Scottish sites

60 Seconds For A New Scotland – 2

423438_401034069911469_152795628068649_1780331_2011463999_nThe 2nd 60 Seconds For A New Scotland was sent in by Debra Torrance.

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The Scottish Independence Podcast 20 – Rev Stu Campbell (From Wings Over Scotland)

Last Thursday, for episode 20 of The Scottish Independence Podcast I spoke with the Rev Stu Campbell from the Wings Over Scotland website.

6fg3jcAoagaG9vL4C3caTkEmuYhh4That website has now become so popular it is not merely an observer of, but could even be considered an actor (my words, not his) on, the Scottish political stage.

Strangely, given that introduction, one of the things we talked about was the pretty poor behaviour of Scottish politicians when they are (metaphorically at least) on the big stage.

We also talked about the site itself and what was the motivation for it, and Stu filled some of that mysterious history of his too.

Whether or not Yes Scotland should be trying to be more aggressive or not came up, as did the (mis)fortunes and (mis)adventures of Scottish Labour.

We came up with some reasons to be optimistic even though polls aren’t showing Indy in the lead yet – they didn’t involve pandas.

Finally, will some of the overtly pro-union media jump ship?

Wings Logo

Hope you enjoy…

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Michael Greenwell

The Scottish Independence Podcast 19 – Michael Hance On Scots

IAaWM-qnCIAEJPF2 think almost every Scot will at one time or another have been told off for using a word that, although perfectly acceptable Scots, is not standard English.

How could such a situation come about?

This was one of the topics of the discussion when I spoke to Michael Hance, who is the director of the Scots Language Centre.

We also spoke about the cultural importance of the language, the work of the centre itself, how the situation has changed since devolution and finally about how the situation might improve in the future.

If you’re wondering why it is not For A’ That today, we’ve flipped them over this week and For A’ That will be on Wednesday. Next week we’ll be back to normal.

I also declined to include my rendition of the poem/song that I have included below the links, not because of worries about the pronunciation but rather that I just don’t think poetry comes good coming from me!


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Michael Greenwell

Listen Tae The Teacher

He’s 5 year auld, he’s aff tae school
Fairmer’s bairn wi a pencil and a rule
His teacher scoffs when he says “hoose”
“The word is house, you silly little goose”
He tells his ma when he gets back
He saa a mouse in an auld cairt track
His faither laughs fae the stackyard dyke
“Yon’s a MOOSE ye daft wee tyke”


Listen tae the teacher, dinna say dinna
Listen tae the teacher, dinna say hoose
Listen tae the teacher, ye canna say maunna
Listen tae the teacher, ye maunna say moose

He bit his lip an shut his mooth
Which one could he trust for truth
He took his burden o’er the hill
Tae auld grey Geordie o’ the mill
“An did they mock thee for thy tongue
Wi them sae auld and you sae young?
They werena makin a fool o’ ye
They were makin a fool o’ themsels ye see”

Say hoose tae the faither, house tae the teacher
Moose tae the fairmer, mouse tae the preacher
When yer young it’s weel for you
Tae dae in Rome as Romans do
But when ye grow an ye are auld
Ye needna dae as ye are tauld
Don’t trim yer tongue tae suit yon dame
That scorns the language o’ her hame

Then teacher thocht that he was fine
He kept in step, he stayed in line
Faither says that he was gran’
He spoke his ain tongue like a man
An when he grew and made his choice
He chose his Scots, his native voice
And I charge ye tae dae likewise
Spurn yon pair misguided cries


Just posting a few stats here that I found over at the Scottish Patient.

The reason I am also putting them here is that as he predicted, they were largely ignored by mainstream media.

