Tag Archive | Liberalism

I May Not Be A Person Of Interest But I Do Have An Interesting Life

As a blogger of over five years I would like to say there are few if any issues which have caused me concern since starting tartan tights in March 2012 .

I have put a lot of effort in to what I hope is now a site worth reading and strive to create quality content on a number of diverse topics in which I could be said to have an interest. This has not been an easy journey but it has in the main been an enjoyable and rewarding one . However at this stage of my blogging history I am perhaps for the first time experiencing a very slight unease and if you’ll allow me the privilege I’ll explain the reason why 

It started at the beginning of this month when I suddenly noticed a spike in my stats. Now normally this would be a good thing which would leave me feeling pretty positive but to me at least it was a problem, you see though the views were substantially up the only real increase was in my home page. When added to the fact that this increase was coming not from the UK (my site doesn’t give separate figures for Scotland) but from the United States I was shall we say ever so slighty puzzled .

As a political activist I worried that since I hold views which would lead to the alt right calling me a snowflake that I may have become a person of interest but even for a Celtic fan that may be taking paranoia to a whole new level. I mean I know I have been a vocal critic of President Trump and his friends in the UK Conservative Party but person of interest surely not.  

After putting my paranoia to bed I thought about other potential reasons for this sudden spike in my stats, and the only reason I can possibly think of is that unlike my genuine American readership they don’t actually know what my blog is about and perhaps because of the name they believe it to be focused on one of the following areas. 

(1) Tartan 

(2) Tights

(3) Both 

When they discover it is about neither the tartans of the clans of Scotland or the latest fashion hoisery I can only begin to imagine the horror in their faces, no doubt this will be made even worse when they realise that the blogger concerned is a spoken word poet who is also a transsexual woman and an ardent supporter of both Scottish independence and environmental issues such as climate change. Yes I am really what some would a liberal minded progressive which in Scotland we call normal. I guess this is why most of them don’t make it past the home page. To me the fact they don’t read my posts is their loss rather than mine and message to them is clear if you don’t want to read my content then don’t re-visit my site in the hope it will change,  because it wont and neither will I. Anyway as you should know the definition of insanity is repeating the same action and hoping for a different result. 

So having made all the points I wanted to make,  I will conclude by saying this is my blog. It is my space on the information super highway that is the internet . It a place where I’ll share my thoughts in my way and I’ll try to produce the kind of content I know my regular readers enjoy reading and after five and a half years of tartan tights I think I know what that might be. Why do I say this you may ask, well I’ll tell you why and it all comes down this simple fact, I may not be a person of interest, but I do have an interesting life. 

Till next time

Gayle X

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Causalities Of Greed 

Hey Readers 

Later this month I will be reading at the January edition of  Extra Second spoken word event at The Blue Chair on the theme of Climate Change. As a Geography and Politics graduate this topic really  appeals to me and I want to do it justice by writing some new poetry to the theme of the evening. This poem freshly written this afternoon, is one I will consider performing at the event. I have given it the title Causalities Of Greed. I hope enjoy the read. 

Causalities Of Greed 

It’s been gradual 

a slow change 

which happened over time 

an environmental crime 

 caught us unaware

as we were guilty of neglect

for our living space 

our disgrace was the fact 

we failed to realise the problem

the damage it could do 

was doing will continue to do 

If we don’t change 

some dismiss it as strange 

the product of liberal thinking 

unpatriotic 

a fantasy which gets in the way of their profit 

their right to be a money making machine 

ensure their security and wealth 

those in robust health don’t think of long term solutions 

the damage pollution causes 

interested only in short term gains 

they conveniently ignore the victims 

as they watch the world chocking 

unaware they too 

will be causalities of greed 

@ Gayle Smith 2017 

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.

