Rocking

Another find day cycling, we even had some sunshine.  I did go around the charity shops looking for cotton material with a big rose pattern on it, but it would seem flower pattern dresses are no longer in vogue. However the girls came up trumps with an old bathroom curtain – just big enough for the job, I like it.

I have not tried sticking material onto wood before and if I ever did it again I would do so before I fitted hooves and saddle, cutting wet material with a Stanley knife is not easy, but we got there in the end. Just a bit of detail on the head and we are there.

It’s all those pesky Russians again; it’s them again, mum.

Refuges on the Polish – Belarus border it is all about Russia and how they are trying to destabilise the EU, codswallop!   

If you want to know who is responsible for the migration problems into Europe look no farther than France, England, and the United States of America. It was they that invaded Syria – Libya – and Afghanistan and caused one million people to be displaced.

Now we hear that the UK government (not without Americas say so) have sent troops to Poland to help with the crises there. Why are the EU not, along with the Polish and the Belarus governments, getting around the table and sorting this out – simple really America and their yappy little lap dog (England) want the trouble to escalate and blame Russia that is what is at the heart of the matter.

Already they are building larger docking facilities in the Black Sea so that large American and British warships can dock there. They have been trying to get Ukraine into NATO so that they can have American and British troops right along Russia’s southern border. Remember the regime change in Ukraine (America put their man in power) the Russians retaliated when their only ice-free naval port and only exit to the Mediterranean Sea was threatened – they isolated the Crime and the eastern fringes of Ukrain to protect their southern borders. Whilst there is a dispute between Ukraine and Russia, over Crime, and lands that once belonged to Ukrain, nothing can be done about bringing Ukraine into NATO for it would mean that Russians claim to the Crime would have to be accepted by the UN – so look out for, Ukraine (under America’s guidance) trying to kissing and making up with Putin over Crime. I think Putin is too long in the tooth to fall for that one. For it would mean Ukraine would then be free to join NATO.  

What the US and UK fail to realise is that this is not the 1970 – 1980 Russia going with a begging bowl to the International Monetary Fund, Russian is a powerful country in its own right now, Putin had made it so, and he will not be pushed around by the west. The US is playing a very dangerous game here – sabre rattling only takes one side to slip and it will be a full-scale war, and after Iraq- Syria – Libya and Afghanistan you would have to put your money on Russia, to triumph. We can only hope that this is all talk and no substance from the US.   

Stay safe

Today had been a bit different

The wind was light but no sun as I headed out on my morning run. Only out for one hour since I was expecting the woman from the cat sanctuary to call and pick up books and bric-a-brac, for their charity shops and Amazon would be delivering my wood glue, almost out. So a day at home was planned.

I spread my big trampoline out on the grass and move my workshop outdoors – lots of noisy machines, sawdust and shaving – not good for the bedroom carpet.

Back indoors and started to put things together, not there yet, but at least you can see what I’m trying to acheive, a small child’s rocking chair.

I have been thinking about colours, and have come up with this crazy idea. I love the Wemyss cats, with their gay decoration of flowers, you just have to smile when you see them – what if I went to the charity shop and picked up a flower-patterned dress, made from thin cotton and covered the main body in floral material – that would work, (I’m sure the arty farty people will have a name for it.)

Doesn’t time fly when you are busy – I could kill for a pot of tea now, and my belly thinks my throat has been cut?

I have really enjoyed my day.

Stay safe.  

Revolution in the Air

Well, here it is for what it’s worth, my summing up and the road map for hope, and a way out of the mess we now find ourselves.

When people talk about – overthrowing or abolishing capitalism – unease descends – what will replace it? Those that call for revolution really tell us what the ‘new’ will look like. They leave a void to be filled and can be filled by some nightmare scenarios. Better the devil you know, they will tell you, right? Well not if it means the end of civilisation as we know it.

Firstly we need to release our system from growth, once we get that, we see what a post-capitalist economy might look like, and strangely enough, it is not the command-and-control fiasco of the Soviet Union, or back to the cave in a loincloth. In fact, it will seem very familiar to us all. An economy where people produce and sell useful goods and services, (not plastic promotional items that end up in our seas) an economy where people make rational, informed decisions about what to buy – and where people get compensated with a fair wage for their labour.  An economy that satisfies human needs while minimising waste. An economy that circulates money to those who need it, an economy where innovation makes better, longer-lasting products, reduces ecological pressure, frees up labour time and improves human welfare, an economy that responds to, rather than ignores, the health of the ecology on which we all depend. However, let us be clear, none of this will be easy. Many believe this is an impossible dream, there is no such animal, they will tell you, for it would require a totalitarian government imposing from above when exactly the opposite is true. 

Scientists at Harvard and Yale published a remarkable study on how people make decisions about the natural world. Would people, given a free choice, choose to share finite resources with future generations?

You will gain little from parking resources for future generations, for there is no reciprocal response. The rational choice the economists expected from the groups, they had set up and given common resources to be managed across generations, would be to simply exhaust their resources in the now and leave the future generations with little or nothing.

They found that on average 65 per cent of individuals chose to use their share sustainable, taking from their pool only that which left enough for the pool to regenerate itself. The opposite of what the economists predicted.

However, the other 32 per cent chose to liquidate their share of the resources in pursuit of a quick buck. 

But the good news is that when all the groups came together and acted collectively in direct democracy, 68 per cent were able to overrule the selfish minority and keep their destructive impulses in check. Wow democracy in action, we are saved, well no.

To get to a steady-state economy that states,

Never extract more than ecosystems can regenerate.

Never waste or pollute more than ecosystems can safely absorb.

This would require caps on resources use and waste, and for decades we have been told by economists that such caps are impossible, because people will see them as irrational. Yet given the chance – this is exactly what people want. It shows it is not human nature that is the problem here. It is that we have a political system that allows a few people to sabotage our collective future, for their own gains.

Whit! But we live in a democracy, don’t we?  Well yes, kind of. But you see democracies are not really very democratic.

In the United States, corporations have the right to spend unlimited amounts of money on political advertising, and where there are few restrictions on donations to political parties, under the banner of ‘Free Speech’. This system places politicians at the mercy of corporations and billionaires and under pressure to align with the policy preferences of the elites.  In 2010, $3.55 billion was spent on lobbying up from $1.45 billion in 1998. And it paid off, one study found that money spent on lobbying the US Congress earned returns of up to 22,000 per cent in the form of tax breaks and profits from preferential treatment.

