Thursday, 27 June 2013

Lessons from Mandela ...

Like many I am saddened by the death of an old man who changed his nation by peaceful means, simply by taking a stand against aparthied. Mandela did more to bring about change in South Africa, while in jail, than any number of ANC / South African Government bombs or riots or killings. He would be the first to say he was no saint but it is easy to argue he is the Gandhi of our era, a political Buddha - enlightened, proposing healing than revenge, steadfast on his course.

I now fear for South Africa, as the berserker ANC Government is not that different from the aparthied regime it replaced. The ANC still rely on division to rule and it still operates on inherently racist, tribal lines.

South Africa is on a cusp - will it stay on its present course or fall off the edge in a Mugabwe style cascade of crony and lackeyism?
Here in Scotland does Mandela's political life have any bearing on or comparison with our own situation?
Superficially there are no similarities.

We Scots are not discriminated against in the way coloured and black races were in SA. The UK Government has not indiscriminately shot and killed peacefull protesters, there has been no Sharpseville massacre in the last four decades in Scotland, there have been a number of concessions towards the Scottish sense of nation. Some, such as devolution, prised from the unremitting grasp of Westminster, sold as a 'parish pump executive', designed and intended to fail, primarily created to 'kill the SNP stone dead', still sneered at by a Westminster increasingly fearing the popular support the institution at Holyrood is building. Labour were supposed to run Holyrood as a 'Greater Glasgow' meme, jobs fir the 'bhouys and girls', lots of grease and back handers for Labour apparatchiks, a Scottish tribal government - if you will - firmly in the London Party bosses' pockets. A subtle shafting of Scotland by the back door.
It quickly went wrong. The 'Sainted Donald' and his Libdem 'Robin' decided to test the waters, see what they could get away with,  how far could they push their party bosses in London? Blair and Brown found themselves hoisted on the petard which was supposed to be dealing a death blow to the SNP. Powers that were supposed to remain on paper began to be flexed. Scottish solutions began to drift away from the right of centre political direction Labour was going, Scots were starting to see potential in their pretendy parliament, a different way, a more 'Scottish' way and because it was lead by the 'Sainted Donald', London had to sit on their hands and say nothing about what was happening, against their will, in case they blew the gaff.
Oh the relief in Blair and Brown's offices when the 'Sainted Donald' shifted from this mortal coil. A relief which was even greater than the demise of John Smith. They could get the Scottish Parliament back on their track. McLeish was seen as a safe pair of hands, Brown's protegy, from the wrong side of Scotland for most of the Labour cabal but no one could move against Brown. Disaster - McLeish went native. Out came the Labour knives, Mcleish was stabbed in the back - the pretender is dead, long live the London lackey. McConnell played the 'toom tabard' role to perfection but something went wrong, the people of Scotland increasingly were not buying the standard line of 'subsidised by England'. The Scots were saying in ever greater numbers we want full fiscal autonomy, we reject the neo-liberal drift of the UK, it is an anathema to the people we believe we are and our ways of caring for the poor, the disabled, the sick which have a 400 year tradition, imbedded in Scots Law. We do not want to break up the Union but we reject the Westminster politic. Labour's pot of 'jam tomorrow' was increasingly seen as empty across Scotland.
In 2007 the 'stone dead' party comes out as the biggest party at Holyrood and what is more they form a minority government. Labour's Scottish arm is in ever increasing melt down, this was not supposed to happen. Brown takes the huff and cuts funding to front edge technical developments in Scotland to demonstrate who is boss. The Scots do not do contrite, we do thrawn. Wendy Alexander comes and goes with a knife in her back when she crosses Brown and Murphy with her 'bring it on' cry on the issue of a referendum on independence letting the cat out the bag with which Labour now indiscriminately belabour themselves with. Somehow Ian Gray gets to be Labour leader, he is clearly an even emptier 'toom tabard' than McConnell and the lines he is given to say by London look ever more at odds with the way Scotland is thinking about itself than his predecessor. Labour can not understand, it has lost control of its own 'Botswanna' tribal homeland. Scotland does not believe the too poor, too stupid, too small propaganda line being spun by a clearly failing Labour Government, along with Brown's spurious, meaningless and frankly embarrassing 'Britishness' campaign.
In 2011 the 'stone dead' party does what was supposed to be impossible in Labour's cleverly rigged, pretendy, Scottish Parliament - they get an outright majority. Labour get a new leader as a minotiy party, one who is even emptier than all the previous ones since McConnell added together - Labour has become a negative political sum. They keep hold of their Glasgow fiefdom by the skin of their teeth and call it a success while across Scotland Labour now had the lowest number of councillors in over three decades.

