Writings, photos, politics and rants... *Original content - may not be reproduced without my consent.*

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Mali, Ireland, Iraq, Afghanistan... The Liar Generals

The posh, gouty British Generals are wheeled out on the BBC/Sky/Corporation news to lie that the intervention in Mali is to protect its people and us. Jackson, Danat, etc... Lifeless, leather chair bound, brandy swilling, marble spoken men who lied about what they have done all over the world from sacrificing children, men and women in Ireland through to Iraq and beyond. 

Mali has huge deposits of minerals corporations exploit for little price (basically stolen) that are used from drilling through to mobile phones. Minerals dug up by poor exploited locals. 

Our army, our teenagers, and young men and women are being used - their lives risked and ultimately sacrificed to protect the profiteering interests of the corporation fatcats...

We are being lied to again.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Liberals, Labour and MLK...

Martin Luther King on white liberals from his Letter from a Birmingham Jail:

"First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.”

Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."

...and this is the danger that Liberal Democrats pose in the present coalition government towards the working class and the poor in our struggle against the Tories, though I firmly believe that the Labour Party have also made a negative peace with Neo Liberalism.

How do we move from progressive society being stymied by these economic Chamberlain-esque patsies?  Certainly in my opinion in Scotland a YES vote will create a new politics British Isles wide.  

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Titanic rant...

The Staircase is not for Plebs.

I visited the Titanic exhibition in Belfast a couple of weeks ago.  I really enjoyed it, but there was one thing that rankled me.  Access to the whole exhibition wasn't given.  In fact the main piece, after paying for (quite expensive) tickets, was not part of the visit...

The Titanic was built by ordinary workers. None of the men and women who built the original staircase would ever have expected to be able to walk down it cloaked and gowned for a meal in the original Titanic's restaurant.

After the sinking when the class system meant the last people to be rescued were the poor spud grower in third class, and after the decimation of working class families during the first world war, when manys a flax gatherer or weaver or spud grower's son died a horrible death when ordered to push over the top ahead of the inspecting officer class etc, our society rid itself of preferential treatment for money. In the past few years this class system has creeped back with the disgusting language and policies of Cameron's government and the compliant press. How far down the line will the "skivers" be thrown to the front in whatever corporation war for other peoples resources..? I diverge... 

Basically my complaint to the otherwise excellent Belfast Titanic exhibition is this... The new staircase was built by ordinary men and women. I suspect none of those who wove the carpet or nailed the boards down were millionaires or even rich people. I wonder how many of them, if they have families, will ever be able to afford a family visit those stairs? According to the guides we spoke to, the only way to visit was to pay for a cream tea on Sunday-£25 a head... £75 for my family- about as much as I pay for tickets to come over from Glasgow to visit my family in Northern Ireland in the first place. 

Titanic visitors centre... sort out your class system. The very system your exhibition states was called into question after the sinking...

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Nuke convo

I had a strange conversation last night with a young woman. A few friends and I were discussing Faslane Nuclear Base. She asked, what are the pros and cons of 200+ nuclear weapons stationed outside Glasgow?
I think my thoughts on her question are very much that these questions are not being asked by people until a much later age than when I was young. I asked those sorts of questions when I was a pre-teen. This is not because young people nowadays care less than we did, but I think young people have not been exposed to politics and issues such as nuclear weapons in our media in the way we were.

I think there are some young people who do get exposed to issues through parents who are politicised, but I am realising these young people, even  though I meet then through political organisations I am part of or deal with are few and far between. I am beginning to realise the "norm" may be young people who are completely politically unaware.

This depresses me.

I feel this might be because of the seeming geo-political victory by neo-liberalism. World economics and the dissemination of information, including education and the media, is controlled entirely by those people who benefit from the assembly of obsolete and very dangerous weaponry, and their maintenance, security and cyclical replacement. The same people who benefit from armies using conventional weaponry in dodgy wars that also needs replacement. Of course, this is one aspect of neo-liberalism, but a hugely profitable one for some people.
Education- when I was at school in the 70's and early 80's, teachers spoke about nukes. We ducked and covered, or at least, Blue Peter showed us how. I had a hippy teacher who had the words of Imagine on his wall. I can imagine the reaction of some if I had a similarly political lyric on my classroom wall.
A few days ago, I was planning lessons on a new topic with two other teachers. Our topic is about world food production. One of the teachers said we should talk about why these people are poor. I asked her why she thought people were poor? And she said that we should explain that some countries just dont have enough stuff and that famine and their wars make people poor. I objected and explained, using the non-existant Irish Potato Famine as an example, that I thought if we were to really tackle this topic, we would have to be truthful and show the children how actually, the countries in "famine" for example, Ethiopia, (An example I used only because I knew she would know of the famine there) were only in famine because of the actions of men... These were not natural disaster, and the wars were usually wars funded by rich countries for resources. I told her that Ethiopia is a resource rich country and exports food, and continues to during famine. She told me, "but thats your politics talking..!"

