Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Bureau de Change 2013


Or, the United Colours of Independence go to Calton Hill. Do we only do marches like this because Better Together can't? Could you really see rank and file nurses and postal workers marching behind Alastair Darling and a cameo walk-on by David Cameron? All headed by an Orange flute band in full song and security provided by the EDL?


There may have been many of the already converted among the twenty to thirty thousand who marched from the High St to Cnoc a' Challtainn yesterday but a demonstration it most certainly was. A demonstration of what the 'no' campaign have yet to manage - people of all colours and from many nationalities marched for a positive and progressive future. German and French was heard alongside Gaelic. Bairns and bodaich gripped their Saltires. And those who were once counted as the 'Labour vote' giving passionate and pertinent speeches for old-school British values like the Welfare State - now threatened more by a right-wing London hell-bent on privatisation than by Scottish 'separation' which seeks to keep them intact.

Elaine C Smith gave the kind of speech that Johann Lamont couldn't write in her dreams:




Then, we have a son of a Falkirk scheme. Why has Alan Bisset gone so far off the Labour message?



Let's get out there and do it. Bitter Together can't touch us.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pet Shop Boys v. John Kerry



John Kerry has come the full circle. He famously told a Congress inquiry into the Vietnam War:

Someone has to die so that President Nixon won't be, and these are his words, "the first President to lose a war." We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?
More than three decades later and in the aftermath of the Iraq debacle, his quote becomes the inspiration for a Bruce Springsteen song. England's synthpop wizards, the Pet Shop Boys, are never slow to employ either irony or a good tune to their own ends and have included the track on their new, and excellent, Electric album.

In a further update to the tale, a Republican Senator, Rand Paul, has asked Kerry how he can ask 'a man to be the first to die for a mistake'. While the Republicans, or some at least, are cock-a-hoop at the chance to kick a black president when he's down, Paul's quotes are nevertheless spot on.
On NBC’s Meet the Press, Paul pressed Kerry, who’d appeared just before him, on his anti-war past, saying, “I wish he’d remember more of how awful war is.”
Kerry becomes a hawk and a Republican becomes a peacenik. Who'd have thunk it?

Springsteen and the Pet Shop Boys - both versions are worth a slot on your playlist - are the soundtrack of Autumn.


"The Last To Die"
(Bruce Springsteen)

We took the highway till the road went black

We'd marked truth or consequences on our map

A voice drifted up from the radio

Some other voice from long ago



Who'll be the last to die for a mistake?

The last to die for a mistake?

Whose blood will spill?
Whose heart will break?

Who'll be the last to die for a mistake?



The kids asleep in the back seat

We're just counting the miles, you and me

We don't measure the blood we've drawn anymore

We just stack the bodies outside the door

Who'll be the last to die for our mistakes?

The last to die for our mistakes?

Whose blood will spill?
Whose heart will break?

Who'll be the last to die for our mistakes?



The sun it sets in flames as the city burns

Another day gone down as the evening turns

And I hold you here in my heart

as things fall apart



A downtown window flushed with light

and faces of the dead at five

I see her martyr's silent eyes

petition the drivers as we pass by

Who'll be the last to die for our mistakes?

The last to die for our mistakes?

Whose blood will spill?
Whose heart will break?

Who'll be the last to die?


Who'll be the last to die for our mistakes?

The last to die for our mistakes?

Tyrants and kings both meet the same fate
strung up at your city gate

Who'll be the last to die for our mistakes?