Scotland 2—0 Spain

The last time Scotland beat Spain at Hampden, King Kenny Dalglish scored and so did super-rat Mo Johnston. The last time Scott McTominay scored a double double in two competitive matches was eh, never. McTominay used to get a game for Man United. He was recently touted for a loan move to Rangers because he wasn’t good enough to get into the Celtic midfield. We all know the rules, for the diddy team to win, Hampden has got to be the perfect turnip patch pitch for wee cabbage patch kids like John McGinn to play ball. Our keeper needs to have one of those games where you say, how did he save that? And can’t really answer because you’re choked up.

Well, Angus Gunn (a good Scottish name, the sun of Brian Gunn, and no relation to Tommy Gunn) didn’t have a particularly good game. He’d a couple of bog standard saves to make. Sure Spain had between 70-80% possession. We expected that. Steve Clarke, when he was Kilmarnock boss, had a decent record against the Old Firm without his team touching the ball that much. Scotland are Kilmarnock equivalents. They aren’t expected to win games like this. Joselu hit the bar in 23 minutes, he’d already made Gunn work, but not very hard. A couple of half volleys and nothing much that would have fazed the Norwich keeper who was booked for time wasting.

McTominay scored in the first seven minutes of the first and second half. That gave Scotland something to hold onto. The second goal gave the team something to believe in. The game plan didn’t change. Kick the ball forward. Contest knockdowns.

The first goal was a gift. Pedro Porro slipped on the rain-soaked surface. It allowed Andy Robertson, playing an advanced role in front of Tierney, to nip in on the touchline and knock the ball back to McTominay. The midfielder made a habit of hitting the ball early and taking a nick against the defender and wrong-footing the keeper. He was so good at it, he did it twice.

The second goal was pure pre-Tierney. The ex-Celt has had a torrid time, and it remains to be seen if he’s the rampaging full back he once was. Here he took the ball and with nobody to hit, and  kept running.  Dani Carvajal bounced off him. He was into the last third. His ball into the box wasn’t great. It was easily blocked by David Garcia, but his clearance fell to the deadly Scott, who sent the Spanish homeward to think again. Or something like that.

John McGinn, another midfielder, who suddenly finds himself prolific for Scotland, also hit the bar with a swerving free kick in the 57th minute.

With so many balls blootered forward, Lyndon Dykes had his work cut out. Just before half time he had a great chance to make it 2—0. Robertson’ hooked long clearance fell behind David Garcia who’d misjudged it. Dykes was in on goal. His first and second touches were perfect to set himself up for the finish. He clipped the shot over the keeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga, but also over the bar. He was the busier of the two keepers. Dykes was later booked (perhaps unfairly) for use of an elbow.

Lawrence Shankland came on in 89 minutes. Callum McGregor had one of those late runs that mirrored Tierney’s earlier in the match. He picked out the Heart’s forward to finish, but he didn’t. No matter. Game done. Job done.

Scotland didn’t play well, but they defended well. Our captain, Andy Robertson, had one of those sliding-elbow moments. He caught Pedro Porro on the edge of his jaw with a nothing challenge. He got a yellow card. But it could have been red. That would have made it the clichéd  different game entirely. Steve Clarke’s Scotland wouldn’t have flung men forward, but even in the turnip filed that is Hampden Park, the Spanish would have found more than enough space to work. For the diddy team to win, everything needs to come together as it did tonight in the rain. Six points out of six. We’re Scotland. Something will happen and it won’t be good. But then again. Fucking Scott McTominay. That’s a 50 000/1 shot. Maybe Scotland will win the World Cup.   

Betsy Lerner (2002) An Editor’s Advice to Writers:  The Forest for the Trees.

Betsy Lerner has won a stack of awards. Since the publication of her book over twenty years ago, there’s more wood, more forest, more trees. She tells us this book is not a book about how to write. Anne Lamott (1994) Bird by Bird, one of my favourites, is listed in her bibliography. Rather, Lerner’s book is about pattern recognition. How writers can’t really see what they (we or I) write, but engage in magical thinking. To ad lib William Blackstone, it is far better if ten gifted writers go unpublished that I suffer the same indignity. A loss is twice as painful as a gain, but the latter is not twice as sweet, perhaps even soured by other’s success.

Pick your pattern. What kind of writer are you? I don’t consider myself a writer. Writing being a verb rather than a noun, I’m a writer, now, when typing. In other words, I’m ‘The Ambivalent Writer’.

