Archives

A Warrior Wordsmith Who Speaks For The People ( A Review Of Door To Door Poet By Rowan McCabe)

Imagine the scenario. You get a knock on the door, you answer the door, and you see someone standing there with a clipboard and pen. Your imediate reaction is to ask the person concerned what they are selling and inform them as politely as possible that whatever it is you are not interested.  What happens however when far from being the predictable insurance , or double glazing salesperson you are met with reply I’m a poet would you like to tell me about yourself and what concerns you and I’ll write you your very own poem. 

My imediate reaction and i speak as a poet would be aye right so you are. So if i would be sceptical imagine the reaction Newcastle poet Rowan McCabe (pictured below) faced as he took his door to door poetry challenge round some of the roughest places  in the North East of England. 

During his year long mission Stockton born Rowan encountered a number of interesting characters and a significant number of  issues in his attempts to bring poetry to the people. Undetered our warrior wordsmith soldiered on in his quest to make poetry matter by making it relevant to the kind of audience who were put off by the poetry they were taught at school. 

As he begins the story of his poetic journey through the wildest parts of the north east, including the street once dubbed the roughest street in Stockton after being featured on the TV documentary show Benefit Street,  Rowan shares his poem on being a door to door poet and how he got the idea to do it which he says was due to boredom and wanting to do something different with his talent. As he takes us on his journey, he  tells us the story of Kyle a young man he met in a Newcastle housing scheme who would be the type of lad that polite society would cross the road to avoid. On meeting him Rowan explained his mission to be greeted by the expression what do i want with poetry ? Undaunted our door to door poet told Kyle that this poem would be his poem and be about the issues that mattered to him and he would receive a copy of his own customised poem . Gradually the man warmed  to the idea and challenged Rowan to write a poem about his girlfriend and how much he loved her .

 After finding out the information he needed Rowan wrote the poem First Date about Kyle’s first date in which he took his girlfriend to Greggs and they bonded over a steak bake. This claim was later disputed by his girlfriend who said that as she recalled it their first date was at the cinema . 

As our intrepid wordsmith continued on his journey he met a man who was concerned about immigration and had confessed to voting for Brexit , and a woman who had a passion for horses with a particular fondness for the three times grand national winner Red Rum.

During the course of his travels Rowan learned not only of the value of having good communication skills but also about being aware of the impact of The Data Protection Act when it comes to sharing online information and how even unwittingly a lack of knowledge on this topic can land you in some very tricky situations. 

Talking of tricky situtions our poet who dared to venture in to what the chsttering classes  would uncharted cultural waters learned a bitter lesson when it comes to  organisational cultute and the way it can make promises and then proceed to break them at the shortest possible notice. This through no fault of yours lead to cancel arrangements you made with others which were based on those promises and this can and did lead to a loss of trust all because someone else let him down on more than one occasion and this for Rowan meant losing relationships with potential participants he had worked really hard to build. 

Heartbreaking though it was Rowan ploughed on with his pioneering work and on meeting Alan an older man whose mother was German he discovered a man who was deeply concerned about the potential rise in far right racism in a post Brexit UK but was determined he would not be silenced despite having Swastikas daubed on his door by exactly the type of people he fears will grow in number. It was this meeting which  produced the inspiration for one of my favourite poems from the show , and Speak was a powerful poetic portrayal of why we need to be stronger than ever in our fight against this narrow kind of imperial , insular, xenophobic nationalism which in Scotland we call the worst kind of unionism.  Alan was featured on the BBC when their breakfast did a feature on Rowan’s ground breaking arts project and Rowan talked with warmth on his poem Speak which illustrates both Alan’s committment to speaking up for those people whose voices are being marginalised or ignored and Rowan’s passionate belief that door to door poetry can give them not only that voice but the belief that in 21st century Britain there opinions matter. 

This to me was the most heartwarming aspect of a show which I could very easily have overlooked had it not been for the glowing recommendations of two fellow poets whose opinions i rate highly enough to trust and Gemma Baker and Jenni Pascoe were totally right to tell me that this was a show i had to see. After an hour of poetry which was entertaining and thought ptovoking in equal measure i left raving about the talents of someone who is not only a door to door poet but a warrior wordsmith who speaks for the people. That someone is Rowan McCabe. 

Till next time

Gayle X

Advertisements

When It Comes To Independence Some People Are Really Obsessed.  

After seven weeks of campaigning it’s finally here election day 2017. Depending on who you are talking to this election has been about Brexit , A Fairer Britain , and Nicola Sturgeon’s Obsession With independence. It’s also been about the Environment, a Second European Union Referendum, and Nicola Sturgeon’s obsession with independence. 

