An act of madness

It is difficult to put my feelings to words as I watch this incredible feat of stupidity unfold as America once more goes to war in the middle east. Well actually they have been at war there for some time but up till now they have been kidding everyone on that they have been bombing ISIS when in fact up until recently they have been bombing the legitimate forces of the Syrian Government.

It has been obvious for some time that Israel have been concerned that Assad was winning and the World community have been realising that the West have been supporting groups like ISIS, al Nustra and al Qaida. Opinion was turning towards the legitimate government of Syria. That was never going to fit into the Israeli agenda.

So, what happens? We are supposed to believe that the Syrian government decided to commit an act of stupidity which defies logic. They are winning against the terrorists; word opinion is with them and we are supposed to believe that they  decide to throw all of this away and attack non-combatant civilian’s with chemical weapons in an act that has no military advantage and is certain to elicit the kind of response we have seen from an unstable American president.

This stinks to the high heavens and the response from that fool Trump could lead us to conflict with Russia, a country I would remind you who have nuclear weapons targeted on Scotland, as we house (against our will) that useless monstrosity trident.

I hope that Nicola Sturgeon will roundly distance Scotland from this act of folly and if there is any prospect of the UK becoming any more involved in the morass that is the middle East then a referendum on Scotland’s independence will be called without delay.

Poor old Gordon

Well another momentous week in Scottish politics, with the first minister confirming that “there will be a referendum” to let Scotland choose its future in the light of changing circumstances.

We also had Gordon Brown in vow mark 2 mode, telling us that we would get a raft of new powers if we were good boys and girls and voted no again.


This time he went a bit further by inventing a British single market and trying to make us believe that the Scottish government had decided to leave this fictitious single market. Two points here, one, there is no “British singe market ” because we are at present in the EU single market. What is it about the word “single ” that Brown does not understand?


Now if by chance he was meaning there would be a single market when the UK leaves the EU then we couldn’t leave it unless we first join it and it wouldn’t, in any case be much of a single market with only England, Wales and Northern Ireland in it. Compared to the EU single market.


Now what he was probably eluding to in his befuddled thinking was that he thinks that businesses in England would go in the huff with us for having the audacity to actually prefer to be in charge of our own destiny and would instead of dealing with us direct would prefer to buy Scotch whisky from say the US and pay twice as much for it .


Well Gordon let me enlighten you. Now I realise that you have never been in business in your life and the only time any one actualy let you deal with other peoples money you bankrupt a country , so I will give you the benefit of my half century in business.


There are generally three main reasons that businesses will decide to deal with a supplier/manufacturer, there is price, there is quality and there is availability. The one reason I have never come across is the fact that a country just became independent, in fact it will be the case that because of independence there will be numerous new markets opening op in Scotland , especialy if we are still in the EU.


This coming from a failed Chancellor of the exchequer and Prim-minister. A member of a party who(as Angus Robertson succinctly put it) could not deliver a Pisa let alone a policy.

So gordon, I do think I hear your carer calling, it is time to go back to the nice retirement home you escaped from yesterday.


No doubt this is just the start of another round of project fear and we will be getting a regurgitation of all the attempts to once again fool the people of Scotland.


I wonder how long it will be before they resurrect people like Sir Ian Wood, a so called oil expert who got it so wrong with his predictions the last time to tell us that we have only 15 ,or 20 or 30 years of oil left in Scottish waters.


Well here is one prediction, sir Ian that I am pretty sure will come to pass.

Regardless of how long Scotland’s oil will last.




Thoughts on Independence


Bob at Sea


Well, an eventful day, by all accounts with Nicola Sturgeon announcing “the possibility” of another referendum. I say “the possibility “because that is what the announcement amounted to.


I sincerely hope that it will lead to a second referendum but I have my reservations, the main one being that Nicola stated quite clearly that she was still open to compromise, and compromise within the offer made to the British government could simply be the UK joining the single Market, which would, for the UK make very good sense.