Here I am here.

‘When I entered the business, I believed that writers were exalted beings.’

Ambivalent writers ‘have a new idea almost every day for a writing project’.

Lerner’s advice it pretty simple here. I’d already worked that one out. Shut up and write. Don’t talk about it, blabbing on about your research and what you’ve read and what you plan to do. Do it.

‘Most writers have very little choice in what they write about.’

Find your lodestar. Start drilling down. This fits with my notion that most authors write much the same book again and again. If I got it right, I could retire happy.

But Lerner is quick to point out, writing is a calling and a profession. Publication does not make you happy. And there is no finishing line. We’re not going to write Catcher in the Rye and shut up shop. Far more likely we stop writing because we can longer stand that sense of failure and inability to get published, to be recognised, to be the kind of person we imagine ourselves to be. When a writer stops writing, the publishing world does not mourn your passing, or pause. You are forgotten before you’re remembered.   

‘The Natural’ writer is the real thing. I’m not the real thing. Lerner gives the example of Robert Redford in the film, The Way We Were. I think Barbara Streisand was in the same film. She’s got a big nose. I’ve got a big nose. Maybe I’m a natural after all.

‘equal we are not.’

‘What does this really mean to the struggling writer?’

We can follow the moron’s moron, Trump rule: I know poor people exist, but I don’t know them personally. Therefore, they may exist hypothetically as potential billionaires. A correlation exists between being a multi-millionaire as a child and billionaire as an adult.

Lerner suggests there is a correlation between writing as a child and continuing to write as an adult and becoming a published (and successful) author. I sure fail that test. I’m not a natural, even though I have a big nose.

But she has a word of warning for such child prodigies. Burn bright. Burn out. The industry is insatiable. For every rising star, black holes suck up all money and rights.

Here I am here again, popping up. The late bloomer section. She gives the example of Frank McCourt.

‘Most editors will agree that the work of reviewing a manuscript feels like slow death.’

Especially, if it’s your own. Get used to ‘silence, solitude, and rejection’.

What kind of silence do you share? The Wicked Child hooks his family on the line and reels them in word for word. Philip Roth tore up his Jewish faith, his Jewish upbringing, and created character so real he seemed to blaspheme. But few could agree what they were arguing about and those that did agree argued the other side were wrong.

Gordon Lish is served up like a gorgon. As an editor he claimed credit for among others, the head of Raymond Carver. As a deal maker, he out trumped Trump in The Art of the Deal. A father figure that is not a father, but demands loyalty and subservience of the would-be-writer, like those that broke their oath to the Godfather, and ‘will swim with the fishes’.

The second part of her book gives an overview of the publishing industry. ‘Making Contact: Seeking Agents and Publication,’ and ends not with ‘The Book,’ but ‘Publishing’. Most of us know the difference between the two now. Self-Publishing is where most of the trees go now. But it’s all here if you want to have a look. Read on.

Climbing Blind, BBC 4, BBC iPlayer, Director and Producer Alastair Lee.

‘I’m not disabled, I’m blind able,’ said Jesse Dufton, the first blind man to climb the 440- foot sea stack the Old Man of Hoy in Orkney on the 4th June 2019.  

A consultant’s diagnosis that you are going to be blind is akin to a diagnosis of terminal cancer. Of all our senses, sight is the most precious. Given a choice (we don’t get a choice, it’s more like fate) I’d take the terminal cancer rather than suffer blindness. Most of us would. Sight is associated with light. It helps regulate our appetites and hormones. Our body clock relies on sight and light, each cell in our body responds to light.

Dufton was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa when he was four-years old. His parents were told he would never be able to read. They should shelter him and prepare him for a life of blindness. They did the opposite and sent him to the school of hard knocks.

Molly, his visual climbing guide and fiancée, met him at university. He was part of their climbing club. She thought there was something strange about him. Later she worked out he was blind. He had only peripheral vision, which was also deteriorating. By the time Dufton was twenty, he could no longer hold a page up to his nose and read the print. Aged thirty, his field of vision was around 1-2%. He was blind by any measure.

