John “Where now UK?” Leslies

If you’re here for the pub it’s a long scroll!

Following the, why the fuck was a referendum called on our EU membership, I have been giving it a few days before putting pen to paper ( he’ll be telling you that pigeon post might become redundant soon, Ed. )

Like Tommy Roe I have been “Dizzy”

Or “On a Carousel” Hollies ’67.  —  ( a clue to why Nash jumped ship? )

I have been on a bit of a “Rollercoaster” Justin Bieber ( WTF! Ed.)

“Come here, I don’t know what happened. Where did they go?”   Justin, that’s just what most of us Scots are asking our English neighbours.

Hard as it is to believe I have been to JB’s home town of Stratford  to pay homage many times.  Ok hands up, over the years I have been to Stratford, Ontario, Canada to visit with family ( notice how he slips seamlessly into the local vernacular, Ed. ) five times.

Richard Manuel of The Band  was also born there. Hard to tell the difference musically eh?

One thing in common though, as both of them into excess I think.

This afternoon when out for my constitutional I was thinking about that very subject and how much I liked Neil Young’s “Thrasher”

It is written in a knowingly “canyons  of your mind” hippy lyric style but is, I think, a cautionary tale. Too much of a good thing? And how relationships get ruined. So on that very subject—

Our EU in/ out referendum:

I was gutted. And I’ve now had some time to get my head round it.  I’ve read lots of different and differing articles from left right and centre.

This is my take on it as from today.

It was a sop to the Tory eurosceptics which not only misfired badly but shattered the blunderbuss ( appropriate starting adjective!) into shards which have ripped through our society.

About 75% of 18-25 year olds wanted to stay. One article blamed the baby boomers. Hey it wasnae me!

To say the Labour backing to stay had a low profile would be to give it more credit than it deserves. To have a profile you first have to stick out at least a bit. I think a negative profile might be an oxymoron, contradiction or whatever but certainly appropriate in this instance.

The Remain group lacked cohesion and an inspirational leader.

The Exit group had no vision for the future, none, but two figureheads one of whom had been fired from two different posts for lying, and another who has failed to win a seat in UK parliament on 7 separate occasions.

One of the newspapers which targeted it’s mostly lower working class readers to vote for out has an editor with a shooting estate in Scotland.

If those very readers think they are going to be better off  as a result of this outcome they are going to be bitterly disappointed.

And of course the murder of Jo Cox who by all accounts was a person who devoted her life to improving the lives of others. The guy will probably be judged to be certifiably insane. I hope so– he was aware of the issues however —?

It would have been far easier to accept the result had it been based on arguments re. health and safety, workers rights, benefits to business etc. but my assessment would be that it was won partly on the perceived loss of control but mainly on a fear of loss or dilution of English national identity due to immigration. Farage himself has said that this is what won it. He also said there were more important things than the economy. He was bang on with that.

A stand out of course is the despicable Breaking Point poster. At a time when we are facing the biggest human migration probably of all time, when tens of thousands of poor souls are fleeing countries ripped apart by various factors but primarily by religious fanaticism, English yeomen want to pull up the drawbridge and lower the portcullis. It makes me feel ashamed to be human, it really does.  Would ” the mainland” have accepted/ welcomed families fleeing from the not too distant sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland if it had escalated into outright war?

The clever way Brexiters lumped refugees who fled their homes in war ravaged areas like Syria and Iraq with economic migrants as if they were a common problem. We didn’t need to jump ship to sort out the latter. They are two totally different situations but both were presented as here comes Johnny Foreigner to rip us off. Folks who swallowed that and voted leave to protect their national identity can now add lack of compassion to the list of characteristics that define them.

It’s in the nature of the beast to look out for our own first and foremost. I get that 100%. However, thankfully we have many selfless human values as well. Pity we didn’t see more of them. Much of the argument was based not on facts but conjecture and where facts weren’t available outright lies and deception sufficed.

In other circumstances it would be funny watching the victors slithering around in their snakepit trying to continue to gain access to the single market, to justify how they won’t be able to control immigration as they boasted and how the blatant lie about how much we pay into EU coffers will be spent on the NHS.

Manipulated and deceived. We have sunk to a new low where the end justifies the means.

I have been doing my head in with all the thoughts that this has brought up. If you have got this far you’ll need a break too!

However Hope Hovers on the Horizon ( plagiarised from helplessly hoping her harlequin hovers nearby, Steven Stills lyric ) so maybe we can look at this again in a week or so as events unfold?   ( Please God no! Ed. )

Schadenfreude:  I’ve always thought of it as one of our least attractive human characteristics ( after I learnt what it was ! ) I must admit I was not immune to it last night when England were knocked out of the Euro football finals by Iceland.

Well done to the underdogs and as England had voted to be out of Europe well done to them for making the exit quicker than expected.

Man do I ever need a pint!

Right I’ve made it to John Leslies- thank Christ you say! – and am whetting the thrapple with a pint of John Leslies Ale at £2.80

The pub is on the ground floor of what was a four storey tenement and is named after the second landlord.

Lots of wood and brass and I don’t think I can do better than steal from Jack Gillon’s ” Edinburgh Pubs”

” retains most of it’s original features and layout- snug areas, a garlanded lincrusta frieze ( wtf? ) ornate plaster cornices and ceiling roses, stained and leaded glass panels, mahogany timber panelling and a clock by eminent Edinburgh clockmaker Robert Bryson.

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John Leslies Public Bar
The barmaid Elaine Black tells me that a Japanese film crew visited in 2014 and the pub was featured in a national TV programme Pubs around the World which has resulted in some Japanese tourists dropping by and a couple of Japanese ladies doing that star struck “is it really you” thing with the landlord John Black, who despite his best effort couldn’t help but be chuffed.

The beers on offer feature 6 different cask ales and 11 keg lines and you have a choice of over 50 malt whiskies.

 

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John Leslies Saloon

But I forgot to mention that Leslies was my local when we got our first flat. In the first few weeks of marriage, when we occasionally fell out, I would storm off to head to the pub which was only 30 yards away. I was impecunious at the time so soon returned home contrite and not emboldened by alcohol. ( not too bad a combination? Ed.)

To finish: A quote from Xavier Dectot from that hot bed of left wing socialism Homes and Gardens. He is the Keeper of Art and Design at the National Museum of Scotland and in response to the question what is Scotland’s greatest asset he said:

The way it mixes a strong national identity with an unmistakable openness to the world.