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The Life of Brian Taylor

Here is a short film to illustrate the events of Tuesday at the Scottish Parliament

The part of Brian Taylor is played by John Cleese (Yes you’ll need a good imagination). Sandra White is played by Eric Idle and Frank McAveety is the old man in chains.

Sandra White yesterday

Man Finds Woman Attractive Shock!

Former Glasgow City Council leader Frank McAveety (who I once met at Center Parcs by the way) has had to resign his position as Labour’s sports spokesman and a committee convenership, because a microphone picked him up (in a private conversation) saying the following:

“There’s a very attractive girl in the second row, dark . . . and dusky. We’ll maybe put a wee word out for her……………..She’s very attractive looking, nice, very nice, very slim………….The heat’s getting to me………………She looks kinda . . . she’s got that Filipino look. You know . . . the kind you’d see in a Gaugin painting. There’s a wee bit of culture.“

Now gentlemen readers. I don’t know what kind of conversations you’ve had with male friends when you see an attractive lady but I would venture to suggest that Mr McAveety’s comments were probably rather tame by comparison to some of them.

Here’s what MSP Sandra White said about McAveety’s comments:
“His stupid comments were at best sexist and sleazy – and at worst sexist, sleazy and racist. Mr McAveety does not speak for Scotland’s Parliament, and he does not speak for Glasgow. He must consider his position in Parliament.”

I’ve heard it said today that Sandra White is a po- faced harpie – I couldn’t possibly comment.

The Tayside lard mountain otherwise known as BBC political correspondent Brian Taylor said:

“To be blunt, it is the job of the convener to ensure his committee is running smoothly and efficiently – not to ogle members of the audience. Still less should he be offering a brief running commentary to the committee clerk, to the effect that the woman in question was “dusky” and “the kind you’d see in a Gauguin painting. Adding “there’s a bit of culture” only made it worse.”

All I can say to Ms White and Mr Taylor is come on down to the real world for a while. There would hardly be a man in the country left in a job if these comments are a resignation issue.

Bust!

Thanks to Alastair for this. It’s an account of how capitalism nearly went to the wall last September.

The Capital Markets Subcommittee Chair, Rep. Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania, tells C-Span how the world economy almost collapsed in a matter of hours.

At 2 minutes, 20 seconds into this C-Span video clip, Kanjorski reports on a “tremendous draw-down of money market accounts in the United States, to the tune of $550 billion dollars.” According to Kanjorski, this electronic transfer occured over the period of an hour or two.

Kanjorski: “The Treasury opened its window to help. They pumped a hundred and five billion dollars into the system and quickly realized that they could not stem the tide. We were having an electronic run on the banks. They decided to close the operation, close down the money accounts, and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account so there wouldn’t be further panic out there. And that’s what actually happened. If they had not done that their estimation was that by two o’clock that afternoon, five-and-a-half trillion dollars would have been drawn out of the money market system of the United States, would have collapsed the entire economy of the United States, and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed.”

“It would have been the end of our political system and our economic systems as we know it.“

Taboo or not Taboo

Following on from the Carol Thatcher thing (see my post below “Double Standards”) I kept asking the question why Thatcher’s  comment was seized on whilst many others in the British media go about their stock in trade racism relatively untroubled.

I have an answer as I had when I posed the question.

Simon Heffer in the Telegraph or Jeremy Clarkson/Richard Littlejohn in the Sun can write a whole page of racist invective and the nation shrugs its shoulders. However Carol Thatcher and before her Ron Atkinson say one single word and it seems that the whole world is outraged.

Now before anybody thinks I’m defending people for being racist I am most certainly not. I would never use or condone the use of either of these expressions and any racism is to be condemned.

What is it though about the magic power of one word that can have a person sacked and vilified?

As Frank Zappa said a word is simply an arbitrary label -that’s the foundation of linguistics. But many people think otherwise. They believe in word magic: that uttering a spell, incantation, curse, or prayer can change the world.

Swearing is another kind of word magic. People believe, contrary to logic, that certain words can corrupt the moral order – that piss and shit! and fucking are dangerous in a way that pee and sugar! and feckin’ are not. This quirk in our psychology lies in the ability of taboo words to activate primitive emotional circuits in the brain.

