Tag Archive | Scottish Independence

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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A Man Wearing Old Clothes From Narnia’s Wardrobe Drove Yesterday’s Car In The Slow Lane

Hey everyone Yesterday I watched in horror as I saw a pensioner crashing a car live on TV. The pensioner is still standing but the car is a shambles and will need so much work done to it that many people will question if the car which has recently undergone two spray paints from lilac to deep red and then to a more pink like red will ever be road worthy again. This is made worse by the fact that despite many objections to the pensioner even sitting his driving test he was allowed to go ahead and according to the examiner passed his test just a few weeks ago

A disturbing choice of metaphor it may be but such was the cringe worthy embarrassment of Jeremy Corbyn’s first interview as party leader it really was the only suitable choice. This was political poverty at its worst in a speech riddled with smears and falsehoods against the people of Scotland and in particular the SNP. To make matters worse Corbyn showing breathtaking hypocrisy said he supported a united Ireland but not Scotland’s right to be an independent nation having the audacity to claim despite evidence to contrary that we would be poorer because of it.

Yes Jeremy I think I know what we you may be referring to and believe me it isn’t the people of Scotland. It is and make no mistake about it, the self serving sycophants of the loyal British Labour and Unionist Party. Now I take a very hard line on this issue you see I believe you cannot support a united Ireland without supporting independence for Scotland and indeed all national communities who wish to attain it. To even dare to try this makes you at best a hypocrite and at worst a deluded fanatic who will say anything for votes. This however is what I call typical Labour behaviour and it’s no surprise the Right Honourable Member for Islington South is well versed in this particular art.

Now before people accuse me of anti Corbyn rant, let me make it crystal clear there are many ares on which I agree with the man. For example his support for the living wage is one issue where we can come together as is his determination to support the retention of the NHS, his plan to renationalise the railways and his opposition to trident is also area of common ground. The fact that he supports all of these policies is a starting point from which we could potentially work to build a consensus. However getting rid of the weapons of mass destruction that is trident is a deal breaker for me. Now whilst seeking nomination to be leader of his party he stated his desire to work with the SNP to achieve this. So if he keeps his promise this can only be a good thing even if the vast majority of his MP’s and MSP’s will attempt to prevent him from doing so. Therefore whether he will still commit to seeing this through is however another matter entirely.

 

If he does make this commitment, as I hope he will this will show he has abandoned or can be persuaded to abandon what we in Scotland call the Bain Principle. This ‘principle’ was no matter what the SNP do oppose it even if you actually think it’s a really good idea. It was, is, and always will be the politics of the brain dead. I however have strong reservations particularly as 94 per cent of his MP’s don’t believe he is capable of doing the job he has been given and will take every opportunity to remind him he wasn’t their choice to get it. I had hoped that Corbyn could move away from the kind of tribalism so often supported by his party and offer me some hope not so much of building a Britain I could be proud of I could never be proud of a state build on the rocks of bigotry and butchery as Britain was but maybe I could hope he could give me a country I could be content with at least until the next independence referendum.

 

Alas however though he has a few ideas I can support he has wobbled too early and on too many issues to manage this and as a result any honeymoon period I may have given him has been cut dramatically and drastically short. Good God if a potential suitor had disappointed me so badly I would have bolted from the date before I had finished the starter. I mean I have a reasonably forgiving nature but you can only forgive so much before those who can take advantage of you will do exactly that and the fact he has been all too willing to make too many consessions has pushed me over the tipping point. You see I had already forgiven him for boring me to death at his first Prime Minister’s Question time when he read out questions from ‘real people’ aka Labour Party hacks which smacked of both insincerity and self indulgence. I had forgiven him though with strong reservations for giving jobs in his shadow cabinet team to unelected peers. I had grudgingly forgiven the lack of women in his cabinet I had even tried to forgive this red top republican for his back tracking on refusing to sing god save the queen and then saying he would sing it in the future. It is however a different matter when you start talking crap about Scotland. When that happens the halo slips, and the game as we say is a bogey and you are now fair game to be hunted, by your opponents haunted by the principles you were supposed to stand for, and destroyed by both. Yesterday Jeremy Corbyn fell head first in to the trap that been set for him by a press and media which in my opinion set him up to fail. This was not a smart move and his detractors both outside and within his own party will be loving it.

