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Monthly Archives: August 2011

A million reasons not to do things.

There are a million reasons  why you shouldn’t do something and only one reason that you should. It’s very simple. If you WANT it ENOUGH you will achieve it.

We’ve all done it. Set targets for ourselves and met them and felt good about it. We’ve also set targets and haven’t met them, closely or otherwise and we haven’t felt good about that and then we persuade ourselves we did enough to feel good and then, later, accept we didn’t do enough and feel bad about it.

Gaining Scottish Independence is a big target and the number of voters who decide that they want it enough will vote for it. Whether enough will is a moot point at the moment. However, what we don’t need are various people with axes to grind, queuing up to provide negative independence sound bites and quotes for the MSM.

Today we have two. We have a Glasgow solicitor telling us that catholics may suffer following Independence and the increase in bigotry which this might bring. This view may well be interpreted as an encouragement to catholic voters not to vote for Independence. Is there any truth in it? Perhaps if you are in the West you may consider this to hold some water. In the East it’s complete nonsense. Actually, in the West it’s also complete nonsense and has been for some years.

The solicitor who made the comment is the same solicitor who acts for a Mr N Lennon, the Celtic FC manager. Mr Lennon was assaulted at a football match and his case is providing BBC Scotland news with their nightly court report fix at the moment. No one should be assaulted at a football match regardless of who they are and the team they support. That this is also being pursued as a religiously motivated crime fits well with the current wish to stamp this type of vitriol out. Mr Lennon should not have been assaulted and subjected to religious intolerance. Of course, Mr Lennon should not have assaulted a certain Mr McCoist at another football match. This was also on the news.  The old firm is based on religious differences and until both Rangers and Celtic distance themselves from that, to a realistic and honest degree, we are stuck with the consequences.

Since writing this, the Jury have acquitted the attacker although he is still being held in remand for a breach of the peace conviction. The religious element in the charge was too much for the jury. Justice was served but not in the way the Scottish legal system expected it to. Back to the drawing board chaps and chapesses. More work required.

Meanwhile the Department in Westminster which is responsible for counting beans, tacks, people doing this that and other tell us that adults in Scotland drink 20% more than those in England. Shock Horror. Probe. We’d kind of guessed that albeit not so accurately. As a people we have our macho image to live up to, that’ll be the same one that the British Army exploited for years as the “Jocks” led the charge, again and again and again. Hard men who now how to party as do the women now too.  We’ve all seen evidence of drink abuse in Scotland, as well as many other countries.

Until we change the pattern of alcohol use we will get nowhere. Making it more expensive won’t work. Trying to make it socially unacceptable might help but that’s not a good way to do things. We just need to encourage our young people in particular to recognise that you don’t have to get drunk to be able to have fun and encourage them to say they’ve had enough without peer pressure forcing them to carry on.

Since writing this earlier BBC news have honed the report which now clarifies the issue. Apparently, it is not the usual suspects doing the over indulging. No. It’s actually people sitting at home drinking wine. The Guardianistas are to blame. Who’d a thunk it. Shocking. Give the lot of them a damn good thrashing. It’s what they deserve. What next? Pass the Chateau Buckfast dahling. It has a certain ring to it has it not?

So catholics will be subjected to bigotry and we can’t handle alcohol. All in a day’s work for MSM.

Is it not possible for the MSM to recognise that they are reporting on an opportunity which has enormous potential? An opportunity which could actually allow us as a country, to look very closely at our own problems as well as our strengths and then go on to find solution which are Scottish and will not emanate from Westminster?

But would that sell newspapers? Would that provide a soap box for politicians or those who pursue their 15 minutes of fame? Of course not. More’s the pity.

 
 

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A complete change of tack.

This article was written for and published originally on the Subrosa blog

Complete change of tack here. Less serious but this might ask questions of you. Yes you. The person sitting reading this on your screen.

Back in the mid seventies I was about to leave high school and set of on my journey into the big wide world. One of the last things I was asked to do, along with the rest of the English class I was part of, was to write a short essay on religion for the Minister of a local church which was about to celebrate a major longevity anniversary. The best essay would win a prize of some description.

Pretty straight forward? Well for me no, not at all. Like most young adults of my age at the time I’d been brought up going to church, Sunday school, BBs, and youth clubs. I’d sort of had enough of that sort of thing by then even although the church I was involved with then was generously allowing me, and my heavy rock band, to practice in the hall as long as we played at the occasional Sunday service. But I digress.

