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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Last night one of the Dumfries branches of the SNP held its first meeting since  Referendum. I had received a message via Facebook letting me know that people would be coming along with food donations for First Base. Would I be able to come along? Sure I would.

There were roadworks along the way which meant I was fifteen minutes late by the time I reached the venue. At first I couldn’t even get into the bloody room! I peered over shoulders to see a people packed room that was pushing health and safety boundaries. Later I asked an old hand how many usually turned up for branch meeting of the Dumfries East SNP. About ten. Twenty on a good night.

Last night it was a hundred and fifty.


The first hour was given over to allowing everyone a chance to have their say about what had happened. To get stuff off the chest. And then to try and find the road forward.

Even the most cynical of individuals would have been hard pressed not to be moved by the palpable feeling of hope in the room. Young and old, male and female, black, white, brown and yellow.

Just folk.

People were holding onto their completed membership forms and waiting to sign on the dotted line. Many had followed online instructions on how to cancel their direct debits to the BBC whilst staying within the law. Others told tales of the tearing up of their Labour Party membership cards. One had cut up his card into a ‘YES’ and sent it back to head office.

In the middle of the room was a huge pile of carrier bags which was clearly too much for the boot of my venerable old Volvo. The relief effort was going to require two trips. I had a word with the hotel guy and he was happy enough to hold onto the pile until the next day.

Once upon a time, piles of donated food used to be about to take the long journey south to famine stricken regions of Africa. Not this pile. This pile of bags will make a journey of less than half a mile across a small Scottish town where 500 people a month lack the means to buy supper.

What a desperate indictment. People’s instinctive reaction to our nation’s decision not to go it alone is to buy tins of beans and hand them over to the likes of First Base. All weekend Twitter carried images of an even greater mountain of donated food in Glasgow’s George Square.

Yesterday I emptied our collection bins in Morrisons and they told a similar story. On average they yield about £50 worth of food a week. Yesterday my boot was stuffed with £125 worth.

There was something poignant about the sight of the pile of carrier bags in the packed meeting room. Only a few hours earlier, George Osborne had told a room full of acolytes that he planned to make regular families £400 a year worse of should they be gullible enough to vote him back to power.

And the audience cheered him.

'Punish the Poor' has become the new black for people who deem themselves to be doing OK in life. A bit like voting ‘No’. In our brave new ‘I’m alright Jack’ world, people seem to love nothing better than the sight of poor people being kicked in the teeth. Last month a bunch of Middlesborough fans took a banner to the match referencing the fact that the latest version of ‘Benefits Streets’ is being filmed in their town.

‘Being poor is not entertainment.’

Oh really? Try telling that to bright young things in their ridiculous T shirts who cheered good old George to the rafters.

Well we had our chance to check ourselves out of Hotel George and find a better place to stay. And we opted for Hotel George.

So First Base will not be short of customers in the months and years to come. Dumfries is home to more than its fair share of poor people and they can now look forward to getting kicked in the teeth by George and his happy, clappy henchmen for the foreseeable future.

Last night a hundred and fifty people packed themselves into a relatively small room and collectively yearned for a chance to continue the fight. Hope and anger were abundant. Make no mistake, there were a lot of very, very angry people in the room last night. Conspiracy theories were doing the rounds. I have to admit that I find these rather hard to believe. Too much television has given us all a rather overblown respect for the capability of the dark powers of the British state. We see the likes of Keeley Hawes in Spooks complete with designer clothes and top end electronics and we shrink back in awe at her fearsome competence. In reality the security forces tend to be a complete joke. They actually admitted that they hadn’t really heard of ISIS at the very moment the men with the long beards and spooky videos waltzed their way across Iraq. And let’s face it, Iraq should be a place we have a handle on – it was sonly ten years ago that we invaded the bloody place.

These are the very same people who got caught trying to hide a microphone in a plastic rock in a Moscow park. Do we really think they could get their act together to such an extent that they were able to fix a Referendum without cocking it up? No chance.

Anger can be a good thing, but it becomes pretty pointless once it focuses on conspiracy theories care of Google. And here of course is the $64,000 question. We have hope, energy and anger in abundance, but how can it be harnessed? Will anyone out there be able to come up with a goal to strive for before all the hope, anger and energy evaporates like a post downpour puddle in the Sahara?

I hope so. Everyone hopes so.

The people at the top table last night seemed to be struggling. An agenda for the second part of the night was up on a screen where motions and resolutions were up for being seconded and passed. It was to be the nuts and bolts of party politics and a million miles from the joyous mayhem of the ‘Yes’ campaign. Will it be enough to provide a home for all the hope and anger and enthusiasm?
I hope so. Everyone hopes so.

One bit of news heartened me enormously. Our area was a bastion of ‘No’. Better Together romped home with a thumping two to one majority. This came as no kind of surprise. Everyone predicted it would be so and it was so. But not everywhere. The village of Moniave was a shining exception to the rule and it bucked the local trend completely by weighing in with more than 50% ‘Yes’. From a personal point of view, I was chuffed to bits to hear about this on two levels. Moniave was the place where I had done the majority of my own bit, firstly in a debate where I teamed up with Richard Arkless to take on two local Labour politicians and secondly when I had the great honour of sharing a platform with Tommy Sheridan.

Well it seems like the lads did OK.

There is a second really pleasing thing about the Moniave ‘Yes’. The village has an unusually high percentage of English immigrants who have migrated north to make their lives in Scotland. On paper it should have been a bastion of ‘No’. It wasn’t.

That snippet of news coupled with pile of carrier bags kind of made my night.

I didn’t stay for the formal part of the meeting. Instead I spent an hour outside in the smoking area soaking up the anger and the hope. I am not one of the 50,000 who has signed on the dotted line of active party politics. It’s not my thing. It never has been.

I don’t think I am alone in my weariness with our party dominated democracy. The joy of the referendum campaign was the way the parties were shoved to one side as regular people took control of the campaign. Maybe one day this might become the norm. Technology can easily allow democracy to go back to its original Greek roots when a crowd would gather outside the Parthenon and vote on how the railroad was to be run on an issue by issue basis. Yeah, yeah, I know. There were no railroads until George Stevenson did his thing a couple of thousand years later, but you get my drift.

Most of us have password access to our Amazon accounts which enables us to buy stuff, though sadly it is seldom one of my books! There is no reason on earth why we shouldn’t be given similar codes to vote on the great issues of the day on an issue by issue basis.

Did we really need 600 MP’s to take the decision to bomb the people of Iraq in our name last week? What would we have all said if there had been an online poll? Maybe a majority would indeed have decided it was a good idea to bomb the bejesus out of ISIS. However I am almost certain that the majority would not have been 10 to 1 as it was in the House of Commons.

No wonder the political class hate such a prospect. There would be no more lobbyists offering lovely non exec directorships on the boards of blue chip companies in return for the right kind of voting record. Instead the only people worth lobbying would us. All of us. Just like it was on September 18th. That is why 85% of us played a part in it. For once our opinion mattered. For once.

