Monday, January 30, 2012


Tommy Sheridan is released from jail, still insolent and defiant claiming his innocence in his charming sotto voce way, as is his wife Gail who is all over the Daily Record today recalling the horror of her treatment by the (Harry Margolis) She was told to stop staring at an electric plug during her questioning and had her Rosary Beads confiscated by her interrogator, a man whose hero they say is O'Brien from 19 84. This act of mental cruelty was carried out fittingly enough when she was half way through the "The Five Sorrowful Mysteries" only O'Brien could come up with that one. Mrs. Sheridan was at home with her suspicious and highly dangerous daughter who I believe was 3 years old at the time, a highly dangerous 3 year old it has to be said, when 9 of Scotland's finest; resplendent in neck to ankle black coats and spotlessly polished jack boots arrived to turn the house over, being thorough and highly trained cops, they took no chances, they searched the wee criminal's baby wear drawer and her toy drawer as well. Their professionalism sustained them as the wee girl wept and screamed, their training kicked in and they knew she was "at it" the bastards threatened her with no Santa Clause if she didn't behave, a Policeman's lot is not a happy one with such ever present danger.

Anyway Tommy and his family should not starve, there could be a book and possibly a play and a song or two to see them by, history tells us that prisoners depending on their celebrity or infamy can do quite well on the outside. Solzhenitsyn did OK once his fingers thawed out enough to type and he gave us 'Cancer Ward' and the snappily titled 'One day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch' Brendan Behan wrote 'Borstal Boy' about his 3 years in a British Borstal after being caught with his "IRA conjuring kit" (bomb equipment) as he called it at the age of 16, Norman Mailer wrote "The Executioners Song" about Gary Gilmore whose last words were "let's do it" before dying by firing squad, The much misunderstood victim of urban deprivation Jimmy Boyle gave us 'A sense of Freedom' and had a play written about him 'The hard man' Celebrated Tory shake down artists Jonathan Aitken and Jeffrey Archer both free market shysters wrote books which made money, Mien Kampf ? say no more, Oscar Fingal O'Flaherty Wills Wilde wrote the quite staggering 'Ballad of Reading Gaol' about his time as a guest of her majesty, and perhaps one of the most famous prisoners of them all Nelson Mandela wrote copiously about his time in jail and eventually triumphed and became one of the greatest people in the history of the planet 'a secular saint'

Tommy's book will be fascinating, Gail's will be enthralling but their wee girl's will be waited for with baited breath by a thirsting insatiable public desperate to know about her life as one of Great Britain's most notorious and dangerous 3 year olds. Yes folks you should never forget it; whatever age you are don't mess with the Scottish Police Force.


Thursday, January 26, 2012


Presidential hopeful and possible Republican Party nominee Newt Gingrich came away with an answer to a criticism which deserves to take its place in history. Two things to consider here 1/ the calibre of the candidate who said this and who was being serious and 2/ The calibre of the electorate whom he thought would buy it and may still do so. I can think of no other political party in the world where this answer would not have ended the candidate's career forever, here we go.

Journalist at press conference - "Mr. Gingrich how do you explain having affairs behind your wife's back when you fought to impeach President Clinton for the same thing, and at the same time?"

Gingrich – " I had affairs because I love America so much that my love for my country led me to work to hard which led me to have these affairs"

Well, 'whatcha think folks is he a good ole murkin boy' who is a real tea party patriot or is America just the world's biggest f*****g asylum? You decide. While you're thinking about that you might want to consider that this potential President of the most powerful country in the history of planet Earth in his earlier life became so overcome with love and patriotism for his beloved America that he abandoned his first wife for a younger model when she had M.S. And yet again struck by a bout of severe heart pounding patriotism served divorce papers on his second wife when she was in hospital recovering from cancer.

American patriots – Think Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Armstrong Gabby Hayes, Newt Gingrich, Batman. Vote Gingrich he is the guy! A possible new President, a possible brand new shining way oh, and he continues to burnish his right wing Christian credentials by calling down hell fire and damnation on gays, dammit it's the Murkin way.


Fidel Castro showing that he is still pretty sharp.

