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

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Nairn murder - top cop in pledge to find banker’s killer

The Inverness Courier published in its edition yesterday an interview with the new Chief Constable of Northern Constabulary about the murder of Alistair Wilson in November 2004 - Northern Constabulary has a dedicated page for this crime here.

Chief Constable George Graham said he has 'ordered a detailed report on the hunt for the killer of Nairn banker Alistair Wilson' and is 'telling his officers not to give up on the investigation into the death of the father-of-two, who was shot dead on his doorstep on the evening of 28th November, 2004, in the area’s most notorious murder of recent times'. He said:

"It’s a dreadful crime and we will not let up on it. If it takes a year, 10 years, 15 years, 30 years or 100 years, I guarantee that if we can resolve it, we will.

"I have not been fully briefed yet on where we are with it, but homicides like that are never taken off the books. I’m not a skilled investigator, so there’s not much of my own personal ability I can add to it, but I will support and encourage our head of CID Gordon Greenlees to satisfy ourselves that anything we can possibly do, we would do.

"We are always reliant on information from the public and someone out there murdered Mr Wilson and somebody must know something about it. It would be wonderful if our officers and detectives could get the information that would allow us to solve this, because somebody out there has killed Mr Wilson and is still at large and that is not acceptable to me. We want to keep our focus on crimes like this. These are important to communities and to families, who have lost loved ones in such dreadful circumstances."

If you have information about this crime, visit the dedicated page or telephone Nairn Police now on 01667 452222, the Inquiry Team in Inverness on 01463 715555, or you may make an anonymous call to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

My most recent previous article on the murder is here. There are links to all my posts on this murder, so close to where I live, in the right-hand column under the heading 'Murder in Nairn' articles.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

250 million reasons why the country can't afford the Alternative Vote. Vote NO to AV!

I am supporting the "NO to AV" campaign in the referendum to be held on 5th May 2011. The video-clip below illustrates one of the many reasons why the 'Alternative Vote' is a very bad idea; it will cost a huge additional amount simply to stage this kind of election, quite apart from its inherent unfairness:

The Alternative Vote is a complicated, expensive and unfair system that gives some people more votes than others. It might sound like a small change but the danger is in the detail - it's a politicians' fix.

Governments would be selected through backroom deals and people would have no control over where their vote goes. It should be voters that decide who the best candidate is, not the voting system.

Defend one person, one vote. Vote NO to AV on 5 May.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Vote NO to AV on 5 May

I am supporting the "NO to AV" campaign in the referendum to be held on 5th May 2011. The video-clip below is of the campaign broadcast to be transmitted this evening on BBC 1 at 6.55 p.m., ITV 1 at 6.50 p.m., Channel 5 at 7.25 p.m. or Channel 4 at 7.55 p.m. (all times are UK times - GMT+1):

The Alternative Vote is a complicated, expensive and unfair system that gives some people more votes than others. It might sound like a small change but the danger is in the detail - it's a politicians' fix.

Governments would be selected through backroom deals and people would have no control over where their vote goes. It should be voters that decide who the best candidate is, not the voting system.

Defend one person, one vote. Vote NO to AV on 5 May.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Is Letwin deliberately trying to undermine the Conservative Party?

Dear Oliver Letwin MP, if reports of a private conversation he has had with London Mayor Boris Johnson (which the latter has chosen to speak about) are accurate, then he (Letwin) is a prize chump with the political antennae of an amoeba - and that is probably deeply insulting to all right-thinking amoebae. According to a report of a 'row' Boris is said to have had with him, the conversation with Letwin went thus:

Boris Johnson has had a blazing row with a Tory Cabinet minister who privately told the London Mayor that the Government doesn’t want people flying abroad on holiday.

Johnson told a "People's Question Time" event: "I was absolutely scandalised the other day to hear a government minister tell me he did not want to see more families in Sheffield able to afford cheap holidays.

"Absolutely disgraceful, a bourgeois repression of people’s ability to take a holiday. It is a matter of social justice."

Who was the Tory minister concerned? Impeccable sources tell me it was Oliver Letwin, the Hampstead-born minister of state at the Cabinet Office, 'leading Cameroon thinker' and former investment banker.

One can only speculate on the motives of Boris Johnson having revealed this embarrassing exchange, as James Delingpole did in the Telegraph on 2nd April here. A small extract:

Once again we see Boris positioning himself as the ideological conscience of the Conservative party. I’m not suggesting he doesn’t also believe this stuff: I’m sure he does, with a passion. But politically it makes sense too for Boris understands clearly, as his party leadership apparently does not, the Conservative party in Britain is in dire, dire trouble. And the root of this malaise is precisely this mix of snooty remoteness, intellectual woolliness and odious wetness exhibited by senior party figures like Oliver Wetwin.

Wetwin, let it not be forgotten, is not some random pillock on the fringes of the Tory party. He is the Prime Minister’s key policy adviser. If somebody that influential cannot understand why trying to clamp down on cheap holiday flights (as indeed the government is doing: through the swingeing eco-taxes imposed on air travel) is inimical to Conservatism, then truly the Tory party is doomed.

