The World This Week From Mennies

So, another week in and another eventful week it was, with my final move from the home I have lived in for the last 30 years. A sad week, but probably a practical move nearer civilisation in the Autumn of one’s life.
A strange thing happened on the last day. I was finishing up packing and loading the last remnants of my time in Lisheen , I locked the door and had a last walk around the garden.

Now over the last few years there has been a Robin who would sit on the Barbeque in the evening as I was eating and when I saw it, I would always go out and lay out some bread or seeds., At times when I was in the car and turning in the drive, it would appear on a branch adjacent to where the car was and I would always stop ,get out of the car ,go back into the house and get some food for it. That last day, when I had walked around the garden for the last time and went to get into the car, the Robin was perched on the steering wheel, as if to say,” ok let’s go”

When I move into my new home, I will be looking for that wee Robin.


And so, to the rest of the world this week.

Tuesday saw the mid-term elections in the US with the Democrats taking control of the House of representatives which will give a few problems to Trump as they are now in the position to instigate impeachment procedures. On the other side, the Republicans increased their majority in the Senate. Trump of course pronounced this as a great victory, hmm.

We had the embarrassing tantrum by trump at a press conference with a reporter from CNN who was attempting to ask Trump uncomfortable questions. Trump had him silenced and had his press pass cancelled. George Orwell, you wrote a great book, but you got the year wrong, you were 34 years early. 1984 was the year I ran the New York marathon, Trump was just a young gangster then.

Here in the UK we had the utterly embarrassing admission by Dominick Raab, the Tory minister for chaos otherwise known as the lead negotiator for Brexit, that he did not realise that the UK was an island and because of that fine detail, we rely on a huge amount of traffic between Calais and Dover!!! Oops Houston, we have a problem., Our Dom studied law at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, apparently Geography was not an option. So, on we go with the Brexit madness with a blind and apparently totally thick driver at the wheel. God help us.


Here in Dundee we had the announcement “from London” of Michelin, one the largest employers in the City giving notice that they intend pulling out of the City within two years.  This was followed by the immediate call to arms by the usually comatose, Tory  Scottish Secretary David Mundell whose full time job is to persuade the people of Scotland that they cannot be governed well without a cabinet full of Oxford, Cambridge, and Etton educated members of parliament of the calibre of Dominick Raab, who has difficulty in tying his own shoe laces in the morning without written instructions.

Call me an old cynic (which will probably be better than the names you usually call me) but, this stinks to high heaven and when you add in the fact that Dundee turned out the highest yes vote in the country at the independence referendum in 2014, it becomes putrid. So, let us take a step forward in time to 2020 when the bedraggled SNP who have just lately realised that they have been painting themselves into a corner and in an act of desperation, they announce a referendum. By this time the Brexit madness will have transferred itself into a deal which will include limited access to the single market, removing any Brexit related excuse the SNP will have for a referendum. We, in Dundee, the bastion of independence support, will be told that we have been looked after very well by the Tories who persuaded Michelin to remain in Dundee and not only that, but there was Scotland voting 62% to stay in the EU and our messiah Saint Nicola deciding that they actually voted to stay in the single market and here is the SNP trying to once again drag us out of the limited single market negotiated on our behalf by the (now ) Lord Raab. Mark my words, unlikely as it may seem now, this is a very plausible train of events.


So, now that I have no doubt confused a few more people than just myself, I will move to a more pleasant theme. It is after all, the weekend, the first  weekend for over half a century I can once more call myself a Dundonian as opposed to a cheuchter, which for the unenlightened and Dominic Raab, is the Scots word for someone who is not a City dweller,  to all my friends the World over, and to the people who were my friends before I insulted them or embarrassed them, ( I will get around to the rest in time) to all the good republicans in the US ( there are a few ) to all the good Tories ( there are even fewer of them) to all the good Labour politicians ( there are only two of them one of which I will no doubt ,once again be attempting to put on the path to independence  later tonight) I wish you a pleasant and safe weekend. Take good care of yourselves and I raise my glass to you




PS, I forgot to mention President Macron of France who announced his intention to propose an EU Army, to defend Europe against any possible threat from countries like “Russia, China, or, wait for it, THE US.” Now that is what I call a guy who has got his shit together (as my American friends would say)


The World this week from Mennies

Another week almost to an end and yet again an extremely busy week in business with our latest project, which is the renovation of our 92 seat Skyliner coach coming to fruition with a first time pass at the testing station. Well done Jamie and the team.


