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.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


I have never written out a pitch to any of the Silicon Valley giants before. I guess I will just have to wing it. I gather you guys don't go in for neck ties and old school formality, so maybe you will give me a pass for my terminally dodgy grammar. I gather you guys also hate paper, so I give you my word of honour never to print these words out. I reckon bullet points are probably the way to go. 

So. Go.


A pulp fiction writer who is punting an idea in your direction.


Not a penny, not a brass farthing, not a cent. As in zip, zero, nothing.


Because I am father to two mixed race sons and I am getting seriously pissed off/concerned about the rise in race hate in Britain in the wake of the Brexit vote.


Loads. Masses and masses of positive PR in return for barely any cash spent. You get to do good for the families of lots of your drivers. You get to feel the warm glow of doing the right thing at the right time. Silicon Valley is all about choosing to wear white hats instead of black hats, right guys?


Britain calls a referendum on its membership of the European Union – 'Brexit'. The campaign gets nasty, ugly and toxic. Elements of the 'Leave' side play the race card and elements of the tabloid press give over their front pages to hating foreigners. The 'Leave' side wins the day and parts of the community take this win as a signal. All of the sudden they feel victory has given them the right to racially abuse any foreigner they can find. Incidents of race hate climb sharply.


There is not hard evidence yet. But we can take a guess. The older generation voted overwhelmingly for 'Leave' and so it seems likely much of the racial abuse will be coming from the older end of the age scale. Under 24's voted 'Remain' to the tune of 75%. The last few days have demonstrated that young people are well and truly pissed off. They reckon their future has been stolen by people who will be long gone before this particular future arrives.


It would appear so. Early days mind.


Most hate and despise it. They have grown up in classrooms filled with all creeds and colours. Racism makes no sense to them. The see it as one of those pathetic things stupid old people hang onto.


It looks and feels like they most probably are. Look at who is supporting Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders. Lots of young people are outraged at the selfish, nastiness of the older generation.


Oh yeah, sure they do. Check out the 'Indignados' in Spain. A potted history. Post Lehman Brothers, the Spanish banks found themselves up the creek. So the bankers started to crack the whip and call in the poor buggers who had got behind on their mortgages. This meant they were sending out bailiffs to evict pensioners and turfing them out onto the streets. Well. Most pensioners have grandchildren and the grandchildren were pretty damned angry at what was going down. So the young people branded themselves as the 'Indignados' and found a way to make it stop. OK Gran. Listen up. If the bailiffs turn up, DON'T open the door. You text me and I will fire out text to my local 'Indignados' group. Everyone will drop everything they are doing and get themselves round to your place. Within 5 minutes of you sending the text we will have the bailiffs outnumbered by 50 to one. No contest.

And so they did it. And it worked. Every time banks sent out their bailiffs round to evict pensioners the bailiffs were confronted by hundreds of angry young people. The banks had a tantrum and told the police step in and fire off some tear gas. The police told the banks to get stuffed. In the end the banks gave up trying and wrote off the debt.

It was people power and it worked.


Of course you do. You already have the App. If one of your drivers finds themselves in trouble with a passenger, all the driver needs to do is to hit the App on their phone and every other driver in the vicinity will head their way to back them up. People power, right?


So maybe you could tweak this driver safety App a touch and stick it up on iTunes free at the point of downloading.


Well maybe I'm an immigrant living in Britain. I watch the news. I read the paper. I check out Twitter. And what I see makes me scared. Race hate is on the rise. The streets don't feel so safe any more. I feel alone and vulnerable. I feel eyes are on me. I hardly dare open my mouth. So I download the Uber 'Race Hate Alarm' App from iTunes or wherever. So if some meathead gets in my face and starts telling me to get back from where I have come from, all I need to do is hit the icon on my phone. Just like ordering an Uber cab, right?


Uber will have by this time used its mastery of the online world to promote the new App to all the young people who are disgusted and appalled at the post Brexit rise in race hate. If their phone buzzes with an alarm in their vicinity, they can make their way to where in incident is playing out. Then they get out their phones and start filming whilst at the same time letting the racist idiot know exactly what they think of them. The footage goes up on Youtube and the racist is suddenly kind of worried to show a public face. The person who has been attacked feels protected and welcomed. Even if they are not attacked, they will be able to check out their phone at any time to see lots of re-assuring blips which represent young people in the vicinity who have signed up to make a stand against racism.


Oh come on guys! What age group represents your main customer base? Young people. Are they going think good things about you if you do this? Duh. And let's face it, you have a whole bunch of skin in this particular game. What percentage of your drivers were born outside the UK? 80%?These are your people who are being attacked right now. Will it cost you much? I doubt it. Most of the technology is already written. A few days worth of time for some of your smart guys and it will be job done. A mix of Uber and the young can put these idiots back in their nasty caves. Imagine how good that would make you feel. It's called doing the right thing guys. Go on. Give it a go.


Yup. That's it. Over to you. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Twice in the last two years I have written angry blogs aimed squarely at the older generation. In September 2014 there were tears of rage in my eyes in the wake of the over 65's stamping down on the dream of an Independent Scotland. On Thursday morning I wondered aloud if it was about to happen again.

Well it did. In spades.

75% of the 18-24's cast their votes for what they saw as their best chance of an optimistic, outward looking future. A few hours later they were rewarded with the nauseating sight of a half pissed Nigel Farage boasting of a revolution being won "without a single bullet being fired." Maybe he was right in a way. Early evidence suggests Jo Cox was shot three times, not once.

But as the hours of the most horrible election night I have ever known unfolded through the wee small hours, it became very apparent that this time it was worse than a mere betrayal of the young by the old. Much, much worse.

To be honest there were times when I found it almost too hard to watch. Names of small towns jumping on and off the screen. Burnley. Blackburn, Darwen, Preston, Bolton, Blackpool.....

Leave, leave, leave. 

And not 'Leave' by a whisker. It was leave by a country mile. Leave with the kind angry howling rage I used to hear on the football terraces of the 1970's. You see, these were not just any towns for me. These were my towns. Lancashire towns. They are where I grew up. The towns where I cut my teeth. And these people who were filled with such a hatred of immigrants and everything had once upon been my people. In the years since settling up here, I have become Scottish, but I guess I will always be a Lancashire Scot. When Scotland play England, I now root for the lads in the blue shirts. But when Liverpool play anyone from the rest of the planet and beyond, my allegiance will forever be with the boys in red!

What happened on Thursday all across the small blighted northern towns of my youth was a cry of rage and pain. These are the forgotten places where once upon a time enough cotton and wool was combed, spun and woven to clothe the people of the world. But it all stopped. When I used to walk down Montague St in Blackburn on my way home from school, the skyline was still dominated by tall red brick chimneys. 

But none of them smoked any more. The mills were dark, satanic and very much closed. The red brick was daubed with the slogans of the National Front as more and more people turned on the hated 'Pakis' and blamed them for everything turning bad. Cobbled streets became places of brooding hate as the pub and the chip shop were replaced by shops run by Asian families with frightened eyes. Those who could leave, left. The local media called it 'White Flight'. Those who stayed learned to hate. A charming little ditty from my youth which could be heard late on a Friday night in the brooding Blackburn streets

'We're going Paki bashing, we're going Paki bashing, nah, nah, nah nah..."

