Bliadhna Mhath Ur

Happy New Year….and Goodbye from here.

As from tomorrow you may find me at Phoenix Rising

All the Very Best for 2017

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Should Auld Acquaintance be forgot

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

All things must pass, and pass they will.
As we see out 2016 and bring in the new of 2017 this blog comes to its own conclusion after 5 years and 2 months and 450 blog posts.
As the old year must pass to let the new year come in, so too with Auld Acquaintance.
But as Burns poem, auld acquaintance shall not be forgot, and it will remain here for any who wish to refer to it.

It has been quite some journey these past 5 years, and I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read or contribute with their comments. You have all been appreciated me. Apart from one Unionist who took massive exception to something I had written, and he went onto a massive 1 page comment rant spouting a whole load of garbage.. I hope he felt the better for it, but would have been disappointed to find that I moderate who gets to comment, and his diatribe didn’t see the light of day on these pages.

On the more positive side, many of your comments have encouraged me to keep going, particularly when I was like many suffering from burn out and disappointment post September 14.. So thank you for that.

Whilst this blog is soon to be no more updated, it only remains for me to wish you all well and to wish you all that you could wish for yourselves in the coming year.
Auld Acquaintance shall be no more, but like Scottish Independence, having seen one battle gone, the fight for it still remains, only it takes a different shape.
Like the phoenix rises from the ashes, so too shall this blog.
In the New Year a new one will take its place, and I will leave notice of it here come the time.

As a new campaign replaces the old YES campaign, a new blog replaces this one.
A New Year, the fight goes on…and as in the Declaration of Arbroath, as long as a 100 0f us remain, shall always go on, and there are a heck of a lot more than a 100 of us now!

So I am signing out of here now, with all good wishes to you.
Have a guid New Year when it comes.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fere!
And gie’s a hand o thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne

Slainte Mhath


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Away from the manger (A True Story)

Wishing all of my good friends and readers of this blog one last Happy Christmas before Auld Acquaintance ceases to be in the New Year.
I hope you all have a wonderful time and enjoy the festive season, but remember to spare a thought for those less fortunate at this time of year, particularly those caught out in the cold and in these elements, where joy and festivities is a long ago dream in their nightmare world.

This is a true story from a number of years back, but the scene will still be repeated somewhere else tonight.

Many blessings and good wishes to you all

Away from the Manger ( A true story)

I looked upon a homeless man
trying to get some sleep
Lying on broken cardboard
beside a rubbish skip
While all around in the big hotel
all had comfort for the night
His head it lay on concrete
and dreamed of fire light

It was a cold cold night December
And the city shone like a Christmas tree
From the pubs and clubs rang merriment
People drunk on debauchery
Down by the river bank,I heard the sound of song
Carols drifting in the night
about some child and heavenly throng
And that we should see some light

The man looked in my direction
and saw me standing there
Then he pleaded with me
In the words of his despair
“Please don’t move me on from here
it’s the only shelter I can find
The night is cold and it’s turned to snow
behind this cardboard I can hide”

Somewhere else a fight broke out
Raised voices,angry stares
Some girl she screamed
upon the scene
a knife had taken air
A slash,a cut, disfigurement
Police rushing to the scene
A drunken boy in custody
Guest of her Majesty the Queen

The bells rang out for Christmas
Some others went to church
They sang their praise to God their King
And prayed for all their worth
On their way home,some passed the man
But didn’t like to stare
For they had finished singing anthems
for the homeless everywhere

I took the man and guided him
to a basement in the Inn
Tonight my friend you shall be warm
There lies some room within
I gave him food, that he should eat
Some drink,to nourish him inside
For this one night at least
A warm place he could reside

At Christmas time

Rod Macfarlane

The Above poem is based on the night, and real events Christmas 08

It was a bitterly cold night, and as I came out the back rubbish area of a City hotel, I discovered this homeless man laying cardboard on the cold concrete,and he had pulled cardboard over him as a blanket.