Details of yesterday’s poll TNS/System 3 are as follows:

Holyrood Constituency Vote (with change from 2007 in brackets)

SNP: 41% (+8%)

Labour: 29% (-3%)

Tory: 15% (-2%)

LibDem: 11% (-5%)

Other: 3% (1%)

Holyrood Regional Vote (with change from 2007 in brackets)

SNP: 40% (+9%)

Labour: 30% (1%)

Tory: 13% (-1%)

LibDem: 10% (-1%)

Green: 4% (nc)

Other: 4% (-7%)

Holyrood seats analysis

Running those figures through the Weber Shandwick seats predictor gives the following result (with change in brackets):

SNP – 58 (+11)

Labour – 41 (-5)

Tory – 16 (-1)

LibDem – 12 (-4)

Green – 2 (nc)

Westminster voting intentions (with change in brackets)

SNP: 32% (+14%)

Labour: 36% (-4%)

Tory: 19% (3%)

LibDem: 9% (-14%)


In Scotland, though as I have subsequently discovered not everywhere, when you are confirmed into the Catholic Church you have to choose a Saint’s name to add to your own. I don’t know if you still have to do this and I was 11 years old when I had to do it.

You also have to explain your choice of saint to a priest who will inform you if that is fine and quiz you about the saint you have chosen. Your teachers will drill you about the story before you meet the priest, apparently so that you don’t embarrass the school.

The vast majority of boys choose Peter, Paul or Francis. I wanted to do something different.

This was in opposition to what we were told to do which was to read the stories about the saints [a small book containing very few saints as it happened] and choose which one we most admired. I worked it the other way. I chose the name I wanted first and then found a saint with the same name by using the encyclopedias my dad had in the house. Happily the catholic church had preemptively obliged me by making someone with the name I wanted a saint.

I chose Edmund, for one funny reason and for one sick one.

The main and overriding reason was that I liked Blackadder a lot at the time, and I thought if I was going to have another middle name forever [and I really did think at the time that it would be on all my official certificates and everything] then it should be something funny. That is the funny reason.

The sick one is that there was a still a hidden religious reason, but I couldn’t have explained it to you at that time. You see, I also liked the character Edmund in the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe series written by the ‘tweedy medievalist’ CS Lewis. His character is one that strays from fighting the good fight so to speak and comes back to the right side [as defined by aforementioned tweedy medievalist] as a better judge of other peoples characters as he learned from his mistakes. I liked that idea.

Looking back now I can see that it is partly because I already was finding some of the things about the church rituals I was forced to go through absurd. There was an Asian lad in the class and he was made to come to all of these things as well. He had to hold candles on ‘stage’ in practice sessions with us and recite all of the things we were forced to recite too. What his parents were thinking I really don’t know. They obviously saw something in the school because I know for a fact he wasn’t catholic. It must have been a condition of his joining the school that he at least participated in these things. I was extremely aware of the strangeness of this at the time, as were most of the rest of the class.

I chose the name Edmund, ostensibly after the man of Bury St. fame but really for the other reasons described above. The way I remember it is that I then had to submit the name for approval.

So although I didn’t believe a word of it I had to remember enough of the story to be convincing. If memory serves it was a Pied Piper of Hamlet affair but wolves were involved somehow. After being scared enough about it by the teacher the next step was to be scared about it by the priest who probably had listened to 40 of these things that day and patted my head and said that he expected something special of me because I had made such an original choice.

The next, and by far the most intimidating step, was to explain to my family why I had chosen that. I just repeated it with add-ons about why I thought it was interesting.

I obviously wasn’t the only one in my class that wasn’t taking all this seriously because despite the best efforts of all the teachers and priests to drum the spiritual gravity of what was going to happen into us a few of the boys around me displayed far less concern than I was brave enough to do at the time.

In the confirmation ceremony, like most of the other ones, there is a call and response bit. In the confirmation ceremony it is about rejecting satan and all of his works. I distinctly remember about 4 of the boys around me, for a laugh, adding in ‘don’ts’ all the way through ie “we DON’T reject satan and all his works” and “we DON’T promise to…” etc etc.

They were just rebelling against what they were being put through in a much more direct and radical way than I had done – I just thought I was being clever.

After your confirmation comes you are supposed to feel the flame of the holy spirit enter your body. Needless to say I didn’t. However I can see how people delude themselves in this way…big church-cameras flashing-you’re only a kid-everyones watching etc. Personally, I felt something enter my brain when I read Down and Out in Paris and London 3 months later.


