Monday, 30 November 2015

Walk like an Eejitian ..

I am going to tell you a story which you will never have read before, unless you enjoyed the story so much you have set to read it again – I hope you do because stories need lots of reading to squeeze the real story out of them.

The story is about the land of Eejit, the land of upside down pyramids, massive bogland wastes and the famous Stinks,  a land where the only habitable region is a sandy kilometre either side of a dried up river bed.  Some writers have ventured to this land and returned to Europe with their heads turned to mince and being chastised by the folk, who think they are proper writers, as just producing gibberish (which is, after all, the written language of the country of Eejit) so in that, at least, these ‘proper’ writers are right. 

The late Spike Milligan was one of those who travelled to world of Eejit, translating many of their most famous poet’s works into English to share their genius. His translation of Eejit’s most famous poet laureate, Fred Fernnacapan’s ‘Owed to a Wood Worm – two shillings and sixpence’ (25p in English... some things just do not translate well from Eejit) is hailed by many as the finest translation from the original Eejit. I print the translation here, in full, so you can experience the genius and elegance of Mr Milligan’s translation:

Tell me little woodworm
Eating through the wood
Surely all that woodwork
Can’t do you any good
Heaven’s little woodworm
You’ve eaten all the chairs
That’s why poor old granddad
Is sitting outside on the stairs.

(Silly Verse for Kids – Mr S Milligan)

So offended were the literary people, stuffy politicians, ignorant Lords and Queen of the Great British Empire by Mr Milligan’s championing of Eejit’s great literary works, they stopped him from being a member of the British Empire and forced him to become Irish by way of an insult to his works; even though Mr Milligan had faced death and injury on behalf of the British Empire in a war against stupid, serious people with no sense of humour except to think destroying countries was ‘good for a laugh and highly profitable for their bestest chums’. Sadly the same sort of people who think destroying countries is ‘good for a laugh and highly profitable for their bestest chums’, now run the British Empire. The Eejit word for these sort of people is, ‘£*^$”%!’. The polite translation is “people who are so stupid even the Eejitians look down on them” the actual meaning of the word is far, far ruder and would need a lot of Anglo Saxon sweary words to do it justice; words not suitable in a book such as this where peacefulness and moderation seek to live side by side and be encouraged in others.

This story is about one of those work a day men and women who never feature in stories or at least never as the hero or heroine. The people who do all the jobs you would never want to, even if you were to be paid a million squid pounds Eejit (about £10 Sterling). This story has, at its centre, a little man with a long name – it should be noted that long names are the norm in Eejit. The man’s name translates as:

“Sydney, Colin, Aloysius, Thomas Snotgobbler”

And known to his friends as ‘Scats’ which, so called, intelligent people from the British Empire will tell you means ‘a large cat poo’ in English but is far friendlier in Eejitian, literally translating as ‘solid in what they produce’ or as we would say ‘trustworthy’.

It is clear if I continue to explain all the differences between the meanings of English sounding words and the actual Eejitian, this book will end up as a boring treatise on the Eejitian language rather than an interesting story about Sid Snotgobbler and the Eejitians. Neither am I one for all those foot notes in explanation popular amongst some British Empire authors, as I find them distracting, annoying, they ruin the story and sometimes become the story. If you wish to understand the subtleties of the Eejitian language, I suggest doing your own research and hard work rather than leeching off mine, a good start would be to read Fred Fernnacapan’s  @:;-+  £%!’£  ^*&()+=%” published by the EUP.

We have established that Scats was trusted by his friends and seen as a solid member of their community but not much about Scats himself as to what did he look like, was he married, what did he do?

In order the replies would be:

  • Average height, undistinguished, mousey brown hair, blue eyes, a man of few words
  • No, though his Mum is getting worried he is a homosexual and she’ll never have grand children
  • Those nasty horrible jobs you would never dream of doing such as unblocking someone’s half blocked nose, unpicking rotten meat from between their teeth, excavating their ear wax or removing belly button fluff

Ah! The strong, silent, misunderstood type you may be already thinking, the quiet hero of so many stories yet you are getting as cold as the last packet of peas at the bottom of the freezer. Scats was simply normal. Like many men he was shy and tongue tied around women – hence no wife. He was embarrassed that he was ‘quite bright’ in a land where a low IQ, constantly talking about the types of sand, man eating sparrows and the dangers of the boglands was thought the high point of any conversation and hence Scats said as little as possible following the old Eejitian saying of ‘A wise man says nothing so as not to be embarrassed by pointing out the stupidity of his fellows’, hence a man of few words. This in turn was a doubled edged sword as his frequent silences marked him as highly stupid in his friends’ eyes and thus highly respected. Scats never read any of the tabloid papers so popular in Eejit, even in big print, and his lack of interest in or knowledge of their headlines – Prime Minister blames dead cat for latest economic crisis – marked him out as not just truly stupid but illiterate, a real hero to his friends. They could not comprehend he did not read them because they were simply a load of made up nonsense, avoiding what was actually the case; the Prime Minister was an eejit. There is a fundamental truth in dealing with the terminally stupid; you can never win, no matter what.

As for work, Scats was a member of the Eejitian diplomatic corps and represented his country in the foreign embassies in the Eejitian capital, Panfridegsoplos. Smiling through gritted teeth as his Eejitian elders made bad deal after bad deal with the British Empire then congratulating themselves for once again selling Eejit down their own dried up river bed. The latest diplomatic success had been the Eejitian’s foreign minister agreeing to pay the British Empire to bomb Eejitian oil fields because of the terrorists the Britsh Empire put there in the first place to defend them had gone bad, then negotiating with the British Empire oil companies for them to be paid compensation, by the Eejitian Government, for the British Empire bombing of their own British Empire terrorists and damaging the British Empire Oil Company’s plant in the process.  This was up there, in Scats mind, with the Government paying the British Empire for the water from their own Eejitian boglands on the grounds the Eejitian river bed was all dried up.

