Asking a flea how to cure the bubonic plague

Earlier this week Ruthie Davidson got down off her tank long enough to stand up on a podium and give a talk to the Rowntree Foundation on how to combat poverty. The invite to the Tory leaderene followed the successful speech about blood donation given to the same foundation recently by Dracula. To be fair, the invitation wasn’t quite as out to lunch as it might appear at first glance, Ruthie does know a lot about poverty seeing as how her party is a leading cause of it. Asking Ruth Davidson to give a speech on preventing poverty is like asking a flea for its opinions on the best way to prevent the bubonic plague.

Unsurprisingly, Ruthie shares the view that poverty is best challenged by threatening recipients of social security with sanctions. In the world of the Tories the poor are out to lunch, but only as they trudge to the nearest foodbank in order to find something to eat. Poverty is the fault of poor people not striving hard enough. The view that people who subsist on £67 a week need to be punished in order to learn that living on £67 a week is no picnic is commonplace amongst people who think little of paying considerably more than £67 on artisan cheese and wine for a picnic. And funnily enough Tories like Ruthie believe that that sort of big cheese person needs to be rewarded in order to get them to strive harder.

Ruthie once infamously stated that she was too young to remember Thatcher and denied the damage that her heroine had wrought on Scotland’s working class communities was in any way relevant to modern Scotland. Ruthie doesn’t recall the rampant homophobia that Thatcher stoked as a weapon to use against her political enemies. But some of the rest of us do, and we’re revolted by the image of a gay Scottish woman who parades in Thatcher’s cast offs like a third rate drag act in a down market bar. Ruthie’s message is that the need for social progress, the need to right injustice, the need to achieve equality, it all ended as as soon as Ruthie got hers.

Ruth Davidson, Davie Mundell, and the gay Scottish Tory commentators who defend their misogynist pals, might not remember the struggles of the lesbian and gay rights movement in the 70s and 80s, but I do. We were not seeking social justice just in order to prove that if society stopped being nasty to LGBTI folk then lesbian and gay people could be selfish and intolerant arseholes too. If this was the 1980s they’d be hiding in the closet and condemning those who challenged society for being divisive.

The speech to the Rowntree Foundation was really about positioning the Tories as contenders for the runner up prize in Scottish politics. It’s not so much that the Scottish Tories have recovered in their fortunes, there remains a ceiling to Tory support that would force even the dwarvish intellects of the mad bag of spanners which constitute the coprophagous Scottish Unionist media bubble to bend over double. It’s just that there is no floor to prevent Labour’s support plummeting even lower than the barrel bottom that the party scrapes in order to locate some policies. By comparison with Labour as it sinks to the Marianas Trench of Scottish politics, the Tories are doing the doggy paddle.

Even when Labour can manage to come up with a policy, it has to be presented to the public by the same old tired and discredited politicians who’ve spent the last ten years screaming SNP baaaad ever louder and louder with less and less effect. Labour is led by politicians who would react to the news that a Glasgow SNP MSP has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by insisting Sturgeon should condemn the ones who haven’t. When you’re a political party which thinks that Anas Sarwar is the best person to represent Glasgow you’re a political party that has long since lost sight of the difference between principle and patronage. What is the point of Labour in Scotland these days? No one knows, least of all Labour in Scotland.

Into the void between the ears of a Sarwar steps the Scottish Tories, draped in a Union flag and waving a benefits sanction score card. As Labour desperately flails every way at once as it drowns in the public sea of disgust, and makes vague noises that it might rethink its opposition to independence, the Tories make a pitch for those voters whose Unionism is more important than any lingering sense of social justice that might cling to Labour like the faint whiff of a perfume from someone that the party stood beside on the train home from Anas’s selection meeting. Their only message is vote Tory, because everyone hates us and we don’t care.

The heady days of the 60s and 70s when the Conservatives could count on the support of over a third of Scottish voters are never going to return. Any increase on the meagre 15% that they were able to secure during last year’s Westminster General election will be hailed as a massive success and a vindication of Ruth’s tank posing politics. The truth however that a party which thinks it’s doing well to get over 15% is a party that’s given up all hope of ever being a party of government. Yet this misbegotten bunch of benefits sanctioners, these parasites causing a sickness of the body politic, get an influence over Scotland that is grossly out of proportion to their insignificant electoral size.

And then they complain that Scotland is a one party state. The only reason that the Scottish Tories don’t have the same reputation as Labour for lying is that most people stop listening as soon as they open their mouths. The way to remove the curse of poverty from Scotland is to remove the curse of Tory governments that we don’t vote for. But that’s not a cure that Ruth would have suggested to her audience at the Rowntree Foundation.


BUTRT cover front(1)BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE Barking Up the Right Tree has now been published and is an anthology of my articles for The National newspaper. You can submit an advance order for the book on the Vagabond Voices website at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993

Price is just £7.95 for 156 pages of doggy goodness. Order today!

A limited number of signed copies of the two volumes of the Collected Yaps is also still available. See below for order details.


Donate to the Dug This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.

