Tag Archive | The United Kingdom

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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Lessons 

On day 3 of NaPoWriMo it is time for a political poem and it may not come as too much of a shock that the  topic of choice is independence. What may however be a bit of a surprise is that the tone of the poem comes as a warning to yes supporters to learn the lessons of history to avoid repeating the mistakes and indeed disappointments of 2014. In this poem I urge our supporters to offer the hand of friendship to those voters who voted no in 2014 and set about winning them over to Yes and winning a better Scotland because of it. I have given it the title  Lessons I hope you enjoy the read 
Lessons
If Scotland is ever to see the day 

when we become an independent self governing nation 

we must learn the lessons of the last campaign 

we cannot afford to win the day 

and lose the future 

economics may be not my seducer 

but it is effective for many 

and that penny needs to drop  

we have to recognise its power 

or the flower of Scotland will never truly bloom 

our country will not be won 

by slogans, clipboards, and demonstrations 

though they will play a part 

we must use the head and speak from the heart 

be inclusive of all communities 

and not be afraid of tackling deeply held prejudices 

amongst our own supporters 

as to why we think the way we do 

this will be a challenge 

but it has to be faced 

we can’t simply wish it away 

and hope our opponents are magically cured 

of the loyalties which bind them to  union 

this is why we never won last time 

we need to engage and say clearly and with honestly 

we can offer no guarantees 

but neither can our opponents 

and we need to call them out 

when they claim otherwise 

there are no such thing as certainties 

to pretend that the present is set in stone 

is not the solution 

we were told we would never leave 

the European Union 

yet Brexit and the isolation it will bring 

will turn us more selfish and right wing

as gradually the UK becomes ever more insular 

with xenophobia masked as the new patriotism 

this is a vision I do not share 

I despair that our civic Scotland will be under threat 

and every word we say will be scrutinised 

the smears and lies have already started 

winning the future is not a job for the faint hearted 

we have to offer the hand of friendship 

to those who voted no in 2014 

not accuse them of killing our dreams 

in moments of anger and frustration 

it is too easy to throw about words like independence and nation 

without explaining why we would better than Westminster 

at running our own affairs 

I want to live in a country that cares 

for our most vulnerable citizens 

not a United Kingdom based on wealth patronage and privilege 

that’s why my identity is Scottish not British

I don’t want to live a land which still fantasises  

about a past when they called other countries colonies 

whilst keeping their own people poor in the name of empire 

 telling them they should be proud 

they couldn’t feed their families 

I don’t want to live in a country 

where people are devalued due to race , religion , gender or sexuality 

where diversity is demonised 

and difference is viewed with fear 

to me  these kind of attitudes

are barriers to the progressive society 

I’ve always believed in 

I know there will be some in both the SNP and yes

who will be uncomfortable with me 

because of the way I dress 

and the fact I am a woman with a trans past 

but I’m prepared to take the chance

 that our very different versions of what independence should mean 

will be keenly contested in elections in which Scotland’s voters matter 

as for now I’ll accept them as allies 

in defeating the spin and patter 

coming from unionists with agendas 

the way the Tories have been behaving 

they might as well start singing no surrender or Rule Britannia

or giving pensioners free photographs of Margaret Thatcher

rather than trying to pretend 

they give a damn about our country 

we need to debate them on the issues

we need to win ugly 

by convincing those voters who are willing to listen 

that Britain belongs in the past 

though I admit it  may have been good for some 

 this battle needs won 

not for Auld Lang Syne 

nor memories of old 

we’ve got to be bold for the future generations

those growing up 

and others still to see the day 

it is their future that’s at risk 

we can , we must, we will do better than this 

when we learn our lessons 

the future will be ours. 

