Sep 052018
 

Duncan Harley reviews Alan Stewart’s new book.

Five years in the making, Alan Stewart’s new book ‘North East Scotland At War’ will appeal to anyone even remotely interested in the history of the North-east of Scotland.
There are plenty of books out there which record the difficult years between the Chamberlain peace accord and the Soviet conquest of Berlin. Osborne’s ‘Defending Britain’ and Gordon Barclay’s ‘If Hitler Comes’ are the classics.

But this book is slightly different and there is certainly room for further historical accounts of the dark days when Hitler threatened our shores.

With a decidedly local slant, North East Scotland At War launches the reader into the minutiae of the defence of the North-east against what was, for a brief few years, perceived as the Nazi threat.

The archaeology of those distant times is laid bare and many of the official documents which record the difficult days inhabit the pages.

A ground-based Invasion never came. But preparations were firmly in in place and Alan’s finely researched history brings the day to day story of those difficult times sharply into focus.

Fougasse – developed by the Petroleum Warfare Department as an anti-tank weapon, Dragon’s Teeth and Railway Blocks feature in this book along with the stories of the stop-lines, the Home Guard roadblocks and of course that secretive plan to harry the invaders using suicide squads tasked with assassinating both their own commanders – who might betray them under torture – and German officers.

Air crashes also inhabit these pages. Alongside the enemy casualties, and they were in the hundreds, Alan details the stories behind some of the Commonwealth gravestones which litter the cemeteries of the North-east.

Training accidents accounted for many of the casualties.

A Czech fighter pilot killed when his Spitfire spiralled into the ground, an air-sea rescue crew lost in a collision with railway wagons on the perimeter of RAF Dyce Airfield and the gravestone of Flight Lieutenant Wheelock – killed attempting an emergency landing – again at Dyce – are featured.

This is one of those books which is difficult to set aside. The minutiae of the location of pill boxes and the stark reality of the bombing maps, feature alongside some difficult tales of children killed on the local sands, not by the Germans, but by the very defences intended to keep them safe.

Landmines and barbed wire were as much a hazard as air-borne bombs and machine gun bullets.

Alongside the difficult descriptions of civilian carnage, Alan has included a number of images of official documents which give a flavour of the times. In a memo marked TOP SECRET, a Colonel Geddes, commander of Aberdeen Garrison, expresses his concern regarding the vulnerability of Tullos Hill.

“I am a little uneasy” he writes, 

“about the defence of TULLOS HILL – Area 4624. This is a very commanding feature, on which the following units are located: A.B. 2 Site, Heavy A.A Bty, Detachment 319 Search-Light Regiment, RAF Wireless Installation and Royal Observer Corps Post.”

And there are literally dozens of such so-far hidden documents sprinkled throughout this account of the time when the invasion of our shores seemed such a certainty.

Profusely illustrated and replete with a plethora of new information gleaned from both local and national records, this is a local history book which I am pleased to include on my bookshelves.

North East Scotland At War – by Alan Stewart is Available from http://www.cabroaviation.co.uk/book.html at £21.99 + £3 P&P

ISBN 9781527215689
Cover image © Alan Stewart

Nov 082017
 

By Duncan Harley.

Freedom of speech is a fragile thing. Often hard won, it can be taken away at the stroke of a pen as an Aberdeenshire head teacher found to his cost in 1940.
Various Emergency Powers (Defence) Acts came into force in the early months of WW2.

Some, such as Defence Regulation 18B, provided a framework for internment of enemy aliens while others, like the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1939, gave the State wide-ranging powers to prosecute the war.

Aspects of life in the UK came under State control including the “apprehension, trial and punishment of persons offending against the Regulations.” In short, anyone suspected of acting against the national interest in any way whatsoever might suffer the indignity of a pre-dawn knock at the door.

The village of Oyne was of course quite distant from the battlefields. It had narrowly escaped being bombed by a German Zeppelin in a previous conflict but in the big scheme of things Oyne was not a front-line target. Nor was it a hotbed of pro-Nazi sympathy.

This was 1940 however and a paranoid nation was smarting from the military defeat in France. Invasion loomed and an aerial bombing campaign had begun. Towns across the North east had been attacked and coastal shipping had been sunk by German planes off both Stonehaven and Peterhead.