The other two teachers are going to teach about food without touching this topic.

I wonder what most young people understand about troops being sent to Mali? I know lots of people my age are cynical and alarm bells ring. Quite rightly so. Mali is a resource rich country that supplies diamonds and rare earths across the globe. And the reds are taking over.

The thing is, these issues and their discussion are totally controlled by private interests. The media is controlled by billionaire men such as Murdoch, who profits from the companies who export from Mali; create weaponry or will be building components for the new nukes at Faslane- OR have shares in the companies such as SERCO or Atos who service the weapons or offer security for them. OR at the very least some of his class buddies or family do.

So negative press is not allowed.

The absence of real political debate does not help these young people understand the decisions that are being made without any opposition. Back in the 70's the debate was how slow or fast we were moving to equality. And the nuke debate was almost a daily occurance- and nukes in this country were not serviced at a profit... That aspect came with the Tories and Neo-Labour Blairites. We saw documentaries, leaked or debated over or banned, but banned publically so we knew, at least there was an issue.
We read picture books by Raymond Briggs on the issue... We watched dramatisations of nuke war...

We were informed.

The present dismissal of politics by young people is in my opinion encouraged by the present hegemony. They do not profit from  an informed and politically educated populace. Teach a child that, "politics are boring," or talking about the reality of poverty is "political," and being political is worse than being an evangelical Christian in your work canteen, and the politicised upper classes have their slaves and consumers. To paraphrase a famous Priest, 'if I give a starving child food, they call me a Saint. If I ask why the child is starving, they call me a communist.'

The Murdoch's, Blair's, Thatcher's and Cameron's of this world have demonised equality and educated a massive population arou d the world that their massive consumption is as natural as the starvation of those "third world children." Questioning weapons of mass destruction stationed 30 miles outside Glasgow is not something worth doing. Or it is "too political."

The young woman wants to know more, and I hope her now being part of a politicised Theatre Group will give her a taste of the counter argument to a depoliticised and consuming world.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Story Stones

I've so many stories in my head, sometimes I want to just sit and tell the we'an one after the other. Non-stop. Just finishing one and starting another.
But the we'an isnt here.

This is my place. My heads peace. My headspace. The place I can be.
My maw told me we had come from the country. Up north. She stopped talking about it, like. Didn’t give me all the details. But I remember bits. Seeing the sky. Like this sky, beside these stones. These are my story stones and they are talkin' about taking them away. Something else they bastards who know want to take from me.

Photo from HERE

My maw said she lived in the country with her maw until she died. Her maw doted on me. I’ve only saw a couple of pictures of my granny. One fae when she was a wee lassie and one fae when she was haudin' me. Looking at me. Like she liked me. Like she loved me.  And I can see in the picture what I'm looking at.

The sky. The hills.

Then she died. I don’t remember that. All I remember really was the concrete before it got really greeny grey. When it was new and when it was like the space age. All I remember was the noise. Fuckin noise everywhere.

Our house was noisy. All the time. My sisters my brothers and him, Big fuckin' Noise, who promised my maw the moon and its fuckin' halo. All he did was shout and sing and belt. He would sing and shout sorry in the middle of the night. He would punch her and say sorry after work. He would belt us for being noisy or for spilling cornflakes and say sorry and buy us stuff stuff stuff noise noise noise.

This is my place. I found it when I was wee. I found it when I found The Hobbit and he Moomins and Watership Down. A circle of stones. A place to get away from the noise. A place to dream of a different world where Hazel, or Moomin Mama or an Elf would look after you and you would go on adventures and you would stick your fingers up to this world because they had no way in, just like Kes.

I can see the school I went to when I was wee. A place where children were quiet and all the noise came fae the bastards who used their knuckles on the side if your head when you looked out the windae at the sky and the hill with the stones. The miserable oul' fuckers who spat their threats so close to your face you could smell the same fruit waft from their gobs as the noisy bastard at home.