@ Gayle Smith 2017 

Breakfast Means Breakfast

Hey Readers

In her recent speech to the Conservative Party Conference  British Prime Minister Theresa May seemed to be under the delusion that she could stop Scotland from holding a second independence referendum  should we choose to do so, simply by sneering at us and shouting Brexit Means Brexit. Now far be it from me to put an unelected tyrant with no mandate in Scotland in her place but she needs to be told if there’s any sneering to be done we’re the ones who are going to do it.  Well at least we have a First Minister who has been democratically elected by our people and who but for a corrupt system of PR would be heading a second majority government. It is as a reminder to the Right Honourable Lady that she will never stop the people of Scotland exercising our democratic will that I have written this poem which takes a satirical look at the sinister anti Scottish undertones in her speech. I have titled it Breakfast Means Breakfast , I hope you enjoy the read.

Breakfast Means Breakfast

I had to tell them no
you can’t have lunch I forbid it
you must understand I’m in command
there is just one meal you’re getting
so don’t go forgetting
Breakfast means Breakfast
Now where are my chocolate digestives
I hope that Nicola and Kezia
haven’t been helping themselves
I’ll need to put their favourites on the top shelves
with that stuff I have to stash away from Boris
no wonder I gave him the job of dealing with Johnny Foreigner
but for now breakfast means breakfast
now where is my Belgian chocolate
damn I can’t remember where I hid it
all I know is I placed it
out of the reach of the children
this is my kingdom not theirs
It’s not fair they don’t like me
well except Ruth
the only one who accepts
my truth
lives by my rules
without question
the rest will just have to learn
what I say goes
I’m replacing Thistles with Roses
and Haggis with Tripe
I don’t care if they don’t like it
I’m banning shortbread and Irn Bru forever
this family is better together
they will not be allowed to leave home
I’m putting my foot down and stamping it loudly
because I’m proud to be head of this house
and no-one will take my position
this is my kingdom
and some tartan agitators
SNP Greens and and Leftie Labour
need to be told
nobody mocks my golden ambition
of a new Victorian age
where those who ruled commanded the stage
and those we ruled knew their place
we got the nice plates and the
the treats
and they got the scraps but  were content with their lot
why can’t the Scots see
this is the way it’s meant to be
I take holidays to Greece
whilst they have greasy diets
which will make them too fat to riot.
I need to keep them quiet
and remind them that no matter the time of day
they will do as I say
and breakfast means breakfast
they are getting no free lunches
yes I know their revenue pays
for my attack of the munchies
but that’s irrelevant
like the Welsh and all others
I don’t like they live in the servants, quarters
my world does have borders
to keep the foreigners out
they may be nice in there proper place
I wear French lace
and Italian leather
but my  family are better together
and they will come first at all times
I can’t decide whether to have
French or Spanish wine
with my Italian meal
It’s a tough decision
but I will make it my way
and the United Kingdom
will rejoice whatever do
as for the Scots they’ll be too busy finishing their cereal to care
eventually they’ll give up in despair
content themselves with one meal a day
and concede their irrational demands
they will love the breakfast menu
it will come decorated in red white and blue
what’s that ?
I heard the door shutting
someone’s left a note
it says thanks for nothing
we’re off out to the Cafe Euro
so don’t wait up we’re not coming back
we’re moving on
the diet is less restrictive
has more choice
and the menu is written in multitude of tongues
it’s the kind of place where breakfast is only served once a day
and doesn’t come with a side of attitudes

@ Gayle Smith 2016

Footnote

Hey Readers

This poem is my reaction to Jeremy Corbyn’s speech at the Labour Party conference. It was a speech in which Scotland a country in which Labour has to make gains to win a UK general election was virtually ignored getting only one mention in a 40 minute speech. Now as an SNP member that suits me fine because I know you don’t win seats by ignoring target voters.

Whilst I agreed with a reasonable amount of what Mr Corbyn said when addressing more general themes I couldn’t help but think as I caught up with the speech on internet of the old Bananarama song from the 1980’s It Ain’t What You Do It’s The Way That You Do It. You see it’s my view that by ignoring Scotland he is conceding Scotland to the SNP because it may have finally dawned on him that the UK is finally reaching its sell by date despite his earlier comments that not only will there be no second independence referendum but there will be no more devolution either.

