Thursday 29 June 2023

Has the SNP made Scotland shrink?


Something very odd is happening to the UK. Those parts that are most gripped by nationalism are shrinking, while the part they wish to be independent from is growing. Humza Yousaf wants his part of the cake all to himself, but its as if someone already took a bite out of it.

I was very dimly aware that there was a boundary review going on. There had been attempts to change Westminster constituencies for some time, but it had previously come to nothing. However, the next General Election will see England gain ten seats, Scotland lose two, Wales lose eight and Northern Ireland stays the same. Scotland might have lost more except that Orkney and Shetland and the Western Isles are protected even if their number of voters is way lower than the average constituency.

The reason for these changes is demography. While the UK population has grown enormously in the past one hundred years almost all of this growth has been in England. While England’s population has grown by fifteen million since 1951, the population of the other parts of the UK has barely grown at all.

Scotland’s population in 1951 was 5,095,969 while it is now approximately 5,466,000. The population of Wales in 1951 was 2,596,850 while now it is approximately 3,107,500        and has hardly grown at all since the last census. Northern Ireland had a population of 1,370,921 in 1951 and now has a population of around 1,903,175.

So, while England has grown by millions the other parts of the UK have grown by a few hundred thousand and the rate of growth is tiny, compared to the rate of growth in England being enormous.  

The population in the UK is not growing because of birth-rate. The number of children born for each woman has declined from 2.69 in 1961 to 1.56 today which is below the replacement rate. People are living longer, but that on its own won’t increase population. The increase in UK population is almost entirely due to migration. But it is migration almost exclusively to England.

In 1951 99.9% of the UK population was white. But while that has changed everywhere Scotland remains around 95% while, Wales 94%, Northern Ireland 96.8% white, while England is 81% white.

So, the reason that Scotland and Wales are losing constituencies must primarily be attributed to the lack of ethnic minorities in Scotland and Wales compared to England. But its not only ethnic minorities who prefer England, it’s also EU citizens, Americans, Australians and everyone else. But why should this be?

I think there are a number of reasons why migrants are attracted to England. The first of these is London and the Southeast. London is an international city, which is much more prosperous than anywhere else in the UK. People migrate there for the same reason they migrate to New York rather than North Dakota.

But its not just the southern part of England that attracts migrants. People migrate to the north and midlands because they perceive that there are greater opportunities there than in Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland I think is a special case because for decades the Troubles put off anyone migrating there.

Perhaps most importantly of all there are established communities of many linguistic and ethnic groups in England. These people will provide networks of help for newcomers, while in much of Scotland and Wales there would only be white English/Scots speakers who could not provide the same degree of help.

It is for this reason that migration increases in England particularly to London, where migrants know there will be a readymade community waiting for them.

The geography of England plays a part too. Much of England is flat and fertile, while much of both Scotland and Wales is mountainous and infertile. Hampshire can sustain a greater population than the Highlands because of the nature of the land. But also because of the nature of the land much of England is densely populated while much of Scotland and Wales is sparsely populated.

The rates of population density are extraordinary. While Scotland has only 70 people per square km and Wales (153), Northern Ireland (137), England has a population density of 434 per square km. This makes England one of the most densely populated parts of Europe and Scotland one of the least densely populated.

But density of population brings with it economic benefits. Any small business in England will have numerous customers nearby, while a small business in the Highlands might have to travel far to reach its nearest customer.

Both Wales and Scotland have progressive self-images, but it is hard not to view both Welsh and Scottish nationalism as a function of the demographics of these countries. Do they wish to separate from multi-ethnic England precisely because it is so multi-ethnic and precisely because so many ethnic minorities choose to live in England.

Both Welsh and Scottish nationalism are overwhelmingly white in terms of their politicians and their voters. This remains the case even since Humza Yousaf became leader of the SNP. He strikes me as a being a Scottish nationalist because of the racism he experienced in school. It makes him wish to be more Scottish than the Scots. His speech always strikes me as exaggeratedly Scottish rather than naturally so.

There is an element too of the reasons why Mr Yousaf got into politics in the first place as a response to 9/11 and his being asked about it in the context of being a Muslim. Mr Yousaf is hostile to Britain like all Scottish nationalists, but his hostility has a different origin. It’s neither because of the UK’s relationship with Ireland (a motivation for many in the West of Scotland), nor perceived historical wrongs perpetuated against Scotland by England. Rather I think Mr Yousaf resents the UK’s involvement in wars in Islamic countries and would delight in seeing it broken up.

But these are not the motivations of most Scottish nationalists, who base their desire for independence and Scottishness on historical connections with pre 1707 Scotland and the distant medieval past when Scotland fought against England.

So too I think Welsh nationalism is grounded in an historical resentment of England based on England conquering Wales in the Middle Ages and anglicising Wales to the extent that Welsh became a minority language that required revival.

But the historical contexts of both Welsh and Scottish nationalism are much less likely to appeal to people who lack any personal connection with the historical events which Welsh and Scottish nationalists resent. If I come to live in Cardiff from Japan, I may be Welsh I may even learn to speak Welsh, but I am likely to view Owain Glyndŵr as abstractly as most residents of Cardiff view Oda Nobunaga if they have heard of him at all.

So too if my family came from Poland why would I be interested in the Battle of Bannockburn, when my fellow Scots are uninterested in the Battle of Grunwald (1410) and most likely have never heard of it?

The problem for both Scottish and Welsh nationalism is that just as you cannot change the island on which we all live, you cannot change the fact that you have a neighbour with an enormous multi-ethnic population, which has grown by what amounts to three Scotlands since 1951.

The greatest source of both the population of Wales and Scotland is people born in England. Around 20% of the population of Wales is from England while around 8% of the population of Scotland was born in England. This is much more than the population from the EU and the rest of the world combined.

It is here perhaps that the demographic problem of both Scotland and Wales is exacerbated by nationalism. The best chance both Scotland and Wales have of increasing their populations is not by appealing to people from Europe and beyond. These people for the most part don’t want to live in Scotland and Wales anyway. They overwhelmingly choose to live in England when given the choice. Rather the best chance is to appeal to our fellow citizens living in England. They already make up the largest non-Welsh and non-Scottish group in both these places, but they are the most likely group to be put off by Scottish and Welsh nationalism, not merely because they might justly perceive it to be hostile to English people, but because they cannot meaningfully share in a nationalism that is contrary to their own birth. Who wants to become a foreigner in one’s own home?

