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Electric Hurdy Gurdy

June 6th, 2017 (10:06 pm)
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current location: KY16 8SX

Check out Guilhem Desq, lead hurdy gurdy player in Arcane Alchemists:



Transmutation sounds like a Bond theme:






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A March for Independence (in April)

April 27th, 2017 (11:16 pm)
current location: KY16 8SX

People marching across the Tay BridgeOn Saturday, YES North East Fife organised a march across the Tay Bridge from Fife to Dundee followed by a rally in the City Square. It was well-attended for a local event – by hundreds, according to the precision journalism of the Courier. The weather was fine, and many motorists seemed to approve of the display, judging by the proportion of them sounding supportive horns – though in the interests of balanced reporting, I must admit that there was one car that went by shouting something incoherent and waving the Vs.

Once arrived in Dundee there were a few stalls, including one selling books by the speakers that had them to sell, a Scottish Green Party stall (with Maggie Chapman in attendance), and a stall for English Scots for Yes. English Scots for Yes seemed to emerge quite late in the last independence campaign, but I think what they’re doing is important. Although many English-born residents of Scotland voted Yes – and there are plenty English people in the SNP – they are out-numbered by their compatriots who voted No. I don’t think English Scots have anything to fear – if I did, I would be siding with them – but it’s clear that as supporters of independence we haven’t done a good enough job of convincing them that there is no beef between us. English Scots for Yes may help to change that impression.

Change of that sort is sorely needed when there’s nonsense going on like the news story that finally made it to the top of the BBC's Scotland page today of suspect chemical packages being sent to at least three Scottish locations. It’s been an emerging story since Tuesday, but has taken two days to get any profile. Stuff like this is happening because of people whipping up resentment against independence supporters – unionists so “obsessed” with their fear of a democratically driven readjustment at a national level that it’s all they can talk about in their council election leaflets, and a poisonous press. No-one could claim that independence supporters are all saints, but I honestly don’t think they’re the dangerous side in this.

There were talks from a variety of speakers, not all of which I was able to stay and attend, but I caught and enjoyed listening to Robin McAlpine, Billy Kay, Paul Kavanagh (The Wee Ginger Dug) and Lesley Riddoch. Three of the talks can be watched below, and if you’ve got the time I recommend doing that. I was a bit disappointed Maggie Chapman wasn’t among those speaking, since she was present, but I presume she had her reasons.



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Unpacking the Crates

April 12th, 2017 (10:56 pm)

Tea ChestsLooks like the import from LiveJournal to Dreamwidth completed earlier today. There are plainly things that are bust (mainly things like embedded videos and tweets) so I’ll have to trawl back through 13 years of entries and fix as much as I can – but not today! Also, I notice that images hosted on LiveJournal have remained there, and I’ll have to figure out what’s best to do about hosting for new images. In the meantime, here’s an externally-linked image…

This post is also just to check that posting with Open Live Writer works. If you’re a Windows user and haven’t used it for writing your blog posts I recommend giving it a try – subject to this post being made successfully, of course…



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Reluctant Mover

April 10th, 2017 (10:22 pm)

This evening I’ve become a reluctant mover to Dreamwidth. I’ve been with LiveJournal since 2004, have had a permanent account for most of that time, and have not previously set up an account with Dreamwidth; but the effect of the recent LiveJournal licence changes on LGBT users is not something I can support. I’m still in the process of configuring stuff, and my LJ entries haven’t even been imported into DW yet, so I’m not sure precisely how things are going to work out and whether my LiveJournal will stay and be cross-posted to. The logic of “taking a stand” suggests that it should go, but I’ll have to wait and see what the practicalities are before making a final decision. This post itself is a bit of a test to see how things work.

I don’t seem to be alone in taking this decision now.

My new account is at http://ggreig.dreamwidth.org/. In the short term I intend that content will be cross-posted to LiveJournal, but that may end at some point.



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State of the Union

March 17th, 2017 (12:18 am)
current location: KY16 8SX

Two and a half years ago, almost to the day, I stopped blogging on political matters as the argument I cared about was over for the time. My last post on the subject started “Oh Scotland. I think you’ve made a big mistake.

You may not be surprised to hear that I still think that (especially if you follow me on Twitter).

The events of today mean that it’s time to be prepared to use whatever small platform I have again, reluctant though I may be to do so.

Since September 19th 2014, the promises made by “No” campaigners to win the Scottish independence referendum have mostly been watered down or abandoned altogether – a bit like the promise of more money for the NHS that was going around on an infamous bus last summer.

One of the reasons I thought Scotland had made  a mistake was that I saw the EU referendum result coming – although like everyone else, I was surprised by how quickly it came, and the degree of incompetence involved. It was inevitable though – given twenty years during which pro-EU politicians didn’t dare to stand up for it against the poison of the newspapers, a referendum had to happen at some point, and the result was not surprising. I just thought it would take longer.

Well, OK, regrettable as the outcome is, that’s democracy. But what’s not OK is that the promise of staying in the EU was a major part of the Unionist case in the Independence Referendum. What’s not OK is that leaving the EU has major effects on all sorts of things that affect Scotland. What’s not OK is that, without even consultation never mind approval, Westminster is now talking about taking back responsibility for devolved areas like agriculture and fisheries. What’s not OK is that Scotland voted to stay in the EU by a far larger margin than that by which the UK voted to leave (62% Remain as opposed to 52% Leave).

What’s not OK, outside Scotland, is the effect on Northern Ireland and Gibraltar.

What’s not OK is that the UK government hasn’t even responded to compromise proposals put forward by the Scottish Government, despite having promised to reach an agreed position before Article 50 was invoked.

And what matters most of all is that a party with one MP out of 59 in Scotland, and at a high point for them, the votes of 22% of the population, think that they can say “no” to a Holyrood majority for a new Independence Referendum, arrived at in a proportional system, based on a manifesto commitment to deliver exactly that under exactly these circumstances, because it’s a time that doesn’t suit them. There is no higher test of the will of a people – except for the referendum that’s being sought!

And as for “now is not the time”, well, the proposed time period for the referendum (between Autumn 2018 and Spring 2019) is exactly the period during which other EU governments will get their say on the final deal that’s due to be agreed by September 2018. Why is it inappropriate for the Scottish people to have their say during that same period?

(One caveat: that Holyrood majority won’t actually materialise until the debate next week, but the chances of it not occurring are somewhere between extremely low and non-existent).

Meanwhile, the same party playing these games’ one Scottish MP is under police investigation for possible election fraud, along with others in his party. They lied that they cooperated fully with the Electoral Commission in that investigation when the Electoral Commission had to take them to court to get their cooperation. Today they introduced the so-called “rape clause”, which will require tax credit claimants to prove they were raped in order to receive assistance for a third child. Their main Brexit negotiator when questioned in committee had to admit that he knew almost nothing about what was going to occur. That’s only in the last couple of days! How dare these paragons lecture us?

Imagine if the EU had said the UK couldn’t run their referendum, or when they must run it? That’s the direct analogue of what is happening here. If you are a democrat, you can’t support that. Conservatives, and Labour and the Lib Dems who support them should be ashamed of themselves.

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