Bagpipe blast for Blair

4 Mar - Evening Telegraph -Bagpipe blast for Blair

Bagpipe blast for Blair

Piper Jimmy Doig and other
Black Watch supporters at Powrie Brae,
with the statue in the background

THE Save the Scottish Regiments campaign today backed the SNP’s candidates for the Dundee seats at the next General Election, in a move timed to coincide with the start of Labour’s Scottish conference in the Caird Hall, writes Lynne Stewart.
The campaign, formed to protest against the merging of the Scottish regiments, endorsed SNP Westminster candidate for Dundee East, Stewart Hosie and Dundee West, Councillor Joe FitzPatrick, at The Black Watch statue on Powrie Brae on the outskirts of the city, at a rally organised ahead of Prime Minister Tony Blair speaking at the Labour conference.
The group was joined by former Black Watch piper Jimmy Doig, who played his self-penned tune, The Black Watch Remembers (The Vile Plot), which he wrote in disgust at the decision by Tony Blair and Geoff Hoon to send UK troops to fight in Iraq.

As the Scottish Labour Conference got under way, the bagpipes skirled out the lament.

SNP candidate for Dundee East, Stewart Hosie said, “We are absolutely delighted the campaign are backing us. There is a huge amount of anger and the same people who were angry at the beginning of the war are still angry now.

“If we can force Labour to lose seats at the General Election then we can turn the regiments decision around.

“The announcement has been made, but the merger hasn’t happened yet.

“There is an opportunity to turn this decision around.

“The regimental structure has served the army well and Labour will play a huge price at the election for breaking the links between regiments and local areas.”

Dundee West candidate Councillor Joe Fitzpatrick said, “They (Save the Scottish Regiments) have assessed the situation and have decided the SNP are in a position to win the Dundee seats.

“We will make sure Labour gets the bloodiest nose possible at the General Election. The merger decision can be reversed.

“People of Dundee can help by voting for the SNP. Politicians do make U-turns and I strongly believe one can be made in this case.

“It’s important that the people make their decision heard at the ballot box. This is their chance to show their feeling about what Tony Blair and the Labour Party have done to The Black Watch.”

Jeff Duncan, campaign manager for Save the Scottish Regiments said they were backing the SNP candidates in marginal Labour seats, while they would be putting up their own candidates in areas with a massive Labour majority.

“The tactic we are employing is we will put up candidates where there is a massive Labour majority, for example in the armed forces minister’s (Adam Ingram) seat,” said Mr Duncan.

“In Dundee East and Dundee West Labour hold a slim majority and we believe the SNP is the best party to unseat them.

“Iain Luke’s seat is the most vulnerable and people either vote for the red hackle of The Black Watch or the red flag of Labour.

“This Labour government sent Black Watch troops to Iraq on the behest of George Bush and America and on the very day they arrived back they were told their regiment was being merged and the tradition and history of The Black Watch would be lost.

“That’s not the actions of an honourable or trustworthy Prime Minister and the Dundee public have a chance to show their anger at the decision. Labour ministers are shameless and gutless.”

Responding to the fact that they are supporting the SNP challenge to Iain Luke, who has been consistently vocal in support of The Black Watch, Mr Duncan said that if the current Dundee East MP wanted to show his strength of feeling to retain the regiment in its current form then he should resign and join the SNP.

“If he really wanted to retain his seat he would resign from the Labour party and join the SNP.”

The piper, Jimmy Doig, joined the 4th/5th battalion The Black Watch TA at 16.

During national service he was attached to the 1st Battalion, serving in Cyprus as a piping instructor.

He used a lifetime’s musical experience to compose the tune and lyrics to show his and many others’ anger at the war and amalgamation.

The copyright is being assigned to The Black Watch and proceeds of the sales of the CD, to be marketed by the regiment, will go to the fighting or benevolent funds.

Mr Doig said, “In common with thousands of others, I bitterly resent the treatment by the present government of my former regiment, with particular reference to their sterling service in Iraq.

“I feel my tune and words might express the sentiments of serving soldiers who of course are unable to publicly voice their opinions.”

The words of the tune read,

“Dark was the day when we heard those vile words spoken.

“Hoon was the one who had sold us to be broken. Woe to the knave who’d claim that we’re not due some acclamation.

“Freely we’d given our best for Queen and honour for our nation

“Wha saw the forty-second? Saw them gang awa’

“Whaur ha’e you been a’ the day, my gallant Forty-Twa?

“Now the will of distant rulers sweeps our heritage away

“Mourn we our dead as we curse that evil day.”
Can anyone from the Watch supply the address where a copy can be bought?

Good luck lads!
I saw TV of the lads marching past with pipes going. Very short while after was watching the Bond film. Q demonstrated a set of bagpipes which doubled as a machine gun and flame thrower. What a missed opportunity!

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