The Bard and the Bastirts…

Reading Time: 1 minute

Available FREE on iTunes and Podbean

On our Burns themed podcast:

Max Newland on the anti-Trump protests in Idaho, his fears and the difficulties in reaching those who are supporting Trump and working together to create a better politics.

Victoria Pearson on the political gobbledegook doublespeak now legitimised by May’s Brexit and Trump.

Chuck Hamilton raging on what is going on in Neverland and May’s visit… and his hopes for Scotland.

Mara Leverkuhn on the hijacking of the Labour Party and the Scottish Labour Party – (Mara mentions this link- )


Debra Torrance recites one of Burns best.

Steve Macauliffe in a tribute to Burns tells us of Liberty – do or die.

Paul Sheridan, lead singer of the Wakes, on what Burns means to him.

Wee Red Raiph tells us about the less painful burns night and no fond kiss and a wee poam for Trump…

With music from – The Babel Fish Project – Ae Fond Kiss; The Wakes -Venceremos; Jackal Trades -Need the Character (s);  The Hurriers – Faith to Fight; Kes’s Conscience – Fluid; Guttfull -Arsehole; Husky Tones – One Good Reason.



 Start times are approximate

Kes’s Conscience

Reading Time: 1 minute
Screenshot_20170129-103636.jpg*Please read in your most sarcastic voice, otherwise this really doesn’t work*

It’s all my fault.

I’m Kes. (Hi.)  I was at university in Brighton, 19 years old, thinking “I’ve written lots of songs – I should play them”, so I got in touch with Bran – who, inexplicably, offered to play bass instead of drums despite being a drummer  – and we started making music.

It’s quite fun, so we’re still doing it. Sometimes we even play gigs. It’s mental.

Big influences include the Manic Street Preachers, Biffy Clyro and Muse.

Plus, despite this deliberately silly bio, we’re quite clever. I like to howl about politics and stuff; we’re putting the world to rights one anguished lyric at a time.

You should definitely check us out.

Also, I run a website called JUST A GRRRL (what? I like things in ALL CAPS), for and about women in music, which you should definitely sign up to. Immediately. And then come right back here and sign up for our mailing list, which I also write and send out every couple of weeks.

Or, when she’s not being a pretentious musician, Katherine Stewart. Absolute whore for a melody.
Brandon Frank Lane
Plays drums, like, really well. Also answers to All-Bran or Bran-Flakes. Probably.


Reading Time: 2 minutes



GUTTFULL’s message to Trump, King of the Arseholes

We’re GUTTFULL and we formed at the end of 2016: a bunch of big-mouthed feminist musicians with just so much rage to let out.

Our first single is ‘Arsehole’, and it’s dedicated to Donald Trump, King of the Arseholes.

With a bigoted, sexist, racist, right-wing meglomanic given the top job in the world, there’s a lot of people feeling powerless; especially if you’re not a man, not white, not straight, and/or not rich. But there’s far more of us than there is of him and his cronies, and our voices are powerful.

Every little action of dissent helps in fighting back. We just feel like we’ve all just got to do what we can. Whether that’s making a song and a video showing your town’s reaction to Trump, marching with your sisters, writing blogs, whatever you’re able to do. Trump wants to divide and rule – so just pulling together with your wider communities spreads a message of equality and love for all.

There are loads of awesome DIY/feminist/queer bands around at the moment, and more forming all the time. That’s the only upside to times of oppression – artists turn that anger into energy and the music gets a lot more passionate. Our track ‘Arsehole’ is going on the LOUD WOMEN compilation album, out in March, alongside some incredible DIY bands, like Petrol Girls, The Ethical Debating Society, Fight Rosa Fight!, Lilith Ai, Bratakus and deux furieuses.

We’re quite a new band so we’re just building up our set at the moment, working up to recording an album hopefully in the summer. Our songs are mostly about beating the patriarchy at its own game: calling out catcallers, shaming internet trolls, and reminding disrespectful men of their manners. Our singer Momoe, and our guitarist and songwriter Cassie are both mothers of two children each – we’re quite used to telling off misbehaving little boys.

