Monday, December 31, 2007


He came from an ordinary working family background, the youngest of seven brothers and sisters and a life full of love but not a lot of luxuries, he made it to the top.

He was an outstanding player who was cursed by injuries, he struggled through all of them to overcome his bad luck and still survived in a profession which can by turns be glorious and cruel.
He was blessed with skill, a sweet left foot, lungs like Red Rum and the temperament and nerve of a 'river boat gambler' and now at the ridiculous age of 35 yrs. he is gone.

I've known others before who had great ability and talent only to have it all snatched away from them by cruel fate, Phil. had a good career but he and everyone else around him would gladly give that up to still have him with them, I don't ever remember him being sent off or being picked up off the pavement drunk or being involved in any scandals of any kind, a real pro. 'the first name on the team sheet'.

His loved ones are distraught as is all of football but life will go on and his family will survive, the pain and emptiness they feel now will gradually ease all though they won't believe that at the moment.
A time will come when they will remember with a smile and tell some good stories about a brief but worthwhile life and the happy memories will last for ever. If god's watching I hope he takes care of him and them.

Friday, December 28, 2007



I was once sent for the Christmas lights to decorate the canteen of a factory I worked in, they were kept in the store and the storeman old Alec. was known as the girning champion of the world. I approached and said "Alec, it's that time again and we need the Christmas lights", he looked at me, scowled and said 'Christmas is it ? I'm F------ sick of it, every F------ year's the same, as if I've no got enough tae dae.

I went back with the lights completely shocked, it took me some time to realize that old Alec was a born comedian who was great at playing the part of the greeting faced storeman, he helped me to look behind someone who is angry and horrible and count to ten before concluding that he was indeed a horrible old sod, that helps me to deal with most of the comments I get on this blog.

This year has as always been mixed, the biggest event by far for me personally were the elections in May which were of course a huge disappointment for me and Labour, it's not a lot of comfort to know that the minority Govt. and Council are showing signs of disintegration already but we will fight on.
I believe that Scotland will eventually feel the shame of having a govt. with Alex (the spiv) Salmond as leader and regain it's pride and self respect by booting him out, an executive position with Trump & Co. beckons.

When I was a teenager I became hooked on some great writers and entertainers and I will miss some who passed on this year.
The irrepressible, outrageous George Melly whom I saw many times and once by accident met in a Glasgow bar during the interval of his show which I was there to see, a hilarious 20 mns. ensued, he left the bar in an uproar.
Norman Mailer, America's own 'angry young man' another great talent with a taste for burning the candle at both ends, I wonder at how he found the time to produce so much work, a bundle of energy and brilliance.
Most recently the great Oscar Peterson, in those days I would be last to go to bed and I used to watch the Oscar Peterson Show late at night. I became fascinated by the style and talent of this jazz giant, I learned to like jazz then and it has been a constant in my life since, thank you to all of them.

I wonder if the lights are still in the factory storeroom?

Monday, December 24, 2007


The Scottish Govt. proposes to move children's specialist cancer services in Aberdeen to Glasgow and Edinburgh. Their reason for this is that the proposed new venues have greater expertise and more state of the art facilities, as well as more experienced medical professionals.

None of this is a slight on Aberdeen or the medical people who work there, they do a fine job and will continue to do so. There has been a predictable hostile reaction from some quarters, MP's and MSP's have been lining up to condemn services being taken away from 'their areas' I believe that this is too important to play politics with.

If, god forbid you have a child with cancer and you have a choice of having your son or daughter treated in a hospital with the highest level of experience and the best facilities, or the hospital in your own area what would you do ? it's a bloody stupid question isn't it ? are there parents out there who would not move heaven and earth to get the very best that is available, I don't think there are, and politicians should start looking at this from that angle not from concerns about votes.

