Thursday, July 31, 2008


I have been reading some comments which made me sad while at the same time they cheered me up. They concerned a man who used to be Jimmy Reid.
It seems that he was seen out canvassing for the SNP in Glasgow East, how far can someone fall ? how low can someone get ? I hear you ask, do you remember the guy who used to be Jimmy Reid ? I remember him well I was there at the time and I did all the marching and chanting along with the others. We had several people who were stars of the movement and Reid was the big star, Jimmy Airlie, was his superior but quieter. Reid was good, he could “talk with Kings and not lose the common touch” a product of the Scottish Communist Party and many of it’s fine members and working class educators and organisers, the right man at the right time.

He seemed to be never off the radio and television, never out of the papers but, somewhere along the line the shift took place, ever so slowly at first, so slowly in fact that even he would not have seen it, some did, quite simply he was beginning to become the story and the end was inevitable. He wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last to be seduced by fame and adulation, in 'jig time' he had left the CP and narrowly missed a seat in the commons standing in Dundee under the Labour ticket, by this time he was already despised by many former comrades. Seeing him on Parkinson left me with mixed feelings, the first time we cheered, after that his appearances brought embarrassment, he became show biz.

His deterioration was such that most people thought he was no longer with us, he didn’t get to the top and like many others he turned on former allies in his bitterness and now finds himself in the SNP, a party and a philosophy which was and should have remained anathema to him, he still loves the cameras and the interviews but the crowds behind are now looking at a curiosity and sniggering, from Internationalism to the narrowest nationalism is a demeaning journey but he was unable to stop the decline.

My first sentence stated how his appearance cheered me up so I must explain, it’s not because I revel in his present plight it’s because the SNP are clutching at straws by allowing him into the limelight, I take no joy in seeing him like this, a shell of a man who makes former comrades cross the road, he is more to be pitied than despised.

I remember the great Joe Luis the 'Brown Bomber' he finished up opening doors as a 'greeter' for visitors at Ceasars Palace Hotel.

Monday, July 28, 2008

"you cannot hope to bribe or twist, thank god! The British journalsit. But seeing what the man will do unbribed, there's no occasion to." (H.Wolfe)

Can anyone remember a prime minister being subjected to the personal abuse that Gordon Brown is now taking? I certainly can’t and I go back a bit, I remember serious conversations in our house where a guy called Eden was mentioned, McMillan, Home, Wilson, Heath, Callaghan, Thatcher, Major, Blair and Brown, and Gordon is the most vilified of the lot, even more than Thatcher, is this justified ? Is he guilty and really the man they are painting or are his accusers the guilty ones?

That list of PM’s has some crackers on it, people who could provoke rage and start a fight in an empty house but Brown is being treated worse than any of them, and all within a year of coming to office.
There are those like the Glasgow Herald crowd who will say anything to damage labour, look at the treatment of Wendy Alexander, and those who are anti Labour and enjoy running with the crowd, the chase takes on it’s own momentum and the fact that he is in fact a decent, honest and diligent leader is getting him abuse.

He doesn’t smile enough, he is dour, well he’s not Cameron and he’s not Blair thank god. We have seen recently in Scotland what the media are capable of and we are seeing it again.
Dishonest and devious journalists who care for nothing and believe in nothing except their story, the headline, people who will do and say anything for a few minutes in the limelight, whatever the cost.

There is a cancer in our society and it’s rooted in the media, it can be traced back to the days of Murdoch and Mackenzie and the dumbing down of society under the grasping brutal Thatcher years. Communities destroyed and the press turning the country into a squalid greedy cesspit, tune into big brother and tell me you are proud of your society. This is where it has taken us and it is degrading. The cost of this type of media activity is more damage to our dignity and is further dumbing down. That’s what the press are guilty of, the outcome and the repercussions do not matter to them.

Today’s Daily Record carried a column by George Galloway which was wretched and chilling for the way George enjoyed twisting the knife, a sneering back stabbing vindictive piece which he should but won’t be ashamed of , this is the dark fetid side of politics, he once stood for something. The greasy pole done for him, that’s why Gordon has to be treated like this, thwarted ambition by someone who was never a party man. Galloway V Brown? it’s a no brainer !

