Comparable Countries

I am indebted to Jim McGugan of Letham, Angus for sending me cards of comparisons between Scotland and 5 different countries; Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Finland.

He compares Area, Population, Density, Country GDP, GDP per head, Currency, Borders with, In EU?, or with other arrangements, and finally Nuclear bombs:  this last has Scotland the sole “beneficiary”.

The cards are published by Bill Robertson, 1 Drimmie Place, Letham, Angus, DD8 2DW of the SNP in Letham, supporting Normal Nations everywhere, as a counter to the “Too wee, too poor and too stupid” and are being delivered by Letham Branch, one country at a time- wary of too much overload!

The email address for Jim is: to request copies and prices.  They are useful in showing normal nations; for instance comparing Scotland with Ireland – Size: Scotland 77933 sq kilometres, Ireland 70273 sq kilometres, Population: Scotland 5.3 million, Ireland 4,761,865.   Country GDP:- Scotland 145 Billion Euros, Ireland 357 Billion Euros.  Run that past me again!

I have known Jim McGugan since the late Sixties when we interviewed him as a candidate for East Aberdeenshire;  we erred in not taking him – see hindsight, great!

I learned things I never knew from these cards. I tried to scan one and attach it to this piece but failed – miserably;  any expertise I had I lost when I became ill – but I am happy to be still alive?

Letters to the Press

As some of you may know, after I handed over the Scots Independent to Grant Thoms, it was my intention to try and get at least one letter a week in the Glasgow Herald and The National;  this did not last long as in April 2016 I ended up in hospital for 6 weeks.  Anyway, a few months later I took up the pen again and have been reasonably successful.  Quite frankly I know my campaigning days are past, as I can no longer leaflet or canvas, so all I can do is write to the Press.  I know I should try the Scotsman, but I became scunnered with it after the Barclay Brothers took it over and appointed Andrew Neil as the Managing Editor, and it has gone downhill ever since.  I thought we might see a change when the Johnston Press took it over, but that did not happen.  Then a Scandinavian billionaire expressed an interest and thought he could get Alex Salmond to become Chairman but then that fell through.   They have now done some form of management buyout but fiddled about with the Pension Fund. (Alex is doing well with his Russia Today programme, but my problem is the lack of titles and I cannot follow the dialogue.) I know one colleague who stopped writing to The National because he was preaching to the converted; I do not take that view, we all have something to contribute and the Unionists avoid The National so we do not normally have to do rebuttal.

On that subject it is gratifying to see support for independence and activities of the Yes campaign being reported on a daily basis.  The mainstream media, (including the Herald sometimes) does not report the level of activity but their offshoot, the National certainly does.  The Sunday Herald morphed into The Herald on Sunday and has maintained its support for independence.   I remember some time back that the Sunday Herald stated that it was the only newspaper supporting Scottish Independence.

They published my response saying that The Scots Independent had been doing so since it was founded in November 1926, 8 years before the SNP. I also quoted a favourite line from the late Oliver Brown, who wrote “All a man needs in life is a good cause and the enmity of The Glasgow Herald, and he can be assured that if he has the first, the second will automatically follow”.  I qualified that by saying we should substitute that with the Scotsman!

I certainly find The Herald to be more fair minded;  I gave up on the Scotsman after I retired (22 years ago) – it became anti-independence, anti-SNP and anti-the Scottish Parliament, which it had originally supported;  they made hay of the mess choosing and building Holyrood; the site was chosen by the late Donald Dewar, the architect was chosen by Donald Dewar and the contractors were also chosen by Donald Dewar – all this at the time he was still Secretary of State for Scotland at Westminster and the Scottish Parliament did not exist.   The site had the soubriquet ABC – Anywhere but Calton!

Current political situation

At present this is anybody’s guess as the Westminster Government ducks and dives, we have three ferries on order to be run by a company who does not have them, no sailors and now we hear of a chosen port that cannot handle them so it looks as if we will have a virtual solution;  today I saw on TV a disused airfield where they are stacking up 150 lorries, real ones, not virtual ones, and we hear about 3500 troops  to help out with the problems, and we also hear about 1000 police from Police Scotland to be sent to Northern Ireland  to help with the border problem – I look forward to the Scottish Tories complaining about the misuse of Scottish assets and how much overtime will be required to fill in their loss. On the lorry episode, 89 turned up, and the Road Haulage Association Chairman said “Too little, too late”, so another stitch up bites the dust.

Every time you look at this bourach it gets worse.  It looks as if Mrs May will not get this through Parliament, but we hear rumours that Labour may abstain, which is an abdication of responsibility.  It also seems that Mr Corbyn is undecided as to whether he wants a General Election; he has the support of the Labour Party per se – or Momentum, as their grass roots are called but causes trepidation in the Labour members in Westminster by dilly dallying, and then shilly shallying if you get my meaning.

Nicola Sturgeon is also under pressure to call for an Independence Referendum but wants to wait until the fog of Brexit clears a bit, which is an eminently sensible way of looking at the situation.  There is no way of judging the best time because neither the Tories nor the Labour Party can make up their minds and call the situation fluid is an understatement.  At the end of the day Nicola is left to carry the can while the siren voices fade into the background.

Odd points

Just last week I was in my local Tesco and I noticed wee Saltires strung up everywhere; I thought to myself  “Hmm – Union Jacks on all  the produce but they are now showing our Flag!”

How dependable are the Tories?  Their attitudes to immigrants never change – we had the Windrush just after the Second World War, now turning into the Bums rush.

Note a bit in The National today: according to the press there was a demonstration at Glasgow Central Rail Station calling for the renationalisation of Scottish Rail.  It was claimed to be by the Rail Unions; in fact it was by the Transport & Salaried Staff Association (TSSA), with no attendance from other rail unions.  It was fronted by Richard Leonard, Leader of Scottish Labour and Labour leaflets were being doled out; it seems to have been a “fake” demonstration; members were unaware that Network Rail is a reserved power ie Westminster, and Labour voted against this being devolved.

So Alex Salmond won his case in the Court today and was awarded costs.  My view, readers may remember that I attempted to contribute to his Crowdfunding but got barred by an electronic wifie from the Bank of Scotland; I think the costs awarded were in the region of half a million.  I am not happy about the wedge being driven between Alex and the SNP.

All comments correct at the time of going to press – but will change as the day goes by!