The newspapers of the time are filled with reports of arrests for the offence of “Careless Talk.” A meter reader from Oxford was detained after alleging “we should be just as well under the Nazi’s as we are now!” A Dorset policeman was jailed for expressing similar sentiments and a Peterhead plumber was fined £5 for “careless talk on the phone.”

Headmasters appear to have been at particular risk of prosecution. Overheard warning pupils that following imminent invasion they would have to resort to eating cats and dogs, a Lanarkshire headmaster found himself before a Hamilton Magistrate and at Oyne, George Hendry the local Primary School Headmaster, received the dreaded knock on the door in the late afternoon of June 24th.

The unwelcome visitor was Detective Inspector McHardy of Aberdeen City Police and, after suitable interrogation, Hendry was arrested on matters relating to the Defence Regulations. Lurid headlines followed and public interest was aroused.

Initially there was just the one charge. This related to statements made in the Union Street grocer’s shop of Andrew Collie & Co. Witnesses alleged that Mr Hendry expressed the view that Neville Chamberlain had sold the country down the river and should be placed against a wall and shot. The King, he said, was off to Canada leaving the country “Holding the baby” and Hitler seemingly had sufficient Torpedo Boats to sink the entire British Navy.

Oyne Primary School.

Following arrest, Hendry was released on bail of £60. On Monday July 15th the curious of Aberdeenshire queued to witness what promised to be a juicy trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

Mr Hendry by now faced four charges – the police had been busy.

Alongside remarks about the King and Hitler’s naval prowess, there were allegations of him spreading alarm by remarking on Britain’s unpreparedness for war.

One prosecution witness termed Hendry a fifth columnist and had ordered him out of her shop but under cross-examination admitted she had in fact been joking and considered him simply a leg-puller. Another witness told the court she had discussed the war with him on several occasions and that despite their differences, there was no bad blood between them.

Finally, the case against the Oyne headmaster boiled down to one very simple issue: the spreading of defeatist talk. In a fine piece of courtroom theatre, Mr Blades for the defence lured the manager of Collie’s grocer shop into admitting that the case would never even have been brought had he himself not spread gossip about Mr Hendry’s statements to a crowd, including a policeman, at the public bar of the Royal Athenaeum.

Sheriff Dallas had clearly heard quite enough. A verdict of Not Proven on all four charges was greeted with applause from the crowded courtroom.

George Hendry, a graduate of Aberdeen University, became Headmaster at Oyne in 1927 having previously taught in Forres.  After the trial he returned to his post until his retiral, due to ill health, in 1963. He died in 1966 age just 63.

Duncan Harley is a writer living in the Garioch and author of the soon to be published A-Z of Curious Aberdeenshire: https://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/publication/the-a-z-of-curious-aberdeenshire/9780750983792/

‘Hitler’s Headmaster’ was first published in the April 2017 edition of Leopard Magazine.

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Jan 272017
 

With thanks to Kenneth Hutchison, Parliamentary Assistant to Dr. Eilidh Whiteford.

The SNP MP for Banff and Buchan, Eilidh Whiteford, has called for the UK Government to come clean to Parliament following the revelations that the Prime Minister knew of a failed Trident test just weeks before a vote on renewal of the UK’s WMDs last year.
PM Theresa May refused four times on Sunday’s Andrew Marr Show to answer the presenter’s question on whether she knew about the test failure before the vote was taken.

Parliament voted to renew the deterrent, which experts believe could cost more than £200bn.

SNP MPs opposed the renewal, while Labour were divided. Each missile is estimated to cost £17m, and only five tests have been carried out since the year 2000.

During an Urgent Question to the Defence Secretary yesterday, Michael Fallon MP refused to confirm the details of the failed test, whilst a US Official confirmed the information to CNN.

Dr Whiteford said:

“Whilst the Defence Secretary was refusing to confirm any information during today’s Urgent Question, a US official briefed news channel CNN on the details of the failed test mission.

“It is simply not acceptable that the UK Government has not come clean on the facts of this failure, but US press outlets have received an update from officials in the White House.

“The Prime Minister has real questions to answer about why parliament has not learned about this failure until now, despite knowing the about the failure when she came to Parliament to force a vote on the renewal of the deterrent.

“Notwithstanding the immorality and expense of weapons of mass destruction, capable of incinerating cities, the Government’s stonewalling of legitimate questions about whether the system is working properly only fuels concerns about Trident.”

