Saturday, 31 July 2010

One More Chance!!

Driving home from our visit to Granny Mac's today, the Janice Forsyth show (Radio Scotland) has a wee thing going on (can't remember what radio shows actually call it when they have wee things going on!). Anyway, this wee thing was called 'Covered Love' or something like that. Todays song of choice was Big Country - Tracks of my Tears; The way they finished every show (and that was quite a few!) that I saw them do.

I can't believe that it's close to 9 years since Stuart Adamson died. He was a massive hero and inspiration to me. The tracks of my tears today would have been for the big man. Big Country at the Barrowlands (many times) is where it was for me in my late teens and early twenties. I don't listen to the music that much these days, but I was delighted to hear it live on the radio this morning. Janice said that it was the B-Side (wonder if the kids today know what that means?) to Chance.

Guess what I found on you tube?

Chance - Live.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I always have.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Political Compass Revisisted

Saw this on one of Subrosa's 'Other things you might like' widgets today and thought I'd revisit the old political compass. Surely now that I'm a middle-aged parent with responsibilities I'll have moved towards the Authoritarian Right...


Admin error

Like all those busy MP's and MSPs who seem to have forgotten the rules about expenses or whether or not they'd finished paying their mortgages I occasionally have wee administrative blips myself.

Cutting to the chase, I find that although I've been a constant lurker on the excellent Lallands Peat Warrior site for quite some time, I've never added him to my roll of honour on the right. I'd assume that most folk who find themselves here for whatever reason might then easily meander towards the 'cogitations from a cranachan cairn', but if you haven't I'd definitely recommend it, if only to enhance your vocabulary... you may need this though!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

It's the bare necessities

I thought I'd share a picture of the boay eating a cone with you all. We went to the park, we played on the swings, he asked if he could have an ice cream and I had the pennies in my pocket to get him one. Fulfillment for me and him. He gets the joy of the cone and I get the pleasure of buying it for him. It made me think a wee bit about life's rich tapestry and how the simplest of things can bring the greatest of happiness. What more does man really need than the opportunity to provide for his family?

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Who thinks we should go?

I'm doubtful about the guilt of Megrahi. I fully supported Kenny MacAskill's decision to send him home to die. I don't doubt the carthartic effects of being back in his homeland amongst his kith & kin has extended his life beyond the 3 month prognosis - which was not considered to be a certainty, but rather a "reasonable estimate"... actually if you want all the words MacAskill used, you can find them here.

I'm not quite sure why the US Senate commitee can't just look up the details on google as I have just done, but that's for them to worry about. After all, they're the legislature of a foreign country and who on earth am I to tell them how to go about their business? Then again, that's exactly why I am 100% behind Kenny MacAskill and Jack Straw declining their 'invitations' to attend a senate hearing. All the information available to the Scottish government and the reasoning behind MacASkill's decision have been made clear and is easily available. The difficulty might be if you expect a balanced media to have reported what MacAskill actually said, rather than the slimey words of Richard Baker or Douglas Alexander's slant on what he sort of said, then you'd struggle I suppose.

So, on that point, I've managed to find a host of bloggers who both agreed and strongly disagreed with the original decision to release Megrahi, now singing in unison that we should not be kowtowing to the US senate, having to explain ourselves. The only people who think we should are Richard Baker, Councillor Terry Kelly (who seems to think Alex Salmond should go for some reason) and the editorial team of the Scotsman. All fine, balanced, analytical minds I'm sure you'll agree, but I find them out of kilter with general opinion in the country - maybe that's just the section of society I find myself in. If you think otherwise, I'd love to hear why. Leave a comment - maybe even a link to your own blog.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

A Day Out and a wee saunter down memory lane.

Was up at Loch Lomond yesterday for a spot of golf. Played the Carrick... well I say, I played the Carrick, really I wasn't very good. Came joint last in the day's play - so just remember that when you read that I wouldn't actually recommend the Carrick as a golf course for a tourist. It's certainly not a 'resort' style course playable for fun. The greens were incredibly slow and there were just far too many hazards all over the course for my taste. There are a lot more fun and historic courses around Scotland without having to pay the sort of Green fees that are called for up there.

The clubhouse / changing rooms were fantastic though... but then so were the bar prices! So fantastic indeed that we headed up to the Inverbeg Inn for a few beers before heading back to Houston for a meal at the Fox and Hounds, which was superb as always.

I worked as a waiter in the Inverbeg Inn back in 1987 and had an absolute ball that summer. I just can't believe it was 23 years ago now! but what changes have taken place up there. The place just looks superb now. A really good refurbishment if ever I saw one. I'll definitely stop in there for a spot of food sometime soon. The end of summer up there, just as Autumn's colours start to appear with an evening sun is how I always picture Ben Lomond.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Labour and the Tories want to give up British sovereignty

Never mind that they want to be run from London, Labour and the Tories now believe we should be beholden to the USA.

