Author Archives: stuartmchardy

Another take on 1320

On the seventh hundred anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath much is being made of how it has influenced the development of human rights. Scholars from many parts of the globe consider it of fundamental importance in the growth of democracy. While much of this is probably correct there are other aspects to this famous document that to date have not been investigated. One of these is the statement that

 

They journeyed from Greater Scythia by way of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Pillars of Hercules, and dwelt for a long course of time in Spain among the most savage tribes, but nowhere could they be subdued by any race, however barbarous.

 

Now this statement chimes with material from even earlier which claims the Scots had initially come from Egypt led by Scota, a daughter of the Pharoah around the time of Moses. This suggests that there was an origin myth amongst the Scots that effectively has them coming to the islands off the north-west of Europe from Africa via Spain. This is remarkable in two respects. Firstly modern scientific opinion is in total agreement that the human species arose in Africa then spread out through the Middle East to populate the rest of the planet. Also we now know that during the last Ice Age in northern Iberia there was what is known as a refugium from where humans spread north as the ice retreated. Secondly research over the past few decades has shown that oral transmission can carry actual data over tens of millennia. The best example of this is the Dreamtime stories from Australia that talk of giant marsupials. the scientific term is Diprotodon, which have been extinct for over thirty thousand years. It is perfectly feasible that stories of an origin in far off Africa had arrived with the first settlers from the Iberian refugium after the Ice Age, and had continued to be told. The inclusion of Scota as a daughter of the Pharoah fits with the general Western tradition of suggesting legitimacy by referring to material that was extant in the Christian Bible, but it the story suggests that our distant ancestors left Africa via the Middle East and spent some time in Iberia, which is exactly what the science suggests happened.  13th century suggestions that Scota came to Scotland rather than Ireland were reinforced at the dawn of this century by Euan Campbell’s exposure of the apparent inaccuracy of the story of the Scots coming to Scotland from Ireland. Literacy came with the Christian religion and though it came to dominate many aspects of life it did not completely eradicate the indigenous culture that had arisen over millennia.

There is another aspect to the 1320 declaration that I suggest has not been fully appreciated. It is stated

 

Yet if he should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule.

 

Now most Scottish commentators on this have emphasised the bit about  resisting English rule, but what comes before it tells us something quite remarkable. Though the idea that new king will be created if the current one fails in his duty to the community of the realm has been interpreted as a very modern idea, it is nothing of the sort. It is in fact a fundamental reality of tribal society that the person at the top is responsible to the tribe as a whole. This is clear from a range of different episodes amongst Scotland’s clans, when the chief for one reason or another was deemed unfit, or unsuitable to reign. The best example is probably the story of Ranald Gallda, the Hen Chief of the MacDonalds, whose rejection by his kin led to the Famous Battle of the Shirts in 1544.  As late as the 1720s Edmund Burt wrote of a chief being embarrassed in front of a group of English visitors to  whom he had boasted of his control over his clansmen, peat-stained and clad only in a scrap of tartan when one them stepped out of a crude dwelling and shook him by the hand and wished him good day. He may have been ready to follow him into battle and give up his life for the clan, but he knew his chief was still his cousin.

 

The signatories of the 1320 Declaration needed to comply with the international and  courtly protocols of the contemporary world to preserve their freedom but as the document shows, their capacity to function together was rooted in their own indigenous culture. Take a look at their names, apart from less than a handful, they are Scottish place or family, that is kin-group, names. They kennt wha they were.

Greeks bearing gifts

Welcome Greeks bearing gifts.

