Monthly Archives: February 2014

Real money and independence.

This might be a bit of a winding path article but I’m sure you’ll stay with me. This is an important topic although you won’t have heard much about it.

There was recent programme on BBC, which almost but not quite mentioned the “Bradbury Pound”. That nice chap, Jeremy Paxman, started his new series about the First World War a few weeks ago and episode one covered the run up to war being declared.

He mentioned that, just a few days prior to the declaration being made the UK banking sector came close to collapse. That’ll sound familiar to you will it not? We are still suffering from the most recent collapse! Nothing changes.

However, in this case things did change. Jeremy informed us that a collapse was imminent and a run on the banks had begun, people queued to change their bank notes into gold. Luckily though a Bank Holiday was on the cards and duly went ahead. The government then extended the bank holiday by a further three days, followed by the banks re-opening and providing bank customers with “Bradbury” treasury notes.

The Bradbury pound (so named because of the signatory on each pound and ten shillings note) became legal tender. The notes were backed by Acts of Parliament and were unique as their value was secured on the value of the UK’s assets. At the same time these notes provided their monetary value with NO INTEREST. Money used to buy goods and services using the Bradbury pound did not attract interest.

I would have thought that Jeremy would have covered this incredible step, but, alas no he didn’t. He might also have gone on to say that the use of Bradbury pounds would have avoided the huge debts, which were run up fighting the First World War. Then he might have also said that the bankers managed to get the government to agree to withdraw Bradburys so they could get back to lending money and making huge monies from it in the form of interest.

Now the independence part. The Bank of England and wee Georgie Osbourne have spoken and said that Scotland can’t have a currency union with the rest of the UK. Sounds good to me. But Scotland will have shares in the Bank of England which would be recouped to Scotland the desolution of the UK. But who really knows who owns the Bank of England?

Apparently those who know aren’t telling. Are you also aware that the City of London is a completely seperate state? As is the Vatican and an area within Washington?

Are you also aware that almost every country in the world has a central bank run, not by the politicians, but by the Rothchilds? Iran, North Korea and Cuba don’t, and if Scotland goes for it’s own currency neither would we although that list of other countries isn’t enticing.

So how about a Scottish Bradbury (we could call it he Goodwin for fun) pound equivalent and a central bank outwith Rothchilds control? No interest loans. How much money would that put back into peoples pockets and help grow the economy which in turn would help pay for all those good works that so many people seem to want to do following independence?

In ending may I also suggest that in the USA “greenbacks” had also become currency for a number of years following the civil war. I’ll leave you with this thought. It some peoples minds the death of Abraham Lincoln was connected to the issue and use of greenbacks.

Who knows where the truth lies.


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Publicity, who needs it?

Lilly Allen is back. She has now got her wee family sorted out and also got over losing a fair bit of money. She has started releasing new material and she’s also been on TV and in the newspapers and magazines etc.

She made a very interesting confession. She only likes being on TV, in the newspapers and magazines when she has an album to flog or a tour to publicise. It looks like she’s admitted to what almost every sleb thinks.

What about all that nonsense of the slebs whining on about their phones being hacked, by hacked they mean using the standard password which comes with each phone rather than changing it to one which is secure? Hey presto no hacking at all. Either they didn’t because it suited them or they couldn’t do it or they were able to find someone who could.

Some of them went to court and whined again. Some of them sued newspapers and won money and, of course, somemore publicity. Some of them may have also used the whole situation to gain even more publicity.

Publicity, publicity, publicity… they neeeeeeed IT!

No sleb wants to be left out in the cold when they are looking for work and need ‘publicity”. In order to wake people up who matter they need to be “seen” to prove that they are just the person to enhance a flim, TV prog, a tour etc. etc. etc.

You know the lengths they go to.  Usually it involves a wardrobe malfunction or a wardrobe which may be incomplete, or a fall out or a love in, or a divorce, etc, etc, etc,

I’ve no idea why newspapers publish all the nonsense. If Joe Bloggs is starring in a huge blockbuster movie then why do the newspapers provide coverage about it? And then, when they start getting a hard time from the slebs, do they not just stop writing or photographing them and putting  them in their rag ever, ever, ever again?

Take away the publicity and see how quickly the slebs come crawling back and beg for coverage. Their begging will require lurid stories or revealing pictures which feeds their habit, their habit of course being publicity.

Of course the press need the slebs because they sell newspapers and magazines. Do they really? Then why do mere mortals want to know about what slebs do, what they wear and what they say? None of it is in any way worthwhile. Is it?