To suppose otherwise is to suppose that I could move to Sapporo and lead the Hokkaido National Party. But this would be considered preposterous in Japan as well as grotesquely rude to the Japanese people, even though Hokkaido was annexed by Japan in the 19th century.

We are left then with a vision of Wales and Scotland losing seats and prosperity because people prefer to live in England, wanting to separate from the greatest source of their migration primarily due to their hostility to English people choosing to live in Scotland and Wales, without which the population of both would be still smaller.

The idea that separation would make Wales and Scotland more prosperous looks quaint in the context of few people choosing to live in Scotland and Wales at the moment due to their poverty, nationalism and hostility to anything that is not Scottish or Welsh.

Meanwhile England prospers by actually being what Wales and Scotland are not but pretend to be. Progressive and welcoming. No wonder Wales and Scotland are shrinking.



Monday 26 June 2023

The SNP thinks it can win by doing worse


What we witnessed on Saturday was on the on hand the most serious threat to world security since 1991 and on the other one of the maddest events in history.  The Wagner coup that went all the way from Rostov on Don to the gates of Moscow in a day and then gave up is so bizarre that it makes even those of us with reasonable knowledge of Russia shake our heads and give up even trying to understand the place. Prigozhin achieved more in a day than Yemelyan Pugachev and Stenka Razin, the two greatest rebels in Russian history and came closer to overthrowing the tsar than they ever did. But he will share their fate and his followers will share the fate of their followers. Why start if you don’t want to see it through to the end?

To compare events in Scotland seems somehow even madder, yet if anything Humza Yousaf’s latest ploy to overthrow the British state is even more bizarre than Prigozhin’s. Fortunately, there is no danger to Humza’s health. No one is going to offer him green tea laced with Polonium and his followers can rant and rave about rebellion all they like safe in the knowledge that they will be ignored.

Yousaf’s plan is so confused that no one quite seems certain what it is. He may not believe in the possibility of resurrection on the third day, but he clearly does believe in the possibility of the resurrection of the de facto referendum which everyone had assumed had descended unto hell only to remain there.

What the SNP plan amounts to is to turn the next General Election into a vote on independence. Just like Sturgeon’s plan. But while she required fifty percent plus one vote of the turnout in Scotland to declare victory, Yousaf merely requires that the SNP wins the most seats.

It’s not even entirely clear what Yousaf means by most seats. Initially it seemed that this must mean that the SNP would have to win half the seats in Scotland. But no there are suggestions amidst the confusion that the SNP would only have to be the largest party.

But this is Wagner level of mad no matter how you play it. The SNP could easily win half the seats in Scotland with around a third of the votes. It could be the party with the most seats with less than twenty five percent of the votes.

At the moment the SNP has forty-eight seats while Labour has one seat in Scotland. Let’s imagine the SNP loses twenty-six seats and wins twenty-two. Labour on the other hand wins twenty-one seats and in fact wins a greater share of the vote than the SNP. Overall, Labour wins three hundred and forty-five seats so its Scottish seats are what give it an overall majority.

So, Labour has just formed a government. Keir Starmer is Prime Minister, but Humza Yousaf sets out on his Wagner like odyssey playing Flight of the Valkyries from his helicopters and marches on London to seek independence.

Keir Starmer has the good manners to actually meet Humza Yousaf and his merry men at Ten Downing Street. Yousaf tells him that the SNP won the election in Scotland and now wants to begin negotiating independence or else have a second referendum.

But you lost twenty-six seats. Your share of the vote went down from forty-five percent to twenty-five percent. Labour won a greater share of the vote and gained twenty seats. The SNP is in opposition. Labour is in government. But we won says Yousaf.

Even when the SNP won all but three of the seats in Scotland in 2015 and won very nearly 50% of the vote, no one thought this gave it the right to a rerun of the referendum it lost the previous September.

Even after winning thirty-five seats in 2017 with 36% of the vote and 48 seats in 2019 with 45% of the vote it was still the case that Sturgeon had to ask Prime Ministers May and Johnson for permission to hold a second referendum. The idea that Yousaf can somehow force a British Prime Minister to negotiate independence after winning fewer seats and a smaller share of the vote just because he has defined losing seats and winning fewer votes as winning is so bizarre that I keep expecting him to announce that he is going to capture Newcastle then York in order to restore the Stuarts to their rightful place on the throne only immediately afterwards to kick out the Bonnie Prince on the grounds that the SNP are republicans.  

It’s all very well exhibiting your republicanism by going to Bannockburn every year to worship the feet of an Anglo-Norman French King, but such cosplay becomes a little silly when you propose to march on London when the overwhelming majority (perhaps 75%) of Scots voted for Pro UK parties. Would Humza Yousaf turn back at Derby when he realised, he didn’t have the support?

This is all nonsense of course. The Scottish part of a UK General Election has no more constitutional significance than the part that takes place in Yorkshire. Just as Scottish voters don’t have a veto on the result of a UK wide referendum, so too each seat in a General Election is worth exactly the same as any other. There is only one majority that matters, the majority of seats needed to form a UK Government. There is only one manifesto that matters, the manifesto of that Government.

A group of MPs in Yorkshire cannot put forward a manifesto that people in Yorkshire will no longer have to pay VAT or income tax if they win most of the seats in Yorkshire. To achieve this goal these MPs would have to win a vote in the House of Commons.

Well so too with the SNP. To enter into independence negotiations the SNP would have to win a vote in the House of Commons. To obtain the right to a second referendum it would have to win a vote in the House of Commons and to leave the UK after such a referendum the SNP would still have to win a vote in the House of Commons. It is the whole of the House of Commons that decides everything that is not devolved. Groups of twenty or thirty MPs can decide nothing, even if they are from Scotland.

Where else is the SNP supposed to win a vote other than the House of Commons? Holyrood cannot vote on reserved constitutional matters. The Supreme Court told us this. So where are Humza Yousaf’s merry MPs who supposedly have a mandate for independence supposed to vote? Do they annex a school room in Derby?

The UK Government backed by the Supreme Court and the Scotland Act certainly does not need to grant anything to Humza Yousaf on the basis of the SNP doing worse at the next General Election than at anytime since 2014. Yousaf must know this, so what game is the SNP playing.

