Jock Morrison


A proud son of Glasgow, I sought work abroad during the recession of the 1970s.  I've been  a social worker in London and a teacher of English (of a fashion) in Japan. For over 30 years, I held various positions in further education and now live in the north of England (which would actually sit more comfortably as part of Scotland). I recently joined the ranks of the retired and hope to promote some discussion around the concepts of "age", "pensioner" and "old".


  • Scotland - at least on the basis of Nigel Farage’s recent reception in Edinburgh - is wide awake to the dangers of the beast. And what a beastly lot they are too.

    That such a reactionary, xenophobic crew could achieve second place in a parliamentary by-election and almost a quarter of the vote in local elections nationally, shows just how far to the right English politics have moved over the last 30 years.

  • In my last blog, I explained how I had become an award-winning author. Now I’m a film star. Och, when you retire, the world’s your oyster, right enough!

  • The competition was organised by the National Galleries of Scotland in conjunction with the English-Speaking Union and the Scottish Poetry Library.  The idea is to take one exhibit from the galleries’ collections and write a 1000-word piece inspired by it.

    The work I chose was My Father, a 1966 portrait by the Scottish painter John Bellany.  I wasn’t a winner or runner-up but I achieved a special merit which put me in the top 10 of the adult prose section. (Yes, yes, I know, my family has already stressed there were probably only 11 entrants.)

  • Firstly, death party celebrations are just inappropriate and unseemly.  That's not to say jigging in the streets to rejoice some hated leader’s demise is always in bad taste.

    Take Hitler, Stalin and Mao, for example.  Who wouldnt dance with joy to mark the end of such monsters? Let's hope they really did go where the goblins go.

    And when the current lot in North Korea bite the dust, that too might be the time for a spot of the Gay Gordons in George Square.

  • Strictly speaking, he ran a ‘juvenile’ side – for ages 18-21. ‘Youth’ football was for the 16-18 year-olds and the ‘amateurs’ were ‘the auld men’ over 21.

  • This time, it’s a Scottish tale of hypocrisy and betrayal which is making the headlines. But non-Catholics shouldn’t be smug. Life in Scotland is marred by sectarian bigotry on all sides. It’s getting better but we haven’t yet fully cured this particular sickness of the heart and mind.

    Here’s a wee puzzle for you. Which of the following four things do you think was worst for Scotland: The Black Death, Catholicism, Protestantism, Cholera?  It’s a hard call, isn’t it?

  • No doubt he then hurried home to count the ‘siller’ the English had given him for his trouble.

    A few months later, on the 1st of May, 1707, the Union came into effect and the bells of St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh rang out to the tune ‘Why am I so sad on this my wedding day?’   Given that probably over 95% of the Scottish people opposed the Union, this was an appropriate piece of music to mark the end of that old ‘sang’ called Scotland.

  • No horsing about, this is a serious matter. An outrage!  Here were the poor customers thinking they were eating beef burgers when they were actually horsemeat burgers.  All those who’ve ever said “I could eat a horse” have had their wish come true!

  • Now it has been joined by the Union Jackers. Inspired by the example of their cousins in Ulster, these Scots wave the Union Jack as a symbol of their loyalty to all things British. They reject the ‘Better Together’ lot as uselessly ineffectual and wishy-washy whilst stirring up echoes of the old cries of ‘Home Rule Means Rome Rule.’ They are the Ultras of the ‘No’ campaign.

    But is the Union Jack really a fitting flag for Scots to wave?

  • I’ve always thought they were, at best, pathetic. At worst, they are wholly pernicious.

    I can’t imagine the feelings of people who support our honours system. Did they throw the mince pies in the air and shout “Yes!” when they read that Jessica is now a CBE? Did they feel gutted that Andy only received an OBE?  I suspect most people don’t give a hoot either way. They probably give more attention to the festive TV schedule than the list of the newly honoured.

  • For example, how about this (with apologies to Mahatma Ghandi):

    Christianity is gr8. Pity about the Christians.

    For balance (this being Scotland), let me suggest a possible tweet from that most unattractive of theologies, Calvinism.  It might go something like this:

    Want 2 b a Christian?  Well, hard luck!

  • Can a name be a nail? I suppose so if it’s a metaphorical nail in a metaphorical coffin.  And the metaphorical corpse?  Why, it’s our dear old Labour Party. She’s had a long life, many bright moments and some great achievements. But the last few years have seen a distressing decline. It was sad to see the grand old lady in such a plight. In many ways, her final demise is a blessed relief.

  • Saint Andrew’s Day. It’s our national day – but the children to go to school as usual.

    It could only happen in Scotland. Wha’s like us, right enough.  Very few indeed when it comes to national holidays – i.e. not having any!

  • "Is  Albannach mi" means "I am Scottish". I looked that up. If it’s not right, I’m sure kindly Gaelic speakers will write in to correct me. The Gaelic bashers will write in anyway to tell me I'm wasting my time.

    In my last blog, I regretted the replacement of Scots words by globalised Americanisms such as 'dude' and 'babe'. Two responses caught my attention. These asserted that (a) Scots is not a language and (b) Glaswegian is not a dialect of Scots.

  • “Hey, dude, what‘ve you got there?” said the father.

    Dude?  In Glasgow?

    The last speaker of a northern Scots dialect has just died.  Maybe all variants of Scottish will die out soon. It’s got a lot going against it.

     I remember a teacher who insisted her pupils speak ‘proper’ English at all times.  She thought using words like ’bried’, ‘maw’, ‘dug’  etc  made you sound, as she put it,  ‘backward’.

  • So the statues in Glasgow’s George Square are to go, at least temporarily. No bad thing. Nearly all of them are monuments to Britain’s 19th century imperial power.  Maybe they could all be consigned to one of those ‘You’re Not Famous Any More’ parks you find in former Soviet bloc countries where all the unwanted statues of Marx, Lenin and Stalin are dumped.

    And while they’re at it, what about getting rid of the name as well? What did George III (or any of them, numbers I to VI) ever do for Glasgow? 

  • Religion, said Marx, is the opium of the masses.  But if we Scots have a mind-numbing drug of choice, it must be football.

    Whatever our political views, when a Scotland match kicks off, it’s ‘Braveheart’ time and we’re all united behind the football equivalents of Bruce and Wallace and their men.  Just like at Bannockburn, we’re ready to give it all for the nation.  (Though, with the sorry state of our football these days, a Flodden is a more likely outcome.)

  • So how do I feel now after the very successful main London Games, on the eve of the Paralympics, and the accompanying tidal wave of Union Jacking?  Well, exactly the same.

    Actually, I’m surprised Unionists are betting so much on a Team GB after-glow from the Games.  Are their political and economic cases that flimsy? A successful sporting event is not a cure-all.

    I mean, the Beijing Games were a triumph but that didn’t excuse the Chinese government’s human rights abuses or its occupation of Tibet, did it? 

  • We imagine the whole world knows about Scotland and its distinctive culture and history.  Most of all, we’re quite sure foreigners understand what distinguishes us from the English.  

    We’re kidding ourselves. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, if you're Scottish, you’re from England.

  • There will be unforgettable moments for sure. The Rome Games stand out for me because they provided me with one of my earliest sporting memories: the dramatic emergence from the evening darkness of the marathon winner, the barefooted Ethiopian Abebe Bikila.

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Jock Morrison

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