Than an nou — poverty, makkin dae, an leukin out for ilk ither

The TV news the nou is stappit fou wi hert brakkin sichts. Puir sowels wi naewhaur tae bide nor lay their heids left tae chitter in the cauld; fowk wha uissless, shilpit Offícialdom hae cast sae far doun they’v nae fecht left; fowk no able tae feed their bairns, niver mind theirsels. I think o ma mither, a wumman wha in her young day haed seen a deal o poverty an wha thocht the Weelfare State an the National Health Service a marvel o the age. She wis delitit whan the faimily allouance wis brocht in! Sic a grand thing in partícular whan they stairtit peyin it tae the mither!

I wunner whit she wad mak o it in 2018?

She wis fae Leith, the last but ane born intae a faimily o thirteen bairns. Her twin wis deid at sax months fae whoopin cough. This wis 1910. Her faither haed been ane o the last tae drive a hansom cab. As a wee tottie bairn she could mind seein ma granny fillin up the sink an liftin the windae tae lat the horse pit its heid in for a drink.

Poverty, wi its neebours hunger, drunkenness an disease, war juist a fact o life. Ma mither aye said maist fowk war guid an fou o kindness; juist daein their best tae get by. But they war feart o awbody in authority. Aye wirrit about bein reportit for their poverty an cawed neglectfu, their bairns taen awa. Fear o the puir hous wis aye there.
Haud on readin . . . “Than an nou — poverty, makkin dae, an leukin out for ilk ither”

Trains approachin?

Puir infrastructure is a belt aboot Scotland’s thrapple. Oor roads are pithailed anachronisms. Boats tae the isles are auld an dear. Fleein tae ony airt ither than London gars ye traivel tae the ane o the central belt aeroports, doublin the cost an time o ilka journey. Scotrail is a mixter-maxter o the sorry an the sublime. On ae haund there’s a braw new electric service breengin atween Embra an Glesca. On the ither haund ye hae twa-cairiage vintage trains rattlin aroon an aboot the hielands, gangin nae place fast. No anely is infrastructure puir, but infrastructure inequality is severe an growin worse ilka year. Gin ye want tae gang onywhaur in Scotland north o the Forth, by car, sea or rail, it’ll be slaw an it’ll be dear.

The effects o this are extreme. Hale sections o Scotland are economically uninhabitable.

Ane o the worst effectit airts is the Buchan. The Broch. Peterheid. Buckie. MacDuff. Big touns thrang wi cultur, business an potential, cut aff fae mercats an ceeties by an infrastructure that’s oot o date by decades.

Haud on readin . . . “Trains approachin?”

Pit astronomy heich up in the Scots education sýstem

We can read this Thursday in The National that Scotland could be the place for the rapplin space industry by the wey o Tom Walkinshaw o technology firm, Alba Orbital. We can read an aw that space technology firms fae Scotland is developpin new technology, wi Alba Orbital developpin the lichtest, cheapest, an peeriest sattelite aroon. Anither newins tae dae wi the Scots space industry, the possibílity o a spaceport, wis proponed an aw, bi Commonspace. This idea wis descreived as ‘science fiction’ bi Adam Tomkins, Tory MSP. But this is in maugre o the first spaceport bein biggit in Kazakhstan in 1957 (on lease tae Roushie syne Kazakhstan’s wanthirldom in 1991) an twa new anes biggit juist last year, in Roushie an China. Sae it’s mair tae be science fact. An Scotland awready haes its ain space industry, becomin sonsier an sonsier, as Commonspace pynts oot.

An Scotland investin in its space industry wad be a braw idea, in ma view, for a hantle raisons. The investment wad forder a industry that, forrit an ayont, could be crucial for the hale o Jock Tamson’s bairns. It wad create jobs that fowk could actually be greeshochie anent an aw. An, on tap o that, it wad pit Scotland at the forebreist o innovation, as it’s afttimes been.

But whit can be daen for tae forder this industry?

Haud on readin . . . “Pit astronomy heich up in the Scots education sýstem”