The bagpipes…

… are thought by many to be the worst ‘musical’ instrument ever invented.As a soldier, though, I can tell you on the best of authority that when you’re cold, wet, hungry, down to your last magazine and in the deep, deep do-do, the faint sound of the pipes floating in through the freezing fog is the most beautiful sound you’ll ever hear. The Jocks are coming…

In the wider social matrix, the contribution of Scottish engineers, scientists, mathematicians and canny businessmen, as well as artists, writers, musicians, historians…. is well known and widely documented in our history books.

If you’re ever wandering through the malls and street markets in Taikoo Shing, Hong Kong for example, you may notice this:




and I’m sure the charioteers, spread as we are over a significant portion of the globe, could add many more examples

For both these reasons I would be sad to see our Scottish comrades depart the Union. It is, however, their decision to make and I support them whichever way they go.

On the bright side, if the Scots decide to get their bonnets and coats and leave, 58 labour MPs would disappear from the Parliament. That would leave our Dave with an overall majority of 30 – odd over all the other parties – for the time being, that is,  Milly would see his hopes of  hopes of government disappearing into the distance to the haunting sound of the pipes playing ‘will ye no come back again…’  Of course, our Dave’s majority would last until we, (as in UKIP,) get in his face in 2015 🙂

There’s a serious point here for the English among us:  if I wake up on my birthday to find that Scotland has voted ‘Yes,’  What is going to happen to those MPs representing Scottish constituencies?  They’ll be zombies, and. moreover, they will have a partial interest in the negotiations of the settlement agreement over which they will be able to exert un undue influence…  The Midlothian question writ large!  And who will speak for England?

18 thoughts on “The bagpipes…”

  1. One of my mates has been keeping me awake until 2 in the morning and occupying much of my time during the day in discussing this. As adopted Scot, he favours the Union and has only somewhat less regard for Salmond and the Nats than he does for syphilis. I think next week we will see the status quo comfortable maintained, albeit by a more narrow margin than many of us had expected half a year ago.

    By the way, surely I am now the only one to have noticed that both Kim Jong Fishface and Sturgeon both have fish names?

  2. I had not realised until yesterday how uptight I was about the prospect of Salmond getting his way. When I got home and read that the No campaign was pulling ahead again, I was very happy.

  3. Must say I can’t agree with you.
    I take it you have never lived there?
    I had the misfortune to live in Aberdeen for three years before the oil came in the late sixties. A more unpleasant, violent and hostile place you could not imagine in the UK. (Well there is always Glasgow I suppose!) The drunken violence on the streets at night had to be seen to be believed. I worked for the Press and Journal so saw it all reported too. I’m sure there are pleasant people there but they had no interest in any kind of relationship with anyone from South of the border. As someone from Wales married to a half Irishman you would have thought someone might have had the time of day for us but no, as we were both educated in England I suspect we sounded too snobby.
    I never bothered to return, even for a holiday. Took spousal unit to Hadrian’s wall and that was as far as I go!

    As far as the bagpipes go, when played properly they can be reasonably melodious but I regret to say most murder them like six dying cats in a sack! My father who survived WWI trenches embedded in a Scottish regiment for his ‘sins’ (He taught telegraphy for field communication) used to faint whenever he heard them, just dropped like a stone. Evidently they played them all night, every night, to upset the Germans! Poor guy had to be terribly careful where he went!

    I have become rather tired of their moaning and bitching about how hard done by they are, or at least their politicians voicing their ‘concerns’. They have had a very good deal for years at the UK’s expense. I believe the Barnett formula gives them 1,300 sterling per capita more that any other resident of the UK. This enables them to have free tertiary education, free prescriptions, free geriatric care at the UK taxpayers expense, nice if you can get it! This extra financing has now been in place for over 30 years and they have the gall to complain?

    I do hope, with a degree of sardonic entertainment, that they choose to go it alone, justly deserved if you ask me! The last thing I want is devo-max, an effective bribe of even more money no doubt to stay put by the scaredy cats of Westminster saving their own political skins.

