Writer’s Block

I’ve had writer’s block or, as it’s otherwise known, lack of talent. There’s been no end of possible material to blab about, I just couldn’t generate the energy to do it, as if I was getting on in years and wasn’t up to it or something (?!) There are times when current affairs is so nakedly banal that I despise it and would rather sit it out. You have to learn that you can’t read everything, can’t have a view on each and every aspect and can’t afford the time and effort of chasing shadows.

(I’ve also been painting window shutters, dealing with school shoes chewed up by foxes, entertaining a Tory friend to dinner – avoiding pork – and planning where I can watch World Cup rugby in Limousin).

All last week I was put off by the incessant drip-drip of casual propaganda that passes for journalism, borrowed from the school of contrived outrage that is the hallmark of today’s Labour Party. In place of thinking, Labour does dissembling on a scale that takes it way outside normal politics. The hysterical characterisation of the SNP by ‘the new radical Labour Party’ at their conference isn’t just breath-taking, it’s comical…and counter-productive. To make extravagant and easily contradicted claims against the Nats – including the Brian Wilson con of privatising CalMac – was a failed policy since 2007 yet the Neanderthals are still dragging their knuckles and repeating it. Instead of outrage, better to shake your head in dismay and let them get on with it. They will, as ever, only fool the gullible.

Other irritants included the aforementioned Wilson, writing in the same week as the UK underwrote another £2b of the massive cost of the UK’s nuclear building project, about his delight at the fall in the oil price. How much do you have to hate your country to thrill at thousands of your countrymen becoming unemployed? There were so many biased points in his Scotsman sewer outflow pipe of a column that I began to understand why the paper is failing so badly. But one thought did strike me – if oil falls, doesn’t that affect the rest of the energy market? Doesn’t it mean that the cost of other sources might become unsustainable if oil is more desirable? And, indeed, a quick search provides, in different publications, the following…

One project in particular would look like a bad deal for the taxpayer in a $60 (a barrel oil price) world: the first nuclear reactor constructed in Britain for a quarter of a century. The government is backing a guaranteed payment of £96.90 a MWh for EDF’s new atomic plant at Hinkley in Somerset, which would look like an even worse deal for the UK if the oil price slumped further.

 New nuclear power in the UK would be more expensive than in any other country, according to a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA).

 Electricite de France SA’s sale of atomic power to competitors for the second half of the year has sunk to a fraction of what it was in 2014, signaling nuclear energy may be losing competitiveness.

Wilson is a passionate advocate of nuclear and earns part of his burgeoning living from it. Funny he didn’t connect the falling oil price to the impact on nuclear, don’t you think? Or is that what you expect from a partisan chiseler who epitomises the moral vacuum at the heart of Labour’s catastrophic failure. I laughed at a reference in Joe Pike’s book on Better Together describing Darling’s rehearsal for the TV debates. There in the corner was the Poison Dwarf of Propaganda battering away at his lap top hamming up Darling’s opening and closing words. Nearly 30 years after Dewar described him as a propagandist, he’s still at it. Hasn’t he done Labour proud? All those words, all those lost votes.

The thing to remember about Brian Wilson, whatever he writes or says, is this: If he’d had his way there would be no Scottish Parliament today…No democratic forum, no legislature, no control, no participation, no political awakening – just Westminster in total control under Tories and Labour – and our nation represented by a tribe of Ian Davidsons.

The ubiquitous David Torrance played a Unionist blinder too. He went to see The Cheviot, the Stag and Black Black Oil and found in it the only line that can be twisted to please a Britnat mentality – nationalism isn’t enough. Putting aside the fact I know of no Nationalist who ever made that statement, this is a work that opened Scottish eyes in the seventies and gave a yowl-inducing slap over the backside of the nascent child that would become the modern independence movement. Imagine if your role in life was to tweezer out the only four words that could be turned against the thrust of the entire work?