Here are a few questions that the political establishment would really, really hate to ask our collective opinion on.

Should the NHS be privatised?

Should the railways be re-nationalised?

Should Britain close down all the off-shore tax havens in sunny places where the Union Jack still flies?

Should we all have to stump up £1000 each for HS2?

Should we take another £400 a year off the 9 million poorest people in the country?

I think the answers to all of the above are not hard to guess at.

Will that day ever come? Sadly it is hard to see, but there really is no good reason why not. Of course the professional politicians will never tire of telling us that the people could not possibly be trusted to give the right answers to such weighty matters.

Anyway, I seem to have drifted off into a flight of fancy. It was great to see so many people in the room last night and it was great to see how much food they had brought along with them.

And it was great to see that so much hope had survived the despair of September 19. Now the parties so many have signed on the dotted line for have a huge responsibility to find a genuine direction for so much hope.

For what it is worth, I’m with Tommy Sheridan on this one. Let’s start by making Scotland a Unionist free zone next May. That would be a pretty good start in my book.
And then........?


Friday, September 26, 2014


A week ago David Cameron stood on the steps of 10 Downing Street and told us all that the people of Scotland had demonstrated our ‘Settled Will’ for a generation, maybe even a lifetime.

‘Settled Will’ ?

Where do they get these terms from? I guess he meant that we had voted No.

As far as Dave was concerned, it was a case of job done. We had all been firmly put back where we belonged: in our box.

Like hundreds of thousands of others, I didn’t feel like my will had been settled in the slightest. This feeling grew once it emerged that we had all voted Yes all the way up to the age of 55. Settled for a lifetime? Come on.

For a while I was as down as down could be. So much energy and optimism had been crushed by the tsunami of negativity that that had washed over Scotland. Now we would have to suffer months on end of smugness and the magnificent, shining hope of our vast grassroots campaign would fizzle and die.

Well it didn’t work out that way, did it Dave?

Within hours, the ‘45’ Campaign rose from the ashes of defeat and any semblance of high ground the Unionists might have won disappeared without trace with the Nazi salutes in George Square.

Seven days has seen everything change and nothing change. The Yes campaign has refused to be put back in the box and there are still faces creased with worry in the corridors of Whitehall power.

What has happened in the last week has been beyond all expectation. 150,000 people joining the ‘45’ Facebook page is all very well, but let’s face it, left clicking a button isn’t exactly the hardest thing to do. Nigh on 40,000 people joining the SNP is another thing altogether. That is quite frankly bloody astonishing. The SNP which draws its support from our small nation of 5 million souls now has getting on for half the membership of the Labour Party which has a pond of 63 million to fish in.

The Green Party is now double the size of the Lib Dems in Scotland and and if things keep on the way they are going, they will soon overtake the Labour Party. The Scottish Tories don’t release membership figures: I wonder why that might be?

Yesterday was a great day for the ‘45’. At lunchtime the Daily Politics show invited Tommy Sheridan to paint a picture of the ‘45’ campaign. There are unwritten rules about this kind of thing. A sober suit is required and a certain kind of decorum. Daily Politics interviews seldom generate any kind of YouTube traffic.

Tommy didn’t do the suit thing. He did his T shirt thing and took a pass on showing the required decorum. Instead, he took a sledge hammer to the idea that we’re  all about to accept that we have shown our settled will for a lifetime. The faces in the studio were a picture. 

He fired off both barrels at all the 'Red Tories' of the Labour Party who hooked their wagon to massed ranks of the British Establishment. His message was unequivocally clear. We’re not going away. We’re not going to sit quietly and do as we’re told. Instead we are regrouping and we’re getting stronger.

An in May next year we’re coming for you. In May next year you can kiss goodbye to your fat Westminster expense accounts and your free houses in London. In May next year you are all about to learn what payback time looks like.

And then came Question Time. The Labour Party fielded Emily Thornberry, the shadow Advocate General. She started off with a pretty smug look. She didn’t finish with one. The audience didn’t have the look of people who were ready to accept that they had shown any kind of settled will. They growled like a pack of dogs and the lady from Labour must have got the train back to London with a cold feeling in the pit of her stomach. 

Job done?

Dream on guys. The massed rank and file of the Yes campaign are not even close to accepting any kind of defeat. The next battle is a mere seven months away and the ‘45’ already have 53 big, fat targets firmly in our sights: the 53 Unionist MPs who live the high life care of their Scottish seats. Well you better start thinking about a change of career guys because you ain’t flavour of the month right now.

The backlash is going to be ferocious and when the dust settles all bets will be well and truly back on.

Yesterday we saw the living, breathing reality of the ‘45’ at First Base. We are the food bank down here in Dumfries and we hand out 500 emergency food parcels each and every month in our sleepy little town. A minute after we opened our doors yesterday, some guys from the local branch of Radical Independence came in with eight carrier bags of food which they had collected at their meeting the night before.

I received three e mails from '45' people who wanted to volunteer to help out.

One '45' supporter from Langholm had taken a detour to Annan in order to boycott Asda and while she was in town, she visited the place where we stock our food parcels. On Monday she is coming in to see me to talk about helping to set up a new outlet for our food parcels in her village.

On Sunday a group of ‘45’ people are collecting food all afternoon in a local pub. They set up a Facebook page a couple of days ago and the response has already been overwhelming.

Next week I have been asked along to a local SNP meeting to pick up another boot full of tins and packets.

How utterly damning is all of this for our supposedly wonderful Union? All over Scotland people are making a devastatingly simple connection. The fact that the Union is set to continue means that thousands upon thousands of people will continue to be punished for the crime of being poor and vulnerable.

Take a moment to think about that.

The response of many regular citizens to last week’s No vote has been to donate food to places like First Base. If the cheerleaders for the Union care for a minute to pay any heed to this, they should be genuinely alarmed. This is how people see you. This is what people think you are.

People see rule from Westminster Rule as a never ending war on the poor. Westminster rule is all about bankers and corporations and looking after the super rich. This is harsh of course. It is a caricature. But that is hardly the point. Once upon a time Spitting Image was a caricature, but it didn’t half hit the target. And when Thatcher’s children bit the dust, they bit the dust hard.

In the last seven days the ‘45’ has already found a way to become a formidable force. We were supposed to disappear and go back to being inconsequential little people. Our moment in the sun had come and gone and business as usual was supposed to resume.

Well, like they always say, seven days is a long time in politics. You might have won a battle, but the war has a way to go. Right now the army of the ‘45’ is collecting up tins of beans for the victims of London rule. Right now you might be tempted to look down from your ivory towers and snigger at this as an exercise in futility. Well snigger away, because you haven’t got long left to enjoy your sense of smug complacency.

Next May we will evict you from Scotland.

The year after, we’ll nail down control of the Holyrood Parliament.