The 'gemme's a bogey' for an increasingly right wing Labour Party in a left of centre Scotland. The scare stories about the SNP bogeymen and women go into overdrive, the rending assunder of a once great nation will be a disaster for Scotland, without London rule we will do something stupid, we Scots are not to be trusted with Scotland.
All the time the personal attacks against the SNP leadership increase at an expotential rate as Mandela was compared to Mugabwe; so is Salmond - along with being compared to Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and even Pol Pot as Labour's desperation to strike out looses all political sensibility. Labour's propaganda is now simply a muckspreader towed behind a tractor which has seen better days. The muckspreader frequently jams and ends up spraying themselves or they keep on having to put the wheels back on their tractor as they frequently fall off. The tractor has only two gears working, first and reverse, and reverse is getting harder and harder to engage.
Labour's new friends in the Tory party all chip together and get Labour a better tractor to demonstrate how sponsorship is the best way to work better, together. The problem is they just stick the same, old, failing muckspreader behind it with all its unrepaired faults, routinely spraying the insides of their 'Better Together' campaign with muck that was meant for elsewhere. The Labour tractor driver complains the new tractor has no reverse.
All the while the case for Scottish Independence, Labour's real terror, grows. This is not because of riots on the streets, past massacres by the UK Government of Scots, forced displacement of her people to parts of the old and defunct empire but simply because Scotland is a different land with different sensibilities that no longer chime with the increasingly right wing politics of the UK Union at Westminster.

There was a glue that once bound us together, it was a product of the last war against a right wing government, it was the Welfare State. The same Welfare State as the Tories and their Labour allies are dismantling in England, at great cost to the most vulnerable in that country, while throwing money at the richest in the UK and beggaring the rest of the UK, to prop up London.

Regional aparthied is alive and well in the UK Union.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

A web to deceive .....

Better that right counsels be known to enemies than that the evil secrets of tyrants should be concealed from the citizens. They who can treat secretly of the affairs of a nation have it absolutely under their authority; and as they plot against the enemy in time of war, so do they against the citizens in time of peace.

Baruch Spinoza

It is a pity politicians spend so much time, spinning webs to deceive .... when all they are fooling is themselves. The people of the world are saying enough is enough: China, Turkey, Brazil, Egypt, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Germany, France, Greece, Holland, UK ...... you just can not fool all of the people all of the time.

Western democracy's move to being a 'defacto' elected dictatorship on behalf of a small group of plutocrats is coming to bits. The European experiment is stalling as again people are saying enough is enough to the politics but not the idea of a united Europe.The discussion in Scotland is not about 'exiting Europe' but the best way to trade and relate to Europe on independence.

The politicians wants us 'in' by and large. Our near neighbour Norway's politicians are saying Scotland would be far better in the EU than on the EFTA fringe but can not persuade their own electorate that is the case. Maybe they are hoping a Scotland in the EU would be the key to winning their own obstinate people this is the where Norway should be in the 'centre' not on the fringe.

Closer to home of course we have the farago of the Better Together campaign which appears to be successfully proving the opposite. Operation 'Fear' is clearly on the rocks, Brownite Labour folk have split from the core, Darling's set pieces sound more and more empty, 'lines in the sand' are being scuffed over almost as soon as they are made, so a rehash of 1979's Operation 'Jam Tomorrow' is now being offered up to the Scottish electorate.

Let us remember what the 1979 'Jam Tomorrow' program has actually delivered to date for Scotland. Four decades of unremitting Thatcherism and the destruction of the UK as being a land fit for heroes, as proclaimed in 1945, by the same parties now saying the same 'heroes' are only fit for the gutter and those disabled by their service are 'lying' as an excuse to take away their disabled benefit.

'We don't need your education', sang Pink Floyd and this is certainly true of Better Together spin another brick in the wall, this is the 'truth' of the Westminster establishment

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Faithir's dae .....

I have a problem with 'special' days - as a sufferer of chronic illness both physical and mental - and it is simply this; everyday is a special day for me - if I can get out of bed before 0900 and function as near to what is described as a 'normal human being'.

It is something ATOS and the DWP can not assess for because their flawed ipsative psychometric model is supposed to be for an 'average day'. There is no such entity as an 'average day' for folk with chronic health problems, you have functional or non functional days which can be week's worth or 12 hours worth depending on the impact of a multiple of parameters.

For example my week up to today went:
  • Monday -  OK
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday - manic
  • Friday - transition, lots of neck pain, fibromyalgia very painful, stomach cramps, increasingly depressed and withdrawn
  • Saturday - hide under the duvet, lots of fibrmyalgia pains, isolationist, very depressed
  • Sunday - transition, happy to communicate with partner/ dog/ cats but not interested in going over the doorstep, not even to play golf ... still random aches from the fibromyalgia.
So in the last seven days - I had one special day. 

During the 'manic' phase I got a lot done, with the sense of fatal urgency that goes with being manic, but as a result of over exerting myself, I triggered acute pains in my hands and arms from my cervical strain which in turn triggered the fibromyalgia which ensured the mental health see-saw swung to the other extreme, of depression.

As to Faithir's Dae ... well my ex-wife made me a really amazing evening meal in which the pineapple/ coriander salsa was to die for ( thanks H) and I bimbled in my garden dead heading, taking cuttings, having cups of tea and rescuing plants which had been superceded by bigger and nastier plants. I even took time out to ponder the state of my compost bins - sweet smelling, hot to touch and the hieght dropping at an even rate, as you so kindly have asked. 