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Jan 192017
 

With thanks to Charlie Abel.

Joanna Lumley has become the first award recipients of the 2017 Scottish Samurai
awards.

Besides being a well known BAFTA TV award winning actress, former model, author and voice over artist, Joanna has been a great advocate for human rights for Survival International and the Ghurka Justice
Campaign. 

She is also a great supporter of Animal welfare charities such as Compassion in World Farming and Vegetarians International Voice for Animals.

Her recent documentary ‘Joanna Lumley’s Japan’ was a great hit with the Samurai Award’s membership and U.K. audience. 

The Scottish Samurai awards were founded in Aberdeen by Culter resident and international 9th Dan Karate instructor Ronnie Watt OBE, ORS to celebrate those who serve and excel. The award of Great Shogun recognises those who have reached the ultimate achievement in their field.

Joanna Lumley has said she is very proud and very humbled to receive the honour and she is:

“thrilled to be a Scottish Samurai.”

Ronnie Watt is delighted to add Joanna to the ever-growing list of Samurai.

Some of the previous award winners include Sean Connery, Billy Connolly, Alex Salmond, Aberdeen City Council, Sir Ian Wood, Lord Charles Bruce, Compton Ross, Tommy Dreelan and the current and former Japanese Consul Generals of Japan in Edinburgh.

Each year the Scottish Samurai awards grow and continues to encourage and recognise people from different walks of life for their positive contributions to society and those around them.

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Nov 142016
 

Old Suzannah relects on the result of the US Presidential Election. By Suzanne Kelly.

DictionaryTrump is in as POTUS elect – cue gushing from Spokesperson Sarah Malone saying what a ‘visionary’ he is. There is celebrating among the racists, and wailing and gnashing of teeth from those who care about the environment, about others, and the future in general.

I spent way too much time on Facebook before and after this catastrophe. There were articles to write, research to do, and crazy attitudes to try to understand and counter.  Mostly I learned that countering people who are stuck in a mindset, particularly one they acquired in childhood, is a non-starter.

Facebook was essential for my trying to figure out what people were thinking and why. I failed.

Some people even more left-leaning than I (it’s possible) have gone down the conspiracy theory hole. Hillary was an evil blood-sucking monster who the white knight Julian Assange was trying to slay. The fact that some US publications had actually printed celebratory ‘Hillary Wins’ programmes and magazines was proof positive that the election result was fixed.

I tried to counter this BS only to be told I that in effect I was naïve and had no idea what was really going on in the world. There are powerful people like the Rockefellers and Rothschilds you see – I had no idea – had you?

The diehard Bernie supporters were filled with ‘I told you so’ rhetoric. Great stuff, but hardly productive or useful against Trump.

Third party voters before the election were adamant it didn’t matter what they were doing with their vote, and that any of the candidates were able to win this horserace. There were only two people who were ever likely to win. Pity that the one with the most popular votes did not actually win the election. After the votes were counted, these third party voters were keen to deny any involvement in Trump’s victory.

The simple, black-and-white fact that they elected to vote for someone other than HRC was in effect the same as not voting at all is lost on them, and they are not going to admit they had a chance to vote against racism, sexism and nationalism – and they decided to, in effect anyway, remain neutral.

Then we come down to the far right. The only people making threats, attempting to denigrate political opponents and sharing bigoted bile were on the far right. Trump has made it acceptable to be a hate-filled, xenophobic nutter. We are going to do something about this, because unlike these hatemongers, we actually know where this kind of hatred takes the world. Is evil too strong a word for someone who hates others who are from different cultures, countries and races? Not for me it isn’t.

The most worrying aspect of this and media coverage is how dumbed down we all are, myself included. Any news report these days, however transparent the truth may be on a point, seems to have to include a counterpoint. If the sky is considered to be blue, someone will source an ‘expert’ somewhere who will explain that the sky is actually yellow, and they are given equal air time.

That’s the media. The real worry for me is the way education in the USA’s Trump-supporting states is turning children’s minds into mush. I’m not the only to worry about this phenomenon, but to illustrate, there are schools which will present Creationism and ‘Intelligent Design’ as being equally valid theories as Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

Ignoring the fact there is no evidence for apple-wielding snakes and plenty of evidence the world is just a little older than 6,000 years, pupils are taken to creation museums and taught creation as fact, fact as equally valid as the evidence-based Evolutionary theory. Not only are we filling their heads with superstition masquerading as fact, we are training them to fear a god at the same time.

