The World This Week From Mennies

                         Sturgeons road map to oblivion. 

I wrote this back in November last year, making the case that it is wrong to campaign for independence as we have never, not been independent but merely a partner in a union. A partnership freely entered on the basis that when the arrangement ceased to be of advantage to us, it could be ended using the same method as was employed when the union was formed.

https://bobsblog.scot/2021/11/27/the-world-this-week-from-mennies-48/

Earlier this week, Nicola sturgeon made a long-awaited announcement regarding the oft-promised referendum.  She set a date of 19th October 2023. Great, this got many people jumping up and down with glee at the “new campaign” Only problem there is that there is no new campaign and one of the reasons for this is that there has been no preparation for a campaign, even though we have had almost 8 years to prepare for one.

There has been no definitive arrangement for what currency we will use even though an SNP conference decided that the proposal of a joint currency for at least 10 years set by the growth commission led by Andrew Wilson, was not to be implemented as SNP policy and in fact that an independent Scotland was to have its own currency at the soonest possible time after normalization of Scotland’s place among independent nations. Quite simply Nicola sturgeon ignored the instruction of the conference.

There are of course numerous other unanswered questions, such as borders and pensions, left after the last referendum, which again seem to have been deliberately ignored by the leadership.

So here we are, totally unprepared, after almost 8 years of doing absolutely nothing and Nicola Sturgeon has now decided that there will be a referendum next year. The big problem with that is the way she has decided to do this because built into her road map is the most onerous set of obstacles one can ever imagine.

First, she persists with this idiotic section 30 route, which briefly is a construct included in the devolution settlement and Scotland act which allows Westminster to block any attempt to hold a referendum or choose to allow a temporary derogation of the act in order to facilitate the holding of a referendum.

Now in order to attempt to implement that derogation you first have to accept the fact that it is necessary in the first place and to do that you have to accept that the devolution settlement was necessary in the first place. Which basically removes the right to withdraw from the union when it is decided that the union no longer benefits Scotland.

When the union was formed, it was basically a trading arrangement between two nations very much like the EU. The difference was that instead of having two parliaments ( one national and one union) both Scotland and England decided to have only one at that time. There was never any intention for Scotland to be subsumed into England.

The way the union was formed was for the representatives of both the English parliament and the Scottish parliament to vote on whether to form the union.  Most of England’s representatives voted to join and a Majority of Scotland’s representatives voted to join. Had either of the parliaments failed to get a majority then there would not have been a union.  It falls, therefore, that this should be the method used to leave the union.

There was never any suggestion that there had to be a majority of the people in the country or a majority of the people who had voted these people into power for the decision to be taken. Not only that but as far as I know, there was not even a specific plebiscitary election held, no, it was taken that the people elected were there to make decisions on behalf of the electorate.

The situation today is different, in as much as, not only is there a vast majority of SNP MPs in Westminster but there are there on the basis of regaining Scotland’s independence, both through election mandates and the constitution of the SNP. Therefore, at any time these MP’s could come back to Scotland and declare that the Union has ceased to be of benefit to Scotland and therefore we are now acting as the independent country we always have been and are withdrawing from the union.

For reasons known only to herself and possibly a few others, perhaps the ones who are really pulling the strings, Nicola Sturgeon has decided not to do this and instead devised a method of allowing every possible obstacle to thwart the objective of attaining an independent status.

She has decided to pursue what she calls the gold standard of section 30. A rout which has attained this mystical gold standard, which only exists in her head, by being used once in the history of the planet and failed horribly in its objective.

It failed because it allowed the host country to actively campaign against it. Something banned under the UN charter of self-determination.

It failed because we allowed non-Scottish peoples to vote in it.

It failed because we did not answer questions related to people’s financial situation and linked our economy to the union we intended to leave.

Now not only is Nicola Sturgeon deliberately pursuing the least likely route to independence, but she is inviting a foreign judiciary to adjudicate its legality. That is the equivalent of the Scottish parliament going to the crown court in England in 1707 to decide whether Scotland had the right to make a decision to join the union in the first place.

Ok, so now let’s look at her backup plan, which is a plebiscitary election. Now firstly this depends on there being a Westminster election at the right time and as I have suggested, arriving at the situation we already have with a majority of Scottish Westminster MPs. or does it? Well, John Swinney seemed to think so shortly after Sturgeon’s announcement last week, that was until she must have had a word in his ear because he very shortly withdrew the suggestion that a simple majority of MP’S was what was required and changed it to a majority of people who had voted.

Sturgeon must have realised that it will be more difficult to attain an outright majority of voters than simply MPs. This goes against the accepted democratic process of first past the post for UK elections and also differs from the way the union came into being in the first place. Obviously, it would be better if we could attain an outright majority of voters but because of various impediments that could be difficult.

So, let’s look at the possible impediments and I fully believe some of these have deliberately been put in place to obstruct the cause of independence.