    One splendid silver lining to devo max or a yes vote, I anticipate an increased interest in UKIP for the next election, Cam-moron might just get his ‘ffing kicking’ from the English Tories too. Good.

    I have a serious problem with the attitude that Unions should be preserved basically to preserve the status quo. Divorce is generally far more preferable to dragging out relationships past their sell by date!

    I await with amusement the demands by the English to have a referendum not only on Europe but on whether they want to keep Scotland after all, seems only fair to me!

  4. Bugger, CO, you mentioned the War before I had the chance!
    Bagpipes reminded the British of home and, for most, helped to keep up morale.
    Australians, New Zealanders and British Africans enjoyed bagpipes because it
    symbolised Britain and was an integral part in imperial culture. For Germans it sounded
    like Hell itself had opened its gates.

  5. CO, it is a painful irony that in this faux-democracy of ours the majority have little say in the choices paraded by minorities, be they based on tribes, genders, religions or other defining tendencies.

    A comfort for me if Yes prevails in Alba will be the instant demise of both Labour and the current brand of Tory appeasement.

  6. j, the whole damned shebang needs a rework for the 21st century.
    Offal and turds running the place for their own convenience, graft and profit from Westminster has more than had its day.
    I’d like to see the Swiss model implemented. Decisions made by plebiscite and far more regionalism.

  7. I would but they effectively bar expats from voting. There is insufficient time to get a postal vote here and back. done quite deliberately. Only works if you are in Europe. Mind you they still happily collect the rates and taxes on property there!

  8. As far as I can tell one of the main reasons there are so many Scottish Labour MPs in Westminster is the fact that there is no independent body to ensure that the number of voters in the constituencies are roughly equal. I watched the last election and was quite appalled to see that in some cases one vote in some areas was the equivalent of two votes elsewhere. I also watched smuggy Clegg proudly announcing that he had stopped the redrawing of the boundaries – of course he did – it was in his interest to leave them where they were.

    The power to redraw the boundaries should not be left in the hands of those who benefit from the skewed boundaries. The independent Electoral Commission here redraws the boundaries – It is one of the reasons that Howard lost his seat in his last election – the boundaries on his constituency had been reworked.

    If the Scots vote No – as surely they must with so many large businesses threatening to leave – then the whole question of Scottish MPs in Westminster and the inequitable funding must be dealt with.

    Alas! I fear that will not happen. Dave is playing the victim and promising the earth to keep the Union going. Like Christina, I believe a good divorce is better than an unequal partnership based on bribery and appeasement.

    If nothing else, the whole issue of funding has been brought to the attention of those who foot the bill. I suspect there will be many in England who will be demanding more equitable funding – and will be more than a little angry that Westminster is planning to give more of their money away under threats from a bunch of bully boys like Salmond.

  9. I also have a beef with Clegg – he promised to do something about the inequitable treatment of ex-pat pensioners in Commonwealth countries – and reneged on the said promise…

    As you say, neither liberal or democratic. I have a feeling, or maybe it’s wishful wishful thinking, that the Lib Dems have run their course and will return to the obscurity which they deserve.

    Everyone seems to be holding out for Dave to fulfil his promise on a referendum re the EU. I have a feeling that he may well not be around to do that. Mind you, anyone who votes for Milliband needs certifying. What a miserable choice to have to make!

  10. bo, there in lies the fun of voting UKIP! At least one would have the dubious pleasure of watching some of the bastards squealing as they are turfed out of the trough!

  11. I remember our Dave promising us a referendum before the last election. We’re still waiting. We were also promised a right of recall for our representatives in the parliament. Thanks to Nicky and the Lib Dumbs, that went out of the window also.

    Whatever the result next Thursday there will be interesting times ahead 🙂

    PS. I was talking to an ex-Jock (Scots Guardsman, of those who are not too familiar with British Regimental nicknames,) who was mightily annoyed that Scots soldiers not actually living in Scotland on the day are not being given the right to vote – though ‘EU citizens’ Poles, Germans, Bulgarians, you name it – and Englishmen are…

  12. Good evening all.

    I am presently spending my days countering the lies and misrepresentations of the ‘Yes’ campaign.

