Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Better Together, cataclysmic apart...

Former NATO numptie

In the Gaelic of Islay, thank you is not 'tapadh leat' but 'gu robh math agad'

So, to Lord George of Port Ellen, 'gu robh math agad' for warning us of impending violent meltdown upon an affirmative and democratic vote for self-determination.

Robertson's mouth. Not what you think it is.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fun at the fitba with Leigh Griffiths and The Rangers!

Scottish football has been all shook up but some things have stayed just the way they always were. Such as... Rangers fans bringing violence and aggression to another city. A Celtic player indulging in dumb but dodgy politics. On the bright side, Raith Rovers have won more games at Easter Road in 2014 than Hibs have and one of them was against a Rangers' side who were marginally less violent than their fans outside.

With Rangers, you know where you are. They don't just have some dodgy fans, they have them in the thousands. At least. As I've mentioned before though, some teams and their fans see themselves as occupying a moral highground when it comes to attitudes to bigotry and racism. Celtic and Hibs are probably the proudest wearers of the golden halos in Scottish football.

Having moronic fans is one thing but having highly-paid professional players indulging in anti-social and racist behaviour is another. Celtic have been here before with Scott Brown's infamous fotie-op with the SDL. Hibs have been there with Derek Riordain and Leigh Griffiths. Now Celtic have Leigh Griffiths on their hands.

What will they do? Both clubs make a lot of their origins as clubs formed by immigrant refugees. To have a major first team player singing anti-refugee songs in a pub with racist fans of another team must surely see his ass exiting the door.

Some Celtic fans such as Glasgow-born Phil MacGiollaBháin make much of the bigotry of others. Is racism only unacceptable when aimed at those who claim Irish descent? MacGiollaBháin condemns Griffiths but only makes a meek demand that Celtic 'take him on about it'. As observed, Griffiths has form on the racist front and seems to find it difficult to keep out of trouble in other areas too.

Sadly, if Celtic do let Griffiths go, it seems as if many Hibs' fans are only too willing to take him on again. Most Hibs fans on the Hibs Net forum condemn his behaviour but seem to happy to take back a prolific goalscorer. This isn't much of a moral highground.

Scottish football has progressed though a significant minority still shit in their own backyard.

In recent years, I've started attending Hearts' games again after a long absence, mainly to support the club that became the local team of my Irish and Catholic great-grandmother and her sons. At first, the cross-community aspect of the Hearts' support was a joy to behold. I can remember the bad old days when significant numbers of fans would shout or sing songs that were offensive in one way or another. But here were fans of all colours presenting a genuine cross-section of the Gorgie Dalry community with many Asian, Eastern European and Chinese Scots. There were also families and more women in attendance than I remember years back.

Unfortunately, at my next derby game I was forced to confront a pair of fat and ageing bigots who repeatedly shouted anti-Irish abuse at the Hibs' players. There's always one or two dickheads who spoil the party. I later heard from a Hibs' fan that one or two of their supporters had shouted 'Paki bastard' at Hearts' Mehdi Taouill - a French Moroccan.

Fighting racism will be a never ending battle. There will always be someone who feels the need to impinge on the freedom of others. What matters is how we deal with it.

Paying a racist ned a small fortune just because he can score goals does not deal with it. If education is the answer then a spell of unemployment will give him the message.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Margo: clach air a càrn

She knew what Scotland needed to flourish and she knew what Scotland needed was to share its wealth and use it for the benefit of all. Here's hoping that the Assisted Suicide bill she brought forward will be accepted by a progressive parliament that looks to the future and isn't chained by any conservative or religious moral outlooks.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

SPT shoot themselves in the foot

In short, Glasgow Labour Party Strathclyde Passenger Transport has banned these ads for Wings Over Scotland on the grounds that they are 'political'. Despite no party political opinion being advanced and only a constitutional position implied, the secretariat of the SPT has said 'naw'.

Funnily enough, the ad has now been shared and re-tweeted on soshul meeja sites with articles also appearing on the Guardian, BBC and STV websites. Expect some of those 37 'national' papers to follow suit with a dour denunciation tomorrow. After all, Wings' readership is booming while the readership and sales of pisspoor rags like the Scotsman are in a Hibs-style freefall. In what is becoming a win-win situation for Wings - and balanced reporting of the referendum - all monies have been returned to Mr Campbell at WoS.

Free publicity courtesy of the SPT. Malcolm McLaren will be chuckling in his grave.

Friday, March 14, 2014

House hunting with David Cameron

Bad news for Scotland. The Tories are having their annual North British shindig in our capital city.