Well, most people will look beyond any campaign which might eventually be put in place, and it would seem reasonable to expect the first government in an independent Scotland to be an SNP one. So, what will people have to look forward to?

Gender recognition, basically denying that Men are men and allowing them into woman’s safe places thereby installing a huge potential safety issue.

Allowing men to compete in women’s sports, the basic principle of competition to be destroyed.

A dystopian hate crime bill was deliberately put in place to stop concerns regarding Gender recognition law.

A severely incompetent Scottish government regarding their connections with the commercial world IE, Shipbuilding, ferries debacle, rail debacle, Prestwick airport debacle.

Involvement in a conspiracy to jail an innocent man which involved people close to the first minister.

The vindictiveness with which she treated an innocent man and her disregard for a not guilty verdict and the Scottish legal system.

Attempts to dispense with the jury system because it did not accord with the verdict in mind.

The actual jailing of a journalist for accurately reporting a court case relating to the conspiracy to jail an innocent man.

Covered up Sex scandals involving favoured politicians

Deliberate changing of rules to exclude Joana Cherry from standing in an Edinburgh constituency, thereby allowing favourite, Angus Robertson to stand

Scottish education is a mess.

Scottish NHS is underfunded while giving millions to Ukraine ( one of the most corrupt countries on the planet) for war weapons.

Giving very large amounts of taxpayer’s money to organizations like Stonewall.

Sexualizing children’s teaching in schools with virtual grooming and normalising unnatural and dangerous sexual practices.

The mishandling of the covid crisis and moving infected elderly patients into care homes without testing thereby seeding care homes with deadly covid causing thousands of needless deaths.

Missing £600K in supposedly ring-fenced funds donated to a campaign which never happened.

Abject failure in grasping God-sent persistent opportunities to go for independence, as in. Brexit, Scotland act debate, early proroguing of parliament etc.

A leader who deliberately mislead parliament and then when investigated couldn’t remember details over 50 times.

I could go on, but the point I wish to make is that whether through deliberate actions or simply unbridled incompetence Sturgeon has formulated a cesspit of horror for people to consider during the voting process, and this is going to make it extremely difficult for people to vote for her and thereby achieve our objective through the chosen avenues with Sturgeon still in charge.

There are other much safer avenues such as the re-convening of the estates and a Scottish convention, but sturgeon has chosen this as it is the riskiest and most dangerous method and the one most likely to end in failure.  

I hope I am wrong with this, but my instincts and my gut feeling is that instead of a road map to independence, this is Sturgeon’s road map to oblivion for the independence movement.           

The World This Week From Mennies

Friday 10 June 2022

Eventually, Russia Will Be A Member Of The EU

Now you could be forgiven for thinking that the title for this blog is somewhat strange, so let me explain.

Firstly, and as I have mentioned in my last blog on this subject, I am firmly of the opinion that Russia is not the aggressor in this war in Ukraine but in fact, NATO, led by the US. As I see it, Russia has been backed into a corner with the only way to protect its integrity and borders was to preempt any further moves by NATO/US to place nuclear weapons on its border.

Now briefly, what led up to this was concerted efforts by the US/NATO to foment unrest within Ukraine and this goes back to the NATO summit in Bucharest held in 2008 when the Bush administration pushed NATO to announce that both Ukraine and Georgia would become members.

This of course did not go down at all well with Russia, as it was basically the same as when Cuba decided to house Soviet nuclear weapons on America’s doorstep, and we all know what happened then. Yes, the US threatened nuclear war.

To make matters worse, the US involved themselves in their usual regime change tactic by fomenting unrest in Ukraine, resulting in the massacres in Odesa and Maidan Square in Kyiv in 2014, leading to the ousting of the pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych.

This led to the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine declaring independence, and after a referendum, Russia annexing Crimea.

From 2014 until now, a war has raged in Donbas with heavy civilian losses with the Nazi Azov battalion very prominent in the commission of various war crimes and atrocities.  During this time two agreements were made in Minsk which concerned the end of hostilities and autonomy for the two regions within the Donbas area. Ukraine constantly broke these agreements before scrapping the Minsk agreements altogether.

After restraint lasting 8 years, Russia eventually officially recognized both republics within the Donbas and crossed the border into Ukraine to carry out a de-nazifying operation within the country and stabilize the border between Ukraine and the Donbas republics.

This incursion by Russia, although widely predicted by the US and various other countries came as a surprise, or at least the speed of it did and was followed by blind panic and a raft of badly thought-out sanctions imposed without much thought. Now we have Europe in the throes of massive inflation, food shortages and fuel poverty. Yes, the sanctions have actually hurt the west more than Russia, in fact, the Rubble is at present standing at its highest against the dollar than it has for many years.

The ironic thing is that this blind panic to sanction Russia has shown the world just how valuable Russia is, in food production and power in the form of gas and oil. In other words, it has shown what an asset Russia would be to friendly countries or indeed to the EU.