There was no hostel or shelter he could go to, and the snow was pouring down.
Normally if the hotel finds homeless people trying to take shelter, they are swiftly shown the door.
This was Christmas,and after speaking to the gentleman in question for a while, I broke the rules!!
I found him some dry storage space in the hotel where he had a couch to sleep on. I made him a warm meal and gave him tea to drink.
I had to make sure that he vacated the hotel for half six in the morning before management and staff came on duty.
But it was Christmas,and for once, some space was found in the Inn.

Posted in Christmas, poetry, scotland, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

Stooshie Supreme

Theresa May and her Tory government may have made the biggest political miscalculation of their political lives in appealing against the verdict of the English High Court to the Supreme Court over the issue of whether the Westminster parliament can debate how to proceed with article 50 to remove Britain from the EU.

Had she conceded the initial judgement instead of being dictatorial in refusing to accept it, she would have been able to simply put a very brief and simple bill in front of parliament which would have given her the go ahead. The Westminster Parliament and its MPs in the Labour and Tory ranks would have been satisfied broadly that they had at least been consulted and it would have gone ahead. No way would they risk going against the majority in England and Wales to proceed with Brexit.

Instead she has proceeded to dig her heels in, and I would suggest that she will lose the appeal and will be forced into the very limited bill and some indication of the Governments intentions on how they intend to proceed.

While the legal arguments in the Supreme Court are certainly of interest in this regard in a very dry legalistic way, the bigger issue and the very big Elephant in the room is not the judgement over whether parliament has some limited say and consultation, but rather the intervention of the Scottish Government, The Northern Irish Government and the Welsh Assembly into this case.
Their argument is that they too need to be consulted, but the Scottish input is of even greater significance than Brexit.
The Lord Advocate of Scotland with the assistance of Aiden O’Neill QC have really taken the whole dispute by the throat, for they have included not only the Sewel Convention which is a convention which has been understood until now to mean that the Scottish Government would have to be consulted on any legal matters which directly impinged on Scotland made by Westminster. But much more than that, included in the argument is that the Queens prerogative which Theresa May has been intent on using to prevent Article 50 being consulted on by Westminster is not binding in Scotland.
While in English Law the parliament is sovereign on behalf of the monarch and the prerogative can be used to pass Law without the need for parliament to be consulted. That is not the case in Scots Law. In Scots Law it is the people of Scotland who are Sovereign not the Monarch. So the argument is that the Queens prerogative being attempted to be used by May does not have any force in Scotland. Therefore given that the majority of the Scottish electorate voted to remain, this attempt to bull through Brexit and Article 50 on the back of an English Royal prerogative is in dispute!

So what the 11 judges will have to decide on is this particular issue of Sovereignty and where it lies. This is the biggest constitutional crisis the UK government has ever had to face, and should Scots Sovereignty be denied..we have the mother and father of all Constitutional Crisis!
How this is resolved may mean the beginning of the end of the United Kingdom.

Today Lord Keen Advocate General to Scotland and former Scottish Tory Chairman made his case on behalf of the Westminster Government…and Boy did he put the cat in among the pigeons …
To summarise what he said or implied , he in effect argued that the Sewel Convention wasn’t worth a bean and that even though it was put into the Scotland Act of 2016 it meant absolutely nothing!
Westminster could in fact dissolve the Scottish Parliament if it wanted to.. In effect power devolved is power retained… And they will do what they damn well please no matter what Scots want.

Worse than that!! He trashed the Declaration of Arbroath,The Scottish Act of Union and the Scottish Claim of Right and said in effect that Scotland was a Colony and bowed to English Law….

So, my Lords, the Sewell convention is a political
13 convention concerning the legislative functions of the
14 Westminster Parliament. It is, as I say, essentially
15 a self denying ordinance on the part of Parliament. It
16 was never intended to be a justiciable legal principle,
17 and as my Lord, Lord Reed has already correctly
18 observed, it is a political restriction on Parliament’s
19 ability to legislate in respect of devolved matters.
20 The correct legal position is that Parliament is
21 sovereign, and may legislate at any time on any matter,
22 and that is specifically set out in the devolved
23 legislation itself, section 28(7) of the Scotland Act,


Basically the Westminster Tory Government have been forced to admit that the Scotland Act 2016 from the watered down Smith Commission which replaced the Vow was a massive Con, and that this supposedly best in the world devolution government with its built in Sewel Convention wasn’t worth the paper it was written in as it had no real power where it matters.
But worse still from the examples given, that Scotland was compared to a former colony like Rhodesia and our Constitution in their eyes is worthless and should be archived.

