Meanwhile…In Not So Sunny Scotia

In my absence here I have been reading and researching. I have been engaging with social media and clicking on links to papers and documents, to videos and newsreels. I have been trying to find out more about what is making this world tick in the particular manner it is currently ticking. Like a timebomb.

One of the things I enjoyed about studying history when I was at school was when I realised that nothing happens in isolation. My older brother was the one who helped me see this.

The night before an important history exam he offered to help me prepare by quizzing me. I failed. Miserably. If I remember correctly he asked me how the First World War started. I can’t remember my answer now.

I do remember he said, ‘No. You’re looking at this all wrong. You have to look at what was going on elsewhere. One place wasn’t operating in a vacuum to another. Think about it. While you’re up here studying, the rest of the family are doing other things. Some of those things will be unimportant to you. But some of them could be rocking your boat. What if mum is arguing with dad? What if ….’

And on he went, describing what other people may or may not be doing that may or may not be impacting on my life.

I got it.

I finally got it.

He then went on to describe a series of events happening around the world at the time leading up to the outbreak of WW1. I was hooked. Every story he told, he would say, ‘Meanwhile….’

Meanwhile.

I’ve had ‘meanwhile’ in my mind a lot this while back.

The USA is bitterly divided on who to elect for president. Why? What’s on offer and what’s coming out of the closet around each candidate? And how much of what is revealed is true? How trustworthy is the established media? Whose corner are they fighting and why? How much of alternative media can be trusted? What is the source of information, do they have an axe to grind and what might that be?

Meanwhile, Britain has decided to leave the European Union. The Tory party seem intent on going for the so-called ‘hard’ option despite all evidence that suggests it’s the wrong option. No access to the free market if it means having to accept uncontrolled borders. Why is the Tory Party so intent in going for the most difficult option? Why would the Tory Party – capitalists of the first order – attempt to embrace the centre ground and sacrifice the pound in the name of immigration? Why is the rhetoric emanating from that quarter embracing xenophobic speech and helping, by their rhetoric, to cultivate antagonism towards the immigrant population? How many of the decisions made by UKgov are independent of that ‘special relationship’ with the US?

Meanwhile, in Syria, atrocities are being carried out against children. Why? In whose interests is it to control that area and why?

Meanwhile, in Israel and Palestine, what was done to one is being done to others. Why? Apart from history, is there psychology at play? Abused becoming abusers? Why are we so divided on seeing the connections?

Meanwhile, back in not so sunny Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has promised the possibility of a second independence referendum for Scotland. Why? Is she a power-hungry politician intent on breaking up the UK to the dissatisfaction of those who value its togetherness at all costs? Why are there still so many Scots still against it? It surely makes sense to support something which allows the Scottish people to determine their own course in the world. Why are some then still resistant to the independence that would allow their own voices to be heard by virtue of having a government that they actually voted for as opposed to always having the government that the rest of Britain votes for?

Meanwhile, 40million citizens in Russia are mobilized to prepare for nuclear war.

Meanwhile, Scotland is sitting on Trident. Rejected by Scotland. But housing it, nevertheless, because nowhere else on the British Isles is capable of accomodating it, apparently. And it would be too dangerous to house near a large city. Greater Glasgow (population just over 1million) is 39 miles from Faslane, the Trident nuclear base.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Government is doing everything it can to enhance renewable energy as the best way forward.

Meanwhile, oil, Syria.

Meanwhile, new sources of oil discovered off the west coast of Scotland.

Meanwhile, some still believe that Scotland’s last referendum on independence was rigged. You think for a minute you’re walking out of here? We need your tax receipts.

Meanwhile….

It goes on.

The one thing that I am sure of in this muddle of information is that we are being manipulated. All of us.

How is it possible that so much of mainstream media sings from the same hymn sheet while there is evidence to the contrary?

How is it possible that so much anti-immigrant speech is being allowed? Not only being allowed, but being poured forth, in some quarters, like an avalanche of putrid vomit.

How did Hitler rise to power? Why were so many susceptible to his particular brand of fascist rhetoric?

How did World War 2 begin? What was going on elsewhere around the world that culminated in yet another war to disprove that the first would be the war to end all wars?

What is all the fighting about?

Is it fear of ‘the other’? Is it notions of a Caliphate? Is it protectionism of borders?  Is it humanitarian? Is it oil?

Is it, in fact, about who controls the means of providing their citizens with the sources of energy that allow us to switch on that TV? To run that car? To have the life that we deserve? At all costs?