It would appear that the United States resembles a plutocracy more than democracy.

Britain shows similar tendencies, but for different reasons. Britain has a financial hub and economic powerhouse – The City of London, totally immune from many of the nation’s democratic laws and free of parliamentary oversight.  The City of London council is allocated not chosen by residents, but given to businesses – the bigger the business the more votes on the council. In the House of Lords, the chamber is filled not by election members but by appointment. With ninety-six seats for aristocratic families, twenty-six were set aside for the Church of England and many ‘Sold’ to individuals in return for large campaign donations.

Give three million to the Tory party and you too can be a Lord.

We also see the same plutocratic tendencies when it comes to financing. Shareholder votes are controlled by massive mutual funds like BlackRock and Vanguard that have no democratic legitimacy.  

Then there is the media in Britain, three companies’ control 70 per cent of the newspaper market. And half of those are owned by Rupert Murdoch. In the US six companies’ control 90 per cent of all media. It is impossible to have a real democratic conversation about the economy under these conditions.

One of the main reasons we are at this time staring down the barrel of an ecological crisis is because our political systems have been completely corrupted. Those that wish to sustain our planet’s ecology for future generations (and from the studies carried out that is the majority of the people who live on this planet) are trumped by a minority of elites who are quite happy to liquidate everything.    

What if we were able to have an open democratic conversation about what kind of economy we want? What would that look like? How would we distribute resources? I do not have the answers to any of these questions – only to say, it would look a lot different to what we already have, and no one seems to want.

In an age of ecological breakdown, we must break this barrier down. We must subject capitalism to scrutiny – to reason. The journey to a post-capitalist economy begins with the most basic act of democracy.

I will end my story here, for you all have the power at your fingertips to carry on the research. Mostly my thought have come curtsy of The Guardian Newspaper over the last decade and from a lot of reading, and from my own observations over the many years watching politics played out in the UK.

The voters should hold the key to our democracy a democracy that is the will of the people. But as we have seen, here in the UK and in the US the people have little say over decisions made about our future.

There is a glimmer of hope for the people of Scotland over their rUK counterparts – we could make the citizens of Scotland sovereign once more, by declaring independence and making our own chooses over our welfare and the welfare of our lands. 

Stay safe.

Some News From the Home Front.

I was up every hour on the hour from around 4 O’clock in the morning, why? Well I had to be in Dundee for 9 O’clock for my big day – I was going to be fitted with my new hearing aids. I finally rose at 6 O’clock and before I had turned around it was, get my skates on, time – home again by 10 o’clock.

So what’s the verdict? Well, we live in a very noisy world, that’s for sure, my floorboards squeak and my electric clock has one hell of a tick that I never heard before. So, yes, brilliant – once you get over the cost, £2995.00 little wonder that the NHS has given up on issuing hearing aids. Still, I’m sure they will find other ways to spend their money.

The bad news, if the undertaker comes in the near future he will be out of luck, the state will have to cremate me.

I have not really been paying much attention to the Cop (out) 26 in Glasgow; well everyone and their dog knew how it would turn out. Photo opportunities, and back-slapping but no real commitment to do anything much about global warming.

Talking about photo opportunities Oor Nicola has been embarrassing us all by running around the venue like a teenage autograph hunter, let loose at a Hollywood gala, having selfies taken with all the Celebes. She is of course avoiding, like the plague, Francois Legault, leader of the province of Quebec in Canada, well she would not wish to be associated with anyone trying to break away from Mother Parliament.         

As for Boris, he was up at COP 26 yesterday, not that he is really all that interested in global warming. No, it seems that things were getting a bit hot for him in London. People accusing his Tory friends of misbehaving and corruption, who could think such a thing of a Right Honourable Gentleman? Of course, I do not believe for one moment this was why he came north in such haste – politicians have skin like a rhinoceros, nothing is going to penetrate or upset, thick-skinned Boris.   

I loved the story in the Guardian about Julia (Hurricane) Hawkins; who set a new world record for the 100m sprint, at Louisiana Senior Games on Sunday. The time, 1 minute 2.95 seconds, ‘World record’ – you can’t be serious?  Oh, I forgot to say, Julia, is 105 years old.  

You may remember me telling you that Charles is an academic (school teacher) – over at the café today, he was telling me he would have liked to write his memoirs but his hands shake so much now he can’t.

“I still touch-type above 80 words per minute,” I told him. If you get yourself a Dictaphone I will type up whatever you speak into it and pass it back to you for proofing. He seemed excited about the idea. (Writing will be the easy part – getting it published will be the problem.) Still, he told me his story would be very funny and I could have half the royalties – hold me back.

Had to put my furnisher removal hat on, and move a chair, not a problem, two-minute job. Well, that was until it would not go through the doorway, it had a swivel underneath so that was the first to come off, still no joy, next remove the door. Another ‘two-minute’ job ticked off, must be time for tea now.  

Stay safe.

“Capitalism does more harm than good”

Fred Jameson famously said

“It is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism.”

And if that were the truth we really would be staring into an abyss. But things are changing. In 2017 an American named Trevor Hill stood up during a televised town hall meeting in New York and posed a simple question to Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives at the time and one of the most powerful people in the world. He had read a study by Harvard University that showed that 51 per cent of Americans between the age of eighteen and twenty-nine no longer supported capitalism and asked whether the Democrats, Pelosi’s party, could embrace the fast-changing reality and stake out a vision for an alternative economy.

Pelosi was visibly taken aback.

“I thank you for your question,” she said “but I’m sorry to say we’re capitalists, and that’s just the way it is”

The footage went viral. It was powerful because it dramatised the taboo against questioning capitalism, now here it was, right out in the open, the cat was finally out of the bag.

Hill was no lefty just a bright kid informed and curious about the world. He had asked a sincere question, and yet Pelosi, stammering and defensive, was unable to accept it, and unable to say why she held such a view.

Pelosi’s response “That’s just the way it is” did not shut down the question it only pulled back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz. 

A YouGov poll in 2015 found that 64 per cent of people in Britain believe capitalism is unfair. In the US, it was as high as 55 per cent, Germany, a solid 77 per cent. A survey in 2020 by the Edelman Trust Barometer showed that a majority of people around the world (56 per cent) agree with the statement,

“Capitalism does more harm than good”

In France, it was as high as 69 per cent. In India, it’s a staggering 74 per cent. And on top of all these a full three-quarters of people across all major capitalist economies say they believe corporations are corrupt.

