Suck it up.

November 22, 2022 Leave a comment

Fresh rail strikes to hit peak Christmas travel, RMT union announces
— Read on

So, while most people are tightening their belts and riding out the inflation crisis this lot, and others, want to be cushioned at their expense. To hell with it, let’s have a twelve month wage freeze for those earning more than average UK annual salary, £33,000.

Categories: General

Extra time

November 21, 2022 Leave a comment

The criminal justice systems in the United Kingdom and in most other democracies are based on the presumption of innocence until guilt is proven. If an accused person denies the charges and has not been remanded in custody is it defensible that he or she should be excluded from their workplace while awaiting trial?

I apologise for another football related post, but these are the cases that tend to make headlines, illustrating the point. One made the news today, that of a young player accused of a range of offences. He has been suspended by his club over a year, since the police became involved. It has taken the CPS (Keir Starmer’s old team) a year to decide to charge him, with his trial being set for November 2023. No way should that be acceptable.

It doesn’t stop there. Ryan Giggs was arrested in November 2020, after a complaint of domestic abuse and was suspended from his employment. It took the CPS 21 months to bring him to trial, where the jury found itself unable to convict him on the basis of the evidence. In Scotland the verdict would probably have been Not proven, with the same effect as Not guilty. In Wales the CPS has been granted a retrial. That is the equivalent of a footballer hitting the post with a penalty kick and being given another shot because his manager didn’t like the outcome. In Giggs’ case it will mean that almost three years will have elapsed between complaint and disposal.

Just? Not in my eyes.

Categories: General

Bob Marley

November 21, 2022 1 comment

What is courage? I see it as a conscious decision to stand up for the principles that underpin one’s life, regardless of any pressure to abandon them, be it physical, emotional or financial.

When Harry Kane and Gareth Bale lead out their teams later today for their opening matches in the **** World Cup they will each be the embodiment of the cowardice of those who put them there.

The One Love armband is more than a symbol of captaincy, it’s a statement of morality. Its prohibition by ****, an organisation so abhorrent that I choose not to give it a name check, should be ignored. If the tournament was taking place in the USA and the host nation chose to wear the rainbow, this would not be an issue. In banning it, **** has set itself against all the rights and principles that are upheld by its display.

Categories: General, Politics, Sport


November 18, 2022 5 comments

Unlike many people who are offering critical opinions on Cristiano Ronaldo I watched all 90 minutes of his interview with Piers Morgan.

My view of modern professional footballers is coloured by the life experiences of those I knew when I was a kid. Back then, Ian St John combined the early years of his career with an apprenticeship in Motherwell Bridge. Many of those before and around him were part-timers from start to finish. They were also slaves: as soon as they signed a professional contract they were registered to that club until they were sold or released. Pre-Bosman players did not have freedom of contract.

No question, Cristiano is a lucky man to have been born into his era, Regardless of ability, anyone who can afford to turn down a €350 million offer, in the twilight of his career or at any other time, is blessed indeed.

And yet the slave mentality persists, Worse, it is supported by the attitudes and behaviour of media that haven’t really changed from the days when press boxes housed a disproportionate number of drunks and the semi-literate.

The response to the Ronaldo interview has been distorted. He has been portrayed as an uppity millionaire who is upset because his ego allows him to believe he should have special treatment. Possibly that criticism is valid, but he is also a man with undeniable grievances.

It is undeniable that chunks of the Morgan interview have been distorted and taken out of context, for example Sky Sports is reporting that he would be happy if Arsenal won the Premier League. It fails to mention his qualification, ‘after Manchester United’, or that his remark was in response to a question by the Arsenal supporting Piers Morgan. If he had chosen to give the interview to Sky’s Gary Neville rather than to a turd in a Savile Row suit I don’t need to ask how it would have been presented by the channel.

As a Man U supporter I am sad that Cristiano will never play for the club again. But given his emotional attachment to it, I am equally sad that he had been allowed to feel betrayed. That is classic mismanagement for which the club’s decision makers are entirely responsible. I’m beyond sad by his revelation that in the twelve years or so between his departure and his return the club’s infrastructure was entirely unchanged. I’m infuriated that its reviled owners have never met the man whose image has underpinned the countless millions they have trousered since they were allowed by our absurd corporate system to buy the business with borrowed money.

Today we are being told that the club has initiated appropriate steps. The (formerly Manchester) Guardian is reporting that these include taking CR7 to court. To me the most appropriate step the owners could take would be to meet with the finest player the club has known (with the possible exception of George Best) for a serious discussion, for it’s clear he knows a hell of a lot more about the business than they do.

Categories: Sport

An interesting question

November 17, 2022 Leave a comment

I am not sure what to make 0f this.

Categories: General

Help me

November 10, 2022 1 comment

I’m puzzled. I watched the Man U game tonight. Before kickoff the cameras picked out a young guy in the posh seats. For the information of the viewers, the director captioned him: Ishowspeed, Influencer.

I’m not so insular that I’d never seen the term , but I would like someone to explain to me what an ‘Influencer’ actually is, whom are he, she or these days they trying to influence, and to what end or purpose?

Categories: General

Try this

November 10, 2022 Leave a comment
Categories: General

Wide Open

November 8, 2022 5 comments

Storm Arwen was quite an event last year. It cost me (and my insurer) a new roof as well as flattening trees beyond number.

One of those was on the route of my daily walk with the boy Sunny. There it was, lying on its side, roots exposed. It reminded me of a much larger tree that Eileen and I saw, similarly felled by a tempest, in Stanley Park, Vancouver.

And that started me thinking. What if …

The product of that contemplation is published tomorrow. It’s called Open Season, and it’s the latest, the 34th to be precise, in the Bob Skinner series. Available in hardback, trade paperback and ebook formats. I hope you like it.