Meanwhile, here in Scotland, a nation of just over 5million, some of us have a dream. The dream is that when we gain independence – and we will, eventually – we will pursue policies that reject nuclear weapons wholesale, embrace renewable energy as the means of safeguarding our planet while still allowing us to function in the world. We reject xenophobia, reject homophobia, reject austerity that hurts the poorest in the country. The poorest whose voices are not heard and yet must pay the cost of failure of fiscal policies and the austerity needed to balance the books. Whose fiscal policies? Whose interests are they representing? Where did all that revenue go to? Who benefited?

We reject the sectarianism that is still rife in this country of ours. A sectarianism that divides the population into Catholics and Protestants. Into two colours of two football teams. Into ‘yoons’ and ‘cybernats’. We reject the idea, repeated by mainstream media and successive UK governments that we are ‘too stupid, too small, too poor’. Despite evidence to the contrary. Evidence deliberately hidden by successive UK governments.

Natural resources are gifted throughout this world of ours. There isn’t a place on this planet that could not be self-sufficient in safe energy if the will were there, by those who wield the power, to invest in research and production. Why is there no will? In whose short term interests is it to safeguard the status quo? Where there is the will there is a way. I believe that.

But the will is lacking. Why? That is the billion dollar question. The Rockefeller Foundation renounced fossil fuels in favour of pursuing renewables just prior to the Paris Climate Talks last year. From what I’ve read of the Rockefellers that sets alarm bells ringing. Has the agency, founded on snake oil, become so altruistic that its main concern now is to preserve the planet? Or just some of it?

Scotland has already shown that it is possible to produce energy through many different, safer means. Research and investment into wind, into tidal. Feckin’ kites for god’s sake! This country – rich in oil – wants another way. The research needs developing. But the finances available to further that aim have been cut by UKgov.

For yes, we receive pocket money from Westminster. Scotland may be an oil rich nation but the revenue from these many years of production has gone south. Privatised and misused. Successive UK governments – regardless of party politics – have used the revenue to give tax breaks to the rich or develop selected areas of England. All other countries can fend for themselves and then take the blame when what is allocated does not – cannot – counter policies made elsewhere for the benefit of some.

I recognise that large swathes of England have been neglected at the expense of a select few. I’m as heart sorry for them as I am for us. Wales. Northern Ireland. For Scotland.

I recognise that money rules the world.

I recognise that those whose sole pursuit is money and power don’t give a damn about anyone else but their own interests.

I recognise that people are considered collateral damage by those who wield power.

I recognise it. And I reject it.

I will fight for Scotland’s independence till the day I die. Not because we do actually contribute more to UK’s coffers than they advertise and we want to keep that to help our nation in the way we see fit. Valid though that reason is, it is, for me, not the main one.

It is because we are ignored.

It is because our values and aspirations are ignored and deemed unimportant.

It is because we are deemed expendable. It is because UKgov allows and encourages, advertises, an erroneous image of Scotland to sustain their power base.

It is because successive UK governments have allowed and promoted the notion that we are a nation of scroungers.

And they have not done that for no reason.

Double negatives aside, how does one conquer?

Divide.

Divide countries in a union – any union – by the language and information you use. Manipulation.

Blame ‘the other’ for failings in economic policies. Manipulation.

Control the media. Manipulation.

Lie. Manipulation.

 

Yes, this is my conspiracy theory.

But what is a conspiracy but what we are NOT told?

And we are not told plenty.

So I will continue to search. I shall continue to seek answers to why it is, apparently, imperative that wars are carried out in the name of one thing while ulterior motives are present.

I will continue to question why US and UK still sell weapons then cry foul when they are used. Why regimes are undermined then controlled. Why lives are unimportant in pursuit of something else. Anything else. Whether that be religion, oil, land or power for power’s sake.

Our world is a fucked up mess and we are all culpable. Every last one of us. We let our governments play by standards and rules that we are not privy to. We let them build the weapons of the future to maintain supremacy.

We let them.

Is Nicola different?

 

I don’t know.

I think she is.

I believe she is.

Her actions suggest she is.

 

But, no matter, it is not the SNP that drives the voice of independence.

I am not a member of the SNP.

I am not a member of any political party.

Been there, seen that, done it. Scottish Labour. The northern branch of Westminster. I did not leave them. They left me. They left all working class people in pursuit of something else. Something now indistinct from what the Tories stand for.

I abhor party politics.

They’ve proven time and again they do not work.

Except for themselves.

 

SNP? They, for me, are a vehicle that will give the people of Scotland the independence they need to change our corner of this globe and, hopefully, the wider world.

