A Nautical Nomad ( landlubber version)

Tuesday 7 April 2020.

OK, so this is us in the third week of the partial lockdown to combat the coronavirus epidemic. when I say a partial lockdown, what I mean is that we are to stay at home except for going out for necessary food shopping and once a day exercise.

For my exercise today I chose a walk around Balgay park which is sited not far from my house based around Balgay hill situated in the west end of the City. The parkland is actually made up of three parks and a cemetery. Lochee Park donated by the Cox brothers who owned Camperdown works which at that time was the largest jute mill in the World. You can see the large chimney in one of the photos which is Cox’s stack. Camperdown works are now apartments and a large shopping center.

Camperdown Mill and Cox’s stack , Sidlaws in the background

Victoria Park, named after Queen Victoria and Balgay park once part of Balgay estate which included Balgay house, now the Royal Victoria Hospital. Balgay park came into public ownership in 1871.
Then there is the Western necropolis situated on the west side of Balgay hill.

Tay bridge crossing the river Tay

The parks are a gem and although I moved back to Dundee over a year ago it is only this last three weeks that I have found my way to the park taking advantage of the many walks through the wooded areas and hills of the parkland.
Tonight was an exceptionally clear evening, all be it with a cool breeze blowing but never the less a perfect evening for a brisk walk.

I headed through the flat area of the park skirting the Royal victoria hospital passing by the area set up for a drive-through virus testing centre, then heading uphill leaving the roadway and getting on to one of the pathways through the woods.

Footbridge over the gully to the Western necropolis

After a brisk uphill walk, I was rewarded with the wonderful views you can see below. Now I am not sure what order they will be displayed in once I post this but from left to right, they are:-
The footbridge over the gully between Balgay Hill and the Western Necropolis.
The plaque at the Mills observatory.
Cox’s stack
Mills Observetory
A view of the Tay bridge
A view looking towards the Sidaw hills and indeed where I lived for over 50 years, first hill on the left
A view looking towards the mouth of the river Tay with the Moon out
Dundee Law with the war memorial atop.

Towards the mouth of the river Tay with the Moon looking on

Perfect evening for photos, and once taken I made my way past the Mills observatory and headed down hill. The mills observatory is owned by Dundee Council and is only one of two working public observatories in the UK which has a resident astronomer. Entry is free and in the autumn and winter evenings the telescope is pointed at one of the planets and anyone can take a look. Great place to take the kids on a Winters evening.

Mills Observitory

So, after an interesting and energetic walk through the woods of Balgay park I headed home, mission accomplished.

Dundee Law with the war memorial at the top

We are getting through this, slowly and in fact more slowly than necessary but for government incompetence. Let us hope that lessons are learned from this. One thing has become very clear and that is that when necessary , money can be found to do almost anything, Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a fraction of it could be found to alleviate poverty? If so then just perhaps something good could come out of this situation.

Stay safe my friends

Sidlaw hills where I lived for over 50 years

The World this week from Mennies

Saturday 4 April 2020

Corona Virus, Trump, Alex Salmond

Well here we are two weeks into the partial lockdown and instead of these musings coming from Mennies they are again coming from a bunker, somewhere in the West end of Dundee. I say two weeks into the lockdown, but I should be saying 6 weeks as that is what it should have been if Johnston and Sturgeon had simply looked at the massive amount of evidence available from all over the world.

This epidemic started in China in mid-December and from there, speedily spread to many countries. The Chinese and other Asian countries had a pretty quick learning curve and managed to get the epidemic under reasonable control by instituting pretty stringent protocols , such as mass testing, wearing masks and very importantly, population  isolation.

It took the UK government and by default the Scottish government two and a half months to get it into their heads that there was a problem. Now we are at the 4th April and we have only had a partial lockdown for the last two weeks., This is monumental incompetence and only a few weeks ago the joint policy was this crazy heard immunity theory, which would have and indeed will mean that many thousands of people will unnecessarily die. Yes, that is an indisputable fact. Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon, by a combination of ineptitude and idiotic policy, are responsible for innumerable deaths. Once this is over there must be a reckoning.

