Monday, May 31, 2010

History Is Written By The Victors

"Tell me, where now are all those great doctors and masters with whom you were well acquainted while they were alive and immersed in learning? Now others fill their places, and I know not whether they ever think of them. In their lifetime they seemed to be someone, and now they are not spoken of" -
Thomas a Kempis, 'The Imitation of Christ.
Niall Ferguson, the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and sometime self-styled 'fully paid-up member of the neo-imperialist gang', is to have a hand in the history curriculum. We await the results with great interest.

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The Gulf Stream

Could this oil spill knacker the Gulf Stream?

Seriously, does anyone know?

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cultural Contrasts In The West Of Scotland

Yesterday afternoon, while cleaning up a mess created by somebody else's dog in the back garden, the dreary thump of lambeg drums could be heard in the distance like Sauron's orc army marching across the Pelennor Fields to the gates of Minas Tirith.
And then, almost miraculously, a song promising happiness and hope of better days rose above the din like a choir of angels, drowning the drums completely.
It was a Mr. Whippee van playing 'Whistle While You Work'.
If Glasgow didn't already exist, it would have to be invented.

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A Distinct Lack Of Charity

As someone who possesses what I know one reader considers to be a sometimes unattractive lack of charity, I am rather stunned by the lack of charity on display in the Comments section here.
One might not agree with Mr. Laws on any matter of policy. However, it is difficult not to admire the decisive manner in which he has dealt with an allegation of improper conduct. As well as being a very able man, he also seems to be an honourable one. We haven't had many of those in government recently.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Measure Of Sympathy For David Laws

Leave aside the financial stuff for a minute. Although it looks bad at the moment in the sense of having given our intellectually elite journalists a month's worth of headline fodder, no question about it, it's hard not to think that it might have come from having spent too much time trying to compartmentalise the public and the private.
And although I can think of at least one gay reader (or ex-reader) who may be very surprised at this, it is very hard not to feel sympathy for a gay man who, in the early years of the 21st century, might still have felt the need, for whatever reason, to stay in. Reserve is all well and good, but I do know from experience that one can gain a great deal of peace from accepting your own parameters.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

The Trials Of Pollok Pot, The Tartan Trot

Tommy Sheridan (pictured) has continued his plea of Not Guilty on charges of perjury, and is proceeding to trial in September.

Let us hope he mounts a vigourous defence. It would do the old street fighter's street cred no end of harm if he didn't come out swinging.

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The New Bosses, All Neocons To The Core, Make Another Huge Blunder

Attempting to dictate who will and will not appear on television? Pooh!

Good grief, these boys really are accustomed to getting what they want, aren't they?

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Brief Reflection On The Career Of Andrew Neil

I now find it impossible to watch 'This Week', if only because, in my opinion, Andrew Neil presents it with all the charisma of a bingo caller from Greenock at the twilight of his career.
This may be uncharitable, but his credibility is also stretched by that incredible hair which, as he ages, seems to resemble something that John Byrne and his former colleagues might have turned out at Stoddard's Carpets.
Thought for the day - a two piece suit is always better than a suit in two pieces.

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Our Lady Of Sheshan

'Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother, venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title "Help of Christians," the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection. We come before you today to implore your protection. Look upon the People of God and, with a mother's care, guide them along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.

When you obediently said "yes" in the house of Nazareth, you allowed God's eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption. You willingly and generously co-operated in that work, allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul,until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary, standing beside your Son, Who died that we might live.

From that moment, you became, in a new way, the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith and choose to follow in His footsteps by taking up His Cross. Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter. Grant that your children may discern at all times, even those that are darkest, the signs of God's loving presence.

Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China, who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love. May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world, and of the world to Jesus. In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high, offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love. Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love, ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built. Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen!'

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

Hat tip Scott Richert.

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Vice Chancellors' Pay

My own view of the sainted Vince Cable, formed from actually having read one of his books, is that he seems to be about as cuddly as a piranha; and by the look of him, he still seems to be desperately in need of being introduced to an ear-hair strimmer.
The vice-chancellors are paid too much! That the vice-chancellors are paid too much is not in dispute. That should not be the question. The question should be whether we have too many vice-chancellors. Closing the University of Nutjob-on-Prozac and turning the clock back to 1991, round about the time that John Major gave the process of pauperising the British middle classes a great big helping hand by massively expanding the university network and thus diminishing the value of every degree issued in the country, would be a good place to start. Come to think of it, the climate change unit at the University of East Anglia, the most discredited department in the British university system, would be a marvellous place to start.
But I don't think Dr. Cable would ever dare suggest doing that, given that he now relies on people who believe in pauperising the middle classes in order to stay in power.

