The best of both worlds

savingourselves
Theresa May has gone. Sort of. At least she has removed the sofa that was barricading the door to Number 10 and arranged a date for the removal van. The she strode out of that door to the inevitable podium, and without a hint of irony or self-awareness spoke about the need for compromise in finding a solution to Brexit. If she’d done that when she became Tory leader then perhaps she wouldn’t have needed to make that speech at the podium.

The speech was a masterclass in lack of self-awareness. She quoted Nicholas Winton, who organised the Kinder Transport that saved 669 mostly Jewish refugee children from the Nazis just before WW2, saying that he had taught her that life depends upon compromise. Clearly she had heard his words but hadn’t understood them, she had learned of his deeds but refused to put them into practice herself, instead preferring to institute a hostile environment for migrants and to place restrictions on the passage of unaccompanied minors from the refugee camps near Calais. Nicholas Winton forged documents in order to bring those child refugees to the UK. If Theresa May had been Home Secretary at the time, she’d have put him in jail. Even as she announced the end to her time in office, her rank opportunism and hypocrisy was breath-taking.

There’s been a concerted campaign in the press to make us feel sorry for Theresa. We should be sorry for her because she regarded immigrants as an easy target that she could demonise and threaten in order to advance her career. We should be sorry for her because she was a racist Home Secretary who screwed up the lives of the Windrush generation and sent out vans bearing a message that the 1970s National Front would have approved of. We should be sorry for her because she presided over the destruction of the social security safety net and oversaw a mushrooming of foodbanks. We should be sorry for her because at every turn, at every opportunity, she prioritised the interests of her own party over the interests of the rest of us. We should be sorry for her because she was brought down by her own intransigence, inflexibility, and inability to come out of the cave where she drew red lines in the dark. Sorry, not sorry.

But most of all, we are told to feel compassion for Theresa May because at the very end of her resignation speech her voice cracked and there were tears in her eyes. Tears for herself. Tears for her own career. Tears for how she will be remembered for what she herself has done. Sorry, but no. The compassion should be reserved for all those whose lives have been blighted by the worst British Prime Minister since the one before, the worst before the one to follow. We’re going to need a lot of compassion, it’s too precious to waste on a self-serving careerist who is the victim of her own arrogant intransigence. We’re all citizens of nowhere in the eyes of Theresa, and we have no sympathy to waste on her.

Theresa is going, her failures have left us in an uncertain and fearful place where we laugh at dairy products being thrown over the demons of our nightmares because the alternative is to weep silently or rage in the darkness. If the best weapon that we have against fascism is a milkshake then we’ve already lost. The UK feels more dangerous, more precarious, than at any time since WW2. The forces of right wing populism are on the rise, facilitated by the failures of that same British political system which told Scotland it was the only guarantee of moderation and stability.

The gurning grinning face of Nigel Farage is never off our screens and when we look at him we see the image of the Conservative party that will follow this Prime Minister. We hear the cries of betrayal, of treason, of traitors, of enemies of the people, of national humiliation. We see the scapegoating of minorities, the migrants, the poor, the disadvantaged, and we know that this never ends well. It ends with a Nicholas Winton and desperate attempts to save a handful of children from the oppressive madness of organised cruelty.

Whoever succeeds Theresa May will be another opportunist who seeks to ride the anger of that Farage has so successfully stoked up, and who will seek to reshape the Conservative party as the party of the Brexit extremists. We’ll soon be getting to the point where it will be easier to list those Tory MPs who aren’t standing for the leadership than those who are. Even no-marks like the Brexcrementalist Steve ‘Bulldoze Parliament into the River’ Baker have said that he is running for leader because he has heard calls for him to get in the race. He must have abysmal hearing. I heard it as “get in the sea”.

Boris Johnson has many critics and opponents amongst Conservative MPs, but he’s the runaway favourite amongst the party membership who will make the final decision. That membership won’t look kindly upon MPs who conspire to block Boris from the final two who will be put to the membership. We’re now facing the very real possiblity of a Prime Minister Boris Johnson and a no deal Brexit, the absolute worst possible scenario.

