I wear two hats when I write this blog of mine. First and foremost, I manage a small charity in a small Scottish town called Dumfries. Ours is a front door that opens onto the darker corners of the crumbling world that is Britain 2015. We hand out 5000 emergency food parcels a year in a town that is home to 50,000 souls. Then, as you can see from all of the book covers above, I am also a thriller writer. If you enjoy the blog, you might just enjoy the books. The link below takes you to the whole library in the Kindle store. They can be had for a couple of quid each.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Twice in the last two years I have written angry blogs aimed squarely at the older generation. In September 2014 there were tears of rage in my eyes in the wake of the over 65's stamping down on the dream of an Independent Scotland. On Thursday morning I wondered aloud if it was about to happen again.

Well it did. In spades.

75% of the 18-24's cast their votes for what they saw as their best chance of an optimistic, outward looking future. A few hours later they were rewarded with the nauseating sight of a half pissed Nigel Farage boasting of a revolution being won "without a single bullet being fired." Maybe he was right in a way. Early evidence suggests Jo Cox was shot three times, not once.

But as the hours of the most horrible election night I have ever known unfolded through the wee small hours, it became very apparent that this time it was worse than a mere betrayal of the young by the old. Much, much worse.

To be honest there were times when I found it almost too hard to watch. Names of small towns jumping on and off the screen. Burnley. Blackburn, Darwen, Preston, Bolton, Blackpool.....

Leave, leave, leave. 

And not 'Leave' by a whisker. It was leave by a country mile. Leave with the kind angry howling rage I used to hear on the football terraces of the 1970's. You see, these were not just any towns for me. These were my towns. Lancashire towns. They are where I grew up. The towns where I cut my teeth. And these people who were filled with such a hatred of immigrants and everything had once upon been my people. In the years since settling up here, I have become Scottish, but I guess I will always be a Lancashire Scot. When Scotland play England, I now root for the lads in the blue shirts. But when Liverpool play anyone from the rest of the planet and beyond, my allegiance will forever be with the boys in red!

What happened on Thursday all across the small blighted northern towns of my youth was a cry of rage and pain. These are the forgotten places where once upon a time enough cotton and wool was combed, spun and woven to clothe the people of the world. But it all stopped. When I used to walk down Montague St in Blackburn on my way home from school, the skyline was still dominated by tall red brick chimneys. 

But none of them smoked any more. The mills were dark, satanic and very much closed. The red brick was daubed with the slogans of the National Front as more and more people turned on the hated 'Pakis' and blamed them for everything turning bad. Cobbled streets became places of brooding hate as the pub and the chip shop were replaced by shops run by Asian families with frightened eyes. Those who could leave, left. The local media called it 'White Flight'. Those who stayed learned to hate. A charming little ditty from my youth which could be heard late on a Friday night in the brooding Blackburn streets

'We're going Paki bashing, we're going Paki bashing, nah, nah, nah nah..."

The first wave of immigrants from the Sub Continent were frightened and disorientated. When they got bashed, they curled into a ball and took the kicking. But their children took a different view. As their children grew, they looked back into the warrior past of their forebears from the mountains around the Khyber Pass. They weren't about to get bashed by anyone.

The community split and the hate hardened and as a mixed race family we knew the time had come to get away. I guess in our case it was black and white flight.

In hindsight, we were a bit like a Jewish family fleeing Germany in the 1930's and carving out a new and better life in Britain. Carol said something very profound as it became clear the hate of Vote Leave was about to win the day.

"Thank God we moved to Scotland."

Thank God indeed.

Two years ago I discovered the kind of fervour for my new home nation only grateful immigrants can ever truly know. Fighting for 'Yes' was one of the most profound experiences of my life. It was an honour and a privilege and something I will never forget. None of us will ever forget those heady summer days of 2014 when we seemed about to achieve what was supposed to have been impossible. And but for the bloody over 65's we would have made it.

