Thoughts from afar

A guest post by John Fitzpatrick

I haven’t lived in Scotland for over 40 years and now wish I had never left home. I’m ashamed to say that I actually wanted to leave my own country as so many did then. We were brought up to see Scotland as a forgotten corner at the edge of nowhere that no sensible person would choose to stay in. On the other hand we could get out. Nae problem. The world was our oyster and we could go to England, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand or Europe. I have relatives in all the above places although I ended up in Brazil.

I didn’t leave for economic reasons as so many did but because I was crazy about a lassie from Liverpool and when she headed back to England after finishing her university studies in Scotland, I followed her. I spent eight years in England – Yorkshire/Derbyshire and then East Anglia – and enjoyed them. However, I was always aware that most English people did not really know much about Scotland. Although we were seen as a bit different, at the end of the day we were loyal Jocks. People like Billy Connolly, Ronnie Corbett, Alex Ferguson, Kenny Dalglish amused and reassured them just as the loyal Sikhs did during the Indian Mutiny.

I had always been in favour of independence but my background in Glasgow was socialist so I would not have voted for the SNP – the “Tartan Tories” as my father, who was a shop steward and a staunch Labour man, called them. It was only when I went to Dundee to work as a journalist that I met SNP supporters. They were different. First of all, they did not care what my religion was or whether I supported Celtic and Rangers and they were not particularly left-wing. Most were lower middle class from farming or self-employed backgrounds, people you would think as natural Tories but they were not. They were actually more patriotic than those misguided Scottish Labour stalwarts who supported the underdogs everywhere except in their own country.

I started to see Scotland differently. I realized that Glasgow might have been the biggest city but it did not represent Scotland. What a shock that was. Later I ended up in posh Edinburgh and found a different kind of Scot with a different view of how our country should be run. Then I ended up in Fife – one of the few places in the UK ever to have elected a Communist MP. I visited the Borders and found a people who, like those other stubborn folk in Orkney and Shetland, refused to fit into an ideological box and voted as they felt. I started to see my homeland as being a bit like Afghanistan where there are different ethnic groups and tribes – Pathans, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Hazara, Turkmen – but they feel allegiance to their country rather than their ethnic origin.

I realized we were separated by regional differences but so is virtually every country in the world. What I could not understand was why we Scots were so divided and why we could not agree that we should come together and decide on our future, regardless of out regions, class or religions. For example, Portugal and Spain have a lot in common and were even united for about 60 years but the Portuguese were never prepared to be ruled or patronized by the Spaniards. You will never meet a Portuguese who would agree to be ruled by Spain no matter how much he or she might complain about conditions. Belgium is regarded as an artificial country made up of Flemish and French speakers but, despite these differences, I have never heard of a Flemish speaker who wants Belgium to join the Netherlands or a French speaker who wants to join France. I lived in Switzerland for over a decade and never met a German, French or Italian-speaking Swiss who wanted to join Germany, France or Italy.

We, on the other hand, have a large number of people who think we are incapable of running our own country. They feel we need a neighbouring country to take care of us. I don’t like to use the word “brainwashed” but that is what has created this mentality.

We have political parties that spend their time telling us we cannot rule ourselves. Somehow or other Scottish people, who have a pretty good track record when it comes to inventing things like the telephone and the television or penicillin and radar etc. (need I go on?) cannot run their own affairs. We are the only people in the world who are incapable of doing things our way.

These people forget that Scotland as a nation was around a lot longer than as an enforced partner of the UK. Scotland is one of Europe’s longest established countries. However, it was obliterated after the 1707 Act of Union. Although we were allowed to keep our church, legal system and education system, none of these institutions has genuinely stood up for Scotland. The Church of Scotland became the voice of the Establishment and has never rocked the boat on behalf of the Scottish people. The legal system maintains some differences but Westminster can impose any law it likes on us or amend any existing Scottish law. The education system, which we used to boast about, has probably been the biggest failure.

Outside the home, I learned about Scotland’s history when I was at primary school, thanks to patriotic teachers who told us about our heroes and taught us songs and poems. When I was at secondary school in the 1960s the history textbooks literally did not mention Scotland. Plenty on the Corn Laws, Industrial Revolution, Clive of India and Gladstone´s attempts at Irish Self Rule but nothing, absolutely nothing, about the Act of Union, Jacobite Rebellions and Scotland’s part in the British Empire.

