A cauld day, snell

A roch wind blaws something mair than rain, but no quite snaw

Many times worse than sleet,

Aye Winter yer aw yer bluster disnaefool fool me,

It’s February,

Spring lies in wait


Prides awa

Christine Kydd and Janet Russell
Pride’s Awa
by Davie Robertson

As I cam in by yonder toon
Through aw yer streets sae bleak an’ bare
I heard a wee bird pipe a tune
Pride’s awa an’ whae’s tae care
An’ it’s freedom you’re forever

He cocked his heid an shook his tail
Through aw yer streets sae bleak an’ bare
How did a thae shipyairds fail?
Pride’s awa an’ whae’s tae care
An’ it’s freedom you’re forever

He shook his tail and cocked his heid
Through aw yer streets sae bleak an’ bare
How’s yon furnace cauld an deid?
Pride’s awa an’ wha’s tae care
An’ it’s freedom you’re forever

An’ then he sang aroon the toon
Through aw yer streets sae bleak an’ bare
How’s aw thae collieries closed doon?
Pride’s awa an’ whae’s tae care
An’ it’s freedom you’re forever

An then he whistled at his ease
Through aw yer streets sae bleak an’ bare
How’s yon fine sheep fairm trenched fer trees
Pride’s awa an’ whae’s tae care
An’ it’s freedom you’re forever

Wee bird whaur dae oor maisters stay?
Through aw yer streets sae bleak an’ bare
Ower Carterbar an’ faur away
Pride’s awa an’ whae’s tae care
An’ it’s freedom you’re forever

Wee bird whaur will oor brithers gae
Through aw yer streets sae bleak an’ bare
On their bikes and faur away
Pride’s awa an’ whae’s tae care
An’ it’s freedom you’re forever

The craws are gaith’rin on the green
Through aw yer streets sae bleak an bare
An’ aye they craw God save the Queen
Pride’s awa an’ whae’s tae care
An’ it’s freedom you’re forever

Scotland and Catalunya

Like a lot of others I have followed developments in Catalunya with some alarm.

Lets be clear I support Catalan independence .

I dont think that our media has covered the situation well. They were slow to react and have presented us with a very binary black and white portrait.

The story we are told is Catalans v Spanish. It isnt that simple. There are Catalans who do not support independence but who do want to have a referendum to decide the issue. There are some in Catalunya who support the Madrid government.

There is no doubt most of the rest of Spain is against Catalan independence but there have been demonstrations in some

parts of Spain in support of Catalan iñdependence or in support of their right to have a referendum . There were some 35,000 on a march in Bilbao. There was even a protest in Madrid.

So we can see this is not a simple case of Catalans v Spanish.

What has happened is that the Generalitat has passed two laws. One was a referendum act and the other a temporary transitional constitution for independent Catalonia. The Generalitat also said they would declare independence 48 hours after any yes vote. This left the Madrid government under pressure to react. These acts are not allowed under the Spanish constitution which Catalans agreed to in 1978 shortly after the end of Francos dictatorship. Some Spaniards are demonstrating against Rajoy s government for 2 broad reasons

1 They think that the Spanish constitution,created in the aftermath of a dictatorship needs to be altered to support peoples right to self determination.

2 Some Spaniards are concerned that Mr Rajoys party was founded by the rump of Francos supporters is too authoritarian

What has not been made clear is that the Spanish Constitutional Court has suspended the two laws passed by the Generalitat, it has not at the time of writing ruled that the acts are in breach of the Spanish Constitution. Jose Marti is a proffessor of law in Barcelona

His blog is here

Yet Madrid has already acted to effectively take direct control over Catalunya. They have taken control of the Generalitat finances , officials have been arrested, newspaper offices have been inspected etc. As Marti said in his blog many people see this action as heavy handed and anti democratic.

Marti also said in his blog that the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police) have as an institution largely decided to follow Spanish law. Yet Madrid has decided to send in the much more military style Guardia Civil. The Guardia Civil have had only a tiny presence in Catalunya since 1978 due to their strong connections with Franco.

So it seems clear that Madrid will prevent the referendum taking place even if that means arresting people for organising or facilitating the referendum in any way.

There is a need for mediation and I hope that either the E.U. or the U.N. will step forward.

So what does all this mean for us in Scotland ?

It is really important that our status as a nation within a union of states rather than a region within a unitary state as is the case with Catalunya.The Edinburgh agreement was a great example of democracy and we should aim for that again but we should not assume that such an agreement will be possible in the future. The current UK government is very different from Camerons government in 2012. We know that many Yessers are watching events in Catalonia, so you can be sure that the Unionist side will be watching too. They will be alarmed if there should be any kind of intervention by the E.U. or U.N. on what they will see as a purely internal matter for Spain as this would possibly set a precedent for an indyref without agreement from the UK government.

Some of those Catalans against indy but in favour of greater autonomy put forward the same position that we have heard from Scots who feel both Scottish and British.

Two hopeful signs from Catalunya

1 The demonstrations have been overwhelmingly peaceful.

2 When there was a potential flashpoint the commander of the mossos d esquadra (catalan police) ordered his men to escort guardia civil officers through the crowd of protestors preventing a possible confrontation


Mossos prevent confrontation

Opposition to Rajoy in other parts of Spain

Support in Basque Country

1,000s march in Bilbao

Catalan opposition to independence

First Catalonia, Second Scotland…


Make no mistake about it people, Catalonia will likely vote for its independence.  What happens from that point on will define what Scotland and the UK does.

If Catalonia votes for independence, the only way it will be able to become fully independent is if the United Nations recognises it as a separate country.

Now whether or not this happens will likely define what the UK and Scotland do regards Indyref2.

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Coire Thollaidh

Well I got here late, 2 days late in fact. The sun was still shining though which might explain why I rushed away from the car without a couple of items . I think I have sunstroke. I think the tourists I passed thought I was doing some kind of relay. Some kind of short, slow relay, very slow. However at the 3rd attempt I was away and as soon as I passed a certain viaduct I had the road to myself. It’s not far at all to the bothy but it was still far enough for me to be thinking I am sure it didnt take me this long to walk it. This bike must be broken . However the bothy eventually came into view, and a welcome sight it was. Off the bike and in we go I had the place to myself Thanks to the very considerate owners and other visitors there was plenty dry firewood. Which I put to good use In bothy terms this is 5* accomodation The kitchen is small And the bedroom is simple Slainte mhor But you see that was to lead to …”complications” So off for wee dander roon the back of the bothy, to get some kindling in and to take another photo before dark Then it was dinner time (fish baked at the edge of the fire) And another dram. So now for the complicated bit . Off I go to wash my dish at the side of the burn , in the dark wi a feeble torch twa or three drams doon . Well I am lost for words. I dinnae ken how I ended up staundin in the burn!

Not Breaking News

London Fire Brigade have responded to an incident which occurred in Boris Johnsons underpants. A small fire was easily extinguished. It’s not known if Mr Johnson was in his underpants at the time. Sources close to Mr Johnson have confirmed that he did change his underpants soon after the fire occurred.

If only we could change our Foreign Secretary as quickly