On Remembrance Sunday, mindful that Leonard Cohen died a few days ago, and given that Gerry sent me this (thank you, Gerry), I thought it was appropriate to feature this poem today.

You’ll all know by now that I’m a kinda anti-war person, I think Niko called me a peacenik at one point, and that’s fine. I’m cool with that description. It doesn’t stop me being aware that sometimes wars happen; sometimes you have to defend yourselves. I just don’t think you should go looking for war. Particularly if you do it for self-aggrandisement, or to please your more powerful ally.




This pic was captioned by the Daily Mail: “Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn prepare to lay wreaths”.  Respect Scotland and the Scottish fallen.


I do think, though, that if you, as a country, send people into war, for whatever reason, you have a duty to look after them, provide them with the very best of equipment and facilities and care when they are on active duty. You also have a sacred duty of care to those who are wounded in your service, whether that is physically or mentally, and to their families and, to the families of those who died. It seems to me that that is something that this union falls down very badly on, and indeed has always fallen down on. Why did Earl Haig have to set up a fund to help the wounded, ask yourselves!


Men (mainly) come back from war, are discharged into “civvy street” and are left to deal with the trauma of what they have seen, and of their physical injuries, often at the tender mercies of the DWP determined to save a grubby penny here and there and meet the targets set by a malevolent government, penny-pinching over the sick and lavishing money on  the splendours of parliaments and palaces.

And this has its inevitable consequences.Some people come back from war zones having witnessed, on a daily basis, people, their own, or the enemy’s, civilians, sometimes children and babies,  being blown to pieces. Is it really reasonable to expect them to settle down to 9-5 with a stiff upper lip, and pretend they have never had to brush someone’s brains off their uniforms?

centoaphHowever, the top brass will all have put on a good show this morning. The Queen, and the party leaders, and princes* left, right and centre in Colonel in Chief uniforms; princesses wearing expensive black hats and oversized poppies, wiping tears from their eyes.

They do that once a year: and good for them. Perhaps, though, one of them would like to look into why, only last week, 12 homeless ex-servicemen were evicted from a squat in Manchester, and within hours, once of them “George” was dead from Bronchial Pneumonia, at 82 years old!

What in heaven’s name was an 82-year-old doing living in a squat in the 6th largest economy in the world, especially an 82-year-old who had served in the forces? Why were 11 other ex-servicemen living in squats?

Any answers, Fallon?

Showing grief and concern, tears and £1000 hats would be a lot more convincing if anything like the same concern was voiced for the “survivors”.

  • *I’m mindful that of all of them, Harry does a lot of good work with veterans.


    1. Nor do I, or a lot of people that you pass int eh street. Once upon a time almost everyone did. Yet, I actually don;t remember seeing anyone except politicians and tv people wearing one. And, obviously the football teams.

      I’ll give to the Haig fund, but I won;t wear a poppy because they have commercialised it, and politicised it, and there are poppy police out there waiting to nab you for not wearing them.

      Instead of wearing poppies, maybe if the royals and people like Cameron each gave a million pounds to the fund, that would make a difference to the ex-soldiers’ lives.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Nor I. I used to give paper – not mere coins – until the forces were used against us in 2014. I expect only that they stay out of our dispute.

        The Daily Mail is a fascist newsletter. Thanks to idiots who read and believe what is printed in trash like that we get roped into wars in the first place. It is read by a handful of Scots people in printed form, and I suspect the online readership is drawn more to its gossip sub-hello magazine content than any reportage of “real” news.

        I’m sure retired senior officers are well enough looked after.


        1. Oh yes, Brigadier Sir Whatnot-Whatnot isn’t hard up, and the Daily Mail, is, as you say, much read on line for the “tits and ass” aspect of the column of shame.

          It is a disgusting rag and I’m delighted to see that some big businesses have pulled advertising in it.

          They must have been expecting a lot of money from Lego coming up to Christmas.


    2. Something I find highly amusing at times like this is that if anyone wore a real poppy (not a tacky piece of paper and plastic) they’d get arrested.


  1. echoes my sentiments exactly. I have no problem with the armed forces, but they dont join up to fight for queen and country, they join for a variety of reasons – a secure job, an apprenticeship, an escape from the mundane and then they are used as canon fodder in more ways than one. I will never wear a poppy and tell those puffed up little militaristic bigots who sell them exactly why.


    1. My anger isn’t with the troops. I mean some of them are very brave and do great things, and some of them are not, and do dreadful things. A minority I reckon in both categories. Most of them probably are lads (and lasses now) trying to escape the dreary awfulness of being born poor in the post industrial UK, where the alternative is ASDA for the minimum wage.

      It’s with the governments of both colours that can’t wait to send other people’s children to other people’s countries to do whatever it is they do. The treat them like a bucket of sh*t when they come back injured or mentally broken. But get all dressed up, bang on about our brave boys, and grandstand.

      Instead of buying Trident, use some of the money to make their lives a little less awful.


    1. Well, I didn’t think I was. I criticised the parties for their lack of decency. If you’re referring to the picture, well, I just thought that it was amusing that the put a picture on their paper with three people, and only two names. Just seemed to me it might have been done on purpose.


    2. Have you seen the cropped photo of Corbyn doing the rounds in the Tory press? It’s made out to being him doing a jig on the way to the Cenotaph. It’s those Tory hypocrites that have no decency “Sir”.

      Tris is too much the gentleman to tell you to fuck right off, but I’m not.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve seen them Conan.

        They wanted to get back at him becasue last year he put all of them to shame by going after the service and talking to veterans instead of rushing into the warmth of the FO to rub shoulders with royalty.


  2. My uncle, a decorated NCO, died in Normandy nearly two decades before I was born. At the same time his wee brother was sailing to the Far East. He died twenty years later, of stomach cancer, perhaps due to having visited the radioactive ruins of Nagasaki after the Japanese surrender.
    I wear a poppy to remember them, not because of any self important British Legion member, clad in blazer and beret tells me to.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My dad worked in the nuclear submarines at Rosyth and even though he was a Scottish nationalist through and through he was intensely proud of the work he did. He died of lung and bone cancer 21 years ago, the last of 4 other men in our street who worked at Rosyth who also died of cancer. The consultant in the hospital told us that if he could prove it he could make a lot of folk a lot of money if they went to court.

    There’s no poppies for them.


      1. I wonder if we started asking relatives of deceased nuclear base workers, about cause of death, just what the response would be?


    1. Dave: Sorry to hear of your dad’s death.

      It’s been said over and over again that these things aren’t safe. Wasn’t Brown supposed to be doing something about the high levels of radioactivity found on beaches in that area? Beaches, the place children go to play!

      The whole thing is shameful.


  4. It would be interesting to know how many of the current Faslane workers contract cancer. Of course as so many of the workers are bussed up from England we will never know.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Until the Ministry of War in London is forced to pay for lifetime care of our wounded servicemen,they will continue to allow unscrupulous politicians to send people into harms way.
    Better still,send the politicians themselves into conflict and let them sort it out.
    They are,for the main part,expendable and it would save us a lot of money on expenses etc.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I liked it in the old days when they king led his troops and the nobles into battle. Put Liz on a horse and all the dukes and politicians… old Foulkes… and tally ho…


  6. I think this should be read out every year.

    “I felt then, as I feel now, that the politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organizing nothing better than legalized mass murder.”
    Harry Patch

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No, it should have been the official response to the call to send planes into Syria.

      And should be read out in parliament every time anyone there suggests sending the military to do anything on foreign soil.

      But imagine the reaction if that was the SNP line in the chamber?

      Liked by 1 person

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