Courtesy the Eejitian tabloids, such as ‘Black Hole’ or the ‘Repeating Record’, all his friends thought the Eejitian Government had been very clever and out foxed the British Empire yet again. Scats knew someone was making money out of the Eejitian’s stupidity and it was not just the British Empire. Behind the high mud brick walls he saw the high quality houses with swimming pools, flush toilets with toilet paper the Eejitian ministers lived in, the Saville Row suits they wore ‘off duty’, the Landrover Discoveries on the drives, a far cry from the rusty, smoky, always breaking down,  30 year old Skoda’s and Brabant’s which were their normal ministerial cars or the scabby, skid marked, worn out Arab robes they wore in public when peeing against trees to show they were men of the people.

Where as his fellow employees in the diplomatic corps thought the way to the top involved continuously suggesting ever stupider ideas to their bosses, so as to keep them in the eye line of their bosses for the next promotion, Scats stayed silent. Most of his bosses in the diplomatic corps thought Scats silence, just like Scats’ friends, meant Scats was terminally stupid; yet at the top most levels concerns were beginning to be raised, maybe Scats was not terminally stupid after all and he was that most dangerous of all employees, an intelligent one, one who would need watching. The problem arose as to who would watch him as the Eejit police and security services were, logically, even more incompetent than any other branch of Eejitian Government. The choices would be to let Scats into the ‘big secret’ which would be OK as long as Scats did not have a conscience or it was easily bought, have him killed which would more probably mean the suicide of the Eejit Government’s assassin due to their incompetence, just keep an eye on him for evidence of intelligence or promote him sideways as they knew an Eejit when they saw one. They eventually decided to promote him sideways to their Dublin Embassy, the eejits, as undersecretary for commerce on the grounds as he did not speak English or understand commerce; thus he would not have a clue what was actually going on with the ‘big secret’. They thought if he did rumble what was going on, he would see sense and do what they liked to call a ‘Milligan’, that is seek Irish citizenship, which is exactly what any Eejit person should do rather than being exposed to all and sundry to the embarrassment of being ‘highly intelligent’. Maybe to encourage him to seek asylum in Ireland they could set him up with an Irish lass to teach him English, fall in love and then marry him. This is typical of all Eejit Government thinking, even among the smarter ones: surely even you, dear reader, can see a major flaw in the Eejit Government plan for Scats in Dublin?

Maybe you are a Black Hole or Repeating Record reader?  In which case may I kindly suggest you are wasting your and my time by reading any further as there are no tales of how a man eating sparrow killed my Granny, discussions of how fine is a fine grain of sand or headlines on the latest scheme to ensure the dried up Eejit river bed remains dry so the sand does not get wet. If you have not got the hint yet you are truly beyond stupid and should look for a career in the Eejit Government, they need folk just like you.

Scats was more than bright enough to work out what the Eejit Government was doing but the chance to travel, to live in Milligan’s adopted land and learn his language was more than compensation for their Eejitian cunning plan. The 300 Euro a week salary, European clothing and travel by air were just bonuses. Now if he could only work out just what was the point of socks, he would be less nervous.

His Mum and friends came to Panfridegsoplos air field to wave him away. The Eejitian Government called it an air field and were partly right in it was a field and there was plenty of air all around it but any resemblance to what you are I would recognise as an air field was missing. Baggage handling was carried out by camel, towing the aircraft was done by camel and the tea was indirectly heated by camel. This meant the airfield did not smell of aviation kerosene but of camel. If they could have  used a camel to start the aircraft they most surely would have but wind from a camel was not powerful enough to spin up the engine – pungent most certainly but not powerful.

Scats climbed into the battered and gaffered taped together Dakota aircraft of Eejitian Airways for the short hop to Malta in his normal Eejitian robes. Part of his briefing had been he could not change into European style dress until in Malta, leaving his concern of what to do about ‘socks’ still hanging in the air. He sat down as best as possible on a bucket seat along the sides which marked the aircraft’s previous use as a parachutists plane for the French Foreign Legion while goats and chickens were packed into fill all the remaining space – now he could understand the logic of not putting on the European style clothes until Malta as the aroma of goat and chicken shaded the incessant overtone of camel. Through the window he could just make out his mother and friends waving from under the patched bit of canvas which served as the airport lounge. There was loud camel like coughs as the engines came to life and vibration became the overriding sensation. The goats and chickens responded as goats and chickens are likely to do when stressed all of a sudden which just added to the atmosphere on board. The aircraft seemed to take off then bounce again off the ground before Scats could see the ground leaving itself far below. As he looked over the Eejitian boglands he could see all sorts of industry and enterprise, previously unknown to him, busily polluting away, huffing big black clouds of sulphur and carbon dioxide into the air and heinously poisonous chemicals into the waters of the Eejitian boglands. 

A thought came to him – maybe this was why we had to import safe drinking water from the British Empire into Eejit, our own natural supply was now undrinkable, poisoned by the very same British Empire companies’ production systems. With that thought tucked away he tried to stop his own sick adding to the already deathly aroma inside the aircraft and hoped for this reason Malta was not too far distant. He concentrated on working out just what socks were for, maybe his evil brains said, they are for throwing up into.

The Eejitian plane landed on an abandoned RAF airfield nowhere near Malta’s international airport and he was told to get off smartish while the engines were kept running. No sooner than Scats and his baggage were off than the plane turned into the wind, filled his face with grit and sods then lumbered into the air goats, chickens and all leaving a hint of camel on the air. Scats looked around and saw someone waving from a half ruined aircraft hanger.  He walked over and the man introduced himself as Serious Humpledump second officer at Eejit’s Malta consulate, Scats was shown to a room and told to get changed into his European gear and leave his robes where they were. As they were leaving Serious poured petrol over the robes and set them alight raising another aroma of camel on the Malta air. Scats jumped into the consulate’s five year old Skoda amazed to find it was air conditioned, had all its windows in place and no gaffer tape to be seen. As they drove down into Valletta Scats eyes were out on stalks as he took in such wealth and riches as he had never before seen. Luckily, his amazement meant he asked all the stupid questions which would be expected of an Eejitian such as, “All these houses have flushing toilets, never!” or “I have never seen so many different sorts of cars before” or “You mean all these shop fronts are not fakes?” This in turn helped form the idea in Humpledump’s mind that his superiors concerns that Scats might be intelligent had no basis in fact, he was just another hick Eejitian and safe to move on to Dublin.