The current situation in Greece is one which all of our mainstream media deplore. There are wailings and gnashings of teeth over the irresponsibility of people standing up against the prevailing economic orthodoxy that there is an economic crisis that can only be solved by ‘austerity”. Hang on a minute. The current crisis was not caused by the Greeks not paying enough of their taxes, something the rich have a much greater skill at. It was caused purely and simply by western politicians allowing the compulsive gamblers of the banking sector to loot and pillage with impunity. This current depression is a direct result of the super–rich trying to grab even more of the limited resources our planet can create. Before this latest farrago of casino banking the gap between rich and poor was vast – now it truly beggars belief. Yet still our so-called media refuse to deal with any reality other than the fantasy created by the spin-miesters of the super-rich , that ‘we are all in this together’. We bloody well are not. And the Greek people are the first western voters to actually notice that the emperor has no clothes. We will sort out your poverty by making you poorer, is the message Merkel and her bone-headed financial technocrats sent to the Greek people. Trust us and one day it will get better. They seem not to notice that the wheels have fallen off the neo-con-inspired, trickle-down, economic fantasy that whatever is good for business is good for us all. Stop for a minute and think about it. What is business, or more precisely who is business? Increasingly in all the western ‘democracies’* business is dominated by financiers. What is their business? Making money. Nothing else. I repeat – nothing else. They put no food on the table, build no houses and as we have seen time and time over the past fifty years they destroy jobs whenever possible in the name of profitablity. That is they can make more money for themselves by screwing other peoples’ livelihoods- rationalisation, downsizing and other weasel terms all mean the same. The world is crying out for a whole shedload of re-tuning – the environment, ever-spreading poverty and recurrent famine in the third world, the constant exporting of war by the west – war is the ultimate capitalist dream, the old cliché abut give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but teach him how t fish and he can feed himself has been turned on his head to ‘give a man a gun and he will keep coming back to buy bullets’. All across the world Western (and now Chinese) companies supply the necessary tools for all sorts of evil and monstrous creatures to wage war against ‘their own people”**because it makes a profit. And this is all that matters. And the ‘masters of the universe’ truly do believe that profit is the only game in town. So for years they have exported jobs from their own countries, impoverishing ‘their own people’ and lining their own pockets. And there is the irony that many of the individuals who rant about fiscal responsibility while pocketing the profits of the arms trade , profess themselves to be ‘good Christians”. I am sorry but when did the Prince of Peace turn into Mammon?

Hopefully the Greeks will re-assert the idea of the democratic will of the people and kick the bankers’ point-men into touch. We may even see the French and the Spanish rake a leaf form their book. It is time that the world woke up to the fact that the Emperor truly has no clothes – the world cannot sustain itself by the pursuit of profit forever. To state the –all too often bleeding – truth, the population of the world cannot sustain itself by the pursuit of profit for the bloated, moronic, self-obsessed rich any more.

‘democracies’ – countries where politicians pretend the individual’s votes all count the same

**”their own people” – the accident of their birthplace never distracts the real rich from who their true compatriots are – the rest of the oligarchies.

Aside

So the debate rages on with constant horror stories of how there will be no jobs, no money, probably not enough food and utter devastation if us uppity jocks decide to exercise our democratic mandate rights and assert our own … Continue reading

A GUID NEW YEAR?

And here we are in 2012 – a year of impending doom according to some, based on the fact that the Mayan calendar stops. While some analyses of the past could suggest we are indeed coming to the end of a World Age – i.e. one full turn of the precession of the equinox = 26,000 years approx.– what seems more likely is beginning of the end of the unitary British state. From my point of a view it cannae come quick enough and it has been a salutary experience seeing the outflow of ignorance and stupidity emanating from that festering cess-pit of malignity, the Westminster village and those who hang on t its (forked ) coat-tails. At least the OOPSY control of the British Establishment and State is out in the open (OOPSY = oafish Oxbridge public school yahoo). And we should remember that the Bullingdon Berties don’t just include Cameron, Johnson, Osborne et al in their numbers bit that the public face of ‘responsible journalism; at the EBC (no not the English Broadcasting Council but the Establishment one), the David Dimblebore is also an ex Bullingdon Club member. Hooray Henries Rule Ya Chaps! The outpouring of arrogant ignorance that emanates from Londonistan is wondrous to behold – they know nothing of Scotland’s history, culture or politics and see us as little more than another province – one whose real importance is that they can come here for some shootin’ and fishin’ with their various uber-rich pals. Despite such ignorance they presume the right to lecture us about our political situation – never has the post-Imperial hubris of the British Establishment been so obvious. I particularly like the spectacular hypocrisy of these blithering yahs and their lickspittles calling us subsidy junkies, when London, even setting aside the sickening spectacle of the economic splurge on the Olympic PR opportunity – takes the lion’s share of all British taxes to support the pampered, privileged numpties of the south-eastern elite closed-shop, while at the same time their Nimbyism makes sure that we are actually looking after Trident, to which they fervently cling in the utter fallacy that it maintains Britain’s status a world power. Eck the Fish was on song when he said the English are ready for Independence – we should do all we can to remind our English friends and relations that most of them have as big a problem as we do with the wealth-sucking, Shelob-like canker of the City of London, to whom the political establishment permanently bow the knee. ( I wonder where I put the phone numbers of Geordies for an Independent Scotland and the Yorkshire Liberation Army.) When we get away maybe they can begin to sort out this problem.
Great to hear Canon Kenyon Wright on the wireless (sometimes the EBC lets things slip through their Establishment myopia) reminding us all of the Claim of Right that was signed by all of Scotland’s Labour and the Lib Dem MPs in 1989.
We, gathered as the Scottish Constitutional Convention, do hereby acknowledge the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs, and do hereby declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberations their interests shall be paramount.
We further declare and pledge that our actions and deliberations shall be directed to the following ends:
To agree a scheme for an Assembly or Parliament for Scotland;
To mobilise Scottish opinion and ensure the approval of the Scottish people for that scheme; and
To assert the right of the Scottish people to secure implementation of that scheme.
The signatories included one Donald Dewar whose supposed role as the father of the Scottish Parliament I will address in a later blog. It also included Messrs Darling, Kennedy and Campbell.
He was a signatory but what of the act that we now see the true alignment of British establishment politics – not the Lib Dems and Cons, but Labour and the Conservatives standing shoulder to shoulder to try and prevent the political will of the Scottish people being expressed.
It is also worth remembering that the UK is a signatory to the Declaration of Human Rights which includes the following from Article 21
(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
However from the British political Establishment’s post-Imperial viewpoint all that is happening is that the natives are growing restless – time to send a gunboat or a few packets of coloured beads perhaps? IT”S TIME WE WERE AWA.

