Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Rumours Iraq is to execute 128 prisoners, many for the "crime of homosexuality"

There has been credible information coming out of Iraq for at least a couple of years that a purge of gays in Iraq is underway; now there are reports that Iraq is to execute 128 prisoners soon, in batches of 20 starting this week.

(thru Miami Herald blog and Iraq LGBT blog)

This report in 2006 from Amnesty International called on the Iraqi authorities to investigate thoroughly what is going on (Bill remarks: but since then it appears little has happened). A major complication is that the Iraqi authorities do not confirm executions have taken place, nor do they divulge the names of those concerned; the news, such as it is, has to come through 'underground' organisations.

It is a bitter irony that during the time of Saddam Hussein, gays were largely left alone' even if not particularly liked.

Other reports:
Gays flee Iraq as Shia death squads find a new target (Aug 2006)
Iraq - more gay executions (Apr 2007)
Gay men, women in Irak: torture, executions, systematic eradication (Apr 2007)
430 Gay executions in "liberated" Iraq (Aug 2008)

Monday, 30 March 2009

Police State Britain - Government proposes 2-tier NHS as ID card bribe

Really, this Labour government is utterly shameless! And duplicitous to boot!

Its latest gimmick to try and foist the unwanted ID card system on us is to suggest that military veterans could be issued with 'special' identity cards, so entitling them to 'priority NHS treatment, access to housing and discounts on public transport by using the cards'.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman is quoted as saying:

"We are actively investigating the options of an ID card for veterans that could guarantee identity thereby helping to secure access to services and discounts."

- note the careful wording; I'll get back to this a little later.

Minister for veterans Kevan Jones said the government needed "to make it happen" and speaking to the Independent newspaper is quoted as saying:

"We will provide veterans' ID cards so the person can say, 'I have served in the services,' and get priority access to treatment."

- this from the government, mark you, which closed military hospitals, forcing many seriously-injured soldiers to be in shared wards in NHS hospitals where many of the staff had no expertise whatsoever in dealing with patients with the kinds of physical and emotional injuries they had suffered! It makes me want to spit!

As for the 'careful wording' I referred to earlier, this statement by a Ministry of Defence spokeswoman seems to imply that the MoD will issue ID Cards; I believe they do issue military identity cards to serving personnel, but thiis seems to deliberately confuse the issue by conflating these with national identity cards, which will be issued under the auspices of the Home Office, who would presumably issue them to veterans as well.

As for entitlement to 'special treatment' (have these people no knowledge at all of history??!!), their military service entitles them to care tailored for their needs, not to be shunted off into NHS hospitals where neither the staff nor their fellow-patients may have much understanding of their needs. This attempt to bribe people to carry an ID card is unlikely to fool many people, particularly not those brave individuals, now veterans, who have fought this country's wars to preserve our freedoms, which this odious government seems so keen to curtail. Labour has over the years said it believes in 'equality'; now it wants to separate the population into two classes - and how is a doctor to make the decision, based on medical criteria, that one class of people (non-veterans) will henceforth be relegated to a government-approved second-tier status when seeking medical treatment? I thought the credo of the NHS was "free at the point of need".

I believe those who have served their country need to be treated with dignity and receive the treatment they require. They should not be used as a tool in this despicable way to further Labour's political agenda, by this 'on the cheap' quick-fix! How do they think military personnel/veterans will be viewed by those patients who are shoved further down the queue to make way? With some resentment inevitably. The Labour government may wish to try and dress this up as a 'privilege' for those who served their country; what it will in fact do is drive a wedge between segments of the population.

How stupid do Labour really think we are?

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Chile's President tells Brown a few home truths

Possibly without realising the political impact on her guest's already shattered reputation for 'fiscal prudence', Chilean President Michelle Bachelet in a few words encapsulated and differentiated the frighteningly disastrous policies that Gordon Brown has followed for the last 12 years (as Chancellor and now as Prime Minister) from those followed in wiser countries such as Chile in recent years:

"I would say that because of our decision during the good times, we decided to save same of the money for the bad times," Ms Bachelet told the news conference in Santiago.

"And I would say that policy today is producing results. So when we develop our fiscal stimulus plan, we could make one that is 2.8% of GDP."

- and what a lovely blue dress the good lady is wearing; one is reminded of another famous female politician and her in some ways 'homespun' views on economics and 'balancing the housekeeping' money.

It comes to something when a centre-left politician from what not so many years ago was an economic basket-case has to state by implication to our own 'pillar of fiscal rectitude' just where his policies have taken his country. The Chileans have, for the moment (good for them), learned a valuable lesson from their years of fiscal recklessness and have turned their country around economically. We British had to do the same after the disastrous result bequeathed by the last Labour government in 1979 and succeeded in turning around our own economy and prospects - only for it all to be squandered AGAIN by another Labour government. How many disastrous Labour governments will it take for the British people to learn the lesson permanently and consign Labour and its failed socialist ideas to the dustbin of history where they belong?

(PS/ My views on Labour's competence to govern have unfortunately been given no reason to change over the years - here's what I wrote over eight years ago [first two articles] and although I didn't have a website then, my views on the probable disastrous consequences of the change of tax treatment relating to pension contributions announced in Brown's first budget in 1997 have sadly beeen amply borne out by the results which flowed. Here's what I was writing [scroll down to third article] 6 years ago during the last [mini-]recession about Brown's economic stewardship.)

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Is Her Majesty tired of hearing Brown's relentless spin?