Oh, and the hours spent on this blatant indoctrination, dumbing-down, and conformity-inducing dogma, we are losing the time we could be spending on teaching them to gather evidence from a variety of sources (yes, even those outside of Fox News), researching (in libraries not just on Wikipedia), and how to take information and form valid conclusions.

This is my greatest fear – we are moving away from the Renaissance values of seeking enlightenment and many people are now seeking comfortable beliefs and comforting fables to wrap themselves in. While Roma is most assuredly burning.

I’m afraid; many people are. But there are things we can do, and this is not the time to give up, but the time to redouble efforts. Figures out what you want to fight for – a better environment, biodiversity, fairer governments around the world, a decent Southern Railway service – whatever it is – and get about trying to fix it.

On a rather personal note:

This has been a crap week for me. My friend Vanessa tells me that the three main areas of your life – love, home, and money/work never seem to be in balance – get any two right, and the other falls apart.

At present, well let’s just say that I’ve no idea where I’m going to be living in the near future, I need to find my next paid stable work gig yesterday, and the love life is now a Shakespearean comedy – without the laughs.

The trump triumph hardly fills me with glee, I feel a responsibility to act as cheerleader to others when I can barely find reasons to cheer, and I can’t honestly decide if the futile hopes that exist – that DJT gets KO’d by the courts over his racketeering charge (or other charges) – are life buoys to cling to, or are sirens calling me to drown with false promises.

And while I am trying to outwardly be strong and cool, my asthma’s gone into hyperdrive, and the medicine I usually need once or twice a month to fend off an attack of CVS (you really don’t want to know), I’m eating by the handful. You can try to tell yourself you’re not stressed, but if you listen to your body, well, you can’t fool it.

Then, I momentarily feel worse because I realise how selfish I am to even think of myself and my first world problems.

I have the option of finding work (even it if’s just as likely to be stacking shelves or flipping flipping burgers at this point). I can see, hear, walk and think (well, after a fashion). I won’t starve anytime soon. Most of all, I know some excellent people, and call many of them friends. It’s a bad week or so at present, but it’s going to get better.

No one’s firing plastic bullets at my face while I’m trying to stop a pipeline going through Lakota sacred land. No one’s bulldozing the forest I live in. I’m not forced into marriage (like to see anyone try), and I can still come and go as I please (Canada remains an option).

My first world problems – your first world problems – are all things we can either fix, or try to fix. And even when we don’t succeed in our goals, be they protecting water supplies, the environment, stopping Trump’s March of the Giants – the fact that someone, somewhere tried to do some good and made any progress at all in this matrix we’re living in – may yet provide the building blocks and/or the inspiration for those who will come after us.

Then I think – it’s hard fighting against the things that need to be combatted today – but it’s a hell of a lot easier to do so than it will be for the next generations.

We have a POTUS elect who doesn’t believe in climate change, and who will have surveillance powers over – I suppose – just about everyone. He will in theory have access codes to nuclear weaponry, and once asked why don’t we use them if we have them?

He may yet lose his POTUS elect status if he goes down for the felony offense of racketeering for his ‘university’.

Students in Utah are working to find legal ways to debar him from the presidency – and there may indeed be grounds. Michael Moore is creating action lists and people are responding. There is always something I can do; there is always something you can do. Whatever it is, however big or small, please consider fighting for something now.

‘We much each of us tend to our own gardens.’

Figure out what is wrong in your own neighbourhood be it your back garden, town, country or world – and there will be something you can do to raise the issue, fight the problem, and make others care. You may not always win; you may never win, but there is much satisfaction in trying, and who knows – if enough people roll up their sleeves, things might just get better.

STOP PRESS:  The DJT Resistance wants you:  https://www.thedjtr.com/

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Oct 032016
 
ronnie-watt-painting

Ronnie Watt (left) as depicted by celebrated Aberdeen painter, Eric Auld.

By Charlie Abel.