Here is the very dry legalise if you can bear it of todays submissions, his is down a wee bit past Eadie. at page 74 onwards

Supreme Court transcript

If you cannot bear plowing through that….. here is the written submission of Scotlands Lord Advocate and how he will argue his case…. AND The SECOND ONE IS WORTH A READ!

Lord Advocate on Sewel Convention

And This Beauty which is the real meat!!

Lord Advocate/Aiden O’Neill QC Scottish Constitution and Sovereignty

There is going to be a real stooshie this afternoon  and on Thursday morning

Get your popcorn…..This is massive!!

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Christmas stocking filler

As Christmas time fast approaches
If you are looking for a stocking filler for an Independence supporter
Why not get the Haggis Emigration Ebook or printed softcover version

About the Ebook

The Haggis all left for Australia…. Or in other words, the story of the before, during and after of the Scottish Independence referendum years. This collection of poems begins prior to the remarkable SNP majority in the Scottish government election of 2011, and follows the story of the Independence referendum as it happened, and finishes with its aftermath


The Haggis Emigration

The Haggis have all gone to Australia
They are packing their bags as we speak
And Nessie’s away to Lake Windermere
She’s said to be leaving next week

The Wind is all leaving Scotland
and its going away for 40 odd years
The Oil which was out in the North Sea
In 2007 disappeared

The Kegs of all the Scotch Whisky we stored up
Have all been hit by a terrible blight
So no drams will be found in any Scots town
and no longer will our Summer nights be light

It’s the End of the World as we knew it
Even the Wee Frees are going to Mass
Predictions abound and Construe it
and were all bound for Starvation alas!

Scots will Weep on the Streets and Beg at English feet
Please can you let us back in?
They had warned us we’d suffer If we found another
Independence is such a terrible sin!

The Tides stopped we cried,as we rubbed our eyes
Our fish have all fled to the South
All our Mountains and Glens will never see folk again
Never more will the Tourists come about!

Our Banks have all broke, our economy’s choked
All our shops have been shut in our streets
Our people all died, and no fried mars bars have I
and my Giros not due till next week!

Such Disasters been found since we lost the pound
and there’s no-one to show us the way
We’ve no pride nor ambition since we got prohibition
and we can only get drunk twice a day

Rod Macfarlane

To find out what became of the Haggis, and to relive the Independence campaign to date , read this new book, you may find that these pesky haggis are a somewhat resilient bunch 🙂

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Propaganda Onslaught

Over the past couple of days when Scotlands First Minister was visiting Ireland and getting a reception she could only have previously dreamed about, the Unionist Press and Media have been at Red Alert attacking everything and anything they could about Scotland, The SNP, and above all Scottish Independence.
There is nothing new in this because the anti Scottish propaganda has been ramped up to warp factor 10 over the past few months.

But lets begin with the First Ministers historic visit to the upper house of the Irish Parliament.
Historic it was indeed, before a word was said.
Nicola Sturgeon was the first ever leader of another country to be invited to address them. That is quite some honour in itself.
Given the historic nature of this visit, one might Imagine that the BBC would want to give it extended and comprehensive coverage. Instead they gave it as little notice as they dared, and indeed managed to have one of their usual technical faults on Reporting Scotland which lost the first day of the First Ministers visit in its entirety.
When the BBCs Glen Campbell did report, he managed to short change Nicola Sturgeon of half her welcomes… when the Irish welcomed her with Ceud Mile failte (100,000 welcomes) Glen reduced it to 50,000 welcomes.
Ok…that may be nit picking, but given that Glen grew up on the Gaelic speaking Scottish Island of Islay, one really would have thought he would have known better!
He even managed to short change Nicola in his reporting by stating SOME Irish politicians welcomed what she had to say to them.
Given that Nicola received a unanimous standing ovation from them, with each of the 5 major party leaders ALL expressing their support for Scottish Independence and even going as far as asking what they could do to help. That is a far way from SOME support.
If one wanted comprehensive coverage of the visit, one had to rely on the Irish media to give it. They all gave it the coverage the historic visit deserved. One commentator from an Irish paper stating incredulously that Nicola was treated more like a Major Rock Star visiting.
While the BBC were losing their footage, or doing a hasty editing? UTV, STV, Channel 4, and RTE all did a far better job.
That didn’t stop the BBC in its political programming downplaying the visit and suggesting that it was really of not much political importance.