Other topics for discussion have included the Dementia Tax Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘dealings’ I prefer to call them peace negotiations,  with the IRA, and Nicola Sturgeon’s obsession with independence. Have you detected a theme yet ? I think I have and it’s this according to the unionist parties and their friends in the press Nicola Sturgeon has an obsession with independence. 

Reality however paints a slightly different picture. Far from Nicola Sturgeon having an obsession with independence it is in fact the unionists who are obsessed by the right of the Scotland to at any time determine our future god knows they’ve mentioned it often enough In every campaign leaflet in every party political broadcast and in every televised news bulletin the burning question at least according to the interviewer wasn’t Theresa May’s refusal to take part in debates or Jeremy Corbyn’s suitability for the job of Prime Minister , it was yes you’ve guessed it Nicola Sturgeon’s obsession with independence

 This to me is nothing of short of propaganda of the type that Josef Goebbels would have proud to call his own. It was the same all through the recent council election campaign when unionists of all political hues pleaded for votes on the grounds it send a message to Nicola Sturgeon that Scotland didn’t want what they referred to as another divisive independence referendum even local councils have absolutely no power to stop such a referendum from ever taking place should the Scottish parliament decide to hold one. Still one mustn’t let the truth get in the way of the unionists plan to bring Scotland to heel. 

This constant drip feeding to the most gullible and misinformed section of the public is bound to have had an impact on how they were persuaded to vote. Fortunately I am too well educated to fall for this toxic nonsense but many other people particularly in the older demographic are not so lucky and will tend to take these comments as if they were handed to them on tablets of stone. You see some people really are obsessed with independence and guess what there not in the SNP 

Till next time. 

Gayle X

A Straight Red Card For The True Blue Tory 

For far too long I have been listening to unionist political commentators drone on and on about how wonderful Ruth Davidson is and how she’s the one unionist figure who can really tear in to Nicola Sturgeon at First Minister’s Questions. To say this is sycophancy bordering on delusion would be giving these press and media outlets far more credit than they have ever deserved.So it is I think, time to nail this theory to the wall,and in this post I present the case for the  prosecution and will show why Ruth Davidson is not fit to be considered for the post of First Minister not now nor at any time in the future.

To myself and many others in this  great country  of ours there is one unavoidable truth and that is that despite desperate  attempts by  the pro UK press and media to portray it otherwise Ruth Davidson is certainly not and I use her own words here ‘ the slayer  of nationalists’ that she likes to makes herself  out to be and I’ve never yet despite much hype to the contrary I have yet to see her get the better of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. 

In reality it is, always has been and always will be the other way round as Nicola Sturgeon  with the calm assurance power gives to winners  destroys both Davidson and her wing woman Kezia Dugdale week after week and does it without breaking sweat.  

You see Nicola knows Ruth’s weakness and that is that Ruth has a highly  suspect temper. Yesterday our First Minister sent her considerably less able and far less astute political opponent into a state of apoplexy by daring to raise a point of order whilst the media’s self styled great one was speaking on the values of her precious union.  

With an arrogance and pomposity which can only be described as death defying , Davidson told the elected First Minister of Scotland to ‘sit down’ This superiority complex from which Ruth Davidson seems to suffer is my opinion more of a weakness than the strength that some of the most fanatical right wing journalists seem  to think it is. It is I believe symptomatic of someone who has shall we say issues and no moral compass or standards of behaviour to guide her. It is the culture of entitlement at its worst and most feral kind. Trust me  if Davidson has taken over from Gordon Brown  as the champion of unionism, in Scotland the unionist community should be seriously worried about their prospects on maintaining their precious union. 

Had Davidson thrown this temper tantrum in a sporting arena it would have been a straight red card for the true blue Tory but in a devolved parliament where the unionists delude themselves that our democracy was their gift rather than the legitimate result of a democratic vote it didn’t even merit a censure. 

This to me was a disgrace, and I believe Davidson must be reported to the parliamentry standards committee for disrespecting the office of First Minister. This is a particularly nasty insult from a politician who has ambitions to hold that office herself and by her actions she has clearly illustrated her lack of suitability for the job. 

This is not a comment I make lightly but I intend to hold Ruth Davidson to account for her behaviour as the sycophantic pro unionist media have given up all pretence of ever doing so. As far as they are concerned Ruthie is their darling in their fight against an SNP government they have resented since day one of the first SNP administration in 2007. Though the media were never SNP friendly their hostility has increased a thousand fold since Nicola Stutgeon replaced Alex Salmond in the wake of the unsuccessful independence referendum in 2014 and there are I suspect many reasons for that.  

Chief amongst those reasons was something from which Nicola benefitted, as a party which had 25,000 members in the run up to the referendum had 100,000 within two days of the result being declared and is estimated now to have close to or maybe even more than 150,000 card carrying members. This was not in the script the unionists had written for Scotland in the post referendum climate where that original figure of 25,000 would fall to around 2,500  due to Scotland being defeated, deflated and put back in its box or union jack shortbread tin where we would be locked out of sight and kept under lock and key for the next 300 years or how ever long it took them to bleed us dry before getting rid of us as they have with all their other colonies throughout history. Unfortunately for the more fanatical British minded unionists Scotland has proven to be a lot more resilient than they bargained for.

