Not asking permission

I’m trying to get a whole load of Gaelic maps parcelled up, labelled, and posted off. So there’s a lot to do today. However like a lot of independence supporters, I’m also trying to get through the 354 pages of the Sustainable Growth Commission report which was published today – to the predictable harrumphery of speed-reading British nationalists.

Let’s be honest here, it’s not exactly a gripping read, economics reports never are. No one gets murdered in it, and there is a distinct shortage of wee cute kittens. This will undoubtedly be reflected in the way that Reporting Scotland covers it. The BBC has already informed us that the snap reaction of David Mundell to the report was “Scotland doesn’t want another referendum.” But it’s not clear whether they did actually manage to speak to him. Scotland doesn’t want another referendum is what it says when you get through to his voicemail.

Some preliminary thoughts. Given the publicity that Ruth Davidson is going to get this weekend to tell us all that Scotland doesn’t want another referendum, it would be nice, seeing as how some journalists will have got her attention, if they could press her on the bigots, racists, far right extremists, and troughers who seem to infest her party. And while we’re on the topic of reprobates, it would be good to remember that many of the British nationalist soi-disant economic experts who’ll be crawling all over the media this weekend to tell us how rubbish Scottish economic prospects are are the very same experts who have presided over the UK’s near £2 trillion in debt, the rampant greed of the City of London, austerity, and a catastrophic Brexit.

But back to the report. First off it’s always worth remembering that it is far easier to create fear, to foster uncertainty, and plant seeds of doubt than it is to offer a vision for a better future and to work to build one. British nationalists in Scotland have no vision for a better future. What we have now is as good as it can possibly get. It’s narrow, restrictive, and myopic. It’s a view based on fear and lack of confidence. It’s a view founded in paternalism and poverty of ambition and spirit. So when you listen to the tidal wave of negativity which is bound to hit our overwhelmingly anti-independence media today and over the weekend, remember that nowhere among it will there be any vision of how Scotland can create a better future for itself within the UK.

It is quite astounding that in their response to the document the British nationalist parties and their friends in the media are still acting as though we’re in 2014 and the status quo is still an option. It’s not. There is no status quo any more. There is no safety and security of the known quantity of the UK. There are only two choices, taking a back seat as the Brexit bus is driven off a cliff and being utterly unable to have any say the matter, or taking our destiny into our own hands and making our own decisions. That’s it. No other options are available.

It’s worth repeating, shouting from the rooftops. There is no status quo. There is only change. It’s up to Scotland to decide whether we want to be active agents in our own future, or to sit back passively as decisions are made for us by people who do not necessarily have our best interests at heart and for whom the interests of Scotland are merely one set of considerations amongst many, considerations which are far down their list of priorities.

Others are smugly pointing out that not everyone who supports independence agrees with everything in the report. My god. Imagine that. People who aren’t SNP supporters having a different opinion from the SNP. Who ever saw that one coming eh? It’s not entirely clear why they think that citing people who support independence but who have a different opinion about what they’d like to see in an independent Scotland from the SNP Government helps them to argue that Scotland shouldn’t become independent at all. It doesn’t help opposition to independence by pointing out that some people who support independence think that things in an independent Scotland could be done even better than this report states. But knock yourselves out guys.

The currency plans are central to the report. It ditches the currency union plan which hampered the independence campaign back in 2014. It may very well be the case that the currency union would have been the most sensible currency strategy for both countries after Scottish independence, but politically it was impossible to sell. In effect we were saying “Haw Westminster we want to be independent from you. By the way, we’d like you to cooperate with us on this key aspect of our economic policy.” It was giving opponents of independence a big open goal to say no, one which they exploited to the full.

Instead the report proposes that Scotland does what Ireland did when it became independent. Ireland unilaterally continued to use the pound sterling until it was ready to introduce its own currency, the Irish punt, six years after independence in 1928. The punt was then linked to sterling at parity until 1979 when Ireland began making preparations to join the eurozone. During the initial period of independence Scotland will be able to introduce the necessary arrangements for transitioning to a Scottish currency when it is appropriate. Depending on economic circumstances at the time, the new Scottish currency can be linked to the value of the pound or not. Scotland will decide that for itself. The key message here is that post-independence Scotland can continue to use the pound. Scotland will use the pound. Scotland is not asking for permission.

The plan of the Growth Commission report to unilaterally stick with sterling in the initial years of independence doesn’t please those who want a new Scottish currency immediately, but it removes that nawbaggery from the British nationalist armoury. It provides a simple and easy answer to the “What currency are you going to use?” jibe. We are not asking for their permission or cooperation. We’re just going to do it anyway. That all by itself puts the independence movement in a stronger position. After all, if you believe in self-determination, it means you believe that you don’t require permission to determine what’s best for you.

