Saturday, 24 June 2006
The service clerk asked why I was leaving BT and I said it was purely financial. She asked if I would consider staying if they offered me a special deal. Long story short is I'm staying with them at half what it has been costing me and just slightly less than Talk Talk would have been.
I was still congratulating myself on this deal when pointy nose dog and I went for our midday walk up into the hills. Our usual parking spot was crowded out with two low-loader vehicles and a gaggle of vans. Mainly BT with heavy plant machinery digging a service trench. I then noticed that a low-loader had a Baden Baden address from Germany. So had the other. So had some five or six vans and 4x4 vehicles. The ditch-digging was being discused in German between the digger driver and a boss sort of person. I was intrigued by the foreign connection - surely they had not dug the trench some 1,000 miles from their home town?
I found a Scots-looking face and commented that service centres in Calcutta was one thing but Germany plant? He could not explain either.
If they can afford to take on a contractor who has to ship equipment and workers from Germany, pay for accommodation and other living expenses, who know what deal I might have got on my internet had I been a bit more hard-nosed?
Friday, 23 June 2006
Wednesday, 21 June 2006
However, the proven facts - and this commentary - show that maybe I should not be quite so sanguine. Given that the attacks involved a young kid and a disabled man, perhaps old age would not save me.
On evidence of the past 4 years here, I'll risk it. Anyway, here is the item
By Devil's KitchenThis has come to my attention.Prime Minister Tony Blair has condemned attacks on a seven-year-old boy and 41-year-old man who were wearing England shirts in Scotland.
Primary schoolboy Hugo Clapshaw was punched in an Edinburgh park and disabled Ian Smith was attacked in his car in Aberdeen.
Oh, well done, Scots; how fucking brave can you get, eh? The boy was assaulted by a man supposed to be between 24 and 30; what a brave man he is. What an admirable person.
The disabled man was dragged from his car and duffed up by a man of about 40. Another fucking hero.
Well done, Scotland the oh-so-fucking Brave.
Another blogger wrote an absolutely spot on article about this, but has now taken it down: fortunately, I have it in my RSS reader and I am going to post the majority of it because he has some valid points. in preparation, what has been discussed is that where it says "the Scots" it should read only "Scots" as in "some Scots". [Emphasis mine—DK]And no, it's not a trend: "trend" would imply some sort of increase or decrease over time, whereas in fact this has been going on constantly for years.
I'm English, and I lived in Scotland for most of my adult life.
When Braveheart was released, there were more violent attacks on students in St Andrews (where I was studying at the time) in the first six weeks of term than in the entire previous year. (And there were a lot in the previous year, because Scots travel over from Dundee especially to beat the shit out of anyone who looks like they might be English or who answers a question in the wrong accent.) Someone staggered into the Union with blood pouring down their face pretty much every night.
The Scots take every opportunity handed to them to slag off the English; they complain regularly about the "imperialist bastards" who "stole" their country despite the fact that the Act of Union was actually England bailing out a bankrupt Scotland and the Scots managed to negotiate a deal where they were overrepresented in Parliament; now, Scots MPs get to vote on legislation that affects England while English MPs can't vote on similar legislation that's been devolved to the Scottish toy Parliament; the Labour Party only have a majority in Westminster because of votes in Scotland, and now it looks like the English are going to get a Scots Prime Minister foisted on them (can anyone even imagine any party getting a majority in the Scots Parliament with an English leader?); it's becoming more and more obvious that the Scottish Parliament is spending English money on shite; there has yet to be a Scottish problem caused entirely by Scots that hasn't been widely blamed on the English; the Scots make a great point of celebrating any and every English defeat, to the point of having double-page spreads in their newspapers on Pakistan beating England at cricket, a sport in which no Scot is even interested; and many Scots happily, proudly, and routinely say things about the English that they would never dream of saying about, say, Jamaicans (I say "many" because, of course, the rest would be perfectly happy to say such things about Jamaicans, too). The English have been largely ignoring the constant stream of bile from north of the border for decades. All that's started happening lately is that they've finally got fed up with it, especially since the bile started to become government policy.
Frankly, I can't get my head around an Englishman who's been in Scotland for twelve years being crazy enough to wear an England shirt. It's suicide. The New Zealander had an excuse for not knowing any better, poor kid.
