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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The Daily Witter - a pilot blog format, maybe first and last!

I’ve been blogging for around eight years, and between old and new, live and deleted, have written well over a million words. Initial driver was to fill the aching gap that existed in the media from 2007 up to the advent of Sunday Herald as indy backer, then The National, and now many fine bloggers and new reporters, columnists, Common Weal et al.

But of late, almost all that I wanted to say was being said, better than I could say it – so I focused on Twitter (72k tweets to date)  and my YouTube channel, TAofMoridura

Despite the many virtues of Twitter (for me, enforced brevity being the main one!) I do feel the urge to ramble in a stream of consciousness mode at more length, with all the risks that it entails, so here goes …


I attend my first SNP Conference – or at least sampled it - on Friday and Friday evening at my hotel, The Village. I decided to just wander and watch proceedings in the hall from outside on the many monitors. I was there on a Guest pass, not as a delegate, so I had no voting responsibilities. I had many interesting chance meetings and conversations, including with George Kerevan MP, Richard Walker, editor and journalist extraordinaire, Peter A. Bell and Dennis Webster, a very quick word with Sandra White MSP, who had actually read my book, and Mhairi Black MP, who had started it! My branch colleague, Mary Knox kept me on the straight and narrow (knowing my loose cannon tendencies) and explained the more arcane points of Conference procedures and etiquette.

The only social event in my hotel was the SNP Youth karaoke – not a sensible place for an old jazzer and sax player whose singing repertoire is more or less confined to the Great American Songbook and one or two Jurassic Park early rock standards that I played with Alex Harvey’s Kansas City Counts in the late ‘fifties. But I bought a couple of tickets anyway as a contribution to SNP Youth funds.

I met Roger Mullin MP coming out of the Village Hotel and he said he might try the karaoke later, so I decided to go.  Presenting myself nervously at the door, I duly had a red SNP sign inscribed on my wrist, and on asking the young lady collecting tickets if they let old men in, she responded cheerfully “So long as they’ve bought a ticket”. (I left my spare ticket for Roger Mullin, but if he came, it must have been after I left.)

I then had a very stimulating and enjoyable conversation with a young SNP youth activist – a physics and astronomy undergraduate - until a giant in gold lamé appeared – or rather exploded on to the stage. From then on the decibel level increased alarmingly, and a range of karaoke performers did their bit, ranging from the superb to the excruciating, which is what karaoke (‘empty – or missing -  voice’) is all about. I left about ten – it was very pleasant while it lasted, but I was clearly a fish out of his own pond and comfort zone and thought it best to leave.

The hotel was excellent, the staff were great, but I fought my usual hotel wars with the television and central heating – and lost. The bed was the largest bed I have ever slept in – I kept my compass beside me just in case I got lost in it during the night. I left early on the Saturday because my family were arriving on a visit at home.

I had the Conference experience – I loved it. As for the politics – well, if I do more daily wittering, I’ll maybe say a bit about that tomorrow …