Get in Line

A pigeon's eye view of Edinburgh in the grip of winter

A pigeon’s eye view of Edinburgh in the grip of winter


A long queue snakes its way around a block to a food bank in the early morning hours, the wait for the first day’s January sale. It’s only late December, so people are sleeping under blankets, drinking hot soup from flasks, or playing endless games of Candy Crush on their latest iPhones made by over-worked Chinese doing fourteen hour stints a day, plus overtime, in crowded factories run by gang-masters on behalf of the Apple Corporation, or just sitting half-asleep on the pavement sidewalk shivering in the cold and wet.

One man near the back of the line is clearly losing patience.

“This is bloody terrible!” he spits.

“I’m unemployed because of Westminster’s policies; waited three hours for my welfare money, walked twelve miles to attend a job interview I didn’t get because my PhD is too low a qualification for a night guard at a garden centre, and here I am yet again lining up for days to buy tins of beans and milk so my young kid can eat.”

The woman in front turns to him. “My friend, I lost my home because of the Tory’s housing policies, I got sold phony life insurance by my bank that didn’t pay out, lost my pension in a finance scam, and I’m in debt to high street loan companies to stay alive. How do you think I feel? This is life in ‘Austerity Britain.’ Learn to live with it.”

The angry man is not impressed.

“Well, you can stuff your acceptance of fate. I voted No in the Referendum for Britain’s prosperity and this is what I get for keeping the bankrupt Union together. No sleep for days. I’ve had enough of this crap. ‘Wonderful country,’ my arse. I’m going to find where that useless shit of a chancellor lives, We’re-better-together Osborne, give him a piece of my mind, and punch his effing lights out!”

And off he strides, consumed by homicidal fury.

Two days later he returns to join the same long, straggly line to the food bank. As he lays a blanket on the cold concrete ground, the same woman as before welcomes him back.

“Back again? I thought you’d had enough of all this?”

“Aye, I did.”

“And you were going to confront Osborne.”

“Aye, that’s true.”

“Did you find where he lives?”

“Aye, that I did.”

“And did you give him a piece of your mind?”

“Ach, no!”

“No? You didn’t punch him one?”

“No, I damn well did not!” says the man, grumpy as hell.

“There was another bloody queue!”

This entry was posted in General, Scottish Independence Referendum. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Get in Line

  1. jimnarlene says:

    I’ll bet the Osborne punching queue was, by far, the longest.
    That’s a fantastic picture of our beautiful capital.
    Hope you have a good midwinter celebration and all the best to you and yours for the coming year.

    Jim, Arlene, Eoghan and Rhiannon.

  2. All the best for the Season to you and yours Grouse Beater

  3. Grouse Beater says:

    Returned with affection. 🙂

  4. All the best, friend. I’ve always enjoyed your unique take on Scotland’s politics.
    May you and yours have an excellent Yule and New Year.

  5. Have a merry Xmas a HAPPY NEW YEAR M8.
    Don’t let the bastards grind you down!

  6. Grouse Beater says:

    And I have enjoyed composing it. To be honest, I did it for my own benefit, to hone my political argument and spot weaknesses. I asked my friend, Murray, who set up the site, that no one should read it, hence it was never begun as a vanity project. But he was taken aback by my hermit-like attitude and told me I was defeating its entire purpose. If it read well, he said, people would pick it up and pass it around, which seems to be the way of things. (700 hits yesterday on this blog.) Only then did I realise I could exploit ideas to convince just one person to vote Yes, as Margo encouraged.

    Till next time, and thank you for your patronage. Essay blogging can be a lonely pursuit…

  7. Grouse Beater says:

    You too, Thomas the Potter! 🙂

  8. Grouse Beater says:

    Health and happiness to you and your family.

  9. yesguy says:

    Great read.
    A merry Xmas and happy New Year when it comes Grouse beater. Hopefully 2015 will be a”late ” xmas present for us YESSERS and rid us of the Unionist parties.

    Onwards and upwards B 🙂

  10. Grouse Beater says:

    Onwards and upwards to ther light at the end of the funnel! (Well, it is a funnel going upwards.)

    Here’s to fresh beginnings in 2015 as we move to Referendum 2 – The Revenge of the Nats!


  11. Jammydodger says:

    Looking forward to reading more of your essays in 2015. All the best for 2015.

  12. Grouse Beater says:

    “Looking forward to reading more of your essays.”

    Me too! 🙂

    I hope 2015 brings us closer to true self-governance.

  13. hektorsmum says:

    I read this earlier and had to come on and say I got a rather bitter laugh GB. Have enjoyed all your posts since finding you, and like you was distraught enough on the 19th September to give up for around two weeks, only a trip up North jogged me out of it.
    Well come the New Year we better be geared up because with the beloved (not) BBC we will have a fight on our hands.
    Merry Christmas.

  14. Grouse Beater says:

    Personally, I shy off Christmas, an indulgence over the poor and the disadvantaged. Scrooge, that’s me. Once immediate family have their gifts and food I usually drive off to Spain until the Scottish gloom of winter is over, but this year I have my never-ending house build to watch over.

    It’s easy and natural to slip into depression at the knowledge so many of our kith and kin, (and a good few incomers here for a ‘better quality’ of life) voted for delusion – but let’s not forget we scared the bejaysus out of Westminster enough for them to break ranks. We can do it again.

    Here’s to the final ascent.

  15. hektorsmum says:

    Much sympathy on the never ending house build, we spent last year rebuilding the one we are just about to sell. It was meant to be our last house, as if.
    Well I think the next ascent will be a smaller one and let us hope we never have to do it again.

  16. Justin Fayre says:

    Sorry Mr GB just noticed this and thought it brilliant.
    I actually did my own Christmas piece in July but in looking at it now it actually seems to me to be even more relevant.
    You can,see ‘Ghost of Christmas Future’ via

    Keep fighting the good fight and never forget that we wear the white hats.

  17. Grouse Beater says:

    never forget that we wear the white hats.

    I like that remark. 🙂
    I recognise your avatar from many a bonnie fight on the Guardian site.
    Will enjoy reading your blog even if I don’t add comments too often.

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