The first wave of immigrants from the Sub Continent were frightened and disorientated. When they got bashed, they curled into a ball and took the kicking. But their children took a different view. As their children grew, they looked back into the warrior past of their forebears from the mountains around the Khyber Pass. They weren't about to get bashed by anyone.

The community split and the hate hardened and as a mixed race family we knew the time had come to get away. I guess in our case it was black and white flight.

In hindsight, we were a bit like a Jewish family fleeing Germany in the 1930's and carving out a new and better life in Britain. Carol said something very profound as it became clear the hate of Vote Leave was about to win the day.

"Thank God we moved to Scotland."

Thank God indeed.

Two years ago I discovered the kind of fervour for my new home nation only grateful immigrants can ever truly know. Fighting for 'Yes' was one of the most profound experiences of my life. It was an honour and a privilege and something I will never forget. None of us will ever forget those heady summer days of 2014 when we seemed about to achieve what was supposed to have been impossible. And but for the bloody over 65's we would have made it.

Until yesterday I had been pessimistic us about getting another chance for many years. But everything changed yesterday.

Maybe for the first time, the rest of the world truly woke up to fact of the sheer extent of how Scotland has become different to England. The map shows it not in black and white, but in yellow and blue. The wall to wall, 62/38 yellow north of the border was a badge of honour. And it wasn't just most of Scotland painted yellow: it was all of it. Every last square inch. I have to say it was a monumental relief when the TV screen told me that Dumfries and Galloway had chosen to be yellow along with the other 31 council areas!

It couldn't be any clearer. We don't do UKIP up here. We don't give Farage house room up here. We don't do poisonous hate up here. And we refuse to be dragged along by the poisonous hate that has taken hold of so much of the England I first grew up in and then fled from.

If Carlsberg built lifeboats, then the lifeboat they would build would look a lot like Scotland.

It didn't take Nicola long to throw down the gauntlet. Is the time for Indyref Two really here? Christ I hope so. It looks like it. Bring it bloody on.

Private Frankland reporting for duty!

As someone who stood up on many Indyref stages, I am more aware than most of how essential it is we have a great story to tell. This time the issue of currency has to be well and truly nailed down from the get go. We need to be able to say this is what it is. No ifs no buts. A statement of fact.

Obviously the biggest game in town over the coming weeks is for Nicola to get the nod from the other 27 countries of the EU. She needs to persuade them to keep the door open for us whilst we free ourselves from the clutches of Boris and Co.

And once the campaign gets into full swing, we need to make sure we have great stories to tell from all those community hall stages. We need the tools to sell the dream of Scotland like it has never been sold before. We need to raid Barack's 'Hope over Fear' playbook.

One thing we can do right now is to start advertising ourselves as being a lifeboat for all of those south of the border who are now ashamed of the country where they live. Many of these people are doctors and nurses and teachers and social workers and entrepreneurs. We need to get the word out.  

Go north. Come north. 

Maybe the Scottish Government should commission a 21st Century version of the Statue of Liberty and stick it up about 10 yards past the border signs at Gretna. We can be the sanctuary for all those who cannot abide the prospect of living their lives in the shadow of the new racism of little England. And let's not be shy about it. Let's get right in the face of Boris, Farage and the hate mongers. Let's start stealing their best people from them.

We need to grab the moment and start forging links with the islands of yellow who have proudly broken up the sea of snarling blue. London and Liverpool and Manchester and Bristol. I absolutely love the fact that Nicola is already in cahoots with Sadiq Khan. You've just got to love it. The Ayrshire lass and the East End Muslim versus the rest.

Just think of the kinds of deals we could cut with our new friends in London. We could build whole 'care' villages in the midst of some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe for the people of London of make available to their poorest pensioners. Why would London want to pay twice the price for a godforsaken care home in Romford when they could send their people to the fresh air and safety of the Scottish Countryside? 

And maybe we could start talking water. You have 8 million people who suffer hosepipe bans every summer. Nae bother. We have all the clean water in the world and a perfect collection system of glens and streams. So let's build a pipeline. Let's take Scottish Water to our newly found allies in London. Let's do the deal.

We need to start wooing businesses of all sizes and from all corners of the world. Want a base to trade with the single market of the EU? It's here guys. It is right here. It isn't exactly a hard sell. We've got a billion acres of clean air and drop dead gorgeous countryside. We've got a grade A financial sector in Edinburgh. Oh and by the way, we like foreign people here. We welcome them. We are the people who vote for building bridges not walls. What's there not to like?

I read an amazing fact a few weeks ago. Amazingly enough, Britain has recently overtaken America when it comes to projecting 'soft power' around the world. What is soft power? It is films and sport and law and music and language. All over the world people have a fond view of Britain as the being the home of Shakespeare, the Beatles and the Premier League. And the bloody Royal Family of course. Now this rather false picture is about to be spray painted with graffiti by the Farage hooligans. Well before that happens, we need to claim as much of this soft power as we can in the name of Scotland. After all we were once home to the Enlightenment and we are still home to the world's largest annual celebration of culture.

If the time for IndyRef 2 has indeed arrived, then we need to ready to sell ourselves like we have never sold ourselves before. Thursday proved that we are different to England in so many ways. We look out whilst they look in. We want bridges, they want walls. We want welcome people in, they want to push people away. We need to drop any vestige of diffidence and shout this message from the bloody rooftops. And no doubt they will call us every name under the sun, but who cares. After Cameron's Brexit fiasco, will there be anyone ready to march behind the banner of Project Fear 2? A few, but not many. They have all told far too many lies. Right now they are in complete disarray. Right now they are wondering just how they will contain the expectations of the racist monster they have reared into angry adulthood. Right now they are as weak as they will ever be.

It really looks like the time is now. We need to strike whilst they are so weak. We need to drown their hate with our hope.

Oh yeah, nearly forgot. We have to find a way to persuade grandparents to do the right thing for their grandchildren this time. That is no kind of easy task, but surely a way can be found.

Like I said.

Private Frankland reporting for duty!    

Thursday, June 23, 2016


I had made up my mind not to vote in today's Referendum. In fact I went public about the decision in this very blog. To be honest, I just couldn't stand the thought of voting for either side. Every time I heard the 'Remainers' predicting plagues of locusts it took me straight back to the poisoned, lying words of 'Better Together'. But 'Vote Leave' is no 'Yes'. Instead of smiling hope and enthusiasm it has been a snarling, scowl of bitter insularity and barely disguised racism.

So I decided not to vote at all. I received a long and convincing reply in the comments section of the page from Ian who rightly reminded me the least I should do is turn up at the ballot box to spoil my paper. Fair enough. Too many good men and women have laid down their lives for my right to visit the ballot box for me to stay away. Cheers for that Ian.

But now the day has arrived and I've changed my mind. I will be putting a cross in the box that says 'Remain' with no enthusiasm whatsoever.

There have been a couple of things. I had already made my decision before watching Sheila Hancock's magnificent contribution on last night's Channel 4 debate. If I hadn't already been off the fence, Sheila would have definitely knocked me off my sulking perch. Clean off. I don't know if it is up on YouTube yet, but it will be soon enough and it is the finest speech I have heard in years. I guess it helps when the person speaking the words is a trained actor with sixty years experience, but bloody hell! Wow.

The main reason for my change of heart was a sudden memory from the desperate days following the defeat of the 'Yes' dream back in 2014. I remembered reading the statistics describing how the generations had voted. The young had overwhelmingly hitched their wagons to optimism and hope. In fact right up to the age of 60 the people of Scotland had voted 'Yes'. But the dream was trodden down by the over sixties who were having none of it.