 

This I suspect will not be an easy time for the Labour Party and If they I am going to make it any easier then I regret to inform I have bad news for them in that department to think otherwise would be at best naïve and at worst beyond gullible. Mr Corbyn’s credibility has in my opinion been shredded by his deliberate lying to the people of my country. What makes it worse for him is the fact that he has quite blatantly said that Scotland will gain no powers for our devolved parliament with him as leader of the Labour Party. I mean pardon me for reminding him but does he not realise that is one of the main reasons why his party so badly whipped by the SNP at May’s UK general election? Because if he really believes that this display pro union arrogance is going to win back support for his party he is very much mistaken.

To me this behaviour typifies a man who in all fairness doesn’t know much about Scotland but probably still has that sense of entitlement so many in the Labour Party seem to have in the sense  that they have a divine right to rule Scotland as their part of the UK . If as I suspect this is the case this is both very complacent and ill advised. Arrogance and complacency were two of the reasons Labour did as badly as they did in May the other key reason and it shouldn’t be forgotten is the fact that after promising Scotland they would deliver substantial new powers they in fact delivered nothing and had colluded with the Tories an elaborate hoax to con the people of Scotland out of our independence. Neither the Labour Party nor Mr Corbyn will be forgiven for that sleazy little crime for a very long time and if he thinks otherwise he is fooling no-one but himself a few Corbynistas who want to travel back in time and live the 1980’s.

You know  I hate to tell these people but the world has moved on from those days and we know that the only suitable place to do a timewarp is at a wedding or perhaps more appropriately given Labour’s current circumstances in the audience at the Rocky Horror Show. Not content with clocking up more time travel air miles than Doctor Who and the entire crew of the star ship enterprise the bold Jeremy in what I can only call a blatant anti SNP moment made a rather ridiculous comment about flags not building houses. Having said this I think it is my duty to remind of the shameful record the Labour Party had when last in power in Scotland with regard to building affordable social rented housing. Six homes in their last four years does not make for impressive reading when compared to the 24,000 built under the SNP. For Mr Corbyn not to have checked this fact smacks of lazy politics, in fact worse than that it smacks of the puerile playground politics his party have indulged in for all of my adult life. So much then for the new sexy socialism we were promised under good king Jeremy.Now without me being in any way uncharitable It seems to me that whilst the emperor may be able fit in to his favourite clothes more comfortably than the last few visitors to narnia’s wardrobe he certainly doesn’t have new ones worth wearing.

Yesterday I saw a pensioner having a car crash. A man wearing old clothes from Narnia’s wardrobe had been driving a car in the slow lane. I was shocked at this tragic sight and I have to say it disturbed me. The car which looked like it had been a favourite of his from many yesterday’s ago crashed badly and if it can be repaired which I very much doubt it may need another driver before 2020 when it is due for its next road test. The driver continued to tell everyone who would listen why some people needed to consider hin a safe driver as h was the only one who knows how the engine works. I am sure the man  may believe his own story  but I’m not sure do Like many others I remain unconvinced by his abilities to handle difficult situtations and his  Anti-Scottish rhetoric on no new powers will do nothing to change my mind

So I think it is fair to say that Mr Corbyn has a Scotland problem the question is how does he solve it. I believe this will not be as easy as he thinks. If as I believe is the case he thinks that the election of 56 SNP MP’s was a protest vote then he is not living in the real world and needs to wise up fast. It was an old SNP warhorse and a veteran of more campaigns than I can count who summed up  Corbyn’s dilema by saying Jeremy Corbyn would be ok if he didn’t have Edward the Second syndrome he wants to be overlord of Scotland. This I think sums his difficulty with Scotland and the fact that Labour in Scotland have been a shambles in opposition to a popular SNP government does help him or his party. Therefore I believe that to carry on this failed mantra of SNP bad is a recipe not only for disaster at the polls next May but for long term political oblivion.

That being the case I suggest the comrades will start their search for a replacement driver for their car  after a very painful night at the Scottish election next year when in spite of him or maybe because of him the Scottish National Party will be returned to power with an increased majority at Holyrood.

Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X

Anti-Irish Racism Is The Scar That Shames Our Nation

Hey everyone Happy St Patrick’s Day to each and every one of you. I hope the blessings of St Patrick are kind to you all throughout the coming year and whether or not you are part of the Irish-Scots community, the wider global diaspora or have no connections to the auld country I hope you enjoy the day and feel like you can join in the party and celebrate with as a welcoming and inclusive a gathering as you will find anywhere.