Until yesterday I had been pessimistic us about getting another chance for many years. But everything changed yesterday.

Maybe for the first time, the rest of the world truly woke up to fact of the sheer extent of how Scotland has become different to England. The map shows it not in black and white, but in yellow and blue. The wall to wall, 62/38 yellow north of the border was a badge of honour. And it wasn't just most of Scotland painted yellow: it was all of it. Every last square inch. I have to say it was a monumental relief when the TV screen told me that Dumfries and Galloway had chosen to be yellow along with the other 31 council areas!

It couldn't be any clearer. We don't do UKIP up here. We don't give Farage house room up here. We don't do poisonous hate up here. And we refuse to be dragged along by the poisonous hate that has taken hold of so much of the England I first grew up in and then fled from.

If Carlsberg built lifeboats, then the lifeboat they would build would look a lot like Scotland.

It didn't take Nicola long to throw down the gauntlet. Is the time for Indyref Two really here? Christ I hope so. It looks like it. Bring it bloody on.

Private Frankland reporting for duty!

As someone who stood up on many Indyref stages, I am more aware than most of how essential it is we have a great story to tell. This time the issue of currency has to be well and truly nailed down from the get go. We need to be able to say this is what it is. No ifs no buts. A statement of fact.

Obviously the biggest game in town over the coming weeks is for Nicola to get the nod from the other 27 countries of the EU. She needs to persuade them to keep the door open for us whilst we free ourselves from the clutches of Boris and Co.

And once the campaign gets into full swing, we need to make sure we have great stories to tell from all those community hall stages. We need the tools to sell the dream of Scotland like it has never been sold before. We need to raid Barack's 'Hope over Fear' playbook.

One thing we can do right now is to start advertising ourselves as being a lifeboat for all of those south of the border who are now ashamed of the country where they live. Many of these people are doctors and nurses and teachers and social workers and entrepreneurs. We need to get the word out.  

Go north. Come north. 

Maybe the Scottish Government should commission a 21st Century version of the Statue of Liberty and stick it up about 10 yards past the border signs at Gretna. We can be the sanctuary for all those who cannot abide the prospect of living their lives in the shadow of the new racism of little England. And let's not be shy about it. Let's get right in the face of Boris, Farage and the hate mongers. Let's start stealing their best people from them.

We need to grab the moment and start forging links with the islands of yellow who have proudly broken up the sea of snarling blue. London and Liverpool and Manchester and Bristol. I absolutely love the fact that Nicola is already in cahoots with Sadiq Khan. You've just got to love it. The Ayrshire lass and the East End Muslim versus the rest.

Just think of the kinds of deals we could cut with our new friends in London. We could build whole 'care' villages in the midst of some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe for the people of London of make available to their poorest pensioners. Why would London want to pay twice the price for a godforsaken care home in Romford when they could send their people to the fresh air and safety of the Scottish Countryside? 

And maybe we could start talking water. You have 8 million people who suffer hosepipe bans every summer. Nae bother. We have all the clean water in the world and a perfect collection system of glens and streams. So let's build a pipeline. Let's take Scottish Water to our newly found allies in London. Let's do the deal.

We need to start wooing businesses of all sizes and from all corners of the world. Want a base to trade with the single market of the EU? It's here guys. It is right here. It isn't exactly a hard sell. We've got a billion acres of clean air and drop dead gorgeous countryside. We've got a grade A financial sector in Edinburgh. Oh and by the way, we like foreign people here. We welcome them. We are the people who vote for building bridges not walls. What's there not to like?

I read an amazing fact a few weeks ago. Amazingly enough, Britain has recently overtaken America when it comes to projecting 'soft power' around the world. What is soft power? It is films and sport and law and music and language. All over the world people have a fond view of Britain as the being the home of Shakespeare, the Beatles and the Premier League. And the bloody Royal Family of course. Now this rather false picture is about to be spray painted with graffiti by the Farage hooligans. Well before that happens, we need to claim as much of this soft power as we can in the name of Scotland. After all we were once home to the Enlightenment and we are still home to the world's largest annual celebration of culture.

