The temple of doom

It’s being reported today (Sunday) that the British Government finds it “extremely concerning” that MPs are trying to delay Article 50 in order to avoid a no deal. It’s a bit like that scene in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull when our hero and his chums are in a river and about to go over a waterfall. Theresa May would say it’s extremely concerning that people in the boat are looking to see what they can use as an anchor. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a tired and hackneyed movie containing nothing much that was new, original, or intelligent, one which kept repeating old tropes from earlier in the franchise and which had long since worn out its welcome. Very much like Theresa May’s government. It’s even got the aliens with strange heads too, which is possibly the only way to explain Michael Gove.

It’s such a mess that we’d be in far safer and more competent hands if the Brexit process was being driven by Prince Philip. He’s not sorry about the dangers he causes either. Although admittedly with Prince Philip we’d have a driver with less of a sense of entitlement. What’s driving Theresa’s ire is that tomorrow the Commons is due to debate an amendment which seeks to wrest control over Commons business out of the hands of the Government and give it to MPs. It’s an attempt to limit the overweening power of the executive branch of the government and restore it to the legislature in a state which infamously lacks a written constitution and which over the past few decades has slowly turned into what has been described as an elective dictatorship.

The phrase elective dictatorship was first used by the Conservative politician and intellectual Quentin Hogg, back when the Conservative party had intellectuals. He used it to describe the UK of the late 1960s when in his opinion the British Parliament had become dominated by the government. As a Tory, Hogg was of course using it to describe the Labour government of Harold Wilson. However back in the 1960s the cabinet, of governments of either party, was far more an exercise in collective responsibility. Cabinets contained big beasts, who were capable of standing up to a Prime Minister who was very much regarded as primus inter pares, the first amongst equals. It took the long dark decade and a half of Thatcher to transform the cabinet and the government into a tool and instrument of the Prime Minister.

The theory of UK government is that sovereignty rests in a Parliament which is elected by the people. The reality is that when there is a majority government, absolute power rests with the Prime Minister, who is able to impose her or his will. Theresa May is the head of a minority government, but one which is acting as though it had a majority. Moreover Theresa May is a Prime Minister whose personal authority is tattered and discredited. She has done nothing to endear herself to her own backbenchers, never mind the other parties.

The amendment to be debated tomorrow takes advantage of the historic weakness of the Prime Minister. Put forward jointly by Labour’s Yvette Cooper and the Conservative Nick Boles, the amendment seeks to change the timetabling rules of the House of Commons. It all sounds a bit abstract and arcane, but what MPs are trying to do is to wrest control of Commons business out of the hands of the government and restore it to MPs. That will allow MPs to bring forward bills and amendments and ensure that there is time for them to be debated and voted on, instead of hoping that the government will do so. We’ve already seen how this government is hell bent on trying to avoid being held to account by that Parliament whose sovereignty it claims to be seeking to restore. No wonder Theresa finds the amendment “extremely concerning”.

The reason all this is becoming an issue just now is that by taking control of parliamentary business back from the government, MPs will then be able to change the existing provision in the EU Withdrawal Act which the government rammed through in order to placate extreme Brexists, the clause which states that the UK will leave the EU on 29 March with or without a deal being reached. If they can do that, they remove Theresa May’s big stick, the big stick which remains her only means of exerting any authority. It’s only the threat of falling out of the EU on 29 March without any deal that allows her to continue to insist, despite the historic defeat last week, that it’s her deal or no deal.

Taking control of Commons business out of the hands of government will also allow MPs to explore the option of another EU referendum. However there doesn’t seem to be a majority for it amongst MPs, given recent reports that up to half of Labour’s front bench – those in leave voting constituencies in England – would resign in protest if the party was to support a second EU vote.

We’re in a mess. There’s no clear route out of it. Given these circumstances I have to disagree with the article published in the Scotsman by Joyce McMillan last week, in which she counselled that Scotland must wait until there is a national consensus in favour of independence before pressing for another indy referendum. I have a lot of respect for Joyce, but I think she’s wrong. The mess that the UK has got itself into means that it is absolutely imperative for the people of Scotland to have a say on this country’s future.