I think it’s a core votes strategy, the same one that Sturgeon was playing. Independence is just around the corner. We will have a second referendum next year. We will begin negotiations before you know it. But this strategy depends on independence supporters believing it to be true. But this is perhaps the bizarrest part of the whole story.

Sturgeon marched her troops to top of the hill in Derby, Wagner marched its troops to the top of the hill in the Moscow region, Humza proposes marching his troops to the top of the exact same hill and the poor suckers not only march, they actually think they are going to win.


We're on the march with Humza’s Army

We're going to Ten Downing Street

And we'll really shake them up

When we win the breakup

Cause the SNP has the greatest ever dream.


This is a diminishing returns strategy. If Humza marches everyone back from Derby next year, is the SNP really going to be able to have another “march with Kate’s army” or indeed anyone else’s army. SNP voters look so gullible rather than canny that you begin to suspect they are not Scots.

The UK is a unitary nation state. There is no legal right for a part to secede. But if the SNP ever consistently had sixty percent of the vote there is little doubt it would have its second referendum. The choice is to either be patient and build support or to rebel. All of the de facto strategies are forms of rebellion or else you just slink back after the Prime Minister says No.

But if the SNP wants rebellion, why doesn’t it just rebel? It can. A simple vote in Holyrood would be enough. But UDI means starting life with no cooperation, no deal and no recognition. It would probably involve the cash machines not working and no food in the shops too. But lots of countries have become independent without referendums. But if you don’t fancy that and the SNP certainly doesn’t fancy it, nor does the Scottish electorate, then stop inventing these mad schemes, where you get to win by getting fewer votes.

If on the other hand you fancy a little bit of rebellion then make sure you see it through otherwise you end up stranded in Derby or a hundred miles from Moscow and you look completely mad, because now you have nowhere to go.


Friday 23 June 2023

Yousaf has unwittingly destroyed the SNP's own independence argument


In its new paper Building a New Scotland: Creating a modern constitution for an independent Scotland the Scottish Government argues for the benefits of having a written constitution and proposes certain things to be included in it. I doubt one single independence supporter would vote for independence in order to obtain a written constitution, but at times like this the SNP needs every argument it can get. But it turns out that this is a poor argument and one that is rather self-destructive.

There are lots of sensible systems of government around the world. There are constitutional monarchies like in Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and the UK. There are Republics like the USA, France, Ireland and Germany. There are unitary states like France, UK, Norway and Denmark. There are federal states like USA, Germany, Australia and Canada. Nearly every state, except in fact Israel, New Zealand and the UK has a written constitution.

All of these systems of government have evolved for historical reasons. The Netherlands is not a worse country because it has a monarchy than France which does not. A unitary state like France is not worse than Germany because it lacks federalism. New Zealand is not obviously a worse country to live in than Australia because it lacks a written constitution.

There are arguments in favour of written constitutions and arguments against. The USA still suffers because of the second amendment to its constitution that says

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed

These words and the interpretation that constitutional courts have put on them are directly responsible for Americans having the right to own military weaponry including machine guns that the founding fathers never dreamt would exist when they talked about a militia. School shootings and the American murder rate being much higher than in Europe are a direct result of this amendment ratified in 1791.

So too the 18th amendment to the constitution which led to prohibition was directly responsible for the rise of the mafia and gangsterism in the USA until its repeal by the 21st amendment in 1933. Making prohibition a matter for the constitution did not stop drunkenness nor did it make the USA a more lawful place to live.

The strength and also the weakness of a written constitution is that it is extremely difficult to change it.

Article 5 of the US constitution sets out the process of amending it

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress.

No wonder the US cannot get rid of article two and retains the right to bear arms. It is a wonder that it was able to get rid of prohibition. It no doubt required the chaos unleashed by 18th amendment to get everyone agree to the 21st.

How Scotland created its constitution and the rules of amending it would be determined under the circumstances of it becoming an independent state. But one thing is clear having a constitution involves establishing principles that are extremely difficult to change. A two thirds majority might be required or some other sort of super majority or a referendum with a certain turn out.

It is for this reason that what the SNP proposes to include in Scotland’s constitution is so concerning. Constitutions normally include very general rights and responsibilities, but the SNP proposes a right to free health care and the protection of the NHS. It argues for a constitutional prohibition on nuclear weapons and the right to various equality measures. But all of these things are matters for present and future debate and ought to be the subject of simple majorities rather than super majorities.

It is absurd to include in a constitution the right to free healthcare because free health care depends on the state being in a financial position to provide it. Not every state in the world can. The model of healthcare that was proposed by Beveridge in 1942 and enacted by the post war Labour Government was for a National Health Service free at the point of use for all British citizens wherever they lived in the UK. The word National in NHS refers to the whole of the UK even if healthcare was from the beginning devolved. But it is just this model that is threatened by Scottish independence, which would change the meaning of National in NHS to mean the same as National in SNP, i.e., it would only refer to Scotland.

It might or might not be the case that Scottish citizens would have the right to free health care in the former UK, but that right would now be contingent. We do not automatically have the right to free healthcare in other countries. So, the SNP would in fact destroy the NHS as originally envisaged and call it protecting the NHS. I think I would prefer an unwritten constitution and keep my right to free treatment while on holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Just as the founding fathers of the USA could not envisage what the right to bear arms would mean more than two hundred years later, so too we cannot envisage whether it might be necessary to have nuclear weapons based in Scotland. For instance, NATO might require it, or threats from future enemies might make it prudent. But a future Scottish Government elected on a mandate of allowing nuclear weapons into Scotland would not be able to base them here unless it could first change the constitution.

So too a future Scottish Government could not adopt a French, German or Swiss model of healthcare even if the majority of Scottish voters wished it, because it would require a super majority to change the constitution.

This is the most worrying aspect of the SNP proposing to include matters that are subject to legitimate political debate into a constitution that would be extremely difficult to change.

It would be possible for instance for a party to include in its manifesto on numerous occasions the proposal to change a certain right included in the constitution. It could form a government year after year and have majority support for decades only to never reach the two thirds majority required for the change. But this is obviously undemocratic. It is the tyranny of constitutionalism that the UK is free from. A British Government with a majority can do what it wishes and can fulfil the mandate on which it is elected. A future Scottish Government could not.

