David Davis is a hero we don’t need

In this week’s example of setting the bar really low, Brexit Secretary David Davis has assured us all that leaving the EU won’t result in a Mad Max style dystopian Anglo-Saxon race to the bottom. That’s reassuring then. This was David’s Road to Brexit speech. We already knew that the road to Brexit was the Fury Road, it’s just that no one had expected they were going to be quite so literal about it. Although to be fair the signs were there from the beginning and we should have been forewarned. Nigel Farage does look suspiciously like a cleaned up Toe Cutter in a suit come to think about it. Davie has been criticised for likening Brexit to Mad Max, but screaming people who’ve lost every civilised thing they hold dear strapped helplessly into rusty wrecked vehicle with no brakes which is careening towards an explosive crash with a cliff face is a pretty good analogy for how the Brexit negotiations are going. However the vehicle does have “£350 million a week extra for the NHS” written on the side of it, so cheer up Remoaners.

Brexit has moved on from promises of an extra £350 a week for the NHS, freedom from faceless EU bureaucrats, and delivery into the sunlit uplands of taking back control, to assurances that starving peasants scavenging rusty car parts in the post-apocalyptic Brexit wasteland are not actually going to beat one another to death in the Thunderdome while Theresa May does an impression of Aunty Entity. The really scary thing here is that this is the most realistic thing about Brexit that David Davis has ever said, everyone knows that the monotone Theresa May has a crap singing voice. When they promised us a Brexit boom we didn’t think that they meant that big explosion which destroyed Aunty Entity’s petrol tankers.

Anyway, the British establishment was keen to tell us that Scottish independence would be cataclysmic for the entire world, so by comparision a British Mad Max doesn’t seem so bad. But the oil is running out, as they’ve been telling Scotland since the mid 1970s. So Brexit won’t be like Mad Max at all, because Mad Max still had some petrol. We shouldn’t worry too much anyway, as Davie had a distinctly Anglosaxon dystopia in mind, which possibly means that the Scots, the Welsh and the Northern Irish have bailed out and left the Brexiteers of Westminster to their own devices, devices which they have cunningly fashioned out of the sort of wreckage that you find in a scrap yard.

More likely Davie’s mention of Anglosaxons means that our Conservative masters have forgotten, again, that the non-Anglosaxon parts of the UK exist, which if you ask the Scottish government happens all the time. It’s not like the Tories have our interests at heart, even if they did have a heart to have our interests in. The real reason that the Conservatives made it so difficult for MSPs to get a look at the British government’s Brexit impact papers was because all they said was, “See that movie The Road? The one with the cannibals? Like that. But on the plus side we think that we can turn benefits claimants into a thriving meat export industry. So it’s not entirely bad.”

We don’t need another hero, but even if we did it sure as hell wouldn’t be the Brexit Secretary. His pronouncement this week is the worst example of expectation management since a plastic surgeon promised a patient that their face lift wasn’t going to leave them looking like Michael Jackson. When the Brexiteers promised us freebooting free trade deals we didn’t think they literally meant that we’d all have to become land-pirates. Jacob Rees Mogg is pretty pissed off about Davie’s remarks, as it means he got his nanny to bolt a flame thrower onto the Bentley for no reason.

Davie’s speech has opened up breaches within the ranks of the Brexiteers, as some of them were favouring other post-apocalyptic scenarios. Iain Duncan Smith had been hoping for more of a Hunger Games theme, which was after all his inspiration for the changes he made to the social security system, although he is prepared to concede that Immortan Joe proves that people with disabilities are fit for work. Michael Gove had his heart, or rather what passes for his heart, set on Waterworld as then the fact that he bears a striking resemblance to startled goldfish would be an evolutionary advantage. Meanwhile Boris Johnson had been holding out for a Lord of the Flies scenario, as he wants to be the king of a small and isolated island. On the other hand, in the Mad Max wasteland the disgraced former defence secretary Liam Fox is ideal for the role of Lord Hummungus, and that means he’d have to wear that full face mask so the rest of us wouldn’t have to see his smug grin ever again. So that’s a plus. It certainly puts a new spin on faceless bureaucrats.

This is the same week in which Boris Johnson reiterated his plan to build a bridge across the English Channel. Well I say ‘plan’, what I really mean is attention grabbing click bait headline. Boris is quite convinced that it’s possible to build a Channel Bridge out of recycled lorry parts, corroded shipping containers, and the bones of dead benefit claimants, but then he’s also convinced that he’s prime ministerial material.

