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 14, 2018


I think it's fair to say the Scots and the English have had a few pretty tasty bust ups over the last couple of thousand years. We've been at it all the way back to the good days when Hadrian managed to knock up the kind of wall Trump can only dream off. We were at it at Bannockburn and Culloden when there were plenty of bodies left lying on the battlefield. We were at it at Wembley in 1977 when the battlefield turf was ripped up and re-planted in back gardens across Scotland.

Every now and then the Scots have had the chance to throw a party and drink the pubs dry. Much more often, the bust ups have involved the Scots being required to take up the foetal position and grit our teeth through yet another kicking. Like the Clearances. Like when Maggie took a wrecking ball to the ship yards and the coal mines. Like when Cameron stood outside Number 10 and rubbed it in like only an Etonian twat can rub it in.

And year by year and century by century, our masters in London have lovingly added straw after straw to our camel's back. It's been like a never ending game of Colonial Jenga. Another and another and another...

And as they have piled up the straws, just about every other colony has cut the cord and ridden off into the sunset. But not Scotland. Never Scotland. Our rulers in London have enjoyed a free hand to do pretty much anything they like. And we have been like the long abused wife. Why won't she leave? How can she put up with it? Day after day and month after month and year and year after year...? And he's such a complete bastard.... And yet she still won't leave....

It puts me in mind of Trump's statement on 2016 campaign trail when he said he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and still retain the undying love of his treasured base.

But in the end, even the strongest camel's back will snap when a tipping point is reached and passed.

After the vast dramas played out on the battlefields of the ages, how ironic it might prove to be if the final straw was fifteen minutes of school yard nonsense played out on the floor of the House of Commons.

Emperor Hadrian, King Edward the Second, the Duke of Cumberland, Margaret Thatcher.......

David Lidington.

David Lidington!

As T.S. Eliot once upon a time said, 'This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.'

That's David Lidington. A whimper in human form. Every inch the archetypal insipid Tory. Of a weekend, he's the kind of guy you'd find selling raffle tickets at a church fete somewhere in the Cotswolds. He's followed a well trodden path from nice public school to Cambridge to MP for Aylesbury. Once upon a time he wrote a PHD on 'The enforcement of penal statutes at the court of the Exchequer 1558 - 1576.' Oh yeah. he most surely did. Then he honed his Tory dark arts with BP and Rio Tinto before signing on as a special advisor for Douglas Hurd and Queen Maggie. His special advice proved to be sufficiently special for him to be granted his super safe, blue rinse seat in 1992

And for twenty something years he has minced along happily. Every now and then he has had to negotiate a few bumps in the road. His local paper was a bit pissed off when he was found to be burning his through an eye watering £116,000 a year's worth of expenses. They were even more pissed off when they caught him claiming for toothpaste, shower gel, body spray and vitamin supplements. Now that's what you can properly call mincing corruption.

And so after all the vast unfolded dramas, the thunder of cannon, the crash of cavalry hooves, the agonised screams of men with hacked off limbs and spilt entrails, after all that, we had David Lidington getting to his feet and mincing his way through a fifteen minute filibuster. 

Filibuster. Yeah, right. Like some quaint public school tradition. And fair enough, on the surface of things it is better than other public school traditions which tend to involve buggering the new kid.

The Tory benches tittered appreciatively. Jolly good David. Sock it to 'em Liddus. Both barrels old chap. Let the unwashed buggers know who's in charge here. Tally Ho! 300 to 40. How d'ya like that then? 

Job done and not a cannon fired. Pats on the back and a well earned G and T in the bar for good old Liddus. Bloody good show. 

And Twitter north of Gretna got a bit uppity. There were plenty of outraged words but aren't there always? People are outraged all the time on Twitter. No doubt there would have been more than a few on the Tory benches who secretly hankered for some cannon smoke and spilt guts. But hey, ho. Mincing Liddus did 'em proud enough. A solid chap for the Lords one day. Safe pair of hands. And who's going to notice anyway? 

