Tag Archive | Margo MacDonald

Smelling The Roses

​On day 24 of NaPoWriMo I decided that political satire would be my poetic weapon of choice after seeing a UKIP candidate’s response as to why they are standing for election on social media. After laughing so much it nearly split my sides I remembered what I’ve always known namely politics is a serious business and though UKIP might like to portray themselves as lovable eccentric guardians of tradition they are in reality anything but. In fact truth be told these people are of the hard right conservative school of political thought and have some very  extreme and dangerous views. It is with in mind I decided to write this poem in the form of a UKIP candidate’s speech to highlight the type of country I don’t want to live in. The title for the poem was chosen for me by my Norwich based friend and fellow poet Andy Bennett  who selected the title Smelling The Roses. I hope you enjoy the read. 

Smelling The Roses (The Thoughts Of A UKIP Supporter) 
You ask me why I want to be elected 

well I’ll tell you 

it’s because I believe

  the British way of life is under threat 

and I want to put forward  solutions 

I couldn’t give a damn for devolution

the revolution has to be stopped.

I’m a proud Scot but I know my place 

so here’s what I think we need to do 

to put some pride back in the red white and blue 

I’ll start with sports

 I am convinced every child  should learn to ride a horse 

but as for golf , those courses are environmental disaster 

and a threat to the safety of our people 

and that is something I cannot abide 

still on environmental matters 

I want plastic bags abolished 

they are a threat to animals especially whales and dolphins 

as for an independent Scotland forget it 

I’m a proud Scot but 

Westminster is our colonial master 

and we should be content to keep it that way 

Mrs Thatcher was wonderful back in the day 

I’m a plain speaker and say what’s on my mind 

which I think you’ll find enlightening 

some people find my views on capital punishment frightening 

I think the death penalty should be restored 

but I wouldn’t bring back hanging 

the guillotine would be better 

and I’ll tell you something else

we’re heading in to world war three 

due to China, India , and the SNP 

that lot are a public danger 

and it’s all to do with 

money, and greed  

we in Britain do a lot for charity 

comic relief is wonderful 

so is children in need 

talking of children 

I think poor people shouldn’t have them.

now this is only my view 

but in my united kingdom 

mother’s should stay at home

to look after their little darlings

there should be no support for nurseries 

but all schools need classes 

and education needs reforming 

 this is a warning we are heading for  world war three 

I blame it on the SNP 

it will have nothing to do with Tony Blair or Theresa May 

personally I think we should go to war with Spain over Gibraltar

after all we’ve beat them before

when we sunk their Armada

remember the Falklands it was great wasn’t it 

yes I know there were millions unemployed

and living in poverty 

but we had pride in the flag

we were respected then 

now it’s all this political correctness lunacy

there is no such thing as an LGBT community

that kind of thing should be kept private

behind closed doors

you get good and bad people of all types 

talking of rights

I believe Margo MacDonald’s right to die bill

should be put to referendum 

well old people are living too long 

though working them till there 70 

should tire some out 

well if there dead  we don’t need to  worry about their living expenses 

we really need to come to our senses

the free bus pass scheme has to stop 

these people should be encouraged to walk 

I know you’ll be shocked at some of my views 

but here’s the bit you didn’t hear on the news

I would reopen public loo’s 

and create community gardens

yes I know I maybe hard on some issues

but believe me we don’t have time for tissues 

 it’s time to wake up and smell the roses. 

 © Gayle Smith 2017 

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On This Day 

On day 7 of NaPoWriMo I celebrate a birthday. Not my birthday you understand but the birthday of the Scottish National Party (SNP) of whom I am proud to be a member as it was on the 7th of April 1934 that the party was born, so I thought it only right to commemorate my party’s birthday by writing this poem for my SNP family and wishing our party many more years of success I’ve titled the poem On This Day , I hope you enjoy the read 
On This Day,

On this day we remember 

the cause we represent 

we must never be content 

with second best in any aspect of our lives 

we survived the hard times 

they moulded us in to fighters 

for a vision of a future free from fear

in which the obscenity of nuclear weapons 

are banished forever from the Clyde 

we will have a country

 in which we can have pride 

where people matter far more than image 

Britishness, will be consigned to history 

but until the day comes 

we must walk with dignity 

remembering both past and present 

 heroes and heroines of our movement 

yes there will always be room improvement 

but on this day remember 

Donald Stewart the man who was our first MP 

to gain a seat at a Westminster General Election 

Margo MacDonald, and Alison Hunter 

whose talents secured famous victories 

in Labour’s industrial heartlands 

community champions like Bashir Ahmed and Jim Mitchell 

Yes I know we wax lyrical on 

the political skills of Nicola 

and have been entertained and educated

by listening to the oratory  and intellect of Alex Salmond.