In 2014 Better Together promised Scotland the best of both worlds if it voted against independence. We’d have stronger, better, safer devolution, combined with the stability and international reputation of the UK. Instead we’re getting a devolution settlement that’s being undermined, a British government which has taken it upon itself to rip up the Scottish Claim of Right, a chaotic and sclerotic political system whose greatest strengths have turned into its biggest weakness, and now we have the frightening prospect of the economic disaster of a no deal Brexit combined with a Prime Minister who openly panders to the worst aspects of right wing English nationalism and who is despised and reviled by European leaders, an international laughing stock. Best of both worlds has turned out to be the threat of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister with a gurning Nigel Farage looking over his shoulder.

And yet we’re asked to show sympathy for a hypocrite who only ever managed to show some emotion for the loss of her own power. Theresa May will go into retirement as a rich woman, she will continue to enjoy a life of privilege. The rest of us face uncertainty, fear, and the prospect of a precarious and meagre existence. If this is the best of both worlds then we must live in a universe of despair.

There has never been a stronger argument for Scottish independence. Independence is no longer something that’s merely desirable, no longer something we need in order to make this country a better place. Scotland needs independence in order to save itself. We need to make that decision, soon. Otherwise our future is as a neglected and discontent northern province of a rampant right wing English nationalist state.

Apologies to everyone who went to the Yes Glasgow and West event in Glasgow today (Saturday 25 May) expecting to see me talk along with Craig Dalzell and Paul Fletcher. Unfortunately I’ve done my back in and couldn’t make it.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free, and for the next ten days Vagabond Voices are doing a special offer, giving you two pounds off the cover price. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.
Donate Button

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.

Wee Ginger Dugcast – 24 May

Welcome to the latest episode of the Dugcast. This week The National’s editor Callum Baird and I discuss Theresa May’s disastrous deal, her resignation announcement, the European elections, the implications for another independence referendum, and the most important story of the week – what’s happened to all the litter bins in Barlanark?


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free, and for the next ten days Vagabond Voices are doing a special offer, giving you two pounds off the cover price. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.
Donate Button

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.

Operation arse about face

Ruth Davidson is nothing if not consistent. She talks the talk and then consistently finds some reason for not walking the walk, or more accurately, for walking back on her previous promises. She is very consistent in her lack of consistency. She assured us that the 13 MPs elected as representatives of the Ruth Davidson’s Vote Ruth Davidson for More Ruth Davidson Party would vote as a bloc to defend Scotland’s interests within the UK and that they’d be answerable to her personally. That didn’t happen. When pressed to name a single concession on Brexit that she and her MPs had been able to wring out of the British Government, she couldn’t answer.

During the EU referendum she strode the stage telling one and all how dreadful Brexit would be, and now she’s in favour of that mythical beast “a Brexit that works for Scotland”. Which is apparently whatever form of Brexit that a Tory government can deliver.

She said that the UK government shouldn’t block a Scottish independence referendum if it had the support of a majority in the Scottish Parliament and that it was up to the people of Scotland to decide. Then Theresa May announced that she’d not agree to a Section 30 order and suddenly Ruth is in favour of British Prime Ministers having a veto power over whether Scotland is allowed to ask itself about its future.

More recently Ruth launched the Tory campaign for the Euro elections in Scotland with the promise that only a Tory vote was a vote for no more referendums. Then Theresa May went and offered MPs the chance to vote on whether to hold another EU referendum. Ruth hasn’t commented yet, as she usually goes to ground when there are difficult questions to answer, but it’s a safe bet that she’ll find some way of supporting it. She is, after all, terribly consistent in her willingness to obey whatever her Westminster bosses tell her.