Donate Button

Order the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug Vols 1 & 2 for only £21.90 for both volumes. A limited number of signed copies is still available, so get your order in now! P&P will be extra, approximately £3 per single volume or £4 for both sent together. If you only want to order one volume, please specify which. Single volumes are available for £10.95 per copy.

To order please send an email with WEE GINGER BOOK ORDER in the subject field to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name, postal address, and email address and which volumes (1, 2 or both) you wish to order. I will contact you with details of how to make payment. Payment can be made by Paypal, or by cheque or bank transfer.

The slinkie of Scottish politics

Poor Alistair Carmichael, it wasn’t enough for him that he got away on a technicality with lying through his teeth to the voters during last years General Election, he wanted vengeance on the little people who had the temerity to challenge his right to lie his way into office. On Monday the judges ruled against him, and now the liar will have to be honest about his own legal bills instead of passing them off onto the people who tried to hold him to account. The bruiser has been financially bruised. Alistair Carmichael is the slinkie of Scottish politics, bugger all use for anything but you can’t help but smile when he takes a tumble down the stairs of the Court of Session.

Alistair used to be arrogant and obnoxious, but as a result of the court case he was found to be just the opposite, obnoxious and arrogant. After getting away with the main charge laid against him, Alistair was lulled into a false sense of competence. Alistair thought that winning the right to keep his seat meant he was proven to be in the right and was entirely vindicated, when in the eyes of the entire country he was revealed as a liar who managed to cling onto his seat by virtue of a technicality and had a nose that Pinocchio could use for pole dancing. The former Scottish secretary’s lasting contribution to Scottish politics is in establishing that Westminster politicians think that it’s perfectly acceptable and proper to lie to the electorate.

When considering the character of Alistair Carmichael, we should remember that this is not merely a man who has been legally determined to be an evasive and self-serving liar. We should also remember that he didn’t just expect the Orkney Four to pay for his legal bills, he wanted them to pay punitive damages as well. Alistair Carmichael was not just deceitful and didn’t just lie about his deceit, he also thought that he shouldn’t have to suffer any consequences for his lies and deceit. Alistair was not content with costing the taxpayers large amounts of money for an enquiry into the leak, an enquiry which could have been avoided if Alistair had just said – it was me, I did it.

That wasn’t enough for the inflated ego of Orkney. He wanted the people who had called him out for lying to be punished for his lies by paying him money over and above his legal costs so that he’d end up financially better off than he had started. That’s his real arrogance and entitlement, on top of everything else that he did, he wanted to be rewarded for his lies and demanded that he should profit from them even if that was at the expense of bankrupting his aggrieved constituents.

The judges had ruled that Alistair is a liar, and that he had lied and was mendacious. That puts Alistair into that rare category of people. Like Andy Coulson, like Jeffrey Archer, you can call Alistair a liar in print and he can’t sue you for it. In their ruling the judges during the original case wrote that Alistair told a “blatant lie”. He is a proven liar. It was just fortunate for the liar that his lie didn’t fall within the narrowly defined criteria necessary to rule that his election was illegal. Alistair thought that this vindicated him, when in fact all it did was to prove that he was still a liar. He’s such a liar that whenever he enters a room he sets off the smoke alarm from the fire in his pants.

Naturally the mad bag of spanners that constitutes the Scottish Unionist media is linking foul mouthed wingnuts in solidarity with the poor wronged Alistair. The real wrong in their eyes isn’t that a Unionist politician smeared the First Minister with a false allegation, then lied about it, then tried to ruin his constituents after they tried to hold him to account for it. That’s perfectly acceptable. Of course it is. What sort of world would it be if ordinary punters were able to challenge members of the establishment and answer back to journalists? It would be chaos. Chaos which might very well lead to uppitiness and cheeking your betters. What do you think this is, a democracy?

The real wrong if you’re a mad spanner is that ordinary people who aren’t licenced journalists or politicians had the nerve to get above their station and raise their own funds to pursue a case against a lying politician. It’s perfectly fine with the yoonatic media that politicians lie, as long as they are lying Unionists. Lies are only an issue to be condemned when they issue from a pro-indy politician.

Of course the latest development in the Orkney Saga was reported by our state broadcaster. There was a single sentence snatched from the gnashed teeth of Jackie Bird, and sandwiched between a report on doggy IQs and one on how the UK had a new UK gas field for the UK, which is very good news for the UK but not for Scotland because volatile, bad. If it had been an SNP MP who had been ordered to pay their own legal costs after a controversial court case in which they’d been legally ruled to be a liar, the liary liarness of liardom would have taken up over half the programme. Not that it would have eaten into any of the time devoted to the fitba or the cute animals however, because this is Reporting Scotland Patronisingly we’re discussing here.

It remains unclear exactly how much Alistair will have to cough up in legal bills although a figure of up to £150,000 has been cited in some sources. Unlike the Orkney Four whose online fundraiser covered the entire amount that they may have had to pay out, his own online fundraiser has only managed to raise a small proportion of the amount, less than 10% of the amount he’s likely to owe. So much for pooling and sharing. If there was any justice he would have to pay the costs of the government enquiry as well. Still, he should consider himself lucky. Now Alistair will never be forgotten – at least not by the lawyers if he misses a couple of payments.

