alithea: (Warrior River (made by brokenharlequin))
I'd like to say that it's because Scots are less racist and more leftwing than the English but that wouldn't actually be true (social attitude studies consistently show little difference - for example this report (pdf) "Is Scotland more left-wing than England" finds very modest differences in concern over income inequality and support for tax-and-spend and wealth redistribution. Similar issues are discussed in this Guardian analysis from last year). None of these differences are sufficient to explain why every single area of Scotland voted to Remain in Europe, even the rural conservative heartlands with similar demographics to the Leave voting areas of England.

So what's the difference?

Seems to me that the Scottish Parliament, the fact that it's elected by a proportional system, the existence of the SNP and the consistently pro-immigration political discourse are the deciding factors. In England, and now Wales* it seems, working class white folks abandoned by New Labour have turned to UKIP and bought into the increasingly popular immigrant-blaming discourse, encouraged by the mainstream media. In Scotland, this same demographic has turned to the SNP. While the UKIP lot vote in increasing numbers but have one MP, the SNP have been running the country for years, pretty successfully as centrist parties go. And they have been putting the blame for the inequality in our country firmly where it lies - with the Westminster Government and consistently telling Scots that we need immigration to survive. So while large swathes of England feel thoroughly disenfranchised and are obsessed with 'taking their country back', those same people in Scotland are getting on with doing it - from Westminster not from the EU and people who want to live and work here. And while there are racist bigots, they *never* hear their views legitimised by mainstream political discourse (much to my shame, we do have a single UKIP MEP up here (elected in a turnout of 33.5%!), but he is quite literally a national joke; when he took part in one of the TV debates, he showed himself to be completely at 90 degrees to reality, it's the only time I've seen *everyone* commenting on Twitter agreeing on anything).

And you can say what you like about the SNP (I am not their biggest fan - they pay lip service to wanting a Scandinavian-style social democracy and then centralise the police, fail to reform council tax and make excuses for not raising taxes on the rich when they have fought for the powers to do so), but while the Tory leadership candidates are talking about using EU residents as bargaining chips, the first thing Nicola Sturgeon did after the vote was tell all our EU residents that Scotland is still their home and call for everyone to be granted indefinite leave to remain, something only the Lib Dems have done south of the border, where the Labour lot are now competing over who gets to address 'immigration concerns' because the way to deal with UKIP support is apparently still to pander to their lies, because that hasn't just plunged us into complete chaos, has it? Oh no, wait, the other thing.

So now I'm back to the same point I was making during the indy ref - that modern Scottish nationalism is a very different beast to British Nationalism. And regardless of what some folks, the lexiteers and others no doubt, want to believe, the Leave vote really was about British Nationalism.

*What I can't speak to is why Welsh devolution doesn't seem to have had the same impact there. I confess I've never paid much attention to their politics.
alithea: (Being human (base by ahlai))
I think I spent more of my long weekend watching the Tour de France and reading Ghost Ship from cover to cover, than I did tidying but I only have 2 plastic crates and 2 document boxes left to go through and the cupboard is looking fairly civilised (a lot of what we've kept is actually packing materials, but it seems silly to throw out bubblewrap and tissue paper when we are planning on moving next year). And I went swimming in the North Sea on Friday afternoon, which was very pleasant indeed. I should definitely get back into swimming, even if it's in the uni pool next time.

I also caught up with 3 friends, although it should have been 4, and didn't come last in 'Ticket to Ride' by screwing over the Boy which was a bit mean of me, but Brad had already blocked me from 2 routes and it was soo obvious where he was going and that it would mean a huge score... Bad wife ;)
alithea: (Windswept Francine)
5 months ago I walked home from work in the snow and this evening I did similarly. 5 months of on-and-off snow in this city, which is basically at sea level, has got to be some sort of record.
alithea: (spring)
Why did I think this week was the time to break out my spring user icon?? We currently have a blizzard outside...
alithea: (summerfootprints)
This weather is seriously crackers! I mean it's OCTOBER tomorrow and I just nearly cooked on my lunchtime constitutional - it must have been about 25 degrees C in the sun in the park, I wished I'd put a loose summer blouse and my sun hat on, and had to shade-hug all the way home after cooling down in CO-OP under their blissful, usually far too cold, air-conditioning.

My Galileo thermometer on the windsill is currently reading 28 degrees C and yet there are apparently rumours going round that we are going to get snow in October... That's crazy Montreal weather, even Scotland with it's four seasons in one day doesn't usually go from hot to snow within a month!
alithea: (Default)
*Big work meeting on Thursday went pretty well - have comprehensive plan of attack for getting paper accepted in GCB and detailed to do list. Spent the evening at the student union creating my character for the Boy's 7th Sea game inspired by the Dorothy Dunnett books we have both been reading. Can't wait to play her, she's a beautiful and deadly Castillian mercenary with a very bad attitude.