Theresa May’s leadership has now entered its penultimate stage. The final stage will be when she’s physically dragged kicking and screaming out of Downing Street, yelling “Strong and stable! I’ve been very clear!” at the top of her voice. Since there’s going to be a new leader, sooner rather than later despite May’s new strategy of putting a sofa up against the door to Downing Street in the hope of keeping the 1922 Committee at bay, Ruth and her wee pal David Mundell, who hasn’t resigned yet, have signalled that they would be prepared to work with Boris Johnson as the new leader of the Tories and Prime Minister. This is despite the fact that there is no love lost between the tank riding charlatan and the tousel haired charlatan.

Johnson is miles ahead in polling of the Conservative party members who will elect the new leader, and his election seems assured if he is able to gain enough support from other MPs to ensure that he makes it onto the shortlist. Since the Tories are widely expected to have a catastrophic time of it during the EU elections, panicked Tory MPs might see Boris Johnson as being the only candidate who has popular appeal – at least in England – and who offers the prospect of reviving the party’s ailing fortunes. In Scotland he’d go down as well as an abandoned bottle of yellow liquid the day after a party, but then Scottish considerations have never figured high in the calculations of Conservatives, for all their protestations about love of the union. Ruth and David Mundell are resigning themselves to the inevitable.

It’s all a very far cry from the Operation Arse which senior Scottish Conservatives mounted last year to try and spike Boris’s leadership ambitions. This is because they believed that Boris as Prime Minister would be an electoral disaster for them, as compared to Theresa May who has been working out so well for them. A senior Scottish Tory said that they had called their campaign Operation Arse, “so we’d all be clear who we were talking about.” The party was worried that if Boris Johnson won the Tory leadership it would endanger Ruth’s plans to win control of Holyrood in 2021. I’ll pause for a bit now so you can stop laughing. Now faced with the very real prospect that Boris Johnson would win the Tory leadership contest, Ruth is willing to work with him and all of a sudden she’ll be singing his praises. So it’s not so much Operation Arse going arse about face into Operation Kiss Arse.

It’s a dramatic volte-face. Last year David Mundell accused Johnson of not being an asset to the party, and said that he was focused only on his own self-interest and not that of the country. Admittedly that’s a description which could equally apply to the David, but still. Getting savaged by Fluffy Mundell is like getting savaged by a one eyed teddy bear that’s lost most of its stuffing. Now after his colleagues describing Johnson as an arse, and himself sticking his teddy bear boot in, David thinks it’s all an SNP plot to demonise Boris and it’s got to stop.

In 2016 Ruth Davidson called Boris Johnson a liar. She accused him and the Leave campaign that he led of putting lies on leaflets. During a debate she stared at Johnson and accused him of lying about the costs of Europe, of lying about the proposed European army, of lying about Turkey. In 2018 after resigning from the government Boris Johnson roundly condemned Theresa May’s Brexit deal, Ruth Davidson lashed out at him and accused him of not paying attention at the cabinet meetings he had attended when he was a senior member of that very government and pointed out that he had previously welcomed the deal he was now describing as “demented”.

What the headlines really ought to have said is that Ruth Davidson has admitted that she’ll do as she’s told if Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister. No one should be surprised by this, as telling Scotland to be quiet and do what it’s told is what the Tories are all about.

The reason for the change of heart is because the other candidate with the best chance of winning is Dominic “Oh, Britain’s an island?” Raab, who is widely believed to be even more toxic for the Scottish Conservatives than Boris Johnson. When he’s not expressing surprise that most of the UK’s trade comes via the Channel ports, and admitting that he’s never read the Good Friday Agreement, Dominic is best known for co-authoring a book which claimed that UK productivity was low because British workers are feckless and lazy.

Just think about that for a second. Boris Johnson is the guy who once said that a pound of government money was better spent in Croydon than in Strathclyde. He’s a serial liar. He was once described as someone who is considered likeable only by people who don’t know him. He describes black people in racist terms. When warned that business leaders feared that a no deal Brexit would be catastrophic he replied, “Fuck business.” He is bereft of principles other than an overweening sense of entitlement and a burning careerism. And this is the guy that Ruth Davidson thinks is the least worst option.