By contrast the Govt. and in particular Nicola Sturgeon have got a similar situation wrong by doing the opposite to what they are proposing for Aberdeen, this is for Vale of Leven Hospital.
Medical professionals have come down on the side of A&E moving to Paisley for exactly the same reason as they are advocating moving children's cancer services from Aberdeen to the central belt only this time Ms. Sturgeon has been trapped by her own populist election promises.

She deliberately portrayed the SNP as the saviours of hospitals and stated that she would save anything under threat. She now has a situation at Vale of Leven where senior doctors are telling her that they will shortly not be prepared to take responsibility for A&E results at the hospital.

They advocate moving the unit to Paisley and she does not have the courage to do the right thing and take their advice. If she continues to hide on this and continues down the populist route she is not fit to be Health Minister. This is too important for populism it's time for her to remove the 'Janus face'.


It had to happen didn't it, the SNP have been strutting around for months accusing everyone and anyone of financial impropriety when a smell starts to emerge from their own wee But n Ben. A sum of almost £6,000 has just been declared by them as a gift from someone.

The problem is that it was donated several years ago and they didn't declare it, the reason for not declaring it ? someone ? yes someone forgot about it they forgot to declare almost £6,000 as Alex (the spiv) would say 'would you Adam n Eve it John ? " will Alex (FFM) accept as he urges others to that as leader he is responsible and the buck stops with him.
Can anyone think of a reason why the SNP should choose this time to declare it, what could have prompted them I wonder.

Look at it another way will he (the spiv) for once in his life do something right and tell the truth or will he 'trump' (I know, I make myself laugh sometimes) his last piece of chicanery and 'brass neck' this one to ?

Thursday, December 20, 2007


A Christmas approaches what do the following have in common,
St. Fergus's Nursery - Morton Nursery - The Apex Sports Centre - Elderly Residents of sheltered complexes and all Council Employees ?

ANSWER - they have all been badly let down by the SNP/Lib. Dem. Renfrewshire Council, they are closing the two nurseries, likewise the sports centre, the Elderly are having their Wardens cut and having costs imposed, their night Wardens will also be removed. Pensioners turned up in their numbers with placards etc. only to be treated with contempt by the SNP/Lib. Dems. who voted down a Labour motion to have the matter discussed, so much for free speech and democracy under the SNP.

The Council employees who have had a 27 yr. long guarantee of no compulsory redundancies under Labour had that guarantee removed by the SNP/Lib.Dems.
This was the fourth time that Council leader Derek Mackay SNP has been asked to honour Labour's pledge and shamefully, he has failed every time to do so, employees be warned !
A lovely Christmas greeting to all these people from the Council.

The day ended on a nice note despite the SNP/Lib. Dem. scrooges as we were treated to a carol concert by the pupils from Kersland School.
These youngsters are less fortunate than most of us and in their own way they show a great example of courage and determination, they are quite simply a great credit to their families, their teachers and their school.
I think that all those present felt as I did that my problems don't amount to a hill of beans, best wishes to all of them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


If anyone ever doubted the value and bravery of our police force they must now know that we should be proud of them.
Showing a complete disregard for their own safety they screeched at high speed like Starsky and Hutch to place their motor in the path of the highly dangerous Tommy Sheridan, such was their demeanour that even the unpredictable and dodgy Tommy Boy was obliged to go quietly, they apparently had a bar of soap with them for him to slip on. Scotland’s finest indeed.

At the same time as this selfless display of courage was taking place other Scottish Rozzers were showing courage above and beyond the call of duty by invading his Glasgow house despite knowing that his equally dangerous wife Gail was there at the time.
My Polis clype tells me that they sent out 6 cops for her, only to recall them and reinforce the squad by another three when they learned that the couples 2 Yr. old daughter was also there, you can’t be too careful can you ? Some 2Yr. olds are right wee besoms aren’t they.

This was a Scottish Police operation and not as some have cruelly suggested a ’Keystone Cops’ operation.

