In August 2009, I had been in hospital, having suffered a collapsed lung (spontaneous pneumothorax) which just wouldn’t uncollapse, spontaneously or otherwise.
So they sent me to Edinburgh Royal, where they operated and stuck me all back together again, actually with talcum powder… no really!
When I was released I was a bit incapacitated with holes here and there and told to rest, temporarily unable to resume my duties. I’m wasn’t good at rest, although I’m a lot better than I was all these years ago.
So I was a bit bored. To be honest, I was a LOT bored.
There was a fair number of pro-indy blogs publishing in these days of yore long before the SNP did the unthinkable and formed a majority government based on a manifesto pledge to hold a referendum, and I was an avid reader of so many of them (along with watching endless re-runs of “Murder She Wrote”. Go, Angela!)
The following isn’t an exclusive list (and you may want to add to it), but I have very fond memories of Scot Goes Pop (James); John Brownlie; Pseudepigrapha (Conan); Niko’s Bar; Dean the Tory; Subrosa. I looked forward to their articles and the discussions that inevitably followed.
I was a reader of, and a regular contributor to, a blog called Advanced Media Watch, which was run by “The Spook of Leith”, a university student whose real name was Omar, and he and I bantered a lot on his blog, then got to emailing each other and bantering some more.
Spooky suggested I write a blog as a way of passing the time while I recovered from my operation, but I was far from confident about it and kept saying no. But bit by bit he wore me down… and then this little fellow turned up in my life and took over.
Between them, Munguin and Omar convinced me that I should get started, and Munguin’s Republic was born, with Munguin at the helm, and Tris there as his dog’s body.
Omar advertised the Republic on his very popular blog, Munguin took the writing in hand (paw? flipper?) and off we went.
And 10 years later, here we still are.
With the passage of time, blogs have come and blogs have gone… and some go on forever, eh James!
It’s a long time, is 10 years, and we’ve all got older but not a lot wiser.
We’ve discussed some stuff over the years… a good deal more than politics. And we’ve developed traditions. I reckon I’d get lynched if “All our Yesterdays” or “Soppy Sunday” (John’s invention) were to fall by the wayside. So they won’t.
I’ve made friends on here. Some of whom I’ve met (sometimes just in passing on a march, sometimes on a more personal basis, in the pub! And of course, maybe most dramatically, my friend Abu, who came all the way from Malaysia because of his love for Scotland). Some more, I hope, I will meet sometime in the future… and some, I guess, I’ll never meet.
Munguin and I would like to thank all of you… those who’ve been around since the beginning and those who have joined in more recently, for your friendship and for sharing your thoughts over the months and years. The Republic would be nothing without the comments.
Some of you, I know, read the blog regularly and rarely if ever comment. That’s fine too. And grateful thanks go to people who send in contributions, whether that’s articles (Panda Paws, Abu, et al), jokes, or photos… well, there are far too many to mention, but we all know who you are and your input is appreciated.
So enough nostalgia, and let’s try to get through the mess that is Brexit, even though we didn’t vote for it and onward to Independence, hopefully in the very near future.
Actually, we’re incredulous that there are still those who think that a Boris Johnson/Dominic Cummings government (as Chris Patten described the current UK administration tonight on Radio Four) is preferable to an Independent Scotland.
So Munguin had me toiling in the fields today, despite the bitterly cold wind. He’s an animal of very little compassion. However, as he was supervising from the window of his penthouse apartment, I couldn’t slack and quickly warmed up by working double plus hard.
There were some pleasant early surprises so I thought I’d share them with you.
Trumpy Bear can be yours for only $19,95 (Plus shipping and handling, whatever “handling” might be!). Or so it would seem until you look at the website (linked above).
In the small print at the bottom of the page, it points out that there are two payments of $19,95 plus $6,95 S&H. So the top line price far from being $19,95, is actually $46.85!
A tad overpriced for this tacky piece of tat, wouldn’t you say?
Now, when you stop vomiting, can I just point out that you could get a handsome bear with an orangy brown coat, and stick a duster on his head for a good deal less, as Munguin did with his mate Scruffy Bear.