And then we’ll be right back in your faces. And there will be a whole lot more young ‘Yes’ voters on the electoral roll. And next time you won’t find it so easy to scare the over 65’s with your propaganda and lies.

You seriously thought you have got rid of us for a generation.

You didn’t even manage a week.

We’re still here.

It’s called defiance and it’s bloody marvellous.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Quite a picture isn’t it?

It jumped out at me on Referendum Day and I hooked it onto a tweet. ‘Let’s hope this is the perfect image for tomorrow morning’. A couple of days later Twitter let me know that the tweet had bounced here, there and everywhere and many thousands had admired the view of a Skye dawn.

Maybe that is indeed the way things looked up on the Isle of Skye when the dawn sun lit up the world on the morning of the nineteenth.

But of course there was no ‘Yes’ to be found anywhere.

Friday was as bleak a day as I can remember. Hope had lost and fear had won. The British Establishment had rolled back the years and found a way to keep its subjects under the heel.

My first instinct like many was to disown anything resembling politics for ever and a day. We had all done our best and in the end the odds had been too heavily stacked in favour of the Status Quo.

By Saturday morning anger took over as Twitter was filled with images of the George Square Neo Nazis wrapped in their Union Flags.

Disgust and anger flowed through my fingers into a somewhat nihilistic blog. I can’t say I cared much about the tone. And when I hit the ‘publish’ button, I did so with little expectation. Over the course of the campaign, readership of my blogs had risen steadily from the low hundreds to the high hundreds to the low thousands.

But I was certain that this blog would be of little interest to anyone much. This would be a few hundred bitter and angry words hurled out into the wilderness of an online world which had moved on.

Was there still anyone out there with the slightest interest? Probably not. It didn’t seem to matter much.

Publish and be damned.

At first it seemed like my instincts would be proved true.

But then things changed. The last three days have been extraordinary. I have been delighted to see that many of the leading lights in the grass roots campaign have vowed not to go away. By Saturday the idea of the ‘45’ had mushroomed into something that was not about to go away either.

By Saturday evening over 3000 had read my blog.

Sunday was a day of Westminster ugliness. Sunday was the day the Westminster Establishment turned in on itself and started to rip itself apart like an attack dog gone rabid.

Sunday was a day of green shoots as the ‘45’ realised that the future was still there to be won.

By Monday a spectacular surge in membership had taken the SNP beyond the Liberal Democrats and UKIP to become Britain’s third largest party.

By Monday evening over 7000 had read my blog.

By now there was feedback. Taunting voices from the ‘No’ side told me to get over it and get a life. They were gloatingly convinced that September 18 2014 was the day the war was lost, not just a battle.

But other strands of feedback were rather more encouraging. Several people volunteered to help out filling food parcels as a way to get over things. The local ‘Yes’ branch e mailed me to let me know that several members had decided to do the same. Could I come along to a meeting next week?

And all of a sudden there were green shoots everywhere.

Derek Bateman vowed to continue the fight and promised to be back in the game soon with news of a new online media show.

Reverend Stuart penned a magnificent blog on ‘Wings over Scotland’ which had the look and feel of a parting shot. But the next day he was back with a beginners guide on how to stop paying your BBC licence fee without getting on the wrong side of the law.   

Tommy Sheridan showed the pragmatism of a natural guerrilla leader by urging his army of followers to close ranks behind the SNP for the 2015 General Election as the best means to deliver the hardest blow to those who lined up alongside the forces of the Establishment.

By now the air waves were filled with voices from all corners of England expressing their rightful disgust at the fag packet panic of Cameron and Milliband and Clegg. Not in our name!

And by the end of Monday night over 10,000 had visited my angry words. It was suddenly very clear that not many of the ‘45’ were willing to be put back in the box. By now Twitter was filled with remorseful ‘No’ voters trying to come to terms with what they had done as our Westminster rulers showed their ugly side. All of a sudden there was no more love bombing. Instead we had public school voices from the shires of England letting their well heeled votes know that they would have no truck with the keeping of the ‘Vow’.

History tells us that this kind of fallout is nothing new. Time and again the British Empire won battles against those who were striving for their independence. Time and again London managed to win these battles, but in every case London lost the war all the way from America to Ireland to India to Palestine to Kenya to Hong Kong.

And so it will be for Scotland.

Slowly but surely, all of their lies are unravelling. Already there are many who deeply regret their decision to be a part of the 55.

So what do we all do now?

In my book, the ‘45’ will need to be a resistance movement for a while. We have plenty of playbooks to follow. George Washington and Mahatma Ghandi and David Ben Gurion lost a few battles on their roads to freedom. They dusted themselves down and served out their time in British prisons and then they got back on the horse. They found ways to make a nuisance of themselves. They became a constant thorn in the side. They picked away at London’s weak spots until the men of Empire ran out of energy.

This is what all successful resistance movements do. They identify the weak spots. And then they attack them. Thankfully don’t have to start blowing up the railway tracks feeding overstretched supply lines like the men and women of the French Resistance.

But we can become a complete and utter pain in the neck. We can follow the lead of the Americans and Indians and Kenyans who went before us. We can make such a nuisance of ourselves that we will not be worth keeping.

So where do we start? Well I think Tommy has it right on the nail. Those who sided with the Establishment are incredibly vulnerable right now. Somehow they have to find a way to persuade the ‘45’ to forgive and forget in time for the General Election next May.

We must not let them.

Scotland is already more or less a Tory free zone. We used the legacy of Thatcher to clear the decks. Now we need to do the same to all of the parties of the Union who sided with big business and the banks.

Next May, we have the chance to clear Scotland of the parties of the Union. We can deprive them of their power bases. We can make Scotland much more than a Tory free zone. We can go a step further and turn into a Union free zone. ‘45’ is easily enough to achieve this. If the ‘45’ stay united, then we will be more than enough to send the whole lot of them scuttling back over the border to London.

In my book, the best way to achieve this is to show some solidarity with the millions of disenchanted Englishmen and women. We need to get in the faces of the Unionist candidates and make like a dripping tap. We need to demand that they give their solemn word that they will abstain from ALL votes that do not affect their own constituents. And we need to demand these assurances again and again and again until they want to scream with frustration.

They have no right whatsoever to help drive through the privatisation of the NHS in England whilst at the same time boasting to their own people that things up here are different and better.

The people of England deserve our full support on this and by giving our support we will open up gaping wounds in the parties of the Union. Will they all still be so keen to keep hold of Scotland if we succeed in expelling them?

I think we should do all we can to make sure that every Unionist candidate is put through the ringer next spring. Let’s make them publically hang their true colours from the mast. Will they be allowed to promise their constituents that they will do the decent thing and abstain from all votes that affect only the English? Of course they won’t. Their party machines will not allow them. They will try and change the subject and dance around the issue. We mustn’t let them. We need to pin them up against the wall and keep them there.

And then we need to vote them out.

All of them.

The last few days have proved what an Achilles heel this issue really is. Not one Scottish based unionist has even begun to make any kind of believable case for why they should have the right to vote on English matters.