Back in the real world, of course the UK won’t end up like Mad Max after Brexit. It’s silly to say so. We don’t have the climate for it. It will be more like Planet of the Apes, which you can already see a foretaste of on Duke Street in Glasgow during the marching season in June. Those are after all the people to whom the Scottish Conservatives are pitching their message.

Anyway, David Davis was correct about one thing in his speech. Brexit is not a race to the bottom. In a race you need competitors, and as far as Brexit is concerned, the UK is very much on its own. The British government can’t solve the problems that the UK is facing, they are the problem. David Davis and his colleagues are heroes that we certainly don’t need.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
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Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special 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.

Many thanks.

The year of the dug

恭喜發財 Gung hei faat choi! Happy Chinese new year, and we are now in the year of the dug. According to one Chinese astrology site, the year of the dog is the year for fighting the political causes that you believe in passionately, which seems appropriate for this blog. Not that I believe in astrology, but then you were expecting me to say that because I’m a Virgo. However the astrologists, perhaps for a change, do give some good advice – this is a year for pacing ourselves, for slow and steady growth, and above all else for hard work.

By the end of the Year of the Dug, there will just be a few short weeks left before the UK leaves the EU, taking Scotland with it. We’ll be out of the EU and into the Year of the Pig. You only have to glance at the Conservatives to see how appropriate that is. This coming year is certainly going to be a year for fighting a political cause. It’s in this Year of the Dug that we will build our campaign for a Scotland that decides its own path and is not led into piggery by Tory Brexiteers. We can win the campaign that is coming, but we need to prepare ourselves for it. We have work to do.

The first thing we need to do is focus our efforts. Above all else that means putting an end to the divisive and harmful infighting that blighted our movement last year. This is a grass-roots movement, a mass movement, a national movement. That means that by definition it’s going to contain people that you disagree with, people whose views you may find objectionable. The only thing that we all agree on is the core defining issue of the Scottish independence campaign, and that is that we all believe that the only sovereign body in Scotland should be the people of Scotland, all of us who were born here, all of us who have chosen to live here.

Being Scottish isn’t about your genes, it’s not about your ancestry, it’s about living in Scotland, identifying with Scotland, and sharing the future of Scotland. Above all else, Scottishness is a state of mind, and it’s one which is contagious. Collectively we are the Scottish people, and we are the only ones who have the right to decide what path Scotland takes, what kind of country we want to live in, what choices we want this nation to make. We agree that it’s for the people of Scotland to decide, that the people of Scotland are the only sovereign body and not a parliament on the banks of the Thames in which our representatives are a small and permanent minority which can be sidelined and ignored, but what we don’t necessarily agree on is what choices the sovereign body that is the people of Scotland should take.

A striking thing about the movement for Scottish self-determination is that it is characterised by people who are not demanding independence because they believe that Scotland is better than anywhere else. They’re certainly not working for independence because they hate the English. The overwhelming majority who are involved in this campaign seek Scottish independence because they recognise that there is so much that is wrong with this country, and it needs to be fixed. This is country which is scarred by inequality, riven by social injustice, divided by access to wealth. This is a country whose assets, resources, capital, and people have historically been bled for the benefit of the economy of London and the south east. Scotland isn’t a poor country, it’s an impoverished one. Scotland is a country where for too long people have learned to be passive, to be quiet, to dree their weird. That needs to change, and the only ones who can change it are ourselves.

A Westminster which makes political choices in its own interests, without considering Scotland’s needs, without listening to Scotland’s voices, isn’t going to fix those problems. All too often that Westminster parliament and the parties which inhabit it have a vested interest in ensuring that Scotland’s problems continue. The only people who are going to face up to Scotland’s problems, to tackle them, to solve them, are the people of Scotland.

These are things we can all agree on. What we don’t necessarily agree on is what the solutions are. But it’s unproductive, it’s self-destructive, for our movement to tear itself apart on questions which we can’t start to address until after independence has been achieved. Before we can argue about whether we want a shot on the swings or the roundabout, we have to get to the playpark. First of all we need to establish the principle of the sovereignty of the people of Scotland.

In this coming year, we need self-discipline. This isn’t about egos, this isn’t about personalities. This is about building visions of a better Scotland. Refraining from attacking other independence supporters doesn’t mean “wheesht for indy”. You can still, you should still, put forward and develop your own ideas, and if those ideas are seen to have merit then others will adopt them. You can do that without getting into fights with other independence supporters who have different views. The only people who benefit when independence supporters attack one another are the British nationalists. All of us who seek independence have a common interest in showing up the shortcomings and contradictions of British nationalist arguments, if there’s any verbal attacking to be done that’s what we should be attacking.