The fact that Nicola went to lead to her party to unprecedented electoral success in both the 2015 UK General Election and the 2016 Scottish Election has it seems driven the unionist political class in to a fit of uncontrollable rage. Unable to cope with the SNP’s increasing popularity and Nicola securing their third successive election victory the unionist spin factory went in to overdrive in their search for a hero/ heroine  to save the union. 

With Labour now a laughing stock having been trounced at both the UK and Scottish elections  and the former first party of Scotland reduced to a shadow of its former self , the pro union press which had unfailingly supported them turned in desperation to their former enemies in the Tory party to search for a new unionist icon. This was the beginning of the cult of Davidson, though one suspects that the seeds of this new love in were sown during the referendum when Davidson was used to appeal to both traditional unionist voters and the selfish individualist me first tendency who don’t give a flying fish supper for the long term future of Scotland as long as their pockets are bugling with their ill gotten gains.  With her haughty and dismissive air and and a vastly over inflated opinion of her ability and self worth Davidson was the obvious choice for such a role. 

Despite the fact she was subject of a police investigation in the immediate aftermath of the referendum in to alleged voting irregularities this still didn’t stop the press and media especially the BBC for whom she used to work elevating Davidson’s importance to status far more prominece than she had ever received from the voters. This however should surprise nobody as they had given the same prominence albeit for different demographics to both fotmer Labour  MP now voice of the self important left George Galloway, and  UKIP Leader Nigel Farage. 

Personally and I know this will be controversial particularly, amongst my unionist friends I would have no hesitation in placing Davidson in the same category as these self serving egotists. It is time to bury the myth that Davidson is of mainstream centre right she is as close to the far right as one can get whilst trying to play mainstream politics. Yet for all the mouth she has on her, wee Ruthie’s election leaflets both for her and her party were very reluctant to mention the fact she was a Conservative stating only that if you were of a pro UK sentiment you should vote  for her to get a strong unionist opposition in Holyrood. 

This at least in Ruth’s mind was a slick marketing trick but despite her propagandists claiming otherwise this con didn’t go down  as well with Scottish voters and though there was an increase in the Tory vote it was nowhere as much her spinners would have you believe and she certainly came nowhere near winning the election.Indeed as the picture below shows despite their so-called great revival the Conservatives are still as unpopular as ever in Scotland and even under  Davidson’s leadership they are still less popular now than they were under Margaret Thatcher. 

Picture (1) Showing The Truth To Tories Like Ruth 

This  demonstrates that far from being  the new voice of the United Kingdom. Scotland still hates the Tories as much as we always did. 

So based on this evidence Davidson’s contemptible attitude towards our First Minister has only one possible cause and that cause is jealously.  When you look at these statistics it’s not difficult to see why. You see though the Tories may have replaced Labour as the main unionist party and therefore the main opposition to the SNP I think that says more about the critical condition of the Labour Party in Scotland than it does about Tory revival.

Picture (2) If every picture tells a story this one shows a unionist nightmare.  You see despite the desperation of the pro UK to paint Davidson as the winner of the election the facts tell a very different  story as they prove that  the SNP  who by winning 59 of the 73 constituency seats showed they were streets ahead of their political  rivals  and were it not for  the ludicrous top up system based on the least proportional system of PR the SNP would have won their second successive landslide victory and rather than unionists being able to claim we have only a minority government the people of Scotland would have got the result we voted for and Ms Davidson would have been  no more than the irrelevant sideshow her talent declares she should be. Make no mistake it was Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP the people voted for last May and not Ruth Davidson’s Tories no matter what the unionist press and media would like you to think. 

This to me discredits any attempts by Davidson’s spin masters to falsely claim any kind of electoral success. Indeed I am not as polite as some who would claim that such electoral massaging  was a misrepresention of the facts I would call it what it is that is  known as deluding yourself in the hope that others will fall for your con trick.It is if you like the ultimate act not of a conservative but  of a selfservative whose only interest is in feeding her ego. 

To use this kind of behaviour  is  manipulating the gullible. This is a talent at which Ms Davidson excels, after all she deliberately lied to the parliament when she tried to score cheap political points over the SNP on a debate on the NHS by using statistics from NHS England and trying to pass them off as Scottish as the real Scottish statistics didn’t suit her purpose so deluding herself that she won the election comes as no surprise to anyone who is switched on the real world. 

