The World this Week from Mennies

Saturday 2 March 2019

Trump, Business for Scotland, Corbin and Independence


Well, another week almost to a close and yet another busy one at that, the next stage of the business expansion took another step forward with movement in the acquisition of property to facilitate further development of servicing facilities for a major contract.

Some of these days I might, just might, get around to thinking of retiring and putting my feet up. Naa, on second thoughts, probably not, as I have seen too many people retiring then dying and as I have no intention of doing that I will probably keep going for a while yet. In the mean time I am once more getting itchy feet as somewhere on the planet is calling me, not sure where yet, but somewhere definitely is, so perhaps my travel journal will be appearing before long.


So back to reality for a wee while and the confines of the metropolis of Dundee, and indeed the very best pub in Dundee, Mennies.

This week we had the meeting of my best pal from across the Pond Donald, and Kim Jong-un. Two supreme leaders together, one a supreme, racist, liar,con man and bully. The other, Kim Jong-un. The former having a rather bad week back home with the testimony by his one-time friend and fixer Michael Cohen, who presented (if true) a litany of Jail inducing allegations concerning Donald’s business activities over the decade of their acquaintance, from Stormy Danials to the Russian Mafia. That was bad enough, but he had to leave Vietnam without any kind of deal, so the meeting of the two supreme leaders was a supreme failure. Interestingly, it was easier to get Donald to Vietnam last week than it was 40 years ago when he should have been there but managed to get off, because of several student exemptions and then a diagnosis of bone spurs. So not one of Donald’s best weeks.


So back home and the other not so supreme leader Jeremy Corbyn. Now let me say to start with that at present, British politics are a joke to the extent that a Brian Rix Whitehall farce couldn’t even come near, for abject idiocy. But last week we, once again had the hoary old chestnut of anti-Semitism rearing its yawn inducing head, on the back of several labour MP’S resigning using the well-worn accusation of anti-Semitism within the Labour ranks, that together with the accusation of incompetence regarding Brexit policy by Corbin. Ok so let me be clear, Corbyn is useless, and his Brexit policy is all over the place, he is a reincarnation of a badly dressed Michael Foot, but he is no anti-Semic and I doubt whether many in the labour movement are. Corbyn’s problem is that he supports the human rights of the Palestinian people and as such is seen by the Government of Israel as a threat. Now the Government of Israel have been working assiduously for many years to change the meaning of Anti-Semitism from, “a hatred of Jews”, to a dislike of the Israeli government for their genocidal treatment of the people of Palestine. They have spent many millions of pounds through contributions to politicians and encouraging these politicians to be members of the organisation called “Friends of Israel” where-by they receive many benefits including trips to Israel. Strangely enough, one of the Labour defectors was some time ago secretly filmed receiving a large amount of money from an Israeli agent to assist with taking down a less than sympathetic Tory MP. Jeremy Corbyn is seen as a threat because of the possibility of a general election and thus the anti- sematic smear campaign. He has of course no back bone and therefore caves in continuously to this unjust smear tactic.


So a bit nearer home and yesterday I attended a lunch by the Business for Scotland Saltire club. Now Business for Scotland are an organisation of business people who believe in an independent Scotland. The Saltire Club is a group within Business for Scotland who meet regularly for lunches attended by politicians and notable figures from the media, whereby ideas can be exchanged and hopefully passed on to those with remits and abilities to change the way things are done in government and indeed, the independence movement. Business for Scotland led by Gordon McIntire Kemp research the difficult questions relating to Scottish business and how it would operate in an independent Scotland. I have been a member of BFS from during the independence campaign we had from 2012 to 2014 and during the final months of the campaign my family and I donated the use of one of our full-sized front-line coaches as a battle bus to tour the country. I joined the Saltire club when it was formed sometime after the campaign but became somewhat disillusioned at the cooperation being received from the SNP and left after some time.

However, having received an invitation to the Lunch in Dundee yesterday I decided to go along and was very pleasantly impressed by Gordon’s presentation of how things had changed with the SNP/ Scottish government, and how the organisation now had a strong team of researchers and a program of statistical information and guidance which will be extremely useful in the next referendum campaign. So, I have re-joined the group.


Yesterday the guests were Leslie Riddoch (Journalist) and Chris Law the member of the Westminster parliament for Dundee West. Leslie gave a masterful account of the Nordic manner of independent countries and especially the Faro islands. I have known Chris for many years and campaigned alongside him during the referendum campaign. I remember bumping into him in Mennies after a gap of several years during the campaign and him telling me about an idea he had. He had bought an ex-army fire engine and intended having it refurbished and taking it around Scotland campaigning. I asked to see it and he took me to where it was, and I saw it was in a bit of a mess but offered to get it into our workshops and carry out the renovations. It was with us for a couple of months while we striped the paint, made good the body imperfections and completely re-sprayed it and serviced the mechanical side of it. I remember Chris sitting in my office the week before he left on his journey around Scotland and he said to me “well, what do you think” I said to him, I think you are f*****g mad, but I hope you make it. Chris did take it around Scotland on a very successful campaign and was back in Dundee on the last day of the campaign where he joined us, the Yes bus Team in the City Square of Dundee. We had had a very busy day talking to people and reassuring them, many people had come into town just to see us and wish us luck, as we had spoken to thousands of people during out campaign over the last few months in the centre of Dundee. Most of the team, Deb, Tony, John , Harry, Mark and all the rest of them, had left as they were to be gong to the count later and Chris and I were left clearing up and taking down the stall, it had been an extremely intense few months and I remember thinking that it was a anti climax as I looked around  “our” Square, the place we had held against all odds, with the might of the no campaign against us throughout the campaign. We had seen off the numerous attempts by the no campaign to put their people on “our streets”, we had seen off Jim Murphy with his tour of Scotland and his Iron Bru crate to speak on. We had seen off the Labour battle bus with Anus Sarwar where we organised a march at hours’ notice to march behind our piper, Ian to spoil their day. I remembered the wee old lady who, earlier in the day I met as she walked down Reform street, she had made a special trip into town to speak to us. She came up to me and told me she had voted by post a couple of weeks before, she said she had , had a visit from one of these “ no people”  who had told her that her pension was at risk if she voted yes so she made out her postal vote and gave it to the young man to post for her and she voted no. She said she regretted it now and she was sorry. I told her not to worry as she did what she thought was right at the time and gave her a big hug.


So, there we were the two of us standing there on the field of battle, so to speak. The yes Bus team had seen off the enemy, but had we won the battle? Chris said to me, what do you think? “I think we should get over 70% “I said “what will you do now “ Chris asked. I looked around our Square and thought of the intensity of the last few months, of having all but abandoned the business and left Jamie to run it. “I just don’t know” I said, and I couldn’t stop the tears coming. We walked across to Hendry’s and had a coffee. That was the end of the campaign.


We lost the referendum, but Dundee returned the highest percentage vote on the whole country, I suppose that was the Yes Bus teams reward.


Chris went on to become an MP and again the yes bus team played a big part in that and his selection for candidate. Yesterday at the lunch I took him to task as to why the SNP have not made any effort to prepare for a future referendum and we had quite an animated discussion regarding this. I have had many a heated debate with Chris, mostly in Mennies regarding the shortcomings of the SNP and I will no doubt have many more. I hope there is a change on the horizon, but I fear there must be major surgery before the body of the SNP will be on a healing curve and I suspect that might be sooner than later.

So, to all my friends the World over, I wish you a good and peaceful weekend and I raise my glass to you.



Remember, life might not be the party you wished it to be, but seeing as we are here, we might as well dance.


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