McCain – Obama debate

October 9, 2008

Just watched the edited highlights of the John McCain – Barack Obama debate on Newsnight.

I couldn’t believe that the Republician representatives on the programme declared that it was a good night for John McCain.

My word! That’s utterly inexplicable.

If that was John McCain on a good night then I’m glad I missed the bad nights!

He really showed his age and his war wounds:- hobbling about the floor and latterly hanging onto his chair towards the end of the debate. I don’t mind his age but it brought home to me how his physical condition may affect his ability to be President. And brings me back to the scary thought of Sarah Palin becoming President, should McCain’s health deteoriate still further.

In fact, McCain’s televisual performance reminded me of the oft-quoted Nixon – Kennedy debate; the perception that Nixon lost against Kennedy due to a bad shave. Neither Nixon or McCain came across as television-friendly.

Its often said that listeners of the Nixon – Kennedy debate on radio scored Nixon higher.

Alas, I doubt even that is true of John McCain.

To me, Obama was more insightful and had more answers than McCain. Even on McCain’s supposed strong suit of foreign policy he failed to hit a blow.

In fact, for someone with a supposed grasp of foreign policy how could he let this statement out of the bag:

“We will be talking about countries sometime in the future that we hardly know where they are on the map”

And by the future, he obviously meant his political future if he was President, so its basically today’s countries with maybe a couple of changes, perhaps.

And if he doesn’t know where they are on a map, how the hell can he have a good grasp of foreign policy?

And if he does have a ‘good grasp’ on foreign policy by American standards, does that mean Obama’s is worse?

Could either McCain or Obama pick out Scotland on a map? Would they be shocked if Scotland was to become independent as the Unionist partisan newpaper The Scotsman recently suggested?

I’m firing that question especially to John McCain who is supposedly a descendant of King William I of Scotland.

The same link gives Barack Obama as a descendant of King Edward I of England, the Hammer of the Scots. The same king that battled against William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. The same king that on leaving Scotland said:

‘Bon besoiogne fait gy du merde se delivrer’
(‘It was well to be rid of shit’)

I wonder at the end of the debate just who was thinking that?

Barack Obama?

John McCain?

Or the American public?

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Scotland’s rights, by Glasgow

June 27, 2008

The current explosion of pro-independence blogs can be attributed to a hostile media in Scotland – see Declarations of Independence for a summary.

But the history of publishing articles arguing for Scottish independence is not new. It did not start on the creation of the Scottish National Party (1934) or its forerunner The National Party of Scotland (1928). Not even with The Declaration of Arbroath (1320), although that was the first document to outline the modern idea of a nation state.

What about the Picts versus the Romans? Calgacus, the great warrior, addressing his Pictish soldiers: “They make a desert and they call it peace” and demanding that they fight for their land? Alas, this was written by a Roman, Tacitus, and we have no idea if its true. It may have been just his version of ‘bigging up’ his opponent to reflect greater glory on Rome. We will never know. In any case, Calgacus never intended his speech to be published, and Tacitus was hardly arguing the case for Scottish Independence. Whats more, the idea of a Scottish nation would only arise after the coronation of Kenneth MacAlpin in 843, when he became the King of Alba. (Alba was the forerunner of Scotland today.)

One definite place to look would be the Wars of Independence between Scotland and England. The 1290 Treaty of Northampton, insists on a written promise by the English king, Edward I, that Scotland would remain independent of England. This was at a time when Queen Margaret of Scotland, the maid of Norway, died in childhood leaving the Scottish throne open to competitors like the Bruce family, the Bailiol family and the Comyn family who all were relations of the young Queen.

Edward I as a neutral was asked to rule on the matter. That was a big mistake as he demanded that who he choose swore fealty to him and when his choice King John Bailiol of Scotland finally tried to stand up to him – for long enough he didn’t, and he was known as the Toom Tabard – the English king invaded Scotland and tried to take it by force, starting the Wars of Independence.

Obviously, the Scots who insisted that Scotland’s independence be signed off by Edward I were right to mistrust the English king. The treaty was written on the Scots side by several clerics, foremost among them Bishop Robert Wishart of Glasgow. So influential was he that Edward I consulted him on his proposed Governance of Scotland in 1305, when the English king thought he had control of Scotland.

He always supported Robert Bruce’s claim to the throne. When Bruce knifed Comyn in a church, the Glaswegian Bishop quicky absolved Robert and made it possible for Robert the Bruce to be crowned King of Scots in 1306.

Wishart was imprisoned in England and blinded, but was later released to Rome, before returning to Scotland after the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 finally secured Scotland’s freedom.

The 1290 Treaty of Northampton. Asserting Scotland’s rights to be free of England.

Chief architect, Robert Wishart, the Bishop of Glasgow.