*The Boy had the day off on Friday so we went out for lunch & a spot of pottering, I did two of the three things I've been putting off for ages, and then worked in the evening while the Boy was out anyway.

*On Saturday, I felt a bit crap (that'll be spending Thursday evening in a warm box full of germ-ridden students) so taking it easy won over going swimming. I finished off the work I needed to do for a colleague for Monday, spend 1 1/2 hours on the phone to my folks who had been away on holiday for 2 weeks, and then spent the evening catching up on TV. Dr Who was filler (part of me wondered whether the baby was to convince us that we wouldn't have wanted them to go back and rescue River as one), True Blood was an improvement (I'm remembering there are other characters I love too, primarily LaFayette, and the vampire politics plot should be less irritating than all that Marianne nonsense, which got on my wick heartily by half way through last season), and I'm also watching the re-run of Misfits season 2 because it turns out to be much better than I expected from the trailers.

*Sunday, we took a couple of friends out for the afternoon and visited Balvaird Castle in Fife, which isn't usually open for internal viewing, and Stanley Mills outside Perth (which was more interesting than I was expecting having grown up in a mill area and been dragged to them for umpteen school trips - we got to play with waterwheel models complete with gushing water and sluice gates!).

*And yesterday, I spent my lunchbreak trotting round Templeton woods with the Boy and we saw 5 red squirrels and a waxwing, and had a picnic by Clatto reservoir.

Today is work and hopefully swimming, tomorrow is work and t'ai chi, Thursday is work and roleplaying, and we have plans for 4 out of the next 5 weekends - I approve of autumn :)
alithea: (Default)
*York was lovely - I'm a big fan of medieval architecture so just wandering around the place is lovely, especially when the weather turned out to be far less wet than I was expecting, but we also did something of a museum tour - the Merchant Adventurer's Hall (we are roleplayers, how could we resist something so named?!), the Jorvik centre, York Castle Museum and Clifford's Tower, plus a lot of walking on the walls and in the Yorkshire Museum Gardens. The hotel was pleasant enough but buying food out the whole time reminded me why we usually do self-catering holidays!
The Merchant Adventurer's Hall )

*Scotland has not set up border controls in my absence although you'd think it was imminent from the UK media response to the SNP victory. I'm a little surprised at how much of a drubbing they gave Labour but pleasantly so, given the scare mongering and authoritarian nonsense Labour was campaigning on up here. I'm not sorry to see the back of either the Scottish Labour or Lib Dem leaders either. Interesting times ahead I feel - personally I'm hoping we get stronger devolution rather than independence and I suspect the majority of Scotland agrees with me, although the more damage the Tories do, the more appealing a firmer border looks...

*I suspect the least said about the AV referendum the better.
alithea: (Default)
More snow last night and a veritable blizzard this morning. Now into 13th day of snow lying around these parts and the wind has got up too so it feels really bitter. My heating has hardly been off in the daytime for about a week, despite turning the thermostat down and sitting in the house in 3 layers. The little snow plough was out doing the pavements at lunchtime, making a great job of turning churned up slush into lovely smooth slush, just right for forming an ice rink as soon as it freezes this evening! More snow forecast for tomorrow too...
alithea: (windswept)
I've been moping about for the past 2 weeks because I've had annoying mild flu and head coldy-type symptoms and felt too crappy to do any exercise, which is what I really needed after the double disappointments of no pottery and the poor Boy missing out on his uni place, putting all our future plans back by another year. But we are off to Northern Ireland tomorrow to stay with his folks for a week so hopefully the change of air will perk me up and I'll feel better by the time we get home. I'm trying not to be nervous about meeting his parents by remembering that we are grown adults who live together and are being treated as such, so it won't be like going to the South Coast at the tender age of 19 and being disapproved of for going to the bathroom in my nightshirt! I'm actually more nervous about meeting his other old friends but at least it looks like I've avoided having to go to the pub with them all, so my aversion to drunken people won't have them thinking I'm a joyless stuck-in-the-mud.

While we are away it will be the 10th anniversary of my move to Scotland. I'm good at feeling stuck in a rut but the fact is the Boy, a bunch of good friends, the Turret, money in the bank and a PhD isn't a bad showing for that time even if I do have no career to speak of. And hopefully I'll come back to news of a new contract and pottery classes starting up again. Besides which, it is almost autumn and that is never a bad thing.
alithea: (Warrior_River (made by brokenharlequin))
I've been meaning to post about this ever since the campaign posters started appearing around my local area a few weeks ago, but a post on the Fword blog has just reminded me.

