Sunday, 29 June 2014

Sooking Spangles for Scotland

I'm showing my age here. I can't even remember when Spangles were withdrawn. Aha! The early eighties - is there nothing Wikipedia doesn't have an article on? Military Spangle-sookers could be lucky for another decade as they were in the 24 Hour and 10 Man Compo Rations. Old English was my favourite. 

Wikipedia also informs me that an early advertising slogan for them was "The sweet way to go gay!"  My spangle-sooking childhood has a lot more to answer for than I thought.  Had I known that, my QC may have had extra ammunition in the House of Lords - Compo Rations made me gay!

Anyhoo, what's all this got to do with the Indyref?  Well, The Guardian's Kevin McKenna appears to disappear up his own jacksie with the middle class hand-wringing he is decrying regarding the entry of the Orange Order into the Indyref debate on the No side.

My formative experience of Orangeism was not good and can be dated exactly by their calendar to the 12th of July 1969. I was 5 and the exigencies of military family life had meant that my Mum had brought me and my brother back to her home in Maryhill, Glasgow while my Pop continued unaccompanied in the Far East. Singapore to Maryhill, now that was a culture shock! Not least when my uncle George kindly took us to Prestwick for the day and my brother and I leapt into the open-air swimming pool as we were wont to do in Singapore, only to more-or-less bounce off the freezing water and run shivering and greeting to Mammy for towels. Exotic childhood pastimes like scrumping for lychees or exploring monsoon drains were exchanged for the more prosaic dreeping dykes and midden raking. We had also had to say goodbye to our lovely Amah.

On the 12th I somehow had managed to evade the maternal clearing of the streets of children when the Orange parade came past.  As I looked on, (probably waiting excitedly for the dragon as all such processions in Singapore involved a dragon) a gang of much bigger boys (teenagers I suppose) came up to me.  It was a short interrogation before I got my face kicked in for being "cheeky".
"Are you a Prod or a Tim?"
"Dunno, I'm only sooking a Spangle."
Given that I was 5, didn't know if I was a Buddhist or a Christian, didn't know that Prod meant Protestant and Tim meant Catholic and didn't know what those terms meant even if I had known the nicknames, I wasn't being cheeky.  It turns out I was a Prod, I'm an atheist now.

Looking back, the maternal street-clearing had been universal. Mums (as I later found out) both Prod and Tim had imprisoned their offspring indoors that afternoon.  Years later, in conversation with an RUC Inspector in the officers' mess at Aldergrove I commented "Must be a busy week for you with all the Orange heidbangers?" and he replied, "Unfortunately Roddy, most of the real heidbangers come over on the boat."

Orange Parades are basically about bully-boys owning the streets for a day, pure and simple. The Prod and Tim thing is almost incidental and increasingly irrelevant as very few of the marchers could probably remember the last time they attended a church service. Just as the British State did all over its Empire, in its first colonies of Scotland and Ireland it promoted division among the poor, the old Divide and Rule. It's long past time the Orange Order went the way of the Spangle.

Edit: Just had a look at Wings. Things have moved on so far in Maryhill 45 years later, I was damned lucky to have a Spangle to sook.

See also: When Orange Men Go Green.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Parliamo Berraragerra

So veteran Scots actor and comedian Stanley Baxter has, surprise surprise, come out against independence. I'm a big fan of his and, as noted elsewhere on Wings Over Scotland, he left Scotland 55 years ago but at least he is honest enough to state his reason as:
AhmawrightJack  - "I'm very happy in London. South of the border's been very good to me. I could never have achieved that success north of the border if I'd stuck there. It wouldn't have happened."
Younger readers may be wondering what I'm wittering about. Well, here's an original Stanley Baxter Parliamo Glasgow sketch, Upatra Burdz:

Strangely, in common with just about every other Sleb who has come out for Berraragerra: Baxter, like Izzard, Barrowman and the Krankies, is best known for his cross-dressing. You never know, on the night before the referendum we may be treated to Blair MacDougall in drag doing an impression of Velvet Brown with his Tuba?

Anyway, I digress. I thought it might be fun to examine some of Berraragerra's Bullshit Bingo phrases and memes and see what they mean in the Queen's English. So here we go:

Parliamo Berraragerra - Speaking Better Together

Bayonetrawoonded - Bayonet the Wounded - Ian Davidson MP's post-indyref reconciliation plan if there's a No vote.

Bestybothwurldz - The Best of Both Worlds.  The process whereby ever-increasing Scots taxes subsidise the UK, but Scots are allowed to decide how to spend their ever-diminishing pocket money on domestic issues such has health and law and order.

Flippinhoosiesferexpenses - Flipping houses for expenses.  The favourite pastime of the Berraragerra Chairman.

Forriner - Foreigner. A derogatory terms for your sibling / parent / child /cousin who lives in England if Scotland votes yes. Previously loved, you will now be automatically consumed with xenophobic hatred for them. Strangely, you may continue to love rellies in other countries such as Australia or the USA etc, as these are never considered real forriners.

Jamramorra - Jam Tomorrow. See Mairpooersgarranteed.