The good news is, David Cameron, the leader of the party's Inner Secretariat in South Britain has come to share some of his inherited wealth er, pearls of wisdumb amongst the proles and Porridge Wogs of Pictland.

Better news though is that Tariq Ali's lecture, brought to us by the Radical Independence Campaign, attracted more people that the leader of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - hell, I look forward to the day when we are simply the independent nations of Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland.

Cameron - cam shròn or 'crooked nose' in the Scottish vernacular - did say something that caught my attention though. He compared voting for independence to making a Very Important Decision such as buying a house. Wait a minute... what the fuck would he know about buying a house?

Here is a picture of David's house or at least one of them. The house that dad built.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Crow v. Galloway

The RMT were not my union, but it was clear that Bob Crow fought tooth and nail for his members and the working class. He had more passion and progressive politics in his wee finger than the like of George Galloway who exists solely to further the ego and publicity of George Galloway. Also, unlike Galloway and some on the Labour and ex-Labour left, Crow embraced the progressive possibilities of independence.

“I think what Scotland went through under Thatcher it should never have to go through again with this lot and if it was independent, it could be a beacon to the rest of Britain to show that there can be a much more equitable distribution of wealth then there is at present. If you could get hold of the Brent oil fields and the gasses and minerals that surround Scotland then people could be a lot better off than they are now.” Crow said that Scotland was one of his favorite places and that he was “absolutely in love” with the Western Isles.

Perhaps as a result of being English, he didn't have the loathing or cringe that some Scots have towards their culture. Indeed, as you can hear below, Galloway doesn't even recognise Scottish culture. Gaelic and Shinty in particular cause him grief. Kudos to the young guy from Ireland who tackles Galloway on this and who persists despite the bullying and bellowing from Galloway.

Pardon my Gaelic, George but you're an amadan a' chac.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Women, days and nations

Yesterday was International Women's Day and one or two things caught my eye while window shopping on sites such the BBC and Bella Caledonia. Most interesting to those of us who seek self-determination for Scotland and her people was this article on the BBC from October 2013 which saw a surge in readership, perhaps due to IWD. Is it just a co-incidence that small nations perform better in areas of equality?

Top of the pile is wee Iceland - with a population roughly the same as the city of Aberdeen. So much for Alistair 'Black Dwarf' Darling's moaning about Scotland being 'too small' to do all sorts of things.

Also interesting is that a country such as Ireland, where a significant number of people still adhere to the teachings of the Catholic church, can leave behind shameful episodes like the Magdalene Laundries scandal and move forward. While abortion rights are still a major issue in Ireland, it's good to see auld Eirinn recognised here. As more Irish people lose their Catholic superstitions in years to come, it can only be expected that Ireland makes more progress on gender equality.

Overall gender gap

Europe has seven countries in the top 10. The UK is 18th and the US is 23rd.The Philippines, at fifth, is the highest ranking Asian nation and Nicaragua is the highest-placed country from the Americas, at 10th.
The G20 group of leading industrial nations has no representative in the top 10, nor do the Middle East or Africa.

Top countries

1. Iceland
2. Finland
3. Norway
4. Sweden
5. Philippines
6. Ireland 7. New Zealand
8. Denmark
9. Switzerland
10. Nicaragua

Also, was this piece on Bella by bana-Ghaidheal Mary Ann Kennedy touching on issues such as bilingualism and the fear of change.

The Gaelic angle on independence and women brings to mind the bana-bhàrd of the crofters during the Clearances, Màiri Mhòr nan Oran. Her songs are still popular though some lines such as that which calls for the 'Sasannaich' to be cleared from native Skye may make some sing it through gritted teeth. A brave woman who was ahead of her time.

This finally leads on to the Poison Girls and their singer Vi Subversa. Noted for their quirky and jazzy punk on the Crass label, Poison Girls were every bit as political as Màiri Mhòr though the satire was a bit closer to the bone and the language a bit more colourful. Think of NoMeansNo with Elaine C Smith on vocals and out of her head on acid.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Better Together, bankrupt never

After learning about Better Together's financial difficulties - see below - Tocasaid finally summoned up the courage to abandon the desire for self-determination and to discover the power of 'no!'. Therefore, Tocasaid has put its entire team of graphic-design whizzkids at BT's disposal to kick start their hitherto moribund campaign.