I watch these government briefings every day and I never cease to be amazed at just how much dis-information is spewed out each and every day. The health secretary Mat Hancock’s delivery is more akin to Hancock’s half hour, which for the younger among you was a television comedy series in the sixties featuring Tony Hancock. The difference between Tony and Mat is that Tony was a good comedian.

There have been various initiatives to help businesses through this emergency however this “aid” has been somewhat unevenly distributed as only £90 million has been set aside for small businesses whereas more than 1.9 billion is going to large corporate entities. You know, the kind of companies who donate to the Tory party. Same as the two companies who the Tory government have “engaged with” to produce ventilators, Dyson (vacuum cleaners) and JCB (construction equipment) This instead of accepting the offers from companies who presently make the bloody things. Something else to be investigated when the time is right.     

This brings me to Donald Trump, who is another comedian, again a very back comedian. I do not think I have ever seen such an incompetent leader and figure of derision since the days of Idi Amin. Both have been responsible for the deaths of many thousands of their own populations. I have just watched Trump advising the country that the up to date medical advice, is to wear a mask then in the same breath emphasizing that is voluntary, and stating quite vociferously that he won’t be wearing one. People of the US, this is your leader.

Two weeks ago, Alex Salmond was found not guilty on trumped up charges of sexual assault and attempted rape. Now Alex Salmond represents a threat to the present situation of Scotland being trapped into a union which has been found to be grossly against Scotland’s interests. He was found not guilty on the basis that the 9 Women who have filed charges against him were mainly lying  and were part of a conspiracy, set up by some of the group who have very strong links to the leadership of the SNP. Now if it were not for the fact that these women had been given a court order of anonymity, it would have been patently obvious just how far up the line to the SNP leadership this conspiracy went. These Women (who were supposed to be anonymous to every one including one another ) somehow managed to get together to put a story in the National newspaper, basically making it plain that they did not believe the court decision., This was eagerly embraced by the mainly unionist press who piled on with their agreement that the court decision had been wrong. So, all week there has been the most ridiculous debate regarding a man who was obviously the victim of a huge SNP leadership led conspiracy.

This of course all took place within the unionist and SNP leadership (one and the other) bubble and ordinary Scots were bemused at this attempt to set aside a decision of the highest court in the land. ( as an aside, I put up a tweet the other day bringing into question the fact that as this anonymity court order included everyone in the country including the 9 women, then how did they manage to get together for the article in the National. The tweet received almost 77,000 impressions with virtually no adverse comments and a huge amount of support from women)

Now, the true story of this will only come out when these awful women are exposed and unfortunately, they are inexplicably protected by the contempt of court restriction which is in place. In this respect and taking into consideration the present pandemic situation and the fact that I know the names and positions of the main women involved in this. If by chance I fall fowl of this virus and it looks like it is not going well for me, then I intend exposing these awful women and let the courts take out a contempt of court action against a corpse.

Ok so back to the lockdown. It is strange that here I am at home when normally on a Saturday at this time I would in all probability be sitting somewhere having a nice coffee and contemplating what I might write in my wee blog. I still get all the correspondence and messages from friends all over the world and I appreciate it, I am sure the same applies to everyone else. The difference is of course that if I was sitting in the coffee shop and thinking of these friends, I could if I wish, go visit them. At this present time, I cannot do that. When this is all over, I intend rectifying this and it would be nice to think that perhaps everyone will take this opportunity to look at the important things in life, like friendship.

So, drop a wee message to that friend you met all those years ago or the friend you made a few weeks ago. Ask how they are and ask if there is anything you can do for them. We will get through this, lets hope that everyone keeps safe, and remember self-isolation is, at the moment, the best way of keeping well.

Take care all, and stay lucky


Any destination starts with a dream, then begins the journey, it is how you conduct the journey that determines the reward at the final destination. Treasure every day of the journey because it will never come again but join us on the road to independence.

For this is our children and their children’s road.

This is our journey.

Bob Costello

17 August 2014 Dundee

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.


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


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


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


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


The World This Week From Mennies

Saturday 22 February 2020

The SNP and Nicola Sturgeon, Bernie Saunders, US foreign policy

Well, here I am with my musings of the world this week from Mennies, But this week it is somewhat different as it comes from Brussels, where I am spending the weekend, Brussels is a beautiful city a city with, it seems, a chocolate shop on every other corner and a Belgian beer hostelry on the other one.