See what I mean? It gets you down…

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17 thoughts on “Writer’s Block

  1. Derek,

    Don’t despair. Your observations about the noxious Brian Wilson are well observed and timely. His transformation from scruffy socialist to “shampain” entrepreneur bares an eerie resemblance to the political progress of dear Alistair Darling. Yuk!

    You and the Rev Stu over at Wings do your readers a great service by actually reading The Hootsman and relaying its content so that the rest of us can avoid contributing anything to this sad excuse for a newspaper that was once highly regarded

  2. As a student nationalist I was privileged to participate in the standing ovation given to ‘The Cheviot, The Stag and the Black, Black Oil’ at its first performance in Edinburgh’s George Square Theatre. We all took the point about nationalism not being enough way back then. There is something touching about David Torrance’s schoolboy conviction that he brings new insights to our political journey.

  3. I think Corbymania has just flopped in Scotland. Same old, same old. Laura Kuenssberg is the new poison dwarf.

  4. Well, Labour’s new leaf lasted what? All of a fortnight? Not that Corbyn’s stance was unexpected or a shock you understand.

    Other than that its been same old, same old Derek, though strangely I haven’t had a bacon roll over the period and pulled pork is right off the menu.

    Anyroads, caught your appearance in Altered States pt 1. Impressive production and the contributions by your good self and Paul Kavanagh were stand out. Looking forward to part two.

  5. I think BW is not a well man – seriously.

    The level of his bile is beyond anything that could pass for a “normal” grumpy person.

  6. Wilson doesn’t seem to bother checking facts for himself, he recycled the “Scotland well behind Europe in tertiary ed” smear that WIngs had debunked months earlier for using UCAS figures that in Scotland exclude degree study at colleges (admissions to which are outside UCAS). So he leaves himself exposed. He makes his lust to attack the SNP only too clear, he’s just not very good at it. You’re right, Derek, about him cheering trouble in the oil industry, same as he smeared the whole of Scottish education just to get a bit of dirt on the SNP.

    Unfortunately The Scotsman, to the casual observer – say, someone in a foreign land who’s interested in Scottish affairs – it’s the country’s leading news source.

    The press all over the UK has fallen into the hands of the plutocrats. Newspapers still have to find an audience, though. As the independence movement gains strength, surely The Scotsman too will have to alter its tone.

  7. You can see the guilt and self loathing in Wilsons face every time he appears on TV.
    His soul must be very dark and bleak. He looks like someone waiting on that knock on the door he has been expecting since the ’70’s.
    Every new arrest of someone from those days must have him breaking out in a cold sweat.

  8. Derek, can you provide a link to the column referred to by Brian Wilson. Good to see you back.

  9. Sorry, I meant the column written by Brian Wilson.

  10. Welcome back, Derek, and don’t worry – writer’s block happens to us all occasionally!

  11. I think Wilson hates the idea of Scotland far more than any tub thumping English tabloid writer. He openly hates his own nation. What a very strange individual.

    He reminded me of a Rangers nutter on the phone today. Said he doesn’t support Scotland and has never supported them. The guy was born and bred in Glasgow but hates the fact that Scotland even exists. He obviously only believes there is Britain and nothing else.

    They are the extremes, but I have met many more. Self loathing is a mental illness!

    But the thing that is beyond my ken. Is how even the sight of someone with a Saltire, can create such venom for these people. Why do they not believe in Scotland but love the Union and all things British. Why is Scotland a secondary or illegitimate nation to them.

    Derek is correct. Leave them to their bile and just shake your head. Their empire is falling brick by brick.

  12. Glad you are back Derek. I know what you mean. The endless, disappointing tripe promoted by the MSM and now, already, by the brave new hope for Labour, real does get one down. It really does.

