Are you scared yet? If not, don’t you think you should be?
It seems all the stuff Donald Trump said on the campaign trail – the wall, the ban on Muslims entering the US, the isolationist America – wasn’t just guff to get the rednecks to vote for him.
He meant it. Not only did he mean it, he’s actually doing it.
Now, if you don’t think that’s scary biscuits, maybe you haven’t quite grasped what’s going on here.
The United States of America, the great liberal democracy of the Western World has taken a huge lurch to the right. A right that believes in division, barriers and alternative facts.
So what, you might ask. What’s it to do with us? We don’t live in America, let them get on with it.
Sure, let’s just turn a blind eye to a global superpower turning its back on the values of justice, tolerance, and compassion.
Let’s just ignore the fact it is building walls, not bridges.
And let’s not give a second thought to a pernicious ban on people based purely on their religion and origins, with the disturbing echoes that has.
That’s all just fine.
Except when America sneezes, the UK catches a cold.
How long until the swivel-eyed loons, already emboldened by their glorious Brexit victory, think what’s great for America is great for a great Great Britain, too?
Let’s close our borders to Muslims, including the Syrian refugees – the innocents caught in a conflict largely of the West’s creation.
Let’s view anyone of a race, creed or religion different to ours with suspicion and fear.
Right now the agenda for the world is being set by a US administration which is pandering to the prejudice of the lowest common denominator in a country where that low is pretty low indeed.
All of this at a time when there is so much uncertainty in the world that what we really need is wise counsel and calm heads.
The stage is being set for what could end up being a global catastrophe.
Now is not the time to sit quietly. Now is the time to speak up, to challenge, to say “that’s not right”.
Sadly, we have a Prime Minister who is busy toadying and handing out state visit invites instead of having a quiet word in the right ears.
Of course, the US is a vital partner, ally and friend.
But surely the best friends are the ones who have the courage to tell you if you are going off the rails.
And that’s a conversation that needs to happen before we are so far down the tracks no one can get off the impending train wreck we are all riding.
As winter wanes we should put a spring in our step
All the signs are here that winter is slowly melting away. No, it’s not the snowdrops. It’s all the folk who are out running.
And they are literally of all shapes and sizes. Now, I have no truck with those who sneer when they see the overweight pechin’ along in Lycra. At least they are exercising – and lapping the dolts sitting on their couch. We all start somewhere.
I looked like Jabba the Hutt and couldn’t run for more than a minute when I first ventured out in running shoes. So let’s applaud anyone who takes the brave decision to pound the pavement to shed the pounds … or, even better, join them.
Raising business rates now is truly folly beyond words
Are our politicians wise? That’s a rhetorical question given the staggering act of stupidity about to be committed.
If the powers-that-be go ahead with the planned eye-watering hike in business rates it will, quite simply, decimate our leisure and tourism industry. Jobs will be lost, hotels will close and we will all suffer.
These rates, doubling costs in some cases, are based on assessments at the height of the oil industry. To implement them now is folly beyond words. And let’s not have councils blaming Holyrood and vice versa. Stop it, stop it now.