In 2019 the European Council on Foreign Relations asked people in fourteen EU countries,

“Do you believe that environment should be made a priority even if doing so DAMAGES economic growth?”

Surely no one was going to agree with such a trade-off. Yet large majorities (between 55 and 70 per cent said YES.

Hope over fear.

All my life politicians of all colours and shades have told me we need growth in order to improve people’s lives but this has turned out to be untrue. We are now well past the point in this country where the relationship between GDP and well-being completely breaks down. It is not Growth that matters it is how income and resources are distributed, that is what matters.

(In Scotland we badly need Land Reform)

Consider this – over the past 40 years, 28 per cent of all new income from global GDP growth has gone to the richest 1 per cent  (all already million if not billionaires). Pretty staggering really, for it means that one-third of all labour, all the resources we extract, and all the CO2 we have emitted over the past half-century has been done to make rich people richer.

Now once you get your head around this and realise WE DO NOT NEED GROWTH we are free to think about something better than CAPITALISM.

Scientists have made it clear to us that the only way out of trouble and keep global warming down under 1.5 degrees C, or even 2 degrees C, is for high-income countries, to slow down the pace of extraction, and the production of waste. Reducing resource use removes pressure from ecosystems and gives nature a fighting chance of a comeback. This they call – “DEGROWTH” remember it, you should be hearing a lot about it in the near future.

Today’s scientists are now being heard and listened too, (possibly because of the internet, and why it is such a threat to capitalist thinking and needs to be shut down).

Biologists are discovering the humans are not standalone individuals but composed of microorganisms on which we depend for functions as basic as digestion.

Psychiatrists are learning that spending time around plants is essential to people’s mental health, and indeed that certain plants can heal humans from complex psychological traumas, (gardeners were way ahead of them on that one).

Ecologists are learning that trees, far from being inanimate, communicate with each other and even share food and medicines through invisible mycelia networks in the soil.

Quantum physicists are teaching us that individual particles that appear to be distinct are interlinked with others, even across vast distances. And Earth-systems scientists are finding evidence that the planet itself operates like a living superorganism. 

It is not just or economics that needs to change. We need to change the way we see the world and our place within it.

For over 300,000 years humans have lived on this planet, and they did so in relative harmony with the Earth’s ecosystems. It was only with the rise in capitalism a few hundred years ago and the acceleration of industrialisation, and from the 1950s that things began to tip out of balance.  Strangely enough, our problems have little to do with humans and more to do with an economic system – one that is recent in origin, which came about at a particular time and a particular place in history.  Once we get our head around this we can start to ask a new question,

“How did this happen?” “Where did capitalism come from?” “Why did it take hold?”

Every schoolchild learned that feudalism was a brutal system that produced terrible human misery. However contrary to narratives that were abounding at schools it was not capitalism that put an end to this system. The victory was in fact even more remarkable, it is down to the courageous struggle fought by a long tradition of everyday revolutionaries who have for some reason been written out of the story.

In the early 1300s, commoners across Europe began rebelling against the feudal system. They refused to submit to unpaid labour, they rejected the taxes and tithes extracted by nobles and the church and began demanding direct control over the land they tilled. This was organised resistance. And in some cases, it grew into outright military conflicts. In 1323, peasants and workers took up arms in Flanders in a battle that lasted five years before their defeat by Flemish nobility. Similar rebellions erupted elsewhere across Europe, in Bruges, Ghent, Florence, liege and Paris.  Most of these were quickly put down by well-armed militaries. Then came the Black Death of 1347, this triggered social and political crises.

Strangely enough, it proved to be a blessing in disguise, because labour was scarce and land abundant, suddenly peasants and workers had more bargaining power, they demander more pay, lower rents, Nobles were not happy they were caught on the back foot. Now the balance of power favoured the commoner. This was their chance to change the very foundations of the social and political order. As confidence grew the rebellions gained traction. (Read Wat Tyler – England)

The rebellions spread right across Europe and in England serfdom was completely eradicated in the wake of the 1381 revolt. Surfs became free farmers, subsisting on their own land. With free access to commons, pasture for grazing, forests for game and timber, waterways for fishing and irrigation. They worked for wages if they wanted extra income. In Germany, peasants came to control up to 90 per cent of the countries land.

Once the peasants owned the land they of course would look after it better than under the feudal system, which had been a disaster for the ecosystem. Democratic assemblies were set up with careful rules that regulated tillage, grazing and forest use. Europe’s soils began to recover and the forest re-grew. 

Hardly surprising that this did not please the elites, who considered high wages as scandalous and were irritated that commoners would only hire themselves out for short periods or limited tasks. As national income was shared more evenly across the population it became more difficult for nobles to gain large fortunes on the backs of the poor. The post-feudalist society brought with it self-sufficiency, high wages, grassroots democracy and collective management of resources.

What this new society may have grown to look like we will never know for it was brutally crushed by nobles and Church.

The merchant bourgeoisie united in an organised attempt to end peasant autonomy and drive wages back down. They did so, not by re-ensuring peasants that would have proved impossible. Rather they evicted them from the land in a sustained and often violent campaign of eviction. As for the commons, collective managed pastures, forests and rivers that sustained rural communities, they were fenced off and privatised for elite use. They became, in a word, property.

For the first time in history, commoners were systematically denied access to the most basic resources necessary for survival. People were left without homes and food. We don’t need to romanticise subsistence life to recognise that ENCLOSURE produced conditions that were far worse than under serfdom, the word POVERTY came into common use.

If you travel up the Sma’ Glen and stop in the lay-by halfway up you will be able to read a notice that will tell you, the highland clearances came about because people left Scotland for a better life, no they were driven off the land by absentee landlords. 

Enclosure worked like magic for the capitalists of Europe, it gave them huge amounts of land and resources that had previously been off-limits. Some form of accumulation was necessary for the rise of capitalism. Adam Smith called this “Previous Accumulation” and claimed that it came about because a few people worked really hard and saved their earnings – such an idyllic tale, that is still repeated in textbooks. Karl Marx insisted on calling it “primitive accumulation”, to highlight the barbaric nature of the violence it entailed.