Personally I find these comments laughable as shows just how far British Labour will go to preserve an outdated constitutional arrangement which in my opinion has more to do with feudalism than the federalism we were promised by another Labour leader when he vowed to save his united kingdom .Yes he really was that far up his own backside.

Now while Jeremy Corbyn is a much better more principled man than that particular individual will ever be, I can’t help but feel he made a big mistake in not at least giving Scotland a bit more coverage. You see it may send out a message to the people of Scotland but the message it’s sending is more like a distress signal than appeal to be trusted with our votes. It is for this reason that I have written this poem and have given it the title Footnote I hope you enjoy the read.

Footnote

One mention in a 40 minute speech
when it came to local elections
Labour it seems still haven’t got over
what they see as a tartan insurrection
when insurgents claimed what they viewed
as their private property
this is democracy Westminster style
where chameleons smile when they need our votes
then change the colour of their coat
before most have even noticed the difference
they once told us resistance was futile
they were our only hope
now having got the Scotland they want to see
an obedient colony of a multi national PLC
we are dismissed
as no more than a footnote
since rejecting them
so decisively in recent elections
by taking slow and steady steps
Scotland will eventually regain our independence
take our place in the modern world
as a democratic nation
we will create a society worthy of the name
not blaming our neighbours for mistakes we know were ours
using our powers wisely we will build a caring compassionate country
which has no place for ugly politics
where many are left to struggle
whilst the few pool and share the resources between themselves
we will place no part of Scotland on the shelf
out of reach of ambitions and hopes
which should be common currency for all
we will not build walls we prefer to leave that to others
who believe in the narrowness of limits
that’s what defines them as British
It was after all a British Labour Prime Minister
who talked of British jobs for British workers
and another though of a different hue
who referred to strivers and shrikers
it was a former Labour cabinet minister
who called for a ban
on Muslim women wearing the burka
and another who claimed Scotland has no culture
yet was content to feed off our votes
to maintain his lavish lifestyle
pretending to be a socialist for crown and union jackary
well it had to be done to earn his ermine robes
this uniform of rogues
which the Labour Party
keep promising to abolish but never do
is what weds so many to the red white and blue
and the imperialist past of a corporation
which plundered other nations
for their financial gain
now having done the same to us
we are ignored
fed lies and deception
they still can’t get over the tartan insurrection
we are now just a footnote in their speeches
one has to wonder
if recovery is beyond their reach
if they have written us off
knowing that no matter what they say
we are no longer listening
and sooner than they think
the chameleon who continually changes colour
from red, to pink then to lilac then the most conservative shade of blue
before trying to change back to red
will and it has to be said be no more
than a footnote in our history.

@ Gayle Smith 2016

The Night The Mask Of Respect Came Off We Saw The Colours Behind It

Hey everyone Last night a man showed his employers he wasn’t up to the job they trusted him to do. This in itself is not unusual in all probability it happens every day to both men and women. This time however the circumstances are slightly different. You see the man in question is the Prime Minister of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The Right Honourable David Cameron MP.

In an astonishing display of petulance unworthy of a Primary One child on the grounds the child would be too mature, Mr Cameron launched an emotional and in my opinion hysterical appeal to his fellow Conservative MP’s in which he warned them to back air strikes in Syria and not to vote against the motion as those who did would be terrorist sympathisers.

This attack on his political opponents was at best Ill judged and that is the kindest thing I can bring myself to say about this style of kindergarten politics. This is a time when as Prime Minister David Cameron should have been attempting to unite the country and speaking on behalf of the nation. Instead he decided to launch an astonishing attack on anyone who dared to attack his position and claim the case for going to war which is effectively what we will be doing if parliament votes for air strikes had not been made. 