If I were to be a member of any political party I’d be Green.

It is the natural choice for someone who wants to protect our planet in oh, so many ways, from the worst excesses of ourselves.

Oh, one of the things that my brother and I disagreed on way back then.

Him: If I have to die I want everyone I know to go with me. I don’t want to think that everyone’s here while I’m not.

Me: Oh, God, no, when I die I want to think that there are people here I know and love keeping the story going.

 

I feel I should apologise for this post. Not the content, per se. But the hurried together, rather manic way in which it has been written. But, you know what, I’m not going to.

I will not apologise for being worried, for caring about people all over the planet, for wanting my children to have a future. For all children to have a future, no matter their race, creed or colour.

 

I also wanted to take the time to go back and insert references/links to what I have been finding. But, I’m not going to. I’m not going back. I’m going forward. The information is out there. The reasons are there. Find them. If there is one thing that the internet was surely invented for was to help save us from ourselves.

 

Meanwhile…

It’s Friday. I’m on holiday from school for a week. Thank heavens. What a week!

May your god or none go with you.

May you know peace wherever you are. May you know peace in your heart.

We’re just this tiny blue dot.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in space….

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Voices Before Viceroys

the viceroy’s forgotten whose kingdom he guards

he’s looting the lands that he holds

seminal power has been bastardised

by one who’s unworthy and bold

hounding to hell, he pillages grain

grown for the bread of them all

laughs as he does with a hoit and a toit

oh, the viceroy is having a ball

crown on the head though who here has placed

their trust in sceptred high-hand

usurper and charlatan chasing the throne

big chief thinks he’s making a stand

the natives are drumming, the smoke’s on the peaks

warpaint is blue with white cross

viceroy can number the years he has left

who needs an upstart as a boss

In Season For A Reason

there’s a voice and a reason and a reason for the season  and the season may very well be now and it’s calling and they’re shouting and the shouting’s growing louder and it’s asking when and where and how

and it’s shouting and it’s crying and the proof is in the people and the people are asking why and why and why, can you hear it, can you feel it, do you know it  when you see it, can you feel it surging, voices do not lie,

they’re asking and i’m asking and we’re wondering and demanding and it’s growing by the minute, by the hour and it’s here and it’s there and it’s tweeting everywhere and folk around are fed up by the same old choir

for they sing the song of death and destruction and disaster and they try oh, how they try to fill our hearts with fear, but hearts and minds have reason and the reason and the season is asking, really? armageddon near?

what of love and truth and the knowledge born of youth, the undisturbed, the uncorrupted view, the simple and straightforward and, yes, the basic facts, that, where they argue, honesty is lacked

our educated young and the chorus raised against the same old, tired old, oh, so very, very old, repeated verse, is a fallacy, delusion, determined on confusion, keep them separated, subjugated, worse,

let them all believe that difference is abhorrent, that mothers, fathers, children, all and everywhere, are somehow out of sync, with all nature, all we need, all we ask for, how we feed, shall we really let them bring us to the brink

there’s a reason and a season and the season may be now and the reason is catching up to lies and, god, I hope it’s true that what we read and do may avert the worst of all, we, all, must most despise

 

I don’t really ‘do’ Twitter or Facebook although my posts go to both. I’d forgotten how engaged, politically, both are, especially considering my experience of both during the Scottish Referendum campaign. I’ve been negligent. There are so many voices out there speaking for causes that unite people, people just being people, doing what they’re best at. Yeah, there are some total planks. You get that everywhere. But, there are so many Joes and Janes out there, just being human and caring, that I’ve been humbled tonight to be part of their thoughts and arguments.

I’m promising myself that I’ll get back to the level of engagement that I was involved in during the Referendum, that I’ll listen to the pros and cons and follow the links  –  so many of which I could never find on my own.

I don’t know if I’ll manage it – time always being the enemy of intention – but I’ll certainly try.

There’s a reason, I believe, for the existence of these forums at this time – this season of so much unrest and dissatisfaction with what passes for governance worldwide. 

I’m rarely in fashion but I do tend to follow what appeals to my sense of justice and integrity. I find these voices here on WP. I’d forgotten that social media actually has a lot to be said for itself – if you can ignore the bits that don’t appeal.

I’d urge anyone whose interested in what’s going on in the world to do what I have neglected to do for some time. Re-engage. This is the season. And there is a reason. I have no doubt of that after tonight.

