JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation
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Just over two months after the Better Together campaign won the Independence Referendum the new powers which were promised to be devolved to Scotland in ‘the vow’ by said camp were finally revealed by The Smith Commission and almost universally-despite what The Daily Record and other mainstream media would have us believe- were totally underwhelming.
It seems that what is actually being delivered is a whole lot of nothing disguised as something when in fact it is just a few things shuffled around to give the impression Westminster is giving Scotland more when in actuality it isn’t. Once you cut through the rhetoric and clever phrasing it seems that a few responsibilities have been shifted and sums have been rearranged so that at the end of it all there is going to be very little of the changes Scotland- Yes and No voters alike- had hoped for and been promised.
This week also saw the arrival of a new paper The National which in the light of media bias during the referendum is something which is much needed to offer a different perspective to those who felt alienated and frustrated at the lack of fair coverage the Yes camp received throughout the campaign. Whilst I agree it is a much needed addition to the restrictive media publications out there and I am glad it exists I am not sure that it is actually any good. Also I believe when something is one sided as it so far seems to be, redressing the balance somewhat after the mainstream media let so many down, unless they offer up different perspectives it might become a victim of its own beliefs and end up preaching to the converted rather than gaining any new converts and offering them a viewpoint they might previously have not considered.
It is very early days however and these teething problems will hopefully sort themselves out and The National will become a welcome and worthy addition to an industry which has been flagging in Scotland since the Referendum campaign took flight.
Having decided I am boycotting Christmas this year I am paying little attention to the frenzy which is apparently called Black Friday taking place in retail emporiums across the country today. I have my own issues with this whole debacle not least that this not actually Black Friday at all in my book; Black Friday was traditionally the Friday before Christmas when all the office workers, bankers etc hit the pubs for a festive jolly and made total arses of themselves whilst regular patrons, denizens and habitués of said places merely raised their eyes skywards and sneered disparagingly at their amateur efforts. This was before we became America of course and felt the need to do everything they tell us and now Black Friday is a day when retail madness grips normally sane people. I will be avoiding it and not knocking any pensioners over in the hope I may get a discount on my groceries as this is now apparently the acceptable face of Christmas spirit.
It will however be harder to ignore the many Winter Wonderland’s which have transformed the beautiful city of Edinburgh from the Athens of the North into a badly drawn Disney-like cartoon idea of Christmas but I will do my best!
It is a shame the Edinburgh Council couldn’t do as much for their inhabitants as they do for their tourists. Helping the flailing live music situation in the city would be a start. It seems that noise complaints from local residents are preventing many places from having musical events and this is sad, backward thinking and pretty unacceptable. It is something that becomes even more annoying especially when The Fringe and Christmas outings are so disruptive to the city’s inhabitants but so little is offered up to them in between these happenings.
In many ways though I sometimes feel that part of the problem in Edinburgh is that people just don’t make the effort to go out and actually support live music or theatre when it is on. Instead they prefer to complain vociferously –see the Picture House closure for confirmation- each time a venue closes or has to withdraw from live music happenings and are quite happy to sign a petition from the comfort of their armchairs rather than put their money, beliefs and presence where their mouths are.
A prime example of this was the James King and The Lone Wolves gig at The Voodoo Rooms on Sunday night. Supported by the also excellent Lola and the Slacks and Roy Moller this should have been a much better attended gig than it was and yet it at times felt sparse. I cannot understand why so many moan about the lack of decent live music on in Edinburgh when there is something as good as this on their doorsteps and they don’t even bother to step out. Maybe the lure of ‘I’m a Nonentity in the Jungle’ was too much for them to resist.
Mind you I suppose that there was some good news this week in that Andrew Mitchell lost his libel case in the whole Plebgate affair. It comes as no surprise to me that anyone in Westminster thinks of any of us anything other than plebs and whilst they may not openly voice this in public it would seem that he actually did. Not even Saint Bob of Geldof’s intervention could save him, which must somehow reduce Africa’s chances of survival under his auspices if he can’t even save one of his Tory chums. Not one too revel in another’s downfall usually I must admit to feeling that on hearing that Mitchell had lost his case it felt a little like an early Christmas present. And I am not even doing Christmas this year remember!

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