Now as a political activist  myself I realise that Parliament is a passionate place and that our elected members will have strongly held opinions on the issues of the day and that inevitably in such an adversarial system of democracy as we have in the United Kingdom this will result in some very heated clashes but to accuse your fellow parliamentarians of being terrorist sympathisers just because they exercise the right to express in different opinion to yourself is wrong.  It is even more wrong when the  Right Honourable Gentleman making the accusation is the Prime Minister of your country the politician you look to for leadership at times of crisis. Last night David Cameron showed by making this unprovoked and unprecedented attack on all of those who disagreed with his views he was not the man to provide the leadership we need at what is undoubtedly a challenging time for humanity.

On Monday I was angry with Jeremy Corbyn for what I saw as his lack of leadership as by allowing his party a free vote he has particularly assured that David Cameron will get his way and Britain will launch air strikes on Syria. However much as I am not a member of Mr Corbyn’s  fan club I refuse to label him a terrorist. Indeed I share his views on this issue but I am dismayed by his lack of judgement on it.  Yet again as on so many issues since the General Election it has been the Scottish National Party who have taken the moral leadership on matters of importance and to be honest I can’t see that changing any time soon.

You see the SNP and our sister nationalist parties in Wales and Ulster unlike  Labour do not need to worry winninginning votes in the Tory shires of Middle England  This means they are genuinely free to vote with their conscience on the issues of the day. The sad fact is that the current view of the Parliamentary Labour Party
does not reflect the views of a membership which has taken a decisive turn to the left in the aftermath of the election. 

Whether this leftward turn is any more than a passing phase I don’t know but what I do know is that however much I may disagree with The Labour Party I would not call them terrorists is not language of responsible politics and its use only polarises opinion for the short term politics of populism. 

Whilst in the short term this may serve Cameron well especially with his own core vote such behavior is unbecoming of the office he holds and I believe he must seriously consider his position and whether he should remain as Prime Minister 

As for my own view on this topic, my position couldn’t be clearer. I oppose air strikes just as I opposed war in Iraq and for the same reasons. 
To me this has nothing to do with war on ISIL how can it when the west including Britain armed them to the teeth to fight against the forces of President Assad. This is about oil nothing more nothing less, anyone who says otherwise is to use that well known political euphemism being economical with the truth. 

Now I realise that language may be slightly on the strong side for some people but having said that I will not label my opponents as terrorists or terrorist sympathisers. That is not the way I do things, it is not the democratic way.  On coming to power in coalition with the Liberal Democrats in 2010 Mr Cameron promoted what he called a respect agenda where all people regardless of their views who would be treated fairly and have their opinions valued. Last night even to the most fervent of optimists that mask finally and fatally slipped and we saw the true blue Tory colours behind it.  Believe me when I say it was not a pretty sight.  Having failed to make the case for war David Cameron resorted to smears to win the day. By the end of this evening due to parliamentary arithmetic he may very well have achieved his aim but it is the opinion of this blogger he will have lost all credibility with the country due to the thoughtless and cowardly words he used last night.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

Memories Musings And Mars Bars And Topics Which Couldn’t Be Fudged (Thoughts On A Festival Saturday And A Day I Could Never Make Up)

Hey everyone. On Saturday which I realise is almost a week ago I made another visit to Edinburgh in a day which turned out to be both enjoyable and eventful though not in the way I had originally planned. This was a day I could never have scripted not even if I wanted to but like all the best stories I just let the day unravel and prove that the truth really is stranger than fiction.

The drama started just as the 900 bus had pulled out of Buchanan Street as a number of passengers complained about the smell. Honestly such was the stink you would swear you were at the Royal Highland show but at least at that event people know they may have to expect manure as it traditionally comes with the territory. It says a lot for morality of the driver that he insisted on changing the bus so the passengers could have a better quality of journey.

