JO: So, I’m sitting with Gordon …

G: Gordon, yes

JO : Originally from …

G: Originally born in Aberdeenshire, and brought up in Glasgow.

JO: And we’re now sitting in … do you know I don’t think I actually know where …

G: well, this is Girvan.

JO: G-I-V-A-N (sic)

G: Aye. This is Girvan. This is historically quite a famous place because Robert the Bruce, ex- King of Scotland, who won the Battle of Bannockburn, was the Earl of Carrick and this is all Carrick District round about here. And I’ve been round about this area for over twenty years now.

JO: And we’re sitting in a relatively new … Gary was telling me … it’s a relatively new market, this one …

G: yes. It’s a new market. It only started this year. And it’s to help people obviously buying and selling stuff and help people to develop business ideas and all the rest of it …you know.

JO: you’re … I don’t know whether you live here … are you living in Girvan or …

G: I don’t stay in Girvan. I stay in Colmonell which is about 16 miles from here.

JO: So, also in Carrick.

G: Yes, it’s also in the area : South Ayrshire.

JO: South Ayrshire. ok. And we were … we got talking just because we happened upon each other but I quickly established talking to you that you’ve got some interests and perspectives that are not a million miles from mine I think …

G: yes

JO: I’d just like to ask you a couple of things about that. I’m trying to say to people in my view we’re in an emergency situation because of the nukes and climate change. It looks to me as though we’ve only got 3 to 5 years to sort that all out before the Earth System gets beyond our … beyond the point at which we can do anything about it … I would not be happy however for the levels of injustice and inequality to continue ad infinitum if the powers that be found a way of sorting out the other stuff. So, I feel that if we are going to sort the existential threats out, we have to sort out all the other crap, and there’s plenty of it, isn’t there? We were just talking about the state of the country and there being food banks all over the place. Do you want to say a little bit about that? What’s Scotland like?

G: I think when you look at it, there’s a big difference between Scotland and England … you know … the aspect … people coming in to your country from other countries. We don’t have the same pressure on land as they do in England … you know … so there’s a different perspective. In Scotland really, there’s a difference of perspective in just about everything in Scotland from England .. you know. The only places you get similar perspective is like .. Glasgow especially .. is [ ] Newcastle, Liverpool … because of the heavy shipbuilding, coal and all the rest of it. But all these jobs are gone now. But there was never any alternative made for them. And that’s just talking a pure economic basis. But when you start looking at it … when you look at global problems and you look at … the other day in Mexico City, there was an earthquake. Now obviously, man cannot stop earthquakes but you look at Mexico City … when the Spanish went there for the start there was a city of 60,000 people in Mexico City … 500 years ago … and it was built on a lake obviously for water supply and all the rest of it. But what happened was it was expanded and they took back the lake and all the rest of it, which meant the land was unstable so if there was going to be anything like that, it would cause major problems but there’s no planning to these things. And I think if we are going to put our cards down and use governments to sort these things .. excuse the expression .. but we’re pissing in the wind because they’re not going to solve it. The UN has turned out the same as the League of Nations turned out before them. They’ve turned out exactly the same : a toothless wonder. They can take no positive action for anything and the cost of them doing things is phenomenal, for anything … you know. As we see all over the world, there’s crisis after crisis after crisis, and they’ll get to a point, if the Americans pull the plug, and the Canadians pull the plug .. if we and other countries pull the plug on some of these things … there’s people going to be starving all over the world, and mass starvation. We’re seeing it in biblical terms.

JO: well, I mean … I see it in pretty … I mean, I think just the facts as reported by the likes of the World Health Organisation – and that’s pretty conservative, I think, small ‘c’ …

G: they cannot tell the truth. If they told the truth, it would worry people even more.

JO: but I think … they don’t broadcast it as such … but even if you look at their data, it seems to suggest that about half of people worldwide are dying before they’re 70 … now. That’s still true now.

G: well, this is a fact and it’s substantiated by research …where I was brought up in the East End of Glasgow is the lowest .. what’s it called …

JO: life expectancy … I was going to ask you

G: life expectancy … of anywhere else in Britain …

JO: it’s horrendous, isn’t it?

G: 54

JO: 54

G: 54 is the life expectancy

JO: that’s still the case

G: that’s now … that’s now .. and I’m 62 so I’m like 8 years on my sell-by date …

JO: yes, you’ve done well …

G: but you know …

JO: that’s horrendous, isn’t it? It’s just unacceptable.