Joyce is concerned that Scottish independence must be achieved legally. I agree with her entirely there. Where I disagree with her is that this is not Spain. The unwritten constitution of the UK gives Scotland’s independence campaign considerably greater freedom of movement than the Spanish constitution gives to Catalonia’s. We have options in Scotland that would be illegal for Catalonia. It would not be illegal for the Scottish Government to announce its desire to test in the courts whether it could hold a consultative referendum, which is after all what Alex Salmond was planning to do if David Cameron rejected a Section 30 Order in 2012. If the courts find that Holyrood does indeed have a right to consult with the people of Scotland for their views, then the referendum would be perfectly legal. Equally it’s perfectly legal for Scotland’s pro-independence parties to convert any Scottish election into an effective referendum on independence by converting the vote into a plebiscite election on independence. As I have written before, none of these routes require Theresa May’s permission or a Section 30 order.

The time to go for a Scottish vote is when the machinations in the House of Commons play themselves out. It’s less likely this week than last week that there will be a snap General Election or a second EU referendum, but they remain possibilities. As soon as we know there won’t be, that’s the time for Scotland to make its move. One way or another, the people of Scotland must have a say, we must have a voice. Is Scotland content to remain a subordinate part of an elective dictatorship in which the dictator isn’t elected by Scotland, or do we wish to live in a representative democracy with strong checks and balances on the powers of the executive branch of government, a democracy in which the sovereignty of the people is enshrined in a written constitution.

That’s the choice facing us. We can stay in the UK’s temple of doom, or we can forge our own path.  It’s either rowing our own boat, or sitting helplessly as we plunge off the waterfall and drown in the hubris of British exceptionalism.


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The National’s Wee Ginger Dugcast : Jan 18

The second edition of The National’s Wee Ginger Dugcast featuring yours truly and Callum Baird, editor of The National. This week we discuss the events in Westminster and the growing impetus for Scotland to have a say on its future. And we also talk about the dog’s bollocks. As you do.


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The Ice Queen’s sandcastle

After the devastating defeat of the government’s Brexit deal on Tuesday, came Wednesday’s vote of confidence called by Jeremy Corbyn. As expected, those Tories who voted down the central policy of their own government yesterday lined up to support it today. They might hate Theresa May’s deal, but they hate Jeremy Corbyn even more. The government has survived, it’s alive but not living.

After the vote, Theresa May came out of Downing Street to address the UK from a podium. “It’s time to put self-interest aside,” said the woman who’s done nothing but pursue self-interest for the past two and a half years. The speech was very much in line with her Brexit strategy to date, which is to waste everyone’s time. The only thing this brief speech had going for it was that it only wasted a couple of minutes of everyone’s time, instead of two and a half years. That is as close to progress on Brexit that this government is going to get.

The gist of Theresa’s speech is that everyone should come together to help Theresa deliver some version of the deal that was so resoundingly rejected just the day before. Plan B is to talk to other parties and other parts of her own party, with the aim of getting them all to agree to Plan A. We’re so glad that Theresa has cleared all that up for us. Hold the front page! The Prime Minister has just come out with the same bollocks that she came out with yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. And the day before that … We’re living in Groundhog Day without the happy ending.

The Prime Minister’s infamous red lines remain intact. Her determination that only that half of the UK which voted for Brexit needs to be listened to remains intact. Her fixation on immigration and ending freedom of movement remains intact. My husband’s 18 month old niece is currently fixated with videos of The Wheels On The Bus on YouTube. Even she shows greater mental flexibility than Theresa May does. At least the wheels on the wean’s bus are going round and round. Theresa’s are going nowhere. The wean’s going through a phase. With Theresa it’s a way of being.