A New Thing Then

It was a long time ago, maybe five or six thousand years ago. In one way that’s not long at all when nowadays we reckon that humans have been around on this planet of ours for a million years or so. But when you see how things have changed these past few thousand years it surely is a long time now. Nobody remembers his name, though there are those who think a memory still echoes in one or other of the names we have given to the gods we have invented since then. And it was a man. For all we can know shows before that time, the people, in all their different places thought the world was made by a goddess of some sort, or another. An interesting creature that goddess, sometimes like the howling dogs of hell mixed with a psychopathic loathing of all life and other times like everybody’s mother – it’s just the way we try to tell the story of life to each other that causes the confusion. But when the change came, as there can be no doubt it came – slithering like a junkie thief in the pre-dawn hours when sleep is deepest – it was a man who did the deed. A simple thing, it seemed like a good idea at the time, what real harm could there be in such a small re-arrangement of things. Times must have been hard for him to get away with it – no family would allow such a thing, no secure community would have tolerated quite such a passing of responsibility. For what he did, that man, so long gone now, was invent something new. Living in a time when enough was plenty, he saw that he could get a little more, and others just a little less, by a judicious application of self-interest.
Maybe his neighbour’s house had fallen down, and being troubled times, the neighbour, recently come, with no extended family to call on to help him raise his walls again, Oh never mind, the smiling man said, I will help you. My sons and I will work alongside you, when we have finished in our own fields but, as you are a stranger to us and we do not know that you will help us if a time of need should come upon us, I have a plan. We will help you but for that help, as we are not of your kin, and we do not know you well, I would ask but a small thing, a little price, let us say a tenth of al the food you grow for the next five years,

For he saw the stranger had no friends or kin to help him, and more than that, he spied a chance to take back more than he would give from the weakness that the stranger had. And the stranger, new to the place, with no one to turn to for advice or succour, felt he had to agree. And it seemed to the stranger that he was being given help, sure he would have to give of his land’s produce for five years, but without a house and a comfort for his wife and children how could he work his land at all. And so when others came to theat place, and many did for the times were hard and the land there was good, he told the newcomers of the good man’s generosity and that if they asked him, they too might get help. And little by little the village grew, for the friendly man had food enough to spare and was always ready to help newcomers find a space to build a house and land enough to feed themselves, for just a small piece of what they themselves made from that land.

And being as they were all people who understood that a word given was a sacred thing, the bargain that was struck with each was nobody’s business but their own. The first year when the good man worked with his sons beside the first newcomer in the fields, the talk was all of what they shared, the pleasure in the ripening fruit, the beauty of the children as they grew, But the season after that, when the newcomer worked his fields he saw the good man sent his sons to do the work on his own land bit did not take up a hoe, or walk behind an ox himself. And in the fifth year the newcomer broke his leg and his children being young, his wife with child and hard times looming, the good man simply said, “ Fear not, just let me help and our arrangement we can go on for five more years.”