Perhaps the worst aspect of the SNP’s project of creating a constitution is the hypocrisy involved. The SNP expects to be able to win Scottish independence by means of a referendum in which it gets fifty percent plus one vote. Alternatively, the SNP has proposed that it might achieve independence by means of a General Election turned into a de facto referendum winning with fifty percent plus one vote. Some have suggested that a simple majority in Holyrood might be enough to obtain independence.

There are no super majorities required for this largest of constitutional changes, but once independence is achieved all sorts of relatively minor issues would be subject to super majorities.

The SNP in fact benefits from the UK not having a written constitution, because if the UK like most other countries did have such a constitution it is quite certain that reserved constitutional issues could only be decided by the sort of super majorities that the SNP would require for constitutional change in an independent Scotland.

More importantly if the SNP thinks that it is democratic for a future Scottish Government elected by a majority of the electorate to be prevented from enacting a manifesto commitment because of the Scottish constitution, then its whole argument for Scottish independence falls apart.

It is not undemocratic to refuse an SNP Government’s request for a second independence referendum because it won a majority of seats at Holyrood or Westminster or even if it won fifty percent of the vote, because the SNP itself does not think such a situation would be undemocratic in an independent Scotland, where a government with majority support could be prevented for decades or indeed forever from enacting its manifesto commitments because of a constitution.

If governments with majority support can democratically be constrained from enacting their manifestoes in a future independent Scotland, which is what the SNP is arguing, then they can democratically be constrained by a British Government that because of the Scotland Act that set up the Scottish Parliament controls reserved matters like the constitution, i.e., independence.

The Scotland Act is the constitution of the Scottish Parliament. It requires a majority in Westminster to amend it. There is nothing undemocratic therefore in requiring the SNP to obtain some sort of super majority to obtain constitutional change in the UK. After all this is exactly what it would require in an independent Scotland.




Thursday 22 June 2023

A fairytale that has nothing to do with Scotland. Part 15

 Part 14

Once upon a time Nancy gave her third press conference of the week not only proclaiming her innocence, but explaining indeed that she was untouched by human hand, as white as snow and as virginal as the most pious nun.

When she returned home to Udderston, there was no longer the possibility of milking the udders and the food bill had increased not because of inflation but because now not only was Nancy eating as if Bad Kissingen had never happened, she was eating as if Bad Fükingen had been Gut Fükingen all those years ago on their honeymoon tour through Germany.

Paul sat on some crates now because the ermine fur sofa had been taken away after he spilled some beans on it. So too had the twenty foot wide television that previously covered the whole of the opposite wall. Now there was nothing to do but to talk to Nancy.

“Why didn’t you say I was innocent too?”

Nancy glared and went to get another plate of krispy kreme doughnuts. She only wished it were possible to buy a krapfen that wonderful jam filled ball of dough that indeed made you krapfen quite regularly if you eat enough of them.

“Well, you are not innocent. It was your stupid idea to go on the honeymoon to Bad Kissingen,” said Nancy.

“Was it my fault that it was Bad Kissingen?” It was you that bit my tongue, because you wouldn’t open your mouth”.

“And I suppose it was my fault in Bad Fükingen too?”

“Well, it would have helped if you had opened your legs. We’d just returned from Dickhardtstraße if you recall, but I was reduced to going up the Wankbahn until I got to the top and how do you expect someone to maintain his Knoblauch when I could but you könnt nicht and I didn’t even get to see your könnt.”

“How could you expect anyone to be in the mood when all you did was fahrt. There were Einfahrts, Ausfahrts and even a Schifffahrt, but every time someone in the hotel told you to have a Gute Fahrt! Did you take him at his word. You had Gute Fahrts all day and all night too.”

“Well there was no need for what you said on Fürkhofstrasse when I suggested some Rimsting, that hurt”

“It hurt rather less than what you were suggesting. If you wanted to spend your time on Schittgablerstraße you really should have found someone with a Koch rather than a könnt. I had no wish to spend my honeymoon Poing just because you preferred the aß to the könnt.”

“I would have been happy with Büsum or Titting but when we got to Titisee not a Titisaw not once not during the whole honeyemoon”

“Well you were always Großhadern and you paraded around the room every morning with your Großhadern and it was gross indeed”

“Not quite as gross as you my dear with your Theresa May have Jowells. You have them like a Salmon going round die Ecke and it’s not only MacHeath that has a Messer. It’s us that are in a Messer too.”

“Do you not think I still look good in red?”

“You would look better in a black bin bag. You might be allowed eye holes and a mouth hole to proclaim your continual innocence. Not that you would proclaim mine.”

“That’s because you saw me as simply a Kochhaus, but I was not going to spend my whole life cooking and I was not going to be the Haus where your Koch could live whenever and wherever it wished.”

“Goodness I would have been pleased merely with a little Petting or even just some Suckfüll when I felt full and needed sechs damit what is a man to do when his Knoblauch, his Mannschaft needs Dickmilched. But you were never part of the team never willing to lend a hand.

“I’d rather Muckefuck where you left the Kampfwagen. I’d prefer to drink Horlicks than lend you a hand. Gott was mit Uns, but now come winter we will be lucky if we have gloves let alone mittens.”

“But why go on honeymoon at all if you don’t want to Fach? You promised to love mich”

“I did love dich, but your dich smelled of garlic. Was I going to spend my whole life eating Knoblauch? Better as I am.  I am as innocent as the day when I was born?”

“But they are not talking about that kind of innocence Liebling”.

 Und die einen sind im Dunkeln

Und die anderen sind im Licht

Doch man sieht nur die im Lichte

Die im Dunklen sieht man nicht


[And some are in the darkness

And the others in the light

But you only see those in the light

Those in the darkness you don't see]

For a long time, we were in darkness thought Paul as he whistled the Kurt Weill Song about Macheath. No one knew what we did, what we bought, what we spent. No one was allowed even to ask. Perhaps it was the colour of the envelopes that had given them away. White. White. White. If only they had been a little more camouflaged. Brown. Brown. Brown. If only there had not been that little slip over a Frau who wanted to be a Mann and a Mann who wanted to be a Frau (this it was that brought the Valkyries down upon them), but that was the story of their honeymoon and it had meant that it was not merely Bad Kissingen it was bad everything else and everything bad including the bath with its solid gold taps, which had now been taken away had followed on from that.