Richard Baker, Labour’s shadow justice secretary, said: “It is quite extraordinary Kenny MacAskill has ruled out appearing before the US Senate inquiry. He and Salmond are the men responsible for the decision and they are now running scared.”

Annabel Goldie, the Scottish Tory leader, said: “The SNP would be the first to complain if anybody refused to co-operate with them so they must comply with this request from the US Senate.

The USA has no authority to 'summon' anyone, never mind the leaders of a sovereign Ally, to account for actions taken within their own juristiction. I'm getting heartily sick of seeing this moron Richard Baker's name appear everywhere. Given the old adage of infinite monkeys with infinite typewriters one day producing a Shakespearian play, perhaps one day he'll say something sensible, but I doubt it'll be anytime soon. What the devil does Ian Gray see in him? Well, apart from the £520 campaign contribution.

Agents of the State II

Ian Tomlinson undoubtedly died as the result of an unprovoked attack by a Riot Squad policeman, but because the first police employed pathologist didn't do a very good job, neither the policeman nor the family will get day in court to exercise the evidence.

The authorities have once again let us down badly in what appears to be little more than a poorly contrived cover up.

The Met Police are out of control. The Authorities have little idea what it is that we expect of them. They're willing to extradite a computer nerd to a foreign state to face charges for a crime that didn't exist when he 'committed' it. They've dragged us into foreign wars under false pretences and now try to claim it was a good idea for other reasons - all I know is that we're a bigger terrorist target than we ever were before. They tell us that they are not complicit in the use of torture when interrogating terror suspects, when all the evidence suggests otherwise.

I don't believe them and I don't believe in them!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Agents of the State

I hate it when we descend into the classic Scottish "Aye, but whit aboot" type of discussion.

So, for no particular reason, I've been musing on the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes. Innocent Brazilian electrician going about his business when brutally slain by the Metroplitan Police force, quickly followed by an orchestrated media campaign to distort the story, including a classic smear campaign against De Menezes good name (rape allegation!).

In the end, after 2 seperate police enquiries, the first of which absolved everyone of any blame, the 2nd of which slammed the police command structure. The crown prosecution service couldn't bring itself to bring charges against anyone, but a corporate action under the Health & Safaty at work act was successfully brought against the police, who were then fined... presumably, we the tax payer would eventually be ok with giving a public service vast sums of money in order to fine it back of them after paying out other vast sums to lawyers...

In the final wash out, the Metropolitan Police paid undisclosed compensation plus legal costs to the family in order for them to drop their ongoing litigation against the force. No member of the Metropolitan Police force faced prosecution. No member of the Police has been dragged off to die in a foreign jail. The payment of compensation has been deemed enough to satisfy the Brazilians demands for justice.

I wonder how we'd react if things were the other way about?

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

The bile is rising...

I've been getting increasingly hacked off with the reporting of how naughty we Scots have been and how we're in big trouble of the big boays fur no doing what they think we should do.

1. How's Capt. William C. Rogers III enjoying his dotage - that's the former American Naval officer who shot down an Iranian airliner in Iranian airspace, whilst he was fannying about in Iranian waters, just in case you we wondering - the Yanks awarded him their legion of honour at the end of his stint on that particular ship.

2. The Libyans and the Yanks and everyone else agreed to have Megrahi tried under Scots law. He's been convicted under Scots Law and was serving his sentence under Scots juristiction. If the world didn't trust us to do the right thing, there would have been no trial or conviction in the first place! On that particular point though, I do wonder whether we didn't make ourselves stooges in the first place, given the doubts I have (shared by Dr. Jim Swire) over the validity of the conviction.

3. I've no doubt that had he spent another 3 months in Greenock prison, he would have died. The carthartic effect of him being returned to his homeland and family can not be underestimated. So fuck up with the criticism of the medical reports which quite clearly stated it was an estimate in the first place!

4. I'll enjoy the praise from the likes of Nelson Mandela and the potential peace that our compassionate treatment of a dying man could bring about over the criticism of any war mongering c*nts in Westminister or Washinton.

I know I'm not alone. Munguin says it here and James Kelly says it in many great posts, but Dark Lochnagar covers the anger I'm starting to feel best. I'm delighted to be in such fine company.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Open season... Dreaming of Fife...

I had thought the summer's sports events were all over as news of the football pre-season was starting to dominate the back pages of the papers, but had almost entirely forgotten that the British Open was in St. Andrews.

It was terrific to see the Old Grey toon on the box all weekend though. St. Andrews and the North East of Fife must be one of my favourite parts of the world. The weather is better through on the East coast, I love the pubs and there are some great restaurants - BTW have you ever heard of the Fife Diet? A cracking idea that appeals to me in so many ways.

