Max – A Celebration| St John’s Smith Square

IMG_0464Max’s 4 publishers, his agents and some of his closest colleagues have put together a program to celebrate his life. It looks astonishing. The first piece to be played is the piece he was working on when he died. It is not completed and yet it is. He said about it to me, about two days before he died, ‘it is about changing identity, the music becomes silence, it vanishes into the silence.

In the nature of things, there will be many people who should have been invited who have not been – please circulate this and come – it is helpful if tickets are booked in advance to help us with numbers.


This Celebration is an opportunity for all to pay their respects to this remarkable man of our times, composer and communicator.

Source: | St John’s Smith Square

Behn Quartet
Centre for Young Musicians Chamber Choir
Lynda Richardson       conductor
Maxwell Davies       String Quartet Movement 2016
Maxwell Davies       Seven Brightnesses
Maxwell Davies       Lullabye for Lucy
Maxwell Davies       The Golden Solstice
Maxwell Davies       Farewell to Stromness

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies died on 14 March 2016. The concert will consist of chamber and choral music, including two new works, The Golden Solstice and String Quartet Movement 2016, led by the Centre for Young Musicians Chamber Choir, conducted by Lynda Richardson, and the Behn Quartet, plus spoken tributes. Speakers will include Sir Antonio Pappano, Professor Robert Saxton, Sally Beamish and Giuseppe Rebecchini.

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Revealed: ‘Glasgow effect’ mortality rate blamed on Westminster social engineering (From Herald Scotland)

This is what the Labour Party and the Union have given us – our largest city written off for decades – social engineering killing our own people – these were governments of both colours and an unaccountable civil service – no more profit was to be had, so they let the city go.

“The principal reasons for poor health in Glasgow are poverty and deprivation, and this shouldn’t be forgotten. However, even given its very high levels of deprivation, Glasgow has much, much worse health than it should have, and much worse than in comparably deprived cities like Liverpool, Manchester and Belfast – cities that been through the same processes of de-industrialisation.”Until now this has been an unexplained phenomenon: but this new research is based on assessment of a huge amount of evidence and is not speculation-based.”The Scottish Office documents were particularly revealing, he claimed. “The Scottish Office embarked on a series of policies that effectively wrote off the city – they designated it a ‘declining city’ and their plans focused on economic growth elsewhere,” he added. “This was a policy that went on for decades despite an awareness that this was having a massively negative impact in socio-economic terms and therefore on health.”

Source: Revealed: ‘Glasgow effect’ mortality rate blamed on Westminster social engineering (From Herald Scotland)

The ‘Ulsterisation of Scottish politics’ is a vacuous term with no grounding in history (From Herald Scotland)

The ‘Ulsterisation of Scottish politics’ is a vacuous term with no grounding in history

In the last week or so the phrase ‘The Ulsterisation of Scottish politics’ has cropped up from time in both the press and social media.The argument is that the recent results of the Scottish Parliament elections have confirmed that the old axis of left and right in Scottish politics is no more and has been replaced by a struggle between those who oppose or favour independence.

No longer, according to this perspective are health,housing and education the overarching issues of contention in Scottish political life. Instead they are marginalized by a fixation on the constitution which is now the only political battleground between the parties.We are now, it is suggested, in a new era of identity politics in Scotland, which it is argued by the proponents of this thesis, can be compared to the single issue conflict which has long dominated Ulster between unionists and nationalists.

Source: The ‘Ulsterisation of Scottish politics’ is a vacuous term with no grounding in history (From Herald Scotland)

The people have spoken – the bastards. Voters upset various applecarts in Holyrood 2016

Excellent article here – and the decisive blow to the argument that we are becoming a one party state – this is a healthy democracy but not the one that a lot of the politicians want.

Iain Macwhirter

IT didn’t take long for Labour to lose its cool on Friday morning. As the results started to trickle in at 12.30 am, the former MP and Holyrood candidate Thomas Docherty announced that the party had committed electoral suicide. “Our tax and Trident manifesto,” he declared, “was self-immolation for dummies.” He was denounced as a selfish publicity-seeker by Labour’s shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray. From then on the night went downhill.

It was undoubtedly a catastrophic election result for Labour, the party that used to dominate Scottish politics. Docherty went on to declare it “the worst result in 110 years”. Labour was wiped out in Glasgow, something that would have been unimaginable only a decade or so ago. They lost seats across Scotland and ended up a humiliating third behind the hated Scottish Conservatives, who now replace Labour as the main opposition force in Holyrood. Somehow, it seemed to hurt…

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Scenes in the life of a liberal Jew | Eva Wiseman | Life and style | The Guardian

Evening, Friday Dinner table, with extended family. You breathe out with the breath of a thousand potatoes, and prepare yourself for the traditional digestif: an elderly relative explaining why the Labour party is antisemitic. This is an argument that can be imposed on to any topic – Germany, the countryside, boating. But today it is the Labour party, and as usual you are arguing on the side of “no”, with your pleas to interrogate the source of the story, and to look at individuals rather than write off the whole of the party, or of Suffolk, or of the seas. But this is an unwinnable fight, because on their side they have memories of siblings being shuffled on to trains, and their homes being bombed, and with that comes the sureness that it is only a matter of time. So you settle into your ice cream and talk about Beyoncé instead.