further back in time we had   Jim Sillars, Winnie Ewing,  and Jimmy Reid ,

Now it’s Tasmina Ahmed-Sheik and  Mhairi Black 

who are the fresh voices the party need 

to deal with the challenges of our times 

the UK has reached the end of the line 

let us not mourn 

It is time for a better Scotland to be born 

let’s wave goodbye to the union jack 

by showing our people there is a better way to be 

Independent and free from the chains of colonial rule 

and the poverty it has brought to our nation 

my inspiration 

comes from members in every branch 

the foot soldiers  who climbed  stairs and filled envelopes 

before chapping doors and putting leaflets through letter boxes 

in the name of the cause 

we are proud to uphold 

no amount of silver and gold 

can buy our principled position 

of saying no to a country run by elites

we must explain to the voters 

why we will never be content 

to accept second best 

our history won’t let us 

as we remember them 

who fought the fight before us 

only to be faced with a chorus of apathy 

and the oft repeated line 

my father voted Labour 

and if was good for him 

then it’s good enough for me 

we as SNP supporters were dismissed without a hearing 

if it never deterred our predecessors 

it won’t stop us now 

in every city , town , and village 

we will campaign with honesty 

for the future we know is ours 

we have never wanted power

for the sake of having it 

we want to transform our country 

and the lives of those who live in it 

it is for this reason alone  we exist 

we must not ignore the fact 

we follow in the footsteps of giants 

and on this day and every day 

we will remember them 

© Gayle Smith 2017 

A Woman’s Voice

Hey Readers On day 17 of NaPoWriMo my poem covers the topic of voting and why it matters especially for women. The topic was inspired by fellow blogger Hannah Rose Williams who asked me to find a post which explained why voting matters Realising I had written many posts but never one which specifically examined this issue I decided to tackle it in poetic style. I have given it the title  A Woman’s Voice I hope you enjoy the read.

A Woman’s Voice

An X on a ballot marks your engagement
with democratic participation
your right to make a choice
to shape the destiny of your nation
make a decision on who you want to govern us
and more importantly why
don’t believe the lie that voting doesn’t matter
or the media spin that all politicians are the same
and you can change nothing
you can  you have and you will
the suffragettes won the vote for women and girls
when politics was viewed as a private members club
reserved for men of wealth
where women’s issues were never discussed
let alone debated
our foremothers chained themselves to railings
to gain a stake in society
so forgive me if I say
I will not go quietly in to the night
I will exercise my right to vote
to give women a voice
let our leaders know the choices
I make
and why I reached my decisions
on the issues that matter to me
you see, I put leaflets through letter boxes
for my preferred candidate
in the Scottish election
and power walking does wonders
to shed the winter pounds
the political ground is ours to claim
and by ours I mean yours and mine
as women of all shades and opinions
speak our truths  on housing, crime and poverty
where there is injustice or inequality
you will see me with banners or placards in hand
at city centre demonstrations
this is part of my every day reality.
usually though not always on Saturday’s
as I campaign for changes
which will make our country a safer place to live
for my friends to bring up children
and for me to walk the streets in safety
the progress we have made did not happen overnight
concessions are not won without a fight
think of the rights that women have gained
we would never have got them
if we hadn’t complained
about topics we believed were important
from abortion to the tampon tax
we’ve kept a cool head whilst stating the facts
from Mary Barbour to Rosa Parkes
our foremothers have played a part
in shaping a better society
on equal marriage and human trafficking
it was women’s voices which spoke with compassion
just as it was at the birth of civic nationalism
when Winnie and Margo showed Scotland
our women deserved respect
in the face of macho Labour hostility
now times have moved on
and women of stature lead
my country’s three main parties
with others in positions of prominence
in Scotland, Britain, and the world
this is why I say to women and girls
get involved in politics
claim democracy as yours
and remember nothing is solved from the sidelines
don’t look for someone to blame
or believe that we’re all the same
don’t fall for the lies
no matter if you’re
from the shires or the scheme
dare to dream that you could be the one
to shatter the glass ceiling
then on polling day
engage
and let your voice be heard.

@ Gayle Smith 2016

From Terriors To Traditional Music And Tongan Hopes And Hoops There Really Was Something For Everyone To Get The Party Started

Hey everyone Having had time to reflect on last night’s opening ceremony to welcome the world to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. I have concluded that it was like all the best Glasgow parties. In other words a mixture of the brilliant and the embarrassing. Well this is Glasgow we wouldn’t have it any other way and lets be honest we couldn’t not even if we wanted to.

The fact that the opening ceremony was held at my beloved Celtic park was to use the words of one of our former managers astonishingly brilliant, not least because it gives some of better together’s staunchest supporters the boak. No doubt they will be consoled by the fact that God Save The Queen was sung at a venue in which it normally be would given a very hostile reception, but what amused me about this, was that for the first and possibly only time in recorded history it was sung at Celtic park by people who were actually sober.