The playground was sometimes okay, like. But sometimes the noise was just too much. The crowds in my head. The shouting bastards at home and the spitting nasty Newton Mearns twinset and pearls who knew. They fuckin’ knew how the world worked and twisted and pulled at you to fit into their world.  Sometimes I hid when the bell rang. And I would sit in silence, listening to the gentle breath of the Glasgow traffic across the city. Sometimes by the time the jannie found me I was soaked. But I didn’t care. Because I had had time to live in another world.

That’s why I looked for this place. For peace. To see the sky.

Once in the school, the heidy and teachers and the social and my maw were all asking me questions. All looking at me. Sitting in this wee room. The walls pushed at my head and their words and faces were thrown at me one after the other while the others watched. I couldn’t understand why the fuckers just wanted to be so noisy! And fuckin hated me for not wanting their noisy world. I stood up, all 7 1/2 years of me and told them to, "Shut the fuck up or I'll chib the lot of ye!" Just like that old bastard would say to me and the noisy brothers and sisters. I said, "I don't want your fuckin' golden time or your time out! Get out of my face!" And I ran out of the room.

It took them and two Polis men to find me. And it took them hours. The place I found when I climbed up the coat hangers, the space between the ceiling and the roof was dark, but it was quiet. I remember it as a wonderful world where I was the Bionic Woman. Strong and fast and I could belt him so fast he never came near me or my maw in the night again.

My maw didn’t tell him about me running away in school, but he found out when they said I had to have a social worker coming to the house. He hit the roof! He had to clear up all of his bottles. He said it would be my fault if he lost his job on the building site because my lies would be in all the papers. He told me my maw would die of shame if that happened.

When I come here and it is dark, I dance around these stones. I listen to them. I hold them and they tell me about other worlds. Worlds so quiet that everyone notices everything. Just your eyebrow in the wrong way would have the people of this world know some bastard was annoying you and they would deal with him. So mostly people are happy. And they know about the we'an and they want to find her with me...

The quietest time was when the social came. Every so often; I can’t remember how often she came. She spoke in a quiet way, smiling all of the time, but always looking concerned. The bastard was always cheery when she was here, always saying things were great and asking us, "isn’t that right kids?"  I could tell the social didn’t believe him because she always looked at my maw and asked her what she thought and my maw just nodded and looked sad through her smile.

She looked so thin, I remember.

You might think I'm jokin' but the best time was when I stabbed the bastard. Well, just that bit and then what happened afterwards. For a while.

He hit her when she was happy. When she was telling me about the sky in the country and how I used to crawl in the grass and pick up ants and lick them. She was ironing his shirt. It was away after our tea time. And it was dark and I knew it was payday. And he came in and went fucking mad because she was smiling. He shouted at her for being a hoor and for not knowing the sash and for being a fenian bastard. He hit her with the flat of the iron square in the face and she went down and I never saw her get up again even with him shouting at her to get up to fuck a' that.

I went to our bedroom and broke the aerial off my brothers radio. The broken bit was sharp. I think I had thought I was going to whip him, but he was on his knees shouting in her battered lifeless face and I rammed the sharp bit into his eye and he went down and blood went all over me. He only screamed for a short while and that was the end of his fuckin noise.

Me and the brothers and sisters were split up. They were young and they went to houses. I was, I suppose, a kind of criminal. But I was glad I did what I did. Maw is in these stones and he is in hell.

The place I went had plenty of noise, but I had plenty of places to escape to. It was easy. And they knew I always came back. I hated the world beyond the fields and I knew this place was better than a house in Glasgow. 

I know you probably think I am a bit ruthless, but when I said what happened was great, I just meant the quiet times I could have. There was noise fae the other girls, but nothing I couldn’t handle, and a bit of noise sometimes meant I could stop thinking of her smiling and telling me about the sky and then lying dead.

And then it was over. I was thrown into a flat here right in the middle if all this shit. It was like being hit round the head with saucepans. Except when I opened the windae I could hear Glasgow breathe and although I could see all their fights and hear their songs when the pubs rolled out, I could see the hill beyond.

They got me a job in a sewing place. Making jeans and cheap denim jaikets. The noise was awful... But, when you got into a rhythm you could get lost. I was one of the quickest on the machine. I kept myself to myself and I made enough money to go to the Lake District and walk in the hills and sit in quiet cafes watching streams bubble past and watch happy people glad to be near the sky. I ate Kendal Mint Cake and explored caves. I smiled at people when they spoke and they smiled back, knowing I wasn’t going to say anything back to them.