South Labour MP Anne Begg said ..."I am horrified, this is not typical of Aberdeen which is a welcoming city. People from England live and work here."
Yeah, on the implicit understanding that they never express much pride in England, same as the English in every other Scottish town.
Just to be clear: yes, there are lots and lots of great non-racist Scots, some of whom are the best friends I've ever had and am ever likely to have. Which is why it's perfectly safe to wear an England shirt at a party with your friends. Wearing one in public is relying on the non-violence and non-racism of crowds of total strangers, in the most violent country in the developed world and one of the most racist places I've ever been; it's running one hell of a gauntlet. Wearing a Scotland shirt in England isn't.
In Northern Ireland, where a lot of people have more genuine reasons than the Scots to be resentful of England, loads of people support the England team, in football and any other sport that happens to be on. I used to know a Catholic who went out celebrating when England beat Germany, and no-one here thinks that's strange. In Scotland, he'd be a social reject, and celebrating in public would be very likely to get him beaten up.
But yeah, the real problem is this alarming increase in anti-Scottish feeling. Tell us, [deleted], what more could the Scots do to encourage anti-Scottish feeling amongst the English? Call us all "cunts" slightly more often?
This is now becoming an inescapable issue; I have been beaten up more than once simply for having a "posh" English accent (by groups of people). It is also typical of the mentality of many Scots: chippy, violent, blustering cowards. A schoolboy and a disabled man, guys; seriously, get it together.
Gary also posted about this: as David says in the comments, "Most Scots are great". Well, yes, this is true, to an extent. Equally, though, many Scots are brought up to hate the English; the sensible ones ignore it, or get over it. Or treat it as a joke. All of this still creates an low-level buzz of unjustified racism and violence. Many, one might say most, Scots are very nice and they equally condemn this sort of violence, but... but... there si still anti-English sentiment expressed, even if it is in jest...
Those who are intelligent enough not to bother with this shit move south (where, obviously, the streets are paved with gold), so what is left in Scotland—especially in places like Glasgow and Aberdeen—are the thick, pig-ignorant fucks—the dregs, if you like—who need to find someone to blame for the fact that their life is shitty. And guess who they choose.
I wrote about this yesterday:Don't get me wrong, I love Scotland and, generally, I like the Scots. What I dislike is that I, who had always called myself British, have had the indentity "English" forced upon me by pusillanimous, parochial bigots who hear only an accent. So fuck them.
On the other blogger's site, one of the commenters said, "I'm glad that you feel reciprocal hatred and violence is justified." Well, yes, actually. When I came to Scotland, like many Englishmen, I hadn't appreciated the constant, simmering hatred and anger burning in the breasts of altogether too many Scots. When faced with hatred, day after grinding day, one gets weary of it and then that weariness turns to irritation, anger and, eventually, hatred, yes.
Although, I don't really feel hatred: I feel contempt.
Oh, and while we are parading our Celtic origins, my mother is half-Welsh and half-Scottish; my father is quarter Irish. It makes fuck-all difference: I sound English and when you are down on the ground trying to protect your head, you aren't worrying about attempting to communicate your Scots credentials.
So, come on, take up the chant, people: Independance for Scotland!
Sunday, 18 June 2006
The campaign to pardon those executed during the First World War has been a long one. Until now, the situation has been that whilst there is almost universal understanding of the relatives' wishes, the men were tried in the manner of their times for what they knew were serious disciplinary offences. I have no real understanding of this revisionist stance. If I had a forebear who was unjustly dealt with, I would find little benefit from a here and now recognition of that fact. How I feel is a matter for me alone; what others think is of no concern to me.
There were many who faced the fears and horrors in exactly the same situation as those who were shot. They did their duty. The ultimate duty of any soldier is to die; that is what makes their contract unique. We will not know whether the failure of one of those executed led to deaths of others who stuck to their contract.
I find it upsetting that this long line of reasoning is to be upset by the appointment of a politician who finds himself in a unique position to instruct his minions to propose grounds on which he may gain a personal victory. I don't know what was in the New Labour Manifesto about this. There are many other things more worthy and deserving of the time of his Ministry. However, the cloak he will wrap around himself as the Saviour of the Shot will attract votes. In the cess-pit that is politics, this is important.