Tomorrow it’s the European election, where all the opinion polls point to a drubbing for the Conservatives and for Labour. It’s vitally important that every independence supporter gets out and votes for a pro-independence party. Because otherwise those who are going to be most motivated to vote will be supporters of Nigel Farage’s Brexit vanity project. The Brexit party could pick up two seats in Scotland, which would mean a series of media stories about how Scotland isn’t really that opposed to Brexit after all, and we all need to sit down and shut up and allow Brexit to take its course even though it will damage Scotland’s economy and is being used as an excuse to undermine the devolution settlement. Then we could very well end up with Prime Minister Boris Johnson being the least worst option, because the other option would be Prime Minister Nigel Farage.

The future of Scotland is at stake here. Get out and vote.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free, and for the next ten days Vagabond Voices are doing a special offer, giving you two pounds off the cover price. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.
Donate Button

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.

Broonterventions in BDSM Britain

winnertakesall

There’s been a Broontervention. This one was distinguished by one thing only, no one was trying to pretend that this was the first. Not even Reporting Scotland. This time the last living dinosaur was broontervening on a range of topics, which is a polite way of saying that he was lashing about all over the place without much in the way of a train of thought. The theme, such as it was, uniting his speech was that the UK was at risk of going to hell in a handbasket if it didn’t listen to him. Since the UK ceased to listen to Gordie quite some time ago, and he has spent the time since in an almighty sulk, it’s understandable that he might not have noticed that the UK is already a long way down in its descent into hell in a handbasket.

According to the reports in the press Gordie was mostly broontervening about Nigel Farage’s funding and the dangers of right wing populism. You have to rely upon reports in the press whenever there’s a broontervention, because the event itself invariably takes place in a closed and shuttered secret venue in front of an audience of individually invited and carefully vetted Labour hacks from the Cretaceous wing of the party and a smattering of press persons. Apparently that’s what makes it public.

It never manages to cross Gordie’s mind that one of the reasons so many people are, unfortunately, attracted to snake oil salesmen and charlatans like Nigel who rely upon dodgy funding from shadowy and powerful sources is that they’ve already been disenchanted from traditional politics by politicians like Gordie and the New Labour project who turned out to be snake oil salesmen and charlatans who relied upon funding from shadowy and powerful sources.

Naturally Nigel responded by pointing out that New Labour’s own fundraising strategies were not exactly devoid of controversy. He also claimed, with the rampant paranoia and sense of victimhood that characterises Brexiters, that it’s all a dastardly plot by the elites to do down the little guy. Nigel’s claim to represent the little guy against the elites would have rather more traction if he wasn’t a middle class stockbroker with an MEP’s salary who is living in a multi-million pound house in Chelsea with a personal driver and a luxurious lifestyle funded by his millionaire backers, but don’t expect consistency from the Brexit party. Don’t expect a manifesto or any policies either. The Brexit party is populism in its purest form. By promising nothing except a howl of outrage against claimed victimhood, they can appeal to everyone. And no one can claim victimhood like those who fear that their privileges are under threat.

The claims and counter claims about Nigel’s funding does raise a question. The question is, is it more or less morally reprehensible to fundraise from shadowy and hidden business interests in return for unknown influence, than to fundraise from business people in return for peerages and unknown influence like New Labour did. Discuss. Actually, there’s no reason to discuss it much since they’re both equally bad, and both equally demonstrate the moral vacuum at the heart of British politics. It’s not much of a defence to point out that you’re just as bad as the guy who’s accusing you.