Commenting on the Republican Party's race to find a presidential candidate to stand against President Obama, El Commandante Castro described it as 'the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been'

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


My Heart's in the Highlands (R Burns)

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,

My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;

Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,

My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,

The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth ;

Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,

The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

Farewell to the mountains, high-cover'd with snow,

Farewell to the straths and green vallies below;

Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods,

Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,

My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;

Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,

My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.

Let me say up front that I have read Burns since I was a reluctant schoolboy and I tried hard to appreciate it, you had to in St. Mirin's Academy or you got the "bruises on you" I like one or two Burns things to this day but it is fair to say that if he was relying on sales to me to survive he would starve. The bottom line was of course that we were being forced to learn poetry in a foreign language, it might as well have been Spanish or German and no doubt better for our futures if it had been. The fact that he (Burns) was a famous mason did not sit well with the parents of many boys and indeed many teachers who shared our backgrounds, this was Scotland in the late 50's earl 60's need I say more "A bloody wee knuckle cruncher, check you've still got yer watch when ye shake haunds wae him, he couldnae write F**k on a dusty blind" was the considered verdict of our Da. the old man had a way with words himself now that I think of it. Burns, the Monarchy, Churchill, The Tories, The British Army (whom he served) the B******s in the establishment and various other people and things which roused his ancient Irish temper were all grist for his mill when that temper got going, we boys used to hide behind the couch clinging to each other tightly trying not to laugh when he went off on one, risky but side-splitting.

The above lines of poetry are what we call today doggerel, described in the dictionary as "badly written verse" the dictionary description is in fact too mild for this, it is absolute crap, 'the cat sat on the mat, and then it sat on a hat' is obviously superior and has much more gravitas. The reason of course that it escapes accurate examination is that it is by Burns, Scotland's National Poet and best known cottage industry, mugs, tea towels, calendars etc. and ridiculously expensive trinkets are sold to tourists as well as many Scots. visiting the old country who feign an interest in Burns to burnish their Scottish credentials, business is business right?

We are once again in the middle of the 2 week Burnsarama where he becomes inescapable and con artists squeeze every last bawbee out of it that they can. At the last count I have 4 selected editions of some of Burn's poetry handed out by newspapers annually to try to sell copy. Is anyone asking as I do why Burns remains a reserve league poet despite these annual attempts to sell him as a major artist? The answer is a harsh one to take, he is simply not good enough, he is not Shelley, Shakespeare or, Milton, nor is he Yeats, Wilde or Wordsworth and these are only from the British Isles.

I think that Scotland should re-examine it's literary past in an honest way and look at the other poets/writers Etc. none of whom get a fair deal because of the "Burns Industry"  a closer examination of the man would let people know the truth about him. His plagiarism, his unctuous grovelling to the upper classes in Edinburgh, his ambition to be a slave owner, his work for the Crown as an excise man acting against his own people, his loathing for hard work, a man of straw in fact but not unusual for his time. He did in fact write some memorable lines but so would anyone who wrote as much as he did.  The following true story which I have told before illustrates the damage that Burn's clubs and societies have done to Scottish literature. While feeding the swans and ducks at the Cart Walk a bus emblazoned with the legend "WALLACE TOURS" parked close to me and some Americans got off some chatted to me as I fed the birds and I asked where they were going and was told "Edinboro Castle, Bobby Burn's Cottage and to kiss the Blarney Stone, we just love Scatland" The bus company did not enlighten them, perhaps they were selling Blarney Stone Tea Towels.