The slebs also do the talk shows. They get on the circuit and do the One Show, the Graham Norton Show, The Jonathon Ross Show, The Alan Carr Show etc, then there’s radio interviews as a well. It’s almost like perpetual motion. They have their own energy, which propels them along until they do something to upset people or lose whatever they had in the first place.

When that happens they can still sometimes stay on the bandwagon but not bot for good reasons. They fall off and it becomes a spectator sport as did Oliver Reid.


Can’t they just go away?



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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in BBC, Celebrities, Fame


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Justice according to whom?

In Scotland we have a lawyer, Kenny MacAskill, who became a politician who is now the Justice Secretary. This sort of background would make you think that he’d know his stuff and he’d be careful when dealing with legal issues. Hmmmm…

We have a verdict in court, which was, as far as I know unique. You were innocent, guilty or the case was “not proven”. Not proven was one of those things which had been around for a along time and cases were judged to be not proven. It was a sort of but not quite result. It meant that someone may have been innocent or guilty but the evidence wasn’t clear enough although it was clear enough not to be innocent or guilty.

I always thought it was a good idea.

Along came Kenny and he tries to get rid of it. It’s an old law and is no longer fit for purpose. What? Like thousands of old laws you mean? None of which are fit to be thrown in the bin?

Not content with that, the bold Kenny then decides that corroboration should also be scrapped.  The requirement for corroborating evidence means at least two different and independent sources of evidence are required in support of each crucial fact before a defendant can be convicted of a crime. Again seems like a pretty reasonable and important piece of law.

Police persons in Scotland go about in pairs for that very reason. Although there may well be occasions when the two police persons perhaps record stuff in a Hillsborough fashion, but that’s a different story.

Why would a justice secretary want to do away with two Scots Law tools? Is there likely to be a good reason for this?

Lets say two people are in a room and something happens. One of them calls the police and makes an allegation about the other one. The police come along and take a statement and look for evidence to support the allegation. which might be serious enough for a forensic investigation to take place.

In court the evidence found and/or the forensic evidence supports the claim made by the accuser and the other person is dealt with accordingly.


In court the evidence found and/or the forensic evidence supports the claim made by the accuser and the other person is dealt with accordingly.


In court the evidence and/or the forensic evidence does nor fully support the claim made by the accuser and the other person receives a not proven verdict or is acquitted.

Fine so far?

Now what may happen when both of these tools of justice are no longer in place?

In court the evidence found and/or forensic evidence does not support the claim made by the accuser? The lawyer for the accuser makes a strong case as does the accuser. The judge or the jury may decide that the accuser makes a better case of it and the accused is sentenced accordingly.

Two things in wrapping up.

Firstly both of these tools have been heavily criticised in cases of assault and sexual assault and rape. This has lead to claims that victims are being let down by the justice system. It’s even been said that these tools have led to guilty people being let off. .

If there is no real evidence how can anyone be tried on the basis of what someone said and to which no one else had heard apart from the accused?

Secondly, the Judges are not in favour of removing these tools. The police were also not in favour but then they changed their minds. Bear in mind that Kenny appoints senior police officers and that we have a Scotland wide police force.

Is this justice? No one wants to see anyone leaving court not having been found guilty when they have in fact been guilty. But neither does anyone  want to see someone who is innocent sentenced.

The aim to bring more people to justice should not be based on anything other than real and corroborated facts. Anything else may be the result of aims which are not in the best interests of our society.

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Posted by on February 26, 2014 in Justice, Politics, Scotland, SNP


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How many jobs…

On a number of occasions I’ve worked with rural communities. These communities were all looking for the same thing, trying to survive in the shorter and longer terms.

They live in gorgeous surroundings, fresh air, nature etc. etc. The communities consist of the real long term locals, the transient and of course the incomers. It’s not difficult to come across very wealthy people with a fabulous house and a bit of land who work in London Tuesday to Thursday and spend the rest of the time in their chosen village.

Everyone contributes to the local economy in various ways, which mostly results in local spending although online shopping can impinge on that. Going for a Sunday newspaper could easily be a 30 minute job and going for a fish supper, in the more remote areas could take two hours and the fish supper would be cold by the time you got back although, no doubt, you could fall back on their statutory can of Irnbru, Red cola or Vimto.

Most of these communities have some form of tourism happening too but they still carry on with the basics of earning a living. On my travels I used to ask people how many jobs they had. The winning chap had nine jobs. He had nine jobs because at any one time during the year some of them would be profitable.

His job list went something like this –

* He farmed some land and had sheep.