The other part of Gordie’s broontervention was an attack on the SNP for wanting independence. It’s not a proper broontervention unless Gordie is telling Scotland how crap it would be at governing itself. It might not come as a surprise to many the revelation that the SNP wants an independent Scotland. It does however appear to have come as a surprise to Gordie. He’s shocked to discover that the SNP want what he describes as a hard independence, which is his description of the possibility that an independent Scotland would move to adopt its own currency after a period of using Sterling unilaterally. His shock and horror would be more understandable if it wasn’t for the fact that he was one of the people ruling out a currency union between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK. So what exactly was he expecting? Presumably that the SNP would say, “Oh well. We’ll just give up on all this independence malarky then.”

Meanwhile back in London the real and pressing reasons for Scottish independence were being articulated in a speech by Theresa May. In a last ditch desperate attempt to rescue her deal that’s already been rejected repeatedly by the Commons, Theresa announced that she wanted a Brexit that works for everyone. Which is a bit like saying that you want to be murdered nicely instead of horribly without recognising that there’s the option of not being murdered at all. She presented what she was pleased to call a new deal, and said that she’d been listening to everyone. Well everyone except Scotland and the 48.2% of the UK electorate which voted to remain. She offered concessions to a Northern Irish Assembly which hasn’t sat for two years, but nothing at all to a Scottish Parliament which has rejected her Brexit plan by a large majority.

Her new deal includes some new waffle on the Irish backstop. It includes a promise to have a vote on another referendum providing the deal passes first. It promises a few enticements for the DUP, a few more for Labour leavers. It promises rainbows, unicorns, and butterflies.

Crucially what her new deal didn’t do was to make it conditional on a confirmatory referendum. That would have ensured its passage through the Commons, but it’s too toxic for her party. Even now, even at this late hour, Theresa May is still continuing to put the interests of her party first. This new offer is an attempt to get the DUP and Labour MPs from Leave voting constituencies to bail her out. That’s not going to happen. Labour has already ruled out supporting the deal because it doesn’t offer a permanent customs union. In an interview Jeremy Corbyn said that Theresa May hasn’t changed her red lines, which was the reason that talks between Labour and the Conservatives broke down.

She’s left it too late, and she’s not going to be around to deliver any sort of deal even if by some miracle she manages to get it through Parliament. It was telling that all that the journalists wanted to ask her when she took questions after her speech was about when she was going to resign. The reaction from Tory MPs in the immediate aftermath wasn’t positive. The usual Brexiter suspects lined up to say that they’d not support it. But it was even worse, some Tory backbenchers like Andrew Percy and Simon Clarke who voted for the deal the last time say that now there’s no way they will support it. If Theresa May’s new offer is alienating even those who supported her last time there is no hope for her. She promised a game changer, she got game over.

Brexit, she said, was a great time to be alive. It’s like that Chinese curse, may you live in interesting times. But here we can agree. Brexit is a great time to be alive if you believe in Scottish independence, because Brexit represents the final fall into senility of the ageing and decrepit British state. It’s a descent into the reveries of nostalgia, a claim to victimhood from a former empire that wants to believe it’s being treated like a colony by the EU. We’re now looking at a no deal Brexit, no Brexit at all, a referendum, or a general election.

The reason for that belief is entrenched deeply within the political structure of the UK. In Westminster politics there are only winners and losers, there are those who dominate and who command and those who are subordinate and who obey. There is no place for compromise, no understanding of collaboration. If the UK can’t dominate the EU, then it must be the EU’s colony. That’s the only paradigm that British politics understands. British politics is the ABBA song writ large, The Winner Takes It All. Whether Brexit happens or can be forestalled, Brexit and the sense of British victimhood will continue to dominate politics in the UK for generations to come.

Brexit teaches Scotland that since it cannot dominate the UK, then it is to be subordinate, subservient, and submissive. That’s our place in this so-called union, and that’s why the only escape route from Brexit and the BDSM fetish that is British politics is independence. No number of broonterventions will alter that fundamental truth.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free, and for the next ten days Vagabond Voices are doing a special offer, giving you two pounds off the cover price. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.
Donate Button

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.

Journey to Yes, #24

The latest in Phantom Power’s Journey to Yes series.  WG Saraband says Yes.