The Old Man of Hoy is an arduous climb for the sighted. That old equation, time, speed and distance are also related to sight. When swimming breath stroke with my eyes shut in the baths I tend to hit the guide ropes, panic and open my eyes. Everything seems further away, yet nearer. Einstein’s special theory of relativity could also apply to blindness. Moving clocks run slow. Rulers shrink. Our impotence grows. Nothing seems possible. If the population of Scotland were blinded and taken scale the Old Man of Hoy all would fall off like lemmings from the cliff face onto the rocks and sea below.

We know Jess Duffon made the impossible possible plotting a path for other blind and unsighted people. The complex machinery of our eyes are made up of four separate strata. He believes he will regain his vision. I’m not so sure. It’s not about pluck or determination or even luck. His fate is out of his hands. He has faith of a different sort. I hope his story has a happy ending, because it would mean so much to so many others. But I imagine whatever happens, his superpowers of resilience won’t let him down.  What would you fear losing most?     

Murder in the Pacific, BBC 2, BBC iPlayer, Director Chloe Campbell.

‘One death is a tragedy, a million death is a statistic.’

A quote perhaps wrongly attributed to the Georgian, and mass murderer Josef Stalin it could equally apply to Vladimir Putin whom the International Criminal Court has indicted for war crimes. Or President Xi whom Putin is currently meeting with in Moscow. But it could equally apply to any number of American Presidents such as George W. Bush (senior and junior). Junior’s  invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, for example,  twenty years ago killed tens of thousands and helped create millions of refugees. Most world leaders are in the frame. The moron’s moron and 42nd American President in refusing to admit defeat in the 2016 election was responsible for around four deaths. Murder in the Pacific nails to the mast the person responsible for death of crew member and photographer on the Rainbow Warrior, Fernando Pereira, 10th July 1985, was French President Mitterrand. He should be tried for murder, but we know he’ll not. That’s the way our world works. 

The atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki helped defeat the Japanese and end the war. That was the official narrative. Australian reporter Wilfred Burchett, who helped coin the term ‘The Atomic Plague’ offers a counter narrative. Stalin, he claimed, agreed that Soviet forces would attack the Japanese in mainland China, after the Germans surrendered. They did so in Manchuria. But the Soviets also claimed Japan was ready to surrender. 14th August 1945, the Japanese officially surrendered. The dropping of the A-bombs ended the Second World War.

The American narrative remained it was necessary. Wilfred Burchett did something radical. While General MacArthur with his airborne troops set himself up as de facto ruler of Japan. He went to see for himself the devastation of Little Boy. Burchett sent a warning to the world. He was put on a watch list, a black list, and his movement was restricted. Media reports were supressed. His power didn’t rely on controlling millions of troops, but in telling the truth and not listening to official lies.

Greenpeace members on Rainbow Warrior followed the same dictate. Before travelling to Auckland, in 1985, they had had taken on board around 300 Marshall Islanders from Rongelap Atoll, men, women and children. They had been poisoned by radioactive waste from American nuclear tests. A hydrogen bomb test around 1000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb at Hiroshima in 1954, for example, was more potent than officials expected. Outwith their margins for error.  It did not stop further testing of hydrogen bombs. But State officials monitored indigenous illnesses, while congratulating themselves that they were ‘savages’ and therefore guinea pigs that didn’t feel pain in the same way. Should nuclear fallout contaminate real people, white Americans, they’d therefore know in advance what to expect. Captain Wilcox and his crew helped transport these Marshall Islanders to another less polluted and uninhabited atoll in the Pacific. Ironically, global warming will swamp these islands in the next ten to twenty years. Nuclear war has also never seemed more inevitable.

In 1985, Rainbow Warrior sailed to New Zealand to meet with other yachts and boats that planned to protest and disrupt French nuclear testing at the Mururoa Atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago of French Polynesia. Like their American counterparts, nuclear explosions poisoned water and reefs and created widespread radioactive deserts. If there was such a thing as a safe nuclear explosion, here was the official French government response. More bombing, this time non-nuclear.

While Captain Peter Wilcox gave his crew, some much needed downtime in Auckland Harbour, French divers were attaching explosives to the hull. Much like the Salisbury Poisoning, the three teams involved were identified in a criminal investigation. Two French nationals were convicted, but released after two years. They returned to France and a hero’s welcome, much like the Salisbury terrorists, returned to a hero’s welcome in Moscow. President Mitterrand and the French nation had been unofficially found guilty of state terrorism.    

Andrew O’Hagan (2006) Be Near Me.

