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

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The face and the name behind the "Lallands Peat Worrier" blog

I've had the Lallands Peat Worrier blog in my bloglist for some years, but apart from coming to value the obvious 'erudition' of his articles on legal issues affecting Scotland I had no real idea of who the person behind this blog is. So I was inerested to come across this video-clip of a recent appearance by Andrew Tickell on the 'Politics Show - Scotland' programme:

- speaking from Oxford. However, as the programme presenter introduced him as a "Scottish legal blogger" we are not in fact very much farther forward in being able to understand who he is, so a little digging via Google reveals this very interesting biography, which I think puts his credentials into much better focus. Below is an excerpt:


Andrew Tickell is a DPhil candidate. Before joining the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies in 2009, he graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2008 with a 1st Class Honours degree in Law, awarded with the Lord President Cooper Memorial Prize. A year of his undergraduate study was spent in the Universiteit Utrecht in the Netherlands. In December 2009 he completed an MSc in Equality and Human Rights (awarded with distinction) at the University of Glasgow’s School of Sociology, Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences with a thesis exploring ‘Gender and the Scottish Bar: Masculinity, Femininity & Representation in the Faculty of Advocates.’ He holds an Arts and Humanities Research Council Award.

- so the basis for his erudition is much clearer. On the other hand I do not share his views on Scotland's position within the United Kingdom, nor his desire to see that position change with a move to Scottish separation/independence. However, whatever I may think of his views on this matter, he is certainly someone who writes with great clarity of thought and rationality and his is one of those blogs that I try and read regularly, simply for the sheer quality of his writing.

(Video-clip thru Caron's Musings, another blog I read although somewhat less-regularly, but also thru Scottish Roundup whose weekly selections I generally glance through. I did some more research myself to find the link to his biography.)

Friday, 18 November 2011

Nigel Farage tells the truth to the European Parliament

I am not remotely a supporter of UKIP, nor of Nigel Farage, but it is undeniable that he often speaks great sense - colourfully, yes, but always jovially and rationally. Here he is, telling the unvarnished truth to the European Parliament on Wednesday 16th November 2011, in the presence of both Herman van Rompuy (President of the European Council) and José Manuel Barroso (President of the European Commission), about the constitutional outrages that have been perpetrated upon two EU member states in recent weeks, namely Greece and Italy.

Whatever one may have thought of Papandreou and Berlusconi, both were democratically elected by their respective countries, a lot more than can be said of the current puppet governments in both countries, nor indeed of von Rompuy and Barroso. It is a truly extraordinary phenomenon! Europe has slid, without any fanfare whatsoever, into a fascistic nightmare not, I am completely certain, any part of it a desire by modern-day Germany to 'dominate', but perhaps because of a completely understandable desire in Germany not to debauch their currency because of the painful relatively-recent history of that country. Even now, I can hardly believe what has happened and is still continuing to happen. From the time the UK joined what was then the European Economic Community (EEC), I have been a fervent supporter of it and I was even, emotionally at least, in favour of the setting-up of the Euro as a currency. However, I was always worried that this could never work properly without complete fiscal union of the countries involved, and for more or less the reasons that most now see the Euro as being a complete disaster. It bears repeating that the two countries which first broke the rule that national budget deficits should not exceed 3 per cent, as far back as 2003, were Germany and France and nothing happened, because both were/are too powerful. However, when a third country, Portugal, did the same it was 'read the riot act'. It was really from then that I began to have a much stronger view that the UK had been completely correct not to join the Euro, not of course that our own Labour government was behaving any more responsibly, but at least Labour kept us out of that disaster.

To be honest, whilst I am still not a Eurosceptic, I hesitate any longer to say I am a Europhile - if people like me are beginning to think this way, then I really do wonder how long we can be denied a referendum on our continuing membership of the European Union.

Monday, 7 November 2011

London 2012 - Olympic torch route around Britain

The route the London 2012 Olympic torch will take around the UK next year was announced today, beginning on 19th May at Land's End, in the extreme south-west, before progressing around the whole country until it arrives at the Olympic Stadium in east London for the Opening Ceremony on 27th July. You can see a map and list of place-names the torch is going to be on any given day here.

The Olympic torch won't actually be passing through the town where I live in Scotland, Nairn, but it'll be passing pretty close on 9th June, when it will be travelling from Glasgow to Inverness (15 miles west of Nairn), with various places around Loch Ness being mentioned as way-points on its journey (Fort Augustus, Invermoriston, Lewiston, Drumnadrochit then Inverness). Then again on 11th June it will be passing relatively close by on its way from Stornoway to Aberdeen, the following perhaps being of local-ish interest (Inverness, Aviemore, Carrbridge, Grantown-on-Spey, Tomintoul), with either Carrbridge or Grantown-on-Spey being the easiest to get to from here, quite apart from involving a journey through lovely scenery to get there.

I'm not entirely sure that I shall be here myself to even contemplate making a journey to see the torch pass by, because it is possible/probable I shall still be at my place in Spain at that time next year, but I'll certainly read with interest what others say about it passing their way, wherever that is in Britain. I think that whatever one may think about the Olympic Games coming to the UK, and the undoubted expense it will involve, I do think that it may serve to cheer up at least a little what could potentially be a pretty troubled period for this country and for Europe generally, if recent events in Greece (the birthplace of the Olympic Games) are any guide.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The "Jesus Saves" stone that didn't save a lady driver

A dreadful incident is reported on in the Inverness Courier in which a lady driving on the Nairn to Grantown-on-Spey road was assaulted whilst parked at a stone with the words "Jesus Saves" painted on it. It's not in fact very clear from the report what form the assault took - whether it was theft or for some sexual reason.

I don't drive on that road very often (although the scenery in the area is rather dramatic) and have often noticed the message on the stone - it is indeed something of a 'feature' on this road, so the fact that it makes it into a newspaper report doesn't entirely surprise me. So far as I recall, it is on quite a bendy bit of the road, with no obvious place to park nearby. It is certainly ironic, and I do not wish in any way to minimise the seriousness of what happened to this unfortunate lady, that the message conveyed by the words was not borne out in practice. If anyone has any information about this incident they can contact the police in Nairn on 01667 452222.