Wednesday, December 28, 2011


“The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable"(Oscar Wilde on Fox Hunting)
Oscar got it right, the hooray Henry’s are raising their ugly heads again about Fox Hunting. According to reports hunts have been out hunting foxes and ignoring the law safe in the knowledge that the other hooray Henry’s in the Tory Government will do nothing about their law breaking. A great many of these people would like to take us back to the days of hunting catching and killing terrified innocent animals, these are the people that the great Nye Bevan described as lower than vermin. If you teach your children that it is OK in fact it’s a legitimate sport to kill animals what do you expect them to grow up like? Take a look at the Tory Government and the great and powerful in this country and you will see what they are like. Vicious, cruel, greedy parasites who care only for themselves, I would prefer the company of the fox myself.

Is it now the case that when an elderly person has a suspected heart attack that they get air lifted 60 miles to a famous heart treatment hospital? If that’s true then we must be doing better than I thought. Or is this treatment only provided for someone who is regarded as a national treasure like the foul mouthed ignorant parasite Prince Philip. He once shot and killed a tiger which had been captured and tied up yards away from him, a base and cruel thing to do. To kill such a magnificent animal and to do so while it is tied up is the action of a poor excuse for a human being. He has spent his life living high on the hog and all for free and he insults people at will and is also known to be a racist and boor yet we let him and the rest of the royal gang away with it, when will we learn.

Went against my better judgement to see Robinson Crusoe starring John Barrowman and the Krankies and it was a fantastic show despite a script that read as if it had been co written by Benny Hill and Jim Davidson, lurid doesn’t begin to describe it but the performances were incredible. Barrowman is a big star and he is a great entertainer but the Krankies simply blew him away. Wee Jimmy Krankie in particular was born to play pantomime, he/she is a force of nature and very very funny. They had to stop sometimes to let the audience catch up they were laughing so hard at wee Jimmy‘s antics. The special effects were amazing particularly the 3D effects which were scary, honestly they were, oh yes they were! I understand that the same people are coming back next year and I would advise everyone to go see them but, be prepared to answer some awkward questions from your children when you get home about some of the dialogue.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


19/12/11 to the full council where we were treated to a carol concert by kids from St. Charles’s primary school and a Christmas greeting by Father Oliver from St. Fergus’s church in my ward of Ferguslie park. He stunned everyone by getting them to join with him in singing “I wish it could be Christmas every day” in his deep lovely Irish brogue, no Herald angels or mangers here, a bit of a character is father Oliver and he can carry a tune as well.

Labour had a motion on the table designed to put to bed for good the daft and dangerous policy of cutting teaching time in our primary schools. This was the policy of the SNP/Libdem council, it was completely destroyed by parents, pupils and opposition councillors including us in the Labour Group in an unprecedented campaign which caused the SNP ’tae think again’ the Libdems are incapable of thought but they ran away as well.

Some SNP and Libdem councillors did not take kindly to such a humiliation by the electorate and either refused to comment at the time or in some cases still mumbled that the idea was still a good one. It is no surprise that Cllr. Eileen McCartin made it known that she still saw merit in the plan, not really a surprise from a woman who has never made a mistake or got anything wrong in her life. Here at this meeting we witnessed something different from the bellicose McCartin she actually said nothing! a rare event from a woman who will quite happily lecture anyone who will listen to her on brain surgery and rocket science. I tried to get her to repeat her insulting claim that she received approx. 100 letters/emails supporting the plan to cut primary school hours but the Provost came to her rescue and ruled me out of order, I will continue to ask her to do this, perhaps she could show us the emails and letters but I suspect she would claim to have binned them what do you think?

We also tried to get the SNP/Libdem cabal to give schools more money based on growing evidence that teachers are paying for materials from their own pockets, a scandal which has been going on for some time. The SNP led Council refused to do so and also refused to accept that teachers were in fact doing this, in fact they treated the teachers with the same contempt that they showed when they tried to reduce teaching time in our primary schools and when they got rid of some 300 teaching posts since they came to power, this is what we can expect under Nationalism.

They also overturned a motion to re regulate the buses proving if proof were needed that they prefer market forces and naked profit to providing services, we should call this “The Souter Doctrine” £500,000 buys an awful lot of SNP principles doesn’t it, as the great Groucho Marx once said “these are my principles, if you don’t like them I have another set you could try” That should be the SNP/Libdem slogan.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


As Oscar Wilde stood outside on his release from his sentence of hard labour at Reading Gaol he was a broken man physically as he stood in the torrential rain and driving wind his indomitable spirit prompted him to say “If this is how Her Majesty treats her prisoners, she doesn’t deserve to have any.” This applies equally today.

The latest outrage from the SNP Scottish Government is to abolish Prison Visiting Committees and replace them with an advocacy service. The advocacy service will visit once every 4/5 years and be responsible to the Scottish Prison Service while the Visiting Committee visits every week and is answerable to local authorities, or put another way they are not influenced by the prison authorities. The word to describe them in a rather ironic way for the SNP government is “independent”

The Government review stated that the committees played a crucial role in the welfare of prisons and were an asset but they are still getting the chop. Visiting Committees have been carrying out their duties for 120 years and I am proud to say that I spent approx. 6 years as a member of the service. It is a difficult job and can be depressing when you see the conditions that prisoners live in and the effect that prison has on them but I firmly believe that Prison Visitors do a vital job by shining a light on treatment of prisoners and their conditions which is bad in some cases and good in others, the SPS however would not agree with the former description which is one very good reason for keeping the Committees.

The SNP Scottish Government intend to leave Scotland as the only country out of the UK and Ireland without Prison Visitor Committees and that worries me greatly, they will in effect police themselves. Extra supplies of bars of soap have already been ordered for prisoners to slip on, 60 organisations were asked to submit answers to the consultation and only 1 out of the 60 advocated the ending of PVC’s guess who? Yes you got it in one, the Scottish Prison Service were the only ones who wanted to abolish them. Having spent time with the PVC’s I could have confidently predicted that. On visits to prisons you are treated by staff as if you are a carrier of a serious infectious disease, the atmosphere is constantly hostile and you get the message that you are considered a nuisance and a “do gooder” I will give 2 examples of what I mean. I had spent some time researching the extent of mental health issues in British prisons and the Guardian Newspaper did a week long series of thoroughly researched articles by experts on the same subject which concluded that in most prisons treatment was poor and sometimes ignored, this in the face of 80% of prisoners suffering from 2 or more mental health problems.Yes readers you read that right the investigation stated that 80% of people in prison were suffering from 2 or more mental health conditions.

I decided to ask the Governor of Barlinnie Prison about this at our next meeting , I quoted the article which he didn’t seem to know about and asked if that alarming figure of 80% was consistent with Barlinnie and he said “no it’s more like 35%” I slowly repeated to him Barlinnie has 35% and the rest of the prisons have 80% and he said “yes give or take” and moved on I was aware that he was treating me with contempt so I just said,“that’s some achievement” 'if looks could kill' no wonder they don’t want the public wandering around their jails. The second incident was on a kind of induction day for new members of the PVC we were being shown round the prison by a senior officer when we came to the visiting hall where prisoners get to meet their family and friends on visiting days, it was busy mainly with women and children. As he went to open the door to take us in I asked if I could have a word and I told him I did not intend to enter the hall, he rather abruptly asked me why and I politely explained that I did not want to impose on meetings between family and friends and prisoners and that I considered it humiliating for them to have total strangers ogling them like exhibits in a zoo. He thought for a minute and called a young prison officer over and said “please escort Mr. Kelly to the exit door at the other side of the visiting hall" which he duly did, that is not the way to treat people but he really couldn’t care less.

A spokeswoman for the Government said that “the new system would help prisoners to deal with offending behaviour and to contribute to reducing reoffending”
That was never the remit of the PVC our remit was to deal with prisoners complaints and help them with any worries they might have the prevention of offending behaviour and prevention of reoffending is the job of the prison professionals.

Prisons are hellish places full of despair and misery and sometimes the only non hostile face a prisoner sees is that of the Prison Visitor. I have spent many visits listening to the most appalling stories and been thankful that at least I was able to listen and talk to them without seeing fear and hatred in their eyes. Prison conditions are a good way of judging a society which calls itself civilised and that alas is a judgement which we fail, the SNP is about to make an already bad system worse they should think again and start by getting rid of the wretched Justice Minister MacAskill tear up the present system and start again .

