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.

Friday, July 9, 2021



I've been on the receiving end of all kinds of funny looks over the last couple of weeks. How come? Well, it's all down to the football. Most people I meet are more than aware that I am a full on English born advocate for an Independent Scotland. Back in 2014, this was something of a novelty. Not any more. Now there are thousands of us – those who packed our bags and headed north out of Dodge. We sensed what was coming. We sensed it and we ran.

Well, we have a name now. We are the 'New Scots'. I have mentioned many times before in these digital pages how weird it feels to experience the sensation of being proud of my country. It is something I never thought would happen.

But it has.

And people get that – thankfully.

And people also pretty much get the fact I was  100% behind the Scotland team in our group stage clash with the neighbours from the south.

What people are more surprised at is my fervent desire to see firstly the Ukrainians and then the Danes turf the English from the tournament.

'Really?' they ask. Don't you think that is anti-English? Racist, even?

For the sake of clarity, I should point out each and every one of the people who have asked me this are Scots. Original Scots.

'Yes' supporting Scots. 

And of course they are all fully signed on to the 'live and let live' ethos of modern day Scotland.

So am I anti-English?

Of course I'm not anti-English.

So what am I? What fuels my very real desire to see the majestic Giorgio Chiellini lift the trophy on Sunday?

It is a deep gut feeling of anti-England.

Not England, the geographical entity.

Not England the place that happens to lie beyond the Cross of St George and the 'Welcome to Cumbria' sign on the M74 at Gretna.


It is the kind of England which has been slowly emerging from a dark cave for forty years and more.

It is the kind of England I used to see on the streets of Blackburn in the late Seventies. Skinheads in Doc Martins and braces, brandishing their cans of Special Brew. Brick red faces all twisted in hatred.

"We're going Paki bashing, We're going Paki bashing ... Na, na, na ..."

It is the England that spawned the pond life who used to strut into the little corner shop across the road from us to rob cigarettes under the the threat of snarling Dobermans.

It is the England which set my car on fire at three in the morning for my crime of being part of a mixed race couple.

Back in those days, this England was fringe. A dark thing which from time would emerge from the sewers to stink the place out.

The NF. The BNP. The Chelsea Headhunters. Millwall's F Troop. Combat 18.

Like a few random nutters trying to stage a coup d'etat outside a beer hall in Munich back in 1923. Bunch of clowns, right? All piss and wind. No real threat. Nothing to see here guys.

Until there is something to see.

Until they become the Government of the day.

Until they send five million souls up their chimneys.

Until the joke turns sour.

The modern day descendants of the NF thugs who stomped through the streets of 1970's Blackburn are the DFLA.

Oh how the pond life always loves a set of initials? Are you familiar which this particular line up of letters?

Well, wait for it.

The Democratic Football Lads Alliance.

Seriously. It's true.

We saw them on the tele last summer when they descended on London to protect the statue of Winston Churchill.

Mob handed and collectively pissed. Red faced and bald. And off the scales angry.

We see them at England away games staggering about waving their inflatable Spitfires.

"Two World Wars and one World Cup, do -dah, do – dah day!"

Before England were turfed so unceremoniously out of Euro 16, they sang out their clever new ditty on an endless loop.

"We're all voting out!

We're all voting out!

Fuck off Europe!

We're all voting out!"

Eat your heart out Oscar Wilde.

And yes, they can be amusing in their shambling, vomiting idiocy.

Until they are no longer so amusing.

Until their spitting rage is corralled and harnessed.

Until they are dressed up in nice, crisp brown uniforms and issued with their orders.

Until a gang of chancers and con men bottle up the hate and turn it into an election winner.

Then they don't seem so funny any more.

And before you know it, you have a bunch of laws called the 'Enabling Act'. 

And then as surely as night follows day, you duly arrive at Kristallnacht.

Then they deploy Polish Workers of the slave labour variety and build the chimneys of Birkenau.

And it really, really doesn't seem so funny any more.

The road to Birkenau started with winning an election.

Have you seen what Priti Patel has in mind for Asylum Seekers? It basically means plasti-cuffs and a plane ride to Ascension Island. And 360 Tory MP's will bay and wave their ballot papers in triumph whilst the Labour Party opposite pretend to play with their phones because they don't want to do anything to upset the good folk of Hartlepool.

Or Rotherham.

Or Dewsbury.

Or Dudley.

Or Basildon.

And yes.


It is why we ran.



Found a sanctuary.

Because what was fringe on the streets of Blackburn in the late 1970's has finally become mainstream.

The monsters have emerged from their caves and donned suits and ties and now they are gloating about having the power to put those fleeing war and torture onto a plane to Ascension Island.

And OK, this is a rant. I know it is a rant.

I feel like ranting.

Let's go back to the inflatable Spitfires.

The Battle of Britain was fought out seventy one years ago. 

And we won.

Thank Christ.

