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Andrew D. Scobie "ascomrie" (Scotland)

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Diana - A Tribute To The People's Princess - The True Story of Princess Dianas Last Years + The Documentary Angel of Mercy [DVD]
Diana - A Tribute To The People's Princess - The True Story of Princess Dianas Last Years + The Documentary Angel of Mercy [DVD]
Dvd ~ Amy Clare Seccombe

4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the 2013 movie, 20 July 2017
I felt inclined to write this review after watching the 2013 film ‘Diana’ staring Naomi Watts. ‘Diana a tribute to the Peoples’ Princess” was made on a much lower budget and had much less publicity, nevertheless I think this version is better.
The film commences in 1996 and is a dramatization of the last year of Diana’s life. Whereas the 2013 is concerned mainly with her relationship with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, this film affords very limited coverage and instead focuses primarily on her relationship with Dodi Al-Fayed. Both films pay roughly equal diligence to her charity work, in particular her role in the campaign to ban landmines. Both also focus heavily on her hostile relationship with the press. However, this film affords more attention to her relationship with her sons.
Anyhow, the reason I like this film better is that I find it to be a more down to earth interpretation of her life. Whilst I did enjoy the 2013 film, I agree with critics who argue that the film is too much like something from a Mills and Boon novel. I must note that this film is not immune to similar criticisms. For example, in the film Dodi falls deeply in love with Diana, renounces all his other ‘groupies’, and asks her to marry him. There is no proof that he was going to propose, just speculation. Having said this, speculation affords itself well to romance stories.


Shannon Matthews - Betrayed From Birth
Shannon Matthews - Betrayed From Birth
Price: £3.79

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good piece of work overall, 4 April 2017
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On 19th February 2008, whilst still coming to terms with the unsolved disappearance of Madeline McCann in May 2007, a fresh blow was dealt to Britain as another young girl was reported missing. Nine-year-old Shannon Matthews had left her home in Dewsbury Moor, West Yorkshire to go to school but failed to return home. Her disappearance prompted West Yorkshire police to undertake their biggest operation since the Yorkshire Ripper hunt in the 1970s. Moreover, the community of Dewsbury Moor united in a gallant display of solidarity to find Shannon. As the weeks past with no sign, painful memories of events including the Sarah Payne and Soham murders played through the public’s minds, as it became less and less likely that Shannon would be found alive. Three weeks after her disappearance, Shannon against all expectations was found alive and uninjured in a flat in a neighbouring estate a mere mile from her home. However, this supposed happy ending was merely the start of a new chapter in the tragic story of Shannon Matthews. It was revealed that Karen Matthews Shannon’s mother had lied that her daughter had gone missing. Instead she had been kept prisoner in the flat of her stepfather’s uncle (where she was found). Though there are many plausible motives, the most acclaimed is that Karen sought to collect reward money offered by the press for Shannon’s return. Through her lying Karen had deceived her family, her community, and the whole nation. Worst of all, as the title of the book states, Karen had betrayed Shannon; a betrayal which sent a sense of revulsion across British society.
I remembered the Shannon Matthews case reasonably well, however I knew little of the details until reading this book. Henceforth I cannot judge the accuracy of the content. Having said this, Rose Martin provides an engaging account of the Matthew’s family’s living conditions before Shannon’s disappearance, the hunt for Shannon, her discovery and aftermath. Rose Martin displays a credible understanding of sociological debates, which form the backdrop of this case including class segregation, negative stereotypes of the working class and working class communities such as Dewsbury Moor to name only a few. Her account successfully intertwines the details of the case with discussion of the former. A good piece of work overall.


The Flintstones [DVD] [1994]
The Flintstones [DVD] [1994]
Dvd ~ John Goodman
Price: £3.99

2.0 out of 5 stars The plot is all wrong, 2 July 2016
This review is from: The Flintstones [DVD] [1994] (DVD)
I have been feeling rather nostalgic as of late and my mind has been drifting back to the summer of 1994 when this film finally arrived in Scottish cinemas. Whilst other pictures have since beaten it (i.e. Titanic, Avatar, Star Wars I, II, III & VII to name but a few) the hype leading up the release of this film was second only to Jurassic Park the previous year in terms of excitement and anticipation. Unlike Jurassic Park however this film was such an anti-climax.
Whilst the sets are excellent and do more than justice to the cartoons, the plot lets this film down badly mainly because it is too adult. Whilst a live remake of a children’s cartoon it stands to reason that this film would be designed to appeal to both child and adult audiences; particularly given that that latter would remember The Flintstones from their childhood. However, the plot contains too many adult themes including corruption, embezzlement and mob violence (seriously Fred and Barney are nearly lynched by an angry mob at one point). If that wasn’t enough sexual promiscuity is thrown into the mix too; at one point Halley Berry who plays Sharon Stone Fred’s secretary is lying across his desk wearing a revealing top and it wouldn’t have surprised me if Fred leaned over and snorted cocaine out of her cleavage. If I wanted to see that type of thing I would have watched ‘Robcop’ not The Flintstones.
In addition Rosie O’Donnell and Rick Moranis whilst both strong actors are awful as Betty and Barney (I just had to throw this in).