The  fact is however that she didn’t win the  election and this has to be called out as does her disgraceful show of disrespect towards not only Nicola but the office she holds , the government she leads and the parliament she sits in. It should be a matter of grave concern to all who live here that Ms Davidson was allowed to  play this out in front of an  audience. Not that this is the first  time she has tried this fact nor will it be the last. So why did the Presidin Officer  let her get  away with such juvenile behaviour ?  Well let’s just that is a matter for his conscience but I believe in his first real test since taking the job  the referee to use a sporting metaphor bottled it and proved too weak willed to show any sign of authority. 

It is the  belief of this blogger and many others not all of whom agree with my view of Scotland’s future that Ms Davidson’s ego is  like several of her colleges getting  dangerously out of control and  she needs  a wee reminder  that she is not quite what she thinks she is and in  disrespecting the office of First Minister she overstepped the mark of what is acceptable behaviour and what isn’t. Indeed I  would go as far as to say  that she should have been told as she would have been had she indulged in such  behaviour  at Westminster  to leave the chamber and go for an early bath. It is my view  that the Presiding Officer let her away far too lightly and I believe she should have  faced the consequences for her ill mannered temper tantrum and I’ll use a football reference to say  what the appropriate action would have  been. You see I believe that this was  serious disrespect towards the parliament and to me there was only  one suitable punishment. It should have been a straight red card for the true blue Tory.  

Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X  

Marching Backwards

Hey Readers

It is my considered opinion that there is something very wrong with politics in democratic nations. With regards to the UK, there has been a disturbing rise in the number of racially motivated attacks in the aftermath of the Brexit vote and there have also been a significant increase in transphobic and disability related hate crimes.

Whilst not everyone who voted to leave the European Union is a racist and many decent and honourable socialists voted to leave for a completely different set of reasons but there can be no denying that post Brexit Britain has unleashed a very unhealthy strain of right wing British Nationalism which if unchecked could see Britain more divided than at any time since the 1930’s.

As a supporter of Scottish independence some people might say this should please me but those who make such wild assumptions do not know me and will never know me. I may be a member
of the Scottish National Party but I was raised an internationalist and I will hopefully many years from now die an internationalist. So believe me when I say I take no pleasure in watching this horror story unravel and the recent victory of Donald Trump will I fear drive this right wing agenda still further. It is with this division and politics of fear clear in my mind I have written this poem entitled Marching Backwards I hope you find it a challenging and thought provoking read.

Marching Backwards

Good morning Britain

I am now going give you a wake up call

ignore it and one day you will be

welcome to the UKKK

an insular xenophobic
small minded island

led by a right wing authoritarian regime

where a very privileged few
will fan the flames of fear

Who needs the facts when you have cheerleaders

like the BBC and 90 per cent of broadcast media.

If we try to find the truth they’ll ban the internet especially Wikipedia

they may deprive us of our human rights

but they’ll do it under the guise

of keeping us safe at nights

whilst numbing our minds

by remote control

EastEnders and Coronation Street

are light family viewing

not manna for the soul

but this is their strategy

they want you to talk about some fictional characters

having problems with their sexuality

this will prove how liberal you are

to friends and neighbours in your street

and your drinking companions at the bar

providing nobody like that lives next door to you

that would to be too much to handle

in this new fantasy land

where the only scandal is getting caught with your morals down

It just isn’t right and all those Muslims and other foreigners

frighten granny’s in Gloucester,

though she won’t say that when visiting her Syrian doctor

or her Bosnian care worker

In this land of strivers and shirkers

her Polish bank manager is always so nice and eager to help

but in this gray unpleasant land

she and her fellow Brits tell anyone willing to listen

this is their United Kingdom

so everyone else has to look , think , speak like them

they see 10 Downing Street
as the epicentre of civilisation

believing that Jesus once walked in their nation

claiming foreign fields as forever English

forgetting or dismissing the fact Scotland Wales and at least a small part of Ireland

are still for the moment part of the United Kingdom

they talk about only when it suits

meanwhile as union flags, flutes and Nazi salutes

are dismissed as harmless fun

tabloid Tories like The Sun, The Mail, and Daily Express

make me proud I voted yes in the independence referendum

and if they think I’ll by led like sheep to Armageddon

they must be living in an alternative reality

televised trivialities will not stop me

 pursuing my vision of a better world

where inclusion and attainment are not dirty words

and aspiration is viewed as normal

not dependent on a formal by which I mean private education

we must remove walls not build them

to keep others out

this isn’t what progress is about

nor is it about labelling, demonising, or stereotyping

to provide the few with silver linings

at the expense of everyone else

this mind thyself attitude

which puts Britain first

is the refuge of the cursed

the curse which if ignored

could see the wolf enter through the back door

and wreck havoc if unchecked

this is supposed to be
a nation of fairness and respect

where all lives matter

but the shaven heads who hold their flags

and chant Rule Britannia

don’t agree

these poster boys for the BNP
Britain First

and others on that side of the political spectrum

are the kind of Brits who don’t contest elections

this type of subject has no time

for anything as complex as choice

only wanting one nation one voice, one race

the world will be a safer place
they claim

point the finger of what they see as shame

at any group they don’t like

disabled people, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender

people of different ethnicities

these people are not truly British

according to their way of thinking

as the sinking ship austerity

brings their ideas into the mainstream

if this poem doesn’t make uncomfortable reading

we have not learned the lessons of history

and will be condemned to repeat its mistakes

by marching backwards to the right.