The Growth Commission Report is a realistic assessment of where Scotland is and what Scotland can do in order to create a stronger and better economy for the benefit of all its citizens. It doesn’t gloss over the difficulties. It is a strong and solid foundation upon which to build arguments for independence. Compared to the wing and a prayer of Brexit, it is comprehensive and detailed. What this means is that Scotland is already more prepared for independence than the UK is prepared for post-Brexit Britain. The risks and uncertainties and insecurity lie with remaining a part of the UK.


Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland

albarevisedThe Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 3 copies of the map which is the maximum that can fit in one postal tube.

You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for alternatives.

Please note that the map is currently at the printers and I won’t be able to start posting maps out to buyers until the week starting May 28.


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.

Can Scotland afford not to become independent?

Back in 2014 the question constantly put forward by the forces of British nationalism in Scotland was – can Scotland afford to become independent? With the implication that of course it couldn’t. As we face the inevitability of a second independence referendum, one which has been brought about by the lies and deceit, the shortcomings and failures of British nationalism, the question now facing Scotland is – can Scotland afford not to become independent?

The reality is that Britain costs us, and it costs us dear. For a Scotland that’s a part of the UK there is a heavy economic, political, psychological, and moral cost. Britishness costs. The British state and the Conservative ethos which dominates extracts a price. In return for the heavy price we pay, Scotland is belittled, ignored, sidelined, and taken for granted by a British establishment which has no interest in doing what’s best for Scotland.

The economic cost to Scotland of being a part of the UK lies above all in the inability of Scotland to develop its economy in the interests of the people of Scotland. A recent report from the Fraser of Allander Institute demonstrated that Scotland exports over £9 billion annually of Scottish produced wealth to the rest of the UK and abroad. The levers of macro-economic control rest firmly with a Westminster which jealously guards its power. Despite devolution, the UK remains one of the most centralised states in Europe, and that centralised power is used in the economic benefit of London and the south east of England.

Opponents of independence point to the GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenues Scotland) figures as “proof” that Scotland is subsidised by the rest of the UK and that we’d be unable to provide for ourselves as an independent state. But that argument rests upon a fundamental fallacy, the fallacy that an independent Scotland would make the exact same economic and political choices as are made for it by the British state. The entire point of independence is to enable Scotland to make different choices, better choices, economic choices which work to Scotland’s benefit, choices which Scotland cannot take as part of the UK.

When an opponent of independence claims that Scotland can’t afford to become independent, they are in fact admitting that the economic policies of the UK have impoverished Scotland. They are arguing that the way in which the British state has failed the people of Scotland means that Scotland must continue to depend on the state that has failed us. That nonsensical view is given huge amounts of airtime, its fundamental illogicality is almost never pointed out in a Scottish media which is overwhelmingly opposed to independence.

Brexit has made a bad situation even worse. We were told in 2014 that independence would cost Scotland £500 per year per household. Now we discover that Brexit is costing every household £900 per year. We are worse off than we would have been even under the worst case scenario promoted by opponents of independence back in 2014. What you can be certain of is that the economic cost of Brexit will not be felt by the Boris Johnsons and Jacob Rees Moggs of this world. It will be felt by you and me.

We are told that Scotland can’t afford to become independent because the majority of Scottish exports go to the rest of the UK. For starters it must be pointed out that this is an estimate, not an accurate figure, because as part of the UK Scotland is also deprived of the precise and exact economic information that is required to make detailed economic decisions. However it’s most certainly true that the bulk of Scottish exports go to the rest of the UK. The answer is – so what? The great majority of Ireland’s exports were once likewise destined for the UK, but as an independent nation capable of making its own economic decisions, Ireland now exports more to the rest of the EU. An independent Scotland could do the same.

Meanwhile the issue of the Irish border looms large in the Brexit negotiations. Ireland and the EU are demanding, rightly, that the UK abides by its commitment not to introduce any perceptible border within the island of Ireland. It is likewise politically impossible to introduce a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. The UK cannot threaten a Scotland which is a member of the customs union, the single market and the common travel area with a border, when it has guaranteed no border with another state which is a member of the customs union, the single market, and the common travel area. And if there is no perceptible border, it matters not a jot if the majority of Scottish exports go to the rest of the UK until an independent Scotland rebalances its economy.

The political cost of the UK to Scotland weighs heavy on our shoulders. We were promised in 2014 that we’d be a valued and equal partner in a family of nations. That’s nothing more than meaningless cant designed to make Scottish people feel better about the subservient position of Scotland within the UK. The political price Scotland pays for being a part of the UK is that Scotland gets what England votes for. England makes up 85% of the population of the UK, an unassailable majority. Scottish votes can only make a difference when opinion in England is very finely balanced. Most of the time, Scottish votes are irrelevant.