Saturday, December 03, 2011


Today's newspapers carry the disturbing story of a British soldier in Afghanistan who smuggled in booze to his base and got so drunk that he was in no state to go out on patrol the next day. He went out anyway and during his patrol he confronted an Afghanistan man and his 10 year old son, this confrontation resulted in the boy being stabbed in the kidneys by a bayonet wielded by the soldier.

The family were compensated with £800 while the child was unable to walk properly for a year, the soldier? He got discharged after serving an 18 month prison sentence. Is it any wonder these people hate us? This does not sound like justice to me but the real question is how was this allowed to happen and what kind of penalty is this for such a crime?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Off to the demonstration at County Square this morning to join fellow workers and trade unionists a very respectable crowd attended despite driving rain and high winds. That feeling you get when you join with people in a common cause which is just was in the air as we gathered in the rain, old familiar faces were everywhere and the atmosphere was uplifting. It is my belief that we will see many more days of action like this as we get down to the serious business of taking on the Government who are quite frankly the enemy, there is no other way to describe those who are proposing to destroy our jobs and pensions while protecting the rich.

The largest number of people on strike since the General Strike of 19 26 were out today protesting against the Tory/Libdem pension cuts, an estimated 2 million workers. Doctors, Nurses, Teachers, Social Workers, Cleaners, Civil Servants, 'Butchers, Bakers and Candlestick Makers' stood side by side the length and breadth of Britain in a massive show of defiance against this Government of Tory Toffs and Libdem Parasites who are hell bent in making poorly paid workers pay more, work longer and receive smaller pensions for their trouble. Most of the Cabinet are millionaires who have never done a day's work in their lives. Now when the present pay freeze ends they want to limit wage rises in the public sector to 1% a year for the next two years, with inflation at 5% that amounts to a wage cut over 2 years of 8% from those who can least afford it. This is not just a cruel series of blows for workers it is a show of contempt for working people by this Government who continue to punish the poor and protect their millionaire friends many of whom do not even pay taxes, it is a declaration of war and we have to be ready to meet it because we will regret it for years to come if they get away with it.

Speakers at the Demo. All condemned the Government and some quite rightly highlighted the unsavoury actions of our own SNP/Libdem Council who voted down a recent Labour motion condemning the pension cuts. A strange little cameo was being acted out as the day wore on, there in the crowd were 2 SNP councillors; Education Convener Cllr. Cameron and Council Leader Cllr. Lawson both of whom voted against condemning the Labour motion against the cuts, I'm not sure why they were there, perhaps they argued to support the Labour motion but lost out to their colleagues but I very much doubt that. Their position was inadvertently highlighted by them as people observed how unusual it was for a demonstration this size to be held in County Square Paisley with the council leader standing in the crowd and not on the platform. The answer to that I think is that he was not welcome on the platform, speakers castigated the local SNP for not supporting the demonstration as well as condemning the SNP Government in Holyrood who not only refused to support the action but actually condemned it, we don't really need a Tory Party in Scotland do we?

I congratulate those who stood by their unions and took part in the day's events; as time goes on more and more people will I think: come to the conclusion that they will have to join in and take a stand against the Tory Government and those who collaborate with them whether it be the Libdems in Westminster or the SNP/Libdems here in Scotland. The stakes are high, we are looking to the future not only for us but for those who follow us, our children and their children: we have to battle for them as well. Let the cowards cringe and traitors sneer we will continue the struggle, time to join in folks.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Every now and then something happens which reminds us of the past, sometimes it's a good memory and we look back with pride and satisfaction, this is how I feel right now as I reflect on the recent death of Basil     D'Oliveira We got to know and love this guy for two main reasons, he was a great cricketer and he was instrumental in bringing down the loathsome apartheid Government of South Africa, he never changed even when he was on the front page of every newspaper and on every radio and TV bulletin he was never anything other than gracious and dignified. World shattering events surrounded him as one of the most evil political regimes in history began to topple, he was in the eye of that mighty storm and he was a hero to the Anti Apartheid movement which did so much to destroy that racist system. Despite the turmoil which surrounded him he always gave the impression that he was just taking a stroll to the corner shop to buy a paper.

D'Oliveira's journey from South African shanty towns with terrible facilities for non whites to English Cricket was down in no small way to one of the greatest if not theee greatest sports journalists/commentators of all time John Arlott. His trade mark gravel voice was never more powerful than when he poured scorn and vilification on the South African state and the evils of apartheid. Basil's arrival at London airport highlighted the cultural change he was undergoing, a journalist was sent to the airport to fetch him and he eventually found him lost in the terminal as he searched for the "black/coloured" queues as well as for the "black toilet" he came to top class cricket late in life because it was a white only sport at test level in S.A. but he went all the way to play for England in test matches, he was one of the game's greatest 'all rounders' with an upright stance when batting and a calm style before he whacked the ball with formidable power to the boundary.

England were due to tour S.A. and despite D'Oliveira being an automatic test choice he was not selected, it was political chicanery at the highest level as the MCC selectors bowed to pressure from S.A. and prominent British people as well, all toffs needless to say, Tory Party leader Sir Alec Douglas Home flew down from his Scottish estate to lobby MCC selectors not to pick him. Prior to the tour taking place an English player called off injured and the uproar this time was such that they had to pick him. The racist South Africans cancelled the tour and at the same time shot off their own toes.

The anti apartheid movement were fed a ticking time bomb which was now ready to explode in the faces of the sports mad white Afrikaners, the world was appalled and very soon a massive sporting boycott was up and running. The boost that we all got in the anti apartheid movement was hard to believe S.A. was now treated like a pariah and it is now looked back on as the beginning of the end for white supremacists in that country.

I use the fight against apartheid when I think about injustice in the world. We were told we could never win but we did, Civil Rights in America and Northern Ireland? It will never happen, but it did. We are told now that Israel will never budge over Palestinian rights but they will. Just like the other odious despotic regimes through history it will happen, we have to keep on the fight, we must.

In Test matches in South Africa today the sides compete for the Basil D'Oliveira Trophy. He deserves to rest in peace.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Monday 09.00 am to the council for a full council meeting, the council now meets on a Monday to accommodate new MSP's Adam and Mackay SNP. A rather unreasonable display of hubris on behalf of the SNP who are prepared to disrupt council business and years of experience for no other reason than the convenience of two rather selfish and arrogant young men. Council officers and all concerned with full council meetings are furious but unable to express their anger, well done boys.

The meeting was quite quick as they now are because Labour are in opposition and don't believe in wasting time and tax payers money by deliberately stretching the meetings out as the SNP regularly did when in opposition. They cost the council residents tens of thousands of pounds over their years as opposition. They regularly swamped the meetings with spurious motions and amendments and meetings sometimes ran from 9.30 am to 4 & 5.00 pm. One motion called on the Council to spend money on an investigation to discover whether Elvis Pressley's ancestors came from Paisley that should give you a flavour of their attitude to spending your money.

The meeting threw up its usual examples of gross idiocy and arrogance from the SNP/Libdem coalition. Cllr. Nicolson who has a genius for digging himself in to ever bigger holes expressed anger at the last Labour Scottish administration at Holyrood for signing up to the "International Human Rights Act" and then made a complete fool of himself when called upon to defend his position. Under Councillor Nicolson's "independent" Scotland your human rights will be endangered, everyone makes mistakes but this guy elevates his blundering to an art level.

We hoped yet again to get through a meeting without a malevolent intervention from the wretched Cllr. Eileen McCartin Libdem, alas it wasn't to be. Labour submitted a motion condemning the politicisation of the Civil service in Holyrood by the SNP, this motion arose from a similar complaint in the Holyrood Parliament which was supported by everyone except the SNP. The salient point here is that all parties united to condemn the behaviour of the SNP, including the Libdems at Holyrood , our motion was defeated and the Libdems on Renfrewshire Council supported the SNP in the vote despite their own MSP's in Holyrood opposing the SNP. The SNP once again accused Labour of showing disrespect for Civil Servants and council officers while sitting in their midst was the high chief of disrespect none other than SNP Councillor Ian Nicolson who I think holds the record for the longest suspension by the Standards Commission for accusing council officers of nepotism he got a year, you couldn't make it up could you. What are we to make of this? there is no mystery here: the LIbdems do not believe in anything, they stand for nothing they are at all times; for sale to the highest bidder whether here in Renfrewshire or in the Westminster Parliament. The SNP are no better hence the corrupt farce which sees the Tories and \Libdems united at Westminster and opposed by the SNP while here in Renfrewshire we have the SNP and the Libdem in coalition. There is a perfectly simple explanation, here in Renfrewshire the Libdems are dominated by Cllr.McCartin Libdem and she holds the position of Convener of Social Work and gets to sit at the top table at functions and she is well paid. These things take the place of principles that is the kind of person she is.