When television arrived we were exposed to the BBC from London and then STV with grainy football coverage and the White Heather Club. We were expected to see everything presented from an English point of view, accept English accents, recognize English references and just coorie doon and forget that we had a voice and a view of our own. OK we could occasionally talk about Robert the Bruce, Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora MacDonald but it was as real as the comics we read – I remember Red Rory about a red-haired Highland lad who was held in the air by two eagles and swooped down on the redcoats and gave them a biffing. We saw films like Whisky Galore that presented us as a bunch of lovable rogues ready to outwit the Inland Revenue but never capable of following our ancestors and standing up and fighting against an oppressive power.

Well that’s all changed now and independence is now the main item on the political agenda. Thank goodness there is an up-and-coming generation that is prepared to see things differently from my generation and those that went before us.

Surely the time has come to throw off our humble, embarrassing past and the shackles that tie us to a system that not only does not represent us but despises us and takes us for granted. It’s time we Scots, all of us, regardless of our personal political views, reassert our rights and re-establish ourselves as a sovereign state.

68 comments on “Thoughts from afar

  1. Tom Murphy says:

    Great read. Thanks for that.

  2. […] Wee Ginger Dug Thoughts from afar A guest post by John Fitzpatrick I haven’t lived in Scotland for over 40 years and […]

  3. Anne Martin says:

    Good piece John. Thanks for helping with my withdrawal symptoms while
    Paul is away. 😄

  4. Kenzie says:

    Nice one.

  5. Doug Porteous says:

    John more please.

  6. Mr John Mclaughlin says:

    What an excellent piece John, thank you for your thoughts. I am sure all on WGD agree with all you say.

  7. Ian Wight says:

    Spot on! With you all the way….

  8. Jan Cowan says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading your piece, John. Thank you.

  9. Bob Lamont says:

    Wonderful outline of your own journey John, but beg to differ on on the “embarrassing past”, it was what it was, but “was” does not define us now nor dictate our future path.
    I agree that the younger ones are more likely to push for change without the historical baggage of their predecessors, but their relationship with the world and nations has moved on, they question rather than accept the status quo and were raised with aspirations, and therein lies the rub.
    Given the anger of being unable to vote, and the debacle which has unfolded in London and set to repeat “ad nauseum”, even old die-hards are getting ready for a rammy when the klaxon goes off.
    OAP’s rioting may be a slow affair but even Piers Morgan isn’t arrogant enough to stray within range of a well aimed walking stick without risk of singing contralto…
    Excellent post by the way, well written indeed…

    • indy2019 says:

      The beauty about us old yins becoming seriously Bolshie is that there’s nothing the establishment can do to us. The young have their careers, etc, to consider, whilst us older types can take on the establishment and do what the hell we want.

  10. grumpydubai says:

    Well said Sir and also agree with the above commenters. Thank you

  11. Westviews says:

    What a wonderful piece. I hope when we attain independence that you will consider moving back here. Please don’t stop at one post. We need people like you to keep us entertained and informed whilst Wee Ginger and Macart are busy elsewhere.

  12. Charles McGregor says:

    A good account of those who have unfortunately succumbed to the cringe in the past and why. But scales have, are and will continue to fall from the eyes of many whom have been so afflicted. The curtain hiding the wizard is on a very shoogly peg and has holes in it.

    And once the scales have fallen there is no putting them back.

    On another note.

    Since the Dug has taken Paul for a well deserved wee break and after whetting our activist appetite by announcing the forthcoming Wee Ginger Book it occurred to me that some readers may be particularly receptive at this time to considering an activity which I and others have occasionally mentioned on here.

    I refer top the practice of printing off WGD articles which you particularly like and distributing them through letterboxes in your area. For those who are active, you probably already have a ‘patch’ which you regularly leaflet anyway, but for those who are not, why not just your street?

    For example, a recent article I distributed can be seen here:

    I do it in two columns printed in landscape on A4, that way you have the option of printing it again on the back of the paper and cutting it up the middle to make two A5 leaflets. (test print to make sure front and back are oriented correctly).

    This achieves a lot of good things.

    First it introduces the WGD to many who will not have heard of him. Second, the messages in Paul’s fantastic articles are much more compelling, I feel, than the usual letterbox fodder we are usually given to distribute. Third it could grow the on line readership of the WGD blog hugely, if taken up by a significant number of readers, .