As long as Scotland and England were on the same page politically, alternating between Labour and the Conservatives, Scotland could kid itself on that it was participating in a Union. Scotland got what it voted for often enough and we could pretend to ourselves that Scotland was an active agent in UK politics. The truth is that when Scotland got what it voted for, it was mere coincidence, not agency. We got it because England just so happened to vote the same way.

Brexit has destroyed any pretence that Scotland is politically relevant within the UK. With a General Election we could always tell ourselves that if Scotland didn’t get the UK government it wanted, there was always the election in five years time. We could hope for the coincidence of English votes going the same way as votes in Scotland and pretend to ourselves that Scotland was an active agent in its own destiny. Brexit has blown that out of the water. Brexit is forever. Scotland has no voice, no input, no say, despite the fact that in the EU referendum Scotland voted to remain a part of the EU by a considerably larger margin than it voted to remain a part of the UK in 2014.

You cannot delegate your political decisions to your neighbours and tell yourself that you live in a functioning democracy. There’s only one way in which Scotland can get what Scotland votes for. There’s only one way that Scotland can be anything other than a coincidental democracy. That’s to take the powers of self-government into Scottish hands.

There is a heavy economic cost to Scotland for remaining a part of the UK. There is a punishing political cost to Scotland for remaining a part of the UK. There is also a crushing psychological cost. It’s called the Cringe. The Cringe is a product of the cognitive dissonance that arises when you are a member of a nation that isn’t allowed to act like a normal nation. The mismatch between Scotland’s concept of itself as a proud and ancient nation, which is automatically to be compared with other nations like Denmark or Finland, and the reality of a part of the UK which the British state equates with a glorified English county, exerts a significant psychological toll. The Cringe is what comes of trying to reconcile two different realities, the reality of how you see yourself versus the reality of how you are seen by those with power.

The Cringe is what produces the Proud Scot But. I’m a proud Scot but … we cannae dae that. I’m a proud Scot but … we won’t be allowed to. I’m a proud Scot but … we’re too wee. I’m a proud Scot but … Europe wouldn’t want us. A person who tells you that an international organisation wouldn’t want their country is a person who has internalised the view that their country is a lesser place, that it’s not good enough, that it’s inadequate.

The Cringe tells us that we’re not good enough. The Cringe tells us that if something is Scottish then it must by definition be a subject of ridicule. That’s why British nationalists are happy with the Scots language being used in comedy but not with it being used in serious news reporting. It’s because the Cringe tell us that Scottishness is funny, a wall of laughter to hide the pain and insecurity that lurks within. The Cringe is responsible for the Great Scottish National Inferiority Complex, the deep rooted sense amongst so many of us that we’re not quite good enough.

British nationalism feeds on the Cringe. It nurtures it. It depends on it because the mental chains of the Cringe are what keep Scotland in the British state. The Cringe is the psychological cost of being a member of a nation that can’t act like a country. Scottish independence is the radical notion that Scotland could be normal. That terrifies and threatens those whose wealth, privilege, and preference depend on the Cringe.

Scotland pays a moral cost for being a part of the UK. We pay that moral cost in the deaths and injuries of young Scots men and women who enlist in the armed forces because they have few other options, and who are then deployed in the many wars that the British state engages in in its insane post-imperial drive to prove that a medium sized European country is still a global player. Scotland pays a moral cost in the deaths, the injuries, the displacements, the destruction, the refugees produced by British military adventurism. Scotland pays a moral cost by acting as a host for British weapons of mass destruction.

Scotland pays a moral cost in the treatment of refugees and migrants to our country at the hands of a Home Office with a policy of creating a hostile environment. As long as Scotland remains a part of the UK, the international shame of the UK is our shame too. It makes no difference that we voted against it. It makes no difference that we oppose it. We are perceived by those outwith the UK as being every bit as complicit as anywhere else. No one condemns the actions of the Russian state but makes an exception for the people of Yakutia or Mari El. When people abroad talk about and criticise the actions of “Inglaterra”, they mean Scotland too. We pay a moral cost by making ourselves invisible, by subsuming ourselves into a larger whole over which we exert no effective control. The first step to gaining moral agency is to find your voice. Only with independence can Scotland find its voice. Then we will be responsible for our own actions, and not complicit in the actions of the British state.

The costs of Britishness are heavy and burdensome. It’s a cost which empties our pockets, which destroys our agency, which crushes our confidence, which taints our soul. It’s a cost we can’t go on paying. Scotland can’t afford not to become independent.


Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland

albarevisedThe Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 4 copies of the map.