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Trade Unionism In India

This is what they want for us; the suppression of workers' right of free association by any means necessary. The ideology that has governed us for over three decades is utterly backward in its understanding of the concept of the dignity of labour.

'When working blackguards come to blows,
And give or take a bloody nose,
Shall juries try such dogs as those,
Now Nap lies at Saint Helena?

No — let the Great Unpaid decide,
Without appeal, on tame bull's hide,
Ash-planted well, or fistified,
Since Nap died at Saint Helena.

When Sabbath stills the dizzy mill,
Shall Cutler Tom, or Grinder Bill,
On footpaths wander where they will,
Now Nap lies at Saint Helena ?

No — let them curse, but feel our power;
Dogs! let them spend their idle hour
Where burns the highway's dusty shower;
For Nap died at Saiut Helena.

Huzza ! the rascal Whiglings work
For better men than Hare and Burke,
And envy Algerine and Turk,
Since Nap died at Saint Helena.

Then close each path that sweetly climbs
Suburban hills, where village chimes
Remind the rogues of other times,
Ere Nap died at Saint Helena.

We tax their bread, restrict their trade;
To toil for us, then- hands were made ;
Their doom is seal'd, their prayer is pray'd;
Nap perish'd at Saint Helena.

Dogs! would they toil and fatten too?
They grumble still, as dogs will do;
We conquer'd them at Waterloo;
And Nap lies at Saint Helena.

But shall the villains meet and prate,
In crowds, about affairs of State?
Ride, yeoman, ride! act, magistrate!
Nap perish'd at Saint Helena' -

Ebenezer Elliott, 'Song'.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Stargate Universe

So I like bubblegum TV science fiction - got a problem with that?
Let's just say Keith's not all bad, if only because ending his tiff with Beardy Branson has enabled this particular bubblegum TV science fiction aficionado to get hooked on Stargate Universe. SGU has a great deal going for it - I mean, it's got a Glaswegian conquering the cosmos, for goodness sake! Why else would anyone want to watch anything that a less charitable reviewer might think to be really absurdly derivate of 'Star Trek: Voyager', from the number of syllables in the show's title, to the number of syllables in the star starship's name, to the plot premise (as if that matters), to the mention of neural interfaces, to the theme tune written by a composer named Goldsmith?
As a friendly reviewer - have you seen TJ, dudes? - one is prepared to take so much on the chin. Colonel Young is annoying, Eli even more so. In their respective roles as representatives of the military industrial complex on one side and universal loserdom on the other (fat dropouts generally do not, in my experience, make a habit of saving the day, nor of coming good in a crisis), one would like to see Dr. Rush get really down and dirty on them, Glasgow style, at the edge of infinity - come on, Bob, are you playing for the home team or not? You were in 'Trainspotting'! We demand blood and snotters in the playground of the Ancients! However, one cannot take an episode which seems so blatantly derivative such as tonight's, in this case of that wonderfully creepy movie 'Event Horizon', even down to the hallucinated image of a small boy running through the corridors of the 'Destiny', lying down. This is not good enough.
Unless this improves, one might be moved to uncharitable thoughts, such as thinking that Robert Carlyle's character, Dr. Nicholas Rush, must be intended to be a combination of Spock and Scotty; which I suppose means that he should be labelled Spotty, The Man Who Lives In Mortal Fear Of Being Tortured By A Giant Walking Fish Supper. At this point, it all seems rather more William Burroughs than William Burrell.
What this show desperately misses is black humour and mordant wit. There must be some humour to be found in the idea of a Weegie being stuck at the end of existence in the company of a lesbian HR woman and a boatload of generally useless career over achievers, and in having him be marooned before being captured by a fish tea and then being subjected to ad hoc heart surgery. What's next, strict enforcement of a 'No Smoking' policy? Mandatory drug testing? If there's humour there, the writers are yet to find it.

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Girls Will Be Girls, And Boys Will Be Rapists

Lock up your sons, chaps. The law's after them.
The dough-faced functionary from the Crown Prosecution Service didn't half look pleased with herself, though. And why does the United Kingdom seem to be full of either Canadian or American women, almost always well into middle-age, who seem to specialise in child protection issues, of the kind that was interviewed on the 10 O' Clock News last night?
Dickensian magistrates, desperate to bring the full weight of the law upon the smallest child, at least had a reason for their behaviour. They were little better than barbarians, and so history can be if not kind then understanding towards them for behaving according to type. Once we start prosecuting children for being children, what mitigation from history will we be able to plead?

