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Vox populi

November 19, 2018 2 comments

A few days ago I laid the blame for the current Brexit shambles fairly and squarely at the  door of the Prime Minister. I still believe that it belongs there. She has hamstrung two Cabinet level negotiators by effectively setting up her own Brexit department within Downing Street and making Ministers subordinate to her pet civil servant. That’s not how government should work. A Prime Minister is an executive chairman, not a managing director with full authority.

But in that post I stopped short of saying that Theresa should be replaced. Just as the cowardly Cameron should have stayed on post referendum to clean up his mess, she must stay on to clean up hers. If that means listening to Arlene Foster, so be it. If it means accepting the collective view of the majority of her colleagues, so be it. If she can’t do either, she should resign. However, the second last thing the country needs is a long drawn-out Tory leadership election. The last thing it needs is a General Election that might put Corbyn in Downing Street. The ‘no confidence’ letters are not helpful, and they should be pulled at once.

So what is the next step? The so-called People’s Vote? No! Call it what you like but if it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, a duck it is. It’s a referendum under another name and we’ve had enough of those.

I have another suggestion. It’s pretty radical and it won’t find a seconder, but it would be a much quicker way of achieving the same outcome as a referendum. Why don’t the Party leaders, May, Corbyn, Sturgeon, Cable and Foster agree to put the matter before Parliament with all members having a free vote?

Categories: General, Politics

Noses off

November 17, 2018 Leave a comment
Categories: General, Sport

Your song

November 16, 2018 Leave a comment

The John Lewis Christmas ad is always anticipated, but this year they’ve pulled out all the stops.

Categories: General

Theresa in Mordor

November 16, 2018 1 comment

I don’t Twit any more but I saw this one on Eddie Pepperell’s feed:

It’s clear to me that there’s only one person who can now deliver Brexit; Frodo Baggins.

Nice one son.

Categories: General, Politics

The darkness

November 15, 2018 3 comments

I voted to leave the EU, because I believe it has outgrown itself. But I didn’t vote for the current shambles, the blame for which lies fairly and squarely with Theresa May. She should have gone the day after her defeat in the entirely unnecessary General Election that she called without the support of her party, but she didn’t. Instead she clung on dragging the nation down with her obstinacy and splitting it in two. The only reason she’s still barricaded in her bunker in Downing Street is that nobody in her party fancies clearing up the mess she’s made.

Categories: General, Politics

Rock of Ages

November 8, 2018 Leave a comment

www.radio45.co.uk/

Spike Thomson, aka Scott Wilson, is back on the radio!

Categories: General

Crazy

November 8, 2018 4 comments

When I’m working, my top pick for background music, and Bob’s, is often my contemporary, Sir Van Morrison. His newest work, ‘You’re Driving me Crazy’, a collaboration with a fat bloke name of Joey Francesco, arrived today. It’s being played once, and that’s all, because it’s too damn  good. There’s background, and then there’s distraction. File under jazz.

Categories: General

LOL

November 8, 2018 Leave a comment
Categories: General

Between the lines

November 6, 2018 Leave a comment

Two daily newspaper titles buck downward trend in sales – BBC News
— Read on www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-scotland-43271178

There is some hard truth buried in the piece above. For example the two titles ‘bucking the trend’ only did so by heavy subscription discounting or by including free issues in the count.

For those who buy newspapers for information and education, the future looks bleak. The tabloids ceased to be newspapers some time ago, and the Daily Mail is a horrible right wing organ in a sub class of its own. They’ll stagger on but the quality newspapers, as we used to call them, seem doomed to a spiral of decline until none are left, other than the Courier and P&J if you’re lucky enough to live in Dundee or Aberdeen.

Categories: General

Fireworks

November 5, 2018 4 comments

Remember, remember the Fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot . . .

It’s a tenuous link but maybe, hopefully, it will come to be memorable. This is the day that I begin work on Skinner 31. Treason is unlikely too feature, and I doubt that there will be gunpowder either, but for sure there will be plot.

Title? I have one in mind but its too early to say.

Categories: General

Out there

November 4, 2018 Leave a comment

I’ve had a busy weekend, doing things that I didn’t think were possible and which should make my non-Skinner work available to a wider audience. i have posted already about some of it, but hopefully a summary of new and revised publications  will help those who are interested.

1 ‘Miller Time’.

The fourth Oz short story is now available as a single volume in the Kindle  store, priced 99p and, I’m happy to say, selling well.

2 ‘Green Bananas and Oz’

I trailed this a couple of days ago. I’ve put it together mostly to help me reach out to those  who don’t or can’t read ebooks. It pulls together, for the first time in printed form, the four Oz tales, ‘Born to be Wild’, ‘The Last Chickenpig’, ‘The Quasimodo Trunk’ and ‘Miller Time’, plus three Skinner shorts ‘Skinner’s Elves’, ‘Anger Management’,  and ‘A Hint of Death’. Also there is a treatment called ‘The Block’, of which there may be more later, and an essay entitled ‘The Bomb’.which tells the story of an experience I would rather not have had. It concludes with a collection of all the angry blogs I wrote during the Scottish referendum campaign. As I say  in the prologue, you may not agree with my political stance, but my rhetoric is heavy duty.