Murder In The Kingdom
Murder In The Kingdom
Price: £3.64

1.0 out of 5 stars Plagarised, 24 Mar. 2016
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The Robert Black chapter has been plagiarised. The chapter including the headings and photographs has been copied almost entirely from the now defunct Crime Library website. The Robert Black article on this website was written by Anna Gekoski author of "Murder by Numbers". I had read this article and a few times and the sub-headings David Pietras had used were a dead give away. I had enjoyed the Peter Sutcliffe chapter but now I cannot help but wonder if he has again stolen the work of somebody else (plagiarism is theft!).


Smelly Bob : The True Story of Robert Black
Smelly Bob : The True Story of Robert Black
by Nathan Hayes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.70

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, 21 Mar. 2016
I agree 100% with my fellow reviewer. There is nothing new or original here. It is generally very badly written and nothing but a clipped and snipped mess of differing texts. At least I was able to read it quickly.


My James: The Heartrending Story of James Bulger by His Father
My James: The Heartrending Story of James Bulger by His Father
Price: £4.74

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So Sad, 15 Dec. 2015
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I remember the murder of James Bulger back in 1993 quite well, I was 9 at the time, a year younger than James' killers Robert Thompson and Jon Venables. I've read a variety of books on crime (some of which I have reviewed on Amazon). I can honestly say that whilst I was moved by all of them, this one has affected me the most; indeed there were moments where I had to stop reading and put my Kindle down to compose myself. Anyone with even the tiniest strand of compassion in them would not fail to be moved by the account of what the poor little boy suffered that day in February. My heart goes out to James' family and I take my hat off to Ralph for courageously sharing his story. Whilst the family will never get over what happened that day, by Ralph's own testimony writing this book has granted him some peace. I hope most sincerely that they will be able to continue along this path. RIP James, you will never be forgotten.


Robert Black: The True Story of a Child Rapist and Serial Killer
Robert Black: The True Story of a Child Rapist and Serial Killer
by C.L. Swinney
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather Disappointing, 31 Oct. 2015
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To my knowledge this is the first book that is fully dedicated to Robert Black since he was found guilty of the murder of Jennifer Cardy in 2011. I have read Robert Church's "Well Done Boys", Hector Clark's "Fear the Stranger" and Ray Wyre's "The Murder of Childhood" (Which I reviewed back in 2007). All are excellent are take a unique take on Robert Black's crimes, sadly they are out of date in the context of recent developments. I was highly optimistic about this release of this book, however after finishing it I was left feeling rather disappointed.
The chapters on Susan Maxwell, Caroline Hoag, and Sarah Harper, whilst adequately covering the essential details, lack any original insights and are merely regurgitations of other authors work. Having said this I did enjoy the book. The coverage of Jennifer Cardy's murder is perfectly fine as is Chapter 11 which considers the likelihood of Robert Black's involvement in unsolved disappearances, including Genette Tate in 1978 and April Fabb in 1969.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 31, 2015 5:54 PM GMT


Whatever Happened to Tory Scotland?
Whatever Happened to Tory Scotland?
by David Torrance
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.28

