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Speculation?

I see that George Soros, the man who broke the Bank of England in 1992 has been all over the press this week. He’s been promoting his book ‘The Tragedy of the European Union’.

In synopsis:

“There are many nations that go through long periods of stagnation, but they survive.
“Japan has just had 25 years of it and is desperately trying to get out of exactly the situation that Europe is moving into.
“But the European Union is not a nation. It is just an association of sovereign states, a very incomplete association, and it may not survive.
“This euro crisis has converted what was meant to be a voluntary association of equal sovereign states that sacrificed part of their sovereignty for a common benefit into a relationship between debtors and creditors.
“The debtors can’t pay their debts and are dependent on their creditors’ mercy, and that creates a two-class system. It’s not voluntary and it’s not equal.”

He also opines that it would be ‘impossible’ for post independent Scotland to share Sterling and that a new independent currency would provide speculators with ‘a field day’. He foresees an independent state as being up a creek in currency terms and presumably being unable to locate a paddle.

Of course it is just another scare story…….

Isn’t it?

Tony Benn R.I.P.

Nice tribute in the Guardian from Michael White, which charts Benn’s course from titled right of centre moderniser to left wing radical. The quote ‘I was the Peter Mandelson of the 1959 election’ highlights that Benn took the opposite journey in political stance through life from most, including Mandelson.

Never afraid to pitch himself in support of unfashionable or unpopular causes. His opposition to the modus operandi of the EU was based on his view that Brussels was not only undemocratic but also anti-democracy

‘(Benn) was almost the last of a disappearing species’ says the Guardian obituary and that’s hard to disagree with.

He said of the following interview ‘I think Ali G did me a huge amount of good with the young. He came to this house and completely took me in and I argued with him when he said “bitches only get pregnant in order to get benefit” and “people only go on strike to chill out”. And I said: “Don’t be ridiculous”. You see, a lot of the people he interviewed were frightened of him.’

Hard to disagree with that, but it was very funny as well.

The Stracathro Time Tunnel!

On the way to Aberdeen yesterday, we stopped for lunch here:

strathpot

Stracathro Services. ‘Potatoes for Sale’

This is the weird and wonderful Stracathro Services on the A90 near Brechin. I found this photo on the net and it really could have been taken at any stage in the last forty years. I doubt that the place has changed much in that time.

Inside there’s a 1970s style canteen which doesn’t appear to have had much maintenance time wasted on it any time recently. Split vinyl chairs, terracotta tiles,  formica tables and plastic ketchup bottles.

Mind you there is a ‘posh’ seating area too…..

I’ll say one thing though, the food is reasonably priced and there is a good selection (don’t however expect any new fangled health foods).

I’ve stopped a few times at Stracathro over the years and never cease to be amazed at the range of goods on sale. This tableau for instance contains a wicker waste paper basket, a used calendar, a toy lawn mower and tools, a kid’s fishing net, some wild bird fat balls and some kindling to get the fire going in the morning..

stracathroKindling?

Yup

kindling

I’m not complaining though, I came away with a nice set of antimacassars, a rain mate, a Tommy Scott 8 track cassette, some kirby grips and a yo-yo.

And double Green Shield Stamps…….

Nae Luck…..

Dumbarton did very well against the second best team in Scotland yesterday in their first Scottish Cup quarter final in 35 years. A combination of events though, seemed to conspire against the wee team on the day. Before kick off we learned that our talisman midfielder and without question our best player this season, Chris Turner was not going to be fit for the tie. Central defender Mark McLaughlin was also out through injury and fellow central defender Andy Graham was carrying a knock.

The Sons had a couple of decent penalty claims turned down. One where Russell Anderson had Chris Kane in a bear hug was a particular let off for the home side. Another incident involving the same two players, where the former upended the latter in the box, ended with a free kick (I think for offside) the other way. I’d have liked to have seen the replay on TV but they managed to edit that one out on Sportscene.

106_1834

The game from our vantage point

That said Aberdeen looked fairly slick in the second half as their superior fitness told. A needless concession of a corner allowed them the opportunity to score the winning goal, which Adam Rooney gratefully accepted. Keeper Grindlay’s full stretch dive being performed a split second too late to impede the progress of the striker’s bulleted header.

hannah

The local paper handed out Ian Murray masks before the trip.

Full back Paul McGinn had a chance to equalise late on with a header and should have done better with it. However manager Ian Murray, in his post match interview, praised McGinn for being in the position to make an attempt. Good man management from the gaffer.

106_1832

Some of the assembled nutters.

More than 600 Sons fans made the trip and stood, yes stood and sang and chanted for the whole 90 minutes. Late in the first half when the linesman called a ball in that was obviously out the Dons fans behind the goal let out howls of anguish, to which the away fans responded “We forgot that you were there” to the tune of Cwm Rhondda.

A grand day oot and I think the Dons will be glad that one is out of the way.

A Tale of Two Countries

Thankfully things seem to be resolving themselves in Ukraine and I hope that matters progress to a good outcome for the people.
In Scotland meanwhile there were some pretty strong arguments at the weekend in places like Auchterarder amongst old ladies who each insisted on paying for the scones and tea.

From the official EU website  European Union External Action

“The EU is seeking an increasingly close relationship with Ukraine that goes beyond mere bilateral cooperation, encompassing gradual progress towards political association and economic integration.

Ukraine is a priority partner country within the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the Eastern Partnership (EaP). The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) which entered into force in 1998 provides a comprehensive framework for cooperation between the EU and Ukraine in all key areas of reform.”

It goes on

“The EU takes note of the unprecedented public support in Ukraine for political association and economic integration with the EU and remains ready to sign the Association Agreement on the basis of determined action and tangible progress on the EU’s benchmarks. To this end, important progress has already been achieved.”

By way of comparison, the official EU line regarding cooperation and membership with an independent Scotland, a country which would meet all membership criteria and which geographical area has been a member of the EU for 40 years, after the referendum can be summed up by the following statement (apologies for paraphrasing slightly):

“How about naw?”

The Man Who Fell to Perth

Oh my! What a stushie David Bowie has caused by saying, via Kate Moss, “And Scotland, stay with us.” at the end of his/her acceptance speech at some mind numbing award ceremony of the type that I, or indeed anyone with an IQ higher than that of a geranium, would never watch.

Good luck to him, he’s expressing a view and I’m sure he’s an intelligent man. The view is probably sincerely held. He hasn’t sermonised about it, he simply made a brief remark.

It’s the people who have resorted to social media venting their spleen about Bowie that I worry about.

Can someone remind me please?

In the light of Jose Manuel Barroso’s recent comments that it would be ‘All but impossible’ for Scotland to join the EU as a new member state, I’m in need of a reminder.

Can someone remind me how impossible it was for East Germany to join both West Germany and the EU? I can’t remember myself but the way that the EU high heid yins are going on it must have taken years……