It seems an eternity ago now, but it really wasn’t that long ago that Theresa May came out of that same door, stood in front of that same podium, and told everyone that she was calling a snap general election in order to get backing for her vision of Brexit from the electorate. The electorate was not impressed with her vision of Brexit and stripped her of her majority. Yet Theresa May continued as though nothing had happened. And here she is, with only a few weeks to go before Brexit day, making the same appeal. She even had the utter gall, the sheer nerve, the complete brass neckery, to repeat the claim that in that general election over 80% of people voted for parties which supported Brexit, trying to claim for herself Labour votes. In Theresaworld everyone who voted Labour supports her now. That’s a consequence that those indy supporters in Scotland who said they’d back the Corbyn project could never have seen coming.

A general election made no difference to Theresa. A vote in the Commons, even a vote as clear and resounding as Monday’s, made not the slightest bit of difference to the government. It’s got to the point where you do have to ask yourself whether the UK remains a representative democracy. Because the only voices being represented here are the ones in Theresa May’s head. Just when you think that she’s been told once and for all that her scheming, her shittery, and her stubborn intransigence won’t wash, there she comes again with a new bucket of soap. She starts off talking about the need to reach out to other parties and other opinions, and then immediately makes her pitch to Brexit supporters.

There’s being stubborn and there’s dangerous self-delusion. It’s now time to ask whether Theresa May’s refusal to engage with reality is pathological. This is a woman whose personal shortcomings are now endangering all of us. Even now, even after all that has happened, she’s still sticking to her red lines and still refusing to rule out a chaotic no deal Brexit. And Jeremy Corbyn is still trying to forestall a second EU referendum. Paralysis is policy.

All we have is chaos. All we have is confusion. All we have is a knot in history that tightens in our stomachs. The safety, security, and stability of the UK. Punching above our weight turns out to be a punch in the head. Safer, faster, better change, off the cliff and into the void. Scotland was told to vote for the sensible choice of the UK. Vote realism, not romanticism, they told us. Scotland listened and found that we got turned to stone in Narnia in the time of the Ice Queen who’s worshipping a unicorn. She’s demanding we join in the Brexit prayer, “We won the war you know. We stood alone we plucky few. They need us more than we need them.”

The ideology of Britishness is a toxic nostalgia that pollutes our airwaves, fills our supermarkets, and tells us that compassion is a crime and empathy is for losers. It has no space in it for a Scotland that’s distinctive in any way. It has no tolerance for a Scotland that seeks a kinder, gentler, way. The old Britain, the Britain of the NHS, of free education, of a social security system that provided a safety net for all, it’s dead now. The lesson of Brexit is that those values can only flourish in an independent Scotland.

Meanwhile a new poll for the Herald has found that 56% of the paper’s readers believe that Scotland should have another independence referendum if Brexit goes ahead. It’s now impossible for opponents of independence to credibly argue that Scotland doesn’t want another referendum, although that won’t stop them trying.

The tide is returning to the sealochs and the firths. The tide is high, the currents running. It’s about to wash away the Ice Queen’s sandcastle with the union fleg in its crumbling turret. It’s time for Scotland to go to the shore and welcome the sea that connects us to the world.

 


 

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The great defeat

After delays, prevarications, and attempts to sideline Parliament, Theresa May finally put her deal to the House of Commons on Tuesday. Theresa May never wanted this vote. She wanted to ram her deal through Parliament without any vote at all. Today we discovered just why she was so reluctant to put the matter to a vote, this Prime Minister who preaches to us about respecting democratic votes. The government achieved 202 votes. Her opponents got 432.

The majority by which Theresa May lost was greater than the total number of MPs who backed her. 118 Conservative MPs voted against their own government. It was one of the greatest defeats for a government in the history of the British Parliament.

If Theresa May had had her way this deal would have been forced upon the UK without any meaningful say from that House of Commons whose sovereignty Brexit was supposed to restore but which the Prime Minister has done her utmost to muzzle. Today the Commons bit back, and bit back hard.

To lose by such a margin on the central policy of the government was a stunning defeat, a defeat which would have made any other Prime Minister resign. But this is not a normal government and Theresa May is not a normal Prime Minister. She got herself into this mess because she refused to face reality, and she shows every sign of continuing to do so, the Monty Python Black Knight of British politics. No normal politician can survive this degree of humiliation, but the humiliation algorithms are missing from Theresa May’s operating system. She’s as likely to resign as Tommy Robinson is to convert to Islam. Only now that I’ve written that that’s probably what she’ll do. That’s just how uncertain and unstable British politics are just now. How’s that security and stability of the UK working out for you all?