Cynical old sods like me predicted with certainty that the revolution would end in tears when we saw the usual suspects flocking to Tommy’s banner. I really don’t care about any of their private lives but I do resent the damage that they do to the Labour Movement, they are a laughing stock, both Solidarity and the SSP.
They consist mostly of egotists who prefer standing on the touchline to playing or better still preparing for the revolution ’as soon as this pub closes’ as Alex Glasgow used to sing.

As Tony Benn once said to me (name dropper) “there were at the last count 23 British left wing parties it would make you weep”

Sunday, December 16, 2007


The title is Glaswegian for the police or ‘polis’ what is going on ? Police wage disputes, what next ? The Govt. will not allow their settlement to break inflation guidelines, the same in fact as other workers so why the big stushie, should they be treated differently, should Firefighters, should Soldiers ?

How many others can you make a special case for, if you can make a special case for some to get more what about restricting what some others get, pop singers, footballers, actors, bosses in general, judges, lawyers etc. who is happy to see people like Cliff Richard, Elton John, Donald Finlay and the whole batch of useless royals enjoying wealth beyond the dreams of avarice while some people can‘t make ends meet ?

We all have our favourites though don’t we, if a loved one has been in hospital we want the Nurses to have better wages, likewise the Firefighters if they have run into your burning house and saved your budgie and last but not least ourselves, we can usually make a case for paying ourselves more can’t we.

The Rozzers though, some of them want to strike even although it’s illegal, would we have Picketing Polis and other Polis scrambling around the country preventing them from being flying pickets like the coal dispute.
There’s word of a big demo, the mind boggles, thousands of Polis demonstrating and thousands of them Policing the demo, how would special branch know who to photograph from the rooftops ? How would the press decide who the agitators are, would the mounties just pretend to beat them with their sticks, would the cops at football matches carry collecting tins.

Most intriguing of all though how would the evening news explain the discrepancy in the numbers on the demo when the Police spokesman says there were 10,000 and the other Police spokesman says there were 5,000. Under Socialism and a command economy this would not happen, perhaps if sections of society want to embrace capitalism that much that they want more than others, they should advocate the privatisation of these services, I’ll wait for their answer.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Jesus knew a bit about being “banged up” and punished. Today in Britain we have record numbers of people in jail and we are intending to create facilities to jail 7.5 thousand more, if this is not a sign of a society heading in the wrong direction then I don’t know what is.

We continue to mirror America where there are more people locked up per head of the population than anywhere else in the world yet to Bush it’s the “home of the brave and the land of the free” this is what capitalism requires to survive, a large prison population.

That population is overwhelmingly taken from the poorer sections of society, the losers under this system, and those from minority groups are most likely to be in jail.
Look at America, grotesque politicians arguing with each other to prove who is the most devout Christian in a country that is fabulously wealthy but where you can’t walk the streets, these people and many of our own Christian nutters would have locked up Jesus and thrown away the key.

Having been in many prisons I can assure you that this is the worst time for anyone to be locked up, in the West people of all faiths and none enjoy Christmas because of it’s traditions and message. It’s a special time for children and family and for prisoners that makes it more miserable, imagine being in a cell on Christmas Eve if you have a partner and kids on the outside, it must be hellish.

How astonishing is it then that the Govt. now proposes to introduce a new system which will increase the “bang up” time and reduce the time spent on training and association for prisoners, lock up will now start on Friday lunch time and the time spent locked in a cell will be approx. 54 hrs. out of the 68 Hrs. which end on Monday morning, this is designed to save an annual £60 m. I reckon it will cost more than that in the long term with less rehabilitation and more mind numbing senseless punishment.

A recent survey revealed that 80% of prisoners have two or more mental health problems for which they are not being treated, what will this proposal do to them ?
Take a long term criminal with a history of violence and mental health problems, lock him up for 54 out of 68 Hrs. over the weekend and, then unlock his door on Monday and wish him a cheery good morning, how do you fancy that job ?