Most of all I wondered at the amazing shapes, colour mixes and forms of the aquilegia that abound in the garden from pure white through powder blue, to the most amazing and complex combination of white and pastel pinks and blues in the petals.

As for the kids, the daughter in Northern Ireland sent me felicitations while my son in Japan asked if I could send him his Everest Base Camp standard tent to him in Japan ....... kids!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Summer time, and leaving Labour is easy .....

Like many pro-independence political 'wonks' I tend to get too highly atuned to the nuances of political positions with regards to the referendum and miss what is actually going on.

I can debate and inform on most aspects of why independence is the right way to go, I seek to laugh at the increasing shrill justification to 'save the Union' eminating from the mouths of the Alistair Darling's of this world rather than throw rocks at them - laughing at annoyance is one of my anger management tools, as is walking away from angry and shrill discussions of any sort. The reality is engaging with someone else's anger is exceedingly stressful and normally results in you being in the same, deaf to what is being said, unhealthy, and strident state. Anger is just fear in another form. I have no fear of a 'No vote', as I am certain there will not be one.

Down in Englandshire the peasants are revolting. Of course like much of the substantial reasons and facts why Scotland would be a better place as an independent country we, the peasants in other parts, are not allowed to know about it from the national media. Heaven forfend the establishment participants who conglomerate together to form the Westminster body politic 'mover and shakers' ever let us know they have been outed by an ever greater number of the English electorate as an increasingly fascist state, bringing forward 'workshy' legislation of a severity and anti-social degree not seen since the 1934 Nuremburg Laws of Hitler's Third Riech. The same laws that saw the 'medical killing' of the mental, physically handicaped and disabled of Germany and Austria by 1938 which in turn lead to the 'final solution' to that other malignant disease wreaking havoc in Arian Germany, the Jews.

High flown rhetoric? Well, so far, according to Micheal Meacher MP there have been nearly 3,000 deaths amongst the mentally ill and disabled directly related to DWP / ATOS workshy decisions made against them. Currently George Rolf is on hunger strike in an attempt to raise public awareness of what is being done in their 'name' using the 'Workshy Legislation' while an aquiesent UK National Media studiously ignore him.

Writing in the Observer on Sunday Kevin McKenna, a long time dyed in the wool new Labour supporter, under the guise of an article asking why the SNP Justice Minister is not persuing an investigation of 'rendition flights' through Prestwick and Aberdeen to the USA; had this to say of the New Labour Party he had once championed and for many years has been seeking to defend to his Scottish readership:

"Even as these old and inalienable rights were being asserted Ed Miliband was doing his bit to hasten the wholesale destruction of the Labour movement in England. Not so long ago, it would have seemed impossible to imagine that the British Labour party would be entrusted to as unprincipled and spineless a politician such as he."

 In the back ground, on both sides of the border, there are a growing number of activists and longstand members walking away from New 'Blue' Labour. Many, such as Oliver James, have blogged on why they have made their personally painful decision to leave a party that has lost its soul to the Bilderburg's of this world. He has had enough of the New 'Blue' Labour spin and hypocrisy writing in his blog he explained it in this way:

"I struggle to understand why Labour constantly sends me and its other members emails highlighting the failures of the Tory Party, telling us how upset we should be with them, but at the same time offering literally no alternative policies or even any ideas that would separate them from the current government. To make it even worse, after hundreds of emails opposing the Tory actions, Labour admits they will not reverse these changes if they win in 2015."

Meanwhile the Independent on Sunday are giving Owen Jones column inches to explain his disavowal of the New Labour party he has long championed, his bitterness at New Labour's rightwing orthodoxy surfaces early on in his piece: 

"The unemployed; disabled benefit claimants; immigrants; public sector workers: all have come under far more sustained attack than those who plunged this country – and much of the world – into disaster. We’ve burned your house down, say the Tories: so it’s only fair we burn down your less deserving neighbour’s house, too. As for the Labour leadership’s confident, coherent alternative to Tory austerity – well, I’ll let you finish laughing before you read on."

But his is a positive voice, a youngman who has spent the last two years criss-crossing England in his attempt to discover any sort of left wing consensus and finding it alive and well with packed out meetings where ever he has gone. They are looking to pack Westminster Central Hall, home of English Methodism, with thousands of fellow socialists and social democrats on the 22 June:

".....thousands will  convene: it will not only be a show of force, but a launchpad for a missing force in British politics."

Will  'National Media' even bother to cover the meeting?  We will find out in due course but if they do they will no doubt focus on 'loony left' style reportage, the niavety of the left in the face of austerity while missing the serious point that without a shift in policy, without the creation of real hope for the people of England, Westminster will soon be facing the same protests now shutting down Turkey. If the Westminster establishment continues ignoring the growing concerns of the English electorate not only are they setting the scene for a summer of riots in English cities but driving an even bigger wedge between socialist / social democrat leaning Scotland and the rest of the UK.

I will leave you with the last sentence from ex-New Labour's Scottish cheer leader Kevin KcKenna's article in the Observer:

"With each passing week, it seems, England is declaring its separation from Scotland without a referendum.