Once upon a time…

Stories are the new battleground

History is but a fable agreed upon.

M. de Fontenelle, 1724, The origin of fables
What goes around comes around I guess. Because what the old French geezer was talking about was the fact that the Greek myths were exactly that… myths. There were stories aplenty but no actual history of any sort.
GM food spokesman denies side effects story
In effect all the news from the ancient Greeks was fake news. All the news from anywhere was fake news until we started inventing things like the telegraph system, telephones and television – so that it was possible to see the truth.
Girl band in wardrobe malfunctions scandal
Possible. Not inevitable. The quote at the start of this article is the basis for the adage ‘History is written by the winners’. In essence it is those who win who get to tell the story and create the truth. Back in the days of Napoleon (who also used this adage) that was about the people who prevailed on a battlefield being able to justify their actions afterwards.
Only now we have the internet and the obfuscations, misdirections and outright fabrications that were once possible (inevitable) because of a lack of information have returned ten fold due to a rampant surplus of information. It is not surprising that we are breaking down into ‘tribes‘ again and that those tribes are spouting very simple ideologies. The confusion is driving people back to the basic human method for survival in my opinion. Learn the rules of the tribe and then stick with them. As a strategy for getting through life this is pound-for-pound your most efficient method of survival from birth to death.
Your parents teach you basic things – don’t eat that, don’t go there… and you get by on that. The unfortunate thing for humans is that a great many people never really get beyond that level of analysis. And I don’t blame them. If this Brexit/Populist/climate change denying catastrophe has taught me anything it is that thinking about big, shitty stuff is hard. I’d rather be writing stories, or reading them, or… doing anything else really.

But now we fight through stories themselves.

Remember Momo?
Me before the morning coffee.
Momo scared the freaking shit out of me. I found the image in itself scary enough but then there was the whole story that the meme was going around telling kids to hurt themselves and as a father I was even more terrified. I am fairly good at telling bullshit from nutella usually but (confession) I had a chat to my daughters on the back of this. How could I not. A powerful image that had the possibility to hurt my children. I’m going to react and react quickly aren’t I?
And now there are even scarier stories being told by another grotesque… BOJO!
No deal will be brilliant!
We’re getting drug death stories which are distorted, we’re being promised the shipping work for the navy again because we fell for that last time.
Why? Because a story is a powerful thing. Ever since the Indy Ref in 2014 we have been besieged by one particular type of story and it goes along the same lines every time.

Scotland you are weak, you are in danger. Don’t do anything stupid.

And every story that follows the ‘Too wee, too poor, too stupid” framework is designed to do the same thing – affect how we vote. The onslaught is fairly constant and it is now coming through every channel. The BBC are terrible for it but they are joined by other TV channels and a great deal of the internet. The battleground of stories is constant. 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
Which is why I write blogs and make movies.
Our latest effort is our first step into the fray. Alongside my creative partner David Barras we are putting a story out there to help the cause of sanity. But we are being guided by what we have seen. Shouting isn’t helping – what it needs are stories, told simply and well that show the truth of what we are saying. For the moment we want to concentrate on Independence as a first step (for reasons outlined here) and that means telling the story of Scotland’s current relationship in a way that might just get through to people listening to other sources. We might, possibly, be able to change a few minds by changing how we tell the tale.

Winners are those with the best stories these days

To that end there is now a script that we hope to make this August/September. There is a facebook page where we are showing the type of approach we think will work. If you are pro-indy at all you should check it out because it might just be your best step in helping that idea along. If you think like we do. If you think our story deserves to be told, we would be honoured if you will stand alongside us in creating it. Contributions are closing but can still be made via our indiegogo page. Thank you for listening.

Flags and Heart Attacks

I have a European family and all of my friends know this and know how much I love them. So I would be against Brexit no matter what happens because no one on this earth gets to tell me that my family is worth less than someone else’s family. That they are somehow inferior to someone or have fewer rights because their mother is French.
But even if that were not true, even if I had married someone from Scotland and I had two ginger-haired Scottish girls instead then I would still be against Brexit.