The Ism Which Dare Not Speak Its Name Especially At A Gathering Of The Comrades

Hey everyone It was the Irish Writer Oscar Wilde who famously described homosexuality as ‘the love that dare not speak its name’ By describing homosexuality in this way Wilde was himself a gay man was acknowledging the fact homosexuality and was more common than some people would like to think but was shunned as disgusting by polite Victorian society. However I couldn’t help but think of Wilde’s comment as I watched the shameless shambles that was the spring conference of UK Labour Scotland Section.

Why would I think on a such a quote during such a meeting of good mild mannered comrades I hear you ask. Well let me set the record straight it has got absolutely nothing to do with homosexuality. It does however connect with a word. This is a word which used to be very popular amongst the comrades but these days the very mention of it sends the party leadership in to apoplectic rage. The word is socialism. It if you like the Ism that cannot speak it’s name even of some of the comrades albeit a diminishing band of them still actually believe in it that word is socialism.

Throughout the Labour Party conference when they weren’t using their two favourite S words Salmond and Separation the comrades were whittering on about a vague concept which nobody outside the political village really knows about far less understands. This idea has a name it is called social justice.

So what is social justice? What can it do and what lies behind it?. Well it is the product of what the media like to call soft left thinking and is often referred to as the third way. Credit for the birth of this clumsy child is often given to the sociologist Anthony Giddens and the journalist Will Hutton who whilst realising that socialism would never be popular in the home counties of the south east of England also realised that there had to be an alternative to Thatcher.

Social justice has to a certain extent proved to be that magic alternative at least to some but others view as a socialism’s better dressed but more peely wally wee brother. You know what I mean the relative that turns up at family gatherings and criticises everyone else’s appearance and choice of partners without possessing the gift of irony which would surely show him that he has in fact made poorer choices than he thinks and fails to realises that all the guests at the party are wearing their colours of choice to express their identities. He however has dressed in such ill fitting hand me downs they got rejected from charity shops. That to me sums social justice up in a sentence. However socialism seems to have had a very bad press in the last couple of decades and social justice despite all it’s failings and inadequacies and it has many, seems have taken its place in the left wing language lexicon.
Now I hate to shatter the illusions of the vacuous band of believers, but I can see one really obvious problem with this, namely the fact that social justice is not, has never been, and will never be left wing.

Social justice is essentially a product of the liberal left. By that I mean those people who want or say they want a fairer Scotland or Britain but are not prepared to implement the policies to bring about. The kind of people who will gladly make a list of a million promises on one condition they don’t have to implement a single one of them.

Do I believe that should Scotland make the fatal mistake of staying in the union that the Labour Party will turn out to be our saviours? No I do not. Do I believe if and I do say if they win the 2015 general election under Ed Milliband they will deliver improved or enhanced devolution? No I do not. Do I believe they will as it says in the timewarp song jump to the left and provide those who need it with a step up to get on the ladder of success? No I do not. Do I believe they will even consider going back to on the road to socialism whilst under Westminster rule? No I do not.

You see the Labour Party more than any other in mainland UK politics is the party which has lost its soul. Every other party has at least remained true to its faith and pays homage to its values and traditions. The Labour Party abandoned those traditions. This abandonment started during the Thatcher years but began to gather real pace in the 1990’s when the Islington set seized control of the party in what was reported as the bloodless coup. The result of this was the horrendous Tony Blair becoming party leader and eventually Prime Minister as the party won a landslide victory bringing to an end 18 years of Tory rule or so we thought at the time.

So the third way had at least in electoral terms been vindicated as the right way or had it? You see it is my belief and this will upset the comrades that it was tactical voting rather than any great belief in the Labour Party or the new direction it had taken which was the most significant driver of that electoral triumph.
I validate my last point by stating the facts which were that the SNP had their most successful election night since the 1970’s and the Liberal Democrats enjoyed their greatest night since their old Liberal predecessors in the 1920’s. Make no mistake this was not as big a victory for New Labour as Blair and his coterie of hangers on tried to suggest. This was a victory for an Anti-Tory coalition as the people of Britain had become fed up with the Conservatives and let them know it in no uncertain terms. It was a victory of which Blair and his party had due to the fact they were the main opposition party had become the main beneficiaries. The fact that Blair and his cronies managed to win two elections saying nothing except one phrase we are not the Tories only goes to show that how gullible some people actually are.

