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.

Monday, October 27, 2014


It is extraordinary to think that a month has now slipped by since those desperate early morning hours of September 19th which left so many of us unable ever again to hear the word ‘Clackmannanshire’ without wincing. The breaking of that bleak dawn was soon followed by the sight of David Cameron doing his smug act in front of 10 Downing St.

And for a few brief hours, his glibly spoken words carried a degree of weight. That was the day when ‘the settled will of the Scottish people’ had the sound of a life sentence with no possible chance of parole before at least twenty years had been served. The miserable spectacle of a bunch of Union flag draped meat-heads sharing their drunken Nazi salutes with the watching world seemed to sum up the all pervading air of nihilistic despair to perfection.

But the feeling didn’t even last for a week.

Almost immediately it became clear that nothing was about to be going back to Westminster usual. And over the course of an extraordinary month, everything has changed beyond all recognition. On the one hand it has become abundantly clear that the armies of ‘Yes’ are in no mood to hand in their weapons and slink back home to resume a life of servile cap doffing. Membership of the parties of ‘Yes’ has surged to such an extraordinary degree that the pundits are clearly at a complete loss for words to explain it. The forces of ‘Yes’ have also retained all of their online energy and the number ‘45’ is here, there and everywhere.

On the other side of the fence things haven’t been nearly as rosy. Those who screamed ‘Better Together’ from any roof top they could find have given a master class on how to fall apart. To say they have all been beyond pathetic would be an understatement to say the least.

Hindsight shows that their miserable, tawdry alliance was contemptuously torn into pieces and scattered to the wind at 7 am on the morning on the nineteenth when Cameron used his victory speech to plunge his ‘English votes for English laws’ dagger deep into the exposed guts of the Labour Party.

And ever since it has been one long unholy cat fight which has put beaming smiles onto the faces of both Nicola Sturgeon and Nigel Farage.

It is hard to think of how the Better Together alliance could done made a better job of keeping the army of ‘Yes’ together if they had tried.

It only took days for Scotland to be completely forgotten as smiling Nigel started to make the weather. Now it is clear that only Nigel matters, and if that pisses off the good folk of Scotland, then so be it. The Blue Tories tried to rally their troops by promising to pay for everything by hammering the poor even harder and bashing the immigrants. The Red Tories duly promised to match them step for step, whilst the LibDems wailed out their collective misery to a Glasgow hall of empty seats. Clacton and Heywood sent out earthquakes and Rochester promises more of the same.

Across the board, support for the old order is withering on the vine and it has become clear the old order has no ability to stop the decay.

It isn’t just a case of people being fed up with their smug, corrupt complacency. It is much, much worse than that. People have come to absolutely hate them. Every poll shows all three of the mainstream parties shedding votes like tree shedding leaves in a November gale. Up north the ‘Yes’ parties are hoovering up the disaffected whilst south of the border Nigel goes from strength to strength.

Up here we should thank our lucky stars that the gleaming dream of ‘Yes’ offers a safe home for people to show their loathing for the way the world around them looks and works. South of the border the only choice for the disaffected is the shoddy poison of Nigel and his golf club buddies.

Whilst back bench Blue Tories quietly sharpen their knives and measure up Cameron’s back for the Brutus treatment, the Red Tories are already cannibalising themselves.

As I was driving home from Anfield yesterday afternoon my wandering mind drifted back 202 years to the heady days of 1812. That of course was the high water mark of Napoleon’s Empire and the whole absolute power thing had completely gone to his head. So he decided to do the crazy dictator thing, rustled up 600,000 troops and invaded Russia. At first things went reasonably well to plan as the Russians retreated in a blind panic. But it didn’t take long for things to start to slip. The pesky Russians didn’t follow the rule book. They were supposed to gather up their army and give Napoleon the proper ‘square go’ he was looking for. The French would have duly wiped the floor with the jumped up Slavs and a peace deal giving the little master everything he asked for would have duly been signed off.

But the Russian didn’t play ball. They refused to fight at all. Instead the burned all the wheat fields and torched all the barns and left the advancing French hordes to march on ever emptying stomachs.

The Russians finally stood and fought a few miles west of Moscow on the hills of Borodino. The battle was a predictable bloodbath and the Russians called it a day once the grass was stained red by the blood of 40,000 corpses.

And once again the cheeky buggers refused to play by the rules. The generals were supposed to ride their horses up the Napoleon’s command tent and sue for peace. But they didn’t. Instead they retreated from the filed of battle in good order and lived to fight another day. They marched back to Moscow and only paused to burn their capital city to the ground, and then they retreated some more and patiently waited for winter. The Grande Armee swaggered into town and maybe some of the top guys made speeches about the settled will of the Russian people. They found lots of pianos and ornate dressing tables but no people and no food. They hung around for a while trying to convince themselves that they had won a huge victory, and then they realised that if they tried to stay in town for the winter they would all starve to death. So they loaded up their loot and started out on the long return home.

