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.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Last week we broke our record for the number of food parcels handed out in a single day.


It wasn’t exactly a very old record. It wasn’t Sebastian Coe in the 800 metres or Bob Beamon in the long jump. The record had in fact stood for less than a fortnight. It is the fourth time we've broken our own record in seven weeks.

This rather alarming growth seems to fly in the face of the wonderful economic news we have been hearing of late from our gallant leaders in Westminster. A couple of weeks ago we were all urged to get out and arrange street parties to celebrate the joyous news that the UK’s growth in GDP has rocketed up to a glorious 0.9%.


Doesn’t looking at the wonderful, seductive figure on your screen just make you feel all warm and tingly and basically wonderful. For a while things looked tough, but everything is fine again. If the annual rate in Britain’s GDP is 0.9%, then all is absolutely well with the world. The sun is shining and the birds are singing and the blossom is blossoming. God bless you, George. You're our saviour George.

But George.

Have you got a minute George? It’s just that I would like to ask you a quick question. Sorry to be uppity and yes, I know that I should know my place, but I just can’t quite understand why we keep breaking our food parcel record if things are supposed to be so fine and dandy in the light of this marvellous news about the 0.9% growth rate.

Oh, I see.

Ii doesn’t count because it's Scotland and Scotland is a complete pain in the bloody backside and I should know my bloody place.

I see. Sorry George.

It is clearly funny stuff. This GDP malarkey. George seems so keen to tell us about it, but then he goes and gets all stand-offish and stroppy Old Etonian when you try and ask a simple question.

On Friday night things got even more confusing. I went along to a ‘Yes’ meeting to meet a fellow author who is a part of the campaign. The first speaker of the evening was Richard Arkless from Business Scotland and it was Richard’s job to lay out the basic economic facts which should persuade us all to tick the YES box in four months time.

It took Richard a matter of minutes to get us onto the GDP thing.

The GDP per person across the whole of the UK is £24,000 a year. Oddly enough he failed to mention this has just risen by a marvellous 0.9%, a quite shameful omission which could well earn him a deserved torrent of abuse from a blazing mad George.

What Richard did reveal was the fact that the annual GDP per Scottish person is £28,000. As in £4000 per person more than the rest of the UK. He explained this is one of the reasons why meeting halls across Scotland are filling up with every passing week. The big secret is starting to leak out. It seems like we are not subsidy junkies after all. In fact we are subsidisers. Richard then told us that there is a good reason why there are no similar meetings going down in Wales at the moment. Their GDP per person is only £18,000 a year.

Bloody hell.

I tuned out from Richard for a moment and cranked up my brain for some mental maths.

31 x £28,000? I am not going to pretend that I had it in me to get the exact figure. However I got close because thirty times thirty is 900. I now have the benefit of the calculator feature on my computer.

31 x £28,000 = £868,000

That was the aggregate net annual worth of the 31 people who came through our doors to set a new food parcel record. And whichever way you look at it, £868,000 is the thick end of a million quid.

Let’s look at it another way. £28,000 a year is £76 a day. And according to George, that £76 a day has just rocketed up to £76.75 a day on the back of the big 0.9% news. So everything is tip top and great and all is well with the world.

But hang on a minute here. If those buggers all had £76 a day in their pockets, what in the name of hell did they think they were doing coming into our place for a food parcel? What was that George? Didn’t quite hear you…

Oh right.

Dirty scrounging bastards. I see.

Sorry Nigel. What was that…..

Dirty scrounging immigrant bastards. Oh dear.

They didn’t seem to be scrounging immigrants to me, but maybe they were all actors in the De Niro/Streep class. Which according to George wouldn’t be entirely surprising. For we must always be on our guard. These scrounging immigrant types can be wicked and devious. The clue is in the surname. De Niro? Pacino? And just look at the accents those lads can come up with. Bloody scary isn’t it?

But just for the sake of argument, let’s just assume the 31 people who came in for a food parcel were not immigrants at all. Let’s assume they were exactly what they appeared to be – locally born and bred people.

Ok George. Calm down. I DO realise that it was Nigel who said they were all immigrants. You just said they were scrounging bastards.


There is no way of escaping the fact that we must have been had and had in a pretty big way. Bloody hell. Those buggers had £2356 between them and they had the cheek to come in to us to blag themselves a food parcel.

The swine must have spent the whole lot on drink and drugs and Sky TV and spray on tan and high fat and sugar takeaways.

The rotten lousy good for nothing scrounging swine.

Bring back the birch.

Bring back National Service.

Bring back the Work House.

We should never, ever have given these awful poor people the vote.

And then my attention was reclaimed by Richard and another one of his slides.

It was a map of Britain. It showed the regions in different shades of green and it followed on from a map which had shown those same regions in different colours of blue.

The blue map showed how much GDP each region produced.

The green map showed where all of the GDP ended up.

Ah. Now these maps painted a rather different picture. For the very darkest patch of green was contained by the M25 motorway. And Scotland was painted in a shade of green that was so pale that you could hardly see it at all.

It tells a very different story. It seems that the £28,000 figure represents what people would get if the GDP of a country was divvied up at the end of the year and shared out. But it doesn’t seem like that is happening at all. Instead the green map suggests that the GDP from all over the land flows through a lovingly maintained network of pipes, every one of which terminates in London.

Oh I see.

I guess that is why London this week has for the very first time become home to over a hundred billionaires who between them have over three hundred thousand million quid in the bank.

So maybe the 31 people who came in for a food parcel were on the level after all. Maybe they weren’t undercover immigrants on the scrounge. Maybe they were just people will no money in their pockets and no prospect of getting any.

As in poor.

George… George … have you got a minute George…

No he hasn’t. He’s not in a very good mood. He tends to get cross when you bring up the billionaire list. He’s not on it you see. And that really bugs him.

What was that Nigel?

Oh right.

They’re all bloody immigrants.    


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