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Union Busting And Mortal Sin

According to 'The Times', British Airways has broken the unions.

A group of Catholic scholars has recently indicated their belief that union busting is a mortal sin.

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The Andrew Wakefield Case

I may be mistaken, but I do not think the striking of Andrew Wakefield's name from the medical register yesterday made the BBC 10 O' Clock News. Given Wakefield's possible role in undermining confidence in mechanisms and practices which serve no purpose other than to protect children from disease, this is surprising. If one has the attention span of a goldfish, then people getting shot on the streets of Kingston may be more newsworthy than the dumping of a dodgy doc. However, somehow one would have thought that what is to all intents and purposes the conclusion of a news story regarding the safety of newborn British children which has now run for over a decade might be a little more worthy of comment than stories of far away places of which we know little. Or too much.
No profession eats its own lightly, particularly those of their members who may or may not have excellent media contacts. This decision will not have been made without the men in grey lab coats sweating three ways to Sunday over it. It will, in all likelihood, be lawyerproof. One wonders whether it stopped being about children at some point, at which point it immediately started being about Andrew Wakefield. Intentionally or unintentionally, he couldn't have started a more powerful, or more insidious, cult if he'd put on a saffron robe and declared that children would be protected from disease through yogic flying.
It must really be something of a comedown to have your peers declare you to be unfit for purpose. Humanity's need for homegrown messiahs, no matter how shopsoiled, never ceases to amaze. And it must be really galling to know that your professional obituary will be that you managed to retard the cause of vaccination, something not even the most reactionary post-Napoleonic king or pope managed to do. Suffer the little children, indeed.

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MacTescoLaw - The Runners And Riders

A useful precis on who's who in the the Scottish solicitor profession's race to dictate the terms upon which it will be able to sell its heritage for a mess of pottage, driven by a group of nationalists who, in their desire to be good Europeans, think that selling out what is unique about their nation is the best way forward.
I know, it doesn't make sense to me either.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Vegophobia

With my trusty copy of Private Eye No. 1257 at the ready, I sally forth once again to comment on the journalism, I suppose you could call it, of Ariane Sherine, the animating genius behind last year's 'Atheist Bus' campaign.
The highly vapid Ms. Sherine has written a column for 'Comment is Free' - I mean, where else? - on why she doesn't like eating vegetables. Vegophobia is the kind of luxury one can enjoy when one only has oneself to care for. Given that her choice of outlet constantly berates its readership over the plight of the world's starving, it seems odd for it to publish such an odd column which celebrates the wasting of food. A period of time spent feeding someone else usually sorts out the women from the girls when it comes to deciding what's worth putting into you; while feeding someone else through the nose really makes the scales fall from your eyes.

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The New Bosses' First (And Huge) Policy Blunder

The blame for Dr. Liam Fox's outburst on Afghanistan might fairly be laid at the door of having filled his head with neoconservative rubbish for the last decade.
The upside is that he wasn't visiting Russia. Phew!

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Some Thoughts On Marie Stopes International's Abortion Advert

"Jeanie, Jeanie, full of hopes,
Read a book by Marie Stopes,
But, to judge from her condition,
She must have read the wrong edition"
Ditty of the 1920's, quoted by Norman Davies in 'Europe: A History'.
It is only the most successful deathmongers who are able to sell death once they themselves are dead. In this respect Stopes, a person whose achievements were reduced to a music hall joke even in her own lifetime, may be unique. Quite why an advert for abortion services should be deemed necessary now, when we are constantly told that society is aging and that we need more people, is beyond me. I cannot help but think that the ancient, and very evil, strain of materialist thinking that deems fellow humans to be vermin like rats or pigeons, and thus to be disposed of with all due haste, is still alive and well.
There is an almost necrophiliac strain to abortion enthusiasts which is quite unsettling. They seem to thrive on the love of death, on the presence of death, and that being near death and facilitating death is a drug that they cannot do without. Apart from being disgustingly evil, it's also very weird.

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Some Thoughts On The Shame Of The Former Duchess Of York

This morning, I suffered a wave of embarrassment while watching the former Duchess of York being quite publicly shamed on BBC1, so I switched over to BBC2.
It was showing a program called 'Sorry, I've Got No Head'.
Quite apt, really.

