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.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


Well, here he is.
The great and the very right honourable Alistair Carmichael MP, Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Scotland. This picture, this moment, are as good as life gets for the bold Alistair. For after a century of howling in the wilderness, the Liberal Democrats are finally a party of Government. And Alistair as a bone fide member of the Cabinet of the British Government. He has won himself a seat at the big table and boy oh boy, doesn’t he know it.

In the months leading up to the Referendum, we all got to see a lot of Alistair as he preached the Better Together gospel with unyielding smugness. No longer was Alistair a bit part member of a pathetic little party who lived off scraps from the protest vote table. Oh no. Alistair showed us all that he had taken the step up to becoming every inch the epitome of Establishment Man.

Maybe his Tory chums from the big boys' cabinet table had sent him off on a crash course of how to be arrogant. It sure seemed that way. He perfected the art of looking down his not inconsiderable nose at all those pesky little people in the ‘Yes’ campaign. Oh let them have their silly fun, said Alistair from on high. Silly people playing silly games. Alistair was having none of it and why should he? Not when he could feel the might of Asda and Big Oil and all the Lords and Ladies of the Realm at his back. No more was Alistair a hopeful looking chap standing out on the pavement in the cold and rain, gazing up yearningly at the lights in the upstairs windows where the big boys were sharing port and cigars and tales of £1000 an hour hookers fresh in from the Ukraine. Alistair’s days of living his life in the wilderness of meaningless obscurity were very much consigned to the past.

For now he was the nominated champion of Dave and George and Nick and Ed and a Queen who was itching for the chance to purr. He was their very own Lancelot. Their Achilles. They had dressed him up in the best of armour and sent him north to drive the unwashed masses back into their nasty little box.

He was the safe pair of hands. The enforcer. The tough, tough guy who would look the ‘Yes’ campaign in the eye and never, ever blink. A real 21st Century Caledonian version of the Sheriff of Nottingham.

And when the wondrous perfection of the number 55 burst across the TV screens, Alistair was here, there and everywhere beaming out his triumph to the world. Dave and George and Nick and Ed had put their trust in him and he had come through. The Realm was safe and the Queen was purring.

What next? It might be anything for the bold knight from the North who had saved the Union from nemesis?

Sir Alistair? Surely! ‘Arise Sir Alistair… ‘ Purrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Or what about Lord Alistair of the Obscure Backend of Nowhere? Oh yeah baby. Gimme, gimme!

High Commissioner for somewhere where the sun always shines? Could be! The type of sleepy place where good old boys from the frontlines of vulture capital can hide away their heroically won tax free gains? Why the hell not?

The Establishment knows how to look after its own and Alistair is a man who has proved his utter loyalty in the very heat of battle.

It’s all good stuff, but it doesn’t quite chime with the picture does it Alistair? I really hate to mention it, but there seem to be an awful lot of empty seats. How very odd. Your party has finally crow barred its way into some nice fat ministerial salaries and yet it seems like nobody wants to know you any more. I bet you must be avoiding the social media like the plague right now Alistair. How very galling it must be to see all those irksome pictures of unwashed types packing themselves into meeting rooms all over Scotland. What is the matter with these wretched people? Have they no idea that they have been beaten? And not just beaten. Thrashed, hammered and duly raped and pillaged.

How dare they.


All those packed rooms must have taken the edge of your  great moment of triumph. All you got were a few dozing delegates who had once upon a time taught Chemistry in a Hartlepool Comprehensive when Donny Osmond was at number one in the charts.

All those empty seats when there should have been a vast multitude of tearfully grateful Better Together people cheering you onto the stage on a golden chariot pulled by a team of magnificent snowy white horses….
Or maybe you could have been borne onto the stage on a gilded dias carried by four Ethiopian slaves with coal black skin shining with oil from the East…..

Not an empty room…..

Not a couple of ex social workers from Harrogate.

Not a return to obscurity.

Anything but that.

And to make it worse, Dave and George and Nick and Ed seem to have forgotten all about you. And the silence from Buckingham Palace is deafening.


And later they asked you to make your way across town to the wonderfully familiar comfort zone of the Scotland 2014 studio. How warm and cosy it must had seemed. Back in the chair. Back in front of the camera where there was no requirement for anyone to fill a room full of empty seats.

What a relief.

And for a while it seemed like you were able to forget the abject obscurity of that dismal echoing hall. For a while you were back in the saddle. Back in the lights. Back as Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Scotland.

And it was time to get tough again. Time to let the little people know who was boss here. You all had your chance and you blew it. We’re in charge again. Alistair is your lord and master so doff your caps and button your lips…

He sat up high on his battle hardened horse and puffed out his chest. He fixed the camera with a severe stare and delivered a withering message to Nicola Sturgeon.

Don’t you dare keep banging on about Independence. The Peasant’s Revolt is no more. We won, you lost, live with it.

And for a few brief, wonderful moments, he was back in that place he had come to love so much. And surely Dave and George and Nick and Ed were out there somewhere cheering him on. And surely Lizzy was purring away at his implacable devotion to the Union.

And for a few all too brief moments the arrogance he had learned to carry so effortlessly covered up all the cracks.

No longer was he a bit part player from a pathetic little has been party with a lousy 6% in the polls. No longer was he yersterday’s man in the making. No longer was he the guy who had played out his big moment in front of rank after rank of empty seats.

Once again he was the hero of the Better Together tale.

And he actually believed in it.

He seriously believed that Nicola Sturgeon was about to ignore the wishes and dreams of 60,000 new members and listen to him instead. He seriously believed that all those standing room only halls of people were about to heed his command and stop talking about freedom.

Oh you complete and absolute arrogant bloody fool Alistair. You are living, breathing proof of the hallucinogenic effects of living in an Ivory Tower.

We are NEVER going to listen to you.

You’ve had your day in the sun and no doubt you will get your pay off in due course. But don’t even think of letting it go to your head.

You’re done.

You just don’t know it yet.
But if you take a long hard look at yourself in the picture, you might find there is a message in there somewhere. A message you are clearly failing to hear.     


  1. I voted 'Yes' and I'm distraught that we aren't free of the UK. I live in Orkney and I can assure it isn't an 'Obscure Backend of Nowhere'. Behaving like some arrogant English oik does you no favours.

  2. I don't think Mark was saying Orkney when he said back end of nowehere

  3. Thanks for that Missy and you are quite right. I was absolutely NOT referring to Orkney. I was in a somewhat clumsy way referring to the ridiculous creative means they choose to get their pals into the House of Lords. I guess this is the kind of thing that you mess up on when you are an arrogant English Oik.

  4. He shows what is wrong in the UK 'Brit Nat Arrogance' supported by a supine media.

  5. Excellent article, Mark, and surely there will be a little something in Carmichael's Christmas stocking for doing his Tory master's bidding on the grounds that privileges are more precious and more sought after than principles.