The Prime Minister had the unmitigated gall, just before the vote, to call upon MPs of all parties to set aside their differences and work together in the national interest. The very reason she suffered a defeat of such magnitude was precisely because during the two and a half years since the Brexit referendum, Theresa May has refused to listen to anyone, has been unable or unwilling to concede that other points of view exist, never mind make accommodations with them, and has worked solely in the interests of the Conservative party.

The full extent of the defeat might have come as something of a surprise, but not the defeat itself. All day, the news was full of interviews with Tory backbenchers who were going to reject their Prime Minister’s deal, the kind which the party managers usually strive to keep away from the telly cameras, and with very good reason. Some of them looked deeply creepy, the kind of person who’d go for a ride on a ghost train and come out with a job offer as an exhibit.

The DUP’s Sammy Wilson came out of the funfair to inform us that that the magnitude of the defeat made it more likely that the EU would do what it has consistently said it won’t do, and renegotiate. Sammy thinks that the EU will be so shocked by just how resoundingly the deal was rejected that they’ll do all they can to help Theresa May to come up with a deal which is more acceptable to the likes of Sammy. It was the clearest example you could ever wish for of the magical thinking that characterises Brexit.

What the size of this defeat has done has been to derail Theresa May’s Plan B, which was to keep repeating Plan A until everyone else was bored and battered into submission. It seems that if the defeat had been less than 100, the Prime Minister intended to keep returning to Parliament with marginally tweaked versions of it until it might finally squeeze through. That she lost by 230 votes means that strategy is now a non-starter. The problem is that she doesn’t appear to have any other.

As soon as the result was announced, Jeremy Corbyn called a motion of no confidence, which is due to be debated tomorrow (Wednesday). Jeremy, in the event that he’s successful in bringing down the government, will campaign in the General Election for his own version of Brexit. So much for that internationalism of the Labour movement then.

However the DUP and the European Research Group of hardline Tory Brexists have both confirmed that they’ll be voting to support the government. The likelihood is that Theresa May will survive the no confidence vote. The DUP and the ERG might hate Theresa’s Brexit deal, but they hate Jeremy Corbyn even more. They might not like the Northern Irish backstop, but they’re fully on board with cutting the income of disabled people, the burgeoning use of foodbanks, the rise in homelessness and rough sleeping, cutting public services to the bone, and flogging off the NHS to American corporations.

So where are we now? We have a Parliament which is opposed to no deal, but a government which refuses to rule one out. If Parliament is opposed to no deal but no one can propose an actual deal that’s going to get sufficient support, where does that leave the UK?

The SNP MP Joanna Cherry has proposed a national unity government, which the SNP could support in return for the transfer to Holyrood of the power to hold an indy ref and control of immigration within Scotland. She says this government could suspend Article 50 and call another referendum on retaining EU membership, no deal, or some version of a deal. Unfortunately Labour doesn’t seem disposed to look favourably to this idea at the moment, even though it has the advantage of being palatable to those Conservative backbenchers who put avoiding no deal before their support of Theresa May. The DUP’s stranglehold on the government would then be broken. Perhaps once Jeremy’s motion of no confidence fails then Labour may be willing to consider Joanna’s plan. It seems unlikely, but when all that is left is a choice between the implausible and the impossible, it’s the implausible which wins.

No one knows what’s going to happen. No one can say where all this is going to end up. No one is certain where we’ll all be in a few days, never mind a few months or years. All that can be said for certain is that when Scotland was in the midst of its independence referendum campaign back in 2014, we were assured that it was only by remaining a part of the UK that Scotland could enjoy political stability, economic certainty, and the safety and security of a state which was a major player within the EU. We were sold a pup. Whatever happens with Brexit, Scotland needs a say on whether it wants to remain a part of this dysfunction. Then we can deliver the British nationalists who have created this sorry mess a great defeat of our own.