I took to my keyboard and wrote a blog which was little more than a howl of rage and anguish. Within a few hours over 10,000 readers turned up to share the pain. It all just felt so wrong.

And now it looks like it's happening again. 70% of young people want their future to be in a land that looks out on the world with a smile and welcomes strangers. 70% of old people want to slam the door shut and pretend it is possible to return to a Faragian myth of the 1950's.

I reckon this generation of old people has to be the most selfish there has ever been. Instinctively I feel apart from them but I guess I probably should admit to myself that at 55 years old I am more or less a part of them.

How much do these people want? They are quite literally the luckiest people in our country's history. They have lived through a golden era we will never see again. All their lives they have known a free health service and free education. When they went to university, it was all paid for by the tax payer. They bought houses for a few hundred pounds in the 1960's and watched them turn into treasure troves. They have never been asked to go to war and they have seen the price of food crash by 80%. When they were young they consumed the joys of the 'Swinging Sixties' when all the basics of life were cheap as chips and more or less everyone who wanted a job had a job. And now millions of them enjoy the kind of final salary pensions that will never see the light again.

And yet nothing is ever enough. Every election sees the over 65s more or less blackmail politicians into putting them first. Medical science has ensured there are more over 65's than there have ever been before. And do they ever appreciate their electoral power! They know the silver haired vote is all conquering. No party dares to stand up to the militants with the disabled parking badges. 

Gimme, gimme, gimme....

Or else....

Triple locked pensions and pension tax credits and a winter fuel allowance and free TV licences and free bus passes...... Never mind that most of these guys are sitting on a bricks and mortar fortune and get a monthly pension most young people working fifty hard hours a week can only dream of earning.

And how have all these nasty election bribes been paid for? On the backs of the young of course. Where else? The poor sods who are now weighed down to the tune of £30,000 when they work hard for a degree. The poor sods who are priced off the housing ladder forever. The poor sods who are charged £1500 a year for insurance when they pass their driving test. The poor sods who have been slowly but surely priced out of all the things that the silver haired generation used to take for granted. Like a night in the pub. Like going to the match. Like filling the tank with petrol.

A third of everything our country produces goes to keeping the older generation in the style it has become accustomed to. I heard a telling phrase the other day. Today's young are the 'Pack Horse Generation'. They are expected to pay for everything and they get nothing in return.

What makes the way the younger generation are being treated doubly sickening is the fact that they are so ridiculously commendable. 25% of 18 to 25's are now T total. Guess where we now find the vast majority of problematic binge drinkers who cost the NHS £35,000 a year when their livers are all shot to hell? You got it. The over 65's. Over recent years teenage pregnancy statistics have fallen off a cliff at the same time as the over 50's have accounted for a steep rise in sexually transmitted diseases. When it comes to getting completely pissed and having unprotected sex the young have a great deal to teach the old! Bloody ridiculous isn't it.

You would think these sweeteners, bribes and goodies would be enough for the oldies. Fat chance. Nothing is ever enough. Their sense of entitlement beggars belief. And now they are doing their best to smash yet more of the hopes and aspirations of those who pay all the bills. Oh yeah, today is threatening to be IndyRef revisted.

I do not pretend to share the enthusiasm the younger generation shows for the EU. To be honest I think they are a tad naive. But hell, it is their future when all is said and done, not mine. Democracy should mean they have a proper chance of the future they choose. It isn't my future. And it certainly isn't a future that belongs to the over 65's. How dare they dig in their embittered heels and deprive the young of the what they want? And why? Because they heard someone speaking Polish in the Post Office? Because Mrs Rogers reckons house prices on the street will have dropped when that Pakistani family moved into number 37? Because the Lithuanian girl in Asda couldn't understand a simple question about where the sellotape could be found?

It sucked in September 2014 and it sucks now. The bitter oldies slapped down the dream of 'Yes' and now they want to drag us all behind the walls of a moaning, xenophobic, permanently grumpy Little England. When a vote is all about what the next fifty years will look like, I would love to see a very different voting system. 

Something like this.

Under thirties get 3 votes each. Those between 30 and 60 get two votes and the over 60s get one. It would mean that those who will be living the future will have the biggest say in how it should look. Of course the silver haired brigade will be involved in some of the future and so they should be allowed some of the say. But only some.

