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A Page Turner?

My friends are, I would say, a fairly representative mix of Yes, No and Don’t Knows in the forthcoming Scottish Independence Referendum. I’m in the don’t know camp with head and heart playing tug o’ war with the issue. The thing is that no matter what your view or voting intentions, you probably know in which respective directions the brain and the blood pump are pulling.

Yesterday’s White Paper brought the impending Referendum into sharp focus in the kind of way that you realise that it’s only four weeks till Christmas. And there was Eck in the role of Santa Claus yesterday promising all sorts of bounty to everyone……but only if you’re good and vote the right way.

The White Paper (although at this stage I have to admit that I haven’t read it) seems to be a hybrid between a blueprint for independence and subsequent SNP manifesto for 2016 in an independent Scotland.

And what is in this Whizzer and Chips of a document?

Well I’m not going to spoil it all for you, because dear reader if you are in Scotland you will not be able to escape people debating its content at great length over the net ten and a half months.

However the bars/hurdles have been set high.

The disappearance of Trident from Scotland in the first term? I’d have thought that logistically impossible apart from anything.

We’ll be part of a Sterling zone says the White Paper. Oh no you won’t say all the UK political parties. The EU are biding their time on this but expect them to throw a cat amongst the doos on that soon. They will point out that regardless of any negotiations and politics, the legal position is that Scotland will be a new member and must commit to the Deutsch mark Euro. This would leave Scotland with a different currency from its largest trading partner (by some way) i.e. the UK.

Like the UK political establishment, they are implacably opposed to Scottish independence and will do all they can to prevent it. One feels too that countries facing their own separatist issues such as Spain and Belgium would continue to throw any spanner they could into the works to ensure that an independent Scotland would not be seen to be a success.

The most convincing case for me to vote Yes is the notion of dispensing with a parliament. The converse of that thinking led me to vote No in the devolution referendum (although admittedly I regret that now). There was one parliament when I was growing up and that always seemed a sufficiency of the bloody things. Now we have Edinburgh, Westminster and Strasbourg and as well as these being listed in terms of proximity, I’d also say that this is also their relevance as seen by many Scots (even if an objective view might challenge that with 80% of our law emanating from Strasbourg ). All politics is local politics they say.

Another reason to vote Yes is the fact that the SNP, from the sidelines at least, seem to be the most cohesive political unit of the major parties by some way and not only in a purely Scottish context. You could throw in all the UK parties into the mix there too. In Alex Salmond I think it’s hard to argue against the fact that he’s the most effective leader of those parties.

Never mind the hapless windae hinger Johan Lamont or Ruth (Miss Jean Brodie) Davidson, Eck knocks Cameron, Clegg and Miliband into a cocked hat

However…….

Yesterday I was struck by the almost euphoric response on the broadcast media from those Yes supporting commentators. On Radio Scotland, Irish academic Owen Dudley Edwards compared the White Paper to the Declaration of Arbroath and the American Declaration of Independence.

My blog friend Kate Higgins is always an enthusiastic advocate of independence. Much as I enjoy Kate’s optimistic and positive take on issues, I thought that yesterday on Radio Scotland she sounded like a combination of Pollyanna and Dr Pangloss as she gushed about the brochure as if the Referendum was now a formality.

The last time I can remember such optimism in a Scottish sense was in the run up to the World Cup in 1978……..

But then there’s Doctor No, aka Alistair Darling, the chancellor who presided over complete collapse of the banking system in 2008 and now lectures us on financial probity. He has previous form on not being able to predict how many days will be in the following year. Al was in high dudgeon yesterday attempting to rubbish the whole idea of independence. To be fair this is his remit but if yesterday confirmed anything it was that ‘Better Together’ have the wrong guy in charge.

I wrote here about Darling’s blink rate but I see the video in that article has been deleted.

I know that the usual indication of a politician lying is that their lips move, but from the article above:

Here is a link to an aricle by Linda Prestonseven signs you are being lied to

“BLINKING. A person who is lying will blink a lot,as blinking seems to correlate to the amount of mental stress we are under. In a normal conversation where a person is attuned to you, he will blink at roughly the same rate as you, often at moments when you pause in your speech. Be wary of someone who is blinking frantically as they speak with you.”

Here’s Alistair…

Independence Day?

The Scottish Social Attitudes Survey published at the weekend shows growing support for independence.

Two particular items must make the unionist political blood run cold. The findings of the survey found that 61% of Scots said they trusted Holyrood to act in Scotland’s best interests always or most of the time, compared with 22% who said they trusted Westminster to do so. 74% of people thought the Holyrood Government ought to have most influence over how Scotland is run compared with 16% for Westminster.

Until recently I could never have envisaged the Scottish people voting for independence, independence ‘lite’ even, in a referendum. However the facts are that in poll after poll, the satisfaction ratings of the SNP continue to climb.

Part of this is due to the fact that the party doesn’t seem to act for one particular socio-economic group at the exclusion of others. That’s a neat trick. When you get top business people, trade unionists and the politically non committed on board, then it really is a formidable task to mount an opposition.