Aberdeen’s famous Karate man Ronnie Watt (9th Dan) will be flying off to Japan on Frday (Oct 7) at the invitation of the Japanese through a fellow martial artist. A Kendo instructor from Japan, Kazuo Yamazaki, who is well known in Aberdeen for setting up the Aberdeen Kendo Club a number of years ago, has invited Ronnie and his wife Gail to accompany him on a tour of Japan.

The highlight of the tour for Ronnie will be visiting the Karate Dojo’s where they have organised displays of three of the traditional Japanese karate styles.

They will also visit Nagasaki where they have been invited by Tomishisa Taue, the Mayor of Nagasaki and some of the most prominent Karate Masters in their area to attend a dinner in his honour.

Ronnie is no stranger to Japan having visited six times to date and training in the world famous Takushoku Dojo, where modern Shotokan Karate was brought to the world by the Japan Karate Association.

Ronnie’s connections with Japan go back a long way. When he started Karate 50 years ago, after being inspired by James Bond movies, very little was known about Karate in Scotland. Few people knew anything other than simple basics and even that was of a questionable standard. The only way to learn was to go to Japan or attend some courses the Japanese masters were running down at Crystal Palace in London. Ronnie did both.

After years of training with the visiting Japanese instructors and visiting the source of knowledge in Japan Ronnie became well known as an instructor and an international competitor. Leading the Scottish Karate team and Teaching over 20,000 people karate.

In his Karate career Ronnie has brought many Japanese Instructors to the UK, Germany and Norway. He became good friends with many legendary karate masters such as Nakayama, Kase, Shirai, Enoeda and Ochi. Many would stay at his home in Aberdeen. Ronnie brought a team over from Japan to compete in a friendship tournament and in 2001 organised the WKC World Karate Championships at the Aberdeen Exhibition and conference centre.

His work with the Japanese and the good work Ronnie has contributed to Karate, not only in the UK but in many countries he visits to teach Karate, has not gone unrecognised.

Ronnie is one of the few people to be honoured by the Japanese outside of Japan, with an Order of the Rising Sun – an award not to be taken lightly. He has also since been recognised by the Queen with an OBE and named ‘Sports personality of the year’ by Aberdeen City Council.

the Scottish Samurai Awards have grown into something really special

He also has honours from the government of Slovakia and from other Karate Clubs in Europe. Last year he was entered into the ‘European Hall of Fame for Martial Artists’.

In 2015, in tribute to ‘Scottish Samurai’, Thomas Blake Glover, Ronnie helped to organise the hosting of 22 Japanese students and school children who were doing a pilgrimage visit from Kagoshima to Aberdeen and London. After his arrival in Japan, Glover had sent 22 students to be educated in the ‘modern world’ and is credited with modernising Japan. Glover is also credited with reviving The Order of the Rising Sun.

During the student’s tour of Aberdeen and London, Aberdeen was very proud to be able to host every person with a family including Ronnie and some of his friends. Ronnie is looking forward to seeing some of Kagoshima on his visit. Ronnie was recently awarded his 9th Dan making him one of the highest graded Karateka in the world and one of the worlds most experienced.

As if all this wasn’t already enough to keep him busy, 22 years ago Ronnie Founded a small awards event to help recognise and encourage people in different aspects of life. Initially it was centred round sports but now the Scottish Samurai Awards have grown into something really special. Each year they have grown into a more prestigious date in the Aberdeen social event calendar.

Names like Alex Salmond, Sean Connery, Sir Ian Wood, Tommy Dreelan, Martin Gilbert, Dr Joseph Morrow (Lord Lyon of Scotland) and The Very Reverend Professor Ian Torrance, have added Kudos to the broad spectrum of recipients who are recognised for being ‘people of spirit’ – Scottish Samurai.

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Dec 032015
 

By Charlie Abel.

Ronnie Watt 11Aberdonian karate students will have great cause to celebrate this week with the news that their very own Ronnie Watt OBE ORS, chief instructor of the NKF (national karate federation) and director of Shotokan for the WKC (world karate confederation) has been awarded a 9th Dan black belt (Kudan). It is believed to be the highest ever Dan grade awarded to an Aberdonian or a Scotsman.

This is a major achievement for Ronnie and for karate in Scotland.

Ronnie Watt’s name is already famous and well respected throughout the city of Aberdeen and the karate world. Being graded a 9th Dan Ronnie joins the elite ranks of the worlds most repected Karate masters.