Why? I am glad you asked. It is a tale of medium length and although it starts far, far away it takes place not long from now.
In August of 2023 the research vessel Sir David Attenborough carrying the autonomous vehicle Boaty McBoatface is somewhere near Antarctica when a puzzled look comes across the Captain’s face.
“Number one?”
“What day is it?
“Friday Ma’am”
“Really? It feels like Tuesday already. Tell me, that promontory there, have we not seen it before?”
“Yes Ma’am. We were here last Wednesday Ma’am”
“So we have, in fact, circumnavigated Antarctica?”
“Yes Ma’am”
“And have we seen any ice in that time”
We’re gonna need a bigger boat.
“I saw some in the fridge in the galley Ma’am”
Because the Captain knew that that was it. All over. Sure, it had been a mild winter but mild enough to produce no ice? There was now nothing to prevent the seas warming around the southern pole? Nothing to defend at all?
Near the Govan shipyards in 2023
A world away in Scotland it is 39 degrees and I am struggling up the hill from the main street to my home. Bad luck for me really that I chose to live at the top and not the bottom because this means that once I have queued for the standpipe and got my regulation 20 litres of water for the family I have to drag the bloody stuff all the way up to the house and that’s a mile away.
It would be fine if I was this skinny but I ain’t.
Only today I don’t make it. The air is thick with pollen and my anti-histamines ran out yesterday. I’m sweating and I put that down to it being just a degree or two hotter today. But it isn’t that at all. Stopping halfway up the brae I am out of breath and try to take a shot from my inhaler – it’s nearly empty and there won’t be any more inhalers in the chemist for a week or so. They do still make them but they make them in Germany and there is currently a six-week backlog for German imports I am told. This is due to the usual customs and trade problems – exacerbated by the migrant riots in Berlin and Paris – plus the sanctions from China and the French lorry drivers blockading the ports are also partly to blame. But just knowing all of that isn’t helping me today. I could walk down the hill and try the chemist but I decide against it since I know they won’t have any and in any case I would just have to drag my sorry carcass up the hill again with this water.
Lanarkshire 2023
Then I feel a kick in my chest and my vision narrows to only what is immediately in front of me. Damn it’s hot… and these water canisters are heavy. I resolve to put them down but when I look I see that they are already on the ground. It isn’t the water that’s heavy, it’s my hands that feel like they are made of stone – I’m having a heart attack.
As I hit the ground I can’t help thinking that my wife will be disappointed when I don’t come back with water. The pain is more than I can bear and it goes on forever. Which is, coincidentally, about how long it takes for the ambulance to get there.
I don’t know what happened to the water but once they got me in the back of the ambulance I started to feel a little better (ambulances have legal A/C) and as they wheel me into the hospital at speed I notice a flag fluttering outside in the sunlight. It’s a Boris flag; A union jack made mandatory on all public buildings when the blonde buffoon became prime minister. So, there might not be any medicine in this hospital but at least it has a flag – which must make someone somewhere feel better I am sure.
Eva, as I imagine her.
A lovely nurse called Eva is soon ministering to me and telling me it is all going to be all right. She’s asking me questions and looking into my swivelling blue eyes with her lovely brown ones. She injects me with something ( I hope to hell the medical insurance covers it) and I even start to breathe a little better with the oxygen despite the fact that the hospital is awful hot… seems I won’t be dying today.
And that one good thing means I have two bad things to look forward to. One, my wife giving me a row for not coming back with the water and…
Two, if I ever get out of this place I’m going to have to go past that damn flag again.
All of which is very interesting but, I hear you cry, why the feck is this anything to do with Brexit and me being against it.
Eva the nurse? She’s Polish. I bloody love Europeans
Yep. immigrant.
PS – I don’t die that day. But a week later I have a bit of a reaction to some chlorinated chicken and that’s the end of that.
Killed by chicken