Every morning on the train to work, he looked at me. I saw him, looking and his lip curled into an almost imperceptible lop sided smile. If he wasn’t looking, he was reading his books. Books without pictures on the front. Books about the real world but, and this is when I smiled back, when I went to the library one day, I found one of them called "The Revolution Betrayed" and realised he wanted a world like the one I wanted. One where there were no bastards in your face, screaming at you to hurry up, sit down, buy this, eat that, get thin, eat fat, go here, fuck there, fight wars, earn less. He wanted a way out if his fucked up world and I told him I would never go in to a pub, so if he wanted to meet me we could go on the train to Balloch on Saturday. He looked kind of shocked, but agreed.

We met at Central Station the next day and even though it was raining, we went to the big Country Park. We had tea and egg sandwiches in the cafe and sheltered under a tree, just sitting, watching the rain splash into Loch Lomond. Then, after a fish tea, we caught the train back. I smiled at him and told him I would see him on Monday.

On the Monday he sat beside me on the train. He had a newspaper and he told me I should take it.  It said smash the system and a better world was possible. And I knew it was, but I couldn’t see that smashing anything would help.

We both liked silence, but sometimes he liked to go to meetings and he would bring me along.  They would be baying for Thatcher’s blood, though never really saying that.  We smashed the system and the poll tax and Thatcher made way for Major; we climbed hills and waded through bogs and sat beside bubbling rivers and slept on soft white covers.  We lay on the grass and watched the sky and listened to the breathing of distant Glasgow from the Campsies.

And we married in a registry office, just a few of us, just before the we’an was born.

And I told her stories of rabbits and hobbits and moomins and better worlds and she gurgled and laughed and I smiled and sang and told her about the sky.  And he came in from his meetings and tucked her in and we sat with the window open listening to Glasgow sigh as it went to sleep.

It was slow, the change.  He had a couple of beers with his comrades, and then the comrades had noisy parties he had to go to but I hated and stayed away from.  And then I saw them.  My time in the quiet world taught me how to notice.  She was on our train and I saw her look at his book.  I saw his imperceptible smile.  And I knew. And the world was noisy again. The walls were in my face.  The carriage of faces mocked me one by one while the others watched.

His meetings were more frequent.  He turned his back on me at night.  He was never there to tuck her in and one night I took the we’an to the community centre where the meeting was, and found it wasn’t.

The next day on the train, when they looked at each other, I got up and punched her in the face.  He jumped up and looked at her as she shouted at me.  He looked as if he didn’t know who to look at and that was when I truly knew. I smiled and pulled the scissors from my pocket and rammed them into his face.  The world went quiet and I only saw him in court and haven’t seen the we’an since.

I shirk.  It is what I’m told I do. But I shirk away from the noise and the deceit and the faces and the Newton Mearns people who know how to create noise.  I couldn’t give a flying fuck if they take my generous benefits from me, the ones they give to me so reluctantly. As long as I can sit under the stars and listen to the stories in my head and imagine singing to her.  So long as the people from the better world are here, dancing among the stones, I don’t gie a fuck.

More information on the Sighthill Standing Stones HERE

Friday, 4 January 2013

You are a big boy now!

I don't think England should be dependent on Scotland anymore. It should learn to stand on its own two feet. It isnt a child anymore. Time to cut the apron strings and make its own way. Does it want to be a big mammies boy all of its life?

All of the other grown up countries will be laughing at it. I mean look at Sweden. I know back when it was a teenager it had a wee bit of a hard time separating from its mammie, but Norway was pretty adamant about it getting out there on its own. And now look at it! Its a big grown up now, not dependent on its mammie and totally capable of making big decisions in its own. Norway and Sweden still see a lot of each other and are always together, but they make their decisions separately (and sometimes those decisions are very different!).

So come on, England.  Teenaged life can be very difficult - casting off childish things, like trying to grab everyone elses toys and fighting over some of them, is a good step. As you become more mature, rather than using your big loud gruff teenaged voice for "slagging everyone off" and instead building bridges; or rather than hitting everyone who has more of something than than you and instead learning to share, then you will feel happier.

Scotland is ready to do that. C'mon England. Be a wee bit more mature. You'll feel much better when you start to make your own way in the world.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

IDS - a made up figure?

Why are so many people shocked with the dawning revelation that Iain Duncan Smith has been making up figures in order to twist peoples minds into thinking greedy right wing toryism is a good thing?

Duncan Smith, yesterday attacked figures he had seen that related to tax credits. He told the country about the billions wasted and the huge figures involved. An example. He said that tax credits rose by 58%. He hinted at the idea (well not so much hinted as blatently said) that it was because of scammers, and what's more FOREIGN scammers, that our tax money was not going to pay his rich friends and was going to these robbers instead. This is a man who has helped in the robbery of our NHS and of our education system- billions of our pounds are now being syphoned off to boost the share price of G4S, SERCO and other foreign multi-nationals because of him and his friends.