Our pilots were a bit like the good guys in Star Wars. They came from all corners of the earth to stand up to the Nazis – Canadians, Indians, Kiwis, South Africans, West Indians, Czechs, Americans.

The pin up boys all the girls wanted to marry were the Poles who had learned the ropes in 1939 when Hitler first introduced Blitzkrieg to the world.

Oh, I almost forgot!

Many Spitfires were piloted by young Scots.

The Battle of Britain wasn't actually an England Germany thing.


If Scotland had been lined up to play Germany in Euro 20, can you picture the Tartan Army brandishing inflatable Spitfires and belting out "Two World wars and one World Cup!!!!"

Of course you can't.


It isn't what we are. Scotland has left such nonsense far behind.

Do I have anything against the players who will pull on their white shirts to take on Italy on Sunday?

Of course not. In fact I think they are absolutely commendable, each and every one of them. They are a shining light. The fact they have completely ignored the pond life booing and the poisonous words coming out of Downing St and continued to take the knee speaks the kind of volumes Priti Patel would love to burn.

Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson, Tyrone Mings....

These guys are absolute role models and they have my total respect.

As does Gareth Southgate.

And yes I appreciate they are offering a more effective opposition to the Tory Government than the Labour party could ever dream of mustering.

They have my absolute support in all things other than the game against Italy.

I will be honest now. I have asked myself a few questions about all this stuff. Am I actually behaving like a racist as several people have suggested?

Most of these self doubting thoughts were cleared away yesterday when I listened to the Anfield Wrap podcast. This is the 'go to' podcast for all followers of Liverpool FC.

Lo and behold, the main topic of discussion was why most Liverpool based Liverpool fans are openly rooting for Italy in the final. You see there has always been this catch phrase.

"Scouse, not English"

It's why we always boo the National Anthem at Cup Finals.

We remember what Thatcher did to the city in the 80's.

We remember Hillsborough.

And we will never forget.

A couple of years ago, some bright spark at the top of the EDL – The English Defence League – thought it would be a good idea to stage a march in Liverpool. They never made it beyond the steps of Lime St station.

They got the absolute kicking of their lives.

They were sent home tae think again.

Scouse, not English.

Listening to the familiar Scouse accents work their way through why they would be rooting for Italy did me a power of good.

Of course I am not a racist.

And I am not anti – England.

I am anti a certain version of England. It is a version which has taken fifty years to climb up out of the sewers and get its hands on the reins of power.

Inflatable Spitfire England.

Or should I say En – Ger – Land.

I am the Berlin Jew who saw the writing on the wall in 1932 and got the hell out.

I might even have chosen Scotland as a sanctuary from the Brown Shirts of my home turf.

And now I am planning to tune into the radio to listen to the 100 metres final at the Berlin Olympics.

Do I have anything against the runners representing Germany?

No, not a thing.

So surely I should be supporting them, I am a born and raised German when all is said and done.

Well actually, no.

No, I'm not.

So who do you want to win then?

Well, there's this American runner.....

His name is Jesse Owens.

Monday, July 5, 2021



Once upon a time things happened and the news reported them happening. It's a straight forward sort of concept.

And now? Now such a sequence of events seems like the so called 'Old Normal'.

Now we see stuff happening and it seems to take forever for any kind of explanation to arrive via the mainstream media.

In 1948 George Orwell promised this new world would arrive in 1984. His vision was right enough, he was just thirty years premature. Not bad, all things considered.

As the world around us changes, I tend to look to the supermarkets for clues.

They are the new canaries in the coal mine in Brexit/Pandemic Scotland.

Their very shelves became newsworthy in the early weeks of lockdown when the Dunkirk spirit morphed into a stampede to bulk buy toilet rolls.

The slow thinning out of the shelves in the wake of Johnson's woeful Brexit deal has taken longer to reach the pages of the press.

The mean reason of course is the dogged determination of the majority of our newspapers to maintain the Brexit fantasy Island story they peddled in 2016. And the BBC is a cowering dog trying to protect itself from the Tories yanking away its licence fee.

But they can only hide something for so long.

If you take 60,000 EU truck drivers out of the road haulage equation, well it's going to get a whole lot harder to deliver all the stuff you want to deliver. It ain't exactly rocket science.

Of course our gallant leaders in Westminster will spout all kinds of guff about training up an army of great British drivers, but I doubt any of them has ever had anything to do with a 38 tonne truck in their lives. To produce a new Class One HGV driver requires many things. A clean driver's licence, at least 4 years old. A few thousand quid. No problematic medications. And even when you've passed the test, there will be relatively few hauliers willing to put you in sole charge of sixty grand's worth of kit.

I was delivering to the people we work with in Kelloholm last week. Most of the food they distribute comes in through Fareshare. Every week they head up to Glasgow to fill up their long wheelbase van. Last week they drove home about 15% full.

Why? Did the supermarkets have no short date stuff for them to collect? No. Instead the supermarkets had no spare wagons to deliver the short date food to Fareshare. The only show in town was to fill up the skips round the back of the store.