Source: Scenes in the life of a liberal Jew | Eva Wiseman | Life and style | The Guardian

Well done Liam, better luck next time Donna.

albino_rodent_by_hiddenmovesSo Liam did it, both  Tavish across the water and himself managed to increase their majorities on an increased poll – well done them both – voles retreat into their burrows to have a good think and accept the gratitude of those tweeters who are grateful to us for the increased LibDem vote here. Liam was far more gracious, his election speech and subsequent interviews were pretty balanced.

What happened here?

I suspect a lot of people south are rather confused about our results and, of course, it is a good idea for losers in an election to think about how their opponents did it.

The LibDems’ weakness was Carmichael – and indeed Tavish’s bizarre behaviour in Court – he really seemed to believe that all of our work was against him personally – nonsense. Their party  did the only thing they could – the Westminster MP was airbrushed from history – gone – forgotten – I have no idea where he has been, but its not here in the islands. There are rumours he is spending time on Mars.

The SNP did not focus on him because we did not want a negative campaign. This, whilst not  political sense,was the right thing to do – to argue about polices and records in office. This was not a rerun of the Westminster Election of 2015. So, it was appropriate to go for Liam on his record in office, not Carmichael’s; on Scottish election issues, not Westminster ones.

So we lost. Obviously. The LibDem campaign was straight from Chris Rennard text books – be local – attack every cut, focus on the person, concentrate on very, very local issues. Leaflet everything that moves. Don’t waste time with people you cannot change. They did it well and to order. Their liability will be their expenses, it will be fascinating to see how much they spent – all those leaflets will not come cheap – but let’s not be petty. They won.

RET won them a lot of support. The fact that our current system is the abiding legacy of one Tavish Scott is neither here nor there. It is a hearts and minds issue – most of us know very little of what is happening in the other island groups and don’t care that much. I have no idea how long it would take me to get to Barra, certainly over 24 hours, even if I fly. The simple argument, ‘its not fair – they hate us because … the Hebrides are better off helped  tip the balance – our answers are honest and technocratic, the problem is that no one believes them. Let’s face up to it, we lost on that one. Most people in the Northern Isles want RET, yes, we would be worse off, but its what people want, who are we as democrats to oppose?


Liam being elected is not bad news for anyone  much apart from Donna, a candidate who I like enormously and admire very much. Liam is appreciated by many and has a track record of standing up for what he sees as the constituency’s needs. No one has a bad word to say about him personally. I pretty much disagree on most political points but this morning, thats my problem, not his.

One other issue here – the unspoken one – is the constitution –  Orkney and Shetland voted against. The votes of the other Unionist parties collapsed and went in an  anyone but Donna or Danus poll.   I would be interested to see how that played out in other seats – the SNP is now the party that suffers from tactical voting.

Elsewhere in Scotland  the LibDems were thrashed – only in 24 seats did they get more than 5% of the vote – some comeback! I am not surprised their tweeters are out against us, they have nothing else to celebrate. Their overall share of the constituency vote went down a fraction.

They are missing the point of course. None of my colleagues have been particularly active in this campaign – we were rather tired – also, our campaigning  was never about the SNP, but about the honesty of Alistair Carmichael – no one else.

Liam deserves his win. Good luck to him!!!



We’ve Held the Beachhead – Let’s Push On!

Butterfly Rebellion

Scotland, for the first time since the Jacobite Rising of 1745, is having a formative role in the direction of London politics. Right across England the prospect of Westminster’s so-called Union coming to an end is of more concern to the average voter than all the fear that has been conjured up over the Brexit. In no small part this was due to another ’45, our referendum. Yet, despite the first round of Project Fear – which is now being deployed against the English – and the ruthless and unrelenting media campaign against independence in 2014, something else has contributed to London’s present anxiety over us, that we have established and held on to a beachhead that is moving our nation closer to freedom.

Reading that Scottish Labour has “overtaken the Scottish Conservatives” in the polls is a testament to the power of the desire for change that has…

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Ken Livingstone gets the history wrong on anti-semitism and Hitler – CapX

One of the things that has annoyed me most during this campaign is the  word ‘tribal’ being tossed around. I am not a life long nat – no, I used to be committed Labour as were all my familiar before me.  One of the people who encouraged me to leave the party was Ken Livingstone – his behaviour as London Mayor was frequently disgusting – justifying corruption and saying that anyone who opposed thugs like Lee Jasper was racist. L

Cap X reports below on how Livingstone has been suspended (yet again) from the Labour party for yet another in a life time of anti-semitic comments.


Ken Livingstone’s characteristically outrageous intervention in the debate over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party – denying it existed while simultaneously proving that it does – was wrong on all sorts of levels, but one of them was in his grotesque mangling of the historical record. “Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932,” he told BBC Radio London, “his policy was then that Jews should be moved to Israel.”

Source: Ken Livingstone gets the history wrong on anti-semitism and Hitler – CapX