Categories: General


October 30, 2022 4 comments

I’m 77. I have a dog who demands that I walk him twice daily. It’s good for both of us and it gives me an opportunity to reflect on life, death, the meaning of existence and the contempt of civil servants for those who pay their wages.

I was one myself, a long time ago. I dealt with the media rather than the general public. I hope and even believe that I made more friends there than I did enemies. My approach was that I was there to help, not obstruct. But I was a middle man. When I had a problem usually it was with someone within the machine, who regarded public information as his or her, (usually his in those days) private property.

Many people think of civil servants only as those employed by central governments. In fact there are far more, four times the number if police and fire services are discounted.

Today I would like to focus on just one of them. A couple of years ago on a nice Sunday morning I might have taken Eileen out in her wheelchair. (Oh how I wish I still could.) A few years before that it might have been my grandson in his stroller. It I had done so this morning I would have been unhappy.

In the next street to my house there are in place temporary three way traffic lights. Large and largely unnecessary warning signs for motorists have been erected, on the pavement, blocking it and parents and carers on to the roadway. They were erected on Friday and left for the weekend at least.

The person who took the decision to do that was a civil, ie public servant. Surely to God there is something in what my old boss used to call standard operating procedures that says you do not block pavements with road signs.

Why am I so grumpy about this? It’s because I believe that every decision made and every action taken, instructed or authorised by a public servant should be considered in the context of a simple question. How will this impact on the people who pay my wages?

My local authority has a slogan: ‘You spoke, We listened.’ Really?

Categories: General


April 7, 2022 1 comment

I watched a Sky original film last night, named Blacklight. I want my money back. Liam Neeson, what are you doing?

Categories: General

See you later, Babes.

January 21, 2022 17 comments

Yesterday we laid Eileen to rest, facing the afternoon sun and beside an old friend. We did it in the traditional Scottish way, her loving family lowering her coffin into the earth. She took a piece of my heart with her. I don’t have much left. All I can do now is walk my dog, write and miss her.

Categories: Uncategorized


October 12, 2021 Leave a comment

So, this report that’s causing all the fuss: it’s the work of back bench Tory MPs, some of whom will be bitter because they aren’t front bench, and opposition members with axes to grind. Plus, one of the principal witnesses was the loathsome Cummings whose axe is jumbo sized.

At the beginning of the day and the end, it’s a collective opinion, but no way is it impartial.

Categories: General, Politics

Keep out!!!

October 9, 2021 2 comments

This is how the members of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, aka Muirfield, choose to enclose their course. That stuff isn’t a holdover from bygone times, it’s new and rust-free.

Why stop there, ladies and gentlemen? Razor wire would convey the message even more effectively.

Categories: General, Pics

Award winner

October 5, 2021 1 comment

Congratulations, Royal Mail, on picking up today’s F****** Useless trophy. I am trying to buy postage on line. I’ve gone through the process of creating an order with no difficulty. Now I am trying to pay for it. There are two methods on offer, PayPal or directly inputting card details. I’ve tried both, only to spend a frustrating half hour watching a screen that is supposed to be card authentication, but is instead a roadblock robbing me of half an hour… so far … when I could have been doing something worthwhile.


Categories: General


September 21, 2021 Leave a comment

I have nothing but time for the medical practice that has looked after my family and me for half a century. Sad then that it seems NHS Scotland doesn’t trust it any more.

The annual flu’ jab programme has never been more important and yet it has been taken out of GPs’ hands, to be run through regional vaccination hubs. Already, 80-year-olds are receiving appointment letters. One that I have seen tells the patient to report to a centre 30 miles away at 9am on a given date. Does that person drive? No. How will he get to the venue? That appears to be his problem. in theory he can change the location on line. In practice he can’t but in any event not all the target group use the internet. In theory he can do it by phone, if he is prepared to waste one of his precious remaining hours waiting for his call to be answered.

My wife is housebound. Her vaccinations are done by district nurses. How will she be fitted into the system? They. Don’t. Know!

It’s clear that the letters have been sent out far too early. This essential project is a shambles: people are confused and alarmed. God save us from Professor Leitch.

Categories: General, Politics

Own goal?

September 15, 2021 Leave a comment

Gove has responsibility for the Union?


Categories: Politics

Shame, shame.

September 2, 2021 Leave a comment

On Sunday I put a specific question to the Scottish Government Central Enquiry Unit. I was expecting visitors from an amber list country, one not fully vaccinated the other 11 years old. Their visit was for seven days. Each was required to take a PCR test on Day 2. The adult was required to quarantine , the child was exempt.

Like all arrivals in the U.K. they were required to buy test kits from Corporate Travel Management, the outfit commissioned by HMG to run the portal. However, the portal only sells kits with two tests, the second being for Day 8. There is no alternative offered to minors or to those who are staying for less than eight days.

My question addressed this anomaly. It took the Scottish Government four days to respond and then the reply was automated and did not answer the question. The truth is that there is no option. My visitors were forced to buy four tests at £68 a time, even though two of them will never be used.

There are two issues here. One is the basic principle of the government designing a shoddy system and the handing it over to a commercial organisation that will profit from the rip-off. The other is the contempt shown by the Scottish Government by its obvious lack of concern for those who put it in place.

Categories: General, Politics


The game isn’t the same without crowds.

Categories: Sport


August 14, 2021 1 comment
Categories: Politics


I am one track into Butter Miracle and already I am smiling. Only Adam Duritz would use ‘ossifies’ in a lyric. Adam Duritz is and always has been more than just a songwriter. He’s a poet. He’s a genius.

Categories: General