So what the hell. I'm getting down with the kids. Fair enough, the EU doesn't ring my bell much but if that's what they want, then they should be allowed to have it. Christ knows they get bugger all else. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Public reaction in the days following Jo Cox's assassination has been all about shock horror. Of course it has. How could it have been anything else. The true horror is only just beginning to emerge. For this was no clean asassination care of a sniper and a Barrat 50. This was a frenzied slaughter. A truly horrific event.
We have been shocked by the inescapable truth that something like this can happen on the high street in a sleepy town in Yorkshire. In daylight, whilst all around normal people go about their normal business. This is the sort of thing that happens in America, not here. We should be watching a news conference fronted up by a granite faced guy in an FBI baseball cap with a bunch of similarly grim faced guys standing behind him.
Then there is the shocking realisation that when you fill the air with racist poison, it can have a lethally profound impact on people with serious mental health problems. It would appear that the killer not only suffered mental illness for decades, but he had also been drawn to far right hatred for many decades. So why now? And why a mere few days away from the big EU vote? And had his local MP been a person who demanded we take control of our borders, would he have shot her three times, stabbed her more times than that, and then kicked her as she lay dying on the ground? This is the kind of thing that always happens when racism is deemed to be acceptable.
Then there has been widespread shock about Jo Cox the person. People have been finding it hard to get their heads around the fact that here was a down to earth young woman from Yorkshire who had set out her stall to try and make the world a better place. And in her 41 years, she had done a whole lot more than merely talk about it. Instead she had walked the walk in Syria, Darfur and Afghanistan. She had taken herself into the very darkest of the world's dark corners and she had done her best. And then, having done years of the fronline stuff, she asked the people of her home town to give her the nod to take her passion and compassion to the House of Commons. It seems that lots of people are struggling with the idea that an MP can so categorically be one of the good guys. Clips show us a woman who spoke regular English in the tones of the West Riding. No sound bites. No politician speak. No parroting the party line. And people are starting to wonder if Jo was unique or maybe, just maybe, there might just be other politicians in London and Edinburgh who are doing the job because they really would like to make the world we live in a better place.
Public cynacism in this regard is not remotely hard to understand. In the age of the spin doctor, it is hard to find either affection or respect for the faces we see talking at us from our TV screen. I thought last night's showpiece debate from Wembley was actually pretty good. And it seemed like the audience agreed. It struck me that the only time we heard booing was when either side went into parrot mode and spouted the mindless straplines of their respective campaigns. 'Take back control and vote Leave on Thursday....' or 'Vote 'Remain' to be stronger, safer and better off...'
No wonder people booed because there are few things most of us hate more than being spoken to like children. If you take a few moments to YouTube your way back to footage of politicians of yesteryear, you will find men and women who spoke like men and women as opposed to over rehearsed shop dummies. Tony Benn and Enoch Powell had virtually nothing in common other than the ability to speak in the same language as the rest of us. Can you imagine Tony Benn finishing his every statement by looking into the camera with his very best earnest face and parroting out the words 'Take back control and vote 'Leave' on Thursday.' Can you imagine any spin doctor trying to tell him to say it? Ouch.
Sadly the only reason we are now seeing archive clips of Jo Cox standing up in the House of Commons and speaking up for the desperate of the world in the words of a normal woman from West Yorkshire is because she was brutally murdered. The news wasn't interested in her at the time. The news only ever seems to be interested in giving politicians about thirty seconds to make their point. This is why we are now deemed to need bright eyed spin doctors fresh out of Oxford to come up with bland drivel to fill the allocate thirty seconds. Over and over and over again. 'Vote to 'Remain' on Thursday and be stronger, safer and better off..."
I can tell my last few blogs had annoyed quite a lot of people. I can tell by the looks I have been getting in the supermarket. People seem to hate it when anyone takes time out to shine a light on racism. Well so be it. I made a promise many years ago never to take the soft option and duck the issue of racism and I'm damned if I am about to start now.
Now I guess I'm about to write some more unpopular stuff. So here's the thing. In my experience almost all of the politicians I have met whilst working at First Base have been thoroughly decent people who do what they do for all the right reasons. They are not the droning, talking heads we see on the evening news. They are not all bent and venal. They are not serial liars. Instead they are people who genuinely give a damn who have chosen to walk the walk. Not all of course, but most. A clear majority.
You see, the people who come to First Base for some help are hardly the most popular. The community has a wide range of names for the people who become our clients. 'Junkies' and 'smackheads' and 'tenner bag slags'. 'Schemies' and 'Jakies' and 'Neds'. 'Shirkers' and 'Scroungers'. Hell I guess you could even add 'Niggers', 'Pakies and 'Gypos' to the list. The outsiders. The 'Others' who get 'Othered' by the likes of Farage. The ones who are deemed to be reponsible for every problem in all of our lives. I mention this because it is pretty damned obvious that helping this group of unloved people is never going to be any kind of vote winner. Most people prefer to pass our clients on the other side of the street or to gossip about them at the counter of the Spar shop. So I guess when First Base calls up a local MP or MSP and asks for some help with a client, it must be pretty tempting not to return the call. And there have been a few who haven't returned the call. After all, who wants to labelled as a 'Junkie lover'? 
Well, over the years most of our local politicians HAVE returned the call. And they have made time to meet our client. And they have treated our clients with respect and compassion. And they have gone out to bat for our clients. Not to curry favour and win votes. They have done it because they believe it is right. Because it IS right. They have done it because that was the whole point of standing for election in the first place. Do they get any credit for this? Well, they do from First Base, but not generally.
Want to see what this looks like in the flesh. OK. Fair enough. Here are three small examples from the last couple of weeks. And remember, First Base is a very small charity in a very small town. We are not cool and trendy. We are a scruffy little place helping the people that most people like to hate.
A couple of weeks ago my phone rang. It was Emma Harper, a new Member of the Scottish Parliament who is a mere few weeks into her new job. She told there was a health debate the next day and she wanted to mug up on a few facts. Popular wisdom suggests that MP's and MSP's are out of touch and they know nothing of real life stuff like the NHS. Well that is hardly the case with Emma. Emma knows the NHS inside out having been a nurse for over 20 years. She told me she wanted to take the opportunity to talk about the havoc and misery of drug addiction. Not exactly the most popular cause. She wanted to make sure she was up to speed. Could she call in for a chat? Sure she could. There was no awkward small talk when she landed. We know Emma well enough. She cross examined us and took notes. She listened hard to what Lesley had to say because Lesley has the kind of expertise that you can only get when your life is lost to addiction for many years. Emma stayed an hour or so, make her notes, had her questions answered and when she made her speech the next day it dripped with common sense. Out of touch in an ivory tower? I don't think so.
Last Friday I delivered a week's worth of food to a family of six who are trying to live on fresh air because that is what the Home Office wants them to live on. They were originally from Africa and they were awarded EU citizenship in Italy several years ago. Each and every one of the five kids was born in the EU. On Friday there were tears in the eyes of the mother. I asked her why there were tears in her eyes and she told me she had been watching the news and the news had frightened her. She was frightened of 23rd June. She said she was finding it hard to sleep. What would happen to her family if there was a vote for Brexit? Would a van arrive in the street outside to round them up and send them away? I did my very best to explain that such a thing was in no way, shape or form on the cards. And I think she believed me. But only 95%. Because she is a very smart lady and in her heart of hearts she knows only too well that I am only the manager of a two bit charity in a two bit town.
I wanted to take away the last 5% of her fear. So I called up Rich. As in Richard Arkless MP, a fellow travellor of the 'Yes' campaign who is now a member of the mother of all Parliaments. Could you do me a favour, Rich? When you have a spare few minutes, could you give her a call and tell her it ain't going to happen. She'll believe an MP.

No problem. Leave it with me.

Rich made the call and did his best to take away the three o clock in the morning terrors the poisonous words of Farage had put into her head. I guess it is called common decency. He told her they would have to deport him before he would let it happen. She liked that.
Last week I delivered our first consignment of food parcels to the library in the small town of Langholm. Langholm is a postcard of a place which is thirty something miles from First Base. There are not too many hungry people in Langholm, but there are a few. And if a hungry person in Langholm needs a food parcel it is no use to them if the nearest food parcel can only be reached on a bus that will cost £15 return. For a year or so one of our volunteers, Emma, has kept a few food parcels in a shed in her garden. Now emergency food can also be collected from the Library which means the service will be easier to tap into. Belt and braces and all that.
But of of course if the good folk of Langholm do not know there is emergency food available from their local library then they will not pick it up if and when they ever need it. So the information needs to be put out there, right? No problem. That is what local papers do. So. I need a Press Release. But when all is said and done, I am nothing more than the manager of a two bit charity in a two bit town. I could use something to boost up my credibility. So I call up Joan McAlpine, the local MSP. I tell her all about it and she says no problem, give me a day or so and I will write out a quote for your Press Release. Just a small thing. But small things add up. And there was no need for me to go into all kinds of detail about what we do because Joan knows exactly what we do. She has stood behind our counter and served food parcels. Why? Because she wanted to hear how things were straight from the horse's mouth. She wanted to understand. Because it was the right thing to do.
So there you are. Three small things. But when you add up all the small things, they can become big things. I tend to get quite wound up when people start slagging off all politicians and calling them every name under the sun. It is as lazy as it is ridiculous. But it is hardly surprising because the media is never much interested when politicians do the decent day to day stuff. So I am glad to report that Jo Cox wasn't on her own. Not by any means. We should try at getting better when it comes to giving credit where credit is due. Sadly, rather too many people get far too much pleasure out of slagging people off. Where's the fun in making nice, hey Nigel?

Sunday, June 19, 2016


A few years ago I visited the camp at Dachau. Or 'KZ Gedenstatte Dachau as it says on the signs that point the way. And of course it was horrible. I don't think there has ever been a time when my mind might have been open to the populist racism of Farage and his like. Time spent at KZ Gedenstatte Dachau merely rubber stamped every one of my instincts. The peddlers of hate can so easily look like such good old boys. They always have. And blaming all the bad stuff in your life on people who have different coloured skin and speak in different languages will always have a simplistic appeal. And I guess people at the end of their collective tether will always be tempted by the simplicity of racism.