It looks as if She may be, for She has called in the Governor of the Bank of England for a personal audience, the first time She has ever done so in Her Reign. I have no doubt that She is just as angry and worried about Her own personal finances (no doubt she remains a very wealthy woman, of course) and those of the nation of which She is Head of State; it must be very depressing to know that Her Prime Minister is such a useless twat; I have no doubt She expresses Herself in some pretty colourful terms when thinking about this, however discrete She must remain in public.

It is pretty extraordinary for the Governor to feel it necessary to issue such a bald warming to a sitting Government:

"I'm sure the government will want to be cautious in this respect," he said. "There is no doubt we are facing very large fiscal deficits over the next two to three years.

"Given how big those deficits are, I think it would be sensible to be cautious about going further in using discretionary measures to expand the size of those deficits.

"The level of the fiscal position in the UK is not one that would say: 'Well, why don't we just engage in another significant round of fiscal expansion?'"

One thing which surprises me is that many 'experts' did not see the rise in UK inflation coming; the currency has slid 30 per cent in the last year and we import a great deal of our food. What's to be surprised about? The fact that mortgages have become much cheaper for those that [already] have them is fine - and indeed many people I have spoken to in recent months, whose employment is with the State in one form or another (teachers, civil servants, police, etc) are quite happy with the current situation, having seen their monthly outgoings fall substantially whilst largely continuing to enjoy very secure employment, but the situation is quite different in the diminishing private sector where few can be absolutely sure they will still have a job in a few months time. As for those who do not have mortgages (and that includes not just homeowners, but people who rent privately or are council or housing association tenants), they are fully exposed to the increased inflation of [officially] 3.2 per cent - undoubtedly much higher when only basic essentials such as food and heating/energy are considered, whilst similarly those amongst them who have savings are painfully aware that their cash deposits and other investments are quite literally a wasting asset with the twin perils of low interest rates and inflation eating into their values.

I think, even now, most people have no inkling of how bad things could get in the next few years for so many of us who have grown complacent over the recent decades of relative plenty in western societies. I'm afraid I've been thinking these thoughts for at least the past four or five years and it gives me absolutely no pleasure at all to see my worst fears beginning to become reality - and we are only just at the start of a very frightening process in my view. The UK and many western countries are going to be much different (and diminished) places in a decade or two and it's going to be a bumpy ride getting there.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Brown is given a well-deserved public dressing-down

Gordon Brown, our for want of a better term Prime Minister, was attempting to play the 'European Statesman' during a visit today to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, but has been given a very well-deserved public dressing-down before an audience in the EP which seemed quite appreciative of the message that Daniel Hannan MEP delivered. Precise, clear and quite damning, whilst remaining superficially courteous and polite - and absolutely irrefutable. Poor old Brown was left looking decidedly uncomfortable:

- his discomfort could easily be short-lived, if excruciatingly (and deservedly) painful during a brief period, if he would permit many British citizens to show their loyalty by stringing him up from the nearest lamp-post by the neck using some light and strong piano wire. This would be a far more humane fate than he deserves! And he would be performing a public service which might help to redeem some of his wilful economic mismanagement.

Naturally this video is blogged widely - I am pretty sure it will quickly become a classic and will be widely-repeated over coming months and years, particularly during the coming European Parliament elections and whenever we have our next General Election. The economic backdrop (aka 'precipice') to what we will no doubt still be experiencing will provide very suitable context.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Regret pressing the 'send' button?

Well, if you can act quickly enough, GMail will let you take it back, for all of five seconds.

(thru Andrew Sullivan)

George Galloway banned from entering Canada

I have conflicted views about this story; George Galloway MP has been told he will not be permitted to enter Canada because the Canadians allege he is a supporter of the Palestinian group Hamas, an organisation which is a banned organisation there. A Canadian government spokesman is quoted as saying:

"Our border security officials conduct an assessment of who's eligible to come to Canada and on the basis of that assessment, they concluded Mr Galloway would pose a national security threat to Canada."

He added: "Hamas is a banned terrorist organisation in Canada and this is an organisation that Mr Galloway has boasted in the past of providing support for."

- Mr Galloway says he will appeal against the ban, as he is due to speak in Toronto on 30th March at a public forum, Resisting War from Gaza to Kandahar.

One part of me thinks: "Good on you Canada, wish we could do the same and keep him out of Britain, too!" That was certainly my initial reaction. However, then I began to wonder. After all, Hamas is the elected 'government' in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza - how can it be right simply to pretend that a governing political party, elected by citizens of a territory, is persona non grata, however odious their policies may be? And by all accounts they certainly are an odious group. No quarrel there and it's not particularly unusual for one country to refuse diplomatic recognition to another - the US and Cuba or Iran and until some years ago the UK and North Korea, to cite just a few examples.

I have no doubt that Canada generally permits 'free speech', but obviously does not want a conference in one of their major cities to be used as a platform by this notorious demagogue so has had to find some mechanism for keeping him out. Of course, it's not so long ago that the UK declined to let a Dutch MP enter the UK to screen a film he had made and speak at a forum being held by the House of Lords.

On balance I think the Canadian decision is wrong and ill-conceived, although undoubtedly motivated by the most worthy of intentions, just as I think the UK government's decision was although I am less certain that the aims of our government were quite so 'worthy', because I'm afraid I take a very jaundiced view of our own dear Labour government. If freedom of speech is to mean anything then it has to apply to those whose views you do not like, just as much and perhaps even more than it applies to those whose views you favour. Incitement to violence, if such can genuinely be asserted to be likely, would be one of the few justifications for such a ban. However, people whose views one dislikes should be taken on in debate and their ideas shown up for the nonsense they are, not simply be prevented from speaking. I would far rather engage the bigots of the British National Party or the Muslim Council of Britain, or indeed the Roman Catholic Church in debate to try and demonstrate how wrong many of their ideas are, even if I would know from the outset that not everyone could be persuadable to my point of view; that's what democracy is, not shutting up people one does not like.

