Tag Archive | Spain

Envious Eyes 

On the morning after Catalonia declares her independence from Spain I declare my support for independent state of Catalonia and Catalan people in taking this step and as I do so part of me is wishing it was Scotland. It is for that reason I have written this poem and titled it Envious Eyes I hope you enjoy the read. Envious Eyes 

As a new nation declares its right to exist 

I look on with envious eyes 

proud of Catalonia as it takes its first steps 

yet this Glasgweigan wishes it was Scotland 

and is certain it will be in our time 

for the moment however I am proud of our comrades

as they move forward to a better day

having decided that their story could no longer be told in Spanish

it had to be authentically Catalonian 

meanwhile Madrid attempts to bring in draconian laws

to stop the tide of history 

losing any sense of dignity it may have had

as Franco’s heirs live on at least in their minds 

and those who want to bring Dickensian times to Scotland

in the name of a United Kingdom 

which is the one of the most unequal  socieies in the democratic world 

where the poor go hungry so the rich can be fed 

and disabled people are being  financially bled

and are told by some unelected lord

they aren’t even worth the minimum wage 

as Catalonia takes centre stage 

I recall how bravely they fought

feel ashamed of pro union Scots 

so gullible they sing of saving a  monarch

who will out live many of them 

and are too deluded to see 

that short term gain comes with a long term loss

and I will shed no tears when it arrives at their door 

they will have only themselves to blame

as they worship false gods dressed in ermine

whose true uniform is sackcloath and ashes

so as Catalonia prepares for the first day of a new future 

I look with optimism of a Scotland free from class ridden snobbery

where poverty and inequality will be things of the past 

and dreams and ambitions realised 

so as I say Viva Catalonia I must admit 

though I look at you proudly

I do so with envious eyes 

 © Gayle Smith 2017

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Storm Of Sorrow

On the day of the Catalan Independence Referendum the Spainish state is tainted as Prime Minister Rajoy tries to deny reality and employs both sabotage and brute force to stop people exercising their democratic right to vote. These tactics are an insult to democracy and reminiscent of Franco’s fascist dictatorship As I watched the scenes unravel on my phone I was sickened to see pictures of people covered in blood and yet the UK government statement talked only of Spain and how valuable an ally they are to the UK without giving so much as a moment  to consider the victims of these unprovoked attacks. Having csmpaigned for Scotland’s independence in 2014 I remember the support we received from our Catalan comrades and outraged at their treatment I wrote this poem in support of both Catalonia and their right to exercise their democratic mandate. Ive given it the title Storm Of Sorrow I hope you enjoy the read

Storm Of Sorrow

Carnage in Catalan streets

citizens shot down by riot police.

as people go to exercise their right to vote

on seeing images of bloodsoaked protesters

British politicians gloat on social networks

unable to continue their glee

before removing their offensive tweets.

this will teach the SNP they claim

on the day democracy is less important than blame

and Franco’s heirs flaunt their hate

they should be ashamed to side with Spain

but they do

the red white and blue is bloodstained again

as democracy weeps it whispers the truth

with tears used as punctuation

you can judge a nation’s leaders

by the company they keep

and people who lecture others on internationalism

fall silent in the storm of sorrow

© Gayle Smith 2017

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 

Will The Bright September Sunshine Smile Down On Catalonia Or Will A Spainish Promise Mean Adios To Freedom

Hey everyone After Scotland’s chance of nationhood was at least for the moment surrendered in September last year. I must admit I looked on with envious eyes to Catalonia two months later when in November 80 per cent of voters gave their backing to establishing their nation as an independent country in an unofficial test of public opinion of the issue.

However in a special report by Peter Geoghegan in Friday’s edition of The National suggests that the Spanish Government may face pressure to grant to the Catalan people a binding referendum. As the Catalan Nationalist Artur Mas has called snap elections for the Catalonian parliament on September 27th. These elections will Geoghegan informs us will be a De Facto
referendum on leaving Spain.

So just like Scotland it looks like Catalonia’s political future will be settled in the cool of a September breeze. It does have to be said however that the timing of the vote may not be the only similarity between the two nations as far from the landslide victory many observers were predicting just a few months ago, the result may like the Scottish vote last year be a lot closer than first thought. Indeed there a school of thought which believes the Catalans like the Scots may take cold feet at the last minute and favour staying in a union with Spain.

To have expressed such sentiments last year would at least according to political observers would have been perceived as ridiculous as Catalonia was seen as the progressive model for constitutional change in Europe and there independence movement which was lead according to experts in the field from the bottom up with genuine grassroots control was we were told far more likely to win its bid for freedom than a Scottish independence movement which was according to the unionist press led from the top down.
The Scottish independence movement we were told was despite the fact that yes campaigners knew different led by one party the SNP and by one man Alex Salmond.