* He bred and trained sheep dogs.

* He rescued sheep dogs, which had become a bit unruly and trained them properly before he sold them.

* He had a shooting range.

* He charged a local adventure business for using some of his land for mountain biking and quad biking.

* He was in a folk/country-dance band (hooch!).

* He sold CDs of the bands music.

* He had converted an old barn into a function room (once used by Rob Roy apparently).

* He used his dogs to perform herd geese at one of the visitor attractions.

There were lots of B&B’s as you would imagine which provided jobs mainly to the younger generation, which the villages and their outlying areas desperately wanted to hang onto. Too many young people left for college or Uni and never came back.

Most of the communities had a group of people who tried to encourage people to work together to support the area. There were many skills available to them as you would imagine but not everyone wanted to play ball.

In certain respects large cities such as Edinburgh and London are similar. The Shore in Leith, Out of the Blue, Stockbridge, the Grassmarket, George Street are all like villages within a bigger town. Okay there isn’t a lot of grass and it can get busy at times but there will be, for sure a lot of people with more than one job.

How many jobs are enough?


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I should have mentioned that I was heading off to Paris for a few days. Wi-fi is pretty much free here. How civilised. 

I watched a wee bit of TV last evening whilst recovering from walking. The No vote are at it again. Looks like each passing day will contain some sort of bluster, threat or guff from them. 


Like we care? 


Anyway, an odd word here and there for now from me.


Vive le republique (Scotland soon).



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Posted by on February 19, 2014 in Uncategorized


Language is a wonderful thing…

Isn’t language just wonderful? Just when you think you’ve got a reasonable handle on it more words come along or new pronunciations just to keep us on our toes.

One of my favourites at the moment is “upcycling”. According to Wikipedia it means – the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.


Isn’t that grand. Someone throws out his or her crap stuff and another person takes it and makes into something better. That chap, Kevin McLeod, that does Grand Designs likes upcycling. Amongst other things he had a chair made out of old bits of a cars steering and suspension and tastefully covered it with a dead cows hide. Obviously the cow had to be dead in order to donate it’s hide although I’m not sure if it’s donation was recorded anywhere. The cow in question had already died due it being included in the cull, which resulted from the foot and mouth outbreak some time ago.

Kevin has also helped build a wood burning stove. It was made out of an old safe although the flue was brand spanking. I especially like the bit when the paint on the old safe started to burn off and create something of a breathing health hazard. The original paint patina was lost for all time.

There’s a sort of steam punk movement which also likes doing up old things but they also much prefer to make a new thing look like an old things. Like sort of Victorian design with copper and brass and such like. It’s worth a search on the net to see what sort of stuff they do. They also dress up in old gear, which may be a step too far, but hey… it’s their lives.

Just the other day another object was, well I don’t think upcycled is the right word. A giraffe with the wrong “genes” had to be put down because of EU rules. It was then cut into sections and then fed to the lions. Upcycling? I bet if lions could talk they’d be happy to describe it as such. A meal is a meal unless you’re a giraffe with the wrong “genes”.

Kevin also built a hut and various other things to go with it. It wasn’t like the hut we mere mortals have either. Oh no… It was huge and different looking. At no time did anyone ask him how his budget was going. At no time did he interview himself and ask questions about the “narrative of his shed and the landscape where it was situated”.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m a huge fan of Kevin and of Grand Designs. If I had enough money I’d be out there building something very personal, which would make a great statement to me at least, but I’m not sure I could handle the narrative part.

Upcycling? As with all things there is a place for it. You used to see it when you went to the tip and there would be people taking stuff out because one mans rubbish is another mans treasure.

And so it should be…

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Posted by on February 19, 2014 in Architecture, Art, Recycling


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Liverpool bus lanes…

I’ve never been to Liverpool although I’ve seen it on TV, which is the best I can do. It may well be one of the best places in the world! I don’t know and I haven’t got an opinion about it.

I was interested however, when I saw an article in the press a few weeks ago. It was one of those headlines which grab your attention. It basically said that bus lanes in Liverpool were going to be suspended for a few months to find out if traffic would be better or worse without them.

That sounded like a great thing to do. As drivers, we all sit in traffic at times and it is very frustrating when a bus glides up the bus lane and gets preferential treatment. Well it’s the bus passengers who get the preferential treatment.

A certain Mr Begg used to work here in Edinburgh and introduced bus lanes. He’s long gone onto better things but his bus lanes still remain. The buses here also have transponders in them which over-ride traffic lights so the buses get through quicker yet again. Mr Begg didn’t like cars.