Finally of course one has to accept that Canada has the absolute right to decide who it allows into its territory, whatever anyone else may think.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

And now for something completely different

After the unpleasantness of this morning, I think some anarchic humour from Monty Python's John Cleese is in order:

- there may well, I accept, be something Freudian in my choice of video-clip for this evening's jollity.

The fascistic and threatening nature of one Gaelic-speaker

Warning: This is a long and tedious article and I would not blame anyone who decides to skip it entirely. I have disabled comments for this specific article (something I have never done before in my almost 7 years of blogging). I am writing it only to document for archival purposes an unpleasant series of comments made last night on an article I wrote almost two weeks ago; I regret nothing I wrote in that article, although perhaps some of my own comments on the comments thread there made during the night and this morning were themselves 'over the top', but I will leave them in place in that article and in the chronological list below, 'warts and all'.

On 7MAR09 I posted an article about a debate going on within Scotland about the wisdom of expanding the number of bilingual Gaelic-English roadsigns throughout the Highland Region and into it. Apart from an initial comment on that article by someone who didn't actually comment on it per se, but made a general comment about my blog, there was one other comment from someone who made a substantive comment on the article ("Mac 'i Iain"), to which I responded 'robustly'. That was until last night, when another commenter ("AaronK") made another comment, basically supporting what "Mac 'i Iain" had written, again accusing me of 'racism'. I again responded quite 'robustly'. That started off a series of increasingly [in my opinion] hysterical and 'over-the-top' comments from "AaronK" until I decided I had done with 'tolerance' toward that particular commenter and would delete any further comments from him (or anyone else) appearing under that article - as I mentioned in a postscript to my 4th UPDATE to the blog article, and as I reiterated in my final comment to that article, when I had already decided to restrict myself to blog UPDATES rather than continuing to comment on his increasingly ridiculous comments, which I began to delete either shortly after they appeared online or, once I had updated the comment parameters for this blog, even before they appeared online, based on the email advices I was receiving from Blogger each time a new comment was made and asking me to approve or reject the comment. I had decided not to delete any of his comments made prior to that point, but he then (in addition to trying to post further comments) started to delete some of his own comments, but not others (for reasons one can only guess at), so it has left the comment thread there completely unbalanced and out of sequence. I have decided therefore, at the risk of giving his views greater exposure, to include below all the comments (his and my own) in their chronolgical sequence as a permanent record which I will not muck around with and which he will not be permitted to. We must all take responsibility for what we write, in my opinion, and not hide under the seeming 'anonymity' which the internet provides for those who wish to abuse it. So, to begin:

"AaronK"'s initial comment, since deleted by him from the comment thread:

Comment made at around 2.12am (Spanish time)

I actually have to agree with Mac 'ic Iain. Just because you're Scottish does not mean you are not hostile and yes racist towards Gaels and Gaelic. In fact I'd say the chances, judging by history and much of the news media ( e.g. Allan Brown), were pretty good.
Most of the policies that have damaged Gaelic have been developed in Scotland. Scotland does not have a good track record, to say the least, of supporting the language. This language was only given any official standing in 2005! That came about through years of hard work by Gaels, but also because the UK is duty bound by the European Convention on Minority Languages.
Gaelic speakers have had to fight tooth and nail for everything they have won.
And yes I wholeheartedly agree with Mac 'ic Iain, many many people in Scotland hold shameful views about Gaelic speakers, clearly some more than others; however, the signs debate has clearly demonstrated these attitudes are in no way a thing of the past.

My initial response:

Comment made at 8.15am

So, another anonymous commenter (the email address bears no relationship to the email address used in the Google profile seemingly created solely for the purpose of commenting here - may even be the same person as the previous commenter, for all I know, with whom 'agreement' is expressed), considers it 'racist' to wish road signs to display the language spoken by over 98 per cent of the population in the areas where bi-lingual are displayed at least as prominently as that used by less than 2 per cent of the population? I think that is nonsense.

The charge of 'racism' is doubly-inappropriate in that not only am I mainly Scottish, but all of my heritage is from a Gelic-speaking backround; quite frankly I think you need to consult a semi-decent dictionary to discover what that word means and not fling around verbal insults which arhas he offended the completely idiotic.

Finally I have no idea who Allan Brown is. Is he a 'racist', too, or has he offended the Gaelic mafia as well?

... and so it really kicks off:

AaronK at 9.09am - comment since deleted by him

Just because you have a certain background doesn't mean you cannot display racism against an identifiable group. You are not a Gael, you are not a Gaelic speaker. Your use of the disparaging "Gaelic Mafia" is indicative of your contempt.
You have been reared in a culture that places Gaels at the bottom. Their language as useless and their heritage as simply a tool to drive your tourist industry. Believe it or not there are also Blacks who loathe other Blacks. So a simple genetic connection means nothing if you hold the position of the dominant group.
Many people have more than one email account.

Bill at 9.19am

Hello again 'Aaron K' - thankyou for commenting again. You really do need to consult a dictionary. I am, by heritage, completely from a 'Gael' background; the fact I do not speak (or do not choose to use) Gaelic has nothing to do with it.

Call what I write 'linguistic imperialism' if you like, but it is not 'racist'.

I am addressing other remarks associated with your comments and with the comment made by "Mac 'ic Iain" in an UPDATE to my blog article, rather than in these comments.