You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for alternatives.

Please note that the map is currently at the printers and I won’t be able to start posting maps out to buyers until the week starting May 28.


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.

The self-delusions of a British nationalist

There’s a test that scientists use to discover whether a species possesses self-awareness. They anaesthetise an animal and paint a dot on its forehead using an odourless and chemically inert paint. When the animal wakens, it is presented with a mirror, it it reacts to the image in the mirror by attempting to examine the dot on its own forehead, it’s taken as a reliable indicator that the the species possesses self-awareness. Great apes pass the test, so do Asian elephants, dolphins, and orcas, proving that they are sensitive and thoughtful creatures. Failing the test is taken as demonstrating a lack of self-awareness. Baboons fail it. And so, at least given his performance speechifying on Monday, would Michael Gove.

The occasion was a series of lectures to a less than packed house about the State of the Union. It was a Better Together reunion gig, with added DUP.  You know, bigots for inclusivity.  The event was a desperate attempt to come up with some new arguments to deploy in a future Scottish independence referendum seeing as how they’ve broken all the arguments they trotted out the last time. Scottish nationalism is parochial and insular. Oh wait. Valued partner in a family of nations. Oops hang on. Europe won’t want you. Eh, give us a minute we’ll get something in a bit. Why risk the safety and security of the UK. Ah, oh, eh, uhmm.

Featuring a line up of has-beens, never-weres, and never-will-bes, they could have saved themselves, and us, a lot of bother by simply admitting that there is no Union only an incorporating state that really doesn’t trouble itself with the opinions of its Celtic peripheries. However in a day of magical thinking and unhinged self-delusion, it was Michael Gove’s brass neck which shone the shiniest. During the EU referendum campaign Michael complained that people were fed up with experts. He’s certainly proving that people are fed up with politicians who are expert in prattling such utter guff as he does.

Michael was terribly concerned to tell us all how vile Scottish nationalism is, what with it being, according to him, divisive identity politics.  According to one of the leading proponents of the anti-immigration politics of taking back control for Britain, identity politics are a bad thing. You don’t say, Michael. You don’t say. Once again a leading British nationalist proves that the defining characteristic of British nationalism is the unshakeable belief that it’s better than other nationalisms by virtue of not being nationalist at all.

Not that any of this should be surprising. We’re talking here about a man who asserts, with an entirely straight face insofar as Michael Gove is capable of being straight about anything, that Britain has become more welcoming to immigration since the Brexit vote. That rise in hate crimes against ethnic minorities since the EU referendum is entirely coincidental then, and the Home Office’s hostile environment for immigrants magically turned into a fluffy cushion the day after the referendum. This from a man who went about in 2016 warning of a mythical influx of 70 million Turkish people. There are people whose lips are firmly attached to a crack pipe who have a better grasp of reality.

It may be technically true to claim that public attitudes towards immigration have softened since the Brexit vote, but there is no evidence that this is directly because of the Brexit vote. It is far more likely that any softening in public attitudes towards immigration since the Brexit vote is because of a widespread revulsion towards the rise in hate crimes caused by weaponising of immigration by the likes of Michael Gove, and a sympathy with and empathy for migrants that is entirely alien to the government that Michael is a part of.

In any event the softening in public attitudes towards immigration has not been accompanied by any softening in government policy, quite the reverse. Michael Gove has made people feel revulsion and anger towards what he and his fellow Brexiteers have done, and then seeks to take credit for it like he’s done us all a good turn. It’s a bit like someone who robbed candy from a baby taking the credit for people feeling greater sympathy for the baby since the candy robbing incident. And then appearing all smug in the national press to tell us what a great guy he is for making people feel sympathetic towards the baby whose candy he’s scoffing.

Michael’s self-serving claims about immigration were bad enough, but they were by no means the least delusional of his claims, and this let us remember from a man who is hailed by his party as one of the Conservatives’ leading intellectuals. But then you look at Ross Thomson and David Mundell and think, well yeah, they have a point.

There was the claim that Brexit was motivated by a desire to restore public trust in British institutions. How’s that working out for you all then? But even that howler wasn’t the worst of it. The highlight of the speech was the claim that Brexit has made the Union stronger and that Scottish nationalism is in retreat. That’s what comes of taking all your information about the state of Scottish politics from Ruth Davidson’s press releases. So that’s Michael, and most of the British nationalist press in Scotland then.

The reality is of course the exact opposite of what’s going on in Michael’s red white and blue reveries, Brexit has energised, enthused, and activated the Scottish independence movement. We’re not talking any more about if there should be another referendum, the only debate is about the timing of one. All across Scotland, independence groups are getting themselves organised, developing strategies, working on preparations for the campaign ahead. All this is happening because of Brexit, and because of the repeated failure of the British state to take account of the views of the people of Scotland.

