The World This Week From Mennies

Sunday 22 March 2020

Corona virus, Alex Salmond, Kenny Rogers

So here we are another week on and quite a different country than it was a week ago, We are now belatedly in a more stringent phase of the fight against the Corona virus with schools being closed and just on Friday a suggestion that pubs, clubs and Gyms by closed. For that reason, this will be coming from a bunker somewhere in the West end of Dundee instead of Mennies, my usual weekend pub of choice.

Friday marked the virtual closure of my coach and bus business and laying off drivers. An action which was not in the least pleasant as most of these guys have been with us for many years.  Hopefully we can put the company into cold storage until things improve. This was necessitated by the closure of schools where we have substantial contracts for the conveyance of pupils and the cancellation of most of the  private hire work such as weddings and sporting events which are also being discouraged.

These measures although not pleasant to implement, are necessary and I have been advocating them for several weeks. The distasteful element is the fact that they should have been done long before now and because of the indecision by both the UK government and the Scottish government many people will die unnecessarily. They are both making it up as they go, and only three weeks ago it was their policy to allow the Heard immunity theory to take place, whereby a very large number of people would be infected and thereby become immune. Now the problem was that without a vaccine being available, there was absolutely no reason to believe that there would be a natural immunity following on from the infection and there would be literally hundreds of thousands of deaths. Simply a mark of criminal incompetence to cover up the lack of proper preparation of both governments. Hopefully once this is over these people will be brough to account.

This week saw the defense case in the Alex Salmond trial being made and indeed Alex Salmond taking the stand. The trial was also now open to the public as the questioning of the accusers who have anonymity was at an end. The testimony given by Salmond was basically that the accusers were lying and indeed from both his questioning and the questioning of the accusers it did seem to be very clear that there was substantial doubt as to the motives of some of the accusers. I honestly believe that regardless of the verdict, once the identity of the accusers and their positions in relation to the leadership of the SNP things will become very clear.

However, the defense ended their case and the Judge summed up sending the jury home for the weekend. No doubt they will return a verdict during the early part of the week. I am hoping that it will be a clean sheet for Alex for without that, the future of the independence movement is in very unsafe hands. This coming week for various reasons will be one if the most important weeks in the history of Scotland.

On Friday, the death of Kenny Rogers was announced. A fantastically gifted writer and singer who brought a great deal of pleasure to many people the World over. He wrote many songs, but the one that I will always remember is “The Gambler” and the reason is that, to me is sums up my over half a century in business. The events on Friday when I had to virtually close down one of my businesses (well two actually) brought the words of that song back to me. Let me leave you with a few lines of that song.                   

 “Son, I’ve made a life
Out of readin’ people’s faces
Knowin’ what the cards were
By the way they held their eyes

“If you’re gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done

Kenny Rogers

So, to all my friends wherever you are on this very fragile planet of ours. Be safe in these uncertain times, be careful, follow your governments advice regarding social distance keeping, and isolation where required. Learn to enjoy the simple things in life like a walk in the Park (away from people) A breath of fresh air at night with a view of the stars, All the things you never had time for in the past.

We will get through this, although some of us might not see the end of it. Once it is over, I have a feeling there will be a greater appreciation of true friends and I look forward to catching up with as many as possible.

Slainte

The World This Week From Mennies

Saturday 14 March 2020

Coronavirus, Trump, Johnston, Alex Salmond

So, another week in and an eventful one at that , I was supposed to be heading to the Middle East today, in which case this blog would have been one in the Nautical Nomad series and at this moment I would have been extoling the virtues of the lounge in the Airport looking out on a rainy cold Edinburgh Airport whilst waiting on my flight to Dubai.

Unfortunately, it was not to be, as I heard only on Thursday that the cruise, I was to be joining in Dubai had been cancelled owing to the fact that Dubai had closed its port to cruise ships. Ah well, looking on the bright side, I suppose it could have been worse as I could have joined the cruise and then Dubai could have closed the port meaning it would have been extremely difficult to get back home again.

Coronavirus is spreading in the west now at an alarming rate and today there are 1140 cases in England with 21 deaths having sadly occurred. In Scotland there have been 3715 tests given and only 121 cases confirmed of which only one death has occurred and following the Worldwide pattern, an elderly patent with underlying health issues.

