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 18, 2014


One of the great joys of becoming an accidental bit part in the drama of the Independence campaign has been meeting others in the same boat. This is something that seems to be being entirely missed by the mainstream media at the moment. A deliberate miss? Probably. Our newspapers, TV channels and radio stations remain almost entirely focused on what the politicians at the top are saying and doing. This means every word or appearance from the likes of Alex Salmond and David Cameron is picked apart in minute forensic detail whilst the growing grass roots campaign remains almost entirely ignored.

The more I have become involved, the more I get the feeling that the media is completely missing the point. The real beating heart of the steady march to a new country is to found far, far away from the TV studios and the carefully crafted sound bites and photo opportunities.

It’s the grass roots stupid.

Unsurprisingly the media seems to have forgotten all about the concept of grass roots. In a way this is understandable. The British Establishment has been successively ignoring grass roots campaigns for hundreds and hundreds of years.

We can go back through the ages and find a whole host of huge protest movements which put hundreds of thousands of fired up citizens out onto the streets. For hundreds of years we have waved our banners and shouted at the top of our voices. Have we been heard? Not very often.

Most of the time, the Establishment chooses simply to close the shutters and switch up the volume on the TV. Hundreds of thousands of Chartists demanded the vote in the mid nineteenth century and those in power never turned a hair. Likewise the Jarrow marchers were met by closed doors and disdain, as was Ghandi when he gathered up a column of thousands when he walked to the sea to make some salt.

Sometimes, the Establishment does decide to take some notice and then things tend to get pretty ugly. Some of the darkest days in our history played out when those at the top decided to teach the uppity ones at the bottom a lesson they wouldn’t forget in a hurry.

In 1381, Wat Tyler marched an army of thousands into London as the Peasant’s Revolt reached its climax. The King was so scared that he sent out word that he was willing to meet up for a chat. It didn’t turn out to be much of a chat. Instead one of the King’s guys slashed Wat’s Tyler’s throat and that was that. No more Peasant’s Revolt.

In 1819, 80,000 half starved mill workers marched into St Peters Square in Manchester. The Establishment certainly sat up and took notice. They sent in the dragoons with their slashing sabres and when the dust settled there were 15 dead and 700 wounded.

It was much the same story in 1972 when a column of civil rights marchers arrived in Derry’s Bogside where the men of 1 Para were waiting. The Paras used SLR rifles instead of sabres. They killed one less than the Dragoons had managed in Manchester a hundred and fifty years earlier.

Nobody died at Orgreave in 1984, but the striking miners got one hell of a kicking.


We never seem to get anywhere when we take to the streets in our thousands to demand something better. The last time we tried was when Tony Blair was hell bent on getting started on his Iraq adventure. Thankfully he kept the troops in the barracks. He simply switched up the volume on the TV and pretended that everyone loved him as much as they had in 1997.

In Britain, street protest has never got us anywhere. However the ballot box is another thing altogether. Of course the Establishment does all it can to make sure that every time it grants the great unwashed the chance to cast a vote, the dice are appropriately loaded.

The very first whiff of democracy arrived in Britain in the chaotic months after King Charles was beheaded in the 1640s. It took another 286 years for the right to vote to be extended to every man and women over the age of twenty one.

These days the Establishment looks to a fully tame media to make sure the deck is properly rigged. And let’s face it, they are pretty damned good at it.

Today it has emerged that the 1000 richest people in the land have seen their collective wealth go up by over 15% in the last twelve months. It seems like the Great Recession was a carefully designed ruse to make the super rich even super richer. Those thousand people are now collectively worth £600 billion. That is more or less the same as the whole of the annual tax paid by the other 60 million of us. The gilded thousand don’t tend to get involved in all that paying tax nonsense of course. Tax is for the plebs.

You need a hell of a PR operation to enable this kind of thing to happen without the streets filling up with raging mobs all intent on doing a St Petersburg 1917 and smashing down the front doors of the big houses and stealing everything in sight.

The technique employed for many years is well established and hugely successful. Of course it is successful. The figures conclusively prove it to be so. No other country is home to so many billionaires. Are we bothered? Seemingly not. Instead we get all riled up at the thought that some single mum in Walsall might be cheating the benefits system.

Not surprisingly the Establishment has got somewhat complacent. They are absolutely convinced that they have the whole thing wrapped up on a permanent basis. They more or less laugh in our faces.

So what are you going to do about it little people? Oh do be quiet and get back to work.

This complacency is becoming more and more apparent with every passing week as we approach the Referendum vote in September. It was never supposed to be like this. We were supposed to have been well and truly bought off when we were given our devolved Parliament in 1998. They designed the thing with the very greatest care and rigged the system to make absolutely sure that it would be quite impossible for any party to achieve a majority.

It’s quite funny when you think about it. These are the guys who tell us how uniquely wonderful the Westminster system is. Commons, Lords and Queen. Bloody marvellous. Couldn’t be bettered. So why didn’t they chose to copy their perfect Westminster system in the new Parliament in Edinburgh? Well, that’s a no brainer. The Westminster system throws out Governments with huge majorities who can do as they please. No way was anything like that going to happen in Scotland. Not a chance. After all such a majority government might demand an Independence referendum. So they rigged the deck.