- the whole article is worth reading.

I suppose the only crumb of comfort to draw from this debacle for the Conservative Party is that there does not seem to be a video-clip or voice-recording of Letwin dropping these pearls of wisdom (and amazingly-outdated snobbishness) on a breathless British public. The fact that LibDem Coalition partner and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg is the MP for a Sheffield constituency only adds to the excruciating nature of Letwin's wrong-thinking and mis-analysis of what Conservatism should be all about - personal freedom and individual liberty - not some Conservative 'grandee' trying to dictate the lives of masses of his fellow citizens. He really needs to get out more - and remember that even folks in Sheffield and other northern cities have a vote and that their votes will play a part in determining the electoral future of the Conservative Party.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Eurovision Song Contest 2011 - the entry from Romania

I came across the ESC 2011 entry from Romania this evening:

It's a lively song, he's got a good and powerful voice (and he ain't bad-looking either) and he's singing in English. I haven't yet seen/heard the UK entry this year, but it'll have to be pretty good to beat this kind of classic 'Europop'.

After a bit of searching I now discover that the UK has already selected its song this year; it's to be by the group Blue and is called "I Can". In my view it is certainly the most powerful UK entry in many, many years and as it's by an established and popular group it should, in a fair world, do very well. It would certainly be very fitting if the 2012 contest were held in London, the year of the London 2012 Olympic Games. See what you think:

The Eurovision 2011 website is here; the contest will take place in Dusseldorf this year as Germany won the contest last year. The contest will be staged on 10th and 12th May (1st and 2nd semi-finals) with the final being held on Saturday 14th May.

Marking 9 years of blogging

Yesterday 3rd April 2011 marked the ninth anniversary of this blog; I can't on this occasion think of this as an occasion for 'celebration', to be very frank, but do want to 'mark' it. It has been a difficult year for me personally and this has been reflected in the [lack of] frequency of new articles posted to this blog:
April 2010 - 18 articles
May 2010 - 6 articles
June 2010 - 10 articles
July 2010 - 11 articles
August 2010 - 7 articles
September 2010 - 12 articles
October 2010 - 9 articles
November 2010 - 4 articles
December 2010 - 4 articles
January 2011 - 9 articles
February 2011 - 7 articles
March 2011 - 4 articles

In the earlier part of the year (March to early June 2010) I was spending my usual extended break in Spain, but in May I had visitors so blogged less. When I returned back to Scotland in mid-June I had many personal matters to deal with, probably the most important being the by then rapidly-declining health of my late mother, who passed away in October. For most of November and December I blogged very little in the aftermath of that emotional trauma, but am probably now beginning to get back on to a more even emotional keel. I have now been back in Spain for about a month and will be here until mid-June and am much enjoying it (except for the hay-fever that I seem to suffer from here, unlike any other place I have ever lived or visited - I can only assume some of the plants here are the cause), although I shall be travelling across to the UK in early May for a few days to continue my tentative planning for a move of my UK home from the north of Scotland to the south of England - I mentioned this in an article in January, just prior to a visit there in early February; my visit again next month is to see the 'target area' again in Spring and assuming that I decide to go ahead with this plan I will probably put the 'wheels in motion' when I return to Scotland in mid-June. So whilst the past year, 'year 9' for this blog, has been a somehwat difficult one the coming year may well see major personal changes for me, which I hope to write about here from time to time admixed with a blend of articles on economics, politics, current and social matters of the kind I have been writing about for the past nine years.

I hope those who take the trouble to visit this blog, or read some of my Tweets or Facebook thoughts find something of interest to enjoy, amuse or infuriate you and that you'll join me from time to time on my journey over the coming year.

Article heading list for latest 6-month period (October 2010 to March 2011) now up

The archive of 'Article Headings' for the latest 6-month period is now available - click here for the period October 2010 to March 2011.

There are permanent links in the right bar to this and earlier 6-month 'Article Heading' indices, immediately below the standard 'Blogger' monthly archive links.

Stand Up! - Don't Stand for Homophobic Bullying

A simple, but effective short video from Ireland:

- bullies can be beaten provided others decline to acquiesce, quietly and firmly - and with a smile.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Rather a cool music video


"Depressed" teenager gaoled for fire-raising at Nairn harbour

An apparently 'depressed' teenage young woman, Dawn MacRae, 18, has been gaoled for 16 months (presumably to be reduced if she can find it in herself to be of good behaviour whilst in prison) for setting fire to a boat in Nairn harbour, the fire spreading to three other boats and destroying all four.

Apart from being, it seems, a bottle-a-day of vodka drunkard (although as the report puts it ironically she managed to stay 'mostly' sober for the two days prior to the trial) it is mentioned that she may have suffered some kind of sexual abuse, causing the depression and perhaps the drunkenness and if this is true then I hope she is given some kind of remedial help. On the other hand it could be that she is just an evil little ***** .