I'm not sure that I'd ever be that bothered about actually going along to a golf event though. For one thing the TV coverage is superb! I really enjoy Peter Allis's work - and I know he's not eveyone's cup of tea. The coverage and the camera work though is superb. I can even enjoy the golf on the radio, although the 5-Live limerick competition did become a bit of a distraction on Sunday afternoon. I've got no aspirations to play on the old course or to follow someone about the place watching them do what I can only dream of. I'd much rather go when the place is a bit quieter. Did you know the Old course is public and you can just walk across it on a Sunday? There's a beautiful seafood restaurant just over the road from the back of the R&A clubhouse too. A walk across the historical old Course, down by the beach and a walk in spot at a tip-top restaurant - that's my idea of a decent Sunday afternoon, far from the madding crowds! As for golf courses, well you could hardly beat Balcomie Links in Crail for scenery, history and a challenge. Leave the old course to the pros and the tourists.

On other matters golf, my far too generous in-laws offered to replace my recently broken 3 wood as a 40th birthday present. The result is that I'm now the proud owner of a Yonex nanospeed i. I'd never dream of spending that sort of money on a club for myself, but the gift was given for that exact purpose and what a club it is! I hit a hundred ball on Saturday and I could easily have stayed at the range and hit a hundred more. I cannae wait to get this wee beauty out on a course... I feel a trip to Fife coming on!

If you've not been to N.E. Fife, you should go. It's braw! If you ask nicely, Finlay might even do you a deal too ;-)

Monday, 12 July 2010

Is that a kayak in your pocket...

So, for my 40th birthday weekend we got together with a few old pals and headed North. Quite often the wee group of weegie snowboarders and general outdoor enthusiasts that I belong to head towards Aviemore, but don't really love Aviemore itself. Normally we get a cottage or something in Boat of Garten, Carrbridge, Nethybridge... smaller places near to Aviemore.

This time I wanted something bigger than those wee villages but definitely not Aviemore. Fortunately for me a mate had heard of the Craggan's outdoor centre in Grantown on Spey. I'd been through Grantown a few times and liked the look of it, so called them up. Big Keith couldn't have been more helpful as I hummed and hawed about numbers and activities.

We went up on Friday night. With my wife by now pregnant, we stayed in the An Cala guesthouse in Grantown, where Val and Keith have deservedly earned their 5 stars from the Scottish Tourist board. With most of the gang having headed up on Friday, we had a cracking meal at the Garth hotel on a beautiful summers evening.

On Saturday, we hired some bikes from the outdoor centre and set off on a wee ride down to Boat of Garten. Unfortunately, Nicola managed to turn what should have been a tricky wee manouvere through a stream into a full blown plummet into a ravine... Always wear your helmet's kids! Nasty cut to the face and a couple of black eyes, meant she had to trek out to Aviemore for a clean up and tetanus check... But you don't knock a Glasgow girl so easily and she was back in the afternoon for glass or two of celebratory fizz!

The rest of us then spent Saturday afternoon larking about on the pond, learning the basics of kayaking and playing some great games in the pond, before finally learning how to enter the water from the slide.

Saturday night was mainly spent up at the Bothy. Just a few kms into the hills from the outdoor centre, the bothy is right beside a bigger bunkhouse, where a stag party of 27 guys were supposed to be staying. The guys were in terrific humour, but they headed out into the wilds of Grantown whilst we built a bonfire and sat about enjoying the simple pleasure of good craic with old friends and enough beer to float a battleship.

On Sunday, Finlay and I headed down to Carrbridge for 9 terrible holes of golf on a cracking wee course, whilst the rest of the gang drank coffee and read papers in the glorious June sunshine of the Scottish Highlands - what a waste of a morning!

No Mora Blogger?

Thanks to everyone who has dropped by for doing so. Especially thanks to everyone who bothered to comment.

I tried my hand at blogging because I thought journalism looked easy and I wanted to prove the point... well other than proving that people are equally capable of typing out dull, repeitive, copied ideas, I'm not really sure I proved anything.

At the previous elections I had some pretty strong SNP sympathies, but I felt pretty strongly that the stereotype of the Nationalist sympathiser was unfair. I wanted to express what I felt were my own reasonable reasons for supporting the SNP and try to disprove the notion that the SNP are some crackpot band of Anti-English rednecks. I'm a left wing, libertarian at heart, but I think of Scotland as a Nation with a history and an identity. I think of it as a resource rich land worthy of protection and I don't feel that London rule has always put Scotland's interests first - why should it and how could it?.

I'm utterly scunnered with politics though but even more so with what passes for our politicians - with the odd exception. Instead of regurguitating other people's political analysis, this is now the blog of a 40 year old (just 2 weeks ago, cheers!), left wing, libertarian who is going to do his damnest to enjoy life and leave a positive imprint.

Take it easy!