Alternatively, President Trump-Biscuit is still hanging around Munguin Towers… And he was only 85p!
.@VADundee opens its doors to the public! @scotgov has long been a supporter of the museum. We are very excited and proud of our role as a catalyst and foundation for this amazing project! pic.twitter.com/7NdagtdIH8
.@scotgov suspended general use in 2014-only suspended NOW in England. Held inquiry-patients in England still asking. Can’t BAN- decision by MHRA, UK licensing body. Why, after all this time, do you STILL not know difference between reserved/devolved policy areas? But hey #SNPbad
Dear Richard Leonard,
I know what it’s like in your first few days in the job. You’re not entirely sure where the toilets are, if you can just go make a coffee when you want, or when yer granny phones, you’re not sure if you can take the call or not.
You also aren’t quite sure of what the organisation does in all its detail, and of what your personal responsibilities are.
It’s a difficult time, these first few days and weeks, as we can see from your first FMQs (as recently tweeted by Wings):
It is completely reasonable, in these initial days and weeks, that you get mixed up from time to time about whether your organisation is, or isn’t responsible for a variety of things.
But don’t worry, after you have been in post for a few months all of this will become clear. And never forget that you have a paid team of researchers to help you out. So don’t worry about having to go and ask.
They should be able to find you a list like the one I include here for your use. And I’m sure that, if you ask nicely, someone will provide more detail.
Reference to this information may save you making silly and quite high profile errors like criticising the government for something over which they have no control… you know, like drugs policy, or employment legislation, industrial relations, telecommunications, railway nationalisation… etc.
Many of these things are reserved for the Tories at Westminster, which can make governing rather difficult.
Maybe too, you should check with someone to see whether you campaigned against the devolution of a reserved matter before criticising the current government for shortcomings in that area. It may go against the grain, but you can always criticise the Conservatives.
And finally, remember that your close friend and colleague, Mr Jones, runs a government in Wales. He has responsibility and power for some things. You can always give him a call, or look over his result statistics, before you launch into an unfortunate criticism of a better performing similar service in Scotland.
Now I realise that the Press, or some of it, is, to an extent, on your side, and that they won’t make a huge deal of little errors. Indeed, even the parts of the press that aren’t really on your side will probably give you a by on some stuff, because they’d rather shut up shop than let the SNP government look as if it knew what it was doing.
But you need to remember that there are sites like Wings over Scotland that are read by more people in a day than is most of the Press. And these sites will be relentless.
So take care.
I’m sure these little blunders are just teething troubles and that you’ll soon find your feet.
And one further wee piece of advice. Don’t just take for granted what your top team says. Perhaps most particularly, Neil Findlay, Jackie Baillie and the sit down man.
PS: Notes and Corrections:
I fear I may have fallen into the trap against which I warned you. Having just checked with my trusty (more or less) factotum, Tristan, or whatever he’s called, I find that you have, in fact, been in your current job for nearly a year and not nearly a fortnight as I had been led to believe.
I can’t help feeling that, by now, you should have got past asking people where to find the Gents.
Oh, and obviously, I don’t REALLY know what it’s like in your first few weeks at work as I don’t actually work. Clearly, as owner and proprietor of Munguin’s Republic, if my granny phones me, it’s my business.
Cloudy windy dry & even warmish 17° rising to 19° & feeling 15° rising to 19°.
Before the walk, there’s a 5% chance of rain, but 0% for the walk.
A rather blowy 22-24MPH wind, so the flags should look grand.
Munguin will be there, of course, along with Tris, his faithful retainer.
Hopefully, we shall see you there.
The march sets off from Baxter Park at 12.45, but the organisers want people there a bit earlier than that. So Munguin may be persuaded to rise a little earlier than his normal noon, and, hopefully, we’ll be at the pavilion in the centre of the park from around 12.15 to 12.30.
Munguin will be delighted to make your acquaintance if you want to pop over. He’s a bit like the First Minister. He is quite prepared to hug! And, remember, it will be a great honour for you to meet him!!!!!