Well, quite. The Scots? Do me a favour. 

And if the big SNP walkout had been a little more meek, then it still might have been OK. If they had filed out from the chamber with an air of offended dignity, then Liddus might have hung on to his man of the hour status.

But it wasn't that kind of walk out. Instead it was a proper Scottish walk out. As the Tory benches brayed, the departing body language would have put a smile on the faces of the ghosts of all those guys who bled out at Bannockburn and Culloden. It was the pointing which did it for me. Proper pointing which carried a crystal clear unspoken message. Wanna step outside, pal? 

Pure YouTube gold. Thirty seconds worth of Friday night aggression guaranteed to rally the troops. And as someone who has been yearning for an end to the painful politeness, I punched the air. 

I reckon the walk out will prove to be an all the king's horses and all the king's men moment for our London rulers. Oh they'll shrug it off and look down their noses and mock. And the Mail and Sun will wade in with all kinds of puffed up outrage. And they will hurl out pelters and present their smug faces to the TV cameras.

And they won't have a clue about how things will play out in the pubs of Scotland this weekend. Because there is a choice here. Do you want to side with the mincing little Tory from Aylesbury? Or do you want to side with the lads doing the pointing?

I wonder how many No voters quietly moved across into the Yes tent last night? My gut feeling says plenty. More than plenty. Tens of thousands.

The straw to finally break the camel's back.

And hopefully we'll all start to wake up to the fact that we're not lining up against the likes of Edward and Cumberland and Thatcher. All they have now is Lidington.

And Mundell.

And Rees Mogg.

And May.

Pygmies one and all.

I heard an extraordinary fact last week. It is a fact which says everything about why the time has arrived for Scotland to choose the lifeboat option and get away from the Titanic whilst we have the chance.

OK. We all know the world is moving at a thousand miles an hour. Robotics, genetics, alternative power, algorithms, you know the kind of thing. And every government in the world is preaching the need for as many smart people as the universities can churn out to try and surf the crashing waves. Every man and his dog is screaming for more engineers and programmers and the like.

So here's the thing. A university did some research which went something like this. If you are a straight A student leaving school and all you are bothered about is making as much money as you possibly can, what subject would you study and where would you study it? Well it has to be engineering or something to so with computers and economics or the law. Surely? I mean if you want to be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

Well I guess if they had asked the question in Germany or China or India, that might well have been the answer. But not here. Not in Titanic Britain. Not even close.

The answer? Any clues? Any gut feelings? No.....?


At Oxford.

Yup. A degree which involves studying Plato and the lads in the original Latin. And let's face it the only places where you're going to learn that kind of Latin are the right kind of public schools.

Fair enough, a knowledge of Classics in the original Latin offers nothing when it comes to riding the wild storm waves of the 21st Century. Instead it proves you're the right sort of chap. A good fit for the shining towers of the City of London where the world's dirty money is laundered and all those lovely fat bonus cheques are to be found......

Classics at bloody Oxford.......

David bloody Lidington .......

The United bloody Kingdom.....

One last straw.......


  1. Mark thank you for that and all that you do to spread the truth , you are a credit to your community and Scotland .
    You and people like you are why we will defeat our oppressors , your dedication to a fairer more caring society shines through in your writing


  2. A dead language for a dead empire,actually several dead empires.
    Perhaps it is true that certain English public schools do not teach history beyond Suez.
    Well said Mark.

  3. Tens of thousands might have joined the Yes campaign as a result of yesterday's events, but what is known for certain is that over 5000 did. 5000+ new SNP members, in 24 hours. Think about that, for a second. 5000. That's the equivalent of the entire Scottish Tory party. In 24 hours.

  4. Pete Wilcox,

    That is a wow! moment indeed.

    Thanks for educating.

    Just to mention, Mark Frankland and what he does is the society I want to live in.

  5. I hope so Mark, I most certainly do.