This year we need to be visible. You might not like rallies, but that doesn’t mean attacking those who attend them. Not everything in the indy campaign is about converting No voters. We also need to think about our own morale and our own resolve, and when you are an activist in a movement which is under seige by an overwhelmingly British nationalist media, you need the comfort, strength and support that comes from being in the presence of others who share your dreams. Because we are all too often marginalised and sidelined by the media, it’s all the more important that we raise our profile and become visible to the wider community. If you don’t like the idea of rallies or demonstrations, we always need more Yes hubs, we need more canvassing, we need more public events, we need more street stalls in town and village streets. The best form of criticism is to do your own thing and to make a success of it.

We need to support the existing pro-independence media and to encourage and support new initiatives. It is ironic that independence supporters spend far more to support anti-independence media than they do supporting pro-independence media. We need newspapers like The National, we need glossy magazines like iScot, we need video projects like Broadcasting Scotland, Indylive, Phantom Power.

But more than anything else, we need more yes groups. There is already a network of groups across the country, but there are still gaps. By the end of this year we ought to have local groups in every town and district in Scotland. Those groups are going to be the backbone of the coming campaign, and local activism in those groups will do infinitely more for the independence cause than picking fights on Twitter with people who have Union flegs in their avatars because they say they’re not nationalist at all.

Above all else, that’s the message of the Year of the Dug. Get involved. If we want to change Scotland, we need to do it for ourselves. Get involved and change the world.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special 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.

Many thanks.

Party political borecast

Across the road from my flat, there a tree with a plastic bag caught in its branches, blown there in the high wind. The plastic bag is full of nothing but air, which makes it exactly like Richard Leonard delivering the latest party political broadcast for the Scottish branch office of the Labour party, although to be fair the plastic bag is considerably more animated than Richard could ever manage. Eventually the bag will work its way loose of the branch, it may even fly high, but Labour in Scotland will be stuck on a minor branch forever, flapping about uselessly in the breeze. Even those who still vote for the party have given up wishing that Labour in Scotland will ever get any better, they’re just hanging on in the vague hope that it might suck a little bit less. And they’re still constantly disappointed.

It would be churlish to doubt Richard’s personal commitment to redistribution, to social justice, to equality, to challenging deprivation. It’s just that he delivered his piece to camera with all the passion of a nodding dug on the parcel shelf of a car, and with remarkably similar gestures to one of those animatronic figures you find at the entrance to a ghost train ride in a tired seaside town and with an equally predictable lack of thrills. The only thing stopping him from nodding his head as he robotically moved his arms up and down was that there was a big red scarf wrapped several times around his neck, which had the unfortunate effect of making him look like he was in the process of being given birth to by a large wooden plank. Richard clearly lives in a house without mirrors.

It was so boring that all over Scotland people were wishing that he’d go and play with matches. It was so boring that we were longing for a David Torrance lookalike. Anything, anything to break the monotony. Even James Kelly doing an impression of that boring guy in the pub who pontificates at the end of the bar about the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act would have been a relief by this point.

For those of you who had switched over channels, gone off to make a cup of tea, or were banging your heads off the coffee table in frustration, the basic message of the broadcast was twofold. Vote for us because we did stuff seventy years ago, and vote for us because we promise to undo all the stuff that we did when we were in power the last time. Labour is apparently the champion of equal pay for women, even though it was Labour controlled councils which were the worst offenders in paying female council employees less than their male counterparts and which fought tooth and nail to prevent them getting redress. Labour is opposed to zero hours contracts even though they first mushroomed under the last Labour government. There’s also going to be lashings of jam, better public services, a higher living wage. It’s going to rain gold coins from the sky and everyone with an ironic beard and tattoos will get free avocados.

Oh, and they don’t want another referendum. Richard didn’t say why. Just because. I always thought that Iain Gray was the least exciting and least charismatic politician in Scotland, but even he could work up a bit of enthusiasm when it came to bashing Thatessempee. Richard can’t even manage that. He only won the branch office leadership because Labour MSPs hated him slightly less than they hate everyone else in the party.