Remember folks - 'no' is a positive statement!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bowie 1 - Scotland 2

Bowie? Or Moss? Who wrote the words? I've never really been a Bowie fan and it would be petty of me to reveal that his shit-anthem 'Changes' makes my ears bleed just because he's apparently come out against Scottish self-determination. I'd like him to try and find Scotland on a map though.

The Brits has long been a sickening spectacle. Kate Bowie's wittering is nothing compared to the glories of the past. Glories such as KLF above upsetting the apple cart by playing on-stage with Extreme Noise Terror and then 'maching gunning' the audience with blanks.

No, some of the best voices to counteract Moss-Bowie's four words are English. Novelist Tony Parsons said, "Love David Bowie until the day I die but I can't help feeling that Alex Salmond would not make his case via Kate Moss dressed in a Babygro."

In the world of music, there are two answers to Bowie-Moss. First is Billy Bragg:
Now the singer-songwriter thinks the prospect of an independent Scotland throws up the chance of a New England – to borrow the title of one of one of his most famous songs from the early 1980s.
Almost a decade ago, English-born Bragg wrote the song Take Down the Union Jack – a typically tubthumping anti-monarchist political number about the end of the British empire – and now says that the only way England can politically “wake up” is if Scotland becomes independent.

However, Bragg’s comments about Salmond “putting forward a nationalism that’s inclusive and mature – something that we don’t have in England” – may provoke disdain from some on the English left who have long feared the prospect of Tory domination in Westminster should Scotland gain independence.

Bragg says: “There will be a political realignment if Scotland becomes independent. We won’t be British any more. We’ll be English.” But his calls for a party south of the Border in the tradition of the SNP, whom he says have shown the English left how it can be done, is probably the most controversial view offered by this Labour-supporting musician.

Bragg and Bowie both played in Berlin in the 80s. Only Bragg made it to the east though.

For music and attitude that's got more edge to it, you could turn to the infamous Angelic Upstarts whose singer Mensi - seen below in a documentary on Anti-Fascist Action - wrote recently on Facebook:
Im all for Scottish independence. I wish we could have north east independence. if Scotland got independence I think I would move there.

The last word, not on Scottish independence, but on the Brits itself comes from another Sasannach - not a derogatory term btw - Charlie Brooker...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Joe Strummer, Class War and Welsh language revival

Retro time. I recently had the good fortune to come across the welshnot site on which was a comprehensive interview with Welsh music man Rhys Mwyn.

Mwyn was one member of legendary Welsh-language punk band Anhrefn. Despite the English media not quite understanding why any band would want to use a language other than English as a medium, they enjoyed good coverage and were well respected. I saw them a few times in Edinburgh including at anti-Poll Tax fundraisers and supporting Joe Strummer and Oi Polloi on Class War's Rock Against the Rich date in Edinburgh.

After Anhrefn, Mwyn was involved in various projects involving well-kent names such as Super Furry Animals and Catatonia. This rise in confident Welsh-language rock music was subsequently labelled 'Cool Cymru'.

Myself and Ruairidh Polloi also managed to bring Mwyn's later techno project Land of My Mothers and rockers Gwacamoli to entertain students at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye. This opened the door for other 'alternative' acts to play at the Scottish language college including ska-punks the Newtown Grunts and Breton-language rockers Sarah.

Welsh language

We always sang in Welsh but it was never done to exclude anyone. And we didn’t think of ourselves as a Welsh language band – we were just a band who sang in Welsh.
It was something we would constantly get asked about in interviews but when it came to the music itself, I’m not sure how many knew, or cared, about the language.
Anhrefn was just loud, full-on music with guitars blasting; so nobody gave a shit about the language really. As long as they liked the noise.
Our record company, Workers Playtime, did once ask us to do a song in English and we told them politely to get stuffed – they gave up trying after that. I’m sure a lack of compromise did limit our success but we were never motivated by getting on Top of the Pops or any of that.

I particularly admire Anhrefn's politics. Are they anarchists, socialists or Welsh nationalists? Who knows and who cares? They took a pragmatic approach but involved themselves in various grass roots campaigns supporting anti-Poll Tax resistance, Welsh devolution and of course, the Welsh language. This is the kind of approach that some on the anarcho/left in Scotland could learn from - voting 'yes' in the forthcoming referendum is only a new beginning. It doesn't preclude the wider aims for whatever type of fair and progressive society you wish for in the future. Voting 'no' or not voting does nothing for no-one. Mwyn's views on Welsh politics, music and Scottish independence are detailed in the link below.

Celtic Connections indeed and here's hoping we can see more of them soon.

Rhys Mwyn: Go Ahead, Punk