It’s Just My Opinion


I am beginning to notice a healthy air of justified impatience creeping into the ripostes and replies individuals dispense to the enemies of Scotland’s democracy. Reading for the umpteenth time Scotland is an economic basket case, and of no importance to humanity, the dismissive answer comes thick and fast, “That’s just your opinion”.

Supporters of civil rights embodied in self-determination are dismissing casual remarks and malicious abuse without engaging it – the best way to keep attention on real issues.

If on Twitter you might as well block rancid, insistent opinion. They call that an attack on free speech. Well, if somebody broke wind in an elevator you’d take the first exit out and use the stairs, wouldn’t you?

The same weary, beat up opinion is dragged out day after day. If there’s one thing unionists are short of it’s imagination. The character of their attacks is predicable. Whatever worked last year must work this year.

Challenged, you receive this reply. “Well, that’s my opinion” – as though that in itself is all the justification needed. Conjecture is not fact.

Bloggers at loggerheads

It happened the other day between bloggers and an anti-SNP blogger. He penned a diatribe bewailing areas of outstanding poverty in Glasgow that not once mentioned Glasgow has had a Labour council govern it for decades well into this century. Nor was there any historical context to his argument, that, for example, Glasgow’s population numbers exploded when people fled from the Highland Clearances, forced to live on top of each other in poorly built tenements with no facilities.

His essay got a lot of attention and his family’s plight a lot of sympathy. His plea appeared honest if misguided. He had exercised free will expressing his opinion.

It transpired he had accepted subsidy money from JK Rowling. Free will had damn all to do with it. He’s an employee of a very rich woman. He has to deliver what she expects him to write. His reply to that accusation? His views are just his opinion. I’m sure if he’d chosen to write a critique of Rowling his grant aid would dry up overnight.

Why make shallow opinion public?

There has to be an element of arrogance behind the compulsion to cast your every banal thought to the crowd. We should tell such people their opinion is unwanted. After all, we take umbrage when some two-bit English economist or historian from a third-rate university takes a day off  in Edinburgh to tell Scotland it’s a small, ineffectual, awfully poor place, its entire existence dependent on London generosity.

They forget we have endured over three hundred years of England’s rule that has Scotland where it is.


BBC balance is not two people on a see-saw

The BBC has yet to understand that two opposing opinions do not guarantee balance and factual argument. There are some subjects about which two points of view are not equally valid. That thousands of Highland villages were cleared to make way for sheep, people dispersed to central Scotland or abroad, is an historical fact. For the BBC to have on its Facebook page that those unfortunates who had their lives wrecked to make way for ‘progress’ is not a fact. It’s some idiot caption writer’s opinion, or possibly BBC propaganda.

The path to self-governance restored is strewn with loose opinion supposedly based on fact, when it’s clearly based on hearsay or lies. The lies pile up, and with enough repetition become truth.

In apology for vigorous debate we’re apt to say everybody is entitled to their opinion. Who will deny that solipsism? But we’re not entitled to peddle fiction. And it’s a fatal argument to claim all opinions have equal weight and equal veracity. Opinions without factual evidence have no right to receive respect. They’re worthless.

I think a sceptical approach to authority is a good thing, one which has motivated revolutionary change and high ideals. I’m the one, after all, to tell students to challenge authority in all its forms to ensure the people we gave it to – for a short-term! – are not exploiting it for their own ends.

Galileo had his opinion

If we don’t demand definitions and source information before we engage opponents we encourage situations where truth is lost.

Pope Pail V warned Galileo that if he kept claiming the Earth revolved around the sun he’d be in serious trouble, punished for heresy. Which is exactly what happened. To escape rotting in a dungeon Galileo recanted his thesis and conclusion, he swallowed the truth, a terrible example to scientists ever since. It did him next to no good. He still spent the rest of his life under house arrest. It took the Vatican 300 years to admit he was right.

It took Scotland over 300 years to … well, you know the rest.

I’ve always been of the opinion that when experts are agreed on a subject the opposite point of view cannot be held to be true.

To politicians who forget they are representatives accountable to the electorate, freedom of speech shouldn’t include freedom lie or to subvert truth. Calling it diplomacy is just hypocrisy. They’re safer exercising modesty or look forward to spending a lot more time with their family. If they have one.

(This is my shortest essay in ages. Readers may be relieved. But that’s just my opinion.)



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12 Responses to It’s Just My Opinion

  1. TheItalianJob says:

    It may be one of your shortest essay GB but the usual high quality and excellent content.

    I myself have only heard of Loki through reading Wings. Not surprising the paymaster behind Loki is JKR.

    Keep up the good essays always a good and very informative read.

  2. Grouse Beater says:

    Will do! Hope all is well with you, IJ.

  3. TheItalianJob says:

    All is well thanks. Also congrats to your good lady on her recent art accolades.

    A talented couple that will be a great benefit to an Independent Scotland we hope.

  4. Smallaxe says:

    Loki: Like your good self I know little of this charlatan,except that he wanted paid to further our goal of Independence, when we would give what little we own for that occurrence. He will have to move to England permanently when that longed for day arrives.

    I rarely wish ill to any of my fellow humans on this small blue globe we all must share, how and ever I will regretfully make an exception in the case of this toad.

    A very enjoyable and enlightening essay as usual G.B.

    Peace and Love to you and yours.

  5. Grouse Beater says:

    Molte grazie!

  6. Grouse Beater says:

    Many thanks.

