Mike Vickers' Blog

September 19, 2019

The Supreme Court – John Crace summarises 19 September

Filed under: Brexit, Gina Miller, Johnson, Law, Uncategorized, Westminster — derryvickers @ 9:54 pm

John Crace at his best.

Far more to the point than mine on Newton and the Supreme Court


May 31, 2019

The Train from Wigan Pier

Filed under: Uncategorized — derryvickers @ 8:36 am

George Orwell could have approved

Train from Wigan Pier

May 29, 2019

John Bercow again

Filed under: Uncategorized — derryvickers @ 7:12 am

“The Speaker told the Guardian it was not “sensible to vacate the chair” while there were major issues before parliament. And, amid growing indications that frontrunners for the Conservative leadership are willing to depart the EU without a deal, he wa…” https://gu.com/p/bt33z/stw. A man to admire in these wretched times.

No Playboy now.  Playing for real.  Glad that some politician is

See previous blog https://wp.me/pCia0-fI

March 10, 2019

Continental Drift with the Scottish Ensemble

Filed under: 'Moot' Local Decision Making, Brexit, Europe, Music, Scottish Ensemble, Uncategorized — derryvickers @ 9:57 pm

An Across Continents Concert this afternoon.

The Scottish Ensemble joined forces with three Europeans playing instruments new to us: a santoor from India, a stringed percussion instrument; a zarb, a kind of drum from Persia; a baglama, a stringed instrument from Turkey; a lyra, a very small cello from Greece and frame drums.














The European music spanned from Hildegard von Bingen in the 12th century through Purcell to Bartok in the 20th but the programme included music from the eastern Mediterranean, Turkey and India. The players playing the frame drums used just their fingers to achieve a remarkable sustained rhythm.

Frame Drum




All the players joined in to all pieces. An exciting sound experience





The concert was entitled Continental Drift and we could see why. I can only hope that these European players with their novel instruments will still be allowed into Scotland post Brexit.

December 19, 2016

Real Politik

Filed under: Uncategorized — derryvickers @ 11:02 pm

I had to read this article twice to convince myself that was reading it correctly and I am.

‘UK foreign policy on the Syrian crisis has been branded “appalling” and “naive to the point of being totally unrealistic” by the director of one of Scotland’s leading international aid charities.

Alistair Dutton, of the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (Sciaf), said British interventions have served to strengthen opposition forces and prolong the conflict, now approaching its six-year anniversary.

He called on UK ministers to accept that the best option for stability in the country is for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to regain control.’
Read more at:


I do recognise this approach as potentially saving many lives and may well have been the most appropriate real politik solution at some time in the past – but not now – evacuation of at least some of the citizens of East Aleppo is under way – let’s hope all – including the fighters.

But to me that does not excuse the West failing to undertake humanitarian air drops of food and medicine over the last six months : see my last blog. It has been argued that such an action would damage further relations with Syrian Government’  but has not the West  been bombing Syrian Government Forces in Syria as well as IS fighters and with a tacit agreement with the Russians.

February 5, 2014

In Britain. In Europe. In Work – Willie Rennie

Filed under: Uncategorized — derryvickers @ 7:20 am

This was the forth of five presentations by the five major political parties in Scotland about how Scots should vote in the September Referendum

First let me say I have been a Liberal all my life and I draw little comfort from the Liberals in the Coalition. Second that Willie Rennie to me has been way below the parapet – inconspicuous.

So it was good last evening for Rennie to reveal himself as his own man, a man in control of his party, a somewhat cheeky man.  I was less concerned as to his performance in his speech and wondered how he would perform under questions and in that he came out well.

To his statement of policy, the policy was good but unfortunately it doesn’t carry much weight as the Liberals are such a small party now even in its erstwhile stronghold of Scotland.

Devo max for ever, complete tax raising to Scotland, only corporation tax common across the UK, less clear on welfare, preschool  as the building block for Scottish citizens, equal power to women in society (but nearly everyone says that now) and strongly in Europe.

In Europe there’s a problem: he stated that an Independent Scotland would have a border with its major trading partner, rUK,  and trade with rUK is key to Scotland’s economy –true – but where does the European dimension stand if a united kingdom leaves the EU (Britain in Europe in Work).

Menzies Campbell has set the Liberal stall – now to be followed at Rennie’s instigation by Campbell 2 – coming soon.

Nice to be reminded of Beveridge.

But where he came unstuck was where is the Better Together Song Sheet ?  He stated it will come but there is only 9 months left.  Campbell 2 is no substitute.

June 2, 2013

A couple of thoughts on climbing Beinn na Lap

Filed under: Uncategorized — derryvickers @ 8:49 pm
Beinn na Lap

Beinn na Lap

Beinn na Lap is a relatively easy Munro at 935 metres and you start at 419 metres at Loch Ossian right in the middle of the Central Highland.  There are no public roads to Loch Ossian and is easiest accessed by train to Corrour Station on the West Highland line from Glasgow or if you prefer from London via the Fort William sleeper.


But to the thoughts.  We talk of macro and micro.  Macro is reaching the summit of Beinn na Lap, Micro is taking care where you put your feet – too easy to trip over a rock or sinking into a sphagnum covered bog pool.  But as in the world of economics where micro and macro are often talked of, what about the midi; the midi is how you approach the summit, to take the line of least energy, to avoid the crags that are difficult to climb and burns not easy to cross and keep your feet dry.  Interestingly descending the mountain can be just as difficult, often there are high crags to impede the decent (crags are much easier to scale than to descend), and without a compass you can find yourself miles from where you wish to be.

So it seems to me that the micro and the macro are relevant views but the midi is at least as important.

March 11, 2013

American Master – a Portrait of John Adams

Filed under: Uncategorized — derryvickers @ 12:21 pm

A great profile of John Adams and his music on BBC4 on 11 March 2013.

The profile was accompanied with very effective visuals.

Adams started composing in the days of Serial Music, moves to minimalist but neither satisfies and he gets back to tonal music but he is a fan of Beethoven and it shows as does his American background.  The music is superb (post) modern music.

He reminds of a very favourite artist of mine, Paul Nash, who painted in the first half of the 20th century.  He was a landscape painter from the start but managed to go through a phase of surrealism and come out having synthesised surrealism into landscape painting – he was a war artist in both WW1 and WW2

The reminder is helped by the visuals to the TV programme and the paintings I know well of Paul Nash

Below for Harmonium by Adams and We are building a New World from WW1 and Nash






And Transmutation of Souls, commissioned as a requiem for 9/11 by Adams and Mansions of the Dead by Nash

JAdams911Mansions of the Dead 1932 by Paul Nash 1889-1946

March 30, 2010

Linlithgow Bridge Building

Filed under: Uncategorized, World Class — derryvickers @ 6:48 pm

Five teams of Five people competed in the City Game featuring Linlithgow organised by the British Council and Architecture and Design Scotland.  I felt it went well and I am looking forward to a report from the organisers.  However in talking to other players subsequently I get the feeling that there is an element of deja vu.  This is not the first time I have had this feeling.  There are many highly motivated groups in the town and if Linlithgow is to strongly move forward into the Twenty First Century taking its place as The Town that every other aspires to then somehow these groups need to shed their differences and come together.    Linlithgow is famous for its railway and canal bridges, it’s time it builds one more bridge in the town itself.

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