We can solve the West Lothian question on behalf of the people of England by voting them all into oblivion and making sure that the 59 MP’s from Scotland only ever vote on issues that affect their own people.

And the people of England will thank us. They will become our allies. Let’s never forget that almost all of them hate the Westminster stitch up every bit as much as we do. Hell I know this better than anyone. I’m a Lancastrian and an honorary Scouser.

So I’m with you all the way on this one Tommy.

First we focus all efforts of driving out the parties of the Establishment in 2015.

Then we need to fill our own Parliament with a majority who represent the living, breathing dreams of the ‘45’.

And then we win.

Just like the Americans and the Indians and the Kenyans and the Israelis and the Irish won.

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they come to fight you, and then you win." (M.K. Gandhi)   

Saturday, September 20, 2014


News teams from 120 countries descended on Scotland for the big vote. No doubt their editors back at home had tasked them with collecting footage of joyous flag waving crowds celebrating the birth of the world’s newest country.

Well they never got the chance of course.

In my neck of the Scottish woods, 65% voted for the union. You would think that would mean there would have been cars honking celebratory horns and beaming winners in their ‘No Thanks’ T shirts hugging each other in the streets.

Instead there was nothing. Instead there was a feeling of an all pervading quiet doom. I guess the conversations between the foreign journalists on the ground and their bosses back in the studios of the world must have been getting quite fractious by the late afternoon.

For Christ’s sake there’s got to be some sort of celebration somewhere? Don’t give me this shit! Have you any idea what it has cost to send you idiots out there! Jesus! FIND ME SOMETHING!!!

And then the word must have moved through the grapevine. There is a big ‘No Thanks’ celebration kicking off in George Square in Glasgow. Thank Christ. And what did the news teams of the world find when they arrived in George Square? Well they found a large drunken crowd waving Union Jacks. No doubt they must have noticed quite quickly that these were Union Jacks with a difference: for these were Union Jacks Shankill Rd style, complete with the Red Hand of Ulster.

The crowd with the Union Jacks were singing Rule Britannia with their faces twisted with aggression and offering defiant Nazi salutes to the gathering police lines.

The crowd with the Union Jacks were ripping a Saltire from a tearful teenage girl who was all on her own.

Flares. Police dogs. A kettled group of terrified ‘Yes’ people. Broken glass. The thump of a police helicopter overhead.

So here was the view of our night of celebration in the wake of 55% of Scots opting to stay in the Union.

Business for Scotland estimated that the air time the country was given around the world would have cost $800 million had the country had to buy it on the commercial market. We could have sent out pictures of streets mobbed with joyous crowds.

But we didn’t.

Instead we gave them pictures of skinheads wrapped in the Union Flag giving Nazi salutes whilst they belted out the national anthem.

You could call it missing a trick. Yes, you could call it that.

But it was much more than that.

It was an epic betrayal of a generation.

Scots voted ‘Yes’ all the way to the age of 55. Had the over 65’s been excluded from the vote, then ‘Yes’ would have won the day by 54% to 46%.

But the over 65’s were not excluded from the vote. And the over 65’s voted for the Union in their droves.

73% of over 65’chose the Status Quo because they had been frightened into doing so. The scandalous dog whistle politics of the Establishment got right into their heads and persuaded them to walk away from their grandchildren. They were told that their pensions were at risk. They were told that they would no longer be able to watch ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and ‘Eastenders’. They were told their power and grocery bills would go through the roof.

The pension lie was the most unforgiveable. A Pension Minister from Westminster announced at an early stage of the campaign that there was a cast iron legal obligation in place which meant that anyone who had paid their National Insurance premiums to HM Treasury would be paid their pension regardless of where they were living. That is why millions of Brits have moved south to the sunshine of Spain where their pensions are paid in full every week.

The ‘Yes’ campaign did all it could to spread this particular Government word. But all we had were public meetings and the social media. Many of the over 65’s don’t use the social media. Many don’t leave the house much.

Instead they read the Daily Express and Daily Mail and the Daily Record.

And they watch the BBC.

And any one of these main stream media outlets could have clearly reported the words of the Westminster Minister when he gave his absolute confirmation that pensions would honoured in full. They could have given this group of loyal customers a proper service. They could have given them some clear, easily understood information which would have enabled them to make a balanced decision free from fear.

But they were not given that clear information.

Instead they were bombarded with wave after wave of lies and misinformation. Project Fear carpet bombed the over 65’s with lies much like the RAF once upon a time carpet bombed Hamburg.

And it worked.

73% of over 65’s voted for the safety of the status quo complete with food banks, nuclear weapons, illegal wars, and £1.5 trillion of debt.

The newspapers who lied for the Establishment love nothing better than to fill their column inches with horror stories about how appallingly bad British teenagers are. They love nothing better to dwell on tales of binge drinking and teenage pregnancy and low levels of numeracy. They paint pictures of our children as being feral beings in hooded tops who are a constant threat to any innocent passer by. This is why so many over 65’s are too frightened to leave their houses.

Not surprisingly the media failed to notice how many of the newly enfranchised 16 and 17 years olds became actively involved in politics as the campaign gathered momentum.

When the day came, well over 80% of this much denigrated generation turned out to vote for the very first time.

And 71% of them voted ‘Yes’. They voted for a better Scotland to grow up in. They voted for no more nuclear bombs and food banks and benefit sanctions.

They voted for hope over fear.

Well, the silver haired generation killed that hope and yesterday a smug faced David Cameron told us all that the hope had now been killed for a lifetime.

Within hours of the final result, the world moved on as the great alliance of the parties of the Westminster gravy train started to fall apart. The solemn vow to the people of Scotland which only days earlier had been plastered across the front page of the Daily Record was broken before dusk fell.

Boris Johnson was asked about the vow. What vow? I never made any vow.

Surprise, surprise. It wasn’t what it said on the tin.

Well shock, horror and stop the front page. The British Establishment will lie through its teeth to hang onto its cosy world.

These days it is almost impossible to find anyone who will admit to voting for Margaret Thatcher in 1979, which is quite ridiculous when you think that she won well over 40% of the vote.

In a matter of weeks, it will be similarly hard to find anyone up here who will admit to being one of the 55% of Scots who voted in the name of fear. But by then it will matter not a jot.

Our moment has come and gone. The young voted for something better and got the door slammed in their faces. The Establishment won and the people lost. A quiet air of doom has settled over the country and never again will Scotland be able to hold its head high in the world.

It really happened.
We really became the first people in history who were too scared to take our destiny into our own hands. Not surprisingly the rest of the world is gobsmacked. What about Braveheart and all that?

There is no Braveheart.

Instead there are a million frightened pensioners living out bleak and lonely lives behind their closed doors. Watching Bruce Forsyth on a Saturday night is as good as their lives get. They proved to be an easy mark. They were easily scared.