Hell slap it intae him. Let’s hope that the slinkie of Scottish politics slinks out of the public eye.


BUTRT cover front(1)BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE Barking Up the Right Tree has now been published and is an anthology of my articles for The National newspaper. You can submit an advance order for the book on the Vagabond Voices website at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993

Price is just £7.95 for 156 pages of doggy goodness. Order today!

A limited number of signed copies of the two volumes of the Collected Yaps is also still available. See below for order details.


Donate to the Dug This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.

Donate Button

Order the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug Vols 1 & 2 for only £21.90 for both volumes. A limited number of signed copies is still available, so get your order in now! P&P will be extra, approximately £3 per single volume or £4 for both sent together. If you only want to order one volume, please specify which. Single volumes are available for £10.95 per copy.

To order please send an email with WEE GINGER BOOK ORDER in the subject field to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name, postal address, and email address and which volumes (1, 2 or both) you wish to order. I will contact you with details of how to make payment. Payment can be made by Paypal, or by cheque or bank transfer.

Labour’s abortion of devolution

The Labour party, that would be the same party that promised Scotland home rule and the nearest thing to federalism possible this side of the black hole at the centre of the galaxy, has decided that it doesn’t want Scotland to have much in the way of home rule at all. Their commitment to devolution has vanished into a black hole, and all that is left is the pale shadow of Gordie Broon perched forever on the event horizon, waving a tattered copy of that front page of the Daily Record, their shame preserved for an eternity.

Since the Tories have now, reluctantly, conceded to devolve control of abortion law to the Scottish Parliament, Labour has decided to use its representation in the unelected House of Lords to block it. It’s an abortion of their previous promises and their claim to be the real party of devolution, but as far as devolution is concerned Labour has always been more interested in wielding a bent coat hanger up a dark back alley out of sight of the voters they lied to than allowing home rule to gestate. Labour wants to abort the process of devolution, and if they can’t do that they’ll strangle it at birth.

Labour views devolution as a means to empower the Labour party and not as an empowerment of the Scottish people. They screwed Scotland over in the 1970s with the 40% rule, and were only grudgingly persuaded of the need for devolution after the traumas of the Thatcher years. Even then Labour saw a Scottish parliament as a way in which it could maintain a power base during the fallow periods when it was out of power in Westminster, not as a means of political self-expression for Scotland. The Scottish parliament was designed as a means of political self-expression for Labour. Now they’re out of power in both Westminster and Holyrood, but they’re still playing their old games with the people of Scotland. Too bad for them that we see through them.

No real reason has been given by Labour as to why they oppose giving a parliament in which the leaders of the three largest parties are women control of women’s reproduction rights. Vague waffle is noised to the effect that it would be wrong to allow different abortion laws in different parts of the UK, but that’s already what happens. There is no such thing as a UK wide abortion law. The Northern Irish Assembly has control of abortion law, and has done since it was established, which is why abortion is illegal in the province.

The real reason that Labour doesn’t want Holyrood to have control over abortion law is because not so deep down in the psyche of the Parliamentary Labour Party, Scotland is a land of howling Presbyterians who hang up budgies’ swings so they can’t break the Sabbath, and devotees of Opus Dei who believe that pregnancy can be avoided by saying more novenas and whipping yourself with rosary beads. The metropolitan types who inhabit Islington’s wine bars are unclear on the difference between Ballymena and Balmaha.

The leading lights of Labour have an image of Scotland that remains stuck in the 1950s where the role of the wee wummin is to get the tea. London is full of metropolitan Scots who ran away decades ago and whose image of Scotland remains trapped in the past that they fled to escape. It’s understandable that Labour’s movers and shakers think that Scotland is a backwater which has managed to avoid the campaigns for civil liberties and social equality that shaped the 20th century. You only have to look at Labour’s Scottish dinosaurs that until so recently had their arses firmly ensconsed in what they thought were sinecures for life. Their image of Scotland was formed by Jimmy Wray, Michael Martin and Tommy McAvoy.

Labour’s grandees think that Scotland is too primitive and provincial. They believe that our Parliament with its female First Minister and leader of the opposition and its lesbian leader of the Conservatives require the tender administrations of a Tory dominated Parliament with its 19th century voting system and its sclerotic lordy appendage in order to drag us into the light of civilisation. We’re not capable of recognising women’s rights ourselves you see, we need Westminster to teach us how the grown ups behave in the 21st century, otherwise the only role for Scotland’s women would be barefoot and pregnant and deep frying Mars bars. Labour’s current refusal to devolve abortion law is patronisingly racist, plain and simple.

Scotland has changed. It’s Labour which hasn’t. Scotland has moved on and built a sense of itself as a modern outward looking northern European nation. Labour is stuck in the past, inward looking and insular. Labour represents the provincialism that says Scots don’t need independence because working class Scots have more in common with working class people in Manchester or Bristol than we do with the lairds and business owners of Scotland. But Labour doesn’t want working class Scots to recognise that what we share with working class Manchester we also share with working class Dublin, with working class Barcelona, with working class Warsaw.