Now we really have the rise of capitalism – lots of cheap labour was now available. With subsistence economies destroyed and commons fenced off, people had no choice but to sell their labour for wages, not now, for a bit of extra income like under the previous regime, but simply in order to survive.

This at the time was called Free Labour, but of course, it was anything but. Although they were not forced to work as slaves or serfs, nonetheless they had little choice, those who controlled the means of production could get away with paying rock-bottom wages and people would have to take it. Any wage, no matter how small, was better than death.

Capitalism rose on the back of organised violence, mass impoverishment, and the systematic destruction of self-sufficient subsistence economies, replaced by the satanic mills immortalised in the poetry of William Blake.

The enclosure brought many into the cities, refugees, who ended up in urban slums had no choice but to accept work for meagre wages, because the refugees were many and jobs were few, competition among workers drove down the cost of labour this, in turn, destroyed the GUILD system that had previously protected the livelihoods of skilled craftsmen. Now the threat of being replaced and under pressure to produce workers would work sixteen hours a day, just to keep their job.

Think what Maggie Thatcher was trying to achieve, kill off the unions, and privatise the major industries so that governments could no longer be held to ransom. (At Grangemouth when the men went on strike the owner simply told them he was closing the plant down if they demanded higher wages, it worked, better half a loaf than none) high unemployment will drive down wages, they will be glad of a job, is the mantra of the Tory party in the UK.

John Locke admitted that enclosure was a process of theft from the commons, and from commoners, but he argued that this theft was morally justifiable because it enabled a shift to commercial methods that increased output. Any increase in total output, he said was a contribution to the “Greater Good”.

The same argument is spouted today virtually anything can be justified if it contributes to GDP growth. It is of course a lie; the only good is to the pocketbook of the land or factory owner.

This capitalism was not something that just happened along, it was a conscious strategy on the part of Europe’s capitalists. They saw enclosure as a tool for enhancing the “industry” of the masses.

In 1695 the Quaker John Bellers wrote, our commons make the poor that are upon them too much like the Indians, a hindrance to industry and are nurseries of idleness and insolence. In 1771, Arthur Young noted that “Everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious”. In 1786 the reverend Joseph Townsend emphasised “It is only hunger which can spur and goad them on to labour”.  

You do not have to look far to see the Tory Ideology of today’s world – same words different era (Universal Credits, food Banks, School Uniform Banks.) “Well fucked and poorly glad”, was how the Church kept its parishioners in order. Today the capitalist system is doing the same with the same lies.

Simon Szreter, one of the world’s foremost historians and experts on public health data, has shown that this first century of the Industrial Revolution was characterised by a striking deterioration in life expectancy, down to levels not seen since the Black Death. In Manchester and Liverpool, the two giants of industrialisation, life expectancy collapsed compared to non-industrial parts of the country. In Manchester, it fell to a mere twenty-five years. The first few years of capitalism generated misery to a degree unknown in the pre-capitalism era.  

And why I voted Labour all my working life and served as a shop steward. Sadly there is no difference in the political parties anymore – the great Labour Party of the people became ‘New Labour’ or should we just call it by its real name, ‘The Tory Party. As for the SNP here in Scotland, Sturgeon will continue to dangle the indiref2 carrot in front of gullible voters noses so long as it keeps her in her post as First Minister, but the SNP policies of the post-2014 referendum are no different from the Tories, that Sturgeon now serves. However, like the Black Death before it, coronavirus and global warming, have stopped their ideology in its tracks, this may be the chink of light we needed in order to change the system.

This blog has become overly long, for I do go off on tangents, but next time I will try to tackle the thorny subject of what comes after the collapse of capitalism, global warming and post coronavirus. Ma wee heid is hurting already.

Stay safe.

Still Talking

Yesterday was a good day, out on my bike, again in ice-cold air, although the winds were light. My shadow kept me company cycling alongside; I was pushing hard and getting a lot of pleasure from my ride.

Home and the girls needed some compost to fill the metal trough they had been given and wished to plant it up with bulbs, would I go to the shop? I had a better idea the horticultural society in St Andrews said for me to help myself to their heap of compost anytime I wish. I took the trailer up and filled two bags and returned with them, another job ticked off.

I

n the afternoon I decided to tackle the sides for the rocking horse, have you ever tried to get an 8X4 sheet of ply, down a narrow corridor and into an already overcrowded bedroom, not easy, chopped 3 feet off the sheet, that’s better.  I am always surprised by the time it takes to first sketch out, make a paper template, and then use it to mark out the design onto a board of ply. Even making the little bits and pieces such as glue blocs, all take time, putting it all together is the easy part, but then it’s all part of the fun.   

Some time back I read the book “Merchants of Doubt” and if there is anyone out there that still believes we live in a democracy they should read this book, (more so if you live in the US). It shows how a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming – why they had deep connections in politics and industry, and how they ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. The same individuals who claim the science of global warming is “Not Settled” have also denied the truth about studies linking smoking to lung cancer, coal smoke to acid rain, and CFCs to the ozone hole. “Doubt is our product”, wrote one tobacco executive. These “experts” supplied it.

The facts have been piling up for decades. And yet for some reason, we have been unable to change course. The past half-century is littered with endless inaction by governments.

The first international climate summit was held in 1979.

James Hansen, the NASA climate scientist, gave his testimony to the US Congress in 1988, explaining how the combustion of fossil fuels was driving climate breakdown.

 The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted in 1992 to set non-binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

International climate summits – the UN Congress of Parties – has been held annually since 1995 to negotiate plans for emissions reductions.

The UN framework has been extended three times, with the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, the Copenhagen Accord in 2009, and the Paris Agreement in 2015.

And yet global CO2 emissions continue to rise year on year, while ecosystems unravel, at an alarming pace.

So what’s the problem? Some point to fossil fuel companies and the vice-like grip they have on our political systems. And there is a lot of truth in that. Then we have the ‘Brown Envelopes’ being passed around our politicians and bankrolling political parties. They will either deny the science outright or will obstruct meaningful action whenever possible. It is in part their vigorous lobbying that has made international climate treaties none legally binding.

Fossil fuel companies and the politicians they have bought, in the main, have much to answer for. However, this doesn’t explain the failure to act. There’s something, even more, sinter going on. Our addiction to fossil fuels and the antics of the fossil fuel industry is only a symptom. What’s ultimately the driver is the economic system that has come to dominate more or less the entire planet over the past few centuries: CAPITALISM. That is the real enemy. 