After two days in Valletta being briefed about the arcane ways and habits of Westerners and at last finding out just what is the point of socks, Scats was issued with an Eejitian diplomatic passport and a Ryan Air Ticket to Dublin. He was guided through the jaw dropping show of wealth in the airport by Humpledump to the Ryan Air Desk and then taken in hand by the nice lady who looks after VIPs for Ryan Air, walked him to the departure desk, gave him a complimentary glass of water and told him the expected two hour delay of the flight to Dublin was perfectly normal service for Ryan Air; anything longer was just the passenger’s tough luck, as was starvation, dehydration or impending insanity due to a lack of any information from Ryan Air as to which year your flight was likely to take off, let alone month or day. Welcome to Ryan Air customer service, Scats, but it was still miles ahead of Eejit Air in most respects; no sharing the cabin with goats and chickens, for example.

Friday, 27 November 2015

What if the Tories were coming back in body bags from Syria?

Folk with queasy stomachs would be advised not to read much further. What I am going to do is describe the sort of wounds which occur on a modern battle field in an attempt to wake folk up to what bombing ISIS and putting boots on the ground will do to their fellow humans. Sadly the right wing nut jobs who are all so gungho about getting stuck into those damned WOGS of ISIS and giving those Muslims a damned good thrashing have little and probably no idea what their vain glorious ranting, made real, does to their fellow human beings nor will they read pinko, pacifist stuff that folk like me write. I write from some experience of combat wounds so for those of a weak disposition I would look away now.

High velocity wound (M16 rifle / AK 47):

The entry wound will be around the size of a ten pence piece and due to the kinetic energy of the round will show little bleeding as it is instantly cauterised. On the bullet's path through the body the energy wave will cause cavitation of the soft tissues surrounding its path ripping muscle to shreds, turning internal organs to mush and splintering bone into tiny fragments which in turn will cause further indirect wounding. The AK 47 is truly nasty round as when the round loses energy it begins to tumble which means the round will not pass straight through the target but bend causing even greater damage as it then can be deflected by bone causing a complex wound pathway. Where the energy is sufficient to allow the round to pass through a human body, the exit wound is the size of the average dinner plate. A SA80 round, as used by the UK military could potentially go through three or four human bodies at around five hundred yards range before being 'stopped'.

I will leave it to your own imagination to work out what larger caliber high velocity rounds will do to a human standing in their way such as 20mm depleted uranium rounds from a modern Gatling gun under slung on an A10 aircraft or a .50 machine gun.

Low velocity wounds (9mm Uzzi sub-machine guns or hand guns)

These weapons are for use at close range in contained spaces. The entry wound is again ten pence piece size but as a result of the lower kinetic energy is more likely to bleed and you are unlikely to find an exit wound even where weapons are fired at less than 100 yards. The low velocity means these rounds quickly become unstable and will often be tumbling before they hit their target. Once inside a human body the best way to imagine how these rounds behave is to imagine a small rubber ball bouncing around inside you. Contact with bone does not break the bone, in most cases, the bone simply acts as a mini-trampoline. The cavitation effect is much less but the round bouncing around inside you makes up for this. This style of weapons are not generally known as 'people stoppers' because they scare folk away.

Fragmentation weapons (hand grenades, anti personnel mines and the like)

Many of these weapons main aim is not to kill their target merely immobilise them by mutilation to a greater or lesser degree. These are not only severely damaging to the human body but also give rise to major psychological impacts on those who are not wounded but see the result. Most fragmentation devices deliver low velocity type wounds, some will have sufficient energy to remove limbs but all will leave fragments of the device lodge in the human body often as crushing wounds. The most nasty of these fragmentation devices for the triage officer to deal with are white phosphorous grenade wounds. If white phosphorous has a supply of oxygen it will continue to burn its way through human flesh or will reignite as soon as it is introduced into air while being removed from the wound. In both cases the triage officer needs to handle the material with great dexterity and speed, getting it under water as fast as they can.

Shells and bombs

The wounds left by the pieces of bomb or shell casing are routinely horrendous and carry the highest rate of fatality on their victims. These fragments will range from the size of dinner plates to fine splinters and along with the blast effect they can reduce a human body to a fine bloody mist so they cease to exist. Even quite small pieces of red hot shrapnel will have enough energy to decapitate or remove limbs. In combination with blast they can hollow out a human body so it is normal from the back but when you turn the body over it looks as if they have been gutted like a fish. The blast wave will also cause cerebral trauma and cardio-vascular collapse - the so called unmarked dead effect.

As those who have ploughed through these simplistic descriptions of the damage to human beings by weapons of war will surely be questioning just how is using bombs clean, incisive and accurate. It is inevitable that bombing of civilian areas where ISIS have head quarters or meeting rooms or storage areas will kill far more civilians than ISIS personnel. There is no such animal as precision bombing because you can not contain the blast and shrapnel radius just to the target, there is always collateral damage which inevitably means innocent civilians are killed or maimed. Yet this myth of precision bombing is the one Cameron and the right wing media is seeking to get us to buy into along with its 'clean image'.

I wonder if Melanie Phillips would be quite as gung-ho, as she is, if she had had the brains of the person standing beside her splattered over her face by a sniper or had been asked to pack a high velocity exit wound, only to find her hand was touching the victims back bone. Sitting behind a Torygraph or Daily Mule computer saying we should not tie one hand behind the back of the Prime Minster when it comes to ISIS, we should drop bombs pell-mell on the horrid WOGS and better still let them taste the bayonets of our 'Tommies' is fine, as long as it is not your body coming back in a body bag. If the Torygraph and Daily Mail are so keen to kill as many ISIS personnel as possible why do they not create a volunteer Tory Territorial battalion from their owners, managers, editors, journalists, Tory MPs, supporters and get on out there to the mess that is Syria and Iraq to do what they are asking others to do.