The thing about the left is, we are left because we are kind. Let's not beat about the bush here. Leftism is about sharing. Those on the right are about individual profiteering regardless of the cost to others... And if that cost is to those outside their elitist group, so much the better. Duncan Smith released his figures the day before the real figures were due to be released for a reason. Headlines. Just like when he visited Easterhouse. And just like when he visited Easterhouse and said something should be done about poverty, we gave him the benefit of the doubt.

The biggest problem we have on the left, is the fact the Tories control the media. Or actually, the billionaires who own the media control the tories. The media barons (all men by the way) dont mind shooting down a stray tory now and again, but overall, they protect those who ensure money keeps syphoning upwards. None of the popular tabloid press will attack IDS. Will even the Daily Mirror?

When Smith strolled through Easterhouse gazing upon the poor as if it was some kind of tour of the Tansanian grasslands, gazing upon dangerous natives and wild animals, I knew he was thinking, "I definately saw a dvd player in that plebs house. If they can afford such luxuries, their heating isnt expensive enough." But even as a lefty, I am cynical. As a lefty, unfortunately, I gave him the benefit of the doubt as we so often do to our peril. His walk through Easterhouse came when the tories were basically seen as soul eaters... Tormentors, just as Danny Boyle portrayed them in his Opening Ceremony. And the first thing they did when cuddly IDK and Boris and Shiny Cam had changed their image just enough to whiff power, was suck the soul out of the NHS. Their rich friends nearly doubled the price of fuel. They sold the English education system off to the highest bidder, they have increased the number of homelessness exponentially...

And that 58% figure that will be in todays press? The actual figure released this morning - 8%. The figure for "foreign scammers?" It doesnt exist. Figures for nationality have never been taken in respect of Tax Credits. Go look it up. But you won't find the real figures on the Daily Mail or Sun's websites where the IDK "massaged figure" will be.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Giving you the boak on January 1st

Ok. This is going to be self indulgent and very boring. In fact, turn back and go no further. It is for me to look back on on my timeline (posted to facebook as well as here). So its not for you. It will make you sick in your mouth.

Look away!

Its for me. About me. Self congratulary and positive and all of those things people really dont want to read with a hangover or in a commuting carraige as the rain and wind beats off the train sides...

I am going to list barf making positive change. Now, there were lots of negatives to 2012, lots. I could go on about politics, Cameron, Clegg, Osborne, Swinson... All in some way making my year and many many peoples lives progressively worse. Though positively, the YES for Scotland campaign got off to a great start as did Acting Strange Theatre Company (Scotland)

New years resolutions. I don't normally do these. If I make changes, they usually come at the end of the school summer, though last year was a year of change in its entirety. I had lost 3 stone between Sept 2011 and January 2012, so health and fitness kind of started the year. In March, I started yoga. Shortly afterwards I decided to go the whole hog and become a vegetarian- and this was not only for health reasons, but moral, I suppose. I just dont think any more animals need to die for me! Sonya has been brilliant- she set up the yoga, and is fast becoming an expert-something I never will be! Sonya was way ahead with me with the vegetarian thing and the political thing at times!

I also started to cycle again after years of not getting on to a bike. The decisive factor in the diet and the cycling was when I perched on the bike in summer 2011 over 16 stones of huffing puffing fat balanced on two thin wheels... As i puffed past a shop window, I looked like a lollypop.  Again, I will probably never be a massive cyclist- but the fact I now cycle to work gives me great satisfaction.

In October; I gave up alcohol (not that I will never drink again- but I am taking a long break from it. Towards the end of the year, I started to go to the gym...

Hopefully all of these changes are permanent. But I am old enough to know that they might not be. But a year of change is a good start. I suppose.

Ok, resolutions. I want to finish the "novel" I started back in 2011... For my own satisfaction. It wont sell millions, but I would just like to be able to say, "that's complete."

I want to get fit and climb at least a Monroe and Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland for the third time in my life. It's a place I love.

And in the next year, I want to share great times with positive people! I want to help make the "Yestival" a success. I want to help build Campsie Socialists...I want to write more scripts and build Acting Strange Theatre Company and ensure it becomes an integrated fixture at demonstrations in 2013!  I want to read tons more science fiction...

Anyway, sorry. Thats all about me. But what else is a facebook or blog for? ;-)