The World This Week From Mennies

25 January 2020.
Robert Burns, Iraq, Brexit, Coronavirus, Independence

Another week in, and a pretty eventful one here at home with another stage in our expansion plans completed and a commitment to installing an MOT ( vehicle testing facility) station in the new premises, the purchase of which was completed several weeks ago.
However, a wee incident at the beginning of the week just about spoiled things somewhat. I was in one of the workshops and decided to check on the oil burning space heater which had just been lit. It seemed to be giving off unusual fumes and on looking through the glass door into the burning chamber I couldn’t see any flame and only a build up of fumes. Suddenly there was an explosion and the door flew open, the blast hitting me in the face and knocking me on to my back. Great way to start the day. Once I got my breath back and assessed any damage, it would appear I had been very lucky.
My hair was singed, I had lost half of one eyebrow and my face was stinging. Very luckily I had been wearing my glasses as both lenses had been burned and showed signs of melting. If I had not been wearing the glasses I would in all probability have been blinded.

So great start to the week and we have today, the anniversary of Scotland’s greatest poet Robert Burns. Born in Alloway in the West of Scotland in 1759, and after a very active and creative life, passing away in 1796.
Every year on New Year’s Eve the whole world sings one of his songs, Auld Lang Syne. Here in Scotland we mark his birthday with a Burn’s Supper where the traditional Scottish delicacy, the Haggis is served up in the traditional manner with mashed potato and turnip. The haggis is piped in and there is a rendition of an “Address to the Haggis” given before the haggis is shared out amongst the gathering.
The first verse of the poem goes like this,
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin’ race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o’ a grace
As lang’s my erm.
Burns was a humanist and wrote many poems highlighting the inequalities of the times in which he lived.

So to the rest of the World and the big story at the moment is the spread of the Coronavirus which seems to have started in China and been contracted from animals. The Chinese government seem to be taking this very seriously and are in the process of building very large isolation hospitals to contain the outbreak.
It is a respiratory illness similar to a flu. Up till now there has been approximately 2,400 people infected and 41 deaths. The media outlets are stirring up panic, but I feel that they are getting it slightly out of context and causing undue concern and alarm.
As an example of this, it might be an idea to look at the incidences of flu during a winter period. For instance in the winter of 2017 to 2018 in the USA there were 49 million cases of Flu and 80,000 deaths. That is in a population of 327 million people. China has a population of 1.4 billion. So sometimes better to keep a sense of proportion and at the same time act cautiously.

The virus

Meanwhile, in Iraq there has been a demonstration of a million people against American troops remaining in their country. This has been very lightly reported by Western news outlets which is rather concerning. The Iraqi government recently passed a resolution demanding the removal of American forces from their country. This is the country that the US says it is there to protect, well, American troops are still there so that makes them an army of occupation.
Of course we all knew that and we all really know why they are there in the first place, don’t we?
Yes it all started with the removal of Saddam Hussain and the take over of the Iraqi oil fields, just like it always is with countries with colonial ambitions. The government do the dirty work for large corporate interests who pay them back through contributions to party funds and other ways.
Same happened in Britain’s colonial days with the East India Company and the Hudson Bay company. The US should simply go from Iraq and leave the people to run their own country.

Good old uncle Sam looking after the people of Iraq

During the week Boris Johnson signed the document that cuts us adrift from the EU. An act of stupefying madness. No doubt in the coming weeks or months we will come to realise the real reasons for this idiotic act and I suspect it was more to do with the EU move to regulate the manner in which companies move large amounts of profits to offshore accounts in order to avoid paying the proper taxes due in the countries in which the trading takes place.
Meanwhile we will witness the drain of companies leaving these shores to be where the real economic activity takes place and that is within the EU.
Yes there will be negotiations as to future trading arrangements with the EU but they cannot be better or as good as they are now because that is the very founding principal of the EU and that is to benefit the member countries before any other consideration can take place. It will indeed be a sad day on the 31 January as that is the day we leave the EU.

Hopefully Scotland will be back before long

And so to Independence.
I wont go into just how the SNP under Nicola Sturgeon have messed the whole thing up over the last 5 years culminating in them actually facilitating the election of the most right wing, uncaring, anti Scotland government in the history of the UK, because I have been outlining their inadequacies over that period of time and it gets a bit wearing after a time, but I will say this, Nicola has promised another statement on the situation regarding another referendum on independence this coming week. There is still a way to hold another referendum within this year and that was the latest carrot she dangled before the general election to get more votes. There has to be a case of determination of schedule 5 of the Scotland act taken out, firstly in the court of session and then possibly in the UK supreme court. This is to determine the legality of the Scottish government holding an independence referendum without the consent of the UK government. If she does not at least do this then she is finished. Quite possibly with delays there will still not be enough time to hold one this year and of course she will have the effects of the Alex Salmond case to consider. A case that I suspect she is not going to come out of well at all. I also suspect the there will be attempts to put off another referendum until after the Scottish elections in May next year. I feel this is her last chance to do something and get us out of the corner she has painted us into. The clock is ticking on her tenure as first minister of Scotland.