I took my seat in the room with the rest of the A stream 6th year students in a pretty bored state of mind. A few sheets of blank lined paper were given to each of us and then it was time to be silent and we had an hour to write.

For some reason I decided that I wasn’t going to write about the sort of religion I’d been involved with. I decided I’d write about a wee theory I’d been considering for a few months. I don’t have the original text as it was handed in but I’ll try to re-create it here.

One of life’s perpetual questions is where do we come from and what happens to us when we die. No one has come up with an answer to that. People have had various stabs in the dark based on religious beliefs but no one has tangible evidence, which would provide an answer.

We are born, various things take place and after a number of years we die. Fairly simple to grasp and we look upon this as a journey from A to B all lined up, neat and tidy. It’s like looking at a map. You choose point A where you start and you go along the route which takes your to your destination point Z. There maybe detours, side trips, unintentional wrong turnings etc. but the route is logical and one step leads directly to the next. Understandable? Yes?

At this point I went down, shall we say, a different route. We expect that every second of time is consecutive. That is one is followed by two is followed by three and on and on for all of our lives. We can’t go back, we can’t re-live even a few seconds and we can’t add more seconds in a guaranteed manner. We also believe that once a second is past, it has been used and is gone forever.

What if every second we live is alive forever? That’s loopy? Isn’t it? Can you disprove it though? No. Do I have proof for this? No, but if time travel was possible and we travelled back ten years, we’d find everyone alive and doing things they did ten years ago. Long shot? Yes but the principle is worthy of consideration.

Next step then, is that if every second of everyone’s lives is there forever it would mean that we were immortal. We live forever within the seconds we use. If all our seconds are alive for all of time perhaps our immortality is not lived from A to Z but is lived as our consciousness jumps back and forward to any and all points of our lives in a random order. The timeline or lifeline we inhabit is there forever. The only rule is we can’t step out of it… yet.

Now thinking back to the Minister who was handed the essays. I imagine that he sat down at his desk and started to read through them. Then he comes to mine. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall. I’m sure it must have stopped him in his tracks. Maybe he was annoyed. Maybe he offered up a prayer for the heathen who blasphemed to such an extent. Maybe he laughed. Maybe you are doing one or more of these right now.

And I didn’t even mention quantum physics. But I just might give that a whirl. Soon. Whadda ya think?

What is a “dead” certainty is that we all know we have to make the most of every second we have. So why are you still sitting there. Get up! Go and do something amazing. Remember to write it up and post though even if it is a bit bizarre, or a lot.

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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The Singles Club

Sounds exciting already. The reality is somewhat different however. The SNP Minister for Justice, Mr Kenneth MacAskill, no less, held a bit of a soiree for representatives of international Police forces earlier today. I’m assuming they enjoyed coffee and nice hand made shortbread before they started. Then they got into gear and listened to a few Power Point presentations on the latest gadgets and goodies for subduing hoodies. The excitement must have been something to behold. They probably also considered more wee gadgets for their officers to put in those embarrassing utility belts just like Batman used to do in the 60’s only without as much lycra which is a real pity. Holy lycra Batman! Don’t take the piss Robin it’s so unbecoming…

But then it’s spotlight on the main man time. Up bounds Kenny and launches into his new message. One Police force for Scotland!!!! A Single club for the polis to be in. No need for differing approaches for the Highlands and Central Glasgow. Let’s be honest here. A hoodie is a hoodie is a hoodie no matter the accent. We’ve all seen hoodies hill walking have we not? Okay, when we do it’s normally raining and they’re trying to keep dry as they bag another Munroe and Munroe is pretty fed up with it! But a hoodie is a hoodie is a hoodie.

Now Kenny will have ranted on about how good it will be. We’ll save millions! Okay we might have to spend millions to save millions but it will be really, really good. Honest! Very Splendid. One force to rule them all, One force to find them, One force to arrest them all and in their hoodies charge them. Feel the force Ken. Only Jedis can feel the force (maybe, possibly masons too?).

It wouldn’t be so bad, this spankingly wonderful single Force idea, if we didn’t have the best possible working practice example that is the MET. That’s the MET that haemorrhages senior officers at a rate that far exceeds the attrition rate for managers in the Premier League. But big is beautiful. But Scotland isn’t big.

There are a million things that we need to be looking at to make Scotland a better place. There is no doubt that we need to look at justice and policing. We all know the days of PC Murdoch are in the past but that doesn’t mean that we need a Scottish MET. That would be tragic. We just need policing which is appropriate for Scotland.

