For Burns Night

A wee burns night poem for politicos:Burns

On Sunday raise a gless tae the Bard

Why no? You huv bin workin’ awfy hard

And as ye git tore in tae yer neeps

Ye’r thinkin’: May- hoo mony sleeps?

And who’s gonnae be on yon TV debates?

A parcel o’ rogues, or some ither ingrates?


It’s plein Labour’s no held in much affection

Leadin’ up tae this general election

Will we see MPs dae inither northern dash

Saltires in haun? – Dinna fash!

Cause patriot Jim’s got the upper haun

Oor health will be paid for by Londaun

Instead of MPs getting’ oan that train

It’ll be nurses comin’ tae ease the pain


And dinna caw the PM a sleekit loon

We’ve extra poo’ers – tis written doon!

Nic says naw

It’s her baw

And onywey the Bill will faw

Fir English votes for English law

It disnae go Farage enuech

‘Whit aboot us? Fars the proof?


Meanwhile the nats, draped in tartan

This weekend will be fartin’

They’ll stuff too much puddin’ in their sonsie faces

An’ forget aboot political graces

Hunners o’ members is awfy weel

Bit they’ll no be able to keep them in heel


It gies ithers gey muckle pain

Tae see the nationalists claim Rab as their ain

The bard a nat? dinna be silly

It’s plein tae see he’s a’body’s Wille

So this weekend dinna go starvie

At least we still have Patrick Harvie…


Miners Convictions Campaign

originally produced for Edinburgh Napier News

Holyrood rejects calls for Miner’s strike Policing inquiry

Campaigners today vowed to fight on after their calls for a Hillborough-style inquiry into the policing of the 1984 and 85 miners strike was rejected by the Scottish Government.

Ministers were also told they had a “moral duty” to review the convictions of nearly 500 Scottish miners, but community safety minister Roseanna Cunningham insisted that she did not have powers to quash convictions.

The highly charged member’s debate was spearheaded by Lothians MSP Neil Findlay (Labour), who remains determined that the campaign will carry on.

Miners.02 from Tom Freeman on Vimeo.

A BBC documentary into events at the Orgreave coking plant in Yorkshire during strike last year prompted South Yorkshire Police to refer itself to the Police Complaints Commissioner for England. Now Findlay has called for the Scottish Government to launch a similar inquiry in police practice north of the border.

“Disappointed that the minister did not agree to have a review, but the campaign goes on.” He said.

Continue reading

The Declaration of Cineworld

first published by Planet Ivy on May 28th 2012

The Declaration of Cineworld


On Friday the Scottish National Party gathered together a coalition of fellow independence campaigners – Socialists, Greens and Celebrities – to launch its ‘Yes’ campaign for the 2014 referendum.

The setting was a multiplex cinema in Edinburgh. Continue reading

City Officials Under Fire

Originally published by Edinburgh Reporter on November 11th 2011

Senior Edinburgh city officials came under fire yesterday from all sides, as plans to outsource Edinburgh’s environmental services to private firm Enterprise appeared to be scuppered by the SNP group, a coalition partner.

At a heated public debate last night organised by the Council, Mark Turley, Director of Services for Communities recommended that the privatisation model go ahead as part of his “statutory obligation to get the best value for the city.”  According to Turley the move would save the city £72 million compared with £45 million of saving under the in-house model.  Many of the Edinburgh residents who were present disputed this.  A 90 year-old man shouted:- “Who can we trust?” and officials were even faced with questions over their own motives. Continue reading

Greece revolts against more austerity

Half a million Greek public sector workers will stop work today for two hours in protest against more austerity measures currently being voted in by the Greek parliament.

Earlier today Riot police clashed with workers at Greece’s biggest power producer PPC.  A march is underway to the Portuguese embassy in Athens in solidarity with Portuguese workers who are also striking today.  This happens as the EU treaty is under threat on a fundamental level, as France and Germany come to loggerheads about strategy and Greece teeters on the edge of European survival.