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whatever happened to Tory Scotland?, 16 Aug. 2015
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Sixty years ago the Scottish Unionist Party (the former name of the Scottish branch of today’s Tory Party) stood in virtually the same position as the Scottish National Party (SNP) back in May. They had won 36 Scottish seats in the 1955 General Election and secured 50% of the vote. From then onwards both their seats and vote percentage in Scotland gradually diminished. By May 1997 they were left with no Scottish seats and ever since have failed to secure more than 1 in a General Election. Their performance in the Scottish Parliament is not that much better. In the first election of 1999 they failed to win any constituency seats but secured 18 List Seats. Their performance has improved slightly since 2003 and they have managed to hold onto 3 constituencies; acquiring a 4th in 2007 only to go back to 3 in 2011. The title of the book is a very good question; what did happen to Tory Scotland?
After reading ‘The Strange Death of Labour Scotland’ by Gerry Hassan and Eric Shaw I felt compelled to give ‘Whatever happened to Tory Scotland?’ a try. Needless to say I was equally impressed. Unlike the former, which is entirely the work of the aforementioned authors, this book is an edited collection of essays by renowned Scottish political commentators including journalists and academics, amongst the latter are two scholars I briefly studied under as an undergraduate. As the title of the book suggests, the central theme is to explore the reasons why the Tories have slipped from being Scotland’s largest political party to a struggling minority. Whilst the book deals with complex issues, it reads well and is highly engaging.
For me personally amongst the most interesting themes the authors consider as to why Tory support has declined in Scotland, is their changing stance on Scottish ‘diversity’. Whilst never abandoning their commitment to the British state and Scottish Unionism, before the 1960s the Tories were amongst the strongest advocates of the diverse nature of Scottish society and infrastructure, which they expressed through their policies. For example they were the architects of administrative devolution in Scotland which transferred ‘administrative’ control over issues including education, health, and agriculture amongst others from Whitehall to the newly formed Scottish Office, which was eventually relocated to Edinburgh in 1939. Furthermore in the aftermath of World War 2 the Tories defended Scottish diversity, when it was being undermined by the mass state centralisation being undertaken by the Attlee’s Labour Government. This contributed in part to its phenomenal results in 1955 and in 1951 where they won 35 Scottish seats. Apart from a few notable (albeit half-hearted and fruitless) episodes such as Edward Heath’s ‘Declaration of Perth’ in 1968 where he pledged to establish a Scottish assembly if elected, the Tories’ commitment to Scottish diversity withered from the 1960s onwards. By 1997 Tory policy towards Scotland had evolved to the point where by and large they opposed initiatives to accommodate Scottish diversity. For example they were the leading force in the campaign opposing the establishment of the Scottish Parliament and legislative devolution.
This is only one of numerous reasons why support for the Tories has dwindled in Scotland. Other themes examined include:
• Differences in class structure between Scotland and England
• Scotland’s rejection of ‘Thatcherism’ and ‘New Right Liberalism’
• The Tories’ awkward relationship with legislative devolution and their legacy as its chief opponent
• Growing sentiment that the Tories are an ‘English’ party.

These are only a few of the themes considered.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Scottish politics.


Strange Death of Labour in Scotland
Strange Death of Labour in Scotland
by Gerry Hassan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An invaluable resource, 11 July 2015
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On Friday 9th May, Scotland awoke to learn that the Labour Party had lost all but one seat in Scotland to the Scottish National Party. Whilst on my way to work I listened to Gerry Hassan share his insights into why this happened and I felt compelled to read this book.
Until quite recently, Labour were the largest party in Scotland, a status they have held since the 1960s, particularly after the Conservative Party began to lose support amongst the Scottish electorate. However there has been a steady decline in the electoral fortunes of the party. For example, In 2007 Labour (in coalition with the Liberal Democrats) were removed from office following the victory (albeit by the narrowest margin) of the SNP in the Scottish Parliament election. They have been in opposition since, suffering further losses at the 2011 Holyrood election where the SNP acquired ample seats to form a majority government. In 2010 Labour retained numerous Scottish seats in the General Election, its fortunes changing drastically in May.
Hassan and Shaw set out to explore the factors why the electoral fortunes of Labour are declining in Scotland. Whilst the book it obviously written before the 2015 General Election, it is an invaluable resource in understanding the circumstances which led up to the events of May 8th. I would recommend to all who are interested. Please note that whilst it is not an academic ‘textbook’ the author’s utilize a variety of political scientific models and theories, meaning that some chapters can be quite heavy and may require a couple of readings to fully digest the content.


The Third Way: The Renewal of Social Democracy
The Third Way: The Renewal of Social Democracy
by Anthony Giddens
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Third Way, 25 April 2015
I purchased Anthony Giddens’ ‘The Third Way: The Renewal of Social Democracy’ almost 10 years ago. I had read about it in text books as an undergraduate, however only recently have I actually sat down and read the book. I have given it 4 stars as I enjoyed reading it, and it brought back good memories of a topic which interested me at the time and continues to today.
As am sure everyone who has either read this book or studied any social scientific subject will know, the Third Way was the ideological premise on which much of New Labour’s policy was formulated. Ideologically speaking Giddens’ Third Way is a classic of both postmodernist political literature and thought and deserves to be respected as such. However as a model of governance it is long past its sell by date. Some even argue that it expired during the premiership of the last Labour Government; indeed back in 2005 I had a lecturer whose area of expertise was the political and administrative development of the British Government and detested the Third Way, openly dismissing it as outdated (in hindsight this is perhaps why I did not read the book then!). Practically speaking the Third Way is now confined to history. Having said this with the upcoming General Election we face the possibly of another Labour Government (either as a majority, minority, or perhaps even in coalition with a like minded party). Should any of these outcomes materialize, social democracy in both ideology and practice will be looking to renew itself once again to adapt to the current socio-economic climate, and will be back under the academic microscope. Henceforth the Third Way may return to academic agendas in that comparison with the former and new developments, both in terms of continuities and contrasts will play a major role in academic analysis.


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