What Michael Gove and the other speakers at the Better Together reunion gig can’t accept is that we are where we are because of their failures and shortcomings. If they have fulfilled their promises to Scotland, we wouldn’t be planning for and preparing for another independence referendum. There wouldn’t be the largest march and rally seen in Scotland since the Iraq War protests, calling for independence. The British state isn’t breaking apart because of Scottish nationalism. It’s breaking apart because of British nationalism.


 

Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland

albarevisedThe Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 4 copies of the map.

You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for alternatives.

Please note that the map is currently at the printers and I won’t be able to start posting maps out to buyers until the week starting May 28.


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.

When they’re not kissing babies they’re stealing their sweeties

Ruth Davidson and Michael Gove have announced the launch of a new think tank, because what the world really needs is yet another right wing think tank. The think tank is to be called Onward, as in onward and off a cliff with Brexit. Michael Gove is one of the most reactionary hard line Brexiteers in the Conservative cabinet, and Ruth is, at least according to the British press, providing the progressive gloss. Memo to the British press, just because you’re gay doesn’t automatically make you progressive. If the campaign for lesbian and gay rights means anything, it means judging gay people on their actions, not on their sexuality, and no one who supports the rape clause can claim to be progressive.

Michael Gove is involved in the new think tank because he’s apparently one of the Conservative party’s most influential thinkers, which is a bit like saying that the algae munching bottom feeder is one of the most influential fish in your fish tank. The difference being that the bottom feeder makes a more positive contribution to its ecosystem than Michael Gove, and it looks less like a goldfish. Also your fish tank is unlikely to contain sharks, which you can’t say about the Conservative cabinet. Anyway, here’s an idea for Michael’s shiny new think tank – maybe try not putting massive lies on the side of a bus.

The purpose of this new think tank, according to Ruth, is to develop policies for the Conservatives to enable them to attract younger voters. There she was the other day going on in the Guardian about how her party needs to do more to get down wid da yoot, and now she’s saying – Look who I’ve teamed up with kids! There hasn’t been a double act less likely to appeal to modern youth since Cannon and Ball.

What we can be sure of is that the policies dreamed up by this think tank won’t include free education or doing anything meaningful about the Conservative policies which have ensured that affordable housing is increasingly out of reach of the young. What its real purpose is is to come up with plausible lies to sell avaricious capitalism to those who have been impoverished by avaricious capitalism. Ruth and Michael want to be seen to be kissing babies, but they’re still going to steal their sweeties. They can dress it up any way they like, but what it boils down to is that they’re trying to find ways of selling 19th century politics to 21st century people.

Essentially this is a branding exercise on the part of Ruth and Mikey the Fish, positioning themselves for advancement when Theresa May goes belly up and her leadership floats dead in the water. It is every bit as cynical and self-serving as just about everything else that Ruth or Michael have ever been involved in. Michael Gove is, let us not forget, the man who when he was education secretary not only insisted that a copy of the Bible should be delivered to every school in England, he also insisted that it should be inscribed with his name. It’s not that Michael thinks he’s Jesus. That would be crass. He thinks he’s better than that. Besides, Jesus would be a Middle Eastern migrant who’d fall victim to the Home Office’s hostile environment. But it must be admitted that Michael Gove is, like Jesus, capable of miracles. His career was killed off but rose again.

Ruth, meanwhile, preaches to the UK press about one thing safe in the knowledge that they won’t pull her up for having done the exact opposite in Scotland. Although she can do that in Scotland too, safe in the knowledge that her pals in the Scottish media pack won’t pull her up either. No reputation has been built on so little since Rylan was offered a chat show on the telly, but he at least has great teeth. Which means that the most vacuous talk show host in the UK is more capable of getting a bite on a topic than Ruth Davidson is.

Today the darling of the cheeky photo op is due to give a speech in London in which she will call on her party to be less London-centric. This is just a week after she’s told the Scottish Parliament that it needs to be more London-centric, and to shut up and do what its British betters tell it to do. She instructed Scottish Conservative MSPs to back the Westminster power grab that undermines the devolution settlement, while Scottish Conservative MPs in Westminster back a hard Brexit. If she really believed in rebalancing the power and economy of the UK she’d put her vote where her very gobby mouth is and would fight to strengthen the Scottish Parliament, not to weaken it. She calls on Westminster to ensure that even those of us in Scotland who support independence feel that we have a stake in the UK, while supporting the British government’s court case against the Scottish parliament. Words are cheap. It’s actions which matter, and where her actions are concerned Ruth fails Scotland every time.

