Friday, October 27, 2017


27th October 2017

Large countries made up of smaller countries are loathe to heed the voices of those annoying little sub-states squeaking from within their boxes that it's time to let them go now. America, which was once in such a box, and about which it currently has collective amnesia, is reporting very little about the situation in Spain with regard to Catalonia.  UK media, which is largely owned and operated out of London even when it pretends to be Scottish, is giving it short shrift. It wouldn't like to give those Scots north of Hadrian's wall any grist for their mill. History, of course, always sees these "uprisings" with the advantage of 20/20 vision. History is quite sure the fledgling USA was entirely within its rights to demand separation from the English Crown; no one suggests these days that India would have been better to stay under the British Raj.

Same goes for Ireland, with its economy now the fastest growing in the Eurozone. And so it goes with all the 6o countries that were once subsumed into the British Empire or the 33 into the Spanish Empire. They took back their nationhood, and not one of them has asked to get back in. History knows and recognises that the call of self-determination was and is a worthy cause, and so, too, does the UN Charter:
All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. 

So why is the United Nations and the European Union turning a blind eye to the travesty happening in Spain right now.
Catalonia is a wealthy region/ex-country that was taken into the kingdom of Spain in 1716 - nine years after Scotland fell under the British. In 1938, during the dictatorship of Franco, Spain overran Catalonia and dismantled its autonomy, trying to quash its culture and language. Sounds familiar.
So now the sins of the fathers are being visited upon the sons, and Spain is faced with Catalonia's democratic vote to go its own way.

George Orwell fought in the Catalonian resistance against Franco. Art is often the best voice of dissent when politics-as-usual threatens to undermine the voice of a people. On 1st October, when Catalans went to the polls to vote on this issue, Spain sent in its troops to disrupt the election. Now, today, after a declaration of independence, Spain is about to act thug and impose its own martial law. And the European bodies set up to settle such acts of brutality sit on their hands. From this small artist's corner, I lift up my voice in support of Catalonia and raise up my hands against Spain in dissent.

Friday, October 20, 2017

What Happened

20th October 2017

Not to keep harping on about women's issues, though why shouldn't I? A few days ago, I watched an interview with Hillary Clinton by BBC's  Matt Frei who suggested that Clinton lost the presidential election because she had overstepped herself. She had been "too ambitious," and should have been satisfied with her good job as Secretary of State and not gone for the presidency. Then Joe Biden would have won the presidency and the world wouldn't have a psychological mess of a human being issuing orders from the Oval Office.

To which just allow me to let out a sigh. I shouldn't be surprised - It is the BBC, after all, an entity that operates something like a Hollywood hierarchy with a boss that just happens in this case to be the British government.  I wasn't surprised, but how often can you hear the same ridiculous argument hashed up and rehashed before a whole lot of spittal and air and groans come shooting out of you? To Hillary's great credit, she did call Frei out on it, replying that men never get called out for being too ambitious. To which I say, "Duh!"

When I googled "too ambitious," Hillary Clinton's picture actually popped up.
Political satirist, Bill Maher, not the greatest friend to women, often repeats that though Hillary Clinton was not arguably the best candidate for the times, he cannot begin to make sense of the extent of the hatred currently levelled at this woman.
Hillary Clinton left her job as secretary of state with a 69% approval rating. So, what happened? Here's what happened: the woman persisted.
The level of misogyny at the bottom of this dark pit is unfathomable. Glancing through the comments below the video of the Frei interview, the term "bitch" comes up repeatedly, as does Killary, Shit, Rapist, and, tellingly, "evil witch."
She's not a young woman, but then if she had been, she might not have been a threat. She would have been a hot young woman, like brain-dead Palin, that men could fit neatly into the grab-bag of things they feel above. No, she was a woman of about their mother's age with the audacity to think she could rule arguably (I suppose) the most powerful country on earth. The audacity of it!

Most of all, we women should be ashamed. We swallowed the bad press hook line and sinker and thought there was something to the argument that Clinton was just as bad as Trump. It was we white women who sunk her presidency. It has to do with the phenomenon that makes women like Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May actually worse than the men they replace in the hierarchical structure. For all intents and purposes, we took on the male mantel and voted with the perceived victors. Hillary's great flaws were being old and not being a knuckle head.
I wasn't even a great Hillary supporter. I could have gone for Bernie any day. But now that the dust has settled and we have a petulant child at the top of the male hierarchy that is politics in Washington, let's call a spade a spade: Women, we let down our kind bigly. White women, who have been trying to be heard in this culture since its inception,  let themselves down in the 2016 presidential election. Let's start with that.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Timed Out

13th October 2017

There's a line in the musical, Falsettos, sung by a woman whose life has been completely upended by an unexpected announcement from her husband: "I'm tired of all the happy men who rule the world." That's the first line of the song, uttered while she still has some composure. By the end of the song, "men" changes to the "silly childish jerks" who rule the world.

I love men, don't get me wrong.  Without them, life would be a colourless rainbow. But they shouldn't be in charge. It's as simple as that. They've had over five thousand years, have made an unqualified mess, and it's time for a regime change.
Women make up over fifty percent of the world's population, so why do we have to be just tired of all the childish jerks that rule the world? Nine out of ten murders are committed by men (though women are more likely to kill themselves - ha!); 92% of sexual abusers of children are men; Albert Einstein's quote that "Older men start wars but younger men fight them," still implies that war is, well, a male thing.
Women need to stand up. Wake up. It's like this Gary Larson cartoon.

We don't have to eat grass. We don't have to put up with the minority party of happy childish jerks who rule the world. We need to change it.

Friday, October 6, 2017


29th September 2017

In a blurb on the cover of my book, a bestselling author says, "Anyone who enjoys the work of Diana Gabaldon will adore this book." While any author is grateful for the endorsement of a more established writer, I actually think the opposite of this comment is true: chances are if you enjoy the Outlander series, you have a different taste in literature than my book is going to satisfy.  That is not to denigrate Gabaldon, and who could argue with the kind of worldwide sales she has seen? I don't think she would mind belonging to the "bodice ripper"genre (as her TV series based on the books and which she provides consultation for, goes to town on), but that is not where my book belongs.
What Gabaladon and I do have in common is that we are highlighting an era (any era) in Scottish history that until very, very recently, children, such as myself, sitting in Scottish schools were purposely denied knowledge of.
The British government which has up until now regulated what is taught in Scottish schools, didn't want us to know about uprisings in case we got ideas. Authoritarian rulers are always against the natives thinking for themselves.


Outlander's era of the Jacobite Uprisings in Scotland is getting an airing at last! The Scottish public may have heard of Bonnie Prince Charlie, but they probably will know little if anything about the Battle of Culloden when the English Red Coats slaughtered the clans and in the aftermath all but eliminated the clan system, the wearing of the kilt, the singing of Scottish songs, the speaking of Gaelic. In short, they sought to eradicate Scottish identity.

And if you think I'm blowing this all out of proportion, consider that in 2014 the Good Ship Britannia with David Cameron at its helm would allow Outlander to be shown in Scotland only after the Scottish referendum for in, while in England it was aired before.
So, again we are forced back to art for the truth. History won't tell us. The ruling governments will certainly not - in fact, they will go out of their way to conceal it. Out, out, damn spot  - you can sit on the truth for a while, even a long while, but eventually that blood stain is going to come through. I am grateful to Diana Gabaldon's book series for bringing it to light. Whether she thought this was on her agenda or not, it is certainly on mine.