Bus changed I was all set and ready for Edinburgh and yet more misadventures in our capital city. However the entertainment started for me before I left the station as my bus companion not of my choice may I add was an older women who seemed to only have one topic of conversation her hatred for the SNP. Without any evidence she falsely accused the party of just about everything from ‘the corruption’ her words not mine of Glasgow city council to planning to get rid of democracy and create a one party state. Unfortunately for her however, she was up against a seasoned party activist who though younger than her by at least two decades was also faster, sharper, and quicker out the blocks. Now I don’t mind taking my share of the blame for what some opponents would say are my party’s shortcomings the card I carry will ensure I do that but what I won’t do is let my party be blamed and viciously scapegoated for what I know to be the mistakes of others.

The woman appeared shocked when I reminded her as gently as I could that Glasgow was not governed by the SNP but by the Labour Party which is a unionist party and owes its loyalty to Westminster and it is that party who have been running the city for the best part of 80 years. Realising she was out of her depth this woman resorted to insults and smears she attacked First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her predecessor Alex Salmond as brown shirts who want to break our United Kingdom.

When I said that her United Kingdom could never be my country, she appeared incredulous with rage accusing me of being against democracy because in her words the SNP didn’t win the election we just said we did as we had counted the votes before they had been cast. I told her not to talk nonsense as opinion polls had been predicting our victory for many months before the election was held and even senior figures in other parties had privately conceded that the writing was on the wall. I then asked her which party she supported and it wasn’t exactly the shock of the year when she replied she had always voted Labour as her mother was in the Orange Order. Now I’m not given to being snide but there are sometimes even I can’t resist and this was one of those occasions. I told her that this information did not surprise me and I was speaking as a daughter of the kirk.

My polite if well delivered rebuke seemed to leave her ego somewhat deflated and remove some of the wind from her sails though not before she made the rather fanciful claim that a young SNP MP will be hanged for treason and the world will know of her shame. This she informed me will be when ‘our’ I think she meant her Untied Kingdom will hold the second referendum which they will win by a massive majority as the question will be not Do you want to be separate but do you want to get rid of that silly wee parliament in Edinburgh and get rid of it forever. Honestly you couldn’t make this up and this was before I even got to Edinburgh, I don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved to see someone get off a bus in my life. Believe me this was a thoroughly unpleasant woman and her views were completely and totally repellent. In fact if truth be told I think she had more in common with some of the extreme right wing groups with whose labels she tried and failed to smear the SNP than a political party who for all their faults play their part in the civic life of unionist Scotland.

Anyway, with my version of Nightmare On Buchanan Street finally over I was free to get on with the rest of the day and enjoy the unique atmosphere that makes Edinburgh in August one of the best places on earth. This is especially true on festival Saturdays when the atmosphere is at its most relaxed despite the fact they are by far the busiest days of the fringe.

Now there are some festival traditions which have to be observed no matter what and going to Bene’s for my festival haggis is one of them, even if this year that meant going slightly off route compared to where I needed to be. As always I was given a warm welcome and informed the fringe wouldn’t be the same had I not popped in for a visit. I was also asked why it had taken me so long to come down and see them. I said that as the Scottish Poetry Library was undergoing refurbishment there were no courtyard readings this year which meant I wasn’t down at this end of the mile so much but I made a special effort just come down to my favourite chippy. I also assured them that things will return to normal next year.

As I sauntered back up the mile to the place that I call home (The Banshee) I noticed that the Fudge Shop were enticing customers to taste their wares. Naturally being sweet toothed, well I’m a Glasgow girl so it’s in my DNA I didn’t need much in the way of persuasion and though I was tempted to try all kind of varieties I settled for a taste of lemon meringue which I have to say was absolutely scrummy. Whilst in the shop I was talking to young English girls from Shropshire who said they were having a great time and they were up here for the full three weeks. Of course I was delighted to hear such good news so I asked them what it was they liked about Scotland and they said everyone was really friendly and people actually talked to you. They assured me that such behaviour does not happen where they come from. However they said that it was always the same up north.