We then seen Cllr. Mackay and the SNP try to steal the credit for the victory over the government over compensation for workers suffering from plural plaques caused by asbestos. A victory won by a great many people from all political parties and none. Cllr. Williams pointed out to Mackay and the meeting that during the last Labour Government the SNP either abstained or voted with the Tories on every piece of legislation which was designed to increase worker's rights, what a bunch of charlatans, in Holyrood today 16/11/11 the SNP won a vote to keep the Parliament open on the day of the upcoming National strike, SNP scabs how are ye?

The most bizarre farce of the day was supplied as is often the case by Cllr. Bruce McFee SNP when speaking against a Labour motion condemning people trafficking which the SNP/Libdems opposed and the Labour motion was lost. He did his best to assume gravitas (not easy for him) and gave us the benefit? Of his experience of foreign climes including China and Russia both wretched places said the intrepid SNP explorer where women are exploited terribly and forced in to prostitution. It never occurred to him that this kind of thing has been happening in every country on the planet including Scotland since time began not for nothing is prostitution referred to as "the oldest profession in the world" would you not expect someone from the SNP to know that? He is said to be leaving the council, how will we manage? No more self congratulatory posturing; no more endless senseless gibberish about how wonderful he is. Here is a little story about the real Bruce Mcfee, the bluster is born of cowardice and insecurity, at this meeting his little deception, his "arrangement" with Provost Lawson was once again spotted. What happens is that people raise their hands to speak and the Provost takes down their names but for some strange reason no matter what order the hands go up Cllr. McFee's name comes out last to speak, why? I hear you ask. Here's why; because of this little deception he is allowed to sit and take note of what every other speaker has said and then come back at them safe in the knowledge that he is getting the last word.

Disingenuous ? Yes, lily-livered ? Yes, untrustworthy? Yes, deceitful of course but, above all, the actions of a man who is too afraid to enter an argument on a level playing field he has to employ rat like cunning to gain an underhand advantage, in other words a Scottish Nationalist.

Monday, November 07, 2011


Having just written about a boxer (Ricky Burns) I have just read that one of the all time greats of heavyweight boxing is very ill and in hospital "Smokin" Joe Frazier who was the first guy to beat the great Ali. Joe was; in my opinion the only fighter to do that when the great man was in his prime.

Frazier was a force of nature as he strode forward always ready to take two to land one and what a one that was. Reports say that he is up against an opponent this time who eventually beats every one of us. We will all reach a time when we look across the ring at our opponent and we see an old guy in white robes with a beard carrying a scythe, it looks like Joe is now ready to go a last couple of rounds with that old guy.

Boxing was never more popular than when Joe and those other heavyweights were plying their trade in the seventies and eighties. We used to sit up until the early hours of the morning to watch Joe Frazier, Charles 'Sonny' Liston, Floyd Patterson, Larry Holmes, Gerry Quarry, 'Enry' Cooper George Foreman and the man who is recognised in every corner of the world by one name 'Ali' as they fought for what was then called 'The richest prize in sport' he was a mighty man and a great fighter who reached the top of the toughest sport on the planet I wish him well against all the odds still, anyone who went the distance against 'Ali' on three occasions might manage to defy the odds a little longer let's hope so, keep swinging 'Smokin Joe'


Top boxers have the ability to remain calm in the ring, that sounds quite easy but it is probably the hardest place in the world to keep your wits about you except perhaps in a shoot out with enemy soldiers.


Scotsman Ricky Burns displayed that calmness when he outpointed the powerful all action Australian Michael Katsitis to become the 'interim' lightweight champion of the world just the other night. The 'interim' thing is there because the present holder has moved up a weight and the authorities have now to sort it all out but Burns will either be announced as champion or will be given the position of one of the first contenders which means he will fight for the title against the other nominated guy.


The Australian was a brawler, full of power courage and energy as he walked forward into withering punches all night swinging haymakers which Burns took mostly on his arms. The brave Aussie tired himself out as Burns boxed brilliantly, he has a classic boxer's stance with a conventional left jab which is solid and accurate, he never looked like losing at any time as he kept his composure and jabbed and counter punched to great effect. This was good for the game it was a great fight with the classic battle between the puncher and the boxer very much in evidence.


Burns can absorb punishment and he moves well and is elusive the Aussie was frustrated as he kept walking into the ramrod jab and finding himself less and less able to hurt Burns as he inevitably tired due to his style. I would like to see Burns develop more of a punch with his right hand as having to go the distance in most fights carries its own dangers but make no mistake about this guy he is the real deal an outstanding boxer and young enough to be around for a while, something Scotland has been needing for some time to stimulate the sport, well done Ricky Burns.




Saturday, November 05, 2011


Round 1 – Oakland California - Cops beat up 'occupy' demonstrators, arrests, beatings, gas, dogs, clubs, water cannon and all the rest of the police state apparatus available in the Land of the Free.

Round 2 – Oakland California – A crowd of over 100,000 'occupy' demonstrators take back the streets, main highway closed in the Land of the Free – Go America, go, go ,go!

Friday, November 04, 2011


The post below is from my Chicago cousin Arthur Kelly. A union man like me and a democrat with a clear voice and a clear head. Like me he wonders at the beauty and power of nature and takes comfort and inspiration from ancient Native American philosophy. I share his support for severe penalties against anyone who breaks laws designed to protect wild creatures, I wish we would follow the American example here. Rather than answer his comment personally I want people to read it for themselves as he responds to my post about birds of prey. .

Symbolism of the Eagle Feather A Lumbee Legend In the beginning, the Great Spirit above gave to the animals and birds wisdom and knowledge and the power to talk to men. He sent these creatures to tell man that he showed himself through them. They would teach a chosen man sacred songs and dance, as well as much ritual and lore. The creature most loved by the Great Spirit was the eagle, for he tells the story of life. The Eagle, as you know, has only two eggs, and all living things in the world are divided into two. Here is man and woman, male and female and this is true with animals, birds, trees, flowers and so on. All things have children of two kinds so that life may continue. Man has two eyes, two hands, two feet and he has a body and soul, substance and shadow. Through his eyes, he sees pleasant and unpleasant scenes, through his nostrils he smells good and bad odors, with his ears he hears joyful news and words that make him sad. His mind is divided between good and evil. His right hand he may often use for evil, such as war or striking a person in anger. But his left hand, which is near his heart, is always full of kindness. His right foot may lead him in the wrong path, but his left foot always leads him the right way, and so it goes; he has daylight and darkness, summer and winter, peace and war, and life and death. In order to remember this lesson of life, look to the great eagle, the favorite bird of the Great Spirit. The eagle feather is divided into two parts, part light, and part dark. This represents daylight and darkness, summer and winter, peace and war, and life and death. So that you may remember what I have told you, look well on the eagle, for his feathers, too, tell the story of life. Look at the feathers I wear upon my hand, the one on the right is large and perfect and is decorated; this represents man. The one on my left is small and plain; this represents woman. The eagle feather is divided into two parts, dark and white. This represents daylight and darkness, summer and winter. For the white tells of summer, when all is bright and the dark represents the dark days of winter. My children, remember what I tell you. For it is YOU who will choose the path in life you will follow -- the good way, or the wrong way. Eagle feathers are very highly prized among Native Americans and in fact they are the only people allowed to posses an eagle feather and even they must have certification of tribal membership and the appropriate registration license to acquire one legally. And there is the rub... or a mere pale-face such as myself, possession of even one feather brings a fine of $100,000 and a jail sentence. The law: "Anyone who possesses an eagle feather, and doesn't meet the requirements, could face fines up to $100,000 and a year in prison. A second offense is upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony, and carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The act also provides for a civil penalty of up to $5,000." If possible return these creatures or their parts to the wild Take only pictures; leave only footprints indeed... Arthur (Pale Face) Kelly Craigneuk/Chicago

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Weird – Bird by Shel Silverstein.

(Me and Zulu)

Birds are flyin' south for winter.

Here's the Weird-Bird headin' north,

Wings a-flappin', beak a-chatterin',

Cold head bobbin' back 'n' forth.

He says, "It's not that I like ice

Or freezin' winds and snowy ground.

It's just sometimes it's kind of nice

To be the only bird in town."