Most seriously though, we do not need politicians bringing forward policies on the basis that they are in the forefront, are cutting edge and world leading etc. etc. If the Scottish people had wanted that they would have voted for the “Tonys” and the “call me Daves”.  We want policies, which make Scotland a better place to live and to bring our children up in and spend our lives happily being part of.

Ken. Do not mirror the politics of a Westminster approach for Scotland. It will not work. It will not be liked and the resulting fallout will ensure, you, the SNP end up on your Arses with your hoodies torn, stained and ruined forever.

 

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Politics, Scottish Independence

 

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Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock…

The clock hands move unstoppably. It’s almost four months since the revolution, the revolution that saw Scotland turn, for the most part, to yellow. SNP yellow. The euphoria that we mostly all felt, was real as was our pridel. We had broken the mould that was Labour domination. We had effected change, which was not a possibility for the people of the rest of the UK. The potential was endless and it still is. Independence, the real prize, was being spoken about with conviction and the realisation that at last, a major opportunity and real chance of permanent change was in sight. Oh those heady days.

Since then we’ve had the opening of Parliament attended by Queenie. No pomp and ceremony, more real, more modern and more accessible. Every time I drive past the Scottish parliament, and that’s pretty often, I marvel at just how accessible it is. This contrasts incredibly to the times I’ve walked or been driven past (in a bus or taxi) the mother of all Parliaments in Westminster. It’s threatening, bristling with armed police, huge barriers, helicopter flyovers and ever present demonstrations. It’s a grim place, which amplifies fear and danger. Downing Street is the same.

In Edinburgh of course it’s different. Sure there are the concrete barriers but the tourists sit on these tastefully designed deterrents and have their lunch on them. There is a police presence also. Most times it’s an older policeman modelled on PC Murdoch. Again, most times he’s in conversation with tourists rather than looking for problems. There have been occasions when I’ve passed that there have been a couple of policemen with shooty guns, but generally the parliament security is just not intrusive, rather it’s low visibility and appropriate. We don’t have designs on world domination. No one need fear us. Just don’t cross us though eh?

The world has altered during the past few months. The financial crisis won’t go away (with UK debts standing at more then £4 Trillion it’s likely to be a problem for some considerable time). The Euro zone problems aren’t going to go away either. The Megrahi fiasco has raised it’s head again after a member of the Westminster Government decided it was a slow day for news. Then there’s the perpetual joy of Labour/Tories/LibDems saying that we rely on hand outs from Westminster, our economy is too small for us to stand on our own feet or our public sector is bloated and out of control.  Same old, same old. Some truth perhaps but joined together by large segments of less than truths.

This silly season has now ended and it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. So, Eck and Wee Nippy, PLEASE can we start to hear about the exciting progress that is planned for us? PLEASE can we hear about the plans for increased powers and how they will be used to make our country and economy stronger, more vibrant and innovative? PLEASE can we see a new kind of politics, which is Scottish, does not rely on party whips and demonstrates a respect for the Scottish people?

Oh yes one last thing. For goodness sake Alec get the trams sorted out. Stop money being thrown at this shambles, which makes us all look silly. PLEASE?

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2011 in Politics, Scottish Independence

 

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Could they try any harder to antagonise us?

How out of touch with the Edinburgh people are Edinburgh Council Officers and Edinburgh Councillors? VERY!

Not content with continuing to try to salvage something/anything out of the tram debacle, (I’d strongly recommend they stop now and clean the mess up) they persist in digging a bigger hole for themselves.
The latest is that they have to make a deal within the next six days with the contractor or they’ll have to pay £161M, yes million, to the contractor within a month. How are they going to finance this? WE THE COUNCIL TAX PAYERS OF EDINBURGH will be subjected to an increase of 80% in the Council Tax.

Oh really? So let’s assume there are some people deluded enough in Edinburgh to want the trams. That’s a fairly giant step to take. I haven’t spoken to a single person who wants the trams and who knows someone who does. Whilst not scientific it is a reasonable indicator of how people stand.

Extrapolate that then. The vast majority of people in Edinburgh don’t want the trams but will be paying for them whether they go ahead or not. Democracy in action? I think not.

Councillors must be aware of peoples views on this. These views must be expressed at the Councillors surgeries. These views must be expressed to Councillors as they walk about and talk to people. The Councillors must read the papers and watch the news. But still they plough on, on the basis that either their hands are tied or they know what’s best for us.

Councillors – pay attention – YOU WILL HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT THE COUNCIL OFFICERS WHO WILL BE NEGOTIATING WITH THE CONTRACTOR GET THE RIGHT DEAL and YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT IS BEST FOR US!!!!!