Even by her own standards of standing up for Scotland within the UK, Ruth fails. The harsh truth is that if it were not for the repeated failure of the British government to respect and comply with the promises and commitments that it had made to the people of Scotland, then there would be no drive for another independence referendum. Ruth has consistently supported the actions of the British state, and has not once condemned or even mildly criticised her Conservative colleagues for the way they have traduced every promise they have made to Scotland. Instead she has colluded with them and enabled them.

If the measure of Ruth Davidson’s leadership of an anti-independence party is how she has managed to quash support for independence and prevent the independence movement retaining its foothold, she has failed utterly and miserably. The independence movement is stronger now than at any time since 2014, and a second independence referendum looms on the horizon, one in which Ruth will have nothing positive to say to the people of this country. The press might not have been paying attention to the mismatch between Ruth’s mooth and her actions, but we have.


Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland

albarevisedThe Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 4 copies of the map.

You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for alternatives.

Please note that the map is currently at the printers and I won’t be able to start posting maps out to buyers until the week starting May 28.


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.

What we can’t avoid

It’s like a version of that annoying audio version of thon wedding dress. Do you hear Laurel or Yanny? The BBC is pumping out non stop nausea about the bloody royal wedding, only instead of hearing “Isn’t it MARVELLOUS!” most people hereabouts are hearing “Oh furfuxake gaunie shuttit.” At least that’s all you can hear in my street whenever the news comes on the telly, although possibly that’s because it’s me shouting it.

On the main BBC news at 6 O’Clock on Friday, the first 15 minutes were entirely about the wedding of someone who will only ever occupy the throne if he’s unfortunate enough to come down with a bad case of constipation, and an American actress from a telly show most of us have never watched. Then there was a brief interlude for other things, although for at least one news item – the presentation of the English fitba cup – they managed to find a royal wedding reference. And then it was back to the wedding for the last 7 minutes of the programme. Then it was over to Reporting Scotland scouring the streets in order to find someone who gave a toss, and the desperate search for a Scottish angle. The best they could manage is that there’s a wee village in Lothian called Markle. There are also places in Scotland called Dull and Twatt, but that wasn’t seen worthy of mention.

Even the Guardian has got in the act, despite being keen to tell us that as a newspaper it supports a republic. They’re wittering on with royalism every bit as much as the rest of the British press, including publishing an article which hails Meghan Markle as Britain’s first “woke” princess. Which entirely fails to consider that if she was that bloody “woke” she wouldn’t be lending credibility to a institution that’s as undemocratic and as symbolic of inherited wealth and privilege as the British monarchy. Woke my arse.

If you think it’s bad now, tomorrow is going to be unbearable. For all the media coverage about the dysfunction in Meghan Markle’s family, it still can’t hold a candle to the dysfunction that is the Windsors. I’m just hoping that Meghan’s dad turns up after all, and staggers hauf-cut up the aisle shouting – I’ll show you you limey bastards. But that’s not going to happen. What we’re going to get will be death by Nicholas Witchell in full gush and a front page from the Express telling us that a medium is going to channel Princess Di to live blog the day on the paper’s website. I’m planning to avoid broadcast television entirely tomorrow and will spend the day binge watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, which has even more queens in it than the royal wedding, although it’s considerably less camp and contrived. At least the queens on drag race know how to werk, which is more than you could ever say for the royal family.

Meanwhile the Tories are using the events as cover for doing the dirty. No one is paying attention because all we’re getting is Kaye Burley sticking a microphone in the face of some saddo drapped in Union fleggery who’s been camped outside Windsor Castle for the past fortnight. And it’s not even because she’s asking them, “What in God’s name is WRONG with you? Don’t you have a life?” Which is the only remotely interesting question any reasonable person could ask them. That’s also an interesting question to put to Theresa May, but that’s by the by. She’d only reply by saying that she’s been very clear, and then waffle on about something irrelevant until we all die of boredom. So pretty much like the media reporting of the royal wedding.

Theresa May is using the cover of the royal wedding to sneak in the appointment of nine new Tory peers to the House of Lords. The papers and the BBC aren’t paying much attention since they’re in full on Nicholas Witchell mode. Theresa is doing this because members of the Lords are not as enthralled by the idea of a chaotic Brexit or as unthinkingly moronic as say, Ross Thomson MP, and obstinately keep insisting that the British government really ought to know what it’s doing and can’t keep relying on wishful thinking and proposals that the EU has already said it won’t accept.