It didn’t go so well.

By the time they left Russia there were barely 50,000 of them left and the supposedly indestructible Napoleon was a busted flush. A year later he got his first ever kicking on the battlefield outside Leipzig and in 1815 he was finally consigned to the history books at Waterloo.

Only a minority of the 600,000 men who swaggered across the border into Russia were French. The Grande Armee was a rag tag bunch made up of all kinds of different nationalities who had hooked their wagons onto the great man’s wheel. So long as things were going well, they more or less managed to hang together. And if things had gone to plan at Borodino and Napoleon had won his usual massive victory, then they would have continued to hang together to share out the loot. But once everything started to go pear shaped, they fell apart and they were driven from Russia like a pack of spitting, starving rats.

‘Better Together’s’ triumph on 19th September now looks every bit as hollow as Napoleon’s points win at Borodino all those years ago. BT marched into the Referendum campaign with all the confidence and swagger that the Grande Armee showed when they crossed the border into Russia. The rag tag alliance of ‘Better Together’ welcomed the chance to smash to pathetic forces of ‘Yes’ into trembling submission. They started the campaign quite sure that they would win 70 to 30 and the taste of victory would be so very sweet.

It was going to be the kind of wipe out that Napoleon had enjoyed when he marmalised the Austrians and Prussians at Austerlitz and Jena. But the ‘Yes’ campaign refused to follow a playbook and instead we came up with a grassroots guerrilla campaign that scared the bejesus out of the Establishment. Their 55/45 win on the nineteeth was a Borodino affair. They had to use every single gun and shell in their armoury to get over the line. They told every lie under the sun and decided not to worry about how it would look when all the lies unravelled over time. They threw every last one of their chips onto the table on the assumption that victory would be forever. That was how it was when Napoleon marched the massed ranks of his beloved Republican Guard into the meat grinder in the middle of the afternoon of September 7, 1812. It was his last chance. He needed his elite guys to defy the odds and smash the Russian forces into a million pieces.

They failed.

The Russians retired from the field in good order and the rest as they say is history. The story of Waterloo was written the moment the Imperial Guard’s last chance saloon advance failed to give their Emperor the knockout win he needed.

Failure at Borodino was the beginning of the end for the little Corsican.

From that moment it was only a matter of time before his huge Empire collapsed in on itself. He had thrown the kitchen sink and learned the hard lesson that you only ever get one chance to throw the kitchen sink. If you get it right, you hit the other guy on the head, shatter his skull and put him out of the game forever. If you get it only half right and merely break his arm, then one day he will come back at you to exact his revenge.

The last month has seen the miserable alliance of the Better Together fall apart like the Grande Armee fell apart all those years ago. Now they face the task of the long retreat from Moscow and we get the chance to be the partisans. Their flanks are exposed and they can’t get their heads around how quickly they have gone from being winners to hapless losers.

Now we can pick them off at our leisure and exact a slow revenge for all the lies they told. We will have our own Waterloo moment. Maybe it will come in five years. Maybe a little longer. It certainly won’t be the thirty years Cameron, Milliband and Clegg yearn for.

And when that Waterloo moment duly arrives, they will find that the kitchen sink has already been thrown and cannot be thrown twice. Next time the lies won’t wash. Next time the scare tactics won’t scare.

In the last knockings of the battle of Waterloo, Napoleon once again looked to the men of the Republican Guard to save his bacon. At Borodino they had failed to break through. At Waterloo they broke and ran.

At Waterloo they proved to be a busted flush.

That is how it will be next time for the reinvigorated forces of the 'Yes' Campaign. Next time there will be no Sir Ian Wood or Asda to tell lies to the pensioners. Next time they will get what the Republican Guard got at Waterloo.

An absolute kicking.

Over the last few weeks the forces of ‘Yes’ have been presented with an open goal. All we need to do now is to hold our nerve and roll the ball into the back of the net.

Bring it on.    


  1. And the architect of Napoleon's downfall? A woman scorned of course. Josephine had been usurped. Her cousin Aimee it was who reached an agreement with the Russians. That's another interesting story in it's own right.

    Any scorned women set on spiking the Westminster Alliance, I wonder?

  2. 45% baseline is the Unionists nightmare from Hell,They wanted referendum as settled will of Scotland.YES campaign has done Scotland amazed looking back 99.9% MSM against.

  3. Beautifully put. The current debacle of the Scottish labour party desperately searching around for someone, anyone to lead them out of the Godforsaken wilderness bears witness to the truth of your words. They are a spent force and their masters down South are too busy fighting their own rearguard actions to even see us over the horizon. I was brought low with depression on the morning of the 19th of September, but it lasted about as long as David Cameron's vow.

  4. Mark-whole article describes events wonderfully!

    I agree with every word!