All terrorism is repulsive.

It is, after all, the random killing of totally innocent people to make a political, religious or other point; to hold a gun to a government’s head.

The randomness of it revolts. The terrorists’ bomb takes dads, mums, grannies, kids, dogs… people with lives, with futures, with plans. People with no power to change what the terrorists want to be changed. Sometimes even people who would sympathise with the terrorists’ cause.

Just random people. In this case random young people.

Who amongst us have more future, more dreams, more plans than kids? Teenagers out for a night with mates at a pop concert. Lives ahead of them.

What kind of people could even conceive such an attack even in their wildest imaginings?

Rightly, political campaigning has been universally stopped for today out of respect. The SNP manifesto launch has been postponed. Politicians in office will have more to do today than make party points, you would hope.

Nothing anyone can say can make this better for the friends and families of the dead and injured, but I guess all over the world people are reflecting on how these folk must be feeling. It’s hard to imagine, but I think it’s important to try to do so. What would it be like if this was your town, you kids?

The people of Manchester have shown their metal by opening their homes, giving blood, and pulling together in so many ways to do what they can for each other, for the victims and those whose job puts them in the centre of this.  It’s a fact that whenever this kind of thing (the very worst of human behaviour) happens, it brings out the best in humans.

So ignore the comments of people like Farage, Robinson and Hopkins, concentrate on the what the good guys are doing and let’s get behind them.

Across the world today we are all Mancunians.



So again, Niko, before you have a go. I have no problem with there being some sort of death duties. I just don’t think it should be exclusively for those who get sick as they get older. It should be for everyone who is rich.

It should be run by the government. It must not involve private companies making vast amounts of money, and it shouldn’t ever mean that people who are starting to get sick will wish themselves dead before they have had time to spend the legacy that they thought they were leaving to their kids.

My concern is all about the universality of social security and the welfare state.

Anyway, it’s been fun watching “strong and stable” become “weak and wobbly”.





n botswana eleph
Come and see a bit of Botswana with us…
n botswana sunset
…Like this old tree…
n botswana 2
…And these hippos.
n dolph
n antar
You’d probably not guess, but this is Antarctica. Climate change in operation.
n antarc
An article linked at the bottom of the page.
n duckling2
Follow me, lads…
N Hallgrimskirkja
Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavík.
n donkey
Are you my mummy?
n koala
Eat your heart out, Sinatra.
N orang3
I found a blanket nearly the same colour as me.
On a rainy day, you’d think they put up a tent around my favourite café.
n willow
n duxckling
We got lost…
Rescued by man, from man.
n lion
Still in Botswana…
Two of them…all played out.
N Nanortalik
Nanortalik, Greenland.
N Skogafoss
Skogafoss, Iceland.
n donk
Welcome to my field.
n heb lambs, domhnall Macsween
Domhnall Macsween’s Hebridean lambs.

Climate change is turning Antarctica green, according to researchers.

Late note. I’ve just seen that

Conservatives remove UK ivory trade ban from their manifesto. Profits antiques trade matter more than saving Africa’s elephants disgraceful!

May they rot in hell for that, if for nothing else.


There are those who ask, and I can see their point, why should we pay for rich people’s care in their old age. Aren’t the Tories right to make people sell up and take care of themselves?

Why should the taxpayer foot a bill for people’s old age care so that their offspring can profit from the sale of their house when they die? Isn’t it reasonable that assets be sold so that the owners can be looked after as they age?



But there are some pretty obvious questions and points that, unless they are made very clear, may blur the distinction between elderly care and NHS care:


At what point does one become elderly? If you need care when you are 70, is that elderly, even though today you’re likely to have at least another 20 years ahead of you?  Is it elderly care when you are 60? What if, for some reason, you need that care at 45? Or 35? After all, you might have been left a house of good value. You can be a homeowner at any age.

And what if the care were for a relatively short but undefined term, say after an operation or some hospital treatment, or whatever? Maybe for 3 months, 6 months, a year?

Or what if it were a relatively young person with some disablement who had been cared for at home by parents all his or her lives, and these parents had now died leaving a substantial property? Long term care required for maybe 50 years?

Once you introduce a commercial insurance aspect into the deal you are putting the profitability of the company, salespeople’s bonuses and shareholders’ dividends above the interests of the clients.


Who will be the winner in any game like that?

And once again, if it depends on the value of the property, and there is a cut-off point, how will that value be adjudged? Who will do the valuing? Will people, as they age, stop making improvements to their homes in order to reduce their property’s value?

And for at least some people, what will be the point of buying a house and looking after it and its gardens? Why would they bother? People without their own property who have spent their money on holidays, parties, clothes, cars and high living instead will get their care free.

And will there be different classes of care dependent on house value?

Is this the thin end of the wedge? Once we have become accustomed to selling a property to pay for care needs, will people who have acquired wealth in any form have to pay for other kinds of care?  A short stay in hospital? A new hip; radiotherapy? Where will it end? And what kind of treatment will be available to people who have nothing to sell, and no cash in the bank?


And does anyone trust insurance companies in the City of London? As the writer above says, it is a financial scandal waiting to happen but after Mrs May has given up kitten heels for slippers.

There will be, I’m sure, many questions that I’ve failed to ask. I’m sure you will prompt me.


One thing’s for sure though. There will be some people who won’t ever have to sell anything to be looked after in their old age. So that’s alright then.

So we’ll say it again. For heaven’s sake vote.


We’ve said it before, and we will say it again, specifically before the cut off date for getting registered to vote (May 22). Prepare to be bored.

If you are happy to accept what your dad, grandma, great-granny and their peers vote for, then skip the visit to the polling station. After all, it’s ten minutes of your life that you won’t get back and there are probably things you would rather be doing.

You might want to consider, though, whether you’d let your grandparents chose your clothes, your car, your furnishings, your choice of music or your girlfriend/boyfriend. It would save you some time, certainly.


On the other hand, living with that choice might be difficult. A Tom Jones concert and a pair of smart beige slacks?

So, if you would prefer to choose your own government, particularly in light of the upcoming negotiations to withdraw from the world, (and you might want to choose people a little more in touch with reality and the 21st century than Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox, the disgraced ex-defence minister, not to mention the frightful Theresa) maybe you should think about giving up that ten minutes and voting.

After all, your granny probably won’t want to avail herself of Erasmus or take a job in Germany or Sweden… but you might want to.