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The Ghost Dance

Strange to see an ancient American tribal rite being performed on the streets of Glasgow; the ancient, and historically very American, fascination with the eugenic disposal of the poor.
I have to say that Mrs. Wilson, the victim of the extremely bizarre incident at the hands of Project Prevention, reacted with remarkable aplomb. I am not sure I would have shown such equanimity. Quite just what Project Prevention thinks it is doing is anyone's guess. Its members' collective arrogance seems to be astonishing.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Things Fall Apart, The Centre Cannot Hold

The news that the Con-Dem-Nation (copyright Laban Tall) are considering minimum alcohol pricing and the part-privatisation of the Royal Mail - man, how all Tories, blue or orange, really hate, really feel physically sick, at the idea of the British people owning anything in common! - isn't really surprising. After all, a Tory's a Tory regardless of whether their rosettes is blue or orange.
Yet it might still come undone from within. Cameron has ended the weekly meetings of Blue Tory backbenchers. The psychos and nutters on those backbenches who'd really like nothing more than for rich people to have the right to enslave and sterilise the poor, killing them without penalty and pillaging their property without compensation while taking their wives into concubinage, might not be too chuffed. They have waited years for power. And now they might just want to exercise it.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Synthetic Life!

I await to see this group of scientists' next trick with great interest. After all, all that business about forming voids and separating the heavens from the earth has already been done.
Some people take this whole technology business far too seriously. However, it will give the techno-eschatons, a noun one might presumably associate with a German synth band of the early '80's, something to jabber about for a while. It is astonishing to think that synthetic life has been created when, as far as I can determine, nobody has ever yet invented a walking stick with wheels. Not some bloody great zimmer, but a bog standard walking stick with a wheels option. That would be far more useful to me than a synthetic life form.

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Good For Unite

Having no immediate plans to fly anywhere, I really couldn't give a toss whether BA staff go on strike or not. However, I do care whether what seems to be BA's management's feral, subcivilised, animalistic approach to industrial relations becomes seen as being the appropriate way of dealing with any workplace dispute. One hopes not. Revolution's an ugly business.
It has been instructive to see how the British media has, in my opinion, given greater weight to BA's customers, people who have voluntarily contracted with BA to take them from A to B, than with those who help keep BA flying and who possess the right to withdraw their labour. Any random group of British holidaymakers will usually include those disgustingly antisocial elements who assault waiters and empty both their bladders and their bowels over amenities. These peoples' right to give the country a bad name overseas seems of greater importance to the British press than the right of trade unionists to pursue what has now been affirmed to be lawful industrial action. It will only be a short while before a right-wing British tabloid produces an anti-union article beginning 'First, they came for the holidaymakers'.

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Castes

I love this quote from Bertrand Russell -

"In many cities, however, and especially in Athens, the poorer citizens had towards the rich a double hostility, that of envy, and that of traditionalism. The rich were supposed - often with justice - to be impious and immoral; they were subverting ancient beliefs, and probably trying to destroy democracy. It thus happened that political democracy was associated with cultural conservatism, while those who were cultural innovators tended to be political reactionaries. Somewhat the same situation exists in modern America, where Tammany, as a mainly Catholic organisation, is engaged in defending traditional theological and ethical dogmas against the assaults of enlightenment. But the enlightened ae politically weaker in America than they were in Athens, because they have failed to make common cause with the plutocracy. There is, however, one important and highly intellectual class which is concerned with the defence of the plutocracy, namely the class of corporation lawyers. In some respects, their functions are similar to those that were performed in Athens by the Sophists"
"Eight legal firms have called for support for the Law Society of Scotland's modified policy on alternative business structures (ABS) at next week's AGM.

An open letter from Blackadders, Dundas & Wilson, Harper MacLeod, HBJ Gateley Wareing, Maclay Murray & Spens, McGrigors, Semple Fraser and Shepherd and Wedderburn claims that the real debate regarding ABS has been lost in the "noise" of recent months.

The firms argue that the profession cannot unilaterally resist change and that the way forward is to come together to agree what the level of regulation should be."
I make no other comment.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thoughts On Our Financial Non-Crisis

There is absolutely no crisis in the public accounts. None whatsoever. We will get through this as we have got through every other such crisis for the last 30 years - the rich will stamp on the faces of the poor, who will be told it's for their own good. What we do have are too many underemployed and self-important journalists who think that they form public opinion, some perhaps being worked from the back by greedy media owners who resent having to pay tax, and too many politicians willing to pander to them as opposed to telling them where to get off. A Cabinet Minister telling John Humphrys, Jeremy Paxman or, best of all, a Dimbleby to take a three-cornered flying one to themself on live TV, and to do it again and again, would be a most wonderfully refreshing tonic for our body politic.
Not very much of any consequence ever happens in this country, a fact with which the 24-hour news cycle has yet to come to terms. Maybe they'll get it sooner or later.
Keith must be kicking himself at the moment. I don't see the Lib Dems backing privatisation of the BBC, do you?