If the time for IndyRef 2 has indeed arrived, then we need to ready to sell ourselves like we have never sold ourselves before. Thursday proved that we are different to England in so many ways. We look out whilst they look in. We want bridges, they want walls. We want welcome people in, they want to push people away. We need to drop any vestige of diffidence and shout this message from the bloody rooftops. And no doubt they will call us every name under the sun, but who cares. After Cameron's Brexit fiasco, will there be anyone ready to march behind the banner of Project Fear 2? A few, but not many. They have all told far too many lies. Right now they are in complete disarray. Right now they are wondering just how they will contain the expectations of the racist monster they have reared into angry adulthood. Right now they are as weak as they will ever be.

It really looks like the time is now. We need to strike whilst they are so weak. We need to drown their hate with our hope.

Oh yeah, nearly forgot. We have to find a way to persuade grandparents to do the right thing for their grandchildren this time. That is no kind of easy task, but surely a way can be found.

Like I said.

Private Frankland reporting for duty!    


  1. Interesting blog Mark & rather seem obsessed with racism & the elderly. I was raised to respect my elders, I might not always agree but I always listen.Steve Murray

    1. Hi Steve. The racism obsession will never change I'm afraid. It always was a thing I couldn't abide but now I'm a dad to two mixed race sons I have lots of skin in the game so to speak. The elderly? Maybe. I really feel that young people are getting screwed all ways up at the moment because politicians of all colours constantly pander to the silver haired vote. It just doesn't seem right to me. Comments taken on board and appreciated.

  2. Interesting blog Mark & rather seem obsessed with racism & the elderly. I was raised to respect my elders, I might not always agree but I always listen.Steve Murray

    1. That's all very well Steve. Nothing wrong with respect, but it does not have to mean agree. I am one of the elderly voters, but a Yes and Remain one, and I am just as pissed of with many in my age group as he is. They DID swing the vote because of selfish motivations, ignorance and fear more than the supposed wisdom of age. Respect it all you like Steve. They were still wrong and have ruined the future of many young people unless we can correct it.

    2. I too am elderly. I'm 68 y'know :-)

      Whilst I voted in exactlly the same way as East Neuker, Mark Frankland is right to say that there was an age based demographic split. In other words, whilst there were some people like us, the vast majority appear to be living in a world where the Daily Mail has biblical authenticity. It is quite a weird thing to behold.

  3. Mark, as 67 year old until recently totally disenfranchised Scotland voter, 2014 local by-election was the first time a person I had voted for was actually elected. IndyRef1 I was convinced people couldn't be so stupid as to vote NO. I have forgiven them, but I will never understand them. But this time I knew that Leave were going to win the day. My question is how the Leave became in charge, when Cameron was ostensibly the lead Remain man? I am a bit of a sad conspiracy type, but I have not seen any returns as to the turn-out for postal votes or the postal vote result. The delivery of postal votes to the counts, all nicely bundled up and elastic-banded without being referenced in any commentary, just makes me ask the question! Since Friday morning I have talked to quite a few Leave voters, none of who are anywhere near 65 years of age.
    Most seemed to be voting against Cameron rather than Europe and parroted the immigration and democracy cant.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Hey, two glitches earlier. Yes Mark, I read your blog and can state you describe the issues of poverty and raw human sentiments very well. The passion and conviction of first base and its positive impact, that is how a proactive society responds. Care, compassion, consideration. And so... the leave decision of south uk has stiffened everyone's resolve to want scotland in a wider European, a family with shared aims and loves and history. Families look out for each other, not look away or walk away when others or neighbours need help. I commend your work, blogs and books and to paraphrase you, we need 'the cull' on negative, racist, isolationist influences. Cheers!

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.