The Best of 2019


Kamikaze England is about to commit economic and political suicide by voting for a congenital liar, an unreconstructed narcissist bereft of a conscience but not lost for plans to drop Scotland’s constitutional ambitions into a wood chipper. Scotland is about to get shafted again, a recurring procedure in his long history, having handed over its future to a bunch of neo-liberal gangsters. 2020 looks booked for Armageddon, politically and environmentally. Corporate thieves aided by corrupt representatives. To my mind, Scotland’s record of planting millions of trees will look even better if corrupt politicians were hanging from them.

Something tells me this is not the month to squander well-researched, thoughtful essays while people wail in dismay at events and take to the bottle. The festive period is almost upon us when our concentration is all over the place, and our money not enough to feed the weans. Republican Scotland, Hitler’s English Admirers, Scottish Regiments, and a biography of Chippy Harry McNish will have to wait until the last clunky Chinese proverb from the last Chinese cracker is binned and on its way to a council incinerator, same place we all go, our time up. I will however, publish a review on Martin Scorsese’s masterly The Irishman with this reprise of essays.

So, here, to dip in and out while you watch phallic Boris chasing more women than you can pour cheap brandy in, are the most popular essays from this year. I don’t claim them the best, but they are worth a read if you missed them first time around, or want to mail them to a friend. They all garnered over 10,000 readers and more. The perennial favourite, The SNP’s Achievements, surpassed 47,000 some time ago. I update it when a thing becomes a fact. I keep track weighed down by cynicism ever since the SNP failed miserably to live up to its claimed saintly virtues. And so…..

Here are ten of the best, by popular acclaim.

An Excess of Democracy

Westminster slipped a draconian measure into the Brexit Withdrawal Bill: “Only the UK Government, with the approval of the UK Parliament, can act for the UK as a whole.” This gives English MPs a veto over anything the Scottish government might pass in their parliament, effectively subverting the democratic process.

The Queen in Paradise

Queen Elizabeth II is rumoured to be above politics, a prescription in deceit we are asked to swallow on a regular basis. This presents Her citizens with the question, is she happy to preside over one of the most corrupt states in the world?

English on English

For daring to defy England’s tyranny, Scots are constantly harangued by unionists as racists who hate the English. A test of this theory was overdue. Publication of a list of the most scabrous epithets and epigrams aimed at English habits and hypocrisies turned out to be written by none other than – the English.

Don’t Come to Scotland 

Twelve steps to Nirvana. Fed up reading about incomers keen to live in Scotland, and influential settlers in green wellies keener to ensure Scotland stays harnessed to a repressive Treaty of Union, it was time to pen good advice to new immigrants who might assume Scotland is England but with a lot of free stuff.

Scotland the Rogue Nation 

The myth is of a Scotland a useless place with people living off handouts. A little delving into the history books and letters held in Scotland’s National Library soon upends this lie to show the reverse is true, England has always relied on Scotland’s taxes, resources and men to keep it phallic power tumescent.

The Sorrow and the Shame

Two year’s research for a screenplay depicting an infamous incident in the Highland Clearances unearthed a litany of sad stories of a people dispossessed, their land stolen. The term genocide is shunned by ‘right thinking’ historians, but there is no doubt it was a strategy to rid Scotland of its poorest and corral its wealth.

The Great British Power Grab 

Westminster politicians count on the majority of Scotland’s people being too busy or uncaring to be concerned about the lost of their democratic and constitutional rights, and that was the best reason to list every one that will be removed from Scotland at the stroke of midnight when we depart from the EU.

Patrick Matthew on Origins

An analysis of how a Scottish farmer and arborist was cheated out of his discovery of the origin of the species by the two who claimed it theirs, Charles Darwin and Russel Wallace. Backed by the British establishment, there was little chance of a man who cared more about trees than fame every getting the credit.

The Long Walk

The Great March across Glasgow set an historic marker, alarming the British state and flaky journalists alike, they realising Scotland will never go back to the old days of unquestioned colonial rule. The relationship with England has altered forever. Though Unionists did their best to sour mass activism as a waste of time, Gandhi and Martin Luther King had a good chuckle at their effort.

Harvesting Scotland 

In reality, many European states and small provinces existed as Scotland once did, a rural society, often relying on barter in order for people to gain the things they could not fashion or grow for themselves. In time they adopted the capitalist system to various degrees. In Scotland’s case we were taught to believe we needed kicked into the modern age, colonialism was good for us, as was stacking us one on top of the other in crowded, unhygienic tenements while the lairds stole the land.


There were other essays that garnered praise from readers and lots of discussion, some unmentioned close to attaining the magic minimum of 10,000 hits, including film reviews. It is satisfying to read of a cinemagoer who won’t see a film ‘unless Grouse Beater has given it the thumbs up’.

Two linked political essays well liked were on Iceland’s ability to survive as a nation without all the land and industry of Scotland; none of my Car Culture articles managed more than 3,000 hits but there again, good to receive comment from a reader who had ‘learned a ton of things about cars’ from my midweek excursion.

All of the above reached across to far lands including Nepal of all places, and for that I am eternally grateful because, make no mistake about it, I write to be read.








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4 Responses to The Best of 2019

  1. The best of 2019.
    Yes, Gb; I’d certainly rate you among that!
    Your innate ability to see it and tell it like it is makes s post of yours something I genuinely look forward to.
    I don’t think you’ll be short of material in 2020!

  2. Grouse Beater says:

    Much appreciated, Max,and all things considered very welcome. Thank you. 🙂

  3. angusskye says:

    Thank you for another year of interesting, informative and – always – thought-provoking essays. Enjoy the madness of “the season”.

  4. Grouse Beater says:

    Thank you too, Angus, for being a regular reader and for all your contributions. Tell your friends I’m here for 2020 though unsure how long.

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