- you can read the UPDATE to which I refer in the original article here. The comments continue:

AaronK at 9.36am - not so far deleted by him

While I may be commenting on your particular post about signs, in actuality I am commenting on the totality of events that have impacted Gaels in Scotland. The distinction of Gaels as a separate race is actually quite well documented in Scottish history. Prevalent in this ideology was that Gaels, as people, and their language are inherently inferior. Though some suggested, obviously meant in your case, that Gaels were capable of "improvement". How nice. The present bigotry expressed against Gaelic, be it over signs, or money "wasted" on BBC Alba, or schools,or even Allan Brown, a prominent Scottish columnist referring to Gaelic as "Hebridean twittering" among other negative characterizations, all allude to this earlier ideology that was in fact linked to ideas of race. So using race when describing how the dominant Anglo culture views and acts towards Gaelic has a historical context and is not at all out of place.

thanks very much. I love Gaelic and any opportunity, no matter how unpleasant, I have to talk about it, I thoroughly enjoy.

Bill at 10.05am

"So using race when describing how the dominant Anglo culture views and acts towards Gaelic has a historical context and is not at all out of place."

Same old confusion I'm afraid. Are we talking about 'race' or 'culture'? Whatever way you slice it I am of 100 per cent "Gael" origin (Scottish and Irish). I have absolutely no 'Anglo' blood in me so far as I am aware, not that it would bother me if I had.

I won't comment further here; please read the 'UPDATE' to my blog article if you have not already done so. Whatever comments you may have about that, if any, I shall not be adding my own further comments either.

AaronK's next comment relates to the first UPDATE I posted to the original article here:

AaronK at 10.07am

Well typically people only react if they dislike what they are reading. Given the low traffic on your blog as is I would assume most of the viewers either know you or were attracted by a certain headline. The headline you use in regards to Gaelic signs already tips your hand as to which side you support.
And as for Gaels in far flung places, we are indeed everywhere!

AaronK at 10.13am

No I think you've pretty much decided to end your relationship to Gaelic and Gaels, your genetic connection is what it is, codes of DNA. Whoopee!
There is no confusion, lol. I am not the one making racial categories. These are pre-existing ideologies that shape the reactions that people reared in Anglo society have towards Gaels, and many other cultures I might add. Though in the Scottish context they are directed more specifically towards Gaels.

- this resulted in my 2nd UPDATE to the original article here.

AaronK at 10.20am - since deleted by him

Well at the very least it blows your theory that Mac 'ic Iain and I are one in the same.

- I think this flows from him having re-read fully my first UPDATE in the original article here.

AaronK at 10.25am - since deleted by him

There is tremendous support outside of Alba, for Gaelic. I always tell my family and friends that I'd love to see some of the Gael-haters attempt to get away with some of their comments in North America.

- this resulted in me writing the 3rd UPDATE in the original article here. I think his next comment relates to something I wrote in the 2nd UPDATE in the same article:

AaronK at 10.43am - since deleted by him

No Bill, wrong again. Scottish Anglo society is the one that developed the idea that Gaels are a separate and inferior racial group. You are the one engaging in mumbo jumbo. You have merely assumed the attitudes of the culture you were raised in vis-a-vis Gaels, and the idea that they are an inferior group. In the historical context this has referred to more than just language, but to the very people themselves. The comments that constantly emerge from the Gael-hating community in Scotland is inextricably linked to this ideology.

His next comment seems to relate to something I wrote in my first UPDATE in the original article here:

AaronK at 10.48am - since deleted by him

It is not rubbish. You are completely blinded because like most racists you simply fail to acknowledge nor see any fault. Scotland is full of Gael-haters. You may claim atheism but you do have an ideology.
Ottawa? Obviously you know nothing of Canadian politics or demographics.

The next comment probably also relates to something I wrote in my first UPDATE in the original article here:

AaronK at 10.51am - since deleted by him

Ah yes a "dissident", a gay Solzhenitsyn are you? Fighting the good fight. "Oh the signs, they're gonna kill us!" .Talk about a hysterical reaction.

AaronK at 11.02am - since deleted by him

FYI, Gaels are real living breathing people. Not your long dead grampa. Although that's how your lot prefers to characterize Gaels. My issue with you has nothing to do with your homosexuality. I don't care who you do. Nice diversion tactic though.

- probably relates to something I wrote in the 3rd UPDATE in the original article here. I think that from this point on it was probably me who deleted all of AaronK's subsequent comments, shortly after they appeared in the comments thread, although later I started to intercept them before they actually appeared online in the comments thread.

AaronK at 11.06am - since deleted by me

You tolerant? That's a laugh. No I am more than pleased to end this with you. You are an anachronism. Your days of dictating the demise of Gaelic are over

- probably relates to what I wrote in the second paragraph of my 4th UPDATE in the original article here

AaronK at 11.08am - since deleted by me

Wasn't too fond of the Solzhenitsyn comment or your hysterical reaction to Gaelic signage? C'mon Bill, run for office on your bile. Go show that Hamish Fraser what for. See how far you get.

AaronK at 11.13am - since deleted by me

Poor billy didn't like that. Gonna take his bats home to play on his own.

- I think this is probably when he realised I was deleting all his comments.

AaronK at 11.17am - deleted by me

hysterical reaction to Gaelic signs: "Carnage on the Highway"

Oh wasn't he a commie at one time. Maybe that's what gets up your dress eh Maggie T?

AaronK at 11.22am - deleted by me

Bill is a Gael-hater, as clear as any that ever lived. I shall rue the day I meet this type of individual in person, and so shall they rue me.
You affront, me, my parents, my grandparents and all the generations that have come before.