Tuesday Nov. 1st. 2011 to darkest Cumbernauld with the boss to visit a place called "World of Wings" a bird sanctuary with a difference, these birds are 'raptors' or to give them their other name 'birds of prey' I have always been a lover of wildlife (leave the jokes out) when younger we would travel all over the Scottish Highlands as a family observing creatures native to this part of the world. My greatest memory of those days was seeing magnificent Golden Eagles in the Cairngorms as well as Ospreys fishing and many other creatures. I have been up close and handled some of these birds and I have a picture of me standing with a full grown Russian Eagle perched on my arm, her name was Princess: she weighed 8 pounds and her mighty beak and mesmerising stare were inches from my face. Strangely enough I didn't feel scared but I have never felt as insignificant as she stared at me without any movement in a rather condescending way, she was very regal and she seemed to know it, a fantastic experience.

I have been saying for longer than I care to remember that I would love to fly a bird of prey and now I have; a life's ambition realized; I don't know how often I have wondered what it would be like to have a large bird of prey fly at you and land on your arm and take the prey on offer from your hand and I was not disappointed.

Our young enthusiastic and very knowledgeable guide took us round the place and we got up very close to a stunning Bald Eagle, various Hawks, owls and vultures who always get a bad rap but they are actually beautiful and very clever. There are even some local birds like magpies and crows which have been rescued as well as some huge multi coloured parrots and macaws who seem to have the run of the place, one of them greets visitors with a roar and goes off and fetches his dinner bowl in the hope that you might be carrying food.

The highlight was meeting my now great friend 'Zulu' the angriest and toughest looking bird I have ever seen she held your gaze with a ferocious look and an angry call. She is an African Snake Eagle and is all black except for her piercing eyes and her scary large bright red beak, the guide said she was in fact quite formidable and then said looks were deceptive as he told us too watch as he went in next to her and she raised her head to be stroked by him much to her delight. She is 4lbs. Of menace in the wild and kills and eats venomous snakes by using her massive wings to let the snake bite her thick feathers until it is exhausted and she then removes it's head with a beak that has 400 pounds per square inch of power and eats the rest. Evolution has taught her that the snake's head is where all the venom and poison is so it's not for eating, mind boggling stuff.

We moved with 'Zulu' to the flying area and she obviously knew what was coming next, grub and flying as she perked up. The field had roosting posts around it and he set her away and she flew to one about 50 yards away and perched looking at us, she can see a rabbit's ear shiver from 4 miles away and she snapped to attention a she saw me raise my gauntleted arm with a lump of rabbit in my hand. She left the roost and out came the massive wings as she sped right at me with her eyes trained on me, very scary and, at a distance of about 12 feet she stops flying and glides the rest with her fierce talons out to land on me I thought it would be painful but she lands like a sparrow and takes the prey, a magical experience, the place was quiet so I got to fly her about 15 times and I would still be there flying her yet if I could have worked out a way of doing so.

Anyone reading this and especially those with children should think about a visit it's very educational and great fun, in fact it is absolutely thrilling.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Are you sitting comfortably? The date is December 29 Th. In the year 1170 four Knights, heavily tooled up rode into Canterbury Cathedral. By the time they left the body of Thomas Becket who was Archbishop of Canterbury lay dead and rather badly mutilated. He had really p****d off King Henry the second by siding with the Pope and trying to prevent Henry's grab for power in the church. Henry famously raved at the situation and said "Won't anyone rid me of this troublesome Priest?" The 4 knights heard the King and thought collectively 'that sounds like a job for us' and the rest as they say is history.

I suppose we can describe it as progress that the Canon Chancellor of St. Paul's Cathedral the Rev. Giles Fraser has resigned from his post in protest at plans to 'remove' the 'occupy' protestors from the steps of the church, he is quite rightly a 'Troublesome Priest' but he is still in one piece. No thanks to the powers that be that are now determined to remove the protestors. The St. Paul's clergy are said to be angry at the pressure being put on them by the London Corporation and a certain London Mayor called Boris Johnson who I fancy is wishing it was back in Henry the second's time, then these protestors "would fear him" as Don Corleone said in the Godfather. The Rev. Fraser has resigned because he refuses to sanction "violence in the name of the Church" violence? by the met? Where on earth could he have got that idea? do the Rev. and big Boris worship the same God I wonder? The words of praise and best wishes are now surrounding the Rev. Fraser like a massive halo, what turned out to be his last sermon on Sunday at St. Paul's was highly critical of corporate greed which would not have endeared him to the likes of Boris and the political gangsters he hangs out with, good luck to the Rev. Fraser.

Needless to say the protestors and I would guess countless thousands more are looking on in awe at his sacrifice, quite a turn up in the squalid capitalist cess pit which we call society today. A Christian Cleric at the highest establishment level turns out to be just that, a Christian, who would have thunk it? No doubt there will be investigations at the highest level to find those responsible for allowing this brave dignified cleric to rise so high in Britain's most famous parish and it's most famous church, Boris will no doubt demand that heads must roll.

The question now is will we see the finest from the Met all masked up and numberless beating up and using tazer guns and riot hoses on peaceful protestors at their camp on the steps of such an iconic Christian site. The other question now is for Boris and the Government to work out not whether it is right to do so but to work out whether they can get away with it. Because you can rely on it that if they can work out how to beat up and imprison these people they will do so, they will no more hesitate than the Brown Shirts did in Germany. We all have a duty to witness and protest what is about to happen. Decent Christians if it goes pear shaped I urge you to withhold your support declare yourselves atheists until the church lets the tents back on to the sacred stairs.

Friday, October 21, 2011


The lines above were written by the great poet calling on the masses to rise after the "Peterloo Massacre" when government troops slaughtered protesters in Peterloo Fields Manchester.

Despite the efforts of me and many others over many years it looks like I might well have to revise my opinion often stated that I would not live to see the destruction or at least the significant restructuring of the evil capitalist system. Protests grow all around the world as more and more people start to say enough is enough, the beating heart of this rotten system could be the thing which does it most damage, that beating heart is of course greed, greed for material wealth and greed for power and influence, look at some of the most wealthy in the world and you will see with very few exceptions that no amount of wealth is ever enough. Recent events surrounding the quite awful and sinister figure of Liam Fox our ex 100% dishonest secretary of Defence point to a massive behind the scenes international conspiracy of the rich and powerful to sway how governments make policy and how they take decisions and they get them to make those decisions in the favour of the rich and powerful, the kind of people that the craven Liam Fox is so besotted with.

Let's roll the dice and see where it takes us, all across the world people are losing jobs and homes while the rich and powerful continue to stack up the wealth. Today's newspaper carries a story into what must be one of the best examples of capitalism's failure, America likes to see itself as the backbone of the free market the place where laissez faire rules supreme and; of all places in America the place which is the most obvious example of this is Las Vegas. This plastic paradise is the crudest example of mankind's avarice. A massive glittering sparkling obscenity which screams at the world "fraud" here in Vegas thousands of jobs are being lost and huge amounts of people losing their homes and hundreds and growing are sleeping rough, this is the casino society learning what myself and many others much cleverer than me have been saying for years which is that capitalism will eventually destroy itself as Karl Marx said. Because it's a huge card game a massive risk; a huge gamble and as anyone who has ever gambled will tell you everyone can't win and it produces far more losers than winners.

It is really apt that this protest movement should start in America, I have become frustrated at watching the knuckle dragging racists of the tea party parading in all their ignorance and said to myself in despair "where are the left" well we are seeing them now and I hope they grow and grow America still has the ability to be a great country and it's people are not right wing as the rich man's media would have us believe. I can say that because I am of an age to have witnessed the Civil Rights movement and the Anti Vietnam War movement "I aint goin cause no Vietnamese ever called me nigger" (MUHAMED ALI ) both causes championed by the left and both victorious despite beatings, prison and Police and Government sponsored brutality and they can win again the prize is a better fairer world.

The students are next up with another massive demo in early November and a massive strike to take place near the end of November, the government are not moving so we will have to persuade them. The people who are suffering are the worst off while the rich are not paying anything, quite simply this is unfair and just possibly the Government here and others across the world have made a massive misjudgement and the people are beginning to realize that, more power to the demonstrators and strikers class war now!