Boris Johnston has been giving all the signs that he is not fully on top of the situation with at one point suggesting that they let the disease take its course following the herd immunity principal, which is a theory that as long as there is a large percentage of the population immune to the disease it will eventually cancel itself out., The problem with this theory is that there is no evidence to suggest that there is anyone actually immune to the disease as this immunity can come from immunization and as yet there is no known vaccination available for this disease.

Now the main problem, apart from their being no reason to believe there is an inbuilt immunity in part of the population , is that we do know that the disease kills vulnerable people, so we have a government quite willing to sacrifice a fair section of the population to save money and the Scottish government seem to a point to be going along with this strategy. This to me is very concerning.

So, let’s look at the alternatives. Two European countries, Italy and Spain have belatedly put far stronger measures into place and basically closed their countries, preventing all unnecessary movement of people. These are the two countries in Europe with the highest numbers of affected people, they were where the UK is three weeks ago and were more or less approaching the issue as the UK is doing today. It didn’t work so they are basically closing down the country. Russia, one of the largest countries on the planet closed their borders at the start of the epidemic and, to-date they have not had a single death due to the virus.

So, why is the UK following this herd immunity policy? Well there can be a few possible reasons. The government are in a mess because of Brexit, the World was on the verge of a global recession because of the reliance on the financial services section of commerce and there has been no lessons learned since the crash in 2008. This epidemic will cloud the governments incompetence. Another reason for this particular policy could be because this illness affects disproportionately the elderly and people with pre-determined health issues. Coincidently these are the people who are no doubt seen as a burden on the state and health service, Knowing the type of government we have , I would not put it past them to by quite happy with a cull of the elderly, in fact that very scenario has been suggested by one of them.

So, to the US and the reaction by Donald Trump. I watched his performance last night when he was declaring a national emergency. Honestly, if there is a single American who was not embarrassed by his performance, I will be very surprised. Within a couple of weeks, he has gone from “no problem it will all be over by April” to declaring a national emergency. Both his speech and the answers he gave to questions from reporters was cringeworthy and childish in the extreme. He has claimed credit for the rise in the stock market in recent years, but it was solely his actions (or inactions) which have greatly contributed to the largest falls since the great depression. I honestly feel we are again heading that way unless some common sense can be injected into World leader policy combined with a wrench away from monetarism.


The Alex Salmond trial started this week in what can only be called a dystopian atmosphere. Alex was the leader of the SNP (Scottish national party) and took the country to the independence referendum in 2014., He resigned after the defeat. He has unfortunately been seen as a threat to the present leadership which has at its head Nicola Sturgeon, It is a long story which I have covered in previous blogs but because of this perceived threat it is though that he was set up to fall and the way this was done was to encourage complaints of a sexual nature to be made against him some years after the alleged incidents.

The case came to court this week, preceded a couple of months ago by an action of judicial review Alex brought against the Scottish government for irregularities in the manner the Scottish government arranged the case against Salmond. That case collapsed in Salmond’s favor because the Scottish government refused to produce emails relevant to the case. The Judge at the time made the comment that the Scottish government’s dealings with at least one of the complainers amounted to inducement to make the complaint.

So, the trial this week was set up to exclude the public to protect the identity of the accusers. A benefit the accused is not availed of although, at this point in time he is innocent. The effect of this was to skew the reporting to falsely indicate that some of the accusers were public servants employed by the government, when in fact they were anything but, and were in fact high positioned party officers and indeed politicians. I cannot divulge their identities because of the restrictive contempt of court rues in place but I will say that after the trial when these rules no longer apply, and these people can be identified a lot of things will fall into place.

I must admit, I have been slightly concerned at the cross-examination of these people by Gordon Jackson who is Salmon’s QC. It may be for a reason and I await the case for the defense and the witnesses to come, including Salmons testimony. My prediction is still some severe changes at the top of the SNP as a consequence of this case, and my hope is that Salmond will be acquitted and able to return to politics, quite possibly leading a new independence party. The present road to independence seems to be deliberately blocked by Nicola sturgeon and this is a situation which must be addressed as soon as possible.

In place of winging my way to the Middle East, I will be having a couple of pints in Mennies, and no doubt engaging in lively debate about politics and the world in general, As my suitcase is still packed I might head off to the western isles during the week with a stop in Barra, my favorite island.

So, to all my friends the Works over and particularly in these uncertain times I wish you a good weekend and please do take care.