 He had thought that he and Nancy could make up for their disappointments in other ways and that no one would so to speak see the knife. He thought that he could always say I know nothing about this. If he were ever asked “welches war dein Preis?” [what was your price?] he would not have to answer, and he would not have to pay.

For now, he kept silent, but as he watched Nancy getting fatter and telling everyone about her innocence, he told himself, if I go down, she will pay. That will be the price of Bad Kissingen. 

Part 16

Tuesday 20 June 2023

Is this Rishi Sunak's new Section 28?


Until I think the mid-1980s sex education in schools was entirely about biology. In primary school we learned the basics about sexual difference and how babies were made. In secondary school we went a little further about the biological processes involved. At no point were we encouraged to be heterosexual. I suppose it was simply assumed that most of us would be. There was no mention at all of homosexuality let alone transgender. As a child it simply did not occur to me that girls could become boys. It didn’t occur to the teachers either. I’m not sure it occurred to anyone apart from a tiny number of people who had sex change operations. This was merely a medical anomaly that did not have anything to do with anyone I ever met. Teachers would have been simply baffled if a girl had maintained she was a boy, let alone a cat.

Until the early 1960s male homosexuality was illegal and broadly disapproved of. Even when public opinion accepted that it was wrong to punish homosexuals for who they chose to love, male homosexuality was still thought of as morally wrong and sinful. There is a simple reason for this. For nearly two thousand years the Church had taught that homosexuality was sinful, and a straightforward interpretation of the Bible confirms this view.

It isn’t merely that the Old Testament in rather lurid ways condemns homosexuality, Christ too made it clear that sex is only permissible within the context of heterosexual marriage. This isn’t an accidental feature of Christianity, but rather goes back to the Christian interpretation of fallen man and the possibility of redemption. Christ’s sacrifice was to redeem us from the sinfulness of sex, but only through the sacrament of marriage. None of this was controversial to any church goer (which was most of us) until the mid-1960s.

But in the 1980s some schools began to introduce teaching materials that, for instance, showed two men bringing up a child, or which described homosexuality in positive terms and discussed homosexual practices. Public opinion had not moved on that far from the 1960s. No one wanted a return to male homosexuals being punished by the law, but most parents didn’t want their child to become a homosexual and didn’t particularly want these children to learn about homosexual practices.

It is in this context that the Thatcher’s Conservative Government introduced Section 28 which banned the promotion of homosexuality. The attempt was to return to the previous situation where sex education was merely a matter of biology rather than promoting anything.

From our present point of view Section 28 looks like children trying to stop a river by means of stones. Indeed, the whole history of attitudes to sex education, homosexuality and transgender has changed so much since homosexuality was legalised that people living in the 1960s would barely recognise the world, we are living in in 2023. Something that had been sinful for two thousand years is now not only permissible, moral and sinless. It is a matter of pride.

Public opinion has genuinely changed and rightly so. The liberal principle that everything should be permitted that does not harm others means that it is simply none of my business what people do in the privacy of their own homes. The law ought not to be determined by the Bible. After all we have freedom of religion. We do not live in a theocracy.

But it is also important to realise that the ultimate failure of Section 28 was part of a steady and deliberate attempt to redefine morality which has transformed the world we all live in. Each battle won including the battle to repeal Section 28 merely led to a new battle to be won. Until we ended up with a situation which most people including most homosexuals find bizarre.

I remember when the idea of civil partnerships was put forward as a way of preventing gay people from being excluded from their dying partner’s bedside and to provide them with the same rights as married couples. It seemed reasonable enough. But it wasn’t enough. As soon as gay people had civil partnerships, they wanted marriage. But the word marriage until this point meant heterosexual marriage. No one considered it possible for a man to marry a man any more than for a square to be round.

But within a few years we had gay marriage and anyone who disagreed was a bigot.

So too within a few years not only had we to accept that men could marry men, we had to accept that men could become women. The logic was the same. The point was the same. There were no objective moral norms. There were only feelings. Once everything had become subjective, we could begin building socialism just as Khruschev thought that once everyone spoke Russian, we could build Communism.

Trans is the death of homosexuality, but the gay liberation movement is responsible for its own death. If boys who fancy boys become women and sleep with men in “heterosexual” relationships, then gay men drop out of the equation.

Worse we have the same mission creep that began in the 1960s with the legalisation of male homosexuality. We begin with gay people wishing to be left alone to live their lives in peace, we end up with rainbow flags everywhere and anyone with a view that held for two thousand years condemned not only by society but by the Church, which transformed itself not because of revelation, but because society demanded it. What is the point of setting a moral standard for millennia if you give way at the first sign of disagreement. It’s like not having a moral standard at all.

So, we come to what has been called a new Section 28. Rishi Sunak is suggesting that children in schools cannot change their pronouns without parental permission, that teachers must tell parents if a child begins transitioning, others don’t have to call a child by its preferred pronouns and head teachers must take into account other pupils before agreeing to accept a child’s change of gender.

Immediately the transgender lobby condemns this as a new version of Section 28. But there is a problem with this logic. If homosexuality and transgender is innate, it ought not to matter if it is promoted or not. There have been homosexuals throughout history even when homosexuality was not taught in schools and even when it was illegal. What difference does promoting it make? If it really is innate there ought to be just the same number of homosexuals if you promote or you don’t or indeed if you go on pride marches or you don’t.

But the idea that transgender is innate is harder to argue. It never occurred to me to suppose that any of the children in my primary school were other than girls or boys. It was a non-issue. But suddenly in the space of a few years we have an explosion of boys claiming to be girls and girls claiming to be boys. If this were all innate, we should have had this explosion decades or centuries ago.

Attitudes to homosexuality have moved on from Section 28 not least because although most parents would prefer their children to grown up heterosexual, they realise that homosexuals live fulfilled happy lives free from prejudice and that this is a good thing. There is no longer a need to claim pride in homosexuality because it is so normal. You only proclaim pride in something that you are ashamed of. Moreover homosexuals don’t believe anything that is false and they don’t mutilate their bodies or fill themselves with hormones in order to love the person they choose to love.

Here is the difference between Rishi Sunak’s new dam and Section 28. Not only is there an explosion of people wishing to change gender, this has the consequence of their believing something that is self-evidently false, i.e. that a boy can become a girl. Worse the consequence of this false belief is that everyone else has to agree with it and medical authorities must frequently fill healthy female bodies with male hormones and mutilate healthy male bodies so that they approximate female bodies. Which parent would not react with horror to such a prospect?