  13. Splendid analyses all round prompted by yourself, Mr Bateman.

    I vaguely knew the obnoxious Mr Wison (Brian) in the 1970’s, and whilst an admirer and reader of the “West Highland Free Press”, found him something of a passive-aggressive. self-righteous, incipient Unionist thug (other friends from then at Uni who were more overtly Unionist were often a damned sight more open-minded and decent – excluding the Forsyth, Andra Neil, Gerald Warner cabal who were never gentlemen and whom I ejected from my parental home for their arrogant pig-ignorance).

    Mr Wilson’s wife was, however, a gentlewoman, loyal, even then, it seemed, to a secondhand object salesman on the make.

    I am simply surprised that he has managed to finesse his opportunist, British nationalist, parasitic, neo-Thatcherite a la Blairite schtick for so long.

    Ah, and forgive me, there was the networking framework of the Beeb canteen as well as the parochial shystery of public house hubs for tame or muscular BritNat journos, print or broadcast, well Tammany Halled into the establishment fabric to sustain him and his naked ambition.

    Plus ca change except, this time, his and their meter may be running out.

    Splendid and about time.

  14. When you see the savage glee on their faces when they think they have proved how useless Scotland is without Britain – it makes me angry and sad. The strapline for Better together should have been:

    “Nothing succeeds like failure, and there is no greater failure than Scotland in the Union”

    or perhaps we could use the line that was given to me by an ardent no voter on twitter one time:

    “There is no shame in being dependent on someone better than you”

    God help us but they won – they won on the basis that we are a nation of scroungers. From the moment you are born til the day you die, you were nothing more than a burden on an English tax payer. They are thrilled at this and this is what makes them proud. I can’t buy into their notion of Britishness with that price tag. I suspect most yes voters feel the same levels of revulsion at it. You can argue that the real achievement of Better together was to ensure that Scotland was reduced in status within the union, to that of the beggar at the door. Scotland is never going to feel comfortable within the Union ever again. The price tag to them to buy those shoddy goods was the relevance of UK politics in Scotland.

    That brings us to the oil. Scotland’s share of its own oil wealth is quite low. It gets something on the order of 5% of that $60 barrel(I remember seeing a figure that it is currently £3 a barrel but I lost the link). Regardless of how much its worth it has always been given a small percentage. Its the UK that has gotten the lions share of the oil wealth for the last 50 years. The collapse in price was not a body blow to independence…it was a body blow to a UK who has come to rely on it to balance their books. If Scotland was to gain all the oil wealth tomorrow. It would be massively up on the deal. Yet in unionist arithmetic being better off is in fact being much worse off, the argument going something like this:

    “You used to get a couple quid a barrel but now you are only getting 60 quid a barrel – how can you be expected to cope Scotland – we demand answers!”

    It’s not just the bad maths – its the lack of vision and aspiration with the likes of Wilson that bothers me. Blinded by the hatred of an idea that Scotland doesn’t need Britain, but that Britain needs Scotland. Wilson, Torrance, Cochrane – they are the nabobs of negativity. The high priests of Bullshit Mountain. Worshippers at the alter of Scottish dependency on the ever generous English folk. They think it right. They think it proper. They think this state of affairs is what is so great about being Scottish and British. It is what makes their hearts sing. It allows them to stand tall in the knowledge that Scotland is a subsidy junkie and that they think this should be allowed to continue….and they have the brass neck to call us “anti-English”.

    I am not for one minute accusing all no voters of this. Many voted no out of sheer terror of what would happen if we voted no. They bought into the fear and the scares. Many voted no because they think the union is worth it for reasons that were never addressed by Better together. I hope many of these people will come to see that the price tag was a little too high this time.

  15. Glad to see you’re back in the saddle Derek and as observant as ever. We missed you!

  16. So how exactly do we plant amusing stories in the unionist press?
    “Exports lost to maritime incident – cargo looted by drunken Scots locals”.
    “Unknown assailant attacks hill walkers on Ben Macdui – Police Scotland take NO action”
    “Hit chust how we are at the doing of things – Says rough sea captain Handy Scotland allows to roam West Coats islands”

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