We Are World Class

I was in an international city at a world class facility expertly run with smart connections today to see a major sporting event. It didn’t seem like Glasgow but it was and when I stepped off the train at Dalmarnock, I thought I was in Berlin or Copenhagen, not the east end of the city.


About three years ago I turned up there on a rainy Thursday with a BBC film crew to show the rotting tenements and grubby streets that would be swept away for the Games. I made a mini movie for Newsnight and remember standing in a dark doorway, hat dripping water and picking up an empty Buckie bottle and using it my piece to camera to illustrate what level of social existence was the norm here. A cliché of course but nobody could disagree.

Today those streets are no more, erased and replaced with landscaped areas, clean streets and an astonishing full bhuna fuck-off sporting arena that blows your socks off. You now get a full-on view of the front of Celtic Park which adds lustre and with the sun shining and an army of helpers with quality food stalls, autobanks and merchandising, this is a serious top class venue and sports hub.


I was dead proud. I could get there by public transport through gleaming stations with enthusiastic helpful staff and inside the Emirates was cool, wide and family friendly.

We mingled with folk from Seychelles, Ghana, Malaysia and many from England. This felt like the Commonwealth Games should, in a real international centre.

All achieved under the Union.

Except that all those other countries are independent and I liked the section in Wikipedia… ‘No one government in the Commonwealth exercises power over the others as is the case in a political union’…in our case of course that is absolutely untrue…there is no other host nation which has power exercised over it by others – except us.

‘Rather, the relationship is one of an international organisation through which countries with diverse social, political, and economic backgrounds are regarded as equal in status and cooperate within a framework of common values and goals.’ Doesn’t that sound like the Union we should have? Equal, cooperative with common value and goals?

The Games are paid for by Scots…Scottish taxpayers and Glasgow taxpayers – Hang on! That’s me, I’m playing twice AND I bought the tickets….

London doesn’t contribute directly to any of it. So this is something we can do ourselves and get it right and do ourselves proud.


It is the inescapable concrete and living proof that this country can achieve. Can welcome and embrace. Succeed and enjoy. And pay the bills.

The SNP have shown we are already better off and would be about 14th wealthiest of the world’s countries. What stops us from moving on to the next stage? Ignorance is key. We really haven’t explained to Scots just how wealthy they are and how much better off they could be. It’s a no-brainer once you see the figures.

The people who campaign against releasing Scots from Westminster budgeting and planning to unleash our full potential are mostly from the elite who benefit from the current system.

The No campaign is run by former Labour spin doctors who will depart south when it’s over. This is a just a gig for them. As Rob Shorthouse, one of their staff said, this referendum for him is all about paying his mortgage.

Labour MPs and their Minnie-me MSP mates are getting fat from the gravy train. Alistair Darling has earned £250,000 in outside earnings by prostituting himself to the corporate world since the campaign began. (I suggest you read that figure again and work out how it relates to your income. Meanwhile the Member for Edinburgh South West fails to turn up for votes on policies towards the poor).

He lectures companies who want to privatise our health service, speaks for £10,000 a time to the finance houses who steal our money, he takes massive donations from people who run morally dodgy operations that hire known killers to do their business and who dodge their taxes.

He himself fiddled his expenses to pocket your money by flipping his houses four times. When he got caught he used your money to pay for a tax consultant. Knowing he was bang to rights he resigned from the Faculty of Advocates before they could find him guilty of bringing them into disrepute.

When Labour lost the election, his first thought was to sell the story. He did a deal with a publisher to make money from the downfall of the British economy and to blame others for the meltdown although he was the man in charge.

His loathing of Gordon Brown knows no bounds and it is reciprocated. Remember his wife Margaret quoted in the Guardian when Brown turned on Darling in yet another round of Labour internecine warfare…f***ing c**ts!! http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/feb/22/alistair-darling-maggie-darling-bullying

These are the people who want to stop Scots taking control and running their own country according to their own values not those of self-seeking troughers who use grace-and-favour homes to rip off the taxpayer and who sell themselves to the highest corporate bidder. Why isn’t an MP’s salary good enough for Darling to live on? Many of our fellow Scots rely on food banks to live including children so why does Alistair need a banker’s salary on top of his public earnings?

Comfortable with that, you Labour voters who read here but have no critique of your own? Want to get in touch and applaud Darling’s Blairesque crawling after business bucks? Think he’s entitled do you? Think it’s morally acceptable for a ‘Socialist’ to trouser vast sums when his constituents go hungry, lose their jobs and their homes? Can’t see how your Labour champion is just another self-seeking Tory loaded with cash, oblivious to working class needs and working hand-in-glove with UKIP and the BNP? Is that why you joined Labour? Darling is Cameron’s proxy – do any of you disagree – and will fight working class Scots to the death for his right to make money and stay in the British elite.

