The final time

So this weekend is my final trip to Glasgow to finish off the flat before the tenants move in on Monday. My last “free” weekend in my wee flat.

I know I am going to have mixed feelings. It has been upgraded to a nice standard, I do wonder why I didn’t do it for myself years ago.

It is also another last for me, a last trip to Scotland before the independence vote. Now that I am Yorkshire man I don’t get a vote; something I am mild disappointed in. However I have a greater fear for the post vote days, no matter which way it goes. This referendum has been polarising across Scotland, between family and friends and the morning after is not going to heal the hard words that have passed between some. Also, with a vote this close, and it will be close, there is not going to be a clear mandate either way. Yes there will be a legal victory, but if the losing side gets 40-49% of the vote, then whilst the matter will be settled, it will not be gone. There will still be a significant proportion of the Scottish electorate who thought the other way. This will benefit Yes, if it loses; there can be another referendum in 15 years time. There will never be a referendum to reunify…..

So I hope for a clear result; a +60% one way or the other, but I don’t think it will happen. On the 19th September, if it was a win either way by a few percentage points, then no one should be crowing, they should be working out how to reunify Scotland.

In the meantime, I will enjoy my criuse up the M6/M74 with, for the last time for at least a couple of years, the destination of St Vincent Street.

The Elders

I cannot remember the trigger that helped me find this website and what The Elders is all about.

In short, it is a group people of renown for their efforts to work for the betterment of Humanity. They are now ‘elder’ statespeople from across the world, with the respect and wherewithall to broker deals in areas of conflict and strife that the rest of the world seems to be turning there backs to.

From an original idea of Peter Gabriel and Richard Branson who pitched it to Nelson Mandella. Today there are 12 Elders, including Aung San Suu Ky sho has been almost under perminant arrest in Burma for almost 20 years.

  1. Offering a catalyst for the peaceful resolution of conflict.
  2. Seeking new approaches to seemingly intractable global issues.
  3. Sharing wisdom: reaching out to grassroots Elders and to the next generation of leaders. Listening and helping to amplify voices for good all over the world.

I cannot help that with people like these individuals and their supports, both generally and financially, that the world would be a better place. I think is shows a kinda of hope that people want change, not just for the benfit of themselves or their nation.

Wee Magic Stane

The Stone of Destiny movie is out now and I am really looking forward to seeing it. From my primary school years i can remember the below poem by John McEvoy.

Wee Magic Stane
O the Dean of Westminster wis a powerful man,
He held all the strings of State in his hand,
But with all this great business it flustered him nane,
Till some rogues ran away wi’ his wee magic stane.
With a too ra li oor ra’ li oor a li ay.

Noo the Stane had great pow’rs that could dae such a thing
And withoot it, it seemed, we’d be wantin’ a King,
So he called in the Polis and gave this decree–
“Go an hunt oot the Stane and return it tae me.”
With a too ra li oor ra’ li oor a li ay.

So the Polis went beetlin up tae the North,
They huntit the Clyde and they huntit the Forth,
But the wild folk up yonder just Kiddit them a’,
For they didnae believe it wis magic at a’,
With a too ra li oor ra’ li oor a li ay.

Noo the Provost o’ Glesga, Sir Victor by name,
Wis awfy pit oot when he heard o the Stane,
So he offered the statues that staun in the Square,
That the High Churches’ Masons might mak a few mair.
With a too ra li oor ra’ li oor a li ay.

Whan the Dean o’ Westminster wi’ this wis acquaint,
He sent for Sir Victor and made him a Saint,
“Now it’s no use you sending your Statues down heah,”
Said the Dean, “But you’ve giv’n me a right good idea,”
With a too ra li oor ra’ li oor a li ay.

So he quarried a Stane o’the very same stuff,
And he dressed it a’ up till it looked like enough,
Then he sent for the Press and announced that the Stane,
Had been found and returned to Westminster again.
With a too ra li oor ra’ li oor a li ay.

Whan the reivers found oot what Westminster had done,
They went aboot diggin up Stanes by the ton,
And fur each wan they finished they entered a claim,
That this wis the true and original Stane.
With a too ra li oor ra’ li oor a li ay.

Noo the cream o the joke still remains to be telt,
For the bloke that wis turnin them aff on the belt,
At the peak o production wis so sorely pressed,
That the real yin got bunged in alang wi the rest.
With a too ra li oor ra’ li oor a li ay.

So if ever you come on a Stane wi’ a ring,
Jist sit yersel doon and proclaim yersel King,
Fur there’s nane wud be able to challege yir claim,
That you’d croont yersel King on the Destiny Stane.
With a too ra li oor ra’ li oor a li ay.

The State – Why it should be Secluar

I think the raving madness of two Catholic bishops demonstrates why State and Church should be well segregated, with as many safe guards as required.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien has said that catholic MPs who support abortion should consider their stance on receiving communion. How ludicrous is this? Is he proposing to ask everyone who approaches on any given Sunday for communion the same question? If not, why not?

Saying that he is not alone and not the first:
Welsh prelate joins abortion row

MPs, MSPs and AMs have all been elected (more or less) on a non-religious basis. Mostly they are elected for their political affiliations and the policies that they stand for. I would imagine that there would a huge outcry if religious affiliations were brought up at a political hustings.

So what right does a Catholic Cardinal to meddle in the political arena? Gone are the days when we should ‘the lords spiritual’ affecting legislation and policy of this country. When you look at the relevance in most peoples lives I think you will find very little. Maybe weddings, christenings and funeral, but not in the dominating pulpit preaching that the Cardinal seems to prefer.

Tax… need this be taxing?

A week after the Scottish elections we are no further forward to a government (just as well Westminster is looking after us! Even if they are all pre-occupied with Tony going). There have been spats over the Presiding Officer, no-one wants to give up a seat in such a close situation, and then the parties have all been pulling back from any kind of coalition. So it looks like Alex is going on his tod, with the occasional help from the couple of greens.

What this brings into play is the fact that it is going to be difficult for any government to be progressive with their own agenda. This is going to come to the fore with the promised SNP local tax changes.

Whilst I know there are issues with the Council Tax, I must say that I am 100% against a local income tax, and that affected my voting patterns at the election.

I would hope that the SNP now see that almost half of the country (those voting Labour or Tory) were voting for parties that were not going to introduce this local tax and, upon reading further into the SNP proposals, leave a hole in the local authorities purses. This hole is almost 1/5th of the combined local authories budget. So I think it is fair to say that 3% is not very realistic.

I would like to think that easier, less expensive changes can be made to the Council Tax.

  1. More bands, I prescribe to the line of thought that says if you can buy a £1 million house then you can afford to pay more Council Tax. The same goes with cars and road tax; more expensive, uneconomical cars….. if you have got one you can pay more road tax.
  2. Pensioners should just pay a nationally set flat rate, these people have spent a life time supporting the country and the ‘system’. So they should all get equal benefit. This would remove the postcode lottery of services versus tax levels.
  3. Discounts. Better publicised discounts. Let people know what they are entitled to and tell them how to get it!

These tweaks to a system that works will be cheaper that wrestling with councils over a nationally set level, the tax man on how this will be collected and managed (esp if we are going for independence!) and the potential brain drain of well paid families who will loose out considerably on a local tax solution.