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.

Thursday, March 16, 2017


The last few months have been pretty rough for those of us who like to think we are in touch with what Abe Lincoln once called the 'better angels of our nature.'

Brexit, Trump, Farage, Putin, Le Pen.... 

And for a while the world seemed to be turning darker with every passing week. Those who tried to highlight the alarming similarities between the world right now and the world in the 1930's were screamed down by the rampant followers of Trump and Brexit. Never before had Farage seemed so horribly smug.

And slowly but surely, people stopped uttering that most dreaded of sentences - 'it couldn't happen again.' Those are words which should never be spoken. The next Srebrinica is always waiting around the next corner.


When Nicola Sturgeon took to the airwaves to throw down the new Indyref gauntlet at the feet of our Westminster masters, there was no dancing in the streets. I watched three different news programs that night. Reporters had been dispatched to the streets of Scotland to feel the pulse of the public. I guess there must have been about twenty pavement interviews and surprise, surprise not a single one of the people they dug out were within a country mile of voting 'Yes' next time around.

All the news channels carried the same message. The good people of Scotland don't want another referendum. They hate the idea. They are frightened by the very thought. They know in their bones their country is far too small, poor and pathetic to even consider cutting the umbilical cord. I turned and said to Carol 'you would never guess the polls are 50/50.'

Never in a month of Sundays.

The common theme of the news that night? Contempt and derision. A lack of patience with an unruly child. When will they bloody well grow up? A jolly good slapping is what they need...

The next morning I wrote a blog and announced to the online world that I was bang up for the fray. And then? Well the 'and then?' bit is always the most interesting part of any blog. In the past, most of my blogs about 'Yes' have been popular. Would it be different this time? Was I throwing out my enthusiasm into an online world of jaded indifference? I tweeted the link to all the usual suspects but not many were much interested in helping my words on their way.

And then....

Well right now the blog is well on the way to being read over 10,000 times. Is that a lot? I have no idea. It is certainly a lot for me.

Almost from the moment I hit the 'publish' button it seemed as if the sun had broken through the clouds and for the first time in ages and the forces of darkness appeared to have been stopped in their tracks.

Over the pond, Trump had his worst day so far. All of a sudden he seems a whole lot more shambling and pathetic and a whole lot less threatening. Check out this link for a magnificent list of all the things that went pear shaped for the Donald yesterday.

Bloody great, right? 

And things just kept on getting brighter as the unexpectedly warm sunshine burnt away the dark clouds. The utterly hideous Gert Wilders was completely humiliated in the Dutch election. The latest Fascist bogeyman was only able to scrape together 13% of the vote. What a sickening blow for all the crowing Brexiteers and their warnings of an EU in terminal decline. 

In France the equally ghastly Marine Le Pen seems to have run into a brick wall and stands little or no chance of doing a Donald. 

Back in London a whole series of cracks started to open up in the seemingly mighty wall of the rampant Tory party. The Electoral Commission went public on fact they are all over the half of Theresa May's backroom team like a metaphorical rash. May herself suddenly seemed less of the ice queen and more of the bad tempered harridan. A few critical paragraphs in the Daily Mail proved to be more than enough to send her into a panicking tantrum. Her answer to having a bad day? She threw her friend and Downing St neighbour 'Spreadsheet Phil' under a double decker bus. It rather looks like Nicola has got well and truly under her skin. 

The most encouraging thing of all for those of us on the 'YES' side of the coming argument has been the reaction to the prospect of IndyRef 2 that has come from south of the border. Last time many said we were 'love bombed' by England. Oh please don't leave us Scotland. We all love you. We really, really do. Look we're even building a cairn in Gretna Green just to prove it. We love your kilts and your Iron Bru and your haggis and and your..... well you know... all of it. And we promise never to laugh at deep fried Mars bar jokes ever again. And we promise never to suggest you are all smack addicts and subsidy junkies. It was only locker room banter. Honest. And of course we have done a few things we regret, but that is what relationships are like, right. Yes, yes, we know we always used Scottish soldiers when we needed some cannon fodder, and yes we probably should have gone a bit easier after Culloden, and in hindsight we maybe shouldn't have used the 4000 prisoners we took at the battle of Braemar as slaves in Barbados. But that is how it is with relationships, right! Good times and bad times. But you can't divorce us now. Not after 300 years. How can you even think about it.....

Love bombing. Tacky, tawdry, toe curling, yes. But I guess they did their best to pretend the passion still burned strong.

Especially with oil at $100 a barrel and the UK balance of payments well and truly up the Khyber.

Well it doesn't look like we're about to get any love bombing this time around. This time carpet bombing looks like the order of the day. We are about to get a lot more of Theresa May fixing us with her best Cruella Deville stare and telling us to stopping playing silly games and to concentrate instead on running our silly little country.

This time around we are about to be put on the hit list of the English tabloids. We will be put in the firing line along with all the other enemies of England's green and pleasant land. We now are the betrayers of Brexit. Stab in the back merchants. Traitors who should be lined up against a wall and shot. We are every bit as bad as the Muslims and the benefit cheats and the EU 27 and the supreme court judges and Michael Hesseltine and the remoaners and the European Human Rights Convention and Polish people and......

Oh it's a long list and we are well and truly on it. 

Just check out this charming chap who took to the airwaves yesterday to let the world know exactly what he thought of the Scots. For those of you of a nervous disposition, I best warn you to brace yourselves for a minute and a half of racist bile.

There is going to be a whole lot more of this kind thing. And every time this kind of meathead pulls himself out of the swamp to splurge this kind of garbage the 'YES' vote will just keep going up and up.

And up.

It won't be so very long before we start to hear about Scots getting abuse when they look to pay for their goods with Scottish notes in English shops. It won't be a majority. It won't even be anything more than the tiniest minority. But that won't matter. It never does. Instead it will change perception. It will give clarity to the choice on the table. Do you want to be a part of a ghastly club where immigrants are despised and shadowy billionaires call the shots? The world of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage? Or do you want to be a part of something better? All of a sudden the economic questions won't seem quite so overpowering. All of a sudden it will be all about right and wrong. Do we want light or darkness? Do we want hope or hate?

I'm pretty sure the good folk of Scotland will choose the better angels of our nature.

The future is bright guys.

1 comment:

  1. Another reason for adding the Daily Record to your banned (boycott) list, both print versions and online