Back in Dundee it has been another busy week in business, with another step in the progression of a MOT (Ministry of transport) station being completed.

In-between all this, trying to keep up with what is happening in Scotland and indeed the rest of the planet.

Here in Scotland we had one of our representatives at Westminster, and MP for Perth and Kinross, Pete Wishart making a fool of himself again by showing his unionist credentials in one of his blogs, calling England the “parent country of Scotland.”  This in relation to the debate on how we should progress to another referendum on independence, or what it should actually be and that is, an assertation of the will of the people, with a view to progressing to a fully independent country.

At present we are caught up in a massive road block brought about by the leader of the SNP and therefore the de-facto leader of the independence movement ,Nicola Sturgeon’s insistence that the only “legal” rout is to keep on asking Westminster to pass a section 30 derogation of schedule 5 of the Scotland act, thereby enabling a referendum to take place , the outcome of which would be pre-agreed.

This is of course in no way required and the present Westminster government are rubbing their hands with glee at the fact that Nicola Sturgeon and people like Pete Wishart are doing their job for them. It is quite clear in the UN charter of self-determination that all a country, or a people requires to do to gain its independence is simply ascertain that the people wish to be independent and then declare that they are independent. This would be followed by recognition of the fact by other countries and eventually the UN. This was exactly how Kosovo became independent and Britain was one of the first countries to recognize that fact. In this process we do not need foolish people like Pete Wishart and Nicola Sturgeon giving false credibility to the naturally oppressive state of England, A country who have raped and pillaged the resources of half the world during the history of the British Empire.

The trial of Alex Salmond is to begin next Month and I fully suspect that revelations which could be made concerning the involvement in, and closeness of, some of the witnesses to the first minister, could see her departure from the post. I sincerely hope that this will be the case and we can get back on the road to independence.

Only today it was announced that Joanna Cherry will be standing for the seat in Edinburgh that Angus Robertson intends standing  in, This is good news as a precursor to Joanna becoming leader of the party and Angus being consigned once more to the pages of history as he is too close to Nicola and he himself is likely not to come out too well either ,in the Alex Salmond case. By the way, if there are still a few misguided people out there who still think Nicola is going to lead them to a glorious referendum this year as she has promised, or indeed that she ever had a “cleaver plan” in the first place then be prepared for the shock if your life as she will be very lucky to still be in power by the end of March.

So now to Bernie Sanders who had been doing rather well on the primaries and looks good to successfully challenge Daft Donald in the forthcoming presidential election. Now there are several reason why I say this and not least among them is the fact that the Jewish lobby are throwing inordinate amounts of money into a campaign of disinformation against Bernie and guess what? The Russians are coming again, riding to the aid of Bernie, I ask you folks, honestly, just how stupid do you have to be to believe that crap being fed to you daily. Just look at where it is coming from, it is media and news papers with large Jewish controlling interests. The reason being if course is that if Bernie gets elected, he will reign in the mindless support for the worst terrorist state on the planet, Israel, In doing so he will stop the US from being a poodle of Israel and guess what? He will bring your young folk back from stupid wars in the Middle East. Hands up every Mother and Father who would like to see their Sons and Daughters in the armed forces being used to protect US shores instead of “US interests” which is another way of saying Israeli interests in the Middle East. Come on folks, wake up, you are being taken for a bunch of mugs and by the way  you might not have noticed but there is about to be a peace agreement with the Taliban and the only condition is that the Taliban have to cease hostile operations for a week. I will say that again “the Taliban have to Cease hostile operations for a bloody week.” So, in other words you have had your young people dying in Afghanistan for the last 17 years to give Afghanistan a week of peace, wow. Mission accomplished.  

So, sitting in the lounge at Brussels Airport finishing this week’s “The World This week From Mennies” and looking out on a dreich windy day. I am sure the Sun is splitting the pavements in Dundee awaiting my return.

