Normal Service Will Be Resumed

Maybe now the pageantry of the Royal Tour, Wimbledon, the Olympics and the Edinburgh Festival is over and done with we can perhaps get back to normal on radio and t.v. Might there be a chance we might just find out what is actually going on in the world? I know we have the internet but I like my routines, like news at 1pm and 6 p.m. It’s an age thing. I think I am going to ask to get into the grumpy old gits groups on fb for nationalists of a certain age!

Remember the furore over the cost of the Scottish Parliament building? In a small article in the Herald newspaper by Michael Settle on Monday 29.08.12 the costs to refurbish the Palace of Westminster (house of commons) is to be over £3 billion. This is apparently the best case scenario of closing the building and re-housing the Westminster parliament for the (Unkown?) period of repair. The alternative, apparently, is to do the repairs over 20 – 30 years during the summer recesses at an estimated cost of£10 billion (which naturally with increase with inflation etc…..).

My facebook has been full each weekend this summer of the YES campaign photos from the length and breadth of the country (well it would be wouldn’t it? given my fb friends!). I was intrigued to hear that the NO campaign teams were going to be in every town in Scotland last Saturday. Alas, our commitments were such that I couldn’t check our local town, indeed any town. I would be obliged if readers would pop over to

And let us know where you saw them, how many there were and were they interacting with their public. I have already heard from a source that in Elgin there were 6, 2 interacted while 4 hid behind their stall whenever they could!

Well, sinuses have left me little energy to be enraged this week. This is about my capacity. I will try my best to be at full rant next time.



An excellent article on just what happens with our money regarding PFI written by Margaret and Jim Cuthbert was published in the current issue of Scots Independent newspaper. For those who don’t purchase the hard copy I have reproduced the article on our facebook page. Here is the link.


Why Scotland’s approach to
publicly funded education works

(Extracted from article by Melissa Benn from The Guardian on facebook)

Last week, a British education minister spoke eloquently of the necessity of a highly qualified teaching profession, free university learning and the vital importance of public education as a “societal, not just an individual, good”.

No, Michael Gove has not had a radical change of heart over the summer break. The minister in question was Michael Russell, cabinet secretary for education in the SNP government. He and I were sharing a platform at a packed session at this year’s Edinburgh book festival on “the value of education”, with many cogent and passionate contributions from leading academics and educationalists.

The most immediate thing to strike a visitor from Planet Gove is how very different the atmosphere and assumptions are on this subject north of the border. With its proud tradition of the “democratic intellect”, long history of compulsory education and world-renowned universities, the Scots seem genuinely to value their school system.

Here one finds very little teacher-bashing and scant reference to market solutions to social problems. At the Edinburgh event, the overriding concern was how to improve access by poorer students to higher and further learning and keep universities free, despite considerable pressure from an unholy alliance of English newspapers and Scottish conservatives. There is a heartening and robust belief in publicly funded, publicly accountable high-quality education.

Scotland publishes no official league tables, although individual schools obviously release their results. (Even Wales now publishes the results of secondary schools grouped into one of five bands.) The Scottish government is moving towards greater school self-evaluation and has, over the past decade, slowly rolled out a progressive “curriculum for excellence”, in stark contrast to our own government’s speedily devised, overly prescriptive and increasingly contested programmes for learning.

Not perfect but improving: that seemed to be the general, modest consensus up in Edinburgh. Indeed, it may be that modesty and consensus-seeking are the hallmarks of Scotland’s approach, in marked contrast to the “quick fix”, grandstanding approach of Germ guerillas everywhere who deliberately seek to undermine public trust and confidence in the role of the state.