Scotland looks out to the world as a modern European nation that respects the rights of women, of lesbian and gay people and the non-binary gendered, of ethnic minorities, of people with disabilities. Labour wants to trap us in a past of patronage where we beg for the crumbs of progress that fall from the restaurant tables of Islington. We don’t need Westminster to tell us that a woman has the right to choose. We don’t need Westminster to tell us that lesbian and gay people have a right to equality. We don’t need a parliament that scrapes the barrel of democratic legitimacy to tell us what is right and what is good.

A movement that seeks the sovereignty of Scotland also recognises that a woman has sovereignty over her own body. The sovereignty of Scotland is based in the sovereignty of the self. The referendum campaign taught Scotland that the personal is political and liberation starts with the self. And we’re liberating ourselves from the dead hand of the Labour party in Scotland, the aborters of progress.


BUTRT cover front(1)BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE Barking Up the Right Tree has now been published and is an anthology of my articles for The National newspaper. You can submit an advance order for the book on the Vagabond Voices website at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993

Price is just £7.95 for 156 pages of doggy goodness. Order today!

A limited number of signed copies of the two volumes of the Collected Yaps is also still available. See below for order details.


Donate to the Dug This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.

Donate Button

Order the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug Vols 1 & 2 for only £21.90 for both volumes. A limited number of signed copies is still available, so get your order in now! P&P will be extra, approximately £3 per single volume or £4 for both sent together. If you only want to order one volume, please specify which. Single volumes are available for £10.95 per copy.

To order please send an email with WEE GINGER BOOK ORDER in the subject field to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name, postal address, and email address and which volumes (1, 2 or both) you wish to order. I will contact you with details of how to make payment. Payment can be made by Paypal, or by cheque or bank transfer.

The upside down world of the people’s party

The world has turned upside down. The sun rises in the west. Unionist hate trolls really are just bantering satirically. And the Tories are ahead of Labour in a Scottish opinion poll. The last time that happened rationing was still in force, the Scotsman was still a respected newspaper, and people thought that the BBC news was unbiased.

Mind you, the last time the Tories were ahead of Labour in an opinion poll in Scotland they were actually the largest party in a country which was still in thrall to sectarianism and deference. Scotland has changed, for the better, now the fact that the Tories are doing better than Labour has a lot more to do with how badly Labour is doing than any great rivival in the fortunes of the you’ll-have-had-your-teas. Ruth Davidson might be getting bigged up by the desperate echo chamber of the Scottish mainstream media, but the attractions of a Tory on a tank appeal to only a very minor segment of the Scottish population.

The new poll from Yougov puts the Tories on 20% and Labour on 19% in the constituency vote. The SNP on 50% still have quite a bit more of the vote share than the Tories and Labour combined, but these days in Scottish politics an SNP landslide is about as surprising as the A83 being blocked at the Rest and Be Thankful after a torrential downpour. The great Tory revival has seen their vote share increase by just a couple of percentage points, and since they were to begin with about as welcome as Jar Jar Binks at a Star Wars convention, their recovery still leaves them in the critical ward. The Tories remain as out of place in Scottish political sentiment as a raised toilet seat in a convent, so the puff artists of the right wing Scottish media would be wise not to get too excited. But then they’re too busy these days protecting their banteresque trollish pals on Twitter.

The real reason that the Tories have overtaken Labour is because Labour’s support is getting deflated even more quickly than James Kelly in a Holyrood debate. Sadly for Labour in Scotland the voters just don’t stop raining on the party’s chances of doing anything but sink even further into a big muddy puddle of despair. Fieldwork on the new opinion poll was carried out while Labour made its dramatic announcement that it was going to raise income tax on everyone, but without explaining clearly how it was going to compensate the low paid for the loss in their income.

Despite all the help that BBC Reporting Scotland can give them in the guise of unbiased reporting of independent think tanks that just happen to have Labour directors, Scotland’s voters are not impressed by a policy which entails taxing the low paid and then promising to compensate them by unspecified means. We’ve all heard Labour’s promises before. Labour doesn’t have a policy problem in Scotland. It has a trust problem. They’ve lied too often. They’ve taken Scotland for granted too often. The self-proclaimed people’s party has put party before people too often. People in Scotland look at Labour’s policies and they see a Donald Trump combover.

The policy was an attempt to woo back the SNP’s more left wing supporters, but no one was seduced by Jackie Baillie’s arithmetical prowess or James Kelly’s assertion that he was taken seriously as he attempted to probe the Scottish Government on its tax plans. The tragedy for Labour in Scotland is that the only time James Kelly gets anywhere near a probing is when he visits his proctologist. There are more people who take Zippy from Rainbow seriously than there are who think that the Labour MSP for Rutherglen is serious political heavyweight, and Zippy has got a hand up his backside too.

Despite totally independent and impartial think tanks which just happen to have former Labour advisors as their directors assuring us, via a BBC that doesn’t think its relevant to mention their links to Labour, that the tax policy is progressive, the public in Scotland clearly have different views. Left wing voters are not flocking back to Labour because the image of Labour politicians standing side by side with the Tories and gloating as the British establishment is seared into their memories. No one on the Scottish left is going to forgive Labour any time soon for turning its back on the working class communities that gave it birth. On the other side of the political spectrum the party’s attempts to position itself to the left of the SNP are only alienating those Unionist supporters who believed that Jim Murphy was dangerously socialist.