The Lords are determined that since the EU referendum was fought on the basis of taking back control for the sovereign UK parliament, then the UK parliament ought to have a meaningful say in the Brexit deal. This is a say which Theresa May is equally determined that it can’t have, because that would mean that her half-baked Brexit would actually be subject to some meaningful scrutiny and could very well be voted down. That might be in the national interest, but it sure as hell isn’t in Theresa May’s. In order to get over this little difficulty, she’s appointing some more peers who can be relied upon to do her bidding and not to ask awkward questions. Rather like Ross then.

Ruth Davidson is using the royal wedding weekend to write a piece for the Guardian about how the Tories need to be more liberal and modern, because the party is facing a real problem with ageing supporters. If things keep going the way they are, eventually the Tories will die off. Apparently this is a bad thing. According to Ruth the way in which the Tories can appeal to younger generations is to take a leaf out of the Scottish Conservatives’ book and to dog-whistle to sectarian bigotry and run away and hide whenever anyone wants to ask a difficult question. Also it helps to repeat “We don’t want another referendum” as the only policy you’ve got.

I’ve composed a wee poem in honour of this weekend’s events. Ruth’s opinion piece and Theresa’s underhand appointments that is. We can avoid the royal wedding, we can’t avoid the damage that the Conservatives are doing to us all.

When I was young I was an angry fellow
and loathed each Tory from toe to hair.
I’m older now and have grown more mellow,
but I hate thae basterts even mair.


Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland

albarevisedThe Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK.  Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 4 copies of the map.

You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted.  If you prefer another payment method, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for alternatives.

Please note that the map is currently at the printers and I won’t be able to start posting maps out to buyers until the week starting May 28.


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.

A Gaelic map of Scotland

albarevisedWell, I promised you merchandising this year because I have a wedding to pay for and need to make some money.  First up is a Gaelic map of all of Scotland.  I’ve been doing regional maps of parts of Scotland, but people always want a map of their own area, so thought it best to produce a revised and corrected version of a map I originally did for Newsnet Scotland about six years ago.  So here is a Gaelic map of the entire country.

This Gaelic map shows the whole of Scotland at a scale of 1:660,000 or 1 cm to 6.6 km. Shetland and Orkney are shown in their correct geographical location and not in an annoying wee box.  It’s a high quality glossy wall map printed in Glasgow on heavy paper.  It is suitable for framing or display.  The map measures 84cm by 119cm, or 33 inches by 47 inches in old money.  This map would be an ideal present for yourself, or for a friend.

dundeeThe map contains five insert maps of the large conurbations at a scale of 1:140,000 or 1 cm to 1.4 km.  These maps show Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, and Falkirk and Stirling areas in much greater detail.  Most of us live in Scotland’s large urban areas, and the main map of these districts can appear a bit cluttered.  The regional insert maps mean that if you live in one of the big conurbations of Scotland, you can see your own area a lot more clearly.

shetlandDoing a Gaelic map leaves you open to charges of Gaelic imperialism, and it’s true that some parts of Scotland have a distinct linguistic tradition.  Although Gaelic was never the majority language of the Borders, it was once present there.  However Gaelic was never spoken in Shetland and Orkney, where until relatively recent times a dialect of Norse was spoken.  Unlike the rest of the map, which is entirely in Gaelic, the place names of Orkney and Shetland are given in Old Norse.

The map can be yours for the bargain price of just £15.  As it’s such a large map it needs to be posted out in a heavy cardboard tube, and the size means it must be posted as a medium sized parcel.  I’m afraid that means P&P will be an additional £7 within the UK making a total cost of £22.  The map is currently at the printers, but I expect to have copies within two weeks.  Please note that if you order now I won’t be able to post your map out to you for at least two weeks.

You can either pay by Paypal by clicking the button on this page, you can use this even if you don’t have a Paypal account.  Or if you prefer not to pay by Paypal, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for alternative payment methods.  Please do not use the Paypal button if you want the map posted outwith the UK as P&P will be significantly more expensive, please email me for postage costs instead.

Unfortunately WordPress seems to object to the dedicated Paypal button I was planning to use, so I need to use the donate button instead. Please enter the amount of £22 and make sure that you give the address to which you want the map posted. If you have any difficulties using the button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com

Donate Button

The guarantee of lies

Scotland and the British government are heading for your actual constitutional crisis, but according to certain sections of the media in Scotland it’s all very arcane, and people aren’t going to get very upset about it. Apparently it’s all about highly technical stuff to do with obscure agricultural standards, nothing that those of us who aren’t obsessed with the minutiae of policy wonkery in the food labelling industry need to worry our pretty little heads about. According to Iain McWhirter some Scottish journalists claim that they are bored by the whole affair. Oh look, Meghan Markle’s dad might not be going to the wedding. There’s some real proper British news there. That’s the news where we are and not the news where you are, so naturally it’s far more important. It’s got a crown on it and everything. Oooh the royal drama squirrel.