Darling and his chums are terrified of what might be about to happen, not because they care about you – no man earning the cash he does as extra earnings could care less about real voters – but what it means for him and his class. He might even have to get a real job although obviously not as a lawyer having had to resign from the Faculty to save his face.

This is a country that can be world class – Glasgow is showing how. But we need to take control from the selfish and the self-obsessed who see us as a meal ticket for a comfy life and who insult the intelligence and allegiance of real Labour people while they do so.

Come on, Scotland…the medal podium is waiting.


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Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Are you panicking? Getting desperate yet? There seems to be a line from the No fantasists that it’s in the bag and the whole of Yes is frantically searching for a game-changer. Or is that itself just an example of desperation from a campaign which is hated by its own people and which has brought British politics lower than ever before?


Personally I have no sense of urgency or anxiety about what is happening. I haven’t a moment’s doubt that Scotland is being won over every time some basic facts are presented and I don’t think that is going to change after September. If it doesn’t all come together by the 18th to win over enough Scots to Yes, so be it. The long process is under way and it will come eventually. I am content that we have exposed the threadbare, shrill, self-serving bilge of British nationalist Blighty and it’s stop-at-nothing manipulation of the truth.

For many thousands of us, there is no going back. The discontent that has worried away for decades and helped deliver devolution has grown arms and legs and is an unpredictable monster demanding to be fed. No more will we smile benignly at sleekit promises from the Jim Murphys, Margaret Currans and Johann Lamonts in the belief that, whatever their shortcomings, their heart was in the right place. We now know that isn’t true. Their heart lies in London with financiers, landowners and mercenaries where they work hand-in-glove with Tories, UKIP and the BNP to thwart the advance of social justice in Scotland. They prefer Tories in Westminster to Labour in Scotland.

This unveiling of the reality of Labour’s motives will continue after any No vote. The entire onus will switch to Labour. Their Tory pals will disappear – as will Darling. Labour will be left with the rotting corpse of a system they championed, their own arguments devouring them as the cuts bite, Westminster fails to deliver and the SNP carries on in government.


There is no stopping us now. Plans are already being laid for the post-referendum Scotland, win or lose. And they don’t include a lasting reverence to payroll politicians and malleable journalists whose malign grip has held back the kind of reforms and public information that can change lives.

I have been away from our beloved media for most of the last month, only dipping in occasionally. It has made me a happier person. So much of the stuff produced by the conventional outlets has the hand of corporate process on it, of boardroom and marketing, projecting sectoral interests without question. Interesting, isn’t it to remember that in that space we would normally expect to find the CBI, once the enthroned leader of Big Business, now, through scrutiny and exposure, nothing more than a ghost at the banquet. That’s the impact of rigorous examination, strict and fair rules and the cleansing effect of public ridicule. We need more of it.

But one or two items did pique my interest, or at least my astonishment. One of the most breathtaking was Ruth Davidson’s so called essay in, I think, the Herald in which she contradicted everything we know to have been happening since 2011. In her world – if we believe she actually thinks this – our national debate has merely kept us from addressing the real issues of the day like the economy, jobs, welfare and health. This is the constitution as distraction. It betrays the mindset of the hopelessly backward Unionist in which the constitutional settlement is cast in iron and can only be mildly reworked internally. Its existence is an absolute. Without it there is no life, no truth, no reality. They are disciples, real believers…in Monarchy, Military, Elites and Social suppression. People are graded according to social worth and we know who the deserving are – the current government couldn’t make it clearer – low income families are expendable, their quality of life a variable while bankers are worth protecting by law if necessary and at the cost of international prestige.

Davidson, if we really do think an intelligent woman believes this bilge, drops national independence into a box marked Constitutional Mumbo Jumbo. She then picks Economy out of another box and ponders it in isolation. This is Jackanory politics.

The whole point of the Yes movement is to use the constitution as a means to take control of the power to direct policies towards a different Scotland. It is only through the accretion of all powers that we can mould policies that suit our national need and so change our society.

If you’re content that multi national bosses and wholesale tax dodgers should work with public school spivs in an antiquated parliament with 800 of the Undead to run your country, vote No.

Far from distracting Scots, the referendum has been the greatest awakening of political thought in our lifetime, linking votes to poverty and early death, weapons of mass destruction to early intervention to talentless politicians. We KNOW. We know like we’ve never known before…how the country works, who the crooks are, who we can trust and who we can’t. We know how the media works, even the BBC. We know we are misled and mis-sold ideas. We know they are shameless and mendacious. We know we want rid of them and this is our chance.

We used to be told that we can’t change anything. If we vote nothing changes. That isn’t true in Scotland any more. Our votes delivered the SNP, the best government Scotland has ever had. It brought us a government with a social conscience, universal benefits, anti-austerity measures and, for the first time, real vision for Scotland. Nobody else and no system but independence can do that. Devolution can only inch you forward slowly when we are ready to make a transformative leap. And after a No vote, the real strength of Scotland’s case will dissolve completely – London has only delivered some powers because it is terrified of the underlying threat of independence. By showing our own fear of our future, we remove their fear of us. Once that has gone, we are at their mercy.