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The Great British Pseudocracy

Theresa May is currently engaged in a competition with Donald Trump to see which of the two of them can get away with the most lies. If she is in a competition with Trump, she’s narrowly in the lead. It’s the only plausible explanation for the Prime Minister’s curious lack of attachment to reality. It’s either that or she’s a sociopathic liar who has as much respect for the truth as Jacob Rees Mogg does for thrash metal music. Still, at least no one could accuse her of being secretly an agent for the Kremlin. Just being an agent for the Daily Mail, which is arguably worse.

Welcome to life in the UK in the 21st century. Welcome to this British state where Scotland was assured it would be respected and valued as an equal partner in the most perfect union of nations in the history of the multiverse. Only it has turned out that the British state and its political establishment are the world’s leading exponents of pseudocracy, government by lying. Because, sadly and tragically, Theresa May is by no means the only leading figure in the British political establishment for whom truth is at best a serving suggestion, she’s just more fluent at it than the rest of them.

Her lies are so frequent that for the most part they pass unnoticed. She lies so often that it’s highly likely that she no longer knows what truth means. For Theresa, the truth is whatever happens to have issued from her lips most recently. We are expected to have forgotten what she told us only a few weeks ago. So now a no-deal Brexit would be, according to Theresa and her government, an utter catastrophe. Yet it wasn’t that long ago that she was repeatedly intoning the mantra that no deal was better than a bad deal. She told us that Brexit was all about restoring the sovereignty of the British Parliament, yet she’s fought tooth and nail against allowing that Parliament any say. She said she wouldn’t call a snap election, yet she did just that because she thought she could increase her majority. She only lost her majority yet she’s continued as though nothing has changed.

On Monday morning she lied yet again. Theresa gave a speech in a ceramics factory in the Midlands of England. She stood in front of what looked like a big pile of chanties, clearly put there in readiness to receive the epic quantities of pish that were about to utter from her gob. Wouldn’t it have been awful, averred the Pee M, if politicians in the House of Commons had disrepected the results of Scotland and Wales’s devolution referendums. That’s why it’s so important that the result of the EU referendum needs to be respected too. There were referendums in Scotland and Wales in 1997 to establish devolution, and all parties respected the result. And she said it all with a straight face, which is one of the many faces that the great pseudocrat Theresa possesses.

In fact Theresa May herself voted against that referendum result that she claims she respected. She voted against the establishment of a Welsh Assembly after the referendum returned a narrow vote in favour of one, and then she supported the 2005 Conservative manifesto which promised the people of Wales another referendum in order to overturn the result of the first one. You know, what she’s currently claiming that the people of Scotland can’t ever get to do and what it would be a betrayal of democracy to do with respect to another EU referendum.

Interestingly, given that the outcome of the Welsh referendum in 1997 was so narrowly in favour of devolution and the mandate it produced was so fragile, then Welsh Secretary Ron Davies, together with other leading devolution proponents in Wales, including Peter Hain and Win Griffiths, set out to reach out to their opponents and build a cross party consensus. They realised that they had to bend over backwards to build consent for the new Assembly amongst those who had previously been opposed, as well as amongst those who hadn’t voted at all. This approach wasn’t always perfect, but it was successful. Two decades later opinion polls in Wales show that at most only about 15% of voters want to abolish the Welsh Senedd.

This is in very marked contrast to Theresa May’s hard Brexit takes all approach to dealing with the outcome of the narrow vote in favour of leaving the EU. She completely ignored remainers, the Scottish Parliament, and everyone who wasn’t a fully paid up member of the swivel eyed xenophobe wing of the Conservative party. Yet if she had embarked upon a conciliatory and inclusive cross party approach to Brexit as soon as she secured the Tory leadership, she wouldn’t currently be mired in the mess that she, and the rest of the UK, currently is.

Scotland has been betrayed and traduced multiple times by the Great British pseudocrats. There’s the infamy of 1979 when Scotland voted in favour of devolution by a margin almost exactly the same as the margin by which the UK as a whole voted in 2016 to leave the EU. The House of Commons had no great difficulty or remorse in deciding to over-rule the Scottish electorate on that occasion.  Some referendums and some electorates are more important than others.

