A Nationalist ABC

(with a nod and a wink to Alex Glasgow.)

A Nationalist ABC.

A is for Alex Salmond, Scotland’s slightly paler Mandela
Who is absolutely not, no way, to be confused
With a creepy charlatan snake-oil seller

B is for the sleekit BBC who stabbed us all in our Backs
C for is Cox, Cumming and Connery,
Who we love though they don’t pay Scottish tax.

D is for Dundee, Yes City with independence in its soul
The city of jam, jute and journalism
But mainly of D for the Dole

E is for England the Auld Enemy which for so long held us down
Under the colonial heel of the likes of
Rifkind, Cook, Reid, Darling and Brown.

F is for those craven Fearties, whose cowardice let us down badly
And also for Project Fear,
Which turned out all to be true, sadly

G is for Grangemouth refinery, that gets Scot Government backing
And when the SNP help their pals INEOS,
We’ll all be in favour of fracking

H is for Houghmagandie, and the Horny way SNP MPs feel
When their names are Stewart H for Hosie
And Angus Brendan McNeil

I is for Independence, Scotland’s destiny and fate to be free,
Even when J for the Judgement of Scots is
Together is always the Better way to be

K is for Kenny MacAskill, bringer of justice to our nation
By setting mass murderers free,
And  scrapping  corroboration

M is for Mhairi wee Mhairi, who knows the sum of bugger-all squared
And N is our Queen Nicola,
Who knows nearly as little – if anyone cared

O is for Oil, it’s Ours, and for secret Oilfields in the Clyde
We live here, we’re passionate and we know from the internet
Just what they’re trying to hide

P is Pete Wishart, Perth’s own crap pop Harry Lauder
And Q is for Question Time on the telly,
Where they bus in the punters to order

R is for Referendum, when two million Scots told us we’re wrong
But they’re just scared greedy pensioners
And we wish them all dead before long

S is for Bonnie Scotland, oor land of bevvie, shortbread and heather
Which we pledge to set free very soon,
Although its people don’t want it, not ever

And T is for Trident and Tories, that hated contemptible breed
Just like the U for Unthinkable Unionists,
Consumed by their treacherous greed

And V is the Vow in the Record –made to all Scots as solemn and true
Never mind that up till the vote
We denounced it as nothing much new

So W is for Waste-monster, where we condemn the snouts in the trough
But where we get up to X-rated antics,
And tax-payers pick up the costs

We’d stop, if we could, at Y for Yes, our joyous civic campaign
Because we know in our hearts Z is for Zero:
That’s the chance it could happen again.

© Peter Russell 2016

Draft petition: Referendums Act.

With some like-minded people, I am thinking of putting this on the parliamentary petitions site. Comments welcome (within reason.)

NB. I use “referendums” as a plural. This is based on “referendum” being a gerundive form of Latin verb rather than a singular neuter noun. (With thanks to “Twitch” Vail, Latin teacher at Price’s School, Fareham, in the 1960s.)

We believe that the use of referendums should be avoided, as they undermine the process of representative government on which our parliamentary system depends.

We therefore call upon the Government to introduce to Parliament legislation to create a UK Referendums Act  to regulate their use.

The Act should include:

  • Criteria for the subjects of referendums – e.g., in questions of national sovereignty; also specific exclusions e.g., questions of conscience such as abortion and assisted suicide
  • Mandatory intervals between referendums on the same subject (e.g., 30 years)
  • A specified required level of support in the Commons for referendums (e.g., two-thirds of MPs)
  • A codified assumption that if a referendum fails, the status quo is endorsed
  • Provisions to ensure that referendum outcomes are endorsed by a majority in the electorate (e.g., by “double majorities” or two-thirds support as for constitutional questions in the USA.)
  • A ban on simplistic questions which can be answered with Yes or No.



Letter in Herald: Scottish Banknotes

 For barmy comments online seeHerald online (but Newsquest £wall)

I HAVE used Scottish banknotes in England since 1977 with no problems. Indeed, last time I did so (in April), the assistant in a convenience shop in a Hampshire town remarked: “Ooh, that’s the second one today.” So the experience of your correspondent Roy Gardiner (Letters, May 16) is very exceptional, rather than a common occurrence.

“Independence anyone?” he asks. Well no, because amongst many other things it is illogical in the extreme to imagine that independence would somehow make English shops accept Scottish notes.

If it is a problem (which is not my experience), a better solution would be to abolish Scottish notes, surely?

Peter A Russell,

Labour and PR: Herald letter.

TOWARDS the end of the Thatcher-Major era, I was convinced of the case for proportional representation by the late Robin Cook, including his observation that if first past the post provided “strong government” in that form, he would prefer the alternative.

A few years later, one of his Scottish Labour MP colleagues roundly disparaged Holyrood’s Additional Member System, on the grounds that it had given the Tories a lifeline. It is now of course deeply ironic that Labour has at least for the time being been kept alive by that same lifeline.

I am disappointed by Labour’s showing in the most recent election – truth be told I am bloody furious, with my own party above all – but there will be time for that. However, it is clear that the big winner is the case for PR, despite the predictable grievance-mongering of Alex Salmond (“Salmond claims Holyrood electoral system manifests ‘peculiarities’”, The Herald, May 12).

I hope that it is now only a matter of time until Labour joins the rest of the major parties in the UK (including the SNP) in campaigning for some form of PR at Westminster, as Robin Cook recommended.

Peter A Russell,

Angry bloke writes to the Herald (not the only one…)

NICOLA Sturgeon states that her devotion to the prospect of a neverendum is based on democracy.

My idea of democracy is that if you ask people to cast a vote in a process which you freely define as “once in a lifetime,” you should abide by its outcome for a lifetime. Likewise, if you freely sign up to that vote in a public document as “decisive”, you should accept that its outcome was decisive.

In short, my idea of democracy is respecting the votes of two million Scots cast in good faith but now betrayed. But I guess that is just me being picky.

Peter A Russell