COVID - 'freedom day' in England.

I write this a couple of days after England’s COVID ‘freedom day’ - a release from all COVID restrictions, which strikes me as nothing but stupidity and which, for me, only confirms the incompetence of the UK government.Throughout the UK the delta variant is running wild and positive cases are going through the roof, particularly in England . Admittedly, the link between new cases, hospitalisations and deaths have been greatly reduced because of the vaccine - but this has not been totally eradicated and many people, including some who have received both jabs, are ending up in hospital or worse. This is stressing the NHS and reducing the ability of the health service to catch up on the backlog created by the virus. The UK government’s stance seems to be “if not now then when?”. I would suggest that ‘when’ should not be now but after all adults, and maybe all over twelve years of age, have been double jabbed and also after this delta variant has been brought under control. This would res

Scottish politics - independence and (a degree of) English arrogance.

Foreword: In the following, my use of the term ‘Scots’ relates to all who live in Scotland - not just those with some genetic link to the country and it’s brutal history..   While writing my post about the island of Luing it dawned on me that I’d not posted anything about politics recently - and this was particularly remiss of me given the recent Holyrood elections. I think this happened because I had found myself hooked into a social media site called Quora. I don’t know how I joined this site as I didn’t ask to - I just suddenly, one day, started receiving emails from it. This site works by contributors posing questions with others then providing answers - or, more accurately, providing answers which suited their opinion and point of view. Most of the emails I was getting were questions about Scottish independence - and, as far as I’m concerned, most of the questions were clearly phrased to elicit anti-independence answers (although a few were more supportive). I found myself unable

Inhabited, west coast Scottish Islands - Luing

 Continuing north from Dana, the next inhabited, west coast island is Luing (pronounced Ling - although the Gaelic pronunciation might be slightly different from that, but this appears to be, at least, how it should be said in English). Luing is the southern most of the Slate Islands - and it also seems to be the largest by area, being slightly larger than Seil to the north (although Seil’s populations would appear to be more than double that of Luing). These islands are known as the Slate Islands because slate had once been quarried, in large quantities, on most of the islands in the group. Although there are about half a dozen Slate Islands, only Luing, Easdale and Seil remain permanently inhabited. To get to Luing, unless you have your own boat or helicopter, you first have to travel through the island of Seil to the north and get the ferry from North Cuan on Seil over to South Cuan on Luing. I could, therefore, have described Seil first - but I had decided to cover the islands from

Inhabited, west coast Scottish islands - The Isle of Danna

Moving north from Gigha, the next inhabited, inshore island is The Isle of Danna, or simply Danna (and not Dana as I think I misspelled it in my post on Gigha). Danna is located on the east side of the Tayvallich peninsula. To get to it you have to get on to the road between Lochgilphead and Crinan and then take the B8025 to Tayvallich - which you drive right through. This road leads down to Keills - but a short distance from Keills you take a left turn along an unclassified road which takes you through New Ulva and onto Danna. Note that I have read a couple of articles on the Internet which seem to suggest that New Ulva is also an island but this, as far as I could tell, is not the case as I crossed no bridges or causeways to get to it. This road stops being properly surfaced as soon as it crosses the causeway on to Danna. From there to it’s end it is a hard packed dirt track wide enough to take vehicles with ease. The surface was also pretty good with, from memory, no serious pothole

Scottish politics - the recent drop in the opinion polls for independence.

 After over twenty opinion polls in a row, support for independence would seemed to have fallen substantially. Indeed, two recent polls have now indicated a majority, although a small one, for staying in the UK (with one in between these two still showing a slight lead for independence). It also has to be admitted that polls towards the end of 2020 and the start of 2021, while still showing a majority for YES, had indicated that support for independence had fallen from a high point of about 58% to about only 53%. Why should this have happened? I suspect that one reason, the earlier one, was due to some people reconsidering independence, and rejoining the EU, due to the COVID vaccine situation. About the only thing the UK government has got right in the battle against COVID was getting early vaccine supplies ordered - while the EU made a total mess of obtaining vaccines and getting them distributed. This might have left some ‘soft’ independence supporters thinking that independence, and

Inhabited, west coast, Scottish islands - Gigha

Foreword. This is the first of what I hope will be many posts covering my visits to inhabited, west coast, Scottish islands. Gigha was the first, geographically speaking, that I wanted to cover (as I had decided to work through them from south to north and then from east to west). Having already visited many of those islands over my sixty nine years (as I write this during February 2021) I decided, upon retiring, to try and visit all of the ones not yet visited. This was, in effect, a bucket list. Gigha was also the first on this bucket list that I went to. For that reason I’ve included a lengthy background to my first trip and a description of my journey from my home (Greenock) to Gigha. I do this simply because it was the start of my bucket list trips. Future posts on this topic will be far briefer and describe only the island, or islands, visited - not how I got there. The idea will be to try and present my visits as if it was one continuous trip (or, at most, just two or three tri

American politics - Trump's departure.

So, Trump is finally no longer the President of the USA - and thank the frack for that! I hope he does get impeached, prosecuted and jailed for the rest of his life - although it might be best for Congress to delay passing this to the Senate for a couple of months (just to give the unrest throughout the US time to settle down a wee bit). As I’ve written before, I find it disturbing that he won the position back in 2016 - and even more disturbing that he got over 73 million votes back in November 2020. The man is almost unfit to be alive never mind be the President of such an important country. Having said that, I can understand why he got some support as I agree with some of his aims. I figure the trade deal with China was detrimental to US prosperity - although I suspect that basic capitalism, allied with globalisation, has been the main problem with the US economy rather than any particular trade deal. I’ve also no love for Iran, which I see as pretty evil - but just about everything