The only fight left in Labour is the fight amongst its politicians to secure themselves a place on the party’s regional lists. Conducted with a degree of bitterness that even makes normal party meetings seem like a 1960s love-in, failed Westminster politicians have been fighting no-mark MSPs in an attempt to save their political skins. It’s rumoured that Anas Sarwar is poised to take the first place on the party’s Glasgow list. When Anas Sarwar is your saviour, you’re already condemned to a well deserved perdition. When you try to assert that imposing income tax rises on the low paid as well as the better off is progressive, you’ve gone off on a linguistic tangent where words no longer mean what everyone else thinks they mean.

Meanwhile the Tories make their pitch to the diehard Loyalists, the Rangers fans, and the better off who are more concerned about the price of their properties than they are about the future of their country or the welfare of their fellow citizens. With its tax plans that leave the rich and big companies unaffected, Labour makes it easy for them. A fairer Scotland is not one where people on below average wages pay more in order to make up the shortfall caused by Tory cuts that Labour didn’t oppose. No wonder that the right wing Scottish press devotes acres of coverage to Labour’s plans.

While Labour ties itself in fiscal knots and substitutes assertion for reason, the Tories are positioning themselves as the only real Unionist party left. As the flute and whistle brigade march off to the Tories, Labour’s voter base crumbles even more, and the sun sets in the east on the upside down world of the people’s party.


BUTRT cover front(1)BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE Barking Up the Right Tree has now been published and is an anthology of my articles for The National newspaper. You can submit an advance order for the book on the Vagabond Voices website at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993

Price is just £7.95 for 156 pages of doggy goodness. Order today!

A limited number of signed copies of the two volumes of the Collected Yaps is also still available. See below for order details.


Donate to the Dug This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.

Donate Button

Order the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug Vols 1 & 2 for only £21.90 for both volumes. A limited number of signed copies is still available, so get your order in now! P&P will be extra, approximately £3 per single volume or £4 for both sent together. If you only want to order one volume, please specify which. Single volumes are available for £10.95 per copy.

To order please send an email with WEE GINGER BOOK ORDER in the subject field to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name, postal address, and email address and which volumes (1, 2 or both) you wish to order. I will contact you with details of how to make payment. Payment can be made by Paypal, or by cheque or bank transfer.

The cancer of the British body politic

The Daily Mail wants to know “who will speak for England”. Its front page editorial was a ranting demand that the Brexit campaign gets its act together and ensures that the United Kingdom is taken out of the European Union and into a mid-Atlantic neo-conservative dystopia even more nightmarish than the one we’re currently trapped in. The Mail’s wet dream is to turn Britain into a low wage economy with no worker’s rights and where everything has been privatised. They want to turn us into the shit kicking bits of the USA only with worse weather and bad food.

The words who will speak for England are based on those uttered by anti-appeasement Tory MP Leo Amery in 1939 when Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain implied to the House of Commons that he wouldn’t support going to war with Germany even though the Nazi regime had just invaded Poland. In doing so Berlin had torn up the Munich Agreement which Chamberlain signed in his infamous meeting with Hitler the previous year and which he claimed had secured peace in our time. The price of peace was the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. Then as now, the rights of small countries get ignored by larger ones. As the Labour deputy leader Arthur Greenwood rose to speak in the debate in the Commons, he said he was speaking for Labour. Amery called out “Speak for England!” Scotland wasn’t significant to Tories then, so some things never change.

By one of those weird twists of historical coincidence, Leo Amery’s son Julian played a leading role in the Tory campaign to deny Scotland devolution when Harold Wilson proposed a weak form of self-government in the 1970s. His father didn’t acknowledge the existence of Scotland, and his son worked his wee Argyle socks off to ensure that Scotland wouldn’t have any voice of its own. Now his father’s words are being used to deny that Scotland exists at all. Julian would be so proud. Incidentally, Leo’s other son, John, was hanged just after the war for collaborating with the Nazis.

The Mail did, in a small line buried deep within the text, insist that it wasn’t comparing Angela Merkel to Hitler, although if it wasn’t then it would never have thought of using the headline in the first place. Mind you, the Daily Mail isn’t exactly noted for its thinking. It’s noted for its knee jerk right wing extremism, its hatred, its intolerance, and its bawbaggery. It’s pretty hypocritical of the Mail to quote leading figures in the struggle against the Nazis and enlist them into its Eurohatred campaign, because in the 1930s the Daily Mail’s owner Lord Rothermere was a notorious supporter of the Nazis. But then self-awareness isn’t one of the Tory right’s strong suits. Not so deep down in the psyche of the English right, we’re still fighting WW2.

If the Daily Mail did any thinking it might have thought that as soon as it published that pretentious and portentious headline that it would have seven shades of shazbot ripped out of it on Twitter, because that is exactly what happened. Social media users were happy to give the Mail their suggestions about who should speak for England, the Chuckle Brothers, Mr Blobby, Lauren “Am I bovvered”, Boris Johnson dangling from a zip wire, Mr Bean, that woman who put a cat in a bin, or Bungle from Rainbow. All of these suggestions – with the possible exception of Boris – were more plausible than anyone in the Brexit campaign.