WG Saraband is an EU National from Portugal who has made Edinburgh his home since 2015 with his partner, a dentist. He is a history graduate, artist and writer of the acclaimed Braw Blether blog that explores Scotland ‘as others see us’.

WG Saraband reflects on Portuguese parallels – a small European nation and former empire that struggled with political and economic turmoil before realising democracy. With his interest in politics, history and deep love of Scotland (and its weather), Saraband inevitably became involved in the independence debate and civic nationalism. He sees independence as the only way for Scotland to fully realise its huge potential. When the time comes, it will be an emphatic Yes from WG Saraband. Discover WG Saraband’s art and writing:

https://brawblether.com

https://www.instagram.com/wgsaraband/

https://twitter.com/wgsaraband

Spoilt for choice

spoiltforchoice

Nicola Sturgeon has suggested that she’s in favour of something that this blog has been arguing for a while. That is, even if by some miracle the UK manages to avoid Brexit, Scotland should still hold another independence referendum. Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1 yesterday she said that “all of the experience of the past three years” and the very real prospect of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister mean that Scotland ought to have another independence referendum.

There’s been a lot of focus on Brexit as the trigger for an independence referendum, but Brexit is merely one example of a material change in circumstances. It’s very far from being the only one. Scotland is now spoilt for choice when it comes to material changes in circumstances. Material changes in circumstances are about the only thing that Westminster generously indulges Scotland in. The UK that Scotland is a part of in 2019 is most certainly not the UK that we were sold by Better Together during the independence referendum in 2014.

The way that Scotland has been treated by the Conservative government over the past few years bears as much relation to the promises of equality and partnership that were made by Better Together as the promise of an exotic foreign holiday that turns out to be human trafficking. Far from leading within the UK, far from being an equal partner, far from having an important and respected voice at the top level of British government, Scotland has no say and no agency as the country’s economic future is sacrificed on the altars of English nationalist vanity and fantasy.

Despite what the anti-independence parties appear to believe, the electorate of Scotland did not hand them a blank cheque when the country narrowly voted against independence. It was a conditional vote. They constantly insist that the result of the independence referendum must be respected, but it’s not just the losers of a vote who need to respect the result. The winners also need to respect the promises and commitments that they made in order to secure their victory. They have signally failed to do so. More than that they are resisting any attempt by the people of Scotland to hold them to account. That traduces and destroys democracy. When a people have no means of holding politicians to account for promises that they have broken, democracy is dead.

The past few years have taught Scotland a harsh lesson in the realities the nature of the UK. The people of this country have always understood that Scotland is a part of a union, in fact the Conservatives continually bang on about how precious the union is to them. The story of union has been a foundation stone of Scotland’s place within the UK. Scotland, we tell ourselves, is a part of the UK because of a Treaty of Union between two equal sovereign nations. We are not a conquered nation. We are not a colony. We tell ourselves that we are a part of the UK because we wish to be, and as soon as the people of Scotland say otherwise Scotland will cease to be a part of the UK. That understanding has always been the basis of Scotland’s place within the UK.

Yet we’ve now discovered that contrary to the promises and commitments of 2014, the British government can and will take it upon itself to make unilateral changes to the devolution settlement, in direct contradiction of the will of the Scottish Parliament. This is despite the fact that the Scotland Act passed by Westminster in the wake of the independence referendum contained a clause seemingly guaranteeing that no Westminster government would ever do any such thing. We now know that clause has no legal effect and was a mere piece of political window dressing which could be discarded as soon as Westminster saw fit.

We’ve discovered that the UK of moderation, of stability, of security, is a mirage. The safer, faster, better change that Better Together promised us has turned out to meant that as a part of the UK Scotland faces an uncertain future, being driven into the dark storm clouds of a resurgence of the far right. We were told that we needed Westminster to guarantee our democratic institutions and stability, yet we see the rise of Farage and Yaxley-Lennon while Westminster undermines the devolution settlement. We see dark money dominating politics. We see a nasty xenophobic populism. Milkshakes are a better and stronger guarantee of our democracy than Westminster is.