‘Green Bananas and Oz’ is available on Amazon now, in paperback form, priced £8.99, as cheap as I can do it for now. The Kindle version will be up on Wednesday, and is available for pre-order, priced £3.99.

3 ‘Resurrection’

To meet the needs of those who only have eyes for Oz, I have also published the four stories in a single volume. I call it ‘Resurrection’, because that’s what they’re about in essence. There will be at least one more  tale, maybe two, and when they’re released they’ll be included in an update, but for now it is what it is.

It’s available on Amazon now, in both formats, paperback at £5.99, cheaper because it’s shorter, and Kindle at £2.99.

4 ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’

Finally, I have produced a new Amazon paperback edition of my standalone comedy novel. It’s available now, at £7.99, which means I’m pretty much giving it away, The ebook is re-priced at £2.99. (I love that book)

Categories: General

Compendium

November 2, 2018 Leave a comment

Since I published the first Oz short story on Amazon Kindle, and those that followed, I’ve been asked frequently when they might be available in print.

Hopefully it’ll be soon. I am in the process of putting together a collection of all my short stories, beginning with the Oz four, and some other work. Initially it will be electronic but my hop is that there will also be a paperback version.

Its entitled ‘Green Bananas and Oz’ and it will publish on November 6. It should be available for pre-order as of now.

Categories: General

The boys are back in town

November 1, 2018 Leave a comment

Look out this weekend for ‘Miller Time”, the fourth in a series of short stories featuring the resurrected Oz Blackstone and his son Tom, last seen staring at the slaughtered corpse of Tom’s wicked stepfather, with his mother, Primavera, as a likely prime suspect. Talk your way out of that one, guys. (Available only on Amazon, in the Kindle store.)

Categories: General

Greed

November 1, 2018 Leave a comment
Categories: General

Consolation

October 28, 2018 3 comments

It’s almost November, the month that sees the publication of the paperback edition of ‘A Brush with Death’, and also of ‘Cold Case’, the thirtieth Bob Skinner mystery.

Categories: General

In the dark

October 28, 2018 Leave a comment

It’s the last Sunday in October, my least favourite day of the year, the day when suddenly it’s dark earlier. It would be okay if we could keep our body clocks in summer mode, but life doesn’t let us do that.

It’s likely that next year the EU nations will abolish daylight saving: Morocco has done it already. Chances of the UK following suit? As Muhammad Ali said, ‘Slim and none, and Slim’s left town.’

Why do we put up with these unnecessarily depressing afternoons? The argument against change has always been that children in the north of Scotland would go to school in darkness. Its proponents cited the tragedy of a multiple fatality when a bus queue was mown down by a vehicle that didn’t see it. Fact is that never happened, but who ever let facts get in the way of a cause?

There’s a simple answer to that question: change the school day by an hour where necessary. Why not? Let’s go for it and let a little life into our lives.

Categories: General

No tip

October 28, 2018 Leave a comment

www.skysports.com/share/11538056

The begged question is, how could four people run up a bar bill of £50,000 in a single evening? No wonder they were reluctant to pay up.

Categories: General, Sport

None taken

October 25, 2018 1 comment

I owe a vote of thanks to my friend Bobby. Like me, he is an avid TV watcher, (and recently a programme subject) but not being a Sky subscriber his exposure tends to be different. Last time I saw him he told me about a series called No Offence, which he had seen on Channel 4, which has the reputation of being a place where stellar careers sometimes go to die. (In my eyes it’s one level above C5, which is a kind of telly purgatory.)

It’s always worth taking Bobby’s advice, so I did. Last night Eileen and I completed our binge watch of all three series. As each episode finished we just kept pushing that green button. The star, the virtuoso as DI Viv Dearing, is the wonderful Joanna Scanlan, who has the courage to hold nothing back. She is best known for being the bumbling press officer in The Thick of It.  That is appropriate, for  No Offence is an unremitting ode to political incorrectness, and it screams for more exposure and a wider audience.

If you don’t know it, do what we did. Binge it. And make sure you start with Series One, Episode One. There’s a scene in the police station Ladies, that kicks it off beautifully. Cheers Bob.

Categories: General

Fellow travellers

October 23, 2018 2 comments

news.sky.com/story/racist-abuse-on-ryanair-plane-investigated-by-police-11533011

I fly Ryanair often but I have never seen anything like this. In my experience the cabin crew are pleasant and efficient.

The Sky News report is built around the comments of a guy who seems to be blaming everyone else for not intervening. What did he do to stop the abuse? No Samaritan, it would seem.

Categories: General

Who?

October 21, 2018 Leave a comment

www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-45927344

I confess: I never knew he was there.

Categories: General