If you don’t make it to Baxter Park for the march, we may see you at Magdalen Green.
Here is hoping for a good turn out. Dundee was YES CITY in the referendum… let’s show them that we still are.
At Inverness march a few weeks ago, there was a small band of unionists involved in a counter-demonstration. And I read that Scotland in Union was asking for people to come to a similar demonstration in Dundee. Although Conservative politicians have said that they would not be participating (for obvious reasons), there may be others bussed in by Scotland in Union.
This is completely legitimate. They have as much right to demonstrate for their union as we have to march against it. Let’s treat them with respect, regardless of how they treat us, and not rise to the bait of any provocation, the like of which was seen in Inverness.
AUOB marches, and indeed the independence movement in general, are known for being peaceful and good-natured. This is a great image for our movement. So smile and be cheerful and let any hate come from them to us, and not in the opposite direction.
A note of caution. In light of the news that British Unionist, Peter Morgan, a regular protester at the independence marches, has been jailed for 12 years for plotting terrorist attacks in Scotland, and a tweet from John Ferguson (below), don’t be backwards at taking photos of anyone makingpersonalthreats, and be prepared to report anything like that to the Police.
This makes the threat that I received slightly concerning. It was from one very excitable older unionist woman protester at the Inverness AUOB Indy march when she pointed the finger at me and told me they knew who I was and they would get me’ wonder who they are?
An occasional series, when politics gets boring (or just plain ridiculous like today’s story about Tory Prize Muppet, Ross Thomson, going to Japan to do Foxy’s job for him.
Today, Munguin made a visit for lunch to Glen Lyon, Perthshire in company with some friends. It’s an absolutely beautiful glen, and one of the longest in Scotland, although it’s a challenging drive up a single-track road. (Munguin would like, at this stage, to say thank you to Anya, one of his team of chauffeurs, for all the driving she did. I’ll do it next time!)
It was a beautiful day. The temperature didn’t budge much from 20-22 C, and the scenery was spectacular.
We had an agreeable, and not particularly pricey lunch in Glen Lyon Post office, Bridge of Balgy, before driving to Fortingall to see the famous Yew Tree (not YES tree, yet).
Widely differing estimates have been made of its age, between 3 000 and 9 000 years. It’s certainly the oldest living thing in Scotland, if not Europe. The tree is enclosed in a walled garden of its own for its protection because, believe it or not, it was damaged by vandals. However, Munguin was able to perch on the wall and commune with it. (Maybe he talks Yew, who knows!!)
A little farther on we passed a sign for a small villagewhere Munguin has decided that I should live. He said it would suit me nicely… so we stopped to have a look. Although the views were superb, it was, indeed, Dull.
Here, Tris, I’ve found a place you can retire to (on a generous pension) as soon as you reach 80.
Munguin, with all his customary kindness, has suggested I might like to take a trip to its twin village of Boring in Oregon… or even Bland, in New South Wales. I think that as I write (or you read) he is scanning the world for a place called Tedious to add to my tour schedule.
Munguin checking up that the staff left at Munguin Towers are hard at it… Yes, there is actually a working BT red telephone box up the Glen.
Oh, and I’ve just noticed that Dominic Raab, the newly appointed Brexit Secretary, isn’t actually going to be Brexit Secretary… I mean he’s still going to have the title, the salary and the car and be called Rt Hon and all, he’s just not actually going to be doing Brexit. So it didn’t take them long to find out he was a useless whatsit.
No, don’t look at me like that. This is Britain. It’s all totally possible.
Anyway, wait for the exciting news. Mrs May is going to take over the negotiations herself (because she’s so good at this stuff).
Anyway, you might say that “Brexit means Brexit”, but you can’t say the “Brexit Secretary means Brexit Secretary”.
It’s a funny old world, ain’t it just!
I wonder, with all this leisure time on his hands, if Dom will be taking over the tea duties from Fluffs…
Or maybe he’s the one that will be doing the stockpiling of food. The Rt Hon Secretary of State for Warehouses, Workhouses and Ration Books for the deserving poor?