Scottish politics - Nicola Sturgeon's report card.

On Wednesday the 15th of February 2023, just after eleven in the morning, Nicola Sturgeon sent shock wave through Scottish and UK politics when she announced she was stepping down, after over eight years, as SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland. I have decided that it would be a good idea to take a look at her successes and her failures - along with a look at how I think the SNP and the independence movement is going to progress support for independence from this point onwards. The first thing to say is that my phone has presented me with many articles addressing this. I have deliberately not read any to avoid taking on board the thoughts of others (although I’ve not been able to avoid several TV programmes which also considered this topic). On the negative side, she was unable to advance support for independence, with most polling indicating support the same as immediately after the 2014 referendum (and if Ashcroft’s latest poll was accurate then we’ve actually lost ground since

Inhabited west coast Scottish islands - Erraid and Iona

 This post covers two islands, Erraid and Iona, rather than just the usual one. This is because both are quite small and both are inhabited satellites of Mull. The next post will also cover two of Mull’s four inhabited, satellite islands; Ulva and Geometra, but for this post I will start with Erraid as it is the southern most of all four islands. Located at the south western tip of the Ross of Mull, Erraid is a small, tidal island that is almost square in shape, about a mile in length on all four coasts. Erraid’s main claim to fame is, in fact, as a tidal island in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped where this aspect of it’s geography is of importance to a section of the story (David Balfour, the hero of the story, thinks he is stuck on the island before he discovers he can walk over to Mull when the tide is out). It is separated from Mull by a narrow channel of water wrapped around the north and east coasts of the island - when the tide is in. When the tide is out then that channel o

Current Affairs - 2022 update on the USA

As we approach the end of 2022 I thought an update about what’s being happening in the USA was in order. US gun laws (or the lack of them). Firstly, throughout the past year there has been a continuation of gun massacres - some in shopping malls and churches and others, once again, in schools. In the aftermath of those crimes we continue to have some in the NRA, while also (usually) preaching Christian values, spout disgusting and evil lies in order that their fun continues to come before the lives of innocent children. Some of those evil people continue to claim that restricting access to guns is not the answer. They claim that guns don’t kill but it’s people who do. They even claim that the answer is even more guns and that teachers should be armed to protect their students. The evil insanity of those claims are so obvious it is difficult to understand why those mouthpieces of the NRA are not locked up. If more guns was the answer then why are there so few gun massacres in countries

Scottish politics - Independence and the Supreme Court judgment.

Following the Supreme Court judgment (that the Scottish government could not run it’s own independence referendum) there have been wild celebrations from unionists - as if they had defeated the struggle for Scottish independence in a single blow. I think they are badly mistaken in that. I mean, what do they expect independence supporters to do? Simply say “well, that’s it then - we may as well forget about this”. I very much doubt it - and this Supreme Court judgment might well have increased support for Scotland breaking away from the UK as it becomes clearer that our union of equals, with any country free to leave if it wants to, is nothing but a huge lie. It has also exposed the democratic deficit that the SNP has long complained about. In addition to that I suspect that Nicola Sturgeon might be quite happy about the judgment. I suspect that even she doubted if October 2023 was the right time to go for it - what with COVID still with us (to some extent), the war in Ukraine and infla

Inhabited, west coast Scottish islands - Mull

Mull, at around 340 square miles, is the third largest island on Scotland’s west coast after Skye, at around 640 sq.mi., and before Islay, at around 240 sq.mi. (with the largest being Lewis at around 685 sq.mi.) - and fourth largest of the British Isles with Mainland Shetland being larger than Mull but smaller than Skye. Note that none of the above includes mainland Britain or Ireland (which, after all, are islands off the north west coast of mainland Europe). If not for the sound of Mull, running roughly west to east, it would not be an island at all but the southern most section of the West Highlands (the Scottish landmass west of the Great Glen). Mull can be considered as three separate sections. The easternmost is mainly the Ross of Mull which turns west and extends towards Iona along the southern shore of Loch Scridain but also (for me, anyway) all the land east of Glen More. The middle section lies between Loch Scridain and Loch na Keal on the west and between Craignure and Salen

Inhabited, west coast Scottish islands - Colonsay and Oronsay

Colonsay is a small but attractive wee island located at the mouth of the Firth of Lorn, between Mull and Islay (and Jura) but slightly closer to Islay than to Mull.. It is about eight miles long by about two miles wide at it’s widest (around 4074 hectares) with a population of around 130. Note that most Internet articles say it’s about two miles wide but Wikipedia says it’s about three miles wide - and I’m not sure which is more accurate. Using my online map, and a rough estimation using a piece of card in conjunction with the scale shown, I actually think it looks closer to three point four miles between Sguide an Leanna (on the west) and Rubha Dubh (on the east). The island is served by a circular road around the main part of the island with an arm leading to the north, from Kiloran to Kiloran bay, and another leading south to Garvard and the tidal island of Oronsay. From Kiloran Bay a track continues northwards to Balnahard near the northern tip of the island. The main centre, and

Inhabited west coast Scottish islands - Jura and the Corryvreckan whirlpool

Jura is Scotland’s eighth biggest island by area. It has also one of the lowest population densities (of Scotland’s inhabited islands) with around only two hundred inhabitants. The latter statistic is not surprising as the island, unlike Islay to the south of it, is unremittingly wild and rugged with only a narrow strip of land, mainly around the east coast, where habitation might be reasonably easily established. It is almost two separate islands with Loch Tarbert almost cutting it, from the west, in two. The southern part hosts three mountains, all around 2500 feet high. These are known as ‘the Paps of Jura’. The term ‘Paps’ means breasts - as in human female breasts. I can only presume that whomever gave them this name was thinking of a very young woman (lying on her back and before gravity took over) as their conical shapes are unlike any woman I have ever seen. As mentioned, there are three of them - also unlike any woman I have ever see (although, to be fair, usually only two of