    It is a relief to be able to take a break and to blog here amongst sympathetic friends, In no particular order:-

    Bravo, not 58 Labour MPs. Jock total 59. Since 2010, 41 Labour (42%), 11 Lib Dem (18.9%), 6 SNP (19.9%) and 1 Tory (16.7%). I confidently expect that Tory total to rise sharply in May 2015 as the Lib Dems implode and the SNP reap the whirlwind of the disruptive wind which they sowed when they tried, and, I still hope, failed, to destroy my country (Hosea 8:7). SNP might still make inroads on Labour but I believe that they have completely forfeited the Tartan Tory vote and that both they and the Lib Dems will lose seats to us.

    Boadicea, we do have an independent Electoral Commission which draws up the boundaries for constituencies. The problem is that the House of Commons has to ratify their proposals and the Lib Dems joined with Labour to block them this time because the Tories would not agree to further reform of the House of Lords, This was a mistake. The House of Lords is over large, over stuffed with placemen and will undoubtedly be the first victim of the constitutional reform which is going to happen when we sort the whole sorry mess out after the ‘No’ vote.

    I know none of you will believe it but the funding issue really is not as simplistically anti-English as you believe it to be. The Barnett formula is certainly past its sell by date but it is simply not true,as CO asserts, that ‘the Barnett formula gives them (ie us Jocks) 1,300 sterling per capita more that any other resident of the UK.’. Northern Ireland gets more than us and Wales, London and a couple of other English regions are not far behind us.

    We’re not exactly shouting it from the rooftops at the moment, but please try to take on board the fact that devo max is not intended to be an open cheque for even more financial subsidies by England to Scotland? We’re talking fiscal responsibility and accountability. Increased tax raising and spending powers for Edinburgh inevitably means a reduction in block grants by Central government. The Barnett formula will wither and, in due course, die.

    Add to that the fact that we are now on an inexorable road to a federalist structure which I personally think will not be unlike the Commonwealth of Australia when it all works out. Not perfect but probably better than what we’ve got at the moment. I confidently expect the English democratic deficit to be addressed within the year. My own solution would be the abolition of the House of Lords with its replacement by a Senate exercising the reserved powers and acting as a check on the devolved parliaments and the House of Commons becoming the English Parliament. Then again, I am a bit of a dreamer.

  13. JM, nothing wrong with an upper House aka the Lords. Calling it Senate would risk equally unpalatable, unBritish associations! Just weed out the hereditary fossils, elect the Lords and Bob’s One’s familiar.

  14. John – you have totally missed my point. An Independent Electoral Commission, such as we have here in Oz, does not have to seek permission from either the House of Reps or the Senate to redraw boundaries. There are clearly defined rules for redefining the constituencies and they are done with no reference whatsoever to those who would benefit by leaving them where they are.

    I, personally, have no problem with a hereditary and non-hereditary mix for the members of a House of Review. The problem is that the House of Lords, as it now stands, is not a House of Review such as we have here… an elected house, half of which are elected every four years – so that every Senator serves for a period of 8 years before seeking re-election.

    The Senate here can refuse to pass legislation – even supply bills. This, of course, the House of Lords can no longer do. We have an interesting situation here at the moment whereby a few independent Senators are blocking some of the present Government’s Budget Bills. They will not get through in their present form – however many times the Government presents them. And some of us are quite pleased that they are doing so

    I take it John that you would remove the reserve powers from the monarch and give them to an upper chamber. Not a Good Idea! There will always be some hot head who will use them… and there will be a constitutional crises of immense proportions!

    I will also say to you, John… Beware of setting up too many levels of Government – just think how many more pigs will have their nose in the taxpayers’ pockets, all demanding ludicrous remuneration, pension schemes, expenses and whatever else they can get.

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