Tonight will be the last Saturday evening I will travel home from Mennies to Lisheen, the house I have lived in for over 30 years ,in a village I have lived in for over half a century. It seems like yesterday, when as a young Man of only 19 years I embarked upon what was a massive project for me at the time which was to build my first home in the village of Auchterhouse. A massive project, not least for the reason that I had the princely sum of £10 in the bank at the time. Not much in the bank monetary wise but a huge deposit account of belief and endeavour, in one’s ability to overcome any hurdle that life was to throw in my way, and believe you me, there have been hurdles aplenty during that half century of an interesting and challenging life.


Over the last few weeks I have been clearing out the house in preparation for the move and I have filled to capacity, a 14 cubic meter skip along with burning probably in the region of a ton of papers which contain many memories. I had a few wry smiles as I went through the court documents of the many court cases I carried out myself, as in Scotland it is permissible for ordinary citizens to bring or defend cases in the district or Sheriff courts. The building industry is renowned for bad debt customers, and I carried out many cases on my own account much to the chagrin of many of the Dundee lawyers, who were generally pretty upset when I won against them. Of all the cases I ever carried out on my own behalf I only ever lost one of them. I remember a lawyer once said to me, “I have seen you take these small claims cases and up to now I have never been aware of you losing any, how do you do it?” “Quite simple really” I said “I have never taken out a case that I was not on the right side of the law in “I have many stories of my court wrangles but perhaps that is for another blog.

So, all of this was going through my mind as I bundled these records containing all of these memories into the skip and by the end of this coming week, the Auchterhouse phase of my life will be at an end, a new page will have begun and a favourite saying of mine will be appropriate.


Every day is a new page in your life story

You have a choice

You can simply read it

Or you can write it


I fully intend keeping on writing pages for some time to come.


So not had much time for too many views on the World this week, except a couple.


The Chancellor of the Exchequer presented the budget this week which was in the main a lot of wishful thinking which will have to be revised anyway in a few weeks when the final Brexit deal (or no deal) becomes apparent. However, one thing was to me very important and that was the raising of the upper tax threshold to 50K , meaning that the Scottish governments threshold of 43K  will leave many in Scotland worse off than their equivalent in England. Now there are many people saying that they will willingly pay the additional tax in the hope of better services. Well, I do not believe them, and the problem is that now because of the SNP’s insistence on gaining additional but limited powers through the Smith commission they are playing keep up with the Jones’s and the people most affected by this disparity are the very people we need to turn from no to yes in the fight for independence, that is the middle to upper earners and people with a private pension who have drawdown arrangements in place. I warned against having anything to do with the Smith commission and now it is coming home to roost.


Lastly, there is oor Donald, at it again, trying to out-Fascist the Fascists with his attitude towards a pathetic group of desperate and poor people, hopefully making a pilgrimage towards the border with the US, in the very slim hope of gaining entry and asylum from what ails them back home. So, what does Donald do? Does he arrange for increased border facilities to process these pathetic beings into rightful categories of legality as required under international law? No, he sends an army together with tanks and heavy equipment to confront this throng of human misery.


There is no point in trying to describe the disgust in the World over the action of a man whose own Mother came from a Scottish island which was affected by the Highland clearances. I can but direct Donald to a plaque on the base of the Statue of Liberty.


Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.


Emma Lazarus will be turning in her grave and  lady Liberty will be shedding a tear today.


So enough of the doom and gloom, tonight is the last Saturday I will be going home to Auchterhouse from Mennies so I raise my glass to half a century of endeavour, planning, worry ,fear, victory , defeat, but always excitement and effort. To my friends wherever you be in this fragile planet of ours. Have a good and safe weekend.