Do they vote for places like KZ Gedenstatte Dachau? Of course they don't. The Germans didn't and we wouldn't. But once you give the purveyors of racism a popular mandate, KZ Gedenstatte Dachau is always what you get. Every brick and cobble of the place was horrible. But there was one corner of the 20th Century hell that stopped me dead in my tracks. Dachau wasn't one of the death camps. The Nazis baulked at the idea of having human slaughter houses on their own soil. They preferred to carry out their Final Solution out of sight and out of mind in Poland.

Instead Dachau was a particularly brutal prison. A labour camp. Before the war started, almost all of the prisoners were released at the end of their sentences. They were broken shells of men, mere shadows of their former selves, but they were released. Once the war got underway Dachau was filled way beyond capacity and people started dying in ever growing numbers – from beatings, from disease, from starvation, from the cold. Bodies needed to be disposed of, so a small crematorium was constructed. This wasn't a vast factory of a place like the buildings that housed the ovens of Treblinka and Birkenau. And unlike those notorious ovens, it wasn't blown up as the US Army approached in 1945.

It is still there today. Brick built to last. And on one of the walls there is a small plaque bearing the names of four young British women. I can't remember their exact ages. They were all in their late teens or early twenties. They were fluent French speakers who had volunteered to be parachuted into France to work with the Resistance. They were all betrayed and arrested by the Gestapo. Remarkably, they all withstood Gestapo torture. The men in the black uniforms gave up the ghost and had them shipped off to KZ Gedenstatte Dachau to executed and cremated. They were killed with no fanfare. There were hooks on the ceiling of the Dachau crematorium. For hanging people. The hooks are still there. It was all about efficiency of course. Hang someone from the neck until they are dead. Cut the corpse down and the open door of the oven is a mere couple of feet away. It was how the four heroines who gave up nothing to the Gestapo torturers met their ends. One by one. Hang and burn. And now they are a tiny foot note in the vast history of those dark times. Four young British women who volunteered to play their part in slaying the foul, racist monster that was Nazism. Now they are nothing more than four names on a small plaque on the well built brick wall of the crematorium of KZ Gedenstatte Dachau.
I couldn't help thinking of these four young women last week as the facts behind the murder of Jo Cox's death stared to come in one by one. I didn't know Jo Cox. I never met Jo Cox. To be honest I had never heard of Jo Cox until she became the name on everyone's lips for the very worst of reasons. But it very soon became apparent to me that she was cut from similar cloth to the four young women named on the plaque. She had chosen her path. She had vowed to fight the hatred of racism with every fibre of her being. And it cost her her life.

A couple of weeks ago I chose words from Macbeth for the title of a blog about the growing spread of racist poison that the Brexit side of the referendum has released. 

'By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes....'

Something wicked like a confused mind sent over the edge by all the words of hate in the air. 'Put Britain First'.

Throughout my thirteen years at First Base, I have got know several female MSPs well. Each and every one of them has been hugely supportive of the work we do. Aileen and Elaine and Emma and Joan. They have all gone out to bat for our clients when the State has been behaving disgracefully. Not one of them has in any way lived up to the popular view of politicians as being venal, selfish serial liars. Instead they are all thoroughly decent people working ridiculously long hours and getting virtually no recognition for their efforts.

Like Jo Cox, they enjoy no security whatsoever from the growing hatred of the times. And there is no escaping the fact that what happened to Jo could so easily have happened to Aileen or Elaine or Emma or Joan. Guilty of the crime of being decent. Guilty of the crime of trying to stand up to the rising tide of populist hate. Was it Jo's high profile that sealed her fate? Or was she merely in the wrong place at the wrong time? Who knows. I guess it will all come out in the wash. It was almost unbearably sad to hear what she had been saying in the days before her death. She told a reporter that she was losing the argument on the doorstep. She was daunted by the sheer strength of the poison that was infecting her beloved West Yorkshire. But she vowed to fight on all the way to the bitter end. And she did.

Now the millions of us who wouldn't use the Express or the Mail for toilet paper hang onto the hope that Jo's martyrdom might stem the racist tide. My gut feeling is that her death will deliver a vote for 'Remain' next Thursday. Sadly, the same gut feeling tells me a narrow 'Remain' vote will be the worst thing that can happen.

Those of us who lived through the heady days of the Scottish Referendum know only too well what happens next when millions of people feel they have been defeated by the lies of the British Establishment. Remember the birth of the 45? Remember how over 100,000 signed up for the SNP and the Greens? Remember the instinctive mood of defiance? Of course you do. And what happened next? 56 out of 59 MPs happened next. The death of Scottish Labour happened next. Huge seismic change happened next.

I fear a narrow 'Remain' vote will provoke a similar mood of defiance south of the border. But this time people will not be signing up for anyone as decent as the SNP or the Greens. Instead they will be pledging their allegiance to much darker forces. UKIP and worse. UKIP and much worse. No wonder a leaked memo from UKIP command confirms Brexit is the outcome they truly dread. Of course it is. Brexit will be the end of Nigel as we know him. Instead Brexit will be the Gove and Johnson show and nothing much will happen. It will be a true blue Tory Brexit. Will the corporate backers of the Tory Party accept the end of free movement of people? Of course they won't. The corporate backers of the Tory Party are addicted to the idea of cheap labour. And so a fudge will be quietly slotted into place. A Norway deal will be signed with as little fanfare as possible and the status quo will continue, only under different leadership. And Farage will scream and wail, but nobody will hear him any more. He will be yesterday's man. A Pound Shop Enoch Powell. Consigned to the dustbin of history's might have beens. It will take years for people to wake up to the status quo truth of a true blue Tory Brexit. The truth that absolutely nothing has changed much. The truth that immigration from the EU is just as high as ever. The truth that the corporations have got their way just like the corporations always get their way.

A narrow 'Remain' vote offers a completely different prospect. Farage and his merry men will be empowered: turbo charged. And like the Pied Piper of Hamlyn, the seductive tune they will play will attract acolytes by the million. Their message of hate will find fertile soil. And the memory of Jo Cox and her martyrdom will be washed away.

I will not be voting next Thursday. I cannot stand the thought of lending my support to either side. The EU isn't a club I have any wish to be a part of. What has been done to Greece is despicable. One by one the countries of Eastern Europe are voting for Governments that are Fascist in all but name. Twenty years ago Carol and I could happily visit almost all of the 28 countries of the EU. As a white man and a black woman. As a mixed race couple. Now that number is more or less down to two. Britain and Germany. Britain and Germany are that last places where a mixed race couple can sit in a bar and not have to suffer cold staring eyes filled with loathing.

On the other hand, I cannot abide the idea of giving my vote to the likes of Johnson, Gove and Farage. From a purely selfish point of view I hope next Thursday sees a vote for Brexit. It is the only thing that will stop Farage and his fellow travelling racists in their tracks. My two sons like to go to England to see family. Right now they free to walk the streets without looking over their shoulder. Without listening for the sound of heavy boots coming in fast. Without waiting for the sound of drunk, angry voices.

'I first felt a fist,
And then a kick,
I could now smell their breath.
They smelt of pubs and Wormwood Scrubs
And too many right wing meetings'

Only this time it will be so much worse than when Paul Weller penned these words back in the dark days of the 1980's when the skinhead stormtroopers of the National Front used to strut their stuff.