This is a scandal and successive Govt’s are guilty including my own, an absolute scandal. When the mental health in prison report came out I asked the Governor of Barlinnie to comment on the 80 % figure, he was not keen to talk about it but I pressed on and he eventually plucked a figure out of the air and said “in Barlinnie it would be about 30 % “ he would not speculate as to why Barlinnie was apparently so much better off, he simply wouldn’t dare, another Scandal.

Say what you like about prison, about those who are in prison, say what you like about our society but don’t try to say we are civilised, our prisons show that we are not.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


His ego would be the thing in the end, not that this is the end but Alex (FFM) is not the kind of spiv to stand on the sidelines when the big boys are around, he has to be there right at the centre, this is what drove him to hold a local surgery at a 5 star hotel with the American billionaires, he was there as an MSP right? ‘Would you Adam n Eve it my son’

Those who disagree with the decision to refuse planning for Trump’s playground are now frantically muddying the waters, Salmond (the spiv) among them, all we hear about are the benefits to the area and the jobs and tourists etc. All of these matters and more were discussed by the democratically appointed planning board who decided to refuse permission, there was no suggestion of wrong doing by the board but, after Salmond (FFM) met the Brigadoon Yanks the decision was ’called in’ by the Govt. ‘I knew nothing’ squealed Alex (FFM) ’absolutely nothing’ aye right ye are Alex (FFM) a classic example of his hubris.

When will people catch on to this Scottish ’del boy’ Shir Shean had him bought and sold and then that lovely chap who drives the buses ‘holy Souter’ wanted a piece of him which ’the spiv’ duly sold. Connery and Souter made him roll over with ease so what chance of resistance was there when McTrump dangled some real money ? We’ve been ‘bought and sold for yankee gold, what a parcel of rogues etc.’

Good morning fellow traders my name is Alex (FFM) Salmond and everything must go, knock down prices and it’s all legal, I declare that Scotland under my leadership is now for sale, the big chunk of the north east coast was a bargain. Now, how much am I offered for Edinburgh Castle, would make a lovely town house for the right person, Mr Trump ? Can you hear me Mr. Trump ’ye cannae go wrang’ it’s a real Scots Castle a cert to make a mint when you sell it on. The Trump people said with sarcasm, This area is not open for business now we know that it’s not only open for business but under the SNP auction hammer it’s up for sale, to hell with democracy, who said Scots were keen on money ?

Scotland has fallen off the back of an SNP lorry, Rodders, start the motor up.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


4.45 am Sunday our time, I set the bedside alarm and I’m waiting, the razzmatazz now stops and the serious business of a boxing bout is ready to start. Hatton no longer struts and Mayweather no longer postures, in place of that there is a grudging respect between them because they both know what they are about to do, they both understand and acknowledge this. This is their world, their private world despite an audience of millions.

No one puts on a show like the Americans and I hate the glitz, I find it demeaning when guys like these are about to put their wellbeing on the line but it’s now part of the ’show’ I spoke to a friend whom I bumped into on Sat. who was a handy amateur boxer and I asked his opinion, to my delight he agreed with me without prompting, it would be Mayweather but it would be a war. He went better than me and showed me his betting slip which said Floyd in the tenth so he will be a happy man.

With every opening round that ended with Floyd still standing Hatton’s chances receded, Floyd proved that he could rumble as well as box like a potent ghost, Ricky ran into several spots of trouble before the inevitable happened. His mighty heart drove him forward on to a thundering left hook which saw him stagger blindly into the corner pads and go down, inevitably he stood up for more but mercifully it soon stopped with him down again.

The camera mercilessly closed on him and the look in his eyes was pitiful, once again I decided that boxing should be banned but I’ve been here many times and it’s like a drug. The real Floyd emerged then as a true champion, full of praise for his brave opponent and talking sense at last without the hype which, unfortunately IMO degrades the sport.

A real genuine championship fight which did it’s bit to return boxing to it‘s former glory, unfortunately the down side was that earlier the Khan fight damaged it with an opponent who didn’t turn up, the punters should have got their money back.
Two complaints though, Ricky should not have said that Mayweather was guilty of cheating, I’m sure he’ll regret saying that. And lastly The hysterical partisan screeching from Jim Watt at ringside was a complete embarrassment, can’t they find someone with a bit more decorum ?

