The swifts have returned to my bit of West Lothian. They turn up round about the same time every year. Not on an exact date but in this first couple of weeks in May. They arrive on a south or south-west wind and bring cheer to the heart and confirmation that the long gloomy Scottish winter is finally past.  My spirits were lifted this weekend not only by the arrival of these aerial visitors from the south but by the news that the so called ‘national anthem’ had been booed by Liverpool football fans at the English FA Cup Final.  Fans didn’t just restrict themselves toRead More →

Well that’s the elections over and I managed to get myself elected and oust a Tory.  It was a strange campaign because there was no door knocking with us as Covid is still rife here in the Borders.  But a lot of online discussions with voters.  The main thoughts were the Boris effect had angered a lot of people but the rising cost of food and energy was really the critical worry.   As so many said, why are we in Scotland suffering fuel poverty when we are rich in wind, hydro, oil and gas?  Why has steel jumped from £600 to £2k when we have closed steel works inRead More →

Thank goodness we have finally reached election day. Both Tory and Labour constantly getting air time for repetative anti SNP messaging. No idea what they intend to do for their local councils as what little policy they have spouted is not attainable by councils. Indeed some of what the Tories are spouting are only do-able by the Tory Westminster government. Talking of which, Boris Johnstone has been unable to crow over his own war, so he seems to have hijacked the war in Ukraine and used language of the past which I am sure the Ukranian parlimentarians didn’t understand. I certainly hadn’t a clue! AsRead More →

This past weekend commentators, journalists, politicians and many others were left gobsmacked and scratching their heads. We had really hoped we had moved on from the sort of comments in the Sunday Mail. Of course, it could all have been made up by a misogynistic journalist in an attempt at humour. In truth though, we all know someone who could have made those comments. When I first started working, young women were often seen as fair game for comments and even unwanted physical contact. Over the years the unions, the politicians and employment bosses have all made pretty speeches about equality. In workplace treatment, pay,Read More →

One of my favourite cliches is “be careful what you wish for”. Recently I’ve been contemplating just how much this applies to the poor misguided souls who keep parroting the mince about Scotland being unable to afford to be independent. The essence of this argument is that Scotland is subsidised by the poor people of England. Now, I grant you that many of them are good, decent, kind-hearted folk who would help anyone in need. There is, however, also a large group who have a wide streak of selfishness and lack of human kindness. You might characterise it as the Archbishop or the Home SecretaryRead More →

I find myself in a very uncomfortable place. While I am prepared to believe that the people of Russia are being fed Mr Putin’s version of what is happening, I am concerned that we may not be getting the full facts either. Our mainstream media has a track record of feeding us what our government want us to know. Not being a linguist I have to rely on the reporters wording of the translation. It has been known in the past for only partial translation to be reported, which can alter the impression of what is going on.I feel heart sorry for the ordinary peopleRead More →

‘Just had a fabulous stay in a completely off the tourist guide town. A great place to explore local attractions. The apartment is spotlessly clean with all the home comforts. Highly recommend’ Or how about this? ‘We had a wonderful time. The place is spacious, comfortable and equipped with everything you need. It’s in a great location with many shops and eateries close by.’ Paris, Prague, the Algarve? No, these are just two of the scores of heart warming reviews I’ve received for my Airbnb property in Bo’ness, a former mining town in West Lothian. These kinds of comments are what inspires me and holidayRead More →

There is a legend that the great Mongol warrior Genghis Khan used a very brutal form of psychological warfare on every city which he attacked. On the original approach his army would, if possible, surround the city and his own tent would be covered by a white cloth. This signified that if the city surrendered immediately only the ruling family would be killed. This would stay in place for 2 days. If the city had not surrendered in that time, the covering cloth on his tent was changed to red. This indicated that if surrendered, only the ruling families and the officials would be killed,Read More →

This week we had International Women’s Day. It was therefore very saddening to see not one, but two articles in the National about how increasingly difficult it is to encourage women to put themselves forward for election to public life. We have so many minorities lobbying for equal rights, yet women still have boundaries they can’t get past. It must be, that in a family unit, someone takes the responsibility for the home and the children. It is after all, a job in its own right. Many men do take on much (or all) of this role but in the majority, it falls to theRead More →

With less than a fortnight to go before the local council elections are officially called, candidates for the different parties are beginning to make themselves known over social media and the local rumour mill is in full force filling in any gaps. There has been an interesting development up here; a Tory Councillor from Inverness has announced that he will stand in our constituency as he feels not enough is done for rural communities.  He has been getting himself involved in local issues for a few months now which seemed strange but now makes sense and in the press release he states that he isRead More →