And then of the course there is the issue of Scotland finding a way to become Independent. Nicola Sturgeon has been singing from the same hymn sheet as Jo Cox. But what will she say if 'Remain' wins by a whisker? What will she say if Scotland's innate decency has been enough to drag England back from the gates of a Brexit? And will she claim that 51% for 'Remain' is enough to settle this issue for good? I bloody well hope she doesn't because if she does how can she possibly demand we have another say because only 55% voted for the lies of 'Better Together'.

Like I said, I am being entirely selfish. Brexit means my sons will probably be safe from the kind of far right pond life who made the lives of their mum and their aunts and uncles such a misery. Brexit means the end of Farage and all who sail with him. And Brexit means our dream of Scottish Independence can be stronger than ever.

But I ain't voting for it. To vote for it would feel like spitting on the memory of Jo Fox and the four forgotten heroines whose names are on that plaque on the wall of the crematorium at KZ Gedenstatte Dachau. 

Monday, June 13, 2016


I don't know about you but I'm finding it's getting rather tiring trying to keep up with all the stuff I need to be scared about. Every passing day brings forth new levels of naked terror for me to try my best to deal with as Project Fear battles it out with... well.. Project Fear. I am fifty five now and yesterday I was presented with a bleak view of my future by my Prime Minister who was wearing the very gravest of grave faces. It was his 'we're about to be invaded' by China face. Basically the hard truth he was seeving up as his fear dish of the day could have not been much harder for a 55 year old contemplating the proximity of my golden years. Vote Leave and forget my state pension. Instead it will be a cardboard box in a shop door way. A closed up, boarded up shop by the way. And it will rain every day. And every time my exhausted eyes can stay open no more and start to close, a rabid rat will jump forward to gnaw at my face. And it will rain every day. And my desperate existence with revolve around queuing up at the soup kitchen for a thin gruel of rotten cabbage.

Scary, right?
On the up side, without any kind of NHS I doubt I will have to survive my pensionless old age for so very long. And will I survive the nightly carpet bombing from the newly re-established Luffewaffe once the next European War gets under way?
So I lay awake at night and I endure the cold sweats of gnawing fear. I don't want the rest of my life to look like this. Old, penniless and starving in the midst of the next war to end all wars.
I best vote to stay then. But there is no relief from fear to be found in doing that. Fair enough staying might mean I will still have a state pension and a degree of health care. But it will come at a terrible price. For voting to stay means destroying my country's ability to stop an invasion of wild eyed Jihadis and Turks. They are massing at the boarders right now. A vast brutal army readying themselves to swarm all over us to rape all our women and behead all our men. Voting to stay will mean voting for a life under Sharia Law with no football, no music, no pork and daily beheadings in the town square. Getting a state pension suddenly doesn't seem so great any more. Not at the price of living under an Islamic tyranny.
Which is worse? Destitution, starvation and endless war or being beheaded by a psychotic Turk who rakes in £500 a week in benefits and rapes a school girl every other day.
No wonder everyone is telling me that 23 June will see me cast the most important vote of my life.
As a writer of pulp fiction I feel a heavy burden of responsibility. Can I help people as they contemplate the life or death decision they are about to make? Well maybe I can. Maybe I should try to deploy my fiction writing skills to help to make the terror to come as real as possible. You see, the idea of being beheaded by a lunatic from Istanbul on the Tesco car park can feel like a bit of a distant prospect. A pulp fiction writer can maybe help to flesh out the terrible reality of this Sharia law nightmare that awaits us all if we vote to remain in the EU. A pulp fiction writer can describe the crows in the bare trees. The thin brutal wind. The potholes in the tarmac. The shabby old cars. The pinched, grey faces of the shoppers with their trolleys filled with nothing more than rotten cabbage and Bratwurst. The pulp fiction writer can describe the killing frenzy in the eyes of the Turk who is wielding the extra large machete. The beaten terror in the eyes of the kneeling figure about to lose their head in the most literal sense of the word. Guilty of the crime of listening to Frank Sinatra whilst eating a bacon roll...
Pulp fiction writers. It's what we do. It's how we roll. It is our duty. We have a civic responsibility to make the fear real. Project Fear means nothing unless you can picture it in 3D clarity.
OK. So here goes. Maybe this is the most important bit of typing my fingers will ever be involved in. Life and death typing. A chance to save millions of my fellow Brits from a life of living hell where we will be enslaved by a swarm of murderous, black hearted Turks.
I knew nothing of this until I watched Nigel Farage being interviewed last week. Thank God I tuned in. Because had I not tuned in, I may never have known..... Christ. Not surprsingly Nigel's face was grey with concern as he reached into the pocket of his tweed jacket and drew out his passport. He told me it had these words written on the front. 'European Union'. A British passport with 'European Union' written on the front! Tears of rage prickled my eyes. So Dunkirk was all for nothing. And Agincourt. And Waterloo And Nigel's features hardened as he laid it on the line. All the terror to come. How a Jihadi madman might take the terror trail to Germany and be gifted a passport bearing the words 'European Union'. How that very same Jihadi madman might arrive in Dover waving his passport with his cold killer's smile. How the border officials would be helpless to do anything other than wave him through. And then... Well we all know what comes next. A big house and the kind of benefits payout only Muslims are entitled to. And a carte blanche to rape school girls and blow up railway stations. And all because those German bastards gave him a passport bearing the words 'European Union'.
That is how it will be. That is our future. Thank God there are still men like Nigel with the guts to tell us the hard truth. To tell it like it is. And if Nigel is willing to put his future on the line to save us all, the least I can do is to show some support. Some solidarity. Some patriotism. And it it means being beheaded one day, then so be it. Ladies and gentlemen, here is what is coming if you vote to stay. It is Raqqa. It is Syria. It is two years time. It is a world where we have voted to remain. It is a journey to the very heart of the bottomless evil that is Isis. It is the way it will all pan out should we ignore Nigel's warnings and leave ourselves open and defenceless......




This story is dedicated to Nigel Farage and all the other brave men who give so much to keep us safe.

