March 29, 2009


Did you happen to catch that story in the Herald & Post about the new prison at Addiewell, and how our local law enforcers fear that the visiting friends of the inmates could be spawning their very own mini-crime spree in West Lothian?


It also emerged that around £500,000 worth of plant equipment is stolen in the county every year. That’s half-a-million quid’s worth of JCBs, generators and cement mixers!


What we are saying… No, what the authorities are saying, is that HMP Addiewell attracts these ne’er-do-wells like flies are drawn to – well, you know what. And while visiting the county from Strathclyde and the north of England they use the opportunity to carry out reconnaissance for their own criminal activities. While calling on their (in)mates, they pass the time targeting the scene of their next theft.     Read the rest of this entry »



March 22, 2009


Back in the days of black and white television, programme makers delighted in wheeling out “experts” on programmes such as BBC’s “Tomorrow’s World”  to tell us how the world would look in the year 2010. We stared in wonder and waited for our future to arrive.


Unfortunately, these experts have been proved wrong – and I am desperately disappointed. I am disappointed that I do not have a personal robot servant. Neither do I have a jet pack to get me to work. My car doesn’t hover, and there is no anti-gravity monorail running the length of the country.


Instead, I have a dishwasher that only works intermittently, a Volvo with an oil leak and, where there should have been a single-rail silver bullet train, there is a jam-packed Virgin locomotive stuck for hours on the West Coast line waiting for the track maintenance teams to finish their tea break.     Read the rest of this entry »


March 15, 2009


FOR THOSE who don’t know, a strapline is a pithy slogan that encapsulates the culture and ethos of a business. You know the sort of thing: “Keeping the Country Moving”, “Simply the Best”, “Every Little Helps” and so on.


Now, there is nothing wrong with civic pride, which is why almost every county, town and city in the United Kingdom has its own strapline. They are usually displayed on the big “Welcome to…” roadside signs, and most councils take the opportunity to express their area’s unique selling proposition.     Read the rest of this entry »


March 8, 2009

THERE WAS A TIME when I had the utmost respect for police officers. Truly I did.

They regularly pounded the beat and made themselves familiar among the local community. Should you be on an apple scrumping spree and sprinted off clutching your spoils there was every chance that you would cannon into PC Murdoch at the next corner.

Recently, I was pulled over by a patrol car for having only one taillight.       Read the rest of this entry »


March 1, 2009


HERE IS A LESSON in how to aggravate and annoy bumptious busybodies – something we should all endeavour to do more often.

My friend Neil Grant lives in a – to say the least – remote part of Scotland. He was fed up to the back teeth of receiving threatening letters from the Television Licensing Authority. So, having nothing better to do one afternoon… Well, this is an edited transcript of the telephone conversation with a woman at the Licensing Authority. I guarantee that none of what follows is made up.     Read the rest of this entry »