After 1997 Labour began the race to the bottom with alarming and indecent haste. Whilst it’s true to say they did some good things setting up the Scottish Parliament albeit with too many conditions and an unnecessary referendum for something which even to this day is not legally binding and can be shut down at the stroke of a pen was one, as was the repeal of the hideous and quite frankly obnoxious clause 28. I have to say however the balance sheet has far more minus points than plus ones. This was the party who under Blair’s charge became best friends with former foe Rupert Murdoch went in to illegal wars, ended student loans, gave far too much power to the City of London and loosened their ties with the trade union movement without whom their party would never have existed. This made many people wonder if the Labour Party was still the Labour Party or whether Margaret Thatcher was right and the defeat of socialism had been completed with Tony Blair being as she said a better Conservative Prime Minister than his Tory successor John Major. Social Justice it seemed was now the best the comrades could hope for.

Now with Blair confined to the history books I will tackle the question I asked earlier on. This is will we ever see a return to socialist values if we stay within the United Kingdom? To me at least the answer is no and the clue lies in the name. The United Kingdom is a group of nations under a king or monarch. It is a country whose social structures where too much value is placed on inherited or acquired wealth. It is a country where lordships and other such titles have been handed down for centuries from father to eldest son. It is a country run by elites and to turn the Blairite slogan of 97 completely on its head. The land of the few and not the many and the Labour Party have completely bought in to this system which is my belief not fit for purpose.

It is because they have bought in to this system that people like Johann Lamont can call her own country by which I mean Scotland a something for nothing society then have the bare faced check to call herself a socialist whilst asking the people she has slandered for their votes . Ms Lamont is not a socialist she is the temporary leader of what UK Labour see as a regional branch of their party whose first and only and only loyalty is to Westminster.

Ms Lamont and her colleagues know this only too well. I have no doubt she will be suitably rewarded for her services with a peerage at some later date and their in lies the root of the problem. You see I do not believe that real socialists such as Keir Hardie the party’s first MP and one of the founding fathers of the great Labour movement, or others of his ilk would ever have accepted such a bribe. After all when someone is offering you something particularly in the world of politics it doesn’t take mastermind to figure out they usually want something in return and its often a deeply held principle. Once Blair got his hands on the workers party it was dead in all but name.

The Labour Party was now no longer socialist and those who believe it will ever return to this state are living in a nostalgia based fantasy world. Socialism is not dead but it is in the minds of a UK Labour Party which knows it needs to win the in traditional
Conservative territories of the home counties of the South of England to stand any chance of winning in UK general elections. The industrial heartlands of Central Scotland, the North Of England, and the Welsh valleys were abandoned long ago, only to be visited at election time when votes need to be cast and people reminded of their loyalties. Then and only then do the prawn cocktail set venture out of London and get photographed buying fish suppers which they look ill at ease attempting to eat. It is only then they visit what they rather patronisingly refer to as the Celtic fringes. It is only then you will ever hear the word socialism.

So whilst every party has an ism it seems only Labour are ashamed of their core beliefs. The SNP will talk openly of a fair and inclusive nationalism. The Liberal Democrats will talk proudly of the achievements of liberalism. The Conservatives will talk of conservativism and the Greens will tell you only environmentalism can build the sustainable society we need but Labour talked of social justice, a concept a million years removed from its birthright, history, and heritage. Labour are no longer the party of great socialists like Nye Bevan, and Jimmy Reid they now represent the millionaires.
What makes this situation worse however, is the fact that it is those millionaires like Tony Blair and Anas Sarwar are now representing the so-called workers party. By allowing this to happen they have not only turned a once great party in to a shadow of its former self they are the only party which has divorced themselves from their past they have to paraphrase the words of Wilde ‘ The ism which dare not speak it’s name’ and especially at a gathering of the comrades.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X