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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Has the world gone mad?

Either I’ve lost the plot or I’ve been deposited in a different far away universe.

I’m still not over the shock of agreeing, if only in part, with the Scottish Greens. That sounds like something your Scottish Granny would say. Scottish Greens are good for you she’d say… better leave it that perhaps.

Now I find myself agreeing with a columnist in the Guardian. Good grief! What next? Will Santa be joining me for Christmas lunch along with the three wise men and Queenie herself? My, how the conversation would just whistle along, then again perhaps not.

It would appear that some people who work at the Guardian think it’s a great idea for Scotland to be independent. Scotland could become a sparkling world-class example of social justice, wind and wave power and everything green.

That’s not my view I have to say. However, winning independence is the goal and if it means that we have to… what’s the words for it? Get into bed with people that have the same aims but perhaps seek different longer-term goals? That’ll have to do.

They also said that keeping the pound was good because if we do our own currency the English will “get gubbed.” Okay fair enough. Perhaps the new Scottish currency should be based on Jimmies. Jimmies would be worth twenty Grannies. The overall currency name would the Scottish Stoater or words to that effect. However I digress.

Now what about that nice Mr Monbiot? He’s works for the Guardian. He may have to do another of those columns where he says – “You know how I said that X was a very bad thing, a very bad thing indeed?” He’ll then go on to say that “he now thinks it’s a spanking thing and he won’t even blush when he says it”. He’s well practiced at it. I wonder if he’s let out any of his four spare bedrooms yet to people who need a roof over their heads?

Another suggestion from the tome that is the Guardian was that the landed gentry should start packing and following the next YES vote they can leave the keys at the front door. Estates will be put back into the hands of the people or the people that the Guardianistas like anyway. I can see the appeal of that.

Queenie won’t be needing to travel to Scotland and may desist from taking her summer hols at Balmoral which I’m sure will make a really nice hotel. Nice thought. Lets reclaim the rampant lion and make that our flag. We’re hard you see. Even our flag is aggressive!!!!!! Snarl!

Time will tell.

I’m a bit apprehensive about what is going to happen next. Who else is going to stand up and support Scottish independence from a group which I do not associate with or generally share their views? Not to worry. You know I’ll keep you informed. Jim Murphy? I can’t ever see that happening.

The cost of the Guardian in Scotland will be 2 jimmies 8 grannies. It just rolls of the tongue doesn’t it? Hold that thought.

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The lesser spotted Scottish Labour voter…

If you are reading this in England you may be wondering what I’m on about. You’ll be thinking that The Labour Party is getting ready to turf the Tories out and sort the upstarts of UKIP and the LibDims. If you were here in Scotland you would be looking out onto a political topography on which the lesser spotted Scottish Labour voter has diminished to a degree, which is nothing short of astonishing.

There’s a long way to go until May 2015 but at the moment polls are indicating that Labour are polling around 20-25% whilst the SNP are polling around 51% to 60%. No need to look at the figures for the other parties they are struggling to gain double figures.

During my stint leafleting on the run up to the Scottish Independence vote I met a few Labour voters. They all seemed to fall into the same sort of “type”. They started shouting fairly quickly, they tore up any leaflets or newspapers I was attempting to deliver.

Whilst a lot of Labour voters voted NO a lot also voted yes but not enough so why have so many Labour voters changed to the SNP now? Well it’s simple, very, very simple. Labour have not represented their historic support base since Tony Blair strode onto the world stage. The other reason is that Labour sharing the stage with the Tories and being so negative and wilfully telling porkies was just too much.

I can provide a great example of how inept Labour politicians have been. In the 80’s I had to visit a client in Greenock. I was surprised when I got there. On both sides of the road there were shipyards, heavy engineering, metal bashing and more. Step forward Maggie and her desire to stop metal bashing and go for services instead.

Jump forward to New Labour being in power. Almost all of the manual, metal bashing jobs and the other industries that supported them were gone. I had cause to visit Greenock a number of times and all of the yards were gone. Some housing and the odd supermarket replacing the yards. Not a huge amount of jobs on offer and a populace fighting over call centre jobs.

Blame Maggie? A good bit I’d suggest. But and this is a really big but, the Labour Party had made no real effort at all to help Greenock and many similar places throughout Scotland back to prosperity. And yet the people in these working class towns still kept on voting for Labour. It’s a disgrace many times over. Thankfully it’s now changing and the Labour vote is crumbling.