@ Gayle Smith 2016.

Scotland Said Yes To The Civilised World By Rejecting The Brexit Club

Hey Readers

As dawn breaks I can and will declare that the United Kingdom if not quite officially dead has certainly reached a point where the family have been called and told to prepare for the worst. 

Yes I know that may sound slightly dramatic but as Britain votes for Brexit I and many others will be looking for an exit. However, the exit I want isn’t from Europe it’s from the United Kingdom which is now
more divided than ever after the most catastrophic decision ever made in the history of this mythical nation.

You see I have never bought in to the loyal and unionist fairytale of a united kingdom far less a great Britain and to me this result makes a mockery of the better together campaign to keep Scotland in the UK during our independence referendum as all through that referendum we heard this ongoing chant from the unionists that if we left the United Kingdom we wouldn’t be allowed to become a member as an independent nation.

This of course was nonsense, there tactic was to terrorise the gullible in to believing that they were somehow in danger of being kicked out the EU because David Cameron said so. This morning this cruel trick lies exposed for what it was and better together has been exposed as the fraud some of us always knew it to be.

Nonetheless as democrats we in the yes campaign accepted however reluctantly the result of independence referendum though we still reserve the right to campaign for the constitutional chance we sought and the restoration of Scotland’s place as an independent sovereign nation with the powers rights and responsibilities that comes with it.

Indeed many of us who voted yes in the independence referendum were amongst the most enthusiastic supporters of Scotland remaining in Europe and actively campaigned to achieve the outcome we wanted but what we wanted was far removed from what we got

No matter how uncomfortable it may be we have to face the fact that rampant British nationalism has triumphed in England and Wales where the voters were in my opinion duped by a lethal combination of ambitious right wing Conservatives such as would be Prime Minister in waiting Boris Johnson and his allies such as Education Secretary Michael Gove and former the voice of kindness at the Department of Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith.
and the even more extreme views of Nigel Farage and UKIP who with their toxic brand of politics managed to turn what should have been a referendum on our membership of the European Union into nothing more than a vote on immigration.

These views were given credibility by a fanatical right wing press and media who cannot get over the fact that Westminster no longer has an empire to rule over and yearned to return to the 1850’s yes I did say the 1850’s when everyone was British knew their place and bowed the knee to their so-called social betters. What Westminster doesn’t realise is that in Scotland at least we have a get out clause from this madness which has already produced its first causality with the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and that get out clause is
independence.

You see whether the professional unionists like it or not 2014 wasn’t the end of the debate on Scotland it was only the beginning and these people think otherwise they are way more deluded than I ever thought possible. This however does not surprise me as ever since the morning of their victory in the last referendum which was only achieved through last minute promises they had no intention of keeping they have consistently implemented bully boy tactics and told those of us who voted yes to shut up and get back in our box. I regret to inform this has as much chance of success as Albion Rovers winning the champions league in any other setting than play station or a Des Dillon novel (Note quick plug for Des Dillon novel The Return Of The Busby Babes )

Anyway, nice idea as they might believe it to be Scotland is not going back to sleep and we are now in a much stronger position to campaign for the independence our country needs after this horrible referendum result. The result achieved by the leave campaign was based on primary factor and that was the demonising of those considered to be other. These are the people who don’t fit in to what the Brexiters traditional view of British identity. Unfortunately for those of us who voted remain this view which is an insular narrow minded view primarily but not exclusively based on race will now be how Britishness is viewed on the continent and beyond. This is a result which shamed Britain and exposed the shallow distrust of Brexiters towards those who don’t fit their agenda as being a highly significant factor in their victory.

It is my view and that of many others that this toxic legacy will make it much tougher for the professional unionist political class who were and remain Better Together to fight against independence than they were two years ago as one of their key arguments for this outdated union was based on the now shambolic proposal that if we didn’t do as we were told and vote to stay in the UK then we wouldn’t be allowed membership of the European Union.

This was an oft quoted argument which certainly seemed to resonate with the less well read I don’t do politics kind of voter as they tended believe what they are told by the BBC Daily Mail and unionist Westminster politicians as if they were quoting directly from the bible. To say this disturbs me would be putting it mildly. Well let’s be honest reading the Daily Mail is bad enough but to believe it is written on tablets of stone would be the actions of the demented and deluded.