But this is where Sunak’s so called new Section 28 resembles its predecessor. It was unimaginable in the 1980s let alone the 1960s that we would end up where we are in 2023. Where will be in 2063?

If a boy can become a girl, then we are frankly through the looking glass where anything is possible morally and indeed logically. We already have a teacher condemning a pupil for disagreeing that her classmate can identify as a cat. How long before we have transspecies? It is far easier to convincingly approximate the looks of another race than another sex. There are instances of people doing so. How long before it becomes the norm for people to claim to be black, perhaps in order to obtain reparations. What new letters will be added to lgbtqia+?

Worse once we get rid of objective standards of what it is to be a man or a woman, then these concepts cease to have any meaning. Gender fluidity is not merely the death of homosexuality it is the death of feminism. We cannot say for certain about any woman in history that she didn’t think she was really a man. Any bias against women, might in fact be a bias against people who identify as men. How would you know? What would it be about these supposed women that made them really women? If there is nothing, there is no more feminism. You cannot rely on objective criteria when you have dispensed with them, which makes Nicola Sturgeon’s claim to be a feminist logically nonsense.

There have been some setbacks for transgender ideology lately. The vast majority of the public don’t accept it. The attempt to issue Gender Recognition Certificates without medical checks helped to bring down Nicola Sturgeon and perhaps opened the floodgates to everything else. But still unless something fundamentally changes it still feels like Sunak is making a dam in the river with rocks.

I think the only thing that may make a difference is if homosexuals see the ever-growing acronym that used to be just LGB as a threat to what they are and rebel against Trans and everything that follows on from it. After all, LGB is about who you are, who you fancy and who you want to go to bed with. Trans has nothing to do with who you are, because you are trying to become who you are not.




Saturday 17 June 2023

The SNP must ditch Nicola Sturgeon


The likely result of the next General Election in Scotland is that the SNP will lose around 20 seats to Labour and a few to the Conservatives and the Lib Dems. If that happens the SNP might still just be the largest party in Scotland on around 25 seats, but it will no longer be the dominant force.

Alex Salmond has come back on the scene with a plan to unite the independence voters who are divided between the SNP, the Scottish Greens and Alba. But the mistake in this argument is that there is nothing to unite. Alba and the Scottish Greens only make sense in the context of Scottish Parliament elections with its combination of constituency and list seats.

There is a certain logic to independence supporters voting SNP in the constituency, but Scottish Greens or Alba in the list, but even that logic only works if the SNP maximises its constituency vote. But neither Alba nor the Scottish Greens are close to winning a Scottish constituency in a General Election. Independence supporters know that as well as everyone else, so what is the point of Alex Salmond’s pact?

If you want independence vote SNP. Lots of people on both sides of the argument vote for a party that has no chance of winning a seat. Why shouldn’t they? Some people will vote Alba or Scottish Greens, or Labour or Conservatives where they know their candidate has no chance of winning, others will vote tactically.

Alex Salmond’s pact is the same as a Pro UK pact. It would not gain that side of the argument but would instead cost it.

There is likely to be a swing to Labour in Scotland where former Labour voters who have been voting for the SNP for the past decade come back to Labour. They will do so for many reasons, but foremost will be their desire to have a UK Labour Government and their disillusionment with the SNP due to its failure to come close to achieving independence, its descent into scandal and their lack of enthusiasm for Humza Yousaf.

What is the one thing that could stop SNP voters coming back to Labour? It would be any sort of pact between Labour and the Conservatives. By all means vote tactically, but best to do it quietly lest you frighten the SNP horses.

But a similar argument applies to the Alex Salmond pact. The SNP is likely to do badly at the next General Election, how could it do worse? Well, it could form a pact with Alba and the Scottish Greens.

Alba is a party of ex SNP malcontents/fundamentalists. The Alex Salmond who led the SNP was a far more impressive politician and far more sensible too. It is as if he has regressed to his youth when he is rumoured to have flirted with various forms of Scottish nationalist radicalism.

There is also the issue that he was frankly very lucky indeed to have been acquitted when ten women witnesses accused him of various forms of sexual assault. If he were an American, he’d be in prison for life with Harvey Weinstein as his cell mate.

His show on Russia Today looks even more dubious now with Russia committing war crimes in Ukraine than it did at the time. It astonishes me that Salmond is treated by the media as a respected elder statesman.

If the SNP had any sense, it would ditch its present arrangement with the Scottish Greens and have nothing to do with any electoral pacts. The worst and least popular aspects of Scottish Government rule are a direct result of the Greens. These include attempting to allow transgender people to obtain Gender Recognition Certificates almost immediately and without any medical checks. The logical outcome of this is male bodies in women’s prisons and males taking part in women’s sport. Both of these horrified ordinary Scots.

Lorna Slater’s Deposit Return scheme may cost the Scottish Government millions in compensation to retailers who bought expensive equipment that will now not be used.

Few Scots want the hassle of paying 20 pence for every bottle and can and then having to queue to get it back. Likewise, few Scottish women want a changing room, a prison or any other women’s space to be available to people with male bodies. The Scottish Greens are not vote winners, they are vote losers.

There no longer needs to be an independence supporting majority at Holyrood, because there will not be a vote on this issue. Why have a coalition that damages you when you don’t need to?

The SNP still has one main electoral advantage. Scottish independence is still popular as a policy. Indeed, it is more popular than the SNP. I think a lot of the popularity of independence in polling is due to unrealistic expectations about what independence would involve. This is partly due to the story the SNP has told about independence since it became a serious possibility in the years leading up to 2014. There’s only the upside there is never any downside as if it were merely a question of voting to get your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

But the same can be said for people who vote for socialism. There is never any downside. Everyone gets a universal basic income, and no one has to work. But who delivers your Amazon parcel? Who nurses you in hospital or cleans the wards? I wouldn’t do any of these things if I was paid to do nothing.

Even soforms of socialism and Scottish nationalism remain popular and parties that put forward popular policies have a chance of winning.

But to rebuild the SNP has to ditch its past. Whatever happens during the present police investigation whether charges are ever brought, or it all ends in a whimper, the SNP must distance itself as much as possible from Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrell.

