I wear two hats when I write this blog of mine. First and foremost, I manage a small charity in a small Scottish town called Dumfries. Ours is a front door that opens onto the darker corners of the crumbling world that is Britain 2015. We hand out 5000 emergency food parcels a year in a town that is home to 50,000 souls. Then, as you can see from all of the book covers above, I am also a thriller writer. If you enjoy the blog, you might just enjoy the books. The link below takes you to the whole library in the Kindle store. They can be had for a couple of quid each.

Friday, June 29, 2012


I am the white half of a mixed race couple and I have been so for almost a quarter of a century now. How nice it would be to say that all was well on the racism front. In a way, I can say exactly that. There isn’t all that much that makes me feel particularly proud about being British. I am ambivalent about the Queen, I despise the Beckhams, I don’t watch soaps and I hardly ever recognise any of the revered halfwitted celebs of the red tops. However I have spend enough time in some of the darker corners of the world to appreciate what free speech is worth and how lucky we all are to live in a land where leather coated cops don’t tend to come a calling at four in the morning to cart you away and lop off your toes with bolt cutters. More to the point, I am dead proud of the way that we Brits have learned how to get along with each other regardless of the colour of our skins. Of course things aren’t perfect and they probably never will be but they are a hell of a sight better than they were. After all, we are the outfit who plundered Africa of 16 million souls and worked them to death in the Caribbean sun to make a few landed toffs richer than kings. We’re the ones who robbed half the planet down to the last farthing in the name of God, Queen and Empire. So the fact that we now rub along with each other pretty well is not a thing to be sniffed at. Bin Laden promised his funders that if he did something bad enough in the name of Islam then we would retaliate by lynching Pakistanis on the streets of Blackburn. Well, we didn’t and Osama was soon yesterday’s man everywhere but the White House.

Sadly, the minute we cross the Channel things are a whole lot different. In 1990, Carol and I spent four magical winter days in what was then Leningrad. The people had to queue up for hours on end for a rotten cabbage but they could not have been friendlier. Now the neon signs of Coke and Nike shine out across the city and we wouldn’t go near the place. If you are an aspiring young fascist in St Petersberg 2012 there is a new right of passage to negotiate before you can be considered a bone fide Nazi nutjob. You need to hop on board a bus or the tube and seek out a random black person. Once they are spotted you then proceed to kick ten bells of shit out of them whilst you mates film the heroic deed for later posting on the web. A few years ago we got lost in Vilnius (Lithuania) and wound up going round in circles in a godforsaken forest of Stalin era tower blocks were every spare inch of crumbling concrete seemed to be adorned with a swastika. Thankfully we didn’t get a puncture. If he had got a puncture I very much doubt if I would be writing this now. A nice weekend in Athens whilst the masked up maniacs of Golden Dawn attack the immigrants sleeping rough in the parks with crow bars and baseball bats? I don’t think so. Spain. Portugal. Italy. France. Christ, even Denmark has now passed a law banning home grown Aryan Danes from marrying foreigners. I guess the nearest Carol and I will get to Copenhagen is watching ‘The Killing.’ Oddly enough the nearest place to Britain in terms of cosmopolitan harmony is Germany in general and Berlin in particular. I seems like our old adversaries have come a long way as well.

I grew up watching grainy pictures of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin where a very black Jesse Owens utterly pissed off a very white faced Hitler by winning the 100m gold. What a completely perfect way to shove all Der Fuhrer’s Aryan superman crap right back down his throat. By 36, the poison was already coursing through Germany and by the time it ran out of steam, the nightmare of nightmares had been and gone. All over Europe small events are beginning to have the feel of mid thirties Germany. And every year we have to strike off yet another country from the Ryan Air cheap weekend list.

And so to Italy. To Mario.

What a childhood the lad must have had growing up among the racists of the Lombardy Plain. Every step of the way he was told in no uncertain terms that no black man would every play for Italy. Not ever. At the Stadio Della Alpi the Juventus fans would organise their very own version of a Nuremberg rally to greet him. And he just kept on going. Mad as a brush at times, fair enough, but we all need a bit of mad as a brush in these dismal times. And then it was time to step up to take his penalty against pal and team mate Joe Hart. All I can say is not since Cantona…… Surely even the racists back at home must have been forced to show a grudging appreciation over their bowls of steaming spaghetti. I suppose in a way they did. Gazzetta della Sport came up with the cartoon at the top of this blog. So. Black lad does good against the English. Let’s make him out to be a comic gorilla. They have apologised since. Well. Sort of.

And so to the semi finals against the invincible machine called Germany in Kiev where 20,000 Jews were once upon a time machine gunned into a trench at Baba Yar. And so to Mario’s Jesse Owens moment. Don’t you just love it when fact out does fiction? Don’t you just love picturing the faces of the racist ‘Ultras’ of Milan and Turin? What did you do boys? Did you cheer? Or did you skulk off to sulk in your caves.

Get in there Mario!           

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