I wonder if the Katie Hopkins, Theresa Mays and their like would be ranting to bomb, shoot, dismember ISIS when it was a Melanie Phillips or a Boris Johnson who was coming home in body bags day after day. I somehow doubt it.

My message is there is nothing clean or precise or romantic about combat and anyone who tries to tell you there is, is a liar. War is a last resort, undertaken because politicians have failed to address the real concerns at the heart of the conflict, concerns which will inevitably only be resolved around a table, by negotiation but only after a lot of ordinary people have died unnecessarily.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Balkans and Turkey today ... a replay of 1914?

The First World War actually started because the Hungro-Austrian Empire wanted to teach upstart new Balkan States, like Serbia, they were still boss and the assassination was a brilliant excuse. The Ottoman Empire became involved as it saw its Middle East fiefdom under threat from the previously subservient countries deciding they wanted to be independent and Germany joined in because it had a treaty with the Austrian Empire and was sure an attack on France would simply be a rerun of the 1870's Franco-Prussian War and the UK would keep its nose out of a 'European War'. We all know how that one turned out, the punitive 'in-out' expedition into Serbia ended up killing over 4 million armed forces personnel and more than 10 million civilians. Turkey was known as the sick man of Europe then and not much has changed in the 100 years since.

The Russian plane was not shot down because it spent 17 seconds in Turkish airspace but because it was bombing Turkey's proxy in Syria, the Turkmen ethnic group, who want their part of Syria to become part of Turkey. The Turkmen Terrorists / freedom fighters, take your pick - how about calling them Terrodoms, had no reason to murder the pilot and navigator from the Russian plane but they did and then made sure via Twitter, Facebook and the rest, the world knew they did. The same Turkmen terrodoms would equally and cheerily murder any ethnic Syrian Kurds or Armenians they could get their hands on because they are not Muslims. It does not matter to the Turkmen the Syrian Kurds and Armenians are supposedly allies in the attempt to remove Assad, they would make excuses about them being worse than Assad and deserving to die.

Ankara is also having an increasingly strained relationship with the more secular European mainland part who are not taking kindly to the ever increasing Muslimisation of the Government and the country's laws. Protests and riots against the government in Ankara are a growing feature of life in Istanbul which the recent elections have done little to resolve. Ankara is now facing a new internal battle against Turkey's own Kurdish minority triggered by the Turkish Government turning a blind eye to a suicide bombing attack on a peaceful Kurdish political rally by Daesh. Meanwhile its NATO Allies appear to be ignoring the reality that Turkey is acting a the oil salesman for Daesh and its funding nor complaining about the Turkish blocking of military supplies to the Iraqi Kurdish Forces, forces which have been the most effective in driving Daesh back in Iraq.

Turkey is now seriously schizophrenic as it tries to be a modern state suitable for European and NATO membership while being at heart a failing country, driven ever further into decline by the increasing impact of the Muslim religious schism on its economy which in turn highlights difference and tensions between its ethnic, religious and secular groupings. Without NATO, and especially US, backing Turkey would be hurtling towards collapse under all its internal tensions. Maybe it would be a kindness to let it do so.

Ultimately Turkey will have to decide whether it is a European or a Wahhabist Sunni State, for me the Asia Minor part of Turkey is increasingly the latter. In which case it is time to suspend Turkey's membership of NATO and once and for all make clear it will never be part of the EU, then leave the Middle East to sort out the real driver of conflict in the region the continuous battle between between its Sunni and Shi'ite sects as to which party actually represents the 'true' Islamic Faith and re draw the false and failed boundaries put in place in the 1920's as a result of the Balfour Declaration.

One thing is for sure whether the Russians retaliate against Turkey's stupidity or not, the UK should stand well back, this is not our fight in Syria no matter how hard the idiot Cameron seeks to make it so, leave the USA, Russia and their proxies to grind themselves to a stand still.  There will be no winners in Syria just a lot of losers, losers who will mostly be the ordinary people of Syria and the ordinary people of the rest of the Arabian peninsula. The elites of all sides will do very nicely, thanks very much - just like always.

My real concern remains that we will be drawn into an European conflict through the stupidity and avarice of the USA and Russia, combined with the arrogance and ignorance of Wahhabist Saudi Arabia through a cascade of small events similar to those which brought the war of 1914 into being.

We need to say 'NO' to UK politicians of all stripes.

Update 26/11/15

Further fact checking combined with research by other bloggers has indicated the oil pipe line being used by the Turkish President Erdogan's son to sell on oil from ISIS held oil fields runs through the Turkmen area the Russians were bombing.  

What we are seeing is a supposed ally protecting the income of its corrupt officials and hangers on rather than prosecuting the Daesh problem with any level of commitment. This is the ally Cameron is willing to put UK Forces lives on the line for, in the increasingly failed attempt to displace Assad from Syria to 'warn off Russia'.

(Correction: one of the Russian aircrew did survive but only after one of the helicopters sent to extract him had also been shot down)

The question to Mr Cameron remains - Why on earth are we getting involved in a dog fight which offers no real threat to the UK or the EU except if the 'just cause' he claims for UK participation escalates into all out war in Europe and an ever escalating refugee problem?

Remember you are far more likely to be knocked down and killed by a car or have a fatal fall in your bathroom
in the UK than by any terrorist outrage.

Cameron's statement today basically amounts to: 
  • Stop crossing the road or having a bath or shower just in case you become a victim.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Am guy dreich the day ...