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A Short Thought On The Current State Of British Elections

It seems strange that elections held amongst private associations should be closely regulated and subject to legal intervention, whilst parliamentary elections are shambolic and subject to both the routine corruption of postal voting abuse and the scourge of polling stations being stocked with an insufficient number of ballot papers for the voters who are supposed to come to them.
We do not, of course, live in a plutocracy. No way. Never. Heaven forfend that anyone could think such a thing.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Perhaps Proclaming Victory Too Soon

Maybe Henry Porter's right, and we will see a wonderfully refreshing, almost mystical, expurgation of New Labour's crapulously illiberal laws from the statute book. I, for one, will believe it when I see it.
Whether their gang colours be red, blue or orange, there is not a hair's breadth between any of these people on any matter of substance. They are all market fundamentalists. Don't believe them if they say otherwise. I do not believe that Kenneth 'Fatty' Clarke is more liberal than Jack Straw. He may have done so, but I do not recall him ever saying a word about civil liberties in the 13 years in which they have been being systematically eroded. I do not recall the Conservatives ever really going to the mat with the Labour Party on what Blair and Brown were doing. They never took to the streets to protest about the erosion of freedom. Such market fundamentalists might believe that to in order for the market to work most efficiently, the people must be unable to oppose it, meaning that the new bosses will be just like the old bosses, only with more money in the bank. Once they have a power, policemen don't like giving it up. We shall see how this one plays out.

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O Bread Of Heaven

( My favourite hymn) -

"O Bread of Heaven, beneath this veil
Thou dost my very God conceal:
My Jesus, dearest treasure, hail!
I love Thee and, adoring, kneel;
Each loving soul by Thee is fed
With Thine own Self
in form of Bread.

O food of life,
Thou Who dost give
The pledge of immortality;
I live, no ‘tis not I that live;
God gives me life, God lives in me:
He feeds my soul, He guides my ways,
And every grief with joy repays.

O Bond of love that dost unite
The servant to his living Lord ;
Could I dare live and not requite
Such love - then death were meet reward:
I cannot live unless to prove
Some love for such unmeasured love.

My dearest God! Who dost so bind
My heart with countless claims to Thee!
O Sweetest love, my soul shall find
In Thy dear bonds true liberty.
Thyself Thou hast bestowed on me;
Thine, Thine for ever I will be.

O Mighty Fire, Thou that dost burn
To kindle every mind and heart!
For Thee my frozen soul doth yearn;
Come, Lord of love, Thy warmth impart;
If thus to speak too bold appear,‘
Tis love like Thine has banished fear.

O Sweetest dart of love Divine!
If I have sinned, then vengeance take;
Come pierce this guilty heart of mine,
And let it die for His dear sake
Who once expired on Calvary,
His heart pierced through for love of me.


Beloved Lord, in Heaven above
There, Jesus, Thou awaitest me,
To gaze on Thee with endless love;
Yes, thus I hope, thus shall it be:
For how can He deny me Heaven,
Who here on earth Himself hath given?"

St. Alphonsus Liguori. For what my opinion's worth, this is the very zenith of Catholic mysticism.

St. Alphonsus Liguori, pray for us.
St. Gerard Majella, pray for us.
St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us.
St. Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
St. Maria Goretti, pray for us.
St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
St. John The Baptist, pray for us.
St. John The Evangelist, pray for us.
St. Martin of Tours, pray for us.
St. Martin de Porres, pray for us.
St. Edward the Confessor, pray for us.
St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us.
St. Thomas More, pray for us.
St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.
St. Ignatius Loyola, pray for us.
St. Aloysius Gonzaga, pray for us.
St. Francis Xavier, pray for us.
St. John Bosco, pray for us.
St. Dominic Savio, pray for us.
St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us.
St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us.
St. Josemaria Escriva, pray for us.
St. John Ogilvie, pray for us.
St. Columbkille, pray for us.
St. Andrew, pray for us.
St. Kentigern, pray for us.
St. Patrick, pray for us.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
St. Peter and St. Paul, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, pray for us.