    So, no need to wait for the Wee Ginger Book to start getting the WGD out there. Use that wee bit of extra time just now to get some exercise and air in your lungs by doing something which can only be positive for indy. There have been several particularly good articles to choose from in the past 4 weeks.

    Up and at em Duggers!

  13. Charles McGregor says:

    OMG, I cannot believe I did that again, posted a large jpeg link. I’ve deleted it right away so hopefully it didn’t muck anybody around. I swear I’m going senile.

    I think it is safe to post the link like this:

    https://wwwDOTdropboxDOTcom/s/xg3r4hypg2e90yo/WGD3DOTjpg?dl=0

    where the three DOTs are of course replaced by decimal points to liunk to the file.

  14. Sheryl Hepworth says:

    Great post John, thank you!

  15. Drew says:

    Wow. That is all, just Wow. Thank you for that.

  16. Marie Mcgrath says:

    Great blog John but why not return? We need people like you to knock doors and spread the message face to face. This is our chance to get things on a better course for our young. Come hame, we welcome you.

  17. Graham says:

    Sorry, but our education system cannot possibly be described as a failure.

    • I believe that St Andrews Edinburgh Glasgow and Aberdeen Unis are quoted in the top 100 in the world.
      Otherwise a great read, Fitz.
      My views on the established religions, by their silence supporting the political destruction of the social civic and economic fibre of Scotland by an English parliament for whom we consistently don’t vote, are well documented.
      The Moderator’s, the Cardinal’s, and other ‘religious leaders’, silence is deafening as our citizens beg for food, buy their clothes second hand and go without heat or light, and live on the verge of eviction because Ruth Davidson, Willie Rennie, and yes, Richard Leonard, defend the Brit Nat State’s colonisation of Scotland, and by successive government edicts and social engineering condemn many Scots to early deaths, and hundreds of thousands to life long poverty and deprivation.
      The silence of the Dog Collar is deafening.
      There is strong evidence that Organised Religion supports the Few, not the Many.
      John Knox must turn in his grave every time the General assembly cow tows to the Royals.

      I think that I’ll send Scotland’s Holy Men and Women a copy of the Sermon on the Mount.
      There is no way that the meek will inherit the Earth as long as Ruth Davidson and Gordon Brown, son and daughter of the Manse have their way.

      In my mind, our religious fraternity are found wanting.
      If Jesus’ Second Coming was now, many of his ‘shepherds’ would have a lot to answer for.
      More of this, Mr Fitzpatrick.

      • I know that there are many religious people in the Yes movement, and indeed are fellow Duggers.
        I mean no offence.
        Rather than send a copy of The Sermon, with WGD’s permission, I’ll reproduce a version here.
        “‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

        ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

        ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

        ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

        ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

        ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

        ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

        ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

        ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely* on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

        ‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

        ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.

        No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

        The people are the ‘salt of the earth’, not The Iron Heel Oligarchy.

        We have lit the Lamp of Independence, my friends, and it gives light to all of Scotland. Lux in tenebris, to go all Boris Johnson about it.

    • Charles McGregor says:

      Totally agree. Scotland set the standards for how education should be, some others catching up does not equate to Scotland ‘failing’. That could only pertain if you envisaged some innate extra ability of Scots to stay ahead of the rest which I suspect is an idea that would not sit comfortably with the majority.

      • Bob Lamont says:

        Indeed true, much bunkum on public education and attainment is floated by politicians, usually to justify further interference.
        The greatest failing of education has been the dogmatic reduction in central government finance to favour tax breaks for “friends” and pay for giant train sets.

        • It is announced that teachers in England are to get a 2.7& raise, after five years pegged at below inflation increases of only 1%, but that the cash to pay for this is to come out of each head teacher’s budget. No new cash.
          So pupils will do without to pay the rises. WM Blue Red and Beige Tory austerity trundles on.
          They really are heartless uncaring bar stewards.
          Up Here out teachers get a 10-11% raise, but no mention of the disparity between this real raise and the insulting pittance ‘offered’ to English pedagogues.on BBC ‘National’ news.
          I expect teachers in Carlisle and Berwick, Newcastle and Hexham might be tempted North of the Border.
          We keep hearing of teacher shortages Up Here.
          Perhaps an aggressive recruitment drive in the South to tempt poorly paid teachers North?