Mairpooersgarranteed - More powers guaranteed. See Jamramorra.

Oanlineabuse - Online abuse. Any utterance by a pro-indy person online. Death threats against the First Minister and his Deputy are termed Guidnacheredbanta - Good natured Banter.

Ornrymum - An ordinary mum. A female member of the Labour Shadow Cabinet.

ProudPatrioticScoat - A No voter, or at least a photographer's model in the environs of Cambridge.

Poolinansherrin - Pooling and Sharing. Often PoolinRezaursesanSherrinRisks. The process whereby Scots taxes subsidise things in the UK that Scots aren't in the least interested in and don't want, such as Crossrail, HS2, Trident, wars in assorted sandpits, etc.

TooWeeTooPooranTooStupit - Too wee, too poor and too stupid. Scottish people, also the positive case for the union.

VileSybernat - Vile Cybernat. A Scottish person with a computer and access to the internet.

YoonititwiLaber - United with Labour. Gordon Brown, the former Prime Mentalist DiznaeWantTaeBeSeenWiThaeToryBastirts.

UnanserredKweschins - Unanswered questions. Such as who will put the Bop Shoo Wap Doo-Wap in an Independent Scotland?

That concludes tonight's lesson. Do feel free to add further examples in the comments below.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Blòð eða Bjǫð / Fuil 'is Talamh / Blood and Soil

A trilingual title? That's a first for this blog! It's quadriligual actually as blood and soil is the same in Scots and English. For the uninitiated, the other two languages are Old Norse and Gaelic. A theme of this week has been an attempt to paint moves for Scottish Independence as blood and soil nationalism or, as a far more accomplished writer than me put it, "purity of lineage".

I'm afraid anyone coming to a blog written by a bagpipe playing, traditional song singing, Gaelic learning Scotsman who rejoices in supposedly one of the most Scottish of names - Roddy Macdonald / Ruaridh Dòmhnallach - looking for an exposition on true-blooded "Scottishness" will be sorely disappointed. The languages in the title appear in the order they were spoken in Scotland by my paternal ancestors.

Shock-horror! Macdonalds weren't originally Scots.  We're rather better disguised immigrants than, for example the MacAulays, which translates as Olafsson, and many other families. However, we are as "half-blood" a family as just about any in Scotland, or anywhere else in the world.  Look at the Donald from whom we are descended and by the time you get back to his great, great, grand-parents you'll find Scots, Irish, Norman (and English if you count Henri 1st Beauclerc, King of England as English), Russian, Norwegian, Flemish and God-knows what else.

I dare say if you trawl the sewers of the internet, you'll find Scottish "Blood and Soil" nationalists. Hell, enough proto-fascist, British Nationalists turned out in the Euro elections that we are now saddled with UKIP's first elected representative (MEP) in Scotland.  You can find anything on the internet if you look for it. Search Twitter and you'll see that the earlier quoted accomplished writer has been subjected to vile misogynistic abuse since long before she declared her hand in the independence debate. I could post up links to loads of instances of abuse by Britnats but really, I can't be bothered with whataboutery any more. To further publicise such sewage as the BBC and Press have one-sidedly done is to cheapen our national discourse.

Attempts to demonize Cybernats as being the same as the electronic equivalent of the Special Brew-swilling drunks you sometimes see in the street effing and blinding at everybody are a classic British Establishment ploy to turn the electorate back to getting their information solely from the bought-and-paid-for professional politicians and their lackeys in the media.  Independence is about thinking for yourself and doing your own research. Google is your friend.

Anyhoo, I'm also a carer and it's nearly time to take my ordinary mum to her weekly bingo (she doesn't drink and is of a vintage that she thinks Bingo is the only regular recreation that is socially acceptable for a woman on her own). But before I go, I'll let you into another wee secret: I wasn't even born here and did most of my growing up in the Far East and England. I'm a relic of Empire and my ordinary mum tells the story that one day in 1964 in Nairobi she was a white woman with a pram in the wrong place at the wrong time when a panga-wielding mob showed up. She had the presence of mind to grab me from my pram, run to a phone box and wedge her foot against the door while phoning my dad.  My dad gathered a motley crew of the Kenyan lab technicians he was training and guards from the former British Military Hospital in which he was working and came down to rescue us unscathed in a Bren-mounted Lannie.

Stick your blood and soil where the sun doesn't shine. It's tosh. Rise above the slurs. We know that all mums are extraordinary, as extraordinary as the civilized, truly grass roots campaign that is Yes Scotland. I'll leave you with a pic from the land of my birth. Harambee.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

When Orange Men go Green

Something different today for a laugh with the marching season almost upon us from Newry singer Finbar Magee: When Orange Men go Green, an environmental solution. I can thoroughly recommend his album Ship of Fools.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

5 Days to go for Scotland Yet

Jack Foster and Chris Silver are appealing for more money for their film Scotland Yet's post-production and distribution.


You can donate here on Indiegogo or by clicking the panel on the right. The film is due out in July and may even feature yours truly and my inner Domestic Godess, Nigella Macdonald.