Next up.

Supermarkets set great stall on what image they present to the customer. Which products are put at eye level on the shelves? What sits immediately outside the front door? What promotion is awarded the gold plated space at the beginning of the customer's journey through the store?

A couple of things hit me last week.

I expect Tesco are accustomed to doing deals to selling the first stop through the front door space for pretty big bucks. You wanna punt your new line of pot noodle? No problem. Cut us a nice fat cheque and the space is all yours for a week. Buy one get one free. Half price it. Whatever. Your call.

But not last week. Instead this most precious of retail space was given over to a large poster extolling the virtues of becoming a Tesco delivery driver.

As in no income whatsoever for Tesco.

A rather frantic job advert. Only a couple of years ago, one call to a local employment agency would have been more than enough to guarantee a queue at the door the next morning. Not any more it seems. Now they are having to use their best retail space in a frantic bid to attract staff.

How can this be? Unemployment is supposed to be rocketing? Why is there no queue at the Tesco door?

Once again, it is hardly rocket science. The British workforce is thirty million or so. The other thirty million of us are either too old, too young or too sick to deliver for Tesco.

The last eighteen months has seen the thirty million figure shrink by two million – all those EU Nationals who have departed these fair shores and don't seem overly keen to come back.


One in fifteen.

Who are these people? Basically they are young, well trained, hard working and not sick.

As in not easy to replace. This kind of exodus would normally attract all kinds of news stories. We need a solution and we need it now! Let's get these people back!

Ahhh. Are the vote Leave Team about to throw the doors open to well trained and motivated young Europeans to come across the Channel to get us out of jail?


Instead the immigration goons are throwing Italian teenagers into Yarlswood and deporting them. It seems the Tories think this is what the good folk of Hartlepool demand. Maybe they do. Who needs fresh fruit and veg anyway?

Our press seems reluctant to report this kind of stuff. The press over in Europe have no such reservations. European papers are filled with all kinds of horror stories about how their young people are being treated at the UK border. They wonder if Britain is becoming the next Hungary?Maybe we are. It is hardly the best way to behave if we want the two million missing workers come back to fill in all the holes.

But what the hell. We have our treasured sovereignty, right? Who needs fresh fruit and veg?

Flags next. All of a sudden flags are everywhere. A few weeks ago Johnson said he wouldn't take the knee as he abhors such blatant gesture politics. Of course he does. Then England bury a few demons and beat Germany 2 – 0 and all of a sudden he is posing for the cameras standing on a Cross of St George flag, tailor made to fill Downing Street from gutter to gutter.

What a twat.

However, I best not be too hypocritical here. When the 'Yes' Campaign does it's stuff and fills whole cities with a sea of Saltires, I'm all in.

Flags are becoming an increasingly big deal in Supermarkets as they try to pander to their customers.

Morrisons put their true Yorkshire leanings on show for all to see. They use the area outside the front door to sell plants and every pot is wrapped in the Union Jack. No doubt this plays well in the retail parks of Dewsbury. Up here in Scotland? Maybe not so much.

Tesco are more pragmatic and they are canny enough to offer up a blend of Saltires and Union Flags. It is a rather fine demonstration of a corporation trying to keep the balls in the air and attempting to keep Scottish customers and the Tory Government happy at the same time.

Best of luck with that one guys.

Probably Aldi and Lidl are the most interesting on this front. These are stores where the decisions about flags are all made in Germany and they don't appear to be remotely conflicted.

They are wall to wall Saltires.

These are retailers who have been correctly guessing which way the wind is blowing for years. Right now, their car parks are always full whilst the car parks of the old giants empty out with every passing day. By choosing the Saltire over the Union Flag, it seems like they have taken a read on Scotland's future and made up their minds.

Let's hope they are as right about this as they have been right about everything else.

I listen to a lot of podcasts and it is probably fair to say most of the shows I listen to don't tend to spend much time on extolling the virtues of the Clown King in Number 10. But they have adverts which sometimes play a rather different tune.

Right now there is a Sainsburys ad which is popping up all the time. It's all about how they are the 'go to' place for Brits planning an all singing, all dancing barbecue. Fair enough.

Here's their catch phrase.

'Level up your barbecue with Sainsbuys!'

Seriously! Their focus groups must have promised them massive sausage sales as a result of piggy backing onto this particular piece of Johnsonian drivel.

Time for a few conclusions. A few bullet points.

Our supermarkets don't have enough people to drive the trucks to fill up their shelves.

They don't have enough people to drive the trucks to get rid of their waste food to Fareshare.

They are struggling to employ people to drive the vans to deliver their stuff.

Their food is 20% dearer and rising.

And their brains are well and truly fried when it comes to what flag they should fly in their Scottish stores.

And every day their vast car parks are home to fewer and fewer cars.

With the exception of the two German supermarkets.

Their car parks are full.

Their prices have stayed low.

And they are all Saltires.