Just like the Tory party broadcast the other week, Labour’s offering failed to mention the single most important issue facing Scotland and the rest of the UK. Brexit was notable solely for its absence. This is not unconnected to the fact that Richard voted along with the Tories in Holyrood for Scotland to suck Brexit up, but it has even more to do with the fact that Labour’s policy on Brexit manages to make that of the Conservatives appear principled and well-thought through. If you want an example of naked opportunism, you could do a lot worse than look at a Labour party leadership trying to attract support from people opposed to Brexit while at the same time pursuing Brexit as relentlessly as the Tories. Labour is so full of crap it makes a toilet jealous.

Under Jeremy Corbyn the Labour party has set up no less than eight policy commissions in order to consult with party members and help to determine party policy for the next general election. There’s a commission on the environment, one on the economy, one on justice and home affairs. There’s a commission for everyone, except there isn’t a commission that’s dealing with Brexit. When asked why Labour wasn’t developing a policy on the most important and pressing issue facing the UK today, the party replied sniffily that its international affairs commission was dealing with Brexit. Which would be fine, only the international affairs commission has made it clear that it’s not accepting submissions about Brexit. Brexit isn’t on the agenda for the commission’s next meeting. Just like their party political borecast, Labour wants to pretend that Brexit isn’t happening.

But Brexit is happening, and because of the economic damage that it’s going to inflict Labour won’t be able to afford all the jam that it promises in its party political broadcasts. What makes it even worse is that the Labour leadership can’t, or more likely won’t, tell us exactly what it is that they want Brexit for. At least the Tories can come up with some reasons for why they want Brexit, they might be stupid reasons, they might be lying reasons, they might be utterly unrealistic reasons, but they do have some reasons. All you get from Labour is the shuffling of feet and looking elsewhere in the hope there’s a cute wee kitten to act as a distraction.

Just like the Tories, Jeremy Corbyn and Richard Leonard both want Brexit to happen, maybe if Richard had told us why then the party political borecast might have been marginally more watchable. But then that would have entailed Labour dealing with reality, and that’s the one thing that the Labour party in Scotland can never face up to.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special 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.

Many thanks.

Daein it fur oorsels

It’s coming. You can feel it in your bones. You can smell it in the air. You can almost touch it. Things are changing. Things are developing. The seeds that the British establishment was so convinced it had buried in 2014 are germinating. A tightly coiled bud that has been guarding and maintaining its strength and its energy is about to burst, fed and nourished by hopes and expectations. It’s been well manured with the dung of a British state that doesn’t care and doesn’t care who knows that it doesn’t care. We’re reaching the end of a stormy winter and the green shoots of a better country are about to sprout. A movement is about to make a move, and when it does this land will change forever.

It won’t be political parties which change Scotland. It won’t be national leaders or organisations which transform it. It will be thousands of ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things. It will be the talents and skills of punters who’re punting the old lethargy and lassitude out of the park. We’re making a revolution, and we’re doing it with Yes picnics and Yes hubs, with tea and scones and laughs and dreams. We’ve not had our tea. We’re cooking up a future, and it’s tasty and mouthwatering. The ingredients are enthusiasm, energy, and hope, and those simple ingredients are going to cook up a dish that Westminster will choke on.

You can wait about for leadership. You can sit on your hands and guard your tongue. You can be passive and acquiescent, resigned to dreein a weird that doesn’t come much weirder than Jacob Rees Mogg and Michele Mone having more of a say over Scotland’s future than you do. You can endure in long-suffering silence and thole the fate allotted to you. You can take refuge in cynicism, or burn yourself with anger, raging uselessly against the machine that consumes you. But none of that changes anything, none of that will make a Scotland that you don’t need to feel angry or embarrassed about. All it does is to make those who have power believe that they are invincible. Silence makes you complicit in the crap that’s heaped upon you.

But even if it were to come along, this leadership we’ve been waiting for, this solving of all our problems by someone else, this magic wand that will wave away all the obstacles, it risks us ending up being stuck in the same passivity that we’ve always had. It’s the passivity and quiet endurance of a country that’s been told and taught to substitute a cringe for a culture that has led to the Scotland of injustice and inequality that drives our desire for a better place, a more equal place, a more just place. We’ll maybe end up with a Scotland where we have all the same inequalities and injustices as we’ve always had, just all tied up in a pretty tartan bow that restricts and confines a passive people who’ve learned not to engage and not to upset old certainties and old cringes.

We’re taking the old culture of the gaunie no and the naw ye cannae and replacing it with the aye a’m gaunie and the youse cannae stop me. We tell the British nationalists in Scotland, your cringe does not define us. Your fears do not chain us. Your limitations are yours alone. When they tell us that we can’t, we reply, “Watch us.”