Despite all of this I believe the way forward is to carry on with Gordon at the helm and improve our performance and our commitment, we must get people to see Gordon Brown for what he is, a dedicated public servant who is trying to do everything he can for his country. He is still the best politician in Parliament and the best leader we have got, now is the time to stand and fight, let the cringing cowards and sneering traitors who are crawling out from under stones know that we will not be cowed and we can still win, “we are best when we are Labour”

Saturday, July 26, 2008


The predictable onslaught is underway. The enemies of Labour and of progress are salivating and cavorting like a forum mob, big foul mouthed hairy characters in kilts reeking of whiskey can be found in gutters everywhere and the men are every bit as bad.
The road to freedom and independence it would seem does not run through Govan, Hamilton or Perth but it does apparently run through the East End of Glasgow, who would have thunk it. The old East End, world famous as a shrine to one of the world’s great football institutions, ’Shettleston Juniors’ now the road to Damascus for nationalist pilgrims but, there’s always a but isn’t there.

Have we been here before? unfortunately for the Nats. yes we have, I don’t want to rain on their parade but, By Election swings of this size do not reappear at general elections and if history is to be our guide it will return to Labour in due course, this depends on certain things and probably the best way to achieve this is for Gordon and the party big hitters to start reading my blog. You see, I am the man on the ‘Clapham Omnibus’ I am the man that they have to convince that they really are who they say they are, and I want to know if you really are the Labour Party, founded by Keir Hardy, served by Nye Bevan, Tony Benn, Michael Foot and generations of my bloody family.

Do you stand for fairness? show it, put out a hand to the poor, equality? do something about the obscene wealth, which sits alongside obscene poverty, education? open up opportunities starting with the institutions which sustain the rich and guarantee them success, housing? start building affordable homes ASAP, crime? get out of the ‘act tough’ rat race, embrace proper prison reform, war? no more! stop listening to the bellicose Americans and scrap the obscenity that is Trident. I could go on but you get my drift.

Above all tell the world that we are a Socialist Govt. and act like one, stop trying to win over the press, that is never going to work it’s their press not ours, tell the world what we stand for and what we believe in and go for it. The Labour Govt. has a lot to be proud of over the last eleven years and the ruling class barbarians are now at the gates, the Eton educated upper class braying donkeys in the Tory Party are sharpening the knives, aided and abetted by the ‘system’ which says we are “in Govt. but never in power”

Now is the time to defy them and show them that we still have the courage and the stomach for the fight, we owe it to the people who built this country and the Labour Movement who gave us the progress that we enjoy, the Labour Movement is a slumbering giant waiting to be rejuvenated, our core values are worth fighting for we can ‘rise like lions from our slumbers’

The threatening kid on the street corner might have discovered a cure for cancer or become an inspirational teacher if he/she had not dropped out of education because of his/her background. That is a criminal waste of potential, how many have there been? How many more?
Let’s do it, as another Labour member said recently let’s “bring it on” it is time comrades, for the fight back, remember “we are many and they are few” and we are Labour.

Friday, July 25, 2008


The dust is settling and the sight of Sturgeon and Salmond (the spiv) with their poodle on tele. I've forgotten his name already is a nauseating sight, still as a famous American candidate who lost the presidency said "well folks that's democracy, the people have spoken - the b------s"

By - Elections for any Govt. which has been in power for a long time are always likely to produce dramatic results, this one is no different, notwithstanding the size of the swing, we have seen it all before but I didn't expect to lose. Margo McDonald and Jim Sillars could fill the SNP in on the historical details if they weren't 'persona non Grata' with their former braveheart comrades., some of whom have been browbeaten and have learned to toe the spiv's line and keep shtum (we have a couple in Renfrewshire) Some now 'sleep with the fishes' and others, more numerous, didn't believe in anything much to start with.

There is no doubt that Labour suffered badly from a lengthy period of continuous negative attacks from the media, this will continue as they go for Brown, that along with a long honeymoon period for the SNP from the anti Labour press both north and south proved too much to overcome. Some people of course come out with the drivel about what would happen nationally with this swing, i.e. one Labour MP left, aye right.

I remember John Major's Govt. lost five By Elections and went on to win the General Election and massive swings have been reversed on many occasions so a sense of perspective is called for here.

About the campaign itself I would say this, the press were describing it as fair and good natured, this ignores two things, Mason who was I feel a bit of a straight man for the 'spiv' not unpleasant though, which is why I don't believe that it was his idea to play the sectarian card by bringing up the 'Embryo Bill' This was a distasteful and underhand move to get the Catholic support and it had Salmond 'the spiv's' fingerprints all over it.

Secondly, how do you choose a candidate ? is it because that candidate is brilliant, honest, diligent, experienced ? all of these or any combination of them would be valid.
Except of course if you are talking about the SSP, in that party if your name is the same as one of the front runners e.g. 'Curran' you are a shoe in so, hey big Frankie how are ye ? is it any wonder we can no longer see them behind their pile of lost deposits ?