Alas it's too late now and we are stuck with Burns whose glow will continue to rise and fall but mainly remain at a peep as far as international acclaim is concerned while true greats will see their flame blaze higher still and higher. I will leave the last word on Burns with MacDiarmid a far more profound and difficult poet but also far more rewarding "mair nonsense has been uttered in his name than in ony's  barrin' liberty and Christ" I will settle down with a copy of the great poets on Burn's night where Burns in fact has only two entries  "Tam o Shanter" and "A Man's a Man" if you must know. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I prepared myself the other night no less diligently than the players who would take part in the Real Madrid V Barcelona match live from the 85 ½ thousand seater Bernabeu Stadium in the beautiful city of Madrid. I was of course only watching the match on TV but such is the occasion that it becomes a serious business to only spectate. As the kick off approached I had been to the toilet, prepared refreshments, double checked the time and spent some time thinking about Barca heroes like Cruyff; Maradona; Ronaldo; Figo and our own Steve Archibald who was gallus and unfazed enough to accept the No. 10 worn by the little genius Diego Maradona (maybe Steve didn't know who Maradona was) I am old enough to remember Madrid greats Gento, Di Stefano Del Sol and the mighty Hungaraian genius Ference Puskas an ex Army officer they called "The Galloping Major" our family cat was called 'Puskas' can there be a greater honour? I saw this Madrid line up live. The contrast with the match I watched previously the other night between Dunfermline and Inverness Caledonia Thistle was cruel and without pity, the Bernabeu is another world and the Scottish League is not to blame for that.

I have watched Barcelona over the last 4/5 years and seen them become the greatest club team in history even better than the Madrid of Di Stefano and Puskas that is of course only my opinion. I have watched them with delight and as often as possible and invariably seen them play Madrid often and these games have destroyed my youthful innocence. I believe that to be called a great football club or any other sporting institution requires more than winning trophies it requires the ability to meet with "triumph and disaster and treat these two impostors the same" to paraphrase Kipling, Sadly Real Madrid have failed badly at this test. Over these last couple of years these games have become toxic and brutal due to Real Madrid's inability to accept defeat by their greatest rivals who are clearly now superior to them by a long way. In these matches when Madrid look to be in trouble the atmosphere becomes poison and you can feel the hatred sweeping down from the stands at the Barca players.

The violence is awful and I believe that Madrid's power is still such that the authorities are afraid to tackle the problem. This game saw brutal tackling and one of the Madrid players 'Pepe' put on a display of viciousness rarely seen before; culminating in him stamping on the hand of Lionel Messi whom he had just kicked to the ground, he also threw himself around feigning injury at every opportunity, a revolting exhibition by a revolting cynic of a player. The players are not the ones responsible entirely for this state of affairs.

Prior to a couple of years ago I regarded Alex Ferguson as the worst thing that ever happened to football, his dubious achievement in turning Manchester United from one of the world's favourite teams in to one of the most hated is a sad tale of poisonous ambition. I sum him up as follows, there is nothing he will not do legally or illegally do to win a football match. One thing only can stop him, the question "can I get away with it" if the answer to that is yes he will not hesitate to do it.

Real Madrid Boss Jose Murhino is a match for Ferguson in every way, his smouldering malevolent presence on the touch line is a focus for violence and hatred. At one of these games last year he was caught on camera sneakily walking past one of the Barca coaches and deliberately poking him in the eye with his finger. These people are a blight on the 'Beautiful Game' Ferguson thankfully is drawing toward the end of a disgraceful career where the damage he has done to the game will take years to put right. Mourhino seems to be determined to make himself even worse than his sinister English League Teacher, the power that Madrid still have will probably help him achieve that. When the blood soaked fascist thug Franco ran Spain the poor guy who was to referee Real's game in Madrid was invited to dinner with the old brute (an offer he could not refuse) on the evening before the game, I wonder why? When I was a football mad kid Real Madrid lived in a dream world as did Man. Utd. I will never forgive them for destroying that dream.

Today the sun did not shine on St. Mirren Park; the wind howled like a banshee out of hell the rain fell like horizontal stair rods as St. Mirren and Celtic attempted to provide a game of football and incredibly enough provide it they did. It wasn't pretty, it rarely is in Scotland in January but both sets of players worked their socks off and displayed honest endeavour for the whole 90 minutes. Celtic won 2-0 with 2 very good goals and they also have their giant goalie Forster to thank for stopping St. Mirren from taking at least a point. It was a cleansing experience in more ways than one after watching the repellent display of one of the richest and most famous clubs in the world Real Madrid just the other night, well done Scottish Football.