We have 3 songs up on our Bandcamp now – Arsehole, Keyboard Warrior and Mafu. Check them out here –

And come and see us live!

31 Jan at the Alleycat, London
18 March at the Sound Lounge, Tooting
31 March at the Fighting Cocks, Kingston
30 April at the Rose Hill, Brighton

Corbyn is Right About So Many Things…. But He’s Wrong on Scotland

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Allan Grogan 

Jeremy Corbyn got a lot right on his trip to Scotland this week. He was right to attack Theresa May and her Government of attempting to create a bargain basement Britain by cutting corporation tax to the levels of Ireland. At a cost of billions to the Exchequer in the hopes of luring businesses from Europe.

Corbyn was also correct to attack the SNP Government in Scotland on their cuts to Local Authority budgets and their tendering of ScotRail to Dutch Company Abelio despite clear authority through section 23 and 24 to change franchised lines being devolved as a power to the Scottish Government pre this deal.

I have always respected the politics of Jeremy since he was a back bencher. We probably agree on 99% of policy although perhaps disagree on the best avenues sometimes to move forward to achieve this. That’s why I was so confused by his ill thought rhetoric this past week. That independence will lead to ‘turbo austerity.’ Such comments fly in the face of Jeremy’s own economic policy.

Much like Scotland, Jeremy has quite rightly identified that the way to recover the UK economy was to increase government spendng in infrastructure and green energy sectors. To introduce an National Investment Bank, to increase the level of employment with well paid jobs. Corbyn knows that initially this will lead to an increase in debt and the states deficit. But that eventually due to revenue coming in through social housing and an increase in tax revenues and spending power thanks to better paying jobs that the deficit would decrease. Corbyn also plans to rebuild the manufacturing industry and as such would (at least pre brexit) expect the UK balance of trade to increase.

Where Corbyn makes the mistake in Scotland is that he sees the current operations under a UK Government imposing austerity and a devolved Government passing on much of this austerity to Local Authorities and then makes an assumption based on the deficit announced last year of £15bn. So Corbyn’s assumption of turbo austerity is based on figures of Scotland WITHIN the UK with a Tory Government passing on austerity through the block grant and to a certain extent the SNP not using the full powers available to them within the Scottish Parliament. If anything the current deficit for Scotland is a viable reason for independence to allow us to control our full fiscal and monetary policies including industry and employment.

Jeremy also allows himself to fall into that unionist guilty pleasure of aligning an independent Scotland with the SNP. Any future independent Scotland would democratically elect their government giving them a mandate to introduce a far reaching investment in public infrastructure, social housing and green energy. For Corbyn just to accept the SNP vision of independence as the only vision is either ignoring his own economic and political ideology or deliberately ignoring what could be one of the very few solutions to this current crisis.

Nicola Sturgeon is cautious by nature and as such has been disappointing in her role as First Minister. She has had an opportunity to set an example of what independence can do for Scotland. Much like the rest of the UK. Huge infrastructure projects are indeed required. However, Scotland, unlike the rest of the UK would begin from a much stronger position with a trade balance in surplus and incredible untapped resources in the renewable field.
2016_rts_q3  Should Scotland become independent I would hope for a Labour Party to be elected into government to lead these radical changes required. The irony is that Scottish Labour is more akin to New Labour which would go over better down south while Corbyn’s UK Labour would find their message much more receptive as Scottish Labour. It is therefore clear that the Scottish Labour Party needs to lead the charge from the left embracing the politics of Corbyn which are ostensibly real Labour values in Scotland.

Jeremy Corbyn’s economic plan for the UK is one which would make a real lasting difference to the privatisation, austerity laden current unelected Prime Minister’s vision of destroying our health service and public services, of high living costs and low wages and hard Brexit. But the chances of a Corbyn election look slim with a media of vested interests keeping his message from getting out. Corbyn needs to think outside the box. The current union is not fit for purpose. But that does not mean we wont retain our solidarity in independence.