Taxis are also allowed in bus lanes and cyclists but not motorcyclists. A few months ago Edinburgh Council put up some new cameras to catch drivers using the bus lanes. It was the biggest fiasco that the council had carried out for probably at least 10 minutes. They are prone to continual fiascos, which would be funny if it were not for the fact that we have to pay for them at some point. The council doesn’t like cars.

Anyway, the cameras were installed. The number of drivers caught was HUGE. It wasn’t that they were using the bus lane it was more the fact that they had to cross the bus lane or get around a corner or even get into their own drive. They still got the paperwork with the fine of course but most of them complained and got the fines dropped.

The council then switched some of the cameras off and things are better but far from ideal. The council doesn’t like cars.

In Liverpool the bus lanes are now just a part of the road that everyone can use. The Mayor has been interestingly supportive of the removal of the bus lanes albeit that it’s just a trial at the moment.

There have been complaints. It takes longer for bus passengers to get to where they are going. The bus companies are complaining that it now takes their buses longer to get where they are going. Really? No brainer actually.

The majority of people on the road now get to their destinations a bit quicker. There’s another surprise. Who would have thunk that?

The bus companies have become grumpy. Their advantage over all the other road users has been eroded. They no longer get priority treatment. They are going to complain.

There is no good reason to expect road users to have to put up with some people getting preferential treatment. It will be wonderful if the lanes are dropped for good.

Down with bus lanes I say!


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A disaster waiting to happen…

I’m reading “Blossom” at the moment. It’s about Scotland and it’s people and why we have such bad health and various other depressing issues although there is much positivity also. It was recommened to me by “Clarinda” and the book was written by Lesley Riddoch.

Early on in the book Lesley mentions “Old Labour” and not in a positive manner. I can see why she might think like that since, to younger people, Old Labour was fraught with internal wrangling, beset by unions ever eager to encourage strikes and subject to a bottom line which could not make the party electable.

To me “Old Labour” was certainly those things but not just those things.  “Old Labour” was the vote of the workingman. It was a party in which working men could get a sense of hope that their working lives would be productive enough for them to have a comfortable lifestyle secure in the knowledge that their children would have a better life than they had.

In the 60s life wasn’t easy although things started to change for the better in the 70s or so it felt to me. My family life improved. We had proper holidays, we had a better car, the house was better decorated and warm, there was money to go out of an evening.

Mrs Thatcher came along and trimmed the wings of the unions and pushed “Old Labour “ away from electability. Whilst some of the things she did were undoubtedly damaging to the country, other things she did were good. Her experiment and the change to a “services economy” might have been a great idea for London but less so for Scotland where traditional industries were still the core. That was all lost. Gone.

But the Tories went eventually and along came New Labour. In order to become electable Tony and his mates moved to the right. In doing so they ripped up the old ways. Now everything was new and shiny. Well maybe for some but less for a lot more people.

The West of Scotland had a lot of heavy engineering before Mrs Thatcher and much less when Tony cane to power. You would have though that “Nu Labour” would have invested heavily in either supporting and renewing the traditional industries or investing in bringing new manufacturing jobs to that area.

Well they did. Unfortunately, they managed to import low skill jobs after Mrs Thatcher had exported high skill jobs. The workforce was to be retrained. What? Retrained to follow an entirely different type of life? No. Just enough retraining to be able to answer a telephone all day long and such like. A disaster waiting to happen.

They still vote for Labour in the West of Scotland as they have always done when they worked in the old traditional industries etc. in towns and villages all over Scotland. Why? They can’t bear to vote any other way? They have always voted Labour as had their parents and grandparents? Who would they vote for if they didn’t?

To a degree they have stopped voting altogether.

Labour has done nothing, NOTHING to invest in these communities although they were in power for two terms. Not to mention the number of local councils that are also Labour run.

Labour has failed even worse than Mrs Thatcher failed.

No amount of silly tactics such as taunting the Tories that they didn’t have a single woman on the front bench.

Is that the best they can do? Is that as far as their combined intellect can manage?

Look in the mirror Ed and I mean really look in the mirror.


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Heiddies rule…

The Heiddie was always a bit daunting when I was at school and also when I was working with schools. They have a tough job really which is more political than educational. They seemed to spend as much time out of school as in it.

I thought that Heidies were primarily to ensure that the staff delivered what they should be, deal with the curriculum and uphold good behaviour along with several million other things. It would seem that they are also turning out to be getting involved in things that are nothing whatsoever to do with them at all.