Rape Crisis Scotland are running a new campaign, This is not an invitation to rape me, aimed at tackling the frankly appalling attitudes towards rape in Scotland, for example as highlighted by this article following a survey last year.

There are 4 posters to challenge misconceptions around women inviting rape by the way they dress, by drinking, by being intimate, and by being in a relationship.

Let's hope it does some good.
alithea: (Delirium (made by lady_wormtongue))
It was a close run thing though, when we got to Brussels airport yesterday afternoon there were flights cancelled left, right and centre due to the storms, and I thought we were going to be stranded there. Luckily, BA are useful and managed to transfer us to a flight to Gatwick, since ours to Heathrow was cancelled, that was due to get us into Aberdeen only 5 mins later than the Heathrow connection. Still, the flight out goes straight into my Top 5 Most Unpleasant Experiences Ever, as the weather was awful in both Brussels and Gatwick and it was an appalling rough ride :( Thankfully, the wind had gone down somewhat by the time we left Gatwick and up here was still so the 2nd flight was fine and I got home at 11.20 pm thanks to Alex being a star and picking me up.

So catch up:
New lodger moved in on Sunday and is doing well on the brownie points scale so far as he's domesticated and does chores without being asked, and cooked me dinner on Monday evening after my T'ai Chi class (v. knackering after break, I'd forgotten how hard Chi gung is on the old legs!). Also, could be trusted to cat-sit so Gizmo didn't have to go to the cattery while i was in Brussels. All good :)

Trip to Brussels went pretty well aside from nightmare travel home:
There was a Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman in a bar with a horse... )

Now time to go food shopping as I don't have any lunch and am hungry, then this afternoon, I guess I better start work on this project!
alithea: (V/Phantom (made by masquerade_arts))
That got your attention, didn't it ;) Thought it was about time I updated - you can tell I've had face-to-face contact over the past week, i have't felt the need to ramble on here.


Tuesday, i went up to Aberdeen and caught up with [ profile] vodkafrenzy; Wednesday, the elusive [ profile] mcwoof was let out to play and we pottered round the 'Ferry and went to the garden centre (and i had spaghetti with clams for lunch which was scrummy); Thursday, had lunch in the Counting House with Amy and Jakob (great advert for the smoking ban, it was much busier than usual on a weekday lunchtime) and more pottering; and yesterday Alex came over and we had sunday lunch at the Bell Tree and went up to Lunan beach (which always looks lovely from the train, and featured cute ponies, pretty red, green and veiny rocks (so not a geologist!) and a loopy bloke who went in the sea naked and then ran round on the beach briefly to dry off (still naked), despite the fact it had been snowing barely half an hour previously!!)

I've finished repotting my house plants and stripped a bit more wallpaper in the bathroom but that's about it for productiveness. I also finished reading Kafka on the shore by Huruki Marukami, which is now my second or third favourite of his - very fine, although I have no clue what the Hell was going on!!

I could witter on about the latest installments in what i shall refer to as Body Wars but I have stuff i should be getting on with, and no lunch until I go shopping so i shall say only this:

Eat well, exercise, sleep, don't drink too much, and be happy. If you live like that, take no notice of stupid muppets telling you you're too light or too heavy because starving yourself or stuffing your face and sitting on your bum all day won't make you a healthier person, regardless of what the scales say.

And the Nutter of the Week Award goes to the Reverend spokesman for the Sabbath Observance Society (or whatever they are called) on Harris, who compared passengers on the controversial Sunday ferry disembarking next to his church to BNP supporters being bussed past a mosque at prayer time during Ramadan. 'Cos only evil people who hate Christians could possibly want to travel somewhere so godly on a Sunday you know! Ahhhh, tolerance...
alithea: (Arty Claire (made by winter_baby))
I'm lost today because the batteries in both my watches have died so I'm not wearing one. I always wear a watch...

Most of the time I love my train journeys to and from Aberdeen. The East coast is really beautiful in a softer, drier way than the more famous West coast, and I get to sit there in relative comfort and watch it pass by; the fields, the castles, the cliffs, the windswept beaches, and the choppy North Sea. It's also good for wildlife spotting, today I saw a seal in the Montrose Basin. Still haven't topped dolphins near Arbroath though. I know Dundee is the most underrated city in Scotland but personally I think the whole East coast is underrated.

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