Copping It In Glasgow

Folks, last week our Dear Leader, Scott ‘FIGJAM’ Morrison, was in Glasgow.  I was hoping to see everyone’s reaction when he whipped his little pamphlet out of his sporran and waved it about. 

I  was also hoping they’d give him a traditional Glasgow welcome, whick, if Billy Connolly is any guide, should have been fairly memorable.

“Brace yerself Scoalmo pal!”

I like Scotland.  In 2014 I popped into Scotland for, what I thought would be, a three-hour detour to visit Loch Ness.

Long story short, I got so lost I managed to ‘thread the needle’ and drive into the highlands without seeing Glasgow, or Edinburgh.  I’m told that’s fairly impressive, but not uncommon.

Things were so bad I actually bought a map… and read it!

In spite of being nine hours into my three-hour drive, as I puttered through forests, into and out of glens, up hill and down dale, part of me was in awe of the beautiful scenery, while the practical part of me became increasingly anxious about the level of fuel in my car’s tank and the lack of towns, farms, houses, or humans.

I was also surprised to see a large number of huge, white, windmills lazily turning on the hills around me.  The canny Scots were seriously taking advantage of their windy weather.  And not only the Scots.

Earlier, we’d been in Skegness, where I’d glimpsed the English Channel for the first time.  And, on the horizon, was an army of white, wind powered sentinels. 

According to an old bloke I met on the beach, those big turbines were channelling power to the nearby manufacturing city of Hull, and as they were off limits to fishing, had become an abundant fish habitat.

Behind the grinning, freezing tourist, windmills line the English Channel’s horizon.

A week later, on a coach tour of Europe, I discovered the EU had also cadged a lift on the green power bandwagon too.  It was my first inkling of how far behind Australia’s renewable industry actually was; basically, standing on the road and coughing in the dust. 

A fact clearly not known to the rest of the world.  As we passed another huge solar farm in Germany, one of the Americans drily muttered that we Aussies must feel right at home. 

“Actually mate,” I replied, “we make electricity by burning coal like there’s no tomorrow.”

He was genuinely shocked, “But, you literally have sunshine to spare!” 

He eventually understood once I explained how our fossil fuel lobby exerted the kind of political control the US gun lobby has over his own government.

We agreed that things needed to change.

The Dutch were clearly no strangers to wind power

Seven years later, even Australia’s dimmest ‘Fossil Fools’ can see the writing is on the wall, and not in the pamphlet.

I don’t hold a lot of hope that our coal fondling Prime Minister is going to enact any real renewable changes, but one day, hopefully soon, he’ll be replaced by someone who is a bit more useful than a big, white, lazy, spinning windmill not connected to the grid.

BTW: the first genuine Scotsman I met in Scotland was a passer-by in Inverness, and I won’t go into details, but my innocent inquiry nearly resulted in a fist fight in the main street. 

It truly was a traditional ‘Welcome to Scotland!’, and I couldn’t have been happier!

This article first appeared in the Regrow Queensland e-zine. Check it out!

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