Now I am sure there will be people throwing up their hands in horror and saying things like “ but the Russians are committing horrendous war crimes and just look at the way they are indiscriminately shelling and bombing civilian areas “ The problem is that they are not actually doing that, and we are constantly being fed inaccurate and untruthful propaganda by western media.

It is difficult to find proper unbiased journalistic content in the plethora of misinformation being churned out daily by western media outlets such as the BBC. If you really are interested in the truth, I would direct you to the writings of Eva Karen Bartlett and Graham William Philips. Both are exemplary in the reportage they produce and a credit to the journalistic profession. Eva for her efforts to bring out the truth found herself on a death list of people who the Ukrainian government wished would disappear.

Yes, no doubt there have been civilians killed but not deliberately, at least not by the Russians. What possible good would that do them and the same for destroying infrastructure that they will no doubt have to re-build after the war? Eva Bartlet gives the example of talking to a Russian commander and asking him why it seems to be taking a long time to secure the towns in the Donbas. He tells her that the Ukrainian army is using civilian buildings as firing points and also keeping the civilians in them as human shields, making it very difficult to progress without causing large amounts of civilian deaths. This is the reality on the ground.    

Ukraine is on the list as one of the most corrupt countries on the planet just ask Hunter Biden, the son of Joe Biden the mentally challenged US president. Hunter was paid $50,000 per month from Ukrainian oil company Burisma whilst his father was serving as Obama’s number two.

Zelensky, the present Ukrainian president was noted in the pandora papers as owning over a billion dollars in London property and has dealings through close associates in numbered accounts in Swiss banks.

So, to get back to my original point. Once this is over and I have a feeling it will end with the Donbas area firmly in the hands of its own, mainly Russian-speaking people and a corridor along the black sea coast to Crimea. Once people realise that they have been fed unadulterated nonsense and propaganda and that Putin was perhaps after all doing what a leader should do and protecting his borders. Perhaps when they realise that Russia can make a good friend but a bad enemy. Perhaps when the countries of NATO see how they have been used once again and have paid the price of unfettered loyalty to the US, then common sense will prevail, and Russia will be taken into the family of nations and become part of the EU making by far the largest trading block on the planet.

I would ask you to look at the leaders we have, Johnston, Biden, Zelensky, Sturgeon and the rest. What a choice we have, it’s more like the lineup of circus acts.

If I was to make a choice of a leader who would stand up for my country, I know who I would choose, and it wouldn’t be any of that lot of incompetent poodles.

The World this week from Mennies

Thursday 12 May 2022
UKRAINE

Been some time since I wrote a “The World This Week From Mennies” blog and there are various reasons for this . Mainly because I have been very busy at work but also because I have been totally dismayed and disappointed in what is going on in Scottish politics, and indeed world politics.

As for world politics, the main issue at present is Ukraine and dipping one’s tow into that toxic pond is to say the least a risk. However, because of the flood of misinformation emanating from media outlets like the BBC, ITV, and Skye, I decided to look at the big picture and offer a few suggestions as to the roots and causes of this conflict , without making any pretense as to being an expert on the situation, but offering a reasonably informed and researched common sense point of view.

So, let’s start with basics . This war ( or as Russia calls it, “special operation”) was avoidable. On Russia’s side it could have been avoided by acquiescing to America’s will and simply allowing NATO led by the US to continually move east ( despite previous agreements ) by recruiting new members of NATO, and thereby positioning nuclear weapons ever nearer Russia’s border. If Ukraine had become a member there could have been nuclear weapons based there that would have been within 7.5 minutes delivery to Moscow. Russia could also have stopped supporting the two, mainly Russian speaking countries in the Donbas area who had declared independence in 2014, Donetsk and Luhansk.

As for NATO, or let’s not beat about the bush,the US, they could have prevented this conflict by making it plain that Ukraine would not be admitted to NATO and they would support a special consideration in connection with the two breakaway regions in Donbas, again, as per previous agreements.

These agreements were made as far back as when the breakup of the Soviet Union was in progress and initially, they were made during discussions between Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton. These discussions were never transmitted into a formal treaty but were probably made at a time when world leaders could reach agreements that were expected to be upheld.

In 1993 there was an agreement termed the Budapest protocol in which Russia the US, Belarus ,Kazakhstan and Ukraine received assurances regarding security, but these assurances were tied to removal of nuclear weapons from each countries soil and also depended for implementation of an attack on each of these countries by nuclear weapons.

In 2014 there were various protests in Kiev and various other Ukrainian cities including Odessa. There were  strong suspicions that the US, CIA had a hand in them, It is a well-known CIA  tactic when manipulating regime change. This was called the Maidan protests or Euromaidan after the square in which most of the protests took place.  In Odessa the protests turned to civil unrest and resulted in a counter Maidan group being trapped in the trade union building which was set on fire by protesters who had been infiltrated by ultra-nationalists.