As you would expect this jarred with my nationalist beliefs but they were such lovely girls I didn’t have the heart to tell them that up north fades in to the distance when you reach Gretna as you are now in Scotland and North Britain doesn’t exist except in Gordon Brown’s wet dream.

Skillfully avoiding a diplomatic incident I kept the conversation food focused and I asked them I they had tried either haggis or irn bru. As it turns out both girls had indeed tried both and one liked haggis and hated irn bru whilst it was the other way round for her friend. There was however one local delicacy they hadn’t tried or at least not yet and they asked me if I had. I told them I had never had a deep fried mars bar. This was not because I wouldn’t like them as I’m pretty certain I would but because being old enough to be their mum I now the wisdom of that old saying a minute on the lips a lifetime on the hips so I thought I would leave to those who were either young enough to get away with it or at least work it off in the gym.

Finally I reached the safety of the Banshee and though I missed Monkey poet’s show I didn’t miss his creator as I caught up with Matt Panesh in the bar and he introduced me to a couple of members of his audience one of whom Mhairi was wearing more SNP badges than I was. For those who know me they will know this is no mean achievement.

As is always the case with SNP members these days we debated maiden speeches and she said that her favourite was delivered by a certain Mhairi Black. I however had to say that my favourite was delivered by Glasgow East MP Natalie McGarry who also happens to be my local MP. Well anyone who remembers that her constituency is home to the current Scottish League Champions aka the glorious Glasgow Celtic will do just fine by me. Anyway I’ve known Natalie for years and I know how hard she’ll work to serve the people of her constituency.

After chatting with Matt I decided it was time to go and see a show. This was after all what I had travelled all the way from Baillieston to do. The show I selected was Nerdsmith by Dan Simpson this was a very enjoyable way to spend 50 minutes of my time. In the show Dan as you would expect took us on a stroll through the world of nerds with poems on lists, technology, and deadlines. I particularly enjoyed Eulogy for a Deadline as this brought back memories of my student days at Strathclyde and the excuses I sometimes had to make for late essay submissions. I also loved Click Bait which takes the audience on a tour of the internet and examines the perils of the virtual dating scene. This gentle but thought provoking poetry was both interesting and enjoyable and I would recommend you go and check it out if you get the chance to do so.

After Dan’s show I made another appearance at Stand Up Tragedy. On this occasion the show was hosted by Dan Simpson yes the same Dan Simpson who had just finished his own show and his co-host for the evening Paula Varjack. In a fast paced enjoyable there were tales from six acts starting with Scott Tyrell whose story of attempting to have an intimate moment with his then partner now wife was somewhat spoiled by his eight year old step daughter.

In the chat that followed the story Dan who was the organiser of the spoken word side of this multi arts event Paula does the non poetic side of it asked Scott if his step daughter had ever had this poem. Scott replied that both his step daughter and his wife had heard the piece and that he read it at his step daughter’s 18th birthday celebration. Now I’ve heard of unusual gifts for special occasions but giving your daughter what we in the West of Scotland would call a beamer isn’t one I would expect. That said though I’m sure she would have enjoyed what was a really funny story.

Scott was followed by character actor Charles Adrienne who more often than not performs as his female alter ego Samantha Mann. In a frank and honest confession Charles said that I couldn’t get over the shame of being a man in a dress. This is especially true when he or should I say Samantha has a bad night at a comedy club. As a transsexual woman I have to admit I did muse on why he would feel guilt about what he does though to be honest I think I’m coming from a very different place on this issue. You see to Charles women’s clothes are exactly that women’s clothes which he enjoys wearing. To me the same clothes are my essential every day wear. They are part of who I am just like my shapely legs, my developing breasts and my oversized bum which cushions me whenever I fall these days. To Charles being a woman is about being a glamorous character to me its my every day reality.