- this resulted in me posting the initial 'PS/' to my 4th UPDATE in the original article here, which I repeated in a final comment in the comments thread:

Bill at 11.24am

To "AaronK": In case you have not read the PS/ to the 4th UPDATE to my blog article, I repeat it below for your information:

PS/ I have so far had to delete a further 6 or 7 comments from "AaronK"; I will continue doing so until he gets bored and stops posting his bile here. Luckily we will soon reach the 2-week stage when Blogger automatically asks for blog-owner approval before permitting comments to appear, even in blogs like mine which do not require moderation for recent post comments.

AaronK's comments kept coming, however, even though they were no longer appearing in the blog comments thread:

AaronK at 11.25am

Any Scottish person that decides to open their mouths and spew out your bigoted, crass, Gael-hate will regret uttering a word of it in my presence.

AaronK at 11.28am

Couldn't care less Bill. You can delete, manipulate, try to turn yourself into some victim of homophobia, whatever. Wherever I see you or anyone else maligning gaelic in anyway I will comment again and again and again. I don't care what you think of me. Your opinion to me is less than nothing. You can rot in hell for all I care. and by the way creep, I'm a fag!

A likely story, that last bit - lol! Even if he is, who cares? As his tedious comments continued I gradually added the addenda to the original PS/ to my 4th UPDATE in the original article here

AaronK at 11.34am

I'm a Gaelic fag, and I hate you!! I hate you more than any of the others. You are to me the very definition of a traitor. I do not understand you. I don't know why you people are so nasty and cruel.

- awww, diddums, to that last bit! Perhaps AaronK might care to look in a mirror and ask himself the same rhetorical question.

AaronK at 11.38am

Watch your cattle. Mar sin leat.

- I ask you! That one had me giggling for a few moments.

AaronK at 11.50am

Almost done, but I go on my own terms

- obviously relates to one of my PS/ addenda, when I realised he was deleting some of his own earlier comments in 'retaliation' for me blocking all his more recent comments. His later comments now become even more ludicrous, I'd call them farcical and definitely obsessive:

AaronK at 12.27pm

Oh did you feel threatened?
You nasty old, did I not mention old, fossil. You are not tolerant, you are not decent. You are a lecherous, sad, creep. No one reads your "blog", there's nothing here. I read it because yes I am an absolute partisan! A Fanatic even. And damn proud of it!
All you are is just some sad retrograde who's world is apparently crumbling because of the "Gaelic Mafia". Well get used to it.
I never said , boo-hoo "why is world so cruel to me". I said why are you so nasty and cruel. Mr. "I love My Gael Grandads" Bullshit!, You are so full of shit! Why the hell do you feel the need to attack a group of people when they have been put down by you people for hundreds of years. Some in Scotland may not want to face up to it, but frankly you don't have much of a choice. I am angry. I don't hide or deny that. What sane person wouldn't be?
Any claim you have in Scotland to being a tolerant society is worthless until you do something, more than just window dressing to address what you people have done to Gaels.
Post that you jerk.
Stop hiding behind being gay. Nobody cares.

AaronK at 12.35pm

You're the whiner. With your "why do we the precious "majority" have to put up with Gaelic signs". Us poor put upon "majority". Majority where? A democratic body decides on more than one occasion to approve these signs and still you go on about this so-called majority. Why don't you run for office? Too scared? You know you're option sucks ass. Deep down you know what a god damn bigot/racist you are. You're just some sad Tory (hello Michael Fry) who couldn't get elected as head of a chip shop.
My intervention in your blog is the only thing of any interest on this whole site. So yeah please keep posting my comments. I'll keep sending them your way.
"oooh I felt threatened and scared"
lol, sad fool.

AaronK at 12.40pm

I have to wonder what you did for a living? Mr. "I have a house in Spain". How many people did you screw over to get that, while others starve. I notice you lived in Culloden. Bet you liked that eh? Sitting over some nice Gaelic blood and guts. Oooh look at my merlot drinking life, aren't I special. Flaunting yourself like you're something pretty special.

- apart from the hysterical comments he makes (which I'll ignore), I'm pretty open in my websites about who and what I am, unlike people such as AaronK.

That is, mercifully, the last of AaronK's comments at the time of writing. If he does decide to continue sending me comments I shall simply ignore them, even if I do archive them for my future reference and amusement. I won't be updating this blog article or writing subsequent articles about this matter. Enough is enough.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Police State Britain - Clause 152 being withdrawn

After widespread outrage across the country and opposition in Parliament from the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, the government has agreed to withdraw the highly-objectionable and unjustifiable Clause 152 of the Coroners and Justice Bill which I wrote about in January here and which, according to Justice Minister Michael Wills the government now accepts was "drawn too widely" - however, before everyone cheers too loudly, the government minister's weasel-words included the remark that it would be redrafted; Mr Wills said it was not a U-turn but the "proper process of parliamentary scrutiny" and added:

"What should happen with legislation is that the government brings it to ... Parliament and it is then scrutinised and when on occasion the opposition make a reasonable point, we respond appropriately.

"In this particular case it became clear that the powers were drawn too widely. We've therefore withdrawn them and we will be redrafting them and bringing forward the powers in future."

- so the government still wants to have the powers which the withdrawn clause would have given them legislated into being using a new form of words which they hope will not 'frighten the horses' in quite the same way. The new wording, when resubmitted, will have to be scrutinised very closely to ensure that the government's obvious aim is thwarted! The 'Police State' hasn't gone away (how could it have when the Counter Terrorism Act 2008 has just come into force?!) it has only perhaps been diverted slightly. Continuing vigilance remains essential!

Telling it like it is ...

Remember the UK until 1979? I do - it was depressing in the extreme. Unsurprisingly Labour got us there. They've done the same thing again over their 12 years in power since 1997. When will the British people learn that Labour governments always end in failure and economic chaos for the country?
The makers of the website forgot a basic lesson - a weapon can be used against those that created it. No surprise there then - it's what Labour are. Useless at anything and everything they attempt. (The fact that there is a link to in this website tells you all you need to know about this so-called 'independent' website!)