Don’t get your knickers in a twist just yet, for before we take sides it is important to have a clear understanding of how capitalism works.

We tend to associate capitalism with ‘trade’ and ‘markets’ all innocent enough. But trade and markets have been around for thousands of years, and long before capitalism came into someone’s wet dream. For the most part trade and markets are pretty benign. What sets capitalism apart from most other economic systems is that it’s organised around constant expansion, GROWTH, measured as Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This growth is for no other purpose than for its own sake. Every sector, every national economy must grow, endlessly with no end game.  

Think of nature, a living organism will grow to a point of maturity and then maintain a state of equilibrium. When growth fails to stop it is because of a coding error – think CANCER. Capitalism may sound very natural, so not to worry, but capitalism has a built is self destruct mechanism, and not at all-natural, it will, in time self destruct. 

Under capitalism, global GDP needs to keep growing by at least 2 to 3 per cent, year on year. Three per cent growth means doubling the size of the global economy every twenty-three years and doubling it again from its already doubled state. What’s the problem, you may ask? Well, the problem is that GDP is not a figure plucked from the air. GDP growth goes hand in glove with the global economy and this links it directly to energy and resource usage.

If science is to be believed we can not possibly roll out renewable energy fast enough to keep the temperature below 1.5 per cent or even 2 per cent – if growth is to be maintained, it’s just not possible.

There is another problem, if we ever did manage 100 per cent clean energy, yes it will help reduce CO2 into the atmosphere, but as we saw earlier, this is not the problem only the symptoms. To continue with growth, we will continue to extract, and at an ever-increasing rate, that is what capitalism demands. So all the technology in the world and all the clean energy in the world will not arrest – deforestation, overfishing, soil depletion, or mass extinction – clean energy will not stop the ecological disaster that befouls us.

However, the only reason world leaders continue with a capitalist economy that if growth stops – capitalism collapses. If capitalism collapses, we then end up in a recession, debts pile up, and people lose their jobs, their homes their healthcare, in essence, shattered lives and a shattered society. And that is why, no matter the colour of the political party, they all speak with one voice, capitalism is the only game in town, and the media will continue to assure you that all is well because the economy grow by X per cent last quarter, but as Greta Thunberg said, endless economic growth is a fairy tales.

It’s a paradox, capitalism is the cause of the collapse of our ecosystem (and our planet) but if we kill off capitalism we bring a different kind of collapse in on ourselves.

Certainly, technology will absolutely be essential in the battle to save the ecological devastation that will inevitably come to our planet, but it is no silver bullet or panacea.   

If cleaner energy is not the answer, if technology is not the answer, neither being able to stop us from pulling ever-greater swathes of nature into a circuit of extraction and production, where does that leave us?

Where we are now is at a point where we have overshot what science has told us in a safe boundary. And this is why Greta Thunberg’s words will come back again and again to haunt us.

“We are at the beginning of mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of endless economic growth. How dare you!”

In one line, she put the truth out there for all to see.

I am franticly looking for answers to our dilemma, and I may have found a few to share on my next blog. So pull your head out of the gas oven, and get your box of tissues handy, for I’m a sucker for happy endings.

Stay safe.

Less is More

Again the weather allowed me the opportunity to be out on my bike and in pleasant sunshine. Peddles turning at a constant cadence, I start to go into a Zen like state allowing me time for myself, free from all the distractions at home, my mind once more will dream old men’s dreams.

I first attended college when I was made unemployed by Maggie Thatcher, who has just closed all the heavy industry and coal mines in Scotland, destroying all the subsidiary companies that depended on them in their wake. At the Jobcentre, I was told that if I wished I could attend college 12 hours a week, free of charge and choose any subject I wished, a half-truth.  You had core subjects for 8 of those 12 hours. Writing a CV and writing letters to prospective employers, of which there were none or at least none for someone like me – over 50 years of age.

For the final 4 hours, we were taken into the refectory and tutors would come in and tell us they had one or possibly two places in their class, if you wished to take up the offer you simply stuck your hand up. Boy did these young girls catch on fast and it soon became clear that if I did not grab a spot soon I would miss out altogether. The last tutor in the door said he had two places in his class Desk Top Publishing. Now I had no idea what DTP was but up went my hand and I was in. it turned out to be the only class I really enjoyed. DTP set me on the course to University.

I was really too old to take up any serious employment when I finally left (my late start) now that may seem like a waste of my time and government money, but education, opened up a whole new world for me, I had learned how to learn. Alas being only a couple of years off retirement. The work I ended up doing for many years after that (by default) was as my mother’s carer, for which I was paid the princely sum of £45.00 per week. Oh, happy days.

I kept up my computer skills, mostly touch typing and since I was spending so much time at home decided to start up a part-time business vinyl ‘Sign Making’ – I bought some software, and spend months practising how to get the best from it before going to the expense of a vinyl cutter. All this could be done from home, I found it also amused mum, watching her child at play.

Now at that time in Bradford if you were not doing business with the local Pakistani businessmen, then you were not doing business. Try as I might, they did not understand the concept that ‘Less was more’

“You’re a chemist shop for goodness sake you do not have to list everything you sell on your sign, from medicines to sanitary towels, less is more. Make the important stuff stand out, not buried under a deluge of words.

In today’s society we imagine that technological innovation is the way to solve our problems, when we should be engaging in more imaginative thinking – social innovation too, why stop at CAPITALISM?

During the run-up to the Scottish Referendum on Independence, we in the Yes, camp dared to dream, the odds were stacked against us but we went out making the case for independence (stolen from us in the last weeks as it turned out). The excitement in the growing number of Yes, meetings, street stalls, marches was palpable, we moves a nation, we were willing to ask for MORE.

Surely we can imagine BIGGER than capitalism? No one has all the answers but with a little imagination, there is the possibility of an answer. There may be more.

Continuing with the status quo is a fantasy we must always ask for more. XR (Extinction Rebellion) is winning because people are finally willing to face their fears, and commit to doing something big about it. The XR are asking for less as more.

We need radical action – a revolution if you like – to transform the status quo rapidly, in ways that go beyond the capacity of normal politics. The post-coronavirus movement may be humanity’s last chance saloon, to create a far more equal and far more sustainable world.

I do not wish this to be all doom and gloom, but we must understand the motivation of XR to change the world order. For to ignore, is to not understand.