There isn’t a day that goes by that my twitter feed doesn’t contain a good few people saying they voted NO and they were wrong to do so. Too late, but not too late as in forever, just wait and see.

So all Labour has to do in Scotland is come up with policies which will appeal to their own traditional voter base and for the potential voters to actual trust them to deliver.

That’s easy.

Really?

 

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It’s a cycle… part 2

Is cycling dangerous? Well like everything else I had to be careful and know what to avoid. I learned pretty quickly that petrol tankers were to be taken very seriously. They had a tendency to suck cyclists in as they passed them when both were at speed. The nearest I came to an accident was at a roundabout when a woman started swerving all over the place and almost collected me when she suddenly decided which exit to take. I also had the odd knob throwing things from cars and shouting abuse etc. Cycling is like everything else, you don’t want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and you are RESPONSIBLE for your own actions!

The current fad for cycling within the general populace, within a certain segment, is of course driven by self-righteousness. Save the planet. We hate cars. We are better than car drivers. You know the stuff.

The other day there was an interesting article in the press about cyclists and how stressed they get when cycling in the city. Edinburgh University got a group of cyclists together and asked them to cycle along a particular route. The group contained experienced and new cyclists.

You’ll be shocked by the results. Apparently the more experienced cyclists didn’t feel as much stress as the less experienced and the cyclists felt more stress when they approached busy junctions. Really? Who would have thunk it?

I’d suggest that if the beginners took some training and put some though into how they would actually cycle, like not going through red lights, not going down one way streets the wrong way, not cycling on pavements, not cycling along the left hand side of a any vehicle, not wearing and using ipods/headphones, not putting far too much weight on the bike etc. etc. etc. I’m fairly sure their stress levels would drop and the number of injuries and squishings would also drop. Also bear in mind the streets go as well as down and Edinburgh has lots of hills, cobbles and very poor surfaces.

Of course they won’t do anything. They’ll just sit and whinge and try to gain as much benefit from the council to give them a higher status, funded by the local council using taxpayers money, than every other road and pavement user. Bear in mind that they are not insured so if they crash into you what happens? Do you have to pay for their accident?

The biggest nonsense though is the current push for vehicle drivers to be deemed the cause of any accident a cyclist is involved in. That’s better known as guilty before being proven innocent.

I was in Hyde Park recently and they have all these wee routes all marked out and cyclists and pedestrians share the same tarmac paths. The speed of cyclists compared to pedestrians is, in a lot of cases, significant so walkers are likely to take the brunt of any collisions.

How did we ever come to all this crap?

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2014 in Cycling, Edinburgh, Health, Traffic

 

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It’s a cycle… (Part 1)

Cycling used to be looked down upon by most of the people who are now very keen to cycle themselves. After all cycling used to be the preserve of the workingman, it was a cheap way of getting to work, it saved them time and maybe they felt fitter. Kids had bicycles also but mostly hand me down adult bikes without much in the way of gears and certainly no suspension apart from a couple of springs under the seat. Then in the 60s things changed a bit.

Cars became more affordable making it easier to transport kids and all sorts of stuff and go out for drives and holidays. Kids still cycled and some bikes, like the Raleigh Chopper were interesting from a design point of view but they weren’t good dynamically.

Some chaps in the USA started racing down dirt hills on their bikes, which led them to needing better gears since they had to get up the hills first. They also needed much wider tyres so they had enough grip and the tyres didn’t puncture as easily. They started messing around with various things one of which was to make the weight of the bike much less since pedalling up hill is easier if weight is lower.

It caught on and before we knew it mountain or all terrain biking was born.

I joined the ranks of cycling many years before that, when I was big enough to reach the pedals of an ancient maroon Raleigh ladies bike with no gears and brakes worked with solid metal rods rather than the much better and safer cable operated brakes. Years later, my re-entry in cycling was to buy a mountain bike which had some 15 gears to choose from but it was still pretty heavy. I then moved onto a bike, which I had to tie down to stop it floating away which had 21 very expensive but beautifully engineered gears. I also started wearing cycling shorts and lycra tops in hideously bright colours etc.

I started off doing around 5 miles at a time and then expanded that to 25 or more miles depending on time, light and weather. I was doing more than 120 miles a week just for fun and was certainly fitter for sure. There were lots of hills where I lived which was a bind but at least going downhill was pretty good. On the flat I’d usually manage around 18 mph cruising speed on the mountain bike I had and I’d see around 30 mph on some downhill sections.