As I looked out on the fag end of a Scottish November day with its all encompassing gloom, low clouds and misty rain, those satanic clouds and rain which suck all the colours out of the world, leaving behind an abstract water colour in Payne's grey of what may or may not be hedges, trees and drystane walls. I thought to myself, "Its guy dreich the day" then closed the curtains on the world to hide it from view. Curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea, a book, the cat on my lap and the wee dug at my head on the sofa back, mentally hugging my knees, I gave myself the aura of warmth and contentment while still feeling chilled to the bone.

From my eyes the whole room was now the same Payne's grey abstract, the words danced on the page of the book or swam from chapter to chapter, making me chase them back to where I thought they had come from. Occasional coloured fireworks burst from my migraineous brain, confusing the issue even further. The cat and dog slept on, indifferent to my confusion, the gnawing pain from my damaged neck and the migraine joining forces to cause a melee of muscle and stomach cramps where ever the muse took them. For additional fun my knackered neck would send jolts of painful lightning down spinal pathways I never used to know existed, causing me to shudder and shake uncontrollably in a mini St Vitus dance, enough so even the cat noticed and responded by sticking his claws deeper into my legs prevent his inadvertent removal from my lap, in a form of feline acupuncture. The wee dog looked up in surprise at my sudden movement and decided to solve all my problems by licking my ear; which was nice of him but not much actual help because, as I stated earlier, "Its guy dreich the day."

I took my tablets like a good boy should, to ease my symptoms, and remembered feeling cold and grey like I did up on Campito Hill above San Carlos Waters the day after Thatcher's war of reconquest had been "won". Looking down across the water where so many bombs had fallen, ships had been badly damaged or blown up and men in aeroplanes had plummeted do their deaths on fiery trails of missiles and tracer bullets. Through the gloom I could make out the ramshackle sheds of Ajax Bay to which I would have to return because whether Thatcher had won or not, the human flotsam of her victory still needed triaged, resuscitated and placed in out, pending or for disposal trays and I was back on duty in a couple of hours. Then my neck did not hurt like it does now but my hands were burning from what was called non freezing cold injuries during which they went frae beily rid, tae tartan, tae is peely-wally is a ghosty an back agains if they got tae cauld. An atop yon ben, they got tae cauld even wi ma glaives oan. It wis guy dreich thon day anaw.

Folk dinnae like askin hoo ye ir when they think yer skelly wi thon black dug.They aw sort o skirt aroun slichtly embarrast, in case you dae somethin daft lik tell them whit's whit, bit noo I jist say, "Am guy dreich the day" an hopes they will jist piss aff afore they git me riled up. Polite chit chat is nae guid tae me when am feeling guy dreich an am waitin fir the sun tae come oot agin. Only the cat, the dug and the sofa unnerstan whin "Am guy dreich the day." an leave me tae ma silence.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Stating the bleeding obvious ....

Well done to the Westminster Defence Committee for pointing out the bleeding obvious: the Tory's UK's conventional defence planning provides the UK with all the safety and security of a gusset-less pair of skid mark shattered Y-fronts.

Why this sudden Damascene revelation?

After all, the folk who have worried about the Tory Party's run down of the UK's conventional military provision have been pointing this out since the 2010 SDR was 'announced' by David Cameron. Ex Cold War veterans, like myself, have long wondered just how Cameron's 2010 SDR was going to allow the UK's Armed Services meet their primary NATO role as it ripped the heart out of the UK's long standing maritime reconnaissance role with the scrapping of the Nimrod and the RN surface fleets tracking commitment trailing Russian submarines as they exit the Faroes - Iceland gap having been handed over by the Nimrods.

The lack of Nimrod aircraft have rendered the fishery protection agency's ability to monitor illegal industrial scale fishing within the UK's 200 mile limit and without the RN presence in the Faroes-Iceland gap there is no capability to directly challenge illegal fishing in our deep ocean waters, leaving massive factory ships from all around the world to hoover up mackerel and sand eel at will as Westminster turns a Nelsonian blind eye to the impact of political decisions, taken to allow them to afford the Trident replacement, on some of the UK's most important resources.

The UK is a maritime nation, we are reliant on the oceans for both imports and exports, Scotland has some of the best fishing grounds in the world around its shores yet the UK has no ability to patrol or protect our vital sea ways. It is the combination of maritime air reconnaissance and surface vessel patrols which prevent illegal dumping of contaminated bilges, cargoes and over quota fishing in our international waters. Let alone the prevention of illegal drug and weapon importation in combination with what is left of HM Coastguard revenue cutters.

The really frightening aspect of the Tory's defence scam is it is defending not a single UK interest and is just another piece of Tory and Westminster dogma about 'The UK punching above its weight.' projected on a nuclear weapons system not even our bestest pals in the USA's Pentagon think the UK should be purchasing. This is all just part and parcel of the Tory Party's need for self aggrandisement and a sense of self importance of which Cameron's Air Farce One is just part and parcel.

As long as a fawning UK media continue to praise Cameron's empty promises and his party's failed economic ideology there can be no challenge to the serious and threatening deficiency in the defence of the UK's real interests, in its own territorial waters, or the economic and environmental damage this is causing.

Ignoring the moral argument against Trident, for now, there is a serious risk in terms of the UK's balanced defence needs of putting all our eggs in the one basket case of a 'deterent weapon system' which has not prevented or deterred any number of wars across the world since it first burst over Hiroshima.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Tory view of Ethics - it is just north of London

I have a died in the wool Scottish Tory as an acquaintance. A man who believes he conducts himself with moral probity, is heavily involved in the local church (which helps operate a local food bank), a Rotarian involved in international charity projects and yet believes the poorest in the UK have brought poverty upon themselves by their slackness, we already have too many immigrants which 'we can not afford' and we should bomb the bejesus out of the Middle East.

He does not like being reminded that his party opposed the UK Union Parliament and the Whigs paying out massive bribes to key Jacobites in the run up to 1707 nor that his loyalty to the Saxe-Coburgs would not be shared with Scottish Tories of the 18th Century who were mainly Jacobites. This is all past history to him, meaningless in the longer term, the Tories are the only champions of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations which has created greater freedoms and wealth for all - except the 20th Century Tory version has not and has actually created the biggest division between the wealthy and the rest in the UK, since the 19th century.