My reaction ? today I went round parts of my ward and knocked on doors to talk to my constituents and give them my perspective and explain how we would win the next General Election and, I got a good response, but then again my constituents are in SNP controlled Renfrewshire. nuff said !

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


What is the difference between Gordon Brown and the other politicians of no substance ? He demonstrated it again yesterday in Israel, he went where many have gone before to speak to the Knesset, few though have been booed, heckled and subjected to a walkout. For any politician with a sense of justice and decency the Israeli Parliament represents the ’lion’s den’ such is the blind anger and taste for revenge that motivates the place, the truth died here a long time ago, about the time that the Palestinian suffering began.
The most likely solution to the crisis is the creation of two states, this is IMO a crime against the Palestinians but it looks like the best that can now happen. Three things loom like elephants in the living room before this can have any hope of success.
1/ Jerusalem must be divided to provide an Arab and an Israeli capital.
2/ Illegal settlements in the West Bank must stop and those illegally built either evacuated or knocked down.
3/ The right of return with compensation must be extended to the Palestinian refugees.

This is not radical extremism from me, this is what world leaders and Middle East experts overwhelmingly agree on, this is the best hope for a peaceful settlement, Israel must eventually accept this or be destined to live on a war footing and suffer the opprobrium of the world community.

They will in due course of time exhaust the good will, which they have rightly enjoyed since the 2nd. World war, this is the good will, which allowed the crime against the Palestinians to take place.

So why is Gordon different? Well his stance is the same as Blair, Bush, Sarkozi et al. but, and it’s a big difference, he went there and he told them he was a life long supporter of Israeli and then proceeded to do what lesser politicians didn’t have the courage to do, he told them the truth, that’s what makes him different, he faced an angry house in a hostile mood and he told them the truth.

Cameron continues to mock Brown because he wrote a book about courage, can you imagine Cameron in this position, I think he would have told them exactly what they wanted to hear, his nerve would have failed. Like him or loath him, Brown is a man of conviction, he doesn’t have to worry about courage or the odds against, he relies on instinct and his instincts are decent and honest.

The press are hounding this man and telling us that Cameron has him beat, yesterday convinced me that they are wrong, unless that is the British people are prepared to vote against him because he is not a slick enough salesman, he doesn’t have Cameron’s flash or style. Is that what British politics is coming down to? Do we want a political leader who does not flinch from the truth or a flash Harry who studied under the late Bob Monkhouse?

Monday, July 21, 2008


The labour Govt. can be congratulated for it’s announcement that the elderly and infirm will be targeted to make sure that they are receiving their full benefits entitlement.
These congratulations come along with severe criticism of them and previous Governments for allowing this absolute scandal to continue for decades.
Some of these elderly people have worked all their lives and paid their way, some have fought wars, some have seen hard times and most of them would reject any thoughts of charity, just like my own parents, this pride and determination unfortunately makes them vulnerable when the state allows this to happen.

Recent reports suggest that as much as tens of billions of pounds have gone unclaimed by people who were entitled to the money, in many cases the procedures for claiming are so convoluted that old people are intimidated by them and too embarrassed to seek help, this situation is damning and should never have been allowed to develop or continue. I have written about this before and I’m glad that it is being addressed at last. It’s never too late to do the right thing.

Meanwhile another initiative is trotted out to beat the scourge of the benefit cheats or ‘dole scroungers’ as the right wing press used to call them, far more words are written about them and successive governments compete with each other to flex their muscles and act tough while ignoring the elderly in need.
What we have is the same intentions wrapped up in ever more aggressive language but there is very little that is new here, the system already allows for benefit cheats to be pursued and this is posturing, the Tories predictably support this with their faces tripping them as it shoots one of their foxes.
Is it too much to ask that our society does the decent thing and tackles the real benefits scandal, that’s the one where needy people who are entitled to help are being missed out, we know about it why can’t we stop it ? No Govt. can claim the high ground while this goes on, look out to see if the other parties sign up to this.

End the real benefits scandal now, show respect for our elderly and vulnerable citizens ASAP. Pay them their due and back date the unclaimed money, forget about whether this is a socialist or capitalist argument, this is about justice, just do it.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Ireland was grand, as they say over there. Two weeks of constant rain and sheltering in friendly pubs, it was the most relaxing holiday I’ve ever spent, the common description of the place as being so much more relaxed than we are is very true, particularly in Eire and the rural areas of the north.

We journeyed south down the east coast and back north by the west coast stopping at many places, the scenery and hospitality were fantastic as was the history of the place which I confess I thought I knew about but didn’t really. Songs and stories are no substitute for visiting places, I visited the battle of the Boyne site and centre in Drogheda, it was brilliant and very informative, suffice to say the songs don’t do it justice. It was one of the biggest (possibly the biggest) land battles ever fought between two standing armies in Europe where 1,500 lives were lost.