I’ve been dipping into Andrew O’Hagan’s back catalogue. Be Near Me was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2006, but for me the book didn’t work. The title comes from an Alfred, Lord Tennyson poem, ‘In Memoriam, A.H.H.,’ preceding the beginning of the novel.

‘Be near me when the light is low,

When the blood creeps, and the nerves prick

And tingle: when the heart is sick,

And all the wheels of Being slow.’

Who is it? What is it? We can expect from this precursor a strangulated love story of sorts, with added doom and gloom. We know that Andrew O’Hagan likes to keep things close to the Ayrshire coast. The Prologue is 1976, Edinburgh Castle. We get Oxford, Balliol, and Rome. Fling in a bit of Paris 1968, and student unrest and protests in London about American involvement in Vietnam. The echo of that comes with George Bush Junior’s great lie: Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. (No he doesnae, I can hear whisper, young Tony Blair.) And there you have it, twenty years ago, and the invasion of Iraq. Father David’s having a dinner party with a Bishop, some other priests, a social worker and a school head. A light-hearted meal with fish, naturally.

For Mark (McNugget) McNulty, aged 15, none of these things matter. Celtic have beaten Liverpool in the Europa Cup and they’re going all the way to the final. Lisa Nolan, his sidekick, knows the score. McNugget is top of the world. She will both lead and follow wherever their hormones take them and make them.

Their families are a waste of space. Mark’s da is fat as fuck and depressed. He might even be clinical. Who gives a fuck? Certainly not him.  His life is over. Factories have shut in Dalgarnock. They can’t talk to each other. They’ve nothing to say. Football is their only religion. Drink their only communion. Standard fare for Andrew O’Hagan.  

Catalyst comes in the form of the new Parish Priest, Father David Anderton. He’s middle-aged, upper-middle-class and relatively well off. Worse, he’s English and well educated. He’s no great experience of parish life, but he’s got Mrs Poole as a housekeeper. He makes enemies of teachers at the Catholic school where he offers pastoral care.

But he quickly makes friends with McNugget and Lisa. They adopt him and bring him into their gang, which includes a car thief, Chubb. They take him away from loneliness and lead him into temptation. Here we have it the central story which is McNugget and Anderton. They go on outings. He becomes infatuated with the boy. It reminds him of his first love with Conor—back in in 1968, at Oxford. Be near me. Father David does lots of things that aren’t very priestly, including kissing McNugget.

We’re in clichéd, paedophile priest territory. And in Dalgarnock that’s a burning offence. The sensibility of the story (and backstory) is skewed towards how Father David got stupid and remained stupid even when he knew it was stupid. We’re in the unknown known territory of the Gulf War.

My problem with the known knows is McNugget remains one dimensional. I guess most 15-year-old boys and girls such as Lisa are. Their uncommon language to me doesn’t sound right. Their relationship with Father David doesn’t, therefore, make sense. I thought if McNugget was a girl and he was an older man, but this is not Lolita. But I’m not 15 either. What do I know?

Read on.     

Celtic 3—1 Hibs

I’m glad Kyogo and Hatate aren’t in the Japanese squad. I’m glad Carter-Vickers isn’t away with the American squad. Not glad Greg Taylor is carrying an injury, and Hatate picked up one too against Hibs at Parkhead, yesterday. Hibs were long odds to pick up a point. But the introduction of Oh in sixty minutes changed the game. Ironically, his first miskick of the ball was from a corner. He’d another half chance a few minutes later from another cross ball. Oh, on the 81st minute, ragdolled Hanlon as he met a cross from a corner and scored the goal we were all waiting for—and it was tops off time as he took the plaudits and the booking.

We could breathe. There was still time for his fellow substitute Abada to run through on goal, fall over his feet, win a penalty and get it rescinded by VAR.

Then for Haksabanovic to score what has become one of his trademark goals on the 95th  minute. Cutting inside and picking the corner of the net as if nine defenders and the keeper weren’t there. The Montenegrin started on the wing against Hearts at Tynecastle. He was taken off as Postecoglou replayed that old favourite, Jota on the left, cutting in, and Abada on the right.

As we come into the last nine league games, we’ve three games against Rangers which will determine whether it’s treble or double this season. Ironically, apart from the Hearts game away we’ve lost the first goal in the last three fixtures. Sometimes you get statistical anomalies like that. But Celtic are heavy favourites against any other team in Scotland, including Rangers. We’re better than the rest combined, but that doesn’t mean we need to just turn up.  