On the 14th Lallands Peat Worrier printed a section of the precursor book to Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, Theory of Moral Sentiments, where Smith argues the ethical and social underpinning for his more famous second book, which challenges the standard Thatcherite view of capitalism, simplified as:
  • Those with the biggest cheque books get in the life boat first and sod the women and children
 Yet what does the 'father' of modern capitalism and the bedrock on which Thatcherism claims to be laid actually have to say on the moral issue of wealth and our fellow man?

"But what makes this difference? When our passive feelings are almost always so sordid and so selfish, how comes it that our active principles should often be so generous and so noble? When we are always so much more deeply affected by whatever concerns ourselves, than by whatever concerns other men; what is it which prompts the generous, upon all occasions, and the mean upon many, to sacrifice their own interests to the greater interests of others? 

It is not the soft power of humanity, it is not that feeble spark of benevolence which Nature has lighted up in the human heart, that is thus capable of counteracting the strongest impulses of self-love. It is a stronger power, a more forcible motive, which exerts itself upon such occasions. It is reason, principle, conscience, the inhabitant of the breast, the man within, the great judge and arbiter of our conduct."

This is not a message of unadulterated greed for greed's sake or a statement that greed is good, on which much of modern capitalism uses as its raison d'etre, but a message that wealth brings with it the responsibilities of empathy and compassion for others. It was Smith in  'The Wealth of Nations' who argues that in a 'modern manufactury' there must be a fair days pay for a fair days work and not Marx, Engels or Lenin. Further Smith argues that by paying a fair wage you will gain your workers respect and greater productivity as a result. A far cry from today's minimal wages and zero hours contracts. There are many examples from SMEs to major corporates, operating in the 21st Century, whose balance sheets prove the truth of Adam Smith's wise words. The problems arise for most businesses when they no longer retain their employees respect or value their work, as accurately reflected in Scott Adams famous 'Dilbert' series of cartoons whose characters take great delight in putting one over their pointy headed boss.

Dilbert's pointy headed boss can be replaced by David Cameron and you would not notice the difference, the cartoon strips would still hold true and still work, as he and his Tory Party are only interested in looking after 'Number 1'.

The reality is capitalism is no longer operating in the UK, what we have operating are the economics of fascism. There is no democracy in the UK state, we are run by an 'elected' kleptocracy of self interested parties, a kleptocracy delivering policies which are increasingly at odds with the views of an ever larger majority of people in Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland; a kleptocracy which knows with out the daily cash flow through the UK Treasury from Scottish oil and gas fields, they are deep in the mire and will happily ignore the wishes of the Scottish people to save their own scrawny necks.

The reason why the UK State is teetering towards collapse is simple, most normal folk in the UK still conduct themselves in the manner Adam Smith has highlighted in his 'Theory of Moral Sentiments'. The evidence?

Foodbanks, refugees, homeless shelters, Food Train and every other social welfare project run by ordinary people who simply care and thus  highlight UK Government indifference towards its own citizens needs and expectations, a callous indifference which is at the heart of the growing anger against the UK State across these lands.

So the next time a Tory argues that their party are the only party of capitalism and thus defenders of Western democracy just point out they do not have the slightest clue about what they are talking about in terms of democracy or capitalism as our government is a kleptocracy and our economic system fascist in its truest nature.

Monday, 16 November 2015

War Guru or not a Guru, that is the question ...

There is a strange thing that happens among my family and close friends when the UK Government gets all bellicose and foot stomping about other nations nefarious actions and a question arises, driven by the fact I have been in a shooting conflict, is there going to be a war?

There is a growing awareness that one stupid move by Putin or Obama's military muscle could drag Europe into a Middle East war few, if any Europeans, with a shred of common sense, would wish to be involved in. The reality is such a conflict would flash back into Europe via the Balkans and turn the present ugly situation in the Ukraine into a potential 'Poland' style line in the sand between NATO, the EU and Russia.

Why has it come to this?

In simple terms the Saudi Arabian Government wished to flex its muscles and demonstrate just who is the boss of the Muslim World in the Middle East, especially the Arabian Peninsula and asked its best buddy, the USA, for help. The Saudi's had this idea of how to end the secular state of Syria and the Assad regime's rule by fomenting a civil war between the largely Sunni opposition and Assad's Shi'ite followers. Saudi had lots of radicalised young men who they did not want hoping off to Al Qu'da and becoming a threat to the Saudi hierarchy by the back door. So some Saudi Princette thought, why not create our own Al Qu'da and direct it at Assad's Syria?

Now while everyone seems to be agog at Putin announcing this over the last couple of days, those of us following what has been happening have been telling you, dear readers, this same set of facts for over 18 months. Da'esh were initially funded by Saudi Arabia, armed by the CIA and trained by UK and Israeli special forces. The raison d'etre being to remove Assad and the last 'problem state', in the Saudi's eyes, in their Sunni sphere of influence. As a bonus, Iran would lose its last remaining ally on the Arabian peninsula and take another heavy hit from the Saudi's. With Assad's Syria out of the way an accommodation could be made with Israel over the 'Palestinian problem' to facilitate Egypt, Saudi and Israel making loads of dosh out of the oil and gas fields lying in the Mediterranean, just off the Gaza Strip, amongst other potentially lucrative spin offs. While Assad was being removed Egypt was brought back into the fold through the removal of the rather too religious, in the wrong way for Saudi tastes, socialist leaning, Muslim Brotherhood from any semblance of power.

Maybe the USA's NSA / CIA thought Putin was too wrapped up with the Ukraine to bother helping out Assad or felt signals had been sent out that Russia could not care less about Assad but some where along the line people forgot that Syria has been a long standing client state of Russia and the Russian Navy needs access to Syrian ports to function effectively in the Mediterranean. Iran, who play Russia off against the USA at every turn, started turning the screws on Putin, probably along the lines of we will not play ball with the IEAA over our nuclear program if you let our only ally on the Arabian Peninsula, Assad, fall.