I wrote a piece about bird feeders some time back and the declining numbers of birds, especially the migratory birds to our shores. Much of this we believed was down to modern farming methods, spraying with insecticides killed off the insects that the birds fed on so their numbers declined, some close to extinction. But is this the whole story?

In 2018 I read a report in the Economist. A team of scientists published a study of insects in the El Yunque rainforest in Puerto Rico. This is about as far away from highways, factories or farmers and their insecticides as you can get. Still, the scientists found that the insect biomass had declined by up to 98% over a thirty-six year period, almost total collapse. The scientists could not believe their figures at first – in the 1970s, following the rains, butterflies were in abundance.

Hardly surprising that the collapse of the insect population had in turn triggered the decline of a wide range of species that rely on insects for food, what had caused such a catastrophe? The scientists had found that the Rainforests in Puerto Rico had warmed by 2 degrees Centigrade over pre-industrial levels, twice as much as the world average of one degree Centigrade. Two degrees is enough to push many tropical insects beyond their thermal limits.

The average global temperatures are up by one degree Centigrade, so far. The American entomologist David Wagner tells us that as we begin to approach two degrees Centigrade insect populations could start collapsing everywhere. These dying butterflies, in the El Yunque forest, he assured us, are the canaries in the coalmine.     

I have seen many changes in farming practices in this country, small fields bordered by hedgerows, crop rotation with fallow years where fields were turned over to pasture (rest years). Then came the bigger machinery onto the farms, hedges and trees were ripped out and large acres of land were planted out with single crop, sprayed with insecticides and herbicides, and harvested by large combined harvesters. We now live in a land of the ceaseless plough. They called it the Green Revolution. But, from the ecology perspective is was anything but Green. 

At the beginning of the year, I took it upon myself to plant some seeds and grow on some transplants for our garden here at City Park. When I turned over the ground for their planting, I was shocked not to find one single earthworm or creepy-crawly of any description. Light years away from my allotment, where the land was constantly being feed with animal manure (dung). My compost box, where the manure was stored was a perfect place for Mrs Snail to lay her eggs, which would later hatch and if not removed would devour my young vegetables, likewise, cabbage butterflies. The abundance of earthworms on the allotment brought Mrs Mole to bide and raise her family.  You have to be a bit tolerant if you have an allotment. But commercial farming is different, and why it is so destructive to the Earth.

According to the UN scientists, forty per cent of the planet’s soils are now seriously degraded. Agricultural soil is being lost more than one hundred times faster than it is being formed. On industrial farms, earthworms’ biomass had dropped by eighty-three per cent and as the earthworms die off the organic content of soils will collapse, and has, by more than half.  Continuing down this path the scientist warns and the Earth will only be able to support another sixty years of harvests.

I was a bit of a folkie in my younger days. Pete Seeger was a singer-songwriter wrote some great sing-along songs, that everyone joined in on the chores, one of these was “Windy old weather” and the fifth verse told us,

Up jumped the herring
Right under the lee
He sang drafting’s finished
Why bother? Catch me – in this windy old weather ………..

And not just drifting – like our lands, something similar is happening in our oceans. Recent figures show that around 85 per cent of global fish stocks are now depleted or facing collapse. Haddock has fallen to 1 per cent of their former volume; halibut, those magnificent giants of the sea, they too, are now an endangered species at one-fifth of one per cent. Fish catches are beginning to decline around the world, for the first time in recorded history. In Asia-pacific, fishery yields are on track to hit zero by 2048.

Like agriculture, aggressive overfishing is to blame. In Scotland, fishing is controlled by five corporations (a cartel) they turned fishing into an act of warfare using industrial mega trawlers. They have the latest state of the art underwater cameras to show them the shoals of fish and can remotely set the depth and size of the neck of their nets so that the whole shoal is captured in one foul swoop. They tell us the nets are sized to catch only the larger fish and the smaller fish escape. However, if you are a small fish swimming in the middle of the giant shoal, your chances of escaping to the edge are slim indeed. One catch is enough to fill the ship’s quota so it’s off home we go with a fine catch, the bank manager will be pleased.

The EU tried to limit catches, but in Shetland, they had a system of pipes, the EU quota went to the market – when the quota was filled they flicked a gate and the extra fish went off down the other tube and onto the black market, why return dead fish to the sea? (No one was jailed for the practice).

Others scrape the seafloor in their hunt for increasingly scarce fish, hauling up hundreds of species in order to catch the few that have ‘market value’ turning coral gardens and colourful ecosystems into lifeless plains in the process.

Then there are other forces at work too. Farming chemicals like nitrogen (made from nitric acid – made from ammonia) and phosphorous (made from sulphuric acid) and other fertilisers made from mixed acids. All these chemicals are flowing into the rivers and ending up in the sea, creating giant algae blooms that cut off oxygen to the ecosystems that lie beneath them. Vast ‘dead zones are found in the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea. And I do not even have to mention plastic pollution, plastic had become more numerous in our seas than fish, yet the industry still churns out more and more of these plastics every day, and what’s the government’s answer to it all – put 10p on a plastic shopping bag. 

In 2019 the (IPBEA) published its first comprehensive report, a groundbreaking document compiled from over 15,000 studies from around the world. It said that the number of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians has dropped by more than half. A quarter of all species are now at risk of extinction, strong stuff from people that are not known for such strong language. 

A serious study of stuffy journals by Jason Hickel, found scientists describing the extinction crisis as ‘biological annihilation, and concluded that it represents a ‘frightening assault on the foundations of human civilisation. ‘Humanity will eventually pay a high price,’ the authors wrote, ‘for the decimation of the only assemblage of life that we know of in the universe.’ (extracts taken from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)

I have seen this in my lifetime, yet up until a decade ago who was taking this seriously, ‘like Paddie’s shirt, it will all come out in the wash’ we are sleepwalking into mass extinction. 

I have no intention of writing a doomsday scenario but a blog on Hope. But hope alone is not enough we must first understand the problem before we can try to fix it. Some scientist’s worry we may not be able to hold temperature increases at two degrees as the Paris Agreement assumed. If we heat to two degrees, we might trigger a situation where the temperature spirals out of control and we would be powerless to respond. Keeping warming to more than 1.5 degrees Centigrade would mean cutting global emissions to zero much, much faster than anyone is presently planning for – in fact what followed in the wake of the Paris Agreement, is very little, the money promised still to be realised, as for cutting emissions, that was a pipe dream, pie in the sky, for it is being left to private companies, with private money, to come up with any solution.