Meanwhile, the next onslaught came from the Heralds political editor, and then carried by other press and media and political non entities who tried to grab the headlines by criticising how much the SNP spent on the EU referendum, saying that the SNP had shown their real intentions by spending less on the EU referendum than they did on the Glenrothes by election.
Given the timing of the EU referendum just after the Holyrood elections, and the GB government refusing to choose a different date for the referendum so it didn’t clash was immaterial in their eyes. Given also that Scotland voted overwhelmingly across every single area of Scotland to remain. it seems a very strange and useless attack.
Were they really moaning that the SNP didn’t spend way over the odds to achieve something that they easily won anyway? It would seem waste of money is desirable in their eyes.

Today being St Andrews day, the Prime Minister Theresa May wished everyone in the UK and around the world a happy St Andrews day, but made absolutely no mention of Scotland or Scots.
When Angus Robertson stood up to address the Commons and wished Scotland and all Scots around the world the same…He got roundly booed by Tory MPs!!!
The incredulous question being asked ” What was that all about?”
We know what that was all about….Don’t mention Scotland or Scots ….Particularly not on BBC question time!  Respect? No blooming chance!

Also today on St Andrews Day … Some Scottish Government Civil Servant denied the Saltire from being projected onto Edinburgh and Stirling Castles because it was deemed to be political!
The Saltire or St Andrews flag can be used politically for sure, as any Nations flag can be.
However, it is the flag of St Andrew and belongs to all Scots whatever their political persuasion.
Funny how the Union Flag can be projected onto Edinburgh Castle but the Saltire not!
The Union flag and all things British are constantly used for British Jingoism yet that is ok?
Supermarkets recently, particularly Tesco..removed Saltires from Scottish products and replaced it with the Union Flag…what is that but political?
The attitude is akin to denying Scottish Nationhood and Identity, much like they banned the wearing of tartan and discouraged the use of Gaelic back in the 18th Century.

Since Nicola Sturgeons Irish visit it has sent them into full meltdown mode with some of their biggest sectarian bigots threatening guns and civil war on social media.
Tory MSP Murdo Fraser insulting the Irish, and some Torys suggesting that the SNP supported Nazi Germany in the war. Madness.
The Tories including Fraser and Tompkins have been actively seeking the bigoted sectarian vote. The Neanderthals shall of course respond to the dog whistle.

To top it all off the British Foreign Office went into full blown BritNat trolling mode on twitter during Nicola Sturgeons Irish visit with the following.. Proving categorically that they really are foreign to Scotland.

Scotland’s oil & gas sector supports 2,000 supply chain companies & was active in 137 countries last year

34 bottles of Scotch Whisky are shipped overseas every second, to 175 countries worldwide.

More Scotch Whisky is sold in one month in France than Cognac in a year.

Scottish creative industries generate over £5bn for the economy.

Scotch Whisky accounts for almost 1/4 of all UK food and drink exports.

International visitors made 2.6m trips to Scotland in 2015, spending £1.7bn

Julia Amour : ‘We invite the world to join us in Edinburgh in 2017’


Opening in 2017, the 2.7 km Queensferry Crossing will be the longest 3 tower cable-stayed bridge in the world

Anyone might they they actually wanted to prove that Scotland could be easily Independent by that lot!!

But even before the panic set in, since Brexit we have had a constant stream of attacking everything Scottish. We have had attacks on Education, Trains and the standard BBC attacks on the NHS.

Humza Yousaf being bayed at to resign as Scottish transport minister of the trains.
Massive coverage of the failings on BBC and the press. Then it turns out that Network Rail are responsible for over half of the train delays, we hear barely a squeak about them asking the British Transport minister to resign. Nor is it trumpeted that despite Scotrails current problems that Scotrail have been one of the best performers in Britain.