So to conclude lets get back to Rabbie Burns as I said before, he was a great man of the people and one of the poems he wrote brought this out very clearly. It was a poem called “A Mans A Man For A That” and it ends like this
For a that and a that,
Its coming yet for a that,
That Man to Man the World ower,
Shall Brothers be for A that.

Robert Burns

So to all my friends wherever you are on this fragile planet, I lift my glass to you.


The World this Week from Mennies

Global warming, Vladimir Putin, Independence, Donald

Here we are at the and of another week and I simply do not know where the days went this week, It seems only yesterday I was sitting here writing a World this week from Mennies blog.
Bit colder this week here in Scotland but still nothing like the Winters we used to have . I remember when I was younger here in Dundee we would skate on the Swannie ponds for six weeks. I honestly cant remember that last time I saw them iced over, Global warming? Probably, man made possibly not, but in all probability certainly not helped by mankind. People speak about the “last ice age” which was approximately 12,000 years ago, but that was when this area was last covered in ice and it steadily retreated to where it is still steadily retreating near both polls. now this has happened in the main way before any industrialization and not only that but it has happened many times in the past. We have had successive warming and cooling cycles for hundreds of Millions of years . Most of them before mankind was on the planet. The common denominator is the Sun. It would be good to see if these , and indeed the present warming spell has anything to do with solar activity. Oops is that Gretta at the door.

Environmental activist Greta Thunberg, of Sweden, addresses the Climate Action Summit in the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Ok so on to something else and lets speak about Vladimir Putin. Now old Vlad is now probably the most popular leader that Russia has ever had, but as you read the nonsense in Western papers you would be forgiven for thinking that he was as popular as Rasputin the mad Monk. He is popular because he stands no nonsense from the west He has had a very successful relationship with Assad of Syria and has indeed saved that country from the ravages of the US and ancillary hanger-on’s such as the UK . He is probably the only leader whose army is there by invitation unlike the US and the UK who are there as invaders.
Putin’s term of office officially ends in 2024 but the crafty old Fox seems to be working on a plan to extend that., Would that be a bad thing ? No , I feel safer with him in charge of the largest country in the World as apposed to Trump who is in charge of the largest ego on the world, and I would certainly be in favor of closer trading arrangements with Russia in an independent Scotland. Think of it, two of the countries with largest oil reserves on the planet together in a trading pact., What better way to keep American greasy fingers off our natural assets when independent.
Is Russia a democracy? Well at least they do not have 900 unelected clowns in the house of lords.

Putin, a leader with common sense

Ok so I see I am already way up there in the popularity stakes with poor wee Gretta teaming up with Extinction Rebellion and the CIA to barricade me in and stop be having a pint in Mennies tonight . So who will I upset next? Lets see, hmm, how about the few remaining fans of the royal family who still think that they are God’s anointed, They must do because why on earth, if they are not, would people get a kick out of bowing and scraping to these unelected parasites., If by some chance they are Gods anointed , then I am afraid God has a very poor sense of humor. in choosing one of the most dysfunctional families on Earth to rule us Here we have Harry and Megan. Megan of mixed race and Harry of mixed parentage . Both decent people on the surface but both not quite conforming to the typical royal and both getting an absolutely rough ride from the English press., Why? for the crime of wishing to live their own life’s. That is unfortunately the UK we live in and the UK that most Scots now wish to leave just like Harry and Megan. Best of luck to them.

So, to independence. There has been a hell of a lot of disquiet in the ranks of the grass roots organizations and activists at the performance of Nicola Sturgeon with regard to what should be her prime function and that is the attainment of independence, Now in the weeks before Christmas when a General election campaign was in progress ., Nicola made great play on the fact that independence was to be in the forefront of any campaign., This culminated in a hastily arranged rally in George Square in Glasgow where Nicola appeared for the very first time at any rally to do with independence, She had marched at the head of other rallies but these were either gay Rallies of save the UK rallies.
So at this one she got the faithful all fired up by “almost” promising a referendum on Scottish independence during 2020. Problem was that as soon as the GE campaign started properly, the word independence was expunged from both the campaign literature and the campaign itself, just as it had been in all previous elections since the 2014 referendum and as we all know the campaign was fought on stopping Brexit. There was the letter to Johnson ” asking” for a section 30 and there was the reply which basically said get lost, All very predictable.
Now there are several other ways that independence can be attained and there is also several legal avenues that can be gone down to try to reverse this refusal to grant a section 30. Problem is that all this takes time and there is now only eleven and a half months left in 2020.
Personally , I do not think that Nicola Sturgeon has the commitment or the ability to get a referendum campaign going. I think she has painted herself and the independence movement into a corner, I think lot of this obfuscation has a connection to the trial of Alex Salmond scheduled for March, I also think Nicola Sturgeon wont last much longer than this trial.
To strengthen my reservations we had Angus Roberson making an announcement on twitter today, urging people to campaign,- wait for it, not for a referendum this year, but for the Scottish elections in 2021. Roberson is seen as being close to Nicola Sturgeon as is his wife Jennifer Dempsey who I have a feeling we will be hearing more of in the coming months, March in particular.
So disappointment ,yes but as blogged many times in the last 4 years, not unexpected. There has to be a change in the leadership of the SNP or a new party.