And at the end of the five years, the newcomer, though he was no longer that, looked around and saw that many of the people who had come to this fine and fertile place in the past ten years worked just as hard as he did, yet were poor. And the good man, well he never worked at all – why should he, he had made a new thing – a way of growing things that did not need the turning of the earth, the planting of seeds or the tending of crops. He had created something new. They call it poverty and it made the good man rich, and his sons and theirs still tend that invention to this day,

Wikileaks et al

So now we know what we have always suspected – that governments lie, cheat, murder and steal. The current witch-hunt against Assange shows up the ideas of justice and law in so-called western democracies as the sham they are. In Britain we not only have government for the rich, but by the rich and the media has hardly raise a whisper – which may have something to do with the fact that most senior media positions are filled by schoolfriends of the Bullingdon Bampots currently in residence in Downing Street. When leading US politicians call for Assange to be executed this is clearly not the same as terrorists – Muslim or otherwise – doing the same. The stench of hypocrisy is overpowering. However, remember– elites are self-selecting – nobody voted the rich in – they stole their way to the power and influence they have and it is particularly obnoxious that in the aftermath of the Great Banking Con that Barack Obama has shown his real colours by humbly accepting that the rich should pay even less tax. Here in Scotland of course we have Eck the Fish and his mates acting like rabbits before a ferret whenever they meet Bumfluff Trump.
The rich are people who are a virus in human society – they believe that their wealth, no matter how it has been gathered, is a sign of their essential virtue. This is clearly a form of insanity and the business as usual attitude of governments world- wide shows how widespread such ideas actually are. It is the activities of profit-driven corporations owned by the rich through the smokescreen of shareholdings that are endangering human life on our planet – but they simply believe that they ae so rich they can buy their way out of anyt situation that they cause to happen. The utter ineptitude of governance in the face of a wee bit of bad weather in the British Isles shows the idiocy of that idea. But then again there are none so dumb as those who think they know everything.

It was a long time ago, perhaps even five or six thousand years ago. In one way that’s not long at all, when nowadays we think we know that humans have been around on this planet of ours for a million years or more. But when you see how things have changed these past few thousand years it surely is a long time now. Nobody remembers his name, though there are those who think a memory still echoes in one or other of the names we have given to the gods we have invented since then. And it was a man. For all we know suggests before that time, the people, in all their different places on our planet, thought the world was made by a goddess of one sort or another. An interesting creature that goddess, sometimes appearing like the howling dogs of hell mixed with a psychopathic loathing of all life and other times like everybody’s mother – it’s just the way we try to tell the story of life to each other that causes the confusion. But when the change came, and there can be no doubt it came – slithering like a junkie thief in the pre-dawn hours when sleep is deepest – it was a man who did the deed. A simple thing, it seemed like a good idea at the time, what real harm could there be in such a small re-arrangement of things. Times must have been hard for him to get away with it – no family would allow such obscenity, no secure community have tolerated quite such a passing of responsibility. For what he did, that man, so long gone now, was invent poverty. Living in a time when enough was plenty, he saw that he could get a little more, and others a little less, by a judicious application of self-interest.
Maybe his neighbour’s house had fallen down, and being troubled times, the neighbour, recently come, had no family to call of to help him raise his walls again.
“ Oh never mind,” he said, smiling,” I will help you. My sons and I will work alongside you once we have finished in our own fields but, as you are a stranger to us and we do not know that you will help us, if a time of need should come upon us, I have a plan. We will help you but for that help, as we are not of your kin, and we do not know you well, I would ask but a small thing, a little price, let us say a tenth of al the food you grow for the next five years.”
For he saw the stranger had no friends or kin to help him, and more than that, he spied a chance to take back more than he would give from the weakness that the stranger had. And the stranger, new to the village, with no one to turn to for advice or succour, felt he had to agree. And it seemed to the stranger that he was being given help, sure he would have to give of his land’s produce for five years, but without a house and a comfort for his wife and children how could he work his land at all. And so when others came to the valley, and many did, for the times were hard in many places and the land there was fertile, he told the newcomers of the good man’s generosity and that if they asked he they might get help. And little by little the village grew, for the friendly man had food enough to spare and was always ready to help newcomers find a space to build a house and land enough to feed themselves, for just a small piece of what they themselves made from that land.

