Well, as the constitutional debate goes on, I allowed my curiosity to get the better of me. We know, or have continually been told , that “Jerusalem” has been England’s sporting anthem – this has always struck me as bizarre, as I could not imagine gangs of shaven headed tattooists warbling away about “And was the holy lamb of God in England’s pleasant pasture seen”, so I checked the web. According to reports it is only the anthem for rugby and cricket not for the football oafs.
However surely this is a part of England’s place in the World, and a mythical visit by Jesus has to be part of their imperial justification? We know that the author of the poem, William Blake, was mad, or as we would say in Scotland “No’ very pleased”, but to my knowledge there have never been any reports of Jesus travelling to the British Isles. In his time there was no Ryanair!
Anyway, I just see it as part of their inflated opinion of themselves. From a Scottish aspect it was rumoured that Pontius Pilate was born in Scotland, in Fortingall in Perthshire where the oldest yew tree in the World still exists. It was said that his father was a Roman Officer and his mother a local girl, and they went back to Rome – as did all the Romans. Outside the Coliseum in Rome the display showing the bounds of the Roman Empire is a marble map of Europe at that time; the Roman Empire is shown in black. The map shows England and Wales, and stops abruptly at Hadrian’s Wall; Ireland was never conquered by Rome at all. The white map showed Scotland and Ireland.
When we visited the Coliseum there was a notice showing that European travellers could get in free if they produced their passports. None of us had our passports with us, but I had my SNP Membership Card; this was accepted and all 6 of us got in free – 3 of the Group were in the Co-op Party!
I tried the same action at the Tivoli Gardens, but I was the only one allowed in free.
The Chaplain to the Tour said I should report the incident to Alex Salmond, which I duly did when we returned home.
Well away with badinage and on to today’s state of affairs. It appears that Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party is shilly shallying a bit; he agreed that he would support a Referendum on Scottish Independence, but I think that he has changed his mind again. I am sure we all remember that before we got a Scottish Parliament, Labour was the dominant force for Scotland in Westminster. At that time we referred to them as the Feeble Fifty and they persisted being Feeble. The whole Brexit business has caused them infinite problems as we say “Hell mend them!” They now only have 1 MP at Westminster.
I have a quick look at Wings over Scotland each day, but it has gone down in my estimation since the days of the Yes Campaign. At that time they produced a Wee Blue Book, a mine of facts and figures that we distributed; it was very effective in Edinburgh West, where I live.
Now Wings seems to be against the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon in particular, and comments on each article are generally too long and numerous; I only look at one or two. It seems that Wings wants an immediate Referendum and detailed plans and strategies.
Peter Murrell gets it in the neck from Wings, and somehow has been drawn into an anti-Salmond Campaign; I cannot envisage Peter being involved in this campaign. When Alex was the MP for East Aberdeenshire, Peter was his PA, or whatever the title is now. He ran Alex’s office in Peterhead. When Allison Hunter retired, Peter became the Manager of SNP HQ.
Interesting note here – Allison was the Election Agent for John Mason in the Glasgow East by election; at Allison’s funeral we all heard the story about how Labour activists superglued the door of the Election offices. While Allison was puzzling how to get in, a passerby stopped to help and produced a jemmy. This was 6 or 7 in the morning; Allison thanked the man profusely, but forgot to ask why he was carrying a jemmy in the early hours of the morning.
Holyrood Candidate Selection Process
I see that both James Dornan and Kenneth Gibson will face competition to be candidates, so if the challenge goes ahead one might hope they will learn the hard lesson from Edinburgh West in 2016. There was a cabal wanting rid of Colin Keir, who won Edinburgh West in 2011 with the largest SNP margin in Edinburgh. At a meeting to decide whether we should open the Selection process, the decision was taken by ballot. When I asked why we were using this method I was told that someone had asked for it; subsequently I realised that the Chairman had come along with the ballot papers, so that decision was illegal, the meeting was not asked. I have never known a ballot system in many years of Chairmanship, actually I believe it was against the SNP Constitution. However I did tell them that they were rolling out the Welcome Mat for the Liberals.
During the Selection process, “an unnamed SNP activist” made a series of announcements against the sitting candidate which were published in the Edinburgh Evening News. They deselected Colin Keir, and from that point on the Liberals kept publishing these remarks in all their leaflets, right through the Election Campaign – the poisoned boomerang came back and we lost the seat, and our Parliamentary majority at the same time.
So that’s how I see things developing as sitting MSPs get challenged.
Backstabbing will be the order of the day – I would hope that the SNP hierarchy would be able to prevent this arising as in 2016 the massive increase in membership caught us unaware.
I know SNP members left the Party after that episode; I left the Branch I had been in for more than 40 years and became a Headquarters Member.
There will be at least 14 seats up for grabs, as sitting MSPs are retiring, so HQ must be rigorous. Being an MSP is a privilege; a well paid one and we need to get the right ones in. To my knowledge nobody is there for the money, but there will be a few using that road.
In these last few days one of my comments has been proved wrong; I had always claimed that Tory Principle was an oxymoron, then Lord Keen’s resignation from Johnston’s Cabinet proved a partial rebuttal. He resigned, as Johnston has stated he would ignore international laws as regards Brexit.
Lord Keen has shown the way, Mr Johnston wants to ignore international law as regards the Irish Border, and this affects the Good Friday agreement. There has been a real rumpus about this, and it will be interesting to see how the EU (Republic of Ireland is still a member) and the UN react- I just wonder if they might cancel Britain’s place on the Security Council?
The UK is a member of that Council as they have Trident, another reason Mr Johnston tries to stop another Referendum?
My thoughts on that? David Cameron sanctioned a Referendum because he assumed he would win. As the situation developed and support for Yes rose, he panicked. We then had the Vow, which has not been fulfilled, and stern warnings that Scotland would be expelled from the EU. The people of Scotland listened to that, and voted No – then along came Mr Johnston, and Scotland is being dragged out of the EU, although we voted 62% Remain and 38% Leave.
So – David Cameron permitted a Referendum because he was convinced we would lose, Mr Johnston forbids one because he is convinced we will win.
The spread of Corona Virus is growing, and many people are growing tired of the restrictions; I myself have been in virtual lockdown since falling outside in late January so the only others we have been in touch with have been our immediate family. I am aghast at Bollocks (?) stating he will use the military forces to help the police; I don’t think we will have enough soldiers to go round, and we should remember just after the First World War tanks in the street in Glasgow as John McLean stirred up the populace -we probably do not have many tanks to spare. (On the military scene, I wonder if we now have aircraft for our 2 Superduper Aircraft Carriers?)
In referring to our Prime Minister most people, including myself , just refer to him as Boris. This infers a degree of familiarity and amicability, which is false. I have decided to use the name “Bollocks” instead. Pithy and accurate.