The truth, of course, is that there’s nothing technical and obscure about the current constitutional crisis. The reason that parts of the Scottish media are telling us that no one is interested in it is because they’re reporting it as an excercise in obscure constitutional technicalities involving even more arcane areas of public policy, and not what it really is. What it really is is a gross betrayal of a solemn commitment made by the British government to the people of Scotland. However the bulk of the Scottish press isn’t reporting it like that, and then having done their best to ensure that no one is going to be interested in the story, they tell us that no one is interested. I’m shocked and surprised I tell you. Never saw that one coming. Imagine that, the Scottish press doing their best to protect the British state from the consequences of its own mendacity.

It’s quite straightforward. In 2014 the British government promised the people of Scotland that the powers of Holyrood would be entrenched in law.  It was one of the key aspects of the Vow. The Scotland Act was changed in order to reflect that promise. We received a solemn vow that no Westminster government would ever meddle with the powers of the Scottish Parliament or change those powers without the express consent of Holyrood. Now Theresa May’s government is doing exactly that. Even though all the MSPs in the Scottish Parliament except the Tories have voted, by a huge margin, to resist any change to Holyrood’s powers, even though the key commitment of Westminster in order to win a No vote in 2014 was that Westminster wouldn’t tamper with Holyrood’s powers without Holyrood’s express consent, Westminster is going to press ahead and impose its changes on Holyrood anyway. That’s not technical or obscure. There’s nothing arcane about it. It’s perfectly simple. Scotland was lied to.

If that wasn’t enough, the British government is also taking the Scottish Parliament to court in order to challenge a bill which the Scottish Parliament has passed by a substantial margin, a bill which the Scottish Advocate General, the top legal officer in the land, has ruled within the competence of the devolved administration.  The British government is taking the Scottish Parliament to the same Supreme UK court which has already ruled that the provision in the Scotland Act that no changes could be made by Westminster to the powers of Holyrood without Holyrood’s consent has no legal validity. The British government hasn’t just lied to Scotland, it’s also suing Scotland in a court of law because Scotland objects to being lied to.

That’s what this crisis is about. It’s about Westminster lying. Again. It’s about Westminster arrogance. It’s about Westminster’s deception and breach of trust. If Scotland cannot have any faith or trust in the promises and commitments of the UK government, then what exactly is the point of us being in this so-called Union? If the legal commitments of the British government to the people of Scotland are meaningless, if Westminster reserves the right to tear them up as it sees fit, then Scotland is not in a Union. We are not a valued and equal partner in the families of nations of the UK. We are not leading the UK from within. We’re a subordinate part of a British unitary state with no more rights than an English county council, because all that we have we have on the sufferance of whatever government is in power on the banks of the Thames, and that government can dispose of Scotland’s powers exactly as it pleases.

Westminster promised us one thing, now they’re doing the exact opposite, and they are smugly informing us that there is nothing we can do about it. How’s that equal and valued partner in a family of nations working out for you all then? When you are told that the power of the Scottish parliament is going to be entrenched in law, when you get a solemn vow to that effect, when it’s written into law, you are supposed to take that as an absolute guarantee, and not as “Holyrood’s powers are guaranteed except when it’s inconvenient.”

If the guarantee of Holyrood’s powers means that they are not going to be guaranteed when they’re inconvenient to Westminster, what exactly is the point of the guarantee? A guarantee that tells you that you can have something as long as it suits the other party, and you get absolutely no input into deciding when it suits, is no guarantee at all. It’s no different in principle from putting out your hand and begging for alms. And that is precisely how Westminster sees us.

Meanwhile David Mundell, the man who is supposed to be Scotland’s voice in the UK government, whose job description, such as it is, entails defending and protecting the devolution settlement, is instead doing the exact opposite. Yet he is the sole representation that Scotland possesses at the highest levels of the UK government – a man who has been shut out of cabinet Brexit negotiations and who sees his job as being a messenger boy for Theresa May and not as a defender of Scotland’s rights and interests. He should resign, because he is every bit as useless as Westminster’s non-guarantee of Holyrood’s powers.

They tell us that Westminster will only co-opt Scotland’s powers for a limited period. Do you believe them? They have done nothing but lie, deceive, use weasel words, and been mendacious and underhand in their dealings with Scotland, and now they expect us to trust in their good faith. Their problem is that they have no good faith and no one trusts them, and that’s entirely due to their own bad behaviour.

The fact of the matter, no matter how much the British nationalist media in Scotland tries to obfuscate, is that this constitutional crisis only exists because the British government has lied to the people of Scotland, repeatedly. It’s that simple.  The only guarantee that Scotland gets from Westminster is the guarantee that they will lie to us.


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.