The Empire Windrush

A bit of a mixture this time, as this week will be a busy one for me
Some two years ago, I think, I got a new computer and decided to use a “civilian” email address. In the last two weeks BT, my supplier for this email address, said I had to change my password, specifying I could not use my current one. Since then I have not been able to access my “civilian” email! I had my eldest son attempt to fix it after fruitless tries, even using their “Helpful chat” method. ( I had to cancel that try as my tea was ready). My son took over and discovered that BT was having this problem and it would be fixed in either 24 or 48 hours, even phoning from India.
That was on 19 April, and still no joy after 144 hours – it’s gross. (It is now more than double that).

Anyone attempting to use my civilian address will not get through! So, if you use – it will not arrive! Luckily I still have
I am depending on my eldest son to get me out of the mess – he does it all the time?

Well that’s my sad story.


The Empire Windrush

I had almost forgotten about the Windrush. In the early Fifties I did my National Service with the Black Watch and was sent to Kenya. We went by train from Perth to Southampton and then by troopship to Mombasa – 24 days. The ship we were on was the Charlton Star. Comment was passed about other troopships, barrack room gossip, as many of the soldiers had been in a few places – The Windrush, the Empire Fowey and the Empire Ken are the names I remember; when I think about it, as I did not then, there must have been a good few troopships to ferry battalions around. There were troops in Egypt, Cyprus, India, Malaya, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan, to name but a few, so a lot of ships were necessary. When we stopped at Port Said we took on the King’s African Rifles, so they used Commonwealth troops, no doubt they were cheaper. Certainly a lot of Commonwealth troops were needed in the First and Second World Wars and in the Boer War before that. During the American War of Independence there must have been fleets of sail driven ships needed, until the USA finally won – good on them.

We had no idea that the troopships were used to take children back to England; this was prior to my service, and I do not remember meeting anyone who had served in the Caribbean.
One sidelight on the transportation of troops; I was lying on my bed in the Battalion HQ in Gilgil, in Kenya the middle of Africa, when a wee Corporal came in and said “I’m looking for Jimmy Lynch?” I pleaded guilty and he said” Harry Hannan sends his regards – I’ve just left him in Japan!” Harry was one of my pals in Dundee; he was in the RAMC (the Medical Corps) and the last I heard he was in Cowglen Military Hospital in Glasgow. Most of the wounded in Korea were taken to Japan, Cure, I think. Hutchie, the Corporal, had been there but missed the boat.

Harry became the Best Man at my wedding, and then a Labour Councillor. He died some time ago.

At the end of a long story dredged up by the deportation of British citizens we should also remember that the UK provided assisted passages for anyone who was prepared to go to Australia, to boost their population. Strange are the ways of Empire.

To the barricades – for Devolution- not Revolution

How ironic that having resisted devolution seeing it as a plot to keep control of Scotland we are now having to defend it! That is not contradictory, as Scotland has gained a lot from devolution, but there is still a way to go. We did not win the Referendum in 2014, but no one could forecast the outcome. The first thing that the Tory Prime Minister did was to make every MP for a Scottish seat a second class one, not such a difficult job with most of them. In the election after that the SNP took 56 seats out of 59! This was astonishing and unprecedented; the Tory Government just ignored that fact as they had a majority in the Commons, and any amendments put forward by the SNP were voted down. Then David Cameron held a referendum on membership of the EU and England and Wales decided Leave, and Scotland and Northern Ireland Remain then David Cameron resigned! Stay with it, it only gets more complex; Theresa May, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, became the Prime Minister, after a backstabbing challenge among the Tory Old School ties. She smiled graciously, if chillingly, on the House of Commons, went for a walk in the Welsh hills, and then ignoring the recent rule passed by their Parliament that there should be 5 years between elections, she decided to have a General Election to boost her majority. Oh, woe is me – she lost her majority, and had to cobble up support from the DUP – the Ulster Unionists – always strikes me as strange when political parties use the word Democrat in their name; the Democratic Unionist Party, the Liberal Democrats and Democrat in just about every country in the world, many of whom are anything but!