Elsewhere buried deep within the text was a wee line saying that by “England” the Mail of course meant the United Kingdom. There we were during the independence referendum being told that we were a loved and valued part of this great family of nations, the most perfect union of countries in the history of the multiverse. Scotland gets to punch above its weight because of the UK.

While most Yes voters in Scotland were already aware that to all intents and purposes Scotland had been subsumed within Greater England, Scotland’s No voters were in blissful denial and the British establishment was quite happy to keep them that way. Paying lip service to the Union instead of England allows the No voters of Scotland can keep focussing on teacakes, the fragrancy of fantasy authors, and the myriad ways in which the SNP is really, really bad. Then they can ignore where the power really lies in this country, and it’s not with Scotland.

Now it’s plastered all over the front page of the Mail that Scotland is an English region. We really are just Scotlandshire, and you thought that was only a joke. The Mail is the mirror of the views of the nastier parts of Middle England. The parts that vote UKIP and Tory, the parts that are convinced that England is uniquely special amongst the nations of the world. The parts that Tony Blair and Gordie Broon’s Labour pandered to. The parts that think England encompasses this entire island. You know, the kind of territorial aggrandisement of the sort favoured by German governments in the first half of the 20th century. Not that I am at all implying that the Tory right in the UK is in any way shape or form prone to outbreaks of Nazism. Oh no. I’m not drawing that comparison in exactly the same way that the Mail isn’t drawing comparisons between Merkel and Hitler. So that’s OK then.

The Scottish edition of the hate-rag had a different headline. Even the Mail’s more swivel eyed journos realised that subsuming Scotland within England wasn’t going to play well in Scotland, so we got one of the Mail’s cancer stories instead. Admittedly everything published by the Mail is cancer, but this time Scotland was treated to a story saying that more of us are surviving cancer than ever before, probably because we have the good sense not to read the carcinogenic Daily Mail.

The English Tory right is the real pus filled well of grievance. England always gets the governments it votes for, Scotland and Wales don’t. If England votes to leave the EU then the entire UK will be wrenched out, irrespective of what voters in Scotland or Wales want. Who will speak for England? England has its Tory government. But when the question is who will speak for Scotland? The Mail has no answer, neither it nor England’s Tory government cares.

Scotland will consider that question in May, and the answer will not be the Europhobic Tory right. The Daily Mail is the cancer of the British body politic. In its pro-indy parties, Scotland has a cure.


BUTRT cover front(1)BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE Barking Up the Right Tree has now been published and is an anthology of my articles for The National newspaper. You can submit an advance order for the book on the Vagabond Voices website at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993

Price is just £7.95 for 156 pages of doggy goodness. Order today!

A limited number of signed copies of the two volumes of the Collected Yaps is also still available. See below for order details.


Donate to the Dug This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.

Donate Button

Order the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug Vols 1 & 2 for only £21.90 for both volumes. A limited number of signed copies is still available, so get your order in now! P&P will be extra, approximately £3 per single volume or £4 for both sent together. If you only want to order one volume, please specify which. Single volumes are available for £10.95 per copy.

To order please send an email with WEE GINGER BOOK ORDER in the subject field to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name, postal address, and email address and which volumes (1, 2 or both) you wish to order. I will contact you with details of how to make payment. Payment can be made by Paypal, or by cheque or bank transfer.

The Better Together Tax

Kezia’s got a brand new plan. On the day that Jackie Baillie publishes an article for a Labour blog saying that we need more honesty in Scottish politics, you might think that we’d had our quota of irony for the week, but then Kezia goes and meets her irony and raises her some parody with a wizzard wheeze that even on a cursory inspection isn’t so much a wheeze as a death rattle for an expiring party, the Better Together Tax. Yes dear reader, Labour wants you to pay for the privilege of being a part of this great Union and having all your public services slashed by Tory basterts that not only did you not vote for, but that no one you know voted for either.

There’s your Union dividend right there, it’s a dividend you pay to the Union. You get crap public services, low wages and high taxes. You get all the things that the No campaign claimed you’d get with independence, only without any of the advantages. You don’t get self-determination and the Scottish parliament doesn’t get the ability to apply economic measures that benefit Scotland, but hey you do get patriotic baked goods programmes and lots of royal fawning on your state broadcaster, nuclear missiles in your back garden, and a democratic deficit. You may, as a bonus prize, be estranged from the rest of the European continent even though you faithfully attended classes in conversational German at your local community centre right up until it was closed in the round of service cuts before this one. Gawd bless Britain eh.

Labour fought alongside the Tories during the referendum campaign to prevent Scotland having the ability to make its own decisions, and then connived with them in the Smith Commission to add so much water to the promises of the No campaign that a homoepathic remedy appears strong smelling by comparison. Vote Yes and you’ll have to pay higher taxes they alarumed. And now after a No vote they’re planning to put them up anyway. Labour wants Scottish workers to pay for Labour’s own hypocrisy. That’s hypocrisy squared that is, that’s Jackie Baillie on Reporting Scotland complaining that her views on the NHS never get publicity. That’s James Kelly appearing on Britain’s Got Talent as a wit and ranconteur. That’s Ian Murray shedding a tear when he’s excluded from a vote in the Commons.