Except they didn’t rig it well enough and the nightmare came true. It’s a bit like the banks coming out with a promise to let everyone off their mortgages in the event of the sainted Kate Middleton ever choosing to kiss a frog which would duly turn into a dashing Prince with more hair than the one she’s got. Pretty safe bet, right?

That was how it was supposed to be in the Scottish Parliament. It was the way the Establishment thought they had taken the whole issue off the table for ever. Of course our beloved northern neighbours can have their say whenever they want. All they need to do is to vote in an Independence Party with a clear majority and they can have a Referendum. Of course they can. It has nothing to do with any of us down here in London. It's a decision for the Scots.

It’s the kind of promise that has made the Mafia a shed load of cash in Las Vegas over the years.        

But they got complacent. They got careless. They cocked it up. They failed to rig the system properly and in 2010 the thing that was supposed to be impossible went and happened. The people used the ballot box to elect a pro Independency party with a clear majority.

And now on 18 September their nightmare scenario is going to play out.

I reckon they banked on having one last fall back position. Even if the absolute worst thing in the world should happen, the people of Scotland will never vote to strike out on their own. No chance. Not once the well tried and trusted propaganda machine is revved up and put into action.

Imagine their surprise. At a time when the media has brainwashed us to ignore the fact that a 1000 people are robbing us all blind, the same magic is failing to work in the Referendum campaign.

We are supposed to be scared out of our wits. We are supposed to be appalled at the prospect of the utter poverty we will face should we ever be stupid enough to leave home and try and make our own way in the big, bad world. They really, truly believed they could keep the secret that Scotland will be a whole lot richer than the rest of the UK once it cuts the apron strings. It seems hard to believe that anyone could possibly be so arrogant. But then we need to accept how bloody good they are at this kind of thing. 49,000 of us saw with out eyes exactly what happened at Hillsborough in 1989 and yet they still managed to keep the truth covered up for 25 years. That is some going.

Last year the country had to borrow £100 billion to make ends meet. Last year the thousand richest people in the country saw their wealth go up by £100 billion. You really would think we would sit up and take notice of something so blindingly obvious. But we haven’t. Instead we are choosing to blame the fact that we are all so hard up on poor people and immigrants.

It's the kind of Grade A, weapons grade propaganda that would have Josef Goebbels purring.

All of which explains the extreme reluctance of the Establishment and the main stream media to recognise what is going on at street level up here in Scotland. Unbelievably, we are bucking a trend that has been firmly in place for many hundreds of years.

We are completely ignoring all the propaganda and choosing to do our own thing. Without social media the grass roots surge that is picking up momentum all the time would be kept under wraps. But the old methods just don’t work any more. Sure the newspapers and TV stations can bury the fact that Indy meetings are filling up halls whilst 'Better Together' meetings are all being cancelled because nobody wants to go to them. But YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are not burying the inconvenient fact that the tide is all flowing in one direction.

And nothing the Establishment tries is working any more. They try and scare us with lies and we find it funny. They try and tell us how much they love us and we find it funny. And all the while, all kinds of people who never in a million years imagined they would get involved in anything political are discovering the joys of grass roots agitation.

I’m one of them.

Last week I was chatting with Henry McLelland who is the Chairman of Annan Athletic FC. He agonised for ages about whether to go public about his intention to vote ‘Yes’ until he eventually decided to go for it. He has spoken at meetings and turned up on Annan High St to do some canvassing. Last weekend he was part of a group of 60, 90% of whom had never done anything political in their lives. Is 60 a lot? Well it is when you consider that Annan only has a population of 2000. It is the equivalent of 240,000 people hitting the streets of London to hand out leaflets and do some canvassing. Imagine that Boris! Bloody hell.

The Social Media is providing a window on this unfolding rebellion. And we should make no mistake that this is exactly what this is – a Rebellion. On September 18th the people of Scotland are on target to give the British Establishment the biggest kick in the teeth it has ever received.


We haven’t had any kind of genuine rebellion in Britain for 372 years. During that time just about every other country in the world has had at least one revolution. No wonder the richest people in the world London chose London to buy themselves a safe house.

Now there is a very real rebellion building up an unstoppable momentum. So this isn’t a once in a lifetime thing. It’s a once in 372 years thing.

And that is genuinely something. It’s a hell of a ride. No wonder so many completely different people are climbing on board.

And I am one of them.

Author, charity manager and a token English guy.

So I have a growing list of meetings to speak to.

And tomorrow I will release the first chapter of ‘Toxic’, my Referendum thriller which will be released at a rate of two chapters a week until September 18th.

So what is the main theme? Simple. The Establishment hardly ever loses. Right now they are staring down the barrel of their greatest ever defeat. How far might they go to turn the tide? It is plainly obvious that telling lies and scare stories isn’t working any more. How would it look if they decided to let loose the darker angels of their nature?

‘Toxic’ paints a picture of how the picture might change if the darker forces are let out of the cupboard.

Let’s just hope that such a picture will only ever be found in the realms of fiction! So long as the real world in the background never catches up with the fiction in the foreground of ‘Toxic’, then September 18th promises to be one of the greatest red letter days in the history of our island.     

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