Friday, 29 October 2010

Time Traveller in Chaplin Film?

Rules of Engagement

It's something that comes to the vast majority of parents who wait. Your offspring get engaged to be married, or partnered these days I guess. Young Graham is 28 now, and I was beginning to wonder if it was ever going to come, but he had met a lovely girl, Angela, a school teacher, and he seemed as settled and happy as we could ever want our children to be. Marriage, however, seemed not to be an option.

So, it is with great surprise, really, that I find myself going to their Engagement Party, away is the wilds of the Airdrie/Gartcosh region of Lanarkshire tonight. The car is full of us "older folk" who will turn up early, make the appearance, and disappear at a reasonable time since we are all pushing it a bit and need to get to our beds!

What does the father of the engaged wear to these events? Since the dog-collar is a no-no, I'll try to look suitable cool, laid back, and well, not 56! However, my mind thinks, well, if you can't embarrass your children who can you embarrass? I'll maybe keep you posted!

SFA Penalty Checklist

With thanks to Big Rab, who is an expert in these matters, I publish the ultimate referee's guide here... (click to make big)

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Shame about the Case

Those outside of our little nation of Scotland may be only fleetingly aware that we are in the middle of a rather nasty perjury trial at the moment. It would unwise, and possibly illegal, to sound off about the trial while it is still "live". There are plenty of other people blogging and commenting in a much more profound and knowledgeable fashion than I could ever attain to! 

However, it revolves around a guy called Tommy Sheridan, and a rather tasteless spat with a tabloid newspaper. It would be unwise for me to comment on that. My friends and family know how I feel about the tabloid press.

The sad thing is this. Tommy Sheridan was a political star, and a superb orator. He told things as they are without fancy words, and spoke to the working classes, and the non-working classes, in a way that gave people hope that things could be different, and in a way that reminded my old dad of some of the great socialists that Glasgow has produced in the past. I considered him a hero in my earlier ministry. Here was a people's champion, and someone that could be trusted to deliver, during a time when New Labour got all "Tory" on us. I loved him and he always gave me a warm feeling inside and was capable of really firing me up. I was not alone.

Whatever has happened, and much has happened, a super wee political party now lies in ruins when it had the potential to grow to be quite big in Scotland, in my opinion. His reputation as a man has also been totally ruined, and it has all ended in tears. There will be no way back for the Scottish Socialist Party.

As I read more and more in the press, and listen to television news covering the current trial, I just feel terribly let down, as I'm sure thousands of others do too. So much hope was pinned on this man and his vision.

Whatever happens, and whatever the court decides to be true, something special died along the way. It probably died before the tabloid press even got involved. For that I could be moved to weep.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Back Bloggin'

After a deluge of mail, well about ten enquiries, asking where my blogging had gone, I return to the Blogosphere today! Not that too many will have missed me, I'm sure. I remind myself that I mostly blog for myself rather than others. It's just as well, because my statistics show as much support for my ramblings as the Tories have in Scotland. If I strike a chord with someone else, then well and good.

The truth is that the last wee while has been miserable for me anyway. I don't take kindly to the sort of man-cold I've been suffering from, and it's not good to be continually wiping snot from the screen while you're typing! Add that to the dip in my mood anyway, which I always have at this time of year, when daylight is fast disappearing and clouds and rain seem to be the norm. October clouds and rain tend to be worse that those in July.

There has been another reason, though, and that is the fact that my trusty laptop died. All my life was on there.. photos, favourite wee programmes, inspirational crap, and a million other wee things which were an extension to my brain. We had a wonderful relationship and now it has died. The memories are still there.. photos and files have been backed up on an external hard drive, but that's not the issue. It's like losing a very close friend or relative. You still have the photos and the letters, but the wee things that made the relationship so special have gone. The wee programmes, the familiarity, the feeling on my lap, the knowledge of what we could do together, and knowing each others capabilities and failings. Between us we updated the Blog and had Facebook fun together.

It was a relationship which made me jealous when she was being used by others, however briefly, because we belonged to each other. It was an intimate coming together in the morning and last thing at night. In between times, I "worked" on the Big Beast in the study, but that was work and we both understood that, or I grappled with the little tiddler in the Church Office, which was slow and cumbersome, not unlike the Church itself.

My Smartphone and I have never really got on with each other, but it alerted me to messages that we had to deal with together. The Smartphone knows that I'd rather have an iPhone anyway, so it continually plays up and lets me down. Apart from a couple of trips to the computer hospital, my old laptop never let me down. Never.

Oh! I've tried! My laptop has been replaced with a wee machine which belongs to the parish, but it's not mine, and it's slow too, and doesn't have access to the external hard-drive anyway. I'm still in mourning, and could be for some time! Santa-time may bring me something which I can begin again with, but until such times, I'll struggle on with poor relationships which are really just ones made on the rebound. Unfulfilling, tiresome and going through the motions.

It was five years, dear friend, and during that time you became filled with much that we enjoyed together. If your replacement, when it comes, gives me half the buzz, then I'll be eternally grateful!

From Ekklesia...

From Ekklesia today:
Three major Free Churches say Chancellor George Osborne's inaccurate use of welfare fraud statistics in his Comprehensive Spending Review speech has stigmatised the poor.
The Methodist Church, the Baptist Union of Great Britain and the United Reformed Church have criticised the Chancellor for claiming that welfare fraud is responsible for cheating tax payers out of £5 billion a year.
A Department of Work and Pensions report published last week stated that welfare fraud accounts for £1 billion of money lost, with tax credit fraud accounting for an additional £0.6 billion, leading to £1.6 billion lost in total. Church leaders say the exaggerated £5 billion figure depicts the poorest and most vulnerable in society as thieves.
“Exaggerating benefit fraud points the finger of blame at the poor,” says the Rev Alison Tomlin, President of the Methodist Conference - who had urged the government to protect the poorest from harsh economic decisions, in a speech in the run-up to the 20 October 2010 CSR announcements.
“Let us be clear this recession was not caused by the poor, those on benefits, or even benefit cheats", she said today. "The poorest in society only got poorer during the boom years and it’s simply not fair to make them pay for the bust."
Ms Tolin continued: “Questions also need to be asked about the £7 billion of uncollected tax revenues that the Chancellor claims he is targeting. According to the HMRC, there is approximately £42 billion in uncollected revenues; why does Mr Osborne only speak of £7 billion?”
Meanwhile, the Rev Graham Sparkes, Head of Faith and Unity at the Baptist Union of Great Britain, declared: “There is already deep concern that the severe reductions in welfare provision will cause immense hardship to the most vulnerable. This misuse of figures to exaggerate the scale of benefit fraud only adds to the sense of injustice.”
Mr Simon Loveitt, Public Issues Spokesperson for the United Reformed Church, added: “The coalition government is very keen to talk about fairness and the false notion that ‘we are all in this together’, but the Chancellor’s exaggeration of fraud and last week’s Comprehensive Spending Review confirm the grim reality that it is those who are most vulnerable who will pay the price for that which is so clearly not their fault.”