Labour wants to increase the rate of income tax by a penny in the pound. But because Labour and its Tory and Lib Dem pals spent more energy than the Duracell Bunny on steroids when it came to stopping Scotland getting proper tax powers, all that’s currently available to Holyrood is increasing all the income tax bands by the same amount. Labour didn’t want Holyrood to have the ability to tax businesses, it only wanted Holyrood to have the ability to tax human beings. Because human beings vote, and unfortunately for Labour most of them in Scotland currently vote SNP. Maybe if Labour could force the SNP to raise taxes then people would stop voting SNP? However since the SNP are currently showing no inclination to walk into the cunning trap, Labour has decided to do it for them, in order to demonstrate how it should be done. The upshot of the plan means that the poorest paid taxpayers will see tax rises as well as the better off. This is Labour’s idea of progressive taxation. The only thing progressive about it is that it progressively buries Labour a bit more.

When your great hope is the slogan “One in four taxpayers won’t pay more” you’re as well as putting “We’re totally screwed” on the first page of your manifesto. Even a three year old knows that what Labour’s slogan means is “Three out of four taxpayers will pay more.” And those who will pay more are the nurses, care workers, ambulance drivers, teachers and teaching assistants, nursery staff, community support workers, and all the other public service workers whose wages have been progressively squeezed over the past few years.

Even from a political party which had an image of efficiency and capability this would be a dumb move. Sadly for Labour the only image they are still capable of is gobsmacking us with their own stupidity. That’s something they’re amazingly efficient about.

Ah but, say Labour, the poorest paid will qualify for a rebate, tax return, freebie, gift, of £100 from their local authority. That means that the lowest paid won’t be penalised after all, so there, we are so pure dead progressive and forward thinking. And James Kelly MSP lights up a room with his sparkling wit and repartee.

Scotland’s budget gets cut because of decisions made by a government which has insignificant support in Scotland, and which takes no heed of Scottish opinion. Labour fought for that. Better Together means we get to pay twice, in Tory cuts and in Labour tax rises. Meanwhile our public services suffer, our infrastructure deteriorates, and the Westminster grindstone crushes the seeds of something better.

If this is a policy decided in a focus group, then Labour need to go to Specsavers because this policy isn’t focussed at all. Just how are local authorities going to identify the lowest paid taxpayers in order to refund them the money that Labour has clawed out of their pay packet? Labour doesn’t know. How much is it going to cost to administer this process and how long will it take for the systems to be put in place? Labour doesn’t know. Is this money not going to count as income in the eyes of the Inland Revenue and be subject to tax, so it might not really be £100 after all? Labour doesn’t know. Will any money raised by Holyrood to make up the cuts imposed by Westminster merely provoke a further reduction in the block grant? Labour doesn’t know. Will Labour in Scotland raise taxes on Scotland’s low and middle earners every time that their former Tory allies cut the block grant? Labour won’t say.

Scotland’s voters do know. They know that Labour is clueless and inept. They’ll have their say on Labour’s Better Together Tax in May.


BUTRT cover front(1)BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE Barking Up the Right Tree has now been published and is an anthology of my articles for The National newspaper. You can submit an advance order for the book on the Vagabond Voices website at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993

Price is just £7.95 for 156 pages of doggy goodness. Order today!

A limited number of signed copies of the two volumes of the Collected Yaps is also still available. See below for order details.


Donate to the Dug This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.

Donate Button

Order the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug Vols 1 & 2 for only £21.90 for both volumes. A limited number of signed copies is still available, so get your order in now! P&P will be extra, approximately £3 per single volume or £4 for both sent together. If you only want to order one volume, please specify which. Single volumes are available for £10.95 per copy.

To order please send an email with WEE GINGER BOOK ORDER in the subject field to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name, postal address, and email address and which volumes (1, 2 or both) you wish to order. I will contact you with details of how to make payment. Payment can be made by Paypal, or by cheque or bank transfer.

Death by banter

I go away for a couple of days and all hell breaks loose on Scottish social media. On Thursday evening, a well known author and pal of yoon journos got into a Twitter spat with a Scottish MP. The occasion of the harrumphment was that the female MP took offence at what appeared to be praise from the author towards the person behind an anonymous Twitter account who had promised to donate some money to the author’s charity. It’s perfectly fine to praise a person who donates to charity, but what the MP took umbrage about is that the anonymous Twitter account is the Zika virus of social media.

The person behind the anonymous account, who appears to be suspiciously pally with yoon journalists, is notoriously foul mouthed and has subjected a number of prominent women to some disgusting misogynistic abuse. He’s said things about Magrit Curran that even I thought were beyond the pale, and no one would ever accuse me of being Magrit’s biggest fan. He regularly refers to female SNP politicians by the c-word. But this is all fine, because he’s a well connected unionist.