This blatant and bare faced lie was allowed to stand as the unchallenged truth due to the fact that unionists exerted far too much power and influence over the press and media than is good for any democracy. Indeed when I told many voters that Alex Salmond was not the leader of the Yes campaign and that our chief executive was Blair Jenkins and our chair person was the former Labour MP Dennis Canavan I was met with either blank stares or verbal abuse. Meanwhile the pro union lie machine went in to overdrive to conduct the most vile, sickening, and vitriolic hate campaign against Mr Salmond a man whose boots his unionist opponents will never be fit to lace.

One of the tactics used by our opponents, and as a politics graduate I will admit this was smart on their part, was to project that the United Kingdom still had indeed still has a sphere of influence within the global community. Of course those of us who support independence know that this is a myth but try telling that to an anxious pensioner on the doorstep and believe me I did and you realise just how tough a selling job I had to do. The Better Together campaign had managed to drape Britishness like a comfort blanket round certain groups in our society and it really worked well for them.

This was particularly true on two issues, currency and Europe. These issues were played brilliantly by the UK unionists and David Cameron wasted no time in enlisting the help of Spanish Premier and fellow Conservative Marrino Rajoy who with one eye on his own and his country’s political future was only too keen to assist Mr Cameron’s by talking down Scotland’s chances of success. This was particularly true with regards to gaining early and unopposed entry in to the European Union. Now however Mr Rajoy has own political concerns and though he will no doubt be hopeful of a result in this battle he knows as David Cameron knew when he was facing Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond that he is up a skilled political operator in Catalan Premier Artur Mas.

The fact that Mas has managed to get the two main pro independence parties to run on a joint ticket for these elections will present advocates for a yes ailliance in Scotland for next year’s Scottish Parliament with a significant boost to our cause if the Catalan result goes well. At the moment however that is still very much an if, and though support for Catalan Independence has risen sharply in recent years one wonders that support can be sustained when push comes to shove.

In his excellent article Peter Geoghegan states that ‘September is an auspicious month for Catalan nationalists and September 11th the date Barcelona fell to Bourbon forces is Catalonia’s national holiday’ Personally this would make me very wary of holding any referendum on or around that date, and this could explain why Alex Salmond ruled out holding Scotland’s vote in June, too close to Bannockburn, or indeed on St Andrew’s day or the Thursday closest to it.

Geoghegan goes on to state that there are indications that support for outright independence may be declining as recent opinion polls appear to be showing a narrow majority of voters in favour of staying with Spain. Geoghegan cites evidence from Professor Michael Keating an expert of sub state nationalist movements who says that ‘people are still looking for a Spanish version of Devo Max’. Well if they are I wish them luck because there sure as hell going to need it. I caution them now to beware of Spanish promises they may disappear faster than Scotch mist after the votes have been counted.

With regards to Devo Max I think I had better give my Catalan comrades a wee heads up as to what it actually is or what it’s supposed to be. You see according to some unionist commentators Devo Max was supposed to mean that Scotland got control of everything except defence and foreign affairs. This however has been strenuously denied by unionist politicians some of whom said that the vow their leaders made in the run up to Scotland’s vote has not only replaced Devo Max but that it had been honoured and indeed extended by the findings of The Smith Commission Report. This line of argument would be fine but for one fatal flaw, I don’t live in a fantasy world and neither does UK Labour leader Ed Milliband who not only said that the vow had not been honoured but that the vow didn’t exist as the Daily Record had made it up to secure its readership for the union. Personally I don’t know why they bothered as the record readers were always going to be Brit lovers I mean we are talking that most bizarre of combinations the orange and the old. Now I don’t mean to be cruel but this is not exactly mensa material we’re talking about. If there are any Catalans reading this post I strongly suggest you vote for the Nationalist movements and get the mandate to leave Spain rather than complicate things any further than you need to by hanging around and hoping for the best.

Though I have heard there is a new kid on the Spanish political bloc I for one wouldn’t be putting my trust in Podemos. My reasoning is simple they may be electrifying Spanish politics and it is for that very reason they will not have Catalonia’s interests at heart.

To conclude my thoughts on this matter I say to the people of Catalonia you supported our independence movement in our hour of need and I return that support by wishing you well on your day of destiny whenever it comes. Whether or not your nation becomes independent or remains a part of Spain I do not know. That is for you and you alone to decide and the final decision can only be yours to take. Yours and no-one else’s
I however will want to know the answer to this question will the bright September sunshine smile down on Catalonia or will a Spanish promise mean adios to freedom

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X