As for me I did my celebrating a couple of days ago and the St Patrick’s family day in Glasgow’s Merchant Square and was given the same warm welcome I have always received. Particular highlights included the Osborne School of Irish Dancing, The Michael Malone Band, The Keelies and the brilliant Michelle McManus whose rendition of Lady Of Knock was absolutely stunning.

We also crowned the new Mary Of Dungloe to succeed the lovely Grace Sweeney who won the overall title in Dungloe at the festival last July. I have to say when I heard this news it did not come as a shock. Nor would be a shock if her successor as Glasgow’s Mary Rosie Donnelly was to exactly the same this summer. However that is in the future and I think she will be on cloud nine after winning on Saturday night. The day which was organised totally at community level was a great success and it was brilliantly hosted by 2013 Young Scottish Traditional Musician Paddy Callaghan. All things considered I enjoyed a great day of quality entertainment and felt like I belonged within the diaspora family.

However it and saddens me to say it, not all Scots will be out enjoying the craic tonight and some for pseudo political and religious reasons are deeply hostile to any such celebrations taking place. You see we live in a country which though it likes to talk the talk on equality for all does not always practice what it preaches in this respect and even as we celebrate St Patrick’s Day 2014 it appears to me and many others that Anti-Irish Racism is the scar that shames Scotland.

It was my gran who only ever disliked one irish person her old orange stepmother from county Derry, who first told me that Scotland seemed to have what she referred to as a problem with the Irish. Note the phrase as I believe the wording to be important as she never once said we had an Irish problem.

This to me is an important position to take as it shifts the blame from the irish community and places it very firmly at the door of the host nation. After all as my gran told me all nationalists be they political or cultural, know or at least should know the debt Scotland owes to Ireland. It is actually true to say that without the help of three Irish clans there may never have been an independent Scotland in the first place O’Donnell of Donegal, O’Neill of Tyrone, and O’Sullivan of Kerry all answered the call to fight with Bruce at Bannockburn and advised him to defend the hill thus giving his army the major advantage of knowing when the enemy would attack and being better able to fight them off. It was this tactical advice that resulted in our victory.

Make no mistake this Anti-Irish racism was manufactured for religious reasons by the English nobility who feared Scotland’s ailliance with Catholic France and knew that just how susceptible their Scottish colleagues would be to a bribe. Trust me Burns got it 100 percent on the money when he said we were bought and sold for English Gold and I should add for lands in the green fields of Ulster and it is there that the problems between cousins who should have been the closest of kin actually began.

Putting a more contemporary slant on events and bringing them up to my timeline. I look in my poem Letterkenny Memories at the summer holiday experience of my first generation irish neighbours and contrast this to my dull and dreary trips to Manchester. I say that England was forced down young protestant throats as a friend against the Irish. Believe me this is true and I speak from personal experience.

This I believe has been the dominant paradigm in Scottish cultural thought since as far back as the union of the crowns and as such will have permeated the fabric of our society to a far greater degree than many Scots would like to imagine including the some members of the current SNP administration and all members of every unionist party. After all the unionist cause has long been associated with both Anti-Irish and Anti-Catholic sentiments. Indeed many Catholics who do buy in to the Scottish political system and unionist politics in particular often do so purely for personal gain and most if not all have chosen to dilute their identity in order to get on often ignoring Anti-Irish racism in the process.

However there is an old saying in politics which is your damned if you do and your damned if you don’t and perhaps the SNP Government should have decided in the wake of the parcel bomb threats that it would have been safer not to act than act in haste as they did by bringing in the Offensive Behaviour Act which criminalises fans of Celtic and supposedly Rangers for singing certain songs which some people may believe have the potential to incite religious hatred. I have to say that I initially believed this had the potential to be good piece of legalisation as I was sure it would protect the Irish community against the ravages of shall we say the more strident members of the unionist community Now of course having had time to reflect on the issue I concede that I was over optimistic to have such high expectations and I admit I was wrong as and I think it was the SNP’s biggest act of political naivety to believe that certain forces would not have a preset disposition to look after their own. Having said that however I do believe it was naivety rather than racism which made the SNP score this particular own goal.
As recently as December last year The Guardian reported on this issue and pointed the finger at the Scottish press. In a hard hitting article Roy Greenslade cites the vile abuse suffered by Angela Haggerty who was editing Downfall how Rangers FC Self Destructed by Phil Mac Gholla Bhain which was about to be serialised in the Scottish Sun until it was pulled at the last minute after protests from Rangers fans. The abuse suffered by Haggerty lead to the arrest and conviction of hard-line Rangers fan David Limond for threatening and abusive language against Ms Haggerty.
The journalist reminds us that Ms Haggerty was referred to as ‘taig of the day’ and informs those who are unaware of the cultural significance of this word by comparing it the N word in the USA and the Y word with regards to Tottenham Hotspur football club.