Obtaining a black belt is very difficult, very few people manage to train hard enough, it takes at least three years and most people give up, perhaps one in a hundred achieve a black belt. Some will go on and get a 2nd Dan or higher. However, it is almost unheard of to achieve a 9th Dan in karate. Very few manage to reach this level, most are Japanese and it takes a lifetime of training.

This is a first for Scottish Shotokan Karate and it’s a great honour for the city having a home grown 9th Dan teaching and training karate, here in Aberdeen, Ronnie’s home town.

The 9th Dan will be presented to Ronnie by the International Shotokan-ryu Karate–do Shihankai (ISKS). The ISKS was set up in 2004 by an international group of world karate masters to protect and maintain the tradition of karate, which they see is sadly being diluted by many outside ‘fashionable’ influences. The ISKS is one of the most respected orders in the world of Karate today.

Karate has been a way of life for Ronnie and his family. He has won many competitions both home and internationally. To date he has trained over 25,000 students in his 50 years, many of them achieving black belt and going on to higher Dan grades, his students are well known for returning from World Championship tournaments laden with medals and golden trophies.

His wife Gail has been indispensible in running Ronnie’s NKF Karate Academy and his children, now adults are also very much following in his footsteps with Son Reeve (5th Dan) and Daughter Roxy (5th Dan) training karate regularly and teaching classes. Grandson Cooper (age 4) has also recently started training, keen to join his grandpa in the dojo.

Ronnie who has trained karate ‘religiously’ as a way of life for 50 years was recently entered into the European Hall of fame for Martial Arts (November 2015).

Ronnie has previously been awarded an OBE from the Queen. In 2010 was recognised by the Emperor of Japan with an Order of the Rising Sun – a very special award rarely given to foreigners. Ronnie joins good company with famous people such as Clint Eastwood, Gustav Eiffel of France, George Takei (Sulu, Helmsman of the Starship enterprise on Star Trek) Bobby Charlton, and ex UK Prime minister Sir John Major.

In 2014, Ronnie was awarded a Commemorative Medal of the Trnava Self-Governing Region (TSGR) of Slovakia by the TSGR’s president, Tibor Mikus for promotion of friendship between Scotland and Slovakia. Ronnie is also a Free Burgess of Guild member of the city of Aberdeen, (Freedom of the city) and is a banner bearer to the Knights of the Most Holy Trinity, who are a heraldic based charity organisation raising funds for good causes.

When asked about his 50 years in Karate and his 9th Dan Ronnie says,

“I’ve just loved karate, being karate. It’s what I’ve always done.

“I see a lot of people and see what it can do for them.  The discipline, the training, the Budo (the way) it changes them. It changed me. Karate improves people. It’s beautiful….My 50 years have not been easy, but I’d do it again tomorrow..”

“ I’m very happy and really humbled to receive the 9th Dan. It’s amazing…I’m still learning!”

Having one of the worlds most decorated and respected Karate masters living and teaching in Aberdeen is a massive advantage to anyone wishing to learn more about Karate-do.

Visit www.karate-scotland.info for more info.

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Oct 012015
 

Old Susannah makes a silk purse out of a sow’s ear with some timely political definitions. By Suzanne Kelly

Dictionary‘In a Pig’s Ear’, I thought upon hearing a recent piece of political gossip; ‘Someone’s telling porkies’. The story put a look on my face akin to the look worn by Milliband  in this photo from August.

Perhaps the tail in question, no doubt circulated by some squealer or other, was actually about the MP Richard Bacon? Perhaps a politician with their nose in the trough was behind the rumour? Doubtless some sow-and-sow was hamming it up to give us all a good ribbing. Truly, I never sausage a strange series of news headlines as those that were trotted out last week.

But it was true; Jeremy Corbyn is now Labour Leader.

Think of all that hard work that Tony Blair accomplished in modernising and improving Labour. What if it were all for nowt? All that creative writing that got the dodgy dossier ‘sexed up’ (not in the David Cameron sense of course)? What if we hadn’t got rid of Sadaam Hussein? What if Tony hadn’t been the Middle East Peace Envoy and had restored the balance of power we’re seeing the benefits of now?

No, Corbyn and his crazy ideas have to go.