Like all the best family parties we had to have the embarrassing relations will insist on popping along for a blether whether you want them to or not camp cousins John Barrowman and Karen Dunbar were perfect for that role and as good as he can sometimes be John can be a wee bit annoying and to be truthful Karen always was the more talented of the two and unlike others she hasn’t forgotten her roots or the fact that a Glaswegian accent is supposed to sound Glaswegian.

The Red Arrows fly past was brilliant even if the choice of colours was in my opinion inappropriate for an event where is no Team GB and the home nations all compete as independent countries in the sporting sense of the word.
That said however, I decided to present my own unique take on a choice of colour scheme which though it would never go well at Celtic park can I think be interpreted in different ways by different people. Well as a geographer I know about landscape interpretation so I decided to interpret it not as the colours of the union flag but rather that the blue and white are the colours of our national flag and that the red represented the blood red banner of real socialists.

When I speak of real socialists I think of the kind of socialists that Scotland can elect post independence. When I speak of real socialists I speak of people like John McLean, Jimmy Reid Margo MacDonald, Jim Sillars, Dennis Canavan, and many more principled visionaries rather than the jokers who pretend to be socialists for a political career and are actually doing very well thanks to the Westminster gravy train. Yes I know I appealed that politics be left out of the opening ceremony but it wasn’t, and this means it won’t be left out of my review.

Staying on matters political though this time from a more global perspective, I really liked the fact that the Unicef adverts reminded us that many Commonwealth countries are in poverty and appealed to those who could afford it to dig deep in to their pockets and help the children of the commonwealth have the best possible quality of life. It is however a shame that the organisations felt they couldn’t show the work of foodbanks in the East End of Glasgow foodbanks which I and my flatmate have had occasion to visit in the last few months. Oh I forgot Scotland is not really in poverty at least not if you listen to better together poverty like independence is according to them something that happens to other countries but not to Scotland.

Anyway, every Glasgow family party I ever attended always had a wee bit of political discussion thrown in to the night. I also have to say that every party has that performer who signs the wrong song at the wrong time and last night that performer was Susan Boyle. Normally a performer who can be relied upon to produce the goods Boyle appeared more nervous than I’ve seen her in the past, her performance of the Paul McCartney classic Mull of Kintyre was shall we say somewhat less than inspiring and if she was as I suspect advised to sing that song then I must say someone gave her really bad advice. To be honest I think they should have got her to sing memories at which she is brilliant instead of giving her a song with which I think she was uncomfortable to say the least.

Someone who was very comfortable on the Celtic park stage was that life long Celtic fan Rod Stewart whose Glaswegian rendition of the Rhythm of my Heart was one of the highlights of an evening that had as we say in Glasgow a guid fair few.

One group who did not appear was 1980’s superstars Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Well the fact that there from Liverpool may explain why they weren’t invited but forget Frankie Goes to Hollywood this was the night Lizzie aka the queen went to Paradise home of Glasgow Celtic and when the Tonga team came in to the stadium a member of the team was proudly carrying a Celtic strip as he smiled his way through the parade. So Lizzie saw the hoops in paradise whether she wanted to or not.

As the teams made their way in to the arena it was great to hear the crowd cheering each and every one. This I am delighted to say included England who got a brilliant reception as they proudly wore their colours. Many people including unionist politicians were no doubt privately hoping that we would boo England out of the stadium but we showed that Glasgow and Scotland have more class than our so-called unionist masters give us credit for. As I have often had to explain to people our problem is not with England it’s with Westminster and believe me there is a very big difference between the two.

Apart from the big cheer for England which was a highlight of the evening as it showed the world that we actually like our neighbours I really enjoyed magnificent performances from Julie Fowlis and Nicola Benedetti as they showcased all that it good about traditional Scottish culture. Indeed apart from the reception given to Team Scotland on entering the greatest ground on earth and the wonderfully moving rendition of the brilliant
Freedom Come All Ye,Benedetti’s rendition of
Loch Lomond was my favourite moment of the night. Of all versions I’ve ever heard I have never heard it played so beautifully.

As the evening drew to it’s close there were statesmanlike speeches from the First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond and Glasgow City Council Leader Gordon Mathieson. There was also a minute’s silence for the victims of the Malaysia air crash, a moment of defiance as John Barrowman kissed a man in public as a statement of intent that Scotland stands for LGBTI equality. A moment of panic as no-one seemed able to open the baton before Sir Chris Hoy rode to the rescue, and eventually Her Majesty The Queen formally declared open the 20th Commonwealth Games.

So there you have it, an opening ceremony which was a mixture of the brilliant and the bizarre, the entertaining and the embarrassing and as a Scot and especially as Glaswegian I wouldn’t have it any other way. Well let’s be honest we couldn’t do it any other way not even if we wanted to. So on a night where we had everything from terriers to traditional music and Tongan hopes and hoops. There really was something for everyone to get the party started.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X