Greenslade asserts that had this happened in England the consequences for Limond would have been far greater, as the incident would have been reported in every major newspaper rather than being ignored as it was in Scotland.
It is with regret that I have to agree with the reporters assertion on this matter.

You see this is by no means an isolated incident in the ticking clock that is the cultural cocktail of the West Of Scotland there have been plenty of other examples. The parcel bombs sent to Celtic Manager Neil Lennon Former Labour MSP Tricia Godman, and the late and highly respected QC Paul McBride in 2011 were a horrific and disgusting reminder of the irrational and nauseating hatred some sections of society have towards those from a different cultural background to their own. Indeed it was these outrageous attacks which prompted my good friend Francis Lopez of Ayrshire band San Fran And The Sisco’s
to write the song A Beautiful Country which if you haven’t heard it yet is well worth a listen and you can find it on You Tube.

Another friend of mine the Cumnock poet Jim Monaghan tackles the issue in the second stanza of his poem United Colours of Cumnock in which he examines his home town with all its faults and flaws put under the poets microscope and it is with these words he condemns his country’s badge of shame ‘my town’s a blue town, a who the fuck are you town what school did you go to town and are you one of us? Here Monaghan exposes the causal Anti-Irish attitude of small town small minded Scotland as a country riddled with prejudice and fear. Indeed just a few weeks a Glasgow taxi driver ejected to Irish speaking youths from his cab, and there was an unprovoked attack on young musicians who gathered at St Rochs School as youngsters attended traditional music classes to celebrate their culture and heritage. This kind of behaviour is obnoxious and malevolent and represents a clear danger to the Irish community in the west of Scotland.

This danger has stalked our streets before and nowhere was this more clearly demonstrated than by the premeditated murder a few years ago of young 16 year old Mark Campbell by Rangers fan whose family had strong links with the loyalist paramilitaries of the UVF in fact he even wanted transferred to Belfast to serve his sentence. This permission was thankfully refused and the murderer remained what he’d been convicted as a murderer rather than the hero he would undoubtedly have to the more lunatic fringes of unionism

However one good thing did come out of this savage act of brutality as it led to the Charity Nil By Mouth being set up as a response to this sickening and senseless act. Campbell’s crime? Walking through the wrong part of the city wearing what was judged by the criminal who killed him to be the wrong team colours in the wrong part of town.

Unfortunately the reaction to Mark Campbell’s murder was to treat the death as a football related sectarian attack rather than think of it as Anti-Irish racism. After all in the cosy little world of the Labour Party who ruled Scotland at the time, Scotland couldn’t be racist could it? After all we treat our Asian communities far better than those nasty right wing English folk don’t we? and we all know racism is based on skin colour isn’t it?

Well this may come as a shock to the Labour Party the SNP and all other parties who present themselves as socially tolerant of other cultures but the answer to those questions are that Scotland could be racist. Scotland did not and does not treat our Asian communities any better than people of England and racism is not just confined to skin colour. Racism occurs where one dominant culture attempts to suppress any other within its territories by means of institutionalised discrimination which is fuelled by ignorance or fear of and/or prejudice to the said racial or ethnic group and I am sad to say that it is just as likely if not more likely to occur in a stateless nation like Scotland as it is anywhere else on this earth. This is a fact and for some a very unpleasant reality. A reality which if they are honest they would sooner not face.

However face it we have to and face we must if we are ever to get the Scotland we deserve. A fair democratic Scotland built on the twin cultural pillars of inclusion and respect. That Scotland and only that Scotland is the Scotland I have fought for all of my political life and I will continue to fight for it until the dream or should I say ambitious vision becomes accepted as the daily reality for all citizens of our country no matter where their place of birth or where their ancestors came from. We must bring to an end the Anti-Irish racism and must never stop until we finally rid Scotland of the scar that shames our nation.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X