Aside from worrying about someone who wants people earning decent wages, who wants to home these pesky immigrants/refugees, who wants to prevent nuclear war, it was a good week. I had a few lovely drinks down at Café 52 during the warm weather; and a few drinks in BrewDog. The BrewDog Jackhammer margarita remains my favourite beer cocktail, but Krakatoa has the tiki cocktail supremacy in Aberdeen sewn up.

My last cocktail there was a practically fluorescent purple delight, delicately flavoured with violets. As I can’t remember the name of it off hand, I’ll just have to go back and try some more of them. Nicely done Flash.

Under the Hammer has some of my artwork on show with the wonderful paintings of Neale Bothwell and some amazing prints from Graham, legendary contributor to Viz Magazine. His Black Bag, Faithful Borders Binliner’s escapades are on display and available as a limited print. Result!

But I digress. This Corbyn business has to be nipped in the bud. Here are a few timely definitions to show why there’s no room in Left Wing politics for a man who’s clearly Left Wing.

Trident: (Modern English Compound Noun) United States nuclear weaponry deployment system kindly gifted to a grateful UK and its taxpayers, keeping us safe from harm.

It was quite a political party for Labour in Brighton. According to the BBC Corbyn doesn’t like nuclear weapons:

“no way that he [Corbyn] would ever use nuclear weapons because they are “immoral”.”

Clearly someone who is so naive cannot be trusted to blow the bad guys up when it comes down to it. Now that they know that, they’ll be able to destroy the world before the West gets a chance to. Alas! We’ve simply got to win the last war, don’t we?

Some champion of the working man Corbyn proves to be – doesn’t he know lots of people work on Trident? What’s more important, making people retrain into other lines of work, or ensuring we can end the world? Keep those Trident jobs going; I hope the men and women who earn their living by ensuring our tax pounds are diverted from the NHS, welfare and education for this gangbuster guarantee of safety are as proud of what they do as I am proud of them.

Trident is a bargain at twice the price; first, we get to keep that ‘Special Relationship’ going with the USA. Makes me warm just thinking of that time Thatcher danced with Ronald Reagan. Secondly, it’s great at keeping us safe (even if those Russian jets which keep flying over England don’t realise it). Third – just think of the economic benefit.

There are over 500 civilians in Scotland employed because of Trident! Result!  What’s more important, ethics and the world’s ecological health and species survival, or economics? I don’t think I need to spell it out any more than that. Further, our defence budget is around 30 billion or so (at least that we know about), and you’ve got to keep that growing. There may be a time for beating swords into ploughshares in the future. This ain’t it.

Foreign Policy: (English Compound Noun) strategies and values applied to international diplomacy.

You’d think the guy would have learned a thing or two from Brown or Blair, but apparently not. Here’s what Corbyn has to say about foreign policy:

“I argue for a different type of foreign policy based on political and not military solutions; on genuine internationalism that recognises that all human life is precious, no matter what nationality; and solidarity with the oppressed across the globe from the subjugated Palestinians to the displaced Chagos Islanders.” http://jeremycorbyn.org.uk/priorities/peace/

Again, there is this childish idealism that the left should actually have something to do with left wing, socialist values and human rights. He should have been disabused of this idea at one of Labour’s long ago Brighton conventions. A terrorist named Walter Wolfgang (yes, I did write about him once before) was removed from the room for interrupting proceedings under the newly created Blair-framed terrorism act.

In point of fact, the ever trustworthy Jack Straw was apparently speaking at the time, telling us why we needed to bomb Iraq. For whatever reason, Wolfgang disagreed. Of course this heckler was a life-long Labour supporter, who in his advancing 80 years must have lost the plot and thought criticising Blair was still allowed. The arrest threat was dropped, but at least we taught this dangerous terrorist a good lesson.

What Corbyn needs is a profile and popularity boost, and nothing says popular like invading the Falklands or Iraq. Hope he’s got a good war up his sleeve somewhere. After all, at first we all trusted Tony ‘Things can only get Better’ Blair and his charmingly toothsome wife Cherie with her arresting smile.

Morality: (English from the Latin) relating to what is good or bad behaviour.

If you needed any further reason to distrust Jeremy, did you know he’s been DIVORCED? Just what kind of person would do something so immoral and still think they had a right to be the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister?

No, I for one am happy to stick to Right Wing, Conservative family values.