We’ve discovered that Scotland has no input or say in determining the course of a Brexit that threatens to wreak havoc on the Scottish economy. There is no voice at the top table, only a weak and ineffectual Scotland Secretary who repeatedly threatens to resign but never does, and who sees his job as being the voice of the British Government in Scotland, and not as Scotland’s voice in the British Government. The Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament have barely been kept informed of the progress of Brexit, never mind playing an active role in negotiations. As members of the EU with voting rights and veto powers, countries much smaller than Scotland like Malta or Estonia have more of a say and more influence over Scotland’s future than the people of Scotland do as part of the UK.

We’ve learned that the sovereign right of the people of Scotland to choose the form of government best suited to their needs is actually subject to a veto from a British Prime Minister that Scotland didn’t vote for. That sovereign right was asserted in the Scottish Claim of Right, approved by both the Scottish and UK parliaments. There was no additional clause which said “as long as it’s OK with the leader of the Tory party”, yet that’s where we are now.

Most importantly what we’ve learned since 2014 is that Scotland is a part of a union in name only. The reality is that Scotland is an ignored and politically marginalised province in a unitary state. The union is one of the biggest myths and lies of British nationalism. It’s one of the stories that British nationalists tell themselves in order to continue in their delusion that British nationalism is better than all other nationalisms by virtue of not being nationalist at all.

The truth is that if the anti-independence parties had respected the promises and commitments that they made to the people of Scotland in order to win the independence referendum then there would be no clamour for another independence vote. But they haven’t. They only have themselves to blame. It’s not just Brexit, it’s their entire attitude to Scotland. Scotland will hold them to account for their failures, their lies, their mendacity. Brexit is merely the biggest and most blatant, there is no shortage of others. Every one of them is a reason for revisiting the independence vote.

Remember the dancing Westminster MPs, their smug grins, their gloating faces, as the result of the independence referendum was announced. They thought that Scotland was trapped, was quiescent, was returning to passivity, was going to be buried by the cringe. They thought that it was back to business as usual. They were wrong. The new business as usual in Scotland is a Scotland that knows how to assert itself. We will hold them to account.

 


 

newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free, and for the next ten days Vagabond Voices are doing a special offer, giving you two pounds off the cover price. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


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GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.

Fooling us once, twice, three times

vampire
Nigel Farage was in Edinburgh yesterday, and had to have the polis ask McDonalds not to sell milkshakes. Milkshakes have become the new weapon of choice against the pretensions of the extreme right. Throwing a milkshake on a right wing extremist has the same effect as garlic on Christopher Lee in a Dracula movie. He kept coming back for a sequel too.

Onieweys, having narrowly avoided milkshakemaggedon, Nige was able to make his speech in front of a few hundred folk on the waiting list for BBC Question Time audience appearances. Nigel was there to play the victim and to speak about the policies of his new vanity vehicle. This latter part of his speech was quite easy to accomplish as the Brexit Party has only two policies. The first policy is to leave the EU immediately without bothering about a deal, negotiations, or giving a milkshake about the economic havoc it might wreak. The second policy is to do whatever it is that Nigel thinks is going to get him attention at any given moment. Since the British media already treats him as a combination of Madonna, the Messiah, and Mandela, cunningly disguised as a 1950s stockbroker, he already manages to get plenty of attention.

The thrust of Nigel’s speech to his acolytes was to persuade Scotland to follow him off the Brexit cliff into a glorious future of harrumphing about the smoking ban and pontificating at the golf club bar about how middle class right wing white heterosexual men who went to private schools are the most oppressed people on the planet. Scotland, assured Nigel, couldn’t possibly be independent as a part of the EU. Instead Scotland can only properly be independent as a province of a North Britain ruled by Nigel in the interests of whoever it is who is providing him with financial backing. Doing what you’re told and having zero input into the course that your country takes, that’s real independence that is.