Sense of course is not necessarily something you would associate with the present Tory Government , but it is dangerous to assume the level of strategic stupidity required to form a policy which a country like Britain would leave a trading block like the EU without at least retaining the trading advantages of the single market.


Now it looks very much like the UK government were set to trigger article 50 tomorrow and although they managed to get the necessary Lords amendments defeated in the commons today (with reduced majorities) they have postponed the announcement of the triggering of article 50 which would see the UK set on the exit path from the EU. In other words they have taken time to think about the possible future independence referendum as outlined by Nicola Sturgeon. So, they are perhaps not as daft as they seem.


Meanwhile Nicola is to take the matter to the Scottish parliament to pass legislation allowing it to apply to the UK for temporary permission to suspend article 30 of the devolution settlement. Now correct me if I am wrong but there was already a draft bill implemented with a consultation document for that very purpose and that was on October 20 last year.


So all that was new today was the announcement that a second referendum “could be held” in the Autumn or Spring 2018-2019, with the implied proviso that if the UK joins the single market ( which no one in Scotland voted for ) then there will be no need for a referendum on independence.


Now I apologise if this sounds like all doom and gloom but having been in business for over half a century I have learned that one is well advised to look at situations, as they are in real life and not as you would “like” them to be, because only then can you make proper provision to turn an outcome to your advantage.


Now before I get off the subject of article 30 of the devolution settlement, as this is the main hurdle in getting to the point where we can actually have a referendum. We need the permission of the UK government to temporarily suspend this clause which states that as this is a retained power we cannot hold a referendum without the permission of the Westminster parliament. Now I have written so many words about this situation that it must have given me writer’s cramp multiple times because the fact is that if the SNP had made this an item in either the Westminster elections or the more recent Scottish election manifestoes, to wrest control of the power to hold and organise referendums from Westminster, then with the majorities of pro-independence parties returned in these elections we would have had that power now. Instead we are about to go yet again ,cap in hand to Westminster to ask for this “concession” and they are going to tell us that we cannot have a referendum at least until after the Brexit negotiations , by which time we will have lost any strategic advantage that the Brexit negotiations and confusion will afford us.


If anyone is still awake after reading this you might like to read some of my blogs warning of exactly this case. One in particular is “A Letter to Nicola”   on,


OK so apart from all of that, what happens now? Well because of the euphoria generated today by the general feeling conveyed by Nicolas announcement, we have impetuous and we should capitalise on it, and when I say “we,” I mean the grass roots together with the SNP . As if the SNP are serious then there will be a move firstly to address the outstanding issues we had problems with during the last referendum, such as the monetary situation and pensions, together with a program of a campaign strategy with posters leaflets etc.


One thing is certain and that is that the grass roots groups cannot simply hang on to the shirt tails of the SNP,this time and they must be pro-active. No one should be afraid of the press especially the SNP and to be honest I have seen signs of this in the SNP already.  We need to take the fight to the opposition on every level, but remain above the awful name calling and threatening behaviour prevalent this past two and a half years from both sides. We must be respectful to all sides of the argument.


It is probably too early for a full blown campaign but I am calling a meeting of the Yes bus team for Thursday 23 March at the Graham Brown studio in South Road ,Lochee Dundee. Simply a discussion and suggestions for a possible forthcoming campaign. All are welcome, from any and every grass roots group, SNP members and politicians from all parties.


Whatever the future might hold, let’s hit the ground running?    