I raise my glass to you

Slainte

The World this week from Mennies

Saturday 7 March 2020

American elections, the SNP. independence/gender recognition act,

Well here we are again, almost at the end of another eventful week. Once again, a very busy week in the business with positive progression towards acceptance of our application to be a government, vehicle testing station. Confident that will be given, and certainly hope so, as we have installed most of the necessary equipment already. Body and paint shop in full operation now. Full steam ahead.

So, the coming American elections due in November and the primaries seem to have produced a two-horse race as far as the Democrats are concerned, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. On the other side it looks very much as though it will be trump again for the Republicans. Now I would suggest the best way of assessing the best man to challenge Trump is to look at the way both Bernie and Joe are being treated by the Republican press. I would suggest that it is Bernie who is more often on the receiving end of criticism from the republican/ Jewish leaning press. Therefore it is, I would suggest, reasonable to offer the suggestion that the best candidate to fight against Trump is therefore Bernie Sanders as he is the most feared of the two runners.

Now having said that, I do not think that the republican press is Bernie’s greatest enemy. No, in fact I believe his greatest threat is from within the Democratic movement just as it was the last time he fought for nomination against Hillary Clinton where he was basically cheated out of the nomination for a very poor candidate. You might have noticed that I am not a great fan of Donald but that is all to do with his mental suitability as a president of the most powerful country on the planet. He has made some really stupid decisions such as moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem and that latest “peace plan for Palestine” is simply a black joke. However, he has not “yet” started a major war. Now on the other hand, had Hillary became president she would have been even more of a poodle to Israel and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we would have been at war with Iran within a matter of weeks of her becoming president. When I say we, I mean the UK and probably some of the countries in Europe who the US would manage to bully into compliance.

OK so back to Bernie, America needs a change from the Republican mind set and also from the diluted republican mindset which would have came with Hillary. It is kind of like the setup we had here during Tony Blairs term of office. He was Labour but it was a Labour party that you couldn’t have put a cigarette paper between them and the Tories. Yes, we had the red Tories and the Blue Tories and that is what you would have had if Hillary had been in power and it is probably what you will have if Joe Biden is a elected.

So, what I am saying is that if you good people on the other side of the pond wish for change, then vote for Bernie.

So, to the SNP, a party which seems on the verge of collapse. You might think it strange that I am saying this about a party who returned 47 out of a possible 59 MPs to Westminster only a couple of months ago. Ok so let me explain. In the Months before the General Election in December there was chaos in Westminster as the Tories tried to push through the EU withdrawal act., They were months at it and the Tories were hemmed in as they did not have a clear majority for the course they were taking on the EU. They wanted to hold an early General election but could not do it as it needed an act of parliament as they were knocked back at the first attempt because of the required very large majority they needed to gain that act at the first two votes. Ok they went for a third vote which needed only a simple majority and against all logical thinking the SNP together with the Lib Dems decided to give them that. This was followed by Jeremy Corbin folding as well and so we had the election on the 12 December returning the Tories with a majority of 80. This was one of the stupidest acts in a long line by Nicola Sturgeon. Now to go back a bit, in the run up to the GE campaign Nicola held a hurriedly arranged rally in Glasgow’s George square where she indicated that the election would be fought on independence, and indeed a referendum in 2020. This of course fired up all the Nicola is God, acolytes to actually believe her and  come the election campaign there was not a mention of independence on any of the candidates election material only about Brexit and in effect saving the union. It wasn’t really until after the election that people realized what had happened and to make matters worse she gave a speech in which she seemed to be trying to prepare the loyal followers for a referendum sometime in the future but not in 2020.

So, there was Nicola Sturgeon committing a fraud by invoking the independence issue in order to get her MP’s voted into Westminster. Utterly and completely dishonest. Since then there has been outrage on social media with twitter exploding with condemnation of the one-time great leader. A leader who was only great in the minds of the unthinking mob who threw all their hopes on to her.

Now as if all that was not bad enough, Nicola has been pushing through the Scottish parliament the Gender Recognition bill which, in short means that people who are not comfortable in their bodies can self ID as a member if the opposite sex and thereafter have access to Women’s private places and compete in Women’s sports . Absolutely crazy situations and a direct threat to Women’s privacy and wellbeing.