  7. DAVID HIND says:

    Used to listen to loki’s music a I quite liked it. Thought he had left wing leanings through his lyrics. Looks like he has been bought and sold. Shame really.

  8. Connor McEwen says:

    This article is worth a double Grouse and a partridge in a pear tree with wings.
    Get the GROUSE TO sponsor you.

  9. Grouse Beater says:

    I’m sure he feels at one with his conscience but there’s nothing left-wing about Rowling, except one side of her large Scottish-style house.

  10. Justin Fayre says:

    Nearly 10 years ago GB I was returning to Scotland from a visit South. Somewhere between Carlisle and the Lake District, I caught a glimpse of a house name, ‘FIR KEW HALL’. I always wondered what caused the owner to erect that sign.

    Was there some sad but tragic story that should have been told or was it just simply a case of the height of a hedge? (A check on Google doesn’t reveal much other than the owner was forced to change the name following an on line petition. – Surprise Surprise)

    In 1979. I canvassed and worked for George Reid, arguably the most gifted, decent and Honourable MP ever. My counterpart was a former shop steward and ‘lieutenant’ of Dennis Canavan. I remember to this day him telling me that the SNP supporters were too naive and too trusting to engage in ‘battle’ with an organisation that could and would resort to every dirty trick you could think of – and a lot more besides.

    For weeks before the election we were out in force, Scottish songs blaring from our car cavalcades, secure in the knowledge that we had the most popular candidate ever in the history of the world.
    Nearly everybody loved George. Not one single person, including Labour and Tory voters had a bad word to say about him.

    The Labour Candidate couldn’t ‘lace his boots’, the canvass returns were glowing. George Reid was a ‘shoo in’. Then three days before the election the Labour Machine sprang into action. Relentlessly booming out’ Vote Labour: THE ONLY WAY TO GET THATCHER OUT IS TO VOTE LABOUR. Time after time.

    And it worked.

    I kept telling myself that the people wouldn’t fall for it. No way the people will fall for it.
    The people fell for it. George Reid was kicked out to be replaced by someone who’s main claim to fame was being one of 50 signatories to a petition to Stop the Papal Visit. The moral of this story is get everyone angry first. Then direct that anger at your choice of target. Works every time

    Loki is a young impressionable ‘artist’. He’s not a seasoned cynical politician. Give the guy a break. Direct your anger at the manipulators not the manipulated. It’s the same with this Sports Direct stuff Mike Ashley is a con man but he’s not the worst by a long chalk yet he’s the latest sacrificial lamb.

    Meanwhile back at the ranch. Patients, patient’s relatives, nursing, medical and associated staff at the local Forth Valley Hospital are complaining en masse regarding the virtually unbearable heat that is a permanent fixture throughout the hospital. The organisation entrusted with the control of the Hospitals heating system? SERCO.

    (Why is it, so many of these Champions of Neoliberalism have names that end in O or A by the way)

    It will not take much for the anger and frustration felt by so many to be pushed in the wrong direction and with the power of Facebook and Twitter (which I’m no longer part of) to grow wings.
    For everyone’s sake make allowances. Sometimes there can be reasons for people to become disillusioned.

    End of rant.

    I’m away back to my box

    Oh and regarding the comment about Loki being a toad for wanting paid to promote Scottish Independence.
    In the words of the Irish

  11. Grouse Beater says:

    Interesting story about George Reid.

  12. Justin Fayre says:

    I always hoped to return to this one day but health problems prevented this.
    I learned an important lesson that day.
    ‘If you wish the reader to delete your post after reading, put that instruction before all else to avoid dreadful misunderstandings if you inadvertently post too early in error.’

    GB You are so wrong in the reasoning behind your shocking treatment.
    I should know because I suffered a similar experience.
    A former colleague saved my sanity by quoting to me the following
    ‘Two frogs dropped into a bucket filled with milk. One paddles and paddles until he loses heart, gives up in despair and drowns. The other paddles and paddles and paddles until at last all his ‘churning’ turns the milk into cheese and he manages to clamber out’
    I’m still churning but despair is not far away.
    I cannot stress the importance of what I’m about to say enough.
    It is imperative that I meet with you within the next seven days or if you don’t want to do that please let me have your email address.
    I know that right now alarm bells are clamouring in your head and I can appreciate why.. truly.
    All I will say at the moment is that I have unearthed certain information by doing what journalists should and used to do.
    When something doesn’t make sense to me I have to keep on digging until it does make sense
    By doing just that I have unearthed some horrifying facts..and I use that term literally.
    I have two options. I either give you the information and follow your advice or go to the police – a move that will seriously perhaps fatally damage the Yes Movement.
    The information I have discovered has turned me from Yes to No to Yes but not yet.
    I realise that all this sounds overly dramatic or Walter Mitty ish. I can’t do anything about that I’m sorry.
    I need you to do two things:-

    1. Read the full Wikipedia account on George Reid. He truly is the greatest politician to grace the Scottish scene in my lifetime. His only flaw was to never ever judge anyone. He always insisted on standing on his record of achievements and would never treat anyone with anything less than respect. Much to our frustration I can tell you.

    2. Revisit my blog @ and read the article entitled ‘Ghosts of Christmas Future dated 14/7/2014.

    You can email me at and I will give you an exclusive first look at my new article ‘I Had A Nightmare..with apologies to Martin Luther King’s

    That’s it I’ve taken up too much of your time

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