Have a look at this.

Linguistic taboos aren’t always a bad thing. The “N” word is firmly beyond the pale. Fuck-peppered speech gets tedious, and malicious epithets can express condemnable attitudes. But in a free society, these annoyances are naturally regulated in the marketplace of people’s reactions—as Atkinson and Thatcher learned the hard way.

Any legal ban on words and articles pertaining to them leads to absurdities. If a golliwog is to be banned from sale why not playing cards? Is the ace of spades not the epitome of  blackness to the racist? How do we deal with “monkey” and “ape”? do we have to find new words for them only for racists to find some other word to express their venom?

Taboos don’t disappear, they only change.

This is a clip of Dustin Hoffman playing Lenny Bruce.

Whilst that took place in the USA, social attitudes and laws were similar on this side of the Atlantic. Thank goodness, due to the breaking of taboos, that sort of thing couldn’t happen now.

Could it?

(Thanks to Max Blunt )

Double Standards?

“The sooner the bunch of Scots who govern us are booted into history the better. I don’t say that the English would be any better, but at least we would be paying for our own mistakes rather than someone else’s. Never has the case for English independence from the Scots been so overwhelming. Sadly, I suspect that in the present state of penury England will be saddled with them for another 302 years of high-end welfarism at least.”
Simon Heffer, The Telegraph 23/1/09 The rest of this article headed “The Scots who have brought Britain to its knees can be read here

Heffer (Left)

“Gordon Brown is a one eyed Scottish idiot”

Jeremy Clarkson (in public this week in Australia)

Jeremy Clarkson

“That froggy golliwog”

Carol Thatcher when referring in private to a French tennis player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Petsonga

Thaatchi and Thaatchi

Of course all the above comments are from odious individuals. The remarks are inane and foolish and betray a glaring lack of intellect and education. They are all without doubt racist.

However

Mr Heffer remains an employed journalist at the Telegraph.

Mr Clarkson will no doubt continue untroubled in his job as Top Gear presenter and in his occasional appearances on Have I Got News for You and QI

Ms. Thatcher on the other hand has received her P45 from the BBC.

Latest News

We’re Doomed

I’m sure the Daily Mail editor will have this on the front page tomorrow!

A row has broken out at the University of Manchester after its students’ union toilets were “de-gendered”.

Temporary signs have made the “ladies” simply “toilets”, while the “gents” have become “toilets with urinals”.

The changes are in response to an unspecified number of complaints from trans students who are uncomfortable using the men’s toilets.

A university newspaper criticised the move but the student union said it was needed to tackle transphobia.

There are no figures on the number of transsexual and transgender students believed to be among the university’s population of more than 35,000 students.

The students’ union welfare office declined to reveal the number of complaints, but said it was an important issue.

Student Direct editorial
A student newspaper editorial questioned the wisdom of the move

Women’s officer Jennie Killip told the BBC: “If you were born female, still present quite feminine, but define as a man you should be able to go into the men’s toilets – if that’s how you define.

“You don’t necessarily have had to have gender reassignment surgery, but you could just define yourself as a man, feel very masculine in yourself, feel that in fact being a woman is not who you are.”

Asked about the change, some female students questioned the move.

One said: “Girls might not want to use the same toilets as boys, so then you just end up with people complaining about that – so you can’t really win.

Another told the BBC: “I personally wouldn’t want to be in the same toilet as a man.”

The move prompted an editorial in campus newspaper Student Direct last week which criticised the new arrangements.

Newspaper spokeswoman Susannah Birkwood said: “The toilets have been provided for men who don’t self identify as men and women who don’t think of themselves as women.

“Whether or not this is political correctness gone mad.. because it certainly seems that way to some members of our student community.”

Union officials have rejected the criticism and permanent signs for its first gender neutral toilets are being made.

Almost 60 people, including Ms Killip, have signed a letter to the student newspaper criticising the editorial.

Coming soon- abolition of speed bumps because 49 year old heterosexual males feel oppressed by their presence. – only kidding folks! but it is a nice thought.