That’s a payday for Davidson, Ian Taylor, the No-donating boss of tax-dodging Vitol, for Jim Murphy and his nukes and for Salmond-fearing Cameron and his elitist chums.

That realisation is raging through Scotland and it’s a fire that won’t be contained.

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In Conversation…Mr Green

Scottish election aftermathWho’s your favourite MSP? Tough choice? How about Patrick Harvie of the Greens…he comes out top of many people’s list as an honourable, calm and sensible voice seemingly outside party politics although obviously, he isn’t.

He doesn’t just get Green votes, he gets personal ones too from all sides, which is good but frustrating as he is an agenda setter but seems consigned to be standing just behind the big boys and girls in the Holyrood class photos.

Today in Glasgow I interviewed Patrick before a live audience and tried to tease out of him what he really thinks. I didn’t interrupt unnecessarily, I hope and it makes for a sane listen. It’s at batemanbroadcasting.com now.

We hear his view of the campaign, where he disagrees with the SNP, doesn’t want the rejection of Trident to lead to oil exploration off the West Coast and wants us all weaned off the oil drug. He rarely flies, preferring in once case a cabin on a cargo ship across the Atlantic! He’s on his own there….


We hear about his youth, the link between Green and LGBT politics and it’s the first time I have worn shorts to interview somebody else also wearing shorts…(this is NOT a LGBT issue).

Have a listen at batemanbroadcasting.com, download from iTunes or check out Twitter thingy at hashtag bateman_podcast.


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Talk The Talk

Aaargh…life has take over blogging and I’m fighting for time on the screen. Babies, operations, London, Edinburgh, Commonwealth Games and school holidays have taken over. I knew July would be tough but maybe now it will calm down a little after tonight’s opening ceremony – assuming I work out how to get home with two kids at midnight.


One event I will be ready for is this Friday when I follow up the conversation with Alex Salmond by staging a similar event with Patrick Harvie. These hour-long sessions are illuminating because I try to find out more about the person not just the politician and the policies. What motivates them…how did they get into politics…will they reveal something about themselves…

I try to steer but not to obstruct. Too often our interviews are messy staccato affairs more about the interviewer than the subject. There are times I think for letting the politician lay out their view and vision fully so we can all take what we want from it and obviously disagree where necessary.

100714 PH North Kelvin Meadow crop

Patrick is one of our finest exponents of the political arts and has won awards. He has a lonely job in a big parliament and often the Greens have their policies pinched by others and their agenda flattened. Yet it is surely still the most pressing problem facing us all with or without independence.

You’ll hear him on batemanbroadcasting of course but if you’re in the city why not come along and join the audience. You might even get an autograph! (Patrick’s)

We have a prestigious location – the Grand Central Hotel in Gordon Street in the city centre. We will have a Q and A session afterwards so you can put your points to him – or to me. Come along and meet Patrick. He could have a key role in events after September. Just log on for tickets. It’s in the Clyde Room at the Grand Central at 12.30pm this Friday. See you there. Book here.  http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/an-audience-with-patrick-harvie-tickets-12356290999

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Cor Blimey (Episode 7)

I am writing to you from Kensington which seems a pretty wealthy part of the world to me. Put it this way, I won’t be buying a home here any time soon. Business appears to be booming and they definitely aren’t short of immigration to help boost the economy. (And they’re getting my money and hotel taxes)

The economic disparity created by London’s success led us to wonder what we should be doing about it. So we put the team at batemanbroadcasting.com on the case and produced what I think is one of the most enlightening shows so far. I am not a natural businessman and neither are all those supporters of Common Weal and yet what we hear in this episode opens up to all of us the very real possibilities for improving our nation’s wealth.

Wea hear from economist Graeme Blackett how we lack coherence in our economic planning, how government works in policy silos and his control of the key levers can ensure our economy advances effectively. Two actual hard-nosed, money-making businessmen discuss how an intelligent approach to planning and investment can create generational companies rooted in their community, even in remote areas, providing local pride and long term employment aided by localised low cost investment loans from banks which themselves recognise the value of investing in their community. It is the German system and it was set up under the Marshall Plan after the war – deliberately to disperse power from the centre. (Getting the message yet?)

And a Conservative who cannot explain how his own party fails to see the advantages of independence, sees an chance to get rid of all the I build British obstacles to business. Committed people with knowledge and insight adding to your understanding.

Also, this week one of our team of reporters caught up with Jenny Marra MSP to ask why she. Remains committed to the Union if it is social change she’s after. Interesting stuff.

Try episode seven at batemanbroadcasting for a better quality of radio. You can find us on iTunes. Our handle is bateman_podcast and you can just Google us.

Get in touch too.

I’m off to have a pint of London Pride and some jellied eels with Dick van Dyck. I hear that’s what they do in Kensington.

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