Omar had travelled a long road. Long and hard. He had come far. Ten years had seen him transformed from the skinny kid on the streets of Fallijah who had thrown stones at the American soldiers. They had watched him in his torn T shirt. They had seen the murder in his coal black eyes. They had sensed the raging hatred in his heart. A boy who had never learnt the meaning of fear. A skin and bone waif who would step out in front of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle and hurl a rock at the windscreen.
They had chosen him. The big men. The leaders. And they had taken him to a camp out in the desert. And Omar had become accustomed to being the best. The best sniper. The best bomb maker. The best Koran student. He was the ultimate. He felt the hand of the Prophet on his shoulder. He was a sword of Allah. And one day he would deliver the greatest ever blow to the Crusaders.
He was running. Mile after mile after mile in the blazing heat of the midday sun. Mile after mile with a rucksack filled with rocks on his back. Mile after mile with no boots on his feet. Mile after mile. Like a machine. Like death.
There were three men waiting for Omar. Robes. Kalashnikovs. Belts of ammunition. Very still in the shimmering heat.
He reached them and he stopped. They saw how he was barely sweating. They saw how every inch of his lean body was knotted with hard muscle. They saw death in his eyes. They saw Omar. They saw the sword of the Prophet.
It was time. There were no words. Instead they led him to the waiting Toyota. No conversation. No words. Outside people looked away from the black vehicle with the tinted windows. Traffic cleared from their path as they wound through the streets of the bombed city.
A non descript building. Once it had been a garage. Now it was a nerve centre. Two dead eyed guards stood by a wide hole in the floor. Metal stairs. A tunnel lit by flickering bulbs powered by a distant generator. Down and down. Further and deeper. Out of reach of the American bombers who came every night. And now it was cool in the dampness of the subterranean command bunker. Omar followed in silence. Unruffled. The easy bouncing stride of a man at his peak.
A steel door. A body search. And then he was inside the inner sanctum.
Behind a steel deask was the old man who's face appeared on the walls of buildings across the Islamic State. The Caliph. The Mahdi. The Leader. The voice of the Prophet.
"Please sit Omar."
Omar sat. And Omar waited. After so many years he knew his time had finally arrived. Now the Kuffar would pay. Now he would do the great work of the Prophet.
"We have watched your progress for many years now Omar. And you have become the very best. You are the tip of our spear. You are the blade of our sword. You are our new Saladin. And now the time has come for you deliver a blow to the Crusaders they will never recover from. Are you ready Omar? Is the Prophet in your beating heart?"
"Caliph, I am ready."
The old man nodded. A gleam of rage boiled in his coal black eyes.
"Good. Very good. Your mission requires patience and determination. You will be the hawk who soars high over the hot sands of the desert. You will take a boat from Libya. You will pretend to be a refugee. You will find a away to get to Germany. And when you arrive, you will claim asylum. Your journey will be hard. Every border is now closed so you must deploy all the skills we have taught you. Maybe you will have to walk every step of the way. The Prophet with give you the strength. The Germans will give you a place to stay and they will give you money for food. They are fools. You must keep your purpose well hidden. You must hide yourself Omar. You will need to wait for eight years and you must avoid any trouble with their police. You must be perfect in their eyes. You must show the patience of the hawk in the desert skies."
Omar nodded. Eight years? He could wait for eight years. He was the sword of the Phrophet. The old man continued speaking in his cracked voice.
"When the eight years have passed you will fill in the paperwork and apply for a German Passport. Again you must be patient. Like the hawk. After two years they will give you one of these. A German passport.."
The old man held up a passport in his gnarled old fingers. Omar's eyes devoured it. He read the words 'European Union'.
"Once you have this there is nothing they can to to stop you finding your great destiny. For you are the sword of the Prophet, brother Omar. You are the very tip of the spear. You will catch a train to London and they will be helpless to stop you. And when you arrive among them, the Kuffar will pay for their crimes."
The old eyes gleamed in the half light of the deep bunker. The ceiling shook a little as an American airstrike hit home many metres above. Dust floated down from the clay ceiling. Omar moved slighly and spoke in a voice soaked in respect.
"Caliph, might I speak?"
"Of course brother Omar. You can speak."
"Caliph is it true that wee still sell oil every day. Much oil."
"It is true."
"And is it true that we sell our oil for many millions of dollars?"
"It is true."
"Great Caliph, I have heard men say a passport like the one you hold in your hands can be bought for as little as £500 dollars. Oh great Caliph, can you not buy me one of these passports and I will deliver a great blow to the Crusaders before the next new moon rises over the desert. Why must I wait for ten long years?"
The old man's weathered face broke open into a small smile of stumpy brown teeth. "Omar, you are strong but you are young. You lack the wisdom of age. I will teach you. For us to bring the greatest terror to the Kuffar, we must do what they fear the most. We have listened to the words of the one they call Farage. He is one of their most formidable Crusaders. Like the one they once called Richard the Lionhart. He has told his people to fear the man who comes to Germany and waits for ten long years to win himself a passport like the one I hold. Of course you could travel to London on a passport like the one you describe. A passport that can be purchased for a mere $500. And of course you could deliver a blow against the Kuffar before Friday Prayers. But that would not be victory. The Crusader they call Farage has shown us the way. If his people had listened to his wisdom, they would have left their European Union and then a man like you would have never been able to wait for ten years to earn a German passport and be allowed into his land. Well. You would be allowed in if you claimed you were merely a tourist, but let us not worry ourselves about that. And it is indeed true that even if his people had listened to his warnings, you could still have taken a plane to the place they call Dublin and entered his Kingdom at the place they call Dundalk and caught a ship from the place they call Larne and landed at the place they call Stranraer... But let us not consider any of these things for to consider these things would be to give the infidels what they want. Farage knows and Farage has warned. If you were to simply travel to London this week and slaughter hundreds of Kuffar, they would barely notice. It would be like the bite of a flea on the hide of a goat. But if you wait for ten long years and then deliver your blow, then you will have made the warnings of Farage into a glorious reality. Only then will they know true terror. Only then will they pay."
"I hear your wisdom oh great Caliph."
Omar closed his brain down. The Caliph was all wise. Omar could wait for ten years. He could wait for the whole of eternity.
And so it was that Omar, the very tip of the Phrophet's spear, made the great journey over land and sea to Germany. In the years that followed, he became a supporter of a football team they called Borrussia Munchengladbach. He met a girl called Helga and they became man and wife. He became a German citizen and forgot all about the old man with the gleaming eyes. He trained as an engineeer and found work in a factory making washing machines to clean the clothes of the unbelievers. He became a father of two daughters and one son. He became an eater of pork. He never did take a train to London to take the revenge of the Prophet to the British Kuffar....
But he might have done. Oh yes. He might well have done.....

So there. I hope you are scared. Really, really scared. Becuase we must never rely on the fact that lunatic Jihadis like Omar will meet girls like Helga and become eaters of pork. Instead they might wait out those ten long years and come into our midst bearing German passports. There is no excuse. Nigel has warned us loud and clear. Oh of course they can buy a false passport and come in through Dublin, but that would be cheating. Well, wouldn't it? Just like Hitler cheated when he sent his Panzer divisions around the Maginot Line and sneaked into France through the Ardennes Forest. We're not frightened of cheating foreigners. Never have been, never will be. But a foreigner who plays it by the book and waits ten long years to get a German passport..... Well that is a whole different level of crazy, right?
So thank you Nigel. And thank God there are men like you who are willing to give everything thay have to keep us all safe in our beds.

Friday, June 10, 2016


Yesterday wasn't a great day. I happened to visit a social media page which is linked up to First Base and I think it is fair to say my visit left a lot to be desired. Let's say the content wasn't the content I expected to find. I won't go into exactly what I expected to find for that would give too many clues about the page. Instead of reading the expected content I found myself trawling through a charming selection racist bile. Putting together these little images of hate for Facebook pages has become something of a cottage industry in these heady days. People all over the country are burning the midnight oil and honing their cutting, copying and pasting skills to show off just how clever their innate nastiness can be. Once upon a time this kind of open racism would have been considered to be rather socially unnacceptable. A few short months ago, only the worst kind of knuckle dragger would have been sufficiently comfortable in their tattooed skin to publicly associate themselves with this kind of imagery and language of the 1930's. Here's a nice little number I spotted this morning.

Well that was then. Only a few short months ago. Before a crow bar was taken to Pandora's Box. The growing swagger of 'Vote Leave' may not be enough to see us out of the EU in a couple of week's time but it has certainly given hundreds of thousands of closet racists the confidence to come out and strut their poisonous stuff.