In Edinburgh this recently. we had a Heidie tell his pupils that they had to stop dying their hair in alarming colours. If they continued to do so, they would not be allowed to go on school outings. The trip mentioned was to go to the Scottish Parliament. After this made the press here one of our MSPs offered to welcome any pupil with hair colouring considered to be out with the Heidies directives and take them for tea in the parliament cafe. Touche.

Now the Heidie in question had stipulated that hair colouring should only be black, brown or blonde.  The auburn haired pupils are going to get a hard time from him then?

I would imagine that all of his pupils wear the designated school uniform?

There I was thinking that the new Curriculum for a Excellence was to support enabling all young people to become “successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors”.

Confident individuals, it says confident individuals.

Isn’t that about learning to know themselves, trying things out, making mistakes but getting it right more often which may at times involve daft stuff? Being told what to do and when to do it does not support “individualism”. Dressing the same as their fellow clones does not support “individualism”. Being told what to eat, being subject to petty, random rules and having individual choice squashed do not support individualism, confidence, responsibility and contributing.

Can we not leave our children to do their thing? Can’t we leave then to dress as they see fit for school? Can’t we let them express themselves be it hair, food, music, etc. etc.? And, for goodness sake stop this nonsense about everyone being equal in a uniform. Those with still stand out as those with and unfortunately it’s the same for those who haven’t. The world won’t end if children wear what they want rather than being imposed by adults who should know better than enforcing  similes of some private school rules.

If the rules were relaxed, and I know they wont be, Heidies would cite health and safety rules when they got the chance, like they did when shell suits were all the rage. Okay it may have been possible for two shell suited people to rub their shell suits together accidentally and have them spontaneously combust but I can’t recall that making the press.

Perhaps brightly coloured hair might be capable of distracting a teacher who may fall over due to shock? Weren’t teachers young once? Didn’t they daft stuff on occasion?

You’ll remember that there is an Independence Referendum happening later this year. Independence. A serious word. We need independent people who will pursue independent views and bring their individualism to bear. From which a new and vastly improved Scotland will emerge.

We need individuals who may well sport blue hair with yellow dots. It matters not a jot what they look like it’s what’s in their heads that we should be desperate to encourage not what’s on the outside.

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Posted by on February 16, 2014 in Children, Education, Schools


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He looked me in the eye…

Who would have thunk it? Dave loves us. That’s a collective of everyone in Scotland I’m talking about. Yes all of us. He even gave an impassioned speech about it. He encouraged friends and relatives of ours who don’t live in Scotland to call us or contact us in some way and then tell us how important it is for us not to leave the UK.

It kind of threw me a bit. There we were secure in the thought that we were being carried financially by the rest of the UK (look it up and you’ll find it’s the opposite but let’s not allow the facts to get in the way of a bit of propaganda). Why would Dave want to hold onto to Scotland if we were costing his government and the other three countries of the UK real money?

I’d have thought if we were costing them money they would be very glad to get shot of us? Oh well. Who knows how politicians and the establishment on both sides of the border work? Certainly not me.

I like the bit near the end when Call me Dave looked right at the camera and looked into our eyes. It was sincere. It wasn’t a practiced cynical attempt to try to win our favour. Oh no, Call me Dave would never do that.

The “Subrosa Blog” has a post entitled “Ian Bell’s letter to David Cameron”. Ian points out that there is a fairly similar vein running though Call me Dave’s speech. Similar to what I hear you ask?

Well, it’s very similar to a speech and sentiment from the “1995 Unity scheme” which was used by the Canadian government successfully when French Canadians were also trying to pursue independence. Whilst we are also on that particular theme please bear in mind that the Prime Minister of Spain has been going on about Scotland not being able to join the EU (hurrah! and yes please) because he doesn’t want the Catalans to do the same as Scotland.

Has your phone been ringing off the hook? Have lots of complete strangers from the rest of the UK been calling you to remind you that Scotland is full of wonderful people and it would be unfair of us to vote to leave the union? No? Of course not.

Call me Dave’s speech was “sincere” and would’ve brought tears to a glass eye. No really…

It wouldn’t be so bad if the English really thought about what was happening. Billy Bragg, of all people hit the nail on the head. He suggested that Scottish Independence would be a good thing since it would force the English to think about who they actually are. What is their place in the world? What are their ambitions? What is their culture? How do they bring some sort of equality over the whole nation rather than the unbalance of London and the east and the rest?

Come on all you Englanders… Wake up!

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Posted by on February 15, 2014 in BBC, Politics, Scottish Independence


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