(thru Dizzy)

Monday, 16 March 2009

Police State Britain - just another telling incident

Still under any illusion that Britain is not a 'Police State'?

Watch this:

"Man arrested on suspicion of photographing a drain"

You can read the full story here, where I came across the video-clip.

NB/ Channel M is apparently a television broadcaster available only in the Manchester ares, either through an aerial or by satellite.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

New links added - March 2009 - p1

It's been a long time coming! was inoperative for updating blogrolls for about 5 months (since last October) and there have been many blogs I've started reading in the interval, some of which really merited being added to my blogrolls. There are also some blogs which have become dormant or taken down entirely which required to be 'pruned' from my lists. Happily was resurrected last week, using updated software it seems and is now getting back to what it always was, a very reliable and flexible way of storing and updating blogrolls. My first job last week was to 'prune' both my main blogrolls ('Blogs you may like[*]' and 'Spanish blogs and links[+]') and I've now begun the somewhat longer job of adding new links. Rather than delay this and later posts until it's all done, I'm going to do it in batches and here are the first 10 links I've added:

Am Not Blog [*] - Bobby writes: "This is not a blog. This is a place where there are pictures, stories, videos and crap. I am Bobby and this is where I jack my shit." - Bobby is a gay South African living in London and working in the media.

Benidorm Hotmale [+] - Benidorm Hotmale's Blog comments on local and national events from a gay perspective.

Biased BBC [*] - Exposing perceived bias in BBC coverage.

Bishop Hill [*] - Bishop Hill writes "A dissentient afflicted with the malady of thought. Bishop Hill is not a bishop. He's not actually called Hill either. He is an Englishman who lives in rural Scotland. "

Blimpish || A Tory [*] - Recently-resurrected right-leaning blog. Conservative thoughts intelligently written.

Cods Plaice [*] - The place to go if you are interested in Linux/Ubuntu and Netbooks. Lives in France so that is of interest, too.

Coffee House - The Spectator Blog [*] - Good quality right-of-centre blogging from various correspondents on The Spectator magazine.

Confessions of a Muscler [*] - Gay narcissism with a certain degree of humour and insight.

Councillor Terry Kelly [*] - A useful antidote for anyone who has ever thought socialism might be a good idea. He does write with great sincerity, though - and tedium.

Dave's Part [*] - An interesting and well-written blog by a journalist who is a Labour member with Trotskyist leanings. Obviously his politics don't appeal to me in any way at all.

I'll be covering later stages of the alphabet in subsequent posts.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Gaelic-English road signs and the hazard they pose

(Please see the UPDATES and the NB/ at end)

Efforts by the [self-]important Gaelic Committee on Highland Council to spread the use of bilingual Gaelic-English road signs on trunk routes into and out of the area are being called into question, at long last, by evidence (so far anecdotal) that they impede driver understanding of the directions being given and may lead to accidents. Before ploughing on with installing more of these bilingual signs into and throughout the region, studies are being called for by Stewart Stevenson, Scottish transport minister, to determine what problems, if any, can be quantified.

I tried to make the last part of the previous paragraph as 'neutral' as possible, but let me be clear - I consider some of the bilingual Gaelic-English signs a positive menace and have on occasions 'whizzed' past an example of these signs at 50 or 60 MPH in my car and questionned whether I was on the correct road, mostly roads with which I am perfectly familiar. The problem is that the Gaelic version appears above the English version in the same [or larger?) size of typeface and in a brighter and more prominent colour, which possibly only makes it appear bigger.

Unfortunately Highland Council's Gaelic committee chairman, Hamish Fraser, has 'form' on this issue, receiving criticism from a Caithness councillor as long as three years ago for arrogantly riding roughshod over criticism of the road-sign language policy he advocates.

(Other articles I have written about Gaelic language issues may be found here and here, both written during 2005 when a Gaelic Language Bill was being debated by the Scottish Parliament.)

UPDATE: (Wednesday 18MAR09 09.30 RST) Very interesting comments to this article; commenters have flung the term 'racist' in my direction - specifically commenter 2 ("Mac 'ic Iain") and commenter 4 and 6 (both by "AaronK"). Whilst I dispute the use of the term 'racist' in this context in relation to the opinions I have expressed (perhaps a 'linguistic imperialist' might be a better term to use as although that is not true either at least it bears some relation to the matters under discussion), I decided to do a little research to try and identify who these two for all intents and purposes 'anonymous' commenters are.

"AaronK" seems to be in Calgary, Alberta (Canada) and using a Shaw Communications Inc internet connection, with IP

"Mac 'ic Iain" seems also to be in Calgary, Alberta (Canada) and using a server at "Calgary Roman Catholic School" as the internet connection, with IP

Interestingly, a couple of moments before the timestamp of "AaronK's" first comment (comment 4) there was a visit from another western Canadian origin based on searches involving this blog article seemingly from Richmond, British Columbia (Canada), also using a Shaw Communications Inc internet connection, with IP

What seems clear, therefore, is that I have offended one or perhaps two "Gaels" in western Canada. Tough! I do wonder if the offence taken may have causes in addition to the purported 'racism' with which I am charged, given that I am gay and that one of the commenters, at least, seems either to teach at or attend the "Calgary Roman Catholic School"; I will fling around a term of my own - the Catholic Church is not known as tolerant in its attitudes towards human sexuality and I believe it is institutionally 'homophobic' and has historically, in many different countries, connived at covering up the sexual misdemeanors of priests in its service involving child molestation. The very recent comments of the Pontiff in relation to homosexuality highlight just what a sick organisation the Roman Catholic Church is; it is not alone as a religious organisation in having 'weird' views about human sexuality, of course. I consider myself an atheist, although my family background is mixed Protestant (Scottish) and Catholic (Republic of Ireland).