Opposing managers such as Lee Johnston yesterday are targeting our left back position to help them up the park. Taylor and Bernabei are tiny. So they are looking for a flick on and winning a shy or free-kick. Standard fare that Alan McGregor also employs and empties. On Saturday it came up with Starfelt being caught on VAR having a hold of Hanlon’s shirt from a long throw-in from the left.

Josh Campbell put the penalty away and sent Joe Hart the wrong way on the 39th minute.

Hibs were down to ten men by then when Youn got sent off for a foul on Startfelt and then Carter-Vickers. The game didn’t change in that we still had around eighty-percent of the play.

But we know the rules. The opposing keeper needs to have a blinder and the opposing team need to ride their luck. Former Celtic keeper, Marshall, had a good-enough game. He’d a few saves from Jota and O’Riley and Kyogo chested the ball into his midrift from the six-yard line.

Jota’s penalty on the 52nd minute was dreadful. Luckily, it squeezed under Marshall. Carter-Vickers had been held in the box. Playing against ten men and with most of the ball and most of the game in front of us, it shouldn’t have felt like a lifeline, but it did.

I’ve been accused of hyperbole (talking shite) but I think Hatate is one of the best midfielders in Europe. His form dipped at the end of last season. And he’s had a few game were he’s less than effective, but what a player he is. We missed him when he went off.

David Turrnbull, young Scottish Player of the Year, not long ago, I feel sorry for him, which is never a good sign. Hatate is ahead of him in the pecking order.

The same could be said of O’Riley. It used to be when Rogic wasn’t playing O’Riley was. Now Mooy’s form has blown the young Danish (English) prospect away.

Neither Turnbull or O’Riley did enough against Hibs to suggest they’ll be first picks against Rangers, when it really matters.

If Hatate returns in time for these fixtures, he’ll start every time. If not, I’d guess O’Riley will step into the midfield triumvirate with McGregor and Mooy.

Kyogo will start every time. But Oh has proved himself to be a bull of centre-forward. It gives us both something different and something new. Maeda, is a Postecoglou favourite, both for his speed and work rate. He also scores goals. Abada and Haksabonovic also score, but lack the Japanese forward’s graft. Jota (with the exception of his squib of a penalty) looks like he’s returning to top form.

Our defence pretty much picks itself. Hart in goal. Johnston to the right. Ironically, the young Canadian didn’t start the game well against Hibs. Doyle-Hayes was quick enough to nip in and block his first couple of passes and make him look ponderous. Greg Taylor has been a revelation, but is now carrying an injury. Bernabei came on after an hour against Hibs and had a terrific game. But he didn’t have to defend. Starfelt hit the bar with a header, was unlucky with another attempt and gave away a penalty. I’m not a fan of the Swede. But he’s going to see the season out. The most important game is the next one. But really, we want to rub Rangers’ noses in it. Beat them at Parkhead. Hammer then at Hampden. Thrash them at Ibrox. Stop all this pish about them being anything other than mediocre at best, with a manager that is a chancer.        

An Irish Goodbye, BBC 1, BBC iPlayer, Directors Ross White and Tom Berkeley.

An Irish Goodbye is an award-winning short film. The plot is simple. An Irish mammy dies and her two boys need to arrange her funeral. Turlough, the older brother, returns from London to sell the farm and to make sure Lorcan is taken care of. He assumes his younger brother will go and live with his Auntie because he’s got Down’s syndrome. An extra chromosome doesn’t stop Lorcan making his own mind up and having his own plans to stay put.

Father O’Shea, a Father Ted like character, helps to referee. He brings to the funeral a bucket list of things their mammy wanted to do before she died. Turlough and Lorcan call a truce and agree to complete the 100 items on the bucket list. 101 items. The killer is at the end, but it’s not unexpected in a feel-good way.   

Gary Lineker’s Tweet and Match of the Day.

Tweet in response to the Tory government’s stop the boats propaganda:  “immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s”.

The BBC back down, eventually. I’m a traditionalist, an old football-watching generation. We read the newspaper from the back pages to the front. The most important thing is my team, Celtic’s results. A Scottish team, built by Brother Walfrid on the backs of the Irish Scottish who flocked to these shores at a rate of over 20 000 refugees a week, escaping from the Irish potato famine (1845-1852). We came here to work and make a new life. Our football team was and is a part of our life and culture.  