Unfortunately many of the more gullible members of society appear to be taken in by this line and this was certainly the case at the time of the last referendum when the unionist establishment in which the vast majority of the press and media were a key part seemed to regard the European Union as their own private members club. I make this claim because I know how much it suited British establishment to act in this way until the vote secured Scotland for the union.

After the result of our referendum was declared in favour of the union, It was at least if you believed David Cameron and Better Together spokesman in Scotland Alastair Darling the end of the independence debate and the morning of the 19th of September was supposed to be a return to business as usual and we Jocks as the Westminster set refer to us were supposed to get back in our boxes and be nice colonial children speaking only when we were spoken to with nanny Britain’s permission.
That however is not how it turned out as a newly awakened Scotland had found our voice and we were in no mood to give it up.

In the first serious electoral test in post referendum the unionist political classes suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the SNP which was now led by Salmond’s deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon as the party smashed through what some its supporters had always believed to be the Westminster glass ceiling winning 56 of the 59 Scottish constituency seats and in doing so ending the political careers of some big name Labour MP’s such as Jim Murphy Douglas Alexander, and Ian Davidson.

A smart political operator Nicola Sturgeon had served a long apprenticeship under her former boss and was more than ready to take over the leader of both her party and her country. Impressive in TV debates Sturgeon captured the mood of the nation and gave supporters of independence belief that we not only had a future but our best days were yet to come.

As opposition parties crumbled in the weight of the SNP avalanche they desperately tried to convince themselves that this phase would soon pass and the return to normality they had been promised
This however has been and remains a million light years away from the political reality that is Scotland in 2016. As if to demonstrate this fact the SNP won a third successive victory in Scottish parliamentary election. Though the party fell two seats short of a second successive overall majority the fact that they won an increased number of constituency seats up from 53 in 2011 to 59 in recent election should not be lost on our opponents.

In fact if I’m being brutality honest the only thing that stopped a second successive
majority was the quite ludicrous
D’ hont electoral system which was so badly skewed that it gave the SNP only four extra seats whilst giving The Conservatives twenty four and the Labour Party twenty one. This resulted in painting an entirely false picture of how Scotland voted and giving the unionist parties a far greater sense of self importance than they actually deserve.

The refusal of the unionist parties to acknowledge that Scotland is not a one party state as they so often like to claim does them and their cause no good whatsoever and gives the impression that they are being childish and petulant and therefore unfit to hold office. I think that someone needs to tell them that there is a genuine and very real difference between what is really a one party state and what better together claim it is. The fact none of the unionist parties in Scotland are currently fit for purpose is not the fault of the SNP no matter how much the more fanatical amongst their number would like it to be. This is just the spin of the immature child who wants everything his own way and cries like a baby when it. doesn’t go to plan.

You know it’s funny how when Scotland was ruled by The Labour Party for almost five decades 1959-2007 (48 years to be exact) and having been alive for all but two of those years I never heard this one party state nonsense even once. In fact I can say with certainty I didn’t even hear it from the Tories not even during the Thatcher years but the minute the SNP or any pro independence party look like doing well they trot it out. This to me smacks of the back in your box Jocks kind of the attitude they would be very well advised to avoid if they ever want to regain the one thing they lack more than any other and that is credibility.

This is to me at least one of the most important factors faced by any political party or campaign if it wants to be successful. Without a credible leader your party or campaign will sink without trace and that at this moment in history in Scottish politics at least all the credible politicians are with the exception of Ruth Davidson on the side of Yes.

I have to say that though I dislike her politics intensely I do admire Ruth and more than that I actually respect her. Well I have to say that following Annabel Goldie as leader of Scotland’s conservatives was never going to be easy. Annabel at least in Scottish terms was a legendary figure who had done much to begin the detoxification of the Conservative brand in Scotland and Ruth Davidson with her personable and dare I say it likeable manner has continued the work started by her predecessor.

Ruth however faces one major problem which is that for many people in Scotland which is that no matter what you may think of them personally a Tory is still a Tory and if they are the only credible voice for the union there will be areas which will be closed to them especially after this result.

You see a significant number of those who voted to stay UK in 2014 did so not because of any sense of British identity being exclusive to their way of thinking but because they viewed their Britishness like their Scottishness as part of something better and perceived it as being more inclusive and outward looking than what they viewed as the narrow nationalism of independence. Now with Britain having voted to leave Europe whilst Scotland in large numbers voted to stay with in many of those who voted no in 2014 may already be beginning to rethink that decision and vote yes in the next independence referendum when it is eventually called. Indeed it may be that this vote on Europe has finally proved the very real political differences between the politics of Scotland and the rest of the UK have highlighted the need for independence to a far greater degree than was the case in 2014 as Scotland said yes to the civilised world by rejecting the Brexit Club.