Nigel wants people in Scotland who support independence but who want an independent Scotland to be outside the EU to vote for him in the EU elections. The logic of this pitch – well, I say logic – is that after we’ve given Nigel what he wants then he’ll kindly and munificently engage in a discussion about Scotland’s future. The problem here is that he’s already said what he thinks, having made it clear that as far as he is concerned both the Scottish and EU referendums settled their respective questions for a generation. He’s already told us that he believes that the movement for Scottish independence is motivated by hatred of England and all that he stands for. Because in Nigel’s English nationalist world, it’s all about him. When Nigel Farage tells Scotland that’s he’s prepared to talk about Scottish independence after he’s achieved power, what he means is that he’s going to tell us that he’s not going to let us have it. We’re going to be talked at, not talked with.

Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party are trying to repeat the same trick that was played on Scotland in 1979 when Alec Douglas Home pleaded with the country to reject the Home Rule proposal in that year’s referendum with the promise of “something better”. Then “something better” turned out to be Margaret Thatcher and two decades of Scotland being deindustrialised, politically marginalised, and ignored.

Nigel Farage is trying to repeat the same trick that was played on Scotland in 2014 when Gordon Brown promised that if Scotland rejected independence we’d have the closest thing possible to federalism and a strengthening of devolution. We were told we’d be an equal partner in a family of nations. Then we saw the devolution jenga played by the anti-independence parties in the Smith Commission and the British government using the Brexit vote as an excuse to unilaterally undo the devolution settlement. We’ve seen only one country in the British Isles which is really an equal partner in a family of nations, that nation is Ireland and the family of nations is the EU.

Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. Fool me three times hit me over the head with a slab of concrete and tell me I deserve it for my stupidity. Nigel Farage and the Brexit party are promising Scotland’s Yes supporters who want out of the EU the square root of hee-haw. A vote for them is a vote to confirm Scotland’s inferiority, submission, and giving licence to treat us all as fools who can be taken for granted.

If you want Scotland to be independent and to be outside the EU, that’s a perfectly respectable position to take. Presumably you believe in it because you believe in the importance of the sovereignty of the people of Scotland. Logic then dictates – real logic and not Nigel logic – that first of all we have to establish the sovereignty of the people of Scotland. That’s not going to happen by giving your vote to Nigel Farage on the basis of a vague promise to look at something he’s already made clear he has no interest in and which he believes to be motivated by hatred of the English. You’re not going to establish the principle of Scottish popular sovereignty by lending your vote to a man who doesn’t believe in Scottish sovereignty. Scotland ought to have learned by now not to trust the vague promises of British nationalism. A Scottish independence supporter voting for Nigel Farage is like someone with anaemia voting for a vampire.

It’s up to the people of Scotland to decide whether they want Scotland to be a part of the EU or not. That means that if we are to be outside the EU it needs to be a decision supported by a majority of the people of Scotland, and then negotiated by a government responsible to the people of Scotland, elected by the people of Scotland, and which is striving to get the best possible outcome for the people of Scotland with no other considerations. Piggy-backing on a right wing Conservative Brexit that has the support of one third of the Scottish electorate is not establishing the sovereignty of the people of Scotland. It’s undermining and destroying it.

So if you are an independence supporter who dislikes the EU, hold your nose and vote for a pro-independence party in the EU elections even if that party wants Scotland to remain a part of the EU. Because first and foremost those of us who believe in an independent Scotland need to express our support for the principle of Scottish sovereignty. It’s only after we have achieved a political assertion of Scottish sovereignty in an independence vote that we can have a truly meaningful conversation about Scotland’s place within Europe. We certainly can’t have that kind of conversation with English nationalists like Nigel Farage. All Nigel promises us is silence, contempt, and marginalisation.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free, and for the next ten days Vagabond Voices are doing a special offer, giving you two pounds off the cover price. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.
Donate Button

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.