About McPherson's Rant


McPherson’s Rant is an old Scots Folk Song about a Robin Hood Type Character who was hanged.

There is no connection, unless you count the “rant” part.  The world’s a strange place and sometimes a “rant” at absurdity and unfairness is just what’s required.

Here you can expect to find examples of stupidity, irony and idiocy , especially relating to Hong Kong, and with particular attention to the SCMP, and its’ letters page. A common problem with many blogs is their failure to find something new to say, I find the SCMP, and it’s letters page, provides plenty of ammunition on a daily basis and will reference them frequently. If you have your own letter not getting published, put it on our comments section.





Reading the riot act

When I was a kid, my mother used to say to me: “If you don’t behave, I’ll read the riot act.”  I never actually knew what she meant, other than, there’ll be trouble unless you do as your told.

Later I discovered that there was indeed something called ‘The Riot Act” on the UK statutes.  It could be read out in any public place where there was an assembly of more than 12 people who the authorities wanted to disperse and it contained this warning:

“Our sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God save the King.”

Penalties for failing to disperse were either three years penal servitude, or two years hard labour. Scary.  The last time the riot act was read was in Scotland, in January 1920, during what became known as the Battle of George Square, when striking workers clashed with the Army and the Police.  The act was only repealed around 1973.

So what is the point of the ramble, nothing really, just that I’ve been watching the riots in the UK and wondering how they can stop it.

I hate to think that I am turning into my father, or worse into a reactionary old Daily Telegraph reader shouting: “Bring back the birch, hang ‘em all”, but surely anyone can see that we have a very serious failure of discipline that in areas of the UK is almost structural and  is going to take a long time to overcome.

Years ago, I wrote a piece on how to re-connect with the idea that you are a part of your community and have a vested interest in it.  I can’t in all honesty support a return to National Service, as it offends my liberalism, however, surely there are other options.

I would advocate a form of National service but not wholly restricted to the Armed Forces, sure that can be one option, a second option could be care in the community, whereby young people are encouraged to work with the elderly, or mentally handicapped or other community service like working in foster homes.

A last option would be environmental service, working in rural areas, rebuilding dry-stane dykes for example, planting trees, cleaning up beaches.

And the clincher could be, each individual between the ages of 18-23 has to opt for one of the three, for one year.  In return, there are incentives for study or travel abroad, and if you haven’t completed one year, you get nothing from the state.

Alternatively of course, you could take the advise offered on this old episode of ” Not the Nine O Clock News”:

Off with their goolies

Because it is plainly obvious, listening to these two girls:

Idiot Girls

that even tho they have no goolies, some drastic action is required.


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