          For those in the South reading this excellent post, I urge you to come North, ye teachers, nurses, doctors, dentists. Plenty of work here, plenty of room; all welcome.
          I anticipate a mass exodus of English refugees North when No Deal Brexit bites 31st October, even if Scotland has not by then taken our country back to Self Government which is inevitable now.
          Why no mention of Public Sector Pay in Scotland on the BBC Six O’ Clock News?
          There would be a riot, that’s why.
          BUt Scotland shite news like the increase in Drugs deaths is plastered all over the Brit Media.
          The Public Sector Unions Down There know that we treat our public servants decently in Scotland.
          The Unions will be recommending that their members reject this derisory offer, surely?
          Your Scottish Comrades were awarded 11%, you are being offered 2.7% to be funded out of the school’s text books budget?
          Will EIS recommend accepting this?
          No, and why not?

          • Bob Lamont says:

            Well said Jack, as the headlines disintegrated in the detail I was gobsmacked at HMG bluntly still taking the piss…

    • Mary OPRAY says:

      I agree

  18. Colin McCartney says:

    excellent piece, as someone who has a brother in Luxembourg ( now a Lux citizen ), a son in Canada ( about to become a Canadian citizen ) and myself now holding a Danish passport, I can understand where you are coming from. All of us have a burning desire to see an independent Scotland and we all despair of the Scottish cringe, which has crippled this country for so long.

  19. Very good, and thank you… but I don’t think Scottish education is a failure – though the Usual Suspects will of course tell you that it is. When we are finally able to do something about the inequalities and disparities in our society and economy, I’m sure that will help unleash our potential more generally too.

    • DJ says:

      As a parent of two children in primary school I have to say I whole heartedly disagree with the new system in place. Where the first TWO years (P1&2) are for play learning (my P1 is fed up and want to do numbers and letters like they did in nursery) They are trying to extend it to primary 3 as well. So I fear in years to come our education system will be failing. In the mean time I’m paying a private company to teach them both Maths and English.

  20. Legerwood says:

    At the time of the Reformation the Reformers published the First Book of Discipline which in a way set out a very early form of the Welfare State. It set out how the poor in each parish should be supported so that they could stay in their own homes as well as plans for a school in each parish with a university graduate as a teacher. Both boys AND girls were to attend school. They had hoped to get funds from the break up of the Catholic Church to fund it but they were not forthcoming for a variety of reasons however the Church continued with their plans and by the 1690s had almost achieved that goal. The Education Act of 1697 made it compulsory for all parishes to have a school.
    The Church of Scotland remained in charge of the schools until the 19th century when the increase in Scotland’s population and thus the strain on the school system led to responsibility for schools passing to the local councils.
    Quite a contribution then from the Church over the 300 years or so from the Reformation to the Councils taking over.
    The position of the Church was guaranteed in the Treaty of Union but the Patronage Act a few years after 1707 drove a coach and horses through that provision. Now the Ministers were appointed by landowners rather than by the congregation. People did not take it lying down and some congregations nailed up the doors of their churches so that new, appointed ministers could not get in. The Church did not take it lying down either. They petitioned Parliament annually to have the Act repealed and mounted two expensive cases in the Court of Session too. The Act was repealed in the mid-19th century and full right were returned to the congregations and to the Church to order it’s own affairs. So not supine or an Establishment tool.

    • No one is denying the history of the Reformed Church, Legerwood.
      That was then, this is now.
      If only our religious men and women were like the firebrands of the 18th century.
      It all seems to be a ‘don’t rock the boat sinecure with a tied Manse or chapel house these days.
      Not a cheep from the Established churches on today’s merciless attack on our country’s poorest and weakest citizens by a WM Government hell bent on destroying society for loot and privilege.
      They are condemned by their silence.

      I reproduce the Sermon above.
      I don’t see our religious leaders adhering to the words of the Son of God, do you?
      he Free Market, the ‘Invisible Hand’ of unbridled Capitalism, Greed is Good, defined as ‘aspirational’, not the Rat Race it truly is, is the modern religion, with the apparent blessing of the Establishment religions.

      • Legerwood says:

        Yes you are denying the history of the Church with your broad brush generalised statements.

        I think you will find if you do some basic searches that the Church has not been silent on the issues of the poor, the effects of austerity etc.

        • This is more like it, Legerwood, which was my intention.
          Food Banks? Universal credit? The Rape Clause. Two Child cap? Welfare payments frozen for five years while the rich and big business get tax breaks?
          I could go on.
          Let’s hear it loud and clear.
          Condemn loudly and diurnally politicians who deliberately drive our citizens deeper and deeper into poverty and early deaths.
          The stats are there. Announce this horror from your pulpits every week.
          I do not apply a ‘broad brush’, Legerwood.
          The Sermon on the Mount could not be considered a broad brush.
          It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God?
          That’s all the Lairds damned to the eternal fire then?
          Jesus was a working man, a carpenter, not a Commodities Trader with an off shore account.
          ‘There but for the grace of my middle class aspirational God go I’?
          What the heck is ‘Christian’ about 230,000 scots children living in WM induced poverty?

  21. Legerwood says:

    Part II
    Cromwell heartily disliked the Church of Scotland in part because the congregations appointed the Ministers and the Annual General Assembly gave them a voice. The laity as well as elders and ministers attended the General Assembly. A bit too democratic for him. And perhaps in the long years after the 1707 Treaty it provided an opportunity for the people to Express their opinions. In modern times for example on nuclear disarmament – Lord Macleod of Fuinary – Google him.

    The monarch has no role in the Church of Scotland. They are not Head of the Church and do not appoint ministers other than their own personal Chaplain. They send a Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly but they sit apart. So seriously does the Church take this separation that various locations for the meeting of the GA have been discarded because the LHC would have crossed the floor of the hall to get to their seat.

    In more recent times the Church of Scotland did not hesitate to issue a statement supporting the release of Mr Megrahi. This was sent to all the parishes and read out from the pulpit or published in the Church magazines.

    The Church has also criticised the austerity measures of the UK Government.

    Criticisms can be made of the Church of Scotland. No one is blind to their shortcomings but what has been said in various posts above fall far short of the full story of the Church and its contribution to Scotland over the centuries.

    • ‘Over the centuries’. I rest my tattered old case.
      I am writing of the here and now, not the halcyon days of the Covenanters.
      A ‘Lord High Commissioner’ to the General Assembly?
      I repeat, Knox would be birlin’ in his grave.

  22. Molly's Mum says:

    This is a great piece, thank you for sharing it with us. I moved around a lot when I was younger, I grew up mostly in Manchester & have very happy memories of it – in fact, I didn’t want to come back to Scotland at the age of 13 and hated it, school in particular was very difficult and I rarely attended (Marr College anyone ?) I made several attempts to move back to Manchester but it never happened and then I met my husband and, well, here we are fighting for Independence along with the rest of you. Yet even when I was younger, and living down south, I was always a Scot & I always felt Scotland should be independent.

    People have sometimes said, how can I be so sure, when for years all I wanted to do was live in England and I’ll say, I didn’t want to live in England, I wanted to live in Manchester – my friends were there, my sister and her family live there. I had a connection which meant a lot to me, occasionally it still does. But Scotland is home & we need to be independent, for many, many reasons.

    It doesn’t mean other places don’t matter to us. We may never leave Scotland, we may be away for years and only come back occasionally. Perhaps some people will come back when we are free. Perhaps some people will leave us & never return.

    But whatever happens, the people of Scotland have the right to govern themselves and that time is now. Saor Alba

  23. Judy Rankin says:

    Great post, John. Thank you

  24. David Williams says:

    Excellent article. The dream of independence lives on through people like John Fitzpatrick. Unfortunately, most Scottish people are disappointing creatures, unique in their lack of patriotism and self-confidence. I doubt whether we’ll be able to drag this generation of timorous Scots over the line to the sunny uplands of independence and self-respect that the people of every other country enjoy, expect and demand as a natural birthright. Normal for everyone else, just not us.

  25. deelsdugs says:

    And that great post John, sums up a generation of how we were all made to think, talk and behave. Well, not anymore.

  26. Tony Taylor says:

    A very honest post and well presented. Thank you.

  27. Daniel Harris says:

    Mr Fitzpatrick, you haven’t lived in Scotland for about forty years?

    Have a look round Scotland. It is an industrial wasteland. Manufacturing has been moved to China. Got any plans to bring it back?

    Scotland didn’t give the world, television. The system developed by Logie Baird was not the one that went into commercial production, worldwide.

    It is wonderful to get the masses stirred, but the SNP must be the only nationalist political party in the world, that is fighting on two issues at the same time. One being Scotland’s Independence, and the other being a member state of the EU. You are then in a situation where a vote for Independence is a vote for EU membership. Have a wee laugh. I voted for Independence, but I won’t the next time if my vote is being used by the SNP as evidence for support of EU membership.

    Daniel Harris

    • Daniel, the ‘nationalist political party’?
      That says it all for me.

      Come Self Determination be assured that you will still be able to be an English/British Passport Holder and join the endless serpentine queues at ferry ports and air terminals passing through Border Controls when you next holiday on the Continent.

      When we are independent, if you live Up Here, which I doubt, you can ignore Europe, honest.
      Name one Brussels imposed law to which you object?

      Or do you believe Boris Bendy Bananas nonsense?

      Your mean spirited swipe at Logie Baird, one of our favourite sons from Helensburgh, speaks volumes.

      You are an Brit isolationist Scotland the colonial backwater, peddler of doom and perdition merchant.

      Thank heavens for munificent bounteous England, who keep giving us hand outs?

      Behave yourself, man.

      If you are a Scots citizen, get up off your supplicant knees if only to get a better view over the horizon, for your family’s sake, if not your own.

      Scotland will be independent remarkably soon now, and since 62% voted Remain, will seek to continue as a member of the EU.

    • Shagpile says:

      I see, not being independent in a rigid and inflexible political union where the Scottish electorate is ignored, dismissed and disregarded, and where all the levers to control the economy lie in the hands of those who could not give a stuff is way better than?

      Ah yes, an independent state with full control over it’s economy. Chooses to share some of it’s sovereignty within a club of other independent states. Which has a seat at the EUs top table as an equal partner with a veto.

      In 2014 remember, devo-max would not have come close to having the status of an independent state in the EU, but had it been on the ballot, it would have probably carried the day…. now while we are wondering if Boris will grant an S30 order for indyref II, an independent Scottish state in the EU would not have to worry about getting the permission from the EU to have a Scexit referendum.

      There are problems with the way the EU does certain things, but, in my opinion, less worse than the way Scotland WILL be affected in a UK outwith the EU.

      Your view, whilst being respected, seems odd to me.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Dearie me, a perfectly honest personal perspective savaged in a fit of myopic slagging, that chip must be squeezing a sensitive spot rather than a shoulder…

      Whether Scotland chooses to join the EU is for a later referendum, but electing to link that with Independence is a popular English Nationalist trope trotted out on Scottish political article comments ad nauseum.

      I have misgivings over certain aspects of the EU, but it is capable of and currently being forced to address change.
      Whitehall and the City are incapable of change and unwilling to do so after decades of attempting to destroy the EU, and in the process destroying the UK itself.
      Aside trepidation for what will soon be visited on the English electorate, bluntly we’re off, but keep laughing…

  28. Rebecca Hislop says:

    What a great blog. Sums up our situation so well.

  29. John Vosper says:

    Thank you for a wonderful guest piece , at the time of a well deserved holiday for WGD .
    You have filled a void very well .
    Is it possible to continue your writing in a separate blog after Paul gets back , or do you do that already ?
    It would be good to have another writer of the quality of both of you for us to read and pass on to potential YES voters .
    Thank you, again , for your contribution .

  30. A C Bruce says:

    “The education system, which we used to boast about, has probably been the biggest failure.”

    Stopped reading there.

    • JGedd says:

      That statement puzzled me too.

    • Robert Harrison says:

      Yet englands is 10x worse as its got everything bad happening from teachers forking out of there own pockets to keep the kids education going schools only open 4 days a week some schools shutdown or forced to become academys so these 3 England partys have no right to say the snp fails on education when England is way worse under its conservative government.

  31. The Gillies says:

    Thank you

  32. Johnny Rudkin says:

    excellent article from john fitzpatrick,it makes you think that with the ginger dug on holiday,it is refreshing to get another point of view on scotland,maybe its time the snp took a short holiday to refresh their ideas on independence,they seem to have lost the plot on independence ,they dont want to speak about independence anymore,maybe after a short break they would come back shouting for freedom and independence,we are needing the hierarchy at the snp to get back to their roots of putting independence at the head of affairs,the people of scotland need the snp to stop futtering about, and give as a date to prepare for independence .

  33. James Cheyne says:

    I too, am a foreigner in a foreign land, and when I think of where I was born, I think of the lovely people I have left behind and beautiful countryside there, My family moved when I was in my teens so I automatically moved with them, do I miss England and the sickening way it treats, not just its own people, but the people all over world, The ruling politicians and government are aggressive in their treatment of other human beings all over the world and that makes me ashamed of them, it is no longer the country I remember, or the country my parents and grandparents fought and died for.
    We immigrated to Scotland and have never regretted the move, that was more than forty years ago, my children were born here and my grandchildren, Would I ever consider moving back, Do I miss imperialist England. That is a big No,
    This country my family moved to is also extremely beautiful, But, So are the people, and most of them are working together to detach themselves from a bullying aggressive neighbouring government, that is treating people as if they were animals, the difference being that we protect our animals, Westminster does not protect its own people in its own country or in any other country,
    Throughout history there is hardly a country or nation that has not been on the receiving end of this aggression.
    How many wars has England been the instigators of, and are still trying, Then I ask how many wars has Scotland, Wales and Ireland instigated in history, We as small nations have also been on the receiving end of aggression from English governments and tried to defend ourselves.
    My home is amongst the the people of Scotland, and my heart goes out to the other small nations here in Britain and a cross the world that one day we all live in peace together.

  34. Macjim says:

    Well John, I think the wee ginger dug would approve of your words, a fine bit of writing and a truthful view of Scotland.
    I’d love to read more if you have a blog of your own, and if you haven’t your own blog… why not? 😉

  35. Graeme says:

    I notice a few commenters suggesting John was saying our education has been a failure, I don’t think he was saying that, the way I read it he meant it’s been the biggest failure in defending Scotlands distinctive history which in my view is probably true

    • Ah, if that’s what was meant, I agree… it seemed to me that John had swallowed part of the Unionist Propaganda of Failure. The old Soviet Union used to do a thing called Propaganda of Success, in which oh, things like building only as many tractors as some bozo had decided were needed, a number below the replacement rate as old ones wore out, were touted as huge achievements. The Propaganda of Failure is the opposite, touting reasonable achievements – and even unqualified successes – as failures. As in our education system (history aside), tidal power generation, &c., &c.

  36. “If they could use hand-knitted computer code to make a frictionless re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere in 1969, we can solve the problem of frictionless trade at the Northern Irish border”

    This from Johnson, the ‘journalist’, attempting desperately to tie the 50th anniversary of the moon landing into Border Controls on the island of Ireland.
    What a feckless wee man he is.

    Of course, the re-entry of Apollo 11 was not ‘frictionless’, the Earths atmosphere being used as a brake to slow the craft down.
    There were heat shields and a parachute to get these brave humans back to Earth alive.

    On the 31st October this year England, and poor old Wales, will have no heat shield to protect them as they speed out of control on ‘re-entry’ into the thick dangerous atmosphere of the WTO, and there is no parachute to soften the crash and burn.

    Today’s ‘Iran crisis’ reminds me of the movie ‘Wag The Dog’.
    Invent a war to avert the gaze of the watching masses from the inevitable Brexit disaster heading England’s way on All Hallows’ Eve.
    A Stena Line Tanker crewed by 23 Non UK mariners is described as ‘British’; aye, right.

    ‘eddjasfreeman’ above has hid the proverbial squarely on the head.
    Good old fashioned USSR propaganda with a big dollop of 1984 Doublespeak on top.

    I note that Premier Johnson will come North on a ‘charm offensive’ soon.
    We must get details, so that we can assemble and give him a rousing Big Brother welcome.
    I’ll buy tickets for that rally.

    Now is the time. By tomorrow teatime, we Scots citizens will have it confirmed.
    I joked on this very site 2 years ago that we could be witnessing the death of the Developed World with Trump in the White House and Johnson in No 10.
    It has come to pass.
    The SNP has a cast iron mandate now.
    What the hell are they waiting for?
    Conference in September?
    Surely not.
    Se what you started here, John Fitz.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Johnson’s verbage is this week’s reminder of the late Dave Allen’s “I’ve a soft spot for politicians…” one-liner. Best response I read to his nonsense was “Jesus.. it wasn’t hand knitted it was some of the most complex ground breaking mathematics known to man.. that literally just says it all!” almost sums up the buffoon who will shortly be in charge of ToryMk1 and HMG.
      The propaganda game is in full blown diarrhoea mode now in the US and UK, whatever game the SNP are playing, it is either to comply with threats or to let the stench rise, I may be impatient and critical, but I don’t swallow the ‘feet under the table’ line.
      By the way Jack, another good article in CommonSpace from 3 days ago, Sarah Glynn, well worth a read if you’ve not done so already. A nasty propaganda game but a foretaste of what Scots are about to endure.

      • I recall Archie Roy delivering a Carl Sagan ‘Cosmos’ lecture on the Solar System to us very fortunate schoolboys in the assembly hall in the mid ‘sixties.
        As you say, Bob, hardly ‘hand knitted’ technology.
        Johnson got a Second Class Classics at Oxford.
        I doubt that he could get much further than ‘Omnia Gallia divisa est in tribus partibus’ when discussing border controls.
        I’ll look up Sarah Glyn’s Commonspace piece, Bob. Thanks

      • Belatedly, Bob, ‘cos I’ve been outside reducing a neighbour’s thirteen foot hedge (A tangle of hedges, holly bushes, two Scots Maple trees and a raspberry bush ) to a three foot privet hedge, which she can easily trim at leisure from now on in.
        Here comes the tortured analogy, folks.

        It is time to prune the deadwood, weeds, and popison ivy out of Scotland before it destroys us.

        I read Sarah Glynn’s excellent piece in Commonspace, Bob.

        There is no doubt that there is an obscene concerted effort by the media to paint Corbyn and the Left of the UK Labour Party as Jew Haters (I am being deliberately emotive here), even when they are genuinely criticising Israel’s Zionists and the treatment of Palestinians.

        By coincidence I quoted ‘and then they came for me’ over on WoS this very morning, in relation to our Fourth Estate Fifth Column’s unrelenting SNP Bad stance for over a decade now, while neglecting to criticise the Fall of the English Empire into dystopian failure.

        How can Taylor Campbell Gordon Brewer Settle Wark (the list is not exhaustive) continue to defend the UK, and oppose by lies, omissions, and baseless threats, our right to Self Determination, in the face of the imminent complete and utter disaster facing Scotland out of the EU, a colony of England,the 51st Private Health Care State of Trump’s US?

        Are we seriously admitting that the Scottish Branch of the Brit Oligarchy has deliberately engineered a recruitment policy in our MSM that weeded out all but True Blue Brit Nat Unionists and Royalists.

        A cursory glance of a list of the Scottish Hack Pack would certainly suggest that this is the case.
        They are drawn from the same ‘culture’, same background, white Christian, same education and career paths, members of the same wee media/ Unionist Politics ‘village’.

        It is all about to come tumbling down ’round about their ears.
        Tar feathers and strapped naked to a fiery steed and sent Southwards at a gallop is too good for some of them, if you ask me, metaphorically of course.
        Is there no one in the media now going to break ranks and speak to the Truth?

      • Bob Lamont says:

        If you fancy nipping over, my Thuja is well over the intended 3m and needing topped before it gets too woody… 😉 As a soundbreak and dust trap from passing trucks it is a boon, but a swine to top until I find a telescopic rotatable pruner… A jigsaw, some gaffer tape and a pole is the fallback if I don’t.
        The similarities between the “anti-semitism”, “anti-Indy2” and indeed Brexit campaigns are striking in their reliance on an obedient and unquestioning press…
        I recall reading an article which exposed the political pressure (Cameron?) to plant sympathetic voices in the press/media in the last decade, in concert with propaganda specialists it made anyone out of step stick out like a sore thumb.
        Only the National sticks it’s limited head over the parapet, Indy2 will rely on WGD, WoS, BC, etc. to focus minds and debate then word of mouth and printed articles, against a media onslaught.
        With the Chuckle Brothers in charge of UK and US, with Mirage (ToryMk2) already setting the “cooperation” stage, it is already beyond the tipping point for the undecided.
        Hope that SNP Indy2 starter pistol has an overcharged shell, some need wakened up, not least in the media…

    • shagpile says:

      Re: Iran Crisis…. UK has 2 Betty class carriers don’t ya know. Trouble is, Iran knows they have no jets. NAVAL DEFENCE CUTS! Good grief, another defence secretary who thinks it is his job to pass around coffee, biscuits, notepaper and pens. Unreal, yet, there is your Britnat Gallery.

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