"The present demonstrations have already thrown up an unlikely hero, I give you the Rev. Giles Frazer the Canon of mighty world famous St. Paul's Cathedral London. Protestors were prevented from getting near the centre of the financial district and they moved to St. Paul's where they found more police preventing them from occupying the famous steps up to the church. Then the unassuming gently spoken Rev Frazer came out and moved the police on from the church and invited the protestors to stay, perhaps this real Christian clergyman remembered Jesus throwing the money lenders out of the Temple, a hero for our times just like the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Bishops who stood side by side with the persecuted travellers at Dale farm, is god making a comeback?.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Will the last two people who sent comments to me, one on the Davidson V Mackay spat and the other who defended Liam Fox please resubmit their comments. There is a problem with my computer and I will have to wait until my children arrive back from abroad before I can have it sorted, I will reply then.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Watched a Lovely little cameo which inadvertently described the utter lack of ability of the people in the SNP on the Politics Show at the weekend. My old sparring partner Derek MacKay SNP who has risen without trace sat next to Labour's Ian Davidson on the studio sofa, the matter for discussion? 'Independence' Finding himself going round in circles and quite unable to hazard a description of what they (THE SNP) mean by independence Mackay decided to muddy the waters by complaining about Davidson previously describing the Gnats. as 'Neo Nazis' This was said by Davidson when he described the SNP tactic of interrupting speakers, talking over them and shouting them down as being reminiscent of the Nazis hence the 'Neo Nazi' insult, having been a member of Renfrewshire Council for 12 years I can assure you that that is exactly how they behave.

Mackay however displayed his immaturity and tactless stupidity by speaking over Davidson interrupting him and shouting him down, it was jaw dropping inanity. Davidson, crafty old politician that he is appeared to struggle through MacKay's behaviour with a patient but sad expression on his face. He couldn't believe his luck as Mackay displayed all the attributes which caused Davidson to come up with his previous description of the SNP car crash stuff from the SNP member who by then could be seen trembling and looking longingly at the exit door. He has previous for such stupid blunders, in a debate on the Tory Libdem budget at Renfrewshire Council when his composure was deserting him he blurted out and I quote "the government's budget cuts are about right" he was like a drunk man trying to negotiate steep stairs a complete loss of dignity and a shambles. He has since tried to deny saying this but everyone heard it and it's a sign of his stupidity to try to deny he said it.

We are continually told about all this talent in the SNP so how did this wet behind the ears boy get where he is in such a short time? I personally know lots of SNP people who can talk absolute rubbish in a far more coherent way than this guy, he I believe is one who has less backbone than most and as such fits wee Alex (the spiv's) ideal model of the trembling sycophantic 'yes man'. I predict that Mackay's willingness to prostrate himself at the feet of his leader will ensure a place at Salmond's table. There is always room for another "wee sleekit cowering timorous beastie" in Salmond's world.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Scotland should withdraw from international football for a couple of years to allow new coaches and managers to reconstruct our game without the constant humiliations which are being visited upon the team at the moment. A period without pressure and the constant gaze of a football press who are a laughing stock would be a welcome break. I'm sure some of the players cringe when they read the drivel churned out by ex players and coaches like Hately, Henry, Dodds, McLeod, Walker, McLean, Provan etc. and so called experts like Keevins, Traynor and the doyen of them all the odious Bill Leckie. Thank god for Archie McPherson almost in his dotage and still head and shoulders above this self serving rabble, they should be forced to listen to people like David Pleat, Joe Royle and Gerry Armstrong before uttering another word. These self appointed experts would not be allowed anywhere near a word processor if they weren't ex footballers and I strongly suspect they get paid for putting their names to wretched articles by tabloid journalists who are somewhere below slave traders in the decency pecking order.

As far as last night's game was concerned I watched it with a mixture of resigned sadness and delight at the play of the Spaniards how do you go about measuring the gulf between them? Surprisingly the only Scottish player who would not have looked out of place in a Spanish strip was Bannan who is a relative newcomer. He is very quick and very skilful with a lovely left foot but most significantly he is clever he seems to know what move to make and when to make it, unlike most of his team mates he is happy to take the ball in tight situations even against Spain, that's a sign of good technique and self confidence, a very impressive player. He is very small by today's standards but so are about 5/6 of the Spaniards and Barcelona don't have any giants in their team but they are easily the best team in the world at the moment.

At my age I have seen some great sporting champions and some great sports teams and I am delighted to be able to say that some of the people I am seeing now are as good if not better than some of the giants of the past, judge for yourself. Charlton was better than Di Stefano and Maradona was better than Pele and Messi is better than any of them. In boxing the greatest! was Ali and I never thought I could possibly see better but the Phillipino world champion Manny Pacquiao , is the best pound for pound boxer I have ever seen and that includes Sugar Ray Robinson as well as Ali. I never thought I would see a better tennis player than Rod Laver and then I saw McEnroe and changed my mind and then I saw Federer and changed it again. I saw the great Valeriy Borzov and then American black power demonstrator Tommy Smith both of whom would only ever see Usain Bolt's rear as he ran away from them with ease. Scotland might produce players like Bremner, Baxter and Jimmy Johnstone again but I can't see at the moment where they will come from our two biggest clubs Celtic and Rangers have one young home grown player each in their regular starting teams Gregg Wylde and James Forrest, Celtic and Rangers won European trophies with all their players home grown as did Aberdeen, it's going to be a long way back if we ever do get back.

Sunday, October 09, 2011


There are some people who no matter how hard I try always get the better of me and I have to admit that Dr. Liam Fox MP, Minister for Defence in the "ragtag n bobtail" British Coalition Government is one of them. He and I would not agree about anything I guess and we are political anathema to each other but, that applies to a great many others who don't get the better of me in the way he does because I am not just referring to politics here, this is personal. It might come as a surprise to some of you who read this blog but I have always tried my best to avoid hating anyone no matter how much I abhor their views and their actions, some people however defeat me. There are some obvious examples such as Thatcher and Salmond as well as too many revolting Libdems to count who have always brought out the worst in me and Dr. Fox comes in to that category.

Having watched this strutting little puffed up gauleiter over the years I now find myself enjoying his embarrassment, not something I'm proud of but it is true and I can't apologise for it. This guy given the chance would march us all back to the Thatcher days and then some, he is a hidebound knuckle dragging reactionary and an appalling example of someone who chose the wrong career of medicine in a quite spectacular way, imagine if you will his bed side manner; the mind boggles! "the scary sinister man in the white coat lurking by your bed is the doctor honest he is, just try to ignore that fact that he wears a fixed truculent sneer and can't look anyone in the eye I'm sure he's qualified"

Like others before him he sees himself as above most people and is always ready to lecture us on our behaviour and he now displays repugnant hubris by expecting us to believe his story that there was nothing inappropriate regarding his special relationship with his chum 17 years his junior Adam Werrity who was resident in Dr. Fox's home at no expense: paid for by you and me the taxpayers. He also made a rich living by using his connection to Dr. Fox in the business world handing out cards saying he was a "special advisor to Liam Fox MP" and was allowed to operate a right wing charity from Fox's office in the British Parliament again paid for by us. This charity patronised by among others the war criminal Thatcher was closed down for being too right wing!

As I write it is 18:34 PM and Fox has just apologised in an attempt to save his career and no doubt there will be a campaign to save his mendacious skin, he ought to have been fired by now and both of them facing charges but will it come to that? This young chum of Fox's had the run of the Ministry of Defence estate with access to god knows what and he had no right of any kind to be allowed anywhere near the place, you would think would you not that Dr. Fox can't possibly survive wouldn't you? Watch this space though remember these are the Tories, decency and truth do not apply to them, Cameron's position will be badly weakened if he allows him to survive. First it was Laws then the Murdoch dustbin raker Coulson and now Fox and the odious Libdem Judas Huhne is next in line to have his collar felt. He blamed a speeding charge on his wife then made the mistake of cheating on her and dumping her, "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" as the saying goes and she did the decent thing and grassed the bastard, what did he expect? Meanwhile it's "hubba, hubba, hubba let the show go on" let these pompous hypocrites swing in the wind. To paraphrase Cameron PM "they are all in it together" Personally I blame those draughty private schools they all went to, all that running around bare arsed flicking each other with wet towels I always said no good would come of it.

Monday, October 03, 2011


New Zealand 83 V Japan 7 – Canada 34 V Romania 3 – Australia 42 V Romania 3 - Cote D'Ivore 0 V Scotland 89.

The above are some of the scores in the Rugby World Cup which is being played in New Zealand at the moment, you can tell that the tension in games like this can be unbearable can't you? What possesses people to watch this c**p and how do they persuade themselves that there is some merit / competition / entertainment in it? I can only hope that the tax payer did not contribute anything to the costs of paying for the Scottish team to go there and take part in such a farce. I found my two daughters watching the England V Scotland game on TV and I asked why they were watching it and they said it was exciting. What they were really saying was that the scores looked exciting on paper in that Scotland needed to win by 9 points to qualify; I confidently said they have no chance, why! they protested to which I replied because they are useless.