Amen.

(Update, 17th May 2010 - thanks be to God, His angels and His saints for prayers answered)

'Gunga Din'

(For the very brave and very small of no consequence to wider society, living away from their own homes and people) -

"YOU may talk o' gin and beer
When you're quartered safe out here,
And you're sent to penny-fights and Aldershot it,
But when it comes to slaughter,
You will do your work on water,
And you'll lick the bloomin' boots o' them that's got it.
Now in Injia's sunny clime,
Where I used to spend my time,
A-servin' of 'Er Majesty the Queen,
Of all them blackfaced crew,
The finest man I knew
Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.
It was "Din! Din! Din!
You limpin' lump of brick-dust, Gunga Din!
Hi! Slippery hitherao,
Water, get it! Panee lao,
You squidgy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din!"


The uniform 'e wore
Was nothin' much before,
And rather less than 'arf o' that be'ind,
For a piece o' twisty rag
And a goatskin water-bag
Was all the field-equipment 'e could find.
When the sweatin' troop-train lay
In a sidin' through the day,
When the 'eat would make your bloomin' eyebrows crawl,
We shouted "Harry By!"
Till our throats were bricky-dry,
Then we wopped him 'cause 'e couldn't serve us all.
It was "Din! Din! Din!
You 'eathen, where the mischief 'ave you been?
You put some juldee in it
Or I'll marrow you this minute
If you don't fill up my helmet, Gunga Din!"


'E would dot and carry one
Till the longest day was done,
And 'e didn't seem to know the use of fear;
If we charged or broke or cut,
You could bet your bloomin' nut
'E'd be waitin' fifty paces right flank rear.
'E would skip to our attack,
With 'is mussick on 'is back,
And watch us till the bugles made "Retire",
And for all 'is dirty hide,
'E was white, clear white, inside
When 'e went to tend the wounded under fire!
It was "Din! Din! Din!"
With the bullet kickin' dust spots on the green;
When the cartridges ran out,
You could hear the front lines shout,
"Hi! Ammunition-mules an' Gunga Din!"


I shan't forget the night
When I dropped be'ind the fight
With a bullet where my belt-plate should have been.
I was chokin' mad with thirst,
And the man that spied me first
Was our good ol' grinnin', gruntin' Gunga Din.
'E lifted up my head,
And 'e plugged me where I bled,
And 'e gave me 'arf a pint o' water green;
It was crawlin' and it stunk,
But of all the drinks I've drunk,
I'm gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.
It was "Din! Din! Din!
'Ere's a beggar with a bullet through his spleen--
'E's chawin up the ground,
And 'e's kickin' all around,
For Gawd's sake get the water, Gunga Din!"


'E carried me away
To where a dooli lay,
And a bullet came and drilled the beggar clean.
'E put me safe inside,
And just before 'e died,
"I 'ope you liked your drink," sez Gunga Din.
So I'll see 'im later on,
In the place where 'e is gone,
Where it's always double drill and no canteen;
'E'll be squattin' on the coals,
Givin' drink to poor damned souls,
And I'll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!
And it's "Din! Din! Din!"
You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!
Though I've belted you and flayed you,
By the livin' God that made you,
You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!" -


Rudyard Kipling.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Vengeance Of Alex Salmond

It says much for The Tartanissimo that he seeks the dismissal of midwives as a costcutting measure. King Herod had much the same attitude towards neonatal medicine.
If Glaswegians will not vote for him and consistently reject the philosophy of Scottish civic nationalism, indeed reject his stooges and empty suits at the ballot box, then he may consider it better that they not be born. I'll bet the abortion services stay fully funded. For his sake, I hope he believes in Hell.
He wouldn't have had the balls to go public with this before the election. It would be fascinating to know just how long the consultation period for these plans really was.

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Justice For Gary McKinnon

I wasn't listening too closely to an obviously upset Melanie Phillips on Thursday's 'Question Time'. I may be wrong, but I think I heard her mention that one of the terms of the new bosses' coalition deal is that parliamentary terms will be fixed for five years regardless of whether or not there is a successful no confidence motion.
If correct, such a confidence trick is a typically petty piece of Liberal Democrat crap and hypocrisy, serving no purpose other than to ensure that they get their hands on the levers of power for as long as possible. As Phillips herself said, they're neither liberal nor democratic. And wasn't that arrogant old fart Heseltine's hair magnificently static as he blamed the public for the current state of affairs for having voted? How does he it? And why didn't we have a revolution years ago to ensure that men such as him have no chance of wielding power over us?
Having made encouraging noises to Gary McKinnon and his family while in opposition, let's see them deliver for him now that they're in office - unless, of course, the new bosses are just like the old bosses. Just as the 'Skibbereen Eagle' kept its eye on the Tsar of Russia, this blog, and I suspect many others also, will be watching the posture of Captain Clegg and his pirate band very closely over civil liberties. Time to roll the clock back to 1997. Or else start a Catholic Action party.

