.  It was almost as though his brilliance took him into places which detracted from the listening experience ….

…. until now.

I found a short video, an extract from the documentary covering two years in his band’s life, and there it was.  Just two ‘simple’ sing-alongs and he got me. 

99 Years / Train 45                                                      Punch Brothers



mandolin ----------
banjo -------------
fiddle -------------
guitar ------------
double bass ------

Chris Thile
Noam Pikelny
Gabe Witcher
Chris Eldridge
Paul Kowert
 

Well, there you have Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Andy Murray ‘Used’ by No!

 

If the MSM can use a story negatively then that is how it will be used.  The Telegraph takes a non-story about Andy Murray and twists it into a blow for independence. 

Telegraph Andy Murray 1

The article continues,

Telegraph Andy Murray 2

Publically, Murray will neither support independence nor the status quo because he ‘does not want a repeat of the furore that followed his comments about the England football team.’  This is a perfectly reasonable line to take.  Why should he state his political opinions?  He’s a tennis player.

 

The article could have been as written as a blow to the ‘No’ campaign because he won’t endorse the union.  But that isn’t allowed. 

Only negativity meets the establishment needs!

Only increasing negativity!

All the union has to offer is negativity!

Diary of the Welsh Revival

 

This morning’s ‘Praise the Lord’ post gives some written detail of the 1904 Welsh revival along with the love song of that revival – Here is Love Vast as the Ocean.

But there’s more.  I came across an excellent 1h long video – yes, I know it’s long but well worth the time -  which describes the role of Evan Roberts in the revival.

You’ll not be disappointed.

 

Father, in You we can have total trust but still we stumble and still You pick us up and still You love us.  Thank You, Father, for You are truly great.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, we pray.

Music in the Morning No. 305 – Praise the Lord

 

For the first time in this series I publish a previous post in its entirety.  I do this because I have just watched a 1h video detailing the role of Evan Roberts in the 1904 Welsh revival, that video being the subject of my next post.  This repost sets the scene for the much more detailed video to come.

The worship song was part of our moving Ash Wednesday service.

But first

Music in the Morning No. 239 with a Love Song

Not just a love song; not just any love song but a song of God’s love and our love of God.

Not just any song of God’s love and our love of God but The Love Song of the Welsh Revival.

I knew the song but not its background.

I knew nothing of the Welsh Revival of 1904/1905.

‘Just after eleven o'clock on a Wednesday evening a hundred years ago, a solo voice rang out with the beautiful Welsh hymn "Here Is Love Vast As The Ocean". Maybe a thousand people were in the Chapel at the time, leaning over the galleries, packing every pew and squeezing into every spare corner. They'd been here for more than four hours, in a service of intense emotion. 

Meetings like it were taking place across Wales night after night, with fervent prayer and passionate singing - and similar disregard for the clock. They both excited and appalled, left many puzzled and some frightened, but it was reckoned that in less than a year, over a hundred and fifty thousand people had made a new commitment to Jesus Christ.

Whole communities changed, as men and women found themselves drawn into a powerful experience of God; and sparks from their awakening were soon to ignite fires in more than a dozen other countries.

And the hymn that soloist struck up spontaneously, about "love vast as the ocean", was heard so often that it became known as "the love song of the revival".’ [Source]

Listen to this wonderful hymn – the original would be in Welsh – and then I’ll tell you some more about the revival.

 

Here is Love Vast as the Ocean                                         Robin Marks

 

This is SO inspiring!  This alone could bring people to God!

‘On December 31st 1903 and January 1st 1904, Joseph Jenkins a minister in New Quay Cardiganshire, who was undoubtedly a key man in the Revival, held a "Deeper Spiritual Life Convention". Joseph had been seeking an enduement of power, and shared the testimony of his experience of the Holy Spirit engulfing him as a flame of fire. This was to impact his Church.