G: that’s because … you know .. that’s a heavy drinking culture … all the bad things that you’re not supposed to do, these people do, to an extent … but also it’s a lot to do with unemployment and all that …

JO: you said you used to run … for about 10 years, you used to run …

G: I ran an unemployed worker’s centre … [ ] …

JO: [ ] .. that wasn’t in the East End …

G: that wasn’t in Glasgow, that was in Cumbernauld .. that was a new town .. so, you know

JO: so, we’ve moved now from talking about that exact part of the world ..

G: aye

JO: but, we’re still talking about a country, Scotland, where, like some of the other areas we’ve mentioned, there’s been a deindustrialisation process, and not much to …

G: there’s been nothing to fall back on .. . there’s been nothing …

JO: what did you see? How did you get into that? What did you see there?

G: I was always interested and involved in politics … at quite an early age and that .. it was just a natural progression … I ended up getting into a bit of trouble with the government with the Tartan Army … Tartan Army trials and all that …

JO: I don’t know anything about that …

G: no … it was ..

JO: feel free, if you want to … but not if you don’t …

G: well, it was .. what the Tartan Army were saying, years ago, was … people spent a lot of time in jail for that

JO: really

G: but what the Tartan Army were saying is what the SNP are saying and now the SNP is in government … so …

JO: you were a pioneer

G: well, aye … we could see the writing on the wall … a lot of us could see it … but you know, that’s history .. you know … independence … you know, don’t get us wrong … I would like a Scottish government, I would like independence in Scotland but I don’t think governments are the be all and end all.

JO: ok

G: I think the basics is you’ve got to change people’s attitudes …

JO: yes

G: and that is difficult and it takes a long time …

JO: yes

G: and as you said earlier on [ ] time to do it … As far as global warming goes, I don’t think there’s enough proof in it, because basically, I don’t believe a lot of these scientists and I don’t believe a lot of the people that are using global warming for their own ends and different things and political agendas … so … I mean .. I’m a bit … I wouldn’t say I was as far as Trump goes and just denies it all together … you know, but .. it’s still got to be proved to me … you know … still got to be proved.

JO: ok. So, you’re willing to listen, but as things stand it’s not your main ..

G: the jury’s still out on it …

JO: what’s bothering you most? Is it just the way people are being treated? The way people are living?

G: It’s just the attitude of the authorities in this country … you know … I’ll give you an example … we had an MP in here the other day and like an MP walks in with a reception and all that and doesn’t talk to anybody .. you know, is there for a quick photograph … there’s a few things stuck up … different people to make it look more important than it is …

and she goes away with [ ]…

JO: .. and that’s that

G: and that’s that .. and remember, we’ve got hundreds of MPs in this country …

JO: 650, yes?

G: aye … if they’re all doing that, and they’re doing nothing really positive … I’ll give you an example, right … the wife … Rosemary … I’ll show you this … this is good …. you can include this in here

JO: sure …

G: this old woman, Rosemary Stevenson …

JO: The Ayrshire Post …

G: yes … this is the local paper … one of the local papers .. now, they’ve raised a million pounds to build a custom built old folks home and units of housing for the local community … because [ ] old people have to go into a home .. they’re taken 20, 30 miles away and dumped in a home … nobody visits them .., all the rest … you know you get … the local problem … so this could be … I’m not saying this is a massive thing but this could be a pro forma for the future … in rural areas …

JO: so this is like a community initiative …

G: aye .. a community initiative and Rosemary’s been doing this and they run a nearly new shop … they run carers for the community … they run all these things … now basically … the wife’s in charge of fundraising for them … they’re needing a million pound to build this unit .. they’ve got a million pound but they need another million pound … now, I think they’ll get the million pound but when you [ ] … the first they did is they went to the lottery … right … the lottery … you know the lottery … good causes and all that …I knew … and I could have told them right at the start that the lottery was a waste of time because less people are doing the lottery and there’s less money for doing causes and that’s been happening for a good, few years … so there’s less and less money going into the kitty … so less and less people are going to get the money … I was a Chairman of a kiddies’ play group and we were assured that the council would get lottery funding and we never got it and that was 15 years ago … and it’s got worse since then ….

JO: yes, that was when it was …

G: and that was then they were giving out money … right … but anyway .. you know, and this could be a pro forma for the future in rural areas … but [ ] the papers are interested … we’ve contacted all the local politicians … they won’t have anything to do with it … there’s money available but you’ve got to jump through hurdles to get this money

JO: sure …