Tag Archives: Referendum

I’m nervous, are you?

As we all take our places, on this the eve of what will be the most important day in Scottish history, I wish each and every one  of my fellow Scots all the best. Whatever you mark down on that ballot paper, I hope that you base it off of what you truly believe is right for this country.

Make not your decision based on having had a bad interaction with an overly aggressive campaigner. Don’t vote “No” simply because you don’t like Mr Salmond and don’t vote “Yes” simply because you don’t like the Tories. Vote for what you see as the best possible future for you, for your children and for your grandchildren.

If you vote “Yes” then fantastic, if you vote “No” then that’s entirely up to you, it’s your decision and nobody has the right to belittle you for it. The most important thing is that we all vote and that we all vote for what we believe is the best option based on our own views and what reliable information we can get. 

With such a short time to go until we make our final decision and cement it in history, I’m nervous. I’m more nervous than I’ve ever been regarding anything politically related. Whatever we do tomorrow, it can’t be undone.

“I am keiching ma scants.”

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One Less Gruff Billy Goat

The idea of fairy tales is one full of intrigue and mystique, almost all of us will have read a fairy tale at some point in our lives and without question every one of us knows of a fairy tale character. With the smallest amount of legerdemain the entire premise of a story can change, heroes can be either unlikely children or charming princes, villains can be witches or trolls. The possibilities within fairy tales are endless and the message is always one of hope.

The very first fairy tale that I can remember from my childhood was ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’. The premise is that three goats, discovering that where they live no longer has any grass for them to eat, set out to find new pastures so that they can become fat. However, their journey must take them across the river, where dwells a troll under a bridge. The first goat passes over the bridge but gets stopped by the troll who threatens to “gobble him up” (gobble him up is one of those lines that makes me laugh for no apparent reason) however the goat persuades the troll to wait for the second goat because he’s bigger and more of a meal so the troll lets him pass. The second goat comes along and the same thing happens as before and so then the third goat enters. I’ll stop it there, because I think that most people know how ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’ ends, if you don’t then go and Google it.

Of course all fairy tales end with the standard “happily ever after” although recently I read “Arabian Nights” which is a collection of Asian fairy tales and they end with “they all lived happily until there came to them the One Who Destroys All Happiness” which I found odd yet poetic. ‘The One Who Destroys All Happiness’ meaning Death, the Grim Reaper as he’s also known. I was slightly taken aback at first, here were some fairy tales full of hope and suddenly they were cementing the fact that nobody lives “happily ever after” because death catches up to everyone.

The very first fairy tales are attributed to Aesop who lived in Ancient Greece around 620–564 BCE (slightly before our time I imagine). The power of fairy tales is so strong and so resilient that over two thousand years later some of Aesop’s’ tales are still being told to this day. I’m sure you will have heard of at least one of them, the main one that I can think of right now is ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’. That story became so popular that two hundred years after it was written it became one of Zeno’s paradoxes (Google them, extremely interesting and thought provoking, the Arrow paradox is my personal favourite)

The Brothers Grimm famously wrote some of the most celebrated fairy tales in our history. Two German brothers, who were academics and even lexicographers, crafted some of the worlds greatest imaginary and magical characters. Although The Brothers Grimm did centralise their fairy tales on more darker hues they still resonated through the years with so many different people, even psychologist who felt the need to analyse them.

The fairy tale is an escape from reality, like most forms of entertainment. I do believe however that fairy tales give more power to the reader and open the imagination slightly more than any other form of literature and I’m saying that as an avid science-fiction fanatic. Whether it’s something written by Alexander Afanasyev or Hans Christian Andersen, fairy tales have the power to take you to a place where good almost always wins. The fairy tale is a door to the unknown world of endless possibilities where life feels good, Walt Disney realised that and that’s why he cashed in on so many popular fairy tales.

Nowadays people don’t write fairy tales, it’s somewhat a thing of the past which saddens me. My Dad used to make up fairy tales for me each night and they always made me so happy. They were tales of a young boy called Billy who lived in a house with a green roof. Billy went swimming with sharks and had magic powers, he loved ice cream and was my hero. My Dad doesn’t remember how any of those stories went and I was too young to retain the proper memories of them which is a crying shame because I would love to remember them in full.