On February 14th, in a Sunday service at his Chapel, a young woman named Florrie Evans stood to her feet and publicly confessed "I love the Lord Jesus with all my heart". As she spoke these words the Holy Spirit seemed to fall on the meeting. Many say this was the real beginning of the Revival. A move of God took place in that Church, as after-church meetings were held to seek the Lord's presence and empowerment, and God began baptising - initially young people, mainly girls and women in their teens and early twenties - with the Holy Spirit, and the fire quickly spread to other young people in the Cardiganshire area.‘ [Source]

The story itself is inspiring but there’s more.

‘As revival fire spread across Wales in late 1904 and early 1905, although no official records were kept of the actual number converted, 150,000 is considered a very conservative estimate, during the first six months! People's lives were transformed by the thousands. This was indeed, a sovereign move of God's Holy Spirit!

Whole communities were turned upside down, and were radically changed from depravity to glorious goodness. The crime rate dropped, often to nothing. The police force reported that they had little more to do than supervise the coming and going of the people to the chapel prayer meetings, while magistrates turned up at courts to discover no cases to try. The alcohol trade was decimated, as people were caught up more by what happened in the local chapels than the local public houses and bars. Families experienced amazing renewal, where the money earning husband and father, the bread winner, had wasted away the income and sowed discord, but now under the moving power of the Holy Spirit, following the conversion to be a follower of Jesus Christ, he not only provided correctly for family needs, but was now with the family, rather than wasting his time, and wages, in the public houses of the village or town. Souls were saved, individual lives were changed and Society itself was changed. Countless numbers were converted to Christ.

There are men and women still in churches today whose parents or grandparents' testimonies were that they were converted in the Revival in 1904 or 1905. Not only were individual lives changed by the power of the Holy Spirit, but whole communities were changed, indeed society itself was changed. Wales again was a God-fearing nation! Public houses were now almost empty. Men and women who used to waste their money getting drunk were saving it, giving it to help their churches, buying clothes and food for their families. And not only drunkenness, but stealing and other offences grew less and less, so that often a magistrate came to court, and found there were no cases for him.

Men whose language had been filthy before, learnt to talk purely. It is related that not only did the colliers put in a better day's work, but also that the pit ponies were so used to being cursed and sworn at, that they just couldn't understand orders being given in kind, clean words! Yet, still the work output increased. The dark tunnels underground in the mines echoed with the sounds of prayer and hymns, instead of oaths and nasty jokes and gossip.’ [Source]

I think we’re long overdue another such revival!

And now I must go because I must return to sing along again and be with God!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Music in the Morning No. 304 – Shovels & Rope


No, I’m not asking you to do anything which might be illegal.  Simply listen to this husband and wife combo of whom I was blissfully unaware until 2 days ago.

Now I am blissfully aware of them and their music.

Boxcar                                                                                             Shovels & Rope




And now you are too!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Citibank: More of More of the Same


My previous post highlights the undue negativity directed by the MSM to Scotland’s economic prospects after independence.  But hidden away in the report is a section not reported by the Telegraph.
The Citi Research describes Referendum Risk (page 14) not only arising in from Scotland but from Switzerland, Catalonia and then the possible UK EU referendum in 2017.
Citi say this,

Citi3

I wonder why this isn’t mentioned?


Citibank: More of the Same

 

Once again the MSM jump on an economic report on Scottish independence and once again they dump on Scotland.

The Telegraph says

Torygraph Citi1

Note the negativity,

“qualify for only a single-A rating” [emphasis is mine]

“other countries with a single-A rating include Botswana and Trinidad and Tobago.”

The Telegraph could have said but didn’t that Scotland, with a single-A rating, would be higher rated than, for example, Ireland, Indonesia, India and Iceland

 

What Citigroup actually said was,

Citi2

It’s not a bed of roses but gives a much more positive outlook than the Telegraph suggests.

Poverty: The Truth Told Simply


Poverty, as with independence, is surrounded by lies and deceit.  Denis Curran of the charity, Loaves and Fishes, speaks simply, eloquently and powerfully to the Welfare Reform Committee of the Scottish Parliament.

The truth told simply is always powerful.