I can only repeat the words of a teenager,

“We are at the beginning of mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of endless economic growth. How dare you!” Greta Thunberg.

And will COP (out) in Glasgow be any different, from Paris? Don’t hold your breath. The next COP (out) is not scheduled for another two-decade – by which time it will all be over bar the ‘blame game’.  

Stay safe.

My Cycling Thoughts for Today

The headwinds were light as I set out for Pitscottie, up and over the hill and into Cupar, where I called into the industrial estate, to purchase an 8X4 sheet of 12 mm plywood for a Christmas toy I am working on. They say they will deliver it this afternoon, great service.

Home by 1 O’clock and under the shower, split a soda farl in two and stuck both in the toaster, eaten with hot butter running down my fingers, you can’t take the lad anywhere or possibly back a second time to apologise for his appalling manners. It’s gid tell yir mum.  I could have drunk a well dry so two pots of tea followed the farl.

Something I love about cycling is that it slows your pace of life right down. It gives you time away from all the distractions at home – time to think. Today was no exception. I was thinking of COP (out) in Glasgow, has it been a success or failure?

“We don’t have a right to ask whether we are going to succeed or not. The only question we have a right to ask is what’s the right thing to do? What does this Earth require of us if we want to continue to live on it?” Wendell Berry.

XT (extinction rebellion) is often criticised for having demands that are unachievable when really it is a way of fixing our adrift civilisation. XT is a smoke alarm, an emergency brake a way of getting governments to face up to the reality of the crisis at hand. However that is just the start, what we have to figure out then, is a way to change everything, to create a better society that works for people and the planet.  

I am sure we all agree, we need to change, and that change must come sooner rather than later. We can not wait. We must change systems if we are to stop the growth juggernaut, from barrelling over us all.

As XR’s greatest supporter, Greta Thunberg, most memorably put it, when she spoke earlier this year to the global ‘elites’:

“We are at the beginning of mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of endless economic growth. How dare you!”

We need to change the system, not for any ideological reason, but simply because the emergency demands it. I grow up with food rationing after the Second World War that was nothing to do with socialism, and everything to do with survival. Yet it did make society more equal, a beautiful coincidence: What we needed to do to survive then, is much the same as what we need to do to survive now. Changing the system for our survival will inevitably lead us to a more equal society, and a better quality of life. Both things are compatible – and possibly why the governments of the western world find it so difficult to do.

Tomorrow I will try to get my head around capitalism – a terrifying thought.

Stay safe.

The weekend was…..

Not much changed over the weekend, and the only real story was the strength of the wind, and only then if you were on a bike. So another Monday, and the Monday routine begins again, Laundry, Aldi and my run out, it is also the end of the first week of Cop (out) in Glasgow, the great and the good have had their very expensive meal and headed home, business as usual.

Today we read that the US has signed a 650 million dollar deal to deliver missiles to Saudi Arabia, I wonder what the cost, in the Global Warming, the manufacture of armaments has on the world. For it’s the manufacturing process that is increasing global warming, and that is Capitalism drive.

Every day you will hear about GDP (gross domestic product) and politicians will be quick to point out that we need GDP growth if we are to pay for the services we all depend upon. Such growth can only be achieved if industry sells us more and more goods, and if you want cheaper goods then that will mean high production (economy of scale) sadly for the earth – this is the real driver of Global Warming.

Way back in the 1960s I first read the book ‘Small is Beautiful’ the author argued that rather than build big power stations we should have small units closer to where they were needed. It has taken a while but we now see this practice being acted out in some of the more remote areas of the world. Small production of electricity from small nuclear reactors (much like those in nuclear submarines) they are much more flexible, you do not have to run a huge generator at 95 per cent, it can not be shut down when demand is less, so it keeps up production and we keep the lights on all night to use up the surplus electricity, oh they will tell you it is for safety that the lights burn all night across the world, but is that really the truth?

High production means that goods can be made more cheaply, but it also means that the manufacturer must sell that overproduction and one way to do that is to build in a self destruct mechanism, we all know that that printer we depend on every day has a life expectancy of X hours then it will require replacing, and year on year that replacement date is getting shorter.

That Smartphone will be superseded by a new model almost as soon as you get it home and unpacked. The advertising men will be on your case selling you a new product almost as soon as you buy that supper duper model you have a burning need for.

Cars, those new electric cars that they are now trying to get you to buy, Oh so green, but are they really any greener or less polluting when it is the manufacturing process that accounts for the pollution, and the concrete and road surfaces production that these cars run on that is adding to Global Warming, and not so much the fuel they burn.

So what is the real solution to Global Warming?

Manufacture products that last, and can be reused.

There was a television series some years back called ‘Never mind the quality, feel the width’ maybe it is time to think QUALITY over WIDTH.

Reveres the Capitalist system for a more sustainable one, High-Quality health care, High-Quality services, such as water, power and the internet, accessible ‘To All’ not simply those that have access, the capital.  

We need to make goods, last longer, and around humans not around capitalism.  

Let’s slim down and build a world around – Less poverty – less insecurity – less fat cats. Then and only then will we start to tackle Global Warming.

How I hear you cry – well with the right catalyst, it can happen, just look what is happening in the US right now. Vaccinating the population against COVID-19, we would all agree is a good thing, right. Then why is there such a backlash against a president that wants (in his belief) the best for the population? He introduced that little word MANDATORY. As soon as you trample on peoples FREEDOMS you will be in soapy bubbles. People Power is how you achieve an end to Global Warming, and that has already begun on the streets of Glasgow, not within the COP (out) inside the arena.        

BOMBING IS THE LONDON WAY. by iainlawson27

Carried on all the media news programmes today the march in Glagow, school children in the main, hoping to stir polititions from around the world into action over Global Warming. Strange how AUOB brought 200 thousand marchers onto the streets of Edinburgh, in support of Scottish independence and no BBC or Sky cameras following the protesters, no roadside interviews asking marcher – “why, are you marching” Strange that.

Read this today on Iain Lawson’s blog and had to pass it on.

AND WITH OUR VOTES, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM – A GUEST POST FROM DAISY WALKER.

Bringing Indy Home.  