As is so often the case I was right, near the end there was a huge pile of bodies writhing around in a big mob which looked like the County Square taxi rank at 2 am when some Scottish clown in full view of everyone stamped on some guy in the crowd, a blind man passing on a galloping horse would not have missed it and the resulting award to England resulted in a try and conversion. The real story though was the fact that the game itself was mind numbingly boring, these guys are as bad as our Football team and that is saying something. They treated the ball like a huge bar of hot soap and their coordination reminds one of a drunken shire horse on a slippery road, would a moratorium on Scottish international sport for a couple of years not be a good way of restoring some dignity? As long as Scottish Rugby remains an elitist sport we are destined to watch these privileged oafs embarrassing all of us it's time for a rethink, they were going to fight to the bitter end the risible Scottish sports press told us, it turned out they couldn't fight sleep. surely this lot could make a stab at Tug of War, Mud Wrestling, Blind Man's Buff perhaps, Musical Chairs?

Saturday, October 01, 2011


As the Gypsy Travellers barricade themselves in at Dale farm in Basildon; waiting for the bailiffs and the police as well as private security men to come for them, (my guess is they will come for them at the traditional time of 03:00 AM) we discover in today's press that a £97M grant made in 2008 by the then Labour Government has had only £17M spent on what it was for which was to provide new and upgrade present traveller's sites millions has been spent on housing projects which exclude travellers, this is a scandalous theft of money which needs to be pursued. A nasty but typical campaign is now being run by reactionary newspapers and commentators against the travellers with the Nazi/Hitler loving Daily Mail leading the charge they perhaps remember what the Nazis did to Gypsies and Travellers and they pine for more of the same.

This fascist rag is running pictures of caravans surrounded by rubbish and scrap and claiming that it is the Dale Farm Travellers site with no proof whatsoever while sympathetic supporters who visit the site from artists like Vanessa Redgrave to Bishops of different local denominations describe a clean tidy orderly place where doors are not locked because there is no crime and children play happily as the whole community looks out for each other, questions, questions as they say so; who do you believe is it the Nazi newspaper or the local bishops! It's a tough one right? Travelling people have had to live with this prejudice since time began the reason? Because they are different, they can be identified as such and blamed for every evil just like the Jews in 30's Germany is that really us? Is this really Britain today? It's shameful.

Gypsies have been around for as long as there have been people and they are recognised as a race like everyone else and they are entitled to proper treatment as outlined by the European Union. That means a place to stay and education and health care for their families. Some people do not agree: well tough, this is the law and it is being broken by lots of councils, Renfrewshire was meant to provide a place for them to stop years ago and has not yet done so, that is another disgrace. A couple of years ago there were complaints about Gypsy Travellers in my ward and I went to see for myself what the site was like, as I drove by preparing to turn in to the site I saw women gossiping and lots of kids playing in the sunshine. When I had negotiated my way past their makeshift barriers to access the site I found myself alone except for an old man sat in a chair outside a caravan he smoked a pipe and had a mug of tea by his arm as he watched me get out of the car and approach him. I realized that my presence had had the effect of clearing all the women and children away and I could feel their eyes on me from behind the curtains of their caravans, this sent a feeling of shame over me I know some people who would have revelled in a feeling of power, some are Renfrewshire Councillors but I felt shame.

After 10 minutes chat or craic as he would call it the children and women reappeared when he beckoned them out meaning I was harmless, a mug of tea appeared and I was made welcome. I decided to go and see them because there were so many vicious lies flying around the area at the time being told by some scurrilous people who were chasing votes, it was ever thus. My purpose was to let them know that as the local councillor I supported their right to live their own way without harassment and I took steps to make sure that we in Renfrewshire Council provided them with details of medical help if required, education where suitable and necessities like bin bags and babies nappies, I hope the guy upstairs was watching me as well as watching those who persecute others for racist reasons.

Perhaps if all local authorities were to provide what the law says they must provide things would improve for everyone: I have no fear of Gypsies or Travellers because they are simply people just like the rest of us to paraphrase William thingmy in "The Merchant of Venice when Shylock says "what is a Jew, if you prick me do I not bleed, if you tickle me do I not laugh"? Those hordes of upright Basildon house owning Christians in the Dale farm area should take a good look at themselves, if they do they might conclude that its time they joined the human race and learned to live and let live.

Friday, September 30, 2011


Well Mrs. Thatcher if there is "no such thing as society" what am I doing sitting here on Friday 30 09 11 at 11: AM drinking coffee in the community hall in God's own little acre Glenburn, historic birthplace of talented musicians, clever scholars and great footballers, yes I come from Glenburn back in a time when hair was long and time was short. Along with others I am doing my modest bit to raise money for the McMillan Cancer Charity at a coffee morning, by the time you have entered the hall, had a coffee and bought some raffle tickets a ten pound note or "big brown drinking voucher" as me and my brothers used to call it has vanished.

My good friend and comrade Neil Bibby Labour MSP was instrumental in organising this event along with similar gatherings across the country, and I can say without fear of contradiction that if you feel the urge to part with some money there is no more charming man to relieve you of it than big Neil, you feel nothing as the cash flows gently like a blood transfusion from you to him. This event was run by Neil and the local labour Party and it was nice to see some of the usual suspects there as always when good causes need support, the kind of people that the likes of Thatcher would never understand, the kind of people who prove time and time again that there is a thing called society and we are proud to be part of it. Why not join in by sending a donation to Neil Bibby MSP at the Scottish Parliament Edinburgh.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Down with Quarrier Homes workers – SNP/Libdem coalition show their anti union colours again.

19 / 09 /11 09.30 AM to the council chamber for a full council meeting, changed to a Monday by the SNP to accommodate their new MSP'S Mackay and Adam. We kicked off with a tribute to the late Provost; Labour's Ronnie Burns RIP and then saw a presentation by a delegation from the NHS on the future of the children's ward at the RAH, the usual things were said without the presenters giving anything away, medical considerations, consultation etc. safe to say the councillors were not impressed. Unfortunately we witnessed a shabby piece of opportunism by the SNP and Cllr. /MSP George Adam in particular, he attended the meeting of the campaign group to save the ward which I wrote about in my last post. At that meeting it was decided that a motion would be put to the Council demanding support from all councillors to help save the ward and Cllr./MSP Adam agreed with it: to avoid any accusations of political football it was also agreed that the people leading the campaign would choose the wording of the motion which they did. You can imagine the anger and disbelief therefore when the SNP and Cllr./MSP Adam and the hand ringing loathsome cllrs. from the LIbdems insisted on putting forward an amendment to that motion. No surprise for spotting that the vicious and discredited Cllr. McCartin was up to her neck in it, you can't get much lower than these people. Their reason for doing this which they will deny with a straight face was to make sure that the decision to support the campaign would go forward under their name rather than the names of the Labour councillors who proposed it, remember we put forward a motion written by the ward 15 campaign group we made it clear that it was theirs and not Labours we were acting as a conduit for the campaign but the SNP still blocked it for their own shabby political ends, in all my time in politics this SNP/Libdem coalition are the shallowest bunch of low lives I have come across, they bring shame on Scots. everywhere.

What followed was just as bad with the SNP/Libdem coalition acting like reactionary right wing Victorian Mill Owners and the Mills on this occasion was a children's charity known worldwide as Quarrier's Homes. Workers here are being forced to take a pay cut of between 3% and 23% we (Labour) put up a motion urging the council who use Quarriers services to back the staff in this dispute and the SNP/Libdem coalition said no and voted down the motion. They said they were doing this for two reasons one was that arbitration was ongoing which means they are either liars or incompetents because it's not and the Quarriers bosses have refused to negotiate and then the ex council leader Mackay SNP in an unabashed display of cynicism and right wing bias declared that because all the people employed were taking a cut it was none of the council's business. What he failed to say quite deliberately in a lie of omission was that senior management some on salaries exceeding £100,000 and a free house! yes you read that correctly were the ones losing 3% and some staff earning between £16,000 and £20,000 were the ones who will be losing up to 23% one SNP councillor Ken McLaren also voted to reject the motion to support the union and he ---wait for it, is employed by UNISON honestly I'm not making this up check for yourselves, dear readers these are the people who want to govern Scotland as an independent country, they are cut from the same cloth as Cameron, Osborne and Clegg. I urge everyone to reject the cowardly position of the SNP/Libdem Renfrewshire Council and do everything you can to support the Quarriers workers in their dispute, get on to the SNP/Libdem councillors and let them know in no uncertain terms that it's time for them to develop a backbone and stop grovelling to the bosses.