Australian, Rupert Murdoch built his media empire around men and women like us, while promulgating right-wing rhetoric, such as Brexit and a disbelief in global warming. His media empire was instrumental in getting the moron’s moron Trump elected in 2016. Without Murdoch’s support and Fox News, there would have been no ‘Great Replacement’ and other neo-Nazi conspiracy theories gaining such traction and a worldwide audience. Former chief Trumpet strategist, Steve Bannon, had a term for propaganda called “flood the zone with shit”.

Gary Lineker’s tweet comparing the government’s policy on immigration to Nazi policy ‘flooded the zone with shit’, but it was the wrong kind of shit for media-friendly billionaires. We’re following the backlash. Rishi Sunak’s meeting with the French President Macron and the British Prime Minister’s agreement to pay the French billions of pounds sterling in an attempt to stop small boats crossing the Channel hardly got a look in.

 I no longer need to be drunk to fall asleep watching Match of the Day. I’ve no great interest in English teams. I usually turn the sound down while the until now affable Gary Lineker runs through the matches with pundits such as Alan Shearer and Ian Wright, who also played in the number 9 shirt for England. Saturday night’s matches were a truncated 20 minutes rather than the usual hour. That suits me. But the larger message of solidarity from striking pundits is something I support. But hey, I’m Scottish and come from the Red Clydeside. No fake news here.

 1) Personal attacks and moving the goalposts.

Setting up the straw man—knocking him down. Highly paid lawyers routinely use it in rape cases. Victims must justify themselves. The burden of proof falls on those raped and abused. Philosopher, Bertrand Russell when asked why he classified himself atheist rather than agnostic, replied, ‘Nobody can prove that there is not between the Earth and Mars a china teapot in an elliptical orbit’.

Classic teapot spotting. The criminalisation of all refugees creates a Catch 22 in which there are no legal or specified conditions in which they can become legal immigrants without already being British and having citizenship. The burden of proof falls on them to convince the authorities what that they are not, rather than what they are, while also blocking access to legal representation.

Stigma heightens risk. Well-documented cases of gang members turning up outside children’s homes and taking them away is made easy by knowing the taken will not and cannot trust authorities to help them. They will not report, rape, violence, theft or indenture also called modern slavery, because they are just refugees. Not real people.

Example of teapot spotting. Lineker is a millionaire and champagne socialist. Moving the goalposts from Britain’s policy towards refugees to his lifestyle.

Example of non-elliptical orbit.  BBC chairman and director general, Richard Sharp failing to disclose his £800 000 loan to the former Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Sharp’s donations of millions to the Conservative Party put him up there with former Russian oligarchs. Jobs for the boys.

2) Begging the question.

Lord Sugar’s, The Apprentice on BBC. His image of Jeremy Corbyn made to look like a poor man’s Hitler wasn’t begging the question as much as offering the answer to a question no one had asked. Crude propaganda of the Farage, Fox and GB News variety.  

3) Arguments from a greater authority.

It’s in the Bible. I went to Eton and /or Oxbridge. Trump said it. A toxic belief is rich people are better with money because they’re moneyed. Tautologies create feedback-loops in which those in authority cite those in authority. Trump’s claim he unclassified classified documents found in his possession by thinking about them, was right up there with his directive to inject disinfectant to treat Covid. Being rich gives you superpowers.

 4) Bandwagon paradox, we are the people.

If everyone is on the same bandwagon as the BBC, why is Lineker jumping off, and mouthing off? He doesn’t know where his bread’s buttered (being one of the people assumes a certain clichéd tone). Because he’s not one of the people. He’s not properly English like Sunak, or Home Secretaries Braverman or Patel. All of whom come from ‘shitty countries’ if we subscribe to the Trump doctrine. The moron’s moron’s father emigrated from Germany. And, unfortunately, his mum was born in a small Scottish island. Certainly, a younger Trump showed his racial precocity and refused to obey United States Federal law and rent apartments to blacks. According to Jim Crow laws adapted by the Nazi Party to discriminate against Jews, and other groups, who weren’t properly German, Lineker is English, but the wrong kind of English because he’s gone off script and therefore Communist. All would be interned in a concentration camp with Jews, Gypsies, Gays, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Communists and others deemed life unworthy of life, based on a eugenic world view. Much like refugees washing up on our beaches and refused asylum.