And really, there IS no opposition to speak of. The best Labour can come up with is a Westminster based hotch -potch of no talent. Their lame duck Scottish leader continues on his weary way sometimes getting into the press with rebarbative jibes at Salmond and Co. He’s like a footballer who’s been sent off, refusing to leave the field and mouthing at the opposition. He’d be as well shouting at the fish counter in Sainsbury’s – although in such an event he’d probably have a bigger audience.

The Tories continue to fight amongst themselves, with one of the leadership candidates standing on a ticket to abolish the party in Scotland!

And the Liberal Democrats know that their involvement in the UK coalition government and subsequent annihilation at the Scottish polls last year, has put them in a position from which it will be very difficult to return to their previous influential position in the short to medium term.

It is a sobering thought that if all Scotland’s opposition parties combined to fight a united ‘no’ campaign in a referendum, there is no candidate even remotely capable of leading such a campaign.

Having voted SNP in recent times, I remain to be wholly convinced on the issue of independence. However, were there to be a poll now, it is by no means certain how it would go. The Nats, and ergo independence, seem to have the X factor at the moment.

And therein lies the dilemma for the SNP who have declared that the referendum will take place in the second half of the parliament. They risk going the way of all elected governments anywhere and being less popular than a fart in a spacesuit by that time.

Or maybe the opposition will continue to present as pisspoor to the power of ten and will carry on assisting in paving the way for the biggest constitutional change here in over 300 years?

All bets are off but a well known smug, portly punter has already been down to the bookies and he gives the impression of knowing what he’s doing.

Inexperienced gamblers look on nervously.

Megrahi Latest!

Growing Independence.

A new poll in the Herald this morning, shows that support for Scottish independence from the UK has increased six points in eighteen months to stand at 37%.

This will throw my recent question into sharp focus once again. Just who IS going to front the ‘NO’ campaign in a referendum? Scottish secretary Michael Moore? I think not. Even if he were the most able politician of his generation (which he clearly isn’t), he represents a party which is now personified in Scotland as operating on an axis of treachery and ineptitude and whose collapse in the Scottish election was the key to power for the SNP.

His (Moore’s) insistence the other day that if there were a yes vote in a referendum, that a second referendum would then have to be held, drew this withering response from Alex Salmond yesterday;

He said: “It’s pretty clear the Secretary of State’s remarks earlier in the week were confusion rather than conspiracy. As I’m a generous soul who doesn’t like putting people in an embarrassing state, that matter is genuinely coming to rest.”

So there we have it, Moore’s best shot, his genuine attempt to throw some doubt into the voters’ minds, dismissed in two sentences. Just quite how sarcasm, patronisation and mock pity can be combined in so few words is perhaps an indication of Eck’s ability. Moore’s response, that he ‘had nothing to add’ was maybe his ‘time to stop digging’ moment.

The no campaign’s best hope would seem to be that over time people will become fed up with Salmond and that he may become to be seen as arrogant, but there are no signs of that at the moment.

So I repeat the question. In this time where every major political (opposition) party in Scotland is seen as tired, bereft of ideas and policy, and more to the point completely out of tune with the Scottish electorate, just who IS going to front that ‘NO’ campaign?

Keep Well – Stay Out of the Sun

I’m certain that although the SNP seem to be moving in the right direction in the polls, Eck will have very mixed feelings about the Scottish Sun’s front page this morning:

The certain thing is that just as the last time the tabloid supported the Nats (“Rise Now and be a Nation Again”) this will be a temporary tactic because it suits the paper’s agenda for one reason or another. For every action by Rupert’s organ, an equal and opposite reaction can be expected somewhere down the line.

On the other hand I suppose it is refreshing that the traditional media antipathy towards the SNP in Scotland seems to be abating somewhat. Even the party’s most vehement of critics seem to be laying off a bit and it appears that the good old Pavlovian Daily Record are the only ones left to cheer lead for Scottish Labour.

Maybe this will be the time when Scotland finally splits with it’s curious blind loyalty to the party.

The Sun also damns Labour with this article. I’m sure that readers who know the area will puzzle as to why Howattshaws Rd in Dumbarton has been pinpointed. Knowing the town as I do, I’d be amazed if Howattshaws Rd was in the top ten poor streets in Dumbarton/Vale of Leven area let alone the top fifty in Scotland. It could be that the ‘high flats’ there have skewed the equation somewhat.

Poor old Iain Gray though. Here, two chaps called Fin and Geishy pay homage:

“Feel the rain like a Scottish summer
Hear the notes from a distant song
Stepping out from a back door Subway
Wishing life wouldn’t be so dull

Ah, we fade to gray, fade to gray
Ah, we fade to gray, fade to gray
Ah, we fade to gray
Deperir a gris
Ah, we fade to gray, fade to gray
Deperir a gris”

The Scottish election is by no means done and dusted but the support of the Sun, despite all the baggage and the almost inevitable pie in the face somewhere down the line, could be a pivotal moment in the campaign.

Poll Plot

Crikey! it seems that some of the 25% of people who actually know who Iain Gray is, caused a bit of a stushie yesterday. Watch and see how this hero of Cambodia,Rwanda, Mozambique and Chile manages to fend off the aggressors by running into a sandwich shop:

Lookalike Leaders

Eck and Shrek

Tavish Scott and Sir Fred Goodwin

Gray Man and Quagmire

Aunt Anabel and Uncle Sam