You can forget my few words here but let Denis Curran’s words stay in your heart.
Thank you, Denis!

To find out more about Loaves and Fishes please click on the image below.

LoavesandFishes
PS: A CiFer from the Guardian flagged up Dennis’ testimony.  I simply edited the two hour plus video, uploaded to YouTube and wrote these few words.

Music in the Morning No. 303 – Zaho

 

Born in Algiers, Zaho moved to Montreal with her family when she was eighteen.  Sit back and enjoy.

Je Te Promets                                                                                       Zaho



Music is universal!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Never-ending

 

One headline after another; one company after another coming out, apparently, against independence.

The latest, as I write this on 6 March at 16.22, is Aggreko.

aggreko1

Click on the headline to reach the Telegraph’s article.  As with all such articles this appears to be a dire warning but you have to read through 21 paragraphs  and finally reach the very last paragraph where you find,

Aggreko2


Well, there’s the real story but it’s not the one the Establishment want us to see.



Why Do I Blog?


Over the last 7 years many times I have wondered what was the point of my blogging.  Hour upon hour wasted for only a few visitors.  What’s the point of putting my heart and soul into this for what pay off?   Being visited was an indicator of my worth.  I know that seems weird; that I must seem weird but I am what I am. [Hopefully I am changing now with the grace of our Almighty Father]  Visitors really, really mattered.

Why don’t I just scrub the entire blog?   I’ve been very close …..


…. but then there was last night.


A visitor stayed and stayed and stayed opening a page every few minutes for more than 90mins.  Many seemed to be from the time I wrote incessantly about mental health issues.


…. and then I knew why?

Music in the Morning No. 302 – Susana Seivane

 

Galician pipes waken you from your slumbers.

Unknown Music                                                                Susana Seivane

Phew!  Now I can give my hands, feet, arms and legs a rest!

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Guardian and Severin Carrell: Lies and Deceit

 

Severin2

Above is the headline and strap from today’s Guardian.

That the quote, ‘has exaggerated Scotland’s oil revenues’, is immediately above mention of the Institute of Fiscal Studies naturally leads one to think that the quote is from the IFS and therefore has some credibility.

Wrong!  Deceit!

The quote is from Severin Carrell, the Guardian’s Scotland correspondent and known unionist, who wrote this article and, at the risk of damaging my credibility, a journalist whose credibility is close to zero among those who are open-minded. 

Look at Carrell’s first paragraph.

Severin3

The IFS report does not use ‘exaggerate’ or any possible synonym.

The IFS report has not ‘warned that Scottish government predictions are ‘too optimistic’.

In the headline strap, note the clever, but rather obvious, use of quotation marks around ‘too optimistic’.  The IFS use these two words but not in the definite way the Guardian suggests.

 

The IFS report looks at the UK government’s OBR (Office of Budget Responsibility) forecasts and the possible impact on Scotland.  From memory, the OBR estimates of oil reserves and revenues are at the low end of the range of estimates from different bodies.  What the IFS report says about ‘too optimistic is,

It is worth noting in this context that it looks like the Scottish government’s forecasts for revenues under these scenarios have been too optimistic in 2012–13 and, with the vast majority of payments already having been made for 2013–14, that their forecasts for this year also look to be too optimistic.

and the next sentence

It remains to be seen whose forecasts might be more accurate going forwards.

 

Nothing definite, no warning, no exaggeration, not ‘are too optimistic’.  We may agree or not with the IFS report: that is for another day and another discussion.

 

What is unacceptable, but unfortunately all too common, is the MSM’s practice of deceit and lies.

 

Here the Guardian shows its deceit and lies.

Here Severin Carrell shows his deceit and lies.

 

Nothing will change but will only get worse until we are independent.

Music in the Morning No. 301 – Telemann

 

Gorgeous music this morning but with a very long title [see under video].

 

Concerto in D Major                                                 Georg Philipp Telemann

[Concerto in D major for 3 Natural trumpets, 2 oboes, strings, timpani and basso continuo]