Looking back to the afternoon of the 19th of September when Alex Salmond said in his resignation speech as First Minister the dream shall never die many people may have thought that this was just a politician trying to keep the flame of independence alive on what was for many of us this blogger included the darkest day in Scotland’s recent history. It was on that day as people began to flock to the SNP in record numbers Alex Salmond was proved to be a lot more correct than many of us dared to dream .

It was however a few days later in the interview on Andrew Marr show that Alex Salmond made his most telling comment, saying that at a time when the circumstances were right we would get the chance to finish the job we started. Thanks to Brexit that chance and our independence may come sooner than a lot of people think.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

Happiness Grief And Sunshine On Leith (The Story Of A Fairytale As Hibs End A 114 Year Wait To Win The Scottish Cup)

Hey Readers At around 4.50 PM on Saturday in the sunny south side of Glasgow Hibernian ended a 114 wait and finally claimed the Scottish Cup that generations of fans had only dared to dream of when they finally took the old trophy back to Leith for the first time since 1902 as they beat Rangers 3-2 in what was one of the most entertaining finals in recent years.

To put this final in context the last time Hibs won Scottish Football’s showcase event, Britain had an empire which reached all four corners of the globe, and the nation was still in shock at the death Queen Victoria the previous year and our armed forces were involved in a conflict overseas in this case the Boar War in which they had no chance whatsoever of success. Now the empire may be dead and gone but the Saxe Coburg Gothe aka Windsor family dynasty still reign over us and if you substitute South Africa for Afghanistan and Iraq we are still as clueless as we’ve always been in the field of international relations. So the more things change the more they stay the same

It was Celtic who were defeated 1-0 as the world adjusted to the early 20th century but 114 years Hibs had the chance to complete their personal old firm double as
it was Rangers who provided the opposition to give Scotland it’s first ever Scottish Cup Final which would be contested by two teams from outside our country’s top division. This in itself was a tremendous achievement for both clubs whom I would describe as top tier teams on loan to the lower leagues.

As for the game itself it was a cracking spectacle filled with fast paced football from kick off to final whistle and it was Hibs who seized the early initiative as Anthony Stokes on loan from Celtic giving them the lead after only 3 minutes as he scored from a tight angle to put the underdogs in front. The perfect start it may have been but the question in hearts and minds of every Leither was can I dare to dream this might be our day ? When Kenny Miller a born and bred Hibs fan equalised for Rangers the answer appeared to be no but determined to win
and end a run of 10 consecutive losing finals Hibs continued to gave as good as they got and could consider themselves unlucky not to be in the lead but at half time 1-1 scoreline set us up for a cracking second half. 

As the second half started the game ebbed and flowed with both sides enjoying periods of dominance and but when Andy Halliday put Rangers 2-1 up with a 25 yard screamer in the 63rd minute Hibs fans must have thought oh my God here we go again it’s going to be another glorious or not so glorious failure
and for the next 15 minutes it certainly looked like it was going to be Rangers day.

Never ones to be anything less than triumphalist the Rangers  fans started gave voice to there usual obnoxious sectarian chants and in doing so gave the perfect demonstration of the ugly side of nationalism. I refer of course the racist and colonial British nationalism so beloved by our sycophantic unionist press, media, and political establishment. Suddenly however realising they had to go for broke Hibs started to lay siege to the Rangers goal and within Anthony Stokes , Dylan McGeoch , and Liam Henderson and Jason Cummings all influential it was only a matter of time before they silenced the Ibrox choir by scoring a deserved equaliser Stokes heading home from a corner kick with Foderingham in the Rangers goal powerless to stop his effort.

As the commentary team talked of extra time and even the possibility of penalties to decide the outcome of this game both teams went in search of a winner and though the momentum was clearly with Hibs, Rangers were still a serious threat on the counter attack.

As the game entered injury time and extra time looking a distinct possibility the game took one final turn and with Hibs top scorer and talisman Jason Cummings still to score despite having a brilliant track record in this particular fixture Hibs gained a corner and it was from that an unlikely hero emerged as David Gray scored what would prove to be a dramatic winner and bring Hibernian’s 114 year wait for Scottish cup glory to an end.

In the anxious wait for the final whistle Hibs fans and indeed every neutral in the country were praying that time would pass quickly and the long wait would be over  Indeed my fellow blogger BurdzEyeView reminded the players not to fall over in the last few seconds whilst I and every other Celtic or neutral fan in Scotland and beyond  said a silent prayer  for Hibs to hold their nerve. Eventually it came and Hibs had won the Scottish Cup for the first time in more than a century.