But please don’t blame our youngsters for what happened. They voted overwhelmingly for hope and they did so with wonderful enthusiasm.

And they were betrayed.

A lot of people should be very, very ashamed about that betrayal.

And instead of the world getting to see millions partying on the streets, we gave them pictures of thugs draped in the Union Flag singing Rule Britannia and pretending they were at a Nuremburg rally.

God help us.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


So in 48 hours we will know the result. And of course, it will be one way or the other. ‘Yes’ will mean euphoria whilst ‘No’ will be an alarmingly deep pit of sadness.

In a way, I am writing this blog for my future self in 20 years time, assuming of course I’m still kicking about. Maybe I will also shove these words in front of some grandchildren.

Like many thousands of others, the last few months have been extraordinary. I know with absolute certainly that I will new know anything like this again. It has been once in a lifetime in every respect.

Oddly enough, the emotion I am feeling now reminds me strongly of the way I felt in the early hours of the morning of 26 May, 2005. I was sitting in a Turkish hire car on an empty car park outside the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul. Only a few hours earlier, Jerzy Dudek had saved Andrei Shevchenko’s tepid, nerve-ridden penalty and against all sensible odds, Liverpool had become the Champions of Europe for the fifth time. By 4am all the wild craziness of the night had finally melted into silence. My two sons were fast asleep and the world had suddenly become a very quiet place that provoked a moment of reflection.

As I sat staring across the litter strewn concrete, I knew that I would continue to make the fortnightly trip to Anfield for as many years as I could make it. But I also knew that nothing would ever be quite as good again. It couldn’t be. The Miracle of Istanbul was once in a lifetime thing and it would never be matched. It could never be matched.

Playing a small part in the magnificent ‘Yes’ campaign has been another once in a lifetime thing. I have never engaged in politics before and I cannot imagine ever doing so again. Like most people, I am no fan of Party Politics and I find it impossible to imagine ever wearing anyone’s rosette.

Before the Referendum, I would never have believed I would ever become an active part of any political campaign. Well, I guess that is proof positive that you should never say never.

The world has become a much worse place during the course of my 53 years on the planet. Certainly Britain has become much, much worse. George Orwell’s stark vision has largely come true as a tiny elite has achieved an iron grip on more or less everything. Before the campaign, I would never have believed that the 99% still had it in us to get our act together to hammer away at the towering walls of the Establishment.

Well I was wrong.

We have had a go. An almighty go. And I feel immensely honoured to have been able to play a part in it.

The Referendum campaign has revealed the depth of the forces of the Establishment. We have forced them to break cover. Now they stand out in the open and we know exactly who they are.

Most of the time, there have been few surprises. For the sake of future generations, here is the list of those who broke cover to prop up the Status Quo.

All three main political parties plus UKIP.

The civil servants and think tanks who rely on the Westminster gravy train for their final salary pensions.

British Embassies across the world.

The Military and the vast parasitical corporations who feed off the MOD.

Big Corporations.




The whole of the printed media with the exception of the Sunday Herald

 Celebrities angling for Knighthoods.

If anyone has ever wondered how on earth it has been possible for the richest 85 individuals in the world to accumulate more wealth than the poorest three and a half billion, then I think the Referendum has offered a clear insight into how they have managed it. The 1% has only been able only get as rich and powerful as it has become by having a vast power machine at its beck and call.

The ‘No’ side have had the kitchen sink at their disposal and my oh my have they ever thrown it at us.

The ‘Yes’ side on the other hand has simply had people. Lots and lots and lots of them and it has been my great privilege to have been one of them.

The appalled fury of the Establishment shows just how certain they were that this kind of thing could never happen any more. They were obviously quite convinced that they had driven us down forever with their zero hour contracts and ever shrinking wages and the rolling 24 hour celebrity obsessed pap they use to brainwash us into drooling submission. They thought they had earned the right to play us for mugs forever.

Well. Not quite.

Against all expectations, it has turned out that Democracy has had a last gasp of life. Democracy has been like the bad guy in a Holywood psycho movie. You know how it goes. The maniac is shot twenty five times and smacked around the head with concrete and there they lie on the floor looking like they are deader than dead. The hero turns to his rescued wife and his cute rescued kids and then all of a sudden, and against all medical science, the nutter leaps back to his/her feet brandishing a meat cleaver. Well in this case democracy has played the part of the supposedly dead nutter. The Establishment must have thought they were safe forever. Sure, we have elections every few years but they don’t matter. All of the parties have been well and truly bought and paid for. They all look after the interests of the 1% in return for non-exec directorships and a seat in the House of Lords. 

But for a few heady weeks everything has changed.

People have found a way to find their voice and the Establishment probably haven’t felt this scared since the General Strike.

We were supposed to have been muzzled, but we have discovered new ways of making ourselves heard and rediscovered old ways of making ourselves heard. The packed meeting halls have been a throwback to times which we all thought had been long lost. The brilliant use ‘Yes’ has made of the social media has all but neutered the massed ranks of the mainstream media.

I wonder how long it will take for these tools to be taken away? Will the men and women in control of Twitter and Facebook and YouTube and Google continue to provide the online tools for a 21st Century rebellion? Or will they join the ranks of the Establishment and take those tools away?

In my bones, tomorrow feels like it might be the last chance we will ever get to break the hold of the 1%. If the Establishment succeeds in frightening enough people into obedience, I fear our one off chance will have come and gone. The loopholes will all be closed. Never again will a leader make the mistake David Cameron made with such arrogance and ineptitude. He was the very epitome of an Establishment man who believed in his own publicity. His privilege made him feel invincible. He was completely convinced that the battle had already been won. He was certain that the 99% had lost all capability of mounting any kind of threat to the iron grip of the 1%.

Well. You were wrong on that one Mr Cameron.

They say the result is too close to call and who could disagree. What is easy to call is the fact that tomorrow’s vote looks a lot like it will be the last chance saloon. If the Establishment win, they will take steps to make sure they are never threatened again. We will have lost our one and only chance of making a better world by casting votes in polling stations. They will never give us this chance again. I think it is fair to say that they will have learned their lesson.

If they win tomorrow, there will only be one road open to break the stranglehold of the 1%. To travel that particular road, the 99% to will look to men like Trotsky or Castro to take the lead. Such a road is invariably very dark. When the 99% take that road, lots of people end up dead.

An awful lot of hope will die on Friday morning if the Establishment prevails. Scotland has had the chance to show the world how to break the grip of power in a wonderfully peaceful process which hasn’t seen a single person arrested. If we fail, millions around the world will lose another notch of faith that the world can be changed for the better without the use of guns and bombs. If we lose, then more and more will look to the likes of ISIS for their inspiration.

History proves time and again that it is ultimately unsustainable for a very few people to own everything whilst the vast majority live ever harder lives. Marie Antoinette suggested the 99% should eat cake. The 99% chose instead to have a revolution and when they won it, they beheaded the men and women of the 1%. A bit like ISIS when you think about it. When things went too far here in the Seventeenth Century, we had our own revolution and chopped off Charles the First’s head. Just like ISIS.