So, to all my friends the World over I wish you a great (remainder of the) weekend. Take care all, be productive, be fair to others and gentle with animals. Life is too short for anything else. Slainte  

The World This Week From Mennies

Sat 15 February 2020

Russia, SNP, Trump and the UN

Well here we are again at the end if a busy week, I missed my view on the World from Mennies last week because of pressure, business wise, as we are in the process of setting up a new workshop facility within recently acquired buildings adjacent to our existing workshop and depot. Big project for us, and it will give us one of the largest and most diverse vehicle workshop and repair operations in Dundee, it will include at least one possibly two MOT test bays allowing testing up to the largest vehicle possible under MOT regulations.

So, to what is happening around the planet over the last couple of weeks and let’s start with Russia, Now you will probably have noticed that there has been a lot of talk about Scottish independence of late and this had been brought about by various announcements and promises by the leadership of the SNP. Now let me be clear, I have absolutely no confidence in the present leadership of the SNP doing anything remotely like advancing towards independence ( as they have promised) this year and will instead ,once again use independence to get them a comfortable majority at the Scottish parliamentary elections next year.
Ok, so what has this to do with Russia? you will be saying. Well I will tell you. Now although the SNP ( the party of independence) are doing absolutely nothing , by way of preparation for and other referendum ( or other means of ascertaining the will of the people) the British establishment certainly are doing something about any threat to the removal of the goose who has been laying the golden egg for the last 313 years. In fact, ever since the last referendum in 2014 they have never stopped trying to influence the people of Scotland against any thoughts of removing ourselves from the United Kingdom.
There is various way in which they do this and one if them is to try to negate the value of our assets and in particular our reserves of oil. You will notice that recently there have been various interviews from so called experts in the oil industry giving views on the sustainability of our oil reserves and therefore the potential value to an independent Scotland of a product that is in declining usage. These reports are mainly put out by the UK state propaganda broadcaster, the BBC.
So where does Russia come into this? Well Russia together with its oil related companies are about to embark on the largest oil related operation the World has ever known and are to develop large oil reserves on the wide-stretched tundra lands of northern Ural and export it through a projected seaport in the Taymyr Peninsula.

The project costing in the region of $155 billion will include 15 new towns, airports, sea ports and in the region of 100K jobs,
Now if anyone ( even the BBC) expects Russia to put that amount of investment into a product that will loose its value in the foreseeable future then they seriously need professional help.
Scotland’s oil will continue to be a huge factor in the economy of an independent Scotland for many years into the future no matter how many (Sir) Ian Woods’ the BBC drag into their studios to try to tell you any different.

So now to the SNP, who at one time were called the party of independence. That was of course until Nicola Sturgeon took over, and now are called the party of the Grand old Due of York as she has marched her troops up to the top of the hill and down again so many times that that it is not funny anymore.
Well a couple of weeks ago she did just that, for the umpteenth time.
Before the recent UK General Election she made great play with regard to a referendum being held this year, She even went to the lengths of arranging a rally in George square Glasgow to fire up the faithful into believing that there would be a referendum this year, The fact that she actually appeared at an independence related  rally in the first place was remarkable as it was the first one she had appeared at in the five years that she has been leader of the so called party of independence, Choosing instead to appear at rallies of her chosen sexual affinities held by the gay community and of course Brexit rallies on her crusade to save the UK union.

Now the SNP have been in power in Scotland for some considerable time and like all political parties they become jaded and corrupted by the power they hold. Now once upon a time it was the policy of the SNP to disband on achieving their primary goal but this is now not the case and my concern is that they will fall apart at the seams before they have achieved their primary roll and that is, facilitating a road to independence.
This process of falling apart , to my mind has already been put into operation. We now have a faction withing the SNP who are causing mayhem among the membership and the general independence supporting community, they are the WOKE brigade of gender neutralization. They are supported by the leadership of the SNP. Believe it or not they are pushing for a system of self ID which means that a physical male can have access to women’s private places by simply saying he feels like a woman, There are quite possibly very genuine people who struggle with their gender identity and should have provision made for them, but it is not in women’s toilets and shower rooms where women and children can be vulnerable and at risk from weirdos and sexual deviants. This gender recognition policy as laid out by the SNP leadership will cause huge losses in voting intentions and a subsequent loss to the independence movement. It must be stopped in its tracks.
Just over a week ago the finance minister of the Scottish Government, Dereck Mackay was discovered to have been texting messages to a 16 years old youth and is now under police investigation for grooming. Now anyone who conducts himself in this manner (and assuming he was indeed grooming) is disgusting. However, there is another aspect of this that is deeply worrying and that is his downright naivety and stupidity. This was a government minister openly texting without any thought as to where these texts were going, He would have been as well copying in GCHQ to the texts as every single one of them will have been sifted through their intelligence gathering software, stored safely away awaiting a prime opportunity for this to be used, Coincidently this came out days before he was to be laying out the budget for the Scottish government and more importantly he was to be producing an alternative version of the GERS figures, something the Scottish government should have been doing years ago as these flawed figures are used every year to falsely show Scotland in deficit.
So a couple of weeks in which the SNP Scottish government are starting to unravel at the seams and only a few weeks to the Alex Salmond trial in which I expect Nicola Sturgeon to come out in a very negative light. We badly need a new leadership in the SNP to carry forward the independence cause.