People are realising that Scottish independence is the radical notion that the cringe is a lie, that we’re more than just scenery, that this green and wet and heart-achingly beautiful country in the far north west of Europe is every bit as good as anywhere else, that the people of this land are every bit as capable as anyone else, and a damn sight more competent than the British establishment which has got us into the messy humiliations of Brexit. Scottish independence is the dangerous belief that a country is best governed by people who actually give a toss about it. It’s the conviction that the only sovereign body in this country is composed of the people who live in it. It’s the heresy of believing that Scotland can be a normal country too.

All over Scotland extraordinary ordinary people are saying to themselves, feck this fur a gemme o sodgies. There’s got to be a better way. There’s got to be a different way, a more productive way, a way out that leads to something worth dreaming about, worth hoping for, worth leaving future generations. There’s got to be a Scotland that is more than a recepticle for the fag ash of British nationalist vanities, doubting itself as we’re filled with the wreckage of Britain’s bad and nasty habits.

And they say to themselves – I’m going to make it happen. I’m going to do it for myself. I’m going to be loud. I’m going to be annoying. I’m going to stand up with those beside me and create the better Scotland that we all deserve, because nae other bugger is gaunnie dae it fur us. This is the DIY referendum. If independence is to be about anything meaningful, then it starts with independence of the mind and independence of the spirit. Independence means that we realise that the political is personal, and we start with the declaration of our own personal independence.

All over Scotland local groups are organising, they’re reaching out to their communities, forming alliances with others, and it’s all entirely self-direction and self-determined. This is the real grassroots Scotland, not the Scotland of the lairds and the landowners, the rich and the powerful who fund Scotland in Union. The independence movement is a movement of the people, and the people are ready to move. Scotland is heading for independence, and all the people of Scotland, all of us who were born here, all of us who have chosen to live here from all over the world, we’re daein it fur oorsels. Our destiny is in our own hands, let’s shape it. Britain is the past, Scotland is the future.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special 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.

Many thanks.

Why the indy movement needs to crowdfund

Someone pointed out to me today that someone on social media has been wondering why independence publications, sites, and bloggers like myself, Bella Caledonia, Wings Over Scotland, Scotland Goes Pop, iScot magazine, Indylive etc, do fundraisers and ask for donations whereas the British nationalist representatives on social media generally don’t. Now I should point out that – donate button notwithstanding – this article is not a plea to you to give me money. It’s intended as an explanation of why the independence movement has to be a lot more public and transparent about its fundraising activities than anti-independence campaigners need to be. Anti-independence campaigners can raise money in ways denied to pro-independence campaigners, ways which are less obvious to the public, and that means that they can falsely claim a moral high ground to which they are not entitled.

There are some very simple answers to the visibility of fundraising on the part of independence supporters, and the invisibility of fundraising attempts by opponents of independence.  Partly it’s because if you support and defend the status quo, it’s because you’re already doing well out of it, and because you can rely upon the support of others who are likewise doing well from the status quo. People who are already comfortably off and who are supporting a particular constitutional stance because it creates and supports the conditions of their financial comfort don’t need to do fundraisers. Independence challenges the status quo. Independence is seen by the rich and powerful as a threat to their financial interests. That means that the rich are going to oppose independence, and will fund groups and individuals which campaign against Scottish independence.

Organisations like Scotland in Union can fundraise by asking a small number of very rich people to give it money, but the Duke of Nawbaggery or the Red White & Blue Hedgefund Management Company Ltd are highly unlikely to dig deep into their vast funds and toss a big wedge of banknotes to the independence cause. Independence campaigners rely on small donations from a large number of ordinary people, and that in turn means donations buttons and annual fundraising campaigns. It’s a lot more work to raise a large number of small donations than it is to raise a small number of large donations. You have to be a lot more open about it, you have to advertise the need more widely. This is one of the differences between being a part of a genuine grassroots movement, and being a part of an astroturfing outfit where the only grassroots thing about them is the claim they make on their website.

If you can get two large donations that run into five figures, then you don’t need to ask thousands of people to give you a couple of quid each. The independence campaign is a genuine grassroots movement. We don’t have links to big business. We don’t have links to the superwealthy. We are most definitely not a part of the establishment. The establishment controls the wealth, and the establishment will use its wealth to protect its own interests. The British establishment is going to fund anti-independence campaigners in ways that pro-independence campaigners will never have access to. When you rely on a small number of large donations, you can fundraise in quiet. When you rely on a large number of small donations, you have to fundraise in public.