We have had constant attacks on the Scottish Education and NHS  which has the best record in Britain.

Every perceived fault is hyped up to Everest proportions, and every success is muted.

It is all constant it is all overwhelmingly negative to Scotland. There is no big surprise given that over 90% of the Scottish media is owned and run in England.

To finish off…and as the latest in the last couple of days of propaganda bombardment.
Today saw a YouGOV poll done for the Times which was roundly interpreted as meaning that support for Scottish Independence had fallen to below the referendum figure, down from 44.7% to 44%

Now many will be scratching their heads at this, given everything that has happened on the political chaos of Westminster and Brexit.

But lets look at some of YouGovs figures more closely.

The sample size they say was 1134people

Of this sample they were all asked how the respective leaders were doing?

The following on from how they said they voted at the Holyrood election

Nicola Sturgeon
Torys: 2% Very Well             Labour: 6% Very Well               SNP: 48% Very well
11% fairly Well                           35% fairly well                       44% fairly well
23% fairly badly                         22% fairly badly                      5% fairly badly
64% very badly                           33% very badly                          1% very badly

In total including the dont knows Nicola was given a 50% rating as doing well
39% as doing badly.

Kezia flunked across the board so wont include her figures…you can check them out for yourselves.

Ruth Davidson:

Torys: 42% Very well          Labour: 16% Very well                SNP: 6% Very Well
49% fairly well                         41% fairly well                     31% fairly well
2% fairly badly                      15% fairly badly                       18% fairly badly
1% Very badly                          7% very badly                        22% very badly

So Ruth has overall ratings of 49% well and 24% badly

Which according to this poll makes Ruth the favourite political leader in Scotland. With Nicola having a much larger doing badly figure.
So do not be surprised if this is how its promoted.

In reality…. SNP supporters seem to be more willing to give credit where they consider credit to be due.
Labour supporters seem to be split over Nicola with about half of them totally against her and half in favour.. A fair chunk of them would rather vote for Ruth than Nicola.
Which begs the question where some of their supposed Labour values have gone?
The Tories are by far the most rabid both in their support and opposition.. They account for a massive chunk of Nicolas negative ratings.

Asked if they approve of Scotland negotiating to remain in the EU should the UK leave
42% support it and 41% oppose it. Which all looks very bleak on that perspective.
Yet if you look at the sample … A massive 81% of Conservatives oppose and only 12% support. Labour are evenly split and the SNP are massively in favour with 73% in support and 16% opposing. Which sort of begs the question how did they work it out so close when far more in reality support the SNP than the Tories?

In total before weighting adjustments 27% of all those interviewed were born elsewhere in the UK …. this changed in weighting according to them down to 12% born outwith UK ..

As in everything to do with polls much depends on how one reads them and what one wishes to portray..
Most of all I would consider who the poll is being done for as to what the polling company will try to portray…They do want to please their customers after all.

All in all… what we are seeing over the past while is a full blown attack on all things Scottish ….and lets face it we do know why!

Posted in Brexit, EU, Europe, Nicola Sturgeon, politics, scotland, Theresa May, Twitter | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Political Christianity (The Vicars Daughter)

Political Christianity
For I was hungry
You sent me to a foodbank
When I was thirsty
You upped the water charges
When I was lame
You took me off my benefits
When I was dying
You told me get a job
Blessed are the peacemakers
Bomb a foreign country
Blessed are the meek
They shall be suppressed
Blessed are the poor
For they shall be made much poorer
Blessed are the children
We shall starve them half to death
As you proclaim your higher God
Protect us from your evil
A Christian head of State
Your Christian values you declare
You take the Holy scripture
And pervert it for your purpose
The Rich and You shall Inherit all Earths share

The Old, the weak, must all prepare to suffer
With homeless Spikes made for the homeless brother
Your Church and Temple is the Bankers parlour
Tis Power and Riches which are your great Religious ardour

Rod Macfarlane
Posted in poetry, politics, Theresa May | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments