Archive for the ‘political’ Category

Lest We Forget

Posted: 26/02/2017 by Alternate Celt in poetry, political
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I wrote this for my latest TMA


Lest we forget

The poppy

In Flanders Fields it grows

Flowering for one brief day

Shedding petals on ground

Still scarlet stained

By the blood of blossoming youth
Lest we forget

We fought fascism

We fought it in trenches

On fields, streets and beaches

From bomb shelters

On radio waves and postered walls

In our living rooms and consciences

We fought fascism

And we won.
The promise of peace

The post war pact

The NHS

The Welfare State

Our safety net

Our life of civic order
Pay income tax

National insurance

Vote in the ballot box

Put in a lifetime’s 

Peaceful contribution

No more should we be,

Left alone, left behind

Prey to fear, prone to war

Torn by class, race and hate

Never again?

Lest we forget

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#Brexit : 1 week on

Posted: 30/06/2016 by Alternate Celt in music, political
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There’s a chap who regularly comes into my Library and over the years we’ve discussed a lot of politics. In the last few months he’s asked me on a few occasions what I thought the Referendum result would be and I’ve answered every time that Leave would win. Why such prescience?  It’s not really rocket science,  sadly, it was just a sense that the English wanted their identity back and they have felt somehow aggrieved at the EU for diluting that.
But that didn’t make me hope any less for a Remain win, and it didn’t make the shock of Friday morning any less. I’ve been in a miserable, twitter addicted,  fog ever since. It’s all too much to take in, all too much to write coherently about in essay form, so here’s my more emotionally complete response in song.

Listen to So Far To Go on #SoundCloud

Dulce et decorum est pro patria sacrificare

Posted: 02/06/2016 by Alternate Celt in poetry, political, writing

Was looking for something else and found this quite old poem. Plus ça change!

Dulce et decorum est pro patria sacrificare

Or so they tell the soldier they send
into their “theatre of operation”,
Or to the police officer they equip
with riot shields and guns
Or to working man whose job
falls to austerity
Or to the disabled child whose support
dwindles as the bills rise
Or to the homeless woman whose shelter
is closed because of other priorities
Or to the broken family that grieve
after a case of mistaken identity

Sacrifice is necessary, they preach to the poor
the disposessed
the weak
the sick
the hungry

Dulce et decorum est pro patria avi

As they have never said to the banker
who gambled away millions
Or to the politician who fiddled the books
to claim their ‘fair’ share of expenses
Or to the businessman who juggled his accounts
to avoid their ‘fair’ share of taxes
Or to the journalist who scooped
an exclusive from a murdered child’s phone
Or to Cabinet Minister who with the stroke of a pen
let the blood of his compatriots
Or to the General who with a word sent
the flower of our youth to their deaths

Sacrifice is never made by the elites
the ruling classes
the rich
the powerful
the deserving
So my friend, don’t believe them when they repeat the old lie:
Dulce et decorum est pro patria sacrificare
(It is sweet and honourable to sacrifice for one’s country)

Thoughts after 3 hours sleep #sp16

Posted: 06/05/2016 by Alternate Celt in political
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Well. That was. .. interesting.
I managed to tear myself away from the election coverage at 5 this morning. I had munched my popcorn up and Labour provided the entertainment  (well, and Brian Wilson with his technology rage) but I could bare no more smug Tory faces.
I usually count myself as lucky that I live in luscious Galloway, but I was cursing it as I closed my eyes. Finlay will be a happy bunny with an even bigger grin than normal today, even though it was awfy close in the end. You’d think too that living in the heart of Buccleuch land, the Greens could have got stuck in some, but alas no.
Sitting at work and squinting through eyes that feel like they been replaced by smoldering coals, I’ve had time to mull it over. I spoke to one of my library regulars this morning who is a staunch Labour voter and a huge admirer of the Benn/Corbyn mould of the party. He told me he’d voted Tory, I asked him how he could stomach it. He said he almost couldn’t and wouldn’t have if Nicola hadn’t made mention of a second referendum in the Leaders debate last week.  Leaving aside all the obvious points about how that came about and whether it should even matter at this point in time, what really struck me was how well what he said chimed with my gut feelings as last night unfolded.
The Tories talked a lot of talk about Ruthie and what a marvel she is, Labour spit a lot of bile about Corbyn and lessons needing learning and the lib dems some kind of fantasies of resurgence unconnected with the rest of us. It’s a shame they are all so wrong. 
The truth is Labour, through no fault of Jeremy Corbyn’s, have made themselves unelectable in Scotland.  Too many leaders, too much ‘carping’ (tm Kez), too much attention given to making the SNP seem unelectable and too little engagement with their own problems. It’s like the Labour Hame is falling down around their ears so they change Painter/Decorators because they don’t feel the last one dressed up their ruins enough. This has become so chronic nobody wants to trust them with the job of saving the Union anymore. By contrast, wee Ruthie has survived almost a full term as leader, created stability in the Tory Ship and gone about Scotland with a simple, clear message. It doesn’t matter how disingenuous that is, what matters is it’s not the chaos of Labour. 
The Tories are also quite wrong in their assessment of their victories. It’s neither an endorsement of Wrangler Ruth and her buffalo riding antics, nor is it some kind of weird vote of confidence in the Westminster Cabal. It’s a ‘tactical’ descision, as my Labour acquaintance put it, to prevent another referendum. 
The up side of this for us wicked separatist types is that Ruth has to straddle a very fickle horse that doesn’t really like Tories as much as they like the Union. She’ll have to dilute the Tory message to keep them behind her as she tries to be the Strong Opposition she promised, and I don’t think that is going to be possible for the whole of the next four years.
There is still a comfortable majority for Independence sitting in Holyrood, and the next four years are going to involve painful contortions for the Unionists while Nicola learns how to compromise with Patrick and his wee group to get stuff done. It should be quite interesting.

Making crisps and dip for the Vigil

Posted: 05/05/2016 by Alternate Celt in political
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It’s election day again, with the promise of plenty car crash TV overnight, so we need snacks for the vigil.
I made my usual lemon and coriander houmous – with just a teaspoon of oil to keep the calories low. I also experimented with oven baked pepper crisps.

I sliced 3 medium sized potatoes up into fairly thin slices then soaked them in salted lemon water For a while in the fridge.  Then I turned them into a roasting dish, added 2 teaspoons of pepper, two teaspoons of spelt flour, one teaspoon of salt and 2 tablespoons oil. Once that was thoroughly coated, I put them in the oven @220°c

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They might still have been a bit thick, but they are looking good. Early tests indicate they are definitely peppery enough.

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Looking good with the houmous!
So it’s time to kill time till the polls close.

I’m offended when you call me anti-english (re-post)

Posted: 23/04/2016 by Alternate Celt in political

Repost for Saint George’s day 

I wrote this 18months ago, but decided it would be nice to repost it here because the sentiment remains the same.  I get sick of being called anti-English just because I am pro-Scotland.  It really…

Source: I’m offended when you call me anti-english (re-post)

A blight on all our lives…

Posted: 23/04/2016 by Alternate Celt in Life, political

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Tories. Ugh.
I  really try to make a conscious effort not to slide into the dark laziness of hate and dislike for anyone or thing. I even felt disgust at the  way many people celebrated the  passing of  the lady above,  although I understood exactly where that came from. After all I grew up in a Single Parent family in the 80’s, in Paisley and Glasgow. 
I was considering the impact the British Conservative Party has had on my life and I had something of an epiphany. 
Every day the media, politicians and commentators of varying stripes and backgrounds strive to tell us who it is that is responsible for the state of our lives. Some say it’s Muslims, others Europe, others the feckless unemployed or unemployable (how dare people be born with such poor health they can’t work! *shudder*), some might point at the Bankers or big corporations. All these things are somewhat nebulous and faceless fears, easy to manipulate people with because it’s kind of like the scary thing in the shadows that your imagination runs away with. In other words you can put your own fears into these things because they are so vague.
This is all very useful to the real enemy – Tories.
My epiphany was actually almost annoyingly simple.  Every financial struggle, every hurdle I’ve been forced to climb just to get by in “British Society ” has been because the Tories made it so. From bad schools to dreadful housing, from depressingly dull wage slave work to the ghoulishness of filling out benefit forms for my Autistic offspring, from poverty and deprevation to isolation and the difficulty of escaping these things, they are all a result of a lifetime lived under a government of upper class, self interested Tories.
So anyway, I’m not going to fall in to the  trap of nebulous fears, I’m going to escape those Tory clutches by whatever means necessary.  Which, weirdly, might involve oatcakes.

#resigncameron

Posted: 08/04/2016 by Alternate Celt in political
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So, like I may have said I’ve been slumbering.  Playing catch up  at such a frantic moment in politics is not easy, and twitter so hard to follow if you’ve dropped out for a while, but I am getting the gist.
What occured to me this morning that somewhere along the line politicians have stopped stepping aside for scandals. Remember the Profumo affair? That was untenable then and broke the government of the time. What about David Mellor? He had to resign.
But now we have a  new bar. Apparently it’s fine to lie professionally as a politician, thanks to Alistair Carmichael, so minor scandals such as interfering with dead pigs, or cavorting in a dominatrix’s house while taking cocaine are fine. Ok, these things happened prior to either taking office, but they are both in such prominent positions any sniff of scandal should make their positions untenable. 
So now we come to  #resigncameron, the hastag taking over twitter.  Do we remember he has already declared he’s not running as PM again? Do we remember that he is already out the door in the event of Brexit? Will he resign? I am not currently holding my breath as the precident has been dramatically changed in the last few years. If he holds on, he can be the one to brush it all under the carpet. Do we want to let that happen?  No, but unless we collectively pressure the government from every conceivable angle, it will just continue as it has been.  Our democracy is at best broken. We only get a voice when a newspaper editor decides our disdain makes good copy. Otherwise they will publish the latest Royal Escapades or Reality TV scandal instead and pretend mass protests haven’t happened.
It will take more than a hashtag, more than a referendum,  more than an election, more than traditional protests to force the issue here. This is Capitalism’s crunch moment,  it’s entirely skewed infrastructure is teetering, but it will only be shored up by those in power. If we want the world to be fair, just and equal, we need to push. Now.

Protesting

Posted: 05/04/2016 by Alternate Celt in Indyref 2014, political
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Forgive me
I have slumbered
Closed my eyes
Turned my back
Since that ill
September wind
Stole my courage

Forgive me
I have slumbered….

Now I wake.
What’s the point, I ask you, of gathering to protest in London?  What’s the point,  for that matter,  of gathering at Pacific Quay? The BBC won’t report it. They will stand three streets away and ask people if they are disappointed at the turnout while a million people could be kettled in to Parliament Square. 
Go stand on your own High Street,  then people will see you. Gather by the Town Hall, take your placards. Make sure the folk who normally get their news from the BBC see you,  make sure they know. Make sure they know we’re all angry at the same things… the endless lies, empty promises and greed.

Because if we let the rich away with this, then we won’t get the chance again.

Scots Women of History. 2 – Wendy Wood

Posted: 27/06/2014 by Alternate Celt in political, women of scotland

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A firebrand figure from Scotland’s recent past, Wendy Wood (born Gwendoline Meacham), artist, poet & writer, was a passionate Scottish Nationalist and activist for her whole life.
Born in Kent in 1892 as her parents were in the process of emigrating from Scotland to South Africa, Wendy spent her early years learning and growing in a tough environment. A child during the Second Boer War, many of her earliest memories were coloured by her mother’s work in nursing the wounded and the violence and noise of nearby warfare. After the war, Wendy was given a huge amount of freedom to roam and get up to misadventures with her younger brother, whom she had been asked to be a brother to. This was brought to an end when, after organising strikes and frequently being sent home from school for outspoken behaviour, Wendy was sent to an all girl’s private school in Tumbridge Wells.
Upon leaving school, she decided to train as an artist, following in the footsteps of her grandfather, Samuel Peploe Wood. Though not even 15 years old, she joined an artist’s studio in Chelsea, studying under Walter Sickert and lived in a women’s hostel run by nuns. At this point in her life, influenced by her older sister, Wendy met with a number of London’s pre-war Literati, including WB Yeats and George Bernard Shaw.
But Wendy put aside her dreams of being an artist when she married at the age of 19. In 1913 she toured the Highlands with her husband, culminating in a visit to the Wallace Monument in Stirling which was to have a lasting effect on Wendy. From their she went on to join the Scottish League in 1916, the Home Rule Association in 1918, the Scottish National Movement and, ultimately, helped to form the National Party of Scotland in 1928.
A deeply committed activist, Wendy regularly went on speaking tours around Scotland to drum up support for Home Rule. These were not neatly arranged and tidily organised tours, these were tours that required spirit and gumption, neither a quality that Wendy lacked. Taking a van, a handful of activists and some camping gear, they would roam the country, stopping in villages and towns along the way to hold ad-hoc public meetings. Many nights were spent under the stars at all times of the year and every kind of weather Scotland could throw at them. It was on these tours that Wendy honed her firebrand style of speaking which later led her to all kinds of trouble.
During the annual Bannockburn Rally in Stirling, in 1932, Wendy led a group of Nationalists up to the Castle, where they pulled down the Union Flag and replaced it with a Lion Rampant. Wendy stood on the Union Flag accidentally during the excitement and it was torn. She did not, as Eric Linklater alleged, flush the flag down the toilet, so she sued him for defamation. The Union Flag was recovered and raised again over the castle.
She was arrested and imprisoned several times during her long life, all for activities connected with her Nationalism. Her first experience was at Saughton in Edinburgh after being arrested for disrupting a rally being held at the mound by fascist Black Shirts.
Her second spell in prison at Duke Street in Glasgow was prompted by her desire to observe the appalling conditions there for herself. Realising that she was most likely to be jailed for Nationalist activity, she undertook a protest of non payment of National Insurance, whose headquarters had been moved from Edinburgh to Cardiff. When on trial, the judge was apparently most bemused by her enthusiasm for a custodial sentence, particularly as he pointed out to her she wasn’t really earning enough to qualify for payment. Duly sentenced none the less, Wendy spent several frigid and dreadful weeks at the prison, discovering for herself the dreadful conditions. Afterwards she lobbied the authorities mercilessly until Duke Street was finally closed.
Her final spell in prison was at Holloway, where she was sent after being convicted of inciting a crowd of Scotland fans in Trafalgar Square on the day of a Scotland v England game in 1951. She was beaten by policemen during her arrest and began her sentence in the prison hospital. A well known nationalist, she had been under some suspicion the year before when the Stone of Destiny was stolen from Westminster Abbey. Because of this, she took a lot of abuse during her time at Holloway.
She had an often fraught relationship with the SNP, resulting in her leaving the party on several occasions. One of these instances was when she stood as an Independent for the Glasgow Bridgeton constituency.

Get it from your library! (links to National Library of Scotland catalogue)

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