Some opponents of independence may have access to other sources of funding, sources which are most definitely denied to pro-independence campaigners. In the January 2017 issue of iScot magazine the writer and broadcaster Tom Morton wrote about his decision to back Scottish independence in a future referendum although he’d been a vocal supporter of the No campaign in 2014. Discussing his previous writing in support of Scotland remaining a part of the UK, he said, “I received peculiar invitations to come to London for discussions with someone who apparently specialised in crisis PR for sensitive political situations. They’d pay me to write more pro-union blogs. I never really got to the bottom of that …”

Tom declined the opportunity to write anti-independence blogs for payment and never met with the people who offered him the “peculiar” invitation, saying in his piece for iScot that the whole thing sounded “dodgy”.  Without any shadow of a doubt the people who approached Tom Morton will have approached others who wrote or campaigned against Scottish independence. They may not have been the only group making such offers. Some opponents of independence will not have been as suspicious as Tom Morton was about accepting the invitation. They may very well still be writing and blogging in opposition to independence and for all we know may still be receiving payments for doing so.

Now, for the sake of clarity, I have no idea who any of these people might be, and am not pointing any fingers at any individuals. I don’t know who they are. I am certainly not suggesting that everyone who writes in opposition to independence on social media is in the pay of some secretive organisation, just that it is highly probable that some of them will have been approached and made offers by such a group. No doubt the usual suspects will accuse me of being a conspiracy theorist for discussing this, but the point is that it is a matter of record that shadowy groups and organisations have offered anti-independence campaigners money in order to write in opposition to independence.

Even if someone has accepted such secret payments, they’re certainly not going to admit to taking money from some “dodgy” outfit in London, but they will condemn independence writers and bloggers for running crowdfunding campaigns. These are probably the same people who accuse pro-independence writers and campaigners of being stooges of the Kremlin. If they take a secret shilling from suspicious people, they don’t have to run crowdfunders or donation campaigns and so can condemn independence campaigners of supposedly only being in it for the money.

There is a greater need for full time pro-independence writers and campaigners on social and digital media in order to counter the anti-independence bias of the great majority of the Scottish media. Those who oppose independence have the support and backing of the great majority of the media, they do not rely on social and digital media to get their message out to anything like the same extent. There is far less of a need for full time anti-independence campaigners on social and digital media because anti-independence campaigners are already gainfully employed and well paid by the Daily Mail, the Scotsman, the Express, the Daily Record etc etc and dispiritingly etc. Those publications, and the broadcast media which takes its news agenda from them, are far more likely to offer paid writing opportunities and appearance fees to opponents of independence than to supporters of independence. When was the last time James Kelly of Scots Goes Pop or yours truly were on the telly talking about independence? Yeah. Exactly.

The visibility of fundraising efforts within the independence movement is a sign that the independence movement really is a grassroots popular movement. It means that this is a movement that ordinary people in Scotland own and control, not big business, the aristocracy, the super-rich, or shadowy “PR organisations”. The lesson here is that the only way that the independence movement can continue to grow and flourish is if ordinary people put their hands in their pockets to support it.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
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Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special 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.

Many thanks.

A country in a filing cabinet

The British Government is going to let members of the Scottish Parliament have a wee squatch at the impact study into the economic effects of Brexit on the various nations and regions of the UK. Isn’t that nice.  This is the study that they’d previously denied existed. David Mundell’s office wrote to the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament late on Wednesday 7 February to inform him that MSPs would be able to view the document by appointment only on Thursday 8 February or on Friday 9 February between 10 am and 1pm and between 2pm and 5pm at the Scotland Office building in 1 Melville Crescent. Times when MSPs are busy with Parliamentary business or when they’re due to be holding constituency surgeries. MSPs won’t be allowed to copy the papers, to photograph or scan them. They won’t be allowed to take copies away with them. They won’t be allowed unsupervised access to the papers, and they’ve been warned that the content of the papers is not to be made public. But subject to these restrictions the papers will be freely available on short notice for a short while in an office in the basement behind a storage cupboard guarded by a leopard. So that’s totally reasonable. You’ll have had your freedom of information Scotland.