An independent Scotland run by a real Labour Party would be a shining vision to South of the border of the economic plan Corbyn seeks to implement which is all too often ridiculed in the Mainstream media. It would be far more difficult for the press and public in the RoUK to ignore the potential of a socialist government with the successful implementation north of the border

The Tories Go Full Fash

Reading Time: 6 minutes
Victoria Pearson

Since Theresa May’s undemocratic coronation, she has tried to style herself as a centrist – with worker’s rights and equality at heart. During the party conference, however, it has become clear she either doesn’t care that that mask is slipping or – more likely – she thinks the entire British electorate is as thick as puppy shit.
May talks about taking the centre ground while leaning so far to the right that she is in severe danger of falling off the edge. Those that voted Brexit are quick enough to tell us that they didn’t do it because they are racist – but apparently the cabinet didn’t get that memo, since May has announced a host of policy plans that would make Farage say “Now steady on…”
From the suggestion that we have companies list their “foreign” workers, to the new Tory pledge that we will have no doctors come to work here from abroad after 2025, it’s quite clear that the Brexit vote has emboldened the nasty party to pick up the racist rhetoric that surrounded the campaign and run with it as far as they can. Never mind that our economy would collapse without Migrant workers – we’d apparently rather see the UK crash and burn than encounter someone with a different culture to our own.