As a result of these  CIA sponsored protests the government stood down and was replaced by a pro-western ultra nationalist government, as a result of this the two states, Donetsk and Lugansk declared their independence.

As a result of the two states declaration of independence, Ukraine attempted to subdue both states by force, using ,in the main the Azov battalion who were originally a territorial regiment but were subsumed into the regular Ukrainian Army.

 Azov follow ultra-Nazi ideology and were responsible for many war crimes, including the shelling of civilian areas  in their attempts to retake the two breakaway provinces. Russia supported the two breakaway states.

In late 2014 a series of talks took place in Minsk, the outcome of which agreed on border security for Ukraine and also complete autonomy for the Donbas area. Ukraine never really stood by these agreements and in 2018 formally withdrew from them and sought membership of NATO.

This put Russia in the position of having no other option but to move to remove the threat that Ukraine and the west, were in the process of bringing to their border.

Make no mistake about this, this is a proxy war between the US and Russia fought in Ukraine. It is a war that the US will fight to the last Ukrainian. It is yet another war of the US to facilitate regime change, just as they did in Vietnam, Libya, Syria, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, bay of pigs( Cuba) Grenada, Panama, Iraq, etc, etc, etc. In doing so they have killed over 6 million innocent civilians and used chemical weapons with gay abandon ,in for example Vietnam ( agent orange). They are the only country to have used nuclear weapons, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Russia is not the cause of this human tragedy, no it is NATO, backed and led by the US. Putin is no doubt no Angel, but he is in my estimation doing what a leader should do, he is protecting the borders of his country against an aggressor, NATO.
Make your own mind up who is the aggressor from this map showing American bases surrounding Russia

American bases in relation to Russia

A Nautical Nomad

Wednesday 11 May 2022

Naples and Civitaveccia

Day 4 in my sojourn to southern sunny climes and yesterday I was in Naples. The name Naples means, New City. It is the third-largest city in Italy after Rome and Milan.
Naples is the centre for visiting places like Sorento, The isle of Capri and of course Pompei. I remember a few years back taking a private tour down the Amalfi coast to Sorento and then on to Pompei. Wonderful day and a bonus was, that the guy who was driving the car was a coach driver and had been to Scotland many times so we had something in common and it made for interesting discussions.

Always a war or a victory

When in Naples, it is obligatory to eat pizza as that is one of the things Naples is famous for, and rightly so, as it is wonderful. I of course, as always, conformed to custom and stopped at a streetside restaurant to indulge, a streetside Restaurant that I have frequented in the past when visiting with a special friend on a previous cruise.

The obligatory Naples Piza

One thing Naples is also famous for is the traffic which is horrendous and traffic regulations are obviously optional. This is shown in drivers’ attitudes to pedestrian crossings. What we in the civilized world call Zebra crossings. Now, I have no idea how a Zebra would get on crossing one of these roads but as far as humans are concerned it is extremely dangerous and whereas in the UK a pedestrian has right of way, in Italy crossing a pedestrian crossing is the Italian version of hunger games and a means by which the Italian government control population. In short, a pedestrian crossing is a government-sanctioned kill zone, so beware!

After a pleasant although dangerous day in Naples, back to the ship, dinner then a short visit to the disco before bed.

Coffee always nice in Italy


Today we are in Civitavecchia another name for the ancient town, a much more serene and safer town than Naples and a pleasure to have a quiet time sitting with a cappuccino and watching the world go by.

The Garage

Now you might be wondering as to the relevance of the photo above. Well, there is a story to this, and it goes back several years to one of my previous visits to Civitavecchia.

I was having a wander through the back streets as I am want to do on these trips and I came across this very place which is, or at least was at that time a garage. Now at that time, there was a rather large guy at work on a car and deeply engrossed in some problem under the bonnet. Now this fellow was of ample proportions and was obviously wearing a pair of ill-fitting trousers. This meant that as he was bending over the front of the car his trousers were somewhat revealing giving an opportunity for the photo of a lifetime.

Now it was rather difficult to discern whether what I was witnessing was a view of anatomy or a view of a contraption for parking a bicycle. Anyway, I decided to take a photo in the spirit of a bit of tongue in cheek humour.

Now the appliance I had at that time was a tablet and it was not a straightforward process to take photos with, so whilst trying to get this tablet set to take a photo. One of the two guys who were with the large mechanic looked over and realized what I was about to do and seemed to mention it to the mechanic.

Well, it would appear that the mechanic had an acute case of humour deficit syndrome, as he exploded into a tirade in some foreign language, quite possibly Italian. Now I do not speak Italian but between his tone, blood vessels on his face and the gesticulations with his hands and arms I did manage to get the impression that he was upset in some way and got the distinct impression that remaining in that vicinity could possibly result in a terminal outcome. I of course responded in the Scottish vernacular and there was quite a standoff.