I think perhaps only Scottish and maybe Irish readers will understand this one…

As previously intimated, I went to the house where Orwell wrote 1984, which is on the Scottish Island of Jura.

On the way up there however, I came across this sign which you are not likely to see anywhere else in the world. I am from only a 3 hour drive from where the sign is but the idea of a game of shinty sporadically breaking out on a patch of grass is quite alien to me. In fact, I suspect that this one is for the tourists and should be ranked alongside all those ‘Robert the Bruce allegedly did a sh*t here in 1296’ and ‘William Wallace shouted “Engl*sh B@stards” here in 1299’ signs.

Still funny though..

If you click on the image it should get a bit bigger.



The troubled economy, a successful economy, employment, unemployment, terrorism, safety, war, peace, Angeline Jolie, Michelle McManus, the olympics, being in the EU, not being in the EU, earth air fire and water, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich.

Blah, blah, blah f*cking blah.

What a load of old horse sh*te.

The papers are full of it at the moment.

A brief sample of some of the article titles around this week will tell you…

Warm words for Icelandic boom return to haunt Salmond – The Independent

Magnus Linklater: Crunch has put paid to Scottish independence – Times Online

Scottish Dependence – Times Online

Will Crunch Put Independence Plans On Ice? – Daily Record

Time To Jump Sinking Independence Ship – Daily Record

Not going to provide you the links as I don’t want to give them the satisfaction. You can search for them yourselves if you like.

No, it appears the real reason Scotland can’t be independent is the rent-an-apparatchik service that manages to do well both in times of economic boom and of depression.

The same papers and sources and often the very same journalists that were telling us that Scotland couldn’t be independent as it would miss out on the economic good times are now saying we can’t be independent because we won’t be able to get ourselves out of the bad times.

Go figure.

It doesn’t matter what the current news story is, someone will use it to write an article as to why Scotland shouldn’t be independent. It has been happening for years and the current format of this is no different to any time before.

I believe the expression is ‘Same shit, different stick’.

As for debunking the current nonsense then can’t put it better than what an Irish friend said to me in an email…

Iceland has gone down the tubes because of bad management, not because it’s small. The same reasons why we’re facing a shitty budget here today. The public finances are in tatters thanks to unrealistic spending increases over the last few years, not because we were audacious enough to demand our right to self-determination. Not a single Irish bank has needed money from the government (yet). All that has happened here is that the state has guaranteed deposits to promote confidence and avoid a run on the system.

17 banks in the US are going under. Are we therefore to expect the repeal of American independence, because clearly the time for Whitehall to govern the world is upon us again?

[Thanks to the culture ghost for don’t let anyone kid you photo]

And, any excuse to reprint this one has to be used…


The next major football tournament, Euro 2008, starts next month and given that neither Scotland nor England has qualified it is a chance to talk about something a bit more rationally than it is usually discussed.

England qualified for the last tournament (World cup 2006) and Scotland didn’t. When it started and Andy Murray the Scottish tennis player said he wouldn’t be supporting England there was a massive fuss in the English tabloids – and he reportedly received hate mail about the Dunblane massacre (that is where he is from). Murray had previously been reported as walking on the court when being introduced as ‘Andy Murray from England’ whereupon he corrected the umpire and walked off again and returned when reintroduced as ‘Andy Murray from Scotland’.

Murray eventually made a joke about his statement about not supporting England but I suspect this may have something to do with where he gets some of his funding.

When it happens that England qualify and Scotland don’t, the BBC in particular tend to start publishing opinion polls saying that X% of Scots are supporting England. Where they find these people I have no idea. I challenge anyone reading this to go into a pub full of Scottish people when there is an England game on the TV (doesn’t really matter what sport) and see who people are supporting.

You will find that the vast majority, like myself, would not only not be supporting England but will be actively supporting Englands opponents, probably going as far as to sing the national anthem of the other team (in a ‘da da da da’ style obviously).

The BBC, ably assisted by the tabloids, tend to paint the people doing this as ungrateful degenerates hellbent on causing unnecessary discord.

There is an obvious response to it all, which is simply..

It’s my support and I shall apportion it however I see fit.

But here are the things they usually say…

1) We’re all British.