If we fail to capitalise on this magnificent show of grassroots power, the road will open up to the men of violence to take the lead.

And it won’t be pretty.

In 1984 Orwell wrote ‘If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.’

But it never is forever. In the end the people who keep getting stamped on can stand it no more and they bite back like a million abused dogs.

History teaches that the rule of any 1% will always end eventually, but it usually takes a vast amount of bloodshed to make it happen. Up to date case studies? The Gaddafi family in Libya? The Assad family in Syria?

Maybe tomorrow we will succeed in breaking the stranglehold of the 1% without a shot being fired. If we do, then it will be a mighty achievement, especially when you consider the massive forces that have been mobilised against us.

Tomorrow we can give the rest of the world the message that democracy can still work.

If we lose, then a dark time will become darker. The 1% will have proved that it is capable of frightening people into clinging to the status quo even though the status quo is rubbish. They will indeed have managed to get a majority of turkeys to vote for their version of Christmas.

Well, here’s a final note for myself in twenty years time. Here is an account of one person’s effort kick down the wall. I have been just one small voice among hundreds of thousands. I hope my future self will realise that my present self is in no way, shape or form blowing his own trumpet here. This is just a record of an extraordinary few months when so many of us found a way to dare to hope. I think I managed to play my part.

So hello posterity. Here a list of the efforts of one of the thousands and thousands of little people who in the heady days of 2014 found a way to take a tilt at a few windmills.

Speeches to 10 town hall meetings, one of which found its way onto YouTube to be watched 5300 times.

4 debates, one of which was on BBC Radio.

28 blogs read by 20,000 people.

A book called ‘Toxic which at this point has been read 7000 times and listened to 5000 times.

So there you are, my future self.

That was the bit you once did in the long lost summer of 2014 when hope crawled out of the cracks.

Did we win?

Well you know the answer to that one. I don’t. But I’ll know tomorrow. We all will.

I will wrap up with a great quote I heard yesterday. Kat Boyd, one of the Radical Independence activists who has made a name for herself on the campaign trail, was being interviewed on Michael Greenwell ‘Scottish Independence Podcast’.

Michael asked her if she thought we were going to win.

She replied “I am a socialist and a feminist and my dad supports Albion Rovers. I not really used to winning at anything……!”

Well Kat, maybe this time.

Maybe this time.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Nobody will find it all that very surprising to hear that as an author I am kind of interested in books. Lots of people are. We still put books up on the kind of pedestal that that films and songs and paintings never seem to get close to.

There is a generally perceived wisdom that books are important. Look at the angst parents go through at their kids' preference of playing the Xbox instead of spending quality time with a quality book.

I reckon that if you were to ask most people if they think books are influential, they would invariably tell you of course they are.


However a canny follow up question might cause them a few problems: it certainly caused me a few.

It goes something like this. OK then, why don’t you name me the top ten most influential books to have been written in Britain in the last century.

The key word here of course is influential. As in having an influence. Making a difference. Changing the game.

We’re all well used to the whole top ten thing. And I guess many of us would quite enjoy thrashing out our top ten favourite books. Maybe we could also kill some time guessing at the top ten bestselling books of the last hundred years.

But influential books? Not so easy is it?

Extend Britain to the whole of the world and we can call up Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’. Add in another century and Karl Marx’s ‘Das Kapital’ walks into the top ten. Extend to 2000 years and the Bible, Koran and Talmud enter the fray.

But what about Britain and the last 100 years?

As ever, when in doubt, go to Google. I was utterly amazed to find that Google was every bit as unable to answer the question as I was and this of course is genuinely rare.

So maybe books are not all that important and influential after all. It certainly seems that way.

You might well be thinking that I must be some kind of seriously artsy type to  be spending my days mulling over which books of the last hundred years have had a profound and lasting effect on Britain. To be honest, I’m not. The sole reason that mind wandered in this particular direction was Stuart Campbell’s remarkable ‘Wee Blue Book’.

First up, I haven’t actually read ‘The Wee Blue Book’ in the traditional sense. I listened to it. I downloaded the audio version from Michael Greenwell’s outstanding ‘Scottish Referendum Podcast’ and took an hour and a half’s worth of time out to walk the dogs and listen to Stuart’s uber-compelling case for a ‘Yes’ vote on Thursday.

Whichever way you look at it, this is one hell of a book on all kinds of levels.

Unlike the trash that drops through the letter box from both sides of the campaign, it contains no condescending, dumbed down photographs of perfect looking smiling families enjoying a healthy day out in the Scottish wilderness, no doubt complete with picnics heavy on ‘5 a day’ items. It speaks to its reader as an adult. It avoids using show off long words and it is thankfully clear of political jargon.

Basically it is a serious book for adults written using words and sentences that everyone can understand. It takes heed of the fact that people have other things to do with their lives by telling the reader up front that it is designed to be read in no more than an hour and a half.

So from the very get go, the reader knows what they are getting.

Then I have to take my hat off to the way that Stuart takes complicated stuff and makes it simple to understand. This is truly a rare thing in an era where politicians of all colours love nothing better than to confuse us with their government-speak words and their collections of initials. How many people have the first clue what Quantative Easing is? Or the Structural Deficit? Get my drift?

Let's just take the whole issue of the border as an example. Ed Milliband, that gallant berk at the helm of the Labour Party, has made a number of speeches threatening the prospect of border posts should the immigration policy of an Independent Scotland differ from the immigration policy of the rest of the UK. No doubt his spin doctors are laying eggs at the thought of handing yet more poisonous ammunition over to Nigel Farage to fire off at the massed ranks of the Labour Party’s blue collar core support.


What Stuart does is dismantle Red Ed’s nasty nonsense in a few crisp sentences. Why would there be borders? To stop the Anglo/Scottish border become a preferred entry point for hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants. OK. So if you were an illegal immigrant hell bent on being a 21st century version of Dick Whittington and making your way down to London’s gold paved pavements to prepare over sized mugs of tall, skinny de-caff latte, what the hell are you going to do when you arrive in Gretna only to be confronted by one of Red Ed’s border posts?

What you do is actually pretty straight forward.

You walk across the fields stupid. Bugger the border post. Who needs a border post if you are an illegal immigrant? So what do countries do who have long land borders? They build fences. They shell out endless millions of border forces. Check out the Texas/Mexico line. The land border which separates Scotland and England for just over a hundred very lonely, very rural miles long. So will Red Ed seriously spend God knows how many millions on building a giant fence? And will be spend many more endless millions on paying for a large force of border guards?

Of course he won’t.

Which of course means that his speeches are nothing but lies. Yet more scaremongering. It takes Stuart a single paragraph to rubbish this nasty, dog whistle drivel. So why don’t the overpaid political correspondents of the mainstream media do a similar job? Well I wonder…..