As Iranian and Russia supplies and military advisors poured into Syria, the early easy gains stopped and Da'esh started taking big hits while also finding the many anti-Assad groupings had little interest in their Saudi, Sunni, reactionary, religious nuttery. The Syrians were quite happy being a secular state, thanks very much, so don't bring your stoning to death, head and hand removing nonsense around here because we are not swapping one vicious regime for another one which is even worse. So Da'esh took the hint and decided to take over Iraq instead and were doing quite well until the Iraqi Kurds said, in effect, thus far and no further which in turn began to give Asian Turkey cause for concern as the USA armed the Kurds because the US State Department said, the Iraqi Kurdish Forces are the only force inside Iraq with the commitment and ability to stop Da'esh in their tracks. The last thing Turkey or Iran wants along their borders are well armed and trained Kurds making noises about an autonomous Kurdish State.

In summary Russia and Iran back Assad's government in Syria for historic, geographic, political and religious reasons  while the Saudis, with the exception of Israel, want a Sunni Arabian Peninsula controlled by them, funded by their largess, backed by USA military muscle and operated by USA mega Corporations like EXXON, Haliburton, Gulf and the rest.

Da'esh basically are after the same outcome as the Saudi's but without the 'Laisse' or any idea of being fair in any normal sense of the word, with no room for an Israeli state or US involvement in any shape or form. Weirdly you would think this should make them best mates with Al Qu'da but apparently it does the exact opposite, on the grounds of similar religious nuttery magnetic poles find each other utterly and often fatally repellent.

So will the USA and Russia come to blows, dragging a reluctant Europe into a Islamic religious, kitty litter tray war that will make Afghanistan look like a cake walk?

The answer to this is a confident, certainly not, because both want rid of the Saudi's, out of control, Frankenstein monster creation - Da'esh. In the meantime both the USA and Russia are anxiously looking over their shoulder at a resurgent China and its re-emergence as a very big player in the Asian play pen; after decades of hiding behind its Maoist bamboo curtain, going nowhere very fast.

Any major conflict in the Arabian Peninsula would cause destabilisation in Europe's Balkans and Russia's Caucuses regions with the added problem for NATO of Turkey's inevitable split between the more secular, Europhile, Europe leaning Istanbul side of the Bosphoros and the increasingly religiously orthodox, Muslim leaning Ankara. Any all out war would destabilise Iran, Iraq and Turkey as the Kurds would push for their own autonomous state, as part of any coalition, taking chunks out of all three countries including a lot of oil and gas fields.

Last but not least, think of the mayhem a Netanyahu lead, right wing Zionist inspired, Israel would cause as it looked to create a 'Greater Israel' for its own security as a result of a full blown Shi'ite versus Sunni religious war on the Arabian peninsula, by swallowing up Jordan and the Sinai to achieve this.

The discussion, agreement and new settlement needs to be primarily between Iran and Saudi Arabia as this conflict has, at its base, the millennium old antipathy between the Shi'ites and the Sunni Islamic religious sects. With the best will in the world we need them to sort this religious cat and dog fight out, create a workable accommodation before deciding on any new state boundaries required to resolve the divisive impact of the Balfour Treaty of 1919. This will not happen until both Iran and Saudi Arabia agree to call off their attack dogs Da'esh, Hezbolla, Talliban and Al Qu'eda if, and it is a very big 'if', they still have any remnant of control over them.

Until that happens the European nations, Russia and the USA need to stand well clear and supply no further munitions to any side or allow themselves to be sucked into a sandy and even nastier version of Vietnam for the 21st Century, by putting troops on the ground and making them targets for both Shi'ite and Sunni religious groupings.

So as the imbecile Cameron goes around beating a tattoo on his toy drum, telling us to get out our pop guns and follow him into battle and we watch as he empties out his bent, broken and unkempt tin army, I think we all should make very clear to him to put his army, ships and planes back in his Tory toy box because we are not interested in saving the Saudi's, Exxon's and Haliburton's of this world from their own Frankenstein monster nor are we interested in letting the right wing Zionist plague that is Netanyahu's Israel out of the bottle either. Syria needs stabilised before there can be any sensible discussion on how to sort out the shambles Bush and Blair's Middle East policies have left Iraq, and the region as a whole, in.

A discussion which only Saudi Arabia and Iran can have with any short or long term hope for a peaceful resolution in the region.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Cameron tells the SNP to stop whinging ..

Jings and help ma boab ... its not just the SNP that are saying Cameron's Scotch Bill is a total failure, even Mr Gordon 'The Vow' Brown has said this bill is a failure and will end the Union.

The Scottish electorate having sent 56 SNP MPs to this glorious Union Parliament watched in disgust as the last Tory and Labour MP in Scotland back slapped each other while Tory MPs from such Scottish constituencies as North Leicester wasted time filibustering during the third reading of Cameron's Scotch Bill, to ensure the concerns of the majority of Scottish MPs could not be heard. The only Libdem MP in Scotland could not attend as he was in court, having been caught lying to his constituents, trying to save his political life and what remains of his shattered reputation.

So sadly for Cameron and his like: no this is not going away, the Scots are not going to be suckered into this heinous, fiscal 'pig in a poke', excuse of a Scotland Bill and Cameron may yet go down as the Tory who broke the Union, as promise after promise of the Better Together Campaign goes down the toilet.

It turns out making pensioners £1400 a year worse off is actually a Tory policy and not a result of independence, that UK Government jobs a 'No' vote needed to save are being shifted south to London anyway and Labour thinks it is OK to support the Tories on Tax Credit cuts at Westminster, by either voting with the Tory Party or abstaining, while whining to the SNP in Holyrood about what the SNP are going to do to alleviate the cuts when they adversely hit Scottish families. Worse, Labour think we Scots are too stupid to understand what they are up to to the point where arch Labour supporter, Guardian journalist Owen Jones, has been telling 'Labour Hame's' Duncan Hothersall, in effect, he is in an alternate universe with his claims for Labour in Scotland.