In another example of SNP/Libdem duplicity they tried through the strident hysterical Mackay SNP to accuse Labour of suggesting wrong doing on the part of officers because we are calling for a police enquiry into how £2Million to £2.5 Million pounds of council money was unaccounted for. He tried mighty hard to display his anger which is quite a funny sight really saying we are a disgrace for calling in to question the honesty and integrity of council officers which of course we did not but he forgot something which I felt obliged to remind him of, in a quite incredibly stupid way he accused us twice and I reminded him twice that the worst case of scurrilous accusations and contemptible behaviour towards council officers was carried out by his colleague the SNP'S Cllr. Nicolson who accused senior officers of nepotism he was at the time so enamoured with himself at learning this new word that he refused to withdraw it when given the chance, this vicious and spiteful outburst earned him a one year council ban from the Standards Committee. Along with many others I was amazed that the officers involved did not meet him in court. Mr. Nicolson is still in the SNP and is now convener of the planning board had he been in any other party he would have been out of politics but the SNP are not any other party are they?

Saturday, September 17, 2011


While we continue to moan about our lives and how badly treated we are the misery inflicted on the people of Palestine goes on. One of the terrible policies of the Israeli state is the system they established of having a two road system, modern roads for Israelis and old broken roads for Palestinians. The Palestinians are also plagued by roadblocks, detours and checkpoints, this includes when they are fighting for their lives in the back of an ambulance, and Israel BTW describes itself as a civilized country. Try to imagine being in the back of an ambulance with one of your children who is seriously ill or injured and a young Israeli soldier stops you and leaves you waiting while he goes for a coffee and a smoke without having to justify his actions; this nightmare faces all Palestinians every day.

"When a human body suffers a severe injury immediate treatment is vital, delay can lead to serious complications and avoidable death, many parts of the world including Gazza and the West Bank are seeing this and in the case of Palestine it is shamefully a deliberate act by Israeli troops" Dr. John Beavis Consultant Trauma Surgeon Path Hunterian Professor, Royal College of Surgeons of England. Israel has over 500 roadblocks across the occupied West Bank, they divide and control the whole population, every journey is at the whim of a soldier even emergencies.

"The denial of passage to Palestinian women in labour, resulting in increased numbers of childbirths at checkpoints and en route to the hospital, is consistent with the criteria for crimes against humanity" – The Lancet 5th July 2011. Donate to - Medical Aid for Palestinians - Unit 4 Minton Distribution Park – London Road. – Amesbury – Wiltshire – SP4 7RT.

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Friday, September 02, 2011


31/ 08/11 - 7 PM - to the Martyr's Memorial Church Hall for a public meeting to kick off a campaign to save Ward 15 (children's ward) at The Royal Alexandra Hospital which is threatened with closure by Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board. It was the second such meeting in the same day and between them they attracted about 70 people, not bad for the first kick of the baw in any campaign and this will run and run if I am any judge. It will grow because just about everyone in Renfrewshire has a locus in the children's ward, we all know someone with a connection to the place; in many cases we ourselves have reasons to be thankful for the skill and dedication of the health professionals who work there, hospitals can be very scary places for obvious reasons but; the children's ward is the scariest place on earth if you are a helpless terrified parent sitting by the bed of a sick child, you're sick child. This is when the staff working there grow halos before your very eyes as they pull out all the stops for your child or for the child of someone with whom you are connected in some way. Grannies, granddads, fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, neighbours etc. etc. the whole community is in this fight.

Despite what Mrs. Thatcher said about there being no such thing as society we will prove her wrong. The community working together can win this fight, It is not my intention to start rehearsing the arguments for keeping the ward open; those will be well reported as the campaign grows and the arguing starts. This post is by way of a wakeup call to everyone in Renfrewshire to get ready to rumble with the bureaucrats and bean counters who manipulate our lives without looking us in the eyes. I would urge everyone who agrees with us to watch out for the publicity which will shortly be going out to ask for help for the campaign. I get the feeling already that the people of Renfrewshire are going to win this one.

Monday, August 29, 2011


The Martin Luther King quote which heads this post was referring to riots in America but is relevant here as well. Stop and think why the riots take place in America overwhelmingly among the underprivileged black population and in this country the same happens with a disproportionate number of the black population involved as well as other underprivileged groups. The people in our country whom we have heard blaming the turmoil on criminal behaviour alone are either in denial or they are lying to themselves, for their claims to be true we would have had to be watching the biggest coincidence in history, one where they claim that disorder in society is caused my criminality and factors like unemployment, poverty and racism etc. play no part in any of it, an absurd position to take. "people riot because they are bad" well at least they don't have to waste time thinking about it once they have reached that deceitful and ludicrous conclusion.

Riots don't start spontaneously which they also seem to think, in this case it was the shooting of a black man called Mark Duggan by the Police who didn't bother to tell his family he had been killed which kicked it off, and an immediate investigation found that the gun they claim was his had not been fired as they had initially claimed. This is an area with a high black population where black youths are stopped and searched 5 times more often than white youths; do we need to go on? Were the Los Angeles riots some years ago started of their own volition or was the incident caught on camera and posted on U Tube of a black man Rodney King being savagely beaten by 6 cops with clubs have something to do with it? There are some allegedly intelligent people who are simply telling lies when they say that it was simply criminality, they are lying because they don't want to admit that society is partly to blame and they are the ones who created this society and they also govern and police it.

The slavering reactionary commentators say they should be shot on the streets which sounds rather like an incitement to violence to me but the authorities seem to ignore it while jailing people for using email etc. to incite riots. The Police who are calling for harsher sentences are the same police who are up to their necks in the Murdoch scandal as well as the sporadic killing of innocent people. The Murdoch press are also calling for tough action against rioters that's when they are not too busy hacking the phones of dead soldier's families and the family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler etc. and of course the politicians who want to hang and flog were not so long ago doing their own form of looting under a different name. Now I ask you, if you were an unemployed youth living in poverty with no hope of a decent life and being constantly subjected to harassment by the police what would your reaction be if a policeman, Sun Journalist or politician were to tell you to behave? I know what mine would be, I would say something like "I'll behave if you agree to behave as well"

Jailing someone for 6 months for receiving a pair of stolen shorts from a rioter or for 4 years for inciting a riot on facebook is not the answer at least not the long term answer, the long term answer starts by accepting that for far too many in our society there is not much to look forward to and they are condemned to miserable lives while they can always catch the occasional glimpse of great wealth and opulence as it drives past them or appears on their TV screens. Just in case any of you have not heard me say this before I will say it again, this is what you must put up with and indeed expect as long as we live in a dog eat dog capitalist society. Capitalism can do many things but it cannot avoid creating losers and as long as we live in such a system we will have to put up with crime, bursting prisons, no go areas in our cities, feral children, drugs etc. etc. but hey! it doesn't have to be like this there is another way, look up the word Socialism.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


The title heading was Bobby Kennedy's response to those who wanted to destroy the American Civil Rights Movement by brute force,

Months ago after the colossal Trade Union Rally in London and after the Student protests I was telling anyone who would listen that we were in for trouble in the coming summer. I am baffled therefore by professional politicians and journalists who appear to be acting as if the recent riots were a surprise. Nor is it a surprise to see the 'powers that be' launching an immediate campaign to portray events as nothing other than criminal thuggish behaviour which happened without any provocation. To accept that there are reasons and catalysts for such things happening would mean that the establishment would have to look carefully at its self and that could be awkward. The Government and the right wing dominated media in this country consider Oliver Twist's mother who died in the workhouse as a scrounger who should have "got on her bike" and found a bloody job instead of sponging off society.