Apparently it’s all just banter and satire. Who knew? If I had realised that all you need to do in order to qualify as a satirist was to call someone a f***ing c**t, I could have saved myself the bother of penning thousands of words of witticisms and bon mots. Only of course, it’s only satire and banter when it issues from a yoonatic, that sort of language from an independence supporter would be all over the front pages of the newspaper until Nicola Sturgeon personally apologised.

The famous author with her legion of fans has interacted with this anonymous person on numerous occasions, and is apparently one of his online friends. This in no way implies that she condones, approves of, or supports his abusive foul mouthed rants, yet she has never once called him out in public for his misogynistic public abuse even though it is reasonable to assume that it is unlikely that she is unaware of it. That’s what pissed off the MP.

The unionist press is pefectly happy to smear independence supporters by association with someone abusive, but don’t dare imply that the same might be true of a unionist. Having read the tweets, it didn’t seem to me that there was in fact any implication from the MP that the author supported misogynistic abuse, there was only an allegation that she was supportive of a particular person who has made misogynistic comments in the past. But then I’m not a lawyer, and neither is a writer of fantasy fiction.

However that didn’t stop threats of legal action. It’s very easy to threaten legal action claiming that your character has been defamed when you’re a squillionaire, even if it is the case that the defamation is a fictional fantasy that exists only in your own umbrage. She responded by dot atting the MP’s Twitter handle, which is the social media equivalent of calling on your 6.6 million followers for hauners. And then the MP was subjected to a barrage of very real abuse and defamation from outraged fantasy fans that has forced her off Twitter.

Entirely predictably, the story appeared in the mainstream press within minutes. Literally. Within 10 minutes it was in the pages of the Independent. And equally predictably it was the story of the fragrant author slapping down an uppity nat. There was no reporting of the abusive tweets, and there are many of them, from the person behind the anonymous account. There wasn’t even any acknowledgement that they existed. Neither was there any detailing of the numerous previous interactions between the anonymous account and the fragrant author, some of which appear to suggest that they know one another in real life.

The way all this was handled in the Scottish media can be summarised as follows: Tee hee, we know who he is. He’s a pal of ours, and we’re not telling you nuhin. It’s just banter anyway, have you got no sense of humour? Humourless nats. Blowing a joke out of all proportion. It’s the one party state in action. That’s the Scottish media in action, one yoonerism after another. Diverting blame to where they believe it properly belongs – onto the shoulders of independence supporters. It’s our own fault for provoking the witty anonymous misogynist. There can be only one victim in the Scottish unionist narrative, and it’s the Scottish unionist establishment. This is the only country in the world where supporters of a right wing establishment can pose as edgy and radical outsiders.

All of this was as predictable as the appearance of a one sided story in the Scottish press. It’s that imbalance which really gets under the skin of independence supporters. The Scottish yoondom media demands that as a movement the entire independence campaign takes collective responsibility for the obnoxious behaviour of a tiny minority. All of us as independence supporters are apparently to be held collectively responsible for the foam flecked utterances and actions of the three guys and a dug who make up the Scottish Resistance. Yet don’t dare imply that a Unionist is in any way shape or form responsible for the actions or words of another Unionist no matter how disgusting or outrageous they may be.

It is of course wrong to blame one person for the actions or words of another. Your average No voter is in no way responsible for the words of a foul mouthed anonymous account on Twitter. Equally the average Yes voter is not responsible for the words and actions of the Scottish Resistance. Using the words or deeds of a small reprehensible minority to castigate or invalidate third parties is wrong. Yet that’s exactly how the mainstream media operates with respect to Scotland’s independence movement. Two or three guys make a misguided protest against a teacake company, and it’s a characteristic of the entire independence movement. A single UDI sticker appears on a pound coin in Dundee and all of a sudden it’s the fault of everyone who voted yes in September 2014. I am not my brother’s keeper, unless I’m a yes voter. Then I’m my brother’s keeper, my father’s, mother’s, second cousin twice removed’s, and the ex-girlfriend’s of my aunt’s work colleague’s next door neighbour’s son’s. The Unionist media smear us all by association, but are outraged should anyone imply that they have a responsibility for their own supporters.

This is what sticks in the craw, the imbalance and the hypocrisy. Scotland’s Westminions demand that the independence movement is held to standards that they themselves refuse to be held to. The story of the author and the MP is just the latest chapter in a novel which will end with the Scottish media eating itself to death. It’s death by banter.


BUTRT cover front(1)BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE Barking Up the Right Tree has now been published and is an anthology of my articles for The National newspaper. You can submit an advance order for the book on the Vagabond Voices website at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993

Price is just £7.95 for 156 pages of doggy goodness. Order today!

A limited number of signed copies of the two volumes of the Collected Yaps is also still available. See below for order details.


Donate to the Dug This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.

Donate Button

Order the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug Vols 1 & 2 for only £21.90 for both volumes. A limited number of signed copies is still available, so get your order in now! P&P will be extra, approximately £3 per single volume or £4 for both sent together. If you only want to order one volume, please specify which. Single volumes are available for £10.95 per copy.

To order please send an email with WEE GINGER BOOK ORDER in the subject field to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name, postal address, and email address and which volumes (1, 2 or both) you wish to order. I will contact you with details of how to make payment. Payment can be made by Paypal, or by cheque or bank transfer.