I had of course pre-assessed the situation and was quite confident that I could have, if I necessary, outran the three of them quite easily, with the mechanics trousers in all probability falling down in the first few yards of the chase, however in the interest of Italia-Scotia relations and my own continuing good health I decided that discretion was the better part of valour and withdrew a short distance and around a corner to check to see how the photos had come out, only to find that they had not been taken at all.  

So, today I again found the garage but unfortunately, it was closed up. Perhaps the mechanic has moved to greener pastures and is now a cult figure on some bicycle parking manufacturer website or perhaps he has retired. Whatever he is doing now I wish him well.

Now before anyone asks if I make a habit of going around the world taking photos of men’s rear ends, I can assure you this was in all innocence, and solely in the interest of a twisted sense of humour.

Slainte

A Nautical Nomad

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A Nautical Nomad

9 May 2022

I haven’t posted for a while, in fact since my last wee trip to Spain and Portugal, but here I am again on my travels. This time it is from Barcelona going deeper into the Mediterranean sea than the last time, hopefully, the weather will be better and warmer.

So my trip started on Saturday with an overnight in Edinburgh at a guest house called Murry Park “Hotel” for some strange reason. I think it must be the first time I have stayed anywhere without seeing a single member of staff. There was a notice on the door with a phone number to contact, which I did and received instructions on the code to open the door whereby I found the key to my room in a bowl on the dresser. Oh well, a sign of the times I suppose.
So once settled in I headed to a nearby hotel for a meal and a couple of pints to set off the trip.

Sunday started at 03.00 with a walk to a nearby bus stop to catch the airport bus. Bang on time and a short trip along Cortsorfin Rd to the Airport. now I had heard that there were serious problems at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam where I had to change flights, so I was somewhat apprehensive regarding getting to the ship on time. However, although there was indeed a very long line at the passport control in Schiphol I managed to get through that and get to the gate in plenty of time. To all Brexiteers reading this, the line waiting on clearing non-EU passports took 40 minutes. The line for those with EU passports took 5 to 10 minutes. I don’t think there has ever been such a blatant exercise in self-harm in the history of the planet.

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Leaving Scotland

in the event, I arrived at Barcelona Airport about half an hour later than I would have, so not too bad at all. It has been some time since I sailed on the Epic, a very large ship and at one time one of the largest in the world. It takes around 4.5 thousand passengers, but these days some of the royal Caribbean ships take 6.5 thousand passengers, virtual floating cities. So boarded the ship around 15.00 and settled into the cabin which is a studio cabin. Pretty compact( small)



in the event, I arrived at Barcelona Airport about half an hour later than I would have, so not too bad at all. It has been some time since I sailed on the Epic, a very large ship and at one time one of the largest in the world. It takes around 4.5 thousand passengers, but these days some of the royal Caribbean ships take 6.5 thousand passengers, virtual floating cities. So boarded the ship around 15.00 and settled into the cabin which is a studio cabin. Pretty compact( small) but sufficient. unpacking did not take long as before I came I have repacked into a carry on suitcase as I had heard that one of the problems at Schiphol was the luggage and I did not want to get to the ship without my luggage. The last time I lost luggage was a number of years ago whilst cruising on the Concordia, yes the one that sank, nothing to do with me, as I was on it exactly a year before it sank and incidentally it was the only cruise ship I have been to that I did not get an emergency drill. So A few photos of the ship.

Pool deck in the evening

Autrium

Sunset, day one as we head for Corsica

I had dinner at the buffet as it was an easy option and the choice of food was not bad. Then the obligatory tour of the bars and entertainment venues, one of which is the Cavern, dedicated to the Beatles, having a very acceptable Beatles tribute band.

The Beatles

It had been a long day but it was not yet complete without a visit to the disco. Where I showed the youngsters how to dance. After a 23 hour day, I found my bed a very welcome place to be.

Today we landed on Corsica which is a French island. Beautiful place and the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. I had a very leisurely wander around the town with of course the obligatory stop for a cappuccino, bliss. mA few photos of the town.

A morning cappuccino

Where Napoleon was born

Looking out over the town square

So to tonight, the ship has just left the pier and heading to Italy. Dinner then perhaps some Beatles music. Then possibly the disco. It has been a pleasant day.

A Nautical Nomad

Saturday 5 March 2022

Cruise Queen Elizabeth Spain and Portugal 6 to 18 March 2022

Well folks, back on my travels and this time on Queen Elizabeth for the first time. Been on the other two ships in the Cunard fleet several times QM2 and the Victoria.

Started yesterday afternoon with a trip through to the airport in the Xplore airport shuttle, compliments of the Scottish government, using my travel card.

One night in the Hilton Airport hotel decent meal and a couple of pints to start off the trip.

Cold night looking out towards the Airport

Last trip was in November if my memory serves me well and that was to the Caribbean.