Ok, so enough if the doom and gloom and I havent even mentioned daft Donald but we will leave him for another day and let him enjoy his impeachment.

I raise my glass to you, wherever you may be on this fragile planet of ours . Have a great weekend folks.


The World this week from Mennies

I have not written a World this week from Mennies for some time, as to be honest I have been heartily sickened by politics in general. However I decided to get a few things down on paper to vent my frustrations at how the world looks from a disillusioned political observer and campaigner for Scottish independence’s point if view.

So, here we are again at the end of another week and some week it has been on the tail end of last week in which the World teetered on the edge of World war three , brought to you by your old friend and incompetent President, Donald Trump, who decided he would murder top Iranian General Quasem Soleimani.

Now make no mistake about it , this was Murder , pure and simple, pre- meditated murder. Ok there are arguments that he was involved in assisting groups who were opposing US incursions into other peoples countries , like Syria for instance. No doubt similar groups that the US assist and finance like ISIS , All-Qaida, All-Nustra etc. Strange thing is that ISIS were over the Moon at this assassination because this particular General was very successful in eliminating many thousands of the adherents to that obnoxious sect. One of the victim of that attack was the driver of the car who, presumably was simply doing hos job and did not go home to his wife and kids that night. Strange World we live in.

Following on from this attack was the downing of the Ukrainian airliner in what has now been admitted by the Iranian Government as a horrible mistake, no doubt made by an anti aircraft battery manned be soldiers expecting a US attack. No doubt this will be investigated including whether there was any interference with their target marking and identification systems. There is however one inescapable conclusion and that is that without the attack on Quasem Soleimani, this airliner would not have been shot down. Therefore Trump will have the deaths of more than just the occupants of the car on his conscience but also the 173 unfortunate passengers in the airliner. This of course assumes he does have a conscience.

We have witnessed the devastating bush fires in Australia and our thoughts go out to the causalities and people who have lost homes in this tragedy. There has also been millions of animals killed in this sad episode in Australian history. A consequence of global warming? Who knows, but a horrible tragedy never the less.

Ok, so now to my favorite ( or perhaps not so favorite at the moment) subject and that is the ongoing fight for Scottish independence. I have leveled so much criticism lately ( and a lot not so lately) at the manner the SNP and in particular, Nicola Sturgeon have progressed along the road to independence and because of my criticisms over the last ( almost) 5 years, I have regularly came in for condemnation and abuse on a grand scale. The thing is that in the main the abuse has not been generated because of what, I have been saying, but mainly because of the fact that I was saying it. In other words the general consensus of the less able to think was that regardless of how bad a job the SNP were doing, it was felt that I did not have the right to criticize them. This was very clear in a recent blog I did and posted it on, among other sites the Republic of Dundee Facebook page. It laid out the muddle the SNP have got themselves into. Now on this site alone it generated 450 comments and answers some were supportive and some were definitely not supportive backed up by some pretty foul language . The thing about all these comments was that not a single one actually criticized anything I said and all were about my right so say them. Eventually the owner of the site took the posting down, bowing to the mob.

Anyway, the fight goes on, and not very efficiently by the present incumbent of the position of leader on the SNP whose main line of attack is that Boris Johnston is duty bound to grant a section 30. Well this week he has told her for the third time in parliament that he will do no such thing. Surprise ,surprise! So plan B, err, what is it? I wonder just how the faithful feel now after all the time they have said to me that “Nicola has a clever plan” as one thing is sure, and that is that if by some miracle she does have a clever plan it will be the only one she has formulated in the last 5 years.

So moving on and thinking ahead to when the next area of action will be, and that no doubt will be the Scottish elections in May 2021 because I am sure we will arrive at that point without any referendum having taken place and we will be back once again to Nicola ( if indeed she is still at the helm which I very much doubt) standing in George Square at a hastily arranged Rally once again and getting the (By that time) rather jaded faithful all fired up again with half promises of another referendum.

Well, that cannot happen and if we get to that point in time without a referendum having taken place then there must be another party there to, at the very least fight the list seats in the election to allow a large pro-independence majority to guide the SNP to a proper road map to independence.

Now this leads me to a very recent development and that is the formation of a group who have just launched the “Digital Covenant”. This is an ongoing digital referendum with one question and only one answer, YES, It is run through the blockchain system so is incorruptible. You can only vote YES, therefore all non votes are taken as NO. This means that we will have to get more than 50% of the voting public to vote yes, some 2.3 million votes but the result will be absolute. It just went live today and there will be teething problems so give it a chance and I will be writing more about this in the days to come. you can get to the site at . More on this later

So to a pint in my favorite hostelry to celebrate the Weekend. I wish my friends the World over a pleasant Saturday evening and I raise my glass to you.