Never mind that the NHS is currently lying on the floor, bleeding out, desperately trying to resuscitate itself while Jeremy Hunt pisses on it from a great height and Branson rubs his hands in glee and works out his projected profit margin, we’re going to make all NHS staff so demoralised they’ll all quit and move elsewhere anyway. Hunt seems to think we’ll be able to stop British born doctors leaving for a country where they are valued and respected, but, short of building a wall, it’s difficult to see how. Only please don’t say that too loudly – Theresa May is about 2 drinks away from suggesting it herself.
They already came for the disabled when they cut ESA. They came for the poor when they cut universal credit. Now they are coming for immigrants. You’ll probably be next, unless you happen to be in the top 1% of uk earners. If you are, well lucky you! You’ll be getting a tax break.
We’ve let them cut sure start, libraries, local council budgets, housing benefit, nursery placements, adult literacy programs, and fire fighters. We’ve let them expand the cruel and counterproductive badger cull. We’ve let May organise Brexit talks in secret, giving us no voice in exactly what brexit will look like, with no intention of any kind of public consultation. We’ve sat here and listened while she talks about repealing the fox hunting ban, and describes ideological austerity as “living within our means”. She has done all of this in our name, secure in the knowledge that she can do just exactly as she likes for the next four years, more if the weighted constituency reshuffle goes ahead. After all, all she need do is make a couple of pitifully weak jokes in PMQS and her BBC lapdog will slather over her shoes and hump her leg, yipping “you really showed Corbyn there” whilst they desperately try to kick Tory election fraud under the carpet.
Probably the most frightening thing to come out of the Tory party conference so far has been May’s utterly barking plan to repeal sections of the human rights act. Universal human rights are just that – universal. They are not May’s to grant or take away, they are ours. We’ve already fought for them, and we won. Who is she to try and take them from us?
The Tories have spoken about how our troops should be exempt from those pesky human rights violations trials, their argument being that vexatious claims are sometimes made, and those cost money. To which I say so fucking what? On that basis we should scrap all court cases of any kind, because vexatious claims are sometimes made. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the point of a trial to get the evidence heard and the facts established? We are at war, on more than one front, and we already have shockingly high levels of sexual assault in our armed forces. Do we really want to rip up the rulebook entirely, and give our boys the right to torture and rape with impunity? We have rules of engagement for a reason, and if we want to continue styling ourselves as the moral arbiters of the world, we have to hold ourselves to the highest possible standards.
The thing that has always made me proud to come from the UK is our freedom and our tolerance. Britain has always been – despite the rose tinted nostalgia glasses you can pick up at the Torykip conference – a melting pot. We are a beautiful mixture of vikings, Romans, Asians, celts, Africans and Europeans. We are all races and all colours, coming together and finding common ground side by side, enriched by our diversity. We may not dress the same, or eat the same things or have the same faith, but we all wait in line at the post office, we all tut but don’t make a scene, We all talk only about the weather. We’re all just neighbours, wherever we come from. We live and let live.
We are a pirate culture, we travel the world and we bring home new foods, new languages, and new people. And we do not stand for this kind of division. 80 years ago the Jews stood side by side with the Irish dockers and the communists and the socialists and the local working class people in Cable Street and we told Moseley’s filth in no uncertain terms that they shall not pass. we will not have fascism in our streets and we certainly will not tolerate it in our government either.
People talk about sleepwalking into fascism. We’ve gone beyond that now. We have a government who, even if every charge of election fraud is thrown out, still only achieved 24% Of the vote, led by a woman who wasn’t even elected by her own party and they are talking openly about making lists of foreigners, giving soldiers permission to violate human rights in combat situations – to strip human beings of basic, fundamental human rights, their very personhood. They are talking openly about making universal human rights removable – effectively telling you that the rights you already have can be taken away.
The Tories have used brexit as an excuse to go full fash. They think that if they points the finger at migrants enough the electorate will just forget about Cameron’s £10million plane, and Sam Cam’s 35k a year stylist and the massive pay rises for MPs and the £6million a year House Of commons bar bill and the fact that actually, it isn’t migrants that have put the NHS under pressure, it’s massive cuts and unworkable contracts and chronic neglect. It isn’t migrants that stopping your kid getting on the housing list, it’s Tories not building any social housing. Your wages aren’t low because of Migrant workers – they are low because the Tories have kept the minimum wage low, the Tories have allowed corporations and individuals to squirrel away wealth in tax havens instead of paying you what you’re worth, the Tories aren’t investing in your community.
While they continue to live a champagne lifestyle, people are relying on food banks. In one of the richest countries in the world, we are told we can’t afford care for our elderly, emergency services, healthcare, housing, social services, prison officers or pensions. The Tories genuinely expect us to believe that that is all the fault of migrants. That’s how stupid they think we are.
I refuse to believe that the majority of British people are racist, xenophobic knuckle daggers who will believe whatever they are told by their Tory overlords. I refuse to believe the majority of people listen to murdochs hate rags spewing their bile about migrants as if the 2008 banking crash and subsequent chronic mismanagement of our economy never happened and actually buy into that. I think better of us than that. I’m sure even the people who voted to leave the EU didn’t want our human rights taken away, foreign citizens monitored and our NHS closed to international health professionals. But that’s happening in our name. The Tories think that’s who we are. That’s how low they regard us.
The Conservatives have allegedly rigged the election, then taken us out of the EU by accident, now they are very deliberately stripping our rights as quickly as they can strip our kingdom’s assets, stirring up hatred for Immigrants while segregating children by wealth and giving poor children the choice between a life of fruit picking or a chance to be cannon fodder in the next unwinnable, illegal war, and they do it brazenly, without shame, in our name.
I wish I could see a happy ending to all of this, but with both Trump and Le Pen gaining ground and May kicking off the vile kitten heels to strap on the jackboots instead, the future is looking a lot like the past we swear every November we will never forget.
2016 has taken some unpredictable swerves, but I never thought I’d end up being nostalgic for Hameron. To the people who voted to “take control” Because The EU is, air quote “undemocratic” I need to ask: is this what you had in mind? Really? This isn’t control, it’s Mayhem. It’s fascism. It’s not us. I want my democracy back.

Club Trumpicana

Reading Time: 2 minutes


Neil Scott

Good luck, American working class friends. Good luck world.