Humza Yousaf ought not to be sending flowers, nor should he be making support for Nicola Sturgeon a test of loyalty. Sturgeon is finished politically for exactly the same reason Alex Salmond is finished politically. They are both toxic. Maybe that’s not fair, but that is how it is. The police question as suspects only people they have a reasonable suspicion of committing a crime. People are sent to trial only if there is thought to be sufficient evidence to convict them. Of course, you are innocent until proven guilty and innocent if acquitted, but that still leaves the toxic smell.

The SNP under Nicola Sturgeon failed to achieve its goal of independence. It never came close. Electoral decline at the next General Election and Scottish Parliament election, will push that goal further away. But so long as Scottish independence remains popular, the SNP will remain a threat because it is the only party in Scotland that can deliver on independence.

Humza Yousaf however will be unable to change the SNP sufficiently to reverse its decline. What is needed is a centre right SNP, which rejects EU membership after independence in favour of the closest and most friendly relationship possible with the former UK. If Scotland and the former UK could form a trade, economic, military and cooperation alliance then they might be able to separate amicably.

But for that to happen Scotland would have to cease depending on UK money, which first involves admitting that it does. It would then have to lower public spending and introduce the business-friendly policies that might attract people to living here.

But this is the SNP’s problem. It has to attract both nationalists and socialists and perversely it is both of these that prevent Scotland being able to realistically achieve independence because they are both unrealistic about their hopes. If the SNP ditched socialism, which is its only realistic chance of making Scotland ready for independence, central belt Scots would ditch the SNP and rediscover their tribal relationship with Labour.

Wednesday 14 June 2023

A fairytale that has nothing to do with Scotland. Part 14

Part 13

“Truth is the daughter of time” wrote Francis Bacon and latterly made famous by Josephine Tey’s novel about a police inspector Alan Grant investigating the alleged crimes of Richard III while flat on his back in hospital. I think the quote means two things. We accept the historical narrative that has been repeated long enough whether it is true or not. Harold gets an arrow in his eye. Alfred burns some cakes. Nelson says, “kiss me Hardy”. Richard III murdered the princes in the tower. But there is a different and opposite meaning too. Given enough time passing there is the chance that eventually the actual truth will be revealed. If enough people research and think about an historical event there is a chance that someone will by using their reason or by discovering new evidence find out the truth.

I am metaphorically lying on my hospital bed looking at contemporary events through the lens of Plantagenets and Tudors. What we have witnessed in the past decades is the equivalent of a dynastic struggle for power.

Always being concerned about issues to do with contempt, let us call the first leader Richard III Plantagenet and his successor Henrietta VII Tudor.

What we have with the actual Richard III the Plantagenet is the following. His reputation is trashed by Henry VII who has almost no legitimate blood claim to the throne. Subsequent history following the Tudor line portrays Richard III as a monster with a hunchback who kills the princes and does all sorts of other awful things. Thank goodness we got rid of those Plantagenets. Shakespeare and nearly all other history follows this line and from then on everyone believes it.

Now what has happened in lately. One man Richard III Plantagenet was responsible for all of the success of his party and came closest to achieving his dream of secession.

Richard III was closely allied with and mentored the young Henrietta Tudor. There are suggestions that the relationship was closer than mere friends and colleagues. Some of the pictures from these times which show them looking into each other’s eyes and with kisses that go a little further than on the cheek suggest the possibility of a dynastic alliance, but it was not to be.

After just failing in his war of secession, the Richard III allows Henrietta VII to take charge of the realm. But what he does not expect is that within a very short time he will find himself without a horse and being attacked by the person he thought was his closest ally.

This is the key to the whole mystery why did the Henrietta VII attack Richard III and try to have him sent to the dungeon with a reputation no better than if he were a child killing hunchback?

It may be that Richard III had slept with too many ladies in waiting. It may be that the Henrietta VII was jealous. It may also have been that Richard III knew something about the Henrietta VII that was dangerous to her, such as her spending habits, or what she really thought about secession, or the nature of her marriage or the other friends and lovers she may or may not have had, some of which were fish, some of which were fowl and some of which were neither fish nor fowl. It may merely have been about power. You cannot set up your Tudor dynasty unless you kill off the Plantagenet dynasty and trash its reputation.

But Richard III survives losing his horse and he sets out to clear his reputation. Look I have no hunchback. Look my arm is not withered. Look here are the princes. They are not in the Tower.

Henrietta VII remains in power, and we have civil war. It’s not a war of the Roses anymore it’s a war of who is going to sleep with the fishes.

History has not provided the connection between the two events. Henrietta VII is arrested, and it is quite certain that this happened because of her attempt to destroy Richard III. If she had merely left him alone. If she had treated him with respect and asked his advice every now and again then all would have been well. Neither Richard III would have been arrested and tried and Henrietta VII would have been left free to buy and indeed do what she wanted with no one overly concerned.

But the two events are connected, and they are connected with something else too. While Richard III genuinely fought for secession, Henrietta VII was content with power and was happy to make the most of it whether secession was achieved or not.

So, Richard III after having his own reputation trashed, after facing charges that would never have been brought if he’d stayed in power finds that Henrietta his successor is merely using her power to pretend to fight a war of secession. She keeps asking for permission to hold another war, but when she’s told “No” she just gets a bit angry, puts on a funny face and waits a year to ask again. Some wonder if Henrietta was even working for the enemy as if she were a son of Guinness kept alive because he was useful like my five steak knives.

It’s an attack from within that does the damage to Henrietta VII. The attack is lead by Richard III, but only from behind the scenes. He has his own party now, but he also controls certain figures in Henrietta VII’s court and certain influential figures in the wider secession movement.

As I lie on my bed getting someone to bring me books from the period and particularly contemporary sources, I am struck by how Henrietta’s court is divided between those who send flowers and those who remain Plantagenet’s loyal to the old order.

Much we don’t know, because the historical sources don’t tell us. What did Richard III actually do to the ladies in waiting. When did Henrietta VII know about what he was doing? Did she know that ladies in waiting had been warned to stay away from Richard III’s bed chamber? When did she know these things?

Did Henrietta use her influence to get the ladies in waiting to rise up against Richard III? Were the stories as exaggerated as his hunchback and the princes in the Tower? Maybe that was why Richard III escaped from the dungeon.