I’d learnt the cycling highway code thing and done the cycling proficiency but not got the badge. I wore a helmet sometimes and I timed and recorded all my runs out on my bike in a sort of cycling diary, which I still have. I had a wee computer that I used to measure all sorts of things for each time I went out.

More exciting cycling stuff in part 2!!!

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2014 in Cycling, Edinburgh, Health

 

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Financial tricks..

Once upon a time there was a building, a rather splendid and imposing building which was named The Custom House. It was a building paid for by the local taxpayers and it served the various sea borne custom which came in and out of the fairly large docks close to it. Over a long number of years the building served the purpose it had been designed for, but as it is with many things, times changed, the docks were much less busy and The Custom House was closed.

The building lay empty for some time and after a few possible uses were discussed and then rejected a temporary use was agreed. A public organisation was given leave to use the building for storage whist a larger new facility was being for them. It wasn’t in ideal building for storage and neither were the items being stored but at least it was in use.

Once the public organisation using it for storage they were them granted ownership of the building. Now that’s a bit odd. They were given ownership of a building which didn’t really suit the purpose they were using it for.

When the time was right for them to begin to seriously plan to move out they put the building up for sale. Now isn’t that a bit strange? It was a publicly funded building, which had been given to them free, and now they were selling it?

The local community council were shocked and a group was formed to take over The Custom House so it could be turned into a local museum. But they only had a month to find over £600,000 so they could buy it back for the local taxpayers.

The local City Councillors wanted to help and be the saviours as is their want. They found a way to save The Custom House. They decided that they could use the Common Good Fund to buy The Custom House back from the other public body. Everyone was happy with that. (Not the taxpayers though).

Now at this point you will be looking for the “living happily ever after” ending. Alas no. Within a few weeks the City Council had changed their plans for the building. Yes it would be a museum but a museum which had a foot print the size of a single tennis court.

The City Council were now going to sell most of the building to developers. Isn’t that clever? Money coming from the Common Good fund, which could only be used for supporting the local community council, was used for buying a building, which had belonged to the public in the first place.

And here is the wee sting. The developers would pay a much higher price for the building, less the small museum space. And where would the money that the developers paid end up? Well, the City Council of course. Isn’t that a surprise?

What a slick wee scheme is it not?

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Edinburgh, Justice, The Environment

 

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The National…

I went along to the newsagents sharpish this morning to make sure I got my copy of “The National”, which is being published by the Glasgow Herald for five days to find out if there is an appetite for a non Liebore/Tory morning newspaper. Okay, newspapers are shedding readers at a dramatic rate so, in a sense it will be trying to swim against the current although they have an on-line version available too.

It’s not every day that a new newspaper comes along and, editorially, it must feel that things need to be reported which are not currently. This is of course the reason the paper is appearing, as it was proved time after time after time again that the BBC and the other papers were all backing Liebore and the Tories to make sure that the “YES” campaign had no real voice what so ever.

For many people the BBC is the font of all wisdom, well it may have been at some time but not for anytime over the past 40-50 years probably. I noticed this a good few years ago when the great global warming scam heated up. I was reading scientific documents, which were saying there was no such thing as global warming or climate change as they still say now. It kind of shocked me how biased the BBC was and how it would not allow any deviation from it’s version of what was happening rather than what was actually happening.

It’s good to bear in mind that the satellite data record started in 1979 which is only 35 years from thousands of year of climate. It’s also a fact that the BBC themselves aided and abetted by the MET Office decided that 30 years was a long time in climate monitoring which is patently ridiculous.

BBC Scotland are based in Glasgow which just happens to be where the Liebore heartlands are. It’s a nice and cosy arrangement and when mixed with the London/Westminster establishment means that Liebore are the chosen ones. It’s a disgrace, it’s third world propaganda techniques and it means that we are all being forced to pay to be lied to via the TV licence fee.

So with an election just over the horizon along with a growing and vociferous anti-liebore electorate the SNP, Greens, Scottish Socialists, RIC/Common Weal, Women for Independence etc, etc, etc, there is a lot of truths which need to be got out there.

The National looks promising. It’s in a good position to report the alternative news, the stuff the BBC and all the other newspapers bar one (The Sunday Herald who are publishing The National) won’t cover and currently ignore.

I look forward to the next few days and weeks to see the circulation figures grow for both print and on-line versions.

It’s also going to be interesting to see all the lies told by the “Better Together” campaign and all their supporters being exposed.

Roll on the election.

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in BBC, The National, YES Scotland

 

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