Perhaps by the end of this Presidential term we will all have gold doors.

That white bit around the eyes will become fashionable as sun beds become safer through millions of pounds worth of investment. In fact, USA, the jobs Trump was doodling about in his tacky Club Tropicana White House were all in the sun bed sector.

Imagine a world where everyone can have what Donald has. Greed; total disregard for anyone’s needs only his own and a personal set of those wee goggles you balance on your eyes when you are on a sunbed.

After today, we all live in Trumpton, an aggressive, bronzed, greedy punch in the face- every day until he is voted out or his Government falls.

Trump will think of us all. He thinks of “the little guy” often, tips them to make himself happy, has his shoes shined and his coat brushed and fires a few. They deserve it. They are not as successful as him. They didn’t work as hard at him to show off the wealth his father left him. In fact they are failures because they weren’t born into massive wealth and a dysfunctional,
Love free world.

Jon Voight, the great actor from “The Champ,” says – “Trump didn’t need to be President.”

Nope, he didn’t. But he wanted the power- he wanted the Ultimate job- the one in which “you’re fired,” can finger pointedly condemn poor people to death by way of poverty, missile strike or lack of societal compassion. Voight is right- Trumpet didn’t need the job- but he wanted it. He was incensed a black man was in the job before him, so much he had to try to prove the guy wasn’t an American. Yet again he felt like a failure because in his eyes, the eyes of a racist brought up in a racist world, the lowest of the low, the level below working class, below homeless “bum,” the blacks – had an American President before the successful, kindly, all powerful Trump family.

I have American friends. And this brass faced, greed personified, bling laden, crass, racist, misogynistic, dangerous man who will tell us God is with him, and guides him in his ripping up of Western Democracy and his throwing America back to the days before segregation and homophobia were written out of law does not represent who they are. God is guiding him. The God of unimaginable wealth; the God of bigotry; the God of no compassion or indeed love – the God created by white, imperialist, grab it all America rules supreme and will point at you and scream, You’re fired!” because you don’t have a Gold Door.

America is a progressive, changing society. A place were tolerance is spreading like wildfire. The bigotry of the past is on the wane- and the figures prove it. But the nasties who ruled the roost with their pumpkin pies and racism and bigotry and witch hunts are having one last hurrah at our expense.