Wee bit different this time, as I am heading to Spain and Portugal on the good ship Queen Elizabeth of the Cunard fleet.

Very British but owned by the American company, Carnival , as are a good selection of cruise lines sailing the seven seas. Lines like Princess, Seabourn, P&O and Holland America.

First time on the Queen Elizabeth but have sailed many times on the QM2 and once on the Victoria.

Cunard was started by Samuel Cunard in 1840 and although it became a very British line, he was in fact a Canadien, born in Halifax, Nova Scotia ( new Scotland ) Cunard started as a small ferry’s shipping company before expanding into ocean going liners.

At one time they carried live cows to supply fresh milk and the unfortunate animals were slaughtered and eaten by the guests on the last two days of the voyage.

So after an exceptional intense and busy period in the business, I am glad to be on my travels once again.Last nigh in the Hilton at Edinburgh airport with an early flight this Morning to Southampton. A night here and board on tomorow, for a trip which takes in Spain and Portugal with an overnight in Lisbon. A great city which holds many memories for me.

Early rise this morning and a cold morning it was, through check in and security. Cup of coffee at Costa and boarding more or less on time.

However, once on board there was a dely as the plane had to be de-iced ( or at least that was what they told us) which meant over an hour waiting on the tarmack with the door open and no heating on, bloody freezing. Just as well I was not boarding today.

Unaventfull flight, landing in Southampton an hour and a half late

Arriving at Southampton

Taxi to the Star hotel which is not exactly the most selubrious hotel I have ever stayed in but I have slept in worse places, however the last time I did, the government were paying me to do it.

The room is about the size of a large wardrobe and it has quite an unusual toiletry arrangement see below, no doubt brought about by the managements concern for guests egerness to get out of the room as soon as possible. The WC is situated in the shower cubical so you can save time by having a s**t at the same time as having a shower.

So once I get this wee blog finishged I will have a look round for a place to eat as ( surprise, surprise) the hotel does not serve dinners.

Tomorow is set to be a wee bit of a challenge as I recieved an email from Cunard to say that the ship had to be diverted because of a medical issue and would be late back to port which means that I will have to lug my luggage arround for the best part if the day until the re-scheduled check in time.
I must appologise at this point for possible spelling mistakes as the spell check has decised to stop working and I am dyslexic, sorry 😦

So out into the wilds of a Saturday night in Southampton.

Slainte

The World This week from Mennies.

Saturday 27 November 2021

Scotland is independent, Why do our leaders not know this?

I have said this before and I will say it again, Scotland is an independent country. We are an independent country joined to the rest of the UK by a ( theoretically) free choice made in the lead up to the act of union enacted in 1707.

This choice although not made in what we would now call a democratic manner, was made using the political system we had at the time and that was by a small group of people set up as representatives of the people.

It was an agreement made between two sets of pseudo-democratic politicians, neither of which would fulfil the definition of democracy by today’s standards.

As far as I can see, there was nothing in the act of union that extinguished Scotland as a nation, in fact, there is a provision in the act for the situation to be reversed if either country wishes that to happen.

Scotland retained its own legal system and education system, although the education system was subsequently heavily influenced by the larger partner in the arrangement, England and that is obvious even today by the inclusion of “English” as a subject in the educational curriculum. Remember, in 1707 both Galic and Scots were the main languages used in Scotland.


There is no doubt that Scotland was always treated like a colony, but it could be held that that was through choice by large sections of the population, although, remember too that after 1707 there were several uprisings in 1708, 1715, 1719 and 1745. The 1745, being the most successful of them all but it should be noted that the turning point in this uprising was when the Scottish army reached Darby, where they turned back. And having looked at that uprising for some time now, to me it draws parallels with what is happening now.

In the 1745 uprising, the clans were gathered and rose to the standard of Charles Edward Stewart based on the attainment of freedom for Scotland and were very successful in defeating the English armies of occupation, within Scotland. However, once the army moved south and into England, it would appear that the highlanders and indeed lowlanders in the forces of Prince Charlie realized that the agenda was not exactly what they had been led to believe and they were being used to usurp the crown of England, therefore by the time they reached Darby there was great consternation within the army as to exactly what they were doing so far south in England.

A parallel could be drawn here in relation to why our Westminster MPs are still in England after achieving an almost total Scottish majority in 2015.

Regardless of how this union was looked upon by England from 1707, and it is obvious that this was as a takeover, the actual act of union was never altered and therefore to my mind still exists as an agreement to cooperate, similar to the EU agreement, giving either party the right to remove itself from the agreement when it becomes obvious that the arrangement is not working for that partner. Exactly as was the situation with the EU.

Now again drawing a parallel with the 45 uprising, the people of Scotland are becoming fed up with the situation where we have a vast majority of Scottish MPs in London doing not a single useful thing for Scotland and a leader in Scotland who was more intent in saving England from the follies of Brexit than she was for Saving Scotland from the harm that leaving the EU would do to Scotland. This could have been done by ending the voluntary union.