Next up was former three day event champion now poet and performer Tina Sederholme who told us the tragic tale of how despite qualifying for Badminton which is the pinnacle for a UK showjumper she never got to compete in the event she had given nine years of her life to reach. This was without doubt the most moving part of an excellent show.

Tina was followed by character actor Lisa Gornik who regaled us with tales of comic fails and her journey to lesbianism in a way I found both engaging and enjoyable. Hannah Chutzpah was next to entertain the audience with tales of being out jewed and giving herself permission to be who she is for all her faults and flaws which we all have as well as our good points. Toby the lead singer from the Black Diamond Express was last up to end an entertaining hour after which we yes I was invited to tag along went to Slangavar for refreshments and nibbles.

It was during this time with fellow performers I learned the truth of the saying be sure your past will find as I met up with someone I hadn’t seen in years. The woman concerned, Pat who was enjoying some quality time with her niece nephew in law and husband Brian initially struggled to place to where she knew me from before realising we had grown up together in the same north Glasgow housing scheme. During a lovely catch up we talked on a wide range of topics from my transition, to poetry, from Celtic to Scottish Independence, from music to memories, to where we live now and of course men.

With a refreshing honesty I wish more people would adopt when talking to a transwoman, Pat asked me if I’d had a man since my decision as to live as a woman. It was with equal honesty I said I had kissed a few that I thought would be ok only to find they had later morphed into frogs but as yet prince charming had eluded me.

Intent on proving my feminist credentials I said I had standards and when I met a man who could meet them I wouldn’t be slow in letting him know. Both Pat and her neice said that was the way to go and told me never to let my standards slip.  By this time however I think they had gathered that the line ‘Second best is never enough’ from the Madonna hit  Express Yourself is not so much a line from a song for me as a personal statement of intent.

I have to admit this chance meeting was one of those nice surprises you get from time to time and after performing two of my poems especially for Pat and her family Karaoke Queen and Every Saturday Night being the poems of choice,  I headed on my journey back to Baillieston.

As I boarded the bus for the journey home I had time to reflect on the events of an enjoyable festival Saturday and as I did so I knew I could never have scripted a day which was filled with memories, musings,and mars bars,and topics that couldn’t be fudged.

Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X

The Day We Lost The Battle Was The Day We Won A Nation

Hey everyone Much has been said about the independence referendum since the day the votes were counted and Scotland decided we should at this time in our history remain as part of the United Kingdom. Seldom however have I seen such an intelligent considered analysis of the post referendum climate than the one by Ian Bell in the hogmaney edition of The National

In his article 2014 The Year Of Our Peaceful Revolution, Bell looks back over the campaign and states that he is now more convinced than ever independence will be won. This is a view I happen to share and like Bell I believe that it will happen in my lifetime. I qualify this by saying that since I am a wee bit younger than our esteemed journalist I have an even greater sense of optimism that I am here at a time when Scotland will be guided not only by history but by destiny.

In his article Bell argues that the queen displays a strange ignorance to the situation with regards to our country as she seemed to believe that we had somehow gone to war when all we had actually done was go to ballot boxes and exercise what both I and Mr Bell would describe as our sovereign democratic choice of which of two options we would prefer for our country’s future political direction. This was not as far as I can see a war of any kind, indeed Bell says the in the slapstick that was social media tempers and spelling sustained. But that was it.

This snapshot to me summed up the civil war that never was Bell asserts and quite rightly that the most telling day was in fact the day after the referendum and asks why were the opponents of independence so agitated on that morning and on every morning since concluding that they fear something. I can only believe that something has a name. It is the called the wind of change. Why else would they so unhappy after a referendum they appeared on the surface at least to have won. I believe they know the truth the demographic time bomb is not on their side and they are all too aware of this fact.