So Cameron wheels out British Establishment figure Lord Smith who tells us his recommendations have been met in full by Cameron's Scotch Bill and we Scots are now have to get back into our shortbread tins and shut the fuck up. The Daily Retard desperately wants us to believe the vow has been fulfilled, as does BBC Scotchland and all the London media types being wheeled out left right and centre but the latest TNS research on Scottish voting intentions does not make good reading for this motley crew, as it appears a large chunk of the Scottish electorate, across all age bands, are just not buying all the 'Good for Scotland' hype from Westminster and its organs of spin.

Let us remind ourselves that Mr Cameron is the prime minister who wrote complaining about the cuts being made to his local council services; council cuts which are required to be made as a result of his own government's austerity policies. Worse, Cameron then gets publicly shirty with said Tory council leader for pointing out to Cameron, Cameron has no clue as to the actual impact of his government's policies on local government finances. Yet Cameron is the man who wants us to believe the 'Smith Recommendations' have been delivered in full to Scotland, the man who does not understand the actual impact his government's policies are having on his own constituents.

If the SNP ratify this abomination of a 'Scotch Bill' at Holyrood I will be joining Wings over Scotland, the pitch forks and torch brigade at the entrance to Bute House, this is another pseudo 'Hammer of the Scots' we need to send home to think again. If the Scotch Unionists have any sense they will do the same as the rise in support for the SNP in the over 60 age group gains pace and they are being left to squabble over the minor placings. I increasingly have the sense that this UK Parliamentary Union will not see out 2020 or fail even sooner if 'Betty Regina' pops her clogs.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Dark Days, indeed ....

So Putin is having to 'fess up' to his fellow Russians their involvement in Syria is not without its down side and maybe it was Muslim Terrorists who downed the flight over Sinai, after all.

Over in the Middle East, USA's bestest buddie, Israel, have taken a very stern line on women drivers who lose temporary control of their vehicle - accidentally crashing into a bus stop is now an immediate capital offence in Netanyahu's Israel, especially if you are wearing a head scarf and look 'Palestinian'. What ever has happened to the presumption of innocence in Israel? 

Meanwhile President Obama's trick of reversing the binoculars, in a Bush-Cheney style, comes to the conclusion that all the bombing going on in Syria is working and 'degrading Da'esh's ability to fight.' A position I doubt the numbers of desperate Syrians struggling to get onto a beach in Lesbos, in one piece, nor the ethic groups being wiped out on a daily basis across the Middle East by Da'esh, would agree with.

So on the weekend when the UK's Veterans remember fallen comrades across numerous conflicts under taken to 'save the free world' according to the politicians whose backsides these self same veterans have died, been maimed and suffered to save the arses of time and time again. You would think that it would be sensible for the right wing media and our military leaders to 'shut the fuck up' for a few days and actually look at the real fall out of, for the UK, having troops on active service somewhere in the world, every year of the 20th Century (except for 1968).

The answer to this reasonable request to actually consider the impact on the people who served and their families is a resounding, "You are fucking joking!"

The British Establishment's biggest military toy, the unusable Trident, is under threat; so on the weekend we are supposed to remember the millions who have fallen over the course of the 20th Century, the weekend is high jacked to push for weapons which have the potential to make the first day of the Somme look like a Sunday School picnic. Meanwhile anyone who is saying something as strident as maybe we should not bother with the £167 billion minimum cost of renewal is attacked in what can only be called a media orchestrated witch hunt.

What can be more pathetic than the right wing media hounding Corbyn for lack of respect because, in their opinion, he did not bow low enough? Worse, they had to dig up some 'U non U' fossil from under a moss covered stone in Buckingham Palace's garden to justify their claims. Then it turns out the only person on the VIP 'podium' who actually bothered to talk to the veterans who marched past was Corbyn. Where is the headline, " Middle East disasters Blair, Brown and Major turn up for yet another free meal" or "Conservative leadership ignores the service 'Oiks' to the last man, in the rush for the canapes."

Over at the Bullshitting Britain Corporation, Andrew Marr allowed a senior general to attack an elected politician with out commenting the armed services are supposed to be neutral when it comes to politics.

I am certain my Dad and his RAF buddies in Bomber Command did not risk all so a few 'City of London' hedge fund managers could turn a quick million bucks or five, which is now increasingly the case, betting on oil and other resources and who now want an out of the EU vote for, much the same reasons. 

I came back from the Falklands, where I lost friends and, as a result of their experiences, continue to lose friends, to find the Conservatives still hell bent on wrecking the very same naval force which had just saved their collective backside from electoral defeat in 1982, by the skin of their Combined Services teeth. This idiocy and ignorance culminated in Cameron's defence policy, when he first became Prime Minister, of selling off all the UK's VSTOL capability to the US Marines for its scrap value, leaving the RN unable to deploy without shore based air cover. In short a big lesson of World War 2 with regards the necessity of sea bourne air cover for safe force projection, ignored. This was quickly followed by the shutting down of the RAF's maritime surveillance capability and a legion of MoD procurement cock ups and equipment failures, which routinely were originated at the behest of their political masters latest 'defence plans'. We have billion pound carriers with no planes, an RAF left with only 12 Tornado bombers which only fly from Cyprus, bombing Syria and Iraq, courtesy of canabilising the carcasses of Tornadoes in the UK and, finally, an Army which now just rates as a NATO division, is at overstretch, yet is about to be cut even further so the abomination of Trident 2 can be afforded.

Meanwhile the London media are bothered because Corbyn did not bow low enough and this is the real and ultimate offence to the ex-service community. 

The real offence to the ex-service community is the crass and ignorant defence policy decisions made by politicians since 1980 which, in a repeat of  the run up to 1914 and 1939, continue to put current service personnel under ever increasing strain trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear in the pursuit of 'City' hedge fund millions.