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.