5) Emotion Trumps facts.

Look how many boats are arriving on our beaches. Lineker is propagating fake news that Britain is near the bottom of the European and World league when asked to help refugees. According to the United Nations, in the summer months of 2022, around 103 million people were forcibly displaced. Nearly 70% remained in countries around war zones or countries they have been displaced from. Around 13 million Ukrainians entered Europe following the invasion of Russia in 2021. Britain offered asylum to 15 700 people in the summer of 2022 (or less than Glasgow offered in a typical week in the nineteenth century). Most asylum seekers meet the criteria to be offered asylum. The Nigel Farage Tory trick is to push them back and into oceans and seas if need be. Thus the £500 million bribe payed to Macron and the French police to detain asylum seekers, following hundreds of million paid in other bribes in previous years. Add to this, the morally reprehensible actions for a so-called Christian nation. The legally questionable practicalities of ignoring the 1949 Geneva Convention set up in the aftermath of the Holocaust. And a system of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda, which grabs headlines, but costs more than processing refugees here. That great patriotic war cry of the right-wing, it’s uneconomic to the extreme (special pleading).    

6) Guilt by association and special circumstances.

Remember serial liar Boris Johnson’s pledge written-large on a bus? When we leave the EU the £350 million weekly saving would be spent on the NHS. According to BBC reports taken from the Office of Budget Responsibility leaving the EU, reduces the UK exports and imports by about 15% in the longer term and reduces productivity by around 4%. Britain imported more than it exported pre-Brexit. We see that in food rises. The selling off of companies such as BP in the mid-eighties has led to bumper profits and the highest energy prices in Europe. Lose-lose for Britain’s poorest. We also know the NHS is being sold off piecemeal. How many whistle-blowers from inside the NHS and BBC were sacked for making such an allegation? Google it, you’ll find a long list that stretches back to 13 years of Tory misrule. Britain is a small island with no particular market leverage other than the money market and tax avoidance. You need economic leverage to create the conditions for special circumstances. Think America. Think China. Britain and Boris? What Great Britain has become great at is blaming these economic disasters on migrants. On refugees. Those least able to respond. Gary Lineker has called the right-wing cabal out. The proponents of free-speech call for it to be curtailed. Right on form. Free speech isn’t for all Gary, only for the selected few. I thought a pundit would know that. The BBC suspends him—right on cue. Who runs the BBC? We’re back to conspiracy theories. Back to flooding the zone with shit. Which side are you on?   

Hearts 0—3 Celtic

Scottish Cup. No ‘decapitations’ today at Tynecastle. Robbie Neilson’s bluster backfired as the Gorgie outfit gave Celtic more of a game midweek than they did in the Cup.  Mooy goal at the beginning of the game gave us the kind of start we’ve been lacking recently. Kyogo nipping in to score almost bang on the half-time whistle. Two goals up and cruising. Hearts had one shot on goal, which Hart did well to save and lifted himself to get the rebound. Carter-Vickers rising unmarked in the six-yard box to make it three near the end made it easy, but it could have been more than three.

Postecoglou said Carter-Vickers was the best defender in Scottish football. He’s getting better every week. His strength and pace and ability to pick out a pass makes him a strong candidate for player of the year. But there are so many others. Kyogo’s goals put him in front. It’s Carter-Vickers and one other most games. Usually that’s Starfelt. But the Swede picked up an injury and didn’t return for the second-half (with the game pretty much done). Yuki Kobayashi came on. His passing is crisp and he looks fine on the ball. My worry would be the Japanese defender might get bullied in the air. But it didn’t happen today.

Postecoglou made a few changes in midweek, but we’re back to the tried and tested. Some are more straightforward than others. Johnson and Taylor in for Ralston and Bernabei in defence. Johnstone’s cross helped create the second goal. He got in behind the Hearts defence from a throw-in. A simple enough ball, whipped across the box. Kyogo deflected it in with his heel, with another sublime touch.

 Hatate for O’Riley in midfield. The Japanese midfielder had a shot saved even before Mooy had scored. At 2—0 up, he got on the end of a clearance and his shot was blocked by a defender. Our midfield took total control of the game.

 Kyogo, up front, obviously. Jota might not be guaranteed a start, but with Maeda injured he’s a much better chance. He helped create the first goal, whipping a ball into Mooy’s foot, which the Australian powered into the net past Zander Diamond before he could react. Jota is better on the left, but plays on the right. He’d the best of both worlds against Hearts.  