Pep Talk

I believe that most people who write feel they have a purpose in doing so. Whatever that purpose may be we can, at times, be doubtful of our ability to communicate. We may doubt the words we choose, our technical capabilities, the methods we use, the subjects of which we speak. Worse, we may doubt whether any of it makes any difference to a single soul other than ourselves.

To love writing, to want to communicate something, anything, and to doubt whether it has any meaning or to find ourselves in a place when the words just won’t come is an awful place to be for any writer. Over the last few weeks, or perhaps longer, I’ve experienced some of these doubts and it has come to my attention that a number of other bloggers, of whom I’m very fond, have been experiencing some or all of the above.

I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe in amazing connections, ones that sometimes blow me away by their synchronicity. Not for the first time here I find myself renewed by reading the thoughts and feelings of others and the honesty with which they share them. I also god bless email and friends across the ether. Some of the allusions in the following poem are born of reading others’ posts, comments and emails. And listening to an enlightening Ted Talk. One that makes the excellent point that I, courtesy of that beautiful synchronicity, will adhere to – I can do better. In all areas of life. I just have to try.

it’s too early to be calling me

or too late, I’m comfy

and you know that I can’t rise

your bugle pierces

no respite, it hollers

get up lassie, seek the prize

 

I bleary eye my boots on

and I splash my face

and question silently

who’re we kidding, what’s the point

battle’s over

all a waste of energy

 

but I’m trained for long haul

war and peace

and justice just the same

and tired is no excuse, you’re in the army

you’re a soldier

not a number but a name

 

and it matters that you uniform

and polish spit

and stand up ever straight

you can’t lie abed

and give up ghosts

they’re at the gate

 

there’s a battle to be fought

and in conscience

can’t object

for to not to try, surrender all

to give the field to hate

how keep respect

 

so get up soldier, silence voices

don the boots and arm yourself

and fight another day

ennui, attitude

and poor perception

out the way

 

these ruminations

round and round they go

we rue, beget

pivot points, dissatisfied with somethings

round and round, encircling, draining and despairing

in a helix of regret

 

get the little boots on

you are awesome

and you know you are

believe it soldier

you’ve a purpose, we’ve a purpose

we still orbit that same star

 

Across Thresholds

There are words that we recall,

their promise fleeting,

veil, once lifted, vanished

as intent,

mercurial, they missed their capture,

meaning

lost in moments’ madness

though well-meant.

There are words we’ve never heard that speak

more truly,

caught in throats, in hearts,

that rarely vent,

carried in that meditation,

duly

transmitting more

than all sound ever spent.

There are times the nothing speaks

a thousand voices,

meanings pluralised,

sublimely sent,

demystified, these murmurs,

among noises,

drowning out, in muted,

letters lent.

There are words we sometimes wish

we’d never uttered,

some there are we wonder

why we heard,

as those that find their way,

in silence stuttered,

cross thresholds,

sublimating word for word.

We Know Already, You Know

By next Thursday, before yet another holiday weekend, – yes, I know bloody teachers – I will have submitted around 30,000 words to my current headteacher outlining the progress of 26 children in my class. I started a couple of days ago. Pressure makes for focus I find.

A certain amount of copying and pasting is allowed for similarity in contexts. Blah, blah, they all studied artists and scientists and found out about the life of pirates in days of yore. That still leaves a lot of words that are unique to every child. Mainly because they are all unique. I’ve spent every school day with them since last August till now and I know them as well as it’s possible to know anyone in around 1,000 accumulated hours of close proximity.

And it strikes me all over again. Every year. Every time I come to the full report on the progress and knowledge of the children in my care.  Gawd, I really know them. Not until I put the words into type and see before me the evidence of my own thoughts and their development.

Of course, in between times, this is all held in my head and in ongoing assessments and profiles. But it’s the summary – if summary 30,000 words can be called – that brings home to me every-single-year how well I imbue all that unfolds before me.

Don’t we all?

I haven’t commented, as such, on the results of the general election here in the UK where the incumbent party swept home on around 25% of the electorate.

And that might even be wrong.

My head is full of figures.

I’ve read just about everything there is to read on post election analysis. I’ve listened to and read some unadulterated shite.

Some perfectly reasonable arguments and some hugely emotive posts from people who have so much at stake from another five years of Tory government. The favoured and the damned.

I haven’t read much on WordPress unless there’s been a link through Twitter or Facebook to a relevant post on a subject that is not going away. Democracy. Justice. Representation. Empathy. Compassion. Corruption. Representation. Capitalism, that no creator of its name surely ever envisaged. Surely not, Adam Smith.