So just in the same way as  Charles Edward Stuart became a traitor to Scotland when he crossed the border into England with a Scottish army, so is Nicola Sturgeon by allowing Scottish members of the Westminster Parliament to waste a vast Scottish majority by remaining in the Westminster parliament without using that majority to annul the act of union.

It is not a case that Scotland should have to gain its independence, all it should be doing is asserting its independence and removing itself from an unequal union.

It is actually, as simple as that and the only person who is preventing that is Nicola Sturgeon. There is no doubt in my mind that she and the politicians who support her illogical policies are traitors to Scotland.

Scotland never lost its independence through the act of union. It is still independent.                       

A Nautical Nomad

Friday 26November 2021

So, here I am aboard the Britannia, after a horrendous week of trying to get various tests booked and completed together with a constant barrage of emails from P&O telling me that they can’t wait to welcome me on board, “but here are just a few more pieces of information” to make you feel even more uncomfortable, such as if you should contact Covid we may put you ashore on one of the islands.

Wow, really! Now some of these islands are not exactly up there in the top ten countries with a highly developed health care system, in fact, some of them have raw sewage running down the street gully’s en-route to the nearest river where it flows untreated into the Caribbean Sea, quite often at a beach where tourist gaily frolic in the surf.


The last email with “a few last-minute details” was 16 pages long. So, anyway, after quite a stressful week I made it through to the airport and settled in at the Premier Inn which is situated right next to the terminal building at the airport. Perfectly reasonable and clean accommodation and at £44 a very reasonable price for an airport hotel. Dropped my case in the room and walked across to the airport to check where I had to go the next Morning to be once again tested before boarding the plane, to find that the covid testing centre did not open until 7 AM and my information pack was telling me that I should be there by 5 AM, oops. This did not give me a high level of confidence as to what was to unfold the next day.

First time flying with TUI, once Thompson good flight

However, back to the hotel for dinner and an early night and to be honest, the next morning went like clockwork. The testing centre was open at 5 and the testing procedure was carried out very efficiently, followed by a seamless checking in process.

The flight was long but good, with reasonable in-flight meals. A bonus was that I had three seats to myself, so was able to stretch out and get some sleep, heaven. The next stop was Barbados, where the efficiency was continued with a seamless transfer to the ship, involving disembarkation from the plane and straight on to coaches which were parked on the apron, with no need to go through the terminal buildings.

This is only the second time I have sailed with P&O. The first time I left with a not very high impression of them and one of the main reasons for trying them again was the price and the length of trip and of course the Caribbean. My reasons for the low opinion I gathered the first time, were mixed, the main one being the imposed Britishness. It was things like every deck was named after a colony of the British Empire. There was always a “curry of the day” on the menu. The Union Jack is emblazoned over the front of the ship. The food was very British and therefore generally bland with not a lot of choice.

Yup very British


One of the main things that kind of put me off was the discussions with fellow passengers. Now let me say here that I have no problem whatsoever with people expressing honestly held views, but the distinct impression I got was, that there were a lot of uninformed opinions going about looking for someone to attach themselves to and for some reason that generally was me, therefore there was a lot of re-education went on as to the viability of Scotland as an independent country.

Anyway, enough of that and I am here with an open mind as to any improvements in P&O who are, by the way, anything but a British company as they are owned by Carnival, an American company, as are Cunard, another “very British” Cruise line. The Britishness is a branding, which, to be honest, seems to work.

So, after settling in, I made my way out into Bridgetown which is the capital town of Barbados. Barbados was a colony of Britain, and it became independent in 1966. It has taken them a considerable time to shake of the effects of being governed by another country, but they seem to be getting on their feet. I have been in Barbados several times over the last 20 years and during that time I have seen steady improvements. When they became independent, they, like other ex-colonies kept the Queen as their head of state, however, they have now decided to become a republic and this I believe becomes official by the end of this year.

One thing I have noticed in the Caribbean, that is the difference between islands that have been ruled over by Britain and ones that have been part of other empires such as France and Holland. The French and Dutch islands are prosperous and have very good infrastructures, whereas the once owned British islands, are generally very poor and underdeveloped, the exceptions being islands like Bermuda and the Camen islands, which are tax havens.

A few bottles of Banks beer, local and very nice

So, after a wander through Bridgetown which is generally safe except for an area of a few streets ( which I couldn’t find), I settled for a bar on the way back to the ship where I partook of a few bottles of Banks beer which is a local brew and very nice too, before heading back to the ship by 10PM which is the curfew limit in Barbados.

Saturday was hot and I took advantage of the additional day in Bridgetown to further explore and re-acquaint myself with the town, stopping again at the same bar for some re-hydration before heading back to the ship, whereby, onboard I joined in a dance lesson followed by dinner and ended up in the disco. A good start to the holiday with the ship heading for Curacao in the Dutch Antilles.    