2) The English support Scotland when they play.

3) Scotland don’t have a hope of ever winning the entire tournament.

4) If you don’t support England it means you are a racist.


1. Geographically yes, but culturally we are not and politically we don’t all want to be…a large percentage of Scots want out.

2. We didn’t ask them to.

3. That is not the point and it is just the sort of arrogant attitude that makes me want them to lose – badly.

4. Behave.

With regard to point 2, this is often said but I have been in pubs in England and watched England and Scotland games (though not a Scotland V England game) and what I found was extremely far from universal support for Scotland.

With regard to point 4, are Dutch racist for not supporting the Germans? Are the Belgians racist for not supporting the French? Are the Koreans racist for not supporting the Japanese? Are the Ukrainians racist for not supporting the Russians? And so on and so on and so on. Can you find many examples of countries that actively support their neighbours?

There are some interesting other little stories I heard about all of this.

There was an English-owned sports store in Inverness that was told to play the England world cup CD in the run-up to the tournament. Due to the staff receiving verbal abuse daily from customers who didn’t want to listen to it the manager stopped playing it. She was then sacked for doing this.

A journalist put on an England strip when the tournament was on and walked around town in Scotland to see what would happen to him. Aside from a few shouts of ‘english bastard’ from some people going by in cars the funny part was a 70-odd year old man shuffled by him and said the same thing!

To finish, I just want to say it is obvious what the people are thinking. If Argentina beat England you suddenly see loads of Argentina shirts around the streets, if Portugal beat them then you see Portugal everywhere. I read a fantastic thing that sales of Argentinian wine in Scotland briefly doubled when Argentina beat England.

Scotland has been greatly oppressed by England through history – does one ask a slave to support his ‘owner’?


At various times I have spent months in a stretch or even a year away from home. Travelling is a wonderful thing – seeing how people do things in various places is endlessly interesting, but sometimes you feel it burn.

In the course of a year it won’t happen that often but it can be almost anything that starts the feeling. Maybe added up you feel it for a couple of weeks in a year. It usually goes away but it bites hard when it bites.

Something good could happen at home and you want to be sharing the experience because you know what it means to people at home and you want to be part of it, but you can’t.

Alternatively, something bad could happen at home and you want to be there to help if you can and you feel terrible because you know you can do almost nothing from where you are.

It can be something utterly random – there could be an incident in the street  and you wish one or other person you know is there with you because you know they would have loved it or you want to hear what they would say about it.

Sometimes it really does hurt.

I remember when ‘Letter from America’ by the proclaimers came out. It is a song Irish people love as well (you can see it being sung at the wedding in the film ‘The Commitments’)  because even though it mentions only Scottish place names it is a song about emigrating, and that is something the two countries know a lot about.

I also remember how much the thing the thing was ridiculed. I can’t find video evidence for this but I seem to remember Paula Yates being apoplectic about how such a thing could be at the top end of the charts and being incredibly snidey about it.

The reason a lot of people bought the song is that they know what it is about… she obviously didn’t…lyrics below..

When you go will you send back
A letter from America?
Take a look up the railtrack
From Miami to Canada
Broke off from my work the other day
I spent the evening thinking about
All the blood that flowed away
Across the ocean to the second chance
I wonder how it got on when it reached the promised land?

When you go will you send back
A letter from America?
Take a look up the railtrack
From Miami to Canada
I’ve looked at the ocean
Tried hard to imagine
The way you felt the day you sailed
From Wester Ross to Nova Scotia
We should have held you
We should have told you
But you know our sense of timing
We always wait too long

When you go will you send back
A letter from America?
Take a look up the railtrack
From Miami to Canada
Lochaber no more
Sutherland no more
Lewis no more
Skye no more

I wonder my blood
Will you ever return
To help us kick the life back
To a dying mutual friend
Do we not love her?
Do we not say we love her?
Do we have to roam the world
To prove how much it hurts?
When you go will you send back
A letter from America?
Take a look up the railtrack
From Miami to Canada
Bathgate no more
Linwood no more
Methil no more
Irvine no more.
Bathgate no more
Linwood no more
Methil no more
Lochaber no more.