More recently Theresa May has used the Brexit decision as an excuse to undermine Scotland’s devolution settlement that was overwhelmingly approved by the electorate of Scotland in the referendum of 1997. She has displayed a marked lack of concern for the sensibilities of the Scottish electorate in the way in which she’s marginalised Scotland’s large pro-remain majority, the Scottish Parliament, and the result of that 1997 referendum. A result which was, let us not forget, confirmed and reinforced in 2014 when the opponents of independence assured us that there was no status quo, that by choosing to remain within the UK Scotland would be voting for stronger, better, and more powerful devolution.

We have in fact witnessed the exact opposite. This is a government which so frequently decides to over-rule the democratic will of the people of Scotland that it passes unremarked by that pro-British Scottish media which is theoretically standing up for Scotland within the UK. Although of course if it’s a story which doesn’t involve saying how bad the SNP is, it’s difficult to get the Scottish media interested. In the BBC’s lunchtime Scottish news they managed to report on this episode without seeing fit to mention Westminster’s unilateral overturning of the devolution settlement.

Whatever happens in the febrile House of Commons this week, we can be pretty sure that the British political establishment will continue to lie and dissemble, that Scotland will continue to be marginalised and ignored, and that the British nationalist media in Scotland will continue to focus their attention on SNPbad instead of highlighting anything that might risk producing an increase in support for independence. Welcome to the Great British Pseudocracy, where the truth is whatever suits the leader of the day, and the Union isn’t a union at all.


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Scenting blood

The Scottish media pack has got itself a bone, and it’s going to chew it. And chew it. Lost amonst the vast tundra-like acreage of the Scottish media’s coverage of Alex Salmond, there was an article this week entitled Alex Salmond Is Looking For Blood. And I thought to myself, clearly, he’s not the only one. You could say the same about the vast majority of the Scottish media. Today there was yet another column, this time entitled It’s Not Going To End Well. And indeed it’s not, although I suspect that it’s not Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon who need to be worried in the longer term.

Despite the MeToo movement, despite what seemed to have been a new consensus that allegations of sexual harrassment should be taken seriously and treated with sensitivity, that the feelings and voices of the alleged victims should be central to the investigation, the Scottish media is hell bent on using the allegations against Alex Salmond as a political tool to bring down the Scottish government and the independence movement. They’re doing this without the slightest consideration of the alleged victims, Alex Salmond, or indeed anyone else.

What makes the entire episode even more distasteful is that the cheerleaders are the Scottish branches of the Labour and Conservative parties, parties which have themselves very poor recent track records in the investigation of complaints against prominent party members. Their hypocrisy is breathtaking, and entirely unremarked upon by their tag team partners in the Scottish media.

Not that we should be surprised. This is a country where, as it has often been pointed out, the media is wildly unrepresentative of the views of the public it claims to serve. The overwhelmingly British nationalist Scottish media doesn’t see its job as being to hold up a mirror to a Scotland where half the population – and growing – support independence, but rather to do all it can to deny, deflect, and damage the independence movement.

The media in this country are lost in their monomaniacal pursuit of SNPbaddery. Now of course when there are allegations made against a former First Minister, allegations which are not properly investigated leading to that former First Minister taking the government he used to lead to court, that’s a story, no one is denying that. The Scottish civil service has not covered itself with glory here. However the anti-indy media in Scotland is so all-consumed with its hatred of the SNP and the broader independence movement, that it’s unable to put this story into its proper perspective. This is fundamentally a story about individuals, a story which will have limited political implications and effects.