Ships Atrium

The World This Week From Mennies

Thursday 25 November 2021

The phenomena of Nicola Sturgeon

When Nicola Sturgeon’s tenure as First Minister is looked back on, it will be as a phenomenon ( an unexplained happening). Her popularity is certainly on the decline and rightly so, but how she arrived at such a level of popularity will be a mystery.


Her ascension started on the back of the bitter disappointment at the loss of the referendum and I can only surmise that at that point, her loyal following wilfully embedded into their psyche, an adoration state way above any logical or rational level.


From there on people would find it difficult to withdraw from that intoxicated state of mind, regardless of the disaster she was about to become in regard to both fulfilling her propose in life as the leader of the SNP and first minister of Scotland, a country governed on a mandate of gaining independence.


Not only has she presided over a shambles of an administration, reference covid handling and the seeding of retirement homes with infected patients, Fergusons shipbuilding shambles, Alex Salmond conspiracy, etc, etc, etc, and neglect of the cause of independence, but she has also strived to insert policies specifically designed to split any independence vote. Policies such as Named person legislation, Hate crime bill, Gender recognition bill and the introduction of what can only be termed subliminal Child grooming and attempted normalisation of unnatural and dangerous sexual activity, again in children.


Add to this, the attempted destruction of woman’s rights in connection with safe places being shared with men self-identifying as women, and you have a huge question mark over why it has taken so long for her popularity to drop.
One of the reasons of course could be the people she is being compared to, as in Scotland and indeed the UK, as far as politicians go there is not a high bar to reach. We have people like Boris Johnston who rambles on about Peppa Pig during speeches, Kier Starmer who is probably more of a Tory than most of the MP’s on the Tory benches.


I really do not believe history will be kind to Nicola Sturgeon and she deserves nothing less than an honest condemnation of her failures, which mount up by the day. If she is lucky she will get a mention of the baby box, an idea she borrowed from the Scandinavian countries.

A Nautical Nomad

Tuesday 23 November 2021

Ok, so a wee while since I did a Nautical Nomad blog, the last being on my travels around the coast of Croatia and Malta.

This cruise finds me in the Caribbean and being here made me think of another great explorer Christopher Columbus (tongue in cheek) as it was in this area where he first landed after leaving Spain in August 1492 and arriving in what is now the Bahamas, landing on an island he named San Salvadore, after a
trip of two months, before sailing through the Caribbean.

Now this is where I am now and the difference from Chris and me is that I knew where I was going. You see, Chris thought he was heading for Asia and in particular India and indeed although he completed four expeditions, he never really realised that the large land mass that kept getting in the way of his passage
to India was in fact the Americas.

One of the main things that Chris discovered was that he was not much of a navigator, when he sailed around Cuba, he thought he had reached China. He sailed around the Caribbean for several months looking for riches to take back to his sponsors in Spain, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.

He landed on an island called Hispaniola, now called Haiti and the Dominican Republic. I have been to both places and the poverty is heartbreaking.

One of the things that marked Chris’s travels was the violence killing and torture that he brought to wherever he landed. He wrote himself in his diaries that the people were invariably peaceful and did not possess weapons. He changed that and after leaving a party of colonists to develop Hispaniola and
return to Spain, he returned some months later to find that all the colonists he had left been slaughtered by the peaceful inhabitants. He had obviously learned them something.

Now one of the big differences between Columbus’s travels and mine in the Caribbean is that I make a point of killing and torturing as few of the locals as possible, I also, as matter of principal take very few slaves back to Scotland with me.

At one point the news of Columbus’s excesses reached Spain and the king sent a governor to Hispaniola to investigate the reports of brutality and cruelties, this resulted in Chris being sent back to Spain in chains, only to be released shortly after and sent back again. It is estimated that the local tribe the Taino, was reduced from something in the region of 250,000 to several hundred
within a few years.

So, all in all Columbus was not exactly a pillar of good. He did however open up the south American continent to Spain, making it at the time the most wealthy country in the world.

So back to my travels and I have kind of digressed and ran out of time as I have a few islanders to pack into the hold of the ship before dinner in connection with a new venture I have embarked upon  related to Brexit. A few weeks ago, I was speaking to a farmer in Mennies and he was complaining vigorously that because of Brexit he was extremely short of workers. Ok, I thought following in Columbus footsteps I would take back a few workers’ to test the market as they are well used to working in the open and would amply stand up to the searing temperatures we experience in open fields of Scotland, so hopefully this trip
can pay itself.

Oh, and one more thing, when was the last time you heard the name Hispaniola? Well, wasn’t that the name of the ship that sailed to Treasure Island in the Robert Lewis Stevenson book “Treasure Island” I wonder if the treasure island Stevenson had in mind was indeed Haiti? It was certainly
Columbus’s treasure island.