Finally, I have observed in my site visit statistics that this article has been viewed both by people in Nairn (where I have my Scottish home) and by people visiting from the Scottish Parliament and from Scottish Media Group, none of which have resulted in the hysterical reactions, or any reaction, of my correspondents from Calgary, Alberta (Canada). I think that factor is quite telling.

2nd UPDATE: (Wednesday 18MAR09 10.20 RST) In "AaronK's" latest comment, full of the usual pseudo-scientific linguistic/racial mumbo-jumbo, he comments: I am not the one making racial categories, whereas he stated earlier that I exhibit 'racist' views and in an earlier comment made this remark: Just because you're Scottish does not mean you are not hostile and yes racist towards Gaels and Gaelic, presumably because he considers use of the word 'Gael' to be a racial category. His comment that he is not the one making racial categories is demonstrably not in accordance with the facts.

3rd UPDATE: (Wednesday 18MAR09 10.30 RST) In "AaronK's" latest comment (he really is obsessed!) - I always tell my family and friends that I'd love to see some of the Gael-haters attempt to get away with some of their comments in North America. This idiocy about Gael-haters is complete rubbish, unless you want me to agree that I hated the grandfather that I loved (the Scottish one) or the other grandfather that I loved (the Irish one). Ah yes, gun-toting North America - perhaps that kind of reaction to 'dissident viewpoints' goes in the US and even in western Canada, but I doubt if it would have much traction in Ottawa at federal level, from what I know of Canadian politcs. Most amusing - you seem to have no sense of irony "AaronK" - lol.

4th UPDATE: (Wednesday 18MAR09 10.45 RST)Did I use the word 'obsessed' in relation to "AaronK"? Well, all I'll do now is simply quote his latest comment in full - it's a real yawn-fest - it's like reading some obsessive tract on matters that only a few individuals have the remotest interest in. As for why the people who matter, those who actually live in Scotland, should have the remotest interest in what an anachronistic sect has to say about politics here, it's a mystery to me: No Bill, wrong again. Scottish Anglo society is the one that developed the idea that Gaels are a separate and inferior racial group. You are the one engaging in mumbo jumbo. You have merely assumed the attitudes of the culture you were raised in vis-a-vis Gaels, and the idea that they are an inferior group. In the historical context this has referred to more than just language, but to the very people themselves. The comments that constantly emerge from the Gael-hating community in Scotland is inextricably linked to this ideology. The Irish (South and North) had enough of that partcular kind of interference in their internal affairs from North American IRA-supporters and funders, until the events of 11 September 2001 awakened them to the duplicity (or actually the politically disastrous consequences for them domestically in the US of continuing support for a terrorist organisation) of their historic analyses in relation to their ancestral homeland.

I have decided I have been tolerant long enough - any further comment on this blog article will be deleted.

PS/ I have so far had to delete a further 6 or 7 comments from "AaronK"; I will continue doing so until he gets bored and stops posting his bile here. Luckily we will soon reach the 2-week stage when Blogger automatically asks for blog-owner approval before permitting comments to appear, even in blogs like mine which do not require moderation for recent post comments. PPS/ I am getting fed up of having to delete "AaronK's" increasingly-hysterical comments, so I have altered the default settings for commenting in this blog by reducing the period when unmoderated comments are permitted to appear without my prior approval. PPPS/ I notice that "AaronK" is in the process of deleting many/all of his own comments, which results in the message "Removed by the comment author" appearing where the comment was. I am now deleteing that remaining reference so comments HE has deleted will appear never to have existed in my blog; however, I maintain an offline record of ALL his comments for archival purposes. PPPPS/ "AaronK" seems now to have finished his work of deleting most if not all of his comments, but I plan (when I get a moment) to repost them all, including my own comments interspersed with his, in a new blog article so that he cannot hide from the hysterical tone of all, and the threatening nature of some, of his comments, not to mention the whining "why is the world so cruel to me" tone of one or two of them. (Note added on Wednesday 18MAR09 at 18.37 RST - You can now read that later blog article here.)

NB/ I have just come across an article on this topic in Graisg's (of the Gurn from Nurn blog) in his blog dealing with Gaelic language issues. Obviously Graisg takes a somewhat different view of the issue of bi-lingual roadsigns than I do, but in actual fact there is not so much difference in our views as one might suppose. In fact I have absolutely no 'objection' to having bilingual road signs in Highland Region (or elsewhere in Scotland for that matter, if people want them), however I would like the majority language to be given at least equal prominence on such roadsigns; it is very noticeable that in all the photographs in Graisg's article, the languages used all have very equal prominence, or in a few cases the majority language has greater prominence. The same holds true in Spain where bilingual roadsigns are often used in specific areas, but great care seems to have been taken to ensure that all languages used are given equal prominence.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Pakistan on the Clyde?

Well, why not? It's being suggested by Cricket Scotland chief executive Roddy Smith that Glasgow's Titwood cricket ground could be a suitable venue for One Day International cricket matches involving the Pakistani national team, in light of the need to find neutral venues after the dreadful occurrences in Lahore over recent days, involving the Sri Lankan team. Several countries have cancelled or amended cricket fixtures in Pakistan in recent years because of security concerns and Australia for example has declined to field a team there since 1998.

It would certainly raise the profile of Scotland in cricket.

