I was so desperate to start with ‘And there you have it!’ but I don’t think I will ever be able to open a sentence with ‘And’. ‘But’ or ‘Because’.  They are conjunctions, after all, whose purpose is to link clauses!  Taught grammar from nappies, the inimitable Betsy would have self-combusted should any one of her prodigies have fallen foul of such an error and, to this day, she remains in my head.  I just cannot do it and, quite honestly, acceptable though it may be, now – commonplace, even, more’s the pity – that doesn’t make it right.  Standards.  Another obsolete word in the dictionary.

An ever-increasing tome of words synonymous with times past, integrity, too. may be found within, the importance of its demise reflected in the events of the past week.  So it was that Police Scotland descended on the ‘home’ of the ‘couple’ who, together, for the past eight years, have all but run this country into the ground.  ‘She’ the frontman (somehow appropriate), he in control of the purse, it seems Sturgeon and Murrell were beyond challenge.  No wonder the arrogance which oozed from every pore.  Think back to the Salmond Inquiry of March 2021 when Sturgeon was accused of breaking the ministerial code by misleading Holyrood.  Who could forget her pitiful performance – or her strategic lack of memory – when, questioned for eight hours before the Holyrood committee.  Seemingly recollecting nothing, she was only exonerated courtesy of an independent inquiry by QC James Hamilton, an independent adviser to the Scottish Government since 2013.  The word ‘handy’ springs to mind …

Bullet proof?  So much to surmise as to the inner machinations, inflammatory information, possible injunctions but still Scotland was powerless at the hands of a militant dictatorship intent only on inciting hatred in its bid for independence.  The day-to-day job of governing the country was nothing more than a hindrance but then came COVID and the opportunity to manipulate by fear.  So it was that Sturgeon appeared, daily, on our screens for well-nigh two years, striding to the podium in her characteristic white stilettos, her delight only dwarfed by her ego.

Ego and ambition.  A powerful combination programmed, ultimately, to self-destruct.  For the ego is a sponge which feeds on success – and, in turn, on itself.  No monitor nor check, it knows no bounds and, thus, all balance is gone.  No concept of failure, I want so I shall have.  Nicola Sturgeon.  Lady Macbeth.  Take heed.

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.’

The words of Macbeth as he laments his fate, now fully aware of ego’s guile.

As Sturgeon and Murrell are paused to fall on their own swords, there is renewed hope for justice, though somewhat galling that it has taken until now.  For Operation Branchform – the investigation by Police Scotland into possible fundraising fraud within the SNP – was opened in July 2021 following seven complaints.  Almost two years ago.  To questions, the answer was always ‘ongoing’.  No more.  The ego lies.  No-one is infallible.  Unfortunately, too, the eject button was pressed too late and, unlike Dorothy’s red shoes, white stilettos don’t take you home but, rather, to where you belong …  Answers on a postage stamp as to where that might be!

Shoes.  Never under-estimate, never presume
So much to reveal, so much about you.
Take note; take heed and choose with care
For the road you have travelled lies in that which you wear.

An excerpt from ‘Shoes’, A Voice Outwith the Crowd.

I, actually, proposed to write about people on this occasion.  No surprise that I have an A4 sheet with a growing list of ‘qualities’ which irk; increasingly commonplace and so telling.  However, a study in progress, it’ll keep.   For now, I am interested in ego, defined as ‘a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance’.  Three little letters belying its critical importance.  The Greatest Love of All … ‘learning to love yourself’.  No truer words.  In my experience, it can be the difference between a nice person and a not so nice person: a person who is content in him/herself has no reason to attack; he, who is not, regards all others as a threat.  It is so interesting and, while Kate, the Princess of Wales’ focus on the early years – 0-5 years-old – may appear trivial, she has got it so right.  Self-worth is gleaned from a secure, happy childhood.  One’s armour for what lies ahead; the greatest gift of all …

Sadly, today, most are not afforded that gift and so the world descends into the abyss.  Leaning towards the dramatic?  Perhaps but I do believe self-worth is at the root of so much.  On a trivial note …  Manny and I were all but accosted by someone from the past in a shop in St Andrews last week.  While she claimed to, immediately, recognise us, both Manny and myself were none the wiser – and, quite honestly, disinterested!  However, we were trapped and, connection established, turns out all she wanted to do was tell us that they were looking to buy a second home in the most expensive seaside town in Scotland!  Did we believe her?  Moreover, did we care?!  My God, that is ten minutes we will never get back!  Why?  Why does anyone feel compelled to do that?   Answer?  Insecurity.  Lack of self-worth.  Look at us!  We have money.  We have made it.  No!  On the contrary, you are embarrassing … and, by the way, if you had cared to ask, I would have told you that we made a little investment of our own a few years back – Hamilton Grand, the Penthouse!   In our dreams, of course, but Manny and I made a pact following that excruciating encounter – to lie!

Increasingly intolerant of those kind of people – the ignorant ones with low self-esteem who, lacking in any form of etiquette, believe that money talks – we vowed not to be caught again.  However, what to do with a close friend – and old friend – with whom my patience is wearing thin?  Self-absorbed, her phone calls invariably revolve around herself.  Lengthy, I listen, courteously, as she recounts, bemoans, whatever, not once stopping to ask about me or mine.  She likes to put me on speaker and eat as she pontificates about her life, yawning loudly if I should dare to interrupt.  Should I, successfully, intercept her soliloquy, she ends the call abruptly …  An old friend.  A good friend, it seems she delights in nothing more than putting me down.  Why do I tolerate?  It is her problem, not mine.  I have no need to prove anything.

Don’t waste a second of your time convincing other people you’re worth loving.’


This is Trish, signing off.