Naturally MSPs were pretty pissed off about this. It’s an insult to the Scottish Parliament to promise access to the papers and then to make it as awkward and inconvenient as possible for MSPs to actually obtain access. Labour MSP Neil Findlay was pure beelin that it was outrageous that the British government was expecting MSPs to schlepp all the way to London just to get a wee glimpse of the documents. That’s the Neil who is an MSP for the Lothians, who works in Edinburgh, who lives near Edinburgh, and who doesn’t know that the Scotland Office has premises in Edinburgh. Nor indeed where Melville Crescent is. Google Maps is your friend Neil.

But there’s an even bigger insult to the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish people than the UK government’s contemptuous evasion and obfuscation over information about the economic effects of Brexit. Last year the Fluffy One told the Scottish Parliament’s Europe Committee that the UK government had not carried out any “Scotland specific” analysis of the effects of Brexit. This came a short while after he’d admitted in the media that there was in fact such an analysis. Now we know that there is after all an analysis which looks specifically at the economic effects of Brexit on Scotland and on all the other nations and regions of the UK.

There are only two possible conclusions here.  Either the Scotland Secretary had been lying when he said that there was such a study because he didn’t actually know that there was, which in turn means that his colleagues in the British cabinet don’t keep him informed of Scottish specific information, or that he knew all along that the report existed and what it detailed and he was deliberately misleading the Scottish Parliament. Neither of these conclusions inspires much confidence in the ability of the man who is theoretically charged with speaking up for Scotland in the UK cabinet to speak up for Scotland in the UK cabinet.  David Mundell must be a liar or an idiot, although admittedly those are not mutually exclusive possibilities.

You might think that it was an important story that the Scotland Secretary was misleading the Scottish Parliament on a topic which is vitally important to the future of Scotland, misleading the Scottish Parliament about a UK government study demonstrating that the economic damage of Brexit will be even greater than the economic damage that the Conservatives were telling us independence would be. You might think that this ought to be the lead story on BBC Scotland’s flagship evening news programme, Reporting Scotland. But then if you think that then you are kept even less informed about the purpose of Reporting Scotland than the UK cabinet keeps the Scotland Secretary informed about Scotland specific Brexit information. The lead story was naturally a story about Thatessempee being bad because of the resignation of the chief of Police Scotland, this was followed by two stories about murrdurrs, a story about a soldier’s body being repatriated from Iraq, then a story about problems with an NHS hospital in Aberdeenshire.

It was only then that BBC Scotland saw fit to present us with a short piece saying that the Scotland Office was giving MSPs limited opportunity to scrutinise the documents. There was no mention of any attempt on the part of the BBC to get the Scotland Secretary to explain himself, even though a BBC journalist had tweeted during the day that the Fluffy one was refusing interviews. There was no mention of his previous denials to the Scottish Parliament that the information existed. There was no mention or explanation of the immense damage that the documents say will be caused to the Scottish economy. There was no mention of the Scottish Conservatives calling the Scottish Government’s study “over the top scaremongering”, even though their own government’s paper showed the same, or worse, harm being caused. If you’re expecting BBC Scotland to hold the Conservatives to account, you probably also expect that Brexit will deliver everyone in the country a free bus with a misleading slogan written on the side of it.

There’s certainly no way that the majority of the Scottish print media is going to hold the Tories to account, but then we’re not obliged to pay for newpapers we don’t agree with. Their job is to keep Scotland a part of the UK irrespective of the circumstances. The same people who accuse independence supporters of supporting independence even if it were proven to damage Scotland are hell bent on keeping Scotland a part of the UK even though it’s been demonstrated that it’s damaging Scotland.

The fact however is that the Conservatives will continue to treat Scotland with contempt because the majority of the media in Scotland lets them get away with it, makes excuses for them, and enables them. It bears repeating, if Scotland had a media which spent as much time and energy critically examining and dissecting the behaviour of the UK government as they do criticising Thatessempee, Scotland would be independent already. And that’s precisely why they don’t. The Brexit papers are a metaphor for Scotland’s place in the UK. Locked away in a filing cabinet as an inconvenience.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
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Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special 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.

Many thanks.

Going over the top

You know how if you tell lies you’re supposed to end up weaving a complex web? The Scotland Office can’t even manage that much. It’s not so much a complex web of lies that they’ve woven as a moist tissue that falls apart with a gentle prodding. The only thing complex about the Scotland Office is something psychological that probably isn’t amenable to therapy because it’s a personality flaw.

