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.

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.


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  2. Until I read this blog, this had been my take on it:

    "As to why the Scots voted no, those that are ranting on about fear and conspiracy defeating hope have, I trow, got the wrong end of the stick; the key to understanding what just happened in Scotland lies in the high turnout. Like Jack Lynch bussing the 80-year old convent nuns to the polling stations, very ordinary people, who do not like change by and large, were feeling threatened by the risk of a radicalising independence movement taking their familiar world away and heading their lives into, for them, unknown territory. Roused by this existential threat those that never consider themselves strongly political came out of their cottages, farms and flats, even from their sickbeds and on wheelchairs, and voted No. The referendum politicised the silent majority of Scots; and that majority is almost always conservative with a small "c". In Scotland's case that means liking their place in the British Empire and the British settlement. It is the Sunday afternoon lazily listening to the Archers and brousing the Times weekender magazine. We all know the feeling; it is that deep love we all hold for the familiar and the urbane that the English had raised to an art form, hailed by Betjeman and Bennet alike, and which had become the day to day reality of so many Scots - and Irish alike. The tragedy here is that this pious fidelity to the old decencies has destroyed a great democratic movement that offered not to ruin Scotland, not even to change it that much, but to restore its uniqueness. Now Scotland will remain a part of Little Britain. Ah well! Scones and tea anyone?"

    Now I think, too kind was I. This is a thing of fear provoked and old hatreds stirred. Of institutionalized privilege and false entitlement. It is a betrayal of hope and youth and freedom. The sad despair of it all. But, Mark, it will not stand! A better world has begun.

  3. Ageist much? Such a damn shame those pathetic old duffers who saved the United Kindom were allowed to vote. Gosh.

  4. It is such a damn shame those pathetic old duffers were allowed to vote. My 80 year old granmother, born and raised in Scotland and has lived here all her life is ashamed of them. They thought only of themselves and not of the future. How will their selfish act affect their children, their grandchildren and future generations to come? Life is about taking chances.

  5. Hi! My friend shared this on facebook and here's my response:

    Yeah patronising bullshit. Pretty much suggests that anyone 65+ is a doddering, cowed simpleton.

    If this is based on the Ashcroft polling then he fails to note that the 16-24 age group voted Yes 51% to 49% percent. Not exactly a massive endorsement. In fact, apart from the 25-34 age group, Yes scores no decisive victories.

    It was clear months ago that the 65+ age group was likely to secure a no victory. I make sure to check out the polling cross tabs rather than just reading the topline figures which is why I never really thought Yes would win.

    If I was aware of Yes's 65+ problem then I would assume the campaign was too. They clearly did not do enough to convince that age group of the merits of a Yes vote, so the fault lies with them.

  6. Hey loser, guess what? You lost! The majority of Scots didn't share your view and you lost. Now quit whining like a bitch, get over it and move on.

  7. I wish people would realise that the Ashcroft poll was based on only 2000 people. Did we not deride many BT polls as being based on only 1000?

  8. The No people are such a nice crowd.

    No wonder they like the red hand of Ulster flags.

    The truth is that the unionists lied. They didn't say they would give us devo max, but when the newspapers reported the "vow" ( they couldn't call it a pledge because when the words pledge and Nick and Clegg appear on the same page of a paper it's sets off an epidemic of uncontrolled laughter), the politicians did nothing to disabuse us of the fact that it wasn't devo-max.

    It wasn't until Friday that Downing Street released info to that effect to Norman Smith. The dead had been done. YOu have to hand it to them, it was a neat job. I'd been expecting a terrorist attack or the death of Phil the Greek. But no, they got Gordon to upstage Alistair and save the union as he once saved the world. How Darling must loathe him.

    I don't blame old people. Many of our pensioners are dirt poor. They were told that they would lose their pensions. They believed it. People like Gordon Brown had said so. It was plausible I guess. I mean Iain Duncan Smith is capable of starving sick people to death, why not old people? I tried to reassure people but folk like me couldn't be trusted to know that kind of thing. Gordon, apparently, could.

    They wouldn't be able to cross the border to England to see their grandchildren either, because Tessy May said she would put up a border. Sick kids wouldn't get treatment; the blood transfusion service would cease in Scotland, never mind that it works in all the countries of these islands, Guernsey, Jersey, Eire, Man, Sark, England, Wales... Scotland would be excluded. Both of these things were lies but got virtually no coverage on the BBC.

    Now Cameron has to do devolution for England too, otherwise the UKIPpers will be snapping at his heels, and just like in 1979, Scotland will be forgotten in the excitement of the UK general election to find out who gets to slide his tongue between Mr Obama's cheeks.

    Miliband has more or less disowned any of the pledges. Instead he has promise that the minimum wage will raise to £8 an hour by 2020. What an ambition for a man whose household income is over £7000 a week.

    But hey. It has made us stronger. The SNP recorded a massive increase in membership as did the Greens. So much so that websites crashed.

    Moving on is fine if you live quite far from the nuclear weapons, and if you don’t have to go to a food bank while a hundred billion pounds is wasted on renewing the WMDs.

    But that’s Britain. And rejoice, Little Willie has screwed Kate again and there will soon be another royal mouth to feed.

    1. There are idiots on both sides. The people waving red hand of Ulster flags voting no becuase "we are the people" are balanced by people voting yes beacasue they hate the English or because England persecuted Ireland where there great great great gran once went on holiday.

      Anyway my point is the idiots are not representitive of everyone! If you use that logic all Scots are idiots.

  9. I didn't get a vote as shock horror I live in England where the streets are paved with gold and the English laugh at the Scots....

    Things aren't a bed of roses down here either it seems like there is a belief that all 5 million Scots are saints capable of only making moral choices and all 50 million English are millionaire devil worshipers! We know however this isn't true!

    We should be proud of those wanting to change but belittling those who didn't is not democracy. We should try and keep fighting to make things better for all of the UK!

    Perhaps some of these evil over 65s have enjoyed the good times and feel some sort of responsibly to keep the UK together for everyone's sake! It could have been argued that a yes vote was equally selfish from the younger voters!

    I suspect if it had have been yes deals would have been done to leave strident in Scotland and not much would have changed due to the fact that global corporations are really in charge!

    We need to take some responsibility we can't expect any government to solve all problems without raising taxes! It's a tough blow but alienating the no vote just divides us and that makes me sad.

    I love people’s passion I am gutted to see my fellow Scots turning on each other

  10. If you love passion you should not be surprised to see people turn on each other. This isn't; some silly football match. This is life and death for some people.

    If of course, we didn't raise taxes, but stopped pretending to be a superpower with the 4th largest military spend in the world after USA, Chine and Russia, perhaps we could ensure that we fed our children and kept our old warm in the winter.

    Britain will never stop pretending that it still has an empire and is still "great" in the sense of "important", rather than what the name actually is "big"

    The 4th most unequal country in the developed world, and just above Mexico in terms of retirement pension is not a proud boast. Although clearly mr Cameron would no longer be permitted to sleep in the President's bed, if he concentrated on feeding the population instead of going to illegal war and killing Muslims at America's command.

    1. Couldn't have put it better myself. Bit harsh of the pensioners me the blame lies with the politicians and scaremongerers who filled them with fear by blatantly lying to them about their pensions etc., not them. Most of them, like us couldn't engage and discuss on social media....if they could have.. It would have been YES.

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