Saturday, 15 September 2018

Cosy Crime from Flame Tree

I'm delighted to announce my third acceptance from Flame Tree, this time for their forthcoming 'Cosy Crime' anthology.

My story is called 'Sir Robert's Gargoyle'. It is a mystery set in and around an English cathedral, where during the Civil War in the seventeenth century the church silver disappeared and was never recovered. An unlikely modern sleuth sets out on the trail of the loot. I do hope you will like it.

Cosy Crime is scheduled for a January release. The contents include:

Honey of a Jam by Stephanie Bedwell-Grime

Longfellow's Private Detection Service by Joshua Boyce

Peppermint Tea by Sarah Holly Bryant

Eykiltimac Stump Acres by Jeffrey B. Burton

Death in Lively by C.B. Channell

The Body in Beaver Woods by Gregory Von Dare

The Glorious Pudge by Amanda C. Davis

Twenty Column Inches by Michael Martin Garrett

Sir Robert's Gargoyle by Philip Brian Hall

Open House by E.E. King

The Whittaker-Chambers Method; Or, Mulligan’s Last Mystery by Tom Mead

Scoop! by Trixie Nisbet

The I's Have It by Annette Siketa

Murder on the Lunar Commute by B. David Spicer

Just the Fax by Nancy Sweetland

Raven Nevermore by Louise Taylor

A Mouthful of Murder by Elise Warner

These contemporary authors will appear alongside the following classic and essential writers: Arnold Bennett, Ernest Bramah, Anton Chekhov, Arthur Conan Doyle, Andrew Forrester, R. Austin Freeman, Anna Katherine Green, Maurice Leblanc, Arthur Morrison, Baroness Orczy, Catherine Louisa Pirkis, Edgar Wallace, Israel Zangwill, G.K. Chesterton.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Is it more important for Scotland to be in the EU or the UK?

The question begged here is more significant than the question asked, isn’t it? Could an independent Scotland get into the EU? There are several reasons why it might not, and all of these have been rehearsed ad nauseam. Is it worth going over them yet one more time? Probably not. It’s a complete dialogue of the deaf. Essentially it boils down to a disagreement between SNP supporters (who see no obstacle to anything) and unionists (who see obstacles to everything.)

Realistically, it seems far from certain that the option assumed in the question is actually available just for the choosing, especially in the short term. Pragmatically, an independent Scotland must be prepared for membership of neither union.

Perhaps we could look at the people involved instead of the economics. Scotland’s current residents include around 475,000 British nationals from other parts of the UK. Meanwhile, about 720,000 Scots live elsewhere in the UK. Intermarriage for 300 years has produced a very large number of people of mixed Scottish/other-British heritage and today’s British families (including my own) can comprise persons born on different sides of the border.

All of a sudden upon independence, a million and a quarter people would find they no-longer lived in their own country. One of them would be me. Personally, I find the prospect devastating.

Neither group of ‘exiles’ could be deprived of their present nationality against their will. An independent Scotland can offer Scottish nationality to non-Scots-born residents of Scotland, or possibly to Scots-born residents of the rest of the UK, but it cannot force it upon them.

In fact, it must be legally dubious whether a Scottish government could even force nationality change on Scots-born unionists. In the short term at least, a British passport is likely to be more valuable to travellers than a Scottish one.

It is therefore not beyond the bounds of possibility, in the event of a narrow vote in favour of independence, that the subsequent Scottish population would be almost equally divided between Scots and resident aliens.

We’ve recently had cause to notice how well the dividing of a population almost equally across passionately-felt identity lines has gone, I guess?