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Why Orcadians vote Lib Dem

I see people online incredulous that people in Orkney (and Shetland) continue to vote Lib Dem. I don't know about Shetland but I will try and give you my take on Orkney. In doing this I mean no disrespect to any person living in Orkney that votes Liberal Democrat. I have to make that clear at the outset, because I would expect my analysis to be mischievously misconstrued as an insult to Lib Dem voters. This is an attempt to explain some of the social factors and influences that affect the views and decisions of people voting Lib Dem in Orkney.  It is my personal view as a female social observer from an embedded position in one part of the community and longevity of exposure to many parts of the community over fifty years. Here are the main factors - historical political context - social pressure - societal structure - and islandness.
History
The Lib Dems split form the (Tory ) Whigs to become the Liberal Party ( when ordinary people still didn’t have a vote) and before the birth of the L…

Ratskin for the lady?

Its 2014, blog so where have you been all this time? Why do I feel like this blog page is entering a secret room where nobody can see or hear me. I'm shut inside the coat cupboard of my childhood rubbing my cheek against the musty fur coats. They are still here. I wont throw them out in fact I have collected a few more. I was in Bergen last week and had two hours before my flight home to have a look around the historic town. It was gratifying for me to see wooden buildings much more squint and askew than the 150 year old wood and tar shed at the back of my house. I had despaired of it watching the tilt of the upper floor head seawards. Thought it was beyond the pale, but it seems not. I'm wishing now I hadn't pulled down the wee cludgie on the pier that emptied into the tide. There was me in a fit of anti-squintiness removing the old cludge because the squint ship's door, purposefully squint to fit the squint shape of sailing ship and because it wouldn't open at al…

Hugh's Fish Fight and Tall Tails

There’s something fishy going on. Funded to the tune of $500,000 by the Oak foundation ‘Hugh’s Great Fish Fight’ (Channel 4) with the great proletarian leader himself waving the revolutionary flag of middle class conservation is setting itself up as the great saviour of the Seas. The 3 programmes have set a hare running wild in terms of facebook indignation from fishermen and an alternative site ‘The Real Fish Fight’ with a slogan of Save our Fishermen is jumping with keyboard rantings from the reasoned to the rabid.Fishermen as a united body is something of a misnomer – as the pursuit of fish has to be individual and competitive – collective solidarity is only seen in the interdependency of crews in mutual survival in a hostile element to ensure the catch is landed so everyone can get a pay. In 1974 fishing was of little interest to the UK government, but became a valuable nay essential bargaining tool for entry to the Common Market. A big interest in Scotland it meant little to an…

What's in a bit of flag-waving

I do so think I deserve a pat on the back, a little praise or small republican treat of some kind for my exemplary behaviour during the last week or is it two weeks? In any case it’s finally becoming a fading mirage of discordant primary colours. You can tell a decent designer has been nowhere near the union jack.When Charles and Di wed the world was watching it on telly and I chose to go to the only place just about in Britain (see I’m even conditioned into the lingo again) where you couldn’t get TV. It was a blistering hot day, strangely silent like Italian siesta time and I opted to do a solitary trek across the hills of Hoy only returning when I knew that it might be safe to do so and the inbreds had finally been coupled. Back then I was smouldering with barely controlled resentment and anger. But having an adolescent strop in public never looks good and the gullible that have been starved of knowledge and education and lost the ability to question all the truly bad things about …

We all wore knitted ganseys

In the 60s I would hear my father describe the Orkney in which we lived as a classless society. Then I didn’t know what ‘class’ meant. We were literally thousands of miles away from the industrial central belt, where the enormous shipyards, steel works and mines employed numbers which were in excess of our entire community. The Second World War made men of my father’s generation into union men, cementing their hatred of the forces hierarchy that was the badge of the pre-war Churchill world where workers won the war despite the blunders of the Colonel Blimps in command.
But in the isles unions and working class solidarity were a tenuous thing. The social aspirations of working people, farmhands, tradesmen and fishermen were predicated on the feudal patronage and allegiance to the mores of the Protestant Kirk, the Masonic lodge, and the acceptance that you would be Christian, subservient and thankful. In political terms Labour was a dirty word and socialist affiliations would ensure you …

Sheep Poetry

Here are a few sheep poems I wrote a while ago when I was working with sheep. Many solitary times in mud and on the hill mostly burying carcasses!

A better Grave

I always anticipate Digging a better grave than last I size it up A generous rectangle Of golden proportion Then after a tussle with the top turf (Those rashes are the worst) Only one spade down The rich black earth Gives way to ochre Then grey Heavy Clay
The excavation becomes octagonal Even curved Ending up at best A primitive Cist