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, June 8, 2017


It is just by one in the afternoon and I am finding it hard to shake a nagging end of the world feeling. The ceiling in the First Base kitchen is leaking faster than the Trump White House and we are up to four buckets on the floor and counting. Well, not counting actually. We only have four buckets.

Outside the rain is relentless. And the grey is relentless. And the feeling of general doom is relentless.

It seems our beloved United Kingdom is once again about to look out for the tax dodging 1% because the media has told them to look out for the tax dodging 1%. The word from EU types in Brussels is bleak. They now feel it is 90% certain Theresa May will flounce out of the up coming negotiations before the leaves turn to autumn gold.

Wonderful. Cue accelerated decline and the remorseless rise of the hate everyone and everything right. And pensioners from John O Groats to Lands End will fit an extra lock on their doors and post out their votes to stop all hope in its tracks. Those who have little future to live out seem ever more hell bent of ripping away any kind of future from the coming generations. No wonder they so love the idea of a leader who would let the Trident missiles fly without a second thought.

There is not a thing any of us can do to change the world today. If every person in Scotland cast their vote for the SNP it would change nothing. Not today.

Not yet.

We would still be required to provide a home for the UK's weapons of mass destruction.

We would still have our taxes skimmed to cover the costs of Hinkley Point and HS2 and a make over for the Palace of Westminster.

We will still be completely and utterly ignored about everything.

And even with all 59 seats and 100% of the vote, almost every paper on the news stands would hail a vast Tory win for their new Boudicea, Queen Ruth.

So what to do today? Vote or build a bloody Ark? How tempting it is to say stuff it.

Well this blog is parochial. If you are reading this from a screen in Dumfries and Galloway, the view from your window will be every bit as dreich as it is from mine.

If you are reading this blog of mine it is pretty well a racing certainty you won't be thinking about whether or not to don your wet weather gear to go out to vote for good old Ruthie. Tories tend to avoid my musings, can't think why.

Which means if you are about to get soaked to the skin, it will be in the name of SNP, Labour or the Greens.

Maybe you might consider this. I think the bookies have Labour at 100 to 1 and the Greens at 500 -1 here in Dumfries and Gallowa . It's there or thereabouts. There is really is no point getting wet for either.

So. Is it worth making the effort for the SNP? Well you'll have to make your own mind up about that one.

For what it's worth, I will thrown in my own penny's worth.

Maybe it isn't about a vote for the SNP. Maybe it is actually about a vote for Richard Arkless. And here is where I DO have an opinion.

Rich became a mate of mine during our efforts for YES in 2014. Unlike me, he went the extra mile and stood for election and won. He's only had 2 years to prove himself but in my view he has more than done so.

Over the last two years we at First Base have had plenty of calls from his people. The calls have been made on behalf of doomed, desperate people who have either walked in off the street or phoned in their crises. Rich doesn't ignore them. Instead he goes out to bat for them. All of them. Each and every one.

Does he always win on their behalf? Of course he doesn't. Nobody could. But he gives it his best shot and none of us can ask for any more than that.

And none of us can ever be confident things are always going to be tip top in our own lives. Every day at First Base we see lives which have been ruined in the blink of an eye: a redundancy letter, an inexplicable withdrawal benefits, a collapse in health. If you're life suddenly crashes and burns through no fault of your own, you might well need someone who is willing to try and look out for you.

Well if you live in Dumfries and Galloway that guy is Richard and you have until ten o'clock to keep it that way. I know nothing of Rich's Tory opponent. Maybe he's a top bloke. I have no idea. I reckon it's a case of a bird in the hand always being worth more than one in the bush.

Rich is exactly the kind of MP we are always saying we want. He isn't a career politician. He is very much from the real world and he absolutely gives a shit.

He's worth getting wet for. So come on, grab the bloody brolly and get it done.


  1. Spot on.
    There are drips into our shiny PFI school.
    But it's afternoon and it's not raining now!

    I voted on the way to work this morning. But if you want a dry (-ish) vote, this is the apposite moment

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