And there you have the case against Corbyn. Old Susannah is off out now to a pork roast. I hear that some of our best political leaders like pulled pork. Or something like that.

Until the next time I take pen and oink to paper, tally ho, cheerio, etc.

Next week: Definition of the phrase ‘to go the whole hog’

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Oct 012015
 
At Scottish CND AGM

Christian Allard MSP at an AGM for the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

With thanks to Gavin Mowat, Constituency Assistant to Christian Allard MSP

SNP MSP Christian Allard has written to regional Labour politicians seeking clarity on their position on Trident renewal – after a week in which Labour conference was ‘marred in confusion’ on the issue.

Despite previously giving assurances that Labour conference would have an open debate on Trident – and that Labour MPs would vote with the SNP on the issue – Jeremy Corbyn has since shied away from debating Trident, while his party’s Conference quietly voted to restate their position in favour of a “a minimum, credible, independent nuclear capability, delivered through a continuous at-sea deterrent.”

Labour MSPs in the North East have since come under pressure to clarify their own position – and whether they agree with their newly elected leader or with the decision of the party’s conference this week.

Commenting, Mr Allard said:

“Labour are absolutely all over the place on Trident – with Jeremy Corbyn promising one thing and their party conference voting to back precisely the opposite.

“It’s clear that Labour no longer has a coherent position on anything – and it’s time that Labour gave people the North East the clarity they deserve on their own position. 

“The idea of spending £100bn on useless, immoral and wasteful weapons of mass destruction would be completely indefensible at any time – but at a time of austerity with reliance on foodbanks increasing and more and more people being pushed into poverty by Tory cuts, it’s nothing less than an outrage.

“Labour’s support for Trident renewal is yet more evidence that Labour are changing Corbyn, rather than Corbyn changing Labour. First he signs up to austerity – now the party sign up to Trident.  It’s now time that they finally made clear where they stand on this issue.”

Jonathan Russell, Chair of Aberdeen and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) added:

“Aberdeen and District CND strongly support both Jeremy Corbyn’s and the SNP’s stance on Trident. A major reason that Jeremy Corbyn received such massive support in the Labour leadership elections was for his long term support for the CND.

“We are greatly concerned about the stance presently being taken by some leading figures in the Labour Party and also for the misguided support for Trident by some Unions. By renewing Trident Britain would be going against the Nuclear-Non Proliferation treaty of which it is a signed up member.  

“The Labour party at both UK and Scottish levels needs to have a democratic debate concerning Trident – it is not a decision which should be blocked by a few powerful individuals.”

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Nov 212014
 

With thanks to Gavin Mowat, Constituency Assistant to Christian Allard MSP

Christian Allard MSP at Holyroodfeat

SNP MSP Christian Allard has said Scottish Labour must come clean over Trident after Scottish Labour’s Neil Findlay MSP claimed that his party would not toe the Westminster line on the issue under his leadership.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme, Mr Findlay claimed that there was no issue with different parts of the UK Labour party having different policy positions – and claimed that the Labour Party in Scotland had opposed the renewal of Trident ‘for some time’.

On 6th August 2014, Neil Findlay and Labour voted against a Scottish Parliamentary motion calling for the calling for the ‘speediest safe withdrawal of nuclear weapons’, and failed to propose any amendment.

At SNP Conference this weekend, SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon said that any Labour Westminster Government that had to depend on SNP votes would have to “think again” about putting a new generation of nuclear weapons in Scottish waters.

Commenting, North East MSP Christian Allard said:

“Neil Findlay’s latest remarks are yet another example of shambolic to-ing and fro-ing from the Labour ‘branch office’ in attempt to redress their continued free-fall in the polls.

“Mr Findlay voted against a Parliamentary motion supporting the ‘speediest safe withdrawal of nuclear weapons’ before the referendum, and is now trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes by saying ‘it’s already Labour Party policy in Scotland to oppose the renewal of Trident.’

“Yet Mr Findlay’s colleagues, including Jim Murphy, have spoken against the party becoming unilateralist and getting rid of Trident – Labour must come clean on their position.

“Both Holyrood and London Labour have toed the Westminster line and voted for renewal time and again.

“By contrast, as Nicola Sturgeon pointed out at SNP conference, a Westminster Labour Government forced to rely on SNP votes would have to think again on Trident renewal.”

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[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]