Prior to the last election the loathsome Nick Clegg stated and I paraphrase "the election of a Tory Government with their proposed savage cuts will lead to civil unrest" he now says words to the effect that "this is criminal behaviour and nothing else" the Americans have a saying for people like Clegg they say he is "blowing smoke up your ass" meaning he is a lying con man. The blogosphere and Twitter etc. went crazy with one upstanding citizen posting
"If London riot police had shotguns this would all be over by now, and London would be a better place due to a sudden drop in the number of unemployed people" a radical thinker right? Big question here: is there a reason for what's happening and if there is should we try to prevent it happening in the future? After the Brixton riots of 19 81 Lord Scarman's report stated that "social conditions did not provide an excuse for disorder" and added the caveat that "social conditions did however create a predisposition toward violent protest" he was no friend of the left but he knew that these things don't just happen without cause. The Government cabinet of 29 members has 27 millionaires some of whom including Cameron and Osborne were members of a university group called the Bullingdon club who thought it a jolly jape to get roaring drunk and smash up bars and restaurants which they patronised, then off they would go back to their rooms smashing whatever they could on the way. All of these mindless upper class thugs are now calling the present rioters nothing but criminals and thugs; perhaps it takes one to know one.

We have of course been here before and I'm sure that some people are fed up hearing me say it but, under a capitalist system this is what you must learn to expect and accept because; like playing poker everyone can't win and when the losers don't even get the chance to sit at the card table trouble of this kind is always just around the corner. Add salt to the wounds by tolerating bent politicians, squalid criminal journalists, avaricious bankers, financial spivs and speculators, dishonest cops etc. all topped off by the shiftless unemployable Lords and Ladies, include the festering boil that is royalty sitting highest of all, consider multi millionaire non worker Prince Harry who is a poster boy for badly behaved youth everywhere: a veritable ill-bred drunken brawler of the highest kind. Let these pillars of society all frown, look down and talk down to the surly disaffected kids on the sink estates and guess what? you have a recipe for a lot of angry resentful mainly young people with no real stake in society who see no way out and only years and years of tedium; petty crime and cynicism which makes their situation incessantly volatile. Some might even think surprise, surprise that getting drunk and setting fire to a building is not a bad idea and having done that smashing shop windows and liberating some TV's and fancy trainers is a bonus. "If a banker can destroy people's hopes and cause jobs and livelihoods to be lost and still walk away with millions why can't I nick a pair of trainers" is possibly what they might say, maybe someone will write and explain that. One commentator made a damning claim today when he said that the rioters would have to be out full time working 3 shifts a day for more than a year without a holiday to do as much damage as rich tax evaders do in a week to the British economy. When the poor get the blame for everything wrong with society you get trouble; when they have to pay for the crimes of rich bankers and speculators you get serious problems. For their crimes bent cops and journalists get away with them; the tax dodger and gambling bank bosses get rewarded for it and the teenage rioter gets the jail, go figure.

I should not have to say what I am about to say but; because I know what some of the people who read this blog are like and what they are capable of I will state that I do not support rioting such as we have witnessed but let me be clear that that is a tactical statement, I say that not because the rioters are wrong but because I believe there are better ways of winning the battle, fighting fire with fire is a reasonable tactic but the establishment has bigger fires and big sticks to beat you with along with proposals to use water cannon, tear gas, rubber bullets, dogs horses etc. etc. peaceful disobedience is far cleverer The Rev. Martin Luther King and Gandhi taught us that, when the British and American public saw the treatment being used on peaceful protesters of all ages on TV the people started to win big time. History teaches us that a great many advances in people's rights and their futures were brought about by those who were prepared to stand and fight against injustice, those who condemn all protests riots etc. are simply wrong and either ignorant of history, in denial or simply liars. When a dedicated doctor earns a £100,000 a year and a footballer earns a £100,000 a week there is something wrong. The Boston Tea Party was a riot, the Russian Revolution started by riots as did the glorious French Revolution and many more great historical events are similar. The scenes of the last couple of days and nights might not be as huge as these past events but in their own way and at the heart of what has been happening they have similar origins.

The answer? It doesn't take long to explain, a fully comprehensive redistribution of wealth guided by a socialist government.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


09/08/11 - 18:30 To Celtic Park to see the game between Celtic and Manchester United Legends being played as the John Kennedy testimonial and to raise funds for the famine in Africa, young Kennedy's football career was lost through injury and last night he donated all the proceeds of the game to the African appeal, there were almost 60,000 people there and they were bursting with pride and rightly so as they sang the praises of this remarkable young man who still to this day: several years after his injury ordeal shows no resentment or self pity, a real gentleman, a credit to his family, his club and Scotland.

The players included old favourites, some younger favourites and a smattering of celebrities, by far the most impressive guy on show was the astonishing Henrik Larsson, at the age of 39 he looked exactly as he always did: like a butchers whippet and just as hungry. He was up against the formidable frame of Dion Dublin and the two of them staged a personal battle which was worth the money to get in on its own, these two: still superbly fit old pros. treated the crowd to every trick in the book as they tried to get the better of each other, it was fun and great entertainment to watch. After about an hour the slightly younger and much lighter and quicker Larsson vanished over the horizon and Dublin never got within ten yards of him after that as the Swede scored a hat trick and ran the Man. U defence ragged.

Patrick Keilty? the Irish comedian was in goal for United and he stunned everyone by putting on a great performance, I actually thought he was an ex pro. Until someone told me who he was, he lost 5 goals but stopped a cricket score. One of United's best players was Ralph Little who plays Joe Royle's son Anthony in the 'Royle family' TV comedy and this guy really can play and he is very fit, another celebrity was Paisley boy and Hollywood star Gerard Butler who for some unfathomable reason was greeted by screaming girls every time he touched the ball he also has played a bit and his level of fitness was good as he tried his heart out, he played with a grin as he is apparently a big Celtic fan. Celtic won 5-2 but the important thing was the hundreds of thousands of pounds raised for a very worthy cause. The game also produced what for me was a collector's item, when any incident happened the giant screens showed the players involved in close up and on one occasion we looked up to see the unmistakeable face of Roy Keane wearing a huge grin and laughing, something that I and I suspect many Man U fans have never seen before, not only that but he didn't commit a single foul or square up to anyone all night, remarkable.

I am not a fan of friendlies but I am so glad that I went to this one, I think everyone involved went home feeling a warm glow for being part of it, the beautiful game came back with a bang last night and it was for the right reasons this time, no fights: no outrageous wage demands: no scandals and a big sum for a great charity. I went with my big cousin from Chicago Arthur Kelly who is here on holiday and whose dad my uncle played for the hoops just after the war and I think he might well need surgery now to get the smile off his face.


Monday, August 08, 2011


I knew that if we waited long enough someone in the SNP would find a backbone and dare to introduce disagreement and debate in the party over something and it has turned out to be Gay Rights, 'De Ja Vu' how are ye! A fraudulent and creepy silence has long hung over the SNP when it comes to dissent in the ranks and their record and behaviour to the Gay community: the idea that a political party can exist with a total absence of debate and never any apparent argument is to say the least implausible. It suggests a cowed membership and a climate of fear generated by a clique at the top which is all powerful and ruthless; this is of course no surprise to those of us who are involved in politics and equally easy to understand when you look at the SNP leader Alex (the spiv) Salmond. Downright unsavoury events have taken place on his watch which would have caused uproar in my own party Labour as well as other parties but in the SNP nothing is said, he can do and say anything he wants without any opposition or argument from his subjugated members. His list of dodgy actions include selling lunches at Holyrood for party funds, his ingratiating behaviour with Trump, his cosying up to religious groups opposed to abortion, taking money from and refusing to condemn his celebrity supporter Sean Connery who advocates violence against women, his praise and closeness to the very rich homophobic bigot Soutar who bankrolls his party, no one ever takes him on, can they all possibly agree with him?

The SNP is once again being exposed for their toleration of homophobic bigotry and it is no more than they deserve SNP MSP John Mason has moved an anti Gay motion in Holyrood and; at long last we have a couple of prominent SNP members who have decided that they have had enough so, here is a collector's item for you I congratulate Alyn Smith SNP MEP, here he is talking about his fellow SNP member and MSP John Mason "What is in the small, mean, angry heads of bigots is a matter for them. I never asked for their approval, but I demand equality." Congrats also go to SNP MP Pete Wishart who described John Mason's move as a "nasty little anti-gay marriage motion" this repellent motion was supported by SNP MSP's Bill Walker, Dave Thompson and Richard Lyle. The SNP's record on Gay rights is appalling. I have attacked them before without managing to get any of them to stand up and be counted; maybe something will happen this time. It rather begs the question, if Soutar spoke about people's race the way he has spoken about Gay people would the SNP still take his money and give him a knighthood? The things I said about them were true then and are still true now it's time to clean these bigots out. Big hairy tough men and women in the SNP can't possibly be Gay can they, how can a brave heart be gay, is that what drives their attitude?

Can anyone in the SNP tell me if they are still doing business with the homophobic Mormons of Brigham Young University of Salt Lake City?