How did Richard III plot his revenge against Henrietta VII and how did he achieve it? This is the heart of the plot that is still unknown. Did Richard III or his followers gather the information or tell others where to look? Did Richard III use his former close connections with the law to direct operations against Henrietta VII? We await the daughter of time to tell us.

Truth could have been the myth that Henrietta VII established about herself and about the wickedness of her predecessor. Shakespeare might have written about the saintly Henrietta VII and how she brought peace and plenty to her country. But the daughter of time saw things differently and chose instead to reveal rather than mythologise.

As the flowers withered Henrietta VII surveyed the trinkets that she had bought over the years strewn throughout the palace. “My jewels, my jewels, my kingdom for my jewels”

It would be she who Shakespeare described as having a hunchback. It would be she who murdered the princes in the Tower. Henrietta VII would be the villain of history her reputation ruined by the daughter of time.

Part 15

Sunday 11 June 2023

A fairytale that has nothing to do with Scotland. Part 13

 Part 12

Once upon a time there was a fisherman called Paul and a fishwife called Nancy. They lived in a small hut and although Paul worked hard every day Nancy was never happy with her hut or the rather limited diet of fish. But one day Paul caught a Golden Salmon and was surprised indeed that this fish could speak.

The Golden Salmon plead for its life and offered to grant Paul any wish if only he would let the Golden Salmon go. But Paul told the Golden Salmon that he didn’t want anything and ran back home to Nancy.

Nancy was furious with Paul and told him to go back to the Golden Salmon and ask him for a new trough. Paul went back and meekly asked the Golden Salmon and lo and behold the trough appeared outside their hut the next morning. Nancy and Paul were so delighted with the trough that they proceeded to share it with the pigs.

The Golden Salmon told a tale of how he had tried to separate the land from the sea and was in fact the leader of the Sea Nautical Party. But he had failed in his quest as the sea kept washing up on the shore no matter how often he told the tide to cease coming in.

Nancy thought she could do better than the Golden Salmon and so told Paul to ask that she be made leader of the Sea Nautical Party. The Golden Salmon granted her wish.

Were there any limits to the wishes that the Golden Salmon might grant her? Nancy told Paul to ask the Golden Salmon for a new house and lo and behold the next morning they awoke not so much in the House of Repute but in the House of Loot.

Every day Paul went down to the sea to talk to the Golden Salmon with requests from Nancy. Soon Loot House was redecorated and filled with every conceivable object. It was a scheme way ahead of its time. You just searched for what you wanted, sent Paul to tell the Golden Salmon and the next day it was delivered as if by magic.

But it wasn’t enough for Nancy. She wanted to be a Saint and so Paul asked the Golden Salmon to arrange for pictures of Nancy accidentally in front of objects that looked like haloes.

Still, it wasn’t enough. Nancy wanted fame and adoration and so the Golden Salmon arranged for an ultra-modern device that would allow Nancy to talk to all of the fish in the sea every day and tell them when to stay at home, how far they could swim each day and in return she heard their fins slapping together enthusiastically. She would separate the sea from the land and succeed where the Golden Salmon had failed. What could stop her? She controlled the waves. She controlled the tides. She could stop hunger, she could even stop disease.

But still it wasn’t enough for Nancy. Loot House just wasn’t large enough and she asked the Golden Salmon if he could provide her with a Palace bigger than even than Thunderstruckingham. Her palace would make the seas storm and rebel against the land.

But the palace needed to be filled and so each day Nancy ordered from the Golden Salmon a new bathroom, a new kitchen, a jacuzzi, some solid gold cutlery, stationary that self-destructed by burning after it was sent and an especially elaborate cellar/dungeon which in the absence of the invention of refrigeration was necessary to keep the butter fresh.

If Nancy was going to ruler of the seven seas, she would need a means of visiting her realm and so she asked the Golden Salmon for a second palace only this time it would have to be mobile over both land and sea.

But unfortunately, Nancy had failed to obtain her ship’s pilot’s licence at the usual age of 17, but she was determined with the help of the Golden Salmon to receive her licence and boasted joyfully when she passed the theoretical test on navigation with sextant and by the stars.

But the Golden Salmon was becoming uneasy at Nancy’s continual demands and sometimes hesitated to fulfil them. He pointed out that the pigs were resentful about having to share their trough and word was getting around about how the Golden Salmon was supplying things to Nancy without Nancy paying for them.

But Nancy thought she could do anything and get away with anything after all the fish fins clapping were still ringing in her ears and so she demanded that the Golden Salmon make her and Paul part of the nobility.

But even this was not enough for Nancy, and she demanded that the Golden Salmon separate the sea from the land and make her ruler over all that swam in the sea. But the Golden Salmon realised that this would make Nancy ruler of him and so he hesitated and showed his reluctance, which made Nancy furious.

At this point Nancy found some loaves and some fishes and turned them into witnesses against the Golden Salmon because of where he had been putting his fins.

The Golden Salmon begged Nancy for help. He reminded her that he was responsible for everything she had and that if the sea pigs came to get him, he would be unable to fulfil any more of her wishes.

Nancy now thought that she did not need the Golden Salmon she could grant her own wishes. Not only would she be ruler of the seas, she would be ruler of the universe.

But the Golden Salmon escaped and had seen that was there was no limit to Nancy’s wishes and that she would never be content no matter what wishes he granted her and so he went to the pigs at their trough and then went to the sea pigs and told them all he knew about how Nancy had first filled her house and then filled her palace and how she wanted to rule land and the seas in her super mobile amphibious home.

First the pigs demanded that Paul come to the trough, and they oinked at him, and he oinked back. Then they demanded that the supposed keeper of the Sea Nautical Party treasure come to the trough and the same oinking went on except he didn’t know anything and so merely squealed.

Nancy thought throughout that she was safe. She would not have to squeal with the pigs. She could control the seas. She could eradicate disease and stop it at her border. What could mere feeders at a trough do to her.

But it was not merely the Golden Salmon who was against Nancy. Two others had seen the extent of her ambition and how it stretched without limit. One was a Pretty Woman the other might have been president of the United States apart from hanging chads. It is because of these two that Nancy is squealing to the pigs.

Having wished for the universe Nancy and Paul found themselves back in the same hut in which they began the story. Except they were separate huts and Paul was no longer a fisher and Nancy was no longer a fishwife. Their huts were locked and there was no key on the inside.


 Part 14