You may recall a wee while back when the Scottish government released its impact study on the effects of Brexit on the Scottish economy. The study showed that there’s no scenario under which Scotland ends up benefiting from Brexit. Even a soft Brexit à la Norvège ends ups with null points for the Scottish economy. Leaving the customs union and the single market as the UK government is proposing results in a serious hit to the Scottish economy. If no trade deal with the EU has been struck by the time the UK leaves the EU, the Scottish government’s study forecast that Scottish GDP would suffer by some 8.5%.

To be fair, there is a scenario under which the Scottish economy benefits from Brexit. That’s the scenario where the EU agrees to allow the UK full access to all the benefits of the single market and customs union and doesn’t mind that the UK is no longer a member. Under this scenario the EU will agree to everything that the UK wants and there will be no negative consequences at all. The EU will also agree to give every UK citizen a free apartment in a Spanish holiday resort and will ban Germans from putting towels on sun loungers. Brussels will agree to put pressure on FIFA to ensure that England can never be put out of the World Cup on penalties ever again, and the French government will award Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, Jacob Rees Mogg and Michael Gove the Legion d’Honneur for services to European goodwill and fraternity. This scenario wasn’t covered in the Scottish government impact study, because the Scottish government was only interested in what might happen in the real world and not in the fine wine infused reveries of Conservative Brexiteers.

It was of course entirely predictable that the grievance mongering Thatessempee would ignore the scenario favoured by the British government on account of it being, to use a technical economics term, a load of auld pishwankery spouted in a wet dream by Empire Loyalist fantasisers. The other entirely predictable outcome of the Scottish government’s study was that Tory MPs and MSPs and their pals would take to the newspapers and airwaves and harrumph about it and try to make out that it was entirely unrealistic. Which is precisely what they did. The Express reported that the Scottish government had “resurrected Project Fear”, conveniently forgetting that Project Fear was a British nationalist exercise in the first place. Adam Tomkins MSP, the Scottish Conservative spokesranter for It’s The LAW! denounced the Scottish government report as over the top scaremongering from a government whose financial forecasts couldn’t be trusted.

Meanwhile the Scotland Secretary decided not to mention the figures given in the report, instead he did his usual thing of fixatedly accusing the Scottish government of being fixated on independence.  All he said about the report was that it didn’t recognise that the UK was seeking the aforementioned auld pishwankery so beloved of delusional British nationalist Empire loyalists and so could be dismissed. Which is a bit like saying that you don’t need to worry about losing your job, being evicted from your home, and ending up starving on the streets because that scenario doesn’t recognise that you might win £100 million on the lottery. Actually it’s not really like that at all, because there is a finite chance that you might win £100 million on the lottery. It’s a very small chance, but it does exist and it is quantifiable. The chances of the UK getting the deal that Theresa May is pinning her hopes on are precisely zero. There’s more of a chance that David Mundell would stand up in the House of Commons and demand that his government take Scotland’s concerns seriously.

Then on Wednesday we discovered that the UK government’s own Brexit impact assessment shows that every part of the UK is going to be negatively affected by Brexit. Scottish GDP would suffer by a hit of 9% under a no-deal Brexit. If the UK remains a member of the single market, the Scottish economy faces a hit of 2.5%, and if there’s a comprehensive free trade deal, the damage to GDP would be 6.1%. These figures are remarkably similar to those published by the Scottish government. You know, the ones that Adam called over the top scaremongering.

In other words the British government expects Brexit will cause a similar amount of damage to the Scottish economy as the Scottish government report calculated, a report which the Conservatives ridiculed as over the top scaremongering. Under a no-deal scenario the UK government is predicting even greater damage to the Scottish economy. Yet all the while the Conservatives were belittling and trying to undermine the credibility of the Scottish government’s report, they knew that their own government’s report was predicting the same ill effects on the Scottish economy. We know who can’t be trusted here. That would be the Conservatives.

The British government impact study is one that the Secretary of State for Stuffed Toy Tories first said did exist and then said didn’t. Which was appropriate really. The British government’s policy for Brexit is for the UK to be simultaneously in all the benefits of the EU while at the same time being outside the EU, a sort of Schrodinger’s Brexit. When that sort of thing is official government policy having a Brexit impact assessment that simultaneously exists and doesn’t exist isn’t really unsurprising. British Brexit policy isn’t quantum. In quantum physics you can either know where a particle is or you can know what its direction is. No one knows where the British government’s Brexit policy is, but we do know where it’s heading. It’s going over the top of a cliff, and it’s taking the rest of us with it.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special 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.

Many thanks.