The power of fairy tales will live on because they should live on. Albert Einstein once famously said “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Can anyone really disprove that? Fairy tales are more than just true and not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten. Every fairy tale has meaning and every single one is based on the same idea, the idea that peace and happiness can exist no matter what stands in your way.

“In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairy tales should be respected.”Charles Dickens

The pondering coffee cup…

As I dropped the ground coffee beans from the silver spoon into the bottom of my “With all due respect, fuck off” mug this morning I stared out in to the ocean of passing children making their way to school. I saw a plethora of things walking past but the main thing I noticed were the smiles.

Was I ever that happy to go to school? Especially on a Monday morning?

It then occurred to me that those were just childrens natural smiles. A child hasn’t yet been corrupted by the wickedness and ungodly nature of the world. While they may be unhappy to go to school, they’re not unhappy with life.

That coffee was to try and awaken me from both a mental and physical slumber. For it was one of those mornings where I just couldn’t shake off  the fatigue, even after a lengthy sleep. I then discovered that I was not alone in this, so I refer you to my post from a few weeks ago where I described a Science Fiction plot which lulled the country into a fatigued state before aliens invaded. It is the imagination of one who is currently writing a novel that devised this theory. In my normal “reality” I simply put it down to either the moon cycle or the late night for the Superbowl.

I often wonder what my normal reality is. Is it the world that I’m currently living in, with my flat and my newly shaven head or is it the world that I create with magical trees and passages created by temporal physics? The truth is, I know that it’s the shaven head reality but that doesn’t prevent me from wishing that occasionally I could cross through the void and into the fictional reality that started in my head. If, like so many others, you subscribe to the “many worlds theory” then you may agree that my fictional reality does in fact exist in another dimension.

Of course I realise that everything I have just written makes me seem a little bit  unhinged. I however would argue that point, owing to the fact that I am perfectly aware of what exists and what doesn’t exist.

I know that at this moment and for most of this year, there exists a battle of wits for Scottish independence. In this battle, for many months, I refused to take a side. However as I posted previously I have now woken up and smelled the coffee in my “With all due respect, fuck off” mug. I will be voting ‘Yes’ and I will be doing so for a number of reasons.

If we become independent then we would officially be one of the world’s richest countries – ranked 6th in the OECD compared to the UK’s 16th place. There are  twenty four billion barrels of oil remaining in the North Sea, according to industry body Oil and Gas UK. That’s roughly around £1.5trillion in today’s prices – half as much in value as has been taken out.

The truth is that an independent Scotland would prosper. We would become a self sufficient nation. The above reason is but one of many reasons why we should be independent.

For me, this has nothing to do with the Scotland/England divide. Anyone who looks at this as a battle of the nations, should have their right to vote revoked. This is about the future of our country and not about past relationships.

As I stood there this morning staring at the waves of children making their way to school, I wondered what they’re being taught about the referendum. I realise that they are too young to vote but this concerns their future just as much, if not more, than ourselves.

On 6 May 1999 there was an election to decide on a Scottish Parliament. When I was at school, we were taught nothing about that. It was mentioned very briefly but we were never really taught about what it meant. I just hope that with something as huge as the referendum, the schools are educating their pupils accordingly.

On another, semi related note. While I was doing my research, I discovered that there are approximately 1036800 cans of Irn-Bru sold per day. I find that extremely impressive. Irn-Bru is a wonderful drink and even though I have refrained from drinking any carbonated juices for the last 7 weeks, it still holds a place in my heart.

Before I take my leave for today, I urge any of you who haven’t yet watched it to sit down and watch The Musketeers on BBC One. It is so refreshing to see a portrayal of The Three Musketeers which isn’t overly camp and high on comedy. The original novel by Dumas was never written that way and so I’ve never understood why that’s how it was portrayed in film. However BBC have nailed it in my opinion. While it may not be Doctor Who, it is most definitely worth a watch.