So to the middle east and Trump’s instructions from the Israeli government to produce a peace plan that will virtually destroy Palestine, Well understandably this has not gone down well at all in the world with many nations voicing their severe reservations Probably the only country where it did go down well was the country that it no doubt, was drafted in and that is Israel before being handed to Trump with instructions to sign it and get it out there.
United Nations, this week produced a list of companies in Israel who trade on land stolen from Palestinian people. The purpose being to put pressure in Israel to uphold the something like, 64 UN resolutions passed against them in relation to their treatment of the Palestinian people. Will it do much good? Probably not, as the tentacles of the Israeli government creep far and wide.

   Human Rights Watch said the list “should put all companies on notice: to do business with illegal settlements is to aid in the commission of war crimes.”

Hopefully the World will now sit up and see what is being done to a people in the Middle East, but I am not holding my breath waiting.

And so to the main event tonight and that is a couple of pints in Mennies and no doubt some lively conversation.

So to all my friends the World over I wish you a good and peaceful weekend and remember :-  
When in Dispute with someone, and before passing judgment, you should first, walk a mile in their shoes
Then if you still do not agree, you are at least a mile away from them
And you have their shoes


The World this week from Mennies

Saturday 1 February 2020.

Nicola Sturgeon’s speech of surrender. Trump’s awful peace settlement proposals. Leaving the EU.

Well, another week in and a busy one at that and time for a pint in my favorite hostelry, but first a wee look at the week past, and indeed let me start with a subject very dear to my heart and that is the state of the independence movement in Scotland today.

Yesterday Nicola Sturgeon made her much awaited statement on what she intends doing with regards to advancing our march towards independence. To cut a long story short the answer is nothing ,except for the usual marching of the troops up to the top of the hill and down again. There was absolutely nothing in her speech which differed from her approach till now, and that is absolutely nothing, except “wait a little longer” That is what she has been saying for the last 5 years.
Five years ago she said that the people of Scotland would tell her when they wanted another referendum, So they did. They marched in their tens of thousands, they engaged with no voters on social media they did everything they possibly could without an official campaign. They, the people, told her that they were ready.

What did she do? Nothing, except change the peramiters. The “people will let me know when they are ready” slogan was dropped as the people marched. Marches that she was never on, She did however march at the front of her chosen sexual preference groups in Gay rallies and also in anti Brexit rallies. In the elections in 2015, 2016 and 2017 she swept the cause of independence under the carpet, supposedly to set about governing Scotland well, in order to convince Scottish voters, that because it could be proven that Scotland could be governed well under the union it would be able to govern itself well without the Union. I ask you this, if a person voted no because they though that the country would be better off under the union ,then why on earth would they change their mind if it could be proven that the country could actually be governed better under the union.

No, just nonsense, and meanwhile whilst she was trying to convince no voters that they could actually be governed better under the union she was doing nothing to actually convince them that they could be governed better as an independent country. Yes believe it or not, in the 5 years since the last referendum the SNP under Nicola Sturgeon have not even tried to address the issues we lost that last referendum on quite possibly with the exception of the Growth Commission report that the SNP commissioned, which actually made the situation worse by suggesting that we do one of the very things we lost the last referendum on and that was a form of monetary union and worse still that we could be tied to England financially, for up to 10 years. Absolutely crazy.