Friday, January 13, 2012



The above link was sent to me by a Mr. Duff who regularly assails me with criticism some of which makes sense only to him but he is sometimes funny; perhaps unintentionally though. Anyway the article highlights what I have been saying about Alex (the spiv) Salmond for years. He is a charlatan of the first order his dealings with Souter, Trump and the various hokey cokey farces with the churches and Muslims over Gay Marriage should have proved that by now but he continues to get away with treating his members like morons. Read the above link if any confirmation is needed and remember this quote when you listen to the great charlatan warning other parties to beware of the Tories whom he says "will suck you in and spit you out" (yesterday in Parliament) "we Scots. did not mind Mrs. Thatcher's economic policies so much; it was her economic policies we didn't like" (Alex the spiv Salmond)

Monday, January 09, 2012


On January 2Nd. at 7.30 pm I was taken in to hospital and kept for 5 days to have tests done and some remedial treatment carried out, I am now back home of course and feeling fine which is a bit confusing because despite feeling OK I am under strict medical orders to do nothing, my physical activity is to consist of a 5 minute walk each day for a week rising to 10 minutes and all the way up to 20 minutes after 3 weeks, my wife and daughters have said "so what's changed"

I was therefore inadvertently given a ring side seat at the NHS show which was very informative, had I been asked prior to my being admitted "do you know the NHS" I would have unhesitatingly said yes and; to an extent that is true if we are talking about its history and what it does as well as it's fame and achievements. I thought I knew what it was actually like at the sharp end where the patients are treated, in this case in the Acute Medical Unit where I was taken and it turns out I knew very little indeed.

The A.M.U. Is where you go when you arrive in an ambulance so there are people in various states of distress and some are very seriously ill, I was not in pain and was aware of my surroundings and quite lucid (unusual I hear some of you say even when I'm well) so there I was sitting up in bed watching a real live "Casualty episode" The atmosphere and tension in this place is highly charged and raw, it requires strong nerves just to sit up in bed and observe let alone work there. I found myself wrung out and exhausted just watching sometimes. On one occasion a guy 6 Feet across from me took a real bad turn and was set upon by 3 doctors plus nurses and auxiliaries for about an hour before they moved him to the Intensive Care Unit, I have no idea how he got on and I don't feel like asking just yet.

The people who work here are heroic I am 63 years old and I am an old cynic so I don't say such things lightly. They are mostly women and many of them look impossibly young to survive such a regime day after day, I was in that unit for 3 days and it rarely let up, day and night. My impression was one of admiration for what they do and sympathy for what they have to put up with to do their jobs, put quite simply even for a layman like me it's obvious they are understaffed and run off their feet, this applies to nurses, doctors, auxiliaries and porters etc. those I witnessed working in the A.M.U. are a formidable team and they pull for each other and support each other, I doubt they would survive otherwise.

During my stay I witnessed just how great an institution the NHS is, my time there coincided with the worst storms this country has seen for many years and my bed was next to the window on the ground floor. I was shaken from sleep one day by the unmistakeable sound of a very large Helicopter landing about 50 feet from me. I opened the curtain to realize I had a front row seat at a real life drama as the chopper swayed and dipped in the ferocious gales before it agonisingly touched down. It was immediately swarmed over by medics and porters with stretchers as they brought in the "incoming" from the accident which happened in Dunoon when caravans were swept away with people in them. Several choppers landed over the next few days as roads were closed and other hospitals were full. It was clearly a dangerous operation which was handled with courage and skill by all concerned and here is the best part, those people rescued were not charged a penny, if that is not an institution worth supporting then Mrs. Thatcher was right and "there is no such thing as Society" I moved eventually to the Coronary Care Ward although I was redirected there on my way to the Cardiac Ward which became full before I could reach my waiting bed, a busy, busy place. The Coronary care ward was very peaceful compared to the A.M.U. and the staff were great, it's almost worth being ill to witness the Auxiliary staff double act of Peter and Tony who look after and entertain the patients they are a hoot. The regime is a little less frantic here albeit while doing a very sensitive stressful job, being the youngest man of 6 in the ward was a rare novelty for me.

We need to cherish the NHS not cut its resources or sell it off; it is the jewel in the crown of the welfare state and we should all be proud of it and protect it.

And lastly, any of my political enemies who write to this blog offering me any sympathy will have their comments deleted.