Thursday, December 06, 2007


They say that you are getting on when you are glad that the phone is not ringing for you, well that has already happened and suddenly, yesterday it was, I became 59. Another big 0 approaches and a third of my life is almost over, I continue to grow old disgracefully.

My oldest daughter is an incredible 32 yrs. Old, my wife bought me a book where she once bought me football boots and the kids bought me more books, that will be a surprise to some people who read this, I read a lot, the Tory press is a good source of fiction.

I remember the coronation where we were all given a brand new silver shilling at a street party I should really send that shilling back, they can’t buy me.
I remember telling my children that I couldn’t count the number of jobs that I have had and they were amazed, leaving school in 1963 meant plenty of work and the swinging sixties, we moved around and did seasonal work, that’s where a lot of the jobs were and we had a great time, I worked as a singing waiter in Blackpool, honestly I did, I was fearless then.
It was better pay than being an ordinary waiter and if you were smart like me you learned all the regional favourites, - maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner - I belong to Glasgow - Blaydon Races - Ilkley Moor Bataht etc. the free drinks and tips rolled in.

Cuba, Vietnam, South Africa, Chile and the descent in to barbarism under Thatcher politicised a lot of us and some of us have carried it on, can’t stop now can I ?

It’s been interesting so far and I hope to carry on for a long time yet I still think of old age as being someone who is 15 years older than me and I am reminded of a literary character created by James Joyce (based I think on his father) who greets a friend with the words “thank god we’ve lived so long and done so little harm” bring it on.


Mayweather quit boxing and came back to defeat Oscar De Lahoya not an easy way to make a living, even past his peak Oscar is a class act, he is now hanging around in the hope that Hatton will win and he can fight Ricky in Great Britain, that would be another big pay night for a great, if past his best fighter.

Can Hatton win ? Of course he can there are only two people fighting, him and Floyd Mayweather if you say it fast it’s not so bad is it ? Hatton is 29 and Floyd is 30 so there isn’t anything in it as far as age goes. We have to accept the accuracy of this despite the evidence of our eyes which tells us that Hatton is several years older than Mayweather and they haven’t been easy years either by the look of him.

Floyd by contrast looks nothing like a boxer so, for someone with his record you need to start wondering why, he could pass for a cabaret singer or male model, the reason is of course that old phrase invented for ‘Sugar Ray Robinson’. He’s the best ‘pound for pound’ fighter in the world. Floyd also comes from a background which offers few ways out, crime, sports or a communist revolution are the best bets, he knows what he is fighting for, nothing less than the survival of his whole extended family is at stake as he sees it and that is a good motivation.

Mayweather came back for Oscar because he knew he could take him and the same goes here but Hatton is no De Lahoya and he will unfortunately find that out, Floyd is the real deal and Hatton is fearless and durable he hit’s very hard as well but you have to catch Floyd to hit him and while you are trying to do that he will be hitting Ricky so much that he will think he is surrounded, Hatton’s main chance is complacency by a fighter who has been toying with retirement at the age of 30 good luck son, you will need it.


A Labour party employee loses his job for abusive language to Alex (FFM) Salmond, so what I hear you ask, politics is rough, you might be right as well, I’m sure Salmond (FFM) can take it because he can certainly dish it out can’t he.

Salmond (FFM) recently described Tony Blair’s family as ‘revolting’ is this the same thing as political knock about ? I think not. I have been involved in politics for approx. 40 + years and I have never abused or insulted anyone’s family nor have my political opponents insulted or abused mine as far as I recall, it just isn’t done.

Salmond has disgraced himself and Scotland and not for the first time, when he decided to have ‘Alex Salmond For First Minister’ put on the ballot paper he marked himself out as a political spiv and was rightly accused of ‘sharp practice’ by the commissioners for it after the election.