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I Thought British Governments Didn't Interfere In Industrial Action

Wait - unless it's to avert a strike! Isn't this interfering in the private sector as much as doling out subsidies? Being a trade unionist myself, I don't want my taxes being used to undermine other trade unionists.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Our New Government

My time remains fully committed elsewhere, a state of affairs that will continue pro loco et tempore - however, new governments don't come around all that often, and it's only appropriate to share a few thoughts on them.
Danny Alexander is the new Secretary of State for Scotland. This begs the question - who's Danny Alexander?
Uncle Vince Cable, author of one of the worst books I have ever read, has been made Business Secretary. How a British Business Secretary can stay in post when they will have to recuse themself from any discussion of the oil industry, as Uncle Vince would have to do, is beyond me. Dave should have made him Chief Secretary to the Treasury after all. But then again, his appointment has kept Fatty Clarke away from the business portfolio, so we must be grateful for small mercies.
Liam Fox has been appointed Defence Secretary. Dr. Fox is a native of East Kilbride, Glasgow's Soweto, a town of 73,000 built on a mountaintop and thus entirely immune from the dreaded invasions from Cambuslang on one side and Clarkston on the other. It is to be hoped that Dr. Fox has outgrown the siege mentality.
Interviewed on a news channel last night - one can hardly tell the difference between night and day at the moment - William Hague, our new Foreign Secretary, made mention of Iran, and how he was going to discuss it with Hillary Clinton. As if we didn't have enough problems already. We do not appear to have an Iranian problem, other than any that might be imagined by small-eyed, bellicose incoming Foreign Secretaries - with great love and admiration for all my American readers, we do appear to have an American problem. The Iranians don't maintain any bases on our soil. The Americans do. There is a popular British myth that we have not been successfully invaded since 1066. I can't see the truth of it myself.
The new bosses look just like the old bosses. It was ever thus. We can prepare ourselves for the greatest single onslaught that the British Establishment has ever mounted on the poor, the sick and the weak, those inconvenient walking, breathing reminders of how ideologies fail. Those who are rich, healthy and strong will attempt to grind those who are not like them into the dust, and they will be cheered on all the while by largely useless idiot journalists who've never really quite grasped that their role in the system is to help sell advertising space for baldness cures and timeshare apartments, and not to act as opinion formers or as an intellectual elite. If the Liberal Democrats behave in government as they have behaved in opposition, then society's most truly vulnerable people, its unborn, will continue to be sucked out of the womb in appalling agony, and perhaps moves will be made to extend the time when an abortion can be procured to a point well past that at which the modern miracle that is neonatal medicine can ensure a premature child's survival. If the Liberal Democrats behave in government as they have behaved in opposition, the elderly will become afraid to seek medical attention lest they be deemed a burden to the system, the prospect of the needle in the arm casting a shadow over their need for care. There has been a very good reason why the Liberals and Liberal Democrats have not held power for nearly a century. They're too bloody dangerous, their views too lethal, for them to be allowed anywhere near it.
I think it's time that the UK had a Catholic Action party - don't you?

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The Man In Black

I have appeared in front of a number of sheriffs of whom I retain fond memories, men like Colin Higgins at Paisley, and Simon Fraser, Tom Scott and the late John Fitzsimons at Dumbarton.
Sheriff Kenneth Mitchell seems to have passed what might be an unusually lenient sentence at Glasgow Sheriff Court. Such are the ways of justice. In this case, justice might be just about as blind as the victim.

Defining Irony

From The Journal Of The Law Society Of Scotland, under the heading 'Solicitors struck off for professional misconduct' -

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Anorakistan

At a time when the country has no legitimate government and is at war, the Liberal Democrats once again display their truly piddling smallness by insisting that the most pressing matter in public life is the advent of the single transferable vote. Welcome to Anorakistan, a country that looks as if could be being led by the Glasgow University Dialectical Society circa 1987 - God help us all.
The past few days have been nothing but political sitcom of the highest order, Order In The House if you prefer, with so-called democrats vying with each other to see which can stage what they believe will be the most durable coup. The Liberal Democrat Ed Davey even has the type of face one would expect to see on a sitcom actor playing the role of a hapless dad rather than on a very senior figure in public life. It would be funny if young men still weren't being eviscerated in order to keep down the price of heroin. As I wrote many months ago now, proportional representation is gang warfare on the public; and if they are pushing for unmandated electoral reform as a condition of their involvement in coalition, Captain Clegg and his pirate band show that they will do anything to ensure that they stay part of The Commission.

