I wear two hats when I write this blog of mine. First and foremost, I manage a small charity in a small Scottish town called Dumfries. Ours is a front door that opens onto the darker corners of the crumbling world that is Britain 2015. We hand out 5000 emergency food parcels a year in a town that is home to 50,000 souls. Then, as you can see from all of the book covers above, I am also a thriller writer. If you enjoy the blog, you might just enjoy the books. The link below takes you to the whole library in the Kindle store. They can be had for a couple of quid each.

Thursday, February 17, 2022



I did an interview for 'Scotland Tonight' yesterday evening. It was actually rather a bizarre experience - High tech and low tech all rolled into one.

The high tech part involved a mind boggling link which enabled my ugly mug to appear on a large screen in the STV studio in Glasgow via my Iphone. The low tech part was setting the aforesaid Iphone up on a dusty old paperback and the shut down screen of my laptop whilst all the while storm Dudley rattled away at the windows.

My role was to state the blindingly obvious. The party line for every front line charity trying to mitigate the endless nightmare of London rule.

Since 2008, real wages have gone down.

Slowly but surely, millions of families have been sliding down into a kind of grinding survival mode. A place where the incomings are never quite able to square up to the outgoings. A place where the end of the month gap keeps on getting that little bit wider, only made bridgeable by money borrowed from family or squeezed into the last remaining space on the plastic.

Like slowly boiled frogs.

There is new economic name for the people who are stuck in this slow moving nightmare.

The Precariat.

So let's take a precariat family in 2019.

Incomings - £20,000

Outgoings - £21,000

How did they bridge the gap? Let's say £500 from mum and dad and £500 onto Barclaycard.

Not great.

In June of the year in question, the annual MOT had rolled in at £543 including VAT – an eye watering £342 over their rather optimistic budget of £200.

This meant three months of frantic belt tightening and multiple visits to the foodbank.

So how are things looking now?

Aye right.

A couple of modest pay rises have lifted the family incomings up to £20,500.

And the outgoings?

Oh my god the bloody outgoings.....

What is 7% of £21,000?

It's £1470.

Which brings the pot to the boil and duly completes the long term task of killing the frog

£22,470 - £20,500 = £1970

As in two thousand quid bar the shouting.

And mum and dad are broke as well.

And the Barclaycard is all maxxed out.

And so the foodbank is the only show in town and it will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.

Working in a foodbank in February 2022 feels a bit like living on some island in the path of a coming hurricane.

You know it is coming and there isn't a damned thing you can do about it.

Only two questions await answers.

When will it arrive? And how bad is it going to be? Will the roof stay in place or will it be blown clean off?

So in a nutshell, I stated the obvious.

And once the director up in the studio bid me a good evening, I couldn't help but wish I had been able talk about a far bigger picture.

Well this isn't an STV interview and I don't have to wear my sensible foodbank manager's hat. Instead I can don my 'YES' hat and let off some steam.

Imagine, as the man once said.

Imagine 'YES' had won in September 2014. We would have been fully independent now and the world would look like a very different place. We could all be watching the antics of the pound shop Fascists in Westminster and thinking 'there but for the grace of God....'

It would be very easy to go on and on and on about how much better things would be, but I haven't got the time and neither have you.

So I will contain my rant to a couple of things.

Fair enough?


As we all know only too well, right now there are 130,000 Russian soldiers on the Ukrainian border. Only one person on God's green earth knows the answer to the big 'will he/won't he' question and that person of course is Vladimir Putin.

What does or does not happen in Ukraine isn't really our business and even if it was, there isn't a whole lot we can do about it.

And yet it is our business in a very big way.

Right now, somewhere under the world's oceans, a Trident submarine is gliding silently through the dark waters. On board are multiple nuclear warheads, each and every one targeted at a Russian city. On board is the capability to wipe out tens of millions of Russians should the word be passed down the line to the captain.

This inescapable fact leads to another inescapable fact. Right now, one of the first targets on the Russian nuclear hit list will be the nuclear sub base at Faslane. And should Faslane be vapourised, then Glasgow will become collateral damage.

So all of a sudden, any sudden escalation in Ukraine is very much our business.

Had we voted 'Yes' in 2014, the nukes would have been away by now. Would any town or city in an Independent Scotland be worthy of being high up on a Russian nuclear hit list? It seems highly doubtful.

Of course a large majority of Scots don't want to play host to Britain's last vengeful vestige of Imperial power. But we have no choice in the matter. The word from our lords and masters in London is to put up and shut up. Defense of the Realm is and always will be a reserved matter and Big Dog is the duly anointed great leader with the authority to kill off all those tens of millions of Russians. 

It is for us to learn to stay quiet and deal with it.

And if Glasgow gets wiped clean off the map? Well, them's are the breaks I guess. It's all part and parcel of being a colony.

We voted for it, right?

Anyway. Here's a bunch of facts. I will leave it for you to piece them all together.

How would these facts have come together had we voted YES back in 2014?

OK. Here goes.

In France, the Government has control over EDF, it's main energy provider.

This means President Macron has cracked the whip and told EDF it can only put up its prices by 4%

Unlike the 50% increase we are about to suffer.

Oh and by the way, French electric prices were a whole lot lower than ours before this bloody nightmare started.


In 2020, Scotland's wind farms produced 97.5% of Scotland's power needs.

Where this power goes is a reserved power. Every last kilowatt of electricity we produce belongs to London. Lock, stock and barrel. We are required stick it into the National Grid and we are charged top dollar to buy our own renewable power back.

Between 2020 and 2022, the price of Scottish wind has not risen by so much as a penny.

In 2020 the cost of Scottish wind was £0.

In 2022 the cost of Scottish wind is still £0. There has been zero inflation when it comes to the price of Scottish wind.

Vladimir Putin has no ability to lift the price of Scottish wind, no matter how many nukes he has.

In fact, Scotland is one of the very few countries on earth with the ability to be able to withstand a huge spike in global gas and oil prices.

Had we voted Yes back in 2014, our First Minister would now be in an even better position than President Macron.

How many companies would be eyeing up a move to Scotland right now?

How many people would be eyeing up a move to Scotland right now.

We would be vibrant newly independent country powered by a source of energy free at the point of use...... forever.

And ever.

But we didn't vote 'YES'.

We voted 'NO'.

We voted to be 'Better Together'.

We voted for the right to go down with the London ship.

We voted for the right to think 'if only.....'

Surely we couldn't possibly be so utterly brain washed and stupid when we get the chance to vote again?

Could we?

If you're interested on my efforts on STV you can get there via the link below. The piece arrives after 14 minutes but the adverts are non negotiable. Check out the state of the First Base ceiling!

STV - 'Scotland Tonight'