It comes as no surprise whatsoever to me that most people who hand over an hour and a half of their lives to read the ‘Wee Blue Book’ almost invariably move across into the ‘Yes’ camp. More than this, they become active advocates of creating an independent land for all of us to live in.

And then when they are done, they pass their copy of the ‘Little Blue Book’ on to a friend or a work mate or a family member.

They keep it viral.

At the very get go, Stuart reminds the reader that every single one of the 37 daily newspapers on sale in Scotland are supporting the ‘Better Together’ campaign. Almost all of them are owned by huge corporations based in London, so it comes as no surprise that they are such enthusiastic mouthpieces for the status quo of the British Establishment.

It is worth going back a couple of years to Stuart’s decision to set up his ‘Wings Over Scotland’ site. Back then the odds must have seemed pretty well insurmountable. 'No' was leading 'Yes' by 2 to 1 and there were few who saw the big vote being anything resembling close. Stuart set out his stall to provide a counterbalance to the whole of the British Establishment and its compliant media. One guy? Living in Bath? I mean, come on! How long a long shot was that.

And yet over the last couple of years Stuart has completely defied gravity. The perceived wisdom is that you can only sway political opinion if you have the big bucks behind you. Look at the crazy sums that get spent on American elections. Well on that basis, Stuart was surely destined to be the loser to end all losers. He wasn’t famous. He had no support from any party machine. He had no corporate backers. And from what I can gather, he had no vast treasure trove of personal wealth to throw into the pot.

So. An open and shut case. No chance. He was destined to be just another voice yapping away in the wilderness of the internet.

But it didn’t work out that way. Slowly but surely, more and more people found their way to Wings over Scotland and they liked what they found when they got there. There was a clear hunger to hear the other side of the story. The unspun side of the story.

And there was a clear hunger for someone to take on the challenge of picking apart the endless propaganda and lies of the Establishment.

When Stuart asked his readers for a few quid to keep the show on the road, they responded in their thousands. A couple of quid here, a fiver there. Soon he had enough crowd funded backing to take on his task full time and with every passing week his site generated more and more hits.

Until the hits ran into the millions.

Right now not one of the 38 newspapers who are waving the Union Jack with such fervour can dream of generating the kind of traffic that finds its way to ‘Wings Over Scotland’

And still the cash rolled in. A couple of quid here, a fiver there. And all of a sudden Stuart found himself in the position where he had enough cash to produce a book.

The Wee Blue Book.

I might have my figures a bit wrong here, and the odds are that I will be on the low side. Bear with me.

To date the Wee Blue Book has been downloaded 600,000 times.

350,000 hard copies of the book have been distributed to all corners of Scotland.

5000 people have downloaded the audio version of the book from The Scottish Independence Podcast site.

Check it out.

We’re talking a million people here. More or less a quarter of the electorate. And this is no coffee table book. This is a book that is being read from cover to cover. This is a book that is turning hundreds, maybe thousands, of people from 'No' to 'Yes' every single day.

Right now the polls say that 'No' is two points ahead. For the sake of argument, let’s say that the 'Yes' side carries the day on Thursday with 51% ( I actually think it will be a shed load more than that, but that is just me.) And let’s assume that 85% of the registered voters make it to the polling stations. Here is how that looks

YES               – 1865000

NO                 -  1790000

MAJORITY – 75000

If that turns out to be the case, then I think it can be said with complete certainty that those million copies of the 'Wee Blue Book' will have proved to have been decisive.

The 'Wee Blue Book' will have got us over the line.

Just think about what that means.

A Union that has lasted for 300 years will have been broken.

Boris Johnson will have to look under the cushions of his Harrods couch for the £1.5 billion Scotland was earmarked to throw into the pot to pay for Crossrail.

The Chinese and the Russians might find a way to remove the United Kingdom from the UN Security Council.

Countless millions of Russians will no longer be a matter of minutes away from being wiped off the face of the earth care of a first strike from the British Trident fleet.

5 million people will get the chance to live in a kinder, richer and fairer country where everything is not arranged to feed the voracious greed of the richest 1% of its population.

We are talking something that is absolutely huge here. Monumental. And if it happens, one of the biggest factors in making it happen will be Stuart’s 'Wee Blue Book'.

Surely that simply has to make it the most influential British book in the last century.

It really is quite something when you think about it.

One regular, ordinary person thought it up and wrote it.

Thousands of regular, ordinary people threw in the cash to see it printed and distributed.
A million ordinary, regular people took time out to read it.

And now it might just make all the difference.

It’s what they call People Power and there has been all too little of it for far too long.

The Establishment of the 1% really thought they had us all locked down for ever.

Well Stuart, you have proved them completely wrong.

Whichever way things play out on Thursday, you will always have my complete respect.

You have rekindled the dream that the little guy can still make a difference. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


A few years ago when I was writing ‘Threads’, I came up against an obstacle that will be more than familiar to anyone who writes the kind of books I write. My two main characters found themselves in possession of the kind of secret that can all too easily get you killed. Their only hope of getting out of the dire situation they were in was to find a way to get the secret out into the public domain.

The big question was how on earth they were going to do it?

I remember spending several hours trying to find a way to move the story forward. Going to the press certainly wasn’t any kind of an option. This was the kind of secret from the murky depths of the Establishment that the Press would never touch with a barge pole. And it must be remembered that ‘Threads’ was written in the days before Twitter created such a magnificent platform for the whistleblowers of the world.

And then all of a sudden the answer came to me .

Parliamentary privilege.

There are times when Parliamentary Privilege can be the last flickering hope. Any MP or MSP has the right to get to his or her feet and say more or less what they like without having to fear being carted away by men in dark suits and locked away.

In theory this is a truly wonderful thing. In practice it seldom works out that way. Any MP or MSP who chooses this particular nuclear option can pretty well kiss their career goodbye. The Establishment detests whistleblowers with a passion. The Establishment has years and years of practice of squashing whistleblowers like irksome cockroaches.

In my lifetime I cannot remember seeing a politician get heroically to their feet to claim Parliamentary Privilege to expose some dastardly deed. The only reason I know it exists is that it has happened a time or two in books I have read.

Fiction books.

Once the idea of Parliamentary Privilege had climbed into my head, I got to wondering what kind of politician would have the passion and the bottle to get to their feet to start a major tear up.

And then it hit me that there was no need to go to the bother of making up a fictional character to send my tale along to its climax. The very man was already a member of the Scottish Parliament.

The very man was none other than Tommy Sheridan MSP and he was very much a member of the Scottish Parliament at the time. I knew Tommy well enough to have his mobile number. So I called him up and asked if he was OK with the idea of appearing as his factual self in my fictional story.

He was.

So I finished the book and sent Tommy the manuscript which he duly signed off.

The book came out and a few people read it and once again I categorically failed to make like any kind of John Grisham.