Throughout this time since Nicola took over as leader of the SNP, she has constantly marched her troops up to he top of the hill and down again with a series of promises generally made in the lead up to an election which were then broken shortly after the election, The classic was the lead up to the General Election we just had. A few weeks before the election there was a surge of talk about another referendum from Nicola and a hastily arranged rally in George square where for the first time since she became leader of the SNP Nicola actually appeared and spoke at a rally, making a strong case for another referendum and indicating that there would be one in 2020. However when it actually came to the election campaign there was no sign of any election material campaigning on independence and instead the campaign was conducted on the basis of fighting against Brexit. So another wards she had done it again, she had sidestepped independence in favor of trying ( as she saw it) to save the Union.

Throughout her time in office, all of her actions could be construed as working to maintain the union, and in doing so she lost seats at every election after the 2015 GE landslide which was won on sentiment after the defeat at the 2014 referendum ., The 2015 landslide was won, not because of Nicola Sturgeon, but despite her. In the GE in December the SNP did manage to take back some of the seats lost in 2017 but that was specifically because she had made such a play on the independence case just before the election, although as I have just said the election was not actually fought on independence but on Brexit which was lost anyway.

We are now faced with the most right wing government in the history of the UK, one with a huge majority and there was actualy no need for it. Believe it or not, it was the SNP who actualy facilitated it by, together with the Lib Dems, agreeing to hold the GE in December , this in turn bounced Jeremy Corbyn into also agreeing and we are now faced with the disaster of a Boris Johnston government of fascists. Johnston was in a cage and Nicola let him out. Once again she saved the union.

So since the GE we have had a series of delays in getting the promised referendum under way, to the stage the other day when again Nicola had run out of delaying tactics and had to make a much needed speech to clarify the situation regarding what people saw as the promise to hold a referendum in 2020, Well the speech was a disaster and gave not a bit of clarification as regards another referendum. There was an avalanche of criticism on social media as people finely realized that they had been duped and this again was the march down the hill experienced so many times in the past. This time it must be clear that the Emperor has no clothes, even to the ardent “Nicola has a secret clever plan” acolytes. My advice to them is stop hitting your head off a brick wall, you will feel better for it.

My hope is that Alex Salmond will be cleared of all charges and the people who set him up will find themselves in court. I have a feeling that there are a number of people including Nicola Sturgeon who will be rather uncomfortable in the run up to the Salmond case and I would not be at all surprised if the case was dropped altogether.
We really need Salmond back in charge, that is our only hope for a proper route to independence but whether or not that happens Nicola Sturgeon and her husband, the chief executive of the SNP, Peter Murrel have to be replaced.

Ok so briefly , the US has made proposals for a peace plan in Palestine and Israel, and they are a disgrace. They basically entrap even further the Palestinian people . Donald Trump is now no more than a puppet of the Zionist Government of Israel. The plan and the drafting of it are a disgrace and is openly and simply a propaganda tool of the Israeli government for instance the word “violence” is used repeatedly but only in connection with the Palestinians, Absolutely no mention of the awful “violence” meted out to the Palestinian people by the Israeli forces. The document is a disgrace and I suggest you look at Craig Murry’s excellent piece on the report.
Yet again the conflicts in the middle east are leading back to the door of Israel.

Now the EU, and a very sad day it was on Friday as we officialy left the Union after 47 years, This is a disaster for Scotland and indeed the rest of the UK but England voted for it by a small margin and so the rest of us were dragged out against our will.
My hope is, that now there are no membership restraints on the remaining countries they will openly show their support for Scotland becoming a member should we become independent. When I cast my mind back to the independence campaign in 2014 the no side made great play of the fact that only remaining in the UK union would guarantee continuing membership of the EU. Well we can see just how hollow a promise that was now, can we?
To all my friends in the EU I am sorry to leave you, I campaigned to stay, please leave the door ajar and a light on, we will be back I promise you.

So to all my friends the world over I wish you a pleasent weekend and I raise my glass to you

Remember :- Every day is a new page in your life story
You have a choice
You can just read it
Or you can write it

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.