One of the most popular themes of these laptop hate mongers is to take a sad image of our military past and scream in rage at how the brave boys who laid down their lives for a brave, free and white Britain are being betrayed. We see lines and lines of white stones in the cemeteries of France. Poppies and medals and Winston Churchill. And now the sacrifice of all these millions of heroes is being trampled under foot as a veritable tidal wave of Koran waiving brown people are being ushered through the gates.
It is hard to work out what gets me most pissed off about all this garbage. I guess the sheer bitter nastiness of it all has to come first. There are few uglier sights than nasty little people blaming every problem in their nasty little lives on the crimes of Johnny Foreigner. Then there is the blatant opportunism of the likes of Michael Gove and Boris Johnson who have all of a sudden chosen to pick up the UKIP playbook and run with it with the enthusiasm of men who have been born again.

Then there is the complete and utter stupidity of it all. I have yet to see a single one of these hate posts where the wicked swarm of immigrants have white faces. Oh no. Every face is a brown face. As in Middle East brown. As in a Moslem brown. As in a terrorist brown. Nobody seems to have the slightest interest in looking at the blatently obvious. We have 28 countries in the EU. Not one of them is home to an indiginous population of brown faced Moslems. Instead each and every one of the 28 is home to a majority of white Christians. I guess about 95% of EU immigrants who make their way here to work are also white Christian. But making up a natty little hate page filled with white Christian faces doesn't really cut it.
And let's face it, the logic of the situation is annoyingly inconvenient. It goes something like this. A brown faced muslim family in Alleppo finally decide they can't take the barrel bombs any more. So they cash in everything they can cash in and somehow make it to the Libyan coast where they buy themselves places on a boat headed for Italy. And they make it. They decide they want to choose Britain as their ultimate place of safety and duly manage to get themselves all the way to Calais to take up residence in a makeshift tent in 'The Jungle'. And every day they try to plot a way to get through the razor wire and the machine guns. That is how it is now. In the EU. But if we leave it is all supposed to be different.

Oh yeah, how?

If we are no longer in the EU, will Bashar Assad stop barrel bombing Alleppo?


If we are no longer in the EU will the family decide to stay and wait to be blown to bits rather that getting out of Dodge?


If we are no longer in the EU will they stay on the beach in Libya rather than getting a seat on a boat?


If we are no longer in the EU will they decide not to make their way to Calais?


In fact there is only one change. If we are no longer in the EU, will the French Government continue to put up with our razor wire and our immigration guys on THEIR soil? Will they buggery. Instead, the fences will be taken down and the immigration guys will be sent packing back to Dover. Because, believe it or not, the people of Calais ain't all that happy to have 'The Jungle' on the outskirts of their town. They would rather 'The Jungle' was somewhere else. Like Dover. So if we leave the EU there will be lots of Gallic shrugging and ironic smiles. You want to go to Britain? Be my guest. Have a nice trip.... look ... there's a wagon ... let me give you a leg up ...

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that all these freshly out of the closet racists are also pretty stupid. Or maybe they just can't bear to face up to painful truth that being in the EU is the only reason France co-operates in keeping so many of the brown faced Muslims they hate so much on their side of the Channel. Can you get angry with people for being stupid? Not really I suppose.

I start getting angry when I see the endless peddling of the military stuff. You know. Our boys died to protect our freedom and now we are letting in all these brown people! 1940 was indeed our very finest hour. Why? Because we discovered the collective guts to face down the worst racist monster planet earth has ever seen. Our soldiers laid down their lives to destroy racism, not to create a green and pleasant land where Hitler's poison could thrive and prosper. We fell out big time with our American allies in the run up to D Day because we dug our heels in and refused to adopt their segregation rules and thereby ban their black soldiers from having a pint in our pubs. And when we saw off Hitler and the Kaiser, our soldiers stood shoulder with literally millions of soldiers from every corner of our Empire. Muslim and Hindu and Sikh. Indians West Indians and Africans. I would love to see one of todays's out of the closet racists spouting off in a pub in 1943 about the Sikhs who were fighting the Imperial Japanese Army in Burma or the Poles who were flying the Spitfires. Their teeth wouldn't have remained in their mouths for more than a few seconds.

It wasn't like we behaved like choir boys when we had our Empire. But when it came down to a straight choice between us and Hitler, those with black or brown skin opted for us. They didn't much like the way Adolf called them sub human. So we all fought shoulder to shoulder. And we won.


And now a bunch of pathetic racist idiots claim the right to re-write history and pretend that only men with white faces defeated Hitler. It is the worst of rubbish of course but nobody seems to care much. Racists never care about facts. Instead they devour any bogus propaganda they can lay their hands on.

As the poison spreads a little further every day as we count down to June 23, it seems like a good idea to quote these words from a young British soldier who lost his leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq. If anyone is in the mood to feel proud of one of our brave young soldiers then I suggest you need look no further than this lad.

"British soldier Chris Herbert from Portsmouth was just 19 years old when the vehicle he was travelling in through Basra in Iraq was hit by a roadside bomb. His friend was killed, another was injured and he lost his right leg. Because of this, some of his friends assumed he’d become angry and bitter over anybody who espoused interest in Islamic culture, that he’d hate Muslims, and who knows, think the BNP or Trump were wise guys. They were wrong.

The message below, posted up on his Facebook page, has gone viral – and for good reason.
Getting frustrated by some people expecting racism from me, because I got blown up.

Yes. A Muslim man blew me up, and I lost my leg.

A Muslim man also lost his arm that day wearing a British Uniform. A Muslim medic was in the helicopter that took me from the field. A Muslim surgeon performed the surgery that saved my life. A Muslim Nurse was part of the team that helped me when I returned to the UK. A Muslim Healthcare Assistant was part of the team that sorted out my day to day needs in rehabilitation when I was learning to walk. A Muslim taxi driver gave me a free ride the first time I went for a beer with my Dad after I came home. A Muslim doctor offered my Dad comfort and advice in a pub, when he didnt know how to deal with my medicines and side effects.

Contrary to that, a white Brit spat in my girlfriends face for ‘fucking a cripple when you could have me [him]’. A White Brit pushed my wheelchair away from a lift so he could use it first. A White brit screamed at my Dad for parking in a disabled bay when I was in the services coming home.(Although, a lot of people helped in my recovery! I don’t hate white Brits either! Ha, ha, ha!)

Point is, fuck off. I know who I dislike, and I know who I don’t.

I know who I appreciate, and I know who I don’t. If you want to hate an entire race of men and women for the actions of a few dickheads feel free, but don’t push your views on me, thinking I am an easy target because one douchebag decided it was my day to die. Blaming all Muslims for the actions of groups like Daeshe and the Taliban, is like blaming all Christians for the actions of the KKK or Westboro Baptist Church.

Get a grip of your lives, hug your family and get back to work.”

Have you ever read the kind of British values we fought Hitler for so magnificently described? I don't think I have. I must admit that yesterday was the first day that the rising racist tide really started to get to me a bit. For someone who is a father to two mixed race sons, it is almost impossible to stop the brain starting to go into 'what if?' mode. What if we vote to leave? What if the economy falls off a cliff like it did in 1929? What if Boris Johnson turns out to be our very own version of Von Papen? What if all of the racists who are emerging from their closets are suddenly wearing brown shirts in a few years time and stomping around the streets singing a 21st century version of the Horst Wessell song? What chance then for a mixed race family? And what of these blogs of mine? Ooops. They make a hell of a back list. They are the kind of thing guaranteed to earn me a free train ticket to a modern day version of Dachau.....

The alternative three R's. Racism, rats and roaches. No matter how many times you think you've got rid of them, they just keep on coming back........