Time to make up your mind

Please read this article by Ian Mc Whirter . Now is the time for clear thinking by the people of Scotland because if we remain in this unequal union, the UK , we will lose forever the chance to achieve our independence under the thumb of a right wing Tory government who consistently ignores the needs and wishes of the people of Scotland.
Now is not the time for the well trotted out nonsensical statement of ” I am not coming out of one Union just to be trapped in another one” mainly from left leaning people. The same people who (many of them) voted yes during the last referendum on the basis of Scotland remaining part of the EU.
It is your responsibility to research the benefits of the EU and realise just what you will be getting in to, with Brexit and having to form trading deals with countries like America. It is strange that many of the people who are against remaining in the EU are the very people who were against the introduction of TTIP. Well I have got news for you. If we form a trading agreement with America to replace some of the shortfall from the EU, then you will be getting shackled to TTIP and you will have to lump it.
This is not the time to indulge in fantasy’s you really need to seriously look at the EU benefits and stop talking nonsense about straight bananas, because if you don’t, you are in for a very severe shock .
Regardless of my reservations on how the SNP have failed to provide a road map to independence, and their single issue stance( the single market) I can foresee that they are going to realise that a referendum has to happen during 2018 regardless of whether the UK government make partial provision for access to the single market or not, so be prepaired to get back on the streets in campaign mode very shortly.
The yes Bus team is ready, and waiting to continue our journey.

Independence, the illusive Butterfly

Read this attachment by Craig Murray , it mirrors my own fears and I have been trying to get this over for a long time .
There had been no preparation for another referendum , there was nothing in the manifestoes of either the Westminster election or the Scottish parliamentary elections last May to attempt to wrest control of the setting or operation of future referendums and this is coming home now to roost with the announcement by ,of all people Fallon, the minister of defence, Hmm.
Every crest of a wave that the SNP have achieved since the referendum has been facilitated  by others like the Tories and Scottish Labour.
We have had so many false starts ( usually right before elections) from the SNP that there is actually a malaise setting in to the independence following.
Yes there is a lot of talk at the moment of another  referendum but that is because the SNP have been in the process of backing themselves into a corner. This started with the EU referendum which showed exactly the scenario that the SNP indicated would lead to another independence referendum. That was the people of Scotland voting to stay in the EU but being dragged out against our will by voting elsewhere in the UK.
The day after the EU referendum will go down in history as the worst political decision ever when Nicola Sturgeon , instead of announcing an independence referendum was persuaded By Theresa may that she would have a virtual veto over negotiations before the UK would move to the exit door. Well we now know what happened to that promise, do we? 
Instead , what did we get ? well we had an about turn by the SNP from full membership to an association with the single market as a line in the sand . Something not a single Scot voted for.
We had the Scottish government ‘s attempt at a compromise (under whose instruction or permission I do not know) contained in the 64 pages of the “brexit offer” which was basically a road map to unionism and absolutely nothing to do with Scotland being dragged out of the EU, and more to do with finding ways to keep Scotland in the UK ( which was not what Scotland voted for )and at the same time being part of the single market. ( which was also not what Scotland voted for )
Yesterday we had the farce of the Westminster debate on whether the government should be allowed to continue with Brexit .
Tomorrow we will be treated to the white paper on Brexit. A paper that should have been produced before the debate.
Well I will make a prediction . I bet there is a little further hint that the UK government will seek to  actually be a part of the single market, and on this point I would like to say that this so called “hard Brexit ” was nothing of the sort because Theresa May indicated that the single market would indeed be in their sights during negotiations.
Now let me be plain, I hope the SNP do eventually get round to announcing a new referendum and I think we will win it. Just as I think we would have won it at almost any time since the last one , with proper consideration given to the reasons we ;lost the last one.
I feel the SNP have painted themselves into a corner with making this a one issue affair . There should have been a rolling program leading to the ultimate goal , a proper road map to independence, with the EU situation just one of many reasons why we should not be part of the UK. 
Independence seems to be, unnecessarily , the illusive Butterfly 


Three Score Years and Ten

Well another milestone in what can only be called an interesting life as yesterday I arrived at my three score years and ten and before I go any further, I would like to thank all the people who sent their good wishes. I tried to answer every one of them individually but I probably missed some. For that, I apologise.

I am sitting her at the Crieff Hydro where the family have gathered for the weekend looking out on a snowy landscape and thinking on the last 70 years, or at least the years I can remember, which go back to the early years in Dudhope street at the foot of the Hiltown. I lived there until I was four.

We lived in a tenement, many of which were built to house the influx of workers from the countryside and places like Ireland, to man the new industry of Dundee , which was the manufacture of Jute yarn for use in the making of hessian and rope.