Now the back ground to this could be possible as rumors indicate, to do with Nicolas personal sexual orientation, which is of course her own business but it can lead to questions as to the probity of pushing gender bending policies such as indoctrination of school children and suggestions that there could be gender changing arrangements made by issuing puberty blockers. This all sits very uncomfortable with many people and indeed parents, there was an incident the other week where an openly gay female member of parliament Mhari Black organized a transvestite show for school children by a person who went under the stage name of Flow Job. Utterly disgusting.

So, all this and much more such as the suggestion going about at the present time of an extra marital affair carried on By Nicola Sturgeon and another female politician. This is a stress at the moment hearsay and perhaps Nicola could clear them up and indeed clear the air.

So, the SNP as an effective political party are on very shaky ground. On top of this is the Alex Salmond trial which starts on Monday and Nicola Sturgeon is not expected to come out of that very well. My hope is that Alex will be cleared of charges which could have been constructed against him.

At the end of the day the independence movement is not in a good place and a new leader is what is needed, or indeed a new party which Alex (is cleared) could fit well into.

I walked through the city center in Dundee today and was pleased to see a stall manned by SNP members. My pleasant surprise was not long in diminishing when I went over to speak to them. I mentioned the I was pleased to see they had a lot of material giving the true financial situation in Scotland produced by Business for Scotland. I introduced myself (although I think they all knew me) and conversed about the present state of the independence movement. This was met with blank stares and growls and tirades about how independence could not be stopped if the will of the people demanded it. I put forward the suggestion that it will take more than that to convince people that we should be independent and that the SNP were really not performing as they should. This brought about convulsions and a raising of voices stating, basically that Nicola Sturgeon was wonderful and doing a great job. I offered the suggestion that as the Alex Salmond case was about to start on Monday there was a distinct chance that Nicola would be out of a job very shortly. I asked them to look at the table they were standing at and could they see any form of material which had come from the SNP. There was SNP members, standing at a table covered with Business for Scotland information material and copies of the National and they were berating me for criticizing the SNP for not doing enough. Honestly, the irony simply escaped them. At this point one of the Women lifted a copy of the National in front of her face presumably to block me out , quite possibly believing that the national was soundproof. If there are any of the Dundee SNP reading this, then please do not under any circumstance let that bunch of comedians anywhere near a campaign (if it ever actually starts). Next week and the Alex Salmond trial will make compulsive watching.

So now to more important business and that is a pint at Mennies. I lift my glass to you no matter where you be on this fragile planet if ours

Slainte

PS next weeks “The World from Mennies” could be coming from the middle east as I am off on my travels again, starting Friday with a flight from Edinburgh to Dubai

The World This week from Mennies.

Sunday 1 March 2020

Scotland’s Independence

Well another busy week in and standing in Mennies the other night I got to thinking about the road we have traveled on the road to independence since the 19th September 2014 the day we lost the last referendum on independence.

That day broke my heart, as we in the Yes Bus team have worked extremely hard for independence over the previous two years and more especially in the previous several months campaigning throughout Dundee and surrounding area and more especially in the City Square.

I got over the loosing of the referendum and wanted to get back into the fight but on approaching the SNP I discovered to my surprise that there was no plan B and no intention to address the issues which led to the defeat in the referendum. Nicola Sturgeon became the leader of the party and in effect the leader of the independence movement. I looked upon this initially as a good thing and had hopes of a road map to be produced to get us back on the road to our goal.

Unfortunately, this was not to be, and before long I started to doubt the abilities and commitment of Nicola Sturgeon to the cause of independence, Not being one to hide my opinions I posted and eventually blogged my reservations. This was met be the most awful abuse by a cult like following of Nicola ,The glorious leader who could do no wrong ,

Well, recently a good number of mainline journalists and comentators have came around to the same opinions as I had all these five years ago. Now it looks to me very like the structure of the SNP is crumbling and with the advent of the trial of Alex Salmond I suspect it will all but collapse and possibly with it the independence movement.

I looked back on some of the blogs I did in the early days after the referendum and I came upon one I did in 2017 which contained an article I wrote for the Scottish Independent in 2016, in which I gave an analogy of a leader not willing or able to give the proper leadership and the consequences thereof. Well we are getting to that stage now where it looks like Joanna Cherry is lining herself up for a leadership challenge and as far as my analogy goes she will be the seven sisters. I attach a link to the blog below.

Oh and by the way, I told you so

https://bobsblog.scot/2016/07/17/a-road-map-is-required/

So in the mean time, if you havce not fallen asleep I wish you a very pleasant weekend and I raise my glass to you

Slainte