Half Baked

Sometimes going on and on about the crazy laws rules and regulations we live with becomes a parody of itself. The phrase ‘political correctness gone mad’ has almost become the trade mark of the reactionary tabloid press exemplified by the Daily Mail and Daily Express. However sometimes when one reads the latest policy to be dreamed up to protect people from possible harm or to save them from insult or offence, one really has to wonder.

The latest apparently centres on baking competitions. The Scottish Women’s Rural Institute have banned the consumption of cakes and scones entered in competitions, insisting that all baked goods are destroyed immediately following judging. The new rules are meant to help avoid possible food poisoning outbreaks.

It is worth remembering when one reads stuff like this some of the other crackers which have surfaced in recent years

Tunbridge Wells (The very epicentre of right wing reaction!) Borough Council in Kent were recently reported to have swapped the phrase “brainstorming” for “thought showers” out of fear of offending epileptics or the mentally ill.

A few months ago, Welsh mum Jayne Jones was prevented from taking her disabled son to school by taxi each day along with his specialist medical equipment because she had not been screened for a criminal record.

In July, worried education chiefs banned the sack and three-legged races from an Edwardian-themed sports day at a Tyne and Wear school in case children fell over.

(Saint Mirren fans take note!) EU rules bizarrely state that you can’t take home a plastic seat as a souvenir from your favourite old stadium if it contains cadmium, even though a fan would have to eat the whole seat to be poisoned by the substance.

An EU directive ensures that every pair of rubber boots comes with a user’s manual in 12 languages.

The ancient tradition of cheese rolling in Gloucestershire is now banned because St John’s Ambulance are only insured to rescue the injured from the bottom of the hill and not on the slopes.

Cooing at newborns in the maternity unit at Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax, was outlawed on the grounds that it could infringe the babies ‘rights to privacy.

(Source: Daily Record 25/08/08 )

Why oh Why?

So many things have struck me as odd in the past day or so. Firstly yesterday I was listening to some graffiti “artists” complaining about the distance they had to travel to spray paint legally. Apparently there are walls in Dundee especially for the purpose! This isn’t for Banksy type murals or anything. This is for “Tongs ya bass” or its modern day equivalent. Then today there was talk in the UK parliament about IVF treatment and how it shouldn’t discriminate against lesbians. There was me thinking they had a head start in the “we haven’t managed to conceive in the normal way” stakes too. Then tonight on the radio I heard Wendy saying the SNP was a laughing stock. Hasn’t she resigned yet?
It’s a funny old world right enough.

Angry White Men

The following piece is a section of an article from the Aspen Times. For the full article Click Here. I struggle with politics. Sometimes I find myself sympathising with a radical left wing idea, only to be nodding my head in agreement later in the day when some reactionary old fart is speaking on the radio. On the whole the article from the Aspen Times should I think be viewed as right wing bluster. However part of me concedes several points along the way because I suppose in many ways I fit the profile. This doesn’t mean that I’m about to go out and buy a gun – no siree! but I do loathe Hilary Clinton.

If I was an American and given the choice of candidates, I think I’d give my vote to Obama which I guess would put me on the very fringes of the body of Angry White Men! Here is the quote:

“There is a great amount of interest in this year’s presidential elections, as everybody seems to recognize that our next president has to be a lot better than George Bush. The Democrats are riding high with two groundbreaking candidates — a woman and an African-American — while the conservative Republicans are in a quandary about their party’s nod to a quasi-liberal maverick, John McCain.

Each candidate is carefully pandering to a smorgasbord of special-interest groups, ranging from gay, lesbian and transgender people to children of illegal immigrants to working mothers to evangelical Christians.

There is one group no one has recognized, and it is the group that will decide the election: the Angry White Man. The Angry White Man comes from all economic backgrounds, from dirt-poor to filthy rich. He represents all geographic areas in America, from urban sophisticate to rural redneck, deep South to mountain West, left Coast to Eastern Seaboard.

His common traits are that he isn’t looking for anything from anyone — just the promise to be able to make his own way on a level playing field. In many cases, he is an independent businessman and employs several people. He pays more than his share of taxes and works hard.”

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