More than one subject there?

Or one?

I’ve listened to I don’t know how many repetitive newsreels on Burundi and immigrants on boats who may or may not be genuine asylum seekers and appeals from member states of the European Union that Britain and other members step up to the mark and take their fair share of suffering by any other name.

I’ve hung my head that, already, an extreme right-wing government is seeking to revoke the Human Rights adhered to by member states of the EU to be replaced by some paper invoking #British values. A government with its 25% mandate seeking to ensure that no strike action may occur in any workforce without a 40% vote in favour.

I’ve laughed, delightedly, that the 56 Scottish Nationalist Members of Parliament ‘flouted’ etiquette by applauding – that’s it, applauding! in Westminster! How very dare they! To flout the establishment thus! Off with their ……Fuck off!

I’ve smiled that a 20 year old politics student overturned a 17,000 seat majority from Labour to claim her own 6,000 seat majority.

I smiled and nodded as I listened to her say that it was a wee bit embarrassing that tweets of hers/Facebook stats were being dredged up from five or six years ago to disgrace her. Yeah, like any fourteen or fifteen year old could beam with pride at everything they’d ever said or done.

Or any of us could at any age.

And what does all of my reading and listening have to do with writing report cards for 26 kids I love have to do with each other?

If I have to explain that.

If I have to explain that we already know what is good for us and our children, for the weak, the impoverished, the homeless, the disenfranchised.

If I have to explain that a lifetime watching and listening and reading and being part of the system surely equates to more knowledge and understanding than 1000 hours of close proximity of love and care can produce.

I have the wrong audience albeit a small one.

What is wrong is endemic everywhere.

I’d like to leave the last word on the subject – before I go back to writing reports on my little ‘angels’ – well, they are! – to a new find to me today.

A voice. Not from Scotland.

Because what I know, what nearly everyone in Scotland knows, is that this is not nationalist as previously known. I’m glad to know that others know this too.

This is civic.

This is debate.

This voice.

Of the people.

This is basic.

And as surely as a 20 year old MP can eat a piece ‘n’ chips on the steps of the established powers that would hold us to values we don’t hold, we have voices that will flout established thought till we get to know the hearts and minds of children of the future.

I give you Mhairi Black

And Mancunian Spring, proving that people voice exists across the whole of the UK. And the day of reckoning is dawning. Perhaps everywhere.

And, if you don’t believe me, I find this more than a little worrying. So many familiar names in the newly appointed Tory cabinet in roles that ‘if at first you don’t succeed’.

In other news,

– someone resigned from The Simpsons. Apparently the map of the UK now resembles Maggie. Does that mean that the body hasn’t caught up with the head yet? Or what?

-and women say bigger might be better. Jury out on that one here. Quality counts.

Now going back to nursing a cold – first one in I don’t know how many years – and catching up on reports that I know inside out. Because, let’s face it, we know what we know already. No one need to tell us what is self-evident. Right?

Man Knows It

Old masters, new voices,

Same lyrics, fresh choices,

Classic music, innovative songs,

Yesterday’s kids and today’s belong.

Man knows it, present still,

Past, future colliding, always will.

 

How can you stand the silence
That pervades when we all cry?
How can you watch the violence
That erupts before your eyes?

How can you tell us something
Just to keep us hangin’ on?
Somethin’ that just don’t mean nothing
When we see it you are gone

Clinging to some other rainbow
While we’re standing, waiting in the cold
Tellin’ us the same old story
Knowin’ time is growin’ old

That was a wonderful remark
I had my eyes closed in the dark
I sighed a million sighs
I told a million lies to myself, to myself

How can we listen to you
When we know your talk is cheap?
How can we ever question
Why we give more and you keep?

How can your empty laughter
Fill a room like ours with joy
When you’re only playing with us
Like a child does with a toy?

How can we ever feel the freedom
Or the flame lit by the spark?
How can we ever come out even
When reality is stark?

That was a wonderful remark
I had my eyes closed in the dark, yeah
I sighed a million sighs
I told a million lies to myself, to myself

Baby, to myself
Baby, to myself
To myself, to myself
To myself

(Van Morrison, Wonderful Remark)

Distant Voices

Almost there now

In the unbegotten,

A time or two

Should see to history,

Nearly over

Voices vague, forgotten,

 A spell or two,

Absent magic, invisibility.

Lessons learned there,

Uncertainly remembered,

Mistakes repeat,

Repeat, repeat, forget,

Hold the moments,

Abstinence to treasure,

Voices distant

Not quite unforgotten yet.