In any event the SNP lost 25 seats (our previous high point was 11 seats in October 1974) in that Election as new MPs did not have time to bed themselves in, but we still had the largest number after the Tories and Labour. We still have the majority of seats in Scotland, although we are still ignored when it comes to a vote at Westminster.

Letters to the Editor

Some of you may know that as I am somewhat old and a bit limited, the only function I can do is write to the newspapers; in consequence I try The Herald, The Sunday Herald and The National. One of my acquaintances said he stopped writing to The National because it was preaching to the converted; I do not take that view because, as it was when I was editing the Scots Independent, my job was to provide information and ammunition; there are many different views and priorities. Once upon a time I would have stated The Scotsman, but I gave up on that when the Barclay Brothers bought it and installed Andrew Neil as Editor. I hoped it would change when it was purchased by the Johnston Press but it continued to denigrate the SNP and the Scottish Parliament; I stopped in about 20 years ago. There was a proposal that a Norwegian millionaire was going to buy the Scotsman and instal Alex Salmond as Chairman of the Board but I do not know where that went. I live in hope.

One thing that happens regularly is the speed of change, and sometimes the situation alters before the ink is dry; take the case of Home Secretary Amber Rudd, apologising to Parliament in the last few days and before there was time to react she resigned and was replaced by Sajid Javid, I hope he has checked his immigration status or he may have to deport himself.

General Points

I have just picked up the results of a study by the Hansard Society; those happy with the political system are as follows:

London 41%
Midlands 28%
N England 21%
Wales 21%
Scotland 14 %

The study also found that most Scots are knowledgeable about the system.

Last time I did the Flag the North Korean leader and Donald Trump were exchanging nuclear threats, this time the leaders of North and South Korea are doing the old pl ct


Both Labour and the Lib Dems in the Scottish Parliament oppose the power grab, according to Richard Leonard and Willie Rennie, we do not know if Willie asked Mike Rumbles who represents 20% of their MSPs.

The fact that the Welsh Government has capitulated on the Withdrawal Bill is not surprising; Wales was always wishy-washy when it came to independence, the days of Gwynfor Evans are long gone. Labour runs the Welsh Parliament, not Plaid Cymru.

I think that Westminster does not quite grasp the fact that there is Ireland, an EU member, and Northern Ireland a UK member who have had a fairly peaceful relationship since the Good Friday Agreement 20 years ago. They have not had any border for these years; Brexit has now exploded that situation. Where is that one going?


Somewhat bemused at a candidate for Depute Leader suggesting we hand over the Independence issue to Yes and concentrate on the day job, Chris McIlheny, whom I do not know seems to be unaware that he is suggesting a vote of No Confidence in Nicola Sturgeon!

Impatience will not get us to Independence any quicker. There is no doubt in my mind that we need to reactivate the Yes movement; if he reads The National he will see that there are Yes Groups all over the country, ticking over, and biding their time. As I am now an 83year old who joined the SNP 52 years ago, I should be more impatient than he is. When Nicola presses the button, which might be at the Conference in June, it ill be all systems Go.

I do not have the temerity to make any demands on our current leadership.

1 Comment

  1. I agree with Jim about the Scotsman situation, since I had been a contributor to its columns from mid-1973 to the present day. Its board is obviously dictating policy to the editor and his staff. When I returned to its online columns after almost a year in hospital, I discovered that my posts were disappearing regularly into limbo in the Disqus system, marked in red as “spam” and never restored to public view. (They are based on 50 years of top-level hands-on government experience of how an independent state of Scotland’s size is actually run.)

    I waited until the red-marked copies on the Disqus site had apparently reached a majority, and then posted a blistering accusation of editorial political bias. The next day my post was removed like all the others, but all the copies remain on the Disqus site as undeniable statistical evidence of anti-Scottish political manipulation. See:

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