With this attack on Blair’s family he shows himself up for the strutting bully that he is, we have possibly 4 yrs. of Salmond (FFM) sneering his way through Scottish politics and dragging the image of Scots. In to the gutter with him, ordinary decent Scots. deserve better.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Some pathetic and inadequate characters write comments to me, one such is ‘Edgar’. He accuses me of getting one of my Daughters to write for me saying that he can tell by the better grammar and spelling. He also points out that she has made a grammatical mistake, she did in fact write up a piece which I dictated when I was away.

Wouldn’t it be ironic then if he had also made, etc. Yes you’ve guessed it. My daughter’s piece below rather humiliates him, she retaliates where I don’t bother. I’m quite happy to ignore the mistakes which abound in what is written to me as long as I can understand what the writer means. ‘Edgar’ however is so bereft of argument that he is reduced to looking for spelling mistakes - perhaps he thinks that spotting a mistake in grammar or spelling means he has somehow won an argument.

I have asked the daughter who wrote the piece to check for me if she really did get an ’A’ for Higher English and an Honours Degree in English from Glasgow University, just in case she has been lying to me for the past ten years. She is inconsolable at her blunder. She has read past comments from ’Edgar’ and is humiliated at someone like him finding she made a mistake.


In response to ‘edgar’ who is factually correct in his post of November 26th outlining my grammatical errors whilst typing up an article for my father’s blog.
I am suitably embarrassed by my mistake and, as you will see, have asked my father to rectify this.
Thank you for bringing these inaccuracies to my attention.

I can only say in my defence that I did not take the time to proof read my typing carefully enough before submitting it. I put this down to lack of experience on my part - I do not ‘blog’ nor do I post comments on the blogs of others and as such was unaware of the scrutiny it would be subjected to.

That said, I was surprised to find that as such a harsh critic of my syntax, several of the previous comments you have posted in response to articles on my father’s blog contained both spelling and grammatical errors. You who I can only conclude from your past contributions to my father’s website have far more practice in this field of expertise than myself.

On Thursday the 13th November you wrote “3. The facilities in Feguslie’ and ‘Why is the Apex centre need when you can have’. I presume you meant ‘Ferguslie’ and ‘needed’?
In addition the first sentence in your post of Thursday 8th November is bereft of a question mark. I could go on but feel I have made my point - people in glass houses really shouldn’t throw stones.

Perhaps in future your purpose would be better served by sticking to debating the political differences you have with my father, or indeed my sister, with regards to the content of their articles rather than attempting to make petty and personal attacks on the linguistic form and style of their writing?

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Alex Salmond (for first minister) has come up with a wheeze for making us feel good. There will be a kind of festival thingy which will run from St. Andrew’s Day to Burns Night, during which all kind of things Scottish will take place.

Culture will be the thing. Poetry, singing, dancing, sports etc, etc. He has ordered thousands of flags and joy will be unconfined but, yes another but, I have been asking people when these two great nights in the cultural calendar take place and a clear majority don’t know. Not a good start I fear.

St. Andrew is a rather shady character with a past that is not very clear. He was of course according to the bible an apostle, not to be confused with the Paisley street gang of recent years (they would have gubbed the Romans). He is claimed by many people from Russia to Scotland. There is a beautiful statue reputed to be him inside the stunning Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari Church in Venice (worth a visit), as well as ties to Russia and Greece - maybe he was a travel agent. I suppose he fits the bill as well as anyone else if you must have a patron saint.

Burns is a different chap altogether. Revered by his followers and a figure of fun to those who don’t rate him. I regard him as a curate’s egg, soaring to the heights of ‘A man’s a man’ to the awful doggerel of ’My heart’s in the highlands’, still if he makes some people happy I’m all for that.

Let the games begin then. Dancing with swords with wee daggers down the socks, singing in impenetrable Gaelic, girning and street brawling all culminating in a national game of ‘fleece the tourist’. Alex Salmond (for first minister) will love it - pass the ‘Buckie’………………………….