And being as they were all people who understood that a word given was a sacred thing, the bargain that was struck with each was nobody’s business but their own. The first year when the good man worked with his sons beside the first newcomer in the fields, the talk was all of what they shared, the pleasure in the ripening fruit, the beauty of the children as they grew. But the season after that, when the newcomer worked his fields he saw the good man sent his sons to do the work on his own land but did not take up a hoe, or walk behind an ox himself. And in the fifth year the newcomer broke his leg and his children being young, his wife with child and hard times looming, the good man simply said, “ Fear not, just let me help and our arrangement can go on for five more years.”
And at the end of the five years, the newcomer, though he was no longer that, looked around and saw that many of the people who had come to this fine and fertile place in the past ten years worked just as hard as he did, yet were poor. And the good man, well he never worked at all – why should he, he had made a new thing – a way of growing things that did not need the turning of the earth, the planting of seeds or the tending of crops. He had created something new. They call it poverty and it made the good man rich, and his sons and theirs have tended that very invention to this day,

New language

With the insanity of current so called economics it is suely time to start thinking of new ways of describing the utter imbecility of both politics and the media. So, for starters
Smuggit, verb: to make authoritative statements unconnected to reality in such a way as to suggest that anyone disagreeing is, by definition smug, arrogant and essentially ignorant, which is in fact a precise description of the person making the statement.
As in
Osborne was smuggiting again last night.

Who Stole Scotland

This is the title of a grand article by land campaigner Andy Wightman in the day’s Sunday Herald – http://www.heraldscotland.com/. It lays bear the underlying corruption of the land question in Scotland. This should be the start of a debate of just how we are all affected by the landownership question and it leads into further questions of the total complicity in this situation, of the law establishment in Scotland, many of whose members are themselves large-scale landowners, or are happy to take the tainted siller of the lairds, and of course the utterly contemptible refusal of Scottish historians to recognise the underlying realities so well laid out by Andy. To this day local people are still being cleared off Scotland’s rural land while rich people from anywhere in the world are allowed – encouraged? – to play with our soil as they see fit. The obscenity of the development at Menie is a clear example of this and it is all too telling that Trump’s vainglorious plans to create a haven for the super rich are supported by by none other than our First MInister. While like many other Scots I would like to see us independent precisely because we could begin to attack the land question in a free and open manner instead of hiding the truth through the essentially colonial structures that still clutch at the law and other institutions of supposed public benefit in Scotland, this does not mean that I am a member or even a supporter of the SNP. They suffer from the unfortunate fact that – as in all other parties thirled to Westmonster’s (sic) shonky concept of what constitutes democracy – seen cleary at the moment in its true colours to be government by the rich and for the rich – they have too many lawyers in their representative ranks.
The really good news in this is that this informative and accurate representation – however brief – of the horrors of the land question in Scotland – has been published by the Sunday Herald. Letters in support of their position would be a good idea as would be spreading the word to everybody that you know to be at all interested in the future of Scotland, about this article and Andy’s new book. I regulary forget to suggest (urge?demand?) folk to buy my latest book(s) but have no reluctance in pushing Andy’s.
On another but related tack I await further news from my MSP Malcolm Chisholm about the Scottish Government’s response to my concerns anent the arrest and imprisonment of the two journalists at the Trump development at Menie. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/12/film-makers-arrested-donald-trump-scottish-golf-resort#history-link-box

Democracy in Danger

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/12/film-makers-arrested-donald-trump-scottish-golf-resort

This story is absolutely horrific – 2 journalists were arrested by the Fitlike Plod for doing their jobs, They were interviewing people – with permission – o the site of the disgusting new development at Menie when they were told to stop. They were investigating the ‘accidental’ cutting off of water supply to the local residents by contractors working for Trump. They were arrested and charged with breach of the peace – a catch-all offence if there ever was one and had camera, notes etc. confiscated.
This is potentially terrifying as it clearly shows that the local plod are working for the Trump interests, whether or not they are being directed by Trump’s minions or the local council – and you can hardly separate these two. Not only are the local council prepared to sell out Scotland’s soil to the highest bidder they are cleary happy to deploy the law in favour of a profiteering exploiter and against their own constituents. Apart from the national questions regarding the democratic accountability of the police in Scotland that this disturbing case raises it also is a shocking idictment of the position that Aberdeen Council have got themsleves into. Effectively it would appear that the law of the land is, like the Sands of Menie themselves, up for auction to the highest bidder. I have made moves to have a question asked in the Scottish Parliament about this and suggest that everyone gets in touch with their local MSP to demand answers from the SNP adminsitration whose blatant and gut-wrenching sucking-up to Trump and his entourage is in itself a dangerous indictment of the oft-trumpted ‘need for foreign investment’. Profits from such projects leave the country and the only local benefit will be in menial jobs. Add in the polluting effects of milionaires flying in in their private jets if Trump has his way, and you have a perfect storm of idiocy. Green Scotland! Och aye that’ll be richt. Eck the Fish is up to his oxters in this and it is time to remind the SNP that the new Parliament is ours not theirs!