Amongst the scenes of joy however there was unfortunately trouble as some Hibs fans made their way on to the pitch and conducted themselves in a way unbecoming of football fans  by attacking a Rangers player who formerly wore the colours of their arch rivals Hearts. This I believe was not the only incident as there were other Rangers players who were also attacked and according to my sources a man in a Rangers blazer aimed a kick in the direction of a Hibs fan and a number of Rangers fans ran in the direction of the Hibernian supporters launching completely unprovoked attacks on the celebrating fans. This bitter aftertaste carried on after the game with sections of the Hibs fans running riot on reaching Edinburgh and hordes of Rangers fans rampaging through Glasgow city centre with intent on causing mayhem to anyone who crossed their path.

To me these  unsavoury incidents shames those involved but let’s be clear about this it  shames a mindless minority of supporters of both clubs but only those those involved as the vast majority of both Hibs and  Rangers supporters behaved impeccably. I do however have to say that the vile, vicious, and vindictive attempt by the Rangers board to get Hibs banned from Europe and their hysterical attacks on First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is the kind of behaviour I would expect from such a petty small minded club whose support have a rather unpleasant history when it comes to accepting defeat with dignity. Now some in the chattering classes may think I am being unkind with regards to this matter but it has to be said that given Rangers fans previous form for undesirable behaviour I found their club’s statement that their supporters had shown commendable restraint  to be both insulting and laughable.

It is in my opinion, this kind of inflammatory language which fan the flames of division and our so-called national broadcasting corporation did nothing to dampen these flames as they seemed only too happy to make merry with the Billy Boys and other sectarian tunes but ended their air time by cutting short Sunshine On Leith  a beautiful song with no sectarian lyrics whatsoever. Even in football the BBC just can’t disguise its unionist leanings. Believe me when I say this will do precisely nothing to win back the hearts and viewing figures of those those lost during the referendum who believed the BBC to be guilty of pro union bias. 

So it passes in to History a Scottish Cup Final which unfortunately be remembered more at least by the press and establishment for the post match rammy than for the best and most entertaining showcase the Scottish game has seen in years
So let us not forget that the amidst the shenanigans there was a football match and my friend Audrey Marshall a Hibs fan for 30 years was delighted at the outcome on a day saw which showed fairytales can come true and was a potent mixture of Happiness, Grief , and Sunshine On Leith.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

Birthday Wishes To A Private Citizen

Hey Readers On this day an old woman celebrates her 90th birthday and the British press and media are whipping the people in to frenzy as we are ordered to commemorate the birthday of one Lizzy Windsor otherwise known as Her Most Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen of the United Kingdom Of Great Britain And Northern Ireland. So this is my birthday tribute to a woman whom I have nothing against on a personal level but despise the institution she represents. I have given it the title Birthday Wishes To A Private Citizen I hope you enjoy the read.

Birthday Wishes To A. Private Citizen

As a rich old women reaches 90
I am told this is cause for celebration
to unite the nation
commemorate all that is best
about being British
we are informed we should send  the Queen birthday wishes
Now pardon me if I don’t think
a woman born in to privilege
and entitled inheritance
is worth the attention
the Royal family are a media invention
to distract us from the real problems
like crime, unemployment and the  poverty
so many of her subjects live in a united kingdom divided by income and wealth
where the culture of mind yourself and yourself only
runs in contradiction to the pooling and sharing
so favoured by the elite
as Labour and Tory compete
to see who can drive us further
in to an abyss
with the ultimate kiss of betrayal
personally I have nothing against Elizabeth Windsor the private citizen
but private citizen is what she should be
I want Scotland free from the robes of ermine
the uniform of self serving subordinates
I deplore the institution of which she is a part
there are people who haven’t reached half her years
before defeat saw them broken  dying in the streets
it is an insult to democracy
that such poverty is allowed to exist
in a so-called civilised land
as a woman with a very clear vision
of the world  I want to live in
I understand the steps we need to take to achieve it
and you better believe I will fight with all I have to make it reality
I have no time for trivialities
and I scorn those who trade in selling souls
by remote control
to keep in with the in crowd
I am not proud of this Britain
I am ashamed
that’s why I campaign to change it
rearrange it
from one united kingdom
to four sovereign nations
who seek ideas and inspiration
from each other the way that real friends do
where we create a culture based on real and genuine respect
and all elect our representatives
with no peerages given to politicians and their friends
the Britain of the class divide
is a means to an end
which couldn’t exist without the patronage of the crown
and the fawning sycophancy
of those who bow the knee
this in my view is a disgrace
one of the most compelling reasons I voted yes
to independence
was to create a more caring and socially sustainable country
so the ugly politics of Westminster
could no longer set an agenda
in which our interests would always come last
the days of monarchy
belong in the past
so forgive me if I say
on the day I send birthday wishes to a private citizen
I hope the old Jacobite prophecy
comes true
and what came wi a lass
will gang wi another

@ Gayle Smith 2016