The trams project is dead on it’s feet. Clever and creative strategic and tactical thinking will be required to stop this shambles and pull back from doing anymore tram work . Pragmatic solutions will also be needed. Is everyone involved or at least the senior people involved up to the task? Evidence suggest that they aren’t.

Any attempt to increase costs for council tax payers will result in ballot box revenge for those who impose it. It maybe the case that Councillors push it through anyway as they have become so unpopular it will not matter to their chances of re-election anyway. Voters have long memories and Councillors may find their political parties will suffer not just in local elections but also in national and UK wide election as well.

By this time next week we will know. It may turn out to be a very interesting few days before and after. Bring it on.

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2011 in General, Politics

 

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The trams trundle on…

Well they don’t. They are not going anywhere in Edinburgh, apart from some distant cities who will lease them until such times as they fall to bits though overuse or Edinburgh want them back because the line is completed to a degree which will actually allow a tram or even trams to turn a wheel. If we are really unlucky they will be able to turn a wheel may many times.

Why so grim? The latest, hot of the press, decision is that they will run from Haymarket to the Airport which doesn’t serve the City centre and adds a complicated solution to get to the airport when an excellent bus service is already in place. This shortened route will generate an operating deficit of £4M every year for the life of the service. Is that a good deal or what?

Our bold politicians who are blessed with the highest possible level of foresight, and then some, know what is best for Edinburgh. They would do. They always have. We, the Council tax payers, residents and voters are not blessed with such foresight. We just know what is right for us.

It is not right for us to be committed to pay millions of pounds towards a vanity project which no one wants. It is not right that a shortened and embarrassingly toy town route will require money from us every year it operates whilst other services are cash starved.

What is definitely NOT right for us is having people dream up such a project in the first place, push it through without asking the voters if we wanted it, and continue to push it when it is quite obviously a dead duck. But the politicians and Council Officers knew we would like it once it was completed. Maybe. But not now, not ever.

So to the collective politicians and Council Officers who have been involved in this project STOP spending money on this ridiculous project. LEAVE the rails in Princes Street to remind us all that we should never let anything like this ever happen again. However, if the politicians and Council Officers want to go ahead, they should. just as long as they pay for it in full with NO money from the tax payers.

Foresight indicates that’s definitely going to happen. NOT!!!!!!

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2011 in Politics

 

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Peak Oil

This article was orginally posted on Subrosa blog and is reproduced here with permission.

I was casually reading through my Tweets when I saw the following from Captain Ranty “The Russians will be pleased to see Libya normalise. They were the only f****** finding anything. BP – nowt. Shell – zip. Russia 7 wells, 7 finds.”

This reminded me of a bit of research I carried out a few months ago which was prompted by an article I’d read on the web about the success of Russian oil prospecting. They’d been very successful and this had been attributed to research, which had been carried out in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Due to a shortage of oil in Russia at the time and a lack of potential oil imports the Russian had decided to look at hard at what oil really was and where it was to be found.

They discovered that oil was, in fact, produced deep within the earth and flowed up through deep faults into reservoirs. At the time this was a fairly wild thing to suggest and it gained no traction at all in the West. Since then however, they have gone on to explore in areas, which do not fit the traditional topology for oil prospecting and have been pretty successful, just as Captain Ranty suggested in his tweet.

They drill deeply, very deeply. Much deeper than Western Oil companies which is no surprise given the traditional search for oil is looking for decomposed dinosaur and other creatures residue. The Russians don’t believe a word of “fossil fuels” or of peak oil for that matter.

Which brings us neatly to another group of people who have trouble with oil, our environmental friends or Greenies. They don’t like oil because it produces CO2, which is a very bad thing, although it isn’t. They have managed to have oil exploration completely stopped or curtailed to the extent that there are supposed shortages and of course it’s running out. The oil companies are no angels that’s for sure and neither are the futures commodity oil speculators.

So oil could be plentiful, cheap and last for a very long time.  The fact that it is becoming ever more expensive, duty hikes notwithstanding, causes us all major headaches and problems. The cost is passed onto to us for the petrol we buy, the goods we buy which are delivered to the shop using oil and of course every sort of item, which contains or is contained by oil based products. It is also still used for heating especially in its gaseous form the price of which also increases beyond which is sensible.

The bottom line is Russia has demonstrated significant success in finding new oil in significant quantities by using science to determine what is actually possible rather than relying on discredited science mixed with global warming fairy stories as we in parts of the west do.

 

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