Greece has “one last chance” to stay in the Euro zone, the Bank of Greece warned on Wednesday. Greek unemployment will near 17 per cent this year, and could top 18 per cent next year, it said.  The Greek government has admitted that 10 billion euros are turned over by illegal loan sharks, and half of those who take on such loans have suffered property losses or a breakdown in their marriage.

Greek journalist, DJ and blogger Chryssa Skodra, 27, says the Greeks have been misrepresented in the world’s media.  “Certain people are directing public opinion.  What the media doesn’t show is that the Greek people are hardworking people.  According to Eurostat they work the longest weekly hours in Europe.  They are being portrayed as lazy.” She said.

On a recent business trip to Germany Skodra encountered this first hand.  “In the airport at security, I gave my bottle of water to the guard, and he took my passport and said ‘you’re the reason our economy is down’- I was in shock.  Then a taxi driver made some comments too.” She said “of course I don’t blame them, I blame the politicians and the media.” said Skodra

“The Politicians are saying ‘we’re doing this to save Greece’ but they’re not saving the Greeks, they’re saving their bankers and their companies.  Germany owns Greece now.  They own telecommunication, transportation.” She said

Skodra, who worked as part of the Olympic Games in 2004, has seen a polarisation of wealth and a rapid decrease in living standards in her country.  Higher taxes were seen as ‘patriotic’ by Greeks who were keen to host the world’s biggest sporting event, at the same time as the transition to the euro put up the cost of basic essentials.  “My parents are blue collar workers, and now they are being asked to pay immense taxes.  My father was a mine worker for 26 years, and retired last year.  It took him a year to receive his first pension payment because all the pensions were frozen.  He’s also received less, even though he paid tax on the full amount.” she said.

“My mother called me in tears on Saturday because at the market in Kozani, there were Greek people collecting the leftovers and cabbages from the street.  The Greeks are a proud people, if something falls on the floor in their own house, they throw it away, and now they are eating from the street.  People are going up in front of judges for their debts and saying ‘send me away’.  There are people setting themselves on fire.  Do you see that in your media?” said Skodra.

Conservative leader Antonis Samaras offered a written pledge to the EU and IMF yesterday backing Greece’s bailout deal.

Germany itself has been rocked by news that the German debt agency couldn’t find buyers for almost half a Bond sale.  That has pushed the cost of borrowing up and puts into question the belief that Germany can guarantee the debts of other countries.

Salmond: Teacher Strike is “premature”

Today in parliament Alex Salmond praised Scottish teachers,
but refused to bow to impending strike action.
Teachers have responded by accusing the First Minister of ‘serving platitudes’.

Last week members of Scotland’s largest teaching union voted overwhelmingly to join other public sector workers in a national day of strike action on the 30th November. Salmond used first ministers questions today to praise the work of teachers. “I bow down to no-one who doesn’t recognise the contribution of Scottish teachers to Scottish Education” he said. But he also claimed that any move toward strike action was ‘premature’

“I’m a supply teacher. Our pay has been slashed already” said Scottish teacher Donna McGlynn, “but this strike is even bigger. It’s about pensions and it’s about the loss of McCrone time, meaning teachers will work more hours for less pay. It’s been over 20 years since teachers went on strike. Alex Salmond should see that we don’t do things like this lightly. It’s just platitudes. He has to see the severity of what’s going on in our profession. All these proposed changes will have a severe impact on our children’s futures, the education of generations. It’s a pebble dropped in a pond, but I fear the ripple effect.”

EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith said that the 82% vote in favour of industrial action showed “The patience of teachers and lecturers has been exhausted. Faced with a wide ranging attack on their pensions, on top of a two-year pay freeze, rampant inflation and education budget cuts, our members are signalling that ‘enough is enough’.”

Salmond also accused the Westminster Government of “Poisoning the atmosphere with regard to public sector workers” but vowed that they would get fairer conditions in an independent Scotland.