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Some Thoughts On Watching Scotland In The World Cup in The 1970's

We were too poor to have flags.

We had to paint Saltires onto used Elastoplasts.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

My Only Thought On The General Election

The Tartanissimo's prediction that Westminster would be dancing to a Scottish tune has been shown to be the hollow boast of a blowhard.
I rather think he'll be out of Bute House this time next year.

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An Unusual Accident

On the way home from visiting a hospitalised relative this afternoon, a fly Atta-ed itself straight into my left eyeball. I could not smell sake on its breath, and have no way of knowing whether it had saluted the rising sun this morning, but its commitment to ending its life on my face was beyond question.
After wiping its remains from my eyeball, I detected the unmistakable odour of some kind of fecal matter on my finger. The little swine had stood on something before taxi-ing for take-off. You can imagine the urgency with which I rushed to the bathroom sink when I got home. All I really need in my life right now is some kind of horribly obscure and completely debilitating brain virus contracted from a suicidal, soap-dodging insect, a suitably Bellerophonian end for a childhood enthusiast for Greek mythology. It was nice knowing you.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

No Matter Who You Vote For...

You do not live in a nation, but a market; and for a market to work at maximum efficiency, the people must be unable to oppose it.
One of these days a lot of people are going to get as mad as hell, and decide that they're not going to take it any more. It can't come quickly enough.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Do Not Vote For The Scottish National Party

That the Scottish National Party is a quasi-fascist gang of middle-class thugs determined to remake Scotland and the Scots in their own hellish image has, to my mind, been beyond dispute since its obese, publicly unpleasant, aggressive, animalistic wee toytown fuhrer declared his minority Scottish Executive to be 'The Scottish Government', presumably with himself as bonnet laird o' the midden. That a scandal would break revealing it to be incapable of being trusted with democracy, and thus themselves to be enemies of democracy, was inevitable.
Hopefully this scandal surrounding the security of postal votes perhaps having been compromised, the secrecy of the ballot being ignored and the results ending up in the hands of a Scottish nationalist, will break the Scottish National Party and the whole philosophy of Scottish civic nationalism into a thousand bleeding pieces; I mean, really break it, until all the teachers, lawyers and journalists who think that they know what's best for us, the bastards, are screaming for the pain that seeing all their fantasies being shattered is causing them to stop. It doesn't need to be opposed, it needs to be broken, mangled and smashed into a state of disrepair from which it will never recover. Hopefully some Scottish Nationalist is sent, stepping gaily as they go, into custody for this. By and of itself, this would be good and wholesome thing. It would teach these people that they are not a government. They are not fit to govern any honest Scottish man or woman. They are semi-literate middle-class oafs with bad attitudes and worse haircuts.
Do not vote for the Scottish National Party. They might not be Labour, but they're still not your friend. They are interested only in their own aggrandisement and, very possibly, enrichment by holding power over you. Their philosophy is a cancer eating away at the bowels of the Scottish body politic. It may be a civic nationalism, whatever the hell that might be, but it is still a nationalism, the most dangerous and divisive of all ideologies. They are a collection of nonentities who would not look out of place at all in some kind of fascistic 'shirt movement'. The whole system of postal voting needs to be thoroughly overhauled. There is no reason why people who can walk to a voting station should be able to cast postal votes. If they're too lazy to get off their fat arses and walk, they don't deserve to have the vote. And the Scottish nationalist strategists must be kicking themself that such a scandal, one that strikes right to the heart of how democrats should behave in a democracy, has been afflicted upon them. But then again, if you lie down with dogs, expect to catch fleas. Exeunt omnes to the strains of Salmond's Diageo in F and B...

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Sunday, May 02, 2010

Nick Clegg

Seems like a nice enough bloke, and all that- but the report in the most recent edition of 'Private Eye' that he interned at 'The Nation' in New York deepens my suspicion that the guy's an ultra-ambitious careerist. His CV could have come from a manual for the production of international elitists. And apart from our common humanity, he thinks he has something in common with me?

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