 Haksabanovic gets his first start since his injury. He helped created a chance of Hatate even before Mooy had scored.  He edged out Abada, who was terrific with a man of the match performance after coming on a substitute against St Mirren, but was pretty anonymous against today’s opponents Hearts in midweek. The young Montenegrin hasn’t got Abada’s pace, but in a tight pitch his guile adds another dimension. It also helps he scored an absolute bumper against Hearts on Wednesday. He was due a start. But like Abada in midweek, he just didn’t do enough to pull away from the others in the team-sheet pecking order. He was replaced predictably enough by Abada just after half-time.  

Next week away to Hibs. We’re going to win the league. We await the Scottish Cup draw to see whether we get Rangers in the semi-final or the final, and last game of the season shoot-out. Either or, we’re much better than anyone else. But they can beat us. Just as Hibs can. I like the humility of this Celtic team. All on song. All singing from the same team-sheet. Those who made a fuss and asked about leaving were let go. Simple. That’s what good management is. That’s where we are now. Whisper it, we’re on line for the treble.   

Kathy Burke: Growing Up, Channel 4, All4, Written, Presented and Produced by Kathy Burke.

 Kathy Burke and me are around the same age. We belong to the UB40 generation of Red, Red Wine and I am the 1 in 10. Now we are the 1 in 5 growing like a cancerous cell. We belong to a vanguard army that plays a leading role in dementia and death, and most other things you’d rather not think about. Over 9 in 10 Covid deaths belonged to our age group. I didn’t vote for being old. I didn’t say I’m going to nip out at 60 and come back aged 23 as most cryogenic believers assume when they freeze their brains. When Prime Minister and Liberal MP H.H. Asquith for the coalmining region of East Fife implemented the Old Age Pension in 1908, based on the Prussian model under Bismarck, few if any of his constituents would live long enough to collect it. The equivalent age to collect your state pension now would be aged 100. Revenge of from-the- cradle-to- grave baby boomers.

We know how it works. Judi Dench plays the lead roles in any drama where the actress needs to be over 70. Helena Bonham Carter gets to play the vaguely pretty, with the upper-crust accent, aged between 35 to 55. Kathy Burke gets roles such as Null by Mouth in which she is ageless. Here she gets to meet with old friends such as Absolutely Fabulous Jennifer Saunders, aged 64. No great insights are offered as they schmooze. I didn’t catch what age Bill Bailey is. But he was the oldest contestant to win Strictly.  Maybe he should run for President in the USA. It seems you need to be over 80. I’m not going to bring up that old Ronald Reagan joke about, well, Ronald Reagan fluffing his lines.  The moron’s moron, Trump, once called the mother of the model he was dating, while married to a less up-to-date newer model, ‘an old hag’, even though she was younger than him. Bailey was funny about one of the few things that make males invisible—for females there are many more—which is going bald. #Me-too. He thought about hair transplants, but the place where he’d have to go to for treatment was Wigton.

Burke also visited a pensioner who worked as a model. Good luck with that. And another who worked weekdays as a dominatrix. She complained her state pension was only around £600 a month whist her mortgage was around £900. But pensioners are net benefiters of Maggie Thatcher’s great council house giveaway. We need to build two million houses to have any chance of meeting demand or over 100 000 houses a year to stand still. Most pensioners don’t have a mortgage. Increases in house prices are regarded as money for nothing, or windfall-profits, in conservative fiefdoms and yet as something worked for and deserved. Outrage follows when property needs to be sold to meet care costs.

A co-housing scheme with pensioners sharing their lives and property looked great and sounded great. I’m all for it. But it’s spit into the oceans of global warming. Burke didn’t ask the hard questions. What happens when that sprightly old woman at 90 gets dementia? Being the wrong kind of old is the same as being the wrong kind of young. It’s a class issue, not an age issue. Look what happened at Grenfell. The Royal Borough of Chelsea and Kensington Council with £120 000 000 surplus, but squabbling over £3.50 extra for an insulating tile that’s too expensive, but later admit liability, well, kinda, but not really.  Look away. Walk away? But not if you’re above the ground floors and are elderly or disabled. Then the burn-through rate is almost 100%. I’m as good as anyone else. Until it’s my turn. Then I’m too costly. Then I’m really old and worthless.