I think maybe, and it is just a thought, I think maybe this business of bringing about Indy for Scotland, is going to rely on us identifying one personal thing, one thing over all the others, that having Independence from England would enable.  Of course, my ‘one thing’ will likely not be the same as yours, and that’s Ok.  But if I may, I would like to share my own personal line in the sand, just this once.

I was a child of the ’70s, a teen of the ’80s, technically an adult in the 90’s, and a burnt-out, stressed out, worked out ‘adult’ machine of the new millennium…. But even from the very start – Aye for Scotland.

As a bairn, every year, come November, out would come the red poppies.  

It started in school.  Shake the tin, buy a pin, red poppies for the fallen squaddies on foreign shores, and the maimed, who came home to a country ‘fit for heroes’…   but not fit enough to pay them a decent pension.

In those days, there was the folk revival, even in the school, there were local and national folk songs and the definition of a folk singer was someone who ‘slept all day, and sang all night about hard-working folk through the ages.’

Ewan McColl was on the radio and in the school curriculum as he shoved his finger in his ear and sang of the fisherfolk, the farming folk, the mining folk, the ‘traivlirs’, the truckers and anyone else who didn’t get out of his way quick enough.

But he did give us, ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’, and of course the one and only, amazing, late, great Kirsty McColl – his daughter.

And in the ‘80’s – as Thatcher took power and slaughtered Scotland’s Industry, while Scotland’s oil went south and Boomed up London – the songs couldn’t keep up with the industrial collapse – fishing industry – gone, mining – gone, steel working – gone.  3 Million on the dole.

Growing up in a ‘folkie’ family, as a child in the ’70s, songs about your area – (literally the hill out your window), songs about folk who did jobs you recognised, songs about Scottish history, and music that would mainline straight to your souland in yir ain tongue tae!  I just thought it was normal.  I didn’t know what ‘revival’ meant.  But I knew when a song was sung ‘just right’.

The Corries – so good they were international, The McCalmans ditto, but always returned local, Bella Stewart and her daughter Sheila MacGregor – for the big ballads (and the bawdy), Ishbel MacKaskill – still the greatest Gaelic singer ever, Jimmy Hutchinson, Iain MacIntosh – another personal favourite and the all-time best singer of Waltzie Matilda, Waltzie Matilda, who’ll go a Waltzie Matilda with me’, Jim Reid and of course the songs of our ithir national bard – Matt McGuin and his ‘protégé’ – Adam McNaughtan.Fae lost ‘wee red yo-yo’s’, to McLean’s March, and the heights of a jeelie piece up a multie, to the biblical aspects of a stick of chewing gum on the floor at the Glasgow Sunday School.

I could go on, and on, and there were so, so many more.

It was the only history about our country and our people that we got, the only ‘unredacted’ source material and I for one, could not get enough.

Then of course life – and work (mostly work) moves you on and takes over and you lose touch, but every year, come November, out comes the tin, on goes the pin, and yet more Red Poppies.  And from other sources, nuggets of evidence, snippets of info, witness accounts passed from grandfather to child and picture presents.

That Scotland was the first port of call for cannon fodder for all of England’s wars, that ‘Britain’ is an English Nationalist construct, designed, adapted and intended to hide England’s crimes, and appropriate the positive achievements of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, while all the time making them look ‘magnanimous’.

And out the window, back in the ’80s, no jobs, no apprenticeships, 2 choices for the lads in those days, get yourself down to ‘loads of money London’ with a trade or get yourself into the army… just in time for the Falklands War.

But here we are today.  And we are where we are.

Matt McGuinn wrote about John McLean – the fighting Domini.  McLean taught the shipyard workers to read and write, and he taught them the politics of war and finance, and he refused to be cannon fodder.  He was jailed for it.

Thankfully today we would never let such truth sayers get jailed in kangaroo courts – not under Scots Law, not with a devolved parliament, not with one of ‘the most powerful women in the world’ as First Minster – not oor Nikla, not on her watch.  No way…

Except that today, the brave Nicola, had the Saltier removed from Bute House, lest it embarrasses Boris during COP26.

And Craig Murray is into the 90 something day of his jail sentence… for the crime of truth-telling journalism, a civil prisoner, being detained in high security, ‘Jigsaw justice’.

There is a shame on the Indy Movement in Scotland, and I include myself in that.  Not brave, not by a long shot.

But getting back to music, if I may  

The soldiers in the trenches, they wrote their own songs, and they ripped the pish out of the propaganda-like some of the best folk songs do.   ‘If you’re looking for the sergeant, I know where he is, I know where he is, I know where he is… he’s hanging on the old barbed wire.

Craig Murray wrote an article, which I hope is still on his blog site.  It was about Genie Energy, Rupert Murdoch, and Oil.

Around that time, votes were being held in Westminster to bomb Syria and a 3-year-old boy had washed up on the shore of Turkey.

Something about all those things clicked and I wrote a song, or rather the song wrote itself.  The video took longer and was the work of G.

I’ve not had a chance to speak to Mr Murray and let him know his part in the making of the song.  Hopefully one day soon.

It’s interesting isn’t it, the unintended consequences of seemingly unconnected actions.  Pretty sure Craig never anticipated his article would spark up a song.

I have a mantra, for when it’s all gone to shit and you can’t tell up from down.  It is ‘one bit of decency at a time.

I’m going to cling to that for the duration, and, even though the Independence Movement appears to be stuck up an English river with no paddle (and no saltier to use as a sail, thanks to Nikla), Brexit, Covid-19, Tories and the Internal Market Bill are going to devastate Scotland, her economy and her ‘devolved’ parliament.

I can’t guarantee I can do brave, and somehow in recent years ‘brave’s’ got awfully complicated, but I can do decent, one bite at a time.

And that’s it, folks, I’ve kind of gone off on a bit of a tangent somehow, but hopefully not too far.

For me, every year, come Remembrance Sunday, I’ll be there, wearing 2 poppies (I keep them from the year before) and promising, like the fighting Domini of yesterday and the jailed truth sayers of today.  No more Scottish cannon fodder for England’s wars.

At the going down of the sun, and with our Votes, we remember them. What follows is a song written and performed by the author of this article Daisy Walker against a highly emotive video with scenes of warfare and the victims and violence involved. If you are over 18 please watch.

MY COMMENTS (Iain)

My thanks to Daisy for this excellent article and for her emotive song and also the video that was created by Graeme George. War is a most terrible thing, a complete failure in human relations.

I am, as always

YOURS FOR SCOTLAND.