The house I started my life in was a two-bedroomed flat with an outside toilet, situated on the mutual stairway. There was also a mutual sink, placed on the communal landing. Each toilet and sink would be shared by four houses.

To the rear of the tenement was a row of washhouses which again were shared by all the houses in the tenement. The washing facilities consisted of a cast iron boiler set into a stone base with an open fire beneath which could be fired using wood or coal.

As kids, we made our own entertainment, which generally consisted of ranging through the back lands between the tenements, the air raid shelters and closes of the area between Dudhope street and Dalfeield walk and there were indeed adventures aplenty to be had.

Little did I realise in those days that I would be returning to the Hiltown in later life in another adventure which was to be the Windmill Bar , but that is a story for another time and an interesting story it is.

So, leaving Dudhope street at the age of four we moved to Kirkton , one of the new housing schemes being built during the brave new World after the second World war. To house the families living in overcrowded conditions in the tenements surrounding the Jute mills of Dundee and the men having returned from the war. The war to end all wars, how hollow that sounds today.

Kirkton was quite different from the tenements of Dundee, with well-built semi-detached villas with gardens. A Paradise, in comparison to where we had come from but perhaps not the character and community spirit where everyone helped their neighbour.

I still remember my first day at school, soon after we arrived in our new home. Being used to the freedom of Dudhope street, it was somewhat of a shock to the system to be confined within a building and expected to sit and listen to someone talk about things which did not involve digging holes in the ground or climbing on and jumping from air raid shelters or choosing as a dare the last possible second before running across a road in front of a lorry or more likely a horse and cart. So, having weighed up the situation I decide that this schooling was not for me, so I walked out of class and up the road to my home telling my Mother that I had decided to give schooling a miss, whereupon my Mum gave me a thick ear, grabbed me by the collar and marched me back down Haldane Terrace, to school.

I think that was the day when I realised that if I was to buck the system in the future, it would have to be done in a subtler manner.

So the years rolled on and we moved from Kirkton to Downfield , converting a house next to my Fathers Slating business in Strathmartine Road , that was at the age of seventeen whilst I was serving my apprenticeship as a Slater with my Father. This was where I lived for the next three years during which, and at the age of nineteen I built a house in Auchrerhouse , a village set in the Sidlaw hills to the North of Dundee.

Now when I say I built a house, I mean just that, because when I started building it I had the princely sum of £10 in the bank, so I had to build every single brick myself with the assistance of family members and the odd person due me a favour.

Living at Kirkton Bank for many years and going through one marriage and on to the second I eventually moved half a mile up the hill to where I am now, at Lisheen. A beautifully situated house with an acre of garden and fantastic views over the countryside and, looking back to the City of Dundee where it all started.

During the last seventy years, I have seen many changes both to what is going on around the World and in deed to my own world. I have had successes and I have had failures. Somehow, I have always managed to get up again, when things have not gone exactly to plan. When it became clear that the plan was not working, then I changed the plan and was never afraid to realise that I was wrong.

Through all the businesses I have had, I have employed thousands of people. I have employed some very bright people and unfortunately some not so bright ones, but I have learned something from every single one of them and I hope that most of them have in some way learned something from me. I am sure every employee I have had could think of at least one thing they could do better than me in my business but not all the many hundreds of things that go on day in and day out in running a business, because if they could, then they would be running a business themselves.

I have always had an interest in politics, but never active, until the day in 2012 when Alex Salmond declared that there would be an independence referendum in 2014. Over the next two years, I put my whole being, my heart and soul, into the campaign and a lot of money too.

I donated a coach to Business for Scotland to campaign all over Scotland and one of my Sons, Jeff drove it. We took Chris Law’s old fire engine into our workshops and renovated it , turning it into  The Spirit Of Independence under the watchful eye of my Son Jamie. I had the idea of using the twenty-year-old Dennis Dragon to campaign throughout Dundee and district and made it available to any independence grass roots organisation to do the same. We naturally formed “ The Yes Bus Team” of wonderful and able people, like John Gibson ,Tony Banks, Billy Kay , Sheena Wellington, Deb Brown ,Harry Marshal, Ian the piper, and many ,many more and we made Dundee the Yes City ,turning in the highest percentage of yes votes in the country.