And then I got a really bad feeling. For a few months after the book was published, the forces of the Establishment colluded to take Tommy down. For the next couple of years I watched with a distinctly uneasy feeling as the Government, Police and the Murdoch press danced their nasty dance and succeeded in getting Tommy out of Parliament and into prison.

Had some minion from some dark corner of the Establishment read my book and decided that Tommy Sheridan MSP represented a threat to the Realm?

Of course I had no idea and I still have no idea, but it was an uneasy feeling. All of which has made it an utter pleasure to see Tommy come storming back as the most compelling voice of the ‘Yes’ campaign. Two weeks ago I had the great honour of sharing a platform with him in Moniave where he brought a packed room to its feet.

If we get a ‘Yes’ next week, Tommy will have been one of the greatest foot soldiers of a grassroots campaign that has shaken the British Establishment to its very foundations.

Tommy, whether you like it or not, if we get our new country you will be one of the fathers of the nation. You’ll be able to take up your place with the likes of Thomas Jefferson and Kwame Nkrumah and Lech Welesa.

Bloody hell, they might even put up a statue one day. That would be the untimate kick in the teeth for Andy Coulson and his ilk.

Well. All of the above makes it seem like a pretty good time to put ‘Threads’ in the free section of the Kindle Store. If you would like to have a read just follow the link below. I hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, September 6, 2014



Good morning and welcome into the world of a pulp fiction writer. It is a sunny morning outside and a couple of hopeful Collie dogs are laid out in the yard waiting for a walk. I am sitting here in my ramshackle front porch with a cigarette in the ash try and a cup of coffee at my side.

This is my environment for making stuff up. Then the made up stuff becomes a story and the story becomes a book. The key to making stuff up is that it never leaves the realms of possibility. If it is too far fetched, then the reader will get fed up and move on to another book.

In many ways the world of a pulp fiction writer is not all that dissimilar to that of an elected politician. They make stuff up too and try and find new and imaginative ways to get us all to believe in it. They work on how to wear an earnest expression and how to speak with an honest gravitas.

Sometimes we believe them and sometimes we don’t.

The real hard work for a politician comes when they are expected to tell us an absolute porky whilst still keep that earnest look on their face and that gravitas in their voice.

Sometimes this is such a big ask that they need a bit of help. When the politician in question is a mouthpiece for the Establishment, they often look to the shadowy figures in the background to give them the tools they need to hoodwink the punter whose vote they are trying to win.

This of course is the grey area where fact and fiction can tend to get a little muddled. A little intertwined. It 's the land of smoke and mirrors.

Of course we have seen an awful lot of this sort of thing recently as those tasked to maintain the grip of the British Establishment have strived to paint their pictures of the doom and gloom that awaits an Independent Scotland.

The whole point of the useful chaps in the shadowy corners of the Establishment is that they always remain in the shadows. They pull their strings from the shadows. We suspect they are there, but we never get to see them as they go about their work.

Of course they are good for endless material for pulp fiction writers like me. Could they really do something like that? Would they really do something like that?

Sometimes when the truth appears many years later, it is rightly trumpeted as a great triumph. In 1944, the fields of East Anglia were filled with thousands of cardboard tanks and planes which were deliberately badly hidden under dodgy camouflage netting. It was classic smoke and mirrors. The big con worked in spades and the German High Command bought the pup we sold to them. They were completely confident that the Norfolk tanks meant that we were about to land our D Day forces on the beaches of Calais. When we turned up in Normandy, it came as a very nasty surprise indeed for Adolf and his cronies.

Let’s face it, those men of the Establishment did a hell of a job from their shadowy corners.

That was a fact.

I wonder if this is a fact.

Summer is here and the clock is counting down to the big vote on September 18th.. And the race is tightening with every passing day. The politicians and newspapers who are out there fighting the good fight on behalf of the British Establishment are saying with complete and utter certainty that the ‘No’ side is still in the driving seat. They tell us that the ‘Yes’ side is nothing more that noise and the reality is that ‘No’ are so far in front that it is an impossibility for ‘Yes’ to close the gap.

But people don’t tend to believe politicians much these days and more and more people are noticing that all their friends and neighbours seem to be talking about voting ‘Yes’ in September.

So. Time for Plan B. Get the newspaper boys to cuddle up to the polling companies and get them to gently massage the figures to make sure that ‘Yes’ is always a mile behind.

But then those pesky online sites on the ‘Yes’ side start revealing uncomfortable facts about how polls can be gently nudged to give the answer the person paying the bills craves.

So. Time for Plan C. If those pesky voters are not willing to believe the politicians or the media or the polling companies, then who will they believe?

Time for some pulp fiction. One of those clever Establishment chaps in the shadows identifies something we have always held to be true.

The bookies are never wrong!

Oh we all believe that, don’t we? The bookies are some of the cleverest chaps in the whole of the Realm. They never end up on the wrong side of anything. People trust the judgement of the bookies over just about anyone else’s judgement. We love to try and beat the bookies. But in our heart of hearts, we know we never will.

So, how can we get the bookies to back up the words of the politicians and the media and the polling companies? Well our clever chap in the shadows has a cunning plan.

  1. Find £600,000 in one of those dark little funds which are set aside for dark little deeds.
  2. Invent an anonymous businessman in London.
  3. Get that anonymous businessman in London to put two bets of £200,000 and £400,000 on a ‘No’ vote in September.
So what happens next?

Well the key here is that this amount of money is enough to make it into the Guinness Book of Records as the greatest ever political bet to be placed in the history of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This guarantees lots of press coverage.

But it does something else as well. William Hill need to get the cash laid off as fast as they can to make sure they are not over exposed. So what do they do? They lengthen the odds for a ‘Yes’ vote to 5 to 1 against and they tighten up the odds on a ‘No’ vote to 6 to 5 on.

And now when the politicians and the media and the polling companies get out there to tell us all that ‘No’ is going to win by a mile they have a new and formidable string to their bow.

Look at what the bookies are saying!!!!

They are saying the ‘Yes’ side is still so far behind in the race that it is 5 to 1 against!!!

They are saying the ‘No’ side is so far ahead that it is still odds on to win!!!

And of course the bookies are never wrong…..

Not a bad result for a £600,000 investment from a murky slush fund.

It is peanuts if it helps to keep the warheads up at Faslane and a seat at the table of the UN Security Council….

When stakes are as high as this, £600,000 is loose change…

That is the essence of pulp fiction. It is just about believable….

In fact, hold on a minute here.

In the run up to the first debate between Darling and Salmond, an anonymous London businessman walked into a branch of William Hill to add £200,000 to the £400,000 he had already punted on a ‘No’ vote.


And the odds on a ‘Yes’ vote went all the way out to 5 to 1 as William Hill laid off the bet.


And politicians and media all told us that the bookies are never wrong….


That is the enduring attraction of pulp fiction. You can take a few clear facts and you add a sprinkling of fiction and the reader starts to wonder.

Is there really a clever chap in the shadows of the Establishment? …..


Don’t ask me.

I’m just a pulp fiction writer.