Compare and contrast with what’s going on elsewhere. Right now we’ve learned that the FBI opened an investigation into the sitting president of the USA in order to discover whether he’s a Russian agent. That’s mind-boggling in its implications. The FBI can’t just open an investigation on a whim. There has to be credible and serious evidence. The investigation has to be approved by the US Department of Justice. Yet according to the New York Times, such an investigation was started by the FBI into Donald Trump, an investigation which was apparently then folded into the ongoing Mueller investigation into the president. It is entirely possible, and some would argue plausible, that we live in a world where the American president is acting as an agent for Vladimir Putin. That has enormous implications not just for the USA, but for the rest of the world. No one in the Scottish media has bothered to examine the ramifications of these developments on Scotland, a key part of the NATO alliance and the site of some of Trump’s business interests, because hey, SNPbad.

Somewhat closer to home the British government is in the terminal stages of its Brexitosis disease. For all the talking up in the Scottish media of a supposed SNP civil war, there is a very real and very obvious civil war going on within the Conservative party and the British government. This is a government which preaches about respecting the EU referendum result while using it as an excuse to undermine parliament and treats democratic accountability with open contempt.

The British state currently has the most inept, casually cruel, and irresponsible government in living memory. The British state is perched on the verge of a precipice due to the single minded pursuit by large factions of the Conservative party of the fantasy of British exceptionalism. The government may not last the week, and we could be facing a snap general election in which the Conservatives tear one another apart.  Their abnegation of reality and single minded concentration on their narrow short term party political interests has created the most serious crisis in the British state since the end of WW2.

The fantasy is apparently shared – albeit in a British Parliamentary Road to Socialism version – by large parts of the Labour party. Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn confirmed on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday morning that he would fight that snap general election on the basis of his own Brexit fantasy, a so-called jobs-first Brexit. There’s no such thing as a jobs-first Brexit. That’s like saying that there’s a patients-first bubonic plague.

We have a British government, a British political establishment, led by chancers peddling a lie. However the British government hasn’t just pursued an unrealistic Brexit fantasy, it has also used Brexit as a tool to undermine the entire devolution settlement. This was then presented by the Scottish media as some minor quibbling about food standards and package labelling.

Throughout this entire sorry episode in the decline and fall of the British state, the Scottish media has avoided a detailed and thoughtful examination of the effects of Brexit on a Scotland which voted to remain in the EU by a considerably larger margin than it voted to remain in the UK. Scotland sits powerlessly on the sidelines, and that’s just fine with the vast majority of the media in Scotland.

As soon as the story broke about allegations being made against Alex Salmond, it was entirely to be expected that the Scottish media would go to town on it. In this country we have a media which has not come to terms with the new Scotland that arose in the 21st century, a Scotland which is increasingly confident within itself and questions its place and role within the UK. The Scottish media still hankers for the days of the late 20th century when talk of independence was marginal and absent from the Scottish political mainstream. As soon as they scented the whiff of blood they were going to go for it, losing themselves in an orgiastic frenzy of SNPbaddery.

The modus operandi of the Scottish media has always been to personalise the cause of independence, to desperately attempt to corral it within the confines of a single political party and its leader. We saw that in the constant repetitions of the phrase Alex Salmond’s referendum during the campaign of 2014. We still see it in the Scottish media’s single minded pursuit of SNPbad stories as a proxy for attacking the broader cause of independence.

Sadly for them it’s not going to work. Whatever the outcome of this story, it won’t have the slightest effect on the demand for Scottish independence. The reality which the British nationalist media in Scotland cannot and will not accept, which they wilfully refuse to comprehend, is that the Scottish independence movement is not driven by the SNP. It’s not a creature of Alex Salmond. It’s not a creature of Nicola Sturgeon. The driving force for the campaign for Scottish independence is the manifest shortcomings, failures, and inadequacies of the British state.  Those are shortcomings, failures, and inadequacies which are only set to get worse. No amount of SNPbaddery will change that.

The British state is bleeding to death from its self-inflicted wounds. Nothing that the Scottish media can say about Alex Salmond is going to alter that political and historical reality. It’s not just the Scottish media which scents blood. So do we. The difference is that our teeth have purchase.


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The National’s Wee Ginger Dugcast

Every Friday I’ll now be doing a podcast for The National which will be published on the newspaper’s site, and which I’ll also be sharing here. So now instead of reading my rants, you’ll get to hear my not-so-dulcet tones every Friday.


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.
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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.