The author is right to say that Scotland has decided it cannot and will not be business as usual and if the unionist parties particularly Labour think it will be they are very much mistaken. The political landscape has changed in Scotland and it has changed for good and all. Both the SNP and Labour have new leaders, but the way those leaders were appointed says a lot about where the power really lies in post referendum Scotland.
As Alex Salmond stepped he down after the referendum he did so with great dignity to be replaced in an almost seamless transition by his Deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon as both SNP leader and First Minister. In contrast Labour’s change was a complete botch up from start to finish as Johann Lamont resigned taking a swipe at her Westminster colleagues as she did so criticising Labour’s Westminster for treating Scotland like a branch office. Ms Lamont’s demise led to a to a vicious and embittered leadership which was won by the controversial Westminster MP Jim Murphy.

This was and is a man up to his neck in sleaze and he will go down in history but not quite in the way he would like to as I believe he will be the man who will be responsible for the slow but painful death of The Labour Party in Scotland.

Bell puts forward the case that one of the reasons for Labour’s decline in Scotland was the fact that so many in their party fail to understand why their ailliance with the Tories disgusted so many so deeply. Indeed he goes even further than that saying ‘Labour’s role in 2014 was to secure the proles for Britain’ Disgusting is may be accurate it certainly is. That is the reason SNP membership has gone soaring through the roof and why Labour’s opinion poll ratings have gone crashing through the floor. As for Murphy leading Scotland, I wouldn’t trust him to lead the queue for a bus. This is a man up to his neck in expenses forms and Scotland is in no mood to let him forget the fact no matter how much he wants to and believe me he does. In fact such is audacity of this joker. that if you voted yes in September he wants you to forget everything he called you and your cause. Every insult, every name and every bit of abuse. The arrogance of this man is truly breathtaking and therein lies Labour’s problem in this new more confident country.

Indeed what more damming indictment could I give Jim Murphy than to say when you have to rely on right wing hacks like Fraser Nelson of Spectator and the Telegraph’s tired old man of colonial unionism Alan Cochrane to tell the world what a great leader you will be if those damn natives will election then any credibility you had as even a kid on socialist goes flying out of the nearest available window. But never mind Jim even when you routed by those awful Nationalists you can still say you did your bit for queen and colony and helped to save the union or can you?

The reason I ask this question is that Ian Bell says that even though a yes voter he could have put up a better case for the United Kingdom than better together or no thanks whom he claimed lacked any real passion or commitment to what they were supposed to believe in. I have to say I think he is probably right. As he says Britain died ‘when a united kingdom forged in unspeakable sacrifice ends up with self satisfied jokers cackling that no means no it’s time to call it a day.

It is however that ignorance which will be the death of the unionist cause in Scotland.
Bell provides evidence for this by saying that Scottish Labour, I prefer the more factually accurate term Labour in Scotland as Scottish is the last thing you can accuse them of being go about their business ‘as if a Jim Murphy is the solution not the name of the condition’ Trust me when I say that telling people you lost get over it will not provide the answers for Labour or the union. My uncle Tam always a staunch socialist who came to distrust the Labour Party in the last few years of his life, often remarked to me it wasn’t the day Labour sided with the Tories that would kill them it was the day the public could see them doing it that would finally finish them off. That day has now arrived and nation will take its revenge and make no mistake that revenge when it comes will be both bloody and brutal.

As Bell winds up his thought provoking article he says that no -one of sound mind expects the generation of 2014 to lose twice. This generation have he exposed the rot and now they want answers Bell says that after losing a referendum in 1979 for an assembly with far less powers than we have now, the author Willie McIlvaney the man he calls the finest Scottish novelist of his generation called us ‘feart’ and he was I think probably right to do so. This generation however are not afraid they choose as the great Nelson Mandela did, to put their faith in hope over fear. I believe they are correct in their choice and that is why the unionists having won their victory were as Bell puts it so angry that morning and have been ever since. I think they sense their time is almost up and deep down the darkest corner of their cold and coal black hearts actually know that the day they won the battle was the day we won a nation.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X