On Liberty and Dissent

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Steve McAuliffe 

No one talks of liberty anymore. No one seems to even think that the notion of liberty is important or even relevant to their daily lives, just mention the word and observe their eyes glass over. It has become an abstract too tiresome to decode, let alone interact with, and the libertarian writings of John Stuart Mill and Thomas Paine are not studied at schools and colleges, nor the poetry and essays of Blake and Defoe, let alone Shelley’s Masque of Anarchy. The latter understandably perhaps, for what education minister in his or her right mind would permit the line ‘Rise like Lions after slumber/ In unvanquishable number/ Shake your chains to earth like dew/ Which in sleep had fallen on you/ -Ye are many – they are few.” No, far better to fill those lamb-like brains with tales of noble kings and queens and generals and heads of state as opposed to the geniuses and visionaries who spoke of liberty and autonomy, and the shaking off of mental chains.
And so it is that the most draconian of government surveillance bills is passed in Parliament and no one notices, no one bats an eyelid. For this is how the State likes it. Distractions and misdirection’s are passed down via Diktakts from an increasingly oppressive State, and are duly filtered through the propaganda arm of the mass-media for our consumption. Back in 1644, the poet John Milton complained of a populace who preferred ‘bondage with ease’ to ‘strenuous liberty’, what I described in my poem ‘Rejecting Soma’ as ‘drip-fed Soma and incremental soft-dogma’ – in short, cakes and circuses for the masses.
And as our systems break down, our infrastructures crumble, prices rise, wages freeze and our pensions are raided – other victims are assigned the blame for the nation’s demise, anger and blame is redirected away from traitorous ministers and thieving fat-cats and financial hucksters toward the voiceless: the benefit claimants, the single mothers, the immigrants – and great swathes of the populace buy the lie hook, line, and sinker.
Despite the media’s tried-and tested distraction-techniques we are actually now entering potentially momentous times, times that threaten liberties gained not just over the last few decades, but over the past few hundred years. For today I read that Theresa May is proposing a repeal Bill (described by none other than the Financial Times as a reinstating of ‘Henry VIII Powers’), a bill which, should it pass, will give her government unprecedented powers to repeal or amend any former EU law, many of which have been described as being central to ‘individual liberty’. So, I guess we can expect the Principal Secretary of State for exiting the European Union – that self-avowed Conservative-libertarian, David Davis MP to be tending his resignation soon on a matter of principle, and once again find himself fighting the government as an independent (OK, don’t hold your breath on that one).
It would seem then that when certain Government talked keenly and passionately about a restoration of Parliamentary democracy, they actually meant a return to 1539 and Henry VIII’s own particular brand of Parliamentary sovereignty.
We must now accept that the neo-liberal/free-market philosophy has failed us, disastrously, and recognise that the state for all its power-grabs and assaults upon our liberties, no longer controls the means of indoctrination. We are entering a world in which new narratives are forever evolving, and beneath the narratives new themes take hold. We are becoming the editors of our own realities, and this is anathema to those who would hold control over our imaginations. Via social media kinships are born and solidarity is cemented, new philosophies may take root and flourish, and the greatest philosophy we must share is that of liberty. And until we achieve the liberty that we must once again believe to be our birth-right, then dissent is the only option open to us.
From the soon-to-close it’s-doors bell foundry in Whitechapel the ghost of the Liberty Bell is sounding, resounding within the hearts and minds of man and woman once again, for as Czeslaw Miloz once said, “In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.”

Let the shots ring out, and let the liberty bell ring once again.

Rejecting Soma

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Steve McAuliffe



And so we find ourselves now, living through these dying days of drip-fed Soma
And incremental soft dogma
A shiny self-promotional world in which oppression
Finds its manifestation
Behind manifold masks and expert skin-grafts
And the grim oppressor dons the cloak of freedom
Whilst secretly shoring up the already- mighty fortified walls
And still, the remaining doped-up shackled serfs do not determine
The true extent and nature of their own imprisoning
Coz from the earliest of ages
We were taught by rote
Passive obedience
And stage-managed subservience – to an overlord we would never ever encounter
For a good old while back there it seemed we enjoyed our dreams
And steered-fantasies well enough
Electable interchangeable front-men and women
Human sales-pitch-faces for the permanent machine
Selling us a nightmare as an attainable dream –
-Surface change we could believe in
Tiny almost imperceptible alterations to the pitch and speed of the bleeding
But there is something fundamental changing
Trust me, they can feel the swell of the terra firma shifting
And what was certain seems now uncertain – consequently all the stake-holders and placeholders are to be found keening
Fretting, sweating
At the terrifying possibility that the 100th monkey has finally awoken
For outside their diminishing reach, somewhere out there
Something is stirring
Deep within the caverns of solitude and despair
And yes, they have the means to monitor all these emerging tangled networks of awakening
But they lack the tools to close up the magic box
Thus those who would be dream-weavers
Are now reduced to mere observers
Banks and banks of screens in bunkers
Track and stack the information into computer servers
But still scramble to make sense of a narrative ever-shifting
Enveloping the still-evolving minds of those who curse the status quo
And consequently they damn the very day we became our own narrators
Began by-passing the machine-selected editors
Laughing in the face of stone-faced men
Whose job it is to rein us in

See, nowadays
Only a select brand of ageing greying husks
Still place their misplaced trust
In twisted dangerous narratives and a machine that’s doomed to rust

It’s coming.
Trust me, this is the hour before the breaking dawn.

You can listen to Steve perform this poem on our pod The Great Sweary-ing In