Embezzler gets 40 months gaol-time at Inverness Sheriff Court

Christopher Proudfoot, who embezzled £936,452 from Highland Network between December 2004 and January 2008, has been sentenced to 40 months in gaol. Presumably he will be out in less than two years with 'good behaviour'. In neither the latest report, nor in an earlier one during the trial, did the BBC choose to include Proudfoot's photo. Personally I think this is wrong, so with just a little bit of searching I found articles in both the Press & Journal and the Sun which helpfully included his photograph, just in case he tries to touch any of us up in a few years time for a 'loan'. Forewarned is forearmed.

I hope Mr Proudfoot can learn the discipline he obviously lacks so that he doesn't fritter away in future more money he doesn't have on his so-called 'gambling addiction', but until then it is clearly necessary for the public and his former employer to be protected from his weakness.

On the other hand a fraudster from that current 'hate-group', banks, quite rightly receives no such 'anonymising' treatment from the BBC - Carol Barclay, of Kinghorn (Fife), has pleaded guilty at Edinburgh Sheriff Court of embezzling over GBP30,000- from the accounts of customers, principally from the account of one of them, an elderly gentleman. She was employed as an assistant manager with HBOS at its Gyle Shopping Centre branch in Edinburgh. Sheriff Alistair Noble has called for 'background reports' (What's to know? She's a crook!) before sentencing her.

Sunday, 1 March 2009


I heard this mentioned in a BBC news broadcast earlier today, but I refrained from writing about it then because I thought I must have misheard - surely it couldn't be THE FIRST TIME HE HAS ACTUALLY VISITED GAZA IN THE TWO YEARS SINCE HE BECAME THE SO-CALLED 'Middle East Envoi'? But no, it seems I heard correctly earlier today after all (a fuller BBC report is here). How come this aspect of his visit (i.e. that it is FIRST) isn't queried by the Beeb? I know Gaza is a dangerous place, but it hasn't been uniformly dangerous throughout all of those two years and is undoubtedly still dangerous now.

Just what has he been doing these past two years?

Call me an old cynic, but is it entirely coincidence that this piece of non-news happens to be covered the very day that Blair's wife, Cherie Booth/Blair QC is fronting a programme on Channel4 about Christianity [aka a programme about God bothering by a 'God Botherer']? For Gawd sakes, who cares what this woman thinks about religion, just because she happens to be the wife of a former Prime Minister? Did they ask her about His Holiness the Pope having foolishly reversed the excommunication of a holocaust-denier and renegade priest (and self-styled 'Bishop') without having done due diligence about this individual's odious beliefs with the Church now belatedly calling for Williamson to recant his views? Is it any wonder why the State of Israel, no paragon of virtue in my opinion in the coincidental matter of Gaza of course, is somewhat equivocal in its views about Roman Catholicism? Does anyone think this programme would ever have included Cherie Booth/Blair had she not shared a bed with Tony Blair for many years, however brilliant an employment lawyer she is said to be? Sorry for my slight crudeness of expression, but it really infuriates me how television channels dependent on our current sad excuse for a Government (i.e. both the BBC and Channel4) seem to seize every opportunity to give these horrid people publicity - and work - and our money.

Harman on justice

Now there's an oxymoron if ever there was one! Here's roughly what Harriet Harman MP had to say about Sir Fred 'The Shred' Goodwin's pension arrangements on the Andrew Marr Show just now:

The courts may rule one way, but we "rule in the court of public opinion. If Sir Fred Goodwin is counting on receiving this GBP650,000- a year, then he shouldn't, because we will not allow it to stand. The Prime Minister has said it is unacceptable and therefore will not be accepted."

When pressed by Andrew Marr to clarify how a legal judgement in his favour could be overturned, she would not reveal what 'plans' the government has, but simply repeated it 'would not be allowed to stand'. Marr asked if it might require special legislation to be rushed through Parliament, but again she would not provide any clarification.

This is the kind of country that Britain now is, where a government thinks it can ride roughshod over individual rights, however odious (in some people's view) exercise of these rights may be. Of course, it may all be 'bluster', puff and wind, to try and divert attention from the calamitous situation that Harriet Harman's government has, by its meddling with the financial regulatory environment [Thanks, Gordon!] got us into, but I hope this spin won't fool too many people, other than those who depend on Labour for their continuing cushy jobs in government.

The whole point about a justice system worth the name is that it administers rules, set by Parliament, which apply to everyone - the nice and the not so nice. That's why we don't garrotte rapists and child molesters, for example, even if I imagine that many people would not moan overmuch if that fate was to befall them. Harman's naked appeal to the 'law of the pack' to whip up hatred for one individual is just one more odious example of the dreadful erosion of public morals and responsibility that Labour have led Britain into.

I have no special brief for Sir Fred Goodwin, by the way. I imagine his pension arrangements are governed by general employment law, plus whatever special contract he may have neogiated with his employer, RBS, when he took on his most recent role there, the arrangements no doubt being approved at Board level. I agree that many such special employment contracts over recent years, when one has got to know about them, have struck me as quite absurdly generous and, more crucially, one-sided - but retroactive legislation is not the way to go if we ever want to restore credibility to our corporate and regulatory systems.

PS/ Of course Harriet Harman denied, vehemently, that there is any truth in the rumours she is trying to supplant Brown as Labour leader. I leave readers to make their own judgement as to how credible her denials might be.

Quite delicious

Brown wants to shut Harman up. She apparently wants rid of him. He's still the PM for the present, so has the power, but for how much longer?

Or is this all just a Sunday newspaper story? I very much doubt that life in the Downing Street bunker this morning is all sweetness and light - specially as Harman is due shortly to appear on the Andrew Marr Show. The morning toast and marmalade will probably taste more 'bitter' than usual.