On the 18 September 2014, we had the referendum and we lost, it broke my heart. We will come again, there is no doubt of that and the Dragon for independence will be once more on the streets of Dundee and we will continue, on the road to independence.

So, sitting here watching the Snow fall and reminiscing back over my three score years and ten , I felt that I had to get just a very brief record down here. There is more, much more , some of it funny , a lot not so funny, and some which will never go to print, but all part of an interesting life.

Last night at dinner, the family gave me some birthday presents although I had told them not to. One of the gifts prompted me to write this piece. It is a framed print of the song “Caledonia” by Dougie McLean. There is something of the words in all of us I suspect.

Some more than others.

Our Journey.

A new Dawn required

Well quite a weekend and an eventful Monday.

First we had Nicola admitting that with only entry to the single market then an independence referendum would be off the Table.( not what the Scottish people voted for in the EU referendum) Then we had a press in a fit of apoplexy attempting to sway the meaning of  exactly what Theresa May said in the context of a “hard Brexit”. If you look at the interview you will see that she did not say that., In fact she left the door open but she had to say something after Nicola put a brave front on to a dogs breakfast on the Andrew Mar show in a spectacular breast beating display in order to try to gain some of the ground lost a day earlier by admitting that entry to the single market would mean no referendum.

So at that point we had Nicola threatening  another referendum if the Uk government chose to commit suicide by not joining the single market and we had Nicola stating quite clearly that the general direction Scotland was moving in, was independence. Well Nicola can I just say that if my  intention was to drive from Dundee to Perth, then I would drive ” in the general direction of Inverness “but that does not mean that I have any intention of going there.

We had the press putting a completely false interpretation on what Theresa said in the context of Brexit and causing quite a stir.

Now this might be becoming a wee bit complicated but if you look at the blog I did at the weekend and the two previous blogs I attached you will see that I  predicted exactly this mess that was unfolding  and you will notice that the two previous blogs were posted the day before the Scottish governments  paper on Brexit ,and the day after.

So now to this Morning , first thing that happened was that I was woken from by much needed beauty sleep by Theresa, who was not in the least amused as she had been up all night reading my blogs ( with the assistance of her gormless husband who was helping her with the big words). ” Bob , you are an Ass hole , do you realise that the value of the already very low pound has dropped another 1% because you just told everybody that the UK government  were about to commit the worst act of suicide in history by failing to remain in the single Market and we haven’t even had time to write the suicide note yet”. “OH, I said , I hadn’t realised that but that was not exactly what I said , no what I said was that the SNP were basing their strategy, on the UK committing suicide, but I do  not think that will happen, because although I do actually think you are stupid ,I do not think you are quite as stupid as that, and you will keep the single market and by doing so and by the good grace of Nicola you will get a bonus of keeping Scotland in your grubby little hands”

The result was that good old Theresa then called a press conference where she made this statement and I will put it in bold writing so that all the myopic Sheeple who keep calling me unpleasant names will be able to see it.

“I’m tempted to say that the people who are getting it wrong are those who print things saying ‘I’m talking about a hard Brexit, (that) it is absolutely inevitable there’s a hard Brexit’,” she said.

“I don’t accept the terms hard and soft Brexit. What we’re doing is going to get an ambitious, good and best possible deal for the United Kingdom in terms of… trading with and operating within the single European market.”

So there you are, as I said the SNP have been painting themselves into a corner.

To make matters worse Nicola made a statement saying that there is no chance of a referendum this year., I shake my head in wonder at the naivety of this . It is like the commander of an army telling his opponent that he has no plans to attack him for a year.

Yes indeed , we have been given a road map to unionism , independence is disappearing over the horizon and we will await the new dawn.