Drogheda itself has an incredible history, sacked by Cromwell in the most blood soaked and barbaric siege imaginable, yet today it is a lovely peaceful place where the famous river Boyne flows through the town and the people are kind and generous to visitors, well worth a visit.

I also discovered where all the ’Hippies’ of my youth have gone, they are settled in Galway, (what a place) famous for it’s beauty through songs and tales from Galway Bay to the topical cider advert. It has a vibrant arts scene and when we were there Robert Redford and Peter O’ Toole were visiting it’s famous film festival.
The Galway Arts Festival itself was starting and you could hear every language being spoken in the pubs and venues. I thought there would be something to mark the birth place and residence of a Galway girl called Nora Barnacle who was a feisty tearaway of a woman, she also spent her life married to the writer James Joyce.

Her tiny house has been preserved as a museum and it’s captivating, if you can get moving for Americans, four people can make the living room crowded. Nora is the inspiration for one of the greatest characters in literary history “Molly Bloom” from Joyce’s great novel ‘Ullyses’ this is a challenging book but well worth the effort, I’ve been reading it on and off for 45 years.

Galway is full of tiny streets and shops, pubs, markets and the inevitable churches which are as usual in Ireland, disproportionate in size and splendour to the population. They seem to be involved in a continuous party and it’s a fantastic place to visit, don’t miss it if you get the chance.

I last visited the village of Keady in Armagh where my dad’s family come from approx. 50 yrs. ago and, through a stroke of luck the people we were staying with had been around there all their lives, a couple of calls were made and from sparse information we were able to locate some of our distant family, we visited a great aunt and uncle who were both out in the fields working when we arrived, both in their middle eighties.

We had a great blether and went over old times, rather sad though as most of the people we mentioned are gone but these two, James and Molly look indestructible.

On a more sombre note, almost everyone we spoke to told a story of great uncertainty about their future with reference to unemployment and the economy, the evidence is obvious of how Ireland has benefited as the Celtic Tiger, the number of new houses is staggering and their size suggests there has certainly been a boom but, that seems to be over and for sale signs are everywhere, The Irish are at the moment a very worried people, they face very trying times and great uncertainty.

I am now about to catch up with what has been happening, I believe there is a by election on, football is nearly back (thank god) and 'good ole boy' Bush is cosying up to those evil axis folks in Ayrak, I wonder if I’ve been reported to anyone while I’ve been away ?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


It's holiday time and me and the boss are off to the Emerald Isle for a motoring holiday, from Larne south as far as Cork and back by Galway and the West Coast, then across through Armagh to Larne, stopping as we please.
I've always wanted to do this and at nearly 60 I'm getting round to it, I've been around Scotland, England and Wales and despite being in Ireland many times I've not seen a great deal of the place now I'm looking forward to it.
I might even take the risk of looking up some ancestors, the ones who didn't get the one way ticket to Van Diemen's land that is.

Daughter No. 2 has been coaching me on the use of something called an 'internet cafe' (as yet no murder done) this it is hoped could/should allow me to carry on posting if I can get it to work, lots of people have asked me to do this, they say they could not survive 2 weeks without reading my Web.

What can I say one does one's best, If I can't get the 'cafe' thing to work I should resurface around 17/18 of July, I will report on Ireland and how I advised them on their problems, I intend to give them some tips on the correct way to sup the "Liffey Water" Guinness.


My second letter in as many weeks from the standards commission hit the floor the other morning, two letters and two all clears, this one from a guy called Malcolm Bracken, he insists that's his name, his Blog is I think from memory 'Brackenworld' initiative eh ? creativity or what ?
Anyway he is a real mean guy read it for yourself but be careful, if you upset him he will shop, grass, report you, I believe he's a libertarian or some such.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

"Wee sleekit cowerin timr'ous beasties"

I sometimes wonder if Burns was writing about mice when he wrote that line or, did he have a premonition about the SNP ?

My last two posts of June 30th. and June 29th. have received 7 hostile comments about the June 30th. article re. 'Scotland's dignity' so what ? I hear you ask, nothing new there then.

I would point out though that they all have something in common, not one of them addresses the issue written about in the June 30 th. article, not one of them.
They all want to rehash old accusations, make personal attacks on Wendy Alexander and generally talk about anything but the behaviour of the SNP and it's latest yes man Keith (be umble keif be umble) Brown.

Scotland and it's parliament has been shamed by this man and the SNP and none of them can face up to it so, no surprise there then eh ? please read the article again and then read the posts from these SNP men or, is it mice.